Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pretty things to love

Little chocolate vanilla cupcakes topped with handmade marzipan roses and just a sprinkling of pistachio leaves

...for size reference

Sunday, January 18, 2009

City love. Totally irrelevant

The other day I said to the bf, "John Mayer reminds me of New York and M. Ward makes me think of our days in San Francisco" to which he responded, "You've got it all wrong. M. Ward made it big in Portland and John Mayer in Atlanta"

Indignantly I snapped said, "Well there really isn't a right or wrong answer is there? It's personal. They mean what they mean to me depending on when I listened to their music and where I was at the time. It shouldn't matter where they're from. Don't forget John Mayer lives in New York sometimes."

That seemed enough to generate a nod out of him.

If you ask me to name the city that left the deepest etch in my heart, I would have to say NY. Before NY, it was London. But we already know what my thoughts are of London today.

What irks me is I could never explain why. Could it be because the very first secret rendezvous I had with a special someone was to NY? Despite the ominous Chinatown bus drivers with cigarettes permanently glued to their lips, we managed the most relaxing ride sharing what I still believe to be the best play list of my life, huddled in a world only the 2 of us knew. Or maybe it's because the Dexter crew's first group trip was to NY,
the 4 of us crashing in a hotel room, hopping through Chinatown, making silly poses in Central Park and stuffing our young faces silly with Gray's Papaya in the middle of the day. Same one that ended with an unexpected stop at White Castle because we all had the munchies. I'm just now reminded of a meal at Nobu with Viv and another at Bar Americain with Wendy. What about my very first time on 5th avenue? Or 6th? Crashing at friends' places and hotels walking through various neighborhoods. Upper West Side. Uptown. East Village. Lower East Side. Even Brooklyn. And dinners alone in a well-tailored suit.

I have to believe it's none of these. One day, I'd like to find my way back.

It's odd how I'm thinking this because Singapore is really starting to show signs of promise. I haven't been happier since the bf and I arrived. And it only dawned on me where I was 2 months ago when I found this draft blog for
bumblebeegrad dated November 11:


...that's what I aim to be.

Making lemonade out of lemons. Seeing the silver lining in every cloud. However you like to describe it.

When I'm not holed up in my room or working 12 hour days, I do meet some pretty cool folks. So far, they include 1 salsa teacher, a handful of lawyers and some artsy folks. Not to mention award-worthy Pictionary and charades team players.

This weekend was undeniably better than the ones spent thinking about (...).

I still don't love Singapore but I figure I'd make the most of it since I'm here. After all, it makes the bf and I happy to be able to wake up to each other's smiles - at the least."

Sometimes being nostalgic hurts.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chocolate mojo babies

I can't lie and say Macarune has returned full-fledged. But I
am baking again and that's good news for some of us here in busy Singapore (not unless your resolution's to stay fit).

Chocolate financiers made with imported Valhorna cocoa

Recipe taken from Gluten Free Girl via Deb at Smitten Kitchen. So easy to make with just one bowl, you have to try this. Makes 24 mini muffin pan financiers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3oz)
1 cup almond flour
4 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup egg whites (approx. 2-3 eggs)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour mini-muffin tin. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and set it aside until it reaches room temperature or leave it in a bowl for an hour like I did and watch it turn to liquid. Ah! The joys of being in sunny Singapore.

Whisk the almond flour with the cocoa powder, salt, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Stir the egg whites and almond extract into the almond mixture, then gradually stir in the melted butter until incorporated and smooth. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them three-quarters full.

Bake the financiers for 8 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are slightly puffed and springy to the touch. Remove them from the oven and let cool completely before removing the financiers from the molds.

Once cooled, financiers can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. I kept my airtight container in the fridge after a few hours in fear of what the humidity would do to these babies.

Moist and fluffy once out of the oven, these quickly turned chewy on the outside as financiers do upon cooling. Because of the intensity of Valrhona and use of confectioner's sugar, the outcome wasn't too sweet, just as the bf's family likes it. Will try Scharffen Berger next time to see if there's a difference in flavor

My definition of a "healthy" dessert: Egg whites and protein - check. Almonds and energy - check. What more can you ask for from these chocolatey goodness?

Since the lovely Bosch oven arrived, I've also baked my favorite chocolate raspberry pavlova, some
parmesan pita chips, a citrus yogurt pound cake and espresso chocolate shortbread.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Bangkok jam but not so dangerous"

I'm suffering from writer's block.

That's my way of saying this post has so many pictures it's going to make your head spin.

I'm not one for random photo postings. But the bf's fam is at the hospital, I gotta get up early for work tom and I'm sleep-starved as ever with eye bags as clear as a panda's. So apologies in advance for the ramblings. Here are some highlights of our trip to Bangkok.

The kick start to our vacation: street side crispy deep-fried chicken skin. Don't judge. It was delicious

Fruity breakfast at the veranda of our room. We liked the unique offerings of Reflections hotel (check out the rooms!) and their friendly staff. But it wasn't until we entered the bathroom when we realized what brats we were. Cement floors and 1980 faucets don't cut it! At 2750 baht a night, I genuinely felt like we were roughing it

My first ever tuk-tuk

Pradiphat Road lined with pretty colored cars. Don't be fooled. Some drivers really don't care for road rules. Tip 1: Lonely Planet was right about the neon pink cabs. They're newer and much more comfortable. Pick those

Brunch at the Blue Elephant, my FAVORITE encounter in the city

Not only is this place beautiful, it serves authentic Thai food that have been long forgotten. For a brief moment, we went through the dining experience of Thai royalty in ancient times

The bf said this was possibly the most "fat hao" face he's ever seen on me and I couldn't agree more. I'm eating man! Cut me some slack

Mango with sticky rice. See how the fruit's so delicately carved. I don't know how they grow them here but they're sweet as nectar. Tip 2: the best place to get this traditional dessert is on the 6th floor of the MBK Center as recommended by the bf's sis

Eating cendol ice cream in a coconut husk. I like!

Possibly the most memorable meal we had in BKK. Right by the mini highway between Platinum mall and Central World stood a few food stalls surrounded by plastic tables. Each hawker sold the same marvelous salt-crusted fish along with a variety of basic Thai food: tom yam koong, papaya salad, pineapple rice, bbq'd meats, etc. Tip 3: Pick a place, order whatever, roll up your sleeves and dig in

A very satisfied bf lounging al fresco at Nest, in Le Fenix hotel on Sukhumvit

At the the largest market in the world, Chatuchak market. This place is really one-of-a-kind. You can buy anything from ceramic bowls to wild parrots smuggled from the Philippines. Tip 4: this market opens during the weekends and is a MUST-SEE. Do try to set aside 1 full day for it if possible

Little restaurant at Chatuchak

30 baht for a meal. Can't beat that can you?

Sirocco at the State Tower. I can go on forever about why I dislike this pretentious place but that'll just get me all riled up (again). It does have a gorgeous view though. And I recommend going to the Sky Bar if you're in the city. Tip 5: Just don't eat at Sirocco. Ever

Speech balloon because prawns can't speak. But if they did have feelings, that's what they'd be thinking

At a place with better atmosphere within the same building. Mozu was a beautiful bar/cafe with amazing service and a great pool view. The bf ordered a cigar while I sipped steaming hot water. Yes, we're old like that

Day 3: The boys' reunion

Clay and Andrew's first tuk-tuk

Ask them how our tuk tuk ended up in this dump. It'll be interesting I promise

Our first glimpse at protestors in Bangkok. We had to hop off our cab because of the traffic caused by these pro
Thaksin protestors

An even odder encounter

Meditation's highly recommended here

Andrew sulking because I made him take this photo

And finally, the possible cause of my food poisoning encounter 1.1.09. Tip 6: Try not to eat anything that's been pre-made but rather choose food that you can see cooked on the spot

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And so it begins

Your body has a way of telling you things. Mine decided to welcome the new year by heaving into the toilet at 5 in the morning. Mind you, it wasn't from binge drinking but more innocently, food poisoning. Mommy dearest had to speed-drive me to the hospital while I hurled bile into a plastic bag. Graphic. I know. I don't remember the jab the doctor gave me but I woke up with cotton plastered on my arm. Small wounds sure heal quickly.

5AM wake up call. 5 days of recovery in KL.

I'm sure most of us agree that 2009 isn't going to be an easy year. And because history has proven that we're capable of coping, I'm feeling hopeful. Welcome to a brand new chapter everyone. May your moleskine journals be rid of to-dos and your days be filled with glee.

Resolutions: to learn diving and attain inner peace.