Friday, 31 October 2014

Scratch art

I received a scratched art love note for my darlings. This time, they taught me how to do it. Jazz learnt it from school and came home excitedly to teach little bro. They gladly did one for me. Sweetness!

You simply need:
  • Small pieces of paper
  • crayons
  • Pencil

Here's how you do it:
1. Colour a small piece of paper in whatever ways and colours you want. Just ensure every area is coloured on. Avoid using black.

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Kinda blurry pic. Jare did this colouring

2. Use a black crayon to colour all over the initial colouring. Cover it up in total black.

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Covering with black colour

3. It's ready for scratch. Use a pencil to write and draw whatever the little ones desire.

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Scratching with pencil

It looks really simple and easy, but colouring the black over could be a little tedious. It seemed to have taken Js some mighty strength to black it out.

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And I received my love notes!

Looks really beautiful! Those words with that rainbow heart is so therapeutic. I love it when they adventure in their own crafts with simple resources and minimal mess. Even more of an achievement when they did it all on their own. Lovely work, Js!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

An evening with SET

It's interesting to come across restaurants that serves only set meals. When I first heard about SET, I wondered if only set meals were served, and true enough, they only serve sets. I don't usually fancy that because of the fixed and constrained dish choices. But I gave it a go. 

The restaurant was beautifully embellished and tucked in POMO Mall at Selegie Road. It recently opened its doors in August 2014 and the owners were formerly from TAO's eating place formerly located at POMO too. It serves contemporary fusion cuisine at affordable prices.

5 course SET lunch - $28.80++
6 course SET dinner - $38.80++

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Nicely embellished

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Upon looking at the menu, I'm comforted by the various flexibility offered. And since we were kindly invited to this food tasting session, their manager suggested to try everything! Though they have kids menu, we decided not to overwhelm our table and share our courses with the kids. Set meal for kids is at $18.80 ++ for 4-course - Chef starter, soup, main course and dessert. We were very well hosted and definitely well fed. While waiting for our courses to be served, we were given some toast, and simple it may be, they tasted really good.

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The chef starter was mushroom and bacon cheese gratin. It was a perfect combination, I thought. Jazz gave it thumbs up too! Just get the kids to be cautious because it comes piping hot.

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After which the cold dishes were served. They were all interestingly created - fusion and contemporary defines it all. Or perhaps, unconventional in just a word.

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Top left to right then bottom right to left: Huai san carpaccio, Tomato caprese, Salmon gravlax and smoked duck breast 

I would never imagined huai san being served this way, topped with beetroot and fruits, tasted seemingly like peach to me. It gave an interesting taste which was pretty decent. I honestly think the cold dishes were good, and very much to personal liking. Tomato caprese was cheesy light, salmon gravlax and smoked duck were very much to whether you like your dish raw or smoked. Smoked wasn't much to my liking, but the man liked it.

Of all, my favourite was the prawn roll with pork floss. I love it! Being newly introduced, it wasn't on the menu. Glad that we managed to try it.

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Prawn roll with pork floss

Coming to the soup, 4 different kinds of soup were dished to our table. They are probably the best representation of east meets west. You sure know where to dine when friends are of different appetite mood.

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Top left to right then bottom right to left: Roasted pumpkin with truffle, miso soup with sake, mushroom veloute with peanut butter and double boiled herbal chicken

Any creamy soup works perfect for me, and the portion was just perfect for my creamy crave. An overdose on that creamy stuff might just kill my appetite, glad these were appetizing. The pumpkin soup adds a unique taste with that splash of truffle, if you aren't into truffle, avoid it. The man didn't like it, he thought the truffle tasted like propane! His favourite was the double boiled herbal chicken. Which was solid good! Mushroom soup was rich with that teeny bit of peanut butter, remember to give it a good stir. The miso soup was a tad disappointing because we couldn't really taste sake in it. But I guess it was intended to have that delicate lightness of sake in it. In any case, we avoided giving the kids. 

Before moving to the mains, on the 6 course set, it included a side, which was grilled king oyster mushroom with foam truffle. I thought more options could be given to the side, as not everyone loves mushroom. In our family, we do! In fact oyster mushrooms appears often in our home cooked food. So of course, this side was grilled to perfection. Not over grilled, just nice and juicy. Jazz had the most of it, she loves mushrooms!

Top left to right, then bottom left to right: Grilled king oyster mushroom, baby pork back ribs, grilled snapper with salsa, rosted chicken pullet, marinated rack of lamb and roasted beef tenderloin.

The cold dishes, soup, side and dessert were more impressive than the mains. Although not all mains 'wow-ed' us, as compared to the previous serves, there were still some of our favourites. I loved the marinated rack of lamb, while the man love the roasted beef tenderloin. Cooking a good slab of lamb to perfection isn't easy, this worked out to be of the right taste and texture for us. The beef were medium done, and of great taste and texture too.

On the other side, the snapper wasn't as good. I find it too tough for a fish, seemingly over grilled. Chicken was slightly better, but average tasting. The baby pork back ribs was not too bad, I love it that it was cooked to great softness. Nonetheless, they explained that they are working to improve on some of the mains. They are in search for other fish suppliers. So yeap, I think giving them a little more time will give us better treats.

It was a mountain of food for 2 adults and 2 kids! That was just how hospitable they were, and the service was excellent. We were very stuffed, but knew we needed desserts to end that evening sweet.

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Top left to right, then bottom left to right: Huai san jello, Pistacho pana cotta, espresso creme brulee, poached pear with gelato and homemade cake of the day.

The huai san jello was actually cheng ting jello with chucks of huai san in it. A good blend of taste. Pistacho pana cotta was not to bad as well, so was the paoched pear. Poached pear had a rather unique taste which tasted somehow like preserved plum to me, but it was 'marinated' in red wine. An acquired taste, I guess. Homemade cake was pretty average and what blew me off was the espresso creme brulee. I'm a huge fan of creme brulee, but yet to come across such combination. It was awesome! 

We were given lemon ginger tea to 'detox' before calling it total quits. We were so well-fed to the neck, that I could hardly see my toes just by overlooking the bulging tummy. I sure need some workout plan. It was a great meal indeed.

For being a fairly new start up, I think the progress and standards achieved this far were very commendable. Will definitely step in to check out their menu months later. It has a very nice ambience is for dining too.

While waiting for your hunger pangs to be fulfilled, don't be shy to approach the servers for photography. They were quick to offer us some shots the moment we whipped out our camera.

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Awaiting our food

SET contemporary cuisine
1 Selegie Road, POMO #02-01 Singapore 188306 
Opening hours:
11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
6337 7644

Disclaimer: We were given the opportunity for a food tasting session with SET. All opinions and photos are solely our own. 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Race to 10 million - Skyline luge Sentosa!

Have you tried the skyline luge in Sentosa? It always amazes me how Sentosa transforms and set in some of the best family activities in town. The luge is a unique wheeled gravity ride that provides riders full control over their descent on purpose built track. These luge carts provide riders with full control over speed and direction using a unique braking and steering system.

We tried it some months back after winning a giveaway from lil blue bottle. Thanks for hosting, Lyn. The experience was out of this world! It was such a thrilling and fun experience that it got us all hooked. I testify that their tagline, 'once is never enough' isn't just a statement, but authentically true! Js asked for more, but sadly, we had to go. Fun always come to an end.

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Spot that fear in me

The skyline chairlift brought us to the start point of the luge tracks. And woah, I didn't think height phobia was that serious on me, I was stone still up there. The man and kids were all composed about being high off ground. Since fear and height had no correlation to them, they sat back to enjoy the magnificent view and breeze. Oh well, practice makes perfect, our second ride up was much better. I was all at ease.

Our highlight was of course the luge. A ride that requires no license, but drive safe. I witnessed a rider zoomed like a flash, with the next moment flipping out of his luge. Don't belittle that loaned safety helmet. Little children below 6 years old and 110cm will not be able to ride on their own. This explained our 2 tandem teams.

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It's cool fun!
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Oh yeah, behind us!
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And we changed partners

Our experience was extraordinarily fun, so much so that I asked the kind people from skyline luge to extend their blog giveaway for Mum's calling. Thanks Jabin! And trust me, it really is some fun that should not be missed! The reason why this post is so post dated (my fringe has since grew) was because the guys in Skyline Sentosa luge thought you shouldn't miss out some good news together with this. 

Drawing close to their ten millionth rider mark, they are celebrating this momentous milestone with a “Race to 10 Million” campaign from 1 October to 30 November 2014. Two lucky winners each will win for themselves a truly unforgettable 8 Days 7 Nights trip for two to New Zealand complete with an exciting tour package! Here are 2 ways to win:
  • Be the actual 10 millionth rider visiting Skyline Luge Sentosa!
  • Be the Lucky Draw Promotion winner!
Excerpt of the terms and conditions to participate in their lucky draw as follows:

One (1) lucky draw form can be redeemed by a Participant with every purchase of the following tickets:
a) Each set of Two (2) X Five (5) Luge & Skyride combo tickets [total retail price at $66], purchased in a single receipt allows a Participant to have One (1) chance / Form of entry for the Lucky Draw Promotion.
b) Each Family Ten (10) ticket, [retail price at $69] allows a Participant to have One (1) chance / Form of entry for the Lucky Draw Promotion.

Picture credit: skyline luge

More details about this campaign here. This certainly sounds like the best time to make a trip down to race soon!
Skyline Sentosa
45 Siloso Beach Walk
Sentos, Singapore
Phone: +65 6274 0472
While you decide when to make your trip down, after getting your 10 millionth rider instinct to work. Here's an appetizer - Join our giveaway, 2 sets of family four ride pass up for grab! (1 winner each).

To take part, simply enter the following steps in the rafflecopter widget below. Do ensure you've completed at least steps 1 to 3 in rafflecopter to qualify. Step 4 gives you additional winning chances. Good luck!
1. Like Mum's calling on facebook
2. Like Skyline luge sentosa on facebook
3. Like and share this post
4. Follow us on instagram @mumscalling (Optional, but nice)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
  • This giveaway ends on 02 Nov 14, 11.59pm 
  • Open to Singapore residents only 
  • Winner will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. 
  • All incomplete entries will be disqualified. 
  • All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. 
  • To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win."

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Mee hoon kueh recipe

Finally some time to jot in our favourite mee hoon kueh recipe.  Almost a weekly appearance in our home dinner menu. It's quite some work to preparing and cooking it, but everyone loves it. Little Js too! It's a recipe I learnt from an Aunt who came to see us.

Mee Hoon Kueh Recipe (Serves 4 to 5)

300 gm plain flour
2 tbsp tapioca flour 
1/2 tsp salt (I omitted)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3 tbsp cooking oil
120ml water

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You may portion into smaller lumps and set aside
100g ikan billis
100g soya bean
2 litres water
drizzles of shallot oil
Salt to taste 
(For richer taste, you may use ikan billis stock granules) 

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Ikan billis and soya beans
200g  minced pork (Marinate with soya sauce, salt and sesame oil)
About 15 prawns
Bunch of Chye sim

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You may add or replace with other choices
Fried Shallots
Fried ikan billis (no head) 
(I fry shallots and crisp ikan billis in the microwave. Save some shallot oil for the soup)

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I think these are a must!

Steps for dough
1. Mix plain flour, tapioca flour, salt, egg and oil. While kneading, add in water. Continue kneading till smooth. I used a dough mixer to ease my arms. 
2. Keep in covered container or cling wrapped. Set aside for at least an hour before cooking.

Steps for soup
1. Boil ikan billis and soya bean for about 45 minutes. Add salt to taste. 
2. You may use stock granules for richer taste. So then, watch the salt. 

Cooking for individual portions:
1. In a small pot, ladle in some soup for boil.
2. Pull and tear the dough into small thin pieces, and drop into the pot. Stir occasionally to ensure they don't stick.
3. Add in prawns and pork. Cook till meat is ready and dough floats.
4. Put in chye sim. Cook a little more and it's ready!
5. Serve hot with garnishing and chilli. Chilli padi with lime and soya sauce is simply good.

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Pulling and tearing into small pieces looking like these
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Just so yummy!

And a friend asked me to try the kids' version. We did it this way, and they loved it! At least they worked for food.

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Swimming mickeys and minnies

Have fun playing and exploring with this soupy dough! 

Prawing and Fishing!

We recently brought ourselves to the patience and perseverance tests - prawning and longkang (drain in Malay) fishing. It's been a long long while since Jazz last did fishing. Read our previous fishing and farm mart experience here

It was an evening after dinner at East coast when I sounded prawning to the kids. It got them really excited and I knew we had to make it happen. We swung over to East Coast Prawning, rented a rod and went baiting for our catch. We talked a little about being patience for a catch and the tugging signs of a target on hook. It wasn't too long before we caught our first victim.

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Awaiting patiently
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Staying hopeful

We did an hour of prawning, which was a good duration for us. The one rod was fairly transferred among hands with no fuss. We caught about 6 prawns at the end. We tried to BBQ them on site, but the burning charcoal was extremely weak. We couldn't afford a forever waiting time, and the kids were really tired from a long day out. We agreed to leave the prawns for someone else, and left.

I spotted longkang fishing there too, and thought of returning another day until I found another venue to fish, Fish @ Big Splash. It looked more appealing, and I wouldn't have to survive with a mobile toilet over at the other. There were many eateries nearby.

So, we did fishing another day.

Oh man! It wasn't easy. You know how teeny weeny the net was?!!! The kids tried really hard, but somehow not reaping any reward. The fish were very well trained, they swam or rather, magically disappear even before the net touches water. Swift is the key word to net fishing skill. So then, I thought if I give them a fish, I will feed them for a day, if I teach them to fish, they will be fed for life. I taught what I could, even though I had no experience of a fisherwoman. But they caught none!

My little fisherman and woman

Somehow, skills can't be mastered over a minute or two. Looking at their disappointment and decreasing excitement meter, I decided to ditch my slippers to join them in the pond. I knew it was for ages 2 to 12, but we weren't ready to go home empty tank. I combined both their nets and set like a trap for the fish. Catching became almost easy. I fished almost every few minutes and lucky times, two in my net. Js were excited over my every catch, it got them busy sending the tank to me. Seeing some movements in their tank got them delighted again.

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Our dinner!

Maximum number of fish allowed to be caught was 18. Every fish beyond 18 was at $0.50 each. Nah, I didn't wana pay. Ended our catch at 16 after about 45 minutes before heading for some toast. 

Longkang fish don't survive too long. We counted 4 dead right after our dinner. Our worried Jazz pleaded to send the living ones to my Gramps' tank for adoption. Which we zoomingly did so. 

It's clear which activity yields higher success for those little hands. Prawning feels easier to me, but it's slow moving because you sit and wait. It's really moulding patience in here. Longkang fishing keeps them constantly busy, but success rate could be zero for very young kids. And we're talking about perseverance here. Though not easy even with a persistent attitude. Nonetheless, have fun with either or both choices!

Did you know: I'm not confused with my plural and singular here. We use 'fish 'generally for many fish of the same species, and 'fishes' for different or more than one species of fish.

1020 East Coast Parkway, #01-06,
Singapore 449878
Tel: 6227 3330

Longkang fishing:
30 minutes - $10
60 minutes - $18
(Rates include container) 
1 hour - $18 per rod
2 hours -$28 per rod
3 hours - $33 per rod

902 East Coast Parkway, #01-30, Block H, Big Splash,
Singapore 449874
Tel: (65) 83386530, (65) 90080201

Longkang fishing:
1 hour - $12
2 hours - $18 
(Price include of 1 net, which they don't allow sharing)
($3 for tank, re-usable for next trip)
1 hour - $18 per rod
2 hours -$28 per rod
3 hours - $33 per rod

Both operates 24 hours.