Archive for September, 2012

Wedding Bells

If you have been following my blog, you might have picked up on the hints. I have been wondering if I should officially announce it, or if anyone cares to know about it in the first place. Well, I have decided I will, so that I may share more posts on how best to plan and organise a wedding. So here’s the announcement…..

I’M GETTING MARRIED!!!

The reason why I’ve decided to announce it now is because the wedding date is exactly 3 months away! Also, I just finished doing my pre-wedding photo-shoot on Monday. I finally have a concrete photo to share on this blog instead of just words. Of all the blurry and badly framed images I’ve had to endure from The Partner, this photo takes the cake, in a positive way for once!

Wedding Photo

No photoshop, no adjustments, no nothing. Just a pure photo taken by the Partner using my iPhone. Is it not the epitome of a Food Blogger’s mindset that I choose to take my photos in a restaurant? Not one, but TWO in fact. A big thank you to La Maison Fatien for allowing me to use their premises without any extra charges! I did of course take the mandatory photos at the Botanic Gardens and what have you and also some more in New Zealand.

Anyway, to cut to the chase, preparing for a wedding is no joke. It takes lots of money, and lots of time. For anyone holding a traditional Chinese wedding banquet in Singapore, your best bet is to get things rolling more than 1 year in advance.

Watch this space as I share with you the trials and tribulations I went through in deciding on

  • the Best hotel for my wedding banquet
  • the best bridal studio and bridal packages
  • the photo-shoot wedding gowns and actual day gowns
  • how to choose the best wedding photographer for your needs
  • how to take pre-wedding photos overseas for cheap

and lots more!!!

Granada

*Advertorial*

Granada is an historical city located in the South of Spain. The city used to be a Moorish kingdom and is now one of the country’s most visited places. The city is known for its Islamic heritage, mainly the Alhambra palace. Those who choose to discover this city will be able to walk around the ancient cobbled streets, visit the many palaces and discover the local cuisine.

The Alhambra was built in the XIIIth Century. This fortress is known for its Moorish architecture, with many tiled courtyards decorated with arches. Visitors have to buy the tickets before visiting the site, since excursions to this historical fortress are limited. After the tours visitors can walk around the Alhambra’s gardens, known for their Moorish architecture.

Many tours include a visit around the ancient Alcazaba fortress and its Torre de la Vela tower, known for its observation platform with views towards the city. Tha Generalife Palace is an ancient place located nearby. Visitors can walk around its gardens, which are filled with jasmine, fountains and sculptures.

The Cathedral is designed in Gothic and Renaissance styles. The Catholic Kings are buried in the royal chapel of this cathedral. Inside the cathedral there is a museum where visitors can see many artifacts, paintings and Royal heirlooms, Fernando II of Aragon’s sword and Isabel I of Castille’s crown being the most notable.

The Monasterio de la Cartuja is an ancient monastery built in the Baroque and Gothic styles. The Monsaterío de San Jerónimo was built by the Catholic kings and remains a monastery of the Hieronimyte monks.

The Tourist Office is located in the Corral de Carbón, an historical Moorish building which used to be a storage barn and was later converted into an inn for merchants. The city’s Arab influence is notable in the many Arab baths and hammams that are present in this city, where visitors will be able to enjoy traditional spa treatments.

The Albaicín district is an area of the city known for its architecture. Guarded by the Elvira Gate, the buildings in this neighbourhood have influences of Arab, Christian and Jewish styles. There are many traditional tea houses, restaurants and shops.

One of the city’s main attractions are its tapas bars. Tapas are complimentary snacks that accompany drinks. To spend an afternoon hopping from one bar to the next is a way of discovering the city and its culture through gastronomy. By ordering a caña and one of the local wines visitors get a tapa, which may range from the potato omelette tortilla de patata to the cold tomato soup gazpacho. Typical tapas are jamón ibérico, olives, potatoes doused with olive oil and stuffed peppers.

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A typical recipe of Andalusian Gazpacho for four people.

1 kilo of ripe tomatoes.

1 green pepper.

1 cucumber, around 250g.

1 onion, around 100g.

1 clove of garlic.

3 tablespoons of olive oil.

White wine vinegar, around 2 tablespoons.

1 teaspoon of salt.

Cold water.

Steps

  1. Wash the vegetables.

  2. Chop the tomatoes.

  3. Chop and seed the pepper.

  4. Mince the garlic.

  5. Peel and dice the onion.

  6. Peel and chop the cucumber.

  7. Place all of the above in a blender and blend until it achieves a smooth texture.

  8. Add olive oil, salt and vinegar according to taste.

  9. If the mixture is still thick, add more olive oil and cold water and blend until it has a smooth, soup texture.

  10. Leave it in the fridge until it is cold and serve with chopped cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.

Au Chocolat Bistro

As promised, here is part 2 of the Au Chocolat write-up. I visited Au Chocolat a total of THREE times in the span of 1 week, BEAT THAT!!!

The first time I was there, I was there with my BFF2012 to recce if Au Chocolat would be a nice location for my pre-wedding shoot. It was a pretty easy and unanimous decision that the whimsical and quaint look of Au Chocolat would be just perfect for chocolate loving me. A food blogger having her pre-wedding photos taken in a restaurant, not a bad idea right? We were there at 4pm to recce the place, and after perusing the menu, I was so famished that I ordered dinner! Ok fine, I had a very light lunch, and I had a Spa session which would end only after 8, so it was a good time for dinner.

The 2nd time I was at Au Chocolat was with The Partner and a whole contingent of photographers and makeup artist! The staff at Au Chocolat were so sweet (a pun?) they just made our day by being so helpful throughout our shoot. I’m glad I didn’t scare off any customers. They looked more amused and curious than annoyed. And in fact, the number of passers-by that did a double take, some even retreating their steps to get a better look at us, it made me feel like a model, aww!! It must be the wedding dresses I wore, plus the entourage!

The 3rd time at Au Chocolat was with The Partner again, after a quick visit to the Harry Potter Exhibition. This time I got to eat a proper dinner, although I had to rush off for the F1 after that. While eating, lo and behold, another friend walked into the restaurant! The same friend who I mentioned Au Chocolat to, and couldn’t wait to come and try it out too!

Au Chocolat is definitely a must visit when you are at Marina Bay Sands. Even if you don’t dine there, it’s worth taking a look. The sweet shop is enough to make you wanna open up your purse or wallet. Hey, that’s what happened to my make-up artist, who ended up buying some cute sweets for her son!

Au chocolat (11)

Au chocolat (36)

Au chocolat - Croque Monsieur $16 - Sliced ham & aged gruyere cheese between 2 slices of crusty bread, coated with creamy bechamel grilled (2)

Croque Monsieur $16 – Sliced ham & aged gruyere cheese between 2 slices of crusty bread, coated with creamy bechamel grilled

Before I begin on sandwich, I have to tell you that Au Chocolat’s fries are fantastic! Really crispy on the outside, and having fluffy insides. It was a pleasure to eat every single one of them. And they arrived piping hot and crisp on all the occasions that I ordered them.

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Au Chocolat at Marina Bay Sands

Some things are too good to share, and when I first feasted my eyes on Au Chocolat, I really wanted to keep it a secret for as long as possible. This place is as amazing as it is humongous. There is the sweet shop, where you can get all sorts of colourful little sweets, or bonbons if you will. There is the dessert display case, where you will find it really difficult to tear your eyes away from the chic and decadent looking desserts. And there is the cafe/restaurant where for a few hours, you can pretend you are far away in Paris, in a time gone by, with not a care in the world. There is even a Choo Choo train running the length of the cafe! Hats off to the person who conjured up this wonderful fantasy place.

Sometimes, a picture speaks a thousand words, and for Au Chocolat, that is indeed so. This post will showcase pictures of Au Chocolat, while the next post will feature what I tried at Au Chocolat. Yes I’ve been there 3 times already as we speak! Will you believe it if I told you that I took my pre-wedding photos here???

Click here to read my review on the Au Chocolat Cafe dishes we tried or scroll down further for a pictorial review of the cakes and sweet shop!

Au chocolat (15)

Au chocolat (38)

Au chocolat (25)

Au chocolat (19)

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Food For Thought

A reader mentioned that Food for Thought serves up one of the cheapest breakfasts in town so of course I had to go check it out. For the record, I still think that Epicurious serves the the most value for money breakfast, but yeah, the queues can be frustratingly long on weekends.

There was not a soul when I went to Food for Thought on a Tuesday morning, although a few months back, it was jammed packed on a Saturday, which resulted in me having to dine somewhere else. I like the spacious feel of the place, and the glass walls which let lots of light in. They have a little corner with some stationery stuff for sale.

Food For  Thought (3)

Food For  Thought - Customised Breakfast

There are a few breakfasts to choose from, but basically you can customise whatever you want by choosing a basic set first and then adding on items, or simply customising from scratch. Do spend some time deciding on the best combination because sometimes it’s better to customise from scratch and some times it’s better to start with the basic set! Yours truly spent 10 minutes calculating the various permutations, mainly also because I was flexible with some of the dishes, which resulted in more permutations of course to get the best value for money breakfast!

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