20 November 2017

Vanilla Custard & Strawberry Jam Tart

[ Collaboration with Healthy Gourmet Singapore ]

Last week I was blessed to receive this bundle of organic, delicious and healthy products from Healthy Gourmet Singapore!

Healthy Gourmet Singapore is an online grocery store committed to bring in all-natural and contaminant-free products with no harmful chemicals and additives, to consumers who share the same belief about sustainable farming practices and respecting the environment and our body through the right food choices.

Brands that the webstore carry include Alce Nero, Belvoir Fruit Farms, NOMU and Ortalli, and range from cooking ingredients such as condiments, pasta, sauces, spices, to baking needs such as vanilla paste, chocolate and jams.


I had the privilege of selecting any items from the store to create dishes with them; was literally spoilt for choice as there were so many items that I wish to have!
 
Since Christmas is a month away, I decided to create a simple dessert and another one-pot dish which could be put together easily and yet visually appealing for the upcoming festive celebrations.

Presenting my first dish, Vanilla Custard & Strawberry Jam Tart, created using Alce Nero Organic Soft Whole Wheat Flour, Alce Nero Organic Demerara Crystalised Brown Sugar, Alce Nero Organic Strawberry Jam and NOMU Vanilla Paste.


Personally I don't have a sweet tooth and I also try to cut down on sugar intake and use more healthy ingredients for my bakes. This is the first time I introduce whole wheat flour and demerara brown sugar in my bakes and the result turned out great!



The whole wheat flour, brown sugar and vanilla paste were used in the tart pastry, and the vanilla paste and brown sugar were also added in the custard. To create more depth and layering in the tart, I filled the tart shells with strawberry jam before topping with vanilla custard.


I must rave about the NOMU Vanilla Paste as well! I'm very particular about vanilla paste and extract and use only the best quality ones (certainly no essence which is basically chemically-derived). NOMU Vanilla Paste contains pure vanilla seeds combined with cold pressed Vanilla Extract, and it's bottled in a dispenser pump which is such a brilliant idea! Mess-free and so easy to use; I'm totally in love with the product.



Love the different textures created in this tart.

Rustic crunch from the tart shell, natural fruity sweetness from the strawberry jam, creamy and lovely scent from the vanilla custard, fruity tang from the fruits and finally mint leaf to refresh the palate.

I used strawberry jam for the layering this time, in fact any other jam flavours are fine. As for the toppings, any fruits would do, I selected raspberry and blueberry as they look so christmasy together. The mint leaf created a stunning colour contrast to the tart and I always like to add it to bakes as they are so refreshing.

The tart shell and vanilla custard can be made a day in advance.

After baking the tart shells, just store them in an airtight container. For the vanilla custard, I filled it to a piping bag and store in the the fridge. The next day, simply assemble, decorate and ready to serve.


Vanilla Custard & Strawberry Jam Tarts
(makes 16 tarts, using 6cm fluted cutter/3.5cm base tart case)

(A) Tart pastry/shell
  • 150g Alce Nero Organic Soft Whole Wheat Flour
  • 30g Alce Nero Organic Demerara Crystalised Brown Sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp NOMU Vanilla Paste
  • 1 tsp fresh milk
  1. Sift flour into a large bowl, add sugar and mix well.
  2. Add cold unsalted butter cubes. Using finger tips, break the butter and rub the butter into the flour mixture, until it resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Add egg yolk, vanilla paste and fresh milk to the mixture, use a scrapper to help with the mixing.
  4. The mixture will come together and thereafter, use hands to form the mixture into a dough.
  5. Knead the dough gently into a ball. Place the dough between 2 pieces of plastic sheet.
  6. Roll the dough to about 4-5mm thickness and place in fridge to rest for about 1 hour.
  7. Remove the dough from fridge. Dust a baking mat (and rolling pin) with flour, use a fluted cutter to stamp the dough.
  8. Use a metal scrapper (dust with flour) to lift up the cut dough.
  9. Place the cut dough over the tart case and gently press it downwards.
  10. Using finger tips, gently press and mold the dough into the tart case. Use a fork to poke holes at the base of the tart pastry.
  11. Bake the tarts at 180C, fan mode for 15mins. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. After the tart shells are cooled slightly, remove them from the tins and let cool completely before assembly. *if assembling tart next day, store the tart shells in an airtight container.
(B) Vanilla Custard
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 20g Alce Nero Organic Demerara Crystalised Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp NOMU Vanilla Paste
  • 4 tsp corn starch, sifted
  • 1 egg yolk
  1. Add fresh milk and sugar into a small pot.
  2. Place the pot into a large, shallow pan/pot with barely simmering water. This is the bain marie method, to create a gentle and uniform heat for cooking custard. Keep stirring the mixture till everything is melted and well-mixed.
  3. Add sifted corn starch. Mix till well-blended, the mixture will thicken slowly.
  4. Add the egg yolk and keep stirring till well-blended, the mixture will further thicken into custard.
  5. Add 1 tsp vanilla paste and mix well.
  6. Stop cooking once custard is creamy and gooey. Cover the surface of the custard with a clingwrap and let the custard cool for 10-15 mins,
  7. Sift the custard for a smoother texture (as they may be some fine lumps and grainy bits in the custard).
  8. Cover the surface of the custard with a clingwrap and let the custard cool down completely. 
  9. Fill the custard into a piping bag. Set aside. *if assembling the tart next day, store the bag of custard in the chiller.
(C) Assemble
  • 16 tart shells
  • Vanilla Custard
  • Alce Nero Organic Strawberry Jam
  • 16 pcs raspberry
  • 16 pcs blueberry
  • 16 pcs mint leaves 

  1. Fill each tart shell with 1 tsp of jam.
  2. Pipe the vanilla custard to fill the tart shell.
  3. Top with raspberry, blueberry and mint leaves.
  4. Ready to serve.


Don't these tarts look lovely? They are great for Christmas parties, or in fact any tea parties.

Overall not too sweet and full of natural fruity goodness too. My kiddo already gave stamp of approval :)


I'm already thinking of making them again for an upcoming gathering.


Stay tuned as I used the remaining ingredients from Healthy Gourmet to create another simple one-pot dish!

Premium quality clean products from Sasha's Fine Food

Collaboration with Sasha's Fine Food

Back in August, I had the great privilege to partner with Sasha's Fine Food to create dishes with their premium quality products. Check out the dishes:
Dish 2 - Asian chicken skewers with peanut sauce
Dish 3 & 4 - Teriyaki salmon, Chirashi Sush

Sasha's Fine Food is an online F&B company that sourced ethically produced goods with preference to free-range, organic and/or fair trade food and drinks, and at the same time avoiding foods with unacceptable or unhealthy addictive. There's a wide variety of produce available in the webstore, from meat and fish to dry goods and groceries, dairy to beverages.


And in October, I was once again blessed to collaborate with Sasha, this time with an even larger batch of produce - Stir-fry beef from Hellaby New Zealand, Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand, Cold Smoked Salmon from Aoraki Smokehouse New Zealand as well as various cuts of local chicken which are hormone and antibiotic free from Southern Malaysia.

I had a blast cooking with all these premium quality products, and below were some of the dishes I cooked.


Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowl - using Hellaby Stir-Fry Beef from New Zealand

This has been on my to-cook list for some-time. Love the combination of the sweet and succulent beef with spicy tangy kimchi and the runny yolk! 


Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowl

470g stir-fry beef
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp cooking rice wine
2 tbsp pear puree
2 tbsp Coke Zero

1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seed
1 tsp gochujang
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 stalks spring onion, finely chopped
1 stalk coriander with root, finely chopped

Simply marinate the stir-fry beef overnight, quick fry over a very hot grill pan and serve with kimchi, rice and poached egg.


Baked Chicken Thigh and Potato - hormones free, antibiotics free chicken thigh

This is such a quick and easy one-pot dish, great for busy days. Simple yet wholesome and tasty!

Just toss chicken thighs, potatos, carrots, onion, garlic along with olive oil, thyme, salt and black pepper, arrange in a casserole and bake for about 60-70 mins.

Serve with rice, pasta, salad or even on its own.


Chicken Cordon Bleu - hormones free, antibiotics free chicken breast

This is yet another dish that I wanted to try for the longest time. And surprisingly it's not as difficult as I thought. I made small rolls so that it's easy to eat and even the kiddo loved it.


Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 small chicken breast
4 slices ham
4 slices cheese
Salt & pepper
Corn starch, egg, panko breadcrumbs

Use a meat tenderiser to flatten the chicken breast, marinate lightly with salt and pepper on both sides, place a slice of ham follow by cheese, roll up into a log, clingwrap and place in chiller to set. Before cooking, coat with corn starch, egg and finally panko breadcrumbs. Deep-fry the chicken roll on low heat till light brown. Remove from heat, rest for 5 mins, then deep-fry in high heat till golden brown. Drain, slice into pieces and serve with honey mustard sauce.

Honey Mustard Sauce
10g butter
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
2 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp honey

Melt butter in a pan, add flour and stir to make a roux. Add milk and cream and bring to boil, then add fresh thyme, wholegrain mustard and honey to taste.


Chicken Teriyaki Onigirazu - hormones free, antibiotics free boneless chicken thigh

My kiddo and I love this Japanese-style "rice sandwich" as it's quick and easy to put together and very convenient to eat. Simply marinate the chicken thigh with teriyaki sauce, air-fry till cooked and assemble with seaweed, japanese rice and some vegetables like cucumber and carrots.


Lemon Garlic Herb Butter Bake Salmon - Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand

This was the first time I tried baking salmon with herb butter and I must say it was really tasty!
 

The herb butter was so fragrant and the salmon was so sweet and tender!


Add minced garlic, chopped herbs like parsley, thyme & dill, lemon juice, salt & pepper to unsalted butter, mix well, spread on top of salmon and veggies, bake and ready to eat!


My son who's a salmon lover couldn't stop raving about how tender and juicy the salmon was.


Tobiko Mayo Salmon - Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand

This was specially prepared for the kiddo as he loves salmon, Japanese mayonnaise and tobiko! One portion of this and he was totally satisfied, and he already requested me to make it very often for him.

Making it was such a breeze as well. Mix Japanese mayonnaise with tobiko, spread the mixture generously on top of the salmon, and air-fry till golden brown.
 

Air-fried Salmon with Mango & Pomegranate Salsa - Salmon portions from Mount Cook Alpine New Zealand

Was feeling the heat one of the days and didn't have much appetite so made a fruit salsa to go with air-fried salmon (seasoned with sea salt and black pepper).


Who knew that this combination worked so well together? Totally refreshing!


Smoked Salmon Tartine - Cold Smoked Salmon from Aoraki Smokehouse New Zealand

Last but not least, a dish that I have to rave about! This gorgeous smoked salmon from Aoraki Smokehouse tasted so smooth and tender with subtle smokey and salt taste that I felt like eating it everyday!


Served them on toasted sour dough bread with cream cheese & dill as well as avocado yogurt and greens.


Once again, shout-out and big thanks to Sasha's Fine Food for giving me this opportunity to try the lovely produce and hope to work with her again in the future!

17 November 2017

Sinless desserts by Hisae Sakamoto

[ Media Invite ]

Sinless desserts Launch Event @ Grand Jeté cafe & bar

I'm absolutely thrilled to be invited for this launch event of Sinless desserts by Hisae Sakamoto (through Planet Ads & Design P/L) this afternoon at Grand Jetécafe & bar!

Sinless dessert is developed by famed patisserie and nutritionist, Hisae Sakamoto from Kobe. Her desserts are made fresh with natural ingredients sourced from Japan, and most importantly sugar-free, low in carbohydrate and 100% diabetic friendly, certainly suitable for people with dietary restrictions as well as the health & diet conscious folks.

I believe friends who know me, know my love for Japan, especially the food and pastries. Personally my baking style is also very much influenced by the Jap-French fusion pastries that I saw during my trips to Japan. I find Japanese pastries more delicate and refine than the western ones, and often they look too pretty to resist.

That said, I try to be more health conscious nowadays, especially with a kiddo. Therefore, I rarely buy or eat commercial pastries as a lot of them are too sweet for my palate. Prefer to bake cakes/pastries at home as I will go for premium quality ingredients as far as possible.

With the launch of Sinless desserts at Grand Jeté cafe & bar, I'm certainly delighted that there's now a choice for me to get healthier desserts outside of home! And moreover, knowing that it's developed by Japanese chef and nutritionist gave me the confidence that the desserts are of quality and would taste equally good.


Grand Jeté cafe & bar is located at Ngee Ann City Tower B, see map at the bottom of this post. A cozy and quaint cafe that resembles those I frequent in Japan.

Besides desserts, the cafe also serves Japanese-Western fusion food, from sandwiches to pastas, to salads and rice bowls. I must return to try them!


Brought my son along (who's fast becoming a picky gourmet eater), and we got to sample five desserts today, Gateau Au Chocolat (chocolate cake), Roule Au The Vert (Matcha roll cake), Gateau Au Fromage Frais (Strawberry jelly cheesecake), Tiramisu as well as a healthy muffin.

Hisae san, sharing her passion for pastries with us :) She's a licensed chef and nutritionist with over a decade of experience in the F&B industry in both Singapore and Japan. Through her personal experience meeting people with dietary restrictions, she's inspired to come up with desserts that are healthy yet appealing and delicious. And after many attempts and trials, she finally develops Sinless, with pastries that have no sugar content and are low in carbohydrate.

We first tried the Roule Au The Vert (Matcha roll cake). I love it, so does the kiddo who's a matcha lover. The cake was really moist and tender, not sweet at all with just the right balance of matcha. The cream was also very light and went well with the cake.

Next up were the Gateau Au Chocolat (chocolate cake) and Gateau Au Fromage Frais (Strawberry jelly cheesecake).

Both of us are not chocolate cake lovers, but we found the cake to be very tasty, once again tender and not too sweet, with a light chocolatey taste which I prefer (over those rich chocolate cakes).

As for the strawberry cheesecake, it was so so good. The biscuit base was slightly moist with a nutty taste, the cheesecake was light and subtle and the strawberry and jelly topping was a delightful touch. The kiddo declared this to be his favourite, with matcha roll as the second favourite :)

The Tiramisu was also very light and delectable, usually I can only finish half portion of a serving, but this I finished the whole thing, without feeling overwhelming. Even the kiddo enjoyed it.

Last but not least, a healthy coconut-nut base muffin newly developed by Hisae san. The muffin was tender and once again not too sweet, and when served plain, it's as healthy as you can get. I was surprised that the kiddo liked it.


At the end of the event, I even received the healthy muffin baked in a terra cotta pot as a takeaway!

Below are more delectable desserts/pastries by Hisae san, and I can already see myself returning for more, such as the financier, one of my favourite pastries.

Photo courtesy of Grand Jetécafe & bar and Hisae Sakamoto.


Photo courtesy of Grand Jetécafe & bar and Hisae Sakamoto.

Photo courtesy of Grand Jetécafe & bar and Hisae Sakamoto.


Photo courtesy of Grand Jetécafe & bar and Hisae Sakamoto.


Photo courtesy of Grand Jetécafe & bar and Hisae Sakamoto.

Photo courtesy of Grand Jetécafe & bar and Hisae Sakamoto.

Photo courtesy of Grand Jetécafe & bar and Hisae Sakamoto.
Click to enlarge.



Grand Jeté cafe & bar
391b Orchard Road #02-11
Ngee Ann City Tower B Singapore 238874
Tel: 6235 4267 Fax: 6235 4264

Be sure to drop by Grand Jetécafe & bar when you happen to be in Orchard area to try out these sinless yet delicious desserts!

11 October 2017

Meg's Pastry Studio - 2017 3rd Q Orders

We've come to the end of 2017 3rd quarter and now into the 4th quarter.

For the past few months, I've turned down quite a number of orders, because I've been focusing a lot on cooking projects, and also due to some upcoming changes in the family. Hence will not be taking any more orders for the time being.

Here were the two orders I took up.



Ordered by a mummy for her girl's 2nd birthday. Theme is flora and mermaid so tried my best to design the cake with simple rosette piping with some "corals" and "shells". Added some turquoise sugar pearls as well. Love how sweet and romantic the cake turned out.


This is a petite cake but I made the genoise sponge taller. Dreamy and cutesy-looking for a 3 year-old girl's birthday.

04 October 2017

Curry Potato Stuffed Chicken Wings

After attempting the Thai-style Stuffed Chicken Wings back in August, it is now a hot favourite at home!

I was thinking to myself, Thailand got Thai-style Stuffed Chicken Wings, so maybe Singapore also can have our very own Sing-style Stuffed Chicken Wings?

Chicken curry is one of the favourite food of Singaporeans, and I believe a common dish to serve during family gatherings and parties. Personally it's a must-prepare dish for me when I organise any gatherings. How about converting it into a party snack, by stuffing curry potato into chicken wings?


Yep, so I set myself to work on it. With Prima Taste Nonya Curry Paste, it actually saves me from a lot of extra work like preparing and frying the rempah. That leaves me to debone the chicken wings, fry the curry potato, stuff the wings, marinate them, air-fry and lastly prepare the sauce, all using just one packet of the curry paste :)


Curry Potato Stuffed Chicken Wings
(makes 8 pieces)

Ingredients
  • 8 pcs chicken wings, mid-joint or winglet section only
  • 1 packet Prima Taste Nonya Curry Paste
  • 1 Russet potato, cut into small cubes
  • 4-5 shallots, finely slices
  • Cooking oil (for frying and brushing)
  • 1 packet of coconut milk (there will be leftover)
  • 50g Gula Melaka
  • Sea salt
Steps
  1. Debone the chicken wing mid-joint portion. Twist the mid-joint and wing tip to break up the bones. Insert a small knife into the mid-joint front and back to cut the meat, if need be use the fingers to ease the meat off the small bone and twist it out. Use the knife to scrape the meat away from the bigger bone, folding down the skin and slowly twist/cut it out. Set aside.
  2. Prepare curry potato filling. In a frying pan, add 1 tbsp cooking oil, fry the sliced shallots till fragrant, then add the cubed potato. Fry for 1-2 mins. Add 1 tbsp of the curry paste, fry with the ingredients to mix well. Next add 1 tbsp of coconut milk, mix well and cook the curry potato till slightly softened, season with a pinch of sea salt, to taste. Set aside to cool down slightly.
  3. Prepare stuffed chicken wings. Take a piece of mid-joint, open up and stuff a few pieces of curry potato inside. Repeat for remaining wings.
  4. Marinate the chicken wings. In a small bowl, mix remaining curry paste with 8 tbsp of coconut milk. Coat the stuffed chicken wings thoroughly. Chill the wings in fridge overnight, preferably 12 hours. *there will be leftover marinate, reserve them for dipping sauce the next day (chill in fridge).
  5. Prepare the curry dipping sauce: Add the reserved marinate with 2 tbsp of coconut milk and 50g of gula melaka and bring to boil till gula melaka melts. Transfer to serving bowl.
  6. Cook the stuffed wings. Before cooking, remove the wings from fridge to bring to room temperature. Arrange the stuffed wings in the air-fryer. Brush the wings with some cooking oil. Air-fry the wings at 160 degree celsius for 16 mins, turning over after 8 mins. Then turn up temperature to 200 degree celsius and air-fry the wings for another 5-6 mins, turning over after 2-3 mins. The stuffed wings are golden brown and ready, transfer to serving plate and enjoy hot with curry dipping sauce.





I'm really pleased about how the stuffed wings turn out! They are sooooo yummy, with flavourful curry taste (because of the overnight marinating) and different textures of crispy skin outside, succulent meat & soft potato inside. It's good to eat on its own but even better with the curry dipping sauce. In fact, the curry sauce bears a resemblance to the one at McDonald's, maybe just additional nuance of spices.
 
In case you are wondering, my recipe states 8 pieces, but there are only 7 pieces of wings in the photo. Actually I air-fried one to test the timing and temperature first.


Super love love love this local version of Stuffed Chicken Wings, and it's going to be a staple in my menu from now onwards.

Anyways, I'm submitting this as my second entry for the "Prima Taste Authentic Asia Cooking Sauces Contest" organised by Prima Taste and Singapore Home Cooks.

#MyPrimaTaste

Wish me luck!!