Florian and Mum were blessed to have their birthdays just before the Circuit Breaker (CB) measures were put in place so we managed to enjoy a celebration dining out. Fingers and toes crossed all the measured will have loosened by the time my birthday comes around, and perhaps we’ll all be able to dine out again. Still, I have to say that it’s been fun cooking at home. We’ve made it a point to cook near enough every day so I’ve been exploring all kinds of cuisines from Middle Eastern, to local delights, to simple Western… I’ll definitely keep up with cooking more elaborate dinners from Florian and I once we move into our new home. I used to cook anyway but more basic grilled/pan seared meats with salads or grilled vegetables. Now, I think I will more more stews, and rice bowls, and some of his favourite hawker foods like wanton noodles and hokkien mee. And pizza!
Since it was Dad’s birthday a few days ago, we decided to scrap the homecooking and do something a little more special for him. We planned to keep it all hush-hush so he could have a small surprise. Dad isn’t one who enjoys making a fuss about his birthday but we couldn’t resist doing something specially for him without too many bells and whistles. While we sat together creating our meal plan for the week, we said that we were going to order in cheap Thai food on Thursday night since Florian was craving for it. We didn’t bother mentioning it would be Dad’s birthday and pretended we totally forgot.
Instead, I ordered from Pistachio Grill Mediterranean Restaurant where Dad has apparently dined at before and thoroughly enjoyed. Unlike Mum and I, Dad’s a big fan of red meat, especially lamb. However, he seldom gets to eat it. So Thursday night, with Dad at a Zoom meeting, Mum and I went to pick Florian up from work on the pretence that he was buying home dinner from a new Thai restaurant he wanted to try. Luckily, when we reached home empty-handed, Dad didn’t realise because he was busy.
Around 7.20pm, the doorbell rang and we were promptly handed our dinner which I quickly plated and kept warm in the oven while we waited for Dad’s meeting to finish.
When he finally managed to free himself from the meeting, Dad walked into the dining room and it was very cute watching his eyes open wide at the sight of the spread before us.
Fall-off-the-bone tender lamb shank with saffron rice. I hardly eat lamb but this had me going back for more. It was not gamey at all and so tender. I especially enjoyed the spiced tomato sauce it came slathered in.
Lamb chops with Moussaka. I wasn’t as much a fan of the lamb chops but the moussaka was very moreish. Much like a lasagne but less heavy since it was layered with vegetables.
Spinach borek for starters. They tasted so much like Chinese spring rolls to be honest. Still delicious but nothing too exquisite.
We also had a serving of mixed grill consisting of chicken kebabs, minced beef kebabs and more lamb chops. This was served with saffron rice as well. The chicken kebabs were my favourite – smokey and juicy. I was also impressed with the light, fluffy, fragrant rice that didn’t sit too heavy in our stomachs.
I also ordered a serving of pita bread (which came as a long piece, almost like a belt) and labneh (a hung yoghurt dip) that I thought would help cut through all the meaty goodness of the meal.
We did have leftovers, as expected, but they were polished off next day for lunch. It was a great meal that made Dad extremely happy, and by default, all of us as well. I was impressed with how delicious the food was considering it sat a while through the delivery and then some more after while waiting for Dad to be ready. I can only imagine how much better it must be once we get to dine in at restaurants again. I’m sure we’ll make a visit to Pistachio to have the food fresh once things open up.
As for cake, no birthday celebration is complete without cake! I had some cake orders over the weekend so I managed to make extra mini ones out from those orders. Yup, being a baker means that family and friends usually never get to choose their birthday cakes – they have to make do with whatever I decide to whip up. In this case, it was a pandan vanilla bavarian mousse cake with chocolate sponge and gula melaka (palm sugar) caramel bananas.
They were petite but still big enough to hold all the birthday boy’s candles!
It wasn’t too sweet and had a very pleasant flavour reminiscent of our local dessert, chendol. Hubs liked it even though he’s not so much a fan of bananas in desserts. He asked me to take this photo of his sad, pitiful face after part of his cake plopped onto the table. He still proceeded to pick it up and put it into his mouth thereafter.
I believe that what matters in the end is really quality time together as a family. I think this CB period, and post CB phases where most of Singapore is still not quite opened up, has made us become even closer. Things may not be as they were, but we can still make great memories together and celebrate joyous occasions so long as we are in each other’s company.
We are blessed!
Here’s wishing Dad many, many more years of good health and happiness. May the year ahead bring you more highs than lows, and more blessings than you can count on your fingers and toes. You may sometimes be an incredibly grump, and more stubborn than an ox, but you are a wonderful father, a loving husband, and you have given our family so much more than we deserve. Thank you, Dad. We love you very, very much! xx