Friday, September 14, 2012

Perfect Day with Sticky Date Pudding


My idea of a perfect day would be one that is cold and rainy.  I imagine myself in tartan pyjamas and comfy woolen socks, waking up with messy bed hair. With a cup of hot steaming tea, I creep up to the attic, nestle myself in a big old arm chair and bury my head in a good novel.   Sounds idyllic? Extremely. Especially since I have no attic, no big old arm chair and no tartan pyjamas.   
Two things I have though, a good novel and strong, aromatic earl grey tea.  I am currently reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I am only a third through the book and it is a wonderful read so far.  Everytime I read a good book, I marvel at the author's writing and creativity.  I have no ambitions on being a writer, but I do wish to possess good writing and story-telling skills.  The ability to arouse emotions and capture interest through the use of words is such a gift.  I will be extremely contented the day I can write like Jane Austen. (This girl can dream.)
What would make my perfect day even more perfect? A delightful warming dessert to go with my tea.  Now, it would never have crossed my mind that I would be able to make sticky date pudding if not for a friend from secondary school.  I had the notion that it is a luscious and ridiculously complicated dessert which you can only order in restaurants or cafes. Contrary to what I thought, it is relatively painless and easy to make. 
A couple of weeks back, my friend had a few of us over at her place.  We all brought our little contributions to the potluck, but she bowled us over with her sticky date pudding.  She is very much a baker as I am a dreamer, so do hop over to her blog to check out her bakes.  She pens the recipes down with so much detail that I would be an absolute clod if I failed at this simple cake.  I have to confess that I bungled at making the sauce.  Mine turned out as butter-scorched instead of butterscotch sauce.  I guess that makes me half a clod.
Butterscorched or butterscotch, it was a wonderfully heartwarming treat since the cake is served warm with a generous drizzling of sauce, and usually topped with scoop of vanilla ice-cream. 
Imagine.  Cold day, out-of-bed hair, tartan pyjamas, attic, old arm chair, good novel, cup of hot tea and a warm, decadent sticky date pudding served with ice-cream. Utter bliss.  My perfect day.
Vanilla ice-cream with butterscotch sauce.
When I am too slothful to bake, ice-cream is a good enough to make my perfect day.
Sticky Date Pudding (Recipe adapted from here)

270g pitted dates (I used King Soloman Deri Dates)
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp bicarb soda
60g unsalted butter, chopped
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
100g brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C.

1. Place dates and water in a pot, bring to boil on high heat.
2. Add bicarb soda and unsalted butter. Remove from heat and cool for around 10 min.
(be careful, the mixture will bubble up when soda is added, make sure the pot has sufficient height)
3. Blend the mixture with a hand blender (I used my food processor)
4. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and blend to combine, short few pulses is sufficient.
5. Mix all flour and sugar in a separate bowl and ensure that sugar has no clumps.
6. Add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold in to combine.

Pour into lined 8-in pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes. I tent it after 30 minutes to prevent a charred top.
(If using muffin cups, bake for 25 - 30 minutes)
I made half the above portion in a 15-inch pan and baked for 40 minutes.

Butterscotch sauce:

180g thickened cream
160g brown sugar
150g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to boil. Simmer at low heat for around 5 minutes, constantly stirring the mixure until it thickens.

(I scorched my sauce!  It turned out fairly dark. So be careful here and put it over really low heat)
Once cake is done, cool for 10 minutes. Poke numerous holes in the cake and drench the sauce over cake. This ensure that the dates become sticky with the caramel sauce.

Drizzle more butterscotch for that additional buttery sweetness.
Serve warmed with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for best enjoyment.
The sauce can be refrigerated and stored for up to 2 weeks. Reheat before use.
Puddings can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and warm before serving.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Cycling Find...

gorgeous enamel tiffin carrier

In the recent months, cycling has claimed the top spot in our activity list.  My hubby (whom I shall refer to as 'B' from here on) and I have been traveling around the island on our bikes during the weekends and enjoying every moment of those rides, except for the days when we over-estimated our endurance levels.  Those were times when we kicked ourselves for not getting foldable bicycles.  

Going around on two-wheels has provided me with the opportunity to experience Singapore anew.  That statement might sound somewhat exaggerated, but it truly has.  We have more time to take in the sights, sounds, of the areas we are exploring.  Somehow, without the layer of tin enclosing us, we get absorbed into the atmosphere and vibrance of the neighbourhood very quickly.

We visited Joo Chiat last weekend, an area that still retains the quaint charm of old Singapore.   I have a penchant for five-foot ways and old shophouses, and credit has to be given to Sir Stamford Raffles for designing our streetscape as such. 

The beauty of cycling, much to the horror of B, is the ease of dismount whenever I see something that catches my eye.  And what a great find I had at Joo Chiat!  We cycled past a row of shophouses, and came by this shop, Bangku Bangku (located at 317 Joo Chiat Road).  Had to dismount, no questions asked.  The shop sells interesting and pretty antique furniture and furnishings, as well as leather accessories such as bags and pouches. I couldn't leave the shop empty handed, so the first visit saw me walking away with a leather saddle bag.  However, a classic white and blue tiffin carrier caught my eye, and I returned to Bangku Bangku the next day to purchase it.  I'm not too sure if I will actually use it.. An impulse buy? Yep, as much as I hate to admit it, I think it is.  But I am a total nut for enamel and vintage pieces.  It doesn't help that B shares the same weakness too.      



Monday, September 3, 2012

A New Beginning... Again

little parting gifts for my teammates

So I called it quits again. 

Am I proud of myself?  Definitely not.  Am I relieved?  Yes, very much so.  

Ever since I started work back in end February, everything pretty much felt like a whirlwind.  Most people would say that working 9am-6pm, five days a week, is normal.  But strangely, I couldn't handle it.  I took part in this normalcy for 6 months, but it didn't get any normal for me.  My being felt foreign.  I couldn't control my time, couldn't govern my mind from whirring away with thought after thought, worry after worry.  Needless to say, it did not take me long to decide to lose this job before I lose myself.  I was in an organisation with a great social mission, I had good teammates that I got along fine with (I think... I have to admit that I was rather reclusive), but there was just one piece that did not fit the puzzle - the work wasn't right, for me.  

Before you race up to me to give me a smack on my bottom or deliver a lecture on what a big bag of lazybones I am, take the queue.. behind my dad, my mum, my grandma.. the list goes on.  What I will say to everyone is.  I am not lazy, I am not a pampered brat, nor have I decided not to work. 

I am idealistic. I am dreamy. I am still searching.

When will my search end?  I do not know.  I know that it's time for me now to sit still again and watch the clouds roll by, pick up my favourite things and remember what makes me happy and centred. 

some of my favourite things ~  I heart my stamp set. I heart my ball of twine.
I heart my box of penguin postcards.

A couple of months ago, after a hiatus of not taking photos and neglecting this dear blog, I picked up a couple of food magazines.  My eyes welled up when I saw the gorgeous food photos. 

Idealistic.  Dreamy.  Still searching.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Singapore!

This is home, truly
Though there are days I grouse
I can't imagine living anywhere else
Happy 47th, Singapore!
May the reds and whites fly on.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Weekend Breakfast & The Family's Latest Craze

I didn't make any plans for a big cook out during the past weekend and decided to photograph my very simple breakfast of french toasts just for practice.  I am starting to get a kick out of inserting text into my pictures, so yes, the intent is there to spend the next couple of weeks brushing up my photoshop skills.  Note the word 'intent'.  

I mentioned to all that I will show our latest family craze.  So here it is, presenting my dear travelling buddy that has taken me to places faster than my little feet can, for the past two weeks.  After we had the taste of the Parisian bike-riding lifestyle, we couldn't resist getting bicycles when we came home.  At this juncture, I have to give due credit to Paris' Velib bicycle network.  Such a brilliant concept, it made travelling within Paris such fun and such a breeze.  

This is technically the first vehicle which I officially own, and yes, like every first time vehicle-owner, I am very proud of her... She's pretty, smooth and makes travelling sweet....

Presenting *drumroll*  PETITE BIANCO

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Back to Basics - Ultimate Victoria Sandwich Sponge

Alright.. it's back to basics for me.  I've never tried baking a full-sized sponge cake before.  It was a "now or never" moment for me.  And I am over the moon, especially after stacking the top layer of cake over the bottom. I'm thinking of the birthday cakes, baby shower cakes (?) that I can bake in future..  I think we should celebrate every occasion with a cake!  Ok.. the imagination is running wild here.

I know I've been very tardy with my posts these couple of months and I'm absolutely appalled by my own lack of discipline.. ah... the laziness and distractions that quietly crept into my life... Just to let you in a little.  My hubby and I each made a 'decadent' acquisition recently, and they have both been our main occupation or pre-occupation this whole week..  I shall introduce you to our dear Petit Bianco & Mocha Grande in my next post (have to take decent pictures of them..)  In the meantime, try your hand at this classic sponge cake!

Ultimate Victoria Sandwich Sponge (adapted from Jamie magazine)
This classic cake is, of course, named after Queen Victoria, the only monarch to reign longer than the current Queen.  It's relatively easy to make but does have a few quirks: you need to get as much air into it as possible, and be mindful of its sensitivity to variations in heat.  Know your oven well and invest in an oven thermometer!
Serves 14 (I think it serves 8-12)

225g unsalted butter, cubed and softened, plus extra to grease
225g white caster sugar (I reduced to 200g, I think I could have reduced it a bit more)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
225 self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
A splash of milk

- Preheat the oven to 180*C.  Grease and line the bases of 2 round 20cm sandwich tins.  Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.  Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Gradually mix the beaten eggs into the creamed butter and sugar. (Don't worry if your mixture curdles, mine did). Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt with a large metal spoon until just incorporated (don't overmix).
- Stir in a splash of milk to loosen the batter, then evenly divid it between the 2 cake tins.  Bake the cakes in the oven for 22-25 mins, until golden and cooked through (to test, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake; it's ready when the skewer comes out clean.) Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Once completely cool, sandwich with your choice of filling, or your own favourite (jam is the traditional choice for a Victoria sponge; whipped cream is optional)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

In France


Bonjour!  Or should it be Bonsoir as it's around 12am in the morning now in France.  My hubby and I have been here for a week now, and we have been enchanted by the beauty of this country - the sights, the sounds and without a doubt, the people.  We have been blown off our feet quite literally by the strong mistral winds, but truly by the beautiful French landscape, the endless rolling greens and the wild flowers.  The villages we have visited.... just the simple sight of the locals exiting the patisserie with 4 baguettes tucked under their arms and the whiff of the freshly baked bread thrill us.  All I can say is we would love to be here longer than the 2 weeks!  For the next 5 days, I intend to walk into every patisserie there is, and be inspired by the breads, the cakes, the tarts....   I will definitely post more photos when I get back to SG.  So please be patient with me!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sea Salt & Peanut Butter Cookies

I am an avid collector of food magazines and Jamie Oliver's is one of my staple magazines.  Love the pictures in there and I'm hoping that there will come a day where I can take photos of that standard... (No harm dreaming, rite? ;) )

I couldn't resist trying out this recipe.. Somehow, I get instantly drawn to desserts with sea salt.  Yep, as I'm typing this, I am thinking of the time I had chocolate & sea salt ice-cream at a little ice-cream parlour..  Absolutely yummy.. 

Alright, Erin, focus focus focus!! These sea salt & peanut butter cookies tasted great too. Love that maple syrup was used as a sugar substitute.. And did I mention that I love sea salt??

Sea Salt & Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from Jamie magazine)
makes 24

300g spelt flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
250g organic chunky peanut butter (I used normal non-organic peanut butter)
250ml maple syrup
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or the seeds from a split vanilla pod
Sea salt flakes for finishing

- Preheat oven to 180*C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment.  Combine the spelt flour, bicarbonate of soda and fine salt in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate, larger bowl, stir the peanut butter, maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla until combined
- Pour the flour mixture over the peanut butter and stir until barely combined. It should still be a bit dusty looking. Let the mixture sit for 5  minutes, then stir once more.
- Drop the batter onto the baking sheets in heaped tablespoonfuls. Gently press down on each one with the back of a fork. It's a loose batter, so if you want to do criss-crosses, you'll need to chill it for an hour or so first.
- Bake the cookies for 10-11 minutes, taking care not to over bake or they will be too dry. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sea salt flakes while warm. Let cool on the tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.  (I had to bake them for 13-14 minutes.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I know I know... I have neglected my blog.. And I'm so sorry for not posting for such a loooong time.. But work has been a little crazy the past 2 weeks.. And I'm awfully glad that the week is coming to an end! I realised that I miss holding on to the camera and decided to pick it up for a short practice session tonight.. so here I am introducing my husband, and also to prove to you that I'm not the only one who is crazy in buying pots, pans and what-have-yous at home!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ok.  This weekend I discovered that I'm bad at frosting cupcakes.  Really really bad at frosting cupcakes.  I think it probably has to do with my poor background in art.  I've always been bad at art during my school days. And I was ever so relieved that I no longer had to do art after my secondary school days.. Looks like my 'non-talent' is back to haunt me. 

The good news is that the cupcakes tasted good!  I brought them along for dinner, and surprisingly my family liked them despite how they look.. And it's all thanks to a friend who sent me a very detailed chocolate cake recipe eons ago...  I didn't dare to venture making it then because the recipe looked rather daunting.. But it wasn't as difficult as it looked.. 

The cupcakes had very little flour going into it.  And their volume come mainly from whipped egg whites. Upon cooling, the cakes flatten and shrink from the side.. So, yes, I've learnt that for my next batch, I shall increase the amount of cake batter in each paper cup..  I added a cream cheese frosting that I found online.. And I'm pleased, glad, thrilled that the frosting went really well with the cake... 

The recipe is for a whole cake, but I halved it, and made 12 cupcakes instead. (I will include the recipe of the whole cake below.. My wonderful friend took the time to include the timings for do look at the details ya!)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 12

Soft Chocolate Cake (Laduree Recipe)
150g butter
35g flour (I used cake flour)
150g chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
1 tablespoon cocoa Powder
150g granulated sugar
1 egg + 4 egg
yolks + 7 egg whites

9 inch round cake pan

Step 1: Preparing the pan
Butter the cake pan and refrigerate for 5 minutes
Remove from fridge and dust with flour (I dusted with cocoa powder)
Turn pan upside down and tap out exces flour
Keep in fridge

Step 2: Preparing the Chocolate mixture
Melt Chocolcate and butter using bain marie method. Stir with spatula until melted.
Remove from heat and set aside to let cool slightly
Sift Cocoa powder and flour, set aside
Preheat oven at 180C

Step 3: Preparing the egg mixture
Using the bain marie method again, whisk together the 1 egg, 4 egg yolks and half the sugar (75g), until the mixture thickens (when u stir the mixture apart, it will take some time to flow back together)
Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly

Step 4: Preparing the egg whites
(Using a clean, dry, absolutely grease and stain-free metal bowl) Whisk the egg whites to a foam. Once white and frothy, add the remaining sugar (75g) while continuing to whisk for another minute. I tend to whisk till it holds almost stiff peaks and still look a little glossy. (Do not over-beat until it becomes super stiff, or ur cake may turn out dry

Step 5: Combine the egg and choc mix
Delicately fold 1/3 of the egg n sugar (in step 3) into the chocolate mix (from step 1). Pour the entire mixture back into othe remaining 2/3 of the egg and sugar mix, mixing together gently

Step 6: Putting it all together
Delicately fold 1/3 of the egg white, along with the sifted flour and cocoa powder into the mixture from step 5.
Pour this all back into the remaining egg white mixture.
Fold until smooth but do not overmix (U should not see anymore whites but the batter should still be very light when mixing. If the egg white is fully deflated, the mixture will not rise and become soft)

Pour batter into cake plan, place in oven, lower temperature to 170C and bake for 25 minutes (I halved the recipe and baked in 2 small pans, it was done in 15 minutes. If u do cupcake stuff, do not grease the liners and bake only 8 to 10 minutes. 1/2 the recipe would yield 10 to 11 small cupcakes)
Keep the cake at room temp and serve within 24 hours. 

Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from here)
(I made only a third of the quantity stated below.  And it was just enough to frost 12 cupcakes)

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Alcoholic Hot Chocolate for some comfort

I've been too sick to cook this weekend.  It has been a crazy week for us.  My hubby just came back from abroad last weekend and was hit by a bad bout of flu.  After he recovered, it was my turn to be down.  Just when I thought I had a strong resistance..

It has been rather upsetting because I had spent the whole of the past 3 weeks planning for an event for my company.. and on the actual day of the event... Bam! I'm hit by the fever.. and all I can do is sleep.  I've taken so much medicine in the past few days that I can literally feel the meds swimming around in my body..

Anyway, I'm glad that I'm feeling much better now other than having a leaky faucet for a nose.  I wanted to have a strong, warm, comfort drink this afternoon because I haven't tasted anything for the past couple of days (yes, i think my tastebuds have died). So, hot chocolate it was...  I found this recipe online (as always)... and it had to be Nigella to the rescue..  The chocolate was much richer than expected, it didn't appear so when I was making it.. but trust me, it is rich! So, those of you who are having a sore throat, stay away from this..  Other than that.. it was wonderfully warming..

Alcoholic Hot Chocolate (adapted from here)
serves 2

2 cups milk
3 1/2 ounces best-quality dark chocolate, bittersweet or semisweet, as preferred
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons honey (i didn't add honey)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum, or to taste

Put the milk into a saucepan and break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk along with a cinnamon stick, honey, and sugar and heat gently until the chocolate is melted.

Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk and still whisking, add a spoonful of the rum first and taste to see if you want more. Add more sugar if you want this sweeter, too. Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into 2 cappuccino or caffe latte cups.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I haven't baked in a while, so it was time to give my kitchen mixer a good work out.  I've bought these madeleine moulds for a few months, but I haven't had the opportunity to use them.. Or should I say, procrastination got the better of me. ha...

It's my first time making madeleines, and I'm pleased that they turned out pretty alright.. considering the fact that these pans are cheap $2 ones from Daiso. But... if anyone from Daiso is reading this, could you please make the grooves for the pans deeper? I think the madeleines will look better if the lines/ridges are more defined.. :)  Other than that, the pans work perfect!  I can't ask for more...   And thanks for selling everything at $2! 

I had to bake the madeleines in 2 batches as I only have 2 pans (yep, even though they cost $2 each, I only bought 2 :P) My 2nd batch turned out prettier (see the pretty stripes??).  I overbaked the 1st batch and they were brown all over..  They tasted great still, just less 'accessorized'.

Oh, by the way, check out the lovely enamel plate in the picture!  Courtesy of my friend, Jaime, who lugged plates and spoons back for us all the way from Down Under!  We are going international in our prop hunts!  Woohoo!  

Madeleines (adapted from
makes 12

2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest (I omitted the lemon cos the hubby doesn't like lemon in desserts)
55g butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration (left this out too, as the madeleines were sweet)

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter and flour 12 (3 inch) madeleine molds; set aside.               
- Melt butter and let cool to room temperature.          
- In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and salt at high speed until light.               
- Beating constantly, gradually add sugar; and continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5 to 10 minutes.             
- Sift flour into egg mixture 1/3 at a time, gently folding after each addition.               
- Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds; it will mound slightly above tops.              
- Bake 14 to 17 minutes (I baked mine for 12mins), or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.             
- Use the tip of the knife to loosen madeleines from pan; invert onto rack. Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with granulated sugar. Madeleines are best eaten the day they're baked. Leftover madeleines are wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lamb Cutlets with Roasted Garlic Pasta & The First Week of Work

Woots!  I made it through one week of work!  I feel like celebrating!  How was work you ask me?  I certainly had my ups and downs throughout the week. 

The ups?  My new colleagues are great!  Friendly and cheerful people who are ever willing to help. I've also joined them in a run on Wednesday.. and I'm glad to have found a group who can encourage me to exercise!  

The downs?  Commuting commuting commuting... urgh!  The whole adjustment to working life has been tough too.  Everyone assumes that I have problems waking up in the morning.  That's not the issue though.. I've been waking up early all along to prepare breakfast for the better other.  I think the hard part is psyching myself up for a full day of work.  My morning routine now includes walking a longer distance to reach the office (instead of using the much faster backdoor). Somehow I find walking down the long corridor helps to set my frame of mind, and prepares me for the work day.  I find it rather tough sitting at my workstation for hours given that I used to be able to move around a lot in the past, whenever I want, wherever I want.  Somehow, the brain is a little rusty too.. So I find that I take much longer to do what I could do in a short time frame previously. 

My hubby has been bugging me about my blog for the past week.  He has been muttering "erinnish erinnish erinnish" in front of my face so much, so often, that I had thought about thwacking him on the head and shutting this whole blog down just to get at him! 

I've often thought about this blog and cooking the past week. Both of us have been living off 'impoverished' breakfasts consisting of dry toast with peanut butter & jam or canned tuna for the past five mornings.  Yep, gone are the weekday morning french toasts, bacon and eggs, omelettes. We simply can't afford the time to clean up. I used to take ancient China history during junior college, and there was a similar pattern. Arts and culture always flourished in times of peace and stability.   I liken that to my own state.  I had a cooking revolution when I wasn't working (tranquility, stability, zen...oohmm..) Now that I'm back in the 'battle', I think the arts & culture might pretty much get affected. 

I'm very thankful for all the encouragements posted by my friends in my last post (comments in facebook included!).  So, yes, your words are keeping me going!  Many thanks to fellow local blogger, Jacob, the man behind the successful foodie blog, who gave me tips on how to keep my posts coming... Well, I hope to be as disciplined as him one day..

But let me target one post per week for now.  So, here's my lunch last Sunday.. Yep.  I've decided to try photographing my dishes one week in advance, so that I don't go crazy cooking, photographing, editing photos, and writing during the weekend.  We had leftover lamb cutlets from our Valentine's Dinner, other than that, we only had onions and garlic at home.. So, roasted garlic pasta it had to be.  I've found a great recipe and good instructions (with a pictorial guide) on how to roast garlic from another foodie blog, I will share her link below.  I infused rosemary into oil for the pasta as I think rosemary and garlic make a lovely combination.  It was a pretty good lunch.. can't go wrong with lamb. 

And we love the new frying pan.. New as in newly bought.. because it really is an old pan.. It's a beauty, isn't it?

Lamb Cutlets and Roasted Garlic Pasta
(pasta recipe adapted from
serves 4

For the Lamb Cutlets
8 lamb cutlets, trimmed
olive oil for brushing
sea salt
cracked black pepper

For the Pasta
1 head of roasted garlic, cloves removed (recipe here) (Pls follow the link on how to roast garlic)
1 pound whole wheat pasta
1/4 cup olive oil (use leftover oil from roasted garlic recipe if possible)
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (and more for topping)
generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
2 sprigs of rosemary

- Roast Garlic - please follow the link above. It takes about 30mins to roast them.
- Cook pasta according to packet instructions (around 10mins)
- Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush the lamb with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking.  Allow the lamb to rest.
- Heat oil and the sprigs of rosemary in a large saucepan on medium heat. (Place the rosemary sprigs in when the oil is cold.. the rosemary will slowly infuse into the oil when it heats up)
- Stir in roasted garlic cloves for a few minutes until they begin to sizzle. Turn heat off, remove the sprigs of rosemary, and combine pasta, cheese and pepper. Mix well and plate. Top with more cheese, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Top the pasta with the lamb and serve.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Back to Work

I'm heading back to a full-time job on Monday and I feel like a big bag of mixed feelings.  I have inadvertently caved to family and societal pressure.  Its been close to 10 months since I last worked, and I'm extremely thankful to the Lord for providing me with a job in an industry that is (I would think) rather close to my heart.   I met my new team mates yesterday and they are a bunch of warm and people whom I am excited to work with. 

In my big bag of mixed feelings there is a small ball of trepidation, would I be able to adjust to work life? Would I be able to meet my employers'expectations, the organisation's goals?? Would I be able to manage the countless emails that flood our inboxes?  There's also the big ball of dread towards commuting... Morning rush hour.. 

As I'm rushing to prep myself for work, I can't help but to think about what went by in the past 10 months.  While typing this out, I'm glancing at our book-cum-prop shelves which we set up a couple of months back.  Though we have other prettier furniture around the house, these 2 simplest looking bookshelves are probably my favourite pieces.  My biggest regret - I didn't complete reading as many books as I should have. 

My hubby and I discovered a new hobby - prop hunting.  We have amassed quite a lot of props and kitchenware over the past months, more than we ever need in our little apartment.  We literally went hunting all over town for them. We walked under the hot sun in Sungei Road searching for vintage cutlery, we spent huge amounts of time ooh-ing and aah-ing whenever we were in the kitchen section of department stores. When he was in Thailand, he went around Chatuchak market searching for bowls, plates and cutting boards for me. 

We've also started a mini herb garden.. Ok, maybe more like a mini herb planting box.  In the past, I couldn't tell the difference from one herb to another.  Today, I can say that we are proud owners of mint, tarragon, basil, oregano, rosemary, dill and indian borage.  Admittedly I don't possess the greenest of fingers.  Mr Basil & Mr Dill have nearly drowned in my hands, hopefully they will survive.  Mr Mint makes me laugh. We call him Mr Sensitive because he droops ever so quickly whenever he gets thirsty, but once you shower him with love, he pops right back up. 

One of the questions that my friends and husband have been asking me is "Are you going to continue with your photography and blogging?". And funnily enough, before I could reply them, all of them continued with "I think you shouldn't stop."

This is probably the last posting that I can make on a weekday afternoon for a long while. I will definitely continue with erinnish, but given the commitments, photography and blogging can probably only take place on weekends. I really take my hats off to all you bloggers out there who manage to juggle blogging and work/studies at the same time.. I hope I'll be able to do so too.

It's strange, though I'm not saying a final goodbye, there was a strong tinge of sadness when I strapped my camera on to the tripod to take the shot of the props...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Minestrone Soup

Nothing says comfort more than a bowl of good hot soup.  I have often wished that we could have temperate weather in Singapore, and I can slurp hot soup from a mug in front of a cozy, warm fireplace.  Well, the fact is, I'm here on a humid, tropical island, the closest I can get is when it pours buckets around here, which strangely, has been happening for the past few days. 

So, I spent the day (alright, an hour or so) in front of a pot, lovingly stirring the vegetables over the stove, and loving how the colours all come together.  Warming colours, hearty taste... It felt like fall..

A rainy day, a bowl of heartwarming soup and a good book..
Beautiful combination.

Minestrone Soup (adapted from
serves 4

3 bacon rashers, rind removed, roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 desiree potato, peeled, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1L (4 cups) beef stock
1 300g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained (I didn't add beans)
1 425g can rich and thick finely chopped tomatoes
40g (1/2 cup) 3-minute rollini pasta (I broke some penne pasta and spaghetti into small pieces) 
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh continental parsley (I didn't have parsley)
I added :

1 yellow onion
a pinch of dried chilli flakes for a little bit of heat

- Place the bacon, carrots, celery, potato and garlic (& onion if using) in a large saucepan and stir to combine. Cook over high heat, uncovered, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
- Add the beef stock, red kidney beans and tomatoes to the pan, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

- Increase heat to high. Add pasta and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes (my pasta took about 8-9 mins) or until pasta is al dente. Season with salt and pepper, (and chilli flakes if adding). Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Plum Cake Tatin for Valentine's

Valentine's over.  How was it for you?  We had a quiet dinner at home, just the way we like it.  We enjoy eating out, but we just aren't too crazy about crowds.  So, restaurants can wait for our patronage on a less commercialised day.  

I was watching Ina Garten make her plum cake tatin for a friend on television, and I thought what a perfect dessert that would make for dinner on Valentine's!  I was just so amazed by how her cake tatin looked when she flipped it over, with the juices dripping down the side of the cake..   

Had a go at it and as usual, it didn't turn out as pretty as Ina's. The taste was pretty good, but a tad too sweet. I used a mix of red and dark purple plums. I bought 2 punnets as her recipe indicated that it requires about 8-10 plums. I think I only used about 6-7 plums.  

My standards slipped this year.  I didn't get a gift for my hubby.  He, on the other hand, took me by surprise with a gift and a beautifully written card.  In case you are wondering, he bought me a kitchen timer.. Before you start groaning at my hubby's sensitivity or insensitivity.. (haha).. I like the kitchen timer!  We're both sort of kitchen gadget fanatics and happened to spot this timer a couple of weeks back.  We were unwilling to part with the money then.. Well, now I'm a proud and happy owner of a cool kitchen timer.. It's enjoying it's moment on the freezer door right now.    

Plum Cake Tatin (adapted from Barefoot in Paris)

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water

8 blue plums, cut in half and pits removed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
Rind of half a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

- Place a medium saucepan on stove burner and put sugar and water into pot. Cook over medium high heat without stirring or moving pot until caramel reaches an amber color.
- Meanwhile grease a 9 inch glass pie pan liberally with butter and place on a sheet pan to catch any drips. Place plums, cut side down into pie pan crowding them in so they’ll fit. When caramel is an amber color, immediately pour over plums in dish. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time followed by sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a spatula to make sure ingredients are evenly mixed.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and add to butter mixture, mixing briefly just until flour is barely incorporated into butter mixture. Do not over mix.
- Remove bowl from mixer and finish mixing batter together using a spatula. Pour over plums and spread evenly. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until cake is done. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack then invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm or cold.