Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Blissndreams Family Portrait

We just took a nice picture of us and Shayna, making up the Blissndreams family during our weekend routine of curling up in bed together to watch tv. Shayna looks very cute as if she is posing. Another picture of Shayna. She looks as cute as a cuddly toy dog!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

French fare at Bistro Petit Salut

(Above) Gayle having a slice of french loaf. The interior of Bistro Petit Salut can be seen in the background. Very cozy and intimate surroundings.

Recently, we went with mom to Bistro Petit Salut at Jalan Merah Saga, in the Chip Bee Gardens area, near Holland Village to try some French food. We went there early at 11.30am which is when they open for lunch to avoid the lunch crowd and the usual carparking problems. The food presentation was good with the exceptional french flair and more importantly, the food was tasty and the menu value for money at $25++ per person. We took the set menu as it was our first time there. The set menu offers a wide range of various choices for appetizers, mains and desserts to choose from.
(Above) The slab of butter is really creamy and fragrant, goes well with the in house warm and fresh french loaf.
For appetizers, Mom and I had 1/2 dozen baked escargots with tomatoes and garlic butter(above) while Gayle had warm goat cheese on pastry with roasted vegetables and baby spinach (below).
The main course that we chose were different so that we could sample the different mains. I had seared onglet beef “Café de Paris” with original French fries. Gayle had gratin of potato and light brown jus Braised pork spareribs in white wine served with melted cabbage, bacon and baby potatoes (below).
My mom had the Catch of the day, with spinach purée , parsley potato and Niçoise vinaigrette (below).
The wonderful meal was wrapped up with tantalizing desserts. Gayle had the “Floating Island” Poached meringue and Crème Anglaise topped with almonds and caramel (above) .
I had the Choux buns with vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce and sliced almond seen above. Mom had the Chantilly cream poached pear “Belle Helene” with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce (below).
There was also complimentary regular coffee or tea to go with the meal. Just couldn't resist taking a photo of the sugar cubes for the tea arranged so neatly (below).
In all, it was a nice introduction to simple french fare at a very affordable price and the food was really good. We went to go to Bistro Petit Salut's sister restaurant, the more upmarket Au Petit Salut restaurant, recommended by Business Times, to try their Pan-seared duck foie gras. You can visit Bistro Petit Salut's website at to view their menus and retail information.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kitchen Renovation Enquiry

One of our blog visitors - Lisa requested for pictures of our kitchen, these are some photos of our kitchen for your viewing pleasure plus some things that came to our mind as we reminiscence about our kitchening experience. For the kitchen, some things you may wish to consider :
Undermount the kitchen sink into the cabinet, an inch or two below the countertop level so that water doesn't spill and flow onto the countertop as it would if the sink was at the same level as the countertop. You can see above that our sink's leading edge is sunken into the countertop.

Have a black fibreglass or plastic sink as stainless steel will end up with scratches plus not so nice looking or white ones will turn yellow. This is the same with counter tops. Dark coloured ones are the best for long term as they hide the discolourations and water patches that come with wear and use and the usual humidity and grease associated with kitchens even if you do not cook excessively due to our humid weather.
Pictured above, you can see that we added a black IKEA LACK bookshelf to add to the countertop space for our kitchen and painted the wall black to allow the shelf to blend in with cabinet. The extra space can be used for extra tabletop space or as a breakfast counter and best of all, it can be done cheap.
Recessed leading edges seen above provide a modern recessed handle for the cabinet doors.
Always built the additional storage space required even if you may not need it now. Also, consider covering up any open shelves as these gather dust. This is something we found out when we had a open shelving design in our kitchen cabinet to house Gayle's growing collection of cook books(above).
Built in downlights(above and below) into the cabinet so that your counter top is lighted.

(Above) Design drawers that are deep enough to provide adequate space for stacking of bowls, pans, crockery or to provide space for double shelving as seen in the picture above with a soft closing cutlery drawer unit sourced from Blum (Below).
(Above) Our main kitchen light - a sphere globe enclosed in wired mesh provides a conversation piece and some funkiness to the kitchen.
(Above) A glass designed halogen bulb spotlight to add some class and a focused source of lighting over the kitchen sink for washing dishes. Affordable and stylish lighting at $38 from Lightcraft.

Also, decide on the necessary lighting points in your kitchen. In addition to the main kitchen light for general lighting purpose, you may want to consider dedicated lights such as a light over your sink area, cooking area, cutting area. Flouroscent lights are cheap and bright but dont do too much for aesthetics. The nice lamps featuring halogen bulbs are nice but expensive, warm and not so energy saving. It is all a matter of choice. Also ensure that in your wash area, your light will not come in the way or be blocked by your clothes hanger.
Consider the space that you need for your wash area. Have your washing machine in mind so that you can design adequate space for it , especially the opening clearance of the lid. If you plan to stack your dryer on top of your washer, ensure that there is enough height clearance. We were lucky to have a big kitchen that has enabled us to have a big wash area.
As seen above, we built a partial glossy laminated partition to demarcate the area between the kitchen and wash area and which also serves to shield the laundry from visitors to the house.
Fridge base. Ensure that if you have a two door fridge, that there is sufficient clearance to swing the fridge doors open(below) and also that it does not hit anyone entering the kitchen entrance if your fridge base is like ours, near to the kitchen entrance.
We added a glass side console table to provide additional functional countertop space for our toaster and kettle.
For the flooring, ensure that it is non-slip as the kitchen is often a place which gets wet and greasy easily with Chinese cooking and you don't want to slip up and have a nasty fall. Function over form for flooring. We used the same non-slip bathroom tiles used in our washrooms for our kitchen.
(Above) Consider the countertop space you require for your various needs - placement of electrical appliances, drying rack area, odds n ends, containers, cutting area, cooking area etc . This will determine how long your kitchen cabinet should run. Planning is essential to ensure adequate space, efficient cost planning and taking into account present and future needs so that additional costly alternations in the future can be avoided.
If you plan to use microwave ovens(above), do ensure that there is adequate ventilation space around the oven to ensure the hot air is dissipated.

Oh yes, have additional electrical sockets catering for additional needs in the future and decide on placement of switches and sockets. Consider the placement of your electrical appliances, both present and future in deciding your switches. As seen below, we built the sockets into the kitchen cabinet to add a stylish touch. Switches, sockets and cooker switch sourced from Legrand.
(Below)Adequate open space for cooling and drawing of air for the cooker hood. Do measure your height to determine the depth and height for your hob installation so that you don't end up banging your head into the hob when cooking.
We bought a glass based cooking hob from Rinnai(below) as it looks classy and the inner flame technology gets food heated very quickly, saving on gas and time.
(Above) Inner flame burner - ensures equal distribution of heat to ensure well cooked meals
Last but not least, get some conversation pieces for your kitchen to make it stand out and add a funky touch to it. For example, our avant garde kettle(below) that we use as a water jug.
(Above) Floral mural from IKEA to brighten up the white kitchen wall

(Above) Book stand for Gayle's cook books from Black+Blum sourced from Molecule.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sharing our Favourite Korean romance comedy - The Accidental Couple aka 6 months

Recently, Gayle and myself have been hooked to a korean romantic comedy drama serial showing on the cable channel - KBS World titled 'The Accidental Couple' . This light hearted romance comedy is about how an ordinary postal worker with a heart of gold- Goo Dong Baek who by a twist of fate meets his idol - a famous beautiful korean actress - Han Ji Soo and helps her in a cover-up of her secret romance with the son of a prominent and ambitious politician. Dong Baek agrees to enter a contract marriage of 6 months with Han Ji Soo to divert suspicions cast by an investigative political journalist about her secret relationship with Kim Kang Mo (above, played by Joo Sang Wook), the son of a politician - Kim Jung Wook who is dead set on getting his son to marry the daughter of a media tycoon instead.
The charm of the story is the evolving chemistry between Goo Dong Baek and Han Ji Soo and how he helps her realise the meaning of true love and who she has really been waiting for. There are many heartwarming and cute scences in this drama.

Top rate acting by established stage and movie actor - Hwang Jung Min (above)who acts as the simple everydayman - Dong Baek is the main heartbeat that drives the authenticity of the story which tugs at your heart. He manages to play Dong Baek as a simple yet witty guy with his own set of insecurities and wisdom. Other lesser actors would have turned the character of Dong Baek into another Forrest Gump like character.
Kim Ah Joong(above) of the movie 200 pounds beauty fame plays the famous actress - Han Ji Soo who is really cute and adorable and who despite having all her fame and success is clueless about the real meaning of love and through her interaction with Dong Baek realises that she has finally found the man of her dreams in Dong Baek. This is a story of hope and true love where the everyday man meets the princess of his dreams and saves her from a selfish lover.

Above - teenage hearthrob - Baek Sung Hyun as Han Sang Chul, Han Joo Shi's brother who plays the persistent cupid who cajoles the simple Dong Baek into his many scheme to get his sister to fall in love with Dong Baek and turn the contract marriage into a real one.

The strong comedic talents of Yong Joo San ( as Director Yoon - DongBaek's boss ) , Kim Kwang Gyu ( as DongBaek's team manager Go) and Lee Chung Ah( as Goo Ming Ji [above] - Dong Baek's sister) provide many laughs and adds a certain cheer to the series. this drama appeals to all those sentimentalists and romantics at heart and heals your faith in love.
(Above) Hwang Jung Min who plays Goo Dong Baek and Kim Ah Joo who plays Han Ji Soo

The show's beautiful and touching songtracks blend with the different scenes and provide that emotional bond with the feelings of the main characters. We especially like the main song - Geubaboh by Lena Park and the cute rendition of Judy Garland's Over the Rainbow by Hwang Jung Min.
The real marriage of Han Ji Soo and Goo Dong Baek

For those who have no cable or are impatient to wait for the weekly screening of the romance comedy( Every week Wednesday and Thursday, 9pm - 10.10pm on Ch 173 - KBS World ) , you can watch all the 16 episodes back to back on the internet on the following site :
Go watch it. You will definitely be hooked! like we were.