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Thursday, 15 September 2011

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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

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Spaghetti Di Funghi Recipe


Ingredients :

200grams of Spaghetti (any brands)
3-4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, Black Pepper
4 teaspoons of Chilli Flakes or Finely chopped dry chillies
A handful of chopped flat leaf Parsley
50 ml of chicken stock (optional)
2 teaspoon of dry Oregano
Grated lemon zest of half lemon
5-6 Brown Mushrooms/Shitake sliced
1 whole onion, finely diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

Cooking process :

1) Heat up stove and fill 3/4 full of water into your pot and let it boil. Once water is boiling, add 2-3 tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Salt is to season the boiling water so that the pasta won't be bland and olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking. Make sure after placing the pasta into water give it a proper stir and not to let it stick together. You want to make it loose instead of the pasta clinging together. Leave it to cook for approximately 8-10 minutes or El dente. Reason you cook between this timing is because if you drain the pasta, the process of cooking is still going on as you are going to put the pasta into the mushroom mix. If you tend to cook the pasta a bit longer, it will overcook and it's gonna be horrible.

2) Heat up medium sized pan over medium heat. When pan is nice and hot, add 3 tablespoon of Olive oil into pan. Add onions and garlic. Saute till onions are soft and then add the chillies and mushrooms. Saute for 2 minutes or till mushroom slightly shrinks. In this moment, if your pan is slightly dry, add a few tablespoon of pasta water into pan. Then add the stock in, season with 2 pinch of salt and pepper and the lemon zest. Let the stock reduce.

3) Once pasta is cooked, drain the water and make sure you save some of the pasta water as you might need it in case your pasta is too dry. After the sauce is reduced, add in pasta into pan and mix thoroughly making sure the pasta is nicely coated with the sauce. After mixing well, ready to serve and garnish with a handful of grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle a little bit of EVOO. Mangia!


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Emirates Trip Report from Istanbul to Singapore

Welcome to my trip report on Emirates from Istanbul to Singapore. This post will cover the food, service and journey of the IST-DXB-SIN leg. The last day of my time in Istanbul was just mainly doing some last minute visits and buying some souveniors, as i had posted in the last article. Checked out of my hotel at 1pm and bid goodbye to the hotel reception and thanked them for the wonderful hospitality. Made my way to the tram station and off i go to the airport.
The entrance to Atlantis Hotel, good and cheap
One last shot of Sultanahmet area
Metro cabin
Metro to Havalimani Airport Station
Made my way down to Sultanahmet Tram station which costs me only 1.50 Turkish Liras per trip and i needed to get off at the last tram stop which is Zeytinbumu and change to the Metro train. This Metro will take me directly to Havalimani Ataturk Airport Station. The journey from Sultanahmet to Havalimani takes almost an hour including waiting time for the train. I reached the airport at around 3pm and wander off to look for a place to sit down and maybe take a nap. My flight check in counter only opens at 6.50pm and my flight was scheduled at 2150pm. Well being early doesn't hurt, but the waiting time at the airport hurts as much as my butt sitting on the bench looking left to right, right to left looking at passengers walking past. I must say that the Turkish Airlines Stewardesses are very damn pretty! Also there was free access to WIFI and i happily logged on to my Facebook to check and update my status...Tried to sleep on the bench, but it was pretty hard and my back hurts. That was already off of my mind and stayed awake for the next 3 hours before checking in.

Check in time : 1850pm
ETA Departure time : 2150pm
ETA Arrival Time : 0130am (DXB time)
Airline : Emirates
Class : Y (Economy)
A/C Type : Boeing 777-200
From : Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (IST)
Destination : Dubai International Airport (DXB)

I hate these benches!
Boarding Gate 219
GE 90 Engines roaring!
As cool as I.C.E on Emirates..
Passengers settling down
Preparing for push back and taxi to runway
Take off and goodbye Istanbul!
Smoked Salmon with Olive and Lentils salad
Chicken Tikka with Beans and carrots
Chocolate Mousse
My complete inflight dinner
Check in was a breeze and no fuss. After immigrations, i headed straight towards Gate 219 and before entering, went thru another final security check. Did some plane spotting to pass the time and boarding announcements were made at 2115 pm. Priority boarding, Gold, Silver and Business Class passengers were to board first followed by those with children, then followed by economy. Greeted by name at the door and promptly showed the way to my seat. A Filipino stewardess asked me where am i from and i told her i was from Singapore. We chatted for a while before the other passengers began to arrive. We began push back at 2145pm and the crew began handing out hot towels. A good gesture of service as they are now following SQ's standard procedure in service excellence. Hot towel was all i need to freshen up my face a bit to prevent me from sleeping throughout the flight. Took off at 2155pm and began ascending to cruising altitude. Take off was smooth and the captain announced that a smooth flight is ensured with minor turbulence over Iran. After reaching cruising altitude of 37,000 feet, the crew sprang into action and began preparing the inflight meals. Menu cards are given to each passengers shortly. Special meals are handed out first followed by the normal menu.

I had the Chicken Tikka with Beans and carrots. Dessert was Chocolate Mousse and appetizers was Smoked Salmon with Olive and Lentil Salad. Chicken was moist and got that smokey flavor to it. Appetizers were good too. Salmon, fresh. Lentils salad was seasoned well and the Chocolate Mousse was the sweet delight to finish off a great meal!

Reaching Dubai soon
Oh look, stars!...Nah, just the mood lightings in the cabin.

Nose view camera of the plane
Taxiing to gate
Parked next to a B777-300ER

Flight itself was uneventful.  I watched Iron Man 2 for the remainder of the flight to Dubai. As the flight was only 3 hours and 30 minutes, no snacks were served. but the crew began their rounds for Coffee and Tea service. As we are approaching Dubai, the Captain made an announcement for the timing in DXB, passenger transits and told the crew to do final checks prior to landing. We remained in a holding pattern as the traffic in DXB was heavy. Landed safely 10 mins later than the scheduled time. I had to rush towards my transit gate as my flight to Singapore was already started to announce for boarding. Time was 0145am and my flight was boarding at 0200am. Had to go thru a long line of security checks which i had to endure for 10 minutes waiting in line. After the checks, i ran to my next boarding gate and to find that the waiting lounge was empty as the other passengers have boarded. Luckily i wasn't the only ones late for boarding.

ETA Departure time : 0245 am
ETA Arrival Time : 1405pm (DXB time)
Airline : Emirates
Class : Y (Economy)
A/C Type : Boeing 777-300ER
From : Dubai International Airport Terminal 3
Destination : Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1

Sunrise over the Bay of Bengal
Flying over the coast of Mumbai

Awesome sunrise. Who needs IFE when you have this!

Foccachia Sandwich of Chicken and Zucchini filling with chocolate chip cookie
Flying towards western Sumatra
Flight Info Display
My breakfast meal consist of  Noodles with Kung Po Chicken and Shitake Mushrooms
Egg Noodles with Kung Po Chicken and Shitake Mushrooms
Crossaint and sour dough bread with Fruits

Flying along the West coast line of Malaysia
Batu Pahat Coastline
Some islands surrounding Singapore shores
View of Marine Parade and East Coast Park
Tanah Merah MRT within sight
Changi MRT depot and Changi Business Park
It's good to be back to a more familiar surrounding
Parked next to a Cathay Pacific B777-300
My next flight to Sin took off at 0235am and the total traveling time will be 7 hours. Crew handed out hot hand towels and menu cards after reaching cruising altitude. There was to be a slight turbulence over the Bay of Bengal nearer towards Mumbai. Midnight snacks were served first, as some of the passengers were sleeping, the ones who were awake are served along with Coffee or Tea. It was a Foccachia Bread with sliced chicken tandoori with zucchini. Chocolate Chip cookies were also given. Tasty, but i can't finish the whole sandwich as i was still full from the previous flight. The whole flight was uneventful after the slight turbulence over Mumbai. Breakfast was served 2 hours before landing. I had the Egg Noodles with Kung Po Chicken and Shitake Mushrooms. Noodles was a bit dry until i mixed the sauce together. Wasn't bad and wasn't that good. Average i should say. The crossaint was flat and looked more like a boomerang instead of the bread.

Overall, was satisfied throughout the whole flight. Service was attentive. Food not bad. And the best of the best was the Emirates ICE which stands for the Informations, Communications and Entertainment. It has the best IFE out there next to SQ's KrisWorld and Qatar Airways' Oryx. I would gladly fly with Emirates anytime without hesitations! Landing towards Changi Airport was smooth as silk. Within minutes we were taxiing to gate and getting ready to deplane. If anyone has any doubts of which flights to take, try Emirates!