Refresh Your Home Style with Spring Color Trends

March 18, 2015


Good gift will be remembered forever

September 28, 2016


As part of their “Guy’dLines” series, the Men’s Wearhouse offers a surprisingly excellent guide to gift giving. Here are some of the points they make:

Follow the link to read the full article. It’s a good read and far better advice than you’d expect to find on a business-sponsored site. Thanks to John Steinbeck. - http://lifehacker.com/132901/choosing-the-perfect-gift

How to Choose a Gift by Men’s Wearhouse

Cookware; Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type

April 12, 2016

When it comes to shopping for cookware sets, many people never take it seriously as it deserves. They just walk into the nearby mall make their pick based on what captures their eyes and fall within their budgets. I can associate this since that was exactly what my friends and I did five years ago. We had for a long time desired to operate a restaurant however small it would be in the neighbourhood. For years we looked for a suitable location without success. However one day we got lucky; you can imagine how excited we must have been.

With the place secured, we needed to hook it up with the necessary cookware and other things. Like many people, we went into a local store and did all our cookware shopping only to realize we hadn’t developed even the menu. To cut a long story, most of our dishes turned into disasters before we realized that the cookware was the source of all our problems. Different cookware is ideal for different types of food. We had no clue that some of our cookware could even react with some types of food. Also, we came to realized there is no one excellent type of cookware, every type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Stainless steel comes at a cheaper price and is durable, is scratch and warp resistant and keeps its shine for a long time and most importantly, it does not react with food. It is however a poor conductor of heat meaning they require more energy. It is thus recommendable to use stainless steel that has aluminium and copper core, otherwise your food won’t cook evenly and the cookware will get hot spots on the surface.

On the other extreme end of heat conductivity is copper cookware which are excellent conductors of heat. These are what many professional chefs use. In fact, we have been adding copper cookware in our restaurant. Copper cookware however more expensive, reacts with acidic food and requires regular polishing to maintain its shine. On the other hand, cast iron cookware which is known for its great durability and heat retention requires high maintenance, reacts with acidic food and can rust unless seasoned. It is also heavier and requires high maintenance. Aluminium which is the most common cookware in our households today is a great heat conductor but it reacts with acidic food, scratches and dents easily. To avoid scratching, denting and reacting with acidic food, a layer of aluminium oxide is usually put on its surface though. A non-stick coat is also applied to ensure food does not burn.

Next time you go shopping for cookware consider your need as well as the cookware’s heat conductivity, durability and reactivity not forgetting your budget.

How to Cook Sticky Rice Correctly

December 29, 2015

Sticky rice, aka glutinous rice, is a sweet Asian rice that becomes sticky when cooked.The key to delectable DIY sticky rice is not only buying the right kind of rice, but also cooking it correctly.


Getting the right type of rice is a must if you want proper sticky rice. Look for bags labeled “long-grain sticky rice,” “sweet rice” or “glutinous rice.” If it isn’t available in the rice aisle of your neighborhood market, check the ethnic foods section. Still no luck? Head to a nearby Asian or international grocer or try online.

Now that you’ve got your rice, how do you prepare it? There are three basic ways you can use:


For this method all you’ll need is a large pot. Measure two cups of rice and three and a half cups of water into the pot. Let the rice soak for at least half an hour or as long as four hours. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir. Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low and cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly off on one side to vent. Cook for 10 minutes – but DO NOT stir the rice while cooking! After 10 minutes, check to see if the rice has absorbed all of the water by pulling the rice away from the center with a fork to create a hole. If there is still water, continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat and place the lid on securely. Allow the rice to stand for 10 minutes before serving.


The old school way to make sticky rice is to steam it. Put three cups of rice in a very large pot. Cover it with two or three inches of tepid water and let it soak for at least six or up to 24 hours—the longer, the better.

Drain the soaked rice and pour it into a steamer basket. Boil two or three inches of water in a wok or large pot and set the steamer over it. Make sure the rice doesn’t dip down into the water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes. Stir the rice so that the top layer is at the bottom of the steamer and vice versa. Steam another five minutes and it’s good to go.


The easiest way to cook sticky rice is with a rice cooker. Measure two cups of rice and two and a half cups of water into the rice cooker. Allow the rice to stand and soak for 30 minutes to four hours; again, the longer you wait, the more awesome your rice will taste. Toss in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and turn on the rice cooker. If your rice cooker has an automatic timer, let it go until it shuts off. Otherwise, cook the rice for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow it to stand for at least five minutes and enjoy.

Sticky rice gets even stickier over time, so you can make it a day or two before you need it and keep it in the fridge in an airtight container. Add the cooked rice as a side to your favorite dish, try it in desserts or just pick up your chop sticks and dig in.

Air mattress reviews and our views

I was going through some of those air mattress reviews about the products that we bought about four years ago. We, of course, bought it from a physical showroom, where the salesgirl subtly gave me hints on what to look for. She probably realized that I was not aware about many features that are now incorporated. Had she not pointed out few of those features, I might have bought the first or second air mattress at the showroom, paying almost the same price as I paid for this one.


In four years, I have never had any issues with the comfort and support I get with this air mattress, and believe me, I have used it everyday. The air remains inside throughout the day and night, as told to me by the girl as the showroom. My only grouse has been its height, which too has been remedied to an extent because we used old cotton mattresses and got them stitched for adding another three inches or so. We actually turned that mattress into something like a bed cover with sides extended to cover the mattress. We use bedsheet above it, which I remove each day. I know this is not the traditional way of making bed, but I really have no choice. In day time, a thinner bed cover is what I use to cover the cotton mattress on the air mattress.

Related reading: Air mattress for the guest

The cotton mattress has shrunk a bit, but not the air mattress. As I was reading the air mattress reviews, I realized that I agreed with some views, and disagreed with others. In general, I am satisfied with this air mattress. It has given me no reasons to complain. What I found strange in those air mattress reviews is that nobody is complaining about the height of these mattresses. Are we the only elderly couple that are using air mattresses instead of traditional spring beds?

Other posts:
The benefits of air mattress
How to pick a perfect air mattress

Quitting My Job To Start My Own Coffee Shop

December 8, 2015

I have worked in one of the most established café’s in my hometown for quite a number of years now. The experience I have got working in this café serving the best coffee related beverages and pastry snacks has been making me think of putting up my own coffee establishment. So recently I resigned from the café to follow my dream of opening my own coffee shop. I had been thinking a lot about this idea for quite some time and had saved some money for staring the business. I also have a friend in another town who own a rental restaurant space which is located in a prime location in a busy 24 hours operating street who has been urging me to start my business there. I have done a lot of research and found this area to be the perfect place to open an espresso cafe.

The research I did and the experience I have making coffee has made me realize most people enjoy the espresso, cappuccino and latte among other coffee favorites. So to make my new customers relax and enjoy their favorite drinks I decided to buy the best espresso machines that can handle the task of making the best tasting espresso coffee. I had used the Capresso coffee making machines and found them to be very effective so I searched for the best Capresso espresso machines to get the one that can handle the job of making coffee in a busy café. I was mainly looking at the features of these Capresso espresso machines so that I can get the one that can make a variety of coffee drinks.

Since I started this business I have been getting a lot of customer, who are always coming back to enjoy their favorite coffee related drinks. I am making high quality espresso because the machine I chose for making coffee in my café is one of the best espresso machines. I am looking forward to employing more staff to help with the rising number of customers I am getting every day. I can say I made the best decision by quitting my job to start my own coffee making business.

Japanese Knives

November 26, 2015

For centuries Japanese craftsmen have been tinkering with steel. The Japanese are famous for making the very best chisels, wood planes, saws, swords and knives throughout the ages.

Today technology is combined with generations of knowledge to create mechanical wonders like high-speed bullet trains, airframes for fighter jets and earthquake proof buildings all made from steel.

Japanese knives draw from tradition, technology and an intergenerational knowhow of how to manipulate steel.


Thinner, harder, sharper are the important trio of attributes for an excellent kitchen knife. A Japanese knife has thinner, sharper bevels made of harder steel that keep their edge for longer.


To constantly strive towards excellence is an age old Japanese philosophy that is so prevalent in Japanese culture. An individual knifemaker will always be thinking how to improve their products and the processes involved in their workshop.


Knifemakers in Japan are spoilt for choice when it comes to steel. Companies like the juggernaut Hitachi have long supported traditional knife industries with carbon steels rated “best in class”. At the other end of the scale TSS are masters of making modern steel such as VG10, R2 and cladding with nickel Damascus.

Japanese knifemakers have superior ingredients, generations of expertise in knifemaking, swordmaking and metallurgy and a life long dedication to the pursuit of excellence that have put them streets ahead of the pack.

More about Japanese knives – ChefsArmoury

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