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Archive for the ‘Tarts’ Category

Friday was our last full day in London. The few days we had there just whizzed by too quickly and the evening before, I was lamenting about how sad I was the be leaving Europe this time around. Usually I’m ever the eager beaver to return back to the warmth of Singapore, but I guess the weather had treated me so well that it made me fall that little bit in love with Europe – especially Hamburg. And already I can’t wait to return again to that side of the world next year, hopefully to Italy or Switzerland or another city in Germany.

Friday morning Flo and I made our way back into London but more to the CBD where we met Leena during her lunch hour. It was really sweet of her to sacrifice her precious hour off work just to see us.

We met at To A Tea near Farringdon station, which is this cute little bistro that specialises in teas and they also do healthy lunches – think full salads with lean proteins or veggie options.

I chose a Flowering Tea just because it looked so pretty in the picture. A glass of hot water came and I was like “Whuuuuut?!” before the server dropped a blob of something into it. It took about a minute to slowly unfurl and open up.


Green Tea with Lily and Osmanthus.

Definitely rather girly to look at and perfect for Instagramming. The tea carried a lovely aroma of osmanthus but towards the bottom, it got quite bitter, naturally, as the tea has steeped quite a while by then so it was a little difficult to drink.

It was great catching up with Leena and learning about how the year ahead is going to be quite an exciting one for her, and especially Brian who’s taken over his parents’ restaurant down in Southampton. Lots of things are starting to come together but at the same time, there’re lots of issues to iron out. I hope that all goes well for them!

After tea, Flo and I walked along the River Thames to get to Borough Market.

I love love love Borough Market! Yes yes, it’s full of tourists and food prices aren’t exceptionally cheap but the buzz in the air as you walk through the market is amazing. The delicious smells of food sizzling on the grill, the wide array of pastries, the sweet scent of fresh bread. It’s a feast for the senses!

First thing Flo and I had was an oyster each from this man here.

£2.50 per oyster, with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of tabasco, downed in a mere 2.5 seconds. Faster than that in fact!

There were two girls next to us who appeared never to have seen or eaten oysters before and were both keen yet hesitant to try them. After Flo and I had swallowed our delightfully fresh oysters that tasted of the sea, they asked if they were good. I said that they were and Mr. Oyster Man complained that I wasn’t loud enough for him to hear. So I sportingly exclaimed that they were AWESOME!

Paella…

Which we skipped. 

Now Flo and I enjoy good food but we’re not the types to go around and stuff our faces with every appetising thing in sight. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just that we both realise that sometimes overeating not only makes you feel sick, it also taints your memory of the food and the place. Instead, we tend to zero in on something we think we’d like and savour it. If we are still hungry after, we might get a small snack or dessert. And the next time we return, we can always try something else. In this case, it might be a while but still…

I more or less zeroed in on Big V.

They specialise in vegan burgers and I opted for the Salad Box that came with two salads and a choice of burger patty. I chose the Spicy Chickpea Sweet Potato Patty. Cost me £7. And it was quite a hefty box which left me very full after.

I loved the Spinach and Broccoli Salad but the Shredded Beetroot Carrot Salad that’s hidden below was a bit too dry and rabbit-food like. Then again, I tend to prefer my veggies on the softer side so yeah… I’m like an old woman in that respect.

I had the salads drizzled with Ume Dressing and they also scooped a generous amount of Beetroot Hummus and Tahini dressing on top as well. Those last two were really yummy. I added Sriracha for the extra kick on my burger. I enjoyed the patty so much I actually returned home and made some for myself! In fact, I made two kinds of veggie burgers so stay tuned for those recipes in a few blog posts’ time!

Flo on the other hand, stayed away from the greens since I had enough for the both of us, and went for the good ol’ British Classic – Fish&Chips from Fish!.

It was ironic because Flo was always drawing flak about how England’s doesn’t have much good food to speak of, and that Fish & Chips are often drowned in oil so why would anyone want to eat them?! I only found out the day that we were at Borough Market that he’d never actually had proper fish and chips before! Tsk! Anyway, he finally decided to give it a go to see if there was some redemption in the English food scene to be found.

And it looks like Fish!, with their £9.95 Cod Fish and Chips managed to impress him after all!

The batter of the piping hot fresh, flakey fish was thin and crisp, while the chips were fat and so very lightly salted. Great with the ketchup although salt and vinegar would have been the more traditional way to go.

Flo said that he was very pleasantly surprised that the fish was fried well and not at all oily. Same with the chips. I’m glad he enjoyed this typical English pub grub especially since this is something the English have definitely got a deft hand in cooking this speciality of theirs. It’s not easy to find Fish & Chips of that same standard in Singapore so having it in London was definitely the right choice.

Happy bellies! We did take a lot of pictures of the food and the food with ourselves. Funny because I think it was in my last post that I was laughing at people taking wefies with the swans at Hyde Park. I guess we all have our little fetishes. Flo’s, and mine, just happens to be food.

So after we filled our bellies, we walked a little more around Borough Market, soaking in the gorgeous sights of beautifully made pastries and desserts.

Giant cookies, German cakes, Dessert slices…

Tarts, Sliced cakes, Chocolate fondants…

Fudge! I’m not really a fudge fan but they’re really popular in the UK.

We skipped the cheeses and breads because we knew that we’d be tempted to buy some but there wouldn’t have been much point since we were leaving the next day – me back to Singapore, and Flo to Zurich for a week at head office.

I wanted to take him over to Bermondsey Street to this place called Fuckoffee. It’s this super quirky, hipster, coffee cafe place where the youngsters go to. It’s like an ‘alternative’ cafe that’s a little rough round the edges.

We were a mere few hundred metres off when it began to pour, so Flo and I quickly found shelter at Bermondsey Street Cafe instead which looked a world away from Fuckoffee. It took quite a big space and looked upmarket-industrial. There was a group of hot mamas with their babies there and two Japanese girls who looked to be having a late brunch of delectable looking fluffy pancakes.

Flo had his Cappuccino. I had my Piccolo.

We didn’t make it to Fuckoffee in the end and I think it was kind of a good thing because the more I think about it, the more the place seems a little dank and grungy. That’s just my opinion. 

When the rain finally cleared, the temperature dropped quite a bit and the winds turned a touch icy. Just a touch.

Flo and I continued on towards the Thames…

Where we then wefied with Tower Bridge

And The Shard

Awesome huh? We took pictures with some of the most iconic, world famous buildings in the world!!!

Then we crossed Tower Bridge, which is one of the prettiest bridges ever. I used to think it was the London Bridge just because. But one day, I found out which one was the real London Bridge and felt rather disappointed that it didn’t look as impressive as it sounded. Also, I guess because there was the song about London bridge falling down, I simply assumed it had to be an amazeballs looking bridge.

Flo and I had quite a journey home because we went to Tower Hill station where we had to make a few switches before we got onto the Met line home. Thought we’d be late for family dinner but nope! We had about a good half hour before most of the family started to pile in.

Grandma cooked the perfect amount for 16 of us – there was a bit more food kept aside in the kitchen for the latecomers.

Sambal Squid with Lady’s Fingers, Roast Pork Belly, Curry Prawns, Stir-fried Asparagus with Runner Beans and Pork Ribs. She later took out some of that Spinach Curry from the night before that I love.

T’was a great final dinner in London and it was wonderful being able to catch up with Rachael especially and find out how her wedding plans are coming along. First cousin on Mum’s side to get married!! 

And seeing Suk Gong, as well as Uncle Peter and Aunty Betty. It’s been a while and sometimes, it’s only after not seeing them for a while that I realise just how much they, and my parents too, are getting on. I’m happy though, that they are all blessed with good health and are looking lively and happy.

Saturday morning, I finished packing everything. By packing I actually mean stuffing everything into my check-in bag. I was a little worried that it might burst open while transiting from London to Singapore. Thank God it didn’t.

Mum, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma left quite early to Southampton to catch their two-week cruise around the Baltic. Flo and I managed to say goodbye to them before catching a bit more zees. At 11am, just an hour before their ship was due to depart, Uncle David got a call to say that they’d left their tickets at home! So there was a bit of a panic where Uncle David had to drive fast and furiously to get the tickets to them, while Kor had to dash Sophie to her tuition class in Harrow.

So lunch with Kor at this Japanese place we enjoy was scrapped and Flo and I made a simple lunch at home before Kor dropped us off at the airport.

Flo’s flight to Zurich was at 4.55pm so I managed to send him all the way to his gate before I somehow managed to burn the other 3 hours until my flight was due to leave.

And so, our two week Eurotrip came to a close. Eurotrip isn’t really the right term because we were really only in two places. Hamdon trip? Lonburg? It was a great one though, one that far exceeded my expectations especially spending it with Flo. In fact, I daresay it was my favourite holiday ever. So far. Especially because it was with Flo.

 

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Made my own batch of brioche dough Friday evening and turned them into a loaf of nantaise, a craquelin, a mini brioche a tete and a nutella hazelnut loaf. Gave the latter two next door and we kept the nantaise and craquelin of which Kor ate the whole craquelin in one sitting. Lol.

Quite happy with how they turned out. Had to use dry yeast since I don’t have fresh yeast at hand. I love love LOVE making bread… don’t know why. So this morning, I set about making more bread!

Using the bun dough, I made what was initially intended to be hot cross buns but owing to the overly OVERLY expired mixed citrus peel Grandma bought yonks ago, I decided to turn them into ginger buns, thus substituting the citrus peel with chopped crystallised ginger.

As for the Chelsea buns, I think we can rename them to Chappalang buns. Lol. They have a thin layer of almond cream, a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar, chopped roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate chips. Kor had 3 of them just this evening post-dinner. x)

Since I had quite a generous amount of almond cream left, I made pate sucree and filled them up with the cream, topped them with griotte cherries and popped them in the oven to bake. I managed to make 1 full sized tart and 3 mini ones.

We’ll be making Entremet aux Marrons tomorrow – love chestnuts! As usual, I’m apprehensive of making mistakes but… I trust that God will be with me and He will steady my hands and help me through. Till tomorrow… G’night!

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Toa Payoh Blk 127 – Teochew Handmade Pau

Our favourite place for fresh paus straight out of the steamer!

We went there for breakfast yesterday and on our table we had paus – I had a red bean pau, lotus seed pau and a chicken pau – Grandma, pa and Dad each had a serving of glutinous rice and with Mum, they shared a plate of fried carrot cake.

The paus were awesome possum! Loved that the generous fillings were not too sweet at all and that the skin of the paus was fluffy and smooth, and doesn’t stick to the roof of your mouth. Mum and Dad each had a pork pau which came with a slice of hard boiled egg. I probably should have gone for that instead of the chicken pau. Lol.

Dinner time came round and we decided to go for Indian food. Before we stepped into our favourite Woodlands Ganga Restaurant, we stopped by an nicely done up spa to have Grandpa try ear candling. He hasn’t been hearing well for some time and the doctor in UK said that he had a build up of wax in his ear. For some reason, she didn’t bother helping him clear it out, so we’ve been putting up with the high volume the TV in his bedroom has been on.

Since the candling yesterday evening though, it looks like Grandpa’s ears are cleaner than a whistle so no more bad-mouthing him behind, or should I say in front, of him! Hehe. Not that we do. x)

While Grandpa had his ears cleaned, I decided to have my eyebrows and upper lip threaded so we’re both happy campers for the moment.

We met Dad at the entrance to the restaurant and while the Uncle wasn’t there, the nice waiter was and as usual, looked mighty pleased to see us.

Dad ordered the Punjabi Thali which came with jeera rice and naan, with sides of raita, dal, korma, palak paneer and a sweet dessert to finish. Dad thoroughly enjoyed it although the serving was quite generous so we all had a nice sample of his rice which we had to agree was super yummy!

Mum, Grandpa and Grandma all went for the naan set which came with palak paneer and dal. Grandma couldn’t stop raving about how fluffy and soft the naan was, having been cooked fresh. Grandpa just dug right in with his hands, probably reminiscing about the time he spent in Punjab all those many many years ago en route to the UK to set up home.

I opted for the chapati set which also came with palak paneer (my favourite by the way!) and dal. The dal was uber creamy and delectable although I didn’t finish it since the lovely waiter also gave me some bindi aloo. I shared the bindi aloo with Grandma, Grandpa and Mum, and also had quite a bit of Dad’s raita.

I only managed to finish off one of the two superbly made chapatis but made sure to finish the palak paneer! x) Indian food craving satisfied!

Did some night baking when I got home because I felt like expending some energy. I guess I still struggle a little with eating out and I’ve not eaten out of my comfort zone as often as this for quite a long time now so yeah…

Anyway, I just made chocolate tarts and this morning, made the almond cream ones so that I could use up the tart cases Mum bought for me from Torque. Made two large chocolate tarts and 4 mini ones (shortcrust made from scratch!) to give to Mrs. Quek and Oi Lin as ‘Thank You’ edible gifts, and friends respectively.

This afternoon, we made a trip to order some glutinous rice dumpling for Kor, before I stopped by The Central to drop off some edibles to the dear girls I worked with as well as for Oi Lin. We then drove down to Vivocity for lunch at Sushi Tei.

It’s been a good while since I had quality Japanese food so this visit was much welcomed!

We ordered a sashimi plate to share so we each had a slice of yellowtail, tuna and salmon sashimi – awesome stuff! I also had a piece of the salmon maki although that didn’t thrill me much since I think the sushi rice overpowered the mild flavour of salmon.

Mum had a steaming hot bowl of sliced beef ramen while Dad chose the sakura ebi with sweet potato rice bowl off the summer special menu. He had it about a month back with Mum at the Thomson Plaza branch and was pretty stoked to find that the sweet potato at the Vivocity outlet came in a more hefty portion. Hehe.

I chose to have the Yosenabe which was simply a seafood and vegetable soup that was light yet packed with flavour. It came with lots of leeks and cabbage (love!), two slices of soft, buttery, fatty black cod, two pieces of sweet, crunchy prawns, two pieces of scallops, and two pieces of squid. Would definitely order this again especially on a cold, wet day like today!

We just got back a couple of hours ago from sending Grandma and Grandpa off to the airport. This simply reminds me that it’ll be my turn to head back to the UK soon… =( Feeling all sorts of uncomfortable – physical and emotional.

The feeling of flabbiness refuses to leave me, and the thought of leaving home, even with the knowledge that I’ll be back real soon, is kind of depressing. I guess that’s why a part of me feels I shouldn’t have come back this holiday… but then again, I’m also glad to be home and in a way, a couple of weeks back is better than none at all… right???

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I feel like I’ve been bitten by the lazy bug. Lol. Since term came to a close last week, I’ve not felt much like baking although I did make some gingersnaps the other day for Uncle D to bring to office. I also gave some to the nice lady at the photo developing shop and then I ate 3 in a go yesterday, felt like I’d binged and threw the leftovers away. =S

It’s ridiculous I know, how I often feel like eating just a bit more than usual is an act of bingeing. I did feel as though I was on the brink of doing so to be honest but by God’s grace and strength, I got through the day and managed to maintain the self-control to eat what my body needs, and not more.

I spent late morning today making another batch of gingersnaps so that I can give some to Uncle Kiat tomorrow evening when he gives me a lift to Uncle P’s place. Will also be giving some to Uncle P for offering to drive me to the airport on Tuesday morning (am staying over at their place tomorrow night). The few that couldn’t fit into the two containers I’ll be giving to #7 and #8 tomorrow most probably although I haven’t quite decided yet.

So I said I’ve been bitten by the lazy bug but more in terms of baking. It’s like, I want to practice or at least try out some of the recipes we didn’t get to do during our practicals, but haven’t been able to bring myself to do it especially when I think about the mess and the washing up.

Left with little else to do today however, and feeling the urge to keep moving, I decided to make the Tarte au Chocolat – Chocolate Tart. I made 3 mini tarts and used the leftover shortcrust pastry to make Kor a chicken pie for dinner.

I’m quite pleased with how the tarts came out – dusted them with some cocoa powder and topped them with fresh raspberries! I gave two to Uncle D and kept one for Kor’s dessert…

but he managed to fill himself right up eating the entire chicken pie that he left no room for dessert.

Have finished most of my packing apart from a few bits and pieces I have to buy tomorrow, and last minute toiletries. Graduation lunch is finally happening tomorrow so we’ll see whether I manage to maintain my Mention Bien. x)

For now, it’s time to indulge in my guilty pleasure – Big Brother. I soOoOo wanted to not give a shizzaz about it but uhm… somehow have been winding up watching it as much as I think of it as mindless rubbish. Arghh!

Will be home in about 50 hours time!

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I’m starting to accept that binging may be a part of my recovery since my body needs to start believing that I will feed it when it needs to be fuelled. So although I’ve binged quite a bit of late, and purged a little, I’m trying to keep to eating good meals. I’m still learning so sometimes, I find myself avoiding carbohydrates, or fats, or proteins, only to bear the consequences of that deprivation later.

First though…

I went to church early yesterday morning armed with a lemon meringue tart that I practiced making in my own sweet time on Friday and Saturday.

I didn’t pipe the meringue on in the end because it was getting too late and I’d messed up the chocolate tart I’d intended on making. So I was keen to start on a quick cake even though it was already about 10pm at night. I’m pleased with the result though but I’d like to try and work within time constraints some time this week.

The other cake I made was  BBC Good Food’s Chocolate Banana Cake with a Pecan Walnut Streusel. I’m pleased with how it turned out!

Both the tart and cake went off the table before service even began so I’m praying that it was because they were yummy rather than because the congregation hadn’t had breakfast and were famished. =)

I met quite a few members of the church although I can’t remember most of them. Somehow though, I think I’ll settle in pretty nicely as time continues.

On the way home from church, I stopped by Waitrose and bought some New Zealand Venison Burgers – 95% venison, 5% breadcrumbs, seasoning. Doesn’t that sound like a pretty awesome burger?!

I’ve not had red meat in… only God knows! but my body’s been hankering after red meat which I’ve been refusing to provide it with. Well, I did yesterday.

I grilled the patties on my gorgeous skillet although next time, I plan to cook them a little more rare. Thankfully, they weren’t overcooked though so they were still juicy inside.

On the side, I cooked balsamic mushrooms with onions – using olive oil! And balsamic vinegar! So another small breakthrough for me in the realm of cooking. And eating.

I also had a small spinach salad with half a tomato and some fresh mozzarella to go with the burger.

For Kor, he had the same, just that his sat on a bagel so it became a venison burgel. Get it? Burger+Bagel=Burgel?? =S

Well anyway, it was nice to have a little of something different and Kor said it was the best burger he’s ever had while living in London. I take it as a compliment.

I’ve also been eating salmon although I bought the sustainably farmed ones since they come fresh. Fresh salmon really tastes a world apart from those that come frozen and thawed. The flesh is sweeter, smoother and more succulent. What I find also is that the salmon here tends to have less fat that the ones from back home. On the downside, they don’t scale the fish for me – even though I buy them filleted, so I have to scale them myself. =(

One of the 1001 things that wound up in my tummy last night... Topped with extra mozzarella...

I kind of ended up binging last night but I blame it on (again) not feeding my body what it’s been needing. My meals have been lacking carbohydrates and I guess this is an area I need to work on – providing myself with well-rounded meals which means having protein, carbohydrates and fats.

So despite what went on last night and despite the feeling of disgusted fatness I feel this morning, and despite feeling as though I’ve gained a giant of a ton over the last few days, I opted to start my day off with a prayer and a good breakfast.

I tried to think of what to have, of what my body wanted, but I guess communication between my body and mind have become so poor that I often find myself not knowing what I want. So I tend to go with what’s safe.

This morning though, I decided to go with something different from the norm. I had scrambled eggs (2 eggs but I admit, no milk or cream), with mushrooms, cooked in butter no less. And with that, I had a slice of wholemeal bread spread with unsalted butter and whortleberry jam. Ooh! And with a hot cup of Options’s Orange Belgian Hot Chocolate.

Satisfied.

I was thinking last night about why I’ve been bingeing – whether it is due to me trying to eat my feelings, or as a way of coping with stress, or frustration, or loneliness. But there never seems to be a fixed pattern to my bingeing apart from what I don’t feed myself well. So in a way, I restrict as a coping strategy, but I binge as a result of restricting… which means that my coping strategy is a shitty one really isn’t it?

I suppose this is something I can think about and bring up to B the next time I see her. For now though, I have to stop running away from God out of shame and guilt, and remind myself that turning my back on Him will lead to my own downfall in the end.

I know that even though I have been disregarding God’s work, He is still watching over me and I am thankful for Aunty Siang calling me on Saturday just because she felt I was not doing too well. I am thankful for her praying for me, and praying with me.

I am thankful for Mum and Dad.

I am thankful for church.

I am thankful for new mornings and fresh starts.

I am thankful for God’s strength.

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