Friday Laughs – Inventing new dishes

For laughs this week, a common old problem that happens a lot, mistakes in menus making everything so funny.

just yesterday, I visited the newly opened Country Mana in Suntec City (okay, maybe not that new for those of you who remember the first restaurant who did puff pastry soups which were wildly popular in the early 2000s, a case of A&W’s comeback in SG perhaps?) And just when image is important to start off with the right foot, they went on to launch a set menu and unfortunately, not a closely vetted one.. Look out for the Thursday Special!

Baked Garlic Chicken Tigh?

Baked Garlic Chicken Tigh?

Which reminds me of a few more over the years while I was in Perth visiting an old friend. brings back good memories. and while i leave you with what i hope would be some laughs, here’s to a good weekend šŸ™‚

chieken?

chieken?

mmm yum yum chrispy

mmm yum yum chrispy

The thing about headliners

While I was in School (that isn’t too long ago… I’m not that old!!!), writing articles is just about the only thing I did for all my Communications Subject. Till today I’m so glad I took comms.. šŸ™‚ And if there was something I had to learn about myself, its the fact that I love to write but i absolutely HATE writing a headline, and guess what, headliners usually accounted for maybe up to 20 marks depending on the metrics. It wasn’t that I wasn’t creative, its just so darn difficult to keep to a word limit of less than a twitter update and still capture the essence of the story which is probably 100x more words than a twitter update. and then they go on about how there is always a hook that doesn’t need much elaboration, just a word sometimes is enough! Or you have tricks like leaving out minor inconsequential words like even the, a, in etc to squeeze in as much as possible. or sub-headliners not used so often.

Today, i spotted a new trick that totally kept me laughing, using the shortened form of the word. I’m telling you, its gonna be ugly!

Given that maybe the reader isnt a soccer fan… So…. Does that mean? It doesn’t even feel like it’s a soccer headline to be honest..

I guess it just ain’t easy being a journalist.. :p

20 minutes Muffin

I spent my Saturday absolute satisfied by cooking a good dinnner based on inspirations over the week and I also decided to bake. I had no idea what I wanted to bake, and I wasnt keen on my same old cookies or pre-mix boxes. Thus, I explored the recipes of Nigella Lawson as everyone knows, the desserts she brings to the table is absolutely to die for. I wasn’t prepared to travel far just to get ingredients like cream cheese or shortening etc, so I had to keep to a simple recipe yet some how still delicious and comforting. I decided to go with her Banana Butterscotch Muffins and tweaked a little bit here and there to suit our taste buds at home.

AND… TADA!

Banana Choco Chunks & Earl Grey Muffin

Banana Choco Chunks & Earl Grey Muffin

I went with a nice mix of Banana, Milk Chocolate Chunks and Earl Grey Mix, I wasn’t all too sure about the earl grey but… IT WORKED!

So here’s sharing the recipe! Again, credits to Nigella (original recipe) whilst I made some minor adjustments.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g flour
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 150g Milk Chocolate Morsels
  • 3 Bags of Earl Grey Tea (Must be a good brand with a strong and distinct frangance)

METHOD

Serves:Ā Makes 12

  1. Preheat the oven to 175Ā°C/gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with muffin papers.
  2. Mash the bananas and set aside for a moment.
  3. Pour the oil into a jug and beat in the eggs.
  4. Open the teabags and pour the tea leaves into a small bowl, pour approximately 10-20ml of hot water onto the tea leaves.
  5. Put the flour, sugar, wet tea leaves, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in the beaten-egg-and-oil mixture, followed by the mashed bananas.
  6. Fold in the chocolate morsels, then place equal quantities in the prepared muffin tin – I use an ice cream scoop and a spatula – and bake in the oven for 18 minutes.

It doesn’t look like what Nigella did but hell I’m no professional baker right! What matters was how the banana and chocolate marries perfectly. How the earl grey made the muffin so much more fragrant. How when its warm, the chocolate just oozes and the brown sugar made the muffins moist and slightlyĀ caramelized. and guess what! i only took 20 minutes to mash, chop and stir in all the ingredients. the baking takes long but in that 18 minutes it is baking I’m enjoying myself else where. I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS RECIPE! I’m already thinking of other moist alternatives that would work!!

Such a happy Saturday…

Let me know if you have ideas and if you also tried it!

Friday Laughs – Bad English

i thought to make this something constant, a good friday laugh via picture or something. great idea but i must be disciplined enough to keep it up. So anyway, i decided to start with a little something that i spotted this week – it was a survey that was sent to me via a very popular survey site.

hahaha couldnt stop cracking up. some errors just shouldn’t happen uh – the problem withĀ pronunciationĀ here in SG. can you imagine what a walking wardrobe would actually be like? – friendly like in beauty & the beast? or just downright freaky like one that would eat us into a new realm like Narnia or something.

Share your own Friday Laughs and dont forget to tell me about it, i’d like a great start to my weekend šŸ˜‰

Crab fest @ Jumbo

Last Saturday, the BF and myself we just planning to have dinner with the family but some how, some sudden urge to splurge and give ourselves a good meal, mama treated us to crabs at our favourite place since young, Jumbo @ UDMC!

What started out as choosing 1 style to have the crabs but because of our indecisiveness and multiple cravings, we ended up having 3 crabs made in 3 styles. Our usual combination of Chilli Crab with Man Tou, Black Pepper Crab and for the first time at Jumbo, Salted Egg Crab. We added a carbo stable for the brother and boyf – Mee Goreng Malaysia style.Ā AHHHHH im in heaven. As usual, the chilli crab never fails, the pepper crab just leaves you craving for more, these two dishes needs no introduction.. But guess what, the salted egg crab was surprising and delicious!! I was expecting those dry fry salted egg, something like your cereal prawns but I wasn’t even close! What we got instead was a thick creamy and rich salted egg sauce that is generously drizzled all over the crab, it envelopes the meat and makes biting into the body flesh OH SO YUMMY, first time I’m going for the body instead of pincers!!! okay, we all got too excited and no one remembered to take pictures! šŸ˜¦ Don’t worry, I’m surely going back there again and this time I’ll remember! but till then, you have to try it the next time you get a good crab craving!!!

But anyway, as a person who loves cooking, i have to share this great discovery! Jumbo actually shares their Ā secret recipe to award-winning crabs! they were playing non-stop reruns of the instructional video in the restaurant which I had to watch while waiting for the food to arrive. Something like a sickness i have of not being able to do nothing hehe šŸ˜› . They say we can impress our guests like chefs, such a cute tagline. Of course, I think its only possible IF you buy their spice pouch and all but i getting it right the first time is a great motivation to spur you on and keep cooking and who knows you might figure out the recipe in the spice pouch and seriously re-create your own winners! So here you go, Jumbo Kitchen@Home.

Ahh it’s wednesday and life is getting better. All the madness might just end soon and new challenges await. šŸ™‚ so exciting. But in the meantime, its back to my diet and moving this lazy ass to go run and prepare for the upcoming Shape Run. Just what did i get myself into… šŸ˜¦

Hanoi, Halong Bay (Vietnam!!)

there are a few kinds of travel i absolutely love- beach vacations, movie worthy cities and rustic cities filled with history, That’s why the BF and myself decided on visiting Vietnam for our mid-year cheap and quick getaway! To add to the hassle-free traveling, we decided to go with a tour this time round and after a few checks around, we decided to go with Euro-Asia Holidays for their 5D4N sort of half-board package to reduce the amount of research needed to be done and just enjoy! Boy am I glad we made that decision! It forced us to learn so much more of Vietnam in a good way and help us with that fact that Hanoi isn’t filled with many English speaking locals nor properly erected road signs! More on that later..

I’M SO GLAD WE WENT TO VIETNAM! Hanoi was historically precious and Halong Bay was like a picturesque world on its own. I really de-stressed while in Halong Bay and i thoroughly enjoyed the food and sights in Hanoi. Vietnamese food in Singapore is never going to be the same again – ARGH! The one thing I could do without in Vietnam was traffic and noise pollution. Motor Vehicle horns are not used the same way as it is in Singapore. It is perpetually honking like ‘JUST SO YOU KNOW IM HERE’ and while crossing the road, well, I’m supposed to feel like king but hell no it takes so much guts! Just remember, never stop walking abruptly.

Going to Halong Bay was another experience on its own. A three hour -i could kill someone soon -seriously bumpy mini bus ride and watching how a 2 lane road become 4 lanes could seriously give you a heart attack. it is best to just sleep the journey! Its like enduring a long drive up to Genting or Melecca just with less peace and you love these places so much but you just hate the traveling to get there! Staying overnight on a junk added to the whole rustic experience. No WIFI, no Cable, fishing at night (and noob like me actually caught a sotong!), wind in your hair, hard bed and time that seem to stand still. Quality time together and quiet times. Lucky we had the iPad for some How I Met Your Mother at night though =P. We visited a limestone cave and it’s cooler than the sea breeze outside, wonders of nature! which brings me to a Did You Know Fact – Halong Bay is on the UNESCO list of Heritage Centres for culture! Read more about it here! We kayaked along the lake and into the undercutting of some limestone caves which was sometimes creepy but at the same time interesting – seeing swallows fly in and out of these caves makes me wonder if i can find bird’s nest *teehee*

Hanoi was like any city town in SEA, crowded and bustling with road-side food stalls and shopping, the deeper you go, the less touristy priced they are. The closer the food stalls are to the roads and the shorter the chairs, the better tasting andĀ authenticĀ is it – BUT that’s just my weird analogy. We were also able to find really prettyĀ souvenirsĀ for just S$1 each! However, don’t count on fashion there as it still seems one step backwards from the mainstream. I was really glad we had a good tour guide who spoke very good english and could give very good food suggestions! We found a local’s favourite place for Pho Bo (pronounced as fer/fur boar – Beef Viet Soup Noodles) Ā which was tucked away in a quiet street far from the main district but lucky for us, it was near our hotel! 2 huge servings of Pho accompanied with mini You Tiaos all for less than S$6! Oh have i mentioned where I was staying? Prestige hotel in Hanoi, absolutely LOVED how its tucked away on a quiet street far far away from all hustle and bustle. on top of that, very modern furnishing, comfortable rooms, nice service and accidental FREE UPGRADE ON OUR LAST DAY! šŸ˜€ a little mix up with the room and no similar room available bumped us up into a Suite! Too much space but it always feels good to get a free upgrade right!
Part of every tour, I think its a ritual to go to a certain location and not enjoy. For me, it was definitely visiting the Ho Chi MinhĀ Mausoleum. Ā No mausoleums anymore for me be it how famous the once alive is. The thought of the REAL body embalmed and still lying there seriously freaks me out – no disrespect! I mean, let the dead rest right! Do you know besides Ho Chi Minh, Lenin’s body is STILL EMBALMED IN RUSSIA. Lenin passed away 88 years ago, how freaky is that! news has it that they might be burying him soon but how am I supposed to be excitedly flocking to a place like this! Among those two is Mao Ze Dong and soon to be embalmed Kim Jong-il. Something in common huh. It seems the Russians are the experts with having fly them into the local countries to embalm these bodies yearly. *shudders*

In every country I go, I find a local dish that no restaurant in Singapore no matter how authentic can replicate! Bali was something as simple as their penggang corn, Thailand was a simple tom yum noodle soup, in Europe its their Pomme Frites, in San Francisco was their crabs, New York was their Burgers. In Vietnam, I found love in Bun Cha! Grilled Meat on Vermicelli noodles drenched in a special sauce, not forgetting a generous helping of raw garlic and chilli padi. HEAVEN!! I’m salivating as I am typing this to you. I’ve tried this in Singapore thus leading me to ask the guide where I can find a good one in Hanoi and guess what, it changed my taste buds forever! I didnt know till i was researching for this post that the stall i went to was so famous they even have a website. But unless you understand Vietnamese, the website might not be of much help save for the address – A MUST TRY! The serving for 1 was so huge (it comes with deep fried viet rice rolls) and it only set us back S$7. the BF and myself shared 1 serving and was still stuffed and so happy! I regretted the fact that i only found it on the last night or I would have returned there night after night. I’m having so much withdrawal symptoms that i found the recipe. Im going to try it and if i succeed, share it I will.

I flew home very happy with the trip and missing the calm waters and bun-cha. and of cos having a lot of quiet time. ahhh the wonders of traveling. Its no wonder i agree with every article that preaches to the youth to travel, its game changing!