Monday, 21 December 2015

GOODBYE 2015



A whirling vortex - that's how I would describe my 2015.  Fast and furious.  Overwhelmed isn't even the word.  A calendar filled with medical appointments that would take us right up to December 30th.  Countless miscellaneous chores.  An avalanche of errands every weekend.  No time to take stock, even less for socialising.

Our domestic helper came to live with us on December 21 (Sat).  Naw's hometown is a 5-hour drive from the city of Yangon, Myanmar.  She speaks pretty good English.  My mother, who herself was self-taught in the language, is able to communicate with Naw in a combination of broken English and hand gestures.  They seem to get along immensely! If they continue to do so I just might be able to take a vacation next year.

I'm hopeful.

Leaving you with a glorious December sunset.  See you back here in January.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

又是忙碌的週末



昨天(星期六)早早陪母亲买菜,过后帮父亲跑银行。Jeremy刚搬进我的社区,下午跟他在不远的Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee 吃好吃的waffles and ice-cream.

过去的一年多就在一波又一波的忙碌中度过。今天突然多了一个空白的上午,把家里的储物室徹底收拾一遍,扔了好几箱十年都没碰过一次的杂物。发现几样莫名其妙的items: 一个不知几时搬进来我们家的黑色行李箱;还有一台来历不详的果汁机。是谁送的? 记不起来了。下週搬到CASH CONVERTER 把它换了现金吧。

爱听藤田恵美(Emi Fujita)唱“In My Life”。母亲问:怎么一首歌播了一遍又一遍? What to do? 就是百听不厌啊!

下午,Tryphena 把我, Lai Har 和 Rhys 招到Yahava KoffeeWorks 小聚。聊着,聊着,被告知原来Hazel 明年的三月将步上红地毯,而且会搬进我家对面的组屋! 好嘢!Rhys 似乎 也正在同个社区物色房子。希望我们不久后会become 邻居咯。

Monday, 16 November 2015

减肥


今早有同事告诉我:你好象瘦了哦。我说:是我昨天外出了五趟的缘故吗,哈哈!


週日,三人一起外出。The plan: 我陪父亲去理发店;母亲上市场买菜,然后一起在附近吃了午餐才回家。母亲买完东西到理发店找我:我买了一条鱼,天气热,我怕它会发臭,你先把它拿回家放进冰箱吧。


把鱼拿了回家后,我倒回市场和父母吃午餐。

饭后回到家里,母亲突然惊喊:啊!! 我有一条鱼落在鱼摊忘记拿!我说:较早时不是拿回一条吗?天啊,原来还有一条! 怕去晚了鱼贩已收摊,我又匆匆往市场跑了第三趟。

下午和母亲去了一趟 agency

傍晚,母亲投诉:唉,今天我去了市场,又去中介哪儿,累得很。晚饭就不煮了,你去买吃的吧!

一天内往外跑了五趟, 大腿上的肌肉似乎结实了不少嘛! :)

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Monday, 9 November 2015

今天气温下降
连续两天的下午都下一场大雨

雨季,似乎快来临了


Friday, 6 November 2015

GOODBYE IS REALLY A NEW BEGINNING

Another farewell lunch.  When greener pastures beckon, the right thing to do is to wish my soon-to-be-ex-coworker my very best.


I absolutely love the layout and space of Supply & Demand Orchard Gateway.



I was seated in front of a row of books.  I guess if I ate alone, I could pick one to read while waiting for the food to arrive. It could take some time for the pizza to cook. 


We ordered items to share.

Lovely thin-crusted pizzas.



If there’s one thing worth mentioning, it would be the Garlic Truffle Fries here. Chunky cut fries that have been liberally doused with truffle oil and topped with shaved parmesan.   They're GLORIOUS.


I want more of everything, please!


Smoked Salmon Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, and Fried Calamari. They use fresh squids here. I’m always impressed when a restaurant cooks with real squids. I despise Chefs that try to get away with those rubbery frozen squid rings. They have no respect for food, their customers, and what they do.  

Thursday, 5 November 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PHYLLIS!

Took a day off work to accompany my mother to the hospital for medical appointment.  She's been complaining of gastric pains and severe constipation.  Now due for gastroscopy, and colonoscopy on December 15th.

Met with Phyllis and Catherine for dinner at Kilo Kitchen Orchard.

We try to catch up three or four times a year.  Phyllis' birthday is tomorrow and she'll be spending it in Taiwan!  (Why am I feeling excited?) That's why we must celebrate tonight.

I had a hard time locating this restaurant as it was tucked inside a clothing store named PACT. I only learnt later that PACT is supposed to be the mega meeting of menswear boutique K.I.N. and hair salon PACT + LIM, a space dedicated to all things chic and tasteful. It all sounds rather pretentious, though I have to admit that I really enjoyed the food tonight.

The food at Kilo is a fusion of Italian, Japanese and Vietnamese. I was especially awed by the Crispy Soft Shell Crab, served with compressed watermelon and red Thai curry gravy (but Cat and I both said it tasted more like laksa than curry). 


I ordered the Cream of Ebiko Pasta, with smelt roe, and “a La plancha” prawns that were grilled to perfection.


Cat had Squid Ink Fettuccini, served with crispy baby squid, Ikura and poached egg.


Phyllis was actually able to finish her BBQ Pork Riblets, served with tofu puree, apple kimchi salad and spring onions.


Everything was served in large portions.  Phyllis is very happy tonight.  She still cannot believe she managed to finish the entire pork rack!

Have a great time in Taiwan, Phyllis!  Love ya!




Sunday, 1 November 2015

APPRECIATION

Way overdue.  Cookies for all the wonderful neighbours who extended a helping hand to my family in one way or another when life presents its challenges.  I'm grateful for you.

Saying thanks.  My way.


I must've made David Lebovitz’s Salted Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies a zillion times. Over the years I’ve tweaked his recipe and made it mine. Everyone goes gaga over these cookies. Time and again my co-workers proclaimed them “lethal”.

Consider yourself warned.

SALTED BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 
Adapted from this recipe by David Lebovitz 

Makes 24

115 grams salted butter, at room temperature 
85 grams light brown sugar 
100 grams granulated sugar (or 70 grams caster sugar)
1 large egg, at room temperature 
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
180 grams all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (or whatever flaky sea salt you have in your pantry)
200 grams coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate 
1 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar just until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the beaten butter until combined, then mix in the chopped chocolate (including any chocolate dust) and the chopped nuts. 

Cover and chill the batter until firm. (I like to let it rest overnight.)

To bake the cookies, preheat your oven at 180 degrees C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form the cookie dough into rounds about the size of a large unshelled walnut (about 30 - 32 grams). Place the mounds evenly spaced apart on the baking sheets, and press down the tops to flatten them so they are no longer domed and the dough is even. 

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies look about set, but are not browned. Remove from the oven and quickly tap the top of each with a spatula, then return to the oven for 2 to 5 more minutes, until the tops of the cookies are light golden brown. 

Leave the cookies in the baking sheets for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

THE CARVER: A HALLOWEEN SPECIAL

Too funny not too share!  Happy Halloween, everyone.


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

TILL WE MEET AGAIN


This month I bid farewell (with a heavy heart) to several of my favourite people in the office.  People whom I've grown to love. Folks who have become more than just co-workers.  But then, as we always say, the industry is small so it can never be "So long!".  It's "See you again."

Farewell lunch at Roadhouse. If you love hearty burgers, you'll love this American Diner located on Dempsey Road.   I had a caesar salad, pork burger, and way too many french fries.  

Was not able to eat dinner.








Is the grass beyond the wall greener, Bear?


Tuesday, 20 October 2015

中西合璧


昨天下午特地向上司申请早退,匆匆地赶回家与母亲和姑姑会合,然后一同搭的士到Chin Swee Road 的中医所。母亲自月初因为背痛的关系,给西医诊断了多次,止痛药也吃了不少。要知道吃西药是有副作用的。母亲吃了就出现头晕、胃疼、气胀、便秘等症状,人很不舒服。别小看母亲83岁了,平时买菜烧饭可难不倒她,做家务时更是一条龙!但最近她老是呆呆的,家务不能做,饭也没心情煮。住我们家隔壁的Susan阿姨上星期一陪母亲到一位她认为很厉害的中医师哪儿。针灸回来后果然有点起色,所以昨天又去一次。 

下星期一还得回去复诊呢。年迈的父母亲健康平平出问题,每个月都得陪他们俩回医院复诊,我的年假已经快用完,下星期就只好麻烦姑姑替我陪母亲走一趟咯!




Saturday, 17 October 2015

想旅行!

希望明年能有机会出门。



Thursday, 8 October 2015

TOUGH YEAR



I slept like a baby last night. 

The night before I was back at A&E, this time with Mom.  She had a severe backache.  The pain must’ve been excruciating, she was almost in tears.  At the hospital she had X-ray taken (it turned out to be strained muscles) before painkiller was administered through a drip.  We got home from the hospital at 2AM.    

The past 12 months pretty much revolve around the office, my parents and their medical appointments, and middle of the night dashes to the Emergency ward.  Sometimes I feel like I’m swept away into a fog.  Each day passes in a blur.  I’m alive but not living, much.   

My parents’ health are fast declining. The thing is even though Dad has many health issues his mind remains fairly alert.  Mum, on the other hand, is strong physically but she has her “huh?” moments.  Now and then she forgets how to do the things she has been doing on a daily basis.  Some weeks ago, she went out to the supermarket to buy chicken thigh but came back with chicken breast.  “This doesn’t look like chicken thigh, Mom!”  but she swore it came off the compartment marked “Chicken Thigh” and it had to be.  So we went ahead and cooked it.  At dinner, Dad stared at the dish for sometime.  I sat quietly beside him at the dining table and waited for his reaction.  Finally he blurted, “HEY, THIS ISN’T CHICKEN THIGH!”   

The other evening my mother was preparing dinner when, all of a sudden, she came looking for me in the bedroom.  “Come with me into the kitchen,” she beckoned with some urgency.  She then led me to the stove where she was making soup. “Which should I add first, the fish or the mushrooms?” 

Mom complained about her backache again as soon as I got home this evening. The medication they’ve given her on Tuesday night isn’t working. It'll be a busy day at work tomorrow as I assist the setting up of two meetings - the first one at 10AM, the next one at 3:30PM. First thing in the morning I’ll pop into the supermarket to buy fresh strawberries.  Then, I need to pick up three dozen donuts. After that, I’ll need to remind the pantry lady to prepare coffee, tea and bottled water for the afternoon meeting.

Once the 3:30 starts, I’ll leave the office to pick Mom up to go back to the doctor’s. 

It’s a challenging year but I'm grateful for an understanding boss and supportive co-workers.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

PICK ME UP!


Coffee and Walnut Cookies. The perfect pick-me-up on a warm, lazy Sunday afternoon.  So coffee. So good!


Saturday, 26 September 2015

进步



小时候不爱葱的怪味道,虽不致于要从菜里把葱都挑出才肯吃饭,但每当祖母或母亲煮了粥,问:谁的要加葱和香菜啊?我会在第一时间站出来嚷:我不要!

近年却迷上了葱。你说奇怪不奇怪?

不久前学会了做葱油鸡。步骤非常简单。第一次做这道家庭菜的时候,父亲便说好吃,让我很有成就感。今天在切葱时,母亲也赞葱花切得细腻。看来凡事只要多学多做必定会进步。

葱油鸡腿

鸡腿2支,去骨 
葱花40克 
姜丝少许 
麻油2大匙 

调味 
盐半茶匙 
酒半大匙 

鸡腿用盐及酒抹过,醃上半一时。 

醃过的鸡腿放在碟中上锅用大火蒸熟 (须待锅中的水沸滚后才放进蒸),约5分钟。熄火后别急着翻开盖子,让它焖10分钟再取出。每支剁成 2 公分宽大小放在碟中。 

把葱花、姜丝放进小碗内,洒上少许盐巴,然后撒盖在已熟的鸡腿上面。 

在炒锅内烧热2大匙麻油至沸滚后,马上淋到鸡腿上,使葱姜烫发出香气即好。


Thursday, 24 September 2015

50 SHADES OF GREY

The haze is back, and with a vengeance too.  I'm all teary eyed.


PSI: 260.  Will it breach 400 like it did back in 2013?

It's a holiday and I'm keen to have my parents to try out the still fairly new London Fat Duck.  This morning they took one look outside the window and needed no convincing to remain indoors.  So I strapped on my mask and ventured alone into the smog.  


The restaurant opened at 11AM.  I waddled in at 11:05AM to find the place packed, and a gaggle waiting to be let it.  Despite the bustle, the service was pretty decent.  I managed to place my order for takeaway at 11:11, picked it up at 11:41 and arrived home at 12PM sharp.   Mission accomplished.

It was exceptionally tasty London Roast Duck Noodle (S$7.80) and crackling on the Pork Belly (S$13.80) was to die for.  Well worth the dive into the haze earlier on.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

MIDDLE-EARTH COOKIES



Somebody from the office journeyed through “Middle-earth” last week and brought back Whittaker’s Artisan Chocolate bars in a variety of exciting flavours.  

Not everyone likes white chocolate. Someone definitely doesn’t so he gave his chocolate bar to me. I turned it into a cookie experiment. 

I've to say that the new flavour - Hawke’s Bay Braeburn Apple with Vanilla White Chocolate - is rather odd.  I used salted butter and flaky sea salt in the recipe and they balanced off the very sweet white chocolate quite suitably. 



WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY MACADAMIA COOKIES   

Makes 20

115 grams salted butter, at room temperature 
55 grams light brown sugar 
50 grams granulated sugar 
1 large egg, at room temperature, slightly beaten 
185 grams all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (or whatever flaky salt you like) 
55 grams Braeburn Apple with Vanilla White Chocolate, coarsely chopped
80 grams sliced dried cranberries 
60 grams toasted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped   


In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.   

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy and smooth then add the sugars. Continue to beat until the mixture is very light in colour and texture.   

Beat in the egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir the flour mixture until combined, then mix in the chopped chocolate, dried cranberries, and chopped nuts.   

Cover and chill the batter until firm. (I like to let it rest overnight.)   

To bake the cookies, preheat your oven at 180 degrees C. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.   Form the cookie dough into rounds about the size of a large unshelled walnut. Place the mounds evenly spaced apart on the baking pans, and press down the tops to flatten them so they are no longer domed and the dough is even.   

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, rotating the baking pans midway during baking, until the cookies are slightly browned.

Leave the cookies in the pans for about 2 minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

Enjoy!

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

关于筷子的典故


有沒有人发現在日本餐桌上 筷子都是横放在自己与食物的中间呢?

据说是因為日本人认为万物皆有神...
每个食物都有代表的神庇佑

橫放的筷子則象征了人与神的界线
用餐前先說句:itadakimasu(承领 /I humbly receive)

先谢谢上天恩賜
才把界线拿走
用感恩的心享用眼前的餐点。

文和图取自 NATURAL KITCHEN

Sunday, 16 August 2015

QUICK COOKIE


Made peanut butter cookies today.  I already have the ingredients -- flour, butter, brown sugar, caster sugar, peanut butter and eggs -- on hand so everything came together in a snap.


Baking time is only 10 minutes.  One recipe churns out a great many cookies.  The recipe says it'd yield 40 cookies but I got far more than that.  I didn't count but there are A LOT, ok?!


These peanut butter cookies are crisp on the outside and almost cakey on the inside.  


The combination of sweet and salty flavours is terribly hard to resist.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

小确幸


如果没有小确幸,人生只不过像干巴巴的沙漠而已。
- 日本作家村上春树


“小确幸”一词的意思是微小而确实的幸福,取自日本作家村上春树的散文,每一个小确幸持续的时间3秒至一整天不等。

在村上春树的随笔集《兰格汉斯岛的午后》中有一篇名为 〈小确幸〉 的短篇散文。在文章中,村上说他自己选购内裤,把洗涤过的洁净内裤卷摺好然后整齐的放在抽屉中,就是一种微小而真确的幸福。   

今早看过牙医后,在熟食中心点了一碗花生粥。朴实的美味,再加上卖粥大哥的叮咛:小心烫蛤!对我而言这就是小确幸。



Wednesday, 22 July 2015

IMAGINE

Imagine that your office is in the middle of a rainforest. Work would be so much more fun then.


Monday, 20 July 2015

TREATS FROM KEN: MACARONS & NOUGAT


Ken was in on vacation in Greece last week and stopped by in Paris to meet his mum. Look what he brought back! Macarons from Laduree, and nougats from the famed Nougat-Chabert et Guillot.  Bonheur!



Tuesday, 14 July 2015

雨夜


昨晚睡前热的厉害,我把家里的窗户都打开,风就是不肯进来。心里咕嘟着:是时候装副冷气机吗? 

不料,半夜里突然下起倾盆大雨。被哗啦啦的雨声吵醒,开床头灯,抬眼望向一边的时钟,是两点正。风正使劲地吹着,把窗帘吹得鼓起,雨水也开始瓢进房间。迫不得已从温暖的被窝里爬了起来,穿过屋子把窗户一一关上。

天气一下子变凉了,抱着被子很快地再度进入梦乡。


Sunday, 12 July 2015

週日色彩

可爱的小辣椒
像一颗颗缤纷的糖果
为平凡的生活填上色彩