Saturday, January 31, 2015

Banned Firecrackers in Singapore!

Firecrackers display rack along Eu Tong Sen Street, in front People's Park Complex 

32 years ban of fire crackers in Singapore was finally lifted in 2004 for the opening ceremony of Chinatown Chinese New Year celebration. You could imagine the crowd that gathers during that first few years to catch the annual event!

That's why, we only thought of coming this year; a good 10 years late.

Guess i'm not the only one. Somebody in the crowd just exclaimed that they too, missed the firecracker rolls, hung from an overhead line, just right in front of our eyes. Yah, we don't recognize firecrackers. Just like so many young Singaporean who didn't know what is chewing gums.

After combustion, some firecrackers caught fire and was put out by extinguishers.

Big! Bang! Boom!

Suddenly at 9pm, the firecrackers set out a thunderous roar, cracking up by itself through remote operation! Oh, we didn't know you could do that. Hahaha... I was startled! And had to cover both ears! It was great! But we just missed the photo moments of 10 short seconds. Following, more firecrackers on People's Park Complex building goes off!

It felt wonderful, when all fireworks were done; when red and golden paper shredding flew and descended from the sky, littering the ground. Love firecrackers.

Wyndham Estate BIN 444 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Thirsty? We were, for this is good wine.
We sip on the red, and weren't in a hurry to proceed with lunch. Cheers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Natural Fertilizing with Worm Castings - Easy!

This is how all my planting pots look like - you see no more of the soil surfaces, for they are fully piled up with dried leaves. Beneath the layer of dried leaves lay our kitchen scraps of mainly banana skins, apple, carrot peels and odd vegetables ends; all waiting to decay and become feed for my earthworms! I love them for their visible benefits to the plants!   

Since each of my planting pots act as a worm bin, i save the trouble of having to harvest worm casting and had the worms help loosening up my hardened potting soil. This is more straight forward than Composting.

And where do you get the worms? They are there. Always there, in your potting soil, surviving on any organic matters that's left in the soil and the watering liquid. When you start taking care and feeding them, you would see them getting fatten up and leaving you their precious faeces for your gardening without artificial fertilizers... :) 

But in most cases, our soil might just consist of thinly, small red wrigglers with poor appetite. So we bought fresh worm casting and spread them among the plants. Worm cocoons in the poo poo contain between 2 and 10 eggs that will hatch within 2 weeks! 

Start feeding your pot NOW!

Dark, grainy sized Earthworms' casting left after feeding

One of my 2mm fat worm, trying to escape from the lights.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

銘记, Ming Kee Duck Rice Kway Chap

Braised Mixed (Pig's ear, skin, big intestine, fish cake, tau pok) + 3x Kway Chap board rice noodles ($8)

An impromptu lunch in Serangoon North at the Guan Hock Tiong Eating House where birds chip away happily, as we overlooked a wide open field. Nice, and that is before any building suddenly pops up here, which is so common in Singapore these days.

We didn't know what's good in this big Kopitiam with their variety of food choices; several tables were having the kway chap which looked delicious, so we followed suit. It is good...!

Not especially great, but certainly one of the better stalls which warrants a repeat visit.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Gin Thye - the Nostalgia Wedding Butter Cakes

Gin Thye Cake Maker, Wedding Combo 17/ C pic ($15.80 per box)

Never from a well-to-do family, we kids treasured the box of colorful wedding cake received on the rare occasions of the family red letter day. For the simple yet immense joy we had, it is no wonder that many from our generation had fond memories of the colorful cake, deeply etched. Innocently, i had vowed to repeat this customary on my own wedding.

If there's a cake for our SG50 celebration, it shouldn't be any fancy ang mo cake. It should just be this nostalgic butter cake!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Steamed Yam Cake - A Detailed Guide!

After her many years of preparing yam cake, this is mum's evaluation of the house most successful rendition. By this, we meant the texture of the kueh which we like best - the right amount of moisture and softness. You could have an addition of 50ml water if you prefer your kueh in a semi-solid state - one that falls apart while serving!

This is a virgin try by yours truly. For Ric; it is his favourite ;) The recipe is my most complicated so far. But following it step-by-step, you could do it too, definitely.

INGREDIENTS (feed 8 adults):
600g Yam, diced and rinsed under running water
2 tbsp Dried Prawns, soak to soften and chopped
3 tbsp Preserved Turnip (Chai Po), soak to remove foreign particles like stones. Squeezed dry.
4 Dried Mushrooms (soak to soften and sliced thinly)
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Five Spice Powder
6 tbsp Oil
1 Chinese Sausage, soak to remove outer plastic skin. (optional)

4 tbsp Oyster Sauce/ or 1 cube Chicken Stock
2 tsp Salt

BATTER (mixed):
300g Rice Flour
75g Corn Flour
1/2 tsp Pepper
1200ml Water

1 stalk Spring Onion, diced
2 Red Chilies, chopped
3 tbsp Fried Shallots
3 tbsp Roasted Peanuts, coarsely chopped

Chili Sauce:
4 Red Chili, 3 Chili Padi and 3 cloves Garlic pounded and mixed with 1 tbsp Vinegar, 1 tbsp Sugar and 1 tbsp Tomato Sauce.

1. Preparation of all ingredient. Take care to glove up, in your preparation of the yam as its starchy white liquid causes serious skin itch and pain.

2. Heat wok on medium heat with oil, saute garlic until fragrant, add dried prawns and stir-fry until fragrant. Add preserved turnipdried mushroomfive spice powder and salt, work for 3 mins before adding in the Chinese sausage. Lastly, add in the yam and oyster sauce.

3. Prepare batter. (We don use a spoon actually; prefer using our bare hands to work the batter as we could feel the lumpy flour bits at the bottom of the bowl, and crush it!).

4. On low heat, pour and cook batter in wok, working the bottom to avoid the sticking of the batter to the wok. Stir until batter is half-cooked, turn off fire.

5. Scope the thicken mixture into a steaming tray, and poke 'breathing holes' using a wooden chopstick. Lightly grease the top surface of the mixture. Steam with high heat for 45 mins - 1hr until cooked.

6. Remove from heat, sprinkle all garnishing on top and leave to cool.

7. Cut and serve with chili sauce.