Wednesday, July 10

Russell // 7 Years Old

Dear Russell,

You are 7 today.

Perhaps because you are our firstborn, I will never forget how tough it was when you were a baby; but fast forward to today, you are an independent little man who never fails to surprise us.

This year, you started primary school. The much-dreaded formal education system. I was rather worried but surprisingly (or rather unsurprisingly) you have acclimatised to Primary One really well. On top of that, you have been made Class Captain and your form teacher told us you are one of the most dependable students in class. You have quite the responsibility on your skinny shoulders but yet, it almost seems like second nature to you. It’s funny how I was rather lacklustre back in school and here you are, outshining possibly your parents in the years to ome.

Your love for knowledge remains insatiable. Your tinkering little mind is matched by your boundless energy. Thanks to you, I often have my second cup of coffee before 10am. On the other hand, you are grounded and mature when the situation calls for it.

The biggest challenge we have on our hands is helping you to navigate your world of emotions. While you can come across tough and short-tempered, we know you are a real softie deep down.

I have to admit I sometimes take your brilliance, thoughtfulness and love for granted. You have always exceeded expectations and I wish we could do the same for you as parents.

We are lucky to be your parents. Most of all, we hope to guide you into being the best person you could possibly want to be.

Love, Mama

Thursday, June 27

Jun DOTM: Toasted Gnocchi with Herb Brown Butter

True Fact #1: I have never tasted gnocchi before.
True Fact #2: Brown butter just makes everything effin' delicious.

This is a super simple but satisfying recipe. Toasting the gnocchi truly takes this to the next level. If like me, you are afraid of gnocchi being tough, stodgy or mushy, toasted gnocchi will allay your fears and concerns. I feel like a cop out for using store-bought gnocchi but next time, I will try making my own gnocchi.

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
  • 500g potato gnocchi
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Finely grated parmesan cheese for serving 
Brown Butter with Sage 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 16-18 sage leaves 
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  1. Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions but shave about 1 minute off the cooking time. Yes, this means they will only cook for about 1-2 minutes. 
  2. Drain the gnocchi and drizzle a bit of olive oil over it and toss so it doens’t stick together.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the gnocchi in a single layer (you might have to do this in batches depending on your skillet size) and toast on both sides until golden and crispy. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain any excess oil. 
  4. For the brown butter, place butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Stir as it bubbles, and after 2 to 3 minutes or so you should see brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat immediately and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds or use. Stir in the sage leaves and garlic.
  5. To serve, drizzle the toasted gnocchi with the brown butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and tuck in. 

Friday, June 21

Amano Restaurant, Perth

Our lunch at Amano was life-changing. Like 'Oh my god, where have you been all my life?!' I normally find pastas really insipid but every dish here was a flavour B-O-M-B. I told KW they must have added cream because it's incredibly rich and silky. I couldn't help but ask for their secret and to my surprise, the manager told us they don't add any cream because "real Italians don't add cream to their pastas." I'm not sure how true that is but I believe it. *Serious face*

The scallops were beautifully done and the aracinis were perfection.The pappardelle was comforting, but I was really taken with the seafood fettucini and tortellini, which were just brimming with flavour. What a fantastic way to end our trip in Perth!

Capesante mare e monti
Seared scallops with pea puree, basil tomato leaves, 
split noisette and lobster jus 

Home made traditional mozzarella, 
parmesan and tomato arancini 

Squid ink tortelloni stuffed with barramundi and scallop mousse 
served with bisque reduction, confit tomato, dill, chives, 
shellfish jus and roasted garlic crumb

Lamb, wild mushrooms ragù and chives, 
finished with parmesan cheese

Fettuccine allo scoglio
Seafood home made fettuccine with mussels, 
barramundi, octopus, cherry tomatoes, tossed in a light white wine sauce

Wednesday, June 19

Yarri Restaurant and Bar, Dunsborough WA

Lunch at Yarri was perhaps our favourite meal at Margaret River. It was blisteringly cold and wet - very unusual for the area - so it was nice to seek refuge somewhere warm and in the company of good food. Definitely, a must-visit if you are in the area.

Crusty sourdough was the perfect way to kick off our meal. Paired with pine nuts and crackers, the emu tartare was excellent. The smoked trout croquettes were so-so as ratio of smoked trout to potatoes weighed in favour of the potatoes.

We normally don't order from the kids' menu but the burger was calling out to Russell and we thought they might be satiated with some carbs before feeding off our morsels. Russell polished off his burger effortlessly and Lucas - mon petit gourmand - did a great job with his pasta.

The pierce de resistance was probably the 600g dry-aged beef sirloin. Hit. The. Spot. The dollap of butter was excessive and indulgent but no-one seemed to mind it. On the side, the burnt cabbage almost stole the show - in fact, it was the inspiration to my burnt cabbage dish for Father's Day.

Tuesday, June 18

Wills Domain, Yallingup, WA

Quite frankly, we didn't know how well the boys would fare in a fine-dish dining establishment. Most  eateries we have been to are either kid-friendly or boisterous enough to accommodate a few loud boys. We made reservations at Wills Domain 'cause YOLO... I mean, what's the worst that could happen right... We get thrown out? Ah thankfully, that wasn't the case - the boys were well-entertained with their books and drawing paper before and after their meal, much to our relief.

The restaurant only opens at 12pm, which is late by our lunch standards. This also explains why we wolfed down the sourdough in minutes like a bunch of babarians. Fun fact: They charge for bread here Down Under, unlike in the US or Singapore which the cost is baked in.

Two out of three starters were pretty outstanding. The grilled octopus spoilt future octopus dishes that we would have. The chargrilled quail was finicky but delicious. Only the poached squid was a little ho-hum and I could do without that grassy sugar snaps.

To be honest, I don't quite remember exactly what we had for the mains but they were good. “A pork dish and a beef dish...” recalls my hippocampus. Not amazeballs but very well-executed. Oh yes, we ordered some fried chicken for the boys too and look at how well-presented it was!

We ended the meal with coffee and one helluva rich dessert, affectionately nicknamed “Snickers.” Smooth, creamy and downright decadent.

Sunday, June 16

To all the fathers in the world

Happy Father’s Day to you all! Whether you are dog dad, cat papa or hooman baby carrier.

We celebrated with korean galbi (eye-rolling good), seafood linguine and charred cabbage with toasted garlic crumbs. I was craving steaks and the galbi more than made up for it. Champagne and a fabulous tarte tartin rounded up our meal. I can’t believe I waited this long to make tarte tartin! It was surprisingly easy and damn delicious.

Korean Galbi 

Seafood Fettucini

Charred cabbage with 
walnut vinaigrette and toasted garlic crumbs 

Tarte Tartin

Friday, June 14

Magaret River

Margaret River was 50 shades of lovely. Even though we encountered one of their worst storms, windiest winters and skipped overly-touristy farms, there was plenty of charm to be found in their little towns and wineries. I did not expect Magaret river to be overflowing with Singapreans. In fact, I saw my neighbours, whos-who couple of Caldecott Hill there at Woolworths of all places. Hilarious!

On top of that, we even went whale-watching at Augusta! High recommended once-in-a-lifetime event! Well, it’s surely once in a lifetime for me as I had an unfortunate bout of motion sickness of the boat and retreated to lying down for two thirds of the 3-hour journey. Thankfully, I did see one playful whale and KW managed to capture some amazing footage of whales playing. We were really lucky to catch these whales.

Crappy shot HAHA