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.

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The 1925

Wasabi Fries and a half-pint of Yellow Van
Wasabi Fries and a half-pint of Yellow Van
I have different friends to fulfill different needs.

I’ve got my super intellectual/shopping enabler best friend.

I’ve got my best bro with whom I discuss movies and shit.

I’ve got my soulmates from high school I still Whatsapp and Skype furiously with.

And… I’ve got my gurlfriends.

Chatting about boys, clothes, our careers and gossiping might not feature very prominently on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs but can I just say – talking shit is cathartic.

Which is why when Mel booked a table at The 1925 to get together our group of girly-friends, I was thrilled because I know it meant good times and maybe… good food? Coz I didn’t know shit about The 1925. Nobody I knew had eaten there and all Mel said was that it looked cool and the food looked “tasty.” Sure.

So this 1925 place is fashioned as a brewery slash brunch place. I didn’t know what to expect, especially since most of the restos in Jalan Besar fashion themselves as these industrial-hipster hangouts where people wear lots of hats. I’m not into hats – worn indoors. In Singapore. Because why.

When we arrived Amy was tucking into Wasabi fries (picture above) which was just as you would expect – tangy and the right consistency. Not too crispy and comfortingly dense.

I got the Yellow Van to drink and really enjoyed it (our very helpful waiter advised me to go with that since it was the girliest of the beers they had – not disappointed!) The girls had the darker and more bitter beers and they were, in their own words “bitter.”

Crispy Egg Aglio Olio
Crispy Egg Aglio Olio
Food was a mixed bag, Mel was exited about eating the Aglio Olio with crispy egg, which she thought would be a soft boiled egg that was deep fried. Alas it came with flyaway crispy egg bits and the dish tasted more like not very good mee hoon than aglio olio.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Amy went for the chicken that came with potatoes and ratatouille and said it was passable.

Pan Seared Fish in Pesto
Pan Seared Fish in Pesto
I ate this. I know what you’re thinking, fish fillet? It’s so boring and safe and plain. Well maybe it’s a boring choice but goddamn it was good. Perfectly seared, with perfectly seasoned rice and an accompaniment of ratatouille. I was impressed and happy.

So it just goes to show – the safe choice is probably the best one.

We also had a salad (not on the menu) with a yummy wasabi-balsamic reduction dressing and a Hawaiian pizza (crust deemed too thin).

Overall the beer was good, service was great, food was so-so and the ambience was nice. Would I go back? Probably, just to test out their brunch items and then walk over to Chye Seng Huat Hardware for a coffee.

The 1925
369 Jalan Besar
Singapore 208997
+65 6294 9215

Real Food

Reading whlle brunching
Reading whlle brunching

What: A super healthy cafe, with NO MEAT and NO FAT and NO BAD THINGS.

Pros: The food is simple, the staff are sincere and there’s plenty of space to stretch out and get your Sunday on.

Cons: The food is really simple – like the only thing I could say after I ate it was – “Man, this does taste like real food.”

Verdict: I like it, but just keep in mind that you could probably make whatever they serve you at home. And try not to feel resentful about it.

Details:
Real Food – I went to the outlet in Central:
6 Eu Tong Sen St
The Central #B1-52/53
Singapore 059817
62244492

Wild Honey at Scotts Square

Ahh, Wild Honey.

The enclave of yuppies, tai-tais and expats in Singapore since 2010.

When my girlfriends and I were planning a long overdue catch-up and wanted it to be in an indulgent setting (because we’re worth it), we decided to do it at Wild Honey. It’s convenient location meant we could launch directly into a completely unnecessary shopping spree right after in ALL THE MALLS on Orchard Road.

So we, ok fine, I prepped myself by wearing a the uniform of the female Singapore weekender. The maxi dress. Just the right degree of chic and what, this old thing?

English
English

Wild Honey serves breakfast all day, err day and it’s expensive. Like over 20 bucks per dish (for the most part, at least).

The breakfasts are named after the countries they are supposedly served in and the portions are not huge, but large enough to make you regret you eating the whole thing.

This time around I went for the “English,” which I regretted because really I had my eye on the “Santa Fe” as soon as I saw the menu. Word of advice, if you ask for your server’s recommendation, you generally have to take it or you look like an asshole. So don’t ask for their recommendation.

The “English” was hearty but ordinary – and I found myself craving my homemade version of Ayam brand baked beans, chicken sausages and regular sliced bread.

Californian
Californian
Mel had the very photogenic “Californian” which was eggs scrambled with tofu/veggies and I wanna say, ciabatta.

Ham and Brie Sandwich
Ham and Brie Sandwich
Hoi opted to go the sandwich route and hers was a delicious ham and cheese ciabatta thingy.

The Tunisian (SGD24?)
The Tunisian (SGD24?)
Amy, the last girlfriend standing, chose the “Tunisian” which was shaksuka.

Coffee was generally great and the ambiance was comfortably snobby.

All in all, Wild Honey is what I call a black hole of brunch. A somewhat unnecessary experience you keep getting sucked into.

Wild Honey at Scotts Square
333A Orchard Rd
238897
6235 3900

Croute

The Sardouuuu (20 bucks ish?)
The Sardouuuu (20 bucks ish?)

What:A lovely, lazy Western-ish brunch place in the middle of a not very beautiful mall.

Pros: The coffee is GREAT and their vibe, along with their very friendly and accommodating staff.

Cons: The food is actually a hit or miss, sometimes very good and sometimes very average. The sardou, pictured above, was a bit of both. As in amazing mushrooms/artichoke combo but kinda jelat spinach cream? But I’ve had better luck with their sandwiches and salads.

Verdict: Go alone and just get like a pastry/sandwich and a coffee and read one of the magazines they have laying around. It’s an amazing hangout place. But maybe bring your earphones. There are many children. MANY CHILDREN.

Details:
Croute
491 River Valley Road
#01-11/12
Valley Point Shopping Centre
Singapore 248371

Potato Head Folk

Our burgers and The Naughty Fries.
Our burgers and The Naughty Fries.

What: A Western (Aussie/American/British??) burger joint with some Asian touches.

Pros: HEARTY, tasty and very hip. Definitely have the Naughty Fries (SGD9)!

Cons: Lamentably slow service and pricey (SGD18-25 for the burgers – and they don’t come with sides).

Verdict: Visit them and enjoy the food but be very, very patient.

Details:
36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089143
6327 1939
Website