Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Cooking 5: Sweet Potato Dessert

So Mr. Robotic has raved about the benefits of white fungus in one of his earlier post. But today, Mr. Robotic was even amazed to hear that the extremely cheap white fungus has the same nutritional value as bird's nest. Some people even went as far to term white fungus as the poor man's bird's nest. Wow!!!

Found a useful comparison between white fungus and bird's nest at Loving Life. Anyway, you know *wink* what Mr. Robotic is going to add to his soup and dessert now onwards right?

The limelight for this post though lies on sweet potatoes.

Mr. Robotic's previous few gym instructors had asked him to add sweet potatoes (protein content) into his diet to help with his bulking up (yes, Mr. Robotic wants to be at the size of Optimus Prime one day). Little did Mr. Robotic know that the sweet potato actually packs so much nutritional value.

According to nutritionists at the Centre for Science in the public interest (CSPI), the sweet potato ranks number one in nutrition among all vegetables. The rich vitamins and minerals in the sweet potato is so high that its score is doubled of the next most nutritional vegetable. Wow!!!

Apparently, the sweet potato is also a source of anti-oxidants which helps to prevent and repair damage caused by free radicals (think cancer, heart disease and accelerated aging).

So how would the combination of the sweet potato and white fungus turn out? Read on...

Sweet Potato Dessert
Completed this dessert based on Mdm. Agaration's instructions. Hence, please feel free to explore if the portions are suitable for you.

Ingredients (Serves 6 to 7):
- 20g white fungus
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 6 to 8 red dates
- 50g rock sugar
- 20 dried longans
- 1.5 litre water
- 6 pandan leaves

1. Soak the white fungus, red dates and dried longans in cold water.
2. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut it into pieces. (Easier to cook for smaller pieces).
3. Cut the stem of the white fungus.
4. Wash pandan leaves, cut off dead edges and tie into a bundle.
5. Add all ingredients into pot and bring the water to boil.
6. After water boils, turn down to low heat and let it simmer for another 15 mins.
7. Ready to serve once the sweet potatoes are soft.

Mr. Robotic prefers the orange sweet potato than the yellow one. Nonetheless, the sweet potatoes Mr. Robotic cooked at home is most likely to be fresher than those he had outside at dessert stores, especially in food courts. Outside vendors would usually pre-prepared the sweet potato and put it in the freezer till it is needed. The taste and nutritional value are sadly lost. And of course, you would not be able to get an abundance of ingredients if you are eating out.

Mr. Robotic feels good that he is putting something delicious and yet good for his pipes into his system. Sweet~

Happy Note 6: It's the season to be jolly!!!

Ho ho ho~
December is Mr. Robotic's favorite part of the year! It's a period whereby he does not feel guilty about over indulgence in shopping, food, partying and most importantly receiving presents. Haha!

With the end of the year coming, how did Mr. Robotic fared for the resolutions set out for year 2009?

He is on track to completing his 10 dishes although he cheated in the last few by concentrating on making desserts. 4 more dishes to go!

Watching less TV:
Mr. Robotic wanted to reduce the time spent watching TV and YouTube to 4 hours per week. Sadly this seems to be a impossible task given that there are just so many interesting Hongkong serial, Taiwanese variety shows and Japanese Anime. Argh...

Business or work writing everyday would make Mr. Robotic a dull writer. Hence, Mr. Robotic wanted to write a book or articles to stretch his writing a little bit besides normal writing. Guess, blogging counts. So this resolution is somehow completed!

Readers out there, have you completed your resolutions? If you haven't, quickly do so among all the other Christmas activities that you have planned for December. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Eating 2: Healthy Fast food?

So our familiarity with burgers, fries and fried chicken is a given since the Golden Arches and the Finger lickin' good colonel (no mention of brand names here since Mr. Robotic is not a fan) are available at almost all malls in Singapore and even creeping into the heartland areas. While the over-saturation phenonmen is a cause of concern as kids grow up thinking that such fast food are the "real" food, the saturated fat content in such fast food is even more worrying.

Lest you think that Mr. Robotic is an advocate of no fast food, Mr. Robotic do like the healthier choices, Yoshinoya and MOS burger which stems from Japan. But this post is not about these two common choices. Rather, it is about the newly arrived fast food joint - R Burger, that similarly came from the "Land of the Rising Sun".

So what's the hype with the R burger...?

R Burger prides itself to be the first hamburger café to introduce Marine Collagen in its buns. According to R Burger, "Marine collagen helps to stimulate collagen production. It encourages skin renewal, minimises muscle contractions, reduces the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines, and provides long-term improvement for the skin."
Therefore, it's marketing point lies in it being a healthier and alternative taste to the traditional burger.

Mr. Robotic ordered the R Burger Combo Meal which includes R Burger, Salad Stick with wasabi mayonnaise, Potato Wedges (hmm... this ain't too healthy ya?) and the Iced Black Tea.

Forgive Mr. Robotic for the poorly taken photo as he was very hungry at 8.50 pm and could not wait to start on his dinner.

The R Burger which comes with the beef patty really reminded Mr. Robotic of the Chinese's Kong Bak Bao (stewed pork wrapped with white buns) both in taste and presentation while the other items are not uncommon too with the other fast food joints. The cost of the combo meal is around $8+. Higher cost but supposely healthier choice? You be the judge.

If you are thinking of trying the R Burger, drop back at its only outlet in Singapore at ION Orchard.

Happy Bargains 1: Why pay more if you can pay less?

While Mr. Robotic is a machine, he too cannot resist the temptation of a good bargain when he finds one. The satisfaction of getting a "good" deal may at times short circuit his logical thinking of whether he truly needs the items. For instance, there are times where it is cheaper for bundled purchases, Mr. Robotic landed up getting more than he usually needs and the "extra" items were left around in his house which eventually disappear into oblivion.

Nonetheless, Mr. Robotic figured out that he is ought to share deals which in his opinion is worth it. So here starts the new series of posts beginning with Happy Bargains!

So what is Mr. Robotic going to kick start with, you asked? Since Mr. Robotic has been blogging about food entries for the last few posts, the first bargain in the new series would be on food of course!

WOW!!! Promotion Gist:
Seoul Garden is having a 1 for 1 adult buffet promotion for its new branch at City Square Mall (located next to Farrer Park MRT) on weekdays. Promotional period is from 2 November to 30 November 2009. Friday dinner is considered as the beginning of weekend and hence not under this promotion. For more promotional details, visit here.

Mr. Robotic's Review:
Mr. Robotic went on a Tuesday evening and the place is jam-packed with people. Apparently many other people is aware of this promotion. Mr. Robotic waited for a good 1 hour before he managed to get a table. So be prepared to wait.

The place is smaller than the usual Seoul Garden branches but this is overcome with the new service arrangement. Instead of self service whereby the customers will need to take the food and drinks from the counters which involves a lot of moving around and space, the new branch has a self ordering computer system at each table for customers to order the food and get it served to the table. That is an optimal use of space and technology so kudos to that!

The turnaround time when a request for the food was put up to when the food was served was reasonably fast. Alas, the over reliance on the self ordering system is a double edged sword. In the later part of the evening, the system encountered problems. Customers were disgruntled that their orders were either missed out or wrongly taken. Hence, Seoul Garden should really train their staff to cope with downtime like this to maintain customer satisfaction.

Other points to note is the food selection at this branch is different and seems to be lesser than the other branches, especially for the cooked food items. There are also some items on the menu which you would need to pay extra so be mindful!

Mr. Robotic's bill worked out to be around $14 per person for dinner.

So, if you have a strong craving for Seoul Garden, happen to be in the neighbour with lots of time to spare, why not give it a go?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy Eating 1: Long Beach Seafood Restaurant

What is better than eating delicious food...?

Eating delicious food for free of course!!! Mr. Robotic was treated to seafood at the Long Beach Seafood Restaurant at IMM.

The dishes are (from top to bottom) Honey Pork, Chilli Crab with buns, Butter Prawns and Scallops with Kai-Lan. Unfortunately, the steamed fish was cut apart by the waiter so quickly before Mr. Robotic can take a photo of it.

Side note: Mr. Robotic thought the waitress was excellent by helping to remove the shells for the crab claws so that it is much easier to eat. Every restaurant that serves crabs should offer this service!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Cooking 4: Green Bean Soup

It is one of those days where the weather is good for an afternoon nap and Mr. Robotic is not spared either.

Feeling heaty down his metalic throat pipe, Mr. Robotic decides to cook a simple Green Bean Soup to cool down and detoxicate. Green bean also known as Mung bean packs quite alot of nutritional value in the little bean. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, B etc.

Green Bean Soup
Mr. Robotic completed this dessert based on Mdm. Agaration 's instructions. For this who need the recipe, here is an adaption from Healthy Chinese Recipes.

Ingredients (Serves 6):
- 300g green beans
- 1.5 litre water
- 6 pandan leaves
- 75 to 100g rock sugar (more if you have a sweet tooth)

1. Wash the green beans in running water. Remove dirt and discolored beans.
2. Place beans and water in a large pot (cover with lid).
3. Bring water to boil then reduce heat to low.
4. Wash pandan leaves, cut off dead edges and tie into a bundle.
5. Place pandan leaves & rock sugar into the boiling water.
6. Simmer for 60-80 minutes until the beans have expanded out of their skins and are soft & fluffy.
1. Wash the green beans in running water. Remove dirt and discolored beans.
2. Place beans and water in a large pot (cover with lid).
3. Bring water to boil then reduce heat to low.
4. Wash pandan leaves, cut off dead edges and tie into a bundle.
5. Place pandan leaves & rock sugar into the boiling water.
6. Simmer for 60-80 minutes until the beans have expanded out of their skins and are soft & fluffy.

Simple yet delicious dessert for a lazy weekend afternoon. You can also throw in different ingredients (e.g. pearl barley, sago, small sweet potato bits, orange peel) to give a twist to this traditional dessert.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy Post 3: Sweet Papaya White Fungus Dessert

Coughing? Need some natural beauty enhancing food?

Mr. Robotic learns that the answer to the preceding questions lies in the very affordable white fungus. White fungus nourishes the lungs, helps to treat dry coughs, combats cholesterol levels and even a natural source of collagen. This makes it an ideal accompanying ingredient in soups and desserts. Try the recipe below! :)

Sweet Papaya White Fungus Dessert
Learned of this recipe from Chrystal.

Ingredients (Serves 6 to 7):
- 20g white fungus
- 1 ripe papaya (depending on the size of the papaya. Mr. Robotic only used 3/4 of the papaya)
- 2 tbsp Chinese almonds
- 6 to 8 red dates
- 50g rock sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)
- 1 litre water

1. Soak the white fungus and red dates in cold water.
2. Put the sugar, red dates and the almonds in the pot (ideally to use a crockpot).
3. Peel the papaya, unseed the fruit and cut it into even pieces. Add to the pot.
4. Cut the stem of the white fungus.
5. Rinse the white fungus and red dates and add to the pot.
6. Add the water in the pot and put the pot in a large pan with cold water.
7. Bring the water to boil and let it simmer for an hour.

Mr. Robotic would be sharing the little tips he had learned on peeling the papaya in another post soon with pictures.

With the previous not so successful experimental with fruits in cooking, Mr. Robotic was extra careful in using papaya in making this dessert. After having the papaya noodle soup, Mr. Robotic knows that he has to try papaya in cooking. While there are several preparation steps, Mr. Robotic likes this recipe as the actual cooking is very minimal.

Taste wise, it is something very familiar and nothing way out of the ordinary so much so that you would reject the taste as the ingredients used are commonly found in other Chinese desserts like Sweet Potato dessert etc. The difference lies in the main ingredient - papaya. The papaya's smooth and soft texture is very easy on the teeth.

Mr. Robotic is going to hunt for more white fungus recipes!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Cooking 2: Apple Soup

Slowed cooked soup... a notable trait of Cantonese cuisine. The soup is usually a clear broth made by simmering meat and other ingredients for several hours to bring out the essence of the ingredients. Putting all the ingredients in a pot and boiling them. That shouldn't be too difficult ain't it? Read on for Mr. Robotic attempt at making apple soup.

Apple Soup
Learned of this recipe from the Noob Cook. Changes made in no. of apples used for recipe.

Ingredients(Serves 2-3):
- 1.5 litres water
- 200-300g spare ribs or pork shoulder ribs
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 red apples, cut into pieces (advisable to remove skins if you are using waxed apples)
- 6 red dates
- Salt for seasoning if required

1. Blanch the pork ribs.
2. Boil water in a pot and put in the blanched ribs, onions, apples and red dates.
3. Bring to boil again and turn to low heat.
4. Simmer for 2 hours.
5. Season with salt if required.

Note: As far as Mr. Robotic understands, blanching the pork ribs is to put the ribs in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, followed by washing away the impurities.
There is more to Chinese soup than Mr. Robotic's original simple view. For one, Mr. Robotic realise the test in making a good soup lies in the simmering skills of the cook. One would need to be able to control the fire (控制火喉) in order to really bring out the taste of the meat and ingredients. Due to a shortage of time, Mr. Robotic took the shortcut and only simmered the soup for 1 hour. Hence, the soup turned out to be a weaker version of the familiar ABC soup.
Apples in Chinese recipes are pretty rare. The original recipe calls for 4 apples. If you are using apples in cooking for the first time, Mr. Robotic's advice is to reduce the no. of apples to 2 so that you can get acquired to the taste.

Practice makes perfect! Mr. Robotic is going to take up the apple soup challenge again some day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Cooking 1: Ketchup Prawns

So this post marks the first entry which Mr. Robotic blogs about his novice cooking skills. For those who know Mr. Robotic on a personal level, you must have remembered that Mr. Robotic's aim for the end of this year is to attempt 10 dishes. He had already tried 2 dishes so far and this post is his third attempt at it...

Ketchup Prawns
Learned of this recipe from the Noob Cook.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
- 10 large prawns (shrimps), shells & veins removed
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup of ketchup, mixed with 25 ml of water
- 1 chilli, deseed and cut to long strips (add more if you want more )
- 1 small tomato, cut to small chucks

1. Heat oil in wok and stir fry garlic and chilli till fragrant.
2. Add prawns and stir fry till they are almost cooked.
3. Add the ketchup solution and stir evenly till the paste bubbles.

Note: You can stir in a beaten egg to cook at step 3 if you like.

The preparation time and steps for this dish is relatively quick and easy. So it is really good as a starter dish for novice cooks like Mr. Robotic. Taste-wise, Mr. Robotic thinks it will be as good as the ketchup that you use. So choose your favorite ketchup brand!

Happy Note 5: A journey to a tranquil side of Singapore

Do you know that Sengkang Swimming Complex houses 1 competition pool, 2 teaching pools, 1 fun pool and importantly 1 jacuzzi and 8 water slides? With such attractive facilities at only $1 for adult entry on a weekday, Mr. Robotic decides to embark on an exploratory trip to the less travelled part of Singapore.

Mr. Robotic alighted at Sengkang Interchange with the intention to walk to the swimming complex but decided to take the LRT instead since Mr. Robotic rarely gets a chance to take the LRT.

Little did Mr. Robotic know that there are different routes on the same platform for the LRT. Mr. Robotic can only blame himself for not scrutinising the map first before hopping on the next available LRT. That would have saved Mr. Robotic the trouble of going one big circle on the East Loop line. Mr. Robotic recalled his physics lessons which can be applied to this situation.

Distance travelled = 2 km.
Displacement = 0 km.
Mr. Robotic's rookie mistake. Priceless.

So if you are planning to go to the swimming complex by LRT, remember to look carefully at the signage, you should take the West Loop line on platform 2. If you wish to find out more, you can read "Wikipedia: Sengkang LRT line".

Mr. Robotic alighted at the Farmway station. The simplicity of this LRT station was intriguing, given that Mr. Robotic is used to full fledged stations that have staff manning the control stations or with staff patrolling and gawking at your bags for dangerous items. Some stations even have small "mama" shops for the busy passer-bys. Interestingly, there was a notice in the Farmway station that advertised the leasing of shop space at the station.

Arriving at the swimming complex, Mr. Robotic immediately saw the water slides which he was so looking forward to riding. Mr. Robotic further admired the sheltered pool as the stormy weather lately was hurting his swimming plans. However, Mr. Robotic realised the abnormal tranquility at the area. It was very quiet. In fact, there was no one in sight at the pools or the slides. Mr. Robotic brushed it aside since it was after all a Monday afternoon at 1 p.m. Perhaps, the crowd would come in later?

Alas, his suspicious were not unfounded. Apparently the pool is closed every Monday for cleaning. A check with the sports council website shows that this is a conventional practice for other swimming complexes with water slides too.

Although, Mr. Robotic was a tad disappointed that he didn't manage to get on the rides, there were still some interesting finds. For instance, next to the swimming complex is 3 basketball courts which were empty at Mr. Robotic's point of visit. It may be empty due to the timing of visit but Mr. Robotic thought it seems like a nice place which his colleagues can consider for the next sports day outing.

Also, there are a number of fields (state land) which are undeveloped. Mr. Robotic can't help but laments that soon green fields are going to be unconventional sights in Singapore given the speed of development and the lack of space in Singapore. One day, the earth could be surrounded by likes of Mr. Robotic, cold steel and iron parts and one would need to pay a ticket price just to view a batch of green grass. At least for now, the nice patch of green is free for one to use and one can enjoy flying kites in the wide open space.

Even though Mr. Robotic didn't achieved his objective of the visit, he did enjoyed the tranquility and slow pace of this part of Singapore for a change to the clutter of high rising and attention seeking malls. It was a nice lazy afternoon for Mr. Robotic.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Note 4: A new face for Mr. Robotic

If you are wondering if Mr. Robotic's numerous facial products had finally paid off and give Mr. Robotic a brand new and radiant face... hmm... not yet. But if that miracle happens, you can be sure that it warrants another happy note posting. So stay tuned!

The joyous thing rather is Mr. Robotic had completed a photo shoot of himself. 2 hours of sheer hard work of posing, more posing and more posing ya. Now, you can finally view Mr. Robotic in his ever so charming form in the title of the blog.

Did you say that Mr. Robotic look like Wall.E? That gorgeous yellow metallic squarish box from the Hollywood blockbuster? Apparently Mr. Robotic did look a little itsy-bitsy bit like Wall.E. Well... perhaps all square things look the same?

Mr. Robotic noticed the resemblance only after the photo shoot. While there is some resemblance, please don't compare Mr. Robotic with Wall.E. After all, Wall.E is backed by a Hollywood budget of enormous proportions and a team of super talented designers and programmers to ensure that Wall.E look spectacular at every angle. Mr. Robotic on the other hand is a poor robot trying to make ends meet and took the photos by himself.

Nonetheless, Mr. Robotic is extremely satisfied with the outcome of the photo shoot. Kudos to the photographer! Opps... that is Mr. Robotic himself. Look forward to posting more pictures! :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Joke 1: Bull Shit?

Mr. Robotic decides to add a little depth to his blog by including jokes that he come across which he thinks is good for a quick and harmless laugh. Thanks to all the people who came up with the jokes! Enjoy the first one...

A turkey was chatting with a bull. 'I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but I haven't got the energy.' 'Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull. They're packed with nutrients.'

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree. The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree. He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story: Bull Shit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there..

Happy Note 3: 8 hours a day

8 hours a day... that is how much time a human will need to get their body rested for the next day of activities. Well, some humans will spend less time on sleeping just to steal a little bit of time to spend it on other activities. But all is fair, if you steal time by sleeping less, you will be punished, although not in an obvious manner. Age will secretly crawl all over your face and before you know it, all is lost...

All along, Mr. Robotic is a skeptic when it comes to spending money on items related to sleeping like the mattress, the bedsheet covers. After all, Mr. Robotic is made of metals and screws, does it matter where he sleeps on? Also, sleeping is something all are programmed to do, so it is unimportant whether the bed is comfortable.

If you are a skeptic too, please change your opinion. Remember it is 8 hours a day which you are spending your time on everyday. You deserve better! A lousy mattress not only affects your sleep and your mood the following day, it may even give you bad back problems if you are not careful. Mr. Robotic learns it the hard way when his back starts giving he problems as his previous mattress is a old piece of foam that does not give any support for his back.

Now, Mr. Robotic is a proud owner of a new super single pocket spring mattress (yeah super single is much more spacious) and the cost fortunately didn't burn a hole in his tin can wallet, thanks to Seahorse. And not forgetting, Aussino cotton tee bedsheets to match. It is like sleeping on a bed of cotton t-shirts!

Zzzz... sorry... Mr. Robotic needs to take a snooze. *switch off* Zzz....