Kitchen Aid x Mother’s Day Cookout

We were invited by Kitchen Aid for this Mother’s Day cooking event at Little House of Dreams over the weekend and we had a lovely time – with me learning how to make Shepherd’s Pie using the Kitchen Aid stand mixer and the food grinder attachment and the little one having a ball of a time feasting on the cookies and also the goodies that the Kitchen Aid team specially prepared.

There were about 6 pairs who were also invited to this intimate gathering and it’s amazing how the 3 hours passed by so quickly. We each learned how to make Shepherd’s Pie with the ingredients that were specially prepared for each of us. I diced those onions and garlic as Cooking Mama while the Bub munched on her fave cookie with icing and watched me do the prep work. When it came to mincing the chicken meat, I learned how to fasten the food grinder attachment with the Kitchen Aid stand mixer and realised how quick the tool actually grinded up the meat. I used to think that this could only be used of making sausages but truth be told, we don’t eat a lot of sausages and it’s way faster to purchase them from a deli. But this meat grinder attachment is actually pretty useful for you know exactly what type of meat goes into the minced mixture. Remove the fatty bits from the chicken skin for it ain’t healthy and what you get is pure minced chicken. Really good for making burgers as well as making fine food for little ones. I can’t wait to experiment more with this device.

And I used to think that the Kitchen Aid stand mixer is only good for making cakes and sweet stuff. But of course, this simple cooking session changed my impression of that. Well, we did make Mee Hoon Kueh using the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. What I also learned is that the beater attachment can also mash potatoes! How useful is that tip?! I mean, I used to stand around the kitchen with my fork and exerted all that energy to mash the potatoes finely. Now that I know that the Kitchen Aid can do the job quickly, I’m really excited that we can have truffled mash in our occasional cook-outs soon! I wonder if it can mash steamed cauliflower too? Hmm..

We were also treated to a simple feast of pasta, pizza and chicken wings while we prepped our Shepherd’s Pie and also learned how versatile the Kitchen Aid can also be for the home. They also now have an additional Ice Cream bowl attachment which allow you to whip up ice-cream in the comfort of your own home. This is pretty useful if you want a device that can almost do everything by purchasing different attachments rather than purchasing different devices.

Please check out this simple video highlights of the Kitchen Aid event and if I do recreate the dish, I’ll be sure to share the recipe here!

Thanks Kitchen Aid Singapore for inviting us to be part of your Mother’s Day celebration. It was lovely meeting other ladies who specially brought their moms along and we are looking forward to the next Mom-and-Me cooking session. 🙂

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Social Media

For the longest time, the Man has been asking me to catch Black Mirror on Netflix especially the episode called Nose Dive. He said that it would be relevant to me in today’s day and age. Perhaps, he thought I was headed to becoming a serious social media addict given that I was quite consumed/ obsessed with social media platforms like Instagram for a period of time. Wondering why my picture didn’t achieve the desired number of likes and scratching my head to generate content that would acheive the most number of likes.

Looking back, it’s actually kind of scary to think how these would affect me. Thankfully not for long as I begin to take stock of what really mattered. The real relationships/ friendships versus the reel and the online ones. It was nice meeting people online, chatting with them on similar topics and don’t get me wrong, I’ve actually made some really nice friends online. Some stayed, some didn’t because life caught up and it does take work to maintain relationships/ friendships. I don’t feel bitter that those didn’t work out. We had our time and I’m thankful that our paths crossed.

Social media… it’s a double-edged sword. If you put too much of yourself out there, while some may be supportive there’s always another group of people who can’t wait to rip you apart. People think they know you because you have chosen to give them access into your life be it through writing or pictures. And while I take everything with somewhat a pinch of salt and would like to think the best of everyone, sadly,  not everyone thinks that way. So sometimes walls are built for privacy and protection of those who that remain close and dear to me.

I’ve been blogging for a decade.. 10 years.. that’s long. I’ve experienced my fair share of likes and ‘haters’ out there and for a while, it did weigh me down. Have I considered removing all content from my blog? Not at this point in time, this online journal still serve many fond memories of different stages of my life. One that I would like to possibly share with the little one when she’s older. Those that I’m not comfortable sharing publicly, I decided to privatise those posts instead because writing is still an outlet for me.

So who reads blog these days when one gets instant gratification from checking Instagram feeds instead? I don’t know. But I’ll just do what makes me happy and blogging does help me…

 

One awesome gift for this Mama from Kitchen Aid

[Review]:

[Photo Credit: Kitchen Aid Singapore]

My eyes did a double blink when I saw this email from the folks at Kitchen Aid. They first invited us to an upcoming Mother’s Day workshop and then asked if we would be open to reviewing their items as part of the collab. I was really quite excited.. “A Kitchen Aid! WOW!!!” But of course, I’m the sort who didn’t want to count its chicks before they hatch, so I just waited to see what they would offer and lo and behold, they did offer the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer from the Artisan Series in Empire Red. The pastel colours in the range are really to die for but the red did stand out and hold its ground. Plus, it would also look just as fetching when placed next to our Nespresso coffee machine also in red. So that was the one we received!

[Photo Credit: Kitchen Aid Singapore]

When I was aggressively baking years ago, holed up in a small kitchen in our apartment in Geneva, I did lem for a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. After all, it’s THE Mixer of all mixers and this gorgeous device is often seen in many gourmet kitchens and kitchens of aspiring home-cooks. But I got scolded by the Man for even harbouring the thought of purchasing one as we moved from place to place then. It would not be pratical to lug it from one country to the next. So I just relied on my handheld mixer for many of my bakes. Till this fantastic opportunity came along!

After the initial unboxing of this gorgeous device was done (the kiddo helped too), I wondered hard and long what am I going to start baking/ cooking with this helpful kitchen device? My baking skills have somewhat become dusty along the way and the kid doesn’t quite have a sweet tooth so she might not appreciate the sweets like cupcakes and muffins that I whip up for her. I decided then to try using the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for another purpose instead.

We all have our fave dish that is reminiscent of our childhood. Something special that our moms have made that would warm our hearts along with our bellies. For me, it was always the oyster chicken with mushrooms dish and the salted vegetable duck soup – my mom’s speciality dishes. My mom was not a home-maker, she had a full-time job and in fact, juggled a few jobs when we were growing up but she did try to cook for us occasionally and now, she really does make it a point to cook for us at least once a week when we go back home on Sundays. Her meals are always simple but I really appreciate the time and effort that she put in to cook the many dishes to feed the entire family of 8 or more when the troop goes over.

For the Man, it would always be his mom’s Mee Hoon Kueh (hand torn noodles). My mom-in-law makes the mee hoon kueh from scratch, kneaded the dough mixture by hand and cooking the broth from scratch. The side dish to be accompanied with the Mee Hoon Kueh is a simple, broiled pork belly with sesame oil because growing up, they really didn’t have a lot so pork belly was considered a treat for the Man and his mom. Last but not least, the condiments such as fried shallots, pepper and ikan billis that will generously be sprinkled on this homemade and simple noodle dish.

This Mee Hoon Kueh dish is always the dish the Man would request for after a long trip away from home and this dish would also be the dish that Sophie would also request for from her grandma if she’s feeling poorly or as and when she wants her grandma to cook her a happy meal My mom-in-law would always oblige when it came to cooking for her son and granddaughter.

Years back when we were living in Geneva and because we were away from home, the Man actually recreated his mom’s Mee Hoon Kueh dish. Now that we are back home, we hardly have to make this dish from scratch but I did want to learn how to do this as my mom-in-law travels quite a fair bit now and on days when Sophie actually requests for this when she’s not around, I find myself telling her to have something else or to resort having to run out to the hawker centre to buy a bowl for her as we don’t have the ingredients stashed at home. Even though it’s the same type of noodles, the taste is not quite the same. Nothing quite beats the home-made “feels”,  if you know what I mean. Maybe it’s the way the noodles are rolled into small pieces of dough, mashed and then torn to make up little pieces of cooked and starchy goodness.

Well, it does appear that the recipe of making the Mee Hoon Kueh has been simplified and kneading the dough by hand would be a preferred method but having the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer do the job in half the time was this lazy mama’s hack in putting the meal on the table. We  started prepping our meal (together with the little one at 6.30pm) and made the hand torn noodles in under 20 minutes. The broth was prepared in advance and dinner was served at 7.10pm. To prep a meal with a kid in tow, I’d say we did well on time!

Mee Hoon Kueh (Hand torn noodles)

Ingredients:
For the noodles:
4 cups of rice flour
1 medium egg
1/2 tsp salt
250 ml of cooled water

For the topping:
Fried shallots
Fried ikan bilis

For the soup stock:
150g ikan bilis, rinsed and drained
1.5 litres water
A bunch of spinach, trimmed
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp deep-fried ikan bilis
Onion oil, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Method:
1) To make the noodles, mix the flour, egg, salt and water evenly in a mixing bowl. Using the dough mixer attachment, turn on Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer on low speed (ie: Speed 1) before gradually increasing it to a slightly higher speed. We used up to Speed 3.

2) Once the dough mixture comes together to form a ball, transfer the dough mixture into another mixing bowl.

3) Place some rice flour on your fingers and continue to knead the mixture in the bowl until it doesn’t stick to the hands.

4) Peel the dough into small balls of about 1 to 2cm. Press and flatten each ball till about 2mm thick. Set aside till ready to cook.

5) To make the soup, add the ikan bilis to 1.5 litres of water and bring it to bowl. Simmer over low heat for about 20 mins. Remove the ikan bilis and then add in spinach and egg (if desired).

6) Add the mee hoon kuey. When the noodles rise to the surface, scoop out noodles and broth in a bowl and serve.

This simple soup dish is extremely versatile and you can also add additional ingredients such as mushrooms, prawns and even minced meatballs to accompany the noodles.

Seriously, it is quite simple to make the mee hoon kueh with the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer using the dough attachment. Even my kid could do this as you can see. Well, you may ask why even bother using a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer to do something that simple? True, but if you are going to be investing in a piece of machinery only to use it for rare occasions then is this a worthy investment? The idea is that this device is supposed to help you around in the kitchen and to help put out dishes quick and fast for the family. That’s my rationale of a worthy investment.

Thanks Kitchen Aid Singapore for sending this lovely Stand Mixer to us. It really is a beautiful piece of machinery which is now a permanent fixture on our kitchen counter. Can’t wait to try out other recipes with this. So stay tuned!

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Disclaimer : We received the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with Meat Grinder attachment to test and review.  No additional monetary rewards were given.  All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the product. Any queries on the product  should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

Today

I received a call from the Bub’s teacher who told me that they have progressed from tracing letters and numbers to actually writing them. She told me that Sophie found it a little challenging having to write out the letters and numbers on her own without the tracing tool as an aid and that she ended up crying most of the time rather than actually doing the work.

Should I be concerned? Perhaps. But more than that, all I wanted is for my child to enjoy her time in school. I get that the school is more academic driven but I know that child takes time to get used to writing or to fall into a rhythm. Positive reinforcement for me was more important than trying to force her to finish the task at hand. I asked if the school would look at mixing tracing letters and having her write out the words in the same worksheet instead of just dismissing her ability to write out on her own. The teacher said that she will try this approach.

Everything has its time and its place is what I like to believe. I believe that if she tried hard enough and with time, she will get better at what she does. This is how I’ve been brought up and perhaps what I would like to teach my child. Don’t be too quick to dismiss your little ones, instead, encourage them to continue trying and one day, they will achieve their goals. Even if it’s a simple task at hand.

Sydney with the girls (a Mommy and daughter trip)

It feels like not too long ago, I was tumbling down the slopes of Tomamu in Hokkaido and a couple of weeks later, we packed our bags to head down under for a Mom-and-Girl Brat trip. Yes, sans husband/ father for 5 days and 4 nights.

Pretty manageable now that the girls are older but also pretty crazy because even though the meltdowns are lesser, there were moments where they individually drove us moms bat-shit crazy. I guess the expectations of them as little girls are higher compared to when they were toddlers where we could just brush it off and say that they are still young, they don’t know. But they do know.

Our itinerary this trip was pretty much rest and relaxed. Well, largely because Libby and I were so busy with MAPL days leading up to the trip that we didn’t really have much time to do much planning. I guess the whole point of a holiday is that we just figure out along the way and just have fun. Which we did.

Here’s a quick summary of what we did, what we ate and basically, how we survived with two little kids in tow.

How we traveled around Sydney:

We took the red eye from Singapore to Sydney and about 1 hour into the flight, both girls slept for a good 5-6 hours which allowed me to catch up on all the movies that I really wanted to watch but didn’t get a chance to. Win! After we landed into Sydney, we booked our airport transfer from babytaxis.com.au simply because we heard/ know that it’s pretty strict in Australia and kids needed to be strapped in with their own child-seat. Initially we wanted to bring our own Trunk booster seat but realised that we couldn’t as the seat did not comply with the standards of car safety stipulated by the Australian Government.

How we got around Sydney? We relied heavily on public transport such as the train and taxis. We used Uber alot and indicated clearly to the assigned drivers that we had two kids at the age of 4. Some days we were lucky and the drivers actually accepted our booking and insisted that we belt them up. On some occasions, we would get rejected. We later found out that if you are traveling with young kids and do not have a car-seat, you could simply book a cab or flag down a taxi. All you needed to do is to belt the kids up with the safety seats. So that became our favoured mode of transport for nearby locations.

Otherwise, most of the time, we really explored the nearby attractions by foot and pushed the girls around in their compact city strollers by Mimosa. We were invited to test this newly launched product by Mothercare and it was a life-saver. The girls are at a age where they are slightly too heavy to be carried all the time. If we drag them on their feet to walk, I’m sure we will be stopping every 1 minute or so only to hear their complaining and whining that they are simply too tired. The city compact stroller was lightweight and easy to maneuver around the crowded streets of Sydney. The girls loved being in the stroller and when it was time for a nap, they happily snoozed in it while us moms continued shopping. Not bad at all. Highly recommend a compact stroller if you are planning your next city getaway with a kid.

Where we stayed:

Libby suggested that we get a 2-bedroom service apartment located near shops/ restaurants around Darling Habour. It was a lovely and comfortable stay that provided all the comfort of what a home would give for a short-stay. The girls had a great time play-pretend camping and swimming in the make-shift pool which was actually their bath-tub. The apartment was close to Darling Harbour where we brought the girls too on Good Friday when almost everything was shut. It was also close to Surry Hills where the girls enjoyed a scoop of that creamy artisanal Gelato Messina before burning their energy at a nearby playground.

What I particularly liked about the area was that shopping was also a stone’s throw away from where we were. A walk down the street and Queen Victoria Building plus the swanky Westfield shopping mall were just within our reach. For ease of convenience, Coles supermarket was just downstairs our apartment. That really helped when we needed to stock up fast on groceries plus wine or even grab a bite or two.

Where we went:

On entertaining the kids, again, we had grand plans to bring them to the zoo, to Bondi beach, to check out the Sydney Opera House (which we did for all of 10 minutes), but I guess nothing really mattered to them except being around each other to play with. I did manage to score a reservation at the highly popular Grounds at Alexandria Cafe. But, guess what? We overslept the next morning – girls slept at 1am and the moms slept at 3.30am. So our best laid plans went awry. We settled for a leisure breakfast around the hood and then chilled out.

Ahead of our trip, we did purchase tickets online to the Sydney Royal Easter Show which was this grand carnival affair where the highlight of the show was the Easter Showbags filled with merchandise that you probably may or may not want at a value that you will certainly get for more.

There were like nearly 100 different types of showbags to cater practically every age group. Our eyes widened when we entered the grounds but we tried our best to control given that we have limited luggage space plus we didn’t want to bring home more things than what the girls actually needed.  So we let the girls choose one showbag each. I would have loved for mine to pick either the Disney Princess or My Little Pony themed showbag, but she went straight for the LOL Surprise Doll showbag. Well, since we don’t get much LOL Surprise Doll merchandise in Singapore plus each doll actually cost so much, I decided to let her get it. One of the other reasons is that the merchandise that were in this particular showbag actually looked quite pleasing to the eye.

We also brought the girls on some rides and then each of them had a scoop of ice-cream as a treat while we Mamas rested on the bench with cold coffees/ beverages. For Autumn, the weather in Sydney felt surprisingly hot.

But we are thankful for the warm weather and the blue skies that allowed us to fully enjoy the Sydney Royal Easter Show. We spent about 4 hours exploring the area which was really huge. We heard that there are several activities that are lined up for kids and adults that will go all the way to the night but well, we didn’t have enough energy to last till then.

Where we ate:

There are no lack of restaurants and cafes in Sydney. Prior to the Bub’s arrival, I would have taken the time to go hunt down the coolest cafes and restaurants to dine in. But I find it somewhat harder to do that with a kid because truth be told, their schedules (as erratic as it sounds) do take precedent. Luckily for us, we had Libby who already knew a couple of hip/ cool places that we could go to so I felt comforted of being part of the dining scene in Sydney.

While the girls took their naps, Libby and I had a good work-out from our hotel to Surry Hills and hunted down Bourke Street Bakery. The sausage roll (fresh out off the oven) were divine and what I really enjoyed more was this ginger creme brulee tart. The caramelised sugar crust had a nice crunch and there was just about the right amount of ginger flavouring to the creme brulee as the dessert entered my mouth. By the way, we didn’t just stop at one tart. We decided to bag one back to the apartment as well.

On Good Friday when most of Sydney was shut, we managed to find Devon Cafe open and we headed there with the troop. There was a short 15 minutes wait where we got the girls to run around before we were promptly seated. Devon Cafe serves up hearty Asian fusion meals and we really enjoyed the miso grilled salmon while the girls couldn’t pass up the fries during the meal.

And I guess no trip is complete if we didn’t make our way down to the Adriano Zumbo kiosk for macarons for the little ones. They really enjoyed it and so did we. The salted caramel ones were my fave.

There you have it, a quick round-up of our 5D4N trip to Sydney. Lovely memories to last us till our next holiday! 🙂

Being a cheerleader

As a kid, my mom used to sign me up for art classes and I really did love them. In fact, I enjoyed colouring and drawing a lot growing up. So now that the little one is slightly older, I got her a jumbo set of colouring pencils that we try to bring out to occupy her instead of screen-time.

In church today, we had these colouring sheets where I distributed to the kids and her older cousins helped to colour. The little girl felt a little dejected when she saw that her colouring wasn’t as good as her older cousins. She’s kinda free-spirited by nature so I guess it shows up when she colours. She picks up different colours depending on her mood and the colours are often not within the lines. Even though I’m a tad bit OCD (meaning I would love for her to colour within the line and frame), I let her be. She does give up a little when she sees her colouring a little haphazard and messy. Today, she came up to me with tears streaming down her cheeks and told me “Mama, I’m not good at colouring. Help me…”

My heart broke a little when those words came out of her little mouth. I told her to just give it her best shot, try harder and not give up. On our way home, I reminded her of the times when she didn’t do too well in a certain task, but she tried over and over again; and got better as time went by. She nodded and then we repeated our little cheer to “Never Give Up!”

Perhaps this is my motto to live by too.. to never give up, to keep trying and soldier on.

Whitening… Ageing…

Had dinner with some friends one evening and the issue of skincare specifically whitening products was brought up. The person who raised this said that this is a segment he would not prefer not to pursue business in. I was taken aback because I thought that the area of whitening products would clearly be a lucrative business. This of course piqued my interest and I asked “Why?”

His response was one that I didn’t quite expect, he said that personally he had as issue with promoting products for people in pursuit of a fairer skin. On the other hand, I didn’t have an issue. I just felt the reason why people would even go into whitening products is not to lighten the skin-type but more for reducing the spots due to pigmentation. Well, at least that’s what I would do for I did freak out a little when I saw spots appearing on my skin.