The Patissier: A Visual Feast… then Dessert Heaven

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I had the most amazing gym session today. Before the session started, my trainer asked if I’d like to go for cake first. Because the cakes might be sold out by the time we were done with gym.

Heh! :D Cake? No one needs to ask me twice.

It was my first visit to The Patissier at Mohd Sultan Rd and the meringues are pretty good. Not too sweet, just crumbly and light. :)

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Probably the only place in Singapore with cake slices costing eight dollars and THREE cents. Lol.

And here are the opening hours and contact details for anyone who’s keen on visiting them:

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The Purge Prank by MerlionTV – Utterly Immature & Absolutely Repugnant!

I’ve only just watched the 2-minute clip called “THE PURGE PRANK!!!” by MerlionTV and found that it is absolutely distasteful. People who find the video hilarious are quite frankly, sick in the head! And the producers should definitely spend some time behind bars for this stupid prank.

For those who have not watched the video, don’t! Adding to the number of views will simply inflate the egos of the producers, and spawn similar pranks. In essence, a masked person wearing a hoodie and wielding a long knife AT NIGHT scares a couple at a busstop, a worker chatting on the phone at the entrance to a construction site, a woman seated a short distance away from an escalator, and a man seated at a void deck (he runs away upon spotting the masked idiot).

I am upset with this video mainly because of two things:

1) It reminds me of the murders on the Taiwanese subway this year. I could have very nearly been on that same train, and probably ended up dead after that Taiwanese undergraduate went on his slashing spree. I’ve watched the videos regarding that incident and I really DETEST this prank one. Seriously, the people behind MerlionTV should NOT be celebrating how their video went viral; they should be ashamed of the unnecessary fear they have caused to the people they scared in their video.

MerlionTV

The producers are crazy – “support” from your fellow Singaporeans?! The video has 395 thumbs up, and 1067 DOWN! The overwhelming majority hate this video. And I hope their “CRAZIER pranks” get them locked up. I, for one, will be happy to throw the key away.

2) Even if it’s Halloween, you don’t have the right to scare people who did not sign up to be scared. If you love scaring people, go work in one of those horror house tourist attractions. Don’t scare that unsuspecting lady – she might already have had a really tough day. Don’t alarm that worker – he’s probably on the phone with a loved one back in India or wherever. Just don’t scare all those innocent folks!

If I’m in that horror house ‘cos I paid to go in, and knew exactly what I was “signing up for”, then yes, you have every reason to try and scare me. And yes, I might (accidentally) punch you in the face because I freak out easily. BUT, I will not sue you. If I was one of the people in that prank video, I’d definitely sue the producers for every cent they have (or don’t have).

Singapore is generally a safe place to live and work in. Singaporeans do have a good sense of humor. There are some pranks which do scare people, but in a good clean fun sort of way. For example, I’ve seen a clip from ‘Just For Laughs’ in which people reach for a doughnut in a shopping mall, thinking they can sample it for free since no one is at the booth, are pranked. A hand pops out from under the table and smacks their fingers just as they are reaching for that doughnut. Scares them, but no one was in any danger of dying from fright. But if a masked man comes towards me at night, and he’s wielding a long knife, that would truly be scary.

And if one day, we do have a knife-wielding murderer, like the guy in Taiwan, and the public here just laughs it off and thinks “Oh it’s the guys from MerlionTV”, then what the hell is going to happen?

MerlionTV, don’t screw with us ok? It really isn’t funny.

~

And If Anyone Still Thinks It’s Just A Silly Prank / It’s Halloween / Take A Chill Pill, No One Was Hurt

Well, let me just say that the producers, if fully confident that this prank would hurt no one, is likely not against the law, and is just for fun, would not have picked those victims. That masked idiot should not have tried to scare an unarmed worker at a construction site, he should have gone towards the guards outside the Istana, or a bank, or even walk right into a police station.

You have the balls to scare unsuspecting, defenseless people, but dare not scare an armed police officer? Why? ;) Because you look freaking scary and they’ll shoot you on sight?

So the public become sitting ducks for your stupid pranks, right? And you humiliate them further by putting the video on YouTube!

You know who are the real cowards? It’s not those people who ran away in fright.

~

But you know what really sends a chill down my spine? How most of the people in the video were oblivious to that masked fella’s presence. It’s like he needed a loudhailer to tell them “Hello folks! Masked guy with a knife coming towards you! HELLOOOOOO”. If it wasn’t a prank, those people would have definitely been slashed at. Only the guy in the void deck would have gotten away in time.

It definitely is a reminder to always be aware of our surroundings. Yes, Singapore is safe. But no, it is not 100% safe. We have people who mutilate cats and other animals, murders once in a while, and stress levels in this country are not exactly low (some people snap just like that). So, watch out for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t be so preoccupied with that stupid phone all the time, look out for people behaving strangely and make sure you exercise regularly so you can run whenever you have to.

I think the police really need to take this more seriously. A warning to the producers will not suffice. They have tasted a bit of popularity (I wouldn’t say ‘fame’), they are unrepentant, and I believe they will be back for more. Mark my words.

Plain Vanilla Bakery (Tiong Bahru) – Is It Just Plain Hype? My Review…

Plain Vanilla Bakery

I had an underwhelming dinner at Poteato (Tiong Bahru) this evening, so I thought getting cupcakes from Plain Vanilla Bakery would save the day (or night). It was not meant to be.

I loved the decor at Plain Vanilla. It looks like an awesome place to chill with a good book, some tea and a nice cupcake. But it was too late at night for all that. So I bought 4 cupcakes to take home, and another 2 more for my girlfriend to bring back. She chose Earl Grey Lavender and Vanilla Bean, while I took the 4 above – Milk Chocolate Banana, Milk Chocolate Chip, Red Velvet and Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Upon reaching home, I ate the Milk Chocolate Chip and Red Velvet cupcakes. The latter had a frosting/icing/whatever-you-call-it (‘cos I don’t bake) that was grainy. It was not velvety-smooth like I was expecting. So the contrasting texture with the moist muffin below was a tad odd. And that was made worse by the grains of sugar that I could see and most definitely taste.

How often do you bite into a cupcake and see grains of sugar? Hmm…

It was the same with the Milk Chocolate Chip. Darn.

I’m hoping that when I eat the remaining cupcakes tomorrow morning, I will not SEE sugar again. I know it’s a key ingredient, but I’d prefer if the cupcakes have a smoother consistency without awkward grainy bits, thank you very much.

I think I’ll head back again… but not for the cupcakes next time. ;)

~

Pricing: S$3.50 for 1 cupcake, $19 for 6 cupcakes

~

Opening Hours:

Tuesday to Friday 11am to 8pm

Saturday 9am to 8pm

Sunday 9am to 6pm

~
Address: 1D Yong Siak Street [The other outlet is at 34A Lorong Mambong]

Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce: Soup Base for Black Pepper and Pork Bone Hot Pot

Lee Kum Kee Hot Pot Soup Base

I’m a huge fan of soup cooked Chinese-style and my favorites are what my mom cooks at home, of course. I was a little hesitant at how Lee Kum Kee’s hot pot soup base would turn out as I don’t usually add any such sauces to hot pots. If it’s a steamboat dinner, the flavors from the ingredients such as prawns, chicken, fish, carrots, mushrooms, etc, would be sufficient for the soup.

But Lee Kum Kee’s menu-oriented sauces are for the time-strapped individuals, or maybe even those who need to impress future mother-in-laws. So I tested it out…

Lee Kum Kee Hot Pot Soup Base

Just seconds after adding the sauce to the boiling water, the water became soup instantly. There’s MSG in the sauce so it’s definitely tasty, and there’s a lot of pepper in there, as it really packs a punch. So if you like spicy soups, you’ll take to this one, though you might find yourself drinking a lot of water after as it’s quite thirst-inducing.

To counter this, I’d recommend using either more water than recommended for this soup, or using less of the sauce. (The recommended ratio as stated on the pack is 1.5litres of water to 1 packet of sauce)

~

Soups are usually left to simmer in the slow cooker at home, but this time round, I boiled all the ingredients to ensure they are cooked fast and then added the packet of sauce. Can you make a decent pot of soup in under 30 minutes? Now you definitely can.

For my soup, I added chicken, prawns, shitake mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, baby carrots, broccoli and corn.

I felt the black pepper overpowered the taste of all the ingredients I added. So the next time I’m using this soup base again, I’ll probably just make it bak kut tek-style with lots of pork ribs. :D

~

Check out my earlier blogposts about these Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauces:

1) For Teriyaki Chicken Wings

2) For Tomato Garlic Prawns

3) For Ma Po Tofu

International Gift Exchange: My Presents To & From the Philippines and Malaysia :D

It’s this blog’s 4th anniversary this month! :D And I thought it should feature presents of some sort. Last year, on the 3rd anniversary, I brought 3 blog readers to Orchard Road for a sponsored shopping trip (out of my own pocket). And this year, I thought I’d go further.

I’ve been doing an international gift exchange, and it’s currently still ongoing. But here are the presents I’ve sent out and received thus far…

[First gift to and from the Philippines]

International Giveaway

For this “gift”away, the presents must be made in the gifter’s home country. And only 1 gift is required. So for the very first gift, I sent the limited edition bottle of ‘Splash’ EDT from Singapore Polytechnic to Hoover from the Philippines. :D It was made by SP students to celebrate the school’s anniversary. And what did I get in return? A sling bag and two Philippine jeepney models in a beautifully gift-wrapped box. It was such a delight to unwrap that box, I tell you! :)

And the participants in my gift exchange do not follow the rules, or well, that one rule about just one gift required. So I sent to Hoover another package with Sticky rock candy which come with Uniquely Singaporean words like “Paiseh”, “Jialat”, “Wah Lau”, etc. It felt like I was literally sending a piece of Singaporean culture overseas – and I think he was quite amused by the candy too…

International Giveaway

And I think he definitely loved the cologne:

International Gift Exchange

For my second gift to the Philippines, I decided that I’d better add in a little something extra, in case the person is a generous gifter like Hoover. There was a pasar malam near my home at the time so I ordered a personalized key chain for Melanie:

International Giveaway

Unfortunately, though, the gift from her end never made it to me. Here’s the explanation she sent over:

International Gift Exchange

I didn’t hear from her regarding the key chain and rock candy I sent over as well. *shrugs*

Another person I sent the rock candy to was Cherry from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. And she sent me an amazing gift box filled with items like keychains (4 of them!), a purse with pearl accessories, a notebook, and a handmade pouch with 2 similar, smaller pouches inside. She even went so far as to detail each item in her really sweet letter.

I was so touched that I put together another present for her, with items I purchased in Bangkok during my recent holiday trip – with a makeup pouch from Naraya, a drawstring pouch, pretty earrings and a bracelet.

Gifts from and to Cherry (Sabah)

International Giveaway

And then for my gift to Kim Tan from Johor Bahru, Malaysia, I decided I had enough of the rock candy. And so I sent her a gift with two items from Ang Ku Kueh Girl, a decidedly local brand. :D Of course, I got her the handmade soap shaped like (what else?) ang ku kueh… and a journal from their online store.

She knew I’m a huge Hello Kitty fan so she sent over some Hello Kitty cookies, wet wipes and a hello kitty x tokidoki accessory.

International Giveaway

What I’ve gained from this experiment in the form of an international gift exchange is:

1) The immense joy from opening presents. If you’ve read about the 5 love languages, mine is ‘Gifts’. So receiving presents makes me really, really happy. If someone were to help me carry some groceries, or offer some words of praise, or spend loads of time with me, I probably wouldn’t appreciate it as much as when I was given a meaningful little gift.

2) A better understanding of what a really good gift is. Imagine putting a gift together for someone in another country; someone whom you’ve never met before. If you put that gift together with as much love and heart like Cherry from Sabah did, I can only infer that you must be one generous, big-hearted, and loving person. And the best part is, people tend to respond in kind.

3) Networking with bloggers across our borders. Kim happens to be a fellow blogger and she has invited me to join her for reviews in JB. :)

4) Understanding that not all gifts are suitable gifts. I’d bought some Tiger Brand plasters and AXE brand oil thinking that these made-in-Singapore items would be fantastic as gifts. The fiance stopped me from sending them out, saying that recipients might not be happy about getting them because one uses these things when unwell, right? Uh-oh. Not so good thinking there on my part. OOPS. Thankfully, no harm done.

So yes, some people might wonder why I’m doing this international gift exchange. My answer to them is “why not?”. It’s freaking fabulous! I’ve learnt so much and loved the gifts I’ve received so very much, and I think I’ll keep it going! :D

~ To Participate ~

If you are not a resident of Singapore, you are most welcome to take part. You simply have to send me a gift that is made in your country and I’ll send you one from Singapore.

To get started, drop me a private message on my Facebook page right HERE.

The Best of You exhibition at Marina Sq & Embroidery Workshop

I’m a sucker when it comes to picking up new skills. I love all things creative. And if it happens to come free, it’s even better. Heh. Thus, I found myself at Marina Square today, on a lazy Saturday, attending an embroidery workshop (for free) from 2pm to 4pm.

I can’t say it was as useful as I had expected. We were basically given the tools required and left alone to stitch something based on who or what brings out the best in us.

Here’s my creation:

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It’s actually not me. It’s supposed to be SuperMom. I’ve always been impressed by women who seem capable of juggling so many things at one time and yet still “have it all together”.

So I stitched a house, milk bottle, fish, laptop, pot and a carrot too.

And oh… the bag is from Maku Store Singapore. It’s the only one in SG. :D Lovely sponsor I have, no? *If you’re a fan of my fb page, just show it on your mobile phone in store and get 15% off! :)

Also, I saw one lady stitch the word ‘hope’ in beautiful calligraphy-style. Thought-provoking. Hope brings out the best in her… what about you?

There are many exhibits to view at the Marina Square Central Atrium this weekend. And today we got to hear from Kumar. Michelle Chong will be sharing tomorrow so make your way down if you want to be inspired and entertained tomorrow! :)

Here’s one particular exhibit which caught my eye:

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If I remember correctly, the artist was inspired by the people at home who put heart and soul into each meal.

And don’t you think that meals cooked with love are the best? :)

*The exhibition is brought to us by Julie’s – the biscuit manufacturer. You must have seen at least one of their many ads; at bus stops, mrt stations and in the papers. :D

Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce: Sauce for Ma Po Tofu

Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Ma Po Tofu

This is one sauce that I did not like, and this is one dish which did not take well to steaming. LOL.

I found the sauce incredibly salty, and much as I love tofu, I could not bring myself to eat more than one piece. (@_@)

I guess you’ll like this ma po tofu sauce if you like dishes which are very salty and spicy. It was just too much for me.

Ingredients:

90g minced pork

250g soft bean curd

1 packet of Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Ma Po Tofu

Method:

“Stir-fry minced pork in 1-2 tbsp oil until done. Add soft bean curd and Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Ma Po Tofu. Stir well (gently). Cook over low heat until sauce thickens.”

This sauce can also be used for cooking beef, chicken and noodles.

It looked like some weird curry tofu mixture after I’d steamed it. Not too enjoyable. But next up… I’ll be blogging about the soup. :)

Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce: Sauce for Tomato Garlic Prawns

lee kum kee sauce for tomato garlic prawns

This is quite possibly my favorite sauce from the Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce range. I selected it mainly because I love eating prawns, but also because it doesn’t come with added MSG.

All you need are prawns and this packet of sauce to create this dish. Easy or what?

lee kum kee sauce for tomato garlic prawns

*Garlic and tomatoes purely for decorative purposes :D

According to the packet, you simply pan-fry the prawns with 2 tablespoons of oil until the prawns turn “golden yellow”, then lower the heat, add the sauce and stir well. Alternatively, stir-fry the prawns with 1 tablespoon of oil, add the sauce and stir it all up.

This sauce can also be used for cooking squid, beef and bell peppers.

As usual, I picked a healthier method of cooking, and steamed the prawns instead of frying them. Before adding the sauce, I removed the “gravy” that resulted from the steaming of the prawns, and added that yummy ‘prawn broth’ to the soup I was cooking.

After I added the sauce, I gave it all a good mix and then let it steam for another minute or two, and it was ready to be served.

According to the bf, this dish turned out to be “finger licking good!” :D

You should try it too! :D

lee kum kee sauce for tomato garlic prawns

Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce: Sauce for Teriyaki Chicken

Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Teriyaki Chicken

I bought the Lee Kum Kee Menu-Oriented Sauce for teriyaki chicken from NTUC as there’s a promotion going on right now: 3 packets for S$4.95. I also got the sauce for tomato garlic prawns and ma po tofu (will blog about them later).

Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Teriyaki Chicken

I added the packet of sauce to about 300g of chicken wings (middle joint), covered the bowl with cling wrap and let it all marinate in the chiller for about 3 hours. [This one packet is actually good for up to 400g of chicken wings]

*Why marinate? Because I don’t eat chicken skin (for health reasons), it is important that the flavors are infused into the meat. If you eat the chicken wings with the skin on, then you can cook the chicken immediately :)

On the pack, it is recommended to “Bring Lee Kum Kee Sauce For Teriyaki Chicken (72g) and 2/3 cup of water to the boil. Add chicken wings, cover and cook for 10 minutes until done”

However, I decided to steam them all on a bed of xiao bai chye for 20 mins. Why put the chicken wings on the veg? To avoid the condensation from ‘soaking’ the chicken in water and causing it to lose its flavor.

*Why choose to steam the chicken? I could leave it to cook with minimal supervision and I could concentrate on the other dishes, and even take a few phone calls. :D

Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Teriyaki Chicken

[ The Taste Test ]

The chicken wings were really fragrant and very flavorful. That umami (meaty, savoury) taste is likely due to the Disodium 5′-Inosinate and Disodium 5′-Guanylate. [Yes, I read the ingredients list before purchasing this]

This pack just takes the guesswork out of recipes. I did not have to measure out any soy sauce and what not. I simply emptied the packet of sauce onto the chicken, let it marinate, and then steamed it. Super easy! A kid could do this, really.

As stated on the pack, the sauce can also be used for cooking pork, scallops and carrots.

[NOTE] There is no MSG added, but this sauce not only contains sugar, but also has High Fructose Corn Syrup added.

[ What I Learnt from "Cooking" This ]

I should have used a brush to coat the chicken with the teriyaki sauce before steaming. Perhaps then there’d be a more even coloring of the end product. :D Hehe! There’s always next time!

Lee Kum Kee Sauce for Teriyaki Chicken

Pastor Joseph Prince’s reported “S$700,000″ Salary – How Much Should A Pastor Earn?

This article from Yahoo! News (here) has been all over my Facebook feed today. So, Pastor Joseph Prince has a reported net worth of S$6.3million?! It definitely raised many eyebrows, including mine. But come to think of it, he heads a mega church, and why shouldn’t his net worth be in the ‘mega’ category as well?

If I run a company with over 30,000 employees, what sort of salary should I reasonably be expected to draw?

And if I run a church with over 30,000 tithing members (and not employees whom I have to pay), what sort of salary should I reasonably be expected to receive?

And ok, the Pastor might have stopped drawing a salary from some time back, but it is of no surprise that his net worth should be at a certain level based on sales of items like books (which made it to the New York Times’ bestseller list), DVDs, CDs, etc.

Is There A Limit As To How Much A Pastor Should Prosper?

In the Bible, it is stated that “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So why is it that when a pastor prospers, man makes noise?

I guess that as a nation, we have not only been let down by various charities and “leaders” who have sought to enrich themselves at the expense of their trusting followers, but also become wary of people who earn ‘obscene’ amounts of money.

I’ve read some comments on Facebook, including DJ Rosalyn Lee’s take:

Pastor Joseph Prince

It seems that there is a certain threshold that high income earners should be careful not to cross if they don’t want to get some backlash from the public. In the pastor’s case, it would be S$100,000.

I wonder though – if I have a pastor who earns more than any other pastor in this country (or region), does this not mean that he is truly a man of God and favored more than any other? Hmm… [Just to be clear on this point: I am not a member of his church and have not visited his church before either]

Pastors and Money

I guess we expect A LOT from religious folk. Even in modern society, we expect them to denounce certain things, with materialism and “obscene” amounts of money topping the list.

I guess it is why a book with a title like ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ would be most intriguing to many. We do not expect religious people to endorse these trappings of wealth.

Is it our own insecurity (tantamount to admittance to failure) about not being able to earn THIS MUCH that makes us want to ‘slam’ those who do? [Nope, don't tell me your answer. Just think about it]

And one other important question we have not asked is what he has done with all that money he has earned?

Has he given a portion away?

Has he reinvested this in the church?

Has he bought a Ferrari? Or two?

What is his lifestyle like?

It would be premature to slam a person based on a media report on how much he earns, or is worth without asking more questions first.

But I guess that if you are worth that much, and earn that much, you wouldn’t give two hoots about what people think either.

All I’m saying is that there’s no point being upset. If you want to be in his position and earn that much too, then go run a mega church and write best-selling books and what not.

Also, I can only imagine how much money it requires to upkeep his image. In photographs, he looks more like a pop idol or superstar than my notion of what a pastor looks like. In his shoes, you and I would probably need some work done to our faces, an expensive hairstylist, and swanky outfits. And all of these cost money. So there. Chill.

Money and the Church

I had a pretty bad experience as a kid in church. I remember vividly a day when a pastor asked for donations (perhaps for a building fund or something, I don’t remember). And when the takings fell short of the amount requested, he asked helpers to shut the doors and not allow people out while the bags were passed round again.

There was a mother who wanted to get out so she could secure some hot water for making milk for her infant. But she was told to stay inside till the collection was done.

As a young kid, I knew there was something not right about this. But I didn’t offer to stand up to the “bouncer” at the door.

Now I know that it is actually illegal to force someone to stay indoors against his/her will.

So, really, I don’t care how much pastors earn. If his books are really helpful to the people who buy them, and therefore make the bestseller lists, and earn him a sh*tload of money, good for him. He deserves every penny of it! If YOU think that you can write an equally good (if not better) book, and make the bestseller list too, then DO IT. I’ll be equally happy for you!

If people buy his CDs and DVDs because they are truly inspiring or motivational, and bring about changes and breakthroughs in their lives, then he deserves every cent he makes too! It cannot be that an ordinary singer can make it big and sell tonnes of CDs, and people still support her as a local songbird, but when a pastor does the same, he is condemned!

As long as the congregation is not forced (or encouraged) to buy a CD just to support a church leader (while not really liking any Cheeena Wine sort of songs*), and all is based on free will, then so be it.

*Disclaimer: No reference to any persons living or dead is intended.

If the pastor does indeed earn S$700,000 a year, or more, it is none of your business nor mine. Whether he earns this much or not has no impact on how much you and I earn. ;) If you’d like to earn a similar figure, you can consider doing what he does, or tell your child to aspire to be a pastor, maybe? After all, children are already being told to study law, medicine or accountancy as these careers pay well, aren’t they? Why not add ‘pastor’ to the list? At least we offer them more choices.