Creme de marrons

creme-de-marrons

Chestnuts are one of my five-year old son’s favourite snacks. In Singapore, street vendors roast them in a covered urn or wok, filled with charcoal bits. You crack open the shell, and the flesh within is creamy, sweet, fragrant, and extremely addictive. My family goes through a 600g bag whenever the craving strikes. But recently, I have also developed an appreciation for the cooked and peeled chestnuts that come in foil packs, sold in convenience stores and supermarkets. With a few of those packets in hand, whipping up this crème de marrons is a piece of cake. Continue Reading →

Galatee – A Divine Taste: a haute couture collection of wines in Hong Kong

Galatee

Ms Galatée Faivre comes from a family of winemakers and merchants, and grew up among the vineyards in Southern France. She has been a chief wine maker, consultant and wine critics for the past 15 years in France on the most famous French wine regions, and her family has been making or selling wine since the 1830s. Continue Reading →

P. Bistro: Great pastry and good, simple, real food at proper prices in Singapore

bistro-macarons

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. Continue Reading →

Know your limits – Dinner and conversation with Xavier Beaudiment at Chefs With Altitude

Chefs with Altitude watercress

In The Five Obstructions, one of the strangest documentaries I’ve ever seen, the notorious filmmaker Lars von Trier challenges the equally controversial Jorgen Leth to remake his most famous short film, The Perfect Human, five times, each with a set of constraints of von Trier’s choosing. The stipulations – the film must be reshot in Cuba; it must be made into a cartoon; Leth himself must play the leading role – are patently ridiculous, as are the remakes, which manage to be even more avant garde than the original. Continue Reading →

Ode to Cafe Gavroche’s croque madame

Cafe Gavroche Croque Madame shot “What makes a great croque madame?” is a question that no one has asked me ever. If someone did, though, I wouldn’t be able to answer them, partly because I don’t think there’s a single answer, and partly because I’d be foaming at the mouth. For a perfectly representative specimen, though, I’d highly recommend the beauty of a sandwich being served by chef Frederick Colin at the second, and more casual, of his “Gavroche” restaurants. Continue Reading →

Pierre Herme macarons in Hong Kong

PHP_Chocolate-Macaron1

Macarons – the gorgeous gorgeous little things. I’ve been a fan of these delicate yet intensely flavoured, colourful and dainty to behold sweeties for a while now. And actually, come to think of it, they’re not even toooo fattening, relatively speaking (no butter in macarons!).  Whenever I was in Paris, I would invariably hand-carry back at least two or three boxes of the precious little biscuits from the better-known patisseries – Ladurée, La Maison du Chocolat and Pierre Hermé. Continue Reading →

A crowd pleaser – Nids de tartiflette – cheese and potato nests

Nids de tartiflette_2Whenever I plan a meal, I will usually look at what happens to be available in my fridge or pantry, and cook up the meal from what’s already there. I rarely buy a truckload of ingredients to make that one dish. However, if I happen to chance upon an ingredient that I have been dying to try, I will make that effort. This time, I got my hands on a stinky French cheese, Reblochon* and I am certainly super excited about using it. Continue Reading →

Cheeky fare: Le Sergent Recruteur in Paris

Le Sergent Recruteur egg

“Foie gras is boring,” were the epigrammatic words of Antonin Bonnet before my dinner at Le Sergent Recruteur in Paris. Or at least, that’s what I think he said; it’s hard to recall bits of conversation after being plied with bubbly and Riesling. But it would be completely in keeping with the chef’s cavalier demeanor, and with the feel of this lively new place, which served up some of the most playful cuisine of my weeklong stay in the city. Continue Reading →