Friday, March 28, 2008

Tips of the day

Shelf Life: How Long Does Fruit Stay Nutritious?

You've got a ripe banana and a juicy plum. Which one's antioxidants will hold up best after a couple of days in your fruit bowl?

The answer: Eat the banana now. Turns out bananas may lose their antioxidant qualities quickly. Dark plums, on the other hand? They could actually get a tiny antioxidant boost with short storage. Here's how other fruit holds up.

Time on My Side
The antioxidants in black grapes, apples, oranges, and tomatoes (yes, tomatoes are fruit!) also seem to hold up well during storage. But not so much when it comes to apricots and cherries.

Can Eggs Make You Smarter?

Like your poached egg and whole-wheat toast in the morning? Your brain might enjoy it, too.

Eating selenium-rich foods -- like eggs -- could help keep your memory sharp and your brain speed on high as you age.

Your Brain on Selenium
In rural China, researchers found that elderly people who got at least the U.S. recommended daily value of selenium (about 55 micrograms per day) had cognitive test scores that put them in a league with people 10 years younger.

Super Sources
You can get your daily dose of selenium by eating whole-wheat bread (10 micrograms per slice), eggs (14 micrograms per egg), tuna (63 micrograms per 3-ounces), Brazil nuts (270 micrograms per half ounce), and many other foods. In other words, you don't have to go overboard with eggs -- and probably shouldn't -- to get your fill.

(Sources from

Another Great Deal at Blue Max

I went Blue Max few days ago and found them selling 纯白之恋/Good Morning Shanghai DVD set for only $10! For those who likes and have been following the drama now showing on Starhub Channel 55 Mon-Fri 7pm or are a fan of Korean actress Jang Nara, can go to Blue Max to buy the drama.

Jang Nara stars as You Hao Yun who is a Korean living in Shanghai with her family. Her biggest dream is to become a famous pianist. Wanting to move away from her family, Hao Yun and her friend Xiao Mei rented an apartment, but they later found out that the estate agent had ran away with their money and they had no place to stay. Hao Yun refused to let her family know of her situation out of pride and bumped into a single father and son on the street.

Not having time to take care of his son, Wang Zhi Hao (Shawn Yue)offers Hao Yun a job as a nanny and a place to stay. Hao Yun agrees to take the job as a nanny as she has no choice and also because she gets along very well with Zhi Hao's son. So they signed a 3-month-contract and the story of how they start developing feelings for each other begins here.... This drama is also about how Hao Yun goes about confronting her fears and chasing after her dream of being of successful pianist.

I also saw Blue Max selling the DVD set at $10 for Taming of the Shrew starring Chae Rim and Nick Cheung which is now showing on Channel 8 Mon- Wed 10.30pm :> I was following the drama initially but the plot gets draggy and boring after awhile and i rather spend my time watching "The Legend" starring Bae Yong Jun. The plot is really interesting and for those who had watched "Jumong" and was craving for more, "The Legend" would be the recommended drama to watch!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Great Buys at Blue Max & Poh Kim

I went karaoke with my mum, brother and cousin today at Kbox Ang Mo Kio. We shopped around after that and i bought "The Legend" Korean drama DVD complete set (starring Bae Yong Joon) for only $29.90 from Blue Max Video Store. There is English subtitle and Taiwanese dubbing.

Blue Max has recently opened a branch in Ang Mo Kio and that is super great news for me as i don't have to go to its Toa Payoh or Suntec City's branches to look for cheap vcd/dvd sets anymore :> I always go there to buy Korean dramas as the prices are the cheapest.

Back to "The Legend", i have been reading alot of good reviews about the drama online and have been waiting for the price to drop before buying. Poh Kim and TS are selling the full set for around $30-40+. So for those interested in the drama, should definitely go to Blue Max. Would write more about the drama when i start to watch it. I also bought the DVD set of "Coffee Prince" for only $10 at Poh Kim. For those who have watched this drama on Channel U and enjoyed it like me, you can go to Poh Kim to buy it so that you can watch it again as and when you like. I'm not sure when the promotion ends so do hurry if you wish to buy it!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Health tip - Naturally Strong Bones

Found this article from :> Dunno how true is it but i always dislike taking supplements, feel it is always better to just derive vitamins etc from natural food

Natural sources of calcium such as milk, yoghurt and cheese are more beneficial than supplements

If you want strong bones, get your daily calcium intake from dietary sources such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, not from supplements. After studying 168 healthy postmenopausal women consuming calcium as either a supplement, from dietary sources or as a combination of supplements and diet, researchers from the US found higher bone densities in the women who consumed most of their daily calcium from dietary sources. This even held true when the supplement takers had a higher average calcium intake than those consuming dietary sources of calcium.

When researchers looked at the women's levels of the oestrogenic metabolites, they found that the women with dietary sources or mixed sources of calcium (combination of diet and supplements) had higher levels of the active metabolite 16-hydroxyestrone than women who received most of their calcium from supplemental sources. This correlates with a greater bone mass density and thus more favourable effects on the bone health of postmenopausal women, than calcium from supplements. The mechanisms which underlies these effects are still unknown, but it's always best to get your vitamins and minerals from food because they contain all the extra benefits that supplements don't.

(Source: foodnavigator-usa)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Munchy Donut At Sembawang

Munchy Donut has opened a new branch in Sembawang recently(at the Sembawang HDB Branch Office building opposite Sembawang MRT Station). I have been frequenting the place with my hubby and mum as we can spend some quiet time there eating donut, relaxing or doing some reading. I also like the cafe design which makes it very cosy to just relax there for a few hours :>

However the standard of the donuts have dropped compared to when they first opened at Causeway Point Cold Storage where the donuts were warm and abit crispy as it was freshly fried due to the long queue. It was much more yummy then as compared to the cold donut now. However if you happen to stay nearby, this new branch at Sembawang is quite a nice place go to if you wish to laze around and do some reading :> Can always just order a drink ;>

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Good Food in Ang Mo Kio

I have been going to Ang Mo Kio quite often recently with my mum since the temporary Yio Chu Kang food centre cum market has reopened near the Yio Chu Kang Community Club. It would take about 2 years to rebuild the burnt down market. I really missed the yummy food there since it was burnt down last year. I was so happy that some of my favourite food stalls have reopened especially my favourite Joo Heng mushroom minced pork noodle :> My favourite wonton mee, nasi lemak, deserts and carrot cake stalls are all still around and i have been using all these food as rewards and motivations for myself to go swimming at the Yio Chu Kang Swimming Complex. It really feels shiok to pig out after a great workout hehe and minced pork noodle is quite healthy lah... would of course try to limit the rest of my favourite food if not all my exercise would go down the drain hehe...

Another great place to eat in Ang Mo Kio would be the food court at Ang Mo Kio Hub. There are alot of yummy food there and i recently tried the Korean BBQ chicken set and it was really nice and cheap at only $5.

Temporary Yio Chu Kang Food Centre cum market

Joo Heng Mushroom Minced Pork Noodle

Yummy BBQ Chicken Set from the Korean food stall foodcourt at Ang Mo Kio Hub

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ten surprising reasons you're not losing weight, and how to move the needle again

I found this useful article from this website: and hopes it would be helpful for those who enjoys eating and are constantly trying to slim down like me, hehe ;>

Scale stuck?
Ten surprising reasons you're not losing weight, and how to move the needle again
By Liz Plosser

Slimming down is somewhat like boating. You set your course toward a destination (your goal weight), propel yourself with the right fuel (diet and exercise) and end up on an island paradise (in a bikini!). But the tiniest leak in your ship could sink your efforts. We've uncovered 10 sneaky ways your workout, your work habits and even your clothing can undermine your diet, and we devised easy fixes for each. Spot what's holding you back, try our tips and set off toward your ideal body. Then slip into that swimsuit and enjoy!

Diet flub 1
You grocery shop on the fly
Like your boss and karaoke night, some things simply don't go well together. The supermarket and an empty stomach are similarly mismatched. Shopping when you're hungry makes you more likely to fill your basket with junk.

Fix it Skip the checkout line and go online. Dieters who shopped at Web-based groceries bought fewer high-fat foods, a study from the University of Connecticut at Storrs finds. "It makes it easier to stick to your list," says Amelia Lake, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. (Go here for a balanced list.) If you shop in person, stick to the store's perimeter (typically the produce and dairy areas) to avoid impulse buys.

Diet flub 2
You work late
Overtime may help you nab a fatter paycheck, but it could foil your efforts to downsize your figure. Women who worked 40-plus hours per week were more likely to gain weight during the year than those who clocked out earlier, a study in the International Journal of Obesity reports. Stress and fatigue may make desk jockeys more apt to eat fast food and less inclined to exercise. "Women's bodies are wired to hang on to fat, especially in the abdomen, when they experience chronic stress," says Kathleen Hall, Ph.D., founder of The Stress Institute in Atlanta.

Fix it Take mood-lifting breaks. "Pinpoint when during the day you're most likely to hit a slump," Hall says. "Then engage in something playful or soothing during that time—doing so produces feel—good endorphins to battle stress." Put on headphones and download a new song, or recap last night's reality-TV antics with a friend. Physically active downtime is especially effective, Hall says; stretch, toss a foam ball with an officemate or pump out a set of biceps curls using a dumbbell stashed under your desk.

Diet flub 3
You celebrate workouts with M&M's
After a tough hour at the gym, do you (A) grab fresh fruit, (B) feel too great to eat or (C) reward yourself with a huge dinner ("I'll have the Fiesta Nachos, please!")? If you answered C, you're not alone. Women ate about 120 more calories following intense exercise than after a lighter workout that burned the same calories, a study from the University of Ottawa reveals. The splurge may feel justified because the workout seemed so difficult.

Fix it Stow a healthy snack in your gym bag so you don't overdo your next meal. Mix 1/4 cup of dried cranberries with 2 table­spoons of unshelled sunflower seeds in a resealable plastic bag. The mix packs protein and carbs to satisfy your hunger, and cranberries contain antioxidants that help quell postworkout inflammation, says Leslie Bonci, R.D., director of sports medicine nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Diet flub 4
You don't ever count calories
You may think you're vigilant about monitoring portions, but mindless bites can equal hundreds of unaccounted-for calories.

Fix it If dieting were a poker game, logging your food intake would be your ace in the hole. But few women have the discipline (or the time) to record every morsel. Fortunately, simply thinking about your most recent meal can keep overeating in check, a study from the University of Birmingham in England suggests. When women were asked to write down what they had for lunch before they were offered cookies later in the day, they ate fewer treats than those who weren't asked to remember their meal. "Recalling what you ate may remind you of how filling that food was," says lead researcher Suzanne Higgs, Ph.D.

Diet flub 5
You're an e-mail addict
The number of calories you burn e-mailing a coworker? Five. The number it takes to walk over to her? Eleven. Multiply that by how often this scenario plays out in a week (roughly a bazillion), and you see how tech squelches your activity level.

Fix it Slip movement into your entire day, not only your gym time. Stand up when you're talking on the phone, and deliver at least five messages a day in person. You can torch about 100 calories daily this way, says James Levine, M.D., an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. That's enough to burn off nearly a pound a month!

Diet flub 6
Your workouts are routine
When your body grows accustomed to performing the same exercise over and over, it starts to get better at it. The result? Each move requires less effort, so you burn fewer calories.

Fix it Step out of your comfort zone. For starters, ramp up your cardio with intervals (short bursts of high-speed effort—see the 2008 SELF Challenge for ideas). Volunteers who interspersed hour-long bike rides with intervals (four minutes at high intensity followed by two minutes of rest) burned 36 percent more fat than when they cycled at a steady, moderate intensity, a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology indicates. Vary the type of exercise you do for even better results. If you lift weights, try kickboxing; if you're a cardio queen, pick up weights. Already burning and firming? Join a sports team. New activities sizzle more calories by activating different muscle groups.

Diet flub 7
You prefer comfy clothing
Forgiving styles, such as flowy tops and unstructured dresses, make it easy to miss cues that extra pounds are creeping on.

Fix it Keep tabs on your tush by zipping up your favorite pair of denims every Friday. "I tell my clients all the time, 'Jeans don't lie,'" says Jim Karas, a trainer in Chicago and author of The Cardio-Free Diet (Simon Spotlight Entertainment). "Wear your jeans on the weekend; most people tend to eat more on those two days," Karas says. Once you've dropped a size, give away your larger clothes to ensure you won't drift into them again.

Diet flub 8
You taste while you cook
You can slice and dice with the best of them, so you can whip up a nutritious, light meal instead of dialing for oil-drenched takeout. But a spoonful here, a bite there and that glass of wine you sip while you're stirring can quickly add up until you've consumed a meal's worth of calories before dinner even hits the table.

Fix it To keep your mouth busy, fix yourself a bowl of chopped veggies to munch on, or chew a piece of gum—it's no fun sneaking samples of stew with spearmint breath. You might also invite a pal into the kitchen with you. "My clients nibble more when they're preparing dinner alone because they're not occupied by talking to someone," says Monique Ryan, R.D., of Chicago. Cooking for one? Plug in your iPod and sing along.

Diet flub 9
Your kitchen is packed
If your fridge resembles a Trader Joe's display case, then you'll be constantly tempted to nosh. Dieters who were allowed to eat whatever they wanted for snacks took in more snack calories each week than those who were limited to one type, a study in the journal Eating Behaviors notes. Repeat eaters got tired of the flavor and craved it less. The same concept applies whether you're faced with unlimited options at a buffet, a restaurant or your own stuffed pantry. The more choices you have, the bigger your appetite will seem.

Fix it Pick one splurge item to keep in the house at a time—chocolate, ice cream sandwiches or your favorite cheese—and have a little each day to satisfy your taste buds. Don't buy another treat until you've finished it. (But don't down it all at one sitting.) When you're eating out, skip buffets, forget the enormous menu and order from the specials board; you'll have fewer options, and the ingredients will probably be fresher anyway.

Diet flub 10
You slim down solo
It's tempting to keep your 10-pound goal a secret (and wow everybody later with your results), but coming clean about your diet to pals increases your odds of success, according to an analysis of 46 studies by researchers at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. People with social support lost 6 percent more weight than those who dropped pounds on their own.

Fix it Tell roommates, family and coworkers that you're eating healthfully. "They can provide encouragement, serve as role models or at least avoid acting as a bad influence," says lead author Michael Dansinger, M.D. "It also adds accountability." Pretty soon, the news will be everywhere: You've lost the weight for good.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

7 HABITS THAT MAKE YOU FAT - and how to beat them.

(I chanced upon this interesting aussie magazine while at Kinokuniya and found this useful article from its website:

7 HABITS THAT MAKE YOU FAT - and how to beat them.

1. Dieting
Stop the loss/gain cycle by getting off the diet treadmill

The bottom line is: yo-yo dieting makes you fat! When you start a diet you lose an amount of weight – but that weight loss is linked with the loss of lean body mass as well as fat mass, and loss of lean body mass slows your metabolic rate. So, when you break your diet and resume “normal” eating again, you re-gain the weight you lost plus a little bit more. So dieting itself is a habit that makes you gain weight.

2. Portion Distortion
When it comes to the size of the portions you’re eating, size does matter.

Information gathered over the past 30 years has shown the size of portions, especially in packaged foods, has increased dramatically. Even more scary is that as portion size increases, so does consumption – often we are driven by getting the best value for money. Over time we have also become used to the new over-sized portions food manufacturers have developed – so much so we’ve normalised these to the point of thinking an over-sized portion is actually the “right” serving size.
So it’s time to stand back and think again. Studies have shown the larger the portion, the more we tend to eat. Ask for regular or standard servings rather than “combo” deals whenever you’re ordering any meal or snack. Or share the larger muffin or mega serve of fries with a friend (or the whole family!).

Use your hands to guide you
The size of the palm of your hand (and that doesn’t include your fingers) along with the thickness of your hand together represent the personalised size of an ideal portion of meat for a person of your build.
Use a clenched fist to equal the amount of carbohydrate to put with that meat, and two cupped hands to show the amount of vegetables or salad to serve for a balanced meal.
This works for kids as well: the size of a portion for them is relative to the size of their hand. And it’s a great way to teach children to work out portion sizes for themselves.

No matter what size you are, the proportion remains the same: if you are looking at a dinner plate a quarter should be carbohydrate (rice, potato or pasta), a quarter the meat or protein serving, and half should be vegetables or salad.

3. Unconscious Eating

Eating without thinking is far too easy for our own good. It’s a classic habit: a stimulus – such as a commercial break during a favourite TV program – becomes an automatic cue to do something – go to the fridge for the bar of chocolate, for example. Or perhaps you pass by the corner shop on the way home every day, and that’s a stimulus to always buy a packet of chips. At first it was because you missed lunch and you needed something to get you through to dinner but before long it became a habit. Added to the problem is that we tend not to “count” snacks we’ve eaten unconsciously or habitually.

How to change the snacking habit
Get into the habit, instead, of noticing when you snack, where it happens and what’s triggering the behaviour. Then you can simply change one part of the equation so the sum doesn’t work any more – trip up the habit by changing the trigger, for example.
So if you find yourself unconsciously eating while you read, you could change where it happens. Get into the habit of reading somewhere a long way from your food source. Or create a new habit around what you eat when you read – always make it a raw carrot and celery.
If you’re always popping bits into your mouth unconsciously as you prepare meals, eat something substantial before you start, or do something else with your mouth while you cook – you could sing, whistle or recite poetry!

4. The energy density trap

Snacking or grazing on “energy-dense” foods can seriously undermine weight loss. Because of the oversized portions of many common snack foods such as muesli bars, muffins and cookies, food that was once considered a snack food may now contain the energy of a meal.

What is energy density?
Think of the difference between an average banana (500kJ in 120g) and a small chocolate bar (1075kJ in 51g). Both are snack size but the chocolate is a lot more energy dense than the banana.
High-energy foods such as biscuits and fried food may taste appealing but often don’t make you feel satisfied or full unless you overeat. Compare energy-light foods such as fruit, low-fat milk, soups and wholegrain cereals – they make us feel full with fewer kilojoules, and are also more nutritious. Since we basically eat the same amount of food every day, deciding on whether to eat high or low energy-density food can be the difference between weight gain or weight loss.

When making low energy-density choices, look for the food with a high water content.Learn to read the labels of snack foods and compare the energy (kilojoule) per 100 grams listed with other similar food products. Choose a product with the lowest kilojoule content if you want to restrict your total energy intake to allow for weight loss.

Compare the kilojoules per serving with the actual volume or size of the serving. Just because a snack is small in volume doesn’t necessarily mean it is small in energy. Think of the banana and chocolate bar comparison again. See the table above for some simple swaps you can make to move from energy dense to energy light.

Drinks are another trap. In a recent study it was reported that if people were fed an extra 500 kilojoules a day as solid food, they would compensate by eating less energy for the rest of the day. However when given the extra 500 kilojoules in a soft drink, juice or other clear liquid they did not reduce their daily intake accordingly. That makes water the drink of choice for weight control.

5. Treat overload

Is a treat still really a “treat” if it becomes a daily occurrence? No, that’s called a fat-inducing habit, unfortunately. An indulgence or treat should not be a daily event.

For weight loss I recommend one treat a week and for weight maintenance three treats a week. If a treat happens daily it’s no longer special, and you start looking for new replacement “treats”. And then you’ll find you’ve developed a whole series
of high fat and sugar food dependencies you see as acceptable regular food.

Call a treat a treat and decide how often and when you’ll have it. Then develop a plan to deal with the inevitable treat cravings – it could be eating a set healthier alternative (see some ideas in the table above) or doing something specific to shift your focus. So, when the thought of eating a chocolate bar pops into your head at 3pm, decide you’ll always drink a glass of water, or walk round the block (in the opposite direction to the snack machine or convenience store) instead.

6. Alcohol

Alcohol can be a trap for people watching their weight. We know it has energy (kilojoules) but because it’s liquid it’s not filling and we easily forget just how much energy it’s giving us.

“Light” beer refers to the alcohol content, which will also affect the energy content. Note the difference between a low-alcohol beer (107kJ per glass) and a reduced-alcohol beer at (265kJ per glass).

If you’re using mixers, go for the low-kilojoule versions; the spirits give you more than enough energy on their own.

When you’re looking at the table of alcohol traps opposite, note especially that a standard glass of wine is defined as 100ml. It’s a good exercise to measure that amount out at home so you can appreciate how small a serve it really is – and to invest in a set of wine glasses that will limit you to that amount.

After one or two glasses of wine or beer, a packet of high-salt crisps suddenly looks like a viable meal replacement. It’s not!

7. Not Moving

Many people over-estimate how much they move or do in a day and under-estimate how much they eat in a day. Keeping a food and exercise diary can start to give you an idea of the “sneaky kilojoules” getting into your day via food, and how much or how little you’re really exercising.

A pedometer is a favourite gadget of mine and I often ask clients to wear one. It is a non-intrusive device that shows a person exactly how little they are moving. An adult should be aiming for approximately 10,000 steps a day for health and a child should be aiming for 15,000 steps. Turn to the article on page 84, “How to get off the sofa”, for a simple plan to start moving more.
Even if you don’t see yourself as an “exerciser” you can introduce activities that mean you are moving incidentally – plan social outings that involve walking to and from somewhere, or start a social walking club. Before you know it, you could be trading your not-so-healthy eating habits with a much healthier exercise addiction, and feeling fabulous for it!

Great food at the AirportT2

I went to the airport on Sunday with my mum and brother as we wanted to explore the newly opened Terminal 3 (T3). I seldom go to the airport as it is quite far from my place but the idea of shopping and dinning there was quite refreshing and fun. I only go to the airport when travelling overseas as there is nothing much that would attract me to spend 1 hour plus travelling there. However with the 2 new entire floor(named 3-Top and B2 Mall @T3) in the public area dedicated to shopping and dinning at T3, it would definitely entice me to go there more often!

Plus being at the airport really makes one feel relaxed and in the mood for travelling haha... I even bought along a travel guide book of North Korea i had borrowed from the library to read at the cafe. Seeing the planes taking off in the sky really makes my brother and i wish that we were up there too :> I also enjoy browsing at the things at Candy Empire, especially the cute chocolates for Easter. We spent some time at NTUC Fairprice and also walk around looking at what other dinning choices there are.

We found alot of dinning choices in T3: Earl Swensen located in 3-Top offers diners a great view of the picturesque runway but there was a long queue. The food court (opens 24 hours) was also very crowded. There was also places like The Coffee Connoisseur (TCC), Coffee Club, Ya Kun Kaya Toast, Secret Recipe, Crystal Jade, Dian Xiao Er, Wang's Cafe, Popeyes and Coffee Bean to chose from. However most of the restuarants were full and there were long queues outside.

My brother suggested going to the staff canteen at T2 as the Wild Olive Pasta & Western Cuisine stall there serves super yummy and low priced pasta and he had it for lunch few days ago and was still craving for more. The staff canteen is quite hidden and my brother had forgotten the exact location of the canteen. However we managed to locate it with the help of the airport staff.

Mushroom Soup $2

Fusilli Di Bosco $2.90 (My brother's favourite and it tastes absolutely fantastic and where else can you get pasta for only $2.90??)

Breaded Fried Chicken $5 (This is our favourite and it is super nice and goes well with pasta. I even bought it home for my hubby so that he can have it for supper)

Fish and Chip $5.50

The food there was definitely great, cheap and super filling due to the generous portion. I wished that my stomach got more room so that i can try all the other dishes. We only spent a total of $18.30 for dinner for 3! I would definitely go there again and highly recommend the place to everyone.

We then spend some time relaxing at Coffee Club and having desert and drinks as we were too full to take the bus ride home.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tip of the day

Dry and creased hands add decades to your age. So when you slather on your face moisturiser, rub off the leftover onto your hands. Before going out, put some sunscreen on the back of your hands as well to prevent age spots.

Hairdryers and flat irons may give you a sleek do, but will leave your hair brittle and damaged in the long run. Let your hair dry naturally as often as you can. Use a thick absorbent towel to blot your strands, and apply a leave in conditioner to counter flyaways. (I bought a bottle of The Face Shop Jewel Hair Care System Anti-Frizz Devolumizer when i was in Korea and it has a very nice fragrance and also makes my hair more manageable after applying. It is a new product and so far i have not seen it in The Face Shop here. Hopefully there would be stocks here soon and i look forward to trying out their other hair care products under the same range)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Trip to Kinokuniya

Hubby and i went Orchard Kinokuniya yesterday as there was a storewide 20% discount for members. Hubby bought me the Nigella Lawson's book titled, "How To Eat, The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food". I have always wanted to buy her books although i feel that $45.48 for a book was quite expensive. However i like that it is not only a book of recipes but she also combines a refreshingly down to earth practicality with a passion for food and a writer's ability to find just the right words to evoke the taste of any dishes that she cooks. I'm looking forward to reading the book and trying out the recipes inside. I have also been hooked to her cooking shows on SCV channel 16 and like her latest cooking series Nigella Express. I saw the first episode last Friday and would be trying out one of the featured recipes (listed below with Nigella's thought on the dish for those who also wishes to try it out) hopefully soon :>

Crispy Squid with Garlic Mayonnaise

"Nigella's thought: Strange though it might sound to say it, this is another of my supper-standbys. I keep the frozen squid in the deep-freeze, taking it out in the morning at breakfast to let it thaw in time for the evening's meal. I prefer to eat a massive amount of this, and nothing else (I can eat the whole lot myself) rather than have it more meanly as a starter unless, in a life outside of this chapter's parameters, I'm expecting company, in which case it would happily stretch to 4people, ready to dunk each crisp piece of squid into the garlic mayonnaise over pre-dinner drinks. I feel the ghost of Elizabeth David spitting at my calling this 'crispy' squid, but that's what I habitually call it at home, and I beg forgiveness of the pedants, with whom I have some sympathy."

About 9 ounces frozen squid (tubes and tentacles) to give about 7 ounces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons semolina
1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay) or use salt and paprika
1 cup groundnut oil or as needed, depending on the size of pan
Garlic Mayonnaise, recipe follows

Heat the oil in a smallish saucepan and while it's left to heat up cut the thawed squid into 1/2-inch rings.
Put the cornstarch, semolina and seasoning into a plastic freezer bag. Add the squid rings and tentacles and then toss to coat.

When the oil is hot enough, which is when it sizzles up fiercely when you drop in a small cube of bread, fry the squid in batches to get the most golden crunchiness. A couple of minutes per batch is all you should need.

Garlic Mayonnaise:
1/4 clove garlic
4 tablespoons best quality, preferably organic, mayonnaise

Mince the garlic into the mayonnaise to serve alongside the fried squid.

(I got Nigella's recipe from this website:

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tip of the day

Sleeping on your side night after night can cause wrinkles, cautions the American Academy of Dermatology. This is because the skin on your face gets crumpled when pressed against the pillow. Women get them most commonly on their cheeks and chin

(From Shape Magazine Jan 08 Issue)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Air City

I recently finished watching a Korean Drama "Air City" which is about a love story between a government intelligence agent and an airport operation expert. It's a story where the loves and lives of the main characters are set in realistic, yet spectacular situations. I did not really like the drama initially as i find the plot hard to follow (which might explained the low ratings when it was shown in Korea in 2007)but i was hooked when i reached episode 3 as the plot starts getting interesting and i enjoyed watching the interactions between Choi Ji Woo and Lee Jung Jae. The depictions of special occupations such as airport employees and government intelligence agents is especially excellent and interesting. I bought the VCD set from Blue Max for only $20 and Starhub Channel 55 is also showing the drama every Saturday 10.30pm to 12.45am.

The drama had received a lot of attention due to the casting of Choi Ji Woo, returning from a 3-year break, and her counterpart, Lee Jung Jae, who has returned to television after 8 years on the movie screen. Another selling point of the drama was also because filming took place at the Incheon International Airport, which has been a restricted shooting area until recently. Although the airport has been used as a film location for short durations in dramas, this will be the first time the airport is open for such a long duration for filming one drama. Therefore, this will be the first drama to have an airport as the main setting in 6 years including Incheon International Airport’s various shopping centers, restaurants, coffee shops, a hospital, a pharmacy, a bookstore, a sauna, and other facilities.

Choi Ji Woo stars as Han Do Gyeong, who was headhunted by the Incheon Airport director to come back to Korea to work as the chief of operations of Incheon Airport. As the chief of operations, Do Gyeong is able to communicate in 5 different languages. Though she appears to be arrogant and overbearing, her heart is fragile and always carries a guilty conscience for leaving her younger sister behind in Korea when she was small to be with her dad in France after the divorce of their parents. She met Kim Ji Seong played by Lee Jung-Jae, a National Intelligence Service agent and gets entangle with him.

Though Do Gyeong constantly constantly comes into confrontation with Ji Seong, they begin to open up to each other as they experience a dangerous situation together. Ji Seong is very passionate about his work to the extend that he is willing to bend the rules to ensure the security of the country even if he is only acting on his instincts. After being stationed at the airport, he finds himself in an emotional turmoil with a woman (Seo Myeong Woo, played by Mun Jeong Hee) he used to love who is working as a emergency doctor in the airport. At the same time, he finds himself falling for Do Gyeong.

Another of my favourite character in the drama is Gang Ha Jun, played by Lee Jin-Wook. It was very interesting watching his adventure in Hong Kong trying to pretend to be a National Intelligence Agent to help Do Gyeong out of some legal trouble she got into. Ha Jun is Do Gyeong's childhood friend and is in charge of all security management and overlooks all the airport surveillance. As a result of running from place to place in the airport to solve problems, his personality became very restless and spoke in an aggressive way. However, his true nature is very sensitive and loving, helping Do Gyeong every way he can. He also has good relations with all the airport employees even the cleaners because of his kind personality outside of work. Although he has feelings for Han Do-Gyeong, he decides to creates opportunities for her and Ji Seong after knowing Do Gyeong's feeling for Ji Seong.

Do catch the show at channel 55 if you are looking for a great drama to watch!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Day 8 (20 Feb 08) Pictures of Shinchon Fashion Street and Incheon Airport

So sad that this is the last day of our tour in Korea and we would have to reach Incheon Airport at 2pm for our 4pm flight to Singapore. I took some pictures of the view from our hotel room. The 2 nights stay at Lotte World Hotel was the best hotel stay during the 7 days we spent in Korea.

We had a very yummy buffet breakfast at a restaurant and i especially loved the ginseng chicken porridge which was really nice in the cold weather (-2 to 6 Delgree Celsius).

Today's weather was not as cold as the past few days but foggy. I really like the view from our hotel and after breakfast our tour guide took us to a duty free cosmestic shop where we bought some Beauty Credit products. We were quite dissapointed that they do not have Face Shop's products as one of our tour members Rain and i had wanted to buy some more facial masks home as it was really cheap at about S$2 each compared to S$4.95 in Singapore. I also noticed that Koreans really like adding ginseng in their beauty products and i also bought a box of ginseng facial masks from Face Shop when we were at Jeju Island. I have not tried yet so i'm not sure if it is really good.

I had wanted to buy some Laneign products but the sales staff advised us that it is only suitable for women below 25 years old :< what a waste! She was saying that Beauty Credit's product was for women below 30 so i could buy :>

After that we went to a Tongchunghacho shop to look at cordyceps. Again most of us were not interested in buying as it was quite expensive and we do not know how to eat it. After that we went to Shinchon Fashion Street and i bought some more products from Skin Food but just could not find Face Shop there although we spent some time searching. I also bought some donuts from Dunkin Donuts to bring back to Singapore for my brother. I also bought a very cute handphone strap and notebook from an interesting lifestyle shop.

Our last stop in Korea was to a shop selling lot of Korean food stuffs. We bought alot of food stuffs like seaweed, chocolate crunch, tangerine tea, bean paste so that i can eat with BBQ meat in Singapore :> It was a miracle that we can stuff everything into our luggage!

When we reached Incheon Airport we took a group picture with our tour guide and thanked him for helping to ensure that we had such a fun and memorable stay in Korea.

The food was great and i would definitely want to go back there again for holiday and more skiing! I would really miss our stay at the ski resort with the majestic view of Taegi Mountain from our room. Thus end my postings of my trip to Korea. Hope everyone enjoys reading about it as much as i enjoy writing about it. Really brings back fond memories of the trip as i write and look through the photos. Do consider Korea if you are thinking of going for a holiday soon ;>

Day 7 (19 Feb 08) Pictures of Lotte World Adventure Park

We ended the day at Korea's largest indoor theme park, Lotte World Adventure Park where we tried some of the exciting rides (Big 5 tickets included). We were able to explore the theme park on our own till its closing time (11pm) as the hotel we were staying were just within walking distance. There were some rides that we wanted to try but had to skipped due to the long queue. Lotte World is a theme park filled with the most thrilling rides, an ice rink, and different kinds of parades as well as a folk museum, a lake, and much more.

It is also the filming site of the Korean Drama "Stairways of Heaven" and the theme park was where the drama's 2 main characters, Song-ju and Jeong-seo played as children and rode the Camelot Carrousel. One floor below the carrousel is the ice rink where they skated in one scene. As an adult, Tae-hwa paints a mural next to the carrousel. This spot was often used as a backdrop for filming Stairway to Heaven, making it memorable to fans. My favourite ride was of course the carrousel (the menagerie of wooden horses revolving in a dreamy trail) :> and i took lots of pictures to show my mum who loves the drama.

Lotte World is divided into an 'Adventure theme' once you are inside the building, and outside is a ‘Magic Island’ theme next to Seokchonhosu Lake. We initially wanted to take the monorail outside but there was also a long queue and we heard from some of our other tour members who had gone outside that the rides there were also having long queues and we decided to go for other less popular rides. We also spent alot of time exploring the countless quaint shop found throughout the vast grounds. Hubby and me also watched the 30 minutes World Carnival parade where 200 performers sing and dance to music, which adds more excitement to the theme park. The parade takes place at 2pm and 7.30pm, and the laser show is held at 9.30pm.

We had dinner at the food court which was located next to the ice rink and hubby was so excited when he saw the ice rink as he had not ice skate for a long time. Lotte World Ice Rink is known as the finest ice rink in Korea. Screams of joy from the rides can be heard at the ice rink. This is because the ice rink is in the same building as the amusement park. Thus, people can enjoy skating within an exciting atmosphere and delightful background.

I did not skate as i had enough excitment from horse riding and skiing and prefer to just relax at the food court. I was able to watch hubby skate and write my journal while relaxing with a nice cup of iced coffee. I also went ng shopping at the huge supermarket nearby and the sourvenir shops. I ended up buying 2 cute notebooks and was also able to catch the laser show from the ice rink. We left the place around 10.45pm after the ice rink closed at 10.30pm. My only regret was not able to go for all the rides in the theme park. I would definitely want to go back again :> hehe the past 1 week have been a very exciting and fun trip for hubby and me and we would be going back to Singapore the next day. Time really passes very fast when you are enjoying yourself.