Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fried Carrot (radish) Cake - Singapore

My perennial all-time favourite breakfast food

I know my blog posts have been sparse. Do bear with me. I'm trying to blog more now that we're into our 6th week of being in our new abode.

Cooking with our new induction stove has been ...hmm.... a learning curve. Who would have thought right?

The induction stove heats up so quickly that garlic gets burnt really fast! I've had to discard garlic which I had painstakingly chopped because it charred in seconds after being thrown into the pan. I'm even unable to allow sauce to simmer without keeping an eye on it because the bottom of the pan burns so quickly!

For this reason, while I'm experimenting with the different levels of heat on my stove, I'm usually unwilling to cook fancy meals. The good thing is that there is a timer function for each individual hob so I no longer have to rely on a manual timer.

Still, after 5 weeks of eating quick meals I was starting to crave for real Singaporean meals. Facebook ain't the best place for a Singaporean living overseas, with the avalanche of food shots inundating my news feed. I have even blocked certain pages simply because I couldn't tolerate the whole seeing-but-not-eating feeling.

We finally made it down to the asian store recently and I stocked up on my necessities. One of the things I'd buy is rice flour because that's exactly what I need for my all-time favourite - Chai Tao Kway, or rather fried carrot cake done the Singaporean way.

I'm proud to say that Sammy loves it and he keeps telling me "Nice. Sammy likes it!" Gabriel is still not entirely convinced at its taste, but he's currently in a phase when he's simply not eating well and drooling a lot. His nights have been very tough too cos he would scream for no reason. We're hoping that it's just a phase of teething and that things would soothe itself out.

It was sooo good satisfying my craving. I had this with some sambal chilli.

If you're interested, this is my photo documentary of how I made the cake. The original recipe is here and I've adapted it for myself here.


- 1 radish, grated (about 500 grams)
- 250 grams water
- 200 grams rice flour
- 1/4 tsp salt

1.  Puree the radish with a bit of water in a puree machine / babycook. Drain.

2. Mix the above ingredients and steam it over high heat for about 40 mins or until you get a smooth cake.

3. Allow the cake to cool before cutting it into small pieces to fry.


- 5 cloves Garlic (chopped) 
- 2 tbsp Chai Por (preserved radish. Soak in water for 5 mins and drain)
- 3 Eggs, beaten
- Fish sauce to taste
- Tai Hwa sweet black sauce (I import mine directly from Singapore)
- Spring Onions (chopped)

3. Heat up some oil in a wok. Fry the carrot cake until crisp and a bit browned.

4. Add Chai por and chopped garlic. Add more oil if it gets too dry.

5. Add fish sauce to season.

6. Pour beaten egg over fried carrot cake. Allow egg to cook for a bit before flipping it over.

7. Add spring onions and fry. (I like my spring onions cooked)

8. Add sweet black sauce and coat. I add mine generously because I like my carrot cake sweet. You can omit this step if you prefer the white version.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A shout out from our new place!

My dear hubby managed to get our internet working today so I'm finally back in the land of the living..... kidding!

It was actually quite cleansing for us to live without WiFi for the past 3 weeks. I could still access the internet from my iPhone but seriously, with that mini screen, I wouldn't go past Facebooking and checking my Emails and Whatsapp.

It feels soooo good being able to type on the keyboard of my pink laptop again! .. Yeah I do have a pink laptop. Baby pink actually!

We are in our new apartment now! It's super new and nice! I got meself a terrific, gorgeous, spacious open-styled kitchen, we got a new sofa and even a TV! We have lived without a TV since we got married actually! It just appeared to be a very natural decision because I was living without a TV in Singapore anyways and when I first relocated to Germany, I understood zilch on German TV. I still don't think I'd understand 100% on German TV, but I think I should understand enough.

We're both still not in the habit of watching TV and to be honest, I wouldn't even know when I could get the time to watch TV! We're going to use the TV to watch DVDs and our episodes for now. :)

Everything still feels very new for me. I had to get accustomed to taking the subway to town and be downtown in 20 mins! It's such a treat for us, because in the past, I would have to give myself 1 hour (!!!) to get from home to town by car! These days, Sammy would ask me, "Mummy, take train today?" in the mornings because he's absolutely mesmerized by the locomotive!

Even the route from  home to town is so scenic! The train goes through this elevated region, so one is treated to a bird's eye view of Stuttgart and its SO.VERY.PRETTY! I do feel like a tourist in my city again!

Our apartment is actually warm! Of course we haven't turned on the heater since its summer but the weather has been quite ridiculous lately. It's humid, warm AND cold at the same time! Today, it was 22 degrees and I went out with a sun dress. BUT when the sun stopped shining, it was actually chilly! When I wore my denim jacket, it became too warm! Crazy.

I digress. I'm just so happy that even with mild summer / temperature, I can walk around bare-footed in my home and my kids can run around bare-footed. In our old place, I would always have to make sure that their feet are covered because the floor was always cold. Gabriel is happily crawling around without any footwear. Sammy is still wearing his house shoes because that boy loves his shoes. I'm serious. He wears his shoes first thing in the morning.

Time seemed to have flown by since my last entry. Other than the obvious reason that I haven't been able to blog because of lack of internet, we've been so busy with the affairs of the house that there's been little time for leisure! Having a new place is somewhat like having a newborn baby! - BUT more expensive! Haha. Newborns are cheaper in comparison - at least for the first few months.

We've spent all our weekends in furniture malls trying to get miscellaneous things and we are still not done. Naked light bulbs hang all around our place, our kitchen is still lacking a few things, we need drapes to cover our French-styled ceiling-to-floor glass windows etc.

I must say that the lack of privacy was something I had to get used to. Our glass windows are not entirely see-through since they are tinted like a car window. But since I have no idea how "far" a person can see through the windows, I'm always trying to scramble from one wall to the next, especially when I just come out of the bathroom. At night with the lights on, our apartment is completely see-through.

It's been an adventure even driving around out new place. We've gone to Ikea and a nearby shopping centre. The first time I tried to drive out of Ikea, I took the same amount of time to get out of that area as I did to actually drive home! I wasn't familiar with the streets and my navigation system does not tell me when to change lane so that I can make a turning on time. Hence, I was turning around in so many circles, it wasn't even funny anymore!

Alrighty, I think I shall save some things to write about for the next time! No photos of our new place yet! It's still not "tidy" enough for photos that are Internet-worthy. But I shall treat you to a photobomb of our little ones.... for those of you faithful enough to read until here!

Last few photos in our old place:

Sammy wasn't actually strangling Gabriel even though it TOTALLY looks like it!

Can you tell they are brothers?

Looking all innocent on our old balcony

At an outdoor gathering one day after the big move. We were knackered!
Here's how you drink out of a glass

Where's all that water?

Maybe I'll try it upside-down instead!

Nah, I think I prefer my water bottle!

Finally one decent shot of my baby!

 Sitting straight like a big boss!

 Playing with the bottle cap

No baby, you don't put the cap in your mouth!

Yeeeah! That's what I call a good stretch!

Oh Dad, that tickles!

I think that's what you call a hairstyle that is in desperate need of a haircut!

On our new balcony!

 Testing out our balcony

Our building looks exactly like the building in the background

Yeah Ma! I think I'll take the balcony. It's nice enough!

Sam trying out Dad's shaving cream

Happy with the results!

Hey Ma! Look at my white fingers!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Learning to embrace change

We'll be moving in a week's time.

And I completely underestimated how stressful it is to move.

With TWO kids. 

It's not just the physical packing up of boxes. Or the kids running amok while you're trying to create some sort of order in the chaos. Or the finding of new owners of belongings that you've held dear for the past 8 years.

It's actually saying goodbye in my heart to little things that I didn't even know that I had an attachment to.

To share an example. I'm having a hard time saying bye to the baby swing in the playground near our house.

It's the baby swing where Sammy figured out how to sit upright while I pushed him. Where he finally progressed to the regular swing so that I could put Gabriel in the baby swing.

The swing where Gabriel would break out into a wide grin when he sees me walking toward it. Where he would laugh out loud and giggle with such gee when I push him higher and higher.

It's the slide where Sammy figured out how to climb up the ladder so that he can slide down with ease.

It's the playground where memories were made, friendships were forged and many long afternoons (and mornings) were spent.

I knew that I would regret not using our garden more often. We have a garden just outside our house. But it belongs to our landlady's parents and they made it very clear that we could see the garden but not use it.

Until Sammy started walking and running that is. That boy loves balls and he would kick a ball all by himself at any opportunity.

We haven't used the garden very often because we felt that we were trespassing on private property. But during the rare occasions when we did allow Sammy to kick a ball or two, it was superb!

We won't be having a garden with our new apartment where we'll be moving to. That was another series of misfortunate events too. To cut the long story short, we had no idea that it was possible to buy an apartment with a garden - which it obviously was.

It's not too bad cos there's a huge playground just next to our block. But there is no baby swing there and I haven't seen any baby swing within walking distance from our place.

But that's also why I'm getting all sentimental about the baby swing at our place!

I'm just not the pack-up-and-leave kinna gal. I'm the say-bye-to-everything-and-leave type of person but once I've packed my bags and left, I'm much better. And I dare say that I adapt quite fast too. I did afterall leave Singapore 8 years ago and 23 years of memories to make new memories in a country halfway across the world with people who speak a different language.

I'm REALLY looking forward to:

- Having a place to call our own... finally!

- Having supermarkets within walking distance and on level ground! No more walking uphill with a ton of groceries in the stroller or having to bribe a toddler during a meltdown cos he refuses to walk uphill anymore.

Having more space! We're gonna have 3 bedrooms instead of 2! Yay! 

- Having the subway within just 3 minutes walking distance from our door compared to 20 minutes in our current place.

- Having the hubby home earlier.... hopefully! His travelling time to work should reduce by a-third, so we're hoping to be able to do dinners earlier.

- Having a new open kitchen, new sofa and a new dining table and chairs. (Our current ones were second-hand).

Having a proper television. Yup, we've lived without a TV for the past 8 years in Germany and I've gone without one since my university days.

- Oh oh oh! The best for last. We're gonna have floor heating and much MUCH better insulation. Adios to cold feet and floors and an apartment that doesn't get warm enough no matter how much we heat it!

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19 

"Help me Lord to embrace change well. Teach me to trust you more. Help me not to look backwards but forwards. Thank you for Korntal, the place where we've called home for the past 8 years and also my first home in Germany. We pray you'll expand our hearts to embrace new friendships and neighbours. I pray that we will grow new roots in our new home and neighbourhood quickly and help me to remember that no matter where we are geographically, as long as we remain rooted in you, we will continue to bear fruit. We love you Lord with all our hearts. Amen"

Role-playing a businessman making an important phone call in a box

And YEAH! Deal closed! Nice working with you!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Dear Gabriel - 1 year update (includes his first birthday photos)

Dear Gabriel

I can't believe that you have turned one already! And that means you're no longer a baby anymore! *sob!* Well, who cares? I'll keep calling you "my baby" as long as you live! heehe

We decided to have a small celebration for you because we'll be moving into our new apartment in 2 weeks' time (gasp!). Since your birthday fell on a Wednesday, Mummy baked a rich and very yummy chocolate cake for you to share with your friends at your Wednesday playgroup.

It was so good seeing familiar faces after almost a month of not meeting up with them! Yay! You somehow knew that it was a special day because everybody was showering you with presents and extra attention! Since you had just woken up from your afternoon nap, you took a while to adjust to the people frenzy. But once you did, you had a lovely birthday celebration.

At home, we had another mini birthday celebration with your Godparents and Sammy's Godparents. It was a very cozy and short gathering because you started getting cranky before 8pm. We simply ordered pizza and Gabriel's Godmother baked him a cake.

Overall, Gabriel's first birthday was the most fuss-free, stress-free and intimate birthday party I've ever organised. Of course we had the "excuse" that we're going to do a combined birthday celebration with Sammy after we move house. But I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this birthday. It was sooo good to be able to have a kid's birthday party without the stress of all the preparation work.

You fell asleep at the drop of a hat when we put you to bed at 8.30. However, you got jolted out of dreamland when your older brother made a huge ruckus because he refused to sleep. Thereafter, everything went downhill and no matter how hard we tried to settle you, you were stuck in a zombie-cum-super-hyper state.

You were probably overly-stimulated from the day's activities and all that sugar rush from having a couple of bites of your chocolate birthday cake. Well, you finally slept again at close to midnight!!!*phew*

The past two months saw you making huge leaps in your development.

You're very confident standing up while holding on to things these days. When Mummy peeks into the playroom, I would very often see you standing while swaying to music.

You have starting retaliating when your older brother tries to snatch a toy away from you. Well done my little one! While Mummy isn't looking forward to playing referee between you and your brother, I'm glad to see that you're not a pushover.

You're a really cautious little baby toddler. You seem to understand the concept of gravity and that if you free fall, it would be somewhat painful. We have seen you holding on to objects / putting your hand to cushion on your head when you started to lose your balance.It's really incredible that the past 12 months has seen you without any major accidents. We thank God for His protection upon you and for sending guardian angels to surround you.

You're still very vocal even if you're not blabbering anything understandable yet. Your favourite sounds these days are "dang" or "deng", "papa" and "nana".

You have a very healthy appetite and would usually devour whatever we give to you. Over lunch today, you ate almost as much as your 2.5 -year old big brother! That said, you're still one very lean baby. A friend mentioned that your thighs are like "lean chicken breast" and I thought that very apt to describe you!

It's very cool seeing how you and your Gor Gor are playing very well these days. Usually I can leave you two to play on your own while Mummy tackles the household. After the red wine episode, you still seem to have an innate interest in those bottles in the storeroom - which are fortunately in a box now. That doesn't stop you from touching them and you would turn around to look at me, as if you remembered what a HUGE mess you caused the last time!

You love chasing things around the house. You would scoot around on one hand, while roll / push something with the other. It could be a ball, a toy or simply anything that can roll. Oh an empty water bottle is one of your faves. I should take a video of you doing that! 

We love you so much little cutie. You're such an amazing addition to our family and we can't imagine life without you anymore. May you make a difference in your generation and know that God has wonderful plans for your life.

All our love
Mummy & Daddy

 We arrived at playgroup and started opening presents immediately! Gabriel cried tears of joy at receiving his first gift! LOL.

 Can you tell someone was tired?

All the kids were clamouring to open Gabriel's present

My little masterpiece

Of course Sammy blew the cake on behalf of his brother

The insides of the cake. YUM!

Sammy and his craze over the trainer bike

And of course he'd want Germany to win the World Cup!

See that trace of chocolate cake on his face?

Aiyoh that innocent face

What should I do now?

That "WHY are you taking my photo" growl

He's completely thrilled by it even though his feet can't touch the ground yet!

His loving Godparents and their rocking elephant as a present!

Another self-baked birthday cake by Gabriel's Godma

Cool starry effect eh? Playing around with my Lumix

Family shot one - All candid with a boogie shot of Sammy!

Now this should go into the family photo album!

We're so blessed with Gabriel's Godparents
And Sammy's Godparents too

He even had an advance bday cake! Thanks J & O!


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