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The Best Third-Party Apple Watch Nike+ Bands

By | October 30th, 2016

Here are some of the best third-party Apple Watch Nike+ bands that you can get right now, without having to buy that particular model of Apple’s wearable itself.

Jealous of that stunning Apple Watch Nike+ edition that’s now available to purchase, but simply can’t justify the financial outlay for you, especially when you already own an Apple Watch? Let’s face it, while the Apple Watch Nike+ actually stands out as the more truer ‘Sport’ model, it is not entirely due to the custom watch face or software, it’s those incredible looking fluoroelastomer bands that really help the watch stand out.

best-apple-watch-nike-bands-01

Well, as part of that deal with Nike, Apple has made it clear that it won’t be selling those gorgeous bands that ship with the Nike+ Apple Watch separately. Bummer, right?

However, given the influx of third-party bands since the Apple Watch originally came out, it was inevitable that we would see the same for the Apple Watch Nike+ as well, and we sure did! So now you can replicate that experience by purchasing a high-quality third-party Nike+ band for your existing Apple Watch model. Check out the best available options below.

OULUOQI Apple Watch Nike+ Band In Multiple Colors And Sizes (Starts from $ 18.49)

apple-watch-nike-black-volt-01

You get an instant understanding of how beautiful this band is as soon as you look at it. The contrasting colors (Black/Volt) of the strap itself alongside the inset of the perforations instantly make it pleasing to the eye, and of course, there’s also a variety of color combinations for both 38m and 42mm Apple Watch versions if you’re prepared to lose the Nike+ perforated feel to it. Stunning to look at and extremely comfortable to wear.

Buy: OULUOQI Apple Watch Band from Amazon: $ 18.49

top4cus Apple Watch Nike+ Band In Multiple Sizes And Colors (Starts from $ 19.99)

apple-watch-nike+

You always know you’re onto a winner when you can just see a product and know that it screams quality, but comes with a price-tag that really suggests it’s at the bargain basement end of retail. This gorgeous Nike+ lookalike band comes in all four colors: Black/Cool Gray, Flat Silver/Volt, Flat Silver/White, and Black/Volt, and is designed with the 42 and 38mm Apple Watch models in mind. At this price point you really cannot afford not to have this in your life.

Buy: top4cus Soft Silicone Replacement Sport Strap for Apple Watch from Amazon: $ 19.99

Moretek Apple Watch Nike+ Replacement Band (Starts from $ 19.99)

apple-watch-nike-replacement-bands

Moretek has taken a slightly different approach to replicating the look and feel of the Nike+ Apple Watch band. It has more perforations, less insets, and contrasting colors on top and bottom, as well as a high-quality, flexible silicon material to give it that premium look and feel. This gorgeous little strap comes in Silver/Yellow, Black/Red, Black/Blue, and Black/Yellow.

Buy: Moretek Wristband Replacement Bracelet for Apple Watch from Amazon: $ 19.99

Lamshaw Replacement Apple Watch Nike+ Band In Multiple Colors/Sizes (Starts from $ 18.99)

apple-watch-nike+

This band is manufactured from high quality TPU material, comes in a variety of colors for both size Apple watch versions, and looks absolutely flawless in the four colors: Black/Cool Gray, Flat Silver/Volt, Flat Silver/White, and Black/Volt. If you’re looking for the perfect accompaniment to those sweaty running and workout sessions, then this could be the band of choice.

Buy: Lamshaw Soft Silicone Sport Replacement Strap for Apple Watch from Amazon: $ 18.99


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WALTR-2

WALTR 2 Lets You Wirelessly Transfer Any Content To iOS Devices Without iTunes Or Jailbreak

By | October 30th, 2016

You may remember that couple of years back we told you about an app called WALTR, which made it easier to transfer any video or audio file to an iOS device and have it be playable. It was a great app for those that need to move media around without having to use iTunes and without having to jailbreak, and with the release of WALTR 2, the folks at Softorino have really upped their game.

Available for both Windows and Mac, WALTR 2 allows the transferring of video and audio files as before, but things have really been ratcheted up by adding support for wireless transfers, additional file types and non-iOS devices (over 20 legacy iPods).

WALTR-2

That means that with WALTR 2 installed, users can connect their device – iPhones, iPads and iPods are supported – and transfer ringtones, videos, PDF & ePUB files, and of course, audio files across for consuming even if the receiving device does not natively support them. That right there is the magic of WALTR brought to all types of file thanks to WALTR 2.

WALTR 2 doesn’t just take files and move them, though. With automatic metadata construction, users could throw music files at their iPhone and have them correctly tagged, ready to be picked up by Apple Music, for example. Or perhaps a video file with the correct title etc. already assigned with no action needed on the part of the user.

Those who find themselves moving files regularly will love that aspect of WALTR 2 almost as much as the newly added support for WiFi transfers. No need to dig that cable out just to copy a video across to an iPhone.

WALTR 2 can be downloaded now, and is available as a free trial with a lifetime license costing $ 39.95. Owners of a WALTR licence can take advantage of the $ 19.95 upgrade pricing, too. To purchase or upgrade to the new app, head on over to softorino.com/store/w2.

In case you need a little more convincing, here’s a nice overview of what’s new in the upgrade.

WALTR-vs-WALTR-2

Check out the video below for a fun introduction to the software.

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Tesla Unveils New Solar Roof Tiles And Powerwall 2 For Homes, Here Are The Details

By | October 29th, 2016

If you though Tesla and Elon Musk were all about producing beautiful, and insanely powerful, electric and autonomous vehicles, then think again.

At a dedicated launch event in Universal Studios, Los Angeles, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has unveiled a range of roof tiles with built-in photovoltaic cells that essentially work like traditional solar panels by soaking up the power of the sun in order to provide electricity to a home, but come without the hideous appearance, designed to look very much like standard roof tiles.

tesla-energy

Musk and Tesla aren’t exactly reinventing the wheel here, but rather taking an already important piece of the renewable energy puzzle and making it much more usable and attractive to the average home owner and consumer.

Rather than having large, unsightly panels clogged onto a rigged structure on a property, Tesla’s new roof tiles are manufactured from glass and designed to be a more appealing and attractive way of adding solar panels and renewable energy to a home. In fact, looking at them, you can hardly differentiate between them and a standard roof tile.

The introduction of the new tiles with embedded photovoltaic technology comes as Tesla is in the process of taking over the struggling energy firm SolarCity, of which Elon Musk is one of the biggest shareholders. No immediate pricing was provided for the new tiles, but Musk did suggest that the “installed cost is less than a normal roof and the cost of electricity.” Obviously it’s very difficult to give an accurate cost given the fact that every home differs in size and requirements, but providing a price-per-square-foot would have at least allowed homeowners to do some rudimentary cost calculations.

As part of the introduction on the old set of Desparate Housewives in Universal Studios, Musk also introduced the company’s new Powerwall 2 product, which is essentially a pack containing two 14kWh lithium-ion batteries that’s designed to store any excess energy that is generated by the solar panels and not used. When full to capacity, the Powerwall 2 is estimated to be able to power a four bedroom home for a whole day.

tesla-powerwall-2

Tesla will be selling the Powerwall 2 for $ 5,500, which includes a built-in power inverter to work with the roof tile to directly convert sunlight into electrical energy. Similarly the company has also announced the Powerpack 2 for businesses which now packs double the capacity than its older sibling. Orders can be placed right now, with installation slated to begin in January 2017.

Check out the video of the launch of the Solar Roof and Powerwall 2 embedded below.


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Buns-portrait

Kopi Tiam Buns Recipe

Buns portrait

These traditional kopi tiam buns are the reason I bought Christopher Tan’s excellent recipe book, Nerdbaker.  I flipped open the book and was immediately smitten by these soft and pillowy buns which are traditionally served with a slice of cold butter, kaya, soft boiled eggs and accompanied by a cup of kopi C.  The classic Singaporean breakfast doesn’t get better than this!

Chris’s method is quite unique because he separates the yolks and whites and adds the yolks first to the warm potato slurry.  I had to convince myself of the need for this extra step, so I baked another tray of potato bread from another recipe book and Chris’s method proved to be superior.  The cooked potato slurry is similar to making a tangzhong (water roux) bread where a cooked starch is added to the dough to improve its texture and prolong its softness.  These buns are super soft with a stretchy crumb, buttery aroma and crisp, toasty crust!

Chris’ recipe is made in a round tin which means that the buns are not evenly shaped.  I wanted buns which are uniform, like the ones they serve at the kopitiam, so I modified the recipe to make 16 buns in a square baking pan. The method is essentially the same as in Nerdbaker.

Bun open

Ingredients:

Wet Team
Russet potato 120g diced (1 medium sized)
Water 270ml
Castor sugar 90g
Milk powder 40g
Egg yolks 2 (60g eggs)
Egg whites 2

Dry Team
Bread flour 600g 
Salt 1tsp
Instant yeast 1Tbsp

Other Team
Butter 70g (soften to room temperature)
Melted butter for glazing

Baking Pan
23cm square aluminium pan


Method 

1.  Boil diced potatoes in 270ml water for 8 min till soft.  Lower heat to a simmer and use a tight lid to prevent water loss.
2.  While still warm, whisk potatoes till smooth, then add castor sugar, milk powder and egg yolks and whisk.
3.  Allow to cool to room temperature and whisk in egg whites.
4.  Mix flour, yeast and salt and add the wet team.  Mix until just combined and allow to rest for 20 mins.  Cover with wet towel.
5.  Knead for 1 min in a stand mixer, then rest for 5 mins.  Repeat for another 2 cycles.
6.  Add butter and knead for another 2 mins.  Rest for 5 mins and knead another 1-2 mins till well combined and smooth.
7.  Cover with wet towel and leave to rise for 50 mins or until doubled in size.
8.  Weigh the dough and divide into 16 portions (Approx 74-75g)
9.  Ball the dough and leave to rest for 10mins.
10.  Brush pan with melted butter
11.  Shape the dough into tight balls and place in pan and allow to rise for 1 hour.
12.  Brush with butter
13.  Bake at 180°C (fan forced) for 27-30mins till top of bun is dark brown and the buns in the middle feel hollow when tapped.
14.  Allow to cool before serving.  ALLOW TO COOL!  Do not succumb to the temptation of eating it right out of the oven even though it smells so wonderful! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Here are the step by step instructions with detailed explanation:

Potatoes

1.  Boil diced potatoes in 270ml water for 8 min till soft.  Lower heat to a simmer and use a tight lid to prevent water loss.  If the potatoes are not soft enough to mash with a fork, then continue to cook a little longer.

Whisk potatoes

2.  While still warm, whisk potatoes till smooth, then add castor sugar, milk powder and egg yolks.  The egg yolks will cook in the slurry and thicken it, essentially forming a custard.

Egg whites

3.  Allow to cool to room temperature and whisk in egg whites.  Do not whisk in egg whites while the mixture is hot as the whites will stiffen.

Mix till just combined

4.  Mix flour, yeast and salt and add the wet team.  You can use the handle of a wooden spoon to do this or just mix with the kneading hook.

Just combined

Mix until just combined and allow to rest for 20 mins.  This process is known as “autolysis” and allows for better gluten formation with less kneading required. Cover with wet towel.

Kneading done

5.  Knead for 1 min, then rest for 5 mins.  Repeat for another 2 cycles.  The resting in between allows the dough to rest and helps to develop the gluten.

Gluten formation

When the dough is stretchy like this, it is time for the butter.

Add butter

6.  Add butter and knead for another 2 mins.  Rest for 5 mins and knead another 1-2 mins till well combined and smooth.  Butter is a shortening agent ie it prevents gluten from forming.  That is why cookies is full of butter.  When butter is added to low protein flour, it results in tender crumbly cookie crust.   Adding the butter after the gluten as formed allows for a soft bready crumb which is still stretchy.

Kneading done 1

7.  The dough is ready when it is smooth like this with just a dusting of flour on the surface and a bit of shaping. Cover with wet towel and leave to rise for 50min or until doubled in size.

8.  Weigh the dough and divide into 16 portions (Approx 74-75g).  I would usually weigh the dough and divide it into four equal portions and then further divide into four equal portions.  Yes I do weigh each ball because if you don’t you will get buns of uneven height.

The above video shows the process of balling and shaping the dough.

Balled

9.  Ball the dough and leave to rest for 10mins.  The resting time allows the gluten to relax before the final shaping.

Final Balling

11.  Shape the dough into tight balls and place in pan and allow to rise for 1 hour.  It is essential in this step to make sure that the thin surface membrane doesn’t break.  What you want to do is to keep stretching the outside of the ball so that it is nice and tight.  Then you will get nice buns with smooth tops.  Don’t be too stress if you can’t get them smooth the first time, the buns will still be delicious.  It just wouldn’t be as brag worthy, that’s all.

Brush Butter

12.  Brush with melted butter.  Make sure you use a soft brush and be gentle.  You don’t want to accidentally make ugly brush marks on the surface of the buns!

Buns top down

13.  Bake at 180°C (fan forced) for 27-30mins till top of bun is dark brown and the buns in the middle feel hollow when tapped.  If the buns start to brown too early, cover with aluminium foil to prevent it from becoming too dark.

Allow to cool and serve with good quality French Butter (seriously, you made so much effort, why serve it with anything less?) and homemade kaya!

Here is my video recipe for kaya.

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Geohot Has Canceled His Aftermarket Self-Driving Car Kit Comma One, Here’s Why

By | October 29th, 2016

One of the most famous iPhone hackers, George Hotz, who rose to prominence after being the first person to jailbreak the original iPhone, has taken the decision to cancel his self-driving car project which was being pursued under the Comma.ai company name.

After spending what seemed like an entire career liberating devices like the iPhone and Sony’s PlayStation 3, Hotz pivoted into the autonomous car space, with a focus on creating a $ 999 aftermarket kit called the “Comma One”. Now, after receiving correspondence from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Hotz has decided to shelve those ambitious plans.

fuelon-comma-ai

It seems that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is an agency associated with the Executive Branch of the United States government tasked with saving lives, preventing injuries and reducing vehicle-related crashes, issued a letter to Hotz and Comma.ai to request more information about the exact capabilities of the Comma One. That letter was appended with another piece of correspondence expressing concern that the outlined product “would put the safety of [Comma.ai’s] customers and other road users at risk.”

It’s not unreasonable for the NHTSA to send this type of letter, and certainly not unusual to express a level of concern, especially given the nature of the product and the impact that it could potentially have on not only those who choose to fit their vehicles with it, but also unsuspecting and innocent road users and pedestrians, should something go wrong with the hardware or software. However, it seems that Hotz would much rather spend his “life building amazing tech than dealing with regulators and lawyers”, adding that the hassle just isn’tworth it.

That attitude is understandable given Hotz’ historical run-ins with those aforementioned lawyers, but also means that Comma One will be immediately suspended, and that Comma.ai will be “exploring other products and markets.”

Comma.ai

It’s important to note here that the NHTSA didn’t actually ask Hotz or his company to discontinue work on Comma One, but that it should rather delay deploying fitted vehicles onto public roads until such a time that Comma.ai could guarantee that Comma One was safe to use in a public environment.

Comma One was scheduled to be made available for public by the end of this year.

If any additional information comes out about this, we’ll be sure to let you know, but we are now looking forward to seeing what’s next on the agenda for the artist formerly known as Geohot. You can check out the complete letter issued by the NHTSA here.


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10 Secret Menu Items You Can Order At Starbucks Singapore REVEALED

Letting the cat out of the Buck

Coffee snobs around me always say: “You don’t go to Starbucks for good coffee, you go there for diabetes.” Yes, indie coffee shops may be overtaking the Singaporean caffeine scene with their cold brews and Chemex pour overs, but is it unrefined of us to unapologetically crave the frappacino sugar-highs of our neighbourhood Buck? After all, some of just crave for that overly sweet sugar rush and customizability of the Green Mermaid, coffee quality be damned.

But to truly stand out at Starbucks, you must have a signature order – the more unique, the better. We’ve snooped around and scouted out off-the-table drinks and even interviewed self-professed Singaporean frappuccino junkies. So here are 10 secret Starbuck drinks, eyebrow-raising orders that’ll pique the curiosity of the cutie in the corner, enough for he or she to give you – and your drink – a second glance.

Disclaimer: We took the pictures of all these drinks ourselves from various outlets in Singapore. However, not all starbucks staff may know the recipes by hard. The general rule of thumb for “secret menus” is this – the baristas can make the drinks if you show them the recipes. We cannot guarantee that every outlet can create every drink, but the 4 outlets we went to did. And we also asked them to share with us some of the secret menu drinks people have ordered before, and that’s how we learned about some of these recipes. So if they can’t make one of these below, ask them what they can make and let us know in the comments!

1. The Chunky Monkey Frappuccino

Chunky Monkey Frappuccino

For the times with no access to pints of Ben and Jerry’s because there aren’t any supermarkets in the immediate vicinity, Starbucks has you covered with the Chunky Monkey Frappuccino. Recreate the comforting fudge-y and walnut-ty banana bonanza you get in a tub of B&J’s, with a whole banana and mocha, hazelnut, AND toffeenut syrup.

Calling for a pump of almost all syrups on offer, you’ll definitely want to reconsider having this frappe as a daily treat or risk becoming the chunky monkey.

Recipe (Tall)
Banana ($ 1.00)
Vanilla Creme Frappuccino ($ 6.00)
1 pump mocha syrup ($ 0.70)
1 pump hazelnut syrup ($ 0.70)
1 pump toffeenut syrup ($ 0.70)
Top with caramel drizzle and mocha drizzle

Price: $ 8.10

2. The Shrek Frappe

 Starbucks Shrek Frappe

Ogre-green makes for a happy hue and a happy you

Order this anytime you’re bog-ged down by the stresses of life, because this frappe not only brightens your day with its sweet shade of swamp, it sure perks you up with an additional espresso shot. You’ll be feeling extra chipper – Java Chips are blended right in and sprawled some on top for good measure.

Starbucks Shrek Frappe

Recipe (Tall)
Green Tea Creme Frappuccino ($ 6.40)
Java Chips ($ 0.70)
Espresso Shot ($ 0.80)
Top with whipped cream and Java Chips

Price: $ 8.00

3. The Ariana Grande Frappe

Ariana Grande Frappe

Ariana Grande – not sure if pop-star singer or exotic Starbucks order.

Named after baby-faced beauty Ariana Grande, we can’t promise it’ll confer Ari’s everlasting beauty and youth, but you’ll be left starstrucked by the funky, albeit confusing sweet-sour raspberry mocha pop party in your mouth.

Ariana Grande Frappe

Best enjoyed Grande sized.

Recipe (Tall)
Vanilla Creme Frappuccino ($ 6.00)
1 Pump Raspberry Syrup ($ 0.70)
1 Pump Mocha Syrup ($ 0.70)
Top with whipped cream and caramel drizzle

Price: $ 7.40

4. The Purple Drink a.k.a. Grape Yakult

Grape Yakult Starbucks

Don’t you hate how Yakult comes in tiny-ass bottles? Even with the world’s thinnest straw, an entire bottle lasts barely more than a 5-second sip. But ending all our gripes with puny-sized bottles is the Iced Hibiscus Mango Passion Fruit Tea + Soy Milk.

Grape Yakult Starbucks

Imagine the taste and milky consistency of Grape Yakult, with a punch of passionfruit, and TEN TIMES the volume. You might wonder how hibiscus and mango could ever taste like grape, but no kidding – that’s exactly what this drink tastes like. It’s a wonder this drink has yet to gather a kult following.

Recipe (Grande)
Iced Hibiscus Mango Passion Fruit Tea ($ 4.40)
Add Soy Milk ($ 0.60)

Price: $ 5.00

5. The Nutella Frappucino

Nutella Frappucino Starbucks

No one knows when a Nutella craving will strike. As much as we wish we could publicly devour the Italian chocolate crack straight out of jars, perhaps it’s best to spare civilised members of the public such traumatic nut-job behavior. This Nutella Frappe shall suffice instead.

Nutella Frappucino Starbucks

A Java Chip Frappacino, a pump of mocha sauce and a spurt of hazelnut syrup and presto you’ve liquid Nutella!

Protip: request for some java chips blended the chunky consistency of Ferrero Rocher!

Recipe (Tall)
Java Chip Frappuccino ($ 6.80)
1 Pump Hazelnut Syrup ($ 0.70)
Top with mocha drizzle

Price: $ 7.50

6. Cookie Monster Frappuccino

Cookie Monster Frappuccino

This monstrosity will put the fear of frappes into Cookie Monster himself. First, choose between a Chocolate Chip or Coconut Monster Cookie, add two packs of butter, and blend into a Mocha Frappuccino!

The result is a thick decadent frappe that’s #omnomnomnom with crumbled cookie bits suspended in the buttery goodness. The best part is they don’t charge extra for butter, so yay to free calories!

Cookie Monster Frappuccino

Recipe (Grande)
Mocha Frappuccino ($ 6.00)
1 Monster Cookie ($ 3.90)
2 packs butter
Top with chocolate powder

Price: $ 9.90

7. The Cotton Candy Frappuccino

Starbucks Cotton Candy Frappuccino

This is what a fluffy pink unicorn in drink-form – you believe it exists but you’ve yet to see or taste its rosy magic. Simply razz up a regular Vanilla Creme Frappe with a pump of Raspberry Syrup and poof – you have a pink drink that proves one small tweak can be total flavour gamechanger.

It’s the closest thing to the cotton candy soda at Geylang Serai’s Ramadan Bazaar that you can get all year round.

Recipe (Tall)
Vanilla Creme Frappuccino ($ 6.00)
1 Pump Raspberry Syrup ($ 0.70)

Price: $ 6.70

8. The Chapple Frappuccino

Starbucks Chapple Frappuccino

Chai meets apple in this spiced up ice blended to give you the Chapple. Made with a cup of freshly sliced apples ($ 3.60) blended into a Chai Tea Frappuccino, your frappe indulgence can almost qualify as “healthy” with this nutritious boost of fibre and vitamin C!

Top this tea-rrific drink with a swirling of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon from the condiment counter. But beware, go easy on the spice, because too much will send you into a coughing frenzy.

Recipe (Tall)
Chai Tea Frappuccino ($ 6.00)
Freshly Sliced Apples ($ 3.60)
Top with cinnamon

Price: $ 9.60

9. The Mango Espresso

Mango Espresso Starbucks

The inspiration behind this drink was probably adapted from this Nespresso Machine Coffee Recipe – but if you’re environmentally-friendly and want to skip the capsule coffee, just ask the baristas for their Mango Passion Fruit Puree, topped with a shot of iced espresso and a layer of foam on top.

After stirring, it resembles a regular iced latte, but this strange bittersweet concoction, where the fruity taste of mango cuts the harsh bitterness of an espresso, proves that sometimes two unexpected things can do the tango.

Recipe (Grande)
Mango Passion Fruit Puree + Foam On Top ($ 6.00)
Espresso Shot ($ 0.80)

Price: $ 6.80

10. The Cheesecake Frappuccino

Cheesecake Frappuccino

We’ve verified with the baristas – if they have the ingredients on hand, they can, and will blend it into a frappe for you. So you’ve the option of having any pastry, cake, even sandwich, liquified into slurpable form. If you’re playing it safe, stick with the tasty Raspberry White Chocolate Cheese Brulee Cheesecake, blended into a White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino.

Cheesecake Frappuccino Starbucks

Tip: For this photogenic ombre effect, ask for an empty cup to first be doused in raspberry syrup.

Recipe (Tall)
1 Raspberry White Chocolate Cheese Brulee Cheesecake ($ 6.50)
Vanilla Creme Frappuccino ($ 6.00)
1 Pump Raspberry Syrup ($ 0.70)

Price: $ 13.20

Strange Starbuckian Surprises

By a twist of fate you’ve stumbled upon these tried-and-tested recipes ordered by Singaporeans so it’s time you take your tongues on a tasty adventure. Starbucks baristas are ready to take on your orders from the 179,893 possible drink combinations – just make sure you have on hand the recipes, and order them only at lull periods!

We’ll let you in on one last secret – a little birdie told us the Butterbeer flavour will be launched as one of Starbuck’s official Christmas flavours. And if you’re still looking out for more secrets in Singapore to discover, check out our islands very many hidden restaurants, underground bars and even secret bunkers! Go forth and adventure, you sugar-high campers.

Also watch us on TheSmartLocalTV!

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Pokemon Go 1.13.4 For iOS, 0.43.4 For Android Released [Download]

By | October 25th, 2016

Pokemon Go 1.13.4 update for iOS and 0.43.4 APK update for Android available to download right now for supported devices.

It may come as a surprise to some of you, but Pokemon Go is still around. In fact, not only is it alive and well, it’s actually receiving updates long after the initial buzz which saw it featured on national TV news shows and the like. The people behind the game have announced that new versions are being rolled out for both Android and iOS right now, and those who are fans of Halloween will be pleased to learn that there are some treats in store as well.

pokemon_go_eggs_update

Looking at the game updates first, Pokemon Go fans can look forward to this rather uninspiring list of changes and fixes when the 1.13.4 update for iOS and 0.43.4 update for Android downloads. Try to contain your excitement, folks.

  • Professor Willow discovered that Eggs have different patterns depending on the distance required to hatch them.
  • Pokémon type icons have been added to the information screen for each Pokémon.
  • Low battery indicator added for the Pokémon GO Plus.
  • Minor text fixes

Fixes are always good, even if they’re “minor text fixes,” but what we really like are themed additions to games like Pokemon Go, and that’s exactly the kind of thing we can expect this Halloween, according to the team behind the Pokemon Go phenomenon.

It’s Halloween season and we have a treat for you! From October 26th to November 1st, you’ll earn double the amount of Candy every time you catch, hatch and transfer Pokémon! Don’t forget your Buddy Pokémon, because they will help you earn Candy four times as fast.

There’s never been a better time to catch ’em all! Remember to update the game though folks, the update should be reaching your respective app stores right about…..now!

Update: The post has been updated following a very minor version 1.13.4 and 0.43.4 release over previous version 1.13.3 and 0.43.3 release, adding minor bug fixes.

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The Malayan Council, Dunlop St: Halal Cafe that Caters to Istana and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Costly But Good 

We were looking for a dessert cafe after lunch, and chanced upon The Malayan Council along Dunlop St. Remembering the rave review at The Halal Food Blog, we dove in for their ondeh-ondeh cake ($ 8.50). It is a little too sweet, but it’s soft, fluffy, and has lots of coconuty wholesomeness. On the spot, we decided we must return to try the mains to give TMC a proper and full review.

the-malayan-council-reviewAccording to Chef Hafiz, who also played the role of floor manager that day, whose work experience includes 8 years at PS Cafe and its sister outlet, Chop Suey, the lady boss is a designer. They bake the cakes in-house. On the second floor, there is an event space for 30-50 people. They have catered for the Istana and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The food at TMC is rather refreshing. You may have heard of Mod Sin (modern Singapore) food, which combines modern ingredients and cooking to Singapore hawker or iconic food. TMC is doing something same same but different; they are combining Malay ingredients and Western cooking. I guess you can call it Mod Mal or modern Malay cooking.

the-malayan-council-singaporeTake for instance, the chicken wings ($ 13). It’s marinated in parsley, thyme, using a kecap manis from Johor, and infused, not topped, with chilli padi. Anything kecap manis is delicious–this tastes like a cross between oyster sauce, sweet and salty, and the Indonesian ayam bakar–although the wings were too thin for us.

the-malayan-council-menuThere is a salted egg yolk softshell crab pasta ($ 28), which sounds delectable. But we went for the TMC Burger ($ 25) and the beef ribs ($ 39). The burger pairs the Angus beef patty with spicy sambal ikan bilis, fried egg, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. It comes with truffle fries, which isn’t truffly enough.

The patty is cooked medium, with some pink in the middle, and is peppery. They build the burger tall, giving the illusion of a big portion, but for $ 25, I thought it is expensive. Actually, I would prefer the patty to be less round, to be flatter, so that it cooks easier and so that the burger would be short and broad, not tall and round as it is now; it would be easier to hold with hands. Burgers are meant to be eaten with hands.

the-malayan-council-cafe-dunlop-stThe beef ribs ($ 39) sounds expensive, but it comes in a gigantic portion for two persons to share.  As I was manoeuvering the bone to cut the meat, the bone slid off cleanly, surprising me. It’s cooked for 6 hours, and they aim for a medium texture: a tender bite, which they achieve. It’s doused in a secret sauce, which Chef Hafiz learnt in Dubai, and spices similar for beef rendang. As a result, it tastes like a fiery version of a rendang sauce. At first, it was too spicy for me, but as I worked into it, it was quite delicious.

the-malayan-council-little-indiaFinally, desserts. I wanted to order the cempedak creme brulee ($ 9.50), but for the second time, it wasn’t available. (Is it ever available?) The durian creme brulee is delicious but it is a misnomer, throwing me off the expectations; it’s less creme brulee, it’s more durian pengat. It’s a layer of durian pengat; a thin layer of torched, caramelized custard; more durian pengat; and another thin layer of custard. There is more durian than anything else. If I wanted durian, I would have eaten straight from the fruit.

When the bill came, I was shocked since it was beyond my mental estimation. We paid $ 96 for two persons, including coffee. Although expensive, the food here is smart, innovative, and delicious; you won’t find similar food anywhere else. Definitely worth coming, and definitely worth returning.

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop Street, Singapore 209350
T: +65 9002 4414
11.30am-11pm
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Service: 8/10
Food: 7/10
Price: 4/10
Decor/Ambience: 5/10 (Didn’t like the weird contrast of neon-colored tables at the al fresco area, like a children’s daydream, with the crate-tables inside, like a construction site. The tables, which are made from crates, are quite irritating because there is a beam across where your feet should be, so the beam obstructs the natural lounging of the feet. Some people have long legs!)
Overall rating: 3/5

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Harmony-Alexa

You Can Now Use Alexa To Control Your Logitech Harmony-Connected Entertainment Devices

By | October 26th, 2016

Logitech has today announced that those using Alexa-powered Amazon Echo, or its smaller sibling, the Echo Dot, can now control their Logitech Harmony devices using nothing but the power of their voices.

Logitech informed its users that they could look forward to being able to “start and stop Harmony Activities, tune to your favorite TV channel, or directly launch Roku channels using Amazon Alexa.” The connection to Alexa will require a hub-based remote such as the Harmony Elite or Harmony Companion, and of course, an Amazon Echo or Dot in order to relay the commands.

Harmony Alexa

In order to get started, owners of the required Logitech remotes and Amazon hardware will have to follow a few simple steps in order to set the wheels in motion. The process starts with launching the Alexa app on a smartphone and selecting Smart Home from the navigation menu. Next, users will need to select the Get More Smart Home Skills option and finally, search for “Harmony — Optimized for Smart Home” skill and then enable it.

There’s more detailed information on the steps required to get Amazon Echo or Dot to pair with Harmony remotes over at Logitech’s support website.

There is also a handy rundown of what Alexa will be able to do in conjunction with a user’s Harmony system. Never before has it been easier for parents to turn the TV off in a vain attempt to get them to go to bed instead of begging for one more TV show. I’ve been there, trust me. It happens.

Harmony-hub-based-remote-Alexa

Logitech’s Harmony support for Alexa and the Amazon Echo highlights another move towards the home automation and digital assistant platform, which is giving rise to competitors everywhere. Even Google is going to try and steal some thunder here, with Google Home launching soon, while Apple’s solution is rumored to be in the works, though Apple already has Siri which can do home automation from iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, Macs and Apple TV devices.

When it comes to having a virtual assistant packed inside a device to rule the living room, it seems like Alexa is the biggest name in the game.

If you don’t own Echo or Harmony yet but want to get into controlling your living room with voice game, you can get both right now.

Buy: Echo (white) from Amazon: $ 179.99
Buy: Echo Dot from Amazon: $ 49.99
Buy: Logitech Harmony Home Remote + Hub from Amazon: $ 79.99

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Amuse-Bouche1

Joël Robuchon: Three Michelin Star Dining Experience

Amuse BoucheClockwise: Crispy langoustine waffle, wild salmon tartare with imperial caviar, bread basket

How does one write about a Three Michelin Star restaurant whose Chef has been given the title “Chef of the Century” and who currently has a total of twenty eight Michelin Stars?  If I criticised it,  I would surely sound patronising.  If I said the experience is “phenomenal”, I might be misconstrued as being shallow.

So how does one write about Singapore’s first and only Three Michelin star restaurant?

Well, let’s just say that the following post is merely an account of my own (and Rockettgirl’s) experience of dining at Joël Robuchon. My intention is merely to feature the photos of my meal there and eat vicariously on your behalf.

Joël Robuchon is classic French fine dining except perhaps that in Singapore, the patrons tend not to dress too formally.  During the course of the meal, your wait staff will come by with trolleys to carve your meat and tempt you with a variety of breads, desserts and chocolates.  The trolley service adds a certain level of prestige to the meal as is the fact that if you ordered something like roast duck, they would carve a whole duck in front of you, give you just a few slices and wheel the rest back in the kitchen.  What they do with the rest of the duck is a mystery because everyone seems to be getting a whole chicken, duck or in our case a whole chateaubriand et foie gras of which we only consumed half.

Salmon Tartare 2Wild salmon tartar with Imperial caviar and saffron crisps

Our dinner started with the “Pour Commencer” of crispy langoustine waffle which is made from chopped langoustine and uni sandwiched between two perfectly toasted, buttered bread.  This is the Robuchon version of the lobster sandwich and a fitting prelude to the other courses of the evening.

Next course was “Le Caviar Imperial” which is Sologne caviar on a disc of wild New Zealand salmon tartare.  Executive Chef Michael Michaelidis told us that wild caviar is no longer available and Chef Robuchon only uses Caviar Impérial de Sologne which is harvested from farmed sturgeons in France.  The salmon tartare is marinated with classic beef tartare ingredients like mustard, capers and anchovies with the addition of tobiko or flying fish roe for added texture.

Trio PageKing crab and avocado cannelloni, citrus and vanilla condiment, chilled lobster, sweet and sour turnip ravioli, shaved white truffles and potatoes, topped with foie gras carpaccio

Next we were presented with a trio of starters.  “La Truffle Blanche” was shaved white truffles on ratte potatoes topped with foie gras carpaccio.  No surprises here, as these are tried and tested flavours combinations, as was the king crab with avocado.  What was a little more unexpected was the chilled lobster with pickled daikon radish which was sliced thin and used to wrap the lobster like a ravioli.  I felt that the pickled daikon was a little tart which over-powered the lobster meat.

Truffle risottoWhite truffle risotto with parmesan cheese

White truffles season is a great time to visit Joël Robuchon as you are bound to get a fair few shavings of it.  Our truffle dish was again a combination of classic, sure win flavours of white truffles, parmesan and mascarpone cheeses and risotto.  The surprise came in the form of the spelt or “L’epeautre” used to make the risotto.  Spelt is not widely available because of its low yield.  Chef Robuchon sources the grain from a small organic farm in France and the texture is excellent. It is a little like barley but lighter and with a very interesting bite which is very different from the typical risotto.

TurbotRoasted turbot “on the bone” with chestnuts, abalone and yuzu

Our “Le Turbot” was as much about the matsutake, ovoli and baby porcini mushrooms as it was about the coveted French turbot which was grilled on the bone before being filleted and served with the mushrooms, chestnuts and yuzu.

Chateaubriand PageBeef chateaubriand and foie gras, “Rossini”style with souffle potatos and port reduction

Throughout our meal, we have been observing the carving of meat happening at the other tables which only heightened our own expectations.  Every time a wooden box was opened, the restaurant would be filled with the aroma of wood smoke. When it was our turn to open our box, we were presented with a superb chateaubriand et foie gras.  I seldom order chateaubriand (tenderloin) as it lacks the fat and thus, the flavour of sirloin or ribeye. But what Chef Robuchon did was to stick a slab of foie gras onto a tenderloin with a bit of egg white, marinate it with black truffles and cooked in a water bath till the internal temperature reaches 54°C – perfectly medium rare.   It was then charred and served on a bed of herbs with the smouldering cedar wood.  It was the best tenderloin I have ever eaten!  The texture and flavour was superb and needless to say, the foie gras added that extra flavour and richness to the beef!

Dessert PageCentre: Caramelized destructured apple with caramel ice-cream, vanilla and spicy biscuit, dessert and petite four trolleys

The French really know how to enjoy their meals at a leisurely pace. So even after the main course, it wasn’t a perfunctory dessert and a quick goodbye.  No, there is a procession of at least three dessert courses to make you feel as if they don’t want you to leave so soon!

Our first course was the was a caramelised de-structured apple with caramel ice-cream, vanilla and spicy biscuit.  Basically what looked like an apple was made up of ice cream on the inside encased in a thin, red sugary crust.  We were told that it takes half an hour to create each of these!

After the first course, you would be presented with the dessert trolley and tempted to choose a few more delectable sweets like plum and fig tarts and various cakes.  And after all that, if you are still feeling hypoglycaemic, the petite four trolley would come by to offer you a choice of chocolates, macaroons and other little sweets! These two dessert trolleys are part of any of the set meals on the dinner menu which starts at $ 248++ per pax.  Basically the cheaper sets allows you to choose one dish for each course, while the more expensive ones allow you to choose more than one from a choice of a few dishes.  The portions do get smaller with more courses.

Conclusion

There is good reason why Chef Robuchon is the world’s most celebrated chef and we are very privileged to be able to experience his dishes here in Singapore.  Rockettgirl and I have been to L’Atelier on several occasions and we have always enjoyed our experience there.

There are a few tried and tested flavour combinations that you can always expect to see on the menu.  Things like crab and avocado, truffles with potatoes, truffles with foie gras, truffles with eggs and so on, and Chef Robuchon’s signature pomme puree is always on the menu. I would say that those who are privileged enough to eat at fine dining establishments regularly and are looking for fresh new flavours may be a little disappointed.  But for the average person, a dining experience at Joël Robuchon is as close as you can get to a perfect dining experience in Singapore.

Disclosure
This was a media tasting review.  The meals were provided but there were no obligations or fees received for the write up.

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