On days where nothing seems sure, there’s nothing better than stepping into your kitchen and whipping up your favourite comfort food knowing with absolute certainty that you won’t be disappointed.

We’ve gathered top no-fail recipes from each of the V&VPR team members to provide you with cooking inspiration that will warm your spirit.

Charissa’s Pick: One Bowl Chocolate Cake

“Who doesn’t like chocolate?” – Charissa

This simple chocolate cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen is fuss-free and takes less than an hour and a half to make.

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a standard loaf pan. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan.
  3. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries, if you’re feeling fancy.

Olivia’s Pick: Shrimp Saganaki

“It’s super easy to make but makes me feel like I’m on vacation when I eat it!” – Olivia

This savoury dish is so good, it’ll be on your mind for days after. Follow Olivia’s mouthwatering recipe for Shrimp Saganaki here:

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Warm a frying pan on a medium heat, add oil and crush the garlic into the pan
  2. Once the garlic has started to brown slightly, throw in the prawns, chilli flakes, oregano, salt and pepper
  3. Once the prawns have turned pink and just start to curl, take them out and place to one side
  4. Add a glass of wine to the pan and simmer away
  5. Throw in all of the cherry tomatoes, leave to reduce for 1-2 mins and then add the tinned tomatoes 
  6. Stir and leave to cook for a couple of minutes 
  7. Tear up the dill and add to the pan 
  8. By the time the cherry toms are soft and cooked, the whole thing should be ready
  9. Pop your prawns back into the mix and stir around
  10. Crumble over the feta cheese and serve

Samantha’s Pick: Basque Burnt Cheesecake

“My motto this circuit breaker is Keep Calm & Have Cake. This cheesecake is so light and fluffy, it goes perfectly with a good cup of coffee to perk you up in the morning.” – Samantha

Butter Milk Pantry’s recipe for Basque Burnt Cheesecake is quick and easy and will leave your house smelling like a bakery.

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Line 6” circle cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper and trimmed to have an overhanging amount of 1.5″-2″.
  2. Beat sugar and cream cheese together on medium until smooth and you can’t feel the sugar granules any longer. Scrape the bowl.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium until smooth. Scrape the bowl again to ensure that nothing sticks to the sides for even mixing.
  4. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and beat until just mixed.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix flour and cream until smooth.
  6. Slowly pour the cream/flour mixture into the cheese mixture whilst the mixer is beating on low until mixed through. Increase speed to medium and mix for 15 seconds just to ensure it’s all combined.
  7. Bake at 240C for 30-35mins until top is dark amber and almost charred at parts but the middles still has a wobble to them when you give the pan a jiggle.
  8. Let cool in the tin fully on a wire rack to allow the cheesecake to set.
  9. Remove from the baking tin and enjoy at room temperature.

Rosie’s Pick: Tomato Curry

“This is my comfort food, as I know the recipe off by heart. I don’t have to think when I’m throwing it together and it’s pretty quick to make – great after a long day. I love the mixture of tomatoes and veggies and how wholesome and warming it is.” – Rosie

A good bowl of curry is like medicine to the soul. Rosie’s tomato curry recipe an amazing pick-me-up to have any time of the week.

Ingredients:

Method: 

  1. Fry onion and garlic together in a pan until translucent 
  2. Add in cherry tomatoes and sweet potatoes and stir 
  3. Add in 1 cup of water and red lentils 
  4. Add in chilli powder, chilli flakes and turmeric powder 
  5. Stir well and leave to simmer for approximately 10 mins, stirring from time to time 
  6. Add in spinach and season 
  7. Take off heat when lentils are fully cooked through and serve with brown rice

Tiffany’s Pick: Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns With Browned Butter Cream Cheese Glaze

“I have regular cravings for any baked goods that feature cinnamon and this recipe might just be my favourite one. It uses the natural sweetness of sweet potato to get that delicious syrupy flavour, making it less guilty than most cinnamon bun recipes. The process of kneading the dough is also incredibly therapeutic – almost as good as eating the end product!” – Tiffany

Pillowy-soft cinnamon buns are just a short bake away with this recipe by Samantha Seneviratne from Food52.

Ingredients:

Dough

Cinnamon filling

Glaze

Method:

  1. Prepare the dough: In a small pot, bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat. Watch closely to ensure that the milk doesn’t boil over. Remove from the heat and add the butter to the pot to melt. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and let it cool to 110° to 115°F. (It should be warm to the touch, but not too hot.) Add the egg and sweet potato purée and stir to combine.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl and using a wooden spoon, combine the flour, brown sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the warm milk mixture and mix just until incorporated.
  3. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on low speed (or knead with your hands) until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a buttered bowl, cover it, and leave it in a warm, draft-free spot until it has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Prepare the cinnamon filling: Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and mash to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  5. Prepare the pepita filling: Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pepitas and salt and cook until lightly browned and popping, 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar has melted and coated the pepitas, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel and let cool.
  6. Butter the cast-iron pan. Tip out the dough onto a very lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a 12 x 11–inch rectangle. Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the surface. Break up the sugared pepitas into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the cinnamon filling. Tightly roll up the dough and pinch the top seam closed. With a serrated knife, cut the roll crosswise into 10 equal pieces. Set them in the pan, spirals facing upward. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let them rest until the dough has almost doubled again, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the rolls and bake until golden brown and puffed and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reads 185° to 190°F, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze: Cook the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until the milk solids have turned golden brown and the butter smells nutty, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and chill in the freezer until cool and just beginning to solidify.
  9. Beat the chilled butter, cream cheese, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is exactly as thick as you like it.
  10. Transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then top with glaze. Let cool slightly before serving.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of comfort food recipes. Check out the rest of our blog here for more ideas and inspiration to get you through quarantine.

In light of the developing Covid-19 situation, we are all doing what we can to #SaveFnbSG, and Singapore’s restaurants and bars have got some fantastic offers for everyone to indulge in over the next month:

Indulge in some of the city’s best menus at home

Asian fusion restaurant Butcher Boy invites guests to indulge in meaty menus at home. Offering either delivery or pick-up options, Butcher Boy’s new take-away menu includes classics such as Butcher Boy Bacon & Cheese Burger, the flavoursome Fried Chicken Yuzu Kewpie Bao and the exquisite Crispy Primrose Farm Pork Belly. These mains can be accompanied by delicious sides including the famous Szechuan Brussel Sprouts. Diners can pair their feasts with a selection of premium wine and beer, or their favourite cocktails.

Pasta Bar, the go-to artisanal pasta restaurant has launched ‘Fresh Pasta Home Cooking Kits’ and ‘Bake Yourself’ Lasagna Trays (from $120)that can be delivered, or picked up from the restaurant. Accompanied with cooking instructions, the kit has everything consumers need to feed a family of 2, 4, 6, or more. Offerings like Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, fresh Rigatoni can be combined with a variation of delicious sauces such as 24-hour beef Ragu, Pesto ‘Genovese’, and San Marzano Tomato & Basil. For diners who wish to add wine or starters to complete the meal, options for a Salami Platter, Burrata, and a selection of wines are also available.

How about an at-home Mexican Fiesta? Papi’s Tacos has created a take-away package for groups of 4-12 to liven spirits during this tough situation. Available for order on their website, the DIY tacos come with a choice of three fillings ranging from their signature grilled fish, chorizo sausage, shrimp, and mushroom. No true fiesta is complete without delicious Mexican drinks, with pre-mixed margaritas in either classic lime, strawberry, spicy mango, or grapefruit.

Enjoy a drink, or two at home

Employees Only provides drink enthusiasts with quality cocktails to enjoy at home during this time. Employees Only has launched pre-batched cocktails available in 350ml including the likes of the Old Fashioned, Negroni, Martini, or a refreshing Cold Brew Martini. The offers range from each sold individually at $80, a selection of 3 at $220, or flights of 5 at $350. The famous EO Negroni is also available in a large 750ml format that’s perfect for 6 or more people at $150.

Elegant and refined, Nyetimber has been dedicated to the production of the finest English sparkling wine for the past 30 years, and numerous accolades and awards have positioned the brand as an internationally renowned producer, surpassing all expectations of what can be achieved in English winemaking. Nyetimber is available to purchase online in Singapore at Analogue Wine Merchants.

Importer of fine wines, Angra Wines is passionate about sharing some of the world’s best wine in Singapore. Now offering a flash sale across many top wines, Angra Wines has up to 50% off on delicious vintages. For more information, please visit the wine list here or call +65 6532 7791 to order. 

Advocates for extraordinary spirits, EC Proof are offering an incredible warehouse sale on a range of discounted items from recipe books to glasses or even your favourite spirit, EC Proof will have you sorted for any at-home cocktail evening! For more information, please visit their website or call +65 8228 0113 to place your orders today. 

Together we can #SaveFnbSG!

Check out the rest of our page here for more insights and inspiration!

Sustainable eating has become the biggest trend over the last couple of years. Eating sustainably urges us to choose foods that are healthful to our bodies and the environment. There are plenty of restaurants in Hong Kong that are taking a sustainable-approach, here are a few of V&VPR’s favourite haunts in Hong Kong:

Roganic

Located in Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay, chef Seth Rogan brings contemporary British cuisine to Hong Kong through his creative menus at Roganic. The restaurant first opened up in London and was recently introduced in Hong Kong in February 2019. Rogan’s classic British dishes are made from local, fresh produce from local farms and suppliers.

John Anthony

A restaurant that pays tribute to a new-world culture that celebrates diversity, juxtaposition and a melting pot of influences, John Anthony pushes the boundaries by fusing Chinese food with a Western twist. The restaurant is eco-friendly, with sustainability included in every aspect of the design – from upcycling plastic into coasters, menus made from recycled paper and floor tiles made out of reclaimed terracotta from old Chinese village houses. The wines are all from environmentally responsible vineyards, and spirits from distillers that focus on craft distilling. The kitchen uses a food composting system to reduce its waste, and menus are curated with fresh ingredients from ethical suppliers.

MANA!

MANA! has been pioneering the sustainable market in Hong Kong. Serving “fast slow food” through inspiring vegetarian menus and operating a strict zero waste policy – MANA! Has saved over 100 tonnes of food waste by composting its vegetable-only scraps. Other eco-friendly iniatitives include sourcing biodegradable takeaway packaging, and hiring full time staff to sort and transport the food waste for composting.

Kaum @ Potato Head

Potato Head is home to various original lifestyle concepts, including authentic Indonesian restaurant Kaum. The culinary collective has developed engaging relationships with ethnic tribes and small-scale producers in Indonesia to craft a menu that showcases genuine flavours that reflect Indonesia’s heritage

Oolaa

Oolaa is a chic restaurant and bar that debuted in Hong Kong in 2009. Serving a selection of tasty seafood dishes that are all MSC Certified, Oolaa ensures sustainable practices using responsibly sourced ingredients.

On Friday 7th February, Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits hosted a preview event in Singapore for their exquisite range of lovingly crafted alcohol-free, classic spirits.

Ruby Warrington, author of Sober Curious and founder of the movement, was present to share her personal experiences, assess the history of drinking, and help re-evaluate our perception of alcohol.

The sober curiosity movement has seen a sharp increase in traction over the last few years, as people have become more in-tune with their own personal wellness journeys. It has been increasingly reported that Gen Z is the least-boozy generation to date, with more pressure at school and work being cited as the main reasons behind this change.

But what exactly is sober curiosity?

According to Ruby, it’s exactly that – to be curious about sobriety:

“[Being sober curious] means, literally, to choose to question, or get curious about, every impulse, invitation, and expectation to drink, versus mindlessly going along with the dominant drinking culture.”- Ruby Warrington

Often, Ruby argues, we drink on autopilot, with the expectation to drink at social occasions being firmly rooted in society. The sober curiosity movement encourages a judgement-free exploration of one’s relationship with alcohol and conscious drinking.

Drinking is socially ingrained

From weddings and birthday parties to work events and holidays, we commemorate  many of life’s greatest moments or achievements with alcohol, with Champagne in particular being synonymous with celebration. Often, people declaring that they are abstaining is met with resistance by other members of the party, or else it is assumed that there is an underlying reason – namely pregnancy or alcoholism – behind the decision.

A rise in month-long sober social experiments such as ‘Dry January’ and ‘Sober October’ are becoming more commonplace, suggesting that people are looking for an ‘excuse’ not to drink, but how can the movement shift these mindsets and allow sober curiosity to become accepted, as opposed to reinforcing the notion that you either drink or you don’t.

So, what’s the alternative? Living sober curiously

The movement towards sober consciousness has inspired the creation of and market for viable non-alcoholic alternatives, which offer those opting out of booze a tasty, ‘grown-up’ tipple to enjoy. Brands such as Lyre’s are paving the way, lowering the ‘barrier to entry’ for the sober curious club and creating a talking point, bringing the questions of sobriety to the forefront of the conversation.

Every Lyre’s spirit is designed to look, taste and sashay around the palate just as its alcoholic counterpart might, whilst allowing drinkers to remain clear-headed and in control. Lyre’s will be available in Singapore from mid-March, and we can’t wait!

For more information on Lyre’s, and to take a look at their full range and recipe suggestions, visit their website.

If you are interested to learn more about Ruby Warrington and her journey towards sober curiosity, you can purchase her book ‘Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Deep Connection, and Limitless Presence Awaiting Us All On The Other Side of Alcohol’ here.

Perth is a city with a plethora of beautiful restaurants, bustling cafes and vibrant bars. The V&VPR girls have selected their favourite spots of where to eat and drink:

Bathers Beach House

Famous for its fresh local seafood, invigorating tipples and gorgeous sunset views across the sea, Bathers Beach House holds the key to the perfect summer evening in Western Australia. Diners can order the seafood board to share, featuring an assortment of the day’s catch including flaky grilled fish, tangy squid, buttery prawns and chargrilled octopus. The menu also boasts a fine selection of draught beers and ciders, as well as a curated selection of sundowners to sip on.

Wildflower

Helmed by Chef Matthew Sartori, Wildflower is perched on the top of COMO The Treasury and has gained international acclaim for being one of Western Australia’s top restaurants. Diners will be treated to a curated menu of dishes that evolve according to the seasons. Many of the offerings at Wildflower are made using local produce including wildflower honey, eucalyptus, pepperberries and a myriad of native herbs.

The Little Bay

Down by Watermans Bay lies The Little Bay café, a charming dining establishment with lush foliage, minimalistic coastal interiors and a phenomenal ocean view. Guests can expect impeccable service, and a contemporary breakfast and lunch menu that also caters for gluten/dairy-free, vegan and vegetarian diets. Highlights include the Turkish Eggs with dill, Greek yoghurt, and poached eggs served with toasted ciabatta, and the Beef Ragu Pappardelle with beef brisket, radicchio, hazelnut, saltbush and parmesan. Dishes can be paired with the café’s curated wine and cocktail list.

Vans Cottesloe

Having started 25 years ago, family owned Vans has become something of an institution in Perth and a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Renowned for curating an ever-changing menu that features the freshest seasonal and local produce, Vans reinvents bistro classics with a twist for an impressive array of contemporary fusion –indulge in Vans’ healthy house made sodas, and the delicious spicy Indonesian style fried eggs. Diners will enjoy a relaxed and bustling atmosphere, with seating areas either indoors or outside.

The Shorehouse

Overlooking Swanbourne Beach, The Shorehouse is a coastal culinary haven that showcases modern Australian cuisine, combined with a Mediterranean influence from head chef Oliver Gould. Designed as a celebration of coastal living, The Shorehouse features a large deck, whitewashed walls and bright pastel colours for a laid-back beach-side eatery. As well as delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, there is also a ‘small deck menu’ that includes oysters, sandwiches and other seaside-friendly snacks ideal for watching the waves and surfers on an afternoon.

FOOD, CAFÉS AND BARS

A popular spot among locals for food in the city centre is the Eastern Food Bazaar, it’s home to mostly Indian cuisine but also features Middle-Eastern food, but a local speciality that is a must-have is Bunny Chow. It is a South-African dish, which consists of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with a spicy vegetable curry.

Just a stroll away is Honest Chocolate Café, which is a chocolate shop and café by day and gin bar by night. If you haven’t had your fill of bunny chow yet, grab the Honest café’s dessert version of a bunny chow – a banana bread that is cut open and is filled with chocolate chips and vanilla ice cream (a vegan option also available).

To go with this sinful treat is an equally sinful vegan chocolate milkshake with their own homemade chocolate and coconut milk.

Another dining destination is the Old Biscuit Mill in the Woodstock neighbourhood of Cape Town. It is an old steel mill that has been converted into a marketplace with stalls selling clothes, camera equipment, crafts, wine, beers and spirits.

However, the best part of the Old Biscuit Mill is the food hall with a wide variety of food and cocktails to boot. V&V insider tip: go to for the fresh pizza (made in an authentic brick oven), the shakshuka stall, the mac and cheese station and the bourbon bar.

When it comes to nightlife, nothing the scenes on the famous Long Street, which is home to a host of bars and clubs. One of the bigger bars there is Beerhouse which is a taproom that features 25 beers on tap and 99 varieties of bottled beer. The outdoor seating is the best place to sit back and relax and enjoy the New Orleans style vibe.