July 31, 2010

All That Fudge: The Cornish Candy Shoppe

During the weekend, we dropped by St Ives, a highly popular beach town in Cornwall. We took the train here because parking is apparently extremely difficult because of the crowd. And it's not difficult to see why, considering how pretty the coastline was, and the

While it can't compare to the congested streets of cities, St Ives was definitely the most crowded place I had been to in Cornwall.

Naturally, fudge shops were aplenty here.

There was no way I could walk past this shop without giving their colorful shopfront a second look.


Stepping inside, my eyes were lured to the boxes of assorted fudges.

I'm always game for variety. I could just imagine my family and I sitting at a table, portioning out the small blocks of fudge and sampling the different flavors!


In comparison with the fudge which I had previously tried, the Cornish Candy Shoppe's fudge was the freshest and the smoothest. It was also not excessively sweet. Though fudge is meant to be very rich and creamy, the fruit-flavored versions from the Cornish Candy Shoppe's version was less so. Not that I minded its lighter consistency!

First row, from left: Chocolate Orange, ?, Cherry, Lemon Meringue
Second row: Blueberry Cheesecake, Chocolate Peppermint, Strawberry & Cream, Coconut Ice

Although flavoring was, unsurprisingly, used in every flavor save for the Blueberry Cheesecake, all the flavors were likeable! Buttermilk Confections' clotted cream fudge edges out the non-fruit-flavored fudge selections in the box with its more luxuriously rich consistency though.

My favorite flavor was the Chocolate Peppermint, whose cool minty taste made a good complement to the creaminess of the fudge. The Lemon Meringue flavor was pretty refreshing as well.

Coconut Ice isn't fudge but I certainly didn't mind having it in the box as well. It's essentially a brittle block of sweetened and slightly chewy dessicated coconut, I liked this just as much as the Chocolate Peppermint fudge. If only I could find coconut ice in Singapore! I realized that it probably won't keep well in our climate though- the last of it, devored a month after returning to Singapore, was found to be less than fresh but still enjoyable nonetheless.

July 29, 2010

Eat for a good cause ♥

A friend of mine, a member of Project Heartbeat, is organizing a charity dinner at Heart Bistro. Located at Palais Renaissance, Heart Bistro aims to serve up wholesome, healthful food without compromising on flavor. Here, healthier cooking methods are used, along with controlled amounts of sodium and sugar.

The dinner will be on 8 August, Sunday, at 7pm. The price is $50/pax, and all profits go to the Singapore Heart Foundation. Do help to spread the word about this dinner! After all, what's better than good food for a good cause?

The menu is as follows:

Starters: A Medley of Marinated Salmon Sashimi Poke (pronounced pok-ay, salmon sashimi poke is basically marinated salmon sashimi) + Crabshrimp cake

Mains: A Medley of Roasted Chicken stuffed with forest mushrooms + Roasted cod with a stewed onion gravy

Dessert: Chilled cream of double-boiled milk with berries

For advance bookings or enquires, contact projectheartbeat2010@gmail.com.

Hope that you'll join Project Heartbeat in this charity dinner! Your support is much appreciated (:

July 28, 2010

A British student's lunchbox: a pictorial

In England, about half the student population will bring lunchboxes from home for lunch. Our hosts prepared packed lunches for us on the days we went touring.

Thank you J, for the lovely lunches!


Eaten @ Eden Project

Eaten @ Truro

Yum I like cake bars.

Eaten @ Pendennis Castle

Cherries are considerably cheaper over in England... I snagged a great deal at Tesco while I was there: a ~250g box of cherries for 75p!

A hearty-sized one devoured on the five-hour-long train ride to London (;

For those curious, mini Peperami is a smoked pork salami sausage. It's quite salty but it's small in size, so you probably won't be overloaded by the sodium. One of my friends loves them, but another didn't quite like it. I found it to be alright.

I was puzzled over why Sodium 5' ribonucleotide was one of the ingredients. (Ribonucleotides are the building blocks of RNA, which encodes genetic informtion.) A quick Google search revealed that they are flavor enhancers which produce an umami sensation.

I miss England... how I wish I could be transported back in time by exactly a month ago, till when I had just landed on British ground.

July 27, 2010

Always thirsty for more @ Tom's Palette

Lately I haven't had much time to search out new food finds. But trying Tom's Palette's new ice-cream flavor of the month was definitely a must-do.

Salty Yuzu is the new flavor for the month of July, if you haven't heard already. Most should be familiar with the combination of sea salt and caramel, but this is the first time I've heard of salt paired with the refreshing zing of yuzu. Somehow Salty Yuzu reminded me of preserved citrus peel juice, but having it in the form of an ice-cream was something new! Pink guava reminded me of pink guava juice, only in frozen form too.

Pink guava + Salty Yuzu. Like two different drinks in frozen form!

I also sampled Oolong tea and Red wine sorbet. My mom doesn't usually take ice-cream 'cos she doesn't have a high sugar tolerance, so I'm sure the former flavor is perfect for her. The oolong flavor is brewed to the right intensity, sweetened just enough and with nary a trace of bitterness. Those who love their Chinese teas will like this. I've got to get more of this next time!

I was told that the alcohol content in the red wine sorbet was not very high, but it really reminded me of the drink in frozen form, without the bitter taste of alcohol which I dislike. That's because two bottles of red wine went into the batch of sorbet, but I suppose the alcohol content isn't as high as that in the rum and raisin flavor as wine has a lower alcohol content. Do try this flavor when you see it as it's not available often.

July 25, 2010

All That Fudge: Buttermilk Confections

Buttermilk Confections' fudge can be found in many places all over Cornwall. Besides the packaging shown in the picture below, they also come in customized packaging for attractions such as Truro Cathedral. I bought these from a National Trust Shop where a 200g bag was going for 2 pounds 75p (three packs were going for the price of two though!).


Thankfully, I did not let my negative encounter with the fudge from Pennyworths' discourage me from purchasing more of the confection. Decandently rich, smooth and creamy, my friends and I couldn't stop reaching for yet another piece. In fact, one of my friends finished half of his pack in a day!

The bag of assorted fudges contains Clotted Cream, Chocolate and Rum & Raisin fudge. I liked the Rum & Raisin one the most... if only the flavors of the fudge in the assorted pack were written on the label, I would have gotten two of these instead!

Besides their fudges, I also tried Buttermilk Confections' Cornish Butter Tablet, which is made from sugar, condensed milk and butter that has been left to crystallize after being heated to the soft-ball stage (when the sugar content is about 85% :O ). Pop one in your mouth, and these brittle, crunchy tablets quickly crumble and melt into a smooth syrup. Definitely sweet, but not overly so, the Cornish Butter Tablets were my favorite of the three.

July 22, 2010

All that Fudge: Pennyworths Traditional Sweet Shop, Truro

At Truro, the city of Cornwall.

We visited the Royal Cornwall Museum, as well as Truro Cathedral (below), one of the only three churches in England with three spires.

The cathedral houses one of the world's finest organs, a combination of the church's acoustics and the beautiful quality of the sound produced by it. We were lucky to be able to hear it being played as a girl was having her organ lesson.

We spotted this sweet shop, Pennyworths, while we were photographing the exterior of the cathedral. Pennyworths is a traditional sweet shop founded it this very city in the 1930s. Since then it has opened several branches in other places, but has only re-opened in Truro at the end of last year.

In addition to a variety of sweets and chocolates, there was also a range of fudge being sold, at 1 pound 49p per 100g.

I purchased them in the following flavors (from top):
Chocolate, Chocolate Caramel, Vanilla, Caramel, Clotted Cream (not in picture). They came packed in paper bags.

This was my first time having fudge. For those who haven't had fudge before, it tastes like toffee, but is softer and less chewy and sticky. In comparison from those from other sweet shops, I found the fudge from Pennyworths to be too sweet and a bit too sticky. The flavors of the fudge were not very distinct too.

I also purchased a bar of Highland toffee. Though the wrapper states that it is a softer eating toffee, it was still rather hard to chew. My jaws were thoroughly exercised by the time I finished the whole strip.


Pennyworths Traditional Sweet Shop

5 High Cross
Truro

July 19, 2010

Durian Fiesta 2010 @ Goodwood Park Hotel

Stargirl, the durian lover, had been wanting to taste Goodwood Park Hotel's much-raved-about durian treats for the longest time. She finally got to do so when her family went for the dessert-cum-durian buffet at Coffee Lounge on her dad's birthday, upon her suggestion.
Although the information on the establishment's website stated that dinner would commence at 6pm, Stargirl had to wait till 6.06pm before being granted entry, as the staff had to set up the cutlery for dinner. Although she was invited by the staff to wait at the plush chairs outside the main dining area, as a person who values punctuality, she was still not quite pleased with this matter.
Being very much the greedy goose, Stargirl felt the dire need to sample everything offered in the buffet spread. And she almost did, save for the (1) ang ku kueh, (2) lapis sagu, (3) mini ondeh ondeh, (4) the ice-cream toppings, (5) the unsliced green apples and oranges which she's guessing that almost no one eats anyway.

The dessert-cum-durian buffet goes for $24.80++ per person, or for $18.80++ with any ala carte order. FYI the cheapest item on the menu goes for $6++ (chicken tenders?). Note that the food available on the menu, with the exception of the durian ice-cream which goes for $6.50++ per scoop, are all savory items. I was hoping for all the durian pastries to be included in the menu as well, as I was looking forward to trying the durian strudel, but this was not the case. Only the durian puffs, durian oreo cake, durian pudding, durianmisu, as well as the durian roll and durian pancakes which are exclusive to the buffet were available.

To save stomach space and hence make the most out of the price paid, we chose to go for the dessert-cum-durian buffet exclusively.

Durian Puffs
Goodwood Park Hotel's famed durian puffs feature smooth, rich durian cream sandwiched between light choux pastry. Definitely the most decent ones I've ever had!
Durianmisu (the photo's too ugly haha, why don't buffets serve tiramisu in small individual servings instead of leaving diners puzzled over how to scoop out a portion?): The pungent durian pulp combined well with the smooth mascarpone cheese, but the equally strong flavor of the espresso in the sponge layer did not blend in with that of the former... Have two portions of this, like I did, and I guarantee that you'll be quite bloated.


Durian Oreo Cake

Foodoshot described the Durian Oreo Cake to be very similar to Goodwood Park's famed Durian Mousse Cake, except that it is coated in cookie crumbs. Comprising smooth and creamy durian mousse sitting on a soft sponge base, I would have taken a second slice if I had the stomach space to do so! However, I don't think it deserves its reputation as 'legendary'. Being a durian fanatic, I would have liked a stronger durian kick.

From left:

The cheesecake was smooth and light, but was too mild in flavor.

The second cake from the left (brownie with mousse?) was slightly too sweet, so was the Hazelnut mousse with chocolate flourless cake.

Apricot mousse tartlet: Ordinary- it was simply a square of mousse on a stiff tart base.

Bread pudding

Just average, I should have just taken a smaller slice...

From left, clockwise:
Chocolate Crumble Tart: Probably the best non-durian confection around. Note that it was not particularly good though... get what I'm trying to imply about the quality of the non-durian desserts served?

Green tea cake with red bean: The sponge was soft, but lacked in the taste of matcha.
Durian pancakes: The star of the buffet! Save for eating it on its own, having durian in the form of a cold, creamy and pungent oozing out out a thin warm pancake is the best way to enjoy it IMO!

Panna Cotta with Madeleine: Where's the madeleine? The panna cotta was placed in a small cup but there were no suitably-sized utensils provided. Poking through the cup with a fork of almost the same diameter as its opening,
Mango Pudding: More like mango-flavored pudding, average.
Durian pudding

The Durian pudding was smooth and revealed generous portions of durian pulp inside. While I enjoyed it, the pudding got a bit overwhelming after a while... perhaps it was also because I was really full then.

There was also a small selection of fruits, Movenpick ice-cream and Nonya kueh. Two traditional soup desserts were served as well: pulut hitam, and gingko nut and barley with beancurd skin and quail's eggs. The pulut hitam was alright, but the latter was not bad at all. The savory quail's eggs matched surprising well with the silky barley soup!

Verdict: Come to this buffet only if you fancy durian desserts available. And do order some savory stuff to go along, I was surprised that I soon got sick of eating sweet stuff although I love my desserts!

July 17, 2010

Cornish Pasty #2: Philp's Bakery

My buddy and I, along with two others, took a long walk from Penzance station to the ancient town of Marazion to visit St Michael's Mount. We never imagined that we'd take so long to reach our destination... what we thought might have been a 20 minute walk actually took 50 minutes, and no, we weren't walking slowly.

Unfortunately we couldn't access the castle grounds on the mount, but the long walk was worth it because I got to taste one of Cornwall's finest store-bought pasties. As we were heading towards Philp's, I spotted a Rowe's outlet nearby and asked if we might want to head there instead, as I have heard favorable reviews of their pasties. To my delight, she replied "Those from Philps are really good!"
Surfing the web, I spotted many raves about the pasties from Philp's, claiming those from their outlet at Hayle to be the best ones you can buy in Cornwall. Nevertheless, the pasties sold at their other outlets have received stellar ratings as well.
It was already 2pm when we reached there, but I heard that this small shop is usually very busy at lunchtime. I decided to get a meat pasty, but unfortunately realized that they were only available in the large size as I was about to pay.
I was rather astonished by the sheer mass of the pasty as it was passed into my hands... it was definitely large enough to feed two. I was curious to find out the length of the pasty but did not have a ruler with me, so I took a photo of it with a bottle of sunscreen, which I've measured to be 9.1cm in length.
Using that as a comparison, I figured out that the length of the pasty of 23.2cm and its breadth, 11.8cm. Come on, grab a long ruler from your stationery collection and figure out how humongous the dimensions of that pasty was!
Large mince pasty (2 pounds 70p)
The freshly baked pasty consisted of the standard onion, swede, potato and mince filling in a wonderfully flaky pastry case. Other than that the beef mince came in lumps that were slightly too large, and was a bit rough in texture, I had no complaints about this pasty. The pastry to filling ratio was just right, and the flaky pastry was well-executed- light and perfectly puffed-up. The pasty would have fared even better if the gravy had a bit more kick though.
While the flaky pastry case went well with the moist filling, some argue that traditional Cornish pasties use shortcrust pastry, although both types are generally accepted.
For those who're curious, I started feeling full after finishing half the pasty. I was contemplating saving the rest for later, but decided to gobble it all up anyway so that I can declare that I finished it whole at one go. All in 10 minutes!
Slightly guilty about all the fat I'd consumed, I was considering having just a light snack for dinner (but ended up having fish and chips anyway, surprising the only deep-fried food I had on the trip aside from potato crisps). Definitely, I ended up very full... but not quite as stuffed as I usually get at buffets.

July 13, 2010

Cornish Pasty #1: Made it myself in school!

19th century, Cornwall. 'Croust!' Unable to return from the deep grounds of the mine to the surface, the tin miners put down their equipment, their appetites roaring after hours of toil. Warm out of the oven, they tucked into their pasties, holding them by their crimped crusts. Their energy levels restored after lunch, they discarded the dirty edge to mollify the knockers while praying for their safety; then they headed back to work.

Cornish Pasties
(Not a giant curry puff haha)

We attended a cookery lesson with the Year 11s, where we learnt how to make Cornish pasties! The process was rather simple, actually. Okay we cheated with the pastry part because all we had to do was to chuck the butter, flour, water and salt into the Kenwood mixer. Then, we divided the pastry dough into four, rolled them into circles, and placed a mixture of cubed beef, potatoes, onion and turnip on one side, as well as a knob of butter. Fold the other half over, crimp the side and brush them with egg wash... they'll be ready after about 50 minutes in the oven.

We left our pasties in the oven under the care of the cookery teacher and collected them during lunch. They were rather large...

FYI, for those who want to make a size comparison: My hands aren't small.

I was the only girl who managed to finish mine. They're so filling, it's no wonder they were the staple food of tin miners. The school's vice-principal joked that if any one of us could finish two pasties, we would get a prize...

Another pasty :O


Unfortunately my first impression of the Cornish pasty did not ring 'delicious'. The one I had was only slightly moistened in the interior, and had scarcely any gravy needed to complement the cooked cubes of meat and veggies. In fact, they were just like pastry crusts filled with a savory filling. The crumbly crust was also slightly dry. But no doubt, pasties would have made a nutritious meal for the miners.

Nah, I don't think these are how Cornish pasties are supposed to be like. While making them was really easy, I suppose baking up a good pasty will require more skill. Stay tuned for the next installment about pasties...

July 10, 2010

Meals on Singapore Airlines (SIN-LHR)

I have never fancied airplane meals as I have motion sickness and the smell of food on board just leaves me nauseous. I've developed so strong a phobia of airplane food, I once felt my stomach lurching when my mum served up a plate of baked mussels which was covered with foil, resembling airplane food, although I was on perfectly level ground.

While I try to avoid eating on the plane, there was no way I could have survived a 13-hour-long flight without eating. Despite taking preventive measures by the means of anti-nausea bands which work via accupunture, the contents of my stomach were repeatedly emptied after landing at Heathrow Airport.

Although the plane took off at 9.05am, breakfast was only served at 10.40am Singapore time (3.40am London time), drawing complaints from my teacher who did not have breakfast yet. Lunch was served at 4.03pm Singapore time (9.30pm London time), and the plane landed at 10.10 pm Singapore time (3.10pm London time). We were expecting dinner to be served on the plane ride but were surprised to find that it wasn't included in the menu. I think the airline was probably trying to bhelp us adjust to the disparity in time zones, we experienced sunlight throughout our entire journey to London.

If you're hungry, you can always request for light bites: savory/vegetarian sandwiches, roasted peanuts, chocolate bars, assorted biscuits, potato chips and fruit.

Breakfast
The braised egg noodles with beef, mushrooms and leafy greens were decent, and the warm sauce that accompanied the slightly soft noodles was rather comforting to my tummy. While the meat was tender, there were a few bits of fat in it, which I spat out.

I sampled the breakfast roll on its own and found it to be alright- it would have been better if it was warm! The almond-topped cupcake was soft, airy and crumbly; and was my favorite item in this meal. There was also a fruit appetizer which included two grapes, a slice of pineapple and a slice of honeydew.

(Strange I don't know why I was served orange juice even though I did not ask for any. Looking at it made this processedc-orange-juice-hater feel sick, blah.)

I was rather intrigued by the packaging of the cereal. The cornflakes and milk are packed separately, and all you have to do is to remove the plastic wrap covering the cereal, unwrap the foil tab of the UHT milk container and serve! The cornflakes were light and crisp with a honeyed flavor. Although I usually dislike cornflakes, I actually ate quite a bit of them.
Lunch

The char siew rice was unavailable by the time the food cart reached my row, hence I settled for the Indian food as I knew that I'd be missing rice by the end of the trip. I did not take to the fish terrine with salad and cocktail sauce, which I only took a bit of anyway as having cold food on board usually leaves me even more queasy.

The pilaff rice was flavorful enough and a bit dry, but I suppose that'll allow it to absorb the curry (which I however avoided for the fear of diarrhea). No complaints about the generous portion of spicy chicken chunks in the Indian chicken curry, but I avoided the cauliflower in the spiced potato-cauliflower as it was overdone and hence mushy. Dessert was chocolate delight- a pack of three Ferrero Rochers.

Overall verdict: Generally the food served was not too bad, but it still failed to whet my poor appetitie onboard.