Friday, November 27, 2020

Cavalock and The Journey Through the West

Last week, the Baker-at-Home was doing what she did best and the result was some really yummy home-made cream puffs. She filled them up with hojicha cream, made from powder that we bought from Japan last year. Been awhile since she did something like that and it was quite a relief for her that they turned out better than she expected. Not that she hasn't been baking these few months, just that her attention was on other pastry treats like this and this.

There has been a lot of press bout the nature trails around the island recently and me and three of the guys got to walk from Lakeside to Bukit Timah one early morning last week. Wonderful weather made the walk all the more pleasant. One of the guys did the walk a few week ago so he kinda led the way. But he did it at night so now in the morning, we kinda took a different route cos at night, he tended to avoid places without street lights and stuff like that. We walked through almost all kinds of terrain, from HDB sidewalks to under the train tracks to along the expressway to fields with 'no trespassing' signs. 

One of the highlights has got to be us taking a last minute detour to Bukit Batok Nature Park to view the abandoned quarry site. A pretty fun morning and I could still keep up even with my foot operation from couple years ago. I thought 11km in two-and-a-half hours is pretty decent for a first-timer. Check out the over 100m elevation, that's us hiking up the quarry site. Ended with a hot bowl of lontong and then lazing by my friend's pool before heading to another friend's place for boardgames.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Cavalock and The Catty Autumn Post

With only a few weeks left before they switched to their winter menu, we managed to get a couple of counter seats at Esora for a taste of their autumn menu. And being the sake fan that she is, the Baker-at-Home made sure we had not one, not two but three carafes of sake to accompany the meal. As expected, every course is a visual treat, just like in September when we had the summer menu. I guess looking forward to a restaurant's seasonal menus is one way us folks here in Singapore can kinda look forward to the changing of seasons. Hah! Anyway favorites this autumn has got to be the crab chawanmushi that's just full of creamy Unami goodness and the chestnut soufflé dessert. Man, I think that's the only Japanese chestnut dessert we are having this year since Tokyo is a no-go. 

You know the neighbour's cat had a hearty breakfast when you see this outside your apartment in the morning. So yah, the cats around my neighbourhood are a rather adventurous lot. Last month I saw this little accident scene on the ground floor. I know it's very unlikely that they caused the potted plant to fall from whichever floor but seeing them basking in the aftermath was pretty funny.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Cavalock and The Misplaced Churchill Quote

Always a pleasure to discover a new Japanese joint that serves a dining experience that is absolutely reminiscent of our days in Japan. So our friend managed to get us a table at Rockon Tokyo along Tanjong Pagar. Great izakaya food with an impressive sake list. We had two carafes of wonderful smooth, dry sake. Now according to a write-up I found online, "Rockon Tokyo serves up true obanzai in the traditional Kyoto home-cooked style", so I'm wondering why it's not called Rockon Kyoto instead? It's a small, cozy place and that evening we were the only locals there, to me I guess that kinda validates the place for authentic Japanese food. Must-haves include the charcoal-grilled skewers, Tsukune chicken, miso-marinated pork shoulder and Koji-marinated 'Gyutan' beef tongue. My favourite has got to be the tamago roll stuffed with mentaiko. So simple yet so yummy. Now that edamame pix you see below are some seasonal "wild black edamame", smokey flavour that's quite different from your regular edamame. And it ain't cheap! Geez! Anyway it's all excellent food and we wanted to make another reservation but it seems they are pretty booked solid for the near future. Good for them!

It's almost the end of the year and my Traveler's Notebook is just about filled. Well, it would had filled up earlier if we actually got to go to the US and Japan this year like we had planned. Fortunately I stocked up on refills last year so the one I bought from Narita Airport is gonna replace the one from Tokyo Station. For awhile, I was wondering what I could possibly fill it up with since we won't be travelling at all this year. So I decided to have pages devoted to gaming experiences, local food places, past travel memories, trivia etc. 

And speaking of quotes, I was quite gutted earlier this week when I found out that my favourite Churchill quote "If you are not a liberal when you are 25, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative by the time you are 35, you have no brain.", was falsely attributed to him. Apparently, he never said those words. I could soooo identify with that quote. Hah!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Cavalock and That One Hot November Afternoon

Been awhile since I had a chance to drop by Kreta Ayer and Keong Saik area. Spent a hot afternoon there with the Baker-at-Home and another couple, just within the legal limit for dining. Heh! Started with lunch at Bar Cicheti, uni pasta was tasty and easily our favourite but that serving was just way too small. Then after that, it was off to Burnt Ends across the road to collect the doughnuts that the Baker-at-Home ordered two weeks ago and yes, they are as good as they say. Next was a first time visit to Anthony, the Spice Maker shop around the corner where we got some spices and I decided to start adding some turmeric to my afternoon tea. Well, we'll see how that goes. Last stop was Bearded Bella for coffee. Wish we didn't have to wait under the blazing sun for so long cos it was pretty packed in there. Was absolutely drenched by the time we got a table. *Whew* But a glass of lychee lemonade at Bearded Bella was pretty cool way to end the afternoon.

Some gaming update! Took me over two weeks and definitely the most challenging figure to paint but here you go, one fo the largest miniatures ever produced by Games Workshop. A Mega Gargant, so many tiny little details on such a huge miniature. From his massive club to the contents of the net he's carrying, it's crazy trying to figure what and how to paint them. But I had so much fun painting him even though I had to rush and paint most of him just so I could use it in a game with my friend.

Played two games, first against a melee army that my gargants or giants won easily. But in the next game, against a range army, we went down pretty bad. All in all, a really fun time playing with my painted miniatures which I haven't had in ages.  

Monday, November 09, 2020

Cavalock and A Most Unlikely Durian Post

This is the post I never thought I would write and it's bout durians, definitely not one of my favourite fruits in the world but I respect it, hey, back in the old family home where I grew up, me aunts and uncles were into it but just not little ol' me way back then. First up is this Cadbury Durian milk chocolate bar I spotted at Cold Storage. No, just plain no. Maybe if trick or treating was allowed this year, some poor kid could had been on the receiving end of this cruel joke.

Now on to something Durian-y that I really enjoy. It's the new Japanese boardgame called 'Durian' and it's sooooo much fun when I played it the first time at my friend's apartment. The next day I knew I had to get my own copy. Now usually I get my Japanese games when I'm in Tokyo but since that ain't happening anytime soon, I had to order it for a local game supplier for $35.

Best way to describe the game is with this blurb, "In this game, players assume the roles of clerks in a jungle fruit shop who are trying to work with a gorilla manager. The goal of the game to predict the amount of fruit that needs to be stocked that is on a hidden fruit card. If a player thinks that too many orders have been taken, they ring a handbell and call over the gorilla manager to call another player's bluff."

On your turn you ether draw a card and add to the amount of fruits being ordered thus pushing your luck, or you ring the bell and call the manager on the player before you. Cos when you choose to draw a card, you stand the risk of having the player after you to call the manager on you. Geddit? That's when the fun tension hits. It's a small and quick game that you can carry it with you and it doesn't take up that much table space. You get mostly cards and wooden stands to prop your cards during the game. Best part is of cos the tiny bell everyone can't resist ringing. Oh, it's called 'Durian' cos that's the rarest fruit in the market.

Not as good as me Dad's bird pix but I managed to take this shot from couple weeks ago. Pretty awesome in a scary way I guess. Anyway there were more than a few much wider shots online that some folks took that really conveyed the awesomeness of the cloud storm rolling in over the island.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Cavalock and The Japanese Snack Trail

Ah, how we miss visiting Tokyo and those light fluffy slices of Japanese bread. Well, I chanced upon this interesting Japanese bread making book from Kinokuniya awhile back and bought it for the Baker-at-Home. But we were all busy with stuff until last week when she finally had time to try out the recipes in it. It's all bread loaf recipes so nothing really fancy to look at. Hah! But it's in Japanese so this book might be an obstacle for some folks out there. It did recommend the use of specific Tomiz Japanese bread flour but you could also use other regular bread flour except the texture result is a little different. But definitely still yummy and edible! The Baker-at-Home baked the bread using both Tomiz and regular bread flour.

Speaking of Japanese groceries, we spotted this small pack of Japanese milk tea at Cold Storage and picked it up on a whim. We really liked it, strong earl grey flavour and not too sweet. Next day, we saw some for-sale-in-Japan-only ice-cream flavoured candy at Giant supermarket, not our thing but I guess, the point is there are lesser known Japanese snacks or food related products like the bread book all over the island, you could try looking for them if you miss visiting the country. Does that make sense? 

Meanwhile, last week me 87-year-old Dad was busy snapping bird photos across the island. He kinda liked these from Botanic Garden although he missed a couple flying shots. I think he waited a few days for this little common kingfisher to finally show up.