Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fettucine Carbonara

Today we're making Pasta Carbonara the traditional italian way ... sorta!

Traditional Pasta Carbonara ... and what we're substituting for

- Spaghetti ... or any long-ish pasta. We used fettucine
- Jowl Bacon ... or any back bacon / streaks bacon
- Eggs : 1 per serving
- Pecorino ... we used Parmiggiano. No no no no no to cheddar!

And that's it ... simple huh?!?!? Italian cuisine is often about simple but time proven methods and using few but high quality ingredients. None of that mushroom, ham, chicken, heavy cream, milk etc. etc. that many many other common variations nowadays have.

1) Shred thy cheese. You'll be using quite a lot so be liberal - about 1/2 - 3/4 cup for 2 servings.

2) Ah ... we meet again old friend.

3) If you wanna optimize your time, pop in your pasta into a pot of boiling water and let it cook while prepping your bacon. Follow the below guide for al dente pasta :-
- 1L of water for every 100g of pasta
- Bring water to boil first, add some salt and oil if you wish
- Don't snap your pasta, put them straight in and stir, it'll soften and sink in nicely
- Do stir once in a while to prevent clumping
- Cooking times ranges from 3 - 12 min depending on what kinda pasta you're using ... check a guide!
- A couple of tests you can do, the no-white-circle-in-the-cross-section-test, then sticks-to-fridge-wall test, or the taste test
- Toss finished pasta into cold water when done, apparently it helps them seperate!

Pretty nifty guide :

4) Pan fry thy old friend. You can add garlic or onions if you wish - we added some garlic. If you're cooking the pasta at the same time, start pan frying thy old friend when the pasta's near done since this step doesn't take more than 2 minutes.

5) With your bacon fat and bacon in your pan, dump your drained al dente pasta straight into the pan and stir. Heat should be lowered at this point, then after some stirring (add S&P and herbs if you wish), sashay in your cheese and stir.

6) With cheese mixed satisfactorily, turn off heat and if you want, remove spaghetti from pan. With the pasta sufficiently cooled down, pour in your egg and mix. If the pasta is too hot, the egg will scramble (like it did with ours D: still yum though).

7) And voila, you're done and ready for consumption. Sprinkle excess cheese on the top, some rocket by the side (surprisingly goes orgasmically well with carbonara) and you've a meal fit for the Romans.

Always be wary when serving an Italian dude what you claim to be Spaghetti Carbonara. If it's made in any way other than Spaghetti + Pecorino + Jowl Bacon, do say that it's like Carbonara-like instead :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Noodlestar, Bugis Street

T'was another double date event this Friday night :) Four of us were actually looking forward to some Ramen Champion at Iluma - unfortunately the insane queue leading towards the food hall put us off completely, and so we had to quickly devise Plan B! Ramen will have to wait for another time.

So we walked out of Iluma and at C's suggestion, headed to Noodlestar.. which as you would have it, are special for a variety of Chinese noodles (of star-like quality? we'll soon find out!). Food and drinks were served relatively quickly. The boys decided to order this hilarious milk drink: Wahaha juice milk drink.

This tastes slightly like any other fruit yogurt drink. I can't really explain it - it's not foul or anything, but I don't quite like it >.<

We both had the vanilla flavour (besides the fruity ones they had) - it was actually really really good - like vanilla milk essentially. Though what "juice milk drink" means is beyond me. Apparently this Wahaha is one of the largest F&B companies in China o_O

To share, we ordered Guo Tie and Xiao Long Bao (not in photo).

{上海锅贴 - Shanghai Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings} ($4.80)
These were quite nice. Xiao Long Bao was soft and the broth was yum, although the skin could have been a tad thinner. Guo Tie was alright, had enough filling and it wasn't toooo oily. I guess these are just good enough for satiating peckishness before main courses.

The 锅贴 was decent and so was the 小笼包 - nothing to shout about but good nonetheless!

C and I chose this, even though it didn't come with 'Star' next to it in the menu (:P)

{上海炒宽面 - Wok-fried "Broad" Noodle in Shanghai Style} ($8.80)

No kidding about the 'broad' noodles - they are thick and roughly cut and chewy to the bite. Noodles were simply stir-fried with generous pieces of chicken, capsicum and onions. Good and

I love how it's "Broad" in quotes, as though implying sarcasm that the noodles aren't, actually, broad, but only metaphorically broad. Regardless, this was probably the best dish of the day, the noodles texture was chewy and Q, and surprisingly flavourful and sweet. Looks like char kuay tiao but tastes leagues better.

To try out a spicy soup-based dish, PJ ordered this:

{ 辣汤海鲜拉面 - La Mian in Spicy Seafood Soup} ($8.80)

I stole some soup - it was quite spicy and light, unlike the cloying creamy kind one usually associates with laksa which I was half-expecting (it even kinda looks like laksa in the photo, lol). PJ and C approved of this.

decided to go with a semi-soupy variety with:

家乡肉骨拉面 - La Mian with In-House Stewed Pork Ribs ($9.80)
The pork ribs was quite literally melt in your mouth - whoa ... and the amount of collagen and fat in those globules of pork miracles were pretty awesome! Unfortunately, though the turnips and carrots gave the noodles a nice crunch, the noodles themselves were quite normal and the sauce nothing much more than salty :/

Guess it was a pretty good dinner after all though I can't comment on how Shanghainese it is.

HGW Link:
Main Site :
Credit card discounts : 10% with DBS!!!!
Rating (out of 4) :

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Charly T's, NOMU @ Handy Road

Had a long overdue lunch appointment with me cousins and we headed to Charly T - one of those seemingly typical western cafes at NOMU (next to the Cathay along Handy Road).

As my Sis put it this place serves pretty damn good chicken - rotisserie style rather than grilled like Nandos or Barcelos. Apparently it's well-marinated for a long time in herbs and roasted for an hour before serving, but despite the nice crispy skin and the juicy chicken, I didn't think it was anymore extraordinary than alotta of the roast chickens I've had in my life.

Chicken was.. nice. Was moist inside and had a semi charred skin around, so not too many complaints from me. It did somewhat lack flavour, but I suppose the selection of sauces helps here.

{ ... Chicken } Comes with 4 sauces and 4 sides ($42)
In fact the meat itself while tender was lacking in flavour, strangely @.@ Comparing chicken to chicken, I do prefer Nandos' if only because of the spicy peri-peri sauce which gives every bite a nice kick. And in fact I would prefer Barcelos over Nandos' only because I liked my grilled chicken not too juicy - a little dry and charred. Might be terrible cooking in Barcelos to produce chicken like that, but I liked it, so yea.

If smorgasbord is your thing, you'll like the smorgasbord of side dishes and sauces available in Charly T's. You can choose from a selection of 5-6 side dishes, ranging from german coleslaw to mac n'cheese to salads and bacon-topped potatoes, but to be honest nothing really stood out.

{Chimichurri (the black), Roasted sesame (the brown), Charly T special sauce (the red) }

10 different kinds of sauce to choose from, and while sauce at Nandos or Barcelos is free flow, you get a set number of sauce saucers (ha!) and you gotta pay for more sauce (50c per saucer). Granted the sauces are rather interesting - roasted sesame, kampung amber, ginger lemon soy, Charly T's secret sauce etc. but I didn't really fall in love with any of the sauces served at our table and I found the combination a little off.

The desserts were a tad better - the chocolate coconut pecan pie, unfortunately did not taste of chocolate at all, although it was still really good - rich and very nutty.

The warm chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream - the lava cake wasn't quite a lava cake (no flowiness when it was cut upon) - it was more of a light brownie, but still verrryyy decadent and absolutely divine when eaten with the vanilla ice cream.

They also serve filled waffles (waffles with chocolate chips etc. inside the waffle batter o_O) which were great as well.

Desserts were my favourite part of this (any!) meal! The pecan pie was so-so and lava cake not particularly lava-like.. I say skip that and get the waffles with ice cream!

{Chocolate coconut pecan pie | Chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream }

Besides rotisserie chicken, they do serve a large selection of interesting international foods like Spanish Omelettes, Hawaiian Kahlua Pork, Italian / Moroccan / Japanese skewers etc. Strange selection? Definitely. And from this to the strange selection of sauces and the strange selection of side dishes I must say this restaurant has no real identity!

Honestly I didn't give much thought or attention to the food in general - was too busy laughing my ass off from the conversation we had amongst our group. On retrospect I guess it's.. decent overall, but I wouldn't necessarily pick this place out again to come back - not for the chicken at least.

Food tasting event with a pretty intensive coverage on the foods they serve :

HGW Link :
Main website :
Rating (out of 4) :

Friday, July 22, 2011

Manna Story, Plaza Singapura

For some strange reason I've had a craving for korean food for some time now, despite me previously not fancying korean food the slightest. Guess I'm slowly converting to liking the soury spicy kick of kimchi jjigae!

Sis told me of this great place at PS basement which was cheaper and better than Sarang (which wasn't too great anyway) called Manna Story. Was greeted by a queue but was quickly ushered in.

It's hard for me to not think of Secret of Mana sitting here in Manna Story, and I silently lamented how awesome a game that was. Ah ... childhood.

The cinnamon tea (Soojeonggwa 수정과) kinda piqued my interest on the menu. While I have absolutely no idea what "Nostalgia Drink" means, this was surprisingly extremely cinnamonny - it tastes more like 90% cinnamon, 5% sugar and 5% tea, which was pretty damn good (and strange).

This so-called nostalgia drink failed to live up to its name in this respect (for me anyway, was clearly reminiscing his childhood). What this drink was, however, an extremely cinnamon-y and sweet concoction that would later be a balm to the spicy food ordered. Note the curious illustration on the can:

{ Soojeonggwa 수정과}
Soon came my Spicy Beef Jjigae thing - and the fiery soup of red death kinda intimidated me a little. Turns out my soup wasn't really all that spicy, and to be honest I could hardly find any beef inside - there was at most 4 strands of beef, which is kinda sad when "Beef" is in the damn name of the dish! Regardless, the soup itself was really really good - rich, steathily spicy (it got really spicy near the end where all the chilli powder was hiding) nice portions of kimchi in it and extremely appetite whetting. Was a pleasant surprise I must say though I still find they skimped on the beef!

The stews each come with 4 side dishes, which are your standard issue korean side dishes I guess - ikan bilis (which were yum), kimchi, bean sprouts (surprisingly yum), and some sticky potato thing (sweet and also yum).

{ Spicy Beef Jjigae thing}

The had the Kimchi Jjigae which I felt was wayyy better than mine. Soury and even spicier than mine, they were quite generous with the vegs and tofu / mushrooms etc. Was a satisfying slurp to the finish, though I don't think my stomache agrees with kimchi very much.

This kimchi soup did pack lots of flavour and ingredients - I really liked this and would highly recommend to anyone! Each spoonful was more than sufficiently sour and spicy - there seemed to be a bottomless supply of kimchi in here. I happily mopped up all the soup.

{ Kimchi Jjigae}
In summary I thought the food was pretty good and a decent price for the standard of food they serve. I admit I'm not a huge fan of Korean food but this gets a thumbs up from me ;)

We'll be back to try the communal pot of grill thing! (the name eludes us now.. but it's this giant dish of stuff you share between at least 2 people..)

HGW Link :
Main Website : None!
Rating (out of 4) :
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