Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cavalock and The Secret of The Real Iced Lemon Tea

Now here's a little secret on how you can get the healthiest drink in your local kopi tiam or coffee shop. You know how when you ask for iced lemon tea, most places would serve you a pre-made sickly sweet syrupy drink that only remotely tastes like lemon or even tea? Well, here's how you can get REAL iced lemon tea. Just order 'teh O peng' that's plain iced tea. And ask for a slice of lemon in it. There you go, iced lemon tea the natural way at your neighbourhood kopi tiam.

Another drink I really really like is a foamy tall glass of teh chino which is pretty much just hot milk that's "pulled" with a layer of tea added on top. The most puzzling thing bout the drink is why in the world would anyone serve a piping hot drink with a straw??? Do you know how crazy it is to suck hot fluids through a straw???

I know some of you may be sick and tired of my fake Lego purchases but I love them and for like less than S$2 each, I'll keep buying them. They even have the fake New 52 DC statues by Jim Lee like Green Lantern, Flash and Superman, and they certainly look tempting. You still have to be careful when buying the fake Legos as not all brands are the same. Some like the Decool and S brands are closer to the real deal. I can almost find no faults in the newer ones I bought a few days ago, like Catwoman that came with a cool whip and diamond accessories, and the paint job on the Joker was amazing.

Yes, I swapped Aquaman's head on Cap's body. :P

Something I picked up at the Sunday flea market at China Square Central recently which is really THE place to get all your fake Legos these days but not necessary the cheapest. It's a fake Lego chamber for the Batman costumes or armor. Like how in the movies and comics, Bruce Wayne would have his costumes hanging in special chambers, well, here's the fake Lego version of it, for only S$5. But I guess technically, you can put any costume in there. ;)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Cavalock and The Joys of Being A Pluviophile

We had an early Christmas Japanese-style last week as I received more than a few gifts from Sapporo, Japan. I have been drizzling my morning coffee with some Japanese maple honey here. Now I always wondered what the heck is maple honey anyway, is it maple syrup or honeycombs or some crazy mutant hybrid? Maybe its by bees who build their hives in maple trees??? Well, according to Merriam Webster online, it's actually "maple syrup of light colour that's boiled to a density of strained honey". It's not terribly sweet and that's probably cos I don't use a lot. I like it and would definitely recommend it as a good substitute for those (like me) who aren't into using sugar anymore.

Some of the other loot I got included a pack of fancy erasable color markers, a food porn magazine, a Snoopy tote bag to carry my boardgames (Battlelore boardgame not included) and a Simpsons anniversary moleskin notebook!

New word of the week, 'Pluviophile'. Ever since I was a kid growing up in the old family home, I have loved rainy days especially when it's pouring on those dark evenings and nights. My aunt would tell people how I unfazed I was by the the thunder and lighting, or how she would find me playing with my toy soldiers as the storm raged on outside. In the old days, when it rained it seemed like everyone in the family would rush home after work and I would be surrounded by all my aunts and uncles. That's what home was like.

Even after my folks moved to another place, those rainy days still brought a smile to my face. As a teenager in my other apartment, I had a huge tree right next to my bedroom window and when it stormed, the branches would sway and swipe right pass my window grills. Then my mom and I would make a fun activity out of breaking those branches as they often carry giant red ants into my room. Oh, and that tree was also home to squirrels and giant bats but that's another story for another day. But really, I like how the cool the air would be during and after the rain. The eerie red rain clouds at night, the gusty cool air, that distinctive and familiar dewy petrichor scent after a downpour, that all come together to evoke a sense of joy and peace that I rarely experience anymore.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cavalock and The Perfect Steak Formula and Other Bootleg Bounties

A Saturday evening home alone and I figured its been awhile since I posted bout something I put together in the kitchen. Straight from celebrity chef's Heston Blumenthal's at Home cookbook, this is probably the easiest thing in there. It's all about frying the perfect steak. Like I said, it's real simple and anyone can do it.

Heat your pan for like 5 minutes till it's crazy hot and smoking. Salt the best steak you can buy but make sure the steak is at room temperature first. Drizzle some olive or grapefruit oil on the sizzling pan.

Time to drop the steak in the pan and watch it sizzle. The trick is to flip the meat every 15 seconds for like two minutes if you want a medium rare steer. Well, you can follow all that or just watch Heston's video here, yah well maybe the latter. The Canadian ribeye I got earlier in the afternoon turned out nicely. The steamed brussels sprouts was another easy peasy dish. Just steam them and add a dollop of butter once they are tender to the bite, which takes about five minutes.

Yes, that's an autographed copy thanks to blogger epicurative.
Good enough for me.
Saturday evening with my essential 'friends' .

As always, the worst part of every meal is mopping up a grease-soaked kitchen. I reckon that took me three times longer than it took for me to prepare the food. Still, you can't really put a price tag to a great home-cooked meal.

Another cache of fake ...opps ... I mean, customised Lego minifigures has just reached our shores and I can't be more excited. Except for the Green Arrow figure which was an San Diego Comic Con exclusive last year, all the other three minifigures have yet to be officially made or released by Lego. So like I said in a previous post, it ain't technically a fake if there was never an original around in the first place right? Now if anyone's wondering where to find all these fake Lego ...damn it!... customised figures, you can find them at the Sunday flea market at China Square Central. I saw almost half the stalls there selling them including the fake Winter Soldier Lego.

Daddy's home! 

My TV series vs your movie?


But this is my favourite collectible to come out of this latest shipment. A reproduction of the black and white Batman statue by artist Sean Galloway. Decent packaging, same size and colour, and looking at the box, I'm assuming the original is made outta porcelain but the one I got is made outta hard plastic hence the rather economical price tag of only S$24 while the real deal is going for US80 before shipping.

Now I'm sure if you take a real close look at it, you'll notice some minor flaws. But I'm cool with it. There were also reproductions of the New 52 figures of DC Heroes' Flash and Superman by Jim Lee. I wasn't interested in those as the 'completest' part of me would be anxiously waiting for the rest of the (bootleg) Justice League to show up.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cavalock and The Reservoir Birds

Been awhile since I posted some wildlife photos by my 80-year-old Dad. Well, the recent haze, heat wave and drought definitely didn't stop him from wandering all over the island alone. And people wonder why I'm constantly fraught with worry. Here are some he took at the reservoir a couple weeks ago. The first pix below got a pretty good score a little over 90 on his 500px page.

I'm calling these guys the Reservoir Birds cos them birds are in different colours kinda like the cast in that Tarantino movie. Geddit? Come on people! Work with me here!

Now here's something you don't see everyday! Spotted and filmed by my Dad at the Chinese Garden. A kaiju lizard that came up looking for food after the ponds have all dried up during the draught. Check out how the kaiju lizard does its version of 'ayam penyet' but with a giant frog, smashing its bloated body against the tree. Now I tried posting the videos of it swallowing the frog here but that doesn't seem to be happening, pop-up says I can't upload but doesn't say why.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Cavalock and The (Only?) Unbiased Savour Files

It's that time of the year again when the Savour food fest sets up their tents and fancy food stalls for the masses. This is the third year in a row that I have been to the fest, actually it's a new venue this year at the Marina Bay District. So I looked at a bunch of local food blogs that covered the event and every single one of them loved it! After reading them, I realised they all got in with their complimentary tickets. Now that may have or may not have influenced their write-ups but I assure you that I paid my own hard-earned S$170 worth of Savour dollars and am unbiased in this here post! Yessiree! I'm no sell-out! I'm like the CM Punk of food blogs! I say what's on my mind!

If you have been to their last two events, you'll definitely notice how the chef stalls or booths are now all packed side-by-side to each other in a smaller, almost claustrophobic area. Well, the good part of this is you get to eat through all of them in half the time but I miss the spacious layout and relaxed atmosphere. And what's up with the dimly lit supermarket? I came in to escape the haze and "gloomy" ain't the exactly the most appetising vibe to get out of a gourmet supermarket.

As expected there were some hits and misses with the menu. What really worked for me was Mikuni's Chef Moon's entire repertoire below, Kanpachi Truffle Soya, 72-hour Miso Braised Short Rib and Hokkaido Botan Ebi in Tenshin Sauce. My favs for the night.

More than a few other dishes didn't work for me but what really stood out in the worst way was this Banana Cake with Coconut Jelly of Dark Sugar and Salt dish below. Now I don't really expect a dish to look exactly like its publicity styled photo but come on, this is really a stretch for the imagination! Just how difficult is it to get your hands on one of those little melon scopes anyway?

Yummy picture


Although I didn't get a chance to attend the HBOAsia event, I heard that they were promoting the next Game of Thrones season (again!). As much as I luv the series (read the first novel over a decade ago) I think they really dropped the ball with this one and they should have promoted the HBO mini-series that everyone is talking about and that is of cos, True Detective. And I call BS if they say that no one has heard of the show yet. When you perform the same trick twice you are just telling folks that's the only good show in your line-up.

Trust me when I say your target audience has heard or even downloaded episodes already. The hype before the first screening was already almost deafening. I have been in the media industry long enough to know a missed opportunity when I see one. It would had been so easy and cool to come up with a Yellow King menu but if they thought that was too much of a spoiler, then a good ol' Southern recipe menu would have been perfect.

Since the show is set in Louisiana, there's already so much exciting food to choose from like cajun or modern creole cuisine. Anyway I thought maybe something else like this might work. Naturally the chef working on the menu would give his unique spin to the dishes.

You start with some venison fillets or a venison carpaccio cos in the first episode that's how the serial killer's victim was found, naked and wearing a pair of antlers.

Then for the main course, you could have some smoked pulled pork. If you have watched the show, you'll remember that Matthew McConaughey's character is a chronic chain smoker so what better entree than some smoked meat? I have never had a pulled pork sandwich here that I liked so it's a personal dream that'll I'll finally have one here.

For dessert, I thought maybe a classic Southern banana pudding for that little 'yellow' nod to the Yellow King.

If you know me, you'll know that I'm extremely passionate about pop culture. I'm a huge fan of movies, TV shows, books, comics, games, toys, all things sci-fi, fantasy, well, I think you get the idea. It just pains me to see something like this when I know it could have been done sooooo much better.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Cavalock and The Whale Cake Hookup

I may not have time to dine at any new joints recently but February has been a very busy month for baking. Here's the latest eye-catching order to leave the tiny apartment kitchen. The birthday kid or rather his folks wanted an ocean-themed party with 'a whale of a cake'. Besides the vanilla buttercream cake, there were also cupcakes with a little sea-faring twist to them. And we just got word that adults and kids at the party all loved the cakes!

It's time to check out the these six 'customised' Lego superhero minifigures I got a couple months ago at a special super low price for only S$1.80 each. There's even the limited edition Shazam! minifigure which is a Comic-Con exclusive giveaway and the Martian Manhunter in his original costume that is yet to be released. Word on the street is there's another shipment with new minifigures coming in next week and hopefully there'll be the rumored 'customised' Lord of the Rings minifigures.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cavalock and The Penang White Curry Noodle Quest

What you have here is the extremely rare and elusive MyKuali Penang White Curry Noodles from Malaysia. Apparently it's currently the most sought after instant noodles in Asia and as far as I know, it's almost impossible to find it here. That is until Wednesday night when I stumbled upon a little provision shop in Changi selling it for S$4.20 for a pack of four. Needless to say I immediately bought it. The feeling is not unlike discovering a rare drop item if one is familiar with playing MMO games online but I digress. I read that it's sold out in Australia and was going for A$4. Unfortunately it was only after I got home that I remembered one important thing. I don't do spicy food! This pack is after all in the Top Ten Spiciest Instant Noodles of All Time list. :P

So I did the only thing I could and that's to pass it to an instant noodle expert! And here's a summery of the verdict after having a pack for lunch.

* There's a little pack of powered creamer in there and I believe that's what turns it into a white curry meal. The expert recommends substituting that with evaporated milk instead for a creamier texture.

* The slab of instant noodles is pretty small compared to other instant noodle packs.

* The star attraction is the curry paste, the piece de resistance! It's gives the essential spicy kick that sets this apart from the rest and yes, it's that spicy.

Well, it's been awhile since I shared some of the retro stuff in the old family house. Here's an old SIA foldable luggage. It's probably from the 1970s I think. Like some of the some other vintage stuff I found, this was still neatly wrapped up and never been used.

The inside is a little beat up but the exterior just needs a little dusting to look as new as can be. The zippers still work and it feels rather sturdy. Not bad. I wonder if the airline still gives out stuff like this.