We love Italian food, pizzas, pastas, salatas etc… Compared to French cuisine, I have described Italian food to be more down-to-earth and homely. Pizzas have always been one of our favorite things to look out for whenever we dine out. But it boils down to the usual few joints. One of our favorites is a pizza deli located along East Coast Road. What caught our attention initially was how they had named their pizzas after donnabellas, lady names like Arabella, Rebecca, Juliana, Vittoria etc. Our frequent order is Isabella, a simple Pizza con Prosciutto en Rucola, i.e. Parma Ham & Rocket Pizza. And this was precisely what I had for lunch today. Only this time, it is entirely homemade!
Blood oranges are in season at this time of the year and over the last 2-3 years or so, we see a lot of those of the “Moro” variety cultivated by Sunkist imported from the US. Stroke of luck has it that I’d managed to get some Sicilian oranges imported directly from Italy and my oh my, the difference in flavours are so apparent. The citrusy notes from the Sicilian oranges are so much more intense, refreshing and memorable. The US Moro ones really pale in comparison. Each fruit is just slightly less than a dollar each, a small premium to pay for an explosion of palate experience. The best way to enjoy them is of course fresh as they are, or in my case, Insalata di Finocchio con Arancia Rossa di Sicilia, using these Sicilian oranges and fennel , a simple salad lunch the truly Sicilian way.
Over the last year or so, we saw several new patisseries and boulangeries coming up in Singapore. International names like Paul and Maison Kayser made it to our shores and yet, we also saw several local establishments like Antoinette bloom. The latest new kid on the block is of course Laduree. But the one which garnered the most raves and truly worthy of the limelight is undoubtedly Tiong Bahru Bakery.
Yet another F&B venture after their incredibly successful Tippling Club and Skinny Pizza, the folks behind Food Collective under the Spa Esprit Group flew in the suave and dynamic Parisian boulanger Gontran Cherrier to helm this establishment. Born into a family of bakers and patissiers who passed down the know-hows of the trade from generation to generation, Cherrier subsequently received his professional training at l’Ecole Ferrandi, and then l’Ecole de Boulangerie et de Pâtisserie de Paris. Stints at l’Arpège alongside Alain Passard and later Lucas Carton with Alain Senderen, as well as the growing up experience in a family-owned boulangerie by generations of traditional bread makers help to shape and sharpen Cherrier to become what he is today. Yet interestingly, the bakery did not bear the “GC” label, umlike those in Paris as well as Tokyo. “Tiong Bahru Bakery” with a name unassuming and reminiscent of an old school confectionery which many of us here in Singapore may affectionately remember was thus born. But being rustic and nostalgic are hardly the hues and tones this artisan bakery exudes. Those who come in search of traditional kaya toast and egg tarts would be surprised… pleasantly surprised…
Prosciutto e melone con insalata rucola is a traditional Italian anti-pasti, i.e. an appetiser before the main course. Given the right ingredients, it just takes a matter of minutes to put together. Despite being a simple spread of only 4 to 5 items, the assembly of flavours are quite incredible. This explains why it was easily one of my favorites-to-order on the menu of any Italian restaurant that offers it. Why eat it at a restaurant when you can always make it at home? Well, read on and you would know why…