Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas celebration 2010

(Above) The traditional Christmas tree surrounded by lots of presents

Another Christmas has come and gone. Time really flies and we have spent three Christmases as a wedded couple already. For this year, we celebrated at brother's new place somewhere in the East. Lunch was really substantial with baby turkey drumsticks ( nothing baby about those ), far better than turkey meat which is tougher. We also had bacon, salad and pasta plus cakes and macarons from Obolo.

(Above) Nice balcony area of brother's apartment

(Above) Shayna very happy to be dolled up and out at a new place.

(Above) Sinful Bacon

(Above) Italian Pasta

(Above) Healthy Salad

(Above) 'Baby' Turkey drumstick. Lots of meat!

(Above)Posing with all our presents

(Above)Seated at the balcony together after a full Christmas lunch

(Above)Shayna happy with her own Christmas presents - A donut squeaky toy and a Mr Bean teddy bear.

(Above) Back home in her room enjoying her presents!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

KitchenAid heavy Duty Mixer 5KPM50

For her baking needs, Gayle bought the The KitchenAid 4.83 litres Heavy Duty Mixer
5KPM50 over the weekend. We went to a few places like Mayer and found that the best retail pricing was $959 at ToTT (896 Dunearn Rd) as compared to Mayer retailing at $1116 after discount.With its all-metal construction, this mixer from KitchenAid raises the bar for superior performance in a stand mixer. We chose this model due to the sturdy construction of the mixer and it's ability for prolonged mixing periods.

This mixer offers 325 watts of mixing power, along with KitchenAid's trademark planetary mixing action, which rotates the beater around a stationary bowl.The 5KPM50is also one of KitchenAid's bowl-lift mixers, which utilizes a special two-position lever that raises the bowl up on two support arms. The benefit of the support arms is extra stability, which is particularly useful when making heavy batters and bread doughs. A secondary benefit is convenience, since the mixer head doesn't have to be tilted up to access the ingredients in the bowl. With overall dimensions of 41cm (height) by 33.8cm(depth) by 26cm(width), this mixer is rather large in comparison with others in its class. Its weight (roughly 11.4KG) also makes it prohibitive to move, especially for anyone who has difficulty lifting heavy objects.However, the weight gives added stability during the mixing process.

The KitchenAid 5KPM50 mixer comes with two large 5-quart stainless-steel mixing bowls, a flat beater (for mixing cake batters, blending cookie dough, beating frostings and other basic mixing tasks), a heavy-duty dough hook designed specifically for mixing and kneading bread dough and an oversize wire whisk for whipping cream or egg whites.

The mixer is controlled by a speed lever located on the mixing head. There are 10 speeds in all, the slowest of which is well suited to start-up mixing. While the mixer is operating, it emits a steady hum that gets progressively louder, like the revving of an engine, at higher speeds.

We are pleased with the smooth, effortless mixing. Again, the weight of the mixer head, combined with its powerful motor results in exceptional stability so there is virtually no rocking or movement of any kind. The attachments twist and lock in place for secure mixing. Insertion and removal is easily accomplished by grasping the attachment and pressing upward, then turning to the right (attach) or left (remove).

There are other optional accessories that include a food grinder, pasta maker, slicer/shredder, citrus juicer, fruit/vegetable strainer, sausage stuffer, can opener, grain mill and more. The cons is that this machine is really heavy so shifting it around is not a good idea unless you want to break your back. Also we read in some reviews that the little black knob on the speed selector lever is fragile and can split and brake off if not handled or operated with care. All in all, we are pleased with this mixer purchase.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Philips Energy Saving Bulb

Previously lightings that use energy saving bulbs did not allow for a dimming feature. So we were pleased to find that Philips had launched a Easyscene energy saver starter kit that features two 20W energy saving bulb that is paired with a remote control(Below).

The remote control allows for convenient control of lighting for up to 4 main lighting points that are fitted with ES E27 bulbs(Below).

Perhaps the most important feature to us is that now we are able to dim our lights that use energy saving bulbs depending on our requirements. It was an easy process pairing the bulbs with the remote using the easy to follow instruction manual. For the remote to be activated and in control of your intended lighting point, you will need to turn on the light switch for that point so that the light is on standby mode. This consumes about 0.1W. You cna then use the remote to turn on and off the light or dim the light as long as line of sight is maintained. If you are particular, then you can turn off the standby mode fo your lighting when you don't need it.The starter set comprising of two bulbs(each can last 8000hrs or approx 4 yrs of normal lighting needs) and a remote control costs $109 and sold at all departmental and DIY stores.

(Above) Dimmed lighting

(ABove) Bright lighting

Monday, December 13, 2010

Installation of Golf- R LED tailights

To give our Golf a Sportier look and keep it up to date with the current trend on automotive LED lighting, we went to Volkswagen Centre to upgrade our tailights to the OEM Golf-R version from the current halogen ones(above). The lighting software upgrade included has also resulted in our headlamps doubling the brightness since two lamps light up instead of the usual one.Installation time was really long, from 8am to 7pm as the service executive informed us of the extended wiring and software tasks in enabling the car's software to accomodate the lighting requirements of the new LED lighting.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reno ad hoc project - Addition of Built in oven and cabinet in kitchen

We decided to built an extension of our current kitchen cabinet(above) to accomodate a built-in oven , storage space and a book shelf. We had held back on this during our initial renovation last time in order to rein in removation costs and not go beyond our budget. At that time, an oven was not on the critical equipment list for the house. Now with Gayle intending to learn and do more baking, we decided to go ahead with this planned extension.

(Above and below)Original IKEA Lack book shelf costing $28 which we installed 3 years ago during our initial renovation in the kitchen to provide shelving space without busting our renovation budget.

(Above)The cabinets finally arrive for installation. Setting down the base supporting frame.

(Above)Contractor checking if cabinet top is level

(Above)Main cabinets in place.

(Above) Installation of glass doors for the book shelf.

(Above)Fitting in of oven.

(Above)Use of the computer table type wiring turntable.

Our ID- Jacky suggested a unique way of running the 15AMP plug for the oven through a attached wiring turntable(above) usually found in computer tables. This provides a neat and aesthtically looking wiring outlet.

(Above) Gayle's collction of baking books displayed in the book shelving.

(Above) Closeup of the Bosch built in oven -model HBA23B550J.

(Above) Oven controls. Pop out controls featured.

The Bosch built in oven model is for installation in HDB flats where the electrical requirements meet HDB regulations. Do check whether the model you are planning to purchase is compatiable with HDB regulations if you are staying in a HDB apartment. Bought it at $1280 inclusive of GST and eco cleaning panel(HEZ329020) for oven self-cleaning from Mega Discount at Kallang. We like the sleek modern look, energy saving baking and self cleaning function. We tried the doors of other oven but none can match the solidity and smooth operation of the Bosch plus the reflective inner glass helps keep heat in and reduce heat conduction levels on the outside of the door for safety and efficiency.Gayle like the ergonomic pop out control which helps maintain a clean line on the face of the oven so that cleaning is easy and aesthically better.

(Above) Installation of the Eco- Self cleaning panel by Bosch staff.

(Above)Cabinet almost completed, waiting for solid top to arrive.

(Above) Installation of the solid top for the cabinet top

(Above)Black Solid top for our cabinet extension which matches the top in use for current cabinet.

(Above) Additional storage spacing in the kitchen - Top storage space and bottom storage space(Below)

With the cabinets completed, the kitchen has a new look and reminds us how lucky we are to have such a big kitchen to accomodate a long cabinet with space for extension and a wash area. The red glossy cabinets help brighten up the kitchen. Thanks to Jacky who in his usual friendly and easy-going manner helped us along in our design requirements and installation process. He also helped us to patch the holes in the ceiling after the electrician installed new lightings. Those interested in a similar project can contact our ID- Jacky from Ideal Design at 81460584.

(Above)Completed Cabinet at last!

Celebrating Eugin's birthday at Long Beach Seafood

Dad and Mom brought the family out to celebrate Eugin's birthday too so this was our second rich meal in a row. We are putting on weight! We had two chilli crabs(above and below) with plenty of roe, meat and mantou ( fried buns) to go around, deep fried baby squid, claypot kai lan vegetable with mushrooms and steam fish patin fish with lots of garlic and ginger. Awesome dinner and really busting the waistline again.

(Above) Mixed vegetable with assorted mushrooms cooked in claypot.

(Above) Steamed patin fish - soft, fresh and the garlic and ginger give it a kick!

(Above) Lala cooked in broth. The broth was really addictive!