Category Archives: Food

Roasted Sweet Potato with Jalapeño Aioli

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After being back from the food adventure in Thailand, I am in dire need of some healthy and tasty recipe to satisfy my inner cookie-monster. Also the fact that running a business just doesn’t aid in terms of diet. I don’t want to be tortured by eating fruits, salmon skin with veggies while looking at Mum’s Sambal fried fish, Laska and Nasi-Lemak.

My solution… Roasted sweet potato cubes!


Roasted Sweet Potato Cube

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dice the potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Place the cubes in a medium sized bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with paprika, salt and pepper. Toss with hands to coat evenly. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until tender, but slightly crispy in the outside. Remove from oven, and allow to cool just enough to be easily handled.  Skewer the cubes, and enjoy with your favorite dip!

Cilantro-Jalapeno Aioli

Makes about 1 cup of aioli.

1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded (if you like it less spicy) and chopped
Juice of one lime, plus more to taste
Salt, to taste

In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, cilantro, and jalapeno; pulse until smooth. Remove the mayonnaise and pour into a bowl. Add half of lime juice and salt, to taste. If you like it more citrusy, add more lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for one hour before serving to allow all the flavors to develop. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.


Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookie

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On tuesday morning, we had a big plan to make some delicious treats for the neighbors. After going through a list of options ranging from Roast Chicken, Cheese sticks, Chinese Dumplings to a cake. I decided on cookies because it is easy enough to make and a crowd pleaser. Shortly after, an image of a creepy guy offerings girls sweets, came into my mind. I thought to myself, “there is no turning back now”.

The cookies turns out to be way better than imagined. Although the first batch was a little hard due to the lack of love (aka over-baking). I surprised myself with overall results. The cookies ended up never leaving the kitchen. Sorry, Neighbors!


Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies 
Adapted from Katy Sparks and Andrea Strong

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

110g tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup quick-cooking oats
2 cups chopped pecans
340g ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or coat with butter. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about three minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Sift together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half. Stir in the oats, pecans, and chocolate chips. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.


Inspiration Monday 01

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It’s been ups and downs trying to solve the hacking situation to the blog. Overall, it has been a learning journey and Hellagood is back. I am start a new series of Inspiration Monday to share a collection of web links that have inspired me.

Have a energized week ahead, boys and girls. Here are a few links for your enjoyment…

Inside a textile factory in America

An entire city of fish house

The latest invention in the make-up industry

A great guide to lens and DSLR

Simple Watermelon salad for the week

Next diving adventure, Sunken Civilization, Heracleion

Beautiful Origami Lamp from Holland

A tribute to Maya Angelou; an video interview with Dave Chapelle


Photo via Chris Payne Photography

Ginger Garden Cocktail

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While working hard to start my wedding business, I have been secretly taking time off to drink at my favorite bar in town, Bitters and Love. The owners, Ernest and Beverly are totally about a great tasting cocktail. He, along with his group of cocktail scientists regularly experiments with different herbs and spices from this part of the world to make Awesome Cocktails. Drop by his bar and ask him for a surprise of the day – you won’t regret it!

Who knew that Cucumber and Ginger would make such a great cocktail – the stuff you put on your eyes when you go to bed. The heat of Ginger is brought down by the cool Cucumber and lime just give it a little kick. It is definitely a great hit to a summer party!



Ginger Garden Cocktail, makes one.

45ml Gin
1 lime
Thumb size Muddle Cucumber
Thumb size Ginger
1 Egg white
1 tablespoon simple syrup (or more to taste)

First slice up the cucumber and ginger. Combine cucumber and ginger into shaker and mash it to extract the juice. Combine the cucumber, ginger, lime juice, gin, egg white and simple syrup. Shake to combine. Add ice and pour the mixed drink over ice. Garnish with a ginger, cumber and squeezed lime.


Make your way to Bitters and Love and ask for the Ginger Garden Cocktail 😉

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The story of Fish Sauce

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As I am home, my lady Mama have been stuffing me with glorious home-cooked asian food – I am not complaining but it is not helping in my goal to lose some weight. And, I have been poking my head into the kitchen while all the magic is taking place. Being fascinated by the mysterious Potion rack that make my food so damn delicious, I chose to examine one particular ingredient, the Fish Sauce.

The question started growing in my head. Where does this comes from? Which smart ‘Ah being’ came out with this idea? How was it being made? How can I differentiate good vs bad ones? Is it healthy? Does it even pass safety regulations?

I have invited a good friend, Eric Low to help out. Eric spent the younger  part of his life being a ‘Sir Marco Polo of Asia’  sailing through the Europe, Caribbean and Mediterranean, cooking for the riches on their deluxe private yacht. After getting tired of that, he became a mad food scientist in the Research and Development lab of Nestle.

Fish Sauce 

To make fish sauce, fish is fermented in a tank or in the sun from a week to three weeks. Then, you press the fermented fish mass to extract the rawest form of fish sauce. After pressing, the sauce goes through pressurisation. There’s also filtering and adjustments— if the color is not ideal, they’ll add caramel.

The sauce originates from the Han Jiang region of China, a coastal area with an abundant supply of the “trash fish”—seafood that’s too small to be sold—that’s used to make fish sauce. Eric says, “While soy sauce belongs to the entire race of Chinese people, fish sauce belongs to the Teochews. That’s why you see it wherever in the world there are Teochews.

Which is the best fish sauce?

Today, the top fish sauce is rumored to be from Vietnam where the best kind of anchovies for fish sauce is found (in the Gulf of Tonkin). A friend who used to stayed in Phu Quoc island, Vietnam says if the wind blew the wrong way on a particular day, you would not want to breathe!

Vietnam has also a rating system for fish sauce, the “N” number. Standard supermarket bottles are usually N25. But there are also high quality versions, which might run up to N70. Here, in Singapore, you can get N50-60 fish sauce at Victoria Wholesale Market and N45 fish sauce at Golden Mile Complex.

“N” stands for nitrogen and it indicates how much protein’s in the fish sauce. The more protein = the more umami flavour.


The Fish Sauce Test

I have decided to buy some fish sauces and try to understand the mystical power of it. The Vietnamese Fish Sauce is 3 times more expensive than the Normal ones from China and have a nice translucent golden hue. On the tongue, the Vietnamese Fish Sauce seems less salty and more a mild sweet fishy flavour.

I set up a simple experiment using eggs as the base ingredient and added a teaspoon of Sea salt, Soy Sauce and the Fish Sauce to each egg and fried it.

How ‘un’Heathy is it?

Fish sauce is rich in glutamates, and works as a flavor enhancer. Unlike Soy Sauce which is used as a food dipping, only a few drips of fish sauce is used for soup and food dish. I cannot conclude that it is a healthy food but a few drops of it for a flavor boost. Hell Yes, I’ll put it in my soup any day.


I am keeping my experiment as a secret.. Go try it and tell me what works for you. Come back next week and I will release my findings.

Happy experimenting 😉


Written by Chin Hui Wen, founder of Merlion Granola and Bryan Lim.