Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Just some pictures of the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice from Singapore that I have made this weekend. Gosh, I miss Singapore, Ice Kachang, Satay, Popiah and all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rojak and me in Geneva.

It was 2 weekends ago, Ced and I took a road trip to Geneva. We were supposed to sample Ethiopian food that afternoon when we arrived in Geneva but it was too late for lunch as we left Le Salève later than anticipated. At 1097m, there was an open air cafe with a stunning view of Geneva and Leman lake. There was also the smell of bbq food on the grill that was simply enough to make us stay an extra hour. Grilled lamb, merguez, grilled chicken legs with baked potatoes. It had been a long time since I had a bbq. Reminded me of summer and my good old days in Singapore. In Singapore, we have bbq all year long.

Bref, we arrived at Geneva around 3pm on a Saturday. Everyone was enjoying the sun, strolling around the lake. So did we. Ced shot a few hundreds of pictures for his hdrs while I just people- watched. Along the lake, we found some huge white eggs in a nest on the rocks and 2 swans were taking turns to defend them. It was very impressive watching the swans fighting off a dog or other nearby ducks. They just hissed and raised their wings to frighten them predators.

As the sun began to set we went to the old town to check out the Cathedral. It was around 6pm and everything was closed. The Cathedral or the surrounding shops. I checked all the opening hours of a few shops. It looked like shops closed at 5pm on saturday in Geneva. That is early!
Even the French closed at 7pm which I considered too early.

Given that we have done most of the touristic stuff by 7pm, we headed to a Singaporean restaurant which I had made a reservation the day before at 8.30pm. I looked forward to it because there is no Singaporean restaurant in Lyon.

The restaurant is called Jak's place. When we entered, I kind helped noticing 2 lions on each side with some teak wall sculpture. Then we were greeted by 2 Asian server probably Singaporeans, dressed in sarong Kebaya, clothing in batik from SE Asia.

After studying the menu, we ordered only the Singaporean dishes: Rojak, Satays, Beef Rendang and Char kway Teow. There were Thai dishes available but they were not part of the real deal of a 2 hours drive to Geneva.

Soon came the food served
on a warmer with lit candles. A unexpected touch to Singaporean food. Perhaps food gets cold in Geneva rather quickly.

The rojak was served cold with Kangkong, bean sprouts and pineapple chunks with dark shrimp paste sauce. It was refreshing and fruity. I can't say the same for the Satays. The satay sauce was good but the meat skewers were not tender or juicy like the ones from Lau Pa Sat. They tasted like plain meat with satay sauce.

Beef rendang was exceptional. Soft beef with lots of sauce. And the Char Kway Teow had the wok taste and came with cockles. Just like the one from typical hawker centers.

At the end of the meal, I was looking forward to some chendol or some ice kachang or even some pulut hitam(glutinous black rice soup). Well, they had none of this on the dessert menu. So we got some thai sticky rice with mango which cost 10 Euro. It only lasted 3 mouthful and it wasn't exceptional.

Prices run from 10Euro per appetizer, 20 Euro per main dish and 10 Euro for dessert.

Jeck's Place
Rue de Neuchâtel 14
1201 - Genève
Tél.: 022 731 33 03
Fax: 022 731 16 11

Friday, April 17, 2009

Simple Cannelé Bordelais

Cannelés are small french crown-like pastries that is soft and airy inside and little crusty at the caramelized exterior. They taste like chewy custard with vanilla and rum but baked. They are so small that you could pop several in a go. The ingredients are very simple. Almost like a crepe paste with a strong rum taste. The baking of canneles was quite a show. After baking at 250 C at 5 mins, the paste in 3/4 filled mould popped up like a souffle. And another 55 mins at 180 C to deflat and caremlise the cannelés. I used a new silicon mould for 8 small canneles and they were so easy to turn out at the end of baking.

Some history of Canelés de Bordeaux
They became popular in France in the 1980s. Originated from Bordeaux, they have gone through several name changes, forms and versions since the 17th century. Canole, Canaule, Canaulé or Canaulet. The basic recipe consisted of sugar, milk, flour and eggyolk. Back then, only the artisans from Canauliers guild are permited to make and sell them. Sounds like the modern day licence-franchise thing.

In the early 20 century, rum and vanilla was added to them. Only in the 1985 that brotherhood of the Canelé of Bordeaux was formed and thereafter the name Canelé was used.

Canelés are found everywhere in France now, not just in Bordeaux anymore. I guess that there is no copyright to the name Canelés anymore. Everyone can make it. You won't have to join the guild.

Recipe: Cannelé Bordelais/Canelé de Bordeaux
  • 1/2 l of milk
  • 2 whole eggs & 2 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
  • 3 tablespoons of rum
  • 150g of sugar
  • 125g flour
  • 30g butter with 10g butter to grease the mould
  • A pinch of salt

Bring milk, 30g of butter and vanilla essence into a boil.
Beat sugar, eggs and egg yolks until pale yellow. Add flour, salt, rum and then boiled milk. Mix well until a smooth paste. Leave it in the fridge for a full day at least.

The day after:
Take the paste out of the fridge for an hour and leave it at room temperature. Grease canelé mould with melted butter using a brush. Preheat oven 15 mins to 250C. Stir the paste well. And pour it into the greased mould until 3/4 filled. Do not overfill as cannelés puff up enormously during baking.

Bake for 5 mins at 250C and then lower the heat to 180C. Bake for another 55 mins at 180C.

Take the cannelés out of the oven and let it cool for 5 mins.
Turn out the cannelés while they are still warm.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fondant au chocolat...literally translated as melting chocolate?

I have been thinking of making Portuguese egg tarts these days. It seems that it would require a little more effort than I thought. Instead I made a fondant au chocolat in 5 mins. It's a very moist soft dense chocolate cake. Not the one with the melted center(same name but different recipe). Bref, it would make a nice warm tea cake for this afternoon goúter with a nice sugar rush.

Fondant au chocolat
  • 200g baking dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 150g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 70g flour

Melt butter and chocolate with 1-2 tablespoon of milk in microwave. It should take about 1 min or less. Mix well.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the slightly cooled chocolate-butter mixture and mix well until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into a greased rectangle/square pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 15 mins.

The cake should be soft and moist inside, not dry.