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Tag Archives: asia

Singapore Changi Airport – a Photo Essay

Consistently rated as one of the best airports in the world, Singapore Changi airport has become a travel destination in itself for tourists and locals alike. Whether are you are visiting Singapore or just transiting through, there’s much to do and see within the airport itself.

Singapore Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Singapore changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Singapore is often our preferred choice of transit especially when we are travelling to India. We love travelling with Singapore airlines, not just for its service but also the flight timings are always the best suited for us. Usually we opt for flights with the shortest transit time but this holiday, we decided to take the 5.5 hours transit flight which enabled us to experience the airport at leisure.

There are different options that you can choose from while in transit at Changi airport depending on the time you have on hand. The best option is a free Singapore tour if your transit period is 5.5-8 hours (definitely doing that next time). Do check out the visa formalities if you don’t have a valid one; quite an easy process.

Since we didn’t have that amount of time, we decided to enjoy the vast expanse of the airport and the facilities and attractions within the airport itself.

Singapore changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

But first coffee! I absolutely detest the coffee served on a plane so desperately needed one before doing anything else. There are so many food outlets/courts etc… located at various terminals inside the airport. We stopped at ‘The Kitchen’ by Wolfgang Puck for a cappuccino and also a plate of dumplings from the small bites menu. Both were delicious, a good start to the trip…

Location: Terminal 3; Level 2, Departure Lounge (Central), Transit area

'The Kitchen’ by Wolfgang Puck, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

'The Kitchen’ by Wolfgang Puck, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

The boys decided to relax with a game of while I relaxed in one of the many comfortable sofas around. There are massage chairs too if you need some help with the relaxation…

Singapore changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

After a short break, we decided to visit the Butterfly Garden, but not before checking out the Koi Pond on our way to the garden. And if it’s feeding time, you can even feed the fishes!

Location: Terminal 3

Koi Pond, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

At the Butterfly Garden; this is definitely a must visit attraction at Changi. A tropical habitat with lush greenery, unique flowering plants and about 40 different species of butterflies. My son loved this garden, especially as he got to read and learn a lot about the different butterflies.

Location: Terminal 3; Departure Transit Hall, Level 2 & 3

Butterfly garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Butterfly garden, Changi airport

Butterfly garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Butterfly garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Butterfly garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Butterfly garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Christmas decorations were still on since we travelled early Jan, so beautifully decked up trees and ornaments across terminals for that festive vibe.

Singapore Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

There are also plenty of areas/attractions specifically designed for kids like installations, lego workbench, art play, free movies etc….

Singapore Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Next it was time to visit the Water Lily garden. Beautifully designed as a natural aquatic environment, this garden has several varieties of the water lilies and the weeping tea-tree. The lilies in bloom are a colourful sight to behold and the garden is a great spot to relax, perhaps with a book in hand away from the airport crowds.

Location: Terminal 1; Departure Hall, Level 2, Transit Hall

Water lily garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Water lily garden, Changi airport

The hunger pangs struck again and we stopped at Tip Top as we wanted to sample something local. Seeing the board that they specialized in curry puffs, we decided to try out two – beef rendang and chicken curry. Loved the chicken curry but not the rendang as it felt slightly sweet. But totally recommend the chicken one!

Location: Terminal 1; Level 2, Departure Lounge (Near C Gates), Transit Area

Chicken curry puffs, Tip Top, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Time for some retail therapy!

The Changi airport DFS is well known for its designer brands and I have heard that the prices are quite competitive too. And the new LV store is just eye candy.

LV store, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Or you could purchase local products that are unique to Singapore. We really wanted to purchase the pandan chiffon cake but had too much luggage so decided against it. But I would definitely want to purchase it sometime; it was delicious. (unfortunately couldn’t take any photographs.)

DFS, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

I am not much of an airport shopper but both me and Sam love to browse in the alcohol/drinks section for special releases, unique packaging, offers etc….

If you enjoy cocktails, then definitely pick up a bottle of the Singapore Sling.

Or if you have the moolah, something rare and unique like this one.

DFS, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Changi duty free has an extensive collection of whiskeys and also a Wine Reserve for some great finds.

We would have loved to visit The Whiskey House which is one of the biggest collection of whiskeys inside an airport duty free. With more than 350 varieties, complimentary tastings and expert advice, it’s the place to be if you are a whiskey lover. Unfortunately we were at Changi early in the morning and hence decided to skip this. But next time for sure…..

Location: Terminal 2 DFS

DFS, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

The Whiskey House, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Our next stop was the Cactus Garden. A spacious roof garden filled with more than 100 varieties of cacti from around the globe. It’s an open air space so if you want a breath of fresh air, then this is the place to be. With a bar on the premises, it’s an ideal spot to grab a cold drink and watch the planes take off.

Location: Terminal 1; Departure Transit Hall, Level 3

Cactus Garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Cactus Garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

Cactus Garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

The Enchanted Garden is definitely another green spot that is not to be missed. From a giant display of flowers to motion sensors that trigger the sounds of nature as you walk through, this garden is my favourite. Get plenty of selfies for sure, but do spend a few minutes in silence and simply listen to the calming sound of nature.

Location: Terminal 2: Departure Transit Hall, Level 2

The Enchanted Garden, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress

The Enchanted Garden, Changi airport

While there was plenty more to explore inside the airport, it was time for us to catch our next plane, so a quick stop at the Social Tree as we walked towards our terminal.

The Social Tree is an interactive installation and at 9 metres tall, it’s hard to miss this one. Around the tree there are touch screen photo booths using which you can attach your photos and videos which are displayed on the animated crown. The photos can be shared to your social media profiles and also retrieved the next time you pass through Changi.

Location: Terminal 1; Central Piazza, right after immigration counters, Transit Area

The Social Tree, Changi airport - thespiceadventuress.com

As I mentioned, there is so much more to explore inside the airport depending on your interests and the time you have on hand. We are definitely bound to transit again through Singapore Changi airport so more next time.

And if you have explored the airport before, do let me know your suggestions and top picks for me to check out next time.

 

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Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry

Curry and Australia are inseparable, all thanks to the multicultural diaspora of this beautiful country. But can a curry change the world?

Maybe not. But a curry can definitely help and contribute towards putting food on another family’s table. Isn’t that ironic? Yes, it is and that is why we need to join hands with Opportunity International Australia in its annual fundraising campaign ‘Great Australian Curry’ to help and raise funds to help give a hand up to families living in poverty.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

I had collaborated with Opportunity International last year on their fundraising ‘Food for Thought’ campaign, which gave me an insight into how this organization works. As I mentioned in last year’s post, I am not a big believer in giving away a few dollars (or more) to an NGO or charity organization and think I have done my bit for the society. I like to be involved in campaigns where I know the exact reach of that money and if it is being used in a truly positive manner i.e. is there at least one person whose life I have touched in a positive way.

Opportunity works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes. And this year’s ‘Great Australian Curry’ campaign is a great way by which food lovers like us can contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

Opportunity International Australia - Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

This year’s campaign is extra special because it is being backed by three-time Olympic gold medallist, Stephanie Rice and former Australian test cricketer and fast bowler, Michael Kasprowicz.

Michael Kasprowicz said: “I recently visited Opportunity’s work in Delhi, India. Seeing firsthand the impact of small loans, empowering parents to meet the needs of their children, was so rewarding. Kids can dream of becoming whatever they want in the future, whether it be sportspeople or teachers, because they know their parents can afford to give them an education. It’s the way it should be.”

Stephanie Rice invited Australians to get behind the Great Australian Curry. “By simply getting together with some friends and family and cooking up your favourite curry, we can help raise much needed funds and give people in Asia a hand-up,” she exclaimed.

The ‘Great Australian Curry’ was officially launched last week with a fun curry cook-off between Stephanie and Michael. You can watch all the action here and get inspired to cook up some curry.

Great Australian Curry cook-off with Stephanie Rice and Michael Kasprowicz - thespiceadventuress.com

So how exactly can you help?

Plan – Decide on which curry you would like to cook (that’s where I come in with ideas and recipes) at home or maybe a fun cook-off with friends/colleagues or simply head over to your nearest curry offering establishment sometime in October or November.

Set up your goal – Start your unique fundraising page here and mention the goal you would like to achieve.

Donate and spread the word – Get everyone you know onboard and encourage them to not only share the curry with you but also contribute towards this campaign to help families living in poverty in Asian countries like Philippines, Indonesia, India etc….

Ofcourse I cannot leave you guys without a curry recipe so today I have a very special dish for you – the Jaffna style goat curry.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

Adapted from a Peter Kuruvita recipe, this curry is a rather simple one. And with this, I added yet another spice blend to my collection – the Srilankan roasted curry powder. Garam masala has taken a backseat forever!

In traditional Srilankan cooking, two forms of spice blends are common – the roasted and the unroasted variety. While the former is reserved for the rich curries and nonvegetarian dishes, the latter is milder and for seafood and vegetarian dishes (exceptions ofcourse). The key to a good roasted curry powder is getting your hands on good quality whole spices and then roasting it yourself. The roasting is taken right to the edge without burning it, so watch over it diligently.

I read up a lot of recipes and articles on how to make both the versions and ended up using this one I found on YouTube; seemed the most basic and authentic version. Also just as with many traditional spice blends like the garam masala, the Srilankan roasted curry powder also varies slightly between households.

Unroasted Srilankan curry powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Srilankan roasted curry powder - thespiceadventuress.com

The Jaffna goat curry uses both the roasted and unroasted curry powder which is liberally used to marinate the meat along with a few other aromatics and thin coconut milk. Another interesting thing about the recipe is that it only uses the thin and not the thick coconut milk so you still get that rich dark curry opposed to the creamy coconuty one.

As I mentioned, this is an adaptation of the traditional curry (which uses blood and offals); I have not done both, choosing to keep it simple and easy to make by all.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

And before we get on to this recipe, here are five other curries that would be perfect to host the ‘Great Australian Curry’

  1. Thai Massaman Curry
  2. Indian style Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry
  3. Cambodian (Khmer) style Chicken Samlâ Curry
  4. Gosht Durbari (Lamb Curry slow cooked with Yoghurt, Fried Onions and Spices)
  5. Burmese style Prawns with Tomatoes Curry

Jaffna Goat Curry

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg goat curry pieces (with bones)
  2. 1 tbsp Jaffna unroasted curry powder (recipe given below)
  3. 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  4. 5 green cardamoms; crushed
  5. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1 ½ tbsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)
  9. 2 tbsp Srilankan roasted curry powder (recipe given below)
  10. 2 tbsp tomato paste
  11. 200ml thin or 2nd extract coconut milk
  12. Salt, to season
  13. 4-5 shallots; finely sliced
  14. 3 garlic cloves; grated
  15. 1 inch ginger; grated
  16. A few sprigs of curry leaves
  17. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

  1. In a large pot, add the goat curry pieces along unroasted curry powder, cumin powder, cardamoms, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, roasted curry powder, tomato paste, salt and thin coconut milk. Mix and keep aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in another vessel (earthenware if you have) and add the curry leaves, shallots, garlic and ginger; sauté till the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Then add the marinated goat pieces into this, season with salt and mix well to combine. If there is extra marinade in the first pot, add a little water to it and rinse it out into the curry so none of that lovely flavour is lost. Add more water to the curry if necessary and cook covered on low heat till the goat pieces are tender and falling off the bone. Stir occasionally and add water if more gravy is required.
  4. Garnish with curry leaves and serve warm.

Note – It is best to make this curry ahead and let it sit for a while for the flavours to develop.

Ingredients for unroasted curry powder:

  1. 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  2. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  3. ½ tbsp fennel seeds

Method:

In a grinder, add all the whole spices and grind to get a fine powder. Store in an airtight container and use as required.

Ingredients for Srilankan roasted curry powder:

  1. 3 sprigs curry leaves
  2. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  3. ½ tbsp fennel seeds
  4. 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  5. 10 dried chillies
  6. ½ tbsp black peppercorns
  7. 5 cloves
  8. 5 green cardamom
  9. 1 stick Ceylon cinnamon (not cassia)
  10. 2 dry bay leaf

Method:

Note – Roasting the spices has to be done in steps as some of the spices need to be roasted longer than the others. Some versions of this blend also use fenugreek, mustard and pandan leaves.

Add the coriander seeds to a pan and allow to roast on low heat for about a minute and then add the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon. Roast for another 15 seconds and then add the curry leaves. Mix regularly and keep the heat low to avoid burning the spices. Continue to roast for another 30 seconds and then add the chillies. Allow to roast for a minute and finally add the fennel and cumin seeds. Roast for another 15-30 seconds and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely and then grind to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.

Celebrating the ‘Great Australian Curry’ with a Delicious Jaffna style Goat Curry - thespiceadventuress.com

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