Posh Nosh

Stiratini Panini: Rusks that rock

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Nov 10, 2013

The Japanese were completely obsessed about rusks or twice-baked bread a couple of years ago, with long queues forming at department store food halls, or deparchika, for them.

You do not have to queue for these from Austria but they are worth getting.

Basically, they are rounds of bread with flavourings baked into them. Think of them as giant croutons. In this case, round bread rolls are split in half and then toasted.

What I like is that they are not hard. They break easily when you take a bite so there is no danger of losing teeth while snacking.

The Garlic & Parsley version is delicious, with just enough garlic to make things interesting. Be assured you will not have garlic breath after, unless you finish the whole packet.

The Olive Feta tastes more of olives than of the salty cheese but is still worth getting.

With cool weather the norm for now, these rusks are great dunked into hot soup.

Stiratini Panini, $3.50 for a 150g bag, from Cold Storage, 01-02 Cluny Court, tel: 6763-0815, open: 8.30am to 11pm daily


Fruit for meat

This bottle of marinade is so full of contradictions.

There's that sticker declaring "I'm vegan!" and then lower down, on the label, there's indication that it is "ideal with lamb & chicken".

What do these matter, since Fruity Marinade from Inapaarman's Kitchen can be used as a glaze for grilled skewers of firm tofu, or as the base for salad dressings.

Those of us who are not vegan will also find this handy for chicken and pork, no matter what the label says, since apricot and pineapple are great with both meats.

I marinate some chicken drummettes overnight with it and then stuff them in the oven at 180 deg C for about 25 minutes. The chicken emerges moist and juicy, and tastes mighty good. The apricot and pineapple lend sweetness and tamarind, a welcome tartness.

Those sticky wings do not last long.

Next project: pork collar.

Inapaarman's Kitchen Fruity Marinade, $9.90 for a 500ml bottle, from Tanglin Market Place, B1-02/03 Tanglin Mall, tel: 6734-0105, open: 9am to 10pm daily


Short and sweet treat

I have a friend who takes great delight in polishing off shortbread cookies with a cup of tea. It is a daily ritual for her, a little indulgence in the middle of a busy work day. This is not a bad thing to do. That break is restorative and fuels what is to come.

If you want to start this little ritual, you cannot go wrong with Shortbread House's mini shortbread cookies, flavoured with demerara sugar and cinnamon. The spice is very subtle, but what I really like are the crunchy grains of raw sugar. They add a deeper flavour to the cookies than would plain white sugar.

Shortbread House Demerara & Cinnamon Mini Biscuits, $8.80 for a 150g box, from Takashimaya Food Hall, B2 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, tel: 6738-1111, open: 10am to 9.30pm (Sundays to Thursdays), 10am to 10pm (Fridays and Saturdays)


Spot on sesame sables

If you prefer savoury as I do and would rather not have sweet shortbread cookies for tea, try these sesame sables from Nissin.

They are plain and hit the spot in so many ways. First, there is the startling and pleasing crispness.

Aromatic sesame seeds are everywhere in the cracker, making them very fragrant.

The sables hit the sweet spot between savoury and sweet so you can dunk them in milky tea or top them with cheese - both ways will make for equally good snacking.

Versatile biscuits like these are a must for stashing away in the office for when the munchies hit.

Nissin Sesame Sable, $2.80 for a 144g pack, from P3-12 Parco Marina Bay, Millenia Walk, tel: 6338-0045, open: 10.30am to 9.30pm daily