Category Archives: Food 美食介绍

The Man who made Sex on the Beach

If you’re wondering what’s the first thing I’m going to do after Star Awards tomorrow, it will be to indulge in local delights!

That’s because I will be filming a regional food programme early next morning, where I take Alvin Leung, aka Demon Chef to taste some of Singapore’s local delights.

Demon Chef Alvin Leung

He doesn’t look like your typical chef, but that’s because he really isn’t your typical chef. He’s a chef who is also a food deconstructionist. From what I’ve Googled, that means he breaks the dish down into its core ingredients, and then using those key ingredients, whip up the same dish in a different form. This is a purely theoretical explanation I derived from what I’ve read so far. I will probably get a better idea when I meet him next week.

Now take a look at one his most famous dishes:

Sex on the Beach

Alvin unveiled this dish at a prestigious culinary congress, Identita Golose in Milan.

This unique dish features a sweet edible condom, made by dipping a cigar tube into a kappa and konjac mixture. Using a pipette, Alvin then squeezed a few drops of a honey and Yunnan ham mixture. The ‘condom’ was then placed onto powdered shiitake mushrooms, made to look like sand.

At one time, Alvin also recreated this dish into a dessert at his restaurant Bo Innovation, in support of AIDS charities.

Dessert: Sex on the Beach (HK$68)

The strawberry flavoured condom constructed out of gelatin contains condensed milk, served with berry coulis, vanilla creme and biscuit beach ‘sand’.

Now Sex on the Beach seems more like an invention than a deconstruction. Which brings me to the question: When does deconstructed food become a new dish altogether?

Before I meet him, here’s my idea of deconstructed food. If you’ve been to The Cookie Musuem, you will find cookies in local flavours, such as Hainanese Chicken Rice and Hae Bee Hiam (Spicy Dried Shrimps).

Photo: The Pleasure Monger

In other words, instead of having Chicken Rice and Hae Bee Hiam consumed the usual way, all the ingredients are put into a cookie.

Am I right or am I confused? I’ll find out from Alvin soon.

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Pigging out in Disneyland

I managed to squeeze an extra day or two after filming in Tokyo Japan to go to Disneyland. Because it was my third time, there weren’t as many surprises. I did however notice that I was eating the whole day!

I can't remember what the exact theme was. It was some festival where you can write your message on this little piece of paper and hang it up.

I love wafer ice-cream!

Chewing Mickey's ears

In popsicle form

In popsicle form

These buns are so funny!

I never tried these, but I wonder if they taste as good as they look.

I think you can never go wrong with peach danish. I remembered having this the last time. Love the peach, but not so crazy about the crust.

Another flavour.

I eventually settled for a chocolate cheesecake.

I must always accompany my sweet treat with black coffee. The cake wasn't fantastic, I was hoping it would melt in my mouth like how some Japanese cheesecakes do, but it didn't.

The whiff of waffles warmed us on that cold rainy day in Disneyland.

I was looking for the pushcart that sold Smoked Turkey Leg but found the Teriyaki Chicken Leg instead. It was too salty for me.

What a happy place Disneyland is, with every wrapper saying this!

I love maple churros!! They really make my day!

Found this at Queen of Hearts restaurant during lunch. I've never heard of "Unbirthday"!

This was dinner, not very inspiring in terms of the way it looks, but taste pretty good. Beef, vegetable and rice.

Next up, all the lovable things in Disneyland!

Food Design Ideas

Having spent almost a week in Tokyo, my eyes are now attuned to look out for creative things (because the Japanese are great with inventing).

I have a new found appreciation for art and pretty packages that I admit, as of this point has yet to delve beyond the superficial, but I believe it would someday.

That is why I’m going to share with you what caught my attention while I was surfing the Net today.

And with the exception of one, these are not from Japan. Although I won’t be surprised if someone finds them there.

Cookie Cup. The cup is made of pastry covered with a special icing sugar, which works as an insulator, and makes the cup waterproof hence allowing you to use the cup and then appreciate its taste.

I didn’t know anything about food design until I found this picture. Apparently after you’ve drank the coffee, you can eat the cup. It’s like an ice-cream except it’s hot. Talk about leaving no waste behind.

Sugar Heart

These are probably quite common but I have never seen them! If anyone knows how to make them, please share the recipe! Otherwise, as of now, you can buy them here.

Impressionist Cake

This is such a work of art although I’m not sure if it’s actually edible!

iPhone Cookie

Now this iCookie is designed by a Japanese bakery called Green Gables. I’m curious though, if someone from Singapore can bake this, would it be sold out?

Juice Fasts, Detox Diets

Here’s something I read about in April’s Vogue that is quite interesting. As with anything, there are always different schools of thoughts.

There was an article about the claims of juice fasts and detox diets written by Bronwyn Garrity, based on interviews with Michael Gershon, M.D., a Columbia University professor who’s spanned his career studying about all things related to the digestive system.

Here’s what I gathered:

Claim 1. You’ll Rid Your Body of a Lifetime of Chemicals

Vogue says: If you’re generally healthy, the liver will flush out anything the body interprets as toxic and the kidney will pump out water-soluble toxins. If the toxins can’t be released while you go through the motions daily, they end up residing in fatty tissues like the brain. That part you can’t flush with any juice and laxatives.

I say: Let your body work its natural system.

2. You’ll Drop Two Dress Sizes

Vogue says: While you may see yourself losing weight, what you’re losing could be muscle and not fat. Without enough protein, the body turns to muscle for fuel and the weight loss appears pronounced because of the muscle’s bulk. However losing muscle mass will decrease metabolism and a return to solid food eventually could mean returning to original weight.

I say: If you really want to lose weight, the hard way would be to exercise while maintaining a high-protein, low-carb diet. Notice I said low-carb, not no-carb!

Claim 3. You’ll Look 10 Years Younger

Vogue says: Including a high intake of water and vitamin-rich juice into our system and eliminating stressors like sugar, caffeine and alcohol will no doubt plump the skin and result in the so-called glow, but this may be short-lived. Persisted low calorie cleansing (coupled with laxative use) can overtime can deprive your body of hydration and nutrition, resulting in volume loss in the skin and wrinkles.

I say: We still need to incorporate juice and vegetables in our diet, but that doesn’t mean we need to remove everything else.

Claim 4. You Experience Euphoria

Vogue says: Apparently all animals have endorphin systems to ease trauma. The euphoria may actually be a sign that the body thinks it’s starving and trying to prevent suffering.

I say: Oh no, this is kind of scary, if I’m happy does that mean I’m actually not?

Claim 5. Your Brain Fog will Lift Without Coffee

Vogue says: A diet that is rich in fat and sugar will clog up capillaries and makes it difficult for oxygenated blood to be pushed to your brain, therefore you may experience lethargy and forgetfulness. Vitamin-rich juices may increase blood flow to the brain causing people to feel alertness, but you don’t need to starve to achieve the purpose.

I say: I can’t live without coffee, so I will include more fruit and vegetables into my daily diet and cut the junk to balance out.

Claim 6. You’ll Cure Chronic Diseases

Vogue says: Studies have suggested that heart-disease patients who eat more vegetables and fruit may begin to lower high cholesterol  and blood glucose levels in little more than a month. Benefits will be lost once you return to your old habits of eating.

I say: Curing Chronic Diseases is a big claim! I think the bottom line is we want to prevent any disease from striking first, so we have to try our best to take care of our body, and starving is definitely not one of the ways.

Something gone bad

Just for laughs. The usual gang up to no good. Oops.

Unusually Hyper

The thing about me is, I’m unusually hyper when I’m tired. It’s my way of overcompensating for fatigue.

Yesterday, I was filming in an office for the long drama YOUR HAND IN MINE. I don’t know if it was being cooped up in an office on a rainy day, freezing and hungry that got me derilious, or just simply the company I was with. I was very tickled by the slightest thing. Especially so when we discovered that there was a stall selling goreng pisang (fried banana) at 3 different prices. And so, here was what we did after lunch while waiting for the bus to come pick us up.

(七步成食)Easy Cooking: My Recipes

I’ve been so busy in the past few days to realise my episode of Easy Cooking was yesterday. Actually, it’s a case of I didn’t even realise it was Friday. Nonetheless, I’ve received several requests asking me for the recipes, so here they are. Feel free to try them out and share your tips here!

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup

Rosemary Cauliflower Soup

I’m not a fan of cauliflower because they taste rather bland, but with this soup, it taste better with each spoonful! It is rich in fibre and does not make use of cream or milk to achieve the thick consistency. If you cook some meat separately and add it in, it becomes a modification of a healthy porridge. I use a lot of ingredients to make the soup, so it will be flavourful without the use of any salt or sugar or (gasp!) MSG.

You will first need to make the vegetable broth.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Pine nuts

Pine nuts

Chopped onions

Chopped onions

After you’re done with the broth, you’ll need to prepare the soup.

Ingredients for vegetables

1 cauliflower (approx. 500g, chopped)

1 medium potato (diced)

1 large shallot (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 celery branch (diced)

2 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

1 twig of rosemary

Steps

4. Heat 2 tbsp of oilve oil in a large pot and cook the shallot, garlic cloves, pine nuts and diced celery branch for 3 to 4 minutes.

5. Add the cauliflower and potato. Cook for 5 minutes on low to medium heat

6. Add the vegetable broth and rosemary. Cover and cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

7. Remove the rosemary and pass the soup through a hand mixer or food processor.

Lemongrass Chicken Shrimp

Lemongrass Chicken Shrimp

Lemongrass Chicken Shrimp

I recommend this dish because it is colourful and healthy and if it’s the only main dish you have, there will still be enough meat and vegetables to provide a hearty meal. I like using natural herbs because they not only smell good but also add a more interesting flavour to the food.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass

Snap peas and coriander

Snap peas and coriander

French beans and carrot

French beans and carrot

Chicken breast and cooked shrimps

Chicken breast and cooked shrimps

Ingredients

200g chicken breasts (sliced)

150g cooked shrimps (You can use raw shrimps as you please but that would require additional preparation steps)

2 lemongrass sticks (chopped)

3 garlic gloves (chopped)

1.5 inch ginger root (peeled and chopped)

150g fresh carrots (peeled and chopped thinly)

200g fresh French beans (ends removed)

150g snap peas

Fresh coriander (English)

3 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 large tbsp of olive oil

Steps

1. Marinate the chicken breasts strips in oyster sauce. Set aside

2. Chop the white part of the lemongrass thinly, making sure to remove any hard part.

3. Heat a large wok. Add the oil and after about 30 seconds, add the ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Cook for a few minutes.

4. Add the chicken breast. Cook for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the carrots and french beans. Cook for about 5 minutes.

6. Add the snap peas, cook for a few minutes before adding the freshly chopped coriander.

7. Add the fish sauce to the shrimps and add it all into the wok to be cooked for a few more minutes.

Some water might need to be added depending on how long the washed vegetables have been set aside before cooking. Once the shrimps are cooked, the dish is ready to be served. The vegetables should remain firm and must not be overcooked.

Mixed Berries Lavender Yoghurt Ice Pops

Mixed berries lavender yoghurt ice pops

Mixed berries lavender yoghurt ice pops

Berries are high in anti-oxidants and make  refreshing dessert. Lavender usually makes you think of essential oil and is otherwise commonly used as a fragrance for bath and body products, but it can also be used for cooking. I’ve been trying to find recipes for this herb and there are plenty of lavender ice-cream recipes online but I wanted something less sinful and more healthy. So here I’ve improvised and created this yoghurt pop. Because yoghurt is used as a base, it taste more creamy than icy, so in a way, it’s like ice-cream without the cream.

I love raspberries!

I love raspberries!

The raspberries in this recipe is used for decorating purposes and can actually be skipped. You can improvise the recipe by adding the raspberries in together with all the other berries to make the mixture. If you can’t get hold of lavender sugar, you can use regular fine cane sugar. The amount of lavender seeds and sugar used will determine how lavender-ish your ice-pops taste, so adjust according to your personal preference. Here is what I did with the raspberries.

Ingredients

180g raspberries

2 tbsp fine cane sugar

1 tbsp lime juice

Half a dozen shot glasses

Steps

1. Place shot glasses in the freezer.

2. Place the fruit in a pot with the sugar and lime juice. Cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Strain the seeds and pour back into the pot. Cook on medium heat until you obtain a thick syrup-like consistency. Let cool.

4. Pour into the shot glasses to describe a pattern and leave the glasses in the freezer again.

Raspberries and blueberries

Raspberries and blueberries

Strawberries and blackberries

Strawberries and blackberries

Greek style yoghurt

Greek style yoghurt

Lavender sugar, lavender seeds and lime

Lavender sugar, lavender seeds and lime

Ingredients

250g mixed berries

50g lavender sugar or fine cane sugar

2 tbsp water

300g Greek style yoghurt

2 tbsp lavender sugar or fine cane sugar

Steps

5. Place 5 tbsp of sugar with mixed berries in a pot. Add 2 tbsp of water and a pinch of lavender seeds and cook until the berries are soft. Puree in a food processor

6. Mixed the berry puree with the yoghurt and add 2 tbsp of sugar. Adjust sweetness according to personal preference. My experience so far is to have the mixture slightly sweeter than I like because after it’s frozen, the sweetness will be just right.

7. Place in the fridge to cool (or use an ice cream machine to churn). Then pour into the shot glasses and place it in the freezer again. While still soft, insert the wooden sticks then place it into the freezer again for the pops to be fully set.