Tag Archive | birthday

Hitting the Big Five O in style

Went to Z’s 50th birthday bash today, thrown for her by the three most important men in her life: her hubby and her two sons.

When Z’s hubby invited me as early as mid-November, he said: “Z needs someone who’s older to be present so she won’t feel so bad about turning 50.”  Hur, hur, hur!

Thank goodness (for my self esteem!) the lunch party at Brewerkz wasn’t inundated by the young and nubile from the media world while those who have hit or would be hitting the Big 50 who attended didn’t look a day over — dare I say it? — 35!

Happy birthday Z, for today and the actual day in the coming week. Long may we continue to do our eating out like we did here, here and here

birthday cake in waiting

 
 
 

when u r loved, life's a piece of cake

i started with this

 

...followed by this

... washed down with this

 

.. Z's men

.. Z's men and S-I-L

moi, birthday girl in back row and z's P1 classmates n kids

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Gifts with no strings attached, please!

so many strings attached

Even if I wanted to — and I don’t — I won’t be able to forget my birthday. Which though several weeks away has, like in past years, begun as early as April, to attract the vultures. Oh, I mean the merchants.

Those hitting on me, bearing gifts with strings attached, include the Tanglin Club, Singapore Cricket Club, and Raffles Marina as well as Great Eastern Life, from whom I’ve bought small policies.

I’ve written about this be4 in May 2008 and not a lot seems to have changed since then.

OK, Tanglin Club has gone slightly more generous: last time, it was only for a la carte dinner at its Churchill Room; now it could be for a la carte lunch as well. Also valid for the Sunday Family Buffet but nix for the month-end champagne brunch.

For good measure, the club has thrown in a 50% discount voucher for a one off treatment at Spa Bontanical, its tenant.

Such generosity leaves me speechless, as does the fact that SCC now gives its members a $25 discount voucher to spend at the Padang Restaurant, compared to the 15% discount previously. Sounds more like a cap on the club’s generosity, unless the average spent by birthday members is normally parsimonous!

As for the $50 voucher from Raffles Marina, there’s little to tempt me to celebrate there, given the club’s high food and beverage prices. On the plus side, RM imposes few restrictions other than make the voucher valid for some 3.5 months, from two weeks before the member’s birthday and up to three months after.

This year, the clubs have been joined by GE Life which offered me 3 gifts: a free 500gm cake for a minimum spent of $100 in a clutch of restaurants at the Fairmount Hotel; a makeover from Guerlain and a body massage said to worth $188 from Subtle Senses.

I won’t be availing myself of any of the 3 gifts, cos I’m not going to spend $100 for a 1/2 kg cake which is most likely something like black forest which I won’t eat even if you bribe me.

As for the makeover and body massage, I know only too well from experience what these “freebies” will lead to: high pressure sales tactics when I’m at my most vulnerable. Thanks but no thanks. I don’t need to celebrate my birthday in this fashion.

What I like to hear from merchants wanting my business but which I’ve never seen is for them to offer me on my birthday:

  • higher interest from my banks for deposits
  • double rewards for credit card spent
  • higher discounts at the petrol pump

However, this is unlikely to happen because these are real gifts whereas those being dumped on all and sundry who are about to celebrate their birthday is more like stuff that’s given to charity jumble sales.

A new life at 82

How fast a year has flown by and this week, I was once again attending Auntie GY’s birthday party. It seemed like only yesterday that I wrote about her birthday bash and farewell to her old home.

The March 3 party was held at her new home, with her daughter and her family: a far larger home nearer the city, complete with swimming pool and in many ways so posh that even the hand towels in the washroom were rolled up individually like those in the best hotels’ rest rooms!

a section of the food

The spread was again generous; a tok panjang of many dishes and all served sitting down; the guests many; the soft drinks served in cut-glass tumblers.

But the celebration lacked the festivity of the last party, tinged tho that had been with some sadness due to the recent loss of the birthday girl’s husband.

She gave a speech as she did last year but a shorter one which essentially said that her daughter wanted her to have friends  come round more often. Halfway, she was again a bit teary but bravely held back the weepies and urged everyone to have more food.

I guess it’s because Auntie GY is still settling down into her new home, trying to find her feet. For her private space, she has an annexe in the house converted from the former TV den; it’s spacious with ensuite bathroom but compared to her old domain, it’s compact; only her piano was there. I saw no sign of the organ.

She did play the piano and sing but the songs were limited. Perhaps her singing partner, Pin, was absent. Perhaps also because another recent widow at the gathering rushed out at the first few chords of  “When Irish eyes are smiling”.

Perhaps Auntie GY will be in better form at her 83rd birthday… meanwhile, we demolished the birthday cake

Birthday haul

With my birthday already over for almost a month, I must record this year’s “haul” before more time passes and everything becomes a blur.

First, MK kindly bought lunch at Din Tai Fung at Bishan (my choice because I wanted to shop at Fairprice afterwards), followed by cake n coffee at Coffee Bean. She also gave me three CDs of Hokein songs.

Unfortunately, I misplaced two of the CDs immediately so have to make do with the remaining CD. She kept asking y I’m playing the same CD in my car when I gave her lifts and I had to tell her the truth. Of cos, she was none too pleased.

noodles, soup n dumpling

noodles, soup n dumpling

TC n CT were regular as always with their celebratory meal treat and also their regular bottle of wine gift, for me to drink at home. I like going out with them as CT always wants to drive, something I could do without at night– especially when I drink!

As usual, they picked the Cathay Restaurant and we always have the table that gives us an eagle’s eye view of the junction of Orchard Road,  Penang Lane, Bras Basar Road and one exit of the Orchard MRT that’s always “people mountain, people sea”.

The dishes they picked were:  shark’s bone soup, green Hongkong kailan and soft steamed rice crepe rolls filled with delectable seafood in a superior broth, all generously accompanied with garlic and chopped red chilli padi, followed by pomelo beads  in mango and sago soup which is my particular favourite.  

emerald green vege

emerald green vege

shark's bone soup

shark's bone soup

roll full of gdness

roll full of gdness

 

chilli n garlic

chilli n garlic

rich mango sago with pomelo beads

rich mango sago with pomelo beads

Then there’re the usual and predictable hongbaos from immediate family: Daffy and bil.

Mum skipped this year becos she’s stopped handling money in a meaningful way. Last year, she named a sum for me to withdraw.  The latest change means she’s become more detached or simply she can’t cope with money details any more. Either way, the result is the same.

Also, among the MIAs are my two regular well-wishers from overseas. Friends of over 40 years, they’ve both overlooked the day. But life goes on and life gets busier…

Nephew H provided a Philip’s electronic photo frame which I’m still trying to fill with pix… all 500 of them…be4 calling in the electrician uncle in to add a new power point to run the gadget. Wish he would stick to giving me something virtual (like MS Office which he gave as a X’mas present), as I loathe to acquire too many physical posessions.

And of cos I treated myself n immediate family to lunch at Kuishin-bo as recorded here.

He cooks with love

It has become something of an annual ritual. TK cooking for the birthday buds in May, even tho one of them is an April gal. The location: a mutual friend’s home near Katong Park.

This year saw a slight departure. The April gal got her own dinner at GOTO at Ann Siang Hill as written about here.

Another departure from tradition is that TK (whose birthday we celebrated at Gunthers last July) didn’t cook up the dishes he enjoyed from his last trip. In the past, when he’s just back from a trip, he would give his interpretation of the cuisine he tasted, for example as detailed here when he went to Syria.

Anyway, TK had just returned from a holiday in Korea (south of cos) and had initially wanted to reprise Korean flavours — but decided against that a few days be4 the cook-in, explaining that he couldn’t face the explosion of flavours that typified Korean food.

And I was so looking forward to bibimbap too! Tho on reflection, it’s probably not too big a loss since I like only bibimbap and kimchi and nothing else from the Korean menu. At any time I could have my fill with a visit to the ubiqbuitous Korean cuisine stalls in our food courts.

But for the fine, light but complex touch of TK’s cooking, it’s always a treat and not available on demand but by invitation only.

So on May 23, we started with chopped fresh raw tuna tossed in prawn roe, chives, seaweed strips, ginger, a Japanese plant that looks like a mini banana flower (chef can’t remember its name but since he shops mainly at Medeiya, a trip there should locate the veggie) and wasabe.

deliciously raw

deliciously raw

Oishi! Went down excellently with the Charles Heidsiek champagne courtesy of CK. Pity we were each limited to one portion of tuna, like they do in non-buffet restaurants.

We then proceeded to the dining room and were served diced grilled beet root similarly marinaded. TK said he remembered I like beetroot, a liking I couldn’t remember but I didn’t want to contradict him as that would be ungracious.

great it's not blue cheese

great it's not blue cheese

I was just thankful he didn’t remember that spell when I loved blue cheese and ate so much of it that I got turned off eventually. Nowdays, I can’t possibly face another nibble of blue cheese, not even if it’s only in dressing.

A third appetiser followed. Fat pan-fried scallop with argula leaves, bacon chips and prawn roe.

one isn't enough!

one isn't enough!

Flat owner CK provided a 13-year-old bottle of Shiraz! To go with the plump scallops. And followed that with an icy cold dish, as a sort of freshener for the palate. It was a soup of boiled nashi pears, slices of sour plum and osmanthus flowers. Added to it were potato vermecelli and daintily diced cooked nashi.

simply cool!

simply cool!

 

It was truly refreshing! And cleansed our mouths nicely for the bruchetta main course. As usual, I’m the odd one out– the others were given beef whereas I had grilled shredded spatchcock.

The reason for this? I’ve many taboo foods, not because of religion or allergy (which people might excused) but simply because I don’t like the taste of a fairly extensive list that extends to beef, lamb, goose and duck to name just a few.

Occasionally, others had to sacrifice for me as was the case when we went to GOTO. Everyone had fish and seafood courses throughout although there were a few grumbles that a meat course won’t have been out of place.    

For a home-cooked meal, it meant that the host had to cater specially for me, if he didn’t want to deprive the others of beef, duck or lamb.

 And so it was I had spatchcock meat bruchetta whereas the others had beef. The salsa however was the same: fresh blueberries and mango in a dressing of preserved lemons and avocado oil.

yum's the word

yum's the word

And how else would a birthday party for three buds of May end if not with a birthday cake — provided as always by the sweet n generous LW, who also brought pomelo beads in mango puree. (She’s the best resource person for locating the most delicious desserts in Singapore and some would say anywhere else in the world).

May buds take the cake

May buds take the cake

Actually when I heard that LW had brough Black Forest cake,  I felt a bit disappointed as I had gone off Black Forest like I have blue cheese.

But after taking a sliver, I was converted again because the cake was dense and got bite, not like the mousse or sponge that masquerades nowadays under the name of Black Forest cake.

Shades of Mont D’or of my childhood came back and I went for a meaningful slice as my 2nd helping. Made all the better with a generous drizzle of Cointreau.

Birthday eats & treats

It’s usual to feed one’s face whenever there’s a birthday. Two birthday celebrations I participated in for two friends born in March were no different, except that the older one by far (newly widowed, she hit her 81st barely 100 days after her better half went to heaven) threw a sumptuous lunch at home for her friends whereas I co-hosted with four others to mark the 57th year of a wang-lau-wu.

As they say, age be4 beauty, tho this doesn’t detract fm the fact that the birthday girl is a very stunning looker even at 81. And a great cook to boot. So I shall start with some mouth watering pictures of the spread Auntie GY cooked up with her maid by letting the picture do the talking.

after the first guests' attack

after the first guests' attack

Like many times be4, I forgot to snap be4 my mouth snapped on the food. Hence above was what was left on the table after the 30+ guests had their first round.

Every dish was home cooked, including roti jala (in the foreground) which are lacy crepes normally eaten with curry. As many of the dishes were moist with delicious gravy — sambal sweet potato leaves, rendang, curry chicken, honey pork ribs etc — guests were able to enjoy the roti in many flavours.

As the sweet potato leaves had come straight from the b-girl’s own garden, that was what I ate most besides pork ribs.

While the occasion was to celebrate a good long life, it was also a time of some sadness, a fact made patently clear when Auntie GY asked to be allowed to make a speech, in which she recalled the happier times she had with her spouse in the same house. She also singled out most of the guests present for mention, with some boasting friendships of 60 years with her. More recent ones like myself  have called her friend for at least 10 years.

Another reason for sadness was that it won’t be long be4 she moves to live with her daughter as her house is too big for her alone and yet too small for her daughter and family to move in. And her faithful maid will be leaving her too, snapped up by one of her many friends.

I wonder whether at 81, Auntie GY could adapt to the change, even tho she’s going to move in with devoted children as the cakes they bought her from Cedele (below) showed. Yet change she must, since one change had already been thrust on her, making all the subsequent changes merely responses triggered by the first.

More about the other birthday celebration at Fifty Three @ Armenina Street in a later post.  Meanwhile enjoy the tributes in flowers and fruits (pix below) given to Auntie GY who in line with her practice at most parties, played the piano and organ (in turn) and sang all the old, old favourites …like Now is the hour…

bouquet n cedele cakes

bouquet n cedele cakes

fruitful tribute

fruitful tribute

blooming tribute

blooming tribute