Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Esquina

The search for a decent tapas bar ends at this lil joint down at Jian Siak Lane.

Esquina, the brainchild of a local hotelier and Jason Atherton, has an open kitchen concept where 19 seats around the bar counter can see the chefs whip up their magic. (Don't worry it was all very calm) It is as close as you can get to a Spanish experience of pintxos in Barcelonaz

We had to wait for a lil bit when we got there late on a Friday night. But no matter, the hostess quickly popped our name on the list whilst we snacked on jamon and some wine.

Everything that was served up that evening was just delicious. It is a second home run, after our experience at Luke's.

As usual, we over ordered. Plenty to share between us two. There was plenty of favorites but the one that stood out was the baked bone marrow with snail pesto. It was delish!! Not the kind of soft mushy marrow that I'd anticipated.

Sitting at the bar means that you get the first hand kitchen action on how your dishes are prepared.

We find that it's a similar concept to Chef Carles Abellan's Tapas 24 - which we LOVED - in Barcelona. Simple ingredients that are cooked to perfection and not overcrowded with too many flavours.

A really good night out, indeed.

We will defnitely be back. Sooner, than later.

Esquina Tapas Bar
16 Jiak Chuan Lane
Singapore 089267
No Reservations Taken.


Oysters with Vietnamese Vinagarette

Iberico Pork and Foie Gras Burger
Baked Bone Marrow with Snails Pesto
Steak with Chimmichurri dressing
Tuna Tartare
Olive Sorbet with Strawberry Gazpacho

Monday, February 27, 2012

Down at the Coast


Nothing beats a balmy arvo, sitting on an old schooled marble table set under the trees watching the kids playing in the sand pit.

The gal friends were planning to bring the doggies out, but alas, the weather was erratic enough to warrant a stop to that. Poor kiddos were terribly disappointed.

Fortunately, there were plenty of outdoor space at the Coastal Settlement, where the kids could sit on swings and run around.

The adults were loving drinks under the trees. Whilst we were busy chatting, lil K was busy summoning one playmate at a time to amuse her. =)

All in all, a very lovely way to spend our Sunday. In fact, my girlfriend deemed it a perfect hangout place.

My only gripe. Why so far???

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kate - 28.5 months.

And just like that, my little gal is all of 28.5 months.

It is a charming stage. She speaks of things that she sees, do and heard in full sentences, no less. These days she sings songs that she's learnt from school and church. It comes in bits and tatters and we have to make out what she is singing but it's very cute nonetheless.

All engrossed in the IPad at The Plain.
Some mornings she gets up in time to go for the school run. And she comes along for the ride. We'll take her along for breakfast and she loves her solo time with mum and dad.

I've started her on Chinese classes because nobody and I mean nobody in this household speaks much mandarin around here. Sigh. And to think that Daddy is from Chinese High. *hangs head*


Her teachers all adore her. My sister calls her the lil celebrity in school because the minute she steps in, everyone greets her by name. That said, she's settled really well in school. It has come to the point where I can actually drop her off at the doorstep and a teacher or school attendant would walk her in.

She is by far the most independent child I have at this age. She's happy to go on playdates at her cousins' place without me around. And to think that I was all worried about how clingy she would be when school was about to start.

But this little one is probably the fiestiest kid I ever had. Her tantrums can amount to 30 minutes on the floor and wails so loud that perhaps my neighbour can hear. What the gal wants is what the gal will try to get. It is tough saying no to her at this stage but we are slowly and surely teaching the difference between right from wrong.



What can I say? I love this tyke. It's always amazing what she comes out with every single day and I can't wait to see her grow.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I am (NO) Super mom

I am having what I define - Enrichment Fatique.

All that running around for the after school classes has left me feeling rather ill last week. So much so that I had to call off their swimming lessons on Sunday because we *just* needed that morning to sleep and do nothing.

3 kids is work. No kidding.

3 school going kids is just more work.

Whilst I love that the kids have a varied exposure to different aspects of life in their childhood, I must admit that being the sole parent who ferries, follows up on school work + enrichment work, reading, cooking and discipling for every weekday. Each day runs a pretty packed schedule from the time the alarm clocks rings.

Just tonight, the husband and I had a disagreement on whether the boy should sit for his violin grading exam. After noticing that I am having a hard time with his practice sessions at home and his reluctance to keep refining his pieces, it was clear that he wasn't having a great time with his lessons.

However, with a month to go, and all the scales and pieces learnt, I find that it's a shame to just call it a day. The husband, on the other hand, thinks that it's just too much pressure for the boy to cope.

I'd mentioned that kids need to learn the value of hard work. Not everything in life is fun or easy. The reason he has been scoring pretty well in school, is because I have been working really hard with him in his studies. Surely the gratification of getting perfect scores doesn't come from being fun or smart, it's consistent work at home and in school.

Needless to say, we agree to disagree.

I don't think parenting gets any easier as the kids get older. Every stage of our children's life presents different propositions.

I'm not the kind of mother that worries what the future brings. I'm more concerned about what my kids can bring to their future. It's all about the right attitude to coping with the different things in life.

In my books, it's never about perfect scoring. It's about the earnestness to want to be better. And to be kind and helpful in society and family.

My take is work hard and work smart. Nothing comes easy without putting in the effort. Also, be street smart. What's the point of being academic but yet not cope in a social environment.

Thankfully, the kids never had an issue socializing with new crowds and they love making new friends.

All I need to do is to balance the scales of play, work and free time for these kids and me.

So, my prayer tonight is just simply for the Lord to give me strength and a whole ton of patience to be a better momma for another day.

Cousins Catch Up


If there's something I'm always thankful for, it's my cousins.

We grew up running around the void decks in Ang Mo Kio and terrorizing the playgrounds near their home. When they moved to the states, we used to write letters to each other all the time. Ever since we were young, we've always had each other's backs and it still holds true even till today.

So since A was back in town for a short trip, we'd make the most of that and caught up over high tea today.

I love time with the girls. There is always much to talk about. Especially with the eccentric family that we share. Gosh! You won't want to hear some of the stories. =)

Sometimes I wish the distance is smaller between us all because, man, catching up every two years is just not enough at all.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Luke's Oyster Bar and Chop House

D and I love celebrating anniversaries.

It is a great excuse for us to head out and try new bistros and restaurantss. Eating, being one of our biggest of loves. =p

So to avoid the googily eyed peeps with big bunches of flowers, we opted for dinner on the eve of Valentine's.

He left it up to me, as usual. And so I booked us a table at Luke's Oyster Bar and Chop House.

Located at the corner of Gemmill Street, it has been the talk of the town amongst the foodies blogs. So I thought we HAVE to try it out. The husband, being the lovely person he is, obliged.

And what a brilliant choice it was.

We loved everything that was served. The term 'modern american' is used to define the food served here. I wasn't sure what to expect but my palate was just going wow every time a plate was placed in front of me.


For starters, we opted for half a dozen of oysters. We picked three kinds out of six offered, I think. And they came sitting pretty on a bed of ice with a toothpick indicating the breed that we chose. They were fresh and very luscious. D and I slurped those babies up prety quickly.

Along with that was the pork belly and watermelon sticks. OMG! D lurved it so much, he ate the 2 outta the 3 and didnt even asked if I wanted the last stick before gulping it down. =)  The pork belly was grilled with a teriyaki - styled dressing with sesame seeds and its juxtaposition with the light taste of watermelon makes it so mouthwatering.


For our mains, we ordered the black pepper coated tenderloin and crab cakes. The steak was grilled to perfection with a charred exterior and stilll pink in the middle, retaining the medium rare goodness. It was so good, I finished it before touching my crab cakes

The crab cakes had stunning reviews online. It was chockful of crab meat and its accompanying mustard sauce was just so creamy and tarty, complementing the mouthfuls of lightness of the crab meat.

For sides, we had the lobster mac and cheese and the rosti.

We adore Mac and cheese. And this came with half a lobster on top with a sprinking of cracked crackers. It was soooo yummy. D loved the rosti which had cream cheese in the middle. It was just thoughtful little surprises that D really liked.
We each got a dessert to close the night off. He opted for the chocolate brownie, which was just chocked full of chocolate goodness. It even had pops of marshmellows that just melts in your mouth. My favourite part was the peanut butter ice cream which was just drool worthy. It was very addictive.

I chose the key lime pie. A deconstructed pie with the key lime filling at the bottom and digestive biscuit crumbs in the middle, topped with sweet cream. It was tardy and sweet at the same time. Superbly yummy.

The husband was very happy with the meal. We sat and talked, people watched and just lapped up the good food. The service was attentive and brisk. We liked that. It's what separate a good restaurant from the rest of the pack

Great times. I think we will be back again. This time round, with our bunch of friends.

Luke's Oyster Bar and Chop House
20 Gemmill Lane
Singapore
Tel: +65 6221 4468

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's



It is our tenth Valentine's Day.

Can you imagine?

Thankfully, through busy work and kids rearing, our love story continues in dates and laughter. He still whispers silly random stuff into my ears and make me burst out in silly giggles.

As time goes by, I am grateful for the little things in life that I am blessed with.

Whilst there were no big bunches of flowers or cards filled with heartfilled words. He took the time to get off early from work so that we can go for a dinner date on the eve of VDay.

It is the little actions that makes my heart flutter.

And I got a lil bling too! =) He does spoil me so.

Happy Valentine's, everyone!!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bordeaux - A Back Post

D and I are planning our annual getaway and this time round I think we are headed towards the land of bufala and ancient ruins.

So I was looking back our trip to Spain last year and realised that I had stopped at the vineyards in Bordeaux.

It was a day trip to the south of France and we lapped up the gorgeous scenery and wines of the St Emilion region.

Whilst there, we visited the old monastry town and did the vineyards tour. It was  *hick* a fantastic day. Lovely weather. Delicious wines. French cuisine We had quite a bit of fun that day.

Now... take me back there right now!!

St Emilion Town
Wine Tour @ Chateau Soutard

Happy husband with his loot

Hanging out at the old monastry town

Zucchini Pancakes


These zucchini pancakes are a gem. They are very similar to the corn fritters but it's centered around zucchini. It's chocked full of veges and the kids lapped them up so I guess it's a win win situation for everyone. =)

Here's the recipe for the ladies asking for them.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

3 Zucchini, medium sized
1 Potato, peeled
Salt
2 large eggs (The original recipe asked for 1 egg, but it was not enough to coat the mixture)
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper
Breadcrumbs

Steps
  1. Grate the zucchini and potato using the biggest holes in your grater. Salt generously. Leave it in the colander to drain for at least 30 minutes. (I just squeezed the grated zucchinis with my hands in batches.) The pancakes hold together better if you drain out as much moisture as possble.
  2. In a bowl, beat the egg, parsley, and lemon zest. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Combine the zucchini and potato mixture with the egg mixture. Stir well.
  4. Add breadcrumbs to make the texture firmer.
  5. Heat up a frying pan. Add a tablespoon of oil and then put in the butter. (It tastes better cooked in butter.)
  6. Drop tablespoons of batter into the pan. Flatten them out as much as possible so that they will be crispier.
  7. Serve as they come out. And I serve them with mayonaise mixed with lemon juice. =)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

All Vegged Out

One of my favourite things to do is to peruse cookbooks in my free time.

I was at the library the other day and picked up the Food52 Cook Book. It consists of recipes from a whole horde of food bloggers and what a treat it was to flip through the pages of the book.

I'd picked out a few recipes and gave them a shot last night during dinner. And it turned out quite delicious. I loved two out of the three recipes and my kids slurped up dinner so I guess it must be yummy.

My favourite was the minestrone soup. The soup was just so full of flavours and it has all the vegetables in there that the kids actually ate. The kids and the husband loved the zucchini pancakes. It was gobbled up in minutes.

Here's what we had on the table last night! Recipes to follow.
Zucchini Pancakes

Minestrone with Parmasean and Pesto
Daddy's Carbonara

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Friends @ FFT

Met up with James before he went back to MEL at Food for Thought. And had a good catchup with him, a few friends and cuddled the cutest baby ever, Lil C. He's such a smiley lil chubs. CUTE!!!

Our kids abandoned us for a playdate so we had to trot over to meet the peeps ourselves. Ha! Never thought this day would come. Lil K even went, 'Bye Mummy.'

I guess we have little teenagers in the house already. =)




Monday, February 06, 2012

A Break

What I was not looking forward to when K started Primary 1 was the fact that I couldn't plan holidays during the off peak season. (which I really enjoy.)

So, this time round, I got my act together and booked tickets early enough for the impending school holidays.

We decided that ten weeks of early mornings warranted a beach holiday so I've booked us all on a flight out to our favourite island, Bali. Kayden was so excited that he was punching his fist in the air with joy when I told him the tickets were booked.

Can't wait to see the beach. Sip some martinis. And just chill at the villa. Bliss.

Six Weeks. Counting down.
Beach at Ku De Ta

The corner shop

When K was just a lil bub

CNY Day 2 - Kampung Days

Day two sees us taking a road trip up to a kampung 30 minutes near Melaka Town.

The husband's paternal side of the family lives there and we visit twice or thrice a year. CNY is a good time for the kids to play with fire crackers and the husband's really keen for them to experience that kind of celebration in their childhood.

 The traffic was just horrid both directions but thankfully we made it out in one piece, albeit late for bed time.

One of the highlights for us is always the big old house. It's something you can't really find in SG anymore so it's a visual treat for both the kids and us whenever we visit. The tiles. The traditional kitchen with the wooden cabinets. You can't get these anymore these days.


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