November 15th, 2010


Finally feeling the excitement

The renovations has frankly been nothing but a royal headache and pain in the butt but as we see everything coming together in bits and pieces, the excitement is finally setting in.

We were supposed to move in last weekend but there were some delays in the bathroom so we have scheduled the move for this Wednesday and praying that everything will run smooth and the weather will be kind! B.T just called me up to give me a status on the latest progress and I can't wait to see the place tomorrow. The wardrobe!!!!!

After the move, we will still be busy for a week or two sorting out the last odds and ends for example, getting a sofa bed (for B.T's brother who's flying in this weekend *gulp), a rug (eyeing one from Muji otherwise Ikea will suffice), a magazine rack, chairs and the most exciting part for me - crockery which we will be getting them from ToTT. I'll talk more about ToTT in a separate post but it's a fabulous place that my friends recently opened and definitely the to-go place for household ware. Also, they have the Sous vide that I am dying to get but it ain't cheap and you'll need to buy the vacuum sealer. A siphon is almost on my list! We will need to find the space in our tiny kitchen first!

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New obsession

Big chunky necklaces.

I was wearing my boring $10 white and black dress and decided to brighten up the look by wearing this huge accessory. I'm glad my manager didn't make a joke about it being a pendulum around my neck or something. I also wore my fire red flats and my lemon MBMJ bangle and pulled my hair up into a high ponytail.

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Dapur Sunda

Fried fish

Brown rice

The spread of gado gado, fried fish, fried eggs with tofu, tempeh

I've learnt that if you truly want to sample good local food, you need to tell your host to take you to the non-tourisy places. It's like when foreigners visit Singapore and everyone tells them to eat chilli crabs which is great but the best food are the local stuff available at the hawker centres! For our trip in Jakarta, we requested to eat at a local Indonesian restaurant and did so when we had Bebek goreng and for the last day, we had another round of local food at Dapur Sunda.

Indonesian food is tasty but like Pinoy food, it tends to be oily as most are deep fried. My favorite dishes are the gado gado, fried fish and the tempeh which is tau kwa coated in soybeans and deep fried. Simple dishes like the fried omlette was delicious which emphasizes the notion that good food doesn't necessarily have to be complex and sometimes, the simple things are the best.

It was a nice round up meal for the trip and I do look forward to my trip back to Jakarta. Also, we discovered a shopping haunt at Tebet which sells clothes by local designers and it's like Siam Square in Bangkok. It was a real pity that we didn't have time to browse around and shop as we had a tight work schedule to adhere to, but the clothes were omg lovely and freaking cheap!

On a separate note, for coffee lovers, if you visit Jakarta, you might want to try the famous Kopi Luwak. It is costly at about SGD$10 for a tiny cup but it's meant to be extremely aromatic. I'm not a coffee drinker so I didn't try it but my colleagues that did had mixed reviews. One couldn't taste the difference, another noted that it was indeed aromatic but nothing special. Nonetheless, this special coffee is made from the beans of coffee berries that are eaten by a civet and uh passed through its digestive tract. So it's nicknamed the 'poop coffee'. Yes. The beans are drawn out from the faeces and roasted -_-

Dapur Sunda
Pacific Place One
Kawasan SCBD Sudirman One Pacific Place
SCBD Sudirman Area

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The Science of Cooking - dehydrating and espuma at ToTT


When our friends asked if we were keen to try out a cooking or demo session at their newly opened ToTT which stands for Tools of Trade by the way, we agreed immediately. Coincidentally, there was a demonstration by Chef Stephan Zoisl on The Science of Cooking - Dehydrating and Espuma. If you remember the entry that I wrote on Moto several weeks back, you will recall that it was a unique molecular gastronomy experience and it included this whole fancy presentation of nitrogen infused food all presented in the most unexpected and imaginable ways possible. This particular demo by Chef Stephan covered a portion of it and it was great to take a look behind the scenes of how it is all done.

Chef Stephan is the Executive Head Chef of the Novus Restaurant, Bar, Cafe and Courtyard at the Singapore Museum. He originates from Austria and his resume includes stints with some of the world's best restaurants including The Fat Duck and several other Michelin Star restaurants. His cooking philosophy is to "keep it pure and simple, and always use the freshest ingredients and product." For his demo, he brought along a crate of special tomatoes all the way from France and I heard that it cost SGD$80!

Chef Stephan went into great details on how dehydrating of food and espuma works to produce interesting presentation of food of varying textures and forms. We learned how to cook tender meats using a sous vide which I've mentioned countless times that I want to get one now, and how to create espuma (foam) of any kinds of foods for example tomatoes, potatoes, chocolate. Why make something into a foam? To create a different texture and experience for the diner.

We sampled 3 dishes. The first was the Heirloom tomatoes which had an interesting mixture of flavors and textures. I felt that it needed more oomph in the dressing though it was very obvious that the ingredients were 100% fresh. The dehydrated melons were refreshing. Utterly sweet and crunchy. My favorite part of the salad was the mozzarella spheres. The cheese was melted and the hot liquid poured into the Xanthan liquid. A thin film formed around it created a spherical cheese ball. When you put the delicate sphere into your mouth, it bursts immediately and it was quite a treat.

The next dish was the 48H pork belly. I'm not a fan of pork belly as I cannot tolerate pork that tastes too porky. However, this tasted like a wagyu version of pork. The meat was tender and it melts in your mouth. All the natural juices of the meat were sealed in from the sous vide process and I don't know how to really describe it, but I've to admit that I'm sold on this new method of cooking.

Dessert is my favorite and it's quite easy to impress me :P I love how Chef Stephan uses colors a lot to spice up the appearance of a dish and to make it more appetizing. The chocolate espuma was scrummy akin to fluffy chocolate mousse. Paired together with the pistachio ice cream, dehydrated chocolate crumbs and berries, it was a nice round up of the tasting session.

I won't be able to re-create the dishes without the equipment so it's not cooking that anyone can do as you'll need those tools in order to do so easily. But it was definitely an eye-opener and we were even provided with detailed recipes so that we could try them out if we wanted to do so.

I learnt a couple of interesting tips during the demonstration -

1) The leaves of celery that is usually discarded actually contains the most flavor compared to the more commonly used stalks.

2) Buffalo mozzarella has a saltier and is more flavorful compared to regular mozzarella which is from cow's milk.

3) Xanthan is a neutral binding agent that thickens liquids and works similar to cornflour but without the added taste.

4) A siphon and No2 gas cartridges are required to create an espuma or foam - it was used extensively at Moto.

5) Brine is a good soaking liquid if you want to infuse your meats with flavors and the reason why brine water is used in a sous vide.

5) Nitrate salt is the purest form of salt and is used in the brine solution however humans cannot eat it straight as you'll die from dehydration as it is so concentrated! After soaking the pork in brine, you'll need to rinse it out for a few hours.

6) It is possible to poach an egg, in its shell. No kidding. All you need is to chuck it into a sous vide for 30 minutes at 64 degrees celsius.

7) Mashed potatoes is not the creamiest form but a potato espuma! Mixed with cheese, butter, milk and cheese, the product is ohmygoodness goddamn delicious!

8) It is possible to make a sponge cake.. in a minute. Made possible with a siphon and a microwave oven.

Now do you know why I want a sous vide and a siphon?

After the class, we took a tour around ToTT so for those that wonder what ToTT is all about, you can have a mini tour by looking at my photos.

You can find kitchen ware of all types. The range is massive. It's like a toy store for people who love to cook. I'm not that big of a cook myself but I was really excited running around the store, checking out all the cool crockery and pans. A picture speaks a thousand words so I'll stop rambling on and just let you see the photos.

If you are interested in similar classes or just classes on how to cook Indian food or salad dressings for example, check out the wide range of classes available at the website.

ToTT Store
896 Dunearn Road
Unit #01-01A
Singapore 589472
+(65) 6314 7077

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