We went away for a nice holiday, but we’re back! Once we get over our holiday-lag, we will be grumbling here again.
I like zines. I used to have a whole drawer of them (they are probably still languishing in that drawer, sorry), and I used to make my own too. My teenage angst and propensity for melodrama found posterity in those three zines.
I recently went on a zine binge. Some illustrators I follow on Instagram had zines available for sale, and I began seeking out other zines. It also happened that during the last graphic novel binge, I bought a copy of Adrian Tomine’s 32 Stories, which is a reissue of his Optic Nerve zines/mini-comics, and it had finally arrived.
I adore Tomine’s illustrations (especially his New Yorker covers) and enjoyed his graphic novel Shortcomings. The Optic Nerve mini-comics are stylistically very different from his current stuff and the storytelling nowhere as solid, but it was nice and very inspiring to see his progression from then till now.
These three are my favourites from my recent loot. Drinking Stories by Awkward Ladies Club has a very self-explanatory title. Her other zines are great too; I like the humour and they are ridiculously fun to read.
The second, Cardigan Heart by Lizzy Stewart, is probably my favourite-st of the favourites. It’s a collection of illustrated stories, and each is a lovely, unassuming combination of words and visuals.
In-Between by Aijung Kim recounts a conversation between the author had with a stranger on a train ride during an “in-between” period of her life. I have had similar conversation with imaginary strangers on train rides. Despite her less-imaginary companion, her story was one that resonated strongly with me.
I’ve also signed up for the Minicomic of the Month Club. Every month, they send out a mini-comic by an Australian illustrator/artist. I’ve just received my first comic, which is by Carla McRae (@thepaperbeast on Instagram), and it is pretty gorgeous.
On the home front, there’s Squelch Zines, who’s doing interesting things.
So. One fine afternoon along the fine aisles of a fine FairPrice supermarket, thinking that I would like to make a sago dessert, I picked up some sago and a packet of gula melaka. Then I thought, why stop at sago. Before I knew it (but of course I did), I had my sights set on making agar agar mooncakes, complete with filling and yolk. It wasn’t enough still; I had ambitions of making a caviar-like yolk and that led to reading up on spherification (which would be interesting to try, if I didn’t have less than a week and if the description has fewer chemistry terms) and the rather hard-to-implement idea of scooping out the inside of an agar agar ball and injecting syrup into the void. Both approaches didn’t happen, because to my meagre amount of credit, I recognised overcomplexity at some point.
But there were indeed mooncakes made in our kitchen! After some deliberation, I decided to do gula melaka/chendol (gula melaka coconut milk agar agar for the skin, gula melaka agar agar with cendol jelly as the filling, and an orange agar agar sago ball* – coated with gula melaka syrup – as the yolk) and lychee coconut (ribena agar agar as filling, and a transparent agar agar ball with nata de coco as yolk). It took some time and plenty of planning, but I’m pretty darn pleased with the end results.
Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that the Mid-Autumn festival is almost over because I would really quite like to try out a couple of different flavours that were canned because there wasn’t enough time to test. Mmm.
During the last week, I visited quite a few baking supplies shops in the East area. If you’re looking for supplies, these are good places to go!
Blk 71 #01-531F Kallang Bahru, Singapore 330071
Ailin Bakery House
845 Geylang Rd, TG Katong Complex, Singapore 400845
Gim Hin Lee Pte Ltd
Block 10 Haig Road #01-363/365, Singapore 430010
* The yolk was less visually and texturally (this is what happens when you watch too many seasons of Top Chef) obvious than I would like. Sigh.