Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cavalock and The Halloween Cookies of Horror

It's almost Halloween and I thought I'll showcase some of the treats that left my tiny apartment kitchen over the weekend. I have only been to one Halloween party my entire life and that was an office event like a decade ago. Bet no one can guess who or what I came as*. Anyway, I thought these cookies came out looking pretty cool. And no, I didn't bake them, I just snap all the pix.

Every cookie was individually painted by hand and the tags were all cut, pasted and labelled the night before. They were made for sale for a little kid's school Halloween party. Hope they all like it.  You can check out some other goodies that left the kitchen here and here, and don't forget we got some Christmas fruitcakes for sale here too.

Well, I got nothing planned for Halloween nite so I'll probably play a solo game of Elder Sign. It's a great board game that's based on the horror stories by H.P. Lovecraft. Or maybe I'll just watch this year's Simpsons Halloween Treehouse of Horror, yah it's been sitting in my iPad for almost a week now.

Since we on the topic of baking from home, how's a little flashback to some of the more interesting bakes that have since left our kitchen to satisfied friends and ex-colleagues over the last year or two.

* I was Dilbert from the comic strip. Easiest costume ever, just a white office shirt, black pants and glasses with a curled-up tie. Which made it all the more unusual as I'm always in jeans and t-shirts in the office.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cavalock and The Christmas Fruitcake Shout-Out

A quick shout-out to anyone out there in Singapore who wants some great Christmas fruitcakes this year. I have been enjoying these amazing home baked fruitcakes every Christmas for several years now and trust me when I say they are the best I have ever had in my entire life. It's so rich and moist you wouldn't wanna with just one bite. It's just October but all the fruits are already soaking in glass jars of Bacardi Gold rum and that's why they are taking orders this early. You can order them as well as other cakes such as the sour cherry pie and the classic orange sugee cake, over at the Only Slightly Pretentious Food site.

If you have been reading bout all the retro stuff that I have been digging up in the old family home, you would recall that I got reams and reams of fabrics and material from the 60s and 70s. I have passed several vintage reams to my friend and local designer Audrey from The Girl's Kaksh, and you can see some really nice designs she came up with last year. Neat eh?

So the notorious Ashley Madison site is coming to town. I gotta admit I was mildly amused when I first heard bout the website over a year ago, and even more tickled with the local uproar that followed the recent local announcement. Way I see it it's a whole bunch a double standards especially with the government coming in and saying how wrong it is. How different is that from giving licenses to dozens of legal brothels in Geylang, mega casinos and shady KTVs all over the island cos I'm pretty sure all those did their fair share in breaking up more than a couple of marriages too. Stay outta it. Let us decide what's right or wrong, the same way you trust us to decide on whether or not to go visit a hooker in Geylang or the casino.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cavalock and The Little Things That Matter

Ended my Restaurant Week experience with a meal at Salta at Icon Village. Dinner started with a very pleasant blue swimmer crab timbale. Not too heavy and just smooth enough to guide me into my pan seared sea bream main course. I chose this instead of the beef steak cos I figured they already do great steaks since that's their specialty, so I wanna see how was their fish. And I totally enjoyed it! The sea bream was pan seared to perfection but what I really liked was the pumpkin puree that came with it. Awww man, that sauce dialed it up for me. I freaking cleaned the plate up with it. Been a very long time since I had a fish meal this memorable. The dessert was amazing too. The lavender scented bread pudding tasted like an almost perfect kueh lapis, with a nice scoop of coconut ice-cream on it. It was a perfect dinner if not for one very minor detail ....

... and that was how old the menus were. Old enough for them to possess a certain whiff that instantly transported me back to the old Stamford Road National Library. Maybe I'm too sensitive but the menus sure smell like some ancient parchments. You know that really old book smell? But really, that didn't spoil my dinner at all. I had a wonderful time, no complaints about the food or service. In fact, we even left them a 10% tip even though there's no service charge. Will definitely drop by again for lunch or dinner.

I have mentioned before that I started this blog to more or less talk bout stuff that made me happy. I try not to write bout the things that brought me down. Had quite a rough week so I figured I'll remind myself of the little geeky things that brought a smile to my face recently.

The Magic the Gathering playmat I won in a lucky draw on Wednesday nite, the Abomination action figure I found at Takashimaya and the arrival of my (first) Kickstarter boardgames Via Appia and Templer. All the little things that may not a lot to anyone else but certainly lifted me spirits when I got me hands on them. I'm not a hard guy to please. Oh and remember my family's vintage cheongsams? Brought them to a local history professor and he sure was impressed by them, more on this later if it all pans out.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cavalock and The Jiggy Jello Collection

In the words of Will Smith, let's get jiggy! Here are more kitchen relics I found in the old family home again. First up are jelly or jello moulds from the 50s or 60s. It's kinda amazing the different shapes and sizes they all come in and I really like bigger ones. The tiny ones would be great for jello shots. Now I don't actually remember seeing these being used although my late Mom did make jelly on a pretty regular basis but that's like after we moved to another house. And when she made them, they were in glass or crystal bowls like the ones I found earlier.

The Imperial Navy jello mould! Only geeks will get this.
These glass jelly bowls or "blows" are the kind that my late Mom would make for us when we moved out of the family home. So she would add cocktail fruits in them too and I would always go for the grape or raspberry ones. Didn't like the lemon or orange flavors cos they were always too sour. I found a whole lot more of the glass or crystal bowls so I guess when we moved out all them decades ago, we left some behind in the dusty kitchen cabinet.

Now I'm seriously tempted to try some agar-agar or jello recipes. Been searching online for some simple ones involving coconut cream and espresso since I got easy access to both. And I found this simple enough recipe from Serious Eats on coffee-coconut agar agar.

It turned out better than I expected. Minor problems I had was deciding when to pour the second coffee layer and gauging how much to pour cos you wanna make sure the proportions are right. You also don't wanna pour the second layer too fast and hard otherwise it'll break the first layer, you gotta spread it out gently with a spoon. So watch out for all that if you are doing any double or triple layer agar agar.

Check this out! The coconut coffee combo was great and eating something that came outta a 50 or 60 year-old relic is quite an unforgettable experience.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Cavalock and The Tingkat from Thailand

Another day spent picking through the old family home and here's something I found in the kitchen recently. Not exactly an unusual sight as most of us here have seen 'tingkats' or tiffin carriers before. I guess what's different bout this tingkat I found is that it's at least over 40 years old and comes all the way from Thailand. I dunno I'm thinking mebbe someone in the family back then ordered some serious long distance takeaway food.

It's sightly larger than most of today's tingkats and notice the intrinsic designs. I also like the little three cups or containers in the top tier. Like most of the other old stuff I found in the kitchen, this was nicely wrapped up in plastic and look as good as new. I thought this would make a cool accessory for anyone attending the Diner en Blanc later this month. No, I ain't going but it looks kinda classy non?

My Dad turned 80 last Monday (yah, my folks had me late and another reason why I'm an only child) so I thought maybe I'll just post a buncha pix he took at our national Bird Park a week or two ago. He actually took a few thousand shots and is right now considering getting an extremely expensive Cannon camera. I know he'll be using it everyday but still, it's damn expensive and heavy too.