Eat the right cheese

“Why is this cheese so expensive?” said my friend Jenny, frowning as she picked up a box of Camembert cheese at Fairprice supermarket.

We were doing some grocery shopping with her one-year old son Aidan and we were faced with a wide array of different cheeses, ranging from sophisticated French cheeses to slices of Kraft.

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Being the food guru I was, I proceeded to explain to her that good cheeses contained just milk, bacteria and a coagulant such as acetic acid (from vinegar) or rennet (produced in stomachs of mammals to digest milk). According to ancient stories, cheese was first created when a trader put his supply of milk into a pouch made from a sheep’s stomach and he set out across the dessert. The heat from the sun, combined with the rennet in the lining of the pouch, caused the milk to separate into curd (cheese) and whey. So cheese has a very natural beginning.

One example of a cheese made like that is gouda, which is a Dutch hard cheese.

Gouda is a Dutch cheese made from cow's milk
Gouda is a Dutch cheese made from cow’s milk

The ingredients of gouda are milk, salt, cultures, rennet.

Simple ingredients
Simple ingredients

“I want a baby cheese,” said Jenny.

“I don’t think baby cheese is necessarily better,” I replied, “It’s probably just the packaging that looks cute.” Continue reading Eat the right cheese

How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Hi everyone, this is a guest post from Paleozilla, who will teach us how to cook a simple chicken soup. Be sure to get the best chicken you can get to make this a truly nutritious dish. Try to get free-range chicken or as a compromise, Sakura chicken, which is hormone free, live in a temperature-controlled, clean environment with enough space for them to roam about while listening to Mozart. Yes, Mozart…!

Simple Chicken Soup From Scratch for 3-4 People.
Preparation time 5-10 mins.
Cooking time 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat.
Difficulty – very easy! Little preparation, just top up the water as you go along.

“As it says in the title, this is a simple way to make chicken soup from scratch and feeds 3-4 people. The recipe is a simple version of an English chicken soup that I grew up with. Chicken soup is a great recipe as it is easy to prepare and most of all because you get the very most out of your chicken with no waste at all. Furthermore, all the chicken innards, which have a lot of goodness but not everyone likes to eat separately, help to make the soup. Additionally this recipe is great because if you need to feed more people it is easy, follow the same steps with a bigger chicken and add more veggies. In fact, the recipe below is very simple and you can easily add more vegetables as you like; potato, leek, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, parsnip (for those in Europe), daikon radish (for those in Asia), beans, peas and so on. Stick to the harder type veggies such as root vegies as they will be cooked for a long time. To make sure it is chicken soup it is better not to use veggies that will disintegrate into the soup and flavor it too much such as squash or pumpkin.” – Tom

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1-2 onions
  • 2-3 sticks of celery
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, handful of thyme
  • 4 pinches each of salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Start with an entire chicken. Just be certain it is clean inside; rinse any excess blood out. I did not use the head but the neck, innards and claws all went in – all tasty goodness!

Chicken soup 1

Preparation is dead simple – the chicken needs little prep, only to be washed and the head to be cut off. The veggies want each end cut off. The onion and garlic need peeling, of course, but the carrot does not. Cut the veggies roughly into large pieces. Do not cut them too small as they will be cooked for 1.5 hours.

2. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large pan. Put the whole chicken into the pan and brown it on both sides. This should take a matter of a few minutes each side.

3. Remove the chicken and set it aside for now.

4. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic to the same oil and sweat the vegetables for 5-6 minutes.

5. Now put the chicken back into the pot on top of the vegetables and add enough cold water to cover the chicken entirely. Now season the soup with the bay leaves, a handful of thyme and 4 pinches each of salt and black pepper.

Chicken soup 2
The chicken is browned to give it more flavour

6. Close the lid and cook slowly on a medium-low heat for as long as it takes for the chicken meat to start to fall off the bone, approximately 1.5 – 2.0 hours on a low heat. The pot must be closed to retain the water. Continue reading How to cook chicken soup from scratch

Where to eat at Raffles Place

Eating paleo can be treacherous if you are dining out. The best way is to cook your own food at home and bring it to work. However, if you find yourself around Raffles Place without home-cooked food, here are some places that are good for paleo eating. Most of them still require careful thought on your part in choosing the correct ingredients. In order of decreasing cost, they are:

1. Urban Bites Mediterranean Cuisine $$$

532633_415895891779234_1179339792_nSource: Urban Bites

Address: 161 Telok Ayer Street

Urban Bites serves Lebanese food, which includes lots of meat, cheese, yoghurt and fresh salad. I visited their restaurant last week for dinner and was blown away by the food. I wanted to try everything on the menu! Even before the meal was finished, I was planning my next visit. Just remember to pass on the rice and flat bread.

2. Sushi Tei $$$

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Address: 20 Cross Street, China Square Central, #01-28/30

I love Sushi Tei’s sashimi salad. The sashimi is always fresh and portions are generous. Very strict Paleos may have issue with the salad dressing, which contain soy sauce. The problem with soy is that it contains phytoestrogens, which can contribute to breast cancer. I also can’t tell if the dressing contains sugar.

3. The Rotisserie $$

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Address: 51 Telok Ayer Street #01-01, China Square Food Centre

I go to The Rotisserie for both breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, they serve something called the Aussie Breakfast, which is essentially a “full breakfast” or “English breakfast” that allows you to choose from a variety of fried dishes, including eggs, bacon, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. It’s not cheap at $12 but it can be an occasional treat. The meal comes with two slices of sourdough bread that you can request to be left out. For lunch, you can order their roasted chicken, which comes with a choice of vegetables or salad.

4. Salad Stop $$

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Address: 1 George Street, #01-01

Salad Stop sells quality salad. The variety is really good, which means that it should be quite easy to pack your salad with hearty, clean ingredients. You can choose your own ingredients or take one of the pre-designed salads. It’s better to make it yourself so you have full control over what you’re eating. The dressing will be the issue here as I can’t tell what goes into them. If in doubt, choose the oil and vinegar dressing.

5. Platypus Gourmet2Go $$

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platypus gourmet2go

Address: 50 Market Street, Goldenshoe carppark, #01-14A

Platypus Gourmet2Go deserves kudos for their twist on the burgeoning salad trend. Instead of having a huge variety of ingredients, they focused on a few well made dishes and is cheaper than Salad Stop. You can stuff a small lunch box for just $6.50 with a maximum of two meat dishes. The salmon is the best and the most popular. Alas, by the time I headed to Platypus, there were none left and I had to go with two chicken dishes. Buried underneath the meat are olives and almonds – yummy!

There are no seats. Everything is take away.

6. Munch Salad Smith $$

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munch china square

Address: 112 Robinson Rd

Munch is located at China Square food court. They are similar to Platypus in that the salad is warm and cooked rather than cold and raw. One meat and two side dishes (as above) cost $13.90. They also sell breakfast including bacon and eggs, as well as mushroom omelettes – those go for $5.

7. Sarnies $$

Sarnies paleo

Address: 136 Telok Ayer Street

Sarnies is a nice little cafe tucked way at Telok Ayer Street. Two items on the menu caught my eye when I last visited:

  1. Paleo steak salad with mixed lettuce, tomato and guacamole $16.50
  2. Grass fed steak with mushrooms, caramelised onions and mix greens. $16.50

This is paleo heaven. Plus the coffee was really yummy. Pricey but then good quality food is always pricey.

8. Yong Tau Foo $

yong_tau_foo_550Source: Travelfish

Address: Mei Hua Foodcourt, 9 Raffles Place, #01-01 Republic Plaza

Yong Tau Foo can be found in most hawker centres and foodcourts. These are all the ingredients you can put into your bowl of soup, including vegetables, tofu, fish balls and squid. I usually take a glance at the type of ingredients the stall has before deciding to eat there. If everything is stuffed with tofu, I will not eat at the stall. Fishballs are not to be eaten too. Contrary to the name, the balls contain flour and sugar as well. But if the stall is selling lots of vegetables and meat, yong tau foo dishes are a good and cheap choice for healthy eating.

My favourite is the yong tau foo at Mei Hua Foodcourt. The portions are generous and they have a good balance of leafy and starchy vegetables. I always go for the pumpkin, tempeh and brinjal. Beware though, it gets extremely crowded during lunch time.

9. Chicken rice $

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Similarly to yong tau foo, chicken rice can also be found in most hawker centres in Singapore. Order chicken rice (without rice) and you’re all set to go. Yummy yummy.

10. Economy rice $

The final option is economy rice, also known as cai fan in Chinese. I love cai fan. I practically grew up on it. I love that you get to choose your dishes so every meal is different and interesting. Technically, you can order meat, vegetable and egg dishes without the rice but I find that most stalls drench their dishes in questionable sauce. The sauce tends to be thick and contain thickeners like corn starch. There are very few dishes cooked simply in just garlic and oil. So I would avoid those dishes that are covered in sauce.

What do you think of these paleo options around Raffles Place? Do you have your own favourite restaurants and eateries?