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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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 →

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.

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