Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cavalock and The Bird Nest Buildup

Been helping my 79-year-old Dad download and file his hundreds of wildlife pix this last week. Seems like he's no longer stalking eagles found much smaller birds to aim his camera at. Lots of really interesting shots of birds and their nests. Like I always said, there are all kinds of cool wildlife all over the island like this sunbird building a new home in Bukit Panjang.

According to my Dad, there were two sunbirds but most of his shots were only of one bird in action doing all the building. Here you can see the nest slowly coming together and I believe it took bout 4 days to put it together. The nest was already halfway built when these were taken. There are dozens of shots and I felt these are the better ones.

And still on my writing therapy sessions, here's the prologue to another story. Thought it might be interesting or challenging to set this one here in my own backyard and yes, it's also a wee bit Lovecraftian.


It was almost noon as I leaned across the starboard side; peering down at the docks I can clearly see the rest of the passengers slowly boarding the merchant ship. “My God, they … they seemed so calm, so innocent, so oblivious to the truth that this island is already doomed,” I muttered over and over. Ever as I’m leaving Singapore now in board daylight, I don’t feel safe and I know I’ll never feel safe again.

I wanted to warn someone, anyone but no sane person could ever comprehend what I have seen this last week. I thought I have witnessed horror in all its most atrocious forms during those last dark days in Berlin back in 1945 but this was something not from this world. This was an ancient unspeakable terror that has somehow found its way back to our world.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cavalock and The Writing Therapy Tryout

Some days I really wish I got more stuff to write about. Last week was alright I guess, I mean if you are a caretaker like me and a quiet week is usually a good sign. Well, I did had the pleasure of savoring a truly divine homemade matcha swiss roll by a local food blogger. And the Duck L'orange in sous vide for dinner was fantastic too, I believe that was my first sous vide dish that I know of anyway.

Another trip to supermarket Meidi-ya means another look at some more new goodies on their shelves. A couple of interesting sweet potato and marron or chestnut spreads from Japan. They ought to be good on crackers or bread. And check out that new award-winning rosemary honey ale from Spain. It reads winter honey ale style, made of barley malt, rosemary and rosemary honey, hops and yeast. That just sounds so damn sweet.

So one of the things I'm doing right now is some self-imposed writing therapy. It sorta helps me take my mind off my caregiving duties and also kinda restores my sanity ... in a small way, at least I hope it does. Been plotting and writing a bunch of stuff over the last couple months but none of them are complete yet. Here you got something I managed to put together the first part of something for young readers. It's just an unedited first draft right now (yah I know it definitely needs a lot more work and polishing up) and three chapters are up here on wattpad. I do have an ending and will post that in the near future if anyone's interested. Be gentle now. <^;^>

Here's an excerpt

"A soft yellow glow appeared at the far end of the room. It grew larger until it almost occupied half of the opposite wall, bathing most of the statues in an unnerving radiance. As her vision gradually cleared, she saw the outlines of two robed figures stalking from the glow towards her. They made a silent waving gesture with their hands and there came another howl from the ceiling but this time it sounded right directly overhead Mills.

Intuitively she turned towards the inhuman sound again. The entire hall was now brightly illuminated but as she looked up, Mills wished that she was back in the dark. A cascade of long wet tentacles dropped from a whirling void that had suddenly appeared above her.  Cold freezing air poured down and this time her scream was loud as it echoed down the hall. An icy green tentacle lashed down and coiled itself around her outstretched right arm. She struggled to pull her arm to her chest but the tentacle was too strong as it lifted her up towards the void."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cavalock and The Game of Thrones Savour Team-Up

It's the second annual Savour food fest and just like last year, I was there on a Friday afternoon. But unlike the previous year, my Gourmet Village dining tickets were for the evening slot instead of the afternoon one. So now we can hang out in the air-conditioned Gourmet Market for at least a few hours.

But first a big shout-out to HBO and the upcoming season 3 of Game of Thrones starting this April 20, Saturday night 9pm. They did a great promo that included a cooking demo of food from the show. Yaaaah, right. Anyway, we had some lamb and lemon cookies cos that's apparently what they had in Westeros. Hey, I was reading the books over a decade ago before the series came out. Check out this t-shirt I got last year. But hey, it's a great show (even better if it's uncensored) so go watch it.

Was at a tea-pastry pairing workshop too. Found out that I really suck at food pairing. Three things are supposed to happen to the flavors when you pair food. Like does it intensify, cancel or blend the flavors. Since we got there a little late, we could only observe the class and not sample any of the pastries.

So what else did I have at Savour this year? Good ol' beef. Lotsa good beefy dishes if you are into it. Below is my fav from Stellar@1 Altitude. Nicely done and tender, I enjoyed every bite.

But my first bite for the day was actually these couple slices of pie (lime vodka and choc caramel below) from Windowsill Pies at the Gourmet Market earlier that afternoon. Followed a short while later by an Earl Grey ice-cream cookie sandwich. Much better than I thought it would be.

So at exactly 5pm, we descended upon the Gourmet Village. First stall on the hit list was UK's Wild Honey. That's their squid and mackerel burger below which was alright although I really couldn't really taste any squid in it. Their slow cooked beef cottage pie and hot smoked potato may not look like much but we liked it a lot. There's something to be said when a piece of beef is cooked perfectly the way you like it to be.

Hong Kong's famous Bo Innovation was an interesting experience. The molecular xiao long bao (in the black spoons) exploded in my mouth. Didn't expect it as the familiar taste of your typical xiao long bao just filled up my mouth, a little overwhelming but I thought it was pretty neat in a fireworks-in-your-mouth kinda way. Next to it is the cha chan tang, that's actually butter toast ice cream, condensed milk foam, peanut butter and apricot ice, kaya marshmallow, 'ying yang' hot milk tea and cold coffee. *Whew*

Also had some of these. A traditional Peruvian seafood appetizer of shrimps, scallops and octopus from Peru's Astrid Y Gaston. And from UK's Pollen Street Social that's a slow cooked Angus ox cheek braised in Burgundy, horseradish and potato puree, roasted carrots and bone marrow crumb. Put everything I had together and it's like you got a freakin' amazing dinner from around the world!

We bought a ton of groceries as well like cheese, chips and over S$100 worth of Nespresso capsules cos they got the two new limited edition flavors Trieste (intensity 9) and Napoli (intensity 11). Had a Trieste this morning and I must say it's way better than any of the other new flavors that they came out with recently. And there's even a free Nespresso fan!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cavalock and The Politically Correct Minefield

So how crazy would one expect something called Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt to be? Well, you can find out if you buy a shaker of it at Meidi-Ya supermarket. Saw it and was almost tempted to get it just cos of the name until I realized it costs over S$12 for one. But seriously, looking at the ingredients I think it would make a pretty interesting seasoning.

Something over the last couple days got me thinking bout political correctness and stuff. It seems like these days you can't make any negative comment (especially online) without being branded a sexist, racist, xenophobe and so on if you happen to mention any specific details of the individuals involved.

For example, recently there's a group of teenagers in my neighborhood who would go around asking for money from strangers, like they'll walk up to you can say, "Do you have two dollars to give me?" Now if I were to rant bout it online and mention their race, would it be misconstrued as a racist comment? Am I talking down to a particular race cos I'm pointing that out?

Or how about if I spot, snap a pix and highlight on social media some anti-social behavior by a foreign worker/expat, would that make me a xenophobe? I think it would cos I have seen it happen to people online. I have mentioned before that having been raised by women, I honestly believe that most women are way stronger and braver than men. They really are the stronger sex as far as I'm concerned. But the moment I complement a woman's looks like Obama did and I'm now a sexist cos I wasn't thinking about how intelligent she is? Never ever mention a person's looks?

So really, how does one maneuver around this politically correct minefield? All right, rant over.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Cavalock and The Latte Art Tooth Fairy

Look what I found! A new coffee joint that does latte art requests! It's a nice little place in the hippest part of town and not many people have heard of it yet. So I asked the barista to do one that looks like a tooth. Ain't that something? I think it looks great, like a real big white tooth!

Just kidding! Alight, it was my really first attempt at latte art back at home a few weeks ago. Yup, it was exactly my intention to do it in the shape of a molar tooth. Oh yeah, that was the plan all along. It's not like I was trying to do something else and it turned out to look like a tooth. I bet I'll be a big hit at dentists' conventions.

Hey! It's almost that time of the year again where the local food fest known as Savour will take over the F1 Pit Building this weekend. If you think it's another blatant attempt by me to become a food blogger, then you are right! I was there last year and well, that little write-up apparently wasn't enough to qualify me to be a food blogger. So here's hoping that if I do make it to this year's event, I'll be able to whip something up that'll finally elevate me to the illustrious ranks of our local food bloggers.

Nah, I'm just yanking yer chain again. I write, blog, rant whatever makes me happy. I just find it extremely amusing how some food blogs actually become meal tickets for their owners. Anyway, so who's going?

Monday, April 01, 2013

Cavalock and The Bukkake Experience

I did thought of opening this post with an April Fool's joke but I think telling the truth in this case would be a bigger eye-opener. Yup, I had my first bukkake experience for real. Bukkake udon, to be exact. And if you don't know what 'bukkake' means in Japanese or rather Japanese porn, Wiki it and nope, I ain't providing the link here. (Plus if you read my last post on how collagen helps keeps your skin smooth, then you'll just being sick if you think there's a connection!)

Anyway it's at Tamoya, the new udon restaurant tucked away at the back of Liang Court ground floor. It's got a different concept too. A self-service set-up not unlike the ol' army days cookhouse or today's Ikea cafeteria where you move your tray down the line, collect your udon, pick your tempura and pay your bill.

As you can see from the menu, there are several kinds of udon to choose from. I picked the regular bukkake udon for S$4.80. I like the texture and the soup or broth. Only regret was how small the portion was. Great for kids but I'm going for the large bowl next time and maybe the pork bukkake too. It's about the average price for a Japanese meal. All that you see above with the 4 sticks of tempura is S$12.30. If you like Japanese food, it's definitely worth a try.

After that, look what I found at Meidi-ya supermarket down in the basement. At S$7.20, it's the most expensive 250ml can of Japanese beer on the shelves. I kinda like the Harley Quinn design.

Thought I'll share something I remembered sometime back. There's been a whole lotta debate bout foreigners coming here recently. About three or four years ago, I met one of them, a really nice professional lady who works in a bank. She told us how she got her PR status (not long after she met us) and part of it included her telling the local interviewers how much she loves kids and can't wait to have lots of them right here. Although she assured us that she had absolutely no intention of having any kids at all. She only said that cos she knows how desperate we are with wanting more babies here.

Of cos back then when she told us, everyone at the table had a good laugh, and I'll sure there were a ton of other factors that got her in but I bet the promise to breed for our nation played a major part in the decision making.

So what's my take today? I think our country's decision making process is in need of a major overhaul. But who knows, maybe she did decide to have kids now and everything worked out great. I guess I know better then to write something online that's gonna come back and bite me in the ass.