Pig’s Trotters In Vinegar

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My sister-in-law’s mom-in-law made this for my niece’s one-month old party and it was delicious.  It was cooked in the sweet-ish style that I like (as opposed to the sourish sort).  I have to learn how to make this!
 
While I was happily chomping away on pig’s trotters at the party, someone commented that pig’s trotters in vinegar are meant for women in confinement and since I like eating this dish so much, I should have a baby.

I really ‘see no light’ in this comment.  It was a good thing that my mouth was too full of pig’s trotters for me to say something caustic in return.

Look Pet, A Cat!

If I ever decide to keep a pet, it will have to be a CAT. 

I have even thought of possible names!   Like ‘Kimchi’. Or ‘Ninja’.  Or my childhood favourite, ‘Socks’.

On the way to breakfast on Sunday, we saw this beautiful cat curl itself up, napping outside the Changi Village Food Centre. 

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A plate of carrot cake later, we see the still napping cat in the same spot but fully stretched out.

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Aiyo, this cat is so adorable and her face has so much character. 

Right Pet?

School Days, Kway Chap

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Garden Street Kway Chap, Serangoon Gardens Food Centre

Garden Street Kway Chap has always been my favourite place to go to for a kway chap fix.   I know they are not the best in Singapore for kway chap but it is still one of the better ones around.

Our standard orders are eggs, DOUBLE servings of pig’s intestines, TAU POK, pork belly, pig’s skin, salted vegetables (or is it called pickled vegetables…??) and perhaps, the fish cake.  I like the kway as it is thin and smooth, and I find the pig’s intestines very flavourful, but they could do to improve on the pig’s skin which is not sufficiently tender and tastes a little rubbery (but I still order it anyway!).

One of the reasons why I enjoy going to Garden Street is because it brings back good memories of my secondary school days.  In those days, Garden Street was located at the former Blanco Court.  After every exam or major test, my friend and I would go to Blanco Court and pig out on kway chap from this stall; always with a big glass of yummy sugarcane juice from the drinks stall next door to wash it all down.

It all sounds so inane now – what really is the big deal about eating kway chap at Blanco Court (as the husband will say)?  But it was a big deal to us in those days, at least to me, and it is also reminiscent of good times spent with a very good friend.

Sheesh, I think I am turning into an old lady. I am beginning to sound like grandpa, always talking about the ‘good ole days’.

Making Pineapple Tarts – Part III

Finally. It is finished. The first round, I mean.

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I wanted to give up after botching the dough the first time. I put it all down to my Mom’s cryptic instructions.

What does “6 eggs, want 5 egg yolks, 1/2 egg white” mean? If only 5 egg yolks are required, why did she specify 6 eggs….??

It has been too long since I last made the tarts and cannot remember the details of her instructions (and of course, I didn’t jot down notes previously). Plus she was nowhere to be found when I needed to speak to her to clarify this.

I figured she meant 5 egg yolks and the 6th egg is for the egg wash. So I tried again.

Halfway through, I realised that a rolling pin no longer resides in this household and had to substitute with an empty Dr Loosen for rolling the dough. I also have to get a watercolour paintbrush for applying egg wash.

Pineapple Tarts

Verdict of tarts? Okay, except that the jam is too sweet and tastes a bit cloying. The quantity of rock sugar has to be reduced by some arbitrary amount – maybe 50g – in the next batch of pineapple that I cook.

I also know that Mom will complain about the inconsistency in the sizes of the pineapple balls and the thickness of the crusts. As I have always said to her: “I am human, not a machine…”

And please excuse me, I am going to cam-whore a little here.

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Making Pineapple Tarts – Part I

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I said it. There is no turning back now.

In my entire life, I have not bought pineapple tarts from the stores before. Having grown up on my mother’s pineapple tarts, I did not have any strong desire to buy the ones sold outside.

Back then, the pineapple tart production line at home starts a month before Chinese New Year and did not usually stop till Chinese New Year’s Eve.

Grating the pineapple, cooking the pineapple to make jam, kneading and rolling the dough, cutting out the dough using the dough cutters for the crust, arranging the cut-out crusts in rows on the baking tray, rolling pineapple jam into little balls, placing the little balls onto the cut-out crusts, applying egg wash on the crusts, putting the tarts into the oven to bake, cooling the tarts and arranging the tarts in a container.

So many steps. Back-breaking work. But it was a lot of fun. Especially when Mom’s friends pop by to join the production line.

Growing up, my mom allowed me to roll the pineapple jam into little balls, apply egg wash and do nothing else. I have always liked rolling the dough and cutting out the dough with the dough cutters but she insisted on doing this herself. She wanted consistency in the thickness of the dough and being consistent in this respect wasn’t my forte.

My mom has stopped making pineapple tarts for the family several years ago and passed on the baton to me. As I said, being consistent is not my forte so family and friends get homemade pineapple tarts, at best, in alternate years. I emphasize – at best.

Last year, I made the jam but could not find it in me to continue. So this year, I am determined to get my act together and produce something!

For a start, I grated half-a-dozen pineapples and drained the juice this evening. I need some brilliant but idiot-proof ideas as to what I can do with the pineapple juice.

I am starting to smell like pineapple too.

Wait. Don’t Eat. Yet.

Dinner
The vegetables look sadly wilted as they had been sitting around for a while – after I was done with cooking, I realised that I had forgotten to turn on the rice cooker……

Just like how I don’t understand why there are some people who enjoy taking macro shots of creepy-crawlies, there are also people who have no clue as to why I am crazy about taking food photos (yeah, even a mug of frothy teh tarik also must take).

Guess it is mostly because I love food (who doesn’t?) and I enjoy photography (yeah, right) and what better than to marry the two (which annoys the heck out of my husband but well, it might be good for his blood pressure to be annoyed from time to time). 

Also, I think the gastronomic experience starts with the eye so I like to capture how a dish looks when it is served – whether it has been meticulously plated according to the rules of fine-dining establishments or not (think char kway teow or hokkien prawn noodles) does not really matter.  Yes, even my own modest ‘everything-pile-on-the-plate’ meals, I like to take photos of.  Practice (at every opportunity) makes perfect!

Does this make any sense? Even if it does not, never mind – this isn’t a Financial Times column. 

So, eating with me can be quite a tiresome affair (and more often than not, embarrassing) because I like to snap photos of the food before I let anyone at the table dig into it.  In whichever possible angle – aerial, side, 60 degrees or at various apertures, lighting and set up.  And I balance the camera on anything on the table – wine glasses, plates, bowls, vases…

I guess my regular dining companions have gotten so used to such antics that whenever their food arrives at the table, they will automatically say “Go on, do whatever you have to do…and HURRY UP. I am frickin’ hungry.”  But I always take my time with TBH’s food because it raises his heckles immediately.

Know what happens whenever I dine out and forget my camera? I start twitching.

Seafood Pancake

Haemul Pajeon
Haemul Pajeon (‘haemul’ – seafood; ‘pajeon’ – pancake)

The haemul pajeon served by Red Pig, a Korean eatery at Amoy St run by two Korean ahjummas, is by far the tastiest that I’ve eaten in Singapore.

The pajeon is very crispy on the outside and the insides filled with generous portions of scallions and squid.  Quite a number of other places which I have tried are too generous with the batter and too stingy with ingredients, so I end up feeling as though I am eating half-cooked batter and hardly anything else.

I also like Red Pig’s kimchi jigae which is more sour than what we are used to.

Apart from the pajeon and kimchi jigae, I think I keep going back to Red Pig because the eatery’s atmosphere is reminiscent of eating in Seoul.

Strawberry Milkshake

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‘Agent Strawberry’ – Once Upon A Milkshake

Not very fond of strawberries (unless they are Korean strawberries) but I like strawberry milkshake.  Alot.

I still remember those days when going to McDonald’s for a happy meal meant having a strawberry milkshake, French fries and a cheeseburger (without the pickles, of course) – in descending order of importance. 

For some reason unknown to me, McDonald’s stopped selling milkshakes and I felt a huge, crushing loss.  One day many years later, McDonald’s put milkshakes back on their menu but my happiness was shortlived. The strawberry milkshake just did not taste the same as before.

A few people recommended Billy Bomber’s strawberry milkshake and I tried.  It turned out to be a lemon!  Thin and tasteless.

Anyway, Relish came along and I rediscovered the joys of sipping a delicious strawberry milkshake.  Served in a tall glass, Relish’s milkshake is thick, creamy and robust with small chunks of strawberries added to give some bite.  I have no idea how they make this – and I am not sure I want to know – but I am sure a glass of this pink concoction pretty much maxes out my permissible calorie intake for the day.

Recently, we have been frequenting Once Upon A Milkshake, an ice-cream and milkshake parlour at Maxwell Chambers. I like this place.  The whole set-up, in a purple-and-white theme, is very charming and quaint.

I am addicted to their strawberry milkshake, which is homemade strawberry ice-cream blended with low-fat milk.  It is everything yummy without making one feel je-lak.

Have not tried any other flavours yet.  And I doubt I will get around to doing so anytime soon.

Siem Reap: Day 1 – Preah Ko

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Constructed by King Indravarman I in 879 to honour his forefathers when he first ascended the throne, Preah Ko means ‘sacred bull’. There are several stone bulls still standing at the front of the temple (but they don’t look like bulls to me no matter how hard I stare at them).

Preah Ko consists of two rows of three towers on a raised platform, facing east. The central (and taller) tower was dedicated to Jayaraman II, the founder of the Khmer empire. The tower to the left was dedicated to King Indravarman’s father and the tower to the right is dedicated to his grandfather. The 3 rear towers were dedicated to the wives of these three men.

Unlike Bakong which was made from stone, Preah Ko was constructed using bricks. The intricate carvings and inscriptions on the prasats and walls are beautiful and still in pretty good condition.

Even though this was only the second temple in our trip, I was beginning to feel the onset of temple fever.

Click to enlarge:
Preah Ko Preah Ko Preah Ko Preah Ko Preah Ko Preah Ko  

Other Posts of Siem Reap:
Siem Reap: Arrival
Siem Reap: Overview
Siem Reap: Day 1 – Bakong

Siem Reap: Day 1 – Bakong

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The Bakong was the first temple we visited. I was so pre-occupied with taking photographs that I completely missed out on our guide’s explanation of the temple’s history.

Ok, I confess that I barely listened to our guide throughout the trip and had to research on the Internet the history of all the temples we visited after I returned.

Constructed around AD 881 by King Indravarman I (3rd Khmer King), the Bakong was the first sandstone state temple of the Khmers.  It is seated in the centre of Hariharalaya, the first capital of the Khmer Empire, and this area is now known as Roluos. 

As Hindu was one of the official religions of the Khmers, the construction of state temples was understandably heavily influenced by Indian temple architecture.  Featuring a 5-tier pyramid surrounded by chambers, chapels and prasats (towers), the Bakong is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the home of the gods in Hindu mythology. Each of the 5 tiers represent a different realm (from bottom up) – nagas (cobras), garudas (mythical birds), rakshasas (demons), yakshas (nature spirits) and maharajas (kings).  

What we were unprepared for was the unbelievably hot weather.  Barely started the day and we were already soaked in perspiration climbing up and down the very steep steps of the Bakong.

So happy to see humongous coconuts on sale as we exited the Bakong, but it was difficult getting away from the clamoring hawkers trying to get us to buy their coconuts. 

Other Posts on Siem Reap:
Siem Reap: Arrival
Siem Reap: Day 1 – Overview
Siem Reap: Day 1 – Preah Ko

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