Sunday, July 31, 2005

Left? Right? R U sure there's Seafood Paradise here?

The family had one of our 'bloated dinner' sessions this evening, at a little seafood place out in the suburbs on the fringes of Hougang. Amidst rows of industrial buildings, warehouses and factories within the Defu industrial estate, The Seafood Paradise Restaurant does seem like an 'oasis' in a 'food-scarce' desert and trust food-crazed Singaporeans to sniff out good food even in such surroundings, by the volume of cars flooding the carpark from 6.00 p.m. onwards. Paradise, in this case, is less than 10 minutes drive away from our home!

One of the restaurant's star performers is the above crab in vermicelli soup. Unlike the milky crab beehoon soup at Mellben Seafood Restaurant, this Sri Lankan crab is cooked with glass noodles (tung fen) in a clear stock that is deliciously sweet a la Chinese-soup (i.e. not sugary sweet but sweet in the way we Cantonese would term a well-cooked and flavored soup as sweet) and redolent with fragrant Chinese cooking wine. By the time we finished this dish, there was very little soup stock left on the plate!

Sambal-TiwanchaiOur vegetable dish 'tiwanchai' was fried with spicy sambal and cuttlefish. There was no ground whatsoever for our initial fears of rubbery leather, as the slivers of cuttlefish were tender and provided just the right texture combination to the crisp crunchiness of the 'tiwanchai' vegetables.

Honeyed-Pork-Ribs The baby backribs in honey and pepper sauce may look a little burnt and dry but on the contrary, the well-flavored meat were in fact finger-licking good.

Tofu-in-Mini-wok This is the restaurant's homemade beancurd in mini-wok, which is basically a round 2-inch thick tofu deep-fried such that it has a golden brown outer skin and soft quivering tofu inside. The whole tofu (topped with some pork floss) is then placed in a mini-wok that is filled with a seafood gravy which contained bits of prawns and sea cucumbers. I love quivering tofus in all manner and styles, so this with its tasty gravy qualifies as one of my favourite tofu dishes.

Fried-Fishhead-w-BittergourThis final dish of fried fish-head in black beans sauce with bittergourd was a big hit with the entire family. The fish-head had been chopped into big pieces and deep-fried. Both meaty and crispy, any heaviness in the fried fish pieces was lifted by the slightly bitter and salty combination of black beans and bittergourd.

All in all, the family was generally pleased with this 'off the well-trodden' track discovery and at less than S$20 per person, our first sojourn at the Seafood Paradise had definitely passed the 'bloated stage' test, in fact hubby demonstrated quite admirably that it had successfully passed the 'burping stage' test as well.

The Seafood Paradise Restaurant
91 Defu Lane 10
Swee Hin Building
Singapore 539221
Tel: 64872429

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ever heard this one about Chicken Feet?

Whenever hubby and I order dim sum, I never fail to order the braised chicken feet in black bean sauce. It is truly one of my hot favourites, and the best thing is I get the whole dish to myself since hubby shudders at the thought of chewing on chicken feet.

Which reminds me that whilst 'dim-summing' once with a couple of whacky friends, one of them quipped that he never eats chicken feet cos' they don't wear shoes! On hearing that, another retorted that he shouldn't eat chicken breast then cos' they don't wear bras!! .. Duhh!

For those who truly worry about the chicken running bare foot, let me assure you that before the feet are cooked, the outer scaly lining (not the fleshy skin) covering the feet is pulled away and the nails are chopped off. Chicken feet which have been properly braised is wonderfully tender with meat and skin that just melts in your mouth, having incredibly soaked in the full flavors of the braising liquid and seasoning. Whether you start with the fleshy pad of the foot, or choose instead to nibble the toes, claw by claw, there are no rules to eating chicken feet save for that unique ritual at the end of spitting out the little bones!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Strawberry Ice Cream Soda & Buttermilk Cake

With the warm weather that we've been having, this strawberry ice-cream soda was a deliciously lazy way of cooling down. Equally lazy ways include turning on the air-conditioner but where's the fun in that?

I had made a batch of strawberry ice-cream a couple of days back, together with some raspberry sauce to go with a buttermilk cake (see pic below). Inspired by the Kiwi-Pop in Changing Appetites, I stirred 3 tablespoons of my homemade raspberry sauce with 3 tablespoons of heavy cream in a tall glass (whipping it slightly), poured in chilled Schweppes soda water and happily enjoyed watching my soda grow until it overflowed onto the kitchen counter, at which point it stopped being fun. Caution for future sodas: pour soda in My scoop of strawberry ice-cream went on top, but I believe I was a little heavy-handed with size of scoop - by the time I located camera, my ice-cream was sinking!
The buttermilk cake with raspberry sauce comes from Bill Granger's Bill's Food. It's a light buttery cake (not too rich in taste that you'll immediately worry about calories) and the pairing with the sweet tarty raspberry sauce gives the cake a really nice additional lift. Adding that one cup of buttermilk (replacing, of course, the usual quarter or half cup of milk) and an additional half cup of flour (total of 2 cups) to an ordinary butter-cake recipe (125g unsalted butter to 250g caster sugar) made quite a lot of difference to the texture of the cake. The raspberry sauce is simple: dissolve half a cup of sugar in a quarter cup water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and cook for a few minutes before adding 200g raspberries and cooking for a couple more minutes. Puree and sauce is ready for use when cooled.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Island's Food Bloggers

Two weeks back, I received an email from Gwenda of The Adventures of the Tastebuds, and subsequently also from June at Nibble & Scribble calling Singapore food bloggers to come together for a meal. That was a really nice surprise! I replied immediately "Yes! Yes!", but closer to the date of the luncheon, I must admit that I had reservations. After all, isn't blogging supposed to offer some form of anonymity, and here I am, going out to expose the face of Eatzy Bitzy... hmm.. but eventually the curiosity of meeting other food bloggers whose blogs I have been enjoying and salivating over the last couple of months overcame all other reservations.

So, with a 'heck' and a toss of my head, I entered Mag's Wine Kitchen at 86 Circular Road (our lunch venue) and had a really enjoyable lunch with 11 other very warm, funny and witty bloggers, June and Gwenda of course, CheatEat, Kuidaore, Dim Sum Dolly, AromaCookery, Umami, She Bakes and She Cooks, Kitchen Crazy Daffy, Como Queiras and Chubby Hubby (not chubby at all in comparison to my own hubby, and for this lunch the single rose among the thorns?). Any reservation I may have had earlier of stilted conversation flew out the window - there was so much chatter and laughter around the table that anyone walking in would not have figured us to be strangers at the table! As we swapped histories, culinary background (or lack thereof), places to eat and shop for cooking ingredients, stories of surreptitious photo-taking in restaurants, hawker-centres, and more food stories, it was very clear that this would not be the first and only floggers' luncheon.

There was also Serene, an ST reporter who together with Chubby Hubby had really impressive professional looking cameras, very unlike my itzy bitzy Pentax S40i (in fact, quite intimidated that I didn't have the courage to remove from bag and shoot any pics!).

Not forgetting the lunch, the degustation menu prepared by Mag's was lovely, starting off with
  • Grilled Belly of Swordfish with Pickled Fennel, going on to
  • Seared Sea Scallop served with Soy Mirin Dressing, going on to
  • Smoked Duck on Arugula, going on to
  • Seared Beef Tenderloin Slices served with Buttered Spinach, Caramelized Baby Carrots and Veal Jus, and finally ending off with
  • Cream Caramel
For the lovely salivating pictures, please proceed directly to Chubby Hubby's post on the Singapore Floggers Lunch - after seeing his shots, I'm glad I didn't whip out my camera, my amateurish shots would not have done justice to the dishes. All the dishes had good mix of flavours but my absolute fav has got to be the smoked duck with its tender pinkish meat and that top layer of gorgeous tongue-melting fat!

Many many thanks to the organizers, Chubby Hubby, June and Gwenda. Also to the sponsors, one of which was Veuve Clicquot - oops, did I forget to mention that we had several sponsored bottles of Veuve Clicquot Rich Reserve 1998? What luxury, free-flow champagne for lunch (I can't remember how many times my glass was topped up)! And also not forgetting the other sponsor, BATS Singapore, who had so generously sponsored the goodie bag for each of us (yup, you read right - we had goodie bags) which included a Staub spatula, and also 4 lucky draw prizes (yup, you don't have to read this twice - it's true!) of a Staub Chocolate Fondue set, a Chroma Chef's Knife, a Staub Oval Dish and a Staub Cocotte.

And guest what, moi won the Staub Oval Dish (see pic below) - I'm like in 9th heaven and can't wait to try it out!
To all the Island Food Bloggers that I met, you guys are a really cool (as in 'impressive') and warm (as in 'really nice') bunch... cheers to your food-blogging adventures until we next meet!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Blood Oath!

What you see is my new Global utility knife, just purchased over the weekend. It's a truly beautiful blade, wonderfully sharp, thin and flexible enough to allow me to fillet fish with ease and quite light to use (unlike my current Henckels) and yet well balanced...

Why am I waxing lyrical about a knife which is already quite well known in the kitchens of serious cooks (or at least those aspiring in that direction)? Truth be told - I'm superstitious! I'm hoping to put in a couple of good words for my latest possession so that it will treat me well. As you can see, photo shows a plaster on my ring finger - the result of an oath drawn in blood between me and my knife where we swore to accord each other great respect and treat the other like family (imagine Chinese kungfu/gangsta movies where grown men cut their fingers, letting blood into a bowl while swearing brotherhood forever).

Seriously though, this knife is so light and easy to use that one forgets how sharp it is, and a momentary lapse in good sense (which happened when I was happily washing the knife) can draw serious blood. It's so razor sharp that I didn't even feel the cut until I saw blood going down the sink - okay, okay, for those who are squirming in their seats, I shall now stop all talk of blood and gory. Anyway, can't type very well without use of that injured finger!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sweet & Sour Roast Chicken

Beware! You will not find in this posting the recipe for the traditional Chinese sweet and sour pork/meat. Instead, you will be treated to a very Western-style roast chicken that is imbued with the sweetness from the bed of pineapples, onions and capsicums on which the chicken is roasted.
When I first bought Jaime Oliver's Happy Days with the Naked Chef, I saw this recipe and was quite curious on the medley of flavors that would be produced from:
  • first, seasoning the chicken with chopped fresh parsley (I use Italian parsley) and grated ginger
  • second, roasting the chicken on a bed of red and yellow capsicums (peppers) quartered, pineapple peeled and quartered, red onions peeled and quartered, fresh red chillies seeded and halved, sprinkled with crushed fennel seeds, salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil
  • third, the sweet and sour sauce made from half or less of the roasted vegetables pureed with some sugar and balsamic vinegar

Sweet-&-Sour-Roasted-Chicke This serves as a great one-pot dish together with steamed jasmine rice, the chicken is really juicy and tender with great flavor from the parsley and ginger, and the roasted vegetables (especially the pineapple) are just so sweet. During the last half hour or so of roasting, the aromas wafting through the kitchen from this dish is guaranteed to cause your stomach juices to kick into high gear! I have made this dish a couple of times and have even substituted the fresh pineapple with canned pineapple cubes, still acceptable.

If you're interested in producing this dish, check out the full recipe here.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sinful Choc Gelato Mudpie

Now, doesn't that look totally tempting, absolutely sinful, makes you want to quit the diet and just indulge?

After dinner at the newly refurbished Marina Square, hubby and I were looking for a place to have a cup of coffee and we chanced upon this outlet called CHANGING APPETITES (known also as CA). They have a fairly good range of western fare, burgers, pasta, seafood combos etc but unfortunately, having just had our dinner, we couldn't really order any of the main courses. BUT what caught our attention were the promotion photos of their gelato mudpies on the wall at the side of the outlet, which looked really tempting.

So like fish being drawn by bait, we were pulled in - we flipped right to the dessert section of the menu and they got us, hook line and sinker! The gelato mudpies are CA's specialty and they have them in various flavors, but I only had eyes on the one they called "CHOC-A-LOT", basically a layer of chocolate chip gelato on top of another layer of chocolate gelato doused with rich chocolate fudge and a dollop of whipped cream, and before I forget, a lovely biscuit-like crust at the bottom. Hubby and I shared this concoction and it didn't take us long to wipe the dish clean (in fact, a bit embarrassed that there was very little evidence of fudge sauce left on the dish)! How I wished I had more tummy space (and less of the guilt, please) to try the tiramisu gelato, the green tea concoction, the chocolate chip with marshmallow, lavender honey ....

Kiwi-Pop CA also serves some fairly interesting drinks and sodas. We ordered this one called the "KIWI POP" - a soda drink with kiwi fruit flavors, slices of kiwi fruit and a scoop of lime sorbet. Quite refreshing, especially after that Choc-a-Lot.

This place bears another visit, and maybe the next time, I'll remember not to eat before I visit.

Changing Appetites

6 Raffles Boulevard #01-204/205
Marina Square
Singapore 039594

Monday, July 11, 2005

Making Lamb Headway!

Soy-Lamb The title of this post 'making lamb headway' does not refer to a new recipe or method for cooking lamb. It's actually a celebration of sorts, in that I have finally managed to persuade hubby to partake of lamb, not under duress, but in actual enjoyment of the same!

Hubby has always maintained that he is a simple man in tastes, with an easy-to-satisfy appetite but I have learnt in the last decade from living with the man that the alleged appetite is a myth. There is a whole lot of stuff that he has barred from ever entering his mouth, too numerous to list and which defies logic when one considers the other stuff that has entered that orifice. For instance, he consumes beef and veal but not lamb or mutton? What gives?

So it was with trepidation that I made last night's dinner of Grilled Lamb Steaks, a 'touch and go' affair really, and if he didn't go for it, he would be dining only on a salad of cooked potatoes and french beans with corn and crabmeat soup (I did not really place him under duress since the salad and soup were quite substantial as a meal in themselves). To make lamb palatable and somewhat familiar in taste, I marinated the same in an Asian marinade of sorts.
  • To make marinade for 2 lamb steaks: Whisk together 6 tablespoons of light soy sauce, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of finely grated ginger, 1 small garlic (minced) and 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
  • Add the lamb steaks (chops if you prefer) to marinade and let stand for at least 15 minutes or so.
  • Grill lamb steaks (or chops) over moderate heat for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, I did mine a little bit longer (6 minutes or so) as I wasn't quite sure that hubby was ready for medium-rare lamb.
  • Remove lamb steaks from grill and let rest on covered plate for at least 5 to 10 minutes, before slicing steaks.
The steaks were quite moist and tender, and with the marinade having done the trick, hubby was chomping the stuff down. Hopefully, I can now go on to experiment with other lamb dishes.

Corn-Soup The Fresh Corn Soup with Crabmeat is a quite a breeze to make, and you can choose to puree everything and strain the soup through a sieve for a smooth 'restaurant-style' consistency or do a 'half-baked' puree job leaving bits and pieces (as shown in pic) for more bite. Recipe below serves at least 3.

  • cook 1 small carrot (diced), 1 medium onion (diced), 1 celery rib (diced) and 1 garlic clove (minced) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heated sautepan, for about 5 minutes until slightly soft
  • add corn kernels (from 3 ears of corn) and 1 bay leaf and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occassionally
  • add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes
  • discard bay leaf, and puree the soup in a blender
  • season with salt and pepper to taste
  • to serve, add some cooked crabmeat and sprigs of basil on top of soup (or you can also choose to add part of the crabmeat into soup and mix well before serving)

Friday, July 08, 2005

SHF#10: Honeyed Oranges with Baked Sweet Ricotta

"Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey
Honey honey, nearly kill me, ah-hah, honey honey
I’d heard about you before
I wanted to know some more
And now I know what they mean, you’re a love machine
Oh, you make me dizzy"
[lyrics from ABBA's Honey Honey]

For this month's edition of Sugar High Friday, Nicki from Baking Sheet, our lovely hostess, has chosen HONEY as the theme. Honey being the ubiquitous ingredient that it is, appearing here and there and just about everywhere in any kind of dessert, Nicki was absolutely right when she said that it would be a challenge to narrow down a personal choice dessert.

Having thought long and hard (maybe half an hour in the supermarket this evening wasn't really that long or hard), I decided to go with Bill Granger's Baked Sweet Ricotta, although to be fair to this month's theme, the baked ricotta does not have any honey within BUT fortunately is served with lashings of honey poured as a topping (phew, theme-saving grace). The recipe from Bill's Food is originally paired with honeyed figs, which basically uses halved figs and a drizzling of honey as topping. Since it is quite uncommon to find figs on my tropical island habitat, I have replaced the figs with orange slices topped with orange zest and drizzled with honey. To make the baked sweet ricotta (recipe adapted for 2 servings - just nice for hubby and me, well, actually all for me since hubby is not a great cheese fan) :
  • preheat the oven to 180C
  • put a tub of ricotta cheese (250g), 1 egg, 20g soft brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a bowl and mix well
  • grease 2 oven-proof cups and pour and divide mixture into cups
  • bake for 25 minutes or until the ricotta cheese is puffed and light golden.
  • leave to rest for a few minutes before turning out to serve.
  • To serve: well, I suppose anything goes with the only requirement for this theme being lashings of honey poured over!

Baked-Sweet-Ricotta-Poster-With its lightly firm custard-like texture (probably due to the combination of egg and cheese), the baked ricotta is one of the few cheeses that pairs really well with honey. Another photograph of baked ricotta, but this time artistically edited - getting a kick from altering some of my photos which don't pass muster in their original form!

Talking about lashings of honey, I love the stuff when poured into a cut half of a grapefruit (especially the ruby red type). Scooping the pulp of the grapefruit with a teaspoon, and tasting the tartness of the grapefruit melded with the honey is a great pick-me-up in the morning.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Cookbook Meme

Cookbooks1The baker has so kindly tagged me for this cookbook meme that has been going around the food-blogging world. When I told my hubby, he just shook his head in utter disbelief, in-a-like "why would anyone care to know what kind of cookbooks you have" kind-of-manner. Well, one possible reason is sheer curiosity to get an inkling as to the possible inspirational sources of a home-cook (and yes, it's always fun to peep into other people's closets, even if it's only shelves of books). Another more probable reason, to reassure oneself that the gradual increase of one's own looming collection of cookbooks is not the result of compulsive-obsessive behaviour but is actually a common trait shared by many foodie compatriots out there in the blogging world.

1. Total number of (cook)books I've owned: Possibly in the region of between 50 to 60. Come to think of it, I never really sat down to count until this meme came around. This is of course not inclusive of books on food essays (from Anthony Bourdain, Jeffrey Steingarten, Ruth Reichl, MFK Fisher, Calvin Trillin, Mark Kurlansky, John Thorne, Robb Walsh just to name a few) and of course the stacks of food magazines in a corner of my home surreptitiously taking cover to avoid being given the boot by hubby!

Cookbooks22. Last (cook)book(s) I bought: Two weeks back, I bought 2 books from Kinokuniya bookshop using their 20% discount coupons, Tyler Florence's Eat This Book and Chez Panisse Cooking. I like TF's style of writing and the photos in Eat This Book makes you wish you could seriously devour the food within! Chez Panisse Cooking is another beautiful book that combines well-written short food essays with recipes in a seamless fashion, truly a book equally at ease on the bedside table as in the kitchen.

Cookbooks3A week back when I was home visiting Mum and Dad in Ipoh, Malaysia, I happen to see this little gem called Grandma's Soup. Being the diehard Cantonese soup fan that I am, how could I resist?

3. Last (food)book I read: A Zee's Swallowing Clouds: A playful journey through Chinese culture, language and cuisine. I did a posting on this a couple of weeks back, after being inspired to make my own 'wontons' (swallowing clouds). Need I say more?

Cookbooks44. Five (cook)books that mean a lot to me:
a. Jaime Oliver's The Return of the Naked Chef, Happy Days with the Naked Chef and Jamie's Kitchen have got to be my all-time favourites for browsing and for inspiration. The photos are lovely, the instructions straightforward and with his knack of distilling the essence of a dish, you just feel like you shouldn't be breaking a sweat cooking up anything! {and in case you're wondering what happened to his first book, The Naked Chef, well, strangely enough, I just never got around to buying that one!}

Cookbooks5b. For local Singapore cuisine, I cannot do without The Best of Singapore Cooking by Mrs Leong Yee Soo and Violet Oon Cooks, the latter especially has introduced me to a host of local cuisine with a slight twist and so far, none of the recipes I've tried have failed on me.

5. Which 5 people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?: I'm probably at the tail end of this meme and most foodblogs that I've visited have already posted on this subject. If I can find anyone else who hasn't fallen victim to this 'expose', I shall tag them along the way!

Verjuice, Green Juice for Cooking


If you read Australian food magazines, you will no doubt have come across "verjuice" featured in recipes, which was where I first read of this green juice (as in 'vertjus'). Verjuice is made from the juice of unfermented grapes, and is generally used as a substitute for vinegar and/or lemon juice especially when a more subtle tartness or acidity is required. Historically, verjuice was used in medieval European cooking up until the 19th century before it was replaced by the stronger and sharper acidulants of vinegar and lemon juice. So far, the only verjuice that I have come across in Singapore is the one made and bottled by Maggie Beer from the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Maggie Beer's products can be found in select Cold Storage and Jason's supermarkets (try the outlets at Great World City, Tanglin Mall and Raffles City Shopping Centre). I'm a 'sucker' for trying out new ingredients, and have now started substituting verjuice for red wine/white wine vinegar and lemon juice when the latter are called for in a recipe.

Roast-Chicken-with-VerjuiceThis is a lovely recipe for roast chicken using verjuice, but I must confess that it was the use of the asian aromatics ingredients that I fell in love with, and truly, credit must go to the verjuice that it did not overpower the aromatics but instead added that right touch of acidity and tartness.

  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Chop 3 cloves garlic, 1 knob of ginger and 1 red chilli into very fine dice.
  • Place the chopped aromatics (garlic, ginger and chilli) into slits cut between chicken breasts and thighs and stuff the balance into the spring chicken. Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Brown the chicken in hot olive oil in a cast-iron pan (this was another opportunity for me to use my Caphalon saute pan).
  • Transfer to preheated oven and roast for 25 minutes or so.
  • Remove chicken from pan and leave to rest covered for another 10 minutes or so.
  • In the meantime, deglaze the pan using 1/4 cup verjuice, reduce over high heat, then add 2 tbsps of cream, and reduce further.
  • Remove pan from heat source, and add 2 tbsps of butter and stir into sauce until it melts.
  • Serve sauce over chicken.
  • Wine accompaniment: 1996 Stag Leap's Wine Cellar Chardonnay Napa Valley
Chicken-Breast-on-SaladThat was yesterday's dinner. Tonight's dinner was another round of verjuice experiments, again with chicken and as part of salad dressing.
Chicken breasts which had been seasoned with salt and black pepper, are placed in heated olive oil in a sautepan to seal the meat until slightly browned.
About half a cup of verjuice is then added to the chicken and braised over low heat for about 15 minutes (cover pan) or until the meat is tender. Set aside chicken.
Add half a cup of chicken stock to pan and reduce. Just before the end, add a knob of butter to make a smooth sauce for serving over the chicken meat.
Both dishes turned out pretty well, thanks to recipes adapted from Maggie Beer's Cooking with Verjuice. Looks like verjuice is going to feature quite frequently in my grocery shopping lists.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sorbet Update - More Melons!

I'm obsessive. Not entirely satisfied with the honeydew sorbet and mango combination earlier created, I knew I would be itching to get to the supermarket and grab a rockmelon and a watermelon to attempt another round of sorbet creation. And the picture below is the result of such obsessive behaviour - a medley of melon sorbets, honeydew sorbet at the base with an orangey rockmelon sorbet in the background and finished with a red watermelon sorbet in the foreground!

Melon-Medley The rockmelon sorbet made from puree of half a melon combined with half a cup of orange juice and syrup, was a real delight. The watermelon sorbet from puree of slightly less than half a melon combined with half a cup of vodka and syrup did not fare too well, with too much ice-crystals formed. Have thus concluded that the texture of the fruit puree is important to the texture of the sorbet (puree should generally be thick and viscous). Watermelons have too much water content, and it probably would have been better if I had just used frozen watermelon balls instead of freezing watermelon juice which was what I got from pureeing half the melon in the blender. Looks like I have another round of experiment to carry out - soak watermelon balls in vodka and freeze?