Travel: 新記餐廳 Sun Kee Cheese Noodle, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

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After checking in at Just Inn, I took a quick shower and walked across the road to Champagne Court for some cheese noodles. This was the start of my Cha Chan Teng (Hong Kong tea restaurant) hop. Sun Kee is famous for its pork cheek cheese noodles and it is hard to understand why. Yes, you read me correctly. The noodles are raved by locals and tourists because of its unique cheese sauce, but I don’t really get it.
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02. September 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: Breakfast, Food Reviews, Noodles, Pork, Travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel: Just Inn, Hong Kong

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I tendered my resignation a month ago to finally write for a living. Some of you might know that I was journalism-trained, and more than ten years on, it still escapes me why I did not go into writing right after graduating. Now, it just feels like I’ve been given a second chance. A career change at 33? If not now, when?

I decided to go on a solo trip to reconnect with myself and space out. Where was I headed? Without a doubt, Hong Kong, a city that means many things to me. Of course, travelling means different things to different people, but to me, if you simply go to Hong Kong to 買東西,吃東西,那你沒有尊重到這個地方。

I had the best trip of my life and I am thankful to the husband for letting me. Many years ago when I first got my first pay check, I bought a ticket to Hong Kong to fulfil a dream which I shall not dwell on. I stayed in many cramped hostels in not-so-savoury districts and buildings for SG$30-$50 a night. All the hostels I stayed in, for example, Dragon Hostel and Ah Shan Hostel in Mongkok, were clean, no frills, and extremely tiny. But all that was ok. I needed to be in that city, never mind that my Cantonese sucked (and still do).

When I started earning more money and travelling with friends, I stayed in hotels like Eaton, Kimberly, and Metropark, which many of you might be familiar with. But while hotel stays were more spacious, something was lacking.. I just couldn’t put a finger to it. Then I kind of realised that the hostel experience reminded me of a long time ago when I was young, when I had to scrimp to travel, when I was happy with just a bed and clean sheets, when I was.. contented.

I knew I had to stay in a hostel this time. I decided on Just Inn, a contemporary, cosy, “art gallery” hostel in Tsim Sha Tsui. This is what the apartment looks like. There are a few rooms here and there’s a common area where you could read a book, browse travel material, watch TV, or sit and chat with other travellers.

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Just Inn provides a fridge, microwave oven, Diamond water dispenser with hot and cold water and a coffee machine in its common pantry. Does it have WIFI? Hell yes, I wouldn’t go anywhere without WIFI.

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Artworks curated by Just Inn’s hosts, and artists and designers of the city are displayed and updated frequently in this little “art hub”.

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“The writing on the wall”.

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I got Plato.

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Before you get all excited to book that room, know that it is tiny. If you’re claustrophobic, look elsewhere. Now. Or if you’re someone who needs a huge-ass bathroom or you get depression, staying in a Hong Kong hostel is probably not your best choice.

Here we go. This is where you hang clothes.

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Where you sleep.

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Where you shower.

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Where you walk (plus a few more squares but really, they don’t make a big difference).

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And that’s that. The room comes equipped with a hairdryer, power adaptor, an extension cord to charge whatever you want, nifty shelves for the remote controls and a bedside ledge (not pictured) for your shopping, luggage, and other stuff. The towels were changed and bed made daily. I paid about $78 a night after a credit card discount.

The location is at Lock Road, accessible by a straight bus (Cityflyer A21) from the airport. The fare costs HK$33 and the journey takes 30 – 40 minutes. I don’t take the Airport Express because it is expensive, doesn’t save me much time, and is troublesome with the connections and all. Just Inn is 2 minutes away from Tsim Sha Tsui MTR Station and from there, you could walk along Nathan Road to Jordan, Yau Ma Tei and Mongkok, if you love walking as much as I do. Would I stay here again? Goes without saying if I were travelling alone again.

Thank you Just Inn, for making my trip a precious one.

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Just Inn
Website: http://justinn.com.hk/
23, Lock Road, 7 Floor
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

(they have another outlet nearby. check the website for details.)

01. September 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bacon and Peas

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Bacon and Peas. They have a special place in my heart.

Whenever I’m in Florence, I make it a point to go to Trattoria da Rocco in Santa Croce for a quick but homely lunch. This little gem of a trattoria is located inside San Ambrogio Market (Address: Piazza Ghiberti | Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, 50122 Florence, Italy), just a few minutes away from Piazza dei Ciompi flea market (you know I have a thing for thrifting).

Trattoria da Rocca’s Primi Piatti (first courses) are €4.00, Secondi Piatti (seconds) €5.00, Contorni (sides) €3.50 and Frutta e Dolce (desserts) are just €2.50. Travellers to Italy would know you hardly come across these prices anywhere! There was a cover charge of €1.00 per person, very common in Italy. Some places charge €1.50 – €2.00, depending on how touristy or high-end they are. We ordered a lasagna, sausage and beans, and bacon and peas for our lunch that day on a November afternoon. We always gotta have them bacon and peas.

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23. August 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: Breakfast, Canned Food, Pork, Travel, Under $1, Vegetables | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custard Cream Puffs

Aug 21- Custard Cream Puffs Recipe

Ahhhh. Custard Cream Puffs. My childhood memories of custard cream puffs came from Balmoral Bakery, an old-school bakery now located at Sunset Way. Since I was 7 or 8, Balmoral Bakery has been my playground and obsession, for my aunts loved to buy chicken pies, samosas, sausage rolls, buttercream cakes, paper sponge cakes and yes, custard puffs from the 49-year-old establishment.

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21. August 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: Baking, Under $1 | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 comments

Easy Pineapple Fried Rice

Aug 16- Pineapple Fried Rice Dancing Chef

My sister-in-law gave me a Meyer Fujimaru Evolution Chinese wok out of the blue just because she’s awesome like that, and in my favourite shade of green too! What’s the first dish that I should cook in it? Fried rice, I think!

Aug 16- Pineapple Fried Rice

I don’t usually eat rice but these days, I’m on a to-heck-with-the-diet mentality so until I decide to lose weight again (I’m starting Monday), I’m gonna cook alllll the carbo dishes I can think of. My ban-mian recipe is in desperate need of a photo-haul. I have a good mind to cook it again next week, erm, before Monday.

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16. August 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: One-dish Meals, Rice, Under $3 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Egg Story Pasteurised Fresh Shell Eggs: Why Pasteurise?

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+ Sweepstakes to win $300 Supermarket Vouchers!

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I remember watching an episode of MasterChef where Gordon Ramsay tasted one dessert dish and went, “Are there raw eggs in here?” And faster than Ris Low could say “BOOMZ”, the contestant was out of the show.

Did you know that when eating runny or undercooked eggs (ESPECIALLY for people with lower immunity like our children, elderly, pregnant ladies), there is always a risk of Salmonella Enteritidis and bird flu virus infection? Salmonella is a common bacteria found in eggs which can cause severe food poisoning. According to MedicineNet.com, the bacteria can be inside perfectly normal-looking eggs and can cause fever, cramps and diarrhea if the eggs are not fully cooked. In some cases, the diarrhea can be so severe that you may need to be hospitalised.

No wonder Gordon Ramsay didn’t want anything to do with those raw eggs. Being quite health conscious, I have heard of pasteurised eggs which kill Salmonella but didn’t know that they are available in Singapore.

So when we were invited by the team at N&N Agriculture—the folks behind Egg Story, Singapore’s 1st and Only Pasteurised Fresh Eggs—for a farm visit to know more about the pasteurisation process, we jumped at the chance!

Why Pasteurisation?

Pasteurisation kills Salmonella bacteria and bird flu virus which may be present inside and outside the eggs. In the USA, pasteurised eggs are widely accepted and in fact, a 2013 U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code mandates the use of pasteurised eggs when preparing food for individuals with lower immunity (including young children and seniors) in a child/ adult care or hospital setting,

Additionally, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture, in-shell pasteurised eggs may be used safely without cooking. This means that they may be safely consumed raw when served in the forms of eggnog, hollandaise sauce or tiramisu; or when served undercooked, for example, when soft-boiled or poached.

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3-Step Pasteurisation Process

Step 1: Produce good eggs! Egg Story’s chicken are fed a nutritious diet to ensure the eggs are lower in cholesterol, contain Omega 3 & 6 and Vitamin E.
Step 2: Pasteurise! Eggs are submerged in an all-natural water bath which is heated to the exact temperature needed to kill Salmonella and bird flu virus if present. No chemicals are used, no eggs are cooked, and no nutritional benefits are lost in the process.
Step 3: Seal and protect! The eggs are then sealed with a protective food-grade coating to prevent airborne bacteria from re-entering. Every egg is marked with a “P” for assured Pasteurisation quality.

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Safest Choice™ technology

N&N Agriculture owns the exclusive rights to utilise the above multi-patented Safest Choice™ technology developed by National Pasteurized Eggs, Inc. (NPE), USA—the WORLD’S largest producer of pasteurised shell eggs.

In Singapore, the farm’s state-of-the-art’s pasteurisation facility, process and products are inspected and licensed by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Apart from the AVA, N&N Agriculture and its pasteurised shell eggs have also received the support and endorsement from the Health Promotion Board and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore.

The egg whites of Egg Story’s Pasteurised Fresh Eggs look slightly cloudy due to the change in protein structure during the pasteurisation process. The nutritional value and flavour of the eggs are retained throughout. Please tell Mum they’re not spoilt!

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Show you our farm visit! Before entering, everyone had to put on gowns, face masks, hair nets and boots for hygiene reasons:

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(Oh, that’s just the vain husband who was worried that the hair net will destroy his perfectly-styled hair!)

After the eggs are pasterised in the water bath, they are checked for cracks and any “bad eggs” are removed:

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The eggs are then sealed with food-grade protective coating, dried, and then packed:

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Hi from the farm!

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To ensure maximum freshness, the pasteurised eggs (they come in 50g, 55g and 60g) are stored in the chiller and delivered in chiller trucks to a supermarket near you:

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Note: Please look for these eggs at the Chiller section instead of regular eggs sections of these supermarkets.

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Make the better choice for your family! At $3.10 for a tray of 10 pasteurised eggs (50g), the price is comparable to or even lower than regular Omega 3 and 6 enriched eggs. The eggs also have a prolonged shelf life of 60 days from the date of production, when chilled. I’m a convert! Thank you to N&N Agriculture for inviting us to your farm.. we learnt so much during the visit. Oh, and the soft-boiled eggs were delicious!

And now for the SWEEPSTAKES!

egg story contest

From now til 31 August 2014, watch the video below and click here to answer a simple question on their Facebook page. Five winners stand a chance to win S$300 supermarket vouchers each! Good luck!

Egg Story’s official website is at http://www.eggstory.com.sg. For FAQs, visit this link. For store locations, click here.

I’m gonna link you to my Traditional Italian Tiramisu recipe made with Egg Story‘s Pasterurised Fresh Eggs. The only way I will make them! So if Gordon Ramsay asks me, “Are there raw eggs in here?” I can answer, “Yeah, but they’re pasteurised!!” Then he will crown me MasterChef lolololol!!

13. August 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: Advertorial, Egg | Leave a comment

Traditional Italian Tiramisu

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I’m sorry that this post has taken *this* long! I know you guys have been waiting for this recipe. I had a great time making this tiramisu for the first time. The final dessert is so pretty, the vintage plates are pretty, and the photos are pretty! I’m happy!

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The ingredients are pretty basic. I promise, anyone can do this. Did I mention that this is my first tiramisu? I have always been squeamish about making tiramisu because of the use of raw eggs. I know there are versions out there which use whipping cream instead of egg white meringues, and recipes which call for the egg yolks to be warmed in a mixing bowl over boiling water. I don’t exactly care for those because cream is wayy more fattening than egg whites and heating egg yolks over boiling water is too much effort. Using egg whites also results in a lighter and more airy texture.

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12. August 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: Baking, Cake, Under $2 | Tags: , , , , , | 1 comment

Honey Stars Banana Cheesecake with a Caramel Drizzle

Aug 9- Honey Stars Banana Cheesecake

What would YOU do with Honey Stars?

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The Honey Stars addict at work gave me a Honey Stars challenge last Friday and I of course had to take it up. The agreement was that I had to bake or create something with Honey Stars and present my creation Monday morning, and no matter how it looked or tasted, he had to eat everyyyything up (ok I made that last part up. And if it were true, I would have made Stir Fried Honey Stars with Szechuan Peppers or something along that line).

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09. August 2014 by Chrissy@budgetpantry.com
Categories: Baking, Cake | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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