Monday, April 25, 2016

My Mother's Day Celebration at The Fullerton Hotel

If there is an occasion or person worth celebrating, I would definitely choose celebrating our dear Mothers. Perhaps being a mother myself has made me realise the immeasurable scarifies that this role has to play. So I cannot stress enough about being more appreciative towards these wonderful ladies in our lives.  

Sure, there are many ways we can do to brighten her special day. Be it a bouquet of flowers or a nice dinner out or even just baking a cake for her, it is truly the thought that counts. But if you are planning for something extra special this year, perhaps a lovely staycation might just fit the bill. Let her enjoy time away from home and the endless household chores. But, not just any staycation, offer her one of the most luxurious hotels in Singapore, a 5 star hotel with services that will make her feel like a queen throughout.Yes please!
The Fullerton Hotel

The Fullerton Hotel is now offering a Mother's Day Stay, Spa and Dine package. A tailored room package complemented with pampering treatments, gastronomic feasts and attentive service, all specially designed for the lady of the household. 

From S$538* per night for a Strait Club Courtyard Room, the package features the following elements:
  • Privileged access to the hotel's executive lounge, The Straits Club for two persons
Guests will get to enjoy complimentary daily Champagne buffet breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapés at The Straits Club
  • The Fullerton Spa's signature 60-minute Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience for one person (I say buy another one and enjoy some spa treatment yourself too!)
  • S$90 nett Dinning Credit to spend at The Fullerton Hotel and The Fullerton Bay Hotel
  • A bouquet of flowers to commemorate the occasion 
  • Complimentary late check-out at 2.00 p.m.
  • Complimentary Internet connectivity
*Rate is subjected to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes. Rooms are subject to availability and advanced reservations are required. Not valid in conjunction with other promotions and discounts.

I was invited to enjoy this special Mother's Day package over the last weekend with my family. It was unfortunate that my dear mother could not join me this time as she recently went through a medical procedure. But I did promise to make it up to her, perhaps to bring her back to The Fullerton Hotel again when she's feeling better. 

Many thanks to The Fullerton Hotel for catering to the needs of my family and making the special arrangements, even on a busy weekend timing.
Town Restaurant
We arrived an hour earlier then the usual check in time but we were still warmly welcomed by the hotel staff. We were then led up to the 4th floor where The Straits Club is located. The check in was swift, I was briefed more on The Straits Club privileges as well as the dinning hours.

Since not every hotel guests get to access The Straits Club,  a special gold card was given to us upon check in. This card allows only the hotel guests that stays in one of the 28 suites on that level, to have the 4th floor lift access. Feeling all special already!
The Straits Club entrance
Since the staff was still getting our room ready, we went ahead to have some light snacks and tea in the dinning area which is right behind the checkin desks.
Buffet Tea reception
Although the buffet spread is not extensive, it still offers enough gourmet bites that are sure to satisfy the sweet and the savoury lovers. I especially enjoyed their warm and buttery cranberry scones with cold French butter and jams. But I was pleasantly surprise to find that they also offer quite a good range of Nonya Kuehs and local cakes on the buffet table. There are also gourmet teas and coffees available which guests can order from the staff.
Nonya Kuehs and traditional cakes offered at the tea reception 
There was natural lighting coming into the rooms, the quaint ambience with soft classical music at the background, made the space really inviting. I like that old colonial and Peranakan touch to the design throughout the whole hotel. Pretty much like Singapore in the olden seventies timing but with a touch of modern classic to it.
The Reading Room
Love The Reading room! Wish my living room looks like that. Besides the books, there is also a 50 inch big screen TV in there.

After we had our fill with all the teas and desserts, we finally went to check out our bedroom. 
Our home for the night
The bedroom size is decent, and more importantly it was clean and bright. Bed was nicely made, and guests were encouraged to select their pillow types. All you need was to do was call room service and inform them of your choice, and they will delivery the fluffy pillows to you soonest. 

Another plus was their big washroom, where the toilet(on the left which in not in the picture) is separated from the bath area. Clean soaking tub which is great since I always enjoy using it with a nice bubble soak. And I must say this is one of the few hotels that has a sofa stool in the bathroom. Thanks for sparing a thought for us ladies and letting us resting our legs while we slowly doll ourselves up haha! Yes, I sat there to flow dry my hair, do my makeup etc.

The beautiful Bay view from our bedroom. That's the Fullerton Bay Hotel on the right.
The hotel even prepared a bouquet of flowers for the Mommy for this special occasion.  How sweet! There was even a complimentary basket of fruits and bottle of wine for us to enjoy.
Note that the plush bear is not complimentary. However with every purchase of the plush bear, $10 will be donated to the Singapore Council of Women's Organisation (SCWO). I already own 4 different plush bears from Fullerton Hotel!

The kids decided to have a quick swim after lazing around in the room. So we all headed to  level 2, where this majestic looking swimming pool is located.
The majestic architecture next to the pool gives off such an ancient European vibe to the place.

The swimming pool is heated, so even if you fancy an early morning swim, you won't have any problem getting in it. However it does not have kids pool, so best you suit up your kids with those floats. But still a nice pool overall, enough to let you enjoy some water time and escape from the heat. I do suggest going before noon time as the sun will start shinning on to the pool area after that, well unless you want a tan!

While the kids had their swim, I decided to go for my massage.

The Fullerton Spa located at level 1M
The Mother's Day package includes The Fullerton Spa's signature 60-minute Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience, so make sure you call the front desk to make your reservations ahead to get your preferred timing. 
The waiting area where guests will fill up the questionnaire.
The spa treatment started with some questionnaire so the masseuse can better understand how to serve you better. I was soon brought to the massage suite (there are 7) to change and get ready for the treatment.
The massage bed which is heated. Dim lightings and a pleasant lemongrass scent perfuming the room.
Pail of warm scented water for the guest to soak their feet.
Overall quite a relaxing and peaceful experience at the spa. Although it was a little cold there, but good thing the massage bed is heated! For someone that is not really into spa and massages, I have this say it was overall quite an enjoyable one. They even have couple massage room, so you can buy an additional spa treatment and enjoy the massage with your mother. 

There will be an ongoing promotion from 1st of May to the 31st, exclusively from Mondays to Thursdays, enjoy 20 percent off their 2-in-1 special massage combo which includes their Back Relief Massage (30 minutes) and Essential Rose Facial (60 minutes). Click here to find out more about their ongoing promotions.

After a nice spa treatment, we decided to make use of our dinning voucher ($90) and made reservations to dine at The Lighthouse restaurant, which is located at the 8th level of the hotel. 
Entrance to The Lighthouse restaurant at Level 8 (there is lift access)
Even though it was late at 9 p.m. , the place was still quite packed. Mostly couples that are seated near the window where they can enjoy the lovely night scene with their partner. So if you plan to have a window seat with the amazing view, you will need to call days ahead to make the reservations. But if it is with dear mummy, I guess she will be always. 

We ordered our food and it took less then 15 minutes to arrive. We even had some warm fresh baked bread to enjoy while waiting. Here are the dishes we ordered. 
Rigatoni with beef bourguignon
White asparagus, Pancetta and thin sliced pork belly in cream sauce over thin egg pasta

House made gnocchi with basil tomato sauce

Spartan pork chops topped with caramelised onions

Above the restaurant is a rooftop access area where hotel guests can enjoy some drinks and cocktails al fresco style. From there you will also enjoy the spectacular night views of the Bay and the laser shows from MBS. 
The spectacular night scene from the roof top.

Feeling satisfied, we headed back to our rooms and had a really restful night. Thank goodness it was quiet and bed was so comfy and so glad I chose the down pillows! Felt like sleeping on clouds. 

Yes, being a mummy, I have internal clocks that wakes me up early in the morning. Even on holiday! But I was glad I made my way back here to the rooftop to get a couple more photos of beautiful Singapore Bay. 
Morning view. Woke up 8am to sneak up here for this shot.
Missed the sunrise! But still loving the moment.
A touch of old Singapore scene.
After exploring the hotel early in the morning, I headed back to The Straits Club with my family for breakfast. The Club dinning area already had the breakfast buffet spread ready.

As you can see, it is not crowded and service is prompt. What you see is only 1/3 of the Champagne breakfast buffet offered.

The variety of food offered ranging from asian congee, Indian curry with fresh made   papadum, and of course western pastries like my favourite buttery croissants! I think I had 4 of those at one go :P You can also order gourmet tea and coffee to enjoy with all the glorious food. But if you rather have champagne, go ahead and have a couple of glasses.Yes, Champagne breakfast for the mummy! It's always a perfect time for bubblies. 

You can also order their special menu item like truffle scrambled eggs, or go nostalgic with kaya and butter toast with soft boiled eggs on the side. I wouldn't mind waking up to such luxury every morning.

I realised we spent quite a far bit of time at the Straits Club because it was quiet, served good food and excellent service. There is also a huge TV which the kids can watch their favourite cartoon shows. Food and entertainment, that's pretty much what we need on a lazy staycation.

Nonetheless, we decided to head for a last dip in the pool since we have special late 2 p.m. check out timing.
Doing some "work" while the kids had fun at the pool
I have to say I did enjoyed my stay here thoroughly. It is not every day a busy mother like me get to have such top notch services and gourmet meals. And knowing the quality and impeccable services from this five star hotel, I knew from the start that I was in for a nice treat.

So if you are planning on something special this year for your dear mother, consider this special staycation. Sometimes, flowers and dinner just isn't enough to make up all the things that our mothers has done for us. But most importantly, do not wait to show love and care towards her only on Mother's day. Show her everyday that you care and love her. Even a simple phone call asking how was her today so far and how you miss doing things with her; will make her filled with joy. Trust me on takes one to know one. :)

Before I sign off, I want to wish all you wonderful Mothers a blissing and happy Mother's Day, well spent with your dear family. 母亲节快乐!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Porcini Mushroom Cream Pasta

Everyone needs a few favourite "quick cook" recipes to get them through the busy days. Pasta is certainly one of those dishes I will always turn to when I want to whip up a quick meal for the family. And when I say quick, I meant lesser ingredients needed, lesser time needed to get it from the stove to the dinner table. So today, l want to introduce this simple mushroom pasta that uses Porcini mushrooms to "empower" the whole dish. As most of us might have already know, Porcini is a wild mushroom, although it is sold commercially, it is very difficult to cultivate. Thus that explains the slightly steeper pricing. The fragrance of the mushroom actually intensifies more when it is dried, much like other mushrooms like Shiitake. Porcini is commonly used in soups, risotto and of course pastas, thus we often see them appearing in Italian dishes.  
I have actually always wanted to try out cooking porcini mushrooms. So when I saw it selling at selling at Huber's Butchery at Dempsey Hill, it didn't took me long to place it in my shopping basket.

And since I didn't want to mask away the original flavour of the mushroom, I chose to cook it in the simplest form, just with cream pasta.

Recipe for Porcini Cream Pasta (Serves 2-3)

Ingredients needed:

100 - 120 g dried porcini mushroom
1 small onion, peeled and sliced thinly
4 - 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finally diced
6 - 8 cremini mushrooms, sliced (brown button mushrooms)
2 tbsp salted french butter (if no french butter, other salted butter is fine too)
120-130 ml fresh cooking cream
Soaking water of the porcini mushroom (about 3/4 cup - 1 cup)
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Salt, fresh ground pepper and sugar to taste.
3 rolls of dried egg noodles (Use any brand you fancy)

(Optional protein side, you can choose pork or salmon
1 boneless, skinless chicken thigh 
  • Soak the dried porcini in a bowl of warm water. Leave it to soften up to 1 hour. Remember DO NOT THROW away the soaking liquid. It will be used for the pasta later.
  • In a pan over medium low fire, add butter in and let it slowly melt down. Add minced garlic and onion in. Cook till onions are soften and the mixture is aromatic.

  • Squeeze dry the porcini from its soaking liquid and set aside. Once the onions has soften, add in both the mushrooms. Then season it with fresh ground pepper and salt.

  • Once the mushrooms cooked down, add in another tablespoon of butter. This is to make a rue to thicken the whole mixture. So add in a tbsp of plain flour. Stir in to cook the flour for a minute. Once that is done, slowly pour in the soaking mushroom liquid, whisk till combined.

  • Let the whole mushroom mixture simmer for a few minutes at low fire. In the meantime, cook the dried pasta in some boiling water.

  • While the pasta is boiling, add the cooking cream into the mushroom mixture.

  • Stir it in till everything is well combined. Once the pasta is al dente, remove from the boiling water and straight into the mushroom sauce.

  • Toss together till the noodles are well coated with the mushroom cream. Dish up and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley.

Serve the pasta immediately. You can have it as is. I actually find the mushrooms hearty good enough to go alone with the noodles. But if you want something more substantial, feel free to cook some protein like pan seared salmon or a pan fried crispy chicken thigh like mine. :)
I seasoned the chicken thigh and coat with plain flour, pan fry till crispy, simple as that. The whole meal got more substantial of course and my kids loves pasta and fried chicken, sure win...

Do try this out and don't be intimidated by a foreign ingredient that you've never used or come close to using. You never know how easy and delicious your next home cooked meal will be until you try it out yourself. ;)

Happy cooking!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Lemongrass Chicken wings (Pan fried version) - 香煎香茅鸡翅

Lately I have been thinking of remaking one of my favourite dishes; Lemongrass chicken. Yes remake because I have actually attempted it twice and blogged about it twice too! Once here and the other time here. So why this again? Am I saying the past 2 recipes ain't good enough?! Okay, the first recipe requires baking the chicken in the oven... for a quick cook like me, I usually try not to go to that unless absolutely necessary. Save power! 2nd recipe....well it comes from a packet huh huh. :P So yes, this post will be a pan cooked version with a marinating sauce that is made from scratch, woohoo! With the raving reviews from my family, I decided that it is high time I get this recipe up here to share with everyone.

I used HappyCall pan to cook the chicken wings, which actually help seal the flavour and moisture in the meat. But of course you can use any non stick pan to cook this, shouldn't be a problem.

Recipe for Lemongrass Chicken Wings

15 mid joint chicken wings
2 lemongrass stalk, remove outer husk and keeping only the soft center shoot
5 shallots peeled
2 garlic cloves peeled
1 inch thick ginger peeled, sliced thin
1 tsp tamarind paste dissolve in 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp white ground pepper
1 tsp sugar
50 ml water
2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Rinse clean the chicken wings, dap dry before marinating them. Rub salt and white pepper on the chicken first. Set aside while you prep the rest of the marinating paste.
  • In a blender, add in all the rest of the ingredients except the cooking oil. Blend till smooth paste.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken wings with the marinating paste together. Rub in the marinate to the meat and let it chill in the fridge up to 2 hours or even overnight for better results.
  • Preheat the pan with 2 tbsp of cooking oil over medium low fire. Place the marinated wings on the hot pan together with the marinating sauce.Cover and let cook for 6-8 minutes.

  • Open cover and check if the cooking side is golden brown.If yes, flip all the wings and add 2-3 tbsp of water. Cover and cook for another 6-8 minutes.

  • Once both sides are pan seared till golden brown, off fire and dish up. Serve with steam rice, enjoy!

Crisp on the outside with slightly charred bits which intensify the lemongrass flavour. I can easily polish off this whole plate by myself...well if I want to lah. For the greater good of my waistline...I shall not haha!

You can most definitely prep this ahead, marinating it overnight and just had to pan seared it for 15 minutes on the stove. Your family would think that you have slaved over this for hours....little tricks to make them admire you more, thank me later.

Check out the moist tender meat inside...nom nom nom. :9 Do hope that you will try this out when you have cravings for some tender flavoursome chicken wings. 

Happy cooking everyone!