Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Day At The Cathay Shopping Mall

Recently I received an email from Nuffnang regarding this "The Cathay Blogging Contest" which starts from 02 February 2010 – 14 February 2010. And the main purpose of this contest is to blog about how you plan/spend a day at Cathay shopping mall. Since mum and I was on the way around Somerset area to run some errands, we decided to head our way up to Cathay Mall and have a look. So far, I have not being to the new Cathay building ever since the closures of the old building in 2000.

We took the MRT from Somerset station and arrived at Dhoby Guat. From there, you can take "Exit A" which will brings you to The Cathay, Wesley Methodist Church, Singapore Management University, Hotel Rendezvous and etc. And at the entrance of the MRT station along the main road, you are able to see "Cathay Shopping Mall" just right across the road near the traffic junction.

While walking towards the Cathay Mall, mum started to share with me some of her childhood stories and those days when she was helping her uncle to sell peanuts outside the building during her teenage days. So imagine she had seen so much changes of this building from her era till now.......

Since we reached about 10.30am, most of the shops are still not opening. In this case, we decided to explore the basement area which seems to be like a food paradise....... (Being a food blogger, it's very nature for me to hunt for "FOOD" stores in the mall as my 1st propriety). As usual, mum can't do without her morning coffee time at her favourite hangout, "Ya Kun" which located at #B1-23 that is in between the traditional handmade noodles store called "Mian Mian Ju Dao - 面面俱到 " and "New York Pizza".

At a glance, there are about 10 different Food stalls located at the basement area which provides wide varieties of choices from Asian, Western to Japanese cuisine or even light meal for those who wants to cut down on calories. While looking around, I saw the menu from "The Indulge" which known for it's fusion of Asian spices/herbs together with western ingredients and flavours. And from the menu, those photos of the dishes look really good and appealing. Maybe one of these day, I shall bring my foodie friends along to give it a try.......

Em.... Just a minor reminder, in order to avoid disappointment, most of the food stores there opens from around 10.30 or 11.00am onwards unless you wants to pop-by Ya Kun for breakfast which they opens around 10.00am.

After morning tea, we went up to level 1 of the mall which gives us a very refreshing outlook compare to the old building that is still vivid in our memories. Since Chinese New Year is around the corner, the mall is also decorated with special Chinese New Year decoration in order to bring out the atmosphere.

Cathay mall consists of 7 level of food, retails and entertainments outlets and on level 1 you can find some boutiques, optical shop, information counter, ATM machine and etc.

From a far corner, I was attracted to the interior display of this shop due to a high flying shark which is hanging down from the ceiling. I was amazed by the so called "Hollywood" design which I think will interest my boy if I will to bring him along. Mum also thought that this might be a souvenir outlet or so until we saw the special logo on the name above the door-way showing.... "Billy Bombers" which is a American style restaurant @ #01-11/12.

My last impression of Billy Bombers was about more than 8 years back before my boy was born. And the Bright Red Leather Cushion Seat is still vivid in my memories. Now when I look at this newly decorated outlet it really brings back a lot of my dine-in memories with Billy Bombers......

Around the mall, you will be able to pick up "The Cathay Restaurant" pamphlet on Chinese New Year promotion which consists of a few set of menu for your selection. According to Mum, Cathay Restaurant can be consider at one of the best Chinese Restaurant in Singapore during her era. It is located at #02-01 and the dinning hours are from 11.30am to 11:00pm but the restaurant will close for lunch break/preparation of dinner between 3:00 - 6:00pm. Mum was suggesting perhaps, next round we can come and sample their lunch/dinner menu.

There is another interesting place to hang around on level 2 which is "The Cathay Gallery" that is located at #02-16. Here it showcases the history of the Loke family and their various business interests in Malaysia and Singapore from the mid 1800's till now. The Cathay Gallery is open to the public from Mondays to Saturdays, 12:00pm to 8:00pm, and is closed on Sundays & Public Holidays. Admission is Free, so it will be great to bring along kids to show them the founder and history of the Cathay organisation as well as showing them those olden days cinema seats and tickets. I am sure this will bring back a lot of wonderful memories for the older generation(ie. like me and my mum) or a new experience for the younger one like my boy.

Next while scanning through Level 3, I found this interesting shop known as "Three3Three" which occupy 4 units spaces from #03-04 all the way up to #03-07. Guess it is a trend to use "3" as either shop/building name :) And since, mum was looking for a table lamp for her new house, we decided to explore around the shop. You can find all sort of latest design items available in the store, and mum was keen to come back again with my brother to seek for his opinion on other items that look suitable for the living room.....

And along the same lane, mum's attention was being attracted by a unique display around the corner of the shop called "Forest & Tree" which located at #03-02. At her first glance she still thought it might be a shop that sells kiddy stuffs because of that cute "girl in lamb outfit". But when we went near to the store, we realise that it is actually a lifestyle concept shop that features a nail salon and retails merchandise. After browsing through the store, we both agreed that it's a great place for pampering our nails as well as grabbing some interesting gifts for special occasions.

Out of all the stores in level 3, mum and I was interested in Inahamani @ #03-08/09/10 which provides wellness and beauty from within. This store give us a very peaceful and relax feeling that make us very curious of the services they provided such as hydraulic gym and oxygenated lounge. Mum told me that she will be delighted to book an appointment with them if I were to win the Cathay Blogging Contest :p (have to cross my finger on this)

Level 4 are suitable for kids, Teens and Young Adults where they can spend hours of time in E2Max@The Cathay located from #04-18/19/20 on the latest games and accessories. Or if you need to have some extra workout to burn those accumulated fats during Chinese New Year season, perhaps you can take up a lesson or so at Fitness First @ #04-05 to keep fit.

Em... for young ladies who wants to doll up yourself with pretty dresses, maybe you will be fascinated by this store @ #04-09 known as "Black Alice" which is a Lolita fashion store specializing in selling Gothic and Lolita dresses, clothing, accessories and merchandise.

After exploring around the mall from Basement to Level 4, it's time for us to sit down and have a quick bite. Since we don't really take heavy lunch, we decided to stop by Starbucks @#01-05A for some drinks and cakes. While chatting, I told mum that today I am so happy and honour to have her to do this blog post together with me. And I knew that she is also very excited about it.......

There are still so many stores that we didn't really explore but I am sure Cathay Mall is place that has something prepared for everyone. Do do drop by one of this days with your friends, or family to experience the new Cathay Shopping Mall...... Or perhaps, you might want to join "The Cathay" Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thecathay) to get updated with latest promotions, events, contests & giveaways! Posted by Picasa

Monday, 8 February 2010

Prefect Valentines Gift

Valentine's Day is just a few days around the corner and I am sure most of us are cracking our head on what's the prefect gift to get for our love ones. But no matter what's your gifts are, I am sure anything that has CHOCOLATE in it will made a lovely gift for your darling or friends.

For me, I am a chocolate lover and I love anything that consists of Dark Chocolate. And to me, "Chocolate Brownie" makes a prefect snacks and gifts for all occasions. I have tried this recipe which given by one of my best pal, Tracy sometimes back but the end-result was not very satisfied because I seems to have over-baked it. But this round, I finally managed to get my prefect brownie with moist and gluey melted chocolate in it....... For those who are interested in this recipe, here it goes...

250g Butter, melted
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 1/3 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
150g Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
40g Roasted Almond, roughly chopped
40g Roasted Macadamia Nut, roughly chopped

1. Put the butter in a microwave safe bowl and melt it on high 2 minutes, pause to stir after each minute.
2. Sift all the flour ingredients together and set aside.
3. Next add both the sugar to the melted butter and stir till the sugar became almost melted and gluey.
4. When the sugar mixture is cool off, add in the egg one by one and use a balloon whisk and beat till well combine.
5. Next slowly whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture till well combine.
6. Lastly stir in half each of the chopped dark chocolate and nuts then pour into a square or rectangle brownie tin.
7. Sprinkler the remaining chocolate and nuts on top of the mixture, give the whole tin a few bang to knock off the air bubbles inside.
8. Bake in a preheat 180 degree oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes depend on the tin size.
9. The brownie will pull away from the sides of the pan and when test with a skewer, it will be a bit moist inside.
10. Cool. Cut into bars.

a) If using those black coated baking tin, you have to reduce baking time by 3-5 minutes.

After the brownie has cooled off, cut it into bite size. Grab a nice and lovely gift box, packed it with the brownie cubes and perhaps some extra chocolate or candy. I am sure this will make a Prefect Valentine's Gift for anyone...... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Braised Chicken Wing With Arrowhead & Mushroom

After some "hit and run" introduction of "Arrowhead(Cigu) - 钱菇" on my previous post (Deep-fried Arrowhead Chips) as the Starter of the meal. Now we head over to the Main course for today which is this "Braised Chicken Wing With Arrowhead & Mushroom". Usually during Chinese New Year, most or almost all the Chinese Family will whipped up a few of their Special Dish to serve their guest. And they will always named them with Auspicious Word which brings luck, healthy or prospect in career.

Since this is one of our Chinese New Year dish, I named it as "搌翅高飞" which translated as "Spread your wings and fly high". This can be used for either moving up to a high level in your career or study because "翅 - Wing" comes from a similar meaning from the "Chicken Wings - 鸡翅".

Arrowhead(Cigu) which is one of the Chinese New Year ingredients that is available during this time of the year. You can either grown the corms to decorate the house during this festive season or you can use it to make into "Arrowhead Chip" or even more.... (click HERE to read more...)

The use of "Shiitake Mushroom - 香菇" here symbolised longevity and sizing opportunities.

This dish required 3 main and 2 side ingredients like what you have seen from the above photos. If you don't prefer Chicken Wings, you can swap it with chicken pieces instead. You can also replaced the dried Shiitake Mushroom with the fresh type or any mushroom of your choice......But if you are cooking this dish during normal days then I suggest that maybe you can replace the Arrowhead with Fresh Huai Shan which have the similar texture.

4 - 5 Medium Size Arrowhead
5 Chicken Wing
6 Medium Size of Dried Shiitake Mushroom
1 Large Stalk of Spring Onion, cut into section
3 Slices of Ginger
3/4 Tablespoon of Oyster Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Dark Soy Sauce
80ml Water

1. Rinse, clean and marinate the chicken wings with dash of pepper and 1 teaspoon each of light soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour. Set aside in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
2. Rinse and soaked the dried mushroom in hot water till soften, removed the stalk on top, set aside the mushroom water for cooking.
3. Rinse the Arrowhead, peel of the outer skin, cut it into halves or quarters depend on your preference.
4. Heat up a small heavy-duty saucepan with some oil, saute the marinated chicken wings on both side till slightly golden colour, dish up and set aside.
5. Next add in the ginger and spring onion continue to fry for 30 seconds till fragrant, add in the soaked mushroom (try to lightly squeeze dry the mushroom before adding in) and fry for another 30 second before adding in the Arrowhead.
6. Next add in the oyster sauce, dark soy sauce and chicken wings, give it another quick stir to combine all the ingredients before adding in the water.
7. When the mixture comes to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 12 - 15 minutes till the chicken is done and the arrowhead is slightly soften.
8. You may wish to thicken the sauce with some cornstarch solution if you prefer.

Finally after 15 minutes or so of braising the ingredient, here comes our main dish for today; "搌翅高飞". Hope after eating this dish, we can climb up another level of our current life/career just the what it named for.... spread out the wing and fly high....... Posted by Picasa

Deep-Fried Arrowhead Chips

Usually about a month or so before the Chinese New Year, you will be able to catch a glimpse of these "Arrowhead(cigu) - 钱菇" at most of the vegetable vendors in the wet market. This bulb-like corms of the arrowhead is sold roughly about S$3.00 per kg depending on individual stalls.