Pantry Basics: Toad-in-the-hole Redux

Savoury Pudding with Sausage & Tomato

This is a spectacularly simple dish to prepare. Seriously. I spotted the original recipe,which was inspired by English toad-in-the-hole, in the September issue of Martha Stewart Living and was sold on the one pan meal idea. I imagine it would make for a fabulous breakfast after a big night out, but am way past that point of my life (actually, I might have skipped that stage entirely). It works really well as a simple workday lunch and I can totally see it as part of a weekend brunch spread served with a side salad, peas and onion jam. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Homemade XO Sauce

Homemade XO sauce

I’d never really thought about making XO sauce—a deliciously spicy and umami condiment that first gained popularity in Hong Kong in the Eighties—in the past because the process seemed mysteriously complex. Generally consisting of dried scallops and shrimp paired with chillies, and a blend of shallots and garlic, the recipe for most signature XO sauces served at famous Chinese restaurants are closely guarded. Continue Reading →

Family Food: Steamed Savoury Custard Master Recipe

zheng shui dan

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. Continue Reading →

Family Food: Waffles of Insane Greatness

Best waffle recipe

Two years ago, I bought a Belgian waffle iron purely on the strength of Molly’s post recommending two outstanding waffle recipes, Marion Cunningham’s yeast-raised one and the Food Network’s Waffles of Insane Greatness (WIG). Prior to reading Molly’s post, I had never considered making waffles at home. Waffles weren’t even high on my list of favourite breakfast (or dessert) dishes. Today, waffles are permanent fixtures on my breakfast repertoire. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: How to make semolina pasta at home

This is one of my favourite recipes for homemade pasta because it results in a perfectly al dente noodle. The key to the success of this recipe from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook is the addition of semolina (which is what you’ll find in most commercially prepared dried pastas). Continue Reading →

Family Food: Dutch baby with sautéed apples from Michael Natkin’s Herbivoracious

I have probably used this Dutch baby recipe every week since I first received a copy of Herbivoracious, fellow blogger Michael Natkin’s vegetarian cookbook, a few months ago. As T’s appreciation for food gradually extends beyond purees and other soft foods, I have amassed a range of breakfast recipes that appeal to both T and CH. Michael’s Dutch baby ticks a number of vital boxes for me. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: A quick pickle recipe—Japanese pikurusu

Pikurusu

Two months ago, when we happened to have some extra Japanese cucumbers and carrots in the fridge, I thought I’d take advantage of T’s nap time to try out this quick Japanese pickle recipe. CH’s mom—who’d hung up her apron decades ago, long before I’d first met CH, and adamantly declines to cook—happened to be spending the day with T and offered to help. It was to be the first time in over a decade of marriage that I got the chance to cook alongside my mother-in-law.

Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: How to make shortbread at home

cloud cookie cutter and shortbread

Sometimes, less is truly more. When I’m pressed for time but would like to be able to offer a homemade treat, I remind myself to keep things super simple. After all, a distracted mind tends to make mistakes. I’d rather be able to present a small, unembellished morsel successfully executed rather than an overambitious, spectacular flop. This shortbread recipe from Claire Clark, who was head pastry chef at The French Laundry, fits the bill perfectly. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: The Ultimate Lemon Curd – Pierre Hermé’s Lemon Cream

Meyer lemons

In all honesty, this post was prompted by the fact that I’ve finally found Meyer lemons in Singapore. For years, the Meyer lemon was one of those elusive culinary treasures that I’d read so much about but never tasted. And I never would’ve recognized the lemons as Meyers (given that they were only labeled with their country of origin, Australia) if I hadn’t happened to taste my first one just weeks before at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.

Continue Reading →