21 Apr 2014

Jara Petit Cheesecups





Cookies & Cream

(Pardon the substandard iPhone photos of these cheesecups that doesn't do it any justice because the boy took away my dslr for a whole weekend of event coverage so yes please bear with me! Well at least I'm showing you the unedited, raw form of us indulging in awesome desserts ^^)

Introducing my new favourite dessert away from the mainstream cupcakes: Cheesecups! They are slightly smaller than a cupcake and made of cheese instead of the usual flour, butter, eggs and sugar. The texture and Cheesecup base slightly reminds me of the No-bake Jelly Hearts I used to make when I had lots of time and cash on hand. However I don't know how but they made the cheese a little more fluffy and less tofu-like unlike the Jelly Heart.

All thanks to thesmartlocal.sg, I went into abject poverty this weekend after buying my second purchase from Jara Petit for a tea party for 3, but IT WAS SO WORTH IT. Their cheesecups are $3.30 for 1 and $27 for a box of 9. They do sell it in boxes of 3 for $9.50 too. 

Flavours offered: Classic, Blueberry, Lemon, Matcha, Banoffee, Cookies & Cream, Lavender, Durian, Strawberry
I had the classic, blueberry, banoffee, cookies & cream and lavender cheesecup before and out of all I think the Lavender cheesecup was the best, followed by the Blueberry flavoured one. I dislike durian so I made my friend Min finish that flavour up. 

Not sure why but I do not have a so-called comfort dessert as I enjoy sampling desserts that are made from "hipster" ingredients, like lavender and all the other funny berries/flowers. I'm not really a fan of the safe choices: Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate. I can tell you now my favourite ice-cream flavour is anything with raspberry in it. I just love raspberry. I raspberry all my ice-creams, if not I would not consider getting any ice-creams (unless there's another special flavour).

Hipster ice-cream eater.

Oh god I really side-tracked but anyway, I'm a great fan of lavender flavoured desserts, be it the Lavender flavoured ice-cream from Toa Payoh Creamier or Jara Petit's Lavender Cheesecups, I love it alllllllllllllllllll. But I felt the lavender really matched well with the cheese and makes the entire cheesecup even more fragrant in a non-sickening way. I mean, Lavender is used as a pot-pourri aka cupboard freshener so I doubt anyone can get sick of that scent yeah?

If you were wondering wha wha whaaaa izz "Banoffee", according to the website it is "Banana cheesecake with toffee sauce and a dollop of whipped cream" but I found that it looked and taste a little similar to Creme Brulee. The combination gives a really nice after-taste and this is the third flavour that I would recommend you to get after Lavender and Blueberry. 

My other friend Ying had the Lemon cheesecup and warning, the topping is pretty lemony aka sour. Min said that the Durian cheesecup was "soooooo gooooooood" she just went into food heaven and stopped eating anymore cheesecups after having the Matcha and decided that it was not as good as the Durian one.

Personal preferences I guess.

So well after summing it up I suppose my personal favourite would be the Lavender and Blueberry, Min's favourite would be the Durian and I think Ying enjoyed the Strawberry one. I really appreciated these cheesecups as they are not very ''gao'' and not too sweet except for the Classic flavoured one (which is just cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesy). However the downside is ITS PRICE, but you have to understand that cheese. is. not. cheap. And you have to pay more for good food that's totally deserving of its price!

Do support the friends Jia Hui and Cara ("Ja - ra") at:
Jara Petit Cheesecups
Dhoby Xchange

(Next to Just Acia, just keep walking down from Mr Bean straight, don't be lazy.)

Anyways in other news/updates,
I'm heading to Korea in close to 2 weeks time and...
MING IS HEADING TO UNI AT LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I really hope that I can use what I learn at school to bring this lifestyle blog to greater heights. Praise the Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

14 Apr 2014

Where am I heading to next: Tips on Trip Planning within a group of people

Whoa after three months of intense planning and finalizing ALL our flight and accomodation details, everything all seems so surreal that I'm really going to be on a plane without any parental/teacher supervision to South Korea with my junior Min and her classmate Liying! I'm immensely nervous yet so excited to seeing how this 2 weeks ++ trip will turn out to be as we spent so long planning the itinerary and sourcing for accomodation. Min painstakingly monitored the air ticket prices almost every single day and we. finally. got. SQ. seats. today. at. a. whopping. price. AT LESS THAN SGD700.

Like wow. I didn't even get a chance to pray about this and such a deal just landed right in front of us. How God provides ^^

Hence with me in a reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally good mood, let me share some tips on how to facilitate trip planning within a group of people!

1. Use Google Docs

Google Docs. Google Docs EVERY SINGLE THING. I swear Google Docs is the BEST INVENTION EVER like it's just the best. We have our itinerary, to-do list, shopping list, grocery list, budget, e.t.c all in ONE file, just that they are under different tabs, or sheets.
Any edits by anyone are seen live by others viewing the spreadsheet and you can even edit/comment on whatever that's written there.

How it helped us: All three of us are currently working part-time to earn our trip expenditure, hence we are only free on weekends to meet. Google Docs is really a great platform to help us consolidate our ideas, organize them properly and then formulate a final itinerary via the spreadsheets option! Now, we only have to keep our meet-ups once a month max to pass each other hard copies of important information or travel pamphlets for reference-use. Since we get most of our travel information online. we can easily leave comments to notify each other of new attractions or eating places that we can go to while we are there. Just copy and paste the name, address and phone number of the place and the rest of us can go Google it up!

2. Try renting an apartment instead of booking a hotel room

There's way more variety for breakfast than just the usual, sometimes even bad, hotel breakfast. Renting an apartment is sometimes, or most of the time more worth it than putting up at a hotel! My mum and I almost went to Seoul last year for the June holidays and booked a hotel. It costed two of us SGD900++ for a week alone, and that did not even cover breakfast. Whereas, the total cost for our accommodation this trip is SGD 573 for each person, and that is for more than two weeks of apartment-living in South Korea! $573 for two different loft apartments in South Korea for more than two weeks is already a really good deal. Mind you, the apartments that we booked are not at all shabby-looking. In fact, they are chic-looking loft apartments housed in new buildings! There's free wifi, washing machine, stove, kitchen utensils, two queen sized beds, tv, you name it they have it.

These apartments definitely did not drop down from the sky as we booked them through airbnb.com! The website has thousands, or maybe even millions of room/apartment/house listings from all over the world. Be it London, Paris, Seoul, even people in Singapore are renting out their spaces to tourists on airbnb. A tip while choosing the apartment is to firstly check out the reviews after reading the description that the host gave. If you are really interested in booking, contact the host via this built-in messaging system that airbnb provides! It's really convenient though. You do everything through airbnb, even the payment is processed through their system.

How it helped us: It helped us save hundreds of dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course I would definitely recommend this to my friends or readers who are intending to go on budget trips with their homiez ;)

3. Look out for Airline Sales

How it helped us: It helped us laugh at the price quotes from Scoot/Malaysian Airlines when the SQ tickets we purchased were even cheaper than their tickets. Ridiculous, isn't it?

MY FRIENDS THERE IS NO NEED TO TAKE BUDGET AIR ALL THE TIME WHEN YOU FLY! Because as proven, sometimes the more premium airlines might be even cheaper than flying budget. And really, budget ain't very budget as you still have to pay for extra check-in baggage, add-on meals, add-on drinks, add-on this, add-on that. After all the add-ons your ticket will cost twice as much as what you intended to pay.
It is always good to plan for your trips few months beforehand so that all of you can start looking out for airline sales and bite at the best chance for the best pricing ticket! Min used Skyscanner ($0 service fee) to monitor the ticket prices and we booked the tickets via SIA website so there's no shady website or middleman involved in this heavy transaction.

4. Split the work

You will go crazy having to juggle monitoring ticket prices, trip research, booking, itinerary planning, e.t.c all by yourself while holding a 9-6 job. Hence it is always good to have a To-do list to split the work out. Set deadlines and remember to complete the tasks before that day arrives! Min and I were the only ones going on this trip but she managed to rope in Li Ying few weeks ago so now there's three of us! We're all really enthusiastic and meticulous people thus making the whole process so much more smoother and efficient. I really thank God for both of them and my parents too, for agreeing to pay for our airfare and accommodation first before we reimburse them with our monthly salaries T.T (there goes our money)

5. Use NAVER maps if you are travelling to Korea, instead of Google Maps.
The greatest joy while planning this trip is 1. Knowing how to read Korean, 2. Using my abilities to search for directions on NAVER (even though it might take forever cos I take super long to read but still works)
NAVER maps is the best thing that happened to me. It will suggest routes, tell you specifically which bus to take and which train station you should alight. It even tells you the cab fare if you want to cab from place to place. Such a great buddy for my budgeting job, I'll strongly recommend people to use it especially if they are heading to Korea for a holiday. If I'm not wrong, they also provide Japan maps. But I did my Japan trip routings last year via Google maps and it was pretty okay, so well it's all up to you! But NAVER maps for Korea, wangjjang daebak.

Yup and that's about it. Always remember to have good communication within your trip buddies. Nothing can't be worked out with the willingness to listen and accommodate! Here's to an amazing trip wherever you guys plan to go.

Ming Rui L.