Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hello Marcus!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cookies from The Cookie Musuem

I have more interesting munchies to recommend for this coming CNY.

Apart from the usual love-letters and snacks, I think it would be interesting to infuse some local flavour into our munching sessions.

The Cookie Museum has an interesting array of unique cookies, such as madeleine rose (pure pink rose) and english lavender (fresh lavender) and their bestselling berry lite (organic blueberry and macadamia nuts). However, it's their local range of cookies that particularly caught my attention.

1. Nasi Lemak Cookies

These were seriously good. They were slightly spicy, very fragrant, very crunchy and with ikan bilis and peanuts on top to evoke the experience of devouring a yummy packet of nasi lemak (except it's a lot more elegant and classy!).

Buy as a gift for your boss, or your MIL.

It's interesting and a pretty unique conversation starter during the CNY munching.

Comes in 3 layers of about 6 cookies, so I would put these in the expensive category.

Comes in a festive looking gift box too.

2. Laksa Cookies

Had a strong taste of coconut milk, with the fragrance of the daum laksa (laksa leaf). It was nice and also interesting but nasi lemak was still more shiok!

It is a little paler in colour to the nasi lemak.

probably less chili.

but yummy too.

We also tried the Hae Bee Hiam - This was great! It was spicy and crunchy and yummy. It was actually a little similar in taste to the Nasi Lemak except it didnt have the ikan bilis or peanuts. Sorry no picture.

We also tried the berry lite (blueberry and macadamias) - sweet and delicious, but less interesting and less of a conversation topic. Still good nonetheless.

Happy CNY Y'all!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunnyhills pineapple cakes 凤梨酥

Chinese New Year is coming!! I am so excited, all that feasting, visiting, ang pows, feasting, feasting, feasting... Hahaha.

So, what is your favourite snack for the CNY festivities? For me, it is always the pineapple tarts. It is practically synonymous with CNY. I will wait impatiently and anxiously for CNY just so that I can enjoy my first taste of pineapple tarts (yes, even though some places sell pineapple tarts all year round, it just doesnt taste the same unless it's eaten during the right season. Same thing with durians, they taste best when you eat them during the right season.)

So, you can imagine my excitement when I saw these 2 boxes of my favourite CNY snack!

Don't they look inviting and delicious?? All hygenically packed and individually wrapped!

I was breathless with anticipation, waiting to unveil this golden nugget!

And there you go, a perfectly formed golden cake, filled with organic goodness.

Did I say organic? Yes I did. That's the dilemma I always experience. I love pineapple tarts and CNY goodies, but I am always worried about the kind of food that I am consuming. Transfats, carcinogens - all the things that take away the enjoyment from eating something delicious.

And that is why, to me, it is so important to source for something that is both healthy and delicious. Impossible you say? Well not anymore. These delicious pineapple cakes are made with ORGANIC Cayenne pineapples grown on Ba Gua mountains in the Nantou County of Taiwan. They use gourmet baking flour from Japan and pure New Zealand butter. They bake the cakes using traditional methods and proudly call these "Sunny Bites". A taste of sunshine in every bite. Yum. Although these cakes are made in Taiwan, they are airflown to Singapore, freshly made, every 3 days. Yes, these treats are now available in Singapore!

I liked everything about this pineapple cake. The crust was buttery crumbly delicious and the pineapple filling was a perfect combination of sweet and tangy (definitely not oversweet, which is my greatest fear). In particular, the filling had a nice texture, with sufficient bite to it. My Dear Mom (DM) who is a very fussy pineapple tart eater because she used to make them herself from scratch many years ago, has proclaimed these the best pineapple tarts she has ever had. What a resounding endorsement! She especially loves the filling, which is not too sweet and has a good home-made texture.

Here is a close-up of the yummy treat! doesn't it look tantalising? Well, in my humble opinion, this pineapple cake is really good value for money because it comes in a beautiful gift box (perfect for giving to important clients) and is individually wrapped, and is huge (at least 2-3 times the size of a normal pineapple tart).

If you wish to order these delectable goodies, here are the details:

6pcs (300g) in a box: S$13.80
10pcs (500g) in a box: S$23
20pcs (1kg) in a box: S$46

Call +65 8522-9605 or email services@sunnyhills.com.sg for more details. Free delivery for orders above S$90. Those above S$180 receive a complimentary box of 10pcs.

There is also a booth promoting these cakes at Funan IT Mall Food & Lifestyle event from 17- 31 January 2011.

AND here is an EXCLUSIVE DEAL just for you wonderful readers of this blog:If you quote Chocolate Reindeer, you will get a free sample at the booth!!

So remember, nothing but the best for you, your family and your guests this CNY. Get your pineapple cakes from Sunny Hills now.

See this cheerful and happy face? Dont you want to give her the best pineapple cake in the world?

Yes you want to hug her and feed her pineapple cakes from Sunny Hills. I know it.

Quick call +65 8522-9605 or email services@sunnyhills.com.sg.

-Chocolate Reindeer would like to express its gratitude to Sandy of Sunny Hills for the samples provided for this review-

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Eating in Hong Kong

Well, I really have mixed feelings about Hong Kong. On one hand I find it very crowded and polluted, on the other hand I find the eating and shopping way better there.

The food is great because the standard is quite high, even in non-descript hole-in-the wall eateries. I do think that it can get quite salty (because I am not used to taking food that is too salty). Nevertheless, I think I will be back again because of the abundance of cheap and good food, and because the kids had such a great time.

One of the first places we headed to was Mak's, where they have wonton noodles served famously in very small bowls (the theory is that the small bowls prevent the noodles from soaking up the soup and becoming soggy).

And it was certainly a delicious treat. The noodles were firm and had a lovely bite, and the soup was fragrant, redolent of chives and flat fish. And indeed, the noodles were QQ to the very last bite, and were not in the least soggy.

The downside of eating here is that the premises are very cramped and small and the tables are chairs are placed really close to each other. Not very conducive for younger children, but quite ok for my 2 little ones.

Then we tried Yung Kee's famouse roast goose. A one-michelin starred establishment, it was crowded and wouldnt allow diners a seat till more than 2 hours after you arrive. Fine if I were alone and didnt have 2 hungry kids in tow. So we hopped over to a cha chan teng (Tsui Wah) which was also pretty famous and good. No pictures of that meal unfortunately, I literally had my hands full with Cutie and Sweetie. DH was disappointed that we didnt get to eat that roast goose, so we ordered a takeaway box back to the hotel to try. Each roast goose drumstick costs SGD22! We bought 2 boxes, one for DH and one for me. And the total cost of SGD45 (including tax and surcharges) exceeded the cost of our dinner for 3 adults and 2 kids at Tsui Wah. Whoa!!

Still it was quite worth it. Crispy skin, tasty meat, drenched in a sauce of complex flavours (a little sweet, a little savoury, a little smokey) and lots of tasty little chewy hard peanuts. Yum. I think it costs even more if you eat at the restaurant, so maybe it's worth exploring this takeaway option - no queues, same yummy food at a lower price.

Then we tried roast pigeon! It was rather bony without much meat, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless.

Sweetie rather liked having something to hold and eat with her hands, and for once it was very manageable because it was just the right size for her!

We tried the roast pigeon at a random restaurant at Ngong Ping 360, a little themed village built on top of a hill.

I originally thought it was a theme park, with a Monkey mascot not unlike Sun Wukong (who at that time was Cutie's favourite martial arts pugilist) but it was really a little village, with a small street of restaurants and shops selling trinkets and souvenirs. Oh there was a big buddha statue too, which we didnt visit.

But it was worth the visit because of the amazing cable car ride that took almost 10 minutes, yes it was that high up in the mountains! Look at that amazing view!

We met up with my dear friend for dinner, at a Japanese restaurant at Jardine House. It was great and the highlight of my meal was getting to catch up with WL!

Then we visited Ocean Park because Cutie insisted. We actually thought we wanted to spend the day shopping, but vehement protests from Cutie ensured that we were speeding towards Ocean Park in double quick time.

The place was huge and there were several attractions. Pandas, goldfish, raccoons, all hot favourites with the kids.

Regrettably the only ride that they were tall enough to sit was the log ride. It was one wet ride I tell you, the kids had their raincoats, which I always pack for rides like these, but DH and I? No such protection. The kids loved it so much we took it twice.

My sweet chinadoll in a chinese pavillion at Ocean Park.

Then we did some shopping. We went to this shop where Sweetie is posing... We just browsed only! We did most of our spending at H&M. The shoes that Sweetie is wearing were from H&M. She picked them out herself and wore them immediately.

Then on the last 2 days, we went to the happiest place on earth - Disneyland!

The obligatory pic outside the castle. It was magical i tell you. Once we sauntered through the Disneyland gates, we were transported into a magical fairytale world!

Took a pic with Buzz Lightyear, Cutie's other favourite superhero. We also took the buzz lightyear ride at least twice. They give you a gun and you sit in a space shuttle that travels through the galaxy and you need to shoot Zurg the enemy. It was easy shooting at the targets. I was space ranger first class!

The people there were simply so nice, everywhere we turned somebody was trying to give Cutie and Sweetie disneyland stickers.. They got a whole stack! Here is Sweetie trying to look for her favourite princess, Princess Aurora. You know who that is? *wink*

Another family favourite, A Small World ride. Where you travel through several countries in a leisurely cruise boat.

I didnt understand why this ride was so popular, we queued for 30 minutes or more! The rest of the more interesting rides like space mountain and buzz lightyear had literally no queues! Still, Sweetie seemed quite pleased to be able to take control of the steering wheel.

We did space mountain twice! Isnt Cutie brave?

Doesnt Cutie look cool and grown up outside the gingerbread village? If you peek into the windows of the cottages, you will be able to guess who lives there. Our favourite was Minnie with all her sweet pink tea sets.

This was perhaps sweetie's favourite, Flying Dumbo.

Sweetie wants to know whether we are buying her some minnie mouse ears... "No Mommy? Why?"

So we capitulated and bought her those ears... which she wore with pride during our 2 days in Disneyland.

And the nicest thing that happened when we were about to leave was that the entire main street started snowing and there were carols and a huge Christmas Tree. It really felt like Christmas!

We stayed in the Disneyland resort itself for these 2 days. And it was really worth it.

They had kids' activity corners in the hotel so that the kids could just spend time playing or drawing.

On our last night, we had the Disney Character buffet dinner, where there was lots of food and lots of fun photo-taking with our favourite characters. Minnie Mouse...




And our favourite Mickey!

No, actually Sweetie's favourite was the free flow soft serve ice cream at the buffet..