READY-TO-EAT ITALIAN MEALS
With food deliveries gaining popularity, cloud kitchens are sprouting up to meet the demand.
Grammi is an online restaurant started by the ilLido Group last month that offers ready-to-eat Italian dishes and grocery items for home cooks.
There are more than 50 dishes ranging from appetisers and pastas to mains.
A favourite of mine is the Octopus Salad with Japanese cucumbers, tomatoes, red radish and capers ($21.50), which is chock-full with tender pieces of octopus.
For pasta, check out the Strozzapreti with Crab ($23.50). I enjoy the chewy rolled pasta and the tomato sauce is delicious with pieces of mascarpone, green peas and paprika.
You can also browse the Grocery section for burrata cheese ($9.50), home-cured guanciale ($7) and some excellent housemade egg tagliatelle ($7.50).
HOW TO ORDER: Go to www.grammi.sg PRICE: From $8.80 for vegetable soups to $26.50 for lamb shank
TASTY TRUFFLE OIL
I’m not a fan of truffle oil that is made from chemicals. The pungent aroma assaults my nostrils and overpowers every other flavour in the dish.
But the new white truffle oil launched by PS.Cafe has shavings of the prized fungus at the bottom of the bottle, which is reassuring. It is made with Geofoods in Umbria, Italy, a well-known producer of black and white truffle oil.
There is a bit of “truffle aroma” in the mix, but that is thankfully kept to a minimum.
As I sniff an opened bottle, a natural perfume wafts towards me, rather than assails my senses.
I mix a teaspoon of it into some butter, together with chopped garlic and herbs, to make a lovely spread over sourdough bread.
I am already thinking of how to use it next. Some cold pasta perhaps or a cream of mushroom soup should be good.
WHERE: The PS.Cafe White Truffle Oil is available at the chain’s outlets at Ann Siang Hill, East Coast Park, Great World, Harding Road, Martin 38, Palais Renaissance, Paragon, Tiong Bahru and Raffles City. It is also sold online on its website, www.pscafe.com, and through Oddle and Deliveroo PRICE: $25 for 100ml, $45 for 250ml
Culina is a little late in offering takeaways and deliveries, but good things are worth waiting for.
I have always enjoyed dining at the bistro in Dempsey because it offers fuss-free dishes that showcase fresh and good quality ingredients. And while prices are not low, they are fair.
What works well for delivery are its charcuterie ($32) and cheese platters ($32), which not only travel well but can also be kept for another meal if there are leftovers.
The Josper grilled meats journey well too, whether it is a kurobuta pork chop ($42 for 260g) or a grass-fed Great Southern Pinnacle ribeye steak ($50 for 280g).
There are also two sets created exclusively for takeaway and delivery – the Homemade Pie Set and Rotisserie Bird Set priced at $75 each. They are enough for two to three persons and come with vegetable sides and dessert.
But if you prefer to dine in with a small group, check out the fresh meat and seafood market section at the restaurant. You can pick your choice cuts and get them prepared by the chefs for a fee of $15 to $25.
WHERE: Culina Bistro, Block 15 Dempsey Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: Noon to 10pm (Mondays to Fridays), 11am to 10pm (Saturdays and Sundays) INFO: To order online, go to www.comodempsey.sg
FROZEN STOCKS WORTH THE PRICE
Cooking with a good stock can make a big difference to how dishes taste, but it takes hours of simmering to render a full-bodied broth.
One of my solutions is frozen stocks, especially those that are made without artificial flavourings.
The Premium Chicken Collagen Soup from Chu ticks my boxes because it promises to be free of all the things I want to avoid – sugar, added monosodium glutamate, preservatives, additives and artificial flavourings. It comes in 1-litre sealed bags and can be stored for weeks in the freezer.
At $28 for one and $50 for two, it is rather pricey, but it is very creamy and rich.
You can dilute it with water to make it lighter and, in that way, stretch your dollar too. It is great as a steamboat broth and noodle soup base. I used it for congee and that worked very well too.
HOW TO ORDER: Go to www.chucollagen.com PRICE: $28 for a 1-litre bag, $50 for two bags