December 2, 2013 § 1 Comment
Good things come in bunches. I hope this month brings much of those delightful feelings.
Our demo yesterday went surprisingly well. Apart from me burning an entire pot of hot chocolate to not even cooking because of a malfunction induction, I had a splendid time. All that effort of cooking/baking at 5am and preparing the bread dough the night before, were well paid off. It was the first time presenting ourselves to the public and bringing the cookbook to its presence. Our cookbook is going to be one of a kind. Why you may ask? It entails daily recipes influenced from our mood and emotions. How we feel and how we cook/bake is essentially the way we are. Naturally, like seasons changing it is easy to alter our meals with how we feel in this moment.
Yesterday was fun because, my parents were there, Elodie’s family was there, we made mistakes and laughed about them, food was splendid, people were receptive and so ever supportive. Thank you so much for everyone who made it !
Spontaneous flatbread: flatbread, hummus, smoked aubergines and pomegranate; vegetable rosti (beetroot, carrots and potatoes) with yogurt and cherry tomato chutney.
November 27, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s a delightful morning in the sunny island. One of my fondest memory growing up here is having chwee kueh for breakfast. A local delicacy made with rice flour, sauté radishes and chili. It’s so simple yet each step is tender and essential. In U Press N°4 issue, I wrote about Mr Lee’s passion in making our breakfast count. Decades of hard work, fatherly love in raising his children and their filial piety. Thank you Underscore for publishing it! Pick up your copy at any local cafes/museums.
This Sunday (1st December, 11AM), my lovely co-writer Elodie and I will be feeding everyone at Gillman Barracks for the Singapore Art Book Fair. We will be cooking up some recipes from our cookbook. Drop by and say hi!
November 6, 2013 § 1 Comment
came to an end, it’s been a great journey discovering new and old things but more importantly packing back life lessons
In Seattle I met a retired journalist who travelled around central America/Asia. We talked about feminism in the modern century and food economics over a communal breakfast table until lunch time. Her big colourful night dress spoke as lively as her words. They were always filled with purpose and confidence, a passion to spread truth and equality amongst people. Her garden overflows with west coast produce, only shows much desirability for a sustainable earth. To think that her thoughts formed 50 odd years ago and are now still so strong, encouraged me to keep this green lifestyle. “We are children of the earth”, and I can only say we are all one. She currently runs a local radio station up in Carmel, NorCal.
In a flea market on the west side of NYC, I found a precious stone collector who sold jewelry. Her bright brown eyes, light blond hair and grey knitted sweater showed her simple demeanours. Yet behind that quiet greeting, her tone carried weight. We exchanged witty banters almost immediately and continued the light-hearted affair with much indulgence. She travelled around Asia in 1983 when Black Saturday happened in Hong Kong, and had a Singapore sling at Raffles Hotel. She kept moving around, a nomad like me. We both found home in our suitcases. Where the road or wind shall take us, we ride along with it. Eventually, she returned home, surprisingly back to the same streets her grandparents were born.
What happened, I asked.
I got a dog, she chuckled.
Our suitcase is our home, we all have baggages and unnoticeably we seek people to unpack them with.
While doing yoga in hotel rooms was fun, I signed up for Tara’s classes on Broadway. It was such a pleasure to start the day in a big room filled calm ambience, good music and awesome people. Meeting Tara and the instructors themselves was like meeting a family, you could tell everyone is passionate about their work and understood one another well. Now I just wished I could attend the classes everyday back in this island, videos and her cookbook would have to replace all of that for now. We can be in completely different places from our everyday lives but fall into the same habits.
Another highlight from this trip is meeting Vanessa at her new amazing apartment. Her professionalism is simply impeccable and has such a warm personality. Hope Marshall gets a new companion soon! Also got the chance to catch Felicia & her sweet friend Persia. Thanks girl for the lovely Saturday brunch! Some exciting happenings coming ahead.
So thankful for the safe journey and adventures along. The experiences were unforgettable. Stay true to yourself (as cliche as it may be). When the rest of the world runs on the race of materialism, seek for altruistic faith. Search for purposes and meanings but don’t miss what is in front of you. Sometimes things need to fall out of place to fall in place. Other times, you just really need a pint of kambucha or glass of wine with your favourite person. It’s as simple as that.
also a big thank you for those who are following me on this journey on instagram!
August 27, 2013 § 3 Comments
53 weeks ago, I was on a flight back from Melbourne. A quiet trip for myself in search for clearer air, amazing coffee and a change of perspective with time . I found lovely cafes that slowed us down and connected honest people with fresh simple meals. I wanted to move with that pace and time.
I found the same momentum here in this sunny island. While I thought I was going to leave again, I chose to stay.
At that time, someone once told me that whatever I choose to do, make sure the sacrifice for that decision is worth it. I can’t say it is all worthwhile. On a bad day, like many others, I get jaded. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have good days, in fact, some days are too splendid to be true.
I have been living on my own grounds but fearful of losing close ties. So I got stuck to a system that didn’t allow me to be as mobile or advance myself with career. Nevertheless, I pulled myself away the last week before a birthday trip and reflected on the year. When it’s quiet, you suddenly listen more. Truth is, I had made so many baby steps and fell countless amount of times that those little accomplishments are forgotten. Mostly because I was waiting for personal acceptance or approval. Then to realize, living on other’s people acceptance and approval is not living at all. You just have to be present with life.
Before leaving for Hong Kong, I made some almond milk by soaking them overnight and blitz the shenanigans out of them until it becomes a smooth velvety pillow like texture. When I got home last night, I reached out into the fridge and took a sip. It was so much more tastier than the week before. Perhaps, like the almond milk, I just need to wait for events to develop its own characters, and for now, keep steadfast.
200g of whole almonds with skin
350g-400g of purified/filtered water
half vanilla bean, scrapped
1 tsp of honey
a pinch of salt
After soaking the almonds overnight, process it them in a food processor. Add in vanilla bean, honey and salt. Sift it through a very fine sieve or cheese cloth. Be patient with this process! If you prefer it to be sweeter add some brown sugar while soaking it but try to let the flavors take their own courses as it can sit in the fridge for 7-8 days.
May 29, 2013 § 4 Comments
An accidental bake. I had wanted to make something else but had forgotten to write the ingredients in the grocery list. Having Deb Perelman‘s book in my hands, I stumbled upon the simplest ingredients and without a second thought, turned the oven knob on and rummaged into the refrigerator.
With the new space coming up, we have been testing a few recipes and getting the place together. I am enjoying the silent kitchen with construction noise behind thick walls. The cleanliness of our bare feet against spotless beige tiles. Unused porcelain still wrapped in newspaper tucked near the dishwasher, which is still adjusting to its awkward piping system.
For the cafe family, we are thrilled for the opening day. But the delay had costs much frustrations yet allows us to ease into the comforts of our new home. Already, we have a creative corner, the manager’s favourite chair, an habitual angle to lean on the wall and usual parking space. While there will be many more avenues for each of us to fall calmly into, it is already a great start.
Much like this cake, which was shared and enjoyed immensely, the day turned out unexpectedly lovely. Perhaps, perfecting our crafts, slowly taking our time to focus on shaping and molding, brings unadorned pleasant surprises. In turn, reflects individual personalities, understanding characters and working better as a family. Learning to be patient with time, with ourselves and one another.
recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
1 1/2 cups (190g) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
Soft Gooey Layer
1/4 cup (60ml) light corn syrup or golden syrup
1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk or heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225g) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 (155g) cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Line a 9- by 13-inch cake pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all four sides. (I overturn the pan, shape the foil over the bottom, remove it, then flip the pan over and ease the foil into the pan.) Spray the foil in the pan with nonstick spray or brush with melted butter.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
2. To make the cookie base, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups (190g) flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Beat the 8 tablespoons (115g) of butter and the 3/4 cup (150g) of sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or by hand, until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the egg and the milk and mix in, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients, until fully incorporated. Put the mixture in the cake pan in dollops (it’s too thick to spread if you add it all in the same place), and spread it into an even layer with an offset spatula.
(You don’t need to clean the bowl; you can reuse it for the next step.)
4. To make the soft gooey layer, in a small bowl, whisk together the corn syrup or golden syrup with the milk or cream, and vanilla.
5. Beat the 12 tablespoons (170g) of butter with the 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225g) of sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add one-third of the 1 1/4 cup (155g) flour, then half of the milk/corn syrup mixture. Add another one-third of the flour, then the rest of the milk/corn syrup mixture. Then stir in the remaining flour. Dollop the batter over the unbaked cookie layer and spread evenly.
6. Mix together the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it evenly over the cake.
7. Bake the cake for 25 minutes, or until the cake feels slightly damp, but gently set in the center. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When cool, lift out the cake using the overhang of the foil, and cut the cake into 1-inch (3cm) squares.
Note: Sharp-eyed folks might notice that my cake squares didn’t get as dark has hers, as shown in the book, which I attribute to a new oven which I’m still learning how to use. The cinnamon I ground was also not as fine as the finely ground cinnamon that you buy, so the pieces are more distinct, which also led to the tops of mine looking a bit different from hers. Regardless of any differences in appearance, it’s quite an amazing cake and I urge you to try it.
*coffee is from Nylon*