This post would be different from my previous posts because I would only be posting about classes I did in March at ABC Cooking. Due to temporary studio closure in April and May, I have taken the opportunity to apply my baking and cooking learnt at home instead! But first, the reviews for lessons I did in March.
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
March Cake Basic – Tiramisu
The main selling point of this class would be learning how to make the sponge biscuit in tiramisu from scratch. I’ve attempted tiramisu at home several times over the years but never once did I think of making the biscuit! It was interesting to learn and also useful if your tiramisu mould comes in different shapes like this round cup, because store bought sponge biscuits only comes in fingers.
The cream layer was vastly different from any tiramisu I know of, and I wouldn’t say I was a fan of it compared to other versions of tiramisu, but I did learn some useful tips like the types of eggs to use, which I would not have known of otherwise.
Hungry Bird rating: 3/5
March Cake Master – Caramel Noix
I knew I would like this cake just judging from the name, because caramel and nuts is always a good idea. This is a tedious recipe with many steps and a lot of absorb during the lesson, which is why it is indeed a Master level class.
The cake had a chocolate sponge, caramel coated nuts, caramel mousse and a final coffee rum jelly layer. The overall flavour was very pleasant and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
March Cake Master – Macarons
I simply love macarons! I do have experience in making macarons on my own but I still felt attending classes was worth it because there are always new things to learn. For me, the challenge in making macarons are no longer in the shell – once you grasp the shell making technique you will probably always get success. But to create many flavours of macarons is a challenge. Each new flavour requires different fillings! In the Cake Basic macaron class, we learnt how to make ganache based fillings. In this Cake Master macaron class, we learn how to make French Buttercream, which is a method I’ve never tried before! French Buttercream involves sugar syrup and egg yolks, making it a very rich and decadent cream.
We had this in 3 flavours – plain, cassis and pistachio with 4 variations of macaron shell colours. Initially when I first tried the macarons immediately after assembling them, I did not think too much of it and felt that the cream tasted too oily, and all the components tasted like it was on their own instead of being fused together as one. The cassis flavour was worst because I could taste oily butter and sour cassis individually and the 2 flavours did not match. However, it is important to bear in mind that macarons always tastes better after 72hrs! Ageing the macarons is a long test of patience but good things are worth the wait.
When I tried it again 3 days later, it was super delicious! The oil, sugar and flavours diffused through each piece of macaron from the cream to the shell and it no longer tastes like oddly matched flavours. The strong flavours of each component merged together to form a uniform flavour throughout each piece and it was heaven in every bite. I am now sold on French Buttercream macarons and I think it is better than ganache filled ones!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
March Bread Basic – Cherry Twist
This is THE bread from the current Bread Basic menu which I was most looking forward to! I love anything sakura and I wanted to attend this class during sakura season, which is now. This is somewhat like an anpan but with a modern update on the shape. The filling was white bean paste flavoured with sakura liqueur (or cherry) it was shaped in a twist which exposes the fillings and adorned with a salt pickled sakura flower. I thought it was going to be just a pretty bread without good flavour or texture but I was wrong. The bread was very soft and fluffy and I absolutely loved it!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
March Bread Basic – Raspberry Streusel
I had my reservations about this bread at first because it sounds like it was going to be super sweet, with custard, raspberry jam and streusel, but I actually did like it! The streusel makes all the difference because it provides a slight crunchy texture in every bite. I like to be entertained with various textures in my food. However you should note that this is indeed a very sweet bread so it’s better to set the right expectations.
Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5
March Bread Riche – Café Chocolat
I daresay this is the most delicious bread among all that was offered in ABC Cooking! It definitely lives up to the hype and all the fanfare. This is a chocolate and coffee flavoured bread, with coffee in the dough and a chocolate layer shaped into it. The twisting pattern is not only beautiful but is also serves to spread the layers of flavour throughout the bread. You have to try this to understand how good it is and this is a good reason to sign up Bread Riche course for!
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
March Japanese Home Cooking – Chirashizushi
Without a doubt, this is a photogenic meal with beautiful colours and presentation. Chirashizushi is commonly eaten on 3rd March, which is Hinamatsuri, Girl’s Day in Japan. The components of chirashizushi embodies auspicious meanings.
This version at ABC consists of a base is vinegared sushi rice topped with assorted toppings like shredded omelette, lotus roots, mustard greens, flaked salmon, prawns and snow peas. The use of vinegar in this recipe is strong with vinegar flavour being quite predominant.
On the side we also made a Japanese style steamed sea bream which was steamed with kombu, tofu, shimeji and leek and served with ponzu. For dessert we made ichigo daifuku.
Overall I did enjoy the meal but I’ll say it’s not a very practical one to learn unless you love vinegar flavoured food.
Hungry Bird rating: 4/5
Crown of the Queen Black Forest Cake (Fabbri Amarena Cherry)
This is a one day lesson offered only at Westgate, in collaboration with Fabbri to feature their Amarena cherries. It is a modern twist on the classic Black Forest cake.
It looks like a complicated cake but it is actually fairly simple and was completed within 2 hours. We used Fabbri Amarena cherries as well as sweet dark cherries in this cake, which gave more dimensions to the overall flavour. My only complaint would be the lack of alcohol within the cake. There was only a trace amount in the whipping cream used for topping. I would prefer to have alcohol within the main body of the cake either in the cherries, to brush the sponge with or in the mousse layers. Overall I really like this cake and it was a workshop worth attending!
Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5
Who Burnt My Cheese?
Basque burnt cheesecake was all in the rage last year but I honestly did not know what to expect because I have never even eaten it before! I regret not trying this when I visited San Sebastián some years ago. This is meant to be a cheesecake style that is different from most other cheesecakes. There is no base to the cheesecake and it would be baked at very high temperature on the high oven rack for the top to be burnt while the center is still semi solid.
When eaten warm, the cheesecake body is still jiggly, but once chilled it became solid-creamy. The technique for this cake was very easy and probably anyone can make it at home without attending a class and not fail, but it is still a very delicious cake that is worth trying hence I think it is a good trial class! Not to mention there is a high amount of cream cheese used for this 5″ cake so the cost is really worth it in comparison to other classes.
Hungry Bird rating: 5/5
Home Cooking & Baking
Seasonal Trial – Japanese Hanjuku Cheesecake
I’ve always loved Japanese Cheesecake. Can I be greedy and say I love all sorts of cheesecakes? New York cheesecake, rare cheesecake, double cheesecake, Basque cheesecake… it is hard to choose just one! But Japanese cheesecake is different because the texture is light and airy, I could pretty much eat the whole thing without feeling sick!
When I went to Osaka in 2018, I bought the whole Rikuro Ojisan cheesecake, freshly baked and warm, and ate half of it all at once (with the other half shared with my companion(s)). I did this TWICE in that same year. I can’t remember when was the last time I actually bought other types of cheesecake from commercial places, ever since I could bake them on my own, but Japanese cheesecake is the only type which I did not bake on my own and resorted to buying from shops.
I did try to make Japanese cheesecake at home. I really wanted to! It looks really simple, but the first few attempts all failed with a dense layer at the bottom, which I could not figure out the reason why. I tried perhaps 5 times, until one day the humidity from baking with a water bath caused my oven to break down. Any attempt at turning on the power to the oven would short circuit the whole house! It was such an unworthy baking attempt since the cheesecake wasn’t even successful and after getting the oven fixed, I never dared to try baking Japanese cheesecake at home again.
However, I recently got a Ninja Foodi multi cooker and this magic machine is mostly famed for being a Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer all in one, but one of the lesser mentioned features is that it can be used to Bake as well! It has temperature range of 120 °C- 210°C which is good for most cakes and breads.
As this machine is a multi cooker, I am sure it can handle humidity well without breaking down. Water could be poured into the device’s 9″ pot and I could place my 6″ cake pan in nicely to bake. How perfect!
I decided to try with ABC Cooking’s recipe, which was from Funan opening trial last year. It would be my first attempt at recreating this recipe at home!
And the results just amazes me! The cheesecake had perfect uniform texture throughout and none of the dense bottom layer which I used to get. I even baked this cake a total of 4 times because it was delicious and well received and each time it yielded the same good results!
I’d say this Ninja Foodi is just ideal for baking cheesecakes without having the fear of ruining your oven.
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This machine not only bakes well, it can also Pressure Cook, Air Fry, Grill, Saute and Steam! Best of all you can switch between different modes while your food is in the same pot, which makes cooking really convenient. Head over to my IG to check out the other food I’ve been making with this. For a machine which does it all, $374 is a really good deal!
Regular Trial – Gâteau au Chocolat
The first cake I baked in the Ninja Foodi was actually this classic chocolate cake. I’ve baked this countless times at home so I cannot go wrong with the recipe. I thought it was a good idea to try something I already know when using a new machine to bake so that i eliminate all issues if something went wrong.
But nothing went wrong anyway! The cake turned out perfect!
Japanese Home Cooking – Handmade Ramen from Scratch
When I was thinking whether to learn this Ramen recipe at ABC Cooking last December, I hesitated to even attend the lesson because I was intimidated at how difficult this class sounded and after attending it I concur that it was as difficult as anticipated it to be. I never thought I’ll cook it at home again because it was really difficult – the most difficult recipe in all of ABC classes in my opinion! Moreover, I did not have a pressure cooker and this recipe requires it to make the chashu, which is the main point of the meal.
But since I now have a Ninja Foodi pressure cooker, I decided to give it a go and I went all out to hand make everything! I handmade egg noodles, chicken broth, braised pork chashu, hanjuku egg and even ajitsuke bamboo shoots. It was a 4h effort to make 4 bowls of ramen from scratch but it was worth the effort to try at least once!
I sped things up by using the Ninja Foodi to pressure cook the chicken broth too – the recipe actually told us to cook it over the stove for more than 1h. With the pressure cooker, I could do it within 10mins. I did not have a pressure cooker I think this meal would end up being dinner instead of lunch!
Japanese Home Cooking – Handmade Udon and Variation of Dashi
After I successfully made Ramen at home, nothing can faze me and I decided to try Udon as well! I really like the Udon lesson when I attended it at ABC last year and I did not think I would make it at home but now I did. Again, I made everything from scratch according to the recipe, including the udon and 2 types of dashi. I also made all the side dishes like dashimaki tamago and matcha warabi mochi like the recipe called for.
The total time taken to make a 4 person portion was 3.5h and it was worth it for the experience! However I must add that to make it possible at home, you need to have a lot of kitchen equipment including small random things. Do this only if you already have everything, otherwise you will need buy a lot of things and it will not be worth it.
Japanese Home Cooking – Chirashizushi
Shortly after learning this recipe at ABC I decided to try the Chirashizushi at home again and I’m glad to say it is quite simple and it tastes pretty much the same as when I made it at the studio.
Bread Basic – Cherry Twist
I specially ordered sakura-an (sakura flavoured white bean paste) from Japan to make this at home! It was just as delicious as I expected.
Bread Riche – Café Chocolat
This is the most delicious bread from ABC Cooking so I just had to make it at home! I’m glad that I got pretty much the same results from remaking it.
Bread Riche – Blanc Noir & Croquant
My next favourite bread from Riche course after the Café Chocolat was Blanc Noir & Croquant. I managed to find Black Cocoa Powder by chance at Tomiz so I thought it is a good reason for me to make this bread. It is also the first time I am making bread using Soy Milk.
Bread Master – Anpan
4th of April is Anpan day! I learnt this bread last October and no better day to make it than on 4th April. Instead if white bean paste anpan, I filled the flower anpan with sakura an instead and I loved it.
Cake Basic (Korea) – Double Cheesecake
LeTAO double cheesecake is one of my favourite types of cheesecake and the closest I have to making this making myself is the lesson I attended with ABC Passport in ABC Korea. It is not difficult but it was tedious to make all the various layers.
Cake Basic – Roulé au Thé Vert
I attended this Cake Basic lesson back ion 2017 and I did try to make it at home before but I failed and never attempted again. After many more lessons and more experience at cake making I decided to try again and this time it was somewhat a success! This roll cake uses a unique soufflé sponge which has a velvet soft texture and is not crumbly. I really like this cake and I am already looking forward to making it again.
Wagashi – Sakura Mochi
Sakura mochi is one of the reasons why I took up wagashi course and I waited a whole year for sakura season to come again before making it at home! I ordered sakura leaf from Japan for this and filled my sakura mochi with tsubuan (coase red bean paste).
Wagashi – Ukishima
I never thought I would make Wagashi at home when I attended wagashi course at ABC and definitely not the Ukishima because it isn’t one of my favourites, but seeing sakura ukishima online got me inspired.
I did not have metal moulds to steam it in so I just used a heat safe Lock & Lock plastic boxes which is of similar shape and size, lined with parchment paper to steam it using my Bruno Round Grill.
I used store bought koshian (smooth red bean paste) and sakura-an to make 2 layers, with boiled adzuki beans between and salt picked sakura on top.
I find that it tasted better after a few days and I like to have it warm by microwaving before eating!
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
3 Gateway Drive, #03-01
107 North Bridge Road, #02-29