Pantry Basics: Cornbread

Northern cornbread recipe

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. Continue Reading →

Family Food: Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

Healthy Cut <div style=

I am slightly obsessed with cramming as much whole grain as I can into my toddler, T’s diet and have been hunting for a tasty whole wheat cookie recipe for ages. The few I’d tested out sadly tasted like caked sawdust. So, I was thrilled when both T and CH gave this one the thumbs up. I love that the dough works beautifully when it is cut out (T really appreciates interesting shapes). It’s also deliciously tasty and just sweet enough to satisfy CH’s sweet tooth. To top it all off, it’s a 100 per cent whole wheat sugar cookie!

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Family Food: Quick Pizza Dough

Quick Basic Pizza

This is an awesome recipe for a super-quick pizza. I’d go as far as to describe it as the perfect spur-of-the-moment pizza recipe. I used it to make my toddler, T, pizza in 90 minutes flat. T, as well as CH and my fabulous mom-in-law (a discriminating diner, to say the least), gave it the thumbs up. So, this pizza recipe is a real keeper. Continue Reading →

Toddler Food: Barley Grits Porridge

Toddler Food

Like many Chinese children, I grew up eating plenty of porridge (which, in the Chinese context, is savoury and usually made with white rice). It’s the sort of dish I still find comfort in when I’m feeling under the weather. But it’s not the one dish I’d pick if I had to eat only one thing for the rest of my life. Continue Reading →

Pakomen (排骨拉麺): The Comfort Food of Japanese Prime Ministers

Origami, Capitol Hotel Tokyu

This dish of spare rib ramen—that the Japanese call pakomen (and if you read the kanji, it would be called pai gu la mian in Mandarin)—leapt out at me when I first studied the menu at the Capitol Hotel Tokyu’s all-day dining restaurant, Origami, on our most recent trip to Tokyo. It is part of the hotel’s old time favourites menu that consists of beloved dishes that that had been served at the old Capitol Tokyu Hotel for decades. As it turned out, pakomen was one of eight varieties of ramen that had been served at the Capitol Tokyu. It was the most popular, and the one dish that purportedly every Japanese prime minister has enjoyed. Continue Reading →

Family Food: Easy Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

If you’ve been put off by bland tasting quinoa salads (as I have), this recipe for roasted vegetable and quinoa salad may just change your mind. For the longest time, I put the blame on quinoa itself. Despite that fact that quinoa is a complete protein high in fibre, iron and magnesium—an all-round superfood—I’d avoided it like the plague for many years because the first time I’d eaten quinoa, I felt like I was being punished. It tasted like damp cardboard someone had forgotten to season. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Homemade Vanilla Fridge Wipe

Homemade Vanilla Fridge Wipe

Vanilla fridge wipe is a household cleaning product that I first discovered as an undergraduate in Western Australia. It’s a food-safe disinfectant that also smells delicious, which helped to make housework just that tiny bit more tolerable. To my dismay, when I moved back to Singapore, I discovered that it wasn’t sold here. And because it’s highly flammable, I couldn’t purchase it in Australia and take it home with me either! Fortuitously, some years later, I chanced upon a recipe for homemade vanilla fridge wipe in Donna Hay Magazine (in Issue 17, to be precise). Since then, I’ve been happily whipping it up at home.

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Haru Cooking Class: A lesson in Japanese home cooking in Kyoto

Japanese Home Cooking Class

Japanese home cooking may be pretty simple, but if you haven’t had the chance to witness the actual practice of preparing the dishes, there are always nuances that are lost when you just follow a recipe. This is often exacerbated by the inevitable inaccuracies of translation. How you work out what kind of starch is used to dust tofu for frying, gauge whether oil has been heated to the right temperature for deep frying tempura or whether you’ve wrapped your gyoza correctly is made so much clearer when an expert shows you how to do it and talks you through the process as you try your hand at it. It’s doubly useful when the person guiding you speaks the same language that you do. This is why Haru Cooking Class in Kyoto is such a gem of a find. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Roll Cake (ロールケーキ)

Japanese roll cake

When my toddler, T, had his first taste of this roll cake his wee face broke into a wide smile that lit up his eyes and entire face. Like him, I can’t seem to get enough of this light-as-a-feather roll cake. Asian incarnations of the Swiss roll are decidedly lighter than their European forebear. The Japanese, in particular, have catapulted the roll cake (ロールケーキ or ro-ru keiki) into another stratosphere. Their roll cakes tend to be lightly, rather than assertively sweetened. And they have a soft, delicate texture and moist, fine crumb I absolutely love. I was heartbroken when the Arinco stall in the basement of Ion where I had indulged in many a salted caramel roll cake air-flown from Japan closed down. Continue Reading →