Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes are not new. I baked them long time ago in 2007 when I just started baking. At that time there weren't many baking blogs to follow. Precious Moments was one of them. This is a really easy recipe suitable for beginners and even children.

I grabbed the 1-for-1 Nutella promotion from NTUC fairprice during CNY, 2x1kg bottles at only $9.80! Now I have a task of 'clearing' it. Actually not much a problem as I can eat bread with Nutella everyday! Can spread more generously!

Edith reposted the recipe in her new blog and after looking at it, I was so anxious to try it again after so many years. The swirls were done by my niece. The cupcakes were finished up by them very quickly. A good recipe if you need to bake something quick.

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes


140g butter, softened
100g white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
200g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder


1. Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes.
2. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated.
3. Add vanilla.
4. Sift together plain flour, salt and baking powder and fold in until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
5. Fill each muffin liner with batter to 80% full.
6. Top each cupcake with 1 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.
7. Bake at 180 deg C for 15-20 minutes.

Recipe from: Rumbling Tummy

Monday, June 08, 2015

Birthday at River Safari and Singapore Zoo

I happen to know about this great promotion from The Dead Cockroach.

It's the Birthday Special offer by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, where we can enjoy free admissions to the 4 parks - Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo on the actual date of your birthday. On top of that, there is 1 complimentary ice-cream at each park and also 10% off retail and F&B. This offer is for all Singaporeans and permanent residents.

After knowing about this promotion, I was so looking forward to my birthday and planning the activities. I decided to choose going to the River Safari and Singapore Zoo only. Will leave the other 2 parks for next year maybe? Haha!

So on my birthday, which was actually in April, took a bus to Choa Chu Kang interchange and changed to bus 927 which stops at Singapore Zoo and operates on weekdays. I arrived at 9am sharp.

Just present the NRIC and redeem the tickets, maps and Birthday Badge. Oh btw, there is free WIFI near the entrance of the zoo.

I entered River Safari first because it was my first time here and wanted to spend more time exploring.

Chose to start from the left and enter Rivers of the World, featuring the wildlife in the world's 6 famous rivers.

Mississippi River

Congo River

River Nile

Ganges River

River Safari is extremely easy to navigate as the paths are designed such that you will not miss any exhibits. The whole place is completely sheltered too.

Mekong River

Mekong River is one of the exhibits I preferred.

The Crab-eating Macaque. Very mischievous!

A large aquarium housing the Giant Siamese Carp and Mekong Giant Catfish and many other fishes.

Here comes the Giant Freshwater Stingray.

Such a joy to sit down and watch the fishes.

Yangtze River

Giant Panda Forest

At last I reached the main attraction of River Safari to meet the 2 Giant Pandas - Kai Kai and Jia Jia.

The cool scenery outside Giant Panda Forest. So calm and peaceful!

Before that, met the Golden Pheasant, which was hiding away and couldn't see clearly.

And the Red Panda! Actually the red pandas are my favourite! They are so cute and active! Walking around and posing like models. :) Sorry for the multiple shots!

Moving on to the Giant Pandas. What they eat.

The pandas are separated in different areas. Meet Kai Kai first.

Kai Kai wasn't doing much except lying around. A pity that I did not see to get them chewing bamboo leaves during their feeding time.

Cross over to meet Jia Jia.

She was in a good mood actively walking around.

Mama Panda Kitchen

By the time I came here, it was already 11am. Wow, I spent nearly 2 hours to cover half of the park.

Had a tea-break at Mama Panda Kitchen.

Ordered the Panda Pau with chocolate custard (choice of chocolate or red bean) and redeemed my complimentary paddle pop ice cream!

It wasn't too sweet, quite nice!

Next was crossing the bridge to the other side of River Safari.

View of Upper Seletar Reservoir from the bridge. You can see River Safari Cruise from here.

Wild Amazonia

At the other side of the bridge is Wild Amazonia which covers the right-hand side of River Safari.

There are 2 boat rides here. The River Safari Cruise and Amazon River Quest. There's a ticketing booth here. The price is $5 for 1 ride or $8 for both. I chose Amazon River Quest only. Before that, I read the map that is 1 small exhibit near the entrance to the ride. Think many people may miss it.

The Golden-headed Lion Tamarin.

Amazon River Quest

Boarded the Amazon River Quest.

A leisure boat ride to watch the wildlife, however, you need some luck to spot the animals. I didn't manage to see many maybe due to the hot weather during noon time. There are a few less than exciting rapids. But overall the ride was quite boring. Haha!

After getting down the boat, I moved on the the Squirrel Monkey Forest next.

Passed by the Jaguarundi.

And a pond with Silver Arowana.

Green Anaconda outside Squirrel Monkey Forest.

Shh... It's sleeping. Reminds me of Harry Potter movie!

Oh dear, Squirrel Monkey Forest is only open from 1.30pm-530pm on weekdays. Think I have to come back later.

Amazon Flooded Forest

To the Amazon Flooded Forest. It's the world's largest freshwater aquarium exhibit. I must say a big WOW, it's definitely the 2nd best after the Giant Panda Forest in River Safari.

First is the viewing tunnel to watch the Giant River Otters swim. I was pretty disappointed as it was completely empty. The best viewing time is in the early morning and late afternoon.

Then, enter the first level of the exhibit.

Watch the Piranha and Arapaima and many other fishes swim in the submerged forest during the flooded season.

Slowly moving to the upper level.

Here's the second level at the top of the aquarium.

A surprise when I reached the upper level. Know where the Giant River Otters went to? They were at the surface of the exhibit, swimming and basking in the sun. Hehe!

The River Safari ended here. I went out, before that, remember to get a chop from the staff so that I could re-enter later for the Squirrel Monkey Forest.

A souvenir shop. There is also another dining area, the River Safari Tea House.

I had my lunch packed from home. Rest and then re-enter River Safari for this.

Squirrel Monkey Forest

In here, you can easily see many squirrel monkeys running and swinging around. Photos are a bit hard to take though because they are simply too quick!

They are moving very freely. So food and drink are not allowed in this exhibit. In case they might snatch your food. I was a bit worried when they were running above my head! :)

So this ended my more than half a day in River Safari. I quickly proceeded to the Singapore Zoo. It was already 2pm. I think I had not much time to visit the animals. So just planned to watch all the shows if possible.

Near the entrance of the zoo. The Cotton-top Tamarin.

Feeding time for the Greater Mousedeer.

The hanging Siamang,

False Gavial

Asian small-clawed otters.

The rare White Tigers.

I quickly went to redeem my complimentary ice cream from Safari Scoops! The Hippo's Chocolate Fantasy - Rich chocolate fudge flavour.

Brought the ice cream to the Rainforest Fights Back show starting at 2.30pm.

Quite a few animals performed. But overall not very entertaining for me.

The next show - Elephants at Work and Play Show, starting at 3.30pm. I could have used the time to explore around. But the sky was turning dark. To avoid being caught in the rain, I moved on to the show area for shelter and wait for the show to start. True enough, the rain started. After a long wait, the host announced that the show might be cancelled due to bad weather. Luckily it continued.

Elephant splashing water at the audience.

Elephant balancing on a log.

Elephant working to push heavy logs.

Very fun and entertaining show!

The rain reduced to a drizzle after the show ended. It was a bit too late to rush over to the Animal Friends Show at 4pm. So I took the time to explore a few exhibits before the last show of the day at 5pm.

Went straight to Frozen Tundra to visit Inuka the Polar Bear. Resting and didn't get to see him swim.

In the same area, the Raccoon Dog,

and the Wolverine.

The Free-Ranging Orang Utans.

What are the two doing? Lol!

It happened to be a photography session with the orang utans at about 4.30pm.

On the way back to the show, visited the cute penguins!

Finally, the last show of the day and also the best show in my opinion -  Splash Safari Show. Don't miss if you go!

With that, I ended my fun day at the 2 parks. Will be back next year's birthday!