Jan 30, 2012

A Tribute to my Mentor

My Saviour, My God, Written and performed by Aaron Shust

When I started Kitchen Capers forum back in July 2004, my mentor and good friend, Seok Buay taught me how to cook this delicious and most delightful French soup. I told her back then that this dish will be the FIRST recipe I will share online at the forum.

And since then, I have not stop sharing recipes online. Whether its at my forum or at other forums which I visited often.

Yesterday I cook this again for our family's lunch at home.

When I was cooking this soup, memories came flooding back to me. I was tearing all the time. Because I was reminded again, how much I loved her and how much I missed her.

When people talk about things in their life that pauses them to think about life. I could only think about food and about how Seok Buay has made an impact in my life. She left behind her legacy to share with anyone, everyone, any where and every where. She selflessly shared with me the deepest secrets to good food. Which is actually just LOVE, TIME and whole lot of PATIENCE. And these 3 key ingredients makes the best of everything you put out on the dining table.

This soup may not be cooked in the way it is explained here. If you have learnt to cook this from a French method, this method differs greatly. I fused both Western and Chinese methods of cooking to perfect this soup.

Its alot of work, alot of time and effort. But the end result was that our guests came back for seconds. It was so satisfying that they ask for a bigger bowl to have the soup and wouldn't stop at 2 bowls.


French Seafood Soup
Recipe by the late Mdm Tan Seok Buay
Re adapted by Gina Choong

Serves 10

4 carrots(cut)
2 large white onions(diced finely)
8 large red tomatoes

4 flower crabs(medium size)
1kg Mussels
1 kg white clams
1 kg of large King Prawns
1 kg of squids
500g scallops
1kg salmon fillet
2 bottles of White Wine

4 litres water

Herbs/Spices: **
10 pcs of Bay Leaves(dried ones are fine)
1.5 tbsps each of the following:
Ground Thyme
Rosemary Leaves
Ground Oregano
Sage Leaves
Ground Majoram
Ground Black Pepper

1. Clean and chop/break crab claws and cut into smaller pieces.
2. Using a large sauce pot, add 3 tbsp Olive oil and stir fry onions till fragant.
3. add all the herbs/spices into it and stir fry.
4. Add tomatoes(chop), carrots and then water
5. Cook on medium heat/fire till boiling.
6. Add all the crabs into it. Boil for 10 mins on medium heat.
7. Remove the crabs and add it each seafood item one at a time.
8. Remove each item to briefly cook it. Drained well. Set aside.
9. Remove the vegetables, puree it, and then put it back into the soup to boil for 10 minutes.
10. Then strained the pureed vegetables and discard. return the soup to the pot to cook.
11.Once it starts boiling, add in all the seafood items back into the pot.
12. Leave it to simmer for 10 mins, then add wine.
13. Serve warm..

My notes on Seok Buay's recipe:
Seok Buay uses dried herbs as she says most Asians are not used to the strong flavours if you use fresh herbs. I find this extremely true. It took a while to win friends over to try the soup.

Seok Buay says that this soup is versatile and you can just change the ingredients list each time based on what you can get from the fresh seafood market each time. And every time you cook this dish, its different again. But what stays with this dish is the love you give out to others. That's what I liked about this dish.

Who would ever thought that a humble French seafood soup would cause such an impact to someone unseen, unheard like me? In July 2004, no one knew who I was or what I was doing. And obviously no one cared too.

But this dish spin-off and started a whole new career for me. Teaching me the simple things in life and the riches you get in life isn't all about money or fame. Its the friends you made, the people that left their foot prints in your life.

Jan 20, 2012

Golden Goodness

Its almost Chinese New year..And I haven't baked any new year goodies for the family. Each year, this proves to be such a challenge now. With the studio to managed, and the store I have to baby sit too. Though Benny runs the store now. There are still many 'grey' areas I need to look into and watch over. Its not an overnight hand over of duties. Despite his many many years of retail experience, running a baking supplies shop takes much practice and basic know-how.

There are so many things I wanted to share online but I just couldn't find the time. The moment I step into the studio, there is always work that needs attention.

Like this jelly I wanted to make..seems to take forever too. But I managed to find some time yesterday, just an hour is all I need. And I did this, purely just to show case 2 products I sell in my store.

1. The ingot plastic packaging case
2. Frozen Kumquats from CapFruit France

I showed the final end product of my recipe at Facebook. And promised everyone a recipe to follow. So I decided to post it here at my blog. Well, basically, you can use any mold you have at home for this. I just wanted to show off stuff I have.

The jelly was mildly sweet because I didn't put that much sugar in it. Except that I use Golden syrup for it. The taste and flavor of the kumquat was evident. It was delicious..smooth, cold, and has that zesty taste. I use the balance to pour into a larger pineapple mould. I would serve this on Reunion dinner..

This year, our dinner will be cooked by me..and served in our new studio.

Here's to all a Very Happy and Prosperity Year of the Dragon!!

Golden Kumquat Jelly
Recipe by Gina Choong

200g golden kumquat(Frozen)
1 packet of Agar Q jelly powder(colourless/white)
2 tbsp condensed milk
100ml golden syrup(if not, go for maple syrup or honey)
800ml water

1. Defroze kumquats in tap water, cut into half. And squeeze out all the seeds. Look at my pictures for reference.
2. Puree the kumquats till soft and mashy.

3. Add pureed fruits, and the rest of the ingredients into a sauce pot to cook till its sticky and thick.
4. Leave it off the stove to cool slightly. How to know if its cool enough? just dip a spoon into it and tap on your tongue..! or at least this is how I always test if its cool enough. Or else, just leave it aside for about 10 mins.
5. If you use the plastic case I have, you need to invert it in a deep bowl. By itself, the mould cannot stand properly.
6. Pour the liquid into the mould and leave the whole bowl into the fridge to set. This may take 1 to 2 hours.
7. Put the base(gold base) over the top of the case, flip over...voila! Done!

This is how the plastic casing looks like..! You can only find this at our store at Kallang Bahru. Costs $0.80 per set(top and bottom)

Jan 13, 2012

So many Things...

Things , sung by Dean Martin and Nancy Sinatra

I seemed to have disappeared. Its just that I have so many things to do. To plan, to decide. For home, for work, for the studio. Today is Friday, the 13th. Not the nicest date if you want to think of all the nice things or the luckiest things..But for me, its the best today.

Because Mediacorp's Channel 8 will be featuring my store and my studio tonight. On a program called HDB Tai Tai. At 8:30pm tonight. If you are in Singapore and I guess in Asia too, you can catch this on xinmsn.com.

They came to film last October 2011. And told me just before airing it, they will let me know the date. Here are some photos we took when they came to do the filming.

They also ask me to bake cupcakes and decorate it for filming. I did so many things and my highlight was to feature our Mahjong Tiles chocolate mould and how I use it to make chocolates and painted the chinese tile. In my haste, I forgot to put it on the table for them..

They will do a voice over so it was like a silent movie when they came to film.

These are made for filming and of course its also edible! I packed these up into boxes and the crew took it with them for tea later.

And my chocolate mahjong tiles...that didn't make it to program!! sighz...

Here is the address to my shop and studio

Kitchen Capers
Block 71 #01-531F Kallang Bahru Singapore 330071
Tel : +65 6392 0159

Kitchen Capers Baking Studio
Block 71 #01-531E Kallang Bahru Singapore 330071
Tel : +65 6392 0159