Monthly Archives: April 2012

Toby’s Estate

Hailing all the way from down under Australia, Toby’s Estate has opened its first ever offshore branch in Singapore. Word has it that the owner whose name is Toby (no surprises there) had actually worked in the coffee plantations and factories of Brazil, Guatemala, Columbia and even East Asia, honing his skills before setting up his first cafe in Sydney! Needless to say, Toby’s Estate is yet another gourmet coffee store whose owners are passionate about a good brew.

But of course what’s a fragrant roast of coffee without a hearty breakfast platter to accompany on a lazy Saturday morning? Toby’s Estate also offers a pretty extensive menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even pastries on display for anyone who is either looking for a good meal or simply something to munch on.

Starting off our weekend brunch was a creamy and cheesy bowl of mac and 3 cheese. We ordered the kids size at $8 because we did not want our entrée to take up too much tummy space before our mains arrived. And it was a good choice since eventually, this small bowl serving was just nice.

Deniece had the breakfast croissant with scrambled eggs + smoked salmon $12 and added a side of sauteed mushrooms $3. She had full praises for her choice and I have to admit, the presentation was definitely appetite inducing. The croissant was well crisp, browned and the buttery consistency was commendable.

Recipe: Bite-Sized White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cups

I know I was supposed to stay away from baking anything chocolate but mummy has been missing this since the first time I made it for her last year and she requested for it so I cant possibly say no to mummy right? And this ‘cake-cup’ is everything mummy likes- white chocolate and macadamia nuts. We have such similar tastes in our choices of indulgent foods, it’s actually scary. Exactly as the saying goes- like mother like daughter!

I tried a new recipe this time because I didnt want it to be as sweet as it was when I first made the original White Chocolate Macadamia Blondies which were a little too decadent and heavy. So I mixed things up a little and used less flour and less sugar this time.

Melting white chocolate is a little different from melting regular dark chocolate so do watch your flame carefully, keep stirring constantly and make sure it is on low heat at all times! Also important to let the chocolate cool for about 5min before mixing in the sugar and the eggs but not too long or the chocolate will start to harden up and it will be difficult to work with.

Baker N Cook @ Hillcrest Road

Opened by New Zealand celebrity baker and cookbook author- Dean Brettschneider, Baker N Cook joins the ranks of international bakeries such as Maison Kayser and Paul Bakery that have recently opened their flagship store in our sunny Singapore in the past few months.

Nestled among the restaurants and shops of Greenwood Ave, Baker N Cook blends in so beautifully with its surroundings at the junction of Hillcrest Road and Greendale Ave that you would almost miss it if you were not looking for it.

This artisan bakery/foodstore/cafe displays its wide variety of pastries, breads, pies and cakes on the counters, tempting you even before you walk through the glass doors. Freshly baked croissants, meringues and muffins are just some of many goods offered as part of their handcrafted signature range amongst others which include jams, chutney and granola which are packaged for easy takeaways. Get ready for a carb-laden morning/afternoon when you get here because you will definitely be spoilt for choice!

Between the four of us, we first ordered the Pain Au Chocolat $3.10 which was crisp, buttery and well-flaked. Unfortunately, being a chocolate croissant, I would have appreciated a little bit more chocolate inside and it would have been perfect if this was served still warm from the oven.

Recipe: Mini Lemon Curd Pies topped with Toasted Marshmallows

Im not usually one to make citrus fruits-based desserts but recently I have been experimenting a whole lot more with new ingredients and trying to keep away from my usuals- chocolate, nutella, peanut butter etc.

So when the theme for this month’s SABH was released 2 weeks back, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to really do something different and see how it turns out! And this was truly one huge experiment from start to finish because I did not know what I was expecting most of the time and just varying my measurements along the way as I saw fit. First time ever I was so nervous in the kitchen as to what my oven was about to produce each time the timer stopped!

I made a wholemeal-oatmeal cookie pie crust and had the intention to make indentations in the cookie once it came out of the oven while still warm and soft. But what I did not expect was that while my cookie base was cooling down on its own in the muffin pan, it started to indent all by itself! So basically I did not have to do anything but just taken the pan out of the oven and put it aside to cool and allow the magic to happen all by itself.

Next I filled it with lemon curd which I had made the night before. This was my own recipe- got a couple of tips here and there from online recipes on how to know it was ready and how to store it but apart from that, I just played around with the number of eggs and lemons to use until the taste was right for me.

PS. Cafe (Palais Renaissance)

Always one to exude that chilled and laid back vibe with its large plate servings, mouthwatering displays of cakes and somewhat pricey menu, PS. Cafe is indeed a dependable choice to fall back on when you simply wish to unwind. They are afterall, one of the first pioneer concept cafes that first came onto the scene in the last couple of years.

This was my first time at the Palais Renaissance branch and the ambiance did not disappoint one bit. The somewhat dim lighting atmosphere unique to PS. Cafe was no different at this location and while it was tempting to stay at the air-conditioned part of the cafe, I was freezing after being in the cinema for the last 2 hours so the al-fresco area was naturally a better option for me.

I did however prefer the outdoor section of the cafe once I saw it. It was an open concept with natural light coming through and mirrors all around the place. If it werent for the renovations going on next door and ruining the view from the window, it would have been perfect.

Furthermore, because we came at such an odd timing of 5pm when there was almost no one, we had the entire garden-like outdoor patio all to ourselves. It is actually the perfect place for a date given the privacy, layout and ‘lush greenery’ all around you. But you have to come at the right time because the place can get pretty packed and crowded around dinner time.

Since the dinner menu only starts at 6pm, we decided to start to order the Chocolate Crunch Doorstop $15.90 first. It was three layers of chocolate mousse, caramelized nuts (pecans, almonds and walnuts) and a chocolate cake base topped with malteaser balls! I loved the first 2 layers. The chocolate mousse was not too sweet, light, smooth and airy (just as it was supposed to be) and I never say no to caramelized nuts! But the chocolate cake was a bit of a disappointment because it was simply too dry!