Monday 25 April 2011

SOFT! Softserve IceCream

Soft!, a silky smooth Japanese soft-serve ice cream store which is barely a year old in Singapore. I personal loves their slogan, "Life is hard, enjoy SOFT!". According to Trixie, SOFT! use only premium Japanese cream that is low in fat content to make their softserve ice cream which pairs with their premium ingredients which imported from overseas such as Australia.

Using a wide variety of quality toppings, Soft! has came out with 40 special concoctions to date through rigorous research and tests to satisfy your weary souls. Besides soft-serve ice-cream, they do offer drinks such as Root Beer Float, Fizzy Cherry Float, Ice Milo Float, Pokka Coffee Float  and etc.

Can you make a guess on which flavour she is preparing for us? Hint: With Butter Scoth concoction on it :)

Yes! You are right, this is their NEW Maldon Seasalt Special using organic seasalt as one of the toppings together with butter scotch sauce. You will be definitely blown away with either "Like(s)" or "Hate(s)" for this special flavour. Some of us finds it blend well with that touch of salty from the seasalt whereas one/two might just dislike that taste and find it too salty to have savory ice-cream.
Price: Maldon Seasalt Special @ S$3.90 per cup

Nothing beats a cup of freshly made Softserve Ice-Cream with dried cranberry chunk and honey pearls serves with Fresh Mango Puree and Mango Pudding. The sweet and fragrant mango plup make this a refreshing dessert with a "thumb" up combination.
Price: Zara Mango @ S$3.90 per cup

When I first pop a teaspoon of this Sesame Way into my mouth, I was delighted by it's combination of black sesame sauce with vanilla softserve.The hint of nutty and bittersweet taste from the sesame sauce blends well the ice cream and azuki bean paste. When you sunk your spoon further down, you can find some sponge cake which goes well with the overall combination of texture from the spongy cake to crunchy sunflower seeds and etc. And don't worry, this is not a choice just for folks only I am sure most of the youngest would this combo too.
Price: Sesame Way @ S$3.50 per cup

The best selling flavor at SOFT! is their Godzilla Max which has a mixture of Hershey’s chocolate fudge, Oreo crumbs, Milo power and Post’s fruity pebbles! If you are a chocolate lover this is sure to be in one of your must have list in Soft!
Price: Godzilla Max @ S$3.50 per cup

Compare to Sesame Way above, some of us find this Straits Chendol a bit out of way in their concoctions combination. Perhaps the fruity pebbles should be removed and replaced by something else as the fruity taste from the pebbles seems a bit strong and cover the nice aroma and taste of the Gula Melaka.
Price: Straits Chendol @ S$3.50 per cup

This Lic Kat is a popular choice among couples where the softserve is based on top of some crunchy cereal and top with Horlicks, nestum cereal and butter scotch sauce. In addition, this cup also comes with a slice of kit kat which makes it perfect for those with sweet tooth.
Price: Lic Kat @ S$3.90 per cup

If you are interested to try some of these softserve ice cream, SOFT!’s flagship store is located at Downtown East(beside Wild Wild Wet), #01-23 with another recently launched outlet at Hougang Mall(beside Ya Kun), #B1-K17.

Lastly I would like to thanks Trixie Khong and SOFT! for the warm invitation and hosting for this tasting event.

SOFT! Softserve Ice Cream

Thursday 21 April 2011

[April $20 Budget Meal] Seaweed and Minced Pork Soup, Fried Bitter Gourd Omelette and Ma Po Tofu

I have being craving for those Cze Char style Seaweed Soup recently and after asking around for a quick and easy recipe. I managed to settle on Alice's version where she is very patience to guide me through  the steps during one of our chat on MSN. Her method was pretty good with boiling of  fresh ikan bilis stock and she also share on how to "clean" the seaweed by frying it dry in a non-stick pan which will enhance it's fragrance and at the same time removes any dirt that is trapped in between the seaweed.

This set of Budget Meal cost about S$6.60 which is good enough for 2 - 3 servings.


Ingredients: (serves 2 - 3)
1/4 Portion of Dried Seaweed, cut from a 20cm round
60g Minced Pork
2 Garlic Cloves, lightly pound
1 - 2 Slices of Ginger
1 Stalk of Spring Onion, cut into sections
1 Medium Tomato, cut into wedges
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 Litre Hot Water
1/2 Cube or Knorr Ikan Bilis Stock

1. Marinate minced pork with light soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and corn starch for about 5 minutes.

2. Heat up 1/2 Tablespoon of oil in a soup pot, saute ginger, garlic and spring onion till fragrant then add in minced pork and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes till cooked through.

3. Pour in hot water and bring to boil, add stock cube, let it simmer for 2 - 3 minutes. Remove the garlic, ginger and spring onion before adding in the tomato and seaweed.

4. Turn off the heat, slowly swirl in the beaten egg and serve.

Total cost for this dish is about S$1.80 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ Seaweed = S$0.40
~ Egg = S$0.20
~ Tomato = $0.20
~ Minced Pork = S$1.00

Whenever we visit any Cze Char(煮炒) stalls, we will always order either their "Bitter Gourd Omelette" or "Egg Foo Yong(芙蓉蛋)". Here we can also prepare a simple version of this delicious omelette dish at home according to personal preference. If you are not sure on how to choose the bitter gourd, you can always ask the stall owner for help. But if you are getting it from supermarket, just try to get those with bright jade green colour and wider pattern lines so that they are not on the extreme bitter taste.


Ingredients: (serves 2 - 3)
2 Large Eggs
100g (1/3 Portion of a Medium) Bitter Gourd, thinly sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
1 Teaspoon of Light Soy Sauce
Dash of Pepper and Sesame Oil
1.5 Tablespoon Oil for frying Omelette

1. Before cooking the bitter gourd, add 1 teaspoon of salt and marinate for 5 minutes, wash and squeeze dry to reduce the bitter taste.

2. Heat up oil in frying pan, saute garlic until fragrant. Add in bitter gourd and mix well.

3. Stir-fry the bitter gourd until soft, slowly swirl in the beaten egg (beat egg, light soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper together till combined) .

4. Pan-fry at medium heat until set, turn it over and continue to fry until golden brown.

5. Dish up and serve.

Total cost for this dish is about S$0.90 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ Bitter Gourd = S$0.50
~ 2 Eggs = S$0.40

It has being long since I last set my wok with this popular Chinese dish which is known as Mo Po Tofu(麻婆豆腐). It has a combination of tofu (beancurd) and minced meat that cooks in a spicy chili and bean based sauce. For this home version of Mo Po Tofu, I used the instant Lee Kum Kee Mo Po Tofu sauce which is slightly mild compare to the original "spicy" taste that we ate from Chinese Restaurants.


Ingredients: (Serves 2 - 4)
90g Minced Pork
250g Soft Tofu, dice in 1" cubes
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar, optional
1 Packet of Lee Kum Kee's Ma Po Tofu Sauce

1. Preheat frying pan with 1.5 tablespoon of oil and saute minced garlic till fragrance before adding in the minced pork.

2. Stir-fry minced pork till cook through, pour in Lee Kum Kee Sauce For Ma Po Tofu and simmer for 10 seconds.

3. Slowly add in the drained tofu and give it a quick stir to absorb the flavour from the Ma Po sauce and slightly thickened. (You can add in some sugar to balance the spicy and salty taste from the sauce)

4. Dish up on serving plate, sprinkle with some chopped spring onion and serve immediately with warm steamed rice.

Total cost for this dish is about S$3.90 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ Silken Tofu = S$1.50
~ Lee Kum Kee Sauce = S$1.40
~ Minced Pork = S$1.00

Using simple ingredients like EGG and TOFU you can also whipped up something delicious like what we had for dinner. And I am sure most of you can also come out with some other delicious dishes using these simple ingredients too. Most important you know what is good for your family and  I am sure you will try to incorporate as many healthy ingredients as you can in your daily cooking.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

[30 Minutes]Tau Suan With You Tiao(豆爽油条)

Whenever you walk into a local hawker center or foodcourt in Singapore, you can easier spot a stall or two selling variety of desserts such as Red Bean Soup, Green Bean Soup, Black Sticky Rice, Ginkgo Barley with Beancurd Sheet, Ice Kachang and etc. Tau suan(豆爽) is also one of the popular item on the list which is a sweet Chinese dessert made of split mung beans which are steamed till soften before being stirred into a pandan infused water then thickened with either potato or water chestnut flour.

Last two weeks so coincidentally I have received about 4 request on this Tau Suan recipe which I thought perhaps I could prepare with some step-by-step photos to share this all time favourite hawker dessert with more readers who is interested in preparing this at home.

This dessert is served warm with crispy sliced fried fritter (you tiao - 油条) and the texture is kind of like porridge consistency where the bean appears in clear thick liquid. Whereas mine was a bit overcooked because I left it in the thermal pot while running some errands before having it a few hours later.

Ingredients: (serves 2 - 4)
100g Spilt Green Bean (hulled mung bean, 去壳绿豆)
2 Knots of Pandan Leaves
1 Litre of Water
Cane Sugar To Taste
1 Pair of Fried Fritter (You Tiao, 油条)

For Thickening:
1/2 - 3/4 Tablespoon Potato/Water Chestnut Flour
100ml Drinking Water

1. Soak mung beans for at least 30 minutes in lukewarm water till the bean slightly expand.

2. Drain well, steam mung beans with a knot or small pieces of pandan leaves for about 20 - 30 minutes on medium heat till soft.

3. While waiting for the mung beans to be cooked, in another pot bring about 1 litres of water to boil, add in a knot of pandan leaves together with cane sugar to taste.

3. When the bean is cooked and soften, add it into the prepared syrup water and slowly stir in the flour mixture (mix potato/water chestnut flour with water and give it a stir before adding to the soup) to thicken the water.

4. Turn off the heat and ladle into serving bowls and top with fried fritter/you tiao.

Other than the common way of steaming the mung beans I have learnt another new way from a video on YouTube by Mr KF Seetoh from Makansutra Cooking. He actually fried the mung bean(soaked and drained) with some caster sugar till caramelised before adding it into the pre-cooked pandan water. Then he sweeten the mixture with sugar and thickened it with water chestnut flour mixture before serving.  According to his method the whole process of cooking takes less than 30 minutes so if you are interested you can take a look at the video HERE with cooking instructions and recipe too.

Ingredients: (serves 2 - 4)
100g Spilt Green Bean (hulled mung bean, 去壳绿豆)
2 Knots of Pandan Leaves
1 Litre of Water
1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
Cane Sugar To Taste
1 Pair of Fried Fritter (You Tiao, 油条)

For Thickening:
1/2 - 3/4 Tablespoon Potato/Water Chestnut Flour
100ml Drinking Water

1. Soak mung beans for 10 minutes in lukewarm water till the bean slightly expand. Drain well and set aside.

2. While soaking the mung bean, in another pot bring about 1 litres of water to boil, add in pandan leaves together and simmer for about 5 - 7 minutes till the water change colour. (refer to the photo above)

3. In a non-stick pan or pot, add in drained mung bean together with about 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and fry over medium low heat till the beans are fragrance and caramelised. (according to Mr Seetoh this process will held to firm up the beans while cooking) Turn off the heat and set aside.

4. Remove the pandan leaves from the water, add in the cooked beans and simmer on medium low for about 5 minutes then season it with cane sugar/caster sugar to taste.

5. Lastly lower the heat and quickly stir in the potato/water chestnut flour mixture to thickened it.

6. Turn off the heat and ladle tau suan into serving bowls, top with fried fritter/you tiao and serve.

Overall I preferred the second method where you stir-fried the mung beans with caster sugar to caramelise it for that extra fragrance and colour. And it also speed up the cooking process without the need to pre-soak and steam the beans for at least an hour or so. And in this way, you can easily cook your favourite Tau Suan at anytime of the day in just less than 30 minutes time. If you can't find fried fritter/you tiao in the middle of the night you can always replace it with some ready to eat frozen prata sheet which can be reheat in a couple of minutes. So which method do you prefer, Steaming or Stir-fry?

Once again, thanks for all your "BUZZ(s)" and support friends. Tau Suan With You Tiao(豆爽油条) post has make it to FoodBuzz Today's Top 9, 20th April 2011.(Here)

Featured On: FoodBuzz Today's Top 9, 20th April 2011.(Here)

Monday 18 April 2011

[April $20 Budget Meal] Cream of Cauliflower Soup and Ham and Egg Pizza Tart

So fast, another week has past and today we are into the 3rd weeks of April where Good Friday and Easter Sunday will be on this week. Till now I have not thought about preparing anything for our Easter Sunday compared to what I have done last year on the "Chocolate Hot Cross Buns" and "Nested Easter". So I guess I have to work hard on that and find some inspiration for our Church, Good Friday picnic special.

If you followed this blog, last Monday our menu was on Asian flavour such as "Five Nuts Soup and Steamed Dumplings with Assorted Vegetables". Today we are having something western which cost around S$8.60 for 2 - 3 servings.

Cauliflower can be roasted, boiled, fried, steamed or eaten raw. This is the first time I  am using cauliflower to make soup and I am really surprised with it's outcome which is so tasty and it is definitely a great way to hide veggies especially in kid's meal. For this version, I have omitted the cream and replace it with extra 50g of potatoes to act as a nature thickening agent for a healthier soup.


Ingredients: (Serves 2 - 3)
1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1cm Cube of Butter
1 Medium White Onion, roughly chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
300g Cauliflower, cut into florets
200g Potatoes, peeled and chopped
400ml Instant Chicken Stock
150ml Hot Water

1. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic cook and stir occasionally for about 3 minutes or until onion has softened.

2. Add cauliflower and potato, stir and cook for 3 minutes.

3. Next pour in stock and water. Season with pepper. Cover and bring to the boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until potato is tender. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

5. Blend the soup, in batches until smooth then return to pan over low heat.

6. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve with some freshly ground pepper.

Total cost for this dish is about S$2.50 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ Cauliflower = S$1.00
~ Potatoes Onion = S$1.00
~ Chicken Stock = S$0.50

Here we give a twist on the usual thin crust or handmade pizza dough by replacing it with the crispy think layer of ready-rolled puff pastry sheet. This recipe makes each and every slices of your cheesy pizza with a delightful flaky bites. So why not give this a try and I am sure all your kids and friends will love this for a chance.


Ingredients: (Serves 2 - 3)
1 Sheet of Puff Pastry, partially thawed
1 1/2 Tablespoon of Barbecue/Pizza Sauce
1/2 - 3/4 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese
50g Shaved Honey Baked Ham
1 - 2 Eggs
5 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1/2 Small Green Capsicum, cut into strips

1. Preheat oven to 180 degree fan-forced and grease 1 large pizza tray.

2. Cut a 20cm round from the puff pastry sheet using a plate or bowl as a guide. With a small knife, cut a 1 cm border around pastry.(carefully not to cut through it as this will act as a border around the tart).

3. Place the round on prepared tray, spread inside circle with barbecue sauce and sprinkle it evenly with half of the grated mozzarella cheese.

4. Brush/spray border with oil. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until sides have puffed.

5. Remove tray from oven, crack egg(s) onto the center of the tart, top with shaved ham, tomatoes, capsicum strips and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

6. Bake for another 15 minutes or until egg whites have set and cheese is golden. Serve with prepared soup.

Total cost for this dish is about S$6.10 with breakdown shown below:-
Cost of Ingredients:
~ Cheese = S$2.00
~ Shaved Ham = S$1.50
~ Cherry Tomatoes and Capsicum = S$1.60
~ Puff Pastry Sheet - S$1.00

Making pizza is one of the interesting task for kids to take part in the kitchen. They can help to spread the sauce and arrange whatever toppings that they preferred while the adults can just stand by the side and help to supervise and place the prepared pizza into and out of the oven. And homemade pizza can be even easier with ready-made pizza base or with any interesting base that you can think of, such as:- Puff Pastry, Sandwich Slice Bread, Pita Bread, Tortilla Sheet, Baguette and etc.

Since our "Easter April Budget Meal"(click the link and scroll down for the details at the end of the post) theme is using egg as a main ingredient, I have added an egg onto my pizza tart which which it a twist to the usual pizza that we often have.

Thanks for all your "BUZZ(s)" and support friends. Cream of Cauliflower Soup and Ham and Egg Pizza Tart post has make it to FoodBuzz Today's Top 9, 19th April 2011.(Here)

Featured On: FoodBuzz Today's Top 9, 19th April 2011.(Here)

~ Monday, 25 April 2011, 2359 hours  and all entries will be compiled and posted on 30th April 2011.