Welcome, My timing going to Singapore could not have been better. I was hit hard by the emotion of the previous week and staying with my family in Singapore was just the panacea I needed. I am never happier than when I have them in my arms. They are so responsive and curious. They always ask if we can cook together. This time, apart from banana “icecream” (just blitz chunks of frozen banana in the food processor similiar to my cherry & banana ‘ice’cream’) we made banana muffins, healthy too with (no added sugar and yoghurt as well as ripe banana). Find the recipe here. I had a lovely time with them, including taking them both to great kids’ theatre Us at the Esplanade theatreand, as a special treat, taking Isabel to see her favourite Frozen.
I kept it pretty low key this time, but had some fab hawker food (see below). This was quite at odds with the movie “The Menu” starring Ralph Fiennes as the chef which I watched on the plane home. While it was a clever dark satire on the extremes of high end food elitism, with great acting, strong cast and witty dialogue, I found it violent and confronting. You need a strong stomach to watch it. Nevertheless an interesting commentary.
I hope everyone had a wonderful International Women’s Day? My thoughts turned to global issues for women and with war and enforcement of extreme religious limitations again we see social, economic, and political inequalities along gendered lines. So for me, it is all about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with women wherever we find ourselves – at work, home, leisure, politically or while travelling and being vocal in our support. In Australia, a shout out to all those women who work in hospitality, often unsung, but who are so vital.?
L: Raffy licking the spatula and R: a very happy Isabel at Frozen Musical
Recipes of the week
PEARS WITH GOAT’S CURD & HAZELNUT DRESSING Pears are coming into season or use good tinned pears for this GET MY RECIPE HERE
BRIOUATES Fresh pistachios have a short season. Use them here if you can get them, though processed ones work too. GET MY RECIPE HERE
Fun with wine
Matching Food & Wine – try viognier with this salad?
Here’s another in my series, Fun with Wine. think about the components in what you are eating and then choose a wine? If you would like to see more of my videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel HEREor follow me onInstagram.
Ways with Zucchini
Gluten-free Carrot & Zucchini Slab Cake
I love versatile zucchini – you can slice, dice, chop, grate, spiralize… With its tender flesh and mild flavour, zucchini is a very adaptable veggie. Due to its delicate flavour and texture, it naturally takes up other flavours and can be used in many different ways. Better still – there is no need to peel it, use the entire vegetable!?
Try making zucchini ribbons with your peeler and toss into salads and hot pasta sauces. Thread rounds onto skewers with chicken or meat, or add to stir-fries or frittatas. Grate some into your burger or meatball mixtures, Bolognese sauce or fritters. Spiralised zucchini noodles can be used in place of spaghetti and are a great way to cut down on calories and carbs.?
In the Kirrihill Winery, a pipette on top of red wine barrels – used to extract wine from the barrel to taste its progress
Kirrihill is a boutique winery which specialises in Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and other red wine varietals that capture the terroir of South Australia’s Clare Valley. I have enjoyed a couple of their wines recently.
2022 Kirrihill Clare Valley Riesling This is from their regional series and good value at $19 (though you may often buy it for less). As riesling almost never goes into wood, it is generally a more affordable variety. It is fresh and light, with classic aromas and flavours of lemon as well as pineapple and lime zest. It finishes dry and clean. It is great matched with simple seafood and fragrant to spicy Asian dishes.
2019 Kirrihill Partner Series Cabernet Sauvignon
The Partner Series is a notch up from Regional, but at $30 this is an excellent drop. I find I don’t enjoy heavy red wines anymore, but this one is very smooth while still intense and rich – think dark fruit, savoury herbs and nutty spice. Drink with red meat dishes, BBQs or anything cooked in red wine.
In the Writers Bar in Raffles Hotel, Singapore, shot taken with a globe & champagne for International Women’s Day for AustralianWomeninWine
However, aside from that and stuff with the kids, it was the Hawkers’ Markets where I ate mostly, though I did have a fun lunch at Dumpling Darlings in Amoy Street. We started with chunky, nutty Pickled Bean Sprouts ($2) made with mung beans, carrots, soy, sesame oil, white rice vinegar and nori. Then it was dumpling heaven – Spicy Szechuan ($8) , Smoked duck ($8) and Prawn & Crab dumplings ($10). Not pictured were perfectly chewy XO Prawn Noodles ($12.50 though also part of a lunch set) in seafood sauce, soy tare with fried shallots, spring onions, nori, tobiko and Janjuku egg.
Just some of what we ate at Dumpling Darlings, clockwise from top left, what’s left of pickled bean sprouts, Spicy Szechuan dumplings, Smoked duck dumplings and Prawn & Crab dumplings
Hawkers’ Markets are incredible and amazingly good value. Since 16 December 2020 Hawker Culture has been enshrined by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. You need a “chope”, a packet of tissues (or hand sanitiser) to both reserve your seat at a table before you queue for food, and to use as napkins because you won’t get any. You may have to share a table at busy times, food is fixed price and usually cash only. Different stalls in the same market have different opening hours but everywhere the stalls with the longest queues have the best food and many have both Halal and non-Halal offerings including places to clear your tray when you have finished. Competition remains fierce amongst locals as to which is the best hawker centre.
Adam Road Food Centre is the closest to where my daughter lives. Welll known for Nasi Goreng, though the most famous stall was closed when I went. Instead I went to Noo Cheng Big Prawn Noodles and had the Pork Belly and Prawn noodle soup with a choice of wheat, or rice noodles, both vermicelli and thick. A fabulous spiced broth, just cooked noodles, slices of pork belly and halved prawns. All for $8. Refreshing watermelon juice was $2.50.
Pork Belly & Prawn Noodle Soup at Adam Road Food Centre
The first night after my arrival my daughter and I went for a Chinese massage and then met her husband to go to the second floor of the Chinatown Complex. By the time we got there many stalls were closing (usually by 7 – 7.30pm) but a few were open, including one where a happy local gave it the thumbs up. He was right.
We shared incredibly flavoursome bean shoots, stir-fried greens, a big mixed plate ($20) of roast duck,roast pork, Hainanese chicken and the accompanying rice and broth. It was served by a friendly lady who gladly brought us more broth with a big smile. Hainanese chicken rice is one of my favourites, a national dish created by immigrants from Hainan who adapted it from their Wengchang chicken. Poached chicken with rice cooked in the poaching stock is served with chilli and ginger dipping sauces. It is the ultimate comfort food. You can find my recipe here.
Clockwise from top left: bean shoots, mixed plate with soy sauce chicken, roast duck, Hainanese chicken, the accompanying rice and broth, stir-fried greens. At Chinatown Complex.