Monthly Archives: February 2013

Date Night at Trattoria Bonissima

Adrian and I sneaked off for a date last Wednesday and we visited Trattoria Bonissima in Tanjong Katong. It’s a lovely place that’s great for a quiet meal without the little ones. But we’re planning to bring them along the next time we go because I’m sure Anya would love the pasta there!

Trattoria Bonissima

Trattoria Bonissima

charming blue and white interior

charming blue and white interior

love this group of photos on the wall

love this group of photos on the wall

I took my time to look through the menu because there were so many delicious-sounding options! In the end, we decided on the off-menu specials for our appetiser and pasta. The deep fried whitebait was a great start to our meal. Even though it was deep fried, our appetiser was light on the palate and not oily. The little fish were fresh, sweet and nicely complemented with salad, cherry tomatoes and slivers of radish. I’m not kidding when I tell you we ate up every single thing on the plate.

Our venison pasta with caciovallo cheese sauce was pretty amazing. One week on, I’m still dreaming of that cheese sauce. Argh, my stomach’s growling as I write this and it’s demanding caciovallo cheese sauce. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the venison was tender. The cheese sauce was spectacular! If you look at the right-bottom corner of the picture of Adrian talking to Chef Andrea, you can see that we practically licked our plate clean.

The lamb chops were a winner as well. Unbelievably tender, delicious and not gamey at all. Probably the best lamb chops I’ve ever had. Instead of boring old mint sauce, the lamb chops were served with the restaurant’s special concoction of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh mint, salt, pepper and rosemary. The home fries served with the lamb chops were very good too! I usually don’t bother with them but the ones we had were yummy so we ate them all up. Chef Andrea told us that they roast the potatoes before frying them.

yummy bread

yummy bread

deep fried white bait

deep fried whitebait

venison pasta with caciovallo cheese sauce

venison pasta with caciovallo cheese sauce

lamb chops

lamb chops

Chef Andrea

Chef Andrea

We were stuffed after all the wonderful food but we just had to have dessert! We tried the panna cotta which was very substantial, unlike the ones you find in some other Italian restaurants where milk and gelatine masquerade as panna cotta. Chef Andrea shared with us that he only uses cream, not milk, for his panna cotta. I found the strawberry topping a bit too sweet but Adrian liked it.

Our final item was the lava cake, which was a plate of warm, gooey chocolatey goodness. Really good stuff. On the whole, such a satisfying meal and I’m dying to go back again soon!

panna cotta

panna cotta

my lava cake's on fire!

my lava cake’s on fire!

Trattoria Bonissima is at 308 Tanjong Katong Rd, Singapore 437091. They are open daily except Tuesdays. There’s an ongoing AMEX promotion where you get a complimentary dessert of the day (worth $9) with every $50 spent. If you don’t have an AMEX card, you can get the complimentary dessert (with every $50 spent) by showing them this blog post! :)

They have some weekday lunch discounts (30% off for pastas, pizzas, desserts, coffee, tea) as well so it’d be worth your while to drop by if you work in the area. Parking is available along Tanjong Katong Road and the open air carpark space in front of Canadian International School.

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Bio-Oil: Review & Giveaway!

Last October, I attended a Bio-Oil sharing session to learn about the product and its uses. According to the company, Bio-Oil is a specialist skincare oil that has been around for more than 20 years and it has been clinically proven to help improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. The product is allegedly suitable for sensitive skin, and is hypoallergenic and does not cause acne. Bio-Oil is the No. 1 selling scar and stretch mark product in more than 11 countries and has garnered 69 accolades and awards since 2002.

Bio-Oil

Bio-Oil

what goes into Bio-Oil: calendula, chamomile, lavender and rosemary

what goes into Bio-Oil: calendula, chamomile, lavender and rosemary

some of the awards

some of the awards

I’d seen Bio-Oil in the shops before the sharing session but it had never crossed my mind to buy a bottle to try because I don’t have any stretch marks. I received a sample bottle from the sharing session and have been using it since. While I can’t vouch for the claim that it improves the appearance of stretch marks (although I know people who swear by it for their stretch marks) this is what I like about Bio-Oil:

1. It’s great as an all-over moisturiser. I use it when my face feels tight and uncomfortable and it provides instant relief and is soothing. I use it on the dry areas like my elbows, heels and knees too. Anya’s arms and legs get itchy when her skin is dry and Bio-Oil works well for her (and stops her from whining about the itchiness).

2. My cuticles can get quite hard and dry because I don’t take care of my hands and nails. Bio-Oil softens the cuticles and stops me from trying to peel or bite them off.

3. I love to add sugar granules to some Bio-Oil to use as a scrub before I shower! It leaves my skin nice and smooth.

4. Bio-Oil is a perfect size for carry-on luggage when travelling and the bottle has a cap that screws on tight so I don’t have to worry about any spillage. My skin gets very dry when I’m flying so the Bio-Oil really comes in handy then.

an Adam-sized bottle of Bio-Oil??

an Adam-sized bottle of Bio-Oil??

To be very honest, I think the product is good but the packaging could do with an update! I know a few of you may be skeptical about the product or not particularly attracted by the packaging, so I’m giving away FIVE bottles of Bio-Oil to let five of you try it for yourself.

To qualify, simply do the following by 6 Mar 2013, 2359H:

1. Like the ‘In the Wee Hours’ Facebook page.
2. Leave a comment here with your name and email address so I can contact you if you’re one of the lucky winners! Winner will be chosen randomly. You must be residing in Singapore to qualify.

Disclaimer: I was given a bottle of Bio-Oil for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

RESULTS!!!

Bio-Oil

Congrats to April, Phyllis, Jennifer, Debra and Shermeen! You will be contacted shortly. Thanks to all for taking part. Look out for my next giveaway coming up soon. :)

 

RamenPlay

It’s been raining like crazy the past few weeks and the cool weather has been making me crave all things hot and soupy. I was in Holland V one wet Thursday afternoon while Anya was attending her Chinese enrichment class so I popped into RamenPlay for a steaming hot bowl of ramen. I enjoyed the ramen so much I dragged Adrian and the kids there the following weekend.

RamenPlay is a collaboration between Singapore’s BreadTalk Group and Sanpou (an almost-50-year-old ramen establishment in Japan). There are quite a few branches in Singapore. On both occasions, I had the Toriniku Double Soup Ramen. While each component is not that best I’ve ever had in my life, they all come together very nicely. The pork cheek, for example, is simply melt-in-your-mouth tender and the soup is so full of flavour.

I’m pretty sick of the rainy weather but if it means it will make a hot bowl of ramen taste so much better, then bring it on!

enjoying her kid's meal

enjoying her kid’s meal

she didn't want the corn though

she didn’t want the corn though

Sanpou Ramen containing pork cheek, pork belly and cha shu

Sanpou Ramen containing pork cheek, pork belly and cha shu

Toroniku Double Soup Ramen

Toroniku Double Soup Ramen

Brown Rice Ice-Cream

Brown Rice Ice-Cream

Samuel turns 6! (And Daniel turns 3!)

We celebrated Sam & Dan’s birthdays last Saturday at Happy Willow. They are born 4 days apart and will have to celebrate their birthdays together for years on end. Mummy Juan’s birthday is right in the middle so they won’t be able to forget her birthday either. ;)

what about Daniel??

what about Daniel??

Aaron's in the picture too!

Aaron’s in the picture too!

helping Dan with the candles

helping Dan with the candles

the Tans

the Tans

the kids digging in

the kids digging in

yummy homemade fare

yummy homemade fare

the other birthday boy

the other birthday boy

lining up

lining up

listening to instructions

listening to instructions

boys being boys

boys being boys

climbing

climbing

the kids in the ball pit

the kids in the ball pit

building together

building together

busy in the kitchen

busy in the kitchen

Junior Masterchef

Junior Masterchef

sliding

sliding

giving a boost

giving a boost

Jimmy Monkey

Jimmy Monkey is one of those places I’d like to visit more often but it’s not really near our usual weekend haunts so we haven’t been since our first visit. We managed to pop by on Saturday for some breakfast before heading to a birthday party at Fusionopolis.

The coffee was excellent as usual except that Adrian added too much sugar syrup into my iced latte and ruined it for me! I was very happy with my cheesy Vegemite toast soldiers and soft-boiled egg. I think Vegemite/ Bovril/ Marmite is something people either love or hate and for me, yeast extract spreads are quite comforting because they remind me of when I used to have Bovril with porridge as a kid!

Adrian's brekkie

Adrian’s brekkie

the three As share a breakfast

the three As share a breakfast

cheesy Vegemite toast soldiers and a soft-boiled egg

cheesy Vegemite toast soldiers and a soft-boiled egg

so hard to get a shot of him not eating!

so hard to get a shot of him not eating!

finally!

finally!

torturing Daddy

torturing Daddy

smack!

smack!

outside

outside

wheniwasfour 小时候

I love chwee kueh and can devour eight pieces at a go. I’ve been eating it since I could eat! When I was a little kid, I used to wonder why the Chinese characters for chwee kueh were pronounced as shui guo. Isn’t shui guo fruit?? But I guess it’s just one of those dialect things that get lost in translation.

Anyway, when I saw the chwee kueh canvas tote bag on wheniwasfour, I just HAD to have it. I love the mouthwatering picture of the steaming pieces of chwee kueh on waxed brown paper and I simply adore the Chinese characters in the style of a primary school writing exercise. So many good memories encapsulated in a bag!

chwee kueh bag

chwee kueh bag

I love my bag but it makes me crave for chwee kueh all the time. I also get random people asking me which chwee kueh stall is giving away bags. There are many other charming designs of various local delights and familiar items. They are available as postcards and notebooks as well.

postcards featuring other familiar items and local delights

postcards

Another thing they have in the online store are giant plushie versions of ‘five stones’, one of my favourite childhood games. I think the five stone plushies are so cute and I would go crazy (in a good way) if I had five of them to throw around and play a game of giant five stones with. It would be pretty impossible to catch all five in one hand, I’m sure!

a giant five stone!

a giant five stone!

I believe in supporting local enterprises and I am definitely a fan of the cleverly designed products on wheniwasfour! The items are available online and at some stockists.

Now I need to get me some chwee kueh for supper…

N.B. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, chwee kueh is steamed rice cake served with bits of preserved radish and chili.

P.S. wheniwasfour will be at the Public Garden Flea at the National Museum of Singapore this weekend!

The Impossible

The Impossible

Adrian and I went to watch ‘The Impossible’ on Valentine’s Day last Thursday. Disaster movies generally depress me because there’s just so much effort needed to be one of the few who survive to the end. I always think that I’d probably perish very early on due to a complete lack of tenacity. But ‘The Impossible’ is certainly not your typical disaster movie because it’s based on the true story of a family who (spoiler alert!) survived the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

I cried quite a bit during the movie. It was easy for me to empathise with Naomi Watt’s character who had to stay strong for the sake of her son who was with her even though she didn’t know if her other two sons had survived. If I had only one of my kids with me, I’d have fallen apart just from worrying about my other kid! Her leg was very badly injured – there was a whole chunk of flesh hanging off her thigh! –  but she just kept going. I could feel my leg twinging with phantom pain when she was being dragged to safety by the locals who came to her aid.

One thing we didn’t get was why the father left his two little boys in the care of some stranger while he tried to look for his wife and eldest son. The boys were 7 and 5 years old! What if they got lost and he never saw them again?! After the movie, Adrian and I decided that if we’re ever separated in the event of a tsunami or some other disaster, whoever survives should head for safety as long as he has one kid with him and not worry about looking for the other person.

At the end of the movie, the family is reunited and on their way to Singapore for medical treatment. But even though it’s a relatively happy ending for them, we are still confronted by the devastation caused by the tsunami and by the sheer number of lives lost and families destroyed. For me, the movie is a powerful reminder to focus on the important things in life, to cherish every single day that I have with my family and not to take anything for granted.