Milo-kopi espoir

Singapore east in the heartlands, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It was a moment to look forward to, and an opportunity only to be had when Janice was back in Singapore. The quality of the food at the eatery was certainly consistent, the reason so many natives and tourists alike, have fallen in love with just the culinary creations served at the eatery, especially before mid-morning. It was a place to recommend on detour. After surveying the eatery, Janice took her seat at the given table, at the far end of the eatery, diagonally across the dining hall from the eatery’s reception counter. She had placed orders for the eatery’s most famous dishes and was not surprised at how promptly her orders had arrived. Consistent timeliness in service was a much appreciated factor at the eatery.

Janice had ordered two dishes to begin with and she surveyed the dishes as they were presented at the table. On one small red dish, the culinary creation was stacked and neatly sliced. On another likewise small red dish, the even tones of the rounded ovals of the eggs was something to be marvelled at – such a feat of nature! Janice was awestruck at how the culinary creations were presented as bonsai works of art, each creation having its own signature small dish, the food meticulously arranged. The food looked beautiful and tempting. Continue reading “Milo-kopi espoir”

Ellenborough Market Café and a narrative of a prestiged banquet, Singapore 2016

At the Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Court, Singapore, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

[narrative of a prestiged banquet]

In a white resplendent European designed wedding gown that emphasised her tiny waist, the gown’s flowing hemline trimmed with delicate lace imported from France, Gina Chen, now Mrs Gina Phua strode arm in arm with her husband, Mr Tom Phua, as they entered the dining hall to their wedding dinner banquet. The hall was decked out in various shades of red and gold, symbolising prosperity and happiness for the newlyweds. Mrs Phua’s eyes swept the room and noted with pride that all other eyes were on her that evening. The French lace trimming to her gown that she had insisted Mr Phua pay for, is now paying off. She felt rich, and more than beautiful. Her father’s country club membership application, where members of the club were mostly Europeans living in Singapore for work purposes, finally came through two days prior to the wedding day. The Chen family had waited more than a month for the club membership approval and Mrs Phua felt that she finally belonged to the European inner circle that her father had tried so hard to place her. With the country club membership approved, and with the newfound freedom of marriage of not having to be under constant watch by her own mother, Mrs Phua looked forward to lazier afternoons. She was also in the position of having the Chen family fortune behind her, ensuring that she need not stay with her in-laws. She sighed a small breath Continue reading “Ellenborough Market Café and a narrative of a prestiged banquet, Singapore 2016”

Raindance Godiva

Pluviophile, Singapore 2016.

Tropical raindance, a pluviophile’s dream. November, in Singapore 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

A tropical storm raged just out from under the hawker centre night shades. Within the compounds of the hawker centre in a small enough area, an elderly male busker had put on the most upbeat of ’80s dance tunes. He stood just beside a flattened cap he had placed on the ground, moving energetically to the beat.

“You should go out in the rain, and dance!” said a voice that stood to my right.

I looked to my right, caught a pair of sparkling eyes that belonged to that familiar voice, and smiled. I wanted to. I’d be soaked through to the skin in warm rain, something I could never do in the Nordics.

“This is your kind of weather” the voice encouraged, “go dance!”

Looking at the elderly male busker grooving to his own chosen ’80s dance tracks, he had by now asked his female companion to join him in the show. I shook my head in reply. “It’s not polite if I outdid them.” I said. “Worse still is if people just stared at me, and didn’t throw me any money… Continue reading “Raindance Godiva”

Case number 17V17XIII1.1.1.1.

Illustration by Michael Whelan for Robert A. Heinlein's "The Cat Who Walked Through Walls" (1985)

Illustration by Michael Whelan for Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Cat Who Walked Through Walls” (1985)
Text © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

In 4170s where Time is iffy, in a R.A. Heinlein world, Madame Pixel attends a court hearing regarding her filing for divorce. Due to that she is of the constellation of Andromeda whose mother tongue is Triangulum, and Mister Pixel is of Barnard 33 of the constellation of Orion whose mother tongue is Flamean, the divorce petition in the Third Way Galaxy Court were filed in both languages, plus a third language, a more formal version of the Third Way Galaxy lingua franca known as Standard Galactic English.

Judge: I am here referring to case number 17V17XIII1.1.1.1. Madame Pixel? In view that Mister Pixel is time travelling, I understand you are attending alone?

MPixel: Yes, your honour.

Judge: Your divorce request has been evaluated. Due to the condition of Quantum Entanglement, in an undisclosed clausal agreement between you and Mister Pixel, I regret to inform that this falls outside the jurisdiction of the Court. Continue reading “Case number 17V17XIII1.1.1.1.”

Unter der München Sun

Viktualienmarkt, München

Chocolaterie Beluga, München, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

– narrative –

After rounding off from St. Peter’s Church, the girls, Gene, Alicia and Patrice, who were on an all-girl European tour for the summer season found the perfect chocolate hot spot to cool down, out from under the München sun.

After placing their orders, the girls settled neatly in the outdoor area overlooking the market square, watching a little bit of marketing life go by. This particular chocolaterie was renowned for its vast hot chocolate choices. Being one who doesn’t quite like sweets per se, Gene was particularly happy she could find a more than 70% cacao content for her hot chocolate. Patrice settled for a chocolate-hazelnut conconction and Alicia who ordered a modest cup of two scoops of ice-cream had already in hand part of her order.

The girls by most Southeast-Asian socio-economic standards could be deemed highly successful in their own right. Each had worked in the top Forbes listed global multinationals in the finance industry for at least two decades. To their academic accolades, they each had their condominium, their convertible in their favourite colour, time enough to spend together on this trip and most important, cash in hand. It was also comfortable that having grown up together in the same convent since they were six years old, the girls knew each other well enough to carry on conversations between themselves smoothly.

Gene surveyed the market scene in front of her, “I love this place! Don’t you think it’s so rustic? Europe is so rustic!” Continue reading “Unter der München Sun”

Honey, with a balloon

Day's pickings, Styrsö

Day’s pickings from the garden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

This first pickings of strawberries from the garden much reminded me of chapter one of the book by A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) in its first volume of stories when we are introduced to both Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh:

“Good morning, Christopher Robin,” he said.
“Good morning, Winnie-ther-Pooh,” said you.
“I wonder if you’ve got such a thing as a balloon about you?”
“A balloon?”
“Yes, I just said to myself coming along: ‘I wonder if Christopher Robin has such a thing as a balloon about him?’ I just said it to myself, thinking of balloons, and wondering.”
“What do you want a balloon for?” you said.
Winnie-the-Pooh looked round to see that nobody was listening, put his paw to his mouth, and said in a deep whisper: “Honey!”
“But you don’t get honey with balloons!”
“I do,” said Pooh.

Tektology in OXV: The Manual (2013)

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro 20160519

I was once told that I should not bother with planning anything in my life. And so I’ve wondered if I hummed to high or low frequency. Perhaps the real question is, have I ever needed to wait for a train?
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Alexander Bogdanov (1873-1928), developed a theory called Tektology as “the science of structures” as a forerunner to systems theory [1]. His main goal was to clarify in generalisable form the principles of the organization of all living and non-living structures:

“Tektology must clarify the modes of organization that are perceived to exist in nature and human activity; then it must generalise and systematise these modes; further it must explain them, that is, propose abstract schemes of their tendencies and laws… Tektology deals with organisational experiences not of this or that specialised field, but of all these fields together. In other words, tektology embraces the subject matter of all the other sciences.” [2]

I am probably a late developer. I spent an evening watching a 2013 produced movie, Frequencies, also known as OXV: The Manual. Continue reading “Tektology in OXV: The Manual (2013)”

Train of thoughts

East to west bound, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“The first aspect of systems thinking concerns the relationship between the part and the whole. In the mechanistic, classical scientific paradigm it was believed that in any complex system the dynamics of the whole could be understood from the properties of the parts. Once you knew the parts, ie their fundamental properties and the mechanisms through which they interacted, you could derive, at least in principle, the dynamics of the whole. Therefore, the rule was: in order to understand any complex system, you break it up into its pieces. The pieces cannot be explained any further, except by splitting them into smaller pieces, but as far as you want to go in this procedure, you will at some stage end up with fundamental building blocks- elements, substances, particles, etc- with properties that you can no longer explain. From these fundamental building blocks with their fundamental laws of interaction you would then build up the larger whole and try to explain its dynamics in terms of the properties of its parts. This started with Democritus in ancient Greece and was the procedure formalized by Descartes Continue reading “Train of thoughts”

Dialectica femineus ellipsus

A chocolate cherry mousse cake

A chocolate cherry mousse cake.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Year 1999. Cathay Cineleisure Orchard. Singapore.

The plan for the group of girls who after the 1990 release of the movie Pretty Woman, became devoted fans of Richard Gere, was to meet at the café on the second floor of Cathay Cineleisure Orchard to watch the year’s release of Runaway Bride. It had been about a decade since they had left their pony-tailed, coconut husk fringed convent school life, but had through the years made it a point to meet with each other. Now and again, whenever their life goals schedule of career, family and time-to-self (not necessarily in that order) allowed, they would gather at Carnegies or Bar None, else at the poolside of one of their own (read also: parents’) condos for a barbecue and cocktail session. Each girl, now in their mid-twenties, had their own priorities in life. And while it seemed it was increasingly difficult to find time to meet with each other, the girls nonetheless did put in effort to stay in touch, especially when Richard Gere was involved. Besides, it was a notable change in level of comfort for when they met for milo at the convent’s nearest neighbourhood kopitiam in their school uniforms till now, Continue reading “Dialectica femineus ellipsus”

Alice and the Caterpillar

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. Illustrated by John Tenniel.

It was soon that Alice found herself in front of the Caterpillar again. Instead of waiting patiently first for him to speak, she ventured a step forward to the mushroom where he usually sat, in a swirling cloud of smoke.

“Caterpillar, I think I can answer your question now on who are you?”

“I know who I am, there is no need for you to tell me.” The Caterpillar replied indignantly, even if with patience.

“I meant your question, to me from fore – who are you?” Alice tried again. The Caterpillar remained silent, and at this point Alice didn’t quite know if it was because he was inhaling on his hookah that he didn’t respond of if he had lost sight of her that he was not responding. “It is not the question of who are you, but what are you actua –” Continue reading “Alice and the Caterpillar”

Cooking lessons in a chocolate mousse pie

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

A chocolate mousse pie laced with Irish cream measured to ‘a lot’.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

After four years of a bottle of Baileys Irish cream sitting in the liqueur cabinet – because anything Baileys is not the thing to bring home to your husband, and because women like me buy alcohol based on the design of the bottles – I decided I could as well do something with it.

So, chocolate mousse pie infused with Irish cream liquor it was to be, on this Scandinavian late summer’s afternoon, noted by the meteorological station as one of Sweden’s warmest summer days this year. I already had some nice dark hazelnut chocolate cake that I could use for a pie crust for this project and some Valrhona Abinao, that I thought could add in a nice way with some tempered eggs. I managed to convince myself the refreshing lightness of this pie is but disguised, in the heavy dark chocolate of it all.

Occasionally it sometimes is that after I’ve served up a dish for a meal, the question comes, “That was not bad – what went into that?” followed by, “How did you make that?”

It’s here that I find myself halting in mid-sentence, trying to recall what went into the dish and how it came to be. Continue reading “Cooking lessons in a chocolate mousse pie”

Chasing marbles

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, tigerkaka

Swedish summer fruit cake made with layers of tigerkaka. Tigerkaka is a variation of the Marble Cake.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

As a child attending school in Singapore at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ), I thought the convent was good at putting together one thing, a fundraiser event. The convent had fundraiser events at least once every year where the monies collected were allotted different purposes. In a good number of years, they were to go to the building of our very own new convent and school grounds. In other years, they were to go to the vicinity’s Catholic Church or a designated children’s charity.

A large part of the fundraiser event consisted of nuns, teachers and parents putting things out to sell to an open house public. To this end, the foyer and the school sports field would be lined with the wooden benches and tables taken from the school tuckshop / canteen. The tables were then covered over neatly with various items. It was a school fair where you could find odds and ends, from old clothes and used school books to handcrafted works of art, embroidered decorative items. My favourite items were the homebaked breads and cakes, much like the kind still available at a small neighbourhood bakery in Singapore. Continue reading “Chasing marbles”

Project Atman

Cheryl Marie Cordeir, Trinidad Tobago 1999

Carnival! was the first thing introduced to me the minute I touched base at the airport in Trinidad back in 1999, as Singapore’s delegate to the international Miss Universe Pageant 1999.
Text & Photo © R Yong Cordeiro, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

2015

The seminar ended and a colleague, Stefan, and I walked out of the room. The topic of the seminar was about Southeast-Asia (SE-Asia) and its developing context in the latest wave of globalisation.

“What did you think about the ideas from the seminar?” I asked.

“Well it was interesting. All very interesting.” Stefan said.

I knew Stefan to be of a brilliant mind, and knowledgeable on the region of SE-Asia, “But you said not much at all in feedback.” I queried.

“Yes, well there is not much to say. The entire perspective is different from how I see it. So the departure point for argumentation is different. I would not have approached the topic of SE-Asia from that point of view.” he said. Continue reading “Project Atman”

That vintage blue dress

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, garden 2015

In a vintage dress, brought home from Maastricht, Netherlands. Looking out across the very departure point of the Swedish East Indiaman ships in the 18th century.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

In April 1750 Olof Thorén, disciple of Carl von Linneaus and Ship’s Priest on board the Swedish East Indiaman Götha Lejon, wrote in his diary while enjoying a short stopover in Cadiz:

“Portugueze ladies are not common birds in the streets. But as far as it could be discerned when they spectature and spectande pulled up their window grills, they appeared to display a fine fair complexion and merry eyes. Those, who are seen in Cadiz do not appear to be able to count to five, are tall and brunette. I noticed there, that the Virgin Mary had correspondent air, complexion, and shape in their pictures; and judged from thence, that this was the taste of the nation with regard to beauty.”

Continue reading “That vintage blue dress”

Time like Dalí

Spacetime Facade2015

Architecture as spacetime fabric.
PhotoAlto, Johnér Bildbyrå AB.

Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

He was Managing Director of a large construction company. Everything of his followed a tight schedule, yet he wore no wristwatch. I asked him why.

– Ten years ago, I went to the Middle East to meet a client. The meeting was scheduled at twelve noon. By one o’clock, still no client. But I had to negotiate this deal, so I waited. I was going to fly home the next day, so there was no choice. I waited. The client walked into the office at six in the evening. I was very angry, and asked how come so unreliable in meeting time? But the client, he was very happy. He told me he was on his way here when he met a friend he had not seen in very many years, just like that on the street! They decided to have lunch and spend the afternoon together, talking. They were just done talking, so now he’s here. After that story, I took off my wristwatch and threw it away. Never used it again. Continue reading “Time like Dalí”

Fishball noodles

Fishball noodles

Fishball noodles.
Photo by Johner Bildbyra AB, at johner.se.

Text © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

She saw that I had a camera in hand, and that I didn’t dress right. I had on a laser cut wool coat in light sand, with a broad collar. “You are disturbing us with your camera!” the elderly lady voiced loudly in my direction as I walked past. She was wearing a patchwork cotton jacket in the style of a samfu, her hair that was silvered with time, was kept in a short bob that fell just to her earlobes. She had a black pin to one side of her head, keeping her hair from her face. I guessed her age to be around seventy, although she looked much younger. She was sitting by the market roadside hawker whose one specialty was in selling boiled pig offal soup. At her remark, I put down the camera and looked at her, and she waved at me to join her at her table. I said I was headed towards the central square, looking for a bookstore. “But that you can do later. Why are you rushing? I see all you young people, always rushing somewhere. Come! Sit here! Only a few minutes!” Continue reading “Fishball noodles”

Tesseract living

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Tesseract living in gross/material form.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

“So what is it like after six o’clock in the evenings here?” Marshall asked Jim, taking a deep drag on his cigarette. He had resolved to quit smoking eighty years ago in his early thirties, but kept at it when he realized he was more alive than most others he met at the various intersections of spacetime. Continue reading “Tesseract living”

I dream of cityscape

IMG_1628a 598

Waterfront living.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

“Darling, I’m so glad I got you over the phone! Are you in between airports now? No matter. Listen, I just got off meeting with the realtor and putting down some last signatures. I’ve bought our new apartment now in the city! I’m so excited! It’s a high-floor unit as you mentioned you liked to have it, in fact, it’s the 50th storey. It’s centrally located, all amenities are nearby and it’s just 100m to the waterfront, the poolside is fantastic! They have two tennis courts, a gym, a jacuzzi and a zen garden… And it’s got plenty of eateries nearby, there’s French, Italian, Japanese and even an Irish pub and restaurant round the corner! You could go completely local too, as you prefer! On the inside, it’s got floor to ceiling windows darling – just as you like it! Here, I’m sending you a picture over the phone now, so you can see the view from our living room!”

Labyrinth

Floral T2he concert was about to begin. The crowd, dressed in black tie, stood chatting animatedly in an adjacent hall where the pre-concert mingle was held. I stepped away from the hall where family and friends were standing to roam the corridors of the building, once an old fortress now turned into a theater and concert hall. There was still time before the concert began – my niece would be on stage that evening – and I thought to return to the area of the elevator, where in order to arrive at the mingle hall, we were all instructed to turn right. I now wanted to see where left led.

It was not a long walk from where most of the crowd was, but I noted that the sounds of the crowd went distinctly quieter as I continued on my steps towards the elevator. Upon reaching the area, I turned left, and was led into the left wing of the building. I went down a smaller corridor with walls just as sturdy and slate grey as the right wing, but here, a hint of green had come over them. I stretched out my hand and ran my fingertips along the stonewalls as I walked just to see if it was moss or an algae that grew on the insides of this fortress. Continue reading “Labyrinth”

Kanelbulle

Cinnamon knots

Swedish kanelbullar.
Text & Photo © Björn Tesch/imagebank.sweden.se, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

In a rise of blood pressure that set off alarm bells as if heard from the outside-in of her head, the mother, seated in the living room, rushed over to the daughter, seated near the door of the child’s bedroom. Reaching the child, the mother quickly grabbed the box of matches from the pair of chubby hands that tried, so curiously, to first access one matchstick and then light it against the side of the matchbox. A miracle of a fire, from a piece of stick that occupied the mind of the child no end. Continue reading “Kanelbulle”

The monsoon kingdoms: a languid afternoon read

Swedish west coast

Across the globe from the monsoon kingdoms, the Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

2015. History was not a subject of particular interest to her. But the thick book, bound in green, fell into her hands, with its pages opening to the chapter entitled The Coming of the Europeans. This was his book. She sat and proceeded to read. She smiled when she encountered a paragraph that described the city in which she was raised, Singapore, in the 1500s, compared to the great emporium of Malacca, Java and the Spice Islands, as known for ‘nothing much’. Malacca in the Far East was the flourishing main trading port where every year, between eighteen to twenty ships were laden with numerally Sumatran pepper bound for China. Continue reading “The monsoon kingdoms: a languid afternoon read”

Misty mountains

February sunset. Swedish west coast.

Sunset, Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

In conversation, a Master Yogi (MY) and his Student (S)

§START
S: Master, I have come to you today in query of an Enlightenment Pathology.
MY: You are troubled, Student? Perhaps it is that you cannot cessate your Mind?
S: I have to admit, I have no control whatsoever over my Mind. Do I attribute that you my Teacher?
MY: The Students who come to me as Sheep. Do I ever enquire after the Great Zen why it is that my Students are all Sheep and what unfortunate luck I have? What is your pathology query? Continue reading “Misty mountains”

Warm buttered toast

Semlor i hetvägg

Semla or hetvägg as it was called in ancient times served in a bath of warm milk is an old Swedish treat that goes back at least to the 1700s. Maybe much further back than that since it is made from the ancient basic ingredients of almonds, sweetener, milk and wheat.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Singapore

With chin resting on his open palm, and elbow resting on the dining table, he sat and contemplated his options. Suddenly, he bounced right off his chair, and headed straight for the household refrigerator. He tip-toed to reach the freezer handle, grabbed it, gave it a decided pull and brought out a tray of ice-cubes. Freeing one ice-cube, he then placed it carefully on top of the buttered toast served warm to him for breakfast just a few minutes before. Continue reading “Warm buttered toast”

To the child

Illustration by John Bauer, 1913

Illustration by John Bauer. Still, Tuvstarr sits and gazes down into the water, 1913, watercolor
Text © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

To the child that was born to least suspect
For everything promised it and all itself expects
The unfunnification of life begins with a tint of misgiving
A twinge of a tint of a misplaced shilling
To be shown all candy to be told they are there
Confirmed for its having without any care
The unfunnification of life begins with the realization
That these are just things in phantomisation
And when the child steps into this phantom world seeing
That everything it once thought it knew believing
Was not to be seen nor touched nor found askew
It will know. The unfunnification of life is just so.
A phantom of expectations that come and go.
To the child that was born that now suspects
The unfunnification of life was its founding aspect

Daifuku | a small Japanese dessert

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, view from Sentosa 2015

View from Sentosa.
Text © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Clarissa sat at the table with five other persons, to a Japanese lunch. She noted the interest of a friend to the family, a suitor, in the family daughter. The suitor had for some years ago, gone on a parent approved date (in Asian tradition of chaperoning) with the daughter. It had been some years in-between, but the suitor felt as if nothing had changed between he and the daughter of the family. So time was of no barrier. He felt they could carry on the conversation from where they had left off some more than a decade ago. He was about to leave the bright city lights of his home country for a new one. The new country being nothing short of a paradise island located in the crystal blue oceans of the Caribbean. He was to be there for at least a year, and most everything of his essentials were contracted to be looked after by the company that was sending him on this expatriate assignment. Continue reading “Daifuku | a small Japanese dessert”

Carnation | dianthus caryophyllus

Ava Gardner by Arnold Newman 1949

Ava Gardner by Arnold Newman 1949.
Text © CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It was a wedding. A cousin’s. It happened that Ava had clean forgotten to turn off the gas stove. Ava and her husband were both already in the car on their way to church, but realising this, she turned to her husband to ask him to turn the car around. It would take just a few minutes to get the task done. But Ava’s husband was not in the mood. She could register his rising irritation by the second, “How could you be so careless?” he bellowed, “It’s just like you isn’t it, Ava! Careless and forgetful!” Continue reading “Carnation | dianthus caryophyllus”

Sweet sticky cupcakes

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro 2015, pulot hitam

Red bean, black glutinous rice pudding (bubur pulut hitam) with coconut cream (santan). This pudding was made with one part black glutinous rice and one part red beans. The beans were boiled, sweetened and mashed into a paste before they were added into the rice pudding.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

The granddaughter, now in her early twenties, watched her grandmother prepare the batter of a mixture of white glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour, a pinch of salt and a pinch of yeast etcetera, for a sweet and sticky Asian cupcake. It was humid outdoors and this was something to look forward to with light tea, in the cool of the patio on the rattan settee outdoors, overlooking the small but tidy garden. Continue reading “Sweet sticky cupcakes”

Be still, my beating heart!

Literature from the period of Restoration England and their unsentimental comedies of the heart ironically hold one of my favourite quotations of all time. The expression of ‘beating hearts’ has had for centuries, since the late 1600s with the works of John Dryden in his The works of Virgil, been associated with the excitement and rush of adrenaline that comes with the seeing of and the taking of contact with the object of one’s amorous affections. William Mountfort’s Zelmane in 1705 contained the earliest citation for “be still my beating heart”.

About two centuries later, the expression was delivered in a comic manner in the fantastic fourth collaborative work of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera HMS Pinafore, 1878, when a lowly sailor Ralph, falls in love with the Captain’s daughter, Josephine.

Ralph:
Aye, even though Jove’s armoury were launched at the head of the audacious mortal whose lips, unhallowed by relationship, dared to breathe that precious word, yet would I breathe it once, and then perchance be silent vermore. Josephine, in one brief breath I will concentrate the hopes, the doubts, the anxious fears of six weary months. Josephine, I am a British sailor, and I love you!

Jospehine:
Sir, this audacity!
(Aside.) Oh, my heart, my beating heart!
(Aloud.) This unwarrantable presumption on the part of a common sailor!

The story turns dramatic when the Captain’s daughter in her due social rank is promised by her Captain father to a Cabinet Minister, Sir Joseph.

But as with most Gilbert and Sullivan stories, where “nothing is as it seems” and “love levels all ranks”, a twist by the end of the story lends a happy ending to all.

Closely intertwined with the romancing of hearts and souls this Valentine’s Day is the idea of a warm candlelit dinner in the heart of some place cozy…

Here, in celebration of friendship and love…a St. Valentine’s menu suggestion.

Happy Valentine’s Day to All!