26 July 2011

Cheddar Cheese Muffins

My toddler has started half day childcare and he eats his lunch in school now. Not sure if it's due to growth spurt, but he still wants to eat when he reaches home (about an hour after his lunch). So every day I try to prepare a small snack for him, be it cookies/crackers/biscuits with yogurt or muffins or pancakes, sometimes storebought, or I try to bake small batches and freeze them.

Came across a Cheddar Cheese Muffin recipe by The Little Teochew and it was just what I needed, quick and easy! Moreover, I had a quarter pack of cheddar cheese block lying in the fridge and was trying to use it up. As The Little Teochew mentioned that the cheese taste was not strong enough in her case, so I decided to go all out and used up all the cheese that I had, which was double the amount of the original recipe.

The steps were really easy, only thing I wasn't used to metric calculations since I relied on my electric weighing scale all the time. Nevertheless, I was glad that the muffins turned out great! The cheese taste was not very strong when the muffins were still warm, but somehow intensified after the muffins cooled down. Dear son loved them too!
If interested, pls hop over to The Little Teochew for the recipe :)

22 July 2011

Bangkok March 2011 - Part III

Our second last day in BKK, more shopping and food!

Woke up late once again and headed to Lemongrass Restaurant at Sukhumvit Soi 24 (near Emporium Shopping Mall) for an early lunch. I read from a magazine that it was supposed to be one of the most acclaimed Thai restaurants in Bangkok and it is housed in an old and rustic teak Thai mansion.

The entrance looked rather unassuming.
The interior was quite old but cozy with mainly thai decor and antiques.
We were the first and only guests since it was still very early (like 1130am). But the waiters didn't seem friendly (probably coz we were too early?)
Lemongrass juice which was refreshing.
Tom Yum Soup which was not bad, met hubby's expectations.
Stir-fried Kailan, quite fresh and crunchy.
Grilled Honey Chicken, not bad either. I love the chopped nuts with some sweet and sour sauce scattered on top of the meat.
Fried 'Batang' (Tengirri) Fish. This was good, especially the deep fried scallions scattered over the fish, very fragrant!

All in all, the meal was not bad but considered rather pricey. We have had equivalent if not better Thai food at much affordable prices elsewhere. So I guess wouldn't be back here again, I mean there are still many thai food places to try in BKK.
After lunch, we shopped at Emporium for a while and thereafter went to MBK. Spotted this thai dessert stall, had always been curious about this snack so decided to try one.
Ok, the base was crunchy and scattered with fragrant coconut shreds. But there was a huge dollop of meringue which was wayyyyyyy too sweet. We ate just a bit and had to give up.

Late in the afternoon, we went to Siam Paragon and hubby brought me to this dessert cafe "After You". He saw it the previous day and thought the desserts looked good so wanted to try. Moreover, it was immensely popular, the crowd was never ending and we had to wait for sometime before we got a seat.

The cafe sells desserts like thick toasts with ice-cream, brownies, pancakes, trifles, panna cottas, sundaes, puddings, crumbles. The photos looked so good that we couldn't decide on what to eat. Finally we settled on the most popular item, the Shibuya Honey Toast and an Earl Grey Milk tea.
The Earl Grey Milk tea was rich and creamy, not bad but I prefer my Iced Earl Vanilla from The Coffee Club :p
Oooh, the Shibuya Honey Toast. It looked so yummy and tantalising, no wonder the cafe was so popular. The thick toast was crispy on the outside and fluffy inside, well complemented by the honey, with sprinkles of powdered sugar, vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream and chopped nuts. Yums! Next time I want to try the other desserts!
After the yummy dessert, we went to Siam Square for a massage. Hubby was here the day before (while I was shopping) and highly recommend the place. We had to wait for half an hour as the place was packed.
I took the foot, neck and shoulder massage. The therapist said my shoulders were too stiff and gave me a very hard and painful rub-down! Ouch! Well, my shoulders did feel better afterwards.

After the painful massage, we walked around for a bit before heading to Sukishi Japanese Buffet at Siam Center for dinner. The spread was quite spectacular with seafood appetizers, sashimi, sushi, tempura, teppanyaki, grilled seafood and meat, stir-fry, dim sum, desserts etc etc.
Took only a few photos as photos not allowed actually :(
We enjoyed a slow and sumptuous dinner, afterall this was our last night in BKK.

Thereafter, headed back to our hotel and packed our stuff. The next day, our flight was in the morning. When we reached the airport and did our check-in, was pissed off to see that the immigration queue was super duper long. Queued for almost an hour just to clear immigration, the officers were simply taking their own sweet time to process the passports! In the end, couldn't do any shopping at the DFS and almost had to run to our boarding gates :( Seriously, why was the Thai immigration so inefficient?

Anyways, so much so for the unhappiness at the immigration. Hope that the situation would improve next time we go.

Here's sharing just two of my shopping loot.

Everytime I go Thailand (and Tokyo), I just have to load up on shower gel! I love the shower/bath gels from Boots, as well as Divana Spa (retailing at Emporium besides the spa itself). They have so many different exotic fragrants unless those in SG. I think these bottles could last me for a year :p
This is a nifty little gadget I found at Siam Paragon. It's a garlic presser/crusher whatever you call it. Basically it chops garlic. Period. I totally hate to chop garlics using knife as the nasty smell stays on my fingers for a long time. I tried other types of garlic crushers before but this is unlike any other. Just pop one to two pieces of garlic into the container, roll the wheel to and fro a few times and viola, neatly chopped garlic pieces! Love it!

Alright, that's all for my sharing. Hope to go back to BKK soon :)

20 July 2011

Bangkok March 2011 - Part II

Continued from the previous post.

The next day, we woke up late and took our time to wash up before heading out for shopping. First stop was Platinum Mall. We had been to BKK several times and this was our first time stepping into Platinum Mall. Was overwhelmed by the number of shops selling all sorts of fashion, accesssories and stuff!

Then we realised our stomaches were rumbling from hunger and headed to the foodcourt for lunch. Really spoilt for choice with many varieties of food which looked good and best of all, very cheap! We had to purchase a stored value card to buy the food and drinks but the the value could be refunded subsequently if not used up. I think this is quite a good system as the stall owners don't need to handle cash and the food court management could find out the turnover of the various stalls easily.

My Braised Pork Knuckle Rice. Looked tantalising and tasted even better! The pork was flavourful and skin nearly melt-in-the-mouth.
Hubby ordered this 'Hor Fun' (flat rice noodle) which tasted good too!

After lunch, it was shopping all the way. I couldn't remember in sequence of all the malls we went to those few days; all I remember was Siam Paragon, Emporium, Central Mall, Platinum, MBK... but honestly, I didn't buy a lot, really :p, mostly window shopping.

After the intensive shopping, we went back to the hotel to unload our stuff and rest for a while before our highlight of our trip, dinner cruise along Chaophraya River. During our previous trips, we had wanted to take the river cruise but didn't do it, so this time we were determined to give it a try.

The river cruise cost 1400 Thai baht person, inclusive of return transfers to and fro our hotel, thai and international buffet, welcome drink, onboard live band and cultural shows and of course cruise along the Chaophraya River.

When we arrived at the Rivery City Pier, it was very crowded with mostly tourists and some locals (mainly couples). Besides the Grand Pearl, there are other similar dinner cruises such as Chaophraya Princess, Manohara etc. Just as we were comparing the different cruise boats and wondering which was the Grand Pearl, a vessel with a saxophonist standing at the bow steered into the pier. Talk about a grand entrance! I was truly impressed.

Was pleased that we had a seat at the bow just a table away from the saxophonist. But disappointed that he left after playing a few songs. I thought he would be there the whole night :( That would be lovely.
Tables at the bow around were mostly catered for couples. More romantic I guess :)
There are also indoor seats and upper deck (for larger groups) with a stage for cultural shows and later towards the night a live band.
While waiting for the cruise to depart the pier, I checked out the buffet line. Ok, the usual appetizers, sushi, soups, hot dishes, fruits and desserts. Not really impressive.

In fact, we were a little disappointed as the dishes were mainly international and very limited thai selections. Well, with most guests being 'farangs' (Thai slang for foreigners), I guess they had to cater to different needs. Was also quite surprised that the buffet dinner lasted for less than an hour, we thought we could slowly savour the food while enjoying the breeze and scenery.

Anyways, the highlight of the cruise was the sights along the river and not so much on food right? We were supposed to see Wat Arun - The Temple of Dawn, the Grand Palace, Wat Pra Kaew - The Temple of Emerald Buddha, Pinklao Bridge and Taksin Bridge; but there was no commentary so we were not sure which is which. It didn't matter to us, we just soaked in the atmosphere while feeling the gentle breeze as the cruise meandered along the river.

It was interesting to see the serenity of the palaces and temples at night but somehow the peace was marred by the loud music and bright lights of the cruise boats.

Towards the last part of the cruise, the live band started playing disco/pop music and many foreigners went to the upper deck and started dancing. And all the other cruise boats too! At one point, I thought the different cruise boats were competing for the loudest music! I had expected a peaceful and romantic dinner cruise but oh well... apparently not.

Nonetheless, it was an interesting experience which we had to try once. We noticed several restaurants along the river, probably we would try them next time round instead.

After the cruise, back to the hotel for a good night's rest.

To be continued...

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18 July 2011

Bangkok March 2011 - Part I

This was a 4D3N trip made in March this year (I know, wayyyy overdue!). Initially we were supposed to go Tokyo, unfortunately we had to shelf that trip due to the earthquake and nuclear scare back then. After a long and hard debate (we wanted to go Tokyo soooo badly after a 2-year hiatus), we decided to settle just for Bangkok due to various reasons. It has also been quite sometime since we last visited BKK due to the political instability, but BKK remained as one of our favourite Asian city.

Well, it was a highly anticipated trip (could have been Toyko, boohoo) because it was hubby and my first overseas vacation without dear son in more than a year! Anyway, couldn't recall much details already, so shall just make it short and simple with lots of photos :p

This time round, we decided to stay at Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok since we never tried this hotel before. It's located beside Grand Hyatt and 5 min walk to Rajadamri BTS station which is quite convenient. By the time we checked in, it was already late afternoon. But to our dismay, we had to wait for a while before our room was ready. Huh, so much so for a 5/6 star hotel?

Anyways, we hanged out at the lobby lounge to wait for our room. The lounge was spacious and airy, with an air of luxury and elegant. We saw many people having high tea and was contemplating whether to order when we were informed our room was ready.
Our room was the Deluxe-view room, overlooking the golf course of The Royal Bangkok Sports Club.
Very spacious and luxurious room, bigger than Grand Hyatt if I were to make a comparison.
Comfortable King-size bed.
Lounge corner, with daily complimentary tropical fruits.
Work desk area.
Full mini bar (payable of course) with complimentary tea and coffee making facilities. Notable service, the ice bucket was always filled during the turn-down service. 4 bottles of complimentary distilled water provided daily too.
Very spacious bathroom with large size bathtub and separate glass encased shower area. The bath amenities provided were Loccitane products. Pretty impressive :)
After washing up, we headed out to our first stop which was the Erawan Shrine. A must-visit for me everytime I visit BKK. Along the way, we saw this street hawker selling jackfruit and bought a packet. Not bad, quite sweet and juicy.
Erawan Shrine was still as crowded as ever. After paying my respect to the Four-Face Buddha, we decided to go for a massage :)
This time we tried a new place the Asia Herb Association Herbal Massage and Spa located at Sukhumvit 24 Phromphong Shop (8 mins walk from Phromphong BTS, very near Emporium Shopping Mall). Found this place through a blog and apparently it was very popular among the Taiwanese and Japanese.
Quite crowded when we reached there but the beauty about BKK spas, they always have ample spa rooms and therapists at any time.

We enjoyed some herbal tea at the lounge while waiting for the therapists to get ready.
Very soon, we were led into our spa room, very simply decorated but cozy ambience. The only gripe, the air-con was just turned on, so it was quite warm initially. I did a 90min Massage + Herbal Ball whereas hubby did a 90min Thai traditional massage. Our treatments were not bad and the therapists were quite skilfull. But somehow, we still prefer our usual haunt, the Lavana Spa.
Attached bathroom of the spa room.

After the massage, it was already quite late in the evening. Decided to head to Siam Paragon for our favourite MK Gold Restaurant which we missed dearly.
Our favourite iced chinese tea now comes in bottled version, MK Restaurants very own label! This was our must-order drink every time we were here.
Another of our must-order dish, the MK Roast Duck. The duck meat came with the sauce at the side now, instead of drenching it. Somehow, the flavour was not as tasty as before.
Ordered some vegetables, mushroom and meat for the hot pot. The soup base was still as good as before. The pork meat was absolutely tender! This is definitely one restaurant in BKK that we would always visit.

After the sumptious dinner, we walked around Siam Paragon for a while before heading back to the hotel for the night.

Part II to be continued...

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