Sunday, July 29, 2007

coriander coriander

Coriander has been popping up in nearly all my meals as I attempted to finish a big bunch from one of my favourite grocers, Taj. Just 65p and a mound of goodness.
This was also the week I discovered the beauty of fried halloumi. Slice thinly, heat up the good old non-stick frying pan till its good and hot and then chuck on the cheese for a few minutes on each side. Good on its own or with a salad with some olive oil.

A Friday breakfast of scrambled eggs, fried halloumi, toast and lots of coriander.

Sunday lunch of tomato, mozzarella, and coriander salad.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

days go by

As I walked out of the university, the 29-40mph southwesterly wind gushing around me, the grey skies hiding the sun from view, I could not help but smile.

My former boss was right after all. I am an anglophile.

Being here, writing this on a bus (on a notebook at least and then blogging it later in my room), travelling from the outskirts into the Brighton city centre gives me this feeling of serenity. Sure, there were times today when I wanted to go to to the second floor of the library and yell about the bang-banging of the heating system renovation. But right now, on this 20-minute bus ride back, watching East Sussex pass by from the window, watching the teens on the playground swings, a bus driver giving another a thumbs up for giving way, the guy with the Indiana Jones hat at the crosslight, the girl trying to button her overcoat flapping in the wind, the guy stepping on his girlfriend's rainbow floor-length skirt, the leaves racing after the cars, the husky with its head stuck out the front window, watching the world go by.

This is nice.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Me and My fridge (again)

While breaking to boil water for pasta, I decided that 'me and my fridge' needed pictures.

The shelf with the lurpak and the mayo is mine, and so is the right side of the shelf below that. The red stuff is the extra tomato sauce, in case you're wondering.

The kitchen

The view from the kitchen. Yes, it's raining again. What's new?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Los Campesinos! - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives

me and my fridge

It's the little things that mean the most. And to me, it's having a little extra shelf space in the fridge.
When I was back in Singapore for my 2+ week visit, my flatmate Yukiko had emailed me with the gleeful news that we had a new fridge. It wasn't brand new out-of-the-box. But more importantly, it was bigger than the old one.
Us four in the flat each had to contend with one single shelf, a little area on the door enough for a litre of milk and a couple of bottles of pesto or tomato sauce or in the case of the Thai girl, various pastes and chilis.
But today, there is ample room for my milk, pesto and even OJ.
My food, which this morning includes some 3 eggs, a really big bunch of coriander, two tomatoes, a carrot, two jars of jam, one of kaya, and one of mayo, one bottle of chili garlic sauce, hallumi, and various other whatnots, sits on not one, but one and a half shelves! So no longer does the coriander need to be squashed in a tiny space. It has room to breathe (and hopefully keep better).
We even have extra space in the freezer as this not so new fridge no longer ices overnight, leaving freezer compartments stuck as the old one did. Instead, I've got some chicken thighs, peas, and prawns (always useful for a quick pasta) and even managed to stash a frozen dinner of spinach and ricotta canelloni for a lazy lazy stressed out night.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my exciting news for the week.

Otherwise it's been study study study, read read read, type type type, agonise agonise agonise.

The gloomy weather yesterday didn't help. It dripped and dripped from lunchtime until night. It never really rains in England. It just drips.

Today, the sun finally showed itself. It looks like it's gonna be a nice hot (for Brighton at least) one.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Marutama Ramen

Got a table before 630. Queue formed outside by 7.

Japanese kong bah

Ramen with chicken broth. Tastes better if it's spicy.

Marutama Ramen
The Central

Eating (at) Lavender


Congyoubing (spring onion pancake of sorts)

Yam cake

Har gao

Ngoh Hiang (am not an expert but my parents reckoned it's not that great here).

Soursop dessert - am not really into Chinese cold desserts, but this was what my mum had.

Other things not zoomed in on: beef kway teo and ter kah and the siew mai (which were quite good for a hawker centre). Washed down with carrot-orange juice.

Address: somewhere along Jalan Besar.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Brighton days

And once again it's back to Brighton, where the sun is shining and the temperature is a lovely 14 degrees. But most of my time is spent in the flat or at the school library, nose in books, eyes glazed over after hours staring at the macbook.

The building's undergoing renovation, due to corrosion from the saltwater etc, so there's scaffolding all around, and horrible plastic sheeting blocking my view of the sea as well as the breeze! Workmen occasionally walk past, giving me a fright the first time. The work is slow going and according to a notice downstairs, has been delayed. Looks like it's going to be a while more before I get my view back. In the meantime, jet lag means I've been waking up before 7 and I use that time to get a walk/jog on the seafront, to breathe in lungfuls of fresh air and take in that gorgeous sea.

In spite of all that I've said about this place being slow moving, things have changed a little. The building down one of the lanes has been redone and is looking far less dodgy than when I first arrived (the doorways had to be boarded up to prevent people from sleeping there). The horrible roadwork on Lewes Road, however, is still clogging up the single lane traffic. But Brighton being Brighton, there's hardly a simmer of impatience. It's more like an 'oh yes, it's still there, but what can we do about it' kind of acceptance, I suppose.

I should post the rest of my pictures from the Singapore visit, which included a trip to Central to eat the Marutama ramen (although it seems like we should've ordered this one instead of the chicken one), and unfortunately, no pictures of the nice meal at Fabbrica at Dempsey, which had an interesting Spaghetti with Bottarga (dried tuna roe) and Caviar. I'll try to put them up soon, as soon as I contend with the rather vague outline I have for the dissertation, as well as the mountain of notes I lugged back from Singapore (ok I exaggerate, its more like two files' worth).

Friday, July 13, 2007

nearly over

On my last couple of days in Singapore, I'm taking a break.
There's still things I need to buy, people I haven't yet met up with.
But I've never been much of a shopper (unless you're talking books) and I feel I've kinda spent my initial 'meet-everyone!' enthusiasm. So this weekend is going to be a nice and eventless one, mostly spent at home.
I feel like I've done quite a lot in my two plus weeks here. I've met up with various friends, including one I've not seen for twelve years. I've tried some new places (for eg Fabbrica and Yen Dining at Dempsey) and hit some old ones (Soup Restaurant, Crystal Jade). Perhaps it's having not had access to some foods that has made my expectations shoot sky-high. So my overall foodie experience in these two weeks has been an average three our of five stars. Nothing spectacular. Nothing that has made my mouth water at the thought of eating it again. Don't get me wrong, I so did enjoy eating all the local food that I can never get in Brighton. It was great, but I don't see myself craving for it for another year (I'll let you know in a few months).
I will miss a lot of people here and I'm thankful for everyone who's taken the time to meet me. I apologise if my answers to various questions have been rather insipid - I blame it on the humidity and the cloud of lethargy that it brings with it! And if I didn't get the chance to meet you, there's always next time.
I fly on Monday at 3am.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thank you!

Say anything

Another year older, hardly any wiser.

This time last year, life was full of unknowns. Each step was a new, unsure one. I was in a brand new relationship, and what was new was that it was (and still is) a long distance one. I'd just quit my job and was moving to England to be a student again.

A year on, things are different.

My relationship is still going strong after more than a year together. Leaving and studying again has made me realise that all this time studying in Singapore, my brain was hardly ever fully utilised.

And now, being back in Singapore, even just for a couple of weeks, makes me realise how much things change around here. Buildings go up, buildings go down at lightning speed. The skyline changes. In Brighton, the skeleton of the burnt down West Pier still stands in the water, four years on. In Singapore, what's no longer new is gotten rid of without a second thought. It's always about the new. And it's tiring to keep up.

And in some ways, it's still the same. People still don't give way to alighting MRT passengers, bus drivers still brake as hard as they can so that standing passengers can exercise their arm muscles and practise their balancing skills, the government raises the gst rates and at the same time doles out more money to those who already have too much, the neighbour's kid is still noisy but now noisier with the addition of a drum set...

A lot of questions have been asked of me, and I suppose not all my answers have been totally satisfactory. So I suppose I'll answer some here, whatever comes to mind. So please fish out whatever answer fits your questions best.

I don't know what's going to happen after September, when my dissertation is handed over and my lease on the room is up. I do love Brighton, and while it may sound really boring to a lot of people, I like my life there. It's simple, it involves a lot of walking, a lot of reading, a lot of sitting and thinking. It's a small place with just a three-storey mall and lacks the buzz of London but it's a great place to be a student. It's got clean air and I sneeze far less than in Sg. It's an MA in Globalisation, Ethnicity and Culture, and it's made me develop an interest in imperial history, but from the Other's point of view. Part of the reason why I'm back in Sg is to do some research and I've been spending time in the central library (and no doubt comparing its many flaws to the British Library) and at the National Archives. The other reason of course is to see my family and friends. I will not describe R more fully in this blog because while I know that most of my friends haven't actually met him proper, the time will come when we're actually in the same country and then the floor will be open for questions.

That's all for now.

It's the morning of the 11th of July.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Eating Singapore (Part I)

June 28 - sashimi, tempura, sushi, cold soba at Sushi Tei, chocolate pistachio cake and carrot walnut cake Cedele at Vivocity, Ah Orh at Tiong Bahru (steamed pomfret, ngoh hiang, cold crab, fish maw soup, veg, orh nee)

June 29 - Universal Dining (foie gras torchon, grilled scallops. so-so only)

June 30 - Breakfast/lunch of teh tarik, roti prata, Indian rojak and soup kambing ta-powed from Adam Road food centre; Taiwanese sweet potato porridge with crispy fish, sambal kangkong, stewed pork with pickled veg

July 1 - Breakfast of cuttlefish and nuts porridge, you tiao and tau huay from Farrer Road market, lunch at Far East chicken rice, dinner with the relatives at home (mum's homemade chicken curry, noodles, tung hoon salad, chicken wings, tahu goreng, stirfried vegetables and my sister's Korean pancake)

July 2 - lunch at Food Republic at Suntec of prawn noodles, a coffee at Hans at the central library, dinner at home (of various leftovers and some extra stirfried veg with cuttlefish)

July 3 - Nonya buffet lunch at Chili Padi on North Bridge Road. Bah Kut Teh at Balestier Road, a Stella at Quarubar at Dempsey, half a bottle of Pinotage at Wine Network.

July 4 - Lunch with sis at Crystal Jade at Takashimaya (char siew bao, siew mai, lo mai gai, rice with roast duck and char siew, crispy beancurd skin with salt and pepper, Chinese tea).

Dinner at East Coast Lagoon Food Centre with some uni mates. Satay, rojak, chicken wings, grilled stingray, cuttlefish, carrot cake, sugarcane juice... oh my!

And this concludes my first seven days in Singapore.