Singapore Food Blog | Treats & Meats

Treats & Meats is a fun food and travel blog which delves into Singapore's food scene and features reviews of its most popular restaurants and bars. 

Peanut Butter Cake

"Eeek - what is that?? Yikes!"

That was my dad's immediate reaction upon seeing the cake I baked him for his 60th birthday. No "thanks!", or "how sweet of you!", or any of that sentimental jargon. Just sheer terror at the prospect of eating: 1. Something his daughter made 2. Something unrecognisable that his daughter made.

You see, my dad is a bit of a hygiene freak. He hates it when other people's cutlery so much as even grazes his food, let alone when other people's manky hands are involved in the making of his food! Luckily, he was blissfully unaware of how many times I stuck my finger in and out of the batter to get a taste before it went into the oven (don't worry, I assume most of my germs died in the fire). 

Despite all the chopped Reese's peanut butter cups strewn on top of the cake, my dad could not decipher what flavour it was. Or maybe it was because he was standing too far from my cake to even get a clear visual of what it was. He was like a curious little puppy, ebbing closer and closer to investigate the foreign object before quickly darting away after perceiving the brown mound as a threat. 

My dad sure is a character and I love him loads despite all his quirks. He's one of the smartest people I know and has never failed to lend me great advice throughout my life. He's caring (in his own, unique way) and has always made it a point to make sure my family was well taken care of. I don't think I fully appreciated all that he's given us when I was younger, but now that I'm older and earning what is practically minimum wage, I only wish I could go back to living off my childhood allowance!

Anyway, I better get on with the recipe now! I nicked this from The Daring Gourmet

Ingredients

For the frosting:  
- 1 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter  
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 
- 3 cups powdered sugar 
- 1/2 cup heavy cream 

For the cake:  
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour 
- 2 teaspoons baking powder 
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda  
- 1/2 teaspoon salt 
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil 
- 1/3 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter 
- 1 cup brown sugar 
- 2 large eggs 
- 1 cup buttermilk 
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.  

3. In another medium mixing bowl, add the peanut butter, oil and brown sugar. Beat until combined and creamy. Next add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until just combined.  

4. Alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the wet mixture, beating until just combined. Be careful not to over-beat or the cake will be dense and dry. A few small lumps of flour is fine (Warning: the batter will be incredibly tasty but try and refrain from eating too much of it, otherwise I guarantee that nausea will ensue). 

5. Grease a 9x3 round baking pan then pour the batter in (apologies for my rather unsightly pan. I put it in the dishwasher and it came out looking like so). 

6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out moist (it shouldn't be wet with batter or dry). 

7. To make the frosting, place the peanut butter and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy. Next add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, continuing to beat. Add the heavy cream until a smooth and spreadable consistency is reached. 

8. Once the cake is completely cooled, dress the cake with the frosting along with some chopped Reese's peanut butter cups, if you feel like being extra fancy! Ok, I admit that the final outcome of my cake looks a tad messy, but maybe you can find a more visually appealing way of placing the cups. 

I must say, this cake ended up being quite a success! Despite my dad's initial fear of it, he ended up consuming two bites which according to Papa Teo, "should be seen as a compliment". He claims that his first bite was out of politeness, and the fact that he carried on with another proves that he genuinely enjoyed it. Compliments from Papa Teo are very hard to come by, so I'll take what I can get! 

I love you dad!! xx

Menya Musashi

Oh ramen, ramen, ramen. Magic in a bowl is what you are. With your fine, silky strands of noodles bathed in a deliciously thick, creamy broth topped with succulent, fatty pork - who could possibly resist you?

I'm proud to take credit for introducing hubs to ramen. He's so googley eyed over them now that I'm honestly convinced he'd struggle to make a decision if he had to choose between spending a lifetime with me or them! Before me, hubs literally frequented two restaurants: Wild Honey and P.S. Cafe (i.e. white people food for those who don't live in Singapore). He'd throw in some xiao long baos here and there but that was as Asian as it'd ever get. 

The first time he tried ramen was on our first vacation to Tokyo together. Before we embarked on the trip, I was a big bundle of nerves even though I tried as best as I could to appear nonchalant. 7 full days together!! 168 hours!! 10080 minutes!! How will we entertain each other for so long?? What will we talk about?? Will we get sick of each other?? And most importantly, how can I wake up early enough to do up my face so he doesn't have the horror of seeing me sans make up?? God, it was a stressful time. Thankfully, everything went swimmingly and it turns out that we were compatible in every way - right down to the eating. I clearly remember being sat at the ramen stall having finished all my soup with loads of noodles left and peering over at hubs's bowl which was full of soup and no noodles left. He kept eyeing my noodles and I kept eyeing his soup and in the end we just switched bowls. 

For old time's sake, we decided to go to Menya Musashi the other day and get our elbows deep in ramen. We started off the meal with some Gyozas and Curried calamari. They were quite tasty, but were pretty much eaten just to tide us over before the main star of the show arrived. 

The real excitement began once the ramen came. Menya boasts three different types of ramen: white (traditional), red (spicy) and black (not really sure what this one is. Oops). I love anything spicy so I ordered the "Red" Cha Shu Ramen. Unfortunately, it wasn't fiery in the least but was nonetheless incredibly delicious. I loved how rich and creamy the broth was whilst managing not to be overly oily or salty. The egg was perfect and maintained a gooey center while the pork was tender and juicy. 

This was my feeble attempt at taking a noodle shot. And yes, those may be my fingers trying to score an appearance on my blog.

Such an amateur I am.  

Hubs decided to be adventurous and go for the Akiba Curry Ramen. He's a curry fanatic so a combination of the two was almost enough to send him into cardiac arrest. The ramen was served in a curry infused broth, not just a curry sauce as I'd expected, which was great. The curry ramen was surprisingly good and a refreshing change, although the pork was not as fatty or succulent as those served in the traditional version.

My favourite was still the traditional tonkotsu, although I had no qualms drinking both soups. A friend of mine had taken us to the restaurant and looked slightly appalled at how much soup I was consuming. "You know there's a lot of sodium in there right??" she warned. Oh, sodium podium, I thought as I zoomed in on hubs's untouched soup and tackled it head on. Stay strong kidneys, stay strong! 

No fingers this time!

Ultimately, I think Menya Musashi has pretty good ramen. If you go, you should probably head down early (around 5:30) as it tends to get packed. Hubs still insists that Ippudo is better (I've never been). He loves it so much that he'll even drag all his ang moh friends to eat there when they meet up! Oh, how much he has grown! 

Menya Musashi
Raffles City Shopping Center
252 North Bridge Road, 01-16
6336 6500 

There are also outlets in Ion, Thomson Plaza, Vivocity & Star Vista. 

Orecchiette with Broccoli & Sausage

Before I met hubs:
 
 "You're never going to find a husbaaand," my mother lamented. "You can hardly cook and just look at how messy you are!"

I rolled my eyes. My mom was on another one of her tirades about how I'd never find a man due to my undomesticatedness (can we pretend that's a word?). My mom's always said her greatest failure as a mother was not imparting enough culinary wisdom on my sister and I. Honestly, if the only issue I have stemming from my childhood is the inability to cook, then I count myself very, very lucky.

After I met hubs:
 
 "So Steven knows you can't cook and how horrible you are at cleaning and still wants to marry you??" my mom would ask in bewilderment as if hubs could not possibly be attracted to me for any other reason. When I'd insist he could care less if I knew what to do with a mop, she'd go on about how easy I had it unlike when she was younger and had to slave away to keep the house clean and my father fed.
 
Well, thank goodness times have changed and the traditional roles of husband and wife no longer exist! I'm so grateful that I have my husband to do all the cooking and a dishwasher to do all the cleaning! 

Today I'd like to share with you another recipe for one of hubs's yummy concoctions, Orecchiette with broccoli & sausage

The ingredients you will need for 4 servings are:  

- 2 sausages, removed from casing and cut into bite sized chunks (please try to get the high quality stuff where you can actually recognise what meat you're eating)
 - 1 head of broccoli, chopped
 - 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
 - 2 ounces parmesan cheese 
 - 1/2 garlic, chopped 
 - 2 chilli padis (optional) 
 - Pesto (also optional. I like mixing pesto into my pasta but hubs is perfectly happy just having it with cheese) 
 - Salt & pepper to taste

Recipe:  

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta. 

2. Bring another pot of water to a boil and throw in the chopped broccoli. You're going to want to cook the broccoli until nice and soft (approximately 20 minutes). I know this diminishes a lot of its nutrients, but it can't be helped!  

3. In the meantime, coat frying pan with oil and throw the sausages, garlic & chilli padis in. 

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Cook 'til nice and browned like so:  

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4. Once the broccoli is cooked through, drain the water and use a fork to mash it up into little pieces (this should be incredibly easy if you've cooked it long enough!) 

5. Combine the broccoli & the sausage mix.  

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6. Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain. Throw both into the mix along with the cheese (the water and cheese will give the pasta a nice creamy texture), and give it all a good stir. 

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6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Also, feel free to add pesto. I love adding pesto to mine while hubs prefers his with just cheese.  

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And there you have it! A yummy, fulfilling and nutritious (hey, cheese has calcium!) meal.  I just love how the shredded broccoli and cheese coat each piece of pasta and sausage perfectly. If you're looking for a good deli, check out The Butcher's Dog at Great World. The chorizo there is scrumptious! 

Ding Dong

Is it slightly shameful that this is my first review of an Asian restaurant even though I am Asian and living in Asia? If my grandparents read my blog they would be flabbergasted by the amount of ang moh food I consume (not to mention alcohol!). In my family, a meal isn't a real meal unless some form of carbohydrate is present (i.e. rice or noodles. Fun stuff like potatoes don't count). Salad is seen as snack food and trying to pass it off as a meal is almost like social suicide. I would know, having been victim to my family's scrutinising stares and judgmental comments the last time I ate one:

Grandma: "Ha? No rice ah? How to be full like that??"
Mom: "You better get some rice and meat! Veggies won't fill you up. You'll get gastric, which could eventually lead to stomach ulcers."  
Dad: "Eat something proper! You need protein or all your hair will fall out!" 
Grandpa: "A mouse eats more than that."  

And all along I thought eating salads was encouraged. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Asian food, I just think there's a lack of trendy restaurants in Singapore serving good Asian food and cocktails. That is, until I found out about Ding Dong. Ding Dong's a new restaurant opened by renown chef, Ryan Clift (famous for the Tippling Club), serving up South East Asian fare and excellent cocktails. It's located along Ann Siang Hill, which is perfect for you adventurous folk who actually like to stay out for cocktails after dinner. Hubs and I are getting too old to meander the streets past nine and literally make a beeline for our couch as soon as dinner is over. 

Upon entering Ding Dong, we were greeted by fun, bright and playful decor. We sat at the bar area, overlooking the street. Fyi, we were there embarrassingly early, thus the brightness and emptiness. The restaurant did fill up once a more socially acceptable time for eating began - about an hour and a half later. 

As per usual, we began with some cocktails. For those of you who like light, refreshing, sweet cocktails, I'd highly recommend Atas at the Market which comes with Vanilla spirit, white wine, grapes and mint. For those of you who like it real strong, definitely get the Pegu Club which comes with gin, dry curacao, limes and bitters. This one really packs a punch, I can tell you that! 

The great thing about Ding Dong's menu is that it boasts a "Small Plates" and "Big Plates" section, which is perfect if you like ordering a bunch of little dishes and sharing. We were immediately taken by their Vietnamese Scotch Eggs. I'd only learned about these babies a few months ago when stumbling upon its picture in a magazine. 

"What is that??" I asked hubs, pointing to the eggy concoction unbeknownst to me. 
"Oh, it's a scotch egg," he said in a matter of fact tone.
"A what now?? Please elaborate."  
"It's a hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs then baked. It's sooo good."
 
Gee. Trust my non-Western eating family to keep me in the dark about such goodness for the past 24 years of my life! Thankfully I lost my scotch egg virginity, and it was worth the wait. The yolk was still wet & gooey, whilst the meat was nice & juicy with a slightly crisp exterior. 

We also ordered the Crispy crab & pork wontons as well as the Garlic-pepper squid. You can tell we love the fried stuff, can't cha? I really enjoyed the calamari and thought it was perfectly battered, whilst hubs preferred the wontons.

We finished the meal off with the Dark soy pork belly with fried garlic as well as the Five-spice lamb ribs with sweet green chilli sauce. Strangely enough, the lamb ribs was under the "small plates" section even though it was huuuge. We definitely bit off more than we could chew when it came to ordering.

The pork belly was very tasty & succulent. I loved the crispy fried garlic, so much so that I picked off and ate every single one. This was a bad, very bad mistake as it made my mouth taste garlicky for ages! Make sure to steer clear of this dish on first dates. Or better yet, wait until you're married and your husband is so blindly in love with you that nothing could ever put him off. I swear I could grow a third eye and my husband would still think it was cute. 

Ding Dong Pork Belly, Lamb Ribs

Overall, hubs and I had a great time at Ding Dong. We got to have a lovely variety of Asian inspired dishes as well as great cocktails to go along with it! The decor and location was also a bonus. I'd recommend checking it out if you're around the neighbourhood, and if you're not impressed, well, there's always loads of bars in the surrounding areas which you can escape to! 

Ding Dong
23 Ann Siang Road 
Singapore 069703 
6557 0189