Saturday, November 24, 2007

Recent eats

I just loved the oyster omelet at Satsuma - it was filled with different types of mushrooms and large plump oysters, and had a sweetish soy based sauce. Eps and I devoured the grilled chicken hearts and the cartilage. Yum. And like its sister restaurant Shunjuu (at Robertson Quay), Satsuma provides a platter of vegetables (daikon, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers) and their absolutely amazing dip. But I was a bit disappointed with the mentai (spicy cod roe) spaghetti, as it tasted more like spaghetti cooked with garlic than anything else. The evening however was marred by a rather rambunctious group sitting at the enclosed table in the middle of the circular dining area - the one guy among the group of women had this horrendous hyena laugh and as the night went on, they obviously got drunker and seemed to laugh at nearly everything.

A recent shopping trip at Vivocity (which once again saw me leaving empty-handed) ended with lunch at Corduroy Cafe. I adore breakfast food but this was just too much.
Eggs and Pancakes at Corduroy Cafe Vivocity
This was their version of eggs, pancakes and hash. Teeny tiny pancakes with the honey already poured over (and not provided in a jug to do the pouring yourself), two sunny side up eggs (can't go wrong there) and a hash brown. It made me want to go back to Cedele at Wheelock for their macademia pancakes. Corduroy Cafe however, does a very nice mocha. And I have been in want of a good mocha (thick and rich) since the really bad one at the Coffee Club Xpress at work the other day (watery, thin, too sweet).

Bratwurst Pot at Corduroy Cafe Vivocity
My mum's Bratwurst Pot fared better, but the sauerkraut was too sour, even for her.

And from the lovely Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros, I made her Apple Bread with Sugar and Cinnamon Topping. It's not a pretty sort of cake so it doesn't make for a good picture (lots of brown you see) but it comes out moist and absolutely delicious, and best of all, not too sweet.

150g sugar
150g butter, softened
2 eggs
120g plain flour (Bake King flour!)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder (I just used bicarbonate)
1/2 tsp cardamom (I didn't have this so I left it out)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
400g apples, peeled, cored and coarsely grated (I used 3 smallish green apples, and instead of grating all the apples, I chopped some of them so that the cake would have pieces of apple throughout)
60g walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped (I didn't bother toasting them and they still taste fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping: 60g walnuts, finely chopped
60g brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180degC. Line a loaf tin (30x11 cm) with greaseproof paper.
Beat together sugar and butter till fluffy. Add eggs and beat them in. Sift flour, bicarb, cinnamon and cardamom (if using) and add a pinch of salt. Mix well. Add apples, walnuts, vanilla and mix well. Pour into tin.

Mix together the topping ingredients and scatter over the top of the batter. Bake for about 45 minutes.

Let cool and serve slighly warm or at room temperature. Great with a cup of hot Earl Grey tea or with a glass of cold milk.

1 Nanson Road
01-10/02-10 The Gallery Hotel
Tel: 6235-3565

Corduroy Cafe
Tel: 6376-9895

Thursday, November 22, 2007

tube time

I'm starting to think that Bryan Fuller is a fan of diners that sell tasty treats (of course there's that other fascination, but I suppose that one's kind of obvious).
In his second series Dead Like Me, the reapers gathered at Der Wafflehaus, although I only remember one episode which featured waffles (mini ones). Most of the time it was regular breakfast food like oatmeal. And in the new series Pushing Daisies, Ned owns The Pie Hole (and apparently you can get recipes from The Pie Hole at Bakespace)

Pushing Daisies is like Dead Like Me in technicolour and minus all the swear words. I think I still have a soft spot for the grouchy Georgia, Mason the screw-up and the rest of the reapers. I hate how the series ended (rather abruptly and after just two seasons), but I'm glad Bryan Fuller is back.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"aliens with lasers fighting a bunch of knights with swords"

I love a good fantasy/science fiction novel but my knowledge about the genre is quite limited. But the topic came up with a couple of friends, and I ended up recommending Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series and Gregory Maguire's Wicked (not typically fantasy/SF but it is sometimes placed in those bookshelves). Others I read include Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Mervyn Peake's glorious Gormenghast series and a wee bit of Neil Gaiman. I never know - are they science fiction or fantasy? I always thought Ursula Le Guin's work is categorised as fantasy yet in this Q&A session, The Guardian calls her work science fiction. Curious.

When talking about Le Guin, I realised that while I've read and absolutely love that one series, I've only scratched the surface of her bibliography. So I've decided to try out two books from The Annals of the Western Shore, which I managed to find at the library at work. Le Guin recommends reading China MiƩville. I think I'd like to read more from this genre, but I'm not sure what else to include. I've flipped through some other random books shelved under scifi/fantasy and while plots seem interesting, they tend to be let down by rubbish writing. So I'm not sure what else to try. Any suggestions?

Friday, November 09, 2007

start and stop

I've had blog posts on my mind, but that's where they've mostly stayed - in my head or at the most as a draft. I'm not sure why I don't follow through, I suppose it's because I keep thinking of how inconsequential these thoughts are. I hit the delete button a lot and watch as sentences disappear. I pause and stare at the blinking cursor. I'm not sure what to write about anymore. I suppose I'll get over it, but in the meantime, don't watch this space too closely.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's over

I'm really officially done with my MA now. Two months or so after handing in the paper, they've released the marks, after ratification by the exam boards. And so that's it. 180 credits, one 20,000 word dissertation and four 5,000 word term papers later, I have my MA. That was one of my absolute favourite years.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Free Rice

Improve your vocabulary, donate rice.

Making you hungry

Ok so that was a rather grumpy Post yesterday. Today, after a couple of cups of really goood strong coffee at the Ellenborough Market Cafe at the Merchant Court Hotel (to wash down the many rashers of crispy heaven called bacon, among other things at breakfast); and trying on several pairs of shoes across Orchard Road on Saturday morning and going home with three of my very own, I admit I feel a little more chirpy.

So before the caffeine high wears off, let me tell you about Saturday night at Holland Village with two of my JC friends.

It started off at good old Aburiya. A mug of refreshingly cold Asahi in hand, and some good company and catch-up chit chat is really all one needs for a good night out. But throw in a hole full of charcoal and lots of meat, you get a sizzling good time (I blame the cheesiness on the caffeine).

Pork cheek grilled till crisp.
Shitake mushrooms and a veg platter with a miso marinade.
Foie gras sizzling in melted butter (in a foil pan that is, not on the grill itself).
Lamb loin marinated in ... well something that tasted very good.
Wagyu steak cubes.
Beef tongue with leeks (perhaps we could've done without this one)
Onigiri (rice balls)
And some short ribs.

I was stuffed, we were all stuffed. But the dessert compartment of the stomach was still available, so we hopped on over to 2am dessert bar. We were still trying to decide on our choices when the waiter comes by asking if we'd ordered a red wine. The same skatterbrained service reared its head again when the waiter brought a chocolate tart (which we had ordered) and a tiramisu (which we hadn't) to our table and started explaining it to us, not realising that the two platters, like the red wine before, was for the couple next to us. And then later he presents us with the bill before we'd even asked for it.

Service aside, it was not too bad. The winner was the chocolate tart which came with a blood orange sorbet and salted caramel. My Twix was a bit too heavy for me. The homemade chocolate ice-cream was lovely and dark but I thought it was a bit too much for the burnt caramel mousse and peanut crumble. As for the blackberry (described as parfait, lychee air, basil, pinenut cake), it was interesting, and made me want to eat a blackcurrent pastille.

17E Lorong Liput
Tel : 6464 6536

21A Lorong Liput
Tel: 62919727

I'm here

I've been starting and stopping blog posts. I write them and then either leave it as a draft post or just close the tab. It's not that I haven't been doing things, last Saturday, for instance, saw a rather nice Italian-themed picnic while watching Under The Tuscan Sun at the Botanic Gardens. Work's been ok. Life's been treating me fine. It's nothing to write about really. So that's my update. I'm still here. I'm still alive. I'm still sweltering in the humidity.