28 September 2007

Galbiati Gourmet Deli, The Rail Mall

Galbiati is one Italian gourmet deli which offers a fine selection of authentic Italian fare at afforable prices in a homely and unpretentious setting.
Besides catering to takeaway customers, the deli also serves a dine-in crowd in its small premise. Menu items include antipasti, pizza, soup, pasta, assorted bread, salad, biscotti, roasted meats, cheese, desserts, wine and selection of fine foods. Takeaway items like soups, sauces, lasagna are thoughtfully packed in microwavable containers, offering convenient choices for a wholesome home-cooked meal.

Upon entering the deli, I'm immediately attracted by aroma from the pizza and bread displayed at the open counter and antipasti in the display freezer. The display certainly whets one's appetite! I love variety in small packages, so this is definitely the eatery for me.

Assorted breads. Goes very well with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Do try the Focaccia bread flavoured with olive oil, herbs and different toppings such as cherry tomato, zucchini or olive.
One must try is the pizza. Cut into easy-to-eat slices, the pizzas here have thin and crispy crusts with delectable tomato base and mozzarella cheese. My favourite is the mushroom pizza topped with fresh and juicy mushroom. As I munched, the strong taste of mushroom filled the entire mouth and that makes me crave for even more.

Russian Potato Salad with diced potato, carrot and green peas mixed in mayonaise. Served cold, taste zesty and creamy.

Sliced Baked Potato in cream sauce. Served warm, comfort food for a cold day.

Chewy meatballs in tangy tomato sauce. Somehow, we still prefer Ikea's meatballs :p
There are just so many items that we are spoilt for choice. Heard that the Lamb Shank and Stuffed Portabello are hot favourites as well.
Not-to-be-missed are the Italian desserts, from classic Tiramisu to the exotic Lavender Cheesecake. I tried the Blueberry (or was it blackberry) Panna Cotta; the creamy gelatin melts in the mouth and is well complemented by the slightly sweet and sourish blueberry. Hmmm....

With such a wide variety of antipasti and desserts, this is one deli I will visit often.

Galbiati Gourmet Deli
The Rail Mall
400 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Tel: 64620926
Website: http://www.galbiatigourmet.com/
Opening Hours: Daily: 10am - 10pm

23 September 2007

Bollywood Veggies and Poison Ivy Bistro, Kranji Countryside

Once in a while, hubby and I will go to the Kranji Countryside, the last remaining natural sanctuary in mainland Singapore. The countryside is not just for nature lovers, it is definitely a great place for families, young and old to enjoy a whole array of recreational and educational activities at the various fish farms, vegetables and fruits farms, dairy farms and more.
The Kranji Countryside offers a place for city dwellers to relax, breath in some fresh air and admire the fauna and flora. Most importantly, it promotes awareness on conservation of our precious natural environment in land scarce Singapore.

One pit-stop we wouldn't miss is Bollywood Veggies and Poison Ivy Bistro located at 100 Neo Tiew Road. Bollywood Veggies grows a large variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs, mostly organic. Make a contribution of S$2 per person to tour the farm on your own or there are some guided tour packages available. Or simply relax and have a bite at the Poison Ivy Bistro where most food items are taken fresh from the farms.

The Bistro offers both air-con and al-fresco dining. I like the decorations which are bright and cheery blended with fine touches of nature and cultural heritage. Menu items offered are simple fare like vegetable and chicken curry, otah otah, spring roll, turnip cake, kueh kueh but certainly full of nostalgia, reminding us of mum's home-cook wholesome taste. There are also lunch specials based on the farm harvest. The Bistro also sells some farm fresh produce (depending on the harvest of the day like pandan leaves, papaya, bittergourd, cucumber, brinjal etc).

Lemongrass chicken - I'm a lemongrass lover; definitely had to try this dish. Chicken drumlets are cooked in a special curry gravy flavoured with lemongrass, herbs and spices. Spicy, slightly sourish and hint of sweetness, the gravy is simply sedap (delicious)! I can just eat plain rice along with the gravy.

Tauhu Goreng - this is a fresh twist to the usual Tauhu Goreng we eat. Instead of using tau kwa which are slightly harder in texture, egg tofu is used here. The peanut sauce is more watery but complements the egg tofu well; taste a little zesty and sweet, I feel this is less 'jia lat' and more refreshing than the usual peanut gravy.

Stir-fried sweet potato leaves with sambal - the leaves must be taken fresh from the farm, they are so young and tender!

Aloe Vera brewed with farm grown Aloe Vera and Lemongrass Tea - refreshing and healthy thirst-quencher on a sunny afternoon.

4-in-1 dessert platter with Kueh Bingka, Banana Cake, Jackfruit Cake and Kueh Kosui - these are NOT TO BE MISSED! These home-made kueh kuehs are humble but divine; especially the Kueh Bingka made from farm grown tapioca and Banana Cake from farm fresh organic bananas - each bite is a burst of flavour and fragrance!

Nice environment, satisfying meal... I should visit the countryside more often :)


18 September 2007

Gone Fishing, Kuala Rompin, Malaysia

It's sailfish season and hubby has been bugging me to go with him on a sportfishing trip to Kuala Rompin - "Sailfish Capital" of Malaysia.
Was really hesitant. Hadn't gone for deep sea fishing for quite a bit. Yes, you get the adrenalin rush when something takes the bait, gives a good fight and you aren't exactly sure what's at the end of the line. But it can get kind of boring if there isn't a single bite. Worse, you are subject to the mercy of the sun and sea - sun burn + seasick if the sea gets choppy. On top of that, I dislike travelling 3-4hrs in a van and having to beat the Woodlands Custom crowd. Yes, jaded I am. I guess I no longer want to "rough it out" for my vacations.

The hubby was real smart. The trip was planned for his colleagues and partners. If I go, there would be 8 of us and we could drive in without taking the van (which was the usual way of getting to Malaysia for fishing). If we drive, we could bring along mahjong set and play mahjong after fishing. That's it, and I was hooked.

And so we set off on Friday night, crossed the Tuas Checkpoint as Woodlands would be inevitably jammed. Took around 1+hr to reach Kota Tinggi and another 1+hr to reach Mersing. Made a pitstop for some teh tarik, stretched our legs while waiting for our good friend cum coordinator who organized this fishing trip (there were 2 other vans of avid anglers). From Mersing, it was another 45mins drive to Rompin. We checked into Puteri Inn and headed straight for bed, almost 1am.

Saturday morning! Headed to Rompin riverside (next to jetty) for our breakfast. Usually I don't take breakfast or just very light breakfast before a fishing or diving trip because I know that most probably the food won't have chance of getting digested. But the chicken feet and fishball noodles looked really good so I threw caution to the wind. I thought perhaps half the noodles would be alright. BIG MISTAKE which I was rudely reminded of the fact later on.

Our fishing adventure officially began after breakfast. Our boatman first brought us to jig for some bait fish which would be food for our sailfish. Caught mostly selar which wasn't ideal as they weren't very hardy. Started our sailfishing, but to no avail. Tried jigging for more bait fish and finally got some kambong. Hubby changed the bait and almost immediately a sailfish took the bait. He fought and "landed" the sail after 15 mins. Didn't bring the sail up the boat, just took some photos and quickly released the magnificent creature.

The school of sailfish was nearby as a few other fishing boats also managed to hook some sails. Spectacular sight as the sailfishes were leaping out of water around us. But the window seemed only a while as the rest of the day was rather uneventful. Even bottom fishing was disappointing with only a handful of angoli fish.

In the midst of the actions, the waves picked up and I felt the queasiness. Damn. I totally regretted my moment of gluttony weakness earlier on and regurgitated my breakfast to the deep blue. Couldn't remember how many times I puked; this has got to be the worst in 10 years. But definitely felt better after ridding the oily breakfast.

In the late afternoon, we decided to call it a day.

We freshened up, ventured into Rompin Town and chanced upon the Ramandan Bazaar. I love bazaars, especially those in Malaysia as they are colourful and flavourful. We spent a while roaming the small scale bazaar, marvelling the interesting food and beverage and of course stuffing ourselves with some. *Kay-El of masak-masak is currently featuring a series of blog entries on Ramandan Bazaars, go check it out!

Thereafter, we hid in the comforts of our rooms, improvised a mahjong table and played till dinner time.

It was a sumptuous seafood dinner with flower crab, fresh calamari, chicken herbal soup, thai-style tofu and more... didn't take many photos as we were famished (didn't dare eat lunch on board the fishing boat with all that puking).

After the heavy dinner, continued with mahjong until concussed.

The next day, we skipped fishing as a few of us had to return to Singapore by noon. So we took a leisurely breakfast at a kopi tiam (seems to be one of the most polular Chinese-run eatery in Rompin) for some handmade lo mai kai and tau sar bao before heading home.

In a nutshell, this trip turned out to be more of an M&M - Makan & Mahjong trip. LOL. Nevertheless an enjoyable one with great company :D. Minus the puking -_-

09 September 2007

Angsana Resort & Spa, Bintan

With stressful August behind us, hubby and I sneaked away for a weekend getaway. Decided on Angsana Resort & Spa, Bintan. An escape from reality which is relatively hassle free; a dose of luxury which is relatively affordable.

Took the last ferry on Friday night and arrived still in time for dinner. We checked out Pantai Grill (new to us) and immediately warmed up to the ambience. The setting by the beach is cosy and tastefully decorated with Indonesian folkart and an Indonesian liveband playing traditional tunes. Buffet spread was Indonesian which featured favourites like grilled satay, nasi goreng, assorted kueh kueh. After a long dinner soaking up the atmosphere, we retired for the night.
Woke up to a slightly cloudy morning and looking forward to breakfast at Lotus Cafe. I love the cafe which has high ceiling making it bright and airy; most apt for a hearty breakfast.

As usual, the buffet spread was pretty well stock with international and local fare. Couldn't resist a bowl of plain congee with some condiments to warm the stomach first.

Several types of bread with different dips were available. I loved my toasted wholemeal bread with butter and honey dip as well as the almond and custard bun.

After breakfast, we strolled the vicinity and explored the landscape. Really enjoyed the peace and quiet, no maddening and rowdy crowd, just cool breeze and lush greenery.

Time for our spa therapy which was essentially the highlight of the vacation. We always request for the spa pavilion with signature Angsana Massage as with previous visits. Pleasantly surprised to see that the spa pavilions have undergone refurbishment which is still as charming. And as usual, our therapists were ever so gracious. 120 mins later, we went away relaxed and rejuvenated.

Lunch by the beach was passable. Actually all I need was an icy cool coke with lemon. The rest of the day was idled away lazing by the beach, followed by buffet dinner (yes, at Pantai Grill again) We couldn't seem to stop eating and idling. Well, with no PC and internet and nothing much interesting on TV, there wasn't much we could do... lol. Which is exactly the purpose of a relaxing holiday, isn't it?

To top off my short vacation, I had omelet with lots of ketchup for breakfast. I simply can't resist ketchup and can get pretty high on ketchup!

Before departing for the ferry terminal, had a refreshing lemongrass drink which was meant as our welcome drink actually. That pretty much sum up the short but good holiday.


01 September 2007

海洋的味道 - 干贝猪肉粥

偶然经过邵氏大厦 (Shaw Centre) 的伊势丹超市 (Isetan Supermarket)。在 SunMoulin Yamazaki 面包店隔邻,有个迷你日本食品小摊,日籍欧吉桑正用心包装贩卖的各种货品。一向热衷于日式产品的我, 当然得凑凑热闹啦。

摆卖的是一些日式干粮,调味之类的食品。吸引我的是 Kawamoto Konbu Dried Scallop 川本昆布干贝。100克17元,还真不便宜, 算算只有18来颗,有点买不下。看我跃跃欲试的样子,欧吉桑让我尝些他事先准备的干贝饭。干贝饭是用珍珠米拌干贝,萝卜丝,加些日本酱青,味醂 (mirin),米酒 (sake) 一起煮的。简简单单但味道好鲜,淡淡的清香,有着海洋的滋味,饭的口感带点嚼劲。我最爱这样的御饭了!也就不再犹豫买了一包。

首先,将干贝浸在清水半小时。待干贝软了,漓干 ,与切块的猪肉一起蒸半小时。浸干贝的水别倒掉。如果有杂物可过滤,但通常日本干贝应该很干净。


将干贝拨碎,猪肉拨丝,待粥水沸腾后加入。继续用慢火煮一小时 (有时间可煮上两个小时,但得注意火候和水分)。

还剩下一半的干贝,先得抽空到 明治屋 (Meidi-Ya)或伊势丹超市 (Isetan) 买齐日本调味料。超期待的干贝御饭哦!