Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Singapore Design Festival 2009

Weed calendar by Celia Law - experience the different seasons with 4 different scents

Flaunt your lighting not your painting by Alfred Lau

Heart in Art by Jeremy Sun - Painting the facade of a chest of drawers with objects dearest to the owner's heart.

More designs that "Rock"

An avant garde rocking bed for a baby based on the word "yao"

The "Shuang" fan

Happened to be at the Arts House today and chanced upon a little exhibition which is part of Singapore Design Festival 2009 (20-30 November)

One of the design exhibits was that of a fan and it made use of the Chinese word "Shuang" (feeling delighted and happy). According to the designer Woon Taiwoon, this is a fan of emotions that helps to cool one down to get the "Shuang" feeling. The red threat can also be manipulated to form other words that express one's thoughts. The other exhibit demonstrates the Chinese word "Yao" (rock). The best designs are those that combine functionality and style and some were more abstract and eye candy than anything else. Singapore Design Festival comes along once every 2 years with design works featured at different locations in Singapore including design schools, foreign embassies and shopping malls such as ION and Vivocity.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas is in the air

I can feel it coming. Almost a month away. Soon the festivities will begin. This stamp print of mine shows a little snowman rejoicing in the snow and I really like the feeling :)

Malaysia 's Amy Beh

For the past few years, there has been a flourish of celebrity chefs with their own cook books and TV shows and with one too many flamboyant fusion cooks, I do yearn for some good ole traditional receipes.

While in Malacca, I spotted a cook book that featured very authentic, traditional food receipes by Amy Beh . She started her cooking column in the Malaysian newspapers The Star in 1995 and since then, she has garnered quite a following, people who love her homely style of Malaysian cooking. Trained by her mum since she was a kid, she is now over 60 years old and her experience and passion have given her quite a reputation. I bought 2 of her cook books and can't wait to try some of her receipes including chicken rendang and kurma, grilled masala , century egg porridge, Penang Asam laksa and my favourite Nonya kuehs. Apparently, the book At Home has gone beyond it tenth reprint and that seems quite a feat in today's cookbook cluttered environment. Malaysia and Singapore have so many shared experiences and history which also extends to the cuisine of the two countries.

Malacca Art

Went back to the quaint art gallery housed in a beautiful Perankan house along Jonker Street in Malacca. I blogged about this place earlier this year and I couldn't help but revisit it again during my recent trip. It is run by the family of Jehan Chan who has 3 art galleries in the vicinity. Jehan Chan is one of Malaysia's more successful artist and is famous for his paintings of prosperity carps and stylised collages of Sungei Malacca at sunset .

One of the galleries featured the works of his family including that of his son-in-law David, a true blue Baba who entertained me with my endless questions on Malacca . Bought a beautiful piece of his oil paintings featuring a fishing village. A collection of his paintings placed together on the wall at the gallery makes a beautiful display.

Malacca food

Popiah - spring rolls with vegetable and egg filling
Ondeh ondeh - glutinous rice pandan balls filled with gula melaka

Rempah Udang unwrapped - the blue colouring comes from the bunga telang flower
Rempah Udang - glutinous rice cake with dry prawn & coconut filling.
Nonya kuehs featured include red angku kueh and brown kueh kosui gula Melaka

Nonya series "Picnic" by Leong Hock Kooon (2005)

Went to Malacca for a few days to enjoy a leisurely pace of life, good food and family bonding.
Came across a painting of 2 Nonyas ( Peranakan ) ladies enjoying a picnic with some kuehs and tea and it made me hanker for these goodies. So despite the dark skies and threatening rain, I made my way down to Jonker street and was lucky enough to find some at one of the street stalls. I particularly enjoyed the rempah udang which had the most unusual savoury sweet taste. Peranakans use pounded bunga telang ( a blue type of flower ) to give some of their food a distinctive bluish colour. The ondeh ondeh however tasted a little different due to the sesame seeds sprinkled on the top and it made it taste more savory than sweet. Only wished that the gula melaka within could have burst at one bite. Gula Melaka is a sugar from the coconut tree and Peranakans use it frequently to flavour their kuehs as desserts. It originated from Malacca (Melaka in Malay) itself, hence the name.
Also there every weekend at Jonker street was the popiah man. He would be stationed there come rain or shine and for 2 ringgit, one can get the taste of truly old fashioned and tasty popiah. The secret ingredient was actually lard which gave the popiah its crispy fragrant bite. I grabbed some Indian vadai (pronounced as 'Vah-daa' ) too, freshly fried at the roadside stall and costing only one riggit for 3. That was probably the best and cheapest vadai I 've ever had. Vadai, a savoury snack originated from South India and is made from bengal gram, seasoned with curry leaves, tumeric, coriander and cumin spices. By this time, little rain drops began falling and I didn't had the time to take even a picture. Must come back again for the Vadai.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Love for Lego

The Lego Wild West Cavalry Colonel (1996), and Indian Chief (1997)

The Lego Star Wars Anakin Skywalker (2002), Darth Maul (2000), and Jar Jar Binks (1999)

The Lego Town chefs (1998 female chef and 2003 male chef )
The Lego Castle ghost (1997) and hero knight (2005)

If there is one toy that seems indestructible, full of fun and creativity, it must be Lego.

Pails of Lego has kept my kids happy and occupied when they were growing up. Here are some cute little Lego classics featured in The Lego Book. It explores the story of how the brand developed from a small family-run business into one of the most popular children's (and adult's) toys.

Classic illustrations

Came across an article on classic Penguin book covers. It brought back some good memories of the little library in my mum's study when I was growing up. All of the books were given away or thrown when my mum converted the study into another bedroom in the late 80's. Now I feel all nostalgic when I see some of the covers featured in an interview with David Gentleman, an Englishman who started illustrating book covers for Penguin way back in the 50's and was best known in the industry for his detailed engraving, lithograph and watercolour work as well as his designs for British postage stamps.

Loved the illustration he did for the cookery book Plats du Jour in the mid fifties. I seem to remember seeing this book in my mum's collection. The front cover was of a French family beginning their meal; when you turn it over, you see the table at the end of the meal, with the cats sitting among the debris.

He was also very fond of having his illustrations drawn on blotting paper with a felt pen as seen in the book " In a German Pension", " Homecomings", "Room with a view" and "Last Things". By doing it this way, he mentioned that one had to get it right or else you would have to start all over again.