Friday, 25 June 2010

Seah's Herbal Chicken Soup

Soup! Most reader of this blog knows that I can't do without Soup and I love to boil soup. I believed a bowl of hot and comfort soup will make a great different for rainy days meal or even to revive your soul from tiring days at work. Chicken soup is always the best and comfort soup found in every home whereby you can see almost all the mothers will boil chicken essence/soup to strength our body and soul during our school time or staying up late at nights.

White Fungus - nourishes the Kidney, invigorates the Qi and benefits the Blood. It is also rich in iron, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorous. Its elastic protein and fibres also ease constipation, lower blood pressure and nourish the skin effectively.

As you have read from my posts, I have tried Seah's Bak Kuet Teh herb pack in one of my post a few months back. (click Here) To me, I feel that their quick and easy pre-packed herbs pack do easy the trouble of whipping out homecook soup in a easier way. Today I am going to share with you another type of their Soup Pack which is known as "Herbal Chicken Soup Spices" that will enable you to have comfort soup without storing up your pantry with different types of Chinese herbs.

Ingredients: (serves 3 - 4)
1 Packet of Seah's Herbal Chicken Soup Spices
3 Chicken Drumsticks
1 Small Can of Button Mushroom
1 Cluster of White Fungus
6 Red Dates
1/2 Tablespoon Wolfberries
1.2 Litre Boiling Water

1. Rinse and soaked the white fungus in warm water for about 10 - 15 minutes till soften, trim off the bottom stem and take only the soft portion. Rinse and let it soaked in water for another 15 minutes or so before cooking.
2. Clean and trim the fat of the chicken drumstick, blanched in boiling water, rinse and set aside.
3. Bring 1.2 Litres of water to boil, add in all the ingredients, except wolfberries. When the mixture comes to boil again, let it simmer for another 5 minutes before transfer it to the Slow-cooker and let it cook for at least 2 to 3 hrs on AUTO till the white fungus soften. OR
Alternatively you can simmer it on the stove for at least 45 minutes on medium low heat.
4. Serve hot with steam rice.

So you see with only 4 steps, anyone can whip up a pot of homecook chicken soup at anytime of the day. Just put everything into the slow-cooker, set the timer and within a few hours, you can enjoy a bowl of hearty comfort soup with your love one/family at home. Posted by Picasa

Sakae Tenno Gozen

Last week, we have ordered this "Tenno Gozen" set from Sakae Sushi as the main course for our weekend dinner. We choose this because of it great varieties of items in it such as Lobster Tofu, Tempura Moriawase, Mini Udon, Sakae Chawanmushi and Beef Hotplate. This set is great to satisfy our family preference where each of us gets to eat what we like this bento set. For starter we can have the Lobster Tofu which is light and refreshing or you might prefer the Sakae Chawanmushi which is slight warm and silky to taste. After the appetiser, you can either start off with the beef hotplate or have your mini udon with the tempura moriawase.

Crispy Salmon Skin @ S$3.99 is a new item on the list that we have not try since it launch in March. So today when we saw it roll towards our table on the sushi belt, we decided to pick a plate up as our starter before our Tenno Gozen is served. These strips are very crispy and tasty which makes it very addicting when munching as snacks.

While munching the above crispy samlon strips we also grab a plate of "Unagi Tama Maki" whereby you can see a thick layer of Unagi on top of the egg maki roll. Em.... yum yum....

After about 15 minutes or so, our Tenno Gozen bento arrived with 5 individual items in the set. For starter we can have the Lobster Tofu which is light and refreshing(this item can be found in the A-la-Carte menu for $3.99) or you might prefer the Sakae Chawanmushi which is slight warm and silky to taste. After the appetiser, you can either start off with the beef hotplate or have your mini udon with the tempura moriawase.

The Beef Hotplate is served in a shallow metal plate with broth, assorted vegetables and mushroom which add extra flavour to the beef. The plate of beef seems to be quite a big serving which you might need to cook it in two batches instead of one so that the texture of the beef will be tender and not overcooked. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 24 June 2010

HSBC Tree Top Walk

Talking about Nature Reserves in Singapore, I am sure you have heard of "Bukit Timah Nature Reserves", "Dairy Farm Nature Reserves", "MacRitchie Reservoir" and etc. In this post, I am going to share with you the "HSBC Tree Top Walk" which consists of several long hiking routes in MacRitchie that brings you through different stages of mature secondary forest.

The distance to the entrance of the TreeTop Walk is approximately 2.5 km which is around 45 minutes to an hour walk from the car park at Venus Drive, off Upper Thomson Road. There is also a parking lot conveniently situated at that area.

Along the route, we saw a lot of interesting plants and trees that interests our little darling. To me this is a very good outdoor experience for kids to learn "plants & animals" in real life example rather than from books. For example, my darling can spot the "Giant" Yam plant and Pandan Leaves, can you?

Along the walk, you will see a number of these signboard above showing you the distance between the current position and the Tree Top Walk. To us it seems to be like a motivation "sign" telling us we are just 1500 metres, 1000 metres or 500 metres to our destination.

For those requiring toilets, there is a Rangers Station in the middle of the walk for you to take a rest and use the toilets. But there is no shop selling water or food there, instead there is a water fountain which you can re-fill your empty bottles.

Before approaching the entrance of the Tree Top Walk, you have to walk past a long staircase walkway in order to reach the wood hut. When Rey saw the walkway he almost give up the thought of going down. Because after you walk past the bridge, you have to take the "up" staircase back from another route.

Upon reaching the Tree Top Bridge, all visitors will to pass through a wooden hut with a big sign in front saying "HSBC Tree Top Walk". From here all hikers have to go in single file onto the bridge, and everyone can only move forward and not back.

At 25 metres above the ground, this bridge is only about 250 metres long, so enjoy your view up there while walking through it. It is pretty narrow, so they only allow maximum of 30 person to be on the bridge at the same time.

The walk on the bridge offers you a magnificent bird's eye view of the plants and animals that live in the canopy. At your very eye level you will get to see the lively high life of the forest.

After enjoying the magnificent view from the bridge, it time to strength up and start heading back to the starting point. From the map shown, there is no short-cut to go back to Venus Drive, so we have to take another 2.5 km walk back in order to reach the car park.

Luckily along the way, there are still some interesting sight, plants and insect that capture our attention or else I guess Rey will not have the strength to finished the whole hiking trip. Tree Top Walk opens Tuesdays to Fridays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays from 8.30 am to 5:00 pm. The Walk is closed on Mondays (unless it happens to be a Public Holiday) for maintenance and research purposes. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Sweet Spring ~ 糖水春 @ AMK Hub

Does this reminds you on one of the Taiwan Tourism Board advertisement where Jolin Tsai is eating her Mango Shaved Ice - 芒果刨冰 outside a shop? Recently I have found a special dessert shop in central area that served unique “Dim Sum - 点心”, “Tong Shui - 糖水” and as well as some cold dessert like Mango Shaved Ice - 芒果刨冰. I am sure by looking at this Mango shaved Ice photo, you will be keen to know where is this restaurant located at and as well some of their signature food and desserts available.

The restaurant which is known as “Sweet Spring - 糖水春” is located at a cosy area, level 2 of AMK Hub. The design and decoration of the cafe look similar to a modern tea house whereby they have both “indoor” and “outdoor” sitting area. (don’t worry both the area are within the shop itself so it is within in-door with air-conditioning) And from what you can see bold "Red" is used as one of the main colour to contract with the white table top as well as the brown lacquered wood to add texture to the ambience.

Two weeks ago I am very honour to be invited for a food tasting session together with the two hosts, Sharon and Julynn from Sweet Spring and Fish & Co. Through the conversation, I was suprised to hear that Sweet Spring is actually owed by the same owner of “Fish & Co” which is a western restuarnt that is well-known with their Fish & Chips in Singapore.

On that day, our host’s Sharon has prepared about 10 items for the food tasting session and here are the items:- 4 Dim Sum dishes, 1 finger food, 3 hot plus 1 cold dessert, lastly follow by beverage. Now let us sit back (prepared some tissue :p) and let the photos be the evidences of this food review……

First on the list is this “Durian Pastry - 榴莲酥” which is one of their signatures Dim Sum that is in demand on their ordering list. The outer layer of the crust is flaky and crisp while the filling in it is made from pure D24 Durian pulps which gives this pastry a wonderful fragrance and taste. If you are a Durian lover, you will sure love this sweet treat.
[ Durian Pastry - 榴莲酥 : S$4.20]

Next, “Pan-fried Radish Cake - 香煎箩卜糕” which is a new dish on their menu list. According to Sharon this is a “Teochew” style Radish Cake where the chef will pan-fried the cake till the outer layer became slightly golden in colour. Overall, we quite like the soft texture of this radish cake and it goes pretty well with their self-made chilli sauce too.
[Pan-fried Radish Cake - 香煎箩卜糕 : S$4.20]

This is their self-made chilli sauce that is used to serve together with their savory dim sum, as they know most of the Singaporean love to have some spicy dipping sauce to go with their food. To me, this chilli sauce look similar to those “chicken rice’s chilli” but when you taste it the taste is rather different. For those who can take spicy sauce, this will definitely goes well with any of their savory dim sum.

Steamed Glutinous Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf - 荷叶饭” is one of the items that attracts me from their menu, especially that day is a few days before the Dumpling Festival. The steamed glutinous rice is nicely wrapped with lotus leaf and served warm in the traditional dim sum bamboo steamer, which actually add extra fragrance and appealing points to this dish.

The moment when you open up the lotus leaf from the parcel, you will smell a great scent of the steamed rice with some light lotus leaf fragrance. Each parcel consists chunk of meat, mushroom and a salted egg yoke. It all depends on how you prefer your steamed glutinous rice to be, for me this might be too over-cooked as I find the rice rather too sticky. But this can be a light flavour for those who do not like the traditional dumpling taste whereby five-spice powder, dried shrimp or etc are used.
[Steamed Glutinous Rice wrapped in Lotus Leaf - 荷叶饭 : S$4.50]

"Steamed Spicy Wantons - 京都云吞" is a like steamed meat dumping with some spicy chili sauce. Personally I don't really like wanton to be served in this way so I can't actually comments much on this dish but Joyce seems to love it with it's spicy sauce.
[Steamed Spicy Wantons - 京都云吞 : S$3.90]

Here comes our favourite "Crispy Chicken Bites - 盐酥鸡" that is perfectly deep-fried till crispy out the outer skin and yet still retain the juicy flavour of the meat. According to the hosts, the chef used chicken thigh meat instead of breast meat for these "bites" in order to achieve tender and juicy texture. Overall these "bites" are full of flavour either eating it plain or with dipping sauce and most importantly these "bites" are not salty compare with those sold in some other snack stalls.
[Crispy Chicken Bites - 盐酥鸡 : S$3.90]

After the savory dim sum shown above, we have some sweet treats here which one of these might interest you. First on the list is my top favourite dessert "Yam Paste With Gingko Nut & Pumpkin - 福果芋泥". Although we nowadays we are able to find this similar dessert being sold in some of the dessert stall at Food Court but it's rather difficult to find some real good one.

Today, at least I managed to find a decent one at “Sweet Spring”. Their Yam Paste with Gingko Nut & Pumpkin really taste great with it’s smooth texture and not so sweet taste. The combination of some chestnut bites in the yam paste brings out extra texture and natural sweetness to this dessert. So I recommend this to be a must try dessert if you really love that cream texture of Teochew Style Yam Paste without going through the hassle of making it at home.
[Yam Paste With Gingko Nut & Pumpkin - 福果芋泥 : S$4.90]

If you prefer something light compare to the above Yam Paste, perhaps you can try this “Steamed Milk Egg White - 双皮奶” which is something similar to egg custard but it is using Egg White and Milk as the main ingredients. Most of us love this dessert, as it is very good to the complexion as well as more health conscious due to the ingredients used. So lady, if you are looking for low-fat dessert or something good for your complexion, try this! :)
[Steamed Milk Egg White -双皮奶 : S$2.80]

Before stepping into this restaurant I have saw the poster and menu about their signature “Homemade Soya Beancurd - 桶仔豆腐花” which is served in a wooden bucket in order to served it warm to the customer. The hosts told us that as each day as early as 8am, the chef will starts to boil the soya bean milk in order to get ready to set the beancurd in each bucket before the restaurant opens at 11:00am during weekdays. This beancurd comes in two sizes which served either 2 or 4 persons and this Homemade Soya Beancurd is not sweeten and each customer gets to add in their desire amount of honey to suit their taste buds.
[Homemade Soya Beancurd - 桶仔豆腐花 : 2 Pax S$4.50, 4 Pax S$7.00]

Other than eating your beancurd with honey, you can also select any topping from their list to go with it starting from $1.00 - S$1.50 depending on your choice. They have Lotus seeds, Longan, Mango, Pearl and etc which all goes well with the beancurd.

Finally here comes our long waiting “Mango Snow Ice - 非常芒果” which is both Joyce and my favourite. Unfortunately I have missed out this important dessert during my Taiwan trip in April, so at least today I can try this out which is very similar to the authentic Taiwan Mango Ice.

From the photo, you can see that the ice is shave layer by layer and it is very smooth and full of mango flavour either on the shaved ice, sauce or mango itself. Overall it is a very good summer dessert that will cool you down from that hot weather. The mango itself is very sweet and juicy and according to Sharon(the host) they actually used mango from Philippines. And each day, the workers will cut and taste each mango in order to standardised the taste and quality of the mango used. So Mango lover what are you waiting for..... :) Come!
[Mango Snow Ice - 非常芒果 : S$5.50]

Before ending our wonderful dim sum and desserts food tasting by Sweet Spring, the hosts also let us have a “big” glass of their Homemade Soya Milk that taste warm and fragrant and as similarly you can either sweeten it with honey or drink it plain. For me I find without adding any honey it taste more natural with it original flavour.

Lastly thanks Sharon & Julynn from Fish & Co for inviting me on this food tasting session. Don't worry for those who stay far away from Ang Mo Kio area, Sweet Spring has new branch coming up at Serangoon area soon too. And other than the above, you can also find a lot of interesting desserts and dim sum such as Mocha Tiramisu, Rainbow Milk Tea with Pearl, Pomelo Sago, Double-boiled Hashima and etc. I am sure there will be one that suits you :) Posted by Picasa

53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
AMK Hub, #02-19/20/21
Singapore 569933
Telephone: 6753 9856 Fax: 6753 0962

Operating Hours:
11:00am to 10:00pm, Weekdays
10:00am to 10:00pm, Weekdends