Friday, January 30, 2009

Bento #15, 16, 17

I made a 'panda' bento after seeing it at 'mothering corner'. This mum has lots of patience and she prepares such beautiful food for her kids. You can see her detailing how to do each step, but this mum here has no such patience, so that's the best I can do. Haha. I thought the little pandas were so cute and since I had run out of ideas on what to prepare for princess' bento, I decided to give it a try. I made them for school yesterday and her little friends thought they were sushi. Instead of jam sandwiches, I used cheese and ham for the filling.

This morning was a great get-together for us mums since our kids started school this year. We managed to gather 4 mums together and a couple of the younger kids as well. Our initial plan was to have prawn noodles for breakfast, but alas the shop won't be open for business till tomorrow. I packed her a breakfast bento comprising animal biscuits, pineapple tarts, yoghurt (petit maim), as well as hello kitty-shaped dragonfruit.

For school, it was a rushed affair putting the foodstuff together, as we came back a little late from breakfast, so I just heated up some pasta, and cut out a HK-shaped cheese and some hurriedly put together eyes, nose and whiskers. I'll have to do a better job next time. ;) Also boiled her some salmon cheese sausages.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bento #14

How has the Chinese New Year been for you so far? It's back to school today and all the celebration suddenly came to a standstill for us. But I spied lots of people still in their CNY best and out celebrating. We welcomed 2 lovely visitors all the way from the other end of Singapore to our home this morning. I packed princess' bento before we left for ballet, as well as cooked some rice. The minute I was home, I quickly whipped up some fried rice while the seaweed chicken was baking in the oven and had lunch ready for the kids within half an hour. It was great to see KY before she leaves on her trip tomorrow. Thanks for travelling all that way and love the box which the oranges came in. Of course, have already said that to you a couple of times. ;) I really wish she'd move nearer to us soon so we can spend lazy afternoons together. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Year of the Ox

I hardly baked this year, except for my favourite pineapple tarts, which I made once last week, just to try out the recipe, and yesterday, together with princess, we made more. She was in charge of brushing the eggwash on, as well as sticking the cloves in. :)

I made half a batch with cheese on top. It's quite popular these days to find tarts with cheese. I guess the saltiness of the cheese goes very well with the sweetness of the jam, and it replaces the salt in the recipe.

A very Happy New Year to one and all. May the Year of the Ox bring us abundant blessings.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My new toys

Just a few days, maybe approximately a week ago, I decided to go shopping on the web. I hardly ever shop online, but was attracted by all the lovely stuff on a Japanese site, and took the risk by ordering some little stuff, just to 'try' it out. I wasn't sure if I was going to receive them, thus only ordered 4 items. It was tough trying to pick out only 4 out of the hundreds, trust me. Everything was in the Japanese language but thank God, they arrived, and very fast too. From the time I confirmed the order, it only took approximately 3 days to reach my doorstep.

While at PS yesterday, I went to Daiso to replenish my supplies for preparing bento. These are what I picked up.

Lots of bento (plus bento #13)

Met up with KY after school yesterday for a spot of shopping. I prepared a bento to take out for Princess' lunch. We took a little trip to Chinatown to look for J's CNY Chinese outfit, as well as hunt for a pair of sandals for the girl. Wish we could have spent more time with KY to walk down Chinatown but both princess and I were exhausted. Maybe next year, huh, KY? :)

Promised princess that we'd check out about her music class at PS, and being extremely tired, cos feet and joints hurting very badly yesterday, and today too, decided to da bao some dinner home. There is a shop in the basement of PS selling takeaway bento, and the prices are very reasonable. For this set of Chicken Teriyaki, it only cost $6.90.

I had Ebi Tempura with Omu Curry rice for $8.90. It's not too bad for fast food.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A fruit bento - #12

Mummy, can I please just have fruits today, pleassseeee. So here it is, a fruit salad bento, and I threw in two slices of kaya swiss roll which I got from Rich & Good. She only had cereal for late breakfast and didn't want lunch, so I wasn't too keen to just give her fruits but what to do...

This Paddington Bear bento box is a free gift when you purchase 2 tubes of Darlie toothpaste. Promotion is now on. Check out supermarkets etc if you are interested.

You get lovely swiss rolls at this shop. They are famous for their kaya as well as mango rolls. I haven't tried the other flavours yet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bento #11

Today's bento comprised of pasta in tomato sauce, sausage/baby corn/crabstick/cherry tomato in skewers, and persimmon, with an additional treat of kueh bangkit and kueh baulu.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bento #10

For today's bento, I bought 2 lotus paste buns (lian rong bao), and decorated them with seaweed. One is a little girl, and the second face belongs to a bear. I also made quesadillas like Peony did. She doesn't usually have lunch. She has her breakfast around 9plus and by 11am, she's still full, so I tend to pack more stuff into her bento, else by time she's home at 7pm, she'll be starved. I gave her a few more cheese cubes as she likes to share them with her friends. She complains that her friends love to crowd around to see what's in her bento every day, and she's not too pleased about that. Haha! I made a deal with her that she could alternate home bento with school-catered food on a termly basis.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bento #9

This was a very rushed last minute bento. Was very inspired after checking out Bento Fun, admiring all the lovely stuff she did for her little boy, and my girl thought the quail eggs were really cute. I knew I had those edible ink markers but couldn't locate them anywhere in the house. Thinking back, I might have thrown them out few months' ago when there wasn't much ink left. %l

In any case, she's not tried quail eggs before, but I knew she won't like them, as she only eats omelette and nothing else. True enough, she came home and the first thing she said was that she didn't like the eggs, cos they were too egg-y. Haha!

In this bento, I made Cinamaroll-shaped rice, although I didn't have time to make it look like her, just had time to do eyes and mouth. :P

There are some grapes, cucumber slices, quail eggs, brownie which sis brought back from Perth, and some seaweed wrapped fishpaste with shredded carrots which I fried.

1st reunion dinner

Yu Sheng

Sharks fin soup with crabmeat

Steamed pomfret

Not exactly sure what this is but I think it's bean curd skin stuffed with fish meat and prawns.

Orh Nee or yam paste for dessert

We had our first reunion dinner last evening at a restaurant in Bedok. It was a venue convenient for all, and especially for dear grandma. The restaurant serves Teochew food and we were one of the earliest there for dinner at 5.30. The place was fully-booked and they wouldn't even entertain my aunt's reservation for dinner at the early time slot, but Aunt M, being her, had her ways about it and finally managed to get us a table.

The yu sheng wasn't really to my taste, because it's different from the Cantonese version, lacking in crispy bits. Also, they added tang oh in there, which is one vegetable I don't like. The servings for all the dishes were pretty generous. The standard set we ordered was for a table of 10, but including kids, there were 14 of us, yet everyone had a share of the food. The pomfret was a giant one and it filled us up a bit. I didn't manage to take a photo of the braised chicken before it was cut up and the noodles were served in little bowls before being brought to the table.

The only thing we had to order extra was the fried beancurd stuff to make up 14pcs. We also topped up $10 more for the yam paste (the original dessert was longan with almond jelly). We loved the orh nee which wasn't very sweet, and they added pumpkin to it as well.

Dinner wasn't rushed and the dishes were paced very well, even though they had to get rid of us before the next family arrived at 7.30pm.

Chin Lee Restaurant
Blkk 115 Bedok North Road

Operating Hours:
Lunch: 11.30am - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.00pm - 10.30pm
Sat, Sun & PH:
Lunch: 11.30am - 2.30pm
Dinner: 5.30pm - 10.30pm

Pineapple Tarts

This is not the first batch of tarts that I've made this year. Well, the first ones were made at a friend's place and by the time I realised the oven was what was causing the pineapple jam to harden, the last tray of tarts were already in... too late. I'm really lazy to bake anything this year, what with Christmas just having ended, the little one's birthday, start of school etc, I don't feel the Chinese New Year mood at all. However, I came across this recipe in the Sunday Times yesterday and wanted immediately to try it. I had all the ingredients, but only had enough butter for half the recipe, so I did just that. Made about 25 tarts with some dough leftover for at least 6-7 more, even though according to the recipe, a full recipe would yield 40 tarts. I think it could easily produce 70 at least. These tarts are very soft and fragile. I destroyed one when my glove accidently pressed on it while removing tray from oven. They are lovely, except I found them just a tad dry. The tart sticks to your entire mouth and you can't talk after. Need to wash it down with some water.

The recipe is as follows. I will only post the tart recipe as I used ready pineapple jam.

Ingredients -

250g butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg yolk
440g plain flour
1 tbs milk powder
a pinch of salt (I added this in myself)
pineapple filling
1 egg, beaten

Method -

1. Preheat oven to 165 deg C.

2. Cream butter and vanilla essence on medium speed for about 10 mins (I did everything manually).

3. Add the yolk and continue mixing for about 2 mins till well incorporated.

4. Sift the flour and then the milk powder into the mixture. Mix on low speed for 2mins before increasing it to medium speed for 3mins, until a coarse, crumbly texture forms.

5. Place the mixture in a large bowl and knead it for about 5mins until a smooth ball of dough forms.

6. Leave dough in the bowl, seal it with a clear plastic wrap, and chill in fridge for approximately 20mins.

7. Remove dough from fridge, pinch a small amount and roll it to form a ball, flatten and fill it with jam.

8. Brush with egg wash and bake in oven for 15mins until tarts turn golden.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bento #8

Didn't know what to prepare for snack on Friday but at the last minute, no choice but to rack my brains and came up with fried bee hoon. Cut up some mango and strawberries and made a yoghurt fruit salad, together with some blueberries.

Friday, January 16, 2009

French Toasts and Teddy bears on a picnic (Bento #7)

I made her a breakfast of french toasts, before ballet class one morning, to eat on the go. Coaching class starts very early at 9am, so we have to leave by 8.45, and it's rather sad having to rouse her from her slumber. I tend to let her sleep in till the latest time I can afford, before waking her up to change and wash up etc. She enjoyed the toasts and said they were her favourite.

I made some mac & cheese for her bento yesterday, using some organic teddy bear pasta shapes from Marks & Spencers, which were given to her for Christmas. She said they were yummy. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A happy bento box (Bento #6)

A box of happy animal faces... doesn't that put a smile on your face? It started out with a request for sushi which then evolved into this. Frankly, I got hold of these seaweed punchers a couple of months back via a friend, J. Hehe, it's the first time I'm using them. I had actually forgotten about them, having left them in the storeroom.

On Friday, princess requested for maki for her bento on Monday, so I picked up some short grain rice, Japanese mayo & cucumber, ebiko, and tuna flakes. She planned everything that was to be put into it. However, I was too tired on Monday and told her we'd do it today. Well, I couldn't push it away again, so I made sure I cooked the rice when I woke up this morning, in order for it to cool down enough to handle. Also fried the tuna flakes with few drops of black sauce and some sugar.

She helped me prepare them and I bet she couldn't wait to show her friends at recess what goody she had in her bento. How cute. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lor Mee + Bento #5

For today's lunch, I had the famous Old Airport Road lor mee. It's been a long time since I last had it, and you can be sure to witness a snaking queue on weekends, which is when I never eat it. Honestly speaking, I don't find it that great. What is the fuss all about I wonder?? Well, the people tending the stall are polite enough, considering the roaring trade that they are doing. You know how it is with some hawkers who tend to become proud once they become famous. My favourite lor mee is from the old Tiong Bahru market, but since they closed down the old market before the renovation, I've not tasted it. I've heard that they've moved to Bishan, but frankly Bishan is rather far for me to travel to, just for a bowl of lor mee, so this will have to do for now. I find it rather plain, with just fish flakes, pork slices (which I ask them to leave out as I do not like streaky fatty pork), and a ngoh hiang.

I've blogged about this sandwich cutter before, but just to show S what it looks like. It consists of an elephant, car, dog and a fish.

Made a simple ham & cheese sandwich, with grapes and a little kinder chocolate, a Christmas gift from one of her kindy teachers (which I thought she had forgotten about, but was reminded of, when she went to the supermarket in the morning).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's her birthday!

My (not so) little one turns 7 today. Where did all the years fly to? She's really not a baby anymore. She has developed into a sweet, independent young lady, whom I can depend on to do tasks. She's always there to remind me of things that I might forget (see this mummy is getting old). She's there to take care of me when my feet hurt and she squeezes my hand tight when I am going down the stairs so I do not fall over.

I've never really had to worry about her, in terms of how she behaves or carries herself, and not that she's my precious one that's why I'm saying this, but most of her friends' mums who have watched her while I was busy, and she had to be in their care, have nothing but praise for her, that she's sensible and wise, and well-behaved. Even her teacher now says that she seemed shy the first time they met, and she can't believe that the girl is actually quite outspoken. I'm proud of her that she has shone in class and she is one of 4 'managers' picked by the teacher, well, to 'manage' the girls. Haha!

She has a love for languages and reading. For her age, I am amazed at her spelling skills, but I can't deny she's got her mummy's genes in that. I remember when I was in school, I was probably the best speller in class. I'm sure my classmates can attest to that. I used to be their 'dictionary' when they needed help in spelling a word. And I have absolutely no regrets in sending her to her previous kindy, where I feel had helped her develop her strong foundation in her mother tongue. I must remember, though, to speak more Mandarin to her. I find myself slackening in that department lately, since she started going to P1. Maybe it's just me psychologically, (or most convent girls can tell you that), it is uncool to speak Mandarin. Haha.

She loves art and craft and you can find her doodling every day without fail. I encourage her to draw a lot. And her drawings are really great too.

I know that even though she doesn't call me at recess, she actually misses me a lot in the time we are apart, for in the last couple of days, her actions really speak louder than her words. She's more lovey, always wanting to hold hands and even last night when she was going to sleep, she lay her head on my arm and asked if I was sick (I don't allow her to come near me when I am ill).
I said I wasn't, and she planted a big kiss on my lips. How sweet and touching is that.

However, I need to learn to let go now, not by choice, but really, I can't, anymore, be a part of her school life, can't peek through the viewing room (unlike in her kindy) where I could watch her in class, interacting with her classmates and teachers. It's a part of her growing up, that unfortunately, I won't be able to witness. I wish I could be a fly on the wall and follow her around in class, not to keep an eye on her, but rather to not be shut out from that world of hers.

I'm really proud of my little lady and of all the things that she has achieved to date, and I wish her all the best in life, and may she continue to blossom beautifully.

Happy birthday my dearest darling. Have a wonderful day, and remember that mummy loves you always. May God bless you and may your guardian angel watch over you in all that you do.

A very happy birthday to princess' godma too. Have a blast, KY, and cheers to many more years of wonderful friendship. I'm glad that you are in my life, through all the ups and downs, and I love you!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Birthday celebration in school + Bento #4

We made some chocolate-covered strawberries for the girls in class this morning, thus was really busy. Made some pancakes for her bento as well.

I don't know if they usually allow kids to celebrate their birthdays in school, but instead of a cake, I decided strawberries were healthier and they would really like the chocolate part of it. It also wouldn't be as messy. This was a last minute thing which I only thought of yesterday, thus made do with whatever chocolate chips I had in the fridge, melted them, and dipped almost two cartons of strawberries, which I picked up with KY, at Giant last Sunday. Imagine $2.95 for a punnet of Korean ones and I only saw them on offer at Vivo. When I went to IMM the day after, Giant there was selling them at $5plus. I also packed goody bags for them but didn't take a photo.

I am told that, every day, the girls are curious to see what's in princess' bentos, so she's really proud of that, but it still doesn't change her mind about catered food. I gave her simple ready stuff today, but I think it was too little as she didn't have her lunch, but it's ok, hubby is taking us out to a sushi dinner soon. :D

She had mini pancakes, cherry tomatoes, blueberries and cheese cubes.

Ah huh, princess had a goody bag too, so I'm able to take a photo of what was in it. Most of the sweeties are gone though...

I really couldn't resist the Cinnamoroll pencil cases from Daiso, and actually went to a few outlets to scout for them. Thanks also to KY for helping me with this task. I initially had to contend with only half the class getting them and the other half getting bags but just the day before sending them to school, the kind lady at Daiso called me up with good news that the cases were in! Now, everyone would have the same. :D You can tell I'm a Sanrio fan through and through. And it was something I discovered in primary school when I would save up my money to go across to MPH and buy a little hankerchief, or a pencil cap, or just little stuff. I'm glad that Daiso has made it very affordable, although they have limited stuff. Once in a while, I still indulge in them at the Sanrio outlet at Taka.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Primary School + Bento #1, 2, 3

My baby is all grown up. Sob sob. She started her formal primary education on 2 Jan 2009. I can't for the life of me figure out why the Ministry has to begin a new school year on a Friday.

She got up at 9am on Friday and wanted immediately to put on her uniform. I'm told she wasn't the only one... seems it was a problem with the P1s in the afternoon session. Hehe!

I now have more hours to myself in the afternoon, but haven't had a real break yet. I think that will have to wait till next week when I have more time on my hands. This week has been filled with doctor visits, sending her to school, my own doc's appt etc. But I do feel I'm not so rushed for time and have more hours to play with. I have even started cooking dinner everyday, on top of preparing her bentos.

On the first day of school, they started classes at 2.30pm. That was a really nice gesture on the part of the school. It was only 4hrs, and princess felt it was too short. She couldn't wait to go the full 5-1/2hrs on Monday. That was a good start. A pity we weren't allowed near the classrooms or even in the hall to take photos. They must know what an exciting time it is for parents with kids going to primary school for the first time, so why deny us that joy.

When Monday rolled by, she asked me if I was happy that she was going to be away for so many hours during the day. I told her that I was going to miss her, and she said she would too. I told her she could call me up at recess. And she said she'd do that after having her snack. The first few days, they had their snacks just outside the classroom, but have since moved to the tuckshop as of yesterday. The tuckshop stalls aren't open in the afternoon so the kids either have to cater food from the school-appointed vendor, or else bring snacks from home. I chose the latter of course. Unfortunately, after the 3rd day, my girl requested that she be put on the catering programme in the 2nd semester. %l Oh well, guess she wants to belong to the majority. She says their food look really yummy. There goes mummy's creative bentos. :P

She has yet to call me during recess, and I don't expect her to. I am indeed happy that she has settled in so well, and thanks to KY & A, got to meet a friend from school at J's bbq. They see each other every day now, as little M will drop by to chat with princess and her classmate, J, who so happens to be M's best friend. Unfortunately they are not in the same class.

Here are some bentos that I have prepared for her thus far...

On the 3rd day of school, I fried some udon with ham, corn kernels, onion, and omelette, which I cut into strips, and topped it off with fishcakes her godma bought her. Aren't they very pretty? I always include fruits in all her bento boxes each day, and because Korean strawberries are plentiful now, she has them almost every day.

Hair is a total headache of mine, because it's short but yet not that short that she doesn't have to tie it up, so am really hoping her hair grows faster.

One of the hairstyles that I did. Need to document them so I can refer here for ideas. :)

Wednesday was a busy day for us as she had ballet class in the morning, which left me with little time to prepare anything for her. I bought some ready sushi and packed them in with some grapes. It was also kind of a late lunch for her as she had to rush through her lunch after coming back from class, so didn't eat a lot of it.

For today, I made her some chapati rolls with cheese sausages, and included some pineapple tarts (her favourite CNY cookie). Also some skewered fruits, as well as a snowman marshmallow and some sweeties she wanted to share with her friends.

As they have a photo session today for their Smart card (I'm not sure what that is, but I assume it's the bus passes), I had to tie her hair up neatly, and decided to braid them and put little ribbons at the end. Unfortunately the wind was very strong this afternoon, so hopefully it's not messed up too much.