Lounging with Sarah Huang Benjamin

Sarah Huang Benjamin in taste testing a recipe in her kitchen

How has your life changed over the last two years? What has become more important to you in the face of a pandemic? Just before Covid-19 hit Singapore last year, we visited Sarah Huang Benjamin in her home studio, where we talked food, family, and cats. Right on cue, Porridge, one of her adopted cats, even joined us in the bedroom to give her stamp of approval on Sunday sheets.

This time, we went back to Sarah’s for her to test out our new Sunday loungewear. “They’re very soft,” she tells us, “I might need to get this for Christmas presents this year.” While we hung out in her kitchen, we caught up on some things that have changed (and those that have not) for Sarah over the last two years.

Sarah Huang Benjamin and her adopted cat, Porridge.

Sarah with Porridge, the ultimate arbiter of taste in fabrics.

While Sarah has turned to digital readers to accommodate her growing list of cookbooks, she hasn't shied away from adding new hardcovers to her physical collection.

On cooking and her ever-growing cookbook collection

First things first: her cookbook collection. Years ago, Sarah began writing a food blog affectionately named Kitchen Hoarder, titled for her habit of collecting cookbooks.

Take a virtual tour with her and you’ll know her home studio was designed with plenty of book storage. These days, though, Sarah now reads on an iPad! “I just had too many books,” she says, but not before pulling out a few hardcovers from her shelf — some of which are now new favourites.

A peek into Sarah's cookbook favourites

Morning person or night owl?

 “I’m a recovering night owl,” Sarah declares. “I actually feel better when I wake up early and get to complete my morning routine, but it’s hard for me to sleep early. I get in bed to read and suddenly, it’s 2am!”

Regardless of how late she sleeps, Sarah now naturally rises early. She makes use of the quiet time before she starts her day to journal. Consistent journaling, she tells us, has been a simple but significant change she’s made to not just live each day more intentionally, but also help lift her mood. It’s also a habit that takes surprisingly less time than we expect.

“Maybe five minutes?” she says, when we ask her how long she spends writing. “I used to think journaling was about writing pages and pages of how I was feeling, what I was thinking. But now I use prompts to help me record observations, and I write no more than a page.”

Over the years, Sarah has started being early to rise — although she's still working on early to bed part!

New habits, new projects

With the busy schedule Sarah manages, it’s no wonder she needs time to herself in the mornings. These days, Sarah is hard at work on some exciting projects, including writing her first cookbook (!), producing "Send Noodz from SIngapore", her first longform series of videos for her YouTube channel, and researching Singapore’s hawker culture for the National Heritage Board.

Sarah recognises the tradeoffs she makes at work. She craves flexibility and creative freedom, so she chooses to forgo the financial stability of a 9-5 role. Though she sometimes wishes for a more predictable schedule, she hates dreary, rote work — and by extension, work routines. She says, “I’m always working on different things at the same time… but I kind of love it. I love that my tomorrow looks so different from what I’m doing today.”

She’s quick to point out that it’s an unorthodox career choice, but it works for her. “It’s not for everyone, but it’s perfect for me. I think it’s about understanding what’s important to you in life. There’s no right or wrong answer, but there’s a right or wrong choice for you.”

The varied schedule and creative freedom Sarah enjoys does come with its own tradeoffs, but it's what she has found works best for her.

A peek into one of Sarah's many cookbooks.

A quick breakfast in the kitchen

Of course, we couldn’t leave Sarah’s without talking about spending some time in the kitchen. We asked Sarah if she could whip up a #SundaySleepClub breakfast special: a 10-minute meal under $10 that even kitchen rookies could attempt.

She generously showed us how to cook up a simple meal of Chinese-style scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes — with an Italian-ey breakfast spin!

Sarah’s Low-Key Scrambled Eggs
with Tomatoes and Parmesan

Ingredients

1 clove of garlic, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt to taste
Pat of butter, ~1tbsp
Slice of bread
Parmesan, optional


Instructions

1. Pop garlic and butter into a cold pan. Turn on heat for garlic to gently sizzle.

2. Add cherry tomatoes and salt to draw out some moisture. The juices of the cherry tomatoes should form a sauce to mix with your scrambled eggs.

3. Your tomatoes are done when they are soft but still holding their shape. Turn off the heat.

4. (Pop your bread into the toaster as you let the pan cool slightly — Sarah forgets to do this until the end, but no harm, no foul!)

5. Pour beaten eggs into the pan and fold vigorously.

6. Turn on the heat and keep it on low. Keep agitating your eggs, paying special attention to the sides of the pan! You want to break up large curds to keep the egg loose and runny.

7. To plate, set your scrambled eggs on top of your toast. Crack on black pepper and generously shave over parmesan cheese. If you’re skipping the parmesan, you may need to add salt to taste.

8. Enjoy for breakfast or lunch, or swap the bread for rice/noodles if you’re having this for a big meal!

Thank you, Sarah, for generously opening your home studio to us! We loved hanging out with you and Porridge again.

Sarah browses a cookbook, while Porridge enjoys a spot of people-watching from the window.


Sarah is wearing the Bamboo Sateen Hang Loose Button Top and the Bamboo Sateen Everyday Pants, both in Seaglass Blue. Follow Sarah's journey cooking, journalling and forging her own unique path on Instagram.

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Bamboo Sateen Hang Loose Button Top

Bamboo Sateen Everyday Pants

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