Timbre @ Gillman – Super Social BBQ

Before the kids came along, we went out at night. A lot. Weekends were usually spent hanging with our friends: choir practices, arcade gaming (yes!), movies, pub-crawling. One of the places we used to go to was Timbre @ The Substation – how could we say no to awesome live music, good grub (ROAST DUCK PIZZA YUM YUM) and ice cold beer?

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in...2007

Me and the girlfriend at Timbre @ Substation waaaaaay back in…2007

Then we had kids. Overnight (HUR HUR PUN), our nightlife disappeared. We were either putting the babies to bed or nursing (okay, I was nursing) or sitting zonked on the sofa or snoring in our beds. We were, and still are, exhausted. We stopped heading out to nightspots.

And then Timbre contacted me and told me about their Super Social BBQ. Huh, what’s that? you might ask. Well, GOOD NEWS FORMER NIGHT CRAWLERS, you can now have your cake and eat it too.

Essentially, Super Social BBQ is a weekend event at Timbre @ Gillman which is family-friendly. That’s right, you heard me. Kids-friendly. Child-friendly. Toddler-friendly. Everybody-friendly. Every month, Timbre @ Gillman runs a themed event on all Saturdays and Sundays that is especially catered to families, starting from 4pm.

Have you been to the Gillman outlet? Well, I hadn’t, until I received the invitation and I was super impressed. The restaurant retained its rustic, super chill vibe, which is cool, but what was even cooler was that gigantic backyard behind the eatery. During the weekends, the backyard turns into a play area for the kids – you can expect bouncy castles, wading pools and live BBQ.

When I was there, it was storming outside so we didn’t spend much time outdoors. Timbre had thoughtfully set up an activity station indoors, where kids could colour or get their faces painted or do some crafting. There was even a balloon sculptor onsite. My boys ended up putting together a carousel – in line with the Carnival theme for November – out of paper plate, paper cup, pipe cleaners and paper cutouts.

Other than providing fun activities, Timbre @ Gillman also put together a menu just for the kids. There are items such as bolognaise, chicken and pancakes, minute steak and cheese frites and fish & chips, all affordably priced below $15. We ordered the bolognaise with heart shape pasta ($10) for the littles to share and the portion was more than enough for them.

As for the adults? I was honestly pretty darned happy to be there. I could indulge in my roast duck pizza once again and wash it down with an chilled alcoholic ginger beer. There was a live band playing. It really made me nostalgic for those days when we could stay out till the wee hours without a care, swigging our beers and making merry.

In fact, I was feeling so sentimental, I decided to order me an earl grey martini (my first martini since FOREVER). It was so surprisingly good that I cheered up immediately.

The mark of a true family-friendly restaurant is in the happiness level of all members of the family. Did Timbre @ Gillman’s Super Social BBQ hit the mark? I will say YASSSSSS. My boisterous boys had fun participating in the activities and they especially loved the live band. They were gleefully dancing after shoving the pasta and pizza into their mouths. The man and I were thrilled to be out at a nightspot once again, eating the grub that we had loved.

We had so much fun that I started making plans with our friends and their kids to check it out again!

The Carnival edition of the Super Social BBQ will run till this weekend! For more information, check out their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: I was invited to Timbre @ Gillman for dinner and given dining credits. However, all opinions are solely mine (and totally honest!) and no other monetary compensation was received.

GIVEAWAY! Mummybebe baby products

As most of you know by now, I am quite the crunchy mama. I like my products natural this and natural that. When local distributor mummybebe contacted me to ask if they could send me some of the products that they have, I was more than happy to say yes.

One of the brands that they carry is Farlin. Now, I usually associate the brand with the bigger items such as bath tubs, breast pumps, walkers/rockers etc. I was pleasantly surprised to know that they also carry baby cleaning products that are natural and eco-friendly.

Take, for example, the Farlin 2.0 Baby Bottle Wash. It is a FDA-certified product and is also phosphate-fee, phosphorus-free & fluorescence-free. While my kiddos don’t use milk bottles anymore, we use it everyday to wash their water bottles.

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And to add on to their eco-friendliness, the product also comes in refill packs. The 100ml travel-sized bottle is also great when you are on holiday – I recently found myself washing out all our water bottles using a bar of soap. Ack. Should have gotten me one of these.

Mummybebe was also kind enough to send across the Farlin Bon Bon Bowl. I decided to let my thug baby, I mean Zac, try it.

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Did it pass?

Well, yes. The bowl, which is supposed to be non-slip on any surface, held on pretty bravely until the very end. I would say that it works if you do not have a child who is stubbornly ripping the bowl off from the table. But I do love the versatility of the bowl.

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There is a soft silicon lid, which supposedly allows baby to have his food take-out (but which we didn’t try because Zac eats everything that we eat these days). There is a food divider as well as a feeding bowl. I placed some meat and rice into the dividers and soup into the food bowl for Zac. Worked pretty well! However, the bowl is pretty small so you have to replenish the food for big eaters.

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The bowl also comes with a soft-tip spoon, which is useful for babies learning to grasp cutlery.

In a nutshell, I think this bowl is great for little ones who are weaning for the first time. I can see how this would be useful for both baby-led weaning babies as well as puree-fed ones. Mums with toddlers with healthy appetites (and a desire to move things) like mine may find this a bit too small.

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GIVEAWAY!

I asked mummybebe if they would be so kind as to allow our readers to enjoy their products and they kindly said YES.

So three lucky readers stand to win a $50 e-voucher, to be redeemed for any product at mummybebe. All you need to do is follow the steps below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions
Giveaways are open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw (email address as requested) and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn.

All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win. Giveaways are in no way directly linked to Facebook.

Disclaimer: We were given the book for purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

For the love of all things fried

As with all most parents, we want the best for our child. This includes all sorts of organic, no-pesticides, BPA-free, no chemicals, no evil plastics, ethnically-grown produce, yada yada yada when it comes to food. I swear I started off strong. I made all sorts of home-style puree when Elliott turned 6 months old and was ready for solids. I sliced, washed 3x (sometimes 10x), diced, chopped, peeled, pureed, all sorts of organic and ETHICALLY-GROWN vegetables I could find at the chi-chi supermarkets. Of course, after all that hard work, my child would, more often than not, take half a spoon, before spitting out the entire lot before giving me a WTF WAS THAT, MOTHER? face.

So yes, you can’t say I didn’t try to win the most-awesome-mother-who-cooks-only-organic-and-healthy-food for her child award.

I tried my best. I truly did.

His experience with food hasn’t been the easiest. He would eat certain food groups at certain stage of his life. At one point, it was all NANAS. Nanas (bananas) were the BEST FOOD EVER. Then he decided he didn’t like it anymore. We then moved on to roast chicken. He loved my Anyhow chicken and would eat them happily. I used to just sit and watch him put away ’em chicken bits because it was such a lovely sight to watch my child eat something nutritious THAT I MADE (using the oven).

Now. These days, he has decided that CARBOHYDRATES ARE THE WAY TO GO. He likes white rice. No, scratch them. HE LOVES WHITE RICE. Steamed white rice to be exact. He is very happy when we feed him bits of steamed white rice. And hell hath no fury if we attempt to smuggle in a teeny tiny bit of protein in the form of minced chicken or pork. His refined taste buds have a knack for detecting the offensive foreign intrusion and before you can say “meat is good for you”, out it comes from his mouth. I have since learnt to hover the bowl at his chin -just in case-. He has also learnt to peruse his food carefully, giving it a once over, before opening his mouth if he deems it acceptable (which basically means WHITE RICE ONLY PLEASE).

Other than carbohydrates, his other approved food item is anything FRIED and made of POTATO. Actually, it’s really just FRIED POTATOES. Think french fries and hash brown. No mashed potatoes please. We just want POTATOES (real or frozen – doesn’t mater) FRIED TO A CRISP.

I feel that I need to clarify at this point that on most days, his awesome grandmamas cook him brown rice porridge simmered with pork ribs and (Japanese) pumpkin with salmon and/or some sort of expensive white fish I don’t know, I don’t buy ’em fish – the awesome grandmamas do. He is also a milk monster. You should see the way we dangle his milk bottle at him while he gets himself into a tizzy. I like to think that he is still getting his nutrients, somehow. As such, I have decided that this fried potato eating phase will be a phase and one day, we will look back at such episodes and laugh because THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

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HOORAY TO HASH BROWN FROM A PACKET!

Recipe: Oven fried chicken

I love fried chicken. The husband LOVES fried chicken. But I don’t like eating fried chicken.

I know, such a contradiction, isn’t it. The truth is, I just can’t stomach the idea that I am probably ingesting a whole lot of unhealthiness with store-bought fried chicken. And I loathe to make it at home because, urghs, oil splatters everywhere.

The way to have the best of both worlds – eating fried chicken that’s healthy (what an oxymoron) – is, I have discovered, to mimic fried chicken. No, none of those glutinous fake meats for me. Instead, what you have is “fried” chicken that is baked and not deep fried in a gallon of oil.

Oven "fried" chicken

I have made this a few times now, trying out different methods and different recipes, much to the husband’s delight. He’s pretty happy to have crunchy and crisp “fried” chicken while I tinker about with the recipes but always, I find myself going back to this one from Mark Bittman. It’s easy and I have everything in my pantry. The boys LOVE it – what’s there not to love? 😉

Oven “fried” chicken
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 large chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I mixed 1 tablespoon of vinegar with almost 1 cup milk to make this nifty substitution!)
  • 1.5 cups panko
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Method

  • Take your chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking time. Preheat your oven to 205 degrees Celsius.
  • Mix the buttermilk, paprika, cayenne and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Put the bread crumbs in a large, shallow plate or tray and mix the grated cheese in thoroughly.
  • Brush a baking sheet with oil and place it in a large baking dish.
  • Remove the chicken drumsticks from the bowl and place them, one at a time, into the plate of panko. Press the drums in so that the panko sticks to the chicken evenly on all sides.
  • Place the drumsticks onto the oiled baking sheet, leaving at least 2.5cm between pieces. Bake the chicken until the exterior is golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.

That’s it! What you get out of the oven is crispy delicious “fried” chicken without all the unhealthy stuff.

Oven "fried" chicken

I use five drumsticks to feed my family of four so you can adjust the amount according to your needs. Just remember to increase the panko accordingly. I also decreased the amount of salt (1.5 teaspoons in the original recipe) as this was served up to my three-year-old and one-year-old. Plus, the addition of the cheese helped to increase the flavour.

Oh, and if you don’t want panko all over your kitchen countertop, I placed the plate in my sink when I was rubbing it all over my chicken parts so that any crumbs can be washed off immediately. Just make sure that nothing touches the surface of the sink!

Everybody loves this dish – even my baby, who gobbles up the meat and then chews down the bone. It’s deliciously crisp and the meat is tender and moist. Definitely a keeper!

Oven "fried" chicken

Review + Giveaway: Yamatoya Sukusuku EN

When Aidan was born, one of the big ticket items that we got was a high chair. Never mind that he was floppy and not sitting up yet, let alone devouring solids. I wanted a particular high chair and I wanted it NAO, to the extent of shipping it in from Amazon.

We loved our handy red high chair, it was perfect for our needs. For the first 18 months or so, anyway.

Once the boy mastered the use of cutlery, we faced a problem. We wanted him to sit at the table with us during mealtimes but the chair did not allow it. And then the toddler twos hit and he went on a high chair strike, pitching a (loud) hissy fit whenever we attempted to strap him in.

In the end, his doting aunts saved the day. They bought him a wooden high chair that allowed him to sit right up at the table with us. He loved being able to climb in and out of the chair by himself, and so the red chair was handed down to Zac.

The littlest turned 15 months recently and we faced the same dilemma – it was time to seat Zac at the dining table with us. We couldn’t get a booster because our dining chairs had sloping seats. That meant we probably had to purchase another high chair.

Luckily, the good people at Baby Beannie came to my rescue. They were launching the new Yamatoya Sukusuku EN high chair in Singapore, they said, would I like to try it?

Well, YES YES YES!

For starters, this chair is so good looking! I mean, duh, that’s the most important criteria, right? We recently changed out some of our furniture and the sleek white all-wooden chair fitted perfectly with our new dining table.

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Looks (and jokes) aside, we love that it’s so functional – it can withstand Zac’s acrobatic stunts. We once found him on the dining table when he was put into Aidan’s current high chair – he had somehow climbed out of it! The Sukusuku EN’s T-guard in front of the seat was secure enough to hold him in. It’s also easy to clean – just a simple wipe-down using a wet cloth. Despite its stability, the chair is also light enough for me to move it around.

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It’s also highly versatile and can grow with the child. For instance, we can remove the front T-guard when Zac is older. The tray is also removable, while the footrest can be adjusted to suit changing heights. The chair can hold up to 60kg in weight which means I can use it until the boys are packed off to the army (assuming they do not, err, inherit their father’s fat large frame). And then after that it becomes mine, hah!

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The Sukusuku EN is also extremely well-made. We put it next to Aidan’s current chair for comparison and the Sukusuku EN definitely nails it. You can see that a lot of thought has been put into designing the smooth curves of the chair. The wood used is sustainable and environmentally-friendly, and the lacquer that they use is non-toxic. Oh, and did I mention that it now comes in eight yummy colours?

SukuSuku_colours

The only hiccup we had with the chair was in installing it. The chair came with a Japanese manual that absolutely confounded me so I left it to the man’s devices. He was just as flabbergasted as I was and took a while to assemble the chair. I reached out to the Baby Beannie reps, who have assured me that the English manual will be included in future sets. Phew.

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We’ve been using the chair for almost two weeks now and I daresay that I don’t have any complaints about it at all. It’s that wonderful and I am really pleased!

To check out the Sukusuku EN in person, Baby Beannie will be exhibiting at the Baby Market fair held at Singapore Expo from October 9 to 11. During the fair, there will be a 10% discount on all Yamatoya products.

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GIVEAWAY
I really liked the Yamatoya Sukusuku EN and I asked the distributors, Baby Beannie, if they could let one of our readers have it too. They very kindly said YES!

So here you go: one lucky reader will get to win a Sukusuku EN in the colour of your choice (worth $288). It comes with a seat cushion (that we did not use because we practise baby-led weaning and it’s MESSY) and delivery within Singapore. Simply follow the steps below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on 3 October, 11:59pm and is open only to Singapore residents. Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

Disclaimer: I was given a set of Yamatoya SukuSuku EN for the purpose of a review. All opinions are mine.

BONUS
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The boys turned the box that the Sukusuku EN came in into a spaceship!

Recipe: Anyhow roast chicken

While I am married to the son of Asia’s Martha Stewart, I am certainly no domestic goddess myself.

Listen, I love cooking and I enjoy tinkering in that hobbit-hole that we call “kitchen”. But I’m not quite cut out for cooking, my dishes are pretty much pedestrian or misses. Good thing is, I am married to a man who isn’t too fussed (even if he IS the son of Asian’s Martha Stewart 😉 and he usually eats everything that I make without nary a complaint. Good man.

But this recipe, ah, this one is a keeper because it’s so damn easy AND fast. We went out for breakfast one morning and got back home a little late. I got this prepped in 15 minutes tops and best of all, it was something that I could feed my family of four, including the littlest of us all. SCORE. The boys scarfed it up and there was nothing left after that.

I consider that a WIN.

So here it is, my Anyhow Roast Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 6 thin slices of lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried herbs – rosemary, basil, thyme

Method

  • Take your chicken out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking time. Preheat your oven to 240 degrees Celsius.
  • Peel and roughly chop your vegetables into slices or chunks. There is no need to peel the garlic but crush it with your knife. Quarter the onion. Arrange the vegetables in your roasting pan and drizzle generously with olive oil.
  • Dry the drums with paper towels. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the skin. If preparing for the little ones, you can skip the salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and arrange the slices of lemon on top. Sprinkle the dried herbs over the entire dish.
  • Turn the temperature down to 200 degrees Celsius and put the chicken in for about 30 minutes. (During this time, I decided to make aglio olio because I suddenly realised that my carb-loving husband would starve without carbs).
  • Take the chicken out. If it isn’t cooked by now, turn the drums around and put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so. Otherwise, cover with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

You can totally adapt to your taste – more veggies, less veggies, different type of veg, for instance. The carrot and honey sweet potato that I had used turned out to be so beautifully cooked, I think I would definitely use more of them in future. I also used the Kou Cuisine Herbed Sea Salt that I had purchased from Bali and it worked a treat.

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