Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Jamie's 30 minute meals. MADE.

How to whip up a meal that impresses.
All the time.
Every Time.
In 30 minutes.
These were some of Jamie's 30 minute meal recipes that we've tried and tested this long weekend.
Adapted from the recipes on

Perfect roast potatoes

Tips & tweaks:
Use Yukon Gold potatoes.
They are my gold standard for baked carbs that are worth every single calorie.
Salt generously.
And those cloves of garlic would be so sweet, you wish you put more in the first place.

Mustard chicken with leek

Tips & tweaks:
Even a non mustard lover would eat this all up.
The taste of wholegrain mustard is not the same as mustard from a squeeze bottle on hotdogs.
Just so there was gravy,
some chicken broth was added.
And because bacon ANYTHING tastes like heaven,
some roughly chopped pieces of bacon were thrown in. 
More leek definitely.
It was a lot more watery that planned but the unmistakable sweetness from the mustard and savoury tinge from the bacon was unmistakable.
And perhaps the added taste dimensions of some pan fried crisp bacon as toppings in the next attempt.

The best pork chops sans the crackling

Cubed carrots and beetroot.
And a generous drizzle of olive oil.
As always.
Roast them for half an hour at 220 degrees celcius.

Tips & tweaks:
The meats were marinated for about 3 hours.
The honey was omitted.
The apple cider did wonders to lock in the juice in the pork chops.

Side salad of lettuce, chopped sundried tomatoes, pitted olives and cubed feta cheese.
Generously drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Top with roughly torn pieces of turkey breast.

Now that's what I call a HAPPY MEAL :)
and a healthy one at that.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Where tired feet become happy feet :)

Located at 4A Maju Avenue,
this outlet at Serangoon Gardens was a breeze for me to locate.
Right above Cedele, opposite myVillage.

The main glass door albeit a little too cluttered with information,
offered everything that one needed to know without having to walk in to ask about services AND prices.
Which I really appreciated. :)

All these weary feet getting their rest upstairs.
I could hardly wait to get up there myself!

I was a little early for my appointment which gave me time to google about Foot Haven.
To be honest, I took the reviews with a pinch of salt. 
My only experience of a foot massage was in the Siem Reap night market.
While that was awesomely cheap and good, I wasn't one to take tickles and pain on the soles of my feet and calves well.
Especially not when I'm just a bunch of knots, a day after my Gunung Berlumut climb with Y-Treks.

I was gently jolted from my reverie when the lady at the reception stepped in. 
She immediately served some hot tea and even offered some biscuits in case I was hungry.
How's that for service?

She also brought over the treatment menu for me to pick my preferred treatment.
On her recommendation, I picked their popular signature of 30 minutes of foot and 30 minutes of shoulder and neck.

Oxygen therapy- CPR anyone?
This was an interesting product indeed.
I wonder how they're used.

The interior was dimly lit and could have up to 6 people doing their foot massages at the same time.
I saw a couple of customers walking in and the phone line was kept really busy but there were however, only three male masseuses available today.
Too many tired feet, too little hands.

This lady was a regular customer and she had some special tea leaves added to her foot soak.
When she asked her masseuse why?
She was told it was simply because she was special.
And you wonder why people keep coming back.
It's like home. :)

While I didn't get tea leaves, I did get a pair of SPORT shorts!
I was in a short skirt which although would've been covered well by the felt blanket,
would not have been the most comfortable for me to stay in for the session.
Especially not if I was about to squirm in pain.
So Alan, thank you.
It was a gesture I appreciated.

That's what heaven feels like.
Say hello to -almost- happy feet.
What really impressed me was how Alan seemed to know everything at his fingertips.
One press and he knew.
Not general statements that pain on some area of the sole equated to some area in our human system.
But through the course of the massage, he was spot on that my heartbeat was slower than the average.
Which was exactly what my TCM lady had told me.

There was also an area near my shoulder blade which he pressed and left me yelping in pain.
He asked if I always drank cold water- which I unfortunately always do.
When I asked if it meant I shouldn't drink cold water anymore, he wasn't quick to give a definite yes.
He just told me that it could mean early onset of arthritis and told me to get a rubdown more frequently to prevent it from happening.

And he promptly went to prepare a cup of warm water for me at the end of my session.
I am impressed.
Still am.

I left Feet Haven looking like I am Cloud Nine.
Those spanking reviews were all truth and nothing but the truth.

Although you could definitely take my word for it.
But you should try it to believe it. 
Not just for feet.
They have full body massages and even gua sha and ba guan which can be added on to any of the services.

Spoilt for choice?
I don't know about you.
But I've been spoilt by today's session. :)

Quote: Bloggerspecialszemin for a 10% discount.

Monday, October 06, 2014

One Tonne of Wontons! :)

 Marketing started at 8am this morning. 

Two packets of baby bokchoi.
A handful of chestnuts, prawns and minced pork.

Blanch the baby bok choi in a pot of boiling water with a dash of oil and a sprinkling of salt.

To the minced pork, diced prawns and chestnuts,
A generous sprinkle of white pepper.
A dash of light soy sauce.
A heaped tablespoon of oyster sauce.
A generous drizzle of sesame oil and shaoxing wine.
Toss them up till well combined.

Rope in the family to join in for the wonton wrapping. :)

Prepare a pot of boiling water to boil up batches of wontons.

Till you get a whole tonne of them.
And while we're at it.
Chop up some onions (since we ran out of shallots)
and fry them over low heat for some shallot oil.

These weren't burnt.
They were actually sweet and pretty yums!
Don't underestimate the fragrance that the shallot (fried onion) oil imparts to the dish.
Add it to the soup or the noodles.
Or both!

Pick up some of those roasted meats from your friendly local roast meat seller at the wet market.
Which comes with a soy based gravy.
Toss the wonton noodles in a tablespoon of the soy sauce gravy.
Top with blanched baby bokchoi, roast meats and a generous serving of wontons! :)
Serve with a bowl of piping hot chicken broth.

That was one tonne of work for some wonton noodles.
Well worth the effort.
Well fed for the night! :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Super Reigns Supreme @ Pizza Hut

Here today.
Gone -tomato-
This is going to be a -pizza- history.
-Cheese- man!

Puns totally intended.

Pizza Hut is running a $10 takeaway promotion on their regular pan pizzas.
I chose the Super Supreme.
Which comes with a whole load of toppings.
We're talking ground beef, Italian sausages, beef pepperoni, chicken ham, capsicum, onions, olives, mushrooms and all the sunshine of pineapple chunks.
Plus all that cheese.
On every slice.
Like you see on the picture above.

And having that pizza just ten minutes after my takeaway made all the difference in the world.
I'm finishing up the crust simple because it's crisp on the outside and chewy on the soft interiors.
All of that melty cheese and all-in toppings.
It was a regular pan-pizza.
But I finished it all just as it were a personal pan-pizza.

Mmm Mmm!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Terrible Thursday

Because the exams have been taking a toll on me.
With a terrible breakout and the worst kind of sinking feeling ever.
There's much to be said about faith and blind confidence.
Or none of all that and instead, painful reality.
And she was in the same kind of situation.
A same same but different type.
We desperately needed a break.

Oz Specialty Coffee it was.

Now that would make terrible better.
Yes, it did.
But not till you get past the pursed lips of the girls behind the counter.
The cold shoulder.
The aloof demeanour.
Which made us feel entirely unwelcome.
On a day like today?
That was definitely not what I needed.
And I had half a mind to just cancel my orders and leave.

But really, who else needs a terrible Thursday right?
So we took the outdoor seats along the corridor.
(There's only 4 seats at the bar counter)

Their salted caramel and banana waffles.
Being Belgian liege waffles, they were full on jaw action.
I loved the crisp exterior contrasted with the dense chewy interior.
The premium vanilla ice cream scoop melted quickly in the warm heat and was barely enough for just one waffle.
The other waffle had only bananas for company.
It was filling and pretty darn satisfying.
This would be perfect if the bananas were caramelised.

My order of an iced chocolate was a welcome respite from the heat.
And her ice cream latte was good, she said.
My coffee fast is becoming quite the reality.

I'm hard pressed to come back here because of the kind of service I was given.
But their waffles do deserve a repeat visit.
I'll just have to find someone else to do the ordering. :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Breakfast of champions @ Killiney Kopitiam

1030am on a Saturday morning.
And I find myself at Killiney Kopitiam.
At Killiney Road.
With a whole bunch of other hungry people.

To be honest, breakfast is my worst meal of the day.
Given my early starts, I eat whatever I can just so I don't work on an empty tummy and sometimes I'm so hungry I'm eating up a whole packet of greasy fried economical noodles at 9am and snacking after.

That's not breakfast.
That's like a binge fest.
All day. Everyday.

Which is why I love my weekends.
I'm usually at trainings both days which means I grab two pieces of bread and have that for breakfast.
Now that. 
Qualifies as breakfast.

But I digress.
So breakfast here at Killiney.
You'd think I'd do the quintessential kaya toast order.
But nope.
I went for the ultimate indulgence.
An order of laksa.
Actually, I do suppose the order of chicken curry and prata would be even more indulgent.
In any case, I was pleased with my order.
I mean, look at that dollop of chilli! :)

It was rich.
Redolent with the richness and fragrance of coconut milk and spices.
Fresh blood cockles would've made this perfect.

A cup of teh halia + milk - ginger tea with milk to help with my digestion of this bowl of yum!
Also popular on the tables was the mee siam.
It did look enticing.
And I'll probably try that on my next visit.

Asian pride.
Full of all that eggy goodness and rich coconut milk.
This was hot and freshly packed.
It took all of my willpower to resist opening the bottle for a spoonful of kaya.

Saving it for breakfast spread on Sunday :)

Matcha Nama Chocolate 抹茶生チョコレート

First fall.
And I've fallen in love.
Now that nama chocolate can be made at home, 
I wouldn't have to do a Royce run in a long while yet.

I got the recipe from this website,
by Namiko Chen.

And I made just a few slight tweaks on my version.
I halved her recipe to yield enough for a roughly 10 x 20 cm lock & lock- type tupperware.

200g of white chocolate (I used Cadbury Dream)
65ml whipping cream (President Lait Entier)  
12g unsalted butter
1 Tbsp of matcha powder + 1 tsp for sprinkling
Baking sheet lined tupperware

Chop the chocolate up into smaller pieces to allow for faster melting before heating the cream.
Heat the cream and be sure to stir constantly.
Otherwise a film will form on top.
Once it comes to a small boil, remove from heat.
Add in the chopped chocolate and butter and stir till smooth.
It should form a ribbon trail.
Add in the matcha powder and stir till well combined and smooth.

Fill the parchment paper and smoothen out air bubbles if any.
The mixture should be flowy enough to take on the shape of the container.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
The tropical heat here will not allow for this to be kept outside for too long so you have to work fast to cut them up into cubes.
Be patient.
There will be a few times when you have to return the chocolate to the fridge to chill before continuing.

Please also do get a fine sieve or you'll get your matcha powder in ugly blobs like mine.
Excuse the first try.
Might not look like much but...
At least it tasted like nama. 

I had a colleague who asked,
Oh, Royce? :)

That's when I knew this recipe was for keeps!
You never know when you need some chocolate comfort.
Especially on Mondays. :p

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Equinox @ 70th Swissotel

Amuse bouche compliments of the chef
Compressed watermelon with pea sauce and chorizo.
This was a palate pleaser- both cleansing and appetizing all at once.
We enjoyed this.

And of course, we loved the bread basket.
Forget the no-carbs diet.
We were on an all carbs and full butter non diet!

My favourite was the cheese and onion bread.
The garlic herb rolls were a hit too.
I reckon we loved them all (we had seconds!) except the sourdough.

Of all things to focus on. He had it on the bread.
Excuse the man, he's a new user of a Sony A6000.
And I'm none the wiser.
A tip for choosing the appetizers,
some of them come in individual portions.
So do check with the servers before placing your orders.

The smoked salmon with pickles and pearl onions were appetizing but lacked a certain kind of oomph.
The wagyu beef tataki was a  definite crowd pleaser.
With seared thin pieces of beef served on equally thin slices of pickled daikon.
It kept us wanting.

The arrival of this seafood platter for two caused a collective gasp.
At the sheer size of the serving platter.
That, plus the full sized lobster. :)
We loved the raw salmon and ikura.
The sauces kept us really busy too, selecting and mixing sauces for the different shells and crustaceans.
The only gripe we had about this was that there was just too much work involved in eating. 

Enter the Chauteaubriand.
A 500g serving of an A-grade tenderloin.
We had it medium.
And it was simply amazing.
Perhaps a little raw on the inside for our last two slices and that made it hard to cut through.
A little too much jaw action.
The truffle butter sauce is highly recommended.
The bearnaise unfortunately paled (pun totally intended.) in comparison.
We asked for an additional serving of truffle butter but it was simply watered down and tasted terrible.

Massive onion rings.
While they tasted like a sinful indulgence,
I hardly thought 4 rings justified a price tag of $15.

The New York Striploin was a satisfying 300g.
However, there was just too much fat within the slab of beef for anyone's liking.
Definitely go for the Chateaubriand.

Tonight was definitely a dinner with a view. 
Some hits and misses.
But the company made it all better. :)

This vanilla cheesecake was exquisite.
Smooth and redolent with the rich taste of vanilla, 
the slightly tart raspberry coulis was a perfect accompaniment to this dessert offering.

We moved on to NewAsia Bar upstairs for some after-dinner drinks.
Time for some bubbly to toast the birthday boy.
My allergy stops me from more than just one mouth of alcohol.
I had the Hokkaido Berry made with coconut milk.
Lychee bits and its syrup in coconut milk went surprisingly well together.

A night out to dine.
With company so fine.
Accompanied by wine.
The pleasure was all mine!