Monday, November 2, 2009

Bedroom cooking

This is a late post; just catching up with some of the worthwhile items in the (past) news…


Star chef Daniel Boulud on cooking on the bed ... among other things

May Seah

DANIEL Boulud is busy. "It's 11.45pm and my dining room is full and I have to go and say hello to my customers," said the Michelin-starred chef from his restaurant, Daniel, in New York City. Not in a mean way, but I still felt terrible for taking up his valuable time.

Yes, the 54-year-old is very busy and very important. Overseeing a night's service, entertaining other chefs and fielding interviews is all in a day's work for a man who's been executive chef at Le Cirque, received James Beard and Legion d'Honneur awards, and stars in the Asian Food Channel's Daniel Boulud: One Night In Singapore.

"I was very impressed," said Boulud of Singapore. "We visited some very interesting markets, had street food and then one night we had some Indian food, which was very cool."

The documentary, filmed while Boulud was in town last year, follows the French chef and his team as they cook for a prestigious dinner held at the Fullerton Hotel. That sounds like an easy task for an acclaimed chef, but what do you do when the kitchen is on a different floor from the dining room and you have very exacting standards on the subject of plating? You turn some hotel bedrooms into a kitchen, of course.

"That was the second time I cooked in a bedroom!" said Boulud. "The first time was when one of my customers had a small apartment on Fifth Avenue. Because the kitchen was so small, the only place we could plate the dessert and the entrees was in the bedroom. There, I was cooking on the bed. In Singapore, they removed the bed, so that was better!"

So, has he ever cooked in his own bedroom for his wife? "We eat in the bedroom but we don't cook. We do more than cooking!" said Boulud with a chuckle.

The bedroom isn't the most unusual place in which he's brandished a spatula, though. "I've cooked in a truck, I've cooked in a train, I've cooked in places where there was no kitchen, period. We make it up. But I like that," said the chef. "As long as you give me a little bit of fire, a little bit of something, I'll always get organised.

"And, of course the most emotional thing I did was cooking for 9/11. We had a boat next to Ground Zero, where we were feeding maybe 3,000 people a day - all the firemen and the policemen. That was maybe the hardest but the most rewarding and the most emotional moment in my life."

Boulud's a veritable culinary veteran but, like a chocolate lava cake, he's got a soft centre. "If I were a dessert, I think I'd be chocolate. And it'd have coffee in it and there'd certainly be rum or cognac. A little bit of booze, a little bit of caffeine, and a lot of chocolate!"

Catch Daniel Boulud: One Night In Singapore tonight at 9pm on the Asian Food Channel (StarHub TV Ch 69)

From TODAY, Plus – Tuesday, 29-Sep-2009

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Easy does it - Tomato and onion relish

Singapore-style Satay at Lau Pa Sat's Satay ClubImage via Wikipedia

Brought to you by FairPrice

FairPrice Pan Fry Satay takes the elbow grease out of this perennial favourite


Satay is one of those all-time favourites that can take ages to make but is eaten in seconds.

From the marinating of the meat and preparing of the accompanying peanut sauce, to the slow grilling process, it can take almost an entire day, not to mention plenty of effort, to yield this dish of succulent skewers of marinated meat.

FairPrice Pan-Fry Satay takes all the elbow grease out of satay without sacrificing flavour and tenderness. Its chicken, mutton and beef varieties (all of which are halal) are free of MSG and preservatives. They are made by following a traditional recipe, using fresh and good quality ingredients that include various herbs and spices.

My personal favourite is the chicken satay, which is juicy, moist and extremely tasty.

The accompanying peanut sauce is also delicious and not too greasy.

Best of all, FairPrice "healthier choice" Pan-Fry Satay can be ready in just minutes. Take it out of the freezer, give it a whiz in a microwave to defrost and then pan-fry until the marinated meat is slightly caramelised.

And to make them easier to eat, they do not come on skewers.

Still, for purposes of presentation - if, perhaps, you're having guests over - you can skewer the meat with bamboo sticks after frying it. No one would ever know that your satay came from a vacuum pack.

I'm not a fan of raw onions or cucumbers. So, I decided to serve my satay with a side of tomato and onion relish.

Refreshing and tasty, this salad is a great accompaniment to any spicy dish (especially sambals and curries). Its piquant combination of tomatoes, onions, coriander and lemon cuts through any oil and helps cool the palate.

FairPrice Pan Fry Satay ($6.06, 500g) is available at all FairPrice supermarkets.

Tomato and onion relish

Serves 4

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 ripe tomatoes (preferably vine), diced
  • A handful of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar

  1. Place onion and lemon in a glass or plastic bowl (don't use a metal bowl as it will react with the onion and acidity of the lemon juice, affecting the taste). Mix, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Serve.

From TODAY, Food – Thursday, 17-Sep-2009

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heart attack fells wine-loving chef

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Chef Marco Pier...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

A late post, but a tribute to a great cook… we often watch his cooking shows, and amused at how 'commonly' he approached the kitchen, not to mention his cooking style – makes cooking for an ordinary person something not to be dreaded, but with fun…


Keith Floyd was a familiar face on television for nearly two decades.

LONDON - Mr Keith Floyd, television's original celebrity chef, has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 65.

Mr Floyd, who was born Dec 28, 1943, was best known for his enthusiastic presenting style, dress sense and ever-present glass of wine. He revealed earlier this year that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

British chef Marco Pierre White described his death as a "sad day for the nation".

"The thing which is very sad is a little piece of Britain today died which will never be replaced ... His ability to inspire people to cook just with his words and the way he did things was extraordinary."

Mr Floyd's death was announced yesterday morning by Mr James Steen, who ghostwrote his autobiography.

Mr Steen said the chef had suffered a heart attack while watching television at the home of his partner, Ms Celia Martin, in Dorset on Monday night.

He had returned to Britain from France around three weeks ago to start chemotherapy for bowel cancer.

Mr Floyd presented television cookery programmes from around the globe in a television career that began with Floyd on Fish in 1984. His enthusiasm for his craft - coupled with his consumption of substantial amounts of wine as he cooked - made him one of the most distinctive television chefs, and he was a familiar face on the screen for nearly two decades.

His last show, in 2001, was Floyd's India.

Mr Antony Worrall Thompson also paid tribute to his fellow chef, saying he had helped Britons enjoy food and cooking. "All of us modern TV chefs owe a living to him," he said.

"He kind of spawned us all. He turned cookery shows into entertainment. He made cooking approachable and fun. He made us relax about food.

"Until Keith came along, people were very uptight about eating out, and he helped us to chill out about it."

Married four times and divorced four times, Mr Floyd was as tumultuous in his life as in his presenting style. He opened several restaurants, his first in Bristol in the '60s, but suffered financial problems throughout his life and was declared bankrupt in 1996.

He was convicted of drink-driving in 2004 and banned from driving for 32 months.

Mr Floyd started out his career as a reporter on the Bristol Evening Post before joining the army, where he rose to the rank of second lieutenant in the Royal Tank Regiment. He wrote more than 20 books, many of which went straight into the best-seller lists.

His latest autobiography, Stirred But Not Shaken, in which he described his battles with the bottle, is due to be published next month. He is survived by a son and a daughter. AGENCIES

From TODAY, World – Wednesday, 16-Sep-2009

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sour cream, chives and shrimp dip

Brought to you by FairPrice

A sure-fire hit

FairPrice Hot & Spicy Chicken Nuggets make for a zesty knock-out snack in more ways than one


These small bites pack a real punch. The "Hot & Spicy" labelling is not an exaggeration. One bite and you'll get a fantastic kick from the spice in these crispy and incredibly easy to prepare chicken nuggets.

Like FairPrice's popular original Chicken Nuggets, you can either deep-fry or shallow-fry these. I sometimes find it easier to just lay them out on a foil-lined baking tray and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C. They still emerge crisp. And there's little washing up to be done after.

Whichever way you choose to prepare them, rest assured these wonderful snacks are trans fat- and preservative-free, and Halal - making them truly suitable for your whole family and friends.

You can serve them with ketchup or chilli sauce on the side. Personally, I like them with any kind of mayonnaise dipping sauce.

Otherwise, this tangy sour cream and chives dip makes for a nice accompaniment that counters the spiciness of the nuggets with the cooling qualities of cream. The bits of fresh shrimp also lend an added dimension, making it a "surf '*' turf" special of sorts.


FairPrice Chicken Nuggets and Hot & Spicy Chicken Nuggets ($6.45, 850g each) are available at all FairPrice supermarkets.

Sour cream, chives and shrimp dip

Serves 4-6

  • 300g fresh prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 450g light sour cream
  • A handful of chives or 4 sprigs of spring onions
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp FairPrice salt
  1. Place prawns in a saucepan of boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
  2. Once cool, roughly chop prawns.
  3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients till well blended. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  4. Chill in the fridge for an hour before serving with FairPrice Hot & Spicy Chicken Nuggets.

From TODAY, Food – Thursday, 10-Sep-2009

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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Easy Crab Cakes

a garnished crabcake.Image via Wikipedia


FairPrice Mayonnaise is a nifty kitchen essential and incredibly yummy, too


Of all the condiments in my pantry, mayonnaise is the one I turn to most often. I use it as a dip for all kinds of party food, in sandwiches and as part of a dressing for a mean potato salad.

Mayonnaise also helps to bind fried patties, like the crab cakes in the recipe featured below. Sometimes, when I'm too lazy to go through the motions of picking the sweet flesh of crabs from their shells, I use prawns instead. Simply peel and de-vein the prawns, boil and then chop.

Alternatively, you could use pasteurised crabmeat, but it must be said that nothing beats the flavour of fresh crabmeat.

I was delighted to discover that FairPrice now has a range of dressings including Mayonnaise, Mayo Light (for those watching their waistline), Mayo Garlic (for extra kick), Coleslaw, Tartar Sauce and Thousand Island.

They are all delicious and wonderfully easy to use. With my bottle of FairPrice Mayonnaise, I whipped up this easy and tasty dish that appeals to just about everyone.

So, make a big batch and serve it with a saucer of FairPrice Thousand Island or Tartar Sauce on the side for that extra indulgence.

FairPrice Mayonnaise, FairPrice Tartar Sauce, FairPrice Thousand Island and FairPrice Coleslaw ($2.35, 250ml) are available at all FairPrice supermarkets.

Easy Crab Cakes

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • (or fresh hot mustard)
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp FairPrice Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 450g crabmeat
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp FairPrice salt
  • 1/2 tsp FairPrice ground black pepper
  • FairPrice Canola Oil for frying

  1. In a bowl, combine parsley, mustard, Worcestershire, eggs and mayonnaise, lemon juice, crabmeat, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
  2. Mix well, but gently, so you don't break up the crabmeat too much.
  3. Form thick patties with your hands and refrigerate for 30 minutes before frying.
  4. Pour oil into a frying pan so it comes to about 4cm up the pan.
  5. Heat oil until it starts to shimmer and then fry the crab cakes (in batches if necessary) until golden brown (about 1 minute on each side).
  6. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  7. Serve warm.

From TODAY, Makan – Thursday, 03-Sep-2009

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cheat Shepherd’s Pie

Brought to you by FairPrice

A Healthier Alternative

FairPrice Mixed Vegetables are a nifty and nutritious staple to have in your freezer


Weekend afternoons are days I reserve for playing in the kitchen. By that, I mean experimenting and taking my time with more complex dishes that require more work than I can afford on a weekday.

On those working days, fuss-free ingredients are my best friends. The less peeling and chopping I do, the better. Yet I want my food to be as fresh and of optimum quality as possible. So, a little shrewd planning is often called for.

Dishes such as shepherd's pie are great because I can make the components separately and ahead of time, with help from healthful ready-to-use products such as FairPrice Mixed Vegetables and good pasta sauce.

FairPrice Mixed Vegetables are a product of Hungary and feature a healthy mix of peas, carrots and corn that can help the whole family meet our fibre requirements. It is also cholesterol-free and comes with a good eating stamp of approval in the form of the Healthier Choice symbol.

Available in 400g or 1kg packs, they are a good staple to have in the freezer. Toss them into soups, salads and pastas, or fry them up in an omelette. The possibilities are endless and your family will be healthier for it.

FairPrice Mixed Vegetables ($2.20, 400g / $3.80, 1kg) is available at all FairPrice supermarkets.

Cheat's Shepherd's Pie
Serves 4

  • 3 potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 15g butter plus another 10g for topping (softened)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp FairPrice Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 400g minced beef
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup FairPrice Mixed Vegetables
  • 1 cup bottled tomato pasta sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. To make the mashed potato topping, place the potatoes and salt in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. After about 12 minutes (or when the potatoes are tender right through when poked with a fork), remove from heat and drain.
  2. In a bowl, mash the hot potatoes and 15 grams of butter with two forks or a potato masher.
  3. Add milk, salt and pepper, and mix well. Do not overwork the potatoes or your mash will turn gummy. Set aside. (You can do this a day or two in advance and keep in the fridge.)
  4. To make the filling, heat olive oil in a saucepan and add garlic. Fry till fragrant but not browned.
  5. Add the minced beef and fry for about 8 minutes, or until the beef has released its moisture and the moisture has evaporated.
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce and fry for another 2 minutes.
  7. Add FairPrice Mixed Vegetables and fry for another minute or so.
  8. Add pasta sauce and stir to mix. Cook till the sauce has thickened slightly, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  9. Add sugar and stir. Taste, and add salt and pepper accordingly. Set aside to cool. You can do this up to two days in advance and refrigerate.
  10. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  11. To assemble, spread the beef mixture in a pie dish and level with a spoon. Spread the mashed potatoes over the beef to form an even layer on top.
  12. Dot the surface of the mashed potatoes with the other 10 grams of butter and then use a fork to blend it into the surface, making a pattern as you do. This will give the pie a nice "crust".
  13. Bake in the oven, on the centre rack, for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

From TODAY, Food – Thursday, 13-Aug-2009

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Singapore-Style Buffalo Wings

Brought to you by FairPrice


This National Day, whip up a dish of Singapore-style Buffalo wings with FairPrice Garlic Chilli Sauce


Singaporeans adore fried chicken wings.

Every fast food joint worth its hamburgers has chicken wings on its menu - and nowhere is the Singaporean love for them more evident than at a certain Swedish furniture store where diners at its in-house restaurant form long queues for platefuls, which they lap up with lip-smacking and finger-licking glee.

At almost any other restaurant which offers their version, we often order up a serving of Buffalo wings. Deep-fried and slathered in hot sauce, they speak to the Singaporean love for chicken wings and spicy flavours.

So, this National Day, I decided to give the American recipe a twist (Buffalo refers to Buffalo, New York in the United States, where the dish originated) by using something quintessentially Singaporean: FairPrice Garlic Chilli Sauce.

Boasting a taste that is widely accepted, it features a pairing of two ingredients popular with Singaporeans: Garlic and chilli. Its sweetness also works well with barbecue sauce.

FairPrice Garlic Chilli Sauce is Halal, making it suitable for just about everyone. So, this is an excellent National Day party snack, which you can serve to your friends and family while watching the parade.

It doesn't matter if you're enjoying it at home, in front of the television, or from a picnic basket at the parade itself.

It is a dish that is tasty, fun and delightfully Singaporean - not to mention it makes you feel deliciously patriotic!

FairPrice Garlic Chilli Sauce ($1.35, 310g) is available at all FairPrice supermarkets.

Singapore-Style Buffalo Wings

Makes 10 wings

  • 1/2 cup FairPrice Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp FairPrice Ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 10 chicken wings
  • FairPrice Canola Oil, for frying
  • 1 tbsp FairPrice Butter
  • 3 tbsp FairPrice Garlic Chilli Sauce
  • 1 tbsp barbeque sauce

  1. Combine the flour, pepper, garlic salt, paprika and chilli powder in a small bowl.
  2. Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel.
  3. Put the wings into a large bowl and sprinkle the flour mixture over them, coating each wing evenly.
  4. Place them in the refrigerator for 60 to 90 minutes. (This will help the breading to stick to the wings when they are fried.)
  5. Heat oil in a deep fryer until it starts to shimmer (you want just enough oil to cover the wings entirely - an inch deep or so, at least).
  6. Meanwhile, combine the butter, FairPrice Garlic Chilli Sauce and barbeque sauce in a small saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and the ingredients are well blended. Set aside.
  7. Fry the wings until they turn golden brown on both sides. Remove and set on a plate lined with paper towels to drain for about 5 minutes.
  8. Toss the wings in the chilli sauce and stir to coat them evenly. You could also use a large plastic container with a lid for this. Put all the wings inside the container, add the sauce, put on the lid, and then shake. Serve immediately.

From TODAY, Food – Thursday, 06-Aug-2009

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Healthy Roast Chicken Sandwich

Canola field in Temora, New South WalesImage via Wikipedia

What a spread!

Brought to you by FairPrice

Combining the goodness of two great oils, FairPrice Canola Olive Classic Spread is a delightfully healthy and tasty staple that your whole family will love


Both olive oil and canola oil are renowned for their healthful properties. FairPrice has combined the benefits of the two into one wholesome spread that your whole family can enjoy.

Both oils are great sources of omega three fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. This in turn, experts say, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Taste-wise, FairPrice Canola Olive Classic Spread is equally delicious. It has a wonderfully salubrious quality to it and spreads easily even straight from the fridge. It is Halal and lactose-free, making it a safe and nutritious choice for all.

I like to use it on toast in the mornings and in sandwiches that I put together for lunch or when I'm on the go. Case in point: This tasty roast chicken sandwich that you can prepare for the family - a healthy and delicious snack to sup on straight from their lunch box.

FairPrice Canola Olive Spread ($3.85, 500g) is available at all FairPrice supermarkets.

Healthy Roast Chicken Sandwich

Serves 2

  • 1 stalk rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 fresh chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinegar glaze
  • 4 slices wholemeal
  • 1 tbsp FairPrice Canola
  • Olive Classic Spread
  • A few salad leaves
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  1. To make roast chicken, crush rosemary, salt and garlic with olive oil in a mortar until the garlic and rosemary are well broken up.
  2. Rub this marinade over the chicken breast and leave covered in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  4. Place marinated chicken breast on a piece of foil on a baking tin and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and pour balsamic vinegar over the breast and set aside. You can do this a day in advance and keep the roasted chicken in the fridge until ready to use.
  5. To assemble sandwiches, slice the roast chicken breast.
  6. Place two slices of bread on a cutting board and spread with FairPrice Canola Olive Classic Spread.
  7. On one slice of bread, place a few salad leaves, topped with a slice of tomato. Place chicken breast slices on top and cover with the other slice of bread.
  8. Repeat with the next two slices of bread.

From TODAY, Makan – Thursday, 30-Jul-2009

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Cookie Cravings: Chocolate Salami

Brought to you by FairPrice

FairPrice's new Marie Biscuits bring back the flavour of old times


(Photos: Jason Ho)

Like cream crackers, Marie Biscuits are old-school snacks that never fail to stir up a little nostalgia. Great for dipping in coffee or tea, they made for ideal afternoon snacks or quick breakfasts back in the day.

FairPrice brings back a slice of those sepia-tinged times with its new range of Marie Biscuits. These include Chocolate Marie Biscuits and Small Marie Biscuits.

Aside from munching on them with your favourite hot drink, Marie biscuits are also good for creating other confections.

Crush and mix them with melted butter for a lovely cheesecake crust, or break them up into little pieces and turn them into this wonderfully whimsical Italian dessert that is so easy to make.

Chocolate salami goes by its name because it looks just like salami but is far more delicious, if you ask me. It can be whipped up in all of 5 minutes, popped in the fridge for a couple of hours and ready to serve by the time dinner's up. As the Italian's say, molte bene!

FairPrice Marie Biscuits ($1.65 per 350g packet), FairPrice Chocolate Marie Biscuits ($1.65 per 350g packet) and FairPrice Small Marie Biscuits ($1.35 per 250g packet) are available at all FairPrice supermarkets.

Chocolate Salami

Serves 4

  1. In a bowl, mix the crushed cookies, cocoa powder and sugar.
  2. Add the melted butter and orange juice and stir to blend well.
  3. Cut two lengths of waxed paper, one for each "salami".
  4. Sprinkle each paper lightly with plain flour.
  5. Put half the dough on each paper, spread out into a line.
  6. Roll it up into a log, making sure the sides and ends are lightly covered with the flour. Scrunch and roll each end to secure.
  7. Set the logs in the refrigerator for a few hours. To speed this up, you can set them in the freezer.
  8. Remove wrapping, slice and serve.

From TODAY, Makan – Thursday, 16-Jul-2009

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Chilli Cheese Fries

Cooking in oil.Image via Wikipedia

Brought to you by FairPrice


Who doesn't love French fries? FairPrice Crinkle or Straight Cut Fries always hit the spot


I've never met a person who doesn't like French fries.

And to be quite honest, it is not difficult to see why. After all, French fries are the epitome of happy food - crispy, crunchy, soft on the inside, slightly salty and divine when enjoyed hot. How joyful and simple could food possibly get?

Granted, French fries aren't exactly artery- or waistline-friendly. But the occasional indulgence doesn't hurt, surely.

FairPrice's 1kg bags of Crinkle or Straight Cut French Fries are the perfect family treat. Made in New Zealand from premium grade potatoes, they are certified Halal and trans fat-free, with no colourings or preservatives, flavourings or salt added.

Because of their excellent quality, they taste good and fry to a lovely crisp.

I'm often happy to simply give my French fries a sprinkling of good sea salt and a side of mayonnaise. But this recipe for chilli cheese fries is always a winner. Whenever I serve it, it gets polished off in no time.

Try it at your next party and watch the compliments come rolling in.

FairPrice Crinkle or Straight Cut Fries ($3.45 per 1kg packet) are available from all FairPrice supermarkets.

Chilli Cheese Fries

Serves 4

  • 250g FairPrice Crinkle or Straight Cut Fries

  • FairPrice vegetable oil for deep-frying

  • 3 tbsp FairPrice olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 200g minced beef

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 1/2 cans chopped tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp chilli powder

  • 1/3 cup kidney beans

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 1 tsp FairPrice fine salt

  • 1 tsp FairPrice fine or coarse sugar

  • 1/3 cup Salsa Con Quesos (Mexican cheese dip, available bottled)

  1. Heat oil in a deep-fryer. Test for the right temperature with a small piece of bread. Once it hits the oil, it should bubble and float to the top immediately, indicating that the oil is hot enough. Put the fries in and fry till golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. To make the chilli, heat olive oil in a pan and fry garlic until fragrant but not browned.
  3. Add beef and stir-fry for 3 minutes, then add Worcestershire sauce and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, chilli powder, kidney beans, paprika, salt and sugar. Stir to mix well.
  5. Cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes until the sauce thickens and dries up slightly.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Place fries on a plate and top with the chilli. Then pour over the salsa con quesos and serve immediately.

From TODAY, Makan – Thursday, 09-Jul-2009

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

There must be a mistake

ROME - They were looking for a bit of La Dolce Vita but what two tourists got in a restaurant in Rome left a bitter aftertaste.

The Japanese couple was handed a receipt totalling ?695 ($1,412) after their lunch last month at a restaurant just steps away from Piazza Navona. The bill included a ?115.50 tip they say they did not agree to, Rome police said on Thursday.

The case made headlines in Italy's national newspapers, reportedly angering Mayor Gianni Alemanno. Police temporarily shut down the restaurant after the couple filed their complaint.

Restaurant owner Franco Fioravanti said the couple ordered a lavish meal that included oysters, lobsters, sea bass and porcini mushrooms.

ThePassetto Italian restaurant The Passetto has been denounced by the police for fraudulent action against two vacationing Japanese customers. EPA

According to the couple, an English-speaking waiter offered to bring a few dishes without them consulting the menu.

Several newspapers printed what they said was the bill from the meal, which also showed the couple being charged ?200 for pasta dishes.

After the complaint, the police checked the prices on the receipt against those indicated on the menu and found a discrepancy. "They are way higher, quite a bit disproportionate," said a police spokesman.

The police also sent health inspectors, who found defective refrigerators, contamination among different foods and other below-standard procedures in the restaurant's kitchens. The restaurant was closed temporarily, and officials are also considering revoking its license.

The Passetto restaurant is a classic of Rome cuisine. Its website lists among its guests high-profile stars from past and present - from Ava Gardner to Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Queen Elizabeth, Grace Kelly and Salvador Dali. AP

From TODAY, World – Saturday, 04-Jul-2009

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Honey Madeleines

Brought to you by FairPrice


The secret to good cake is to use good butter. And the secret to bettering good butter is to brown it


Madeleine It's almost impossible to write about madeleines and not mention Proust (the famed French novelist who had waxed lyrical about these treats, placing them in the consciousness of many a dessert lover in the process).

But while the delicate madeleine is a wonderful cake indeed, it is only magical if you share Proust's childhood - which of course, few of us do.

Nevertheless, I have found that what is better than a madeleine are these honey madeleines. These will make a convert out of any non-madeleine lover. They are soft, moist and rich with the scent and flavour of good quality honey and butter.

Indeed, good butter with a rich texture and subtle flavour is important when it comes to turning out exquisite confections. A lesser quality butter, which usually has a strong, oily taste, can ruin a perfectly good cake.

Good butter, nevertheless, can be bettered by browning. Browned butter is the secret that adds depth to some of the world's best cakes and pastries, like the financier (the French gold bar-shaped cakes) and Thai coconut crepes.

For this recipe, I used FairPrice Pure Creamery Butter, which is made with high quality fresh cream in Australia and certified Halal. It has a rich, smooth texture that's ideal for baking, be it cakes, cookies or breads like brioche.

To get the best out of these madeleines, use a more mellow or floral flavoured honey. The result is full-flavoured delicacies that have a hint of toffee and that go down easily with a cup of coffee or tea.

FP-Butter FairPrice Butter ($2.95, 250g) is available at all FairpPrice supermarkets.

Honey Madeleines

Makes 24

  • 170g FairPrice Butter, plus extra for buttering the moulds
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Let the butter cook until some of the milk solids fall to the bottom of the skillet and turn a rich hazelnut brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the browned butter through a fine sieve into a small bowl.
  3. Place eggs, sugars, and honey in a bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk till pale and foamy, around 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Sift both flours, baking powder and salt over the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold in.
  5. Add the brown butter and fold in till blended.
  6. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  8. Liberally butter the Madeleine moulds, then spoon the batter evenly into the moulds. Fill them up to about half a centimetre from the rim of each mould.
  9. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Let cool completely on a rack before serving.

From TODAY, Makan – Thursday, 02-Jul-2009

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