Seriously I can't bring myself to call this bus interchange breakfast place it's proper name, I have always called it Jo Kwon and the name kind of stuck. And my friends know instinctively the quality of the foods there and if they want to spend their precious money there.
I love Jo Kwon's for various reasons. The family operating the business, the no nonsense home-cooked food that they prepare and the aloof friendliness of the people working there. It's cordial and not over the top friendliness. They serve an army of bus drivers who ply Singapore's busy roads to move people, these guys are always on the go, cooking, serving, feeding, and then it's back to cooking again.
The little kitchen behind is always alive with a hustle of activity and busyness, Jo himself is always whacking the wok with his old school soup ladle, working out those biceps and forearm curls with each hurl of sauce and toss of bitter gourd. It's like a free gym right where he stood. Left hand lifting up the cast iron wok and continually tossing the greens over high heat. It's a sauna in there.
Who needs the gym?! Seriously.
And occasionally you have the stray magpie wandering into the little eatery and picking off bits of chicken meat and noodle leftovers. These birds also know how to enjoy good home-cooked food.
I usually would eat their Yong Tau Foo Chilli and bitter gourd stir fry and sunny side up with a mixture of Bee Hoon and Egg Noodles. Not filling but very fulfilling. Like coming home feeling. Definitely Ho Jiaks!
I have always loved Tiramisu, and I like making it even more. The problem is, I rarely get a chance to do it these days, other things have become more subtly more important and I also always tend to forget how to make it. Even for this recipe, I was struggling to recall the proportions right up to the minute before I actually remembered how to make this Italian “Pick Me Up” cake.
This beautiful no-bake recipe is da bomb. Once you know how I make it, you can also do likewise. If you don’t like it the way I do it, then please feel free to mutate the recipe to whatever configuration you like. Ultimately it must make sense to you and the taste must be absolutely fantastic.
I took up a class on how to make Tiramisu recently, and the trainer said that due to the presence of unsavoury hygiene habits of some bakers, they have decided to stop using eggs in this no-bake version of the Tiramisu. I thought it could be more like an industry-wide conspiracy to boycott the use of eggs. But then I discarded that thought as there were many other recipes that still called for the use of eggs.
Anyhoo, I think eggs are perfectly fine for Tiramisu and in fact they make the taste uber yummy. But suffice to say, if you’re a parent, you might want to stop your children, especially toddlers from eating this delicious Tiramisu as the eggs are uncooked. But again, your children, you decide. But if they suffer massive LS, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Don’t know what is LS? Ask your Singaporean friends.
Some bakers will opt to whisk the eggs over a boiling pot of water when combining with the Mascarpone. Well, you can do that if you like. I personally think it is kind of silly. But again, it’s a baking technique, and I am not here to change the status quo, if it makes you happy, then do it. I am not doing it that way. In fact if you know what I do for my recipe, you might exclaim in a loud voice “Wah SO EASY ah?”
Yes, it is that easy to make Tiramisu.
Okay, just in case you think I am bragging, take a look above at the rather nondescript photo of my Tiramisu. It’s perfect don’t you think so?
For those of us that cannot visualise my instructions, I found a video on how to make Tiramisu for you to follow. There are plenty of videos with all different concoction of ingredients, but trust me, mine is the best. No alcohol, and no added flavouring. And just in case you think I sound like that on video, well I don’t. I chose the video because the video quality looks quite good. Just imagine that it is me teaching you. Disregard his ingredients and follow mine.
500 grams Mascarpone Cheese (can buy from NTUC finest or Cold Storage, any brand also can)
100 grams Castor Sugar
1 and half packets of Ladies Fingers (not the vegetable, but they are also known as sponge fingers biscuits with sugar)
Very Strong Coffee (I use Nescafe Gold Blend)
1. Firstly separate the egg whites from the yolks of the 4 eggs. Make sure the egg yolks don’t drip into the whites otherwise the egg whites won’t be able to achieve the stiff peaks. But I had some egg yolks dripped into my egg whites. Of course, if you ask me what did I do next? I continued to whip it using my super-duper KitchenAid machine. It whacked the egg whites into submission and they all stood stiff at the end of it. So don’t believe what people tell you. Take it from me.
2. Oh, you have to add the 100 grams castor sugar into the egg whites before whipping them. I know some recipes say that you are supposed to add the sugar into the egg yolks and not the egg whites. I think it is the same, so if you want to follow other people’s way of doing it, you can. Whipped it until it it stiff peaks. Then you taste the mixture. It should taste something like candy floss.
3. Next up whip the egg yolks with the Mascarpone cheese until pale yellow and creamy in texture. You generally want to incorporate as much air into your mixture as possible. Once you have done these two steps, you can combine the two together and fold them until they are one.
4. Using a large dish, you are now ready to make your Tiramisu. Make a large cup of extra strong coffee. I use Nescafe Gold Blend and I make it extra strong by adding more coffee grinds and less water. I dip the sugar coated end of the ladies fingers into the strong coffee and quickly take them out and flip them on the reverse side and then place the biscuits into the tray. Basically by doing so the biscuits don’t become soggy too quickly and you still have the basic taste of the biscuits.
5. You want to line the dish with the coffee infused ladies fingers so that it forms a bedding for the whipped Tiramisu batter. Once you have arranged a layer of the ladies fingers, you can now dump the batter into the dish and form a layer. After you have done that, you can powder a thin layer of cocoa powder. Repeat the ladies fingers dipping action and form another layer of bedding. After that, dump the remainder of the batter into the dish.
6. Once you have done all that, seal it with cling wrap and throw it into the fridge to set. Some recipes call for overnight freezing for it to set. I think if you have a good fridge, it should set in 2 hours tops. After all, it should be eaten in a soft mushy manner.
7. Once it is set, and sufficiently chilled. Dust it with cocoa powder and you can serve.
Starbucks have begun hiring elderly persons for their outlets. That to me is a heartening move. The elderly is a largely untapped human resource that could be harnessed for local businesses that require much needed manpower.
The elderly lady who took my order, knew exactly what it was that I wanted and she gave me the best starbucks service that was on par with any starbucks crew.
Wow. I am impressed. Kudos to the management for taking on the silver move. Employers who are able to, should consider training and investing in this resource. Elderly persons who are looking for part time or full time employment should also consider different positions like these. It is not so much about the work that one does, it is more about the meaning that the work gives to the person doing it.
Try it. Be like the 老 auntie barista. She can do it. Anyone can.
I can’t remember the last time I had a toast box coffee (kopi) or tea (teh), but I was quite taken aback that it was so cheap.
The lady at the Chinatown point outlet punched in my order and I took a quick glance at the cash register and it said $1.80 (SGD). Naturally I was happy-like-bird and gave her two dollars.
I looked at the cash register again and this time around it said $3.60 (SGD). To my embarrassment, I realized that each cup of Kopi C and Teh C was $1.80 each. Oh my. When did it become so expensive?
Of course this is still way cheaper than Starbucks, but then again this was not Starbucks but Toast Box, so it took me by surprise. If we put things into perspective, it would suggest that the drinks here are almost twice as expensive as any regular coffee shop.
I can afford the price increase, just wondering if there was a need to increase the price though. Oh well.