Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Brunch Menu At Pies & Coffee

Media Invite

If you are a fan of brunches, you might want to check out the new brunch menu at Pies & Coffee!

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We stepped into the outlet at Robertson Walk, and were immediately captivated by what we saw in the showcase. So many pretty cakes, tarts and pastries!

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I love fruit tarts! Look how pretty they are. =)

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Decor in Pies & Coffee is casual and laid back – reminded me of cafes in Australia. Place your order at the counter and you will be called when your orders are ready for collection. Easy and fuss free.

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Weekends are best spent with the family over a relaxing nice meal together.

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Check out the Kids’ Brekkie and how cheery it looks! The sausage was very tasty!

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Eggs, Beans & Crisp is a comfort dish with the yummy sausage, egg mayo, baked beans and the crispy thin biscuits.

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Hazelnut Banana Pancakes is my absolute favorite on the new menu! See how the pancakes are stacked up with the hazelnut sauce running down from the top??! You may not agree with me but IMHO, bananas go best with pancakes! And anything with that kind of overflowing sauce is bound to be good. The sour and sweet blueberries and strawberries balance out the taste so that you don’t get too ‘jelat’ after eating it.

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The adults had lattes and the kids had juices. Perfect.

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And of course, how can we miss the tarts. Love the fresh berries and the yummy chocolate crust on this one.

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Lemon meringue is my choice if I go for desserts. Lots of cream on this one, and the lemon zest perks you right up! Great way to end a meal.

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Have a good brunch with your family this coming weekend, and consider trying out Pies & Coffee! =D

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P/S: The J Babies were invited for a food tasting session at Pies & Coffee. No monetary remuneration was received, and all opinions and photographs are mine.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Step By Step Instructions: Make Your Own Sushi

People who know my mum well enough knows that she has a specialty dish called ‘warm sushi’. It’s actually nothing complicated or too fanciful – Just normal hand rolled sushi but eaten warm right after it’s made, and not cold as usually done in Japanese restaurants. Strangely, many people including me found that a much nicer version compared to the cold ones. I wonder why no restaurants serve it that way.

Two weekends ago, we spent an afternoon at my mum’s place making the delicious warm sushi. The making was super easy and fuss-free, but the preparation may take up more time especially if you are going for variety. It’s so easy that the kids also helped to make our dinner that evening, and everyone had our stomachs filled while making them. You know, we pop them into our mouths while making them. =P

I photographed the entire sushi-making process because I thought of making them at home for the kids because they are so easy to make and eat. So since I did that, I might as well share it with those of you who may be interested to try making them too.

The main ingredients are rice (you can use Japanese rice for greater authenticity, or just normal Thai rice but cooked softer than usual), Jap rice vinegar and seaweed sheets. Once the rice has been cooked, pour in the vinegar and mix well. The general proportion rule is to use 2 tablespoons of vinegar with every cup of rice.

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You can use any brands you can find in the supermarkets of course, but I will follow my mummy masterchef’s choices. =P

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You also need to have a bamboo sheet ready for the rolling. They can be easily found in Daiso.

The ingredients for the sushi can be anything you like and prefer. Our favorites are usually fried eggs, prawns, cucumbers, crabsticks and sausages. You can be as creative as you like, and add in all your favorite ingredients. Fry them and then cut them into strips for the rolling later on.

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My mum also prepared other ingredients that day which were so complicated. I am not planning to replicate, for sure. They are the seasoned seaweed, seasoned scallops and crabstick mayo. Very yummy too!

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So, here goes the step-by-step instructions on how to make simple rolled sushi!

1. Lay out the bamboo sheet on a flat table surface. Place a sheet of seaweed on it and lay out a thin layer of rice to cover the entire sheet.

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2. Lay out your desired ingredients line by line on the bed of rice. We like to use two strips of cucumbers each time to add more crunch.

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3. Use the bamboo sheet to roll the sushi into a nice roll. Apply force to let the sushi roll stick together tightly.

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4. Once the rolling is done, use a sharp knife (wet slightly with water or vinegar) and cut into bite sizes.

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See how pretty it looks! =D You cannot pop just one into your mouth, that’s for sure.

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My mum also made these kinds of sushi, which involved taking a small chunk of rice and molded into a small rectangular bundle. Then, a prawn that’s been cut open from the centre and flattened to be placed on top of the sushi and tied with a thin strip of seaweed. This is even easier to make. Haha!

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Jayne also tried making them! Somehow, food tastes more delicious when you make them yourself. =P

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Why don’t you try your hand at sushi-making too? I think they make perfect food for little kids and would fit so well into bento boxes for bringing out! Remember, these are best eaten WARM! =D

Have fun!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

I Love My Orla Kiely ETC Bag! (& A Giveaway!)

Product Review

Girls and bags have a peculiar relationship.

It seems that we can never have enough of bags in our possession and this is true for women of all ages – whether you are 8 or 80 years old. My 8-year-old daughter has a closet full of bags in all shapes and sizes because she needs different bags for different outings and occasions. And don’t we all know that different outfits must match different bags?? =P

As I begin to age, the type of bags I go for changes as well. It used to be that I love small and cute handbags that look gorgeous  even though they can only hold a small purse, mobile phone and a bunch of keys. Functionality was not my main concern – I just wanted bags that could match my outfit of the day. Obviously, after I became a mother of a newborn 8 years ago, everything changed. At that point in my life, I love all kinds of big bags that could give me ample space to squeeze in my things plus the baby’s necessities, and hardy and durable bags that could withstand heat, dirt and rough handling. Yes, taking care of a baby is no child’s play, and is a mega messy project. My bags need to experience life with me, yet look stylish enough.

Now that my youngest kid is 5 years old, I no longer need to lug a huge bag everywhere I went. But this love for durable, tough and classy bag designs didn’t die. That’s when I discovered Orla Kiely.

Orla Kiely is an Irish fashion designer based in London. Kiely was described by The Guardian as "the Queen of Prints." Her designs have since been used for a variety of other objects, including kitchenware, stationery, furniture, wallpaper, and a range of Citro├źn DS3 cars. Her contemporary designs are simple and elegant, and make every bag she designed look effortlessly timeless. I was very excited to be introduced to her new ETC series, which I thought were perfect for busy women, and especially mothers. The material used in this series of bag designs is hardy, durable, water-resistant and yet classy and modern. Yes, you’ve heard me right – The bags are water resistant! I don’t know about you, but I’ve got countless incidents of my bags getting drenched by water that leaked out from my kids’ water bottles! I really do need water resistant bags.

So when Doorstep Luxury contacted me and asked if I would like to review their latest Orla Kiely ETC range of bags, I was beyond thrilled! At the store, I had such a hard time deciding which bag to bring home with me for the review, because every one of them looked stylish and versatile. A woman (ahem, and perhaps some men) would understand that we need different bags for different occasions. Big and small, let me bring you through some of the bags in this series, and what I recommend them for!

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The handbag might be the most versatile of it all virtue of its size (Told you I have a soft spot for big bags!). This is a classic zip top handbag with front and back flaps with exterior magnetic closure. It comes with a detachable shoulder strap if you want to look a little more trendy while carrying your bag. Made of PVC coated cotton, this bag is water resistant, light-weight and very durable. This bag is best for outings with your kids to the park or playground and can easily fit in extra change of clothes, water bottles and some tidbits, etc.

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The Easy Zip Tote has a minimalist design, features leather lined webbing handles of a length to be comfortably carried on both shoulder and arm and zip top closure. I like it that the bag does not have too many frills and looks neat and stays in shape. Its roomy design means you can put in many things – Perfect for a swimming trip for the family where you need to pack towels, swimwear, goggles etc. Another plus point of its minimalist design is that you can actually roll it up in your luggage and bring it along as an extra bag during your travel. Ingenious, isn’t it?? =)

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The Midi Sling bag is suitable for moms on the go because it’s lightweight and convenient. It comes with a magnetic closure for easy access to both the main compartment and front flap pocket. I would recommend this bag if you are going out to run an errand without the kids. The size of the bag easily fits an IPAD, and of course your usual personal items such as wallet, keys, mobile phone etc.

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The book bag is suitable for both everyday use as well as for travel. It’s thin, lightweight and very versatile. It’s actually a bag that folds into half when carried crossbody. When your load gets bigger than expected, open it up and use it full length, just like this:
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Pretty awesome, IKR. =D

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This is an ideal waterproof and low maintenance pouch for travel. Comes with two main zipper compartments, and side button snap closures which open up to two interior notch pockets. Our travel documents are important, and must be well protected from water and dirt. Yes, my poor passport had gone through perils of ‘flood’ before when my bag got drenched by rain so I know how horrible that felt. The pouch also comes with a detachable strap so you can sling it with you wherever you go. Besides its functionality, it’s so pretty – How to resist?!

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This is a 2-in-1 cosmetic bag that separates into two detachable pouches, with grey nylon twill lining. I love cosmetic bags that can separate into two because you can put the cosmetic items for touch-up into the smaller pouch and bring it out with you. Very convenient and fuss-free. :)

ETC Linear Stem 2 In 1 Wash/Cosmetic Bag (Primary Multi)

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Now this must be the ideal style for all mothers with young kids! You don’t have to endure lousy or old fashioned maternity bags anymore – They now come in stylish designs just like this one from Orla Kiely ETC range! Check this out – The bag not only comes in its signature durable and water resistant PVC covered cotton material, it also comes with a foldaway baby changing mat! While most shopping malls have good baby changing rooms nowadays, my personal practice was always to place my baby on my own changing mat, just for hygiene purpose. For vanity sake, the changing mat is in the same design too!
ETC Linear Stem Baby Tote & Changing Mat (Marshmallow)

Apart from the ETC series, there are some bags from the Tarpaulin range that I would like to recommend as well:

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These bags are so colourful and vibrant, it’s hard not to like them. They are water resistant and very easy to use – Just throw everything and anything in, and you are good to go!

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And so, my story continued after I finally chose the bag I wanted from the Orla Kiely ETC range. And this is the one I chose – The Easy Zip Tote! I love it for its big size, ease of usage and colorful fabric!

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My friends can testify that ever since I got hold of this bag, I have been bringing it with me everywhere I went. I bring it with me to work, and I bring it with me during the weekends when I am out with the kids. It’s a perfect everyday bag for me! It fits my laptop perfectly, along with all the rest of my stuffs.

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Love the leather details of the bag – It makes it so stylish and timeless.

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See how many things I managed to fit into my Orla Kiely bag – 1 laptop, 1 planner, 1 pencil case, 1 camera, 1 wires pouch, 1 makeup pouch, 1 key pouch, 1 mobile phone and 1 wallet.

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Best of all, it stays in shape and continues to look sleek by my chair in the office. =D

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It’s hard not to love my Orla Kiely bag. It’s durable, easy to clean, lightweight, water resistant, stylish and very convenient to use. The straps rest easily on my shoulders and matches almost all my daily outfits. I love it very well!

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Now, I don’t have to worry about water leaks or spills from the kids’ water bottles! Even if they spill anything on my bag while eating or drinking, the bag can be cleaned easily with just a wipe! I say, this is every mom’s dream bag.

GIVEAWAY!

Now, would you like to own one of Orla Kiely’s bags from her ETC range? The folks from Doorstep Luxury has kindly sponsored a  Baby Tote (Worth S$245) for one reader of The J Babies!

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Outer: 100% Cotton with PVC coating
Inner: 100% Nylon
Trims: 100% leather
6 elasticated compartments for bottles, 1 zip pocket, 2 notch pockets and detachable elastic key chain
Dimensions: 40cm (W) x 32cm (H) x 13cm (D)
Dimensions (baby mat): 60cm (W) x 40cm (H)
Handle drop: 17cm
Strap length: 60cm
Weight: 890g

To participate in this giveaway, please ensure the following criteria are fulfilled:

1. You must be a fan of The J Babies facebook page. If you are not one yet, you may like the page here.
2. You must like Doorstep Luxury Facebook page. If you have not, you may like them here.
3. Like and share this blog post on your Facebook wall with the caption, “I Love Orla Kiely!” and tag me at Klessis Lee or The J Babies, so that I know that you have participated.

Closing date of giveaway: 25 July 2014, 6pm.

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