Date Archives March 2013

Jel-it-in, Queen Fine Foods

Panna Cotta with Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Compote

I LOVE receiving mail!!! So just imagine my surprise and delight when I received a box of Queen Fine Food’s Jel-it-in!


Jel-it-in is a vegetarian alternative to gelatine. Because gelatine is, by definition, made from animal products (you know how really good stocks set into a jelly? It’s thanks to gelatine!), many vegetarians cannot eat it. Imagine life without jelly! Well, besides agar agar as an alternative, which set much harder and more brittle than gelatine and so gives you a different effect, Jell-it-in is made from Carrageenan, which is extracted from seaweed, and locust bean gum, which is a thickener. The reason why it’s a mixture (I think), is because the carrageenan sets slightly harder than gelatine and the thickener gives it a slightly softer finish.

And if you’re not into the science, then I’ve got a tangible experiment to show you!

Panna Cotta Experiment

So. I’ve got two recipes that I’ve tried with Jel-it-in this post: Panna Cotta, and Chocolate mousse. I made a Jel-it-in version and gelatine version and put it side by side. I’m especially excited about the Chocolate Mousse recipe, which I got from a Harvard Lecture by Bill Yosses, executive pastry chef to the White House.

Panna Cotta (makes 3):
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup sugar
4g powdered gelatine (or 4g Jel-it-in)

Bring the milk and the cream slowly to the boil. Open up the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the pot, and chuck the pod in to infuse. You need a couple of tablespoons of boiling water to dissolve the gels, and the Jel-it-in actually needs a larger amount of liquid than gelatine and a minimum of about 70C to dissolve. In the case of the Jel-it-in, you might want to heat the milk and dissolve it separately (milk boils at about 90C). Then simply remove the vanilla pods and place into 125ml lightly oiled dariole moulds and set in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, simply unmould it by inserting a thin knife down the side of the mould to create an air pocket, and tip out the panna cotta.

Chocolate Mousse (altered):

200ml Water
3g gelatine (4g Jel-it-in)
150g 70% cocoa mass dark chocolate (I used Lindt)

Simply heat the water up and dissolve the gelatine in it. Pour the hot water over the dark chocolate and mix till smooth. Put the boil over iced water and use an immersion blender to mix till the mixture cools. The reason why I’d say to use an immersion blender is because you want fine air bubbles within the mixture (it’s still a mousse) and using something like an electric whisk gives you bubbles that are too big. Then simply put the mixture into the fridge and it sets!

The result?

The panna cotta with the Jel-it-in actually gave a slightly softer result than the gelatine! When I cut into the Jel-it-in panna cotta it has a texture reminiscent of silken tofu. If left for a longer period of time it actually weeps moisture gradually. It melted straight on the tongue and gave way to a creamy finish. Now, there is a slight downside. I actually noticed that there was some bits of Jel-it-in that didn’t dissolve properly, and had to strain the mixture. I don’t know whether the softer result was because the dissolution was incomplete – the gelatine dissolved easily and evenly – but either way, my preliminary result shows that the Jel-it-in has a softer result in the panna cotta.

But what about the chocolate mousse? Well it seems that it’s quite the opposite! The chocolate mousse made with gelatine has the softest, lightest, meltiest mousse that has the pure flavour of chocolate. Not that there’s anything wrong with making chocolate mousse the traditional way, but sometimes I just want the pure flavour of 70% chocolate without the added cream. The Jel-it-in chocolate mousse actually mixed and set more easily and thickened up really quickly, but produced a slightly heavier, thicker result.

Panna Cotta with Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Compote

Either way, I think it’s a great alternative to traditional gelatine. I have many friends who are vegetarian, and I love the extra option of being able to to serve them a gel-set dessert. Some recipes might need a bit of tweaking, but I know I’ll keep experimenting.

Please do let me know if you have recipes that you’ve tried it with! Just leave a comment on the blog or send me an email at

Note: Tammi Kwok of insatiablemunchies was given samples of Queen Fine Foods Jel-it-in by the lovely people at Beyond the Square Communications. 

Ippudo, Singapore


After seeing the long queues outside Ippudo in Westfield’s Sydney, I thought I’d give a Singapore outlet a try whilst I was there. Riding on a good experience from Ippudo Tao, we decided to go to Ippudo Mandarin.


We ordered the Shiromaru Tamago and the Akamaru Tamago (left, and right respectively). The broth was actually decent, and the noodles springy. But the bit that I was really waiting for was the ni tamago. As mentioned before, whenever I go to eat Ramen, I always order a ni tamago if they have it. The egg should be a lovely dark brown colour on the outside, and a fluid or oozy egg yolk on the inside. Most of my attempts to find a great egg in sydney have failed, with most places serving up way too over-cooked egg yolks, but I still have hope!!!

Unfortunately though, my egg dreams were shattered this time.


All of the eggs that came with our noodles were failed eggs. Entirely too overcooked, and lacking in flavour. While the main dish was decent, it wasn’t amazingly mind-blowing enough for me to overlook the bad egg.

Oh, and the sides?


While decent in flavour and texture, the sides were let down by the service. We were mostly ignored by the service staff, and even after ordering, they completely forgot one salad and a side that we ordered to go with the meal.

All in all, a relatively disappointing experience. And, since Singapore has no lack of great places to eat at, it won’t be my first choice for a comforting dinner any time soon.

We ate at:

Ippudo SG
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238897
+65 6235 2797

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Getting Saucy

Jamie Oliver's Summer Food Rave up

We review Jamie Oliver’s Summer Food Rave Up

This week, we are getting saucy in the kitchen, werk our fro’, and ride that heat wave. We learn all about mayonnaise, try some froyo in Yoghurtworld and watch Jamie’s Summer Food Rave Up.

Download the audio file here (4.8MB, 09:33), or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here!

From the Frypan – Does my mayo feel fat to you? (00:23)

It’s all about emulsions and we learn about mayo. I make mine with whole eggs. It can take more oil than you think!

Waka Waka – It’s all about my fro’ (04:00)

Froyo, that is. We take our inner child to explore Yoghurtland in Sydney.

From the Ice Box – Summer of lurrve (and food and music) (06:58)

We experience a summer of love, Jamie Oliver style! We watch Jamie Oliver’s Summer Food Rave Up.

And don’t forget to tune in to our Trivia of the Week. Contains 1000mg of trivia for your daily dose.

What I ate: Bean salad

Bean salad

It’s been so crazy busy lately and I’ve got so many photos backed up to write about!!!!

I usually try to pick and choose the interesting or special places/recipes/dishes/etc to write about, cause I generally feel like the meals that I have at home – as it can be for many people – can get a little repetitive and boring. But after a suggestion from one of my closest friends – Fiona – I thought it might be worth a mention the stuff I throw together at home. Especially on leftover Sundays.

Today, it’s a bean salad. It’s a pretty loose and easy recipe, and great if you have stuff in your pantry that you’d like to clean out. Here’s what I used:

  • a tin of four bean mix (drained and rinsed lightly)
  • a tin of cannelloni beans (ditto)
  • tinned beetroot (finely diced)
  • finely diced chillies
  • sliced black olives
  • semi dried tomatoes
  • feta
  • tuna in springwater
  • finely diced onion
  • finely diced cucumber
  • lettuce

For the dressing I used the juice from the tin of beetroot, reduced with 1 bay leaf, then mixed with some white miso (I didn’t have mustard in the fridge), some balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

I also had some bread rolls in the fridge – you know the kind that you finish baking at home? – and spread those with some homemade garlic butter (parsley, garlic, lemon juice and butter) and threw them into the oven.

I really liked that this salad was pretty much a pantry-ready salad, and cleared out a lot of bits and pieces in my fridge that needed eating. I didn’t feel over stuffed after, and it was incredibly moreish.

Leftover sundays are the best. =)

Lindt, Martin Place


One of the ingredients to a great girls night out is definitely oodles of chocolate, and the Lindt cafe has been a favourite meeting spot for many a girls night out for me. So imagine my excitement when I got an invite to the reopening of a completely revamped Lindt Cafe at Martin Place!

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Yeah. I was that excited!

The Lindt cafe, as it always is to me, is a sophisticated Willy Wonka Wonderland. Gold and marble adorn the interior, and it’s understated in its luxury and opulence. And this sophistication is reflected in the chocolates as well. Lindt chocolate never disappoints, and the people I know who aren’t a fan of chocolate because it can be cloying, always end up a fan of Lindt because of their fine balance in flavours and textures, and variety.

Of course, chocolates of every incarnation were proffered to us upon arrival.



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They even had a brand new station where vats of tempered, molten chocolate sat, and strawberries, macaroons and pralines were covered in lush, silky chocolate of every kind. I especially loved how the chocolatiers were available for us to talk to, and food nerd that I am, I was so happy with the effortless way they answered my questions and explained to me the finer points of chocolate.

One of the chocolatiers said that they sometimes had to stop work on the finer chocolate work on really humid days as the humidity can be enough to cause the chocolate to seize up. Besides which, chocolate is really best to be set at room temperature (about 20C) and that sort of humidity can cause a really ugly chocolate bloom – which can be caused by the sugar reacting with the moisture in the air.

I also had a chat with Thomas Schnetzler, one of Lindt’s Master Chocolatier, who talked about the challenges of following the Lindt traditions right here in a (sometimes) hot and humid Australia. I’ve heard that some chocolate companies – in order to work with the climate that Australia has – sometimes change the recipe of their chocolate according to the region. Lindt however – according to Thomas – staunchly refuses to change their recipe, and instead chooses to apply technique and equipment to allow the quality and standard to be unchanged throughout the world.

So besides eating amazing chocolate straight out, what else can you have in a chocolate cafe? Chocolate with coffee of course!


Now I may not be the biggest connoisseur of coffee, but the mix of dark chocolate with rich coffee actually made a really nice drink. It was served towards the end of the night, and it was a great pick-me-up.

And guess where that chocolate came from?


Australia’s first chocolate on tap! With sophisticated machines imported from Italy, the chocolate is kept liquid and warm, and when it comes time to clean the machines, chocolate is used to flush out the machines, because any drop of water might ruin the chocolate.

And the piece de resistance for the night? Customizable chocolate slabs!


Yeah yeah, I know that some people might be unimpressed because it’s just chocolate writing on chocolate, but think about all those generic chocolates gifts that you give people throughout your life. Now, instead of giving them a card and a box of chocolates because you don’t know what to get people, you can give them a card written on chocolates! How cool is that?

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Of course, what kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t get one myself?


Thank you again to Laura from Trish Nichol Agency and Lindt for the invite!