26 April 2011


At least my taste hasn't changed. Last week I made spinach fettuccine alfredo, followed by a night of shrimp risotto, followed by spaghetti the next night and, I believe we ended the streak with chicken parmesan because the potatoes were bad, so my idea of fried chicken and mashed potatoes took a turn like a Top Chef curve ball. We had steaks one night and lamb for Easter. The only American things I have not yet made are burgers (in the plan), pizza (in the plan) and fish. I have not yet learned how to take a whole fish, remove the skin and the bones and fillet it so that it looks pretty and edible. I have been watching You Tube videos and the expert Chef Tim Annabell himself will be giving me lessons over Skype, so we know this will be good. I wonder if I can record the session.

Yesterday we received notification that our shipping container is making its way across the world and should arrive in Singapore on May 1. Included in that shipment is our giant American bed, a giant dresser that will not fit into the same room as the giant bed and all of my favorite kitchen equipment - Rachael Ray cookware, Rachael Ray knives, a Keurig coffee machine, a frappucino machine, a Ninja blender, a food processor, a KitchenAid mixer, all of my spices and a whisk, which I miss dearly. It's going to be like Christmas in May!

Now that I have more time at home, I have been taking full advantage of the kitchen. I have made challah bread, two kinds of biscuits, banana bread and chocolate cake - all in the last week. The pancakes I made last week were stellar. I have been making lunch and dinner and sometimes breakfast as well. Those that know me know I love to eat and I love to cook, so this is turning out to be a good thing. When making banana bread yesterday, I realized that I had never made it before. I had eaten it numerous times when friends or family had made the bread, but this was my first attempt. And EEEWWW those bananas grossed me out! I hate mushy things and I am not a fan of bananas to begin with, so holding mushy overripe bananas and trying to peel them while they were mushy in my hands was just terrible. The two breads came out nicely, however. Paul, who likes bananas, took a bite of the bread yesterday when he returned from work but did not realize that he does not like bananas in things until the bread was in his mouth...and then in the trash. Awesome. I found it odd that he will eat bananas straight but not in the bread but, then again, I will only eat bananas if they are pulverized and baked into bread. I would never eat them by themselves or mashed up or even blended in a smoothie with strawberries. So I suppose we are weird.

We have not been surprised by a lot of the local food offerings. Surprisingly, the Chinese places in the U.S. have a great representation of the local fare. Funny enough, the places out here have the same crazy photos of the food plastered on the walls of the restaurants and the hawker stalls. We have come to find chicken rice, for which the country is known, as a safe dish no matter where on the island we may be. There are several variations of chicken rice - roasted, barbecue, lemon. After eating chicken rice nearly every day for a week, I was done. Once we moved into our condo, bought a fridge and some starter cooking equipment, I was ready to eat anything but chicken. I am good for anything in moderation but I certainly know my limit. 

There are a few things on the local menus that Paul and I do not understand. There is a language barrier, especially in the hawkers, so asking questions is not always in our best interest. We need to find a local friend who can interpret and explain exactly what some of this stuff is and then maybe we would be willing to try something new. Paul is quite disturbed that with all of these Chinese places around, they all lack delivery service like in the U.S. I can tell you that in Singapore, McDonald's will deliver with a minimum order of S$20. Get three or four people together and you're good. 

This week Paul will be on two trips, so I will be venturing into new some territories. I have heard about and have been reading about wet markets, so one morning this week I will get up extra early and hit one or two area markets. These wet markets offer the best in fresh produce, meats, fish and flowers, and many of the items are cheaper than one would find in any grocery. I will be sure to have a camera with me when I go. I learned that loyalty to vendors is very important, so selecting a vendor and being a repeat customer is imperative. Forming relationships ensures trust, good products and better pricing and also guarantees a friendly face each time one visits. 

I will also be joining an expatriate supper club and checking out the local library this week. The museums have free admissions on Sundays, so I will be downtown at the art museum this weekend. Sorry for taking a few days off. I will be better this week when reporting on Singapore from my perspective.

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