Monday, November 6, 2017

Irish Stew Recipe

For this dish to be Irish, beer must be added to the stew. Another successful stew experimental dish which have immediate approval.

1 sliced Brown Onion
1kg Lamb Cubes (Beef)
900ml Stock (Chicken/Beef/Vegetable)
400ml Beer (We tried Guinness)
250ml Filtered water
0.5 teaspoon of Thyme Leaves
3 Bay Leaves
500g Carrots
500g Potatoes
1 teaspoons of ground Black Pepper
2 tablespoons of Flour (mixed with some Filtered Water)

Garnish with chopped Coriander and Parsley

Step 1: Heat pan and sauté Brown Onions until caramelized.
Step 2: Add in the Lamb Cubes sauté until slightly brown then pour in the Beef Stock, Beer, Filtered Water, Thyme leaves, Bay leaves and bring it to a boil. Reduce to low heat, and let it simmer gently for 10mins. Skim off all the impurities from the surface.
Step 3: Add in Potatoes, Carrots, ground Black Pepper and further simmer for another 30mins.
Step 4: Lastly, add flour and simmer for 10mins to thicken the stew.
Setp 5: Garnish and serve with Rice or Bread.

Give this recipe a try and hope you like it too.

- Fish Stock & White Wine ratio can be adjusted to your liking.

Click here for our blog page Cooking Recipes - Western Cuisine for more recipes. Hope you will be inspired~

Sunday, October 22, 2017

High Tea at Brasserie Les Saveurs, St Regis Singapore.

👍 Amazing ambience, nice selection of teas, buffet spread to fill up large tummies.
👎 A little pricey for smaller appetites; local flavour scones were interesting but a bit dry.

Brasserie Les Saveurs is the French, all-day-dining restaurant of the St Regis Singapore. Between lunch and dinner services the restaurant pushes out Afternoon Tea: Your choice of TWG teas (including a blend specifically created for the St Regis chain), scones, sandwiches and pastries served on a three-tiered silver stand, waffles and crepes prepared a la minute, and a mini buffet spread to fill up any stomach space you have left.

Thanks to a wide range of credit card / dining card discounts available, per-pax nett prices are s$48 (weekdays) or s$52 (weekends). Let's find out if the experience is worth the money!

Brasserie Les Saveurs St Regis High Tea

Brasserie Les Savuers' ambience is, of course, amazing. It's classy, it's comfortable, the air conditioning is great, and the live pianist almost never takes a break. Chairs are comfy, too, making the dining room a perfect place to catch up and chit chat for two hours over scones and coffee.

Brasserie Les Saveurs St Regis High Tea

The buffet spread itself, isn't really all that great. There's a half-dozen (or so) cold items like Alaskan crab salad and an assortment of cold cuts, and an assortment of different bread. There's also a waffle and crepe station (not pictured).

Brasserie Les Saveurs St Regis High Tea

Over on the desserts section, a chocolate fountain takes center stage, accompanied by a few cakes and pastries, some fruits, and 4 ice cream flavours.

Brasserie Les Saveurs St Regis High Tea

Finally - there's a small cheese cart with some common cheeses (and their accompaniments).

Brasserie Les Saveurs St Regis High Tea

Overall, the buffet spread won't win any "best buffet" awards, but the focus really is on the afternoon tea spread. We really dig the shiny silver three-tiered stand (and teapot). Starting from the bottom, the sandwiches were okay, the scones were a bit dry (and we didn't really appreciate the pandan and salted egg ones), but the desserts were pretty good.

Speaking of that silver teapot, there's a wide range of TWG teas, but they're not free flow: You only pick one tea, and the waiters come round with refills of hot water.

Brasserie Les Saveurs St Regis High Tea

Our final verdict, then? Considering the buffet spread, waffles & crepes station, and cheese cart, the pricing actually is pretty reasonable. For comparison, TWG's Parisian Tea Set is s$40 nett without any of these 'extras,' and in our opinion is far less attractive place to eat.

Taste-wise the food isn't the greatest, but in our opinions the ambience more than makes up for it; and this might be our default afternoon tea spot for now whenever we're in the mood to splurge a little!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Eight Days in Melbourne, Adelaide and the Great Ocean Road!

Greetings from the land down under! Well, not quite -- we're already unfortunately back to the daily grind back home, looking forward to our next holiday!

Ahem. Anyway we spent a (relatively) short eight days in the Australian South East, landing in Melbourne and then slowly making our way up to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. Without further ado, do check out our video highlights reel below!

So on to a quick breakdown of things we did, places we visited and things we ate!

Day 0: Overnight flight from Singapore to Melbourne.
- Parents: Singapore Airlines First Class (80,000 KrisFlyer miles + s$56.60/person).
- The rest: Singapore Airlines Economy Class (s$811.20/person).

Thoughts: Singapore Airlines First Class is as awesome as ever, with superb dining options and extravagant service. Economy class is, well, economy class. And the darling's recline button was broken both ways, which sucked quite a bit.

Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge Food Changi

Day 1: A victorian suite, pho, and the world's best pizza.
- Car: Apex Car Rentals, s$85/day for a mid-size SUV, aud500 insurance excess.
- Hotel: The Hotel Windsor, s$554/day for the Victorian Suite
- Lunch: Pho Dzung City Noodle Shop.
- Afternoon: Ran some errands (moneychanger), did some shopping at target, and explored the city a bit before resting in the hotel.
- Dinner: Explored the Crown Entertainment complex and had the "world's best pizza" at Gradi.

Thoughts: The Windsor has a great location and the suite is huge, but the hotel is quite a bit overdue for an overhaul. Gradi was expensive and a little disappointing; but I understand from Melbourne natives that I should have visited the Brunswick branch instead.

Melbourne Parliament House at Night

Day 2: A market, a garden and an art gallery.
- Morning: Coffee and Bratwurst at the Queen Victoria Markets. Followed by oysters and shopping. And calamari, fish, and chips at Funk Fish.
- Afternoon: We started off touring the Royal Botanical Gardens before a bout of rain sent us scurrying to the free exhibits in the nearby National Gallery of Victoria.
- Dinner: Explored the South Bank and settled in for lamb shanks, paella and pork cheeks at The Bohemian.

Thoughts: It's awesome that the entire CBD has free-of-charge tram transport (and not only just for tourists). More cities should do this.

The Bohemian South Bank Melbourne

Day 3: Great Ocean Road, Day 1
- Morning: Checked out of the hotel, visited a long lost friend, and found out that shaved fresh black winter truffle over steak tastes awesome.
- Afternoon: Great Ocean Road Day 1, unfortunately having the time to make only one stop at Bell's Beach, home of the world's longest continually running surf competition.
- Evening: Checked into the semi-AirBnB/semi-hotel Seafarer's Getaway. s$311/night nets you a comfortable beach-view villa which comfortably sleeps 5 adults. Dinner was a forgettable fish & chips shop in the nearby Apollo Bay.

Thoughts: I didn't know until this trip that Australia (particularly the south-western corners) is a pretty solid Truffle Producer. Had always thought that truffles only come from France and other European countries.

Seafarer's Getaway, Apollo Bay

Day 4: Great Ocean Road, Part Deux
- Morning: Bacon and eggs (self-catered) in the villa, followed by a detour to the Cape Otway Lightstation.
- Afternoon: The 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, The London Arch and The Grotto. Self-catered ham sandwiches in the car.
- Evening: Drove to our accommodation for the night: Rosa's Apartment in Mt. Gambier, which must be the best value (s$200) AirBnB that we've ever stayed in.
- Dinner: Some forgettable indian restaurant in the town.

Thoughts: It's pretty surprising that despite having an entire day on the road, we didn't really get to stop at that many places. Probably because we had to spend quite a bit of time on the road ...

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

Day 5: Great Ocean Road --> Adelaide
- Morning: Bacon and eggs (self-catered, again) in the apartment, followed by a visit to the Blue Lake and Umpherston Sinkhole.
- Afternoon: Finished off the additional ~5 hour drive to Adelaide, stopping halfway to have sandwiches (meh) and coffee (awesome) at the Henry and Rose in Keith.
- Evening: AirBnB/Stayz - Neo Apartment in the City, which is roomy, has a kick-ass location (right next to the Adelaide Markets) but is perhaps getting a tad bit run down. s$266/night.
- Dinner: Shopping at the Rundle Mall, followed by forgettable kebabs somewhere nearby.

Thoughts: 3d/2n to do the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide is a bit rushed. With around ~5hours of driving a day (most of it in daylight), we really didn't have the time to stop at all the places we wanted to stop at, or to really explore. If we were to do it again we'd do at least 4d/3n, and maybe even 5d/4n.

Pig statues at Rundle Mall, Adelaide

Day 6: Got on a plane, waited around a bit and jumped off at 12,000 feet
- All Day: Skydiving with SA Skydiving at Langhorne Creek.
- Dinner: Self-catered with steak, chicken wings, bread and vegetables bought from the Adelaide Market.

Thoughts: Skydiving is the bomb! Definitely should be on anyone's bucket list (unless you've got a deathly fear of heights). Not exactly a cheap hobby, though: aud409 for a 12,000ft tandem jump (including transport to-and-from Adelaide and a lunch of sausages and bread).

Skydiving at Langhorne Creek

Day 7: Did some cosplay, went up a stage, and got a piece of paper from an old man.
- Breakfast: Group breakfast at Luigi Delicatessen, which serves up an awesome breakfast platter. And great coffee, of course.
- Morning: Graduation from the University of Adelaide.
- Lunch: Porchetta, Ribs and Pasta at Borsa Pasta Cucina.
- Evening: Adelaide Markets (again) followed by more self-catered steak and vegetables.

Thoughts: It really did feel that there were more foreign students graduating than local ones ...

Graduation University of Adelaide

Day 8: Two-dollar ketchup, a garden and a museum.
- Breakfast: Dim Sum at the Star House Chinese Restaurant. "OK" food, two dollars for ketchup.
- The rest of the day: A short detour to the Botanical gardens, followed by the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum. We then returned the car at the Adelaide Airport and took a s$100 Virgin Australia flight to Melbourne.
- Melbourne: Dinner at P.J.O'Brien's (awesome Irish Stew) and a short overnight at Cilom's Airport Lodge (s$159) before heading back to Singapore / KL.

Thoughts: The last day of a holiday is the crappiest one, especially once you start checking out of hotels and returning rental cars.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens

If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking around, and do let us know in the comments if you've got any questions!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How much is a KrisFlyer Mile worth (after the 2017 Devaluation)?

In March 2017, Singapore Airlines announced a revision to their Redemption Chart. And naturally, by "revision," they effectively meant "to increase the cost (in miles) for redemption flight tickets." The old and new redemption charts can be found on their website here and here respectively.

Having said that, we feel that it's actually a pretty fair revision, because Singapore Airlines also eliminated fuel and insurance surcharges. So redemption tickets now cost more miles, but less cash.

So with the new redemption charts, how much is a single KrisFlyer mile worth? As with our previous analysis, it really depends on which flights (and to a larger extent, which class of travel) you're flying on.

Krisflyer Economy Class Redemption Value

As expected, Economy redemptions are really poor value - as low as 0.6¢ per mile! In most cases you would be better off just paying the full cash fare to your destination. Of course there are exceptions where it could make sense: For example, perhaps the Economy Super Saver or Saver cash fare isn't available for the dates that you want to fly, or perhaps you have a small number of miles that are going to expire soon anyway.

Krisflyer Premium Economy Class Redemption Value

Premium Economy redemptions are a little better - around 2-3¢ per mile. At this value point, the decision to spend miles instead of cash starts to make a little more economic sense. Singapore Airlines' Premium Economy class isn't really that great, though - but that's a discussion for another day.

Krisflyer Business Class Redemption Value

Business Class redemptions seem to hover around a value of 3-4¢ per mile: a significant reduction from the 4-8¢ per mile values in the old redemption table.

Krisflyer First Class Redemption Value

And as expected, First / Suites Class redemptions continue to give the best bang for your mile at around 5-7¢ each.

So to conclude, the value of a single KrisFlyer mile ranges from around 1-7¢ per mile depending on which flight/class you fly on. The ¢ per mile figures are still pretty solid for Business and First Class flights, but if your mileage earning and redemption patterns normally allow you only to buy Economy and Premium Economy flights, it could be worth re-evaluating whether 'playing the mileage game' still makes sense for you.

One caveat: The number of miles required for redemption tickets are fixed, but the cash fares vary according to promotion periods, availability of cheaper fare buckets (e.g. the economy super saver buckets), etc, so these ¢ per mile values should only be taken as a rough guideline.

Hopefully this post has helped you. And if you've decided to continue playing this mileage game, good luck and have fun with your next Singapore Airlines Suites Class Redemption flight, whenever that is!!