I believe that food like good music and a good book is a solace to a person's soul. Food is both a science and an art - a yin-yang balance to your body and also an appreciation of colors, textures and sensory experience.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gator Cooks - Braised Pork with Soya Sauce

Gator has been cooking and has been trying out some recipes with varying success. This post and the upcoming post are strictly non-halal.

The first dish - Braised pork with soya sauce is a typical dish served in many Malaysian and Singapore Chinese families. It is commonly known in Hokkien ( a Chinese dialect spoken in Malaysia and Singapore) as Tau Eu Bak. Tak Eu meaning dark soya sauce and bak as pork.

It is very simple recipe and the result is pretty good. I adapted my recipe from this Malaysian blog (http://kyspeaks.com/2011/03/06/ky-cooks-tau-eu-bak-braised-pork-belly-with-soya-sauce/)
The author of this blog is pretty hilarious.

The main ingredients are :
  • Pork belly
  • 8 dried mushroom - I left it to soak for about half an hour and cut away the stems
  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon of 5 spice powder
  • 2-3 hardboiled eggs
  • 3 tablespoon of dark soya sauce
Gator first brown the pork belly with about 1.5 tablespoons of dark soya sauce on each side of the belly. And then Gator basically added all the ingredients (except the eggs) together with about 1litre of water. Try to add in enough water to just cover the pork belly, push the pork belly down with your ladle occasionally and basically simmer the liquid with the pork to a thick broth. You don't want too much liquid but also just enough gravy to eat it with steamed rice. Add the hard boiled eggs last. Finally, Gator "rest" and cool the pork for about 10-15 minutes before slicing it.

And now, some pictures..

The aftermath - after slicing the pork
A pile of pork
Sliced pork with all the codiments - suggest to remove all the spices before serving so that it looks more pleasing
Tucking in - what a gooey mess
This receipe is basically quite successful and its pretty authentic. Thanks to KY blog :) Warning: It does look very messy and sticky but its a great comfort food. It is also very important to select the right cut of the pork belly - with just enough fat. If the pork belly is too lean, it kinda defeats the overall purpose of this dish. And if there is too much fat, the dish will be way too oily and you will feel quesy after eating it.

End the meal with a nice pot of pu-erh tea.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sweet Revenge Patisserie, 4160 Main Street

Sweet Revenge Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Sweet Revenge was introduced to me by a dear friend of mine. Gator tried going there recently but there is always a large crowd of people waiting for a table. We took the chance to go there one evening and thankfully, the waiting time wasn't that bad.

What I really like about Sweet Revenge is the ambiance. I really love the red walls and the tea set. The only drawback - Sweet Revenge is only open in the evenings till late at night. So, if you go there after dinner, you might have difficulties getting a table, particularly since the place is really small with less than 10 tables. Even if you go get a table, it can be stressful at times seeing the huge line-up and at least for me, I feel pressured not to dilly-dally, pay up and go.

The quaint table setting - it matches with Gator's hat
Everything matches here - it is pleasing to Gator's senses
Each corner of the wall has some unique pictures - its an eclectic mix.. Since its Halloween, Sweet Revenge has taken an effort to include some unique decorations - I spotted a head inside a fishbowl and a portrait of Mona Lisa morping into some skeleton.  Our side of the table seemed pretty normal and uneventful.

There were small picture frames on our side of the wall.

A little skeleton head overlooks our meal

Now, comes the yummy bits. We ordered two types of desert - creme brulee with blackberries and Sweet Revenge with vanilla ice-cream on the side. I liked the creme brulee, although Gator must confess that I prefer a classic flavour. Unfortunately, they only had 2 seasonal flavours - blueberries or raspberries. The Sweet Revenge was a pretty little cake but I much prefer my cake with a bit more sponge - still, it went very well with the vanilla ice-cream on the side.

I must say that this creme burlee does not look appetising - looks like with blueberry chickenpox. But it sure is yummy
One lonely raspberry on top
The Sweet Revenge cake - with its acronym, SR

It has a crumbly texture - Gator prefers a smoother feeling to my cake
Slowly devouring the SR

Of course, nothing completes desert with a cup of tea. Gator is fussy about tea and Gator totally approves of the tea at Sweet Revenge. We ordered a lavender rosehip - it had a nice scent and was quite calming. The temperature of the brew was perfect. Also, I love the teacups. Probably from Royal Albert - I did not check. It was a daintier version of Gator's own tea set.

Pretty tea cup and saucer

Gator loves the gold coloured rim
Lovely little rim
The large pot of tea - love the rosehip bits
Overall Experience:

Deco: 4/5 - lovely place. A bit cramp though
Quality of food: 3.5/5 - cakes are great but not excellent
Value for $$: $$$/5
Overall Experience: 4/5 - service was pretty efficient but I felt so pressured to leave, seeing the line-up forming just in front of me