Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A trip to Malacca/Melaka

About a month ago, I booked a 2 nights stay for a 3 bedroom villa at SGD110 (room only,  no amenities) in A'Famosa Resort Hotel.  I was hesitant if I should proceed with my trip to Malacca/Melaka after reading so much bad reviews at Trip Advisor.  Nevertheless, I told myself to lower my expectations and just go ahead with it.

We arrived at the resort around 4.30pm and went to the hotel for check-in.  We were then redirected to go to the villa for check-in instead.  There were no queue, probably because we were there on Thursday.  Got our key almost instantly and proceeded to check out the villa, fingers keeping crossed throughout. 

The villa, accessible by a sliding door, in my opinion, seems fragile and could be broken in anytime

This is what greets you when you enter the main door.  The cushion covers looked very seasoned (with balling) and the cushions were mostly out of shape.  Nevertheless, they still serve their purpose.

I forgot to take a picture of the dinning area, which is just on the right hand side of the lounge/TV area (see the chair on the right).

A fairly decent kitchen with an electric kettle and a fridge.  The cable of the kettle is too short for the power point and we had to boil water in one of the bedrooms.  Strictly no cooking allowed.

Master bedroom - a King size bed.  Generally clean but it's time they change their mattresses.

Bedroom 2

Bedroom 3

Master bedroom toilet - Relatively clean but the tap at the sink is loose and the toilet roll holder is missing.

Our private pool - looks clean but no, I didn't allow my kids to swim.

On our first night there, I left the toilet door slightly agar as I wanted to use the toilet light as night light.  DD3 greeted me with swollen face the next morning :-(

There were easily over 10 mosquito bites on her face!

We didn't bother to spend time in their theme parks and spent our time in Malacca city instead.  The kids went for the pony ride on our last day though, just before check-out.  RM10 for 3 rounds but DS2 had only 2 rounds. I asked the "guide" but he insisted he had completed 3 rounds. I didn't want to start an argument since DS2 is happy that he went for the ride.

For the price I paid, I'm overall satisfied with the accommodation. But if you were to ask me to pay the regular price, I'll choose to stay in the city.

Food We Had In Malacca (3A+3C)
I didn't manage to capture any food pictures as I was busy with the kids but I took pictures of some receipts to show what we ate and also to keep a record of their addresses.

Day 1
Lunch @ MacDonalds
Melaka Mall

A total of 3 Value Meals and 3 Kids' Meals.  Love the fact that they have Ribena instead of just carbonated drinks!

Dinner @ Jih Hong Restoran

We ordered 5 dishes + 1 soup.  Fairly decent Chinese food but way too salty for us.

Day 2
Lunch @ YS Hamper Tang Shifu
AEON Bandaraya Melaka Shopping Centre

We ordered mee suah soup as we had plans to visit Jonker 88 for their noodles and dessert.  I had mee suah with herbs and rice wine, the first sip almost made me drunk!  The other mee suah soup was mildly sweet and my family enjoyed themselves.  French beans with Pu-Er tea tasted good too.

Tea break @ Jonker Dessert 88
Jonker Street

We ordered Asam Laksa, Nonya Laksa (very thick coconut milk), 2 clear soup noodles and 5 bowls of dessert.  I prefer their Asam Laksa and cendol.

Dinner @ Famosa Chicken Rice Ball
Off Jonker Street

I'm not used to eating chicken with bloody bones so if you are like me, go somewhere else.  Rice balls were mushy and way too salty, so were all the other dishes.  We didn't finish our dinner and decided to complete our "dinner" at Jonker Street Night Market.

Day 3

Lunch @ Food & Tea
AEON Bandaraya Melaka Shopping Centre

Their fried spaghetti was quite good but I thought it was abit too oily.  MIL enjoyed her wrapped fish in egg with rice meal and DH likes the fried chicken wings.  The dessert was ladled with generous amount of syrup and despite asking for more crushed ice, it was still too sweet for us.

Tea Break @ Secret Recipe
AEON Bandaraya Melaka Shopping Centre

I packed some cakes for our journey back to Singapore.  Ordered my favourite Chocolate Banana Cake and DD1 ordered a Strawberry Marshmallow Cheesecake.  Yum!

I'm definitely looking forward to another short getaway but before I do that, I'll have to find another dogsitter...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Matcha Japanese Cotton Cheesecake (Alex Goh)

Wendy saw my earlier posting and decided to make a Japanese Cheesecake for Mother's Day.  I saw her entry and decided to try her recipe (I made this one month ago but only had time to blog about it now).  Now, this is the beauty of the cyberworld!  So much interaction and so much to learn.

I have a satchet of matcha/green tea that is expiring soon so I just added 2 tsp of it into the batter as I didn't want to waste my precious matcha. 

I have to confess, I made this without any weighing scale and most measurements are in cups and teaspoon estimation.

  • 24g corn flour - eh, how much is 24g in teaspoon??  I've got a little note pad which I scribbled out the recipes I wanted to try.  For this Japanese Cheesecake recipe, I have 3 versions scribbled on one page.  1 is original recipe, the 2nd is 1/2 recipe and the 3rd is Wendy's.  The page is too overloaded with words and I think I got confused.  Aunty A told me 20g corn flour = 8 tsp, so after calculation, 24g should be 9.6 tsp.  But I used only 6 tsp in this attempt.
  • 15g butter - again, how much is 15g?  I just cut out 1cm thick and assume it should be around there :P
  • 30g flour - I used 1/4 cup flour
  • 75g sugar - I used 1/4 cup sugar
  • 125g cream cheese - I just use my eye power and cut the block of cream cheese into 2, assuming they are the same size and weight.
I covered the cake with aluminium foil as I was worried the cake will crack too much.  There was no crack but the top didn't get brown enough.

The cake turned out pretty well, slightly more crumbly and I thought it's not as moist as the recipe I have. 

The holey cake when sliced, not as soft and moist as I suspect I didn't get the measurement correct in the first place.  I made another cake using this recipe and it turned out better than this attempt.  Will blog about it another day.

(adapted from Alex Goh's Fantastic Cheesecake, from here)

125gm cream cheese
90ml milk
15gm butter

(B) * sifted
30gm flour
24gm cornstarch
2 tsp matcha/green tea powder

3 egg yolks
pinch of salt

3 egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
75gm sugar

  1. In a heavy saucepan, cook cream cheese, milk and butter until thick and smooth. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Fold in (B) and mix well with a whisk.
  3. Put egg yolks into the cheese mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. In another clean bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Put in cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks, add in sugar gradually and beat until stiff (soft droopy peak that will hold its form).
  5. Fold in 1/3 of egg whites into cheese mixture with a spatula till incorporated.
  6. Pour the cheese mixture into the remaining egg whites and fold in gently till incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into a lined 8" pan (I was lazy so I just greased and flour the base on the pan only).
  8. Oil a piece of aluminium foil and cover the pan loosely.
  9. Fill a bowl with hot water and put in into the oven with the prepared cake pan, bake in preheated oven @ 160C for 20 mins.
  10. Turn down the temperature to 150C and bake for 20mins.
  11. Remove the foil and reduce the temperature to 140C and bake for another 20 mins and until skewer inserted to centre of cake comes out clean.
  12. Leave to cool in oven wih door slightly ajar.
  13. Unmould and chill in fridge before slicing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stir Fry Zucchini

I never knew the existence of zucchini (also known as squash or courgette) until I had DD1 (that was about 8 years ago).  While googling for some toddler recipes, I came across this interesting ingredient - zucchini, and decided to hunt it down in Singapore.  After visiting several supermarkets, I finally found it.  When I first cooked this in DD1's porridge, I fell in love with it.  From that moment, I've been cooking zucchini often.

To me, I feel that zucchini is a very western food as they are mainly cooked/baked in bread, cakes, casseroles, stuffed recipes, soups etc...  I decided to cook zucchini the Chinese way, which is just stir fry.

Stir Fry Zucchini
3 slices of bacon, shredded
1 onion, shredded
1 zucchini, diced
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
some water

  1. Heat pan on medium heat and toss in bacon, fry till fragrant.
  2. Add onion and cook till soft.
  3. Add in diced zucchini and mix well in the pan.  Pour in some water and allow the entire mixture to simmer till zucchini turn soft.  Add sugar, mix well. 
  4. Lastly, add salt to taste.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mushroom Sauce

I need to apologise for not being able to blog hop and leave comments as much as I want. Life just seems to get busier each day and I often wonder why.  Many kind folks tell me, as the kids grow older, life will be much easier for me.  But I don't seem to experience that now.  We already have enough fights and squabbles among DD1 and DS2, and with DD3's participation, the house seems to be torn down again and again...  Peace!!

With so much "activities", I have little time to bake and decided to just concentrate on cooking decent meals for my family.  I'm a mushroom lover and when I saw this mushroom sauce recipe in Anncoo's blog, I knew I had to try it.

I've modified the recipe slightly by using fresh button mushrooms (that explains why my sauce turned out darker than Anncoo's), reduced garlic (for health reasons), seasonings and  liquid.  Also, I added some sugar to mask the raw mushroom taste.  DD3 loves mushrooms, just like me and kept asking for more :-)
200g fresh brown button mushrooms
1 Onion - shredded
1 tbsp Ginger - minced
1 tsp Garlic - minced
1 tbsp Potato/corn flour, mix with 2-3 tbsp water

1 tbsp Sesame oil
2 tbsp Oyster sauce
1 tsp Sugar
dash of pepper
100ml chicken stock/broth/water

  1. Cut button mushrooms into slices.
  2. Heat pan and add sesame oil, fry ginger and onion until fragrant. Add garlic and continue to fry until aromatic.
  3. Add mushrooms and fry for about 2-3 minutes and lastly add the rest seasonings with the broth and bring to the boil over low heat. Thicken with potato/corn flour mixture.
  4. Pour some mushroom sauce over the omelette to serve.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What to do with expired flours

School holidays started nearly 2 weeks ago and aint I glad I've survived taking care of the kids single-handedly.  With 3 kids in tow 24/7, I need to keep them occupied while I prepare meals and do my household chores.  With a "dead" weighing scale, I've not been baking much lately and most of my flours have/are near expiry.  Instead of throwing them away, I turned them into colourful doughs and the kids spent almost 2 hours playing with them.  So if you've got little fingers at home, do give this a try.

Made 4 coloured doughs and left 1 plain.

DD3 trying her hands on the dough.  This activity is great for hands-eyes coordination ;-)

Can you guess what they made?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Steamed Tapioca Cake (Ubi Kayu)

2 years ago, I had several requests from DD1 to learn piano.  She was just about to start her Primary education and I was reluctant to let her take up piano lessons for I do not know if she can cope with her school work (she's one big dawdler!).  2 years later today, she is still asking for it.  I guess having asked for 2 years means she is really interested?  Anyway, it was quite an impromptu decision to buy a piano, we just decided to let her learn on a weekday, and that following weekend, we visit a 2nd hand piano dealer and bought a 1989 Kawai BS-20 Special.

I believe the 2nd hand dealer is a sexist, for when I speak to him, he gives me all kinds of craps and excuses.  It is interesting to know how people can twist their words within seconds of speaking.  But when DH calls him personally to clarify some issues, he was so polite and gave no excuses.

This man reminded me of my ex-colleague, a Sales Director.  He can twist black to white during a meeting and when the CEO joins us and was questioned, he can twist it back to black again.  I thought such scenarios can only be seen on TV dramas.  Kudos to him for being such a great twister, but since that episode, I have no respect for him.

My quote to all my superiors:
If you are my superior, I will give you a certain degree of respect, the rest must be earned.

Life is full of contradictions, if the world has no such people, it will be a better place for mankind to live in.  But with them around, it differentiates the class of people (not in terms of social status) we have.  This is where the humble and down to earth people will stand out.  That's what I think.

I made some Steamed Tapioca Cake/Kueh/Kuih (Ubi Kayu) for my Dad a few weeks ago but he prefers Kueh Kosui, which is softer.

Steamed Tapioca Cake (Ubi Kayu) - Recipe from Aunty A
500g grated tapioca
130g sugar
100ml coconut milk
110ml pandan juice
1/4 tsp salt
200 - 250g fresh grated coconut

  1. Line a 8" round pan with banana leaves and grease the side of the pan.
  2. Mix tapioca, sugar, coconut milk and pandan juice in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  4. Steam at high heat for 30 - 35 mins or until cooked.
  5. Remove and leave to cool completely.
  6. In the mean time, steam grated coconut with salt for 5 - 10 mins.  Leave to cool completely.
  7. Cut  the tapioca cake into desired size, coat in cooled grated coconut and serve.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Watercress with Luo Han Guo Soup

School holidays is here and I've got 3 kids at home 24/7.  To make things worse, DH is away in Malaysia for a week's business trip.  Sister C was really nice to offer a sleepover for my children so I only need to handle DD3 alone.  But DS2 developed a fever for no reason during his stay and I had to rush to pick him up, only at this point in time, I appreciate DH's absence as I can use the car.  We spent 2 days at Pasir Ris Park and the kids had a great time at the playground. Anyway, that about sums it up what I've been busy with the past 1 week.

I cooked a yucky looking but has a bittersweet and tangy aftertaste soup - Watercress with Luo Han Guo (罗汉果) from Irene's blog.
“ The dried fruit may be bought in a market. The surface of the fruit is round and smooth, it has a yellow-brownish or green-brownish colour, and is covered by fine hairs. The fruit has a hard but thin shell. Inside, one finds a partially dried, soft substance which contains the juice and a large quantity of seeds. All components are very sweet. Their nature is cool and not toxic. The fruit can act as a remedy for heat stroke, wet the lungs, remove phlegm, stop cough and aid defecation. ”— Dai Yin-Fang, Liu Cheng-Jun, Fruits As Medicine: A Safe and Cheap Form of Traditional Chinese Food Therapy

Watercress Luo Han Guo Soup
400 - 500g watercress
1 Siraitia grosvenorii (羅漢果, 罗汉果, Luo Han Guo), smash the outer shell and use the inner parts
2 candied dates蜜枣
250g pork ribs/lean meat
2 - 2.5 litres water

  1. Wash watercress and separate out stalk and leaves.
  2. Blanch pork ribs/lean meat.
  3. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients except watercress leaves in a pot.
  4. Using medium fire, bring water to boil again, reduce to small flame and simmer for 2 hours.
  5. Remove stalks from pot and add in leaves, continue to cook for another 1 hour.