Archive for September, 2009

construction in progress

September 30, 2009

TK-compiled

THIS is what I had been busy with. A simple but extremely fun job. Nothing like the mega problems that came with the institutional building I did previously.

Ironically, because of the small scale of things, there are A LOT more minute details to consider and it fills my mind practically everyday.  User requirements, preferences, habits and the suitability of the design to its users. Working out details. Understanding materials (which I’m still learningt). Furniture and fittings’ form, color, texture, durability, suitability to the climate all require thinking through.

I think this is all about balance. How do we achieve balance? Check out this article. Do you agree with the article? As for me, I am in the process of working it out. Stay tuned!

2 more rooms to go! EXCITED!

blogger’s block or blogger is blocked!

September 17, 2009

Haha, I guess this is the writer’s equivalent of a ‘writer’s block’. Sorry for the recent lack of posts. Clashing thoughts, perspective shifts and decisions to be made. Coincidences or Chances, lots of random events happening at the same time, in a week! Exciting but draining.

In times like this, I play this. It reminds me of my trainride.

And this. I love the sounds from the shamisen (more on shamisen soon). Yep I like okinawan music. It has interesting rhythms which I can’t quite put a finger to.

Guess where the soundtrack Parade is adapted to. Thanks to W, I got to know it from NARUTO. Faint.

TWG white house tea

September 12, 2009

TWG WhiteHouseTea

Yup! This is the other amazing TWG tea that I have mentioned previously here. It is therapeutic just looking at the tea leaves and petals float in the pale olive tea.

This is the Pai Mu Tan (otherwise called Bai Mu Dan or White Peony Tea) White Tea.  According to what I’ve found, white teas are young tea leaves with little processing and are strong antioxidants. Because of its delicate taste, it is recommended that the leaves are added to water at 80 degrees to prevent the loss of its flavours. Apparently, it would develop a bitter aftertaste if the temperature of the water is too high.

Like the TWG 1837 Black Tea, the aroma is wonderful and carries the same sweet tones. Gosh. Just writing about it is conjuring up images of this light tea with delicious warm strawberry muffins.

That’s it. I am getting some muffins to go with my White Tea later. Hehe.

lotus root soup + steam fish

September 1, 2009

The high costs of ingredients in my estate’s market has driven me to get my supply of fresh goodies from Toa Payoh at 2/3 the price here. I would take a lift in my FIL’s car to Bishan MRT Station and join the others on their trainrides to work. I like it! Hehe. Being the odd one out, I am ALWAYS amused. ME in my T-shirts, berms and flip flops vs THEM in dresses and heels.

OK. Back to the market. My conclusion is this, Jurong is STILL the CHEAPEST. Alas, Jurong is on the other side of Singapore. Sigh. Since Toa Payoh is an established estate with MANY elderly residents, the prices are pretty reasonable. In fact, the stalls are all manned by old aunties and uncles in their 60s-70s! For one particular stall, the uncle was so old, you queue to pay whilst he slowly lifts each basket of veggies to weigh!

So here it is! My fresh buys from Toa Payoh’s Wet Market.

LOTUS ROOT SOUP

lotusrootsoup

INGREDIENTS

> 600g Pork Bones (or chicken)

> 10 Dried Red Dates & Wolfberry

> 3 Dried Oysters

> 1 Lotus Root (10cm diameter, 20cm length)

> 2 Litres Water

> Salt to taste

Put the pork bones into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil a further 5 mins to remove the blood. Wash the cooked pork bones and scrape off any traces of blood. Discard used water. Prepare another 2 Litres of water and place the pork bone into the pot. Bring to a boil. Add the sliced Lotus Root, Red Dates, Wolfberry and Oysters and boil another 30mins-1hour. Simmer on low fire for a further 4 hours.

If the soup tastes bland due to excess water, just increase the boiling time to intensify the flavours.

The Lotus Roots sold in the markets are covered in mud. Just wash the mud off, peel the skin off the root and slice.

STEAM FISH

steamed fish

INGREDIENTS

> Fresh Fish  (check with the Fishmonger which to steam or fry)

> Salt

> Chinese Wine

> ‘Old’ Ginger (sliced)

> Spring Onions (cut to 1 inch length)

> 1 tbsp Light Soya Sauce

> 1 tsp Sesame Oil

Clean out the gills and all. There is a huge vein running along the rib of the fish which you can see from the opened belly. Make sure that vein is removed (before freezing as well). This would remove the fishy smell from the fish. Rub salt over the fish. Drizzle Chinese Wine over. Stuff Ginger slices and Spring Onions into the fish stomach. Plate the fish. Lay the remaining ginger slices and spring onions above and below the fish. Cling wrap and refrigerate until use.

Boil water in a wok or other steaming appliance. After the water has boiled, place the plate of fish into the wok and steam for 7-10mins (depending on the size of the fish). Poke the fish with a fork. If the meat comes loose easily, it is cooked. Drizzle Light Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil over. Garnish with chopped onions, chinese parsley, fried garlic or fried onions. Serve.

Fresh fish – Choose fishes with bright clear eyes, bright red gills (when you lift the gills) and firm meat.

Tell me how it goes!

TWG 1837 Black Tea

September 1, 2009

tea

I love teas.

However, my tea experience is confined to the brands carried by our local supermarket eg Gryphon, Lipton, Dilmah and Twinings. My favourites are the usual Earl Greys, English Breakfast, Darjeelings, Green Teas and Chamomiles, and always in tea bags. I have a little collection of teas, to match the food I eat, my mood and time of the day. When I am stressed at work, teas calm me down. It has that kind of gentle effect which I credit to the tastes of my choice of teas.

There are occasional exceptions, like the wonderful Yuzu Green Tea (I love Yuzu) at 2am Dessert Cafe in Holland Village, the Brown Rice Teas and the amazing Matcha from Japan. However, I have never explored further than the local supermarkets because of my limited knowledge of brands available here and of course, costs. The last splurge was 4 years ago when I was in Paris and a friend had introduced ‘Fortnum and Masons’ Earl Grey Tea. Teas can be expensive. This led W to wonder which is more costly, beans to produce a cup of coffee (W is a coffee addict) versus tea leaves for a cup of tea.

Months ago, a wonderful friend bought me a bag of tea from TWG (my office farewell gift). That was it. I am lost for words. It spelt the end of my supermarket brands. It can be cruel, to be exposed to more wonderful flavours. It’s TWG’s 1837 Black Tea T6033. It’s a modern tea blend exclusive to TWG. It smells like strawberry cake and tastes so smooth that I kept refilling my pot with water. No leaves should be wasted.

tea_twg

You must try it. And stay tuned for another tea which L just bought me!

homestyle ee-fu noodles

September 1, 2009

Ok guys, this is what I’ve been busy with.

Collecting quick, simple and delicious recipes from my parents and experimenting on them. No worries. I only post recipes after I’ve tried them out at least twice (just in case). Haha. My family likes the dish. Go ahead and tell me how it goes!

eefu-1

eefu-2

RECIPE (serves 6 persons)

> 6 Garlic Cloves (pound and flatten with flat of knife)

> 400g Roast Pork Belly (Cut into chunks across the fat)

> 8 Fresh Shitake Mushrooms (sliced)

> 1/2 Fried Fish Cake (sliced)

> 6 Baby Corns (halved)

> 2oog or 1/2 Can of Pork Ribs Stock (or Chicken Stock)

> 6 Cups of Water (to cover the ingredients for simmering)

> 1 Packet of Ee-fu Noodles (4 pieces)

> 1 Bunch Chye Sim (or other greens, the photo shows Baby Kailan)

> Spring Onions (for garnishing)

Heat up the wok (on large fire). Add 2 Tbsp oil and brown the Garlic Cloves slightly. Add Roast Pork Belly and fry for another 5 mins (approx). Add fish cake, baby corn and mushrooms and fry another 10mins or until vegetables are soft and tender.

Pour Stock and Water to the wok ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Boil a further 10 mins with the cover on. Lower the fire, remove the cover and simmer for another 20mins or until the liquid is reduced. Taste the soup and if it’s tasty enough (and you prefer more liquid to the dish), just add on the noodles. After adding the noodles, bring to a boil and when the noodles are ready, garnish with spring onions and serve.

Just a note. You can add the noodles directly to the mixture above. However I prefer to do a quick rinse of the noodles separately in boiling water to remove excess oil or starch. For the soup/gravy, the quantity of water and stock can be varied to your taste. However, note that the liquid should be sufficient to cover the ingredients for simmering. Cornstarch mixed in cold water, can be added later to give a thicker consistency. I don’t add salt because the Roast Pork Belly is savoury and adds to the flavour.

The stock I use, available from most supermarkets. To remove fat, just place the can in the freezer before use. The fat would coagulate at the surface and easily skimmed off from the can.

1055

That’s the fun thing about Chinese Cooking. Just vary any of the ingredients to your liking (I add carrots and other mushrooms too) to make your own homestyle ee-fu noodles.