Monthly Archives: August 2009

Keeping Wrinkles At Bay

September 1 marks a month to my next birthday, that annual event marking the passage of time and the appearance of another wrinkle (or laugh line). To counteract the negativity associated with aging, I have decided to look to desserts for the answer. Beginning tomorrow, Bon Vivant will feature a dessert a day for the whole month of September. Yup, that’s 30 desserts for my 30th birthday. It isn’t an overly excessive way to mark the years is it? After all, desserts are meant to beRead More >>

Cinnamon & Cinnamon

I’ve been wrapped in cinnamon for the past week as part of the BBA Challenge, so here’s a double-barreled post on Cinnamon buns and Cinnamon raisin walnut bread. Both breads were relatively easy to make (though not without their challenges, as described below), and surprisingly I was more fond of the raisin walnut bread than the cinnamon buns! Not much of a raisin-lover myself, I really enjoyed the little pockets of grape glucose that the raisins brought to the loaf, perfectlyRead More >>

Why Street Food Is Important

Laiola's heirloom tomato 'tomaquet' with grilled bread Last weekend, we took a leisurely drive to San Francisco for the city’s first ever Street Food Festival. Organized by La Cocina, a non-profit focused on developing ‘food entrepreneurs’, the event was part of the drive to raise awareness about street food culture and the challenges faced by vendors seeking legitimacy from the city. Reading about San Francisco’s complex and onerous maze ofRead More >>

Who Moved My….

…Quiche?! Until I met M, my consumption of French pastries and baked goods was limited to the croissants and fruit tarts from Delifrance which, although good, were a far cry from the flaky, delicious versions offered at your neighborhood boulangerie in France. All the same, I was content with the Singaporean versions of feuillette de poulet, pain au chocolat and a dizzying array of fruit tarts for breakfasts or lunch treats, but could never comprehend the Quiche. I mean, a savory tart?Read More >>

Peter Reinhart’s Ciabatta & A Recipe

Wet. Dough. Those two words pretty much sum up my weekend Ciabatta attempt in the latest installment of the BBA Challenge. I was excited enough about the recipe, with its wet and sticky dough to sink my fingers into and the adventure ahead as I tried to transform my ’50s gas transplant into a hearth oven as part of the quest for the perfect Ciabatta. Similar to the Artos celebration bread, Ciabatta-making begins with a Poolish or a Biga pre-ferment that is made a day ahead. With a busyRead More >>

Leek, Mushroom & Egg Linguine

Last night’s dinner was literally put together on the fly. It had been another hot day, M was away for work, I wasn’t in the mood to cook and even contemplated running out for a take-away. But time passed and soon, it was 7:30. Too late to drive out for food, or to concoct anything too time-consuming. With some freshly-plucked tomatoes pleading to be eaten, I had visions of a light linguine dish with garlic, cherry tomatoes, olive oil and a sprinkling of basil. Inspired, I preparedRead More >>

Meat On A Stick

August 9 was Singapore’s independence day, a day that usually passes like any other save for the three hours in the evening when everyone would tune into the live broadcast of the National Day Parade. An annual ritual, this prestigious event represents the culmination of a year of planning, rehearsals and an impressive feat of logistical coordination. It is, after all, Singapore’s moment to showcase what we’ve been up to in the past year, and no mis-steps are allowed. IRead More >>

The Post-Modern Challah

Following the last two enriched (and flavorful) breads in the BBA Challenge, the sixth bread in Peter Reinhart’s book brings us to the  Jewish celebratory bread, Challah. I had seen this braided, glistening loaf many times before at the bakery close to the office where I stopped to get coffee, wondering if I should get a slice of that brioche in the display, until I read its tag. Its unfamiliar name was enough to stop a pre-caffeinated me from expanding my standard breakfast choicesRead More >>

Chops & Sauce

Like most Chinese, I grew up on a diet that included pork prepared in a variety of ways; there was minced and lean pork with noodles, pork meatballs in porridge, pork ribs simmered in herbal soups, steamed with tofu, braised in soya sauce…and so on. While I loved these interpretations of the meat, there was only one that really got my heart – Deep Fried Pork Chops. Yup, you read that right. At this point (and after my professed love for mind-blowingly rich, heart-stoppingRead More >>

Casatiello, your Sandwich in a Slice

It has been way too long since my last post on the BBA Challenge with our summer holiday and jet-lag getting in the way. But I’m back now and raring to catch up with the rest of the bakers! To continue my scandalous love affair with the Brioche, Peter Reinhart brings us across the border into Italy for the Casatiello. Aptly describing it as a ‘savory Panettone’, this bread begins with a sponge starter (yeast, flour and milk) and finds its fulfilment with the addition of curedRead More >>

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