19 March 2018

Causeway Bay, Early Evening

I will have a friend visiting this week, so I'm hoping to take more pics around Hong Kong.  I love, love, love street photography, but I haven't done much of that lately. We might skip the more usual tourist stops (she's visited before) and hit some of the lesser-known ones this time.

This scene below was taken in Causeway Bay, in the early evening on a weekday.  People are getting off work and heading home or off to meet up with friends for dinner.  

13 March 2018

I'm loving the weather we have these days.  Sunshine, but a bit cool still... perfect hiking weather.  I want to get as much in before the weather gets hot and muggy.  I try to get the kids to come with me when they don't have school. Sometimes, though, I have to bribe them with the promise of a meal at one of their favorite restaurants afterward before they would agree to come along.

There's Easter break coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that it will still be cool enough to go on some hikes then.  Maybe we'll try some new trails; maybe we'll even head out to the outlying islands and do a couple of the trails there.

Singwa - Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Z and a friend

06 March 2018

In Full Bloom

For those who have been visiting here a while, you'll know that I love orchids.  I have eight orchid plants at the moment and five of them are in bloom; three of them in time for Chinese New Year.  Having living blooms at Chinese New Year symbolize rebirth and new growth apparently.  I'm not superstitious, but it's always nice to have blooms around the house.  I love that the orchid flowers last for months and if you take care of them well, they bloom again and again and again.


27 February 2018

Captions Wanted

Z hasn't done much drawing of late.  She's been pretty busy with netball, music stuff, and Cub Scouts activities.  Whatever downtime she has, she's been playing SIMS4 or watching videos on YouTube.  I was really glad to see her picking up a pencil and started drawing again.

I've been looking at this drawing and have been trying to come up with words to describe the expression on this girl's face.  It's some boredom, some disdain, some kind of patronizing pity... What do you see?

Singwa - Wed, 28 Feb 2018

19 February 2018

I just realized that all my blog posts this year so far, except for one, were food-related.  Hmm.  No, I am not turning this into a food blog or anything like that.  I guess I had just been indulging more... checking out new places to eat, trying out new recipes, re-making favorites, experimenting.  

Growing up, you'd never see me in the kitchen.  Beyond a handful of favorites, I wasn't really much into food.  I was never a big eater.  I guess I just grew (figuratively and literally!) into this new love.  I love 'creating'; baking and cooking give me this outlet. I might not make what I love or love what I make, but as long as others around me love what I create, I am gratified.  What's more, if what I make looks pretty, I can take pictures and that's another creative outlet right there.

My number one fan and buddy when it comes to food is my son.  He loves food... and I don't mean that he eats voraciously (well, sometimes that, too), but that he truly appreciates food. He analyzes, he dissects, he savors.  We saw this video for a 40-Garlic Clove Chicken on Tastemade and we knew that we had to try it.  J loves garlic --the more the better, --so this was right up his alley.  Verdict?  It was as good as it looked on the video!  If I were to change anything, though, it would be use less sugar or probably even omit the sugar altogether next time. The honey alone was sweet enough.  It was quite easy to make and very yummy, so we will definitely be making this again.

13 February 2018

Comfort Food

It's been rather chilly here the past week and we'd been having a lot of comfort food.  Easy to make ones, one-pot meals.  Chinese New Year is around the corner and there are lots to do, things to prepare for, so this post is going to be short and sweet.

Singwa - Wed, 14 Feb 2018

Happy Year of the Dog!

(...and Happy Valentine's Day, too!)

07 February 2018

We had a fun Saturday afternoon with J's Scout troop doing some backwoods cooking.  The scouts had to do everything themselves --gather kindling, light a fire, keep it going, make bread (from scratch), cook, putting out the fire, clean up.

They roasted M&M-stuffed bananas, raisin bread, egg-stuffed potatoes... Some kids stuffed their potatoes with M&Ms instead and roasted those!
Singwa - Wed, 7 Feb 2018
This is then wrapped in foil and roasted.

They first hollowed out the potatoes, cracked eggs into them, secured the "cap" back with toothpicks, wrap the potatoes in foil and roasted them.

Ta dah!

29 January 2018

Mango Sticky Rice

Sometimes you just get a craving and it doesn't matter that you have to trek a bit to get the ingredients.  It definitely helps if the recipe is simple enough and it is even sweeter if your 10-year old daughter wants to make it for you!

A drizzle of coconut milk over the mango and black rice

This one below was the first mango sticky rice that Z made for us, using the traditional glutinous rice.  The main difference between this one and the one above is the rice used; everything else was pretty much the same.  I can't decide which one I like better.  The black rice has a different texture, which I liked, but it is not as fragrant as the white one below.  The toasted sesame seeds probably added to how fragrant it was, too.  Maybe we'll just have to alternate between the two, because we like both for different reasons!

Do share one (or more) of your favorite desserts!

24 January 2018

My son turned 13 last week.  I am not going to embarrass him by posting his baby photos here;  he has expressly told me not to post any pictures of him here.  Overnight, it seems that I have a man-boy in the house.  He is now taller than me and his voice is much deeper. He is constantly hungry and eats a ton.  Underneath all the physical changes, though, J is still my little boy (always will be!).  He drives me bonkers sometimes and he kills me with his very corny puns, but he has the kindest, kindest heart.  When he laughs hard, it just makes you laugh right along with him even if you don't know what exactly he's laughing about.  He has such a way with words that leaves me in awe.  He loves, loves, loves food and is game to try new restaurants with me, my foodie pal.  

I made a layered chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting to help celebrate his birthday.  A labor of love, I tell you.  Took me two days.  I had to experiment a bit with the frosting.  The first recipe that I tried was too rich, too sweet.  It came out more like fudge.  This second recipe that I ended up using, though, is just right.  Just the right amount of sweetness and very light.  Three cheers for meringue buttercream!

Singwa - Wed, 24 Jan 2018

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields... 
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

15 January 2018

Imagine Dragons!

Saturday night was awesome!  By sheer luck, we found out that Imagine Dragons was coming to Hong Kong and we managed to get tickets to see them live in concert (again).  It was so cool to enjoy the concert with the kids.  Josh and Zoe actually knew the words to pretty much all the songs and were singing along with gusto (well, Zoe more than Josh).  

I think we enjoyed this concert more than the last time Imagine Dragons was here, because (1) the kids are older now, (2) they knew all the songs, and (3) not as shy to really get up and do what people do at concerts.  At the last concert, they were both embarrassed by us cheering and singing out loud and going woo hoo!  We told them that that was just generally what people do at pop concerts; they didn't think it was "proper."  No, they did not go wild this time either, but both got into it more and did not shush me or ask me to sit back down.  They were singing and cheering and clapping along and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. 

Singwa - Wed, 17 Jan 2018

Imagine Dragons is such a great band.  I love their music.  Generally, rock is not my 'thing,' but there's something about the beat (and the lyrics) in their songs that I love.  We saw the usual teens and young professionals at the concert, but there were also plenty of pre-teens and families attending... and the best thing is that everybody really got into it and rocked the concert, making for a really cool experience overall.  J even ran into his English teacher at the concert! 

We will definitely want to see them again the next time they come to Hong Kong.  Them... and Billy Joel and Andrea Bocelli. 

09 January 2018

Ichiran... ❤

My son is a foodie.  A real foodie.  At 13 (well, almost 13).  Last week, he requested that we go out and try out a new place.  I love that he's game.  I've been hearing about this ramen place where they serve only one type of ramen (tonkotsu ramen), where each person gets a "booth" to themselves, where the entire experience is done with very minimal human interaction.  The weather has been cool (it's around 8°C /45°F today) and I thought it'd be nice to check out Ichiran and have a nice, hot bowl of ramen.

Off we went and made it there by 12 noon.  We were congratulating ourselves for getting there early enough that we didn't have to queue up.  Once inside, though, we realized that we'd patted ourselves on the back too soon. There was a line inside that snaked around.  We decided to just wait since we were there already.  About 30 minutes in, we were finally seated at our respective booths.  I just call them booths, but essentially, you are seated along a bar, but there are dividers between you and the people on both sides of you.

They handed each of us an order slip where we could indicate our preferences on how our ramen would be prepared:  the richness of the stock, firmness of the noodles, the spice level, how much garlic we'd like, whether or not we'd like spring onions and/or the pork slices.  We could also indicate if we'd like extra sides (dried seaweed, salted egg, mushrooms, etc.)  Both of us mainly went with the recommended selections, but opted to up the garlic level. 

You press a button, someone comes to take the order slip.  You get a cup (for water that you self-serve from your own tap on the table in front of you) and chopsticks. When your order is ready, they serve it to you and bring down the bamboo curtain that separates you from the area where the food is prepared, leaving you to savor your ramen in peace.

Singwa - Wed, 10 Jan 2018

It was easily one of the best ramen I've had... ever.  The broth was so flavorful, the noodles were just right.  The word that both J and I kept saying as we were eating --flavorful.  Suffice it to say that we will be going back there again... and again... and again.   I won't say more.

Once done, we grabbed our order slip, a copy of which was discreetly placed in a holder on our table, and went out to pay.  By then, there was long line, not just inside the restaurant, but also outside, down the block!  See?

If you ever are in Hong Kong (or Japan or Taipei or Brooklyn, NY), do check out Ichiran.  Don't let the long queues deter you. The ramen is well worth the wait!

01 January 2018

Happy 2018!

Happy new year, everyone!  I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday break.  I'd been doing a lot of baking over Christmas.   I finally made a batch of pineapple tarts just for us!  In the past, whenever I made pineapple tarts, I usually gave them away to my friend whose son loves them and we got whatever 'extras' that remained.  This time I doubled the recipe and kept a batch for ourselves.  I did run out of filling for our batch, but managed to save the day with chocolate chips!  They turned out rather yummy, so next time, I might play around some more and experiment with other toppers.

Singwa - Wed, 3 Jan 2018

I finally made J his birthday cake (his birthday is in Jan, so that means that I will be making one again for him in a few weeks' time!).  Yes, I owed him a cake all this time, so when specifically asked for a bacon chocolate cake, I could not say no.  I did use turkey bacon and dark chocolate, so we could eat it with less guilt.

Singwa - Wed, 20 Dec 2017

On top of those, I also made a batch of Almond Choc Chip Chia Seeds Cookies.  No, I didn't take a pic of those and now they're all gone.  I'll have to remember to take some pictures of them next time.  Those are my favorite cookies to make (and eat!).

I look forward to discovering and exploring new recipes this year and experimenting.

What are you looking forward to in 2018?

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