Monday, February 19, 2018

Change - One OK Rock

Finally, the new single is out. I have this song on my head ever since I heard it the first time in the Honda commercial here:

And finally, the final song with lyrics here:

A fitting time for this song, cause I too am going through a change...

Happy listening!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

My Heritage

I was thinking of what to start blogging on since I've completed my Vietnam trip blog. But since it's a Sunday when I am blogging this, to start another series would take so much time. I don't want to start something that I can't finish (like my Travel India and Travel Italy series....). So I thought I'll just do individual entries until the next free weekend. So today I'm gonna do one on my heritage, and everything that is associated with my race. I'll start of with actual photos of my ancestors! Yes, that is my actual great grand parent (if not mistaken). I am from a peranakan lineage. Peranakan can be found mainly in Penang, Malacca and Singapore. But some are also found in Indonesia. 

My dad is from Penang although we have relatives in Malacca, and my Mum is from Malacca, although she is actually adopted. So that part of my family is a mystery. And being peranakan, our lives mainly revolved around food. Our food is mainly spicy, sour, raw. I got myself the above two cook book and these are the only two books that mean something special to me. I can't really cook everything inside, but I will try some from time to time. One thing about peranakan and penang cooking is, it is so damn troublesome with so many variety of ingredient!

One thing we love is our sambal belacan, a paste of dried shrimp paste mixed with chilli, lime and frankly, I don't know what. I only know how to eat this. I don't really need to make my own yet. Living in Singapore for the past 20 years have made me a very tolerant eater. Mainly I eat at home, lol. When I go back to Penang, I usually ask my mum to get a few tub of sambal for me from the market. If you freeze them, they can last a year at least. Just defrost and eat them one tub at a time, keeping them in the fridge when not eating. To activate them, squeeze some lime on them. Taste best with creamy hokkien noodles, or kiam chye buey, or ju hu char. And now I am hungry.....

We also love our colourful and sinful kueh-kueh, which is basically snacks. Above is kueh bengka I got from a shop in Joo Chiat. It cost like SGD5 or so and is damn expensive, but it is the best one I can find in Singapore. One slice will elevate your sugar blood level off the chart, and make you high. The brown one is made of brown sugar and is super "lemak". The yellow one is the normal one, and my aunty's in law made the best I've ever eaten. 

There are so many varieties of kueh you can find in peranakan shops. I also love those glutinous rice type, whether it's the white one with pandan jelly, or the blue one with kaya. I also love anything with  kaya. I guess if you can't find real peranakan kueh, your  next best bet if the malay stall. They sometimes sell similar tasting type of kueh too!

Above are Ang Ku Kueh, which literally translate to Turtle Cakes, cause they are shape like Turtles. Turtle is auspicious to the chinese cause they live a long life. The most popular ones are red and with mug bean filling. The other two above I think are with peanut and sesame fillings. If I go to a buffet and they have nyonya kueh, I can't help but to get one even though they are actually quite cheap as compared to western pastry...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Naturally Healthy Eater

I thought I'll share some of my eating habit here. This entry is going to be mainly green! When I was growing up, I hated vegetables, and mainly just eat protein and proteins. But after getting a bad result on my first health screening when I was around 24 or 25, I actually went on a healthier diet, mainly vegetables. In fact I was a vegetarian for a solid 3 months before being invited to an after work dinner that involved bbq chicken wings.... But that 3 months made me realise that I can easily survive as a vegetarian. In fact, vegetarianism is a very healthy and clean diet for your body. And I don't have any nutrient issue cause I do consume dairy products as well. Plus I love nuts, and protein based food like soya-anything. Lol. I am no longer a vegetarian, cause sometimes it is just too troublesome, especially when you are eating out or traveling with people. But I however a very vegetable friendly person. So above is actually how much vegetable I can consume in a day. Yes, in a day. Usually that day is Sunday, the only chance I get to go to the market and load up on greens!

Having cabbage soup is considered a diet food, and plain and tasteless. But not to me. I love cabbage soup. I find them fragrant and sweet, and love the soft texture. I can eat one whole bowl of it for a meal. Usually I throw some chili fish ball inside for protein. After eating this, it feels kinda like a detox effect. Like all that soup is going to really clean your kidneys!

I realise that I love natural food a lot. And I actually love vegetables more than fruits, which can be too sweet for me. I love things that are kinda bitter like biter gourd, or emping. Above is some greens cook with mushrooms. I love any type of mushrooms. There can never be too much mushrooms. I spend a fortune on mushroom. When I was a vegetarian, the most luxurious food was always monkey head mushrooms. I love it. 

I also love all the herbs like lemon grass (not in essential oil or tea or oil though, just for food), coriander, onions, garlic, spring onions, scallions etc. When I eat garlic, it is like with a vengeance for vampires! And the other "supposingly" healthy food/vege which I am in love with is tomatoes. Again, there can never be too much tomatoes. I love them sweet, I love them sour. 

And although people say white rice is bad for you, I still love them, and eat them religiously. Meet my new rice above, isn't it cute? Its from Thailand, and cost 50% less than Japanese short grain rice at SGD3.50 per kg. I don't believe rice is bad for you cause look at most of the asian countries, and even Japan. Everyone eat rice. It is vegetarian. It is oil-less. I think it is what you eat it with that causes people to grow fat. But say for argument sake you say we should all eat healthier rice, maybe brown rice, or mixed grain rice. Hahahahaha, I love those too! And have no problem with any time of rice at all. 

I do eat fruits, but not often. I guess mainly its because I'm lazy to cut them. Usually the fruits I eat are easy to consume, like banana, papaya. For treats maybe I'll eat baby tangerines. Pears, Apple, Oranges are a no-no for me. But if someone prepare them for me, I will usually eat them. Actually being vegetarian makes you realise how juicy fruits and vegetables are. Compared to meat which is drier. Meat also tends to have a stronger smell. I am sensitive to smell. 

Lastly, the holy grail of diet, green tea! I love tea. And recently I have been drinking houjicha and this matcha powder. It is so fragrant and refreshing to drink! And they say it is good for you? No way! Each pack will cost you around SGD 5 - SGD8 depending on the grade. I get mine mainly from Japan whenever I happen to be there. Each pack can last  me a one or two months actually. I am currently down to my last pack. But there are so many Japanese products selling in Singapore these days that I don't really have to panic about getting supplies any more. I highly recommend these green tea powder. After making these at home, I get really irritated how much they charge per glass in the restaurant! Lol.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Story The Coffee Tells - January 2018 Edition

Here's a looking back post of January 2018. My birthday is actually in January, and for some reason, I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately. So I thought I'll do a sequel of a "The Story That Coffee Tells" moments of January 2018.  I am sure there will be many of these to come in future. But for now, January was special for me. I have tonnes of free stuff to redeem as birthday gift! For a start, I redeemed a slice of Banana Espresso cake from Cedele. It was a Saturday morning, and we took a morning walk from my house to Parkway Parade. As Cedele also gave me a one-time 30% dine in discount for my birthday month, we had our breakfast there and saved around SGD10+ on the bill, and probably another SGD7 on the free cake. I love Cedele! Their membership is totally worth it! And a Banana Espresso Cake is still coffee, so it can belong in this post.

Starbuck also give their member free cake on their birthday month. Above is me buying a mocha salted caramel  ice blended in order to redeem the free cake, which my husband ate mostly. This was taken in Liang Court. We hang out two weeks in a row there to catch all the New Year program that was organised by Liang Court. Probably this is when I was so high I got my Super Cute Ciao Scheduler Book! Too much coffee!

Next stop is on my actual birthday itself, I finally persuade my husband to go to Laurent Bernard Chocolate Shop at Robertson Quay. OK, so this is actually Irish Hot Chocolate and not coffee, but still, I thought I'll just leave it here. This is my favourite drink in the whole of the world! Super rich hot chocolate, with Irish Whiskey! Need I say more? And they actually changed their serving cup since the last time I was there. Now it is BIGGER! 

January was also the month my new office started seeing more activities in their basement store. Above is the beautiful garden at the heart of the building. My town office is at Marina One, and I only go there once a while either for meeting, for event, or for dinner dates. It is a beautiful place to work, but expensive when it comes to lunch. I usually pack my lunch there if I am working there. But they have all my favourite coffee there! Let me start!

I got introduced to Jewel by one of my ex-colleague. We usually go to the one near her office. At first, I didn't really thing much of it, but the 2nd time I had it, I thought it was delicious, almost chocolate-y in taste. I haven't got a chance to try the one at the basement yet cause each cup cost around SGD6. It is expensive, but the real reason was because my other favourite coffee shop has also started business, and they have a one-for-one promotion on, so it was a no-brainer which to go to!

See! Mellower Espresso! I have wrote about them before in the original post about Coffee Tells, and you can look forward to read more about them as well in very near future, cause I took my Penang friend there when she visited me in December 2017, and we took a lot of nice photos of their shop in Bugis! You gotta wait a while while I sorted out all the photos before sharing more on it!

We ordered the Long Flat, and look how beautiful their serve it. Glass cup, black saucer, gold spoon! OMG! Super classy! I also bought some back for my other colleague, and their take away cup is equally beautiful that I ordered the take away the 2nd time I visit the place. I hope they have their 1-4-1 offer forever! I love their coffee! 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Malayan Council

I haven't done Singapore restaurant review for a long time now, but this place is so good that I just wanted to share it with you! It's call the Malayan Council, a halal cafe, and you can find them at either Arab Street area or Little India area. I went there for my office department's ladies night, although there was one ex-guy colleague that turned up. But when he let around 9pm, it was totally a ladies night! It is nice hanging out with an all girl group that gets along!

Appetiser was ordered for us for those who reached first. Above is some kinda bread (I think it is pumpkin but can't confirm), and muscle soup. They taste great together cause the soup was thick and creamy. 

And this Malayan Wings is to die for! Lovely grilled with lovely sweet sauce that is also spicy cause they put chill padi in the sauce. Super love this. Just give me a bowl of white rice and I am already satisfied!

Truffle fries is always welcome. No sauce necessary for me for this. 

The serving here is actually quite big, and more towards the expensive side. At around SGD20+ to SGD30+ a main. So we ordered 3 main for 5 person to share. It was more than enough cause you need to save some space for desserts! Above is the fish and chips with Sambal Pedas. The fries here is lovely, and I really like the fresh salad they serve as well. But the fish and chip was not my style, so I would skip this. 

Next we also ordered chicken, and it was fried and smashed up and covered with sweet curry, served on top of rice. This was lovely although the chicken batter wasn't that great. I would eat this again. Really nice.

The beef was my favourite, although it was a bit unhealthy. I love it cause it comes with Roti Jala which I love. Plus the beef is cooked so tender that it just melt in your mouth. You don't even need a knife to cut it. And isn't it cute how all the curry dishes comes with 2 little quail eggs? By the way, the above dish I feel could easier feed 3 person. 

The other half of the table ordered this clay fish salted egg pasta. Not sure if it was nice. I'm not a fan of clay fish. And if the shop has a "Malay" in the name, I ain't eating pasta!

The star of the meal has to be the dessert. Not caring what other say, I insisted on ordering these three cakes for sharing. From front to back: Durian Pengat (enough said, right?), Bandung Lychee (what what what?), and Ondeh-Ondeh (Duh!). And the amazing thing is, all the cake came with one scope of ice cream too! And drizzled with gula melaka! I love it so much! Every single one of them! Although they cost around SGD8 to SGD12, it was totally worth it! You can't find these type of cake anywhere else. And they weren't filled with sugar either. You can really taste the durian, and the lychee cake actually has lychee in it! 10 over 10 score! 

I actually wanted to try the Ovaltine cake as well, but it was kinda too much to order. What a surprise, they gave us one slice of complimentary cake! And when I tasted this, it was heaven! All my childhood memory of scraping the milo tin came back to me. I totally love it! Excellent service here! And that was not all!

We were all actually given a return card with value in it. Actually ours were the SGD10 card, my friend got a SGD20 one also when she went to the shop in Arab Street but they couldn't book a table for us, so they suggested we go to their Little India outlet at Dunlop Street and gave her this voucher as a "sorry". I totally love it when service says sorry that actually meant something or really make up for your trouble,  instead of just saying it. It is a dying art in the service industry, and I think this shop does an excellent job at winning your heart. Give it a try if you are around the area. The cake won't disappoint you! I promise!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Homemade Sweet Potato Noodles with Mala Xiang Guo (麻辣香锅)

So last week was the first time I tried cooking 麻辣香锅. It was so delicious that I needed to calm my nerves by finding where I can get a supply of the sauce. My colleague which gave me the sauce told me that I can find them in Yue Hwa shop. The only Yue Hwa I know is in Chinatown, but she told me now you can also find Yue Hwa in neighbourhood! So I google it and found one near my home at Simei! Yay! So I promptly stock up on the sauce, buying the same pack, and one different pack to try it out. And I also found sweet potato noodles at the Yue Hwa shop selling at a cheaper price than NTUC! So hence you get this blog about "Homemade Sweet Potato Noodles with Mala Xiang Guo"!
Above are all the ingredient for this dish.

Interestingly, you don't need a lot of meat for this dish. I put a lot of soya products instead cause they are great at soaking up all the mala sauce. Since I have a week old fish ball from my market, I thought I'll throw half in to try it out. But mainly, the ingredient is the same as my last week's hot pot. Actually, this dish is a great way to get rid of all your old food stuff in the fridge! Old vegetables, old meat, old dried stuff etc. Just throw everything in and voila! Everything taste awesome!

This is my first time cooking sweet potato noodles. So I cooked them in boiling water for 5 minutes. I wanted to cook them in the hotpot like all the other ingredient, but at this time, my wok was kinda full with stuff. So I decided to just set the noodles aside and mix it with the ingredient later. The noodles kinda harden up when they are cold, and soak up all the sauce if you put everything together. I cooked only one third of the pack of noodles that I got. The full pack cost me SGD3++, which is slightly cheaper than SGD4+ from NTUC.

And this is above is the final product. This week's hotpot wasn't as salty as last week's, mainly cause I threw in more vegetables, and the sweet potato noodle does a great job or soaking up the sauce and not let everything become too salty. So for the noodles, I just put half of what I cooked into a bowl, and then I topped it up with the stir fried hotpot ingredient on top, and put like 3 to 4 big table spoon of sauce over the noodles. Mixed it up and you have a wonderful spicy meal! I actually had this for breakfast. And i save the other half of the noodles for tea later. 

While searching on youtube last night on how to cook sweet potato noodles, I found a clip on Chong Qing spicy sour noodles. I think this dish may not be too far from my future! Yue Hwa actually sell 3 instant pack of Chong Qing noodles with sauce for SGD6.90. I was tempted to buy and try, but I was trying to cut down on my instant noodle intake. But this clip here shows how easy it is to make that I might give it a try one day. Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Pre-CNY and Baby Tangerines

It's actually two weeks to Chinese New Year 2018, but when this is published, it will be just a few days to it since I stated prescheduling all my blog post to make it an entry per day. Yesterday, just to soak in the festive mood, but too lazy to travel all the way to Chinatown, we took a walk instead to the nearest town centre for dinner, and to see the Chinese New Year bazaars. The place was really decorated all red and gold and goods from China can be seen selling at the town centre. The photo on top is taken on our way back, just before we enter the market place are of Block 58 Bedok. The God of Prosperity greeted us as we enter our neighbourhood. 

The market place is my favourite place to go to every Sunday, for breakfast, for weekly "event" where different sellers are out in full selling their wares, for marketing etc. And whenever I am sick last time, after a visit to the doctors, I would stop by the market and buy some good old chicken soup ingredient to cook at home. The sellers in the market never fail to brighten up my day. So it's nice seeing the place all decorated up so beautifully at night that I just can't resist to take a shot of it. Cause we all know too soon, things are always changing. Photos like these may be a nostalgic piece in my near future...

This photo here is taken at the main road. I really love the lights that brightens up the neighbourhood.

And what is Chinese New Year without mandarin oranges! And my favourite tends to be these baby tangerines, which also happens to be in season around this time of the year. The top photo shows the before, and the bottom one shows teh after. Basically we buy a pack of it, and peel it nicely and put it back into the fridge to cool. They are so sweet and delicious. And so versatile! You can make so many things with them and not just eat them as fruits. For s start, you can make vodka cocktails with them. For recipe, click here :P

We keep the skin and also put it in the fridge as an air freshener. It gives a really refreshing scent! And besides eating it as fruits, they are also good to add to salad, or even cook together like bbq with marinated chicken or duck! Or maybe with caramel or yogurt! Yummy.

Here's my breakfast from yesterday: Ondeh-Ondeh, coffee milk, and tangerines!

Or today, for mid-morning snacks: black coffee, chocolate chip cookies, and tangerine!

Wishing you all a Happy Chinese New Year 2018! Huat Ah!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mala Xiang Guo 麻辣香锅

I have been addicted to 麻辣香锅 since I first tasted it 4 years back. It is super spicy and salty and so addictive. I found a lovely 麻辣香锅 at Bedok, and sometimes goes there for my weekly fix. It cost me around SGD7 for 5 ingredient. I more or less always pick the same things: sweet potato noodles, soya stick, tofu, mushrooms, and big intestine. One of my colleague found out I love 麻辣香锅 and gave me this pack of sauce to try when I was just wondering out loud whether I can cook this at home. It was the same colleague who have gave me pu er tea to try after finding out I love tea. Isn't my colleague awesome! So I decided one Saturday to try it out. The package came with 2 100ml 麻辣香锅 sauce. So I only used one to make the below dishes. Ingredient used: Kangkong, garlic, soya stick, mushroom, pork meatballs, and tofu.

It was super easy to make, and my whole house was filled with fragrant of 麻辣香锅! So lovely! I added fried peanut as garnish and it tasted so good! I forgot to get some coriander to go with it. Maybe next time!

So all that gave me a big bowl of 麻辣香锅, and I ate it with mee sua cause potato noodles were too expensive for me to buy. It was enough for me to eat it for one dinner, and as an accompanying dish the next day for two meals, and even enough to pack a bento with rich for the weekday! Looking forward to cooking the other pack since I already have all the ingredient ready at home! But more importantly, I gotta go stock up on more sauce! 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

New Skin Regime

Remember that Innisfree Christmas present I got myself? Well, you'll be happy to know that they are in a well used condition! Above is all my skin care products. I've always wanted a beauty regime. And got some reason, I've stopped wearing my BB cream since last year October, mainly because my BB was kinda expiring, and I didn't want to spend money on another tub of fake skin colour just to make my skin appear like a layer of smooth pancake. As you can see, I don't really like the makeup crap. But skin care, skin care I like. Mainly I like having clear and smooth skin. 

So above is my current regime for this year. Every morning I clean my skin with this BiFesta Cleansing lotion. I got this for only SGD2 from Watson as a trial pack, but it actually works like my Nuxe clarifying lotion, so I may change to this brand after all, although the Nuxe product smells much better. After that, I just put on my orchid anti-aging moisturising cream. And if my face is still too oily, I put on some loose monster glitter powder and head to the office like a little green happy dinosaur!

And when I am home, after showering (I clean my face daily and exfoliate on alternate days), I put on some skin serum, and sealed it in with my green tea sleeping moisturiser. 

For my lips, I hate lipsticks, so I only use lip balm. And I have been using Fancl lip balm since I first got them from Ginza few years back. They cost around SGD12 a stick, and this is actually my 2nd stick which I got from Wakayama 2 years back. I love it cause it has no colour, and is not sticky. It's like a dry lipstick. If you put it on before you go to sleep, you wake up with really nice lips!

And even though I don't wear nail polish, I have lovely nails. And my secret it protein rich food. If I see any crack or white line on my nails, I get paranoid and load up on protein. For some reason, I have a very rich protein diet. Even when I go vegetarian, I will be munching on nuts and eating tofu and soya products all the way. Even the greens I cook seems to geared towards bean like vegetables like French Beans, Peas, etc. 

So there you have it. Although some of my colleagues still treat me like a tom-boy, I can't really be bothered with them. All I know is, I need clear smooth skin to be happy. And moisturising keeps my skin happy! 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

January Goals of 2018

So after a month of owning the super cute schedule book, what exactly do I use it for? Well, I'm gonna share about that in this blog. So for a start, the monthly schedule of January was filled up nicely. I used it to track my weight, my gym session, and other social activities. Yes, what you see written there is actually my actual weight. I have been putting on a lot of weight recently, but now I am on track to start losing them again. I also list out my achievement or highlight of the month. January being mainly the One OK Rock concert I attended which was kinda life changing for me. I also managed to blog non-stopped so far. I dunno how long I can keep doing this, but let's take it one step at a time :)

They say that to achieve your goal, you have to have specific target. So at the back of the schedule book, there is a nice body analysis kinda page, asking you to put down your favourite body part, what you like, what you can improve on etc. I know my problem areas: My tummy, my arms, and my core. I know what exercise is good for me, but sometimes I just lack the discipline. So I'm trying to change that in 2018. I am trying to train my mind to be more focus I guess.

As for short term goals, since I've quit my formal Japanese classes, I still inspire to learn the language, so for the first 1 month goal which I have more or less achieved I wrote daily blogging, and exercising twice a week.

For 3 months goal, I wanted to start learning my Japanese songs, as in writing them down, learning how to sing them properly, and learning their meaning. I have always wanted to learn all my favourite Japanese song, so this is a good time to start. I actually have a notebook already dedicated to it. Maybe I'll switch to a cuter one to motivate myself more. Plus the other goal was to start reading my manga. I actually have quite a few books at home. I've read some of them, but it was always half way. So I wanted to start reading and understanding them. So even though I have given up my formal education, I am now homeschooled!

For 6 months goal, I wanted to declutter my stuff and cut down on them, plus be more organise, discipline etc. I plan to use this blog as one of the tool to help me keep on track. So for instance, by sharing here my goals and what I plan to do, I actually check-in on myself more often and have a sense of commitment to keep to the target. I also plan to cook more, so you can look out more on my daily recipe and lunch box idea and how to keep a better diet. Needless to say all my travel blogs will start to slowly crawl back in from the dusty past as I try to revive my memories on whatever happened in 2014 or so. OMG. Good luck on that! So yeah, I'm gonna be writing more and more about me in the future here. Stay tune!

Lastly, 9 month goal? I wanted to plan and decide what am I going to do with my future. So that's a big plan. Let's see how I do later on, shall we? But for now, you can rest assured that my goal of retiring at age 40 has gone down the drain cause, well, I'm kinda addicted to travelling and good food, and I needed money for that. My passive income was just enough to keep me alive in Singapore. Plus, I am still supporting my parents which gets costly due to their medical fees. But as long as you got a heartbeat, you can still dream and achieve your goals!