And this is my first post from Singapore!!! I’m still trying to clear the backlog and so here is one less of those few more remaining before I’m finally caught up to the present. Anyway, It’s our second day here and I’ve got plenty of time of my hands to catch up now. At the moment, I’m typing this up with a belly full of bak chor mee, or mee pok, or whatever it is you wanna call it! Mmmm…. $2.50licious…. anyway, back to the point of the post.

Just a few days ago, we decided to throw one last small dinner for some friends before we left. And what better dinner to cook in celebration of us moving to Singapore than Chicken Rice, one of the quintessential Singaporean dishes. Unfortunately quintessential or not, it was a pain in the ass. Chicken rice is not a hard dish to make by any means, in fact, it’s pretty darn easy. But when you’re trying to juggle packing, running errands, tidying up the place for a dinner party, as well as preparing dinner…. it all gets quite messy.

I had to cook the chicken slightly different from how I normally do it as I just had too many errands to run. Seeing as I had to leave the house for a few hours to go pick up my China visa from the Chinese consulate as well as some other things, I had to prepare the chicken in a way that would allow me to let it cook whilst leaving the house and yet not risking the place burning down because the stove was still burning.

So I tried out vanessafrida‘s method of cooking Slow Cooked Chicken which just involves bringing the chicken to a rolling boil for a period, then leaving it to sit in the pot off the fire for the next 6 hours. I didn’t have a thick walled pot, and so just put the entire pot in the oven and hoped that it would insulate the pot from losing too much heat. It worked pretty well as when I got home about 3 hours later the oven was like a furnace from the heat that emanated from the pot. I shouldn’t have done this next step but I worried a bit that the water may have still cooled too much, and so put it back on the stove on the lowest possible heat for the next 30mins before turning it off again and just leaving it for the next 3 hours.

First in line

A strange sight this is. No, I’m not talking about the riding each other bit. But moreso that they’re actually wearing pants whilst doing it this time

Erica and I were betting on whom would be the first to use the massage chair on arrival as we haven’t had anyone over since we’ve had the chair. We put our money on Thien-Lan and we were spot on indeed! I realised that playing host to a dinner is really really not conducive to being the dinner photographer as well. There are just so many things to do at the one time that I just didn’t have time to shoot.

Erica prepared Strawberry and Mint mocktails instead of cocktails due to the fact that TL was still breast feeding and as such couldn’t really drink. No matter, they were still absolutely delicious. Bev and Chris also pre-prepared some appetizers which were ham and cheese puff pastry things. All we had to do was brush’em with egg and stick them in the over. Mmmm…. ham… cheese… puff pastry. Simple yet tasty. It was a good thing they brought these as it helped to buy us more time to finish preparing dinner.

Strawberry and Mint Mocktails

Ham & Cheese Puffs

Bev explaining that Chris has certain….. short comings….

E-Penis envy….

Anyway, finally dinner is ready. I made a whole chicken, the largest I could find, and threw 4 extra drumsticks into the mix. I didn’t have the space or time to cook two whole chickens plus it may have been too much anyway. I’m glad that everyone seemed to enjoy it all. Once again, lucky for them they didn’t see how much chicken fat I actually cooked the rice with! Hah! I think it would probably have scared them!

All up the chicken was really really tender, but the skin ended up falling off. Ahhh well…. can’t win them all. Also my knife was as blunt as anything as I didn’t have time to sharpen it and so it ended up mushing the chicken just a tad when I tried to cut it. The rice turned out pretty well except for the fact that it was just a tad on the soggy side. Some prefer it that way, but I don’t. It’s kinda hard to gauge how much extra stock you need to cook 5 cups of rice. It needs more than just cooking for normal rice. Not enough and it’s a little undercooked. Too much and it’s soggy… unfortunately the outcome was the later but Bev and TL prefer their rice on the slightly soggy side anyway so it worked out well for them. Either way, now that I’m in Singapore, thankfully I’ll never have to cook this again. Ever!!! Yays!!! :)

Chicken Rice

Various condiments

Mangled Chicken

Chow time!

Manu brought along his Speedlight 580exII which I really didn’t appreciate. I had just decided that my next camera related purchase was to be a zoom lens, already having crossed off the 580ex from my list of immediate purchases… until now!!! Arghhhh!!! It really makes taking photos so much easier during indoor situations and I guess that’s where most of my shooting shenanigans take place! So thanks to him the 580ex is back on the cards!!! Sigh….

One of the things I noticed was that the 580ex had trouble syncing with the camera in AV or TV modes, which is what I primarily shoot in. It was only later that evening when I googled the problem that I found out why. Until I learn more of the ins and outs of the thing, I think I just have to shoot in P mode.

Experimenting with Manu’s Flash unit

Just can’t eat in peace around here…

Young Arthur post feeding. There’s no better way for mother and son to bond than by play strangling…

The only way to really silence Bev is with food…. lots of it

Another family “awww” moment…

Bev looking every bit the disapproving asian mum. Enjoy a lifetime of this expression Christopher!

I remember being quite shocked to look over and see Erica holding Arthur as holding babies…. or well babies in general, is something that she is not interested in whatsoever. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. My wife totally lacks a maternal instinct… period. So seeing her holding Arthur was a pleasant surprise… until I found out that was only the case because Manu and TL kept asking her if she wanted to hold him and she probably did it so as not to offend them! *facepalm*

Erica actually holding a baby?! Huzzah it’s a miracle!!!

I want one…. :(

Bev dead from too many chairgasms…..

A toast! With a wee baby glass for the new mum….

Manu brought over a bottle of champagne which was a Vintage Veuve Clicquot. From what I understood from what he told me, vintages are pretty cool. Better than not vintages. That’s basically all I understood as I don’t really know anything about wines or champagnes at all. But I did understand that vintages cost more and are meant to be nicer. And so as much as I really appreciated Manu springing for the fancier champagne which was a wonderful gesture, it really tastes the same to me! Just like almost all wine tastes the same to me!! I’m sorry Manu!!! But at least it tasted nice, that I can tell you!!! :)

For dessert Erica had prepared Mango Pudding the night before. I love Erica’s mango puddings and they are by far the best I’ve ever had. The ones you order out just aren’t sweet enough and always lack that Mango punch. At home, you can tailor make it just the way you like. And that’s with absolutely stacks of mango! It was heavenly and a wonderful way to round off dinner!

Best Mango pudding ever….

Blowing a milky load…

Fresh Mango chunks aplenty

TL enjoying her noms

A glass jungle

A very sweet note from Bev and Chris

It’s sad to know that this is the last dinner for a long time that we’re all going to have together. With Erica & myself moving to Singapore, Bev & Chris moving to Shanghai, and TL & Manu here in Sydney, we’re all going to scattered all over the place. The next time we will all see each other together again will probably be in Singapore in the latter half of 2009 for Bev and Chris’s wedding. So as much fun as we had, it was kinda sad to note. Anyway, that’s all just geography. We’ll all still be seeing each other regularly within the realms of Warhammer Online so yays! :) Well… all of us except for Bev anyway whom seems to prefer playing with bags and Barbies or something…. boo….

Thanks for coming over guys, we’ll really miss you all!!! See you online and don’t level up too much without us!!! :)