It is just a few minutes left to 2014, this year was filled with surprises and I am very thankful and grateful for the support given to me by my friends, family and supporters for my art and illustration. Nothing beats ending the year with a cosy dinner I had with some good friends at the Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Beach Road this year.
Utilizing on my Agoda.com points and taking their weekend offer, I got myself a 45sqm suite complete with a well-equipped kitchen perfect for an end of the year dinner party. The serviced apartment also commands a great location, near major attractions like Gardens by the Bay and Kampong Glam but also accessible via bus or Circle Line. This is the perfect base for a foreign visitor to Singapore.
The dinner party’s theme was Flight, I picked this over “Canteen” because it meant taking a break away from work, it meant a getaway and it is also appropriate for the New Year like a new flight or journey. One of my friends was going for an exchange in Europe next year too hence the theme.
The menu took a bit of work, for weeks before the dinner itself I have tested out a few recipes, some of them was deemed too adventurous such as the Moroccan Fish Stew with its heavy use of ginger and for our initial menu of compiling some dishes from menus of various airlines seemed to lack focus or comes down to the boring steak, cheese, lobster and salad combination which are also way over the budget.
One of the menu covers featuring the RSAF Black Knights.
After some thought, I decided to make it more local and move away from dishes that reminded us too much of Christmas dinners. The Satay, a classic appetizer in both Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines was an anchor appetizer but instead of meat, I used mock chicken which my friend could consume. Fish just doesn’t give the right texture (having tried both white fish and tilapia filets)
As I still have a box of kuri kanoko from Nagano during my visit to Japan, I thought it would be symbolic to serve this Japanese sweet that was normally served in the form of kuri kinton for the New Year as a symbol of prosperity. Instead of a sweet potato mash, I used Hokkaido red beans and served the chestnuts with a red bean soup with lemon peel instead like a zensai dessert.
Kaya Toast, Homage to Canteen 398, taken by Mu Yao.
Lastly, taking a cue from Heston Blumenthal’s Christmas feast, I got some Teh Tarik ice cream from Island Creamery and served with it a caramelized brioche with kaya spread. This ‘kaya toast’ was one of the desserts for the night. Part of the decision to use either milo, teh Tarik or kopi for the dessert was due to a friend’s obsession with kaya toast as well as coming across the mention of the former Canteen 398 in Seletar where our former airport (before Kallang) and airbase used to be.
Pears Poached in Merlot, taken by Mu Yao
As if there are not enough sweets, Liang Wei impressed us with some Pears Poached in Merlot, served with crème fraiche and sliced almonds. Overall, I had a great time, although I was dead beat for the next 2 days even though it was a staycation meant to be relaxing, but seeing people enjoying themselves and there was an added bonus of seeing people dressed for the theme, my kaya toast friend and I were dressed in flight suits or “zoombags” in aviation slang. So, it was all worth it.
Happy New Year and hope you have a great 2014 ahead!