Forenote: C.Y., my guest blogger, dined here as a guest of Cookyn.
Being a (somewhat) fan of The Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver, and The Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson, I do read a great deal of their recipe books. But somehow, I find that it is kinda difficult to source and purchase the ingredients listed in their recipe books. Proscuitto Ham, Parma, Goat Cheese, Rosemary, Blackberries, Creme Fraiche are some of the things that are not readily found in your neighborhood supermarkets like Shop ‘n’ Save or NTUC Fairprice or even Cold Storage, that is unless you are living in an expat district like Holland Village or the Bukit Timah area where there are specialty grocers that carry such gourmet products. And lets face it, a majority of us don’t stay anywhere near these places, and grocery shopping in Orchard Road is not something many of us can indulge in.
Luckily for us NTUC FairPrice does have their premium supermarkets – FairPrice Finest.
Fairprice Finest aims to bring the fine life closer to the shoppers (us, the heartlanders) has definitely been a great convenience for most of us. They have 7 outlets in all parts of Singapore (Bukit Timah, Clementi, Marine Parade, Orchard, Serangoon, Tampinese and Upper Thompson pretty much cover most parts of Singapore), for me, the closest outlet is the Bukit Timah outlet located in the venerable Bukit Timah Plaza and it’s one of the biggest outlet in Singapore (spotting 2 levels).
I have been there a couple of times to shop for my own cupcake ingredients, usually fruits and special pre-mixes, and I ‘m delighted to find out that FairPrice Finest is really spacious. The aisles are spacious, not tight and the decor is different as well. Other than the premium selection of gourmet items and products, which makes up 30% of the store’s inventory, you would still be able to find your normal, staple products found in other FairPrice outlets, at the same price too.
Personally I feel that if there’s someone there to help with the shopping it would be terrific, and FairPrice Finest’s staff are specially trained and equipped with knowledge of their products. So no more fretting on how to prepare those premium cuts of meat.
This day, FairPrice Finest along side with Ming and Cookyn aims to teach us how to prepare quality meals that is not daunting to prepare and the ingredients are easily found at FairPrice Finest.
To start, we were introduced with a Tomato Bruschetta – which is a simple mix of Tomato, Mozarella Cheese, Basil and Olive Oil.
Ming recommended the Ciabatta instead of the conventional Baguette. Simply mix up the ingredients and top it up on your freshly toasted Ciabatta and you have your appetizer.
Ming then demonstrated the Grilled Slipper Lobster with Mornay Sauce (ingredients and steps can be found at the bottom of the post).
It may look rather difficult to make, but honestly, its not. I’ve tried it myself and the most difficult part was chopping the Slipper Lobsters up.
And what you get at the end, is a tasty relevés. The Mornay sauce and cheese mix is a savory combination that goes really well with most shellfish or seafood. I’ve tried the recipe on mussels and it turned out superb as well.
Next up was the Main – the Lime-Leaf Mussels with Linguine and a White Wine Sauce.
I’ve had mussels cooked in white wine before, but never have I had Lime leaf added in the the concoction before. What came out was a zesty lemony flavor that was very refreshing. But what’s actually important are fresh mussels and the cooking time of the mussels. You wouldn’t want a foul tasting mussel lurking in the bunch nor do you want to over cook your mussels.
FairPrice Finest eliminates this problem by providing fresh vacuum packed mussels that are already cooked, so you simply have to cook your white wine sauce, dump in your mussels to heat it up and voila, you have your main.
All these took less than an hour to prepare (inclusive of preparation time and cooking time). So convenient right!
And here you go, the recipes:
Lime-Leaf Mussels with Linguine and a White Wine Sauce (Serves 4)
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 bay leaf
1 Sprig of thyme
1 tbsp unsalted butter
200ml dry white wine
75ml chicken stock
350g dry linguine
Juice of 1 lemon
2 lime leaves, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Heat a large pot of lightly salted water, bringing it to a boil. Cook pasta for 7-8 minutes, removing when al dente.
Combine the onion, sliced garlic, thyme, bay leaf and parsley with the wine in a large covered pot. Add the mussels when steam develops and cover, cooking for 3 minutes whilst stirring occasionally. Add the lime leaves to the pot and cook for a further 3 minutes, seasoning to taste
Remove mussels and set aside. Bring the mussel broth to a boil over high heat for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in tablespoon of butter.
Assemble the mussels over linguine, pour broth over and sprinkle on the parsley leaves. Serve immediately.
Grilled Slipper Lobster with Mornay Sauce (Serves 2)
2 slipper lobsters
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
1.5 cups milk
3/4 cup grated cheese
Salt and Pepper
4 lemon wedges
Pre-heated oven @ 150 degrees celcius
Melt the butter in a pan over medium high heat, and add the flour in bit by bit, stirringly well with a wooden spoon. Once flour is well incorporated, let mixture bubble for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. When the colour of the mixture reaches a pale golden, add the milk to the pan and stir well for 4 minutes. The mixture will thicken considerably upon reaching a boil. Set aside when the mixture coats the back of the wooden spoon well.
Rinse the slipper lobster and cut in half, lengthwise. Pour sauce over the tops of the lobsters, then sprinkle grated cheese over. Place in oven for approximately 15-20 minutes until cheese is golden brown. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
For a list of NTUC FairPrice Finest, please visit this link
Lil’ Bit about the Author
C.Y. (Pronounced as See Why) believes the soul of the Singapore food cultures lies in the many hawker centers hidden in the heartlands. He often seeks for the best Bak Chor Mee (has yet to found one in the West) or the best hawker food. Though he usually goes for the cheap food, he doesn’t actually mind the occasional posh nosh.