Monday, January 19, 2015

Gadget Review: The Philips Noodle Maker

In November 2014, I was introduced to this machine called the Philips Noodle Maker. Since then I have been playing around with it quite a bit. I also happen to be making more noodles last night. So it's time for a round up of the experience I have with the Philips Noodle Maker so far.

Many people are asking, should I buy it? The other questions that everyone asks is, is it easy to clean? Let me answer the questions in this post.


Getting the first feel of the Philips Noodle Maker:

Like a kid getting a new toy, this was pretty amusing. This was not even at home yet. It was in an office and I was there to see a demo.


If you think a machine can't knead like my "Ah Ma" can when she makes noodles, these noodles are pushed out with a force of 725 kg, I think granny's not that strong.


What about the noodle texture, I can't pleat hair, I only remember pulling my sisters' hair when they were pleated. At the demo, I asked if anyone can pleat hair and someone could. She gladly pleated the noodles for me while I took a video of it. See how neat she pleads it and see how strong the noodles are!


Purple Monster!
It looks like aliens are made in this machine!


We have been taught never to play with food, but we broke all the rules, trying to see if we can break this machine. It's a fully automated machine that doesn't require you to do anything else after putting in the flour and liquid.

We tried to be clever and tried to shove more dough in. We even took the noodles and try to push it back in for a second round, to see if it wrecks the machine (since it's not my set). It passed the test rather well. No, these noodles though made from edible stuff, it was for us to experiment, we did not cook it.


Using the Philips Noodle Maker for the first time at home:

A photo posted by Philip Lim (@keropokman) on

The instructions are pretty clear. If you don't like reading the manual, go for a demo session at a department store. The demo uncle or aunty will tell you a lot of things!

You can use any liquid of your choice. Just follow the measurement cups and things won't go wrong. We decided to make some carrot noodles. Sis was juicing and I hijacked her carrot juice and made noodles out of it!

A photo posted by Philip Lim (@keropokman) on

Don't expect the colour of the noodles to be the same as the juice. After getting mixed with the flour, it changes quite a bit. You will be quite surprise with the results every time you make it.

A photo posted by Philip Lim (@keropokman) on

We were trying to figure how many portions can a cup of flour make. So we made 1 portion to test it out first. We could get 2 and a half servings of the above only. Since it had the ingredients that we liked, we made more!


We had some kale in the fridge, so we made Kale Noodles next. As the noodles are being churned, we cook more ingredients for the noodles.

In December we had lots of food gathering at our home, a few of them was Noodles Dinner. I wished I took photos of those dinners, but when you have guest coming, you are just too busy to bother taking photos and cooking.


As I mentioned earlier, I thought I should write a post about this machine, so I was mentally prepared to multi task, cook and take photos.

Last night's dinner using the Philips Noodle Maker: 


To make basic noodles, all you need it
-1 measurement of plain flour using the measurement cup provided.
-1 measurement of liquid, we used freshly squeezed orange juice and the middle marking is for 1 measurement of flour.

Simple isn't it? You can squeeze some lemon in, but I kept most of the lemon juice to be squeezed over the noodles when it's done.

The Philips Noodle Maker is known as the Philips Pasta Maker in other parts of the world. There's a slight difference, but if you see the China, Taiwan or Japanese sites, you can learn more about the recipes that people use there. Use google translate like me if you can't understand them.

You can mix different flour and make Udon, Soba, Egg Noodles, Pasta. It's all up to your imagination!


I realised last night that I have never filmed myself turning the machine on and show you all how it works. I have only film the noodles coming out. It is very simple. Someone said on the comments section on the Instagram above that it's like turning on a washing machine. Yes, that simple!

From experiments, if you like 'QQ' noodles, select 8 minutes.


Making your own noodles ensure there's no preservatives or additives in it.
If you want to go further, you can choose organic wholemeal to make your noodles.

There are 4 different moulding disc that are provided. This is the angel hair disc. I like angel hair, so this is the most used disc at home.


This was Part 1 of our dinner. You never know how hungry the people at home are. Sometimes they want a lot, and sometimes they say they are full. So I reduced the portion cooked and we all felt hungry and wanted more after!

You can purposely go out and buy the ingredients for your pasta or you can use whatever there is in your fridge or pantry. Yesterday afternoon, sis happened to be making savoury scones and she had leftover basil and semi dried tomatoes, so I used it up.

Ingredients of a basic but tasty accompaniment to your pasta.
- 1/2 pack of bacon
- 1/2 pack of sweet basil
- 4-5 cloves of garlic
- 5-6 pieces of semi dried tomatoes. (or you can just use loads of cherry tomatoes too)

I usually use all the bacon but we are all going for our annual blood check soon, so we said half a pack of bacon is better than nothing. I usually cut them all in strips, but last night I decided to have some of it whole, so it looks nicer on the plate.

I started by browning the garlic with 3-4 tablespoons of oil, I wanted some garlic oil. After the garlic browns and smells goods, I added in the cut up bacon and semi dried tomatoes. I let it brown until what you see and then add in the whole piece of bacon to cook at the side. I then added in the sweet basil to just let it wither a bit.

You can turn off the heat and boil your noodles. The angel hair cooked in like 1 minute, so you got to be quick. I already had my water boiling much earlier. When it's done, toss it into bacon and semi dried tomato mix.


This is a simple dinner. I happened to have some basil flowering in my pot that is growing by the kitchen window. So I used it to garnish it. It's not that difficult.

Is it worth it to get the Philips Noodle Maker?

  • If you are a great noodle eater, yes! You can make all kinds of noodles yourself.
  • If you particular about the texture of your noodles, yes! You can control how you want the noodles to come out.
  • If you are particular in what you feed your family. Yes. It's definitely healthier than having instant noodles. Some mums I know prepare portions of everything in advance and freeze it. The fresh noodles and ready 'healthy accompaniment' is a good idea for some.
  • If you don't always cook at home, then don't get it. You would probably not be using it.
  • If you hate gadgets, don't get it. It's simple enough but some people just can't deal with gadgets. I know such people. Just use a rolling pin and knife to make your noodles.

What is the best way to clean the Philips Noodle Maker?

The best way is not to clean the machine immediately. When I first got the machine, I thought that I might as well clean it up right away after the noodles are out. Wrong move. Very wrong move.

Wet dough mixed with water gets so so gooey. So if you clean it straight away, you would have cursed and think who invented this thing? It's so so hard to clean. Then I remembered someone telling me, wait till next day then clean it.

So on the last times after I used it, I left it one or two days before I cleaned it. Everything becomes so much easier. You can use your hand to rub the dough off the different parts of the machine. Yes, rubbing it off. The main mixer is made of metal and it's non stick, you can really rub it off. The other plastic parts are also easy to clean when the dough is dry.

NoodleMaker1

The noodles dries up the next morning and it's like crispy mamee snacks!
This was the morning after. You can just use your hands to gently push it off.


For the bigger discs, they have a cover that you can close it and it pushes everything out. For angel hair, they also give you something to clean up the holes. If you leave it till it's dry, cleaning it is super easy.


NoodleMaker2

The other side of the disc. Wait will it's dry, you can lift this whole dough out!


What next?
 
  • I am wondering if I can make muruku with this machine! It looks possible, but I wonder if it's easy to do it. I might want to air fry it instead of deep frying it.
  • I am also wondering if I can use cooked flour to make desserts out of it. Just like how Snow Skin Mooncakes are made with cooked flour, it would be interesting to make desserts using this machine.
  • Get the Lasagna disc from the 'sister' pasta machine from other regions. I want to make fresh lasagna instead of using the dried sheets. I read that the lasagna disc can also be used to make wonton skin.

More information?

If you want to find out about the technicalities and specifications, the official Philips website has all the details. I am just describing my experience here.


Note: No monetary compensation was received. I received the Philips Noodle Maker to play around give my thoughts about it.




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Monday, December 01, 2014

Surfing Food Blogs with the Linksys WRT1900AC

My first router I bought was the Linksys WRT54G. That must have been so long ago, I can't remember the year. Shortly after that when I started my blogs. It was the time when ISP used to auto upgrade your bandwidth without you needing to sign a new contract. Soon, my broadband speed was faster than what the WRT54G can transmit, so I changed to other routers.

Time passes so quickly. Linksys was acquired and it became Linksys by Cisco. It got acquired again last year and it became Linksys again. For the last few months, I have been testing the Linksys WRT1900AC that was gifted to me. It was the familiar design and colour of my first router, but on steroids, a 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM CPU if you wish to know.

I know that most people reading this blog are not technical folks, so I will write this blog in 'an easier to understand' and 'how I used it' easy reading manner. If you need a more technical review, there are the more technical reviews out there.

Linksys WRT1900AC

So, how has this router performed the last few months?

The people and also the equipments in our home are quite internet dependent. We have multiple mobile and tablets running at the same time. Other gadgets connect itself to the internet to update things for us as well. Remote controls that will switch on lights via wifi, weighting machines that will update our weight as we stand on it, Apple TV, VOIP home phone, etc.

When the 'clan' is at our place for dinners, we have an additional 10 or more devices that will also connect to our router. So scrolling through your Instagram feeds and posting would not be no problem in our household.
Linksys WRT1900AC

This is the top view of the WRT1900AC. Does it look like the old WRT54G? It has 'grown' over the years. It is now bigger, measuring 24.8 x 19.5 x 5.1 cm. There are also more visible ventilation holes on top and at the bottom. More memory too, it has a 128MB Flash and 256MB DDR3 RAM.

Like the old WRT54G and if you want, use third-party firmware too.  It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, but we use wifi at home, so we don't use them at all. We did not want to rewire the house last time. If you have devices that connect directly to it, this might be useful.

Linksys WRT1900AC

There are 4 directional antennas so you can adjust it in the direction so that all your rooms will have signal. There is a room in our house that will only have signal if you open the bedroom door. I also had low signal in my bathroom (don't laugh, I know many people use mobile phones while sitting on the throne too).

With this current router, I can receive wifi, but not at the highest speed, but it works now. One reason why it works now is because our previous router was either a 2.4GHz or 5GHz. If I set it to use 2.4GHz, the signal can travel further, but the speed is low. If I set it to 5GHz, I can get higher speed, but with every wall or even door, the signal drops until it's non existent. (Higher frequency allows faster speed, but walls or wood will block the signals. Lower frequency travels further but have lower speeds)

This WRT1900AC is a simultaneous dual wireless band router. So I can have the name SSID (the wifi name) for both bands. For example, when I am in the living room or bedroom it will be connected to the 5GHz and I can surf at high speeds. When I move to the toilet or the 'ulu' bedroom, it will get connected to the 2.4GHz and still allows me to surf but at a lower speed.

Linksys WRT1900AC

Setting up the router is rather easy with the instructions that comes with it. You can connect it using the 'one button' connect if your notebook supports it (if you have old folks, this is so useful), or just the usual connection to SSID available and password.

The router administration is also easy to navigate and set up. The interface is easy to understand. The 'network map' in the admin screen is the most interesting to see. You can monitor and see which devices are connected and which bands. 

If you want to connect an external storage to it, you can. We don't use that at home, we back up everything to the cloud and since network is fast for us, we just back them all up on a combination of Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive.

Linksys WRT1900AC

We are subscribed to a 200Mbps Fiber Service.

From our notebooks at home, the speedtest is rather good. Yes, at times, and depending on the host we are connecting to, we get different speeds. This was to the SGIX server and the upload speed was not satisfying this morning.

Linksys WRT1900AC

When I changed to Viewqwest to test the speed and I could connect at 204Mbps on both download and upload speeds. You might not get this speeds if you notebook or mobile phones are using the older chips. I am testing using a Macbook Pro Retina in the same room as the WRT1900AC.

Linksys WRT1900AC

For mobile phones, the speed is usually slower than notebooks. With the iPhone 6Plus, which has a newer chip,  I could get speeds of 160Mbps for download and 188Mbps for upload when I connect to the router at the 5GHz band. I was quite surprised because my previous mobile phones never had this speed.

Linksys WRT1900AC

From the ahem, bathroom, the speed does drop a bit when it gets connected to the 2.4GHz band. Spotty, but I am happy I don't get dropped to 4G or 3G.

To be fair, on some days, I get super low speed and that's when we know it's time to reset the router. We never bothered to find out if it's the router's fault or the ISP's fault. We just reset the router and 5 minutes later, everything gets back to normal.

Linksys WRT1900AC

On an older phone like the iPhone 5s, the speed I get is lower on the 5GHz band and even lower on the 2.4GHz. That was why I switched to the 5GHz on my previous router, so get faster speed, but you won't get signals with every wall that blocks you. Yes that is one reason why we upgrade our phones.  So I am glad this router can run both bands simultaneously.

If you are on Fiber and want to connect directly to the ONT modem, you can. There are instructions for it that comes with the box and it works, I have tried it.

I have also positioned my router in a way that when I outside the house at the bus stop, I can still surf with the 2.4GHz signal. You know we got to 'like' those Instagram feeds right?

I know there are other routers that are similar, but I am not a router reviewer and this has been my experience with the Linksys WRT1900AC for the last few months. If you are interested in getting a new router, you can try this, or like what I tell friends who ask me, get someone who has it and trial it at home.

Now, back to surfing other food blogs and viewing Youtubes of others preparing food.




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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Boiler @ Tai Seng Industrial Estate

Here in Singapore, Louisiana inspired seafood restaurants are popping up and one of the latest opening is The Boiler. If you have grown fond of the various cajun-style preparation of seafood, you can add this place to your place to go.

Crab and shrimp boils or a more generic label, "seafood boil" is a Louisiana Cajun tradition and you can find them here. You can prepare these boils yourself at home, or you don't like cooking, just eating or don't like to clean up, just pay them a visit.

The Boiler, Singapore

One difference The Boiler has to other similar restaurants is their location. They are located at the Tai Seng Industrial Estate. No, it's not that 'ulu', it's just a short walk from the Tai Seng MRT. One thing about being in an industrial building is the high ceilings! Coming in here just gives you a nice airy feeling of space, something that many other restaurants in Singapore can only wish for.

The Boiler, Singapore

This visit was an invited session and the things featured here are what most of us thought is good or interesting.

If you just coming for drinks, they have some crafted beer here plus a selection of Louisiana Crafted Beers as well. You can take a look at what they have here.


If you want something different, try their Beerita ($11.90). It is a glass filled with Margarita and a bottle of upside down Corona that flows out of the bottle into the glass as you sip your drink.

The Boiler, Singapore

If you want something non alcoholic drinks, The Boiler's Lime-Mint Freeze ($5.90) is quite addictive and you will probably need 2 because you will finish them very quickly. I like this drink.

The Boiler, Singapore

It's a place where you can safely wear your whites because they provide transparent bibs, or it's more like an apron because it's so big to protect your clothing. I laughed at their wordings because they sure are as corny as me on Instagram. LOL

The Boiler, Singapore

While waiting for your mains, dig in to some starters. We had some Fish and Chips for starters. The fish are are crisp outside and moist not oily inside. I forgot to ask what fish it was, but they have done it pretty well here considering because it's in an industrial building, they have limitations in what they can do in their kitchen.

If you order this, I recommend that you save some of the chips, so that you can dip it with the sauces of the seafood.

The Boiler, Singapore

Another starter we had is an absolutely sinful dish. Southern Fried Chicken with Waffles! Crispy chicken with crispy waffles that had maple syrup on it.

Nothing healthy at all, but everything so addictive.

The Boiler, Singapore

Another sinful starter. Prawns wrapped with bacon! Bacon Shrimp with Hickory BBQ sauce.
With these starters, I said you need more Lime-Mint Freeze.



The Boiler, Singapore

This is also a place where it's a very communal kind of place. You share the food and you eat right off the table. They lined the table with fresh clean grease proof paper, so don't worry. The food's poured on the table and you dig in!

They way to order the mains are simple:
1) You can pick your seafood, either Live Dungeness Crab, Live Brown Crab, Live Boston Lobster (all seasonal), or if you are on a tighter budget more of the Prawns, Mussels or Clams.
2) Choose your sauce: The Works, Garlic Butter or Peppa' Butter.

The Boiler, Singapore

Oh hi! Handsome Boston Lobster! This guy was having a sauna and has been drenched in Peppa' Butter sauce.  Their sauces had been formulated to have quite some uumph. If you like it a little peppery, try the Peppa' Butter sauce.

The lobster are $75 per piece, when we had this earlier in September, they were having an offer of only $49 per piece, if you went followed me on Instagram, you would have seen it. Hope those of you who saw it went and got to enjoy the deal!

The Boiler, Singapore

If you like garlic, the garlic butter sauce might be your choice. It's not too difficult to whack the flesh out of the lobster shell. Get a few friends to go along and you can order a few to taste it all and share too. Looks good doesn't it? The lobster above.

The Boiler, Singapore

If you are here with 3-4 friends, you can order The Boiler's Bombdiggity Bag ($139).
We were looking out for the guy with the big bag. A few went to other diners and when he finally walked over, we were ready with our phones!

Let me warn you, keep your mobile phones when you are ready to eat, your hands will get really yummy with the sauces and you don't want to be tempted to hold your phone!

The Boiler, Singapore

What you get in The Boiler's Bombdiggity Bag: Dungeness/brown crab, prawns, mussels, clams, sausages, corn and bun. (The bun doesn't get served in the bag, it comes separately)

The Boiler, Singapore

We were eating in quite a big group, so we had 2 The Boiler's Bombdiggity Bags. The sauce for this bag was "The Works", they have different heat levels for "The Works". I prefer the mid level spice because it's more balanced to me.

I also recommend that you leave the food in the bag when it's served because it keeps the food warm longer and it's easier to scoop up the sauce using the clam shells.

The Boiler, Singapore

Well, if you wanna take photos of your food, then by all means, spread it on the table! It's easier to pick your food this way too if you have a bigger group. It's really up to you. This was the garlic butter sauce. Having tasted all their sauces, my personal preference for the night was the mid level The Works sauce.

They have a more different style of food lunch menu, it's a more burger, sandwiches, ribs kind of place in the afternoon. I want to try out the ribs, as I am a ribs person.

Thanks to The Boiler folks for the invitation to try out the place.

The Boiler
18 Howard Road,
#01-06, Novelty Bizcentre
Singapore 369585
 

Tel: +65 6635 1285

 



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