Parmesan and Belper Knolle Crisps

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Another cheesy recipe, I just can’t get enough! A regular Saturday night for us this time of year in Geneva would be to get some cheeses from the markets and a couple of bottles of wine, sitting in front of the X Factor whilst munching our way through our goodies. There are such a wide variety of cheeses available in Geneva we were always trying new ones. It was there that I found one of my favorite cheeses. Tête de Moine is a tasty swiss cheese that has an A.O.C. so you know you are eating the real deal. If you speak french you may know that Tête de Moine means Monks head. It was originally made by monks, just our side of the rosti border . I was surprised to find that you can buy Tête in a number of places here in Singapore. I was also surprised to try a new cheese in Singapore, not just a new cheese but a new swiss cheese we had never heard of. I did a bit of research and found that Belper Knolle is made near Bern, the other side of the rosti border and Switzerland’s capital city. I found that belper should be used as a topping on pastas and risottos rather than as a table cheese. To get the flavors out, it is best thinly sliced or grated and allowed to air for a couple of minutes before crumbling over your dish. I made a pea and mint pesto the other week and it was delicious stirred through some spaghetti along with the pesto. We only used a tiny amount and the flavors really came through. I was thinking of a new way to use it rather than just sprinkled over some pasta and I decided I would make some Parmesan crisps with a little Belper Knolle. They turned out great and really tasty! Parmesan crisps can be used to top salads, soups, risottos or even eaten with dips. Here’s how I did it.

What you need to make 5 crisps…

50g Fresh grated parmesan – this won’t work with the pre-grated stuff you get in the dry goods section of the supermarket

1 Thin slice of belper knolle

SCC Parmesan and Belper Knolle SCC Uncooked Cheese Crisp

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by covering with grease proof paper (I used a silicone mat) and cover with parmesan shapes. Don’t stack the parmesan too thickly, it’s nice to get that webbed effect on the crisps.

SCC Close up Parmesan Crisp

Leave an inch between each shape and gently slide your tray into the oven so as to not shake the cheese and make your shapes wonky! Cook for about 5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container with a peice of grease proof paper between each layer. You can leave out the Belper if you can’t get your hands on it or add your own herbs and spices to the parmesan before cooking. I’ve added cooked bacon lardons before and they were yummy! Another way to serve them is to mould them around the bottom of a small container or glass whilst they are still warm and serve dips in them – well that’ll save the washing up later!

SCC Uncooked Heart Crisp

SCC Bacon Heart Cooked CrispsSCC Parmesan Crisp with Soup

Cheese and Onion Dip

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It’s been a busy week in the kitchen for me, I haven’t been able to stop! It has also been a busy week in the kitchen for Bryan, as long as I am handling food, all he can see is an opportunity to eat anything I drop. To be fair I am pretty clumsy so he has a good chance of getting some tasty human food!

Bryan trying to look all innocent whilst at the same time standing as close to my feet as possible to catch anything I drop!

Bryan trying to look all innocent whilst at the same time standing as close to my feet as possible to catch anything I drop!

After not baking much since we arrived in Singapore I feel like I’ve started to make up for it the last few days. Earlier this week I made some chocolate cupcakes, they were so soft and moist I decided to make some salt caramel sauce to squeeze into the middle of them. Unfortunately the cupcakes didn’t last long enough for me to get to that stage so I am going to have to make another batch. I will definitely be posting the recipe for those! I’m not a huge chocolate fan and even I found them irresistible. I also made a couple of soups, parmesan and belper knolle crisps, some tomato pesto using the semi dried tomatoes I had left over from a couple of weeks ago and this dip. This is such an easy dip to make when entertaining and can easily be thrown together last minute with three simple ingredients. Cheddar, onion and salad cream. Simply grate the cheese, finely chop the onion and squeeze in enough salad cream to make it a ‘dip’ consistency. Then all you need to do is scoop it up with some crudités or smother on some cheese biscuits. I have a friend who has an intolerance to onion and still finds this dip irresistible!

50g Cheddar cheese

50g Onion (approx half a medium onion)

75g Salad Cream

Just grate the cheese, blitz the onion in a food processor and mix together with the salad cream.

SCC Onion Dip With Onion

A Pug can dream!

A Pug can dream!

Pasarbella

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When we lived in Kent, I used to love getting a train up to Borough Market. Often we would meet my parents early to beat the crowds and spend a morning wandering around the stalls. All whilst grazing on the delicious food before heading to a pub across the river Thames to rest our weary feet over a few drinks. We even visited with Bryan, our Pug, last Christmas. He couldn’t believe his luck eating all the food scraps off the floor and sniffing all those lovely smells. The closest thing we had in Geneva was the Sunday market on Plainpalais, a flat diamond clearing between L’Arve and the Vieille Ville. The food was rarely of good quality, the best things we managed to get there were a coffee from the back of a bicycle and a baguette. Everything else seemed to have the same strange background taste to it.

It was only on Friday night that I learned Singapore had it’s own counterpart. Pasarbella, a new indoor food market, only open since May this year, can be found underneath the grandstand at the old Turf Club. I was very excited to hear about it and planned to go as soon as possible. On Sunday morning we were up and out early, out of habit I guess, to explore the food market. It was easy to find and they have ample parking, so armed with my camera we headed in.

Entrance from the East End

Entrance from the East End

When we walked in, the first thing I noticed was the lights, there are so many bright lights it has a cave kind of feel to it. Almost like a grotto for foodies!

SCC Keep Calm Food Sign

SCC Food Glorious Food Sign

The different sellers are spread out as more permanent fixtures rather than like market stalls which give it a bit more of an upmarket food hall feel to it rather than a market but I guess that makes sense as it’s open everyday. We decided to have a wander around first to get our bearings and to see what was to offer. A lot of the stallholders were still setting up anyway.

A suckling pig

A suckling pig

SCC Beer Sign

SCC Rare Cheese Sign

SCC Seafood Sign

A pretty florists stall

A pretty florists stall

Preparation at James Butchery and Co where we bought some yummy beef burgers to cook at home for lunch - they were very tasty!

Preparation at James Butchery and Co where we bought some yummy beef burgers to cook at home for lunch – they were very tasty!

Our first stop was at Nibbles by Rabbit Carrot Gun – what a strange name! We picked up a sausage roll which was heated up in the microwave later in the day. It was the closest we have tasted to a sausage roll outside of the UK.  They also stocked some great looking pies which we will definitely be trying another time.

SSC Pasarbella Pies

The next traders to persuade us to part with our hard earned cash were the lovely ladies in The Cheese Ark. Their layout is slightly different. There were a few Gouda’s laid out to try and a couple of cheeses displayed but the rest were shut away in their cellars. They were very helpful asking what cheeses we liked and giving us lots of tasty samples but we tried not to get carried away. We left with some young Gouda, a tasty Buffalo blue cheese and some Belper Knolle.

The entrance to The Cheese Ark

The entrance to The Cheese Ark

One of their cheese cellars

One of their cheese cellars

After our cheese purchasing, we thought it was about time we had a little snack. All this food was making us hungry! We passed the Keith Crackling Roast stand where the smell of crispy pork belly was too much to bare – we gave in…

SCC Crackling Roast Sign

SCC Crispy Pork BellyWe got a small portion to share which was one of the thin strips you see above sliced into bite sized pieces, it was so yummy we scoffed it all before I even thought of taking a photo! Opposite was a tasty looking burrito stand but I couldn’t of stomached a burrito so early!

A few times we passed Le Patio although they weren’t serving yet. They had some huge pans they were making Paella in, similar to ones they have at Borough Market. It wasn’t ready to be served yet but each time we passed it was a little further along the line and looked really tasty!

SCC Le Patio Sign

SCC Paella 1

SCC Paella 2

SCC Paella 3

Nearby they had a stall by Da Paolo, they have a cafe near to my fiancés office where we have met for lunch before. They do a great Carbonara. Just look at those oversized pastries!

SCC Da Paolo Pastries

Once we were shopped out, we grabbed a flat white from Dutch Colony, which was very smooth, and had a final wander before jumping in the car and heading home to graze on our goodies for the day!

SCC Dutch Colony Coffee

Here are some more shots I took throughout the morning.

SCC Pasarbella on corregated steel SCC View from roof SCC Seafood Sign

Some more of those colourful lights

Some more of those colourful lights

Some delicious looking Russian cakes. I vow to try the pomegranate next time.

Some delicious looking Russian cakes. I vow to try the pomegranate next time.

A coffee grinder outside the Dutch Colony coffee stall

A coffee grinder outside the Dutch Colony coffee stall

SCC Coffee Beans

SCC Fish Heads

SCC Crab and Lobster

SCC Fish

SCC Clams

SCC Duck Clam

SCC Fish Eye

SCC Crab

SCC Surf Clam

SCC Peppers

SCC Courgette

We will definitely be returning, but later in the day so we can eat in one of the food outlets there, although it’ll be tough to choose which one! I’ll also make sure we draw out money before as a lot of the stalls are cash only.

If you fancy visiting Pasarbella, here is their website with all the info you need! http://www.pasarbella.com

Madeleines

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I love french supermarkets, in fact I love any new, foreign supermarket. Snooping around all the local produce and all the new brands, seeing what is to offer. When we lived in Geneva, we used to occasionally pop over the boarder into France to do our food shop. We didn’t do this too often as my fiancé hates food shopping (and the Swiss wouldn’t let me drive so he had to come), but if we wanted to buy more than a couple of boxes of beers then it would be worth the trip (for him!). Whenever we would pop into Carrefour, he would always pick up a bag of madeleines, the kind where you have a huge pack of about 50, each individually wrapped. They have a sell by date of about 6 months and one would expect them to last at least half that time . Well they never saw the end of a week in our home!

Cold Storage, our new local supermarket, do stock both Carrefour and Casino produce for the french expats and francophiles of Singapore. But until they start stocking his favourite little cakes it looks like I’m going to be pulling out my madeleine tray and switching on the oven. For my recipe I turn to Michel Roux Jr. He has a great madeleine recipe that is easy to follow in 3 simple steps. And his wine pairing suggestion? Prosecco. Do you need further tempting to give this one a try and pop open a bottle of fizz? Unfortunately it was 11am when I made these and I was home alone so some suspicions would have been raised should I have opted for the bubbles rather than a mug of coffee to go with my share.

The first batch I made looked a tad on the golden side and a little crisper than desired. I decided to turn down my oven a tad, it is the first time I have baked cakes since we moved here so I am still getting used to where the hot spots are and what temperature works best. It also doesn’t help that the temperature dial shows 160 degrees at 5 o’clock and 180 degrees at 7 o’clock, I don’t trust that anything in between these two is very accurate as the spacing is too big compared to the others. Anyway, back to madeleines. The second batch turned out much better. I had enough mixture to pour a little more into each cup leaving just a couple of millimeters space at the top.

I whisked the eggs and sugar together with my electric whisk to make them nice and frothy quickly

I then used my hand whisk to combine all the other ingredients

I then used my hand whisk to combine all the other ingredients so as not to over beat them, it looks a bit like frothy custard at this stage

Both batches cooling. Which one do you think looks best?

Both batches cooling. Which one do you think looks best?

Close up, although my camera decide to focus on the drooling pug - bless

Close up, although my camera decide to focus on the drooling pug – bless!

You can see here how light batch 2 look in the middle

You can see here how soft and light batch 2 look in the middle

Michel says they should be eaten within an hour of removing from the oven – well if he insists, it would be rude not too. Lets just not tell my fiancé I made madeleines today….

Low and Slow Semi Dried Tomatoes

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This recipe goes with my obsession for ‘picky’ food. I love anything that can be grazed on, they also double up as a cooking ingredient – these tomatoes have become a store cupboard essential in my kitchen.  After seeing a recipe in a magazine recently, I thought I would give my own a go, it looked so easy and I found it really was.  As long as you have a couple of hours spare as you need to cook them low and slow. It’s also a great way of using up the remaining few in a pack of softening tomatoes.

You will need…

6 Tomatoes, sliced in half

2 tsp Olive Oil

2 pinches of dried herbs, I used Mccormick Garlic and Herb Seasoning, mixed with one pinch of salt

1 Sterilised glass jar

Additional olive oil, for topping up the jar afterwards, use the best you can afford as this will add to the end flavour of your tomatoes

SCC Raw Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 130 degrees celcius. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet and brush each one with a little olive oil.

SCC Tomatoes brused with olive oil

Sparingly season each piece of tomato with the herbs and place in the oven for two and a half hours. SCC Herbed tomatoes

Remove and cool before placing in a jar and topping up with olive oil.

SCC Tomatoes in Jar

You can use them in salads, sauces, pizza, pasta or straight from the jar. Any tomatoes can be used for this recipe but you’ll need to alter the cooking time according to size. I have used cherry tomatoes before and they are equally as yummy and took just over an hour at the same temperature.

Egg White Omelette with Feta Cheese

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks in our household with my in laws to be visiting from England. It’s been nice to actually spend some time making memories with them rather than just the quick catch ups when you just spend a couple of days together every few months. We’ve had a lovely time showing them the sights of Singapore and eating out in some yummy restaurants, what a treat!  Although it hasn’t given me much time in the kitchen lately.  With them now safely home and the other half back in the office, it’s time for me to get the apartment back in order and get into the kitchen. Here’s what I had for lunch today…

Yet another healthy post from me but lets just make one thing clear – we aren’t sacrificing on taste here. I’m the kind of person who’d rather spend an extra 20 minutes in the gym than eat some low fat, low cal cardboard.  I have always associated egg white omelette with healthy tasteless rubbish but the low fat feta in this one teamed with the olives and mushrooms makes it very tasty indeed. Even the other half likes it! Next you’ll just need to figure out what to use those left over egg yolks for! This recipe makes an omelette to serve one.

What you’ll need:

3 Egg whites, Seasoned with salt and pepper

25g Red onion, finely sliced

1 Black olives, sliced

2 Mushrooms, sliced

50g low fat feta cheese

SCC Egg White Omellette Ingredients

Coat a small frying pan with a little cooking spray or just enough olive oil to cover the pan in a thin layer. Cook the mushrooms and onions on a medium to low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add the feta and olives, followed by the egg whites. Swirl them around until they coat the bottom of the pan and cook until the eggs are no longer translucent. Turn over halfway if you need to. Serve with your favorite side salad.

SCC Egg White Feta Omelette