Where do you all purchase your groceries? I do my grocery shopping at all the different supermarkets / hypermarkets in Singapore. Depending on what's on specials, or where I know only certain stores carries certain specialty goods, I go to different stores.
I do most of my groceries at either FairPrice Finest or Cold Storage because these two are nearest to my home. Where I live, these two competitors are like 200 metres from each other. I usually go to FairPrice Finest because it is 200 metres nearer and their things are more reasonably priced.
How do I know when there's special offers? I receive SMS from the supermarkets. I think many of you got this too last Friday evening. It reads - FairPrice Finest: Savour Alaska King Crab Leg with RONGOPAI Pinot Noir. This fruity wine pairs well with this seafood.
Are you tempted by Alaskan King Crabs?
Guess what? Last Wednesday I attended a very hands on cooking class at ToTT Store. It was only when I got there, I was told the session was sponsored by FairPrice Finest.
(I am going to get a litte carried away here..... )
My family and I love ToTT Store, in fact, on the first trip there not long after it opened, we were tempted and bought enough stuff, we qualify to get their members card. But I never got time to attend classes there. So when I was invited to go, I was really glad!
So, there was I, having my first hands on cooking class at ToTT Store Cooking Studio.
It was so exciting. I love to check out people's kitchen!
Some of you know I am a techie by vocation. I like gadgets! All kinds of it, be it IT gadgets or kitchen gadgets!
When I saw this Bosch induction hob, I was so excited. (Again, some of you also know,) I have been slow in posting these few weeks because my place is being renovated. Momo, sis and I ordered this same hob! The hob at home is yet to installed when I attended the class, so that class was a hands on training on how to use it!
I was not the only one that was 'kepo', everyone attending the course, opened the drawers to check out what's inside. We have almost everything at home too! I can even tell you that the measuring spoon on the bottom left is magnetic and it's by Jamie Oliver. Sis bought it from ToTT few months ago!
A peep at the cabinets below. I have similar things, but the ones I have are all much cheaper because I buy such stuff from UK/US when I am on holidays. You won't believe what I carry back from holidays in my luggage!
Chef Ming Tan was our 'facilitator' as he calls himself. We had to cook our own meals, so he was there to just facilitate. He said he won't be teaching as he thinks we all know quite a bit, he is just being humble.
Other than being a cooking instructor at ToTT, he's a personal chef that goes to your home to cook. You know, something like "Take Home Chef Curtis Stone". The only difference is that Chef Ming Tan does not spot you in supermarkets and cook dinner in your house.
If you want him to cook at your house for dinner parties, you can contact him at http://www.oooh-jam.com/ or visit their Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/oooh.jam
Anyway, back to the cooking class. Some of the ingredients needed for the session.
I will share with you two recipes here that can be paired with different wines.
(You should know where you can get these fresh ingredients, FairPrice Finest! I was just at Finest earlier for my weekly grocery shopping, and the Blue Pumpkin from Australia that you see in the photo above costs $5.90/kg. Today's price! I do groceries you know!)
- 6 large asparagus stalks
- 500 gm pumpkin
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 5 lime leaves (finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- salt and pepper
- 250g crab meat
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Preheat your oven first around 160 degrees Celsius as you do the following steps.
Preparing the things to bake with Ingredients A:
Use a peeler to get rid of the rough outer layer of the asparagus. Then cut them around 2 inch long. You can see I did not do a very good job at peeling off the outer layer. (I was taking photos and cooking at the same time!)
Tip from Chef Ming, keep rolling your asparagus as you cut them so they look this way. Doesn't it look better than all being in the same length and shape?
The original recipe that we received used 4 avocadoes instead of pumpkin. I think they could not get riped avocadoes, so they substituted avos with pumpkin instead. I think these are Blue Pumpkin from Australia that I see sold in Finest. These pumpkin are really nice!
Cut them into chunks like above. They should not be too big and should be about the same size so that they cook evenly in the oven.
Mix the pumpkin, asparagus, garlic, olive oil into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Make sure it's all coated with enough oil. Transfer the ingredients into a baking dish or aluminum foil on your baking tray. Baked for around 9 minutes or till they are tender.
You guessed it! The similar oven I have at home!
The asparagus and pumpkin was ready. It was cooling in the oven while we work on other things.
Preparing the dressing with Ingredients B:
It's so obvious I have used more garlic than in the recipe. I love garlic!
Kiffir Lime leaves (daun limau purut) are so fragrant, 5 of these leaves chopped up finely gave the dish a wonderful fragrance.
Mix the lime leaves, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and the dressing is ready!
Just look at the Alaskan King Crab claws! We each used 3 claws for your dishes in the class.
It's really easy to take the meat out, use a scissors to cut the joints, then cut the 'tube' open and the crab meat comes out!
Do you know Alaska Crabs are high in protein, low in fat and calories and are a good source of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids? And because Alaska Crab is precooked, you can heat and serve it in a hurry. Just boil, steam, broil, bake or grill for 8 to 10 minutes for frozen crab or 3-4 minutes for thawed crab or until the internal temperature of the crab reaches 145'F (use on instant-read thermometer and test crab in the shoulder section).
It's on sale at FairPrice Finest now. The usual price is $7.50 per 100 gm, it's now on sale at $5.90 per 100 gm. I went to Finest store near home to see if there's still stock because a fellow participant said the Finest near her place has run out! A pack is around 700 grams or so, so you pay around $40 plus for it.
There you go, mix everything up in a bowl and plate it!
Looks good? Well, it tasted really good!
Now for some explanation provided by the experts:
Rongopai Marlborough Pinot Noir.
Packed with dark cherry, earth and spice. The palate is full and very evenly layered with dark fruits, spice and leather, finishing with fine tannins and a hint of cedar. A very drinkable wine upon release that should age gracefully.
Why best paired together?
Pinot Noir is light and fruity, often acidic, and generally lacking in tannic structure. The light body of the varietal pairs well with the lighter mouth feel of seafood, such as Crab.
Here's the second dish that we learned at the class.
Oh, I should tell you, this was equally easy peasy like the recipe above!
Here are the ingredients for the dish:
- 4 x 150 g Mahi-mahi fillets
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- A mix of star anise, cardamon, cloves, cinnamon stick.
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 80g salted butter (chilled)
- 100g sundried tomatoes (soaked in water and blended) (if from jar with oil, skip soaking step)
- 1/2 cup warm beef stock
Making the Coulis from Ingredients D
I never knew making sundried tomato coulis was so so so easy! If you are using the dried (and not those in oil) version of sundried tomatoes, just wash them gently and then soak them.
I first heard of the word coulis when I was watching Masterchef on TV! Coulis is a thick French sauce.
Blend them and add in the warm beef stock. Depending on how wet your rehydrated sundried tomatoes are, add the stock in slowly. You don't want it too wet. Zap them till they are smooth.
Now the magic! When you get the consistency you want, add in the cold salted butter and give it a final blend!
See how smooth and glossy it becomes now? The cold butter mixed with the warm mix just glows!
It was also very tasty! You can add in a tiny bit of salt if you want, but I did not.
There you go, Sundried Tomato Coulis!
Making the Spiced Butter with Ingredients B
Chef Ming's version of Hollandaise sauce has an Asian fragrance to it.
He infuses the oil with star anise, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks. What a brilliant idea!
Warm them gently on low heat for 10 minutes. It's that easy!
The aroma was just wonderful!
Strain it after 10 minutes and let it cool.
Making the Hollandaise with Ingredients C
Making the Hollandaise sauce was also very easy.
Egg yolks, butter and lemon juice!
Chef Ming taught us the easiest way to separate egg white and egg yolks. Use two bowls and a spoon!
Some of you, like me, use egg shells to separate them. That way is more accident prone. The sharp ends of the shell usually prick the egg yolks. Using a spoon is the easiest. This is especially so if you are baking and need to separate say 20 eggs!
What a nice egg yolk.
4 egg yolks. Gently whisk them.
Then add in the butter that has been infused with the aromatics.
Drip in the butter bit by bit. You might not need it all.
Next, add in the lemon juice, some salt.
Continue to whisk it till it looks something like the above. It's hard work if you do it by hand like how we did it! The easiest way is to put everything in a blender and blend for around 15 seconds. ;-)
Add in some chopped parsley and there you have, Hollandaise Sauce.
The thawed mahi-mahi that the whole class was going to cook!
If you can't get mahi-mahi, you can substitute it with other fish like mackarel.
To get nice colour when you fry your fish, and also to prevent oil from splashing, pat dry the fish fillet before frying!
As it cooks, lightly season it with salt and pepper.
There you go, the dish after being plated!
The kind folks at FairPrice Finest provided Chateau Le Gay Pomerol 2006. I heard it's not cheap and the other participants who was at the cooking class said it was really good.
If you want to find out what's going on at FairPrice Finest and what's on offer, here's a good website to visit. http://www.WhatsUpAtFairprice.com.sg
It lists out the current offers and you can see "Heavenly Pairings Of Wine And Seafood" that is available from 12 - 25 May 2011.
Do you know that there are now 6 FairPrice Finest now in Singapore?
You can find them at Bukit Timah Plaza, Marine Parade Central, Triple One Somerset (Singapore Power Building behind Orchard Road), Serangoon Garden Village, Century Square - Tampines and Thomson Plaza.
Do you also know that 70% of the items in FairPrice Finest are staples found in all FairPrice outlets at the SAME prices? The remaining 30% are cosmopolitan selection of premium and gourmet products sourced from all over the world.
[This post is brought to you courtesy of FairPrice Finest. The experience and thoughts are all Keropokman's.]