10/05/2010

Review of Alex dustless coloured chalk

I bought this set of dustless coloured chalk together with the window markers, dry-erase travel pack and pip squeak markers.

I haven't seen much of chalk at all since schools started using whiteboards so I think of chalk these days as a novelty item. :P

And anyway, this is the first time Alicia's encountered chalk! She wasn't that taken by chalk though but she was still quite happy to doodle with them.



There are a total of 12 colours, mainly pastel shades and this box of chalk goes for $3.50. Well, this is the first time I've seen chalk in so many colours! :P That aside, it really is quite dustless, unlike those we used to use while we were in primary school.

Chalk in general is rather brittle but I was still quite disappointed to find a couple of sticks already broken when I opened the box. :(

I just realised that Crayola has a series of really thick chalk but with limited colours (only 4 or 5 in a pack, my memory fails me...). On hindsight, perhaps I should have gotten those. At least they don't fall apart so easily!

 I decided to let her doodle on black paper - that's something new to her and chalk stands out really well on black!

 Trying to trace her footprint

Doodle... doodle...

Pretend play - bathing a baby

Alicia was busy playing with a small bath set while waiting for her daddy to scout around for the kitchen set at Toys R Us but since we were already buying her a big toy, we decided that we'd not indulge her in another toy which has plenty of accessories to be bought separately.

However, after the shopping at Toys R Us, I spotted this really small bath set at Giant (costs only $4.90!) while doing grocery shopping and since it meets all the basic requirements of pretend play (Alicia as care-giver to the baby), it made it into the shopping trolley. :)


Nowadays, she bathes not only this baby in the tub but her snowbears as well.


 It's shower time!

 Soap the baby!






Pretend play - kitchen set

Since Alicia's very into pretend play these days and she's always pretending to cook, we decided to get her a kitchen set. She already has a mini-kitchen set but we feel that she'd appreciate a toddler-sized one now - since she has shown great interest in my niece's kitchen set every time she goes over to my mum's place.

I'd say there couldn't have been a better time to want to buy a kitchen set because it so happened that Toys R Us was having a major discount on the kitchen set that we wanted! The usual price is $139.90 but we only paid $79.90! :P

It's the plasticky type of kitchen playset, not the sturdy type. But apart from that, I'd say this set is really adequate and fulfils all the little one's needs for (kitchen) pretend play. The stove has lights and 'cooking sounds' when the knobs are turned on and the set comes with accessories like cups, plates, pots, cutlery... and together with all the rest of the 'food' and pots from other masak sets, we've enough to throw a tea party. :D Plus there are various ways to assemble this kitchen set so there're plenty of opportunities to change the arrangement of the cupboard, stove and shelves should she get bored! (And she has since re-assembled it a couple of times already)

Here's Alicia with her kitchen set (and some of her masak masak):


Standing proud by her new kitchen set

Fiddling with the tap


 Turning on the stove

 The busy cook






 Hello there! Do you like my kitchen? :P

 Turning on the 'tap'

 Washing up...

Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶)

I remember hubby and I braving heavy rain to eat bak kut teh at havelock road when I was heavily pregnant because I had cravings. lol. 

Well, I always feel that it's best to eat bak kut teh on a rainy day - it always enriches the whole experience of eating it (sheer bliss!) and it certainly can be said to be one of the perfect comfort foods on those occasions.

Unfortunately, when I cooked bak kut teh that day, it was sweltering hot despite the many prayers for rain that day. Lol.

This is the bak kut teh spice that I love!

There are two major types of bak kut teh - the light-coloured peppery one and the dark brown sweet version. From a television programme I watched when I was pregnant (something about searching the source of particular dishes), I discovered that the peppery one which I'm so in love with is the Teochew version and the sweet one is Hokkien.

I always knew I'm Teochew through and through, :P

Bak Kut Teh (肉骨茶)



Ingredients:
  • 600-800g pork ribs (排骨) - actually 600g is enough for 2 people but I was afraid it won't be enough so I cooked 800g that day
  • 1.5L water
  • 10 cloves garlic (with their skins) - rinse
  • 3 thin slices of dang gui, rinse
  • a few drips of dark soy sauce
  • 1 packet bak kut teh spice (as seen above)

Method:
  1. Blanch pork ribs.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a pot and bring the water to a boil.
  3. Simmer for almost an hour or less, depending on your preference (the longer you cook, the more peppery it becomes).
  4. Serve (with cut chilli padi and dark soy sauce - optional).

Sesame oil ginger chicken (姜丝麻油鸡)


I've never been a fan of ginger and indeed the confinement period after i had Alicia was the time in my life that ginger well, made its presence felt.

Many moons after that, I developed a liking for fried julienned ginger.

Strange, but true.

I never thought that I'd cook ginger chicken in my life, but I did. And it's my latest craze.  :P

Together with a generous amount of sesame oil, this dish just blows me away!


Sesame oil ginger chicken (姜丝麻油鸡)


*measurements are estimates*


Ingredients:

  • 3 chopped chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 2 tablespoon heaps of julienned ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cloves shallot, sliced
  • a generous amount of sesame oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons hua diao jiu
  • 1/2 bowl water
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce



Marinate chicken with:

  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee chicken marinade
  • a couple of dashes of ground white pepper
  • a few dashes of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon hua diao jiu



Method:

  1. Heat sesame oil in wok. Fry the garlic, shallot and ginger till they turn slightly brownish.
  2. Add in the chicken and brown the sides.
  3. Add in the water, hua diao jiu and dark soy sauce.
  4. Bring the gravy to a boil then turn the heat down to low and simmer for about 25min, stirring occasionally for even cooking - the gravy will have thickened by then. (you can choose to transfer the chicken to a small claypot and continue the simmering there. If you do so, add the hua diao jiu when the claypot's covered (just let it seep in through the sides.)
  5. Dish and serve.



*Add in more sesame oil in the process of cooking if necessary. The eventual taste of the gravy should be that of sesame oil and a hint of ginger.













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