I am lucky to have friends who cook and one of them gives me some of her seriously good otah one day.
The banana-leaf-wrapped parcels are packed with fish and prawns and the kaffir lime leaves in the spice paste really stand out. What fragrant otah this is.
Although she says to eat them with rice, I have them in sandwiches instead, with thinly sliced rounds of cucumber. Delicious.
I must ask her for the recipe and make my own.
If your idea of tomato soup involves opening a can, well, you need to get out of that rut.
Try the tangy tomato soup ($9) at Brunetti (01-35 Tanglin Mall, tel: 6733-9088).
It is obviously not from a can, which is a relief; and its brightness is just what I need on a hazy day. In fact, it reminds me of summer and blue skies.
It is so peppy that I don't go back to the office in a food coma after lunch. Another reason to love this soup.
MAKING LIKE A COUCH POTATO
When I can, I try and give myself a break on Sundays. That means a good sleep in, no running errands or doing chores, and no eating out.
Recently, I spend a Sunday afternoon sacked out on the couch, watching television and chilling out. My companions, a bowl of strawberries, the season's last I am sure, grapes and some popcorn.
So often, I spend my days running around like a headless chicken. It's a relief to be able to stop sometimes.
BANANA LEAF DINNER
Eating off a banana leaf is something I'll never tire of. The aroma of the leaf perks me up immmediately.
So when a friend suggests dinner at Sakunthala's Food Palace (66 Race Course Road, tel: 6293-6649) I start salivating in anticipation.
The fish head curry ($24 for small) gravy has slices of lemon in it, and I love eating the slices, skin and all. However, on this visit, the fish head can be more fresh. Let's hope the kitchen gets its act together soon.
Two other dishes save the meal: Paneer Makhni ($8), cubes of cheese cooked in a buttery tomato sauce, and Bitter Gourd Fry ($7), slices of bittergourd, seeds and all, coated lightly in a spicy batter and deep fried.
That luscious makhni gravy is perfect with basmati rice. Bittergourd is hard to love but I'll eat loads of it cooked this way.
UPSCALE FOOD COURT
Food courts, to me, are places to get a quick meal before or after a movie. The standard of food in these places is quite woeful so I try and avoid them as much as possible. I prefer going to a hawker centre any day.
However, Essen At The Pinnacle (01-01, 1 Cantonment Road) is not like any food court I have ever been too. It looks like a beer hall, with solid wood tables and chairs, high ceilings and interesting stalls.
I visit the place recently for lunch at Garcons, which serves French food.
The standout of the meal is the 12-hour Belly Of Pork ($16.90), the skin crisp and the meat just tender enough without being mushy. It is a comforting plate of food. The mashed potatoes are perfectly seasoned and the mesclun salad ensures I get my obligatory fibre.
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