Veggie Thurs : Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes in Pene

>> June 25, 2010

One of the rules in this shack, we reserve 1 day in a week free from meat. For veggie Thursday, we had broccoli and cherry tomatoes in pene pasta.

- Pene pasta (boil good for 2)
- Broccoli flowers
- Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Fresh finely chopped parsley
- Chili powder
- 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp. butter
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil Pene pasta in a pot of water with oil and salt until al dente. Drain, put it in a big bowl and set aside.
2. Chop broccoli flowers. Plunge it in a boiling pot of water for about a minute. Be careful not to over cook. Drain and wash it with cold water, and drain it again. Set aside.
3. Heat pan with a little bit of oil. Add the butter and sautee the garlic until golden brown.
4. Add broccoli, then cherry tomatoes and stir fry. Sprinkle the chili powder, salt and pepper.
5. Toss the vegetable together with the pene pasta you have set aside. Sprinkle fresh parsley and mix well. Add more salt and pepper until you get the flavor you prefer.

Smakelijk eeten!


Easy Alfredo

>> June 23, 2010

Here's the most simple Fetuccini Alfredo recipe.

- fetuccini pasta (good for 2)
- 1 pack of Nestle all purpose cream (or any heavy cream)
- 4 tablespoon butter
- chopped fresh parsley
- garlic powder
- a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- parmesan cheese
- ground black pepper and salt to taste

1. Melt butter in pan. Add the Nestle all purpose cream, stir and let it simmer for 2 minutes.
2. Add parmesan cheese, stir until it's fully melted.
3. Add garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt.
4. Add parsley and let it simmer for another minute.

1. Heat a pot with about 1 1/2 liters of water. Add about 4 tbspoon of cooking/olive oil and salt and let the water boil.
2. Add Fetuccini pasta.
3. Boil until al dente. I don't enjoy soggy, overcooked pasta.

Serve with toasted garlic bread.

It went well with fresh salad - romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and white onions in balsamic honey vinegar or herb vinigrette.

P.S. I used S90 to photograph our menu for this evening. I was feeling lazy to pick up and set up my DSLR for some reason  :P


Breadcrumbs dilemma - now solved

>> June 17, 2010

Oh how I love the idea of breadcrumbs for breading over ready made flavoured or plain all-purpose flour. But the difficulty of keeping the breadcrumbs stick to my deep-fry goodies makes me think twice. It always falls off, either before it reaches the pan, or during the frying process. But I'm so glad that finally I found the trick to keep them sticking!

Here's the trick.
1. Roll your goodies (e.g. chicken) on flour, just enough until it feels dry. This will keep the breadcrumbs sticking later.
2. Then dip it in a bowl of beaten egg.
3. Lastly, roll it on the breadcrumbs. This should stick pretty well.

And then deep fry! I tested this two nights ago, and it worked for me like magic! I was ecstatic! I think I'm gonna use breadcrumbs more often now and collect breaded food recipes.

Did you know you can also mix breadcrumbs with different herbs and spices to add flavour? For deep-fried chicken, try adding rose mary, dried basil, oregano, black gound pepper, cayenne powder together with the breadcrumbs for a more flavourful dish ;)


Keep Your Eyebrows Tidy

>> June 16, 2010

Aside from armpits, legs, and bikini lines, our set of eyebrows is one of the most important part of our body(face) we should maintain. While unshaved armpits can be concealed by wearing sleeved shirt and not raising your arms too high, and while unwanted hairs on your bikini lines won't show unless you wear bikini, eyebrows can't be concealed at all. Ok, bushy eyebrows are not as gross as bushy armpits and bushy thing down there, but still it shouldn't be taken for granted just because it isn't gross. Remember, eyebrows frame your face. A well-groomed eyebrows makes a big difference on how you look, so never be too busy for an eyebrows trim. Who wouldn't want to look fresh and pretty towards our significant others?

First things first. If you are gifted with nicely shaped eyebrows, then don't attempt to re-shape anymore. What you should do is to just clean up the surroundings. Shave (or pluck) the stray hairs and that should be good.

If you are cursed with a bushy, rapunzel-ish, multi-directional eyebrows, that's where the issue starts. I always liked thick eyebrows, for as long as it's well shaped and clean. But since eyebrows grooming is a delicate topic, I will not attempt anymore to write about how to groom and shape your eyebrows. Instead here are some tips:

1. If you have never done or still in trial and error for a long time with shaping and grooming your brows and has never achieved the eyebrows you are dreaming of, I recommend having a professional to do it for you. When you do, observe very well and ask questions how it is done. And then maintain it. Do it with reputable salons please.

2. Follow the natural shape of your eyebrows when shaping.

3. Never have one-liner eyebrows. Do not ever make it so thin. Thin eyebrows makes you look matured and old. Put it this way : Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping beauty, they all have thick eyebrows; while the evil step mother always have one-liner eyebrows.

4. Finally, make sure they are even. Well, our eyebrows are sisters, but they aren't twins so they don't need to be exactly identical. Notice that sometimes your left eyebrow's hair direction or thickness is slightly different from your right eyebrows. What's important is they look even and balanced.

It is however, inevitable, that some people have an in-born thin brows. What you can do with this is to still clean it up and shape it, but fill-in and enhance your brows with a brow powder or brow liner. If you use brow liner, make sure you smudge it with a brow brush tool so it doesn't look too harsh and artificial. I prefer brow shadow over liner because of this. Choosing a color, on the other hand, is another story. But this is what usually works for me - I pick a color 1 shade lighter than my hair. So if my hair is black, the color i pick is dark brown. Usually, dark brown works for most Asian women with tan complexion like me.

Eyebrows shaping and grooming is one of my favorite cosmetic things to do, and seriously, I'm so obsessed with it, whether it's bushy as hell, or naturally thin (as in thin strands), I can shape them pretty well :). So let me share the "must haves" in your brows grooming kit.

A. Eyebrows razor/shaper - This is essential when shaping your eyebrows. It's quicker and less painful versus plucking. However, this requires precision so be careful. One wrong move can ruin the shape you are aiming for. It's best to shave slowly, and then little by little to avoid mistakes.

B. Tweezer - this is very handy. I sometimes resort to tweezers when : There are stray hairs that I couldn't remove by using a razor for some reasons; when I'm not comfortable with the razor to shape delicate areas. So I use razor for major clean-ups, and then tweezers for the details.

C. Lash brush - I prefer using this versus the real eyebrows brush because this is more friendly to the eyebrows strands. I also use this to gather the hair I need to trim using scissors.

D. Eyebrows Scissors - these small scissors are also used to cut nose hairs, but don't be grossed out. Use it on your eyebrows and nowhere else :). I use scissors to cut long strands of eyebrows essential for shaping.

headshot photo by: Mark Mulder


Plugging bits : AFS Hunts for Aspiring Models

>> June 15, 2010

Gotta plug this for my Anything for the Shot creative team. We are looking for aspiring models for our shoot on June 20, project: Sunday Flavour. Sorry for the short notice, but interested parties, please shoot us an email Please include a photo(s) of you, and we'll let you know if you get shortlisted.


Facial Refreshment

>> June 8, 2010

Pamper your skin and defy aging.If you have a busy schedule and can't visit your favorite skincare center, or if you are on a tight budget and can't afford to do commercial facial treatments on a regular basis, here's a quick and easy way to invigorate your skin.

It's important that you spend at least once a week doing these little beauty stuff in spite of your loaded schedule. This helps boost your self-esteem, confidence, and makes you feel great about yourself.

Give yourself a Facial Massage.

Facial massage relaxes the muscles on your face, and at the same time it stimulates your skin, improving blood circulation.

Use a facial cleansing cream to lubricate your face. In that way, while massaging, you are also cleansing your skin. I have a problematic skin so I am very particular with skin products I put on my face. I use Cetaphil cleanser. It's fragrant-free, non-comedogenic, and safe to use since it's designed for sensitive skin. Apply a generous amount on your face and start the massage.

Here's a helpful video that will give you an idea/technique how facial massage is done. Focus on the massage part.

I use a battery operated facial massage tool that I got from Watsons a year ago when I'm lazy. It comes with a pumice, sponge and brush, and it works pretty well. I'm not certain if they still sell it but check it out when you get a chance.

Facial massage lasts for about 15-20 minutes, but you can shorten or prolong it, depending on your comfort level. Then rinse off your skin with warm water, and then pat dry.

Follow this with toner and moisturizer, and you are all set. Your skin is refreshed, ready for another busy work week.

Now go have some hot choco or cold fruit drinks with your partner and bond.


Feel like Korean

>> June 6, 2010

Dinner is more fun with friends around. After forever planning this small korean themed dinner with Jana and Sid, we finally did it!

Koreans are big on side dishes (at least in my observations in Korean restos I have been to). There's a wide variety of side dishes to choose from, but I picked 5 simple and easy ones to prepare, plus the very popular korean dish, the Beef Bulgogi.

I suggest to marinade the beef and set it aside before you prepare the side dishes. By the time you are done with the side dishes, the beef is ready for stir fry.

-  S I D E  D I S H E S -

- bought a ready made one in a bottle from the supermarket.

Spinach Salad (Sigumchi Namul)
1 pound fresh spinach
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 clove crushed garlic
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
black pepper

Rinse the spinach a few times until no more sand is coming off the leaves. Steam the spinach untill tender. Put the spinach in a strainer and let it cool down. When it is cool enough squeeze gently as much water as possible out of it and cut the leaves coarsely.
Mix all the ingredients into the spinach and the salad is ready.

Salted Egg (talgyal changjorim)
10-15 quail eggs
1 table spoon salt
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 table spoon sugar
2/3 cup water
1 table spoon ginger juice

Boil the eggs in salted water till the egg-shell breaks and peel them.
Put soy sauce, sugar, water and ginger juice in a pan and add the peeled eggs. Simmer the eggs on low fire till the liquid is almost evaporated. Turn the fire high and cook the eggs until they are glazed.
Let the eggs cool down.

Note : recipes from this site.

Fried Zucchini (Hobak Gui)
1 medium size zucchini cut in circles
salt and pepper to taste
Korean hot sauce

Fry the zucchini. Blot it with tissue paper to remove excess oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste and then rub it with Korean hot sauce.

Fried Tofu with Ground Beef
1 Tofu
100 grams ground beef
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1 Tbsp coriander, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Oyster sauce
1 Tsp soy sauce
Sugar to taste

1. Fry the tofu until golden brown. Blot it with tissue paper to remove excess oil. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onion for a minute and add ground beef. Put a little bit of water and let it simmer.
3. When it is almost dry, add the red bell pepper, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Sprinkle a little bit of sugar to give a little bit of sweet twist. Let it simmer.
4. Add coriander and mix well.
5. Cut the tofu in to cubes and mix it with the ground beef. Serve.

- M A I N  C O U R S E -

Beef Bulgogi
1 kg beef tenderloin strips (good for 4)
1 pack of Beef bulgogi marinade
fried Sesame seeds

1. Wash the tenderloin strips thoroughly.
2. Pour the bulgogi marinade on the tenderloin and mix well. Refrigerate for about an hour.
3. Heat pan and stir fry beef. Add a little bit of oyster sauce.
4. When it is cooked and somewhat dry, sprinkle sesame seeds.

Serve with Rice.

Yum yum!


Bubble Blahs

I work and live at night time. I am a person deprived of natural light. I rarely cook in the morning as I'm almost always asleep, else busy with house chores. As much as I love natural light in my photography, I'm afraid I don't usually have that luxury, unless I sacrifice my sleep, or make an effort to stay up longer during the day to do a cooking + photo session. So I depend on my flash, and sometimes, available light from my fluorescent bulbs. Although, in my opinion, nothing beats the natural light, I am, so far, satisfied with my shots using my flash that I learned to love.

I always look forward to the weekends for some sunlight.

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