Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wrapping up December 2013

2013 has been one exciting year for me, and like everyone else, it's time to wrap up the year and give our thanks to a great year.

I started 2013 with a new job with a new industry, never thought I would take the leap to leave my previous company as I was very much comfortable there. External factors contributed to my leaving, something which I've never revealed in my blog (and only a handful ex-colleagues know the real reason), and I won't bore anyone with the details which led to my parting of Integricity Interactive (now known as VLT KL).

I quit my job, took a whole month of to do stuff for myself, and found a new job to start 2013. I told myself 2013 will be a brand new year for me, with a new job, make new friends, experience and learn new things. I will have a blank canvas, and it's up to me how I want to paint that canvas. I figured starting the new year with a new job will also help lift my spirits up. And it did :)

It's been an exciting and wonderful 2013, and despite starting the year which much sadness and confusion, everything fell into place eventually, and emotionally I'm in a much better place. I'm a lot happier today than I was one year ago, and for this I have to thank my supportive husband and wonderful new friends at BFM 89.9. The crazy lovable folks whom I work with from Mondays to Fridays are the ones who have made me turn my life around and get out of depression. I have learnt a lot from them, and everyday I continue to learn from them.

The year 2013 was also a year I've had some significant "first time" experiences. Hubby and I made our journey to Beijing, China in May. And then in November, we made our way to Japan, a country which we've always wanted to go to. A few weeks later, I went to Phuket on a company trip. So this year alone, I went to 3 countries, a first time for me!

I also had the experience to go dragon boating, had the chance to eat a lot of cakes and cupcakes at work, learn new skills and knowledge, and hug a tiger!

It's been a fantastic year for me, one which I feel very blessed and grateful for. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone (yes, to you too!), and here's to a wonderful 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pork Green Curry

While at the Phuket International Airport, I was browsing around and stumbled upon a shop selling several kinds of cooking paste, such as green curry, yellow curry, and tomyam. Being a foodie, I couldn't resist so I bought some cooking paste back, then I can cook some yummy meals for the hubby.

This dish here is pork green curry. While the paste is very aromatic, it was also very spicy for green curry! Maybe that's how the Thais like it, SPICY!

Green curry paste (this serving is for 3-5 pax, as I had a lot of pork)
Semi-lean pork meat, sliced (next time I'll use roast pork)
1 cup (about 200ml) coconut milk
Potatoes (pre-boil them, cut into large cubes - optional)
Red chilli, sliced (remove the seeds)
Half a cup of green peas
Kaffir leaves
Thai sweet basil leaves (optional)
1 to 1.5 cups of water

Using a large pan, heat up the coconut milk until it's just boiling. Add the green curry paste and stir until the mixture is creamy. Add the sliced pork and stir them until they are cooked. Add the potatoes, eggplant, chilli, green peas, kaffir leaves and and stir occasionally. Add the water if the mixture gets too thick. Close the pan and keep the flame on low for a few minutes to let the mixture cook slowly. Just before dishing it out, bring the mixture to boil.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Phuket December 2013

Went to Phuket with the colleagues, and it was a blast! I spent most of my waking hours in the fabulous resort, Westin Siray Bay. The location was quite a distance from town, which was probably why I decided to stay within the resort and just soak up the sun. I had told myself, for this trip, I'm going to give myself a bit of pampering. I booked myself a bath and massage treatment, had lunch by the pool side and just chillax until dinner time. And boy, did I enjoyed myself immensely.

I also had the chance to make a trip to Tiger Kingdom Phuket, and experience a rare opportunity to be up close and personal with the tigers! There are two school of thoughts about this place, I will let you make your own decision about it:

1) The tigers are not in their natural setting, they are behind large enclosures and are made tourists attractions (read: animal cruelty).

2) The tigers have a much better chance of survival in these enclosures, where they are cared for by their trainers and tourists have the opportunity to see them up close and personal.

My new pillow whee!

Nice kitty...


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Making Sui Kow (dumplings)

Chinese dumplings, possibly a family favourite in any Chinese family. Paired with a hearty soup, dumplings are easy to make and brings warmth to the tummy. The filling can have meat inside, or pure vegetables. It can be eaten fried or with soup, or eaten with a bowl of noodles. And since we've made gyoza (pot stickers) before, I decided to try to make 'sui kow'.

I googled for some recipe and decided to take one from Rasa Malaysia, and tweaked it a little.

160 gram medium size shrimps (de-veined)
80 gram semi-lean pork (minced)
30 gram carrots
2 pieces shittake mushrooms – it can be substituted with black fungus (木耳)
1 tablespoon coriander leaves (use the leaves only) (chopped finely)
25 pieces round-shaped dumpling wrappers (really depends on the amount of filling you have to use, in my case I only used 22 wrappers. You can buy the wrappers from the supermarket, pre-packed)
Water for boiling
Spring onions (chopped) – for garnishings

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cooking oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Dash of white pepper powder

Combine all the ingredients and seasoning into a big bowl, use your hands if necessary to ensure the mixture is thoroughly mixed. Refrigerate for an hour at least.

When you're ready to make the dumplings, line the wrappers up individually around a plate. Place one piece of wrapper on your palm, and scope one tablespoon of filling into the wrapper. Be sure not to overstuff the wrapper or the wrapper might break open. Dab a bit of water on the edge of the wrapper (half circle only), fold it into half and press firmly to seal the edges. Repeat the same process until you have used all the filling.

In a deep pot, boil some water and place a cube of stock (chicken, beef, ikan bilis, whatever you fancy) in the pot. When the water is boiling, add the dumplings inside one by one, be sure not to let them stick together! You can add some green leafy vegetables into the pot for extra flavour. Using medium-low heat, allow the dumpling to cook for several minutes. The dumplings are cooked when the skin is transparent and floating. Garnish with some spring onions.

SlimWalk Compression Socks.

This was something I discovered during our trip to Japan: Slimwalk compression socks. A very popular product in Japan, these socks increase blood circulation around the legs, reduces water retention and great for tired legs, all while toning the legs too. 

At JPY1080 (about RM 36), it is quite affordable, and being the curious one, I got myself a pair of these, and another pair which separates your toes.

So how do these socks feel? I love the material, lycra. It's stretchable and breathable, doesn't feel too tight around the legs, yet keeps the legs feeling warm especially on a rainy day. You might be thinking it must be quite hot to wear these socks to bed, but really, it's not hot at all. In fact, because the material is breathable, it's actually comfortable to wear to bed.

If you're the type who is constantly in a pair of heels for long hours, these compression socks are good for your legs. And if you suffer from water retention (pregnant ladies especially), these compression socks are highly recommended. I'm usually in flats or sneakers most of the time, but there are days your legs will feel a little tired, and that's when these socks come in handy. 

You can get the exact brand from online shopping sites like Rakuten, but it will cost you more than double the price at least (check it out here: http://www.rakuten.com.my/shop/jselection/product/A99PH306/). I think you might also be able to find some resellers in Lowyat.net too.