Archive for July, 2009

think

July 24, 2009

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub,
It is the centre hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel,
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room,
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there,
Usefulness from what is not there.

lao tzu

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my nosy husband

July 23, 2009

My husband, always experimenting and disrupting my ROUTINES, have DONE IT AGAIN! Amused with blog stats and poor categorizing (or lack of), he took it upon himself to log on to my website and fiddled with the controls in bid to do a major ‘clean up’. Add Tags, re-categorize, change caps, create links.

W : ‘Why are some of your categories or titles in caps and some are not?’

Me : ‘Erm, I like how it looks? It’s suitable for the content.’

W : ‘Hmm. Oh well. Let’s see, what’s this? Why is it categorised under environment. That’s not right. I’ll re-tag it for you.’

Me : ‘whoops!’

W : ‘I don’t like the title simplified mango lassi. I will change it. Hey wait a minute. Why didn’t I get to try the lassi?!’

Me : ‘Don’t touch that!!!’

W : ‘I will add advertisements for you.’

Me : ‘NOooo! Stay away!’

Faint.

So, there he is sitting there right now, amusing himself and amusing me at the same time too. Haha.

the best personal assistants

July 23, 2009

are your own kids so that you can ‘arrow’ them to do work for you (via JapanProbe). Haha. It is a Japanese Programme where they send kids <5years old on errands. They are so cute and sweet. You must watch them!

old time singapore

July 22, 2009

I was surprised at the ambience in Changi Village. It’s a totally different world here. Un-Singapore-ish and very ‘kampong’. It’s got a relaxing, laid back feel  that is real and down to earth. Unlike town centres with huge suburban malls and franchise Kopitiams, Changi Village retained the flavour of old time town centres that I was familiar with. Top it off with nature boardwalks, wildlife, kids and uncles fishing, yachts, ubin seafood restaurant and *surprisingly* fantastic hawker fare at the market to Spanish Tapas Tree along the main road, you’ve got a unique combination unmatched by others in mainland Singapore.

CHANGI VILLAGE PARK

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WILDLIFE!

This is one very SMART monkey I tell you. Believe me when I tell you it was checking out for oncoming cars before crossing the road. The best thing was, it took the ZEBRA CROSSING when it could have just went straight on (see pic)! It must have observed pedestrian and traffic movement before it decided to cross the roads. 

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CHARLIE’S CORNER

This is a really quaint retro place at the corner of the hawker centre with delicious fish and chips and scallop and chips! Nice! Flanked by shady trees, it is a really cool nice place to chill out and chit chat.

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AMAZING HAWKER FARE

I seriously think the food here is better than anywhere else! Beef Noodles (mixed) and Chicken Chop Ipoh Hor Fun. Check this out on ieatishootipost (a fantastic blog for hawker food) I had the mutton briyani and Sri Bastiri Ayam Penyet too (so good!) but forgot my camera! I’ll be going back for my favourite Nasi Lemak store for breakfast soon!

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TAPAS TREE

The Seafood Paella has been adapted to the local’s tastes. Nevertheless its really tasty and I’ll definitely be going back. We also tried the grilled Asparagus wrapped in Jamon (W’s favourite!). Really nice. A meal there comes with Olives FOC. Yum!

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Sangria is 1 for 1 from 5-8pm! We had the traditional red Sangria and white Sangria. I liked the Sangria alot and wanted another but the alcohol was acting up so W had to pull me back. Heh.

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CHANGI VILLAGE BOARDWALK

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VIEW FROM CHANGI VILLAGE HOTEL

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Out of the world isn’t it.

sunset @ changi village

July 21, 2009

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It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed the sunset from the beach. It was a peaceful and pleasant after dinner walk with W as we explored the park, chit chat and took in the waves around us. There were families fishing, barbequeing, cycling and taking walks too unlike East Coast Park which is overcrowded with noisy kids, numerous pubs and blaring music.

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I love planes. They bring you to faraway places. Heh.

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I was really pleased when I saw the large pink setting sun which unfortunately didn’t look too big in the above photo.

sandwich galore!

July 17, 2009

The light rye bread, Herb Focaccia buns, Blackforest Ham, Roast Beef and Smoked Turkey Ham I bought just days back expires this week! ARGH.

In my attempt to reduce wastage, I’ve been having sandwiches for both breakfasts and lunches this past week. I was never THAT HEALTHY. My breakfast is usually a simple assemble of 2 slices of soft toast slathered with butter and kaya accompanied with a small cup of coffee. VERY KILLINEY (pic from Killiney)

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Oh well, I guess it is good in a way coz like Gordon Ramsay has ‘highlighted’ in his show in Hell’s Kitchen, ‘Taste your food!’. Up to now, I’ve been rather pleased with the results so since my appointment with THE CLIENT has been changed to Monday, *YEAH!* that leaves me with some time to share the following recipes with you guys!

ROAST BEEF & MOZZI SANDWICH

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INGREDIENTS > 2 Slices Roast Beef . Mozarella Cheese . Black Olives . Basil . Jap Mayo and Mustard . Wheat Bread (Sun Moulin)

This is the first time I’ve tried Roast Beef. The look of it always puts me off. BUT. Imagine my surprise when I first tasted it. It has a subtle flavour that is not overpowering and goes really well with the cheese! Got them from Cold Storage for S$5.71 for 9 thin slices. Black Olives are the first for me too! The flavour is not too sharp as compared to the green ones or maybe its the liquid used to preserve the olives that made the difference. Must find out more. Hmm.

BLACKFOREST HAM & ASPARAGUS

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INGREDIENTS > 1 Slice Blackforest Ham . Asparagus . Basil . Brie . Toasted Walnuts . Raisins . Multigrain Bread (Gardenia)

I first read about Blackforest Ham in PaniniHappy and I was surprised to see it sold in Meidiya. It’s got a really nice flavour and cheap too! I also love Asparagus in sandwiches. They give a refreshing taste and crunch to the sandwich. Walnuts give the extra crunch to the combination and I like using raisins coz they lend some sweetness to the sandwich without being overly fruity.

SMOKED TURKEY WITH BRIE SANDWICH

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INGREDIENTS > 1 Slice Smoked Turkey Ham . Brie . Toasted Walnuts . Black Olives . Basil . Jap Mayo . Ikea’s Lingon Berry Jam . Herb Foccacia (Cold Storage)

I love smoked turkey ham the most! On the date of its expiry, I fried up the rest with red onions and beaten eggs flavoured with soya sauce. A modified version of ‘fuyong dan’. It tastes great! I’m gonna get more of this from Cold Storage. No wonder this is the bestseller amongst the Turkey Hams.

WHITE SALAMI & MOZZI SANDWICH

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INGREDIENTS > Salami . Mozarella . Basil . Jap Mayo . Light Rye Bread (Cold Storage)

This is my Breakfast today in bid to use up the Light Rye Bread. Argh. But there’s still half a loaf left. If you have noticed by now. I use Basil Leaves in every sandwich. I love it! Basil gives it the ‘gourmet’ tastes that you get from restaurants.

SALAMI ASPARAGUS & KUMATO SANDWICH

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INGREDIENTS > 3  Slices Salami . Asparagus . 1 Kumato . Basil . Black Olives . Toasted Walnuts . Ikea’s Lingon Berry . Brie . Cheddar . Herb Focaccia (Cold Storage)

This is my lunch today and I have managed to use up all the meats. Only 1 Focaccia Bun left and 1/2 a loaf of Light Rye to go. Fortunately I have a fresh batch of Asparagus, 1 Kumato (keeps surprising well for 2 weeks!) and bits and pieces of leftover cheeses and walnuts to go with the bun. Sandwiches are great for leftovers because you can throw anything in and yet produce a wonderful tasty sandwich! This time, I added Ikea’s Lingon Berry Jam to give it a fruitier flavour and it turned out really well against the salami!

spruce

July 15, 2009

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L has done it again! She brought me to a lovely restaurant SPRUCE along Tanglin Road 2 days ago. A beautifully furnished restaurant with an alfresco area and tables spaced comfortably apart, it’s just great for long afternoon tea conversations.

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Niche cafes with lots of character, popping up in the most unlikely of places, is becoming a trend. Though not so accessible (unless you take a taxi or a long walk from the bus stop), it’s a refreshing break from franchises that are a common sight in Singapore. It’s exciting and I certainly look forward to more in the near future. Apart from introducing better food options, it shows creativity on how personal interpretation of an old space, when done tastefully, could ‘spruce’ up the area and regain a building’s dignity.

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Each seating area is peppered with textures, little details and colours to differentiate the space. Nice.

The cheese platter is WONDERFUL. I never knew cheese platter tastes so good! Though it’s pricey (S$15), I think it’s worth it. I buy cheese often from Cold Storage and though much cheaper, do not have the depth nor robustness of these cheeses. The Brie sold in the supermarket is mild in flavour. BUT, this Brie is intense. I really love it. I am a convert now but I think I need to find cheaper sources. Heh.

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L liked the brownies whilst I find the scones a tad on the dry side and was slightly disappointed that it came with no clotted cream but despite that, the ambience and reasonable pricing made up for it. L tried their burgers for dinner previously and apparently it’s pretty good. Since it’s wheelchair friendly, I’ll be bringing my great grandmother along to sample their offerings for dinner real soon!

johor jaya pasar malam

July 15, 2009

Two words to describe this – ‘TRULY ASIA’.

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Have been traversing Johor (Malaysia) frequently these few weeks and a local friend had informed us of this amazing place. A pasar malam set up every Tuesdays in Johor Jaya that starts from 5pm. My parents told me this is reminiscent of our old time Singapore before the big clean up by our government. It had a bustling atmosphere of bright colours, wonderful smells and nostalgic sounds of hawkers frying through their woks to churn out delicious food!

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Above (clockwise) Yong Tau Foo, Peanut Kueh, HK Salt Baked Chicken, Fried Goodies.

Below (clockwise) Roast Duck, Fried Carrot Cake, Fried Dough Fritters.

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We didn’t have the time to sample the wonderful food offerings but we intend to do so SOON.

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They sell almost EVERYTHING from little nick nacks like nail clippers, joss sticks, locks, snacks, dvds, bedsheets and bees?! Wow.

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Remember these sweets?! Heh.

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The Nonya Kueh colours are beautiful! I really can’t wait to try them!

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Ultraman and Spiderman stickers and all sorts of domestic wares and appliances.

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Johor Jaya is really interesting with its myriad of colours and textures. It has got a real down to earth character about it and it sells really cheap fresh produce as well. I think I’ll consider buying veggies from here soon since most of our vegetables are from Malaysia anyways. Heh.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo vs Park Hyatt Tokyo

July 6, 2009

L and C are both going to Tokyo! I feel so excited for them!

I remembered the wedding gift they had given us for our honeymoon in 2007, it was a one night stay at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo. A Club King Room with access to the Club Lounge that includes continental breakfast, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. A Big Thank You to you both! It was a truly amazing experience. The service is impeccable. The level of care given to details extends right down to the layout of the teacups in your room.

The stay spoilt us. For the last trip to Tokyo in Feb 09, we decided to check out the Park Hyatt Tokyo because of the fabulous views we saw from the New York Bar from our Honeymoon trip. They were having a promotion then, hence the splurge. Haha.

L and C were wondering which hotel to stay in Tokyo. Hence I decided to do a little write up on both hotels for them to decide, or perhaps try both since they are quite different in terms of experience and location. But I won’t divulge too much since it’d more exciting for them to discover on their own.

RECEPTION

In Park Hyatt Tokyo, service is the key and it starts from the reception. They bring you to a beautiful sitting room with individual reception tables spaced apart for your privacy, they sit you down and make you feel like a Royal during the whole process of check in. They have the ability to make you feel comfortable even if you’re not ladened with diamonds like the beautiful rich Japanese ladies at the next table! Hah. After the check-in, they would bring you to your room and do an introduction to all the details within the room.

In this aspect, the Grand Hyatt Tokyo functions more like a business hotel. They adopt the usual system whereby  you would stand at the reception for check in. The bell boy then pick up your bags and bring you to your room without any introduction to your room (despite it being a Club King). In Park Hyatt Tokyo, this is blurred. There seemed to be no bell boys so you feel really privileged. That’s how well they do it!

However, kudos to the Grand Hyatt Tokyo when we extended one more night on our own and wanted a downgrade to the Deluxe. They maintained our rooms and allowed us continued access to the Club Lounge and free access to the Spa pool! It really made our day.

LOCATION

I figure one of the reasons why Park Hyatt Tokyo emphasized so much on service was because of its location. What they don’t have, they made up for it via service. Unlike the Grand Hyatt Tokyo which is located in Roppongi, a high-end shopping area with amazing shopping and not forgetting Midtown next to it which features amazing boutiques, shops (muji included) and cafes like Sadaharu Aoki, Park Hyatt Tokyo can be deathly quiet, quite like our CBD area on weekends. Not exciting. However, PHT provide shuttle bus services for drop offs and pick ups at Shinjuku station at scheduled times.

FOOD AND SPA

Grand Hyatt Tokyo (GHT)! The Nagomi Spa is amazing. But that is available only if you take the Club Kings and above (otherwise you’d have to pay a fee). You get complimentary access to the Spa with massage chairs, snacks, teas and of course the amazing pool with equally amazing toiletries. Haha. Each dressing table is furnished with new hairbrushes, hairbands and all sorts of face lotions! Total luxury. Also, with the Club, you get to have a nice buffet spread for breakfast and amazing hors d’oeuvres/cocktails from 5-7pm which doubled as our dinner. I thought we were cheapskate but don’t worry, EVERYONE esle is doing THE SAME. The offerings were so good I forgot to take a picture!

Park Hyatt Tokyo (PHT) doesn’t offer this. It seems to me that a fee is required to use the spa regardless of the type of room you buy. BUT. The complimentaries of coffee and tea in the room is really good. Very good quality and exotic flavours.

TOILETRIES

This is what I check out first! Haha. PHT uses Aesop whilst GHT uses an amazing brand known as Subtilis which I have never heard of but wish I could cart home bottles of it!

THE VIEW

Ok. The view at PHT is unbeatable. Look closely at the picture and you’ll be able to spot Mount Fuji. The night view from PHT hotel room is awesome. It’s really nice to have your coffees and teas with the amazing view before you, whilst you have chats with your partner. Likewise, if you choose to stay in GHT, just pop over to the New York Bar (no reservations) where you can drink, enjoy the jazz and take in the view. However in GHT, the view we got was the adjacent office building with its hordes of hardworking Japanese Staff.

AIRPORT BUS EXPRESS

Both hotels offer Airport Bus Express for a fee. In fact, after picking up guests from Grand Hyatt, it would make its way to pick up guests from Park Hyatt Hotel. In this case, Grand Hyatt is thoughtful because they would offer free takeaway coffees and teas which you could bring up the bus. Heh.

PARK HYATT TOKYO

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NEW YORK BAR @ Park Hyatt Tokyo

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GRAND HYATT TOKYO

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SADAHARU AOKI

salted caramel tart

YOU MUST TRY the SALTED CARAMEL TART! Sadaharu is located in Midtown Basement. It has an attached cafe where you can have their cakes with coffee.

To all my friends going to Tokyo, hope the above information helps! I have more information lined up on where to eat and shop so stay tuned!

Lemon Grass Drink

July 3, 2009

lemongrass drink

Think I’m in a cooking frenzy lately, inspired by my fresh buys in the market yesterday (read previous post). This is another of my buys from yesterday’s market excursion. Heh. Fresh Lemongrass!

I first tried this drink years back in a Viet Restuarant and I was hooked immediately but I never drank it again because I don’t frequent Vietnamese restaurants often. Recently, we discovered an amazing Thai Restaurant (will update later) which serves the Lemongrass drink. This prompted me to recreate the drink! I simply love the aroma from Lemongrass!

RECIPE

> Pandan Leaves (I used 5 medium leaves)

> 8 Lemongrass Stalks

> 1 4x4x4cm Rock Sugar

> 1.5 Litres of Water

> Honey to taste

Boil a pot of water. In the meantime, remove any withered Lemongrass and trim the tip and the base of the plant. Split the Lemongrass into half lengthwise and pound the Lemongrass to release the flavours.

When the water has come to a boil, dunk the Pandan Leaves, Lemongrass and Rock Sugar into the pot. Bring to a boil. Turn down the fire and let simmer over low heat for 30 mins, covered. Avoid simmering for too long because it would have a bitter aftertaste. After 30mins, turn off the fire and leave to cool in the pot. After it has warmed down, add honey to taste and serve with ice!

Whilst cooking the drink, a nice soothing aroma from the lemongrass would sift through your kitchen. I think it is a pretty fragrant and therapeutic drink. So do try it!