Read. Do. Make. Eat. 28.8.2015

Cooking, Eating Out, Stuff to do, Thoughts

Eat some ice-cream. Here.

Eat some ice-cream. Here.

Read.

SO cute AND helpful. This writer followed her Mom around Costco and this is what she learned.

Good looking people share the contents of their fridge. What? Why? Because they’re good looking and that makes me care.

Do.

It’s the last weekend of the Singapore Night Festival – gotta love it when people try to marry the (supposed) mundanity of museums with the novelty of staying out past your bedtime.

Practice your (insert language here).

Make.

Banh MI. BANH Mi. BANH MI.

Eat.

This chocolate bar.

The SGD18++ six-plate degustation pasta with wine at Bottura. Can you say value for money?

A parting thought – what do you guys think about cookbooks? I think they’re beautiful but I never use them – I either find recipes on the Interweb, make something up or call my Mom.

Super Loco

Eating Out, Flash Restaurant Review
Super Huevos Rancheros (SGD 20) and the Taco de Desayuno (SGD7) with a side of baconnn

Super Huevos Rancheros (SGD 20) and the Taco de Desayuno (SGD7) with a side of baconnn

What: A beautiful restaurant perched in a very trendy part of the already very trendy Robertson Quay.

Pros: The breeze in your hair and pretty people errwhere. Their food is pretty good, like I enjoyed my breakfast taco, but it’s not as good as the price or the ambiance of the restaurant suggests.

Cons: I had their Sparkling Yuzu Margarita (SGD17) which sounded like it would taste like a party in my mouth but was at very best, passable.

Verdict: I would say… don’t go. The food is better at their sister restaurant Lucha Loco and if you want good food on the river… make yourself a tasty sandwich and sit on the steps in the quay.

Details:
Super Loco
60 Robertson Quay
6235 8900

Goi Ga AKA Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Recipes

Yummmm

So, DiniBlini, is still a food blog in it’s essence. Just that I haven’t been repping that side of it that hard, recently.

PZ sent me a picture of some amazing risotto she had made a couple of weeks ago – which she had served with what looked like an enticing salad.

Since I’ve never met a salad I don’t like I was all “Hayyyy what’s that? Is it tasty? Can I get the recipe??”

PZ obliged and sent me her version – which I promptly adapted – and messed up.

The first time round I made it, it looked like this:

Goi Ga close-up

Goi Ga close-up

Which is to say – it was GORGEOUS but I forgot to put sugar in the dressing and left the onions I had marinated in vinegar on the counter and didn’t put it in the salad. I also added the quinoa which I had prepared to make it a full meal on the counter and only added it after I was halfway through. Which made me sad. It also made me hate my counter.

The second day I prepared the salad – I was ready. Onions went in! Honey (I didn’t feel like sugar), went in! Quinoa went in! And it was great. This was a salad on a budget (Let’s face it Chinese cabbage is a lot cheaper than those mixed salad leaves) and it does a body (and wallet) good.

Serves 2 – or 1 hungry girl, twice

Protein
1 chicken thigh
1/4 tsp salt
olive oil

Salad
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 – 3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 head of Chinese cabbage, about 500gm, quartered, cored and cut crosswise into 1/4″ ribbons
1 carrot, peeled and finely shredded
1/2 bunch chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
1/2 cup cooked quinoa

Dressing
1 to 2 chillies, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
Pinch of salt
1 tsp honey
4 Tbsps fish sauce
2 Tbsps lime juice
3 Tbsps water

Protein
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

Toss the chicken with a bit of olive oil.

Lay it on the grill bit and bake for 20 to 30 minutes – flipping once halfway through.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Chop into bite sized chunks.

Original recipe: Fill saucepan half full of water, add salt, let the water reach a rolling boil on high heat, and drop in the chicken. When the water bubbles at the edges, remove from the heat, cover tightly and let it stand 20 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve the stock for another use. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it by hand and let cool to room temperature.

Dressing
Pound the chili, garlic and salt into a paste. Scrape into a bowl and add the honey, fish sauce, lime juice and water. Combine well.

Salad
Place the sliced onion in a small bowl, add enough white vinegar to cover the slices and let sit for 15 minutes.

Drain the onion, add it to the chicken, along with the cabbage, carrot, coriander/cilantro and quinoa.

Toss the salad with the dressing just before serving.

Weekend Hangover

Life, Thoughts

DRANK!

DRANK!

As I sit here typing this – it’s lunch time and I’m halfway through the day. So far I’ve been doing the daily tasks that I need to complete, I am facing an unexpected finance department complication and I have been adding about one new thing to my to-do list per hour.

I have also decided that this is the best time to question my wardrobe choices, the general direction of my life and of course, where I went wrong in everything I have ever done.

Now this is what you call a weekend hangover.*

When your weekend is SO much fun that the mundanity and actual normalcy of real life makes you feel like there’s something wrong.

Calm down. Drink some very delicious coffee and just slowly get your work done and wrap your head around not being overly excited. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing.

Also remind yourself, the next weekend is only in five days.

* DISCLAIMER: I am not suffering from real hangover, only a weekend hangover brought upon by fun hiking, running, fooding and friending.

Blocked and Loaded

Thoughts, Wisdom

On the cusp of... texting

On the cusp of… texting

HI!

So I haven’t been writing because I… just don’t feel like it.

I am / my phone is full of pictures, stories, reviews and more and I… just want to not deal with ANY of it.

I think, my friends, this is what you call a rut. I’m in a creative rut and rather than work it out by myself I have decided to air out my not-so-dirty laundry here.

1. I’m in a rut because after a truly exciting and fun birthday (I dragged out celebrations for about one week because #imworthit) a return to normalcy feels a little too normal. Where is my 10th birthday cake? Why aren’t people randomly hugging me anymore? Does this mean I get no more free wine?

2. I’m a rut because a close friend moved away for her PhD – and I miss her. I used to be able to completely deal with saying goodbye to a friend, especially having moved so much as a kid, but the older I get the more I realize I am not the Tin Man. Which is super annoying.

3. I’m in a rut because I have SO many projects to start on – that I don’t know where to start. Do I re-start my failed scrap booking project? Do I start reading about and implementing the terrifying KonMarie method? Do I finally keep the promise I made to myself and readers to amp up the blog with better photography – using the gazillion props my friends have gifted me over my past two brithdays (IGETTHEHINT).

I feel like I am on the cusp of doing some great stuff and yet something, specifically my mind, is holding me back.

Still I know the only solution to this rut, and to most other problems – imaginary or real – that I might have, is to get my head out of my ass and get on with it.

Actually after writing this, I’m already feeling a little less blocked. Excuse the imagery.

Weighed, measured, and found AWESOME

Life, Thoughts, Wisdom, Work

This post is the first time I have gotten a request to write about something specific.

In this case a friend asked me “So when’s your next blog post?”

“I dunno – tomorrow?” (This was yesterday)

“Cool.”

“What do you want it to be about?”

“Overcoming crippling feelings of inadequacy?”

As I mulled that over I was all – shit how am I going to write about that? I don’t feel inadequate – like EVER. Remember, I’ve said before that I suffer from hubris?

But then I started thinking – maybe it’s not that I don’t feel inadequate. Maybe it’s that I just don’t think about it enough and I don’t let whatever feelings I have, prevent me from doing anything.

This resilience comes from a having a relatively rough childhood – when you combine doting parents, gullibility and pudginess – you get a combo that bullies cannot resist. For most of my pre-pubescent life I was ridiculed for my weight, was no where close to the cool kids’ table and was generally a try-hard. But in school I did really well. My grades were high, I kissed-ass like no other and the feedback from teachers was nothing short of glowing. I continued in this vein till now, sometimes succeeding in school, sometimes succeeding socially and now I’ve kind of got a place at work and with friends that I really like.

Still sometimes, when I’m faced with a peer who makes more than me or friends in long-standing, stable relationships – I begin to wonder, what’s wrong with me?

I think it might be that very question, that holds me back. If I’m wondering about what’s wrong with me, or as the Internet defines inadequacy – what’s lacking in quality about me or insufficient or wanting, how can I perform or be present and do whatever it is I need to do? If I constantly think I’m not up to the task or not worthy of something – how will I ever achieve it? That’s self-fulfilling prophecies for you – the eternal annoying as hell chicken and egg situation.

So there isn’t any real solution to overcoming feelings of inadequacy. BUT I think it’s important not to let feelings or perceptions of inadequacy cripple you, especially when you need to perform. I have three suggestions for overcoming this:

1. Be confident in yourself and your abilities by doing the work that is needed to be confident. Basically over prepare. This isn’t my advice, this is from Mindy Kaling.

2. I’m not going to go on this you’re totally adequate and you can do anything rant, because if you were able to convince yourself of that you wouldn’t need this. Instead it’s always helpful to me to imagine that most people are like me and also go through bouts of feeling inadequate and are still generally able to make it in their career, love and life. So you don’t have to beat anyone. You just have to join them.

3. Just do whatever it is that you need to do because what’s the worst thing that could happen? If you’re suffering from nerves before a first day or work or need to make a presentation or need courage to text someone, but think you’re not qualified or a shitty public speaker or not hot enough (OH THE STRUGGLE!), let me just ask, “What’s the worse thing that could happen?” In all these scenarios, you could stumble and mess up and be embarrassed as HELL and it really won’t matter – in the grand scheme of things. So get over yourself and get on with it.

Etna

Eating Out, Flash Restaurant Review

 

Ciriole alla Norcina at SGD28 yo

Ciriole alla Norcina at SGD28 yo

What: Tiny, classy, Italian joint in the Duxton area.

Pros: The food is spot-on. We ordered this antipasti which was this gorgeous burrata, rocket and tomato thing and it made me completely forget I had a fake cheese allergy. My pasta (pictured above) was delicious as well, if a little heavy.

Cons: I would not have visited this place – had it been on someone else’s tab (it was my boss – haHA) – that gorgeous antipasti was SGD45 and the pastas are on the pricey side too.

Verdict: I would say, go if someone else is paying – hear me out – the food is good but you can get similar at Pasta Brava AND it’s in a far more charming space.

Details:
Etna
49-50 Duxton Road
Singapore 089513
6220 5513 

29 and counting

Life, Thoughts, Wisdom
Five years old and surrounded by Barbie Dolls #blessed

Five years old and surrounded by Barbie Dolls #blessed

I am turning 29 pretty soon (TOMORROW!).

29 feels older, not old, but definitely older.

I don’t know what it is but I don’t feel as frenetic as before. I know I would like to change certain things about my behavior/personality but I know that it will take time. I know I’ve got to work on my career but again, time, luck and a little/a lot of hard work, should get me there. I know I want to continue to cultivate the relationships I have with friends and family but I also know that time will change the nature of these relationships and that’s okay too.

So this year, I have a few birthday resolutions but it’s with an in-breath and an out-breath that I genuinely know that these are aspirations for the next year and yeah I’ll probably do them all. But I should be kind to myself in the process. Can you tell I’ve been doing yoga?

So let’s look at last year’s birthday resolutions and I’ve gotta say I did it all except the volunteering bit. Which is pretty shit. But you know at least I can sleep now and I’m quite bendy – which takes me into my resolutions for this year.

1. Build on my YOGA practice

One of my resolutions last year was to start doing yoga regularly and I cannot tell you how CRAZY different my body and mind are before and after I started. It’s not like I’ve suddenly turned into a crazy hot yogi (not that I would mind looking like her) but I’m much stronger physically, sitting-at-the-computer-related pain is a thing of the past and I’m much more positive about my body image. I haven’t achieved a state of zen either but I am able to sleep better and I can let stuff go. If you know me – you know that’s crazy. So, maybe yoga didn’t take away my anxiety but it helps me channel it or deal with it better. Whatever it is, yoga has changed my life and I want to keep building on my practice and making it a daily part of my life.

2. Curb excessive-ness

I wrote a post last week about how I wanted to let go of excessive shopping this coming year and I realized it’s more than that. I want to let go of excessive-ness and it’s not that I want to go minimalist either – coz that sure as hell didn’t work for me. Instead, this next year I want to work on a) curbing the amount of superfluous shopping I do b) curbing the amount of excessive eating I do and c) curbing the amount of over-exercising that I do. Superfluous shopping is hard on my wallet, my sanity and the planet. Excessive eating, especially when it’s fried or unhealthy food is just well, unnecessary. And over-exercising has led me to feel terrible and also look terrible from exhaustion. It’s time I took a breath and was more mindful about what I buy, eat and do.

3. Focus more time AND energy on the blog

I love this blog. I haven’t made money from it but it has enriched my soul and it has been an outlet when I desperately needed one. I love how it has changed the way I view food. I love that it’s brought me closer to people both through the Cooking with column and also just through readership feedback. And I love that it helps me clear my mind. I think it’s time that I devote a little bit more time to the content, look and feel and more than anything else, the pictures that I curate for this blog. Photography isn’t something I’m particularly good at but I know that if I get a decent camera and work on it I can do better. And in this visual day and age, that’s going to count for a lot.

So there you have it – three resolutions for my last year as a twenty-something year old. Wish me luck!

Pita and Olives

Eating Out, Flash Restaurant Review
The vegetarian platter with additional kebabs!

The vegetarian platter with additional kebabs!

What: Teeny-tiny Israeli restaurant located in 100 AM mall.

Pros: The food is delicious, healthy (ish) and comforting. I felt like we were eating in someone’s home. I also loved their smoky baba ghanoush (top-most, middle, green mush) and kept going back to it for just a little more, just a little more.

Cons: The ambiance is non-existent. The food is clearly pre-prepared and then heated up and given to you when you order it. I mean it’s good – but I’m just saying it’s like the opposite of fancy.

Verdict: It’s a good option for Mediterranean food in Singapore – and it’s healthy too. Go with good friends (BECAUSE YOU CAN’T TAKE ANYONE ELSE) and enjoy!

We paid about SGD45 for two people (platter, 3 orders of meat and drinks – we over-ordered, clearly). By the way, I stole the idea of putting the total amount spent from the awesome Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow.

Details:
Pita and Olives
100AM
​100 Tras Street, #03-10
Singapore 079027
6636-3779

Costly Coping Mechanism

Thoughts

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset
I have a confession to make.

When I get stressed out, or bored or feel like my life is out-of-control – I shop.

I go out and buy new clothes. I shop for food in grocery stores, specialty grocery stores, on health food sites online. I stock up on body care and make-up.

And how do I justify it? I tell myself, I need a wardrobe revamp or that my parents always told me to eat well or that I need those lotions ANYWAY.

I’m never in debt (though there was that one time in college my Dad was pretty understanding…) but I don’t like that it’s something I turn to, to feel in control, or better or distracted. It’s not sustainable (both personally and for the planet) and it’s unnecessary,

As my next birthday draws closer I’m starting to think about how I want my next year to unfold, what habits I want to discard and who I really want to be.

For the most part I am happy with the way I have evolved over the years. For instance:
– I now embrace the fact that I love writing
– Being nice is not a priority
– I’m more comfortable in my skin than before
– And because of the above, my diet is more about health and less about being thin
– I am able to negotiate with the demons in my mind so they don’t take over

So, if I have been able to achieve all of the above – maybe it’s time to take on the one bad habit I have never been able to kick – because I never wanted to address it.

Stop shopping superfluously. Hmm.

Can I stop AFTER my birthday?