I made this salad for a potluck Christmas picnic gathering two weeks back with my girlfriends. Salads are healthy. Salads are good. Salads are yummy. I shall try repeating that to myself to get myself to eat more salads.
I got my new iPhone 4S recently! And may I just say that I love it! One primary reason being that I get to play with all the photography apps - especially Instagram and 美图秀秀. Oh, and it keeps me entertained too as I can check my mail, Facebook, tweet and play games. Let's just hope my iPhone 4S and I will have a happy ending, unlike my previous iPhone 3...
Anyway, it's Christmas (soon anyway). Have been receiving lots of love from the colleagues at work and my friends whom I doing gift exchanging with. I guess it's the season of giving! I must confess, I'm a very last minute shopper, I was still doing last minute shopping yesterday...battling with the crowds is no fun, so I should probably not procrastinate next year!
I baked some blueberry orange scones a few weeks back when blueberries were in season. I bought blueberries non-stop during then. Whenever I pass by a grocery store, regardless of the fact that there should be at least four punnets at home already, I'll still buy one (or two) more...I'm such a hoarder.
Blueberry orange scones served alongside homemade blueberry preserves and blueberry banana smoothie
November is a busy month for me as I have several friends and family (including my Dad, my Mom and my Sis!) whose birthdays fall during that month. For my Sister's 28th birthday this year, she chose ilLido for one of our family's regular dining sessions.
As a continuation to my determination to cook more, I decided to make chicken tikka masala and garlic butter naan. An ambitious feat as I rarely eat Indian food, and when I do, it's always when I'm dining out, I've never actually attempted to cook any sort of Indian food before.
The girlfriends scheduled a belatd birthday dinner for me some time back. We planned to eat Italian (I'm forever trying out new Italian places with that bunch of girlfriends...ha!) and one of them booked a table of four for Oso Ristorante.
Pardon for the really bad photos below...the lighting in the restaurant was dim, and I still haven't figure out how to properly shoot food photos in a night setting indoors. You would notice that the colour lighting for all the photos below look really different. Sigh.
For my birthday dinner, I checked out a new Korean restaurant with my Sis, her boyfriend and my cousin. Thank gosh for the Internet, which led me to this gem of a restaurant that was tucked away in the Chinatown area.
I was craving for brownies mid-week last week. I almost never bake during a weekday since I love to snap photos of my bakes, and I always tend to use my weekends to do so to capture my bakes in natural lighting.
I blame it on pms. Chocolate cravings are a constant part of it, and I just had to have brownies. Okay, indulge my whim I shall.
I met a favourite girlfriend for brunch (my birthday brunch - thanks for the treat, girlfriend!) to discuss about our planned vacation next year three weekends ago.
There were a few new coffee cafes I wanted to check out, so I chose the one that was closest to home (since I'll be lugging travel books and my laptop) in west Singapore - at the One North (Buona Vista) area.
Imagine my pleasure when I saw punnets of kumquats in the supermart. There they were, small little bright orange jewels, packed in little plastic containers, sitting innocently on the racks. They were cheap too, and without even knowing what I was going to use them for, I happily grabbed two punnets, just because they're a fruit I've yet to work with before.
It's my birthday today! I guess I shouldn't sound too excited as that means it is yet another year gained, and we all know what it means to a woman as we age yet another year... Sigh.
But on such a lovely day, I reckon I should write about something really delicious that I made about two weeks back. I've been meaning to bake this tart for at least a year now, and after finally getting around to doing so, I really wonder why did I procrastinate for so long. It's amazing.
I took leave one day last month just to rest. I had a really great day out - essentially, I spent my free day shopping and running errands with the Sister in town. I've forgotten how much I miss shopping on a weekday morning. We started the day at 10am, beginning from F21, which we spent a good one hour there as there really wasn't any one else when we first started browsing! Although technically it was my day "off", I felt that we were sort of at work, since we ended our day at 6pm. :)
We took a break for lunch with our Daddy and us being us, decided to try out the new place, Antoinette, at Mandarin Gallery. I've heard quite good things about their desserts so I was looking forward to eating there.
I'm forever trying to use up leftover cream. It's not my fault I swear. I was making the apple milk tea entremet and the only whipping cream in the house was the 1L package. Sigh. Okay, it's my fault then, for not making sure that we had some of the smaller 200ml packages in stock. I seriously want a feedback form to "provide my most sincere suggestion" to cream manufacturers to produce 500ml cream package.
Anyway, to cut the rant short, yeps, I had tons and tons of leftover cream and since the Sis already had a gazillion ice cream tubs in the freezer from an ice cream course she just attended, ice cream was out of the equation. The leftover options seemed to be panna cotta and other related cream cup desserts.
I've always wondered what are graham crackers. Some say that a good substitute for it is digestive biscuits, which we can get readily over here in Singapore. I've yet to see graham crackers in the grocery stores so I've always been curious to how it taste like.
I've bookmarked a few graham cracker recipes for ages now and decided to just try it out one weekend as I was craving for a non-chocolatey cookie.
I've been staying at my new place for about three months or so, and I've yet to invite any of my friends over. So one weekend (of course, that's thanks to advanced planning on our part as it's always hard to schedule a meeting with all of them present), I got a bunch of them over for a homecooked brunch session. All of us chipped in a little dish (or two) and contributed to our feast for the day...
I've not made any entremets for some time now and my hands were just itching to have a go at it. I think perhaps I was just a little too ambitious cos my project turned out to be a nine-components (!) entremet that wrecked havoc in my now tiny kitchen...
It was a last minute, scrambling about to find somewhere for brunch kinda day. In the end, we settled at Dempsey's Pamplemousse Bistro & Bar. When we arrived, the restaurant had yet to open and we were starving. There was a brunch place next door that looked quite good and was relatively empty, but when we walked over, the hostress said that it was all reserved and they didn't have a spare table. :( Back to Pamplemousse to await for them to open.
It was one of the usual weekday nights. I got off work, and headed home for dinner. I was lounging on the bed, surfing the net and chatting with the Sister about random things while waiting for dinner to be ready. I forgot what we were talking about, but the subject of sticky date puddings arose. Then the Sister asked if I could make sticky date puddings cos she was craving for it suddenly. What she ask is what she get! Sticky date puddings it shall be...
I've been to Himawari previously once, with my family some years ago, and I remember vividly how I liked the food so much cos everything was just so fresh (albeit with a hefty tag to it). Recently, Dad was again, asking where we should eat for our weekly family meal, so I suggested the Japanese restaurant again cos I was craving Japanese food. I made a call, but was somehow rejected as the place was fully booked. But Dad gave 'em a call, and I don't know how, we landed seats! At the ala-carte dining area that is (maybe the receptionist thought I was calling to ask about their buffet). And anyway, Dad frequents it quite often in the past and he knows the chef too - maybe that's why haha.
I've been on a macaron trend the past month, almost baking macarons every weekend for some occasion or another. These were requested by my coffee loving cousin when we had a barbeque session the other day.
Espresso macarons with espresso buttercream and salted caramel
This is a long overdue continuation post on the third part of photos for my Seoul trip last month. I've actually uploaded the pictures a week ago, but haven't had the time to think of the words to go with, cos I was busy at work, and also, I'd been feeling a 'lil under the weather.
My two favourite cuisines are Japanese, and the other, Korean. I can eat Japanese or Korean food anytime and everyday and probably wouldn't get tired of it. I was the planner for the trip, and I made sure to Google for must-eat foods besides shopping and sightseeing activities.
Be warned. It's an image heavy post ahead...
Koreans love their soju. In Korea, do as the Koreans do.
Shopping in Seoul is quite awesome if I might say so. I bought like quite a lot of clothes and shoes. A pity I didn't get any cute bags, but hey, I think my wallet thank me for that already. And, shopping in Korea will be better still if you're like a size 6, cos the Korean girls are quite petite! Not to say I didn't get to shop, but I'm just sayin'...
Hair salon in Ewha Women's University Fashion Street; Shoes shops are aplenty
Seoul pictures! I took over 900 plus photos on my 9-days vacation before reducing it to 738 (and that's not counting photos from my Sister's camera...). In reality, I think I took more, but cos my card memory ran outta space, I had to keep deleting photos in my last two days there and ration precious memory space. There was just so much to photograph.
I'm sorting the photo into categories rather than days, as it would be easier to read and there's going to be four main parts - sightseeing, shopping (entertaining), korean food and cafe culture. More on each category later.
I've condensed the bulk of photos that I've edited and posted on my Facebook album as the I doubt anyone would appreciate waiting for a webpage to load all of the 140ish photos I've picked out to upload and labelled under Sightseeing. These are some of my favourites (especially the ones that are of a single shot instead of a collage), so I hope to share them on the blog.
Places that I went for sightseeing for these photos are - 경복궁(Gyeongbokgong Palace), 쌈지길 (Ssamziegil), 남산골한옥마을 (Namsangol Hanok Village) and 남산 (Nam San).
경복궁 (Gyeongbokgong Palace) is one of the most popular palace in Seoul that is visited by many tourists daily, and the name is roughly translated as "Palace of Shining Happiness". It was built in the Joseon Dynasty and is being restored into its original form prior to its near destruction by the Japanese government in the early 20th century.
Loco moco. What's that? I've never heard of this dish before until I was researching on how to cook minced beef. Loco moco is a dish native to Hawaiian cuisine. The essential loco moco consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Just imagine. Gravy, a beef patty, and a sunny side fried egg? You've so got me hooked, lined and sinkered.
I'm back from my trip to Seoul! Lots to talk about and lots to share, I just need time to settle back into the usual routine (aka work, big sigh.).
Anyway, before I left for Seoul, I had some purple sweet potatoes in the house that needed using up. I decided to make something with them before I left for my vacation, thus, the purple sweet potato chiffon cake.
I'm currently holiday-ing and (hopefully) enjoying myself while I take my vacation...
I took an extra day of leave the day before I was due to fly off to S. Korea. The reason being I had tons to plan and pack and since my flight was at 1am in the morning on Tuesday, I thought heck, I need an extra day off to reward myself for staring at the computer for two days straight planning my holiday itinerary.
I had to run quite a few errands that day - popping by Chinatown to change money, grab a quick lunch, buy socks and some other holiday necessities and more. I managed to pop by Duxton Road to check out a new patisserie for a quick tea-time break too...
Since I started baking, I buy lesser cookies since I like to bake them myself at home. Not to say I don't buy them at all, there's still stuff that I crave occasionally - think Oreos, Pepperidge Farm cookies, Lotus Caramelised Biscuit...
I'm constantly craving a good chocolate chip cookie. I recently tried a new brand of cookies - Fox's Chunkie Dark Chocolate Cookies and I really liked them. I slowly savoured the pack I had, and when I finished the last one, I knew I wanted to try my hand at making something similar at home instead of cheating and just grabbing another box of delicous-ness from the supermarket.
I've made applesauce a few times already. Baked applesauce to be exact. The flavour of it was really delicious and I find myself gravitating towards this recipe always, whenever I require the use of applesauce. I realise I've never actually posted the recipe prior, so I decided to make it again recently.
This is the recipe I think I'll head to in future when I want a really really chocolate-y homemade cookie. No contest here. I first made it a couple of years back in my uni days and promptly forgot about them ever since.
Recently, Sis and I were at home, both craving for something chocolate-y.I flipped through my well-worn copy of sweet treats that I've baked throughout the years, my eyes settled on it straightaway. I remembered how chocolate-y these were. Perfect.
Raspberries are a rare sight in my kitchen. Among all the berries, I reckon my fave's actually raspberries, but a punnet of them comes with a hefty price tag, so I snack on its cheaper cousins, the blueberries and blackberries more often than not.
I bought a punnet of these bright red jewels two weeks back as they were going for just slightly cheaper than its usual price tag. I knew I wanted to make something special with these, and so I decided on making a breakfast treat - scones.
Minimalising usage of the oven is really quite easy on hot and humid summer days. Slurping cold (that's actually stating the obvious cos since when is it hot anyway?) ice cream and taking cold showers, both of which are little pleasures of life.
Instead of gorging on creamy ice cream, I thought that refreshing popsicles should do the trick. I was keen to play more with the popsicle mold that I had just gotten, and after my first attempt at making popsicles, I was all set for further experiments.
I'm a breakfast kinda girl. I *must* eat my breakfast every day (the only exceptions being when I wake up late or if I'm heading out for brunch). I've been known to wake up, brush my teeth, and the first thought that pops into my yet-to-awaken brain is, "Where's food? I'm hungry."
I've been mostly meeting up with friends at quieter spots I enjoy chilling out at - namely Dempsey or Rochester. Revisited Graze again for brunch with some pals some time back and got to enjoy a chill out session with the ever awesome atmosphere and great company.
Remember earlier on I was talking about using up cream? Here's idea number two (that doesn't require any special equipment and oven usage too!) for using up cream - chocolate truffles. Chocolate whisky truffles, to be exact.