Friday, September 6, 2013

Spaghetti Bolognese + Bacon-wrapped scallops

One of my fav US reality tv show is Masterchef. I dunno about other ppl but after watching it, I have the "feel" to cook! Like WOW how nice would it be if I can cook like them... if I have a pantry & masterchef kitchen too. But everytime I look at recipes I REALLY want to try to replicate the dish, but it's so confusing. It says milk. But there's so many diff kinds of milk. Whole milk, skimmed milk, fresh milk or what? Cream: whipped cream, heavy cream, light cream... &... what is creme fraiche? Everytime I come across unfamiliar terms I have to google, I google so much I'm so tired :( And there's measuring which is maddening.

The other day, I just really wanted to cook something... something easy yet delicious. So after breakfast at KFC we went to the supermarket for grocery shopping. When I think of easy I just automatically think of spaghetti. That's the dish Randy taught me in 3min. All you need is a bottle of the pasta sauce, & custom make it to suit your tastebuds w the ingredients you like!

I got whole white button mushrooms, although I don't really like mushrooms cos... I dunno what to add so I got the exact same ingredients Randy got the other time in Cambodia.

Ta-dah! Here's my starters! I had the best, finest, mindblown scallops wrapped w bacon at Coolabah hotel in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. So here is my attempt at trying to replicate it.

First, you pan-fried the bacon. I never used to like bacon. I think it's so hard & salty, but I fell in love w it after Randy made breakfast for me one day :)

Next, seared the scallops w the oil the bacon produced. So no need to add oil.

After it's done, leave it aside & start working on your main course. Add some olive oil (I made my family switch to olive oil for all cooking cos its so much healthier), throw in the chopped mushrooms, & other ingredients like minced pork if you like.

At the same time, cook the pasta in boiling water. The pasta I'm using here is Angel's hair. Sidenote: I'm so clumsy! I cooked my pasta in a saucepot (maybe a tad too small) & expect it to just fall in nicely. So I concentrate on the mushrooms while leaving my pasta to cook. And it got burnt -.- Guess I have zero chance in becoming a Masterchef :(

I get distracted easily while surfing the net. Look I just stopped typing mid-way & spent 45min googling on good cookware. Aluminium vs stainless steel... which brands are good, how to choose etc. *facepalm

Anw back to my burnt pasta. I don't get how anyone can manage to burn pasta damn how stupid can I be. Apparently the spaghetti didn't cook fast enough & got stuck to the pot when it got too hot. But it's ok! Just strain it & remove the burnt strands. No big deal aye?

Then, add the bottle of bolognese sauce (I didn't have a specific brand so I just grabbed the one left on the shelf), stir it w the mushrooms (I also added bacon bits from the bacon I fried earlier), then add the strained pasta & stir it a little longer. Looks pretty decent?

But honestly, it kinda sucked. Mum rated it a 6/10 & said it wasn't bad but I think it's too sour. Nasty even. Oh well I don't really like pasta anyway (mentaiko pasta is exception). The bacon wasn't fried long enough too... it tastes nothing like the one Coolabah made. And it's super salty :(

Overall kinda failed. But I won't give up! Last night I was watching an episode of Masterchef S4 & the challenge was calamari. You got it... now I have the "feel" for cooking calamari. Damn everytime I watch that show it never fails to made me salivate. And I also remember reading an entry on Shiberty's blog about Thai Green Curry so I have the feel to cook that too. Hahaha too much!

I LOVEEEE food. I think it's a great way to share among friends & family too. But it's kinda hard to cook for a v large grp so I'll probably invite small grps of friends to come over for gatherings w my cooking! Meaning be my guinea pig. I promise to put in more effort next time!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Christmas 2012

In this post imma show you guys my kids! Say hi!

Just kidding. They are the kids from the org I volunteered for in Cambodia. Click on the archive on the left to read my posts on the daily life there in Oct.

So. Before coming back to SG in nov, they asked when would I return. I didn't intend to go back so soon cos I want to settle my school stuff once I'm back. They suggested Christmas. And unknowingly I said yes... without hesitation! A promise is a promise, so I planned a week-long trip there. It was also on this trip that I met someone special :) More about that in another post (maybe).

See they're so well-dressed cos it's there's a Christmas party at their school as well :)

How can you do without gifts for Christmas? Thankfully for Jolene, she donated me all her unwanted toys, 3 big bags full of it. Those black trash bags that you use for rubbish bins. Thanks to Dad too who came w me to her house to collect, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to carry all them home.

But carrying 3 luggages to check in at the airport myself is no joke too!

Brought them to The Pizza Company for their Christmas dinner. In Singapore we get fast-food so easily, just a phone call & they'll deliver to your house. Mcdonald's is everywhere, every kid can have a hamburger every week. The thing is fast food to us is really junk food. But in Cambodia, only rich kids can get pizza. These kids probably never eaten pizza in their entire life.

So I set aside money for this Christmas meal for them. But! On Christmas eve, I took a tuktuk & while taking pictures, I wasn't attending to my bag on my lap. A motorcycle zoomed past & snatched it! Along with my wallet, my camera, my Khmer notebook, keys & other stuff. Damn I panicked & for a moment hesitated jumping off the tuktuk to chase. Long story short... of cos it's irretrievable. Luckily I have the habit of putting my passport at the hotel. In the end I had to borrow money from my friend for the meal haha.

That's Pisey teaching me how to dance Gangnam Style above. And my 2 smartest children below.

Playing our gav game :)

As for my Christmas dinner.... I went to Armand's! Finally. I've been wanting to come since Oct but I was on a tight budget then. So I tell myself I MUST come the next time.

You rarely find pan-fried foie gras (how I like it) in Cambodia. You get the real foie gras terrine which tastes SOOOOO GOOD. I was abit apprehensive at first cos the foie gras terrine I ate in SG sucks. But becos Cambodia used to be under the French colony, there's alot of authentic french restaurants. & this one just happened to be opened by a french. Look at Armand himself cooking for us!

On the day I went back to SG, I stopped by the center for awhile. Look! I have xmas gifts too. They even wrote a note on the whiteboard. How sweet of them :)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Merry merry Christmas


How did you guys spend your Christmas? Mine was splendid :)
1st xmas I spent abroad, but it was... the best xmas I've had.

If you all dunno yet, my favourite favourite festive season is Christmas. I loveeeee Christmas, so just by listening to xmas songs, looking these xmas decorations/ornaments around Orchard Road can lit me up like a child.

Spent my xmas in Cambodia, where I want to be. I came back on the 26th & the next day, I received a phone call from a cambodia number! I immediately knew it was one of the kids cos I gave them all my SG num. I was so happy! Grinning nonstop. After about 5min of talk time, we switched to Skype.

Look at them!

Cute Kakada above. Parents in Cambodia like to name their children after their birth month. Kakada translate to July. Which means we share the same birth month! :)

And that's a funny photo of Sila below. Sila is one of my favourite students. He is a very smart, pleasant & lovable boy! Really. V inquisitive and willing to learn, pick up things fast, like me! :) He will grow up to be a very fine young man, I'm certain of that.

Thereafter, they've been calling me everyday! Hahaha I should have regular Skype sessions with them & hopefully my Khmer will improve leaps & bounds.

Merry Christmas.

2012 had been a good year for me. Forged lotsa friendships, volunteered, traveled alone, did things I never would've done, grew sensible, been to BKK twice, Italy, Switzerland, Paris, London, Phuket twice, Cambodia twice, celebrated Christmas with the people I most wanted to spend with, & the last day of the year I'm gonna spend it in SG.

Hope your hearts will be filled with love & joy :) Get off your computer chairs & emails for the work-obsessed, relax! Appreciate everything around you. Laugh with your family, listen to music, feel the love! There are so many more important things in life.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Birthdays :)

My camera is as good as retired since I rarely use it these days. Or should I say forced to retire. The girls say photos taken w my camera are as good as gone cos I never upload. So I'm gonna prove them wrong! I just recently uploaded these bdaes pics on my fb, let's start with...

Sis' birthday! In April -.-


16 already! How fast time flies! I hope she grows up into a fine young woman :)

My fav photo! Love the colours of this one

Teng Teng's 1st birthday!

My nephew Kyler whom everybody dotes on is having his 1st birthday! :) His grandma (my aunt) being kiasu, booked the NSRCC chalet at Tanah Merah months in advance.

That's my little aunt, always the one in charge of bbq-ing. YUMS

Gosh there's even roasted lamb

And a chef to cut for us. My bdae also not so elaborated

Haha I like this happy photo here. Gonna develop these for them :)


What's a Tan family celebration without gambling?

All I know is EAT.

And look at my cute grandma!!


Here's the birthday boy, just awake from his slp. Why so grumpy :(

The bbq-ing continues!

Opps. Caught eating. Imma glutton.

Kyler is so naughty he refused to let me carry :(


Happy family :)

I actually have a video of everybody singing bdae song, but lazy to upload. After cake cutting, the celebration continues!

Still grumpy.

Here in one corner, my uncle & his friends are drinking.

Inside one of the chalet, the usual mj kakis are at it

And of cos here outside, poker resumes!

Wanted to stay at the chalet but end up didn't. We used to come here every year to celebrate my cousin's bdae, every year without fail. Then the cousins will swim & go to the bowling arena, eat snacks etc. Miss those days :')


Forgot what occasion... but it's a celebration at ah ma's house & most of them came, so it must be a significant one like bdae or something.

KFC & pizza hut! My fav fast food!

That's my eldest uncle on the left. He look younger wearing this! And he knows how to use smartphone. I'm impressed! Dad wearing the shirt I bought him on the right.

See! Gambling again.


My grandma's dog, baby. She is superrrrrr superrrrrrrrrrr yang-o. Whenever a stranger comes, unlike bingo who barks like a guarddog, she will whine whine whine until you carry her.


Dad's birthday

This is in May. I love this photo of my parents cos it looks so sweet!



Look how pretty my sis look here :) I look so kiddy beside her wearing this overalls.

Bingo that's not for you!



Mum's birthday

This is in June. Our birthdays are all in consecutive months.

We brought her to Dozo, cos I love the ambience & I know the service is excellent. And there's this little surprise for birthday girls/boys if you tell the staff in advance :)

Didn't take much food photos cos I don't like to take the same food twice. These are taken from my sis' instagram. For more pictures it's in one of my last yr bdae post.

Back home...

Same place, same angle, same smile

But we still make it a point to celebrate everyone's bdae :)

Show you all this cute collage I made for them. From when they first started dating, to recent years. Look how round my mum's face was omg. LOL. Cute?

Grandma's 80th birthday in Sept

Hello sweetie :)

Grandma's 80th birthday was held at a coffeeshop in Khatib. We've been coming here since we were kids cos my uncle has a mee siam store here. And his mee siam is the BEST!

Everybody were really looking forward to this celebration! No pretenses, no fancy location, just us one big family in our most comfortable clothes eating heartily

First dish: Longevity buns

Second dish: Longevity noodles (abit too salty)

Now here's the star of the night...

Buddha jumps over the wall. And it's not at all cheap! Apparently it's got all the superior goodies inside, so becos of this, one table cost $500. At a coffeeshop! I personally think it's too much + I don't even know how to appreciate.

But I'm not the one paying so..... Haha!

Everyone was so happy & comfortable!

I love gatherings like this! Joke around, beer in hand & laugh your lungs out.

Happy birthday ah ma. I love you :)

Notice my bdae was skipped? Cos I haven't even properly look at the pics! That would take awhile :p Actually I still have alot more birthdays like Jerlyn's which was fun! But that's for another day!

I'm having a sudden flu now :( Haven't been sick in awhile. Pls let me recover! I have a long day tml...
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