Happy holidays. This little gift guide may be coming too late for most of you, but just in case you’ve been a teeny tiny bit delinquent in your holiday shopping — or, like my wife […]
Let’s get this straight, I wouldn’t acquire a Thermomix simply to make play dough. I love our simple recipe for making play dough here which doesn’t call for fancy gear. But should you happen to […]
Please indulge me for the next few paragraphs as I show off my latest toy. The Porthole, the sexiest infusion vessel known to man, is one of those products that you absolutely have to get for no other reason than its general gorgeousness. I’m an absolute sucker for great design, and this piece of kitchen porn I got off Kickstarter was well worth the one year wait.
Last year, to celebrate my first full year in the working world, I got myself a Hario Cold Water Dripper. It reminded me that it’s okay to take it slow once in a while and make time for inconsequential delight, such as cold drip coffee. This year, to mark my second year of employment, I typed emails past midnight, was behind schedule on all my posts for this website, and had to give up Pilates for three whole weeks. It was around then – approximately the first week of July – that I decided I needed an Aeropress, because while the Hario is a most excellent office companion, sometimes, ain’t nobody got time for that.
A few weeks back, I updated my page in which I list my favourite tools. The list pretty much covers my camera gear (plus the Olympus OM-D I don’t own yet but dream of daily), my favourite knives and knifemakers, and the equipment I use for sous vide cooking. While I previously championed the SousVide Supreme, these days, my wife S and I are lucky enough to be using the coolest, smallest (and comparatively affordable) chamber vacuum packer on the market, the Vacmaster VP112EU, and the Addelice swid, a beautifully designed (and also comparatively affordable) immersion circulator.
I’ve been fascinated with cold brew coffee since I read about it a couple years ago. Being a caffeinehead in Singapore means drinking a ton of iced coffees – the weather is often too hot for regular coffees or espressos, even in the air-conditioned comfort of my office – and I’d always felt that the conventional method of simply pouring steaming hot coffee over ice compromised the flavour profile of the beans somewhat. The cold brew method, which favours a slow steeping process over the shock therapy of adding boiling water, seemed a lot more elegant; but I’d never been able to find a product that satisfied both my vain predilections and my cold caffeine curiosity. That is, until I discovered the Hario Cold Water Dripper.
Over the past few months, the way that I have been cooking has changed irrevocably. You see, late last year, I picked up a device from Singapore’s newest, coolest and easily largest kitchen store, ToTT, that has not only changed the way that I cook but also what I am cooking.
The device is a SousVide Supreme, which is something you quite simply need to use to realize just how revolutionary it can be for a home chef. I am sure by now most of us are familiar with seeing the words “sous-vide” on restaurant menus.
Dear Camera Gods,
I’m an avid and passionate photographer. Started shooting for fun when I was just 10 years old and my grandfather, a camera collector, had given me a manual Konica SLR as a gift. Over the last 26 years, I’ve owned 18 cameras, ranging from simple point and shoots to complex medium formats. I’d have to say that I’m not bad with a camera. Good enough at least to have landed a few professional gigs from magazines and book publishers during my earlier career as a journalist.
When on assignment, I have no problem lugging around a DSLR (or back in the day, an SLR) and an assortment of lenses; heck, I’ve even toted more than one camera body around when it’s been necessary. But when running around town, or when I’m travelling for my current work, or when I’m taking a much needed vacation with my darling wife, I’ve found that I am less inclined to toting around heavy and bulky equipment. These days, I’d much rather reach for a well-made but light and compact camera.
Regular readers of this blog know that I have a real weakness when it comes to well-designed, beautifully-made kitchen knives. I count myself super lucky to be the owner of a real Bob Kramer knife (as opposed to the Kershaw/Shun ones from Sur La Table). I also count the Japanese knives in my collection among the best I have ever worked with. And, like any obsessive collector, I’m always on the lookout for new names and exciting new designs.
So, when I was contacted by the fine folks at New West Knifeworks, I was extremely excited. I had a read a few snippets about their forged knives over the past year but doubted I’d get my hands on one anytime soon (the range of brands available in our local stores here in Sillypore being sadly limited). I both admired the philosophy behind New West’s approach to making knives as well as their artistic flair, exemplified best in the colourful handle designs in their Fusionwood line. Of the two lines, the Phoenix Knives and the Fusionwood, it was hard for me to decide which was more appealing. To be completely honest, the Fusionwood knives had an immediate visual appeal because of the gorgeous handles, made by infusing hardwood veneers with penetrating dies and engineering-grade phenolic resins. They reminded me of artworks one would see travelling through the American Southwest. On the other hand, the Phoenix Knives had more immediately applealing blades. The Fusionwood blades are cut from high-carbon Swedish stainless steel and then ground and finished in Seki, Japan. The Phoenix blades, on the other hand, combines a tool steel core and layers of Damascus steel. Sixteen layers of Damascus steel are forged together and the forge-welded onto the extra high-carbon stainless tool-steel sheet by master knife makers in Seki. The result is a gorgeous, thin but durable blade that can keep a very finely honed edge.
Well, it’s that time of the year again. Time for giving and receiving joy, hope, charity, good tidings and, of course, gifts. This year, S and I have picked 12 (well, actually 16, but 4 […]