When I was in Los Angeles recently, the friend that I was visiting told me that I had to try Umami Burger. Her sister who is based in Singapore had watched a television program about Umami Burger, and being a food blogger based in the USA, how have I managed not to write about burgers so far? Umami, also known as the fifth taste (besides sweet, sour, bitter and salty), has been an increasingly popular catchword in the culinary world for the past few years. Taste receptors in the tongue have been found to differentiate umami flavours and therefore scientists consider it to be unique from saltiness. For me, it is something almost indescribable…like an extra oomph in your food. Umami Burger focuses on bringing out naturally occurring umami flavours in their burgers.
If you ask almost anyone to name a source region for America’s wines, there is a 90 per cent chance someone will quickly respond with Napa Valley. Napa Valley is a narrow valley to the north of San Francisco, flanked by two mountain ranges, Mayacamas and Vacas. This is home to the wines that propelled California to international stardom in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. In October, I got the exciting opportunity to visit Napa and was hosted by a reputable wine company, the Trinchero Family Estates.
Tis almost the season and in preparation of the holiday period, I’ve been planning what to serve family and friends who come-a-visiting. My own two favourite holiday treats are eggnog and Mexican wedding cookies (pictured above). Another great holiday tradition is Dream Academy‘s Crazy Christmas show.
The past year in Singapore’s F&B scene has certainly been busy. At times, it feels like there’s a new restaurant to suss out almost every week. And it’s really easy to get caught up in the frenzy of only wanting to eat in one of the newest, trendiest places in town. But we also shouldn’t forget old favourites. Like The White Rabbit, on Harding Road, in the Dempsey area. While the Rabbit went through a rough patch a while back (the food was very so-so), I’m thrilled to inform y’all that Benjamin Tan, who was the restaurant’s opening sous-chef, has returned to take over the duties of Head Chef. And the food is now better than it’s ever been in the Rabbit’s half-decade of operations.
I thought I’d share this splendidly simple cornbread recipe just in case anyone happens to need one for Thanksgiving dinner (although this cornbread is so irresistible that I know that this recipe will going onto my regular, rather than special occasion, baking list). When I tested the recipe earlier in the week, I immediately knew it was a winner because my toddler, T demanded for seconds and was chasing me around the dining table for my slice of cornbread.
I’m embarrassed to admit that my travel experience in Southeast Asia is almost nonexistent. Having lived and holidayed in North and South America, various parts of Europe, and even Japan and Korea, it seems like I simply forgot to explore my own backyard – which, given the beautiful photos and pieces of travel writing I’ve seen from friends who have been to the region, is a huge shame. Which is why I decided to fly to historical Siem Reap in Cambodia over the recent long weekend. My girlfriend K had been anxious to visit the magnificent Khmer temples of the sprawling Angkor archaeological park, and I wanted to find out more about the country’s cuisine. Both of us came back happy campers.
Every afternoon, between 4-5pm, I put my feet up for ten minutes to savour a slice of something sweet with my cuppa. This slot is pretty much etched in my schedule. It allows me to catch my breath and re-charge before I get on with what I call “evening mayhem”; the dinner-bath-bed routine for my two kids. On the really crazy busy days when I’m deprived of my afternoon snack, I turn into something rather scary.
It’s no surprise to regular readers that I often use sous-vide techniques when cooking at home. I have regularly gushed about my sous-vide equipment, especially my recently acquired Vacmaster VP112EU chamber vacuum packer and my Addelice swid immersion circulator (distributed by my buddy Paul). I have, over the past few years, found that cooking by sous-vide not only allows you to control the doneness of foods perfectly but that the process is very clean and fuss-free. For me, the best value of using this method is to produce really amazing food that would otherwise have been rather fiddly to produce so well.