We shared ...

This post is dedicated to my very dear friends Kat and Stefan and their newest family member, Baby Sophia.Thank you for inviting me to share in this wonderful milestone in your lives. 

I was home. Well, I was in Australia and I think I am allowed to call anywhere in the vicinity of that big brown land home. I consider home to be where the heart is. Or where Andrew is really. But part of my heart is always in Australia, so I guess I call two places home at once. Is that allowed?

I was in Melbourne a few weekends back which is on the South East Coast of Australia. I came down to visit my very dear friends Kat and Stefan and to share in the biggest of occasions. The arrival of their first child, the beautiful Sophia. She came bursting into the world at 9am on Monday the 9th of July.
Recently I listened to an amazing speech given by Neil Gaiman to the 2012 graduating class at Philadephia’s the “ University of the Arts” where the key message he delivered was to “Make Good Art”. If you haven’t heard his address I urge you to listen to it here. Motivational, inspirational and relevant on so many levels and to all walks of life – not just artists.

Make good art. It has become a bit of a resounding mantra for me, and art can be anything.

To think, Kat and Stefan made Sophia, made a beautiful and precious new life, how very clever ... I think this is the epitome of what Neil Gaiman was referencing, they "made good art".

She is perfection.

Now, for some history to tell the tale of how I ended up being invited to this wonderful occasion. Kat and I met in Singapore. Well, rather we like to say that I picked her up at the gym in Singapore! We lived in the same building when we all first arrived in Singapore at the end of 2007. I had been in town about a month and hadn’t started work yet, meaning I hadn’t made any friends either! I had woken that fateful morning and decided I was going to go out and find myself a friend that day. I had no idea where or how but that was what I was going to do!

I headed to the gym per my usual daily routine and low and behold there was Kat, she looked friendly enough so I thought to myself ‘she will do’ and promptly asked her out for a coffee. Actually, I had asked her if she wanted to join me for a walk around the Asian Civilization Museum first, then a coffee which she agreed to.

We arrived at the museum, quite a large one at that, and had completed the whole thing in under three minutes! I was to later learn that Kat doesn’t like museums and was only being polite. She had only really been interested in having a coffee.

You have old friends that you have developed over a life time and then sometimes you meet people and you instantly become old friends. It is like they have known you your whole life. For me this is Kat.

We had an amazing time together living in the very chic and ultra hip party building “The Icon” in Tanjong Pagar. We travelled together, supported each other and generally got on with life. My favourite thing about this period was Sunday night dinners. We would meet every Sunday for dinner, alternate the cooking responsibilities and settle down in front of the TV post dinner to watch episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and eat Ferrero Rocher. It was our thing.

Time went by and Kat and Stefan moved back to Melbourne. Our friendship remained intact, got stronger even, and here I find myself having just shared in an amazing weekend full of family, friends and food leading up to the arrival of Sophia yesterday morning. I was honoured to be invited to share in this time with them.

The bubbly and talented Ashwina arranged a beautiful baby shower for Kat and Stefan on the Saturday and we ate, we drank and were merry as we celebrated the pending arrival …

The weather was cold and crisp, the skies clear and blue …

I had coffee, real coffee, amazing Melbourne coffee, as much as I could get my hands on …
I caught up with family, because really, friends are the family you choose …
And I shared in one of the most beautiful and magical experiences, the arrival of a new life.

Then ... there was the food!

It is hard to pinpoint one particular dish or recipe from the weekend. Australian produce is amazing in its own right! So I have decided to share with you a food experience rather than a recipe.


A cheese yes, but also a Swiss dish. In it’s traditional sense the Swiss take the Raclette cheese round, heat it in front of a fire, or on a special machine, then scrape the melted cheese onto plates. The term raclette is derived from the French word racler, meaning to scrape. It is traditionally accompanied by small firm potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and dried meat.

Our version consisted of a special portable Raclette grill that sat in the centre of the table. Under the grill portion you placed little pans filled with your chosen goodies be it mushrooms, onion, tomato, meats all topped with a slice of Raclette cheese. Once cooked you slid the contents onto your plate and tucked in. It reminded me of a little pizza without the carb-y base!
On top of the grill was a hot stone and hot plate ideal for crisping up small potatoes and cooking slices of good Aussie beef ...

It is simple food centred on a simple concept – sharing. It unites people around a table and you spend a long evening sharing stories, cooking, eating food, laughing, having moments and making a memory.

So we toasted to Stefan’s birthday and Baby Sophia’s up-coming arrival ...

We cooked ...

We ate ... and we shared.