[Review] An afternoon at Njoy Dining Hall


How would life be if the husband and I hadn't met back in NTU?

So, it has been some years since we graduated, and gone were the days when students just had to settle for hostel canteen food. (Hands up if you have experienced being stuck on a school campus from Mondays to Fridays before!)

New Multi-Concept Dining Hall
Over the weekend when we went back to Jurong Point, we were impressed by the myriad of retail and dining options now available for residents living in the west and NTU students, one of which is Njoy Dining Hall. A new multi-concept dining hall offering various Japanese dishes, it was a fun and casual place to spend an afternoon at.

Technology 
We liked how Njoy Dining Hall made use of technology to reduce waiting time - from online self-ordering to having food delivered via the conveyor shinkansen train at Sushi-Go. Helpful staff ambassadors readily approached diners who seemed to have issues with technology.

Concepts
Njoy Dining Hall houses  several concepts: 2 restaurants (Sushi-GO and Pittarino) and 5 that are food court-styled ones at the main dining hall (Roman.Tei, Ramen Kiou, Wadori, My Gohan as well as &JoyEats and Drinks). We tried 3 of them:  Sushi-Go,  Roman.Tei and Ramen Kiou.

1) Sushi-GO
We tried Sushi-GO for its affordable and fresh sushi. Their recommended dishes include Lobster Salad-GO, Salmon Mentai-Go, Spicy Salmon-GO, Unagi-GO, etc. In particular, we loved the Chocolate Hokkaido Milk Ice Cream Wafer with bits of hard chocolate and smooth milky ice cream.

Btw, upon entrance at the restaurant, you will also notice a crowd-drawer - an ice cream claw catcher. Every S$20 spent gives you one go at the machine.

2) Roman.Tei
The other 2 concepts we tried, Roman.Tei and Ramen Kiou, were located at the dining hall and both originate from Osaka.

Roman.Tei specialises in only beef-based dishes. He choose one of the signatures - the Double Beef Steak Zen rice box which came along with appetiser, salad, pickles, soup and dashi soup. Perfect for those who love a hearty meal.

3) Ramen Kiou
We couldn't decide what to have and ended up trying their two signatures dishes - a heart-warming Kiou Ramen and the fusion Tomato Cheese Ramen.

The traditional Kiou Ramen with milky pork bone broth definitely went up my alley with its rich milky pork bone broth, tender roasted chashu (pork belly slices), runny egg and springy noodles. I am already feeling hungry just thinking of the broth now! 

There are several other concepts that we have yet to try out, e.g. Wadori for its charcoal-grilled skewers and Pittarino which serves pizza made from freshly kneaded dough. Let me know how they are if you have tried them!

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[Review] Surprise Bloom Box from FARM Florist


I needed some flowers for a gathering cum prayer session at home, when coincidentally, FARM Florist sent me one of their bestsellers - the Surprise Bloom Box. Look at how beautiful the flowers were!

If I need flowers again, I'll definitely get these. Here are 5 reasons why you need to get FARM Florist's Surprise Bloom Box:

1) Delivery in 60 minutes
How many of us are guilty of forgetting occasions or have previously required flowers urgently? FARM Florist's 60-min delivery promise (within Singapore) means that we will never be "late". 

2) Affordable
FARM Florist's flowers are priced from S$25 and Surprise Bloom Box from S$39, inclusive of delivery and a gift card. That's at a really good price, considering how expensive fresh flowers can be nowadays. S$25 in exchange for a smile on our loved one's face, why not? :)

3) Double Up As Table Flowers
Who says that flowers must be in bouquets? Something I appreciate about this Bloom Box is its presentation. Apart from having a handle which makes it easy to carry around during dates, the boxy arrangement enables it to stand on its own and double up as a table centrepiece as well. It's really fuss free, and ready for any occasion!

4) Leave it to the Experts
If you don't know what type of flowers she likes, these surprise flowers would just be the right ones. Simply indicate the recipient's preferred colour scheme, age and occasion, and let the team of florists, each with >20 years of experience, handpick the right mix of flowers for you.

5) Attention to Details
So, the Surprise Bloom Box I had consisted of classic roses, and the pastel orange and pink flowers were definitely catered to my aesthetic preference. But what really stood out were the little details and subtle bits of colour contrasts which added to its elegance. 

Don't believe it if a girl says that she doesn't want/ like flowers. With floral gifts so affordable and conveniently available at a click of a mouse, you don't have to wait for a special occasion to give her a surprise gift.

This article was done in collaboration with FARM Florist (https://farmflorist.com). All opinions are mine.


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[Recipe] Rich Double Chocolate Muffins Using Airfryer


If you love rich and moist double chocolate muffins, you have come to the right recipe.

These muffins always win praises from my guests and even my mother-in-law who is pretty particular about her food. Surprisingly easy to bake, I like how this no-fail recipe can also be done really fast and even by a first-time baker or children. Just some simple mixes and viola - these beautiful black beauties are ready! 


Double Chocolate Muffin Recipe
Yield: 12 muffins


Ingredients

(A)
1 egg, beaten
145g coconut milk
65g oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

(B)
210g sugar
140g plain flour
55g unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Hershey's)
55g chocolate baking buttons
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

(C)
145ml boiling water
1 sachet of instant coffee powder (without milk and sugar)

(D)
50g walnuts, crushed
50g semi sweet chocolate chips (I like Hershey's)


Directions

1) Preheat.
Preheat airfryer at 160 degrees.

2) Combine.
Combine ingredients in (A).

3) Combine.
Combine ingredients in (B). Dig a well in the centre.

4) Combine.
Make hot coffee using the ingredients in (C).

5) Combine.
Mix (A) and (C) together. Combine well. These are your wet ingredients.

6) Mix.
Add the wet ingredients into dry ingredients (A). Mix well until there are no lumps.

Tips: The batter will look thin and runny at this stage, but don't worry - it's okay.

7) Pour.
Pour the batter into 12 muffin cups. The batter should fill up about 80% of each muffin cup.

8) Bake.
Bake the muffins in airfryer at 150 degrees for 15 min. Check that the toothpick comes out clean, otherwise continue baking for a few more minutes.

Enjoy!

For more muffin recipes using the airfryer, click here.

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[Review] 2-Storey Tsui Wah Outlet Opens at Heeren


And so, I managed to squeeze in time for lunch at Tsui Wah's second and latest outlet at Heeren (Orchard) on its second day of operations!

This Hong Kong cafe, most famous for its Condensed Milk Crispy Buns and authentic Hong Kong Milk Tea and Yuen Yeung (coffee & tea), is one of my parents' favourite Chinese cafes. For those who want an alternative to bubble tea, freshly brewed cold Takeaway Hong Kong Milk Tea (S$5) is available exclusively in this outlet in a screwcap bottle.


2-Storey Building
Complementing Tsui Wah's first outlet at Clarke Quay, this new one takes up 2 storeys and can be easily spotted when you cross the road from Mandarin Gallery. Indoor seating is only available upstairs, while both floors offer alfresco dining.


As I was expecting a large crowd during these initial first days (like how the Clarke Quay outlet opened to much fanfare several years ago), I was surprised to be immediately ushered to a seat immediately at the 2nd floor alfresco area (though indoor seating would have required a 30 to 45-minute wait).


Food
The menu looked largely similar to what was available at the Clarke Quay side, except that I noticed that the prices seemed a little higher than what I recalled.


I placed my order, and the food arrived within 15 minutes. While the meat in my Pork Chop Bun (S$8.50++) could have been more tender, it was juicy and the golden-brown toasted butter bun made up for it.


What really stole the show though was the Hong Kong Milk Tea (S$3.50++), served super-hot with the right proportion of tea and milk.


Service
I would say that service was overall prompt and attentive - and perhaps even better than that at the usually-busy Clarke Quay outlet.

I am not sure if it would be the same when it is fully open (the ground floor was still closed), but what definitely would help is this self-ordering/ payment service that is available.


Overall
Interestingly, the alfresco area wasn't warm and even offered a sense of calm as I watched busy shoppers shuffling below me whilst I was sipping on my drink. An indoor seat would have instead provided me with that typical bustling Hong Kong cafe feel.

Overall, I would return for Tsui Wah's cup of milk tea and try their other main courses - and also reminisce that taste of Hong Kong which I probably won't get any time soon.


TSUI WAH SINGAPORE
The Heeren
260 Orchard Road #02-02, Singapore 238855

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[Recipe] Ondeh-Ondeh Inspired Baked Mooncakes


As some of you already know, I have been baking my own mooncakes for several years already. Being a little bored with the usual Lotus Paste Mooncakes, I have so far baked mooncakes using durian paste as well.

To push the boundaries a little further this year, I decided to bake ondeh ondeh inspired ones. Ondeh ondeh, a type of Peranakan kueh, is one of my favourite local desserts as I love how the gula melaka playfully squirts into my mouth as I bite into them.

In these fusion mooncakes, I make use of the various ingredients of the ondeh ondeh, such as gula melaka, desiccated coconut, pandan etc. Whilst this mooncake will look closest to the original kueh in snowskin form, I decided to keep to the baked form as I am wary of the (unhealthy) shortening used in snowskin mooncakes. Do note that I have also reduced the sugar content through my experimentations, so don't worry about needing to cut down further yourself. :) 

So do you prefer mooncakes in traditional or fusion form? If you have used my recipe, share/tag your photos on my Facebook or Instagram and stand a chance to be featured!

Ondeh-Ondeh Inspired Baked Mooncakes

Yield: 15 mini mooncakes, 50g each

Ingredients


(A) Skin
120g top/ cake flour* (all purpose flour is ok)
50g golden syrup* 
30g gula melaka
3/4 tsp alkaline water* (this helps to make the dough more stretchable and give the skin the golden-brown colour)
30g peanut oil (or any other types of oil)
1/2 tsp pandan paste

(B) Filling
480g pandan coconut paste*
40g desiccated coconut


(C) Egg wash for glazing
1 egg yoke
1 tsp water

Tool: Mooncake mould plunger*

* If you are in Singapore, these items can be purchased from Phoon Huat/ Kwong Cheong Thye (KCT). Click here for my review of KCT!


Directions

1. Mix together all (A) ingredients, except flour.

Tips: Remember to mix the gula melaka well, otherwise there will be (ugly) brown patches on your mooncakes skin.


2. In another bowl, sieve the flour and make a well in the centre. Pour ingredients from Step #1 into the sifted flour. 

3. Combine the mixture with a spatula until it forms a soft dough. Wrap with cling wrap and place it in the fridge to rest overnight. This step is known as 醒面.

Tips: The longer you let the dough rest, the easier you can wrap the fillings later.


4. The next day, divide the dough into dough balls of 15g each. For this recipe, you will get 15 pieces of them, with some leftover for "patching" later - if needed. Return the dough balls back into the fridge and keep them chilled.






5. Next, mix together ingredients in (B).

6. Make 15 balls of fillings, each 33g.
7. It is now time to start making your mooncake balls. Remove 1 of the dough balls from the fridge and place it between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper. Press to flatten the dough ball and roll it out thinly into a flat circle.

Tips: Only remove dough balls from the fridge when you are about to use them. Warmed-up dough can become very sticky and difficult to work with!
8. Wrap the flattened dough around the filling and shape it into a mooncake ball. Ensure that there are no exposed parts. (Repeat to make next 14 mooncake balls.)

9. Place the mooncake balls, 1 at a time, into mooncake mould plunger. Press hard so that the impression can be properly made (this is my favourite part!). Release the plunger and gently place them onto a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Spray with water to prevent the mooncakes from cracking during baking later.















10. Preheat the airfryer at 160 degrees for 4 min. Bake the mooncakes at 160 degrees for 10 min.

11. Meanwhile, prepare the egg wash by mixing well 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water. If you would like the egg wash to have a more even consistency, pass the egg wash through a sieve.

12. Remove the mooncakes from the airfryer and leave them to cool for at least 15 min (do not skip this step). Thereafter, glaze the top and sides of your mooncakes thinly and evenly with the egg wash.

13. Return the mooncakes to the airfryer. Continue to bake for another 4 - 6 min until golden brown.
14. Cool the mooncakes completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature for at least 3 days. This allows the mooncakes to 回油, so that the skin can soften. It will also produce a glossy and shiny surface, and the flavours can be better developed. 

PS: If your kitchen is too warm, you can put it in the fridge sooner.
15. After 3 days, you will find that the mooncakes' surface will turn glossy. For optimal results, wait for up to 7 days. Keep in the fridge if your home is warm.

16. The mooncakes are now ready. Serve with hot Chinese tea and enjoy!





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For more mooncake recipes using airfryer, click here.