Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dîner en couleurs [Dinner in colours]

Here's an update on the dinner gathering at my place. Privately, I call it (tongue-in-cheek) "dîner en couleurs" [dinner in colours]. No posh table, chairs and dressing-up for us. I did not even have enough proper cutlery, so we improvised 2 large cups as "individual-use" bowls. In fact, the 2 guys squatted on plastic stools as you can see in the photo below. But we all enjoyed the food and the company.

Before my friends came, I emailed them the menu in English and Mandarin -- my contribution to our French-Mandarin language exchange programme. I stated that [most of] the dishes would be Cantonese peasant food, stuff that I ate as a child in Singapore.

Shortly after we started eating around the coffee (dining) table
Dishes clock-wise from top-left: Braised peanuts, Cantonese congee, stir-fry cabbage with mock "fish cake", mixed-pepper chilli-oil cashew nuts, rendang mock "beef", stir-fry potatoes with mock "meat" (gluten) and shitake mushrooms, Chinese donuts a.k.a. "you zhar gueh" [油炸鬼 or 炸油条]

Dishes clock-wise from bottom-left: "steamed" (microwaved) double-eggs (fresh chicken eggs and salted eggs), stir-fry cabbage with mock "fish cake", mixed-pepper chilli-oil cashew nuts, rendang mock "beef", stir-fry potatoes with mock "meat" (gluten) and shitake mushrooms

What is left of the soya bean milk. The tau huay is all eaten up by me liao (already)!

Food lovingly prepared is usually food enjoyed. I spent 4 hours the night before braising the peanuts over a "low" fire as I do not have an automatic slow-cooker. I spent another 2 hours earlier that day to cook the congee until each rice grain was broken. [My landlord and my "next-room" housemate can attest to my long hours spent hogging the stove.] In the end, I did not have enough time to steam the eggs, so it was microwaved instead.

The verdict: "delicious!" was the feedback. As you can tell from the photo above, more than half of the large pot of congee (almost full pot at the beginning) disappeared into our stomachs shortly after the meal began. [As usual, I forgot to take a photo right at the start of the meal.] When dessert came round, each of us only had stomach-space left for a small serving of tau huay [豆花] (soya bean curd) in tau huay zhui [豆花水] (soya bean milk). But as usual, we gobbled the dessert down before I remember to take a photo. [In fact, I only remembered to take a photo just now (2 days later), but I had (already) finished eating the remaining tau huay liao!] Yes, I had cooked way too much for 4!

As per EM's suggestion, I have frozen some leftovers for our next French-Mandarin class at my French friends' home. AA and EM will have a freezer soon. When they do, EM plans to make Chinese dumplings. I will probably share my mother's "wanton" [云吞] recipe with her.


Btw, I received a surprise birthday gift from AA and EM that evening. A very lovely and useful pair of hiking boots!
Note: This is on top of the impromptu birthday cake they baked for me at their place on my birthday, some days ago. It was impromptu because I did not tell them in advance that it was my birthday.
My new hiking boots

USA Kids Size 6 boots

Because of my small feet (22cm), it is difficult to buy shoes here in Canada. [Click here for a photo of my foot measurement.] Once I ended up buying a pair of black size 6 1/2 (adult-size) just-below-knee length boots because:
  • I totally love its design;
  • I wanted a pair of boots with slight heels; 
  • It was on sale at a good discount; and
  • I could not find anything else nice, that fits my feet, and is within my budget.
I ended up wearing 2 pairs of socks underneath to fit into the boots. Well, I am ok with that, given that the just-below-knee length boots are meant for the cooler/cold climate.

Back to my birthday boots. I am going to wear them during my vacation trip to Banff National Park (Alberta) with PN, EM, ZS and JX this long weekend. [Note: Monday 03-Sep-2012 is Labour Day in Canada.] It will be my first trip outside of B.C. since arriving here almost 2 years ago.

Isn't it glorious to have awesome friends? [Click here and here for some of my adventures with them.]



  1. "en couleurs" is very punny in French btw, good job! :)

    1. Hi Anon at Thursday, August 30, 2012 6:16:00 PM,

      Thanks for visiting and your compliment. "En couleurs"? I was just contrasting it against plain white ("en blanc"). :)

      Cheers, WD.

  2. Thanks for sharing mrbrown show's music video.
    It's so fitting for your blog, and so natural to authentic Singaporean pride! ::cheers::

    1. Hi Alan,

      You're welcome. I'm just 借花献佛. ["Borrowing the flowers to worship the Buddha", i.e. borrowing Mr Brown's excellent music video to show to my readers.] Thanks for visiting.

      Cheers, WD.