After ten awesome days in Singapore I had to say goodbye to this amazing country. I knew Singapore was not going to disappoint me and this trip just confirmed what I already knew- I love this country. I also love its people: the food hawkers, the vibrant and lively city, the mix of races and cultures that live together in harmony. It’s a country that seems to have everything figured out. People are happy- from the taxi drivers to the operators on the manufacturing floor where I worked— everyone told me the same thing: that they are proud and happy to be living in Singapore.
Although I worked long hours, I made sure that food wasn’t neglected. During lunch breaks, I asked the engineers that I worked with to take me to the closest food hawkers. Hawker centers are great and filled with food stalls that serve delicious and fresh dishes. If you go to Singapore you don’t want to miss out. They are cheap and have a great variety of cuisines: Chinese, Malay, Indian, Japanese, Indonesian and even Thai. During my stay in Singapore, I haven’t had a single mediocre meal. All of them were great. I re-visited a few of the places that Roni and I checked out while we were here in January. Even though my focus was to explore other places and discover hidden gems, I couldn’t skip the good old Original Peanut Pancake stall in Tanglin Halt, Bismillah Biryani in Little India or Tian Tian at the Maxwell Food Hawker Center.
I mentioned in a few of my previous posts that in Romania and Hungary, breakfast is a very important meal of the day. There is a saying in Romanian that tells you to eat like a king for breakfast, like a servant for lunch and like a beggar for dinner. Today’s recipe follows that logic. One of these toasts will fill you up for a long time. You’ll get a taste of sweet, savory and tart at the same time.
I came up with this recipe on a rough Sunday morning. I was hungover after playing Cards Against Humanity and drinking until 4am (I think) with our couchsurfers from New Zealand, Naomi and Neil. On days like that (when I feel like crap after having that one extra drink that I shouldn’t have had), only a filling breakfast can fix me. I need protein, carbs, fat, sugar and some fruit to feel less guilty and more healthy. This recipe has them all: cheese, bacon, bread, maple syrup and blueberries.
As I was browsing through the kitchen trying to puzzle together the Holy Five (protein, carbs, fat, sugar and fruit) that would cure the hungover beast inside of me, I stumbled upon bacon, eggs, blueberries, some leftover ricotta cheese from the previous night’s lasagna cooking with Neil and a loaf of challah bread. Home-baked challah. Home-baked bread isn’t something that you’ll find in our household, but our amazing couch surfers baked it for us. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a little bit scared of baking until Neil showed me how easy it was and taught me how to make ciabatta and challah.
Making this awesome breakfast/brunch shouldn’t take longer than 45 minutes regardless of cooking skills and experience in the kitchen. It’s easy to prepare, yet delicious and filling. So what are you waiting for? Go to the store, buy what you don't have on hand, and start cooking. You have a long weekend and plenty of time to kill ahead. Maybe even a hangover to kill, too. Happy 4th of July and bon appetite!
Ricotta Bacon Stuffed Pain Perdu with Blueberry Flambé
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 large orange, juiced
- 3/4 cup maple syrup (or brown sugar)
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 1/4oz rum
- 1 tsp potato starch (optional)
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 2 TBS chives, finely chopped
- 1 TBS thyme, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- kosher salt, to taste
- 3 eggs, pasture raised
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup roasted walnuts, optional
- 4-6 slices of challah bread (about 3/4 inch thick)
- 2 TBS butter
- 1 TBS powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup roasted walnuts
- Start with the blueberry flambé. In a medium sauce pan or deep skillet, combine orange juice, maple syrup and lemon zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add blueberries and cinnamon stick. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour rum over the blueberries. Using a matchstick ignite it. Let the flame die out and cook for another 5 minutes. Congratulations, you just made a blueberry flambé.
- If the sauce is too thin, scoop out 3-4 tablespoons of blueberry sauce into a small bowl. Add the potato starch and mix well. Return the starchy sauce to the pan and give it a stir so it mixes with the rest of the sauce. When the flambé thickened, remove from the heat and set aside.
- The next step is the crispy bacon. Lay bacon slices in a cold skillet. Make sure they don’t overlap. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bacon on each side until it becomes golden brown and crispy. Transfer bacon from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate or wire rack. Save the bacon fat. When it cooled down, crumble bacon into bite size pieces.
- Now the filling. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine ricotta, bacon crumbles, parmesan, parsley, chives and thyme. Mix well and add 2 TBS bacon fat. Sprinkle black pepper and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set cheese mixture aside.
- In another bowl beat eggs. Add milk, parmesan and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Spread about 1/4 inch cheese mixture over one side of the bread. Top it with another slice. Dip bread in egg mixture. Let it soak for about 1 minute on each side. You don’t want your pain perdu to be dry.
- Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts foaming place bread in the skillet. Fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, until it becomes golden brown. You can add extra butter each time you flip the bread as it helps achieving richer flavor and color.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve it with the blueberry flambé and roasted walnuts. Enjoy!
Contains alcohol! Handle the open flames with care.