31 December 2011


2011 has passed in the blink of an eye and 2012 is nearing upon us! Have you made your New Year resolutions yet? Hope you had an awesome 2011 and here's to an even greater 2012!

Happy New Year 2012!

24 December 2011

T'is the Season to be Jolly

They say Christmas is the season of giving though it's probably more true that it's also the season of buying (I've done so much shopping!). This year, I made my gifts instead of buying them for my colleagues in the office. Of course that involves a lot of kitchen action but it couldn't be merrier.

17 December 2011

Pumpkin Marble Bread

Like a steam engine that has built up enough energy to charge, I was so excited with my new found interest that I looked up books that were reccomended for bread-making beginners like me. I almost bought a book but decided against it because while spending about 1 hour browsing through 3 or 4 Japanese bread books at Kinokuniya, I realised the techniques and recipes were quite similar from what I could find on the web.

04 December 2011

Bread Making


Right after the failure of my first collaborative kitchen project with Mr. Instant Yeast, I decided to give my first time partner and myself a second chance. I mean, I wasn't expecting a super wonderful pizza crust, but I didn't expect it to be that bad. I think if I tried to bite anymore of the brick hard pizza crust, my teeth would start chipping. So, picking myself up, I rolled up my sleeves and made myself some dough to knead.

17 November 2011

My Acquaintance with Figs

Figs! Such an elusive fruit in Singapore! I've always seen them in food magazines, on food blogs and in restaurant menus, but seldom in supermarkets. Maybe except the really up-market ones. So imagine my surprise when I saw them in the small and sometimes badly stocked, 24-hour NTUC branch in my neighbourhood! There they were, sitting in the corner of the fruit chiller waiting to be picked up by someone who knew what they exactly were (the aunties and ah-mas around the neighbourhood probably thought they were kindaweird). I was mumbling to myself in excitement while choosing carefully which box of 4 figs I should get and resisted the urge to put 2 boxesinto my shopping basket. Although I'm a self-proclaimed bargain hunter and auntie when buying groceries, the figs unfortunately came with a rather hefty tag of $4.95 for 4. Well, if this auntie could only be a spendthrift just once, it would be a box of 4 figs.

02 November 2011

Plum Galette

I don't think I've ever been a huge fan of plums. It wasn't that I hated them, I just didn't LOVE them. Maybe it was the fact that they were quite easily available since I was a kid and it didn't seem exotic enough. Now that the markets here have begun to stock seasonal produce, I've learnt to appreciate all the seasonal fruits more and of course plums were one of them.

26 October 2011

The Relish Burger

Am I getting repetitive? It was burgers, then ice cream and all the frozen yogurts and now I'm back to burgers again. But you know, I have this tendency to go through phases, don't you too? I'll be all mad about a certain food/ingredient and go crazy over it, and a while ago, it was burgers.

15 October 2011

Supporting Actors

Poached pears and walnut butter. I don't think I would really really really think of making them if for eating just as they are. But it's another story when I have an ulterior motive. There was this one dish that I really wanted to try replicating the taste at home and wanted to get as close to the original as possible. So, they're really things I made in order to make something else. For the pears, I poached Forelle pears with lemon rind, cinnamon, nutmeg and crushed black peppercorns based loosely on this method while a Google search led me to this recipe for walnut butter. I imagine the walnut butter would be nice on some toast (though I haven't tried it myself and I really should), while the poached pears are good as they are or with cereal and milk or yogurt. So while you wait for the REAL post in which I used the poached pears and walnut butter, maybe you could try making some yourself.

08 October 2011

Berry-Good Fro-yo

I guess I really could have combined this post with the previous one, but I'm really trying to erm, stretch my "dollar" here. I realise I haven't posted anything about blueberries here before even though I've been buying loads when they go on sale (I'm becoming such a sucker for sales!) and freezing them for the "rainy days". Berries can be so overpriced in Singapore (like raspberries!) so the squirrel in me has me hoarding them when they become really cheap; also stretching my dollar.

01 October 2011

Peaches I Had This Year

When June came, I was already starting to dream about the seasonal produce summer would bring. All the lovely berries and stone fruits especially: strawberries, blueberries, apricots, nectarines... and peaches. After I started making my first homemade ice cream, I was hooked. Not so much of the eating part, but the making part. Well, ok, of course I enjoyed eating the ice cream too.

20 September 2011


Summer's about over in the Northern hemisphere and I'm just about starting to blog about my misadventures with making ice cream. But hey, over here on the equator, summer's never ever over. It's summer 365 days a year, and you think 100 days of hot, humid weather was more than enough. (Warning! This post is heavily loaded with photos under the cut!)

04 September 2011

Rustic Salmon Burgers

Burgers get the bad rep for being junk food, no thanks to fast food chains that serve burgers by the thousands everyday. Though I'm not a serious fan of fast food chains (definitely less than 10 visits per year), I find myself drawn to burgers on restaurant menus quite often. Maybe it's the allure of the fanciful pairings and condiments of these "gourmet burgers", or maybe it's just simply because I like burgers.

With simple, fresh ingredients, burgers can actually be a tasty all-in-one meal and be healthy all at once. This recipe is actually modified, quite heavily, from one I found in issue 44 of Donna Hay magazine.

09 August 2011

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino..?

I was watching a Japanese chef specialising in Italian cook aglio olio e peperoncino on a Japanese variety show yesterday that I realised I should do this post soon, or the fantastic four series would probably be carried forward till next year.

A quick chit-chat with your best friends Google and Wiki and you'll find that alio olio e peperoncino actually doesn't contain much else than, well, aglio (garlic), olio (oil) e peperoncini (chili peppers). And you will see that it's not really the case in my aglio olio e peperoncino. It's definitely not the authentic nor orthodox way to cook aglio olio e peperoncino, and actually, this was created from my extremely faint memory of aglio olio e peperoncino when I visited Italy some 5 years back. Maybe you could say the aglio olio e peperoncino served as the base of my "fancied-up" version. The recipe was first born out of desperation to finish a box of mixed fungi before they die out in the fridge and therefore the mushrooms. The sausages I added today are just a whim of fancy which happened to be in my freezer and add to a balanced, quick lunch. Of course, it wouldn't be a continuation of my pantry essentials series if I didn't use coriander, which is also an adaptation to my Chinese kitchen.

By the way, you have no idea how tangled my brain is from "saying" aglio olio e peperoncino so many times.

31 July 2011


Small Talk is undergoing a design revamp!
Since I'm not officially into my break yet, this might take awhile.
In the meantime, do pardon the awkwardness of the template-style designs.

So, this is about it for now!
Hopefully the fresher outlook will inspire me to blog more often!
(I just realised I have only 5 blog posts this year. And I think only about half is food related.)

24 July 2011

Herb & Garlic Butter

I promised a few recipes as a follow-up to my pantry's essential four and seeing that I haven't posted a recipe in ages, I thought it was time to pull something out from my back log to update this poor, neglected space! There's actually a post about lemon cake somewhere in my drafts but that shall be for another time. I was food-blog surfing when I chanced upon umami butter on Delicious:Days and remembered I had wanted to do a post on herb and garlic butter.

10 July 2011

Pantry Essentials: The Fantastic Four

Although I haven't been blogging, I've been preparing lunchboxes for myself to bring to work the past few weeks as part of a diet plan that I have with a fellow colleague who's getting married. I've come to realise I almost cannot do without these fabulous herbs and spices in my cooking. Garlic is definitely a must have; love the punch a chili padi can add to anything; fresh and juicy homegrown limes are much better than the ones from the supermarket while fragrant coriander is my favourite herb to add in Asian-inspired dishes. I already have a few recipes that involve the fantastic four (maybe sometimes three) so, watch this space!

So, what's in your pantry?

31 March 2011

Whatever You Like and a Hope for Goodness

I think it's no secret that I'm a big fan of Japanese food, actually, almost everything that hails from the land of the rising sun. Most of the time, I make Japanese-inspired versions of various foods (like this, this, this and most of my bentos. So, it's natural that I have an almost constant stock of ingredients that are commonly found in Japanese food. I especially like vegetables, and more specifically root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and what not. I've recently had a special affinity for 長いも or nagaimo (also called yamaimo or huai-shan and shan-yao in Mandarin). But of course, as with my family, a single nagaimo usually lasts too long, or should I say, doesn't keep long enough. A 4-inch long piece goes a long way, since I usually cook for myself, but supermarkets usually have them coming in about 16 inches.

My family doesn't appreciate my cooking very much, so I typically cook for just myself. While I usually used nagaimo in soups, curry, takikomi-gohan and once in a stir-fry with pork and miso, I was really quite glad to find yet another way to finish up my nagaimo before it ended up in the bin. I was told by CY, friend and one of the few supporters of this blog that nagaimo was used in okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki, literally a fried-something of whatever you like, is a savoury pancake of cabbage, batter and other ingredients. The best thing is, okonomiyaki was something that my whole family would really eat. For now, I have only a list of ingredients and a rough method since I seldom measure anything when cooking (it's probably best that I start soon, lest all my "recipes" turn out without measurements at all). It's as easy as a piece of pan-cake so basically you mix away with whatever you like! Here's what I use for mine.


Shredded cabbage (not too fine, I personally like the bit of crunch of partially uncooked cabbage)
Chopped spring onions (scallions)
Plain flour
Salt and pepper to season
Bacon or ham

- Mix flour, eggs and water in a large bowl to form a batter. I like to have it as a thinner batter than usual since addition of grated nagaimo would make it very thick and sticky.
- Stir in the shredded cabbage and spring onions. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Peel the nagaimo and grate into the rest of the batter. Stir to mix well.
- In a frying pan with a little oil, ladle some batter and line pieces of bacon or ham on top of the pancake. Cover with a lid for awhile before flipping.

Okonomiyaki is usually served with a generous brushing of okonomiyaki sauce, a good squeeze of mayonnaise and sprinklings of aonori (seaweed powder) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). Well, in my kitchen, I improvised my own "okonomiyaki sauce" from oyster sauce, ketchup and sugar and replaced aonori with erm, shredded seaweed snacks. It isn't as authentic as the real okonomiyaki, but I think it's good enough. As an alternative to my very vague explanations, you can check out the recipe here!


On the topic of Japan, it's been really saddening to watch the crisis unfold in Japan over the past few weeks. I've been to Japan thrice now, with the most recent just a month prior to the major earthquake that struck. It's heartbreaking therefore to witness the carnage and destruction unveil through Singapore's news and also live-streaming of Japanese news on the internet. More so, probably because of how the Japanese are coping with their utmost dignity and resilience.

Published last week on The Straits Times' supplementary magazine of Digital Life, a translated tweet from @7474529 read:

"A goth youth with white hair and body piercings walked into my store and shoved several hundred dollars (several tens of thousands of yen) into the disaster relief fund donation box. As he walked out, we heard him saying to his buddies: 'We can buy those games anytime!' ... ..."

In such a crisis, there's not a lot that we can do to help personally. But in such times, we can hope for goodness.

If you'd like to give something for the people in Japan, here are some links where you can visit to donate monetarily. You can also contact your local Red Cross for details of other ways in which you can help.

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami: 7 Simple Ways to Help


【Google Checkout】

【Japanese Red Cross】

【American Red Cross】

【International Medical Corps】


【Donate with Paypal】


15 March 2011


***, originally uploaded by Ms_evinrude.




Japan Earthquake & Tsunami: 7 Simple Ways to Help


【Google Checkout】

【Japanese Red Cross】

【American Red Cross】

【International Medical Corps】


【Donate with Paypal】