Wordless Wednesday: Fresh Strawberry Pie

There is no story behind this pie.

Well, nothing beyond the fact that the plumpest, most gorgeous-smelling strawberries were on sale anyhow. And, also, the fact that it’s summer and pie seems to be calling to me every day.

And so I present my first Wordless Wednesday — which turns out to be not exactly wordless given that I had to share the recipe behind this delicious photo as well. (I know, I know — as the husband said: “You just can’t help yourself.”)

So, feast your eyes on this picture, dear readers. And if you want to give the recipe a spin, just carry on reading …

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Teochew Mooncakes: A Big Tease


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This time last year, I was in Singapore, learning how to make mooncakes, learning about my family.

The lessons in the kitchen were both informative and intense. Along with their braised duck recipes, the women in my family imparted their tales, their advice. I won't go into detail — you'll just have to buy the book when it comes out in February.

But I found myself thinking about my aunties and their life lessons as the Mid-Autumn Festival (which falls today) approached and mooncakes began appearing in Chinatown stores. The celebration, also known as the Mooncake festival, marks the day that the moon is supposedly the brightest during the year. In Singapore, we also call it the lantern festival because it's the night that children wielding lanterns in the shape of dragons, dogs, even Hello Kitty, take to parks and playgrounds to create a river of bobbing lights. 

In China, the celebration also commemorates the 14th Century rebellion against the reigning Mongols. Members of the resistance spread word about their planned uprising via notes tucked into cakes, which they smuggled to sympathizers.

While I learned to make traditional mooncakes in Singapore — filled with lotus seed paste and salted egg yolks — my aunties also taught me a version that's indigenous to my Chinese ethnic group, the Teochews. Filled with sweet mashed yam and wrapped in a decorative rippled fried dough, these "mooncakes" were simpler, less cloying — and just lovely with a hot cup of Oolong. 

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The Lambs Club: Nouveau Old New York


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Quintessential old New York looks something like this: Just as you reach for the handle of the giant iron door that will lead you into a restaurant, a man in a crisp suit pre-empts you, smoothly gliding it open as he ushers you in.

The dining room is dim, cool and filled with the hushed murmur of well-dressed guests. The banquette seats are a crimson leather; the chairs are a modern mix of leather and metal. You slide into your seat, basking in the warm, flattering glow of the lamps built into the banquettes, taking a moment to smooth down the starched tablecloth before your waiter — in a Rat-pack white jacket and slender tie, of course — saunters over.

The creators of The Lambs Club have gone to great lengths to transport you to a different time. The decor is art-Deco, the feel is modern “Mad Men.” In the kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian (Le Cirque, Town) is at the helm.

For its reincarnation, this new restaurant had some good bones to work with. For starters, it is housed in The Chatwal New York, a new luxury hotel located in one of the iconic buildings of Manhattan’s Theatre District. This building — designed by Stanford White, architect of New York’s famous Washington Square arch as well as summer homes for the Vanderbilts and Astors in his time — first opened in 1905 as the base for the Lambs, the first professional theatrical club in the U.S. The Lambs’s membership roster was impressive — Charlie Chaplin, John Barrymore, Cecil B. DeMille, Fred Astaire — and the restaurant’s decor, featuring framed glossies of actors, offers a nod to some of these members.

This being New York fashion week, we’re a little surprised at being able to snag a table at the Lambs Club at the last minute. But it’s been a soft opening, our spiffy waiter tells us. He hands us our menus and off we go …

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Chilled Soup: Those Healing Green Beans


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The Chinese in Singapore are big believers in the healing properties of soups — specifically, “heaty” and “cooling” soups, which either add fire to your body or cool it down, getting just the right balance of Yin and Yang. 

I know it’s sacrilege to say this — and I can already hear the clucking of my Mum and aunts who might actually read this — but I don’t give two hoots about heaty or cooling.

The most important question for me always is, “Does it taste good?”

And with green bean soup, the answer is: Yes, oh yes.

Despite my love for this sweet soup, I’ve never known how to make it. So, when my Let’s Lunch friends, a group of intrepid cooks spread across two continents who’ve been staging virtual lunchdates, suggested that we make a chilled soup for our next meal, I jumped at the excuse to learn my mother’s recipe.

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