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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wanton Mee



The ubiquitous late night supper for Singaporeans. Wantons are dumplings, when combined with thin egg noodles slathered in a delicious mixed sauce, helps satiate our hunger pangs.

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Office

First day in a new office in a new building opposite club street.


Working late today to make up for my holiday last week.
 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Penang Trip





Penang Island is almost similar to Singapore, so a short break there feels comfortably familiar with slight differences. We only managed a drive around Unesco world heritage site Georgetown and a couple of hours at massive Kek Lok Si Temple. Most of the main attractions were closed for restoration. Shopping areas were also strangely deserted as it happens to be their national religious holiday, we were told the locals are quietly praying at home during this time.




One of their heritage crafts is joss stick making. Even the smallest temples will have huge sandalwood laced fushcia joss sticks with swirling dragons. Inside the temples, devotees offer lotus shaped candles or pineapple-shaped bottles of oil to the gods.




When in Penang, we have to eat like the locals do in order to sample the most delicious food Malaysia has to offer. Familiar sounding dishes like char kway teow, oyster omelette and laksa are prepared differently, defintely worth a try. We even queued up at the street corner for the famous Penang Chendol that truly lives up to its name with the lemak gula melaka.




The local food was good enough to have me searching for local produce to bring home to replicate.




In the process, I discovered the local supermarkets carry some pretty upmarket ingredients at a bargain. I found animal shaped pasta ($3), Himalayan Pink Salt ($2.50) and corn on a cob ready for popping ($7).




We spent the rest of the time at the shopping malls that always seems to have something I want to buy, be it a hamburger lunch box, gold brick lighter or even a toy gun keychain.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vanilla Cherry Cupcakes II





I baked another batch of vanilla cherry cupcakes. This time around with a different recipe - Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcake recipe to be exact with real vanilla beans. The icing is also different, although I did retain the cherry syrup instead of vanilla to create lovely baby pink icing with my $2 set of miniature piping bags from Daiso.




The result was richer, smoother cupcakes with an almost pound cake like texture...hhhmmm...


Friday, August 27, 2010

Tempur Wrist Rest





My free Tempur sample came today and it's the cutest wrist rest ever. It comes with a $1000 voucher for Q or K size Tempur mattresses.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

UP





UP is the cutest movie I have ever seen. Possibly, the best! This floating bunch of balloons didn't have a house attached to it, it was a promotional gimmick for a new housing launch.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hello Kitty Toiletries




I absolutely loovve all things Hello Kitty. My latest impulse buy is a herbal shampoo and bananas & coconut conditioner from pharmeceutical label Dialfa, Hello Kitty brand of course. It's like she's on a holiday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kerastase Roadshow





Kerastase roadshow at Raffles City Shopping Centre until this wednesday. For fans of the brand, you will be delighted by the cute miniature freebies, 20% discount and that they actually sell the Chronologiste series here! This breakthrough haircare product by Kerastase has just reached our shores and is only available in select salons and now, at this roadshow.


Monday, August 23, 2010

CTE accident





Car accident in the CTE on my way home. This time it's me, my dad and 1 female biker who whammed us from behind. The thing is, we SAW her coming. Maybe the floor was slippery, or she was in a hurry. When you go at that speed and attempt a sharp turn to change lanes, it's going to happen. Anyway, let's wait for the police report to come out. And why did the tow truck driver take photos of the front of the car with me in it and then of my dad talking to the cops? The damage is on the rear of the vehicle!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Entre-Nous



It's just caramel with salt or rather Fleur de Sel (sea salt from Brittany France). This irrisistable flavour conjures up images of the coastal town. The salted caramel is drizzled over crepes or served with biscuits and vanilla ice-cream at Entre-Nous. You can buy a bottle of it to bring home if you like.


This creperie seems to specialize in simple ingredients to create delicate yet intriguing flavours to tempt the palate. Their savoury galettes are 100% organic buckwheat and my favourite is "Entre-Nous" a prawn & creamed avocado combination. 


2 types of apple cider available - dry or sweet. To complement the crepe you are having.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pasta maker





Why would anyone need another kitchen contraption that only rolls and cuts dough? Afterall, the way our grandmothers did it only involved the rolling pin and knife. I have to confess that the only reason I bought a pasta machine was for the ravioli attachment. So now I can churn out professional-looking neat little parcels of pasta.




The fort method of folding eggs with flour still applies. Instead of kneading the dough by hand, it is run through the pasta machine 6 times to create perfect flat sheets of dough that are then sent through the cutters.




The final product is dusted in flour and left to dry for hours before freezing. With the amount of cleaning up to do, it's practical to make big batches for the extended family to freeze for the week.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Harbourfront Day 14



Lunchtime shopping at Creative Living, a store that sells designer kitchen utensils under 1 roof. I heard there is a 40% sale on silicon bakeware so I dropped by for a look and surprised myself by buying up a storm. A bottle of pure Madagascar Vanilla extract always comes in handy, as will the petal cupcake holders. 20% off the ravioli attachment for the pasta maker? My favourites are the $20 jumbo packs of cookie cutters in alphabets, numbers and animal shapes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Harbourfront Day 13





There is a Sushi Tei restaurant at Vivocity! Sashimi here I come.




The Edamame is exceptionally fresh, you can taste the fresh off the vine greeness in these pods. The stalks are still on.




Ika strips coated in Uni Gunkun. The crackle of fresh seaweed always makes me tingle. Followed by salmon mentai sushi that has been blowtorched. Yumm...


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cold Sesame Noodles




My favourite after school dish. I used to season my noodles with a self concocted sauce made from everything in the cupboard, sometimes it's teriyaki sauce, sometimes just soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar which I later found out had a name "Sesame Noodles" and was sold in Chinese restaurants around the globe.



Toss noodles in sauce made from: 0.5 cup soy sauce, 4 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp chinese wine, 1 tsp crushed red pepper, chopped bunches of scallions & cilantro and 0.5 cup roasted sesame seeds. The key is in the exceptionally fragrant sesame oil that also has beneficial effects.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Harbourfront Day 11





Still on my under $20 lunch spree at Vivocity. I had lunch today at The Cellar Door, a laid back Aussie wine shop that doubles as a well stocked deli. You can grab a 4 course lunch for $20 that will be money well spent.




Baguette with freshly made dips that range from Mediterranean olive to Euro-Country chicken liver while you wait for your sandwich to be prepared. The unusual sandwich pairings piqued my interest. I ordered a rubbed roast with onion marmalade that came rare! Too late to back out, I sank my teeth into the chewy sandwich that rewarded with clean tastes of good quality meat that has been well prepared and sweetness of freshly made onion jam. It took me all of 5 mins to devour the entire sandwich. 




As if the starter and sandwich weren't enough to fill me up, the set comes with your choice of coffee and 2 delicious scoops of ice-cream. My favourite is the Fig & Honey with fresh figs in it and the essence of pure Manuka honey! Absolutely unbelievable.


* The ice cream isn't handmade even though it tastes like it. It's Kapiti New Zealand Ice Cream that has won several ice-cream awards already. Co-incidentally, Fig & Honey won the 2008 gold medal in the premium ice cream category. Sold at Jones the Grocer and now at The Cellar Door. The nice people at The Cellar Door will sell you their commercial 5 litre tubs on request for about $60.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Harbourfront Day 10



White Dog Cafe serves what I think is termed as American home cooking? With menu items like chicken pasta in cream sauce and canned tuna garden salad, you can't really catogorize it into a genre. It's all good though, with desserts by a Japanese patissier.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vanilla Cherry Cupcakes



It started with a surprise find of affordable natural vanilla beans at the cake supplier store. This gourmand produce usually goes for $5-$15 a pod at specialist supermarkets. Hence, we are inclined to use vanilla essence instead of the real thing. As Jamie Oliver says, the real thing is soo much better.


Inspired by the famous Magnolia Bakery's signature vanilla cupcakes, I decided to bake a batch of vanilla cinnamon cupcakes with dark cherries. As my oven won't allow a 12 holder tray in, I had to use individual metal cupcake holders instead. A recipe for 12 was spread out to make a baker's dozen for good luck =)


I didn't have enough vanilla leftover for the frosting, so I substituted with a few scoops of the cherry syrup and added more icing sugar to make up for the increase in liquids. The final icing turned out a sweet baby pink and I couldn't have asked for better.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chilli Con Carne & Cornbread





Cornbread is a savoury muffin that unlike commercially mass produced versions, smells and tastes full of that wholesome fresh corn from the farm. The recipe is simply modified from the usual muffin mix by adding cornmeal to flour in equal parts, milk instead of water and fresh corn off the cob.




My family enjoys these muffins either served with honey and butter for breakfast or as a side with chilli con carne, fried chicken & gravy. I like to make chilli as any remainders can be used as chip dip or hotdog sauce. It usually doesn't last that long on the table.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harbourfront Day 9



Italian for lunch today at Modesto's: Penne Pescetarian and Vanilla ice cream with butter cookies. A pescetarian diet means the only meat you eat is fish.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Szu's Birthday





My sister's birthday today. Cake from Bengawan Solo, lotsa cream!




So I made her favourite salad, Caprese. It's easy to put together and can keep for a couple of days in the fridge. You just put sliced tomatoes and sliced buffalo mozzarella together, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper, top with coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves. Voila!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ice Ball





The faithfully handcrafted ball of ice by your bartender in Japan bears testament to the country's dedication to their craft. A perfectly round ball of ice is carved by the bartender from a block of ice in 10 seconds flat. A technique that takes an apprentice years to master. All this effort so you get to enjoy your cooled drink longer as the ice ball melts slower than ordinary ice cubes! 




For professional pubs that want the same quality of ice but, lacking in experience, a professional copper machine is available for around $1,000. For the discerning home drinker, plastic moulds are available at MOMA, Muji or Daiso. I know where I am getting mine =)


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Harbourfront Day 6



Surf & Turf today with a front row view of the cable cars.