Thursday, April 29, 2010

McDonald's Quarter Pounder is back, and there's a Double too!

McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese
By now you would have seen that McDonald's has brought back the Quarter Pounder burger. It was in store since Sunday and now comes with two slices of melted American cheese, so the name is Quarter Pounder with Cheese (QPC for short).  I remember the old Quarter Pounder fondly - I think it was the first burger I ever bought from McDonald's (anyone else remember the little standalone outlet next to the World Trade Centre carpark?). Back then it was just beef, chopped onions and pickles. But hearty nonetheless. For that time.

So when I heard that the Quarter Pounder was coming back, I was elated! I immediately began to fantasize about something substantial, but TheHungryCow reminded me that a quarter pound (or 113g) isn't much these days. He's right - this is the era of monster burgers and giant 250g patties.

Indeed, at the special preview McDonald's held for bloggers and supporters who have been requesting the QP to be brought back, the QPC (S$4.60) looked only slightly bigger than the existing double cheeseburger. But the single thicker patty was definitely better than two thin ones.

But wait - there's also the DOUBLE Quarter Pounder with Cheese (S$6.10)!

Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese
Whoa yes, NOW we're talking!! Two quarter-pound (i.e. half-pound total pre-cooking weight) patties of beef certainly makes for more juicy and meaty flavours. Since the preview, we've bought this a couple times more times and it seems to taste better and better.

Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese
Yes, go for the half-pounder (or is it quarter kilogrammer?) and you won't regret it. If it's too much for you, share it with someone special! Or me!

Meanwhile, McDonald's is pitting Beef vs Cheese on Facebook. Go cast your vote on which you prefer and you might win a special edition "Beef Rules!" or "Cheese Rocks!" t-shirt. Each week, 500 winners will be picked.

You can check out Keropokman's review on the QPC too. He was at the preview as well.

110 restaurants in Singapore
McDelivery website 

p.s. Did you know McDonald's tray liners are food-safe? Made from safe paper and ink. Well I've been dumping fries and chili sauce on them for ages, so it was nice to learn it's safe to do so!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chihuly Lounge Afternoon Tea at Ritz-Carlton Singapore

It can be very peaceful here
Unhappiness is a form of self-indulgence. A little abstract, but it is true. You may need to think deep and hard about it, or you may get it immediately (I needed a bit of thought!).

A luxurious afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton is also a form of self-indulgence, but this one is clear to see. Well, for a spot of indulgence, I quite readily picked the tea.

Our nice comfy table - loved the plush chairs
This was not just self-indulgence but a shared indulgence. A couple weeks back, Julia and I decided to play "tai-tais" for an afternoon, complete with high tea. Hey, just FYI, we actually do work; just not in an office, and not following office hours or getting substantial remuneration or benefits. So this was a real treat for us.

Hediard jams
Right after settling into those thick, plush comfy chairs, we spied the little jars of Hediard jams. Already a splendid start.

Lovely waitresses pouring tea for you
You get to choose a pot of Bernadaud gourmet tea each, and you can change the tea as often as you like, or opt for coffee. Waitresses clad in gold and black glide around discreetly, always refilling your cup whenever it gets empty.

Afternoon tea for two
The nibbles. This set is for two. It's not a lot of food, we noticed, but when savoured slowly with tea and good conversation, these can go a long way too. I love the golden circular tray holder; it's dramatic and elegant at the same time.

Sandwiches tray
They probably vary the items from time to time. But this is what we got that day. For sandwiches, there was an egg mayo and caviar on herbed bread, pastrami with tangy tomato on tomato bread and smoked salmon with roe on brioche.

Smoked salmon with roe on brioche
Don't these just say "Eat me!" with their open mouths?

Scones, crab croquette, chicken in crepe, and mushroom quiche tart
The second tier gives you raisin scones, crab croquettes, chicken and fig rolls, and mushroom-potato quiche tarts. Even before we finished these, we were feeling a bit full already, from the sandwiches and tea.

The desserts
The dessert tray yields cheesecake, chocolate cake, lemon custard tart and coffee cream mille feuille. The custard tart tasted like it had salted egg in it! That fragrance only comes out when you eat BOTH the custard with the pastry, but not when you test them separately. Quite intriguing.

Chihuly Lounge at Ritz-Carlton Singapore
Tea stretched a leisurely three hours, and yet it seemed like time flew as we chatted and savoured the little bites. Chihuly Lounge is airy, well-bathed in sunlight and surrounded by greenery you can view through the large windows. Something about it is quite relaxing. We soaked it all up and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Sometimes I feel how much you enjoy something is up to you, and what you choose to focus on. This afternoon tea (S$36++ per person) was pretty damaging to our skinny wallets. Some may feel it may not be value for money, given the limited tangibles you get. But for us, we felt the whole experience was lovely and worthwhile. Will we be back? Honestly, no, because there are just too many other teas to try out!

P.S. Please note that this is the Traditional Afternoon Tea on weekdays (2.30pm to 5pm). On weekends, they have a buffet (more Asian-style food).

I'm also adding this review to my High Tea Buffet and Afternoon Teas List. One down, many more to savour!


The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
7 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039799
Tel: +65 6434-5288

Monday, April 26, 2010

World Gourmet Summit 2010 Closing Event

A starry night at the World Gourmet Summit closing event
It was a starry, starry night indeed at the World Gourmet Summit 2010 closing event on Saturday, 24 March. Award-winning chefs presented their signature samplers at the beachfront Sapphire Pavilion on Sentosa. No, I did not get to see Ferran Adria at this invitation-only event, but it was still good fun.

Song of India
Chef Milind Sovani from The Song of India prepared exquisite Konkani Prawn Masala. These went well with the piping hot naans with herbs and chili flakes. There was also Punjabi-style spatchcock char-grilled in tandoor.

The White Rabbit
The White Rabbit followed the Alice in Wonderland theme for decor. Clockwise from top left: Caramelized shallot tart tatin, roquefort parfait. Fig gel in little tubes that were then piped on to truffled brie toasties. Torchon of foie gras, prunes, armagnac, toasted brioche. Chef Daniel Sia. Truffled brie toasties.

Chef Carmine Eposito of DOMVS laid out a pretty table. From left to right: Fiocchetti ia formaggi e pere con salsa di polpa di Granchio piccante (Cheese and pear stuffed mini ravioli with spicy crab meat sauce). Beef brisket in crepe with spicy coriander barbecue sauce. Grigliata di Ribeye e verdure di stagione servita con selezione di salse BBQ All'taliana (Barbecued beef ribeye, seasonal vegetables served with Italian BBQ sauce).

Li Bai
Barbecued duck breast in kueh pai ti. Sauteed minced seafood tossed with salad cream. Stewed beef with special sauce. Cantonese specialties from Chef Chung Yiu Ming of Li Bai at The Sheraton.

Brasserie Wolf
I've not been to Brasserie Wolf but the food they presented was pretty good! Marinated lamb spareribs, duck rillete on grilled bread, and some huge chunky beef on skewers that looked so tempting, I forgot to take a photo of the description. Thank you, Chef Philippe Nouzillat.

The Nautilus Project
Chef Jason Dell of The Nautilus Project prepared small bites like Prawn cocktail; petite pure vanilla and raspberry pannacotta, mini macaroons; and barbecued chermoula-rubbed salmon and bamboo skewers.

The Prime Society
It was nice to see Chef Damon Amos again, from The Prime Society. No gunpowder steak this time, but there was an interesting smoked grass-fed sirloin with three kinds of tomato (warm tomato gel, freeze-dried tomato and dehydrated cherry tomato). Next up (middle photo) was a Scallop Salad of char-grilled Hokkaido scallops, seawater braised baby leeks, ovoline, 12 micro herbs salad and roasted sesame dressing. Even dessert was no less elaborate - a Pavlova of kiwi fruit gel, Italian meringue, freeze dried mixed berries, micro mint, and toasted almonds.

Si Chuan Dou Hua
I missed taking the poster of affable Chef Zeng Feng of Si Chuan Dou Hua, but here he is in person! The shrimp with red and green chili he is stir-frying on the hotplate look so good! The enoki in minced garlic sauce looks simple but is a potent mouthful. The chicken, qual egg, cucumber and bell pepper on stick dipped in boiling hot spicy Sichuan sauce tasted like a steamboat kebab!

Au Petit Salut
Au Petit Salut has Alexandre Lozachmeur helming the kitchen now. The beef brochette with capsicum that he is grilling were absolutely divine! Perfectly medium-rare and juicy. There was also a forest mushroom tart, and mixed crab on French baguette.

Le Lifestyle
Texas-style barbecued beef ribs, stunningly delicious. I had not heard of Le Lifestyle before, but had met Chef Kenny Yeo previously when he was the Executive Chef of Sentosa Leisure Group. Le Lifestyle turns out to be the Singapore Airlines Terminal Services (SATS) Food Solutions Group. Airline food this good? Please don't tell me I have to fly to taste these again! The barbecued Hokkaido scallops with salmon roe, cucumber and sour cream were quite good too.

Singapore Youth Olympics Organising Committee's F&B and Culinary Operations
The last row seemed to be creations from Chef Kenneth Francisco of the Singapore Youth Olympics Organising Committee's F&B and Culinary Operations.
Top left: Red snapper on smoked eggplant and spinach with cured cherry tomato.
Bottom left: a chef carving out a chunk of roast wagyu!
Middle: lamb moussaka with grilled eggplant, tomato and Turkish mozzarella.
Bottom right: herb-infused chicken.

San Pellegrino drinks
There was lots to drink too: San Pellegrino sparkling water and juices, Nespresso coffee, Austrian wines, various beers and others. 

Oysters on ice with passion fruit
Anyone there could easily feel the whole world was their oyster. It was a lot of food, and I couldn't manage to taste everything. But this was a nice little peek at the food that the participating restaurants offer. I wonder what next year's event has in store for us.

Major thanks to the World Gourmet Summit organisers and Sentosa Leisure Group for the invitation.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Organic Salmon with Corn-Basil-Tomato Salsa

Today I have an organic recipe to share with you. A lot of foodies still debate whether organic is really that much better, tastier or more nutritious. I haven't eaten organic in a long time. But here's my experience.

(I've tweaked the recipe a little, as the original one calls for four salmon steaks and I only had one. Feel free to adjust it to your own taste)

One salmon steak (about 225g)
Organic corn kernels, cut from half a cob
One organic shallot, sliced thinly
One sprig organic basil, sliced thinly
About 50g organic cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of half an organic lemon
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
A bit of canola oil for pan-frying

1. Rub salt and pepper on salmon and set aside.
2. Brown shallots in olive oil.
3. Add corn, cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add basil and lemon juice and take the pan off the fire.
5. In a separate pan, fry salmon skin-side first in canola oil.
6. Serve on top on corn-basil-tomato salsa.

Organic ingredients are often imperfect-looking
So what was it like cooking organic? Right off the bat, the organic basil smelt beautiful - I didn't even have to hold it up to my nose to catch the aroma. I had some regular basil from Cold Storage for comparison and there was just no fight.

Well, the leaves did not look as gorgeous but that was not a concern for me. I have read that organic produce tends to look imperfect, as no pesticides or genetic tampering is done. The shallots also looked very different and elongated. The corn cobs were smallish and pale yellow, but the lemon and cherry tomatoes looked extra bright. Juice from the lemon turned out to be extra tart and sour - does this mean more Vitamin C? I certainly hope so.

The salmon? A marvellous whiff of ocean freshness hit me when I opened the sealed pack. But when it was cooked, the salmon taste was notably more muted than the sometimes stinky salmon I get from the wet market. 

Incredibly tangy salsa - my tomatoes a tad overcooked!
My family enjoyed the salsa in particular. It was supertangy (mainly because I used the whole lemon), so I reduced the amount for the recipe. I think I overcooked the tomatoes a little though!

SuperNature (Flagship Store)
#B1-05/09 Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
Tel +65 6304 1336
Fax +65 67350366
Opening Hours:
10am – 7.30pm daily

SuperNature (Mother & Child)
B1-20A Paragon
290 Orchard Road
Tel +65 6304 1339
Fax +65 6735 4207
Opening Hours:
10am – 9.30pm Monday – Friday
10am – 10pm Saturday
10am – 9.30pm Sunday & Public Holidays

Acknowledgement: The recipe and main organic ingredients were provided by SupernaturePhotos for this recipe post were commissioned by and belong to Supernature, but the review is mine.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Save Your Food, Save The World: Tupperware Eco-Set

Tupperware Eco-Set
OK confession time: I love collecting food savers, containers, tiffin carriers and bottles (hubby's screaming in the background, "Noooo!!! Enough!"). I admit, however, some of them are even more throwaway or easily ruined than the plastic containers used by hawkers. So I guess it makes sense to invest in sturdy, good-looking containers that will last a long time. Less plastic for the landfill, less repeat buying hassle.

Tupperware's got this Eco-set as part of Earth Day celebrations. It's a sandwich container and a water tumbler in a cheery yellow drawstring bag (see above, but napkin not included). All backed by a lifetime warranty.

All you have to do is share a tip on saving the environment, and you'll get to buy this set at S$10 (normally S$20). You can go to these outlets, or call a Tupperware brand consultant.

  1. Tupperware Singapore: 85 Defu Lane 10, #01-00, Singapore 539218 - Tel: 800 601 1345
  2. Causeway Point: 1 Woodlands Square, #03-42A, Singapore 738099 - Tel: 9271 1406/6893 7768
  3. Bukit Batok: 273 Bukit Batok East Ave 4, #02-80, Singapore 650273 - Tel: 9368 5252
  4. Tampines: 419 Tampines St 41, #01-82, Singapore 520419 - Tel: 9389 3066, 6789 8133
The Tupperware Eco-Set is available from 21 April to 4 May 2010 or while stocks last.

I'm going to get one for Nadine and one for Jolie. Perfect for playschool snack time!

Hmmm, tips on saving environment? I'm sure many of us are already religiously recycling, reusing plastic bags instead of just throwing them away, bringing our own shopping bags (glamourous or otherwise), using less electricity by switching off appliances when we don't need them, taking showers instead of baths, reusing laundry water to wash bathroom floors or water plants, taking public transportation instead of cars, printing on both sides of the paper (even if it mucks up the ink cartridge), bringing own cups and containers for takeaways, installing water-efficient fixtures, choosing energy-efficient appliances, and not having the tap running while you shave or brush teeth. You could also use the timer to shave off 1-2 hours of air-conditioning at dawn - the air will still be comfortably cool, and you might wake up less sluggish.

The Baltimore Sun gave 40 tips (for Earth Day's 40 year anniversary). Some are quite unusual, and although many are U.S. centric, they do set the mind thinking.

For myself, I will add these to the list...
1. Stop Nadine and Jolie from opening the fridge and freezer doors so often and jacking up my utility bill.
2. Go meatless more often, 2-3 times a week. Meat production they say is resource intensive, and veges are still better for you. My domestic helper tells me her village folks in Indonesia get to eat chicken only once a month, and other meats only on festive occasions. Her grandmother lived hale and hearty to 93. While I don't want to live that long, I certainly wouldn't mind the healthy bit.
3. Stop spending so much time on the Internet. Yes, every second you are here means electricity consumed! Hmm, right. OK, scratch this, I'll find some other green thing to do...


Supernature: Singapore's Largest Organic Store (Part 2 - Wellness and Living)

Update: Supernature has moved to two new locations; the photos here are of the former store but it gives you an idea of what they carry.

Let me show you the rest of Supernature. Yesterday we saw the humongous produce and grocery section. Today we'll go over to the living and wellness product section in the adjacent unit. It's much smaller, which leads me to think the grocery side actually is two shop units combined. You may be surprised to find there's no fancy or extraneous decoration in Supernature, just utilitarian shelving. But that makes sense - no wasteful extras.

Let me sort the photos according to the lifestyle sections they have on the website (which I really like). With the exception of a few brands, most of the products were new to me. So I went online to find out more about some of them, and I'll share what I found.


Organic choices don't just stop at food. You can get organic cotton clothes with no toxic dyes and synthetics that sometimes cause itchy skin reactions. There are clothes, bodysuits, blankets, mittens and socks.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Supernature: Singapore's Largest Organic Store (Part 1 - Food & Produce)

UPDATE 2014: Supernature has moved to two locations - Forum the Shopping Mall and Paragon. Addresses and contact details at the end of post

Happy Earth Day again! One of the earth-friendly practices is eating organic/sustainable foods. Fortunately, organic food has become more popular, accessible and thus a bit more affordable in the last decade. Many converts also stand by it because it simply tastes better.

So today on Earth Day, I absolutely have to share with you this stunning find - Supernature, Singapore's largest organic store (at Orchard Boulevard) with over 4,500 square feet of wholesome natural goodness. It blew my mind away.


Happy Earth Day and the Infinite Book Exchange!

The Infinite Book Exchange

Happy Earth Day!

If you haven't seen it already, the National Library is having The Infinite Book Exchange. I am absolutely thrilled - a book swap on a national scale! Drop off used books at any library, and get vouchers to redeem books this Saturday, 24 May, at the main National Library plaza. But hurry, tomorrow is the last day to give!

I used to pass my books on with the BookCrossing program, but this is even better! Have already given a dozen books, going to give more today and tomorrow, as many as I can carry. Not sure I can make it for redeeming (Sat is packed already), but at least my books will have a new lease of life, hopefully.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That "Out of Bounds" dinner with Ian Wright

My one single photo with Ian!

Here's Ian Wright saying a BIG "HELLO!" to all of you!

After years of following Ian on his travels all around the world on Discovery Travel & Living, I never dreamed I'd actually be able meet him one day. He is the best travel host ever, with his non-pretentious persona, spontaneous wit and humour. And he is exactly the same in person as he is on TV.

He very nearly didn't make it to Asia, no thanks to Eyjafjallajokull! His flight was brought forward an hour to 11am, and he was still in the taxi at 10am. The plane took off at 11.15am, and Heathrow closed at 11.20am that day.

Oh the anticipation...Ian Wright, this way please!
Anyway, this is the dinner I was telling you about. Discovery Travel and Living together with Starhub threw a bash with Ian Wright, promoting his new series called Out of Bounds. Ian explores some of the least visited countries or regions (Syria, Cuba, Siberia, Okinawa, Sri Lanka and Venezuela) and finds out fabulous things and how to have fun there. See my previous post for Youtube previews.

Ian Wright gave highlights of his new TV series "Out of Bounds"
He had just come over to Singapore from Bintan where he had a vacation with his wife. He was peeling and sunburnt. He even unbuttoned and partially took off his shirt to show us (see photo by Walter Lim). That raised more than a few wolf whistles.

"It was only two hours in the sun!", he lamented, exasperated at how easily he burns. "After all these years of travelling, I still haven't learnt a goddam thing!"

Ian Wright in his manties! Ready for Siberian wrestling...
Ian took us through a hilarious slideshow of highlights from the countries he visited. There were lots of wonderful photos and sketches. Here he is in his "manties" ready for a wrestling match in Siberia. This was instituted as the "uniform" as a woman in disguise once beat all the men and won the championship. So they had to, ahem, ensure any female contestants would be exposed in future. Yes, I've heard of this, actually.

He had the audience in guffaws as he retold how he found vendors in superconservative Syria selling bizarre underwear with circuit boards (umm, can someone say scratchy loins?) which enable blinking lights and three tunes like Happy Birthday and Love Story. Later on, he found something even more outrageous - feathered bra and panties that fall off with a clap! Now you know what goes on    when lights go out in Syria.

And THE travel tip to remember - if you ever want to get friendly with reindeer, pee on the ground/snow in front of you. And they will come to you. Yes, he didn't believe it at first either.

Ian hams it up!
There were many tables at the dinner, but Ian made sure each one had some time with him. He never falls short of funny faces too!

Walter, Belinda, Ian and Jayden
The table of social media influencers - there were only 4-5 of us, so I am very lucky! Walter, Belinda, Ian and Jayden glowing for the camera. Eevon (not pictured) asked for a kiss, and got it!

Did I get a chance to ask Ian those three questions? OK, major #fail! Sorry, as predicted, my nerves got the better of me, and I got absolutely tongue-tied. But you can ask him anything directly - he's on Twitter @ianwrightey

You can follow Discovery Travel & Living Asia on Twitter too - @travelnliving for updates.

The menu is inspired by the challenging locales Ian visits in Out of Bounds
The dinner menu is inspired by the locales Ian visits in Out of Bounds. Catering was done by Novus.

Bread basket - the dark rye with pumpkin seeds is the best of the lot!
Bread basket - good for hungry people! The dark rye with pumpkin seeds was the best of the lot.

Pelmeni: Siberian Meat Dumplings in Broth w Chives and Sour Cream
Pelmeni: Siberian Meat Dumplings in Broth w Chives and Sour Cream.
The meat is traditionally pork, but was made with chicken instead, out of consideration for Muslim guests. The broth is pretty robust, and the sour cream gave it some lift.

Kakuluwo: blue crab curry with coconut and rice. Sri Lankan dish.
Kakuluwo: blue crab curry with coconut and rice.
This is a Sri Lankan dish, and my favourite course. Tender, succulent and very generous lumps of crabmeat in fragrant curry. Rich and filling!

Palate cleanser of mojito sorbet (lime, brown sugar and mint). Cuban-inspired, obviously.
Palate cleanser of mojito sorbet (lime, brown sugar and mint). Cuban-inspired, obviously. No alcohol but it was very refreshing.

Lamb Shawarma. Grilled lamb on pita bread with yoghurt and hummus. Syria, anyone?
This must be from Syria. Lamb Shawarma. Grilled lamb on pita bread with yoghurt and hummus. Pity the pita was dry and hard. I think it had been sitting out too long. The well-marinated lamb was still tender though.

Quesillo: Venezuelan caramel flan served with fresh berries
Quesillo: Venezuelan caramel flan served with fresh berries
The Venezuelan quesillo is actually a dessert quite familiar to us. It's like creme caramel. Enjoyable, with tart fruit.

Ian playing Pictionary
Halfway through dinner, we had a game of Pictionary with two teams battling it out to guess items that Ian came across on his travels in Out of Bounds. Hey, Ian can sketch pretty darn well!

There were about a hundred guests
There were about 100 guests at the dinner, including Starhub board members, corporate customers and Discovery partners. Dinner dragged a little too long, and they had to cancel the autograph signing session. Bummer.

I fought hard for this autograph!
But in the end, after trying a few times, I got Ian to very graciously sign this. He was surprised to see a Subbuteo team set (everyone plays them in England but not so here). Well, you see, there's a famous Arsenal football player also called Ian Wright. Hubby is an Arsenal (lifetime) supporter, and he is also a huge fan of Ian on Discovery, so we thought this would be hilarious. I like what Ian wrote!

Out of Bounds - remember to tune in May 20 onwards!

So, remember to tune in Thursdays starting May 20, on Discovery Travel & Living! I can't wait for the series to start. It looks really good.

Thank you, Discovery, and the team at MS&L for arranging this! I'm still pinching myself...
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