[Recipe] Pork Floss Cookies Using Airfryer

Chinese New Year is round the corner again, and I thought it would be a great time to create some new recipes for this occasion.

This year’s savoury Pork Floss Cookies are a little special, as I usually bake sweet cookies. For those unfamiliar with pork floss, it looks a little like a fluffy cotton floss candy, except that it is savoury and (boringly) brown. Made of dried, finely shredded pork and other marinates, it is usually used as toppings for porridge or buns.

It took me quite a few trials to get this recipe right – mainly because I am used to baking sweet cookies and also because the sugar present in pork floss seemed to interfere with the other ingredients in the recipe.

So, do you prefer savoury or sweet cookies? Let me know your thoughts in the Comments below. Enjoy!

Pork Floss Cookies

Yield: 16 cookies

Ingredients
60g butter, softened at room temperature
10g caster sugar
70g flour
1/2 tsp salt
30g pork floss

Directions
1) Cream.
Cream butter and sugar together.

2) Mix.
Mix in the flour to form a soft dough.

3) Combine.
Add the pork floss & salt and mix further.

Tips: If your pork floss is bunched up, use a fork to loosen them up first.
4) Chill.
Divide the dough into 2 portions. Wrap the 2 portions up in cling wrap. Freeze for 15 min till the dough firms up. The dough, when firmed up, becomes easier to shape later.

Tips: I prefer wrapping the dough up in roll form, so it is easier for slicing later.
5) Preheat.
Meanwhile, preheat airfryer at 150 degrees Celsius for 5 min.

6) Slice
When the dough rolls are firmed up, slice them into 1-cm thickness each.

Tips: Alternatively, you may roll the dough out flat into 1-cm thickness and use your cookie cutters to create beautiful shapes.
7) Bake.
Bake in airfryer at 150 degrees Celsius for 11-13 minutes until golden-brown. Enjoy!
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[Malaysia] DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru: Hotel and King Deluxe Room Review


Last month, instead of planning for a long overseas trip, we decided to enjoy our holiday slowly together and hopped over to Johor Bahru (JB), Malaysia for the break.

As we (surprisingly) have not stayed over at JB before, we decided to try out DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru based on TripAdvisor reviews and friends’ recommendations. Something we like about large chains is their consistency in service standards. Furthermore, comparing the rate to Singapore hotels’, this hotels’ (≈S$140 stay per night including breakfast during peak season) was definitely more value-for-money!

Location

As the hotel is very conveniently located across the Woodlands Checkpoint, travelling up to JB by public transport was our preferred choice. After crossing over the causeway, a comfortable 20-minute walk through the JB City Square Mall (exit from Jalan Wong Ah Fook side) and Komtar Mall was all it took for us to reach the hotel.

Warm DoubleTree Welcome


The check-in process was smooth and we were fortunate to be offered a late 1pm check-out (subject to availability).

True to DoubleTree hospitality, we were each treated to its famous warm cookies generously filled with chocolate chips and walnuts. It was so good and nutty, we wished we purchased a tin back. (Now I am hoping to find the recipe online so I can recreate a copycat version at home!)

Room



Our King Deluxe Room on the 16th floor overlooked the JB city centre and residential area, and we really liked the warm accents and lightings that greeted us when we entered the room.

It offered one of the most comfortable beds we had rested in in a long time (I really wonder what’s the magic in these hotel beds/ bedsheets!) and a complimentary pillow menu is also available for those who want an even more comfortable night.

The room’s design was overall modern and we particularly loved the rainshower with firm water gushing out from the ceiling. For couples feeling more “adventurous”, feel free to raise the curtains separating the bathroom’s glass wall and sleeping area! A plus point was certainly the luxurious Crabtree & Evelyn bathroom amenities provided.

Gym and Pool



Something we like to check out during our hotel stays is the exercise facilities as we tend to overeat during staycations (who can resist the wonderful buffet breakfasts?).

While the gym offered an adequate range of gym equipment, we recommend the open-air swimming pool next door instead. Located on the 13th floor, it overlooks the lush greenery near the hotel. How relaxing!

Makan Kitchen



Buffet breakfast was included in our stay and a friend had already told us before our trip that the breakfast at Makan Kitchen, the all-day restaurant, was worth waking up for.

Indeed, it featured a wide range of Western, Chinese and Malay cuisine and we were so glad we woke up early. One of the more unique options was the live juice bar where diners could choose any fruits and vegetables, and get it juiced right before their eyes. The concoction of day was green apple, celery and ginger – and we loved it. Breakfast starts at 6.30am, so remember to set your alarms to enjoy a slow and relaxing breakfast!

Tosca Italian Trattoria



Apart from Makan Kitchen, the hotel offers several other dining establishments, including Tosca. To be honest, we initially did not hold much expectations for this Italian restaurant but we were just so wrong.

At dinner time, an Antipasto Bar option at RM52 (≈S$17) is available with free-flow of cured meats, canapes, bruschetta, salads, assorted breads, fruits, 40 different types of cheeses and even simple desserts (the poached pear in red wine was so good). Yes, you read this right and we were so impressed! I would say that the extensive range of cheeses was comparable to what is offered at Regent Hotel (Basilico)’s buffet, so you definitely have to take this starter option.

As life is about making trade-offs, ordering main courses would mean that we would have to take less of the cheeses. Eventually, we just shared a soup and wood-fired pizza for the rest of our dinner.

With Tosca still at the back of our minds the next day when we checked out, we returned for the Weekday 3-course Lunch Set at RM55 nett (≈S$18) and it definitely disappoint. Meals should never be rushed and the attentive service along with the contemporary interior of the restaurant made our meals extra relaxing and special.

Overall



For Singaporeans who frequent JB for their massage session or grocery shopping, I would recommend that you stay over at least once to enjoy a more relaxing time with your family. DoubleTree by Hilton Johor Bahru offers this convenient option of having a night away from home at just a fraction of the price of a staycation in Singapore.

Instead of “wasting” time to explore the nearby restaurants around the hotel, make plans instead to dine at its restaurants. If you ask me what would draw me to revisit, the affordable room rate and of course Tosca are certainly our top reasons.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Johor Bahru
No. 12 Jalan Ngee Heng, 
Johor Bahru, 80000, Malaysia.

TEL: +60-7-2686868
 
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[Recipe] Avocado Chocolate Almond Cookies


The husband knew I was having "itchy" bakers' fingers one day when I called home to check on certain ingredients in the fridge.

True enough, my head was swirling with different ideas of making those yummy decadent chocolate cookies healthier. Because butter can be substituted by avocadoes, I decided to experiment using this healthier option. As I also had a large pack of almond flour sitting in the kitchen, I decided to play with these too - so I made these cookies gluten-free!

Result? These Avocado Chocolate Almond Cookies have a really nice fudgey, chewy and almost cakey texture. For sure, this is one of my simplest (only 3 steps before you get to sink your teeth in them) and definitely healthiest cookie recipes because no butter or oil was used. Incorporating the use of avocados also means that those good fats help to improve cholesterol levels.

Airfryer and oven temperature and timings have been included below. Key tip: Always use your kitchen "sixth sense" when replacing ingredients... and have fun! :)

Avocado Chocolate Almond Cookies

Yield: 30 bite-sized cookies

Ingredients

2 avocados
80g unsweetened cocoa powder
80g almond flour
100g caster/ fine sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Handful of almond bits for toppings

Directions

1) Combine.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients (except the almond bits) together. In particular, mash the avocado well so that the cookie dough becomes a smooth paste.

Before:
After: 

2) Lay Out.
Roll the dough into balls (half tbsp per ball). Lay out onto the baking sheet and lightly press down using the back of a spoon. Decorate with some almond toppings.

Tips: Space the dough balls out well, as the cookies will spread.

3) Bake.
Bake in airfryer at 160 degrees C for 8 min. The cookies are now ready!

(If using oven, bake at 180 degrees C for 8-10 min.)

4) Cool.
Cool well before storing.

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[Review] Festive Buffet 2018 at PARKROYAL on Pickering




Last weekend, we had a fabulous festive feast at Lime Restaurant at PARKROYAL on Pickering and we were pleasantly surprised and impressed that we must share about it.  It certainly looks like the dining team at the Lime Restaurant is really pulling all the stops to make this the best Christmas for all of us with a surfeit of dining options, making for an immensely satisfying and memorable experience.

Ambience




This was our first time we had a meal at Lime and we really liked the ambience a lot. The restaurant itself had a touch of elegance and was rather spacious with dining tables spread out, unlike certain restaurants whereby the tables are right next to each other. We also liked the fact that there was a lot of surrounding glass and greenery. The high ceiling reminded us of Brasserie Les Saveurs at St Regis, just without the stained glass ceiling.
I am not too sure how new this hotel is, but being a new hotel sure has its advantages as designers can draw inspiration on existing designs and iterate on them. The restaurant design, and the hotel itself is at the height of a designer chic. It was comfortable and classy, without being too opulent and we really liked it. We certainly wouldn't mind a staycation at this hotel as this place has left an indelible impression the moment we arrived.

But of course, the nice ambience would be nothing if the food isn't up to par.

Wide Range of Offerings












Thankfully, Lime restaurant’s brigade of talented chefs managed to impress us with a stunning selection of festive favourites and contemporary dishes that are sure to make this year-end holiday season an occasion to remember.

Like most buffets, it offered salad, sushi, seafood on ice and a cheese section. The cheeses, while less limited in variety, were of artisan quality and comparable to the ones in Basilico at Regent Hotel.

The lobster laksa was also superb and they also served a complimentary Welcome Coconut Lime Drink to provide some contrast to the spiciness. One of our favourites was the Double Boiled Ginseng Chicken Soup. Not many restaurants can boast this is their buffet menu and this is certainly one of the highlights - and one of the healthier options available.

Festive Highlights










Festive traditionalists can tuck into a lavish Christmas spread including the Whole Baked Turkey, Honey & Citrus Glazed Ham, Wagyu Beef Rump and Oven-Baked Pork Prime Rib with Spicy Tomato Paste. Enjoy the roasted vegetables, chestnuts, pearl vine tomatoes, brussel sprouts at the side to complement these festive favourites.

On the actual festive dates, expect an even more special menu consisting of Roasted Beef Cheek with Juniper Berries, Red Wine Jus & Red Pepper Corn, 12-Hour Slow Roasted Rack of Lamb in Garlic (on Christmas Eve & Day) or Boston Lobster, King Crab, Baked Oyster with Spicy Yellow Bean Sauce and 65-Degree Whole Salmon (on New Year's Eve).

Irresistable Desserts




The dessert corner features a luxury of choices such that I found it hard to make a choice. In life, there's always an opportunity cost. If you try something, your stomach may not be able to accomodate another item. If I had to choose again, I'd not regret picking the Araguani Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Jam (because I have a soft spot for high quality chocolate).

But perhaps others may prefer to have the Christmas Stollen to be in line with the festive mood, or the Matcha Chocolate Fondue with marshmellows/ childhood gummies, Durian Pengat, Creme Brulee, Pineapple Gazpacho with Mixed Berries, Coconut Panna Cotta with Red Ruby or Soya Avocado Puree with Sago. Everyone is sure to be spoilt for choice. They even offer various flavours of Ice Cream and Sorbets, and even Cheng Tng!

Traditional Christmas Treats




With no less than four variations of the Christmas logcake, those with a sweet tooth might have a problem deciding on a flavour.  The buffet offers Pandan & Coconut Logcake, Durian Gula Melaka Yule Log, Black Forest Yuletide Log and - of course the Belgium Dark Chocolate with Yuzu Yule Log for those who prefer the classics. 

Festive Buffet Details


The festive buffet is available until 31 December 2018. Prices are as follows:
  • Daily Lunch – SGD68++ (12noon – 2:30pm), except Sunday and the special dates below. 
  • Daily Dinner – SGD98++ (6:30pm – 10:30pm), except the special dates below.
  • Super Sunday Brunch – SGD98++ (12:30pm – 3:30pm),
  • Christmas Eve Brunch Buffet – SGD118++ (12:30pm – 3.30pm)
  • Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet 1st Seating – SGD108+ (6pm – 8pm)
  • Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet 2nd Seating – SGD118++ (8:30pm – 10:30pm)
  • Christmas Day Brunch Buffet – SGD128++ (12:30pm – 3:30pm)
  • Christmas Day Dinner Buffet – SGD128++ (6:30pm – 10:30pm)
  • New Year’s Day Brunch Buffet – SGD68++ (12:30pm – 3:30pm)
  • New Year’s Day Dinner Buffet – SGD138++ (6:30pm – 10:30pm)
UOB and DBS cardholders will enjoy:
  • 15% savings except on 24, 25 and 31 December 2018.
  • Early bird discount of additional 5% for bookings fully pre-paid before 16 December 2018.

PARKROYAL on Pickering
3 Upper Pickering St,
Singapore 058289
(Clarke Quay or Chinatown MRT Station)

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[Review] Festive Buffet at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway Singapore

Savouring good food is a national pastime in Singapore.

And what better way to celebrate this Christmas than to enjoy a festive buffet with loved ones and at the same time demonstrate kindness and generosity to the less fortunate? We tried the latest Festive Dinner Buffet at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway Singapore on a Thursday night, and it was a great prelude that set our Friday mood right.

Christmas 2018/ New Year 2019 Buffet


At the buffet restaurant, Makan@Jen, we found the presentation of the food to be a feast for the eyes and could not help snapping photos of the food before we ate them. A commendable effort by the dining team indeed. Their passion was certainly evident in their almost flawless presentation.

Something unique about this year's menu is how the classic dishes are infused with herbs freshly harvested right from the hotel's Level 10 secret garden manned by Senior Sous Chef Boon himself.

Meat Lover's Heaven

Despite the herbs taking centrestage, meat lovers will certainly be in for a treat. The buffet menu highlights include Roasted Canadian Whole Turkey with Garlic and Baby "Herbs Stuffing", Oven-Baked Australian Leg of Lamb infused with "Mint" Honey Mustard, Sweet "Basil" Truffle Maple Glazed Bone in Gammon Ham and the 8-hour Roasted "Rosemary" crusted Australian Angus Prime Rib. All the perfect traditional Christmas goodies in one place.

Seafood & Local Delights

For those who prefer seafood, it may be worth noting that on Thursday evenings the restaurant offers a seafood/ lobster themed buffet, with a wide selection of various seafood dishes that are sure to delight individuals who have a strong affinity for the delicious crustacean. Honorable mention should go to the lobster bisque and lobster paella.

Sweet Treats

Dessert lovers will get to savour a fine selection of Black Sesame Yuzu and Thyme Yule Log Cake and Pandan, Red Bean and Matcha Yule Log Cake. It is certainly a more ambitious, unique take on the the traditional Christmas logcake and perhaps transcends over the chocolate variation of the aforementioned offering. Top marks for creativity. At the end of your meal, order a sweet warm Mulled Wine and your stomach will thank you for all the indulgent feasting.

Giving Back to Society

This December, Hotel Jen Orchardgateway celebrates the yuletide season from the heart through its community involvement programme and sustainability.

In collaboration with Make-A-Wish® Foundation (S) Ltd, the hotel will see two Christmas trees decked with bauble ornaments and information on how to make a donation. All proceeds will go beneficiaries adopted by Make-A-Wish® Foundation. Additionally, the trees will feature handmade trinkets made of upcycled materials, demonstrating the hotelier's corporate social responsibility. Do join in!

Festive Buffet Details

  • Daily Lunch – SGD48++ (12noon – 2:30pm), except the special dates below. 
  • Daily Dinner – SGD68++ (6:30pm – 10pm), except the special dates below.
  • Christmas Eve Brunch Buffet – SGD48++ (12:30pm – 3pm)
  • Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet – SGD108++ (6:30pm – 10pm)
  • Christmas Day Brunch Buffet – SGD88++ (12:30pm – 3pm)
  • Christmas Day Dinner Buffet – SGD118++ (6:30pm – 10pm)
  • New Year’s Day Brunch Buffet – SGD48++ (12:30pm – 3pm)
  • New Year’s Day Dinner Buffet – SGD88++ (6:30pm – 10pm)
Enjoy a 15% early bird discount for confirmed bookings and full payment received from now till 10 December 2018.

On Christmas Eve & Day and New Year’s Eve & Day, diners with little ones can also have added fun with special activities. From a kids’ buffet to bouncy castle and Santa Claus appearance, it will be a fun time for all ages.

Hotel Jen Orchardgateway Singapore
277 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238858
(Somerset MRT Station)

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