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Paleo Lemon Chai Muffins and My Trip Away

Oops! It’s the month of March already? I promised I would blog more but I was away for a good reason. We took our first plane trip as a family back to KL and SG to celebrate CNY. Alas, I had to stay a few weeks more to look after my grandmother who was in hospital.

Family portrait before granny was admitted. I love this shot of my family and us!

It was a very traumatic few weeks as we had to call an ambulance and witness my beloved grandmother being in ICU and intubated. She is a strong lady and gradually responded to the treatment. I was so pleased that she is home, that I could barely let her off my sight and monitored all her food and vitals closely.

This episode also taught me family love. Relatives from Hong Kong flew back to be beside her. Grandmother’s sister stayed with us for a few days to care and cook for her. Through her, I learned more home cooked cantonese dishes which I’m keen to replicate at home. My mother learned how to make soups and I learned a few more slow cooked Chinese soups (you can literally hear the glee in my husband’s voice here). I get to spend more time with my family including my parents. Of course, it means that Asher gets to meet heaps of his uncles and aunties, grand uncles and grand aunties, cuddles from many relatives that he wouldn’t be able to meet or greet otherwise.

Hubby and I were also apart for a few weeks as he had to fly back to work. It was a tough few weeks as I learned how to juggle

All these though, brought us closer as a family unit. I can’t wait to see my parents and grandmother again. I have learned to appreciate time- and be in the moment even more. 

I’m back sharing this recipe by Slim Palate. I have only recently discovered Joshua (who is 18 by the way and cooking fabulous food) and his blog. Browsing through his story makes me ashamed of how basic and simple my cooking is compared to his! He comes up with amazing real food recipes and this one caught my eye.  I love how he used chia seeds as “poppy” and use of apple cider vinegar to give it a tang.

I have been experimenting more with coconut flour and is growing to LOVE it. The dense nature of this flour means more liquid has to be added. But once the right ratio is achieved, it provides unlimited experimentation of different cakes and treats. I increased the baking soda in this recipe as I find it gives it more of a lift and a lighter feel to the muffins.  Since I love my lemons, I added more zest and juice as well. I think I can make further improvements- it’s still a little more dense for my liking so I might add some other raising agent. Certainly more lemons will be better as well. There is always a next time!

Paleo Lemon Chia Muffins (makes around 8 for me)
1/2 cup of coconut flour
2 tablespoon of chia seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
zest from 2.5 lemons
4 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of almond milk
1 tsp of honey
4 eggs
1/4 coconut oil

Preheat Oven to 180C. Line liners into muffin trays.

Whisk dry ingredients (coconut flour, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt) together. In a separate jug, whisk all wet ingredients such as the juice, vinegar, almond milk, honey, eggs, oil and zest. Pour wet to dry and fold.  Bake for 25 minutes. Cool and eat.

 photo MTWsignature_zpsaefba23f.png

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Singapore Hokkien Mee (Prawn Noodles)

There are some Singapore dishes that are closed to my heart. Singapore Hokkien Mee or Prawn Mee is one of them. The lovely prawn broth gravy’s essence soaked into the noodles. The whiff of “wok hei” (high heat cooking) in the air.. ahh…  spicy sambal and lime on the side. I’m back in Singapore again.

I recall being confused with the many versions of prawn mee. AR who is a Malaysian reminded me that it is called “Char Mee” in KL. However, they are actually different since Char mee uses lard and dark soya sauce whereas Singapore Hokkien Mee uses a prawn base broth.

I spied this recipe from Rasa Malyasia who led me to Kokken 69. This recipe is adapted from them with some changes to the stock base and ingredients. Mine was rather wet as well-the way I like it. However, in most places it’s served rather dry.

Singapore Hokkien Noodles (Serves 4-6)
200g Yellow Noodle
100g rice vermicelli (Soaked in hot water)
600g prawns with shells on
300g Squid (Sotong)
300g Pork Belly
40g Green chives
500ml Chicken stock
2-3 whole peeled garlic
500 ml water
3 Eggs
mince garlic
2-3 cups of bean sprouts

Seasoning
1 tbsp Fish sauce
white pepper
dash of sesame oil

fried shallots
wedges of lemon/lime
chili sambal

First make stock:
Shell prawns. De vein prawns. Fry prawn shells in a deep pot till pink. Pour in chicken stock, water and peeled garlic. Simmer for around 1-1.5hours. At around the 30 minutes mark, add in pork belly. Cook pork belly for the last 30 minutes. Remove, cool and slice thinnly.

Blanch squid and pranwns in stock till cooled. Remove both. Slice squid.

Fry garlic in wok. Add in beaten eggs. Swirl. Scramble. Fry both noodles for around 2-3 mins. Ladle 2 scoops of stock into the noodles. Let it soak in. Ladle again when it is nearly dry. Repeat 2-3 more times. For the last time, cover to let the noodles bath in the goodness of the prawn stock! Then, add bean sprouts, prawns, sliced pork and squid. Season. Do a taste test and adjust accordingly. Serve with shallots, squeeze of lemon/lime and chili!

ps- remaining stock makes a very good soup base the next day!

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I’m Back!!


I’m BACCCCKKKKK!!!!!

Wow! What a 3 weeks. I can’t believe it has been THAT long since I posted a post. AR and I spent 10 days in KL/SG last week and it was a blast. Wedding planning + good food + Chinese New Year celebrations = Happy Daphne.

It has also been at least 2 years since I last celebrated CNY at home. Sitting at our round table, enjoying our steamboat dinner, laughing, joking…and then my customary walk with grandma to the flower markets. Life is simple but oh so good.

Meeting up with my girlfriends was so much fun. How I miss their company and our girly chats.


This trip back, AR and I were reminded that we have 3 more months till we say our vows.


I will be back with more food posts soon! =)

Adventures of the Thosai and Chicken Curry

(the 8th attempt)

flip

and

flip

and

aRghhhh…..

I tested out my flipping skills recently by indulging in the art of thosai making. Rather than grinding the thosai mixture myself, I decided to take a stepwise approach and use a packet of thosai mix.

Flipping thosai is like flipping pancakes right? Easy peasy stuff. but nooo.. flipping thosai isn’t as easy as it seems (for me anyway).

(see the broken pieces)

After the 8th attempt, my thosai finally resembles one. Almost anyway.

Now, I have a greater admiration to thosai makers and their flat, round pans!

(6th attempt, looking slightly decent)

What’s that in the pink bowl? Surely I haven’t gone out of my mind and serve ice-cream with thosai? Rest assured I didn’t. It was easy chicken curry that I have there. Ar and I are blessed with helpful and great parents/grandma and our fridge has like a year supply of curry pastes. This one was made by AR’s mum.

I would have made some dhal but I was craving for some spicy hot stuff hence the chicken curry.


Easy Chicken Curry
(serves 4)
4-6 generous tablespoons of AR’s mum curry paste (obviously it will be your choice of curry paste =) )
1/2 of lite coconut milk
1 cabbage sliced
500 grams of chicken cutlet/breasts diced
1 onion.

1) Saute curry paste till fragrant. Add onions.

2) Cook chicken till through. Add cabbage. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.

3) Add coconut milk. Taste. Season if required.

4) Serve with broken up thosai.

The birthday cake, The rendezvous with 3 guys and The goodbyes

1) Sophia’s Birthday Cake

sophia birthday cake

Around 6 months ago, when I was deep into the pages of writing, editing and screaming at the computer, my aunt msged me on MSN. Now, perhaps it was the lack of sleep and incoherent mind that was talking but I found myself promising to bake a cake for her beautiful princess’ Sophia’s 1st birthday.

I figured out that since I missed the birth of both my cousins, it would be a privilege to do something for them. Besides, when Irene and I were little kids, we played so much “Masak masak” that we thought it would be lovely to do the REAL thing now that we are adults! 😛

Well, hopefully Sophia won’t look back at her 1st birthday photos and say “what an ugly cake”.

The trial was abit of a disaster. Being the “baker” that I am, I forgot 2 very important ingredients-coconut and raisins! Well, the princess did not complain and finished nearly a slice all by herself. Personally, I was disappointed. The cake was still slightly wet despite baking for nearly 1 hr and it was a tad too sweet.

The real thing took us 8-9 hours to assemble. The theme was Princesses and Knights and we chose to have a castle cake. Flavor? Well, healthy carrot cake of course. The fondant was a nightmare and it took us 2 hrs before we managed to come up with something decent. The end product looked reasonable but it wasn’t what we were expecting. The taste of the cake was better than the trial (Phew!) but it could be better.

At the end of the day though, Irene and I looked back and laughed. We laughed at how much effort we put in and the relationship that we have. Technically, Irene is my aunt (3 yrs older than me mind u!) but she is really more like an older sister to me.

2) The rendezvous with 3 guys.

I did something real naughty while I was in Singapore.

I went out on a date with 3 guys.

Well, I thought I should live it up a little since I’m about to get hitched.

Too bad, it wasn’t a real date. 😡

date with 3 guys =)

The 3 guys were my secondary school classmates. It was really nice of Marcus to arrange the meeting and what a BLAST we had. We had a great dinner at the Soup Restaurant in Paragon, Orchard and coffee at The Coffee Bean.

It’s hilarious to think that we know each other for more than 10 years. Oh yes, they have seen me in my heaviest/ugliest days and I have seen them in THEIR shorter days. 😡

We recounted tales of horror and laughs of the past. Marcus and I, being “Macbeth” and “Lady Macbeth” in a mini class play, nearly sprouted out some lines..and I’m glad we didn’t. Phew. That would be horrible.

Given that one of the guys is about to proposed to his gf, we even had a conversation on diamonds! A talk about diamonds with THREE guys? Now, that’s really refreshing. But it was fun. We spoke about careers, life in general, future…

And besides, they are really cute… 😡

3) The Goodbyes.

Goodbyes SG

My family together with Peggy and Ben sent me off to the airport. T3 is huge! But it was lovely just having a few extra moments with them. I couldn’t stop the tears as I headed to the plane but I know I will be back.

The food on the plane was reasonable. It wasn’t fantastic either which was disappointing. I’m usually a fan of plane food. Don’t ask me why but I like it! The warm bread with butter (the only time I have butter with my bread), the salads and the dry fish. Well, the pasta salad with smoked ham was really good though.

So I arrived back in Perth. Into the arms of my beloved Fiance. Still this trip has made me rethink about relationships and where I would really want to be in the future.

*muacks*

Singapore Part 2

Uploading the photos makes me hungry. Each meal is associated with an incident or a memory. Food bonds people.

1) Qiu Lian Ban Mien.

My Favourite Ban Mien

For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of ban mien. The good old days of 3 girls sharing 2 gigantic bowls of handmade noodles are still fresh in my mind. Friends bonded over the noodles, jokes made, teasing began and we always leave with a full stomach.

I’m a big fan of the soup base and will often finish the soup before the noodles. Well, actually, I don’t usually have the stomach space to eat the noodles because I’m full from the soup! Ok fine, and I like to add 2 portions of chili. YUM. The generous amount of fried anchovies, mince meat and vegetables helped too.

For S$3.50 a bowl, it’s good value for money for sure. Hey gang, when is our next ban mien meeting?

Qiu Lian Ban Mien
S11 Food Court
Bishan Street 13

2) Thye Hong Hokkien Mee

Hokkien Mee SG

My mother and I decided to go on a shopping trip and ended up at Wisma Atria, Orchard. Food republic is my favorite food court now. I really dig their old style decor. About 2 years ago, I heard about this famous fried hokkien mee stall but each time I was at the foodcourt, the queue turned me off. Surprisingly, the queue was pretty short that day and we quickly ordered a plate to share. We ordered poh piah as well since it was located next door.

The poh piah was nothing to shout about. Mediocre. The hokkien mee, well, that is another story. My mother was actually not feeling well and did not have much appetite. Not the case for this meal though. I barely finished biting my portion of poh piah when I realised that more than 1/2 of the plate of hokkien mee was gone!! Mum then gave me a sheepish smile and said…. “It’s really tasty!”

So that’s the verdict for u. =)

3) Wei Heong Yuen Dessert Store

Out with Grandma Chinatown

I miss my grandma. I bet if I enter her into the “cutest grandma” contest, she will win first prize.

One of my things I look forward to always is to head out with her. Our favorite hangout? Chinatown of course! From browsing gold jewelery to visiting herb shops, we always have a ball of a time.

Grandma’s favorite dessert is a bowl of almond paste. Smooth stuff. I decided to try Or Nee or yam paste, as I have never tasted store bought one before (despite making it previously). Well, I think the almond paste still wins hands down. I find store bought Or Nee abit too oily for my liking.

The water chestnut cake is another specialty of the store. It’s not too sweet and I do like the crunchy texture of the chestnuts. Really good for cooling down after a long and hot walk. I attempted this before but failed. Tasting that made me want to try again.

The highlight for me though was their Cantonese rice dumplings. It’s HUGE! Look at the filling! Oh boy, i counted 3-4 mini mushrooms and at least 3 roasted chestnuts inside too. Not to mention the tender pork meat… arghhhhhh…. I want some now!

4) Indochine Empress Place

Indochine

Oh alright. What’s a trip without drinks right? AR and I wanted to check out a band that was playing at Indochine, hence we organized drinks with the lovely Peggy, Ruth and Rane.

The food suxs. Enough said.

However, the drinks were ok. Alright, so Peggy’s order was horrible but the rest were fine! I can’t remember what we ordered though (alcohol dulls memory) but the highlight wasn’t the drinks or food really. It was the music and chilling out that we did that mattered.

And the photos.. ah..we took LOTs of photos that night.

5) Pasta Waraku

Pasta Waruku SG

I heard so much about this fusion place and did not even bat an eyelid when my friends suggested we dine there.

I think the idea is fantastic. What can go wrong with jap sauce and pasta right? I had the unagi and egg which was fantastic. The chicken was nice too. The carbonara was a little too… creamy! Ok, maybe it’s just me. The only thing was that I felt that the pasta was a tad overcooked.

I can’t say the same for their gratin though. Essentially, it’s just baked pasta! The prawn tasted rubbery as well. According to Peggy, the gratin tasted nicer at the Marina square branch. hmm…


Pasta Waraku

The Central
Clarky Quay

Coming up next:

Part 3- the goodbyes!

Singapore Part 1

Where has all the time gone? I’m back for about a week and am freezing! Technically still on holidays at the moment but it certainly feels odd to be on the computer and not doing any thesis-related work.

AR brought me on a trip to Waroona a couple of days back and it was an enjoyable break. Photos later. =)

First up, a walk down the memory lane on my recent SG trip…

1) Crystal Jade La Mien Xiao Long Bao

Crystal Jade

Personally, I think this chain of restaurant is over rated. I found the skin of their xiao long bao tougher and thicker than the ones in Din Tang Fung and Lao Beijing. They weren’t generous with the filling as well. The Sour Spicy noodles was more salty than spicy. We shared a bowl and couldn’t finish it. I do like the texture of the noodles, it’s the broth that I hate! The mushroom pastry was ok but not fantastic.

Ngee Ann City
4th Level.

2) Flutes at the Fort Restaurant

Flutes 4th year anniversary

We were invited to be part of Flutes at the Fort cocktail party and boy was I glad that we made it. That day coincided with our “parents meeting session” and to be really honest, I was glad to have the glass of champers after that meeting.

What can surpass freshly pan fried foe gras, roast meat, oysters, waygu beef and champers of Moet and Chandron? It was an experience for sure. My first time tasting foe gras and waygu beef and I can see what the fuss is about. Melt in your mouth foe gras and tender beef. Luxury to the max.

The service was excellent. Staff made sure that our glasses stayed full. There was a excited buzz around the place and we had the chef coming over to our table twice to say hi. Love the colonial style decor as well.

3) Equinox, Swisshotel, Raffles City

Equinox

I had the pleasure and honor to meet up with Evan from Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings. We arranged for high tea at Equinox and boy did we feel like “Tai tais”. Amazing views on the 70th floor of the hotel!

A good range of food available but their selection was disappointing. International high tea with a focus on Asian food. While their sushi and salad items were terrific, I wouldn’t say the same for their vegetable curry, which tasted off. The waiter tried to explain to me that it was “Indian curry” and therefore it should taste slightly sour? Well, I think I can tell the difference between the sourness of tomatoes and sourness from spolit/off coconut milk/cream?

Besides, is it true that Indian curries are sour?

I was also disappointed by the pratas. They were the frozen sort. Hello, in sunny Singapore and they serve frozen pratas? I don’t mean to sound like a snob here but you don’t pay S$35 to have frozen pratas…

equinox part 2
I’m a fan of their little dim sum pieces though. Lots of choices and quite tasty.

As for their desserts selection, the fondue was a pleasant surprise! They provided dark, milk and white chocolate which I thought was thoughtful. The chocolate was a little too watery for my liking but it is still chocolate fondue. Oreo in chocolate> Double sinfulness but worth a go. They had a great ice-cream topping selections as well. Dessert shooters were something that I have not tried before. The lychee/rose one was delicious.

equinox part 4

I had lots of fun with Evan though. We went around taking photographs, chit chatting and just admiring the lovely Singapore view. A friend found and cherished.

Part 2 coming up very soon!

Hakka Yong Tou Fu

I have been pestering my dad to bring us to a decent Hakka Yong Tou Fu (YTF) place for 2 years. This time round, we finally managed to fit that into our schedule and we were not disappointed. My father has been patronising this stall for years and swears by it.


Just beside it was a roast stall. How convenient!
My dad decided to order chicken ‘rice’ as part of our Hakka YTF meal. Great mixing and matching huh?

I wouldn’t say the rice was fantastic but it wasn’t oily at least…
The skin was crispy on the siew yoke. The meat was part fatty and skinny but it wasn’t tough. The guys polished this off in minutes.

The star of the show. Hakka YTF. I’m amazed at how crispy the wantons were. And I really enjoyed the stuffed toufu. It was silky and smooth. Did I mentioned that the stuffing was pretty generous as well? My favourite is the eggplant. Funny how no one fought with me on that one. I think the texture and colour of the eggplant looks pretty in the YTF dish!

and just for the fun of it, we tried the “Whatever” drink….

That’s my half-serious look. I was trying to figure out what flavour that was.

It was sweet peach tea.

My recommendation? Ditch the drink. Stick to the Ampang YTF instead.

Ngee Fou Restaurant (Hakka) Ampang Yong Tou Foo
928 Up Thomson Rd S787121
phone:
64521801

My Best Friend’s Birthday

I’m back in Singapore! Eight days in Malaysia flew by. I have lots of photos and makan places to upload so please do bear with me. I’m starting where I stopped last- before I left for Malaysia. Rest assured the photos of Malaysia food hunts will appear soon!

The last time I celebrated R’s birthday with her was 8 years ago. I believe that true friendships are a rarity, and we are blessed to have each other. All 3 of us (including Peg) were looking forward to that birthday celebration.

I met up with Peggy in the afternoon first as Ruth had a lovely celebratory lunch with her family. Hungry, we went in search for some food.

Walking around Vivocity, we decided on trying to Sarawak Kolo Mee. Now, I have never been to Sarawak but I remembered my previous house mate raving about it (Jackson san, are u still reading this blog?). Curious, we ventured in.

Both of us took the S$6 bowl. A little steep for a bowl of noodles wanton noodles…

It came with a bowl of soup with 3 small wantons.

and Peggy captured a really ugly photo of me eating…..

But I couldnt be bothered taking another shot. I was too busy eating!
I do like the springiness of the noodles. The texture is certainly different from the normal wanton noodles. Worthwhile trying.

Jia Xiang Sarawak Kolo Mee
Vivocity
Basement B2-38

And then we met up with the birthday girl!

We bought our tickets to Sentosa Island!

We chilled at Bora Bora Beach Bar along Palawan Beach.

Babe taking photograph of our drinks. I had the mango margarita, Ruthie had the lime and Peggy had the tropical something…. (someone remind me?!)

Peggy and her drink…

We adjoined to sushi tei at Vivocity later. The food was average and the service was BAD. Twice they placed wrong food on our table, and they even misplaced one of our orders. They were not even polite in admitting their mistakes. shessh. As it was Ruthie’s birthday + everyone was hungry, we didn’t pursue it further…


My long awaited SASHIMI!!

BLISS


more sushi- pretty normal. Nothing to shout about.


Softshell crab! Crisp!
Cold cha Soba after a hooottt evening, wonderful!
Ruth introduced this dessert to me.. I LOVED IT! So much so that I had this again when I was in Sakea Sushi in Subang Malaysia (My future-mother in law liked it too).

And we shared the peach ice-cream. I prefer the fish wafer though. =)
And we ended the night with….
DURIAN CAKE!

Hope you had a blast Ruth!

*muacks*

First Holiday Post

It’s day 4 of my holiday and I’m in bliss. Sleep, hugs and food does wonders to one’s mood.
Departing Perth. See that smile!

8 hours later (5 hours flight + 1 hr of sleep + 2 hours of catching up with mum)…

We arrived at Bishan Junction 8 food court.
My Yong Tou Fu order. I have been craving for FRESH YTF for a long time. Especially staring at flogger’s blogs on YTF! I had mine dry with lots of yellow beans, chili and sweet sauce. NICE! S$5-what a bargain for 10 pieces (I regretted ordering the noodles. I was so full just by eating YTF).

AR’s Laksa YTF. The gravy was sooo good that I haven’t seen him slurping up that bowl so quickly! See the before and after look:

BEFORE
AFTER

Give that man a bowl of laksa YTF and sugar cane juice and look at that grin!

Yong Tou Fu
Junction 8
Food Court
4th Level
Bishan
Singapore