Monday, July 27, 2015

Cavalock and The Blue and Grey Menagerie

It's always a lovely day when we get the little oven in our tiny apartment kitchen baking again! Blue dinosaur chocolate cookies! A gift for a little boy's birthday party over the weekend. Even though every piece was individually hand-painted, I dare say it was a relatively easy task for the Baker at Home.

You would probably have seen these bird pix on my Facebook a couple weeks ago. A rather majestic resident of our Botanic Gardens that my 83-year-old Dad has been stalking for awhile now. This lone grey-headed eagle can be seen swooping down for his breakfast on most mornings.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cavalock and The Schoolgirl Coaster Convention

Thanks to the Baker in the House, we managed to get a lunch table at current hip Japanese joint, Kanda Wadatsumi at Tras Street. After more than a few rave reviews in the press and online, I can understand why the place is pretty crowded. Had the unagi set and it was definitely worth every S$30 of it and I topped up S$8 for the appetiser and black sesame ice-cream. Now all this also comes with a little kettle of broth that you are supposed to add to the rice in a separate bowl, and it all tastes really good together. Another highlight was the chawanmushi that came crowned with a dollop of heavenly uni.

And in other news, we finally decided to use the pair of eye-catching Japanese schoolgirl coasters we got form Tokyo earlier this year. Not that we were expecting guests or anything in our tiny apartment, I just wanted to crack them open. Pretty neat, uh?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cavalock and The Hashtag Heresy

How I wish I could say that the reason for the infrequent posts is that I'm off jet-setting around the world. The truth is things have been frightfully dreary of late although I must admit I'm having slight difficulty in recollecting the events of the last few weeks. Let's see now, I am still caught up in the seemingly never-ending process of clearing the old family home as well as another of my late uncle's apartment. Which leads me to this re-discovery I made not too long ago, a most intriguing pair of stone goldfishes from my childhood.

I vividly recall toying with them when I was a mere toddler. Well, such as picking them up from the desk, spinning them (gently) around and imagining them swimming in the air I suppose. I must admit I have no idea how much they are worth. The pair have been in the family for as long as I can remember. I'm also absolutely in the dark as to what kind of stone they are as I'm positive there's a proper name to the material too. It's not jade or marble but it has a nice smooth touch and feel to it. And as you can see in the final pix, there's a name or inscription at the bottom of one of the goldfishes. I suppose my only hope is that the name belongs to a famous Chinese craftsman and ... ka-ching!!! ;)

So what else have I been up to? Finished reading The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker and binge-watched Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell as well as the third (and thankfully final) season of The Following. Penned a short Cthulhu-inspired horror story and sent the draft out, still waiting for some feedback. I certainly hope the reason for the lack of response isn't a reflection of how abysmal they found the tale to be. 

Of cos, the board gaming evenings are still a regular occurrence, at least twice a week. To be honest, the reason why I'm recounting all this escapes me. Perhaps I am merely engaging in this little mental exercise simply to justify my last couple of weeks' existence?

It's less than a month till our National Day and you know what that means! Keeping a decade-long tradition alive, here's this year's snapshot of the washpole patriot!

Oh yes, I did spend some time recently on social media or Facebook to be exact. I am quite puzzled by the overwhelming use of hashtags in more than a few of my ex-colleagues' posts. I just do not understand the need to punctuate your 3, 4-word post with up to over thirty hashtags. Among the multitude of hashtags in that single one-sentence post, I spotted the hashtags 'excited' and 'Italy'. Wouldn't it be much more eloquent to write something like "We are so excited to finally be in Italy"? How difficult was that or did they forgot how to use nouns and pronouns? Is this a thing now that people use hashtags instead of proper grammar?

There are times when it's just a mountain of infuriating hashtags, no sentences at all. It's not unlike some maddening puzzle where one tries to make sense of the message by adding adjectives, pronouns and punctuation. I honestly don't know if all these hashtags is pure laziness or some new hip thing.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Cavalock and The Wart-Faced Rant

So the guys and I decided to "forfeit"a night of analog gaming and head out for a Japanese dinner instead. It was most fortunate that one of us stumbled upon Shabuyaki Kazuya along Stanley Street earlier and made reservations for the night. By day, they be serving ramen but when the sun sets, it's a meat joint and a pretty damn good one too. You get to grill the marinated meat on a little hot plate above the hotpot. Would definitely recommend the S$14 beef tongue platter (2nd pix below) and the S$6 braised Wagyu beef (last pix).

Hanging out with the guys had me thinking bout a scene I witnessed a couple days ago in my neighbourhood. Saw two older uncles, one Indian and the other Chinese, probably in their 50s running into each other. The Indian uncle greeted his Chinese friend with a loud "Oi towkay!" followed by several dialect phrases that some might find mildly offensive, and the Chinese uncle acknowledged it with an equally boisterous greeting delivered in a mocking Indian accent, complete with head shaking gesture! And guess what, the two older gentlemen laughed off! No one was offended at all. Now imagine something like that happening to a younger pair or even online. The politically-correct crowd would go apeshit over it. Would our local media portray such a scene in their TV dramas even though it's a daily fact of life? Hell no! How I wish folks today would be more like the two uncles and not be so easily offended bout stuff.

I also found out recently that you can't use the word 'ugly' anymore. You can't use it to describe people or things at all cos feelings would get hurt and folks would get offended. A word I learnt in school, used a gazillion times is now considered derogatory by some. I must have missed the memo on us turning into a coddling society. Now I'm just extremely curious as to how children's picture books are defining the word "ugly" and what pictures they use to illustrate it. I recall it was a sad-faced guy with warts in my school book. So did the Society of Wart-Faced Gentlemen protested against that?

Check this out too, apparently it's politically incorrect to call someone "fat and ugly" but it's perfectly fine to describe the same person as "morbidly obese" cos the latter is an official medical definition. Seriously, doesn't "morbid" and "obese" sound a lot worse?

OK, rant over.

All right, back to more fun stuff. Dropped by my favourite supermarket Meidi-Ya as usual and spotted some new groceries. Well, they are new to me as it has been ages since I was there. There's crisps, beer, Disney pasta, all good stuff to make you fa... well, ... pick your own definition. ;)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cavalock and The Food Street Swerve

Was extremely honoured that to be one of the select few to dine with Gordon Ramsey at his new restaurant Bread Street Kitchen. To finally be welcomed as a primer food blogger is truly a dream come true. Rammy's (he luvs it when people call him that) masterpiece is this seemingly simple dish of basil chicken.

HAH!!! I'm just yanking yer chain! I was never invited to Bread Street Kitchen nor any restaurant for that matter! I still anxiously await the day that I shall be bestowed the title of local food blogger like so many out there, and be overwhelmed with invites to every other restaurant and cafe on the island. No, I don't, I honestly don't. Heh! By the way, the above is in fact a delicious home-cooked basil chicken dish by the baker-at-home.

So my 82-year-old Dad is still spending his mornings stalking birds all across the island. Am thinking of putting together another little book on his photographs, just for fun. Self-publish it like the last time. Gawd knows I got enough material for at least half a dozen books.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cavalock and The Eclair Exposition

I suppose it would be very unpatriotic of me to say that I'm not really into all this SG50 celebrations. It started alright then when it got plastered all over anything and everything, that's when I checked out of this overblown national chest beating circus. However over the weekend, I stumbled upon this little SG50 tribute that certainly earned my approval. It's Two Baker's Ondeh Ondeh Eclair. So you got your regular French choux pastry but it's filled with crazy good gula melaka and topped with some coconut. You take that bite and it's all sweet-ass gula melaka goodness, then that heavenly pandan and coconut glazed layering kicks in. Next to it, the salted caramel eclair came out like some ugly cousin. Nah, I jest, it was alright but the Ondeh Ondeh Eclair stole the limelight.

I know I'm a little late for the party but I have just discovered the joys of Amazon free shipping. Most of my haul have been boardgames and they are just so cheap or rather reasonably priced compared to the local shops. I have said it before that the game shops here are just committing daylight robbery by charging waaaaaaay above the suggested retail price. Plus shipping (so far) only took about a week and a half for my package to get here!

With Amazon free shipping, it's easy to go over US$125 with just three or four decent boardgames. Over the last month, I got the above Cacao, Colt Express, Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Five Tribes boardgames. Last I checked each is going for around double the suggested retail price at our local game stores. Talk about profiteering!

Another cool deal I got outta Amazon is The Ultimate Star Wars, a massive hardcover guide to the official 'canon' Star Wars universe. None of that Expended Universe crap. Kinokuniya selling it for about S$65, Amazon sells it for .... drumroll ... US$25!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Cavalock and The Return of The Lost Hoover

Once again, it was time to explore my neighbourhood hipster joints. And so we found ourselves having dinner at The Refinery that's just a five-minute stroll from our tiny apartment along Jalan Besar. Nice ambience if you are into the industrial deco look. Some hits and misses. The "Onsen" style signature quail eggs below we like as well as the yakitori chicken thigh. Not so crazy about their chicken wings which were too greasy and salty. Anyway the place on a weekday night is less crowded and a little cozier than I expected. So I'm looking forward to a return visit soon and maybe sampling their drinks menu.

Alright, I gotta do a little sales pitch now as I'm trying to sell this honest-to-goodness retro Hoover vacuum cleaner from the 1960s. Am clearing out my late uncle's apartment (not to be confused with the old family home) and this is something I remember 'playing' with back in the old family home. I honestly thought my aunts or uncles threw it away until I found it in his apartment. All the original parts are still there and in surprisingly clean condition. Hey, Mad Men may be over but that doesn't mean you can't continue reliving the 60s! It's a great conversation piece too! ;) I have no idea what something like this costs so name a price if you are interested.

So my 83-year-old Dad was one of the photographers who managed to snap this pied fantail nest at Pasir Ris Park recently. He had to stake the site out for a couple of weeks, observing the nestlings as they grow and learn to fly. Hope you all like the shots. And there's a more detailed write-up bout it here by the Nature Society.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Cavalock and The Mad Max Lego Collaboration

One thing I realise that I hardly write about here is how much I enjoy Indian food. Perhaps it's cos I know very little about the cuisine, well, and then again that never stopped me from writing bout other stuff. So... hmmmm... maybe I'm just making excuses and being lazy. I'm not exactly into the spicy dishes but everything else I really like. Anyway, was having dinner several months ago at Tandoor restaurant at the Holiday Inn when I ordered a glass of cold lassi after my meal. But the waiter politely but rather firmly advised me against it as it doesn't aid digestion at night. Well, this was the first time I'm hearing this. He suggested I have a cup of hot masala tea instead which was fine.

These days or nites when I'm at home I do tend to make a cup of masala tea but brewing one from scratch ain't easy cos we tried and it's a hassle to start rounding up the necessary spices and all. Fortunately I found these instant masala tea mixes from Muji. Made in Japan but they do come pretty close to the real deal with that familiar spicy aroma, I mean as real a deal as you can get if you were in an Indian restaurant I guess.

So I watched this little movie called Mad Max: Fury Road. I know there are lotsa other pix online showcasing some really cool Lego Mad Max models but I decided to try my hand with the pieces lying around in the apartment. Good thing bout the world of Mad Max is anything goes and there really is no method to the madness involved in the vehicle designs. ...