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Archive for the ‘dinner’ Category

It almost went by without us singing him a birthday song!

There were grand plans. Ellery had been asking to go to the zoo for a long time, but for various reasons we didn’t get to go. There was Legoland, which we were supposed to bring the boys to as a combined treat, but that did not materialise after our move as we got so tied up with house things (rectifications and all that).

In the end, everything was kept simple.

On Christmas day itself we had a special breakfast of pancakes cooked at the table, just like at Slappy Cakes. The boys had loved it when we ate there and my aunt had so generously bought us a crepe maker last Christmas so that we could do that same thing at home. In the end we only used it for pancakes one year later! We had became addicted to crepes and often had those for breakfast instead :)

Home style slappy cakes!

Home style slappy cakes!

Christmas pancakes!

Christmas pancakes!

After breakfast we made logcakes for our neighbours as a way to say hello. The boys had fun delivering them, and we discovered a couple of neighbours celebrate Christmas in a big way. Some others we discovered were vegetarian and couldn’t accept our cake because we used eggs. Need to look for eggless cake recipes!

Sprinkling on the snow

Sprinkling on the snow

As always we were double booked for Christmas lunch, so we did house-hopping and lots of eating! Usually people at these two homes would greet Ellery a happy birthday, and at the first home we’d sing a birthday song. But somehow this year all that didn’t happen. Thankfully Ellery was patient and didn’t demand or expect anything.

Being cheeky in the car and not wanting to stay still for a picture :)

Being cheeky in the car and not wanting to stay still for a picture :)

Lounging in our friend's house

Lounging in our friend’s house

We left the second house in the late evening and went to Toys R Us so that the boys could choose their own presents. But Ellery fell asleep in the car! We thought he’d wake up in the noise of Toys R Us but he didn’t. We headed for dinner and tried to wake him but he was just too tired. We were joking about how we were celebrating a birthday without the birthday boy! But just as we were finishing our meal he woke up! Just in time to eat something and enjoy some dessert :)

Birthday boy sound asleep

Birthday boy sound asleep

Finally up!

Finally up and being squished

It was back to Toys R Us again, and Ellery chose a bow and arrow set because he had played with a set in one of the houses earlier in the day and loved it!

Home, bathed, bedtime story, in bed. Then Ellery said he wanted to have a birthday song and cake cutting. Throughout the day I had wanted to do it, but there just wasn’t the opportunity. So although it was already 10pm, we pulled out a logcake that we had saved for Ellery, decorated it and sang him a song.

He loved it! Especially when we found that one of the candles was a trick candle that kept lighting up again. The boys had such a good time trying to blow it out :) I think in the end the cake was quite covered in saliva…hmm…

I was really happy to see Ellery beaming :) A simple birthday song and cake at home can be so special :)

An over decorated cake haha!

An over decorated cake haha!

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday!!

Blowing out the candles

Blowing out the candles

Finally blew out the trick candle!

Finally blew out the trick candle!

Cut cut cut

Cut cut cut

Brothers :)

Playful brothers

Loving brothers :)

Loving brothers

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My dear Ellery, you have certainly grown. You have leaned out and are starting to lose your baby fat. Many people say you look thinner.

You still say the funniest things, and I have a long list of quotes from you that are just hilarious :) I laugh out loud everytime I re-read them! I must save them for you so that you can read what you said as a little boy.

You continue to be independent minded and like doing things in your own way, which is a good thing, but that same quality also makes you rather stubborn and difficult to discipline. Oh, what fights we have had this year. I have had a tough time reminding myself to model kindness and gentleness for you this year. But you can also be extremely charming and loving. You spout sweet nothings at random moments, and that always warms my heart. Whenever you say, “Mummy, I love you soooo much!” I can’t help but squeeze you tight, kiss your head, and all irritations of the day are dissolved.

It’s been a tough year for you too. On the one hand, you’ve become a very sweet and loving older brother to Alyssa. You were so happy when Alyssa was born you ran through school yelling, “I’m a Kor Kor now!!!” You play with her, hug and kiss her (even with dirty hands and oily mouth). On the other hand, I think you unconsciously feel the reduction in attention given to you and have been very whiny since your sister arrived. I have heard that middle children either become very independent, or very whiny. I think you’ve gone the whiny route. I’m hoping it’s a phase, and I’m hoping it ends soon. I try to pull out special moments with you, but it’s tough. I hope you know Mummy is trying her very best.

A new challenge has appeared this year too. One that I was anxious would come, and it did. You were an early reader and many people said to you or within hearing how “clever” they thought you were, and they praised you a lot. Too much. At that time I was thinking to myself that they really should hold back on excessive praise because it might negatively affect Asher, and more so, it might negatively affect you. Now it appears that you are only keen to try things that are easy. Anything that you think you’ll not be good at you immediately say, before even trying, that you can’t do it. I really pray that this is also a phase that will pass quickly. I pray that we’ll be able to build up your confidence to try things that at first seem difficult, and that you’ll realise you actually can do many things if you put your mind to it. Also, that we don’t expect you to be super at everything, but that you at least give things your best effort.

Mummy hasn’t had much time and attention for you this year, unfortunately. Mummy has been very stretched, but I hope you know how much I love you, how special you are to me! You are so unique, and I love you deeply!

 

 

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After I dropped Asher in school for his sleepover, Ellery and I had our special day (or evening rather). He was playing in the sandpit and made me sand pies, so for dinner we decided to have some real pies at Pies & Coffee.

We had duck confit and wagyu beek cheek pie. The filling was good. The meat was tender and the gravy rich and flavourful. But I was really disappointed by the pie crust which was much too dry and crumbly. It could be an off day. I’ve been there once before and the pie crust was better.

Our pies

Our pies. The mash potato was so good!

We headed home so that Alyssa could bathe and I made a deal with Ellery that we’d go out for ice-cream after Alyssa slept. He was so excited! My goodness. When we left the house he was happily chanting, “Mei mei (little sister) is not here! Mei mei is not here!”. He did clarify later that he loves his sister but was just happy that it was him and me alone that night. I really should try to schedule in these special days with the boys more often if possible.

Ellery chose to go Ben & Jerry’s, and he chose the flavours of ice-cream, and the toppings. Brownie with Candy Bar Pie and Chocolate Therapy ice-cream, hundreds-and-thousands, and sliced almonds. I approve. Yum! We shared of course :)

Ice-cream treat!

Ice-cream treat!

After ice-cream we walked around Dempsey a bit and ended up at Jones the Grocer. I decided to bring him to the cheese room just for fun, and oh, how much fun we had! He was sooooo amused by the names of the cheese and was especially tickled by Munster and Ticklemore! I had never heard of Ticklemore cheese too and found it quite funny. But Ellery thought the names of these two cheese was simply hilarious! He laughed so loud, and long, and hard! “Mun-han-hahaha-han-ster!!! Ti-hee-hee-hee-ckle-hahahahaha-more!!!!”

We bought back some Ticklemore to try and wanted to get some Munster too but the salesperson strongly advised against it. Maybe another day I’ll get a small piece to let him try.

In the cheese room

In the cheese room

Munster

Munster

Ticklemore

Ticklemore

Laughing his head off

Laughing his head off

We wandered Cucina too to see the produce they were selling, before heading home.

Looking at veggies and fruit at Cucina

Looking at veggies and fruit at Cucina

A special day indeed. We should have another some time :)

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More on Tanjung Jara Resort in this post!

The Service

Attentive. Discreet. Classy.

That’s how I would describe it. And I firmly believe it is because of the excellent work done by the General Manager, Philippe Cavory. It’s really a case of leading by example. He’s everywhere! When we arrived he was at the lobby to greet us as we were served Tanjung Jara Resort’s apparently famous Roselle Tea. When we chilled out at the beachfront, we saw him walking the grounds, adjusting the bins and pinning back the curtains at one of the cabanas since he saw them out of place – no task too small or beneath him. At the little Malay cultural event, he was there to chat with the guests. And one afternoon when we were in the room, we received a call from the front desk saying that the GM wanted to serve us complementary wine and hors d’oeuvres. Wow!

Our surprise!

Our surprise!

It’s the little things that really leave an impression. Serving guests who were along the beachfront iced water on a hot day (all beach hotels should do this!), delivering our room service meal in record time when we told them the kids were very hungry, helping to carry my bowl of noodles back to the table when they saw my hands were full with Alyssa.

Activities

There’s a whole variety of activities to keep you busy at Tanjung Jara Resort. I’d have taken part in more of them if Alyssa wasn’t stuck to me since I’m still her milk bottle at the moment. For starters, I’d have visited the spa. The treatments sound won-der-ful. Oh well. We had planned to go for a hike as well, but the kids were having so much fun at the pool that we decided to just stay put.

We did get to enjoy the Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle event which is held weekly for guests, especially those not from the region, to experience traditional Malay village life. There were little stations for guests to try traditional games, local snacks and drinks, and there was even a monkey climbing trees to pick fresh coconuts that are opened on the spot. The kids loved the snacks. Ellery, in particular, made hundreds of trips to the snack table to help him to more keropok (crackers).

Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle day

Kampong Sucimurni Lifestyle day

Coffee, tea, and Roselle water (a type of hibiscus)

Coffee, tea, and Roselle water (a type of hibiscus)

Monkey picking coconuts

Monkey picking coconuts

There’s also an island nearby that’s a good spot for snorkeling. My brother and nephew went for a day trip and saw a reef shark, a turtle, lots of fishes big and small, tons of sea cucumbers, and Nemo, Nemo, Nemo.

Food

The breakfast buffet at Di Atas Sungei features a mix of Western standards and – the best part – local delicacies like nasi dagang (rice steamed with coconut milk in leaves). One of the mornings they served a soup made from pure fish stock that was sooo good. The freshly baked croissants are good too. They bake trays and trays of them. Philippe is French, so I suppose that’s why he ensures good croissants are available!

The food at Di Atas Sungei can be quite pricey for dinner though so we didn’t eat there at night. We found a wonderful seafood restaurant less than 5 minutes away from the resort that served up excellent food at cheap prices. Cheap and good – Singaporean’s love to hear that! Restoran Seafood C. B. Wee has been around since 1983 and is popular among the locals. Interestingly a lot of them come here to eat the Western food, but for all the 3 nights that we went there we had seafood.  I think we went through most their menu.

Restoran C. B. Wee

Restoran C. B. Wee

There were 8 adults and 6 kids (not counting the baby), so we really had a feast each night. Steamed fish, chicken, squid, lots of veg, small prawns, medium prawns, and giant prawns. I love prawns, but have never tried the giant ones before. It’s so much cheaper there than in Singapore. A single prawn sells for upwards of $25 at Newton hawker centre. At C.B. Wee, depending on how good the catch that day, you cold get a whole plate of giant prawns!

Awesome food. If you stay at Tanjung Jara Resort you got to eat here.

Just a few of the dishes we ordered

Just a few of the dishes we ordered

Look at the size of that prawn

Look at the size of that prawn

Overall, Tanjung Jara Resort if a lovely place to stay if you are willing to make the drive up. My brother’s friend who joined us drove straight from Singapore to Tanjung Jara in 8 hours, and he drives fast. If you do come, you can be assured of a relaxing stay with good service and good food.

Some of the kids

Some of the kids

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We were at ION  around dinner time and I was hurrying to find a place to feed the hungry children that a) wasn’t crowded, b) didn’t have exorbitant prices, c) had food the kids would eat.

I stumbled upon Menya Musashi. There were a few restaurants around it that also fit the bill but Ellery wanted Chinese noodles and Asher wanted Japanese sushi, so I thought Japanese ramen was a good compromise (though because Ellery could see it was a Japanese place kept saying he didn’t want to eat Japanese noodles…oh well. Can’t please them all.)

This place has a unique ‘H’ shaped noodle that when cooked has a nice chewy texture. It’s also a bit thick, which suits me fine.

The boys had the regular chashu ramen, and I was pleased to discover the broth was rich and creamy. I ordered the Black Tiger Ramen that comes with black garlic oil, chashu, and lean pork. The garlic oil gave the broth an extra kick. I think there’s quite a bit of MSG used, though, because later at home we were all very thirsty.

Overall, while the ramen was good, I thought Hachifukumaru was a lot better. Still, since the food is decent and prices bearable I’ll probably come back again if we’re in the area and need to feed the kids quick!

Black oil chashu ramen

Black oil chashu ramen

White chashu ramen

White chashu ramen

Hungry boys

Hungry boys

Menya Musashi is found at ION Orchard, #B3-25.

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We went to OG to get some stuff and were looking for somewhere convenient to have dinner. We saw that there was a ramen place at OG and decided to give it a go.

What a good decision!

Hachifukumaru by the Nansuttei group serves up de-li-cious ramen. I ordered the Negi Chashu Ramen with black mayu oil, and from the first sip of soup I was hooked! Normally I prefer my ramen with pork broth as it’s creamier and has a richer flavour than chicken broth. This place uses chicken broth, but it is every bit as robust and creamy. Silky, actually, is what I was thinking. Creamy and silky. All the goodness from the chicken bones dissolved into the soup. Paired with the black garlic oil, it was perfect!

The texture of the noodles was just right too – chewy, just the way I like it, and the chashu was tender but still with a slight bite. Together with the broth, the bowl of ramen was absolutely moreish. I slurped up everything, and was sad to see the bottom of the bowl (even though there was an amusing picture at the bottom).

I am definitely, definitely going back.

Hidden at the back of OG

The entrance hidden at the back of OG

Negi Chashu Ramen with Black Mayu

Negi Chashu Ramen with Black Mayu

The sad end

The sad end. What is that guy saying? Is he mocking me or empathising with me?

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I have found my favourite pulled pork sandwich and fish & chips place.  Sea Salt Caribbean Deli at Pasarbella has been a wonderful find that we have returned to again and again.  I stumbled upon it when I was exploring Pasarbella at The Grand Stand one day, and boy, am I happy I did. I love pulled pork.  It’s something I fell in love with when I was about 8 or 9 years old when we went to my parent’s Mexican friend’s house for a party.  I can still see the table covered with food, and Aunty Elena scooping out a portion of pulled pork from a huge silver pot.  She had cooked it herself, and it was wonderful.  I love how pulled pork is so tender and juicy, and with the right mix of spices it is oh so flavourful.

Sea Salt’s version, which is the Caribbean version obviously (not that I’m really sure what the difference is between the Caribbean and Mexican ones), ticks all the boxes when it comes to a pulled pork sandwich.  The shredded meat is beautifully tender without losing it’s bite, and is gorgeously juicy and robust.  The crusty thick-cut bread that it is served with is crisp on the outside but soft on the inside.  Spread with mayonnaise, it is perfect with the pork.  It’s a big sandwich, but that isn’t all.  It comes with a generous serving of mixed salad that includes a variety of greens like arugula, baby beet greens and frisée.

Pulled pork sandwich of your dreams

Pulled pork sandwich of your dreams

The other dish we love is the fish & chips.  You have a choice of fish, and we particularly like the sea bass for it’s sweetness.  The fish pieces are cut thick and chunky, so you know you are getting the real deal, and it’s good quality fish.  None of that thin processed fillet please.  The batter also doesn’t overwhelm the fish.  I don’t like when fish is over-battered and there is a sticky moist layer of unfried batter in between the crisp part and the fish.  Sea Salt’s fish was perfectly battered and fried when you order so it is served crisp and piping hot.

The part that the kids love most, and that I heartily approve of too, is that the fish is not served with regular potato fries.  It comes with a mix of sweet potato fries, plantain chips and yam chips.  Yummee!  It’s another generous serving and great for sharing.

Fish with sweet potato fries, plantain chips and yam chips

Fish with sweet potato fries, plantain chips and yam chips

Sea Salt is located in Pasarbella at The Grand Stand
200 Turf Club Road
#02-40/#02-K40

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I had heard about Sofra Turkish Cafe & Restaurant years ago but never got around to trying it until recently.  I love food that has robust and multi-faceted flavours, and Turkish food, it seems, falls in this category too.  The food is a reflection of it’s geographical location.  The flavours are a blend of Greek and Middle Eastern tastes, and come together nicely in a range of comfort food.

Jon and I shared two platters.  We had the Salad Plate which is a combination of the Sofra salad (a combination of spiced veggies, herbs and walnuts), eggplant salad (fried eggplant with tomatoes, peppers and onions), hummus, and vine leaf rolls (grape vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, currents and spices).  We had an order of sesame bread to go along with it too.  The hummus is excellent, and went perfectly with the sesame bread.  The different salads were light and refreshing, a good juxtaposition with the heavier hummus, and I especially liked the eggplant salad.  I also liked the vine rolls because of the subtle tasting leaves and added texture from the pine nuts.  The Salad Plate is a good way to sample the starter menu.

Salad Plate

Salad Plate

We also had the Chef’s Plate for our main course.  It consisted of a combination of doner kebab, Izgara kofte (Turkish meatballs, though these were flattened out), and Shish kebab in a mixture of beef, chicken and lamb.  I enjoyed picking at the different meats on the plate, and really liked the super lamby taste of the lamb kofte, although it would probably be too strong tasting for quite a lot of people.

Chef's Plate

Chef’s Plate

Though we were quite full, we decided to order two desserts to try.  The Helva (a dense sesame cake) was a much larger serving than we anticipated, and much more than we needed.  It was very sweet.  We liked the flavour, but it was just too sweet for us.  It reminded me of the peanut cakes you can get from Malaysia.  Yummy, but I could never eat many of those either.

Helva

Helva

We loved the Kenefe though!  It’s a dessert of thinly shredded filo pasty with cheese that’s fried until crispy, and topped with chopped pistachios.  We had to wait for this dessert to be prepared, and we were happy we did.  It’s somehow just very yummy.  We couldn’t quite put our finger on why exactly we liked it, but we just did.  And we’ll definitely order this again the next time we go there.  Together with Turkish tea, it was a perfect end to the meal.

Kenefe decorated with pistachios

Kenefe decorated with pistachios

Turkish tea

Turkish tea

Sofra Turkist Cafe & Restaurant is found at:
100 Beach Road
#02-42/44
Shaw Tower
Shaw Leisure Gallery

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