Rabbit Carrot Gun – Delight in Singapore

March 17, 2013

Sing 2

Shop houses in Singapore

The other day in Singapore I had not much time to explore the town in which I had lived in 1996-97 for about seven month. Just about three hours I had for myself. I walked out of the hotel and into the neighbouring streets for a quick walk.

Sing 1

Old trees and old houses, what a beautiful blend

It was at the end of lunch time, I was hungry but not that hungry. My stroll lead me to a lane with traditional shop houses, many of them converted into fast food eateries, mainly Indian types of food.

Sing

Rabbit Carrot Gun – an oasis of quiet in a busy street

At a busy corner, I found “Rabbit Carrot Gun”, a kind of cafe cum restaurant/bar. In all the hectic of the traffic, this little eatery provided the kind of shelter an oasis does in the dessert.

Sing 4

I consulted the menu and found some delightful dishes, a mix of ‘East meets West’-type of selection. I was thirsty and ordered a beer from the tap. No wines seemed to be available, but I did not ask for the wine list. My own fault.

Sing 3

It was a hot day in the tropics, and I ordered a light dish only. Goats cheese and beet root on a bed of fresh garden salad, that seemed just the right order.

On the neighbouring tables only a few people were drinking beers, most enjoyed various juices. I could not see any wine. I should have asked for the wine list. My own fault.

I craved for a glass of the fermented grape juice, and thought that this was the only thing lacking in this lovely place.

Only while writing this blog entry and looking up the “Rabbit Carrot Gun” website, I found out that in fact quite a few wines were available.

I would have loved a glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignan Blanc for instance which is on the list but had to be content with the beer from the tap (a lovely drink, don’t get me wrong).

I will have to come again.

Sing 5

A coffee to end my light meal

Address:
Rabbit Carrot Gun
Tel.: +65 6348 8568
chef@rabbit-carrot-gun.com
49 East Coast Road,
Singapore 428768


Brass Razu, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

July 10, 2011

Brass Razu Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

A very nice white wine is the ‘2008 Brass Razu Sauvignon Blanc’ from the Marlborough wine region in New Zealand. Apart from Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc is one of my favourite white wines.

Brass Razu is a wine brand produced by Warburn Estate formerly called Riverina Wines in New South Wales, Australia.

The company has about 1,000 ha under vines and a crash capacity of about 40,000 tonnes, not exactly a boutique winery. But the firm is still a private business and independent.

The Brass Razu Sauvignon Blanc is made from grapes grown in Marlborough, New Zealand. The wine is a typical specimen of a good Marlborough SB, technically well made and very pleasant to drink.

“Brass Razoo” is an Australian and New Zealand expression defined as “a non-existent coin of trivial value”. Is is used in “I haven’t got a brass razoo” indicating the speaker is out of money.

Address:
Warburn Estate
700 Kidman Way
Tharbogang, 2680
New Zealand
www.warburnestate.com.au


Braided River Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand

March 14, 2011

It was about a week ago that we had a wonderful simple but tasty Sunday meal at our home in Thonglor, Bangkok. It consisted of a French fish soup or bouillabaisse.

The ingredients for the fish soup

The soup, ingredients and other dishes

The wine we selected for the meal was a ‘2010 Braided River Sauvignon Blanc’ from new Zealand. Braided River Wines is a family run boutique vineyard near Christchurch which produces hand crafted wines. The winery takes it’s name from the Waimakariri river and it’s braided arms.

The wine comes with a price in Bangkok which is about three times the price in New Zealand. But it’s worth it, I should say. It is what one expects from a typical New Zealand SB. Straw colour with aromas of tropical fruit and grass, beautiful texture, and a long finish. We did not regret to have paid the exorbitant price. In a country with less taxes on alcohol this wine is very affordable. You should try it.

2010 Braided River Sauvignon Blanc

Address:
Braided River Wines
24 Langdales Road
West Melton, Christchurch 7676
Tel.: 03-3421184


Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc

June 24, 2010

Our fish

I just love to eat fish, all kinds of fish. And there is good fish on offer in the markets of Bangkok. Often we do not have carbohydrates with it. But veggies are a must. They are a great complement for the protein.

What you need in addition is, if possible: a superb wine, preferably white.

A plate of fish and veg

Very delicious veggies

I admit that sometimes I drink red wine with fish but most of the time I select a white. Since I love to drink Riesling wines, that’s often my preferred choice. Another option I like is Sauvignon Blanc. But it needs to be a really good one. I like Sancerre style wines and the ‘2007 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc’, from the Marlborough wine region of New Zealand seemed to be the right stuff.

But I did not buy the bottle because SB wines from New Zealand are in fashion right now. I bought it because the Mount Nelson brand is a project of a famous Italian wine dynasty, the Antinori’s from Tuscany.

Piero and Lodovico Antinori are the 26th generation of Italy’s most famous wine family. I wanted to know how their interpretation of New Zealand SB fruit would turn out. I should not be disappointed as it turned out later.

2007 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc

In 2004 the Antinori brothers bought for US$ 1.8 million a 32 acres vineyard on the banks of the Taylor River near the mouth of Cloudy Bay not far from the Wither Hill Vineyard. To make the Mount Nelson SB additional fruit (about 40%) is purchased from the adjoining Meadowbank vineyard.

The 2007 vintage is just the best ever. This is the unanimous verdict of the wine critics (91 Parker points). I can only confirm this. My recommendation: buy buy buy.

The wine has zest, is fragrant with lime and lemon flavours and some mineral notes. The colour is beautiful straw-like. The finish is lasting. I forgot the alcohol content and the price. But rest assured if I see it in my local market again, I will buy all the bottles on the shelve.

Beautiful colour in the glass

In early July, we will be in Italy. There I will taste some more of the Antinori wines. This time Italian wines.


Australia day 2010

January 26, 2010

I started the day with a lemington, a sponge cake and one of the two Australian national desserts (the other one is Pavlowa). It’s Australia’s national day again.

On 26 January 1788 the so called first fleet landed at Sydney Cove and today Australians are commemorating this event. Also we did celebrate, though muted. It was a normal school day for the children and a normal working day for the parents.

Morton Premium Brut

But we cracked a bottle of sparkling tonight which we had with the celery risotto. The sparkling came from New Zealand, which was given to us by our former neighbors Alain and Keiko. It was a ‘Morton Premium Brut’ (Methode Traditionnelle, no vintage), made of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, a blend from Hawkes Bay and Marlborough grapes. It’s a very creamy bubbly with buttery yeast aromas, easy to drink (12% Vol.). The wines won a couple of silver medals in 2008, 2007 and 2006. It also gained some recognition in a few wine buyers guides (for instance Michael Coopers Buyers Guide).

Celery risotto

It was an enjoyable family meal, an evening like many others for us here in Bangkok. But we raised the glass and toasted to our beloved “island down under”. Cheers


The best Australian dessert

June 13, 2009

Pavlovl

The Australian Pavlova

Have you heard of Pavlova? Well, for Australians that’s the stuff you want for dessert. It is wonderfully refreshing, smooth, fruity and just a delight.

Pavlova, you might think does not sound very Australian. And in fact it is not. The dessert is named to honour a Russian ballet dancer, Ánna Pávlova (Russian: А́нна Па́влова) touring Australia and New Zealand in the 1920.

Commonly referred to as “pav”, it is a cake of meringue with a crispy crust and soft inner part topped with red and blue forest fruit and some kiwis. The name is pronounced “pævˈloʊvə” unlike the name of the dancer which is pronounced “pɑːvləvə”.

The dessert is a very popular dish. It is also an important part of the Australian national cuisine. Isn’t this mazing.

However, research suggests that the Pavlova originated from New Zealand. Well, that’s no deterrent for a culinary delight.

Pavlovl2

Among friends

We had the above Pavlova on our terrace in Bangkok after a barbecue lunch with some friends. Lots of meat, salads and vegetables were consumed. Lashings of beer and wine made this consumption all the easier. But best was the company.

A recipe for Pavlova you can find on: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlova_(food)


Sauvignon Blanc

July 10, 2007

My morning newspaper, the International Herald Tribune, carried the other day an article summarising the tasting of 25 Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand. Sauvignon Blanc is one of my most favourite white wines. The results were interesting. Only about 10 of the 25 wines found the approval of the tasting panel (it was a New York Times event of the dining section). For the judges, the tasting was a disappointment. They were looking for the bold, pungent refreshing SB but found that too many wines were dull, too sweet or simply wishy-washy or as Eric Asimov put it “commercially inoffensive”. My favourite SB from New Zealand, Cloudy Bay came up third (behind “Villa Maria” in number one position), described as “quieter than the top wines” but still “bold, zesty and delicious”. In my bottle shop in Jakarta it retailed for 40 US$ the bottle last week. Gone are the days when I had to pay only 18 US$ for this most delicious white.

Mr. Asimov is of the opinion that many producers have decided to push quantity at the expense of quality and that they are over cropping (too high yields per acre). I learned something else from the article: that in New Zealand wine producers are allowed to add sugar or acid to make up for “green” (not fully ripened) grapes, as we say. In Australia, we are not allowed to engage in this technique or should I say “manipulation”. Next time in the bottle shop it will be much easier for me to walk away from the dear SB from Marlborough and turn to some cool climate Sauvignon Blanc of Australian provenance. I might be enticed to make some Two Hills Sauvignon Blanc again in 2008. Kinloch Wines (www.kinlochwines.com.au) Sauvignon Blanc of 2006 is sold out, as I learn from their website. Guess who provided some of the fruit for this most delicious wine from the Upper Goulburn River (www.uppergoulburnwine.org.au)?


A philosopher’s lunch

March 30, 2007

What a beautiful lunch we had the other day. I have to give away the secret of the most delicious dishes we enjoyed last Sunday. In fact it is not a secret at all because the recipe is from a very well known and very beautiful cookbook, the Philosopher’s Kitchen by Francine Segan.

This cookbook’s subtitle reads, “Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook”. Nothing sounds better to the ear of a Celtic Treverer who had enjoyed Roman cuisine for a couple of centuries. We had a fish dish and afterwards a salad, that’s all, but what most delectable food this was. I would have loved to have Sucellus, Epicurus and Lucretius over for lunch that day. Only on the wine side I would have made concessions to modernity. A Sauvignon Blanc from the new world vineyards I find much more appealing than a wine of Roman times which would have needed mixing with water and honey to be drinkable at all.

Wine god

On a portal in Trier: Bacchus and vine leafs

And here is the recipe: red snapper in parchment. The ingredients are as follows:

– juice of freshly pressed lemons
– 2 garlic gloves, minced
– ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
– 4 bay leaves crushed
– 1 ½ teaspoons whole pink peppercorns
– 2 table spoons of capers, rinsed
– 15 oil-cured black olives, pitted and halved
– 2 red snapper fillets, without skin
– Salt and freshly milled pepper
– Lemon wedges

Mix and combine the lemon juice, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, capers and olives in a large bowl and soak the red snapper(in Bahasa Indonesia: Kakap Merah) in this marinade for about two hours in a cool spot. Then put the fish into the oven (up to about 200°). We put it into aluminium foil and topped it with the marinade; then closed the foil and baked it for about 10 to 13 minutes. We served the fish on a plate. We had just plain baguette with it but you can add all kinds of things, eat it with rice, potatoes, and with various vegetables. It was such a wonderful dish, mouth watering. The capers in the marinade give it a spicy edge, and this complements the white flesh of the fish. The olives and the capers take you to the Mediterranean. I could see the ocean, the sand, the beach…and taste the salt, the smells of the water….

After the main course we had a warm spinach salad. The recipe is also in the above cookbook and is called, “Baby Greens with Caper Vinaigrette”. The caper vinaigrette is similar to the marinade, just that no olives and no garlic is added. It goes as follows:

– 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons wine vinegar
– ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil
– 3 tablespoons of capers
– Salt and freshly milled pepper
– 3 cups of assorted green vegetables

As I said, we used spinach (Bahasa Indonesia: Bayam Hijau) which we blanched before adding the vinaigrette and the warm salad did in fact complement the first dish and harmoniously end this philosopher’s meal. I highly recommend the cookbook. It makes a wonderful gift. If you love the classics and you want to delve in the past of these two great Mediterranean cultures, you should get it (www.atrandom.com).

You will have noticed that I did not yet mention any wine so far. Well, the wine I chose was a disappointment. I though a Sauvignon Blanc would go well with it, and this is certainly so. I chose a 2006 Sauvignon Blanc from Giessen of Marlborough, New Zealand, of which I had fond memories. But what a surprise. It was stale, oily and did not display any of the varietals’ characteristics of a cool climate Sauvignon Blanc. With sadness and melancholy I thought of times gone by and our own 2002 Two Hills Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and it’s brilliant taste. Unfortunately, we were down on white wine and we just ended the meal with a port and an Italian coffee. I might have to consider buying a special wine fridge so that this cannot happen again.