Post CB: New Norms at Happy Fish Swim School

It’s been slightly more than 3 months since we last attended a swim class. Back in March, we opted not to stop our swim lessons even when there was a surge in local cases. But then Circuit Breaker (CB) happened.

The kids missed their swimming lessons a lot during CB and though we have a bathtub at home, it just wasn’t the same. In the end, we bought a water play ‘pool’ just for them to frolic in the water.

Fast forward to 3 months later, the government finally announced the resumption of swim classes. We couldn’t wait to get back into the pool but of course there were people who tried to persuade us to wait and see. As a result, we were slightly apprehensive. It’s been months since we last swam and surely the kids had forgotten everything they learnt. We ain’t sure about the new safe reopening measures of the swim school and the condition of the pool as well after so many months.

The kids woke up at 7am and bugged us to get out of the house. To say they were very excited was an understatement.

We had been informed previously that we would only be admitted 15minutes prior to the start of the class so we timed our arrival. Only 1 parent is allowed to enter with each student.

There was the usual temperature taking and Safe Entry declaration. But the staff was pretty efficient and there wasn’t a long queue. One thing the staff must take note of is the way they sanitized our hands. The girl who admitted us was spraying the sanitizer at the eye level of the kids. Very close to Lè meimei’s eyes. Many sanitizers on the market have high alcohol content of at least 60%. This can cause a chemical burn bad enough to result in serious damage to the cornea.

Otherwise, the staff had obviously been hard at work in creating a safe environment for the little happy fishes. They had rearranged the layout slightly to adhere to the social distancing measures.

Benches with alternate seating
More space between changing tables
Sanitized lockers
Dividers between tubs
Time limit set for shower rooms
Bath tub placed in each cubicle
Face shield for coaches
Designated lanes clearly marked out

The pool looks very inviting because the existing mucky water had been drained, the floor scrubbed and repainted and all the non slip mats lining the walkway replaced.

Previously, the pool was segregated into 7 smaller ones. 6 concurrent classes and an area set aside as practice pool. The practice pool is now removed, with only 5 concurrent classes and the boundaries for each class widened. A lane had been set aside for each class for the coach. Instead of 6 pax per class, there’s only 4 students now. Each pair of parent-child must be at opposite ends during the lesson to minimize contact.

With all these measures in place, the swim school is made as safe as possible. As parents, we really appreciate the efforts put in by Happy Fish in ensuring a safe return to the pool. If you are still holing up at home, unsure of whether it’s okay to resume swim class, I hope the measures implemented by the swim school had reassured you. Covid 19 is here to stay for a while. Life has to go on.

Welcome to the new norms.

Mango Sticky Rice Recipe (The pocket friendly version)

It’s notoriously expensive to buy mango sticky rice. Each (pathetically small) serving cost at least $5. I made a batch that can serve at least 8 pax for less than $10.

Ingredients (Serves at least 8pax)

  • 500g of Thai glutinous rice ($1.20 on Pandamart)
  • 4 mangoes (5 for $3.99 @ Ustar)
  • 500ml of coconut milk
  • 4 pandan leaves (for coconut milk) and another 4 (blended for colouring the rice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 15ml of sugar
  • Roasted sesame seeds or roasted split mung beans as garnish

Instructions

  • Rinse the glutinous rice and soak for at least 5h.
  • Prepare a steamer and a cloth that’s big enough to lay the rice on and cover them. I used a soup stock bag.
  • Cut the pandan into 5cm strips and place amongst the rice.
  • Steam the rice for 30min or until the grains had turned translucent.
  • In the meantime, warm up the coconut milk, add in the salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Do not let the coconut milk boil.
  • Set aside 120ml of coconut milk to cool (for serving alongside later)
  • Pour the remaining coconut milk onto the steamed glutinous rice. Mix it gently. (I used the scoop for rice) It should look like porridge. Set it aside for the coconut milk to be absorbed by the grains.
  • I separate the sticky rice into 3 portion and added blended pandan leaves juice to get green colour (plus a drop of food colouring because I didn’t have enough pandan juice) and a drop of blue colouring to another portion (can substitute with butterfly pea petals).
  • Arrange the mangoes on the sticky rice and serve it with some coconut milk.
  • Bon appétit!

Recipe for Pan Fried Tapioca Cake

We always buy lots of these when we are at the pasar malam. The entire family loves this and I almost couldn’t keep up with the rate they polished these off as I struggled to fry them faster than they could eat (so I can take photo of my ‘production’).

Ingredients (Barely enough to serve 4 PFTC lovers)

  • 400g of shredded tapioca
  • 20g of sugar (we don’t like it too sweet)
  • 100g shredded coconut
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoon of potato starch
  • 5 pandan leaves + 25ml of water (can add more pandan leaves if you are feeling pandan-rich)
  • Cooking oil (for pan frying)

Instructions:

  • Get a strong man to do the grating because it’s much faster. Or else buy it at a wet market that sells freshly grated coconut as they usually sell this too.
  • Blend the pandan leaves into a paste and strained it.
  • Add in all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix it well.
  • Heat up the frying pan with some cooking oil.
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture into the pan.
  • Use a potato masher to shape it.
  • Do not flip it over until the circumference is lightly crisp.
  • Enjoy!

Recipe for Hae Bee Hiam 虾米香

Finally crossed another of my To Try list yesterday. I bought these dried shrimps at the start of Circuit Breaker. But the day after I asked my mum how to make this, she delivered a batch to my house. 😘😍🥰

Ingredients (Good to fill a 900ml bowl)

  • 400g of dried shrimps
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 8 Shallots
  • 8 Chilli
  • 2 chilli padi
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 50ml of cooking oil
  • A quarter teaspoon of sugar

Instructions:

  • Rinse the dried shrimps twice and set aside to strain dry.
  • Prepare the garlic, shallots, chilli and lemongrass for blending. (I removed the seeds of the chilli)
  • Blend the dried shrimps coarsely.
  • Blend the garlic, shallots, chilli and lemongrass into a paste
  • Dry fry the coarsely blended dried shrimps. Set aside.
  • Heat up the cooking oil in the frying pan/wok.
  • Add in the paste and fry until fragrant.
  • Add in the shrimps, sprinkle the sugar and fry it until the mixture turns darker.
  • Enjoy!

I use this for a few dishes. Lodeh sayur, stir fried long beans and also add it to fried rice. Very yummy. Hope you like it too.

Lotus seed (莲子羹)recipe

Old is gold. I finally found the time to make something traditional for dessert today. This is another fuss free recipe which required just a few ingredients. But because of CB, I had to make do with whatever I have because the queue to enter the supermarket was too long. Again.

Ingredients (Serves 6pax)

  • 200g Lotus seeds (aka 莲子)
  • Lily bulb (aka 百合) I didn’t have this so I took the ones in my 六味汤 soup pack.
  • 4 pandan leaves (tied into a knot)
  • 8 Red dates (红枣)
  • 15 Dried longans (龙眼干)
  • White fungus (I didn’t have this)
  • Rock sugar

Instructions

  • Soak the lotus seeds overnight.
Kinda look like a bowl of boobs eh
  • Remove the greenish bulb from the centre of the lotus seed. (The lotus seeds will be bitter if you leave them in)
  • Rinse the lily bulb, red dates and dried longan.
  • Put everything in the pressure cooker and add in 2 litres of water.
  • I used the soup setting and cooked for 40min under the pressure cooker mode.
  • Add in desired amount of rock sugar according to your preference.

Enjoy!

Thai Red Ruby Recipe (The failproof version)

Thai red ruby is my must order dessert whenever we have Thai food. It looks difficult to make them but that’s just an illusion. Try it! I think it’s safe to proclaim it as failproof.

Ingredients (To serve 4 pax)

  • Water Chestnuts (I used 9 big ones)
  • Tapioca flour (aka tapioca starch)
  • 250ml Coconut milk (too much for 9 chestnuts but who cares! Burps!)
  • 4 Pandan leaves (tie into a knot)
  • 15ml of sugar (I measured using the Avent milk storage cup)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Some ice cubes

Instructions

  • Cut each chestnut into small cubes (I cut it via its cross section then cut each cross section into 8 parts).
Sorry probably failed fractions at school so all uneven in size
  • Add in a couple of drops of red food colouring (can substitute it with beetroot powder).
  • Leave the chestnuts alone for now.
  • In a pot, add in the coconut milk, pandan leaves, sugar and salt. Leave it on a small flame to melt the sugar and salt. Do not bring it to a boil.
  • Leave it to cool.
  • Pour away the excess water in your water chestnuts. Put them in a plastic bag.
  • Add in tapioca flour (I just pour enough to coat them). Give the bag a good shake so each chestnut has a nice coat.
  • Use a spray to give the tapioca flour coated chestnuts a good spritz and pour more tapioca flour. Shake it well to coat the flour evenly. Repeat it until you feel your chestnuts are fat enough (I sprayed them thrice).
  • Pour the coated chestnuts into a sieve and shake off the excess flour.
  • Boil a pot of water. Make sure it’s boiling nicely otherwise the coating might split from the chestnuts.
  • Pour the coated chestnuts into the boiling water.
  • Prepare an ice bath.
  • Scoop the rubies out when all of them are floating nicely and put them in the ice water.
  • You can blend some ice cubes with the coconut milk before adding them to your rubies. I wanted a fuss free experience so I just put the mixture in the fridge to chill.
  • Enjoy!

Homemade ice-cream

The P4 students in my school made ice-cream in class a couple of months ago as part of the Stellar curriculum. On hearing PM Lee’s announcement that the manufacture of ice cream will be halted during the Comprehensive Circuit Breaker period, I asked in the group chat for instructions.

There was a slight problem though. When everyone heard that there’s no more desserts like doughnuts and cakes for the next few weeks, the hoarding frenzy increased in intensity and I couldn’t get hold of the main ingredient, whipping cream.

The hub finally managed to find a 1 litre pack at a totally obscure minimart after weeks of hunting.

Here’s what you need to enjoy homemade ice cream. So far we made 2 batches over 2 days. Ez said these tasted like IKEA’s. Only better. He asked me to tell his teachers that he made ice-cream at home (implying that he finally got to do some stay home activities with me).

Ingredient list

  • 125ml of whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon of fine sugar (you will get a smoother and creamier scoop if you add in more sugar)
  • 2 drops of vanilla essence
  • Chocolate chips / rainbow sprinkles / chocolate rice / crushed Oreo / blueberries as toppings

Add in a little bit of whipping cream first to the sugar and mix it well. Thereafter, fold in the rest of the whipping cream and stir some more. Add in 2 drops of vanilla essence and stir before capping it. I used the Avent food storage cups for convenience.

Because there ain’t a freezer in school, the kids had to put the above mixture in an airtight glass container before putting it in another container that’s filled with ice cubes and salt. Keep rolling the container around until the cream solidifies. Putting a dish towel under the container helps tremendously in soaking up the mess.

Science tip: Salt lowers the freezing point of water. When salt is added to ice, energy is drawn the water as the ice cubes melt, making it colder.

We got Ez and Lè meimei to go through the entire process so we could explain this concept. But unfortunately, they didn’t have the patience to continue rolling the container so we stuck them in the freezer and bathe them first instead. Bad idea as it meant they made a huge mess while eating their ice cream in pajamas. I would suggest you get your kids to try this out before nap time. That way, they can wake up to a dessert treat for tea break.

Today, we tried substituting sugar with a quarter sachet of hot chocolate powder to 125ml of whipping cream to get chocolate ice-cream. I think I’m too stingy as the colour is not dark enough. We will be trying other varieties soon. Some suggestions include, adding crushed Oreo to yield cookies and cream ice-cream or substituting the hot chocolate mix with 3-in-1 coffee powder for the adults. So many possibilities for a pack of whipping cream. No wonder it’s OOS everywhere.

Blueberry and chocolate rice

Mango Sago Recipe

It’s day 13 of Circuit Breaker, Singapore’s version of Not a Lockdown lockdown. We woke up to the news of the islandwide closure of Macdonald. The hub is bummed because his Mac delivery was canceled due to overwhelming demands.

To cheer him up, I decided that today is the day we try to make our own version of Mango Sago.

I got mangoes from Shengshiong, $0.99 each. The sign proclaimed that they were rainbow mangoes. Such a wonderful name so I’m sold immediately. Rainbow to chase away the gloom of No Macdonald till May the fourth.

I don’t know how to choose sweet mangoes, I went by colour. Yeah I’m superficial like that. I only took mangoes that had a rosy complexion and luckily, all of them were sweet.

Here’s what you need to yield around 1litre of mango purée.

Ingredients:

  • 4 mangoes
  • 3/4 cup of sago
  • Half a can of evaporated milk
  • 100ml Coconut cream

Steps:

  • Cut the mangoes into half so that each half is like a cup and no juice is wasted as you scrap out the flesh.

Rosy cheeked mango

  • Keep a little of each mango so you can cut it into small cubes for garnishing.

Sorry orange mango in orange bowl abit of an overkill

  • Cook the sago and rinse them in cold water when it’s done. A little white dot is perfectly fine as they will even out when hanging out in the bowl.
  • Blend the mango with evaporated milk

So yummy I can eat an entire bowl on its own
  • Layer the sago at the bottom, then the blended purée, coconut cream and finally garnish with excess sago and mango cubes.

It’s not perfect but it’s done by Ez

  • Finally just close both eyes and let the kids create their masterpiece aka make a glorious mess.

#stayhome #staysafe #cookon #huilaushan #mangosago #homemadedessert #nosugaradded

Our 9s Seafood experience

School started this week. I no longer have the luxury to go to NTUC every day to get our fresh supplies. It’s alright to stock up on frozen meat during the weekends but I prefer to get the kids fresh fish for their meals.

I decided to try out 9s Seafood after raving reviews from my mummy friends. 9s certainly did not disappoint. Firstly, their website is easy to maneuver with all the necessary information you need about that particular fish. Even for a simple salmon, you have a variety of choices to determine how the fish will appear in front of you. You can have it as a steak, fillet (sliced or not), etc.

I hardly (almost never) buy an entire fish because it kinda gross me out and I seriously do not know how to get the organs out (nor want to) and descaling it is way too much work. At 9s, I indicated the size of pomfret I want, told them I want it for steamboat and guess what?!? The fish is nicely sliced with the head in a bag, the bones in another and the flesh on its own! Did I mention that everything is vacuum sealed for freshness?

Though slightly more expensive than the wet markets, I much rather shop for my fish online out of convenience (kids and slippery floor in wet markets usually don’t end well).

9s Seafood offers free delivery for orders over $60. This is a reasonable amount for small families like us. We don’t have to amass a huge order just to make the free delivery (like Song Fish).

One final reason for choosing this company is that you can receive your order the very next day as long as you order before 9.30pm! How fresh is that?! They literally choose your seafood for you while you sleep and deliver them to your doorstep just in time for you to cook dinner. And if you are very very lucky, they might even throw in an additional item foc. I wasn’t but 2 of my mummy friends had free squids. Sad… But there’s always next time.

My parents used to be staunch believers of wet markets. They are now converts after surfing the website. Today, they are the proud owners of 2 entire pomfret. Me? I still like mine sliced. Neat and mess free.

Here’s my $72.20 loot! Pomfret (800g), gong gong (500g), lala (500g), grey prawns (500g), scallops (500g), salmon belly (not in photo) and a Muar otah!

I really like their delivery crew too. He even went out of his way to check if my parents (who were at my place) needed a lift back to theirs cuz he was delivering their loot there. Where got such a nice uncle one?!

Review: Soul Singapore

In my previous post, I blogged about braving the baby fair to get Ez a toddler carrier for our Ubin excursion over the weekends. When we made our purchase, they promised us free delivery of the carrier by Wednesday. And so we waited. Until Thursday came and went. I googled the contact for Soul Singapore and dropped them a WhatsApp message to enquire.

Their response was prompt and after getting my name and email, I was told that they had missed my order and would follow up on the delivery. The hub and I decided that we rather self collect at their shop in Oasis Terrace as we needed the carrier for the weekend and they made it possible by setting it aside.

Though we were initially kinda pissed off over this, what we really liked about Soul was that they never once blame it on others for failing to deliver their goods. They didn’t have to admit that they missed out my order. They didn’t have to agree to set aside the carrier for me. They even got me fitted and helped me make adjustments to the straps! They also didn’t have to get someone from the head office to follow up with me about 30min after I collected the carrier. This was excellent service recovery. Thank you for being candid in sharing how our order was screwed up. We really appreciated the extra mile in service.

And because of this incident, we had the chance to check out their shop front! It’s located opposite My Gym. Though it’s not my first visit to the mall, read about my very happening maiden visit to OT here, but it’s the first time we checked it out.

Can’t decide which carrier? Find out more by talking to the friendly babywearing educator.

Add-on pouches

Check out some of the other items they had to offer too.

Drool pads

Pre-walkers

Sun hats

Here’s the price list. Very reasonable!

The Aseema is an award winning carrier! Didn’t know that! Should have gotten the Aseema instead of the toddler. Lè meimei and Ez could have shared.

This girl loved the carriers so much. I’m quite sure she wanted one too. We gave it a try cuz this rainbow one was so eye-catching. Then she didn’t wanna get down. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Okay okay! Next baby fair okay. Now no discount lah.

Glad we managed to have a positive experience with Soul Singapore in the end. Do remember to check in with them should you fail to receive your carrier after the agreed upon period.

Till next time.