Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chinese New Year

Two days to Chinese New Year Eve =)) I will be going home tomorrow night. Hhhm....I presume that the traffic will be horribly heavy at the custom. Yet, I am very excited. Hihi.... My parents will pick me up from Pudu Raya terminal at 2.30 am. We plan to go for dim sum breakfast in the morning. Then, we shall go and shop for more new year goodies at Giant. I wanna make chocolate fondue on the first day of CNY. Hahaha...yummy!!!!

New year cookies are everywhere in Singapore. Their prices ranging from SGD 12 to 40 per pack! Of course their quality also varies accordingly. ;) The new year 'must have' BBQ pork is even worst. SGD 48 per kg. Yet, business is still good. Customers have to line-up for hours to get it. Absolutely mad.

I guess food is something we cannot compromise though the economy is bad. CNY is only once a year after all. My favourite new year cookie is kuih bangkit. I should actually learn to make it. Alright, I will do that next year. Meanwhile, as for this year I made the following. Pretty proud of myself. They do look nice huh. I am gonna impress my mum. Hahahahhaa.....

Anyway, just wanna wish everyone Happy Chinese New Year. May we all stay healthy. May the economy down turn end soon. And finally, may I graduate soon and get a job. Darn, I am so bored with NUS. Gosh....I wanna leave this place so much!!!!! Okies, that will be my ultimate aim in the year of Ox.

The Collection

Oatmeal Coconut

P/S: My dad turns 72 this year. I wish he will be as healthy as ever and stay with me for many more CNY. (",)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas time again! I am always very happy during this time of the month. Every radio station broadcasts Christmas carols every hour.

It is very quiet in school also. Professors are all on vacation. Students are away on holiday. Hence, I can 'curi tulang' as well. (",). Yesterday, I spent the entire evening (till 11 pm) in the lab baking christmas cookies. My baking tutor, Xiao Hui is the baking master behind this. She is truly amazing. She could make more than 50 types of cookies and all are sinfully delicious.

My best assignment is ginger bread!

They are beautiful, aren't they. I am bringing them home to Malaysia with me tonight.

The not so beautiful coffee cookies.

I will be taking the night coach home to Genting tonight at 11.30 pm. My parents will pick me up in the morning. My suitcase is so packed with christmas cookies and chocolates. Some are bought from Candy Empire and some are baked by me =)) I can be Santa back home, making my nieces and nephews happy.

What will I do on Christmas? I will be in Cameron Highlands with my parents and nephew. Hhhm....fresh strawberries, I am on my way!

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. May all your wishes will come true in the year of 2009. Happy New Year!

My new year wishes:

(i) Go on a date before my 28th birthday. I have never been on a date. Can you believe it? God, I am pathetic.
(ii) May my cousin sister give birth to a healthy child this month. She is suppose to due next week. Hahahaha.
(iii) May my parents stay healthy and happy always.
(iv) May I find a good job next year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pot Luck Christmas Party ;))

There was a pot luck style Christmas Party at my department this afternoon. We had it as lunch. It was really nice. I am so glad that I belong to the programme of Food Science and Technology, the only department in NUS that is well eqquiped with baking ovens, microwaves, kitchen, fridges, electrical stoves, food processors, digital weighing balances, ice-cream makers and any other kitchen appliances that you can think of. Hence, having such party is really simple to us =))

What's the menu today? Check out the snaps.

Assorted nyonya kuih from Tiong Bahru wet market (from me)

I love the first column. Very very delicous and rich in santan flavor. The first item on the second column was my favourite too. Glutinous rice roll filled with spicy shrimp paste sambal. The item on the last row was actually Malay kuih.

The famous Tiong Bahru char ciew pau (from me also)

These really tasted amazing. Soft pau skin and tender meat filling. Love it because the meat color was natural, not those typical bright red char siew.

'Cui kuih' from Tiong Bahru (from me again)

This guy cannot be found in Malaysia. It is a speciality of Singapore. I am not too sure what is the main ingredient of the kuih. I guess it must be from rice flour. But, the topping tasted excellent. It is mainly 'cai pu' with dried shrimp. Very very tasty when eaten together with the silky kuih.

Assorted muffins (by Dr Peter Ong and Yuting)

The mango muffins on the first column were quite nice, love the custard filling in it. Yuting made the chocolate muffins (last column). Not bad since it was her first baking experience!

Chocolate Fondue (by Huey Lee)

Oh my God. This was definitely the lead actress of the party. Everybody attacked it right from the begining. Freshly cut fruits dipped into the super rich, warm molten chocolate sauce.

Pasta salad (by Grace Tan)

It was my first time tasting such fresh and non oily salad. Grace used Italian dressing from Thousand Island and combined it with some herbs mixture. Like it very much.

Japanese Tofu Cold Dish (By Yiyun)

A very refreshing dish. The dried (cuttlefish?) topping went so well with the silken tofu. Yummy.

Mushroom cheese reuban and assorted garlic bread (by Xiao Hui)

It was my first time eating a reuban. Xiao Hui learnt it from a TV show for only 5 mins. But, she cooked like a master already. This dish was the lead actor and gotten wiped up in no time. Wahahaha....

Gifts counter

In conjunction with the party, we had gift exchange too. Rule: Food item cost between SGD 4 to 6.

Gift that I got

Dutch cookies =))

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Authentic Myanmar Cuisine

Wondering what to eat for dinner? Bored with Chinese and Western cuisine? Try Inle Myanmar.

inle Myanmar

111 North Bridge Road
#B1-07 (A/B) Peninsula Plaza
Singapore 179098
Tel: 6333 5438

My Burmese senior took me there for dinner once and I absolutely loved the food. Today, I took my aunt and cousin there for dinner. They liked it a lot too.

Assorted Fritters: SGD 9

We had assorted fritters as starter. It was sort of like the Japanese tempura. There were pennywort leaves, melon sticks, large onions and tofu slices on the plate. Dip the fritters in the accompanying tamarind sauce. Hhhm.....mouth watering!

Tofu salad: SGD 6.50

Tofu salad was another great dish to munch on while waiting for the main course to arrive. Soft tofu slices mixed with the sourish peanut sauce. Very yummy indeed.

Authentic Myanmar Curry Chicken: SGD 9.50

A dry version of our Malaysian style curry chicken. Might not be sufficient for more then three persons. However, the taste was amazing. The chicken meat was so tender. They just detached from the bones easily and yet, very very rich in taste. A must try item.

Hilsa Fish Curry: SDG 13

A pretty delicious dish. However, the price might not be too friendly. But, that was understandable, because Hilsa had to be imported all the way from Myanmar. The fish flesh was extremely soft. Even the bones were edible. Very rich in spices and curry flavors. NIce to eat, but not a must try.

Stir Fry Kang Kong with Oyster Mushrooms: SGD 6.50

A nice combination. I actually hate soggy and oily vegetables. But, this was just nice.

Pe Pyoke Fried Rice: SGD 6.90

No point eating plain white rice when the Burmese can make such wonderful fried rice. To the Burmese, pe pyoke or yellow bean was like soy bean to the Chinese. They could make all sort of dishes out of it, such as salad and other stir fry items. The soft pe pyoke, fragrant shrimps and fried onions made this dish really good and appetizing. You must try this!!!

Shwe Yin Aye: SGD 4

We ended our dinner with this dessert. A combination of chendol, sago, coconut agar agar, glutinous rice and white bread served in coconut milk. I am a huge fan of 'santan'. So, this cold dessert tasted really good. But, my cousin sister was not that thrilled with it. Too rich she said. So, try it if you love coconut milk. =)) Or else, go for the Myanmer ice kacang instead.

In conclusion, it was great value for money. The restaurant's quiet ambience created an illusion for the diners, as if we were really in Myanmar. All the waiters were very polite and they smile all the time. Though they were all Burmese, they spoke and understood English very well. Shame on the Singaporean waiters and waitress, who frequently gave us a 'black' face, particularly during peak hours.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mellben Seafood

Chilli crab is one of the Singapore's signature dishes. However, it is not at the top of my list. I generally prefer butter crab and creamy salty egg crab. There are a couple hawker centers that serve pretty nice crab dishes. Mellben Seafood coffee shop is one of them. My cousin sister came down for visiting yesterday. I took her to Mellben for dinner.

We arrived at 6.10 pm and there was already a line growing. Fortunately, we were at the front of the Q. So, we were seated rather quickly.

The signature crab dish of Mellben is actually their claypot rice noodle crab. However, as I said, I prefer butter crab. So, we ordered the latter.

Creamy Butter Crab: SGD 34

Fried 'Man Tou': SGD 4

The butter crab tasted quite delicious. It was slighty fried before sauteed in its creamy butter sauce. Very fragrant indeed. The fried 'man tou's went extremely well with the thick butter sauce =)). However, I was rather dissapointed because they were not crispy enough. Most slighty because they had been prepared a while ago before serving.

Yam Ring: SGD 18

Yam ring is one of my cousin's fav dishes. So, we ordered that too. I absolutely love it. Notice that there were plenty of fried pork slices, cashew nuts and turnips in it. The outer yam ring was pretty crispy too. Hhhm...yummy.

Stir Fry Mix Vegetables with Fresh Scallops and Lotus Petals: SGD 16

I love lotus flower petal, particularly when it is stir-fried with other sugar rich vegetables. However, this dish was a little dissappointing. The scallops were not as flavorful. It will be better if some macademia nuts were added in. And, I felt that this dish was slightly over priced.
Sambal Kang Kong: SGD 6

The best way to eat kang kong is of course to stir fry it with sambal. The price was reasonable and the taste was quite good. Recommended!

Fried Vermicelli: SGD 6

We were not very fond of rice generally. So, we ordered noodles instead. This was apparently Mellben's best fried noodles. Two thumbs up for it. The noodle strands were chewy and yet very moist. Lots of eggs, tiny prawns and bean sprouts. Hhhm...absolutely delicious.

On the whole, I felt that Mellben was not as good as its reviews said. Not all the dishes were nice. Some were even over priced. However, I must point out that the outlet was very clean and comfortable (newly renovated I heard). Food was served very quickly also.
Do give it a try if you happen to be some where near Ang Mo Kio. But, be there by 6 pm. Or else, you will have to join the Q with an empty stomach for quite a while.
Mellben Seafood Pte Ltd
Block 232, Ang Mo Kio Ave 3 (Street 22),
#01-1222, Singapore 560 232.
Tel: 6285 6762
Operating hours: 5 pm to 11 pm

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bread Pudding Trial Out

It was Hari Raya Haji on Monday. What did I do on this public day off?

My junior Yuting had wanted to learn baking ages ago. She bought a really pretty recipe book from Dempsey Hill. The photographer did an amazing job I must say. However, the writter was a complete opposite, because the instructions given in the recipes were ridiculously lousy.

However, we tried out one of the easiest recipes, which was the classic bread pudding. After much of online research, we modified the original recipe and gave it a go. Check out the snaps.....

Prior to Baking

Freshly Baked
The Inner LookThe outcomes were pretty satisfying. It tasted seriously delicious! The bread slices were soft and smooth enough. The cinnamon, vanilla, egg and raisins taste was a good match when it was still warm. We purposely had it stayed slightly longer in the oven for more caramelization. So, we managed to obtain such nice brown colour on top. Hhhm....fabulously crispy on the outside.

As our second task, we were suppose to make a Jubilee cake. However, we run out of caster sugar and substituted it with icing sugar. Hahahaha......DISASTER!!!! The cake batter turned into a complete mess. The liquid and solid basically phase separated. But, we proceed anyway. Results? We achieved the following:

A Hybrid of Scone and Tea Loaf

Our second creation tasted pretty alright after dusting them with icing sugar and a large heap of marmalade. =))

By the way, all the above snaps were taken with my brand new digital camera, Canon IXUS SD 870 IS (10 megapixels, 4x digital zoom, with wide angle and champagne gold in colour). My old one was sent to the service center because the LCD display became purplish in colour. Coincidently, there was an IT exhibition and voila....I bought a brand new camera after getting much advices from my another junior, Hua Qian. It was a pretty good deal. It cost me SDG 549. But, I got two Kingston 8GB SD cards, an extra battery, a LCD protector, a canvas case and tripod as free goodies. Sweet.... (",)

Apparently, this camera is actually labelled as Canon Powershot 870 IS in the Europe. Exactly the one Kit Yen recommended. I am loving it. The LCD screen is huge. The off gold colour is so beautiful. And it weights so light. In terms of photography quality, I am still exploring. Well, I really do read the manual.....and still reading.......

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lan Zhou La Mian at Smith Street

Shopping malls housed la mian restaurants may not serve the best la mian and xiao long bao after all.
I headed down to Smith Street Chinatown on a weekend to try out one of its famous la mian restaurant; Lan Zhou La Mian. There, I was greeted by a sweet chinese lady. Who was apparently wife of the boss. =)) To all F&B bosses out there, courtesy counts a great deal. So, smile to your customers.
This restaurant was pretty tiny. It hold less then 10 tables inside. However, it was air-conditioned, clean and comfortable. A little counter showcasing an experience chef preparing la mian was in view right in front of the kitchen entrance.
The store's most popular la mian was minced meat la mian or zha jiang mian which cost below SGD 5. Sorry, I was too hungry till I had forgotten to take a snap before tucking in.
I absolutely love its xiao long bao as well. The thickness of the skin was just nice and the meat in it was so juicy and tender.
The best way to end a la mian meal was of course by ordering my favourite pastry, the deep-fried pancake. Generally, I will prefer lotus paste filled pancake. Unfortunately, this store only serves red bean paste pancake, which turned out to be equally good! Warm red bean paste enclosed in hot crispy pastry skin coated with fragrant sesame seeds and sugar. Totally fabulous.