Saturday, December 15, 2018

Chicken Curry Fail

Since V wasn't fussy about dinner that evening and had no cravings, I asked her to chalk up travel expenses and come over for dinner. Hurhurhur. Since my entire larder is always stocked with ingredients for curry, I decided to boil up an easy chicken curry. Only needed fresh meat- two pieces of thighs and two pieces of breasts. Bought them in fillets. I certainly wasn't going to buy a whole chicken to chop it up. Yucks.

Mid-way through, I had an accident with the salt jar, and OMG the chicken curry was salty af. I didn't even shriek when that happened. I was all quiet like, "FUCK. NOW WHAT?" 

Thank goodness I didn't marinate the chicken fillets with salt!!! It was chockfull of curry paste, and I seared it before it went into the pot; so at least it would be flavorful, and the salty gravy wouldn't make it totally inedible. I had to salvage the mad-salty concoction like crazy. I didn't have enough potatoes to soak up the salt, so I had scoop out half the gravy, top up with water, chilli powder, added more turmeric, garam masala and such. Had to ameliorate the salt with roots of coriander and spring onions, as well as added in a ton of tomatoes. The spice levels were on point, but I still found it too salty for my tastebuds. Boiled it all down and hoped for the best. #ImpieCooks2018

V was kinda stuck with coming over, and I was sooo sorry that food would suck. The man wasn't planning to join us for dinner, so I told the man that if he was intending on coming back for dinner, he might want to consider eating out instead... But he decided to brave the food. Hahahaha. There was Japanese sticky white rice and ciabatta bread. Those should help with the saltiness. The man and V took two sips and said it tasted fine. They actually ate up all the chicken and the gravy in their respective bowls. I stared at them, and wrinkled my nose. Okay lor, 他們還真賞臉。

The chicken curry wasn't an epic fail, methinks; this was after some major salvage efforts. But it wasn't as good as I'd have liked it to be. I WILL NEVER AGAIN SCOOP OUT SALT FROM A JAR OVER THE COOKING POT.

No photos after this because I was too annoyed with myself,
and upset with the crappy pot of curry.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pizza & Pasta at Luka

I love the Japanese take on Italian food at Luka. I've come here many times for lunch and dinner with the friends, but it took much longer to take the man here for dinner. We made it down one evening with a last minute reservation. Helmed by Chef Takashi Okuno, he brings his astute flavors into Luka's menu.

Look at the restaurant's awesome Stefano Ferrara brick oven for pizza! The man loved the pizza, specifically the dough. Mozzarella, rocket and parma ham, the standard pizza. It was a good size pizza for one. Hahaha. I had no interest in the pizza, but stole bits of the burrata and tomatoes. He also ordered 150 grams of Japanese wagyu rump. I took a slice. IT WAS DELICIOUS. The potato gratin it came with was super salty, but so nice in small bites. Hurhurhur.

I had clams and pasta! Short neck clams in garlic, chilli, fregola and white wine. It arrived swimming in olive oil and white wine. Goodness, it was so appetizing. The man dipped the ends of the pizza dough into it. The pasta was a spaghetti of shirasu aglio e olio- anchovy, white bait, cabbage, ooba leaf, garlic, chilli, olive oil. It was an unusual order for me, because I really dislike ooba leaves (or otherwise known as 'shiso'). BUT the kitchen didn't overdo it, they balanced the flavors so well that all I had to do, was to pick those leaves out.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sliced Fish Noodles X Dwaeji Galbi

It rained the whole day. Well, it's been raining for the whole week. I enjoy the lower temperatures, but rain makes going out a pain. It's absolutely miserable, unless you're happily indoors. Hot soup and noodles are always good for rainy wet weather.

The BFF must be prescient. Each time I plan to cook soup, she somehow knows, even though I don't tell her or put anything on social media prior to a meal. She randomly texted me in the morning to ask what my dinner plans were. I was like, 'Ermm, I'm cooking. Do you want to come over?' Hahahahha. If she could send me a text like that, it means that she's free for that time slot! Of course she would turn up. The menu had CANTONESE SOUP, her favorite-st thing in the world.

On a whim, I had gone to the wet market bright and early to see what I could get to cook soup noodles. I wasn't inclined to do beef noodles. I'm really not a fan of beef or pork noodles no matter in what style. I don't fancy beef pho or Teochew/Taiwan beef noodles or any sort of with minced pork, like bak chor mee. LOL. Fresh fish wins any meat. Sliced fish noodles in soup it was! The wet market always has good stuff. Bought nice slices of ikan haruan, and bones of kurau and snapper. There were loads of vegetables to go along with it too.

I haven't boiled up soup noodles in this kitchen, so I was pleased with how it turned out. The logistics were not troublesome at all. Kept the soup light, and added more ginger and pepper to it. Sliced fish soup and noodles went down well with BFF and the man. #ImpieCooks2018

And because the man wanted some protein, I bought Indonesian pork (much better than Australian pork and less stinky) at the wet market too. Giant back ribs. These are easy to handle. I wouldn't have to chop it up or touch it more than necessary. It only involved a rinse and some deft handling of the bones.

Dwaeji galbi went on the menu. The marinade wasn't tough to do, and I had all that leftover applesauce in a jar that I really wanted to use up. All the marinated ribs needed was to sit for two hours in the fridge. The giant back ribs were fantastic for light grilling in the oven. It caramelized nicely at the ends. The man was soooo happy with them. The BFF takes pork, and she enjoys nibbling on ribs. Okaaaay. Knock yourself out gnawing on the bones. I didn't want any part of the meat beyond tasting it to make sure that they were fine in and out of the oven.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mailed Out Christmas Cards

There, all my Christmas cards have been mailed out. This batch was to local recipients. Obviously I sent more than three cards lah! My mailing list still holds about 25 cards to Singapore addresses. I was kiasu and sent out the first batch in the first week of November! Those were mainly sent out overseas, and I needed them to get to their intended recipients by the first week of December. The postal services are usually flooded, and any cards sent later would usually reach the friends in January.

It took some time before I remembered to shift over my stash of cards, pens, stationery and such. Took the opportunity to reorganize the cards into its different purposes. Sifted out the Christmas cards to fill out. There were so many boxes of new cards hoarded that I didn't have to buy new ones this year. 🤣

I still find it a joy to sit down for two afternoons to write those cards. I try not to write generic lines. The best parts are when I discover how easily words flow when I'm writing to friends. We're in contact through the year and it isn't difficult to pick up a pen to say something. And with closer friends, there's so much more said in the unspoken encapsulated in those casual lines written. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Avocado + Eggs

Had a new shipment of avocados, and since the man complained that there hadn't been avocados at home for three weeks, I made sure the man got sick of eating it all week. Muahahahha. There could be smashed avocado on toast, avocado smoothies, et cetera. Oh trust me, my avocado game is strong, way hipster than any hip cafe. The thing is, I've been eating avocados since I was a child. And now the popularity of avocados have exploded in such a huge way that it impacts the land the avocados are mainly harvested from, and its people. Haizzzz. Anyway.

I baked avocado and eggs for the man's breakfast. He hit the gym early before coming home to change up and go into the office. There was time for breakfast. He didn't know that I'd be cooking. I usually leave him to sort out his breakfast in the microwave. Sometimes, it doesn't take much to make him happy. I told him I'd cook him breakfasts as often as I could this December, by way of a Christmas gift to him. #ImpieCooks2018

You know I don't bother with hot breakfasts, so whenever I cook up breakfast, it's usually for one person. The man always enjoys a hearty breakfast, so he was thrilled to get my text about food being prepped, and was delighted to smell things sizzling when he stepped into the flat. The avocado and eggs were served with a croissant, and two slices of four-seed multigrain toast and delicious English Cumberland sausages. Sausages are a little annoying to sear though. SO OILY. Luckily we only buy sausages once in two months or something like that. It's rotated with ham. Processed food lah!

I had some fun with the avocados and eggs. Decided to do a different sort of sunny-side up for him. Baked 'em avocado and eggs in the oven. There, all the calories and carbs and a full salt bomb for him to start the day with. However, his eyes popped out when he saw the avocado and eggs. Poached or hard-boiled eggs on toast with smashed avocado are fairly common, easy to prep, and can be done beautifully, except it's way cheaper when we do that at home. He had never eaten them presented this way. He couldn't stop laughing. Hahahahahah. Well. Obviously he doesn't visit enough fancy cafes or browse Instagram often. 🙄🤣🥑🍳

Monday, December 10, 2018

Follow The Money

Took a ride through black comedy and crime with 'The Comedown' (2018) by Rebekah Frumkin. It's the author's first novel, and she takes readers through a cross section of America via the Kent State shootings in 1970 Ohio and ongoing protest marches in Chicago. (Reviews herehere, and here.)

Florida drug dealer Reggie Marshall has never liked simpering cocaine addict Leland Abdiel Bloom-Mittwoch Sr.; The latter totally looks up to Reggie. They shared a birthday and were to be 54 in May, 1999. When a drug deal became a hit job which of course involved the disappearance of a suitcase with a large sum of money, both their families got entangled. Leland Bloom Mittwoch Sr. threw himself off the roof of a Tampa hotel in May 1999, and was presumed dead, and that began the search for said missing suitcase.

We began the book with the Prologue on May 8, 1999 and got to May 8, 2009, and the Epilogue ended on June 12, 2009. The search for said missing suitcase of money ended decades later in 2009 in a synagogue, with all parties none the wiser. It was brilliant. Laughed when I saw how book detailed out the family tree in a graphic, of the Bloom-Mittwochs and the Marshalls. It could be a Netflix show.

He took the bullet from his pocket and rolled it between his thumb and index finger. The doctor had no idea what he'd done, giving this thing to him. If it weren't for this motherfucking two inches of lead, Reggie would've never been Richard. He would've gone back to Cleveland and despite the danger of Shondor, the fear that had paralyzed him all these years, he would've saved his family. 
His family. The money. 
Everything from his old life was a puzzle. The money hadn't been meant for him—it had be meant for the goons he'd killed, the fake-Irish ones Shondor and Sunny hired to kill him. The car bomb had been meant for Sunny's family, not Sunny. Shondor was always five fucking steps ahead. Shondor probably knew that if the goons didn't kill Sunny when they showed up to collect their payment, then Sunny would kill himself because his family was everything to him. He knew that on the offhand chance Reggie showed up instead of the goons, Sunny would kill him out of loyalty to Shondor. So worst-case scenario, Shondor has to pay some goons to take out Reggie and Sunny. Best-case scenario, everybody dies and Shondor keeps his money. 
It was a good plan but it hadn't worked. Because they'd been thrown in a swamp. Shondor always gave bodies with no outstanding debts a proper burial, whether he hated them or loved them like family. If he'd gotten the money, Reggie and Sunny would've gotten their own plots and pine coffins. Which meant something had happened that not even Shondor could've anticipated. He'd gone over the details in his head before, but now one missing piece finally fell into place. 
The junkie. Leland.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Lunch and Dessert Loaves

It was sooo nice to have the E and S over for lunch. They made time so that we could sit and linger after the food. All these years, E and S have hosted plenty of meals at their homes. I've never cooked for them and it was a pleasure to do so. This dining table of mine is fulfilling its purpose.

When I asked them if they preferred Indian food or beehoon, they opted for the latter since it was lighter. Hurhurhur. Ooookies. I did my usual stir-fried white beehoon and sweet and sour pork, and greens and mushrooms. These are super easy dishes; I've nailed the logistics so that these dishes are very do-able for lunch without me having to wake up at 5am to food prep. But yes, I'm a bit sick of cooking sweet and sour pork already. Hahahaha. Popped the beehoon and pork into the oven to keep warm while I cleaned up the kitchen. Then I sliced up the greens and left that to the last to fry up when the girls arrived. #ImpieCooks2018

The girls came bearing thoughtful gifts and delicious loaf cakes and a lemon tart from Plain VanillaTsk. It was our little Advent and pre-Christmas get-together before everyone heads out for the year-end holidays and gets caught up with the festivities and various demands for their attention. We had plenty of time for lunch, dessert, and two cups of coffee. It was splendid to have our quietude and a leisurely chat that lasted late into the afternoon.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Shopping For Bed Linen

I didn't realize it till I was searching for bed linen, but there's a serious lack of good quality plain sheets and pillowcases in the malls. The malls carry decent brands, but my gawwwd, the designs and patterns are way elaborate and hurt my eyes each time I look at it. It's tickling when they tout it as 'hotel style luxury'. WTF, that is a real selling point?!

I like my bedsheets, pillow cases and duvet covers plain, or at least with minimal designs, and preferably not flowers. I also have a fondness for dark sheets in black or grey, or lighter ones in stark white or cream. Threadcount is not a huge consideration. Anything between 280 to 500 is fine. Anything above that is wasted on me. Had two old sets of bedlinen that were supposed to be used temporarily till I found decent replacements. Finally got around to looking at that. Didn't need more than three new sets of bedlinen. Would need extra duvet covers though, since the man and I do not share a quilt. Hahaha.

Found them online at current hot brands- Brooklyn-based Brooklinen and our local Sojao. Thanks to L's tips, I scored good discounts during the Black Friday sales. The bedlinen arrived packed beautifully clean and are eco-friendly (yes, all these are important). Delivery timing was excellent; while Sojao delivers in two business days, it's extremely impressive for Brooklinen to deliver to Singapore in four to five business days. Free shipping at that. If the courier company doesn't fail these shops, our brick and mortar malls can't beat them for service efficiency.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

L's Chicken Chok!

Merrily turned up at J and L's for dinner. Chicken chok was on the menu. Never say no when they invite you over for dinner. It's wonderful company, and very awesome homecooked food. I'm not hot about chicken, but I lurrrrrve congee. Nobody said that I have to eat the chicken. It's about the chok! The chicken meat was boiled separately and placed in a serving bowl.

Since this was a sort of potluck, we all brought something. There were damn good smoked pork ribs and pulled pork from Decker Barbecue, roast duck and the accompanying eggs and tau kwa and such. If chicken chok wasn't sufficiently meaty, people could go to town with the pork and duck. Oof! J and A have been experimenting with kombucha and found a balance they like, and brought three bottles in different flavors for us to try. It was good. Loved it as an aperitif. The hosts are always generous with their wine. They brought out easy reds to go with the meal. It was amazing how none of us asked for gin or whisky that night. Hurhurhurhur. Before we switched over to a new bottle of Rioja, I saved a last glass of Merlot to go with that delicious Beemster cheese at the end of the meal. J and L's Christmas tree is up, and so are their Christmas decorations. Friends, laughter, and good food. What lovely Christmassy vibes, and these, make the season blessed.

L offered me a taste of the congee bubbling in the pot. Mmmmmm. The almost-finished pot without any sort of garnish was already perfect. It was full of umami- all them dried oysters and scallops. She blanched squid and fried up spring onions and shallots, and saved the shallot oil to go along with the chok.

You know how fussy I am about congee, and how much I love a good thick bowl. L's iteration of century egg chok is on point. Her congee was so delicious that I had 3.5 bowls of it. Yup, totally not shy. I lurked in the kitchen, and was this close to scooping the pot clean. This giant pot fed 10 people who each had two or three bowls of congee. What a magic porridge pot!

This rainy weather is great for hot food items. Lots of curries, stews, soups and such that I love. And most of them all, congee. Hahahaha. Congee is not Teochew muay hor. I'm not interested in the spread that is typical of Teochew muay or Taiwanese porridge; I'm especially iffy about its watery rice or whatever that passes off as 'congee' in the meal. I HATE THIN CONGEE. I don't need to wait for rainy weather to aid my appetite—I can eat congee every day, for all meals. To me, congee is never viewed as 'sick people's food' because I've always had wonderful homecooked congee all my life. Good congee doesn't just appear when I'm ill.