Enjoy her first -- and slightly wonky -- attempt at making a Prezi presentation on her first American cruise.
|Oh Canada! Our home and lovely land (for a week)|
|Oh Canada! Our home and lovely land (for a week)|
|Learning to bid at a neighborhood charity auction with Ah Ma|
As a child, I liked my orange peel salty, sour and sweet
|Chongfu: The big school on the block|
|Thian Hock Keng was built with donations from Chinese immigrants grateful for safe travels from the motherland|
|The cross-generational appeal of half-boiled eggs and coffee-shop coffee|
|In the 30 years since I'd left, Telok Ayer Green has been spruced up to include bronze statues of coolie immigrant life in colonial times|
Ah Gong and his giant homemade starfruit juice strainer at the back of our shophouse
|Telok Ayer the way I will always remember it|
Honing my cooking skills
Before Geneva, there was Tokyo. It was a time where I learnt how to cook rice. You may think: How difficult can it be? For me, it was rather challenging as I never found the need to learn how to cook while living with my parents back in Singapore.
Armed with my basic cooking skills from Tokyo, I took on Geneva with confidence only to come crushing down when I learned that Asian ingredients are often hard to come by and expensive when they do. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, so I trawled the internet looking for easy-to-cook recipes that are suited for a noob cook like me.
Making local carrot cake from scratch
I took a keen interest in food blogs and found myself salivating over the gorgeous food pictures. So with time on my hands, I started to dabble in baking. I found myself investing in a hand-whisk, food blender, processor and baking mats, to name a few tools. I never quite imagined myself loving the time spent in the kitchen but as my baked goods started looking decent enough to be eaten, I decided to document my baking and cooking adventures by putting what I cooked/ baked in front of a camera lens and photographing them.
Looking back, I think I’m really grateful to be able to be given this opportunity to hone my cooking and, along the way, photography skills. I don’t know whether this will continue when we return to Singapore but for now, I’m pretty pleased with how my baked goods and cooked food have been turning out.
Having lived in concrete jungles for a good part of my life, I was never one with nature. But ever since I moved to Geneva, I slowly started to appreciate the changing seasons and the wonderful scenes that Mother Nature brings along with them. During my supermarket runs, I find myself taking a leisurely walk and just taking in what nature has to offer.
We’ve been given the wonderful opportunity to travel extensively, to see other beautiful parts of Europe and what these other cities and towns have to offer. Geneva is really the perfect springboard for us to fly, drive or train to most cities in Europe. During our stay here, we’ve covered Austria, Spain, Italy and France, among other countries.
Taking part in Oktoberfest in a traditonal Dirndl costume
I’m definitely looking forward to December for that means that we will be hitting the slopes and indulging in one of our favourite wintersports – snowboarding!
I could go on and on with my long laundry list of the other things that I’m thankful for. But, the one big thing I’m truly thankful for is having family and friends who have supported us on this journey.
So raise your glasses and join me as we bid farewell to 2011 and wish you all the very best in the New Year!
When we first moved to Geneva, friends talked about shopping for their produce at the weekly farmers’ markets happening in Geneva or the neighbouring towns around Geneva for produce found at these markets is renowned for being locally grown and is often at its peak of freshness. I must say the concept of a farmers’ market sounded refreshingly interesting to me. It’s basically an indoor or outdoor market consisting of individual vendors - mostly farmers - who set up booths or stands to sell their produce, meat products, fruits and sometimes prepared foods and beverages.
In Singapore, we have a similar sort of market as well. Known as “wet markets”, a huge variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, flowers, dried goods and spices, clothes and even household items can be bought there. The term “wet markets” came about for the markets are literally doused with water continually to keep the facilities clean.
"Wet markets" in Singapore
I thought shopping for local produce to stock up on our weekly groceries at the farmers market here in Geneva should be a walk in the park for me since it shouldn’t be quite different from the shopping done in our wet markets. However, my couple of experiences of the farmers’ markets didn’t leave me an instant first impression. I’ve visited the Carouge market which had about ten or twelve stands. It was pretty small and the variety of produce available wasn’t that great. Then there was a bigger market in Rive, the downtown shopping area but I’ve often found the produce available there is overpriced.
A local farmers' market at Carouge
Undeterred by my first couple of experiences, I decided to ask around and found out that there was a bigger farmers’ market that’s opened on Sundays located at Divonne-les-Bains, a town in the Rhone-Alps, France. The idea that a market could remain opened on a Sunday excited me very much for in most parts of Switzerland, the grocery stores are shut. If we decide to stay in Geneva over the weekend, I usually have to plan ahead the dinner menus for the weekend. I bugged J and we were off to Divonne for some fresh produce that very day.
We got an early head-start for most of the farmers’ markets are fully operational from 9am. Getting to the markets early also meant that you are assured of the freshest produce. When we arrived at the farmers’ market in Divonne, we were greeted by throngs of people and there was a general buzz about the place which was so different from the ones that I had found in Geneva. Stalls stretched from the town’s centre and branched into the side streets; for once, I didn’t know where to start. But we remained cool and collected. Armed with our dinner menu in hand, we started to make our way into the crowds.
My eyes darted around the stalls. All the food looked so much healthier and twice as luscious compared to the produce that we could find in the supermarkets in Geneva. We walked on and we saw fresh farm eggs that are almost double the size of the ones back in Geneva. We grabbed a dozen of those for they would come in handy for baking. We walked further and started putting in our bags fresh vegetables that we could use for our stew.
J making friends with the wine-maker and enjoying the spoils of the day
For the first time, I experienced the warm French hospitality here at the farmers’ market in Divonne where stall-owners handed us complimentary tastings of ham and cheese, and attempted to chat with us in whatever little English they could muster. J got to chat with a winemaker and sampled some of the French wine that he made. We ended up with a couple of bottles of the wine purchased at for a fantastic deal thanks to the easy friendship that he had with the winemaker himself.
Before we knew it, our shopping bags were filled with the entire week’s lunches and dinners. I was pleased with what we scored. So we loaded the boot with the week’s marketing and headed back to the farmers’ market to purchase some freshly baked bread, a selection of hams and cheese, which made for a great light meal for lunch by the side-walk.
Packing up when the day is over
This shopping expedition to the farmers market at Divonne kind of reminded me of home, granted that I’m not able to get a hold of other fresh meats and seafood, but the experience felt pretty close.