I’ve just had a pigfest over the weekend – ribs (barbecued and in soup), pork knuckles (broiled and braised) – and it feels like time for some sort of detoxification.
and this place would do me just great right now, except for the fact that it’s just as wallet-detoxifying as it is body-detoxifying. the acai is a superberry made famous years ago by oprah and only now on our shores, supposedly filled with so many nutrients it can make you fly (certainly because your wallet won’t be weighing you down no longer after a serving of this).
this place is what I would term teenage-hobo-expat-ish, which is to say it is high on aesthetics, high on branding and trendiness, and high on prices. the acai comes as a frozen slush under a prettily-arranged smattering of fruit, topped with honey and the like.
and while I may have gripes about the price – this is probably my newest favorite vice. the slush is cold and refreshing on a blistering day, the bare sweetness of the slush makes it feel positively healthful, and that array of fruit on the top sure makes one cheerful.
I like the original holland village outlet, which is a wood-filled space that fills with brilliant sunlight in the day – but you can get it more conveniently at the basement level of the ngee ann city shopping mall.
27 Lorong Liput, Holland Village
tel +65 6463 1957
$$$: the largest size, which is perhaps just a little more than a greedy person might want, goes almost to a pretty twenty dollars
HEAD’S UP if you’re a londoner – or will be in london come october – and love food fests: I have a giveaway happening later today!
let’s start by saying that this loaf is gorgeous. the loaf is a deep golden outside, and the most brilliant pastel green withine green, the icing is a brilliant white cover holding a sprinkle of green pepitas in place.
there isn’t any added fat in this recipe – it’s essentially a pound cake with the butter replaced by a fair amount of mashed avocado (rather deservedly termed nature’s butter) and with only four ingredients to it, it’s an easy task to churn this one out in an hour (and most of that’s spent baking, what’s more). if you’ve ever made a fat-free banana bread, the texture of this one will be pretty familiar – it’s got the sturdiness of a quickbread and a rather elastic crumb, and makes for a heck of a great tea accompainment.
the heat is getting truly insufferable in singapore – but the good thing is it heralds the start of the tropical fruit season.
I’m not one for much durian – it’s a little too rich for more than a seed or two at a go – but I do get my (small) share when the season comes around. what I like about the whole durian exercise is that it’s a family thing – and those stalls selling these prickly green fruit also carry bags of my favourite lychees and mangosteens.
remember to drink loads of water if you’re indulging this season!
a twist on the standard banana bread recipe, this one incorporates grated pears and walnuts in a cinnamon-kissed dough – a one-bowl recipe that emerges from the oven with a lovely crack and the homey smell of cinnamon.
and isn’t it a beautiful brown loaf? it’s often difficult to photograph a rustic sort of cake, without the help of gorgeous frosting to mask that monotony – but when it comes out all glossy and shiny this way – it’s incomparable in appeal.
it’s coming to nearly ten months now that I’ve left london – and I try very hard not to think about it: there were fantastic memories during fantastic years, with people who’ve made a big difference in my life. I came across this photo – below – in my archives, taken during one of my visits to le pain quotidien (my absolute favourite breakfast hangout in london) and it made me think very hard.
breakfast is my favourite meal – it dictates how the rest of the day is going to go – and though I head out to brunch regularly with friends, it’s my day-to-day breakfast of hot grain that helps remind me of the times in that glorious city. I’ve had this same breakfast every day since coming back, with variations in grain and stir-ins, but the recipe, and the idea is built upon mornings – and anytime, really – of hot oatmeal in gloomy (but so lovely) london.
I used the last of my lovely meyer lemons in this cake – a damp, hearty but fluffy cake of almond meal barely bound together. it’s a simple, fragrant cake – and good for tea time. you whizz up meyer lemons with a bit of egg and almond, throw it all into a pan – and bare moments later, there’s a delicious waft of citrus in the kitchen.
let’s start with a little baking: I managed to buy meyer lemons – and they were on offer! – and I cannot tell you how pleased I was. I must have seemed a little fanatic in the supermarket when I found these, and it was serendipitous for I had already decided on baking a whole lemon tart, and resigned myself to using typical lemons (apparently known as eurekas). these smell lovely, genuinely a mix between mandarins and lemons, and I couldn’t stop going around getting everyone to rejoice with me in their sheer loveliness.
and of course, they worked a treat in the whole lemon tart. thin-skinned and more complexly fragrant, they baked up into a buttery and very tasty lemon tart that I was happy to bring to a party with friends. this is a one-bowl smitten recipe, which really tells you all you need to know – punchy lemon flavour, easy enough to make, and impressive in result.
I’ve been admonished by my sister for the lack of uniformity in my posts – “why are you switching back and forth between vietnam and singapore?!” – and so I shall release a torrent of posts on you (not that I don’t think I haven’t been doing that already).
we had a boat cruise as part of our stay at the lodge, and it was a small sort of sampan being pushed along by a local lady – doesn’t she look competent and elegant? – through a small stream. on either banks of the stream were villagers’ houses and lots of under/over-growth, and fruit hanging within arms length.
it was tranquil and peaceful, and the villagers would wave to us as we passed their houses. good weather, some rusticity from donning those vietnamese conical hats, and calm waters.
more on the mekong lodge found on the heading out for food page, if you scroll down to vietnam | mekong delta.
other than the scintillating milk fruit I told you about just a while ago, we also got the chance to visit a sort of village hall where we were treated to some local fruit and a musical performance – a couple of duets accompanied by some traditional instruments. on the platter were a couple slices of watermelon, baby thin-skinned raja bananas, longans, jumbo or water apples, and I think I might have missed out one or two – but we also leapt at the chance to try a local durian when our guide told us there were some available.
the other fruits were included in the trip, but the durians we had to pay extra for – not too expensive but we barely touched it after having a seed each. the durians had a strange sort of texture, like a taut skin over a very watery flesh – unlike the creamy, dense, unctuous flesh that characterizes the popular variants in singapore. the taste was likewise watery, with barely any sweetness and just a faint whiff of a durian. it was rather difficult to eat, actually, and I don’t think I finished the piece that I took.
this probably does explain why singaporeans hunt for specific variants of durian (as does my family), and why the good ones cost quite a bit – there is a great possible variance of taste, and for such a calorific fruit, the flavour ought to be well worth the indulgence.
p.s. if you don’t like durians, make sure you ask a well-informed singaporean to bring you to one! the best ones are undeniably delicious (and I don’t even eat much myself).
bet that got your attention. this isn’t anything so risqué, really – just a tropical fruit with a green rind and white flesh, and milky white sap that oozes out as you stick a spoon into it.
we were brought to a villager’s family home, where they grow these trees in abundant – the elderly matriarch of the house took a pole-mounted net, stuck it up the trees and grabbed us a couple of ripe specimens (while I frantically googled these fruit after our guide mentioned its very suggestive name) and very proficiently threw them into a basket. these fruit grow on tall trees, and look sort of like a very smooth green orb, a little like a smooth-skinned guava.
you slice them into half, stick a metal spoon around the inner circumference (where ripe flesh meet the rind), swipe your spoon around neatly to eject a hemisphere of fruit, then spoon bits to eat, spitting the seeds out as you go. the taste of the fruit is a little like a custard apple, really kind of mild, while the texture is a little like a silky mangosteen. a very interesting fruit, and my dad caught onto it very quickly, finishing quite a few right there and then. I personally found the experience a little strange – but it’s more a visual reaction than a flavour one: I found the white sap coming out a little unsettling, almost like cutting into actual flesh (I think my mind makes far too much of the name of this thing). didn’t stop me from having two-and-a-half of these milk fruit though.
do get one if you come across them; it was only after this excursion that we realized we had seen quite a few of these in the ben thanh market, very large, perfect green spheres sold with a bit of stalk and a leaf. let me know how you like them if you’ve ever had a go!