april in film

I bought a disposable film camera last month. I'm no professional photographer or an expert with film - my first and only experience with film was last year, when I bought the same camera to document the last few days of school.

I'm trying to make it a point to buy a camera once a month, at least in the short term. With it I hope to be able to document how I'm spending this break of mine, and also to capture the beauty of our little country. Singapore is actually quite beautiful, but we often overlook this beauty and take it for granted. Which is a pity actually, because we go to other countries and to us, these places are "the most beautiful place on Earth" but we can't even appreciate our own home.

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Taken during one of my breaks from work while I was interning in a law firm in the CBD

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Hong Lim Complex, Chinatown 

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Hort Park 

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South Buona Vista Road (Paddy Hills!!) 

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(I don't even remember where the above photo was taken but I like it anyway) 

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Ghim Moh / Flock Cafe 

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Clarke Quay 

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Tiong Bahru / Plain Vanilla / Forty Hands

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Botanic Gardens on a Sunday 

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Potato Head Folk // Chinatown 

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Artistry x SAM in film 

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On the way to Hoopla (the flowers along the road were really pretty) 

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National Museum of Singapore in evening

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Bloomsbury Bakers / Haji Lane (which came out blurry sob) 

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Chun Tin Road / The Bravery (detox day) 

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Everyday things 

Most of these photos came out underexposed. I think it's because I pretty much didn't use the flash at all in this roll of film, so that's something to take note of for May's camera. It's quite a pity because I took some night shots with this camera, and they came out completely dark. That being said, this camera works wonders in bright light! Hopefully the next roll of film will be better : ) It's such an exciting journey!

When in Rome {Sights}

A series of photos from my trip to Rome last December! We stayed in a boutique hotel, with tumblr-worthy lights and all that, and amazing service too. It was within walking distance to some of the major tourist destinations such as the Pantheon, and the Spanish Steps. Funnily enough, my family and I walked down the Spanish Steps while we were exploring the nearby area on the first day without knowing it! Only when we were walking away we say a signboard detailing the history of the Steps right next to it.

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We made a trip to the Vatican City, the smallest state in the world.

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Taking a walk to the Colosseum - an approximately 2km walk from our hotel.

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The red and blue balloons you see in the picture were part of a protest that we saw on the way there. It was quite something - there were so many people, all holding signs and shouting and there was the occasional news reporter and TV guy.

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The Colosseum

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And other things.

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Observations:

  • Rome is the land of selfie sticks. We encountered people trying to sell selfie sticks to us almost everywhere we went. We declined, of course.
  • Everywhere pretty much looks the same - in a good way, of course. The architecture in Rome is beautiful.
  • There's a church round almost every corner.

2. Peanut Butter Nutella Loaf Cake

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Ah, one of my favourite days of the year. World Nutella Day falls on the fifth of February, and is truly a cause for celebration. Started up by Sara from Miss Adventures in Italy and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso, World Nutella Day brings Nutella lovers worldwide together. Nutella is a symbol of my childhood. I grew up with Nutella, heck, you can practically say I grew up on Nutella. I remember watching Kids Central when I was five and the Nutella commercials would play, and I would most probably ask for a slice of Nutella toast after that. Simple Nutella toasts were my breakfasts for years, and as I grew up they morphed into Nutella Banana Toasts, Peanut Butter and Nutella, Nutella cakes...

You get the idea. I love Nutella.

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Nutella is incredibly versatile. For proof, just head over to the World Nutella Day website where you can stalk the array of recipes at your disposal... And for the record, they all involve Nutella. Nutella is powerful. Who knew that a simple Chocolate Hazelnut spread could have so much influence? Nutella bonds people. If you, dear reader, are a fellow Nutella lover, I can tell that we are going to be great friends. Thank you, Pietro Ferrero and son, for your contribution to the world. Thank you for Nutella.

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So, in honour of World Nutella Day 2015, the second instalment of Loafs of Love is a cake involving a healthy dose of Nutella! You see, Peanut Butter and Nutella is one of my favourite combinations, and I love to have either of them with sliced bananas on toast. So I thought, why not make this into a loaf cake?

Unfortunately, my first bake yesterday didn't quite turn out, for (I believe) I took the cake out too early, which resulted in a mooncake-like texture and taste. It wasn't the best. Also, I suspect it was a poor combination of too many things going on at once that led to disappointment. What a pity, for it was a beautiful cake.

So I tried again this morning, albeit with a different recipe. Yesterday, I was debating between which recipe to use and I went with the one that included bananas as none of my banana recipes have gone wrong so far but hey, I guess there's a first time for everything. This cake has no bananas, not because I was afraid to use them but because I conveniently ran out of them at home, which was just as well.

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What I like about this recipe is the inclusion of a .75 cup of buttermilk. It gives the cake a tangy flavour to it, and a nice tender crumb, thanks to its reaction with the leavening agents that produce carbon dioxide, aerating the cake.  Think (good) red velvet cake - the texture and moisture of a red velvet is partially attributed to the addition of buttermilk! I've learnt to keep an extra pack of buttermilk on hand, just because it's simply so versatile and beautifully enhances the flavours of a simple cake.

Also, instead of the usual butter, I used olive oil in the cake. Yes, olive oil. The original recipe called for coconut oil, but I didn't have coconut oil on hand and I was a little doubtful about the coconut. Personally, I'm not too big a fan of the taste of coconut anyway, although the recipe assured me that the taste of coconut would be completely masked in the cake. I used extra virgin olive oil, for it has the lightest flavour and it's even healthy! This also allowed the primary flavours of the cake to come forward and shine. The use of oil over butter also contributes to the moistness of the cake, something I greatly treasure in my baked goods.

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Anyway, back to the Nutella. It being World Nutella Day, it was important not to skimp on the amount of Nutella involve, hence I just dolloped tablespoons of Nutella on the cake. There's even a layer of Nutella inside the cake! This cake is best served with a glass of milk, and with that I highly, highly recommend that you have this cake with a glass of fresh milk on the side.

In fact, I insist that you do. For this cake is just ten times better with it. The milk elevates it to a whole new level, for it somewhat offsets the heaviness of the peanut butter. This is especially important if you're using crunchy peanut butter, because I suspect it was the use of crunchy peanut butter that contributed to the density of this cake. In fact, please try to use creamy peanut butter, if you can. It would probably make life a lot simpler. But have the milk either way. Please.

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Peanut Butter Nutella Loaf Cake Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 0.75 cup buttermilk
  • 35g light brown sugar
  • 25g white sugar
  • 85g peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, but i recommend creamy)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 0.25 cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil, canola oil, coconut oil, etc...)
  • 188g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of salt (optional!)
  • lots of Nutella

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and grease your loaf pan.
  2. Whisk the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. (if you need me to spell it out for you: egg, buttermilk, brown & white sugar, peanut butter, vanilla extract and oil)
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the large bowl and stir. Do not overmix!! The consistency will be reminiscent of your peanut butter. According to Averie, that's okay.
  4. Pour about half to two-thirds of your batter in the pan, and using a tablespoon, dollop Nutella atop that first layer. Eyeball it. When you think you've dolloped enough, spread it around so that it roughly covers the first layer of cake batter. Then, pour the remaining cake batter over the Nutella layer. With the tablespoon, dollop about three large spoonfuls of Nutella atop that. Using a chopstick (although I've heard that a toothpick would work fine as well), make swirls of Nutella.
  5. Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes! Be careful when using the toothpick test here, for it came out clean for me at 30 minutes for my cake yesterday (which used roughly the same ingredients and method) even though the cake was not properly baked through yet.
  6. Cool in your pan for about 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling off.
  7. Serve with a glass of milk. Please do, or you might be missing out on some of the best things in life.

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