Wednesday, May 24

Ma Maison Tonkatsu (Westgate)

Ma Maison Tonkatsu came highly recommended by a colleague. While he prefers the Mandarin Gallery outlet, we were in the vicinity of Westgate and seized the opportunity to make a trip. If you haven't guessed, this Ma Maison specialises in tonkatsu and they are great at what they do. The restaurant is clearly popular with patrons and re-fills seemed to be the order of the day.

KW and I shared the prawn and pork loin set. Despite the exuberantly panko-ed exterior, the tonkatsu was impressively moist, no doubt thanks to the fatty pork they used. Nothing but praises for the jumbo prawns that they used - in fact, our boys loved the prawns more than the dish we ordered for them below.

We also ordered a few oysters and crab croquette to share. My darlin' lord, the oysters were amazing! Absolutely plump and divine. I would denfitely order them again at leat the risk of tempting cholesterol fate. The crab croquette, on the other hand, was coyingly creamy - not my favourite texture.

We ordered the Rosu Katsu Don for the boys but I think we adults enjoyed it more. Again, very competently done tonkatsu pork topped with a eggy sauce that had seeped through the plump rice grains. Comfort food oishii desu.

The complimentary miso soup, cabbage and rice are re-fillable. I love how there is the option of multi-grain rice (any trick to make yourself feel better about ingesting all that deep fried food) and the miso soup is far from your average feeble broth. 

Thursday, May 18

Our Mother's Day Dinner

Pretty yellow orchids 

Summery floral theme 

Roasted pumpkin salad

This is a last minute throw-together. Roasted pumpkin (so important to get it caramel-ly and soft), hard boiled eggs, raisins, greens and kewpie Caesar dressing. Easy peasy!

Miso-honey cod fish

Had some miso, had some honey so we made miso-honey cod fish. Next time, I will bump up the miso flavour.

Wagyu MB4 Steak

We have made this a few times and it never fails to disappoint.What a treat!

Miso Butter Bucatini

This miso pasta was a hit! I didn't have high expectations as me-not-so crazy about miso. However, the combination of garlic, butter and miso was umami on steroids. I adapted the recipe from smitten kitchen by turning up the flavour profile. I shall post the recipe soon.

My parents, in laws and sister brought desserts that included a kickass mao shan wang cake, mini magnums and a really expensive Japanese melon. Safe to says no one left hungry.

 Handmade gifts from the boys - Precious

Monday, May 15

Mother's Day Musings

For as long as I can remember, I never saw myself with sons. I would have daughters, just like my mother. Besides, what on earth would I do with boys?!

Growing up, I never had brothers and most of my friends are females, so having boys was a whole new ball game to me. I'm really glad that throughout these past few years, KW has served as a Barometer of Boyish Behaviour; whenever the boys get up to something that completely baffles me, KW is there to remind me that boys are a different breed but by no means, less capable of love and affection. 

Just days ago, there was the cutest exchange:
Russell, in a bid to butter me up, proclaimed, "Mama, when 奶奶gives me a snack, I say, 'Thank you 奶奶for the snack!'"

I replied, "What snack did 奶奶give you? Was it good?"

Russell went silent, almost pretending not to hear me.

Lukey suddenly said, "Kor Kor say, 'Thank you for the chocolates!'"

Russell, "I only ate one!"
Lukey, Keeper of Secrets. Not.

Sometimes I still can't believe I have two incredibly loving boys who make me laugh. They are both so different yet they bask in each other’s company. It makes my heart sing when they hold each other’s hands while walking, sing and excite one another over planets/dinosaurs/human body. We have our moments but these boys never fail to crack me up.

I'm not going to lie. The weekend - and especially Mother's Day Sunday - was bittersweet. While we celebrated with a lovely meal, this Mother's Day also caused a resurgence of inadequacy. The inadequacy I felt as a child. I thought those feelings were long gone; turns out I just did a pretty good job of burying them. In a way, the silver lining to all of this is that I know my boys ought to receive the most affection and affirmation from us their parents - not grandparents, helpers, teachers etc.

I don't have a particularly eloquent way of ending this thread but I know for - fact that as a mother, I will do my best to never make them feel like they don't matter.

On this day, I hope all mothers continue to have loving and meaningful relationships with your close ones, and especially with yourself!

Wednesday, May 10

Baked Mushroom Pasta Gratin

I really do love this mac & cheese recipe. It is ridiculously simple and delicious. I mean, pasta and cheese are like BFFs. #FriendshipNeverDies But let's be honest, a mac & cheese recipe can be unnecessarily complicated and tedious. Here, you don't need to make roux or the béchamel... if you can boil pasta and stretch your capabilities by roasting mushrooms, you are on the way to victory.

  • 1 pound mixed wild or cultivated mushrooms, such as oyster, maitake and shiitake
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, plus a few grinds
  • 4 fresh rosemary branches
  • 1 pound orecchiette, farfalle or other short pasta
  • 2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1.5 cup Parmesan, grated 
  • 2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage or basil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1/2 to 1 cup parmesan. grated 

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Trim the mushrooms and cut into 1-inch pieces. Toss with the olive oil, the salt, a few grinds of pepper and the rosemary. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast, tossing once or twice, until golden brown and crisped around the edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Discard rosemary.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for at least a few minutes less than the package directs. (You want the pasta very al dente; it will finish softening in the sauce.) Drain well.
  3. Turn oven up to 500 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the cream, ricotta, fontina, Parmesan, sage, pepper, garlic and a pinch of salt. Stir in the pasta and mushrooms. Arrange in a shallow 2-quart gratin dish or 9- by 13-inch pan.
  4. Add panko topping.
  5. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly and browned in spots, 10 to 15 minutes.

Saturday, May 6

Sunday lunch with adult friends

Yes, this is quite an odd title but I thought it is particularly apt. Given that I am more of an introvert, most of my friends are from school; for the longest time post-graduation, it was hard to make friends given the differences in life goals and perspectives. Even most of my school friends don’t have kids which admittedly makes gatherings a tad trickier.

Fortunately, thanks mostly to KW, we now have a group of friends – from his base his college friends – and their adorable littles ones who are around Russell and Lucas’ age. It’s always a treat for the adults to hang out with each other while the kids run amok.

A couple of weeks ago, a college schoolmate got married and we had the chance to meet up for a luncheon after the wedding. Sweet because I do love planning meet-ups and fussing over what to prepare.

Orange, beetroot, toasted almonds, pearl barley Caesar salad 

I was really quite excited about this salad as I used barley for the first time. It was good, interesting texting if you are into grains.

Grilled pork chops 

KW threw some chops on the grill and call it a day. I had couple of end pieces (i.e., pork fat) ... Mmm, cue pork dance. Ok, you don’t want to see me dance. Why don't you watch Rosita and Gunter shake it off instead? 

Baked cheesy pasta with wild mushrooms 

I made carbs. Cheesy carbs. Ain't that the best? You know what's the coolest part? This dish was ridiculously easy and knocks the socks of your friends. I'll shall the recipe soon. 

Sticky pecan upside-down baby cakes

Of course, we had dessert. Sticky sweet baby cakes topped with toasted pecans. Yummeh.  

Thursday, May 4

Fukuoka // Memories

To many more days of us xoxo

Tuesday, May 2

Fukuoka // Food Part 2

On our first night, we had dinner at this restaurant at KITTE, which specializes in seafood bowls from Hakodate. There are more than 20 varieties of seafood bowls and choosing between all of them was agonizing. Eventually, I gave into my crab cravings and ordered a crab and ikura bowl, while KW went for botan, crab and ikura. Both bowls were irreproachably fresh. We order a magnificent tempura don for the boys who ate quietly, with occasional thumbs up.

On our last day, I requested for sushi and we found a Sushi Zenmai at Tenjin. Of course, we ordered more than sushi and every dish proved to be incredibly satisfying. The sushi, of course, hit the spot without burning a hole in our pockets. A wholesome meal such as this makes me super duper grateful.