Thursday, September 29, 2011

Very Easy Homemade Marshmallows! (5 ingredients, w/o corn syrup)

Hi everyone!

Having leftover gelatin powder from making mousse? Dont know what to do with it? Here's my suggestion: MAKE MARSHMALLOWS!
It was surprisingly simple! I found many recipes, many step-by-step pictures/videos which involved dubious and scary looking sugar syrups, needed me to buy corn syrup/glucose/golden syrup (which comes in a huge bottle and I dont want additional stuff in my kitchen because I want to CLEAR STUFF, not add stuff) so I decided on this really simple, and seemingly manageable (it really is!) recipe!

First, I called Phoon Huat and went round to get this candy thermometer! I think it is quite important that you get a candy thermometer especially if you're a novice at making marshmallows! So that you can tell when the sugar syrup is ready!

1 1/2 tbsp gelatin
1/2 cup ice cold water
1/2 cup honey
1/8 tsp salt (just a pinch or any amt you like)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I'd recommend upping this maybe to a tbsp or 1.5 tbsp if you do not like the taste of honey)

Adapted from Z's Cup Of Tea

Step 1: Chill a large mixing bowl (or the one attached to your mixer) and the whisks attached to it in the freezer (or a balloon whisk if you do not have a mixer) for a few minutes (doesnt really matter how long actually! As long as they're really cold)

Step 2: In a small pot, put 1/4 cup of the ice cold water, all the honey and the pinch of salt. Place the candy thermometer in the pot. Heat the pot over medium heat for about 3 minutes then increase the heat slightly until its a gentle boil. Cook until it registers 200ºF on the candy thermometer

Step 3: Take out the mixing bowl and the whisks you have chilled. Put the remaining 1/4 cuup of ice cold water into the bowl. Add the powdered gelatin to the cold water and mix well. It should look like the picture above.

Step 4: Pour the syrup slowly into the softened gelatin, whisking gently until all the syrup is poured in (my mixer was at its slowest speed!) 

Step 5: When all the syrup has been poured in, you can increase your mixer's speed or leave it as 1 if you're scared (that's what I did haha) until the mixture becomes white (like the above picture). Dont worry, it takes awhile (about 5mins or more?). Whisk till it forms soft peaks when you lift your mixer.

Step 6: Add in the vanilla extract (more if you do not like the taste of honey) and continue whisking for about 1-2 minutes until fully incorporated.

Step 7: Line a container you wish to put your marshmallows in with parchment paper and pour the mixture into the container with the help of a spatula. Spread evenly. I recommend you to use a box that is rather small so that your marshmallows will be thick (conventional height kind) and not too thin!

Step 8: Place it in the fridge/freezer to set overnight (I placed mine in the fridge). Most blogs just say to leave it in the open to set overnight, but I think for Singapore's humid weather, the marshmallow will not set, so best to put it in the fridge!

Additions: You can add food colouring (I added 1/8 tsp of pink food colouring) when I added my vanilla extract (I made a 2nd batch). Or you can experiment with adding different types of extracts/oils/juices/food colouring etc!

The next day...

Step 1: Test if the marshmallow is set, if it is, it should not stick to your finger at all (mine did but I just took it out nonetheless because it only stuck to my finger a leeeeetle bit)

Step 2: Pour hot water over a knife and use it to separate the marshmallow from the parchment paper. Also use the knife to cut the marshmallow. If it sticks, put the knife back into the hot water again before continuing. Think you should work fast else it will get sticky in Singapore's disgusting weather haha.

Step 3: Melt chocolate over a double boiler (ie place a bowl on top of a pot of boiling water ensuring that the bottom of the bowl doesnt touch the water) and drizzle it over your marshmallows!!! YUM (: After drizzling, put it back into the freezer/fridge for the chocolate to firm up then you're ready to eat!

You can also roll them in powdered sugar (classic marshmallows), cocoa powder etc

OR you can use your cookie cutters and cut nice cute shapes from your marshmallow!

Mine tasted very much like honey, so yup, think next time I'll be upping the vanilla extract or maybe I'll try using agave nectar (sub the honey for agave nectar). For vegetarians, you can use agar I guess, but I've read some reviewers who've achieved success and some who have not, so try it out for yourself and tell me okay!

I was surprised at how simple it is to make marshmallows! My parents were shocked when I told them I made the marshmallows hehe. So if you want to surprise your friends, or your family members (perhaps show them how good you are hahaha) make marshmallows! Simple, yummy, and everyone's favourite childhood snack!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Restaurant Andre - An artistic experience

Restaurant Andre has been on my "To-go" list for quite some time already and I'm really glad we managed to make it down to his restaurant last Saturday to try out his "Octaphilosophy" menu (basically an 8 course menu with 8 different themes based on what's the freshest ingredients available that day)

The bag that accompanied me that night (:

Below are pictures of Chef Andre's atelier. When we reached the restaurant, the staff came out to receive us and brought us to this lift, (yes we took the lift) up to the 3rd floor to where she called Chef Andre's atelier. Below are pictures of his atelier.

His bookshelf filled with Michelin books

Chef's Andre's work

Chef's Andre's work

Chef Andre made this plate! He also made several other plates that were used during the night

Again, his work



The staircase leads up to Chef Andre's private space

Chef's work

White wine to start with! The sommelier's v friendly, jap guy I reckon

Vanilla Popcorn!

This was not bad! There were the crunchy bits and was a nice twist to popcorn I fell! Made it less sweet and slightly savory 4/5

Onion and porcini mushroom tart

This wasnt a tart, we thought it would be, but in the end it was a wafer thin crispy cracker! Loved the onion taste to it, made us think of the sour cream and chives that KFC uses on its cheesefries! Haha. 4/5

Tuna tartare

Loved the presentation of this! However, I felt that this was a rather normal dish? Just wrapped in a thin pancake like layer nothing much 3.2/5

Marsala Chicken Skin

I could taste the chicken skin definitely, though how thin this piece of skin was made it feel like it was a cracker infused with some chicken oil or something. Nonetheless, really yummy piece of cracker! 4/5

Deconstructed Fish & Chips with chocolate garlic soil 

I LOVED this the most out of all the snacks!!!! This was really interesting. Those are the ends of fish sticking out (ie the tail area) and the chefs fried the fish till it was really crispy and wrapped a layer of potato round the bottom of the fish tail (the brown part you see directly below the tail) and that's the "chips" part! We ate the whole thing because it was fried so crisply and went really well with the chocolate garlic soil! 

I COULDNT. STOP. EATING. THE. SOIL.! Okay though that sounds weird but really, it was amazingggg to me and my family! The garlic lent enough savouriness to the chocolate soil but definitely did not overpower the chocolate, they complemented each other REALLY well! I just ate scoops and scoops of it one after the other. YUMMYY 5/5

Purple cauliflower consomme, purple shallot, basil, shiso and scallop ravioli

Felt this dish was really clean tasting, no seasonings were added so that the individual ingredients could shine through and I felt that this dish was simple, good as a starter dish! Forgot to take a picture of this in my haste to eat it! Haha 4/5

Photo credit:

French oysters, seaweed, sea water jelly and granny smith apple foam

The small pieces dotted around the bowl are small pieces of granny smith apples! Haha. Anyway, the seaweed was really salty! The oyster was a huge slice and you could really taste the saltiness of the sea and the freshness of the oyster! The seaweed and sea water jelly had to be eaten together with the oyster else they'd be too salty on its own. After eating those together, I ate the apple foam and felt that it was a really good counterbalance to the saltiness! Really does cleanse your palette after that 4/5


We loved the bread! It was warm and the outside crusty. Went really well with butter! My mom, who doesnt usually like bread, said that the bread was nice too! They gave us seconds and we gobbled it up (: I love restaurant with yummy bread! 5/5

Deep fried burdock on a spread of macadamia nuts. Deep fried duck tongue on top of aubergine from Kyoto with smoked aubergine creme anglaise topped with free farmed caviar. Black sesame sea salt

Loved the burdock chips with the spread! But my mom preferred it alone because that way she felt, the taste of burdock could shine through while with the spread, the taste was slightly muted. I though, thought it went well with the spread! Felt the aubergine was really soft and went well with the creme anglaise and caviar. The duck tongue was a nice touch, crispy and gave a crispy texture to the otherwise soft aubergine. This plate was crafted by the Chef as well. 4.3/5

Part 1: Salad of white peaches, tomato and tomato sorbet
Part 2: Grilled abalone, mackerel, hirame, prawn and uni risotto with bluefin emulsion

South pays homage to the Chef's time in South of France. The staff told us Chef started learning how to cook in France since he was 15!

Part1: I'm really sorry I didnt take a picture of the dish! But basically, the sorbet was in the middle surrounded by alternating pieces of tomato and peaches. The peaches were SO SWEET and good!! Really loved the tomato sorbet as well!! Extremely palate cleansing cos it was slightly sour while a little sweet, never tried such a sorbet before and thoroughly fell in love with it (:

Part 2: The bluefin emulsion was really amazing! Potent ocean flavours I tell you! Shot of the ocean, that's what I'd describe it as! The prawn (red blob to the right) and the fish were all grilled nicely and the risotto was mixed with sweet uni, and the rice was cooked of course, perfectly. Every morsel was coated nicely in a light cream sauce (I think) and overall,  I loved this dish! 4.6/5

Ariboro rice squid ink crackers with cauliflower puree

Now our waitress told us to guess what this dish was about but because we (Mom and I) already know the play of textures in this dish so we left it to the boys to guess and after a few chews, they realised that the risotto (white stuff) in between the crackers were actually pieces of squid! And the ariboro rice was encrusted in the crackers infused with squid ink! This was a nice play on the squid and the ariboro rice I felt! But taste wise, it was rather average only. Because we couldnt really taste the squid (though we could tell the texture) and the cracker just felt like a crispy piece, nothing really. What I liked were the cheese flakes weirdly! Haha. Look at the end of the first picture, that's the cheese! Really fragrant flakes of cheese which went well with the puree. But thumbs up for the creativity, chef! 3.5/5

Char-grilled Baby Barracuda with French artichoke, olives, grilled vegetables, wine sauce

I loved the barracuda (fish) marinade! It was very fragrant because of the spices used, like a cross between Indian spices and French ones. Really great pieces of fish! The olives were great and I felt the grilled tomato especially, was yummy! 4.3/5 

Foie gras jelly with black truffle coulis


Seriously!! The waitress told us this is the chef's signature dish and never removes it from the menu (lunch menus have this as well) and I can see why!! It was my FAVOURITE dish of the night and really wow, stuck in my memory!!!!! The fragrance of the truffle was like the best perfume to me and I relished smelling the dish over and over again!! Sorry I really love the smell of truffles!!! It went really well with the smooth foie gras jelly (a lil chawanmushi like but REALLY smooth!). I scrapped every last morsel I could from the bowl and really yearned for more!!! I'd definitely come back just for this. You have yourself a truly stunning dish, Chef Andre! MUST-TRY! 5/5

Rabbit loin wrapped with pancetta,charcoal powder and mustard seeds. Rabbit rib. Pea puree, onion puree, and milky potato

Rabbit loin - it was really soft (as you can see from the picture below) the meat was pink and cooked just nicely. I felt that mustard seeds surprisingly, was a good complement with the meat because it gave the dish a complex but well thought-out depth. The rabbit rib was good too, good fat to meat ratio and seared (I think) perfectly well! 4.6/5

Oh yes, and a red wine came with this dish which was really smooth!

Look at the cute oar-like "spoon"! Haha. We've completed the Chef's Octaphilosophy and the waitress asked if we want cheese or move straight to desserts. We politely declined the cheese course and so we had desserts!

Yoghurt, strawberry, marshmallow

This was a not bad pick me up after the dinner. Though I'd like a little more sour-ness to the dish to really cleanse the palette! And if the dish was slightly colder, it'd be better! Nonetheless, the simplicity of this dish was a crowd pleaser 4.3/5

Chocolate Degustation
Chocolate sphere on fromage blanc, chocolate sponge, chilli chocolate crisp with burnt butter ice cream on chocolate soil

Really loved the chocolate sphere with fromage blanc!!! Was REALLY surprised that chocolate and cheese can go so well together!! Really loved this pairing by the chef, opened my eyes to a new wonderful combination of chocolate and cheese!! Favourite part of the dessert that night! The chilli chocolate crisp didnt taste of chilli at all, the ice cream was good though! Chocolate soil this time round didnt have the garlic in it and I didnt like it that much because the added flavours that garlic brought to it was what made it stand out! Chocolate sponge was really nothing, thought prolly the dish could do without it? Couldnt really taste chocolate and it was just a really soft "cake". 4/5

Petit Fours
Burnt figs, white chocolate popcorn, passionfruit marshmallows, hazelnut madeleines

The figs were from France I think? Really nice figs! The popcorn this time was more dessert-like and the boy definitely relished that it was coated with white chocolate!! Tastes like the Japanese corn chocolate snack if you know which one I'm talking about haha. Passionfruit marshmallow was great!!!! Really tasted like passionfruit but in a different form! Madeleines were okay, never my favourite so, yup. 4.6/5


Can choose from white/black/flower/mint tea and I chose black tea! Which was served in this cup made by the Chef. Though I felt it was a little impractical because there was a handle and because of the material, it was hot to touch when the tea was in the cup so we could only hold the top part of the cup! 

Mr Goh Chok Tong (far left), Mr Lee Kwan Yew and Chef

PM Lee and his wife with Chef Andre

Accolades won by the Chef. We decided to walk down after dinner instead of taking the lift!

Chef Andre's "house". Really a wonderful experience!

Some pictures of the Deepavali lightings at Little India:

Overall, I'd say the experience was definitely very artistic and we whole-heartedly agreed with our waitress when she said that Chef was a really artistic person who cares a lot about detail and is very meticulous about it! Chef is a Taiwanese btw. The serving staff were all really friendly, with ready smiles on their faces and would gladly answer any questions you have.

I'd suggest booking at least three weeks in advance to secure seats because the seats are really quite hard to get! I booked mine hmm, about a month beforehand? The restaurant only seats 30 people and according the our waitress, there are also 30 chefs working in the restaurant! They also allow interns! 

We felt that this meal reminded us of our meal at Tippling Club haha though my parents were more "for" this meal because it was less molecular gastronomy and definitely more filling. I love both for the difference in their emphasis. Tippling Club for the extremely innovative and unique ways of cooking + presenting dishes, and Chef Andre's meticulous pairing of food to showcase their natural flavours and how his platings are like works of art.

A wonderful experience that one must go through in order to understand (please, you have to try Memory)

Restaurant Andre
Bukit Pasoh Road

PS, because it was F1 weekend, so our menu was a "special" F1 menu which costs $350++. I put it in inverted commas because when most of the dishes in the menu we tried have already been tried by many others who've gone to Andre, though there are definitely some additions to the menu and some changes.
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