Tuesday, June 30, 2009

286. Movie : Duplicity


First of all, thanks to OMY for the invitation to the sneak preview of Duplicity, starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. It’s great that I could get to watch the movie before the cinema release.

I was completely thrown into the cinematic techniques the moment the movie started. A master shot which showed the massive structure and fortune of the two rival multinational companies at the hangar coupled with slow motion effect made my curiosity rose. Have you ever seen CEOs in a fight? The fight meant something.

The split screen technique appeared a few times in the movie, whereby the screen was split into fours, simultaneous actions happened in the windows. I was confused and my eyes were busy. Settings in places like London, Rome and New York made Julia and Clive appeared to be working on something big and complicated.

Julia and Clive were each serving a different lord but all because of the affection they have for each other, they decided to work together to get hold of the formula of a product that the two companies were fighting for. Both of them have a talent, duplicity. It really amused me when they actually came up with a script to act like pretending not to know each other. Transitions in time showcased the plot Julia and Clive have been hatching all the while.

Things worked out perfectly for them but trusting each other was hard as they doubted each other. They were afraid to be deceived. The beautiful picture was ruptured. Reality is grim. There was an unexpected double agent. Julia and Clive’s underground affair exposed, their plan burned and they have been plotted. They have never thought that in the end, they have been double-dealt. The loser had a great fall. The winner emerged. There are others who have the same talent. Julia and Clive lost their wits to L-O-V-E.

It’s a movie which has a few humor scenes. It portrayed the unscrupulous handling of the companies in order to win and the emotional obstacles like love which will cause failure in a corporate war.

Monday, June 29, 2009

285. Joy Garden Restaurant

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Joy Garden comes under the Qian Xi group of restaurants. It is located in the new Jurong Safra Club. It's very spacious. Being a weekday night, the whole place serving only 2 tables seemed pathetic. Luckily....

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Roasted Pork @$9.50

It is on their daily menu, not just for dim sum and I wondered how fresh it is. The skin was very crispy. A tad too fat but it went well with the wasabi mustard.

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Fried Beancurd with Chili Sauce @$9

Self-made beancurd has had fillings in it. The sauce was separately served in a bowl. But it was not just sauce, minced pork was added in the sauce. This way of serving is quite good as the fried tofu still preserves the crispyness while it was on the way to the serving table and not turned-soggy if the sauce was drizzled before served. It was not oil-ladened. Unfortunately, I only find the taste mediocre. Didn't wow me. A dispensable dish.

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Roasted Chicken (half) @$18

Roasted chicken was decent. Meat was not dry nor was it juicy. It was considered good but still I repeat, the best I had was at Boon Lay Raja.

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Chinese Spinach with Eggs @$12.80

Eggs - century egg, salted egg and egg. I find Joy Garden's the best amongst those (Atlantis, Ah-Yat) I have tasted. A generous serving of eggs was added. I liked it.

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Steamed Cod Fish with Bean Sauce @$18.80

Black pepper corns were added and hey they are not spicy! It only has a mild black pepper taste. I find them a nuisance. Firstly, I felt they didn't enhance the taste of this dish. Secondly, when I bit on them, it gave a false felt like an accidental bite into plastic. I personally felt they should not have put in the pepper corns.

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Fried Ee-fu Noodles @$10

Simple as it looked, I applauded for this simple dish. The noodles were done 'al-dente' ? It was tangy. Wow, I thought. Most of the time when I have my ee-fu noodles, they were either too soggy, too oily or they were tasteless. The fried ee-fu noodles here was delicious!

.....the service was good and prompt. Food was comforting and price was reasonable. I find the food variety very limited. For my case, I will most probably grow sick of this place after 2-3 times because of the limited choice of food.

Total bill worked out to be about $102 for 5 pax. Safra card members get a 10% discount.

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Joy Garden Restaura
Safra Jurong
333 Boon Lay Way
Tel: 6316 9595

284. Al Azhar Eating Restaurant

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This chain of restaurants along Cheong Chin Nam road, most of them operate on 24-hrs. One of which, Al-Azhar. I have been there many times but this is the first time I blogged an entry on it. I'm awed by their management. The waiters used PDAs! The occupancy of tables was also system controlled. One glance at the LCD, you will know where the available tables are. So cool, I thought. Business must have been too good for them.
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Lychee drink @$1.50
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Teh @$1.50
I think it's teh ka dai (more sugar). I preferred my teh siu dai (less sugar).
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Masala @$6
Very shiok! Spicy and mild sourness. Eat it with naan and it's mama-mia!
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Tissue Prata (chocolate) @$3
I simply loved the hershey chocolate syrup with the tissue prata. Some days I would go for tissue prata because they are not greasy like the normal prata. And.....they satisfied my sweet cravings.
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Pattaya @$4
Comments reserved.
Al-Azhar has an extensive menu - choose from Western, Indian to Malay foods. I think it is a good choice for supper for the area is a night bustling food hunting ground. Food was decent but don't except quality food. I felt they are more of comfort food which don't cost much.

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Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant
11/11A Cheong Chin Nam Road
Tel: 6466 5052

283. Homemade Peach Gelee

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Needed something chilled. It happened that there were peaches and also Choya in the house, so I made some peach gelee over the weekend.

  1. Cut the peach and arrange it like a rose.
  2. Boil the powder gelatin and add sugar to taste.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of Choya Honey to the glass/ramekin.
  4. Pour the gelatin into the glass slowly so as not to spoil the rose arrangement.
  5. Cool and then refridgerate for a few hours.
  6. Ready to serve.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

282. Forrest @Orchidville

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We drove on the meandering road, unaware of what lies at the other end of this road. Curiousity struck us to embark on an adventurous trail along this road. A continual of 10 mins didn't bring us anywhere. We were still on the meandering road. How fearful would one be if he is abandoned here. The colourful neon lights were our amulet. We are not on the LAND OF THE LOST.
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Our Miss Joaquim is clearly remembered but how many of us remember there exists an orchid ville in the desolated part of Mandai?
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Forrest @Orchidville is the place we were invited to. For the food, not the flora. I would describe it as a solitary home in the woods. 'Home' for the many foreign employees, mostly Chinese nationals, working in the orchid ville in the day and as waiters or waitresses in the night.

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Diners can bask in the artificial nature ambience while enjoying their dinner. The surroundings is dim with the twigs and branches intercepting the lights.

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Braised peanuts and something different, one of our Korean pan chan (side dish), marinated zuccini.
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Majestic Forrest Platter

The cold platter. The usual stuffs.
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Braised Superior Shark's Fins

First of all, I'm not a conservationist. Every minute I'm consuming the bowl of shark's fins before me, a large number of sharks are killed. Unfortunately, it also means forgoing this bowl of shark's fins is not going to reverse the grim reality. I guess more efforts have to be put in to advocate rights to save these man-eaters from extinction. The amount of human consumption of shark's fins is just too large.

I stand on neutral ground. How superior is this grade of fins? I do not have an exact idea. But from the texture, one roughly knows. I would not say this one here is of a very superior grade but it's a can-do and if this is so, I would rather this shark not be killed for its pathetic dorsal fins. The bowl of shark's fins was basically just a slab of fin immersed in a bowl of starch. Go Green?
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Poached Fresh Prawns

Forgive me for being a tad over critical on this part. I'm being skeptical on the word 'fresh'. The majority of the prawns we could get in the market are from kelongs, i.e. they were reared. Feed them hormones-boost foods and the production boosted. How to define fresh? Hauled from the rearing ground in the sea? Yes, they are fresh but......

I do not have a liking for reared prawns. Not sure if you have noticed, these reared prawns have a soiled taste. If you have eaten prawns caught from the sea where fishermen spread their nets, you can immediately taste the difference. Maybe I was a little disturbed by the taste of the prawn, I felt the herbal content wasn't so evident.
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Forrest Famous Pork Knuckle - German Fusion Style

This was thumbs-up. Pork knuckle was crispy fried on the exterior. Yet, the meat was still moist and tender. The moisture was not lost in the process of deep-frying. Done almost like our Peking duck, we had the pork in place of the duck, lettuce in place of rice dough wrap, minced garlic in place of spring onions and the plum sauce in place of oyster sauce. I think it is not so common nowadays to find pork knuckle, the German style, on the menu. Braised pork knuckle is more common. IMG_9619-1 (Small)
Steamed garoupa in Hong Kong style
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'Gui Fei Abalone' with season vegetables with scallop

This is the name for the dish as stated on the menu. Weird, I thought and what's the 'gui fei abalone'? It was sliced slightly thicker than the usual abalone slices. The texture was a bit like mock meat but was more flavoured and chewy. I find it a tad hard to chew it to smaller bits. Not good for the elderly, I thought.

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Tea Smoked Duck

Mr. duckie won applause from all of us. It was very flavourful and could jolly well do without any plum or oyster sauce.
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Fragrance glutinous rice in lotus leaf

Even though it was named glutinous rice, it was not entirely glutinous rice in the lotus leaf. Else, the whole ball would be sticky like a big ball of bak zhang. Chefs would usually mix our table rice with glutinous rice so as to separate the glutinous rice. I felt it wasn't well done for Forrest's. I could still see balls of rice in it. It was fragrant though.
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Homemade silken mango pudding

I was taken aback when I saw the waiter came with the mango pudding. Why with the spoons in the glasses? It was like someone ate a scoop from it. Minus on the presentation. A big chunk of mango was placed in the 'silken' pudding (pss...it wasn't silken) with very runny mango puree layered on top. The mango puree was not sweet, it tasted like diluted mango puree. The pudding was rough, honeycombed. It was a dessert made without love.

It cost $638++ for 10 pax (excluding BYOB corkage charge and GST), it probably worked out to about $700+ for the total bill. I think it was overpriced. Location is not so ideal, advisable to get there in a car.

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Forrest @Orchidville
10 Lorong Lada Hitam
Mandai Agrotechnology Park

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

281. Homemade Strawberry Jam

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Strawberries...the main ingredient. I got 2 boxes at $7.50. They were from USA. It was sour, I stopped eating after popping 2. Some time ago, we could get strawberries from Korea from the supermarkets, they were smaller but much sweeter than the USA strawberries. So, I decided to use them to make strawberry jam lest my $7.50 goes to waste. A tad expensive but it's preservatives free.

The old saying, Health = Wealth.

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Cut them into chunks. Not to cut them too small else in the process of cooking, the fruits will break into smaller pieces. I like my jam pulpy, the taste and texture leveled up with the chunk bites. Pulpy jam works well with sundae, pancakes and scones too.
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Marinated the strawberry chunks with sugar overnight so that they will be sweetened. One good thing about homemade jam is I can control the amount of ingredients used. I didn't want my jam to be too sweet so I reduced the amount of sugar used. I didn't measure exactly how many grams of sugar I should use, everything's done using approximation. Followed what my heart desired.
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Simmered the strawberry mixture over medium heat. Added a few drops of lemon juice and some butter. Again, it was based on approximation. Done! Let it cool first before refridgerate. Here, you have a nice and healthy pulpy strawberry spread. Contain it in a clean glass container, cover it with baking parchment paper and seal it tight. Even though it is preservatives free, it should be able to last for 2-3 weeks. Enjoy!

280. Steamed Durian Cakes - West meets East

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The hotels are coming out with durian degustation desserts buffets (at an appealing price), offering durian lovers with durian strudels, crepes, rolls, tarts and da da da......those that belonged to the Western land. Let me introduce this which belonged to the Eastern. Jang! Steamed durian cakes.
It's actually traditional steamed cake with a generous amount of fresh durian pulp added to the mixture. People used to make these steamed cakes during the festive seasons in the past but seldom now as cakes are so easily available.
It's very easy to make. Soft and fluffy. And they huat-ed (surface of the cakes split). And what's the difference from those from the Western land? We eat them whilst they are hot. Not when they are piping hot but when they have cooled to a lower temperature. The taste will be a tad stronger then. The durian fragrance that floats in the air when you slowly tear it apart is going to make the older generation reminisce the days they had in the kampong.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

279. Foodies Queen with her apron on

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It's Father's Day today. Dining out would definitely be a hassle if we didn't make reservation in advance and it would be pricey. So, I decided to put on my apron on this Father's day. Nothing complex but simple cooking. These are the ingredients I bought but I didn't use all of them.
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Cold tofu. Somewhat similar to the ones served at Ajisen except that I have added century egg. It's very simple to make. Get gomu shabu sauce (available at the Japanese corner of all supermarkets) and add some lemon juice to it. Ajisen added sesame paste which I didn't. We can also add chopped chili and parsley for the texture and garnish.
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Sauteed scallops. These scallops were flown in direct from Perth, Australia. It's definitely fresh! I had the scallops sauteed in butter with garlic and made some salsa with avocado, red capsium and onions. That greenish round fruit which I used to garnish was a peeled blueberry.

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Prawn salad. Poached the prawns, not longer than 25 minutes. Lettuce, avocado, tomatoes (can't get the Japanese tomatoes in Giant, I think they are only available in Cold Storage and The Market Place), boiled egg and topped with parmesan cheese. Jang~ simple and healthy salad, here you go!
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Big sized prawn as the main course. Very simple. Grilled the prawns in garlic butter. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice and it's woolaalaa~
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Onigiri. I like onigiri. I think it's easy to make and convenient to eat. What's more, it's much healthier to eat than fast food. Rice can be made different with the dried food (nori, dried salmon, sesame seeds and etc)(bought from Daiso). It's no longer just a bowl of plain rice.
Had my whole morning spent in the kitchen. Even though these dishes are easy to cook, preparing all the ingredients have used up quite a bit of time. But, it's Father's Day!
Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

278. Daiso's grabs

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I think this candy is quite unique in the sense that it has a mild content of saltiness. Yes, salt content in a candy. The brown sugar innards has salt mixed in it. And probably because of the salt, I felt the candy is not very sweet. My Chinese physician told me brown sugar is better than the normal refined white sugar, raw and cane sugar. Then again, even brown sugar is categorized in different grades. So, what to expect from a pack of sweets for $2?
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Rice crackers. Not Wang Wang brand. It is much smaller than Wang Wang's. I felt it is more flavoured than Wang Wang's. With the weather killing almost all creatures on Earth, I think these rice crackers worked best with a superb chilled mug of beer.
I loved shopping at Daiso. The Japanese stuffs are so kawaii! But, I don't know why, I didn't manage to shop the entire daiso everytime. I supposed there are too many things to see, that's why I usually made my way to the cashier after browsing through the food and utensils corner. Though everything is priced at $2 each, some of the items are definitely overpriced.

Friday, June 19, 2009

277. Beppu Menkan Japanese Noodle Restaurant

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Free edamame was served. Me and my friend are not edamame lovers so we did not touch them at all.
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Seafood Paperpot Combo @$11.80
It was stated under the promotional price. Sukiyaki is also on promotion. The combo comes with rice and a glass of green tea (hot/cold). The fire was too big. I feared for the life span of the living cells on my face with the heat surrounding the paperpot. They should have made the fire smaller. Geez.
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The seafood paperpot consisted of salmon fish slices, a prawn, a mussel and lots of cabbage and mushrooms. The broth was light and refreshing.
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Sakura Maki @$4
We added a sakura maki that comes at a special price with the paperpot combo. They should have been more generous with the pink roe.
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Hoki Cheese @$7.20
Hoki fish, with its dense white flesh is high in Omega-3 acids. They are usually processed and made into our supplements like fish oil. Even though, hoki fish does not come cheap, I think the hoki cheese (where the hoki fish was already processed and breaded) we had was overpriced. The cheese flavour was very mild.
Overall bill worked out to be $27.10 for 2 pax. As both of us were not hungry and rushing off for a movie, we missed out their noodles. I didn't like the dining environment. They have made the entry corridor so small, the staffs were all standing there and worse still, hawking at the diners as they have their food. I felt quite uncomfortable then.
Beppu Menkan Japanese Noodle Restaurant
Tiong Bahru Plaza
302 Tiong Bahru Road
Tel: 6273 0013