Crunchy Bottoms

Striking the caloric balance. Barely.

Tag Archives: eggs

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.

Read more of this post

Hatched

Hatched

I do plenty of silly things now and then, and lately, I’ve run out of excuses for the mindless things I’ve done.  It’s like there’s some missing link between my thought processes that my brain just skips without realising.

I have no excuse for dining at an egg-inspired all-breakfast place and not ordering anything to do with eggs.

Really. Don’t bother waiting for my explanation because I have none.

I wasn’t thinking. (Haven’t been doing that for a while, and…wait, is that considered an excuse? Shrugs.)

So I returned to Hatched to redeem myself. Read more of this post

Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki

It’s been a while since I’ve made this.

Can anything be simpler? Well besides an omelette. But where’s the fun in that?

I wasn’t looking for a quick egg fix. Trust me to make what could have been a five minute crack-beat-salt-pepper-pour-and-cook process into something long-winded but I needed something to nibble on, and my notes weren’t exactly very tasty. I tried.

I wanted sushi, but as much as I always have some odds and ends (I occasionally find things like squares of Godiva and packets of Toggis squirreled away at the back of the fridge, I might find the Templar treasure there someday) I didn’t have sushi. I mean, not that I made sushi in the end or anything, but this was close, just without the rice. And the adorable belt of seaweed.

There are plenty of people who can’t stand this sweet omelette, and that’s why they’re my friends. I’m there to put them out of their misery and administer instant relief. The things that they push around on their plates in disgust are those I gobble up. My presence is always valued since I eat everything they’d rather see incinerated and the ashes scattered into the wind. Ok, I apologise, Martyr Syndrome, gotta feel like I can save people because I can’t save my grades.

Anyway, I’ll get back to what drove me to roll around eggs in a pan (charming, isn’t it?). If you’re feeling as peckish as I am, caffeine running through your veins and the ends of your pens gnarly and twisted from all that gnawing in frustration, make some sweet Tamagoyaki nibblets. Omnomnomnom.

Now go.

And stop chewing on your stationery.

Same goes for you Christine
Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki

I do not possess saintly egg-rolling skills and can never fathom how those in restaurants and supermarkets get so fluffy and perfectly yellow. It takes practice but the outcome’s always a treat to eat. Keep your stove heat on low and be patient. I wasn’t, which explains the slightly overcooked, browned bits in my tamagoyaki, but they’re yummo anyway. Here’s a video to inspire, if not send you into spasming awe, of a master chef in action.

Makes 10-11 slices

Equipment:

1 sushi rolling mat.

1 rectangular tamagoyaki frying pan. (I used a pan about 7 x 6 x 1 inches. I think Daiso probably has smaller ones.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp japanese light soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs dashi stock*

Directions:

1. Have ready a small sauceplate of oil and a brush or a piece of kitchen towel soaked lightly in oil.

2. Have your pan heated up on low heat and brush it with a little oil.

3. Beat all the ingredients together with a fork or chopsticks, but not too vigorously to prevent formation of bubbles.

4. Pour about 3-4 tablespoons of the egg mixture into the pan, just enough to coat the bottom in a thin layer while rotating the pan. When it looks set but not runny, roll it up with a pair of chopsticks or a spatula to one side of the pan. Try to get it as compacted as possible like so:

 

Rolled to one side.

6. Brush the exposed side of the pan with a little oil and repeat the pouring process, lifting the bottom of the rolled up egg to allow the new layer to coat the bottom so that it adheres to it.

7. Once the layer looks set, roll the cooked egg to the other side and repeat the entire process until you’re out of the mixture.

8. Once done, tip the tamagoyaki onto a sushi mat and roll it up firmly, securing it with a couple of rubber bands and placing is on a ventilated surface to prevent condensation (a plate or wire rack works fine). Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before placing it into the fridge to chill it or to slice and nibble immediately.

 

Sushi Mat

Notes: *The dashi stock I have at home is in powder form. I mix about 1/4 tsp of dashi concentrate with 3 tbs of water. If you don’t have dashi stock, simply substitute it with water. It’s not all that crucial.

Cafe Hacienda

 

Cafe Hacienda

 

In a direct one-eighty to the Choupinette post I put up a while back, I’m embarrassed (well, a little) to admit that yes, I’ve been brunch-ing far more frequently than I would normally and that I will now openly declare that I’m brunching as opposed to just having a late breakfast. It sends a chill up my spine that I realise that I don’t think I can return to that normalcy. I’m afraid, very afraid.

The thrill of finding an awesome brunch place now supercedes the steady thinning of my wallet.

Well almost.

See, the novelty of doing something unconventional (like having brunch dishes at 4pm, brunch-ing on a weekday before class, playing with Google Man to find brunch places..) will never wear out as long as this idea of brunch is still shiny and new to me.

And as long as I keep chancing across gems like Cafe Hacienda, nestled in the lush foliage of Dempsey Hill, all peaceful and warm and blissful and cozy and empty during weekdays and with killer Eggs Benedict…

I’m saying tata to breakfasts and lunches.

 

Interior

 

All-day breakfast and brunch places are sprouting up all over the island, and while Café Hacienda’s brunch and breakfast spread of waffles, egg dishes and pastries aren’t going to win an award for variety, it is much appreciated and admirable that they make up for the lack by executing the few that they have to offer fantastically. Now that’s reliability – doing one thing right and well each time without fail, namely, their Eggs Benedict.  Read more of this post

Choupinette

Choupinette

I’ve never been a brunch person.

At least not intentionally because, I mean, can I be blamed if I sleep in and have breakfast at 10-11am? I still consider that breakfast, by the way. Feel free to contend with me on what you’d like to call a meal at that time. I thrive on confrontation.

Meals, to me, are the fundamental three: Breakfast, Lunch and then Dinner.

Anything else in between is subject to preferential labeling. Brunch, tea, lunchner, dinch (you know, since breakfast + lunch = brunch. Therefore lunch + dinner = lunchner/ dinch), dinper, supner. Whatever.

I don’t care what time I’m eating something at, because regardless of how school life has been granting me only lunchners and supners, the only and important fact to me remains: I’m eating.

‘Nuff said.

Yet this was a planned brunch. Afternoon classes make certain of that. And have I mentioned how there should be more weekday French brunch places to cater for the increasingly prominent crowd of late-rising tertiary zombies? Oh any kind of brunch place is fine. But I’ll be a regular at any French cafe. Give me a piping hot croissant anytime and you’ll seal the deal. Read more of this post