Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Cooking Journal 5 - Braised Chicken Wing & Mushrooms with Soy Sauce

This is one of my favourite dish that I used to cook very often in Dubai. It takes approximately 1 hour 30 minutes to prepare and cook. Not suitable to cook if you are rushing for time. But I really love the taste!

  1. Chicken wings (8 pieces) - Chop them into 3 sections
  2. 1 clove of garlic (diced)
  3. 1/2 inch of ginger (Sliced)
  4. 1 Yellow/White Onion (diced)
  5. 3 stalk spring onions (cut into 1/2 inches) - green part for garnish
  6. Dried Mushroom (6 to 8 pieces) - soak in cold water for about 30 minutes
  7. 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  8. 1 teaspoon chinese rice wine (optional)
  9. Small pinch of pepper
  10. 1/2 teaspoon of Sugar
  1. 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  2. 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  3. 1/2 teaspoon of Sugar (preferably brown sugar)
  4. Small pinch of pepper
  5. 1 teaspoon of Sesame oil
  1. Marinate the chicken wings with the above seasoning for 1 hour - set aside
  2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a wok
  3. Add ginger, garlic, yellow onions, white part of spring onions, stir until softened.
  4. Add the chicken wing and cook until brown.
  5. Add mushrooms, water (water level enough to cover the chicken wing), 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon chinese rice wine and bring to boil. Reduce the heat, covered and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, pinch of pepper, simmer, uncovered for another 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, add more soy sauce, sugar or pepper as desired.
  7. Garnish with the green part of sping onions.

Method 3.
Method 4.
Method 4. (Chicken turned brown)
Method 5.

Method 7. (Garnish)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Cakes

When celebrating for your children Birthday Party, birthday cake is an essential item that you would never want to miss. Most children enjoyed this moment where they are make the centre attraction, sitting in the place of honor, have their beautiful birthday cake lighted up with candles, and many guests gathered around, singing the "Happy Birthday" song.
As you know, there are plenty of bakery shops available in Singapore. Its really depend on individual's preference. Planning for your child birthday cakes requires to take into theses consideration ie. look, taste, theme, cartoon characters, size, shape and color. Here are the cakes that we have decided to use for our kids birthday:

My BB1 - 1st Birthday Cake from Eatzi Gourmet - (
The pricing is reasonable and have free delivery if you exceed certain amount. The presentation of the cake is nice but taste is too sweet. 

My BB1 - 2nd Birthday Cake also from Eatzi Gourmet - (
We wanted to get a 3-D birthday train cake for him (he likes train very much) and we browsed from eatzi web site showing a nice 3-D train cake. But the actual presentation was quite disappointing as it looks more like a ship than a train and the taste of the cake are indeed very sweet. Then we have a bad encounter. We were trying to contact the company to inform them of a change of our venue just a few days before the actual delivery. We been calling the company for days, leave our contact in voice mail. But no one responded our call. Indeed disappointed!
My BB1 - 3rd Birthday Cake from Polar Puffs & Cakes -
Since he likes "Thomas Train" so much, we decided to order his "Thomas Train Cake" from Polar Puffs & Cakes. One for his celebration in his child care and the other one at home. The price of the cakes was considerably reasonable and the cake taste good too. Polars Puffs & Cakes also provides others cartoon character cakes such as Bod The Builders, Cinnamoroll, Hello Kitty, Doraemoe, Looney Toons, My Melody, Little Twin Stars, Power Rangers, Sesame Street, Stitch and Tom & Jerry etc. 
My BB2 - 1st Birthday Cake Ecreative 
Then, my BB2 1st birthday, we decided to try Ecreative cake. We also received feedback from friends that their cakes taste good and not so pricy. We are indeed pleased with the product!

Of course, there are still many others bakeries to choose from. Like Four Leaves - . They also provided kids Birthday cakes. We purchased a standard cake on my Dad's Birthday celebration.

Then, there is this Rive gauche - . The cake is indeed delicious but is rather pricy.  The standard mango cake was purchased for my Mother-In-Law's Birthday and the standard chocolate cakes was a gift from my hubby when I am doing my confinement after giving birth to my BB1.  
Well, if you are looking at other cartoon characters cake, you can also try the following:
  • Bengawan Solo provides Disney cartoon, Baby Looney Toon, Superman, Batman characters cakes for kids - . I tried their cakes before. Price is at reasonable range and taste nice too. 
  • Prima Deli provides Barney cartoon character cakes - . Price is also  reasonable and taste nice too.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Cooking Journal 4 - Sambal Sotong

As a working mum, my target is to cook a express and delicious dish for my family. Usually, I would prepare my cooking ingredients one night in advance. Then, I can start cooking dinner (available time preparing for dinner is approximately 40 mins) once I arrived home from work. After preparing my dinner, I would then fetch my kids home from their child care centre and shall be able to have dinner together by 7.00p.m.

This dish is very simple to prepare and this recipe can be considered an instance cooking dish. I would buy the sambal paste from our local supermarket. Both brands are considerably nice. I usually pruchased the brand known as "Singlong" from NTUC and the other brand  which is known as "Tean's Gourmet" (in packet form) from Sheng Shiong Supermarket.

  1. 200-300g of fresh squid
  2. 1 clove of Shallots (sliced)
  3. 4 clove of garlic (diced)
  4. 1/2 inch of ginger (diced)
  5. 1 Red Onion (Sliced)
  6. 1 packet of Sambal Paste (photo shown as above)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of Sugar
  8. Small pinch of pepper


  1. Clean the squid and peel off the skin. Remove all cavities and cut off the ink sac and cut the head into 2 pieces. Slice the squid wide open, use the tip of the knife to lightly score a diagonal pattern on the entire surface, without cutting through it. Cut into rectangle pieces and set aside, with the tentacles.
  2. Heat a wok with oil. Put in ginger, stir fry till they turn slightly brown, then add garlic and shallot, saute till they are fragrant. 
  3. Add sambal paste, stir fry for 3 to 4 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add in squids, sugar and pepper and stir well until cook.
  5. Simmer on low heat, put in the sliced red onion and stir fry until it about to get soft.  
  6. Remove from heat and garnish and serve.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

8 Days - Best Of Taiwan Tour (With ASA Tour Agency)

My Family Trip in Year 2010 - 8 Days Taiwan Tours (With ASA Travel Agency)

Event Held: on 20.11.2010 to 27.11.2010
Weather: Cooling

Day 1 - 20.11.2010 : Singapore to Taipei
  • Experience Taiwan High Speed Train (Approx 20 min rides)
  • Ximending (西门町) Night Market to enjoys various local snakes like taiwan oyster omelet, stinky toufu, chicken chop etc.
  • Recommendation: Must try Ah Zhong Main Xian (阿宗面线), deep fried sweet patoto balls, mua chee, poh piah, taiwan bubble tea, taiwan guava, crushed ice dessert, bitter gourd juice 
  • Disadvantage: Time to roam around the night maket too rush and short, didn't have time to explore the night market and do shopping. Remember that weekends visiting will be very crowded. 

 Day 2 - 21.11.2010 : Taipei - Hualien

  • Yeliu Scenic Area (野柳地质公园) to view the geological features like some rock formations that was formed by wind erosion. The popular one that I know of is the Queen's head. 
  • Chiufen (九份) - located in the hills of northen Taiwan. Shop and eat along the most popular street known as Chiufen Old Street.
  • Try the beef  noodle, can buy the local snacks like muah chi and jelly for friends & relatives, try popiah wrap with ice cream and crushed peanut, local sausages, yam ball (fenyuan) with different choices of soup (hot/cold)
  • Experience (subway) train ride to Hualien
  • Nanbin Night Market (Small & bore- don't bother to go if possible) - We bought some fire crackers (where we do not have this opportunity to play in S'pore) and played it near the beach.   

Day 3 - 22.11.2010 : Hualien - TaiTung

  • Visit Taroko Gorge (太魯閣國家公園 to view a few main feaures of the marble cliffs. Our tour guide brought us to experience the Swallow Grotto (燕子口) where you get to see caves and small waterfalls and also a narrow part of the gorge where the Liwu River flows far below. Then, you see the Jiuqudong tunnel or also known as "Tunnel of Nine Turns" (九曲洞) where you get to view rock folds, joints and faults of the marble cliffs. After passing Jiuqudong, you arrived at Cimu Bridge (慈母橋)  - known as Motherly Devotion Bridge with two marble stone lions at each side of the bridge. This bridge was built by late President Chiang Jing-guo in memory of his late mother.  
  • Chi Hsing Tan (七星潭)  enjoying a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and eating hot sweet potatoes (charcoal baked) purchased from the "Ah Mah" Pushed Cart parking at the carpark area. 
  • Checked in Hot Spring Resort (Papago International Resort) and get to enjoy hot spring bath.   
Encounters 4.0 Magnitude Earth Quake (in few secs.) after finishing our dinners at one of a restaurant near our hot spring resort. Can feel trembling effect within the building.  

Day 4 - 23.11.2010 : TaiTung - Kaohsiung

  • Fo Guan Shan Monastery (佛光山) is the largest Buddhist monastary in Taiwan which was established in 1967. We visited the Great Buddha Land ( 大佛城), with 120 ft tall Amitabha Buddha surrounded by 480 smaller buddha statues (excellent scenic view) and then, headed to Main Shrine (大雄宝殿) - the main hall for prayers and worship with many Buddhas statues surrounding the hall .
    A pity that we didn't get much time to visit this huge monastary. But the view around it is really magnificent. Is worth a visit!
  • Dream mall, biggest shopping mall in Kaohsiung. We didn't roam around the shopping mall partly because the times given by our tour guide was rather rushed. We stayed in the food court enjoying some of the taiwan local delights. 
  • Kaohsiung Love River,  didn't get to enjoy the river scenery as it was dark when we arrived there.  
  • Leo Ho Night Market (六合夜市) with many provision of taiwan local delights. Eats whatever you wish to try. Try the bitter gourd with honey juice!    

Day 5 - 24.11.2010 : Kaohsiung - Tainan

  • Ten Drum Culture Village (十鼓文化村) - used to be a suger refinery in the olden days, exhibits all kind of drums and drum instruments and making of drums. Also, get to watch their drum performance and had a photo taking session with the drum's performers, can experience a fun playing drum lesson, a closed visit of the old chimney and hop on a classic train ride where the train was used for transporting sugar cane within the old sugar refinery.
  • Tsou Ma Lai Farm (走馬瀨農場) - a  recreational farm. My boys love and enjoy most as they get to see the farm animals, then enjoy the grass skiing ride and free play of archery. Beware of mosquitoes in the night, there's plenty of it everywhere!   

Day 6 - 25.11.2010 : Tainan - Taichung
  • Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) - the biggest freshwater lake in Taiwan with the western part of the island shaped like a new moon and the eastern part shaped like a sun. There is a small island in the middle of the lake known as "lalu" island, but most part of the island had sunk due to 921 earthquake. We cruised around the lake from the harbours to get a upclose personnel experiences of the waterfront.     
  • Next, we visited the Wen Wu Temple (文武廟) which is located at the northern shore of the Sun Moon Lake. The temple consists of three halls. The front hall is called "The Water and Clouds hall" contains a shrine delicated to God of Scholars and Literature. The centre hall is called" The Marital Sage Hall" which is delicated to Guan Gong, The god of war or known as the War of Warrior - "Yue Fei" and the rear hall is called "Da Cheng" that is delicated to Confucius.   
  • Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village (九族文化村) - is a culture village features aboriginal cultures associates with theme park and beatiful garden. I think we really need at least half a day to enjoy those facilities in the village. It a pity that we didn't have much time exploring the cultural village as we were given quite tight schedule following tour with tour agency.  

 Day 7 - 26.11.2010 : Taichung - Taipei
  • Wulai (烏來) - firstly, watched the Atayal (泰雅) Aboriginal Musical show at Gaga theatre. At the Gaga Theatre, you get see the famous waterfalls of Wulai. After the performance, proceed to board the little fuel burning train ride that will bring to Wulai Old Street where you can find some traditional Aboriginal delicacies and souvenir.
  • Taipei 101 World Building - Have our lunch at 85 floor of Taipei 101. We didn't get to see the Taipei city view as our seat was not near the window. It is a pity that we didn't have enough time to visit the shops at 101 Building. The lunch we had at 101 Building was quite disappointing.
  • Shihlin Night Market (士林夜市) - is a large market where you can get to enjoy shopping and local snacks. But is really crowded over the weekend and a few popular stalls selling their local delights were in long queue.
Day 8 - 27.11.2010 : Taipei to Singapore 

  • Free and easy till the time we transfer to airport.  

My Review:
This trip basically gives us a very brief overview of Taiwan. In fact, there is really alot more to explore in thoses places that we been to. The hotels that we stay was good and comfortable. What we don't really enjoy is to hop hotel throughout the trips. The agony we been through everynight to uppack and pack our things (for adult and kids toiletries, clothing etc) in the hotels. It is really tiring! Also, we do not have enough times to shop at those night markets that we visited. I believe there is really plentiful of shopping to do at the night markets. Probably, I would suggest to go free and easy if planning for a shopping trip in Taiwan. Last but not least, our taiwan tour guide really brought us to good places to buy nice and tasty snacks for our friends and relative back home.