Asia’s Gemstone: Jade

Jade

Yesterday my colleagues and I were having an interesting conversation about the “Feng Shui Trail” on Sentosa Island which features one of the largest Jadeites in Singapore.  This led to an insightful discussion on the significance of Jade, an ornamental stone, commonly worn as jewelry in Asia.

Jade

Jade is very fascinating and has much mystique surrounding it.  Known to be a “living” stone because it is said to turn greener when worn by a person, according to Chinese superstition, how green the stone appears depends on how much it “likes” you.

Following that notion, Jade is also thought to absorb the feelings of its owner and if the previous owner had a lot of “negative energy”, it would be transferred to the new owner. This is why when buying the gemstone, it is important to go to a feng shui or fortune master to get a reading.  They will then prescribe the appropriate pieces to suite your personality.

Jade is also believed to ward off evil. One story holds that if you were to have a fall, the Jade would crack, absorbing the injury you would have sustained from the fall.  Furthermore, it is believed to ward off bad dreams and to bring good luck in games of chance.

The word “Jade” in Chinese is written as 玉 (yu), but did you know it is actually two different stones?  In Chinese it is given two separate names.  The first,  硬玉 (ying yu) or “hard Jade” is the term for Jadeite and 軟玉 (ruan yu), meaning “soft Jade” describes nephrite or the common Jade you would find in most Chinese stores.  As you might have guessed, Jadeite is the more refined and exclusive of the two.  One key differentiation is the color.  Nephrite  is usually dark green or grey-green in color.  Jadeite on the other hand shows more color variations, including yellow, lavender-mauve, pink and emerald-green.

Next time you are travelling to Singapore, be sure to stop by the Merlion Plaza on Sentosa Island where the giant Jadeite is located.  You can also visit some of the Feng Shui Masters for more insight into the properties of Jade.  Your Capella Singapore Personal Assistants would be more than happy to recommend a few good stores.

The World Gourmet Summit at Capella Singapore

World Gourmet Summit

Last week was the end of the annual World Gourmet Summit held in Singapore.  The event ran for two weeks and took place at restaurants all over the country.  As a lover of food, this is definitely one of my favorite events of the year because it is an opportunity to taste dishes from amazing chefs from all over the world.  Capella Singapore’s The Knolls was very fortunate to be one of the venue hosts for this event and we had the immense pleasure of hosting two renowned pastry chefs from Spain, a father and son team, Paco and Jacob Torreblanca.

The menus were truly fascinating because it was the first time I saw a full savory menu featuring chocolate.  An interesting and unlikely combination of ingredients was my first thought when I saw the menu for the dining events.  It included a Venison Pears Terrine with Chocolate Chutney, a Warm Scallop with a Chocolate Crust and Daikon, Japanese radish, and a Roasted Pigeon Breast served with a bitter chocolate sauce and hazelnut cauliflower puree.  However my apprehensions were soon put to rest, as Chefs Paco and Jacob’s blending of flavors were sublime.

This distinctive dining concept was Chef Paco Torreblanca’s idea and the result of his fascination with the possibilities of blending cocoa with Mediterranean ingredients.  From this spark of inspiration Chef Paco and his son Jacob have gone on to create a whole new and unique dining experience.

World Gourmet Summit

The series of dining events at The Knolls also included a Chocolate High Tea.  One of the most notable desserts featured the Cassis Royal, a light raspberry and pistachio layered cake marked with a giant white chocolate “oyster.”  Chef Paco shared the story behind this dessert, “I had a friend who loved oysters, but unfortunately one day he had some that made him sick.  Hearing this, I told my friend that I would create for him an oyster that would not make him sick and that he would love.”  Talk about a great friendship!

Hopefully you will be able to join us for a future World Gourmet Summit- I know my stomach is already looking forward to the next event!

Emily Of Emerald Hill At The Peranakan Museum

peranakan museum

Earlier this month, the Peranakan Museum was having a very special exhibition on Emily of Emerald Hill, an iconic Singaporean play written in 1982 by local playwright Stella Kon.  Emily of Emerald Hill has been performed numerous times in Singapore as well as other parts of the world such as Malaysia, Hawaii and even Edinburgh!  It is considered one of the regions greatest literary works.

peranakan museum

Paying tribute to the symbolic play, the Emily of Emerald Hill Exhibition at the Peranakan Museum showcased the different interpretations of the play through the costumes, props, scripts, photographs and videos.

Emily of Emerald Hill follows the life of a young Peranakan bride, Emily Gan who marries into a rich matriarchal family on Emerald Hill.  What is interesting about the play is that it is a one-woman play narrated by Emily as she recounts the challenges and experiences from her past.

Emily of Emerald Hill is touted as a symbol of Singaporean Identity and one of Singapore’s most iconic plays because of how closely it follows and preserves the Peranakan culture.  The Peranakans were born from the early Chinese immigrants to the British Malaya, now known as Singapore and Malaysia.  Many of them were traders, the middle people between the British and the Chinese and they grew to be among the wealthiest group in the early 20th century.

The Peranakan culture is interesting because of the integration of both Western and local culture.  As such, while they mostly spoke English, hints of Malay and dialect would be present as part of their speech.  The Peranakan also continued to practice many of the Chinese beliefs, which are depicted throughout the play.  True to the story of Emily, Peranakan Families are very matriarchal, because the women would run the household while the men were off to work to earn money to support the family.  Peranakan women were known to be extremely capable, not just in cooking but also in intricate handicrafts.

The next time you visit Singapore, I would definitely recommend a visit to the Peranakan Museum where you will be able to experience first hand the exotic Peranakan culture.  Please talk to your Capella Singapore Personal Assistant, who will be happy to help with planning your visit!

Here is a video excerpt of the play Emily of Emerald Hill:

 

Photo via The Peranakan Museum.

Chicken And Lobster Ravioli At The Knolls

Chicken And Lobster Ravioli

Starting the first of April, The Knolls got a brand new menu, specially designed by our new Executive Chef, David Senia. It has been very exciting to have Chef Senia on the team, not just because of his vast years of experience that he brings to the kitchen but also his friendly and cheerful personality which brings much life to the kitchen at The Knolls.

Part of the exciting tasks leading up to a new menu launch is the tastings and food shows. Watching the chefs at work skillfully plating each dish is almost like watching a work of art come to life. Next up is the tasting of the food. One of the signatures on the new menu is the Chicken and Lobster Ravioli.  This is a unique dish because it is served with a light citrus sauce, giving it a mildly tangy flavor, which perfectly complements the savory elements.

And what better way to celebrate the new menu than with the recipe for Chicken and Lobster Ravioli?  Now admittedly, this recipe is a bit labor intensive.  So if it is too much for you, then please stop by The Knolls and allow our chefs to prepare it for you!

Chicken And Lobster RavioliIngredients:

Ravioli-
700g  Lobster
700g  Foie gras
500g  Celeriac
300g  Chicken breast
1tbs  Olive oil
White pepper & salt (to taste)
50g  Chicken stock
100g  Ready-made Pasta dough

Ragout-
100g  Shallots
1  Lemon skin
1  Orange skin
1  Tomatoes
100g  Olive oil

Method:

For The Ravioli-
-Remove the lobster from the shell, keeping the head and the shells
-Blend the lobster, foie gras and chicken breast in a food processor until smooth
-Add in the olive oil and mix well. Season with salt & pepper
-Roll out pasta dough and make ravioli with the lobster and chicken stuffing
-Keep refrigerated until needed

For The Ragout-
-Dice the shallots and tomatoes
-Cut the orange and lemon skins into fine slices and blanche in water to remove the bitterness
-Combine shallots, tomatoes, orange and lemon skin, with the olive oil and mix well

For The Sauce-
-Roast the lobster shells in a pan until fragrant
-Add in the chicken stock and reduce until it begins to thicken
-Add a touch of cream and season with salt & pepper
-Strain and keep aside until needed

To Serve-
-Blanche the readymade ravioli in a salted boiling water for about 2 or 3 minutes until cooked
-Add the cooked ravioli into the sauce and braise, until the sauce coats the ravioli
-Divide the ravioli into pasta plates and pour the sauce over
-Drizzle the ragout on top

 

Voila!  Enjoy this beautiful Chicken and Lobster Ravioli!

The Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore

Mosiac Music Festival

Recently, Singapore welcomed the Mosaic Music Festival, an annual music event highlighting talent from all over the world as well as local artists.  As a music enthusiast, this is always one of my times of the year!

The Esplanade, the premier performing arts venue in Singapore, organizes the Mosaic Music Festival.   Opened in 2002, the Esplanade is one of Singapore’s architectural landmarks with two domes, one being a theater and the other a concert hall.  The structure is designed to look like the iconic durian fruit and is easily recognized by locals and visitors alike.  The Esplanade is home to many creative arts performances, with musical productions, concerts and art exhibitions—many of which are complimentary and available for the public to enjoy everyday.

Esplanade - Mosaic Music Festival

For 10 days straight, the Mosaic Music Festival filled the Esplanade with the sounds of various artists.  Mosaic is one of the many music festivals in Singapore that brings together a whole line up of Grammy Award winning artists from various genres, be it jazz, rock, alternative, fusion and more.  It is a time where music aficionados from all walks of life can gather to enjoy these melodious sensations.

This year, the festival started off on Friday 8 March, headlined by Joss Stone.  Needless to say it was an undeniable crowd pleaser.  As the festival went on, other prominent names like Miles Smiles, Grammy Award winner Esperanza Spalding; and the Billboard chart topping rock band Mutemath performed, bringing the crowd to a standing ovation each night.

Mosiac Music Festival

Making it a true festival, the Mosaic Music Festival also has a series of creative arts workshops and complimentary performances throughout the Esplanade during the course of the festival.

The Mosaic Music Festival takes place around March each year in Singapore and it is a must catch for all music enthusiasts.  If you are planning to be in Singapore for it, join us here at Capella Singapore and your Personal Assistant can help you get your hands on these sought after tickets!

Luxury Yacht Tour Of Singapore

Luxury yacht tour of Singapore

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to take a luxury yacht tour of Singapore.  The tour, which was organized by one of Capella Singapore’s fantastic Personal Assistants, began at the Marina at Keppel Bay, home to some of the most exclusive yachts and boats in Singapore.

Luxury yacht tour of Singapore

It was a rather cloudy day with a slight threat of rain, however when we got to the marina the skies cleared.  As we made our way through the docks, we were greeted by scores of beautiful boats, some for commercial and others for private use.   We were on our way to board the SG Yacht, a luxurious 13-seater.

The SG Yacht was beautiful.  As we climbed up the deck, we were greeted by a luxuriously cozy “living room” complete with a small coffee table, sofas and a mini television set.  The boat also had two bedrooms with beds set nice and high you could literally climb into them.  On the deck, we were able to make our way to the helm of the boat and enjoy the glorious sea breeze as the yacht cut deftly through the waters.

The yacht trip would take us all the way to one of the small southern Singapore islands named Lazarus Island before heading back to the marina.  Needless to say, the sights were glorious.  Just as we were pulling out into the open sea, we passed a familiar sight – the beachfront view of Capella Singapore!

Soon after, we reached Lazarus Island – an uninhabited tropical paradise with a beach so pristine, calm and picturesque.  We took some time to explore the island, enjoying all its flora and fauna.

Lazarus Island is just one of the many southern islands of Singapore which are frequent destinations for hired yachts. For the more adventurous, a chartered yacht can even visit exotic locations of Bali, Tioman Island, Phuket and more.

With Singapore being a small island, taking a trip out to sea on a luxury Yacht is definitely something I would recommend to everyone. In fact, the Personal Assistants at Capella Singapore are more than able to help facilitate all the necessary arrangements for chartering a luxury yacht.