Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Favorites!

Hi there! First of all, I hope my readers who're also in the U.S. weathered Hurricane Irene safely this past weekend. With high winds, torrential rains, and the government preemptively declaring our region an emergency zone, the boy and I stocked up on supplies and hunkered down as best we could. Seems luck was on our side seeing as I'm still writing this now =). Hope you all had a similarly harm-free experience...

Food Photography Composition Diagram
With these natural disturbances over with (I hope), I'm happy to continue my favorites series with fresh photos and another photography exercise. This week I suggest you focus on the principle of movement in the composition of these and other food photos. As discussed in my earlier photography post, positioning interesting elements in a way that guides the viewer's eyes through your photo will make anyone's experience more enjoyable and exciting. I've reposted some examples of this from my own work above. The yellow lines highlight some potential paths your eyes might take as they move across my photos. But remember that movement doesn't necessarily need to be in straight lines between objects. There are also times when you may not want as much movement in your photo, such as when you want to highlight your subject very dramatically by itself. As always I wish you Happy "Reading"!

Parmesan and Truffle Fries from Kitchen Notes
1 Kitchennotesfoodie-Parmesan Truffle French Potato Fries Idea
2 Loveandoliveoil-Yellow Summer Squash Corn Pureed Soup Cilantro
Tomato Cobbler from Honey & Jam
3 Honeyandjam-Cherry Tomato Cobbler
Coconut Shrimp with Mango Salsa from Spoon Fork Bacon
4 Spoonforkbacon-Coconut Crusted Shrimp Skewers Kebabs Mango Salsa Idea
5 John Cullen-Halibut Fish Baked in Paper Foodandwine
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Toast from Helena Ljunggren
6 Helenal Junggren-Roasted Cherry Tomato Cheese Toast Bruschetta Idea
Ramen Noodles Photograph from Sang An
7 Sang An-Ramen Noodles Ingred via Tina Brok Pinterest
Grapes Photograph from Yinjia5
9 Yinjia5-Grapes Ingred
Stuffed French Toast with Cherries Photograph from Ben Dearnley (one of my favorite pro photographers)
10 Ben Dearnley  Blueberry Stuffed French Toast Idea

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Snapshots of Singapore!

For those of you just tuning in, I've just come back from a great 2-week vacation in Singapore, the land of great food, shopping, and much more! A comprehensive guide of this country's numerous attractions, this post is not. But I do hope I succeed in capturing your imagination with my snapshots and encourage you to visit yourself if you have the chance!

I really can't write about this trip without mentioning the incredible love and generosity of my aunt and cousin, who were my hosts on this trip. As my mom's eldest sister, "Dayi" has always treated me like her own daughter and taken my problems to be her own. She's one of the strongest, most generous people I've ever met. Without Dayi and my cousin this trip wouldn't have been possible, and I owe them my greatest thanks and love!


Though I'm normally not a big fan of "tourist attractions," this island resort was too much for me to resist. Sentosa means "peace and tranquility" in Malay, and after walking the gorgeous beaches there I found the name quite appropriate! We chose to take a cable-car onto the island, which provided an exciting bird's eye view of the island. Then we enjoyed the lovely beach, aquarium, and a 3D action ride. Of course, there are many other exciting parts of Sentosa. Hopefully I'll be able to visit again sometime and check out the huge zipline and Universal Studios Singapore!

Welcome to Sentosa Island =)
Pretty Rope/Wood Bridge (where I lost my lens cap...oops 8p)

Cousin and Aunt at Sentosa and Child on Beach
My Cousin and Aunt at Sentosa and Unknown Child on Sentosa Beach

Sentosa Lunch Shiitake Mushrooms and Pork and Claypot Tofu
Lunch of Shiitake Mushrooms with Pork and Claypot Tofu

Dessert of Pandan Waffles Stuffed with Cheese
Dessert of Pandan Waffles Stuffed with Cheese (surprisingly tasty!)

Sentosa Aquarium Shark and Tunnel
Sharks and Tunnel at Sentosa Aquarium

Spider Crab
Huge Spider Crabs


Gorgeous Seahorses...I want one as a pet =D


My cousin, who I was visiting on this trip, lived just up the hill from Chinatown, so this become quite a frequent haunt of ours. It's a diverse area full of delicious street and restaurant food, a beautifully decorated temple, and streets full of shops for visitors to load up on souvenirs. Right across the street from the temple was a bakery (Tong Heng Confectionery) selling the best egg tarts I've ever tasted. Imagine perfectly smooth egg custard encased in a delicate, unbelievably flaky crust...I'm really kicking myself right now for not having gone back more time 8).

Chinatown Street and Chopstick Stand
Chinatown Street and Chopstick Stand

Chinatown Temple and Statue
Temple and Statue of Guardian King Outside

Chinatown Mango and Durian Ice Kacang
Mango and Durian Ice Kacang (SO GOOD!!)

Chinatown HK and Portuguese-Style Egg Tarts
Hong Kong and Portuguese-Style Egg Tarts

Chinatown Szechuan Food - Spicy Chilled Mung Bean Noodles (Liangfen) and Fried Eggplant
Szechuan Food - Spicy Chilled Mung Bean Noodles (Liangfen) and Fried Eggplant

Chinatown Passionfruit White Chocolate Mousse Entremet
Passionfruit White Chocolate Mousse Entremet Cake


By the power of Twitter, I was lucky enough to meet up with 2 groups of bloggers while in Singapore. Both get-togethers were absolute blasts, and left me wishing these ladies and gents lived a bit closer than across the world ;-). The first meeting was for hot pot at Vivocity Mall by the Harbourfront. I met up with my friend Eunice a bit in advance to go prop-shopping at Daiso and whet our appetites by perusing the food stands outside. We ended the evening with really good bubble tea, a lot of delicious girl-talk, and a gorgeous view of the harbor from the boardwalk outside. Thanks, ladies, for an unforgettable evening!

Harbourfront and Seafood Stand
Harbourfront Boardwalk and Seafood Stand

Tutu Kueh Sweet Rice Cakes with Coconut Peanut Filling
Tutu Kueh (Sweet Steamed Rice Flour Cakes with Coconut Peanut Filling)

Harbourfront Hot Pot
Raw Ingredients for Hotpot

Harbourfront Vivocity Bloggers Meetup
Harbourfront Vivocity Bloggers Meetup
From Left to Right: Lyn, Selene, Rachel, Eunice, me


My aunt and I took a brief jaunt around Little India on my second-to-last day in Singapore. We stuffed ourselves with vegetarian Indian food (I had my favorite idli sambar) before doing some fabric shopping and enjoying the colorful surroundings. Later on I enjoyed even better Indian food for my second blogger meet-up at the famous seafood restaurant, Gajalee. We had a ball chatting about everything from food (of course!) to Singaporean politics. Then I was surprised by the sweetest food gifts: addictive chakri made by Vijay's mom and an incredible Valrhona chocolate tart with poached Shanghai peaches from Pickyin! And Shirley treated me to dinner! It's rare to meet anyone as warm and generous as these bloggers. Thanks so much, you guys!

Little India
Little India and Colorful Flowers and Fruits

Gajalee Crab with Green Chili Sauce and Fish
Gajalee's Crab with Green Chili Sauce and Fish Curry

Gajalee Blogger Meetup
Gajalee Blogger Meetup
From Left to Right: Vijay, Pickyin, Shirley, and me


When I arrived in Singapore and realized my cousin lived right next to this hawker center, I couldn't believe my luck! I'm both jealous of all the scrumptious and cheap local food she has at her fingertips, but it's probably for the better than I don't have such easy access as I'd just be (over)eating out all the time! This was my first time EVER trying laksa and Singapore's famous chili crab. Definitely worth the wait!

People's Park Hawker Center Laksa Noodle Soup
Laksa (Spicy Seafood Rice Noodle Soup)

People's Park Hawker Center Otak-Otak Spicy Fish Paste
Otak-Otak (Spicy Fish Paste Steamed in Banana Leaf) and Iced Coffee

People's Park Hawker Center Chili Crab and Silken Tofu
Singapore's Famous Chili Crab and Chilled Silken Tofu


When I first met up with fellow macaron-baker Eunice at Harbourfront, I half-jokingly confided that I was already missing baking. Since she was actually in town to bake treats for her friend's wedding, Eunice kindly invited me along to her chocolatier friend's commercial kitchen to help her! Have I mentioned that she's awesome?! On top the free macaron lesson, I got to document each step for an upcoming macaron tutorial she'll be sharing here soon!

Truffs Chocolate Shop Drinking Chocolate and Cappucino
Drinking Chocolate and Cappucino

Macaron Making
Making Macarons with Eunice at Truffs (owned by her friend)
Guest Post with Picture Tutorial HERE!


Mee Siam and Char Kway Teow Noodles
Mee Siam and Shrimp Char Kway Teow Noodles

Cendol Ice and Mango Black Sticky Rice Roll
Cendol Ice and Green Tea Roll with Mango and Black Sticky Rice

Flaky Chinese Pastries and Pingpei Mooncakes
Flaky Chinese Pastries and Pingpei Mooncakes


Although people tend to talk more about how clean Singapore is, the feature of the city that most impressed me was actually the abundance of trees and other greenery throughout. So imagine how delighted I was upon entering the Singapore's famous Botanic Gardens. Ancient trees with winding roots, shaded walkways covered in vibrant flowers, and over 1,000 varieties of orchids. Words really can't do them justice, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!

Botanicals Garden Hanging Flowers
Pretty Hanging Flowers

Botanical Gardens
Parasitic Plant and My Aunt with an Ancient Tree

Botanical Gardens Statue and Flowered Archway
Hear No Evil, See No Evil Statue and Flowered Archway

Pretty Orchids

Orchids 1
More Orchids from the Famous Orchid Garden

Orchids 2
And Yet More Orchids...

Walkway with Flowers
Lovely Shaded Walkway Covered in Flowers

Willow Tree
Willow Tree with Writing on Its Branches

Orchids 3
Orchids, Some with Plentiful Tendrils

Strange-looking Orchids
Strangest-looking Orchids

Orchids 4
Long Bell-shaped Flowers (maybe orchids?)

My Aunt at Singapore's Botanic Gardens
My Typically Serious Aunt in a Moment of Adorable Asian-ness ^_^