Sunday, 29 September 2013

A WEEKEND RUNDOWN

Here's my rundown of the weekend:

A few tiles on the bathroom wall popped up for no reason. I went to HDB to lodge a report. Someone from HDB is supposed to call me in 2 or 3 working days. We'll see.

Mom hurt her foot.  We don't know how it happened exactly.  One moment she was reclined on the sofa watching tv, the next minute she complained it was too painful to walk.  I accompanied her to an acupuncturist. When we came home I made lunch. I toasted thin slices of croûte to eat with foie gras but my parents decided to be creative.  So we had foie gras with 猪场粉. What? You’ve never heard of fusion cuisine 咩?

What about the croûte, you ask? Oh, we ate them with spam.

 
Mom and I made an amazing Ginger Scallion Sauce. The Italians have their pesto and we have our Ginger Scallion Sauce. Consisting of only four ingredients – ginger, scallion, salt and oil – it adds a salty, oniony kick to just about anything. Chicken. Noodles. Tofu. Naan. Croûte. We had it with steamed halibut last night and it was Pow Bang Kazaam awesome!


I learnt to make macarons. Tons of fun!  The perfect macaron (pronounced mah-kah-ROHN) shells should be perfectly round and show 'feet' or a crown at their base, the crust is as smooth as egg shells and without blemishes.  Anything that is less than perfect gets discarded.  Further, they are delicate and puncture easily.  That's why macarons (not to be confused with macaroons) are terribly expensive.






The morning after:  I shared 3 pieces of above macarons with my French co-worker, Michel, and he says he would not mind being my guinea pig one more time. :)


Friday, 27 September 2013

NOISES IN THE NIGHT

My French boss recently heard noises in the night. “There is a ghost in your apartment?” I gasped, but it wasn't. It was a gecko which he rescued from his bathtub because, despite its sticky feet, could not climb out of the slippery bathtub on its own. So Stephane scooped it out using a cardboard, and released it. “And it has been haunting my kitchen ever since,” he said.

"You didn't kill it?"

"No, it's harmless and it keeps the apartment free of insects."

Compassion and coexistence.  Things that his father thought him since he was a kid.

Growing up in Corsica, Stephane's father showed him how to trap lizards by loop and knot method using a piece of weed.  Stephane recalls that he and his siblings kept more than one lizard at a time.   They would plant a stick firmly into the ground of their backyard/garden and tie their "pets" to the stick.  There the reptiles would stay, feeding on insects that flew by.  After a day or two, they were released, unharmed. 

This week, I was in Stephane's apartment when he was travelling.  I sent him an email teasing him, "If I see Gecko, I shall KILL it."

"Nooooooooo!" came the instant plea for the lizard's life.

Fortunately, Gecko and I did not meet.

Noises in the night and house lizards.  I'm terrified of both.  Regrettably, my father's motto towards lizards is "Kill On Sight".  Lizard and human do not coexist in our kitchen.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave with your kids?  Would it be Empathy and Understanding, or Ignorance, thus Fear? 






Saturday, 21 September 2013

GLORIOUS MUFFINS




The baking bug beckons!  This afternoon, while Dad fell asleep in his usual armchair, I made muffins.


Most muffin recipes asks for the pans to be filled two-thirds full of batter.  However, I read somewhere that the secret to plump muffins with glorious dome tops is to fill the pans to the brim.  I took that advice and ... wooooohooooo!!!!!


I buttered my muffin pans instead of lining them with with paper baking cups because I prefer muffins with a nice crust.

All-Purpose Muffins
From Bake! by Nick Malgieri

Makes 12 standard-size muffins

260 grams all-purpose flour
110 grams sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
110 grams unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 medium egg
240ml full fat milk

Set a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 190˚C/gas mark 5.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, and set aside.

Pour the butter into a mixing bowl and thoroughly whisk in the egg, then whisk in the milk. Whisk about one third of the flour mixture into the liquid until absorbed. Whisk in another third, again until the liquid is absorbed. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the last of the flour mixture. Transfer the batter to the muffin pan.

Bake the muffins until they are well risen and golden, and the point of a paring knife inserted in the centre of one muffin emerges dry. This will take about 20 minutes. Cool the muffins in the tin on a rack and lift them out when they have cooled completely.

Enjoy!


Thursday, 19 September 2013

中秋见月




《中秋见月和子由》

明月未出群山高,瑞光千丈生白毫。
一杯未尽银阙涌,乱云脱坏如崩涛。
谁为天公洗眸子,应费明河千斛水。
遂令冷看世间人,照我湛然心不起。
西南火星如弹丸,角尾奕奕苍龙蟠。
今宵注眼看不见,更许萤火争清寒。
何人舣舟昨古汴,千灯夜作鱼龙变。
曲折无心逐浪花,低昂赴节随歌板。
青荧灭没转山前,浪风回岂复坚。
明月易低人易散,归来呼酒更重看。
堂前月色愈清好,咽咽寒鸣露草。
卷帘推户寂无人,窗下咿哑唯楚老。
南都从事莫羞贫,对月题诗有几人。
明朝人事随日出,恍然一梦瑶台客。
- 苏轼

Sunday, 1 September 2013

DAY OUT: CHANGI POINT

Yesterday, Dad had a craving for his favourite mutton soup. It has been close to a year since he had it last. 

And so the three of us - Dad, Mom and I - embarked on an excursion to Changi Point.  We took our time, stopping every now and again for Dad to catch his breath; I to smell the flowers.