Sunday, 17 November 2013

GIFT FROM MAKI: EMERALD MATCHA


It was a quiet week at work. My co-workers have inexplicably turned into mice - scurrying about the office, conversing in hushed voices. It was as if some impending doom is going to befall us and I'm the last to know.

It's hard to believe that it's been over a month since Ken Hsu brought the book back from Taipei! It’s really a book about breads but the first recipe which caught my eye is one for Matcha Pound Cake. I had unabashedly asked Maki whether she could buy me some matcha powder from Japan. She did so, picking a matcha that was meant specially for baking. I'm holding the cup next to the window so you can check out its intense color.


The recipe makes three 8 x 15.5cm cakes.  The smallest tins I own measure 8.5 x 17cm.  As a result my cakes didn't achieve the height I was expecting.  In fact, they didn’t look appealing at all!  The tops were a dull and I felt that the emerald hardly came through. 

I gingerly cut into one and was glad to find that it was velvety. My father bit into a still-warm slice, grinned and said the texture was light and that he loves the crust. My mother pointed out that the insides has many tiny holes.  I wonder if holes are a good thing?

THE MORNING AFTER:  I'm happy to announce that the two mini Matcha Pound Cakes that I brought to the office were very well received.  Those GPs who tried them said they were actually very good!  Lesson learnt: do not judge a cake by its colour.  :)


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Tim Ho Wan Singapore (Toa Payoh Branch)

Yesterday, my parents and I had lunch at  Tim Ho Wan (添好运).  I won't write about the food as you would've, no doubt, already heard or read about the restaurant at one time or another since it opened its first restaurant in Plaza Singapura in April this year. 
 
Instead, I have something nice to say about its staff.
 
We arrived at 11:25AM at the Tim Ho Wan Toa Payoh branch and found a long queue ahead of us. 
 
Having to stand in the queue for a long time would take a toll on my elderly parents so I approached a restaurant staff and voiced my concern, and she promptly allocated them chairs and a space to sit outside of the restaurant while I stood in line -- for 70 minutes.  It didn't seem like a long wait as the queue was orderly.
 
We were finally given a table!  The restaurant layout was simple, with rectangular tables parked next to one another.  Customers were seated on wooden stools.   I was making sure that Mom was seated properly when I heard a small commotion.  I looked up and found my 84-year old father seated on the restaurant floor!  He must have tried sitting on the stool and fallen backwards.  My heart went into my mouth!  But even before my heart had stopped pounding, at least one customer and four restaurant staff had rallied around Dad.  They managed to get him on his feet, a male staff came over with a proper chair with a back and helped Dad into it.  A waitress handed Dad a glass of warm water and whispered something in his ear.  The restaurant was noisy so I couldn't hear her speak but from her hand gesture I guessed she meant, "a little something to help calm your nerves."
 
I cannot thank the staff enough.  What a bunch of warm, efficient people!  Will I go back? Yes, of course.  Only next time, I'd be there at 9:45AM to wait in line! :)