Double brie cheese salad with chicken and sesame dressing

“These were the happy days, the salad days as they say” – Raising Arizona

double brie chicken salad

There was a point in my life where given a choice, I would rather not have salads for lunch. I would furrow my brows and pinch my nose when someone asks, “how about salad for lunch?”. It’s a bit like drinking green juice where after the third sip, you would rather throw it out because it tastes so much like lawn. Until of course, it’s not.

Until I found a way to make salads the way I would actually want to eat it. And now, it’s true, I can’t stop eating it for lunch. But here’s the deal: I’ve got to make it, not buy it, and it has to have a few of my favourite things. Double brie cheese included [somebody say Yeah].

This is my go-to salad that’s perfect for workaholics who still seek a wholesome, low carb, nutritious and delicious salad meal. The balance is delicate but certainly not impossible to strike. Here is a tumble of edible confetti consisting of premium corn kernels, double brie cheese, boiled chicken fillet, sweet basil leaves, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, golden berries, and eggs. Oh my, who could resist? Stripped from the cob, these plump golden kernels glisten with drizzles of Japanese sesame dressing. The result is a sweet, sweet taste that lingers in your mouth long after the meal is over. The crunch of fresh zucchini is a tactile reminder that hey, we’re still chasing summer. And the deal breaker for me is the sweet Basil leaves and dashes of Japanese Nori flakes [of seaweed and sesame seeds] that add just the right amount of oomph to this salad.

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Perfect for chasing away those Monday blues.

Ingredients:

Chicken fillet, sliced and boiled

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Zucchini, sliced

Premium corn, boiled and peeled

Eggs, boiled and halved

A handful of Golden berries

Basil leaves, chopped finely

Parsley, chopped finely

[Dressing]

Japanese sesame dressing

[Toppings]

Japanese nori flakes

Ground peppercorn

Dining Abroad: Kyoto’s Udon Fix

Here it was, in the south of Kyoto’s Gion neighbourhood, I found an udon dish redefined. Back in Singapore, my udon affairs were half-hearted and more often than not, filled with disappointment. I slinked away, defeated.

Only now am I waking up to the allure of non-industrial, authentic, refreshingly-balanced udon. Kyoto is a quaint city, filled with temples, gardens, priests and shrines, with a healthy obsession with udon and tofu – all the more reasons for me to fall in love with this place. Tokyo is so overwhelming that the discreet pleasures of slurping silky udon are easily lost in the culinary cacophony. But here in zen Kyoto, where there is an elegiac softness all around, I’d have time to find the real deal.

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Udon Heaven is cloaked unwittingly in the form of a humble neighbourhood shop, MIMIKOU. Established in 1969, Mimikou is a place where you’d find more Kyoto-ites than tourists. Just what I needed, I thought. I ordered Ko Ebi Ten (Small Tempura Curry Udon) and ten minutes later, my meal arrived in a perfectly composed bowl of steam-billowing luscious, silky noodles over a bed of light curry sauce. The bowl satisfied every taste a woman is blessed to experience. The curry broth was nothing like what I’ve ever tried – it’s pure, savoury and sumptuous. The noodles: smooth as silk with an appealing chew. Beneath the savouriness, there is a gentle sweetness to it all. And here’s the secret to that sacred curry broth – 11 specially-selected spices combined with a Japanese stock made with kelp and bonito is what makes this Kyoto-style curry so unique.

On top of that, you can choose your level of spiciness and add your own toppings – deep fried bean curd, pork or chicken cuts.

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kyoto- plants

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As far as udon goes, that to me was a perfect Sunday afternoon. Until we meet again, Kyoto. Sayonara.

Soul Food

 chicken soup
Chicken soups.
          They are not laced with complexities. Easy, comforting, wholesome. They look so genteel, but in reality, they are the powerhouse of nutrition we need. They come in different variations, but still, they give a good idea of everything we need to know. Almost everything. Our food anchors us to a place. A place like home. A place on the road. A place when we’re in love. A place when we’re sick in bed on those chilly Sunday mornings.
           The soup is resolutely savoury, with a base of onions and chicken bones upon which this soup is started upon. It cooks some more, simmering as we sing along, until we top it up with carrots and potatoes. Y’know, stuff that food dreams are made of. Give it a good hour of simmering to bring out the flavour. Meanwhile, you can watch the re-run of Friends. The final few minutes call upon a few good ingredients. For me, some finely chopped parsley leaves will suffice, bringing out the aromatic note.
            After a month of decadent indulgences over Christmas and the new year’s, we’ll all be thankful for some good old chicken soup for the soul.
           In good gusto, this one also feeds a gang with good abundance.
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Prep time: 1 hour
Ingredients:
Onions, sliced
Potatoes, diced
Carrots, sliced into rounds
2 Chicken Fillets
Pasta [or macaroni if you wish]
Handful of cilantro or parsley leaves
Pepper
Serves 2.