Latest Obsession: Food Flat Lay

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been bitten by the flat lay bug quite recently, thanks to all the beautiful flat lays on my Instagram feed. Heck, I even followed @flatlays on Instagram, which is an account for everything flat lay. It’s impossible not to get hooked!

I love seeing all those fashion flat lays, but I have a particular obsession for food flat lays (probably because I love food) so most of my flat lays are food related. I think it’s a chic way of taking photos of your food, plus it’s super fun. Makes cooking a whole lot more enjoyable because it’s like playing dress up – but with food. Nothing more fun than mixing and matching the food I cook with plates and napkins! Hehe #foodiealert.

Here are some of my food flat lay photos that I shared on my Instagram. I get a lot of ideas and inspirations from my favourite foodie flat lay accounts (@tenthousandthspoon, @thepinkdiary@dreamy_touch and @crazystylelove). Some of them are either photographers or stylists, so that explains their crazy awesome flat lays. Makes me want to take food styling class or something!
 
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This food flat lay thing has also made me go crazy over dinnerware and serveware – something I had never even bothered to think about before. So now plates, bowls, tea sets, mugs, trays, spoons, napkins, tea towels and placemats have been added to my list of shopping obsessions, along with clothes, shoes and bags (God, help my husband). Haha.

In case you’re wondering, I get most of my serveware from Daiso (my ultimate source because everything so cheappp), Aino Living, H&M Home and Ikea. I can spend hourssss in these shops. Oh, the woman I’ve turned into! :P



It’s Pancake Day!

It’s National Pancake Day today. Of course as an avid pancake lover, I can’t think of any other way to celebrate it than by making (and eating) pancakes. In fact, I had pancakes twice today – for brunch and tea time. Good thing my girls love pancakes too. Nothing beats homemade pancakes (and I don’t mean the just-add-water ones).

 

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I usually eat my pancakes with pure maple syrup or Nutella (or both), but today I decided to make something different. Something with a little bit more effort. Something like this yogurt-blueberry sauce.

 

IMG_7536Just look at the gorgeous color!

The sauce is pretty easy to make. Just blend fresh blueberries and natural Greek yogurt in a blender and add a drop of vanilla essence and a little bit of maple syrup to sweeten it. But if you’re too lazy to take out the blender (and wash it) like me, you can just smash the blueberries with the back of a spoon and stir everything. I like that it has bits of blueberries in it. Gave it a little texture to the sauce.

 

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For the pancakes, I use the same basic pancake recipe that I’ve always used. You can refer to my Instagram post here for the recipe (I’m so lazy to type, sorry). The only difference I made is that I added lemon zest (half of a lemon) and vanilla extract in the wet ingredients. The rest is the same.

 

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This pancake is filled with fresh lemon zest and hints of vanilla. And the tartness of the blueberries complemented the sweetness of the maple syrup. Such a great combo!

So here’s to all pancake lovers. Hope you had a flippin’ good pancake day!



Grilled Chicken with Spinach Pesto

I love spinach. I love them raw, I love them steamed, I love them sautéed, I love them in soup, omelettes, sandwiches – I just love ‘em.

I always have spinach in my fridge because that’s the only green veggie that everyone in my family eats, including my kids (I put spinach in their kway teow soup).

(Oh yes, my hubby doesn’t eat that much veggies except for spinach, lettuce and that’s pretty much it -____-).

Anyway, the other day, I ran out of ideas of what to cook for dinner so I googled “spinach chicken” and found this amazing grilled chicken with spinach pesto recipe by Giada de Laurentiis. I’ve had the usual basil pesto but never tried spinach pesto before, so I just had to give it a try.

 

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The recipe didn’t use any garlic tho, but I decided to add a couple because the usual basil pesto recipe uses garlic, and because I think garlic makes dishes taste better, especially veggies. You can even add basil leaves to this spinach pesto if you like, for that herby flavour. The rest of the ingredients are pretty much the same like the usual basil pesto – pine nuts (or you can substitute with walnuts if you don’t have pine nuts), Parmesan cheese and olive oil.

 

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Making pesto is reaaaally easy. Just toss everything in the blender (or a food processor, if you have one) and zap until creamy. No cooking involved, yay! Well, of course you need to cook the chicken but we’re talking about making pesto here.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from foodnetwork.com.

Grilled Chicken with Spinach Pesto:

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cups pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

Heat the grill pan on medium heat and lightly oil the pan. Grill the chicken until cooked on both sides (you can also bake the chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes). Transfer to a plate and let cool.

In a blender, combine spinach, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and lemon peel and blend. With the blender running, gradually add olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse lightly. Transfer the spinach mixture into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the spinach pesto over the chicken breasts and serve.

 

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IMG_5805You can make this pesto in advance, store it in a jar and keep it in the fridge up to 5-7 days.

And best part is, you can eat this pesto with anything! Pasta, sandwiches, burgers, chicken. I ate it with pasta the other day. Just stir a couple of tablespoons of pesto with cooked pasta in a pan over low heat and it’s ready to eat.

 

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This has become my new favourite pasta sauce. Yum! Who needs store-bought sauce when you can make your own, right?



Handcrafted Crusted Ribs

I was invited to try out TGI Fridays’ new menu with a bunch of bloggers last week, and boy, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I had just recovered from a terrible cold – sore throat, non-stop sneezing followed by blocked nose and a slight fever that lasted for a few days. So this food testing was like a little celebration for me after 4 days of eating nothing but porridge and soups and warm apple cider vinegar with honey. Weee!

We went to TGI Fridays at The Curve. I haven’t been there in ages and didn’t even know they had revamped their outlet. I like it! It looks urban and feels more…. homey (I think because of the frames).

 

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IMG_0967Their latest promo. Handcrafted crusted ribs!

I don’t know about you, but the words crusted and ribs just made me drool. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth in them.

But first, the appetizer.

IMG_0975Their famous Fridays Three-For-All – fried Mozzarella (my fave!), spicy buffalo wings and potato skins with beef bits. Yumminess in a platter!

And then behold, the star of the show – beef bacon crusted ribs, served with crispy seasoned fries and coleslaw. I mean really, just reading it is enough to make me salivate!

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This rack of ribs is cooked to perfection, glazed with smokey BBQ sauce and crusted with crispy beef bacon. The ribs were so tender and just kind of fell off the bone, and the crispy beef bacon adds a yummy crunchy texture to it. You beef lovers would love this!

And then we had this Texas spiced lamb ribs, also served with crispy seasoned fries and coleslaw. You can either choose lamb ribs, beef ribs or beef short ribs for this.

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Ok honestly, I wasn’t expecting to like this particular dish because I’m not really a fan of lamb meat. They have this funny “sheep” smell which I don’t like. I even thought, “Ok, maybe I’ll just have 1-2 bites of this ribs, just to be polite”. But OMG, this lamb ribs exceeded my expectation. So juicy and tender and tasty and no funny sheep smell! Hehe.

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These lamb ribs are fire-grilled and crusted with a flavourful blend of Texas herbs and spices. It’s bone-licking good! I even had 2 of those.

We ended our meal with some desserts (why, of course).

IMG_1006Molten Chocolate Cake

IMG_1008Oreo Stack

IMG_1013And my favorite, Brownie Obsession.

Such a satisfying meal *rubs tummy*.

I’m sorry if my pictures are torturing you, but you can always go to your nearest TGI Fridays to satisfy your ribs craving. But better be hurry because this promo is for a limited time only!



Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

I’ve been trying a few healthy pancake recipes lately (mostly from healthy eating Instagram accounts), and this whole wheat oatmeal pancakes from Sally’s baking addiction is my favorite so far.

 

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These pancakes are made using whole wheat flour, oats, Greek yogurt, almond milk. Pretty much all the good stuff. They’re soft, thick, fluffy, moist with a tinge of cinnamon, which I totally love. And because they are whole wheat, they are more filling than the usual pancakes.

 

IMG_7645I used this organic wholemeal (or whole wheat – they’re the same) flour

 

My girls loved them too. Of course I had to throw a few chocolate chunks in their pancakes (ok fine, in mine too) because that’s how they like their pancakes – chocolatey. I guess a little bit of chocolate won’t hurt?

 

The most basic step to make pancake batter is to combine the dry and wet ingredients separately. You want to break up all the flour lumps first before combining with the wet mixture. You can sift the dry ingredients if you want. Otherwise, stirring them well would do just fine.

 

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Another secret to fluffy pancakes that I’ve learned is not to over mix your pancake batter. Over-mixing leads to flat, chewy, cardboard-like pancakes (been there, done that) which is a BIG no. I remember making pancakes for the very first time years ago. I just dumped in ALL of the ingredients in a blender and zap away! That was the worst pancakes I’ve ever eaten. I learned my pancake lesson now.

You want to stir the batter gently, just until the dry and wet ingredients are incorporated. A little bit of lumps is okay.

 

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I prefer to add chocolate chunks/chips while cooking each pancake, instead of adding them in the pancake batter. I find that they burn easily with the latter method. So what I always do is, I pour the pancake batter first onto a pan (make sure it’s hot and coated with oil), and then I add the chocolate chunks/chips on top. Kind of like sprinkling it. Then flip it over. The result is yummy pancakes with melted chocolate chunks/chips inside.

 

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IMG_7673There. Perfect for your weekend breakfast. Or brunch. Or dinner, if you must.

 

 

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Stack ‘em up and drench them in maple syrup. No fake maple syrups, please. You want the real deal – 100% pure maple syrup. It’s a bit pricey, but it makes a whole lot of difference (and healthier too)! Serve with bananas, berries, pecans, walnuts, anything you like.

Here, I layer each pancake with Greek yogurt and top with fresh strawberries. Yum!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes:

1 cup whole wheat/wholemeal flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup almond milk
1 egg
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain or flavoured)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate chunks/chips (optional)

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients – whole wheat flour, oats, ground cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Set aside.

In another bowl (I prefer to use measuring jug tho), whisk the almond milk and egg together, then add brown sugar, vanilla essence and Greek yogurt. Whisk until there are no lumps.

Make a well in your dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir the batter just until the dry and wet ingredients are incorporated. Remember not to over mix it.

Heat up your pan and coat it with oil. Once it’s hot, pour about 2 tablespoons of batter onto the pan. Sprinkle with some chocolate chunks/chips if you want. Cook for about 1 minute, then flip to the other side. Cook for another 2 minutes before transferring it to a plate. Repeat until the batter is finished (you need to coat your pan with oil for each pancake you cook).

Serve immediately!

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