Strawberry/Blueberry Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1/3 – 1/2 cup milk
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  9. 1 cup of chopped strawberries/ whole blueberries

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir well.
  3. Pour oil into a measuring jug. Add egg and fill the jug to the 1-cup line with milk.
  4. Add vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
  5. Add milk texture to the bowl. Use a fork to combine. Batter must be sticky but must not be too watery or too thick. (If the batter is too thick, add a teaspoon of milk.)
  6. Fold in the strawberries or blueberries.
  7. Bake at 200°C for 15 minutes for mini cupcakes. (~20 minutes for medium ones)

I will use a toothpick to test the cupcakes. If there’s no wet batter on the toothpick, then the cupcakes are baked. Usually I will monitor the surface of the cupcakes (when the surface turns golden brown).

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Oreo Cheesecake

Recently bought an oven and mixer. This is my first attempt at baking a cake. Pretty easy and straightforward recipe.

Ingredients :

  1. 7 oz (~198g) cream cheese
  2. 1/3 cup (~76g) sour cream
  3. 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1/4 cup (~56g/60ml) sugar
  6. 1 tablespoon potato starch
  7. 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  8. 10 oreo cookies
  9. 2 tablespoon butter, melted
  10. oreos for the surface of the cake

Steps:

  1. Put the 10 oreo cookies into a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin until the texture becomes like coarse sand.
  2. Add melted butter and mix well. Press into cake pan.  (Mine is a non-stick pan; you may want to put baking paper so that it will be easier to take out the cake.)
  3. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, potato starch and lemon juice in a blender and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour into cake pan.
  5. Crumble more oreos on the top for decoration.
  6. Put hot water into baking pan to make a water bath, at least fill up 3/4 of the pan.
  7. Place cake pan in the center and bake for 1 hour at 160°C (325 Fahrenheit).
  8. Once it’s done, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

If you want a thicker oreo crust at the bottom, you can crush more cookies. I think I did not sprinkle enough oreo bits on the top, so if you like, you can add as much as you want.

Eating something which you make on your own makes it taste better than anything else.

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Hashima dessert

As mentioned in the previous post, I had a secret weapon for healing my pimples on my face after recovering from dengue fever. My pimples were huge and red; I swear, my skin was horrendous and I just want to hide myself at home. At first I thought it was because of my period, but the pimples continued to pop out after my period. It was then my mother exclaimed the dengue virus caused the blood in my body to be dirty. So in other words, my vital organs or blood were not ‘cleansed‘ after I have recovered.

As Chinese, we believe in using Chinese herbal medicine to build up our immune system (清血补气、美容养颜). We bought ready-to-consumed Hashima (Hasma; Snow Jelly; 雪蛤) from a local TCM shop, Hockhua. A little background information on Hasma. It is a Chinese and widely Central Asian dessert ingredient made from the dried fatty tissue found near the fallopian tubes of the Asiatic Grass Frog, also known as Winter Frog. Hasma is taken for medicinal purposes such as strengthening the internal organs especially replenishing vital essence in the lungs and kidneys, improving skin complexion, improving production of red blood cells and stimulate brain growth. They were having their Anniversary sale so we bought 7 boxes of bottled Hashima. Each box contains 6 bottles.

I drank one bottle every morning with an empty stomach. After a week, my skin was OBVIOUSLY getting better. As in, the current ones healed much faster and no more huge and red pimples popping out. What a relief, I tell you! I religiously drank a bottle a day for three weeks. Now, my skin is back to normal! My period came again and usually I will have cramps for the first two days but this time round, no discomfort or cramps at all. Money definitely well spent. If you find buying the bottled ones too expensive, you can buy their dried (raw but cleaned) ones. It comes in a small packet (SGD 42 from Hockhua) and can be cooked for 6 pax. This is how you prepare Hasma and you can cook it into a sweet and delicious dessert easily.

1. Soak the dried Hasma flakes in a bowl of tap water overnight or at least for 4-6 hours.

2. By now, the dried hasma will be expanded up to 10-15 times in size. Individual pieces are off-white in colour. Drain away the water.

3. Wash the dried longans and red dates.

4. Put in the rehydrated Hasma into a pot and fill it with water. Water level should be at least 4 fingers above the Hasma.

5. Bring to boil. Add in the red dates and dried longans.

6. Simmer for another hour.

7. Add rock sugar to taste. Remember not to add in too much as the red dates and dried longans naturally give a sweet taste to the dessert.

8. Serve warm or chilled.

If you want, you can add in more ingredients such as lotus seeds and white fungus. More nutrition in the dessert! This is the traditional dessert recipe for Hasma. You can find many more creative and newer renditions of recipes on Google.

Hashima with red dates and dried longans

In a nutshell

I’m back from a long hiatus! I was too busy with my teaching that I hardly had time to blog. In a blink of eye, it’s November! It’s time for me to recuperate and enjoy wasting my time. Many things happened, so here it is in a nutshell.

I nearly vomited blood after my kids got back their mid-year exams’ results. Some of them scored very badly, literally or not. Of course, they realized they were in the wrong and quickly picked themselves up for the next exam. Sometimes, they just need some punishment and maybe a little, threatening? *a smirk face*

I celebrated my birthday at Mandarin Oriental with the boyfriend. We had a room overlooking the Floating Platform. It was so comfortable watching the National Day Parade from our room. However, a few weeks later, I was down with dengue fever. Call me lucky or unlucky, I would have never expected it to happen on me. I was tested dengue positive just three weeks before PSLE. Imagine how anxious I was. In the end, I had to take ‘no-pay leave’ for two weeks. My condition was not that critical but the platelets count drove me crazy. I had to take blood test every morning and get myself prepared to hear that my platelets count had dropped. I drank weird stuff like blended papaya leaves (yikes!) and 田鸡炖小苦瓜 (stewed frogs and small bitter gourds). From being very afraid of the blood test to being nonchalant about it made the doctor praised me, “You’re such a pro now!” The good thing is, my platelets count did not go below a certain limit that I had to be admitted to hospital. Once my platelets count started to increase, I went back to teaching immediately. I’m such a dedicated tutor, right?

I may have recovered from dengue fever but I believed the side effects of it are still in my body. Ever since I have recovered, my pimples popped out like nobody’s business. I was HORRIFIED. I had never had such red and huge pimples popping out on my face for a long time. When I thought the current few were recovering, a few more popped out. I was DEVASTATED. It lasted for the past two months. It’s getting better now, still struggling to lighten the pimple scars though, with the help of my skincare products and masks, and maybe more sleep? I’m currently paying off my sleep debts diligently. I had a secret weapon too, which I will specially dedicate a post for it.

Oh yes! My lovely boyfriend graduated from NUS and yes, he’s back to studying again, in SMU for his J.D programme. He deserved it! I hope I can write a few more posts before I fly off for my long-awaited holiday trip!

Overlooking the Floating Platform on National Day

Overlooking the Floating Platform on National Day

My Valentine

From queuing for Lim Chee Guan bak kwa to reunion dinner to non-stop feasting on good food for at least 3 days, Lunar New Year came and went very quickly. No doubt I’ve gained a few hundred grams.

Then came Valentine’s Day – a day when the price of a stalk of rose is doubled and florists earn tons of money from the boys. We did not celebrate with flowers, champagne or candle-lit dinner but with a high tea buffet session. I made a reservation at Cafe L’Espresso, Goodwood Park Hotel. It is an English high tea buffet with a spread of sandwiches, scones, desserts, salad and fruits. They serve smoked salmon too! We are also entitled to 2 drinks in which I ordered a pot of green tea. We made full use of the 2.5 hours to enjoy the food slowly. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried a little of everything on the menu. It is an open concept cafe and situated beside the pool. We were given a table right in front of the food so it was really convenient for us. The scones are nice and I like it when I can make my own salad with cherry tomatoes and smoked salmon. Shepherd’s pie and beef stew are on the menu as well. For cheese lovers, there are 4-5 types of cheese to choose from.

The price is slightly expensive due to the fact that it is a hotel buffet. I do not mind splurging once in a while for a special occasion but given the price and the spread of food, most probably I will not patronize again, at least not within this year. However, it is a nice experience! All the sweet treats gave us a sugar rush.

Please make a reservation before you go!

Tel: +65 6730 1743

Mon to Fri: 2pm – 5.30pm

Sat & Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm, 3pm – 5.30pm

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Tsukada Nojo

We finally visited the newly opened Japanese restaurant in Singapore – Tsukada Nojo! What are they famous for? BIJIN NABE. It’s so well-liked that they do not accept reservation and you need to reach before 5pm to queue. So, what’s Bijin Nabe? It means Collagen Beauty Hotpot and 美人锅 in Chinese. The restaurant at Plaza Singapura is quite small, so you definitely have to reach before 5pm in order to secure a table on weekends. Oh, they serve Bijin Nabe for dinner only. We were very determined to have it for dinner on Saturday, so the boyfriend reached at 4.30pm to queue. We were the first few in queue! And, they will only give priority to groups with all members present, so better to be early than late!

The hotpot will come in chunks of ‘collagen goodness’ and they will melt after 10 minutes. The hotpot includes several types of ingredients such as minced chicken, yellow zucchini, lady’s finger, watermelon radish, baby corn, deep-fried tofu skin, sunflower sprout, black fungus, lettuce, golden mushrooms, baby sweet potato leaves, prawns and your choice of noodle. We had the thick mochi-mochi noodle. It well very well with the soup. Now, the main highlight of the hotpot is the soup. The rich chicken collagen-based soup is so so so good! It is very flavorsome. We finished the entire pot of soup before leaving. You really have to try it yourself to believe how good it is.

Service staff is great. Some of their staff are japanese. You can request for the staff to help you put the ingredients into the hotpot in the correct order after the chunks of collagen have melted. They even presented us with a plate of dessert at the end of our meal. How sweet! They also gave us a loyalty card in the form of a ‘namecard’ to encourage us to patronize them again. 

Although it is a little pricey but the soup is really worth it. The bill was $68 for 2 pax and we are definitely going back again. 

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Hello 2014!

I did not have a last blogpost for 2013 but here I am, with the first blogpost of 2014! 2013 has been a great year for me. I laughed, I cried and I screamed for whatever reasons. I’ve learned to let go some things and came to realize what is good for me. This also marks my first year into my career. It has been a fulfilling journey for me. I watched my kids grow up little by little to become more sensible and hardworking. I’m very grateful to all my kids and their parents, for their faith in me. I will continue to do my very best this year!

To all my friends and loved ones, I wish all of you good health and always remember that, being able to do what you love is the best thing in life. To those whom I have not keep in contact for some time, I have you on my mind, always and forever. A brand new year brings new wishes, new hopes and new dreams. I sincerely hope that everyone will work hard for what you want and be a step nearer to your dream. 🙂

As for myself, I don’t need an exciting life. For this year, I just want to do what I like and be able to continue what I do best in. I just told the boyfriend few days ago that I did not want to grow up (I don’t mean vertically, you know that I can’t anymore!) but I guess I have to – to become a better daughter, a better sister, a better girlfriend, a better teacher and a better friend. And of course, to read, eat and sleep comfortably, and roll around in bed till 12 noon on every Sunday! HAHAHAHA!

Pumpkin Pie

My mum got this recipe from her colleague and I decided to give it a try. It tastes so good! Perfect for breakfast, tea break and even supper.

1. Dice 100g of pork belly into cubes and marinate with a pinch of salt and pepper. If you buy from a wet market, just ask for $3.00 of sliced pork belly; that’s the amount I used!

2. Dice 2 small shallots into tiny bits.

3. Soak at least 6 mushrooms (I use Japanese Shiitake Mushrooms) in water until they turn soft.

4. Cut away the mushroom stems and dice the mushrooms into cube-size.

5. Grab a handful of dried shrimps and rinse with water. Cut them into smaller pieces.

6. Stir-fry the diced shallots, dried shrimps, pork belly and mushrooms with a teaspoon of oil (preferably a healthier choice like olive oil).  

7. Add a small amount of light and dark soy sauce, and oyster sauce. Stir-fry till fragrant. Put aside the cooked ingredients; you will need it later! (You can increase the amount of condiments according to your preference.)

8. Cut away the skin of the pumpkin-500g. (I use Australian pumpkin because it tastes sweeter.)

9. Take away the seeds and cut the pumpkin into half.

10. Steam the pumpkin over medium fire, until reasonably soft for about 20 minutes.

11. Mash the pumpkin until well mashed.

12. Measure 100g of rice flour (preferably Erawan Brand from Thailand) and mix it with 200ml of water.

13. Pour the mixture in with the mashed pumpkin and mix well.

14. Stir-fry the mixture until it turns into dough under a very small fire. Make sure you keep stir-frying the mixture so that it does not stick to the wok.

15. Add in the cooked shallots, dried shrimps, pork belly and mushrooms into the dough and mix thoroughly.

16. Spread the final mixture into a steamer plate and steam for 45 minutes.

Let the steamed pumpkin pie cool down and then refrigerate it. You can steam it hot or pan fry before consumption. The only part that I find it difficult is where I need to stir-fry the mixture into dough. You cannot stop stir-frying, as it will stick to the wok very quickly. By the time the mixture turns into dough, my arm aches.       

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Bornga Korean BBQ

I was craving for Korean food, so we went to City Square, JB Malaysia for lunch on Sunday. You might ask, why go Malaysia? This restaurant has two outlets in Singapore – Vivocity and Star Vista. I am someone who can splurge on food BUT only on food that’s worth the money. The prices on the menu in Singapore are slightly too high for me. Due to the fact that I also have a boyfriend who can really eat, the bill will most probably hit 3-digits. I will just give an example, one plate of Samgyupsal cost $24 in Singapore but it only cost RM28 in JB (exchange rate 2.5, it will only be S$11.20). So now you know why I would rather travel to JB for Korean food, right?!

Ok let’s get down to the food part. I am pretty sure the standard in JB does not lose out to the standard in Singapore. When we were there yesterday, the Korean chef was walking around, helping out to make sure everything was in place. I saw a few Korean families in the restaurant too. We ordered 1 plate of Woosamgyup, 1 plate of Samgyupsal, 1 plate of Mansinchang and Chadol Doenjang Jjigae (this is a beef stew with rice). The barbeque comes with free flow of side dishes and rice tea.

Let the barbeque begin! Each grill is equipped with an extendable exhaust that vacuums the smoke produced while barbecuing. You will not have that BBQ smell on you after the meal and the shop will not be full of smoke too. The pork belly is fantastic, really. It is well marinated but taste light on our palate. It does not feel greasy at all. The service staff helped us barbeque and cut the meat; we just have to keep eating. We finished all 3 plates of meat and most of the side dishes. The beef stew was very good too. The bill was very wallet-friendly. I only spent RM129.80 (S$51.90) for all the food that we ate.

Bornga is definitely an above average Korean restaurant. If you are hoping to enjoy some good Korean food and do not want to burn a hole in your wallet, you can visit the restaurant in City Square, Johor, Malaysia. It is on Level 3, at the Inner City. If you do not want to queue, try to reach there before 12 noon on weekends.

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《爱在灯火阑珊处》

在这雷雨交加的午后,我看着大雨疯狂地从天而降,黑沉沉的天就像要崩塌下来。这时的我被一集爱情速配的节目感动得稀里哗啦、泪眼朦胧。男生参加节目是为了找一位能让他心动的对象。女生非常勇敢地上台向心仪的男生表白。其实他们俩已经认识很多年,是非常要好的朋友,但一直错过彼此。如果女生没有鼓起勇气踏出第一步,他们俩还要兜多大的圈子才会在一起呀。

我在想,有时候,命运真的造化弄人。你爱的人爱着别人;爱你的人却默默地、静静地等着你。有些人说,爱情靠缘分。两个人相遇未必能相识;相识未必能相知;相知未必能相爱;相爱又未必能够留住彼此;就算留住彼此也未必能够白头到老。

有的人说,真爱难求。有些人在茫茫人海中寻寻觅觅那个自己所爱的人,却始终没找到。有些人转角遇到爱,几经波折,却始终回到了原点。到最后,冷静下来回首往昔的时候才发现,一直苦苦寻觅的人就在自己身旁,只是自己未察觉。很多人总说,要珍惜眼前人,可是有多少人能够明白。岁月不能倒流,自己的这出戏从一开始就失去回到最初的余地了。每一个人一生的剧本都是唯一的,无法改写,只希望你们能无悔的续演。

人生,疲惫,这才是真实的;坎坷,这样才能成长;错过,这样才会珍惜。听完一个故事,感慨一段人生。人总是在错过后才懂得回头看,但那错过的人已经无法再追回,曾经的梦也显得更加模糊了。也许某天某个人蓦然回首,会发现最爱他的她,就在那灯火阑珊处,等着他。放眼望去,如果现在你身边就有一位守候在灯火阑珊处的他(她), 请你珍惜吧,不要让爱在希望中等待绝望。