{Travel Adventures} – Siem Reap, Cambodia. Day 4!

Wow! Day 4 already! I hope you have been enjoying the events that had happened to me while in Cambodia and here goes the next adventure…. Enjoy!

Nothing major happened in Day 4. We woke up rather early to head down to Soup Kitchen to prepare lunch for the villagers. It was Monday, therefore we did not need to pack excessive amount of food for delivery. This time the villagers would make their way to the kitchen for lunch! The volunteers would prepare the ingredients and serve them. I was on egg duty that day! The children and adults who came were organized and patient and they could eat a massive amount of rice! IMG_8913

We started lunch service at 12 noon and ended at around 2pm. Then all the volunteers would have lunch together. I met some pretty cool people on that day! I met this lovely lady from Guangzhou, China. She was a solo traveller, travelling in South East Asia for 6 months. I admire her for doing so, as it was such a brave move to be travelling alone, let alone she is a female. Amazing. Another cheerful lady I met was a fellow Singaporean, teaching at the school next to the kitchen. She shared her experiences in Cambodia and so did I.

The afternoon went by rather quickly as An, Juliana and I were chilling at Uncle Rahim’s villa. We went out for dinner at a cozy Italian restaurant, which served delicious food! I enjoyed my meal. We spent the night chatting and laughing away and it was soon the end of Day 4.

I was so satisfied with the meal! I think the pizza would do the explaining!
I was so satisfied with the meal! I think the pizza would do the explaining!

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Day 4 was probably a more memorable day as it was the last day we would be helping in the Soup Kitchen. I met some incredible people with such inspiring thoughts and actions and that moment I was really glad that I was there to experience all these. I could not say it is once-in-a-lifetime experience because I would really want to experience it all over again and hope I could make that day come soon again!

And with all being said, here are some pictures taken on Day 4.

She is the amazing Bonet! The cook that prepares all the meals in the kitchen!
She is the amazing Bonet! The cook that prepares all the meals in the kitchen!

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We were all chilling at the gorgeous villa that belongs to Uncle Rahim!
We were all chilling at the gorgeous villa that belongs to Uncle Rahim!

That’s all for the day! Look forward to Day 5, 6 and 7 as we would be temple visiting! Till then, Ciao~

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Smile! Because you’re beautiful/handsome.

At times, people forget to smile. Perhaps they forgot or they are too busy to do so. I fear for these people.
For me, personally, I would make it a point to smile a little for a short while in a day. Why you might think.. Well, I just love to smile and people should never stop doing that!
A smile brings charm and shine to one. It’s beautiful and natural!
So start smiling today and show those pearly whites! 🙂

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Breakfast and Lunch for under $8; Part 1!

You must have guessed from the title about the content of this post. Yes, indeed I have spent under $8 for breakfast and lunch.

A few days ago, I set a challenge for myself; it is to spend $8 or less on fresh produces for breakfast and lunch. I was actually pretty pessimistic at first, however I went ahead with the idea.

So firstly, I strategized my trip. It was either to visit the market or supermarket. If I wanted to get the cheapest and freshest item, I would visit the market. If I prefered convenience, then supermarket it is. I picked cheapest and freshest, as I would have a variety of produce and cheap bargains!

Next, the dish I would prepare. I want both meals to include all the nutrients that one needs as I want to prepare a healthy and nutritious meal. However, here comes the issue. If I were to purchase poultry or meat, it would limit my vegetable choices, therefore I came to a conclusion that I would make both meals vegetarian! (Note: I have notice that some people might have the misconception that vegetarian meals are unappetizing and unpleasant. There are many variations that is made possible with cooking vegetables and meatless meals. The meals are as fulfilling and yummy as those with meat! So for those who have these misconceptions, I beg to differ. :D)

Lastly, it was executing the whole idea of spending $8 or less for breakfast and lunch. I made a trip down to the market on a bustling Saturday morning, in order to shop for my ingredients. What I decided to cook was baked eggs in muffin tins for breakfast and tofu salad with fries as side for lunch. Do not underestimate the names of these dishes as they stuffed my tummy very well and I believed they filled my stomach to the brim.

The first store I visited was the tofu store. I was looking for firm tofu as they were much easier to handle and they were rich in calcium and protein. There is a store that sells fresh-made tofu. I was delighted when I found that store. The tofu was $0.60/60 cents for a large piece. I was greedy so, I bought 1 large piece.

The tofu are sold on trays, whereby the lovely lady would pack the tofu into a plastic bag when you purchase it.
The tofu are sold on trays, whereby the lovely lady would pack the tofu into a plastic bag when you purchase it.

After I got the tofu, I had $7.40 left. I spotted a store that sells eggs next to the tofu. I did not need a full tray of eggs, so I went to buy loose eggs. I bought 3 for $0.75. Now, I was left with $6.65. I was getting hyped up with the amount of food I have bought and needed to be bought. I patronized the vegetable store next. I got 1 red onion, 1 red and 1 yellow capsicum, 1 sweet potato, 1 packet of green beans, 1 carrot and 2 potatoes. They total up to $6.20. So my current balance was $0.45. And that was the end of my shopping trip. I got everything I needed and sufficient to feed myself with leftovers. cc089acd7849e21c3421927bc6b8b758 9c22478a5360f3adea1961bf0e961b1a

When I got back home, I was very satisfied with myself for pulling off such a task! I already had the basic seasoning I needed at home, those are salt, pepper and oil. Those are pretty much everything I need for seasoning my food!

That would be all for part 1 of this budget meal! I believe if I can produce healthy meals for under $8, you can too. It never was easy, however if you never try, you will never know. I was glad that I gave myself such task. It was really random but very interesting and entertaining. I suppose I would try this task again but with more limited resource.

I hope you have found this as interesting as I have and tune in for Part 2 for the breakfast! Till the next time, Ciao~

{Travel Adventures}- Cambodia, Siem Reap. Day 3!

Day 3 in Cambodia was a little less hectic than Day 2. We started the day a little later than the day before. We headed to Uncle Rahim’s villa for breakfast. Uncle Rahim is a friend of An. He is a hilarious guy, very humble and very compassionate. He runs a stunning villa which we do not have the opportunity to stay in as it was fully booked. (I would put a link at the bottom of the post for more reference of his villa!) He introduced us to KSEDO, an orphanage that is run by him! We were going to cook and serve the children there lunch, hence the introduction of KSEDO.

We had traditional Khmer breakfast. We had noodle soup I think… I apologize for not recalling or taking any pictures. Pardon me as it was the morning. 🙂

After breakfast, we headed to a Cambodian local wet market. It was really wet and so foreign as they were selling some exotic items. Items such as live catfish, live ducks and chickens, fresh fish and shrimp paste with strong pungent smell. I was culture-shock. I have never encounter such scene in Singapore, however I was glad that I managed to visit their local market as it was an eye-opener to many things. We bought our ingredients for the meals in KSEDO. The menu was decided in a blink of an eye, it was cabbage soup, fried chicken and rice.

Fresh vegetables sold in the market.
Fresh vegetables sold in the market.
Fresh poultry that are being butchered on the spot.
Fresh poultry that are being butchered on the spot.

We set off to KSEDO when we were done purchasing fresh produces. KSEDO was a short ride from the market, in a quiet village in Siem Reap.

The moment we walked into the compound, we could see children playing soccer and having fun. They seem to be enjoying life! We settled our ingredients immediately in the kitchen as it would be the children’s meal-time soon. Uncle Rahim put me in charge for the soup, so I got down to business instantly.

The kitchen was a traditional kitchen, using firewood for the fire. I got no control of the fire, therefore I just had improvise! I stir-fry the onions and carrots for aroma first, then we poured a huge basin of water into the pot. It took a while for the water to boil, therefore meanwhile, Juliana and I took a walk around the orphanage.

The traditional kitchen that I cooked in...
The traditional kitchen that I cooked in…
It was such an adventure to cook in a traditional kitchen, as I am so used to cooking in a well-equipped kitchen.
It was such an adventure to cook in a traditional kitchen, as I am so used to cooking in a well-equipped kitchen.
The simple classroom that the children study in.
The simple classroom that the children study in.
They grew spring onion and many other vegetables in their little garden. It is a beautiful garden with fresh and vibrant flowers.
They grew spring onion and many other vegetables in their little garden. It is a beautiful garden with fresh and vibrant flowers.
I was very surprised when I was told that they grew mushrooms!
I was very surprised when I was told that they grew mushrooms!

The tour in the orphanage was an eyeopener to me. They kept pigs as pet, a really big pig, grew mushrooms and vegetables. It was all very simple, good simple.

Once the water for the soup was boiling, we poured in the cabbages and soon it was ready. By the time we were done with cooking, the children were all gathered at the table, ready for lunch. We served the food in a plate with different compartments and distributed them to the hungry children. We had lots of chicken left, hence the children get a second serving of chicken. I gladly agreed to distribute the chicken to the children. They were so kind and thankful and I had no choice but to give them more!

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Uncle Rahim did his job as the server as well.
Uncle Rahim did his job as the server as well.

Shortly, after we served the food, it was time to part. Though the time we spent with them were limited, I had a great time preparing the meals and serving them!

If you think this is the end of the day, you are wrong.

So An introduced me as the baker to Uncle Rahim, and he instantly got an idea to purchase an oven for his villa. He suggested that I teach his staff how to bake. I thought he was joking, however reality hit when we were at the departmental store, viewing at various ovens on sale.

The stressful process of purchasing the RIGHT oven.
The stressful process of purchasing the RIGHT oven.

After the thorough checks and getting a $4 discount, we walked out of the departmental store with an oven. I still thought he was joking… Then, we took a tuk-tuk to the supermarket, to purchase the ingredients for vanilla cupcakes.

We gathered all the ingredients, paid for it and off to the villa! I was somewhat excited and worried in one way or another. As the kitchen I was going to be baking in was unfamiliar to me and I kept thinking to myself ‘I cannot fail.’; hence the pressure was there somehow. However I went on with teaching Uncle Rahim’s staff how to bake basic cupcakes. We were an awkward bunch. But Uncle Rahim’s staff are so smart! I showed them the steps and asked them to give it a try. They grasped all the information that I said, such as creaming the butter and sugar, and did exactly what I showed them. They are very quick learners! They now could have many variation of cupcakes, like rose flavoured and coloured cupcakes and orange flavoured cupcakes.

My 'students' for that day. It was memorable and entertaining.
My ‘students’ for that day. It was memorable and entertaining.

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The end product. The exterior of cupcakes did have some cracks, however it was moist and soft in the inside.
The end product. The exterior of cupcakes did have some cracks, however it was moist and soft in the inside.

It is a fairly simple recipe that anyone could do!

Vanilla Cupcake

Ingredients 

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flou
  • 3eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each one. Stir in the vanilla and flour just until mixed. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter.

I was so pleased that everything went smoothly and that nothing disastrous happened. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be baking in a foreign country, let alone teach people how to bake there. The feeling of sharing my passion with others really brings joy and happiness and I hope to do many of that in the future!

We had the cupcakes for tea-break and had japanese food for dinner! It was a very scrumptious meal that everyone enjoyed!

Selfie!!
Selfie!!

After a good meal, it was time for bed… We ended the night with a calm and good note.

Day 3 was very relaxing and fun! I would definitely want to experience this whole day again, the baking, the cooking and the eating. I made many new friends and broaden my knowledge and my understanding in life. It was a great day.

Oh! And the link to the gorgeous villa by Uncle Rahim:  http://www.poolpalm.com/?p=home He and Uncle Cees (business partner) put their heart and soul into this villa. It really is gorgeous, I am not kidding. The pool is lovely and the ambiance is calm and quiet.

 

Must-have apps on my iPhone!

Yes, this is a random post that I thought I share! So you have probably guessed what this post is going to be about …. The apps on my phone!

A little information on my iPhone. I am currently using a black iPhone 5 and have no intention of changing it into iPhone 6. I have no idea but I have grown very attached to my phone. My phone case was purchased a few days after I received my iPhone, which was about 3 years ago.

What I really love about this case is the zebra!
What I really love about this case is the zebra!

Alright, enough with the introduction! There are 8 apps that I personally love and could not do without it!

  1. MOST IMPORTANT! Whenever a word that I am unfamiliar with pops into my head, boom! I take out my handy device and check the word out! photo copy dic
  2. My second favourite and most loved app would be…. PicsArt! It is an app where you could edit your pictures, insert some quirky texts or add effects onto the picture. I really like this app because I could be an artist for a few minutes of my live! 😀  photo 1 copy
  3. After photography, it would be music! TubeUp is a must-have for me because I could instantly install music on my phone, anywhere and anytime. However only 15 songs could be installed at once. No more than 15… Nonetheless, it’s my favourite as I could not always find the time to connect to Itunes on my computer, therefore TubeUp is a great help to me! photo 2 copy tu
  4. Okay… Now, onto social media! It’s not Facebook nor Twitter, it’s Instagram! I login to Instagram everyday, without fail. Call me Insta-addict because I just really love looking at pictures from people around the world, with their short caption that could explain so much. So if you would like to take a look at my Instagram account, it’s Peigee. photo 2 copy i
  5. The next social media has to do with picture as well! Its Snapchat! Snapchat has these Story segment where you could view your friend’s day. And sometimes, you might be amused with their lives! photo 2 copy sc
  6. Another social media which is recognized worldwide and my must-have is Youtube! It is such a broad platform for videos, very educational and interesting! I learnt some of my recipes from Youtube! photo 2 copy you

   7. & 8. are the same content app on my phone, therefore I merge them together! These apps are the news. They are Channel NewsAsia and CNN. I would never delete these apps from my phone as it notifies me about the latest news happening around the world, even when I am not in Singapore. Therefore it is a must-have for me! photo

Ta-Da! My 8 must-have apps on my iPhone 5! I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and I will see you soon! Till the next time, Ciao~

{Travel Adventures} Siem Reap, Cambodia, Day 2!

Have you read my Cambodia adventures, Day 1? Well, I hope you have and so here’s day 2! Day 2 was a much longer day as compared to Day 1! But it was so much more interesting as well!

Before we start, let me talk more about what I learnt so far in Siem Reap. Transportation for us was tuk-tuk. All-day, every day we travelled in Tuk-tuk. It is a motorcycle with a carriage attached at the back of it. It could comfortably sit 4 people. Cambodians do not eat spicy food. I was craving for a little spice in Cambodia, however food there is sweet, sour and salty. No spicy!

Alright, now carry on with the events of Day 2…

We awoke early that morning, about 6AM! We were heading to Soup Kitchen to prepare food for the villagers. I will talk more about Soup Kitchen at the bottom of this post, so carry on reading to find out! 🙂

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Fresh and ready to help out at the Soup Kitchen!

We took a tuk-tuk out to the Kitchen. It was a smooth and breezy morning; hence it made the journey there enjoyable. When we arrived, many other volunteers were already on task. It was then, I made even more friends; friends from all around the world. But, there was one person that stood out the most. He would appear quite a lot in the following days, so be sure to remember him because he made quite an impression on me. So he is Uncle Eiffel. He is rather obnoxious, pretty loud as well. Despite all those traits, he is a helpful, cheerful and a very kind person with a very big heart and also, he looked extremely young even though he was way older than I thought he was. Hence the reason why I called him Uncle! Uncle Eiffel, if you are reading this, Hello, hope you are well!

We quickly found a spot among the others and got down to business! It was a Saturday then, and on every Saturday, Aunty Mavis (Person-in-charge of the Soup Kitchen), would prepare food and deliver the packed food to the villages. It is a bigger affair as compared to the weekdays, whereby they cook the food and serve to the villagers who visit the Soup Kitchen.

So on Saturday, the cook, Bonet, would prepare triple the amount of food to be packed and delivered to the villagers. The amount of food we prepared that Saturday was massive. There was so much to be chopped, cleaned and cooked. That Saturday passed very quickly as the prepping for the delivery took all morning till noon. Then the volunteers would have a quick lunch from the food that was prepared then the packing of the food. The menu that day was green vegetables curry, omelet and the staple of every Cambodian meal, rice.

We chopped sweet potatoes and onions for the curry.
We chopped sweet potatoes and onions for the curry.
Cabbages being washed...
Cabbages being washed…
The chef, Bonet, cooking big pots of green curry! I salute her for the huge pot of curry she cooked.
The chef, Bonet, cooking big pots of green curry! I salute her for the huge pot of curry she cooked.
In the end, Bonet and I cooked 3 huge pots of curry! I might have grown some muscles!
In the end, Bonet and I cooked 3 huge pots of curry! I might have grown some muscles!

We packed a total of 700 sets of rice, curry and omelets. We spent another few hours packing the food, then it was delivery time. We loaded the truck that was meant to bring us around the village to deliver the food. The truck was not any truck you would see. It was like a carriage, like the tuk-tuk but longer, and attached to a motorcycle. After we loaded the truck, with all the food, it was off to the village for delivery. 

Accuration of the amount of rice is very important.
Accuration of the amount of rice is very important.
The packed food ready to be given to the villagers.
The packed food ready to be given to the villagers.
The loaded food truck!
The loaded food truck!

So, Aunty Mavis, who runs the Soup Kitchen, keeps a record of the villagers to give the food to. With every stop, she would take a moment and have a chat with the people. She would give them her utmost attention and she even provides them with basic medical care. She would carry a first-aid kit around an apply medication when she sees wounds on them. She is such an incredible woman, very brave as well.

The basic medical care...
The basic medical care…

We travelled for about 20 minutes to reach the suburbs. It was then; I witnessed a sight I have never seen before. Children were chasing the truck we were on barefooted when we passed by their community. Some even held onto the truck. Everyone on the truck were so worried for them, worrying that they might hurt themselves. They did not stop chasing till we reached another community. They started crowding the truck and I soon realized that they were chasing the truck for the food. Unfortunately we could not give them any until we are done distributing to the villagers.

Aunty Mavis communicated a little with the children and they listened obediently and got into a line, in hopes for a chance to be eating today. After we distributed to the villagers, we had a little extras, enough to give to the children who were waiting patiently in line. We still have other communities to distribute the food to; therefore we had to disappoint some children, as we do not have enough to feed them all.

The children in line, queuing for food...
The children in line, queuing for food…
Food distribution!
Food distribution!

The ride to the next community was pretty mundane till something got caught in the front wheel of the motorcycle. The motorcyclist slowed down to check what the issue was. And to our horror, a fork got caught in the wheel, which caused the wheel to be punctured. Some of us on the truck began to panic as we were in the middle of nowhere. Our phones had no service and Aunty Mavis was way ahead of us. I actually thought I might have to walk out to the city. I guess Aunty Mavis noticed that the food truck was not following behind her, and hence she made a detour to find us. We were told that there was a man who could help us with our problem, however he had to come to us, as it would be a very difficult task to push the food truck to him. (And unfortunately I did not capture any pictures of our little mishap…)

In the end, our driver went to look for the serviceman and while we were waiting for the new wheel, we distributed food to the villagers, chatted with them and observed their everyday life. It was the evening when our truck was fixed and moveable. We said our goodbyes to the villages and headed straight back to the city as the sun had already set.

The rest of the evening were having dinner and getting a massage. An, Juilana and I were famished when it was time for dinner. We did not even take any pictures of our food as we dug into our food the moment the dishes landed on our table. The massage was comforting after a long day. Then it was time to head back to our guesthouse and rest for the night.

Day 2 in Siem Reap was a pretty harsh start to our journey in Cambodia as the whole day was used to prepare food for the villagers. Nonetheless, the smiles on the villagers when they received their meals were priceless. It is something I would love to experience again. And Aunty Mavis, I really admire her courage and bravery to start The Soup Kitchen in Siem Reap. She was brave enough to leave the security and the comfort of her own country to venture out to Cambodia to provide for the people and she was courageous enough to start The Soup Kitchen, which in a foreign country. She left such a deep impression on me and now, she became an inspiration as well.

That’s all for Day 2! A pretty hectic day I must say, the following days in Cambodia are less eventful, yet still exciting and interesting. So stay tune and till the next time, Ciao~

Oh! And enjoy the photos that I took on Day 2… 😀

The amount of coconut milk she used, scares me...
The amount of coconut milk she used, scares me…

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The Moment of Truth.

Remember all the previous blog post on my final examinations? I anticipated every paper as my mentality was wanting to get this examination done and over with.

Now, after 2 months of post exams fun, it is the moment of truth. On the 12 of January 2015, i am getting my results.

When I got the news from my teacher, loads of emotions swept through me, but one emotion stood out the most. I was overwhelmed. 

I guess most people would go through this stage once in their life and for those who were brave, strong and firm, kudos to you! Now tell me how did you overcome such event…?

I just wanted to share with you my feelings on results day, I hope you understand where I am coming from… Wish me luck!