Pluck: Super Easy Sweets


Tea

I’m getting tired of being asked a certain question: Where did you buy that dress?

Recently, I’ve been asked that a fair bit. And recently, my answer has tended to be the same: Pluck, a little boutique along Singapore’s tiny Haji Lane that sells both new and vintage dresses and accessories.

It’s an answer I hate to give because most of the people asking have been my American friends. And with Pluck, well, it isn’t exactly close enough for them to pop in for a quick browse. (As an immediate gratification kind of person, this kind of thing just will not do for me.)

I recently discovered a bit of good news, however — Pluck just started selling online and yes, it delivers overseas as well. So I’m writing about this here so that a) people can stop asking me where I buy my dresses and b) well … a) pretty much covered it.

How does this relate to food? Not as tangentially as you’d think.

Pluck also sells ice-cream and dessert. While I heartily recommend the pear riesling and lychee martini ice-creams, it’s been the little crunchy and sweet nibbly bits that co-owner Aisah sends out with tea and coffee that have piqued my interest.

When I bit into one recently, I immediately thought of the little cookies that mums would set out as snacks for visitors or after-school treats when I was a child. 

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A Tiger In The Kitchen: Unveiled



Not too long ago, reporter Mark Joyella caught up with me about my cooking and eating adventures for a piece he did for the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

On my little deck in Brooklyn, we had a lovely time chatting about festive cardamom cookies and my stab at eating bull’s penis. (You can also see the video on Vimeo.)

I’d been a little embarrassed about posting it — because you can see exactly how dead my houseplants are in the background of some shots! But Mark did such a nice job, I thought I’d share it with you.

So, if you’ve been wondering what exactly I’ve been up to so far this year, check it out …

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What The Dead Eat


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There is a deep belief in these parts that the dead may be dead — but that little detail shouldn’t get in the way of serving them a good meal.

And so in Singaporean wet markets, alongside stalls selling vegetables and plump pigs’ trotters, you’ll find little places that hawk food of a different kind. Shelves will be filled with boxes of paper dumplings, chicken feet and other dimsum treats — the idea is to burn them as offerings so your deceased loved ones will get them on the Other Side.

I hadn’t seen one of these in a while, mostly because when I’m in these markets I tend to race over to stalls that sell food that I can actually eat.

Like, now. Not when I’m in the Big Upstairs shamelessly flirting with River Phoenix.

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Cardamom, A Love Story


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I've had cardamom on the brain recently. And I blame Padma Lakshmi.

We weren't even talking about food–we were discussing jewelry for a Wall Street Journal fashion piece, for heaven's sake. 

But then the "Top Chef" host started describing a long gold chain that she liked that's flecked with little gold nubs. "Like cardamom pods," Padma explained.

I immediately began thinking about cardamom cookies and haven't stopped since.

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A Fashion Critic’s Bacon-Fat Cookies


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High-end fashion and bacon fat.

I couldn’t think of two things more disparate and yet, flipping through the pages of the New York Times a few years ago, there it was: Fashion critic Cathy Horyn‘s paean to a recipe for Swedish ginger cookies made with bacon grease that she has “cherished for years.”

My first reaction: Be still my beating heart, both figuratively and, quite possibly, literally. The cookie seemed like an insane, artery-clogging idea. The first ingredient listed, after all, was “3/4 cup bacon fat, cooled (from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds Oscar Mayer bacon).”

Two pounds of bacon? Cathy was officially my new hero.

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Naeem Khan’s Entertaining Tips

I discovered something recently when interviewing eveningwear designer Naeem Khan for a Wall Street Journal Tricks of the Trade column on how he throws dinner parties.

I realized: I’ve been a complete clod all these years.

Hearing Naeem talk about the importance of plating and presentation as appetite inducers, noting that he doesn’t like to serve several things on the same plate as it’s a “nightmare,” made me think of my own parties. While the designer prefers to serve small portions on over-sized plates so the dish frames the food nicely, my presentations have been known to look like this …    

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… which, I suspect, would qualify in Naeem’s book as a “nightmare.”

Granted, that picture was from Thanksgiving, a meal that’s often all about more, not less. But still, his advice lit a fire under my tush to step it up in the presentation department. The man designs for Beyonce and Eva Longoria, after all, so he knows a thing or two about how things should look.

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