Sunday, July 31, 2005

My delicious 21st Birthday Soiree - Wrap up!

Aunt’s Kitchen Aid

My 21st birthday soiree on friday was a blast. Everyone had a great time and they all had only praises for the food. I'm really happy it all went well! It was seriously tiring but worth it.

I wish I could say that I got a gorgeous KitchenAid as a present...


alas, that didn't happen. The kitchen aid you see above belongs to my youngest aunt, WT. She is one heck of a baker - she doesn't buy bread but rather, bakes her own. Mind you, she bakes more than 5 batches at a shot.

Okay, I had better stop digressing.

Anyway, about the mixer - yes, I used it to bake my brownies for the party.

I actually borrowed my aunt's home for the party because it's much bigger and I love the ambience.

At the same time, I made use of her Kitchen Aid and her fantastic Brandt oven:

Brownies baking in oven

can you see my two batches of brownies baking quietly in the oven?

I didn't bring my baking pan over to my aunt's place, so had to improvise and use a glass baking dish too.

The brownies were served to my guests after dinner, with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate syrup. They were a hit. I'm glad there were enough to go around!

Brownies aside, here's a sneak peek at the feast served at my party:

Big Feast

Everything looks so yummy don't you think so?

I'll now give you a brief lowdown of each dish:

Cold Pasta

I made this simple cold pasta without following any recipe. What inspired me was this similar pasta dish I had in my university canteen a few days ago. It tasted very refreshing and seemed simple enough to 'copy' so I decided to make my own version. Dear aunt WT. helped me out too. She recommended that I use Apple Cider Vinegar, dijon mustard, honey to dress the pasta. And I added herbs too, of course - dill and oregano. I added some jap cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, ham and cheese too. I really like how this dish came out nicely. It was quite a breeze. It finished rather quickly!

Chickpea Stew

Made some chickpea stew. This was the third time trying it out. Didn't use canned chickpeas this time - actually boiled my own. So I think the peas weren't soft enough. Nonetheless it was okay and there were none left at the end of the party. So I guess it's a good sign? haha.

Dad’s Devil Curry

My dad's Devil Curry. Awesome. I literally grew up on this stuff I tell ya! As I've posted before, my dad is an amazing cook and his curries are the best. I wanted him to cook ayam buah keluak but there just wasn't enough time. For the uninitiated, Devil Curry is actually a Eurasian dish with Portugese and Malaysian influence. It certianly lives up to its name. A seriously fierce and hot dish, the rempah (paste) contains ingredients like tumeric powder, mustard powder, vinegar, candlenuts and PLENTY of chillies. It's usually cooked with chicken or pork. It's one of my most favourite curry. Didn't I say I love spicy food? The spicier the better! And I do think my dear guests agreed because the lapped it up real good...

Dad’s Sambal Sotong

Another of my dad's speciality - sambal sotong. Okay, this picture is a bit blur, took it in a hurry and I stupidly took only 1 shot. Never mind. This was also a popular favourite and so was his 'kong bak'. Kong bak (not pictured here) is actually pork marinated dark soya sauce. It's usually eaten with this white semi-circle-like kong bak pau (bun) that usually has a red dot in the centre. You actually slit it into two and insert thin slices of kong bak and eat it with chilli. it's damn shiok (satisfying)!


I wrote about my fifth aunt's corn crostini before. It was so yummy that I kindly asked her to cook it for my party and she did. Together with some shui jing bao (crystal dumpling).

Crystal Dumplings

These dumplings were stuffed with turnip, mushrooms, dried shrimps. It's a familiar feature on most dim sum menus. Fifth aunt does them really well so I roped her in to cook some for my party. They taste great with sweet sauce or chilli.

Mushroom Puff Pastry
mushroom puff pastry

Shepherd’s Pie
shepherd's pie

Bacon Chesnut
chestnuts wrapped in bacon

The three dishes above were all cooked by my Godma, who's also my fourth aunt.

Everyone loved her shepherd's pie. My friends also found her chestnut bacon dish very interesting and equally tasty. Now you know why I roped my aunts in to help cook for my party! They're seriously talented cooks! That is why I always look forward to any family gatherings/dinners that we have. Because I know that these aunts of mine will def. bring great food as always.

And I have to say that the highlight of my party was the food. It was my intention to provide my dear friends with a gastronomical experience they won't forget. And I do believe I achieved that. I'm really happy with this virgin attempt to host a party! I'm sure it won't be my last.

All right, now, I'm sure you're waiting to see the birthday cake! Can you guess if it's homemade or storebought? Don't scroll down yet. Just have a look at the cake pictures and make a wild guess!

My Birthday Cake
Kiwi Cake
Kiwi Cake Cross-section

I know, you're wondering why I'm showing you two cakes aren't you? Well the cakes were NOT bought. My fifth aunt baked them and she was so sweet to bake two cakes. She was worried that one wouldn't be enough. But I chose the peach one (square shaped one) as my 'official' birthday cake.

Yea, and I did the whole 'make a wish and blow out the candles' procedure. At this moment, I felt so touched - at the fact that some of my aunts took the day off to help me cook some of the dishes you see here, and that my friends were there at my party to celebrate this blessed day with me. I really felt so loved and it was a heartwarming moment. I made known my appreciation and teared a little! Quite embarrassing but unavoidable.

Those who turned up, if you are reading this, I want to say a Big Thank You for taking time off to be at my party, and for your valuable friendship. I love each and everyone of you!

Now that I've finished giving you the lowdown about the food, let's go on to the presents.

I'm really not one to rave about my presents because I'd rather give than receive, most of the time. I don't think birthdays are about the presents. In fact, that's the least of my worries. I don't usually expect gifts from people. As long as they remember that it's my birthday or even come up to wish me, I'll be sincerely touched.

Okay, so I shall not post about all the presents I received but only the ones related to food =)

I must say that my friends are good gift givers. Every gift I've received is of great use to me - very practical stuff I'd actually use/wear/eat.

Here's some examples:

Cookbook presents

Cookbooks! Some actually bought cookbooks for me! Notice how they're all dessert oriented? Well I have no complaints. I was ecstatic when I opened them up! I'm already flipping through them, choosing which ones I'd try out first. The pink one there was given to me by my best friend Cheryl and the other two, by Jules and Darren, my beloved friends from Amplify ministry.


Will you just look at that! A flan tin, cake decorators, chocolate sundae syrup and a biscuit cookbook. I couldn't stop smiling. These were given to me by the Seet sisters - Melissa and Charissa. Thanks babes, I love this gift alot!

Assorted Belgium Chocolate
Belgium Dark Chocolate

And.... CHOCOLATE! don't you agree that chocolate makes a great gift? Haha.. yes, my friends know how crazy I am about chocolate and Em, Paul, Gavin and Jane gave me a box of assorted Belgium chocolates and this bar of 70% dark chocolate! (i do highly suspect that they read my post about dark chocolate... !) Thanks guys, I've opened the assorted chocs and tried some. They're gorgeous.

And for my parting shot, here's a photo taken with my dearest classmates from secondary school. We literally grew up together and they're an amazing bunch of madhats. hehe... they're as crazy and insane as me. We always have plenty of laughs, squeals and fun when we meet up! I don't think I've ever posted a picture of myself before. Care to guess which is me?

Sec Sch classmates

Not sure how obvious it is. But ya, I'm the second one from the left. The only one in a bright summery skirt. To my left is my bestest friend Cheryl Anne, yes I've talked about her before. The other lady in yellow sitting next to me is May, and the other two are Adeline and Carrie. Dearies, if you are reading this, thanks a mil for coming and i love you all. Hugz.

Oh boy, this has been a rather long post. I think I shall sign off here.

All I have to say is that I'm glad I had this party, it was a great chance to catch up with friends I haven't seen in a while and well, it was also a great opportunity to let my friends taste the food I grew up with and to enjoy my brownies and my culinary skills. haha...

And... that's a W-R-A-P! The party was a success and I'm now 21-years YOUNG and I'll continue doing what I do best - bake and write and be the happiest baker/writer on earth. cheers!

Friday, July 29, 2005

All of 21

I'm finally 21.

Will be having a simple birthday soiree with some close friends tonight.

My dear aunts are chipping in and boy oh boy are my guests going to be treated to a big feast tonight. I'm rather excited!

On the menu is my dad's lovely Devil Curry, Sambal Sotong (squid), Godma's sheperd's pie, Fifth aunt's crystal dumplings, my brownies, cold pasta and chickpea carrot stew... plus so much more!

I'll definitely be taking plenty of pictures of the food especially and will post about it after the party.

I've also gotten Stephanie's Blogging by Mail package yesterday! more on that later... now, i have to get cookin!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The First 'Blogging By Mail' Adventure

My chocolate chunk cookies
my lovely choc chunk cookies being packed, ready to be sent off to the US.

Have you ever read someone's food blog and wished you could have just a wee taste of whatever goodies that the blogger had just baked or cooked?

I know I have.

So when Nic of Bakingsheet came up with the ingenious Blogging By Mail idea, I was pretty excited. Imagine having someone send something homemade all the way from across the globe? How cool is that?

In case you're wondering, this is how Blogging By Mail works: you first inform Nic of your interest in participating, and pass her your postal address. After which, she'll give you someone else's address and you would then send something homemade and/or anything reflective of your country's culture and so on.

As you can see, I sent my homemade choc chunk cookies and also included a few goodies:

My Singapore Package

A box of Prima Laksa paste, some Milo nuggets and Kopiko sweets were what I added to the package. In case you're wondering, Laksa is actually a popular dish in Singapore. I think it originated from Penang but the version we have here is a little different. Laksa is a mish mash of different cultures: Peranakan, Malay and Chinese. It tends to lean on the spicy side, so I really hope Lauren (my receipient) can tolerate chilli! I think Milo can't be found in U.S. so I sent her some milo nuggets to try and yes the Kopiko sweets are actually found only in Asia? I grew up on that sweet too.. so I thought it might be something interesting for her.

Anyway Lauren just informed me that she's gotten the package! And thankfully, she did enjoy the cookies. I'm glad the package didn't get lost in the mail. And oh, Lauren, if you're reading this, feel free to email me if you're not sure how to cook the laksa? :) Hope you're inspired to start a food blog of your own soon!

Before I forget, here's a peek at what our lovely Blogging By Mail hostess sent us:

USA Package
Sweets from USA

Chocolate Caramel Creme Savers, Jelly Belly flavoured milk chocolate and of course, the star of it all: her white chocolate and chocolate chip blondies!

Can you imagine how good the blondies were? I'll try my best to describe them to you: as soft as brownies, a little crumbly and as sweet as can be. Well I have a sweet tooth so naturally I took to the blondies really well. It was my first time tasting blondies and I was highly satisfied with this first taste! Gosh, my two younger siblings cleared them up real quick too! Thanks a mil Nic! It's cool to have finally tasted one of your baked wonders!

And I love the Jelly Belly milk chocolate candies! The flavours were really cool: think honey graham crakcers, apricot, liquorice, pear, cinnamon apple and so on... it was so fun to eat. and of course, the creme savers were fantastic. The best part about receiving this package was the fact that none of these stuff can be bought in Singapore! So I feel really privileged to have had a chance to taste all these goodies. Man, Blogging By Mail is the best thing to happen in the food blogging world! I'm definitely going to take part in the next one.

Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness has sent me her package but I have yet to receive it. And now, after reading her post about what she sent, I'm ever more so excited about receiving it! Haha, who knows, it might actually reach me on my 21st birthday this friday! It'll be a real treat - a sweetly sweet birthday present! Lol.. keeping my fingers crossed. Do stay tuned for an update when it lands in my hands right here in sunny Singapore!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

It's a green veggie day

Green Veggies

Betcha eyes are getting sore with all that green! That's some good fibre there: spinach, celery and broccoli.

Cooked green veggies

Cooked it this week and ate it for most of my meals while staying at my aunt's place. She went for a holiday so I babysat her home for a week. It was rather relaxing. I love her home... it's spacious and peaceful.

Okay, back to the vegetables. Decided to try out Domestic Goddess Jennifer's spinach and broccoli in yoghurt recipe and it worked really well.

Veggies in yoghurt

it might not look much, but it tasted great. But I made a few changes to it. I didn't have tumeric at my aunt's place, so i used a mish mash of spices like dill, rosemary, all spice powder and thyme. Also added celery and chickpeas, as you can see.

It's a relatively healthy veggie dish. Very good if you feel constipated I say! hahaa.. and hey it gives you lots of calcium too... Strong bones for all of us!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Singapore Food Bloggers Lunch

Finally had a timely chance to put a face to the food blogs I've been reading for the past months. Thanks to Aun, June, and Gwenda, us local food bloggers had a fantasticilious 5 course lunch at Mag's Wine Kitchen down Circular Road.


Now, you'd almost expect some awkwardness, considering that you're going to be meeting a couple of strangers you've never met before. But my oh my, if you were there in the same restaurant as us, you'd be mistaken and thought that we were a group of close friends, meeting up and reminiscing about the past, present and future. It was that noisy. I almost couldn't hear myself. Seems that we food bloggers are a chatty bunch of people.

Let me fill you in on those who came: J from the very aesthetically pleasing Kuidaore, Julia of Aromacookery, Daphne of Kitchen Crazy Daffy, Joan of Dim Sum Dolly, ST of Cheat Eat, SH of Umami, Catherine of EatzyBitzy, Nicole of Como Quieras and of course Serene, the lovely ST reporter and our 3 organisers, Aun of Chubby Hubby, June of Nibble Scribble and Gwenda of The Adventure of the Tastebuds.

If you think the company was great, wait till I get to the food. The 5 course degustation menu was really something and it only set me back by $45 nett. Okay, it's still quite a lot of money (i usually spend at most $20 on lunch!) but considering the quality of the food served, I would say it was worth every cent. Mag's Wine Kitchen truly rocks. I'm not saying just because.

Oh I have to thank the sponsor BATS Singapore. They were kind enough to provide us with goodie bags and the 4 lucky draw prizes won by Joan, SH, Gwenda and Catherine. We each had a lovely Staub spatula to bring home too.

Holey Spatula

I think it's from France and it seriously looks good - all their products i mean. Just flipping through their catalogue makes me wanna go out and buy them all. Lucky Joan won the fondue set!!!

Okay, I'll admit that I'm envious. hahaa.. I've been wanting a fondue set for the longest time. I love chocolate fondue but other than having them at Haagen Daz, I haven't been able to have one at home. Oh well... maybe I'll just use a mini stainless steel pot over the stove? Or even an aromatherapy pot, an unused one of course.

Before I digress somemore, back to the food. Yes yes...


We had Grilled Belly of Swordfish with Pickled Fennel as the first course. The swordfish was meaty enough to be quite unrecognisable. As Daphne commented, it really tasted a little bit like chicken. But I loved how they complemented the delicate fish with the pickled fennel. Yes, i love pickled stuff.


Next up was the Seared Sea Scallop served with Soy Mirin dressing. Now, scallops I've tasted before but none was as good as the one we had today. This one was seriously fresh and it was a delight to tear apart. It quite buoyant and brilliantly done. Not overcooked at all. I liked the fish roe they topped it with.

Smoked Duck on Arugula was the third course. Now, I hardly eat duck because the meat is a little on the tough side at times. But today's smoked duck converted me. You can tell that Mag smoked the duck really well because of it's tender texture and pink middle. She left the top layer of tasty fat too, which I think was a good move. I usually put aside all the fats, but this time, I ate almost all of the fat. Haha, more running for me later. =p Oh, oh, the arugula leaves were a bonus, it blended really well and added some 'crunch'.

Beef Tenderloin

The star of the day was definitely the Seared Beef Tenderloin Slices served with Butter Spinach, Caramelized Baby Carrots and Veal Jus. I got to tell you, I'm addicted to Mag's seared beef tenderloin. I was almost speechless when I placed the meat into my mouth. It's almost indescribable. I'll try my best to concoct the 'taste' for you. This beef was as tender as can be. It didn't have the irritating beefy feel you get when its overcooked. This one was chewy, light, and it almost melts in your mouth. I'm serious. It was just fantastic. You have to try it for yourself to understand where I'm coming from.

Cream Caramel

Dessert was Cream Caramel. It was divine. Smooth, and light, it brought the lovely lunch to a sweet caramely close. I can flutter my eyes in pure ecastasy and claim this gorgeous lunch a great success. Thanks also to the talented chef, Mag!

* Finally posted up the pictures. But if you want to see more professionally taken shots of the food, check out Chubby Hubby's coverage of the lunch.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate


I cannot live without it.

Good chocolate is a must. Dark chocolate, I adore.

Chopped Chocolate

Bittersweet, with a strong chocolatey aroma, that's what dark chocolate should be like. I have an affinity for Lindt 70% chocolates. The higher the cocoa content, the better.

Whenever I bake, I try to use dark chocolate as often as possible.

Maybe not the 70% ones (that'll be too expensive). I normally use the one with 52% cocoa content. I buy mine from Carrefour.

Okay, it might sound 'cheap' but it really isn't. It's one of the better baking chocolate I've used. I always use it in my chocolate chunk cookies. In fact, I've just made a batch a few days ago to send to someone - part of the Blogging by Mail event (hosted by Nic) I'm taking part in. More about that in another post.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a simple poem I wrote about my greatest love, a few years ago. Dug it up from my good 'ol comp.. enjoy!

Swirls of brown

My tongue
Makes contact
With the dark brown
Swirling with ecstasy

Eyes closed
Fluttering with delight
My smile hints of something creamy
And breathes
Of dreamy desires

Might be I'm just crazy
I could be only playfully
Addicted to a pleasure
So dark and dangerous

Feeding my constant high
Bringing me further from my pain
I laugh with disdain
And cry with realization
When I know
that I have within my grasp
My one true love,
That is,
The divine

Monday, July 18, 2005

Tim Tims from Australia

Tim Tams from Australia

Most of you are aware that chocolate is one of my weakness.

So you could imagine what happened when my friend francis bought these Tim Tams back from Australia. He went to Sydney and I made a special request to bring back this limited edition Tim Tams not available here:

Chilli Choc Fling

and a fling was what i had. a passionate fling with me and my Tim Tams. It certainly was a dangerous liasion. I was literally popping Tim Tam after Tim Tam into my mouth. Sinful. And I did the Tim Tam slam with hot milo. Heaven. Must try it with coffee or milk next.

Anyway i enjoyed the chilli choc fling! i know what you must be thinking - no, it's not THAT spicy. It's kind of subtle. I actually tasted the sweetness of the chooclate cream first... then, the spicy tinge starts to creep up on your tastebuds. It's a change, but a lovely one. I totally dig these tim tams. Too bad I don't live in Australia. I could stock up on Tim Tams~ but that would mean a bigger sized me. Haha...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My homemade brownies & Haagen Daz Sundae

Ultimate Haagen Daz Sundae

There's hardly a soul I know who can boldly say that they dislike ice-cream.

Come on, I doubt that there's anyone out there who would want to stay away from ice-cream (well, other than those on a diet or lactose intolerant). It's seriously a heavenly treat.

Especially if you're in a country where it's always summer. Ice cream is a good way to counter the sweltering heat.

I'm sure we all have our favourite ice-cream flavours and brands. There are two ice-cream brands I swear by: Ben and Jerry's and Haagen Daz. Gosh do I melt at the sight of some luciously inviting icecream drizzled in chocolate fudge, and sprinkled with cookie crunch. Yummy.

and.. there's no better way to eat ice cream than with brownies.

not just any brownies...

BUT home made ones:

My brownies and icecream

Can you see my brownies in the midst of the Ultimate Sundae from Haagen Daz?

Mind you, I had that at the Haagen Daz outlet, not at home. Yes, you heard right... It was rather crazy but what the heck...

You see, last week, I met up with some friends and also brought some of my freshly baked brownies for them to try. We all concluded that it would be best to enjoy the brownies with ice cream...

so we headed down to Haagen Daz, ordered 4 scoops of icecream (Bailey's, Strawberry Cheesecake, Macadamia Nut, Belgian Chocolate) and placed the brownies rather discreetly (or not.) on the same plate. We had a good laugh I tell ya. I'm sure the waiters would be wondering where did those brownies suddenly appear from.

Brownie mess

Look at those brownies amidst the ice-cream. Don't you think it looks so inviting? We finished it up in record time!

Last brownie

That's the last brownie standing. Managed to capture it in its glory before it was 'attacked'. I tell you, I've never had such a good dessert in a long while. I mean, what could beat Haagen Daz ice cream with home made brownies???

Haagen Daz rocks... and do I hear cheers of agreement?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Rice Table

Entrance of Rice Table
Entrance of The Rice Table @ Cuppage Terrace

There's something about buffets that entice most Singaporeans. My countrymen are known for being great bargain hunters. Anything that's value-for-money, they'll spot it with their eagle-eyes. I guess there's nothing wrong about it. And man, when it comes to food. We people know how to enjoy.

Enjoy I did, when me, Cheryl Anne and Adeline went to The Rice Table recently to celebrate Adeline's 21st birthday.

Interior of The Rice Table
The interior

The Rice Table is known for it's credible and scrumptious Indonesian dishes. Served on an Indonesian Dutch rijsttafel (rice table), the dishes come in quaint little porcelain dishes that contain amazing gems such as the tauhu telor, which has a great crunch factor:

Tahu Telor
Their scrumptious tahu telor (tofu omelette) - not for those who hate fried stuff!

The restaurant serves lunch and dinner and all they have is the famed a la carte buffet.

Why famed? Because the place is so well-known and 'hot' that you have to book in advance before you're ensured a seat. Forget about a spontaneous decision to go eat there. You have to reserve at least a day in advance. It's always packed.

You'll understand why, when and if you do go on down to savour their authentically indonesian cuisine:

Indonesian Dishes
Clockwise from top left: Perkedel Jagung (Potato & Corn Fritter), Ikan Bilis (Fried Anchovies), Kangkong Belachan (Waterconvolvulus), Otak (Grilled Fishcake)

Their selection is wide and varied, which is good. You won't get bored. There are more than 15 dishes and it's okay if you're not really a chilli lover - the food isn't that spicy.

Indo food
Clockwise from top left: Sotong Asam (Spicy & Sour Cuttlefish), Gado Gado (Salad in Peanut Sauce), Ikan Goreng (Fried Fish), Tahu Kuning (Curried Tofu)

As you can see from the photos, we ate like pigs. It was truly a huge feast! I ate till my tummy nearly burst. Now you see why I try to avoid buffets.

More indo dishes
Clockwise from top left: Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay), Ladies Finger, Sambal Udang (Spicy Prawns), Terong Kecap (Eggplant in Soya Sauce)

My favourites are the the Chicken Satay, Eggplant, and of course the sambal kangkong. Yes, I love my veggies and I totally dig Indonesian cuisine. Spices and curries and tasty treats rock my house down.

Anyway it was truly a great dinner we had. You can never go wrong with The Rice Table. It's perfect especially if you have a bottomless pit for a stomach.


The Rice Table
360 Orchard Road
International Building
Tel: 6835-3783

43/45 Cuppage Road
Tel: 6735-9117

Suntec City Mall
3Temasek Boulevard
Tel: 6333-0248

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