It's been 4 whole years since ToTT was launched (and forever changed the lives of all domestic goddess wannabes), and to celebrate this milestone, the kitchen wonderland has unveiled a newly minted cookbook.
Featuring a dazzling lineup of 'It Chefs' like Esquina's Andrew Walsh and Masterchef Australia's Audra Morrice, the thematic recipes inject a good dose of fun when whipping up homecooked meals for friends and family.
I was invited to a showcase of 2 dishes in the cookbook by a couple of their featured chefs, a luscious kong bak in their local favourites 'Welcoming the Out-of-Towners' section, and hearty Beef Burgers in the children-friendly 'Father-Son Indoor Camp' content.
Kong Bak (Chinese Braised Pork)
Prep time 25 mins + 10 hours sous vide
Cook time 20 minutes
100 gm shallots, peeled and chopped (I prefer to pound it in a mortar instead)
1 stick cassia bark
2 star anise
60 ml light soy
30 ml dark soy
500 ml water
60 gm rock sugar
1 kg pork belly, sliced into 2 large chunks
1) Save for the pork belly, place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a slow soft boil, and lower heat to reduce until 1/3 of its original volume. Cool to room temp.
2) Seal the pork belly with half of the reduced liquid in step 1.
3) You will now need a sous vide machine, available at ToTT. It may not be the cheapest appliance around, but it sure makes life incredibly fuss-free. Plus, you get bragging rights that your kitchen actually has a sous vide machine! Set the temp at 77 degrees Celsius and sous vide for 10 hours.
4) Thereafter take the entire packet out and chill in fridge for up to a week if not using immediately. This way, you can prep for a luncheon a week in advance. When ready to eat, remove packet from fridge, slice meat into 2cm slices, while still cool. Chef Shen Tan of Wok & Barrel and Ujong fame taking us through her recipe to making the most melty pork belly ever.
The chilled sous vide sliced pork belly may not look like much here yet, but it does turn out amazing later on.
5) Pan fry pork belly until caramelised golden.
6) Reheat the remaining half of the reduced liquid in step 1 and drizzle over pork belly before serving.
7) Pair with sambal
Chef Shen's heritage sambal was ah-mazing. It was heady and potent and lent a lively fire to the decadent lusciousness of the pork belly.
Beef Burgers with Blue Potato Chips
Prep time 30 mins
Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
10 blue potatoes
Vegetable oil for frying
750 gm chilled wagyu, ground (available at GroXers)
15 gm breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp Lea & Perrins sauce
4 burger buns, split down the middle sideways
1) Slice the potatoes into 1/8"-thick rounds. You will need a mandolin, or in this case, the de Buyer Kobra Professional Vegetable Slicer, also available at ToTT. Its precision is unparalleled. Place the sliced potatoes in cold water for 5 minutes to get rid of some of the starch, then pat dry thoroughly and set aside.
2) Fry potatoes, in an air fryer for the health-conscious, or in a 180 degrees Celsius animal fat-filled fryer, until golden brown, about 3 minutes on consistent medium heat. Drain, salt and set aside.
3) Mix beef, breadcrumbs, egg, Lea & Perrins sauce, and pinch of salt, in a large mixing bowl. Here, senior sous chef of Swissotel Merchant Court Chef Ian Hioe brings us through his recipe for gourmet burgers that are easy peasy to make.
4) Split the mixture into 4 equal parts, and here's where a bit of skill is involved. Lightly toss the patty between your palms, until it's a lightly packed and patted patty. Be careful not to pack it too tightly, otherwise, it'll become dry. For noobs, you can "play cheat" by using the Nordic Ware Stuffed Burger Maker & Patty Press, retailing at ToTT.
5) Pre-heat the grill to medium high, and brush with a layer of oil (skip this if using a non-stick and if you need to reduce your oil intake), and grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
6) Remove patties from grill, and leave to rest for at least 5 minutes. This helps to redistribute the juices.
7) Grill buttered burger buns for about 1 minute until toasty, and layer your burgers with lettuce, cheese, mayo and/or tomatoes.
A highly recommended recipe book loaded with tons of mouthwatering recipes. And at only $11.61 (down from the usual $12.90) per cookbook, it's a real steal!
The French luxury linen specialist is now exclusively available at ToTT, as with a whole bunch of tableware merchandise, to impress your dinner guests. Their stain-water-dirt-resistant table linens are a godsend for the clumsy oaf in us. I actually witnessed a pastel table runner resist a pool of black vinegar! And, because the linens resist just about everything, there's less laundering to do, so it's eco-friendly too!
For the first time ever, I'm doing a giveaway, of a pair of lime-green and pink Garnier-Thiebaut coasters. Just leave me a comment of your personal recommendation of a cooking hack, or recipe tip by 12 noon, 30 November 2014, with your email! I will inform the winner by email, and there will not be any announcement thereof. This giveaway is only open to peeps living in Singapore for the best cooking hack. Please note that the result is final and shall not be subject to review or appeal. Good luck!
ToTT Tools of the Trade
896 Dunearn Road
#01-01A Sime Darby Centre
Tel: 6219 7077