Wednesday, April 24, 2013

World Gourmet Summit

The World Gourmet Summit is in full swing right at the moment.

I was privileged enough to have won two tickets to their Gastronomic Jam Session last Saturday.

It was a day of cooking demos by numerous chefs interspersed with food, and more food!!

Awesome stuff, except that I was a little disappointed.

Why? Because having attended their previous cooking sessions, I found that the new format didnt help people like me.

Many years ago when I attended their cooking sessions by these Guests chefs, we were given copies of the recipes of the dishes they demonstrated. In addition, we were given taste portions of what was cooked to taste. This time, however, no recipes were given out nor tasting portions of the dishes recommended. Some of the people attending simply helped themselves to the dishes cooked by the chefs. But with more than a 100 people at the session, there was no way everyone could get a taste of the food! :(

I also found it disappointing that a copy of the day's programme wasn't distributed to all attendees. I saw that some people had it, but I wasn't sure if they had printed it themselves or was it given to them. It could have been a case of mine being complimentary tickets that I didn't receive it as I wasn't given a "bag" at the door which many others did!

Maybe the organisers should realise that its the little things that make the difference between a good and a great experience at such events.

Apart from that I had a good time. The DJs from Gold 90 FM who Emceed were entertaining. There was free flow of drinks (coffee, tea, ice cream, juice, chocolates, desserts) and lots of food!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Blasts

My heart goes out to all affected by the Boston blasts.

Every time some thing like this happens, it brings me back to 26 Febraury 1993, when the terrorists tried to bring down the twin towers but were unsuccessful, and of course to 11 September 2001 when thousands perished without reason.

I remember that day in 1993 very clearly. I was living in New York at that time, in Battery PArk City, a stone throw away from the World Trade Center in NY City.

Whilst living there, I will occasionally walk over to the World Trade Center for lunch. I would usually grab a hot dog or some sushi from the shops there and spend some time browsing thru the shops to kill time before heading home. Just rubbing shoulders with the corporate crowd made me feel a part of the vibrant city. I wanted to do the same that fateful day.

It was a cold morning and I had decided to do some ironing and had the television on. I was about to get dressed and head towards the WTC when something on TV caught my attention. I decided to stay on and watch it. At about 12, looking out my window I noticed there were snow flurries, and then decided against going out, as I hated the cold. As I was about to prepare a simple lunch for myself, I heard what I thought was thunder. Thinking that it was rather unusual to hear thunder when it was going to snow, I dismissed it. Not long after, a phone call came through. It was my husband calling to make sure that I had not gone out for lunch (as he had already heard the news of the bombing and was concerned as he knew that the WTC was my favourite hang out place).

6 people died and about 1000 were injured in that bombing. It was done using a truck laid with explosives and driven into the parking garage of the WTC. The blast from the homemade 1,500-pound urea-nitrate bomb blew a hole five stories deep and half-a-football field wide.

Every time I hear of news of terrorists attacks, it send a chill down my spine. I could have been a victim. It makes me reflect on why I am put here on this earth, and why I am still here, and how I can do my part to make the world a better place.

For those who perished, may their soul rest in peace and may their families find some closure and comfort.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The humble mash at L'Atelier Singapour de Joel Robuchon

I have heard so much about it from my friends who were privileged enough to dine at his restaurant here or afar.

I had drooled whilst listening to them describe how silky smooth it tasted.

How it could be easily be mistaken for ice-cream.

Some likened it to tau huay - a local bean curd dessert that simply slides down the throat.

So when I read a review that they were having a lunch promo at the restaurant which cost $49 for a 3 course set, I proposed to the husband about making a trip to check them out.

I have heard about how you could only order sets at dinners and the degustation menu costs a whopping $530!!

Other sets ranged from $160 to $320. I always thought that it was an exorbitant price to pay for a dinner.

Anyway, we jumped at the opportunity to dine at this restaurant ... and I had to have the mash, at a fraction of the high prices.

Well, I ended up with the $68 menu as I thought the $49 set seemed a little boring (with an amuse bouche, a choice of appetizer, the rotisserie of the day and the dessert of the day). With the $68 menu, I was allowed an appetizer, 2 mains of my choice and a choice of dessert with the amuse bouche

The amuse bouche was a foie gras custard with truffle and parmesan foam. I thought the combination of flavours was unusual, but definitely a winning combination.

I had the quiche to start. It wasnt a normal quiche. The egg was custard-like on a bacon base which was truly divine in taste!!

For the mains I chose a shrimp with noodles which was quite ordinary, but my little D enjoyed it, especially when the noodles were deep fried to a crisp.

For my second main, I chose the roasted quail with stuffed foie gras. The serving was minute, but the taste was awesome! The quail was tender and perfectly cooked. (This dish had a $17 surcharge added)

And then the humble mash was served.

This is the dish that won Joel Robuchon his Michelin stars.

I have heard about how it takes a ratio of 1 lb of butter to 2 lbs of potatoes to make this divine silky mash.

It didnt taste as buttery as I expected it to be. But it was, oh! so good!! And it was a good thing my son hates mash. I ate his as well.

So the question is: Was the restaurant worth the hype?

Well, I would pay that $68 for a set meal. But not the $160 or $530 for dinner. It was good but not that awesome!!

Now, I will try to re-create that awesome mash at home!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

R.I.P. Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher, the United Kingdom's former prime minister, died on Monday 9 April 2013 at age 87 following a stroke.

There's been lots of updates on FB, twitter on it.

On twitter, there was a particular hashtag, #nowthatchersdead, has caused confusion as to exactly who died! Full story here.

We were watching the news on the Iron Lady's death on TV when the little one commented: Hmmm, 1925 to 2013. So mum, was she older or are you older?

Then the older one responded: Mum, of course, DUH!! Wuahahahaha!!!

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Matter of Perspective

How do you view the events that you face everyday?

Especially the obstacles that come your way? Good, bad, or maybe some view it as something that will make you stronger when you come out of it.

Especially true for me.

When we are shown a glass, we are asked: Is it half full or half empty. But have we considered:

So we really have to try to look at things from a different light.

I used to think that my hubs was spoiling the kids every time he indulged them. I used to feel that children need not be indulged. They can learn to appreciate the finer things in life when they are much older, when they can afford it themselves.

However, after a friend shared with us why he did it, I am all for it.

Here goes: He sent his daughter to the UK for her undergraduate studies. He accompanied her in. Indulged her with a stay in a castle. Dinner at the best restaurants. Drank the best wines, ate the best foods!

Why? Because he's not going to be there watching over her. And when many eligible young men come wooing her, she's had the best of everything. Been there, done that! She's not going to be so easily swept off her feet. She will not be so easily wowed and she will still be level headed enough to assess the guy on his merits.

Great thinking, not?? With a daughter of dating age, that's the defence mechanism I am going to take. We are not indulging her, but buffering her up against any Tom, Dick or Harry!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Novelty has worn off

When my kids were younger, hubs and I never went out on our own much. Most things were done with the kids, or if that was not a possibility, his mum or a responsible adult would be around to keep an eye on them. They were never left alone on their own until some 2 years ago.

It happened at a time when due to an emergency, MIL couldnt be with the kids (she had to go overseas) and we couldnt find anyone to watch over them. As we had already committed to attend an event, we couldnt back out at the last minute. We also felt that they were old enough to keep an eye on each other, and we were only a phone call away.

That one evening out emboldened the kids so much that subsequently, they were like: Go ahead Mum, go ahead Papa, we can take care of ourselves!! (READ: We can play all we want without you bugging us to go to bed, or hit the books, or get off the computer!)

As a result, hubs and I have been more things by ourselves lately: dinners, movies, spa treatments, supper, shows, walks, etc. This I feel is very important in building a marriage. It keeps that spark alive!

We have also been going out with our own friends more. Of course kids are not included for these gatherings.

Last week, when hubs and I went out, they were like: NOT AGAIN!! Why are you guys going out so much without us nowadays?

Well, it looks like that novelty of staying home alone has worn off. And it feels good to be wanted in their lives again!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hot, hot, hot!

The weather here has been unpredictably hot.

It has been hot, hot, hot and getting even hotter. And the humidity makes it worse.

The hottest weather ever recorded in Singapore is 36C.

And I believe we may be breaking that record soon. We have been hitting 34C or near 35C for the past few days.

Last year, the United States had its warmest year on record and my Australian friends have also been facing super record high temperatures. It is so hot that the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has added new colours to their weather map to reflect the rising temperatures: pink and purple will now cover temperatures over 50C — should it climb that high.

So remember to hydrate and keep cool ~ don't end up like pop corn.

I will end up being stronger!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April fool

A fellow blogger's child commented that April fool is so last season. That means not many will make the effort to pull pranks on others. The new in thing is Halloween. More and more are observing it in recent times with dress ups and trick-or treating.

Anyway today is still April fools day.

I was at the hospital for D's 6 monthly review. She did her bone mineral density(BMD) test just two weeks ago and we got the results today.

It's funny how time makes us forget. Previously I would be fretting in the run-up to her medical appointments. However, as the past few appointments were non-events, it must have made me let my guard down.

Well, there was absolutely no anxiety in the run up to today's appointment. I had expected a result that showed that everything was within range, as it had been for the past 3 annual BMD tests. You could say that I was sub-consciously optimistic. Furthermore, the hubs was on leave and was going for the appointment with me.

Well, as we walked into Prof's room, there was the usual formalities ~ greetings, handshakes, and the usual question of whether D has had any falls and how she was doing in school. Then he pulled out the results of her recent scan.

Hip scan - within range but at borderline and below the level of the last scan.
Spine - as above
Full body - below the acceptable range.

Then he dropped the bombshell - that she should start on her pamidronate infusions! That would mean she would have to spend 4 hour visits every 2 months for these intravenous infusions. He then went on to talk about whether to do it as an inpatient (meaning a check in to the hospital for the day) or as out patient, and the claim-ability from medisave for the different scenarios. And he mentioned that the side effect of the treatment would be a high fever, but only for the first time. Fevers of up to 40C was common with flu-like symptoms. Did I have any questions?

I was dumbstruck. My head was swirling. The infusions were not painful he said. Only the setting up of the cannula (drip thru the vein on the hand) would hurt. I thought that was an understatement. I remember my son being straight jacketed for that procedure when he had to be put on the drip during his hospital stay because they couldn't risk him struggling when they were doing it, and they locked me out of the room coz they knew it would hurt the mum too much to see them perform that procedure. And can you imagine my baby having to go thru that every other month for a whole year?

Prof must have seen me squirm, or felt my apprehension. He then decided to go gentle on me. He then said that if I wanted to wait and to do a re-scan in 6 months, he was willing to consider it.

All that happened within a span of about 5 minutes. But that 5 minutes was 5 minutes too long for me!

In fact, I was waiting for Prof to say: "April fool!! Gotcha!"

BUT unfortunately he didn't. It seemed like a bad april's fool joke gone wrong, but it isn't. I am still trying to awake from this nightmare.

Naturally, I wanted to wait. I was glad hubs was with me coz I was numb from what he told me.

I really never thought that she would have to go on pamidronate infusions. Especially since we have been told that she probably has the mildest form of OI.

Anyway, I re-googled pamidronate infusions to refresh my memory on what I read previously. Some studies have shown that it can cause kidney failure. The patient needs to drink lots to prevent the kidney problems. He didn't mention that at all to me. That's another area of concern for me as D doesn't drink much especially when she's in school. (Read: fear of the school toilet!!)

The infusions also cause bone pains, as well as depletion of calcium in the body. Something which I really don't understand. Usually weak and brittle bones are caused by lack of calcium. We are trying to strengthen the bones, but the process of doing it results in there being less calcium? This lay person just can't make sense of it. Anyway, I still have time to read up and find out more. Or to present my questions at the next visit.

Meanwhile the worrying begins again. Have to again constantly remind her about the need to be extra careful and to prevent falls. Any falls could result in fractures!! The paranoia is upon all of us AGAIN! Sigh. Tell me what can I do to shield my baby from that pain? Where can I take her to escape all these? Can time heal my baby?

Meanwhile, the poor girl seems oblivious to it all. Still happy-go-lucky, not understanding most of what transpired during the review today. Ignorance is bliss. Maybe I should go stick my head in the sand! :'(