After successfully experimented with planting our own herbs and vegetable at home, we decided to actually have a garden that looks worthy of a house an artist live in. So earlier this year, Haze spent some time in coming up with a proper garden design, and we started our (eventually) 4 month long project on April this year.
While I showcased the new garden a little bit on this post, I thought having a series to properly document our journey would be nice.
grass removed, and design chalked on the ground
Haze wanted the garden to look beautiful, while I wanted a design that include a big water planter to replace the current plastic koi pond filtration system, plus something that isn’t overly too complex to DIY. That took quite a few weeks.
After finally landed on a design that satisfied both of our requirements, we started ground work in early April.
Rich was kind enough to lend us a rotavator that made removing the grass and turning the soil over a much easier job.
After clearing the land, we used some chalk to draw up the plan on site and went upstairs to take the first look on how it’ll look like.
using red bricks to confirm our design
Next, we bought some red bricks and lay them on the ground according to the design, then we started by preparing a couple planting beds ahead of time since we had some plants in pots that needs a permanent home while the garden revamp is in progress.
laying irrigation piping
Next was a crucial part which many gardeners fail to do – having proper irrigation system.
We buried the PVC pipes underground and made sure each planting bed has an outlet. This proved to be a great time saver and especially important if you’re not someone who’s going to be able to water the garden manually every single day.
Our watering system utilizes a timer so everything is done automatically once installed. I’ll end up channeling the water from fish pond to irrigate the garden.
stone pathway and planting beds
Next up was laying pathways on the plot. For this we actually put down some landscape fabric to prevent possible erosion of soil and to attempt to slow down potential growth of weed on the pathway. We used gravel on the semi-circle side and later topped up with smaller yellow pebbles for aesthetics.
old railway sleepers as pathway
For the pathway leading to the deck, we procured some abandoned railway sleepers and cut them to size. This was done using a circular saw and had to be cut from bottom and top. We actually used some mahjong paper to make samples shapes and make sure everything lined up too.
This step was quite a laborious task considering how heavy these woods were, but at the end we were very happy with the results.
Upcoming part two I’ll share the concrete work on water planter as well as the climber’s structure of our garden.
Jacob’s Creek has a bit of a special place in my heart, for the fact that one of the first wine events I’ve ever attended back in 2009 was hosted by this very brand, so when I got the invitation for Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Wine Dinner last month, I immediately made plans to be part of the launch.
Jacob’s Creek double barrel wine dinner, the menu
The introduction for this special Double Barrel blend was held at Eight Gourmet Gala, with a rather big set up attended by media, celebrities, and people who has a bit of online real estate such as yours truly.
Brand Ambassador, Jenny Rothenberg was also present to explain what this whole “double barrel” is all about.
To put it simply, the wine (Double Barrel Shiraz & Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon) is matured traditionally in French and American oak barrels, before finishing it in old whiskey barrels, giving them a more complex palate.
pan seared French foie gras, Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz
Anyway, to the dinner.
We started out with pan seared French foie gras, paired with Jacob’s Creek sparkling chardonnay pinot noir, the citrus and toasted cashew flavors of chardonnay marrying the fresh bread crust characteristic of pinot noir complimented the richness of pan seared foie gras perfectly. Most certainly a good start to the night.
white truffle pumpkin potage, wine barrel vs whisky barrel
Second course was the white truffle pumpkin potage, a thick soup that tastes like a blend of pumpkin with a hint of white truffle, which, to be honest, was not particularly very exciting for me. It was OK, but not among the best soups I’ve tried.
smoke turkey drumstick w/ Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz & Reserve Shiraz
Next came the entree of smoke turkey drumstick, we had it with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz and Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz. I thought the meat was handled very well, tender, juicy, and extremely smokey to a point of being spicy, which may not suit everyone, I liked it though.
That complimented the sweet red fruits & dark chocolate palate of Shiraz well. The direct comparison between the two Shiraz showcased differences due to additional treatment of finishing the wine in whisky barrel. Most agreed the double barrel version is a tad smoother.
pan seared Wagyu with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon
Then came my favorite dish of the night – pan seared Wagyu (marbling grade 9). The meat is done medium rare with very little distractions in terms of finishing. It was positively satisfying, with Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Cabernet Souvignon doing an excellent job as accompanying side kick. A good red with a fine piece of meat never disappoint.
poached lobster with truffle garlic oil
Another option for main was poached lobster with truffle garlic oil, a fine looking dish but unfortunately suffered slightly from being overly cooked in this instance. The seafood would have served as a good companion to the Cabernet Souvignon otherwise.
premium chocolate & French macaron for dessert, bok & sycookie
We ended the night with a simple dessert of chocolate & French macaron, a sweet ending to a pretty special night hosted by Jacob’s Creek. Looking forward to the next event and thanks for the invite!
Eight Gourmet Gala
Suite G-01, Ground Floor,
Pinnacle Annexe, Bandar Sunway,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor
GPS: 3.070381, 101.609452
Tel: 017-948 8684
A week ago we bought three garupa fish for something like RM 25 from the Meru Pasar Malam nearby, and since we’re going to have to eat the same fish on three different occasions, it was an opportunity to try out different recipes.
I vaguely remember that we bought some fermented beans (tauchu) over CNY cos my brother had used it as a “secret ingredient” in his version of jiu hu char, so it was time to experiment on a version of garupa with tauchu dish.
raw ingredients – fish, tauchu, onion, garlic, ginger, chili padi
Thankfully, the version I ended up cooking based on what we had in the pantry and fridge ended up rather delicious, so I’m penning it here for my own future reference. As always, you’re more than welcome to try it out yourself, and if you do, let me know how it turns out.
- one medium size garupa fish (siakap/barramundi should work too)
- a couple of onions (sliced)
- half a clove garlic (chopped)
- an inch of ginger (strips)
- 2 tablespoon of tauchu
- 2-3 tablespoon of cooking oil
- half a dozen chili padi, green or red
sautee everything minus the fish
- heat up cooking oil and then stir fry everything except the fish
- once fragrant, add 1.5 cups of water
- bring water to boil, then add fish
- lower the heat, let simmer and cover for 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness of fish)
- serve while hot
simmer & steam for 10 minutes and you’re done
As fermented bean is already quite a salty product, salt is not needed in this cooking method. The result is a simple fish dish that brings out the natural taste of seafood while having a sauce base that’s flavorful with a bit of a kick. Goes really well with rice. Will not hesitate to use this recipe again.