Thursday, 8 June 2017

March 2017 (The Long and Short of It)

In March we were starting to feel properly settled in Singapore. As well as continuing to go on Monday morning botanic gardens walks with my International Ladies' Group, I also went on a trip to the Musical Box Museum. 
All the artefacts were donated by a single collector - an eccentric Japanese man. We were shown a couple dozen musical boxes from a range of time periods. The older ones looked strangely like records with holes in, and had to be hand-cranked. 

Some of the boxes were enormous! This one was built for use on a cruise ship and was coin-operated. Another of even larger size had been placed in a hotel lobby. When I got home and showed Yannick pictures of my museum visit, he thought that the tour guide was a mannequin. I assure you he was real! 

Standing all together, we posed for a group photo with the mannequin-like guide. Interestingly, the museum is located inside an old school that was attached to the Thian Hock Keng temple, so not only is there a showcase of history inside the museum but all around it!

Having been on the lookout for a new dress for some weeks, I finally found the perfect specimen and decided to buy it though it was a bit pricier than I would have hoped. I wore it one evening when we tried a new restaurant: Pizzeria L'Operetta. Yannick had put in many hours of research into which pizzeria was the best in Singapore, and this one came out as a likely contender for number one. The marinara was pretty damn good, though not as tasty and traditional as a real Neopolitan pizza, or even a night at Pizza Pilgrims in London. However, we enjoyed having a bit of a change from the Singaporean food we'd been eating day in and day out, and with a red wine on the side it made for an excellent night out. 

Our new friend Bill told us that his wife Megan was coming to visit him from Chicago, and we all met up for drinks on Boat Quay one evening. The next day I had lunch with her at a place she recommended called Real Food. What a place! Serving Western food with plenty of vegan options, it was also a nice change to my typical meals (stir fries galore!) and I returned multiple times. 

The lentil burger was delicious, as was the rosemary hash brown and chickpea patties. Yannick's favourite is the vegan French toast, and I simply can't pick a favourite! I still need to sample much more of the menu, after all. 
After a brief weekend trip to Penang, our usual scheduling could continue. We had such a lovely time meeting up with Jarold, but alas Yannick had to return to work and me to faffing about. 

Katie, my good friend from London, visited for a couple of days in March and I made sure to take her to all the best places. One such being the Fortune Centre, where we lunched at Hotcakes. It was here that I tried nasi lemak, a Malaysian specialty. We followed up our spicy rice dishes with big slices of cake, selecting speculoos and vanilla blueberry. Lazat! ("Tasty" in Malay.)

For my birthday, Yannick and I went to a screening of Beauty and the Beast, as like any 90's child I had watched Disney movies nonstop and wanted a dose of nostalgia. I'll admit that my favourite character Gaston was slightly disappointing, but overall I greatly enjoyed the film. 

A coupe of times when the weather was clement, I took the free Wilby shuttle to the pool with my gym buddy Melanie. We swam and chatted and worked on our tans. Though it would have been nice to have a pool right downstairs, I infinitely preferred living centrally and having no pool rather than living out of the way and having easy access to one. 

Having already scoped out the supermarkets near Bugis, I continued to hunt out good deals in March. I never grew tired of this view from the Suntec City overbridge! Though Suntec lacked a Jollibean (tragic to be forced further afield for soy milk), I decided that it was the best mall in terms of location, store selection, and cheapness and range of its supermarket. 

As mentioned previously, stir fries were a near everyday staple for my lunch, but I often played around with different ingredients and meals as well. Vietnamese rice paper rolls were unbelievably cheap, so I would make spring rolls with bright fresh veggies and dipping sauce. 

Italian- and Mexican-themed meals were also commonplace. I managed to find hella cheap cherry tomatoes, and so invented a sauce utilising halved cherry tomatoes, a splash of olive oil, lime juice, oregano and pepper served over pasta or red kidney beans. It's so zesty that Yannick requested it multiple times per week. Quesadillas and burrito bowls were eaten on the regular also, though I did have a bad experience when cooking black beans from dried for the first time: food poisoning! It was completely my own fault, and the effects were quite mild, but I won't be making the mistake of undercooking beans again anytime soon. The meal, however, was delicious! Black rice, cabbage, purple sweet potato, black beans and homemade salsa make for a hearty and colourful meal, just make sure not to poison yourself!