28 November 2012

Koh Samui Oct 2012 Part I - Hansar Samui Resort, Bophut

Hubby and I has been pinning for Koh Samui for a long time and finally we made it this October! Why Koh Samui again? Well, we love the "Tiger Balm" massage there (can't be found anywhere else e.g. Phuket) and our favourite Thai restaurant "SabiengLae" offering yummy thai food at reasonable prices. If air tickets weren't so ex (as compared to Phuket, Bali etc), we would have gone more frequently!

It has been more than a year since our last trip; for that trip, we brought dear son along and had to take turns for massages and cater to his needs all the time so it wasn't very relaxing or convenient. And the trip before the last, I was preggie and didn't get my favourite "Tiger Balm" massage. So this time, it was just us =D

Basically just a short 3D2N getaway, via Bangkok Airways on Friday night and return on Sunday afternoon. Our itinerary was pretty R&R.
Friday night - Check-in, Bophut Walking Street (every Friday night)
Saturday - Breakfast at resort, laze in room, rent a bike to go Sabieng Lae for lunch, Chaweng to walk around and massage, Bophut Fishingmen's Village to walk around, back to Chaweng for massage and supper
Sunday - Breakfast at resort, laze in room, check-out, massage at nearby spa, late lunch at airport

For the next few posts, basically I'll cover the resort we stayed in, the food we had, spa and briefly on Bophut.

For this trip, we I chose to stay at Bophut as we stayed at Chaweng the past 3 trips and thought of trying a new place. And I wanted to go to the Bophut Walking Street which is an open-air bazaar style every Friday from 5pm till 11pm. Staying at Bophut itself would be more convenient. After much research and reviews, decided on Hansar Samui Resort. Hansar Samui is just a stone's throw away from the walking street ;)

We booked a Sea View Room, other categories include Sea View XL and Beach Front. We reviewed the photos on the room types and reckoned that Sea View Room should suffice :)

This is the view of the room, taken at the balcony area, pretty sizeable and well-appointed with warm, woody colours.

Plasma TV. Wifi is provided free all around the resort. I guess a necessary service these days.

Complimentary fruits.

Complimentary coffee/tea making facilities, and a mini bar (chargeable) inside the cabinet. 4 complimentaty bottles of mineral water were provided daily.

The spacious shower area, but there's no door so water could be splashed out into the changing area. Oh, I love the tassel curtains, which gave a soft touch to the room.

The balcony area which I lounged around most of the time. I love the rocking armchair; if I have a balcony I would want something like this :)

The balcony overlooks the garden and pool.

As well as the sea, well, diagonal view. Hubby was a little disappointed as he thought that sea view room means facing the sea. But to me, this is good enough. Anyway, he spent most of his time indoors enjoying air-con. I was the one who prefer the balcony.

The reception area. Service standard was quite good, although our request for late check-out was rejected :(((( which was a big disappointment and lowered our overall experience at the resort.

The staff claimed that the room was booked for another guest checking in after us. We thought it was bulls***. The flight was at 4+pm, and the transfer would leave the resort at about 2pm. So far, all the resorts we stayed in allowed late check-out at 2pm.

Mini library at the lobby area.

Infinity pool. Heck, we didn't even swim because hubby was lazy!

The pool looks inviting right?

There's a tiny pool for kids to waddle around, water toys are even provided. Parents could lounge around at the cabana while watching over their kids.

The open bar area, which offers Happy Hour 3 times a day. Well, we don't drink though.

H Bistro, the only restaurant at the resort. Both levels are opened for breakfast. The upper deck is known as The Chill Lounge. We only had breakfast here and didn't manage to try lunch or dinner.

Alfresco dining which boasts lovely view of the sea. For our first breakfast there, we sat here briefly till someone from the next table started smoking and we were forced to shift.

As the indoor seating on the lower floor was full, we went to the upper deck, which was offered even better view.
The lounge sofas would be nice to chill out.

Very quiet stretch of beach here.

Dining under the Stars, reservation required.

The water is clean, but sand is not powdery, feels a little coarse.

There are several other resorts further left, like Anantara but we didn't have time to explore.

Overall, Bophut is considered a more laidback area and suitable for people who wants a more relaxing and quiet holiday.

Next up, Bophut and the walking street. To be continued.

05 November 2012

Going bananas - Banana Cake and Banana Cream Cheese Muffin

I went bananas over the weekend, by baking 2 banana recipes! Ever since I saw Annie's FB posting on her moist banana cake recipe, I was obsessed with it! It's been yonks since I baked banana muffins and suddenly I had this huge craving :p The photo posted by Annie was simply too tempting lah!
The thing about banana cake is, we have to use very ripe, in fact over-riped bananas. We are not big on bananas in my family, I mean we buy them only occasionally, so I didn't have any bananas on hand to bake! Was at the supermarket and decide to just buy a bunch and let it ripen. Wanted to buy the small ones as recommended by Annie but they were sold in huge bunches of at least 20 bananas, why would I want so many of them? Had to settle for the usual Delmonte ones. Silly me, should have just go to the wet market.
Anyways, I patiently waited for the bananas to ripen (even put them into a plastic bag together with an apple to hasten the ripening process) and finally on Saturday evening, it was time to bake!
Started on the banana cake recipe first. The steps are pretty straightforward and I didn't modify any ingredients or steps. I used about 4 bananas which came to about 240g as stated in the recipe.
The baking time took about 50-55 mins and thereafter I had to wait for about 20-30 mins to let the cake cool down before removing it from the baking tin. It was still quite hot when I removed the cake so I let it cool down further and finally after another 15 mins, I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to just cut a corner to munch. I was famished coz I didn't take dinner to save tummy space for the cake :p
It was sooooo good! Moist and tender with intoxicating taste of banana! It must be the best banana cake I've ever eaten =D
In fact, the banana cake tasted even better the next day as the banana flavour was fully infused and developed.

As I was washing up and waiting for the banana cake to be baked, I stared at the remaining 2 bananas and decided to just use them up. I remember seeing a Banana Cream Cheese Muffin by Rasa Malaysia recently and very intrigued by how it would taste like.

I refered to both the recipes by Rasa Malaysia and the original author, Bakedbree, and combined/adpated the methods of both :)

Banana Cream Cheese Muffin
(makes about 15-16 regular size muffins)

Banana Muffin
  • 192g plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 112g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 112g cream cheese
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 60g soft brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 over-riped bananas, mashed
  • 15-16 pieces walnut
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 112g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius.
  2. Mix all the ingredients of the cream cheese filling until well blended and smooth. Transfer the filling into a piping bag fitted with a small pointed piping tip. Set aside preferably in fridge as the filling is a little runny.
  3. Sieve the plain flout, baking soda, baking powder, fine salt and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. Beat the butter, cream cheese and sugars in an electric mixer till creamy and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mix until combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients, one tablespoon at a time, mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
  7. Gently fold in the mashed bananas.
  8. Using spoon or ice-cream scoop, fill each muffin case with the batter about 3/4 full.
  9. Pipe cream cheese filling into the batter. Top with walnut.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Ok, so how did the Banana Cream Cheese Muffin taste like? It was quite a complex taste, with the aroma and taste of banana, a tinge of saltiness from the cream cheese, distinct taste of cinnamon, nuttiness of walnut... Very moist and a little dense.

Verdict from hubby? He prefered the good old banana cake. I agree with him. The traditional banana cake is simple and straightforward, just the rich taste of banana, nothing more to complicate the tastebuds. The banana cream cheese muffin is confusing with too many different tastes vying for attention. Although it is nice, you get sick of it after a few bites and the tastebud got overwhelmed. But the banana cake, you could have a few slices at one go and still craving for more! Well, I must compliment the muffin for it looks prettier than the banana cake. 外在美  vs 内在美!

I gave a quarter of the banana cake to MIL, and hubby brought half to his office. According to him, the cake received ravings from his colleagues and there weren't enough for seconds.

Ok, not sure if I would give the banana cream cheese muffin a second chance, it did look very pretty you know. Probably I would omit the cinnamon next time to see how it goes. But for now, I'll stick to the banana cake recipe.