A Bolognese Recipe 5 Years In The Making

A good plate of bolognese should warm your heart, fill your belly and linger on your tastebuds.

I have a weird affection for this beefy plate of goodness. I order it at most Italian restaurants, simply because when a plate of bolognese is done well, it’s like coming home and slipping into the covers of a well slept in bed.

It’s easy to do this right, but difficult to do it well.

I’ve been making this dish since I started cooking. I’ve made it with pork, beef, chicken and even a mix of meats. I’ve made it with fresh local tomatoes, ruby red cherry ones and even expensive, imported Roma and heirloom varieties. I’ve made it with spaghetti, linguine, conchiglie and penne. I’ve probably made this a hundred times and never got it right.

Oh, I’ve come close alright. Sometimes it hits the almost right spot. Like when you extend your fingers up your back to scratch at an itch and it’s not exactly there, but you stop scratching at it anyway.

This is my closest attempt. A bowl full of shiny, glossy pasta coated in a creamy red sauce and dotted with spots of well crusted beef.

It’s not a traditional bolognese recipe. Oh no, definitely not. There are some spices in here that will make an Italian go WTF, but it gives the whole dish depth and dimension, which was something I’ve never been able to capture in a plate of my own.

I’ve chased this recipe for 5 years. I even have photos of many subpar attempts. I’m not completely happy with it yet. I can’t call it perfect. But…it’s close. And I have this weird feeling that the journey to perfection will be a relentless pursuit.

Ingredients (makes enough for 5-6 portions)

1/2 bottle of Passata

20g (small can) of tomato paste

2 yellow onions, finely diced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

3 cloves of garlic, finely diced

400g of minced beef

50g of bacon, diced

1 1/2 cup anchovy/beef stock (can be replaced with 2 stock cubes or 3 tablespoons of stock powder)

3/4 cup of heavy cream

Sugar to taste

Salt to taste

Pasta (I used spaghetti)

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Star Anise

2 dried chillis (leave whole)

2 dried bay leaves


  1. Fry bacon in a heavy bottomed saucepan until fat is rendered and moisture evaporates. It doesn’t have to crisp up. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add some olive oil to rendered bacon fat in the pan and put in your mince, flattening them as much as possible and don’t touch it. We want browning and a slight crust.
  3. Once the mince is crusty and brown, break it up and add in the bacon again.
  4. Add in chopped veggies and fry until onion is softened and translucent.
  5. Add in Passata and tomato paste. Mix well.
  6. Add in stock. If you’re using cubes or powder, add 1.5 cups of water.
  7. Once the mixture comes to a slow boil, add in spices, sugar and salt to taste. Simmer at low heat.
  8. Cook pasta in separate pot until only 3/4 way cooked through. At this time, scoop out sauce if you’re not using all of it and refrigerate. Add cream to the sauce you are using immediately. Remove spices.
  9. Remove pasta from pot and add to your sauce mixture. If the sauce is too thick, add 1/2 cup of pasta water to the saucepan.
  10. Stir constantly until pasta absorbs moisture in the pan and forms a glossy sheen.
  11. Plate and serve.

To use the rest of the sauce, heat up in a frying pan and stir in cream. If sauce mixture is dry, add in stock or some water. Cook pasta and follow steps 9-11 above.

There you have it. 5 years in the making. A plate of fusion, and fucking delicious bolognese.


All Dreams Are Nightmares

I had a dream last night.

I don’t have them often, mostly only when my sleep is medicated and it knocks me out the same way a boxer gets taken down in a ring.

But I had a dream last night, and it made me thankful that they don’t come often.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a good one. Really really good actually. So good that when I woke up, I could still feel the strange sort of happiness and exhilaration coursing through my brain. So real that I could almost feel my fingers flitting across the cracked glass panel of my screen, sending out the text that I was drafting.

I woke up thinking it was real. There was no doubt there. My eyes opened and I grasped for the reality I had build while I was asleep, desperately trying to reconnect with it post dream scape.

That was when I realised, it was a dream. And while I sat in my bed, trying to put together the puzzle pieces before they lost their connecting edge (is it me, or do we tend to forget our dreams faster than we do to memories?), the blissful feeling faded, and I was left with nothing but an intense longing and an overwhelming feeling of loss.

Why do people call it good dreams when the better they are when you’re asleep, the greater the loss when you’re awake? I get nightmares, the ones that haunt you, makes your worst fear reality for the mere hours you’re asleep. But good dreams…how are they really good when they are nothing but a mirage you conjure for yourself when you’re asleep?

I guess I see the appeal. My dream brain managed to profile you so flawlessly, every word you said. Every sigh, every gasp and every expression crafted to striking perfection. Something I would never have been able to do if I were awake. It was as if it had taken reference to the many hours of memories I had of you and created something I want to have but never will.

Now all I’m left with is a pining reawakened by something I thought I’d buried. A seed sown so deep, devoid of sunlight, suddenly sprouting from the surface. A young sapling I’ll now have to kill.

What good are dreams if they are merely that? A good picture painted to dig out your worst desires. A stray ray of sunlight that does nothing but germinate weeds you never wanted to grow.

A good dream is nothing but an overgrown nightmare. Bleeding into the reality of your waking life, tormenting you when you’re awake.

#thisisrubbish #nomoredreamsforme

If this is what success looks like, then I don’t want it.

When someone asks me what’s the best thing about running my own business, my answer changes every time.

Most recently, the answer has been

I get to do things my way, and I have the freedom to say no to the things I don’t want to do.

A few hours back, my account manager from one of the fairs we now regularly participate in, updated me about the competition we should be expecting in the upcoming fairs. Simply because bralettes are now a thing in the world of mummies and that other brands are beginning to adopt bralettes in their repertoire of products.

It’s nothing new. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and the easiest way to get in with the times is simply through mimicking. That’s what we used to do. And that’s what most businesses still do today. Mimick and iterate.

But the one thing I cannot stand is when brands sound the drums and pull out the banners to claim that they are on the side of female empowerment and helping women feel comfortable in their own skin — yet at the same time, sell creams, shapewear and slimming products, targeted at helping mummies get back into their pre-pregnancy body in the least amount of time.

It’s bullshit, clear as day. And it reeks of a company trying to reap the benefits of being body positive, yet at the same time, exploiting the emotional and mental weakness of a postpartum mother.

But you know what’s worse? The fact that we as consumers are suckers for it.

We want to see brands and businesses standing on the side of body positivity and size inclusivity. We want it so badly, that we take it in all forms, whether it’s a passing tweet about “standing alongside women everywhere” or a picture of a model that isn’t size zero with the caption “All bodies are beautiful”.

We smile, double-tap to like, maybe even repost it on our feeds. Then go back to buying all the products that are sized XS only, buy the slimming creams and detox diets that the same body-loving brand is trying to sell you.

It’s not a clear line. It’s not black and white. And who is to say helping you become a slimmer, fitter, pre-pregnancy sized you isn’t the route to helping promote body positivity? (not to me, but who knows right?)

I’m getting a little off tangent here. But recently, success has become a concept that I’m increasingly foreign to. The idea of success in the eyes of so many has become so warped and mutated, that it’s clear that they are willing to jump through the hoops of immorality and cross the rivers of grey areas to reach.

Just a couple of weeks back, I read a post about how an ex-colleague, who went to a bank to make some withdrawals and almost got sweet-talked into signing up for a life insurance plan cleverly disguised as an investment plan with guaranteed interest and zero risk. He’d almost signed on the dotted line, only to look at the fine print and realise that the interest was definitely not guaranteed and his money was definitely not at zero risk.

And that’s just one scenario.

Question is, how many guarantees are you willing to make, and how many silken half-truths are you willing to spin in order to close a deal? How many underhanded means are you willing to take just to get that little bit closer to your definition of success?

It’s difficult. When in our day and age, success is an indicator of how capable, smart, clever and worthy you are. That sometimes we are blinded by the need to be validated by these little words, we are willing to do anything it takes so we don’t end up in the pool of people who “work so hard their whole lives and end up right at the same place they began”.

The thought scares me. Being raised in a family where my parents constantly reiterated the need for hard work in order to achieve success, albeit applied only academically. It was a promise that there’s no dumb person, only lazy ones. That if you’re willing to clench your teeth, double down in hard work, success will find you, even if you weren’t reaching for it in the first place.

But the more years you add to your age, the more you realise that hard work is defined differently in this playing field we call life. That sometimes, simply working hard isn’t going to work for you. You can climb the stairs over and over and still feel like everything you’ve been promised is so far out of reach.

If that’s the case, then maybe you shouldn’t be reaching for it in the first place. The definition of success and the associated brilliance it comes with is a societal expectation. It should not define you as a person and it should not make you feel less, just because you’ve tried so hard and still don’t have it.

Most days now, I yearn for a day of hard work and an honest payout. I no longer look for shortcuts in life that will get me to the greatest amount of reward with minimal amounts of effort. The tradeoffs just aren’t worth it.

Sometimes when my mum asks me how’s business and I want to tell her, it could be better. I also want to tell her, it should be better. But it cannot be, because I’m the one running it. And there are things I refuse to do, words I refuse to say and lies I refuse to spin in order for it to be better.

I am more than my work. I am more than what I do. And I refuse to change the way I am just because it makes things easier.

Because if that’s the way success is coming to me, I’d rather not have it anyway.

What If There’s No Afterlife

I’ve been trying to write more frequently recently. Mainly because I’ve begun to realise that words don’t come as easily to me like they used to, and sometimes I find myself hesitating mid-sentence looking for a word to express my thoughts and emotions, only to have them come out empty.

It’s quite a terrifying feeling actually. To know that there’s a particular adjective lurking somewhere in the depths of your mind, yet when you reach in to look for it, you can’t seem to remember where you’ve placed it. I’m hoping writing will help bring back the familiarity I used to have with words and ease me back into the routine of documenting some of the interesting discussions I encounter.

Just yesterday, Daniel asked me if life as we know it would be vastly different if as humans, we knew with absolute certainty that the possibility of an afterlife did not exist.

My answer was a definite yes.

Not thinking required. It would definitely, 100% change the way I lead my life.

Firstly, I think I wouldn’t be so hung up about being around and alive if I knew there were no consequences to death. And that all it brought about was the cessation of my existence.

I’m afraid to die because I am afraid of the unknown that comes with death. I’m not sure if life after death will be worse than the current life I’m living. And when you assume that the possibility of hell is very real, you generally want to stay away from it as long as possible.

But if hell doesn’t exist, and I struggle with my daily life and feel that there’s no escape from the tortures that life brings, I’ll end it. Simple as that. When a game isn’t worth playing or doesn’t bring you as much pleasure as it does, then you end the game. That’s my first reaction to the thought of having no life after death.

We brought up this discussion again today during game night with some friends. Which led us to the discussion that a lot of what we do as humans are motivated by the concept of accumulating karma and the promise of an afterlife that is equivalent to going to heaven.

We do good deeds most of the time because we fear the punishment and judgement that religion leads us to believe will happen after death. But also because of the promise that good will be rewarded thereafter.

The afterlife gives this life meaning. Which is warped to say, because shouldn’t we just enjoy our life and give it meaning just because we exist?

But I guess sometimes we all need something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our existence to help us believe that there is a bigger plan for everyone. And if we can’t find it in this life, then perhaps our only hope is in the life that comes after.

Goodbye Letters

As August comes along, I’ll be saying goodbye to 3 of my girls.

I’ve never been good with goodbyes. When I was younger, every morning my mother left home for work, I would cry and beg her not to go. To stay home with me. To just leave a little later.

Granted, sometimes after she leaves I forgot she was even here in the first place — the blessing of a child’s mind. But when the next day comes around again, the sorrow of watching her leave is still very very real.

Thing is, I over think and over feel many things. I always tell myself when the next hire comes along, that I will be a co-worker, a manager, a boss and nothing more.

And every time the new hire comes around, they somehow become more than just a new hire and slowly creep around into my life long enough for me to call them my friends.

So when they leave, it becomes very personal. My immediate reaction is always defensive. It always feels like the sting of betrayal.

“Why would they even want to leave? Am I not good enough? Are they not happy here?”

Then it gives way to the logical conclusion that in life, people want different things. And no matter how good you may be, you might not be what they want. It’s nobody’s fault, but it hurts anyway.

I’m back to hiring again, and sometimes I feel the same exasperation of youngsters on dating apps. Meeting people only to realise they are not who they seem to be on paper. Feeling hopeful…then hopeless again.

But you know what? I’m thankful that I have wonderful, wonderful staff and friends that makes saying goodbye so hard. I am thankful that I will miss all their help, miss the way they are able to read my mind, and do things for me before I even ask.

I am thankful that I have all the time to look back on. The 3 months, the 6 months and the 2 years. I am thankful that I have had all the laughter, all the chit chats and all the little times the crack appeared on their work self to reveal their real self beneath. Thankful they let me be more than just their boss. Thankful they let someone like me into their lives.

I might be really really sad that I won’t have anyone to ask when I can’t find the paper bags in the office. And even sadder when I have to go for lunch and can’t hear the whining of where we should eat and where we shouldn’t eat.

But I am also happy that they enjoyed their time here and will be moving on to something better for them.

#sappyboss #notabossbitch

Be your own anchor

Sometimes, we let people creep into our lives. Slowly, day by day, you get so used to the fact that they will always be around. That they are constants and they will always have your back, hold your hand.

You wake up, and you go about your day, expecting everything to be the same. That when you go to sleep that night and wake up tomorrow, the same people are in your lives, the same routines are set in place.

Then you realise one day, you’ll go to sleep and everything will change.

We cannot expect the people in our lives to always stay. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, or how much you want to give in, they leave anyway.

It’s not that they want to, it’s not that they have to. But they do so any way. And suddenly, you feel like like you’ve been left to float in an endless sea.

Some days, it will make you feel liberated and free. Like you’re able to go anywhere, do anything, without having to think about what someone else might feel.

And on other days, you feel lost, like a light breeze will send you miles toward a direction you’re not ready to head. Lying on your back, you’ll lose sight of goals, milestones and accomplishments.

When those days come, I hope you’ll remember that finding a place to land is as easy as dropping the anchor you carry within yourself. That you’ll no longer need other people to help you figure out where you are in life and where you can be.

Find your own ground, be your own anchor.

More to Lose


For a long time, being able to share everything on Dayre was carthartic, empowering and liberating.

But I guess when you have more, you also have more to lose.

And that’s make you less candid, more wary.

Less honest, more guarded.

And I guess that means I’ve lost even without having to play the game.

What Up Saturday? / Goobycakes

Bestfriend Chen and I spent the entire night (6 hours!) chatting away yesterday, over some Desperados and Tequila shots last night and it was such a soul fulfilling night.

I was showered with a lot of cat love (rare, but very real) because bestfriend Chen isn’t the most affectionate of people, but once in a while she shows the most genuine of affections and it makes me feel very very loved and appreciated.

Ahhhh. Nights like this.

Oh, the picture above? That’s my breakfast today. Leftover congee I cooked for Ellen before I left home. It is super easy and super yummy.

Just throw a bunch of dried scallops, ikan billis, goji berries, oyster sauce and some seafood soy sauce into the pressure cooker, along with rice to water ratio of 1:7.

Keep pressure time of about 30 minutes and then you’re done! Don’t even need to look at it 😂

Easy to cook, good to store in the fridge (although my mum insists that you can’t keep porridge 😂) and easy to reheat for a warm easy meal whenever you want it ♥️

Putting the Fun in Chee Cheong Fun

I messaged Missgoob to reserve some of the cheese buns she’s making this weekend so I thought we’d head down to my favourite CCF place at Holland Drive Food Centre to grab the Tobiko Roe Smoked Salmon CCF for her too hehe ♥️

This is my absolute favourite CCF place. The rolls are so smooth and soft and the sauce is sweet and slightly salty. I love it!

The Tobiko and Smoked Salmon one costs $5 for 2 rolls which are handmade on the spot. Abit pricey but it’s so shiok! The little bursts of Tobiko Roe and the cooked smoked salmon (I don’t like raw ones) are sweet and savoury and tastes like the sea.

Paired with the soft cheong fun and it’s HEAVEN.

A new flavour I tried today was the Chang wrapped Chang haha which is liver sausage inside the Cheong fun.

I was surprised by how creamy and tasty the liver sausage was and how it wasn’t too overpowering because they put just the right amount. 😭

This was $6 for 2 rolls which is…also pricey! But if you don’t like these fancy things, you can go for the regular charsiew and prawn!


We dropped by Goobycakes after breakfast to collect these gorgeous Brazilian Cheese Baked Buns that were the specials this weekend!

I first fell in love with these cheese balls when they served them piping hot at the Carnivore buffet. Fuck, I loved these buns more than the meat itself.

So when Missgoob put up a post for these, I immediately messaged her 😂

The buns are really good! Not the usual fluffy buns, it’s really just Brazilian style and super chewy and salty and great ♥️♥️

Thank you Missgoob!!!!!!!!!! 😭

She also gave me a cheesekek brownie which is 😚😚😚😚😚 omg we finished half of it in a night. Paired with ice cream, warmed up in the microwave, so…freaking good.

I warmed mine up in the microwave so it was soft and slightly gooey and so frickin delicious!

Paired with my all time favourite Valhorna ice cream and I just want to cry with happiness. Food really just makes me really happy ♥️

Making Up For Lost Time

I’m a huge fan of telling people that beauty is but skin deep and I built a business around the idea that no matter what size you are and how you look, you are beautiful beyond measure.


Which is why when I burst into tears while sitting on the toilet the other night, it shocked me as to how easy those waves of worthlessness and despair washed over me. Even though I had spent a good part of my life helping others to chase those feelings away.


Ok, let’s rewind a little. Go back to the backstory.


I’ve had pretty ok skin all my life. Not great, but definitely low maintenance. I used my body soap as cleanser and slapped on the Laneige Sleeping Pack when I felt fancy. The sleeping pack started out as a gift that I didn’t mind using, and when relatives realised I used it, the gifts just kept coming.
So yeah, for a huge part of my life, this was it. Nothing else.


Then I started getting these cystic pimples on one side of my cheek. Usually the pimples come and go very quickly for me. Leaving no scars of marks. But this left cheek tho, had a tendency to leave very dark marks and spots. Only on the left cheek.


The days before my breakdown in the toilet, I had discovered 2 (!!) cystic pimples on the said left cheek and I knew I had to squeeze it. I kept telling myself not to do it, but I couldn’t resist because the last time I left one alone, it sat on my face for 16 days before I popped it. They just don’t go away unless I squeeze the fuck out of them.


So I squeezed and skin was broken, but the pimple was flat and pus-less.


I think it’s also important to mention that the week before the pimples appeared, I had started out on my china skincare (which had like 7 steps) and it was probably too rich for my skin.

Ok, so after squeezing, I slapped on the most expensive skincare I’ve owned in my life (mostly SKII cos my mum made me use it religiously in my secondary school days) and hoped for the best.


But it didn’t scab well and everytime I left the comfort of my room, I had to cover it up with 5 layers of concealer and even then, my mum kept asking why there was such a huge black patch (grey lah ma) on my face -_-


So the night of my breakdown, I was removing my make up and I think the friction caused the barely there scab to dislodge and my skin started bleeding.


It was like a huge hole on my face that couldn’t stop bleeding. Daniel walked into the room, shocked, and that’s when I burst into tears.


Even after my bath, I couldn’t walk out of my room to return Ellen her hairdryer and make small talk because I didn’t want anyone to see my face. For the first time in a long time, I was ashamed of the way I looked.


The next day, I wore make up at home, refusing to take it off even whilst I was cooking and cleaning.


It was only at night, when removing the war paint that I realised that I’d spent the last few years of my life trying to tell women that looks don’t matter and you can be of any shape, size, colour or assortment and still be beautiful, as long as you were able to feel that way.


But sometimes, it’s truly easier said than done. And when you’re the one dealt a bad hand of cards, the days can sometimes seem very much harder and longer.


I don’t struggle with my skin much, so this was a completely new experience for me. I’ve been fat all my life, so even though I’d have this feeling of worthlessness and insecurity about my size in the beginning, I’ve come to learn and know that it’s not ok to feel this way. That my body is beautiful.


Thing is, everyone of us experiences new insecurities each day. Sometimes, we feel that our hair is thinning, or that dandruff is obvious. Some days, we feel that our legs are too short, too long, too skinny, too fat.


Some days it’s our eyes, our ears, our nose.


Every day, something else finds it’s way to bring our worth down. But don’t let it. We’ve spent way too long having to believe that we’re not ok, when really, we’re perfect.


So feel down, but bounce right back. Take your time. To some people, a year is an improvement on a lifetime of self-hate.


To others, it’s a month.


But you know what, it’s never too late to make up for lost time. So begin now, today.


A Bout of Rambles

I’ve always been in love with the ocean, yet afraid of it at the same time.

I love harbour towns, nautical themes, aquariums and almost everything related to the sea, except being in the sea itself.

I like the idea of it and the notion that it’s possible to create a life worshipping it, but also thoroughly terrified of what lies beneath my feet when I walk on sandy beaches.

The thought of hermit crabs trying to nip my fleshy feet and the countless unknown creatures just swimming around me…scares me.

I think that’s how most people feel about love.

Beautiful from a distance, terrifying when you’re deep within it.

On another note, I’m just happy to be alive, considering how the worst part of a sickness usually is the long and tiresome recovery process.

My sore throat has manifested in a hacking cough that will not go away. I’ve coughed till my temples hurt and my stomach churn and still, I am coughing.

The new cough syrup I’ve been prescribed tastes like custard and chocolate which is such a weird flavour!

I always welcomed the brown syrup that tasted…I’m not sure if only in my imagination, like cola.

But this custard one is naassssty.

My mucus is also superbly thick and sticky and it clogs up my nose, throat and lungs. Making me wheeze when I talk for too long.

I somehow don’t recall taking so long to recover in the past. Perhaps this is what age does to you.

Or maybe it’s what business does to you 😂

Talking about business…

I’ve been having this nagging feeling behind my neck that’s just yelling at me to do more. To move faster.

Just this week, we’ve had to send back 2 shipments of stuff because they weren’t up to standard. As much as this is making me lose alot of money, it’s better than not being able to sleep at night because you are worried people don’t like the stuff we’ve created.

Funny tho, I still couldn’t sleep last night because out of nowhere, I’ve been having hot flushes and just last night,

An incredibly heightened sense of itch.

Every time I would almost fall asleep, I would be jolted awake by the feeling of my hair, a single strand, tickling me somewhere.

These feelings and sensations I’ve always been able to ignore and just sleep, were suddenly amplified and it literally almost drove me mad.

I hopped out of bed at 3am to take a cold bath and still it took me an hour to fall asleep.

I wonder if it was because my period didn’t come for 4 months (no not pregnant!) And that my hormones were all out of place because I am so so so stressed and high strung.

Then I realised it might be because I’m too neurotic by nature.

My husband on the other hand, claims he heard me snoring, when he himself, sleeps like the dead.

Or maybe it was all just my dream?

Nope, I definitely bathed tho…or did I?