Saturday, January 31, 2015

Leonardo da Vinci's Earlier Mona Lisa at The Arts House at the Old Parliament Singapore

ABBEY: Two paintings or one? Labelling and exhibiting as 'Earlier version of Monalisa', the ownership is as mysterious as the woman in the canvass.

Singapore is the first leg of the exhibiton and we're glad that we got a chance for the tour of the lady. For 20sgd, each guest will be given a tablet along with headphones to have a guided tour. It explains the meticulous process the painting went to state its claim. From physical inspection, history, x-rays, symmetry up into the number of pixels, the two artworks have huge similarities.
Even experts and critics were baffled by it. 

For me it won't matter if there will be two paintings. It would just add  a number more for the iconic works of Master Leonardo.

WILL: Have a second painting of Mona Lisa?!

That question intrigued me and furiously requested Abbey to have a date with me at the The Old Parliament House. But because of tight schedule, we passed the idea week after week. Until we won tickets for the said Mona Lisa’s world tour. Leonardo da Vinci’s Earlier Mona Lisa started its worldwide journey here in Singapore. How lucky the Singapore right?

The exhibit answered intricately all the mind-boggling questions we have. Is it true? Does Leonardo painted it by himself? If yes, what are their proofs? What will be the look for the Earlier version of Mona Lisa? How did they find it? I admittedly amazed by the way of mathematical and painting techniques used by Leonardo. He is really a master of his art.

Room after room while listening to the tab lent to us, we arrived at the final room. The room where the younger Mona Lisa waits for us! This is a hair-raising experience! The room have dim lights and very cold surroundings. No spotlight for the painting as painting has its own lighting. Gosh! Face to face with Mona Lisa! Goosebumps!

This painting changed the history. Now I have this urge to see the Mona Lisa of Louvre.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crunchy Korean Fried Chicken and Mushroom (Dakgangjeong: 닭강정)

Chicken wings/boneless thigh/drumsticks
Shitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water then cut into quarters)
Potato starch
Dried chili peppers (seeds removed and cut into strips)
Sesame seed
Soy sauce
Garlic (minced)
Ginger (minced)

1. Put the chicken and mushrooms in a bowl and mix with ginger, salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Mix potato starch with water and let it settle in the bottom of the bowl and then discard the water. This will serve as your batter.
3. Coat the chicken and mushrooms with the starch and deep fry them. And then double fry. This will make the chicken and mushrooms very crunchy.
4. For the sauce, fry garlic and dried chili peppers. Then put 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar and 2 tablespoon sugar.
5. Once the mixture form bubbles, toss the chicken and mushroom and mix it until all of them are covered in sauce.
6. Top it with sesame seed and serve with hot rice.

WILL: I am big fan of Maangchi. Being the biggest fan of her youtube channel and even I am not the one cooking I always watch her videos. Then I stumbled upon this Korean style fried chicken... The Dakgangjeong. As usual, I asked Chef Abbey to do that for me. 

Lo and behold, Abbeys's Crunchy-Crunchy Spicy Chicken and Mushroom. Every bite is an explosion of spiciness in my mouth. 

Thanks Abbey for cooking! Love it a lot! 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Japchae 잡채 (Sweet Potato Starch Noodles)

lean meat pork/beef (cut into strips)
shitake mushrooms (soaked in warm water then cut into thin strips)
3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
brown sugar
soy sauce
sesame oil
toasted sesame seed
1 large egg (yolk-beaten)
spinach (washed and drained)
dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)
2-3 green onions (cut into 2-inch long pieces)
medium onion (sliced thinly)
1 medium carrot (cut into matchstick size)
1 medium red bell pepper (cut into strips)
ground black pepper

1. Marinate pork/beef and mushrooms with minced garlic, a teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper, 2 teaspoon of soy sauce and a teaspoon of sesame oil.
2. Boil 4-5 cups water in a pot. Once done, put the spinach and let it be cooked for 1-2 minutes.
3. Put the spinach in a strainer and wash in running water to stop it from cooking.
4. Give it a chop or two and then put it in a big bowl. Drizzle with sesame oil, black pepper and pinch of salt.
5. On the same pot, put the sweet potato starch noodles and cook as per package instruction. Upon cooking, put it in the same bowl as the spinach. And then put sesame oil, sugar and soy sauce.
6. For the vegetables, cook them separately from light to dark color with a pinch of salt and put on the bowl once done:
   a. onion, green onion
   b. carrot, red bell pepper
7. Cook the beef and mushroom on the same skillet.
8. For jidan (garnish), on a non-stick pan put small amount of oil and have it cover the whole pan. Put in low heat. Remove the excess oil and turn off the heat. Put the yolk and tilt the pan so the yolk will be thin. Flip it over to cook the other side. Upon cooking, cut it into thin strips.
9. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl. Top it with jidan and sesame seed when serving.

WILL: My husband/chef is going Korean! He was well inspired my Maangchi. 

When we went to Chicken Up, my boss ordered glass noodles. Because I am a shy type of person (maybe not, haha) I only took a small portion of Japchae. So to serve my cravings, I asked my handsome chef to cook it for me once we have time. 

2nd Sunday of 2015 arrived and he want to satisfy my drooling. He cooked Japchae. 

The noodles are perfectly cooked. Sweetness and saltiness of the brown sugar and soy sauce is quite nice combination. The aroma of sesame oil and sautéed mushroom is at its finest. 

Thanks Abbey. What will be the next Korean dish will he make?  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Xi Long Hotpot & Family KTV Deal from iMOB Shop

ABBEY: Maybe it is in-born or maybe since I'm on the choir in early days, I want to practice spand showcase my talent on singing. So we decided to have another session at KTV (across Haw Par Villa MRT). 

For 7SGD via iMOB SMRT offer, you can sing all you want for three hours and have a free flow of drinks. The room is smaller compared to the one in Bugis but still we have the same fun. Just go to the list and pick the songs you like, or songs that you know only parts or words of them. S

ing your heart out. No one will "boo" you.

WILL: Holiday mood never ends on 25th December. Ha! We love singing!!! iMob released a very affordable 3-hour KTV with unlimited drinks for only $7. In luck, our nurse friend said that she is on off that Sunday. With no hesitation, we bought the ticket and booked our desired time. 

A bit frustrated of the place because it is too small for a group of 4. No way we can dance on that space. Hihi! No one can stop our merriment-making even Vince has a laptop sending some emails to his colleagues.

We hit Madonna, Spice Girls (of course), Abba, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, and a lot more.

Recommendable? Excellent for cleanliness, the scent inside of the room is pleasant and the air conditioning is quite unbearable. Thanks iMob. Keep the good deals coming! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

LechonSG - Clementi Branch

ABBEY: From time to time, we experience homesickness. Good thing there's Skype to have a video call with your loved ones. Food? Well you can buy ingredients and cook them yourself at home. But how about specialty like lechon? 

Lechon SG opened their branch at Clementi ( a block away from Clementi MRT). When we heard the news, we promised to visit it and satisfy our cravings. I can say we're not disappointed as Kuya Glenn gave us 200 grams more of the kilo we ordered. It costs 45SGD for a kilo of lechon with 4 two-servings of rice. Match it with Mang Tomas lechon sauce and you're done. A stick of isaw (pig intestine) costs 1 sgd. 

They also have branch in 1 Rochor road. Advance ordering can be done online as well. Wow! You can visit their Facebook page for more updates.

WILL: After our breathtaking 3-hour concert at a KTV, we headed at Lechon SG by bus 175. Alighted at Clementi Mall and walked around 200meters to Blk 450. 

We sat and waited for our 1kg of Lechon and our sticks of isaw. And when it reached the table we instantly took our parts. Their lechon? Just taste like the ordinary grilled pork. Nothing special. Isaw, oh isaw! I will come back for more S$1 isaw.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Tangsuyuk (Sweet, Sour, and Crispy Pork: 탕수육) Recipe

1/4 kilo of pork (lean meat)
5-7 pcs of medium-sized shitake mushrooms (soaked for 1 hour)
2 cups of potato starch (dissolved in water)
1 tsp ginger (chopped finely)
1 egg (egg white only)

1 medium-sized cucumber (sliced thinly)
2-3 rings of canned pineapple (cut into quarters)
1 medium-sized carrot
1 small apple (sliced thinly)
1 small onion (sliced thinly)
3-4 pcs woodear mushrooms (soaked and chopped)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp wiphite vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
3 cups water
2 tbsp potato starch (dissolved in water)

1. Slice the pork thinly and dry marinate it with ginger, salt and pepper. Put in fridge.
2. Have the dissolved potato starch settled at the bottom of the mixture for an hour and a half.
3. Cut shitake mushrooms in quarters. Put some salt, pepper and potato starch powder.
4. Mix two tbsp of potato starch on the pork.
5. Once the starch is settled at the bottom of water-starch mixture remove the water and mix the egg white, then pork and mushrooms.
6. Deep fry the pork and mushrooms until it turns light brown.
7. Put in strainer and set aside. Prepare the sauce now.
8. Saute onion, carrots, apple,  and woodear mushrooms.
9. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.
10. Add vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and a little salt and pepper.
11. Mix the dissolved potato starch until the sauce thickens.
12. Re-fry the mushroom and pork. This will make them very "crunchy-crunchy"

Serve it separate or you can pour the sauce into the fried pieces.

If in doubt, visit and search for tangsuyuk.

WILL: Crunchy! Crunchy!

I can't count how many times Abbey watched Maangchi while cooking this cuisine. He watch over and over and it made me drool and asked my husband to cook it for me. Finally, first Sunday of year 2015 I got to taste this famous Tangsuyuk.

I can't control myself when I saw the first batch of fried mushroom and pork. I warned Abbey that I might ate it all before he prepared the sauce. But it is crunchier when Chef Hubby double fried it.

I am so surprised to taste the sauce. Delicious!

We will never forget to add this viand in our monthly dish. Healthy and yummy option. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chicken Up - Korean / Chicken Restaurant

ABBEY: First things first, this restaurant is only open after office hours; so no breakfast or lunch being served. We learned this the hard way. Not checking their operating hours, we headed to have lunch after our physical exam. Lo and behold, they're close. 

Second, be there early else you have to queue. No reservations. Chicken Up is located at 48 Tanjong Pagar Road and they are serving Korean cuisine. As the name itself, they focus on poultry. They have their chicken buffet for only S$25. 

We tried fried Soya chicken wings. This is very flavorful, delicious and finger-lickin' good. I enjoyed eating this with a cup of hot white rice. We also tried the normal fried chicken and hot ones. They look exactly the same. But once you take bite, then you'll be looking for water if you pick the spicy piece. This is also the case with their chicken stew. 

The glass noodles item is recommended. It is like Pinoy sotanghon but with thicker soy sauce-based sauce and more mushrooms. Each main item would start at less than 15sgd only. I also recommend their watrmelon juice.

WILL: We always wanted to dine at Chicken Up but we didn't get a good chance. I am so glad that Ford's farewell party was held there. 

They do not accept reservations but luckily Mondays are my husband's off. I begged him to queue for us. We arrived minutes before the clock strikes 6pm. 

We ordered for the flavors of soya, spicy up, yangnyum and andong chicken stew. Yangnyum stands out. Its sauce makes a difference; sweet yet have some spike of spiciness. Do not get deceived of Spicy Up, it looks the natural fried chicken but it will surely kick your butt. Haha! We almost forgot to taste the Japchae. The noodles are chewy. Very Korean. 

Instead of ordering soda, we got the Chicken Up's famous Watermelon Soju (a watermelon juice mixed with popular distilled drink of Korea). Sweet and have some hint of alcohol. Do not drink too much. Ok? 

The prices of this chicken is really expensive. If you want to get the value of your money go for chicken buffet $25 but only for 2 hours. :) 

See you next time Chicken Up.