Saturday, 8 August 2015

[June School Holidays: Week 4] Pulau Ubin, Food Hunt and Recipes

Time passes so quickly that we are into the last week of June school holidays in a blink of eyes. The boy and I had so much fun exploring different parts of Singapore as well as feasting on new and existing eateries and cafes. With that we have found our new love in Waffle and Bingsu plus memorable day trips to Pulau Ubin and Johor.

This week we also sharing some easy homecook recipes like steamed herbal chicken, stir-fry sambal okra, durian sweetcorn muffin and etc.



MONDAY, 22 JUNE 2015
(La Ristrettos & Curry Times)


Homemade Breakfast
Starting our last Monday of the mid-year school holidays with a plate of "colourful" breakfast which consists our favourite brioche (a type of french buttery bread), egg, bacon plus some greens to boost the week!

[Cafe Hopping] La Ristrettos
After I am done with some household chores, we decided to go for lunch at Novena area because I need to pick up some ingredients from Sol Mart (Korean mini-mart) at Square 2. But before that we stop over at Novena Medical Centre to check out a hidden cafe at level 8 which I read good reviews from Instagram feeds as well as through friends.

So here we are @ La Ristrettos Cafe on a bright sunny Monday morning.

[Cafe Hopping] La Ristrettos - Beverage Menu

[Cafe Hopping] La Ristrettos - All Day Breakfast Menu
Above is a glance of their All Day Breakfast and Beverage menu for your reference.

[Cafe Hopping] La Ristrettos - Flat White @ SG$4.00
I have Flat White which is my current favouite and indeed after two sips I fell in love with it. I love their coffee which has a rich and smoothing feel that does not leave behind any bitter or sour aftertaste. With that I will definitely be back to try their main course and coffee again.

[Cafe Hopping] La Ristrettos - Flat White & Croissant
[Second Visit] Arranged to meet up Jenny and her boy who are back in Singapore for summer holidays at La Ristrettos because her boy is craving for some decent western breakfast. K ordered their Grande Set (SG$15) which is quite similar to American style breakfast with egg, bacon, mushroom and etc whereas Jenny and I go for croissant and coffee.

As usual their coffee is good but croissant wise I still prefer the one from Tiong Bahru Bakery which is more flaky and buttery in taste.

La Ristrettos @ Novena Medical Centre

LA RISTRETTOS
Novena Medical Centre
#08-37
10 Sinaran Drive
Singapore 307506
Telephone: (65) 6397 7165
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaRistrettos/

Opening Hours:
8:00am - 6:00pm (Mon-Fri)
8:00am - 1:00pm (Sat)


Curry Times @ Novena Square
After shopping around we had late lunch at Curry Times which is a new dine-in eatery opened by Old Chang Kee whom is a well known for their Curry Puff. This kopitiam (coffee shop) atmosphere setting has an nostalgic feel which reflects on their furnishing, utensils and even food that resemble mum's cooking.

[Curry Times] Lunch: Soy Sauce Chicken & Bubur Chacha
Although the stall is known for curry related dishes we still go ahead to try the Soy Sauce Chicken (SG$8.50; serve with a plate of steamed white rice) because the boy requested for a non spicy dish. Overall the taste of the dish was a bit bland without much "significant" aftertaste which we can remember. But the Bubur ChaChar (SG$5.00) was good and I am quite happy with it despite of the price.

[Curry Times] Complimentary snacks
On the way out you can help yourselves with some complimentary cookies after making the payment. This good gesture definitely brings back many wonder childhood memories and you can my boy is so excited filling up his cup with these colourful candy bit cookies.

[Curry Times] Old school titbits
Besides food the stall also offers freshly bake old school types of bun with fillings like curry potato, hae bee hiam, shredded coconut and etc together with crackers too.

Above were some hae bee hiam bun which I bought from Curry Times. The bun is still soft on the next day with a slight old school chewy texture which filled with fragrant spicy dried shrimp fillings.

Curry Times @ Novena Square

CURRY TIMES
238 Thomson Road
Velocity @ Novena Square
Novena Square Shopping Mall
Singapore 307683
Telephone: (65)6354 3206
Website: www.currytimes.com.sg/


[Weeknight Dinner] Homecook dinner with steamed threadfin and herbal chicken.
These days many of us prefer to cook steamed dishes rather than stir-fry or deep-fried which in a way it is much healthier and easy to prepare too. For us our all-time favourite steamed dishes are; threadfin in soy sauce, herbal chicken, silken egg with/without minced meat which I often rotate them fortnightly.

Ingredients for steamed herbal chicken.

(Yield: 2 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 60 minutes)

Ingredients:
1/2 portion of chicken
100g of Chestnut (ready-to-eat pack)
3 Slices Dang Gui (Angelica Root)
100ml Sweet Rice Wine
1 Tablespoon Herbal Chicken Spice Powder
2 Hard-boiled Eggs
Some red dates and wolfberries

[Weeknight Dinner] Steamed Herbal Chicken
Method:
1. Trim, rinse and pat dry the chicken with some some kitchen paper towel.

2. Rub the powder spices all over the chicken as well as underneath the skin area.

3. Place chicken on steaming plate or provided aluminum foil and wrapper. Top with chestnut, angelica root, red dates and wolfberries then drizzle sweet rice wine over the top.

4. Wrap or cover the chicken with aluminum foil then place it on a steamer and steam for about an hour or more till meat is tender and flavoursome to taste.

Tip:
~ Chinese sweet rice wine can be replaced with mirin if not same amount of water with increase amount of herbal chicken spice powder to 1.5 tablespoons.

- I used Seah's Emperor Herbs Chicken Spices for this recipe.



TUESDAY, 23 JUNE 2015
(Durian & Sweetcorn Muffin)


Durian Stalls @ Block 101 Chong Pang Market

Durian & Sweetcorn Muffin
As durians are in their peak season during the month of June - July, I bought some to make our all-time favourite Durian & Sweetcorn Muffin which you can refer to the recipe link @ http://www.ellenaguan.com/2015/06/durian-sweetcorn-muffin.html for more detail.

[Weeknight Dinner] Stir-fry Sambal Okra with Squid
In the evening, I prepared one of mum's favourite dish Stir-fry Sambal Okra (ladyfinger) with Squid. While preparing for this dish she taught me how to par-boiled the squid in boiling water before cooking in order to retain the crunchy texture of the squid.

(Yield: 2 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 5 minutes)

Ingredients:
250g Okra (ladyfinger - 羊角豆), sliced diagonally 0.5cm thick
1 Medium Size Squid
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
2 Shallot, sliced
1/2 Tablespoon Sambal Tumis
Splash of Fish Sauce (鱼露)

Method:
1. Clean the tentacles and body of the squid, risen and par-boiled it in boiling water for 2 minutes.

2. Remove, rinse again in cold water and sliced into 0.5cm thick rings. Set aside.

3. Preheat frying pan with 1/2 tablespoon of oil, saute shallot till translucent. Toss in garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding in okra and continue to cook for another 2 - 3 minutes (stirring occasionally) till okra slightly soften.

4. Next stir in sambal chilli and squid; give it a few stirs to combine. Lastly season with fish sauce and pinch of sugar to draw the flavour of the dish.

You can check out another two related recipes on stir-fry okra @ http://www.ellenaguan.com/2014/05/2-recipes-stir-fry-okra-with-anchovies.html


WEDNESDAY, 24 JUNE 2015
(Chicken Rice & Waffle at Shrove Tuesday)


[Lunch] Good Year Local Hainanese Chicken Rice Ball
Woke up with a bad headache on Wednesday morning which I can't even get my eyes open properly and it makes me feel like puking too. But since school holiday is ending this week, I don't want to disappoint my boy so we still go ahead with the initial plan to try the tennis ball size chicken rice ball which is located near Braddell MRT.

[Lunch] Good Year Local Hainanese Chicken Rice Ball - Roast Chicken
In Singapore there are hardly a few Chicken rice ball stalls available and Good Year Local Hainanese Chicken Rice is one of those that is located in Toa Payoh (few blocks away from Singapore Press Holdings). For me two rice balls are sufficient enough for a meal because it is quite firmly packed with soft texture that resemble sushi rice ball.

By the way instead of rice ball they do offer the normal chicken rice if you prefers that. Overall we feel both their steamed and roast chicken are pretty decent in taste but don't come with high expectation on it.

[Lunch] Good Year Local Hainanese Chicken Rice Ball - Complimentary Soup
As a soup lover I always look forward to the complimentary peanut chicken feet soup serve in some of the chicken rice stall. And this hearty soup here does give extra bonus point to the meal which warm both the heart and stomach.


Good Year Local Hainanese Chicken Rice Ball
(庆丰年海南鸡饭团)
Block 111 Lorong 1 Toa Payoh
#01-366
Singapore 310111

Opening Hours:
10:30am - 7:30pm (Saturday - Thursday)
Closed on Friday

[Dessert] Waffle from Shrove Tuesday

Dessert] Shrove Tuesday
After lunch we head across the opposite direction of the road where we took a short walk to Block 94, Lorong 4 Toa Payoh (10 minutes walk from Braddell MRT) where Shrove Tuesday located. This little cozy cafe which is specialized in homemade ice-cream, waffle, handcrafted coffee and etc is sure to be a hidden jem among the shops of the neighbourhood estate.  

Will share more about this cafe in another post on Ice Cream Waffle in Singapore soon. Stay tune.

[Weeknight Dinner] Instant Tempura Udon
Had this Nongshim Instant Tempura Udon which I bought sometime back for supper because I was attracted to the cute "panda" fish cake display on the packing. Overall the noodle is quite springy with mild flavour soup base and "imitation" fried tempura to satisfy a late night supper craving.




THURSDAY, 25 JUNE 2015
(Movie Time: Terminator Genisys + Braised Pork Ribs with Potato)


[Movie Time] Terminator Genisys
Seems like every Thursday is a movie date for me and the boy to catch up with new release. This week we are watching Terminator Genisys which is the fifth Terminator movie that involves time-travel back to the beginning to change the history of what happened in the future. Although some reviews were rather negative about it when compared to the past few terminator movies I think there is still room for negotiation to watch with an open heart.

[Weeknight Dinner] Braised Pork Ribs with Potato
Thursday night dinner is Braised Pork Ribs with Potato inspired by HoneyBeeSweet Instagram feed here. I modify the recipe slightly by adding extra ingredients like carrot and hard-boiled eggs to serve it as one pot dish together with steamed rice.

[Weeknight Dinner] Ingredients for braised pork rids with potato

(Yield: 2-3 | Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 20 minutes)

Ingredients:
8 Spare Ribs (600g)
4 Medium Potato, cut into chunks
1 Small Carrot, cut into chunks
1 Small Brown Onion, cut into wedges
3 Slices Ginger
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Stalk Spring Onion, cut into section
Hard-boiled Eggs, optional

Marinade:
1 Tablespoon Cornflour
1 Tablespoon Cooking Wine
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1 Teaspoon Light Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Oyster Sauce

Method:
1. Marinate spare ribs for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the fridge before cooking.

2. Shallow fry potato and carrot for 2-3 minutes till slightly browned. Remove and set aside.

3. Next pan-fry pork ribs for 2 minutes on each side until browned.

4. Sauté onion, ginger and garlic till fragrant. Add in spare ribs, potato, carrot and eggs, give it a few stirs till combined.

5. Next stir in 1/2 tablespoon of oyster sauce and 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce and cook for 20 seconds before adding in 300ml of hot water and simmer till potato and meat are soften.


Short instagram clip on how to prepare Braised Pork Ribs with Potato.



FRIDAY, 26 JUNE 2015
(Snack: Tau Sar Piah and Popiah)


Tau Sar Piah from Tong Huat (东发) and Tong Ah (东亚), Malaysia
As usual nothing much happens on Friday because the boy has two classes which takes up the morning and evening slot. But we are blessed to savour some delicious tau sar piah which mother-in-law loot back from Malaysia. These freshly made traditional snacks are from well-known bakeries in Kluang (Johor) known as Tong Huat (东发) and Tong Ah (东亚) which comes under the same family business.

Tau Sar Piah from Tong Ah (东亚), Malaysia
Out of all the items she bought, the tau sar piah from Tong Ah (东亚) has always being my favourite due to its crisp (not oily) outer layer, fragrant and yet not too sweet mung bean fillings.

Kuih Bijan Masin (香饼) from Tong Ah (东亚), Malaysia
Unlike tar sar piah, Kuih Bijan (香饼) is not commonly found in Singapore and it has an unique fragrant that not many people especially the young generation will appreciate. Frankly speaking I myself also not a fan of this traditional biscuit, I find the taste a bit odd which seems to be overpower by some spices like cinnamon, pepper or something else in it.

TONG AH COMPANY
东亚豆沙饼
9 Jalan Dato Teoh Siew Khor
86000 Klung Johor
86000, Malaysia
Telephone: (60)7-771 2645


Bishan Auntie Kim's Popiah at Khatib Central
Popiah (薄饼) is one of our local all-time favourite snack which is quite similar to western crepe. The thin flour wrapper is filled with generous spread of sweet savory sauce, cooked turnip, beansprouts, hard-boiled egg, crashed peanuts and etc depending on individual stall. Overall the popiah from Auntie Kim is moist and juicy with fragrant turnip fillings and sides.

Bishan Auntie Kim's Popiah (金嫂薄餅)
Block 848 Coffee Shop

Opening Hours:
1:00pm - 10:00pm (Monday - Friday)
10:00am - 10:00pm (Saturday and Sunday)



SATURDAY, 27 JUNE 2015
(Dim Sum @ Red Star Restaurant + Pulau Ubin Trip)


On the last weekend of June school holiday we had brunch at Red Star Restaurant (红星酒家) to satisfy our dim sum crave on egg tarts, siew mai, custard bun, porridge and etc. It had being long since we last visit and I still remember those days where I used to frequent this restaurant with my colleague and boss during lunch or festive occasion.

[Weekend Brunch] Dim Sum @ Red Star Restaurant
As usual this place is always crowded even on weekdays so you can imagine the cray queues that form by the patrons who love their nostalgic push carts dim sum on weekend.

[Weekend Brunch] Dim Sum @ Red Star Restaurant
Dim Sum card with dishes name printed in both English and Chinese as well as pricing for patrons convenient.

[Weekend Brunch] Dim Sum Push Cart
Dim Sum push carts that move around the restaurant from table to table serving all kinds of delicious items like har gao, siew mai, fried dumpling, egg tarts, roast duck, porridge and etc. And during busy weekends when the carts might take forever to reach your table, the best way is to bring your dim sum card and look for the push carts to grab your favourite items.

[Weekend Brunch] Dim Sum - Liu Sha Bao
Liu Sha Bao (流沙包) also known as salted egg yolk custard bun is one of my favourite dim sum items which I often order if it is available in the menu. The egg custard at Red Star is slightly thicker and not so watery as compared to some other places.

[Weekend Brunch] Dim Sum - Egg Tarts
Whereas my boy's "must order" is Egg Tart (蛋挞) which he only prefer those with buttery crust and soft custard filling. We feel the egg tart here is slightly overpower with milk (perhaps evaporated milk) taste which some might not like it.

[Weekend Brunch] Dim Sum - Siew Mai
Another favourite of mine is Siew Mai (烧卖); a popular dim sum items which has a meaty bite with mixture of minced pork and prawn fillings that are well seasoned and wrap with wanton wrapper.   There are various toppings for siew mai depending on the restaurant itself, some might use crab roe whereas you can also find minced carrot, fish roe and etc too.

[Weekend Brunch] Dim Sum @ Red Star Restaurant
Overall Red Star serves pretty decent food with a balance of hit and miss on their dim sum items. The nostalgic atmosphere where dim sum card is issued, food push carts as well as interior deco add-ups to a familiar old Hong Kong dining experience for patrons too.

[Dim Sum Brunch] Red Star Restaurant

RED STAR RESTAURANT (红星酒家)
Block 54 Chin Swee Road
#07-23
Singapore 160054
Telephone: (65)6532 5266

Opening Hours: (daily)
07:00am - 3:00pm
6:00pm - 10:30pm


[Family Outing] Pulau Ubin - Jetty
While planning for the next destination after our dim sum lunch we actually wanted to visit one of the cafe around Changi Village area but end up we had an impromptu trip to Pulau Ubin Island instead! The journey takes about 10 minutes bumboat ride from Changi Village Jetty to reach the destination where you will see a completely different view without high rise buildings, shopping malls, busy traffic and etc.

[Family Outing] Pulau Ubin - Town Area
The main mode of transport around the island will be either bicycles (you can either bring your own or rent it from the bicycle shops beside the taxi stand near the entrance) or van which is their local taxi service to ferry visitors around the island attractions.

[Family Outing] 20 metre tall Jejawi Tower at Chek Jawa Trail

[Family Outing] Pulau Ubin - Chek Jawa Wetland
Chek Jawa Wetland is one of the main attractions in the island and the boardwalk is open to public from 8.30am to 6.00pm daily. To get there you can either hire a van or rent a bicycle from the main village (around 30 minutes bicycle ride).

Will share more about our Pulau Ubin Trip in another separate post so do look up for the link soon . Read more about our trips to Pulau Ubin at http://www.ellenaguan.com/2015/08/day-trip-to-pulau-ubin.html

[Dinner] Mizzy's Corner Nasi Lemak @ Changi Village
After spending a few hours exploring Pulau Ubin we are back at Changi Village Hawker Centre (stone throw away) to have our dinner before heading home. It had being years since our last visit so we decided to order Nasi Lemak from one of the popular stalls where you can see snake queue even before 5pm. We ordered Set A (chicken wing & egg) and Set D (otah & egg) with extra

[Dinner] Mizzy's Corner Nasi Lemak @ Changi Village
Overall the rice was a little disappointment (not that is is lousy) to us which is lack of coconut fragrant and taste and the sambal chilli was more on the sweet side as compared to some other stalls which has a well balance sweet and spicy aftertaste.  

[Dinner] Mizzy's Corner Nasi Lemak @ Changi Village

MIZZY'S CORNER NASI LEMAK
Changi Village Market and Food Centre
Block 2 Changi Village Road
#01-26
Singapore 500002
Telephone: (65) 97931103

Opening Hours:
starting from 07:00am - evening (daily)



SUNDAY, 28 JUNE 2015
(Chomp Chomp Food Centre)


[Weekend Dinner] Chomp Chomp Food Centre
On Sunday we revisit Serangoon estate again after our last visit to Nunsongyee (read more here) to try their amazing  Bingsu. This round instead of dessert we are at Chomp Chomp Food Centre for dinner and the place is so crowded even at 5pm. Luckily we managed to grab a table way at the back of the corner in less than 15 minutes wait.

To be frank, this is my second visit since about 5 years back but I am always tempted with Instagram feeds from friends who frequent the stalls here to feast on their BBQ stingray, chicken wing, oyster omelette, satay and etc.

[Chomp Chomp Food Centre] Sugar Cane Juice (SG$3.00)
While waiting for the food we order some beverages to beat the heat and we are surprise to see such a huge glass of freshly squeeze sugar cane juice which not commonly found in other local hawker centre. This huge glass which contain about 1.5L of sugar cane juice cost SG$3.00 each.

[Chomp Chomp Food Centre] BBQ Chicken Wing (SG$1.30 each)
BBQ Chicken Wings from Chong Pang Huat 忠邦發 (#01-26) is a must try. Love the semi-sweet taste of the wings which came with a hint of charred taste. Besides that the savoury and juicy meat also goes well with the spicy dipping chilli sauce. Shiok (thumb up)!

[Chomp Chomp Food Centre] Oyster Omelette (SG$5.00)
As I was craving for some oyster omelette, we ordered a plate from Ang Sa Lee Fried Oyster 红砂厘蚝煎 (#01-33). Oyster Omelette is also known as ‘orh luak - 蚝煎’ where the oyster is cook together with beaten eggs and some flour mixture till fragrant and crisp then served with some vinegar-based chilli sauce to balance the greasiness.

[Chomp Chomp Food Centre] Satay Bee Hoon (SG$5.00)
I am a huge satay bee hoon fans since young through the influence of my dad. So without hesitate, I ordered a plate from Chomp Chomp Satay Bee Hoon (#01-17) which serve with rich peanut gravy over a bed of cooked rice vermicelli noodles together ingredients such as kang kong, fresh cockles, cuttlefish and prawns.


CHOMP CHOMP FOOD CENTRE
20 Kensington Park Road
Singapore 557269


Lastly thanks for journey with us on our June school holidays activity posts. Hope there is something that interest your read and recipe(s) that make your day. Till then have a Jubilee weekend ahead and Happy 50th Birthday to Singapore!!!!

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