Goodness Bowl and Changes on the Blog

Cooking, Recipes, Thoughts

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I am no food blogger. I make food, I eat food, I enjoy food… but to say I am a food blogger is a bit… inaccurate.

That seems pretty rich coming from a person who uses the hashtag #ihaveafoodblog.

The thing is, I recently became friends with a colleague, Pei Zhen. Now, she’s a true chef and creator of food things. We were in the middle of our science comms jobs and then we started talking about food and man – when she started talking about food it was like you couldn’t stop her! She churns inventive ice-creams, packs fresh lunches for herself and her husband and has her own version of french onion soup (WTF?).

This made me think about my approach to food and the whole point of this blog.

I originally started this blog because I cook at home a lot – but the thing is, I hated cooking. So in order to change that I figured if I had a blog and celebrated what I cooked, that would change.

It did in fact, change. I love cooking now and it’s a respite from my life and my very busy mind when I do cook. However, I don’t try new things. I either cook recipes that I find online or that my Mom has taught me. I like following the path people have laid down when it comes to food – because they know what they are doing and I’m a busy person. Experimenting? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

So, I’ve decided my food making posts are going to feature pictures, a story behind why I made that dish and a link to the original recipe, when there is one. Ala Cupcakes and Cashmere. Not that I’m anywhere near her popularity as a blogger. It just seems more genuine.

Also, recently, I’ve been doing more posts about my life, like this one about having an existential crisis, and the number of views those posts get are wayyy more than my food posts.

It makes more sense to explore and expand this part of the blog.

As much as I’d love to be a lifestyle blogger, I don’t have the budget for the clothes/food/travel (I think it’s called SWAG?).

Also, I love sharing what I think and how I deal. With all this 21st century bullshit that is currently making our lives so hard.

So in this installation of cooking and food, I came across this gorgeous bowl of goodness and I knew I had to have it. I actually did make it in time for Salad Monday, but the thing is, this isn’t a salad. It’s a bowl.

Everything is cooked. The quinoa comes alive with tumeric, fresh ginger and coconut oil. The carrots, beets and red onions are roasted with olive oil. The kale is mushrooms are sauteed with mirin and a splash of soy sauce. And finally the protein – chicken is baked with ginger and garlic and salt and pepper. It all comes together with an earthy sauce of miso, tahini and lemon juice. The original recipe features avocado and and no meat. But that’s all up to you.

Manhattan

Eating Out, Flash Restaurant Review
Rainbow Room Cosmopolitan - SGD23 - maybe...

Rainbow Room Cosmopolitan

What: A Great Gatsby-esque bar/lounge with imaginative cocktails. They also have food – I just didn’t eat any.

Pros: A crazy extensive cocktail list – that actually live up to their funky names! Friendly staff and that ambiance man – fancyyy.

Cons: Like I said it’s fancyyy, which can also be bad because that means expensive + a tad pretentious. Also it’s super cold! AND because it’s such a stylish place you cant really wrap yourself up in a blanket.

Verdict: I like it, but maybe save it for a fun girl’s night or if you’re pretending to be fancy. Or maybe you are actually fancy? These things are all very relative.

Details:
Manhattan at the Regent
1 Cuscaden Road
6725 3377

Home-made Muesli

Baking

HELLO!

My brekkie!

My brekkie!

I really tried to come up with something good after a long hiatus from Salad Mondays. I still eat salads, like everyday, but they’re the same damn salad. This salad to be specific.

So yesterday I decided to try something different.

Ok, I’m lying, it was basically that same salad with a tahini based dressing.

Salad nooooooooooo

Salad nooooooooooo

Looks ok, doesn’t it?

It was gross. Not super gross, but heavy gross, and unworthy of being touted as a Salad Monday salad.

SO – this was going to be a post I saved for a Friday or a Saturday to inspire some weekend projects but instead, since it turned out so beautifully and made me so happy this morning, I decided to share this little bit of success/heaven.

Every morning I eat some oat based breakfast. It’s usually overnight oats or granola or muesli. After months of the first two, I caved and bought a bag of Marks and Spencer’s “Four Berry Muesli”. Very delicious. Also, very expensive at about SGD15 a bag. It was also close to expiration.

So every morning, as I shoveled this very expensive and slightly stale cereal down my throat (with greek yogurt, obs), I realized I should try making it because a) I had most of the ingredients in my house and b) whatever I made should be cheaper.

This is what I came up with and seriously – it tastes fresh and nutty and is WAY better than any store bought muesli I have ever had, is easier to make than granola and is probably healthier – coz no added sugar!

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted/roasted (with no added salt)
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2/3 cup raisins
2/3 cups dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 175C/350C.

Spread oats onto a baking sheet until its 1/4 inch deep (ish). Toast for ten minutes, stirring once in the middle.

Remove from oven and cool in a separate tray/ big plates.

At this point you can toast the almonds if you need to. Ten minutes should do it.

Once cool, evenly scatter the almonds, chia seeds, raisins and dried cranberries over the oats.

Carefully scoop into an air-tight container.

And done!

And done!

Serve with milk or yogurt. Drink black coffee. Revel in your brilliance.

*Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria.

Butter Cake with Coconut Lemon Curd

Baking, Recipes
Cracked Cake! Not to be confused with Crack Cake...

Cracked Cake! Not to be confused with Crack Cake…

The motivation behind this cake – was a donut.

The motivation behind the coconut lemon curd – was a lack of tastiness.

Let me rewind.

So, Saturday last week, I awoke, slightly worse for the wear after… let’s call it, an enthusiastic Friday night.

The only solution was – brunch. And grocery shopping. Because I had to make food. And get on with my day. Because no matter how you feel – you gotta get shit done. Coz you’re an ADULT. See here for inspiration.

So, in my mind I had a game plan. I was gonna go, get the freaking groceries and get a donut from Starbucks. A glazed old-fashioned donut with a cup of black coffee. And life would be beautiful.

After getting all them groceries and ambling over to Starbucks, the semi-polite barista informed me they were out of donuts.

WHAT???

Since my entire plan for happiness, that Saturday, was precariously hinged on whether I not I ate that donut, I left said Starbucks knowing that all hope was lost.

I had nothing else to do but make butter cake.

Also I bought a lot of eggs. Butter cake requires many eggs.

All the batter

All the batter

I would like to tell you that after I hate-baked this cake I discovered that it was quite dry. This may be because I baked it like 10 minutes more than the recommended time. The batter was still jiggling – OK? The only thing I could do – obviously – was to then make lemon curd to go with it.

The curd!

The curd!

When life gives you lemons…

Butter Cake
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature – I used salted because I didn’t have unsalted. Don’t judge.
1 + 2/3 cup / 200gm all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup / 200gm castor sugar
4 eggs
½ tsp salt
4 Tbsps yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

Grease a loaf pan with butter, line with parchment paper, and grease that. Foolproof dudes. Use this method when baking.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together, stir in the salt.

Use an electronic mixer, unless you want to hate your life, to cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow in color.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Add in the vanilla extract and mix well.

Fold in the flour. I did this by spooning the flour in and making a “figure 8” shape with my spatula. Mel told me to do this. It worked.

Add in the yogurt and mix.

Pour mixture into the baking pan and smooth down with a knife.

Bake until golden brown and no longer jiggly! About 40 minutes. Use a cake tester to see if cooked.

Reading this recipe properly now, I realize I baked it at the wrong temperature, so 40 minutes might actually work.

Coconut Lemon Curd
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approximately the juice of 1 lemon)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (approximately the zest of 1 lemon)
1/3 cup / 70gm sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup / 60g unsalted butter, cubed
4 Tbsps coconut milk

Measure out the lemon juice, zest and sugar into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves completely.

Whisk egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until frothy and add the hot lemon mixture slowly. Whisk continuously to combine. Strain the mixture through a mesh sieve.

Return to the heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil.

Remove from the heat and add the butter cubes, whisking until fully combined.

Finally, add the coconut milk and whisk to combine.

Set aside to cool. Should keep in the fridge for about a week.

*Butter Cake and Coconut Lemon Curd from Rasa Malaysia.

A slice of buttery goodness

A slice of buttery goodness

Funny thing about this cake and lemon curd was, I really thought it was just kind of blahhhh but my flatmates ate it all. I guess one person’s butter cake can be another person’s chocolate chip cookie.

Ding Dong

Eating Out, Flash Restaurant Review
Bought myself a DRANK

Bought myself a DRANK… and some food.

What: Very hip, modern, Southeast Asian restaurant that boasts a very impressive cocktail menu at the edge of Club Street.

Pros: The cocktails are inventive, extensive and very yummy. The Golden Mile was my first drink of the night and I probably could have drunk that baby ALLNIGHTLONG. Also the staff are really helpful.

Cons: The food was so meh – I legitimately don’t even want to talk about it. It’s like, think about whatever Southeast Asian specialties you know and love and then take out THEIR SOUL. That’s the food they serve.

Verdict: Forget the food and forget the desserts (SGD15 for cendol – wtf?!) – but do visit for the fantastic drinks and the fact that it’s a prime spot for people-watching.

Details:
Ding Dong
23 Ann Siang Road
65570189

Existential Crisis #1,000,001

Wisdom
"Crap on our coffee table" - a piece by the very talented Melissa

“Crap on our coffee table” – a piece by the very talented Melissa

Recently I’ve felt this restlessness rising in me – and rising – almost as though I’m going to choke on it.

Woah. Just got semi-poetic there.

It’s probably a result of having spent my childhood moving from country to country. In the past, this restlessness has manifested itself by causing me to – chop all my hair off, quit my job, work out a lot AKA become REALLY skinny and/or start new activities.

Well, I suppose I already chopped off my hair in the most extreme fashion last year. I also love my job. Even though I sometimes wonder if I’m really the best person for it or whether I could be doing better. My girlfriends all tell me I suffer from impostor syndrome, which is apparently a very common affliction for many professional women. But, you know, what if I AM, actually, just, incompetent?

No, that can’t be right.

Well, I already work out a decent amount. Like I run a bit and do some Insanity and core exercises. And I’m really trying to get away from this whole, I gotta look hot, coz I gotta look hot, coz you know, I gotta look hot.

So that leaves me with, new activities. Hmm. So far I’m trying to decide between starting a new yoga class, joining a beginner’s hip-hop class or volunteering my time to help like… people. Oh and figure out a way to practice my Spanish because – I think that my comprendo-ing, isn’t doing too well.

While I try and figure out which one to do (I have a feeling it’s going to be all), I really wonder, do these feelings stem from the fact that I feel I need change in my life? Or is it a result of trying to fill a void?

Are there any guarantees that once I’ve got the dream job, partner, life, whatever, that I still won’t keep wanting something different?

Will the restlessness continue to haunt me, like Juliet Binoche’s character in Chocolat?

Good movie. Mmm… chocolate. IWANTACOOKIE.

But I digress.

Are these feelings of restlessness something that I should always be trying to resolve? Should I maybe just learn to sit with them, and maybe just maybe, they might just pass?

Super Simple Roast Chicken and Spaghettini Aglio Olio

Entertaining

Chicken done right!

Chicken done right!

This past weekend and week – I two dinner parties (with my attendees help) and they both went really well. The first was a Taco Salad Bar with my girlfriends. Just prepped the ingredients and let each girl fix their own bowl.

The second was a lovely dinner in with Alex and Avi – my best bros. The challenge? Pulling this off on weeknight.

The reason for this not-so-convenient timing was that Alex was due to fly back to Kabul and we all wanted to spend some quality time together.

What could I whip up that was:
A) yummy
B) boys would eat it
C) easy + fast

And remember – boys had to eat it, so I couldn’t just like, serve them a salad.

Then I suddenly remembered Hoi serving me the best roast chicken I’ve had in my life for Christmas.

Whipped out my phone and texted – “Hoiii can you send me the recipe for your roast chicken that you made for Christmas???”

“Sure.”

And then I had it.

What about carbs?

I had some conveniently gifted spaghettini which would make this dish… FREE… if I used it. Hmmm…

A short Google search later led me to a efficient use of ALLTHEINGREDIENTS I already had in my pantry. Good thing parmesan was optional coz I don’t eat cheese/I’m cheap.

But what about greens?

The boys might not want them but my digestive system did. Too much info? WHATEVER.

I decided some chopped romaine and a simple lemon dressing would perk up the menu.

I was back home by 6:45pm, after buying groceries, prepped the chicken, popped it in the oven.

Alex came over and started on his apple crumble flambe.

Avi mixed them some Cuba Libres while I made the salad dressing.

Once Alex was done – I quickly prepped the spaghettini and Avi chopped the salad.

My (not-so) pretty plate

My (not-so) pretty plate

Dinner was served by 8:30pm. Not bad I would say.

The crumble baked while we ate. Alex then insisted we needed San Pedros to go with it. That is basically vanilla ice-cream and rum. Blended.

The food was humble, delicious and very satisfying. And totes doable on a weekend.

Also, I have literally never seen Avi that much – in my life.

It was a fantastic night that had us all laughing and me thinking about how crazy it was that these two friends of mine, who I met separately at very different parts in my life (high school vs masters), click so well. I mean the dudes both watch Hannibal, drink too much alcohol and can’t stand it when women use silence as show of anger.

Go figure.

Apple crumble flambeeeee

Apple crumble flambeeeee

Food links:
Roast Chicken
Spaghettini Aglio Olio
Lemon Vinaigrette
Cuba Libre

Apple Crumble Flamble – Ask Alex – coz it’s a family recipe!

Happy Friday everyone!

Joo Bar

Eating Out, Restaurant Review
Yucha maekgolli slush

Yucha makgeolli slush

I am a GREAT friend.

When Alex was visiting from Kabul and I couldn’t make his birthday party I decided I would be super selfless and take him to a restaurant that we would both totally enjoy that I’ve been wanting to go to for ages.

BESTFRIENDEVER.

It’s Korean. It’s hip. And I wanted to go.

The bar itself is in Bugis and sits at the end of Tan Quee Lan street past all the legit Korean BBQ places, as this cool-ish, industrial-ish, Korean-ish bar.

There’s a table hanging from the ceiling outside and the color palette is grey, black and white. It’s borderline depressing BUT they have funny comics on the wall inside.

Once there, I ordered makgeolli, a rice alcohol beverage that is native to Korea. Or at least that is what Wikipedia told me.

I ordered the most non-alcohol tasting version that included shaved ice and yucha, which is really just yuzu. It tasted of happiness and made me feel like a princess. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Spring onion chicken bites?

Spring onion chicken bites?

Alex and I seriously got down to business and decided that we needed this chicken. I can’t remember the actual name of these babies but to be honest, they were only ok. Next time I would opt for their wings.

Tofu kimchi nachos

Tofu kimchi nachos

While we looked forward to this dish the most, it was really very lacklustre. The tofu was cold and the kimchi lacked kick. The spam was great because I love spam. Don’t judge me.

Japchae

Japchae

The humble japchae was honestly the best thing we had. Alex consumed huge amounts of it. Ok, honestly, he had like two servings because the guy cannot eat. But it was filling, flavorful and goooood.

Pulled pork burgers with gochujang

Pulled pork burgers with gochujang

I loved these sliders which honestly just tasted like Alabama style ribs in a bun. Very sweet but again, goooood.

My verdict is that this place doesn’t actually live up to the hype. The food really did lack that Korean punch, and no matter what all the other reviews say, that is a problem.

Too bad because I liked that yummy rice alcohol slush.

Joo Bar
5 Tan Quee Lan Street
188094