Friday, August 08, 2014

Cavalock and The Biru Sake Distraction

Now it's not every day that I admit to a culinary misstep, well, probably cos I only commit them every other day. But this is one that I think is worth sharing as it involves the dangers of alcohol abuse. Yes, as in it's simply abusive behaviour to deny me more of this drink. So I saw this bottle of Japanese booze on sale at Isetan and don't ask me why but I immediately assumed it was biru or Japanese beer. A couple of things drew me to it, that it's deviously Yuzu-flavoured and that it goes down well with fried freakin' food.

A few days after I bought it, I finally managed to get my hands on some quality fried chicken drumlets and took a swig of it. First thought I had was 'this is great, the Yuzu flavour is really refreshing but this sure as hell doesn't taste like beer!'.

So after a week sitting in the fridge, I finally took a closer look at the label and guess what it says. Sake! Hah, I suppose the words 'High-Ball' would also had been a dead giveaway. What's more, see how it's labelled 7% alcohol on the bottle instead of 6% like in the ad. Er .... that's a good thing, right?

Time to check out more oldie vintage stuff I found. The collection belonged to my late mom and is very similar to this other set that I posted awhile back. Pretty cool eh? I honestly don't recall them being used at all. Anyway they are all made in England and I reckon at least 40 years ago. Now these days they outsource the manufacturing to India and Indonesia, that's what I have been told. Still haven't figured out what I'm gonna do with them. I guess if anyone's having a Downton Abbey viewing party, I could loan them out. ;)

Is that a sugar bowl? It seems a little too big for one.

Soooooo there's a tiny little chance that I might be heading to the US, or Indianapolis and New York to be exact, next week. I'm quite wary about it but my 92-year-old aunt and almost everyone else insist that I make the journey. It has been almost 15 years since I was in the Big Apple, I'm sure things have changed, from what I'm hearing it ain't all for the better. I have asked a couple of friends about stuff like SIM cards (T-mobile seems to be the fav) and taking domestic flights, both things that I have never done before in the US. I'm also mentally prepared for a ton of racist encounters. Its gonna be pretty crazy as I don't know a single person there. Yikes! For better or worse, it will be an unforgettable odyssey.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Cavalock and The Rainbow Cake Sensation

We had a kid's birthday order a couple weeks ago for an M&Ms and Kit-Kats rainbow cake. And when you look online at how colourful and attractive they are, it's no wonder why they are so popular right now.

Once again, I wanna say that I just take the pix, the baker in the house did all the amazing work you see here, not me. So we noticed that in all the Internet pix, you got Kit-Kat bars surrounding the cake. But since we are doing a rainbow cake, it's gotta be pretty tall for the different brightly colored layers to show. That means we can't use Kit-Kats cos they are too short. We hit the supermarket candy aisles searching for substitutes and finally decided to go with Kinder Bueno bars.

Also, instead of a sponge cake, we had to bake layers of pound cake as we were afraid that the weight of the numerous M&Ms would cause the sponge to collapse into itself. Well, the baker did her usual work in our tiny apartment kitchen and as you can see, it turned out beautifully. The birthday boy loved it, the other kids freaked out over it and all the adults took photos of it.

Time to geek out with an update on the fake Lego minifigures scene and it's a doozy! It's Marvel's Fantastic Four with a giant-sized Thing! I kinda doubt if we'll see any official Fantastic Four Lego minifigures before their movie next year. Plus with the troubled relationship right now between Fox (who owns the movie rights to the FF) and Marvel, I don't think an official Lego set is even in the works. But thank the Master Builders that the folks in China came up with these fake ... I mean, customised Lego minifigures! They even came up with 3 different costumes or colored pants that the Thing wore over the years as a member of the Fantastic Four.

What size pants does Thing wear?

Size 4! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cavalock and The Soft-Serve Supremacy

I first heard of my friend opening another joint several months ago. Her first little eatery or ice-cream parlour as I like to call it, Creamier, is already pretty popular and almost always packed. Called Sunday Folks, the new place opened couple weeks ago and is located right in the middle of Chip Bee Gardens in Holland Village.

For starters, Sunday Folks is much bigger and more spacious than Creamier. I kinda liked how it feels more like a proper restaurant than a hipster cafe. It's a different dessert concept although it's still another place to try their famous waffles if you haven't already had it. But here in the west, you get their new blend of soft-serve instead of the regular ice-cream that they serve at Creamier. An interesting change but I actually prefer the regular scoops cos I thought the soft-serve melted a little too fast. But I still wanna try all six soft-serve flavours (salted gula melaka, dark chocolate, Earl Grey lavender, roasted pistachio, Madagascar vanilla and summer strawberries) one day.

They also got a whole buncha other kinds of tempting desserts such as matcha cakes as well as rows of handmade toppings to choose from, like marshmallows and sesame thins for their soft-serve. In fact, I snapped quite a few shots of the restaurant but they didn't really do the place justice cos of the lighting and wrong angles. Maybe next time.

So my 80-year-old Dad has discovered a new park to shoot some birds. Here are some shots he took at Bishan Park recently. Not really similar to his previous photos, these birds seem rather contented to just perch around and let him snap away.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cavalock and The Ancient Urn of Lore

Just when I thought the old family house no longer held any more arcane surprises for me. It was a dreary morning when I decided to finally lift the metal lid off the huge clay urn that has been sitting silently in a corner of the kitchen wash area since I was born. I honestly expected it to be bare or perhaps filled with a shattering of random junk.

A thin layer of decades-old dirt gently rolled off the metal lid as I lifted it and peered into the urn. An almost primeval and unholy stench loomed over the enormous artefact. What greeted me within was certainly not what I had expected. Filled to the brim were dozens of archaic glass bottles of unearthly shapes. Cautiously, my hands reached into the mouth of the vast urn and lifted out more dusty cider jars and condiment vials of varied sizes. Most were immediately discarded into large black trash bags. But lurking among the various used bottles and other trash in the colossal vessel were an assemblage of vintage glassware as well as chinaware dating back to at least four decades ago. Still wrapped in old plastic bags and newspaper, they were delicately removed from the urn and carried into the kitchen.

They may pale in comparison to the otherworldly eldritch artefacts that I have uncovered elsewhere in this tired dwelling, but these newfound treasures were a welcome glimpse into a forgotten past.

After posting these pix and others on my Facebook, the PMs came almost immediately! Quite a few were already reserved by the end of the day. Well, the plates, glassware and made-in-UK tureens may be old but I'm quite sure they were never used as my family would have placed them in the kitchen if they were.

I especially like this retro glass bottle as it's a nice handy size and it's got the words 'JUICE' and 'WATER' embossed on the sides, as well as measurement indicators. The set of six "untied" Chinese bowls below were the first things to be snapped up on Facebook. You sure don't see shops selling them like that anymore and I guess it does show that they were never utilised in the first place.

It's time for my favorite annual National Day tradition! If you have been following my blog, you might have noticed that EVERY YEAR since I started this, this is something I really look forward to, more than any parade or fireworks display. This year, I was treated to a double wash pole patriot salute! How awesome is this?!?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cavalock and The Home-Grown Charme Offensive

It all started not too long ago, a friend and local food blogger gave us an intriguing bottle of Kirsch-soaked cherries from France. Well, the baker in the family was fortunate enough to had been a guest at the popular Patisserie Hidemi Sugino in Japan recently. I was told that one of the highlights of that visit was the irresistible Charme, a black forest entremet made with dark chocolate and kirsch soaked cherries.

It just so happens that we already have Sugino's Japanese recipe book at home so of cos, it's a no brainer what's gonna happen next. All the photos you see here were snapped in our tiny apartment kitchen and really, that's all I did. The self-taught pastry chef in the family did all the hard work. Yes, all those fancy pastries you see in books can replicated at home! Divided the cake up and delivered the slices to friends and everyone loved it. It was perfectly light and soft, the chocolate and kirsch weren't too overpowering either. Simply divine for a home-made dessert.  

All right, time for a rant now. So the authorities are going to start blocking all the download sites pretty soon. I have no problem paying for online content IF ONLY the authorities would stop censoring shows. Case in point, my friend watched an episode of Arrow on one of our state-run cable channels recently. Arrow is a series based on the crime-fighting adventures of DC Comics hero Green Arrow. That particular episode featured the main heroine Black Canary's reunion with her former lover, the female assassin Nyssa who is also that week's villain. Well, my friend watched it at home and becos it was so heavily censored, he had a totally different understanding of that episode. There was no nudity (it's a Warner Bros show!) but all the character dynamics and relationship scenes between the two female stars were censored away. Thus leading my friend to believe that in the final scene the reason why they didn't kill each other was becos of an earlier employer-employee relationship!

Yah, it was hilarious when I told him what really happened but seriously, that is one of the reasons why people here will continue to download stuff. Why should I or anyone else pay good money for damaged or censored goods in the first place. I don't want censorship that is so extensive that it completely distorts a storyline. It's just unacceptable.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cavalock and The Return of The Hoppit!

By now, I'm pretty sure lotsa folks have tried the local dishes by 2 Chefs or at least heard of them. Well, it was finally my turn to drop by their place at Sin Ming Drive recently and as expected it was packed. Fortunately we made reservations and were immediately ushered to a table for six in the middle of the kopi tiam. Everyone's favourite was the incredibly meaty XO Claypot Red Grouper and the fragrant XO sauce definitely helped elevate the whole dish to a whole new level.

I now understand what the hype is about. It wasn't easy finding a dish we didn't like. From clockwise, that tempting plate of garlic-filled drunken cockles was mine and all mine, then you got the salted egg ribs, spinach and century eggs, and their signature butter pork ribs. All that plus a couple of other dishes for less than S$130. From where I come from, that's a good deal.

Time for a little Turnback Thursday post with this vintage British boardgame from 1974. All the components are almost in pristine condition as I hardly touched although I do have vague memories of playing a game or two with my late aunt. The colorful plastic pieces really bring the game alive. Hoppit! is a good game that's more fun when played with a bigger group. A quick check online and it's like going for USD50 on ebay. Yikes!!!

Spotted at a discount stall in my neighbourhood. Nope, it's a not a typo but a little knockout of a BOSS fragrance. Looks like they got the right font and 'boos' just sounds so cute, sure hope it smells good. By the way, I'm on Twitter too @cavalock if anyone's interested.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Cavalock and The Lego Joker's Last Laugh

Probably what gets me more excited than a new game or book store opening here is a new Japanese dessert outlet setting up shop in my neighbourhood. So one of the new tenants in the renovated Bugis Junction basement is Tai Parfait from Japan. It's the familiar fish-shaped Japanese pancake called Taiyaki, that's usually packed with your choice of custard, matcha, red bean or chocolate.

Tai-Parfait Kinako Brown Sugar

The difference is that the Taiyaki fishes here are shaped with their gaping mouths wide open so you can ... what else but stuff more sweet creamy goodness into it! You get to choose from fruits like bananas to ice-cream and brown sugar. I had the above Kinako and brown sugar which seemed just a little too little if you know what I mean. It came with a tiny ball of ice-cream and a light drizzle of brown sugar. It was smooth and satisfying but I had expected more. But of cos it was still a pleasant treat, the almost magical combination of warm pancake and cold sweet toppings makes it feel like you are biting into a cool dessert carnival.

Tai-Parfait Matcha and Azuki

Besides the Taiyaki, there are also milkshakes and frappucino to choose from. I'll probably try them the next time as I thought the Taiyaki I had for S$4.50 was a wee bit too little or small for me.

HAH! And just when you thought I wouldn't be posting any more on my favourite fake Lego minifigures or I bet you the cops have done them in. Well, I think cops shouldn't spend their time chasing fake toys when there's real crime to be fought (don't taz me, bro!), like arrest illegal World Cup bookies! As usual, you can expect the Chinese factories to not only turn out fake Lego minifigures but we are talking about the ones that don't even exist ... yet!

Detailed Lego Joker minifigures based on Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger! I really don't see Lego producing these officially in the near future but there you go, thank you Chinese factories. Then you got the Hulk in his various incarnations although technically, Red Hulk is a totally different character. But really, Lego has only made a green Hulk so it's pretty neat to see excellent quality unofficial productions of Red Hulk and grey Hulk, just like in the comics.