I was out and there was a birthday voucher that was about to expire so the parents sadly left me out of a nice dinner to Club Chinois tonight.
Mum found out too late that the voucher was meant to be used at The China Club instead.
They had a nice dinner nonetheless.
So I now have the pleasure of having a buffet brunch at The China Club tomorrow morning.
- Update -
The view from the 52nd floor of Capitol Tower was spectacular. The food though, was very ho-hum.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
OK. Not quite birthday at the beach. After a long break from themed parties, YA and I decided to put a theme to our bday celebrations this year just to spice things up a little. It was quite hectic cos everything was only put together a week before the party and there seemed like a whole load of stuff to organise, people to contact, food to cook and so on.
Luckily, everything worked out well in the end. I managed to borrow some props from colleagues and friend's colleagues; hammocks, kids' beach toys and even a baby pool! D also had ideas to go all out and bought balloons and more decorations. It turned out looking like a party for 5 year olds actually. Of course YA and I are far from being 5 but it's probably the 'getting older' thing. You want to get younger as you grow older (I know I'm not just speaking for ourselves here). Playing dress up was pretty easy for everyone. I even managed to wear something that was stuck deep in my wardrobe for a long time (Thank God!).
I think YA & D did really well with the set up here. You think?
It was pretty easy to prepare the food this time considering that there weren't any major recipes to stick by except for the dessert. Started with some raw carrot and celery sticks served with a store-bought roasted capsicum dip, biscuits, salami and garlic cheese.
That was subsequently followed by roasted garlic potato wedges with a lemon, rosemary & salt seasoning. First tried this Jamie Oliver recipe last year with Wen at Liz's place and it really tasted great so I thought it would make a nice snack for the guests.
Things warmed up pretty well by the time the pepperoni pizza hit the table. Thanks to Uncle Wee for his nice tomato base, I managed to create a nice thin crust pizza. Conversations were flowing, food was making its way out of the kitchen and friends were getting quite a bit of bubbly. There was of course the typical beach beer; Corona with lime. I also made a lemon & basil soda ala PS Cafe. Really didn't take much time and cost much money since I had so much basil growing at home.
It was honestly a little tedious putting the star of the night, the burger, together since there were so many ingredients to take care of. The beef patties, bacon and sunny-side ups had to be pan-fried, onion rings to be deep-fried, lettuce and tomatoes to slice. It was fun though cos I arranged it in such a way that people could put their own burger together, just the way they liked it. It was really delicious if I must say so myself. The spicy mayonnaise which was the burger sauce and the runny egg yolk in the case of my burger really made things messy but tasted so good with the rest of the ingredients.
I made a fruit cobbler for dessert that night. Was really easy to make and turned out pretty well although I thought it was going to be a failure at the beginning. It was served with vanilla ice cream which really contrasted well with the sourness of the cooked fruits but I guess most were too full from the food and the cakes to finish up the cobbler.
This is the second time I've put together a bday cookout thing. I remember it was just a year back when I cooked for a party of 8. That was the first time I've ever cooked for more than 4. Of course I took baby steps. First it was 3, then 4, then 8 and this time 12. It was tough running in the out the kitchen whilst trying to interact with my friends but it was really worth it.
Many ask me why I work so hard when it should be me getting the day off cos of my bday. It is hard work I don't deny but the satisfaction and experience I gain far outweighs the effort that is put in. The only thing I have to complain about is that I miss out on quite a number of conversations with friends since I'm not always around. I guess it works out that there's always YA celebrating his bday with me. I take care of the food; he takes care of the crowd, something he's always been good at.
I would say that the party was a success. Mum did a great deal of helping out too otherwise my friends would have had supper and not dinner. Thanks also to my friends for their presence, the nice surprise gift and the cake from my favourite patisserie.
It's exciting just thinking about a new idea for next year. It might be too early but still... 'til then!
p/s: I must make special mention that if not for it, there may not have been fine weather and the party would have gone down to the dogs. So I'm paying tribute to it here and I'm saying it now and will say it for as long as it works. I BELIEVE!
posted by sooks at 2:18 AM
Friday, August 08, 2008
privé bakery café
No. 2 Keppel Bay Vista
Marina at Keppel Bay
Tel: 65 6776 0777
No. 2 Keppel Bay Vista
Marina at Keppel Bay
Tel: 65 6776 0777
Having heard good comments about this place brought me there one fine Sat afternoon with D. As we drove on the bridge, crossing from the mainland to Keppel Island made me feel like I was going somewhere faraway. Somewhat anyways.
True enough, it did feel like I wasn't in Singapore when I found my seat at the bakery cafe. Just 10 minutes before, I was getting irritated with the crowd at VivoCity. 10 minutes later, I'm sitting down, taking in the breeze and enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings. I liked that.
Food is rather reasonably priced, clean and simple. I had a Chicken & Mushroom Pie which I thought was delicious. The pastry, always my favourite part of a pie, was crispy yet light and fluffy. They were also pretty generous with the ingredients in the pie.
This is a perfect hangout spot especially for girly talk. Might be quite inconvenient if one doesn't drive though cos it is a distance to walk to the island. Of course you also have to cross your fingers that you don't get seated next to loud talking aunties/uncles or someone who takes off his shoes and starts scratching it cos that will just totally throw everything out the window.
Lucky for me, I was about to leave when that started. So I say this now. I will be back again.
posted by sooks at 2:09 AM
Sunday, August 03, 2008
That was the slogan that was used to represent Mikuni's style of cooking when he was in town a while back during the World Gourmet Summit (WGS) where I had the honour of tasting his culinary creations. I have to say that I was pretty blown away and the dinner at Club Chinois, where Mikuni was hosted, was one of the most memorable for me in a long time.
For those who are unfamiliar, Chef Kiyomi Mikuni is one of Tokyo's highest rated chefs. Currently chef owner of Hotel de Mikuni, he is well-known for his blend of French and Japanese cuisine. Born in a small town in Hokkaido, Mikuni headed to France and trained under three-star Michelin chef Alain Chapel. He went on to Geneva and honed his skills before returning to Japan to set up his own establishment.
The delicious 8-course dinner presented during the WGS consisted mostly of his dishes served at his Shinjuku restaurant, Hotel de Mikuni.
Tartar of tuna "tataki", with poached quail egg dressed with vinaigrette of avocado oil & soy sauce "yuzu" flavour
Having always been a fan of anything made tataki-style, it was no surprise that I really liked this dish. It was nicely dressed and the quail egg mixed in with the tuna created a creamy-like texture which contrasted well with the crunchy slices of radish. Blame it on my 'not so sharp' tongue but I wasn't really able to figure out the avocado oil. My main grouse for this dish was that the fish wasn't chilled enough. It was nice that they paid attention to the detail of having the fish served on a chilled plate but it really would have been better if the tuna was served at a lower temperature. Despite that, I still think this dish was nicely done.
Consommé of garoupa "umami"
Although this was D's favourite course, it was rather pedestrian in my opinion. Needless to say that the garoupa was fresh and the consommé tasted very much like dobinmushi actually. What was good though was that the lightness of this dish was a good contrast to the heaviness of the next dish on the menu.
Foie gras and "Fukahire" risotto, Perigueux sauce
This was a dish that caught me by surprise. A combination of the rich, creamy foie gras and the usual Chinese banquet staple, shark's fin, also known as fukahire in Japanese was just something I never imagined to be so perfect. Shark's fin on its own is usually tasteless which boded well since the foie gras was already very rich and flavourful. The pan-fried shark's fin with its slightly gooey texture and crispiness added a nice contrast from the oiliness from the foie gras as well. The al dente risotto really helped also in balancing the flavours of the dish. This course was rich and 'oh so good'. I absolutely loved it!
Lobster soufflé with sauternes butter and American sauce
After the dinner when Sam Leong, Director of Kitchens with the Tung Lok Group came round to introduce Chef Mikuni, he asked which courses did we like. I pointed out that this course was my favourite of the night. If it were entirely up to me, I'd remove 'umami' from the garoupa consommé and put that 'umami' tag on this because that was what it was to me. If I really had to describe it, I'd say the lightness of the soufflé, the fresh piece of lobster right in the middle and sauce which basically tasted like lobster bisque were great complements to each other.
Halfway through and I was already pretty much blown away.
On with the rest which I thought paled a little in comparison with the first half of the dinner.
Half-cooked salmon , confite endive with green lemon
If I had to be honest, this was the course that I didn't enjoy most. Somehow, I just couldn't get used to the sourness of the whole dish probably from the endives. The only thing they got right here in my opinion, was the half-cooked salmon.
Roasted young pigeon and braised cabbage with garlic
I was glad that I still had this dish and didn't end on a "sour" note. The pigeon was very enjoyable; tender and tasty. However, I realised the name of the dish particularly mentioned 'braised cabbage' when it was actually the assortment of mushrooms that left me with the deeper impression. All in all, a good ending before we started on the sweets.
"Kuzu" jelly with seasonal fruits and glaced chestnut
This was the first and lighter of the 2 desserts we had for the evening. Honestly, this was just OK. I much preferred the rock melon ice cream that came along with this. Reminded me of the Haagen Daas version which I like very much though that one we had that night was not as sweet.
I preferred this dessert but I thought it was a little too heavy for me since I was pretty stuffed by then. Not usually a big chocolate fan but I liked the pairing of the mousse and the chocolate here. All in all, a good ending to the fantastic meal I had.
I had a great time savouring the food of Mikuni that night. As we left the restaurant, D asked me. "Did Mikuni cook this all himself?". Surely not, but his question got me thinking. A lot of thought must have been put in to pair shark's fin and foie gras together to create a dish. I have no doubt that we have good chefs in our tiny island. However, do we have the innovation to push culinary boundaries?
I'm definitely going to miss Mikuni. I wonder if we'll ever meet again.
posted by sooks at 1:29 AM