Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Does it work?

Of all the ridiculous things I did for weight loss, from starving myself in secondary school (resulting in frequent trips to doctors for gastric) to taking weight loss medications when I'm older accompanied with strict diet and occasional exercises to liposuction and drinking detox teas to staying away from many of my favourite kinds of foods...

This has got to be the most interesting one...
picture taken from firstbeauty at rakuten.com.sg
Like seriously...

Have no idea if it works (since I have yet to receive my order) so I can't say anything for now but what makes it interesting is does a patch like that, stuck onto your body for 8hrs have any effect at all? It does not have much review on site but one said it does but when stop using, the effects wear off.  How true? I would not know.

Anyway, I have ordered this LOLO S-Line (30pcs) & Skinny Patch (15pcs), both at S$35.90 each from Rakuten.sg just yesterday  for the fun of it and to see if it works.  Background information is in Korean language and from what I see, it seems to be a Korean product and a brief Google search proved my assumption was right. 

From what I understand, each patch contain some kind of natural herb Sophoricoside (patented) which is targeted to reduce weight and body fat.  It also has traces of capsaicin (from red peppers), catechin (from tea, coffee and vegetables) and caffeine (coffee, tea) compound in it. 

Each patch is to be placed on the skin (at the desired area) for about 8hrs (recommended at night when sleeping for convenience) and what it does is that during the time it is on, the skin will absorbed the supplements into the body.  At the same time, heat can be (or may not be) felt coming from the slimming patch at the area it is on.  It was also mention that it is quite adhesive so one should not worry that it would slip off during exercise of bath. 

Whether it works or not I guess its up to individual but I reckon with proper diet and good exercise regimen, coupled with a patch there could be optimal results in about 4 weeks of usage.  Think about it, you can't just solely depend on a patch entirely and skip everything else and still expect it to deliver results right? If it works that way, all the slimming centres in business would have to shut down by now.

With that said, I will wait for my package to arrive and try it out soon.  I may or may not do a review about it since I am just trying it for fun.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

To send or not to send.... (rant post)

People who knew me, be it online forums or through related blogs would know that I have the intention of going for plastic surgery in Korea with JW.  My mum approves of it or rather approve me going to do my eyes and so, I've been saving bit by bit every month but the progress is painfully slow.

I have no idea when on earth I would be able to save enough for it.  I felt like this is not the first time I am complaining about it.  It is partially my problem as I am sticking to a low paying job where I could earn much more elsewhere with my qualification and now experience. 

Money aside, as we age, our body's healing capabilities will decline one way or another.  If I am able to do it at 30, I will heal much faster compare to when doing it at age 33.  The sooner now the better actually but that does not mean I approve of people doing it at a young age when they are not 'fully developed'.

I think the safe benchmark age for surgery would be 25yrs old when everything should have been somehow fixed.  Like the size of your boobies, or the facial shape, eyes and etc etc... okok... I'm digressing from the main purpose of this post....

Banobagi, whom is the sponsor for Miyake's procedure is having a collaboration with myfatpocket.com.  They will be picking 5 winners or which first place will have plastic surgery free of charge, 2 2nd place at 70% of covered and 2 3rd place at 50% covered. Free accommodation during stay, one airport transfer as well.

All we need to do is take pictures of our faces at various required angles and email to them while filling up a form.  Refer to here for more details: Banobagi

My email has been done up since last night but I am still not sure about emailing them.  Many thoughts crossed my mind.  If I am picked no doubt I'll be very happy but I have a day job to worry about.  I may have to resign prior to the surgery since I could not afford to take too many days off.

Not only the surgery is done with Banobagi, there are follow ups with treatment and photo taking for their promotional materials coz after all, you are selected to be their models.  Pictures, videos will be taken of the process.  If so, then given 2 weeks approximately for initial healing after surgery, you still have photo taking sessions and what not.  No idea how long this session would be.

In my line of accounts work, I can't afford to take that much leave.  I don't even think my boss will allow for such a reason.  Adding on, I am still thinking about JW.

Torn... to try my luck with Banobagi and have partially sponsored surgery (since I doubt I am super lucky for 1st place) or to wait a few more years to save for JW of which I am most likely in my mid 30s....

To send or not to send?  I am thinking really hard about this.

I know not many are open to plastic surgery but please save your moral lectures to yourself... I am not interested in hearing it...

updated on 28/08/14: I send in the email after thinking for a few days... we shall see....

updated on 29/08/14: Banobagi has replied to my fb message on the deadline of submission.  For those who is interested, kindly take note the deadline of submitting your application in Nov 13th 2014.  Duration of stay in Korea will depend on the surgery done.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Chef Rain: Kueh Dadar (Kuih Dadar / Kuih Dadar Gulung / Kuih Ketayap) - updated on 29.08.14

Last week's rather successful attempt on the 'Pulut Hitam' dessert has led to my sudden craving for 'Kueh Dadar'.  When I was young, most of the time I see kueh dadar being sold in Malay food stalls (although I am sure it is not exclusive) and so in the back of my mind this snack is one of a Malay delicacy.  So one thought led to another and I see it as a continuation to try out my other favorites belonging to the Malay cuisine.

There is nothing wrong with my association cause up till today in actual fact, I cannot clearly say for sure if it its part of a Malay or a Peranakan/Nonya cuisine.  In my review for 'The Blue Ginger Restaurant' which serves authentic Peranakan/Nonya cuisine, I had briefly explained how the term 'Peranakan' came about and its cuisine is a result from the unique fusion of both the Chinese and Malay style of cooking.

The term Kueh/Kway/粿/Kuih/Kue (depending on the region/dialect it is spoken at but they all essentially refer to the same thing) refers to bite-sized snacks/desserts ranging from cakes to pastries, to puddings etc which is quite similar to the Western form of cakes, puff and pastries.  Just that while the westerners commonly use the baking method, kuehs are more commonly prepared by steaming.  I would say that 'Kuehs' is the South-East Asian form of cakes, puff and pastries.

So what exactly is kueh dadar?

Kueh dadar is actually a soft green crepe made of flour, egg and coconut milk and then rolled with sweetened coconut filling.  Its unique green exterior comes from the juice which is being extracted from the pandan leaf (which was separately prepared) and incorporated into the batter.  As for the filling, fresh grated coconut (only the white portion) is cooked in and caramelized with the gula melaka (palm sugar). 

With that said, pandan leaves is one of the main ingredients in this kueh.  Not only does it give its distinctive green colour by using its juice, it also gives an aromatic and light fragrance on the overall.  It is not only use in the making of the batter but also during the preparation of the gula melaka syrup.  Therefore, it is important to get fresh pandan leaves for this kueh.

Depending on recipes and for convenience sake whereby perhaps pandan leaves is not readily available, substitutes such as pandan paste, pandan essence or even artificial green colouring is used to achieve the green colour.  It is not wrong to use substitues per se but they are after all not natural ingredients.  So, if you could get hold on some fresh pandan leaves, set aside some time to prepare extracting the juice.

Sounds daunting? Nah, it is actually simple to prepare.  Lets begin. This recipe is adapted from rasamalaysia.com where the author/cook seemed to have adapted from Nyonya Flavours: A Complete Guide to Penang Straits Chinese Cuisine (FYI in case if you are interested in Nyonya cuisine and would like to find out more)

(updated as at 29.08.14 - makes 21 pieces)
pix @ 1st attempt on 23.08.14
Crepe Batter: (makes 21 crepes)
250g all purpose flour
2 small egg
600ml of coconut milk
1/2 tsp of salt
about 6 tbsp. pandan juice 

pix @ 1st attempt on 23.08.14
2 - 2.5 cups grated coconut (white part)
1 pandan leaf knotted (screwpine leaf)
200g - 250g gula melaka (palm sugar)*
 150ml water
1 tsp tapioca starch (or cornflour)
*adjustable to suit your taste
 1. Combine salt with the coconut milk. 

2. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.  Create a well in the center and add in the egg.  Slowly pour in about half of the coconut milk while whisking.  When all the lumps are dissolved, pour in the remaining coconut milk and pandan juice and whisk till well combined.  Set aside to let it rest while preparing the filling.

 3. Prepare the gula melaka syrup by combining it with water and knotted pandan leaves in a pot over low heat.  When it comes to a boil, remove the pandan leaf. 
2nd attempt on 29.08.14
In a pan, heat the grated coconut with pandan leaf.  I actually recycle it from the syrup but you could use a new one if you want (which I did for the 2nd attempt).  Add in the syrup and stir to mix evenly.  Add tapioca starch and cook for another few more minutes.
4. When you see that most of the liquid has evaporated (still fairly moist) it is done.  Set aside for it to cool in a bowl.
2nd attempt on 29.08.14
 5. Heat a round non-stick frying pan over low heat. Lightly grease the pan and wipe away excess oil.  You only need to do this once.  Pour in about 3-4tbsp of batter and swirl the pan around to create a thin round batter. 

 6. The edges becomes dry and starts to shrink while the colour on the overall changes from almost pale white green to light green as it cooks. 

 When all sides becomes dry and leaves the side of the pan, it is time to remove it.  Takes a few rounds to get the hang of things at this point.
I smack the pan face down on a large chopping board.  Repeat till the batter is finished.  Just stack the crepes on a plate first.

 7. Now for the assembly, turn the crepe over.  The smooth side is the inside.
On a piece of crepe, put about 2 tsp. of coconut filling close to the bottom edge.
Roll once over, tucking the end beneath the filling.
Fold in both sides and roll to seal like springroll.
8. Repeat for other crepes and TADA~ you're done!

DONE~! and the pic spam begins
(taken with my galaxy note 1: no filter with just natural lighting) 

2nd attempt on 29.08.14
2nd attempt on 29.08.14
After on 23.08.14:
This recipe gave me about 10 pieces of crepe of which the first one failed, 2nd one too thick so workable ones are 8 pieces.  When cooking the crepe, i got the hang of it especially at the 3rd piece onwards, I cannot take picture as I do not enough hands. HAHAH~ Got to be quick when adding batter and swirling the pan to spread it as it cooks pretty quickly. 

Skin is a bit too soft and moist according to one of my aunt.  I find that too.  It also tasted bland which kind of balances off the sweetness from the filling.  Filling was sweet and a bit sticky and i had enough for just 6 pieces of crepe.  Either the recipe has too little coconut or I added too much for my first few pieces.

Overall, I will attempt it again and adjust the recipe soon.  In the meanwhile, I will buy the original from the shops to taste it to see how I can improve on this.  Will update again so do keep a look out.

After on 29.08.14:
Method was the same as the first round.  I find that it much easier to swirl the batter around to the pan today.  I actually pour the batter from the bottom of the pan and swirl instead of at the center.  Skin was still soft but I kind of like it being soft and moist.  As per last week, I ran out of coconut half way and had to prepare it again.  Thank goodness I have spare ingredients at home. 

Gave the first batch to my cousin who thinks it taste just nice.  However, the 2nd batch which I gave to my mum, she said it was too sweet.  I think it will go well with coffee as a snack.  Therefore, I think its best to adjust sugar level to your taste.  Less is better than more if you get what I mean.

Additional Notes:
1.  You can also extract the blended pandan juice using a muslin cloth.  Whatever works.
2.  The reason I separated the addition of coconut milk twice in preparation of the batter is because lumps tend to form.  It is much easier to spot and break it apart when there are not as much liquid present.
3.  These are the substitutes/optional additions I gathered online that people have included them for your reference should either ingredients is not readily available.

fresh coconut milk -> condensed sweet milk / canned coconut milk / packed coconut milk
pandan juice - > pandan paste / pandan essence (flavouring) / green colouring
fresh grated coconut (white portion) - > dessicated coconut / frozen grated coconut / packet grated coconut
gula melaka -> brown sugar

4.  Gula Melaka usually comes in cylinder block form.  Breaking it up into smaller pieces helps to fastened the process in melting it.

5.  Some recipes call for both sides of batter to be cooked but there are also some that cooks only on one side of the batter.  Do whatever you like but most importantly, note the cooking time and not over cooked it.  If the surface is browned, it meant its overcooked.

6. One tip I read from kampungsingapura.com is that once the colour of the batter changes its an indication that it is cooked.

7.  Try to keep the crepe thin.  When the batter is cooked, I think it is much faster and easier to smack the pan face down against a large chopping board then try using a spatula coz it could tear easily.  REMEMBER TO USE non-stick pan.

8.  I realize if you add the batter and try using the back of the spoon/scoop to spread it out, it tears the crepe coz the batter already start to dry and cook. So I reckon, its best is to pour in batter and swirl the pan at the same time.

9.  If there is excess pandan leaves, you can use it as an aromatic agent in the kitchen or in the fridge.  I am not kidding coz my aunt uses it.  It also supposedly wards of pests say maybe cockroaches or lizards etc.  She cuts up the pandan into pieces and place it in a container then puts it at the various corners of the table top in the kitchen.  She also puts it in the fridge and cupboard areas beneath the sink.


Pandan Juice:
5 pandan leaves
5 tbsp. water

1. Cut the pandan leaves into pieces.  Its much faster to use a scissor than a knife.  Do not include the white parts near the stem.  I read that it makes it bitter.  Also, remove the pointed tip of the leaf as it has sharp edges which could make hands itch if you are squeezing it by hands later.
2.  Prepare pandan juice by blending the pandan leaves and water in a blender for about a min or 2 or you could also use a food processor.
3.  Strain the juice using a fine sieve while pressing it down with the back of a spoon to get all the green juice.  When most juice is extracted, with clean hands give it a good squeeze.  Run the juice through the sieve again.

 It should yield about 5tbsp. Set aside.
24.08.14 night - 1.5 stems of pandan leaf with 2 cups of water, after extracting the juice I added another 1 cup of water to the pulp and blend again.  mixed both batch of juice and strain again.
25.08.14 night - according to online blogs, the stuff that settled at the bottom is pandan paste
26.08.14 night
27.08.14 night - I poured away the water instead of using it for other purpose and kept the darker portion in the fridge.  it has about 6tbsp worth which I used in the recipe for kueh dadar 2nd attempt

 Hope you enjoyed it! 

Source Info: Kuih - Wikipedia