Meatless Monday #1: Teriyaki Tofu Noodles

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This is my first meatless Monday. It’s only 2pm and I’m already thinking of chicken wings, rendang and eggs. I’m gonna strive through the day without meat! Yes I will!

A lot of of my Instagram followers have been asking me for the recipe, so here it is! It’s the same as my teriyaki chicken noodles some time back. I really didn’t follow anyone’s recipe. I just campak-campak everything and cook. The taste turned out awesome though. Hehe.

1 serving of buckwheat noodles (got it at the Japanese section of NTUC Fairprice)
1 tau kwa (firm tofu)
1/2 cup broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon of chopped ginger
2 tbspn teriyaki sauce
1 tspn sesame oil
1/4 cup water
1 tbspn extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil noodles in a pot for about 3-5 mins, till al dente. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a non stick pan, sauté garlic and ginger together till aromatic. Add in teriyaki sauce and sesame oil. Add in tofu and cook on both sides well. Add water and let it simmer for a while. Add in broccoli and let the broccoli cook.

Stir in noodles, salt, pepper and then served while hot with toasted sesame seeds and chopped parsley.

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Cafe Hopping: Max Brenners

I finally have my weekends back, although it’s only this week that I can happily go out and recharge myself after a whole month of working every day. I still need to edit the photos of 2 weddings and a graduation shoot, though. But I did manage to steal some time off earlier today to catch up with a fellow Temasekian junior. The last time we met was 6 years ago, and I still remember him as the small cute little 13 year-old. He’s now taller than me. Sigh.

It all started when he instgrammed asking his followers if anyone would like to accompany him to Max Brenner. Me, being shameless and with no plans for the weekend (okay I lied I had my friends over last night), messaged him on Facebook and voila, Max Brenner here we come!

I knew what I wanted right from the start. I order the churros fondue after much hype over it all over social media. The churros were delicious and not too sweet, but I don’t recommend eating this as your lunch. We were there at 1pm, and it was quite empty, only to realise the crowd came in at 2pm, AFTER lunch. It kinda makes sense, just that we were two greedy idiots who wanted all the chocolate in the world for lunch.

He had the crepes (we debated on the actual pronunciation, and decided to pronounce it as craps, as in shit crap) which were divine. Caramel sauce was not too overpowering and the bananas and strawberries let you pretend you’re eating healthy.

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Churros. Simply perfect.

ImageHe had the kangaroo cup thingy which is actually a macchiato.

Lesson learnt for my friend – put sugar in the macchiato.

Overall, the service was so-so (I had to keep asking for refills of iced water), but the ambience is cosy. Although try to come before the crowd comes in, which means eat chocolate for lunch.

Max Brenner’s I12 Katong

Phone: 63450616
Hours: Sun – Thu: 10:00 – 23:30, Fri – Sat: 10:00 – 01:00

Capturing September

It’s the end of the September holidays, meaning it’ll be a month till the last day of the school year and thus the year end vacation is in sight. I’ve been blessed with more rizq this month with almost all four weekends in September booked for wedding assignments. I haven’t processed the photos yet, but here’s a sneak peek at what I’ve been up to the first half of this month.

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 Jumaiyah & Mahathir (25 Aug & 1 Sep 2013)

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 Halimah & Firdaus (14 Sep 2013)

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Kakak-Kakak Honours (15 Sep)

One more wedding next week and then Shamsydar Ani Photography will be taking a break till year end! 😉

Cafe Hopping: Strangers Reunion

The thing about not being a student anymore is I now have the spending power. I don’t mind going somewhere a little bit more expensive to read and chill over coffee with my girlfriends. Since last Friday was Teachers’ Day, I met up with my other teacher friends to talk over coffee. I wanted to bring them to Strangers Reunion since everyone has been raving about it. Also, I wanted to start on the 20 cafes I should be visiting in Singapore. Might as well explore my own country as well, right?

The place was cosy, not too posh or fancy. In fact, it was a bit rustic. I liked that they made use of natural lighting as much as possible. Netizens have been talking about the coffee, but I didn’t feel like having any that day. Hannah and Izzati did get some caffeine so I shared some with them.

ImageThe menu

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Hannah’s Piccolo LatteImage

Izzati’s Flat White

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My Buttermilk Waffles with Strawberry Maceration!Image

Hannah’s Apple Pie
ImageAnd Izzati’s Strawberry Almond Flan

We enjoyed the coffee as much as we loved the desserts. Their buttermilk waffles deserved two thumbs up! I love love love the soft and buttery waffles. Plus the strawberries were sweet and juicy! Would I come back here? Hell yes! I should try other things on their menu too, like the matcha cake. YUM.

Strangers Reunion

Address: 37 Kampong Bahru Rd, 169356
Phone: 9368 3610
Opens daily: 9:00 am–10:00 pm

Magnolia Bakery’s Orange Vanilla Cupcakes

Every September, I am reminded of Earth, Wind and Fire’s September. It’s a much happier song than Wake Me Up When September Ends. Like seriously.

Anyways, I bought myself At Home with Magnolia from Book Depository some time last month. I meant to buy The Complete Magnolia Bakery cookbook, but as usual, I forgot about my ability to read and purchased the wrong book. It was a detour from my main intention of going on Book Depository – I needed to purchase The Cuckoo’s Calling – and hence buying the wrong book was the retribution. I’ve not tried any other recipe from Magnolia Bakery before, let alone taste the actual cupcakes. Since I can’t fly myself to New York right now, I might as well make myself some really good cupcakes. I’m so over the Red Velvet and Salted Caramel cupcake phase. THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN RED VELVET CUPCAKES, PEOPLE.

Moving on. Someone gave Ibu oranges during Eid when she had her friends over (happening sia mak aku), but she’s too terrified of sour oranges (so am I, actually) thus I decided to salvage them oranges and make them edible. I was initially skeptical of the recipe, both the cupcake and the frosting. I was *this* close to making my normal Chantilly cream frosting, but I figured WHY WASTE THE MONEY BUYING THE BOOK, THEN? I have to keep forcing myself to break the norm and actually challenge myself. Even when it comes to cooking and baking.

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I reduced the amount of sugar for both the cupcakes and the frosting because I know how sweet-toothed American recipes tend to be. Needless to say, I don’t think I need to fly myself to New York now. These babies will suffice.

Orange Vanilla Cupcakes

1 and half cups self-raising flour

1 and a quarter cups plain flour (I used cake flour)

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2 cups sugar (I used 1 and 3 quarter cups)

1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest

4 large eggs

1 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

  • Preheat oven to 175 deg centigrade. Line two muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flours and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar and zest gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the orange juice and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Frosting

3 tablespoons plain flour

1 cup whole milk (DO NOT USE SKIM/LOW FAT MILK. I REPEAT, DO NOT)

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cups)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

  • In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously and mix until fluffy, for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably white in color. Add in a bit of coloring if you’d like. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (I skipped this step!). Use immediately to frost the cupcakes.

PS: I finally made myself a wooden board for my food photos! 😀