Friday, December 29, 2006

a memorable christmas.

Gathered with close friends for a Christmas party on Christmas eve which turned out to be one of the most enjoyable Christmas parties I've had in a long time. Good food and great company was very much appreciated cos I've been so swamped this month. I'm just glad that everything's come to end and I'm finally going to be getting some 'me' time.

Anyways, this was the second of the themed events we've been organising recently. The last PINK party we had was hilarious. This time we decided that the food was going to be decent Christmasy food but all of us had to dressed in a mismatched fashion. What that meant was that we basically just had to look obiang. Most of the people followed through except for D & I. Apparently, I wasn't obiang enough for them when I turned up in pink and blue. Well, just imagine one of them was wearing a graphic printed shirt with striped pants and another with green polka dot top with a brown velvet skirt. We had lotsa games also with efforts from Lan who surprised with plans for charades. Then we had lotsa laughter with homemade Twister. There was also a gift exchange in which I got pjs (thanks pei!).

Food was really in abundance so we ended up with lotsa doggy bags to bring home. Dinner was deliciously prepared by Uncle Wee at Mum's canteen. We had all the works; turkey and chestnut stuffing with giblet gravy, honey baked ham, baked salmon fillet with white wine cream sauce, bbq pork ribs and everyone's favourite of the night, baked mashed potatoes.

Lan brought us a chocolate log cake from The Regent and Pei & XW made lovely sangria which I couldn't get enough of. The above is log cake number 3 for me this season. Although I'm not the biggest fan of chocolate (I get weird stares all the time when I say that), I loved the cherries that were in the middle. D also brought over a little of the Grand Cru Valrhona Chocolate Nougat & Pear Log Cake from Goodwood Park for me to try so that was log cake number 4. Didn't get much of a tasting out of that though but what I did try, I liked. Tasted like ice cream actually. Apparently, it won the award for best log cake in 2004 by Streats, the now defunct newspaper. I really don't recall having so many log cakes in previous years cos for me, it's always been about the ham and turkey although technically, turkey is Thanksgiving, not Christmas food.

By the way, did I mention that I wanted a juicy roasted bone-in gammon ham for Christmas??

Monday, December 25, 2006

christmas logs part II.

Sooks arrives home with a huge black box with beautiful gold drawings on in.

Sooks: Mom!! Do you have space in your fridge? I have to stuff this cake in before I go to E's house later.

Mom: (Sees the box) Wah! What's in there? A cat?!

Sooks: No!! I bought a log cake for E's party. Wanna see what it looks like? (Opens big black box)

Mom: (Sees the cake) Huh? The box so big, the cake so small? What cake is this?

Sooks: New York Strawberry Cheese Log Cake. Got it from Raffles the Plaza. Looks good rrriiiiighttt...

Mom: It's not log cake lar. It's swiss roll!

Sooks: Mom. The old type of log cake, when you cut into it, you will see a swiss roll in the cross section right? But looks like log cake cos they make the cream outside look like a log! Remember??! Nowadays all new style, no need to look like log anymore. Any cake that's made during Christmas and is long enough is called log cake already. Not swiss roll ok! Swiss roll is the Rich & Good cake shop kind..

Mom: It's still swiss roll to me...

Sooks: (Resigned)

M E R R Y C H R I S T M A S E V E R Y O N E ! !

Saturday, December 23, 2006

a taste of paradise.

Taste Paradise
48-49 Mosque Street
Tel: 6226 2958
Opening hours: 12.00pm - 2.30pm, 5.30 - 10.30pm

I don't think this place needs much of an introduction cos it's been written about many times in other food blogs. Despite it being opened for only a year, it's been named as one of the Top 50 restaurants in Singapore by The Straits Times. When Ling suggested trying this place for our Christmas gift exchange, I was all for it cos I wanted to find out what the fuss was all about. I've tried the food at Eldwin Chua's first set up in Defu Lane; Seafood Paradise a couple of months back. It came highly recommended by a colleague but except for the honey pepper pork ribs and the butter crab, the other dishes were a little disappointing. Thus, I was hoping that Taste Paradise would turn out to be a better experience.

I liked the decor at Taste. The dark wood somehow made the place feel more welcoming and cosy. Service was pretty good; waiters were friendly and on hand to give personal recommendations. Although the food was a little bit on the pricey side, I felt that it was a pretty good meal we had. The only complaint I had was that we were seated near the air conditioner and because of the cold air that was blowing, our food turned cold pretty quickly. Anyways, I had good company, good gifts and good food that night. Couldn't ask for more. Here's a rundown of what we had.

Note: There was only 3 of us!
This might take long so please bear with me.

This was given to us when we settled ourselves down at the table. Apparently a free appetizer to start us off. I couldn't catch the name when the waiter introduced it. Neither could I guess what it was. Except for the sweet dragonfruit, this really did nothing for me.

We finally got into the swing of things with our first dish, the well-known XO fried carrot cake. I liked this dish a lot. The carrot cake was soft with bits of Chinese sausage in it. The XO sauce was really the one that gave the kick because it made this dish so fragrant and tasty. Thumbs up for me!

Nothing exciting from this dish. Although tasty, I didn't really like that they thickened the stock with corn starch. I probably should have order this veg dish with the stock and 3 types of eggs except I didn't think that my dining companions fancied century eggs. The fried garlic did add a little lift to the dish though.

This was my favourite dish of the night. Partly cos I've always been a big fan of anything that has tofu in it. To me, this was the best dish of the night for a few reasons. The first reason I've already mentioned. Secondly, the tofu was homemade thus soft and smooth. Thirdly, the sauce had a generous amount of crab meat in it and it was wonderfully tasty; matched perfectly with the tofu. Lastly, the large salted egg yolk right in the middle gave me a lovely surprise when I bit into it. My happiness levels at that point rose together with cholestrol levels. Doesn't matter to me anyway. I can easily polish off a whole plate of this on my own.

This dish was pretty delicious too. Some of the dishes at Taste Paradise are served by one person's portion. The baked cod with chef's recipe was one of the items on the recommended list. It sounded good so we decided to order a portion to try it. The cod was fresh and wasn't overdone. I loved the buttery flavour of the dish. It was also beautifully presented with the 2 types of roe on the top. Was definitely a good combination between taste and the asthetics.

This dish really stood out in the menu for Ling and Jac because of the word "cheese". This dish was sort of like an East meets West thing because it had a thin piece of bacon wrapped around prawn paste and cheese. It was then cooked in a sweet sauce. You couldn't have gone wrong with bacon and cheese but interestingly enough, it worked with the prawn paste too.

We ordered this cos Ling is a huge fan of ee-fu noodles. This version is different from the usual dark coloured one that we usually have at wedding dinners. Same noodles but cooked differently. This was fried delicately with generous amounts of dried scallops and golden mushrooms. It was very light-tasting and was quite a fitting end before we got to the sweets.

We were pretty stuffed towards the end of the dinner but couldn't leave before trying some of their desserts. I guess Taste got it right by placing dried ice below the dessert. It definitely made the presentation more dramatic and more importantly, caught our attention when it was being served to the nearby table. Ling and Jac had the mango pomelo dessert with coconut ice cream. I had a little taste from Ling and thought it was pretty good. I'm guessing she thought so too cos she finished it even before I was halfway through mine. I had the dessert special which was avocado with walnut ice cream. The avocado cream was smooth and not overly sweet. Yummy. Strangely enough though, it tasted a little like McDonald's hotcakes. I wouldn't have noticed it until Ling mentioned it. Weird huh..

Although I do feel that the food at Taste Paradise is pretty good, I'm not so sure that I'm willing to pay such hefty prices again for Chinese food. However, if I can get past that, I might be back again. Just because I'm in love with that tofu dish.

Friday, December 22, 2006

a gift of christmas

Apologies for the lack of updates. December's been a crazy month for me. Finally managed to catch a breather today so I'm back here writing. I didn't miss out on taking loads of photos though but now I'm way behind on uploading them so bear with me over the next week or so.

I've been so busy this month that I've hardly had the time to buy presents for loved ones. Only today did I manage to get cute gingerbread figurines and cakes for my colleagues (thanks to Ling for the idea)! I initially kept this year's list strictly to gift exchanges only but it just felt weird not getting anything for colleagues especially when everyone gets super enthusiastic about giving little tokens at this time of the year. I can't just be accepting right??! I bought some of my gingerbread from Goodwood Park as recommended by Ling and some from Marriott simply cos Goodwood Park ran out and I was too lazy to walk from one place to another. I haven't tried them though. I hope they're nice.

Speaking of nice, I received a nice surprise from the 2 guys in the office this afternoon. I really appreciate them a lot in the first place cos their presence and easy-going personalities have really livened up the corner I sit in. J has gone to join another department and E is the only "thorn" among the roses these days but we still have our fun nonetheless. Well, the surprise came when J brought up a cute ice cream log cake from Swensen's. Apparently the 2 of them had bought this as a Christmas gift for the rest of the gals in the corner! I was super touched by their nice gesture. I wasn't having the best day today too and it really helped to cheer me up a little.

They chose quite a peculiar flavour though; bubblegum. It was like the rainbow paddlepop ice cream if you know what I mean. Frankly, I have never been a fan of bubblegum flavoured things but this cake was ok if eaten with the biscuits on the side. Odd on the first bite but gets better as you go through it.

Actually what's most important was the thought they had put into it and because of that, it was probably the best cake I've had in a long time.

Monday, December 04, 2006

a taste of hong kong at home.

Hong Kong Tea House
Katong Village #01-09/10
Tel: 6345 1932
Opening Hours: 24 hours

A colleague of mine who migrated from Hong Kong after marriage still cannot totally get used to all of Singapore's cuisine although she's been here for around 3 years already. The recent sprouting of Hong Kong cafes has done her good cos there is always now places where she can go when she misses home. Sadly though, most of these Hong Kong cafes (according to her) are not very authentic and this disappoints her greatly.

Well, she found one pretty good one within the blocks at Marine Parade some time ago but then, she chanced upon Hong Kong Tea House recently. Since I'm writing about it here now, it's pretty obvious that the food here met her standards and she wanted to share this new discovery. I took her recommendation and ended up having a late dinner there one night.

Authenticity I guess, is not for me to judge here since I'm not from HK. Taste wise though, it was one of the better tasting Stir-fried Beef Hor Funs that I've tried. The noodles were cooked with enough heat, it was tasty and also had a generous amount of beef. Definitely a recommended dish to try while you're there.

Apparently Singapore Fried Bee Hoon was something that was invented in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong version is cooked with curry powder. Although D thought differently from me, I thought that this version was pretty enjoyable. D didn't really like it cos he couldn't get used to the curry taste, plus he's not that hyped up about HK's curry usually anyways. He was complaining that it was too dry too but I thought the noodles were fried well, in that it wasn't overly moist or clumpy. A check with E confirmed that this is how it's served in HK.

Authenticity we now have and the best part is, it can satisfy that craving for a piece of HK at any time of the day. Prices are reasonable too so this place definitely deserves a recommendation in my books.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

breakfast @ rosso

After weeks of all talk and no action, D & I finally got to have a nice breakfast together. Actually it was supposed to be the yummy carrot cake at AMK which I miss so much but we ended up having breakfast at Café Rosso instead. I was supposed to have breakfast there probably a week or two ago as mentioned in my previous entry but yup, all talk and no action. Here's what we had this morning...

Tuscan Breakfast

Hotcakes with Maple Syrup

The scrambled eggs taste better at Australia Dairy Co. in Hong Kong but this is breakfast still worth waking up for.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

it's my birthday!

can't believe that time has just flown past like that. i'm officially one.