Adventures of cooking Italian food! (in Singapore)

Remember the post about trying to find Italian ingredients in Singapore and how very challenging that experience was? We had to go to 3 different places just to get the ingredients that we needed for our open house event.

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For today’s post I would like to share with you what happened the following day which is our first time experience on cooking for 20 odd people Italian food in Singapore. And I would have to say that if it weren’t for my patient friends, it would have been a total and utter disaster.

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The day started fine enough. I woke up, went for a shower, scooted off to Mustafa Center for a bit (we needed a mixer and that was the only electronic store which was open at 8 am) and by the time I was back, the living room looked rather tidy courtesy of my mum – I have a magic mum!

After that, together we tackled the kitchen. Mum offered to cook Nasi Lemak as a back up food (in case anyone didn’t like Italian food) and so it started, the peeling, the chopping, the frying, the squabbling. And eventually the kitchen looked like a war-zone with the sambal splatter on the walls, the kitchen table full of opened jars and cans and the sink full of dishes.

Cart was being pretty smart. Instead of joining us in the kitchen, he secluded himself in a spot and started to make his tiramisu, supervised by Janet the cat.

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We were so engrossed with our tasks at hand that I didn’t notice the time. By the time that we were done with the Nasi Lemak, it was 2 pm and I haven’t even started with my cooking. I started to panic a little. Guests would be arriving in two hours. I can’t finish cooking in two hours!

I took a deep breath and tried to go into the zone and started on making my meatballs and when those were done, I started on my lasagna. I was so engrossed in cooking that I didnt realise that it was raining till my first guest, Daphne arrived. I looked out of the window. It was raining so heavily that we were close to needing to use a kayak to travel around.

And then the guests started to pour in. I felt a little embarassed at the state of the kitchen. I wanted to be all glamorous and calm and collected and the whole shabang when my friends arrived. Something like this, complete with all the hand flourish.

Instead I was a bit of a wreck. With the kitchen looking like a riot till the point that there were utensils in the kitchen bathroom, Nick exclaimed, “Why is there is knife in the bathroom?!” I felt so embarrassed each time someone sauntered in.

Don’t get me wrong, I was really happy to see my friends again as it has been a while since I’ve seen them. But I was really stressed out as I’ve got a long way to go before I was done cooking and I was getting restless.

I had to ignore my newly wedded cousin and her husband, and a couple of my friends had to leave before I was done. Argh! I wish they would have stayed a little longer. I wanted to chat with them when I was done! 🙁

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I didn’t even manage to take a picture of my ex-schoolmate Jamaliah, so I’ll just add these cupcakes that she gave me.

Luckily for me, my friends started to open up the games that they have brought along with them. Lets see, Sarah, Lina , Xinyun, CC, Robert, Daphne and Jasmine here got down and busy playing monopoly deal.

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Whereas Adrian, Nick, Hendri, Renhao and Justin Lee here are playing another type of card game. I’m not too sure what it was called, but it came in a cool bullet shaped case. While Justin Ng kept himself busy playing on his hand held. He’s too high class to be playing card games :p

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Janet the cat also became a form of distraction as suddenly the annoying cat was the star of the show! Everyone seemed to want to pat her or took pictures of her. Interestingly, she never ran a way like she did during hari raya (as how my siblings recounted)

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So that gave me a little more time, as they busied and distracted themselves. But the worst part was to come as I was trying to bake the lasagna.

I switched on the oven. And suddenly the entire house plunged into darkness. There was a power trip! Instantaneously, 15 odd people yelled out, “WOOOIIIIIIII!!” and someone scrambled to pull the main switch back on.

Oh. Must have been a jinx. Lets try it again.

And again the entire house was plunged into darkness. By the third time, I gave up and with my arms flailing, “I CAN’T BAKE MY LASAGNA? OH NO! WHAT DO I DO NAO!?!?”

Stupid lasagna.

Mum looked at me sympathetically, “Let me call up my friend on the 7th floor (we lived on the 9th) and see if she’s free” And a few minutes later she said, “You’re in luck! She said that she has to leave in the evening, but she’s free till then”

And thus my mum took my lasagna and went downstairs. And I felt relieved.

But a few minutes later, she came back up again with the lasagna and announced. “No go. Her oven is smaller than this tray”

What?! I felt so frustrated and helpless.

Luckily for us, the tray was made of aluminium and Cart started to use his muscular stranth to fold the tray into a smaller size. And off my mother went. And a few minutes later she came up again. “It still doesn’t fit!”

I was about to just give up on the bloody lasagna. But Cart, in his mathematical and engineering mind, started to calculate and then folded the tray even more than I thought it was possible. This time round, we both went downstairs to the lady’s house to see if it would fit.

Third time was a charm! Success! We let it cook in the oven for about 45 minutes and finally started serving the meatballs in the meanwhile.

The meatballs didn’t turn out the same as how I’d make it in Rome on account of the different quality of the ingredients that we found (we couldn’t find regular breadcrumbs for one, and instead could only find panko?!) I think the taste was acceptable anyway.

And I relaxed and finally had the chance to catch up with my friends. They were complaining at how difficult it was to find my parent’s place and that it was raining so heavily but for the sake of the food, they came willingly :p

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And I watched them amusedly as they played Raving Rabbids on the Nintendo Wii. Most of the groups were screaming, laughing and having fun psyching up each other. Adrian claimed that he was the Ravin Rabbids king even :p

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But there was one group consisting of Justin, Ridz and Justin, which was silent fully concentrating on the game. Not screaming at all! These were the ones who were the most competitive, I think. Leaders of our tomorrow.

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And in no time at all, the lasagna was ready and then it was the highlight of the dinner – Cart’s Tiramisu!

Okay, at this point of time, I have to admit that the pictures of the meatball, the lasagna and the tiramisu are not from the event because personally, I thought that all three of them didn’t look right. Thus I’ve BANNED everyone from taking any footage of the food.

Nevertheless, I really did have a lovely time re-bonding with my friends and laughing and just having good, simple fun. I genuinely hope that everyone else enjoyed themselves too, despite all the mess up’s that happened. And despite all the horrors in the kitchen, the food were duly lovingly cooked

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And as you can see, I look completely stoned out at the end of the day. I feel blessed to be surrounded by the people that I love though.

The end.

7 thoughts on “Adventures of cooking Italian food! (in Singapore)”

    1. Did you see Cart standing in front of the fan? Hahaha, he must have been feeling very hot!

      Thank you so much for gracing the evening. I’m so glad that you and Xinyun came over 🙂

  1. *feeling very hungry looking at the photos and reminded how yummy it was*

    heh, thanks for having us over and all the effort made by you and your family… *hugs*
    missing the meatball, lasagna and tiramisu…. *drools*

    1. Come to Rome and we’ll make even better versions of the food! Since its fresher here hahaha and ingredients are easier to find … heehehehehe!

      Thank YOU so much for coming over, if its not for my friends the event wouldn’t even be an event!

  2. Hi Marina, you may want to try the Cold Storage at Tanglin Mall the next time. Since they serve a mainly expat clientele, you will be able to find the buffalo mozzarella, etc there. There is also a bakery just next to the supermarket which I am sure you will be able to find fresh breadcrumbs instead of using panko 🙂

    1. Thanks Cuclainne! I’ll try that the next time we go to Singapore, which is probably in December 2011 🙂

      We were mainly in the west because we were staying in Jurong and thought that we could just get the ingredients in our zone. I wonder how much the ingredients cost in Tanglin Mall. Is it as expensive as the one at Holland Village Cold Storage?

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