Tuesday, December 30, 2008


No real reason for this post. I just happened to be drinking and reading South African.

Last week, when we were doing the Christmas food shopping, L saw some cider and asked if I wanted to get some. I didn't at first, cider not being a Christmassy sort of drink like eggnog or mulled wine. But in the end, I got some because I hadn't had any since summer, and it brought back memories of a British holiday where I drank freshly drawn cider by the pints like it was juice.

It wasn't until I tore into the six-pack that I realised that this was from South Africa. It was the only cider in the supermarket, they didn't have anything British or Australian though they used to. There was a particularly cleverly named one called SydneyCider. I should have realised that anything called Savanna wasn't going to be from pommie country.

On top of that, the small print that wasn't seen through the six-pack outer wrapper warned that it contains sulphites. Well, it hasn't given me a headache so far. It tastes faintly beery. Yeasty. Or is it hops. That distinctive taste in beer. It's not at all like the fruity ciders of this summer past.

Maybe pairing it with JM Coetzee might make it go down better. Oh wait, Coetzee lives in Australia now, doesn't he? Could be Australian already. That's not going to help my chip-on-the-shoulder cider.

Monday, December 29, 2008

"Tak shiok"

I was playing the new Freddie Mercury-less Queen album, and after that, I had to put on Queen's Greatest Hits I & II.

"Tak shoik, right?" said L. "You listen to Queen but there's no Freddie so you had to play the old albums just to hear his voice."

He's got his finger on it. A term quite untranslatable if you don't speak Singlish. Shoik is usually used to describe yummy tasty food. Tak shoik would literally be not yummy but translating it like that just doesn't cut it.

No reviewer, not even anyone in Rolling Stone can come close to such a neat little description for the album: Nice but just tak shoik.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A sweet Christmas

I guess my friends -- and even my neighbours -- know what I like. And this doesn't include a stash that a colleague brought back from Italy -- a box of Italian Lindt and a thin bar of dark Tuscan chocolate packaged simply in anonymous brown paper but was outstandingly good, was never brought home, it was my supply at work.

I guess all this could last me till well into the New Year. Thanks, guys.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Christmas food post

The turkey turned out great. All these Christmasses, we've never done turkey because it seemed too much for just two people. For Christmas, it had always been steak, or prime rib, or duck.

This year, we found a small Butterball in the supermarket freezer and L said why not. It was the size of a big chicken and it can't be any harder to roast a turkey than a chicken.

The last time either one of us cooked turkey at Christmas, we were both students, and it was in our respective dorms where the fellow diners weren't fussy.

Well, this time round, the ones who were going to get most of the turkey -- after we were done with it -- weren't as fussy either. We froze a leg for the dogs and there's another good side of meat for them in another tupperware in the fridge to add to their kibble over the next few days.

They also had the giblets cooked up for them as we didn't use it for the gravy. We opted not to make gravy because I had some frozen cranberries in the freezer that I turned into a sauce. It turned out more jellylike than saucelike and I guess I now have cranberry jam for my toast the rest of the week!

On Christmas Eve, we had steak and L got the idea of doing the potatoes this way from Bill's Fare on TV. You slice them, mix in some cream and then put them into a muffin pan and into the oven for 30-40 minutes. They're supposed to come out muffin-like.

All the strips sticking out of the muffin pan is grease proof baking paper. You put two strips crosswise, then the potato slices on top of it, and the paper strips will serve as handles to help lift out the potato muffins later when they're done.

Only I think L must have forgotten something in the ingredients, something that will bind the potato slices together. Because when we lifted the potato muffins out, they didn't stay in shape but collapsed onto the plate into what seemed like scalloped potatoes. They taste nice and creamy though, just like scalloped potatoes, only with more crunchy edges.

Perhaps next time we'll put in some egg maybe, or a little Bisquik mix with the cream as a binding agent. Some grated cheese would be good too. I can see we're going to do this again, with a whole lot of different variations.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

And there was no room on the couch

Because They (and their toys) have taken it over.

And what are they getting this Christmas? More toys.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our very own droid

Is it just L and me or do the battle droids in the animated Star Wars instalment The Clone Wars bear an uncanny resemblance to a fox terrier? The gangly limbs right down to the elongated shape of its head? Years from now, some animation historian (look, you have art historians now who study the Old Masters; stands to reason in the next generation you'll have animation historians who study Star Wars) is going to discover that some graphic artist probably had a fox terrier when he was a boy or something.

The battle droids are the enemy but they're silly and hence, likable. They're comic relief and they're not that smart -- that part is definitely foxie.

Roop's kinda like them too, ready to respond to anything you want. Only thing is, his interpretation of what you want could be something else. And he's always the crack first response team whenever HRH not so much growls but clears her throat while staring out the window.

The battle droids respond to their orders with a nasal "roger, roger". And that's why L has been going round saying "roger, roger" to Roop, who leaps up, ready and game for anything.

That poor brainless blighter probably now thinks his name is Roger.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

OK, now we're truly ready for Christmas

Because we have an angel in place.

And what's Christmas without a reindeer?

With many thanks to Catswhiskers

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How far along did you say she was?

This is part of the Christmas tableaux display that stretches down the Orchard Road pedestrian mall. This one is the 'No Room at the Inn' scene. Mary doesn't look terribly preggers, does she?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ready for Christmas

We couldn't put up Christmas decorations until Sunday past -- the 49th day of my father-in-law's passing and the day that the rites and stuff were all over. Seeing that it was just 10 days till Christmas, it didn't seem worth the bother to put the tree up.

But that's not to say that we haven't got a tree of sorts. This tree-like thing started life as a Christmas hamper filled with goodies that was delivered to my office a few years ago. Probably a gift from a PR or contact, and as is company policy with gifts and hampers, it was auctioned off at the office Christmas party with the proceeds going to charity. Whoever bought the hamper then shared out the goodies and I got to take the "tree" home.

I strung up some Christmas lights on it, and most years, stood it in a corner of the room, well away from the real -- well, plastic -- real as in de facto Christmas tree. Because of the dogs, we don't leave the presents under the tree -- in fact, the tree has to elevated on an end table. And the tree-hamper became the repository for the presents. This year, it'll also be *the* tree.

Now, it's time to fill it. And I haven't done my Christmas shopping yet. I've been bad.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Little bitch

Queeni went for her quarterly post-cancer checkup on Saturday. It's all good. Instead of the usual three-month window for the next checkup, the vet says the next one can be in four to five months.

And just when HRH thought it was all over and she could stop shaking, Evil Dad left her in the groomer's next door. He went back to collect her two hours later and reported that he received the shrillest scolding of his life.

But that wasn't as devious as what she did to me. When they came in the door, she came straight at me, jumped on my lap and covered my face with licks.

"Don't kiss her," L said as he stepped in.

"Too late, she's kissed me. Why?"

"She sniffed poop downstairs when I peed her."

You gotta admit, that's a royal revenge.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Satisfying a craving

I've been hankering for Mongolian beef ever since a friend blogged about her midnight snack and included a really yummy picture of it. A few nights ago, when L asked if he could fetch me a snack as he headed to the kitchen, I asked him for Mongolian beef. And he thought he was going to be fetching me yogurt or fruit or something more easy.

So it stood to reason that when we went grocery shopping yesterday, I bought the ingredients of Mongolian beef. And that I fixed that for dinner last night. Her picture looks yummier than my version, though. But I did enjoy mine thoroughly.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Perfect timing


It's the long year-end school holidays here and the neighbourhood kids are restless. And the town council chooses now to ringfence the playground for works. Someone there is a planning genius, I tell you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yin and Yang

When the world is spinning and stupid things are happening at work, there's nothing like coming home and watching the furkids sleep.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's home

One of my colleagues found my missing cookie jar today. It was on a counter at the side of the room, almost hidden by a pile of newspapers, and far away from the food table where it was placed.

I'm so relieved. Now I can call off my crack SWAT team of Queeni and Rupert, whom I wishfully wanted to take with me to work today to sniff out the perpetrator and take a good bite out of him/her.

The jar's cute isn't it, the little guy dangling from the lid. An Alessi design. But what made me more upset at having thought it was swiped wasn't just that I would have lost a piece of designer homeware but that it has sentimental value, having been given to me by a friend. Who has gone on to give me several more unique designer homeware, including two pottery cups she made herself.

I don't think anyone meant to steal it, or at least I hope not. Perhaps someone was walking about with it, helping himself/herself to the cookies and then set it down in a corner and forgot about it. But as another colleague pointed out, that person had no right to do that since the cookies were communal food. Which made him/her still no less a dickhead.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Somebody just stole the Christmas spirit from me

Since I had more Christmas cookies than L and I could possibly eat, I decided to take some in to work today.

The big conference table in the middle of the newsroom doubles up as a food table, and people usually send out a message on the system when there's communal food left on it. I had included in my message that I want the cookie jar back. This is because, sometimes, people also take the food containers, especially if they're in pretty hampers given by hotels and PRs at this time of the year. For good measure, I also stuck a note on the jar: "Please return me to A when I'm empty."

You guessed it. Some prickhead took my cookie jar along with the last cookie. Yes, I just said a rude word. I called him/her even ruder names. You do something nice and somebody comes and broadside you with a nasty. I'm particularly upset because the cookie jar, an Alessi jar with a pink cover of a little cartoon guy hanging on the underside, was a present from a friend.

To be fair, most of my colleagues were aghast that the jar was taken, despite pleading messages asking for its return. Some walked around the room, helping me look for it. They're mostly nice people. Except for the one dick in the room.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas is coming

Only the Christmas cookies are in existence. The tree and decorations and the furkids' stockings aren't up yet. We're not supposed to celebrate anything until 49 days after my father-in-law's death. It's not exactly a mourning period, it was explained to me. The 49 days is the time he's taking on his last journey. That won't be till next weekend. I'm not quite sure.

So I probably won't put up the tree at all this year because it'll only be a week till Christmas by the time I'm "allowed" to put it up. But the furkids' stockings will certainly be up. Their stocking stuffers have already been bought. I've done all their Christmas shopping already but haven't started on the husband's. Typical.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's Neil Gaiman's fault that I was late for work today

I was reading on the train, and when it reached my station, I was at the cliffhanger finale near the end of the book. So I got off the train and sat on a bench at the platform and carried on reading until I finished the book.

I must have sat there 20, 30 minutes. At least transit security didn't think that I was loitering or behaving suspiciously. Whatever that means these days. Lugging or leaving behind a heavy bag.

Luckily, reading is light activity.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Furry help

Nothing like a little help with holding a book when you've got a pile to read.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Books now

“When I get a little money, I buy books. And if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” -- Erasmus

Because it takes me two months to finish a suitcase of books.