I’ve been on a matcha bender lately, imbibing copious grande green tea soy lattes, and dreaming up all sorts of recipes using this lovely jade green powder. These matcha and Greek yogurt teacakes have emerged as my favourite so far. Possessing a tremendous tender crumb, and a soft, soothing fragrance from the tea, they are ideal for an uplifting afternoon snack. And because there is not too much sugar, nor any butter in this recipe, they are significantly lighter (and I’d like to think healthier!) than the more common teatime options of cupcakes or muffins.
I am lucky to live in a neighbourhood where I am surrounded by food establishments that produce delicious food at a reasonable price. One of them is Ciel Pâtisserie. Nestled underneath a public housing block, Ciel Pâtisserie’s chef-owner, Chara Lum (a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris) churns out an amazing array of French treats. Amongst them, my favourites are the Fuji and the strawberry shortcake.
My kids love Panna cotta, and would choose it over any item on the dessert menu without thinking twice. There was a period of time when my darling five-year old son was so obsessed, he requested for it as his after-dinner treat two weeks in a row. Panna cotta translates as “cooked cream”, and to me, is a simple, soothing dessert that is an antidote for frazzled nerves at the end of a hard day.
Far too often, new restaurants and cafes in Singapore disappoint me. Most often, I leave upset because I’ve been overcharged for mediocre food that may look okay but usually lacks flavour. I also leave perplexed because so many of these places are able to fill their seats, night after night, with (young) customers whose expectations must simply be lower than mine. So, I was thrilled recently to discover a new place (in my own neighbourhood no less) that offers simple, tasty, well-cooked dishes and pretty awesome pastry at sensible prices.
It has been crazy for the past two months. I was piled with work projects, photo shoot and amidst the chaos, I actually signed up for an online course. With my tight schedule, cooking and baking had to take a back seat. My meals were made up of mostly takeaways and fast food.
It’s an institution revered by Brisbanites and many frequent visitors since its opening in 1996. And with progressive management and a keen eye on current trends (as opposed to flashy fads), Jocelyn’s Provisions, located in popular James Street, has maintained its place firmly at the top of the sugar-sprinkled ladder.
It wasn’t until two years ago that La Mother dearest found it necessary to learn how to cook – which was rather odd I suppose, given what a fantastic cook my maternal grandmother is, and how my mum was raised in a very typical Kampung environment in Muar, i.e. great Peranakan and Malaysian food. Prior to her learning how to cook however, she did learn how to bake an exceptionally good molten chocolate babycake (aka chocolate fondant) – in part to save us from the teasing at school that our mum couldn’t cook; classmates can be a most unforgiving lot. “Hey, my mum bakes a great chocolate fondant ok? Bet you don’t even know what that is, so b****r off.” Pardon me.
When I had told my wife S that I was taking her to Tokyo to celebrate our wedding anniversary, she pretty much left the planning to me. The only requests she made were a stop by her favorite designer’s boutique in Omotesando and a visit to Baishinka, the gorgeous new tea room opened by the folks behind Higashiya (which we’ve established in an earlier article that she’s quite obsessed with). Of course, I was happy to accommodate her requests.
Five years ago, I cradled a cherubic baby boy in my arms, barely 3kg. He is a little man now, who first and foremost, loves to read and has committed at least three dinosaur encyclopedias’ worth of information to memory, whose favourite food is cold soba noodles, and who absolutely adores this cake.