Brasserie Gavroche on Tras Street


There seems to be a misunderstanding over the terms “Bistro” and “Brasserie” by some people here. A Brasserie is a French restaurant that is typically more upscale than a Bistro. The food and service at a Brasserie is more refined than a Bistro which serves delicious but more rustic fare in a more casual setting. Of course, the confusion may arise from the fact that some bistros in Singapore serve food at brasserie prices.

While I love bistro food, occasionally, once in a while, it’s nice to go a little upmarket to celebrate a little.

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Posted on 3rd May 2012 in French, Old School  |  3 comments

Easy Roast Crackling Pork


Pork crackling is one of the most delicious things to eat that I know of. When I was a kid, I was ambivalent about candy but I would fight you for every last bit of pork crackling. It is also one of the most popular things that I serve to my friends and family. When the pork crackles and crunch as you bite into it, that’s amore.

Anyway, my cousin-in-law and a few friends have been asking me to write down the technique, so here it is.

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Posted on 23rd Apr 2012 in Food and Drink, Meat, Old School, Recipes  |  2 comments

Opening stuck jars of Marmite


I like Marmite. Most friends from overseas know that and would, to my utter delight, bring a jar from abroad when they visit.

My favorite would be a jar of XO Marmite presented to me by Su-Lin of Tamarind and Thyme. Of course, the huge jar of Marmite from New Zealand (from a Swiss friend who had her wedding there) is also my favorite; mainly because it tastes very different: rich yet lighter, even the color is different, chocolatey brown instead of mud brown or black.

You can tell that, for me, next to Marmalade and Pâté, there’s nothing finer to put on hot buttered toast. A tradition of mine would be to have a hot buttered Marmite toast with strong black coffee on Christmas night watching the telly.

Of course, one of the most troubling thing about Marmite jars is that the lids tend to get stuck something wicked after a long period of refrigeration. First thought was a violent solution but that was quickly dismissed as a short-term fix with a long-term storage problem. Brute-force with a tea towel was halted when I heard an alarming crack.

Finally, as I was making coffee, inspiration alighted: I filled a bowl with the remaining hot water and inverted the jar so that the lid came fully submerged underwater. A bubble or two emerging, indicated success.

I can now have my hot buttered Marmite toast. Cheers!

Posted on 18th Dec 2011 in About, English, Old School, Recipes  |  4 comments

How to make a simple Chicken Liver Pâté


I am a home-cook whose lifelong ambition is to be able to cook whatever I like to eat. And one day I craved a nice Chicken Liver Pâté something terrible, so there was no help for it but to make my own.

Most people tend to grill or pan-fry the chicken livers but I was lazy, so I boiled them instead. I also cheated a little by smoking the cooked livers in a wok for that smoky flavor.

I once served this at a dinner with friends, it was like putting a drop of blood in a pool of sharks. Pâté on!

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Posted on 15th Dec 2011 in Food and Drink, French, Old School, Recipes  |  1 comment

Beefsteak Dungeon


I purchased Secret Ingredients, The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink because it collected an eclectic mix of food writing by some of the most interesting American writers like Woody Allen, Dorothy Parker, Steve Martin, Calvin Trillin and even a surreal piece by Roald Dahl.

But what attracted me was a 1939 piece by Joseph Mitchell entitled “All You Can Hold For Five Bucks”. It was an exposé on the New York steak dinner or “Beefsteak”. It lamented how the whole beefsteak dungeon (as the underground cellars where the action was were called) scene was ruined in 1920 when it allowed women who insisted on better manners, fancy salads and cocktails. And it defined the different styles of Beefsteak into the West and East side schools.

I won’t go into it in detail as I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the book to read. However, the essay contained intriguing tidbits on cooking and serving the beefsteaks, so there’s no helping but to duplicate this delicious beefsteak dinner.

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Posted on 18th Nov 2011 in American, Food and Drink, French, Meat, Old School, Recipes  |  6 comments

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