The first half of this semester at university has definitely taken upon itself to race full speed ahead and now I find myself embarking on my 7th week back with the prospect of Easter Break acting as my ‘pacemaker’. One more week before I can truly take a semi-break as I jet off to Singapore for a quick visit before my Lil’ Bro heads into the army!
It has been a busy start to the year, to put it simply and any food spotting or life sharing has been limited to the world of Instagram. So…in a brief moment to breathe I thought I would make a quick visit to this space and share a little something which I always enjoy the most during my Singapore trip.
Although we eat out 99% of the time and I could rave about the Singaporean food scene for an infinite amount of time, it is the family gatherings composed of homecooked meals and sitting around a relative’s living room which I miss the most when I am back in Sydney.
On my past trip, which was longer than usual I was able to celebrate my twin Auntie and Uncle’s birthday. My Si Yi (Auntie No. 4) is no amateur in the kitchen, preparing ‘Peng Cai’, a Chinese New Year delicacy full of culinary delights such as abalone, with each holding a significant meaning. The birthday girl definitely deserved to be showered in affection after providing our stomachs with pure content.
Of course there was cake from our family favourite, ‘Bengawan Solo’ the makers of Nonya Kueh, what I have crowned one of the best desserts in the world…my tastebuds may be biased…
Blackforest Cake was featured as well as my newfound love, the Pandan Kaya Cake.
The last few weeks of my stay in Singapore played out with much more haste than I had hoped for. From Chinese New Year onwards, each day was filled to the brim with last minute but nevertheless important rendezvous, running up and down Orchard Road as I made (very) important retail decisions (hehe) and of course ensuring that I had fulfilled my cravings for the local fare. Hence the late post on my family’s Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner!
While Singapore is ever changing, there are traditional elements to it which I hope never change. Coincidently, I had a foodie experience, which I felt to underscore this notion.
After each semester has come to an end, I instantly enter kitchen/baking mode while trying to organize numerous meetings with my dearest but ‘long-time-no-see’ friends. Believe it or not, I was an avid violin student for the twelve years which span from primary to the end of high school. Over this time I both Mumma and I formed a strong bond with my teacher. Each holiday I look forward to morning teas with her and her son, the cutest kiddie one will ever meet!
This meet up, Mumma and I were pondering upon the numerous morning tea options we could provide… Muffins from Cre Asion, Devon…. until…..through the gift of photo uploads Facebook, we decided to take the challenge and bake our own Pandan Chiffon Muffins. My Singaporean background means I have grown up with this distinctive and unique Asian flavor which I love so much.
A quick round up of ingredients, perhaps a secretive purchase of an electric whisk and an hour or two in the kitchen resulted in my first batch of Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes*. My heart was mildly fractured when I was unable to achieve the airy consistency of chiffon and troubleshooting led me to realize that I had made the rookie error of beating insufficient air into the egg whites. <face palm>
Nevertheless, due to the integration of fresh pandan leaves the flavor made up for this and the denser ‘kueh**-like” texture was rather enjoyed at our morning tea. It was a catch-up that we were all reluctant to end, however the challenge to create the perfect or rather ‘better’ chiffon still weighed heavily in my mind.
That afternoon Pandan Chiffon: Take 2 began. The final result was as I had hoped for but alas I am no chiffon expert. Visually it looked much better and the distinct Pandan aroma blanketed the kitchen. Might I say that ‘practice makes … almost perfect’!