Saturday, April 28, 2007

Twas a rough night

One of Singapore's claims to fame is that there are more thunder storms here than in almost any other country. In one year, thunder can be heard on about 171 days. The worst period is April/May ... now! According to weather stats, thunder storms occur on 20 out 30/31 days in April and May. Sandy and I were both woken by last night's storm at 3am. It was LOUD! I didn't sleep back till 6am. Mind you, that's also because I'm enjoying reading Julian Barnes' "Arthur and George", a beautiful book.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"conceptual bullshit"

It started out as a fairly typical Friday morning. I left the house at about ten to nine, Sandy still snoring away. I walked past the mosque and was invited by the bearded one to celebrate Prophet Mohamed's birthday on the 29th. I stepped over the railway tracks and made for the main road to grab a cab when suddenly I noticed a herd of cows grazing in the field. Nothing unusual with that if you live anywhere in the world apart from Singapore. We don't do cows. We have two in the petting zoo but for most Singaporeans they're as rare as zebras, penguins, kangaroos and sheep. (Actually we do see sheep once a year when the bearded one next door slaughters a herd for mutton curry.)

These cows were definitely of the Milton Keynes variety. Rather static and unusually colourful. However, the famous "concrete cows" were built in Milton Keynes in 1978 by an artist "poking fun at the preconceived notion of the new city, held by commentators who had never seen the place, that it would consist entirely of concrete pavements where once there were fields, and where its deprived children would need models to know how real cows once looked" -- the reality being that Milton Keynes was in fact very green. In Singapore, however, the citizens really do need models to know how real cows once looked! Worse, there never were many cows in Singapore in the first place. Some artist has copied an idea which even in 1978 was dubbed "conceptual bullshit". Why not use an animal indigenous to Singapore?

Update: As Ming (blogging from San Francisco) correctly points out (see her comment below), artistic expression is not allowed in Singapore. Silly me. Our herd of cows is nothing more than advertising (an ad agency advertising itself). I saw more cows on a taxi this morning.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

roast myna bird

We have mynas nesting in the roof eaves and somehow this little chap fell into our spare bedroom.

Sandy wasted no time in roasting it with chillies, sage and lemon and served it for dinner with rosemary roast potatoes and French beans ...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

where are we?

One of my favourite views in Singapore. Can you guess where the photo is taken from?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stuffed bread

Just how many things can stuff into a loaf of bread?! Phil stuffed this pane farcito with roasted eggplant, feta, homegrown basil, spring onions, cured ham, cherry tomatoes and olives. We were supposed to take it on a picnic but we didn't want to miss the Malaysian Grand Prix on TV so we had a picnic on the floor of the livingroom. How sad. We should have taken in to the actual grand prix ... next year.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

drunken prawns

Peter Neville, author of The Rose of Singapore visited Singapore on his way back to USA from the Hong Kong International Literary Festival at which he was speaking. Peter lived in Singapore in the early 1950s and comes back regularly to feast on his favourite cuisine. But ... he'd never tried chili crab before so we took him to the East Coast to try bamboo clams with garlic, drunken prawns and chili crab. Delicious!

The prawns were brought live to the table in a glass bowl with a lid on. The cook then removed the lid to pour in the rice wine but four of the ten prawns saw their opportunity to escape and flipped themselves out of the bowl onto the table. The cook then had to keep the lid on the bowl while chasing the four prawns round the table. Peter was suitably shocked ...

Phil, Peter and Sandy...