Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Holiday @ Crown Plaza Hotel

One night stay at Crown Plaza Hotel at Changi Airport Terminal 3 (for 2 adult & 2 kids below 12) with a brunch at Azur Restaurant. The brunch includes some easter activities for children. Packages at $288+

Is relaxing and fun on our Easter Holiday! My kids enjoyed it very much. Oh my god! Nowadays my son keeps asking me to bring him to stay at airport hotel.

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Cooking Journal 9 - Stir Fry Chinese Spinach (苋菜) with Silver Fish (银鱼仔)

Do you still remember "Popeye The Sailor Man"? It is one of my childhood popular cartoon character. I still remember the smart Popeye when eats spinach will turn into a powerful strong man to fight against his enemy. 

In actual fact, spinach provides us with numerous valuable nutritions such as vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B6, iron, calcium, soluble dietary fiber and minerals such as potassium, manganese, folate, zinc etc. This healthy vegetable can helps our health in few ways like reduce cancer risk, provides antioxidant protection, protects our eye against degeneration, avoids anaemia, protect against osteoporosis etc.

However, the iron produces by spinach (known as non-haem iron) is not easily absorbed by our body. It is recommended to eat spinach with food that has high content of vitamin C which will assist the absorption of calcium and iron. Spinach also contains a compound called oxalic acids. This acids can hinder the aborption of calcium and iron and may also crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract. By boiling spinach in water will reduce the production of oxalic acids.

Buying and Storing of Spinach:

You can purchase spinach from any local supermarket or wet market. You can store them in the plastic storage bag and keep in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 3 to 4 days. It is best not to wash the spinach before storing as spinach will be easily spoil when contacts with water.

However, if you have washed the spinach and decides not to cook them instantly, then it is recommended to store the "washed spinach" in a air-tight container.  Before storing them in the air-tight container, try to dispose as much water as possible. It can still maintain its refreshess for up to 3 days after washed if you only stored them in the air-tight container.

Preparing of Spinach:

Trim the roots first, then place the spinach in a large bowl contains of water (this will helps to remove some sand and dirt). Pour away the dirty water. Then separate the stem and roots, by peeling off the leaves in a cluster of few leaves attached together. While you peel off the leaves, you may also encounter some thin fibrous layer being peeled off from the stem as well. Just remove and discard the fibrous layer. Next, you pinch the stem off every 2 inches (about 2 inches in length) . You will also encounters thin fibrous layer detached from the stem. Separate the leaves and stem in two separate bowl.

Once finish processing the leaves and the stem, refill the large bowl with water, swishes the leave around with your hands to remove dirt from the leave. Repeat this process thoroughly till no dirt remain in the water (Usually, I do it 2 to 3 times). Avoid soaking the spinach in water as water soluable-nutrients will escape out to the water. Finally, wash the stem thoroughly to remove the sand and dirt. Set them aside for cooking in later stage.

This time, I'll be introducing a simple dish that is stir fry chinese spinach (菜) with silver fish (银鱼仔).

My Ingredients:

  1. 1 pack spinach - serve two adult and two toddlers
  2. 1 cloves garlic - minced
  3. Ginger -  3 slices
  4. 1 cup dried silver fish (quantity as your wish) - wash and pat dry
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  7. pinch of pepper and sugar 
  8. 1/2 cup water

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Cooking Journal 8 - Stir Fry Seafood Spaghetti

Spaghetti (Pasta-comes in different types, sizes and shapes) is made of semolia wheat flour, is low in fat, low in sodium, zero cholesterol and enriched with nutrients such as iron, folic acid and some B-vitamins. It is a good choice of food to go with any other food partners such as vegetables, meat, fish to obtain a nutrition diet.

Buying and Storing of Spaghetti:
You can purchase spaghetti from any local grocery stores or supermarket. Once opened, you can store them in a cool dry place for six to eight months.

Cooking Pastas:
In order to prepare a delicious pasta dish, one must know what types of pastas and sauce that suits for.  You can visit this web site  ( to find out more about Pasta. For stir fry purpose, thin spaghetti is prefer because its work well with light, thin sauces. Thicker pastas usually blend well with thicker sauce and shape pastas work well with chunky sauce.   

My Ingredients: 

  1. Thin Spaghetti (250g) - for serving two adult and two toddlers
  2. 1 piece Squid/Sotong - cut into ring
  3. 4 pieces of medium size prawn - remove prawn's head and shells but maintain the tail.Then carefully lift out the black vein at the back of the prawn.
  4. 1 piece Carrot - cut into strips  
  5. 1/2 red Capsicium - cut into strips 
  6. Broccoli - cut into florets (1 cup)  
  7. Cauliflower - cut into florets (1 cup)
  8. 1 tablespoon garlic - minced
  9. Ginger - cut in slice ( 3 pieces)
  10. 2 eggs - break the eggs in a bowl
  11. 2 tablespoon oyster sauce 
  12. 2 tablespoon oil
  13. 1 tablespoon magarine
  14. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  15. Salt, Corn Flour & pepper - as needed
  16. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  17. Ikan Bilis (Anchovies) stock or water - as needed
  18. Fried Shallots - for garnish

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lupus Flare???

Just have my routines check up every quarterly (on Monday) at Specialist Outpatient Clinic. Quite disappointing with my blood test result, WBC and RBC are lower than average and my ESR increased. I know it is quite difficult to explain what is the caused...perhaps due to stress, environmental, infection, etc...

I still remember in mid march (last month) , I felt my joint is killing me (fingers, knee, ankle, elbow...etc..everywhere pain), fatigue, lethargic..then encountered hair loss....really start to feel panic and worrysome. I have suspect my lupus may flare again..Then my fingers start to get swollen and the swollenness goes off and on at times. My daily activities was kind of affected as I can't move freely and steadily (as usual) and I cannot concentrate well. I feel bothersome because of the pain and achyness all over my body!

I was in hestitation to contact my doctor as I know all they can do is to put me back to steriods. It will be a long recovering process and the impact (side effect) for taking steriods. I decided to seek help from my chinese physician.  My condition did improve within the seven days. I started to feel better, no more joint pain, no more lethargic, can carry out my daily activities as per normal. I feel more ease and "normal". See the photo below. I was on steriods when my lupus flare. I put on alot of weight and pimples popped up everywhere in my body plus the "moon face" I encountered (side effect caused by steriods). Just cannot imagine, I was on daily medication for almost 5 years.
My "moon face"

Then, I discussed with my chinese physician two weeks ago to allow me to reduce the medication gradually. She has no objection. But then, I realised it doesn't really seem to work well for me. Start to feel fatigue and unwell again. It's a pain in the ass.....I really feel like..I am a "medicine bottle"...need to fill up with medicine in order to function properly. Without pumping medicine into my system, it cannot function properly. What a haywire and pathetic system! Have to go and visit my chinese physician this weekend again!  


Friday, April 8, 2011

My Cooking Journal 7 - Steam Tofu with minced pork and prawn

Tofu is an excellent choice of ingredients to cook in term of cost and health benefits. It is relatively inexpensive and contains good source of high quality vegetable protein and calcium. It is also low in saturated fat and contains zero cholesterol. Tofu with soft texture is a perfect food for elderly and toddlers as it is easy to chew and digest. 
Types of tofu available:
  1. Firm Tofu – dense and solid and is higher in protein, fat and calcium than the soft type. Suitable for deep fry, stir fry and braise.
  2. Soft Tofu – provide lesser protein compare to firm and silken type but is high in fat and calcium,  suitable for steaming, pureed or in soups. 
  3. Silken Tofu – Provide equivalent amount of protein with soft tofu and is low in fat and calcium. Suitable for all cooking methods as mentioned above. 
Buying and Storing of Tofu:
You can purchase tofu from any local grocery stores or wet market. Please remember to check the expiration date on the package.

When you open the tofu package and there is leftover. You can keep the leftover in a storage box and covered with fresh water. However, the leftover must be rinsed with water prior storage. Do remember to change the water daily to maintain its freshness and use up the leftover within a week.  

Here, I am going to introduce a fast and easy cooking dish - 'Steam Tofu with minced pork and prawn'. It only takes 20 minutes to cook including preparation time. Hope you will like it!

  1. 1 box Silken White tofu (300g) - Cut into cubes or can also subsittude with egg tofu
  2. 50g minced pork
  3. 4 pieces medium size prawn - Use a pounder to pound into paste form 
  4. 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  5. Silken Tofu Block
    1 tablespoon fish sauce
  6. 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  7. 1 stalk spring onion (diced)
  8. Small pinch of pepper
  9. 1 teaspoon white sugar
  10. 1 teaspoon corn flour
Ingredient (A) - Sauce:
  1. 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 
  2. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  3. Pinch of white sugar
  4. Small pinch of pepper
In a small bowl, mixed together all the above.

Ingredient (B) - Marinade minced pork & prawn paste:
  1. 50g minced pork
  2. Prawn paste (4 pieces of prawn pounded/chopped into paste form)
  3. 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  4. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  5. Pinch of white sugar
  6. 1/2 stalk chopped spring onions
  7. Small pinch of pepper
  8. 1 teaspoon corn flour
Others ingredients can also be included:
2 pieces dried mushroom (diced) - must soak in water till soften, then diced (Optional)
2 pieces water chestnut (diced) - peel skin and diced it. (Optional)
In a small bowl, mixed together all the above.
  1. Marinate ingredient (B) in a small bowl, mixed well and set aside. Cut Tofu block into cubes. Arrange them on a steaming plate.
  2. Mixed ingredient (A) in a small bowl and set aside. It serves as the sauce.
  3. Use your hand to roll/mound ingredient (B) into small round ball. Placed each small ball on top of the tofu cubes. Then slightly use your finger lightly pressed the ball to ensure they can sit well on tofu cubes. The ingredient (B) will then look like a dome shape sitting on top of tofu cubes.  
  4. Sprinkle ingredient (A) over each tofu cubes. 
  5. Place a iron rack in the pot/wok. Heat your pot/wok with water over high heat. Once water boiled, place tofu dish on steam rack. Steam it for 7 minutes. 
  6. Remove tofu from wok or pot.
  7. Garnish with chopped spring onion or fried shallot.
  8. Ready to serve.
A view of tofu dish after completing Method 1 to 4
(Note. The minced pork looks more pinky before cook and will turn 'white' when cooked.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Cooking Journal 6 - Chinese Style Pan Fried Salmon Fillet

Fish is a well known food that is high in protein. Salmon fish (oily fish) is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (also known as polyunsaturated fat) is a good source of vitamin A and D. Eating salmom fish can help to improve mental health, reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease as this fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Generally, eating two serving of oily fish a week can helps to obtain the necessary amount of fatty acids our body needs. Other types of oil fish are anchovies, sardines, trout, eel, mackerel and swordfish.
However, note that pregnant woman should avoid eating large fish (such as sharks, swordfish and tilefish) as these fish contains high level of mercury, polychroinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins which will cause harm to growing baby's nervous system (Singapore Health Promotion Board).