Jun 2013

Hello! My name’s Chris, I live in Singapore and love to cook. To view an “updated” version of “About Me”, titled “The Real About Me”, click here. For an even more updated version, read my latest entry ‘The m(o)ther side of me‘.

I started this blog in June 2013 when I quit my job in the corporate, banking world (which paid me a decent salary) to care full time for my aunts who are (now) 76 and 80. They’ve never been married and have taken care of me since I was a little girl. I’ve always been a bit unconventional, and I love digital media, writing, cooking, and my aunts; and I knew I had to do something for them while I still can. Plus, I was inhaling the smoky fumes of being burnt-out. You can earn back the money, but time lost is forever.

So I quit.

A year on, I am now back to the workforce doing something totally unrelated to banking. I write for a living and am thankful for the second chance. The money’s not as good as compared to the bank, but I feel like I haven’t let myself down, and you can’t put a price tag to that.

I used to keep to a weekly grocery bill of $30 for two meals a day Monday to Friday, for 3-4 people. It was hard but surprisingly not impossible, and I love a challenge! I’ve put chicken, fish, pork, soup, tofu, vegetables, home versions of hawker food, Chinese and Western style dishes on the table. If I could do it, so can anyone! And it is true – anyone can cook as long as he/she is willing to step into the kitchen. It is also against my principles to cook curry from scratch when we have premix.

When I’m not cooking, I explore eating places and go to the supermarket with my better half, check out new kitchen appliances, go vintage treasure hunting and do travel planning for family and friends. I love researching travel destinations, connections, accommodation and itineraries, and have travelled to many Asian countries, North American states and European cities. In other news, I love to think too much because I think it liberates me. I am also a grammar nazi who adores Singlish. In my past life on Xanga, I ran “Pink-Pink!!”, a one-of-a-kind pink blog with a huge personality which eventually consumed her.


  • Shelly

    I wish I was part of your family so that I could enjoy your food with the Aunts………I crave Asian food and would love to have your menu’s with the recipes to keep my costs down. TomYum being my favourite soup of all time.

    • evenheart

      Hi Shelly! You are welcome to replicate the recipes.. is there an Asian grocery store in where you are? Common sauces and seasonings that I use in my recipes (and Asian cooking) include Oyster Sauce, Fish Sauce, Chili Bean Sauce, Chinese Cooking Wine and Sesame Oil. Just do a quick google image search and you won’t be too far off. Happy cooking!

  • Shelly

    Hi Chrissy. Thanks for the reply. I always have Soya, Fish Sauce and Oyster sauce,and sometimes if I’m lucky to find Terriyaki sauce. Any recommendations for the Terriyaki, as I usually just marinate my beef in it before cooking.

    • evenheart

      I usually make my own teriyaki sauce from regular ingredients. Most recipes call for Mirin, a type of Japanese sweet rice wine, but I don’t have it in my kitchen. Try this: Heat up one cup water, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 5 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon honey in a pan. Separately, mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Add this cornstarch solution to the heated sauce, stirring to combine then simmer for a bit til thickened.

    • evenheart

      Hi Shelly, you don’t have to specifically get the baking pan. I’m using an aluminum round cake pan. You can use any pan or silicon dish that fits and can withstand up to 200 degrees Celsius!

  • RJ

    Hi there! Nice recipes! I’m going to try some of them soon! I was looking at your chicken chop post and was wondering if you have a recipe for the ‘brown sauce’ used in western food? Thanks!

    • Chrissy- budgetpantry.com

      Hi RJ, thanks for stopping by my blog and yes I do have a favourite mushroom and onion brown sauce. Here’s what I do:

      1) Sauté sliced Shitake or button mushrooms and half a finely chopped yellow onion in 1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil for 4 mins

      2) Slowly sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour into the pan and be sure to keep stirring to prevent burning. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

      3) Add 125ml red wine to deglaze the pan, scrape the sides so all the bits get mixed together. Simmer for 2 minutes, then add 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and 1 tbsp ketchup.

      4) Add 250ml beef broth and cook for 5 minutes until thickened, then add salt and pepper to taste.

      p/s- if the sauce is not thick enough, combine 1 tbsp of flour/ cornstarch with 2 tbsp of cold water in a separate bowl, mix well, then whisk in slowly in step 4. If the sauce is too thick, add more broth.

      I hope you try this and happy new year to you and the lucky person you’re cooking for!


  • Rachee-O

    Hi Chrissy,

    Came across your site by chance and love how you are sharing all the cost of preparing a meal. Nice work!

    I am going to try the hainanese pork chop you have shared. Great idea to use air fryer!

    Wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year in advance!

    • Chrissy- budgetpantry.com

      Hi Rachee-O! :) Thank you for your nice comments, I thought to prove ME wrong that I can’t cook on a budget! I’m glad you stopped to say hi and I hope to see you around!

  • May

    Hello! Actually I wanna ask you abt the waring waffle maker. You know if sg sells it cheaper? I checkout on US webby, the price is like 5x different! Omg!

  • Chrissy- budgetpantry.com

    Hi May, I don’t know of any place in SG that sells it except Tott and Sia Huat. They’re selling the commercial version for $200+ thereabouts. I was tempted to buy from US websites cos they’re much cheaper, but then I thought about the voltage specifications and how they might not work in SG.

    Sorry, I know I didn’t help!


  • KK

    Stumbled on your website while looking for air fryer recipes. Just want to say, the kindness and care you’ve shown your aunts is very touching. It’s a rare person who does what you have done. All the best in your new writing career.

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