Monday, December 31, 2012

Last day of 2012.

IKEA square pillar candle with ceramic base, 4-wick

I have a thing for candles, ever since i knew how to strike a match.

On this last day of 2012, the evening skies continue to ticker and we called off our planned outing for the fireworks countdown. Settled in for a simple dinner, winding down the night with sweet Japanese Choya, Rocher chocolates and my treasured candle block, in the shadowed and cooling garden.

Goodbye 2012. Hello 2013.
Growing older has made me more assured and sure of myself. Contented and less afraid of things to come. These are the best things that comes with age. Cheers!

Thank you, God.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

老二, Lao Er Teochew Porridge

Steamed Pork Belly ($3)

This is quite a famous Teochew porridge stall in Bedok North Market, Blk 216. The lunch queue is constantly long but moves fast. One of the 'must-eat' here is this plain-looking pork belly meat.

I was qualmish about eating it at first... ... but it does taste so good! Reminds us just how pure meat should be like. And i'll return, especially for this.

Lunch order for 2 pax, 3 porridge ($13)

The meal which includes one big steam fish is affordable, albeit a tad over-cooked fish. And do be cautioned that their stir-fried dishes tends to be more salted and oily; when ordering at the stall, look out for the lighter options.

With this precaution taken, i'll come back for my white porky belly.

Steam Fish

Bean sprouts with long beans (oily, saltish)

Long beans Omelette (oily, saltish)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Bolu Meranti - Thousand Layer Cake (Lapis Legit)

Lapis Legit, Lapis Prunes (1.2kg, Rp.275.000/ S$35 each)

Never have we seen so much prunes in a prunes lapis! Seriously overloaded to make any prunes lapis fans happy. Me too, initially.

Too much of anything bores you, and i soon turned to the original lapis that's has more of the cinnamon and anise aroma; not being overcome by the prunes. And just look at the number of layers that made up the cake! It's the most worked on lapis cake we had so far; a true thousand layers.

These are from Nic when he out stationed at Indonesia, Medan.
This time, his Indonesian colleagues brought him to their much acclaimed Kue shop - the Bolu Meranti.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Be Fruitful!

New York Cheesecake, 23mm dia ($72+)

Instead of a Christmas log cake, Nic got us this cake from Bakerzin.

And the tasty cake says, "Blessed and Fruitful Year!" This is for you too.
Let's be fruitful, in all good!

God bless.

Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Wings - Vietnamese

Read this recipe off a cook book in the National Library; and came in handy today for my preparation for the Christmas's Eve dinner. It was surprisingly easy to prepare and won the diners' praises readily.

MARINADE 1 - Vietnamese Caramel Sauce
2/3 cup (135g) Sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) Fish Sauce
8 Shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black Pepper

Heat the sugar over low heat in a skillet, stirring constantly, until it begins to melt and caramelize, 3-5 mins. Remove from heat and add the fish sauce. Return the pan to heat and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Simmer uncovered for 3-5 mins, stirring constantly until the mixture turns into a thick syrup. Add the shallots and ground black pepper, mix well and remove from heat.

Grinding of spices in Mortar and pestle.

2 stalks Lemongrass, tender inner part of bottom third only, sliced
3 Shallots
4 cloves Garlic
1 finger-length red Chili, deseeded
1/2 portion of Marinade 1

Prepare the Marinade by grinding the lemongrass, shallots, garlic and chili to a smooth paste in a blender/ mortar and pestle. Combine with the Marinade 1 and mix well. Pour the marinade over the wings and rub it in with your fingers until the wings are well coated. Allow to marinade for at least 1 hour in the fridge.

Final Marinade

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Bake the marinated wings in the marinade for about 20 minutes in the oven, turning over once, then turn on the broiler and grill the wings for an additional 5 mins on each side, basting with the Marinade, until well browned.

Remove from heat, transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately. Send me your good news.

1 kg Chicken Wings with Marinade

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Yum, Thai Street Food

NTU canteen 2 undergone a recent revamp to introduce some new food stalls. The Western Barbeque was gone and replaced with that of Thai cuisine.

You have a choice to make your meal a set that includes sides of papaya salad ($2.50, ala carte) and choice of 1 fried chicken wing or Thai fish cake. But was told that 'set' was not available today as they had ran out of wings and fish cakes. So good business?

Well... The papaya salad left much to be desired, while the Tom Yam soup is just passable. It does carries quite some ingredients though - small prawns, chicken pieces, crab stick and straw mushrooms.

Grilled Pork Rice ($3/ Set $4.50)

Grilled pork is the exceptional one. Taste a little sweet and has an aroma of our Bak Kwa, or Satay!? All's perfect with the plain rice that was doused heavily in Thai green curry.

This grilled pork reminisces our good time on the food streets of Bangkok.

Tom Yam with Rice ($3/ Set $4.50)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Breeks 1-for-1 Lunch

Cajun Snapper ($15.90++)

Settled for a comfortable lunch at Breeks as they are having a 1 for 1 promotion for 3 of their main courses. We skipped the Ribeye steak ($24.90++) and had the other 2 selection.

The Snapper fish was good and appetizing, served with nicely roasted skin-on potatoes and side salad. Carbonara tasted quite plain with a less than al dente Linguini.

Linguini Carbonara ($14.90++)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Old Typewriters - New Ribbons!

I am excited!

The dual colored ribbons flew in from the U.S. last night as an early Christmas present! Ric went through the tedious internet purchase from Amazon to obtain these at S$25-30 per piece, after including shipping. We bought 2.

Each of my typewriters were from Ric's sister and my auntie - they came mute; now they are a deafening chatter :)) I LOVE THEM.

Brother Deluxe 762TR, Japan

Olivetti Dora, Italy

Thursday, December 13, 2012

可采, Cortry Face Mask

My last piece of Cortry Face Mask ($2)

Dead tired these days; after a bath, i just had to lie down and do NOTHING. Slaping on a face mask at such time is heavenly, as the moisturizing essences penerate by gravitational force and you feel the skin slowly tighten. Ahh...ahh...

Tired was i; had only kept the torn wrapper for you. This is my last pack of 12.

I repeal our usual face mask that tends to be of milky and slippery lotion, Cortry from Sichuan China is water based and has a light herby fragrant. It feels natural. And it should be, as it was said to formulate from ingredients of traditional Chinese medicine like the Ling Zhi, Almond and Pearl Powder.

Maybe we all have reservations about China product, me too. But I enjoy the lightness of the Cortry face mask in our humid climate and just had to cross my fingers about getting the genuine product.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pat's Pastry - Cheese Cakes

Smoothly, dense cheesecakes from Pat's Pastry. Their kitchen was overwhelming with orders for the year end and we got these through their online reservations.

Patty was warm with our email exchange; all smiley when we went to pick up the cakes on a rainy day, and help sliced the cake neatly! Slicing cheesecakes can get so messy at home! We appreciate this.

And considering our price halved after utilizing a Groupon, there's no trading-off the quality of their cakes. Good Honesty. Good Cakes. The Forest Cheeze is a delightful surprise.

Forest Cheese, large, 12 cuts ($47)
Part Chocolate Cheese with plenty Cherries, and part Amerian Cheese.

Party Pack - Mixed Cheeze, 9pc ($10.50)
A mix of American, Blueberry, Marble Cheesecakes.

Habib Rojak

Indian Rojak Assortment of 7 pieces ($7)

This is the Habib Rojak at Pasir Panjang Food Centre, not the similarly named stall in West Coast Drive/Ayer Rajah Food Centre. West Coast Habib is famously good but these ain't bad when you are in the vicinity and craving for some warm thick dipping sauce with fried fritters, fish cakes, potatoes, cuttlefish...!

The sweetly spicy dipping sauce that recipe mainly of sweet potatoes, either make or break the dish. This one makes it.

The Master - Malaysia-styled Cheong Fun

Chee Cheong Fun + Yam Cake + Fried Beancurd Skin

Fairly simple food at Yahweh Delicacies - the Master at Sunshine Plaza that does not warrant a blog post. But i was drawn to the trio serving of Malaysia-styled Chee Cheong Fun, Yam Cake and Fu Bei (beancurd skin); enough to be lip smacking at the thought of it.

It was warmly micro-waved and satisfying to be eaten for the rainy afternoon. A nice gesture of the friendly hawker to suggest packing the sauce separately for us.
Gula Melaka Portuguese Egg Tart, Blueberry Portuguese Egg Tart

with overflowing blueberries

The Egg Tarts are average; non the best, non the worse. Good enough for grabbing a quick bite.
Great for the pricing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Some Good Korean Movies...

My Sassy Girl (2001) acquaints us with Korean movies. It was our first Korean movie and impresses that the Korean has some good script writing - giving a twist to the plot, stirs the soul and induces laughter from their wealth of Korean humor.

Thus begins my relationship with Korean films. Below were 5 memorable ones i wish you watch, including of course, My Sassy Girl.

Hello Ghost (2010), 开心家族
The story started off with a man's multiple failed suicide attempts and after the most recent one, began seeing a family of ghosts.

It seems a simple enough plot and i didn't see it coming until nearing the finish. Not wishing a spoiler for you, let's leave the story to unfold itself. A heart-warming comedy.

Champ (2011), 冠军
Champ is about a former race horse jockey who became partially blind after losing his wife in an accident. A limping horse stood by him as they race to win their last Cup.

Inspired by real-life story of Korean racehorse Luna (露娜) who debuted in 2004 at the Pusan Gyeongnam Race Park and went on to win 13 of 33 races, this is an inspiring and touching story.

For once, i realized that encouraging words are more helpful than comforting ones. It was said, "Life is not Giving up; be Steadfast and Persistent". 人生是不放弃坚持到底。

Watch the full movie here, Youtube.

The Classic (2003), 假如爱有天意
A romantic film that was beautifully shot to tell the love story of a mother and her daughter. A bitter-sweet ending to the mother's romance while the daughter's completed the circle.

Below's the full movie, Youtube.

Spellbound (2011), 我的见鬼女友
Spellbound is a horror, romantic and comedy, all in one. While one couldn't imagine running good horror element in a romantic story, this film director does it relatively well. It fact, the idea was refreshing.

A magician falling in love with a woman who is haunted by ghosts. A seriously revengeful ghost. Now, what does it take for love to overcome fears?

The full movie here, Youtube.

The Front Line (2011), 高地战
It was said that the earth was divided by invisible lines that separated the countries; lines that determine territories and were guarded at all costs. Thus sets the scene for this story at Aerok Hills where the hills determine the dividing line between North and South Korea.

For this reason, fighting for the control of Aerok Hills continue despite ceasefire negotiations - the 1953 negotiation that dragged on for over 2 years. With the hope of end war dangling on one end; getting killed on any other day seems more real. This was the tormenting reality for the soldiers.

I have had my share of war films; including the recent TV series of The Pacific, 2010 (HBO). The Front Line can be equally good, or better than most English production. No doubt the best making from Asia.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sakura Buffet - As good as it gets!

Everybody knows Sakura Buffet Restaurant. They were like our neighbourhood buffet outlets that most took for guaranteed. But we and our colleagues like it here; and we held our annual gathering here, almost every year.

Being so familiar with their signature dishes; it's easy to plan our appetite to have all their best offerings. And it's commendable that standards had been maintained throughout these years. In fact, i find food standard improved over last year's.

The Japanese Sashimi and Sushi sections were always dependable. This year, it costs us some Carbo as the sushi looked really colorful and tempting. And i was almost subdued by having a Temaki.

Japanese Grilled Salmon Fish Head

Given the amount of salmon needed for sashimi, the kitchen was left with some really good salmon fish heads! These were my very favourite!

Best on the menu would be their braised salmon fish head which i had at their Omni Theatre outlet, that was the best; most memorable! Today at Admiralty Park, there were only the grilled fish heads, but i needn't stay disappointed for they too were scrumptious.

Seafood (Prawns, Mussels)

Green Salad Bar


Cooked Food Plate

The 'Sakura Special Noodle' was worth some Carbo too. It reminds you of sweet Mee Goreng but was much more flavored. We couldn't help having 2 helpings. I think kids would love it.

Beef with Black Peppercorn

Beef Satay

The cook was careful with their beef and it turned out real well. Love the beef satay!

Oreo Cheese, Marble Cheese, Moist Dark Chocolate, Durian Puff, Japanese Grape Jello

And you really should reserve some appetite for Sakura's dessert. Fine Cheese cakes, Durian Puffs and a selection of ripe fresh fruits - couldn't bear missing them although i had planned to keep my dessert quota for Ben and Jerry's only.

Cappucinno and Latte

Ben & Jerry's - New York Super Fudge Chunk, Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Fudge Brownie

With Ben & Jerry's ice-cream thrown in for the buffet, don't you think it's worth every penny of the $23+ per pax lunch? A ice-cream buffet with main course!

Barely 2 days passed, and i am ready to repeat the meal again ;)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bali Thai

Thai Green Curry Beef ($12++)

Ric had tried to temper my expectations, that Bali Thai serves a fairly nondescript fare for a Thai restaurant. Today, he further suggested that we have their more recognized, Tahu Telur. To all his cautions, i threw them to the wind.

As luck would have it, the deep fried items were easily good while we ladled on the green curry heavily.

But, surely, give us none of their beef - the chewy meat refuses to disintegrate despite being overly-tenderized, so much, it lost its meaty texture. Very bad.    

Thai Stuffed Chicken Wings ($3.50++ per piece, min order of 2)
Thai Fish Cake ($3++ per piece, min order of 2)