Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Matcha Love Hearts

"..Give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace."

-Author unknown

One of my favorite bookshops in Perth is the 'Inspiration Factory' in Subiaco. I hardly ever leave the place without a purchase. Just last Saturday, Ming, the girls and I were spending the afternoon in Subi - Ming had decided to give Badminton a miss and just hang out with us. We've all been so busy with our own stuff ever since we came back from our holiday, so I guess it seemed appropriate for us all to put everything aside and just spend some time together, just the four of us. We grabbed some lunch at Nippon, got lured into a couple of stores displaying their "Up to 70% off everything" sales banners before we settled down for some drinks at Dome. We talked about so many things - how Ming can spend more time with me before I looked for his replacement in the form of a Gorgeous, Romantic Korean man (wink, wink), we teased Chloe relentlessly about her new boyfriend 'A', we laughed, we cried (from laughing so much) and we ironed out a few 'issues' that have been bothering us.

Then, we made our way to the 'Inspiration Factory'. Being there was like taking a breath of fresh air. I came across a book I hadn't seen before, 'Blossom - Affirmations for Personal Growth' by Janine Brown. After flipping a couple of pages of the book, I knew I couldn't let it go. I just loved it so much - there were so many quotes that were my own believes, and some that I wanted to believe in and embrace. The virtue of Generosity, the act of giving and sharing is a reward in itself because it brings so much joy to it's recipients. I came across a post on 'Green Tea Sweets' - Cookies that looked like jeweled-encrusted pieces of Jade in Foodbeam last week and couldn't help reading on. The recipe for these beautiful cookies won Kelli Bernard of Amai Tea and Bake House the Finalist Award for Best Bakery Recipe in's 2007 Golden Scoop Awards, and Kelli was generous enough to share her recipe with the whole world via her blog Lovescool.

These Matcha cookies have been the delight of so many Food Bloggers all over the globe since the release of it's recipe last year that I couldn't resist giving it a go myself, especially too, after my success with the Matcha Macarons last year. Besides reducing my oven temperature to 160 degrees celsius (fan-forced) and using salted butter, I followed Kelli's recipe closely. Oh, and I decided to use a Love Heart cookie cutter instead of a leaf-shaped one. After all, giving , sharing and love are inter-connected! The result was a distinctively Aromatic and buttery cookie with a delicate crumb.The slight bitterness of the matcha was complimented by the pretty sugar coating.

Matcha Love Hearts (Green Tea Sweets)

Yield : Approx 25 2' Love Heart Cookies

3/4 cup/ 2.25 oz/ 64 g Icing sugar
5 oz/142 g Salted butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup/ 8.5 oz/ 241 g All-purpose flour
3 Large egg yolks
1.5 TBS Matcha (powdered green tea)
1 cup Granulated sugar (for coating)

* Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F( 160C fan-forced). Line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
* Whisk the icing sugar and green tea together in a bowl.
* Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until combined and smooth.
* Add the flour and mix until well combined.
* Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
* Form the dough into a disk and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes
* Roll the dough out to ½” thickness.
* Cut the dough with a Love Heart cookie cutter.
* Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
* Place the sugar-coated cookie on the lined cookie sheet and bake at 180C/ 350F( 160C fan-forced) for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.

Kelli Bernard and the team at Amai Tea and Bake House recommend that these cookies be served with light and sweet white teas or an aromatic Oolong.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Singapore 2008!

Boat Quay - by Sudharshan Murthy

About 2 months before our holiday, I received a very heart warming e-mail from my Best Friend Miti. It reads like this:

'I’ve got an assignment in Hong Kong on the dates that you'll be here and Eugene will bring the kids over to meet me . I would like for you, Ming and the girls to stay atmy new place. I guarantee that you’ll like it. It’s only a 10 minute walk from the MRT station. You and Ming can use my room and the girls can either share a room if they like or they can use the kid’s rooms. Call it house-sitting!

When you stay here, you do not need to bring anything … not even your toothbrushes . My domestic helper will be here, she will change the bed sheets, clean after you and even feed you. Just tell Ani (her name), I would like Assam Pork, Gado-Gado and Onde Onde for dinner … she’ll know what to do! There’s no need to have the keys as Ani will be home except for Sunday. You can get the keys from her if you like. Feel free to use our home like it's your own and tell Ani if there's anything else you might need.

Some facts about my place –

There are 5 bedrooms plus 1 maid’s room.

3 bathrooms and plus one toilet.

You can use the computers, they're in the office on the third floor

The supermarket is 10 minutes walk from my place

Get the Car Keys from Ani if you would like to use the car

There's a Bus Stop just outside our place too

The swimming pool is right at the door step, there’s a gym as well.

The kitchen is open concept – you can cook whatever you like, we have both outdoor and indoor cooking. It’s usually well stocked; you can get your milk and eggs from the supermarket when they run out, or you can send Ani to get it.

Since my kids are all young, they are perfectly happy to bunk in with us on the floor – we have loads of extra mattresses and they love sleepover parties! So,there’s no need for you to move when we return from our trip. We’ve got enough room for everyone. I think I’ve covered everything … let me know what else you need.
Happy house sitting!

Love, Miti '

Wouldn't you just LOVE to have a friend like this? A Friend like Miti is like a Hug from God. Coincidently we were making accommodation arrangements when she so generously offered us to stay in her home, and what a home it is!

The main entrance opens up to the pools

Paige, enjoying a snack after a dip in the pool

Chloe and Paige - what are they doing??!

This is THE life!

Paige sure knows how to relax..

How to make 'Lemper' - 'Lemongrass infused Glutinous Rice wrapped around Spicy Chicken. Ani is a great cook! We enjoyed 3 meals prepared by her this trip.

Ani wrapping up the 'Lemper' for our tea time treat..


Our favorite place to eat when we're out and about shopping is at the 'Food Republic' . We've been to two of these chain food courts so far, one with a ' yesteryear village' simulation theme and the other with an 'old library' theme.

Deciding where to go after a satisfying meal at Food Republic, Suntec City

Don't you just love the colors in this pic?

Paige and I posing for a photo. Notice the 'books' behind us? This Food Republic chain is the one with the 'Old Library' theme. Very cosy indeed..

A Roast Chicken Rice set

Beef Bulgogi

Chicken Bibimbap

'Loh Bak'- an assortment of fried snacks

Singapore Laksa

Notice the 'Old Village' theme decor? I love those colored shutters..

What about the suspended antique Bicycles and Bird Cages? Cool, huh?


Ming and I

What do you do when you meet up with relatives? Eat Of course! Ming's uncle who is an ardent Fishing and Boating fan, invited us to the Singapore Yacht Club for Dinner one evening. The Dinner was great - we got to 'hand-pick' our seafood and have it cooked the way we wanted. I didn't take any photos of the food though, I thought it would be rude to let everybody wait while I positioned their food this way and that while I snapped. After dinner as the sun was setting, I excused myself from the table and took these shots..

The Yacht Club Restaurant


This is what serenity looks like

So peaceful..

Again, Ahhh...

The pool by the restaurant

Can someone help me with this caption? I don't really want to say 'Ahhh..' again

Wouldn't you like to spend an evening here?

Paige came looking for mommy

The girls dipping their feet

On our last trip here, we had the pleasure of meeting the Gorgeous Annette Tan of 'Greedy Goose'. This trip, Annette invited us over to her place for Dinner - she cooked up a storm of the yummiest Peranakan fare, a Eurasian Devilled Curry, A Berry Clafoutis (?) and served up flavor after flavor of the most beautiful home-made ice-creams! We had the privilege of meeting Mervin, Annette's very cute and youthful-looking partner, her good friend Deborah and her lovely, lovely critters Ralph and Oxford.

The Feast..

Annette and the girls

Annette, the girls and the frolicking hounds!

The great thing about going to S'pore is that I get to catch-up with old friends. I've known Yean , Dee and Stefan since my school days. We met for Dinner at 'Bayang' , an Indonesian restaurant in Clarke Quay and later for coffee and cake at 'Nectarie'.

We passed a quirky looking bar on the way to Dinner - 'C Clinic'- all the seats are either wheelchairs or hospital bed look-alike thingys. What a strange concept!

See what I mean?

Another Bar - this time a Moroccan Shisha Bar. Don't you just love the lighting at the entrance?

A group of Latin Dancers at the Samba Lounge (I forget the name)posing for a shot

Here we are at our Dinner venue - 'Bayang' which means 'shadows'

The 'Shadow Puppets' at 'Bayang'

The girls on the left, then across, Ming, Dee and Yean sitting at the far end

Most of us ordered this - Spicy Grilled Chicken

Ming's order of 'Bebek Panggang' - Grilled Duck

Paige's favorite side dish - Stirfriend Sambal Kangkong (Watercress). Behind that are our drink orders of 'Chendol' and Avacado shakes

My little poser, Paige

Our Dessert Venue, 'Nectarie'

My Good Buddie, Stefan, Ming and I

Say 'Cheese'!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

Mango Mousse Cake

Raspberry and Gianduja Mousse

New York Cheesecake

There are two other people that I adore in Singapore and they are Stefan's Dad and Mom, Chee Nan and Mei Ho. They are like parents to me. This time around, Uncle Chee Nan was out of town but I managed to pay Aunty Mei a visit..

The girls, Aunty Mei and I at Aunty Mei's 'Heartroom Gallery' in Owen Road near Farrer Park MRT. Mei Ho is a Brilliant Folk Artist. She conducts folk art painting classes at the gallery and does pieces on commission. Proceeds from the sale of her work goes to the Church. She's an AMAZING lady and a great inspiration to me.

The girls showing off their gifts from Aunty Mei

Two days before I left Singapore, Miti returned from her trip to Hong Kong and we did what two best friends do. We hung out, went for a massage, and had meals together. We didn't get to visit 'Lodger' (Roger) my Reflexologist in China Town this time around though, which is unfortunate, but I will make a point of doing so on our next trip.

Miti and I

Miti and her wonderful doting husband, Eugene

We had dinner at the 'Soup Restaurant'. Unfortunately we only remembered to take photos of two of the dishes we had. This is their Signature Homemade Egg Tofu.

Stewed Pork Ribs

This concludes my report on my Singapore vacation. I hope you've enjoyed reading this post. Loading so many photos was a pain in the bum! Have a great weekend, everyone!