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Archive for October, 2011

My hubby had very kindly changed the tv channels subscription last month after seeing me so happily engrossed in watching the masterchef Australia. He subscribed for more cooking channels for me which he has now slowly started regretting doing so since it is at expense of not being able to watch his favorite sports channels at times.

I have learnt and gained more exposure by watching some of these cooking shows. And I have also tried cooking what I learnt from these shows. These are some that I came out with during the recent weeks.

1. Pizza – learnt from masterchef Australia

 

2. Fougasse – learnt from Laura Calder

My first time in bread making. Dear Zachary was very amazed by those holes in the bread and was using them to play ‘peek a boo’.

 

3. Chicken Stew With Fermented Soya Bean – learnt from chef Wan

My first time using the fermented soy bean paste which really adds lots of unique taste to peranakan dishes.

This is really a very aromatic dish. My only regret was not watching the pot diligently. The liquid which was a lot at start was reduced to quite minimal and hence not as much yummy sauce as I would like to have.

I have a colleague who only recently realized that she is actually a nyona. She has asked for this recipe from me and told me that she hopes to learn how to cook peranakan dishes. So, am attaching here the recipe to share with all.

Recipe from chef Wan:

Ingredients

1 kg / 2 pounds / 3 oz Chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces
3/4 cup / 6 fl oz Vegetable Oil
30 Shallots (Red Onion), well pounded
15 Garlic cloves, peeled and well pounded
1/4 cup / 1 oz fermented Soy Bean Paste (Taucu or Tao-cheo), pounded
2 Tbsp / 1 fl oz Light Soy Sauce (Salty Soy Sauce, Kicap Cair)
2 tsp Dark Soy Sauce (Kicap Pekat)
2 cm / 1 inch Ginger, sliced
4 Cloves
2 Star Anise
10 dried Black Shitake Mushrooms, soaked in hot water until soft
3 Potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 cups / 24 fl oz water
2 Red Chilies sliced
2 Green Chilies sliced
2 Tbsp / 1 fl oz sugar
1 tsp grounded Pepper
Coriander (Cilantro, Chinese Parsley or Ketumbar) for garnish

Method

Heat oil in casserole dish, sauté the Shallots, Garlic till fragrant.

Add in Star Anise, Cloves and Ginger, and mix them well.

Add in Chicken and mix them well.

Add in Dark Soy Sauce, Light Soy Sauce, and fermented Soy Bean Paste (Taucu or Tao-cheo).

Add in water, Mushrooms, Potatoes and Coriander Leaves; add sugar and pepper to taste.

Mix well and stew chicken for half an hour.

Add in Red and Green Chilies, sugar and pepper and once again bring to boil.

Lower the heat and simmer for a further 20-25 minutes or till Chicken is tender and gravy is thick.

Garnish with Coriander Leaves and serve.

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Oops, one post that I forgot to post earlier. Really late for this one. It’s about the presents I made for zachary’s teachers.

To show our great appreciation to the care and love given by Zachary’s teachers at the Little Skool House, I did an altered gift box for each of them. Managed to capture them in some photos and used them for these personalised gift boxes.

For teacher Rina:

These beautiful boxes are bought from Daiso. I decorated only the cover of these boxes. Simple scrapbook layout for the covers due to lack of time to make them. Have used the latest mistable papers series from Pink Paislee.

For Ms Yang:

And for the rest of the teachers, some home baked cherries chocolate cookies…

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I finally completed my Swing Dress early last month after much struggles and worries. For those who have not come across this dress pattern, it is a 1940s swing dress pattern inspired by an original Hollywood design, circa 1942. You can purchase the pattern from ‘sense and sensibility’.

Many obstacles faced for making of this dress. I first bought the e-pattern which my printer simply failed to print to the right size. So, I have no choice but to top up and buy the paper one and wait patiently for it to be sent over.

But when the paper one arrived, I really scratched my head hard when trying to digest the part on the shoulder and facing sewing. But luckily, I remembered there’s a previous sew-along of the Swing Dress by Casey. Her sew-along posts have been extremely helpful. But, I still take awhile to understand the shoulder facing part and ripped off once to fully able get what Casey was trying to illustrate. After the shoulder, the rest is quite a breeze to sew through. And I tried Casey’s vintage method of installing the normal (instead of invisible) zipper. I loved this beautiful method though is a bit for work.

I love how the dress looks. But would have loved it even more if the fitting was better. I chose a size which fits my bust and waist almost exactly and adjust for a bigger hip. However, it still turn up that the top was too big for me. I should have shorten the upper bodice a little. And if you are going to attempt this dress, do make sure you heed Casey’s advice to adjust for the set in sleeve as I chose to skip that and true enough, as like what Casey cautioned, the ease for the sleeve was far too much and there’s unsightly puckering for mine.

My husband however think that this pattern looks too old on me and the fabric was also too old fashioned. But I told him, it’s supposed to look vintage. Ha ha. All in all, I think it’s a beautiful pattern from ‘sense and sensibility’ but I think that instruction and illustration could really be improved on. I would definitely not recommend this pattern to a beginner given this fact. But should you choose to attempt, read Casey’s sew along posts and it will be good to do up a muslin to check the fitting for this pattern. Hope you enjoyed my review of this ‘Swing Dress’ pattern.

And lastly, also to share with you the Japanese Linen pants I made for my son using the same linen that I made for my blouse few months back. Both patterns are from Japanese magazine (Cucito if I didn’t recall wrongly).

This was the first time I made something of same fabric for both of us and I thought this was really cool as it is not easy to find a feminine top for mummy of same print as her son’s clothes. Thats the advantage of learning to sew! I am in process of making a dress with a parachute print which I intend to use it to make a top for zachary. Maybe for chinese new year next year.

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Photomarathon 2011

Hi everyone, must apologize for the long absence from this blog. Been occupied by daily chores, exam studying and a pre-wedding shoot last month.

Like to share with you here an photo taking event I went to last month on the 10th. It was the 9th Canon Photo Marathon Singapore. This was my first time participation and was glad to find a comrade to go with. The whole event took around 12 hours with 3 themes and participants were to take and submit photographs within the stipulated time periods. The three themes are: ‘Eat’, ‘Circle’, and ‘Imagine’. Submissions were judged according to the following criteria:

– Relevance to theme
– Creativity in theme interpretation
– Use of colours and light/shadows
– Composition of photograph

This year, the event had once again made a new record number of 2078 participants.

You can view the winning photos via this link.

And my submissions are as follows (straight from camera with no editing):

Building structures ‘eaten’ by nature

Concentric ‘circle’ patterns of the circular lanterns

‘Imagine’ breaking out from the bars (model: my comrade Stephen)

Was really exhausted from the whole day of walking, taking photographs and carrying the big bag of photography gears around. But was an inspiring day for me!

Some snapshots of me taken by Stephen:


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