This post is to my WordPress buddies….join me at my new domain

This post is for you fellow WordPress buddy!

Firstly a BIG¬†thank you for following Feeding the Friedlanders – I mean that sincerely, blogger to blogger. And if you aren’t a WordPress follower and reading this post I am thankful to you too – so no need to feel left out ūüôā

Important stuff – Please subscribe to my posts on my new blog

As you might¬†know if you blog yourself, when you move onto a customised domain from wordpress.com¬†free domain,¬†you don’t automatically bring your wordpress followers with you to the new site http://www.feedingthefriedlanders.sg. Email and wordpress followers¬†have to re-subscribe to the new site.

…I don’t want to lose you guys!

I would love for you to keep following my posts on my new blog, so I need your help to resubscribe over there. So please come on over and subscribe. I’d also love to hear what you think about the new site, the good, the bad, and what you think I could do more of. Don’t be shy.

See you there, Elaine aka Mrs Freeloader

Feeding the Friedlanders has moved to www.feedingthefriedlanders.sg

feedingthefriedlanders.sg

Hi everyone, I’m so sorry it has been a week or so since I last posted – but boy have I been busy creating a brand spanking new website to share with you!

I am super geeky excited to introduce my new website….
feedingthefriedlanders.sg

Please subscribe to my new site today so you don’t miss a post. There is a ‘subscribe now’ box on the right hand side of the page near the top…see the screenshot below.

screen shot of feedingthefriedlanders.sg long

So what are you waiting for? Come on over and say hello!

I’m sharing recipes, meal plans, fun stuff and the ‘need to know’ stuff¬†for families living in Singapore. I’ve even moved across all your favourite recipes and posts from the old site so you won’t miss a thing!

Watermelon Shark – healthy kids party food with some bite!

My first little boy was three yesterday. Such a big boy already. Ooops something in my eye… He insists he can pick me up already which is no mean feat.

AND, this week his preschool celebrated no less than three birthdays. That means a whole lot of cupcakes, muffins,and sweet birthday treats. Not that I am a stickler for birthday treats, hey, I cooked an Oreo cake.  Toddler sugar HIIIIIGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!

However, in the interests of introducing a little less sugar to school life and a bit more fruit, I opted to make a watermelon shark for the preschool party.  And, yes, I realise fruit contains natural sugar, but its also full of fiber, vitamins and nutrients, and its gotta be better than cake everyday right? In the least I enjoyed making it, and I think the kids had fun eating it to.

I originally saw a version of this on pinterest (I’m on there if you want to find me BTW) and I made my first watermelon shark for my youngest’s 1st birthday. It’s a bit like pumpkin carving, but unlike pumpkins, watermelons are plentiful in Singapore all year round, and a fraction of the cost.

So without further ado, here’s my step by step of how to make a watermelon shark.

step 1. slice the end off the watermelon at an angle

Step 1. Slice the end off at an angle.

1. Take one large watermelon and a large long sharp knife. Slice the end of the watermelon off on a slight diagonal. You want your watermelon to stand on this flat end and look like a shark head jumping up out of the water.

step 2 scoop out contents of melon

Step 2. Scoop out the flesh and seeds from your melon.

2. Scoop out the flesh of the melon. I save the flesh for eating and blending for smoothies. Leave a little flesh along the edge of the melon where the mouth will go as it adds a little extra gore as pink flesh or blood on the teeth!

step 4 cut a vertical wedge out of the side of the melon

Step 3. Cut a vertical wedge out of the side of the melon.

3. Cut a vertical wedge up from the bottom (open) end of the melon. This is where your shark’s fin is going to slot in. So this will be the back of the ‘head’ of your shark.

step 5 cut your melon lid aka sharks fin diagonally across

Step 4. Cut your sharks fin (melon lid) diagonally

4. Take the lid of your melon and cut diagonally in to approximately 2/3 and 1/3. This is going to be the shark’s fin.

step 6 carve out your shark's mouth jaws

Step 5. carve out the jaws with teeth

5. Carve out your sharks jaw with teeth. You can use a permanent marker pen to mark out the teeth as a guide. If you cut at an angle you see a bit more of the white flesh of the melon which looks more like teeth.

jaws!

JAWS!

step 7 carve out the eyes

Step 7. Carve out the eyes

6. Carve out the eyes. You’ll insert a blueberry here later so don’t worry too much about the shape. I do a triangle so it looks a bit like a cartoon scary sharks eye.

step 8 insert your shark's fin and plate up

Step 7. Insert your shark’s fin and plate up

7. Slot your fin into the wedge at the back of the head and plate your shark up. I have a large round plastic blue tray which was perfect. Last time I used a regular large plate and cut some blue card out in wavy strips and sellotaped them to the plate around the shark to look like waves. This time I arranged my bananas to look like waves!

shark head carved and on blue tray

Shark head on my blue plate, photo of the other side

step 9 arrange fruit inside the jaws and on the plate

Step 8. Arrange fruit inside the jaws and on the plate

8. Arrange your pre-washed fruit around the head. Put your blueberries into the ocular¬†cavities – which¬†sounds so gross but reminds me of my favourite film ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’. ¬†Peculiar humour moi? You can put grapes inside the head, strawberries, blueberries and bananas all around. The version I saw originally had watermelon balls in the head but I found this got very wet and messy!

I wonder if a punch bowl would fit inside for the grown-ups next time?… Rum fruit¬†punch with a bite!

watermelon shark bites!

Shark attack!

When only Oreo Cake will suffice…

I have been looking through my current favourite baking blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction for inspiration for middle son’s birthday cake, and here she is. ¬†The Oreo Cake. In all its glorious gooeyness.

Oreo Cake. Image copyright Sally’s Baking Addiction. Original recipe taken from Amanda Rettke, Suprise-Inside Cakes.

I think I am losing my inhibitions when it comes to cooking what I previously thought of as shamefully simple confectionery packed desserts. What a toffee nose! Of course there is a sense of achievement when you cook a dessert technically difficult, but hey,¬†I’m not on Master Chef. So, for now, masterchefs, keep your Sabayon, my reward is seeing the pure joy and pleasure my kids and friends get from a mouthful of straight-up soul food.

The party is Saturday, so off to shops to buy a bucket load of Oreo’s. Photo’s to follow ūüôā

Follow this link for the Oreo Cake recipe.

Oreo Cake is taken from Amanda Rettke’s Surprise-Inside Cakes available from¬†Amazon.

My adventures in East West fusion cooking…. the Kaya Brioche Bun

Kaya Pandan Buns

Kaya Pandan Brioche Buns

It had the makings of a pioneering culinary discovery, east meets west fusion cooking. Ladies and gentlemen I present the Kaya Pandan Brioche Bun. Could life get any sweeter? Middle son and me don’t think so.

Take one recipe for brioche, use the extracted pandan juice (see my pandan cake recipe to see how to extract the juice) from fresh pandan leaves to make the dough, and inject with Kaya jam ahead of cooking.

kaya brioche buns ready to bake

Ready to go in the oven

Kaya, and the Kaya bun are local Singaporean delights. Kaya is a jam made from egg yolks, coconut milk, and sugar and it looks a bit like lemon curd (for my UK readers).  We are big fans and have it spread on thick slices of white toast with plenty of butter. The perfect accompaniment to a morning cup of coffee.

Here’s what Wiki had to say…

Kaya, Serikaya or Srikaya (Malay: kaya; Indonesian: seri kaya; Tagalog: matam√≠s sa b√°o, matam√≠s na b√°o, or kalamay-hat√¨;Hokkien: ŚíĖŚźĒ ka-ia) is a food spread, a fruit curd made from a base of coconut milk, eggs and sugar. It is wildly popular in Southeast Asia, mainly in Malaysia and Singapore. The word kaya means rich in the Malay language and hence represents the texture of this popular food.
injecting kaya jam into brioche buns

Always one to have a go, me and two toddlers created the very first (as far as I know) Kaya Pandan Brioche Buns in our humble kitchen. It was fun, albeit messy.

The taste test…

To be honest, and I must be, they were a little dry. I did wonder where the jam had disapeared to in some of the buns, until my husband pointed out he had seen toddler#2 ‘express’ some of the buns straight to¬†the cooking tray bypassing¬†their jam injection.

Lesson learnt, more jam and in all the buns. I do also think I¬†need a different dough mix, perhaps Brioche and Kaya are not destined for one another. But….

Kaya Donuts (Doughnuts for us Brits)…now your talking!!

Black eyed bean and sausage one-pot (and meal plan)

black eyed bean and sausage one-pot

Yes Will.I.Am and Fergie, tonight was a good night…kiddies ate all their dinner (eventually) AND¬†I got to bed early, albeit in my son’s bed, and it was a more a case of dozing off balanced precariously on the¬†side of his¬†bed.¬†Parenting eh, you gotta take it as it comes.

Inspired by the organic food row in NTUC Finest @Bukit Timah Plaza, I purchased some black eyed beans today and had the forethought to boil them in advance for a hearty one-pot dinner.  I also  cooked up a vat of tomato, garlic and onion sauce using one of my immense 1.5kg cans of tinned tomatoes.

14 month old baby sitting next to tin of canned tomatoes

Baby to scale! 1.5kg tin of tomatoes from GIANT

The kids literally got their hands dirty and enjoyed pulping up the whole tomatoes for the sauce. So into the giant pan went approximately 200g of pre-cooked (till tender) black eyed beans, 6 halved pan-fried sausages, and 5 or so big ladles of tomato sauce (seasoned with sea salt and dried oregano). Simmer for 5-10 minutes and serve sprinkled with a little fresh parsley for the adults! FYI, the best place to buy fresh parsley and mint is the wholesale fruit and veg market. I get two large handfuls of each for $1.

pulping canned whole tomatoespulping whole canned tomatoes second image

 

 

Best news is the remainder of the sauce is frozen in two more dinner portions for making spaghetti bolognese, and secret seven tomato sauce for pizza later this week. Life just got a little easier.

Meal plan for this week is…

Day one – Black eyed beans and sausage one pot
Day two – Saffron chicken – a la Ariana Bundy
Day three – Creamy chicken (use left over chicken), spinach and roasted squash pasta
Day four – Spaghetti Bolognese
Day five – Home-made Pizza (using home-made dough and my secret seven tomato pasta sauce for the base)

 

 

Nigella’s Gloriously Simple Fatoush (Middle Eastern Green Salad)

Nigella Lawsons Feast cook book

Taken from one of my most loved cookbooks, Feast by Nigella Lawson. This Fatoush forms part of Nigella’s Mezze feast. If you buy just one of Nigella’s books buy this one.

The recipes are formatted into complete meal plans, starters, mains and desserts. So choosing a menu for a special evening or dinner party is a cinch! There are meal plans and recipes for religious holidays, children’s parties, romantic dinners for two, vegetarian dinners, and even a mezze¬†for twenty people. It covers pretty much all angles! Plus there is a delicious chapter dedicated to chocolate cakes in all their glorious forms. Every single time I’ve cooked from this book – I’ve received lots of compliments – mmmmmmms and yummmmms.

I love this Fatoush recipe because it is a great way to serve a green salad with a difference.

The simple addition of some herbs, chillies¬†and lime brings this salad to life. Whereas I would think twice about ‘just’ serving a green salad alongside a roast lamb joint, I have, and would serve a Fatoush as the main side. It’s simple and sophisticated. I’m not quoting this recipe word for word…but here are the essentials. Obviously presence of chillies means this isn’t a salad for the little guys.

Ingredients

4 spring onions
2 long green chillies (medium kick)
1 small to medium head of Cos or Romaine Lettuce
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt
1 ripe avocado
4 tbsp chopped coriander
4 tbsp torn mint (don’t chop it goes black)

Wash and finely slice the spring onions and chillies, put in a medium mixing bowl. Add zest and juice of lime, a good pinch of sea salt, and olive oil, give it all a mix. Clean and tear your lettuce into large bite size portions arrange on a large platter or in a bowl. De-seed avocado and scoop out flesh and arrange on top of lettuce. Chop coriander and tear mint leaves and scatter on top of salad. Finally generously scatter spring onion and chilli and dressing over the top of the salad. Enjoy!

Who wants to know…which Singapore international school for your child?

colouring by 4 year old

If I had a dollar for every time I heard or discussed this with expat parents, I might be able to afford the term fees of my kids schools!!

Mums talk to other mums (as we all know) and schooling is a hot topic. It seems no sooner have we weaned them, we are told we have to get cracking with registering them for preschool and school. In Weybridge (UK) where I used to live, I was told I had left it too late when my eldest was the grand old age of 1!! Singapore seems to be better, in that there are a raft of top notch pre-schools and schools on your doorstep. So you will definitely be able to get your child into an amazing school; probably with touch screen whiteboards, an Olympic size swimming pool, immersion mandarin lessons, and connections to Julliard school of music in New York don’t you know!. But how will you ever choose which one?

So your¬†starter questions might¬†be¬†… what curriculum are you looking for? where are you going to be living? what can you afford?…a question other mums won’t ask you…but you will certainly need to ask yourself!

You may¬†also want to consider the size of the school, ¬†do you like the attitude of the teachers? If needed, do they offer¬†special support for children with learning differences?…

Suffice to say I am not about to attempt to answer all of those questions, schooling is a very personal choice.

HOWEVER… because I am being helpful I¬†have done some homework for you and can tell you…

1. How much do these international schools charge for Primary school Year one (aged 4-5 years)?

pie chart showing singapore international school fees

SGD$ – This list is not exhaustive, correct at time of publication April 2015 (as far as I know!)

2. Where these schools are located in Singapore? Check out my schools map created with MapCreator.

3. What curriculums do these schools follow?

Hollandse School – Dutch
Dover Court International School – English National Curriculum
Canadian Intl School Р International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
Stamford American International School –¬†¬†IB PYP¬†integrated with American Education Reaches Out
United World College SEA – “The UWC curriculum”*
Australian International School –¬†International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
Dulwich College – English Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum (EYFS)
Overseas Family School -International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
St Josephs Intl – International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
Tanglin Trust – English National Curriculum
Avondale Grammar School – Autralian
GEMS World Academy –¬†International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
Nexus International School – International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
International School Singapore – International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme

Additions & Updates:
German European School Singapore –¬†International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
Singapore American School –¬†The Singapore American School Early Childhood Center accredited by the Western Association of School and Colleges out of the United States. An international curriculum aligned with the Pre-Kindergarten Standards document out of the United States.
*UWC have withdrawn from IB PYP. On their website regarding Infant school it states “The academic curriculum is structured around a holistic, inquiry-based approach to learning. Guided by the UWCSEA profile and learning principles, students study literacy, mathematics, Chinese (or Spanish from Grade 1), science, social studies, the Arts and PE.”

One last tip is that all of the schools are eager to acquire new minds… so they are more than happy to meet prospective parents and many run open days. So call them up and have a chat, go visit one or two, or three of four. By all means chat to other parents, but I would recommend reserving judgement until you have visited¬†the schools for yourself.

Please let me know if you found this post helpful in the comments section below. Cheers!

 

What a Mezze! Meal Plan and Recipes

dinner party with friends

Dinner party’s are such fun and whilst lots of work, nothing beats feeding an appreciative crowd. I often turn to the queens of cookery for inspiring¬†dinner party dishes, and did again to food temptress Nigella Lawson and the original bad girl Martha Stewart for Saturday. There was enough food to make a whole week’s meal plan out of – no joke! So my lovely readers… break it down!

cucumber pomegranate salad

Cucumber and Pomegranate Salad

deseeding a cucumber

Day one – Lemon and Herb Pork Chops, Fatoush and Nutty Quinoa
Day two – Baba Ganoush, Red Kidney Bean Dip, Olives, Pomegranate & Cucumber Salad, and Pitta
Day three – Oven Roasted Sea Bass with Potatoes, Red Pepper, Anchovies and Garlic (this is Rick Stein’s actually… )
Day four – Chocolate Ganache Tart with Chewy Citroen Base (who’s even thinking about the main with this dessert on the horizon?!!) Do my Vertigo Burgers if you are stuck for ideas ūüėČ
Day five- Sweet Potato and Pork Mild Nonya Curry (made with remaining uncooked pork from day one)

Thank you Martha

Thank you Martha