Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Soundtrack your New Year

Ok .. DO YOURSELF A BIG FAVOUR and go here:

http://www.myspace.com/theverybestmyspace

So you can download the best mixtape ever - Esau Mwamawaya and Radioclit are the Very Best

This is no empty boast ... you need this for your New Year's Eve party to rock!!

This is the sound of Summer peops!! 

My Melbourne - Draft

Ok .... more miso madness:

Christmas with the Gays ... I promise ... Last Christmas Post

Ok .. before you spit santa chips ... this will be the last christmas post of the year ... promise!! *cross fingers*.

Let me just say this first .. it was meant to be a simple get together of our little circle of Uni friends ... fuss free in the sense that we would prepare the meal (count it ... one) together and quietly get drunk and toast Christmas!


How it turned into the biggest production number this side of Ben Hur I have NFI!! But the menu seemed to grow and shrink and grow again with each successive email reply. Although it really was only me and D running the show and we pretty much had to force the issue with some of the others. BUT we did invite ourselves!

So with a 3.5kg beef fillet, a South Indian Easter chicken and a bowl of guacamole in tow, we headed out to spend a day with the Gays. We started at about 11.30-ish .... on a bubbly note of verve cliquot (I am more of a Moet girl meself) .. assorted lesbians dropped by during the day, but the core group from lunch included the lovely W and also J's friend A and his new partner C (3 months into the relationship and they're already engaged). I gather that A has a bit of wealth behind him as he made pains to rattle off the various properties he has around the nation (me a bitch? Wha?? Never!!). C apparently has led the Mardi Gras parade several times in ott costumes ... and won awards for costume making ... so we have an intellectual and an old skool gay in perfect union ... aah! Its like friggin Tales from the City.

Anyhoo, D apparently had a thing for him so he got quietly sloshed and slurred about his arrogance throughout the night ... sorry D, but it was a bit on the giggly side .. I'm sure you must see the humour in the cold sober light of day .. NOT!! And now I have to come clean and confess to being the bigot that I am .... A is a ginge!!! And that's an immediate droop for me I'm afraid!! I know I know ... and he was a little bit on the arrogant side with some rather aggrandizing views on politics and commerce ... over compensating perhaps?? Oh no , stop me!! J obviously lapped it up ... and I once again felt like the "past it" twinkie in the corner with nothing between my big anime eyes ... its not that I'm completely a-political, I just hate grandstanding ... I want to just cut to the chase and I absolutely hate to presume things particularly where politics and culture are so completely enmeshed ... I'm afraid the burden of collonialism hangs heavy on the white shoulder ...

Chicago soundtrack, complete with sashaying kitchen towels and pot lids ... Oh and Celia Cruz brought out the latino in all of us and C gave W some tango tips ...

As always D outdid himself with his Rendang, spicy tofu, and home made ketupat for his sayur lodeh. I sweated through my South Indian Easter chicken, thinking it would not stand up to the culinary alchemy that D manages to stir up in his pots!! But by the end of the night, even the wish bone had gone missing. Lunch was to put it mlidly a success. And damn you D, even when we're using the same sauce pack ... erm ... I mean ingredients, yours still turns out like the real deal and mine's the poor cousin in polyester crying into her Jay Jay top!


As with all these affairs, the drink kept flowing and more tomfoolery occured with the crackers, or bon bons, or whatever the hell they're called these days. Hence the silly hats!

You know what ... it was the perfect day ... even washing the dishes was fun .. and so organising the roast beef for dinner was a piece of piss ... thank god .. coz D and CC were about to crash .. well D did, CC held on long enough to assist with the roast potatoes and cauliflower baked with Swiss Gruyere.

I followed G's recipe for Roast beef fillet ... which is (and I kid you not) simply to smear it with Dijon mustard and leave for about half an hour to marinade. Shove into a roasting pan with about 2 cups of water, put a lid on and into the oven at about 220 deg for roughly 3 hours ... depending on the size of course.


To make the gravy, I had the pan on top of the stove on high so that most of the water bubbled away, added a bit of salt and pepper and slopped in about 3/4 cup of red wine ... and finally thickened with a bit of plain flour ... scumptious!


I still can't believe we had the appetite .. but it smellt too good not to have a taste ... we had about less than a quarter of the piece leftover ... plenty of sandwhiches there!!\

Roast Potatoes with Pumpkin and lemongrass

Cauliflower baked with Swiss Gruyere

My final word - christmas should always be like this - no fuss no muss - good food, good wine, good company!!


PS: Gin and Tonics on a sunny afternoon - BLISS!!

The worst kind of diseased mind ... is one filled with jealousy

Ok ... so I'm reading the new Johann S Lee novel ... its only his second since his still wonderfully resonating debut, "Peculiar Chris". (Now if you are a 30+ middle class gay male singaporean, then you need to read this book ... its your story give or take a few embellishments).


The new one is about a character called Ben Goh, who is what we would refer to as a banana ... i.e. yellow on the outside, but white on the inside ... oh its stating the obvious isn't it ... anyhoo, you get my drift. He comes from a well to do family (which I suspect is exactly the sort of childhood Johann himself had to endure!), has a great job in London, parties hard with glamourous friends, then returns to Singers after 15 years away for a holiday and a re-discovering of self ... only he doesn't really have to do it on a budget, and being the only son of a wealthy family, can navigate the philosophical (psychological?) dips and dives in the secure knowledge that one day, he would indeed inherit the earth .. or at least a very expensive part of the whole!!


(again I suspect that this is something Johann himself will have to steel his nerves for ... well ... eventually)

I guess what I'm trying to say is Bitch has my life!! OHMYGOD!! Ok well not exactly my life .. but at least the movie that's playing in my head ... the one I really want!

jealous ... much?? Yeah godammitt!. I've always wanted to be posh. (bitch is good looking too!).


Anyways, I got this for Christmas and I'm already halfway through the book ... I can't help it ... I identify with him in more ways than I care to admit ... including the way I cross my chopsticks ... and how I have always been of the opinion that boys from RI eventually become the ruling class ... and that boys from ACS come from the upper echelons of Singapore wealth ... and how I disdain of singapore's tourist attractions ... but end up enjoying my time spent there when I am dragged kicking and screaming ...

Jealous and homesick .. thats what I am today ... and Melbourne ... shit-a-brick .. its summer ... hello??? WHy am I still in winter boots and double layers?? C'mon sun ... you can do it!!

Oh.

Christmas with the In-laws

Ok ... so for a change we celebrated Christmas Eve with the family ... well the in-laws at any rate. Christmas Eve has always been the night for my family ... its when we had our turkey or turkey equivalent, and then put on our sunday best and went to midnight mass, after which we came back home and if I was really lucky, opened up the presents under the tree ... as we got older, it was off for a drink at one of the hotel bars in town (oh the good ole days of brannigans) or midnight supper at Goodwood or the Mandarin ... heady days indeed ... christmas sucks as you get older ...!!

Anyhoo ... it was M's sister and mum who came to spend the day with us. They rocked up at mid-day and we prepared the evening meal of roast chicken at a leisurely pace ... there was good food and wine, loads of silly laughter, and thankfully minimal reminiscing ... all in all it was like Christmas with friends ... and in my world .. thats as good a compliment as you're going to get ...

But and there's always a But, M's mum is no longer the woman she used to be ... that vivacious grey bobbed personage with twinkly eyes and a determined face ... who would tell sly jokes and speak of architectural tours in Italy and meeting australian authors at a creative writing workshop ... where is that person hiding now behind puzzled hazy eyes?? I want that woman who chucked a tanty in the cinema foyer in Alex to jump out and grab me with a literary hook and jab ... but sadly ... no ...
When I asked her how she travelled to Melbourne that day, train or bus?? She replied that she came in the Truck with Frank her brother ... which would have been very exciting indeed except for the fact that Frank has been dead for a considerable number of years ... and I know she nodded politely and chuckled at things that I said but she didn't quite understand ... and she maintained in her head that our office was the toilet, even though I kept steering her in the right direction ... and bless her .. we tried to help her open her presents, but we would free one flap from the confines of the cticky tape, only to have her smooth that flap back in place again ...

This is what my mother is slowly turning into ... my only consolation is that I will not be there to experience the bulk of it ... I will have to put up with the shock each and every time I see her ... I am now starting to fear death ...

Still ... it was a fine day and a truly great Christmas ...

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Why my stomach hates me ...

Ok ... rundown of Christmas festivities so far ...

20th Dec - Turkey night:
Entree - mini quiches
Main - 2 fat turkeys with roasted potatoes and parsnips, beans with proscuitto, mushrooms and shallots, carrots and fresh peas
Dessert - sticky date pudding

24th Dec - Family:
Entree - savoury souffles with asparagus
Main - Roast chicken with preserved lemon stuffing and assorted roasted veg
Dessert - chocohotopot

25th Dec - crashed the H's family christmas
Assorted nibblies to start
Entree - chicken ball and noodle soup
Mains - 7 hour lamb, garlic prawns, 2 types of baked salmon, beans and potato salad
Dessert - lemon tart

27th Dec - christmas with the gays
M's famous guacamole
Lunch - rendang, sayur lodeh, spicy tofu, south indian easter chicken, rack of lamb
Dinner - 4kg beef fillet roasted with assorted roast vegetables

28th Dec - Yum Cha

so ... can you blame my tummy ... oh mamma!! (oh and my liver ain't too happy either .... M's not the only one who's going to have tight balls).
Ok ... rundown of Christmas festivities so far ...

20th Dec - Turkey night:
Entree - mini quiches
Main - 2 fat turkeys with roasted potatoes and parsnips, beans with proscuitto, mushrooms and shallots, carrots and fresh peas
Dessert - sticky date pudding

24th Dec - Family:
Entree - savoury souffles with asparagus
Main - Roast chicken with preserved lemon stuffing and assorted roasted veg
Dessert - chocohotopot

25th Dec - crashed the H's family christmas
Assorted nibblies to start
Entree - chicken ball and noodle soup
Mains - 7 hour lamb, garlic prawns, 2 types of baked salmon, beans and potato salad
Dessert - lemon tart

27th Dec - christmas with the gays
M's famous guacamole
Lunch - rendang, sayur lodeh, spicy tofu, south indian easter chicken, rack of lamb
Dinner - 4kg beef fillet roasted with assorted roast vegetables

28th Dec - Yum Cha

so ... can you blame my tummy ... oh mamma!! (oh and my liver ain't too happy either .... M's not the only one who's going to have tight balls).

Tight balls!!

Ok ... the clock has chimed its final yuletide hour, so regardless of the fact that some people choose to subscribe to the whole 12 days of christmas scenario, for me Christmas ends Now!!! Off comes the christmas playlist on my ipod, into the bin with the christmas wrapping spoils, and as for all those christmas cards on the mantelpiece ... banished into the darkened corners of bookshelves overgroaning with books, cds, dvds etc.

Now what to do with all that leftover food ...?? A chunk of which I cleverly decorated the toilet bowl, bathroom floor and walls and one half of the sink with last night ... yeah mensus material I am ...!! (oddly enough, it wasn't to do with drink ... erm don't give me the side-eye! or rancid food ... but simply too much food ... and rich food at that).

I have to say that I think this Christmas tops it all for culinary delights and jollity (?). Our Eurasian turkey night went really well, with the added pressure of cooking for a professional!!!

It was a well-organised affair on our part as we made preparations for the meal throughout the week. The first thing to happen was the stuffing.

ingredients for the stuffing

The main ingredient for our stuffing is rice and leeks, to which I added onions, garlic, ginger, chopped celery, star anise, cloves and pepper and salt to taste. Its your basic stir-fry job and can be done in advance.


We tackled the sauce on another night ... main ingredient ... wait for it ... GIBLETS!! ... do you need some smelling salts??

This is a tricky sauce, there's a bit of alchemy involved of the "lump of Pure Green!!" variety in that the amount of red wine you use will determine the eventual colour that the sauce will come out as at the end ... trust me ... it could taste like heaven but no one's going to touch something that looks like liquid cement in a bowl!!

giblets in a bowl .. oh yummy! - note artfully placed cat food tin - a little too apt?

So I generally go by feel and sight ... adding the red wine bit by bit and keeping my fingers crossed ...


The night before we marinade the turkey with five spice, chinese cooking wine, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and we prepare the basting sauce which also includes honey for the glaze. The turkeys are then stuffed on the morning and ready for the oven ...


The turkey is covered and allowed to roast on the lowest heat for at least 3 hours, depending on the size ... but the important thing is to base every 15 minutes religiously ... unfortunately folks I do not have pics of the end result as the party was in full swing ... and the cooks were feeling very well indeed ... but here are pics of the satisfied punters .. and I do believe this was our best turkey yet!!!


Well now my entire digestive track is screaming out to me to please stop shoving food down my gullet ... and I will tell you why in another post ...

PS ... Big Whoo to K & M on the purchase of their very first home ... aaww ... the burden of property .. very proudmaking!!!

I wana be Evil ... for the last time

Ok ... Vale Eartha Kitt ... the only true catwoman and the original Diva in all senses of the word ...



Saturday, 20 December 2008

Will this year never end??

Ok ... so will this year never end???

I'm sorry things have been quiet over here on the western front, but its the whole chrissie yuletide business that is so very time consuming ... the lines at Myer and JB ... people just milling and milling and buying crap because they're obligated to ... not really because they care for the people they're buying for ... happy merry ho ho christmas .... the older I get the scrooger I become .... BUT

the christmas carols are on high rotation on the iPOD ... AND .. two turkeys are slowly melding with a eurasian marinade in the fridge ready for the heat of the oven ... the air hangs heavy with 5 spice and rice wine ... the house is reasonably spotless ... the weather is (considering the last few wintry days) fucking fantastic ... and we even shelled peas .... so who's in the christmas spirit today??!!

So to all my faithful readers ... I know some of you ... and perhaps most I don't ... but if you have got a little chuckle from reading these pages ... or perhaps had a moment of reflection as a result of whats been written ... then I wish you and yours a truly happy (not sappy) Christmas!!

(MISO strikes again ... I believe)


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Comments:

Phoenix wrote:


Merry Christmas, Temasek!
25 Dec

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Report back to me when it makes sense

Ok .. so we and the H's went to see the latest cohen offering "Burn after reading" at the Nova. Whilst not overwhelmingly fantastic, the film had its moments ... some classic lines ... great performances ... twists and turns ... ultra violence (of course) ... but really how adorable is Brad Pitt in this!!! (and I'm no brad pitt starluster thats for sure)
 

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Another Away Day - some lovely photos and a great feed

Ok ... so M had 2 days in lieu so I took 2 days off as well, abutting a weekend, so you know ... like fantastic!!

So I took M to L's final year NMIT exhibition called NAMES at the Cambridge Studio Gallery on 52 Cambridge Street, Collingwood. I went to the opening night with K & M, but it was "packed to the rafters" and we couldn't really get to see much of what was on display. Also, we had N in tow, so it made the whole appreciation side a bit problematic. Still we were really there for L, and the drink, and there was food as well!!! The tandoori chicken wraps were prety impressive, and so was the collection for that matter.

Anyways, now was a chance for M to see it as he was at rehearsal on the night, and for me to have a better look.


I've had a discussion with someone about whether photography is art, and I guess vice versa ... obviously photographic artworks aren't a matter of simply pointing and shooting, there's lighting, composition, and editing, superimposing .. all manner of computer and development trickery to produce a piece that is visually and thematically challenging. Although, pointing and shooting may very well be the MO of a particular artist, and the meaning is within the method itself ... so all things considered, yes Photography is a valid form of art ... but it all boils down to what your concept of art is ... (we'll leave the tiny matter of installation art alone)

Anyways, since her name is now in public forum, I will dispense with intitials and mention that Lauren J Marshall, a personal friend, is also a fantastic Photographer and artist. I encourage all of you who read this and are able to get yourself down to the gallery as these are indeed "the names to watch for".


I am waiting for L to make a name for herself, in the scheme of things, she's pretty much just starting out, but already such amazing work!! I was moved by the photos when I saw them. Catalogues never do these justice. Apart from that, I have 2 prints and a photo from her ... so you know ... nest egg!!! And if you see Katrina Putker's photos ... I have fallen in love 3 times!!!

As we were peckish, we wandered down to Smithers and decided to stop at the Wood Spoon Kitchen, this cute little japanese hole in the wall, to have a spot of lunch.


We had the lunch set menu and both opted for seaweed salad instead of the soy milk pudding. I had the kakuki don, which is slow braised pork served with pickeld veg, egg cooked in teriyaki suace I guess over a bed of sushi rice. Martin had the gyu don ... similar idea but with beef instead. We washed this down with Kirrin beer, it was the perfect lunch at the perfect spot, tiny but effortlessly cool!! Gets the big tick!!


Can't wait to go back to try the Onigiri, rice balls with a variety of fillings that are made on the spot.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Its beginning to look alot like a Christmas tie-in ...

Ok ... what I mistook as simply a mistake on the part of the merchandising team, and perhaps considering the global belt-tightening that has been going down, I'd expected that one of the economic casualties this year would be christmas decorations ... now like it or not ... here in melbourne we've never been great at the old yuletide embellishments ... but I was prepared to give props to the art department for painstakingly wrapping up diferent sized balls in gold foil and stringing them up in gradually increasing sizes to form a suspended tree ... when not done carefully these sorts of arrangements are best viewed from the distance ...

anyways ... I've been walking under this suspended horror since it went up a few weeks ago in Melbourne Central (temple of tack ... so I shouldn't be surprised) and didn't give it much thought until I spied the advertsiing banner that was running right through it .... FERRERO ROCHE!!!

OMG!!! Its a massive Ferrero Roche Christmas tree ... and let me tell you about Ferrero Roche ... whats the big effin deal??? there are cheaper more satisfying products out there with a richer chocolatey flavour to consume ... so its wrapped in gold foil and comes in a perspex box ... whatevs!!! How much is a box of Ferroro Roche??? I'd rather have 2 pieces of homemade chocolate simply wrapped in tissue paper ... i'd certainly have a better culinary experience that an entire box of FRs ... god even the nut bits taste stale ...

And definitely no photos ... I couldn't bring msyelf to take one ... the embarrasment of being caught would have shut my system down!!!

Its beginning to look alot like christmas ...

Ok ... Merry Christmas y'all!!

video

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

SOY-CE!!


Ok ... the final french cookup for the year ...

And what a whirlwind year it has been for some ... while ours has pretty much stale-mated, lots of things have happened to our ersatz entrepenuer P ... and soon to be art dealer if all goes well I believe ... whats 12% of a million dollars *holds pinkie to side of mouth* (i have to say I wasn't really enamoured with the print straight onto board shizz - looks cheap on closer inspection - but thats just this pleb's opinion) ... anyhoo digressing!!

So after his sojourn to the land of the rising sun, and photographing every single ikebana arrangement (save me!) possibly known to man (should man be predisposed to an appreciation of twigs and coloured birch shoved into glazed jars), we finally caught up with the intrepid P for our final French cook up of the year (oh please ... I'm all choked up like Britney when someone screams ACTION!)

As P is a dear friend, concessions were made which explains the menu for this auspicious occasion:

TERRINE!!! (requires caps ... well if you know me you'd understand)

the book we gave P for a present
the chicken terrine we decided on


For a main, it was Bouillabaise (read SOUP!!! Again with the caps - see above)

stephanie alexander's version but with inspiration from another 3 versions

And for dessert ECLAIRS!!! (Caps again but not for the same reason ... just coz its ECLAIRS!!!)

not sure what paper this is - we cheated on the french bit and used mascarpone instead of just plain cream

As with all our cook-ups, its starts a - table with the recipe books:


There's usually some minor altercation at this point in the proceedings until someone eventually gets stroppy and galvanizes everyone else, i.e. yells, to get the shopping list done as we are running out of time. We usually take turns at playing Sergeant Major!! That reminds me of a story from my conscription days ... hhmm ...

Anyhoo, it was too late for seafood at Vic market so we did South Melbourne Market instead ... we made new friends ... puzzled a few punters ... and then rounded it all of with a quick dim sim (of course!!).\

Back at P's we started on the terrine:

egg and chicken being pureed

shallots being softened

shallots added to the eggs, cream and chicken paste

in with the chives

smoothing the mixture out in our makeshift terrine (P predictably has his eye on a fancy one - an LC no less - oh and LC does not stand for low class as it does in certain singaporean circles)
into the bainmarie covered with foil


And how did it turn out you ask???? well not quite like what the photos in the book showed ... but it was pretty damn yummy nonetheless:

terrine out of the tin


M made a vinaigrette of sorts ... it was the perfect accompaniment

the terrine plated and an idiot wasted!!


As we worked, we enjoyed the delights of this lovely bottle of white that P had hiding in his cupboard:


I believe it was a rhiesling?? Ambrosial!!!

M got to work with the pastry for our Eclairs while the terrine was being prepared:


I wasn't really paying attention as to what went in, but it was bog standard shoux (sic) pastry mix I gather. When M started to mix the mascapone with the vanilla bean ... oh the smell that filled the kitchen ... HEAV - VEN!!


Once the pastry had rested, we scooped it in and all had a go at piping it out onto the baking tray:


well yours truly sucked the most at it ... depsite P's best efforts to guide me ... mine refused to follow a straight line, the muthas, they kept wanting to curve .... hhmm ... that reminds me of that Sergeant Major story again ... hhmm

And how did they turn out you ask??? well lets leave that to the end ... musn't forget about the "main event" .. the BOOYAH! BASE

I think I started with the Rouie first:


basically a red pepper sauce to go either on bread, or to add to the stew at the end as a sort of garnish and thickening agent - made mainly out of roasted peppers and tomatoes.

We then cut up the fish pieces and sliced the potatoes, which were divied up between 2 separate pots along with the shellfish, onions, garlic and tomatoes, and the all important saffron:


from this point onwards, it wasn't too long before we were spooning out into bowls to serve:


served with a simple salad and crusty bread, the general consensus was that it was a definitive success (well ... I would have done things slightly differently ... my version would certainly have a stronger seafood flavour and a much spicier rouie)

As per ush ... by the time we get to this point in the evening, we're either too stuffed or drunk to enjoy our efforts to the full-out extent (props to Lauryn Hill), so we waited for a bit before we hit what was to me the highlight of the evening ... ECLAIRS!!



And to accompany us on the latter half of the evening - a lovely little pinot gris:



my rejects!!

So next year ... what will it be ... the steppes of Andalucia beckon ... !!!
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