Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to 'Texturise' Into Your Meals: Crunch it up



Untitled

When it comes to meal creation, other than making it look appealing and 'instagrammable',  I like to play up the texture of the food. What really makes an outstanding and palatable dish is one that incorporates a good balance of textures and taste - soft, crunchy, rough, smooth and etc. Fried ice cream is made popular because it's warm and crunchy on the outside and soft and cold on the inside.

Toying with this idea, let me show you how you can play with your food and add some textures to make it taste good and delicious.

A lot of the so-called 'clean foods' have a mild taste and a soft texture so I usually like to add a crunchy texture to the meals. And they are many ways of adding a healthy crunch - tossing a few roasted nuts, toasted seeds, chips and biscuits would do the trick.

This week, I was on a soup diet so I paired my soups with oven-baked circles by Bruschette Maretti.  It adds a European taste to my soup - turning my soup bowl up a notch and it looks extra delicious now. That's how you get people to salivate over your food photos too.

IMG_5739

Bruschette Maretti is available in four distinct flavours - Tomatoes, Olives & Oregano, Mixed Vegetables, Mushrooms & Cream and Pizza. These are flavours of European and it complements western-inspired dishes like salads and soups. 

IMG_5778

Beware, readers. It can get super addictive because it's so crunchy. Even when I dip it into soups, it still retains it's crunch and does not get soggy.

IMG_5790

These savoury snacks can be enjoyed as a mid-day snack alone. It comes in small bite-size so you can conveniently pop it into your mouth, saving all the savoury crumbs to yourself.

IMG_5785


These oven-baked bread circles have been a great companion during my 7-day soup diet as it is very tasty and flavourful. I paired the Mushrooms & Cream flavoured ones with my mushroom soup to intensify the mushroom flavour. YUMS!


IMG_5845

I also had it as a mid-day treat with tea. It's a great snack to share with your friends while watching a movie over some wine or beer.

It is GMO-free, contains zero hydrogenated fats and has no artificial flavourings or preservatives. However, it contains monosodium glutamate. I was quite taken aback when I discovered that it actually does contain several other ingredients which make it less healthy than it seems. That's my only qualms with these oven-baked bread circles. If they could further shorten the ingredient list and do away with MSG, I would give an extra thumbs up.

IMG_5850

Otherwise, it's a snack that you might want to enjoy it only in small amounts. Or you might want to explore making these bread circles by yourself at home! Baked thinly sliced baguette in the oven or dehydrator til crunchy. You can coat each slice thinly with some garlic and chopped basil leaves.

IMG_5855


Have you tried these bread circles? How do you usually 'crunch up' your meals?  Do let me know in the comment box below.

IMG_5775




Sunday, April 24, 2016

Miracle Healing by Our Lord, Saviour

At today's Church service, there were several testimonies on healing that were being shared and it just goes to show that God is really the Almighty. His is the one and only God who breathes life into all living things and even has the power to heal us all. His Words are sharper and powerful than anything. So, how could anyone doubt Him? 

I wish I've accepted Him earlier. As a child, I knew about Christ, our Saviour but didn't follow through. How wonderful would it be if your child today is under the wings of the Lord? When I have my own children next time, I will lift up my children to Him.


I am eternally grateful that I, too, experience miracle healing. Perhaps it was not as serious as those Cambodians in the video who suffered from serious illnesses. I had cysts on my neck which I discovered a year ago. It was like a 10-cent coin size cyst and I went for a checkup last year at National University of Singapore (NUH) but the doctor said that it could be just a sebaceous cyst and nothing serious. So I decided not to go for any surgery to remove it.

Then, just a couple of months back, I went for a facial treatment and the therapist applied lots of pressure to my neck area and tried to flatten out the cyst. It was painful that I thought it wouldn't hurt much to do that. I was worried as the cyst has enlarged over the days and it had become redder each day. At the back of my head, I was wondering to myself if it was cancerous. I started praying especially on Sundays where we would partake the holy communion at church.

Who knows that the very next day, the cyst became swollen for days and the swell didn't go away. I was referred to NUH after visiting the polyclinic and the doctor suggested that I could remove it a couple of months later after the cyst becomes less inflamed. 

Guess what? It has only been a month since and now, by God's grace, the cyst is gone.


Untitled
Top: Taken on 16 February 2016,  Below: Taken on 24 April 2016

You couldn't argue that perhaps the massage has flattened the sebaceous cyst but anything could have happened and the only one in control is God, our Lord Saviour. I've never experienced anything like that and to know that I'm still healthy and alive, I am grateful to the Lord.

Praise the Lord!








Monday, April 18, 2016

Face, Body and Skin Aesthetics Medical Centre: Pigmentation No More


IMG_4869

The beauty and aesthetic scene in Singapore are getting really exciting. Just not long ago, there's a new aesthetics centre called Face, Body and Aesthetics Medical centre, which has just launched its flagship clinic at Paragon in Orchard Road. That's a really long name I must say but that actually spells out exactly what this aesthetic clinic specialises in. They offer holistic aesthetic treatments ranging from hydra facials, ski boosters, lasers, V-lifts and body contouring. One unique selling point about this clinic is the fact that it is situated in a full medical centre thus they are also able to address any other medical problems that patients may have or discovered during the course of their treatment. 

IMG_4870

They also had their own line of all-natural skincare products ranging from cleansers, toners, moisturisers and essences. These paraben-free products are made in Switzerland and are formulated for normal to sensitive skin types.I've personally tried their Post laser Serum which has hyaluronic acid in. I personally quite like it as I use it daily as a moisturiser. The products are available exclusively at their flagship store at Paragon.

Their tinted sunblock SPF 50+++ has a nice smooth and glowy finish when applied onto the skin.  I would use this as a foundation base for a smooth and even tone finish. It almost works like a CC cream. It is infused with Nutrient- Rich Portulaca Oleracea Extract for its Omega-3 Fatty acid, vitamins and minerals to protect the skin against the damaging effects of free radicals while providing hydration and soothing properties. But I was quite apprehensive to use it at first as I use to think that tinted sunblock will cause clogging of my pores since the pores on my skin gets easily clogged up. But it works out to be fine as long as I removed thoroughly with a makeup remover at the end of the day.

The products are available exclusively at their flagship store at Paragon. So do check them out when you make a visit there.


DSC_5446


Their in-house doctor is Dr Chiam Chia Teng who believes in adopting a multi-model approach to aesthetics using the combination of various techniques and products to achieve effective results. I was at their media launch a few weeks back and he did an introduction of himself to the media, sharing his background as an aesthetic doctor. 

Here's a short write-up about him. It is always good to read up about the background and past experiences of the doctor because you would want to go for trusted, experienced and reputable aesthetic doctors especially when it comes to aesthetics. It's not all about the clinic sometimes but the doctors whom you will be working directly with, 

He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor's Degree in Medicine and Surgery in 2007 and Graduate Diploma in Aesthetic Medicine from the American Academy in 2015.
He is also trained in Korean thread lifting techniques and he typically would combine thread lifts with Ulthera treatment to produce optimum lifting effects in the face. In fact, he had the privilege of being trained under renowned Korean plastic surgeon, Dr Rhee Sang June in Korean-style thread lifts for the face and nose in 2015.

DSC_5460

Just two weeks ago, I was at his clinic to try out a laser treatment using the latest aesthetic machine which they have. They are the first clinic in Singapore to pioneer the use of the Quadrostar ProYellow laser to address facial pigmentation.

Prior to this, of course, I had a consultation with Dr.Chiam where we both discussed some of the skin issues I faced with. I noticed that my skin, no doubt, has more pigmentation than before and I wanted to do treatments to lighten it. I also raise my concerns of my droopy eyelids too and he proposed that I could get fillers and botox were done. But I'm still contemplating on getting such  treatments done as to me, they sound rather invasive. 

Saw that bright flash of green light there? This green light is absorbed by melanin contained within the melanocytes (melanin-forming cells) to reduce pigmentation without collateral damage. In a sense, it is actually safer with this treatment that is more targeted in reducing pigmentation. 

DSC_5464


Anyhow, Dr.Chiam suggested that I should work on my pigmentation problem first so he did the first ProYellow laser treatment on my skin. This treatment helps to reduce pigmentation, acne and the appearance of blood vessels. 

During the treatment, he also explains that this machine allows for more precision in targeting only areas of the skin where pigmentation is found. It is definitely last painful than IPL as the flashes aren't that bright or eye-blinding. To a certain extent, there is pain involved especially during the second part of the treatment where he uses this hand-held device to go over the targeted spots. It felt like ant bites at first but on areas where is highly-pigmented (like my moles), the 'ant bite' can be quite painful but it lasted only for a few seconds. My pain tolerance is pretty low so I was a little nervous during the treatment but I got used to it after a while. There's no better way of describing this experience other than 'no pain, no gain'. 

After the treatment, my skin looks a little brighter and there was no redness or whatsoever. I did not witness immediate results but the effects only became more visible a week after where I felt that my skin tone looked more even and some of the sun spots have lightened by a shade. 

Indeed, the Quadrostar ProYellow laser is quite a promising aesthetic machine. I should be heading back there for a few more session and will be sharing the results with you guys right here. Read more about this treatment on their website here

If you have questions about this treatment, do drop me an email or leave a comment in the box below. 

IMG_4870


Here's a video which documents the whole treatment process. Credits to Krisha from Flame Communications!


For more information on their aesthetic treatments , do check out their website below. 

Face, Body and Skin Aesthetics Medical Centre Pte Ltd
290 Orchard Road
#09-23 to 27
30/31 Paragon (Lift Lobby C)
Singapore 238859
Tel: 6235 1125
Fax: 6235 2605
Email: enquiry@facebodynskin.com

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Recipe: Vegan Stir-fried Sriracha Tofu Miracle Noodles






Have you ever heard of Miracle Noodles?

I discovered this amazing zero-calorie noodles a year ago but I wasn't sure if it was worth buying as a small packet of the Miracle Noodles cost about SGD 4, enough for one serving. I just knew that I wanted to try it somehow so finally, I bought it from iHerb!

Using some of the ingredients I brought back from Food and Hotel Asia 2016, I created this dish which turns out to be unexpectedly good.




The Ingredients


1 packet of Miracle Noodles (Angel Hair)
Tofu (Pressed) (1 square)
Shitake Mushroom
Chopped onions
Garlic
Yellow bell pepper
Tomato
Soya sauce
Black pepper
Chopped Chinese coriander
Scallions
Sriracha sauce (Culley's)
White sesame seeds
Seaweed seasoning



Ingredients: Water, glucomannan (fibre), calcium additive.


The Miracle noodle, if you haven't heard of, is a zero calorie Shirataki pasta which is made from a Konjac. It is thin, translucent, gelatinous traditional Japanese noodle which has been around since the  ancient times. 

There is a certain way to prepare these noodles but I just kinda of did it my way. What I simply did was to drain out the water from the noodles and then rinse it with water. Then I just simply toss it in the pan to stir-fry with other ingredients.

It's gluten free, soy free and cholesterol free.


The noodles actually have this unpleasant fishy smell which I thought it might ruin the taste of my dish later but it turns out fine. I guess all the other ingredients have successfully masked the unpleasant taste of the noodles.




How to cook



After draining the noodles, I went to the chopping up and prepared all the ingredients I need.

This will take about less than 20 minutes to prepare including preparation time if you are fast enough. Firstly, I fry the onions than garlic as onions take a little longer time to caramelise. Then I would toss in the ingredients which will take a longer time to cook like mushrooms and bell pepper. As my mum would say, there's a certain formula and tips which the Chinese would cook it through years of experience. But I sometimes I prefer to experiment for myself and see if it works best for me. In a way, when I cook, I apply my own logic. And no one taught me how except if you considered the scoldings I received from my mum when she would correct me on the spot.

After adding in the mushrooms, tofu and bell pepper, I toss in the miracle noodles and then drizzle some soy sauce over.  Thankfully, the noodles didn't stick together when fried so everything works out pretty well.

Lastly, I added black pepper and some sriracha sauce to season the noodles. Then I plate everything up and topped it up with chopped coriander and scallions. I wanted to further spice up the dish so I drizzled more sriracha sauce and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.


It turns out to be really delicious. It's piping hot and spicy altogether. It's almost like eating Phad Thai   except that it lacked this egg flavour. It would have been even more delicious if you can fry it with some eggs.


Have you tried eating Shirataki noodles?


Let me know if you have tried this recipe!

DC Comics Superheroes Cafe @ Marina Bay Sands : An Utter Dissapointment

IMG_5505

My first time here at DC Comics Superheroes Cafe was a year ago when it first opened. The kitchen was a little chaotic but the staff is trying their best to serve the customers. The food was average and the menu was limited.  Given that they have just started, they might need some time to make things a little better which they did!

During my second visit there, which happened to be a media event, I was excited to see their new menu which featured new creations by Chef Martin where were inspired by the new movie, Batman VS Superman. They also did a food tasting during the media event and it was so so good! I gave them a thumbs-up after I left and I was so eager to bring my batman boy back to the cafe to try out their new menu even though the prices are quite steep. But if the food is good, why not? I wouldn't mind paying a little more.

On my third visit to this cafe, I walked in with high expectations of the food and was eager to try the 
Superman's Pasta Crevettes Carbonara which is new on the menu and I remembered that it was one of the best dishes I've tasted during that particular media event.

IMG_5501

I was still hopping around in excitement with my camera, snapping pictures of its comic book-inspired menu which look fantastic! Even my Batman boy gave an approval nod. 


IMG_5502

" They have definitely stepped up their game!" I thought happily to myself. 

IMG_5503

Even their desserts look good but they seem rather sinful we decided to stay away from it until we get our slim figures back.

IMG_5509

I love the ambience of the cafe actually even though I am not a fan of DC comics. But every angle and item in the cafe seemed Instagram-table. And you can have lots of fun toying with its Superhero salt and pepper shakers as well as comic books which you can read while you are there.

IMG_5520

The both of us ordered the Superman carbonara, Batman truffle pasta along with an avocado shake which was recommended by their staff.

It was a Saturday evening and we were actually quite thankful that there wasn't a crowd. But if there's no crowd - does that actually reflect their food standard?

Untitled

The avocado shake was actually really good! Very creamy and I bet they put in 2 to 3 avocados in it. Thanks for the recommendation, waitress! 
IMG_5523

We were both in our cheery mood when suddenly dark clouds began to loom over our heads they moment the waiter arrived with the truffle pasta.

"Plop!"

"What???"

First of all, the presentation of the pasta looked really bad. I don't usually give negative comments but this time, I had to because it was way below expectations. It seems like the chef just sprinkled the shaved cheese in anger. But those working in the open kitchen don't seem to their working in a tornado. 

The portion size was really small too. 

'Okay... maybe it's just the presentation. I hope it tasted as good as the last time I ate it!'

IMG_5526

I was already in the doldrums when I tasted the pasta. It lacked the truffle flavour and the pasta was somewhat cold. Even the prawns and other ingredients didn't taste fresh. And this dish costs 20 over bucks. OUCH!

When it comes to my Carbonara, it was worst. I finally understood how food can really affect your mood. And the food served has really dampened both of our moods.

The pasta was okay but again the presentation wasn't as good. The pasta was a little uncooked but it was okay...I guess? It was not until I found out that my prawns were not cooked properly.

IMG_5530

I didn't even realised that my prawns were not cooked and they looked rather raw in the photo below! See that translucent prawn flesh? 

So I requested for a change in the dish and the server had kindly brought me a new carbonara, ensuring that the prawns are cooked.

IMG_5529

Here's the second carbonara which looks a little better in presentation but taste-wise, it isn't as great as the one I had previously. Nevermind about the pasta, though, the cooked prawns actually tasted quite stale and I was half worried that my stomach will be upset.

I guess food quality really cannot be compromised here as it affects the health of the consumers. If taste didn't meet our expectations, I can understand. But when it comes to food safety, we are talking about our health and well-being. Thankfully, I didn't go through an episode of food poisoning. 

Both of us were in utter disappointment and I just hope that they could do something about their kitchen and make things magical again like they once had. 

In the end, we paid $80 for the meal which I was sulking as I walked out of the cafe. The service staff, on the other hand, were friendly and attentive. They even ask us how the food is but I told them in a tactful manner that it was not up to expectations and that they could have done much better.


IMG_5537


I've never tasted food that is poorer than the average, not even hawker food and I was very upset - I must say. If any of you working for DC Comics Superheroes Cafe, I urgently urge you to do something about the food quality! It's really sad that such an interesting cafe with a great ambience would turn out this way. And once you have rectified the problem, let me know as I am more than happy to check out this cafe again.

Eating a meal has never been that painful before. I am by no means trying to tarnish any reputation but just wanted to bring light to people so that they can see it for themselves and try to salvage it. I mean, we all deserve a second chance, right? 

As bloggers, we try to give honest reviews written in a respectful and tactful manner to gain credibility and reliability in our writing. I learnt that from Social studies in school. Don't we all learn that too?