BBQ at the balcony

Well, first of all, if you are our neighbours, I am deeply apologetic. If the smell of kerosene and the smoke got to you, I am so sorry.

You see, when we first got east end, one of the things that we said we would do was to set up a charcoal grill at the balcony and have yakitori. Five months after we have moved into east end, we finally blew the dust off the disposable grill that we had bought and made ourselves a barbecue meal.

Oh, it was great! The fire was a little to strong for my liking initially, due to the kerosene, but it finally burnt out, leaving behind a box of charcoal simmering in heat. I marinated the chicken and prawns in a concoction of olive oil, paprika, salt, freshly ground black pepper, fresh rosemary leaves, fresh sage leaves and Worcestershire sauce.

And to make it a truly authentic yakitori meal, I made teriyaki sauce from scratch, thanks to a recipe from Everyday Harumi. You cannot believe how easy it was to make the sauce! All it took was 100ml of mirin, 100ml of soy sauce and 4 tablespoons of caster sugar (although I do think the sugar can be reduced by half a tablespoon). That’s it. And as it gently reduced, the sauce thickened to a aromatic, gooey mess which we enjoyed very much.

Teriyaki sauce gently simmering in the pan

What we had: Skewers of chicken meat, chicken wings and prawns; limes; teriyaki sauce; disposable grill and basting

Husband lighting up the grill

Kerosene burning

Food sizzling


Quad the fun

Husband bought the Quad Camera app for Ingrid iPhone recently and I love it! I’ve been playing with it and it’s just heaps of fun.

Leaving you with two (or is it eight?) photos that we shot with it last weekend while I decide if I should get a $450 mouthguard to protect my teeth (the dentist says that I am grinding my teeth in my sleep to the point where my incisors are no longer sharp. Sad.).

I said to husband, Move! And he did.

Slurping up a yummy mango lassi at Island Cafe. I love my new hairband!


Happy meal #9: Meal for one deux

I am the first to admit that I am no natural cook. Unlike my chef of a mama, I cannot cook meals for my (tiny) family with not much planning. I am simply not the sort of person to look at the ingredients that I have and then go, Right, so I will cook this now, or This herb brings out the flavours of this condiment. Right now, I need recipes to guide me along and help me to put together a dinner for our cosy twosome.

One of my favourite acquisitions is actually Nigella Express. I know, many people scoff at her because she has a tendency to use packaged food and pastes to cook. But after watching her TV series of the same name, I find that Nigella makes cooking look a lot easier and some of her shortcuts actually make a lot of sense. Her ingredients are not exotic, her methods are definitely not complicated and it’s perfect for a newbie like myself. It helps, too, that she is easy on the eye, heh.

The mirin-glazed salmon that I made for dinner the other day was simply perfect. I love how the sweetness of the mirin and the brown sugar combined with the salmon. Best of all, this took no effort at all and cooked in a jiffy. Sometimes her recipes aren’t exactly the healthiest but all you need to do is to make a few adjustments here and there. In this case, I used less soya sauce and less brown sugar and it still tasted great.

It looks nothing like her photo, unfortunately, but the charred skin still looks sort of enticing, no?



I’ve decided not to upgrade my Canon 400D. For a while now, I have been contemplating selling the 400D and getting the 500D but there is no justification for it, except that it’s gadget lust. I am happy with the 400D, it is working perfectly fine and there really is no reason for me to get a new body just because of the HD video recording function. And if I were really to upgrade, it would make more sense to move on to a 40D or 50D but at the moment, finances are not permitting.

What I would really like is a new lens – the kit lens and its limitations are beginning to get on my nerves. Maybe a 17-50mm with a fixed f2.8…that would be perfect for the Tokyo trip!

On a sadder note, my entire roll of film in the Holga did not develop, probably because I did not load it properly. I was majorly sad because there were some good pix in the roll but I guess it’s my own fault. Never mind, a new roll of film is now sitting in the boxy black body and hopefully, I will be diligent with my shooting and have something to show for it soon.

Next on the list is a Polaroid OneStep. The film is terribly expensive ($40 per box of 10) but I do love the vintage babies! I’ve always wanted a chalkboard wall with Polaroids stuck on it but it didn’t happen with east end. Maybe next time!

Foodnotes, The organised chaos

Savouring the weekend

This weekend has passed us by so quickly!

We had to attend the wake of husband’s aunt and that took up half the Saturday. During the cremation, I suddenly had a series of epiphanies, which definitely warrants another post. After cleaning the house, we decided to head to Kallang Leisure Park to catch a movie: G.I. Joe – all because the other movies that I wanted to catch were sold out. All I can say is, leave your brains at the door. This is a movie where the loud bangs and crashes are more interesting than the plot. I’m kidding, there was really no plot.

We’re off to the gym at Fusionopolis in a bit – for a swim and some activity to burn off that decadent lunch. No pictures, we were starving. But it was GOOD (anything that calls for white wine in the recipe is GOOD in my books) and it was EASY to make.

Leaving you with pictures of the hearty meal that we had at Colbar last week. Hope your weekend is awesome!


Nutella goodness

One weekend, I woke up with a burning desire to bake. So I did.

Thanks to the tools that we had bought at Pantry Magic at Chip Bee Garden (I love, love, love that place!), I had everything I needed to make nutella cupcakes. Rather than pay through the nose for a teeny tiny cupcake from Marmalade Pantry, I could jolly well whip up some on my own, couldn’t I?

The search began, as it always does, on Google. It led me to Nicole’s website Baking Bites, which had an adapted Donna Hay recipe. It was extremely simple to make and since I wasn’t doing anything on a Saturday morning, I unpacked my baking tools and started the quest.

In the end, we had about 30 cupcakes. The recipe called for 140g of unsalted butter but the standard block of butter in the supermarkets is about 225g. I decided to finish up the butter and make two batches of cupcakes instead. They turned out to be pretty scrumptious! Both Mr Thick and I love nutella and it was heaps of fun swirling the nutella into the dough. Plus, the house smelled so lovely as the fragrance of the vanilla and chocolate wafted through the air – that always puts me in a good mood.

We delivered some to friends and family members the same day and the feedback was pretty positive. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Two of Us

Married life #4: Huh?

Last week, I was really annoyed with husband. We didn’t quarrel (we don’t tend to quarrel) but it was a miscommunication problem. After that, I didn’t speak to him for several days because I was SO upset.

On Friday, I was tearing my hair out in office editing some documents when my receptionist rang and said excitedly, “Is it your birthday today? There’s something for you!”

It was a ginormous bouquet of 11 lilies (half of which were gorgeous stargazer lilies, which I had carried during the wedding) and with some very sweet words written on the card, delivered on the 11th month anniversary of our marriage.

But I was still miffed.

Later in the evening, he picked me up after a paintball session with his colleagues and took me to dinner at The Universal, a lovely quiet restaurant perched on top of Duxton Hill. It was quiet and cosy and very, very intimate. So the sweet dear looked into my eyes and asked sadly, Are you still mad? I rolled my eyes in reply. He then asked, But why are you mad?

That did it.

I burst out laughing and didn’t stop till minutes later. Poor husband. He didn’t know what to do and stared at me, bewildered. I could not believe that he did not know what had gotten my goat. Funnier still, he had done all these lovely things for me without realising why he had to do them. Aww, bless him, I so adore him.

Men are dense, I get that, but this was just too hilarious. After wiping my tears (of mirth) from my eyes, I explained to husband why I was mad. The miscommunication was cleared up and we talked and shared our points of view.

After the dinner, he took me to watch Up (AWESOME film!) and started snoring gently by my side towards the end.

Ah, men.

Arts & Entertainment

Summer Rain

Hands up if you remember who Belinda Carlisle is.

When I was a kiddo in Primary School, I loved Belinda Carlisle. That was the period when I discovered pop music and would glue my ear to the radio, blasting 98.7FM (yes, the very station that I abhor now, almost 20, gasps, years later). I had no money to buy cassette tapes (remember those plastic things that had black tape wound around it? And which would supposedly play Satanic music if you flip the tape the other way round?) and could only rely on the radio for my music fix.

Every night, I would plant myself next to the radio with a blank tape in the recording mode. Now, the next maneuver requires agility and speed. Once a song that I like is played, my fingers would jump to that red button and press it instantly. Continue doing this for a few nights in a row and voila! A mix tape is born.

One of the songs that made it to my amateur mix tape was Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a place on Earth. Even saying the name of the song out loud gives me goosebumps. It was the perfect song for an imaginative 12-year-old trying desperately to be cool. My friends and I even choreographed a dance around that song for a school performance. I mean, how hip were we?

That song was my first step onto the road of infatuation for Belinda Carlisle’s music. She had red hair, a great voice and she sang cool songs.

Imagine, to my surprise, years later, I am lying down on the bench in the Sista’s BodyPump class in the gym and Summer Rain starts playing. An almost exotic song, my toes start tapping and I am singing along to the opening verse and chorus, surprising myself. The singing and tapping doesn’t last long though – it is only a matter of minutes before I succumb to the intense muscular fatigue and eventually flop off the bench unceremoniously with no feeling in my arms. That song is a toughie. And I love it.

I will leave you now to your own nostalgia and a couple of Belinda Carlisle songs that I still love, even after all these years (check out the retro outfits!). A good song is a good song, time will not erode its beauty.

Summer Rain

I Get Weak

Heaven is a Place on Earth

The organised chaos

The art of regret

I have had much to think about for the past few weeks, which explains the radio silence. Inky thoughts swirling in my head, breaking through the surface once in a while.

Do you regret anything in your life? A lost love, a missed opportunity, a sad goodbye, anything?

I do, although I know that it’s really pointless and a waste of my time to regret. The energy that I deploy to think about the past and what could have been can be put to better use. But me being me, an emo baby way past her angsty youth, I sometimes wander about the what-could-have-beens.

For instance, could my stint at Ass Pee Hedge have been longer and happier if I had changed my attitude or if I had a better editor? If I had reined in my jaded feelings, could I have been a better writer? If I had not thought of it as my life, my dream job, could I have accepted anything less?

Another regret of mine is how I lingered over failed romances that were clearly past their expiry dates. I was excellent at pining over those who had wrung the life out of me, and who subsequently left me alone to pick up the pieces. I was terrible at mending myself, hopeless at moving on. I wish I had the strength and tenacity to admit that it was over and face the world bravely again.

Is there anything that you regret about yourself, your life, your past?