Friday, December 31, 2010

Summary of 2010

The Husband has a friend who sends out a summary of his year to all his friends around this time of the year. It is an email The Husband looks forward to every year. I think it is a really cool way to look back at the year AND update your friends about your year at the same time.

And so, I  decided  I will start to do a summary of my year from this year onwards on my blog. As I'm writing this, there is about an hour more of 2010 before 2011 arrives... so I'm in a bit of a hurry to finish off this post.

I started this year knowing that I have hypothyroidism - meaning my body does not have enough thyriod hormones to run the body. The reason is unknownst to me still.. what I need to do is take some thyriod hormones replacement daily.. to up my body's metabolism. Apart from having to take a small tablet every morning (something I still sometimes forget), this condition doesn't really affect my lifestyle at all.

What it does, however, is that it makes me a lot more conscious about exercising. So one of my resolutions for 2010 is to exercise more. The other is to forget about money... or rather.. about making money in 2010.

For the first 3 months of 2010, I was still working on a contract with my ex-company in Beijing. The arrangement started in the beginning of 2009, right after I left the company to return home to Singapore. There were a few projects that required my experience.. so I had a contractual arrangement with the company that meant I had to work a few days each month.. and visit Beijing every 2 - 3 months for a couple of weeks. The arrangement was a win-win for both sides.. but I was very grateful for it because it made leaving Beijing and returning to Singapore that much easier for me.

Beijing airport - an airport I'm very familiar with..

The work was enjoyable and I really liked the occasional visits to Beijing. It meant I could catch up with my friends in Beijing and visit my favourite restaurants - like hotpot and Peking duck.

In my spare time, I went to the gym, cooked, baked and spent my time seriously looking into setting up a small F&B shop. My little dream of owning a little shop of my own didn't materialise, however. In April, I started full-time work again in a bank in Singapore. Work was... confusing at first. It wasn't so much the work but the culture and changes I saw in some old friends. For a while, I thought I wouldn't be able to fit back in. But after a few weeks, I settled in.. and although I have been comprising more and more in terms of working hours, I do feel comfortable where I am right now.

Occasionally, I'd look back and wonder if I'd ever regret not taking that launch to start my own shop. But I know that what I may have missed in terms of a new experience, I gained in having more personal time and a lot less stress..

 One of the pictures an item on the menu for my future shop

Travel wise, I managed a 2 weeks trip to Tohoku and Tokyo in April, before I started work. That trip is my favourite this year. Japan is always a fantastic place to visit.. and April is the best time because it is sakura season. I had a fairly good dose of onsens, ryokans and Japanese cuisine during the trip..

Sakura in April in Tokyo

In October, I visited Haikou with a couple of girlfriends. To be honest, there isn't much in Haikou.. I still can't quite remember what made us decide to go there.. But it was a good break from work and I enjoyed their company a lot.

Then of course, I spent my block leave (a compulsory thing in banking) in Taiwan in December. It was a trip packed with food, food and then more food.. 

The worst thing that happened to me this year was having my things stolen from my home. The culprit never owned up.. and was never caught. It was a horrid experience and I pray I'd never have to go through something like that again.

On a happier note - we had 2 good news in the family this year. The Husband's brother got married in July and we flew to Hong Kong to attend the wedding. Another good news was my little brother's engagement. The wedding would be next year so that would be something to look forward to in Oct 2011.

1 wedding in the family in 2010 and another one next year..

I started out this post thinking 2010 was a relatively quiet year for me.. but actually... it was a rather eventful year.. with lots of changes and a fair bit of travelling.

I've yet to sit down and think about my resolutions for 2011.. but I hope to love more.. laugh more.. and enjoy things that come my way in the year ahead.

A happy new year to you and your family!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Greetings from Taiwan

Merry Christmas to all my dear friends, from the land of bubble tea and night markets.

The temperature has dropped considerably today in Taiwan.. so I'm having a cool Christmas after all.

Hope that you will all have a great time with friends and family over this festive season. I will be updating my blog again after I'm back in Singapore.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dinner and Conference Calls

I had 2 conference calls earlier this evening. One from 6pm to 7pm and the other from 830pm to 930pm.

This is the problem created by technology such as remote access and tele-conferencing. It is now so easy to speak to someone in London and New York that we end up doing that. But there is no technology solutions for time differences yet invented and so we end up having to work late hours to talk to colleagues from across the world.

I decided to leave work early so I can take both calls from home and I can have dinner at home.

In the 1.5 hours between the 2 calls, I made a pasta and salad. I cooked some linguine with some very excellent hot smoked salmon with mixed mushrooms. (Hot smoked salmon is cooked salmon with a smokey taste. We got ours from Iceland courtesy of The Sister-in-Law. It's yummy!) I also put together some vegetables with crispy fried onions, balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make a quick salad.

There was enough time to make dinner, eat it up and chill out a little before doing the dishes. But I was slow with the dishes and time ran out. So The Husband had to take over doing the dishes whilst I talked to my colleagues in London and New York.

What a busy evening it has been!

Japanese Curry at Ginza Bairin

Ginza Bairin is an old name from Tokyo for Tonkatsu.

They are famous for their black pork katsu and katsu sandwiches. I had the chicken katsu curry (I don't fancy pork) for lunch today and I thought it was pretty good.

The chicken katsu is very well fried - Great bread crumbs and perfectly crispy. The chicken wasn't the most tender, but it was fairly tender.

The curry was thick, sweet, not spicy and fragrant, with bits of carrots and onions still visible. It wasn't too watery or oily at all.. Perhaps it was a little too thick.. but it coated the fried chicken and rice nicely so I happily ate up almost all of the curry.

The miso soup had a nice touch to it - sliced radishes and bits of bacon. But I left it lacked proper miso taste, so I didn't like it too much.

Overall though, a pretty good Japanese curry. Every once in a while I would have cravings for Japanese curry. Next time, I know where I can go to satisfy those cravings.

Yummy Japanese curry, taken with my iPhone. 
I've stopped carrying my camera around now that I have the iPhone.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Zucchini Bread

"I haven't been baking for quite a while now."

I was thinking about that to myself at the supermarket when I saw this lady putting up some zucchini on the racks.

So I had to get a couple to make a zucchini bread. I've never tried before but I think it is like carrot cake, only easier to grate.

This recipe turned out alright - nice and moist as I had hoped. I shredded the zucchini with the green skin still on so my cake has interesting green bits on it. But I realised I had no cinnamon at home halfway through so the cake was not as fragrant as I hoped. And the recipe called for 2 1/4 cups of sugar which is way too much. I used 2 cups and found the cake still very sweet. Maybe because I also dumped in 1/2 a cup of mini chocolate chips. Nevertheless, I'd try going for 1 1/2 cups of sugar next time.

Recipes adapted from here.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar (I reckon 1 1/2 cups would be enough)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

What I did
1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C
2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl
3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well.
4. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into pans
5. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flowers in the house

I like having some cut flowers at home because I think that they liven up our apartment.

It's always nice to have an element of the outdoors in your home - a tree, a sky well, a green plant or some freshly cut flowers. Cut flowers really liven up the house. I like them in my living room and dining table. I'd even put some in the bathroom if we had some space there!

Sometimes, I'd make do with flowers from my balcony. Sometimes, I would buy some home from the market. In a tropical climate like Singapore, the variety of freshly cut flowers we can get without paying a fortune is unfortunately, rather limited.

Gerberas and orchids are usually the best because they last quite a while. Especially orchids. And when the stalk gets a little droopy, I'd pluck off the individual flowers and put them in a small glass... and they will last another few more days this way. Just an idea in case you like orchids too..

Fosters - The English Rose Cafe

The menu is printed out like a newspaper

Holland Village used to be an old haunt of mine in my Junior College days.

Since then, I have been gone to Holland Village only every once in a while but I seem to remember Fosters being at the corner of Holland Village for a long time.

The name English Rose Cafe may conjure a dainty and delicate looking cafe. But dainty and delicate Fosters is not. In fact, it is a little rustic and country looking cafe.

The high-tea set is definitely good value for money ($10.50++). You get a cup of coffee or tea, dainty cucumber sandwiches and cheese sandwiches, a fruit cake and most importantly, 2 giant scones with freshly whipped cream and strawberry jam.

I'm not crazy about the sandwiches and fruit cake.. but having earl grey tea with milk and freshly baked scones with cream and jam is definite my cup of tea for a leisurely Friday afternoon.

The best part of tea was (of course) catching up with my 3 friends - Ting, Petunia and Leah. As usual the afternoon zipped past with stories of home building, lecturing teenage boys, good news from an important exam and holiday experiences.

Food for two - that's a lot!

Fosters Restaurant
277 Holland Ave
Holland Village
Singapore 278994
Tel: +65-6466-8939

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Festive Poinsettia

There are 2 big pots of Poinsettia just outside the lobby of my office.

They bring a smile to my face when I walk past them early every morning. I think there is something about the brilliant red of Poinsettia that shouts year-end holidays and festive season.

Legend has it that a young girl in Mexico was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson "blossoms" sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. See the legend of the poinsettia here.

The star-shaped leaf pattern of the Poinsettia is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.

Whatever it is, I just like the red of the Poinsettia very much.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Early Christmas Party

I had a party at my place on Saturday.

I don't know how others be that cool, calm and collected party host. Whenever I host a party at my place, even if it is for my cell group friends who comes my house about twice a month for cell group, I was rather anxious.

Firstly, there's always The Cleaning That is Required. Our helper comes every Sunday afternoon to clean up the house and do the ironing. Understandably, by Saturday, our place requires a bit of cleaning and tidying to ensure that the floor is clean, the dining table is cleared and there are no odd things lying around.

Then, there's the Preparation of the Drinks and Food. Fortunately, we did a potluck this time so I didn't need to huff and puff in the kitchen with the food preparations.

I did however prepare the drinks. I always think that a party is never good when there is not enough ice. And so my freezer was packed full with ice-cubes and frozen lemon slices for the cocktails and drinks.

When everyone arrives, you go through the stage of the One Thousand and One Questions - "Can I have a cocktail?", "Where are the folks?", "Can I have something to cut the bread?", "Where can I get extra chopsticks".

And after everyone leaves, that's the Cleaning Up that is Required. Fortunately, these were my cell group friends and they helped out with most of the washing up.

But all in all, a party is a tiring affair.

At the end of the day though, hm.. I think I'd really prefer attending a party at my house than anywhere else.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Homemade Salsa Sauce

This homemade salsa sauce is easy and delicious. The Husband and my friends loved it. I thought 2 bowls were a bit too much but they disappeared quickly.

This salsa sauce is really easy to make:

2 large and very ripe tomatoes, cut into cubes
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
2 stalks of Chinese coriander (or cilantro), chopped
A good squeeze of lemon juice (or lime)
1 teaspoon of good olive oil
A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

What I did
1. Mix everything together in a bowl
2. Cling wrap the bowl and leave in the fridge for at least an hour

These chips went really well with some blue corn Tortilla chips.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pepperoni Pizzeria - Wood-fire Pizza

If you are looking for something fancy or unique, you probably cannot find it at Pepperoni Pizzeria.

Pepperoni Pizzeria sells simple, good old Italian food. I think it has the best pizza I've had in Singapore. The pizza crust is thin and baked in a wood-fire pizza, so the pizza is nice and crackly. Their family-sized pizza comes in a size for a family of 8. It is really huge and you can choose to have 2 flavours in a pizza.

The huge family size pizza - that's how big it is compared to the iPhone

The funghi (mushroom) pizza was good. A variety of mushrooms are used and the result is a very simple yet flavourful pizza.

I liked the seafood pizza a lot. Actually, it's probably my favourite seafood pizza ever. The pizza came to our table smelling absolutely great. I think the smell and flavour came from the calamari and clams. (Yes calms, as in those in vongole. They were yums!) Fresh prawns were also added and these were cooked to perfection - springy and crunchy, not overcooked and limp like most prawns in pizzas.

The starters were fairly good too. The portobello mushroom was HUGE and well fried. The sauce that came with it was good too.. although I would prefer it without the pieces of chicken.

 The deep-fried portobello mushroom - it looks like a steak, no?

I liked the rocket salad although it was a little plain. But plain and simple is pretty good sometimes.

The tortilla chips, fried wings and meatballs were average - more like pub snacks made from frozen food than starters in a decent restaurant.

The desserts that we had - panna cotta, creme brulee and tiramisu were all okay but nothing fantastic.

Our desserts were average. Could it be because we were so full?

I liked the beer though. I had a girly Wittekerke Rose beer and thoroughly enjoyed it. It had a really distinct raspberry flavour to it and wasn't strong at all.

I would be going back again to have more pizzas and beer, 2 ultimate comfort food.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Orchid Leaf Problem

As usual, my intentions were good. The orchid plant had leaves that were a bit dusty and I thought a few splashes of water would cheer my plant up.

This was what I got:

Oh dear.

I wished I've read this website earlier -

The problem I'm facing can be found under the "Leaf Yellowing - Cultural section" - If little puddles of water sit on leaves for long periods of time, then the leaf will usually turn yellow, then brown and finally black. This is because the leaf cells in that area have died. Always ensure that your plants are completely dry before nightfall. Be especially careful of small depressions in leaf surfaces that can trap water.

I had to cut off about 12 leaves from my beautiful orchid plant. It now looks like it had a really awful "haircut"!

My orchid plant in its beautiful days

I love how the flowers last such a long time

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brotzeit - German Food & Beer

I know only a few things about German and food. Here's the list of what I know:
- Blackforest cake is German. It is named after the liquor from the Black Forest region in Germany
- Pretzels are German too
- Ritter Sport is from Germany and my favourite flavour is yogurt
- Pork Knuckles made in the crispy way taste a bit like "siew yok" (Chinese roasted pork)
- German sausages come in 1001 variety and most of them taste pretty good
- Sauerkraut is sour cabbages and usually served with pork knuckles and sausages
- The Germans like their beer

But inspite of my little knowledge of German food, my stomach tells me that Brotzeit serves good German fare.

The sausage platter was good. I really liked the sausages, especially the ones called N├╝rnberger. The pork knuckle looked very good. (I didn't eat much of it because I'm still adverse to pork in its rawest form after not eating it for more than a decade.) It sounded really crispy though, because you could hear even the next table crunching away. The sauerkraut was nice and sour and yet not too sour. And of course, the ice-cold beer washes everything down well.

A nice place to visit, especially if you are very into meat.

Brotzeit German Bier Bar and RestaurantVivoCity, HarbourFront Walk,
Singapore 098585
Tel: (65) 6272 8815

Yellow Frangipani

Petunia and Malar guessed it right - my fangipani flowers are yellow in colour.

I'm a little disappointed I must say...

I was hoping for something like white or better yet, white and pink... because my other frangipani plant has white and yellow flowers.. So I was hoping for something not yellow.

Is a shame really. But I still like it very much. The flowers are a little different from my other plant and the plant is really blooming - 2 big clumps of flowers now!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Fragrant Jasmine

I have 2 jasmine plants in my balcony for some time now.. but I've not had any pictures of their flowers. The last few times they flowered were on weekdays, and I would get home from work to a really fragrant smell on my balcony.

These 2 plants are quite hardy too. I don't really water them much because they are exposed to the elements so they have been getting lots of rain water recently.

Using Recipes on the Internet

Homemade pizza with mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, bell pepper 
and rocket leaves.. I like the combination of the toppings.. but not the dough

I'm often wary of using recipes from the internet.. yet I like trying out new dishes and new recipes.. and one has to admit that the internet today is one of the best sources of recipes.

But there are so many recipes online... it's sometimes hard to know which one to try.

My experience tells me that just because there are lots of positive comments doesn't mean the recipe will turn out great. (E.g. this banana cake recipe that I tried) I had my qualms about this particular "Thin Cracker Crust Pizza Recipe", even when I was making it.

The recipe called for:
- 1 pound high gluten flour
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt

But even when I was kneading the dough, I found that 3/4 cup of warm water just isn't enough to bring the flour together. I think I added about 2 times that amount. And the dough was still pretty hard after the long rising time. I had a really tiring time rolling out all that dough.

So my pizza dough, understandably, turned out not as thin as I liked.. It was rather cracker-like though.. but like a really hard and thick cracker. A bit too thick for my liking.

Fortunately, my tried-and-tested beef stew saved the day.. or rather the dinner.

My favourite beef stew with carrots, baby tomatoes, onions and celery

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Office Politics

The worst part about working has to be office politics.

I don't mind heavy workload and issues at work as much as I mind office politics.

What is office politics? Wikipedia has it as "the use of one's individual or assigned power within an employing organization for the purpose of obtaining advantages beyond one's legitimate authority."

Hm.. Perhaps.

I think office politics is about individuals navigating around within the organisation, getting things done the way they want. It is very much about "me, me and me".

Office politics is annoying and more importantly, frustrating.

But it is a little different if you read about it rather than experience it.

Perhaps that is why this particular Chinese novel is so popular in China. (So popular,  the writer wrote 2 sequels for it.) The story has also been made into a TV series and a movie.

The name of the novel is "The Story of Du La La's Promotion". It is my latest read. I'm currently at Book #2 and I must say... I've quite enjoyed Book #1 - I can quite identify with the protagonist's (Du La La) experience, especially because of my 3 years stint in China.

If you are read Chinese, do consider picking up this book. It gives an interesting insight to working in a foreign firm in China.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Laksa Linguine

This is very similar to the fried laksa I made a couple of weeks back.. except I used linguine instead of fresh thick beehoon. This is good for those who can't get fresh beehoon where they are.. or those who happen not to have any at home when cooking this dish (like me).

Be sure to add a little bit more of the pasta water when frying this, as the linguine soak up water pretty quickly.

Recipe here.

Tarragon Rejuvenated

I don't have green fingers.. and I have found herbs especially hard to grow.

Petunia gave me a pot of tarragon a while back.. and it was tall and beautiful, with lots of yummy leaves and pretty, fragrant flowers. I used the leaves in my roasts and the flowers in my salad. But alas, over a few weeks, the leaves turned brown and after a while, it became a pot of dried tarragon.

Frustrated, I trimmed away all the dried leaves and cut the plant up severely, leaving only a relatively short stump behind.

I thought I'd be throwing the entire pot away in no time.

To my surprise, however, green leaves started sprouting out everywhere.. and now, I have a pretty decent looking pot of tarragon again! No flowers yet.. but I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Buah Long Long

This fruit is known to me as "buah long long". I've also heard that the Malay name for it is "buah kedongdong". Quite a cute name, either way.

The "buah long long" fruit has a leathery skin and a thin layer of pulp. The pulp is either eaten fresh, pickled with vinegar and chilli, or made into juice or jelly. It is not a common fruit to find.. even in Singapore. I've had the drink before in Penang as well and have heard that it is also available in Indonesia.

The "buah long long" tree is a useful tree.. and I find it strange that it is not more widely cultivated. The fruit is supposedly "cooling" (ie dispels "heatiness") and diuretic. The roots and bark too, have medicinal value - can be consumed and also used for external application.

In any case, the juice of the "buah long long" tastes great - a bit like lime juice but with a more grassy flavour. With a lot of ice and a sour plum, it is a great drink to have on a scorching hot Sunday afternoon.

Not many stores sell this drink now.. I find this at a Penang restaurant called Gurney Drive at Ang Mo Kio.

P/S: I used I could reccomend this restaurant because I personally love Penang food. Unfortunately, the food used to be a lot better when the restaurant first started. Our assam laksa today was rather disappointing. I'd be writing to them about it.. because there aren't many places where assam laksa is available in Singapore! Watch this space for more!

Showy Lantanas

The combination of very hot morning and early afternoon sun, late afternoon showers and vigorous trimmings sometime back is making my lantanas bounce back to life in a big and showy way.

They look really good now, don't they? The white and yellow one is really blooming in a big way now. The violet one isn't doing as well.. but it is still flowering.

Lantanas are really pretty easy to grow. My experience so far with these 2 pots are lots of sunshine and daily watering. I really ought to get a couple more pots of these. The really add lots of interesting colours to my balcony!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Guess the colour of my Frangipani

The success of our botak frangipani (which is now by the way, ahem, a rather handsome plant) encouraged me to buy another one.

Unfortunately, when I was at World Farm choosing a new frangipani for my balcony, none of the frangipanis there were flowering. So no one, not even the expert at the frangipani area, could tell me what colour flowers they would bear. So I pick out a small plant whose look I liked and carted it home.

2 clumps of flower buds sprouted out a couple of weeks back.. I got really excited. But the buds are growing very slowly. I still can't tell what colour the flowers would be. My other frangipani plant has white and yellow flowers, so I'm really hoping the colour on this one will be a bit different.

What do you think? Would you like to take a guess at the colour of the flowers? Here are pictures of the flower buds.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Distance Based Fares

I have to say - whoever who thought of this idea must have thought himself (or herself) to be really smart.

But really, I beg to differ.

I think distance-based fares is the silliest thing I've heard of. Okay, so maybe I exaggerated. It is probably not the silliest, but it is close.

Public transport is to provide a means of transportation to the general public at a reasonable price. So on the surface, there isn't anything wrong with distance-based charging - the longer you ride, the more you pay. Fair system, yah?

But the general public travelling on public is doing so most of the time to get to work. And many people people work downtown. And in most cities, the further you stay from town, the more reasonably priced your property is.. or the lower your rent is.

And so.. people who stay further from work, who already have to put up with spending more time on the road to get to work will now have to end up paying more as well.

Where then, is the benefit of all this?

Also, elderly or retired folks who travel by public transport may not find it easy or convenient to make multiple transfers so that their travelling costs can be minimized. They don't care as much about travelling longer distances because they have more time. Why should they be penalized by choosing to make less transfers?

Public transport should have relatively flat pricing - 1 flat rate, or a few categories of flat rates at most for really long distance travelling.

Distance-based fares are not as "fair" as they sound to be.. and with all various the errors popping up in the system, they are proving to be complex as well as silly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Eggy breakfast at Botak Backyard

We sometimes visit the Botak Jones store near our place for their steak and fish burger.

I found out recently that Botak Jones opened a new restaurant called Botak Backyard around the Dempsey area. I also saw on their website that they have recently started serving breakfast at the Botak Backyard.

I love eating breakfast on weekends, so we decided to drop by this place on Sunday morning after church. I liked the place even as we were walking it. It is literally like the backyard of this other kid's golf place. The restaurant is all open air, very casual and has a somewhat vacation-like feel to it... I think the vacation-like feel came from the fact that it wasn't overly crowded, like most other popular breakfast spots in town.

The menu is reasonably priced but the breakfast selection was eggs, eggs and then more eggs. I think they also had cereals for those who didn't want eggs. But nothing beyond that.

I ordered the omelet with shitake mushrooms and it meant no more eggs for me for the next 2 weeks because the omelet consisted of 4 medium sized eggs! It was pretty good but did I mention it was 4 eggs!? The Husband and R both had the eggs and bacon, which came with 2 eggs so their breakfast was a little less scary.. 

The food wasn't drop dead fabulous or fantastic, but it was pretty decent and the coffee was good. The portions were certainly healthy (or unhealthy depending on how you view it) and the place was rather nice. It is also conveniently located near the botanical gardens, which would be a good spot to go after breakfast to walk off those 4 egg omelets.

Omelet with shitake mushrooms

Eggs and bacon

I would go back there again on a leisurely Sunday morning before too many people find out about this place.

P/S: I found some really cool lomo camera apps in iStore - these pictures were all taken with the iPhone.

Botak Backyard
Add: 130E Minden Road
Tel: +65-65091225
Breakfast is served only on Thurs - Sun

A bag by a practical woman

My jaws almost dropped when I heard the price tag for this bag.

But you have to admire this bag for what it is - A bag created by a practical woman, for herself.

Coco Chanel got tired of having to carry her handbags in her arms and decided to design a handbag that freed up her hands. And design she did.

She ended up designing a bag that is both practical and distinctive for herself.

Here are a few interesting details about the bag
- The bag's internal lining’s burgundy colour represents the colour of the uniforms at the convent where she grew up. It also makes looking for things in a bag easier. (So clever - How many of us grope around in our bags because the lining is black and too dark for us to find our stuff?)
- There are lots of pockets and compartments for storage - the zippered compartment at the front flap is for her to store her love letters (she was a mistress to someone then) and there is a pocket at the back to store some loose cash
- She designed a double chain shoulder strap. The chains were attached by leather-threaded chain inserted though eyelets so there were strong and lasting.. and her hands can be freed up. The chains were inspired by the nuns at the convent wore to attach keys to their waists.
- Whilst this bag was later designed to have a double CC turn lock, the original 2.55 bag Chanel had had a practical and rectangular shaped lock

Mademoiselle Chanel will be very glad to know that the bag she designed for herself is one of the most famous fashion icons today..

Photos from bagsnob

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Refreshing Cheng Tng

Cheng Tng means "Light Soup" in dialect.

I am not sure why this Chinese dessert is called Cheng Tng. It is probably because this dessert is cooling and can get rid of “heatiness” in a person. Surprisingly, The Husband says he has never heard about this "sweet soup" in Hong Kong when we first had it together in a local hawker centre. It must be a dessert unique to Singapore and Malaysia.

Cheng Tng is a nice dessert to have on a hot day, especially when served cold.

Cheng Tng can be made with a variety of ingredients. The one I made today had white fungus, sterculia seeds (pong dai hai), barley, dried longans and some fresh chinese pears.