Thursday, 28 February 2013

2013 Chinese New Year Family Gatherings

Time flies, the 15 days of Chinese Lunar New Year(CNY) celebration had already ended last Sunday. During those two weeks, we had quite a few house visiting and food gatherings among relatives and friends. As usual every household would either cook or cater food for the gathering where everyone enjoys the food and bonding time.

Below are some of our family CNY gatherings foodporn for your viewing.


CHINESE NEW YEAR DAY 2 - OUR HOUSE


This year my mum decided to hold Chinese New Year gathering over at my place so that I could help her up with the cooking plus preparation. You can read more on this new year gathering plus some recipes over at this link HERE.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

[Wordless Wednesday] Banana Chocolate Loaf With Nuts



ThaiExpress 2013 New Revamp Menu

This year 2013, ThaiExpress has launching a new menu with over 130 items. The revamp menu aims to freshen up local diners' palate with new items inspired by authentic Thai dishes from different parts of Thailand. The new menu also highlights popular Thailand's street snacks, salad, noodles and etc which patrons will be able to satisfy their Thai cravings at a whole new level of dining while ThaiExpress reveals the hidden Thai delicacies to Singapore.

This new revamp menu is available at all 24 ThaiExpress outlets located islandwide.

Naam Ma Toom - Traditional Thai Herbal Drink @ S$6.20
For a start, I have a cup of this Naam Ma Toom which is a Traditional Thai Herbal Drink on their new revamp menu. This herbal drink is brew using Bael Fruit (巴埃尔) and it is considered as a health drink in Thailand. For your information this drink is supposed to be good for cleansing the stomach and helping digestion too. I love the refreshing and light after taste fragrance which resemble rose / fruity flavour.

Thai Chendol (Chilled) @ S$6.80

Khoa Tang Naa Tang @ S$7.90
I must have missed this popular Bangkok street food during my recent visit two months back. This Khoa Tang Naa Tang is served by placing some Creamy Chicken and Shrimp Sauce on top of the crispy Thai Rice Cracker.

Top Rice Cracker with Creamy Chicken Filling and eat it while hot.

Gai Op Pattaya @ S$9.90
Although I have not being to Pattaya before, but with the new revamp menu at ThaiExpress I am able to try their Gai Op Pattaya which is a Thai-style Roasted Chicken.  The roasted chicken drumstick is tender and juicy with a light lemongrass and herbs aroma which goes well with accompany soya dipping sauce and cucumber salad.

Kway Teow Lui Suan @ S$9.30
{MUST TRY} Kway Teow Lui Suan also known as Thai-style DIY Minced Chicken and Dry Kway Teow Salad is a great appetizer to start with. Although it might be a little messy when handling this salad dish (as you need to wrap up the minced meat filling using lettuce and rice noodle sheets) but with a few hands-on I am sure you would be able to do a great job on wrapping it too. Overall we love the taste of the flavoursome minced meat mixture which pairs well with the crunchy lettuce and soft rice sheet. Quite similar to the Vietnamese spring roll concept but with different fillings. 

Steps On How To Wrap Kway Teow Lui Suan

Kway Teow Sukhothai @ S$11.30
{MUST TRY} Kway Teow Sukhothai is one of the popular noodle dish from Sukhothai which is a province of Thailand. At first glance, you might have a perception like us that this bowl of noodle would be "extremely" spicy due to it's fiery red colour. But surprisingly it has an addictive taste that cross between sweet, spicy and sour which quite similar to our local Mee Siam.

Khao Tom Pla  @ S$9.30
For kids or someone who don't take spicy food, ThaiExpress's new revamp menu has introduce a new dish known as Khao Tom Pla which is a Thai-style Fish Porridge.  This fragrance porridge comes in generous portion that toppings with some fried garlic and Chinese coriander to enhance the taste. With that, there is also a special dipping sauce for the fish that taste like mixture of light soy sauce, fermented soybeans, grated ginger and etc.

Although this might not be the same fish porridge like those sold in the hawker center or foodcourt which use Mackerel or Grouper fish but for a chance, this is indeed something that taste good too.

Ta Kor S$6.80
Mun Cheam @ S$5.30
To complete the meal, we tried two of their new desserts which are Ta Kor and Mun Cheam. For those with sweet-tooth, Ta Kor which is a famous Thai fragrant pandan jelly with coconut custard and corn kernels would be a great choice for dessert.

 For me if to choose between the two desserts mentioned, I would go for Mun Cheam which is steamed sweet potato with coconut milk. Surprisingly this steamed sweet potato comes with a crunchy outer skin and firm texture when compared to the usual steamed potato which is soft. On top of that, Khao Niao Mamuang (sweet glutinous rice with fresh mango and coconut milk) and Thai Chendol are my favourite dessert from ThaiExpress too.

Lastly I would like to thank ThaiExpress and Chantel for hosting us on the tasting.


Monday, 25 February 2013

Lemon Butter Cake With Chia Seeds & Pistachio Nuts

This Lunar New Year, I have come up with 2 similar cakes using orange and lemon rinds plus Chia Seeds to enhance the taste of the cakes. And for festive flavour, I also used dried longan (龙眼) which represent "many good son" and pistachio nuts (开心果) which is often given as a gift to symbolize health, happiness and good fortune.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Braised Pork Belly With Rice - 卤肉饭

Both Pork Belly and Pork Trotter are my favourite parts of meat which I love to use them for either Braised Pork Belly In Soy Sauce (卤肉) or Ginger Vinegar Trotter (猪脚醋). To be frank, I love the soft and jelly like "fats and skin" on them which makes it a good source of collagen in some sinful ways.

There are many ways to braised pork belly depending on what other ingredients you prefer to add on to it like; hard boiled eggs, firm tofu, mushrooms or beancurd sticks. And also in order to braised a good pot of pork belly in soy sauce, you have to take note on the amount of water added plus amount of the seasonings and spices used.


BRAISED PORK BELLY IN SOY SAUCE



(Serves: 4  | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 60 minutes)

Ingredients:
500g Pork Belly (三层肉), cut into thick strips
4 Hardboiled Egg, shelled
2 Pieces of Firm Beancurd (豆干), cut into quarters
6 Shiitake Mushrooms, soak till soften
Some Dried Beancurd Stick (腐竹), optional
500ml Hot Water
2 Star Anise (八角)
3 Cloves (丁香)
1 Cinnamon Stick (肉桂棒)
5 Cloves Garlic, crashed
3 Shallot
2 Tablespoons Light Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoon Dark Soy Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
1 Tablespoon Cooking Wine
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar


Method:-
1. Marinate the pork belly with 1/2 Tablespoon each of oyster sauce, light and dark soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of cooking wine and 1 teaspoon grated ginger for at least an hour.

2. Preheat frying pan with some oil and fry the firm beancurd till slightly golden brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.

3. Using the same frying pan, add in another tablespoon of oil. Saute garlic and shallots till fragrant, add star anise, cloves, cinnamon stick and marinated meat (without the sauce) and fry till slightly golden brown in colour on both side.

4. Add in mushrooms and continue to fry for another 30 seconds. Next stir in oyster sauce, light and dark soya sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil and sugar and give it a quick stir till well mixed.

5. Pour in hot water, bring it to boil and let it simmer for about 30 minutes or more till the meat is tender, add in hard boiled eggs, beancurd and soaked beancurd stick. Continue to simmer for another 15 minutes till all ingredients are flavoured by the soy sauce. 

6. Remove from heat and serve with steamed white rice.

Tip:
~ Soak the dried beancurd in warm water till soften, rinse a few time and drained well, set aside.

~ Fresh Shiitake mushrooms can be used to replaced the dry ones too.

~ If Cooking Spices like Star Anise, Cinnamon Stick and etc are not available in your area, replace it with 1 teaspoon or more of five spice powder for taste.

~ For extra flavour, add in 2 - 3 dried chilli in step 3, and remove it on step 5 before adding hard boiled eggs and etc.


{Braising Spices} Five Spice Powder (五香粉) and Cooking Spices

Above are my two cents worth on Braised Pork Belly In Soy Sauce which I hope you would have a rough idea on how to make your very own braised pork. For a start you could just try the pork belly with hard boiled egg combines perhaps with a few shiitake mushrooms too. Alternatively, you could also modify the recipe above with some Chicken Mid-joints instead of pork belly.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Rise And Shine Carnival @ The Lawn

Photo Credit: Rise And Shine
This coming 03 March 2013, Rise And Shine is organizing a Singapore's largest breakfast fiesta known as Rise And Shine Carnival at The Lawn, Marina Bay. Every family can register and come together with babies or young children and have a fun Sunday morning as well as be part of it to set a new record for the highest breakfast picnic turnout.

At the carnival, little ones would be enthralled by lot of fun games such as gigantic bouncy castles, engaging crafts including balloon sculpting, face-painting and stellar stage performances. The Rise and Shine Carnival also aim to prepare you and your children to bond as a happier and healthier family,

Sample:- Rise And Shine Carnival Registration Form

FOR EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!

Register over at http://carnival.riseandshine-expo.com/event-registration/  for a fee of S$8.00 per adult (plus 7% GST) where children aged 12 and below entitled FREE admission. Also every paid participant will receive a set of game coupons worth S$10.00 to be used at the carnival.

Furthermore, for the first 1,000 sign up, there would be a goodie bag worth S$100.00 out for grab too! And you will receive a unique Goodie Bag ID in a separate email, which must be presented for you to redeem your goodie bag.


Photo Credit: Rise And Shine
For more information on the Terms and Conditions plus Registration Details, please refer to their event registration page shown on the link here.

As one of the Ambassadors of Rise And Shine Campaign, Cuisine Paradise is partnering with Rise And Shine to giveaway some Complimentary Rise And Shine Carnival Admission Ticket (2 Adults Ticket) to TWO lucky readers. Upon winning you could join us with your kids at the Rise And Shine Carnival on 03 March 2013.


How To Win:-
1. Click LIKE and SHARE the above photo over at Cuisine Paradise Facebook Page (here); AND
br />2. Leaving a comment (on facebook) sharing with us one of your breakfast idea for your kid(s), example: egg mayo with wholemeal bread.

Closing Date: 22 February 2013 (Friday), 5.00PM
*Giveaway is open to those reside in SINGAPORE only and with a valid mailing address.


[Updated on 25 February 2013]

Homemade Crystal Yam Cake - 水晶芋头糕

I have seen many friends in my facebook list making either Radish Cake (萝卜糕) or Yam Cake (芋头糕) before and during Chinese Lunar New Year period. And usually these are the auspicious steamed cakes to be served to the visiting guests as compared those western cakes.  This year, my mum made a new version of Yam Cake using different types of flour combination which is different from what she always did.

From the photo above, you realize that the colour of this yam cake is slightly more translucent and Springy (QQ) texture which is similar to Agar Agar (a kind of Asian jelly).

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

[Sponsored Post] Instagram Magnets By StickyGram!

Recently I received an email to try out one of the new online printout service known as "StickyGrams" which makes magnets out of your Instagrams photos (cuisine paradise's Instagram). All you need to do is "login" into your instagram account, pick "nine" of your favouriate photos ($14.99/sheet of 9 magnets) and send in the "printing request".

And within roughly a week or more, you would be able to receive your very own amazing picture magnets on your walls or as a lovely momentos for relatives or friends.

To try out the printing services, you could hope over to their website @ http://stickygram.com/

~ Click on GET START;
~ Connect With Instagram and log in with your instagram userid and password.



~ Browse through the images on the left side of the screen and "Click" on the image to add the photo to your "9 square magnet box".
~ When done, click on Add To Basket to checkout your orders.


~ At BASKET menu, you can choose to add another magnet sheet, edit and input the mailing and payment details.

Instagram Photo Magnet from StickyGram

And about a week after your order has been confirmed, you would be able to receive your beautiful 9 square Instagram Photo Magnets (each magnet is about 5cm x 5cm in size) which you could share it with your friends or readers as souvenir for them to stick on! Isn't that cool...... Furthermore, the quality and resolution of the printouts were also up to satisfaction which appears better to what I expected.

For more information, you could refer to StickyGram website @ http://stickygram.com/

Thursday, 14 February 2013

[With Recipes] Lunar New Year Lunch Gathering With Relatives

This year mum and I decided to do a combined New Year lunch gathering to invite our relatives over for a festive lunch. We hope to take this opportunity to get touch and mingle with everyone since we seldom get a chance to eat together as a big group during normal days of the year.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Our 2013 Lunar New Year Reunion Dinners

Today is the 4th day of Chinese Lunar New Year and it seems like just last Wednesday we were all busy preparing to welcome new year and yet now it's already 3 days (out of the 15 days) past the new year celebrations. I find this year seems to be quieter as compared to previous years also you don't really find crowds around doing house visiting and etc. Perhaps due to the long weekends or raining weathers, most of the people rather choose to stay dry in doors or go for a short holiday trip too.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Rise & Shine Breakfast Campaign

Not long ago, I received an email from the Rise And Shine team regarding a Breakfast Campaign for children age between 4 to 12 years. For your information Rise And Shine is a community initiative started by a group of mothers and Nanyang Technological University students. The mission of this initiative is to provide parents and educators alike an opportunity to learn, share and identify holistic approaches in raising healthier and happier children.

Just like other parents, sometime I am also headache on what kind of breakfast to prepare for my boy who is nine this year. As a child in primary 3, my boy is still quite picky with his food especially breakfast. And most of the weekdays morning he only drinks a glass of milk rather than having bread or cereal before heading to school.

Photo Credit: Rise And Shine
From the info-graphic statistic table shown above, we could roughly have an idea of the "Breakfast Habit of Kids in Singapore". Like what mentioned above, most of the kids do not have enough time for breakfast which I personally agreed to it. With most of the primary school starts between 7.15 - 7.30am, kids tends to skip breakfast due to the morning rush (traveling or wake up late). Unless schools start late around  8.00 or 8.30am like most of the foreign countries or they enforces a "breakfast" together campaign where all the school kids get together to have breakfast in the class before lesson.


As one of the Rise And Shine Ambassadors, we received a Breakfast Kit which contains some useful information about this Breakfast Campaign as well as how to prepare healthier breakfast for the kids. In it there was also a trial pack of Granola made by Sherie from Maameemoomoo where we could use it to make some yummy breakfast for the kid(s).

Below are two different breakfast ideas that we have tired using the granola.

Fruit Yogurt With Granola Toppings

Peanut Butter Toast With Granola and Nuts

Rise and Shine is a nationwide campaign that is strongly support by major government agencies including Health Promotion Board, People's Association, Ministry of Community, Youth and Sports and the National Youth Council and many others. It is the first campaign of its kind in Singapore to drive greater attention to raising healthier and happier children. They also conduct regular activities in malls, schools, library and etc on story telling, cooking demo and many others. More details at http://breakfast.riseandshine-expo.com/ .

Furthermore, Rise And Shine Carnival 2013 is happening on Sunday, 03 March 2013 at The Lawn @ Marina Bay where they are planning to set a record  for the Largest Breakfast Picnic in Singapore. You can also read more about this event @ http://carnival.riseandshine-expo.com/ .

Chinese New Year Cooking Demo @ ToTT by Chef Eric Low

Last Sunday, I was invited by OpenRice (Singapore) to attend their first cooking demo class with ToTT (Tools of the Trade) on the Chinese New Year Workshop - Good Fortune, conducted by Chef Eric Low. Despite of the gloomy and raining weather, all participants were still very excited about the class and everyone were also eager to pick up some tips and cooking skill from Chef Eric.

The three hours cooking class was indeed a fun and fruitful one with Chef Eric whom is humorous and knowledgeable with his answers during the class. Although there was no hands-on but Chef Eric makes every little details visible thru two big TV screen in front of the class where we could get a good view of the ingredients plus steps during cooking process.

Friday, 8 February 2013

{Mobile Post} Braised Duck With Sea Cucumber

Counting down......2 more days to Chinese Lunar New Year! Everyone is so excited and today (1 day before the eve of Lunar New Year) almost all the wet markets, supermarkets and etc will be operating on 24 hours for last minutes shopping. And you would be able to see big crowds of people around grabbing for food, ingredients, beverages and etc to store up for the approaching New Year feast.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Osmanthus Chestnut Cake - 桂花马蹄糕

A few days back during our trip to Chinatown, I saw a stall selling Osmanthus Chestnut Cake (桂花马蹄糕) at a price of S$8.50 per box which gave me a shock. The price that they are selling per box is more than enough to replicate 3 similar boxes if you know how to make it at home. Although my recipe here might not be as authentic when compared to those sold outside in the shop but at least this is not a difficult dessert which you could do it at home for your guests or as a New Year gifts.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

[Sponsored Post] NANA's Green Tea Week Day Set Lunch

Nanaʼs Green Tea Café is offering a special lunch set which is available on weekday from 11.00am - 2.30pm at an affordable price of S$13.90 with a whole list of choices to choose from. And each lunch set comes with a complimentary drink and a main course of your choice. Consumers gets to choose any kind of beverages below S$8.00, ranging fromHoji, Matcha, Azuki to other beverages from the menu. On top of that, their signature dishes such as Salmon Don, Locomoko Don and Mushi-Dori Goma Dare Udon will also be available too. (read more about Nana's Green Tea Cafe from my previous post here)

Thanks to NANA's Green Tea Cafe, Cuisine Paradise has 5 Lunch Set Vouchers (worth S$13.90 each) to giveaway to five lucky readers.

How To Win:-
1. Like Nana's Green Tea Cafe on facebook page HERE;

2. Click LIKE and SHARE the above photo over at Cuisine Paradise Facebook Page (here); AND

3. Leaving a comment (on facebook) that sharing with us your favourite matcha drinks/dessert .

Closing Date: 07 February 2013 (Thursday), 5.00PM
*Giveaway is open to those reside in SINGAPORE only and with a valid mailing address.


ShareThis

KITCHEN GADGETS @ CUISINE PARADISE'S KITCHEN


Click on the above photos or HERE for more kitchen pantry ideas.