Hello, Year of the Tiger

We realised how far we had come as we were preparing dinner this year - the calmness of the whole affair was a far cry from last year's noise and chaos. Coordination is difficult when more than half the house is cooking at the same time. In fact, its quite likely a fire hazard but we work like a well-oiled machine nowadays - light chatter instead of screaming and (what I deem to be) the greatest feat of all, time to spare before the guests arrive.

Stir-fried vegetables, Sapna-style.

Diana's seemingly bottomless Chick-kut-teh.

Chinese-style roast chicken, also affectionately known as "the chicken your (my) parents made".

Anusha's Secret Recipe Roast Potatoes.

Sook Fun's Never-Fail Stir Fried Chinese Mushrooms and Broccoli.

Our collection of Yee Sang, a mix of Chinatown and good old Kuantan.

For dessert, cookies, other Chinese New Year yummies, and 4 litres of ice cream. Yes, 4. The yummies definitely made my celebration - love letters, pineapple tarts, peanut crunchies and my personal favourite, fish crackers. While fish crackers might be a bit of a puzzle to some, it's one of the staples back in my hometown - there's nothing like sitting rickshaw-puller style in the dining area with your cousins with a deck of cards and a huge tin of fish crackers.

Bulk. That's the first thing that comes to mind whenever we're attempting to feed the whole house and more, and it was bulk indeed this time around with enough food to last two more meals - definitely no complaints there, especially when you've got a whole host of dishes to choose from for breakfast the next day!

In the usual spirit, we had lots of food, lots of laughter, good music and silly chatter. Needless to say, I think we gave the Tiger Year a nice, warm welcome.

Here's to a year of good health, prosperity, happiness and success. Happy Chinese New Year!

For a tenner - a second take.

After having arrived at the Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden just as it was closing for the day, a rather disheartened group of four wandered around Covent Garden in the miserable weather looking for something to lift those spirits. As we abandoned the initial idea of a tea-and-cupcakes session and embraced the thought of dinner instead, we soon realised that we were a bit spoilt for choice. We finally settled on La Tasca, something that suited Steven who's enthusiastic about all things Spanish, extremely well. I was surprised that the Tapas for a Tenner deal was still going on in La Tasca (and of course, that suited everyone extremely well) - it's been almost a year.

La Tasca
23-24 Maiden Lane,

Covent Garden,


I must say, the whole ordering process becomes so much easier when you have the option of saying, "Can we have everything on the menu, please?" Based on previous experience at a different La Tasca, I was a little apprehensive about certain items on the menu but with the option of giving everything a shot, we really had nothing to lose.

It's amazing how much food one can fit onto a tiny table with some clever arranging and stacking - let's just say that those skills definitely got us far this time around.

As always, the meatballs and fried calamari were hits. We also enjoyed the deep-fried white fish and chicken croquettes.

The berenjenas gratinadas (aubergine baked in garlic and wine sauce, topped with cheese), one of my all-time favourites, did not disappoint.

Both paella dishes came as a pleasant surprise as unlike the last time I was there, the paella was flavourful and rather addictive, particularly paella de verduras (vegetarian paella).

One thing that hasn't changed is the warm atmosphere that all La Tasca outlets seem to have. The soft lighting and rustic interior is a great setting for catching up with friends and in this particular case, making new ones.