The month of June was saturated in copious amounts of studying with specks of excitement as I made a last minute trip to Singapore to celebrate Mumma’s birthday with her and of course visit Lil’ Bro who has less than a week left before graduating from Basic Military Training!
While in Singapore there were many dinners and celebrations of which one was a wedding, thus one could infer that it was indeed a fortunate coincidence that my ‘study vacation’ was abnormally long due to the dear old exam timetabling system.
Fast forwarding through a whirlwind trip, I landed back in Sydney with the prospect of 3rd year exams looming and three weeks of study hibernation clawing me into a draining ordeal. Only joking, it was not that dramatic but it was a tiring yet productive few weeks.
Over the past two years I have learnt the importance of fueling the brain with the right foods during this time. Not only does it provide for a productive session but allows me to take a breath, albeit quick. Time spent in the kitchen in the mornings before a day of study and during lunch hour somehow provides some form therapeutic relief from the technicalities of biochemistry and pharmacology.
Most mornings were filled with warming oats; eaten with pure class straight from the pot. As they say ‘practice makes perfect’ and I found myself discovering delicious combinations and improving in the ‘art of oats’. Given the wintery chill enveloping Sydney I would say that this breakfast staple was my survival aid and comfort.
Tips for Oat-Making Beginners
1. The amount of water you use will determine the texture that you achieve
For oats with more ‘chew’ use less liquid and for super creamy oats use more liquid
2. Cook on LOW heat i.e. cook with LOVE
Even if you use less liquid you can still achieve a creamy texture! In addition, you don’t want to burn your oats!
3. If you don’t have milk don’t stress
Using water will still produce a delicious bowl of goodness. In fact, I prefer to use water as my primary liquid and add my milk at the very end. I feel that this retains the fresh taste of the milk but of course it is all up to personal preference.
4. Add in your bananas/apples (fruit of choice) at the beginning and cook together with your oats
This allows your fruits to ‘stew’ and soften, releasing flavours into your oats. I always used to chop up my fruits as a topping, but realised how much flavour was infused via this method.
5. Toppings – anything goes!
I have always loved to add nut butters, but have recently discovered the beauty of Nutella. Lil’ Bro left many tubs behind when he headed off to Singapore so I have been trying to find easy ways of using this delicious treat (other than the obvious toast spread).
Fresh fruits are also great – save some from the fruit you cook with your oats!
Finally, to balance out the soft textures I like to add a sprinkle of granola. At the moment I am very much enjoying the new Woolworth’s Home Brand Orange Granola Clusters and Coconut Macadamia Toasted Granola.
6. Cinnamon and ginger
This warming and comforting combination of spices not only adds to the overall flavour but they also provide numerous health benefits! I always mix these in before I cook the oats.
7. Sweetness can be added in many forms
I love to use dates as a natural sweetener as they provide my digestive system with a good dose of fibre. If dates are not being craved I use honey or maple syrup. I have yet to try adding some good berry jam on top…but there’s another idea!
1. Apple + Date + Peanut Butter
2. Banana + Honey + Nutella/Peanut Butter
Thus comes an end to Mornings with Ming and my 2014 Oat Series! Hopefully I have not bored you all 🙂
I am now in the antithesis of Sydney winter and back in Singapore! More posts to come 🙂
If you’re sick of looking at oats, I have provided a photo of toast hehe.
It is a rare occurrence when Lil’ Bro and I have the chance to go on a food related outing together. With Papa Ho returning to Sydney and Mama off being a busy bee, we decided to venture around the area of Kampung Bahru before Lil’ Bro’s ‘work training’… Yes, embarrassingly for jobless me, my little brother secured an ‘intermission’ job before starting his internship as he waits for his army enlistment in May.
Originally, I was planning on heading towards a cafe hotspot around Duxton Road. Sometimes I become caught up in my determination to check out one of the many locations on my foodie ‘wish list’, which ends up in hungry stomachs and walking around in an endless search for a well hidden cafe. On this occasion, I was reminded by Lil’ Bro that time was limited so as I was about to turn back and settle for a cafe near his work place, I spotted ‘The Provision Shop’ hiding behind a bus stop and underneath a towering block of HDB flats. As per usual, I had been enlightened of its existence by the wonderful world of Instagram and immediately rushed towards this surprise discovery.
At 5pm on a Tuesday, the cafe was relatively busy. After teaching Lil Bro how to differentiate between different types of coffee, he decided upon an Iced Latte while I chose the Iced Long Black…yes the climate is rather warm here! Both were enjoyed and I definitely appreciated the break from milky coffees.
In addition, the growing boy had his heart set on the Chocolate Cheese Cake from the minute we entered. From my sample of the cake, it was not overly rich and had a great texture that lay in the spectrum between the dense New York Cheesecake and light Japanese rendition. Lil’ Bro was definitely a fan.
After talking to the friendly staff in charge I was informed that the cafe was very new and only open for about 2.5 months. My first impression was that it was definitely holding its own for such a new kid on the block. In addition to usual cafe items, The Provision Shop is also open for dinners offering pasta dishes until 8pm. Hopefully I’ll be able to make my way there with the parentals for a meal before I leave!
Oh Yes….Lil Bro has caught the Instagram bug….. Hehe
So I suppose the moral of the story is sometimes when we stop searching we stumble upon just what we are looking for. Enjoy the journey because you never know when life may take you on a pleasant detour.
Address: #01-79, 3 Everton Park
Before, after and during… Ok maybe context is irrelevant……..
I spend an undisclosed amount of time trawling through #sgig, seeking out the latest must-try eating spots in the eclectic foodie scene of Singapore.
I spied a number of brunch and dinner posts featuring a new addition to the scene, Chopsuey, a new ‘East meets West’ concept restaurant established by the people behind P.S. Cafe. For foodies unfamiliar with P.S. Cafe, there were originally three sites in Singapore, boasting to-die-for Truffle Fries, however one of their branches was transformed into Chopsuey.
Christmas Eve 2013 approached much faster than I expected it to and before in knew it I was completely behind in finding somewhere to celebrate…. Until I remembered this venue and made a last minute booking which was accommodated for efficiently!
Set in Dempsey Hill, an area of restored army barracks which is now home to many other interesting eating venues, the restaurant interior is truly unique. High ceilings and an airy old-time bungalow accommodates for diners ranging from small to large groups with beautiful marble tables.
The idea of ‘papaya’ has always had two connotations for me:
- Singapore – super sweet and super cheap
- Sydney – not fantastic and super expensive
Upon my return from Singapore the tables were turned….
Showered with an abundance of rock fruit upon my return from Singapore, such as my favourite Queen Peach I almost strolled past the papaya stand without a second glimpse. Luckily for me I was shopping with Mumma who spied some ripe looking slices of papaya, so we took some home for a test run. One word – heaven. Ok, maybe a few more – “let’s go buy some more”.
I returned home with 2 of the juiciest, sweetest papayas that just tasted like summer! With Mumma’s busy work schedule and the fruit aversion of Lil’ Bro and Pappa, I was ‘forced’ to tackle most of these babies by myself – such a hard task!
Part of my aim to establish a more healthy routine was breakfast. During semester there is hardly enough time to really sit down and enjoy this meal, so I made a pact to cook up some delicious breakfasts in the time that I have now. Papaya incorporated breakfasts?! I was one happy, healthy girl!
Rolled oats with banana, sliced papaya topped with a dollop of Chobani Greek Yoghurt, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.
Papaya and cream cheese on toast – inspired by the Asian Papaya Milk smoothies!
(Complimented by Peanut Butter and Banana with Honey + Nutella :P)
Letting the papaya shine one its own, topped with Chobani Greek Yoghurt, Honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. This combination really brought out the best in the flavours of the papaya, especially with a drizzle of lemon juice. The acidity really kicked the sweet and sour to a fresh, vibrant taste!
A return trip to the shops the next week was a sad one – the papaya season was short lived! Until next year!!