Princess and The Rock

Parenting | Homeschooling | Food | Fashion

Monday, 6 October 2014

Coffee. Craft. Cooking. Collaborations (C4)

Last Saturday morning, Princess and I spent a fruitful morning doing the above - making coffee, crafting and cooking. The main participant was Princess and I was her assistant. This class was birthed by the talented duo - Christopher and Autumn. They are two unassuming persons who in fact have multiple skills and talents under their belt.

The class started with apron design. We were shown how to make stencils and create designs on our aprons from the stencils and acrylic paint. For this project, Princess came up with the design but I helped her with the cutting as she wasn't confident with a pen knife yet. The rest of the work was mainly done by her while I assisted her by holding the stencil in place or pointing out spaces where she left out colouring. It was a fun and gratifying project as the result could be enjoyed almost immediately, in fact, Princess wore the apron she designed throughout the rest of the class!

Proud owner of her personalised hand-painted apron!

The next thing we learnt was coffee-making. For this part, other than the 1:10 coffee to water ratio that I remembered, the other thing that stuck to my head was 'irreverence'. Irreverence not in a negative way but more of thinking-out-of-the-box kind of way. Making your cup of atas Arabica beans coffee with kopi sock? Why not? How about according your humble maize-butter-sugar-roasted kopi beans some royalty treatment and making a single serve portion in a french coffee press? That's exactly what we did in the class.

Very carefully measuring out the amount of coffee powder.

Learning how to make a deconstructed tiramisu dessert was the final portion of the class. Honestly, I'm not familiar with deconstructed food or those molecular gastronomy thingamajig, so it was quite an eye-opener for me. I've made tiramisu once and I thought it was decent, if I may say. However, my impression of tiramisu is that it's a rustic dessert, something like a trifle with premium ingredients. This session, instead of layering the different components of this dessert in the traditional manner, we learnt to plate it in an almost french fine dining kind of way. Each component has it's own rightful place yet they compliment one another perfectly. Few things I learnt from this plating exercise:

  1. Choose a plate that is bigger than your face.
  2. The actual food item must take up no more than 1/3 of the plate.

  3. Don't be afraid to use non-traditional kitchen utensils, e.g. paintbrush.

  4. Symmetry is passé. Just like fashion, senget (Malay for "slanted" or "crooked") is in.
  5. Height is important. A dish with some height looks more appealing and 3D.

  6. Princess' virgin (in all sense of the word; first attempt and sans alcohol) tiramisu.

  7. The last but most important point is PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD. Experiment.
She got the technique of beating egg whites really quickly.
I thought the only way to make meringue is to beat the
living daylights out of those egg whites but I was wrong! 

Please do note that the above points are my interpretation and I think I'm pretty close. Go for the next instalment if you don't believe me! :P

I've got the recipe of the tiramisu below if you want try it out. It's the kind of thing that is totally instagram-worthy if you get what I mean.

C4 Class Recipe (by Christopher Leow)
Cuisine: Italian
Name: Tiramisu
Yields:  10 portions
Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 60 mins

Component A: Sponge Fingers
Qty Ingredients
3 Egg whites
3 Egg yolks
60g Plain flour
2 Tbsp Icing sugar

Whisk egg whites and icing sugar till it forms soft peaks of a meringue.
Whisk egg yolks seperately till it is pale and creamy.
Combine the whites and flour to the yolks.
Spread a thin layer of batter on a warm pan/ microwave 30s/ bake at 140deg C till brown.

Component B: Mascarpone Cream
Qty Ingredients
4 Egg whites
4 Egg yolks
500g Mascarpone cream
50g Icing sugar (Split into 2 equal portions)
40ml Coffee liquor

Whisk egg whites and half icing sugar till it forms soft peaks of a meringue.
Whisk egg yolks and sugar over a Bain Marie till pale and creamy. Fold in the mascapone,
Fold in the meringue to the yolks mixture. Leave to chill.

Component C: Coffee reduction
Qty Ingredients
60g Ground coffee
300g Water
20g Glucose

Brew the ground coffee and water in a french press.
Strain out the liquid, and bring to a boil and reduce till it thickens.

Component D: Cocoa Tuile
Qty Ingredients
4 Tbsp Unsalted butter
100g Sugar
20g Cocoa powder
2 Egg whites
A pinch Salt
1.5 Tbsp Plain flour

Preheat the oven to 175′C. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, cocoa and salt. Whisk in the egg whites.
Add the flour and whisk only until combined. Let rest for at least 10 minutes. Use a spatula and spread a flat, thin layer.
Bake for 2-4 mins, and leave to cool.

Component E: Garnish
Qty Ingredients
As needed Cocoa powder
1 tbsp Coffee Beans
Crush the coffee beans so that aromas are released.

Prepare a bowl of coffee liquor for dipping.
Dip both sides of the fingers into the liquor. Arrange neatly on a tray.
Layer the fingers with a thin layer of mascapone cream.
Pipe the mascarpone cream over.
Dust the top with a layer of cocoa powder.
Using a squeeze bottle, dot the coffee reduction on the plate.
Stick in a few pieces of the cocoa tuile.
Garnish with the coffee beans at one spot.

Do you see the glow above the crown of the "Appointed One"? 

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A Moment of Truth - I'm a full-time "M" now.

So what exactly is an "M"?

Mother? Yes but I've been a full-time mother for close to six years and not only now.

Mentor? Yes to that too. I would like to think that my children regard me as their mentor, as well as, the many other roles I play. But that's not what I'm referring to here.

The moment of truth was when I realised I'm a full-time size M now, i.e. I fit well into size M clothes all the time now, not sometimes, not once in a while. "What the big deal?" you may ask. It's a ginormous deal to me because I could eat five full meals and I remained at a frame of 1.63 metres tall and 48 kilogrammes, which fit into a size S or even XS at times. Now I eat "rabbit food" half the time and I'm "blossoming", if you get what I mean.

What made me feel worse was when I was preparing for the Bali trip (I'm writing this post on my final night in Bali.), I noticed that the way my swimwear fitted was way different from my Bali trip a year ago. Let's just put it this way; there are a lot more overhanging bits now, much more than I imagined possible. To make matters worse I've arranged for a very talented and inspiring friend of mine to come along with us to help take some family photos. I was even toying with the idea of bringing our wedding attires along just to have some fun "wedding" photographs of my husband and I and Princess and The Rock. However I am pretty sure my gown has no room for all the extra bits! To be honest I thought I would be  "invincible"; I would remain slim forever as I lost weight easily after both childbirths. Boy have I underestimated the power of aging and gravity!

I know I've written about how concerned I am about the influence of media on Princess' self-image here but alas I'm not spared from it too; I needed to feel slim and fit to feel good about myself. While I was feeling awful about myself, how I "let myself go" by not exercising much, not paying enough attention to my aging skin, not having had a proper tummy wrap after my childbirths etc., my children reminded me in the most special ways to love myself, flabby tummy, underarm ding-dangs and all. One day out of the blue Princess came and buried her head into my tummy and lovingly said, "You have piggy tummy! I love your piggy tummy because it reminds me of when you were pregnant!" and she genuinely meant it! I felt terrible at first when I heard "piggy" (of course I didn't show it) but I later thought it was pretty OK because she REALLY loves me and my piggy tummy. So what if I'm a size M? "M" simply means "MORE to love" to me now and "S" is short for "SO WHAT?" Haha! I don't deny there's an element of sour grapes. :P

Coincidentally the Rock further confirmed the fact that a woman with a little more to hold is cute! Watch this video and tell me who is your favourite girl?

Can you guess which is Rock's favourite? He chose the girl who appeared at 2:37 because she is so "cute and chubby" and the woman who's bald at 1:50 as "She's so pretty!". So the traditional idea of beauty with long luscious hair and slim build does not exist for a young child like Rock. If beauty and fashion editors see women in Rock's perspective, we would see a wider variety of beauty and fashion articles and models on the magazines at the newsstands!

Does this mean I'm completely satisfied with the way I am now? Not by a mile because I like to feel fit and energised and not lethargic and heavy but I'm not going to bemoan about the size of my clothes (although that means I can't fit into a lot of my old stuff) but get on with some sort of an exercise regime, as well as, eating healthy.

I think I may still fall into "I'm so fat" mode probably once every month due to bloating during that time of the month so do remind me "M" is "MORE to love" and help me snap out of it, will you? ;)

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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

HeART Studio September Holiday Program (+Giveaway!)

Princess and the Rock brings you HeART Studio Giveaway again, this time for the upcoming September school holidays. As usual, the programme line-up is nothing short of interesting and the subjects are varied enough so there's sure to be something that captivates your child(ren).

We are really excited about the holiday programme this time because The Rock would be participating in the Little Masters programme too! (Actually Princess is always excited about going for her art class at HeART Studio and meeting her beloved Teacher Elma.)

The schedule is appended for your convenience below:

**Note : Due to popular request Sea Turtle would be changed to Ninja Turtle on Thursday 11th Sept 1.30pm.
There will be additional Olaf classes for 3-4 years old : 12th Sept 1.30pm with only 4 slots available.

Now the fun part is the giveaway, right?

HeART Studio has generously sponsored not one but three slots for the giveaway!

One slot is for the Dino Train canvas painting (30cm by 40cm)

Dino Train Canvas Painting
Value: $75
Date: 11 September 2014
Time: 1:30pm - 4:00pm

**Note: The child has to be at least 3 years old and above, based on the month and year of birth.

In this programme, the children will learn how to paint their all-time favourite characters in Dino Train, at the same time, they will also learn to blend colours and understand the colour values.

The other two slots are for the Gumball Machine canvas painting (40cm by 50cm).

Gumball Machine Canvas Painting
Value: $75
Date: 8 September 2014
Time: 10:00am - 12:30pm

**Note: The child has to be at least 5 years old and above, based on the month and year of birth.

In this programme your child would learn about contrasting and complimentary colours. This painting programme will open a window of experience for the student to try out canvas painting to the many different interesting subject matters that have been chosen for the class.

To take part, simply enter through Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions for the Giveaway:
  1. Entries that do not fulfil the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
  2. No repeat winners are allowed.
  3. Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided.
  4. Winners must confirm by reply email or phone call, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
  5. No changing of date or time is allowed.
  6. No Existing Customers allowed.
  7. This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Golden Curried Potatoes

Two days ago, I discovered that Bill's Kitchen was showing on BBC Lifestyle and I was salivating at his Indian Spiced Potatoes with Fried Egg. So I decided to make my own simpler version with the ingredients I have on hand. I've also made it as a roasted dish instead of cooking it over the stove simply because clean up would be easier! It turned out delicious nevertheless, in fact I think I prefer my crispier version. :P

As I wanted to make this dish kid-friendly, I omitted the chilli but if you like some kick, I think a finely diced red or green chilli, or even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper would do the job neatly. You can also use other types of potatoes, however, a waxy or creamy type would be more suitable than the floury type.

This savoury and fragrant Golden Curried Potatoes would be a good accompaniment to light-tasting grilled white fish or on its own, topped with a fried (or poached) egg as suggested by Bill.

Golden Curried Potatoes

by Felicia Tan
Keywords: roast side gluten-free potato curry powder

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 750 kg Nadine potatoes (You can get these from NTUC and 1 pack is 750g.)
  • 2 medium or 3 small onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (more or less)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • A generous pinch of Himalayan sea salt and black pepper
  • Chopped spring onions for garnish, if desired.
  1. Scrub the potatoes if they are unwashed.
  2. Cut the potatoes into 1cm cubes.
  3. Dice the onions into 1cm cubes.
  4. Coat the potatoes and onions with the seasonings. I simply stirred everything together, making sure all the potatoes and onions are well-coated.
  5. Lay the seasoned potatoes and onions mixture on a baking sheet/tray, a single layer if possible, so that the edges of the potatoes would crisp a little.
  6. Roast the potatoes in a preheated oven at 180 degree celsius for 20-30 minutes. Check the doneness after 20 minutes. It is ready when the potatoes are golden and the edges are lightly crisped.
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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Alive Museum - Where Fantasies Come Alive!

Thanks to Omy's invitation, we had a ball of time at Alive Museum Singapore for close to two hours! Alive Museum Singapore is the biggest 3D illusionary museum in Singapore that "tricks" your perceptions, bringing your fantasies to reality! Alive Museum originated from South Korean and there are now a total of 15 branches globally. The one in Singapore boasts an area of 10,000 sq ft, with artwork all hand-painted and handcrafted by Alive Museum's own team of artists from South Korea to exacting standards to ensure quality.

Here is a glimpse of our "fantasies":

"Hehe... tickle tickle!"

"Mummy, when I'm older can I keep a mermaid like this?"

"Save me!"

Save water campaign.

"No more chocolate ice-cream for me!"

Nice view!

"I mean, going around the museum on foot is so five minutes ago."

"Stop it, Elly!"

"Nooo.... I'm not prepared to be Croco's lunch!"

The Stretchy Duo. No points for guessing who's breezing through it.

Looks fun? You bet! 

A word of advice though, Alive Museum is NOT for everyone. It is mainly suitable for:

  1. People who like to take photographs. Sorry if this is obvious but in case anyone thinks that because it's a "museum", you can look at the exhibits as if you're in a traditional museum, you'll be in for a huge surprise. You have to take photographs and view your photographs as an exhibition.

  2. Poseurs.  As you can probably tell, we are a bunch of poseurs so we enjoyed the experience tremendously. You NEED TO choot pattern, or in other words, be game to pose and be expressive in order for your photos to turn out convincing, and not to mention, entertaining too.

  3. People who don't mind being watched as you are doing "funny things". Part of the fun, for me, was watching others contort their bodies and makes all sorts of funny expressions during photo-taking. Everyone (I think) is in for a good laugh, hence most people are sporting and they try their best to make each photo as convincing as possible. So if you can't stand being watched, you may like to skip this. Or go during off-peak hours.

So if you think you are a poseur who likes being photographed (or taking photographs of other people) and does not mind being watched while being in compromising positions at times, you have to make your way to Alive Museum Singapore!

Alive Museum Singapore
Location: Suntec City Mall #03-372 (Between Towers 3 and 4)
Ticket Prices: $25 (Adults), $20 (Children 3-12 yrs)
Operating Hours: 10am - 10pm Daily (Last admission at 9pm)

Current Promotion: Like Alive Museum on Facebook and get a free meal at Burger King Suntec with purchase of a full-priced ticket.

Disclaimer: We received two complimentary tickets to Alive Museum Singapore for the purpose of this review. All photographs and opinions are our own.

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Thankful Tuesday: Billy Elliot in the House

As I was reading the Thankful Tuesday post from Mum in the Making, I was reminded that I've a lot to be thankful about too. Sometimes it's hard to appreciate the blessings that come to us amidst a sink full of dishes, dirty floor with crayon marks and toys all over and screaming children in the background.

But today as I was preparing our morning green smoothie, I overheard the "lesson" that was happening in the living room. When I got to the living room I saw this:

Princess has outgrown a pair of ballet shoes and she offered them to The Rock, who prompted put them on and got ready for his ballet lesson. As I watched from the sideline I feel thankful that: 

  • The Rock is well from a bout of fever. 

  • The siblings have the opportunity to play together and teach each other any time of the day, every day.

  • A home (although small) that we can play and find rest in.

  • A supportive husband who ALWAYS come home with smiles for me and the children, no matter how hard a day he's got.

  • Children who love me, forgive me and hug me to sleep every night, no matter how bad a day we've put each other through. Yes, they'll hug me even though I'm cao serng (smelling bad) from a full day of cooking and washing. That's how I know I'm well-loved.

  • God's always watching over us and His love is unfailing.

It is indeed good to give thanks! If you feel overwhelmed, I encourage you to think of ONE thing that you can still be thankful about, you'll feel better. Try it! :)

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Friday, 1 August 2014

Blend Your Way to Health!

Less than a week ago I got myself, or rather my family, a blender. I've been eyeing a blender forever but just didn't get down to buying it. I was lusting over a workhorse like the Vitamix that can do almost anything any kitchen equipment can do but decided against it because it is so expensive in Singapore. But I still wanted to get one that is reliable enough for heavy usage and be able to crush ice and make a good smoothie because that's one of the main purposes of getting a blender.

What finally catalyse the buying of the blender was when I found out that I had a week to use my Robinsons voucher before they expire! So I made it my mission to get something from Robinsons real quick. It didn't take me long to decide on a blender since it's been on my mind. The model I finally got was the Philips Avance Collection Blender (HR2095/31). I must say that the blender is one of the best investment I've ever made! I can finally make those healthy and yummy treats I drooled over on Pinterest.

But what really bowled me over was how the blender "healed" me in ONE day. Four days ago I brought Princess and The Rock to the Asian Civilisation Museum and I suddenly had a really bad runny nose; it was leaking non-stop and I must have used at least five packs of tissue paper. I don't usually medicate but it was so bad I just wanted to stop the runny nose, so I took a pill for it but it didn't seem to help and I went to sleep all sedated and drowsy.

The next day I was so low on energy that I could not eat anything so I thought to myself, "Why not have a smoothie meal? It takes only a few minutes to prepare and it's easier to drink than to chew." Hence I made myself green smoothies for breakfast and lunch and had a fruit-based one for dinner. I was still feeling slightly weak but I managed to fetch Princess to her Chinese class. When I went to bed I was still feeling slightly feverish, but yesterday, my muscus and phlegm were cleared totally when I woke up.

I suspect it's the "magic" of the smoothies and I did include ingredients in my smoothies that are supposed good for you. All the liquid did help flush my system too as I was making more trips to the loo definitely! The smoothies I had aren't cure-all but they tasted yummy for sure!

Here are the recipes:

1. Avo-Bananas Green Smoothie

by Felicia Tan
Keywords: blender vegan avocado banana mesclun mix flax seeds
  • 2 handfuls of mesclun mix (If you are not used to green smoothie, you can use less and increase the amount gradually.)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 small avocado
  • 3 dates (Use less if your dates are bigger.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
  • 5 - 6 cubes ice
  • Water to thin down to preferred consistency.
1. Put everything into the blender and blend till smooth.
2. Drink up!

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2. Tropical Smoothie

by Felicia Tan
Keywords: blender banana jackfruit coconut pineapple

Ingredients (about 850ml)
  • Flesh from 2 coconuts
  • Juice from 1.5 coconuts
  • 7-8 bulbs of jackfruit, deseeded
  • 1/3 honey pineapple, chopped into chunks
  • 1 medium banana
  • 10 ice cubes
1. Put everything into the blender and blend till smooth. Add more ice-cubes or water if you find it too sweet.
2. Enjoy as a smoothie or freeze them into ice pops!

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I'm loving my smoothies and I have at least one everyday, so I'm excited to try new recipes! What is your favourite smoothie recipe or blender recipe? Do share it with me in the comments!

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