Saturday, October 20, 2012

Domestic Diaries: Kitchen Adventures

When people ask me if I can cook, my ready answer is no. To be fair - I think at the back of my mind I always knew if I HAD to, I probably wouldn't be too bad at it.

I definitely enjoy the AFTER of cooking - I mean, who doesn't love food now a day? It has truly become an art in itself. But the actual cooking? I've never had a burning desire to experiment and whip up any culinary creations.

With my new living situation though, it made sense to try throwing something together other than salad leaves with boiled egg. I could at least cook without filling my entire studio with smoke (just my living room now.. hehe) and would be feeding more than just myself. I find groceries to be rather expensive here, but for the most part, think it comes out much cheaper than eating out every day. If not cheaper, than at least healthier.

So trying is what we've been doing!

We have a very no-frills kitchen - oven toaster, microwave and induction cooker with just enough counter space left to rotate between dish drying and chopping stuff up on our little chopping board.

But we've made do!

My prerequisite for recipes is minimum prep and cooking time with maximum taste - which will explain all the pastas and sandwiches (ok.. sandwiches technically aren't things you "cook".. but you get what I mean). I know this is a no-no for lots of serious cooks, but I am so glad there are lots of "short-cuts" available at the grocery store to help a girl out!

It's been lots of fun actually! And I know both roomie and myself look forward to slowly but steadily increasing our repertoires

Anyone have any simple recipes to share?

Wheat penne with tuna, tomatoes, mushrooms & freshly grated parmigiano regianno

More penne (my favourite if you haven't guessed yet!) - this time as a lamb sausage aglio oglio

Wheat spaghetti with spanish sardines & sundried tomato pesto

Focaccia with goat cheese, grilled eggplant, tomato and arugula 

Turkey on wheat with dijon, arugula and tomtatoes

Penne (yes - my favourite if your haven't noticed by now!) with parsley, lemon and sautéed chicken in garlic

More of the same eggplant sandwich - this time wrapping it up so we could bring it to work

Rica's chicken curry 

Rosemary chicken breasts with gouda, stewed tomatoes, mushroom and eggplant

Domestic Diaries: on Flatmates & Family

It's been 4 months since my baby sister moved to singapore, 4 months since I gained both a new flat and flat mate. 

Our deal was to live together as equally as we could, not holding the older/younger sister role over each others heads. 

Ya'll curious to know how we've been faring? Lol. Sorry to disappoint all you drama-seekers out there, but we are managing quite well!  Just the right amount of curiosity and interest in each others lives, complete trust that we both will act as the responsible and compassionate persons we were raised to be. We never forget we are family, but we also don't forget we are also individuals trying to carve our own legacies in this lifetime. 

I'd be lying though if I said it's been a COMPLETE cake walk. As someone who considers her personal space incredibly sacred, living with someone whose living/neatness standards are ehm.. more relaxed than mine has been a challenge. 

I've tried (trying!) all sorts of tactics to get us in the same frame of mind - written rules, reminders stuck on walls, nagging, reminding nicely, sarcasm, honest conversations.. and one of my latest (not so) genius idea - be a complete and total slob in hopes the mess would get so disturbing she'd clean up after the both of us. 

How we keep (or don't keep! hee hee) our bed and bathrooms is really our own business. But shared spaces like our little living area has become somewhat of a battlefield.. for me at least. 

One would think leading and living by example would enough. But keeping my own bedroom neat seems to have a different effect - makes her forget about the clutter outside, and just draws her more into my own room! Truth be told, when I'm not in need of my recharging and alone time, having her hangout at my room is a great joy and comfort. BUT making room for her in my room also means making room for her laptop, laptop desk, her glass of water, her coffee mug, an assortment of cables and chargers, and other random bits and bobs of what not. And though she will eventually leave my room, SHE DOESN'T TAKE ANY OF HER ITEMS BACK WITH HER. 

To be utterly fair though, there has been slow and steady progress.  Maybe another few rounds of combining all above tactics and she'll be hounding me to clean up? When that day comes, it will definitely warrant a follow up post!

But other than that, and beyond having a new roomie, having my baby sister around has been great. We're definitely learning lots from each other in more ways than we know it, and her energy and enthusiasm is a great balance to my steady demeanor.  Comfort, support and security really don't come in any better package than family. 

And she arrives!
Our firs dinner together - some yummy beef hor fun from our neighborhood kopitiam

Settling into her new room

Domestic duties

Celebrating her first day as a member of the rat race ;-)

Her addiction: milk tea

Dinner with family (and some crazy butter crab!)
Sistership Sunday - going out for some "pinoy" food and dessert
Sistership Saturday: Katong's famous laksa for dinner then writing / reading / class preparing at a coffeesho
Dinner with visiting relatives

Brunch.. for lunch

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Travel Eats: Jakarta 0812

Growing up in Indonesia, Hari Raya was Idul Fitri or Lebaran. While for sure celebrations abounded around me, all I remember from this holiday was that Mom was ridiculously busy fulfilling lots of cake orders and we got a long break from school .

16 year later, I find myself back in Jakarta. No break from school, but a short break from work. Prayers blasting from the mosques filled the night air. Lucky to be in town while much off the population seemed to be out. Though I couldn't get my bearings in a city I once called home, little pockets here and there did bring out the warm and fuzzy in me.

My agenda for this trip was to (1) chill, and (2) eat. I did a lot of both. Especially the latter!

I've always claimed loving Indonesian food. But I had no idea that my idea of "indonesian food" was so limited. Thinking about it now, I ironically didn't eat too much Indonesian food growing up. Empal at home once in a while. Nasi Goreng at the Hilton. Cumi-cumi and other yummy seafood at Senayan. Kecap manis. Sambal. Bakmi GM. Abon sapi. You'd think 13 years would've opened me up to so much more about Indo food. According to Pops it's because back in the day, things were not as sanitary as they are now. Perhaps. Thanks to my move to Singapore though and the new (old) group of friends I have surrounded myself with, the cuisine has finally found its way back into my life.

Tempeh (fermented soy bean) has always been a favorite! But I've never had it this way! 
Wiki describes tempeh bacem as "  boiled with spices and palm sugar, and then fried 
for a few minutes to enhance the taste. The result is damp, spicy, sweet and dark-colored tempeh."

This is either soto ayam (a yellow spicy chicken noodle soup made with vermicelli)  or gado-gado (indonesian salad with boiled veggies, peanut sauce then topped with emping or krupuk)

Satay (skewered meat, grilled and served with peanut sauce of course!) 

Had some chinese dimsum when we first arrived. This was for us to nibble on. 
Really crunchy dried fish - sweet, a little spicy and a tad bit nutty from the sesame seeds.

Dimsum fun: 2 kinds of chee cheong fun. Rice noodle rolls - one stuffed with shrimp, the other with fried tofu

Dimsum fun: Lo mai gai. Glutinous rice with mushrooms, chicken, salted egg yolk and 
other goodies wrapped in lotus leaf then steamed. Typical dim sum fare. First time I had this 
was in Jakarta and haven't had it since moving to Singapore. 

Dimsum fun: This resto also served a baked lo mai gai

Dimsum fun: baked char siew bun. Sweet & savoury goodness!

Siomay Bandung. Steamed fish dumpling served with steamed veggies and peanut sauce. 

No idea what this is called in Indonesia but I have learned that this is a typical Chinese dessert 
called ah balling. Glutinous rice ball (some with ground peanuts or black sesame buried inside!) 
served in a hot sweet ginger or peanut soup. The green ones were pandan flavoured. Yummers

K's mom cooked up this speciality of hers one morning. Tender beef in a rich ginger gravy 
served ontop of vermicelli noodles. 

Bakso. Clear soup with noodles and meatballs. Never got to eat too much of this growing 
up as I only knew it to be sold as street food. Now you can find it in food courts. This one had fried 
garlic ontop. And instead of vermicilli, I had it with kway teow noodles. nom nom nom

 Pempek Palembang.  An assortment of fried fishcakes served with either peanut 
sauce (ala siomay) or with a dark sweet and sour sauce

Krupuk kampung. More street food I remember from my childhood. Good stuff!

Grandma's Ice Tea from Social House. Amazing stuff - lemon ice tea served over sorbet :)

Nibblers from Social House. French fries with garlic & rosemary

Nothing like honey BBQ ribs!  These aren't the same as what I used to eat growing up
(Tony Romas was all the rage - when it wasn't open in Jakarta, we'd make sure to get our
fill every year in Singapore), but it sure brought back memories.  
Martabak manis. One with keju (cheese) in the back, and the one in front with 
kacang & coklat (peanut & chocolate).  This dessert pancake is a calorie 
bomb. But extremely delicious!

Who doesn't love a cafe latte? 
A beautiful belgian waffle from Social House. With berries
and a honey orange creme cheese topping 
My beautiful brunch plate from Social House. Called "the hangover" it's a grilled 
sausage ontop of gorgonzola polenta and truffle scrambled eggs

Chicken noodle from Bakmi GM. My favouurrriittteee!!!

Pangsit goreng. Also known as pinsec prito back home. The one from Bakmi GM is the BEST

Rujak. Traditionally, a mix of crunchy fruit and veggies with a deliciously spicy sauce of
palm sugar, tamarind and ground peanuts. Mom used to make this at home, and we
used to eat it with jambu air (water apple)

More Indo dessert! Kue rangis. Grilled coconut with sago flour topped with palm sugar

The prezzies I brought home with me. Local indomie! Used to be my after
school snack, together with a cheese omelet while reading an Archie comic :)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Travel Sleeps: Bali 07-12

Bali living = villa living. 'Nuf said.

Photos of our accomodations at Arwana Estate coming right up!