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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buta Kimchi (豚キムチ) Recipe

Today was a hot day, so I didn't have much appetite. All I wanted was something savoury and spicy, so I cooked Buta Kimchi (豚キムチ, pork kimchi stir-fry) for lunch. Kimchi is obviously from Korea, but the Japanese have a pretty darn good version of it. Well, in my opinion at least. I haven't tried an authentic Korean Buta Kimchi yet haha. Sorry, I don't know the original Korean name of this dish too.

Dad was in Korea recently for work and brought back huge packets of Kimchi {and other Korean goodies} for mum. I nicked a packet because I just love Kimchi!!! I cooked this dish quite often in Japan because you could get pretty decent {in non-Korean standards heh} Kimchi in 業務スーパー for an affordable price. Kimchi here isn't that cheap, unless you buy in bulk from the Korean supermarkets, but as Korean supermarkets are out of the way for us, I don't buy it often.

Again, I cooked this dish out of memory so measurements aren't 100% accurate. My mum always says that the most important thing when you cook is to taste the food as you are cooking, and to adjust accordingly. What one person deems as just right, might be too salty for you.

One thing you must know though, is that Buta Kimchi isn't just all about Kimchi. There's another important ingredient... which is Chogochujang (vinegared hot pepper paste). Usually people just use Gochujang (hot pepper paste), but I like Chogochujang because it gives it an added interesting flavour to the spiciness.

Time taken:
About 30 minutes

Ingredients:

300g pork belly (sliced)
1 ricebowl of Kimchi (chunked)
2 medium purple onions (thinly sliced)
1 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tbsp Chogochujang
1 tbsp soya sauce
1/3 ricebowl of water
200g enoki mushrooms (chop off the roots)
A few pea sprouts

Method:
  1. Heat and oil the pan with sesame oil. Don't need too much as the pork belly is really fatty.
  2. Make sure pan is really hot then add the pork belly layer by layer.
  3. Stir fry the pork belly, and when cooked add in the Kimchi and onions.
  4. Add in the Chogochujang and soya sauce.
  5. Continue stir frying for about 2-3 mins.
  6. Add enoki mushrooms and water.
  7. Turn the heat low and cover it for about 10 mins. This is to tenderise the pork and cook the enoki mushrooms.
  8. After you open the cover, add cornflour in water to the dish if the sauce is to watery to thicken it. The sauce should be a thick lovely red and cover all the ingredients evenly.
  9. Garnish with pea sprouts.
  10. Serve hot.
Ok, I didn't have 長ネギ(naganegi, spring onions) so I used pea sprouts as a garnish. If you have 長ネギ use that instead. This dish can probably serve 4. It would be a great side dish to チヂミ (Korean pancakes, Jeon) or to a nice cold beer, like how its served in izakayas (Japanese tapas bars).

Warning though, this is a highly addictive dish! The boy loves it so I guess I will be making it more often :)

{Erm sometimes the Japanese serve it with mayonnaise. I don't like it like that, but you can try if you want to.}

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Boy's obsessions: BAPE X Transformers

As soon as news was out about a month ago that A Bathing Ape (BAPE) was releasing an Optimus Prime toy and apparel collection in time for the next Transformers movie, the boy pre-ordered and secured a piece of that special collector's item toy. BAPE is a Japanese clothing and lifestyle brand.

It was officially released a few days ago. The toy, a BAPE X Transformers ABC Convoy, consists of a truck robot that can morph into Optimus Prime, and a trailer. Both have the distinctive BAPE camouflage pattern all over. Mind you, it is the original BAPE camouflage pattern, not the subsequent variations from the past few years.

4 different formations for the trailer.

BAPE Optimus Prime & trailer.

The boy loves the original BAPE camouflage pattern, and if it's in the form of a special collaboration with another well-known brand of another of his interest, he is happier still :) Above are 3 of his fave collaboration pieces to date. BAPE X Bearbrick toy {400%, 1st gen}, BAPE X Sinn watch {1 of 50 pcs}, and of course the latest BAPE X Transformers toy.

SG BAPE brought in the BAPE X Transformers toy too but they only had 8 pieces. And you had to queue up for it. Yes, we used to be crazy enough to line up for gentei new releases in Sanjyo, Kyoto (nearest BAPE store from where I lived) but that was during our pre-pumpkin days. Nowadays, we have a little toddler to bring along everywhere so no, ain't gonna happen haha.

The boy's been a fan of BAPE for almost a decade, even before it started to become "mainstream'. Through him, I've kinda gained some knowledge on the brand too. I'm not a fan, although I do think that the BAPE Kids collection are kawaii!! Kinda pricey though.. Don't really like to buy expensive clothes for the pumpkin when she grows out of them so fast! So all I allowed us to get for her are just things she can use again and again, despite her age and size. Like lunchboxes, bags or mufflers. Sanrio has a regular collection of Baby Milo items now, and those are pretty affordable. However, I haven't seen it in Singapore yet.

We've been to most of the BAPE stores in Japan during our kokunai travels, and we're going to the 2 stores in Korea in Oct. Over the years, he's amassed a decent collection of BAPE things, although he's slowed down a lot now. Especially since the little pumpkin arrived. Our attention and money are concentrated on her.

But also, I think it is important that we do not lose sight of our own individuality and things that really interest us. That's why I don't mind that the boy spends a little me-time too going to the gym, having hobbies, meeting his mates etc. If being a parent is all that matters now {I'm talking about the extreme parents who keep their hawk eye on their kids every min of the day}, what happens when our kids grow up and fly the coop? We will be suddenly caught off-guard and have a hole in our life where our kids used to be. Must not forget who we are as a person first :)

Maybe one day I will do an inventory of the BAPE stuff the boy has. It will take some time though heh

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Missy Mismatched

The boy says,

"I will purposely send our bub out in one blue and one pink sock, tuck her clothes and pull her pants up high etc. just because I think it's cute. I doubt she'll appreciate it when she grows up {so fast} but I will appreciate that I still can dress her the way I want to now (^o^)"

And that is exactly what he does.

Sometimes, in a bid to leave the house faster, I ask the boy to dress our little pumpkin while I get ready... and this is what I have to deal with. Mismatched socks, shirts without bottoms, pjs when we are going downtown etc.

It's not that he's clueless. He is just care-less. Plus he thinks it's cute. Which, I can't disagree with, because the pumpkin does look cute in her quirky, mismatched outfits.. but stiiiillllll??!!!

It's a good thing that the pumpkin is still happy to go out, no matter what she is wearing. Sure, nowadays she is adamant to pick her outfit and wear clothes with animals, flowers or hearts (my little girly-girl!!), but as long as we convince her that it's "cute" or "pretty", she will grin and wear it with glee. Bless my little innocent girl.

I do love to dress her up and wish we had more matching clothes and hair accessories! We have a few matching dresses which I will post about another time, but it's hard to find mummy and daughter sizes for pretty outfits here. One of my dreams is to open a shop specialising in this in the future :D Would you support my shop if I did?? haha

Sharing at 504main and Cherished Treasures.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pneumococcal Vaccine

Our little pumpkin is not due for any developmental checks but we brought her to see her PD on Sat, 23 Jul 11 for her pneumococcal vaccine. For the first time, she stood on the scale to be weighed like a little adult. Previously she sat on the baby scale for weigh-ins. Her "official" weight is 11.5kg.

And for the first time, she stood against a wall chart to be measure for her height, but she squirmed whenever the nurse put the ruler on her head. Previously she laid on the bed and they used the baby scale. Her "official" height is 83-84cm, according to the wall chart. But I think it is a bit off since for her last visit at 23.5 months, she was already 85 cm. I think she is already nearly 90cm :D

Her PD used the latest vaccine, Prevnar 13 for the pumpkin. As the pumpkin is already over 2 years old, she only needs this one dose. If she was vaccinated below 2 years old, she would need booster shots. The little pumpkin is still calm in this photo.. not knowing what's coming up next :P

For the first time, the pumpkin cried and screamed pretty bad when the needle went in. "Pain pain!!" I think now that she is older, she is more aware of her senses.

Little pumpkin shooting her PD the "angry" stare hahaha.... anyway she cried for a short while and became her normal self pretty soon.

We wanted to buy more Physiogel-AI for her eczema (she has it under control, but bad at times). Unfortunately, the clinic was out-of-stock. We talked to the PD about the pumpkin's eczema and frequent butt area rashes too. PD said we should continue to use nappy rash during diaper changes, and to air her butt more often. Start with half an hr a day and lengthen it. This will help the healing, and also aid in toilet-training too. Which we started (very) halfheartedly actually... ooops.

The little pumpkin is done with all her compulsory shots (see Singapore children's immunisation schedule here) and doesn't need any more jabs until she is 4 years old. Hopefully, she will keep healthy so that she won't need to see her PD until then heehee. Sat's doctor visit costs $217 (Prevenar 13 $172 + Consultation $45).

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Made in Singapore Flea Day

Well as every true-blue Singaporean knows, National Day is coming right up on Tue, 9 Aug 11!! And that would make Singapore.... 46 years old! Heehee.. pretty young for a country, huh.

The grand National Day Parade (NDP) 2011 celebrations will be at The Float @ Marina Bay, but in an effort to extend the celebratory mood beyond the parade area, other festivities will take place around Marina Bay waterfront like Marina Barrage.

Highlights include a live screening of NDP 2011 (on 9 Aug, duh!), NDP Exhibition and fireworks. However, the one I'm most excited about is on 6-9 Aug, because there's going to be a Made in Singapore Flea Market! If you can recall, I love treasure-hunting in flea markets! haha... This one is pretty cool and takes place only during the NDP period. It supports budding artists, and showcases a lot of local talents and designs. Heard over 100 stalls will be there offering a great selection of food, drinks, art, accessories and life-style products. My "sister", Satona, is coming for a visit and I think I'll bring Sato-chan down there :) It will be an experience for her, don't you think?

If you are interested to hold a booth, check out the flyer below. There's going to be THOUSANDS of people down for NDP 2011 so you don't have to worry about no customers :P Only costs an average of $65/day. If I was serious enough in my house-cleaning, I would consider setting up a stall there to sell my stuff for extra moolah!


On those days, there's other interactive activities for the family like inflatable bouncies and game stalls too. I'm sure it will be heaps packed, so we might not drive. According to the NDP traffic advisory, most roads in the area will be closed anyway. I guess that will be Sato-chan's first trip on our local subway haha...

National Day is about 2 weeks away and I'm seriously starting to get into the NDP spirit! Now, where's my Singapore flag??!

Some Days (on Tues 26 Jul 11)



The pumpkin is such a little drama mama. Watch until the end of this short clip to see the best part haha...

Some days, I walk from my office all the way to my mum's place. It takes me about 25 mins, but kinda tiring because I have to walk up a small hill. Most days, I walk up the hill then take a shuttle bus to her place.

Some days, I forget to wear my wedding band and I feel like something is missing. Most days, I remember it and somehow, it brings me comfort throughout the day like a security blanket :P

Some days, I get so tired out by the little pumpkin's antics that I wish she was one of those children I see sitting in a corner, reading books or colouring quietly while the adults do their stuff. Most days, I appreciate that she is vibrant with a strong, yet lovable personality, as it shows her character and intelligence (mummy looking on the bright side obviously hahaha)

Some days, I jump out of bed, bright and ready to start the day! Wheeee~! Most days, I drag myself out of bed, stone a bit on the sofa and moan about getting out of bed before sunrise... Seriously not a morning person ><"

Some days (mostly weekends), I don't use the computer or mobile much. Most days, I'm wired up one way or another about 90% of the hours I'm awake. For work, fb, blogging, twitter, phone calls, whatsapp, sms etc.... it's a double-edged sword to be so accessible to other people, and sometimes I just feel so bombarded with information that I want to just throw away the iPads, iPhones, computers and just live like when life was simpler *cave-girl-wannabe moment*

Joining Lulu on her weekly Some Days, Most Days and A Beach Cottage, Type A.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Roast Chicken Greek Salad Recipe

Had some leftover roast chicken so decided to have a simple Sunday salad for dinner.

As I mentioned before, the boy and I don't usually eat much carbs so this is our main course hence the big bowl haha. Love the explosion of colours!

Because of the strong herbs and cheese used, I prepared something else for the little pumpkin to eat. Besides, she is a growing child and needs more carbs.


Prep time:
About 20 mins

Ingredients:
1/2 honey-roasted chicken (shredded)
2 butterheads
1 green (or red, yellow) capsicum (chunked)
2-3 medium purple onions (sliced)
1 cup pea sprouts
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella (sliced)
1/3 cup mixed nuts and dried fruits
1 bottle Emborg Feta in oil with Herbs & Olives

Method:
  1. Wash and cut the butterheads, onions, capsicum. Shred the chicken.
  2. Combine the vegetables and chicken in a large salad bowl
  3. Pour Emborg dressing over the vegetables and chicken
  4. Garnish with sliced mozzarella and mixed nuts & dried fruits
  5. Season to taste
  6. Ready to serve
That little Emborg bottle of feta marinated in olive oil and herbs makes preparing this Greek Salad so simple! It's my dressing and garnish all in one. If this salad was used as an appetizer, it could possibly serve 8. I added the nuts & dried fruits for extra crunch but you can do without..

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pasar Malams {Night Markets}


There are many flea markets in Singapore that operate from fixed locations, although I think they aren't as big or famous as those in Hong Kong, Bangkok etc. I like going to flea markets because you never know what "treasure" you might find. I like to look for vintage furniture pieces, pottery, maybe bags.. but I don't buy second-hand clothes (except for obis and yukatas) or shoes. Kobo-san (Toji) and Tenjin-san (Kitano Tenmangu) flea markets are a few of my faves.. miss them!

Another type of street market we have in Singapore is what we call Pasar Malams, or night markets in Malay. They are not held in permanent locations, and pop up in different locations around our sunny island. Usually in residential neighbourhoods lasting for about 1-2 weeks before they disappear. Chancing upon them really depends on your luck. I don't reckon they actually give notices about where/when they are gonna pop up haha...

Well, yesterday we were *lucky* that one started just opposite our block *grins* The little pumpkin loves to go for walks so this was a great opportunity for her to stretch her tiny legs. Nowadays, she can walk longer distance without asking us to carry her. Although, she is well aware that her "daddy tummy pain pain" because of the recent op and doesn't ask him.. and comes to me direct. Oh goody me... carrying a child that weighs more than a 10kg sack of rice isn't exactly a fun deal :p

Lots of cheap & tasty food stalls... Singapore is a melting pot of different cultures so you can see many ethnic stores next to each other.

Popcorn yums!

Cut and pre-packed durian...

Or you can buy the durians whole. The store-owner will slit it open to show you the fruits before you purchase.

Chinese finger food.

Nostalgic music gems

Really cheap stuff and you can haggle too, if you want... I am not sure what that "Shogun" thingy is though haha..

Old school sweets and snacks!

Some of these you don't even see in the usual supermarkets anymore...

There's, erm, a lot of counterfeit products at Pasar Malams too :P Toys, clothes, bags, DVDs, computer software... Of course, quality isn't very good but if you pay peanuts, expect to get monkeys hahahah...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Good morning Bedhead!

I enjoy looking through the little pumpkin's old photos... lovely memories of her as a little baby and I often gush how fast she has grown!

This pic was taken in April 2010. Those lazy days when I was still able to wake up with her in the late mornings. Her front few teeth were just coming out and she was such a cute little miss bedhead!

This was taken just this morning. Hair is still kinda messy, and much longer :)

I have not cut her hair at the back, so yes, those curls are from birth *grinz* She is 2 years old now btw. Little pumpkin's hair is naturally wavy and longer than how it actually looks here. Mum and the boy have been telling me to cut her hair as it gets tangled so easily.. but I just can't bear too :(

I love her curls! And her wild, fiery hair is kinda like her trademark hehehehe... My kinda Cherished Treasure :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Of Peter Pan and Flying Birds

I seriously love Peter Pan collars. Maybe "seriously" is not a word one should associate with the boy who never grew up.. "frivolously" might be a better word. Yes, I frivolously love Peter Pan collars. There is something child-like and girly about them that I find so deliciously sweet.

Cute, huh? I found a simple tutorial on how to attach Peter Pan collars on dresses here. Unfortunately, I don't know how to sew.. but one day, I might just try it out. Never say never :)

I'm very into animal-printed clothes too. I love this bird-prints dress from F21, and paired it with laced-up wedges from New Look. Simple look with no additional accessories to distract away from the Peter Pan collar and bird-prints detail.

Recently, a mummy acquaintance of mine had back problems (seems rather common in mummies!!) and went to see a doctor. Amongst other things, the doctor told her that she didn't need to wear heels anymore since she was a mother and wife (!!??). Guess the point he was trying to drive to her was that she did not need to dress up anymore since she was already married with a kid. I find that quite ridiculous, really.

I speak for myself (and maybe some other mummies too) that most of the times I dress up, I do it for myself. Yes, of course there are times I want to look pretty for the boy and to be presentable in public, but usually I do it because it makes me feel happy.

I find joy in picking out things to wear, choosing accessories, wearing make-up and getting ready to go out. It may not be an important event, but there's a self-satisfaction from looking yourself in the mirror, and finding that you look good. Perhaps not for others, but for yourself.

It's a frivolous thing no doubt, but sometimes we are so lost in "serious" stuff like work, looking after the kids, house-cleaning, caring for the elders that we forget about ourselves. Dressing up is like remembering our own identity and showing it to the best of our abilities. If I was disciplined enough, I would be doing household chores dressed like Charlotte (SATC) or Bree (Desperate Housewives) haha. But I'm too lazy~!

Those people who say mummies don't need to dress up are probably the same people who think that those who have tattoos all belong to yakuzas. I have 4. And no, I'm not from a yakuza.

Just because you wear heels & pretty dresses (and not gingham-aprons all the time), it doesn't make you a bad mummy. It's not like we are siphoning off household money to buy clothes and shoes! Basically, don't feel bad about looking good, fellow mums. We may be married, but we are not imprisoned or dead haha...

Have you ever been told that you shouldn't bother to dress up just because you have been married with a kid? How did you answer them?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Some days (on Tues 19 Jul 11)...

That's my lil pumpkin planking. Yup, we do silly stuff like this in our home haha... This is totally supervised and safe, of course.

Some days, the weather is perfect for walks - cloudy with a cool breeze. Most days, it is either insanely hot, or dreadfully dark and wet. Welcome to Singapore.

Some days, I believe in beauty over comfort (爱美不要命). Feet dying from high heels? It's all in the mind and doesn't matter as long as your butt is taut, legs look long and slender. Most days, I like to dress simply in flats, or wedges. Easy, breezy, beautiful.. cover girl (I wish haha)

Some days, I bathe the little pumpkin. Most days, the boy will do it. It's kind of like his "fatherly duty", but he loves to do it anyway as part of the bonding time with the little bub.

Some days, I wonder why I take so many photos when I don't really store and categorise them properly. Most days, I am trigger-happy anyway because I would rather have those photos as memories, then to not.

Some days, I cook and bake to my heart's content. I like to do it actually because I like to think that I'm serving my family food made with love, and I know it makes the boy happy to eat my home-cooked meals. Most days, I don't because I've no time. We get home only about 9+pm each weekday night, and weekends are usually filled with activities.

Some days, I have nothing that I want to blog about. Most days, I have so many things that I want to blog about. I don't keep a diary, and blogging is like a journal for me to write down my memories and experiences. I feel that if I don't write down most things, I will most likely forget those special moments... and they will get lost in time forever. Well, maybe not as dramatic as that, but you get the idea :) Especially for the bub's milestones - I want to capture as many as possible.

Joining Lulu on her weekly Some Days, Most Days.