Shoryu Soho Opening

Three days ago, I attended theShoryu Soho opening party. Giulia from Mondomulia had kindly asked me along to join her at this special event. This was my second time to the Shoryu Soho branch. I visited before during their soft opening a while back to try their tonkotsu ramen.

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Shoryu specialises in Hakata tonkotsu ramen from Kyushu, southern Japan.
Made with a thick, rich pork soup, our tonkotsu ramen originates from the Hakata district of Fukuoka city in Kyushu, southern Japan. Our recipe has been specially created by our Executive Chef, born and raised in Hakata, to provide highly crafted, genuine tonkotsu rarely found outside Japan.” -Shoryu Ramen

The evening began with a cask of sake being broken open, to us shouting “YOISHO!” We were served a semi-dry premium grade sake from the cask and glittering real gold flakes can be seen in our sake masu (square wooden box). All of us were fascinated and took quite a while to try and photograph the amazing gold flakes.

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Our first course was the restaurant’s signature Shoryu Ganso Tonkotsu Ramen which went really well with the sake served. The two other courses that followed were also accompanied by matching sake.

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The bunch of us had a really good time and would like to thank Shoryu ramen for their kind hospitality.

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You can check out Shoryu Soho from now up until 19th July (their soft and grand opening period) to try their ramen for just £5!

Shoryu Soho
Address: 3 Denman Street London W1D 7HA

A hot day…

On a hot day like today, I thought I would blog about ice cream.

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The dude is a massive fan of ice cream. He always tells the childhood story of how his grandfather used to take him to the freezer after dinner and would always gives him a scoop of cold creamy vanilla ice cream. That’s his reason for being hooked on this dessert.

We were on our honeymoon in Granada when we found this amazing heladeria (aka gelato shop) called Los Italianos.

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Typically in an ice-creamery, you would be able to view the colour/ toppings of the selection but at Los Italianos, you get a list of flavours (in spanish of course) on the wall alongside piled up cones. All the ice cream is tucked away so you can’t exactly drool over what you see. You order your flavours from the servers and then pay a different lady who just sits by the till.

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My favourite flavour is pistachio and I reckon I tasted my favourite so far.
If you ever get to Granada, I recommend a visit(or more) to Los Italianos. This is definitely one of the best ice creameries I have ever been to.

Will you be getting an ice cream or gelato today? What’s your favourite flavour?

Los Italianos
Address: Calle Gran Vía de Colón, 4 18001 Granada Spain‎

It’s been a while…

It has been a while since the last blog. Trying to have separate personal and internet lives has proven difficult. Recently, I went on our belated honeymoon to Andalucia, which is part of the reason for the silence on this blog. I was also leaving my old job before the holiday. Since returning, I started a new job at a fabulous London design firm which I have dreamt of working for ever since moving to London.

Enough of the rambling, but real life took over for a while. We have a backlog of blog posts which we will try to catch up on.

Since being back, I managed to head to a wine tasting event, ConVINiality held by Village East. I have done wine tasting before in vineyards back in Australia. Most of the time it was just tasting without much understanding. The night’s theme was to discuss ‘Old World vs New World – Riesling vs Pinot Grigio‘. If you know me, I am not much of a white wine drinker (I blame it on the 2006 architecture fundraising night – where I got drunk on white wine.)

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We had a selection of five wines which Francois from Liberty Wines and Richard from Village East chose for the evening. There were wines from Italy, Germany and Australia.

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Francois went through the wines in detail and answered all our questions. I have always thought that riesling was ‘heavier’ than a pinot grigio but I was wrong. (Please pardon my ignorance.) After tasting the difference wines, it was very interesting to discuss our preference with Francois and Richard. The most expensive bottle of wine is not necessarily the ‘tastiest’ (according to my tastebuds). The discussion went on for the evening while our glasses were constantly topped up.

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The selection of canapés served were carefully designed to match the wines. One of the stand out dishes was the mackerel with beetroot, strawberry, pomegranate and tarragon.

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It was an extremely educational and enjoyable night and we even had wine notes to take home. I would definitely recommend you checking out Village East wine events if you get a chance. You will probably be seeing me at more wine club events!

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*Village East will be closed for refurbishment for 8 weeks. Watch out for their popup #skycanteen at Skyroom every Thursday in August 2013. I will be posting more details soon.

The marriage between strawberries & rhubarb

Rhubarb and strawberries are currently in season thus when I found that the rhubarb is half price at my usual supermarket, I decided to get them and make a compote.

This strawberry and rhubarb compote recipe came from one of my favourite pastry chef, David Lebovitz. This is so easy to make and extremely delicious! I have had them over home made granola, frozen yoghurt and vanilla ice-cream. It just taste SO good. Shuhan from mummy i can cook made this jasmine rice pudding with poached rhubarb and I am sure this compote will go just as well with the jasmine rice pudding!

Strawberries & Rhubarb Compote (adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe)
(the quantity below is adapted to suit store bought amounts and it makes about 6-8 servings)

155ml water
155ml ml unsweetened apple juice
5 sliced fresh ginger
50g sugar
50g – 80g honey (adapt to suit your sweet tooth!)
500g rhubarb, trimmed and cut
250 – 300g strawberries, hulled and quartered

First, heat the water, apple juice, ginger, sugar, and honey in a non reactive sauce pan.
When the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is simmering, add the rhubarb and cook until soft (not too soft though!). This may take about 5 minutes, depending on the rhubarb & your preferred texture. Remove from heat and add the prepared strawberries.
When cool, you can remove the ginger slices.

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ENJOY!

In hands…

It was Food Revolution Day last Friday and Giulia of Mondomulia invited us to a pizza masterclass at her house. Equipped with my new toy, I joined Sam & Hannah who were the fellow ‘students’ for the evening.

Giulia made recipe cards for each of us and had already set up a table full of ingredients for the workshop. We tried being attentive students whilst Giulia went through the importance of great ingredients and how to make pizza dough from scratch. The best bit of the evening came when we tried to toss the pizza dough. Out of the lot, one hit the ceiling and another ended on the floor. You can guess where mine went.

Whilst going through my photos, I was totally captured by the postures of the hand. Pizza preparation comes down to good dough and pizza tossing skills. I believe the following describes how our evening went before we indulged in our hand made pizzas topped with cooked ham, marinated artichokes and mozzarella.

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You can read more about the pizza workshop on Mondomulia.

*Thanks Giulia for hosting Food Revolution Day 2013! I hope I can do it at mine next year!

World Baking Day! Banana, Matcha & a hint of rhubarb!

It’s World Baking Day and as I have some leftover ripened bananas and some teapigs matcha powder left, I decided to bake some banana, matcha and rhubarb muffins! The banana and matcha (green tea) goes really well together and the rhubarb gives the muffin a tangy contrast. So easy to make and great for breakfast and tea!

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Ingredients:
2 tbsp matcha powder
2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup caster sugar
rhubarb (cut up), optional
2 bananas (mashed up), optional
caster sugar, to top

Preheat oven at 170degC. Line muffin tin with muffin cups. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients. Then, slowly add in wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Then fold in the cut rhubarb. Fill muffin tin with mixture about 3/4 of the way. Sprinkle granulated sugar to the top. Bake for around 15-20 minutes.

Cookery school – advanced pastry class

I have always considered myself as quite the baker. I enjoy baking and have taught myself a few tricks in the last few years. Perhaps the tricks were picked up when my mum asked me to fold in some flour whenever she bakes. One of my favourites is tart au citron. Making both the pastry shell and curd from scratch gives me a lot of satisfaction.

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When Cookery School at little Portland Street mentioned their advanced pastry course, I knew I had to go. The other half of Dishpiglets, Celia, had previously raved about her time there when she took up one of their intermediate cooking course. This was my first ever experience at a cooking class outside of school. The last time I was 13 and being taught how to cook during Home Economics class back in Singapore.

When I arrived at the Cookery School, there was a plate of delicious smelling gruyere cheese puffs waiting for the attendees. The gruyere puffs were light and had a slight tinge of saltiness to them. We were definitely off to a great start!

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The advanced pastry class was about exploring the use of puff pastry in both sweet and savoury recipes. Our tutor for the day was Ghalid, a pastry chef who was trained in France and has worked at many famous kitchens before deciding to switch to teaching. We were shown how to make a sweet short crust pastry to start with. The technique he taught was very different to the ‘shortcut‘ way which I normally used to make a lemon tart base. The key to a good sweet short crust pastry was the handling technique. There were many great tips given along the way and you could see all the students writing down ‘secrets of the trade‘.

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What intrigued me most was the making of puff pastry. Ghalid showed us the massive chunk of butter used in the making of a delicious puff pastry from scratch. Puff pastry is essentially BUTTER. The amount of time and strength used to roll the layers of butter and dough together to create all the layers requires patience and tenacity.

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There were a lot of hands on sessions with guidance from Ghalid when we were split into two groups of 3 to execute the provencal tomato tart and apple tarte tartin. As I was in quite the savoury mood, I headed to the provencal tomato tart group and tried to roll out a pre-prepared puff pastry. The handling of the puff pastry needs to be quick and precise. Manoeuvring of the pastry is crucial, with flour being regularly dusted onto both sides as you slowly roll it out. Ghalid gave a few pointers and we managed to roll out a decent length of puff pastry ready for our provencal tomato tart toppings.

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The other group prepared their apple tarte tartan and we were shown by the chef how to put it together. He then proceeded to show us other uses for puff pastry including the making of chicken sausage rolls and parmesan cheese straws.

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At the end of the class, we sat down together to enjoy our 3 hours of hard work, paired with wine. It was a ‘pastry’ themed dinner where we devoured our fruits of labour. The tomato provencal tart, apple tarte tartan and the parmesan cheese straws were the stand outs. This was a truly enjoyable class and I went away with a determination to make my own puff pastry soon! It was a wonderful way to spend a weekend afternoon, learning how to make pastry.

*The Cookery School participates in the Sustainable Restaurant Association Sustainability Rating and was rated as a Three Star Sustainability Champion in March 2012. They “have implemented numerous commendable sustainability practices, not only sourcing much produce locally and purchasing high welfare, organic food, but also sourcing most seafood from UK fisheries and stocking UK organic craft beers and some UK wines.

Cookery School
15b Little Portland Street
London W1W 8BW
Tel: 0207 631 4590

*Disclaimer: I attended the advanced pastry class as a guest of the Cookery School. All views are my own.

It’s all about bao 包…

Just over a month ago, I heard about bao london from a few food bloggers but none have supposedly tried it. After numerous google searches and twitter follows, I managed to track their next few street food appearances and headed down to Kerb one Thursday afternoon in search of 包.

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What exactly is 包 = bao? In mandarin, Bao is a steamed and filled bun. The texture is ‘pillow-y’ or even ‘fluffy’. There are many types of 包 bao which I have had, having grown up in Singapore. We always have 包bao as our tea time snack or even a breakfast item. One of the most common 包 bao which most people have come across is most likely char siew bun i.e. the barbeque pork bun.

What Bao London serves and specialises in is their gua bao 刈包. Gua Bao is a traditional taiwanese street food snack which comprise of slow braised pork belly, home pickled vegetables, coriander and peanut powder (which they grate themselves!!!). Having queued and tried one of these little babies, I commend them for bringing their bao to London.

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My heart did a flip when I bit into the soft milk bun. The juices and tenderness of the braised pork belly together with the slight saltiness of the home pickles and dryness of the peanut powder in the tender milk bun calls for a standing ovation. I loved every bite of the 刈包 gua bao. It was that good. My only criticism was the size of bun and the overflowing juices of the braised pork belly which made the bao soggy real fast.

I also tried their pomelo crunch salad and soya milk fried chicken which they fry only upon orders. The soya milk fried chicken was tender and juicy in contrast to the crispy coating which I enjoyed with some chilli sauce on offer.

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As for the pomelo crunch salad, it was a nice end to the flavoursome bun and chicken. I liked the subtleness of the vegetable salad tossed with some crunchy fried pastry and pomelo which added some acidity and a little bit of sour/bitterness to it all.

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You can find out where Bao london is at next if you follow their Facebook or twitter.

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Also check out the Skinny Bib’s review of bao, yum bun and A Wong.

Dishpiglets’ rating: 9.5/10

*On a side note, I love the design of Bao London, from the stall to the paper bag as well as their ‘anatomy of the bun’ info board. It’s just so aesthetically pleasing.

Matcha tea – teapigs

I tried teapigs for the first time one evening whilst over at a friend’s place. I was quite taken by the everyday brew (english breakfast) and loved the strength of the tea.

When teapigs mentioned their ‘Matcha May’ promotion, I was intrigued. I have always been a fan of green tea. When we got married in December last year, our wedding cake was a green tea layer cake with white chocolate ganache made by a very talented baker, Irene Chen, in Melbourne.

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Since then, I have been trying to create cakes with matcha. I have made matcha & lemon marbled cake which I have featured on the blog previously.

For those who do not know anything about matcha, it is actually green tea leaves ground down into fine powder. In Japan, matcha is used in formal tea ceremonies. From what I have read and heard so far, matcha powder contains more health benefits by volume than brewed teas. The amount of antioxidants in matcha is 137 times more than the antioxidants in regular green tea.

With the sample sent through from teapigs, I made two different flavoured smoothies and the usual cup of matcha tea. Having had other matcha tea before, I decided to do a taste experiment against a packet of matcha tea which I bought a few months ago from a local Japanese store. There is a stark difference in the colour of the matcha and from some websites, they have mentioned the quality of matcha tea can be told by the colour and smell of the matcha.

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The taste of teapigs matcha tea is very whole as compared to the slightly burnt/ sharpish taste of the other. *I made the two separate cups of tea with the same quantity of matcha. Whenever I have matcha, I always feel a stark difference in my energy levels. The cup of matcha definitely perked me up in the afternoon.

Besides the hot matcha tea, the smoothies I made were a simple banana smoothie as well as a strawberry banana yoghurt smoothie mixed with matcha. I love the contrast of the fruit smoothie in comparison to the subtlety of matcha. I always have a favourite smoothie from Boost Juice Australia called the green tea mango mantra which is made out of mango, green tea, mango nectar, vanilla yoghurt, sorbet & ice. Mango and matcha goes so well together and that will be my inspiration for the next smoothie I make!

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If you would like to try matcha, teapigs have kindly offered our readers to 15% off at teapigs website. All you have to do is enter the code BLOGGERS12 at checkout. Do note that the discount does not apply to gifts and cheeky deals.

Check out teapigs for their explanation on further information on matcha.

You can also follow teapigs on Facebook and twitter: @teapigs.

Get drinking!

Foxey’s Hangout

Spring seems to be finally here in London. The smell of sunshine when I am outdoors brings a smile to my face. With the summer months ahead, there seems to be so much on already!

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The sunshine transported me back to our Australia trip in December last year. After our wedding in Melbourne, we took a two days ‘mini-moon’ trip down Mornington Peninsula to enjoy the sunshine which London lacks. One of the highlights was a visit to Foxey’s Hangout, a local winery in Red Hill. In the five years that I have lived in Melbourne, I have heard friends talk about this winery but never managed to get round to it.

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We decided to pop in for lunch on a Saturday as the cellar door is open only on weekends and public holidays. As mentioned in Broadsheet (one of my favourite Melbourne lifestyle websites), the food is central to the offering at Foxey’s. I love the fact that it was relatively small and cosy with an outdoor area which looks out onto a gorgeous view of vines.

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As the weather was divine, we chose to sit outside on the terrace under the sun (in hope of a tan!). There was a selection of share plates, and given that it was our first time there, the waitress said we could have a tasting menu of the lot. It worked out well for us! We opted for the chilled rose to accompany our tasting plates. The tones of strawberry and a slight tinge of spice were perfect for the afternoon.

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The selection of plates we had were amazing. The sweetness of the roasted capsicum with the vinegary white anchovies was a delight on white sourdough bread. Then there was the plate of crunchy tasty zucchini fritters.

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The green asparagus with blood orange and a local parmesan cheese was refreshing with a crunch.

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One of my favourite was this simple Flinders tomato plate with feta and mint.
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The quail, no fuss, just with a tad of lemon juice simply added tang to the juicy morsels in our mouth.
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Inspired by the Mediterranean, the philosophy of the food at Foxey’s Hangout is to let the produce speak for itself. Even though the quantity of food was small, the number of plates we had was enough to fill us up and in fact, we left with very happy stomachs. We were really taken by the honest food, a great showing of the local fresh produce as well as the wine we had.

Foxey’s Hangout
795 White Hill Road
Red Hill, Vic, 3937
Australia

+61 3 5989 2022