Monday, August 31, 2009

APOLLO 11 “40TH ANNIVERSARY” LIMITED EDITION

A few weeks ago the Head Tart finally took delivery of his Apollo 11 40th Anniversary Omega Speedmaster. Here are a few photos from the handover.



This 40th Anniversary model utilises Omega’s calibre 1861, the same movement used in the original Speedmaster Professional.

The seconds sub-dial, which has a brushed rhodium hand, takes the form of a small medallion featuring an adaptation of Apollo 11’s mission patch of an eagle descending to the lunar surface with an olive branch representing peace in its claws. The patch, was designed by Michael Collins who remained in the Apollo 11 capsule as Command Module Pilot while his colleagues Armstrong and Aldrin were in the Lunar Module and on the moon.




The Apollo 11 mission patch is also on the caseback along with the words, “THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON”, the limited edition number (0000/7969), and “July 21, 1969”, the date Armstrong and Aldrin first stepped onto the moon’s surface at 02:56, the time which is printed on the dial.

A 42 mm silver medal featuring an engraving of the mission patch on one side with the words “APOLLO 11, 40th ANNIVERARY”. On the reverse side, the medal is engraved, “THE EAGLE HAS LANDED”; “LAUNCHED JULY 16 1969”; “LANDED JULY 20, 1969”; and “RETURNED, JULY 24, 1969” along with OMEGA’s name and logo.



Congratulations to the proud new owner of this LE Speedy!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Duck Panic : Perama Restaurant
88 Audley St
Petersham
NSW 2049
Ph : (02) 95697534

25 August 2009 : Dinner

A minor panic ensued when David Tsirekas tweeted that it was the last week before his Spring menu would appear and I realised that I hadn't yet had his Roast Duck. No fear, for where there's a Duck Will there's a way!

This time I was smart. I told the friend who arrived before me that the reservation might be under my online moniker of "aptronym", since this had been the cause of a certain amount of confusion last time.

Unfortunately, it seemed that my duckish exhortations also lead to some sort of hive mind decision that spread to the others, who also insisted on having duck. Pleas on my part that perhaps they might like to try something different, so that I would have something else to photograph, fell on the proverbial deaf ears. Playing the Possible Pneumonia Sympathy Card didn't seem to work either.

Well at any rate we could get some photographic variety with the entrées.


Mixed Dips ($13.50)

Tzatziki, tarama , split pea, olive paste and smoked eggplant served with paximadia seasoned with white sesame seeds and oregano.

I've had the mixed dips every time I've been to Perama and my favourite remains the tarama.


Zucchini Fritters ($5.50)

This was the first time that I've had the Zucchini Fritters and all I can say is that I regret not having eaten them earlier.


Sheftalies (Cypriot Sausage) ($6.5o)

Rich, meaty, tender, they had to be carefully portioned out so that no-one felt left out.

That afternoon David had warned me to be prepared for my stomach to be filled. Fortunately for me, I'd decided to skip lunch anyway. Fortunate because the following appeared.....


Soft shell Crab with Raki & Wasabi Mayonnaise

This is a new item that will appear on the Spring menu. Soft shell crab is actually one of my favourite things to eat, usually in the form of salt & pepper soft shell crab. This unexpected Greek/ Japanese combination was made using Raki (ρακή), an alcoholic beverage made from the distillation of pomace, the pieces of grapes (including the stems and seeds) that are pressed for the winemaking process. The mayonnaise didn't taste of either alcohol nor was it strongly tasting of wasabi, it just worked nicely with the soft shell crab and some lemon juice (give me some lemon and I'll inevitably use it, can't resist the call of the lemon) gave the soft shell crab the additional citric zing.

Next up came another surprise, what I call the Lamb Tasting Plate.

The taste off was between milkfed lamb and Saltbush lamb. The Saltbush won on a 2:1 vote, including mine. I have never been a huge lamb person but definitely found the taste of the Saltbush more to my liking. It wasn't even a close race for my particular tastebuds. I subsequently found out that it was Bultarra Saltbush Lamb from Urban Food Market. All I can say is to vote for David to continue using the Saltbush!

Roast Duck ($32)

The duck is roasted with a cumin spiced quince and served with wilted greens.

The duck! Finally the duck. To the consternation of many, I don't eat duck skin, nor do I eat chicken skin. Or pork crackling for that matter actually. People tell me that I'm missing out on some of the best parts of the relevant beast but I don't feel that I'm losing out on anything. In this case I certainly didn't think that I did. This generous serving was was tender, pinkish in the middle and perfectly fine without the skin. Perhaps even better, since I let the meat do the talking. So was it worth the frantic rush to Petersham to try? The vote here was "aye" by all three of us.

Dessert anyone?

Not having yet tried the Ekmek ($13), I had been determined to try it.

Described thus : "Byzantine peasants of Constantinople enjoyed a simple dessert of oven fired brioche soaked in a spiced sugar syrup and served with kaymaki (clotted cream)", this is indeed a simple comfort food type dish. I liked it but admit to preferring David's other desserts such as his Bougasta and Caramel Baklava ice cream.

The other dessert ordered was the Olive Oil Ice Cream ($8.50), two scoops of Olympia extra virgin olive oil, pistachio and dried fig ice cream.


Naturally, I took off with some of the ice cream, as it is something that I've had and enjoyed previously. Adding some to my Ekmek actually worked as a combination too. The taste of the ice cream can only be described by me as having an alluring perfume about it. My dining companions had never had it before and were both pleasantly surprised.

Last but not least came the pièce de résistance which David had tweeted about during its making, but which only @felixexplody seemed to know about.


This, folks, is the Snicker Baklava, aka Snicklava or Baksnicker or whatever else takes your fancy. It is appearing in the new Spring menu so its ultimate name is only known to David at present but in two days, the rest of us will find out.

The photo is somewhat misleading in terms of its size, it was easily portioned into three decent sizes. My dining companions, whose level of sugar tolerance is lower than mine (and I don't consider mine spectacularly high), could only manage about two mouthfuls each, so I ate the rest. At the end of it I was in a bit of a sugar coma and wanting to go another savoury round but I guess that having two desserts is more than I'm used to.

This dessert is not for the faint of sugar heart. An intense nutty chocolate-y experience, it is for the chocoholics and if you are one, you will be left happy. Oh and the whole chocolate bar dessert thing made me think inevitably of Elvis but this mad dessert doesn't come from Elvis but from this man :



As I write this I am actually in the position where I'm going to Perama again this coming week for a Tweetup and I'm already thinking about trying the new venison item he has mentioned, having some more of the zucchini fritters, and perhaps some other things that I haven't yet tried as well as some favourites.


[AP]




Saturday, August 29, 2009

Waterloo St
Singapore


During the day of my Pineapple Tart discovery, my continued ramble lead me to Waterloo St and two temples.

The first of these was the Sri Krishna Temple.


Also called Sri Krishna Bagawan Temple, Sri Krishna Bhagawan Temple, Sri Krishna Bhagwan Temple, Sri Krishna Temple, Krishna Temple or Krishnan Temple, the only South Indian Hindu temple in Singapore was established in 1870 by one Hanuman Beem Singh, who set up an idol of Sri Krishna under a banyan tree on Waterloo Street. For more details on its history, see here.


Next door to the Sri Krishnan Temple is the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple, built in 1895 though existing in this location since 1894. I didn't go in, largely because of the huge numbers of people who were thronging in constantly. It was quite incredible to see the numbers of worshippers who entered, it was almost as though they required a traffic warden just to shepherd them in.

In the pedestrianised area in front of the two temples there were about a dozen fortune tellers plying their wares.

Sellers of flowers etc for temple offerings.


Plus all manner of paraphenalia such as reading glasses.



A little further down I came across some "Raising buns"


And finally two photos of fruit being sold at the end of the street in honour of my friend who was allergic to fruit.


[AP]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Le Cafe Confectionery & Pastry
264 Middle Road
Singapore 188990


Sometimes the best discoveries are the ones that you make when you're just wandering around. Even if it is 30 degrees and too humid to be out for a 5km stroll....This was one of them, a place called Le Cafe, next to a Hainanese Chicken joint. What drew me to it was the sheer amount of PR paraphenalia at the front. It was mesmerising.




WE'RE FAMOUS!! It screamed. THEY LOVE US!!! No shy and retiring pastry shop was this. In fact it looked less like a retail outlet than a wholesale outlet. My new friend L, with whom I had lunch the next day, thought it fitting that I had bumped into this place, his favourite source for Pineapple Tarts.

These tasty little suckers came in a minimum order of a box of 10, for S$7.30.

Don't let their appearance fool you. They are buttery, flaky and rich. The "pineapple" aspect is the innards of sticky pineapple jam. The tarts also contain "No pork, no lard", as the label helpfully points out. Lard I can understand but pork?? I'm clearly out of some loop here, it never occurred to me to watch out for pork in a Pineapple Tart.


The pineapple jam is chewy, not so much jam as fruit jellies, and not strong in pineapple taste but with the buttery rich pastry, deeply moreish.


Would I recommend these? Absolutely, even if you don't have a sweet tooth. They are probably best eaten sparingly, I fear that eating too many of these in one sitting leads to a certain feeling of overindulgence.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

ISTANA PARK


Istana Park, completed in 1995, was designed and built as an extension to the main entrance of the Istana. The Istana, which located across the road from the park, is the official residence of the President of Singapore.





The centrepiece of the park is the 26 metre high Festival Arch rising out of a shallow reflecting pool. The design of the stainless steel and concrete structure was inspired by the gateposts and railings at the Istana's entrance. The Festival Arch forms the gateway to Orchard Road and Singapore's Civic District.


Heritage Taste

Takashimaya Food Hall
Takashimaya
391 Orchard Road
Singapore 238873



Pandan Muah chee/ Mua chee/ Mua chi (S$2.50)
(called "Mar Chee" at Heritage Taste)


Muah Chee is a mochi like snack of boiled glutinous rice flour coated in toasted peanuts. Its origins seem to be a battle between Southern China and Penang, though variants of it appear in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The rice is boiled to a chewy consistency (in this case with Pandan) after which it is minced into small uneven pieces and rolled into ground peanuts and sugar. This particular specimen also appeared to have a coconut taste, most likely from the use of coconut milk in the boiling process.

I have a liking for chewy desserts such as the glutinous rice balls Tong Yuen and hadn't had this for over a decade so it was nice to rediscover it. This serving was my afternoon snack and, as glutinous rice is wont to be, rather filling.....!
Automated Yakitori Machine
Takashimaya Food Hall
Takashimaya
391 Orchard Road
Singapore 238873




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

PANERAI HEAVEN



From Saturday, 22nd August, 19:55.



It doesn't get any better than this : PAM267 (1 of six pieces); PAM1 pre-A; PAM203.
Timeless Gallery
#04-06
ION Orchard
Orchard Road
Singapore







Purveyors of luxury watchwinders if you have a spare hundred thousand or so. Unfortunately it it was closed both times when I walked past. Brands represented include Erwin Sattler, Orbita, Dottling, Scatola del Tempo and Buben & Zorweg.

Here are some photos from when a Timeless Gallery boutique opened up at Starhill Gallery in KL, Malaysia.
ION Orchard Food Hall
Orchard Road
Singapore



Small Oyster Omelette (S$8)

Fatty Heng Fried Oyster
Basement 4 Food Hall

(Eggs still soft and slightly runny, cooking on the hot plate, oysters fresh and plump. Best with some of the chilli & extra shallots)




Dan Dan Noodles (S$4.50)

Mandarin Noodle Kitchen
Basement 4 Food Hall

(Yet another iteration of this dish. Dry with small bowl of broth which I poured in. Not chilli)
Good Luck BBQ Chicken Wings




ION Orchard Food Hall
Basement 4
Orchard Road
Singapore

ION Orchard Twitter