Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Make Yoghurt At Home: Selfish Gene Cafe Shares Easy Recipe!


Imagine having your own stash of beautifully creamy homemade yoghurt - free of additives, sweeteners and preservatives - to enjoy at any time. It's easier than you think, and could save you a pretty penny in the long run.

Gene Mok of Selfish Gene Cafe kindly shared with us his method for making yoghurt, simplified for home cooks. It took him several months to perfect the recipe, and I have to say - the yoghurt tastes really good!

The full recipe, along with tips for making yoghurt nice and creamy, are in my story on Yahoo and Makansutra:

Gene also showed us how he uses yoghurt in some of the cafe's dishes. Aside from the obvious Homemade Yoghurt with summer berry compote and granola (S$6, in the pretty jar, available 10am to 3pm), it also goes into dressings and cakes.

For the daily lunch, Gene has come up with a list of specials only for weekdays. Roasted Atlantic Salmon Fillet with Dill-scented Potato and Homemade Slaw (S$16). Portion shown above is just a tasting portion, but oooh, the fish was done perfectly. Slightly rare in the middle and so very moist and tender. The smear of yoghurt dressing adds a nice tang, and even the drops of oil are not for decoration, but are infused with a nice scent.

Other lunch specials include Pasta Alla Olio with Hickory Smoked Bacon Lardons, Fried Egg, Garlic, Chili and Parsley (S$14). Add a mini soup and salad (S$4) if you wish. There are also homemade soups like Cream of Pumpkin and even Soto Ayam - Asian-inspired leek, potato and chicken soup, with deep-fried shallots and chili oil.

He also makes his own ricotta, which he uses in the Mushroom Tartine (foreground). It's amazingly savoury, this little bite of thyme scented sauteed mushrooms with homemade ricotta on multigrain bread. This is just a tasting sample. I need to come back for the full-sized version.

The Orange Yoghurt Cake (S$6) is quite a treat too. The citrusy aroma is a lovely pick-me-up for tea. The yoghurt I think helps to keep the cake moist - in fact, Gene used yoghurt as a substitute for buttermilk, which is hard to get here.

All the cakes are made inhouse using French techniques, and no emulsifiers.

Gene is a psychology graduate but could not resist returning to his creative inclinations. He explored pottery, baking, and then enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu, Sydney, to learn the fundamentals of French cooking. Upon his return, he trained under Emmanuel Stroobant of Saint Pierre from 2007 to 2011.

"I want to offer simple, honest food to guests at Selfish Gene Cafe. But there's also a thought process behind every dish. It's a symbiotic relationship between chef and guest," he says.

Some people have wondered if the name of the cafe would conjure negative connotations, with the name "Selfish", but it explains Gene's philosophy: he is selfish because he will not serve food that he himself will not eat. That and the clever nod to Richard Dawkins' book.

But it's a great place to chill, whether alone or with a friend. Breakfast is served from 10am til 3pm. Lunch is noon to 2.30pm. Sandwiches from 11.30am onwards, and desserts served all day.

Coffee here is excellent - Gene uses a blend of Arabica beans from Sumatra, Costa Rica, Ethiopia and Brazil (Highlander Coffee). But he also has great taste in tea, which is his first love. He stocks Dammann Frères, one of the very best (and my favourite too). You'll also find Chinese style teas like Tie Guan Yin, Osmanthus and Pu Er, supplied by a local merchant.


40 Craig Road
Singapore 089678
Tel: +65 6423-1324 (no reservations, walk-in only)
Mon-Fri 10am to 5.30pm (last order 5pm)
Sat-Sun 9am to 5pm (last order 4.30pm)
Closed on certain public holidays (refer to their website)

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