Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The initial plan after work today was to go swimming or walk from office to Chinatown for porridge with Fion. However, I have a slight sore throat and feel that I'm going to come down with flu, so I had to go home and rest.

Mum and Dad prepared this delicious dinner of
unpolished rice,

soup with fish ball, pork ball, minced pork, beancurd

and chicken with leek.

I was very happy savouring every bite :)

My shepherd's pie recipe

Agatha has asked for the recipe of my shepherd’s pie but it was in my head :) So now I'm writing out the recipe. I have actually gotten the idea from a recipe in Today’s newspaper column some time ago and just made my own version. The pumpkin adds sweetness to the otherwise savoury dish. Joan and Mom suggested that sweet potato could be an alternative too but I have yet to try that.

The ingredients are:


  • Minced beef (about 400g) – You can substitute this with minced chicken
  • Fresh button mushrooms (a handful and cut into small chunks) – you can use shitake mushrooms too.
  • 1 or 2 carrot (cut into small chunks) – you can use celery or your favorite veggies or even frozen vegetable but I didn’t use that as Sis doesn’t like green peas.
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes (cut into small chunks)
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (I only use about ¾ can)
  • 1 teaspoon of Maggi Chicken stock granules
  • 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce
  • Pepper (amount as you desire)
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of cornstarch (mum said it helps to make the filling moist)
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil

On top of the fillings:

  • 3 or 4 large potatoes
  • Pumpkin (about ½ the amount of potato)
  • Grated cheese (I bought a packet containing a mixture of Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan)

How to make your own shepherd pie:

  1. Marinate the minced meat (a few hours before the stir-frying) with the sugar, chicken stock granules and cornstarch and refrigerate it.
  2. Steam the pieces of carrot, pumpkin and potato. As I want the carrots to be cooked and not as soft as the pumpkin and potato, I remove the carrot once it is cooked and leave pumpkin and potato to continue being steamed. If you like your carrot to be crunchy in the fillings, you can stir-fry it with the other ingredients later instead of steaming it.
  3. Mash the steamed softened pumpkin and potato together and set it aside.
  4. Heat up oil in frying pan, stir-fry tomato pieces (be careful of the initial spluttering due to the water content in tomato), followed by mushroom, carrot and meat. Add in the light soya sauce (this wasn’t added in marinating of the meat as Mum said the soya sauce will turn sourish).
  5. Beef: Don’t overcook the meat as it will be in the oven later and you don’t want the beef to taste dry. The cream soup can be added almost immediately after you manage to mix the beef with the earlier ingredients. When the cream is well mixed in (don’t wait till the beef is fully cooked i.e. no redness detected), pour them into a tray (aluminium or pyrex). The filling should reach half of the tray, as there are still pumpkin, potato and cheese to go on top. Chicken: The meat needs to be cooked longer than the beef. When it’s half cooked, add in the cream soup and follow the rest of above steps.
  6. Preheat the oven at 200 degree Celsius. Use a fork and spoon to cover the fillings with the pumpkin and potato followed by a thick layer of grated cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or more until the cheese has melted and turning brown and giving a nice aroma.

Let me know if any of the above is unclear and tell me what you think after trying the recipe. Happy cooking and baking!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

We tried to have a picnic @ the Palm Valley near Symphony Stage to listen to the concert but it started to rain. We had to seek shelter and headed back to the cafe @ the Visitor Centre. I'm happy to see my friends coming down all the way despite the weather. And I think we all enjoyed ourselves feasting on the yummy food we brought and chatting :)

When we reached Botanic Gardens @ 4.30pm, it was drizzling a little. There is a photo exhibit @ the Visitor Centre and I noticed this photo of people lazing on the mat @ the Palm Valley. Too bad we are in the midst of a rainy season.
I made 2 versions of shepherd's pies - chicken and beef for the picnic @ Botanic Gardens I organised today in the late afternoon and evening.

I was quite worried when the sky turned dark and it started to rain. Sis and I left the house, hopped onto the cab when it stopped raining around 4 pm.

Joan gave me this souvenir from Russia. There is a cute little white cat :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Soup with carrot and hairy gourd and chicken drumsticks

Omelette with lettuce and fresh ikan bilis.

Portobello mushrooms with chicken shredded pieces.
I went home for dinner with parents tonight and couldn't resist taking photos of the spread before us :) Unpolished rice with 3 dishes.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Day off

Today Joan and I felt like tai-tais. I had to take my day off in lieu of Deepavali as today is the last day to claim it or I would have to forfeit it and Joan was free to join me. We first had breakfast @ Killiney Kopitiam @ Siglap for kaya toast and eggs before she had hair treatment while I had some brown copper highlighted streaks and hair cut. Then we headed to Gramophone @ Peninsula. I was browsing through the cds but I didn't buy anything. Joan got a few cds. @ 3pm, we went for pedicure nearby. We felt so pampered :) @ 4plus, we went to the basement of Raffles City to have late lunch @ Din Tang Feng. I didn't think much of that place previously as I thought the xiao long bao has a strong porky smell but today they tasted alright and we also had hot and sour soup, some veggie appetiser, pork chop noodle. Before going home, we went to the upper level of Raffles City to have tea and coffee and some pralines while it started to rain outside.

It is nice to catch up with Joan. We always have a lot to talk about and she always has interesting stories to tell me and make me laugh. She also makes me feel good about myself and inspires me to try new things but whether I follow up on that inspiration is another matter.

An hour or so of the evening was feeding Noisy at one corner of the void deck of our block and in the park with the other community cats in the park with mum. Then back home it was to help mum with cleaning the hamsters' home and also carrying Pip and Peanut out for a short while on my hands and let them take a short walk on the sofa or on my tummy and legs.

Tomorrow will be another busy day @ work but I'm happy I have spent today with my dear friend, my mum and my furry friends :)


The quality of English karaoke music video @ the KTVs I have been so far is quite dismal. Unlike Mandarin and Cantonese songs, they are not the original MTVs of the songs featuring the singers and the original music accompaniment. This afternoon, I only managed to find the original MTV for LeAnn Rimes' How do I live without you, Backstreet Boys' Shape of my heart and Qiqin's Longer. Most of the English music videos seems to be some low cost production with some particular girl flicking her hair or giving an intense look into the camera, jarring music, scenery shoots, etc.

From 2pm to almost 7pm today, I heard quite a number of nice Mandarin and Cantonese songs crooned by my 2 friends. I only sang a Mandarin song called Tong Hua (and quite badly as I normally sing English songs and my recognition of Chinese characters is not good). Maybe I should start listening to Mandarin and Cantonese songs to improve my spoken Mandarin and Cantonese. Sometimes I think it's quite sad that being a Cantonese, I couldn't hold a conversation with my grandmother in that dialect. I could only understand and say basic words. My spoken Mandarin is barely functional too, so when I speak to some of my friends and other people who are more comfortable with Mandarin, it's normally a mixture of Mandarin and English words. I guess it's never too late to start learning :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Last night when I was out with my family @ Orchard Road at the junction near the Hereen and Meritus Mandarin, I whipped out my camera too like the other Singaporeans. Of course instead of posing with the lighted up "trees", I just took a few photos of the light-up. This one is the clearest shot.

Most of the time whenever Dad is free @ home, he would be doing some DIY projects. Yesterday morning, he was cutting some plastic for the kitchen toilet to complement the shower curtain. Dad is really creative and use old shower curtains hooks (or whatever you call that) to hang up the plastic sheet to the shower curtain railing. And I think it looks pretty neat. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saltwater by Julian Lennon

I have always thought this song was sang by John Lennon. I was searching on Google and found this music video on youtube. I think it's a lovely and sad song about the damages to the earth and environment. I like the lyrics.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Jasmine had what I ordered yesterday - mini unagi don and mushroom hotpot set. Posted by Picasa

The set also came with inari (beancurd sushi), some fruits and tea/coffee. Posted by Picasa

That came with this pork, potato and carrot mini dish. Posted by Picasa

Today I had lunch with Jasmine. @ Sun with Moon @ Wheelock Place again as she has not tried this place before and I don't mind eating there again :) I tried this tempura udon lunch set. Posted by Picasa

We rested our feet @ Royal Copenhagen Cafe @ Takashimaya. We ordered tea and dessert. Fion and I shared the scones. Posted by Picasa

The hunt for nice wedding gowns

After a satisfying lunch, we 4 girls set off on a journey along Orchard Road. The rain didn't dampen our spirits. We were mesmerised by a lovely wedding gown that a lady was trying on @ the Tan Yoong bridal shop @ Lucky Plaza. However, Psychedelichic's appointment was @ 4pm and we were early and Tan Yoong was still busy with other customers, so we hopped over to Meritus Mandarin. We weren't impressed by the first bridal shop we went in and everything seems mass-produced and the designer was scaring our bride-to-be that she is running out of time and she can't afford to be indecisive. We think it will be more helpful if she were to offer us advice and show us nice gowns suitable for Psychedelichic. The second shop was more cosy and the designer showed us photo albums of his designs and was friendly and more helpful.

We headed back to meet Tan Yoong @ his shop @ Lucky Plaza. He and his assistant were very friendly. He could recommend a few nice gowns for Psychedelichic based on her built and figure. We were impressed and Psychedelichic looks great in the gowns he chose for her off the racks. Getting married is not cheap though. The packages offered by the bridal shops start from $4k and above. My friend said I should start saving. Haha.

Fion saved 4 pieces of Sprungli chocolates that she brought back from Switzerland. We ate them as desserts while relaxing @ Sun with Moon. Posted by Picasa

Fion had this grill cod with sashimi salad. It's her favorite as she has been ordering this lunch set everytime she visits Sun with Moon. A woman of consistency :) Posted by Picasa

A close up of my half eaten lunch set - mini unagi (eel) don and mushroom hotpot. Posted by Picasa

Before we start our hunt for a nice wedding gown for Psychedelichic, we had lunch @ Sun with Moon @ Wheelock Place. I forgot to take a photo before we started digging in :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

These 2 young cats were resting under the bbq pit after we cleared away the stuff to rest indoors. Posted by Picasa

The table of food. Posted by Picasa

I went to the BBQ organised by FR and her hubby @ SAF Chalet @ Changi. There are about 10 stray cats running around and I think this is the mummy cat. They were begging for food when we were cooking the food. The mummy cat is quite friendly. Posted by Picasa

All of us toasting with our small cups of sake. I couldn't drink more than 2 as I got flushed quite easily and I think I may get drunk if I had more. Hee. The Imp was very nice to get me and everyone a glass of iced water each. Posted by Picasa

I like this paper ball rattan lamp hanging down from the ceiling of the bar. Posted by Picasa

One of the pages in the menu. We didn't know what to order and asked the bar owner to recommend us some sweet and light sake. Posted by Picasa

After dinner, we proceeded to the Sake Bar a few streets away. I think it's Kreta Ayer Street. Posted by Picasa

Tonight's dinner was to celebrate our friend, Michelle's birthday. It is always nice to see the face of a friend lighting up, the smiles and hear the laughter from everyone. This is the chocolate hazelnut banana fudge cake that Dawn had to order from the restaurant 3 days in advance. It's decadent with yummy pieces of banana between the layers. Posted by Picasa

The inside of Ember Restaurant. Posted by Picasa

Dawn ordered the brinjal dish which tastes as great as it looks. The others ordered either the cod dish or chilean seabass. Posted by Picasa