Christmas presents!

Had the guys over for some Bahamian food the other day – since I wanted to try the jerk spice mix we brought back from Genuinely Bahamian.Turns out, it’s insanely difficult to find pigeon peas here – we drove to three different supermarkets (asian/hispanic) – the first two didn’t have them – just a lot of pintos, black eyed peas, regular peas, lentils, etc. Finally I called up Mendoza’s Mercado (this tiny hole in the wall on Aurora St) and the shopowner told me he had them! Should have started with him. I don’t know how popular pigeon peas are among mexicans, all I know is it’s a Bahamian peas and rice thing, and I wanted to make a super peas and rice just like the one at Lukka Kairi (failed, btw) which of course wouldn’t be the same without pigeon peas.


ZH came at 6:15pm and GGY gave me an eta of 7:30pm, so I started frying the battered bananas at 7:15pm. He was 10 minutes late! Then he waltzed in and said in his typical sing-songy way
“Hello everybody!”
“Traffic bad?”
“No, traffic was GREAT.” (he’s not being sarcastic. ggy is just not a very sarcastic person)
“lol you don’t have to be so honest you know..”
“There were NO cars on the road.”
“Then how come you were late?”
“I left late.”
lol. No shame, this one.

We got so many presents! It’s so fun to have friends lol. ZH gave us a double sided(?) hotpot! Since he knew we didn’t have one. Now we can have hotpot parties. Tbh I’m not a super big hotpot person but I do like Japanese odens and Korean soon dobu jigaes and if I ever have a good superior stock recipe down then I think I would like hotpot. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense in super hot and humid Singapore so I never had it growing up, at least not in a restaurant? It was always homemade in my grandma’s house at CNY or something and so I always associated it with sweatiness and a general zomg-you-mean-I-have-to-cook-it-myself?!? kinda vibe. That said, I think it makes quite a bit of sense here and we’ve already got a few soup bases to toy around with.

Then GGY produced a present each for me and LZ! Totally unexpected. We got him a present of course, his birthday was just after christmas and we hadn’t seen him since then. I got a nice bottle of pilot iroshizuku ink in mountain grape color. It matches the rest of my ink perfectly! Time to write some nice letters.


Z got a mechanical pencil, which GGY calls his favourite mechanical pencil lol. The funny thing is, Z got TWO of those mechanical pencils for his birthday in October from the same person, one in black and one in silver. The tip sorta rotates a bit so a sharp edge never forms with the lead. The packages came from Amazon prime and the card said “Happy birthday LZ! From: LZ” and we had NO idea who sent it. Asked around several people, including ggy, and we even made him double confirm “you sure you didn’t send it?” In the end it was SL who sent it, and then the note made sense, because who knows what Jaws is reading out to her when she’s filling in the form for the birthday note on Amazon? She’s visually impaired so filling in things like that would be trickier for her. But apparently our implanting the idea of giving Z a mechanical pencil in GGY’s mind was so powerful that he really went and got him one for christmas. We’re never talking about pencils again. Next time we talk, it’ll be all about ferraris.


We got ZH a little autobridge game from the Downtown Antique Shop in Nashville (where you play bridge with yourself) and I repapered the cover, as with most games you get in an antique shop, the cover can be quite cui. Of course you lose a little of the vintage feel, but I wanted him to feel like it was a present rather than a random piece of junk lol. Now the cover looks as good as LZ’s go set (I used the same pattern of Nepali paper)

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For ggy we went to the Bean & Bailey workshop in Chattanooga to get him the little faceted salt bowls we saw in Portland and absolutely adored. Wrapped it in a rum cake box to throw him off the scent (well, rum cake is quite a plausible present since we did just come back from the Bahamas but is not as satisfying as those little salt bowls.) He loved them :)

We got him orange, purple, and grey, all in light pastels.

And seconds in cobalt, teal grey, and dark grey for ourselves. These were half price because they were color tests. They don’t actually produce pieces in these colors.

All in all, a rather nice belated christmas celebration :) Would be better if I had made the salted egg yolk cookies in time for ggy to bring back to sg but I am still recovering from the bout of fever and sore throat contracted while in Nashville (we suspect it was the Nashville hot chicken that did my throat in) so have been feeling very listless and not-wanting-to-do-anything-useful. Also my legs are covered ALL OVER in mosquito bite scabs. Or perhaps they were sand flies, one can never tell. I’m not very good at not scratching either. It looks like my legs right after I got back from OBS. Hopefully it goes away at some point! This would be a perfect time for a nice oppa to suddenly appear with a packet of anti-scarring lotion wrapped in a white paper bag from a korean pharmacy. Ah, one can only dream.

New photobook

After 3 days of cooking and 3 nights of proofreading etc, I have finally completed my second photobook.

Can’t wait for it to arrive! This was such a huge, time-consuming project. Now I know what I’m in for the next time I attempt anything similar. It’s really only 40 pages long but cooking everything in there was super time-consuming. Still, I’m glad I made it before the Bing Rewards offer expired at the end of March! And it only cost $19 extra. Now, time to salvage what’s left of the rest of my spring break.


Wah liddat I can also be an intern at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant lor.

As Ramsay went from station to station, tasting and critiquing each participant’s eggs, he also quizzed them on the cooking methods and the rationale behind them.

For instance, when reviewing their poached eggs, he asked if they had added vinegar to the water and if they had swirled the water in the pot before cracking the egg into it; and how long they cooked each egg for.

That’s all it takes? I’m waiting for my invitation!

Huge hoohah on fb about the finances of a certain student union. Both sides not on the same wavelength, and the published response is too lofty to appeal to the public’s sympathy, even if it is justifiable. Sounds just like governance in Singapore! Everyone still has a long way to go to understand language convergence, but it is the responsibility of the more intellectual to do a better job at it.

In other news, today is my last day of freedom D:

Edit: Here’s a lovely picture of Seattle:

and the accompanying comments:

Seattle today:
iGetOffOnMathematics 396 points : 26 replies : 2 hours ago reply
Stop, or more people will move here.
neverkilladuck 130 points : 11 replies : 2 hours ago reply
This is probably the one day it didn’t rain.
AnonymousArtist 4 points : 2 replies : an hour ago reply
Congratulations you took this shot on the one clear day that year
strangelyaddicting 3 points : 1 replies : 2 hours ago reply
Most places are beautiful when you over-saturate the hell out of your photos.
saukko 3 points : 1 replies : 2 hours ago reply
Fuck you and your mountains, I want mountains, I have no mountains. :(
lookingrefreshed 2 points : 27 minutes ago reply
I went to Seattle for TEN DAYS and it was grey skies EVERY FREAKIN DAY.
ben9105 2 points : 33 minutes ago reply
I’m pooping there now.
lucoli 2 points : 2 replies : 2 hours ago reply
It looks like you can simply walk to Mordor from Seattle.
LOLThisNigga 1 point : 2 hours ago reply
Which of the 4 non-rain days was this taken on?
ziIIah 1 point : 31 minutes ago reply
I love that Seattleites are calling this clear. “Well I know there are many clouds in the sky but there is light too so we call that clear.”
IPostSpoilersOnThePirateBay 1 point : 2 hours ago reply
Fake, it’s not raining.

That’s such a good vantage point though, and excellent HDR :P

Random gobbets

Gosh. I can’t believe one of the cast of Boys over flowers committed suicide. She’s one of the trio of mean girls who were supremely irritating in the drama :S Yikes. Apparently both her parents died in a car accident when she was in high school, which has got to be pretty rough. She hanged herself. That was during the filming itself, and episode 20 had a condolence to her family at the start of the episode.

On a separate note, I really like the paintings in Yoon Ji Hoo’s abode – and am having problems finding the names of the artwork and the painters. We also saw a shop with really nice paintings in Cluny Court – basically exotic sorts of cockatoos set against seaside type backdrops. Very simple (to copy :P)

view of the white house

Here’s one I want to copy, along with all the naif art of Norberto.

This is a great post about how to make perfectly crispy, browned hashbrowns, although in this case, I think ‘hashbrowns’ are loosely defined, and are more like a rosti than anything else. LZ’s dad doesn’t like hashbrowns, for reasons I can’t fathom. Probably this is not the sort of hashbrown he doesn’t like, he doesn’t like the one from mcdonalds, which he claims are not real potatoes.

This article on bagelnomics – or how to not spend $800 on bagels with cream cheese for breakfast in a year, investigates the amount of cream cheese bagel shops in New York spread on your bagel when you ask for one with cream cheese and compares it to how much they sell a 1/2lb of cream cheese for, and then poses the question: why don’t people just buy the cream cheese from the shop and slap it on themselves? Since adding cream cheese to your bagel can more than double the price of the bagel in some cases.

I miss bagels! And vegetable cream cheese. My favourite thing to order in CTB is the Soho, which is a croissant spread with vegetable cream cheese, tuna spread, and some other melted swiss if i’m not wrong. agh.

Random cooking

First, a cool article on uses of the word ‘namaste’ from the new yorker.

So here’s the backlog of stuff I’ve cooked since April I think.

Lemon trofie in salsa di noci with prawns and mushrooms – from Maifen’s stash of Italian produce. Haven’t learnt to white-balance properly in Lightroom yet although the photos can only get better!

Packed lunch Mondays – when the science park shuttle doesn’t go anywhere interesting and I usually try to pack something to bring with us to work. Since we just bought some japanese rice from ramen play I made onigiri with quail eggs in yakitori sauce, honey braised tofu (a la din tai fung), and salt baked chicken salad from nex. The rice was a little hard though, I think I should have added some sushi vinegar.

Spinach farfalle with porcini sauce – this was more recent, when I had lm and J over for dinner at Maifen’s place. The spinach farfalle from S. Gimignano was really good! More egg in their pasta than the regular Barilla durum wheat pasta I buy in the supermarket here.

Baked Morrocan eggs for gracia and jason. Actually I was just trying to copy the eggs at Wild Honey. It turned out pretty good! The sauce is made out of tomato sauce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and chorizo. Probably a bunch of other stuff I don’t remember.

The lavender/slate table setting when we got this dried lavender from L’Occitane. The olive oil is from an olive farm in Italy, the vase and the tealight holder is from Opus, Oxford St in Sydney, and the placemat is from Crate & Barrel.

And the cute animal spoons Gracia got for me from china when she was there on work attachment (I think). They are especially cute on this mug from the national museum!

Mummy’s cooking

LZ asked me the other day: why don’t I take pictures of my mum’s food?
And I thought, that’s true, I should take pictures of her food. After all, she is a magnificent cook, particularly when she puts her mind to it (i.e. when I tell her LZ is coming to our place for dinner.)

I love her Hainanese pork chop. You can’t actually see the pork here cause it’s covered in her pineapple/tomato/onion sauce but her breading is perfect (better than some Hainanese I know…)

She also likes making yam rice although I’m not a huge fan of this. Yam rice is a predominantly Teochew thing I think. Don’t like how carb-y it is.

This was really nice – steamed tofu with eggwhite and tea tree mushrooms. She always has random boxes of eggwhites left in the fridge because of my tiramisu and sabayon (I made zabaglione two weekends in a row, which is egg yolk intensive). She’s also recently been introduced to Yifon’s bottled tea tree mushrooms, which are topping the silken tofu here. I really love tofu but it has to be seasoned/braised properly.

This was a surprise: braised vegetables with wolfberries and shiitake and hidden dumplings! I’ve never had it before, and I think she’s actually never made dumplings before either, although I made them all the time in cornell (can’t get decent yaki gyoza anywhere – not that mine were great but they were not bad).

This is a childhood favourite – I think she only invented it when I was in secondary school: Corn soup fusilli with salmon and broccoli. I’ve no idea what she adds to the Campbell’s corn soup that makes the pasta so amazing but its exactly that – amazing. One good thing about this is I can probably replicate it in the US. She used to make it with cut up chicken sausage but now she uses salmon since it’s healthier.

Thanks for cooking such amazing food for us even when you’re working!

Bibi’s birthday lunch

Bb had her birthday at the tail end of May and so I invited her over to my place for lunch on an especially lazy saturday.

I had easy stuff planned – particularly when you’re going to roast vegetables. I also pre-marinated (or liangze pre-marinated) a chicken the night before to make oven baked rotisserie chicken. It was fabulous. This is my go-to recipe for rotisserie chicken. It’s perfect, although I substitute the cayenne pepper with chilli powder (presumably the same thing?) cause we haven’t got cayenne pepper here.

This was the full spread.

And here’s the roast sticky rotisserie chicken! As good as the one in Ithaca, if not better, because this is halal and the chickens here are less GM-ed than in the US.

Since I am actively trying to use up the ingredients I brought home from Italy, here are the roasted potatoes that every Italian restaurant serves as a contorno. We brought back the roast potato seasoning from one of their supermarkets.

I also decided to roast zucchini, which was grown in Malaysia but had a strange fishy taste. Zucchini is not really popular here in home cooking I think. We do a lot of leafy greens and even though it features hugely in what passes for Chinese food in America, it’s just not on here.

Here’s the flower arrangement I did while LZ was fiddling with the chicken. The madeleines are from the ABC bakery in Asia Square towers, my new favourite boulangerie that does perfect financiers and madeleines. I even bought a madeleine tray recently so as not to spend all my money buying their madeleines (I pass by the one at the Metropolis every day, which is really dangerous. That early in the morning though, they don’t carry madeleines, which is a relief). The wooden plate and vase is from Franc Franc, which has since shuttered here, the coasters are from Crate & Barrel (as are the other blue casserole dishes you see in this post in which I roasted the chicken and the zucchini), and the table mat is a bronze striped tea cloth from Kikki K.