I’m back with my updates about my ABC Cooking experience from July – September! A lot has happened within these 3 months! Firstly, in July I got to go on a trip to Kagawa Prefecture with ABC Cooking. I have blogged about my experience in Kagawa and you can read all about it here. Secondly, ABC Cooking Westgate studio has opened! Frankly, I was a little disappointed that the second studio in Singapore is at Jurong, an area in Singapore which I almost never visit. I also won’t choose to have my lessons there if given a choice, since Takashimaya is way more convenient for me, but having a second studio to ease the crowd is always a good thing!
Anyway a summary of updates:
- Westgate studio opening party
- Launch of brand new course
- Cake Basic course renewal announcement
- New courses sign up for me
Check out my previous posts about ABC Cooking Studio Singapore here:
ABC Cooking Studio Singapore – Westgate
The pre-opening party for ABC Cooking Westgate happened on 17th August 2018 and I got to attend one of the sessions. It was similar to the 3rd Anniversary party at Takashimaya 4 months ago, with lots of food, drinks and a really good goodie bag to take home!
During the party, they also announced that a new course will be launched exclusively in Westgate studio coming January 2019 – it will be ABC Health Labo course, which teaches recipes with health care/ dietary restrictions in mind. It doesn’t necessarily mean only low calorie/ diet meals, but it will also cover meals for eg. reducing blood pressure, reducing water retention, hormone balancing, good skin etc.
Westgate has been marketed as a green (environmentally friendly) mall, so this kind of mindful/ healthier cooking does fit the theme. At Westgate studio they also use cloth aprons instead of disposable paper ones.
Cake Basic Renewal
The Cake Basic menu is slated to be changed from March 2019 and I’m glad they gave us the heads up so early because we have 5- 6 more months to finish up the current cake recipes! 17 out of 18 cake recipes will be new, with only the macaron recipe being carried over from the old menu.
When I first signed up for ABC Cooking last year, I only found 6 cakes appealing to me on the menu, but was convinced to take up 12 cakes because of the promotions. I thought I could wait for the cake menu to be changed to complete all 12 I signed up for, but I don’t know why, my mindset has shifted and I actually am open to learning everything. It was only a few months into joining that I decided that heck, I’m going to do all 18! I have completed 14 basic cakes recipes so far, so I have just 4 more to go before I complete the whole set!
The change in menu is just timely for me because I’ll have 17 more new basic cake classes to take from March 2019 after I finish my current course in February next year. I wanted to go on to cake master initially, but decided to shelve it off for later because I still do need a lot of training in basic cake making. No point trying to do complicated things before grasping the basics!
Due to the great promotions going on in the months of August and September, I’ve signed up for a few more courses! I’ve completed 12 Cake Basic classes (what I signed up for initially), so I topped up for the 6 Cake + 8 Bread package to finish up my 18 Cake Basic course and to also start learning bread making. Just last October when I signed up for my Cake course, I was dead sure I will not be interested to do Bread making classes, but over the months I changed my mind because I realised how it’s actually fun. I like to be working on my own thing from start to finish and for bread it’s exactly like that. On the other hand, the cooking lessons are way less fun, because you are mostly doing kitchen prep and it involves contribution from everyone in the table. The lessons are also a lot more serious and it’s more about learning the method to apply at home, rather than for just having fun and playing during the lesson. Nevertheless, I still took some cooking lessons because it is something which useful I could make at home.
I also signed up for Wagashi lessons this month, because why not? I love wagashi! I’ve experimented with making my own noob level wagashi and even shared some recipes on this blog, but learning it the orthodox way is definitely better. I previously took threw wagashi lessons at ABC Cooking in Japan, offered as their 1 Day English Lessons and I liked it enough to want to do wagashi regular lessons.
That said, it means that I now have A LOT of lessons at ABC to do! I’ve been doing a lot of lessons these few months.
Hungry Bird rating
– Must learn! Recipe really good/ useful to recreate often
– Good, met expectations
– Ok… optional to learn
– Lower standard in taste than expected / looks better than it tastes/ not as good as store bought versions
– Waste of time
July Cake Basic – Mille Crêpe
I love mille crepe, ever since I first had it at Everything with Fries (does this restaurant even still exist??) almost 10 years ago. It was the first time every seeing such cake but from that point forward, mille crepe became really common in Singapore. It has been a permanent fixture in our cake scene and the popularity is still going strong!
The concept of mille crepe is simple – just fry many layers of crepe individually, make some cream filling and stack it on layer by layer. At ABC Cooking Studio, we will learn to flip the crepe using cooking chopsticks. The end product was within expectations of a basic mille crepe, but if you’re looking for Lady M standard then it’s not quite there. I’d say this cake meets expectations to the bare minimum. Do note that it is going to be a really heavy “cake” (shall use this term loosely since this isn’t really a cake, but just a stack of crepe made from batter) and it can get overwhelming.
Hungry Bird rating: 3/5
August Cake Basic – Choux
I love choux / cream puffs and my current favourite is from Shuu Choux. This one I made was no where near the standard of Shuu, but was decent enough I guess? I find that it tastes better the next day, after sitting in the fridge for more than 12 hours. I like my cream puffs to be a little softer inside and to have flavour from the custard cream infused in. When eaten when freshly assembled, it was like 2 separate entities – choux and cream did not come together as one. When having it freshly assembled, I found that it tastes like a super average choux, like those you find from food catering buffets. But when left overnight, it was slightly above average, but still no where has good as my favourite from Shuu!
Hungry Bird rating: 3/5
September Cake Basic – Petit Four Secs – 3 types of pie
Petit Four refers to “small oven“, translated literally from French. It refers to goods baked in the oven, and there’s 3 categories:
- glacé (“glazed”), iced or decorated tiny cakes covered in fondant or icing, such as small éclairs, and tartlets
- Salé (“salted”), savoury bite-sized appetizers usually served at cocktail parties or buffets
- Sec (“dry”), dainty biscuits, baked meringues, macarons, and puff pastries
This Petie Four Sec recipe using plain pie/ tart crust (Pâte Brisée) to create 3 flavours of cookies – sugar, chocolate coated and savoury cheese cookies. The cookie base is the same kind of flaky pie crust pastry. Well I would say this is not my favourite from all cake classes (the Financier & Galette Brettone Cookie class was way better), but the savoury cheese cookies took me by surprise! I will definitely make this again when time calls for cookies (like festive seasons). Actually, the Pâte Brisée dough is exactly the same as the Tartlette Au Citron (lemon tart) pastry! Back then when I learnt the lemon tarts I loved how crispy and flaky the tart crust was. Perhaps I would make a batch of this dough, half for lemon tarts and the rest for cookies.
Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5
August Japanese Home Cooking – Takoyaki & Yakisoba
Ever since I realise that there’s no decent takoyaki left in Singapore (and really, the most decent I could find are from Donki and they don’t even make them – they use frozen ones, same as their selling stock in the frozen section), I wanted to learn how to make my own. I bought a pink Bruno Hot Plate earlier this year (yes, because I love the colour and it is limited edition) and wanted to try making takoyaki ever since! It is easy to find recipes online but since I had some cooking class tickets to use, why not? Just so happen from this year onwards, Bruno came on board and they now use Bruno hot plate during their takoyaki lessons at ABC Cooking. And yes, the takoyaki was good, better than any you can find in Singapore for sure – almost Osaka standard. The yakisoba was also super easy to whip up and I guess it will makes a good quick meal I could do next time as well, though I wouldn’t say the taste is super fantastic. It is just a home cooking standard of yakisoba.
Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5
September Japanese Home Cooking – Crispy and Juicy Karaage
So basically I am the kind of home cook that will use the oven (and microwave) as much as possible, and seldom do stove top cooking. Chinese style cooking is out of the question, and so is deep frying. I’ve always loved Chicken Karaage, but did not think of doing this lesson when I joined in September last year, because I didn’t think I would deep fry food at home. However, I recently purchased the pink Bruno Grill Pot and one of the uses of it is for deep frying. The Bruno Grill Pot comes with a rim which reduces splattering of oil out of the pot, so that makes deep frying less intimidating. I am glad I took this lesson because the Karaage tastes so good! We also learnt to make tartar sauce, takikomi gohan and dashi soup stock.
After 5 cooking classes at ABC Cooking I finally wised up and brought my own bento boxes to pack my food (but on the other hand, my previous cooking menus weren’t bento box friendly).
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
September Best Selection Cooking – An Italian Feast to Impress
The main item is Carbonara with Onsen egg and on the side is egg plant “lasagne” and tiramisu crepe for dessert.
I was on the fence about taking this class but since this is a Best Selection menu (they will not repeat it, Best Selection changes every year) and I would like to learn how to make onsen egg, I guess it was worth learning. The onsen egg technique they use here is nothing I’ve ever heard of and it does work! The carbonara pasta was quite nice too, but not really authentic according to Italian standards because it uses cream. Real Italian Carbonara does not use cream at all! Cream in Carbonara is a rest of the world version of the real thing.
The “lasagne” in question is not lasagne per se, but layers of eggplant, ham and potato topped with chopped tomato puree and melted cheddar cheese. Surprisingly it does taste good together.
The crepe is probably my favourite from this meal. I love crepes to begin with so this is no surprise. The topping wasn’t exactly tiramisu cream (no mascaporne cheese) but it does taste somewhat tiramisu style with hints of rum, coffee and chocolate! I would recommend using actual mascaporne cheese if you could.
Hungry Bird rating: 3/5
September Bread Basic – Creamy Soft Bread
I’ve only ever made bread once in my life, some 6 years ago, entirely by trial and error from instructions online. Back then I was kinda pleased that my bread actually succeeded, but I guess it’s hard to fail at making bread right? At most you won’t get the most ideal texture, but the bread will definitely turn out as a bread. It’s not like doing cakes where so many things could possibly go wrong.
For my very first Bread class at ABC Cooking (and second time ever making bread in my life), I chose to do a custard bun. This is a very typical bun you can find in any Japanese bakery, and my favourite one from Singapore is found in Donq (Takashimaya, or Isetan Scotts). Well the texture is still a far cry from Donq, but I was satisfied with my product! The process of bread making at ABC was really therapeutic too. Everything is made by hand (no machines for kneading!) but the method is kind of optimized for minimal strength required (good for home bakers).
Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5
September Bread Basic – Milk Butter Bread
Shortly after doing my very first bread class, I was sold and hooked and wanted to book my second class ASAP! I managed to get one in less than a week after and this time I decided to do the most basic bread offered. I figured that basic is good – it’s something I could make for daily life consumption.
Even though there’s no fancy toppings or fillings involved for this one, the highlight of this bread is the bread itself. The texture is fluffy and soft and I made this at home immediately the day after! This bread recipe is going to be a staple at home. It just taste so good even when eaten plain!
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
September Bread Basic – Cranberry Chocolate and Cheese Scone
Initially I wasn’t took keen to learn bread making, but after discovering that other bread-like pastries like scones are offered under the bread basic course, it got me really keen on signing up! I waited no further to book my scone lessons and I have no regrets.
For this lesson we make 2 flavours of scones from the same base. This concept is similar to the Petite Four Sec – 3 types of pie cake basic lesson I took earlier on, where we can just switch up the flavour and make 2 distinctly different products with one effort.
On it’s own, the cheese scones wins hands down. this is actually my first time trying cheese scones and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I guess anything with toasted Parmesan cheese is bound to succeed!
On the other hand, the chocolate cranberry scone was way to sweet when eaten on it’s own. Initially I thought I didn’t really like it. It contains a lot of white chocolate and milk chocolate so that made it really sweet. However, when paired with clotted cream, it was so good. Clotted cream itself is not sweetened so it balances out the sweetness of the scones, which made it just right. With so many ingredients, the scone itself was very crumbly and the texture was on point. I would totally make it again to enjoy cream tea at home! I must always have clotted cream when I have scones so this recipe works for me.
Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5
September Wagashi – Yoshino & Yamabuki Nerikiri
Wagashi class at ABC was something I’ve always wanted to do since the beginning (this was the first course which got me interested to find out about ABC Cooking Singapore) but I planned to do it much later, after I’ve completed cake basic and cake master. But just recently I changed my mind and decided now’s a good time to start! I’ve tried Wagashi classes at ABC Cooking in Japan as 1 Day English Lessons, but those were kind of more basic. The regular course recipes has more interesting designs. Every month they will offer 2 recipes and it will repeat every 6 months. For September and March, they offered this Yoshiono & Yamabuki Nerikiri and the Sakura Mochi, both of which are more like spring time wagashi. I wanted to do Sakura Mochi during sakura season (March) so I decided to try this Nerikiri first!
Yoshino is a common species of Sakura and Yamabuki is a yellow mountain rose grown on trees. My wagashi shaping obviously is only beginner’s level but I was quite pleased with my products! No regrets taking up the Wagashi course right now.
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
July – Royal Pinkalicious
Honestly? I don’t really like this cake. It’s really very basic. The cakes from the regular cake menu are heaps better than this trial cake! Taste wise, it is probably the least favourite among all trial cakes I’ve done so far at ABC Cooking Singapore. I mean it wasn’t terrible, but the taste was unimpressive because of the kind of ingredients used. I could think of ways to make it taste much better if I were to do it myself!
Hungry Bird rating: 1.5/5
August – Tangy Chocolate Roll
This recipe is only available to learn at Westgate studio and I went all the way there just for this. They called this a premium trial cake lesson and yes it is much better than the basic kind (like Royal Pinkalicious), but also not really the best.
Hungry Bird rating: 2.5/5
September – Peach Blossom Tart
This lesson is offered as a seasonal trial at Westgate and it does look pretty from the picture, but I have to say that the taste and texture is very unimpressive and I give it 1 point just for the aesthetics, nothing more. I’ll just say that the tarts you’ll learn from the regular cake lessons tastes much better! If you’re interested do attend the Tarte aux Pommes lesson (available in September and December 2018) before the new cake basic menu kicks in from March 2019 onward.
Hungry Bird rating: 1/5
Molten Lava Cake
So I was looking for the most easy cake to do in my ABC Cooking Cake recipe folder (I now have 4 different folders for Cake, Bread, Cooking and Wagashi) and decided to do this molten lava cake with raspberry. This time I nailed the perfect texture! The exterior was completely baked and no areas sunk in. The inside was the perfect flowy molten chocolate lava.
Matcha Mille Crepe
I recently bought the Bruno Grill Pot with crepe attachment, so I decided to test it out making crepes for Mille Crepe. I added matcha to the custard filling to make a matcha mille crepe. I liked how it tastes, much more than the original vanilla flavoured custard cream from the recipe! Also, I feel that using a crepe pan is quite unnecessary. Frying the crepes in normal frying pan and swirling the batter around works just fine and is kind of easier to handle.
I attempted the Choux recipe and it was quite easy to follow. I once attempted making my own choux at home many years ago and it failed badly. I never wanted to try it again until I finally went for the class at ABC. I was satisfied that my second home attempt actually puffed up like Choux should be, but it could be better. I need more practice with this.
This Souffle Cheesecake was actually offered as a Trial lesson last July – August, but I did not manage to attend it back then. I managed to find the recipe however, and it was very easy to create at home! It helps that cheesecake is probably my most baked cake home so I kinda knew what to expect to see at every step. Prior to learning cakes at ABC, I was only seeing success with 1. Cheesecake 2. Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting 3. Macarons 4. Tiramisu and I made these items over and over again for years.
September Seasonal Trial lessons:
For the month of September, they will be offering the same classes as from August. Summer Loopies bread seasonal trial class – It’s a mango flavoured custard bread, decorated with fresh, moist and refreshing summer fruits. This is available at ABC Cooking Takashimaya…. And in conjunction with the new Westgate outlet, they are offering a premium trial cake class Tangy Chocolate Roll. The Westgate seasonal trial lesson is available via Members Referral to Non-Members only. Also offered at Wesgate only is Peach Blossom Tart, available through September so if you would like to take this special cake trial class for $28 (U.P. $35), do reach out to me!
October Seasonal Trial lessons:
Takashimaya – Orange Yugu Blanc
Westgate – Pumpkin Tiramisu
If you’re interested to take a trial class and want to do so at the discounted rate of $28, do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Again I will emphasize, this is not a sponsored review or anything. I paid for my lessons and just wish to share all I know about it so far!
ABC Cooking Studio
Takashimaya S.C., #03-12/12A
391A Orchard Rd