Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

snowing in singapore

P: Hueh Hueh very kindly gave us her old camera (which is way better than ours) after she upgraded, so I'm trying it out. Either I've not found the Christmas tree setting or it's snowing inside my flat.

It's Christmas Eve night and we're preparing some finger food for tomorrow so we have more time on Christmas morning for opening presents! Above are baby zucchini and basil frittatas fresh from the oven. Wrapped and cooling in the fridge are smoked salmon, creme fraiche and chive rolls.

one small step ...

P: The first ever lunar walk by a hamster.

It's a wonder our neighbours ever ask us to look after their pets when they go on holiday. All we do is abuse them for our own amusement.

parson's nose

P: Holy moley! Sandy and I dropped by Tanglin Mall to do some last-minute Xmas shopping and we couldn't really miss the 15-square-metre billboard on the side of the shopping centre! I love it! I'm going to ask them if I can take it home after Christmas and slap it on the side of my house.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

tao sar piah

P: Chong Ee flew in from Penang to celebrate Christmas in Singapore with his girlfriend. They kindly brought with them two boxes of Penang's famous tao sar piah or savoury biscuits. They didn't even have time to sit down and relax before Sandy had opened both boxes for a comparative tasting. One brand was the well-known Him Heang brand ...

the other a relative unknown, Hoh Heong, from a small shop on Macalister road ...

The verdict? All agreed that the newcomer, Hoh Heong, has a much fuller flavour and a fresher taste. Go check it out if you can find it!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

steamboat with the sundermanns

P: Jörg, Myrna, Kai and Tian are spending Christmas in Singapore and dropped by for dinner. Tian is now 4 1/2 years old and is a real joker. For Christmas he wants a pet lizard so spent the evening hunting for geckos in our flat.

Elder brother Kai is now 11 years old and has told his younger brother he can buy lizards at Cold Storage!

Tian ...

happy belated birthday

P: Happy belated birthday Rafiq! Log cakes at Cable Car.

Monday, December 17, 2007

launch party

S: Phil launching something ... I'm not sure even he knows what.

morocco ... japan ... singapore

Spicy pumpkin and green bean tagine with couscous

Ingredients for shabu shabu (bizarrely Sandy 'found' all these ingredients in her studio?!)

Sandy's chicken curry and spicy ladies fingers with instant roti canai (no roti canai setting on the bread machine and no idea how to make it from scratch!)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

pregnancy cravings ... for all food

P: Wow, I can't keep up with Sandy's cooking. Forget about pregnancy cravings, Sandy's eating everything. One day she's cooking fried beehoon, the next crispy gnocchi. Then oyako donburi (chicken annd egg rice bowl), miso soup and oyako (tofu in cold sauce), followed by beef braised in Guinness! Tomorrow night Sandy's going out for Korean food with Hooi Hooi and I'm eating leftovers at home. I fancy fried noodles with potatoes and a little miso gnocchi on the side.

Monday, November 26, 2007


P: Mark it in the diary. 5pm - 6pm Sunday 2nd December, Earshot Café, The Arts House.

F-logging: The Fine Art of Food Blogging.

This event is part of the Singapore Writers Festival.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

beehoon for brunch

P: Hmm, delicious. Sandy's sunday brunch of beehoon stirfried with prawns, tauge, chye sim and fishcake, with a chilli and garlic dip.

food safari

P: Phil A dropped in for a night after a business trip to Thailand so we had a good excuse for eating as much as possible. Not that we really need an excuse. In the fourteen hours we were awake we managed to put away chilli crab with fried buns, sambal stingray, prawn fritters, satay, pohpiah, fried kangkong with garlic, five plain roti prata (canai) and one banana prata, chicken curry, masala thosai, plain thosai, eggplant masala, pork rib soup, stirfried sambal chicken with eggplant, deepfried fish slices with ginger and spring onion, and chilli clams.

absentmindedness and pregnancy (and that's just Phil)

S: God help me when I get so big that I have to rely on hubby to do all the shopping. I sent him out yesterday to buy some skin moisturizing cream and he came back with a box of chocolate Maltesers!! Er ... close but not quite right.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The new face of frozen poultry

P: How bizarre! I sat down for lunch at my neighbourhood deli, which faces an outlet of a local supermarket chain and what was staring me in the face? A poster of me ... and a turkey! On closer inspection I found my face not just on the poster at the entrance to the supermarket but also on every single shelf-talker (where the price tags go) in the shop! Fame at last ... at least in the frozen poultry section. Bernard Matthews, eat your heart out!

Three new four-legged friends

S: While checking on "Sunday", the husky, at his kennel, on behalf of Yeo and Shannon, who are on holiday in LA, we made friends with three adorable golden retrievers: Ben, Dede and Junior. As soon as we appear at the door, they all pick up their favourite toy (or all three grab the same toy) and wait for us to enter. Soooo cute!

Pill popping

S: My breakfast is now complemented by four different pills!! In addition to folic acid, which I've been on for a few months, I've now been prescribed calcium carb tablets, obimin multivitamin film tablets and omega-3 essential fatty acid tablets (which seem to be mostly tuna oil!). Nice.

Out-of-focus shot (using Phil's mobile) of my hospital waiting room.

Eating for three

P: Now that Sandy's pregnant and I'm eating for three ... I decided Korean BBQ was in order for dinner. I think we set a record with 23 plates of food on our table.

I was just about to barbecue these marshmallows when Sandy told me to pour a little water on them instead ...

and, as if by magic ...

they sprouted into napkins!

more corny ideas for dessert ...

(And this dinner was on top of a huge, equally delicious, lunch of Hyderabadi mutton biryani and eggplant curry at a Hyderabadi restaurant in Little India)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


P: Pancetta-wrapped cod roasted on a bed of leeks, beans, garlic and pinenuts, served with tomato and onion couscous. Thank you Sandy ... delicious! And thanks to mother-in-law for this tasty sambal petai with prawns and preserved veggie.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

three sheets to the wind

P: Our king-size bed (£50 from ebay) was delivered while Sandy was up in Malaysia so I had it all to myself for a few nights.

Naturally it hadn't occurred to me to buy any king-size sheets and the only one I could find in the house was the gold silk sheet that we used for the cover photo of "Invisible Trade" (see below)! I got home drunk and spent the whole night trying not to slip off the bed. Note to self: don't drink and sleep on silk.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Excessive Ovation Syndrome

P: Too much hand clapping, or Excessive Ovation Syndrome (EOS) as it has been dubbed by certain US bloggers, has hit Singapore. Last night Sandy and I attended the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's "Elgar Anniversary: Pomp and Circumstance" at the Esplanade. The event was billed as an Elgar Anniversary with guest pianist Antti Siirala from Finland. Rather confusingly there was neither piano nor Elgar until after the intermission (apart from a four-minute pianoless Pomp and Circumstance March No4 in G Major to wake us up before the break). Following the break, the piano was wheeled in and Antti Siirala played Mozart's Piano Concerto No21 in C Major with the SSO. He played beautifully and the audience was duly impressed. But the work lasted less than 30 minutes and we then applauded him for what seemed close to 8 minutes. Siirala was very good but surely you don't need to applaud for almost a quarter of the length of the actual performance. Our hands were sore so we eventually stopped clapping and the piano was wheeled out; we returned to Elgar for 10 minutes and that was it.

A lovely evening but we could limit the applause next time.

Battle of Sarimbun

P: This morning Sandy and I drove to Sarimbun, the first landing site of the Japanese invasion in 1942. Bizarrely, the Japanese flag was still flying ... did nobody remember to take it down sixty years ago? We later realised this particular flag only signified a group of Japanese cub scouts was "in residence" at the scout camp next door.

Apart from a plaque at a road junction 200 yards from the sea, there's nothing to remind you of the Battle of Sarimbun, which saw Japanese troops successfully breach British and Australian defences and penetrate the (not quite) "impregnable fortress of Singapore". There were hundreds of cigarette butts next to the plaque but far from being historical relics they probably belonged to the Japanese scout masters, who we could see slipping off at regular intervals for a crafty smoke.

(image borrowed without permission from http://sg.pagenation.com)

A mile up the coast we stopped at Lim Chu Kang jetty, from which small motorboats service the many kelong (offshore fishing platforms and fish farms built on wooden stilts) which dot the Johore Strait. We ventured out onto the swaying wooden jetty and looked out fondly towards Malaysia, Sandy's birthplace. Thirty seconds later the stench of rotting fish in the air drove us back to the comfort of an airconditioned car in Singapore.

(image borrowed without permission from http://sg.pagenation.com)

We explored all the tracks off the main road, most of which lead to barriers preventing you from entering the "restricted access" live-firing area, which occupies the westernmost side of Singapore. We saw resident Brahminy Kites and Black-Shouldered Kites and one much larger raptor which we couldn't ID. The winter migration is about to start ... my favourite time of the year in Singapore!

Since we were in the neighbourhood, we dropped by Bollywood Veggies for lunch. Sandy took nasi lemak; I had a delicious banana-stem chicken curry, and sweet-potato leaves with belacan. A quick stroll round the farm then we went in search of the owners Great Danes, which Sandy likes to disturb. When they start barking, the whole restaurant can hear them!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Guess what?!

P: We're pregnant! Instead of calling everybody, we're posting the news online. "Dumpling" (made in Prague) is 13 weeks old and 6.5cm long. Sandy is well and thankfully she's hasn't suffered any morning sickness. Sandy did stop eating meat for two months but that was probably a result of styling and photographing 25 roast turkeys, 15 legs of ham and various other animals for a local supermaket chain's Christmas catalogue. Luckily that three-week shoot is over so she's taking small amounts of meat again ... but only in Asian dishes, no more Western-style Christmas ham or turkey for a while!

We're both so excited and are devouring baby books. Luckily we have Holly and Nel in England and Katrina and Steve downstairs to turn to for advice since they both recently gave birth. Below is the 12-week scan:

Friday, October 26, 2007


P: Still in 'bier und wurst' mode after my recent trip to Germany, I went in search of teutonic sausage and stumbled upon an Oktoberfest party in Singapore! Two thousand people packed into an Erdinger-sponsored marquee on Merchant Road. The beer girls may not have been quite as buxom as their Bavarian counterparts but the weißbier was flowing just as fast. Also out were the lederhosen and Bavarian drinking songs ... we had to suffer 80s disco numbers. A big thank you to Suqi for emailing me the photos.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Chongqing mala steamboat

P: I woke up at 12pm today (it's a Sunday) and by 12.30 I was sitting in Chongqing Mala Steamboat Restaurant in Tanglin Shopping Centre. I'm not convinced super hot and spicy steamboat is a good idea for breakfast. We joined Yeo and Shannon ...

and Eric and Ling and kids ...

Enoki mushrooms, prawns, prawn balls, chicken balls, cuttlefish balls, fish balls, fish glue, beancurd skin, tofu, four types of veggie, dumplings, tanghoon noodles, tripe and twenty small plates of beef and lamb later, we could hardly walk. No dinner for us tonight.