Busy weekend, lazy week…

Mango Egg Yolks

This past weekend was a festive chaos of cooking gone wild, family dinner night, an aborted attempt to relive my youth, friends’ baby birthday, and the Lion King.  In no particular order, I learned that:

  • the Koreans have created a near-perfect venting system for their bbq
  • there are restaurants in Singapore that don’t allow children – shame on you Kuriya!
  • the in-laws now ask with every new dish – was this cooked sous vide?
  • egg yolk-sized spheres are easy to make
  • the Lion King musical rocks.  Go see it.  Seriously.  And if you don’t want, hakuna matata
  • I’m definitely too old to stay out past midnight.
  • there are at least three different types of baby wipes: oil-based, water-based, and for the hands/mouth
  • bacon makes food taste better (not new, but always worth stating)
  • Perla’s pastry makes a fruit tart that’s almost as good as La Farine

So after a hectic month and a weekend chock full of activities, G and I are off to Bali for babymoon, part deux.  Since we both have excess vacation days and we’ll likely not have any time to ourselves in the foreseeable future, now’s the time for a quick getaway to veg on sandy beaches that weren’t man made.  See you all in a week!

Wild Rocket

I booked a table for Wild Rocket during Restaurant Week since I had never eaten there before and had always wondered about this dining mainstay started by a once hobbyist cook.  So for $35 a person, I indulged my curiosity and dragged along G and our buddy T.   Wild Rocket bills its cuisine as Modern Singaporean, or “Mod Sin”, and our meal could indeed be described up as Western fare with refined SE Asian flavors.

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Seriously swollen

Ankle-less feet at week 25

During our gynae visit on Friday, the doc expressed concern over my seriously swollen feet. I’d thought it was a common condition in an earlier post and have been told that having swollen feet means that there is enough water for the baby to swim in. However, apparently it is just not normal to have such swollen feet this early in the pregnancy so the doc prescribed me some daflon.

The doc also chided me for wearing shoes that allowed my feet to expand further when I had purposely bought the softest and widest pair of Crocs I could find. It just seemed counter-intuitive to keep my feet in a covered-up shoe but the doc said not only should I switch to sneakers, I should also wear socks to help increase compression! Fortunately, I hadn’t gone out to buy a pair of the soft+wide Crocs in a few different colors just yet.

Week 25 – It runs in the family…

We had our monthly pregnancy checkup on Friday, and G had an urge to see Junior’s face.  In addition to a standard ultrasound, more doctors are now able to perform a “4D” ultrasound scan (not to be confused with the other popular “4D” in Singapore).   In a nutshell, a 4D scan is a moving 3D image (or err video) of your baby.  The same types of sound waves are used, but rather than bouncing the waves directly, they are angled to produce a 3D composite view.

So even at just 25 weeks old, we can see what (and whom) our son looks like.  His nose and forehead definitely take after G (and confirms that it is indeed her child).  And the other “trait” that runs strong in this family is a shyness to photo taking.  The brief glimpse of Junior’s face was the result of some prodding (and poking) by our baby doc to get him to move his arms away from his face.  It really was as if he was trying his best to avoid getting his picture taken (just like mum and dad).  Hopefully, photo-averseness is just temporary, and like our chins will be two traits that won’t run in the family.

“Why Engineers Don’t Write Recipe Books”

Posted on Lettur.com is this fine example of engineering and cooking making the usual geek circles (excerpt):

Chocolate Chip Cookies…

7. Two calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated protein

8. 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao

9. 236.6 cm3 de-encapsulated legume meats (sieve size #10)

To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an overall heat transfer coefficient of about 100 Btu/F-ft2-hr, add ingredients one, two and three with constant agitation. In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a radial flow impeller operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six, and seven until the mixture is homogenous….

I’m sure this is meant to be humorous, otherwise why else list ingredients using ambiguous volume-based measurements instead of by compound weight (compensated for humidity) or molarity, or heaven forbid mix units of measurement (Kelvin and Celsius, really?).  Seriously though, reading this put a smile on my face and brought me back to my ChemE days (yes our textbooks were written like this).  Thanks anonymous lettur writer!

For those who might wonder what cooking is like when described by engineers, I highly highly recommend this site: Cooking for Engineers

BLU Restaurant & Bar

Restaurant Week is now over in Singapore, and for the budget-conscious it was a great opportunity to dine at new (and old) restaurants that might not have been on your must-eat lists.  That said, a few of the participating restaurants are worth patronizing normally, and at $35/$55 per set menu during Restaurant Week they are an absolute steal.  This explains why a number of places were fully booked a mere 8 hours after registration opened.  Fortunately, I was still able to reserve a table at my top to-try for this year, BLU.

Modernist cuisine, or molecular gastronomy, is still a fairly novel field, so it’s always an adventure to try out a place daring enough to fuse laboratory experiments with cooking techniques.  While most of us may never have the chance to eat at Fat Duck, Allinea, or El Bulli, at least there are a few restaurants in Singapore like Fifty-three, Novus, and BLU, that incorporate cutting edge techniques to add avant-garde twists to classic dishes. Continue reading »

Homemade soy milk

Between G’s pregnancy and related respiratory issues, the list of foods that she should avoid is quite long and includes basic staples like chicken and dairy products.  As an alternative to cow milk, she’s been drinking more soy, which has comparable levels of protein but significantly less calcium.  Manufacturers of soy drinks do add vitamins, calcium, to enrich their products but also include chemical additives with unknown effects on pregnancy .  So instead of buying our soy milk at the store, we’ve been enjoying it homemade courtesy of our family friend H.

The home version is way better than any store bought variety and really only takes about an hour of actual labor.

Here’s what you’ll need (makes approx 4-5 litres of soy milk):

  • 1 kg soy beans
  • 1 blender
  • 2 or more cheesecloths
  • pandan leaves (optional)
  • raw cane sugar (optional)

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Le Bistrot du Sommelier – c’est si bon!

Our visit to Le Bistrot du Sommelier began as a mission to try tête de veau, a dish that we learned was rarely available as a special.  Fortunately, this rustic French bistro offers a number of other dishes that were all enjoyable, making a second (or many more) visit a certainty.   Since it was an impromptu family dinner with G’s brother M and mom A joining us, we were able to sample a variety of starters as well as take on the côte de boeuf, a signature dish.

True bistros are great finds in that they offer delicious and unpretentious food in a casual environment without breaking the bank.  There is also the added benefit of being able to order and enjoy wine without the need to have Parker’s latest wine guide handy.  Le Bistrot du Sommelier is a fine example of what I mean.  Other than the prices (it’s Singapore after all), this really is a welcoming place to enjoy a good rustic French meal without worrying about which fork to use.

While the printed menu options are limited, if you look on the walls, you’ll see the giant blackboard of beef-related offerings as well as seasonal specialties.  The Mont D’Or cheese high season had just ended in February, but they still had some in stock, so we ordered a 500 g serving along with an order each of the goat cheese salad, foie gras terrine, and escargot for our starters.

I should also mention that bistro food tends to be very rich and hearty.  The foie gras for instance came in a generous block that even for four liver lovers was quite plenty.  Similar with the salad as there was a bed of celeriac hidden beneath the greens.  Only the escargot came in a measly half dozen serving, but I can forgive them because of the wonderful accompanying sauce.  Our downfall though, was the Mont D’Or, baked with onions and ham.  Think fondue, but a mild taste and velvety creamy texture with a hint of pine.

By the time we finished appetizers, the women were ready to call it a day, but the heaviest items had yet to arrive.  Our mains were a shared 1 kg côte de boeuf that was beautifully cooked medium rare and smothered in onions and whole garlic cloves, and a classic steak tartare that was easily the best I’ve had in Singapore.    My only quibble was that it had a bit too much mustard and rough cut parsley.  The tartare beef was incredibly fresh with a great texture that would have been more apparent without the over-spicing.

We were all so stuffed that we passed on dessert.  Along with the tete de veau, desserts are also on our list of to tries for our next visit.  Le Bistrot du Sommelier is reminiscent of my favorite bistro that I always visit when I travel to Grenoble for work.  I don’t know or care if it’s the best in town or just average, all I know is that the service is friendly, the food is tasty, and experience memorable.


Le Bistrot du Sommelier
46 Prinsep St #01-01,
+65 6333 1982

Haul from a baby fair

We were tipped off on a baby fair at Takashimaya (thank you, I!) and made our way there yesterday with our excel list of eighty or so to-buys. The fair was at the B2 floor open area with a decent crowd. We weren’t sure where to start but decided pretty quickly that the stroller variety was not quite satisfactory. More importantly, we were still a few months away from delivery and didn’t have to rush into buying the big-ticket items just yet.

Still, we made a reasonable dent in our list at the Pigeon booth where we spent slightly over $300 on just baby wipes, nursing pads and a bottle steaming sterilizer pack. According to the recommendations on the list, Pigeon wipes and nursing pads are best value for money.

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