Archive for the 'Fun' Category

Not Your Average Superheros

201404 My Monsters

These two people boast an arsenal of mysterious superpowers that can make me feel ANYTHING.

They can drive me nuts. When I’m awake. When I’m asleep. When I’m just trying to be alone with my thoughts. When I’m trying to talk to them (ANSWER ME, DAMMIT).

For the annoying ticks they are, they have the strange ability to make me laugh. When I’m in the middle of a WAAAAAAAA-WAAAAAAAAA breakdown. When I’m out somewhere where it’s highly inappropriate to snort like a sow as I attempt to stifle my laughter. OMG, awkward much.

And then, they often harness the kungfunoshadowkickdrunkenfist power of making me melt into a puddle of loveydoveychocolatey goo. Like the other day, on a late afternoon after M came back from his overnight shift. F was really driving me up the wall with her wacky new tantrums the entire day (hello, Terrible Twos!) and I was flat out of battery by mid-day. M promptly took on his parenting duties, in spite of exhaustion from lack of the sleep the night before, and distracted F. He thought she might be running high on fuel and decided to chase her back and forth between the bedroom and the living room, where I was plastered to the couch. That’s not an unusual sight as we often chase F around and she LOVES to be chased. But on that day, M decided to kick it up a notch and he….planted a big kiss on my lips whenever he reached the couch. And you know what, F followed suit.

So it was RUN-LIKE-ELEPHANTS-ON-A-STAMPEDE-and-SHRIEK-WITH-DELIGHT followed by a big fat kiss on Mama’s lips, rinse and repeat.

Sigh.

Told you they aren’t your average superheroes.

 

 

Oh, The English Summer

201301 BBQ in London 1

How I miss the English summer.

The cloudless skies, the burning sun, the warm breeze sans the humidity. The way it snuck up on us, just as we threw our hands up in despair and protested, ‘You call this bleak piece of sh*t summer, dammit?!’.

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I love the way we toiled through the bitter cold of winter and dragged our soaking wet boots through the black mush called s-n-o-w, just for one very cloudless, warm, snuggly day. I love the way that spring was practically non-existent and that everyone complained about it like they didn’t know better. Most of all, I love the way Londoners reacted to the rare burst of heat, the way every square feet of plump grass patches became precious commodity in Regents Park, Hyde Park…and the odd island at the traffic lights.

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There is just something so magical about the English summer, a season that I took for granted as I was born and raised in the tropics. M and I used to celebrate those warm days with barbecue-offs on our shoebox of a balcony when we lived in London. There were a few things that had to go on the menu. Mozzarella, tomato and basil salad drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, accented with a good dash of capers and sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Homemade pork belly satay and satay sauce made with a killer secret recipe from my mother. Crisp romaine lettuce salad with pomodoro tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Sometimes, we would cheat and do cola ribs for that instant caramel-y hit. Other times, we would tuck into M’s favourite BBQ whole chicken. And we always had wine.

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We often had friends over to join in the fun. But really, my favourite summer days were spent with M and M alone, as the charcoal turned amber, as we toasted marshmallows in the twilight, as we wound down for the day with the last glass of wine and idle chatter.

Yes, how I miss our English summer.

Check out what’s cooking in my kitchen!

Also check out my other food adventures.

A Sweet Farewell to London…and Some News

I’ve procrastinated long enough on this teeny announcement. Or two teeny announcements, if you will. Some of you, whom I know personally, are already in the loop but I thought eight months is a long time to go on the blog without actually talking about it even in the most cryptic manner, so it is time to spill the beans. I had wanted to protect my privacy and keep the news all to my selfish self. The last I heard though, some naysayers have already caught wind of this anyway and I’ve been told by my loved ones that I should share the news because readers (who are still sticking around…I’m very happy to know you are, given that I barely wrote anything in the first three-quarter of 2012) would want to know, so here goes…

…I’ve moved back from London to Singapore for good, since eight months ago…and…I’m pregnant!

After five long years in London, I’m finally back home. Suffice to say that everything and yet nothing has changed since 2007. Suffice to say that I’ve done a whole lot of growing up in the UK, seen countless beautiful sceneries whilst travelling, made the most wonderful friends in the five years, tasted a decent portion of good food, started a blog that I thought no one would want to read, cooked/baked/photographed/styled my way from complete noob to amateur-amateur, interacted with the most amazing chefs, built a home from scratch (literally) and learnt a hell lot on ‘How to Live Life to the Fullest, Responsibly So 101′. I also found time to fall deeper in love with my best friend, get married, graduate with a doctorate and have a baby.

London is a big part of my life.

When it came down to the last second, to leave my home of five bittersweet years, I was devastated. The exit from London was pretty hasty. I quit my job, found out I was expecting (and hence decided that I should return to Singapore prematurely to prepare for delivery, I was supposed to leave London only in the summer of 2012), moved to Boston for six weeks as M was posted to Harvard, flew back to London for a night, switched my bags out for summer clothing and everything that I might need back home before speeding back to Singapore the next day. I didn’t really have time to say goodbye. To-date, I still keep the bucket list I had drafted for London and I hope that I will be able to return to the city one day to check the items off the list. I couldn’t even attend the Olympics events that I had bought tickets for.

The next months went by in a blur. There was so much to do with my relocation. I had to get my accounts, documents and life in order. I missed M terribly when he returned to London to finish up his studies. I went through pregnancy alone, save for support from my family and in-laws. None of the relocation bit, physical or emotional, was easy. The days started looking brighter when M came back, triumphant as a fully-qualified doctor after five gruelling years in med school. He packed up our flat in London as hastily as I had left UK, attended his graduation ceremony with his parents but without a very pregnant me, flew back to my arms in Singapore, sorted out whatever I couldn’t handle and supported me through the last trimester.

We had a heart-to-heart talk yesterday night before we fell asleep at 3.30am. It’s been a while since we chatted this much, for four hours in fact. And we both realised how different life is in Singapore. London was a dream. We lived life to the fullest, laughed and cried the hardest, seen the best and went through the worst. It was a city where we grew up the most as individuals and as a couple. It was our first real home together. Coming back to Singapore makes for an almost surreal dive back into reality, where we are suddenly challenged with obligations and responsibilities to others other than two of us, issues to do with fitting into the local culture and soon-to-be parenthood. Even though Singapore is our home, we haven’t got the slightest inkling as to what lies ahead and we will need to do to rise up to the challenges. One thing’s for sure; we are back now and we will make our lives here work. We will carve out new memories, strive towards new goals and conjure new dreams.

To celebrate the chapter that was London, and welcome the new that is Singapore, I prepared my very first dessert table before I left UK. I was challenged in every way, as I have been during my life in London. Different pastries and desserts to make on limited resources, thinking about what really mattered to me that would fit in with the theme, and putting it all together so it makes sense and gives heart. So there you have it, a blue-white-red presentation of a Victoria sponge, Marmite cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and macarons with rose buttercream, a true culmination of something that is quintessentially English, a little bit of what I have learnt to love and another that is a little cosmopolitan owing to the time I spent in Europe. I’ve also scattered the cards, letters, notes and gifts from family and friends around the entire dessert table just for…the two of us to enjoy. Shame I couldn’t offer the sweets to anyone else. Oh well, maybe next time.

Happy homecoming to us, and may we meet again, my fair London.

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Read on for my new journey as a mother.

Like my bakes? Then check out my other sweet adventures in the kitchen!

Decorating at Bea’s of Bloomsbury

You know that I have a rather hefty backlog when I write about something that happened…(more than) a year ago. I’m truly embarrassed but erm, better late than never right? Right.

I have been rather busy, just not in the kitchen, unfortunately; for the record, I’ve only baked thrice this year, all for M’s birthday. Lately, a spin round the bakeries had me thinking about cakes again. Baking remains very much a passion of mine, and I do hope to do it on a more regular basis when I have the time and resources. Nailing recipes for the right taste and texture aside, I do love to try and churn out pretty treats, something that I don’t achieve very often with my meagre talent for craft. As such, I have always yearned to attend a decorating course to help me along but these are often costly ventures that add up and being a miserly self-taught baker, I dropped the idea very quickly.

I was thus absolutely delighted when E invited me for a cupcake decorating class at Bea’s of Bloomsbury. She had won four passes and thanks to her, I got to attend my very first decorating class! I made my way to the bakery at Holborn on a weekday, eagerly anticipating the lesson to come. We were going to learn all about buttercreams, ganaches, and decorating techniques; all these fitted perfectly into my agenda. I was also excited to get to see and work in a professional kitchen.

We took down recipes on how to create the perfect frosting, made our own piping bags, practised writing with ganache, and of course, worked on perfecting rosettes and what-not on the cupcakes. I haven’t got the piping perfect, but oh well, I had loads of fun decorating my cupcakes! We even got to take two dozen of these babies home (vanilla and chocolate ones, smothered in an assortment of dark chocolate ganache, praline Italian buttercream and raspberry Italian buttercream). I particularly enjoyed the chocolate cupcakes, which were moist, very dark and chocolatey, yet fluffy. The frostings were wonderfully light and not the least bit cloying – my colleagues were a big fan of the raspberry buttercream, while I loved the praline.

Now, all this talk about baking and decorating is making my stomach groan. Excuse me while I go rummage in my kitchen for some emergency sweet treats, before somebody gets hurt.

*Updated: This post is featured on Tastespotting. Check out my profile on  Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

Reliving the Smells & Tastes of Wanderlust

Pan-seared scallops, with  jamón ibérico chip, pomme purée, served with jamón ibérico foam and chestnuts.

Blimey, is it 2012 already? I can’t believe I have been away from the blog for three whole months! Thanks to all who have been dropping me tweets, messages and emails to check on how I am (and maybe to see if I’m still alive hehehe), I just want to say that everything’s good and I’m finally back with an entry that hopefully makes your mouth water, as much as it did to mine when I was browsing through my photo archives.

Black truffle spaghetti

I hate to admit it but oh gawwwwd, the backlog on my photos is truly appalling. Believe it or not, these pictures were taken a whopping ten months ago, in May 2011, after we returned from back-to-back travelling to Florence/Pisa and Murcia/Cartagena. Better late than never, eh (and yes, travelogues are coming up in future posts)? These dishes were lovingly prepared (how else would we have done it? =p) in our tiny kitchen in London, following our gastronomical trips which swaddled us in romantic (f00d) affairs.

Spaghetti with pan-fried prawns, green olives, and jamón ibérico chips

Like most of our holidays, we planned the trips according to meals and everything else was secondary to eating. This comes as no surprise as we’re after all the forever-hungry-pair-of-food-mongers. The delightful produce had us feeling like glam goddesses rolling in silk sheets that were the unspeakable pleasures; flavours of the earth and the sea couldn’t have been better represented by the black truffles we had in Florence, the fresh seafood and our favourite jamón ibérico de bellota we indulged in when travelling in Spain. We returned from our trips, completely inebriated by the tastes and smells of western Europe, and very quickly, we found ourselves working hard in the kitchen, slaving over the stoves all for the sake of reliving the experience.

The best thing that came out of this? Having to brainstorm, cook and savour a truly breathtaking meal with the one I love. There is really nothing quite like beating about the kitchen in our shabby home clothes, bantering, exchanging tips on cooking and  fussing over each other’s poor plating skills. That, and reminiscing the wonderful memories we made on our trips together. Ahhhh, the good ol’ days…

Check out what’s cooking in my kitchen!

Also check out my other food adventures.

Christmas Wish List Guest Post on MsGlitzy.com!

When my high school classmate, MsGlitzy, asked me to contribute a Christmas Wish List guest post on her blog, I jumped up from the couch and said YES! It is after all something that I have always wanted to write about, but for some reason, I haven’t quite gotten round to doing it on my own blog. Recipes and overenthusiastic ramblings about food and only food seem to constantly get in the way, and I do apologise if I have strayed somewhat from the lifestyle-related content that I started out with, can’t help myself around food, can I? =p

Now, just a little bit on my classmate. MsGlitzy writes at and runs a very successful and prolific lifestyle blog over at MsGlitzy.com. Unlike my very rudimentary-looking blog, her glossy pages are glistening with the hottest tales of fashion, beauty trends and tips, food expeditions as well as fun things you should be looking out for in Singapore and beyond! Ever since she started writing, I have come to read her blog for a very comprehensive take on everything that I need to know as a person who is also interested in fun, food and fashion! So if you like the same things as I do, do pop over and say hello to MsGlitzy, if you haven’t already! MsGlitzy also does videos for some of these topics, now that is something you should also keep a lookout for! Whilst you are at it, don’t forget to check out my guest post on my Christmas Wish List (any generous Santa or Santarina out there, please show yourself….) and comment away! Let MsGlitzy and me know if you are looking out for the same/similar items this year, and what YOUR Christmas Wish List is, if you want!

Happy Christmas to all of you, just three days to go! Have a lovely festive weekend!

Saying Goodbye, For Now

The crisp winter air is getting chillier, and we are gratefully snuggled under a warm duvet on the sofa, listening to Christmas carols and watching holiday movies. Time seems to slow down as we take in the holiday cheer, and marvel at the simplest things such as the beautiful tree that is standing in our living room now and the pretty snowflakes that will soon grace the season. Even that mug of hot chocolate seems to be that much more special when tucked under your cold fingers. There is just something magical about the time that is Christmas. Everyone seems cheery despite the blistering cold. Shoppers smile as they bump into each other with their big bags in madly crowded stores. The lights are especially pretty, as if they were there to put the misery out of the shorter days and longer nights. The odd hum of a carol that pops in my head when I am  cooking. The thought of seeing my family warms my heart, this year especially as we are moving across the globe (albeit with one or two pitstops) within the next year. This winter, our fifth, our last, the finale, is no doubt the most beautiful.

Delighted as we are to return home soon, we will come to miss everything and everyone that defines London. Our dear friends who have become our family over here, the stories that we share, the good and bad times that we have been through together, even the bitter cold and annoying rain that drapes London in a depressing shade of grey. It seems befitting to celebrate the last winter with our friends. What better way to do so than with a party full of cheer, brimming with home-cooked food and copious amounts of drinks?

And so we did. We came up with a menu that took all of what we experienced and loved whilst living in London, and entertained our friends with it. Grilled Camembert with tomato and chilli chutney, served with warm crusty bread and an assortment of cold meats. This was similar to what we had and loved during our recent trip to the Three Choirs Vineyard | An Ottolenghi-style salad of roasted aubergines with shredded roast chicken, pine nuts, pomegranate, basil and garlic yoghurt, something we have come to adore during our time here | Good ol’ steak, something that M has been crazy about after our trip to Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn, New York, and has mastered during his time here, served with creamy mash potatoes and homemade béarnaise sauce, a sauce that paralysed both my arms after some Olympic-worthy whisking when I first attempted it years ago, and now I’ve found a shortcut to doing them, sparing my wings from pain and agony | Moroccan leg of lamb with mint yoghurt and chickpea sauce, which I learnt to cook in my first year here when I was an amateur in the kitchen, after falling in love with Jamie Oliver’s recipes | Matcha tiramisu, a testament to how my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of reinventing traditional recipes.

After much nerves, and toiling in the kitchen, we’re glad to say that everything, including the monstrous leg of lamb, was cooked to perfection. It was the best dinner party we have ever hosted, and even we were very surprised by the success of it, because a lot of cooking had to be done in a tiny kitchen, and as we know, the tension runs high when two cooks with very different styles are working in a small space together. Our friends were duly impressed and we were even happier to know that they went home well-fed, drink-drank-and-ever-so-slightly-inebriated. Jokes were cracked, and embarrassing stories were let slip. We laughed till our bellies ached and I drank till I was hung over the next day. It was all in good fun and I’m really going to miss all the times we’ve spent together. Everyone’s going their separate ways come the heart of winter, so I guess it’s goodbye for now. Till we meet again, my dear friends, till we meet again.

Check out what’s cooking in my kitchen!

Also check out my other food adventures.

My First Guest Chef Experience

[All photos in this post are courtesy of E at Heaven in a Wild Flower, who was the fabulous FOH at the supperclub the night I guest chef-ed (I would also like to add that she's mightily talented in cooking, design, photography above everything else that she's also good at)!]

Some of you may have read that I made my first ever guest chef appearance recently on 13 November 2011, at the Plusixfive supperclub no less, and I thought it would be nice to document my experience here. It was a real eye-opener for me to be changing gears on what I usually do, as I’m more of an amateur home cook who siphons off the excess things that come out of my kitchen to willing friends. To actually bake for something which I’ve been commissioned for, to offer my pastries to paying customers, now that is a different ball game. To sum it up, it was a daunting albeit rewarding experience for me, and I wouldn’t have embarked on it if Goz, head chef at Plusixfive, hadn’t bambi-eyed me into it (read this to see how a grown man manages to do this!).

Gula melaka salted caramel buttercream macarons

This was made even more challenging, when my oven decided to go kaput on my macarons the week before. I was getting cracked macarons left, right and center with the same recipe that have always worked for me, and I had no idea what went wrong.  I panicked quite a bit as I didn’t want to disappoint Goz and his guests, so I made batches after batches of macarons to test out every variable  (as I would have in my past life as a scientist before I made a career switch), and finally narrowed it down to an overheating oven. The odd thing was the oven didn’t have any effect on my other baked goods, and my conclusion was macarons are just extremely sensitive to heat. This was affirmed when I tried some new steps that I’ve now included on top of my usual recipe (not posted yet), which thankfully gave me beautiful macarons once again, just in time for the supperclub. I also spent a good amount of time tweaking my lychee chiffon cake recipe to perfection, and even had my husband mule some lychee essence back from Singapore to do this. A few hours before the supperclub on 13 November, I was absolutely relieved to get everything done in time for the guests.

Lychee chiffon cake

So after the nightmare that was the oven, you can imagine how anxious I was in having ‘em desserts meet the customers, especially since Goz was serving up his famous (and very very very yummy, I can attest to this) gula melaka ice cream right before my macarons and chiffon cake were presented to the guests! But I am glad to report that they received positive reviews despite the oven drama that I went through, and despite the fact that Goz set really high standards with his gula melaka ice cream. Some supperclub guests asked how I made the macarons and chiffon, others asked if they could order baked goods from me in future, some were wowed by the macarons, others were bowled over by the chiffon cake. I was just buzzing with nerves and excitement, then flooded with relief when everyone went home feeling happy about the desserts (or at least, they pretended to, being very cordial people they are!). T, one of the guests, left a comment on my Facebook page on the chiffon cake, and Jen who writes at Hungry Tiger Thirsty Dragon gave  us some glowing reviews on the desserts.

Jen has  kindly given me permission to quote an excerpt from her review here:

Desserts were the highlight of the evening: the gula melaka ice-cream was divine, salty-sweet with gorgeous caramelised notes. Guest-chef desserts were courtesy of Rachel of The Pleasure Monger: gula melaka macarons and lychee chiffon cake. The macarons were so good I could forgive the double-dose of gula melaka, and the chiffon cake was wonderfully airy and fresh.

Did I learn anything from this? Yes, a hell lot! Did I gain some confidence, which I’ve been told I severely lack? Yes, a teeny bit. Would I do this again? Yes, why not! Did I have fun? Without a doubt!

There you go, my first guest chef experience, and hopefully more to come.

Before I go, I’d also like to say that Goz’s rendang is DA BOMB, and personally, I would die for it. M gushed, ‘Man, Goz CAN cook!!’ as he fought me off with his spoon when I tried to stake a claim on the rendang. So, I’m urging you to sign up for the Plusixfive supperclub – hop on over here to find out how. Read these reviews if you’re not convinced! And scroll on for some snapshots of what you missed at the supperclub!

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 Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

My 7 Links

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Lady J on the 7 Links Blog Project, which was created by someone (please enlighten me if you know who it is!) to showcase the top posts from tagged bloggers in 7 categories. The tagged blogger then extends the invitation to do this meme to another 3 bloggers, so if you google this project, you will see that many before me have already done this!

It’s a mammoth task, I would say, to identify 7 of my top posts in these categories. I mean, every post that I’ve written here is a story that I’ve lived through, whether it’s about love, family, friends, and of course, food. So, whilst not many readers may agree with this, all my posts do mean a lot to me because they are part and parcel of my life!

For those who are new to my blog, I would of course ask you to start reading my blog from the very beginning, but that might overwhelm you, so I guess the 7 posts would do! If you’re a regular reader, perhaps some of these 7 posts would resonate with you, but do let me know if you think I have other posts that might better fit the bill!

1. My Most Beautiful Post

My husband, M, brings out the best in me, and all the most beautiful posts on my blog, be it words, photos, or our stories, are inspired by our times together…all our ups and downs, as a matter of fact. Here, I write about finding love, and finding beauty in imperfection in The Truth About Love.

2. My Most Popular Post

According to my site statistics, you guys are loving The Prettiest Cake I’ve Ever Made – Ispahan. This was an entremet that I made having been inspired by my favourite pastry chef, Pierre Hermé, who invented the incredibly seductive trio of flavours that are raspberries, lychees and rose. It was also the very first entremet that I crafted and in my humble opinion, one of prettiest pastries that I’ve put together. This was indeed a mean feat for me, because I’m not the most artistic, or that adept at making beautiful cakes! To my surprise, the editors at WordPress.com loved this cake, so much so that they featured this on Freshly Pressed. The good people at  Foodgawker and Tastespotting thought my Ispahan looked delicious enough to be featured as well, so do swing by and have a look!

3. My Most Controversial Post

So…I’ve ticked some people off on this one. I wrote about how we remained unimpressed by our visits to Paris. I was really misunderstood on this one – what I meant to say was how our visits were thwarted by a series of unfortunate incidents that seemed to happen to us and not anyone else. The less-than-pleasant experience we had in Paris had nothing to do with the jewels of Paris that so many have waxed lyrical on – but my words were misconstrued as a criticism for Paris. For the record, my husband and I are planning on another visit, because we know that treasures are waiting to be found in the City of Lights, and we hope and want to find them. Here’s how I Want To Love Paris.

4. My Most Helpful Post

I mean this in the most literal sense – it’s the most help I’ve tried to organise on my blog and it’s the Fundraising for Japan when the earthquake happened earlier this year. With your help, my dear readers, we raised £1510 for the disaster victims in Japan. I hoped our efforts gave rise to some good for them, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your donations!

5. My Most Surprisingly Successful Post

I wrote this after coming back from the best holiday ever in San Sebastián. I was at my wits’ end as to how I should do the city justice with my mediocre command of the language, and I was dreading how I was going to let the city down. I decided to stop thinking and just feel my way through this post, so I let my senses take over on this one and what transpired was a purely sensual piece of writing that surprisingly, sat very well with my harshest critic (myself), and also the editors on WordPress.com who gave me a much coveted airtime on Freshly Pressed. I remember just diving into this and immersing myself completely in this post as I wrote it. I warn you, this post (pictures aren’t great, but it’s all about the words….) might make you sweat, so brace yourself…San Sebastián – The Land of Promiscuous Eating.

6. My Most Underrated Post

Regular readers would know that I’m obsessed with making macarons. Some of you think that I’m a macaron goddess, not that I am…but errrr…do you know that I once started out this way too? If I can go from a macaron noob to what I have achieved today on the macaron-making front…so can you! Without sounding rude, stop telling me that you’re afraid to make macarons!! Don’t believe it? Check out my macaron journey from the very first post to the latest and I hope you’re inspired to make your own. Now, get your whisk on and just do it!

7. Post I Am Most Proud Of

Not exactly that, but I wrote about one of the things that I am most proud of in this post – starting my blog, writing, and pursuing my hobbies on baking, cooking and food photography that solidly define The Pleasure Monger today. Here’s what I was thinking when The Pleasure Monger turned ONE!

So here they are, my 7 links! Thanks Lady J again for getting me on this one. It was a good way to review everything I’ve written and put some things into perspective! Now for the next 3 bloggers I’m tagging…

1. Sherie at Maameemoomoo.

2. Shulie at Foodwanderings.

3. Annapet at The Daily Palette.

Please feel free to take part in this project even if you’re not tagged, just link it back to this post so we can all enjoy your posts too! Happy reading, everyone!

My Perfect Food & Wine Summer at Cloudy Bay Shack 2011

As I pack my bags to return to London, I dread the cold weather that is waiting to spring an ambush on me and am reminded of the summer that made London flush and blush before I came back to Singapore. The wonderful produce that we had this summer made for light and zingy palette refreshers. And the different types of wine we tried were the perfect cherries on top, or so I thought until I was invited to spend one sunny day at the Cloudy Bay Shack 2011 at Parsons Green at the end of July.

I jumped at the opportunity to attend this pop-up event, because of two things that reeled me in like a fish on bait – one, I love Cloudy Bay wines, especially the white ones, and two, esteemed chef  Skye Gyngell of Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries Café created a seasonal menu to enhance the full flavours and vibrant aromas of Cloudy Bay wines. Now, who says no to this?!

 There were five dishes that were created to showcase Cloudy Bay wines and I chose the wild sea bass with nam jim and pak choy paired with Cloudy Bay Te Koko while M went for the slow cooked veal with black olives and preserved lemons paired with Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir.

Skye didn’t disappoint with the veal, which was an absolute stunner – rich yet summery, deep yet light on the palette – we loved this, especially when savoured with the Pinot Noir. We have only gone for whites from Cloudy Bay, and it was the perfect opportunity to sample and get hooked on the red, which was smooth and round on the palette.

And then I fell head over heels for the sea bass. It was done to perfection despite being cooked in a makeshift kitchen. Tender, creamy flesh annointed with the  very addictive, tangy and slightly spicy nam jin sauce, I was just blown away. This was perfect with the Te Koko, a smooth, light and slightly sweet white which M and I have always been very fond of. In fact, this is the only white that I drink and that’s saying something because I’m not a fan of whites.

We enjoyed this fare in the company of many revellers, who have taken to soaking up the sun on hotspots at Parsons Green. There was a live band playing, children and dogs running around, and the heat was just perfect in the gentle breeze. I came away feeling rejuvenated in this quaint spot of green away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and most of all, M and I went home aching to run to Petersham Nurseries so we could do this all over again (that, and we were dying to ask for second helpings at the pop-up).

How? You might ask. Well, luckily for you, Petersham Nurseries will be cooking up the last of the five dishes offered at the event next week. Judging from what I had, I think you’ll be in for a treat, so what are you waiting for?!

Right, I’m off to dream of an endless summer with a Te Koko in my hand, with a sunhat. Yes, having a cold Te Koko is akin to having a holiday…..

Check out my other food adventures!


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Read about my food-gasmic adventures in San Sebastian here! Also please come by and check out the prettiest cake I've made over here!
Macarons: Be Inspired
Dark Chocolate & Coconut Cookies
Rose & Lychee Chiffon Cake
Pan-seared scallops, jamon iberico chip, pomme puree, jamon iberico foam and chestnut
Red Velvet Cake
An English-themed Dessert Table
Chocolate & Hazelnut Salted Caramel Cake
Gula Melaka Salted Caramel Buttercream Macarons
The Ispahan Cake
The Ispahan
Sunflower Seed Macarons with Black Truffle Salted White Chocolate Ganache
Lemon Cupcakes with Lime & Ginger Whipped Cream
Portuguese Egg Tarts
Ba Zhang - Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Braised Pork Belly
The Fat Duck
Strawberry and Cream Pancakes
Pandan Souffle Roll with Toasted Coconut Whipped Cream
Red Velvet Cake
Lychee and Emperor's Seven Treasures tea-infused macarons
M's Spanish Paella
M's birthday cake - Japanese Cheesecake with Rose Whipped Cream
Lor Bak Gou - Fried Radish Cake
Pandan Chiffon Cake
Homemade Scones
Marmite & Coffee Pork Chops
Quick and Easy fried rice recipe!
Matcha & Adzuki Bean Macarons
Pumpkin & Chocolate Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirls
Matcha, Milo and Plain Polvorons
Kampar Chicken Biscuits - A popular Malaysian snack
White Chocolate & Cranberry Cookies
Hustling the Xiao Long Bao in my kitchen
Bailey's & Coffee Macarons

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© Rachel Tan and The Pleasure Monger, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material on this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rachel Tan and The Pleasure Monger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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