My French family is full of ancestral tradition, and when I visit they always seem to pull out an old recipe that to them seems the epitome of simplicity, and to me seems exquisite and mysterious. The Broyé du Poitou – an old, old recipe for a buttery biscuit coming from the Poitou region of western France – is one such little treasure.
If you are a fan of US television series and movies, you will be familiar with New York’s obsession with brunch. Brunch features so prominently in movies and TV shows based in New York that I knew it had to be among one of the first things I tried here. I have always wanted to have brunch with my girl pals Sex and the City style, talking about any and everything under the sun…and Sarabeth’s is a definitive top pick!
Everyone knows that Rio is a carnival town. On a recent business trip to Rio, I discovered that it also has an exciting culinary scene. I chose a hotel facing Copacabana beach, a lively part of town with many side-streets filled with eating places. I prefer the Copacabana area because it has a more authentic feel than Ipanema, which tends toward a more “trendy” atmosphere. When you are in Rio, you have to check out the different beaches because each has its own feel and sub-culture. I was excited to be back in Rio, after more than ten years. I realised that the pulse of the carnival city has not changed but it has clearly become more prosperous, with many new buildings and fancy restaurants.
One of the easiest and most delicious dishes that my wife and I like to make at home is Gai Yang, or Thai-style grilled chicken. If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll remember that we served Gai Yang as the main course on our Diner en Blanc Singapore menu. While easy to cook and a joy to eat, especially with some sticky rice and some Thai sweet chilli sauce, the trick to making a great Gai Yang is to marinate the chicken (at least) overnight.
Whether I’m making chawanmushi (茶碗蒸しwhich broadly means ‘steamed in a teacup’ but specifically refers to Japanese steamed savoury custard), zheng shui dan (蒸水蛋 or steamed eggs), egg tofu or a savoury custard of my own invention, my base ratio for the custard ingredients is 1 egg to 100ml liquid. With this master recipe, the custard consistently retains a meltingly delicate quiver that possibly accounts for its comforting, nursery-food like qualities. And it takes just 20 minutes to steam.
Nothing beats a shaved ice dessert on a hot day. The gorgeous dessert pictured here is from a cool cafe in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan. My wife S and I are presently in Japan – taking a week’s break from Singapore.
When I was pregnant, people were constantly asking me to imagine what kind of child I was going to have. “What if he doesn’t have all of his limbs?” my fellow pregnant friends would worry. “What if he is ugly?” others would wonder. But for me, the most troublesome and scary thought of all was: “what if he doesn’t like food?!”
La Mar is a restaurant that I first visited in Lima in the summer of 2009. I remember this place clearly because when I went with my classmates, we very coincidentally ran into other classmates who were also touring Peru at the same time. By that point on the trip, my friends had brought me to so many restaurants that I had already recognised Peru as an undiscovered gastronomic haven: they have over thirty types of corn and so many kinds of fruit that I had never encountered. Not to mention a huge number of stunning fusion dishes, a direct result of Peru’s many immigrant cultures. La Mar has restaurants throughout Latin America and has recently started expanding into the USA.
On 30 August 2012, my wife S and I took part in Diner en Blanc Singapore. Since I had not been invited by the organizer’s former PR company, I was also not on their “un-invite” list. I had registered with some friends and the group of us–despite all the social media buzz and bad press that was being circulated–were quite looking forward to taking part in this gourmet flash mob experience. Or rather, our friends BG & V, P & SM, and I were. S, who is not a fan of sweaty, outdoor activities, was begrudgingly going along to make me happy. As was another friend JR, whose wife PP was as excited as I was.