Friday, January 08, 2010

Back for good... but at a new address!


The moment which I have been waiting for is here.

Listen up and update your blogroll because I have a new blogspace and I will be blogging there from now on:

Come along and join me as I live through 2010 vicariously!

P.S. I will not be deleting this blogspot site so in case you cannot find an old post at my new address, you can still look for it here.

(Update as of 20 August 2010 - I'm at a .net now so please update! :)


Friday, January 01, 2010

Goodbye 2009, hello 2010...

I promised I will be back and here I am.

This note will be short and sweet. First of all, I'd like to wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

As we dive into 2010, I wish you all happiness, peace and love in this new year. Oh and more good eats of course.

2009 has been quite a ride. There have been ups and downs, laughter and tears, good food and hmm not so good food - but most of all, it was a memorable year for me. I would not trade it for the world.

It was a year where I discovered more about myself and through these discoveries, I came out a stronger person. I might not have cooked or baked as much as I would have liked to, but I sure as hell ate alot.

Yes there's a back-log of posts. There's alot of overdue updates.

But hey, let's take it slowly. One at a time.

2010 will be a year that I bake more, cook more, blog more (no kidding), and simply live more vicariously.

So what's this new exciting thing I have up my sleeves? Well....

Here's a clue: this blog will soon be stagnant....

Only because I have decided on a revamp. Just a slight revamp. I will soon have a new address. Here on cyberspace. It's nearly ready.

You will be the first to know :)

P.S. Been down with a very bad cough and I was just wondering if you guys have a fool-proof remedy? Just thought I'd ask! I have been doing the whole honey lemon, manuka honey thing... But perhaps there's more?


Friday, November 13, 2009

Coming soon....

To my dear readers (that's assuming people still read this blog!),

I apologise for the very long hiatus. It is clear that I have been missing in action for about 5 months.

This shout-out is just to let you know that I have not abandoned this food blog. I have a good reason for this silence. I have been planning for something that will take this food blog to a whole new level.

Be patient with me as I work out the kinks. You will hear from me very soon. This time, I will blog, muse and cook excessively.

I am very excited and I hope you are too.

See you soon!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

for dad

My dad turned 60 yesterday. There was no huge birthday bash, no noisy chit-chatter, no feast and no candles. We're a simple family and we celebrated in our small little way - with an apple strudel and a slice of cake from Canele. No cakes came out from my oven this time. Guilt is settling in as I type this.

But I have a valid excuse. Dad has never been the one with a sweet tooth. He's more of a savoury (very heavy-handed with the salt as well, which drives my mum nuts) person and he's into meats. Note to self: bake dad a meat pie next year.

Three slices of apple strudel later, I felt oddly sick but some chocolate tea from TWG helped. Yes, chocolate tea, and I adore it. More about it in another post (yes I will be updating more!).

Chocolate tea, cake and strudel aside, I want to take this chance to thank my Dad for everything he's ever done for the family. My dear father is fiercely private (as you can tell from the small birthday do). He is very much a family man. I salute him for the long and odd hours he works. What inspires me most is how he'll lug home bags of groceries ever so often even after work to prepare a meal for the entire household. Sometimes I think I don't thank him enough.

Like I've said many times, to my friends - I love it when Dad cooks. There's always a thick air of excitement as I sprint (almost.) to the kitchen when I smell deliciousness in the air the moment I push open the front door. I also adore the fact that Dad cooks in large quantities. He never stinges. This is one reason why I have such an insatiable appetite. To him, more is always good. Our household never goes hungry.

This is where I tell you about my habit of opening the fridge the moment I come home. It is to see if there's leftovers to bring to work or just food to feed my hungry stomach. These days, a huge pot of beef stew/curry equates to a satisfying packed lunch the next day. My colleagues are very familiar with my Dad's cooking. They've tried his buah keluak, beef stew, and devil's curry among others. I rave about Dad's food all the time, but not without reason. I wish you were able to try some right now. I know you'd agree with me.

So why hasn't he started a food business of his own? He has thought about it (and dabbled with it lightly, a few years ago), but there are just so many limitations. I do wish that I could somehow help with this dream of his. Dad loves to cook and I am pretty sure that he would be more than happy to do it for a living if possible. I've told him many times that I will help him out should he ever decide to dive into this.

As always, most plans are easier said than done. Dad, I believe in your food and I think that it's good enough to warrant an eatery of your own. I hope that a few birthdays from now, we'll be able to celebrate something bigger.

In the mean time, enjoy your 60s! I love you Dad!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Antique Bakery

Antique Bakery is my latest obsession. Won't you just look at the luscious blood red strawberries above? How about the selection of cakes below:

There are many more cakes where those came from. I wish I knew about Antique Bakery earlier. Better late than never I guess.

It opened in November 2008 and it has left the Korean public hankering for more. One million people, in the first two weeks of 'opening'. That's really something.

You might think that it has got to do with all the pretty cakes, in all their chantilly cream and chocolate ganache glory. Perhaps so, but I think the other reason is because of them:

Yes, those four Korean dudes. There's no recipe tastier than cakes and men. Do I see nods of approval among the ladies? and ahem some gentlemen as well?

Only the Koreans are capable of pulling off the combination of pretty boys (both queer and macho), lots of sweets and humour, and not come across as overly cheesy. But that's really just my opinion. Antique Bakery is really just a fictional bakery in a Korean movie (surely you would have figured it out by now :) based on a popular Japanese manga by the same name:

The Korean adaptation, Antique (서양골동양과자점 앤티크) stars Joo Ji Hoon (Goong/Princess Hours and The Devil) as the owner Jin Hyuk and Kim Jae Wok (Coffee Prince) as the genius patissier Son Woo. The film was exhibited at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2009. The premise of the movie is not hard to grasp. It has some gay themes, which makes it amusing and is not at all sleazy. Don't worry, the storyline is very much centred around the bakery and cake-lovers will be duly satisfied. By the time I finished watching the movie, I really wanted to stuff my face with cake. I won't reveal the entire plot so if you want, do go and catch it. It is also available on Youtube.

Here's the movie trailer so you'll have an idea what I'm raving about:

Or go to to find out more

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I love my greens

Growing up, I was a kid that I'm sure most parents would love to have at the dining table with them. You know, the type of kid, who would scowl at the sight of everything green, leafy, or remotely bland? I was certainly NEVER one of them. Quite the opposite in fact. I was quite a trooper, guzzling down whatever was handed to me. I ate whatever was on my plate, vegetables included. I would even ask for second helpings of those bean sprouts, or long beans fried with chye-poh (salted radish), hae bee (dried shrimps) and chopped chillies (one of my favourite vegetable dish).

My extended family knows how much I love my vegetables. My grannie would deliberately give me extra portions of whatever greens she had cooked whenever I came over for dinner. Aunts would beckon me to have more of whatever vegetable dish they had cooked up. There also seemed to be no vegetable that I did not like (with the exception of bitter gourd, but I have since learnt to like it, especially when it is cooked with black Chinese vinegar and served cold).

You can actually serve me just vegetables at dinner and I will not bat an eye-lid. I would probably be grateful instead, and smile at you while chomping down that beautiful mesclun salad dressed lightly with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing (simple but perfect) with sun-dried tomatoes. Heck, I’m not averse to munching on raw Japanese cucumbers either. Refreshingly crunchy, it tastes good on its own, plus I love the clean feel.

If not for the inconvenience, I can actually see myself turning vegetarian. There are various types of vegetarians out there, and I will not list them out, but I know that they each have different motives. Some do it for religion and others do it because they cannot bear the thought of eating a dead animal. There are those who turn vegetarian to lose weight (yes it’s true, I’ve heard of this.)

How about semi-vegetarians? Can I consider myself a semi-vegetarian if my ratio consumption of vegetables to meat is 3:1? How about 5:1? I sounded my sister out on this and all she did was to look at me ridiculously for one second, before setting me straight. “That’s not a form of vegetarianism at all! That’s an omnivore. Most of us are omnivores, we eat meat AND vegetables.” Alas, you apparently have to make it a conscientious effort to avoid meat before you can be considered a partial vegetarian. In my curiousity, I looked up semi-vegetarian on the internet and found this list:

• Flexitarianism - Mostly avoiding all meat, but eating it under some situations.
• Mafism - Mammalian meat is excluded, but fish, seafood and poultry are not.[5]
• Pollotarianism - Mammalian meat, fish, and seafood is excluded, but chicken or other poultry is not.
• Pescetarianism - Mammalian meat and poultry is excluded, but fish and seafood are not.

I know what Pescetarianism is, I know a friend who is one. But Mafism and Pollotarianism? I’ve never heard of those.

Fine then, I thought. I just won’t call myself a semi-vegetarian. Besides, I don’t have to be vegetarian to love vegetables anyway. I’ll have my greens with meat and be happy at the same time, thank you very much.

But the story doesn’t end here. Eager to try out what it would be like to be a vegetarian, I set out to do what most normal people (like my meat-loving friends and colleagues) would baulk at; I went in search of vegetarian places that would convert me, and perhaps impress me so much I would never want to put my lips near any piece of meat, mammalian or not.

I didn’t have to go far to find this first vegetarian place that I’m going to tell you about today. My workplace is situated near a Buddhist and a Hindu temple and most of them are vegetarians, so there would naturally be plenty of vegetarian eateries around. I was right. Case in point: Fortune Centre. This unassuming beige building is apparently a vegetarian/organic/health food institution. Naturally, it was the first place I went to, to begin on my vegetarianism ‘pilgrimage’ of sorts. Note that I have tried vegetarian food before, but they were mostly either oily, or filled with plenty of gluten that I eventually gave up on them.

So my story begins with a random visit to Fortune Centre, with a friend who had given up meat for lent. She asked me if I knew of any vegetarian place and I instinctively pointed her to Fortune Centre. Then she said, “Why don’t you come along?” and I did. I’m also very glad I did, because it brought me to a lovely vegetarian, organic eatery that I have grown to love.

I’ve only visited New Green Pasture Café five times, but I have to say that each visit has been most pleasant. I’ve not quite tried their entire menu, but I would sure love to, slowly but surely. On their name card, it says "We specialise in organic food, vegetables, fruits, wheatgrass, brown rice, sea salt, miso, nuts & seeds and vegetarian products. Our products are ogranically grown, free from chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides." They also write that their food is msg-free, and low in fat and salt. It sure doesn't sound very appetising. Let me assure you however, that it's not bad, at all.

The owner, Sophia Teh, is a sprightly lady who champions not only vegetarianism but organic produce. The café also doubles up as a supermarket of sorts, selling everything from organic vegetables to quinoa (including quinoa noodles!), Bonsoy (my current absolute favourite soy milk), mixed grains, almond butter, etc. Sophia was there on my fifth visit when I brought along my mum. She was having her dinner when we entered the café and after greeting us warmly, she smiled and asked what we would like to have. I saw that she was having some noodles and I asked her what it was. “Zha jiang mian”, she replied. Okay, I love zha jiang mian and I can never say no to a bowl, whether it be vegetarian or not. I was also curious, so I ordered that, along with their signature soba salad (I’ve had that about two times prior to this visit and I knew it was really good. More on that later), and the seaweed roll.

I had brought my mum here because she too was curious about the place, after listening to me rave about it like the time I raved about Big D’s Grill. No doubt they might not be on the same playing field (come on, one serves unbelievably good kurobuta pork and wagyu beef), but I had to convince her that I wasn’t bluffing, that this was as good, in a healthy sort of way. My mum hates cooking but she loves to eat. Ever so often, when I get into my obsessive ‘(insert eatery’s name)’s food is so good, you have to try it!’ phases which also translates into having every single person I meet knowing about said place because of how much I rave about it, it will in turn get my mum really curious. She would then ask me to bring her there. And so I did, and thankfully, she liked it.

So back to the food, yes the very healthy, very green, very 'feel-good’ food.

Their seaweed roll is one of my favourites. The first time I tried it, I thought that it was something I wouldn’t mind eating every single day. The roll was simply a combination of various raw vegetables, lightly dressed with a refreshingly sweet yet tangy sauce. I’m not quite sure what they used, but I’ll be sure to ask the next time round.

I believe that they used the same sweet and tangy sauce for the soba salad because they tasted the same. There were plenty of greens in the salad, everything from shredded beetroot, dou miao, and carrots, to purple cabbage. You can refer to the photo and try to guess what was what. The broken pieces of brown rice crackers added plenty of crunch, which I enjoyed too.

New Green Pasture Café’s zha jiang mian obviously can’t be compared to the original version with minced pork. Theirs came packed with plenty of greens (yay) and their meat substitutes were made from tofu I believe. Again, very healthy and very satisfying. The portion was huge but we finished it anyway. They probably used brown rice or quinoa noodles because we didn’t feel the bloat that usually comes after you finish an entire bowl of noodles.

Dessert was black sesame paste and coral jelly. The black sesame they used is ground in-house and they blend it with soy milk. It was also not very sweet, in fact, my mum said it could have been sweeter. Well I thought it was fine the way they served it. Coral jelly came with soy milk (Bonsoy, I believe) and attap chee (fruit of the palm tree). There are no photos for these two desserts because I was too eager to dive in.

If you ever think that going vegetarian means giving up on tasty food then you have to think again, or maybe visit New Green Pasture Cafe yourself. They might not serve meat but they sure know how to satisfy both the palates of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. I think that their offerings are surprisingly tasty. It is truly possible, with the right ingredients, to cook up a delicious meal that is not only good for you, but meat-free and msg-free. Other menu items I have tried and like are their nasi briyani, penang laksa and brown rice set. They also have daily specials. All you have to do is ask.

The more I think about it, the more it seems possible. Me, becoming a vegetarian. It's not like I have never thought about it. I have! However, I'm always faced with sceptical looks from friends and family who would laugh loudly and ask me why would I ever want to do that? I don't know actually. Perhaps because I love vegetables? I know that's not the issue. It is also about sparing the animals the torture. However, I'm a fervent believer of the natural progression of the universal food chain. I'm on the verge of sounding evil, but hey, I won't deny that I enjoy meat as much as I enjoy my vegetables.

Maybe one day, when I am able to convince myself that it is absolutely horrendous to eat meat,(don't know when that will be but well, just presenting a scenario), then I will become a full-fledged vegetarian. Until then, I will continue to practise my own version of semi-vegetarianism, or what my sister calls, 'omnivorism*'.

* By the way, I checked and yes there is apparently such a word.


New Green Pasture Cafe
#04-22, Fortune Centre
190 Middle Road
Tel: 6336-8755
Open: 11am to 8pm, closed on Mondays

Monday, March 16, 2009

That which does not kill us makes us stronger

A good old adage that the majority of us food lovers happily embrace, despite knowing the consequences is also one that puts fear in mindful eaters. I know this because I have gone through bouts of mindful eating.

Thankfully, those days were far and few in between. These days, I am blissful staying ignorant. Even Friedrich Nietzsche himself agrees, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger".

I like Nietzsche, I think he understood us food lovers best. My Dad too, will agree. After all, he never let up trying to convince my siblings and I on how eating the fatty bits of any meat is never a bad thing. "You're growing, you need energy, eat the skin, it's good for you," Dad instinctively chimes whenever he sees me separating the skin (and fats) from any meat that I was eating.

As always, I would expect like-minded food lovers to protest when I say that I hardly ate the fatty glorious tasty skins of chicken, pork and duck. You can start rolling your eyes now, it's okay, because I feel the same way. You see, I'm a bit contradictory in a way. I will not say no to Eton mess (of which there's tonnes of cream, which equates to fats anyway- a good 30 to 35% eh?), trifle (again, cream!), tiramisu (mascarpone cheese, hmm, need I say more?), panna cotta (self-explanatory), and the sinful list goes on. Why avoid skins when in fact, I cannot get enough of creamy dreamy fat? It's a really stupid thing to subscribe to. Yet, I'm guilty of that.

There, I've come clean. Trust me, I've had my fair share of raised eye-brows when friends (oh and colleagues and bosses!) see me push fatty bits of goodness to the side of my plate. Somehow, it makes me feel guilty, especially since I'm supposed to love even the sinful stuff, no matter how unadulterated it is. But believe me when I say that it is also mainly because I hardly find skins appealing, both in taste and texture. That said, isn't it the norm for a true food lover to never say no to delicious fatty skins? Apparently so, considering the number of times I've been chided for my nonchalant attitude towards those fatty bits of skin.

Today, however, I stand converted. All it took was one unforgettable encounter, one that single-handedly changed my perception of chicken skin; underlaying fats and all:

Glistening skin with a smooth gelatinous-like layer of fat sitting lightly on firm, cold white chicken meat. Every piece was a piece of heaven. If you've read this blog before, you might notice that I hardly talk about meat this way, let alone chicken skin. Some days I might exaggerate, but today, I am presenting it to you plain and simple. I love sharing good things anyway.

The place selling this unctous chicken is not unknown. Many local food bloggers have blogged about it, including Leslie. Shame on me for not picking up on it and trying it earlier. It was not until a friend of mine shared about how this chicken skin was the stuff of his ultimate food fantasies, that I caught on. He insisted that I had to try it. Honestly, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like it. Chicken skins are just chicken skins, no? Apparently not. I was wrong to judge them all as equal.

Back to the chicken, skin, fats and all. Located right smack in the middle of Holland Village, at 31 Lorong Liput was this newly renovated air-conditioned eatery called Yi Bao (the former Yee Cheong Yuen). Yi Bao is supposedly a hidden legend, and as Leslie described, very much 'under-rated'. According to my friend, this eatery has been around for years, and he used to go there all the time when he was still in secondary school. A place with this much history is surely worth a visit. My friend, who grew up eating said chicken said that they are also known for their Ipoh hor fun:

Yi Bao's Ipoh hor fun comes with a very generous helping of their oyster-sauce-based (a wild guess, do correct me if I'm wrong) dark midnight-brown gravy. Coupled with the cold white chicken with its gelatinous skin, this dinner at Yi Bao is one to remember. It would be the day I fell in love with chicken skin, white chicken skin, something I used to push to a corner of my plate. I am thankful to my friend, my ever zealous foodie partner-in-crime, for bringing me to this place, a place which convinced me more than ever that whatever which does not kill us, only makes us stronger, no matter what the doctors or medical journals say. No one ever died of indulgence. At least no one I know. Ignorance, my friend, is bliss.

Yi Bao
31 Lorong Liput
Holland Village
Tel: 6468 7737

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