My friends have come to visit me from a far away place. My friends here are the two crabs who are kind of tied up at the moment. In fact, they have been pretty tied up for quite a while already.
So now that they are here, I am wondering if I should have them stay for lunch or for dinner. Either way they would be my very important table guests each playing a very crucial role in ensuring my family’s happiness.
They are my son’s best friends, as he reminds me of them with his toy figurines at night when he has his playtime. I think my son would be very pleased that they have come to visit at our home.
I have given them the best pre-spa treatment in my family freezer and once they are ready, I will provide them a good body wash and it is off to the slimming sauna in the wok. Maybe a dash of herbal tonic and wines to add a little flavour. That’s it. No other special ingredient is needed.
Add half a bowl of water and turn the home-made sauna up to high heat and after 15 minutes later. The aroma; the fragrance – wow – it would be fabulous.
Dip them in the light tangerine sauce and enjoy a bowl of plain congee porridge. The experience would be worth every dollar.
I am sure every home cook would have come to this moment in their journey of self discovery as well as quest to cook every recipe there is in the world.
I have always wanted to Poach an egg the Julia Child way but I also realised that patience is a virtue that I lack when it comes to cooking. Mainly due to the fact that I don’t cook for pleasure but it is more like a functional need. So when the recipe calls for a poached egg, I got to do it the ho sim lang way with a lifehack.
So what I did was to crack a raw egg into a bowl with cling wrap placed on top. Then I would hold up the ends of the cling wrap and form a tiny package (photo right at the top of post).
Then using a makeshift sous vide device which is none other than a pot with boiling hot water (fire turn off) – I created a water bath for the tiny packages. Place them into the pot and allow the eggs to cook slowly. Turning on a heat would make the eggs cook faster than desired. So this is the best way.
So it sits there in the makeshift Jacuzzi until the time is right. I like this method of cooking because you can choose the level of doneness for the eggs. I like my eggs soft boiled so I took mine out rather quickly.
But if you prefer a nicely poached egg like those at the restaurants, then perhaps you might want to leave it there till the egg becomes a congealed parcel of goodness, with it golden butter encased and protected until the time for it to be revealed.
I placed mine on the Ragu Pasta I cooked yesterday night and interestingly it is like the beautiful sunset with the white resembling a drifting cloud.
I wasn’t sure if I was saveuring the simplicity in the art or the art of simplicity. In more ways than one, Saveur Art as a restaurant is truly a pleasant dining experience. Discrete and notably classy, so different from the many restaurants that tries its best to impress the discerning customer.
The nicely done medium Australian Angus Bavette was served with delicious mash potato and pickled red wine onions. The meal was executed with a technical excellence that only an expert with meats would understand. Simple and absolutely enjoyable. None of the frills of seasonal vegetables as accompaniment.
Maybe it was because it was located in a rather atas place at the iconic ION Orchard (level 4). Or maybe they already decided to set a different experience for their customers, slightly different from their small chain of simple but fantastic French cuisine.
I ordered the pumpkin soup for starters and I must say it was a welcome surprise with bespoke foam of some sort and a hint of spice. The soup was very smooth and savory, and we all loved it. It kind of reminded me of roasted pumpkin soup but this one tasted really good.
We loved mushrooms, so we ordered a serving of the sauteed forest mushrooms. It was an acquired taste for the family though, as we were usually familiar with the few varitel types like button, oyster and portobello. So the selection of mushrooms served at Saveur Art took a little getting used to. And as the name suggests, the selection had a deep earthy taste. I like mushrooms so it didn’t bother me all that much but my wife skipped it altogether.
Service-wise, the staffs were discrete and understood service and that meant a lot to me since we eat out quite a fair bit. Two thumbs up for me. I would definitely revisit and try something else, but the Angus holds dear to my heart.
The ubiquitous french toast, now existing everywhere across the island. It is an almost existential experience as we eat, we are also one in our experience.
Here’s my quick and dirty rendition of the classic french toast. Simple, and easy to make. No great mysterious ingredient, just everyday items you would find in your well-stocked kitchen.
The recipe makes for two slices of french toast, and if you wanna save money and make another two, you might as well be pushing it. Best recommendation is to double the portion of ingredients.
Nevertheless, I tried to push it. Double the output with the same input of ingredients. Kind of sound like any government’s push for productivity. Or management’s desire to derive more from using the same factors of production.
That said, there was no evil intention here I assure you. The recipe makes two slices of french toast for one person, and there was just enough mixture leftover. Not wanting to waste it, I decided to make two additional toasts. But the after effects is just terrible. The two best toasts were the first two.
Case in point. Don’t be stingy.
For those of you that need to have visuals, here’s a pretty good YouTube video to glean off.
How to Make Quick French Toast:
Ignore her and follow my recipe.
1/4 cup of milk
2 slices of any kind of bread
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp dark brown sugar
1. Break the egg into a mixing bowl and whisk slightly with a fork. Add a quarter cup of milk and continue whisking.
2. Once the mixture is ready, dip the bread slices into the mixture, and soak it for a few seconds.
3. The butter in the pan must be on low fire, make sure it doesn’t burn. Place the slices in the pan and let it cook. It should brown like the picture above and you can eat.
4. With the dark brown sugar, mix with some hot water until it becomes a thick sugar syrup. Drizzle over the toast and it is fantastic.
This is a French classic that I have always watched Anthony Bourdain time and again prepare in his usual haphazard manner on board a boat floating in the middle of nowhere. It was in one of his shows, I think either No Reservations or Parts Unknown. I can’t remember.
Anyway, so I decided that I would scour the web for the best Coq Au Vin recipe that I can find and finally decided to try this particular one on YouTube.
I think the recipe rocks.
Here’s the YouTube video link in case you want to try.
If you’re thinking of doing it, then here’s a localised recipe that you can try based on the YouTube video.
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
100 grams Streaky Bacon
4 Chicken Drums with Thighs
1 Yellow Onion
2 Punnets of White Button Mushrooms
6 cloves of Garlic
Half Bottle of Red Wine
1 packet of Fresh Thyme
1 Cup of Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp of Plain Flour
1 Tbsp of Butter
1. Add olive oil into an oven safe pot or Dutch oven as the video suggests, but any pot that can be placed in an oven is good enough, no need to buy that expensive pot. Of course, if you have that pot, then it is good because cooking in it will make your meals taste fantastic. Well, I don’t know actually.
2. Slice the Streaky Bacon into small pieces and then fry the bacon in the pot over medium heat. Fry until bacon is crispy and the oil has been infused with the saltiness of the bacon.
3. Turn off the fire and remove the bacon with a slotted spoon or in my case, I used a wire mesh scoop. You can use anything actually as long as you can separate the bacon from the oil in the pot.
4. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and as soon as you have done that, quickly place the chicken pieces into the pot to fry. Do this until the chicken pieces are gold brown and crispy.
5. Once the chicken pieces are browned, take them out and place aside.
6. Dice the yellow onion and then fry it in the pot at medium heat. Then chop the carrots into one inch pieces and add to the pot to cook as well. Add the quartered mushrooms into the pot. Then smash 6 cloves of garlic and add into the pot to fry.
7. Pour in half a bottle of red wine. You can use any type of red wine. I use Cabernet Sauvignon.
8. Add back in the bacon bits. Stir thoroughly.
9. Now add the chicken pieces back into the stew. Add the whole packet of Thyme and drizzle in the cup of chicken stock.
10. Pre-heat your oven to fan mode at 180 degrees. Then place the entire pot into the oven with lid on and bake for 45 minutes.
11. After 45 minutes, take the pot out and continue to cook under medium heat and pour the beurre manie paste into the stew. This will thicken the stew a little into a sauce.
12. Preparing the Beurre Manie is simple. It is actually a combination of 1 Tbsp plain flour and 1 Tbsp butter. Simple. Stir the two ingredients into a paste and it is ready to be mixed.
“Boeuf bourguignon, French beef stew in red wine..” Says Julia Child, one of the most inspiring cooks (home cooks) that ever lived. She represents to me hope that anyone can take mastery of their kitchen and cook up awesome French cuisine from the comforts of their humble home.
Julia to me personifies French cooking for servant-less home cooks. A socially awkward lady yet adventurous and passionate in her craft, her example inspired many to try, fail and subsequently succeed in following her footsteps.
Maybe I might eventually do all the recipes that she has in her book. Well we shall see.
Julia Child – Boeuf Bourguignon
For this classic, I would usually take reference from her YouTube video and then make up as we go along. Some of the ingredients are not locally available but the spirit of Julia is always to make do with what you have.
I had fun making this dish my own, and I have been making it my own way for a while now and getting the same awesome results each time. I hope it will be the same experience for you as well. I don’t use the oven as the recipe calls for it, but I use a gas stove to cook the beef.
Recipe – serving for 4
Beef cubes (for making stew) 750 grams
Streaky bacon (ask for more fat) 50 grams
Garlic 10 wedges, 4 to minced, 6 to braise
Yellow onions (medium) 2 whole
Tomato paste 3 tablespoons
White button mushrooms 15 pieces
White onions (small) 15 bulbs
Carrots 2 whole
Thyme 5-6 sprigs
Bay leaf 2-3 leaves
Olive oil 2 tablespoons
Red wine 750 ml
Beef stock 4 cups
Salted butter 250 grams p
1. Add oil to a large pot. Heat till slightly smoking. Add sliced bacon to fry til crispy. This is to extract the fat from the bacon and saltiness.
2. Remove bacon and discard. Add beef cubes and sear beef till brown. The key is not to crowd the base of the pot or they won’t brown. Once done, remove from pot to allow the beef to rest.
3. Add minced garlic to pot and fry till fragrant. Then add chopped onions to fry until soft. Then add beef cubes into the pot. Now pour in the beef stock about 2 cups. Add the red wine about half a bottle. Add thyme, bay leaf, tomato paste and continue to stir. Add carrots, remaining garlic. Continue to cook at high heat.
4. In another pot fry the mushroom in salted butter and olive oil mixed. Fry until mushrooms are slightly brown. Reserve the mushroom aside and continue to cook the white onions in salted butter and olive oil. Cook until onions are soft.
5. Once the beef is sufficiently cooked and tender. Combine the mushrooms and onions together. Serve with baguette or steamed rice.