It has been a long time since I made a loaf of No-Knead Bread. I remember being obsessed with it when the New York Times ran the recipe for it in 2006. The recipe, which seems too easy to be workable, comes from Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City.
As the recipe says, there is no kneading. But there is plenty of waiting. That loaf of bread takes about 24 hours from start to finish, but most of that time is spent waiting for the dough to rise ever so slowly.
I always marvel at how a bad baker like me can turn out an artisanal-looking loaf with minimal fuss and just four ingredients: flour, salt, yeast and water.
If you have not tried it, now's the time.
Here is the recipe.
Before you start, read the follow-up, which gives good ideas for tweaks. For instance, you will need a lot more salt than the original recipe recommends.
If I had to choose one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be a no-brainer: Japanese. So I am always on the look out for good Japanese restaurants.
Tamaya Dining (45 Cuppage Terrace, tel: 6835-3539) has been around a while and I think regulars try to keep it a secret. I know of at least two Japanese sushi chefs here who go there on their days off, and other chefs do so too.
This chef magnet of a place is great. Omakase meals are $138, $170 and $200. The fish is of good quality, although you get better at the high end places. But I cannot afford to eat at Shinji, Hashida Sushi and Ashino often, so Tamaya offers great value.
I have a terrific meal there recently. Highlights include ankimo or monkfish liver in ponzu (above), sea urchin chawanmushi, terrific sashimi and grilled bonito.
How I wish I can keep this place a secret too but alas, it is my job to tell people about good restaurants. I hope you will like it as much as I do.
The number of people I know who shun wheat and gluten is stunning and I always think they are missing out on one of the joys in life: eating pasta.
Recently, a bunch of us renegades get together for a pasta cookout, using pasta from Rustichella d'Abruzzo, a brand you can find at Meidi-ya supermarket in Liang Court.
I love the Asian style pasta my friends whip up.
One version is a mix of regular and squid ink spaghetti over which dried, salted mullet roe, or karasumi, is grated. There is such a lot of umami from the roe.
There is also a chilli crab version with fusilli, which packs quite a lot of heat; and farfalle, or bowtie pasta, with kurobuta pork sausage.
The last one looks stunning. Squid ink spaghetti (above) is tossed with prawn oil then topped with tiny sakura ebi and bonito flakes.
It tastes as good as it looks. Trust me on this. Low carb? Bah.
THE REUNION: A FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Guest chefs come to Singapore all the time but often, they do not know the chefs they will be working with here or are not familiar with the ingredients we get here.
Sometimes, the pairings can be wonderful.
In The Reunion: A Foreign Exchange at Bacchanalia (39 HongKong Street, tel: 6509-1453) on Sept 18 and 19, head chef Ivan Brehm works with his old friend and fellow Fat Duck alumni Kim Ohman, who now heads Farang, a restaurant in Stockholm.
The two of them put out an eight-course dinner that knocked it out of the park.
Chef Ohman travels a lot in South-east Asia and knows the flavours well. His grilled lamb neck with black rice vinegar dressing, shiitake mushroom, roasted rice and Thai salad (above) is perfect, the mellow vinegar tying all the elements together.
Slices of duck breast with a sweet potato puree and salted egg from chef Brehm is familiar yet different. And what clever use of salted eggs.
When chefs of the same mind work together, magic happens.
Japanese restaurants have been sprouting up here like mushrooms after rain in the last few years. One of the latest imports is Butahage (02-32/33 Liang Court, tel: 6268-4821), which serves butadon, or pork over rice.
The brand is from Hokkaido and has more than 80 years of history.
Aside from snacks and side dishes, the restaurant serves just butadon.
I opt for the Premier Butadon set ($22.80) with 160g of pork over rice, a salad, miso soup and pickles. An onsen tamago add on costs $1.50.
The thickly-sliced pork has just enough fat to keep it tender, although a friend who has also eaten there had dry pork. Consistency plagues restaurants here, so I hope this one sorts its issues out soon.
However, I am happy with my meal. The runny egg yolk is delicious over rice and the secret sauce that is drizzled over the pork.
This place is perfect for a quick lunch.