A healthier spin on familiar foods
World Heart Day means more to chef Angela May after her dad's stroke
Even though Singapore-based culinary host Angela May's 66-year-old father had a healthy lifestyle, he still suffered a stroke recently.
Because of this, World Heart Day took on a deeper meaning for the chef-owner of Ange Cafe at Robinsons The Heeren.
As part of the international campaign to spread awareness about heart disease and stroke prevention on Sept 29, the 42-year-old teamed up with health technology company Philips to produce recipes to help Singaporeans take control of their health and prevent heart disease by eating healthier.
She used new Philips products, including its airfryer, to make parts of the dishes.
Airfryers are believed to be a healthier method of frying as hot air is used to cook food, with minimal to no oil being used.
The recipes include the Cluck Kuh Teh, a unique version of the local favourite bak kut teh. It is made with garlic and pepper tea quinoa and chicken breast.
May put a twist on Singapore's breakfast favourite with her soft-boiled eggs with whole grain farro and red pepper pesto.
She also made a heart-healthy dinner of yellow curry with mackerel and vegetable puree.
Most of these dishes were conceived out of careful trial and error.
She would take ingredients out of the fridge and pop them into the airfryer to test out new concoctions.
May, whose father is American and mother Thai,told The New Paper: "The challenging part for people to put a healthy spin on anything is to take a step back and think before making it the same way it has been made through the generations."
LE CORDON BLEU
The graduate of famed culinary academy Le Cordon Bleu in France and host of the Bocuse d'Or, a prestigious biennial world gastronomic competition, said she "believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice".
She added: "There is a general misconception that healthy food is not tasty.
"However, innovations in technology (like the air fryer) have made it possible to prepare great-tasting meals in an easy and convenient way.
"I hope (my) recipes will make it easier for Singaporeans to eat healthier without compromising on delicious local fare."
May also encourages Singaporeans to cook at home, use the freshest ingredients they can find and not to overcook them so that they retain their nutrients.
She said: "The more experience anyone has at cooking, the better at it they become."
May's favourite superfoods are cashews, whole grains and bright-coloured berries, which she said make her feel more energetic and focused.
When asked about her healthy food philosophy, she said: "Make good choices but don't beat yourself up for sliding because we are all human."
Apart from eating healthy, May - who returned to Singapore in 2014 after spending three years working in New York, Los Angeles and France - runs and has weights in her room so she can do a few minutes of weight lifting to tone her arms whenever she can.
May also has a yoga mat on her dog's favourite spot in the living room, giving her no excuse not to do a few minutes of yoga before she starts her day.
Although the health bug has bitten her hard, May does not support fad diets and still indulges once in a while.
"I love a lot of heavy local foods such as laksa, char kway teow and Hokkien mee.
"I also love macaroni and cheese, which feeds the soul," she said.