Thursday, March 30, 2006

yunnan food

went to try out a new Yunnan restaurant near our place. Yunnan cuisine is like in-between Thai or Vietnamese food and Chinese cuisine. It combined the spicy and sour tastes of Thai food and the stir-fry, steaming and braising techniques commonly used in Chinese cooking. they used many kinds of exotic fungus and mushrooms that were delicious. To me, Yunnan food is closest to Southeast Asian food. we even found tamarind juice as a drink. imagine drinking assam! it was quite pleasant and refreshing actually.
one must-try Yunnan specialty is Guoqiao Mixian or "Crossing the bridge" rice noodles. It's a simple but tasty dish. thin slices of chicken and fish is added to boiling hot broth, followed by many other ingredients like vegetables and rice noodles. the dish is kept hot by the clay pot.
we tried a dish that was similar to satay but minus our kind of satay sauce. thin pieces of meat marinated in chilli and garlic, skewered and grilled.
the claypot chicken soup was light and excellent. the soup was double-boiled in the pot which has a spout in the middle for the steam to come thru.
the plum sauce roast chicken was excellent. the chicken is marinated and served with an appetising plum sauce.
there's an interesting dessert dish from the Bai ethnic minority. thin sheets of cheese wrapping red bean paste and deep-fried. we thot the red bean tasted like red dates. it was a tad sweet but I like the cheese. some of the other dishes reminded me of Northeast Thai dishes. They even have stir-fried bamboo worms (moth larvae) and silkworm pupae. I will try these entomological dishes the next time!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

carrot cake

Sherry, Robina, Joyce and Ci Tong made carrot cake today! quite successful I must say.
they even pan-fried the carrot cake to make it more crispy.
they made so much that we have so much to bring home! yippee!

Monday, March 27, 2006

little helper

after the dancing, we went to Taipan for foot massage. while the adults were relaxing, Jovien practised her PR skills with the uncle and aunties there. she also picked up foot massage...

dance dance

went to Joyce and Boon Peng's place to play PS2. also tried Road Rage on Jeremy's PSP. eventually everyone had a go at the DDR.
Robina and Jeremy figuring out their co-ordination on the DDR mat.
Jovien also had a go at dancing! so cute!

nuff said...

had dimsum lunch at a Cantonese restaurant on Sunday. spotted in the washroom...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

big trouble

we returned home in the evening and discovered a trail of yarn from the front door to the bed room. Sally the guilty one sprinted for cover. anyway she is in deep deep trouble. Robina rolled up newspaper in prep for walloping Sally. Robina was furious at the thought that Sally had unravelled her knitting but actually Sally had just unrolled a ball of yarn. But Robina discovered that Sally had pushed open her wardrobe and stolen two pieces of her socks. Sally wallowed in abject patheticness and before long Robina didn't have the heart to scold her. Sally will probably be in her best behaviour for about 5 minutes.
crime scene. not much investigation needed.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

from the shores of Galilee to Golan Heights

As we drove up to northern Israel from Tel Aviv, we went pass many biblical sites (Israel is ONE big biblical site!) and reached Sea of Galilee. What stuck me the most was the practically tropical weather there, especially when there are mango and banana plantations. Maybe they should bring in rambutans and mangosteens?? Visited a kibbutz that housed the "Jesus boat" right on the shores of Galilee. Apart from us, there were pilgrims from Europe, US and even Indian and Chinese tourists. the globalised village! From there we went to Capernaum to see St Peter's house and church.

After Galilee we drove uphill towards Golan Heights. as a student of history, it was quite exciting for me to see the battlefied of 1973. As we visited the bunkers and memorials, I thot about how tough it was for the NS boys and soldiers on both sides.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Joyce's birthday

the girls celebrated Joyce's birthday. they went to le Confort (a fusion joint) for lunch. Sherry and Robina baked a cheese cake for Joyce. the recipe was quite simple with crushed biscuits as the base and philadelphia cheese.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

cooking for dinner

cooked a one-dish meal for dinner. chicken drumsticks and wings marinated in middle-eastern spices and paprika that I brought back recently. together with steak and sausages and assorted vegies.
carrots, onions, mushrooms tomatoes, baby potatoes, zuchini, fennel bulbs, garlics cloves and shallots.
Robina took out some beef and veggies in the delicious broth for Sally. enuff to last Sally for several meals.
as expected, Sally practically inhaled her dinner and licked a hole in her bowl.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

cats and dogs from Israel

I had many pleasant encounters with cats and dogs when travelling in Israel. Whether on the beach and markets in Tel Aviv; in Jaffa or even in Jerusalem. There are many dogs in Israel and evey evening I would meet many dogs being walked by their owners. But most of the time I would be busy admiring the dogs and forgot to whip out my camera.
The cats here looked slightly different from cats in Singapore. Their eyes seemed slightly closer and body more thickset.
spotted this lively one in Jaffa, she was mewing to our group. probably expecting a handout. She looks a bit like Xylo...
this dog was very cute. he was waiting for the master quietly in a diner where we were having dinner.

good indian food!

Robina had a craving for indian food. so we tried this indian restaurant, Taj Pavilion, near to our apartment at China World West wing. the food was excellent! unlike many tandoori dishs, the Reshmi Kebab chicken was tender and juicy, marinated in mild spices.
the vegetable dish Makhani was delicious in yogurt and tomato based sauce.
briyani rice was great with saffron and tumeric spices.
overall the food was great and not too pricy unlike some other indian joints in Beijing. we told another couple about this place and ended there for dinner with our frens. hope we didn't OD on indian food!

DDR workout

the girls bought a DDR dance mat and tried it out at Joyce's place (she has a PS2). they had a good workout with Dance Dance Revolution...

Monday, March 06, 2006

walking in ancient footsteps

I just returned from a tour of the Holy Land. it was not long before it hit me that I was driving past and walking on the very ground of biblical and recent history. the tour guide went on: "this hill over there was where Prophet Elijah put the canaanite priests to the sword". not surpisingly, I took hundreds of pictures and will load them after sorting thru them. here's some snippets for a start.
this green door is the cell of Ethiopian monks. their small church and monastery was actually on the roof of the Church of Holy Sepulchre! As a free-thinker (or agnostic at best), I was still struck by the deep sense of intertwined spritualism that seemed to permeate the ancient walls and cobblestones of this city.
replica of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Tristam's Starling at the Masada citadel. this bird is endemic to the region. Jewish zealots held out in this hill top fortification against the Romans; when the outer wall was breached, the defenders killed their wives and children rather than to let them face slavery and later committed suicide.
bunkers and trenchs on the Har Ben Tal Observation Point on the Golan Heights, with the snow-capped Mt Hermon in the background. Now a tourist spot, the OP overlooks the "Valley of Tears" down which Syrian tanks rumbled down during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Even now mines field covered the landscape as were beautiful wild flowers.
a friendly guy from the Swarma (or kebabs) shop. stuffed full of fresh veggies, hummus (chick pea paste) and tahina (sesame paste) and delicious tender chicken, shwarma (and falafel) is a staple street food in Israel.
the shiok beach and rolling waves on the Tel Aviv beach front. many dogs roam the beach together with their human companions. after years of watching news footage of suicide bombers, I felt safer on the streets of Tel Aviv than in LA! after my failure to find a Palestinian kaffiyeh (the black and white checked arab scarf), I realised that I probably had to cross over to the PA (Palestinian Authority not Peoples' Association). later I saw kaffiyehs being sold at the arab quarter in Jerusalem but these were probably tourist traps. should have bought one off the camel herder!

Alvin's spiel

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