Category Archives: Singapore heartland

Rediscover what makes Chinese New Year special with Google

Chinese New Year is a busy time of the year for Singapore.

A look at the top related searches on Google shows just how busy: Singaporeans are planning celebrations with traditional treats like “Pineapple tart”, “Yusheng” and activities like “Chingay 2014”.

Most Searched Chinese New Year Related Searches in Singapore
1.    Chingay 20142.    Pineapple tart recipe3.    Abalone

4.    Horse

5.    Feng Shui 2014

6.    Chinese New Year

7.    Chinatown Singapore

8.    Lunar calendar 2014

9.    Yusheng recipe

10.  Egg tart recipe

 How many of these search terms did you contribute?

In between cooking for the big family reunion, visiting relatives, and stuffing lucky red packets, preparing for Chinese New Year can feel overwhelming. Google has launched an interesting microsite with lots of tips and tricks to help with the preparations at Google.com/ChineseNewYear.

Here are some tips for how you can use Google as you ring in the year of the horse:

●        Reunion meal prep: Google Search is the first place many turn to for recipe ideas. But let’s say you don’t like certain ingredients, like chives in your dumplings—you can type in [dumplings recipe -chives], and you can take those out of your results. After you’ve picked a recipe you like, you can keep track of all the ingredients you need to buy with Google Keep, which is a bit like sticky notes for your phone. Not sure how to fold dumplings? Search for videos by expert chefs on YouTube to brush up on your cooking technique. You can also share your recipes with friends and family on Google Docs.

●        Visiting relatives: Visiting three relatives in one day might seem daunting, but it’s not a problem if you have Google Now set up on your Android or iPhone. Google Now will automatically remind you of when you need to leave so you can beat the traffic and get the best routes, either by driving or by public transportation. If you’re driving, Google Maps will give you turn-by-turn directions spoken out loud so you can focus on the road ahead.

●        Send greetings abroad: Greet your friends and family face to face, even if you can’t be in the same room. Google Hangouts allows you to have video conversations with up to ten people at the same time, so you can chat to your cousin from Australia and your aunt in Canada all at once.

●        Remember those magic moments: Back up the photos you take on your phone using Google+ Auto Backup so you won’t ever lose those photos again.

Happy Horse Year everyone! I am looking forward to better luck, better fortune and more rewarding experiences in the year ahead. 🙂

30 Minute Cookin’ with Celebrity Chef Eric Teo and Panasonic

A few weeks back, I was invited by Panasonic Singapore to do a sharing session on food photography and blogging at celebrity Chef Eric Teo’s Studio in Henderson.

Group photo
Group photo
A glimpse of Chef Eric Teo's work station
A glimpse of Chef Eric Teo’s work station
Media coverages on Chef Teo adorned the wall of his studio
Media coverages on Chef Teo adorned the wall of his studio
Some of Chef Teo's various award wins and trophies
Some of Chef Teo’s various award wins and trophies
Chef Teo's super bling bling robe
Chef Teo’s super bling bling robe

If you are interested to find out more on my presentation, the deck is available here (Food Photography and Blogging Basics from Alvin Lim):

Other than me sharing on photography tips using the awesome Panasonic Lumix GX7, the highlight of the day was the cooking demonstration by Chef Teo:

Chef Teo at work
Chef Teo at work
Chef Teo frying the mushrooms
Chef Teo frying the mushrooms
Chef Teo plating
Chef Teo plating
Chef Eric Teo's mixed mushroom fried with beer batter
Chef Eric Teo’s mixed mushroom fried with beer batter
Take pictures!
Take pictures!
Black tofu from black soya beans
Black tofu from black soya beans
Pouring the blended black tofu into little cups
Pouring the blended black tofu into little cups
Cooking prawns
Cooking prawns
Chef Teo working on scallops
Chef Teo working on scallops
It's just stir-fried seafood and red pepper, but Chef Teo cooked them so beautifully everyone present could not wait to taste them
It’s just stir-fried seafood and red pepper, but Chef Teo cooked them so beautifully everyone present could not wait to taste them
Adding the seafood into the tofu cups
Adding the seafood into the tofu cups
Chef Eric Teo's black tofu with seafood
Chef Eric Teo’s black tofu with seafood – my favourite dish for the day 
Moving on to the last dish - sambal fried rice
Moving on to the last dish – sambal fried rice
Chef Teo joked that experts only add the eggs right at the end
Chef Teo joked that experts only add the eggs right at the end
Close-up on the beautiful rice grains
Close-up on the beautiful rice grains
Plating the fried rice
Plating the fried rice
Chef Eric Teo's sambal fried rice
Chef Eric Teo’s sambal fried rice

You can view all the photos I took at the event with the Panasonic Lumix GX7 in this public facebook album.

The event was organised by local production company, Rolleyes. Teaming up with six renowned local chefs, Rolleyes seeks to make gourmet home cooking a reality for their viewers through their new 30 Minute Cookin’ series:

In each episode, viewers are shown how to achieve two to three-course meals within 30 minutes. Chef Teo’s demonstration is as part of this programme.

Visit 30 Minute Cookin' for more details
Visit 30 Minute Cookin’ for more details

You can watch Chef Teo’s cooking demonstrations as well as more from other  renowned chefs via the official website for 30 Minute Cookin’. 🙂

Usher in the year of the Horse with BBC’s exciting line-up of programmes and festive favourites!

This Chinese New Year holiday, BBC will be featuring a series of special holiday programmes, all day, from 31st January till 2nd February 2014, on the following BBC channels – BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Entertainment, and CBeebies (available on Starhub channels in Singapore).

I have 5 sets of BBC CBeebies Chinese New Year red packets to giveaway! To win them, simply LIKE my facebook page or FOLLOW me on Twitter and PM me with your name, contact number, email and mailing address to send the red packets to. The first five persons to do so before 9am tomorrow (25 Jan) will be the winners. 

More on the BBC programmes: 

Go back to where Chinese New Year started with BBC Knowledge (Starhub Channel 407) by taking an in-depth look into Beijing: Biography of an Imperial Capital. Also, take a peek into the driving forces of one the world’s largest economies with China on 4 Wheels and Gok Wan: Made in China.

Learn tips and tricks to preparing easy and delicious Chinese cuisine with fashion stylist Gok Wan in Gok Cooks Chinese on BBC Lifestyle (Starhub Channel 432). Craving for something different? Follow Rachel Khoo into her home kitchen in Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo, where she teaches you how to whip up simple and rich French cuisine.

Lose yourself in the magical world of Arabia on BBC Entertainment (Starhub Channel 521), with the Sinbad (series 1) marathon.

Get your little ones in the mood for arts and crafts with a Mister Maker (series 3) marathon and the first episode of the new series of Mister Maker Around the World on CBeebies (Starhub Channel 303). Join Sarah & Duck as the little girl and her duck friend go on their adventures and try to solve problems that they encounter along the way. Ever wondered how the rest of the world celebrated Chinese New Year? Let’s Celebrate shows you how.

[25 Jan 2014, UPDATE]

The five winners are:

  • Koh Hui Chen
  • Keith Tan
  • Lim Xinyi
  • Adlena Wong
  • Val Lim

Congratulations and happy new year! 

New Haircut and Hair Colour for 2014

To usher in 2014, I got a new haircut at my regular salon, Naoki Yoshihara by Ash and coloured my hair to a lighter tint of brown:

I blogged about this japanese salon at Liang Court previouslyYou can visit their official facebook page to find out more about them. 

I will be turning 34 this year in October… I need to feel young again. The hair colour seems to help. Friends whom I had not seen for a while all commented that I look younger, fresher or trendier.

This feels good, even though my waistline is expanding, my hair is thinning and I feel less capable of taking on and conquering the world with each passing year.

With Chinese New Year round the corner, might be a good time to change your hairstyle or try something different to surprise your relatives and loved ones when house visiting? 🙂

If you are thinking of popping by Naoki Yoshihara by Ash, please note the following festive period changes:

18th Jan 2014 – 28th Jan 2014: there will be a 30% increase on the total bill.
29th Jan 2014 and 30th Jan 2014: there will be a 50% increase on the total bill.

During the Chinese New  Year period, operation hours are:

30th Jan 2014: 10.30am to 3.00pm
31st Jan 2014 to 6th Feb 2014: Closed
Normal operation hours will resume from 7th Feb.
10.30am to 8.30pm (Closed on every Tues)