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Showing posts from 2016

Salmon Teriyaki Don

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What do you do with a princess who could not get up from bed in the morning?

The answer is quite simple actually. Either fry up a batch of bacon or cook a comforting bowl of salmon teriyaki don. Once you are done cooking, just leave the bedroom door ajar and let it do its magic. Who can resist the smell of smoky bacon or savoury-sweet soy sauce?

Princess was out of her room before her bowl even landed on the dining table.  

I put this dish together in under 30 minutes from start to finish. Easy right? Sure it is if you define finish as the bowl landing on the dining table. However, for most home cooks, finish including putting away the last rag/dish towel/cleaning cloth after you scrub down the whole kitchen. And for you information, teriyaki-anything is a messy affair. The sauce spits at you and splatters everywhere. Sometimes you get more sauce on your stove than on the pan. 

On this hot and humid island, the question I kept asking myself is why bother cooking when there are similar opt…

Princess Bento #10

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Princess brings a lunch box to school every morning. But why haven't you seen that many of them? Well, we had a change of management and the new manager didn't really like to take photos. The previous manager (which is yours sincerely) will only crawl out of bed after 7am, so by then the lunch box had already been packed and bagged.

This morning, I decided to drag myself out of the duvet and crawl into the kitchen to help with the food prep. Hubby was already almost all done and hence I managed to steal a snap before it went into her lunch bag.
Mix grains rice with spring onion omelette, sesame ginger chicken and stir fried greens.
Princess is having Higher Chinese composition writing exam for the first time today and I am just wondering how it will turn out since I had left her to pretty much to her own. This mama has been too lazy. 

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

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My first attempt at quiche making was back in 2006. To put it kindly, back then my cooking skills was still in the making. My tart looked better than my quiche, which would be better off be called a pizza. 

Ten years later, I am happy to report that things are somewhat different around my kitchen. Although some things, such as inability to follow a recipe or to roll out a decent pie dough, still remain the same.
This was dinner last night for our princess who wanted something different for a change. Since I had a carton of half and half sitting inside my fridge screaming to be used, this ticked all the boxes.
The pie crust recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking. The book version called for half shortening and half butter, but I changed to all butter as in their website. I only found out that they had a website this morning! The problem with making short crust pastry in a climate such as Singapore is that the butter melts almost instantly once out of the fridge. I had to work super fast and…

You Not Only Need a Map, You Need a Compass Too

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Some time ago, in fact a very long time ago, I bought this wonderful book The Art of Thinking Clearly. If you haven't heard of the book, go to the nearest bookshop now and grab a copy. Don't bother with the library because this book is so good, that I want all the contents downloaded permanently in my brains. Ok, I digress.

As I was saying, in this book I came across a chapter "Why we prefer a wrong map to no map at all". This chapter discusses about availability bias, which is about our inclination to decide outcomes based on how easily/quickly examples come to our minds. For example, if we know of someone who had strike lottery previously, we would think that striking lottery is a highly likely possible outcome for ourselves as well, hence we buy into lottery. Another example, if an unknown (probably wrong) map is easily available to a lost traveller, he/she will most probably still try to use it in desperation despite it not knowing what he/she is looking at.

The …

Saturday Baking

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The first time I made this recipe was almost 10 years ago and I had never forgotten how it tasted. The lusciousness of each bite of this cream cheese brownie was just a glutton's fantasy.
10 years has since lapsed, and our little princess is old enough to whip a decent batter manually. She has also shown enough interest in cooking and baking to make this mama proud.

So, since we had some time on hand to kill, I decided that the best way to expend some pent-up energy after sitting around for hours learning is to whip some batter.

This recipe is really easy to put together and princess did it mostly by herself. I was just the kitchen helper who was good for reaching things in higher places and also washing up.
Warning: Try not to finish the whole pan of this by yourself.

So in order to avoid that, I came up with a wonderful strategy - cutting the brownie into really small rectangles. The fork in the photo is a fruit fork, not a dessert or dinner fork. The size of my brownie was probab…

Gyoza

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I cannot believe that I have never written here about making gyoza until I tried looking for it here to check which recipe I had used. And of course I couldn't find it. This is what I meant when I mentioned that I need an external memory! Duh!

Our princess didn't take to gyoza until as recent as two years back. She had started off with eating Xiao Long Bao (小笼包), in restaurants and eyed our gyoza sceptically, usually turning her nose up on it when offered. Then sometime ago, after she heard the crunch when we bit into ours, she has been unstoppable since. These days she would ask to order a portion of Xiao Long Bao (小笼包) AND gyoza each for herself before she goes on to order a main course. This girl is going to eat us out of our house soon!

So to prevent that from happening, I told hubby that we had better start making these dumplings and save ourselves a fortune.

We chose The Japanese Kitchen for this recipe and this book has never disappointed me. The texture of the wrappers wa…

Princess Bento #9

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This is the low carb version of what we gave princess for lunch. We find that cutting out the carb for her mid-day meal in fact allow her to be able to focus for longer periods of time, especially sitting in a non air-conditioned classroom at 2.30pm in this horrid weather.

Excuse Me, Are You A Thumb Drive?

Having just upgraded to Windows 10 (yes, I know, I am a latecomer to the party), my default start page for Window Edge always comes with news feed about a third way down from the top of the screen. It didn't matter that I clicked Hide Feed numerous times. Irritating!*

The good thing about news feed is that I learnt this morning that Chow Yun Fatt got a nip and tuck. But come on, do I really need to know that?
However, I stopped my futile silent ranting in my mind when I saw another headline: "Mum admits abusing 4-year-old who later died"

I was dumbfounded when the article reported that the trigger for such violence from his own mother was supposedly because the little boy was unable to recite 11 to 18 in Malay.

What is reciting 11 to 18 in Malay supposed to accomplish that the inability to do so warrants such a violent response?

From the report that this mother was unemployed and possibly in financial difficulties, I guess this is an extreme example of societal pressure t…

The Day of Reckoning

It is finally here.

The day that I have been dreading for so long but yet knew deep down in my bones that it will come regardless.

Self-fulfilling prophecy? Perhaps.

Princess returned yesterday from school to report her score for Higher Chinese written paper she took at the end of last term. Apparently, the test results proved it was a massacre. Three quarters of her classmates flung. Princess barely scraped through with 55%.

I laughed.

And then I winced.

It is finally here, isn't it?

Her next-table neighbour, who failed in the test, commented grudgingly that perhaps he had made a mistake of opting to take Higher Chinese this year. Was it a mistake then for our princess as well?

I think not. There is much more to do and try, for both princess and me, before we throw in the towel and call it a day.

Payback time for me? Definitely.

Argh ...





Dessert for Dinner

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Today is the first day of the Term Test.  Amazingly, this time round I was not pushing our princess that hard to revise, despite practically no help from school in the prep. I guess some of the work we had done during the December holidays did help but I am doubtful how far that "reserve" will last.
So as a cheer-me-up after tuition last night, I thought instead of dinner, we proceeded straight to dessert at The Coffee Daily in Serangoon area.

This is a must-try! My mom ordered this and we were all digging into it before the ice-cream had a chance to melt. Rich chocolate taste without the overwhelming sweetness.


This was a total flop despite its artsy presentation. Waste of calories.


This was the reason why we were there in the first place. Princess's ever lasting quest to find the perfect waffles with ice-cream could very well end with this. The waffle was light and airy on the inside, yet crispy and crunchy on the outside. Perfection. The next time I will probably order …

Two Ways with Oats

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Some times my hands just twitching to do some stirring and mixing. Other times they itched to get some writing done. Most times they just like to hold a book.

Last night, it was stirring and mixing. And so, I pulled out the one of the easiest trick with minimal cleaning - granola.


Since not everyone appreciates savoury granola, I thought it safe to stick with the crowd and made a batch of Cherry, cranberry and pistachio granola clusters. The recipe can be found at The Kitchn. I had simply used whatever nuts and dried fruits I could forage from my pantry.

I was measuring out the oats needed for the recipe while we were prepping dinner. Just then, I looked at the oats in my hands and thought of this.



Oats porridge with leftover roast chicken and scallions. This cooked faster than the regular rice porridge and it is definitely higher in fibre. Fast comfort food on a lazy Sunday evening.

Princess Bento #8

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This is the kind of childhood food that our princess remembers: breaded stuff with broccoli. No matter how many times a week she eats this, she will happily polish off every last morsel. This kid loves her food too much!

These were actually leftovers from our recent meal at Tonkichi, her favourite Japanese restaurant in the world.

The New Primary School Chinese Composition (Part 2)

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Here are some of examples of Chinese Compositions which I stumbled upon. They are taken from, what appears to be, a blog of a tuition centre.

I suspect that this is probably a patchwork Chinese Composition. Just take a look at all four of these compositions and you will noticed immediately that all 4 of them finished off nicely with a 俗语 (common sayings). Cookies from cookie cutters.

These sort of compositions always feature flat and predictable story lines. Let's not talk about those fake expressions of the characters in the stories. Obviously, some people don't share my view and these compositions are up there and labelled "Model Compositions".

Reading these so-called Model Compositions reminded me the exact feelings I had when I watched Masters of the Sea donkey years ago.



Which, for some unknown reasons, made me feel like crushing cockroaches then and now.










The New Primary School Chinese Composition (Part 1)

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This morning while catching up on all the news over the long weekend, this article (2-point concession to Higher Mother Tongue students unfair) caught my eye.

I must admit that I have not read a single volume from our late Minister Mentor and so I was quite taken a back, not to mention disheartened, to see him being quoted on the topic about mastering languages.

Is there really no way out for those of us who are just not proficient with the language?

Let's take a quick look at what is meant by the term "proficient with a language". In the US, the State Department came up with a measuring scale.

Level 1 - Elementary - Can fulfil the basic needs in a language, such as ordering meals, asking time and asking for directions.Level 2 - Limited Working Proficiency - Can fulfil routine social demands, such as small talk about one's self, one's family and current events.Level 3 - Professional Working Proficiency - Can discuss a variety of topics with ease and almost completely…

Princess Bento #7

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With the CNY festivities behind us, we are back to the school regime again.

Today's menu: Pan-fried cod fish, grilled zucchini and sautéed shimeji mushrooms for recess break.

We will be digging deep into our fridge for the next few days to clear up all the wonderful leftovers from many reunion meals with families.



Things That Will Not Work Together

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I thought I was not able to pull out a batch of these this year with Princess contracting the flu bug and was running 39 degC fever for 3 straight days and nights. Sick kids and baking just doesn't work.

So once her fever broke, I had only managed to make enough to give away with nothing left for ourselves. Convalescing and pineapple tarts doesn't work either.

I like to flip through my Instagram while walking on the treadmill. Just keep the speed to a crawl and you will won't kill yourself. I looked with admiration at Instagram of those who put out trays of neatly lined and delicious looking homemade baked goods. New year goodies and workout tights will never work.

Finally, the long weekend is upon us but I will most probably be spending it doing last minute cleaning of the house in the unlikely event that people do drop by our place. Guests and dirty house never work.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Princess Bento #6

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The last Princess Bento was back in February 2009 and the last time I had to pack a bento was back in May 2013. And what about in between? Well, I guess we can call it change of management.

Hubby dug up some of my bento toys and I realised that it is time to get back to bento making. Although I am not really into cutesy stuff, I see bento making as a way of teaching Princess how to eat properly. Eating properly is easier said than done 99% of the time especially now when families just don't have time to cook or even sit down to a meal together. So it is a good idea to let her have this bento box for her recess which is the only meal time we are not with her.

As she had made the request to bring a bento box on Sunday night 9pm, I could only managed odds and ends from the fridge which are suitable for bento box on Monday morning. Talk about short notice. Strange that she is asking for bento box for recess, but I am only too happy to oblige.


We Are Heading For the Runway

Every time when I am buckled up in the plane, I will be nervously counting down the to second when the wheels of the plane will be back on ground. Only then will I be able to breathe freely again. I don't think that this is a case of fear of flying, but more like having watched too much documentary films such as Seconds to Disasters or I Shouldn't Be Alive. Information overload.

But right now, that is the sort of feeling that I have, except that I am not airborne. Instead I am on the flight path heading to the rite of passage for all twelve year-old Singaporean children, except that Princess is only eleven this year. Just like the nervousness before the flight I am on is even airborne, I am feeling the same emotions even before she is officially promoted to Primary 6.

Crazy? You bet.