I came back for.
Love you guys all dearly. The values of family... one can shun it so easily till she is immersed in its warm blend.
More photos from Xmas (both in Dubai and Singapore) to be uploaded! Meanwhile, here are some night shots taken at the Henderson Waves. Now, the quality of these just makes me wish I had a tripod. Argh.
Who am I kidding. You guys probably won't be reading the nonsense I've written after looking at the first shot. Let me add to the awesomeness of the photo...
and if in a restaurant here in Dubai, that's the dish you would go for most indefinitely just because of the sacred words stowed behind the dubious sounding dish. I kid you not, this ice cream is everything in your wildest dreams and abstract fantasies. Let me walk you thru...
First, you take the bacon. Not beef bacon... BACON bacon. I shun the very existance of the former, tossing the option aside in favor of chicken. So back to the dream confection, yes, you take the bacon strips and lay them flat on baking sheet lined with foil. Sprinkle a generous dose of brown sugar over the top and watch it sizzle its way to crispness in the oven.
Cook up a magical custard with the richness of brown sugar once again and doused in a magical waterfall of aged whiskey (oh yes, nothing but the best). Wait for it to chill off a little in the fridge before transferring it into an auto-cooling ice cream machine. After the first 10mins of churning, pour in the chopped pieces of bacon crisps and continue churning.
What's left to do? Easy..
watch, lick the spoon (just cause no one is watching) as you are transferring the soft serve into a container for further chilling, wait a little longer for the mixture to stiffen, be impatient, abandon all resolutions and start digging your spoon into the ice cream. Simple!
and just to prove how
Bacon Ice Cream
adapted from David Lebovitz
About ¾ qt (¾l)
For the candied bacon;
5 strips bacon
about 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
For the ice cream custard:
3 tablespoons (45g) salted butter
¾ cup (packed) brown sugar (170g), light or dark (you can use either)
2¾ (675ml) cup half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons dark rum or whiskey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. To candy the bacon, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
2. Lay the strips of bacon on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or aluminum foil, shiny side down.
3. Sprinkle 1½-2 teaspoons of brown sugar evenly over each strip of bacon, depending on length.
4. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Midway during baking, flip the bacon strips over and drag them through the dark, syrupy liquid that's collected on the baking sheet. Continue to bake until as dark as mahogany. Remove from oven and cool the strips on a wire rack.
5. Once crisp and cool, chop into little pieces, about the size of grains of rice.
(Bacon bits can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for a day or so, or stored in the freezer a few weeks ahead.)
6. To make the ice cream custard, melt the butter in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and half of the half-and-half. Pour the remaining half-and-half into a bowl set in an ice bath and set a mesh strainer over the top.
7. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm brown sugar mixture to them, whisking the yolks constantly as you pour. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
8. Cook over low to moderate heat, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
9. Strain the custard into the half-and-half, stirring over the ice bath, until cool. Add liquor, vanilla and cinnamon, if using.
10. Refrigerate the mixture. Once thoroughly chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Add the bacon bits during the last moment of churning, or stir them in when you remove the ice cream from the machine
A portion of my life that I never considered a lost cause.
Amongst the throngs of brute man in uniformed straight rows, acrylic faces and cheeky grins.
There was this boy whom I would have risked extras for, just to have a chance at some 'squishing' action along the corridors on the march pass.
The fire-fighting section of my life gradually faded into the background, realities of life hitting me like a giant Land Rover Discovery on the freeway. We parted ways, existing as ordinary friends in two facades of life.
Life as it is, unfolded. Neat pleats in the beginning, followed by a torrential mass of crumpled fabric.
Well, apparently it took me quite a while more, accompanied with a considerable amount of heartbreak before the Lord tilted my glassy-eyed head in a certain illuminated direction. I took it, like a piece of fresh carrot dangled in front of a ravished donkey.
In the end, it was clear. He was made for me as much as I was for him.
Happy 27th monthsary dear.
What did I do?
I baked myself a birthday cake.
and a mighty fine one it was...
Debating the various ideas I had for the special cake, the illuminated path of choice was pretty clear. Banana cake? That I had a penchant for but it was just too normal. Ice cream cake? nah.. too cold a season for that now. How about an apple spiced cake with dredges of toasted walnuts, brandy soaked raisins and cream cheese frosting? Now we're talking...
It's winning edge, the
and there is was, a cake that was clearly a symbol of everything I stood for. Beauty in imperfection. Character in its unfinished touches.
It wasn't anywhere near professional. Lopsided by a mile with a curtain of frosting barely touching the toes of the giant, too-tall cake. Patchy with a frequent crumb catastrophe showing, it was plainly rustic. But I didn't care. It was my cake. And it was delicious.
Sold the instant I sliced thru its moist innards to find a kaleidoscope of jewels.
It had now officially stolen my heart. Sorry my dearest carrot cake, it had been a pleasure having you on the pedestal. Please could you move down a notch?
That said, I'm a year older now. Probably could do being a year wiser, not that I doubt the development of my capacities but I guess maybe more so in the coming year? Only time will tell.
Have you ever walked shuffled into a high action paced mall in a daze cause you just knocked off from dreamworld? Every surrounding conversations amplified in full detail. A father reprimanding a daughter for her lack of judgement in dressing, a woman seated at an obscure corner wipes a tear off her cheek, a little boy with luscious locks whispering the magic words to his mum, sweet bliss spreading across her face in rapid motion. Perhaps I should live in this state permenantly, life could be much more comprehendable. Simple.
Dubai has been shrouded in a sheet of drizzle the past few days, a classification of heavy rain standards for the locals. Great puddles of water shroud the dense roads, attempting to seep thru the surrounding packed sands, but in vain. I wonder about the estimated costs in damages inherited on a yearly basis due to Dubai's intolerance in structure for heavy down pours.
Looming grey skies and wet roads, cold passing draughts of wind and winter temperatures of 19 degrees. My thoughts drift to Singapore...
evoked sense of loneliness.
of the things, those few matters that I've left behind. So close to my heart, entrenching a deep hole in my heart where they used to be. Pardon me for my emo state of mind, blame it on the passing rain.
random photos off my expanding collection. Home bakes, eat-outs and drink-outs. Nothing too interesting.. but I guess a little slapdash exhibition would do one any harm.
Cappuccino out of a love mug versus wickedly poisonous Irish Coffee. The former wins hands down, without even raising a finger.
Meanwhile, too all those concerned back in Singapore. I'm fine. No seriously. I know I always throw back the same answer when the question pops up, because essentially that's what it is. Possible business propositions with a local lady transpiring, plans to move to bigger quarters, frequent kitchen disasters in the light of experimentation followed by the covetous feasting on the winners. As it seems, life is fine.
Being led thru the sepia toned restaurant dining area to our opted outdoor seatings, glances stolen while trotting at unluxurious speeds. Categorised station areas with huge designated sign boards overhead, was this a cafeteria? I didn't quite relinquish the concept.
Nonetheless, the outdoor seating was thoroughly enjoyable with a fantastic view of the Dubai Mall and its surrounding blue lagoons to boot. With the Burj towering just ahead and throwing eye-pricking glares from its sheer window panels, life was fantastic. At least up to this point it was... and then, the flies came in. If this wasn't a PG site, I would be rattling off obscenities and words so foul it would turn your grandma's toes black with rage; yep, but I'll just leave it at there. Flies, food, buzzing around, you get the picture. Part and parcel of the outdoor dining experience ain't it?
A Indian man rowed past our dining area. What in the world was he up to rowing a dingy boat in the blue waters?
Picking up non-apparent leaves from the nearby trees that have drifted into the waters. Not that there were many trees around to begin with... but HEY, the managment thought that a single green in the waters was considered a sin. Kudos to them.
Okay guys.. here is a question for the more discerning and knowledgable crowd. Put alcohol in halal produce during the cooking process, and as it burns out in a clean wisp of vapor, does that make the food halal again? Please do enlighten me if you know, because this has left me mind-boggled.
Back to the food, my Fettuccine con funghi e pann (Homemade fresh fettuccine with wild mushroom and cream sauce) was good, but not a dish to shout about. the creamy sauce lacked seasoning albeit for the salted sauteed mushrooms scattered across the dish. My cousin's Spaghetti alla carbonara (Homemade fresh spaghetti with veal bacon in cream and egg sauce) however was top notch, with an almost intoxicating sauce that tasted as though, the chef had knowingly dumped copious amounts of white wine into. Upon questioning the staff, apparently, the culprit, non-alcoholic wine. *scratches head* Where's the kick in that?
The Al salamino di manz (beef pepperoni pizza) arrived. In full glory, with the traces of reddish oil staining the cheesey base. Beautiful, the pizza posed and modelled for the camera.
Sad to say, she was all an empty vessel. The beef pepperoni was utterly foul... two slices and the poor forlorn pizza was thrown out of the ball game. Well, that said, beauty can only get you that far.
Food at Urbano was simply uninspired and a play on the common notion of Italian food for tourists which I believed was unsatisfactory for a place that exuded traditional homestyled values from its simplistic decor. Disappointing to say, continue on this path and the restaurant would probably fall on its ass pretty soon, and that would be such a waste.
Location: Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Burj Dubai, Dubai
Tel: 04 435 5666
Travel: Al Doha Street
Dear future husband and children,
while its evident that the Lord hasn't tied us in together yet, I think it beneficial that I put a few things out in the open. You know, for the sake of transparency.
to my future husband, a.k.a life-long punching bag, I think you are the perfect. When do I think you are sexiest? When you're up early in the morning washing the pile of dishes and bakeware that have gathered exponentially mysteriously throughout the night. Seriously, I couldn't ask for more. Except maybe a second honeymoon to the Maldives? I'm honestly a little quirky, so you're probably going to have to be very tolerant with me. And in reciprocation of your patience, I'm going to bake mountains of chiffon cake for you. Yes, soft , fluffy moulds of gorgeous cloud cake. It's important that you understand my love for chiffon cake. I have loved chiffon cake a long time and thoroughly enjoy the process of nibbling on its tender crumb whilst trawling through the mall. Well, since I give you time out with your japanese comics, it's only fair that you give me time and stomach room for making chiffon cakes! And in the case that my cake sink into deep depression along with messed up innards and what not, DO NOT be judgemental, be a doll, keep quiet and head out to the the nearest bengawan solo to pick up a whole pandan chiffon cake for me please. But if they do turn out well, it's crucial that you like, no LOVE it, cause its just my way of showing that I love you. Deal?
to my darling children, you all are so adorable. Please pardon me for my gaga moments, still trying to get the hang of being a parent yes? When I mix up names or call names in a certain order, its not because I don't remember them or that I practise preferential treatment, it's just tough given my less than competent memory skills. Please try to cut your mum some slack sometimes alright? When you are mortified by my presence during your cumbersome teenage years, just understand that its all part of the game. You'll realise that I'm not that uncool in time to come. Don't ask why, I've been there and done that. And no, me having a tattoo doesn't give you the authority to get one as well.
That being said, just like your father, I'm going to shower you with chiffon cake every now and then. Spur me on to try out new flavors, marbled, coffee, sweet potato, whatever takes your fancy. Just remember to eat and enjoy your chiffon cakes while those lasts.
Alright, thanks future husband and future children. Love you guys like crazy. I hope I'll see you soon. Thanks.
your future wife/ mother
Back to the topic of restaurant visits, I swooped down on the opportunity to dine in at ma maison @ Bugis Junction, one of the mainstay eateries on the second floor despite the seemingly high turnover rate in the region. Stepping into the dark enclaves of the homey Japanese diner, i was instantly charmed by the mismatched and almost random accessories adorning the shelves. Quaint lamp shades, each a unique individual light up the dim settings. Aside from the tiny wooden windows that allowed the passing of light, the entire place was in a state of constant nightfall. I remember thinking to myself, 'oh gosh, working here must be a chore. Having to stay awake and all.'
Ramaging through the menus and the tons of leaflets of product placement galore, we finally reached a verdict. The Italian style hamburger steak with cheese and brown sauce for me and the beef stroganov with butter rice and egg for her.
Hers.. a spectacle of glorious fluffy eggs over a bed of rice accompanied by a rich pool of warm beef stroganov tainted only by the slight meander of cream.
the hamburger steak. I gushed upon my first bite. Moist all around with a vision of spices and a crown of fresh cheese brought the modest looking dish over the top. Served in a portion that was 'just-right', it left me feeling satiated and full from contentment.
Overall, dining in the homestyle restaurant was a rather novel experience, with many interesting details to boot such as the hefty hotel key handed to us for billing purposes. How clever. Despite the dire service, I would perhaps make a second trip there on account of the honest, down-to-earth cuisine.
200 Victoria Street
#02-51 Bugis Junction
Tel: +65 6338 4819
Can't have Xmas with the family this year. Well, truth be it that I couldn't resign myself to such a scenario. So.. I organised my own pre-christmas dinner party, the very next day after my touch down in Singapore. With a strong crowd of 13 making their appearance at the dinner table, I milked whatever I was worthed. A carnivorous meal was what I had in mind, to have the the table brimming full of meat and guests with food spilling out of their ears after. *wince*
In the end, the hearty subsistence proved a little too overbearing for some. Thank goodness for the greens appearance. The menu consisting of the carnivorous, crisp-skin high roast chicken in mustard garlic butter with thyme, roast pork, assorted sausages, crabmeat cocktail salad and the lighter carrots with spiced butter and avocado,bacon and cabbage salad with garlic mustard vinaigrette. The latter would have to be my favourite of the lot, combining the likes of crisp bacon strips with rich avocado and fresh cabbage in every bite. Promise to share the recipe with you guys later on!
Desserts after a bout of Rosemount's 'O' was yet another tidal wave of flavor. Blueberry english trifle inspired by Sherry Yard. Cubes of homemade sponge cake in good spirits with a slight purple hue from the showering of ginger spiked blueberry preserves and enveloped in a sea of rich sherry vanilla bean custard. I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert but maybe a little tinge of gelatin would hold it all together next time. *grins*
Be returning to the chill of Dubaian nights in 2 days time, tumbling emotions fill my insides. But I guess there are certain advantages to spending time overseas, for once, communicating with the folks doesn't seem such a Herculean task anymore.. strange. Thank you, all my lovely family members for your precious appearance at my dinner party; despite my several blunders and less than gracious demeanor, I'm just blessed to be able to fill your bellies. From the bottom of my heart.
Avocado, Bacon and Cabbage Salad with Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette
serves 8, recipe taken from Women's Weekly
1/4 medium (400g) cabbage
4 (320g) bacon rashers
1 bunch chives
2 large avocados, sliced
GARLIC MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tblspoon red wine vinegar
2 tsp seeded mustard
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1. Finely shred cabbage using a sharp knife or mandoline.
2. Cook Bacon in a frying pan until crisp, drain on absorbent paper, chop or break coarsely
3.Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a screw top jar, shake well. Season to taste with pepper and salt.
4.Just before serving, combine cabbage and chives and half the garlic mustard vinaigrette in a large bowl.
5. Place cabbage on a platter, toss gently. Top with avocado slices and bacon. Drizzle with vinaigrette.