I can hasz chiz pls

Between a wedding website and a personal blog I'm quickly running out of time for real life. Which is why I'm particularly glad for entertaining ideas such as this one! I've said it before and I'll say it again, but it's so very, very easy to host a chic little wine and cheese party at home without going completely loco, it's really one of the easiest home parties to pull together - the only drawback is that it can get pretty pricey!

For our Saturday affair, I hit up my usual spots to pick up the party essentials and came home to plate everything (it all happened in under 2 hours!)

  • For decor, I bought two bunches of Eustomas from Cold Storage and shoved them in clear-glass vases all around the living area. Simple.
  • We have a very nice wooden serving platter at home, but if you don't have these handy, Crate & Barrel and IKEA's have some inexpensive options that are just as awesome -- Acacia Wedge Server (USD$22), Kraftig wooden chopping board ($29.90) or this adorable wood lazy susan by Snudda ($9.90).
  • For palette cleansers, I served a selection of fresh fruit (strawberry and grapes), nuts (macadamia, almonds, etc), and dried fruit (raisins and apricots).
  • Prosciutto, parma, salami and ham were served to complement the stronger cheeses.
  • A friend brought honey which was a wonderful accompaniment that I'd completely forgotten about! So that was a really nice surprise. 
  • As for the cheese, I went a little crazy at Cold Storage and Culina, I was only supposed to buy two or three but ended up coming home with six different options. There's that adage - something old, something new, something goat and something blue which I try my best to stick to, and this time round I think I hit all categories! [Cheeses: roquefort, reblochon, goat, morbier, manchego and jarlsberg]

On the whole I think it went down very, very well. When you're next pressed for time and having folks over, you'll definitely want to consider this idea.

Boozy Brunches > Loud late nights

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It might be a function of age (god forbid), a function of personal preference, or a function of the fact that I’m an unabashed greedy face, but I declare – hand over heart – that boozy brunches (lunches, teas or dinners) beat the crap out of loud late nights spent in clubs (in kayteevee rooms it’s somehow okay).

Maybe it’s because we’ve reached an age where barely-there-bandage-dresses have forever been banished from our fashion lexicon (resulting in us – or me anyway – constantly feeling incredibly over-clothed in clubs). Maybe it’s because the concept of getting crushed up against sweaty strangers has completely lost its appeal (we're never tipsy enough to ignore it anymore), and we seem to have lost the ability to bounce back from a hard night out the way we used to (which means writing off premium weekend time nursing hangovers and what have you).

Or maybe it’s because as people with precious little time out of the office, we find our time is best spent being able to hold actual conversations with people we actually care about // verses screaming over the music and gesturing wildly with champagne glass in hand to some friend of a friend you met five minutes ago. Please don’t be offended if I’ve met you in a club recently and did exactly that – I find these interactions enjoyable and incredibly entertaining, but I’d probably like you better if we met in day-light and actually had a chance to get to know you.

Or perhaps I’m just – as my sister often likes to say – old and boring (let's hear it for Old FOGEYS!) This could well be the case. Next thing you know I’ll be spending Friday nights in my PJs with a movie on the telly and my cats for company (nevermind the fact that I hate cats) – and for the sake of complete disclosure: one Saturday night a couple of weekends ago was not far off that particular mark – after dinner at Chopsuey the bunch of us headed to Imperial Apple for foot massages and a screening of To Rome with Love (great movie, by the way, Penelope Cruz plays a hooker with a heart, and the Juno girl is in it, being her awesome-if-sometimes-predictable self). We were probably the youngest people in the establishment by at least a decade.

Anyway, Chopsuey is hardly the point of this post. The point is booze-laden brunches (or lunches, or teas, or dinners). Basically anything that allows for hours of conversation and day-time drinking with friends. Maybe we’ve graduated into the club where drinking in the day (while not on holiday) is acceptable? Is it? What are the rules for day-time drinking for young adults? I feel like in college, drinking at pretty much all hours was condoned (though before 10am would sometimes illicit a concerned look from your housemates), but what about as a working adult? I suppose most week-day lunches are out of the question unless you’ve just closed some kind of major deal or project, then you damn well deserve it (or do you?) You see, there needs to be a guide on these things.

Anyway, again, that was hardly the point of this post. This post is about booze-laden brunches! As you can see, I just hosted one this past weekend to get a group of people who met in the dark of the night together in the light of day.

 

Everytime I have folks over, they seem amazed by the fact I can pull together brunch for a dozen at home. But here's the thing about entertaining - like everything else - it requires some practice and gets easier over time! For one, you'll figure out the recipes that are the most hassle-free and easy to execute at 9am in the morning when you're running on 5 hours of sleep -- for me, that go-to recipe is some form of roast chicken. Which is why you see it so often on this site. Two, the more you cook, the less you worry about following a recipe to a T (e.g., I used to wonder what constituted a "pinch of salt," now I just trust my gut when it comes to seasoning things) and the more you enjoy the process. Three, the best hosts know that entertaining is all about timing - the more you entertain, the better you become at figuring out the rough timeline for when you need to start cooking, plating, mixing drinks and entertaining guests, and the less stressed you'll be.

Maybe next time I put together a post I'll have a rough guide on timelines, but for now I'll leave you with the menu for Saturday's Brunch.

On the menu for Saturday's Brunch at BJP

For starters 

Mini pancakes topped with strawberry+mint or blueberry+mint, served with nutella, maple syrup and chocolate sauce on the side

Old school fried spam and scrambled egg sandwiches

For mains

Baked eggs with potato puree, bacon, sautéed onions and parmesan cheese

Roasted chicken with garlic, citrus and bacon dressing

A big leafy green garlic-soy salad

To drink

Peach bellinis, Strawberry rossinis, and Mimosas

You'll need to give me a while to write all the recipes out - as always, all the dishes were more "trial and error" or "grandma style" or simply "an adventure" than it was a demonstration of a well-calibrated execution of recipes. I cannot wrap my head around following recipes to a T.

Happy midweek-almost-end-week folks! Don't you love 4 day work-weeks? Hurrah!

Strawberry citrus daiquiri

Given the wonderfully hot weekend weather, I figured it was a good time to share this super simple slushy recipe. All you need is 1 cup frozen strawberries, 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, a teaspoon of sugar, 1/2 cup of ice, and as much rum as you can manage. Throw it all in a blender on high speed and you're set with drinks for 4 in under 3 minutes. Serve in chilled martini glasses.

Still blogging from the poolside. I might be turning an unflattering shade of pink as we speak.

Transient

Namu

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I hardly (if ever really) write full on food reviews these days. I just feel like there are a lot of folks out there who produce better content than I do when it comes to food, they document it properly with high quality pictures, and give you everything from the price of the dish to the type of seating a restaurant offers.

These days, when I write about a restaurant, it's normally because something other than the fact the food was fabulous has caught my eye. Like at Suprette, the burgers were amazing, but what I really loved best is how unassuming the space was and how immediately comfortable I felt; or at Lolla where I was shocked and awed at the cooking prowess of someone who first discovered his abilities behind the BBQ pit, cooking for the (then) unrefined palettes of an entire rugby team. So the same goes for this place, which you will find tucked beside Absinthe, on the quieter side of Boat Quay.

L quite literally stumbled upon it during her daily morning walk to work. It popped up out of nowhere and she liked the aesthetic and she convinced me to give it a go last Friday night. You see, the thing is, I really dislike Korean food. I would never, ever opt to eat it if given the choice. But seeing as how I'm dedicating an entire post to it, you must know that I loved every minute of the experience.

Perhaps what won me over was the fact that there wasn't a bowl of kimchi in sight. Nor did it reek of Korean food. And it was really nice to dine al fresco on a Friday evening, by the water on the quieter side of Boat Quay, with a beautiful breeze, and bumboats puttering by. It was very peaceful, which isn't the norm when you're eating out in the middle of town. It was Korean food in a fairly western setting if you will. 

The food was excellent. The chicken was crisp and tasty, the beef tender and delicious, the soup was fragrant but not overwhelming, and the glass noodles full-flavoured without the customary coating of oil that you would find at most Korean restaurants.

if you think that my very uneducated palate (when it comes to Korean) is not a good gauge, then trust L's since she regularly indulges in the stuff, and by regularly I mean she's even holding her birthday at a Korean restaurant this year. That's how much she enjoys it, so the fact that SHE declared it a roaring success, means it's indisputable. The manager even thought she was Korean because she pronounced everything so precisely.

Service was warm, friendly and extremely conscientious. When I sat down I mentioned in passing to the host that I'd had a terrible day at work, she smiled and expressed sympathy, and I thought that was the end of it (it would have been enough really). At the end of dinner, she surprised us with complimentary ice cream and said she hoped it would make me feel better! The warmth, and the fact that she remembered, made it truly remarkable - a sign of great service if there was any.

They have only been open for about two weeks, so it's expected that they would have some teething problems (they forgot our water, not that we actually noticed because we were too busy with our wine, but they apologized profusely and were wonderful about it), but on the whole it was a fantastic experience, so good in fact, I plan to go back this week. If that isn't testament to a good time, then I don't know what is.

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Namu Korean Dining
70 Boat Quay
8139 7321