Tasting Bowmore’s The Devil’s Cask II.

bowmore the devil's cask ii sample

I first tasted Bowmore The Devil’s Cask at a food and whisky pairing dinner during the Dîner Des Grands Chefs Singapour event earlier this year. My second encounter with The Devil’s Cask, an amazingly complex whisky full of fruitcake and tabacco notes with an exceptionally long and full-bodied finish that hails from the distlliery’s vaunted No. 1 Vaults, came at the Beam Suntory Whisky & Wine Experience at Beerfest Asia where I was impressed enough that I bought a bottle for my collection.

So you can imagine I had absolutely no hesitation whatsoever when the folks at Beam Suntory invited me for a preview tasting of the Bowmore The Devil’s Cask II, together with fellow whisky geeks from local whisky communities Whiskies Friskies and DramFull Singapore.

gordon dundas

The first edition of Bowmore’s The Devil’s Cask was one of the most sought-after whiskies of last year, and its predecessor The Devil’s Cask II is likely to enjoy quite a bit of attention for being similarly aged in first-fill sherry casks that should give the 10-year old aged spirit mellowed sweetness despite its young age. Which explained why it was a full turnout that night.

For the event, Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD) global brand ambassador Gordon Dundas was on hand to introduce not only The Devil’s Cask II, but also Bowmore's various other expressions, which we got to pair with some canapes.

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[Recipe] Pear Kimchi.

pear kimchi ingredients

We first encountered pear kimchi at the now closed The Humble Loaf (which has re-opened as Gastrosmiths), which served up their version alongside a pulled pork sandwich. At that time, I wasn’t a fan of kimchi, primarily because my prior exposure to the fermented Korean staple had been mouth-puckeringly sour. And I don’t like sour. But the pear kimchi we had was a revelation - yes, it was sour but only mildly so, and the sweet pear slices were the perfect counterfoil to that fermented flavour I detested.

Thus started my love affair with fresh kimchi, which unlikely its fully fermented version, is full of bright and balanced flavours. Here’s my version of pear kimchi, which I am glad to say was a hit at a recent house party at a friend’s place.

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[Review] Mikuni.

grand tasting tour sashimi

Tucked away in the bowels of the connecting space between Raffles City Shopping Centre and Fairmont Singapore is highly acclaimed Mikuni, a Japanese restaurant that revolves its extensive menus around seasonal Japanese produce.

We first experienced the brilliance that was Mikuni at the annual gourmet food extravaganza Savour, where we tried its sublime grilled foie gras and decided that we had to make a visit there soon. Esther’s birthday provided the perfect excuse.

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[Recipe] Matt Basile’s Sweet And Sour Beef Steak Sandwiches.

sweet and sour beef steak sandwich

The food truck revolution that’s sweeping much of North America - especially in the American cities of Portland in Oregon and Los Angeles in California - is beginning to take root in many other parts of the world. Even in Singapore, the trail-blazing success of gourmet food truck Kerbside Gourmet has led to other F&B entrepreneurs such as Coffee Bandits literally hopping onto the (food) bandwagon.

In Toronto, the romanticism of the food truck revolution even led to on-the-go chef and king of pop-ups Matt “Fidel Gastro” Basile, landing his own on-air cookshow “Rebel Without A Kitchen”. Basile was recently in town to promote the second season of “Rebel Without A Kitchen” - after the runaway success of the first season - and we managed to catch the Canadian chef of Italian descent in action preparing the kind of food that would have come out of a gourmet food truck.

And got off him a recipe for Sweet And Sour Beef Steak Sandwiches that combines Chinese and Vietnamese influences, inspired by food he found on his regular visits to Toronto’s Chinatown.

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[Recipe] Chinese Glutinous Rice.

Glutinous Rice

During my maiden attempt at samgyetang, I’d soaked far too much glutinous rice (greedy me!) for the recipe, resulting in a leftover cup of wet rice that couldn’t exactly keep. Thankfully, like every well-stocked Chinese household, I had all the ingredients necessary to make a traditional glutinous rice dish. Digging into the recesses of my pantry and refrigerator, I pulled out Chinese sausage, dried shrimp and dried mushrooms. Add a couple of garlic cloves, and that cup of wet rice was ready to be converted into a delicious meal.

Glutinous rice recipes typically advocate stir frying the rice from raw (presumably the most traditional method), but this takes a long time and periodic addition of water throughout the frying period. The more modern “convenience” recipes take it to the other extreme by mixing everything and dumping it into the rice cooker to steam, but this runs the risk of mushy rice. I’ve opted for a middle ground where raw grains are first stir fried, then finished off in a steamer. 

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Nespresso debuts Gran Maestria machine and limited edition Cubanía blend.

Nespresso range

Coffee brand Nespresso earlier this week held an interesting event called “The Art of Coffee and Milk” where they showcased how their coffees can develop more nuances and give a different dimension when combined with milk.

Which is probably why more than half of the coffee consumed worldwide is actually enjoyed with milk - from a dash of cold milk to being frothed before added into a latte. In fact, according to Nespresso, a study of theirs revealed that fully 80% of coffee drinkers in Singapore take their coffee with milk or cream.

At the same event Nespresso also showed off their new Gran Maestria coffee machine, but what really impressed me was their new limited edition Cubanía flavour.

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