Sunday, 22 September 2013

Fruit Paradise

I'm back in London and getting comfy in my new flat. The last of the freshers party was last night/this morning, yet I'm up early on a Sunday morning with a cup of hot chocolate and some quiet music. I have yet to do any serious cooking/baking, but I do need to get into this new habit of making practical meals for a busy midweek schedule.

One of my last few lunches in Singapore was in Fruits Paradise, a Japanese fruit tart café franchise which I'd been eyeing for a while. They've got all these amazing plastic tarts for display as well as the actual ones in the chilled glass shelves, gleaming like mountains of juicy gemstones.

For a little bit of hot food pre-tart-madness, my friend and I got a katsu curry with ebi shrimp and chicken nuggets, (SG$12.90) (above) which was alright. Funny that they should serve fries as well as rice, though!

Just look at that beauty. Gorgeous layers of light mousse and sponge, as well as mango cream and fresh mangoes and strawberries, lined with shortcrust and flaky pastry! This 'Summer Sunset' (SG$6.80) was delicious, and worth its price for the size, light taste, and definitely its visual appeal.

My friend ordered a choco mont blanc (SG$7.80) which came atop a brownie and chocolate shortcrust base. The mont blanc's chestnut taste was extremely mild, and I wasn't a fan of the pairing with hardcore chocolate components like the brownie base and the chocolate sponge within. Although I'm not much of an expert on mont blanc and have only had it once before, the tart wasn't bad, but an unfortunate hit-and-miss for me.

Because we just couldn't get enough of those tarts, my friend and I got a final mango tart (SG$6.80) to share. This. Was my absolute favourite. It is an amazing tart – there's a light, cream cheese base which worked really well with the sponge, mangoes and cream, plus the fresh mango slices topped it all off perfectly.

The tart pastry also really stood out for me in these tarts, they had a distinctive, golden (can things taste golden? I say they can.) buttery taste which complimented the creamy, fruity tops really well.

I'm definitely paying Fruits Paradise a visit the next time I'm in Singapore, their tarts are just the perfect [edible] centrepiece to any conversation!

Fruit Paradise (there are other branches too)
Ang Mo Kio (AMK) Hub
53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Wimbly Lu Chocolate Café

Exciting news of the day: One of the photographs from the previous post on Oreo Snickerdoodle Cookie Cake Bars made it onto foodgawker – at last! Admittedly, it was my fifteenth submission, but only the first successful one at that.

This can be due to the fact that my brother passed on to me his Canon DSLR camera a few days ago, along with two lenses: 50mm and 18-135mm. Proper food photography, here I come! (Hopefully)

So my birthday is on Wednesday. I'm a 9/11 baby, while my friend Janice is a 9/9 kid! It only made sense that two extreme foodies like us went to somewhere reputable for high tea.

We arrived about twenty minutes early to their opening time of 1PM, so we hung around the shophouses for a bit, where there were a few other bakeries and Western eating places, and also a cool-looking wooden table which gave Janice a flash of inspiration:

I know, I should totally go into portrait photography, right?

There's a lovely conservatory-style area at the back of the café, preceded by a dim but cosy seating area facing an open kitchen/bakery and chocolate display cabinet.

It was raining that day, and I actually suspect that they redecorate according to the season or occasion! My evidence: the staff were visibly buzzing around inside before they opened, and they could have been tweaking the decor! Also, I've seen pictures of the café filled with little hearts, all posted in February, as well as other similar pictures with Halloween lanterns. I'd be very impressed if they actually hung those raining clouds to reflect the weather outside! It really added a fantastic touch to Wimbly Lu's intimate and personal setting.

To make sure that we're having a legitimate lunch and not just stuffing our faces with desserts instead of having a proper meal, we ordered a double seafood and cheese toasty ($6) which was so-so.

Me made our next choice from having read other reviews and recommendations – waffle with salted caramel ice cream, plus a topping of maple syrup. ($8.50)

This waffle was pretty much perfect, it really hit that criteria of a crisp exterior and fluffy insides. From what I've heard, every single waffle served is just as perfect! Talk about quality control.

The salted caramel ice cream was delicious – flavourful but not sickeningly sweet. We definitely could have had a bigger scoop. The maple syrup was a good choice of topping as well.

Now I'm no expert on sticky date pudding, as this was my first one ever. I've got to say that it was delightful! Warm, gooey, sweet, and addictive. I only got to taste dates in my last mouthful, though. I'm not sure if sticky date puddings have to taste strongly of dates.

It would have made more sense for the dense, rich pudding to come with pouring cream or ice cream, but it didn't, so we ordered an addition scoop of honey cinnamon ice cream. ($3)

The cinnamon taste was a little stronger than expected, which was a surprise, but a good one – like apple pie in ice cream form! There wasn't much taste of honey, it was probably used mainly to sweeten. The ice cream flavour didn't go that well with the pudding. However, the texture was perfect in my terms. Not too icy, yet not too heavy and gooey – somewhere among that blissful in between. We found ourselves craving more of that honey cinnamon ice cream!

With service charge, the bill came to somewhere around $25 in total for the both of us, which is pretty reasonable for the great atmosphere and food. Wimbly Lu is definitely somewhere I'll return to for a relaxed dessert experience the next time I visit Singapore!

Wimbly Lu
15-2 Jalan Riang
Singapore 358987
Tel: 62891489

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Oreo Snickerdoodle Cookie Cake Bars

If there's one thing I know for sure, it is that baking is not for people who can't handle mess. These tediously-named Oreo Snickerdoodle Cookie Cake Bars will piss you off if you're not careful enough!

Fresh out of the oven, they look fine and dandy, and smell inviting as well. A little handling makes you realise that Oreo crumbs are falling everywhere like goddamn apocalyptic mudslides.

Crises aside, the Oreo Snickerdoodle Cookie Cake Bars were a good turnout. Initially, I assumed that the bars would be some sort of cookie-but-a-cake-too baking breakthrough, with the bonus aspect of Oreo cookies. I'm not too familiar with Snickerdoodle cookies either, so I wasn't too sure what the cake version of it was supposed to be.

This is pretty much a butter cake with crusty outsides and additional Oreos, cut into little blocks for bite-sized enjoyment. The Oreos do more for its presentation rather than its taste, which is mainly of butter cake.

Before things started getting messy

The edges and corners are the best, be sure to keep those bits for yourself!

Oreo Snickerdoodle Cookie Cake Bars


12 oreos (double stuff, obviously, if you can help it.)
192g flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
85g butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar (don't reduce this, it won't turn out too sweet, trust me.)
1/8 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg


1. Pull apart the Oreos by twisting them. Set aside the cookie with the cream layer attached. Crumble the layer without the cream into fine crumbs.

2. Sieve and whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

3. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla essence and egg and beat till smooth.

4. Fold in the flour mixture till just combined. Your batter will be pretty stiff and airy.

5. Spread a thin layer of cookie dough onto a 8x6 inch baking dish (mine was a little glass casserole) lined with baking paper.

6. Arrange the side of the 12 Oreo cookies with the cream layer onto the cookie dough, cream side up. (They'll probably overlap a little) Spread the rest of the cookie dough on.

7. Sprinkle some of the Oreo crumbs over the dough (don't use all of it, otherwise your Oreo crumbs will avalanche all over your kitchen table. I learned the hard way.) and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 40 to 45 minutes.

8. Remove from the baking dish and allow to cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

I wonder whether, if we mix the crushed oreos with butter and keep it in the fridge for a bit, we could form a sort of Oreo-spread for the top, which would stay together in the behaviour of a cheesecake crust. That would be a good solution to an ineffective sparse sprinkle.

It's Singapore's annual 'Teacher's Day' tomorrow, and I'll be heading to my previous school with twelve pairs of these bars to hand out to certain teachers and friends. They look pretty enticing, don't they?

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Sweet Home Farm Granola – Maple Pecan

It's been a while!

I wish I could say that I haven't been updating much because of my incredibly packed schedule due to being so super-popular that I have to meet up with three to four different friends per day, but that is not the case. While I am free and easy in Singapore, all my friends are in school on weekdays, and cooped up at home on weekends burying their heads in their books for the crazy school system which I've managed to escape!

Fortunately, before I head back to London next Wednesday, I'll be meeting up with friends for a bit, to celebrate birthdays and say goodbye!

When there is no pau, wonton mee, moon cake, egg tarts or curry puffs for breakfast, I grab myself a bowl, a spoon, some milk, and the carton of cereal above.

Wait a minute, those strange things don't sound like things people usually have for breakfast, says England. You're right, but only if you aren't in Asia.

Prior to contrary belief, Asians are in some ways pretttttty unhealthy eaters. Just walk through the Taiwanese streets full of fried-food vendors, or check out the Singporean ah peks ('uncles', i.e men aged 50-ish and above) in the kopitiams (hawker centres) at nine in the morning eating nasi lemak (fragrant Malaysian rice with varying side dishes) with fried chicken and egg.

To feel slightly back-to-routine again, I occasionally have a bowl of cereal when I sleep in and wake up too late to be served breakfast, or when Mum isn't in. USA-imported Sweet Home Farm cereals come in a fat carton and several other flavours which I haven't seen or tried.

The clusters in this cereal don't easily come apart like the one from Tesco, (which tastes amazing by the way) and the pecan nuts are wholesome and appealing. They taste noticeably unique, and far from the standard-sweetness of Tesco's and Sainsbury's versions – there's a deep, woody flavour in this cereal, a sigh of actual maple syrup! The sweetness doesn't hit you in the face, but there's a good amount which leaves a fabulous cereal milk to slurp up!

The milk used here is Pura's regular whole milk, which has been the standard purchase in the household for years – there's no annoying taste, yet it isn't completely bland, a perfect blank canvas for cereal-consumption, and even for drinking it on its own.

Going to creep to my kitchen now and eat out of the tupperware (which it has been transferred to due to potential pesky ants) with a spoon, shhh!
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