Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quatuor Manfred Recital

The Quatuor Manfred

Visiting Artist Series from the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music benefited the general masses as it hosts several free concerts every month introducing different music instrumentations.

Today we attended our first 'live' string quartet with Manfred, one of the leading French quartets of its generation. I was looking forward to chamber music as it allows one to be fully engage with just a few instruments instead of the complexity of a full orchestra - learning to recognize each instrument for its distinctive sound and play techniques. 

Opening pieces of Hyacinthe Jadin's String Quartet in E-flat major, Op.2 No. 1 was particularly galvanizing as i got affix to the lead playing of the violin, it was captivating.. but after much 'strings' i start drifting and yearn for different vibration of sound. Think, a piano quartet...

Deepavali Gift of Sweets :)

Indian Sweets and Crackers

This box of Indian sweets was from Nic's neighbour in celebration of the Deepavali, or Diwali the Festival of Lights for our Hindus countrymen. It's the first time i see such variety of sweets as gifts, i'm impressed.

As these were locally home made, they tasted less cloying than what my colleagues bought from India sweet house - the Indian loves their sweets heavily sugared! And i came to appreciate that every races took pains in preparing traditional recipes of sweets, cakes and cookies for each of their unique festivities.

With main ingredients of raw rice, dal, nuts, rice flour, ghee and milk, i like the content of entire box while Dad preferred the crackers of Mullu Thenguzhal and Ribbon Pakoda to the Cheese Cutras and Ladoo ;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Whittaker's Almond Gold

Whittaker's Roasted Almond Gold Milk Chocolate, 45g ($1.90)

I knew of this New Zealand chocolate 'gold bar' for as long as i knew Ric - it has been one of his favourite for the past 10+ years, but i've only had them today. Albeit the coarser finished cocoa, this mini slab is every mouthful of tight packed almonds! No chocolate bars had ever deliver such nutty sensation; it is very satisfying.

Hershey's finer chocolate bars were Ric's take these recent years but we both agree that Whittaker's Gold the memorable one.

Whittaker's 12 Mini Size, 180g ($7.15)

Towards end of 2012, Whittaker's market pack of 12 mini bite size chocolate, each weighting 15g; having exciting flavors like 'dark peppermint', 'coconut', 'peanut', 'hokey pokey', 'dark ghana', 'white raspberry', 'cornflake', 'almond & cranberry', 'berry & biscuit' and of course, the almond gold that makes it worldwide famous.

We like to savor these new tastes but will not repeat buy for the almond gold selection as the smallness of the 15g chocolate failed to gratify like the original 45g which was designed with substantial almonds.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

榕城, another haunt for good Bak Kut Teh

My definition of a good Bak Kut Teh meal is simply make up of 1 primary bowl of sweet flavorsome pork rib soup that promises to nourish my body with a 'perk me' shake up. And often preferring the Teochew's lighter colored version of the peppery soup.

Bak Kut Teh Meal ($21.80)

It would be a bonus when the meal comes with appetite whetting vegetable pickles and side dishes option of soft gelatinous pork trotters or tender pig's liver; good service standard of constant topping-up the bak kut teh soup without having to ask for it.

Rong Chen is certainly good with its trade but my fave still of Ng Ah Sio; and we're always on a look out for the better or more - i love the warm soup with sweet rib bones ;)

Braised Pork Trotter

Blanched Pig Liver Soup

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fortunella - gave me my first wine allergy.

Fortunella Premium Sweet Red, 750ml ($11.80 Promotion)

After savoring the sweet red from Brown Brothers, i was keen to explore more of such sparkling red wine. The NTUC supermart happened to have a promotion for Fortunella of South Australia; it was cheap and so we decide to try.

Serving it chilled does not improve the taste of the bottle. We were disappointed with its bland sweet alcoholic tang. There was just a weak hint of vine grapes and the bottle gave us drying throat.

Being one who never had skin, food or medical allergy of any sorts, i was shocked that the drink tonight developed into skin irritations (Hives) on both my arms by the following day. My skin itches with claw marks and got bumpy after scratching it! What ugly arms! I was really shocked.

What saves? The Axe Brand Universal Oil.
It eases the itch immediately. And after just 3 applications, the allergy cleared.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cereal Prawns with Eggs, 麦片虾炒蛋

My family love prawns and these were for my sister-in-law's craving albeit the smaller size prawns; bigness of the prawns would have been much enjoyable, really.

I done a slight addition to the previous recipe today. After Step 2 of deep-frying the prawns (refer earlier recipe here), i made scrambled eggs out of 5 beaten eggs with the red-orangey tainted oil that remains after the deep-frying. The eggs tasted superb.

It was set aside and added back to the wok together with the prawns in final Step 5 for a quick toss just before serving! That's it.

For the health conscious individual who abstain prawns, they could now taste this dish with just eggs, cereal and curry leaves. I'm not health conscious, i'm just lazy to de-shell the shrimps.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SONY Blu-ray DVD Home Theatre System

SONY BDV-E380 ($499)

Listened to my new Sony home theatre system and "WoW!" with disbelief - it was a make.believe perk up. Upgrading my current Philips 2 speakers to Sony 5.1-Channel sound system makes an obvious audio difference - sound quality was unmistakeably "fuller and rounder" now; in my layman's term.

The same CD recording sounded notably different on both players that was on plain stereo settings. Sony outperforms decidedly.

I am now thankful to Ric who 'forces' this 5 speakers sound system on me, for i'm one who hates clustering many pieces of electical equipment in the house. Now i stand for it and encourage anyone who shares this similar concern to make space and give 5 speakers system a try.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Incredible Roast Meat

Whenever we visit the North Bridge Road Food Centre, Ric always murmur about the many people who went around to the neighbouring block no. 10 for their meals. "There must be something nice there..." He always said.

So we went over today to the corner coffeeshop at Blk 10. They have a popular stall of roast meat, double boiled soup and prawn noodles; each having their own tables of lunch time supporters. We joined the roast meat group, just for today :)

Platter of Char Siew, Roast Meat, Roast Duck, Sausages ($11.40)

And it was cool to pay a meager price for an assortment of 4 typical roasted items, which even includes a roast duck drumstick. Out of the 4, the Char Siew is the outstanding one.

Looks can be deceiving. The Char Siew doesn't look all that appealing, but like us, you may wish to give it a try and be amazed. Still we can't rate the stall "incredible"; only its signboard say so.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

协胜隆, Heap Seng Leong

I like Heap Seng Leong at 10 North Bridge Rd.

I like the oldness of the place and the weak music that was playing from a mono mode radio. As we dine, it plays "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton.

Kopi ($0.70), Kopi-O ($0.60)

I like his coffee that is sweet and thicken, just like how great-grandmother always made for me, with rich condensed milk. 

1 Slice of Toast ($1)

I like the rich chilled butter, sandwiched between warm toasted bread that's just been scraped of its charred marks with a metal plate from the emptied condensed milk tin.

Half-boiled Eggs ($0.80)

I missed him.

So we came back 2 days later for a repeat, and for what we forgot on the first visit - the half-boiled eggs! You like this, don't you? We love it all...!

Pasta Dishes at Swensens

Salmon and Mushroom Pasta ($14.90++)

Swensen's restaurant 1-for-1 promotion is back! Yippie!

It was rare that we both decide to have pasta. But don't you find girls especially love pasta dishes? And i'm really craving for some that swims in milky cream sauce... so much that i overlooked my order which comes with smoked salmon.

I don like salty tasting smoked salmon but these were nice and tasted just like cooked than smoked.

Black Pepper Seafood Pasta ($14.90++)

If your girlfriend prefers something fiery, get her this black pepper pasta. It really hit the spot and had fresh seafood ingredients of fish fillet, clams and crab sticks.

With a couple of thick mushroom slices throw in, we like this plate.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'll Have to Say I Love You on a Cake

But it was more than that, i don't even have the courage to draw a "heart" for Ric on our birthday cake as we took up the Design-It-Yourself, DIY cake at the Icing Room; in full view of the public!

Still, it was really great fun!!!

My Design for Ric: "Pooh Bear always with Me"

Being just a day apart, we always celebrate our birthdays together :D

A month back, i chanced upon a promotion for the DIY 6"inch Cake Combo at $13.90 from Groupon; kept the purchase from Ric and meant it as a surprise, planning we could each design half the cake for each other! But be warned that macho guys don't fancy such public display of affection; Ric took it up only after some nudging and my 'lips pouting' protest.

This was my theme (i thought of it just the night before) for Ric's part of the cake - Pooh Bear. Cos he had always been my comforting, lovey Pooh Bear with a pouching tummy for hugs ;)

Ric Design for Me: "Doggie in Blissful Garden"

Being a passive big guy, Ric remarkably drew hearts, flowers and dotted his designed garden with colorful blooms; selecting the puppy icing figurine for me and sang a loud birthday song addressing me as his "dearest Dada". Haha...

Blackforest Cake

Our jointly design cake took 30 mins to complete and was like our labour of love, tasting especially great :)

When at the Icing Room, remember to ask for Chocolate and Red colored piping bags from the design desk, because they aid your design composition and is especially delicious for cake toppings.

Much to Ric's horror though, i'm so looking forward to another occasion to doing more cake design... i've got such inspirations after our first try today! You know we could have more colors here and ... ... ...Heh!

IKEA Meatball Set @ $1.90!

IKEA 5-pieces Meatballs with Lingonberry drink, refillable (Promotional $1.90)

Ha! We made it to the last promotional day for IKEA's meatball set with their new Lingonberry drink! How can we miss it! We've got 1 set each; no sharing!

But in reality, we don enjoy the Lingonberry drink... whilst i sponged up all the Lingonberry jam on both plates ;)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pasos de Tango

Pasos de Tango Cabernet Sauvignon, 750ml ($12.50)

We had our fair share of budget red wines but this Argentinian red from the NTUC Fairprice supermarket was really hard to shallow - one reason was the strong hint of alcohol, a typical characteristic of cheap wine. And this bottle clearly has it lots.

Even the scenic waterfront view at the Marina Promenade fails redemption. 

Light & Water Show at Marina Bay Sands

But we still had our time, watching the lights from the nightly show staged by Marina Bay Sands Resort. It's pretty cool and relaxing at the promenade which i hope helps Ric unwind; he had had a full work loaded week.

Maybe we should just avoid unknown budget wines... working hard is deserving of better, right?

福南街, Hock Lam Rice Menu

Beef Noodle with assortment, dry ($6.50)

I can't help craving for noodles if you brought me to Hock Lam, so i couldn't understand Ric's want for their fried rice? "How can it be good since that wasn't their signature?" i baffled.

Garlic Fried Rice with Stewed Beef ($6.50)

Upon receiving Ric's order, the cook set to work nosily in the kitchen with his wok and fierce fire, after a couple minutes this was served with a side of beef soup.

And how was it? Well, i can't help pinching continuously from Ric's plate! The fried rice was well done and the stewed beef was surprisingly excellent ;)

Samsung Galaxy S2

Samsung Galaxy S2 ($899)

It's been a week since Ric bought the latest Samsung Galaxy SII in replacement of my bulky Samsung Galaxy Tab; i was sad to part with Tab big screen convenience but welcome my new freedom without having to lug a little notebook everywhere i go, even to the supermarket!

Galaxy S2 battery life was only half of what i used to enjoy on Tab though; S2 needs charging up every alternate days even after installing the Automatic Task Killer Apps, Tab survives me over span of 3-4 days!

As i was used to the Tab Android interface, switching to the smartphone was a breeze. In fact, it was smarter with its phone options and settings compared to the tablet. Option of making the switch from Android to Apple IPhone OS was aborted after much consideration.

I love this phone. But was so afraid i might drop it as my small palm couldn't stretch and hold its broad 66.10mm width securely. The weight of 116g was so light that i sometimes jolted, forgetting the phone was in my pocket all this time :P

Though it could have been a white cased Galaxy SII, we were advised against the purchase as the white color coating stains after a period of usage.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Katong Sin Chew, after a lapse of 3 years.

Gosh! How time flies, it's been 3 years since we last visited the Sin Chew Cake Shop in Bedok. And the rich buttery baking aroma from their oven was stronger than ever... in this quiet neighbourhood, the shop was crowded at 4pm!?

Best Sellers: Pandan kaya cake ($1.10) and Cupcakes ($0.80)

Egg Tart ($1), Hot Dog Bun ($1)

Our only grouses, the food items are not display with name tags or price labels, so you've got to guess or ask the sales assistance like a novice. Our lot cost $3.90 in total and the pricing was an estimate.

Though so many of their customers were snapping up the fluffy cupcakes, our favourite was the hotdog bun and the pandan kaya cake. Especially the Pandan Kaya Cake, remember!!

Quentin's - Semi Buffet Lunch at the Eurasian Restaurant

Quentin's Buffet Table at China Square, level 3

I was sceptical; how can i not be when well reputed Quentin's discount their Express Set Lunches normally priced at $9.90 (Local delight) or $12 (Western set) to just $6 with Bigdeal Coupon!

Any meal could cost you $6 bucks easily these days, so we've got nothing to lose, i thought and bought 2 coupons.

Chicken Congee and Barley Sweet Soup dessert

Salad Bar with Deep Fried Bean Curb, Fish Fillets

As we made order for our Mains, we were asked to help ourselves to the salad bar comprising simple cuts of lettuces, carrots, green capsicum and cucumbers with thousand island sauce. The addition of fried bean curb and fish fillets as snacks were much appreciated to the otherwise plain spread.

Pot Roast Beef (Western Set), Babi Assam and (Local Delight)

Day to day option for set lunches varies; we have today the Pot Roast Beef that was beef knuckle marinated and pot-roasted for 6 hours till it melt-in-the-mouth, served with warm savory potato mash.

But it was Babi Assam who stole the limelight with its thick marinated curry made with tender Pork trotters, pork and soft potatoes! We do love the taste of the accompanying long beans cooked like Malay dish of Sayur lodeh.

Chicken Congee, Laksa, Coffee Tea with Cakes, Fruits with Barley Sweet Soup

From the buffet table we continued our meal; especially impressed with the congee and barley sweet soup. There was even cheese cake to go with our coffee.

Quentin's large dining hall was quietly conducive for making small lunch chat and all in all, it was quite a deal. Food presentation was unpretentious while we acknowledged Quentin's sincerity in providing a variety at low cost.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

128 Fish Porridge

Fish Slice Soup ($4), Fish Head Soup ($5), Rice ($0.50) 

You wouldn't miss this stall at #01-42, who commands one of the longest lunch time queues in Jurong West Market and Food Centre, the snaking queue in their narrow alley stretches till 2pm!

What's addictive? The flavorsome soup with a good tang from salted vegetable, their spicy belacan chili dip and their $6 Angoli fish head! My $5 bowl today was a blunder lah.

As different fish type was served for the varied pricing of $4, $5 and $6, i urge you to spurge on the priciest for a most gratifiying meal.