Tampines IKEA

Baked Salmon w Crushed Peppercorns ($7.50)

I was down at tampines IKEA on Monday for dinner with a couple of church mates. I was feeling pretty thrilled to taste the food there, especially the famous Swedish meatballs.

Ordered the baked salmon which was delicious and served alongside with the sweet french bean and boiled potatoes. The peppercorns gave a nice peppery taste to the fish, masking the fishiness and not so overwhelming that it covers the flavours of the salmon. I thought it was value for money, especially if you're a member at IKEA ($6). Only complaint only was that they could have tried warmed the salmon and not serve it at room temperature.

15 Swedish Meatballs ($8)

Maybe I'm not a meatball lover that's why these apparently famous meatballs did not appeal to me. The meatballs tasted so-so with the lingonberry jam and cream sauce, served alongside with boiled potatoes.

There were other choices like laska, baked chicken leg, fried chicken wings and etc that I didn't try. I regretted not trying the fried chicken wings because my sister says they are really delicious.

Whats your choice of meal at IKEA?

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe (Tampines)

60 Tampines North Drive 2
Level 4 IKEA Tampines
Tel: +65 67866868

Marche @ 313@ Somerset


It was Good Friday and a bunch of us were out to celebrate my friend's birthday. Excitement filled me when we decided to have dinner at Marché at 313@ Somerset - it was my frist time eating at Marché!

Rosti w Chicken Sausage

Had heard that Marché was famous for their rosti. And the first dish that reached our table was my friend's rosti with chicken cheese sausage which picked to compliment his rosti. Tasted the rosti and the sausage, thought the rosti was average while the sausage was pretty juicy and cheese filled.

Crispy Pork Knuckle

The pork knuckle, that came next, failed to impress as well. The meaty was chewy and too gamey, in my opinion. And i think its a dish meant to be shared as it got a little cloying for my friend towards the end.

Grilled Salmon Fillet

The grilled salmon fillet was done pretty decently. Though a simple dish, it would definitely satisfy anyone's salmon craving. The only issue i felt was that the salmon was a little overpriced at $17.50 nonetheless, it would be still a great dish to have while you're over at Marché.

Margarita Pizza with Mozzarella

Ordered a large margarita pizza with mozzarella as i thought everyone would love a cheesy pizza. It turned out to be a disappointment with too little cheese, though they were very generous with their tomato slices and the crust was pretty good.

Savoury Crepe wrapped with roasted chicken

A right choice was finally made with my friend's order of the savoury crepe. It was wrapped with a generous amount of filling and the plain-looking crepe surprised me to be really good. Its definitely a must-try while you're over at Marché!

Maple Walnut Ice Cream

The word 'dessert' will never fail to send shivers of excitement down any sweet tooths' spine. Concluded my dinner on a satisfying note with a scoop of Mövenpick's maple walnut ice cream at a friend's recommendation. Every spoonful of it elicited a satisfying 'ummm...' from me. Though happiness didn't came cheap - $5.40 a scoop - i truly enjoyed every spoon of indulgence.

It was a unique first-time experience at Marché, the atmosphere and decors were brillant. Though there were a number of apparently to die for dishes that I did not eat and I heard the outlet over at Vivocity is better, i would say Marché is a pretty good place to eat at once in awhile.


313 Orchard Road
#01-39/46 313 @ Somerset
Singapore 238895
Tel: +65 6834 4041

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am – 11pm

Stir Fry Chilli Squid

This is dish isn't as fiery as the name might suggest, instead its a quick, simple and tasty dish. And it deserves a place on the dining table because it certainly goes down well with some rice for squid and chilli lovers.

Love it whenever my grandma whips up this dish because I'm obviously a lover of both the key ingredients in the dish - chili and squid. The sweet caramelized onion also play a supporting role when it releases spurts of happiness once its sweetness is detected by the taste buds. This dish is really simple just be sure not to overcook the squid!

Stir Fry Chilli Squid

- 2 medium sized squids
- half a big onion
- 2 chilli padis (de-seed for less spiciness)
- 5 tbsp of dark soya sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar

1. Cut the squids into rings and onion into wedges. Stir fry the onion with the chili padis.

2. Add in the squids followed by soya sauce and sugar. Adjust soya sauce and sugar according to taste.

3. Serve it up on the dining table.

P.S. On a side note, just to share, my sister bought dime chocolates from IKEA which are delicious as most chocolates are. (:Photobucket
'Thankyou sister!'

Founder Bak Kut Teh


Drinking the sweet, peppery broth of a good bowl of Bak Kut Teh is indeed comforting to the soul. Coupled with rice, braised pork trotter, a couple more of other small dishes and that's last night's dinner for my family and I.

Headed down to the famous Founder Bak Kut Teh Restaurant last night with my family for dinner. It was my second time there, fortunately we didn't have to wait too long for a table.


My stomach still wasn't well yet so I didn't touch the you tiao, beancurd skin and preserved vegetables. The bak kut teh was good, enjoyed the broth and the pork ribs. Loved it when I chewed on the ribs and there's that nice thin layer of fat lying in between the meat, releasing a sudden burst of flavour, enough to excite a 'ummm.' from me.

The braised pork trotter was commendable, it was tender and well braised. Tasted like my grandma's and my sister suspected it might be because they are using the same brand of soya sauce.

Overall, a satisfying dinner and its a plus that they'll refill your broth after you've finished drinking yours. But don't forget to ask!

347 Balestier Road (under New Orchid Hotel)
Singapore 329777
Tel: 63526192
Open daily except Tuesday
Lunch: 12 noon - 2pm
Dinner/Supper: 6pm - 2.30am

Happy eating!
Gustatory Explorer.

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Curry Chicken


My grandma's the best cook I've ever known. Period. I suppose years of preparing food for the family or even families occasionally has turned cooking into her second nature. And thus, I strongly believe that with all that she has in her repertoire of recipes combined with the years of cooking, she has and can easily whip up a wonderful meal for us.

To be truthful, I've never really appreciated the love, effort and time that she takes to prepare every single meal for me until recently. Regretful but I've decided I shall express my gratitude by learning her different recipes and Gustatory Explorer's a felicitous place to compile and share her recipes with you.

The first recipe: My grandma's curry chicken. There ain't much dining etiquette to adhere to at home, especially when there are bowls of curry chicken and 2 loaves of baguettes on the dining table. Everyone would inelegantly rip off a piece of bread, dip it into the curry and chew on the piece of curry soaked bread. Now, that's some comfort food.

Had a wonderful time taking photos with the DSLR I borrowed from my friend yesterday though I'm currently down with gastric flu. Enough said, the curry chicken was delicious!
God Bless,

Gusatory Explorer.

Curry Chicken


*Note: Ingredients are a rough guage and can be increased or decreased based on personal preference. Eg. More potatoes if you like potatoes or more chilli paste if you like it more spicy.

- 1 decent sized chicken (roughly 1-1.5kg) - 4 candlenuts - 1 big red onion/ 4 shallots
- 4 poatoes
- 3 big tbsp of curry powder - 4 cloves of garlic - 2-3 big tbsp of chili paste
- 7-8 curry leaves
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 2 big tomatoes
- 1-1 ½ tbsp of salt
- 400 ml of water

Mashed onion, mashed candlenuts and garlic, curry powder and chili paste. (from the left)

1. Mash the candlenuts and garlic together. Mash the onion seperately. Mix the curry powder and chili paste in a bowl. Butcher the chicken into pieces. Cut tomatoes into wedges. Set all aside.

2. Roughly chop the potatoes into 2 and fry them till they are golden brown on the outside.

3. Saute the garlic and candlenuts. Add in the onions first before adding in the chili paste and curry powder mixture and curry leaves, fry till fragrant. Photobucket
Frying of chicken with the spices.

4. Add in the chicken and continue frying for about 2-3 mins before adding in the salt and frying for another 5 mins or so.

5. Transfer everything from the wok into a large pot. Deglaze the wok with 200ml of water and add that into the pot. 6. Add the potatoes into the large pot then place the pot over med heat and wait for it to boil. Add in another 200ml of water at this point of time. Photobucket
Let it boil, let it boil.~

7. When it starts to boil, add in tomatoes before covering the pot and letting it boil for about 10mins.

8. Add in the coconut milk and boil till the potatoes are soft. 9. Turn off the heat and you're done. Serve with some roti prata, bread or rice.

Butter Cake

There are a thousand and one ways of using butter and you should definitely bake a cake with it because a cake infused with butter smells and tastes heavenly.

My aunt bakes wonderful butter cakes with, which she calls her little secret, her own butter cake recipe. She had actually warned me, jokingly, not to share this family recipe with others, but hey, where's the joy if its not shared and multiplied right? Haha.

The key is actually to swap a portion of self raising flour with hong kong flour and sift 3 times to achieve a soft butter cake!

Sharing the buttery joy,
Gustatory Explorer

Butter Cake

- 115g Self Raising Flour
- 85g Hong Kong Flour
- 200g Fine Sugar
- 8 Egg Yolks
- 6 Egg Whites
- 250g Salted Butter
- 1 tsp Cream of Tartar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence

1. Preheat oven at 200°C. Line a 20x20x7cm cake tin with baking paper and grease it.

2. Sift both the flour together 3 times and set aside. Seperate the yolks and the whites. Place the whites in a mixing bowl and the yolks into a small bowl.

3. Place the butter into another mixing bowl and start mixing at med-low speed while adding 2/3 of the sugar in spoonful by spoonful before adding in the yolks successively. Crank the mixer up a bit faster, add in 1 tsp of vanilla essence and stop once everything is incorporated. *Don't let the mixture beat for too long or else it will heat up.

4. Put the cream of tartar into the bowl of whites before starting the mixer on low, add in the remaining 1/3 of the sugar then mix on high speed till glossy and soft peaks. *I learned how to Q.C this step and that is to turn the bowl of mixed whites upside down, if it does not fall out, its done.

5. Whisk in a quarter of the whites followed by a quarter of the flour into the butter and sugar mixture. And follow through in a similar fashion till your cake batter is well incorporated.

6. Bake for 50mins at 180°C. *You may want to cover with aluminium foil first then let the top brown for the last 5-10mins. Cool, slice and serve.

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake & Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake


"Happy birthday bro!"

Last saturday it was my brother's birthday, my cousin's wedding day and I woke up to do something I love for someone I love. Life was at its best, don't you agree?

The idea of starting a food blog dawned on me after reading and drooling at beautiful food blogs (which were always accompanied by stunning food photographs). And so after a meticulous time of coming up with the blog name and scouring the web for a blog theme, the Gustatory Explorer was born!

Decided to dedicate my first post to my brother because I was planning to bake for him. The above 2 cakes were his birthday cakes.(: Went through several blogs, numerous recipes and discussion with my sister before finally settling on 2: Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake & Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake.

My sister took on the more sophiscated cheesecake while me, being a amateur baker, baked the chocolate cake. It was our first time trying out both cakes and sadly both were not very successful.



My chocolate cake's bottom was ruined while the cheesecake's top was ruined when the aluminium foil touched the top of it and the cheesecake sank and wrinkled subsequently because I think I did a mistake of switching off the oven and leaving the oven's door ajar concurrently, causing too drastic a drop in temperature. Couldn't bring myself to take a photo of it. My sister was horrified when she saw the cake because she had asked me to watch the cakes carefully.

"Sorry sister!"

In the end she decided to frost the top of the cheesecake with my choclate frosting to make it more presentable. Tasted the cakes and thought the chocolate cake tasted a little like brownie while the cheesecake was soft and good but, unfortunately, was a little damp. At the end of the day its the thought that counts and the joy derived from baking right? As the english idiom goes, "Experience is the best teacher." Or the chinese saying, "经一事长一智。

Happy baking!
Gustatory Explorer

Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake


(adapted from The Little Teochew who adapted from my ultimate Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson)
- 200g plain flour
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 40g best-quality cocoa
- 175g soft unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- 150ml sour cream (which I subbed with creme fraiche) * Note that I halved everything to make a cake just right for my family size. The other reason being, my oven is just too small to accommodate 2 cake tins. Yes, THAT small. Sad.

1. Take everything out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C and line and butter two 20cm sandwich tins with removable bases.

3. Now all you have to do is put all the cake ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream – into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to go the long way around, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture.

4. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.

5. Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester, or a thin skewer, comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes, but it is wise to start checking at 25.

6. Also, it might make sense to switch the two cakes around in the oven halfway through cooking time.

7. Remove the cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins. Don’t worry about any cracks as they will easily be covered by the icing later.

Recipe for Creamy Chocolate Frosting

(adapted from The Little Teochew who adapted from Allrecipes)
170 g confectioners' sugar
- 15 g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 45 g butter
- 40 ml evaporated milk
- 3 ml vanilla extract * Note that this recipe is enough for 6 servings. If you want to bake a bigger cake, you can input your desired serving size at Allrecipes (click on the link) and the corresponding measurements will be re-calculated.

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa, and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, then gradually beat in sugar mixture alternately with evaporated milk. Blend in vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. If necessary, adjust consistency with more milk or sugar.

Gustatory Explorer: Note that i put digestive biscuits, which is not stated in the recipe, at the side and the top of my chocolate cake to decorate it.

Gustatory Explorer learned: Placing baking paper in the cake mould might have helped to prevent the cake's bottom from being ruined.

Cotton Soft Japanese Cheesecake


(adapted from The Little Teochew who adapted from Diana's Desserts)

- 140g fine granulated sugar
- 6 egg whites - 6 egg yolks
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 50g butter
- 250g cream cheese
- 100ml fresh milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (I omitted this)
- 60g cake flour
- 20g corn flour
- 1/4 tsp salt

1. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler. Cool the mixture. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well.

2. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

3. Add the cheese mixture to the egg white mixture and fold well. Pour into a 8-inch round cake pan (lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of the pan with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap the base of your cake tin with aluminium foil if you are using a springform tin, to prevent seepage.

4. Bake cheesecake in a water bath for 1 hour 10 minutes or until set and golden brown at 160 degree celsius.

Gustatory Explorer: There are fantastic tips over at The Little Teochew. So be sure to head over there to check them over before attempting this recipe, it would really help!
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