Friday, February 29, 2008

可悲论

说者无意听者有
满怀歹意来相害
看似好人其实不
践踏别人好升己

可悲可悲。。。

Friday, February 22, 2008

Melts and Washes Away...

Do You Make up everyday? Check.

Are Your Pores Blocked? Check.

Is Your Skin Dull and Lack of Lusture? Check.

Semi-saviour is here. See below:


I was at Watson hunting for deep cleasing mask to clean up my full of make-up residues face. Then I saw the above product on the shelf. A lot taiwanese artises swear-by cult brand beauty products from Japan, so I was thinking maybe this will work... Eager to clean up my face, I bought one to try. It cost $17.90.


It claimed to have hyaluronic acid which will melts sebum plug and allow you to clean up the pores deeply. Just leave it on face for 60 seconds, then use fingers to massage your face in circular motion, you will end up with smooth and clean face after the treatment.

A lot of people do not like to use acid products. I agree, you have to be very careful when using it especially if you have sensitive skins. For me, I don't thus find acid products very good skin whitening agent. I used to love L'oreal's AHA exfoliator, but too bad it wasn't on the market anymore. I swear by it to keep my skin fair. I used to be a lot whiter than I am now because of it. :(

Anyway, I think the product is not bad. Still effective enough, my face overall feels quite smooth and a lot cleaner than before. However, there are still a bit of very stubborn sebums left on my chin which refuses to come out. My skin did however looked much white and radiant.

Just word of caution, before you use the product or in fact any product, it is better try on small area first to test if you are sensitive to them.

Verdict:

Can buy for weekly use, but make sure you don't have sensitive skin. I find this a cheaper alternative or semi-solution before you are due for that next facial appointment with your beautician. :)

捞鱼生

如果我没有记错的话,过农历新年时捞鱼生的传统是几十年前新加坡某间酒楼发明的。捞鱼生流传到现在已经是新年习俗之一了。全世界好像只有新加坡和邻国流行捞鱼生。

就在今年的正月十五那天,我捞了两次鱼生!

这是老板在香港街请的开工宴的鱼生其实不错,带有姜味,味道稍微偏甜,配合起来十分清爽。

Ichiban Boshi的鱼生比较有海洋味,或许是里面的腌海草和海带边的关系,吃起来十分鲜。因为里面的海鲜比较多,所以酱汁特别加了胡椒酱。我个人比较喜欢Ichiban 的。

我今年一定旺旺,捞个风生水起!!!

我出运了!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Singapore Budget 2008 - Upgrading Yourself

In the recent budget speech, Government announced that they will now subsidised 40% of the course fees for part-time degree courses! Finally~! I am so delighted!!!

However, I feel the Government can do more to help people like us who are aiming to get a part-time degree. Don't get me wrong, it is good to have the subsidise, but local Univerities' (like NTU and NUS, let's not talk about SIM first) offered limited part-time courses. Most of the part-time course offered are engineering courses (which is not everyone's interest). I wonder why can't local Universities offer part-time science, humanities, arts or social sciences degree courses?

I mentioned this to my group of friends last Saturday. We met up for the Night Safari "adventure" (I will update the trip another day). Most of us already have plans to upgrade ourselves. Among us, only one was hesitant about further studying. She is always entrepreneur-like, would prefer to use her saving to start a business than to further study. I don’t think she has made a wrong decision. A lot of the successful entrepreneurs whom we know today do not proper qualifications and they too make it to top of their game, see Bill Gates and Sim Wong Foo. Of course, they are not an everyday sight, but I believe if there is a good business idea and a decent amount of capital to work with, she might just make it.

I have also been planning to get a degree course in these few years. I definitely think that poly grads like us should not be contented with just a diploma and we should upgrade ourselves at every possible chance. It is pathetic but true, what we can do as a poly grad is very limited and there is sort of like an invisible cap at the types of things we can do even though we have the capabilities. The pay for poly grads are somewhat capped as well. For degree holders, at least I thought there isn’t such a cap for what they can do and what they can’t and there is no limit of how much a Uni-grad can earn.

One of my poly friends told me that if government is indeed going to subsidise part-time degree courses, she would want to take up Chinese Studies. Like me, her interest is in Chinese language. Honestly, if I wasn’t the eldest and I do not have the responsibilities to ensure that there is bread on the table one day, I will probably take that course too. However, in Singapore unless we want to be a Chinese teacher or maybe a reporter, the career choice will be very limited for the Chinese Studies degree.

Anyway, I have already found a course which I am quite interested in. Perhaps, when the details of Government’s subsidise are more firmed up, I can also afford a part-time degree course too. Hmmm...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

That Four Letter Word ...

" Unconfessed love is like fresh milk that has not been finished but already passed its' expiry date. The feelings like freshness have reduced with time..."

- Park Kwang Soo









Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Photosophize Discovery - It's a bird ! Big one!


After work, I saw this big bird loittering at ground level of my block. It didn't move when we approached it, thus I think it might be injured or something. Yes, which is why I managed to take quite a close shot picture of it.

I remembered reading on news that there were wild birds trapped in a HDB flat recently and authority was called to removed them. I couldn't remember which authority and the number and therefore called 100 to ask in order to move this poor bird back to where it belonged.

The 100 hotline lady heard my story and was clueless for a moment who to direct me to. Then, sound panicky put me hold before informing me that NEA would be the appropriate authority to call. I then called NEA 24 hour hotline,

“Hallo, erm there is big bird that is not moving at my block near the lift lobby. The bird looked like a stork or something... It didn't fly... " (Nervous, thinking how to explain the situation to the officer

"Bird? What Bird? " (Didn't get what I said at all)

"Stork-looking bird...Looked like Stork or something..." (trying hard to pronunce stork)

"Mdm, you should call the town council..." (pushing the responsibilities to town council)

"What? Town council don't handle birds what... This is not their responsibilities! I thought NEA would handle birds !" (Getting mad...)

"Mdm~, we handle dead birds" (she sound slightly irritated...)

"Huh? Then who should I call?" (Puzzled)

“Call AVA, they handle live animals. Here is their numbers" (Quickly give me the numbers)

Called AVA hotline, hotline are only opened from 8 to 5.30 pm... (WTH) Angry, she would have know their operating hours, but still give me the numbers when they are not working. Such service standard, my god.

If you encounter similar situation, here are their hotline:

NEA 24 Hour Hotline - 1800 2255 632
AVA - 1800 476 1600

To help you remember which line to call, Alive Animals - AVA, Not Alive - NEA.

The bird was longer there when I went to work this morning. I hope it has fly away to somewhere safe. :)

Chinese New Year – Honey Cone

Among the various type of Chinese New Year goodies, my favourite is the Honey Cone or affectionately known as 蜜蜂窝. The taste is quite similar to egg roll, but has a richer coconut flavour. Believe it or not, I have learnt to make this from my mum while I was still in Primary School. I didn’t know how to mix the batter then, but remember to help her to fry cone.

I wouldn’t say this is as simple as making cookies, where you just M&M (measure and mix), you need a bit more care and patient for making Honey Cone. The batter is easy since it is only M&M. The hardest part would be the frying process – it is time consuming and need precise control on the heat, but once you master it even a kid can do it. :)

My version is slightly different from my mum’s. I have improvised it further. In fact, no one make Honey Cone like I do in Singapore (anyway as far as I know).

Basic Ingredients

300g of Rice Flour
200ml of Coconut Milk
180g of Sugar
3 Eggs
½ teaspoon of salt

My Creative Additions

Nonya Influence
2 teaspoon of juice from pandan leaf

Caribbean Delight
Jest of one lime
100g of Desserted Coconut


Oriental Scent
50g of Sesame Seed
50g of Grounded Peanuts


Western Crisp
Replace coconut milk with milk
Two teaspoon of Vanila Extract


Method
1. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones.


2. Heat oil to 180 degrees. Ensure that the oil can covered the mould completely.
3. Place the mould into the hot oil to heat up. The batter would not stick to the mould if mould is heated properly.

4. Shake off the excess oil and dip the mould into the batter. The batter should coat the side evenly, but not the top of the mould. Otherwise it will not be able to remove.
5. Once coated, the batter should stick to the mould and dip back into the hot oil immediately.
6. Let it fry for a few seconds. Then try shaking the mould to let the battered to drop off.

See video below for demonstration.


video

Monday, February 11, 2008

Chinese New Year - Day Two

My Dad's dialect is Khek, which means I am also a Khek (in name).

Oddly enough, my brothers and I can speak and understand quite a number of dialects like Hokkien, Teochew and even Cantonese, but not Khek. We have been communicating Hokkien with our grandmother since young, thus can speak Hokkien quite fluently. In fact, we speak more fluent Hokkien than some of our Hokkien friends and colleagues. (*proudly grin) We can also understand teochew since it is somewhat similar with Hokkien. Cantonese was a newly acquired dialect because of TVB show. It helps also being a big Faye Wong fan! I remembered learning pronunciation of Chinese characters one by one in Cantonese as I was learning her songs.

Anyway, I was saying because we are Khek, my mum would make Gnocchi-like "pasta" called 算盘子or Soon Ban in Khek. 算盘子are made with yam. The yam are steamed first and then meshed to mix with glutinous rice flour. The dough would have to be shaped into a dented ball shape before they were steamed to cook. The dough on its own had a light yam taste. They are usually stir-fried with typical Khek ingredients like dried shrimps, black fungus, minced pork and cuttlefish etc.


I don't really know the significant of this dish but somehow we get to eat this at my aunts' house during Chinese New Year. Don't know why, even though we used the same ingredients, theirs always taste more authentic than my mum's...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chinese New Year – Day One

I decided last minute not to go 拜年. Not that I am that anti-social, but I find it rather embarrassing to still receive Ang Bao from others or to give others the impression that I am there to collect Ang Bao. I remembered very vividly last year at my aunt’s house, one of my married distant cousins asked my brother if I am married, then face sunk when heard that I am not and have to give me an Ang Bao sulky. 好像给红包很委屈他们一样,想能省就省。过年过得这样还有什么意义?Anyway, I was there on my mum’s order to try to do a bit of networking. My intention was obey my mum and not so much to collect Ang Bao.

Since the whole parade thingy has no significant to me, I volunteered to stay at home this year and prepared dinner. My mum had warned me earlier that we cannot clean up using broom, so should just do some simple dishes. In the end, I whipped up quite a number of complex dishes and purposely arranged them nicely to fit the New Year celebratory mood.

Abalone mushroom do not have a strong particular taste, but the texture – springy chewy is somewhat similar to the real abalone, thus the given name. I fried it with garlic oil (mushroom take in quite a bit of oil, be more generous with the oil), then drown them with white wine and braised with some dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame seed oil.



Scallop cooked very fast, especially the small ones, so take care not to overcook them. The tip is to cook them in high heat and fast. To ensure that the sweet peas will cook the same rate as the small scallop, they can be boiled or fry briefly.


I learnt this dish from the Taiwanese cooking show. By right, I should have remove prawn’s shell and coat them with powder before frying them. However, to minimize the greasiness of the kitchen, I only briefly fry them (a mistake). The wasabi mayo sauce was mixed roughly with a third or a quarter part of wasabi (depending on how strong you want the wasabi taste), with one and half part mayo and one part condense milk.

I also use the other half of the prawn to fry them in Chili. I am afraid that the wasabi prawn did not go well with my mum, so have to cook something normal for her. The condiment used are oyster sauce, homemade chili paste, a bit of soy and some sugar.


Dishes looked nice, the aftermath was also quite significant. I had to clean all like mad and by hand!!! So much for New Year celebratory mood...

Chinese New Year - Eve

(Post Publish)

After weeks of food hoarding and spring cleaning, the much anticipated Chinese New Year finally arrives!!! Although Singaporeans are generally more modernized especially for the younger generation, but Chinese New Year is still very much an important festival for most of the Chinese. People are more than willing to follow its many customaries and traditions.

The New Year mood started late for me this year. I wasn’t too keen to decorate the house like I did last year. It wasn’t until days before the New Year that I started to get pick up the spirit. The last minute shopping at NTUC really help to boost the celebratory mood! NTUC at my place are usually packed with people during normal days’ peak hours and during Chinese New Year, it was filled to the brim. My goodness, there are people everywhere and the line at the cashier never seems to end.

There are always the “essential” things that people need to stock up for New Year. Seafood like fishes and prawns were going off the counter in lightning speed rate, meats and poultry were also grabbed up as soon as they were restocked. I wondered if they really had such big family and they really need all the food to tide them over for those two days? Hmm…

In the past, people would hoard food during Chinese New Year as shops owners will take long breaks during this period. Nowadays, a lot of shops are also opened during the holidays for business which means people no longer have to hoard as much food. However, the practice of food hoarding serves another meaning for people of our generation. Chinese believes that the fridge and 米缸should not be empty and should be filled up as full as possible so that there will be abundance food in the coming year.

I am not saying that my family doesn’t hoard food. We do, in fact my mum does. She even complaint that our fridge wasn’t big enough to store food. The fridge was quite new, just bought last year and was bigger than our old one. Don’t understand why it wasn’t big enough for her.

I was so busy on New Year’s Eve and luckily my boss gave us a day off on that day. Early in morning, my mother entrusted me with an important task - to pray and made offerings to my Grandmother at 双林寺. On the way back, my mum called me to buy some more ingredients for my vegetarian uncle who is coming over for dinner later. She has somehow thought that he wasn’t coming for dinner.

Ended up, I had to incur the additional ingredients cost and even had to cook his dinner… Anyway, I made him a three course meal with starter vegetarian herbal soup with Huai San and winter melon, followed by fried “mock abalone” with sweet peas and blanched broccoli with enoki. (So busy that I didn’t managed to take photo…) By the looks of what left, I guess he like my cooking. Honestly, the soup tastes the best. :)

Our family then started off our New Year’s Eve with Steamboat, my mum’s super duper ngoh hiang, Hock Chew fishballs and dumplings. After dinner, we started our first mahjong game for the New Year! Even though I lost quite a bit, but I still love the game. It really trains and works your brain.

Hee Hee. New Year Coming Soon!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

鼠一, 鼠二, 鼠年行大运!!!

祝大家新年快乐,万事如意!!!

Watch this Chinese New Year video of my favourite TVB Stars - Liza Wong, Bosco Wong and of course Myolie Hu!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Anyone Can Make Cookies (Really !!!)

I am not a pastier and I haven't been trained technically in any of that area, but I managed to follow the recipe and make batches of cookies. I reckon if I can do it, I am sure anyone of you can also make cookies!

Making cookies only requires measuring and mixing skills. When I say mixing, I meant the use of utensil and stir in anyway you like so that the dry and wet ingredients are mixed thoroughly. You don’t even have to use special techniques to fold in the flour like in making sponge cakes which otherwise can resulted in sunken cakes. Cookies, at least in my opinion, will never turn out bad whichever way you mix them.


You know cookies are ready when they are golden brown in colour.


Black and White Chocolate Chips Cereal Cookies

Black and White has a crunchier texture and a stronger nutty flavour. Definitely for those who love nuts and chocolates. Who says you can’t have both of them and eat it?

Ingredients A
90g of Butter
40g of Sugar
¼ Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract (Can use essence if cannot find)

Ingredients B
100g of Flour
50g of Cereal

Ingredients C *
50g Crushed Cornflakes
60g of Crushed Hazelnut
60g Chocolate Chips (Black and White)

Optional
1-2 Tablespoons of Milk (Depending on the dough)

Methods:

1. Place Group A in a mixing bowl. Cream the ingredients with an electronic mixer or wooden spoon till pale yellow.

2. Add in Ingredients B and C into the mixture. Mix well with a metal spoon.

3. If the mixture seems to be too dry, add in the milk and mix well. You want the mixture to be able to form into a ball holding the nuts and currents without falling apart. It cannot be too wet until the mixture cannot hold it shape in the baking tray.

4. Use either 2 metal teaspoons or tablespoons (depending what size you want) to scope and form the cookies dough into round-shaped heap onto the baking tray. The baking tray should be line with baking sheets to prevent sticks and easy removal.

5. Bake the cookies at 175 degrees Celsius for around 15-20 minutes. Check them at 15 mins mark and they should be ready when gold brown in colour. Hot cookies are soft and can easily break into pieces, so try not to move them. They will and should harden after they cool down.

6. Keep them in air-tight containers only after they cooled down.

* You can mix and match Ingredients C with things that you like, for example desserted coconut, chocolates chips, walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts etc.



Cookie mixture should look something like the above. Every scope should have a little of everything.

Teaspoon scoop (see above) will have smaller bite size cookies, while tablespoon scoop (see below) will have larger cookies. There is no right or wrong size, just how big you want your cookies to be !


Leave ample of space in between each cookie (like above) as the mixture will expand when heated. This is especially true if the cookie dough has bicarbonate of soda.


Little babies baking in the oven (see below). Yes, unlike baking cakes, you can open up and see (though not encourage to do often) if the cookies are ready or not. :)


Almond, Raisins and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Unlike Black and White, Almond Raisins has a fruitier flavour instead. For those who like their cookies softer, this recipe is for you. :)

Ingredients A
130g of Butter
50g of Sugar
½ Lemon/Orange Peel

Ingredients B
1 Egg

Ingredients C
90g of Flour
50g of Oatmeal
¼ teaspoon of baking soda

Ingredients D *
50g of Desserted Coconut
50g of Raisins
50g of Chopped Almonds

Methods:

1. Place Group A in a mixing bowl. Cream the ingredients with an electronic mixer or wooden spoon till pale yellow.

2. Add in the egg and beat till butter cream thickens.

3. Add in Ingredients C and D into the mixture. Mix well with a metal spoon.

4. Use either 2 metal teaspoons or tablespoons (depending what size you want) to scope and form the cookies dough into round-shaped heap onto the baking tray. The baking tray should be line with baking sheets to prevent sticks and easy removal.

5. Bake the cookies at 175 degrees Celsius for around 15-20 minutes. Check them at 15 mins mark and they should be ready when gold brown in colour. Hot cookies are soft and can easily break into pieces, so try not to move them. This cookie will be slightly soft in the centre, but the edges should harden after they cool down.

6. Keep them in air-tight containers only after they cooled down.

* You can mix and match Ingredients D with things that you like, for example chocolates chips, walnuts, almonds, cashew nuts etc.

Lastly.... A big tub full of cookies. Tuck in !!!

If I can do, You can do it too!!!

Anyone, yes ANYONE can make cookies . ;)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My 100th Post !

Ahem~! Dear Readers,

(Thoughts to Self - My God!!! Did I really written 99 articles already? Time really flies...)

Thank you very much for your support so far ! No doubt, Photosophize is supposed to be about me, but in a way I didn't want it to be entirely about me. I want to share some unique things/sights/information that I happened to know/see/encounter with others that we don't normally see. I hope Photosophize had bought fun and perhaps corny entertainment to all who somehow been reading my blog these months. (In case you doubt, I got loyal readers ok...)

Visitors Rates (if there is...)

I didn't really keep track of the number of vistors I had (luckily ...), but reckon there are at least four visitors - counting Cloudmuse, Ri Guang Yu, Mummy of Cheeky Monkies and Yawny who often left messages for me. Perhaps there are people out there who have been reading my blog but prefer to be unnamed/silent, but anyway I can still count on some of my colleagues to beef up the visitor rate. I have been conveniently pester/harass/sometime threaten to read my blog.

That reminds me, think they need to be "reminded" again. :P

Computer's Down

I still can't write as often and think that will still last for sometime. My computer is officially "dead". Experts whom we consulted cannot understand how my brother can powersurge and "burnt" the motherboard with a 5 watts I-POD. I, on the other hand understand it perfectly well - that is my brother "hidden talent". The other time he tried to upgrade our computer by inserting another 128 ram, he also "burnt" the motherboard. The RAM was inserted upsidedown... (that is as rare as snowing in Singapore) A lot of photos which I have taken earlier are locked in my dead computer (no naked photos or videos which people can use to blackmail me though) and that greatly disabled me. Those photos are meant for photosophize and now I have restock them. :(

Coming Soon

As Chinese New Year approaching soon, I have been busy with making cookies and snacks the whole of yesterday - Almond, Raisins and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies and Black and White Chocolate Chips Cereal Cornflakes Cookies. Of course, What is Chinese New Year without Honey Cone? Want their recipes? Also, bet you heard about Ichiban Boshi Japanese Chain Restaurants, but want to know which outlet served the most delicious food? I found it... Been to Waraku Jap restaurant, but have you been to Waraku Pasta and eaten their pasta? Let me tell you what I think about Wagyu Pasta. Are you plagued with Blackheads and Sebum Plugs (better known as whiteheads) like me? I found a solution that works and it is more cost effective than a visit to your beautician !

All these and more interesting finds in upcoming Photosophize !!!

Stay Tune !!!