Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Marble Pocky - Real or Virtual?

This is really really cool!


Some weeks back, I got a virtual Glico Marble Pocky from a friend in FaceBook.


I mean, in FaceBook, it is so common for friends to be giving virtual gifts to each other everyday! So I didn't really think twice about the 'gifts' I am receiving from my friends. I think FaceBook kind of operates on the basis of "it's the thought that counts".


And today, I was pleasantly surprised when I met up with the same friend and she really gave me a REAL packet of Glico Marble Pocky!!! It's really so cool!!!



Thanks so much! :) I still couldn't bear to open it!

Sometimes, it's only a very thin line separating virtual from reality...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Soy Sauce Stir-fry Chicken

This is one of my favourite dish that goes extremely well with plain porridge. Once the ingredients are prepared, the stir frying part is quick and easy!

Soy Sauce Stir-fry Chicken


Ingredients:

sesame oil
sliced ginger
chopped garlic
chicken, chopped to bite-size
light soy sauce
dark soy sauce
Hua Tiao wine (花调酒)


Method:
(1) Add sesame oil to the heated wok

(2) Add the sliced ginger and stir fry until it turns slight golden in colour

(3) Add the chopped garlic and keep stirring till it turns golden in colour as well

(4) Add the chopped chicken parts and stir fry

(5) Add a dash of MSG (optional)

(6) Add the light soy sauce

(7) Add the dark soy sauce

(8) Add the Hua Tiao wine

(9) Leave the chicken to cook and stir fry occasionally


Verdict:
(-) It's a little salty so go easy on the light and dark soy sauce

(=) What can I say, it's simply yummy-licious!


As the saying goes "A picture is worth a thousand words"...how about a video then?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Digging For Gold

This morning, armed with a small torchlight and a baby-safe pincer, I decided to dig into the root cause of what was causing Alicia to breathe so loudly at night.

I lay her on the bed and waited for her to doze off. Then I shone the torchlight into her tiny little nostrils and I found two HUGE gold nuggets smacked right in the middle of the airway. ROOT CAUSE FOUND!

Next, I tried to aim the pincer at a peeling edge of the gold nugget and tried to wretch it free from the left nostril. The attempt failed as Alicia turned her head away. I tried a second and a third time, but all attempts failed. Then I tried to hold her head so that she would at least give me a few seconds to grab the nugget. Damn...how could a two month old baby be so strong?

I must admit I find it personally very tempting to try to wretch the HUGE gold nuggets from her nostrils. Otherwise, I might not be able to take my mind off it for the rest of the day. So I tried and I tried and finally, I felt something thick between the fingers of the pincer and with a tug, the first piece of gold nugget was released from her left nostril! For a moment, I felt a wave of euphoria. :) It just feels so satisfying, like finally being able to scratch that itchy spot behind one's back! Afterwards, with only a little effort, the second gold nugget was easily wretched free from the right nostril and I have infront of me, two gold nuggets resting on a tissue paper.

Anyone who knows whether such things actually sell on online auctions?


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Almond Tuiles

Beginning of this year, I attended the Chinese New Year Pastry course from Creative Culinaire by Chef Judy Koh. The lesson taught us how to bake the Chinese New Year 'Must-Have' - Pineapple Tarts and Almond Blossom cookies. However, Chef Judy Koh was also very generous to share with us the simple recipe of these delicious Almond Tuiles.


Almond Tuiles


Ingredients:

100g egg white
100g plain flour
100g icing sugar
100g butter

Method:
(1) Cream the butter and sugar

(2) Add the egg white and plain flour. Mix well.

(3) Spread the batter very thinly on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper

(4) Sprinkle roasted alomnd flakes on the batter

(5) Bake in preheated oven at 180°C for 5-10 mins

(6) Once cooled, store in air-tight containers immediately because these tuiles absorb moisture very fast and it can become soft if leave to cool for too long.


Verdict:
(+) Batter is extremely simple to make

(-) It can be a challenge to spread the batter evenly on the baking tray so that the tuiles get an even light brown colour when it's done

(=) For the price these tuiles are selling outside, it's definitely worth to make it yourself at home!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Virtual Kitchen in Facebook

Facebook is THE thing in the internet nowadays.

I was a member of Facebook some months back after being invited by a friend to view some photos which she has uploaded there. But I have to admit that I couldn't care less what this Facebook is all about until recently.

The Straits Times wrote about Facebook some weeks back and also posted a photograph of the developer for this application. This was when I started gathering more insights into Facebook. And shortly after, some friends began adding me to their "Friends List". So I started acknowledging these invitations and it was not long before I had sheeps thrown at me, tequila treats, cookies and virtual eggs sent to me. Perhaps as a form of retaliation, I started hosing some of my friends down and managed to Karate Chop others who have Kicked me in the butt.

I can't day I'm addicted to Facebook but whenever I'm online, I'll make the extra effort to check for new invitations or notifications - in case someone decides to headbutt me again...

And I found this real cool application which I added to my Facebook account - Create Your Own Virtual Kitchen! I have 1000 coins allocated to me on a daily basis and after a few days, I managed to puchase some decent add-ons to furnish my virtual kitchen. Check out the green KitchenAid mixer on the kitchen top! :)

Food chopping performance by Nanta

Who says that there is no free things in Singapore? I was lucky to be at Square2 this afternoon because it happened to be the last day of performance by the Nanta group from Korea. And it's free. :)

I was quite fascinated to see the stage setup with four drums and four tables with chopping boards on it. On each chopping board, there's cabbages, carrots, zucchinis and onions. So I was already guessing that the performers would be hacking the knives on the chop boards to create a kind of catchy rhythms. And I was right.

There's five performers in total. The first part of the performance has four performers chopping recklessly at the vegetables on their respective chop boards and the sound it creates is very much like drums which immediately livens the atmosphere in the entire shopping complex. Shreds of vegetables were flying in all directions and a couple hit me - which is actually kind of fun.

The second part of the performance has all the five performers drumming away to some strong music playing in the background. I can't really describe how I feel but it's as if my heart pounds along with every beat of the drum. So what if they had vegetables everywhere on the stage floor? This is the least of their worries as each performers seems totally engrossed in their performance.

I was so into the first part of the performance and only managed to take a short video of the second part of their performance.

video

For those who are visiting Korea, maybe you can seek out this Nanta performance which is being promoted on the Korea Tourism website. I'm quite sure you won't be disappointed. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Selamat Hari Raya Puasa

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to my Malay neighbours!

The preparations by my Malay neighbours for Hari Raya Puasa seems endless. One day they are throwing the old furnitures and wall clocks away, another day the family is busy cleaning the house and yesterday evening, I saw a big pot brewing atop some charcoal in the corridor. Yeah...this is the stuff that has me poking my head to sneak a peek or even a whiff of what's cooking inside. :)

Geylang Serai which is well known to be the Malay Village for the Malay Communities in Singapore is also soaked with the festive mood. Just a few days ago, I took bus number 13 to East Coast and along the way, it passes by a long stretch of Pasar Malam with hundreds of stores selling all sorts of delicious snacks, clothes, curtains, bedsheets, pillow cases...the list goes on and on. And I found myself intrigued by the numbers of stores selling the famous Ramly Burger. It must have such a large customer fan base that I observed one Ramly store being separated by the next by only two or three stores in between. And so it goes like this: Ramly store A...store x..store x...Ramly store B...store x...store x...Ramly store C...store x...store x...store x...Ramly store D...store x......

Anyway, what has all this got to do with me? So the story goes that I was awoken by a knock on the door at 9.30am this morning and I was pleasantly surprised to find my neighbour standing outside with a BIG tray of food. Heh..heh...

This definitely woke me up! So now you know why i'm extremely concerned with Hari Raya. :)


Cookies & Cakes
Clockwise: pineapple tarts, almond cookies (my favourite), kueh lapis, butter cake, peanut sugar cookies


Lontong


Ketupak
These are steamed rice wrapped in banana leaves. There are three version here. Going clockwise starting with the usual squarish Ketupak (my favourite) wrapped in weaved banana leaves in the foreground, long Ketupak with beans mixed into the rice and triangular Ketupak (it tasted the same as the first one). So normally, I would cut some of these Ketupaks into smaller cubes and mixed it into the Longtong for a fuller meal.


Sweet Coconut Flakes
This is to be sprinkled onto the Longtong and the combined taste is heavenly!


Chilli Chicken


Chilli Prawns


Isn't it lovely to live in a multi-racial country?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cute Mini Cupcakes Gift

Some months back, there's this craze for mini cupcakes. Suddenly, birthday cakes made from mini cupcakes were popping up everywhere in Singapore. Each of these cupcakes were adorned with nicely crafted objects ranging from mini babies, books, flower petals, alphabets, vegetables, clothes, ribbons....etc. You name it, they have it.

But so far, I have yet to taste any of those mini cupcakes. Reason being: nice to look at, but good to eat too? I have always had this doubt. The nice decorations on top of these cupcakes are no doubt made from royal icings or marzipan - both of which are way too sweet for my liking.

Today, my family received two cupcakes as gifts for a baby's first month.


The cupcakes looks so adorable but I still had my doubts as to how they would taste. One way to verify my doubt - I cut a small piece of the cupcake and popped it into my mouth, cake and icing. Hmmm...it was not so bad! A wee bit sweet but the cupcake is delicious.

Next up - the mini doughnut craze. :)

Pandan Chiffon Cake - Take Two

I found another recipe for Pandan Chiffon Cake from a fellow food blogger and the photos posted by her look extremely successful to me. So I decided that this would be THE recipe to use with the mini sponge cake pans. :) I had been dying to bake something in it since the day I lay my eyes on them. Talk about love at first sight...

I was rather greedy and poured too much cake mixture into the mini pans. During baking, I couldn't resist the urge to peep into the oven to see the cake raising in the cute mini pans. And naturally, the cake rose above the mini cake pans and I was not able to invert it after removing them from the oven. So I just let it "roll" about on the kitchen top. Surprisingly, the cake did not collapse much after cooling and it was also very easy to remove it from the mini pans. I think I'm so in love with these mini pans now. I'll definitely be 'adopting' more of these the next time I'm at Daiso. :)


Pandan Chiffon Cake


Ingredients:

75g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
75ml coconut cream or milk
4 egg yolks i used 5 egg whites because it's such a waste to throw one away
5 egg whites
100g castor sugar
1+1/2 tbs corn oil i used vegetable oil instead
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp pandan paste

Method:
(1) Cream the egg yolks and 70g sugar until creamy and thick.

(2) Add in sifted flour and baking powder, vanilla essence, coconut cream/milk, corn oil, pandan paste and salt into the egg yolk mixture. Mix well and set aside.

(3) In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and remainder 30g sugar till stiff peak forms.

(4) Fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture thoroughly with a spatula.

(5) Pour into the chiffon pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 45 mins. (I baked for 35 mins only since it's in a much smaller chiffon pan)

(6) When the cake is baked, invert it immediately to cool down for another 10 mins. Use a sharp knife to loosen the side and bottom of the pan to release the cake. Leave it on the wire rack to cool down further.


Verdict:
(+) The size of the mini pandan chiffon cake is just right for one person's serving.

(=) As compared to my first attempt, this recipe yielded a cake which is better tasting than the previous one.
(=) The cake has not "sunken" as much as my first attempt. Maybe it's because I did not use the oven's "Fan" mode during baking this time round...?
(=) This version is lighter than the previous version.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Daiso in Singapore

Yesterday, I went to Daiso at Vivo City. It's an "everything goes for $2" Japanese livingware supplier supermart. Unknowingly, I bypassed this supermart a couple of times previously but never had the urge to go in.

Yesterday was my first time in the shop while accompanying a friend and I managed to pick up some items:


Mini Spongecake Baking Pan

Definitely a steal! It's my first time seeing these mini spongecake baking pans and it's exactly what I always wanted! All along, my attempts with baking chiffon or spongecakes have been using either the bread or round or square pans. And I always wanted to bake one with the original spongecake baking pan but I found them to be too big for storage in my already crowded kitchen cabinet. So I'm always hesitant about purchasing one until yesterday. :) Ain't they cute? I can't wait to use them to bake some mini spongecakes!


Rice Scoop

Frankly speaking, this scoop is not worth $2. I would not have bought it if I'm not too lazy to go search for a cheaper one elsewhere.


Bamboo Sushi Roll Mat

Hmmm....the usual ones I always see in the supermarket are made up of round bamboo sticks tied up to form a mat. But this one is made from bamboo sticks which are levelled at one part and rounded at the other side. Maybe I haven't been observant enough.


Green Tea

Tell your taste bud to abandon the familiar sweet tasting bottled green tea widely sold in the supermarkets. This is really THE green tea. Exactly the same taste as those served in Japanese restaurants, just that it's bottled and cold. Nevertheless, $2 for a bottle of green tea is too much for me to purchase again.


Contributed $10 during my first shopping trip there. Not a bad start. :)

For those Daiso fans, there are three Daiso branches in Singapore:
(1) IMM (opened since March 2002 - largest branch)
(2) VivoCity (opened since December 2006)
(3) Plaza Singapura (opened since September 2006 - smallest branch)

Kind feedback from a Friend

Yesterday, I gave some of the Chocolate Torte to a friend to try and I found myself excitedly anticipating for her feedback - good or bad. And this was what she wrote to me:

Ce chocolat gâteau est délicieux!!

I was aflutter with excitement when holding the tiny piece of chocolate torte gingerly between my fingers, with it looking seductively in its deep, dark-chocolate colour under the light (this is just a glimpse of the deliciousness that lies within). Overcome by temptations, I took a bite through its surface before greedily devouring it, right down to its core and was instantly stupefied. The torte was so light yet chocolate-y and has a taste so simple but delectable, brilliantly executed with the perfect balance of sweetness. Bravo!Rhapsodising, I am not. Overall, this is a top torte and definitely satisfying enough to please even the most discerning chocolate lovers or simply anyone with a love for sweet confections.

by xxxxxx

A little paragraph to show my appreciation for ur generousity of letting me savour ur luscious torte. ;p


Now you know why I'm anticipating for a feedback from her...because she can really WRITE!

Now I'm encouraged. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Qian Hu Fish Farm

This blog is named "Food on Foot". I have blogged so much about "Food" itself but not really about the "Foot" part. Actually, when I first started this blog, I wanted to devote the "Foot" part to my travels abroad. Like capturing interesting shops or food or happenings abroad. But after today, I thought that it should also include interesting places or things in Singapore. I'm sure there are many interesting places in Singapore waiting to be explored!

So talking about today, a friend and I visited the Qian Hu fish farm. It's an extremely hot day and we almost abandoned the original plan and change to shopping at Jurong point instead. However, having searched and waited for the free shuttlebus for close to 30 mins, we decided not to give up and was really relieved to finally see the shuttlebus approaching and have the cool air hit us when we sink into the comfortable seats. See...determinations always pay off! :)

The main agenda to the fish farm was the Fish SPA! It's my second trip back. Basically, the deal is simple. Pay $10 for the first 30 mins to have some small fishes nibble away at your feet. You pay to get your feet clean and the fishes get to have their daily snack as well. Everyone's happy! Subsequent charges of $0.30 for every additional minutes.

Almost all the SPA 'customers' were squeamish when they first dip their feet into the pool. The initial feeling is a little ticklish and a little numbing. However, it doesn't take long before the customers begins to feel comfortable, gets laid back and starts relaxing. For me, if there's aircon and an armchair, I would have fallen asleep there and then!

Maybe Qian Hu could consider striking a deal with the manicure and pedicure shops world wide with this Fish SPA idea!


video


Just beside the Fish SPA pool, there's the tortoise pool. Interestingly, the big tortoises are piling one on top of the other for their share of the hot sun. I even caught one dozing off in a corner. Didn't know tortoises enjoy sun tanning so much...


We were so fascinated by the piling tortoises that we found a shade, sat down and began snacking on some traditional chinese steamed cakes - can't remember what they are called. These cakes comes in several nice colours and is an extremely light snack. It is best eaten by dipping it with some coconut and red sugar. It tastes nice even on it's own too.




Next, we toured the farm and I found this electrifying blue lobster-like creature waving it's giant pincer at me. Hmmm...wonder if it'll turn red after some steaming??


It's chinese name is 电光蓝虾


And to end the trip, I bought this beautiful fighting fish to replace the already deceased one at home. Another additional to the family. Ideas for names anyone? :)

Snacks From Japan

A good friend just came back from Japan and she brought back some yummy snacks for me! :P


Red Bean Flavoured Kit Kat

The nice cherry coloured chocolate looks so sweet. And it tastes rather sweet too! I can taste a tinge of red bean from the chocolate, not too heavy, just a trace. Nevertheless, I still prefer the original chocolate flavoured kit kat - I'm a chocoholic. :]



Takoyaki Like-Alike Flat Crackers

From the pictures on the box, it looks very much like a flattened Takoyaki cracker to me. There's two types of cracker flavours in the box. As I didn't like the taste of wasabi, I approached each flavour with a small bite. Afterwards, I gobbled up both crackers at lightning speed. This is how good it taste.

For those who have no idea what's a Takoyaki, here's how it looks like:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Frying Greens or Flying Greens?

This evening, while I was taking photographs of my mom frying vegetables, I decided to record a video of "The Chef" at work - purely for fun. And afterwards, I began to consider that it might not be such a bad idea to have short video recordings of fast cooking dishes for posting in the blog. For one, I can view the entire cooking process and just follow accordingly. :)

This also reminded me of a news I caught on television lately. There's an ang moh guy who came up with a step-by-step audio recipe via the handphone. The user would have to select the desired recipe from the list stored in the handphone, activate it and put it on loudspeaker mode. The instructions would be issued from the handphone and it'll pause after every step. When the user has completed the step, the user will need to give a verbal reply and the handphone could then continue to give the next instruction. Quite interesting.

Anyway, back to the dishes prepared by my mother this evening:


Fish in Soy Sauce


video

The Skill of Frying Greens Without Flying Greens

Chocolate Torte

This is my first attempt at making a chocolate torte. For those giggling away right now, it's the edible kind. :]

The recipe is simple enough to follow except for the part on melting chocolate. Up till just now, I have a 100% failure rate of making melted chocolates. Somehow, it'll always end up with sugary crystal lumps. Totally gross with the oil ozzing out and forming a top layer during cooling...but it has not yet deterred me from snacking on my Ferraro Rocher.

For those who have not the slightest idea what a torte is, I found this explanation of "Torte" from Dictionary.com:

a rich cake, esp. one containing little or no flour, usually made with eggs and ground nuts or bread crumbs.


Chocolate Torte


Ingredients:

150g dark chocolate
only had 80g of dark chocolate slab so topped up with Hershey's semi sweet chocolate chips
100g butter, room temperature made do with just 80g of butter
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
70g caster sugar
30g cake flour
15g cocoa powder
icing sugar for dusting didn't use this as it's already sweet

Method:
(1) Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease or line a round pan with baking paper.

(2) Separate egg whites from egg yolks when the eggs are still cold from the refrigerator. Bring the egg whites and egg yolks to room temperature.

(3) Sift together the cake flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.

(4) Melt dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and add in the butter. Mix well. I did it with a bowl over a pan of boiling water - faster this way. Once all the chocolate has melted, I turned off the heat and added the butter.

(5) Whisk the egg yolks with 35g of sugar till mixture becomes thick, creamy and custard-like.

(6) Add in melted chocolate-butter mixture and whisk till well mixed.

(7) Add in flour mixture and fold in gently with a spatula. Set aside.

(8) In a clean mixing bowl, add 1/3 of the 35g sugar. With the electric whisk, beat the egg whites till it becomes foamy. Add in half of the remaining sugar and whisk till soft peaks form. Add in remaining sugar and beat till stiff peaks form. In my opinion, there is no need to add the sugar in instalments. Once the egg white is fluffy, it should be alright to add in all the sugar at once and beat till stiff peaks form.

(9) Add egg white to egg yolk mixture in 3 additions. Fold in gently with a spatula, making sure all the egg whites are incorporated into the batter.

(10) Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 30 - 35 mins.

(11) Remove cake from oven, unmould and let it cool on a wire rack.


Verdict:
(+) An easy enough cake recipe to follow

(-) A bit sweet for my liking
(-) A bit dry. Would go well with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or coffee!

(=) After baking, the outer cake crust was so crispy that when I tried to invert it for cooling on the rack, it cracked totally. However, the crust tasted just like the breakfast cereal - CoCo Crunch!
(=) Even with the semisweet chocolate chips, the torte already has a bitter-sweet taste!
(=) The torte has a rich chocolatery taste

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Little Things in Life

I was wondering in and out of the kitchen this morning with my usual routine. Everything is the same, at their usual places. It's only when I raised my head to look at the sky through the kitchen windows that I noticed these really cute stuffs hanging on the bamboo poles!

I'll be seeing more of these at home. :)