Friday, December 29, 2006
Soups are honestly a rarity in my home. I can't remember when was the last time I made soup.
I do, however, enjoy soups alot. Especially tomato-based ones like the one in the photo above. That's beef goulash by the way. JF and I went to The Soup Spoon for dinner on our anniversary since it was raining cats and dogs the entire day and we couldn't go picnicking. I suggested The Soup Spoon because I've heard loads about it and I have friends who go there pretty often and swears by it. Besides, it was a cold cold day! And I knew I could really do alot better with some warm comforting soup.
The beef goulash was wonderful but JF preferred the Velvety Mushroom Stroganoff:
Geez, this mushroom soup has got to be the best I've ever tasted. Chockful of mushrooms and velvety to the core, this soup slides down your throat like honey - thick and creamy. Man, I like my beef goulash but I think the next time I head down to The Soup Spoon, I could do with a whole bowl of that mushroom soup myself. Mmmm... heaven.
Garlic Foccacia is another treat I enjoyed at The Soup Spoon, though this one was a bit too over-toasted:
Garlic ranks high in my list of favourite aromatics and this way of serving it is excellent. The sauce was lovely as well though a bit too sweet.
JF was craving for calamari so we had the Fisherman's Basket:
It's just fish, calamari, prawns, and crabmeat. It wasn't that fantastic (I've tasted better) but I think it satisfied his craving. :)
Overall, I think The Soup Spoon deserves credit for making the humble soup look like main course. I like this place alot and I'll be back soon. So tempted to try the bread bowl soup!
The Soup Spoon
Raffles City Shopping Centre
Basement 1, Unit 75
Open Sun - Thurs: 10.30am to 10.00pm, Fri-Sat: 10.30am to 10.30pm
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Every baker has their fears. This sort of fear comes naturally when attempting a new type of pastry. One can't help but feel apprehensive about the outcome of a recipe - whether is it a good one, and whether it will be a success or a horrid disaster that ends up mostly in the bin.
It becomes worse when you know that you simply cannot screw up because you're baking it for a party. You've went ahead on a whim, and promised to make something you've never made before. Now, that's even scarier! Trust me, there's simply no room for failure!
However, a baker like me is always geared up for a challenge and a simple fear won't get in my way. To me, it's do or die. If I don't attempt it now, when will I?
So in I dived... into the wonderful puffy world of choux pastry.
I've always wondered how cream puffs were made and I always thought of it as very difficult to make. I mean, what if the puffs don't puff! And how do they make it so hollow? Little did I know how ignorant I was.
Choux pastry is really easy to make. First of all, you got to have a good choux paste. The recipe is really simple and thank God for the one I got from "Joy of Cooking: All about party foods and drinks". I love this book and look forward to using more of the recipes in it.
Anyway back to the choux paste. Yes, it's so simple! All you have to do is get some flour, milk, butter, eggs, a bit of salt and water. That's it!
Here's how the paste looks like:
Looks very much like pure butter, no?
But the texture's really gooey, kinda like wet play-doh. Sticky and soft.
Here's how they look like, all piped in neat rows, ready to be popped into the hot oven:
Awww don't they look cute?
Seriously, I'm impressed how these small lumps can grow and expand into golden choux pastry puffs. Really! They literally double in size, mind you. And to think I was worried at first, about whether the size I piped were too small...
Small lumps all lined up, eager to expand their way to 'adulthood'. Haha. They look like Hershey's kisses don't they?
Anyway after about half and hour in the oven, here's what I ended up with:
Aren't they beautiful? I was so pleased that I didn't screw up. This wasn't that bad after all!
I've definitely overcome my fear of choux pastry puffs.
You can fill these puffs with anything sweet or savoury. I piped in tuna for the Christmas party. I suppose you can also use this recipe to make the puffs for chocolate eclairs! Love eclairs man... maybe I should try making some.
For those of you who want to try, here's the recipe:
Choux Pastry Puffs
from "Joy of Cooking - All About Party Foods & Drinks"
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
Half cup water
Half cup whole milk
113g unsalted butter
Half teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1. Bring the water, milk, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat.
2. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
3. Continue to cook and stir the mixture for about 1 minute, to eliminate excess moisture.
4. Let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg.
6. Make sure paste is smooth before adding each egg.
7. Beat the dough till smooth and shiny.
8. Choux paste can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
9. When it is cold, you do not need to bring the paste to room temperature before baking.
10. Pipe paste onto pan according to desired size.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you! :)
A year has come and gone, and this is the second christmas this blog has celebrated. Ah... I love Christmas not for the gifts and lights but for the joyous celebration of the beloved One. The One I love the most in the entire world! Yea... and I went for my parish's Christmas midnight mass too. The entire church was packed like no body's business. Was with Mum, lil bro and sis and of course, JF and his mum.
Right after mass, we went to Ros and Charles' place for Amplify's Christmas Party! Wow, the people at Amplify - they gotta be the most fun bunch ever. The party was a blast and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
I got some pretty cute and heartwarming gifts which I have to share with you!
First, check out the photo above. Isn't it oh-so-cute? It's meant to be a chocolate cupcake topped with cherries! I love it. Well it's actually a towel but heck I'm never gonna use it. It's a gift by Winston, my fellow foodie-in-crime. Haha we're both as crazy about health and fitness as we are about food so it's a perfect balance. Thanks sooo much Winston! I look forward to more 'lunch-ners' with ya! ;)
Ooooo and what I'm going to show you next will literally blow you away....
Are you ready?
Okay, here goes....
The best present ever...
A personalised wine bottle! Geez... I was speechless when I saw it.
I was so touched as well. Utterly beautiful and thoughtful and creative. How can anyone top that?!
The lovely gift was by my two dearest friends Leonard and Cassilda. Both are also leaders in Amplify (the youth ministry I'm in) and I love them to bits. They inspire me and they make me wanna serve with so much more fervour.
Here's the entire bottle:
Really! How cool is that?
If you're wondering what it says: Positive, resolute, go getter, generous. A fine friend lovingly celebrated by Leonard and Cassilda. Produce of heaven.
I'm never gonna open the wine. Well maybe 20 years later... haha. or I could even make it like an heirloom :p
Thanks Leo and Cass, I thank God for bringing both of you into my life!
Gosh, the party was swell and we had a gift exchange - only thing that it was a gift exchange with a twist. Totally different from the usual way. It's called the Evil Santa I think. First, everyone picks a number, and that number signifies the order by which you will go up to the heap of parcels and pick out one. But here's the catch, anyone can choose to 'steal' the others present. Everyone has to open their presents in front of all, and if someone else after you likes your present better than the one they picked out, they can swap it with you, regardless of whether you approve or not. Ha!
Evil ain't it? My number was 22 and I did exchange a bookmark for a Print notebook but someone after me 'stole' it from me! :( Haha, but anyway it was a fun game. I ended up with a South Park shirt which is much too big for my liking. Probably giving it to Dad or Bro.
Ahhh... the party lasted until the wee hours of the morning and I reached home around 6:30am. Imagine that! I slept until 1pm and here I am blogging all about it. Also brought home loads of food. It was a potluck and some brought fried rice (by Winston... and it was uber yum!), pasta, shepherd's pie, salad, tiramisu (this one rocked.. made by Clarence!). Yea, I'm sure you are also wondering what I brought...
I made some finger food:
This was made using the ready-made mini croustades from Ikea. Filled them in with crabmeat, corn, and flavoured with mushroom. It disappeared quite fast! Which I guess, is a good sign.. haha.
And then, there's the tuna puffs:
I have loads to say about this one. I made everything from scratch! Yes, even the choux pastry puffs. My my, it was my first attempt at making choux pastry and I was so relieved it turned out all right. I will blog about in my next post.
You know, I'm starting to like making finger food. It's so fun and easy to eat. Besides, I will have to learn more about making finger food or as the French call it: hor douvres. Especially since I'm now the F&B head of Amplify. Yea, I crossed over from Publicity, realised that I'd be much happier preparing food each week for people. So from now on, I'll be busy on Fridays before Amplify Fridays start at 8pm. We're gonna have this cookie and milk thingie which is going to mark the start of Cafe @ Amplify. Cool huh? I'm seriously really excited and can't wait for it to start. More about that another time.
Ahhhh... what a christmas this was. Well it's still christmas! I have lots to be thankful for. God has been very kind to me. I feel really blessed. To have a family, a roof over my head, and such great friends.
There you have it, my christmas, all summarised in 1 post!
Merry Christmas to you once again and God bless!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Being a huge fan of all things chocolate, I was itching to try out this Amazon Cake recipe that a few food bloggers have tried.
Debbie of Words To Eat By attempted this cake and got only good words to say.
Barbara of Winosandfoodies also tried her hand at this recipe and was pleased with it.
So I thought that it was a done deal and promptly saved the recipe in my laptop.
Today, my cousin Krystle was at my place hanging out and we got pretty bored. I suggested we do something fun.... like, erm baking! haha. yea it's the most fun thing to do on a rainy day.
But what was I to bake? We didn't want to do something that required lots of time. Then I remembered this Amazon Cake so I told her about it and she was game enough.
Both of us then trotted to the kitchen happily to mix all the ingredients together. This is one of the most simple recipe I've ever attempted and it seemed rather healthy too. There are no eggs and butter required! Imagine that... hmph. Was a bit sceptical at first but then, what the heck, I have nothing to lose, just lots of free time so why not!
And we mixed the dry ingredients and the wet liquids and combined it to form a thick batter and in it went into the oven. About half an hour later, it came out smelling really good.
Still sceptical, I slowly cut a slice and sprinkled some icing sugar as instructed and took a bite. Then there was a pause. A very pregnant pause.
Good or bad I really don't know. Maybe it's because I'm a chocolate lover and usually prefer really chocolatey cakes. I wasn't blown away by this Amazon Cake. It was decent, it was not too bad.. I like the moist feel but not fantastic. Maybe I didn't add enough sugar or added too much flour. Either way, it wasn't the best chocolate cake I've eaten. It wasn't like a disaster or anything. Just doesn't give that 'oomph' ya know?
Whatever it is, I think I will have to try this out again... and see if it could be better than this first attempt.
However, please don't let this deter you from trying it out yourself. I think it's an interesting cake! There's cider vinegar required as well. Have never baked a cake with cider vinegar.
I think I prefer my brownies over this cake.______________________________________
From The New York Times
Adapted from Cafe Beaujolais by Margaret Fox and John S. Bear
serves 6 to 8
1 ½ cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ t. salt
5 T. corn oil
1 ½ t. vanilla
1 T. cider vinegar
Heat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit/ 180 degrees celcius. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla and vinegar with 1 cup cold water. Whisk in the dry ingredients, blending until completely lump-free. Pour into a greased 9-inch round cake pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed gently. Cool before removing from the pan and dusting with confectioners’ sugar, or frosting if desired.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I scored this seductive chilli sauce slipper lobster during my virgin visit to Kuishinbo, a Japanese buffet restaurant. They usually have 'specials' like these which make the entire buffet experience all the more fun and exciting. This is how it works - everyone is entitled to the buffet spread but ever so often, there will be an announcment for these limited specials and the trick is to get there first. So you gotta be quick on your feet! I was lucky this time because I happened to be right in front of the seafood section when they announced about the slipper lobsters!
Speaking of buffets, I want to highlight the fact that in Singapore, buffets are pretty common. There's at least one buffet offered at every hotel and it's a cinch to find one at almost every shopping mall. Truth be told, I'm still baffled by buffets. I mean, I love buffets, yes I do but I'm also fearful of them! Especially since I'm such a food lover... If you put THAT MUCH food in front of me, I'm afraid I'd lose self-control and try to gobble everything up. PLENTY of discipline is needed when I attend buffets. As much as I'm afraid of buffets, I'll admit that I find it hard to stay away from them.
So, I want to ask all of you to tell me which is your favourite buffet/buffet restaurant and what foods I absolutely mustn't miss! You know, it's really easier when you know what's good at which buffets, so you know which ones to try first. Usually, by the time you find out what's good, you'd already be full from trying out the other dishes. So right now, I'm going to save everyone the trouble and compile a list! So please email me or leave a comment and I will compile it and post it up when I have enough information :) Pictures are welcomed as well!
That said, I have some photos from the Kuishinbo buffet and I'll let you in on what's my favourite and what I think is so special about this place. So enjoy!
Raw is good. I love raw fish and let me tell you, Kushinbo has a good selection of sashimi. Dig the fresh tuna and salmon. Check out their colour! Beautiful...
Soup in paper. This is very innovative. Fun to eat as well. Though the soup is a bit too salty, I would give points for their creativity. I know this isn't the only place that serves soup in a paper bowl but heck, it's my first time drinking soup like that.
Their chawanmushi (steamed egg) is really silky smooth. I love this one.
There's also an excellent selection of desserts and you got to try the coronets. I love the cream and the fine pastry.
Here's the seafood section. There's prawns, slipper lobsters, crabs and edamame.
This is their sushi and sashimi selection. When I was there, they had this really cute X'mas tree sushi. That particular sushi was shaped like a christmas tree and was topped with different raw fish and seaweed, making it really colourful.
Last but not least, their dessert section. I love Japanese desserts including the mochi... Mmmm... there's also a mini chocolate fountain - but that's really common at most buffets now...
Ahhh... buffets, you gotta love them and hate them at the same time. I'm sure you understand what I mean. *Nudge*
The anticipation that leads up to the actual partaking of the food. You try to eat less the entire day; I know of people who don't eat anything the whole day, so as to leave their stomachs empty for the buffet in the evening.
Then there's the icky feeling after you've stuffed yourself silly. Sometimes, you even feel like puking because your stomach's close to bursting! Haha... I have been guilty of that. For me, I usually get through the main food pretty fast because I always love combing through the dessert selection. Gosh... and then after I'm done with everything, I'll make a mental note not to eat so much the next day, and go RUNNING! :P
Haha... anyway, I'll stop here and please keep the buffet feedback coming. I'll be waiting!
#03-002, Suntec City Tower 1
3 Temasek Boulevard
P.S. They have different prices for different days and times. Check out their site for more details.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Check out those lucious 'fruits'! I think they look so pretty. Too pretty to eat in fact.
What do you think it's made of?
No, it's not icing sugar.
The colour looks so perfect - but trust me, it is edible.
If you guessed marzipan, you're right. :) You know, I've never really thought much about marzipan and always stayed away from it because they're known to be extremely sweet. I think of it as icing on wedding cakes, sugee cakes etc. But recently I tried these and was quite surprised. The marzipan wasn't too sweet and I could taste the almond quite easily.
Here's how it looks like on the inside:
My cousin brought it from Russia. He studies at the Moscow Conservatory and was back in Singapore for a while. He also bought other treats like poppy seeds, buckwheat and this:
Haha, can you guess what that is?
I think it's rather easy but I will give you all the benefit of the doubt!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Christmas is less than 2 weeks away! Are you in the mood yet?
If not, then I guess this announcement might just get you into the Christmas mood.
Sam of The Hinata Diaries and June of Nibble & Scribble are organising a Christmas Flog Exchange.
How to take part? Simply send them a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, blog url, postal address and wish by this Thursday, December 14. They will publish the completed wish list the next day (Friday, December 15), after which you have one week to sign up to fulfil someone else's wish. Needless to say, you only get to make a wish if you're gonna fulfil someone else's in return :)
To keep things fun and friendly, you can wish for anything food-related that's under S$20. It can be something specific (e.g. a box of organic cherries) or something that requires a bit of creativity on your wish fulfiller's part (e.g. "the best cupcakes you've ever eaten").
Of course, feel free to spread the word on your own blogs and get more people involved! Depending on the response, we can either organize a gift exchange get-together or a simpler blogging-by-mail exchange (hence the request for your snail mail address).
So get wishing!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Vivocity is a H-U-G-E mall with two supermarkets to boot.
One of them is by Cold Storage and it's simply named, "Naturally Marketplace". It's well stocked with plenty of imported and organic products. I had a field day when I dropped by recently. The entire place is just filled with so many yummy goodies that I just wished I owned the entire supermarket.
I'll let the photos speak for themselves:
Plenty of cans all stacked in neat rows. What a sight!
Herbs and spices galore. Take your pick...
Green & Black's chocolate! Oh, and this supermarket has meaningful stickers stuck onto the shelves and even the fridges:
How cool is that? And look at the number of tall fridges they have.. Alot of the stuff here cannot be found elsewhere.
Here's the dairy section. I only managed to capture half of it in one shot. That's how big it is.
This is one gorgeous supermarket. It's just so spacious and neat. Oh, and it's really cold too. They carry brands like Waitrose and Freedom Foods. Yea, this is where I got those healthy chips! The ones I asked you to guess. Want to know the answer? Only one of you got the right answer - Shirley :)
Those chips are actually made from Chickpeas! Yep. Those are really healthy chickpea chips. You know the kacang puteh that used to be sold in paper cones? Yea, the chips are made from those. They taste really healthy too if you know what I mean. Quite bland. But hey, at least it's healthy! I think it's good for when you want to munch on something just for fun.
Speaking of healthy. Geez, I've been having buffet for dinner the past two nights. Yesterday it was Kuishinbo and the night before, it was Ellenbourough Market Cafe at Swissotel Merchant Court. Both buffets were fantastic. Only took photos at Kuishinbo. It was my first time there and it was great! Whatever it is, I'm staying off buffets for a while. My stomach needs a rest...
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Boy, it is indeed a great joy to dine with people who share the same passion for food. You're able to eat freely and peacefully without having anyone whine about how fattening a certain dish is, or have someone exclaim, "eeew, are you really going to eat that? That's like a million calories!". It's comforting to know that no one is going to judge you because we're all here to have a good meal.
Dining with fellow food bloggers is one such affair. No one will look at you weirdly just because you want to shoot that chilli crab at an angle that makes it look irresistible. Also, you get really good advice on which places to avoid or frequent. The bunch of food bloggers I know are pretty genuine and they are really fun, and humourous. We're never short on laughs!
So some of us have been meeting up and we're now on a conquest to savour as much good local food as possible. That's because Umami is leaving for Paris in January and we want to help her store all the delightful tastes and smells in her memory banks so that she won't miss the food here so much. It's a fun mission to embark on!
Yesterday we went to Warung M. Nasir because some of us were craving for Nasi Padang. The five of us, Sam, Ivan, Umami, Superfinefeline and myself dropped by during lunch and guess what? I can really go on and on about the food. The place sell Indonesian dishes that are mostly spicy and we got some really good stuff like these potato wedges:
Do allow me to rave about them for a while.
We almost didn't order this. But thanks to Umami and her sharp eyes and nose which spotted the lady who just came out of the kitchen holding to a plateful of freshly cooked wedges, we were pleasantly delighted. These wedges seem to be cooked with dried shrimp and chilli. It wasn't really spicy, but it just had that Mmmmmm... after effect - the kind you get after you bite into something that is just so satisfying. I think it's the dried shrimp. Anyway, I like potatoes so ya.
The beef rendang was the bomb. I found the colour a bit stand-offish at first but totally changed my mind after one mouthful. It was so good that I kept taking the gravy. Didn't manage to snap a shot of it, but let me just say that it's almost black in colour and tastes heavenly. The spices used gave it a sweet yet savoury edge to it. Quite different from the other beef rendang I've tried. We also had the chicken rendang, which was quite ordinary:
I find the colour rather appealing. Don't you think it looks spicy and rich? Ate quite a bit of the gravy with my rice. Somehow I think I have an especially high tolerance for all things hot and fiery. I attribute it to my Peranakan heritage. Dad certainly fed me a healthy dose of curry, chilli and sambal belachan while I was growing up. Thanks to him, almost every meal I eat has to have chilli! :)
There were other dishes we tried, including sayur lodeh, tahu telor, spinach, tapoica plant and this weird thing that we thought was ox tongue. Well they told us it was tongue. But it certain tasted otherwise. I tried to act brave and took a piece. One small bite and that was it. It tasted weird. I think it was the texture that put me off more than anything else. It was spongy and dull. I immediately passed the rest of it to Ivan. Normally I'm game for most interesting foods but this one was ....hmm... special, in a different sense of the word.
If there's one thing I like about eating at Indonesian or Malay stalls, it's the availibility of the essential peanuts and ikan bilis combi:
Sounds really simple but gosh, I love it. It adds more bite to the meal. Love having it with nasi lemak too. The sambal version is just as fine. Yum.... Oh, I think the crucial thing is for the ikan bilis to be crispy, or else it won't be much fun eating it.
Warung M. Nasir used to be at Liang Seah Street but have since relocated to Kiliney Road and yesterday was my first time there. Do I like the place? Yes I do. The warm yellow lights make it very welcoming, and the layout is clean and simple.
The place also sells kuehs and stuff. I'll definitely patronise this place again. Am going to be recommending it to all my spice-loving friends.
Warong M. Nasir
68 Kiliney Road
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
We are what we eat.
Shouldn't it be the other way round - What we eat depends on who we are.
A bad person would eat bad foods and a good person, good foods. Right or wrong?
Either way, one thing's for sure. Eating is a conscious choice and honestly, sometimes it's so stressful when everyone's so conscious about carbs, fats, what not. Was having lunch today with Winston and we were just chatting about the sad reputation of carbs especially.
Seriously, if carbs are bad then I think I've been a very very bad girl.
That's because today was a day of complete indulgence. I took it as a personal reward to myself for completing the marathon yesterday. I know I know, some people would shake their heads and chide me for my possibly bad food choices. But come on, who doesn't love a good meal especially when you're aching all over?
What exactly did I indulge in today? Loads. Shared a seafood platter at Fish & Co. and had satay, stingray, egg milk beancurd with mango, and black sesame ice cream later on.
No, I didn't eat all that food at one go. Lunch was at Fish and Co. and I have to say that I like their service staff. At least the one at Tampines Mall. Winston wanted the calamari fried but they totally forgot and gave it to us grilled. We quizzed the waiter and that dude was so apologetic! He said they'll give us a separate portion of fried calamari on the house. He later apologised to Winston and I like about 5 times during our time there. I mean, we didn't even look or sound angry but I think he just felt really bad. But I'm glad that he was courteous and humble enough to say sorry. The management certainly trained their staff well :)
Yay, so apart from the good service, the food was comforting. It's prawns, calamari, mussels, fries, fish and butter rice! If that's not comfort food, then I don't know what is. I was seriously stuffed after lunch. You'd think that I'd skip dinner ya? Well guess what. I didn't. I couldn't! Was supposed to meet Dot for dinner at Chomp Chomp. And how could I resist this:
Satay! Ooooo.... Satay is one of our local foods that I simply cannot resist. It's so seductive I tell you. Blame it on the peanut sauce (see picture at the top of my post - this stall has pineapple puree in it) or the juicy meat, either way, it's one of my most favourite local delights. I ordered the chicken and mutton sticks and both of us also shared sambal stingray and kai lan.
Ahh... Dinner was just as satisfying as lunch.
So what's your verdict? Was I a bad bad girl? Especially since I couldn't stay away from my beloved carbs and fats! Were my food choices bad? Did I just shorten my life by hmmm say 1 day?
You know what, food is a social construct (as learnt in my Sociology of Food module!) and it's society who puts all these labels on foods and sometimes, no one really knows if a food is really all good or all bad. This debate reminds me of something I read in my module coursepack. In an article entitled "Eating Your Medicine", this gentleman by the name of Dr. Stephen DeFelice was quoted saying, "Everyone talks about heart disease, but there's a thing called happiness. I like living. I get up each morning, and I look forward to my work, to eating, talking to people. So I eat my cholesterol, and maybe I'll die four months earlier. I'd rather die four months earlier - four years earlier - than be a vegan, who doesn't eat meat or even dairy products, all my life. Life is wanting to live!"
There's just one thing from that quote I want to highlight - Life is all about living. How are we to live if we keep worrying about if this food is good or bad? Or better yet, which foods are fattening and which are not. I think we should all cut ourselves some slack and learn to live easy for a while. Enjoy your food. You don't have to deprive yourself of a bar of chocolate or that stick of satay. I know that the tastiest foods are always known as the most unhealthiest. But hey, I think there's a reason for that. Just like the Chinese have their Yin and Yang, so does the world of food! There has to be a balance. Eat reasonably, eat moderately, eat well.
Want to know a secret? A long time ago, I was also nearly sucked into the whole carb-scare thing. People were saying that all carbs do is make you fat. I tried not eating rice but honestly, it spoils the whole experience. In Asia, rice is essential and so are noodles! And I love my bread and I refuse to give it up. But I also wanted to keep fit so I started running and haven't stopped since. I am not blessed with a terribly high metabolism so I make up for it by exercising. Besides I do love sports so it isn't a chore. Anyway sports is amazing - you feel really good from the inside out!
Back to the topic of good and bad. Let me ask you, are buffets sinful? Especially since it encourages gluttony? Imagine having 10 plates of this:
random shot of some stuff I ate at the Princess Terrace Cafe buffet
Would you go weak and actually give in to the temptation of stuffing yourself crazy? I think buffets are a smart concept. But what you need is a lot of self control, when you're going to a buffet. Buffets are really tricky and I think it's important to pace yourself. If you have to try everything, take a small serving of each dish. It's no use piling your plate so high, only to waste it all because you are on the verge of puking. That said, I think buffets are perfect for carbo-loading before a marathon :) Yea, I went to Princess Terrace Cafe at Copthorne King Hotel two days before the run and ate their buffet dinner. Hehe, it was a delicious experience. The food served were mostly Penang style, which I totally dig. Think Penang laksa and you know what I mean.
It looks like I've been rambling on and on about bad foods.
What about good foods? Nowadays when you go to the supermarket, it's really easy to find healthier versions of everything! Sugar-free chocolate bars, low-fat ice cream etc. You name it, they have it. Recently I picked up this absolutely healthy bag of chips:
These are really really healthy and not that cheap. What chips are they? Do take a guess!
Good or bad, bad or good, I think it really doesn't matter. Food is meant to be enjoyed and please try not to stress yourself too much trying to stick to a certain diet. Moderation is the key remember? I'll leave you with this quote that I like alot (but I can't remember who said it!), "To live in fear is not to live at all". So hey, don't fear too much about how good or bad a food is for you. Just live your life :) Trust me, it works.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
It took me about 6+ hours to earn that medal.
Nothing beats the feeling of running towards the finishing line and finally crossing it. At that instant, whatever pain you've been feeling disappears for those few seconds as you savour sweet satisfaction. Was I happy with my run? Well considering that I didn't train enough, it was a blessing that I managed to finish the marathon. Too bad I fell sick a week before and had exams that ended only 2 days before the race.
How does it feel to complete a second marathon? Trust me, it's totally different from the first time. Honestly, it doesn't really help that you've ran one before because the pain and anguish you felt the first time round - that memory never leaves your mind. You tend to be fearful of going through the same thing again. No one likes pain, I know I don't. But I still signed up for the full marathon this year. I don't know why actually. Perhaps it was meant to be. Let's just say this marathon taught me alot of things. For instance, that pain is relative.
Pain. I know that the pain I felt during the marathon is probably nothing compared to the kind of pain that some other people have. My pain can be healed with a good massage (my sis gave me a really good foot massage. what a dear!), some Deep Heat cream and lots of rest but the pain that exists elsewhere where pain and suffering is common, man, that's a kind of pain that's hard to heal and sometimes it goes beyond the physical. When you think about it, it really makes sense. Who am I to complain about my knees, my feet and my legs. Pain. It's so subjective I tell you. What is pain anyway? Is it something that can be felt, heard, touched, smelt? Hmmm well I know my pain served me well. Sounds stupid but hey at least it taught me to appreciate the times when I'm not in pain! haha.
Oh the things a marathon does to you. I think alot and I did plenty of thinking during the marathon and one of the things I learnt, is that it's really not about me with my Asics DX trainers pounding on the tarmac or the smelly sweat that stinks so much and the racing heart that gives you an adrenaline rush. I really couldn't care if people ran faster or slower than me or that I might not be able to finish the race in a timing that's worth boasting about. In fact, throughout the entire race, I think I wasn't running alone. Okay, I really wasn't running alone - dear JF ran the entire leg with me (oh the sweet boy, he's a much faster runner than me but he didn't want to leave me behind :) Aside from him, I believe God was with me throughout.
I don't think I could have completed the race without His grace. Trust me, I was revelling in my pain and thinking of the long ardous road ahead when I suddenly just shut all other thoughts and started praying. I prayed for strength, I prayed for courage to carry on and not worry so much about the many more kilometres ahead of me. That's when I started to distract myself from the pain I felt and take it out of my mind. If Jesus could take the crucifixion and suffer for us, then what's 42.195km? From then, I offered up the rest of the race to God and just prayed that I will be strong enough to finish it. And you know what, I did finish it earlier than expected. I thought I was going to take 8 hours! Imagine that!
God is good! Ah, I'm so relieved the marathon is over I tell you. It rained halfway and it really wasn't nice running in the rain. Heh but anyway the worst is over and I know I know, the next question is, would I run it again next year? I don't know actually! Ask me again next year.
I know this post hasn't really been about food but hey, I thought that it'll be nice to share something thoughtful. In case you're wondering what's the first thing I consumed after the race (well aside from the 100-plus, powergel, water and banana during the race), well it's sushi! It's good to eat lots of carbs after a marathon because your body needs it to recharge. Dad cooked a yummy dinner and gosh even after that, I still ate the sardine murtabak Mum bought. Well I didn't eat all of it, if that's what you're thinkng :) I'm not a glutton!
Now that the marathon is over, my exams have finished, what am I to do? Bake of course! Some of you have been asking if I'm having a bakesale this Dec. Actually I'm not sure if I have the time because I'll be taking a part time job for a while. I'll see how ya. Will definitely update all of you.
Gotta go. Will post often, now that my holidays have officially started. Ha! Take care ya'll.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Freedom is mine, at last. At least for now, before the next semester comes.
The past two weeks has been tiring. My friends and family haven't been seeing much of me. I've been a good student, studying and slogging really hard. I feel as though my brain is drained.
Well the good news is, it's OVER! My exams have ended and I'm truly relieved. It's been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Never have I been so stressed out over exams. This time, it was a whopping 5 papers all crammed up in 4 consecutive days. I had two papers today and trust me, it's an experience I would never want to relive.
Enough about exams. I want to talk about happy stuff. Stuff like my dream machine! I know this might sound super bimbotic but I really go weak in the knees when I see this:
Other girls go 'Oooo' and 'Ahhh..' over handbags, shoes and accessories but you want to know a secret? It takes more than soles, leather straps and gem stones to get me all worked up.
I highly suspect that God made me different.
Some of you already know that I'm a supermarket addict. Well, here's another revelation - I love baking/cooking equipment. Not only am I attracted by sleek shiny steel odds and ends, I'm very much seduced by machines that work like a dream. That includes that purple wonder over there.
People have asked me which room in my future house I'd spend the most money and time on. Usually the answer is out even before I can open my mouth. All I have to do is to widen my eyes, purse my lips and my friend would know the answer. I mean, come on, the title of my blog says it all. Yes I bake and I cook and I enjoy it very much. It's who I am and what I'm most passionate about. So of course I would not scrimp on my kitchen!
Trust me, when I have my own kitchen, I'll make sure it's furnished with only the best and well stocked with ingredients that will come in handy whenever I have the urge to bake or cook - even if it's at 2am in the morning!
And the one thing I MUST have - my dream machine.
A KitchenAid. A purple one! Well the colour doesn't matter, as long as it's a KitchenAid. I saw these KitchenAids at Vivocity's Tangs and they cost $614! Too bad I'm still a poor lowly student. Wait till I get my first paycheck when I get a real full time job after I graduate! haha. I really am biased toward KitchenAid mostly because Jamie Oliver uses one and most professional chefs use it and my aunt uses hers to make the most beautiful breads and fluffy chiffon cakes. Seriously, I dream of the day I can get my hands on one I can call my own. Oh, I can imagine caressing the hard cold metal and the planetary motion of the whisk whizzing and churning, creaming my butter and mixing my cookie dough. Man, oh man, I think I'm getting too carried away!
Heh, okay, enough nonsense (i think all the studying has done something to my brain), I will stop here for now. I am going to rest well - I need it, as well as mental preparation for the hard long run on Sunday morning. Ahhh I look forward to crossing the finishing line. That part makes it all worth it.