My current food obsession is “burning” fruit and vegetables. I bet you are scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with me and why I’m destroying perfectly good food. Actually, by exposing certain fruit and vegetables to open fire or high heat can actually intensify the taste or change the flavour profile. So next time, when you roast a chicken, put in some halved lemons. After roasting, you will realise the juice has transformed from one that is high in acidity to a mild sweet-sour liquid (which you can use to dress salad or squeeze over the roasted chicken).
Mandy’s journey into the culinary world began out of necessity–a means of survival whilst she was at university. She believes cooking should be simple and fun. Besides spending time in the kitchen whipping up hearty meals, Mandy also dreams of having a bottomless stomach that she can fill with all kinds of delicious things.
A couple of years ago, my friend Lynda gifted me with a canvas tote bag that had a quirky and beautifully illustrated print. It was a gorgeous print of a loaf of bread with its Chinese name enclosed in dotted boxes. I thought the design was pretty ingenious. If you were in primary school back in the 1980s (yes, you can start figuring out my age), the bag will bring back memories of writing Chinese characters within the dotted boxes and figuring out the correct hanyu pinyin (汉语拼音). Another huge reason why I love this bag is because it features one of my favourite things to bake – bread. This is one foodie gift I greatly enjoy carrying around.
I have a weakness for baking pans. Whenever I am in a kitchenware shop, I will invariably wander over the baking section, staring at and being in awe of all the baking pans that could be mine. For a couple of years now, I have wanted a doughnut tray. I love doughnuts–fried dough and sugar–what is not to love? However, for the following reasons, I don’t really want to make doughnuts at home.
I can understand why people avoid making pie, especially here on our little sunny island. No matter how carefully I plan, I always manage to choose the hottest day of the week (and perhaps year) to make a pie. The pie pastry is finicky to roll out, the kitchen is dusted with flour and the logistics to even “transport” the dough safely to the pie pan. I am amazed I have yet to give up making pie.
A couple of years ago, after finishing an exhibition set-up at Marina Bay Sands, my friend M and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner. We dragged our tired souls to DB Bistro Moderne. While we waited for our appetizers, we were presented with the bread basket. The first piece of bread that I chose was this dark oblong roll. The moment I bit into it, my brain screamed “pretzel”. The bread was warm, chewy and savoury. It was delicious on its own and you don’t even need any butter.
When I was in university, my definition of a pasta dish was to boil water, add salt, throw in the pasta, cook, drain, and pour sauce from a jar over the result. Sometimes, if I bothered, I would throw in some sausages or mushroom. It was really a bowl of noodles with red sauce (plus whatever leftovers I happened to have in my fridge).