Monday, April 27, 2015

Cook: Healthier Choice Breakfast-Overnight Oats

Healthy Overnight Oats

I know I am totally out-of-date. The "hype" on overnight oats has died down and now here I am, starting to get addicted to it. I must say this is really a brilliant idea (whoever that thought of it). It is healthy and definitely fill the stomach better than usual breakfast. I could have a hearty breakfast (bread, sausages, egg) but doesn't retain the "fullness" as much as the oats. Definitely a good choice for diabetic patient as energy is released slowly rather in a short burst...

It is rather easy to make, just need to spend 15 minutes the night before and you can just take them out from the fridge and enjoy them in the morning. Nowadays, I make this as breakfast every 2-3 days and indeed is satisfying. Add in your favourite fruits, dried fruits or nuts and make a variety.

(Serves 2)

1. 8 tablespoons of instant oats (I used Quaker brand, any brand should do as long as the instant type)
2. 8 tablespoons of plain yogurt
3. Half a cup of fresh milk (or any amount to reach desired consistency)
4. 2-3 types of cut fruits (favourite fruits preferably the juicy type-orange, kiwi, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, passion fruits, banana, mango)
5. Dried fruits (raisins, cranberry) or nuts or chocolate or a mixture of those (as desired)


1. Prepare the cut fruits into bite size
2. Mix the oats, yogurts and fresh milk

Mixing Oats with yogurt and fruits
Add fresh milk to reach desired consistency
3. Add in some of the cut fruits (mini sizes-eg: passion fruits, mashed kiwi etc) and mix well
4. Add a layer of bite-size fruits at the bottom. Top with a layer of oats mixture, then another layer of another type of bite-size fruits and a layer of oat mixture.
5. Finally, top with dried fruits or nuts or chocolate or a mixture of those.
6. Keep in fridge overnight.
7. The next morning, give the whole thing a good mix using spoon and serve :)
8. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Play: Journey down memory lane (Day 6-16 March 2015)

Day 6

Today marks our last day in England. We will be taking a 2 hour short flight to Basel, Switzerland. We reluctantly woke at 5.45am, the bed in Hilton is really soft and comfy, beckoning us to snooze a little longer but we have a flight to catch.

The hotel helped us booked a cab the night before at a flat rate of 30 pounds to London City Airport which is 20-30 minutes away. We were surprised that instead of a normal cab, a Mercedes Benz is waiting for us outside the hotel.

It was drizzling outside and it was a nice ride to the airport. London City Airport is the only airport that is situated in London City itself. I would say a great choice for travellers like us to connect to Europe as we do not need to spend much time travelling out of London just to catch our flight. The airport is easily accessible with DLR which connects to London Underground!

London City Airport
Travellers checking out their flights details
To departure!
Flight was delayed for half an hour and we depart at 9am local time after having a warm breakfast at the airport. We reached Basel at 11.15 am local time (Swiss is one hour faster than UK).
Exit to Switzerland, France or Germany?
We had pre-booked our SBB Swiss Travel Pass before our trip so most train, buses and even ferry is included. We took bus number 50 to the train station (alight at the last stop) and went to catch our train at Platform 5. We had to run in order not to miss the train as the train ON TIME!

Tips: Travel light is essential as there are quite a number of stairs you need to walk at the train station etc...  We carry a small bag each and share a 24 inches luggage bag. If you do need to bring huge luggage bags to Europe, do allow extra time for travelling especially when taking trains, buses etc.

SBB Train
Happy me :)
Map of the snow mountain area on the train itself
Scenery along the way
We had to travel by train from Basel to Interlaken and then change to another train for Wengen. For the train connections, the SBB website offers good information. We just need to input the starting point and destination and they will work out the rest. Thus, a reliable 3G connection is essential so that we can check the train timing on the go.

By the way, did I mention that the 3G Sim Card that we bought off the wending machine on our first day in UK works in Switzerland. Apparently, Swiss is one of their "Feel at Home Zone" thus no additional charges for 3G network. We actually did not know this until we received an SMS upon reaching Switzerland airport stating that we could use the 3G network without additional charge. Really a good deal and we did not have to purchase additional sim card in Swiss! Happy us :)

Wengen is a car free town thus besides a few special car (own by hotel and some residents), tourists are not allowed to drive to Wengen. If you are considering to rent car, you have to park your car at Lauterbrunnen and take a train to Wengen. We thought it was a hassle so decided to take train for our entire trip in Switzerland.

A picture with our hotel
We reached our hotel at about 3pm. Wengen is a small town and our hotel is within walking distance from the train station. We do need to go down a small slope to reach the hotel. 

We booked for a mountain view room and were not disappointed.

Amazing view from room- I could just stay in whole day and look at the snow mountains!
Little bear
The cute teddy on our bed :)

Love the bedsheet design, pretty flowery
Close up of the flower bedsheets
We chill in our room, enjoying the view and went to explore this little town before dinner starts at 6pm. We choose half board accommodation for the first night as the food in Switzerland is generally pricey plus we read many good reviews on the food served in our hotel's restaurant. We paid addition CHF 20 per person for a 4 courses meal.

Wengen is indeed a charming little town and the fact that it is a car free town, one can walk around the town without much need to look for cars. There are still occasional electric car around so do look out for those!

Indeed, snow capped mountain is everywhere... a picture tells a thousand words.. Check out our photos below :)

Although it is snow mountain everywhere, the weather is actually quite nice and cooling (as compared to windy England). Probably the mountain blocks most of the wind, it is really comfortable strolling around without the need to find indoor sheltered all the time (like what we did in England)

Cute pinecorn...

Pick up some pine corn on the floor for my kiddos back home!
The train station at Wengen...
There is a Co-op in the town, selling some essentials and food item. We bought some titbits to munch!
Food from Co-op
We had our dinner at 6.30pm and a table is already reserved for us...

Nice ambience to dine in
Snow mountain view
The meal is really as good as reviewed and totally worth the CHF 20 that we paid for... I could not find fault with any of the courses. It is all perfectly executed.. Thumbs up!

We had wine as well as recommended by the waitress and it was good. Do note that the wine is not included in the meal, we had to pay additional for it...
Yummy soup
Beetroot salad housed in red cabbage
Roast lamb

Panna Cotta for dessert
After a hearty meal, we went back to our room, showered and rest!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Play: Exploring Western Australia in Winter (Day 14-Final Day)

Day 14

Today will be our last day in Perth and we will be taking 5.10pm flight back to Singapore. Well, of course we would make use of our last few hours in Perth to visit few more places. 

We have more or less packed our luggage the night before so in the morning, we squeeze the rest of our stuff in and we are off to few more adventure.

We didn't have time to explore Swan Valley yet so we took the chance to visit the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. There are some chocolates for sale, and some for sampling. Also, a cafe if you want to sit down and have something to eat. Behind the glass, one could see the staff making chocolates. However, we were quite disappointed that there is no tour for the chocolate factory.

Sampling free chocolate
The free chocolate sampling has no limits, as long as you scoop them onto your hand and no takeaway.. so you can eat as much as you like. Of course the kids went crazy with the sampling :)
Many people queuing of the samples... there is white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate.
Next up, we went to Cuddly Animal Farm to finish up our fresh vegetables that we bought during the trip. We still have some pumpkin and carrots left..

Feeding the goats
Kids happily feeding
Mummy join in the feeding fun...
Finally, finished up all the food for the animal and it is time for the kid's meal...I cooked porridge for them in the morning and kept warm inside a thermos...
Lunch time...
Love using thermos because it keeps the food warm and it is easy to scoop out and feed...
Feeding straight from the Thermos...
After the kids finished up their lunch.. girl girl went for a pony ride @ AUD$5. One could just went to ticket counter and buy a card coupon and pass to the pony ride staff. Then it entitles to one time pony ride.. see how happy our girl is...

Boy boy didnt want to ride as he is scared so we didnt force him... we just stand aside and watched jie jie riding pony.
Pony rides..
There are still a bit of time before our flight so hubby and me had lunch at Chesters of Heafod Glen. The kids already had their meal so they just munch a bit of our food.

The restaurant is quite kids friendly and both kiddos got a colouring pack and somethings to work on while waiting for the food.

Colouring time
Nice fireplace

Food has arrived and we did rush them a bit as we have a flight to catch. I had braised duck and it comes with fried tofu at the side.. pretty fusion I must say.. not the best duck I tasted though...
Duck and tofu
Hubby's dish is mediocre too....
Mini steak
We were quite disappointed as the review for this place is actually quite good. Anyway we are pretty late for check in so we quickly depart, drove to the airport, return our car and we are on our way home.

Overall, we had a good trip... love the weather, the koalas, the kangaroo, the dolphins and the tiramisu... Perth, we will be back! Till then...adios!

Eat: Another Value for money buffet @ Kiseki, Orchard Central

After the popular value for money Ssikkek Korean BBQ Buffet., I have come across another value for money Japanese Buffet.

Kiseki, located at the 8th storey of Orchard Central shopping mall, is a pretty good deal. Lunch buffet starts at $19.80++ for weekday and $27.80++ for weekend. With it's extensive selection of good quality food and its prime location at Orchard Road, I must say it is a pretty good deal. Buffet-ing and shopping at Orchard on a weekday definitely sounds pretty cool and it doesn't burnt your pocket :)

For full pricing for lunch, dinner for both adult and children- check out here.

We went on a Sunday afternoon and most seats were taken up. We did make reservations one day earlier and was surprised that we manage to secure a place. Kids below 5 years old eat free so we only paid for 4 adults. Payment is made prior to entry to the restaurant and each customer is stamped with a UV-Visible stamp for re-entrance purpose. We were showed to our seats which overlooks the Orchard Road. 

For starters, there are plenty of sashimi, salads and cold soba, prawn to choose from....

Salmon sashimi is really fresh and I see many patrons gobbling down plates and plates of them. I guess this is one of the most worth-it dish so if you are a sashimi lovers, it is definitely worth it for you to come...No limits on the sashimi and it is yummy!

Salmon Sashimi
There are also other selection of sashimi and I particularly like the abalone and the squid. The squid is fresh and very creamy. Love how it goes chewy and creamy in the mouth!
Selection of sashimi-fish, octopus, abalone and squid
Salads, sauces and the Edamame is just next to the sashimi and my girl love the Edamame. After she finishes up her rice, I gave her a bowl of it and she just sit quietly and slowly peeling and savouring the beans.
Salad and sauce
Girl loves the Edamame
There are also cold soba, cold cooked prawn and mussels.
Soba, prawn and mussels
For the hot dishes, deep fried mashed pumpkin is a particular hit with my mum. She said it is nice sweet and crispy.
Fried stuff-fried pumpkin, gyoza, seafood tofu, chicken kaarage etc 
Olives, tomatoes etc
Another dish worth mentioning is their chawanmushi. Each of us had a bowl each including my 2 and 4 years old kiddos. They said very nice!
Chawanmushi-very nice!
We tried the hot pot but nothing fantastic.. good if u wanted to have something hot to drink
Hot pot
Their tempura is really good!Batter is very crispy and not too oily so one would not feel too oily after eating them.
Tempura-one of the highlight
Prawn tempura is our favourite as the prawn is really fresh. I do like the sweet potato tempura as well.
Prawn tempura-fresh prawn and crispy batter
Another favourite is Fried Salmon Head but I did not manage to capture a photo of it as the item ran out when I went for my photo taking. Yes, it is THAT POPULAR! My mum and hubby both tried it and give thumbs up!

Some other hot dishes, they have grilled corn and potatoes, chicken teriyaki etc...
Grilled corn, potatoes and grilled squid balls
Chicken teriyaki and sausages
Little boy enjoying his food...
Boy Boy enjoying his food
There are also a selection of drinks to choose from.. hot and cold. For hot, there is coffee, cappuccino,  green tea and some other tea selections. For cold drinks, they have soft drinks, calamansi, ice lemon tea etc.. If you just wanted cold or warm water, it is available as well...

Lastly, for desserts, there is mini chocolate fondue and marshmallow...some jelly....
Selection of jelly and chocolate fondue with marshmallow
I love the mango mousse mochi, I find it quite refreshing and chewy. Had quite a few of it..
Mochi-mango mousse and red bean
Chocolate mousse cake is quite nice as well. Had second servings too :)
Chocolate and vanilla mousse cake
Ice cream selection -- they have the usual flavours of chocolate, green tea and mango. Also an exotic flavour of wasabi.. and one could really taste the aftertaste of wasabi while having the ice cream... pretty special I must say...
Selection of ice creams
My selection of desserts-love the mango mousse mocha and chocolate mousse cake
Mango mousse mochi
Overall, I think Kiseki buffet is really value for money. For this price and its extensive good quality food, it is a steal. Service is good and our dirty plates are cleared efficiently. Food is constantly top up to sufficient quantity...Did I mention I love their cappuccino as well, i had 2 cups!!! Wouldn't be surprise if hubby and me decide to go back again :)