Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Roasted Bell Peppers and Bacon Risotto

Roasted Bell Peppers and Bacon Risotto

I have never had authentic Italian risotto. 

There, I’ve gone and said it. 

I have this staunch principle, where I will not  – even at gunpoint – recreate something that I’ve never tasted before, because I have no idea what the standard or benchmark is, so I’ll never know if what I’ve concocted is authentic, bona fide, genuinely true to the dish’s traditional taste and texture. Like how I’ve sworn not to bake macarons till I’ve had one. And I have. But I still won’t make those little baking devils because I’ve never had one made from Pierre Herme’s shop in Paris because those are the macarons to have in one’s lifetime. 

I don’t feel qualified somehow, as though I’m some deluded housewife (which I am not and will never be, so call me one and I will end you) desperate to experience some form of life outside of the four walls of the home she’s bound to, even if that means cooking up some pseudo curry from a recipe that the neighbour’s German wife swears by just for a flickering glimpse of what India is like beyond her seat beside the baby’s rocking cradle. 

Oh my, don’t I feel all poetic now.  Read more of this post

D’Pastry Durian Puff

Durian Puff (6 for $3.50)

If there was anyone to blame for this, it’s not me.

It’s all my driving instructor’s fault.

I wouldn’t have seen D’Pastry if he hadn’t chosen that particular stretch of road along Ubi Avenue 2 to make me do a U-turn at. And of all the U-turns in Singapore, he had to choose this one which allows for U-turns only every two minutes or so and where cars crawl along at a snail’s pace. So if you expect me to keep my eyes only on the bumper of the car in front of me for the whole ten minutes of waiting to U-turn, you’re car-honking nuts.

Somehow, from my tiny seat in the car and while trying not to doze off at the wheel, I managed to make out that they sold ‘Durian Puffs’.

If only you saw the way I jolted upright in my seat, ready to abandon the vehicle and dash across the road. For the rest of the drive, I was chewing on my lower lip, jittery and anxious to the extent that I was surprised I didn’t start convulsing behind the wheel from the mere thought of durian. Read more of this post

Imperial Treasure Dim Sum

Siew Mai ($4.00)

If I eat one more sweet thing, my entire stomach will spontaneously crawl up my oesophagus.

And being in this state, I’m reminded of the dim sum lunch I had with Gushi last Friday after my SMU interview at 8.15am in the godforsaken morning. Maybe I should resume this post once I’ve chugged-a-lug of seawater (I somehow see salty as the opposite of sweet), or I might just chomp a hole in my computer screen for a taste of pixelated siew mais. I’ll take a megabyte (I’m sorry, I just had to). 

We’ve been dying to have dim sum since…I don’t know when. All I know is that we’ve been dying. Yes. And my last dim sum meal at Crystal Jade at Toa Payoh with my family was such a let down that I would never want to eat at Crystal Jade ever again unless it’s someone’s treat. That and if I’m spending over $10 on a meal, I want it to be good. My emptying wallet demands it and I’m not getting fat on lousy food. 

Read more of this post

Squid Ink Ramen

Squid Ink Ramen

I have a morbid fascination for black food. If it’s black, I want it and I don’t care if I can’t even pronounce three syllables of it. And if it’s black because it’s been stained by squid ink, even better!

Told you I’d take a pretty picture.

I took a good long time deciding how I was going to eat this, and because I wanted to be able to taste every nuance in the strands, I thought eating it cold would be best. This tasted just like regular egg ramen, and even better with the slgihtly spicy shio (salt) seasoning it came with. And this was only half of the portion from a packet from Isetan. I guess I really don’t eat much when I cook for myself.

And Adam, yes, this was my simple ramen lunch before I met you guys at the studio and drowned you with cookies. XD

I haven’t had maggie mee in years, and now I’ve upgraded to ramen. I don’t know when I’ve become such a snob. Yea I see your everlasting support of me, Ashley. Our level of snobbery will soar to greater heights. Well it’s burning a hole in my pocket. Psh.

I haven’t seen squid ink ramen in regular supermarkets, although the cooking method is the same.

I find it interesting what writer’s block does to different individuals. For my case, it makes me cranky and I feel like gnawing my finger off. Or having that last half of squid ink ramen…

Macadamia & Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Macadamia & Chocolate Chunk Cookies

There will not be a recipe or post for The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies on my blog, ever. 

No chocolate chip brownies, no chocolate chip ice cream, no chocolate chip cake, souffle, pie, tart, cupcake, muffin, cheesecake, gratin, pasta, pizza, ramen, soba, udon… 

I’ve sworn off them. 

Why? 

Because they are ridiculously expensive for chocolates and are never of as good a quality as your bar of Cadbury. And for someone who doesn’t fancy cadbury, that is saying something. 

There will be, however, a recipe for The Best Chocolate Chunk Cookies and etc. 

I don’t care for chips. I want chunks. I want bold, obscenely sized, oozing lumps of chocolate in my cookies. None of those homogenous, wussy little clones because the good ones are pricey, and the cheap ones make me wonder why I didn’t buy a slab of Cadbury, or Van Houten, or Tudor Gold, or Lindt instead and hacked it up with a knife with enough gusto to make a butcher proud. 

Which is what I’ve been doing, and will be doing from now on. 

Have you seen the prices of those bars when NTUC, Cold Storage, Carrefour have them on offer? I could buy two of those 200g bars and I’d only get 300g worth of chocolate chips for the same price. The best I’ve seen was a 200g Van Houten hazelnut bar going for $2.60, which I used for this batch of cookies. 

If you’re like me who hasn’t wandered down the candy and chocolate aisle in the supermarket in ages for whatever reason, you probably should (with only the objective of purchasing baking chocolate in mind). Read more of this post

Ciabatta!

 

Ciabatta

 

During Chinese New Year, I fed my cousin a couple of slices of toasted home-made bread with smoked ham, gouda cheese and a squirt of honey mustard. He complained that it was too holey and light – hardly filling at all. It was good, he said, but the lobangs were too big. And that’s all the feedback I got, not that I expected or wanted any.

You would probably infer then, that I don’t take feedback well.

If anything, I would seem to do the exact opposite with unrestrained vigor, refusing to consider kind advice, or perhaps intentionally mocking constructive criticism.

I see you frowning in confusion. Let’s clear up some things shall we?

1. I respond well to feedback.

2. While I absolutely adore feedback, I don’t care what you say, and I sure won’t give a flying rat’s ass if you tell me you don’t like your bread to resemble the remnants of a thoroughly pilfered, eroded excavation site.

You want holes the size of single-celled organisms? Grab the loaf of Gardenia from the supermarket next time.

Anyone who eats my bread will observe, with deep reverence, the First Commandment of Christine’s Home-made Bread:

Honour the lobangs of thy holey bread, for it is them which contain heavenly reservoirs of salted butter, melted cheese, golden olive oil and smoky ham, and you will receive the gift of gastronomic paradise.

End satire.

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.

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You have no idea how thrilled I was when I sliced the loaves open. *Squeeee!!* Read more of this post

The Handburger

The Handburger

The first thing that struck me when I surveyed the restaurant after sitting down on one of its canteen-like benches was the sheer irony of its name. 

See, I’d expected patrons to be eating with their hands, regardless of this being a gourmet burger joint or not because in my opinion, by integrity of the act of eating burgers alone, one is expected to exercise the use of hands at some point. So the pun in its name really has no more of a purpose other than to draw out the bizarre incongruity between it and the actual dining experience. 

Because no one was using their hands at all. Not a person in sight. 

Mind-boggling, I know. 

But your initial bewilderment will soon dissolve into a sort of amused enlightenment, an ‘Aha!’ moment, as Oprah would say, because the burgers bear as little resemblance to actual burgers as opposed to mini replicas of leaning towers of Pisas…which I found absolutely adorable. 

I find paradoxes, oxymorons and juxtapositions adorable. They tickle me. 

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone then, that I just had to order the tallest, most ambitious of them all. Read more of this post

Want cheap ramen?

A noodle spree cannot be styled into a classy picture. Period.

Forget about my hunt for Singapore’s best ramen.

Why spend an average of $15 in one sitting, to pick out the subjective best from what seems to be dozens of new ramen joints flowering up all over the country, to guzzle high sodium, fat-saturated soups and slurp up ramen portions which are clearly out of my league? And they seem to all be, to quote Anthony Bourdain, “A hideous, generic sprawl of soul-destroying sameness”.

If I want to find the Best _______ (insert appropriate latest food fad), I’m not about to sacrifice my health thank you very much.

But that isn’t to say I’m never eating ramen out ever again, only that I’ll do so when I feel like it. And hey, if I happen to stumble across the ramen that blows my socks off to the Land Of The Rising Sun, well good for me. I’ll be sure to let you know all about it.  

In the meantime, I think my current ramen, udon, soba windfall from Scotts Isetan on Saturday should tide me over till my future fateful encounter.

Read more of this post

Spoilers

Canele Macarons

I’m spoilt.

I’m spoilt by everyone around me.

I spoil.

I spoil everyone around me.

So I suppose that means we’re all even then.

We’re all Spoilers, on top of being Snobs.

I’d like things to stay that way.

(Funny how using the same word repeatedly makes the word itself look and sound strange and foreign suddenly. Try it.)

Ash came back from Perth, and I got soft, gooey nougats.

Gushi came back from Sydney, and I got liquor chocolates.

I voiced the thought to Gushi of never having a single macaron in my entire life and I wanted one.

I got six. From Canele.

Read more of this post

Oh yeasty goodness

Now look what I’ve done.

I started this on Saturday, and popped it in the oven today. Richard Bertinet wasn’t kidding when he said that longer fermentations and rising times produce a gorgeous rusty-red crust, full-bodied flavour and the slightest nutty sweetness. Oh my lordie. I could have an entire loaf as a snack, or perhaps all three. I hadn’t planned on taking a span of 3 days to bake this, but I’m glad I did. Now I only wished I had doubled the batch. Half of it’s gone already.

And of course my shaping leaves much to be desired. They’re suppose to look like baguettes but ended up mangled. Tsk.

That wasn’t all that I made with the dough though (say that ten times fast!). I could jump around the house in joy, bouncing off the walls like a chimpanzee on crack and red bull both at once because I thought three baguettes would satisfy the family enough, so I took the last ball of dough and made this: Read more of this post