Show Me The Monkey

Couldn't find my monkey report app #bukittimah

We love our new home. And after four months, we still love that it takes 30 minutes to walk up from Dunearn Road (although there’s a shuttle service) and we love the lush greenery all round.

We didn’t mind that there was a colony of long-tailed macaques roaming the edge of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve that would appear at different parts of the wooded area around our apartment block. They generally don’t bother anyone except when they tip unsecured rubbish bins over to scrounge for food.

There is however that one lone ranger macaque I mentioned previously who is quite bold, and a few months ago, actually came into our apartment and stole a bag of candy floss Kai had gotten from a party. He also managed to squeeze through our almost shut bathroom window and bite our tube of toothpaste.

He’s “terrorized” other apartment units and houses in the estate often enough for the NEA/AVA to post tips on our notice boards on how to handle the monkey menace. Securing rubbish bins with bungee cords was one tip – which made me assume that the NEA think that monkeys don’t know how to undo bungee cords.

There are several other useful ones, such as carrying your child on your shoulders to give the monkey the impression that you are a lot bigger (and that there is no small child for it to attack), and not looking the monkey in the eye (I dunno, monkeys behave like Singapore gangs, I guess, and might be provoked by staring).

But we were most encouraged by the tip that the macaques would usually visit at a certain time of day, and so kept a “monkey diary” recording the time of every monkey sighting. This was useful because it meant we could keep our windows open for most of the day, enjoying the fresh-ish air sans air-con, bar for what we called “monkey hour”, which was 5.30-6.30pm.

I don’t know what happened last week, but the lone ranger macaque must have gotten wind of our diary and has since mixed up his schedule, attempting to come into our apartment willy nilly anyhowly anytime.

We hear that the AVA is trying to trap this fella and bring him further into the Nature Reserve. They haven’t succeeded because I think he’s reading their memos.

[Check out this video of a macaque raiding a Rasa Sentosa room’s minibar]


DIY Stroganoff

We haven’t visited a restaurant that serves beef stroganoff since the last time I wrote about it, and suggestions from readers haven’t been taken up either – too far lah, sorry.

But we did manage to fix up a dinner using Jamie Oliver’s recipe for it, which requires “a small glass of brandy”. We got some cognac instead from a really old bottle that was just sitting around in Naomi’s mum’s house. I think she’s had it since Chiang Kai Shek was Generalissimo of the Republic of China.

It wasn’t half bad, and we might have staved off the hankering for a while.

The fight to finish holiday leftovers

cream of cauliflower

We’ve had all manner of turkey and ham sandwiches in the last couple of weeks, and I’m proud to announce that we’ve finished the tasty stock we made from the huge turkey carcass.

Trying to clear our fridge by eating the stuff that’s in it before they expire is no mean feat, given that Naomi’s mum often comes over bearing well-meaning excess groceries from her marketing.

Tuesday, I found a head of cauliflower, some unfinished double cream (from Naomi’s fantastic New Year’s dessert), a wedge of smoked cheddar, and I went on to and found a recipe that more or less used these things I had. A little bit of tweaking, and we had ourselves a gorgeous soup.

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Then there was this little section below the recipe that said this:

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And it just so happened we had a ton of pears, a tub of aragula, a bottle of maple syrup, and everything else the recipe for “Arugula and Pear Salad With Maple Vinaigrette” called for.

aragula, pear, goats cheese, maple vinaigrette