Archive for January, 2012

Peanut Butter Squares Ice Cream

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Before the arrival of the Hershey candy store, a friend of mine used to implore anyone who was jetting to the United States to lug back packets of Resse’s Peanut Butter Cups. Probably worried about getting a flaming throat or adding a few inches to the waistline, she would always share these little butter cups around and I happened to be a lucky recipients of her handouts.  Oh boy, those were some delicious little pick me ups.

Inspired by the Butter Cups, we created these little peanut cuboids made from mixing in a variety of ingredients like butter, peanuts bits, peanut butter, sugar and others. One tiny square can cured your peanut butter craving. We then took to throwing it into a creamy peanut butter ice cream base.

So how did the ice cream turned out? Well, its like adding Reese’s Butter Cups into your bottle of peanut butter and spooning it into your mouth.

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Not merely any other job

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Not merely a job, its a passion

About us

Merely is a brand new ice cream parlor conceptualized by four good friends. It is located at Sunshine Plaza, Bencoolen Street which is in close proximity to education institutions like Singapore Management University, Nayang Academy of Fine Arts and Laselle College of the Arts.  Sporting an open kitchen concept, we aim to showcase that ice cream can be crafted from natural ingredients without the aid of artificial colorings or stabilizers.

What are we looking for?

We value your aptitude but above all, we value your attitude. As budding aspirants in the F&B industry, we are looking for like minded members to join us in growing the business.  If you are interested in food science, possess an entrepreneurial spirit and would like to learn more about the thriving ice cream industry, we welcome you to the Merely family.

Position available

Assistant Manager (Full Time)



This role is suitable for you if you are looking for the following:

  • Participate in the setting up of a new F&B venture
  • Opportunity to manage an F&B business, and pick up business and inventory management skills
  • Opportunity to pick up entrepreneur skills
  • Learn how to craft ice cream from scratch and showcase your creativity in coming up of new flavors

This is just some of what you will have to do:

  • Making ice cream!
  • Musing and participating in management level decisions
  • Moving sales by through fresh and innovative business strategies
  • Managing inventory and sales
  • Managing a team of outlet staff



  • Preferably diploma in Food Science or Hospitality
  • Fresh graduates are preferred
  • Available to work shifts, and on weekends and public holidays
  • Excellent communication skills




Interested: please email resume to

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Bak Kwa Ice Cream

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Chinese New Year to all!

To get into the festive spirit, we decided to recreate a local Chinese New Year staple, Bak Kwa, into an ice cream form. Bak kwa ice cream is not a novelty in Singapore. However if you are you are expecting a vanilla ice cream with little bits bak kwa like you will see at some local parlours, it is not like that at all. Our interpretation is different.

Inspired by the Proscuitto ice cream, we took to roasting the salt and black peppered marinated Bak Kwa pieces to further intensify the flavor before soaking it in milk for three days to extract out the porcine flavor. The bak kwa infused milk is then use to make into ice cream. The resultant has a smoky, caramelized porky taste to it, which is exactly Bak Kwa in ice cream form!

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Categories: Creations, Experiments Tags: ,

Furnishing Idea – The pallet table

January 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Pallet Table

We are officially 10 days away from the commencement of renovation. Right now there are like 101 things running through our minds, and one of them is the sourcing of furniture for our shop. After factoring the kitchen and ice cream display counter, there is still room for about ten tables and more. The desire for something different got me scouring the internet for inspiration. After poring through sites like Scraphacker and IKEAhacker, I came away brimming with ideas.

Inspired by IKEA, and how they incorporate wooden pallets as part of their display, I came up with a conceptual drawing of a table that is constructed using three pieces of wooden pallets. We did toyed with the idea of using discarded wooden pallets for our concept, but the logistical nightmare of transporting the hefty pallets and presence of  stray nails and wood splinters on these pellets nixed that idea in the bud. With that option thrown out of the window,  we are currently in contact with wooden pallets makers on customizing this table concept. The quotation isn’t out yet,  hopefully it wouldn’t contain any astronomical figures to be a show stopper for this pallet table concept.

My Business: From banking to ice cream making

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Not me, but the headline seems uncanny. Happy reading.


Link to original article (Contains a four minute video feature on the business)


What makes an entrepreneur? BBC Mundo’s Lorena Arroyo and Heather Sharp hear from Suzanne Batlle, 43, a single-mother who gave up a job in the banking sector to set up an ice cream store bringing the flavours of South America to Miami.

As the huge styrofoam ice-cream cone took shape, day after day, in her Miami backyard, Suzanne Batlle frequently asked herself how she had come to be spending $30,000 (£19,500) on it.

A single-mother supporting two teenage children, she had resigned from a well-paid job in banking and set up an ice-cream shop in the city’s Little Havana district.

With bank loans difficult to obtain during the credit crunch, she ploughed $280,000, mainly borrowed from her mother and brother, into the business.

“Actually, it was all my inheritance,” she says. “If you jump, you jump.”

Azucar, Ms Batlle’s shop selling homemade ice-cream in flavours with a Latin American twist, draws its inspiration from her grandmother.

Married to an engineer working for a big Cuban sugar company, her grandmother would collect exotic fruits on her travels around Latin America, and use them to make the frozen dessert.

When the 2008 crisis struck in banking, it ended Ms Batlle’s enjoyment of a world in which she’d worked for more than two decades.

“There was no career progression, it became impossible to do business. I hated it.”

After a brief stint working as an estate agent, she decided to take the plunge and start her own business.

Ms Batlle spent a couple of months studying “the chemistry and physics” of ice-cream at two specialist institutes, and then enlisted the help of a chef friend and began to concoct her own flavours.

These ranged from the Latin American fruit mamey, to avocado, to rum cake and a blend of guava, cream cheese and crackers, which echoes a popular Cuban habit of eating the three together.

Customers engage in lively debates to help refine the flavours.

After five months, Ms Batlle is taking $750 a day – enough to cover rent, bills, ingredients, loan repayments and a small wage for herself – although it isn’t enough to live on.

At this rate, she says, the business’s debts will be paid off within five years.

Family affair

She is not, however, paying staff yet. Family and friends are all pitching in.

“We’re family so I have a stronghold on these people,” she jokes.

“Of course they get free ice cream, and at night it becomes a bit of a party.”

“Suzy” as she’s known locally, buzzes with energy as she switches effortlessly between English and Spanish in her sales banter.

But she says the venture has been tougher than she expected.

Costs spiralled from $180,000 to $280,000, as difficulties arose with building renovation and second-hand freezers broke down.

“I didn’t realize I’d be there 14 hours a day,” she adds, describing a punishing schedule beginning with getting her daughter to school for 6am, and ending after the shop closes at 11pm.

And the scale of the investment weighs heavily.

“I feel anxious every day. You don’t sleep at night, you’ve got a big nut to crack every month – it’s brave thing to do. I never realised until I did it,” she says.

But although she has been driven to tears at times, Ms Batlle says she has learned to face setbacks.

“When my freezer broke and I had a birthday party coming in and all the ice cream was melted. You think ‘oh my god what do I do?’ But you start making ice-cream, you serve it soft,” she says.

“You just keep going. In banking I never had those problems, but it’s funny, you just have to deal with it.”

The shop’s reputation has grown faster than she had dared to hope, for which she credits its presence on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Ms Batlle’s daughter, Bianca, 14, has taken to appearing around Little Havana in an ice-cream cone suit, in situations ranging from playing dominoes with elderly men, to posing on a fire engine.

“Photos of her exploits have been reposted on the internet and are developing a growing online following,” says Ms Batlle.

Ms Batlle hopes to instil in her own children the same work ethic she inherited from her parents, who left behind land and homes in Cuba in 1960 after Fidel Castro established communist rule on the island.

Her mother held down three jobs to help support four children, who in turn were expected to work from their early teens.

‘Luxury items’

Even amid the economic downturn, Ms Battle says demand is healthy.

“For $5 you can give yourself a luxury item. They’re not buying jewellery, they’re not buying art, but they are buying ice cream.”

Locals, such as her first customer Vidal, initially complained the prices were too high, but Ms Batlle says many have been won over as she has explained the quality of the ingredients she uses.

A local restaurant has recently begun selling her lemon and basil ice-cream, and she hopes eventually to sell wholesale, and also to open other premises.

And now the Styrofoam ice-cream is now proudly displayed on the shop’s front she has another goal: to get it certified by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest.

Categories: Miscellaneous

How is chocolate made?

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Chocolate is basically made from Cocoa bean. Cocoa bean is the seed of a cocoa fruits. The beans are first roasted, cracked and de-shelled. The resulting piece is what is known as cocoa nibs.

Cocoa nibs are grinded into creamy paste known Chocolate liquor. Chocolate Liquor is roughly 50% cocoa solids and 50% cocoa butter. Some of chocolate liquor at this point of time will then be further processed to separate the cocoa solid from cocoa butter.

Before continuing further, it would be good to elaborate more on what is cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

What is cocoa butter, cocoa solid?

Cocoa solid is what gives chocolate the reddish brown colour and “chocolatey taste”. It can be grounded into cocoa powder.

In contrast, cocoa butter is the fatty part of the cocoa bean. It is yellowish in colour and contains hardly any “chocolatey taste”. Cocoa butter instead presents a creamy texture to chocolate. For those who are oblivious, white chocolate is in reality make purely from cocoa butter without any cocoa solid. I don’t really fancy white chocolate because it is technically not chocolate.

To manufacture chocolate, sugar and cocoa butter that has been separated have to be added into the chocolate liquor. Pure chocolate liquor is usually too bitter to be made into chocolate.   This is then known as bittersweet or semisweet chocolate.

What does 80% cocoa content means?

The next time you chanced upon a chocolate bar that says 80% cocoa content, it refers to both cocoa solid and cocoa butter. It can be 60% cocoa butter, 20% cocoa solid or any other possible combination. Therefore if you are looking for real dark chocolate and those which really taste utterly chocolaty, always go for cocoa solid content rather than relying on the just the cocoa content.

Super premium chocolate

If you are craving for some really exquisite chocolate which naturally comes with a rather insane price tag, you can try the Amedei Porcelana. It is created from these translucent, white cocoa beans of a variety called “Porcelana” due to its porcelain-like color. This type of cocoa bean is extremely rare. Amedei produces only 20,000 of Amedei Porcelana chocolate bar (50g) per year with each bar individually numbered.

I once chanced upon the Amedei Porcelana retailing at this small gelato shop at the Icon Village. (near Tanjong MRT)  If my memory serves me well, a 50g bar costs in excess of SGD50. Yup, now you know why some refer chocolate as the black gold.

Vietnamese Baileys Coffee Ice Cream ( A step by step guide)

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

A food blogger friend of mine once told me that to capture the eyeballs of readers, we should try to incorporate some behind the scenes look at the process of crafting an ice cream flavor. The last I’ve checked, she has over 520,448 visitors on her site. Who am I to argue with a popular food blogger? So over the past weekend, using the Vietnamese Baileys Coffee as a flavor, Chief Craftsman and I created a simple step by step guide on how to make an ice cream from scratch.

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