Something that actually has peas

I’ve been ignoring this place for about a month now since we made The Big Move to Seattle as grad students at UW. The only reason I’m updating this is because I’m putting off my math homework :D

So I made Kenji’s “lighter” tuna noodle casserole for lunch today after receiving the recipe in my inbox a few days ago.

It’s lighter because it uses creme fraiche mixed with an egg. It was incredibly difficult to scale this recipe down for two people, and I used canned tuna because I actually like canned tuna, and tuna melts, and tuna salad… Also creme fraiche is ridiculously expensive at QFC ($6+ for a small tub) (undoubtedly more ridiculously expensive in Singapore, I don’t even want to know how much). Is it roughly the same as sour cream?? I found it snugly nestled amongst all the other (vastly more affordable) sour cream tubs but am not sure if that means it’s the same thing.

Also I had a half used 1 lb bag of frozen peas just sitting around in my freezer after I prepared 8 single-serving shepherd’s pies for our dinners when we are busy with homework and don’t have time to cook.

Here they are thawing in my largest Crate & Barrel pinch pot. I’ve got terrible self-discipline, and bought these pinch pots again over here even though I already own them in Singapore. Soon I’ll have an exact copy of all my utensils in Singapore over here.

Here’s the tuna noodle casserole with the peas sticking out. Put in a little too many peas than were necessary, but LZ loved it, semi-cooked peas and all.

1) I modified the recipe a little bit, by frying chopped shallots in butter in my deep skillet before adding the uncooked egg noodles and some hot water (not even enough to cover)
2) If you stir the noodles enough in insufficient water, they’ll cook anyway, particularly if they’re egg noodles. I don’t like them too soft either so that worked for me.
3) My light chunk tuna flaked apart into nothingness, so get extra chunky tuna if you can, and flake it yourself in the skillet.
4) Even the most unskilled college student can prepare this, although they may not be able to afford creme fraiche :P I know nothing about tuna casserole (first time making it) so don’t know what the “original heavy” version uses for cream. Regular heavy cream? Canned soup?


Dinner at Brotzeit (Chanterelle menu)

Time to get cracking on the (very small) backlog of posts from sg :P So we visited Brotzeit I think in my last week of work at the Science Park and I was totally suckered into ordering from their chanterelle menu because of the huge mouth watering poster boards outside the restaurant. That, and the grilled smell wafting from the place. I think it was a little underwhelming in the end, and chanterelles are much better prepared in Italian cuisine.

We had the Potato and celery soup with chanterelles, which was not bisque-like at all, more like a watery broth with cubes of potatoes and celery and chanterelles. Not bad, I liked this best. Very hearty and home-made feeling.

Then we got the grilled pork loin in chanterelle sauce. The pork itself was kind of bland and dry, but the chanterelle sauce was great, especially with the

Mashed potatoes with french fried onions. I guess it’s the kind of restaurant one would go to if one were craving german food, but the food here is not so great as to induce cravings.

Of course we ordered the only thing we really came here for – the lachs tartare :P Still haven’t quite figured out how to make it – probably a mix of cream cheese, chives, smoked salmon, and poached salmon. It’s so good though with cucumbers and rye. I highly recommend choosing this with the lunch set.


Dinner at Colbar, Portsdown Road

Yet another one of the “last suppers” with his dad before we flew off – this time right after he came by our offices to pick up stuff from our office to be brought home. I had 2 A4 boxes of random stationery, hole punches, notes, stuffed toys, and other cubicular detritus. I do kind of miss my cubicle in singapore, considering how cui3 my current desk is (which I never inhabit unless I have to). It’s literally a closet shared among 4 graduate students, and my table is so small and so nothingy that nobody had sat there for awhile and there was 1cm thick layer of dust on it :S

Anyway colbar stands for “colonial bar”, and it has been a british fixture in Singapore for years and years. Its nestled in the heart of all the old colonial houses and next two some of their soccer fields, and serves “British” fare served hawker style, like full English breakfasts, omelettes, bangers and chips, etc.

Here we are on the small footpath to colbar

old pictures of local british football teams. We found several of the rj humans teachers here! It was quite amazing, how people we’ve only known to be rather decrepit elderly and pot-bellied used to be so young and fit.

The colbar menu

I had bangers and chips. The chipolatas were quite nice but I guess a little pricey for what is essentially hawker fare. Their chips are quite legit though! Not that I was ever a fan of British chips :P Much prefer the French shoe string fries.

UJ had the deep fried sole, which smelt amazing and tasted even better. I guess one does not really expect a hawker center to have sole on the menu. This was excellent. If you order this you will be the envy of everyone sitting around you due to the smell coming from your table.

LZ got the mushroom omelette and chips, which I think was overpriced and the sort of thing you can make yourself at home. Oh well!

Still, I think the patrons who come here do so out of a sense of nostalgia and historicity rather than because they crave the food (not possible).


Dinner at Pepenero

So the original chef at Pepenero (Renato), of the lobster linguine with san marzano tomato sauce fame actually went back to Italy, and a new chef took over here. Which also means a menu revamp :( I really liked the previous menu! They had the best prosciutto wrapped scamorza and porcini I have ever had. The new offerings are not bad either, but the day we went they were out of their signature linguine all’astice and also the squid ink ravioli. Poor marks for that! Apparently there was a big lunch crowd that all ordered the seafood pastas. I really just came back here for that linguine :(

So I wound up having the pappardelle with deer meat, which truth be told, wasn’t all that bad, but it is no lobster linguine, as you know. The manager told us that the lobster sauce for their new lobster linguine is the chef’s secret recipe, and he adds bits of the tomalley to the sauce which boosts its flavour. The deer meat itself is tender and goes well with the parmesan and the relatively light sauce. Worth a try! The noodles are also very good.

LZ had the baked cod with tomato crust and potato spumante – a huge chunk of cod baked in a tomato crust. It was moist and exceedingly tender. I was surprised how well it went together! I guess having a crust around the filet packs the moisture and rendered fats in. The grilled vegetables were a perfect accompaniment.

For dessert we had the panna cotta infused with mint – they were out of the tiramisu. Hrm. The mint taste was really subtle (LZ said it made it taste like soy) but the panna cotta was pretty good.

Now the service needs to be worked on. They have a menu in Italian but none of the service staff speak it or know the Italian names of the various items on the menu. I ordered the linguine all’astice and had to repeat myself several times. I asked what the sauce of the the deer meat pappardelle was like (in English) and the staff just repeated blankly after me “what it’s like?” – I think she doesn’t even speak English. While I sympathize with the current manpower situation – it’s hard to find permanent waitstaff – you should at least hire someone who speaks English! When I finally got somebody who spoke English I asked if the deer meat sauce was like a bolognese and he said it was less wet than a bolognese, which is tomato based. I was like wtf?!, this guy has clearly never even been to Italy. Oh well. I think it’s kind of pricey for the quality, although of course their ingredients are well-sourced. The restaurant interior is kind of nice to sit and lounge around in though, they play some kind of new age-y music which is great for long dinner chats.


Dim sum at No Signboard Seafood, Vivocity

We seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time in the south (in the harborfront area) after we stopped working despite living light years away from it. This time we were there to catch a Woody Allen movie (which wasn’t showing at the other GVs near our house – Magic in the Moonlight?). It was very funny even if not exactly plausible, which I guess is standard for his movies. And so we decided to bring his dad here for dim sum right before the movie.

We had the dragon beard dumplings (with wasabi mayo) – didn’t super like this. I thought the noodle/pastry layer was way too thick, which I suppose isn’t helped by the fact that I don’t take wasabi (so no wasabi mayo). Z really liked it though, so to each his own.

I did enjoy the braised mushrooms atop rice in abalone sauce, even though the abalone flavour is not really pronounced. The sauce is rather light tasting and the rice is quite sticky. This was larger than the picture in the menu, so good for 2 to share.

And then of course we had fried prawn dumplings with lemon mayonnaise, one of my favourite dim sum things to order even though it’s really not that different from the fried wonton in wonton noodles.

The char siew baos were really good, very well done filling that was not too sweet with large chunks of pork.

And the siew mai, standard.

The star of the show was the yam ring with seafood in XO sauce – rather different from the way most zhi char places do it in some viscous non-spicy seafood sauce with sugar snap peas and cashews. Their XO sauce was excellent and was full of umami, went great with the yam ring, which was also excellent. I would definitely order it again, even though it’s really quite filling. Look at those beautiful shredded dried scallops!


Dessert at St. Marc’s Cafe

We came here for dessert after watching Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight at Vivocity.

The Matcha nara parfait is not as good at Tsujiri in the 100am mall or even as good as the matcha parfaits in Nana’s Green Tea Cafe. It was passable though, I did like the matcha pudding although if it were matcha nama instead of matcha nara I think that would be preferable to everybody! They are famous for their chococros, which we didn’t get to try (yet). Still, it’s a decent dessert place in Vivo for afternoon tea.


Dessert at Honeymoon Desserts

Headed here to wait for Stephen Wiltshire while he was on his lunch break. :P We’d already eaten at Omakase Burger so only had room for dessert. It’s an affordable, no frills dessert place with quite a few options, but I don’t think their desserts are that well executed. I don’t really know many places with really good sesame paste and all that in Singapore though.

Black sesame paste with walnut paste – it was quite prettily marbled but there were bits of corn starch clumps in it which was sorta gross.

LZ got the Green tea ice cream with black glutinous rice over vanilla cream shavings. The vanilla cream and green tea ice cream was decent but the cold pulut hitam was bad, had weird chewy bits of rice, and was not very satisfying. So don’t order that as an add-on if you’re here!