Thursday, September 29, 2016

Baker's Corner: Cherry Buttermilk Cake

I made this cake for my in-laws who were in town last month. I was looking for a simple tea-time cake recipe that incorporated fruit and wasn't too sweet.

The original recipe calls for fresh raspberries but unluckily, I didn't get any at the nearby grocery store. I however, did spot a box of fresh US cherries that was on sale at an unprecedented low price. Normally cherries are pretty expensive in Singapore so I scooped them up immediately.

This is one of the easiest cakes y'all will ever bake you guys. I didn't even incorporate the step-by-step photos coz I didn't think it was necessary....a child could pull it off! Moreover, it is likely that you will have most of the ingredients at home. This cake is a great canvas for any kind of berry - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or cherries. And what's even better is that you don't need to buy store-bought buttermilk. Making your own is a cinch (refer notes at the end). 

Keep in mind that this cake isn't very sweet since I modified the recipe to ensure it turned out that way. If you prefer your cakes on the sweeter side, you can dust the cake with icing sugar after the cake has cooled down or even go a step further and serve it with vanilla bean or a berry-flavoured ice-cream.

Easy-peasy and tastes good. I hope you don't need any more convincing to try it out! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

75CL - Singapore's Leading Online Wine Destination

Invited Review

If you know me well, then you probably are aware that alcohol and I don't share a very good equation. Probably not the best opening line for this particular blog post but hear me out, will ya? See....for the longest time, I wasn't able to acquire the taste for it and it didn't agree with me either. But over the years, I have had my fair share of alcoholic beverages that I have developed a fondness for. And although, I am primarily a cocktails kinda gal, I do make an exception to the occasional wine. I don't mind a glass of wine on social occasions or special events. I am partial towards light or medium-bodied white wines that have refreshing and fruity characteristics.

When I was invited for a personalized wine tasting by the good folks at 75CL, I was a bit hesitant since I didn't know if I was the right person to write a review given my lack of expertise in the area. But I've always had a fascination for the science behind wine and winemaking (it's called oenology apparently). Not to mention, the art of wine appreciation has been a secret desire too (it makes for great dinner party conversation!) so I accepted. On one laidback Saturday afternoon, I headed out to the wine tasting lab. I asked a wine enthusiast friend to tag along so she could help provide more insight into the tasting experience. is an up-and-coming e-commerce wine store in Singapore. was previously know as The Wine Gallery. It was re-branded with a focus on e-commerce to provide customers with hassle free wine buying experience online. They offer free same day wine delivery to ensure that their customers don't have to wait too long for their wine. 75CL imports their wines from a curated selection of International producers and family-owned wineries and sells them directly to customers, thereby stripping away the extra retail cost that comes with the middleman. This gives them a competitive edge over other wine sellers by offering a wide range of quality wines at affordable prices.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in wine, especially with regards to wine and food pairing. The aim of 75CL is to make wine more accessible to the general public and to shirk the snob factor of wines. They are geared to promote wine as an easy-drinking tipple, which can be paired with many of the local Singaporean dishes which can be found at hawker centres.

Many would agree that it is hard to purchase quality wines without tasting them first. There is a chance that you will end up paying big bucks for a bottle you don't fancy. And if you are hosting a major event, the worry of your guests not liking the selection of wines becomes amplified. To help their customers understand the different wines available and test if a particular wine suits their palate before purchase, 75CL recently launched their state-of-the-art wine tasting lab. The tasting lab features over 56 premium wines from countries like France, Italy, Spain, Argentina and more, which can be tasted by walk-in customers on a daily basis. They also host wine masterclasses at the space which are conducted in a casual and light-hearted manner. Right from the casual social wine drinker to the sophisticated wine connoisseur - everyone is welcome!

First thoughts that popped into my mind on entering the wine tasting lab was that this company means serious business! You will be compelled to gawk at their extensive collection of wines. The space is roomy, elegant and eye-catching with beautifully arranged displays of wines from all over the world.

The faces behind 75CL are welcoming, friendly and easygoing. They make you feel comfortable, provide you with all the information on their wines and make helpful recommendations when needed.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Recipe of the month: Onion Tomato Chutney

In contrast to my usual style, this recipe post is going to be short. I promise!

This is a savoury chutney recipe I stumbled upon three years ago on one of the food blogs that I religiously follow. I happened to be bored of the usual coconut-based chutney and all its subtle variations for idli, dosa and the likes of it so I was on the lookout for a different kind of accompaniment. Once I arrived at this recipe, I glanced at the ingredients and procedure and it looked enticingly uncomplicated. It turned out great and me and the husband were hooked onto it. Once I started making this chutney, it went on to become a regular in our household. I used to make the traditional coconut chutney while making idli, dosa, uttapam and guliappa but now I have added this vibrant onion tomato chutney to the list of must-have side dishes to go along!

This chutney is onion-based and has only five major ingredients. It comes together very easily, is lip-smacking delicious and keeps in the fridge easily for up to four days. Although it is ideally meant for serving with the above-mentioned South Indian breakfast dishes, it can be also used as a sandwich spread. I use it in grilled cheese sandwiches and I swear it is the bomb! 

Try this chutney and you will realize that I speak the truth!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Taking On a New Role....

I wasn't sure if I wanted to express the thoughts and feelings that have been swirling like a tempest within me lately. But I changed my mind when I realized it may serve some usefulness in the event that my readers wonder about the sudden lull in blog entries that only seems imminent at this point in time. 

To cut a long story short, my 21-month stint as a stay-at-home-mom came to an end last month as I re-joined the workforce. I have been working full-time as a Research Associate in the field of biomedical science (just as I was before I became a mom), but only in a different institute.

First things first - I tend to sit on the sidelines of the ugly mommy wars. What works for one woman might not work for another. There is no right or wrong in this struggle for 'supremacy' and I am inclined to think that every mother has her child's best interests at heart. Personally speaking, I've always known that a break from work would be a temporary thing. Being at home long-term is not a viable option because it'll never be enough for me. I cannot completely abandon that side of me that has studied/worked so hard all my life. I crave the sense of self-worth I get from working, the security of financial independence, the challenge of solving work-related problems and the stimulation of professional interaction. But when motherhood came calling, I made up my mind that come what may, I wouldn't consider getting back to work before my twins were 18 months old. I needed time to bond with my them one-on-one and build a strong foundation of love and trust. Yes, I did worry if time away from work would undermine my career but I put aside my fears and set my priorities in order. In hindsight, I'm so glad I did what felt was right to me. I can sense the impact my constant presence has had on my girls so far in terms of behavioural, emotional and intellectual growth. That was the driving force that kept the urge of my returning to work at bay and made my time at home so worthwhile.  

The past few months have seen a whirlwind of activity. After my little ones turned 18 months old, I knew my self-imposed deadline was up and I had to start scouting for employment opportunities. I had turned a bit rusty by then and went about it at snail's pace, not really convinced that I would land a job immediately. But as fate would have it, I received a job offer right after my first interview (so much for all my worries!). It was unexpected, exciting and a little daunting at the same time. There were so many things that needed to be sorted before I started work but by god's grace, everything fell into place in quick succession. We hired an experienced full-time domestic helper, registered the kids in a nearby playgroup and made arrangements for my in-laws to stay with us for a month during the time I commenced work in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. Subsequently, I felt much more at ease and just three months short of my children's 2nd birthday, geared up to take on my dual responsibility.