When is it a good time to bake brownies?… Why Sunday morning of course :)

Mr K is away in Hong Kong for business. Yesterday I finally made some more vanilla gelato…. and I needed an accompaniment….so I thought… why not Brownies? I’ve not yet made any whilst in Singapore. There’s so many variation of brownies around – the ones that have a gooey center,  icing on top, fancy fillings such as white chocolate, peanut butter… pretty much, you name it, you can convert it into a brownie!

Then I thought back to THE best brownies I’ve had… which were the Fat Witch Brownies – in NYC, located in the Meat Packing District… this was back when I still studying my masters! It’s always lovely to see a small little shop like that grow and survive all the economic blows to a small business. Put a smile on my face… this is just a small shop selling brownies 10 years ago and is going strong now.

So what is this brownie like? It’s baked in such a way that the center is delicately and moist. The Fat Witch ones are a little on the sweet side… it could be because the size of the pieces sold. So anyways, a long time ago, a friend who is now living in the US showed me how to make brownies. It’s on a little piece of notepaper – it’s pretty simple:

Ingredients:

  • 100g butter (unsalted)
  • 115g dark chocolate ( I used 68% mixed with about 30g of 55%)
  • 150g  caster sugar
  • 75g plain flour
  • 70g roasted walnuts
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven t0 175oC
  2. Line & grease the tins – I had actually 1 rectangular (approx 16cm by 8cm) and 1 square one (approx 9cm by 9cm)….
  3. Melt the butter and mix well with the chocolate over a bain marie. Do not fold too much air into this (tip from Petit Chateau).
  4. Once mixed well, and all butter/chocolate is melted  – place the bowl in an ice bath to help cool down immediately.
  5. Beat the sugar and eggs and then slowly add the cooled chocolate mix.
  6. Add in the vanilla essence during this process.
  7. Sift flour and salt into the mixture.
  8. Gently mix the batter – again mindful not to introduce too much air into the ‘batter’.
  9. Pour the mixture into the tins and make sure it’s all nice and even
  10. Scatter the walnuts into the mixture, you then need to poke them a little to submerge into the batter. I spread it this way to ensure even spread.
  11. Bake for 25 mins at 175oC
  12. Once done, you can remove it and then place it on a cooling rack so you can slice into squares or rectangles – as you wish. You can get about 12 pieces from this like the ones below
Brownie with Roasted Walnuts

Home Made Brownie with Roasted Walnuts

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These days cameras are all looking… very vintage!

I lost my beloved Panasonic Girlfriend 1 (GF1) on a plane on the way back to SG from Seoul….. till date, no one has handed it in…

Hence, I’ve been shopping around for a replacement and can’t help but notice a huge trend of the new cool = the vintage deal!  The statement of owning a camera can be so much fun with personalisation of the colour, the half cases available and the straps. Of course, the body of the camera must also be looking cool and vintage. With this, I had a quick history tour of the classic film cameras –  I still remember those!

“So why would anyone in this day and age still be hankering after hardware evolved from an analogue design philosophy more than 100 years old, which inevitably, because of its specification, adds another few hundred grams of weight to the gadget bag? The question is rhetorical, for in the process of pushing the envelope in one direction, the irony is that digital technology has simultaneously taken the capability of analogue photography in another to the next logical quality level – the one many of us once spent endless hours in a darkroom trying to achieve without much success.”

[2010, British Journal of Photography]

I conclude, a lot of people still LOVE the art of photography, the craftmanship of the vintage cameras – albeit, no longer love of the post processing film development. Instead – instant gratification in digital format is what we love……

For those of you who’d like a leather strap and live in SG – you can visit Andy’s store. Those lucky enough to get hold of the leather Roberu ones – please get me one too!

Film Cameras have 3 main groups
Box Folding-Roll View Finder
Exactly as it’s described. Looks like a simple box.Was very popular because affordable and simple, yet still capable of excellent results under most conditions. Box cameras were usually fitted with a single-element lens, a limited range opening control, and a single-speed shutter. These are the ones where the lens can pop out like a jack in a box!Folding-Roll Film Camera, which was also very popular but not quite as much so as the box camera. The folding camera came in several types of formats, but basically, it was a box camera whose lens was included into a movable disk that could slide back and forth on a rail, allowing the lens to change focus from close to long range.
The fact that the lens can fold made it appealing and easy to carry – for those who love to travel like me!
Such cameras do not use the lens to focus on subject, instead its via a separate viewing system in the camera.The range finder camera allows for accurate focus, however, by using two views of the same subject to adjust focus. In this camera there are two images in the viewfinder. One is usually only a portion of the viewer area and is usually slightly yellowish in color. The photographer adjusts the focus ring on the lens and as they do the two images move. When both on directly on top of each other they blend together and almost disappear which signifies that the camera is in focus.
This is the one that’s the Leica rave 🙂


Debut, First Step, The Start of… the Phoodie Travelogue…..

Hello World!
Many things to be all happy and wiggly about today (05.10.2011):
1) My wedding anniversary
2) Went for a lovely meal at Restaurant Andre
3) Last but not least, I’ve finally bucked up and kick start my dabbling in wordpress – sharing my yummy PHoodiE Photos with you.

PHoodiE Travelogue – so goes the name, combines simply my love of good food, photography (of food mainly…) and travels (often in search of good food)…..

So let me begin with today’s journey.
This evening we dined at a Restaurant Andre. Chef Michael Han of Fifty Three recommended me to pay a visit to Andre. The restaurant exterior is discreet and thoughtful – tucked into a little corner of Outram Park area with a distinct olive tree outside it’s front doors.

Restaurant Andre

Restaurant Andre - the signature Olive Tree

The service was prompt and attentive throughout the meal. Sweep all that aside – what of the food?
I’ll not spoil the whole course by show casing every single dish – that’s is an experience I’d like you to try for yourself if you are in Singapore or will pop over soon.

The evening of degustation is organised into 8 segments – Octophilosophy – designed by Andre. I enjoyed ‘Pure’,  ‘Unique’ and ‘Terroir’ the most.
‘Pure’ is a beautiful and delicate lilac dish of purple cauliflower juice, scallop cappacio and Japanese chives and vintage olive oil dotted around to add a little interesting spots into the dish.

'PURE'

PURE

‘Unique’ is about taking a basic or common ingredient and making it different somehow. Andre creates this dish with barramundi – slices quite thinly, chargrilled and then layered with archichokes infused in a wonderful delicate zesty sauce.

Unique

Unique

‘Terroir’ is supposedly the masculine dish (read, red meat) and I loved it. the whole dish was like a work of art with greens and reds and a beautifully cooked duck and the jus… to die for. See for yourself.

Terrior

Terrior

And since I’m sure a dessert lover – I must of course feature the chocolate dessert (amoung 3 other palate cleansers, pre desserts and petit fours he indulged us with)…. It was basically chocolate in as many % you can image in the form of ice cream, spong, brittle, soil, wafer. The result was a delish yummy happy PHoodiE ending…

Chocolate

Six Chocolates

We were lucky enough to speak to Chef Andre this evening though it well past midnight….We are very impressed by his passion, genuine love of the craft, art and his customers and staff.
A little fact for you – early adopters and subscribers to my ramblings….. Andre is rather good with his hands (outside of the kitchen too!) – he handmade many of the serving dishes, cups even your bread plate – make sure you take a second look at the things closest to you at the dining table – he is THAT thoughtful when it comes to dining experiences with him.

He loves trees – hence the olive tree in front of his restaurant and…. He’ll be in Melbourne for the Melbourne Food Festival next March 2012! So … you lucky Melbournians – buy your tickets and go to his sessions/demos!!!

Till next time, ciao,
A very full and sleepying PHoodiE……