Bottura

From the bottom to teh top :P: Polenta lasagne (SGD18), Arancini with ragù and tomato sauce (SGD8) and Egg and squid ink tagliolini with shrimp and zucchini (SGD18)
From the bottom to the top :P: Polenta lasagne (SGD18), Arancini with ragù and tomato sauce (SGD8) and Egg and squid ink tagliolini with shrimp and zucchini (SGD18)

What: A casual Italian restaurant located in a very quiet part of Suntec.

Pros: The food is good, fresh and reasonable. I enjoyed my polenta lasagne and Yuka thoroughly enjoyed her tagliolini (the squid ink abomination, above). Also, the wait staff are polite, knowledgeable and helpful.

Cons: It’s like on a second floor in Suntec – where NOTHING is open. Ambience is negligible and lighting is fluorescent mall lighting. #justsayin

Verdict: I’m itching to go back and try their degustation menu (Six pastas and a glass of wine for SGD26 – what?!), their desserts and their gelato so clearly, I say go.

Details:
Bottura
Suntec City Mall Tower 1
#02-472/473/474
3 Temasek Boulevard 038983
6238 7527

*Forgive the messy plate.

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Cooking with… PZ – Saatenbrot

I have been sitting on these brunch with PZ pictures for what… months now? And I don’t know why, I think part of it might have to do with what can you say when you have a friend who comes to your house with a freshly baked loaf of super seedy bread and then helps you prepare brunch except #blessed?

But more seriously, I take my brunch very seriously.

Just this past weekend as I was stumbling out the door on Saturday morning for a waffles and ice-cream brunch, Mel, my apartment mate was all:

Mel: Do you brunch every weekend?
Me: *pause* Yes?
Mel: That’s cool.
Me: *in my head* That’s expensive.

Which is why, when the Singapore Martha Stewart (I need a shortform of this nickname) volunteered to bake bread to anchor Sunday brunch at my place, I + my flatmates + one (one of their boyfriends, that is) were enthusiastic about a) being cheap and b) eating some high quality stuff.

Here is PZ actually arranging the smoked salmon in a pleasing way, so as to enhance the taste.

We, the barbarians that we are, were happy to eat it off the foil it came on. But you know, this was cool too.

PZ aims to not buy bread in the shops anymore and instead wants to shift to only consuming the bread that she makes. I’m not sure why she wants to do this. Could it be because the bread we buy from the shops is full of weird additives that are giving us cancer? Possibly. Could it be because the bread she bakes is ludicrously tasty? More probably.

I prepared a creme fraiche lemon dill dip which you see here and eggs en cocotte. And of course we had lots of coffee and fresh blueberries. These pictures solely exist to torment you.

And remind me of a lazy Sunday that I want to get back to.

Oh! PZ kindly shared the recipe for the bread that she made (adapted from here):

Makes 1 loaf

Soaker
48g whole wheat flour
28g dark rye flour
100g water
1g of salt
64g flaxseed

Starter
7g rye mother starter (100% hydration)
71g dark rye flour
71g water

Final
43g dark rye flour
48g bread flour
62g water
2g instant yeast
4g salt
64g toasted sesame seeds
1 egg white (for the egg wash)
14g of mixed sesame seeds and flaxseeds, for the topping

Prep the soaker and starter a day before you bake the bread.

Day 1
In the morning, stir the soaker ingredients, cover and let it sit at room temperature till evening. Repeat with the starter ingredients in a separate bowl.

In the evening, mix the soaker and starter together with the final dough’s ingredients.

Knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Knead more vigorously for 4 minutes, and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Knead 1 more minute, and the dough should be somewhat sticky.

Place it in an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.

Day 2
Take out the dough and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Stretch and fold the dough to shape it, and place the dough seam-side down.

Brush the exterior with egg white and roll the dough in the mixed seeds for topping.

Transfer the dough into the loaf pan and spray some olive oil on it. Cover and let it proof for 45 to 60 minutes, till it’s 150% in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 240C.

Place a ramekin of water on the bottom of the oven and position the rack in the middle.

When the dough is ready after proofing, bake at 240C for 10 minutes, then 220C for another 10 minutes, and 180C for the last 10 minutes. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

*Not pictured: An impromptu blueberry crisp we made out of leftover blueberries which we served with vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice-cream. The pictures were too ugly to share and I didn’t really want to mess with the beauty above.

Just eat the goddamn pudding

Bread pudding!
Bread pudding!
I have what you can call an interesting relationship with food.

As a kid I basically ate everything which meant I was a little soft around the edges.

This meant A LOT of teasing in primary school and as I grew older, I grew heavier. Finally, in high school there came a year where I ate very little and exercised very much.

That year changed my relationship with food – it became an enemy and something to fear. Weirdly enough I also started thinking about it a whole lot more – despite not consuming very much.

Fifteen years later I still have a very intense relationship with food but don’t think I will ever fall back into the pit of unhealthy deprivation. I eat specific things that I think are healthy and nutritious and give me a lot of energy. I also make sure I have an allotment of chocolate everyday for, you know, #health.

Still sometimes, when I want to make and eat a desert all these old feelings of trepidation rush back – is this is a good idea, will there be too much, do I really need these extra calories, but I CAN’T BE EATING CAKE FOR BREAKFAST FOR FIVE DAYS!!!!

This past weekend all these confusing feelings and thoughts flooded my brain after I decided I had to make bread pudding (I mean I had a leftover baguette, what’s a girl to do?). That was when I had a bit of a “check yourself, before you wreck yourself,” moment.

Eating a bit of bread pudding is not going to kill me. It might even make me happy (in that moment, I know food is not the solution to all things). And while I don’t advocate eating cake and bread pudding and generous mouthfuls of refined white sugar everyday, it’s important to let myself eat the things I want and love, sometimes.

It’s irritating, but also true, that moderation might be the only way to approach food and also life.

*The bread pudding I linked to is the recipe I used and it was GORGEOUS. Skip the sauce though – eat with maple syrup/honey instead!

Read. Do. Make. Eat. 28.8.2015

Eat some ice-cream. Here.
Eat some ice-cream. Here.
Read.

SO cute AND helpful. This writer followed her Mom around Costco and this is what she learned.

Good looking people share the contents of their fridge. What? Why? Because they’re good looking and that makes me care.

Do.

It’s the last weekend of the Singapore Night Festival – gotta love it when people try to marry the (supposed) mundanity of museums with the novelty of staying out past your bedtime.

Practice your (insert language here).

Make.

Banh MI. BANH Mi. BANH MI.

Eat.

This chocolate bar.

The SGD18++ six-plate degustation pasta with wine at Bottura. Can you say value for money?

A parting thought – what do you guys think about cookbooks? I think they’re beautiful but I never use them – I either find recipes on the Interweb, make something up or call my Mom.

Super Loco

Super Huevos Rancheros (SGD 20) and the Taco de Desayuno (SGD7) with a side of baconnn
Super Huevos Rancheros (SGD 20) and the Taco de Desayuno (SGD7) with a side of baconnn

What: A beautiful restaurant perched in a very trendy part of the already very trendy Robertson Quay.

Pros: The breeze in your hair and pretty people errwhere. Their food is pretty good, like I enjoyed my breakfast taco, but it’s not as good as the price or the ambiance of the restaurant suggests.

Cons: I had their Sparkling Yuzu Margarita (SGD17) which sounded like it would taste like a party in my mouth but was at very best, passable.

Verdict: I would say… don’t go. The food is better at their sister restaurant Lucha Loco and if you want good food on the river… make yourself a tasty sandwich and sit on the steps in the quay.

Details:
Super Loco
60 Robertson Quay
6235 8900

Goi Ga AKA Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Yummmm

So, DiniBlini, is still a food blog in it’s essence. Just that I haven’t been repping that side of it that hard, recently.

PZ sent me a picture of some amazing risotto she had made a couple of weeks ago – which she had served with what looked like an enticing salad.

Since I’ve never met a salad I don’t like I was all “Hayyyy what’s that? Is it tasty? Can I get the recipe??”

PZ obliged and sent me her version – which I promptly adapted – and messed up.

The first time round I made it, it looked like this:

Goi Ga close-up
Goi Ga close-up

Which is to say – it was GORGEOUS but I forgot to put sugar in the dressing and left the onions I had marinated in vinegar on the counter and didn’t put it in the salad. I also added the quinoa which I had prepared to make it a full meal on the counter and only added it after I was halfway through. Which made me sad. It also made me hate my counter.

The second day I prepared the salad – I was ready. Onions went in! Honey (I didn’t feel like sugar), went in! Quinoa went in! And it was great. This was a salad on a budget (Let’s face it Chinese cabbage is a lot cheaper than those mixed salad leaves) and it does a body (and wallet) good.

Serves 2 – or 1 hungry girl, twice

Protein
1 chicken thigh
1/4 tsp salt
olive oil

Salad
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 – 3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 head of Chinese cabbage, about 500gm, quartered, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4″ ribbons
1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded
1/2 bunch chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Dressing
1 to 2 chillies, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Pinch of salt
1 tsp honey
4 Tbsps fish sauce
2 Tbsps lime juice
3 Tbsps water

Protein
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

Toss the chicken with a bit of olive oil.

Lay it on the grill bit and bake for 20 to 30 minutes – flipping once halfway through.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Chop into bite sized chunks.

Original recipe: Fill saucepan half full of water, add salt, let the water reach a rolling boil on high heat, and drop in the chicken. When the water bubbles at the edges, remove from the heat, cover tightly and let it stand 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve the stock for another use. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it by hand and let cool to room temperature.

Dressing
Pound the chili, garlic and salt into a paste. Scrape into a bowl and add the honey, fish sauce, lime juice and water. Combine well.

Salad
Place the sliced onion in a small bowl, add enough white vinegar to cover the slices and let sit for 15 minutes.

Drain the onion, add it to the chicken, along with the cabbage, carrot, coriander/cilantro and quinoa.

Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.

Weekend Hangover

DRANK!
DRANK!
As I sit here typing this – it’s lunch time and I’m halfway through the day. So far I’ve been doing the daily tasks that I need to complete, I am facing an unexpected finance department complication and I have been adding about one new thing to my to-do list per hour.

I have also decided that this is the best time to question my wardrobe choices, the general direction of my life and of course, where I went wrong in everything I have ever done.

Now this is what you call a weekend hangover.*

When your weekend is SO much fun that the mundanity and actual normalcy of real life makes you feel like there’s something wrong.

Calm down. Drink some very delicious coffee and just slowly get your work done and wrap your head around not being overly excited. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing.

Also remind yourself, the next weekend is only in five days.

* DISCLAIMER: I am not suffering from real hangover, only a weekend hangover brought upon by fun hiking, running, fooding and friending.