Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Review: Shepherd's Pie Singapore

Today, let's talk savoury pies!

So, when you hear of Shepherd's Pie, the image that conjures in your mind will probably be of a savoury meat-based pie and you would indeed be correct. This humble pie of English origin is a ground meat pie with a crust or topping of mashed potato. But then, you may wonder, are “Shepherd’s Pie” and “Cottage Pie” the same thing? The two terms tend to be thrown about loosely but from a historical perspective, there is a difference. 

If you assumed that Shepherd's Pie may have had something to do with shepherds, then you are not mistaken! Traditionally, Shepherd’s Pies have been made with sheep or lamb meat. It was a resourceful way the wives of the shepherds would reuse leftovers from the previous night's dinner. Earlier recipes for Shepherd’s Pies included unexpected ingredients such as raisins, nutmeg, oranges, currants, and even artichokes. Aside from the lamb which serves as the main protein, Shepherd’s Pies also usually come topped with creamy mashed potatoes. But the mashed potatoes aren't just an afterthought. They can actually determine how good the pie is! Apart from being moist and flavourful, the creamy mashed potato layer ought to stay integrated with the rest of the pie in every bite. 

Unlike a Shepherd's Pie that is made from lamb meat, Cottage Pies contain beef as the main protein. They date further back and it is believed that the term Cottage Pie has been in use since the 1700s. Traditional Cottage Pies did not use potatoes, they instead used other kinds of pastry as toppings, similar to fruit pies. The pastry would line the bottom of the dish and over the meat filling. Cottage Pies were also commonly referred to as mince pies as the meat used were often minced.

Much like its close cousin, Cottage Pies were the invention of housewives to repurpose leftovers. Having originated from a poorer section of England, it was an ingenious way of making sure no meat would be wasted. It served as a meal plan that helped families stretch out their food while still having a hot meal to tuck into.

The global food scene has been constantly evolving. Soon, rustic mashed potatoes started getting replaced by fancier sliced potatoes layered over the meat. Sometimes the sliced potatoes would line the bottom of the dish and as time passed by, the sliced potatoes made an appearance on the top as well as bottom. With all the variations, the lines started getting blurred between Shepherd's and Cottage Pies.

Today, people use both terms interchangeably. The term Shepherd's Pie can now be used to refer to any meat pies – beef, lamb, chicken, etc. To meet the widening dietary requirements, there are even vegetarian versions of the Shepherd's Pie. And much to my astonishment, I even came across a Vegan Shepherd's Pie! Many of such recipes are amazing and have successfully managed to switch out the protein with plant-based goodness while still retaining the yumminess quotient of the pies! 

Shepherd's pie and Cottage pies are a good source of carbohydrates and protein. They are a well-loved symbol of comfort food especially in the West. Easy to put together, wholesome and satisfying, these pies have become a staple for family dinners in many parts of the world. 

In Singapore, the increasing trend of featuring Shepherd's Pie in restaurant menus reflect the growing global popularity of this dish. 

Shepherd's Pie Singapore

Image Source: Shepherd's Pie Singapore

Shepherd's Pie Singapore is an online store that has been around since 2011. They offer classic Shepherd's Pies and some modern twists in-keeping with the times. You can choose from beef, chicken or even vegetarian versions. There are some interesting Mac 'n' Cheese variations. 

If you are craving a comforting Shepherd's Pie, all you have to do is browse the enticing gallery of pies, place an order with the click of a button and sit back and relax while your freshly made, warm pie is brought to your doorstep within 60 minutes. 

They have different kinds of pies and there is something for everyone. 

Image Credit: Owari Photography

I teamed up with Best In Singapore, your one-stop destination for the best deals and trends in Singapore to review Shepherd's Pie Singapore. You can check out their recommendation for the 5 Best Pie Delivery in Singapore

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Fruit Hut: Bringing Nature's Bounty to You!

Review + Recipe + Giveaway

Fruits are nature's bounty that can fulfill our sweet cravings. Fruits are naturally low in fat, calories and contain key nutrients that are beneficial for health. They are a great option for breakfast, snack or dessert. Grab them, wash them, eat them! It does not get more simple than that 😊

Fruits are incredibly versatile. If you don't want to eat them in their natural form, you can turn them into juice, smoothies, dips, chutneys or spreads. You can top them over cereal or a salad. You can turn them into refreshing popsicles for a summer treat. You can put them on skewers and grill them. You can put them in desserts. The sky's the limit really!

My almost-six year old twin daughters have an undeniable sweet tooth. Left to their own devices, they will probably follow their peers and reach for highly processed sugary snacks when hunger pangs strike. As a parent, it is up to me to steer them towards good eating habits to pave the way for sensible food choices during their adulthood and this is a responsibility I take very seriously. Fortunately, the girls have loved fruits since they were babies so I do not put a limit on the amount of fruits they eat in a day. They are used to having a small serving of fruit alongside every meal and sometimes as a snack as well. Needless to say, my bi-weekly grocery trips involve buying copious amounts of fruit! 

But now, especially during these trying Covid-19 times, I try my best to limit my trips to the grocery store. Even though I do a substantial part of our grocery shopping online, I am a traditionalist at heart and prefer to buy fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs myself. I have this fundamental need to see, touch and smell the produce before I deem them worthy of buying! 

But what if you have a dedicated service that offers you a wide selection of premium quality fruits, brings them to your doorstep and even offers a 100% replacement guarantee in case you get a bad fruit....I'd say that is enough to convince me to give it a try! 

For your fresh fruit needs, look no further than The Fruit Hut, Singapore's #1 largest fruit delivery service! This fruit delivery service was brought to my attention by Best In Singapore, your one-click destination for the latest deals and trends in Singapore. 

The Fruit Hut sources an assortment of fruits from around the world. Stone fruits, citrus fruits, berries, tropical fruits, seasonal fruits, even a few types of vegetables are available. 

You have guavas from Taiwan, pomelo, rambutan, dragonfruit and soursop from Malaysia, strawberries, sapphire grapes, nectarines and avocados from Australia, figs from Turkey, kiwis from New Zealand and melons from Spain among many more! 

Image Credit: Owari Photography
Image Credit: Owari Photography

You also have fruits in different shape and forms!

Image Credit: Owari Photography

The reason the fruits from The Fruit Hut are so fresh is because they have a cold room facility which keeps the fruits at their maximum freshness and out of Singapore's warm and humid weather. 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

New Attractions at Madame Tussauds Singapore!

Media Invite

If you have been following my blog, you may have seen an older and extensive blog post on Madame Tussauds Singapore. I have been to the iconic wax museum several times - mostly when we have visitors to Singapore. But just like how Singapore keeps reinventing itself, the attractions within the country follow the same lead to keep visitors engaged and offer something new each time. 

It had been a few years since my last visit to Madame Tussauds Singapore and I got to know that there were new attractions within the museum. Particularly interesting to me were the Marvel 4D Cinema which I knew my kids would enjoy and the VR Racing experience which I thought my husband (a huge Formula 1 fan) would like. 

We headed over to the museum on an extremely gloomy and rainy Saturday afternoon (which turned out to be a good thing for us because the number of visitors dwindled down to a 'barely there' trickle). 

Madame Tussauds Singapore is SG Clean certified so you can rest assured that the museum commits to upholding good sanitation and hygiene practices. There is SafeEntry check in, temperature scanning and hand disinfection protocols at the entrance. And in-keeping with government regulations, wearing a mask is compulsory. Also, since the museum is spread out into different zones, maintaining physical distancing is definitely possible even when the museum is crowded. 

The general admission ticket includes 5 experiences - Images of Singapore, Ultimate Film Star Experience, the Spirit of Singapore Boat Ride, Madame Tussauds Museum, and Marvel 4D Cinema. The VR Racing experience is not included in this so if you want to check it out, a separate ticket is required. 

On entering the museum, I immediately noticed that the layout of the exhibits had been altered from what I remembered last.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Enjoy Superfood at Home: Açaí Delivery in Singapore

In the age of social media and food trends, I would be surprised if you haven't heard of Açaí. You may have come across images of the vibrant purple smoothie bowls laden with a multitude of nutritious toppings doing the rounds on your Facebook or Instagram feeds. I don't know about you but for me, they are very hard to ignore!

Açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-EE) berries are a Brazilian "superfruit." They are native to the Amazon region where they serve as a staple food and are harvested from Açaí palm trees. It is said that tribes of the Amazon rainforest have been using açaí berries to treat various ailments for thousands of years. 

To make them edible, these berries are soaked to soften the tough outer skin and then mashed to form a dark purple paste. Fresh açaí berries have a short shelf life and aren't available outside of where they are grown. As an export, they are sold as a frozen fruit purée, dried powder or pressed juice. They have an earthy taste that is often described as a cross between blackberries and unsweetened chocolate.

In recent years, these berries have gained global popularity and are touted for being particularly beneficial to health and well-being. Açaí berries most powerful health benefits come from plant compounds. The most notable one among these is anthocyanins, which gives this fruit their deep purple color and act as antioxidants which neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals in the body. There are other alleged health benefits such as improving cholesterol levels, anti-cancer properties, boosting brain function and hydrating the skin but these haven't been conclusively proven. 

I had my first açaí bowl a few years ago and I was absolutely blown away by how good it tasted! I soon introduced to my family and my twins especially love it! Pssst.....they think it is chocolate pudding (and I haven't bothered to correct them!). 

Best In Singapore

We usually try to discover ways to increase the quality of our lives, not only for our individual selves but also for our friends and families right? What if I tell you that the 'best things in Singapore' are just a finger-click away? That is exactly what Best In Singapore strives to do. And don't worry, by 'best', it doesn't mean, the most expensive or the most exclusive. It means well-researched, tested and informative articles on various resources ranging from food, beverages, products and services. Best In Singapore has helpfully compiled a list of Best 7 Açaí bowl delivery in Singapore. You can also check them out on Facebook or Instagram for more great recommendations, reviews, latest deals and trends! 

The Açaí Lab

If you love Açaí bowls but are tired of waiting in lines at crowded outlets with limited seating or concerned that your experience will be drowned by the incessant din of the surroundings then you should consider Açaí Bowl to meet your superfood needs! 

This is an açaí bowl delivery specialist in Singapore. You can order from a variety of delicious açaí bowl selections and you will receive the freshest and carefully packed bowls within 60 minutes which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

At The Açaí Lab, a multitude of purple superfoods are used to create a special, vibrantly purple colored base which enhances the nutrition profile of their bowls. 

Here are some common features of their bowls,

  • Made upon order
  • 100% Natural 
  • GMO-free
  • 7 kitchens operational
  • Island-wide delivery available
Ordering is a cinch you guys! You just go to their website and browse their selection of açaí bowls. You then select the size (medium or large) and then select the drizzle (you can choose from peanut butter, honey, nutella or skip the drizzle entirely). You can also choose to add on a variety of superfoods like chia seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and summer fruits like berries, banana, kiwi, pineapple and mango. Once you are done, all you have to do is provide your address and complete the payment. Then sit back and wait for your bowls of goodness to arrive! 

I ordered three of their medium-sized bowls. The delivery was prompt and the bowls were packed nicely and labelled. 

Here are my thoughts on the three different bowls that I ordered. Full credit to Owari photography for the gorgeous images taken from the website.