Saturday 30 July 2011

Thursday 28 July 2011

Pizza for lunch

It's almost 4pm and I'm eating this plate-size pizza for lunch. Rusty is running after me as I eat and walk.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Cabbage pancake

On days when I really run out of ideas for dinner, I simply pull out what I can find in the fridge and make something. Last night, I didn't feel like grilling salmon or cod, or boiling soup or stir-frying vegetables, so I made a pancake.

I find most Japanese or Korean-style savoury pancakes too floury, so I cut out flour almost altogether. Incidentally, the kids have asked for rice-free dinners, so I've been cooking glass noodles for 2 night straight!

The pancake I made last night is light, healthy and easy to rustle together.

Shredded cabbage (1/2 a head)
Chopped scallion and chives
Fresh shrimp (cut into small pieces)
Fresh squid (thinly sliced)
3 eggs
2 tablespoon stock or water
2 tablespoon corn flour
pinch of salt
2 tablespoon cooking oil

Mix all ingredients into a big bowl. Heat up oil in a flat frying pan. Carefully pour the mixture into frying pan. Lower heat and fry until the bottom is firm and cooked.

Place a plate over the pan and in a swift movement, invert the pancake onto the plate. Slide the pancake back to the pan to cook the other side. When the pancake is thoroughly cooked, serve immediately.

50 most delicious food

CNN has published a list of the world's most delicious foods. Chicken rice and chilli crab from Singapore made it to the list. I'm surprised that there's nothing from Korea and Australia.

50. Buttered popcorn, United States

49. Masala dosa, India

48. Potato chips, United States

47. Seafood paella, Spain

46. Som tam, Thailand

45. Chicken rice, Singapore

44. Poutine, Canada

43. Tacos, Mexico

42. Buttered toast with Marmite, Britain

41. Stinky tofu, Southeast Asia.

40. Marzipan, Germany

39. Ketchup, United States

38. French toast, Hong Kong

37. Chicken parm, Australia

36. Texas barbecue pork, United States

35. Chili crab, Singapore

34. Maple syrup, Canada

33. Fish ‘n’ chips, Britain

32. Ankimo, Japan

31. Parma ham, Italy

30. Goi cuon (summer roll), Vietnam

29. Ohmi-gyu beef steak, Japan

28. Pho, Vietnam

27. Montreal-style smoked meat, Canada

26. Fajitas, Mexico

25. Butter garlic crab, India

24. Champ, Ireland

23. Lasagna, Italy

22. Brownie and vanilla ice cream, global

21. Croissant, France

20. Arepas, Venezuela

19. Nam tok moo, Thailand

18. Kebab, Iran

17. Lobster, global

16. Egg tart, Hong Kong

15. Kalua pig, United States

14. Donuts, United States

13. Corn on the cob, global

12. Shepherd’s pie, Britain

11. Rendang, Indonesia

10. Chicken muamba, Gabon

9. Ice cream, United States

8. Tom yum goong, Thailand

7. Penang assam laksa, Malaysia

6. Hamburger, Germany

5. Peking duck, China

4. Sushi, Japan

3. Chocolate, Mexico

2. Neapolitan pizza, Italy

1. Massaman curry, Thailand

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Lychee obsession

I read something thought-provoking today. Terri says her friend lost 3kg in one month just by cutting down on fruit. This might make sense because I have been eating lychees non-stop for the last few weeks and I've noticed some weight gain.

Lychee is my favourite fruit. I love lychee martini, cake, jelly, drink and ice cream! Unfortunately it is a seasonal fruit. Fresh lychee surfaces around July each year and then disappear completely after a few weeks. You will have to wait another year for them to come around again.

I like the ones from China because the flesh is firm and sweet. Most importanly, the seed is small compared to the ones from Thailand. According to my brother, he had eaten much nicer ones in Taiwan but they are not exported to Singapore.

Knowing how short the season is, I have been buying them by the kilos. For the past few weeks, I must have bought more than 20kg of lychee. YK thinks I am crazy though he loves them as much as I do.

Popping a sweet, succulent and ice-cold lychee into your mouth on a hot day is more refreshing than eating ice cream. I have popped hundreds into my mouth and the result is showing in my belly. Despite daily running, the tummy simply refuses to budge.

Luckily, the season is almost over. I know because all I see now are tired looking lychees in the stores. Before you know it, they will disappear altogether. My belly too.

Sunday 24 July 2011

Carrot cake next?

There was a time, not too long ago, when I baked a cake every Saturday afternoon. I'm not that creative when it comes to baking. I only use what I can find in my fridge. After making several apple and pear cakes, I got quite bored.

Then suddenly my sis-in-law said something about my delicious cakes spiked with ginger and spice. I got down to work quickly and produced another pear / ginger cake that weekend. I must have done something right because the house smelled wonderful that day, so much so that YK (who doesn't like cakes) asked for a slice.

The cake was lighter and tasted more buttery this time. Somehow the ginger smell didn't come through. I should have added more grated ginger. I had also cut back too much on the sugar, even the generous shower of icing sugar failed to sweeten it very much.

I'm on a roll again. This Saturday, I'm thinking of baking a cake for Patricia's birthday. She likes cheesecake while our friend Beverly likes carrot cake. I wonder if I'm too ambitious if I say I'm going to bake a carrot cake with cheese frosting?

I'm on the lookout for a recipe that I can handle. By that, I mean just whisk, fold and bake. If I don't have to drag my mixer out, that would be great. And if I don't have to trawl the supermarket for whole load of ingredients (cream of tartar etc) , that's even better. I would be very happy if you could share your recipe.

Monday 18 July 2011

1 birthday, 2 cakes and 3 days of celebration

Like any good Bollywood style wedding, CH's birthday celebration stretched over three days though there was nothing lavish about it. Instead, it was a good mix of food, friends, fun and adventure.

We kicked off the celebration with a spicy Nonya dinner at Glory Restaurant with his best friend on Friday.

After dinner, I had to stop CH from walking into some really tempting dessert shops along Joo Chiat Road. Instead, I kept steering the group towards Gobi Dessert where I had secretly ordered a birthday cake.

When we were seated, I did my best to discourage the guys from ordering cakes. It's not easy to keep a secret. Finally, I sent a signal for the cake to be brought out. CH didn't seem very surprised afterall.

Chocolate Therapy - crunchy praline, dark chocolate sponge and milk chocolate ganache topped with rum infused white chocolate.

The cake was very rich and delicious.

CH likes to do something meaningful or different on his birthday. One year, he volunteered in a beach-cleaning exercise. Luckily for him, all the finalists of the Miss Earth Pageant were also taking part. For an entire morning, he was surrounded by trash-picking beauties. He swore it was sheer coincidence and that he had no idea they were coming.

Anyway, this year, he wanted to do the Forest Adventure - an aerial course built through the trees comprising ladders, bridges, swings, nets, trapezes and giant zip lines.

I brought Rusty with me so I had an excuse not to participate. I'm afraid of heights! I became the photographer instead.

Well, the things that they did were exhilarating but at terrifying heights. I was happy to watch from the firm ground below.

The entire course took 2.5 hours to complete. I must be missing out because he said it was the most awesome experience ever.

The celebration continued after that. I brought a black forest cake to Labrador Beach to join him and friends for drinks.

After drinking half a dozen bottles of beer, I'm impressed that H could stack 4 bottles into a tower!

I didn't even get a sip of beer as I was driving. For all my effort, I was rewarded with a kiss.

His actual birthday was on Sunday. No more birthday cakes but we went hiking at Chestnut Trail instead.

The sky was gorgeous that day.

After trekking for a couple of hours, we stopped by the railway track along Upper Bukit Timah Road to find lots of people strolling under the hot afternoon sun. Not surprising really since 17th July was the last day people were allowed to walk on the tracks before they are closed for dismantling.

The birthday boy doing star jump.

Dog fight

I wonder how Rusty chooses his friends or enemies. With his disproportionately large ego, he only picks on dogs that are many times larger than him.

One mottled brown mongrel down the road, in particular, seems to annoy the hell out of him. Honestly, that crazy dog annoys me as well. Whenever we walk by, he dashes around in the compound like a mad dog, trampling over plants and his smaller companion (a cute beige pup). Rusty would charge towards the gate, barking so furiously that soon trigger off a cacophony of barks from dogs in the neighbourhood.

The funny thing is, Rusty loves to tease that crazy dog and insists on visiting daily just to piss the fella off. Well, something terrible happened last night.

We were strolling by the dog's house and I was busy chatting with CH. Rusty suddenly rushed towards the gate and stuck his nose through the metal grille. Amidst the furious barking and snarling, I pulled the leash hard but Rusty wasn't moving. He was stuck.

That was when I realised the mongrel had his grip on Rusty's snout from the other side of the gate. I screamed at CH, "Get Rusty! The dog is biting him!"

CH rushed and pulled Rusty out. Luckily the big dog had released his grip and my poor doggie was bleeding from a deep cut on his snout. My heart broke when I saw his tears rolling down.

It must have hurt! Yet spunky little Rusty was still struggling to break free so that he could go on fighting. On the way home, he tried to vent his anger on every dog we met.

He spent the entire night licking his wound. It looked better this morning. He should be fine in a day or two. He is lucky to get away with a small wound this time. The last fight he got into almost killed him.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Been busy

It has been a busy week. The first half was spent in endless meetings as my UK colleagues were in town. They flew off on Wednesday night after two hectic weeks in Asia.

There were lots to catch up on at the office on Thursday. When I got home in the late afternoon, I simply fell into bed and had a long nap! Then I changed into my running gear but just couldn't muster up enough energy for a run. After a simple dinner, I went to bed early and woke up feeling a little sniffy.

Thank goodness it's Friday already. I'm joining the guys at IBM Corporation this morning with their community work which involves cooking and delivering food for the needy. I'm happy to be invited by my friend to participate.

I'm also looking forward to night out with CH. His birthday falls on Sunday, he must be excited.

Sunday 10 July 2011

Eat and Run

When the boys were younger, they looked forward to after-school lunch treats at Thai Express. We must have been there a zillion times yet we had only ordered the same few dishes - seafood padthai, soft shell crab in curry sauce and tomyum soup.

Now that they're in different schools and I don't pick them up anymore, we've also stopped going to Thai Express.

For dinner last Friday, I wanted to bring CH to the authentic Thai restaurant in Hougang called Nakhon Kitchen. We arrived at 6.45pm to find a long line waiting to be seated. The food there is really good and prices are reasonable.

Instead of joining the queue, we walked over to Thai Express at Hougang Mall. We were seated immediately and the food was served quickly too. I think the cooks at this outlet are more skillful because the dishes seem better than the other branches.

The mango salad was so fresh, we could feel hear the crunch of the sliced shallots and mango sticks with every bite. The sauce was perfect.

When I saw this new item on the menu - minced chicken with basil and century egg - I knew I had to try. Here, the century egg is deep fried (I think) before being added to the saucy chicken. It's a weird combination but it works. We both liked it.

What's Thai food without green curry? The one we had (chicken green curry) was sweet, coconutty and flavourful.

We left the restaurant with a warm and full tummy. The dinner was a very satisfying one. Luckily I got to burn off all those calories on Sunday morning, during the 10k Jurong Lake Run.

We picked this race because of the scenic route. Indeed, we ran through the Chinese and Japanese Gardens but I must say it's not easy to appreciate the beauty around you when you're hot, thirsty and tired.

I only managed to enjoy the Garden after the race, when I was walking back to the car.

Tuesday 5 July 2011


My kids love steamed egg. They never fail to order chawan mushi at the Japanese restaurant or the simple savory egg custard at the mixed vegetable stall. Maybe it's because they know they can never get it at home. I've tried but the results had never been satisfactory.

When I saw the drool-worthy photo in one of my favourite blogs this morning, I knew I had to surprise the kids with this dish today. The writer Terri makes it sound so simple and fool-proof, I just had to try.

I worked on this dish quietly in the kitchen. Then I set the finished masterpiece on the dining table without any fanfare. When the kids asked what it was, I said "Just try it" as nonchalantly as I could.

What I heard next made my heart swell with pride. "You've made it! It's a success! You should cook this more often."

I'm not particularly fond of egg custard but this particular one was so delicious, I couldn't stop eating. It's healthy and easy to prepare. All you need is eggs, minced meat, mushroom and spring onion. You can find the recipe here.

Thanks Terri, for sharing this fantastic recipe!

Sunday 3 July 2011

Great Eastern 10k Run

Yesterday's Great Eastern Women 10K run went without a hitch. We had perfect weather and the route was interesting. I even caught a glimpse of the National Day Parade Rehearsal along the way.

This year, being one of the early registrants for the race, I secured a nice race number - 64. On the night before the run, I realised it was the same number as last week's SPCA Run. What a coincidence!

I was gunning for a race time of 64 minutes but alas, it was beyond my reach. I managed to complete with a satisfactory timing.

The race saw a record 12,000 women runners. It was heartening to see a sea of enthusiastic women runners so early in the morning, and even more so to see their spouses and boyfriends turning up to support. Some actually ran from one spot to another just to capture their partner in action. One 'ang moh' guy even caught up with his girlfriend to give her a kiss at the 8km mark!

As I went there alone, I decided to complete the race quickly and make my way home as quickly as I could. For the first time, I moved to the front of the pack, hoping to pace myself with the good runners. Unfortunately, when the gun went off, I soon found myself being blocked by women who started walking just after running the first 100m.

Those who didn't train for the race shouldn't be at the front with the serious runners who had to dodge the walkers, wasting precious time and energy. The situation must have been much worse at the back.

On the positive side, there were ample water points and the race was well organised. Just after I sprinted across the finish line, I was rewarded with isotonic drink, banana, water, energy bar and a shiny gold finisher medal. I managed to get a fellow runner to take a photo of me before I scooted off.

Chowmahalla Palace

During our week in Hyderabad, some of the places we visited include the Mecca Mosque, the Charminar (the icon of Hyderabad), Sufi Shrine, Bi...