Monday, January 28, 2019

A Family Picnic to Upper Seletar Reservoir, Singapore


This post is long overdue!

I had made up my mind to blog about all the places in Singapore that are worth visiting. Both the popular tourist hotspots as well as the quieter, off-the-beaten-track kind of places. This post identifies with the latter category.

So, last year, a few months before the twins fourth birthday, we bought them their first ever bicycles. They were elated beyond measure! We were in Decathlon for about two hours and ended up emerging from the store with much more than just two bicycles and helmets 😆🙈 It took some convincing to impress upon the girls the necessity of wearing helmets but since the ones they chose were pink (it obviously had to match their pink and very girly bicycles!), they eventually consented. Both bicycles had training wheels and we felt like we should give the girls a reasonable amount of time getting used to the bicycles before taking the training wheels off.

After getting the hang of it a couple of times in one of the deserted visiting car parks within our condo premises, we wanted to take the girls outdoors for a more fun riding experience. The big question was…where? The answer came to us fairly quickly. One of the best things about Singapore is the abundance of well-maintained parks, park connectors, walkways, cycling tracks and open green spaces where you can take the kids out to play or cycle. It was the husband who suggested Upper Seletar Reservoir. Having never been there before, I was keen to visit. 

We decided to go on a weekend morning and I put together a hearty picnic brunch to keep the family happy and energized. We crammed the bicycles into the boot of the car and set off on the (fortunately) relatively short drive. 

The Seletar Reservoir was built in 1920 and officially opened by HRH, Princess Alexandra in 1969. In 1992, it was renamed as the Upper Seletar Reservoir and went on to become a marked historic site.The 15-hectare park features  iconic rocket-shaped viewing tower, and is a frequent venue for joggers, walkers and fishing enthusiasts.



Today, the Upper Seletar Reservoir is one of the four reservoirs that borders Singapore's nature reserves. The other reservoirs are the MacRitchie Reservoir, the Lower Peirce Reservoir, and the Upper Peirce Reservoir.



I had no preconceived notions in my mind of how the park was going to be so I was glad to see the road leading away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into more green and peaceful territory. We pulled into the parking lot and were a little surprised to see a mob of long-tailed macaques sauntering about. The girls squealed with excitement and if I hadn't restrained them, would have surely made a beeline for them! 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Recipe of the month: Aloo Soya Ki Subzi (Potato and Soya Chunks Curry)

Presenting the first recipe post of 2019! This recipe is new territory for me and I am pleased that I have kick started the year by going out of my comfort zone 😄

Soya chunks or Soybean protein can be considered a "complete protein" since it provides all of the essential amino acids for human nutrition. Soy chunks are suitable for vegetarians, vegans and lactose-intolerant and hence, popularly used as a substitute for poultry and meat. Surprisingly, soya chunks have been reported to have a protein content higher to that of eggs or meat and contain negligible fat. However, there is considerable debate on the health benefits of soy products (especially the more processed varieties) and I am inclined to err on the side of caution and use it in moderation in my future cooking. 

Soya chunks are dry when you purchase them. They need to be reconstituted in water, which causes them to become spongy. Plain soya chunks do not have much flavor at all, but they absorb sauces, spices and flavorings exceptionally well. Soya chunks are inexpensive and easy to cook with. You can use them in salads, stew, soup, curry, rice dishes and stir-fries. On the downside, I've noticed that not everyone is a fan of this product. Some people do not like the smell and/or texture of soya chunks. 

As a mother, I am always concerned that my kids are not getting enough protein from their diet. It is important to me that they consume a balanced diet and incorporating plant-based protein is something I am consciously trying to do. With my little picky-eaters, I have failed with tofu and I'm terrified to even try tempeh and miso 😆 I'll admit I don't have much experience cooking with soya chunks. For some reason, the husband detests them and hence they rarely made an appearance on our dinner table. As for myself, I have a neutral opinion on soya chunks - don't love them but don't hate them either. I remember thoroughly enjoying a soya chunks pulao years ago at a friend's house but then had a bad tasting experience with a side dish sometime later. I picked up a packet from the supermarket recently and thought I'd make something for the kids and see how they react to it. 

This recipe is adapted from a wonderful blog that I have been following. I have made minor adjustments to the recipe to suit my taste. The resulting semi-dry side dish turned out quite good. We enjoyed them with rotis (even the husband sampled some). The good news is that my kids ate it (they declared it was paneer! 😆) and so in future, I will consider occasionally featuring soya chunks in recipes that I make for my kids 😊

Here is the recipe. Hope you like it too!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Chinese New Year Goodies from Poon Confectionery via CNYDelivery.com

Product Review
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Before I start my post, I'd like to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year 2019 😊

I'm happy to starting this year's blog post on a sweet and savoury note! As you all know, Chinese New Year (or CNY for short) is almost around the corner. 

CNY is the most important holiday in Chinese culture. It is a time of celebration, a joyous period for people to come together to celebrate old traditions and look forward to the future. 

Predictably, food is an essential part of CNY celebrations. For many, this is a time when their families would gather around to make delicious snacks and traditional dishes, learn finer cooking skills, and also share recipes. The most important meal of the year is the New Year’s Eve reunion dinner. No matter where they live, all family members must return to their hometown. If they truly can’t, the rest of the family will leave their spot empty and place a spare set of utensils for them. During CNY, a visit to a friend or relative’s house will usually include endless snacking because of which having a plethora of sweet and savoury snacks to offer is a must!

Established in 1971, The Poon Confectionary is one of the oldest makers of homemade tidbits and CNY goodies in the world. They hail from a long line of family bakers, and were famous for Muah Chee and Pineapple Tarts, dating back way before 1971. The Poon Family baked goods from home and sold them at hawker stalls in the streets of Malaysia. In 1971, their first bakery was set up in Pahang, Malaysia, to start retailing. 

In 2018, the Poon Confectionary expanded to Singapore with the help of their partners in Singapore. Keeping in line with the modern trend of buying goods online, they have decided to launch their operations in Singapore on CNYDelivery.com


Staying away from automation and machinery to mass produce goods, Poon Confectionery retained the family tradition of painstakingly making each cookie by hand with only light machinery used.

Poon Confectionery uses wholesome, nutritious ingredients to bake their goodies. Every snack is homemade with care and love. All their traditional CNY goodies are freshly baked before being delivered to their customers. Apparently, they are not stored at all.

The company prides themselves on producing a range of goodies that strictly adhere to the following,
  • No preservatives
  • No added flavouring & MSG
  • Every single cookie is homemade

For the purpose of tasting and review, I was sent four of their top-selling products. I received a circular container each of Pineapple Tarts, Almond Cookies, Green Pea Cookies and Pork Floss Rolls. All the snacks were individually and meticulously packed and delivered on time.