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Healthy Eats

Healthy Eats

When guilt sets in after I've indulged in too many rich meals consecutively, I try to balance things out with lighter, healthier food. It's no coincidence that vegetarian dishes become my top choice at these times.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

It will be downhill after this point but at least my first meal of the first weekend of 2019 is a healthy bowl of sliced fish beehoon soup.
This $8 portion is big enough to be shared by two but if you’re famished, having it all to yourself won’t leave you feeling guilty at all. The dish has enough flavour so it tastes good in a “clean” way by itself but I prefer it with the housemade sambal belachan.

I have loved the Green Goddess Pasta at P.S. Cafe since forever.
A vegetarian dish that uses the firmer (think very al dente) whole wheat penne, it comes tossed with plenty of vegetables in a tasty housemade herb and pine nuts paste.
I think their choice and preparation of the greens have always been spot-on; the crunchy bite from the asparagus, broccoli, skinny french beans, edamame and raw watercress really enlivens the whole dish.
The final touch of shaved Parmesan not only helps to add a nutty savouriness but seems to bring all the elements together even better.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
It’s been a while since I had this at the hosted tasting. But the vegetable dishes by Head Chef Seumas Smith have left me with such an indelible impression I always make sure to recommend friends who’re headed there to order them.
Take this plate of carrots for instance - it made quite a journey before appearing here in all its glory. Every step was integral to the amazing flavour finale, beginning with the carrots being confit in butter, then charcoal-grilled in the INKA oven before the final stage where brown butter, black sesame seeds, parsley and honey were added.
I’m sure this and the other vegetable items have enough yumminess to please even the more hardcore meat-lovers out there.

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H O S T E D
Under the “Large Plates” section of the menu are heartier choices that could make a filling dish for one person, or along with maybe another dish, as something to share between two.
The Cauliflower Steak is something you should consider if you would like a meatless dish that’s got punchy flavours.
Seasoned with scallion aioli, scarmoza (an Italian cow’s milk cheese) and smoked paprika, the slab of cauliflower is delicious. I really enjoyed how smoky and juicy the vegetable was cooked in this method.

H O S T E D
Grain and salad bowls are always a popular choice with the CBD crowd. So naturally, Head Chef Bertram decided to come up with a few options, five in fact, to cater to different palates.
Shown above is the one with couscous. Hearty in size, this dish is bound to be more than ample for those looking for a healthy but substantial meal. In here are feta cheese, hummus, avocado, olives, pine nuts and Japanese cucumber. The dressing used to toss the couscous is a red wine shoyu dressing which is on the light side.

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For those of you who prefer a healthier munch, you can’t go wrong with this.
The Brussels sprouts’ tight little ball of leaves come halved, roasted and seasoned with some Parmesan cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar. I like that they aren’t overly charred and remain firmly crunchy and fresh tasting.
This also makes a good side to accompany your choice of main dishes.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
This month (September) is the restaurant’s 3rd anniversary and I am embarrassed to admit today’s visit was a first for me. But I now see why it’s beloved by many.
Group Executive Chef Seumas Smith who is below thirty years of age, has an impressive resume from having started work in kitchens at the age of sixteen. He hails from Scotland’s Isle of Mey, and has cleverly tapped into his roots, working with small producers there to incorporate unique elements in his food.
Speaking of which, for me, the show-stealers at the tasting I attended, were the vegetable-centred dishes. They‘re part of “Maggie Joan’s” new menu and were all gorgeous to behold and fabulously delicious.
Even if you’re not by nature a greens-lover, you ought not to skip the following:
1) The beetroot done two ways - barbecued in the INKA charcoal oven and pickled in a mix of red wine, red wine vinegar, sugar for 2 days. They were plated with smoked creme fraiche over hickory wood chips, candied walnuts and upland cress.
2) The refreshing gazpacho of green French tomatoes finished with deep-fried artichokes and goat’s curd from Neal’s Yard Dairy in London.
3) The unbelievably beautiful carrots that were first confit in butter before being grilled in the INKA charcoal oven then tossed in brown butter, black sesame seeds, parsley and honey.
4) The salad of Japanese cucumber and English sugar snap peas dressed in a white miso sesame.

With such strong non-meat dishes, it’s great to see “Maggie Joan’s” offers a vegetarian Chef’s Selection Menu. It can also be tweaked to suit vegans.

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I have been under the weather for the last couple of days and it has affected my appetite. So I made up my mind to start today off on a healthy note with a quick stop at “Brawn & Brains” for breakfast.
Instead of my usual order of their spicy Curried Chicken Wrap (which would have have made my throat worse), I very sensibly chose the avocado on whole wheat toast and half-boiled egg.
As you can always expect with #brawnandbrains, the avocado was at its perfect point of ripeness and immaculately sliced. The toast, which was cut quite thin, was nice and soft too. Complementing these, a half-boiled egg served separately so nothing gets soggy by accident.

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Stupendous hummus alert.
With smoked jalapeños and plenty of garlic amping it up, this housemade beauty is a real diva amongst wallflowers. Unabashed and fabulous, she will stomp your tastebuds in her heels. And you’ll be begging for more.
The price is inclusive of two pieces of woodfired sourdough baked fresh daily on the premises and trust me, they’re very good.
If you want extra bread to mop up the hummus, you have a choice of more sourdough, or opt for pita bread or Turkish bread instead. They each cost $4+.

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H O S T E D
Dee, the lady boss of PR agency, Bless Inc. Asia, had mentioned the "Black Bean Strozzapreti" was her favourite item here and I knew exactly why once I had a taste of it.
In accordance with their mission to close the distance between farm and table, and support producers located in the region while creating wholesome, tasty dishes, Head Chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and Sous Chef Phoebe Oviedo made the pasta from scratch using black beans from Zenxin Organics in Malaysia. Not only did this add colour to the twirls of carb, but a fermented edge to its flavour too.
Representing producers in Singapore were mushrooms from Kin Yan, fresh sorrel from Edible Garden City and organic tofu from Unicurd. I was particularly struck by how delicious the tofu was as it had been smoked in-house at the restaurant. Silky soft in texture, the white blobs had a smokiness that was pretty aggressive yet strangely seductively. I loved it.

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H O S T E D
The new leads of Open Farm Community’s culinary team are Head Chef Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and Sous Chef Phoebe Oviedo, and this couple are truly passionate about “locavore”, a term to describe “a movement of people who prefer to eat foods which are grown or farmed relatively close to the places of sale and preparation” (thanks google!). Therefore, you can expect their contemporary casual style of cooking to feature mostly locally-sourced produce as well as vegetables and herbs grown right in the grounds at Open Farm Community (OFC).
There were two such dishes from last Thursday’s dinner that left a strong impression on me. One of them was this Barramundi which tasted exceptionally fresh. I learned the reason for this is because the fish they use takes less than 6 hours to travel from the source to the restaurant. Supplied by Tiberias, a marine farm just off Pulau Ubin, the barramundi was steamed with dashi butter and topped with housemade furikake using local seaweed and pulut hitam. The sweetness of the sautéed snow peas and baby pea shoots also had me smittened. How lovely to know that the latter as well as the blue pea flowers crowning the dish, were both harvested from OFC’s own garden.
Such effort from the chefs to stay true to their beliefs and to champion the brand’s direction is admirable, and inspires even greater appreciation from me for the dish.

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I didn’t expect to enjoy the Popiah from “J & A Snacks Delight” as much as I did. It’s more savoury than sweet thanks to no overloading of the sweet black sauce, and is stuffed with a tasty simmered turnip filling. However, if you like your freshly assembled spring rolls to have a lot of fried batter for crunch and lettuce, you will be disappointed because this isn’t their style. But I do think their more traditional Popiah is really delicious. Even my mum thought so when I bought it for my parents to try.
“J & A Snacks Delight” is a little eatery located in a ground floor shop unit at Blk. 7 Jalan Batu, close to the corner coffeeshop selling the popular “Tanjong Rhu Pau”. Their menu is small but has the kind of food that I would order at the drop of a hat - think Mee Siam (theirs is also very good!), Mee Rebus and Rojak.
Seating is rather awkward with a few mismatched tables and chairs placed along the walkway outside. And due to the slightly slanted ground, not the most comfortable. But since their food is tasty, it really doesn’t matter. #willdoanythingforgoodfood
#veronicaphuaeats #popiah #springrolls #burpproved #burpple #burpplesg #foreverhungry #whati8today #freshspringrolls #jalanbatu #hawkerfood #hawkerfoodsg #hawkersg #sghawker #igfoodie #sgfoodies #instafood_sg #sgfood #foodspotting #foodporn #foodie #foodlover #foodstagram #igfood #onthetable #feedfeed #singaporefood #traditionalfood

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Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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