Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Tag Archives: walnuts

artichoke cafe + bar: Brunch!

It was about time that I popped by Artichoke again. It’s the rainy season, and the last I remembered, I left my umbrella at the restaurant. That was last November. I’ve gotten drenched more times than I care to remember since then.

No, I’m only joking. I missed the place, and going Food Geek-y chatting with Bjorn. I have been meaning to drop by for brunch before heading off to the cows in Switzerland for my summer study. Perhaps then I’ll finally get round to putting up recipes again. Who knows?

The last time I was at Artichoke for dinner, Bjorn brought out an unassuming slice of toast with a dollop of his homemade labneh (yoghurt and double cream) and drippy chunks of peach jam – one of the new products of his tinkerings in the kitchen. It was sensational, and I all but declared that such a beauty should only be savoured with a cup of strong, bitter coffee. You know, the perfect pairing for a brunch dish and that whole jazz.

Crunchy toast and sweet, syrupy jam to mellow out the tangy bite of the labneh. This was an unnamed, mysterious concoction that surprisingly worked. This is comfort food.

And then this was introduced proper to the brunch menu under an equally unassuming name of Cheese & Jam Toast ($14.00), and served up with a couple of slices of freshly made pita bread, and a thick slice of toasted sourdough. It was great, although less tangy than what I previously tried. Hopefully it’ll regain its kick. It’s a unique combination. Try it.

This is the Brunch Special ($24), also known as Artichoke’s take on the Ploughman’s Platter, with chicken terrine, labneh on the side, eggplant jam, homemade pickled vegetables, green olives, and thick slices of sourdough. It’s one of those iconic English dishes, so you can imagine that I was rather surprised seeing this among Artichoke’s Moorish influences.

I tell you, the chicken terrine is fantastic. It’s a lot lighter than most terrines, flaky, and certainly not mushy. It is seasoned perfectly with a dash of some spices for a beautiful fragrance. This isn’t pâté though, so while you should schmear some on a slice of bread, it is not going to spread like butter, but add a small bit of that sweet eggplant jam (I tasted the caramelized onions more than eggplant, so haters needn’t worry) and you’re good to go. This is essentially a cold dish, so if you’re hankering for one of those belly-warming brunch dishes that’ll send you back to bed right after you wake, you might want to consider their ever-popular scrambled eggs (with sides of mushrooms and feta cheese, or maple-glazed bacon chop, or Moroccan sausage).

Or you could check out the Ful.

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Dark Rye 35% with Raisins and Walnuts

It’s been far too long since anyone here has heard of anything popping out of my oven. The friends I meet during the week don’t count since they happily keep mum with all the bread I’ve been chucking at them.

Truth is, I haven’t had much inspiration for the stove. Life has been dull and uneventful, and I feared my food will turn out far from pretty. But see, I need my bread every day, even if I have to resort to spree-ing at Paul (post on that soon) so that I may have breakfast the next few days. I haven’t been home long enough to bake my favourite carbohydrate, let alone harbour thoughts of it. But finally, inevitably, tasting some of the loaves that Paul had to offer was the very reason why I got fed up and threw together a pre-ferment for home-made bread the next day.

Meet my Dark Rye version 3.0.

The first post I did on my Dark Rye was a 55% loaf (percentage of dark rye flour to total bread flour), was more earthy, tacky, dense, and took 40 minutes in the oven. I decided to give it multiple facelifts, finally refining it into what I think is the best dark rye loaf anyone could ask for: light, more nutty than earthy, studded with crunchy walnuts and sweet raisins, a killer crust, and took only 25 minutes to bake.

Of course, here’s the mandatory crumb shot:

I usually bake more than my family can finish in a week and give a couple of loaves away. But this, I’m not sharing. Unless you make a pilgrimage to my place where I’ll be smearing toasty slices with salted butter and sipping a good ol’ cup of coffee.

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Earl Grey and Lemon Cake

Earl Grey and Lemon Cake

It’s been raining, and as you’re reading this, you probably rolled your eyes because chances are, it’s still raining.

It rained continuously for 16 odd hours on Sunday, and I’m not counting in Saturday because it was a start-and-stop thing as if the sky thought it would be funny to sprinkle a little of this and that every now and then like Tinkerbell on crack. I spent the entire day frolicking around in the now severely eroded and muddied wreck that is Fort Canning Green at the Laneway Music Festival. I can’t imagine what it looks like now.

And since the sky didn’t look like it was going to let up (and it didn’t. Surprise!) I had to busy myself with other activities that didn’t involve my snuggly microfleece Uniqlo jacket, the blanket and the bed.

So I made a pot of tea, a delicately floral French Earl Grey, and I thought something was missing.

And so I made cake.

Not just cake to have with tea, but cake with tea, like tea in cake, because just cake and tea is boring. Read more of this post

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