Once Upon a Time in Hong Kong (Day 1 of 2)

I am so excited today as I am co-hosting Fiesta Friday #93 with the lovely Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 for the second time around. Right, Kaila? 😀 I think the guests are expecting something delicious from me today, yes? Hmm, something sweet, maybe? Savoury? Ha! Sorry, but I am not bringing food today! Oppsss! Don’t look at me like that! I have another thing – a story… which hopefully you’ll not get bored with! I am sharing you the first ever travel post on my blog. Yihee! 😀 While listening to me, link up and join the fun by clicking the badge below:

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Once upon a time, there was a Princess who really loves to go to Hong Kong. All was planned and ready. She prepared a scrapbook to document all the photos and write the experiences. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances happened that she had to pull out everything. The Princess got very depressed and forgot all the dreams she had related to Hong Kong.

Years after, a plan was made again. This time, the dream of going to Hong Kong finally came true.

Join me as I share with you my first time in Hong Kong… or you can just scroll down to see the photos. 😉

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Upon arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport, a representative from Asian Links Holiday greeted us (the tourists) and handed over our itinerary for the whole tour. From the airport, we were dropped at the hotel, the Rambler Garden Hotel. The hotel is about 30-minutes-by-car-far. It is located in Tsing Yi which is an island in the urban area of Hong Kong. The hotel was okay – mainly to accommodate guests, but the room is very small and the ceiling is very high. The view from the window? This.

HKG 2015, TNSCC (1)

They are like huge legos. The view from the hallway looks more nice:

HKG 2015, TNSCC 2

But we are on the 30th floor and it’s crazy to stay at the hallway.

Residential building
Residential building

There are shops and a restaurant at the basement level of the hotel.

HKG 2015, TNSCC 7
Various shops at the basement area where you can buy something to eat or drink, Chinese medicines, clothes and bags
And Watson's, too. :)
And Watson’s, too. 🙂

The restaurant at the basement area is called Cafe de Coral.

HKG 2015, TNSCC 6
Restaurant at the basement area
HKG 2015, TNSCC 3
Something like roasted chicken thigh with some sort of peanut sauce/gravy
Green tea
I ordered for green tea and they gave me a cold one
HKG 2015, TNSCC 12
Fried Fish Fillet
HKG 2015, TNSCC 13
Gravy
HKG 2015, TNSCC 11
Puerh Tea – hot this time

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Enough for the introduction…

First day was supposed to be a free day, but we decided to go to Ocean Park. When the representative said there will be Pandas, there’s no reason for me to say ‘No, I want to take a rest.’ See you, Panda!

Day 1: Ocean Park

HKG 2015, TNSCC (31)

Ocean Park is a huge theme park and according to the tour guide, it’s thrice the size of Hong Kong Disneyland. There are rides (which I am scared of), shops, animals and restaurants. I don’t know how I could manage being a tourist and a photographer at the same time. :/ So, I have not taken much photos and have not went to all the attractions which I feel so sorry about. Anyway, let me share what I got. 🙂

HKG 2015, TNSCC (2)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (4)

We went inside The Grand Aquarium, but I have not taken good photos… which was a little okay because I am not really a fan.

HKG 2015, TNSCC (3)

There is a transportation called Ocean Express where it would take you from the other side to another side of the park.

HKG 2015, TNSCC (6)
People waiting for the ‘train’
HKG 2015, TNSCC (7)
‘Train’ has arrived

From the inside of the ‘train’, you cannot see the outside world. There were animated drawings of different kinds of fishes and water on the ceiling of the ‘train’ which it make you feel that you are travelling underwater with matching sounds. It was so cute. (So busy watching that I forgot to take a photo)

During my stay at Ocean Park, I hear people screaming. I think the screams came all the way from here. Maybe this is not the worst ride I have seen, but still, THIS. IS. CRAZY.

HKG 2015, TNSCC (14)
Roller coaster ride called Hair Raiser
HKG 2015, TNSCC (19)
Another crazy ride

This is the ride I love, Ferris Wheel. Ha! No challenge, eh? 😀 As I said, Ocean Park is a huge area, so I couldn’t find the way to here. Forget the maps – I don’t even know how to use them.

HKG 2015, TNSCC (22)

This is something where you ride some kind of a round boat and people from the top will ‘water-gun’ you… plus you will be wet from the running water.

HKG 2015, TNSCC (11)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (12)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (13)
Bananas!!! But no, they are not real If they are, maybe I’ve jumped already.

One of the things I loved at Ocean Park – seeing these beautiful birds…

HKG 2015, TNSCC (10)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (21)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (20)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (17)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (16)

And snake?? Am I happy to see this? Well, yeah! Plus, it’s beautiful… and scary!

HKG 2015, TNSCC (15)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (5)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (27)

And hello, Panda! We went to an attraction where there were two Pandas, but they were hiding or maybe sleeping. So we did not have the chance to see them at first. Luckily, we went inside another attraction and saw this so cute Panda.

HKG 2015, TNSCC (23)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (24)

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Well, after eating… you get full and you sleep… with your back facing your audience. Huh!

HKG 2015, TNSCC (26)

Here’s a short video I have taken:

We also went inside a place where there are fishes – unlucky me that I have not taken nice photos. 😦

HKG 2015, TNSCC (30)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (29)

HKG 2015, TNSCC (28)
Koi

Stunning aquariums with gold fishes:

 I hope you enjoy my photos and my story. See you on the second day! 😉

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Mom’s Kinilaw na Isda

Fish cured in vinegar and/or citrus juices, mixed with tomatoes, onion, ginger, cucumber and coconut milk. Spiced up by bird’s eye chili or long chili. 

Kinilaw na Isda (Fish Ceviche)-TheNotSoCreativeCook

Similar to Latin America’s Ceviche, Kinilaw na Isda is so popular in the Philippines and mostly eaten as an appetizer. I know that fresh fish is used, but some uses shrimp. This doesn’t involve cooking. The fish sliced in small pieces (or shrimp in some others) is cured in vinegar or citrus juices. It is then prepared with chilis, ginger, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and calamansi juice. I guess that is the traditional way of serving it. In our family, it’s different. My Mom used to prepare it with a twist and not too citrusy. She adds freshly squeezed coconut milk.

I have made kinilaw na isda before, but not using my Mom’s version as I completely forgot how she made this. I was just surprised one day that I finally remember everything. Also, unlike others, we do not serve this as an appetizer. Rather, we serve this with rice and fried fish or grilled fish. 😀 We also use king fish and not the tuna fish.

Kinilaw na Isda (Fish Ceviche)-TheNotSoCreativeCook 2

I hope you like our version of Kinilaw na Isda of Fish Ceviche. And now, time for the recipe. 😉

Kinilaw na Isda

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large slices of king fish
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of coconut milk, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp of ginger, chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cucumbers, sliced/diced
  • sliced chilis (bird’s eye chili or long chili), depending on how spicy you want you kinilaw to be
  • 7 calamansi, squeezed
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white sguar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions: 

  1. Wash and clean your fish. Slice your fish in cubes, scales and bones removed. Place in a container, add the vinegar and cover. Let sit for about 2 hours.
  2. Remove the vinegar from the fish. Wash with water and drain.
  3. Add the freshly squeezed coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients. Also, add salt and pepper according to your taste.
  4. Keep in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. Serve as an appetizer or serve with warm white rice with grilled or fried fish.

It is crucial to use Calamansi instead of lemon or lime. But in case it is difficult for you to find Calamansi, you can play with lemon or lime. 🙂

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I am sharing this at Fiesta Friday #92, hosted by the Amazing Angie who is so excited to have a new laptop. Yay! 😀 And we are all going to select our faves for this week’s FF as we are all co-hosts! Enjoy, FF Friends! 😉


I am also sharing this at

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Featured at: What’d You Do This Weekend? #42

 

Chocolate Poke Cake – a birthday cake

“A party without a cake is just a meeting.” Julia Child

That’s what I thought so. No party, actually… I just baked a cake for all of you and for my colleague’s kids. And of course, for me to enjoy. 😛

What else could make the birthday girl happier than a chocolate cake with delicious chocolate whipped cream frosting? Chocolate overload, yes. And yes, I turned a year older and a kg heavier on October 18th. 😀

Chocolate Poke Cake - TheNotSoCreativeCook 2

It’s been weeks since I’ve been craving for a cake. Not a chocolate cake, but angel food cake/sponge cake with swiss meringue frosting. But for me, that’s a lot of work and time consuming… so I settled for the one I can manage.

This chocolate poke cake is so delicious – you have the chocoloate cake topped with the mixture of condensed milk and melted chocolate, then again topped with chocolate whipped cream frosting. I thought the end result will be so sweet because of the condensed milk, but the unsweetened chocolate balanced everything. If you have chocolate cravings, I must say that this would definitely satisfy your cravings. 😉

Chocolate Poke Cake

  • Servings: 1 9x13 in cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the chocolate cake: 

  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup water at room temperature*
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the chocolate filling: 

  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened chocolate chips

For  the chocolate whipped cream topping: 

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cup mini chocolate chips**

Instructions:

For the cake: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, add wet ingredients. Slowly, pour them over the dry ingredients while beating on a medium speed. (You can use a hand whisk while doing this if you don’t have a electric hand-held mixer.) Pour it in the baking dish and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  4. With a wooden skewers or chopsticks, poke holes all over the top of the cake and set aside. (You can also use wooden spoon, as per the source recipe.)

For the chocolate filling: 

  1. Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside. In a saucepan bring sweetened condensed milk to a boil and pour it over chocolate chips. Whisk until the chocolate chips have completely melted. Make sure not to burn the condensed milk.
  2. Pour chocolate mixture over the cake and spread to fill in holes.
  3. Set aside to cool (about an hour) then refrigerate until completely cooled.

For the chocolate whipped cream topping: 

Before beating the whipping cream, make sure that your bowl, beaters and whipping cream are very cold. 

  1. Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form, add powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla extract and continue mixing until stiff peaks form. Spread it onto cooled cake and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Store in the fridge.

Notes:

* 1 cup brewed coffee can be used in replace of water.

** You can use any chocolate decoration you want. As I have finished all the chocolate chips in the filling, I used grated chocolate instead and balls of Maltesers. 🙂

Source recipe: Chocolate Poke Cake by OMG Chocolate Desserts

And oh, you can use a boxed cake mix if you want to make it easier for you. Now, that doesn’t sound complicated at all, eh? So, what do you think? Are you going to give this a try?? 😀

I hope you like this delicious cake. Have a lovely weekend to you all!

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I am sharing this at Fiesta Friday #91, hosted by the Amazing Angie, co-hosted by the amazing Aunt Juju and Indira @ I’ll Cook You Wash. Come and join the fun by linking up your recipes, stories, DIYs… by clicking the badge below.


I am also sharing this birthday cake if mine at

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Meet New Bloggers #41

Hello! Hello! Hello!

I hope everyone is doing good. I just came back last week from my month-long away from work and shall I mention the month-long with a very slow internet connection? Oh, I just did. 😀

Now, back to work. Translation: back to crazy, crazy work schedule and overloaded paper works. On the brighter note, internet connection is better – so I may have the chance to chitchat more. 😉

On to the introducing new friends to you –

Something Sweet, Something Savoury

Some experiments were a triumph, some were a total disaster. My cookbook collection grew vastly over the years. I ran out of space on my groaning bookshelves a long time ago so any new additions to my collection sit on my kitchen table or if they are very new, beside my bedside table.

Nicola started her interest in food at a very young age. She used to stay at the kitchen with her grandma and with her grandma’s cookbooks which she used to put a tick mark when she likes something. She does the same thing up to now. I bet everyone in her family loved these bars of Fudgy Brownies with Raspberries and White Chocolate – I really love to have some, too. 🙂

Salted Butter

I love food. A lot. A lot a lot. I think food is the most important part of life and human existence and I like to embrace that. Being in the kitchen makes me happy and cooking and baking can immediately blow the blues away. Food is probably my greatest passion. I mean, what is life without food!?

I couldn’t agree more, Zoe. 😀 Yeah, people??

Zoe has a special bond with broccoli, ice cream, cookies and pizza. Hmm, sounds like me and Zoe have something in common. 😀 That is why my heart stopped beating when I saw these delicious bars of Nuttela Swirl Brownies.

Super Sweet Tooth

Erin has such an amazing story about her experience in cooking and baking:

Up until 5 years ago, I didn’t know squat about cooking.  I remember reading the back of a cake mix box, saw where it said, “Grease and flour pan” and I yelled, “Say whaaaat?” and threw it back in the pantry.  Most of the meals I made were the frozen meals you cook in a skillet, Hamburger Helper, and Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese.

She was then attended a culinary class and graduated. Now, I am sure she’s can rock the kitchen with her more improved cooking and baking skills. Uh, can you please pass some of these Boston Creme Mini Tarts?? 😀

Sweet Samsations

Sam has been blogging from 2011, but I don’t know why I haven’t bumped into her yet – she has an amazing blog and (ehem) recipes.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sam who disliked food. When she was little, she would rebelliously run around during meal times, defying any food on her plate.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there. She was forced to cook and feed herself since she moved to Vancouver. There she started loving food and started baking and cooking. And can you tell me that these can be taken in one sitting? – Toblerone Fudge Brownies.

Anita Cuisine

I started to love cooking mostly because home cooked food is fresher, better and healthier and it seems that nowadays it has become a luxury few can afford and also because now I cook for 2, not just for myself and this is more fun.

Anita loved sweets and mostly prepared them. She can’t imagine life without sweets. Although she makes savoury things, too, like these Grilled Honey Hot Wings. 😀

I hope you do check these blogs and show them some love. 😉

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Filipino Cheese Sticks

Cheese Sticks

There are people who loves their food smoking hot, fresh the cooking pot or oven. There are people who loves their food warm. And there are people who loves their food at room temperature. I am one of those people. Not all food, I must say. Or not all the time. Hmm, most of the time.

I remember when my Mom used to cook rice and room temperature rice left for me, I always get in advance from the freshly cooked rice and put it in the fridge. 😀 I really don’t mind eating like that or drinking a room temperature tea. I always get that, anyway. 😛

One of the things I could eat at room temperature or even two days old are these cheese sticks.

Cheese Sticks 3

I am not sure if this is popular in the Philippines, but I eat like mad when I make these. They are made by slicing cheddar cheese and adding a little condensed milk before wrapping them in spring roll wrappers, then fried to perfection. The cheese melts and flows out from the wrapper which creates bits of deliciousness outside. I could not eat much when condensed milk and cheese are together (migraine problem), but I don’t mind having one as long as I enjoy these. 😉 As for the dipping sauce, I use mixture of banana ketchup and mayonnaise… but mayo alone is okay. I always make batches and keep some for another two days. I always enjoy them even they are two days old. 🙂

Cheese Sticks 4

Cheese Sticks

Ingredients:

  • 30 spring roll wrappers
  • 250 g cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • Cooking oil
  • Banana ketchup
  • Mayonnaise

Instrucrions:

  1. Combine banana ketchup and mayonnaise. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. Slice cheese about 3 inches long. The thickness depends on you. I like mine a little thick.
  3. Place on top of the spring roll wrapper. Add about 1 tsp condensed milk and wrap. Repeat until you have used all your spring roll wrappers or your cheese.
  4. Fry until cooked.
  5. Serve with banana ketchup-mayonnaise dipping sauce.

Notes:

You will notice that the cheese will melt and the condensed milk will flow. Just keep on frying and they will be okay at the end.

You may omit the condensed milk.

These can be served with only mayonnaise as your dipping sauce.

Cheese Sticks 2.

I hope you like my version of cheese sticks. Have a fun weekend to everyone! 😉

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I am sharing this at Fiesta Friday #90, hosted by the Amazing Angie, co-hosted by Effie and Lindy.

I am also sharing these delicious cheese sticks at

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Strawberry Watermelon Infused Water

A nice, refreshing infused water. Perfect if you have extra watermelon and strawberries.

My sweet tooth doesn’t always want to eat something sweet. It does look for something nice, too. 🙂

Strawberry-Watermelon Infused Water 2

Well, I have to admit that I crave some naughty foods more than the nice ones. But when it comes to drinks, I prefer water than the sugary juices that can be bought from the store. Apart from plain water, there are times that I want my water to be pretty and healthy. Yep! You’ve read that correctly ‘Healthy’. 😀

Though, I don’t know if I could call this a recipe as this is super duper easy. Just dunk in those fruits and you’ll have an amazing infused water. Maybe we could call this an idea? Suggestion? Hmm, that could be. 😉

Strawberry-Watermelon Infused Water 3

So… what you have to do is prepare a dozen of strawberries (washed and cut into half), one cup cubed watermelon and 1/4 cup of washed mint leaves. Dunk them all in a container/pitcher with 6 cups of cold water. Let it sit inside the fridge for an hour or so and it’s ready.

I hope you all love this post and this drink. Happy partying and have a fun weekend!

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I am sharing this at Fiesta Friday #89, hosted by Angie. Thank you, Angie. Also, thanks to Mila and Kaila for co-hosting.


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From Selma’s Table: Spicy Sticky Chicken

Baked chicken thighs glazed with a sticky spicy sauce. Served with mango salsa. Amazingly delicious.

Sticky Spicy Chicken - The Not So Creative Cook

I could say that even when it comes to main dish, I love anything sweet – sweet and sour, sweet and spicy. Place something sweet in front of me and you’ll be surprised by how I will gladly stuff them in my mouth. Even main dish, you ask? 😀 Yep! Even main dish.

Again, I am proud to say that I got the recipe from our darling Selma. Her blog consists of so many awesome recipes that I don’t know which one to make first.

Again, let’s take that one at a time.

Sticky Spicy Chicken - The Not So Creative Cook 6

I love chicken thighs and I love sweet glaze. This dish suits perfectly for my taste. I could eat the dish everyday. Apart from the dish being so lip smackingly delicious, this will be so much better with a side. Hmmm, grilled corn on the cob. Buttered corn kernels. But let’s talk about a mango salsa.

Sticky Spicy Chicken - The Not So Creative Cook 5

Sounds good? I tell you, the combo is a bomb!

What are you waiting for? Grab some chicken thighs and make this delicious dish. 😉

Sticky Spicy Chicken - The Not So Creative Cook 3

Sticky Spicy Chicken

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

For the glaze:

  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp soy or teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes, adjust according to your taste

To serve:

  • 2 tbsp pre-roasted peanuts, chopped or crushed
  • 3 spring onions finely sliced
  • Mango salsa, recipe below

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In a baking dish, place the chicken thighs skin side up.
  3. Pour over the chicken the freshly squeezed lemon, olive oil, then salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for about 35 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, place all the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 2-3 minutes or until thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6.  When the chicken is done, remove the chicken from the pan and pour the juices to the pan with glaze. Let it boil again for 2-3 minutes or until reduced.
  7. Return the chicken to the baking dish and pour the glaze all over.
  8. Put it back inside the oven and bake again for 10 minutes or until the glaze has set.
  9. Top with peanuts and spring onions.
  10. Serve with mango salsa (or any side of your choice) and white rice.

Mango Salsa: chop ripe mangoes, tomatoes, cucumber and onion. Mix together and sprinkle with fresh parsley or cilantro.

Source recipe: Sticky Spicy Chicken by Selma @ Selma’s Table

Sticky Spicy Chicken - The Not So Creative Cook 4

 

I hope you have the chance to try this and don’t forget to share. 😉 Thanks for being with me today. Have a fabulous weekend to everyone.

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I am sharing this at Fiesta Friday #88, hosted by the Amazing Angie. Thank you, Angie, and thank you to our co-hosts.

I am also sharing this dish at

Showcase Your Talent Thursday | Foodie Friends Friday | Foodie FriDIY | Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday | Saucy SaturdaysRecipe of the Week | Happiness is HomemadeMunching Mondays | What’d You Do This Weekend?Turn It Up Tuesday | Totally Terrific Tuesday | Cook Blog Share Melt in Your Mouth MondayLou Lou Girls Fabulous Party |


Featured at: Melt in Your Mouth Monday Recipe Blog Hop 229