ABC Cooking Studio Singapore – Part 18

From September onwards, there was a semi-renewal of Cake Basic course where 6 recipes were eliminated and 6 new ones are added to the regular lesson line up. This is great because I would have more recipes to choose from!

Furthermore from October onwards, virtual lessons are back and this round, it is more attractive than the previous round because now some new and exclusive lessons are offered in the virtual classes! 2 portions of ingredients would be delivered to door step and this time it isn’t merely the dry ingredients. This is definitely a better offering than the previous virtual classes back in June and July.

In the month of September, I also finished my Bread Master lesson! I took around a year to complete it. I decided to finish the 12 master course lessons before the Bread Master course renews in January next year, and I would be attending the new course too when it commences.


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


Regular Lesson

September Cake Basic – Cube Choux

These cube shaped choux puffs looks absolutely cute and I just had to attend this lesson despite it being just choux. I have attended 3 other choux lessons at ABC before and the method to make the choux pastry is pretty much the same. The only difference here is that we will bake the dough in cube moulds. It still amazes me how the puff would rise to fill the mould completely, forming the perfect cube!

The filling of Cube Choux was primarily crème pâtissière (custard) – it was 5 egg yolks worth of custard! Each cube has 2 layers of flavours – the pink cubes has berry mascarpone cream layered on top of plain crème pâtissière, while the cube with snow powder topping has pistachio crème pâtissière layered on top of plain crème pâtissière. The pitachio crème, which was pistachio pasted mixed with custard, was too fluid and I did not manage to get a nice shot of the cross section.

Overall, the looks of these cubes are definitely the main attraction point of this recipe. The taste wasn’t anything out of expectation and in fact, it could have been too rich for some people’s liking because of how much custard there was inside. However, I am glad that at least real custard was taught during this class and it was so much better than other recipes which uses instant custard powder instead of letting us make custard from scratch.

Hungry Bird rating: 4/5

September Cake Basic – Mixed Berry Tart

This tart has a chocolate Pâté Sucrée tart base baked with almond cream and was topped with instant custard and mixed berries after baking. First and foremost, I was not very pleased that the size of this tart was actually smaller than what it should have been. The size of tart mould used here was 16cm on the top but 14cm on the base, while the recipe should have been using a tart mould with base diameter of 16cm. As a result, the tart seems too small to accommodate all the berries and it was all piled up when assembled, looking nothing like the original recipe’s photo.

Size aside, I also felt that the tart could be better if the method of tart crust making wasn’t creaming of butter and sugar using  a hand mixer. The texture was more compact and chewy than crispy. The custard filling used here was made of instant custard and the flavour was very artificial. I actually removed the custard when I ate the tart (it comes off in one piece like rubber so not much effort to remove it). The overall flavour was really predictable and nothing extraordinary.

The main learning point for me though, was to learn how to decorate this tart and assemble the berries in a presentable way! The number of fresh berries provided for this class was generous as well but I really wished the tart could be baked wider so I didn’t have to squeeze all the berries like this. If I were to make this tart at home, I’d definitely go with a 16cm base for the tart and fill it with real custard to make everything taste better.

Hungry Bird rating: 3/5

October Cake Basic – Mont Blanc

October is the season for chestnuts in Japan and I just had to do this new Mont Blanc recipe this month even though it was still new (I usually wait it out till recipes gets improved before attending the classes).

Mont Blanc is my absolute favourite cake when having French-Japanese style pastries. My favourite Mont Blanc was from Kki and I am always on the lookout for Mont Blanc whenever I travel! ABC Singapore has a chestnut Mont Blanc cake in the previous Cake Basic course and it was my absolute favourite of all the Cake Basic recipes. This new version features a caramelized Pâte brisée tart base instead of cake.

The taste was as good as I imagined it to be, possibly even better. Baking until the sugar caramelizes is an important step, so do not just accept it before it caramelizes – return it to the oven and bake longer until it is perfectly brown!

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

October Cake Master – Gateau Mocha

This class from Cake Master was actually a really old recipe from ABC Japan. It has flavours of coffee and chocolate and somehow this cake reminds me of those cakes we see in IKEA.

This recipe uses a 18cm round cake mould to bake the cake and it was the first time I’m using 18cm cake mould. Most other recipes at ABC either uses 15cm cake mould or cut out round shapes from a sheet cake. the round cake is sliced and brushed with Kahlua and sugar syrup before packing it with mocha ganache cream in between. The cake was shaped like a dome before pouring soft cream all over for the frosting. Honestly while doing the cake I felt it did not look appealing because it was quite messy and the crumbs were all over, but I judged too soon. This cake was love at first bite and I absolutely loved the taste!

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

October Cake Master – Chiboust

There were many components behind the final product of this apple tart. The first step was to make the pate á foncer tart crust, blind bake half way and bake it again with caramel apples and appareil.

The baked apple tart is then topped with Crème Chiboust – made with vanilla pod infused crème pâtissière folded with Italian meringue. The final layer was caramel jelly for a natural reddish brown colour and contrast of flavour.

The class as long and intense with many things to absorb. I doubt I would make this at home again but it was interesting to learn how Crème Chiboust is made because this French dessert recipe is quite uncommon in Singapore!

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

September Bread Master – Ciabatta

Ciabatta is a no-knead bread and the method to make it involves stirring the dough to mix it well. It is a very sticky dough and this is probably the only class at ABC were we do flour the dough as we shape it. This recipe is also unique because it has tomato paste and black olives kneaded into the dough.

The shape and height of this bread makes it great for sandwiches. The tomato and olive flavour was quite subtle. This class marks the last of my 12 Bread Master classes!

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5

October Bread Riche – Cream Loaf

From the month of October, Elle & Vire cream and butter would be used at ABC Cooking Singapore in our lessons and I thought it was a perfect time to attend Cream Loaf class! The recipe for this class was very straightforward and the dough was to be baked in a round loaf tin with insides generously coated with butter.

I finally understood why this bread was a hot favourite in Japan, having survived on the menu through several rounds of menu renewal. The bread was extremely fragrant and soft and I attribute that to using great quality cream and butter in the dough! When I brought it home I toasted my bread up using Ninja Foodi and it made the outer crust crispy and nice. The crust has butter in it hence it turned slightly flaky after toasting. I’d say this bread definitely tastes better when toasted! I enjoyed my bread with various jams but it was actually best eaten just plain with (more Elle & Vire) butter!

Hungry Bird rating: 5/5

September World Cuisine – Taiwanese Delicacies

The main point of this lesson was to make dumplings from scratch including the dumpling skin. The main course was mixed seafood in starch slurry sauce served with crispy rice. The cooking method for this course was actually to deep fry the ingredients as well as raw rice cakes which puffs up when cooked to be crispy. For dessert we have almond pudding with mango.

This Sheng Jian Bao was actually very similar to Xiao Long Bao, but instead of steaming it, it was pan fried first then steamed in the frying pan. The filling has chicken soup jelly made with gelatin which melts to become a broth within each bun. If you steam it instead of pan frying, you’d get a simple version of Xiao Long Bao!

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5

October Best Selection Cooking – Halloween Party At Home

This year’s Halloween was made more interesting for me because I went for Halloween Cooking lesson on the day itself! I even brought along my new 2020 Le Creuset Halloween collection which I ordered from Taiwan for this lesson. This meal interestingly had kabocha pumpkin involved in all 4 dishes taught, from appetizer to dessert.

As this is a themed meal, I naturally has lower expectations of the taste of the dishes. The main course was meat ball and pumpkin stew with Jack-o-lantern pie and personally I found this dish pretty good and I wiped everything clean!

The salad course consisted of mostly raw veggies and deep fried pumpkin. A black dipping sauce which fits the Halloween theme was paired with the salad and it was anchovy based bagna càuda sauce blacked with black sesame paste.

The side dish was veggie pops made by battering assorted veggies (including kabocha, of course!) in pancake batter and deep frying till golden brown. It was served with store bought honey mustard.

For dessert it was pumpkin tiramisu. It wasn’t actual tiramisu but just a parfait with tiramisu elements like coffee soaked pastry. It has a layer of mashed sweetened pumpkin and I liked that part, but the yogurt cheese layer topped over it was awful in my opinion. It would have been better if yogurt was omitted.

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5

October Whole Meal Cooking – A Diet-Friendly Meal, Tasty yet Healthy! (Japanese Soup Curry)

I’ve been interested to try Hokkaido Soup Curry and I thought this lesson would be teaching something similar. However, being part of Whole Meal Cooking course meant that health benefits come first. The objective of this lesson was to create a diet friendly version and most things were baked, not fried, and the flavour profile of the meal was sour because sour food feels like something diet friendly.

 

Typical soup curry has veggies deep fried without batter (suage 素揚げ), but this healthier version uses oven to bake the vegetables at high temperature till softened. The soup curry uses vegetable juice in it and I think that makes it sour overall. I am not sure if classic soup curry should be this sour as I’ve not tried many before, but I think I would prefer it to be less sour.

The side dish of samosa was also baked at high temperature and it actually came out pretty crispy! We cooked the ground beef filling over the stove before wrapping up the samosas. Instead of potato, avocado was used as filling which makes it more diet friendly.

Another side dish was a cabbage salad with lemon and cumin and personally I did not like it at all and did not finish it. It was too sour for me.

For dessert it was yogurt blended with banana and açaí powder to be a pseudo açaí bowl. It has the consistency of normal yogurt smoothie bowl rather than an icy açaí bowl and was filled and topped with many sour fruits.

Hungry Bird rating: 3/5


Virtual Lessons

I am so glad that the virtual lessons at ABC has been re-launched and this time it was made better than before by including recipes which were not part of the regular lesson menu, and to also provide wet ingredients as well!

October Bread Virtual – Baguette Assortment

My very first virtual lesson was this baguette looking bread. It was not actual baguette in terms of the dough and method, but it was shaped long like baguette. There are 3 flavours in total – olive and cheese, honey citron and chocolate berry. The chocolate berry flavour was made by portioning out a third of the dough during kneading and adding cocoa powder paste to it. Among the 3 flavours, my favourite was actually they honey citron which had yuzu jam and candied lemon peel for fillings and was basted with honey after baking. The combination of honey and bread was actually pretty nice even though I thought I would not like this flavour.

However, I felt this bread recipe wasn’t very fantastic overall in terms of taste and it definitely scored better in aesthetics than the actual taste. It was pretty much like plain bread with fillings.

Hungry Bird rating: 3.5/5

October Cake Virtual – Florentines

My first virtual cake lesson was Florentine and it was pretty manageable because I’ve had experience making florentine at ABC using my ABC Passport in Malaysia and Taiwan. This florentine was slightly different from the other 2 because the dough actually uses milk instead of egg and water!

One dough makes 3 different flavours and the yield was 6 pieces of berry and nut florentine, 12 pieces of  Earl Grey florentine and 8 herb cookies.

The berry nut flavour was very pretty but my favourite was the earl grey of course! Overall I really liked this recipe but I wish ABC could provide us with the packaging as well. I have this box from my previous Petit Four Sec lesson as well as plastic wrappers I bought previously so I could package them nicely as a gift.

Hungry Bird rating: 4/5


One Day Lesson

Mooncake Festival – Chocolate Divine Mooncake

A special mooncake class is usually offered at ABC every year during Mid Autumn festival and this year it was chocolate mooncakes!

This is actually more like a giant chocolate bon bon rather than a mooncake. We made tempered chocolate shells using dark chocolate coverture as well as Valrhona raspberry chocolate coverture and filled them with 2 types of white chocolate mousse with chocolate truffles in the center. Overall it was nice for the creativity and novelty factor but I doubt I would make this again.

Hungry Bird rating: 4.5/5

Halloween – A Bloody Night

For Halloween this year we have this spooky cake which is made of Joconde biscuit sponge and chocolate cream. To make things spooky, we made blood orange sauce and coloured it red to look like blood. The cake is then coated with a layer of shiny black cocoa powder glaze for a dark aesthetic.

I’d say this cake’s value lies in the fun of it looking cute for the occasion, but the taste isn’t the best in my opinion because the Joconde sponge was too thick and dry. The chocolate cream was super delicious (and sinful) though because we used good quality chocolate and whipping cream. It did serve the purpose of being a scary cake for Halloween mainly because it is scarily fattening!

Hungry Bird rating: 3/5


Online Event

ABC Cooking Studio x SKY PREMIUM: Discover Toyosu

There was a online webinar collaboration with Sky Premium and it was $35 for ABC members to participate. 2 simple recipes would be taught during the session which we could recreate at home and ingredients were delivered to our doorstep, nicely packed in an ABC Cooking original cooler bag. The air-flown from Japan ingredients provided from Sky Premium was definitely the highlight of the hamper!

Grapes were in season in Japan and we got to try Kyoho and Shine Muscat grapes. I love Japanese grapes but frankly speaking, these were not the best grapes I’ve eaten because I’ve had better grapes before, like Okayama Shine Muscat and New Pione from Kagawa.

The recipes taught during the webinar was super simple and I’d say it’s even simpler than ABC trial lesson standard.


Home Baking /Cooking

Cake Basic – Carré au chocolat

Carré au chocolat was one of the first cakes I learnt at ABC Cooking when I was a new member back in 2017! Back then I remembered it to be quite challenging and I was intimidated to do it by myself. Surprisingly, I felt it was quite easy this time and perhaps my skill level has improved over the years.

Cake Basic (Thailand) – Chocolate Tart

These chocolate tarts with baked chocolate filling, topped with ganache glaze were from ABC Thailand’s Cake Basic which I attended with my ABC passport last year. It wasn’t that difficult to recreate it at home.

Cake Trial – Sakura Mini Roll

Cake Home Baking Kit – Forêt Noire

I love this recipe so much that I recreated it again on my own, after doing it the first time using the baking kit I got from ABC Cooking! I’m glad it turned out as expected once again.

Cake Home Baking Kit – Caramel Fondant

I received 3 baking kits from ABC Cooking and this was the second one I attempted. It was a chocolate fondant with ganache center of salted caramel and white chocolate. I’ve done the easier version of chocolate lava cake before – which was to simply half bake a chocolate cake battter so that the center is lava like. This version requires more effort because we have to make the ganache and then freeze it into pallets before inserting each piece into the cake batter to bake. The taste was alright but I probably am not such a big fan of this recipe compared to the Forêt Noire cake from the other baking kit.

Bread Basic – Honey Fig

It was unexpected but I really love Honey Fig bread and it is now one of my favourite bread basics breads from the current menu. I just had to make it again at home because I missed the taste and I’m glad it came out looking exactly like it did in class, or even better!

Bread Basic – Creamy Soft Bread

The very first bread class I did at ABC Cooking was Cream Pan and it is one of my favourite breads to buy at Japanese bread bakeries. It was pretty easy to recreate at home and this recipe includes cooking real custard over the stove!

Bread Basic – Chocolate Marble

 

I made the crowd favourite Chocolate Marble loaf again at home and it is still one of the best sweet bread recipes from ABC in my opinion. It gets less intimating to do it with more experience.

Bread Basic – Maple Butter Swiss Zopf

Another top favourite sweet bread of mine is Maple Butter Swiss Zopf which has a super nice aroma from maple syrup.

Bread Basic – Cassis Chocolat

I bought and banneton and it was a good reason to try making one of these boule type breads. Overall it is still not my favourite bread and I prefer Chocolate Marble if I had to choose between the two.

Bread Basic – Olive Rock Salt Bread

My go-to recipe for savoury bread to go with soup.

Bread Basic – Nutty Crescent

It was Halloween season and it’s the best time to have some pumpkin bread! Nutty Crescent is also a fun bread to shape but I found the taste to be quite ordinary.

Best Selection Cooking – A Tasty Low Carb Meal

I recreated the main course of cajun chicken with turmeric cauliflower rice as well as the side dish of sauteed zucchini and mushrooms from A Tasty Low Carb Meal.

Ninja Foodi was really useful to cook this meal! First I roasted mixed nuts which were added to the cauliflower rice for some nice crunch and texture. Next I used the Cook & Crisp basket of Ninja Foodi to grill the chicken leg and it got nicely brown efficiently! It could fit 2 marinated chicken legs nicely. I also lined it the basket aluminum foil which reduces the need for cleaning up and can also help collect the chicken jus which was used to make the onion sauce for topping..

If you’re interested in getting the Ninja Foodi, you can now get it in stock at additional 25% off using my promo code <hungrybird.sg>! Hop on to https://ninjakitchen.sg?sca_ref=417722.d3upfJiPrz to purchase and it would be couriered for no additional charge to your door step in average of 3 working days!


Trial Lessons

October Seasonal Trial – Zingy Pounds

Earl Grey pound cake with lemon curd filling and Chantilly cream topping – everything about this cake is lovable! I usually do not like pound cakes but this one was quite nice and light.

Hungry Bird rating: 4/5


December Seasonal  Trial

Cake Seasonal Trial – Stumped by Santa

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 melissa@hungrybird.sg or IG DM me @hungrybird.sg

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 
Singapore 238873

3 Gateway Drive, #03-01
Westgate
Singapore 608532

107 North Bridge Road, #02-29
Funan Mall
Singapore 179105

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