This may have come a teensy bit late but we have 12 days of Christmas right? And since we did it German style this year,
“Fröhliche Weinachten und ein frohes Neues Jahr!“
We had our Christmas dinner on the 24th and spent it with family and close friends. Past years have seen my parents hosting and having the whole Tan family invited as well as some friends. This year, Flo and I hosted to give Mum a break from always being the one to prepare all the food as well as having to be the main person to clear up after guests have left.
There was about 15 of us and I made sure to call dibs on our condo function room. We’re only allowed to book 2 months in advance so on October 24, at 9.30am, I called the management office to quickly place a booking. Mum roasted the Turkey, Dad got his carving skills to work, they also generously brought sliced Ham for dinner. I made a big tray of Grilled Vegetables, a simple Caprese Salad, and of course, the dessert of Banana Walnut Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream and a Chocolate Ganache Drippy Glaze that was polished off after dinner.
And Flo’s boss made us an incredible Stuffed Chicken. I believe it was Capon Chicken according to his wife. Initially I thought it was a reference to the method of cooking the bird but apparently, it refers to a male chicken that has been castrated and fed on a rich diet of milk or porridge. As such, they tend to be larger in size compared to a normal chicken, but still smaller than a turkey. They are also more flavourful, juicier and more tender, hence, the perfect candidate for roasting.
And so we have our deboned chicken, stuffed with a blend of pork, chicken, bacon, onions and chestnuts. There was also a gravy on the side that had whole chestnuts swimming in them. The chestnuts were awesome. Yeah I have a thing for chestnuts…
Flo did a great job slicing up the chicken so that the rest of us didn’t have to get our hands dirty.
Ludwig actually made the bird for us specially to collect for our Christmas dinner as they had their celebration the day before. In exchange for the chicken, I baked his family my cake-of-the-season, the Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Salted Caramel Glaze.
And this little one here, though small, was just enough to go around for our Christmas do.
The yellow thing on top was a little random. I had some cake orders to do for around Christmas and happened to cut up some extra fondant star. So I ended up stacking them into a yellow star tree-cum-flower and used it as a cake topper.
And I made sure that we had some photos taken because I usually forget to take proper photos of the family. This one below has Flo, Dad, and Enrico, who is a tenant at Dua Gou’s home and wasn’t going back to Indonesia to be with his family for the holidays. It was nice to have him join us and for us to find out more about the island he’s from and what he’s doing here in Singapore. I took this photo just because all three men had their legs crossed in exactly the same position and I thought it looked rather cute!
Enrico was obliging in helping us take a group photo. This one is of my family, oldest aunt with her grandson Joseph (i.e. my nephew), my cousin, TY, and her parents Mama and Si Chek, Amanda and Alex, and my oldest BFF Pearl and her husband, YJ. The only missing person was Dai, TY’s husband who’d played 6 hours worth of tennis earlier and was totally smashed. So he found a chair by the pool, got comfy and promptly fell asleep.
And there! Another group shot of us doing… something. When I saw this picture with my Dad doing the peace aka victory aka twist sign, I couldn’t help but laugh. Then I realised Mum was doing it too! It was great seeing my parents looking so happy and relaxed that evening and looking once again at this photo just makes my heart overflow with joy.
After my aunts and uncles left, TY, Dai, Amanda, Alex, Pearl and YJ came up to ours where we had drinks, talked and laughed. Then we proceeded on to play this game that Amanda introduced to us called ‘Air Console‘. Basically anyone who has a smart phone can play it and it was actually a really cool game to play in a group. They stayed past midnight before we wished each other Merry Christmas and good night!
Christmas day itself was less eventful but still a great one nonetheless.
Flo and I met Amanda and Alex (AGAIN!! That’s how much we love them!) to watch Jumanji. We all agreed that the cast was awesome and the trio – Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black were super in their roles. It was entertaining, suspenseful, action-packed and witty all at the same time. A must-watch for sure!
Another must-watch is Wonder. I watched it last week actually but from the beginning to the very end, all I did was cry. I actually read the book many years ago. It wasn’t a sad show but it was incredibly touching. It reminded me of how people like Auggie, young and old, can have a heart of a lion. Sometimes, circumstances are unavoidable and yet, they find the strength to overcome them and come out trumps. And Auggie notwithstanding, his sister too had her own battles to fight and so did his parents in choosing how to raise him. Awesome. Just awesome!
Anyway, after Jumanji, we hemmed and hawed about where to go for dinner. We finally thought to go back to our favourite Long Phung only to find it closed for Christmas. Boo! So we decided to hack it and try the other Vietnamese restaurant next door, Lâp Vietnamese and boy, were we pleasantly surprised.
Amanda fancied some of their fresh Pork and Prawn Spring Rolls. These were made fresh and well stuffed. I preferred these to the ones we had previously at Long Phung simply because they tasted fresher and they used leaner cuts of pork within.
A portion of Rare Beef was also called for. Lâp’s rendition uses julienned red onions instead of white ones so there was no heavy remnant of onion-y flavour left on the tongue.
They also had a mellow smokiness from the wok, greater onion to beef ratio, smaller cuts of beef and had the meat just about cooked through whereas Long Phung’s has theirs more pink and with a sharper hit of lemon juice squeezed over. It’s a matter of preference really and we were in agreement that neither was better than the other. They were simply different.
Amanda and Alex had a bowl each of Beef Stew Noodle Soup which they both enjoyed, Flo had the Pho Bo Tai which had a hearty, flavourful stock with a stronger hint of 5-spice compared to Long Phung.
I wanted to try what they called their Vietnamese seafood gumbo but it was either off the menu or sold out, so I had their Sour Prawn Soup.
It came with 5 huge prawns that were extremely fresh I might add, as well as okra, tomatoes and sliced pineapples that added a touch of sweet. I loved the addition of fresh herbs and fried garlic on top. So good!
With that, it was yet another Christmas come and gone.
Our goodbye to 2017 was a simple affair. We met our BCFF (Best Couple Friends Forevahhhh) Amanda and Alex and went for an Indian Vegetarian dinner at Udipi Ganesh Vilas at Ceylon Road.
Chapati for me, Garlic Naans and Butter Naans for the Naan fans, eaten along with Palak Paneer (my favourite!), Aloo Gobi (Flo’s favourite), Cucumber Raita and Mixed Vegetables Curry. Later we ordered another serving of Aloo Gobi and Paneer Kofta (A fried ball of paneer doused in curry masala) which I’ve never tried before and was really nice too. I know, Indian food generally never looks very photogenic but they make up for it in flavour and richness.
Four of us took a walk home after dinner where we settled ourselves down to play Diablo III.
Then at 11pm, out came the cheeses and cold cuts.
We popped a bottle of champagne at midnight and I had a sip of Flo’s but still no. I still don’t like the taste of alcohol. Of any variety.
We took our first #wefie of 2018 too! Amanda made a good point – four of us hang out together regularly but never really take many pictures together. Something we’ll have to change this year.
And that’s the holiday season over. At least until February when Lunar New Year comes around. The shopping malls have already taken down all the Christmas decorations and put up the Chinese New Year ones already. But all that aside, after my recent travel posts and festive posts, I’ll be back next with more new recipes I promise!
From me to you, I wish you a blessed 2018 full of laughter, good cheer, great health, lots of love, and an endless supply of new memories to make! XX