Monday 24 June 2013

Visiting Singapore Mail Processing Centre (MPC) @ Eunos Branch

A few weeks back we were being invited to visit Singapore Mail Processing Centre at Eunos Branch by SingPost. It's was a fun and educating trip where we learn how mails are being process after we drop them into the post box. I am sure most of us are not aware of how our mails are being sort through the different process before it reached the receivers. And it was only after tour that we realised there are so many steps and work involved in order to deliver our daily mails despite of the minimum postage of 26 cents stamps that we paid.

Everyday SingPost deal with an average of 3 millions over postal items and although most of the sorting process are being operated by machines with minimum human help but still about 20% or less of the mails with undetectable addresses (not written in English) or bulky items are being manually sorted by human.

In order to provide better services to their customers, SingPost will be going through some major upgrade on their Mailing Process systems in July 2013 to prepared future demands on a better postal services.

Bar Code Sorter reads the ID tag on stamped mail and prints destinations bar code on envelopes at 35,000 per hours.

Corporate Mails takes up about 80% of the daily postal items.

Manual stamping for large and bulky mails with hand written address that could not be fixed and detected by the Bar Code Sorter.

Operators trying to captured the image of the printed address on the mails and sent them out for sorting.

My boy was excited to be able to try out the mail processing system.

Different types of "stamping" such as pre-paid postage, stamps and franking found on the envelopes. 

Just for your information, more than 90% of the basic mails are being delivered on the next day delivery which can be considered as the best service record in the world.

Other than handling basic and corporate mails, each day on an average SingPost has about 14,000 undeliverable mails/items due to wrong or unrecognizable address as well as no trace of return address. These mails/parcels are then held for at least 3 months for the owners to claim. But after the dateline those items which could not be donated to the Red Cross will be automatically disposed without being opened.

For kids who sent their letters to Santa Claus during the month of  November and December, SingPost will still help to send them to the home of Santa Claus in Finland out of goodwill.

Beside those undelivered mails/parcels, we were also amazed on those loose items that being put into the post box each day. On and off SingPost will received loose items like toys, books, wallets, identification cards cards and etc in the post box island wide together with the rest of the mails. SingPost will then consolidated those items and sent them in bulks to the related banks or government departments. 

Photo Credit: SingPost
For your reference SingPost do offers a wide range of options to help customers to deliver their documents and parcels including fast delivery and standard delivery services within Singapore and overseas (over 200 countries). Depending on your items, you could select the type of deliver services accordingly to your preference by referring to the chart above.

A.M. Mail is a postage-paid local delivery service that offers an earlier delivery time for urgent mail. Customers may choose from either Letterbox Delivery (SG$2.60) or Doorsteps Delivery (SG$3.90)to deliver their mail (maximum weight is 300g) in a postage-paid A.M. Drop the envelopes at any of SingPost's posting boxes during the regular mail collection hours and the mail will be delivered to the recipients not later than 11.00am the next working day.

SmartPac is a postage-paid postal service for delivery anywhere in Singapore within the next working day at a fixed price of SG$4.70 which comes with free packaging box for delivery up to 3kg. On top of it, SmartPac also provide an easy online Track And Trace access which allows customer to check the whereabouts of their package 24hrs a week too.

For those who stays around 5 mentioned area stated below, POPStation or "Pick Own Parcel Station" is a new pilot phase system which allows selected customers (vPOST members or customers with SingPost/Speedpost Deliver Advice) to collect their parcels 24hrs a week at the designated  5 POPStation such as:-

- Bishan Community Club
- NUS Stephen Riady Centre
- Sengkang Community Club
- Singapore Post Centre
- Tanglin Post Office

Other than postal services, SingPost also handles Basic Banking Services, Financial Services, Remittance and many other services.On the go, you could also download SingPost Mobile App on Apple iOS and Google Android which will help you to track parcels, locate a post office, find a postal code or calculate postage and etc in just with a few clicks.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Parents World Junior Chef Workshop And Competition

Photo Credit:- Parents World Magazine
Time flies, about two years back in 2011 I was engaged by Parents World Magazine for their Great Kids Cookout event to in-charge the Pizza and Bento workshop which you could read about it here. And this year, we are back with them at ARC (Alexandra) with more exciting workshop for your kids from 22 - 30 June 2013.

There are two work stations each handle by Chef Catherina Hosoi and Ellena Guan (me) for this Junior Chef Workshop such as:- Soup and Dessert (by Chef Catherina Hosoi), Bento and Pizza Toast (by Ellena Guan). To register for the workshop, simple just spent a minimum of S$30.00 at ARC or VivoCity from 31 May to 30 June. Below are some samples of the pizza toast and bento which will be taught during the workshop.

Creative Pizza Toast that will brighten up your kid's day as well as boost up their appetite for fussy eater with bits and pieces of the colourful ingredients in it.

Simple recipe on how to make Pizza Toast

Instead of the usual "rice" Onigiri, in this workshop we replace rice with another daily staple food like bread for a change and it's also easier for kids to handle too. I am sure the kids will be thrilled to receive a colourful breakfast/lunch bento set like this.

So do drop by ARC this school holiday from 22 - 30th June and pick up your kid's desire workshop to hands-on as well as bring back some yummy food to feast on. See you there!

Photo Credit: Parents World Magazine
On top of the Junior Chef Workshop mentioned above, VivoCity will be collaborating with Parents World Magazine to organise the ‘Junior Chef’ Competition 2013' for children aged 5 to 12 years old. This competition is categorised into two age-groups such as:-

5 -  8 Years Old
Cake Decoration Competition where younger kids get to demonstrate their budding creativity through designing their own Cake.

9 - 12 Years Old
Whereas for the older kids, they will need to whip up a mouth-watering sweet delight for the Dessert Making category.

Winners for both categories will walk away with a range of attractive prizes! So do sign up your kid of this Junior Chef Competition to showcase their interest in cake designing and cooking.

Monday 17 June 2013

Braised Seafood Noodles

Hi, it's a brand new week again and I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and not having any Monday blues today. By the time you read on this "scheduled" post, we were away for June school holidays vacation. And since it's Monday, I prepared this "one-pot dish" recipe which could be done in 10 minutes with some pre-preparation of the ingredients.

Braised Seafood Noodles is always one of my favourite noodles dish which sometime I would also cook a similar version using different type of noodles such as rice vermicelli, thick yellow noodles or Macaroni.


(Serves: 2-3 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 10 minutes)

500g Flat Yellow Noodles
8-10 Medium Prawn, trimmed
150g Lean Meat, sliced
2 Fishcake, sliced
2 Eggs, beaten
1 Red Onion, sliced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Small Carrot, sliced
1/4 Portion of Chinese Cabbage, sliced
250ml Swanson Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon Of Oyster Sauce, optional

1. Heat up frying pan with 1 teaspoon of oil (swirling around the pan). Slowly pour in beaten egg, swirl the pan and evenly spread out the egg mixture to fry the omelette.

2. When done, remove and set aside to cool before slicing it into thin strips. Using the pan and 1 teaspoon of oil, lightly fry both side of the fishcake till slightly brown. Remove and set aside.

3. Place flat yellow noodles in a big mixing bowl, pour boiling water to cover the noodles and at the same time use the chopstick to loosen up the noodles. (this is to get ride of the oil and yeast smell of the noodles)

4. Stand the noodles in hot water for about 2 minutes. Pour away the water and rinse it 2 - 3 times. Drain well and set aside.

5. Add 1 tablespoon of oil in the frying pan, saute onion, garlic, spring onion and carrot till fragrance. Add in marinated lean pork and give it a quick toss till almost cooked through.

6. Stir in Chinese Cabbage and continue to fry for another minute, pour in chicken broth and 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce.

7. Next add in prawns and cook till it changed colour, stir in the blanched flat yellow noodles, fish cake and let it braised for another minute or two.

8. Remove from heat, garnish noodles with fried shallot, cut chilli and some spring onion and coriander. Serve immediately.

Hope you like this quick and easy "one-pot dish" which would help to cut down some cooking time on busy weekdays dinner. And just a quick tip, prepare necessary ingredients the night before so that you would have ample time preparing this dish when you reached home. This dish is quite dry like those sold at Cze Char Stall, so if you prefer something soupy increase the chicken broth to 1 Litre plus another 500ml of hot water.

Friday 14 June 2013

Father's Day Breakfast Bento With Lee Kum Kee Ketchup

With Father's Day just a few days around the corner, I would like to wish all Fathers out there a happy and blessed day with your family and loved ones. Although it's not quite popular for people in Asia to celebrate Father's Day instead of Mother's Day but I am sure the newest generations are more willing to whip up something for their dad.

Since we will be away for holidays during Father's Day, my boy and I managed to put up a quick and easy Father's Day Breakfast using tomato sauce as one of the main ingredients which we would like to share with you.


Before we start off with the recipe, just to share that this June, Lee Kum Kee has launched three new products in major supermarkets like Cold Storage and Giant and they are such as:-

Tomato Ketchup (S$1.25) which made from high quality tomatoes with no added preservatives or colouring.

Pure Sesame Oil (S$3.30) which is carefully processed to retain strong flavour of sesame seeds. This condiment is my great helper in my kitchen that enhance the flavour of our dishes with just a few dashes.

Chu Hou Paste (S$3.50) is made from soybeans, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds which is a convenient cooking sauce for braising, marinating or cooking meats and vegetables.

On top of the new products, Lee Kum Kee also printed some recipe cards which enable shoppers to pick up from the supermarkets to try out with the new range of products launched. Would share with you my favourite recipe using Chu Hou Paste (柱侯酱) to make the "Stewed Chicken" in upcoming post soon.

(using Lee Kum Kee Ketchup)

With the launched of the new products, Lee Kum Kee also come up with a "Share And Love Lee Kum Kee Ketchup 14-day Bloggers Challenge". In this challenge participating bloggers need to complete a few tasks in order to earn points which accumulated from the "Likes" and "Shares" through their Facebook and Instagram. So if you like my Bento recipe(s), do help to support my #LKKKetuchup Bento Photos with Like(s) and Share(s) over at my Facbook Page and Instagram too!  

(Serves: 1 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 10 minutes)

2 Slices of Sandwich Bread
2 - 3 Fresh Shittake Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 Cup of Mozzarella Cheese
4 Tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Ketchup
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Fresh Milk / Pouring Cream
1 Small Tomato, diced
2 Mini Japanese Sausage
1 Slice of Sandwich Cheese
Some Steamed Corn Kernels
Some Cherry Tomato
Seasonal Fresh Fruit

Tools Needed:
Bento Box
Side Dishes Food Casing
Alphabet and Heart-shape Food Cutters
Food Tweezer
Bento Food Pick (optional)

1. Using a 8cm wide heart-shaped food cutter, cutout two heart shapes from bread and lightly toast it in the oven toaster for 1 minute each side. Set aside.

2. Spread a layer of Lee Kum Kee Ketchup on the toasted bread, top it with some Mozzarella cheese and mushrooms.

3. Pop them back into the oven toaster and bake for 1 minute or till cheese melt.

4. While the bread is in the oven toaster, prepare the scramble egg by heating up a small frying pan with 1 teaspoon of oil/butter.

5. On low heat, add in the diced tomato and quick it a quick stir for 10 seconds before swirling in the egg mixture (beat egg with 1 milk/pouring cream) and cook till almost done.

6. Next adding in 1 tablespoons of Lee Kum Kee Ketchup and stir till the mixture is well-mixed. Remove and set aside.

7. Assemble the scramble egg and sausage into the bento box then start decorating the heart-shaped pizza toast with some lettering cutout from the sandwich cheese.

"I Love Dad" Pizza Toast
8. When done, arrange them nicely back into the prepared bento box and serve.

Actually there are many ways which you could incorporate Ketchup into your cooking instead of using it only as a dipping sauce. And I am sure you have many good ideas which you might like to share with us too, so do drop me a comment on your "secret ketchup recipe" too! Till then have a great week ahead. Cheers!