Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Dark Rye Bread with Raisins

Dark Rye Bread with Raisins

My first introduction to rye breads came in the form of pumpernickel bread, those dark brown, unimaginably dense bricks (not loaves) of bread made with coarsely ground rye grains and rye berries. I hardly think of them as bread. In fact, I placed my mug of iced tea on a slice lying on the table thinking that it was a coaster, and it was only after my mom picked up another hefty slice to slap me away – I suffered oblong bruises – that I realised I just ruined her snack.

I didn’t take to pumpernickel very well. The musky earthiness, sweet-sour tang, grainy bits and coarse texture made me feel like I was gnawing on rabbit food. Suffice to say, dark rye breads didn’t get much of my attention as well.

And then I started getting my bread geek on, and all of a sudden, I saw how unearthly beautiful the dark rye fissures in a misty blanket of white looked on the loaves I saw occasionally in Cold Storage or Carrefour. I wanted them. I wanted to craft those crevices.

And then, I couldn’t find dark rye flour (because what demented person would want to bake artisanal breads at home? I mean, sheesh!).

Dark fissures.

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Fosters – High Tea

Fosters

If there’s anything the past 8 months or so of my life has taught me, it’s that Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are non-obligatory meals. It’s true! I have my own theory why those are the main meals of the day, the ones that people focus on, the ones that dieticians reiterate must be taken at regular timings for a healthy system: Most people get hungry every 3-4 hours.

But then there are those that do every couple of hours or so – or are just eating every couple of hours, hungry or not – and if creating a few additional fancy-named mealtimes is the solution, then so be it.

And so you have Brunch, High Tea, Low Tea (not joking), Supper, Elevenses, and Second Breakfasts…

In essence, they just all mean one thing: I eat whenever I want.

That whole ‘eat 4-5 small meals a day’ advice? Psh! People have been doing it for centuries! About time we realised it’s good for our digestive health.

Devonshire Cream Tea Set ($10.50)

So I had Tea at Fosters the other day. I’m not going to bother differentiating High Teas and Low Teas because that’s just tedious. If I’m having a pot of Ceylon, buttery warm scones with jam and cream, regardless of the time of the day, I’m calling it Tea.

But of course Fosters begin their Devonshire Cream Tea Set from 3-6pm, so an exercise of patience was in order.

I’m not entirely sure how the English have their proper teas, but I suppose Fosters would be the closest with its Old English charm, high-backed armchairs, whimsical candelabras and the lone suit of armour in a corner. Nevermind that you have a backdrop of lush tropical vines and creepers out front, because the lazy sunlight filtering through the slated rooftop crafts that perfect teatime haze to go with your mid-afternoon lull. Read more of this post

Bistro du Vin #2

Bistro du Vin!

I used to shun set lunches like Singaporeans shun the sun (say that ten times fast). I mean, nondescript “Soup of The Day”s, “Garden Salad”s, and “Dessert of The Day”s? You get what they’re trying to do after a while – Cost cutting. You know, things that the chef or the kitchen needs to be rid of in a manner to avoid any wastage. Isn’t it perfect then, to feed the sorry souls hungry for a break from sitting at the desk who brighten up at the mere thought of a ‘3-course set-lunch’ the chowder from yesterday’s dinner rush, and a fritatta of last night’s leftovers?

Oh lordie, am I jaded much?

Right, enough of the mopey grousing over all the times I’ve been hoodwinked into forking out cash for crummy food. I should make it clear though, this does not mean I condone the fact that just because it is a set lunch and not an à la carte order for lunch/dinner, it is an excuse for serving less-than-excellent food. Nuh uh.

That being said, I declare that I am now a convert.

I now order set lunches with wild abandon. So shoot me.

Interior. Complimentary bread.

Bistro du Vin swept me away from my first visit about half a year back. It was dinner that I had then, and their rendition of the timeless Duck Leg Confit (confit de canard) had me weeping at the table with how delicately it literally melted off the bone, yielding to barely a prod of a knife, and had skin so fine and thin and crackly it was like a single, most intense moment of self-revelation – that it put the french in French cooking that I’d never realised before.

So then I heard that they offer equally, if not better, 3-course set lunches at $30++ that could potentially make me burst into tears, I had to go. I needed a good cry.

Salmon Trout Gravadlax with Dill, Citrus and Radish.

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Caramelized Onions and Bacon Pasta

Caramelized Onions and Bacon Pasta

I’ve been having something of a writer’s block lately. It’s crippling. There’s nothing worse than a backlog of posts and pictures to share of what I’ve been gorging myself with the past couple of weeks to remind me just how bad things can get when my muse runs out the door. But nevermind that, because here’s what I gorged myself with for lunch on Tuesday.

Eggggg.

Old as it may sound, the fancy meals I sometimes (ahem..rarely) whip up are because there’s some kind of complaint in the household. I don’t cook for myself, in fact, you don’t want to know the kinds of things I eat if I’m left to fend for myself for a meal. So it’s only when there’s some potential disharmony brewing under the roof, you know, things like “Why are we having boring steamed chicken again?”, “Can have some else or not ahhhhhhh”, or perhaps “I want pasta but I don’t want this kind of pasta” (and one is supposed to practice some form of divination to figure out what pasta the brother wants, or better yet, what he doesn’t know he wants but will like) But no matter. If there’s anything that will always be a crowd pleaser, it’s the coupling of caramelized onions and crisp bacon. ‘Nuf said.  Read more of this post