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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Salt that bird

Rock Salt Baked Turkey.
December 9, 2013
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Salt that bird

It has become a tradition every year for me to see what variation of Christmas turkey the Goodwood Park Hotel comes up with.

I am rarely disappointed and its birds almost always appear on my Christmas table.

This year's turkey is cooked in a way that might bring on waves of nostalgia. If you remember salt-baked chicken as fondly as I do, you will like the hotel's turkey this year.

What people fear most about the bird is dry breast meat and they have nothing to worry about with this one. It is juicy, seeing as how the bird is wrapped in paper, packed in rock salt and then slow baked for two hours.

The dark meat is fantastic, of course, but the breast meat, which makes up most of the bird, is so tender you can pull it off with a fork.

Scallions and shallots stuffed into the cavity contribute to the appetising aroma that wafts out when you peel back the paper.

I had a soft, caramelised shallot and it was delicious.

There are accompaniments to the turkey too - a tub of fragrant rice studded with crispy bok choy and dried shrimps, and jars of chicken rice chilli sauce and ginger puree.

Goodwood Park has had a good run with Asian-style turkeys so far: the briyani inspired one last year, turkey poached in soy sauce in 2011 and boneless turkey stuffed with Shanghai noodles in 2010.

I hope its chefs are drawing inspiration from other parts of the world for next year's turkey.

Let's see what they come up with.

Rock Salt Baked Turkey, $188 each (feeds eight to 12), from Goodwood Park Hotel Deli until Dec 26. Order three working days in advance by calling 6730-1867/1868 from 10am to 6pm daily, at the Deli from 9am to 9pm daily, e-mail or go to Last order date is noon on Dec 20.

Simply tasty log

The flavour combinations that go into Christmas logcakes can be mind-boggling. Most times, what I want is a simple chocolate log.

The Audacious Cakery in Everton Park delivers that in Foret Noir, modelled on a black forest cake.

It is simple but they get all the important things right: the flavour of the chocolate mousse, made with dark Valrhona chocolate, is properly deep and dark, and Kirsch-soaked cherries give a light boozy kick. This is not the most fancy cake on offer for Christmas, but it is one I plan to enjoy after a food-coma-inducing turkey meal.

Foret Noir, $68 for small (serves up to eight), $80 for large (serves up to 15), from The Audacious Cakery, Block 2, Everton Park, 01-61. Call 6223-3047 three days in advance to order. Order before Friday and get a 10 per cent discount. Free delivery to one location for orders of $200 and above.

Mid-East delights

Here is something else for those looking to serve something different during Christmas, New Year's and Chinese New Year - Middle Eastern pastries from overdoughs bakery.

Now, I know what you're thinking - wouldn't they be too sweet?

Not these ones.

I am especially enchanted by the pomegranate and pistachio Turkish Delight, so intensely flavoured and with a tart bite. The orange and hazelnut one is good too.

On the platter are four types of baklava, which are layers of filo pastry with nuts and other fillings in between.

All of them are good, but the apricot and pistachio one is excellent with a cup of strong tea.

Ma'amoul, a shortbread-like cookie with date chutney, rounds off the selection.

I marvel at the textures on this pretty platter - crisp baklava, crumbly ma'amoul and soft, pillowy Turkish Delight.

overdoughs Pastry Platter, $28 from overdoughs, 161 Middle Road, Sculpture Square, tel: 6336-6946. Order a week in advance by e-mailing The last day for orders is Jan 28. The platters can be collected from the bakery from 11.30am to 6.30pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 11.30am to 4pm (Sundays)

Stew for yuletide

Renegades among us, those who spurn turkey and ham for Christmas, might want to order Peposo, a Tuscan-style beef stew from Ulu Ulu Cafe Lounge in Loyang.

A whole beef shin is cooked long and slow with red wine, dried apricots, sundried tomatoes and rosemary. You won't taste the anchovy fillets but they add depth of flavour to the dish.

There are also baby potatoes, carrots and chestnuts in the thick gravy, which is delicious over mashed potatoes or pasta, or mopped up with the walnut-shallot bread that comes with the stew.

After the long braise, the meat yields easily and I like that the gravy has a bit of pep in it.

On a day when complicated cooking can drive a person nuts, this is one dish you do not have to worry about before serving.

Just heat it up, warm up the bread, and let guests help themselves.

Peposo, $88 for four to five servings, from Ulu Ulu Cafe Lounge, 25 Loyang Crescent, TOLL Loyang Offshore Supply Base, 103A TOPS Avenue, level 9. Call 6455-6455 at least three working days in advance to order. Last day for orders for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve is 3pm on Dec 20. Last day for Christmas collection is Dec 24, before 1pm. Last day for New Year's collection is Dec 31, before 1pm


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