Sunday, February 22, 2009

Food And Friends

Friday night dinner: Curry chicken pie with rocket salad. Home-made. By me. Yummy.

Saturday lunch: Spaghetti at the organic cafe in SH. Chef looks and sounds Malay. Possibly Indonesian. Chilli, tomatoes, olives, topped with rocket. Slight trace of anchovies. More would be better. Still delicious.

Sunday picnic: Leo's birthday cake. Made by his loving and innovative parents. Crowning the bright green cake was such a cute little train made out of fudge. Running on tracks which said "2" which is how old he is. Even though he insists he is 3. He is a year ahead of himself.

Here is Leo. Make like a monkey, Leo. Leo cannot stop repeating, "monkey, monkey, monkey" after me. His vocabulary has expanded quickly over the last few months.

Leo is cute, cute, cute.

Labels: , , ,

Latte In A Cup Please

Could I have a latte please? But I want it in a cup.

This was somewhat both funny and slightly pedantic when we first heard Chris going on about it in Auckland last September. But how true this sentiment is, and I’ve also asked myself this before. Why would someone serve a hot drink in a glass with no handle? How would anyone be able to hold the receptacle comfortably without burning their hand? And by the time the glass is cool enough to handle, one is left drinking a lukewarm coffee.

Now this is what happens when form does not follow function. It is a basic design tenet that form should follow function. But this is just one example of blindly following design/style without actually caring about whether the design works for the user, just because it looks good and that IS really what matters. Or is it? As an appreciator of good design, I feel that if the function is completed defeated (as opposed to just merely slightly compromised - maybe that may be arguably forgivable), then the result of that design cannot be considered a success.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another Good Weekend

Despite the rainy weather this weekend, we managed to have a good time. We got a respite from the rain for most part of our Architecture Walk on Utzon on Saturday. That is my V-D gift to G. I think it is nice to gift an activity that we can do together. It was a most informative and interesting walking tour led by architect, Eoghan (one of those names that I've now cultivated the ability to identify straight off that it's NOT pronounced the way it is spelt, but how to actually say it, I still have to refer to the internet. For anyone who's interested, it's "e-oh-in"). Highly recommended for anyone interested in the city, architecture and design.

Then for V-D dinner, G cooked what I think is his best dish - 4-mushroom risotto, or perhaps it was 3 this time round, and as a special treat, he had seared quite a few scallops and topped the risotto with those yummy suckers. It was as delicious as the first time he made it. For once, the memory of something is not better than the reality of it, when one actually experiences it again. It was so good that we scoffed down half the dish before we remembered that we forgot to take any photos. And I have next weekend to look forward to as his V-D gift to me is the play we will be watching the following weekend.

It continued to rain on Sunday with a few dry(er) window periods, 1 of which we headed out for a late lunch of salmon pide with our de rigeur weekend coffees, followed by a movie, "Ghost Town" which was largely funny with some touching moments. A generally feel-good movie. After which I finally succumbed and bought a jar of kaya which I had tonight after dinner and dessert. I really didn't need it but I just couldn't bear the feeling of hankering I know I will be harbouring all night, so I figured I might as well give in now to temptation than to give in later.

Temptation, the only thing I cannot resist...

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Better Than The Sum Of Its Parts

Matcha latte. A fusion beverage between the East and the West. The lovely, slightly bitter taste of green tea powder, blended into smooth full-cream milk, whisked till frothy. A steaming mug of it is good on a chilly day, and even better icy-cold on a sweltering 40C Sydney summer day.

I don't think you can go wrong with most Japanese food (liquids included), having never had anything Japanese that I did not like. While on this, my culinary memory is jogged. I recall a trip to Tokyo several years ago, wandering around alone, looking for a restaurant for dinner and trying to decipher what was on the menu, relying on the similarity between Chinese characters and Kanji, I remember having this wonderful drink in a restaurant, which was a blend (again!) of cold Oolong tea with soya bean milk. I would have never thought of mixing those 2 individual drinks together. But again, the slightly bitter Oolong tea, went really well with the sweet soya bean milk, both balancing the other, a yin-yang combination. Just like the East-West combi.

A good pairing of 2 different things, come together so well and is bigger and better than the sum of its parts.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Sweet Potato Scones

In the end, I decided to stick to a scone recipe and made sweet potato scones. The sweet potato mash was sweet in itself and so I stuck to the 2 teaspoon sugar per the sweet potato scone recipe, even though the recipe for regular scones called for half a cup of sugar. When done, the scones weren't sweet, it was almost a savoury scone.

It brings to mind when I made curry puffs the last time, the filling tasted spicy enough but when wrapped in pastry and baked, it wasn't spicy in the least. It was even a little bland. So same theory applies from spicy to sweet I guess. I should have guessed the 2 teaspoons of sugar were just not going to be enough to make a difference. But I guess with jam, it will taste just right, not overly sweet. And this just about kickstarts my scone-making horizon. I'm going to try different varieties next weekend, and maybe even host a Devonshire Tea soon.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Something New, Something Old

We have been enjoying a very simple device which makes BBQ-ing and cleaning up ever so easy. The heaven-sent gift (actually NZ-sent by MIL) is a black liner made of some sort of plastic-like material which you place on the BBQ plate and you cook all the food on it. After the cooking's done, just wash the liner with liquid detergent and water. No more scouring and scraping. No more mess. And it's reusable. We love, love, love our new BBQ liner.

And that has just encouraged us to have BBQ seafood for weekend dinners more often. With a side salad, dinner is so easy, delicious and light for these hot summer nights.

I've also been inspired by childhood memories of sweet potato donuts that mum used to make, and I am planning to tweak the recipe a little and make something similar this weekend. Something old to revive this weekend, I miss those very simple yet oh so yummy recipes.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Work And Leisure

We work so that we can fund our leisure. Does it also mean that if we do not work, we no longer have any leisure? Does one have to work so that off-work hours can in contrast, be leisure otherwise one would have leisure all the time? Hence it cannot be leisure? Like if there is no pain, there can be no pleasure?

If one no longer feels the pain, the pleasure of pleasure (or leisure) would be less pronounced I suppose. It won't completely be negated, just that the enjoyment of it would be so much lessened, that one needs some pain to remind one of how pleasurable non-work can be.

Or that is the line of reasoning I am being led to come to... except that I've had those 5.5 months in Singapore in 2005 when I did not work. And thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my leisure. So I know. From first hand experience that one does not need work to feel great pleasure in leisure. The memory of work was sufficient. Perhaps if I had a prolonged period of leisure, the extent of pleasure I had felt would be greatly diminished. But I did not have the leisure of time to find out because after 5.5 months, I eased back into part-time work, then part-time work cum full-time post-grad classes, then full-time employment.

Maybe all I need is another 5.5 months (or thereabouts) off, and then I can put this behind me and go on for another 10 years before I can finally call it quits and look forward to full-time leisure.

Labels: , , ,