#WeekendCooking Eating Singapore: Whitegrass at Chijmes

This is the beautifully preserved Chijmes in Singapore. It was formerly the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) and used as a Catholic convent and convent quarters for 132 years and later a school for girls. Today it holds many restaurants, cafes and bars, and Whitegrass is one of them.

Whitegrass is a modern Australian restaurant that received its first Michelin Star in 2017. It is chef-owner Sam Aisbett’s first venture. Aisbett formerly worked for

We were seated in this lovely round room, most of the other tables were two-tops, and there was a bigger round table that had five diners.

We began with some light snacks. The little crab was crunchy and so good. A pea tart was refreshing. And those little crackers were topped with this amazingly light shavings of cheese.

Interestingly, it was Chef Aisbett who brought out the dish and explained it to us. He would do that for the first few courses of our meal.

The bread was presented with some lardo (melts in your mouth), unsalted butter and some sea salt flakes

A very tomato-y dish! The teapot is filled with some ‘tomato tea’ which you get to pour over.

And we begin with the first course. And it is such a gorgeous one. The flower on top is made of alternating circles of roasted white beetroot (which are soft) and pickled white beetroot (which are a little crunchy), then in the middle, slices of hamachi. There is more hamachi at the bottom. It was beautiful and bursting with flavour and texture.

Another one not on the menu was this “egg fried rice”. It was the most luxurious ‘fried rice’ ever with such beautiful flavours and that fun texture from the egg white “bubbles” on top.

 

 

I could never imagine that octopus would be like this. I’ve had grilled octopus as well as sashimi octopus and the texture of those tend to be a bit chewy. Here the octopus was poached and it was so soft and gentle. The milk-soaked almonds on top added that much needed crunch as did the few suckers (is that what they’re called?) that seem to have been grilled. A delicate and yet crunchy dish that was really surprising.

My main course was described as Japanese sweetfish. There were three pieces of the fish itself. Very tender but with a great char on the skin. And a whole baby fish deep fried on top. Lovely fresh peas and pea shoots and a gorgeous umami-filled broth. Couldn’t get enough of it!

The husband’s steak came with a chocolate and buah keluak puree. Buah keluak is a strange fruit found in Southeast Asia and found mostly in Peranakan-style cooking. The fruit and seeds itself are poisonous unless prepared properly – it has to be boiled and fermented in ash, usually for more than a month!

There was a choice of two desserts, so naturally we got one each. I volunteered to take the jackfruit and coconut one, although I have never liked jackfruit – the other choice was a chocolate one and I’ve learnt that during a fine dining meal like this one, the chocolate choice tends to be the less exciting one. So this chocoholic a little reluctantly gave up the chocolate choice!

I was surprised by my dessert. It was a coconut meringue under those shards of jackfruit and sugar, and under the meringue was a jackfruit ice cream and a ginger cake. The jackfruit didn’t overwhelm the dish as I was expecting it to be. If all jackfruit were presented like this, I would eat far more of the fruit! Ultimately though, I felt that the dessert was a bit too sweet for me, especially with those sugar coated almonds on top.

 

This was the husband’s dessert, topped with a sherry ice-cream. It was a combination of chocolate, cherries, nougat and hazelnuts. Nice flavour but it felt, well, a safe choice.

 

 

And of course we weren’t done yet! There were still some petit fours. The chocolate-covered things were like Tunnock’s teacakes, except that there was a bit of raspberry inside. But I especially liked the soursop balls. I wasn’t quite sure what they were. They were so light and a little like sorbet, yet not icy at all.

 

 

A fun way to the end the meal. I loved that the fortune cookies were spiced.

What I loved most about this meal was both the very Asian influenced flavors as well as the way the chef was very careful about balancing textures throughout the meal. This was definitely one of the highlights of my visit back to Singapore – and I would have to say, perhaps the best meal I have ever eaten in Singapore. The chef and his team definitely deserved the one Michelin star. The service was excellent – friendly, not stuffy at all. The food was brilliant and so refreshing, and I really was very full at the end. A true delight.

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Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

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Everything We Lost

 

Sometimes I join a book tour having already read an author’s work, or sometimes it’s because I’ve heard of the author and want to read her books. Occasionally, it’s a completely new-to-me author and I’m just intrigued by the premise of the book. Other times, I haven’t the faintest idea why I decided to join the tour.

And this is one of those times.

 

When the package arrived, I was actually out of the country, so when I returned, I had to scramble and read this book with my jet-lagged brain (I was in Singapore, 15 hours ahead of California). So maybe I hadn’t been concentrating hard enough but suddenly I realized that this book wasn’t quite what I had imagined it to be.

There were UFOs. Or rather, the possibility of UFOs. And conspiracies.

This was rather unexpected.

And at first, I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not.

Everything We Lost is best described as a coming-of-age although it’s touted as a “psychological thriller”.

In 1999, 16-year-old Nolan disappears.

It is ten years later, and his younger sister Lucy returns to Bishop, California, where their mother still lives, in search of answers.

She starts to have some memories of the lead up to his disappearance. And begins to uncover more about the truth of what really happened.

We learn that Nolan and his obsession with all things UFO has made him an outcast among his peers – and an embarrassment to Lucy. But what really happened to him and what was Lucy’s role?

As I wondered what I had gotten myself into with this book, I realized that I was actually kind of hooked. And I had to force myself to put the book down and go to sleep that night. That is, after all, the sign of a good read, isn’t it?

Geary does a fantastic job with the storyline, as we see it from both Lucy and Nolan’s points of view, throwing up more and more questions about a variety of things like extraterrestrials and mental illness.

Perhaps it is the books that defy categorization that are the ones that provide the best fodder for thought.

It definitely was in the case of Everything We Lost. 

 

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Check out the other tour stops here

 

Pick up a copy of the book: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
 
Connect with the author: WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram

It’s Monday and I’m joining #boutofbooks

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

It’s Sunday night and the kids are in the library reading with their dad. Well at least the 6yo is. The 4yo is lounging on my bed asking me, “Mummy, when are you going to be done with your homework?” Then, looking at his baby photos on my dresser he asked, “did you throw away all my baby clothes? Did gege have my baby clothes? Was he three years old then became four years old like me? What’s this?”

It never stops!

It’s the last full week of summer vacation for the 6yo who starts first grade on August 30. The 4yo has been back at preschool pretty soon after we returned from Singapore and luckily he has been ok at going back. And last night, a whole week after we returned, he finally finally finally had a proper night’s sleep. It was improving gradually, but it was only last night that he stayed in his room, even when he couldn’t sleep. It was such a relief to sleep – and I really did sleep last night, from 10 to 620 (yup I still wake before 7 on weekends).

Anyway, I’m using this post to declare my intention to join Bout of Books this week!

Bout of Books

And my goal will be to finish these library books as well as the library e-books I’ve recently borrowed.

 

“Your homework is almost done right Mummy?”

Right. Time to put him to bed. Meanwhile some photos of our latest walk around Coyote Hills and some other stuff we were up to this week, including summer swim classes (Mondays to Thursdays) at the water park, brownie making and library browsing. Also mooncakes and what my zucchini plant was up to when I went away for three weeks.


 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

Watching:

 

I decided to rewatch Downton Abbey!

 

 

Eating:

 

I had chow mein and broccoli beef for dinner from our nearby takeout place.

Drinking:

Water

Cooking:

I’m not entirely sure. The husband will be away for a few days so it’s just me and the kids next week so I don’t think I will need to cook much…!

Last week:

I read:

The Chalk Artist – Allegra Goodman
Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish – Barry Deutsch
Lisa and the Lacemaker – Kathy Hoopmann
I posted:

Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Singapore

Back from Singapore

 

Yayoi Kusama exhibit in Singapore

One of the things I definitely wanted to do in Singapore was see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery. You may have heard (or seen?) her famous pumpkin statues or perhaps heard of her fondness for dots.

We went early on a weekday and it was nice to be able to spend time wandering around the strangeness of her mind.

Pumpkins. Dots. Mirrors.

My 4yo saw this and immediately ran and hugged it. Of course he wasn’t supposed to touch it… oops

 

 

More mirrors!

Loved this one. It’s a box with a few different holes for visitors to peer into and watch this infinity light show. The colours of the lights keep changing.

This was one of the free exhibits – it’s her Obliteration Room. Visitors can buy colourful stickers (we bought the kids activity pack which came with a sticker pack each) and stick them anywhere in the room.

The kids of course adored this. I would have loved to see it at the beginning of the exhibition, when everything was white, and compare it to when we were there, when it was already covered with stickers.

The same exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum has a fun time-lapse video!

Back from Singapore

It has been four days since we arrived back in California. And finally there was some semblance of sleep last night. I gave up and slept with the 4yo in his single bed (my neck! my back! – luckily I am a back sleeper who doesn’t move much, but still I was wedged between a small being and the wall). And finally, he slept. He did get up before midnight, and he did get up when I got up to put the blanket on his big brother who had sneezed. He did stir and ask “is it morning time?” when I tried to adjust my sleeping position around 4 something. But at least today, at least there was sleep. There was not the wide-awake from 2 something to 4 something that I had been for the past few nights, woken perhaps by my own un-reset body clock, or perhaps from the boys talking in their room.

There is adjustment to be made. There is routine to get back to. There is the quiet quiet quiet of the night to return to again. No more whirr of the AC going full blast. Far less traffic noise. No more mynahs screeching outside in the morning. No more wrapped-in-your-own-personal-sauna heat-and-humidity the moment the door opens.

There is just me and the kids for almost the whole day until the husband gets back (he leaves the house before 630am). And it has been especially hard when the 4yo starts crying for his grandparents. Luckily he has been great at returning to preschool. There are meals to cook. There are dishes to wash. There are chores to do. But there are also sweet yellow cherry tomatoes. There are wonderful seasonal fruits at the farmers market. There will be hikes to walk. A recital to attend. And time to just sit back and enjoy the last few weeks of summer holiday.

There will be more blog posts to write. But for now, I am just trying to adjust.

TLC Book Tours: The Lost Ones

With so many thrillers/crime novels out there, it seems to be getting more difficult to create a unique protagonist, a different storyline.

But I must say that The Lost Ones opens with an intriguing premise. An early morning phone call. A meeting with some strangers at a cafe. Nora Watts, cautious, suspicious, because of her line of work and her own experience.

A married couple meets her to tell her their daughter is missing.

That Nora's daughter is missing.

The child she gave up for adoption as a newborn 15 years ago has disappeared. The police define her as a chronic runaway and can't be bothered. Her adoptive parents reach out to Nora as a last hope.

And Nora is suited for this kind of thing. She works as a receptionist/researcher for a private investigator. She has an ability to tell when people are lying – which obviously helps her in her line of work.

She also has a painful and violent experience in the past which has contributed to her inability to trust anyone – not her employees nor her sponsor – with the whole truth.

Nora at first is reluctant to be involved with this case – it digs up too much of her past. But she soon realizes that she's not the only one looking for Bonnie.

Nora is quite a character. She's got skeletons in the closet – perhaps more like demons than skeletons – and she's tough. She's the kind of person who doesn't give a damn what you think of her. She steals from a woman who is only just being kind to her. She's cold towards almost everyone except her beloved dog. And surprisingly – although on hindsight, maybe it's not surprising – violent.

And Kamal's Vancouver setting reflects that too. I've never been to Vancouver but have always thought of it as a picturesque, very wet city. So Nora's far more gritty and dirty version of Vancouver is intriguing, and completely apt.

The story is rather convoluted – perhaps a little too hard to believe at times – but it offers a rather exciting and thrilling read if you can suspend belief for a bit and sink into it. And that I did, and it was for an invigorating read, filled with all the grey and damp of Vancouver. It made me long to read this in chillier temps, snuggled under a comforter with a steaming hot cup of tea.

Strangely it is titled "Eyes Like Mine" in the UK.

I received this book from its publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Check out the other tour stops here.

Pick up a copy from: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Connect with the author:Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

It’s Monday and we went hiking again!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

The kids always ask on Saturday mornings: “are we going hiking today?”

So yes, we did.

 

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

Chemistry – Weike Wang

 

The Lost Ones – Sheena Kamal

 

 

Watching:

The same – Bones and Gossip Girl. Although we just watched the first episode of the new season of Sherlock Holmes too.

 

Eating:


Just had pancakes for breakfast

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Browsing:

The Millions’ most anticipated book preview (second-half of 2017) 

Review of Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave (Beth Fish Reads)

Review of Epic Crush by Genie Lo (Huntress of Diverse Books)

Review of Joyride to Jupiter by Nuala O’Connor (746 Books)

Last week:

I read:


Batgirl Vol 4: Wanted – Gail Simone (Writer), Fernando Pasarín (Illustrator), Jonathan Glapion (Illustrator)
Silk – Alessandro Baricco

Master Keaton Vol 4 – Naoki Urasawa
 

Exit West – Mohsin Hamid