Aloha Poke

Aloha, December! 

My first proper meal of December was at aloha poke, the new hawaiian-inspired joint in the CBD. It's located at Amoy Street, just at the corner where the alleyway leading to The Flying Squirrel is. It smells heavily of coconut, and random plants and hawaiian objects are littered around the cafe. It felt like a bit of an awkward mix of cute and professional. They cater mostly to the working crowd, and I would think that at least half of their customers do takeaways. It doesn't really seem like the kind of place for a nice, long, sit-down lunch anyway - the atmosphere felt kind of rushed and hurried, like everyone around us had somewhere or something to get to. It probably had to do with the fact that my sister and I were the only two people who weren't dressed up in office wear. 

The ordering system is like maki-san's: you take an order sheet and a pencil, and simply tick the boxes. Idiot-proof, and I like how they ask for your name here instead of giving you a random number. It feels a lot more personal; service is generally good here. Basically, they have three bowl sizes, each coming with one (75g), two (150g) or three (225g) servings of poke. You can choose between ahi tuna, salmon and/or a vegetable option. My sister and I went for the medium-sized bowl, with two servings (150g) of poke: me because I wanted to try both the ahi tuna and salmon, she because she was hungry. 

In addition to the ahi tuna and salmon, I opted for brown rice, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and avocado as my toppings. Each bowl also comes with pineapples, scallions, lime and a whole lotta salad leaves. I loved the brown rice, which was cooked to perfection - it had a lovely bite to it! The tuna and salmon were pretty fresh and well-seasoned, although the tuna was a little on the salty side. It reminded me of teppei's "special sauce", which is a good sign as I do like their barachirashi very much. 

I felt like everything didn't quite go very well together though. The salad leaves were rather out of place, and my sister and I found the dressing too bitter for our tastes. The pineapples were sweet and juicy, but they would have probably been better off as a side. It was quite a pity, as each individual component would have done better on its own, but I guess this is how things are done in Hawaii! 

On the bright side, I thought this was quite healthy - given the ginormous amount of salad leaves! I guess this would be a good place to takeaway a quick and healthy lunch in the CBD, at a decent price. Do try the water if you have a chance to, though - they're truly repping the whole hawaiian thing with their watermelon-and-tropical-fruit-infused-water. (I can't remember the rest of the fruits, hence 'tropical-fruit-infused'). That was good. 

Nice Cream..?

I've been craving ice cream lately... And when I crave something, I mean intense, i-need-this-now-or-i-feel-like-my-life-will-be-over kind of cravings. Sure, I can't get everything I want when I want it all the time, and a lot of the time I just ~ride it out~ or try to sleep it off and the craving will subside. But it's not a foolproof method.

I still wake up imagining the taste of said craving in my mouth, the smell, the flavours dancing in my mouth... It's painful, sometimes. The other day, I went downstairs to the minimart just to buy a tub of ice cream because I was craving it that badly. It was a tub of red velvet ben and jerry's, which by the way, is better in Singapore than in the US?? I don't know why but I remember excitedly buying a tub in San Francisco before they brought red velvet to Singapore and I was so underwhelmed by it. In fact, I distinctly remember it tasting like raspberries, whereas the one here actually tastes of red velvet. It's even got chunks of red velvet cake inside!

Unfortunately, I can't eat ice cream everyday (well, I could, but) - it isn't advisable to; everything in moderation right? So with that, I thought of this alternative that I've been seeing around on the internet quite a bit - nice cream!

FullSizeRender 25

Touted as a "vegan", healthier version of ice cream, nice cream is basically frozen bananas that has been blended or put through the food processor until it reaches a creamy consistency. It's quick, simple, and actually healthy!

As you can (probably) see, I didn't blend my nice cream very fully and this has resulted in me having some frozen banana chunks in it, but I think I like it that way c: To top it off, I also blended in some frozen raspberries and strawberries to turn it into a berry nice cream! It's berry nice, trust me.

Processed with VSCOcam with 6 preset

I suppose things as simple as this don't really require a recipe, as a lot of it is about trusting your instincts and adding more or less of stuff as you wish. But here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Do remember to freeze your bananas the night before! Peel and cut them up into little chunks before blending them. This will also save you the trouble of cutting off frozen banana peel the next day (I'm speaking from experience here). And as always, the riper, the better.
  2. About one medium/large frozen banana will do for one serving, or two small bananas.
  3. When it comes to mix-ins, the world is your blender. If that makes sense. Just add whatever, really. Cinnamon, oreos, BERRIES, watermelon, vanilla extract... Sugar if you would like added sweetness, but bananas are already sweet on their own.
  4. If necessary, add a splash of milk to keep the blending process going. If you find it getting too thin and you would like to thicken it up, blend in some ice cubes as well. c:

Enjoy x

Processed with VSCOcam with 6 preset

Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

Life is full of hits and misses and sometimes, you have to take a shot in the dark.

And you never really know how those turn out. It's a lot of risk-taking and finger-crossing and internal prayer-saying - and if you're lucky, you get a hit. Hopefully in your life you have more hits than misses, but if anything, I'd hope the hits are always worth the misses.

FullSizeRender 29

I had a hit today!!

Oh, happy day. I had initially planned to go for a run at 730 and then come home, make some pancakes and do some work. But how often do plans turn out the way you want them to, anyway. I woke up at 10 and went out for coffee with my mommy instead, at Dutch Colony - a favourite haunt of ours. I love our morning coffee runs, and a jolt of caffeine is one of my favourite ways to kickstart the day. Gets my mind going, brain cells working. A buzz of energy. Also, time spent with mommy is always time well-spent. Good mornings, indeed.

By the time I got back, it was time for brunch... Lunch... Whatever. I'm sitting at the dining table typing this out as my parents are eating their lunch (traditional "popiah") and eating... Pancakes. Pancakes all day, everyday, no?

FullSizeRender 31

FullSizeRender 27

Gonna blog the recipe down, so I know where to find it in the future. I hope it hits you as well as it did me. The original recipe calls for low-fat milk, but I substituted this for buttermilk so that I would have fluffier pancakes, pancakes with a little more rise. Also, a shoutout to my friend who bought me a lovely bottle of maple syrup from Canada - thanks to him, I've got the real deal. (It's amazing, by the way!)

Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

recipe adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 95g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp buttermilk
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • 20g melted butter

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder.
  2. Mash the banana in a small bowl. In a measuring cup, measure out your buttermilk, pour in the egg, vanilla extract and banana. Whisk it all together.
  3. Add the buttermilk mixture and the melted butter to the dry ingredients, fold in until just combined. The batter will be thick, lumpy and slightly wet. It's ok.
  4. Heat your griddle over a low-medium heat, and melt a pad of butter over it. Ladle your pancake batter onto the griddle, and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Depending on the size of your griddle, you can cook more than one at a time. Efficiency!
  5. Top with sliced bananas, maple syrup, whatever else your heart desires. I added some granola for a bit of crunch.

FullSizeRender 26

P.S. I got a Townske account, and I'm currently working on a few guides for Singapore - most of which have to do with food and cafes, do check it out sometime! You can check it out here:

http://townske.com/trufflebeth

P.P.S I just watched Taylor Swift's Bad Blood music video, and I am in LOVE.

✿ Pear Frangipane Tart ✿

Today, I quit my job.

I had been working there sine January this year, after IB results came out, in a bid to gain some experience of what it's like working in f&b and to do something productive with my time. It was at one of my favourite cafes, doing the usual service stuff - taking orders, serving coffee, and lots (and lots) of washing.

FullSizeRender 25

I guess it was a decision based on various situations and things that have been bugging me for a while. I mean, this job had its fun moments, and I have met a lot of really great people along the way. People that were fun to work with, who looked out for each other and really showed me what it meant to work in a team. It also showed me how much work goes into the day-to-day running of a cafe and especially some of the workings on the back end. Things aren't always as perfect as they seem to be, but I guess that's usually the case for anywhere and anything. I think I was talking to someone once, or I read this from somewhere - passion is actually derived from the word pasi, a latin word that means "suffering", or "enduring". I guess passion and hard work should really go hand in hand, and if you truly have a passion for something, you won't mind going through shit for it. For me, I guess I drew a line as to how much shit I was willing to take. Quitting won't always be a viable option, especially when I enter the workforce upon graduating University, but I shall exercise this freedom while I can.

After talking to a number of baristas and cafe owners for The Local Barista (a website thing I'm working on), I realised how important passion is, but also priorities. I have so much respect for all these people whom I've talked to, because the amount of dedication they have and the amount of effort & hard work put in is simply astounding. To me, they really embody what it means to truly have a passion for something as they didn't just sit on their butts and wait for success to come to them, or for other people to get it for them - they worked to get to where they are today, and they keep going. Honestly, it's awfully inspiring.

With the (somewhat) extra time I have now (or one less commitment), I am going to make the best of all the time I have left! One of my May resolutions was to bake and blog more, so here I am trying to keep to it. The one thing I fear, however, is baking merely for the sake of baking. I remain thankful for the random bursts of inspiration once in a while, or for the baking feels that hit me ever so often, little things that keep me going.

FullSizeRender 27

Last night, I felt like baking a tart. I've seen frangipane things going around before, but I was always somewhat confused because frangipane doesn't involve frangipanis (the flower), but it is actually an almond cream! I decided to top it with pears because well, I like the sound of a pear frangipane tart and the other option that I thought of was berries, but I had none at home.

Ah, pears. An all-time favourite fruit of mine.

FullSizeRender 25

Tart-making seems so simple, but it feels like there are so many steps that could go wrong along the way. I was so afraid that my pie crust would rise awkwardly as I didn't have the beans to hold them down. I also had to hand-press the pie crust in as I had made the dough the night before, and when I wanted to roll it out the next morning it was solid and taking way too long to thaw. So, I broke little chunks off with my hands and just pressed them in, bit by bit. I was also afraid of the frangipane tasting a bit weird, as I put the cream in the fridge to set a little after making it but every time I checked on it, there seemed to be a little bit of unmixed egg yolk. I would then mix it in and it would all look fine, until I checked on it the next time! Thankfully it baked up alright and more importantly, tasted good!

I'm in a bit of a tart-making mood lately so do hit me up if you're willing to be a tester of tarts :-)

FullSizeRender 30

Pear Frangipane Tart

For the crust, recipe adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 190g all-purpose flour
  • 60g almond flour/ground almonds
  • 130g butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 large egg yolk

(note: on hindsight i feel like i should have added some sugar (because i substituted the icing sugar in this recipe for almond flour), so do feel free to add that in.)

Steps:

  1. Mix the flour and almonds together.
  2. Using your hands (or a pastry cutter, but I used my hands and it was a lot of fun and turned out great), cut the cubed butter into the flour/almond mixture until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. It should be soft and somewhat crumbly.
  3. Add in the egg yolk and somewhat knead it into the dough, until completely mixed in.
  4. Knead the dough a few more times, making sure to absorb up any unmixed bits of flour or almonds along the way. Wrap it in clingfilm and keep in the fridge for at least two hours before baking. I kept mine overnight.
  5. The next morning, roll it out if you can and line your nine-inch tart pan. OR, you can manually press it in. Poke holes in it with a fork (this process is called docking, apparently) to let the steam out as the crust bakes - bake it for about 20 minutes.

For the pears, recipe from here

Ingredients:

  • 2o0g pears, any kind, sliced
  • 4 cups (950ml) of water
  • 225g sugar (i used 180g white, 50g brown)
  • juice of 1 lemon

Steps:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, sugar and lemon to the boil, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the pears and let it simmer on medium heat until pears are tender, stirring and turning occasionally. Let the pears cool in the syrup.

For the frangipane, recipe from here

Ingredients:

  • 90g softened butter
  • 60g white sugar
  • 75 ground almonds, blanched or unblanched
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • a dash of vanilla extract

Steps:

  1. Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add in the ground almonds, followed by the cornstarch, egg + egg white, and lastly, vanilla extract. Mixture may look curdled, but it's really just the almonds. Chill in the fridge and stir occasionally (in case of that bit of egg).

To assemble:

Take your pre-baked pie crust out of the oven, and let it cool for a while. About 5 minutes before baking, take your frangipane out of the fridge while you take the pears out of the syrup. Spread the frangipane in an even layer atop the crust, and arrange the pears above that however you like the look of it. Bake for approximately 55 minutes, and let cool.

FullSizeRender 26

april in film

I bought a disposable film camera last month. I'm no professional photographer or an expert with film - my first and only experience with film was last year, when I bought the same camera to document the last few days of school.

I'm trying to make it a point to buy a camera once a month, at least in the short term. With it I hope to be able to document how I'm spending this break of mine, and also to capture the beauty of our little country. Singapore is actually quite beautiful, but we often overlook this beauty and take it for granted. Which is a pity actually, because we go to other countries and to us, these places are "the most beautiful place on Earth" but we can't even appreciate our own home.

0036_36A000047320036

Taken during one of my breaks from work while I was interning in a law firm in the CBD

0037_E000047320037

Hong Lim Complex, Chinatown 

0002_0A000047320002 0003_1A000047320003

Hort Park 

0015_13A000047320015

South Buona Vista Road (Paddy Hills!!) 

0014_12A000047320014

(I don't even remember where the above photo was taken but I like it anyway) 

0020_19A000047320020 0021_20A000047320021

Ghim Moh / Flock Cafe 

0018_17A000047320018

Clarke Quay 

0029_28A000047320029 0031_30A000047320031 0030_29A000047320030

Tiong Bahru / Plain Vanilla / Forty Hands

0024_23A000047320024 0022_21A000047320022

Botanic Gardens on a Sunday 

0008_6A000047320008

Potato Head Folk // Chinatown 

0011_9A000047320011 0012_10A000047320012

Artistry x SAM in film 

0010_8A000047320010

On the way to Hoopla (the flowers along the road were really pretty) 

0019_18A000047320019

National Museum of Singapore in evening

0028_27A000047320028 0009_7A000047320009

Bloomsbury Bakers / Haji Lane (which came out blurry sob) 

0027_26A000047320027 0005_3A000047320005

Chun Tin Road / The Bravery (detox day) 

0033_33A000047320033 0032_32A000047320032

Everyday things 

Most of these photos came out underexposed. I think it's because I pretty much didn't use the flash at all in this roll of film, so that's something to take note of for May's camera. It's quite a pity because I took some night shots with this camera, and they came out completely dark. That being said, this camera works wonders in bright light! Hopefully the next roll of film will be better : ) It's such an exciting journey!