Thursday, 24 December 2009

Fried Bee Hoon

For once this dish didn't fall and crumble into short broken bits of rice sticks in my hands. With Wendy's help, it became a delicious, wholesome lunch... though we think we can do with more double the amount of canned pork belly next time, for that nostalgic taste.

We realised after devouring our creation, the fried shallot toppings were way pass its expiry date.

You Can't See Me

I found Saffi sitting on my bed one afternoon looking at the direction of my wardrobe and turned to see Oscar sitting in it.

He pretended not to see me.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Saffi is 6!

While most times just being totally cat-like and snoozy, other times Saffi likes to imitate people.

I realised that years ago when she used to get out of bed with me in the morning when the alarm goes off, she'd sit on the bathroom rug right behind me grooming, while I brush my teeth. Only she didn't have to go to work.

Sometimes wide awake and idling, she watches tellie with me and she likes to watch close to the set like she's short-sighted.

She sits across the table or alongside me when I'm having dinner, though most of the time refusing the offer of food. Just sitting there to be part of it.

Whenever I iron or tidy the clothes she makes attempts to help. But such enthusiasm don't last and sleep would take over.

When prepping my face at the mirror, often I catch her watching from the reflection.

She stares in disbelief when I use the hair-dryer and wonders why I allow myself to suffer under the hot-air monster jet.

Some stormy nights she would snuggle up close and lean against me. She'd even get herself under the duvet for safety.

She goes to the door when someone comes home, and hangs around in the kitchen when we cook. As if she's giving a hand.

She's a funny friend. On 14th December she's officially 6 years old. Happy Birthday Saffi, and keep doing what you do best!

Second Time Snowy

Arriving at London Heathrow yesterday morning was a little painful. Not after an hour's delay on ground which saw the aircraft departing at midnight in Singapore, not because I hardly rested through an oddly busy 13 hours' flight, and neither was it because after we made our way from terminal 3 to 5 that we had to wait an hour at the belt to get our baggages. But it was cold outside. Colder when you're tired.

At 6.30am local time, as I stood waiting at the bus stop I couldn't help but miss the woollen scarf and leather gloves I left at home.

When I looked out of the window at 10pm last night, it was snowing heavily and everything was mono-toned. A little scary, but kinda pretty that way:

This was taken at 6am this morning, when morning's just broken.

Monday, 7 December 2009

“It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it.” - Julia Child

Monday, 23 November 2009

Jump, Saffi. Jump!

She jumps to touch the top to impress me :)

Penang Assam Laksa in Geylang

I'm glad to have discovered a shop by Geylang MRT Station that serves pretty good Penang Laksa.

When served up, the colour of the gravy is much too orange, the gravy too thick. It's also the wrong kind of noodles - authentic ones from Penang have noodles that are glassy, tad thicker and more Q. This one uses our laksa beehoon. These fussy details aside, you'd have to agree it's a darn decent, almost hard-to-find Penang delicacy, one of my favourite food.

The Prawn Mee here is just as good, if not better. A rich tasty broth with your choice of noodles, it makes for a real satisfying meal.

At just $3 per bowl, go ahead and upsize ($4) or order both if you're indecisive and greedy like me.

Address: No. 76, Lorong 25A Geylang, Singapore 388258

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 16 November 2009

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Aeroplanes Disappear Into Cloudy Skies

No it's not another Air France tragedy. Just foul weather. It's a shame the weather's rubbish when I'd like to go shopping. It's 3:16 in the afternoon. Instead I'm wallowing in the room watching really old TV Play version of Alice In Wonderland.

This picture is taken from my room. Look still, but the trees have been threatening to fall over all day. Feel chilly just watching them sway.

Met Office predicts several days of stormy weather. I'm going home Monday night.

Piping Hot Goodness On A Rainy Night

I've heard about a late night stall selling delicious Yong Tau Foo. As a huge fan of YTF (it can easily be my staple diet), I received the calling on a wet Sunday morning at 2am. So the couch potatoes, clad in comfortable local style home clothes - sometimes known as sleepwear, drove themselves to the said stall eager to satisfy their appetite for warm comfort food.

The hawker centre was quiet with most stalls closed for the day but there was a crowd and they were all savouring the same messy soupy item, the centrepiece of every table. As if standard protocol, one potato joined the queue at the stall, the other went to pick the soup ingredients out of a wide variety into our very own metal basin.

Be prepared to wait around 45 minutes before you sit down with the steaming hot pot of fresh YTF. When ordering, specify your choice of carb (we had beehoon dry that comes with crispy toppings and sauce), then indicate if you'd like green vegetables, fried anchovies and chilli padi - yes, fiery hot ones - in your soup.

The above pictured was shared by 3 potatoes and cost about $20

Verdict? It's not the most refined food presentation, neither the finest of culinary skills. It's a mass of freshly prepared ingredients all cooked the same way in the tasty pork stock. Yet there's something about the dish that's really inviting. I'll be back soon.

Shun Li Yong Tau Foo is located at:
Henderson Market / Bukit Merah View Hawker Centre, Block 116
Opens 11pm – 4am (or until sold out)
Close on Mondays

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Boat That Rocked

To all our listeners, this is what I have to say - God bless you all. And as for you bastards in charge, don't dream it's over. Years will come, years will go, and politicians will do fuck all to make the world a better place. But all over the world, young men and young women will always dream dreams and put those dreams into song. Nothing important dies tonight, just a few ugly guys on a crappy ship. The only sadness tonight is that, in future years, there'll be so many fantastic songs that it will not be our privilege to play. But, believe you me, they will still be written, they will still be sung and they will be the wonder of the world.

- The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman)

Chocolate Cookies

Chewy chocolatey cookies attempted with healthier choices. Because C is for Cookies, as is for Calories :P

Mixture A:
2 cups plain flour (subsituted 1 cup with organic wholemeal flour)
2/3 cup cocoa powder (this is nice. never substitute cocoa)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mixture B:
1 cup butter, softened (I used 3/4 cup)
1 1/2 cup white sugar (used 1 cup in my recipe for semi sweetness)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups chocolate chips (in this case 1 1/2 chocolate bar smashed into bits)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used a lone neglected pack of almond flakes instead)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Mmm... Mmm... Melaka!

Seizing the long weekend in September, we went to Malacca. About 3 hours north of the dot by car. I've not been to East Malaysia so I can't compare, but Malacca has to be my favourite state in Peninsula Malaysia (next to Penang, for gastronomical reasons). I like that it stands out from the rest with its Peranakan heritage.

For 3 days we savoured traditional Nonya delights, popular Malaysian hawker fare, never-before Satay in communal gravy, had one two many Chendols. We amused ourselves nightly at the singing contest that was held at the famous Jonker stage in remembrance of a certain 30's Chinese singer Zhou Xuan.

We stayed at a lovely guesthouse by the river right behind Jonker Street called Heeren House. Will try to book Puri next time.

Photo album here. We're planning to go again.

Caught and Candid

Saffi likes to wallow in the middle of your paperwork

Oscar greets residents with a half stomach crunch, then goes back to sleep

Elliot plays with pink (well, used to be. Now brownish like it's got ran over by a truck. A few trucks.) bunny in bed

Saturday, 10 October 2009

I've Been Razzled and Dazzled

London is getting colder. It is autumn, I haven't seen any sight resembling its beauty - just wet, cold, winter-transitioning climate.

One such Friday a few of us decided to head out to Leicester Square and catch a musical. We went for Chicago this time, one I've been meaning to watch. Discounted, 30pounds for one of Cambridge Theatre's beat seats. I'm happy as a bird despite the rainy evening.

The story circles around feisty showgirls Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, set in the 20s Chicago where big bands holler and scandals loom. A witty sizzling tale of men, women, cheating, murder, and fame. The UK cast were brilliant, and I especially adore the voice of Linzi Hately who played the demanding role of Roxie.

It was a captivating 2hr 20min. Though there were no massive props and wardrobe changes, I didn't feel that the musical was anything less of a gripping and highly entertaining performance.

The official UK site.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Human Pillow

Sometimes I get pins and needles because I let my cat sleep on various parts of my body. Mostly a foot, or a hand.

Below: she took the opportunity when I was reading a magazine in bed.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Saffi, All Stressed Up

There was a major renovation last month in the apartment right above mine. Anyone suffered such an experience would know that you're lucky to have survived it sane, and without loss of hearing - permanently, at least.

If cats hear noises 8 times louder, you can imagine the agony all 3 cats at home had to endure for many days. They all scurry around finding places to hide.

Pictured here, Saffi hid under the duvet in an attempt to mask out drilling noises. As I peeped, she looked nothing but wide awake and frus. When noise subsided/ during lunch time she came out and slept like a log. Sometimes you see her wondering around the flat, looking up at the ceiling where the drilling was taking place.

Poor thing... I hope she's caught up with all that sleep debt since.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

"So sharp, you won't feel a thing..."

Monday, 8 June 2009

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Charming Cotswold

Towards the end of April England seemed to be coming out of the dreary winter with sunshine and warmer temperatures. Some of us took the opportunities and went on a little road trip to Cotswold on a hired Saab.

The drive to Cotswold along the highway was smooth and it took just a couple of hours from Heathrow. Famed as the "Heart of England" and the biggest of England's 40 "Area of Outstanding Beauty", Cotswold is made up of little villages and towns many built with limestone. One of my favourites is Bourton-on-the-Water, where a beautiful stream with stone bridges lines the quaint village.

Another one is Chipping Campden, an old town made rich by wool trading in the middle ages, now known for its artisanal presence.

I appreciate the fresh air and the tranquility. It was a truly idyllic getaway... the pictures do no justice to the beauty of the area. You've got to be there to experience true old England!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Lunch Party for Seven

So cute. Some of them have their paws in the dish. Some eat quicker than others. Some just can't concentrate.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Kuala Lumpur Revisited

We took our little Subaru R1 (or was it the other way round?) to KL on May Day and stayed two nights. It's been awhile since I last visited the capital of Malaysia and it's always been a food tour more than anything - I missed the Ampang Yong Tau Foo above all. I wanted to ta paw. Armed with a little GPS device on the iPhone we made our way to places for food.

However with comparison, Penang is still the leading foodie's paradise. Geographically, Penang and JB should swap place.

Saffi and (another) Friend

Previous friend as seen here.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Mothers-and-Daughters Taipei Tour

It was a nice, free and easy 5-day trip for the ladies in April. Because I should be responsible for the last minute bookings, and possibly because I am not a mother nor a 5-year-old child, plus it's my sister's birthday, there are enough reasons for me to be in-charge of the itenerary and the designated tour leader although I've never been to Taiwan.

In the 5 days we managed to visit temples, night markets, national museum and other tourist attractions, conquered the skyscraping Taipei 101, took tarins and buses up north to the waterfalls and 'old streets', invaded the popular shopping places in the city, experiemented the must-try local snacks. At the end of each eventful day our limbs are tired, but our bellies and shopping bags full.

Friday, 22 May 2009

It's The Real (Big) Thing

Bill Backer, creative director on the Coca-Cola account for McCann-Erickson was in a plane that got diverted to Ireland due to a fog in London. At the airport he got inspired by the group of passengers, sharing their experiences over the said drink. These people come from all over the world, and they're keeping each other company.

When he met up with Coca-Cola's Music Director later, he wrote on a napkin "I'd like to buy the world a Coke", where Billy Davis replied that if he could buy the world something, it'd be a home with peace and love to share.

I saw this ad once again on the UK tv recently. It was a programme about 'memorable tv commercials' and interviewed one of the lip-synching youth as she relates how they were gathered and taught the song over a few days and then the recording begun.

The ad that changed the world in 1971:

I'd like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves

I'd like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That's the real thing

What the world wants today
Is the real thing

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

New Pink Toy *Wink*

I am so pleased with my new Netbook, the Asus Eee PC (1000HA) fondly named 'Birdie'. Evidently Saffi likes it too cos she being a copycat also fancies pink things.

It is official. This new gadget is going to replace my good old Sony Vaio which remained a trusted work machine (obviously grey and silver in colour for that purpose) and the latter will be inherited by my 14yr old nephew.

Sniff. The memories.

Is it normal to feel sentimental over hardwares and appliances? As a kid I take my Sony walkman everywhere as if it was my life line. Once my brother and I had a tiff - ok, for he wouldn't let me watch my channel on the tellie, said something hurtful then completely ignored my feelings even after I had spilled my bag of popcorns (then I liked them sweet) - I stormed into the room, grabbed his AIWA walkman and smashed it on the ground. Mean, I know. I do regret and am still very sorry. But that got his attention.

I also develop feelings for mobile phones. My first, a hand-me-down from the above-mentioned distressed brother, was a very sleek black Ericsson. Alright, that having compared to the previous generation of water-bottle type Motorola. I use my phones for a long time and subsequent ones I kept nicely in their boxes, some still with original protective covers intact.

We all have said something memorable over our phones and have waited and stared at them, haven't we?

There are also sentimental feelings for rice cookers, televisions, etc. But I am digressing.

Here are some pictures to bring us back to the point:

Monday, 11 May 2009

Love Animals? Protect them.

The Animal Protectors Grant
If you have an idea for a project that will have a positive impact on animal welfare here in Singapore, you can apply for one of six grants (maximum $1,500 each) at the Singapore Animal Welfare Symposium (SAWS) 2009.

Last year, nine grants were awarded in 2008, for a range of projects including producing educational children's books on animal protection, making a documentary on animal welfare, raising public awareness on the illegal wildlife trade and sterilising stray cats.

More information here:

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


It's not easy to say who your favourite singer-songwriter is but surely there's one who moves you either with words, melody or simply, voice.

When I first heard the song Crying I was a mere primary school kid. It was my brother (then in his early teens) who told me that voice belongs to k.d. lang. Curious it didn't bother me at all that I couldn't figure out whether she's a boy or a girl (although I was surprised to learn during that time - also from my brother - that the singer of Fast Car is indeed a woman).

The 80s' version recorded by Roy Orbison featured a duet with k.d. lang and there's a black and white video you can find on That being one of the most memorable duet in history, it's k.d. lang's voice that kills me. That concert she did in Singapore in 2005 reminded me what a charming and heart-breaking singer she is. Watching her sing 'Crying' live took me back in time to the eighties, how I stopped doing whatever I was doing and quietly watched her from the back of the tiny HDB living room, completely mesmerised by the emotions powered through her pipes.

Try as I might, I can't recall the programme that was broadcasted on our national tv - could it be Grammys? A concert tribute to Roy Orbison? Anyhow, I found this one on youtube where she performed live in Sydney, with tour-accompanying guitarist John 5 (ex guitarist with Marilyn Manson).

Her latest album Watershed is good but previous ones are more memorable. Hymns of the 49th Parallel is so brilliant, it hurts.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Fear (and Too Many Questions)

In the midst of the epidemic outbreak I imagined: If you develop symptoms tomorrow, need to be quarantined and not sure whether you'd survive...

Will you worry about that late credit card payment? Losing your job? The well-being of your pets? The errand that needs running? Will you worry about the people worrying about you?

If there's nothing in your isolation except for your phone, who will you call and what will you say?

Are we afraid of dying because of death? Or because we haven't done what we ought to do? Will we have time - and finally courage, to make arrangements for our ageing parents, find our pets a good home, sort out benefitiaries, tell our friends and family how much we love them, declare your feelings to the crush of your life, or to even say goodbye?

I let myself wonder and then I panicked. The worst thing to carry with you when you die is not virus, debt, or pain.

Since most of us can't plan our deaths, does that mean regrets are inevitable? Even though we've all heard the saying, will we ever live today like it's the last?

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Of Birds and Tom Yum

Not too long ago I discovered a good Thai restaurant at Alexandra Village. It's one of the shophouses facing Queensway Shopping Centre. Despite its humble appearance the food there is worth going back for. Better for small groups or family as the portion can be large, plus you will tend to order a variety.

I'd love to order every item on the menu. Of those we had, the Kang Kong is surprisingly fragrant; the stuffed Chicken Wings were impressive and with every bite you taste the minced chicken, water chestnut and corn (imagine the labour behind each boneless wing). We also had the seafood Tom Yum Goong which is a generous portion though I think it's been adjusted to suit Singaporeans... certainly not as spicy and sour as those I had in Thailand but it's good nonetheless. The fried fish looks better than it taste - not bad, but I'll try the steam fish next time.

Joe's Kitchen is at Blk 123 Bukit Merah Lane, #01-182, Singapore 150125. Yes, Joe is the Thai owner.

On the way to the restaurant from the carpark I took this photo:

Thursday, 9 April 2009

I Like Fat Fruits

There has been avocado in my diet, daily - for about a week now. Those California handrolls and sandwiches I had in Sydney were packed with avocados. During my usual grocery shopping there, I see them... soft and ripe, irresistable.

So I've been having salads and breads with avocados. Very yummy. And then I remember the fat content of an avocado in the midst of devouring it, I looked it up on the internet:

1) Avocados have a high fat content - about 20 times the average for other fruits. A typical avocado contains 30 grams of fat, but 20 of these fat grams are health-promoting monounsaturated fats, especially oleic acid.

2) Oleic acid helps lower cholesterol. Tests have shown that subjects consuming avocados for a week (that's me!) had significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, along with an 11% increase in health promoting HDL cholesterol. Oleic acid has also been shown to offer significant protection against breast cancer, prostate cancer as well as oral cancer.

3) Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Avocados also contain more potassium than bananas, and Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and reduces risk of stroke.

4) Anti-oxidants addicts alert: avocados are also a very concentrated dietary source of the carotenoid lutein; it also contains carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, plus significant quantities of tocopherols (vitamin E). We all know this is good for skin, nails, hair, eyes...

There, enough reasons to go grab those green goodies now. But if you have a latex allergy, you may very likely be allergic to avocados!

Web Layout for Print?

I've been seeing this Qatar ad on Today paper and I can't help but relate it to a webpage. A screen capture. Is it the layout? The little watermark patterns on the side?

Is there a need to design differently for print?

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Mini Muffins

I just felt like making muffins. Plain ol' muffins. They were minis because I only have mini cupcakes baking tray and paper liners. Then I browsed the internet and got inspired/distracted so things got a bit more complicated:

First there was the apple cinnamon variety, then came the idea of putting buttery crumbs on top so it's like apple crumble muffins. 'Pink Lady' apples peeled and chopped, and Wendy (who's also my taster) let me use some of her freshly grounded cinnamon powder.

The second lot, I made chocolate almond version. Many almonds, not enough chocolates. Damn those Hersheys chips that went way past its expiry, I had to manually smash and break half a bar to get chocolate chunks but still not enough!

In a desperate attempt to make the third variety more chocolatey, I added extra cocoa powder to the remaining mixture and used them as toppings. They were dark so I sprinkled some instant oats to make them look cute.

These were made with 100% organic wholemeal flour for a healthier option and they should fill you up better. I'm a fan of wholemeal so the taste was fine for me. But I think they don't rise as well? Will try a mix to find out. Also, minis are tricky so I'll make large ones next time. The apple cinnamon lot turned out to be most popular.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Hungry? Sleepy?

You know the feeling when you are tired and meant to be sleeping, but just keep thinking about food? Then you suspect you're really hungry. Even channel surfing cannot distract the mind from items listed in the menu. After hours of futile resistence, I ordered room service - a Cajun Chicken Burger topped with what seemed like a WHOLE avocado, served with piping hot potato wedges.

It's bad because:

1) I had a Quarter-Pounder from McDonald's the same day;
2) It was 3am;
3) I'm AUD$28 poorer;
4) I fell asleep an hour later.

Saffi and Friend

Sometimes when she good mood, friend can sit on top.