July 31, 2013

MIVVA Beauty Box: July Edition of My Pamper Kit

Everyone Needs a Little Pampering!

My third MIVVA Beauty Box and I am still as excited as before. It’s great to always be surprise on what one will get as life is made for surprises. This month, MIVVA has set theme for a little pampering. I could certainly use a good dose of pampering. When one sleeps as little as I do, my skin is always in need of much rejuvenation.

This month’s pampering box has fewer items but there are a good 3 full size items compared to previous months!  What I also like is the new black box with silver polka dots.  It’s quite modern and classy.Here are my thoughts on this month’s goodies…

Somang Danahan Bonyeon
Intensive Moisturizing Skin Toner @RM139.90 (160ml) & Emulsion @RM139.90 (160ml)

I am beginning to really like this brand. It is on a higher price end but the quality is pretty good and the concentration is there. From my May’s beauty box, I love the Premium Ex Deep Wrinkle Line Cream and find the test results very positive. Though I only had two small sample bottles to try, I notice again the concentration is there. I am particularly pleased with the emulsion as it renders my skin really moist. Another advantage point I read is that this brand uses herbs and flowers, all natural elements from Mother Nature!

Eye Lip Enriched Cream @RM98.80 (15ml)

It’s quite light and not as rich as others that I have tried. After application, it does soften the skin around the eyes. I can also feel a nice light moistness on my skin. Since I do sleep late, my eyes are always tired and fairly heavy while there is a slight dark circle around. After using this consecutively for 2 weeks, I can feel a little improvement on the moistness but the slight dark circle is still there. Maybe I need to use this a bit longer for a better results. Love the light floral scent though…

Purifying & Hydrating Nano Toner @RM49.90 (120ml)

Having also used and loved the Beautymate Nano Essence before, I was glad to be able to try another one from the same brand. This time it’s a toner. I find the toner decent. After application, my skin is smooth. Said to have the power to brighten up the skin, I have yet to see much difference on my skin but then again, I have only used this for two weeks.  I am going to continue to use this together with the Nano Essence as I believe both working together might get me a better result. I do have to put in a good word though because I can feel my skin smoother and the price is good for this size.

Re-Gen Oil @ RM29.90 (75ml) or RM45.90 (125ml)

To be honest, I am not really a fan of oil products. I find it oily and sometimes sticky after application. During my pregnancy, I was using lotion instead of oil to help reduce stretch marks. However, I got allergic reaction and had to switch to olive oil for my stretch marks. It was oily and I didn’t quite like it but I bear with it because I didn’t know which other to use. Wish I had known about this brand as it is quite good. I tried it on my tummy and find it not oily after a massage. It keeps the skin thoroughly moist. I am considering to buy the actual size to try and see if it can really help to reduce the scars and stretch marks!

Elianto Ardour Shadow @RM8 (2gm)

Though I hardly put on eye shadow nowadays due to laziness, I am still happy to see this one in my beauty box. I got the Venus Brown and find it really versatile as I always try to use brown tones for a natural look. In addition, I do buy Elianto products and find it to be decent for its price.

Pumice Scrub

I am usually nervous going for a pedicure. Simply because my heel is always so cracked and dried. Glad to receive this pumice scrub stone so I can finally scrap off the dead skin.

Even though this month has fewer products, the full sized items more than made up for it. Full size products are definitely better as one can probably see better results after using it. This month’s pampering kit is pretty sweet. MIVVA do features some really great products and I am very happy to have discovered brands I like such as Aupres, Beautymate and Somang Danahan through MIVVA!

Simply register to become a MIVVA member, create your beauty profile and pick your desired MIVVA BeautyBox. Wait for delivery and enjoy the product try-outs at the comfort of your home and pace. If you like it, earn MIVVA points by submitting reviews, referring friends and with every purchase, redeem and save on full-size products.

Give you family & friends a surprise each month with MIVVA!

Subscribe for a month at RM38 each,
or RM114 for 3 months with 190 points,
or RM228 for 6 months with 570 points.

More information available at www.MIVVA.com

July 30, 2013

ThaiExpress, The Curve Shopping Mall: A Fresh New Look with a Fresh New Menu!

A Great Comeback of Flavors!

Known for their serving of Thai cuisine, ThaiExpress at The Curve Shopping Mall has been around for a bit. Recently, ThaiExpress makes a great comeback to Kuala Lumpur with a fresh new look and a fresh new menu to its only Malaysia outle with a surprise flash mob for its official re-opening. ThaiExpress, owned by the Minor Food Group Singapore, is highly popular in Singapore with a 25 outlets chain in that country and also some internationally.

As I had visited ThaiExpress before, the new contemporary look is a great update to its previous one. Simplicity is the theme and everything is contrasted beautifully with dark wood, cream and orange. The dim lighting in the restaurant offers a nice comfortable ambience to dine in. The menu also was revamped and features a staggering 130 items to diners. We settled in to taste the new menu and discovered a myriad sense of exotic Thai flavors…

Thai Pina Colada – RM7.90

My pina colada is superb! A non-alcoholic version, it is pineapple soda with a scoop of creamy coconut ice cream.

Avocado Milkshake – RM7.90 & Chiang Mai Mango Blend – RM6.90

Tom Yum Talay (Tom Yum Seafood Soup) – RM10.90

Two versions of the classic Tom Yum soups are available here, the clear and the fiery red one. I have already seems to lean towards the clear version but if I can’t get it, the red one is still fine by me. Don’t judge a book by its cover, this one looks really innocent but packs quite a punch in flavors. Intense sourness bumped up with subtle hints of lemongrass and seafood notes, this is really addictive with every spoonful!

Tom Yum Talay (Tom Yum Seafood Soup) – RM10.90

The fiery red Tom Yum is robust with much fieriness of spices and herbs. It also has a good dose of sourness to amp up the flavor. For those who love a great tom yum that is spicy and sour, this one has it all, great depth of the classic rendition of a kick-ass tom yum. Ours was a seafood version else go for the prawn version!

Tom Yum Kang Nam Daeng (Red Tom Yum Crayfish Soup) – RM16.90

A similar red tom yum version except that this one features a luxurious whole crayfish in the soup! Served in a bigger portion, it’s really good enough for at least two diners. The crayfish tasted like a huge prawn and it’s head was bursting with loads of creamy roes. Despite the heat, the crayfish tasted sweet and had a good bouncy texture.

Khao Tang Naa Tang (Thai Rice Cracker served with Special Thai Express Creamy Chicken & Shrimp Sauce) – RM8.90

At first look, the bowl of creamy sauce looked pale except for a drizzle of bright oil. Served with six round pieces of crispy rice cracker, we were told that this is a Thai street favorite. Simply scoop the minced sauce on to the cracker to savor.

It was very savory and creamy at first taste. Then one gets the taste of the aromatic rice cracker with a nice crunchy texture with the sauce. There is some comfort element to the dish with a rustic charm. This one is worth a try!

Roti Krob (Crispy Roti Stuffed with Minced Chicken Salad) – RM10.90

A roti pocket holding a yummy minced chicken salad, this one was better than I expected. The bread is quite fluffy and light with a nice buttery flavor with a spicy tangy chicken larb salad. Makes a great snack or even a meal on its own…

Yum Mamuang (Thai Mango Salad) – RM8.90

Highly popular in most Thai places, the version is fairly good with medium thickness of shredded mango laced in a spicy piquant dressing. Bits of sliced shallots and chili padi kicks up the salad another notch. A bowl of rice would have been the perfect partner for this spicy tangy salad!

Yum Neua  Yang (Beef Salad) – RM15.90

I love this dish a lot! Tender beef slices are lightly chargrilled and dressed in a rustic tangy spicy dressing. Expect lots of flavors from smoky to spicy to sour and finally a nutty note.  I believe I tasted toasted crushed rice in this salad, lending a nice toasty and nutty texture to the salad. I would have gladly hog this whole plate to myself with a bowl of white rice… super yum!

Massaman Chicken Curry with Thai Style Pancake – RM15.90

Creamy, nutty, mildly spicy and redolent of spices, the Massaman curry with chicken and potatoes is great with the pieces of fluffy buttery roti like pancake. The curry flavors are a good indication that it has taken hours of slow braising to achieve a melting pot of spices. This curry is exceptionally nutty from its peanuts and creamy. Not overly spicy, it has a subtle sweet note and goes well with the roti.

Phat Thai Talay (Phat Thai with Seafood) – RM15.90

As famous as our street Char Kway Teow, this Thai version of Phat Thai with seafood is the epitome of Thai flavors. It is a plate of sweet, spicy, sour, savory, nutty and more. Mixed up the crushed chili and peanuts and squeeze on the lime to jazz up the rice noodles and seafood. The noodles also have a decent wok heat, winning many votes from our foodies that day.

Rad Na Tom Yum (Tom Yum Hor Fun with Seafood) – RM15.90

I was caught by surprised in this dish as I did not know the name of the dish while I was trying it. It looked just like the Cantonese Hor Fun at sight but once I had tasted it, it’s just so Thai! The dish has thick wide pieces of rice noodle, hor fun that is gorgeously seared with loads of wok heat and is wondrously aromatic. The thick egg gravy is spicy and tangy, a nice surprise in flavors. It has prawns, squid, mushrooms and fish with some greens.  Beware of little chili padi stingers in the noodles but it is really unexpectedly yummy!

Poo Phat Pong Kari (Rice with Soft Shell Crab, Egg and Onion Curry) – RM19.90

Interesting! I had something similar while I was in Bangkok but the same gravy was cooked with fresh mud crabs. Here, the eggy curry gravy is smothered in crispy fried soft shell crab and served with rice. Absolutely fine by me because I just have to enjoy the whole crispy crab without shelling it! Great creamy egg gravy with a subtle hint of curry spices. The only thing I didn’t quite like was the raw onions on top because I think it overpowers the dish but that is easily remedied. I really enjoyed the pairing of the various textures and flavors in the dish!

Gai Phat Pet Ched Nam Ya (Yellow Ginger Chicken) – RM13.90

We were warned… this dish is not for the fainthearted. Despite the warning, we tucked happily into the dish and felt the spicy sensation creep slowly in our lips. Super spicy, the dish is bursting with gingery essence and spicy heat. Apparently the dish is good to help ‘chase the wind away’ in our bodies. The chicken is tender and is well marinated, rendering great savory flavors besides the spiciness. The regular serving is smaller and comes with rice. If you like strong flavors of ginger and chili, this is the dish for you!

Thai Chendol – RM7.90

An icy concoction filled to the brim with jackfruit slices, chendol strips and chewy flour bits, all soaked in a pool of sweet creamy coconut milk sweetened with Thai palm sugar. It’s quite sweet but a gorgeous treat and ending after a spicy meal!

Khao Niao Mamuang (Sweet Glutinous Rice with Fresh Mango and Coconut Milk) – RM9.90

Ever my favorite Thai dessert, the sweet coconut glutinous sticky rice is a match made in heaven with sweet ripe mangoes.

Lod Chong (Green Emerald Thai Lod Chong) – RM5.90

A dessert quite similar to our very own local favorite Chendol, this one has soft handmade Pandan chendol in sweet coconut milk and topped with tropical atap seeds.

ThaiExpress has definitely made a great comeback! The food flavors are amazing and one really gets a delicious hit of strong Thai essence of sweet, sour, spicy and savory all packed into each dish. Dishes are authentic in flavors too. There are plenty of choices from Thai street food to home-style dishes and even the beverage and dessert list is plenty. Equip with its new ambience, diners will be please to enjoy a scrumptious Thai experience at the new ThaiExpress!

The Curve Shopping Mall
Ground Floor, G50
Jalan PJU 7/3,
Mutiara Damansara,
 47800 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 603 7710 9629

July 24, 2013

Philips Smart Kitchen Cooking Workshop with Marina Mustafa

Cooking made Easy with Philips!

It’s not rocket science… cooking that is. It’s just that with everyone’s busy schedule these days, its hard to cook especially if they are working. I completely understand as I myself have a full time job and only reach home late in the evening. Though as much as I love to cook, it’s the thought of buying, preparing, cooking and cleaning up that sets me back. With this said, I do want to find alternative ways to assist me in making a home cook meal simply because I know what I am putting into my body. In addition, nothing beats home cook food anyway…


A quick briefing by April from Ogilvy

A recent invite to the Philips Smart Kitchen Cooking Workshop has certainly opened up my eyes to the brilliance of technology in making cooking much simpler. The workshop is tended for anyone who loves a good home cook meal, even if you love to cook or can’t cook. All you need is some technology to assist you in preparing your daily meal. With Philip’s list of gadgets, we set on our mission to whip up a full course meal in the workshop with special guest Puan Marina Mustafa.

Puan Marina Mustafa is a writer of three cookbooks and has co-hosted ‘Dari Dapur Marina Musafa’ on Astro Awani. The lady wears many hats in many sections of the food industry.

In this workshop, Philips has showcase 3 of their latest kitchen gadgets, Philips Electric Pressure Cooker, Philips Soy Milk Maker and Philips Airfryer. I was amazed at how easy cooking was that day. Here is the journey of the workshop which I partnered with my long-time buddy Sid.

Basically, the summary of making all the recipes is as easy as ABC!

A to prepare the ingredients by measuring and slicing or chopping
B to put all the ingredients into the Philips kitchen gadget
C to press the appropriate function for the dish

First up, ingredients were prepared and laid out. As soon as the workshop began, we went through the recipe booklet and with the guidance of Puan Marina, we began chopping, dicing and slicing to make our first recipe of Nasi Beriyani Gam Johor. I was curious, using the Philips Electric Pressure Cooker to cook rice. I never knew a pressure cooker can be used to cook rice. This kitchen gadget really changed my mind!

Pictures speak a thousand words… here are the steps through my lens:

A Ingredients are washed, measured, sliced & diced

B Put in the ingredients one at a time
The photo here is a compilation of each ingredient being put into the Philips Electric Pressure Cooker. Give the final mix a quick stir.


C Close the lid of the Philips Electric Pressure Cooker
Set the dial to lock up the valve locks to iniate the pressure. Press the functions for RICE and START

 A little yellow food coloring is added for color & contrast

Philips Electric Pressure Cooker is smart enough to calculate the cooking time of the ingredients. Wait for 14 minutes for the pressure cooker to finish cooking. Stand back and release the pressure valve to release the pressure before opening up the lid to serve up the rice. It’s that simple!

Beriani Gam Johor Rice Recipe

2 cups Basmathi rice, washed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
1 medium-sized onions, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/2 cup ginger (2inch ginger blended with 1/2 cup of water: Drain. Keep the ginger juice)
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup evaporated milk mixed with 2 tsp lime juice, (to make thairu/yoghurt)
1 stick cinnamon stick
1 star anise
5 cloves
5 cardamoms
2 pandan leafs, torn and tied into knots
1 pinch saffron, rubbed with 1/4 tsp sugar and soaked in 2 tbsp. rose water
1 stalk fresh coriander leafs, cut in 2
I handful sultanas
1 handful cashew nuts
1 handful crispy fried shallots

1. Put the Basmathi rice, shallot, ginger, garlic, water, olive oil, thairu and salt into the Philips pressure cooker pot. Stir gently to mix the flavors in.
2. Top with cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, cardamoms, pandan leafs and saffron mixed with rose water.
3. Close the Philips pressure cooker lid properly.
4. Press Rice and the Start button.
5. In 14 minutes, the Beraini Rice should be ready.
6. Create a hole in the centre of the beraini and put the cooked beraini chicken and eggs in the hole. Let it rest a while.
7. Sprinkle with cashew nuts, sultanas and crispy fried shallots when serving.

Next up, a sumptuous Kuzi Ayam/Kambing also cooked in the Philips Electric Pressure Cooker. Normally, a good curry needs time to braise all the spices and ingredients together. Here, one just puts in every ingredient again and set it to cook. Cooking time is also lessen drastically with the pressure cooker and in 20 minutes, the curry is ready!

Kuzi Chicken Recipe
Blend together
20 bulbs shallots
8 cloves garlic
2 inches ginger
Other ingredients
2 kg chicken/mutton cut into 16 pieces
4 eggs, oiled
4 tbsp beriani spice
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 stick carrot, skinned & cut into finger sized lengths
2 tomatoes, quartered into wedges
4 tbsp honey
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
6 cardamoms
6 cloves
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 sprig coriander roots, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 sprig spring onions, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 sprig Chinese celery, cut into 1 inch lengths
1 big handful of plucked mint leafs

1. Put all the ingredients above, except the last 4 ingredients into the Philips electric pressure cooker.
2. Mix everything in together.
3. Press CHICKEN button and then START button.
4. In 20minutes the Kuzi chicken/mutton should be ready.
5. Remove the Philips pressure cooker lid and sprinkle with the coriander roots, spring onions, Chinese celery and the mint leafs.
6. Serve over the Beriani Rice when ready

Andy Soh from Philips was available to give us a few pointers on how to release the pressure from the Philips pressure cooker before opening the lid.

Philips Electric Pressure Cooker works like a charm! It’s smart enough to cook the food by its own estimation. It’s fast, cutting down cooking time like a breeze. It even keeps food warm for 12 hours. Easy to use, its user friendly with most having a two-step functions. Made safe for cooking, the gadget locks up under high pressure and there is an auto pressure release device to ensure safety during cooking. One can do wonders with this pressure cooker and it even has a bake function!

I want one… or maybe even two…

My first time meeting the Philips Soy Milk Maker and this one comes in the form of a kettle jug with an attached twin boomerang-shaped blade. One can make fresh soy milk, five grains soy milk, rice paste, fruit/veggie drink and pureed soups in this gadget. We were to make a sweet dessert broth with this gadget and the steps remain the same. Dump in all the ingredients and set the gadget in motion!

Kacang Hijau Dessert

1 1/2 cup of green beans (soaked for 4 hours)
1/2 cup of palm sugar
1/4 caster sugar
1 cup of water
1/4 cup pandan juice
1 slice ginger
1 1/4 cups coconut milk

1. Place the soaked green beans, palm sugar, warm water, coconut milk and pandan juice into the Philips Soyamilk Maker.
2. Select the five-grain mode and press the Start button.
3. After 25 minutes, the Green Bean dessert should be done.

The Philips Soy Milk Maker has the technology to boil and cook the ingredients before pureeing the ingredients to a smooth texture. Depending on what dish one needs, there are five functions for various dishs. There is an Easy Clean function that starts preliminary cleaning by heating up and stirring the water, allowing for easy cleaning at one’s convenience with less effort. I can already see me whipping up soups and sweet desserts on daily basis!

Our final recipe of the day is dessert! Showcasing the Philips Airfryer, one can now enjoy tasty food and snacks without the oil. I am very familiar with this one since I won one at the recent Simplot Food Blogger Competition here. A technology using rapid air circulation for healthy frying, the Philips Airfryer is easy to use. The recipe here is to mix all the ingredients, packed it into a case and baked it in the airfryer.

Coconut Fudge Slice Recipe

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter (melted)
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well.
2. Pour the melted butter and vanilla over the dry ingredients. Combine it all together.
3. Spread the coconut mixture in a greased tin. Press the mixture until firm and compact.
4. Bake in a preheated 170C preheated Philips Airfryer oven for 20minutes.
5. Once cool, pour icing evenly over the slice.
6. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut and cut into slices once the icing is set.

For the Chocolate Icing
1/2 cup icing sugar, sieved
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 tbsp. hot water
1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1. In a large bowl, put in the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
2. Put in the butter and pour the hot water, Stir till well mixed.
3. Pour over the slice and sprinkle with desiccated coconut.

The Philips Airfryer is great for parties and any occasions for a fry-up. Its easy to use as one simply sets the temperature and timer. Food is cooked with very little or no oil. The best part is food cooked in the airfryer has a crispy outer layer with a tender inside.

At the end of the workshop, we had a presentation competition of the dishes we prepared and two winning teams walked home with a Philips Electric Pressure Cooker and Philips Soy Milk Maker each.

Me & Sid is one of the winning team and here are our dishes…

* photo from Philips

We enjoyed the fruits of our labor that day to end the workshop. What I took home was priceless, the experience of how Philips Smart Kitchen Cooking Workshop made cooking so much easier and faster, its quite amazing!

Imagine coming home, prepare ingredients and dumping it all into Philips gadget, shower and dinner is ready... best part of all? Little clean up!!

I am dreaming of owning a Philips Electric Pressure Cooker now to add to my family of Philips kitchen gadgets…

* photo from Philips

For more information, check out the Philips Home Living at their Facebook & Website.
*Psst, there is contest going on at their Facebook and one can win Philips products. Find out more here.