TGIF! Around the Internet

It is a Friday, y’all! We made it. I am so excited about this weekend. I am going to be attending a Durian Party tomorrow evening. Family lunch at Pizzeria Mozza on Sunday followed by a BMW Motor Show 2014 at MBS. In the meantime, here are some amazing finds on the internet to last us through the weekend. :)

Here is my soundtrack this weekend. Thanks Refinery29!

Need some baking inspiration this weekend? If you are in Singapore, Fairprice Supermarket has a 3-for-$6.95 blueberries promotion this weekend. Get some for this scumptious Blueberry Crumble Cake! Or something savoury, say Omelet Scones?

Not too into baking? How about this fantastic-looking Potato Salad? Definitely a winner in a potluck party.

I am also going to spend half my time wanderlusting about Penang and Malacca

It seems like not all the Superfoods are worth the hype.

How to get a date at your next workout. :)

Let’s dance and get happy! The most amazing send-off E.V.E.R.

Serious reads: Dealing with Emotional Eating.

 

Penang Laksa at Mama Chin Nonya Cafe

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Guess who did not have fruits for lunch? Me. Yep, unbelievably isn’t it?! Even my cubicle mate asked twice: “Really? Really?” Have I gone off fruits? Not really. I just decided to give my body a break from the healthy food for the day. It is NOT cheat day, for sure. I am still controlling my food intake. In between breakfast and lunch this morning, I just drank tons of lemon water to stay “awake” and in anticipation of the fattening lunch. In the past, I would have reached for an orange. I needed this bowl of noodles today. Yesterday, I found myself nearly caving in to chocolates and unhealthy food, twice. Thus to prevent going “all out”, I thought I would allow myself just an unhealthy lunch to get over it.

This afternoon, the delicious and comforting bowl of Penang Laksa was from Mama Chin. For $7.50, the thick smooth fish broth was brimming with tuna chunks, cubes of sweet pineapple, raw slices of onions, shredded cucumbers, mint leaves, and thick white noodles. A surprising generous amount of ingredients; it seemed like there was more cucumber than noodles. The comforting part was the thick broth with it’s sourish pungent notes. Those red slices of chilli added a welcoming heat. With so many textures and the harmonious balance of flavours, I lapped it all up. Boy was I floating on Cloud Nine thereafter!

At the end, I could not help but remark to the owner that it was so good. He replied, it’s past Ramadan, his cook can now taste. Hah! What honesty!

A New York-style Brunch

20140728-161156-58316566.jpgThis afternoon I threw a small New York-style brunch party for some girlfriends. Now, you must be wondering what’s the difference between mine and an ordinary brunch? Bagels and Lox. According to Time Out New York, the two stands out as one of New York City’s emblematic culinary titans.” 

It has been forever since I last hosted a party. July was supposed to be my month of austerity drive. It failed. Just one dormant month and I was going cold turkey. And when a Public Holiday popped up on my calendar, I jumped at the chance, and quickly sent out some invites. Luckily my girlfriends were equally as excited as me!

This afternoon, I laid out some seat cushions to eat like the Japanese.

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Planning the party wasn’t difficult. There were tons of guides from good food websites like: The BBC Good Food, and Bon Appetit. DailyMail’s delicious Toasted bagels with smoked salmon and pickled cucumber recipe was helpful too! I adopted the pickled cucumber idea. So apparently for an NYC-style brunch, all I needed were assorted bagels, cream cheese, tomato, red onion and cold-smoked Nova lox. Lox was going to be hard to find in Singapore so I used Smoked Salmon. No one noticed a difference.

My Mum let me use her vintage ice-cream crystals cups. They were perfect for serving the pickled cucumbers and dill cream cheese. Slices of sweet Honey Cherry Tomatoes, Capers, Shallots, Lemon wedges and fresh dill completed the NYC brunch spread.

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But things never go according to plan. I got greedy. I knew bagels and smoked salmon weren’t going to be enough. Eggs. Brunch always needs eggs. On Google, I came across the most interesting recipe ever: Oven-baked Scrambled Eggs. As they were so damn simple to make, I was sold. However do note that the eggs will continue to cook when out of the oven. Take them out even if they look a whee bit runny.

Then I thought of fries. Don’t ask me what’s the link there. Thank goodness there was a bag of Alexia Sweet Potato Fries in my freezer. I prepared them according to instructions and sprinkled on some delicious Parmesan. It was a hit! Everyone LOVES fries.

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I thought of baking the bagels. But a quick calculation showed it was more worth it to get six bagels than buy bags of flour, sugar and yeast. Another time. The supermarket-bought bagels were not too bad. My girlfriends had a good time fixing their own bagel sandwiches.

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For dessert, I kept it light and healthy; Blueberry Parfait and Fresh Strawberries. Nothing beats fresh sweet strawberries. My Blueberry Parfaits was akin to a Tiramisu albeit a less calorific version. I layered Savoiardi Finger Biscuits

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with Vanilla Greek Yoghurt and fresh Roasted Blueberry Compote.

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More biscuits

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topped with more yoghurt and blueberry compote. It was meant to look like this:

20140728-162500-59100974.jpgBut I ain’t Daniel Boulud so it looked like that.

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Hey, they were still great!

Whilst grocery shopping yesterday, I could not resist picking up a pack of these Orange Madeleines.

20140728-154904-56944763.jpgAll the way from France, super pricey but fantastic! Each huge madeleine was amazingly tender and moist with a rich orange-y flavour. Thanks to these babies, I can finally get those nasty dense puny ones from Delifrance out of my mind.

20140728-154905-56945541.jpgIt was a relaxing afternoon filled with laughter and good conversations.

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And a treat for the host:

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Thank you!

Picnic Dinner at Ballet Under the Stars

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It was a wonderful Saturday evening with my family at the 19th edition of Ballet Under The Stars. As it was her birthday, my sister treated us to the Singapore Dance Theatre’s performance at The Fort Canning Green. Between you and me, my family was more excited about the picnic than the performance. Until that evening, none of us inquired about the ballet performance!

The performance began at 7.30pm but my family reached at 6.30pm. I could not help but remark about our eager beaver-ness but there was an incredibly long, albeit fast-moving, queue to get in. Good job, Singapore Dance Theatre! When we walked into the performance area, my jaw dropped.

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It was so crowded. As it turned out, my family was not the eagerest beavers…

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The crowd must have arrived at 5.30pm?!

As we were pretty “late”, we headed right to the back of the white tents (above picture) and lay down our picnic mat and a plastic table cover for my family of seven adults and one child.

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Then we lay out our spread. What a feast! My sister baked Korean Chicken Wings, my parents brought an assortment of takeaway from Dino Cake House and Cafe. For dessert, my eldest sister and brother-in-law got some traditional Chinese dessert soup.

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It was Dino’s Fried Rice and Fried Bee Hoon that got us most excited. Weeks before, we were unisonly craving for the Fried Rice which we have been enjoyed since Dino first opened along Upper Thomson Road in 1993(!) My friends, I am so happy to tell to you the Fried Rice was still as fragrant and flavourful as the first day. Ditto the generous amount of ingredients. I turned down dinner during the week with my colleagues just for Dino and oh boy was it worth it! Another notable dish from Dino is the Chicken Pie. Each might be a bit small but packed with a delicious savoury creamy chicken filling encased by a flaky buttery puff pastry. Definitely my newest obsession.

Anyway you might be thinking surely we were not using our individual cutlery, and eating straight from the sharing containers? Oh don’t you worry, we are a hygienic family. See those black plastic container bowls below?

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They used to contain takeaway salad from Spinelli but my Dad, who is a mega-fan of the salad, brings them home where they are given a good wash, and are as good as brand new. Those plastic containers are sturdy and tall, they can even hold slices of three-layered cakes! That evening, they served us so well.

And wait a minute, did you not think I would contribute too? Surprise surprise! I got us an assortment of cold-pressed juices from Daily Juice Singapore! The juices were a hit with my family. The cold refreshing drinks came in handy especially during parts of the wind-less stale evening.

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Sitting on higher ground meant a lot of enjoyable people watching.

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Some groups were pretty smart. They brought make-shift tables (above picture, bottom left). The party next to us brought an English Picnic Basket complete with cutlery and crockery tied to the inside cover of the basket. It was incredible! However I did notice the same party brought Sushi for dinner and ate with chopsticks leaving the cutlery and crockery untouched. Mmh… I’m not sure if the novelty of a picnic basket was worth the effort of lugging the whole shenanigans around.

In front of me, the party started off their evening with a tempting bottle of Bubbly…

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Needless to say, I was pretty envious.

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I whispered to my second brother-in-law, the only other person in my family who drinks, that next time I am so bringing Gin & Tonic, and he HAS to drink with me. I think that was the only time during the night I was not joking around. Aha.

I just realized I have not mentioned the performance which was better during the second half with the more energetic dance moves and music. However my head was among the clouds and I could not help but admire the low hanging clouds throughout the night.

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We had a good time and the picnic made us consider watching another performance. If not for the multiple mosquito bites I suffered that evening, I will make my family go for weekly picnics!

Kaya French Baguette Toast for Breakfast

kaya french toast This morning was not the day to start with a Protein Smoothie or Green Vegetable Juice because it is Cheat Day!! And I was craving for my favourite jam: Kaya. A sweet coconut-milk-based jam that has been painstakingly boiled down with pandan leaves, sugar and egg yolks.

Kaya Toast is one breakfast I can never seem to grow tired of and always gets me so very excited. Kaya toast is a common Asian breakfast: two slices of toasted white bread slathered with kaya and a thick cube of salted cold butter. The cold fat will melt slowly from the hot toast and liquid fat will ooze all over the plate, if you are an expert. If not, your hands. But who cares if one looks like a hot mess in the morning when you are indulging!

Low nutritious white bread is unabashedly used as it provides the perfect blank canvas for the coconut jam. Plus the bread gets all crusty and crisp when toasted. No whole grain healthy bread allowed. No, no. Nothing must distract you from enjoying the sweet deep-flavored coconut jam.

In the past few years, for me this delightful morning treat has turned from a norm to an occasional treat due to its high calorie constitution. But today is my special day of the week and I was feeling brave and adventurous. At the Coffee Shop, instead of the traditional white bread, I broke tradition and went for a French Baguette Toast. Unfortunately, french baguettes can not beat white bread. The toast was slightly doughier and denser than I would have liked but the edges were still satisfyingly crusty. However the highlight was still the brown kaya; subtle in sweetness and contrasted so perfectly with the salted butter. As I indulged in this toast slowly, the hot bread slowly melted the kaya and cold fat, causing them all to ooze all over the plate – I am an expert y’all! With an ice cold black coffee, cheat day got off to a good start.

And this is the Coffeeshop in Sin Ming where I got my kaya fix.

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Wednesday Shenanigans at The Exchange, Asia Square Tower

Wednesday nights is a god’s gift to women who love a good drink. That’s because it’s Ladies Night in Singapore!!! Well, in most Raffles Place-area bars at least. However some like the Vault have theirs on Thursdays. The Exchange at Asia Square Tower was one of the first bars to supply a FREE flow of Martinis just for ladies on Wednesday Nights. They didn’t just supply, they brought out the works. There are always three different flavours of Martinis and one could always be assured of them ready to refill your plastic glasses from 6 to 9pm. Always. I first went in 2012 and it was this exact bar that honed my drinking skills. After a while, I could drink six Martinis and still walk straight. I can assure you those Martinis alcohol were not weak.

For such a good deal, it did not take long for smart girls to catch on for the Bar is is now jam packed every Wednesday. And surprisingly a lot of men. A lot. More men than women. Even Boys Night Out at The Exchange doesn’t draw these boys out as much as Wednesdays.

The concept here is simple. Go to a small outdoor table near the huge entrance and grab a martini glass with a stamp X on your left wrist. Then make your way to the opposite bar to queue up and choose from three flavours.

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Martinis here are weirdly and sometimes scarily coloured but they taste surprisingly good. This evening’s selection was Cosmopolitan (the bright pink) and Melon (yellow), there was a bright blue drink that was lime-flavoured. It tasted better than it looked.

By the way, The Exchange is also a restaurant and food served here is surprisingly good! I celebrated my birthday here last year and my friends and I were so satisfied with our steak. But these days, I’m always too full up with the drinks to eat any of the Truffle Parmesan Fries or the deep-fried Chicken Wings with a nice healthy batter surrounding it.

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This evening, I hit up the Bar with my girl, Wid. I called her out for drinks in the late afternoon and she quickly agreed; spontaneous – my type of good friend! It was a good night for us girls :)

Around the Internet: Midweek Recap

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Hello my friends, I have been reading so many wonderful articles around the internet in the past few days that I simply can not wait until the end of the week to share them with you.

A review on Blogshop at Home by one of my favourite London Bloggers, UrbanPixxels. An online class on working with Photoshop to create the chic-est blog templates and pictures. Each class cost close to US$300 and I am soo tempted to sign up for the August 23/24 class. Should I?

The Pressery: a cold pressed juice company in London dedicated to just cold pressed Almond Milk. It sounds delicious and the packaging of the bottle is so chic!

Need a baking inspiration? How about a Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberry Glaze?

Not into baking, how about homemade white cardamom & lavender milk jam?

Cold off the Press: The Spicy Gazpacho sounds scrumptious!

Summer Hostess Gifts – I’m hosting a brunch this Monday, is it greedy to secretly wish my guests will get something off this list for me?

Stunning.Swimming.Pools.