Monday, December 22, 2014

Japan 2014

We went back to Tokyo for the second this, and it was the best last minute decision we made. I badly needed a holiday to get away from all that emotional stress, I had not thought of Tokyo due to the last minute planning, was afraid we may not be able to secure accommodations due to the peak season. But lo and behold, luck was on our side, and I managed to secure a decent room for 8 nights via Booking.com

Hotel MyStays Ueno-Iriyaguchi was a decent place, newly renovated in April. Prices were reasonable by Japanese standard (about RM 350/night), clean and it had everything to make things comfortable. Plus point for the little kitchenette and small storage room which meant we can keep our luggage inside (instead of occupying floor space), and cook very light meals indoors. It's also a 5-min walk to Ueno Station, which had many train lines passing through, making it an ideal location to get to anywhere in Tokyo via train.

 


 


Thoroughly enjoyed the trip. We walked so much till our feet hurt, enjoyed so much Japanese food and morsels till our stomachs thanked us. Basically we just walked and soaked in Tokyo for it it gave us. I came home with some new clothes which I picked up rather cheaply as well (if you know where to buy, things need not be expensive in Tokyo). Plus Uniqlo is cheaper there, which makes me angry that Malaysia is actually quite an expensive country to live in if you're Malaysian. 

Our next trip to Japan, will be to other places and prefecture. Tokyo, thank you for the good holiday, you never disappoint! :D

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Recreating The Green Fingers

Went to Bosko Centerpoint BU for lunch the other day, and came across a very simple lunch on their menu. It's refreshing, simple, and taste great. This is what a good pizza should be, nothing fancy, just a good dough, a good sauce, cheese and some greens to add flavour. And after having it, I decided to try to make it at home, using tortilla wraps.



OK, so mine had more cheese and the arugula leaves were bigger, but it still taste just as great, if not better :D

Ingredients:
Tortilla wraps (or you can make your own dough)
Pitted black olives, sliced
Pasta sauce (I used the one I bought from Marks & Spencer)
Feta cheese (crumbled). 
Mozzarella cheese
Arugula or rocket leaves for garnishing

On a tortilla wrap, spread the pasta sauce on it using a spoon. Scatter the black olives and feta cheese on the wrap, and then the mozzarella cheese on top. Bake until cheese melts or golden brown, then scatter the leaves on top and serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Giving Fat A New Meaning


I rest my case :)

Grumpy Oli


I've been grumpy lately. And reading the many news and headlines whether from Facebook or from tweets, isn't helping much. In fact, they only make me grumpier.

Reading about how our government is spending tax payers monies freely and not having a care to be accountable for it.

Renaming main roads because DBKL says so (which I think doesn't make sense when the original names give the roads so much more character and history, but what do I know, I'm a pendatang to the government). No positive objective coming from this exercise.

Reading about certain NGOs screaming bloody murder about how a certain race is being marginalized and needs constant crutches from the government to stand up even after 57 years of independence. I for one cannot fathom how that race, which forms 60% of the population, can be marginalized, when there are plenty of incentives for them to utilize out there, where else the other races cannot even qualify for those incentives simply because of our skin colour and ancestral background. And when they cannot get jobs, cannot get loans, they find it easier to blame others other than themselves. They blame others for "stealing" from them. They blame others for taking what they think is their entitlement. Friend, no one in the world has entitlements, you fucking work for what you want. Only the lazy ones will blames others for what they don't have, and you are a lazy one. You're just afraid you cannot compete with the real world, so you rather shroud yourself and shroud others, on the pretext of "defending". When the actual fact is, you are afraid of life itself. Boo-yah.

I'm taking a break from all this nonsense.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Of Broken Bones and Breaking Spirits

It's been almost a month since my last blog post, and I'm guilty of not updating my blog as frequently as I used to. It's been quite a year for me, some rough patches in between, which kinda made me want to just disconnect and reconnect with myself all over again.

The months of this year has been somewhat kind and unkind to me. I've had to deal with my inner demons again, sometimes losing, sometimes winning. It's been a struggle I have to admit, and it won't get any easier at all. I just have to find ways to deal with it better. I'm glad to say that most of the time, after a good cry, I jump right out of it. A small percentage of the time, I wallow in my own misery which I've constructed, and just need to take some time off for myself, have some quiet moment to relish, shut everyone out for a while, and lay low.

The crazy sibling has moved in to my house, and she herself is going through a rather rough patch, and is in need of family right now. I could use another maid and cook in the house HAHAHAHA! Anyway, a couple of weeks back, I had received a phone call during lunch hour that the crazy sibling had suffered an injury during her crossfit challenge, and was admitted to the private medical centre in Manila. During one of the challenges, she had suffered a broken upper right arm (broken humerus bone), and because of the injury, the doctors must conduct surgery on her as soon as possible.

I lost my lunch appetite after that phone call. I called my parents to break the news (they were calm about it as I assured them I will handle things, and the crazy sibling was not alone as her friends were with her, and her estranged husband also flew to Manila as well to make sure things are OK. I had thoughts about flying to Manila as well, but hubby suggested that I stay in KL to help coordinate things (digged up her insurance policy etc and sent necessary documents over).


The surgery took a whopping 6 hours, from the initial 3 hours (which made me worry so much I was in tears a few times). Eventually the crazy sibling was discharged a couple of days later, and I sent my other younger sibling to Manila to bring her home. I could not tell you enough the relief I had the moment they stepped into the car when we picked them up from the airport (yes, now we can laugh about it).

I'm just glad the crazy sibling is OK. She's in high spirits and recovery is going along nicely, although the numbness she is feeling on her right arm is common due to the nature of the injury. She wants to be called Robocop now, so I just layan her lah. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

It Happened To Me

I'm usually very careful with my gadgets, as I'm a firm believer that you can usually prevent something from happening if it's within your control, and that you don't create the opportunity for something to go missing.

This time around, I was careless. I let my guard down for a while. And the result? I lost my iPhone 4, a device I've had since 2010. Granted the phone is over 4 years old, its processor is lagging, it can't update to the latest iOS 8, and it's value in the market is almost zero. But it wasn't so much of losing the phone that made me upset, it was how I lost it.

I was in the fitting room in H&M, 1Utama. And I was in the middle of texting my hubby as he was waiting for me somewhere else, and because reception was so bloody bad in the fitting room, I left the phone on the stool so that I could hear it when text notifications come in. I thought I had dropped the phone back in my bag after using it, but I guess I got careless and didn't check properly. I walked out of the fitting room to get something, and realized my phone wasn't with me (and all this happened in the span of 5 minutes max). I ran back into the fitting room and asked the guy manning the counter, if anyone had returned a phone - To which he said NO. I knocked on the fitting room door I was using previously and asked the lady inside, she too said NO. I asked two more fitting rooms side by side (just in case I got the wrong room), and both also said NO.

When I caught up with hubby, we tried calling the number, sure enough, the phone was shut off. I went back home immediately, logged into my iCloud account, and set the phone to erase remotely (the moment the phone is turned on and with data, it was set to erase). I was very upset that it happened to me, and how it could've been prevented if I was just a bit more careful and on guard. Later I would discover that my colleague and her friend also lost their smartphones in the same manner, also in H&M outlets in the city.

Note to self: Always put the phone back in your bag, and zip the bag. Never rush.

Anyway, I had been playing with the idea of switching to a bigger smartphone recently, I just didn't expect to get one so soon. I was actually going to wait for the iPhone 6 Plus, but after discovering the exorbitant price tag (it will cost me over RM 3,000 for the iPhone 6 Plus, 64GB), I decided I'm not going to spend my money on the iPhone, and switch to getting an Android. I consulted my colleague who does a lot of reviews on gadgets, and made my decision to get the OPPO Find 7 :) Plus point was that I got it at dealer price (which includes a white flip case), and it's an early birthday gift from hubby :) I'm still tinkering with the device as it's full of features (makes the iPhone kinda meh in more ways than one haha!), check out their global site for more info.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chop



I wanted to try something different with pork chops this round, and started Googling for some recipes with lemongrass. Stumbled upon this super easy Vietnamese style pork chop, and I'm loving it!

Ingredients:
Pork chops
1 1/2 to 2 tbps brown sugar
1 tbps minced garlic
1 tbps chopped onion or shallots
1-2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2  tbps dark soy sauce
1 1/2  tbps fish sauce
1 tbps oil

If you have a blender, throw the sugar, onions, garlic and lemongrass into the blender and blend them until they become a fine texture. Otherwise you can just finely chop each of the ingredients separately (chop them as fine as possible). In a large bowl, mix all the chopped ingredients up, add the oil, black pepper, dark soy sauce and fish sauce and mix them all up into a smooth dark brown paste. Marinate the pork chops with the paste overnight for an extra strong flavour. Grill the pork chops for about 8mins or if you're like me preferring to opt for easy cleaning, pop them in the oven for about 20 mins at 190°.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Peking duck @ Meng Kee Peking Duck Restaurant, Glenmarie

Overdue post, but heck!

We celebrated my mum's birthday recently, and we headed to Meng Kee Peking Duck Restaurant, Glenmarie, as my mum had read an article about this restaurant and lamented that she wanted to savour their Peking duck.

FYI, the Meng Kee group also owns the famous Meng Kee Char Siew in Glenmarie, and also has a ramen shop all within the same street in Glenmarie.

Priced at RM60/whole duck, it's fairly reasonable, and the writer gave it a pretty decent review, so we figured, should be ok lah, kan? Sekali the dish was served, one look, and we all agreed, presentation is sloppy. 

To be honest, it was really more of a roast duck than a Peking duck. If you've never had Peking duck before, the concept is as such. The duck is marinated with herbs and glazed with maltose syrup (hence the shiny skin) and is prized for its crispy skin. Before the duck is roasted, air is pumped under the skin to bloat the duck up, giving it a rounder shape (also to separate the skin from the meat during the slicing process - see image below). In Beijing, special ducks are used for this dish (not just any quacking feathered friend will do).

Image from Google
To continue my review on Meng Kee's Peking duck version, it definitely lacked the authentic Peking duck flavour. OK so I may be biased now when it comes to Peking duck, simply because hubby and myself have already had our share of good Peking duck during our last trip to Beijing. But really, for the writer to sing high praises about Meng Kee's Peking duck, was a little far fetched in my opinion. We were simply served slices of roast duck, and sloppy sliced duck too. Nothing much to say about the condiments and wraps, can't really go wrong with them. Everything comes down to the duck, and that is not Peking duck. I'm only giving this a 4/10.

Whole Peking duck @ Meng Kee Peking Duck Restaurant, Glenmarie
One of the best Peking duck experience we've had while in Beijing? Definitely from Beijing Dadong Roast Duck Restaurant located at Dongsi 10th Alley (or in Mandarin it's pronounced as Dongshishitiao). See the image below, doesn't it make you want to make a trip to Beijing now?



Monday, August 18, 2014

Roller Coaster Rides

Image from Google.
The past few months has been a particular difficult emotional roller coaster ride for me. Every single social media platform I'm in, I see images. I get reminders. I get messages. It's like people are screaming at me, pushing me, reminding me.

Memories come flooding back like a gush of water broken from a dam. The emotions slams into me so hard I cannot fight back, pushing me up against the wall and slamming me wave after wave right into my face. I'm helpless. I cry. I weep.

It may sound silly for some, but it's real for me. I may have healed, picked up the pieces to put them back together. But no matter how I try, some pieces no longer fit perfectly, and the cracks will always be visible. Some pieces will slip through the cracks, and I will have an emotional breakdown for a while, and retreat to my quiet cave for some silent moments.

The cracks are what make me who I am today. I have been broken, the heart has been shattered a few times. I've managed to lift my spirits by finding other means to keep moving forward. Between the fear, the sadness, the uncertainty and anxiety, I live with happiness, contentment, joy, optimism, hope and excitement with those around me.

Do I still have faith? On good days I have, on bad days not so much.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)

Image from Google
"Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression."

"Until you've stared down that level of depression, until you've lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness... you don't get to make those judgments."

Rest in peace Robin. You've brought a lot of joy and laughter to the world. It is a pity the one thing you brought to the world was the one thing you needed the most to get through the depressive state you've been battling for so many years. I hope people will take depression more seriously, and not just brush it away and pretend it never happened. Sometimes you pick up the pieces, but they never seem to fit perfectly.

Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-hurley/theres-nothing-selfish-about-suicide_b_5672519.html

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yat-Wok-Suk


Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy, I would simply whip up a meal with everything in one dish. In Cantonese we call it "yat-wok-suk", which means everything cooks together. It's like how you can make yam rice with a rice cooker, by throwing everything into one pot and just let it cook.

While I don't cook that much rice at home, I prefer to roast meat and vegetables in one dish, which also makes cleaning a lot easier, and preparation time is faster.

Marinade the chicken overnight (or at least a few hours) with these ingredients:
Olive oil
Mixed herbs
Garlic powder
Some honey
A dash of dark soy sauce
(or you can use any roast chicken recipe)

Before you roast the chicken, make sure to bring it out from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30mins. Pre-heat the oven at 190° for about 10mins.

Chop the bell peppers into large bite sizes (remove the seeds at the core), and toss them with some olive oil, mixed herbs and ground black pepper. Place them into a baking dish, then place the chicken on top of the bell peppers. When the chicken is roasting (roasting time is about 15mins), the juices from the chicken will ooze out and flow onto the bell peppers, making them even juicier and tasty. I added a dollop of butter on the chicken while roasting too, for that extra flavour yum.

Simple, easy to prepare, and easy to clean. Especially when you're cooking for one.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A&W Padang Timur: A Revisit


Ever since the news broke out on KUB's plans to close the A&W Padang Timur outlet by the end of the year to make way for some office towers, many of us felt we were going to lose an icon to progress and profit. No doubt about it, this particular A&W branch is the very first A&W outlet in Petaling Jaya and has a very special place in many of our hearts, especially for those who have lived in PJ since 1970s.

I remember when I was a little kid and living in Paramount Garden, my dad would always buy A&W fried chicken (those days, there was the buy 10 pcs get one gallon root beer FOC). Ahhh who can forget the rootbeer straight from the tap? Using the iconic A&W rootbeer chilled mug, filling it with cold rootbeer and topping it with two scoops of creamy vanilla ice-cream. Back then, A&W fried chicken was the best fried chicken ever. That was before other fast food franchises came into the picture.

I will have to say... the downfall of A&W probably began after the franchise was taken over by KUB. Somehow, food quality and service just kept deteriorating, resulting in A&W losing its charm. That's the problem when you let inexperience companies handle F&B. All that introduction of new burgers and bla, they should've just stuck to the rootbeer, coney dog, fried chicken an awesome waffles (because that is what A&W really is about, good ol' All American food).

During the recent Raya break, my crazy sibling was back for the holidays and we decided to head over to A&W Padang Timur branch for lunch. The outlet was packed to the brim, with a long line of folks queuing for their orders, two childrens' party indoors, and loads of people taking pictures of the premise. I don't think that branch has ever experience such an overwhelming crowd before.

While my husband took a seat, the crazy sibling and I queued at the counter. You would think all counters would be open to cater to the crowd, but no. Only two counters were opened. Never mind, we had the patience because this is A&W, and we were here really for the nostalgia. As we shuffled along, I noticed there was no queue for the waffle line, so I made a mental note to include a waffle in my order. As I was about to reach the counter, they opened up two more counters (thank goodness).

To keep the story short, we waited in line for one hour for our food, and another hour for our waffle at the waffle counter. Service was immensely slow, they were understaffed, some of the staff were part-timers and had no clue what they were doing and the lady manning the waffle counter didn't know how to properly time the waffle cooking time at all (hence the long wait). Business is already bad on most days, and now that the crowd is swelling due to the news about the outlet closing down, I believe every patron is just there to relive the moment for a little while, back to the good ol' days of A&W, before things went spiraling down for the brand.

As a consolation, we had 8 pcs of fried chicken (I ordered 6), our rootbeer float came with two scopes (I asked for single scope), and our waffle was made by a senior member of the staff (the table next to us had bad waffles, they were repeatedly stabbing it because it was overcooked). If KUB doesn't embark on a turnaround strategy to keep A&W alive, it's a gonner, and would be a very very sad way to see the brand go because of KUB's incompetence.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sweet Corn and Carrot Soup

Was grocery shopping at AEON Big, and stumbled upon some really cheap sweet corn (RM 0.95 per piece at the time of purchase). Bought a few and whipped up corn soup!



Ingredients:
Two large corns, cut into 3
2-3 carrots, cut into large cubes
Pork ribs or pork bone for soup
About 2 liters of water

Blanch the pork in hot water for a few minutes, set aside. In a deep pot, boil the water together with the corn, carrot and pork and let it simmer for about 1 hour, until the kitchen smells of sweet corn. It's just that simple! You can add large onions if you like, but I find the onions will cover the sweet corn flavour, so I much prefer to skip it.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Adopt A Terrapin!

I've just adopted 3 terrapins! :D The Turtle Conservation Society is embarking on a fund-raising project by putting up terrapins for adoption, to raise funds for their conservation projects. Every year, the society carries out two river terrapins conservation projects in the Setiu and Kemaman river, and working along side the local community, the society hopes to be able to continue their conservation projects as well as to educate the society at large, the importance of conservation and preservation of our ecosystem and wild life.

We all know how important it is to conserve our wildlife and ecosystem, but many of us lack the interest, funds, skills and understand. So every little bit of effort will help the society continue their efforts and hard work towards ensuring our wildlife has a fighting chance of survival. For a small fee of RM 30 per terrapin, you get to adopt a terrapin, a digital certificate (you have the option of a physical cert if you wish), and you are encouraged to name your terrapins too!

I have named my terrapins Bibi, Bambi, and Boo. And I'm dedicated these terrapins to my three little angels :) I hope these terrapins are able to reach adulthood, and come back to the place where they were born, to continue breeding and thrive for a better future. For more information about the project, visit the Turtle Conservation Society website here.

Displaying Olivia Siow.jpg




Monday, July 14, 2014

Prawns and Asparagus Dishes

My mum gave us some medium size prawns recently, and what better way to serve them than with asparagus! Here are two prawn recipes you can try at home:


Ingredients:
Medium size prawns (shell and vein removed)
Asparagus (trimmed)
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp cormflour
4 tbps water
Sliced garlic for garnishing (two cloves)

Combine the water, flour and oyster sauce. Heat a pan with some oil, fry the garlic until golden brown, set aside. In the same pan, stir fry the prawns until they are semi-cooked. Add the asparagus and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes, adding the cornflour solution along the way. As the sauce thickens, coat the prawns and asparagus evenly. Dish out and sprinkle the fried garlic slices on top. Add a dash of flavoured salt if you wish.



Ingredients:
Medium size prawns (shell and vein removed)
Asparagus (trimmed)
Sambal tumic paste (from supermarket)
Chopped garlic (two cloves)
Half cup water

heat a pan with some oil, fry the garlic. Add the sambal tumis paste and fry it until fragrant. Add water if necessary. Add the prawns and asparagus, tossing to coat it evenly. Dish and serve.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cat


Need we say more? :P

Poached Eggs With Jamie Oliver

Yes it's been a month since my last post, sincere apologies as I have been pre-occupied with many various activities (or just lazy at times heh!). Continuing on my culinary adventure, I've always wanted to learn how to poach eggs, but the problem with most of the recipes I've come across requires using vinegar.

Bleh.

According to various sources, using vinegar helps to hold the egg together. I've tasted poached eggs with vinegar, and no doubt the shape holds really well and you get a very nice looking egg with a lovely runny yolk, the taste of vinegar lingers. I want my eggs to taste like eggs, not vinegar. My solution came to me one fine day, when a friend of mine shared one of Jamie Oliver's FoodTube video on Facebook (yes, Facebook is useful that way, omit the other crap you see 85% of the time).

Jamie Oliver's 'How to poach the perfect egg in 3 ways' video:


I decided to try methods 1 and 2, just to see which one is more effective for me. I'll skip method 3 simply because I do not like the idea of cooking my food in cling wrap or any kind of plastic wrap, bleh.


Ta-da! That's the result of my poached egg! The key is to get a creamy runny egg yolk when making poached eggs when you cut the yolk open. If your yolk doesn't run, then you've cooked it for too long. Follow Jamie's instructions and you won't go wrong!

Instructions:
Boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, remove from heat so that the bubbles subside, reduce heat to a gentle simmer (no bubbling). Crack an egg into a small bowl and pour the egg into the simmering water. Time it for 3 minutes, use a ladle to bring the egg out, be careful not to break the yolk. Gently prod the yolk, you should get a bouncy feeling. One thing I noticed is the egg will continue to cook a little after you bring it out, so simmering it in the hot water for 3 minutes is just the right amount of time. Sprinkle some crasuhed black pepper and flavoured salt on the egg and enjoy!

Important tips:
1) Use fresh eggs (reach for the back of the shelves!)
2) Eggs must be room temperature (don't use cold eggs!)
3) Hot simmering water (not boiling!)
4) Cooking the eggs for 3 minutes (any more and you'll lose the runny egg yolk texture)

Good luck!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Beach Chick


A picture speaks a thousand words :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bacon & Eggs Muffin


Bacon and eggs, the perfect combo for any breakfast. I bought a muffin tray the other week, because I came across this idea online, about making bacon and eggs muffin. Ingenious don't you think?

Ingredients:
4 eggs for two pax
4 strips of bacon
2 tbps extra virgin olive oil
4-5 button mushrooms (sliced)
3-4 slices wholemeal bread (to be used as a base)
Dried herbs like thyme or parsley
Some grated Parmesan

Muffin tray RM 32.90
Preheat the oven at 190° for 20mins. While the oven is preheating, heat up the oil in a pan and saute the mushrooms, set aside. Apply some butter in 4 of the muffin cup (you can find the muffin tray in the kitchen section of any mall). Lay a circle of bread in the cup (you can use a cookie cutter or simply find anything you can to cut the bread into a circle. I used a jar haha!)

Line the cup with a slice of bacon (4 slices of bacon, 4 cups). Place the sauted mushrooms in all 4 cups, and crack an egg each into the cup. Season with ground black pepper, herbs and cheese, and bake the eggs for about 15-20mins, or until the eggs stop jiggling. Some folks prefer to beat the eggs first before pouring them into the cup, it's really up to you. Serve with some sliced tomatoes and greens.

Because this recipe is so flexible, you can add whatever you want to make this bacon and eggs muffin cup. Add more cheese, add some bell peppers, anything which suits your fancy. Happy cooking!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Creamless Carbonara


I watched a video recently, and it is said that real carbonara, has no cream in the recipe. I was a little stumped at first, as all the carbonara dishes I've come across all had cream in them. You mean it was all a lie?

So what's this about creamless carbonara? According to this video by Antonio Carluccio, the carbonara sauce is only made up of eggs and cheese. Sounds simple enough, the trick is to not overcook the sauce and end up having scrambled eggs with your pasta.

I attempted to make this dish, and it was really quite easy. The only trick was really to make sure you don't start cooking scramble eggs hahaha! I kept tossing the pasta in the sauce to ensure the paste was evenly coated, and also making sure I did the tossing away from the flames, letting the heat from the pasta cook the sauce on its own. Yummilicious!



Ingredients:
Pasta for two
Some pancetta or bacon (cut into strips) - I used bacon, cos it was in the fridge
2tbps extra virgin olive oil
2-3 eggs (some say if you want it super rich, only use the yolk. Some say 2 egg yolks and 1 egg white. I used the 3 whole eggs to serve two pax in my first attempt)
50g Parmesan cheese (or aged pecorino) freshly grated
Ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to the instructions. As the pasta is cooking, crack the eggs into a bowl, add the cheese and ground black pepper, and lightly beat it. You don't need to add salt at this point because you will get the saltiness from the bacon/pancetta later.

In a pan, heat the oil and add the bacon/pancetta, cooking them until crispy (you will see more oil oozing out from the meat). If you feel there's too much oil, just use a paper towel to absorb some of the oil off. I'll leave the oil there because it's delicious. When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss the pasta into the pan, mixing it well with the oil and bacon/pancetta. At this point, turn off the flames, and add the egg mixture. The heat from the pasta will slowly cook the egg mixture, keep tossing it until the pasta is evenly coated. If you're afraid of eating raw eggs, put the pan back on very low heat, and keep stirring, making sure not to scramble the eggs. Serve with some grated Parmesan and parsley flakes.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Crab Factory, SS2


I'll be honest here, I have not been to the actual restaurant yet, but I did have a taste of what Crab Factory has to offer. A group of my colleagues went over to check the place out, and because they ordered so much, they had to takeaway some of the leftovers and brought them to the office. So a few of us benefited from the free lunch, WIN.

What you see in the picture above is some spicy squid (bottom right), some king crab with mushrooms (bottom left), regular mud crabs with corn cob (top left), and lemon mussels with herbs (top right). All of the above dishes were cooked using Cajun style, gaya Louisiana, which is what Crab Factory's concept is all about. The owner missed Louisiana cooking so much, she brought the cooking style to us. To embrace the Southern American cajun style, yee-har! Whoops, wrong movie.

How is the food? Well considering it's leftovers, beggars can't be choosers, right? Just kidding, the food is pretty decent, although for me, I much prefer my seafood steamed. I mean yes, cajun style is alright and all, but when you deal with fresh seafood, it is such a waste to cook them will all sorts of herbs and spices, than you can taste the real fresh saltiness of the seafood anymore. All that herbs and spices is just too overpowering. Unless of course, your seafood isn't fresh, then you will need all that spices to cover things up.

I'm pretty sure the seafood at Crab Factory is fresh, and cost quite a far bit too. I mean, look at that king crab shell, it's almost the size of the bowl, and that is the biggest bowl I could find in the work place! I was told that if a party of 6 dine there, prepare to cough a few hundred ringgit for your meal, because that's how much it's going to cost you to eat there (not for tight pockets).

As much as I love seafood, it's a little expensive for me, and I can't bring my parents there because my dad will complain until the cows come home at the sight of them cooking seafood cajun style. It goes against his principle of cooking seafood, it's almost sacrilegious hahaha!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Surviving The Flu

Image from Google
Yup, that pretty much sums up my week this week. It all started last Friday evening, my throat started feeling a little scratchy (if that makes any sense to you). So I left the office early and headed home to get some early rest. Popped a couple of vitamin C and went to bed early. Over the weekend, the throat was still feeling scratchy and I was making myself some honey ginger tea to soothe things, and it worked for a while.

Monday I decided to stay home to work, also because the air in the office can get a little stale (happens in most offices, since we spend so much time indoors with the air-conditioning on and windows shut). I was starting to feel better, but by evening a fever had kicked in, and I was burning up. My regular GP only comes in from 8am to 6pm, so I had to tell myself to hang in there for a few more hours. Popped a couple of Panadols and tried to get some sleep, which proved to be quite difficult because my entire body was beginning to ache as well, a cough was building up, and I was sweating buckets.

By morning, hubby drove me to the GP and was prescribed medication and MC, and was advised to stay in bed and get a lot of rest, plus a reminder to take more fluids. I went home, took some plain bread with Milo (my mantra: feed a cold, starve a fever), before taking the meds and plonking myself to bed.

For the next two days, the fever subsided, and I was slowly getting some strength back. The cough was still lingering though, and phlegm had built up, which annoyed the hell out of me. I went back to work on Thursday because I had scheduled a 10AM meeting with a vendor, so I figured it was better I chaired the meeting since I was in charge of the project management. My boss took one look at me and said "Don't push yourself, if you have to go back and get more rest, please do it."

My colleague took one look at me and told me "GO HOME LA!"... So I decided to head home after the 10AM meeting, and continued working from home (had tonnes of emails to clear, zero inbox here I come), which promptly got me another scolding from a colleague when he saw me still online at 3PM.

It's Friday, and I'm feeling a lot better, thought I chose to stay at home to work because I didn't want to spread the germs around, and the office is not a good place to be in when you're not feeling well, simply because the air can be a little stale, and I don't want to make others feel uncomfortable around a sick person. but I at least I got some work done, some work in the progress, so my mind can be at ease and I can rest better without worrying.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Is Happiness?


“Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” ~William Shakespeare

Happiness is merely an emotion. Or is it? What is happiness to you? Is it scoring an A in your examinations? Is it landing the job of your dreams? Is it closing the million dollar deal and securing a big fat bonus at the end of the year? Is it celebrating your birthday with your family and friends? Or is it welcoming a newborn?

I've been having some emotional cycles lately, partly because it's hormonal, and partly because of a decision. I don't really know how things will work out, I can only hope for the best and pray the Gods are willing to look past my faults and give me another chance.

Last week Buddhist devotees celebrating Wesak Day, known as the birth anniversary of Buddha (his real name is Siddharta Gautama). As usual, hubby and I went to a nearby Buddhist lodge in SS 24 to do some prayers. The lodge was already crowded despite it being only 10.30am, and the crowd was expected to swell later in the day.

We made our way to the first floor where the main hall is located, made some donation and said some prayers before heading down to the ground floor. At one end of the lodge is a tall statue of The Goddess of mercy Guanyin. We both said a silent prayer (I had to switch from Cantonese to English because I express myself better in English, hope she understand me) and walked back to the car after. I had a conversation with hubby along the way, and we both shared our prayers, and smiled :)

I'll be honest, sometimes I really don't know what else to believe in anymore. I've been taking everything one day at a time, because that's how it has helped me managed my emotions better. I still have memories of the pain, and that is something I can never wipe away. But I've managed to embrace and accept the pain a whole lot better now, and even if I go through that emotional cycle once in a while, I let it sweep by me, and tell myself this too shall pass. I look forward everyday to new beginnings, and make the best out of everyday with my hubby.

That, is my happiness :) Not forgetting cooking and trying out new recipes ;)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Braised Pork Belly in Soy Sauce (Tau Yew Bak)

As I understand it, there exist quite a few variants of 'tau yew bak' recipe, simply because each family will have their own recipe and style of cooking. Some recipes I've come across sears the pork belly first, before braising it. While others add tofu,Chinese mushrooms and dried chillies. Which ever recipe you follow, you can't go wrong because the fundamentals are already there, it's really just a matter of preference.

One night, I decided to make 'tau yew bak' for the hubby, since he's been working long hours due to a project, and being a loving wife, what better way to a man's heart than through his tummy? I had to modify the recipe a little and used another cut of meat, as I didn't have pork belly at the time. 


Ingredients:
Pork belly (ideally), cut into bite sizes
4-5 cloves of garlic, skin intact
2 sticks of cinnamon (the ones I have were shorter, hence I used two sticks)
2 star anise
2 tbps soy sauce (depends on the type of soy sauce, if yours is watered down, add more)
1 tbps dark soy sauce (tweak it according to the dark colour you want to achieve)
1.5 cups water
A dash of white pepper
2 hard boiled eggs (optional)

If you have a claypot like the one I have above, use it. Otherwise a regular deep pot would suffice. Heat up some oil first, add the cinnamon,star anise and garlic and fry until it is fragrant. Add the pork, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and water (everything will sizzle for a while). If you want to, you can add a dash of five spice powder and a bit of crushed rock sugar, but because I felt the cinnamon and star anise already gave that nice fragrance, I didn't want to overdo on spices so I skipped the five spice powder. Simmer using medium heat until the pork is cook and when the gravy has reached the consistency you want (not too watery, not too thick either). Garnish with some spring onions.

The hard boiled eggs were added at the last stage of simmering, so that the yolk doesn't overcook (if hard boiled eggs are overcooked, the yolk has a greenish crust around it).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle

Made you look! ;D


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Food At The Workplace

Since joining this company, I've definitely gained a little bit of weight :P With all the free food coming in, how not to gain kan? Perks of working in the media industry, though I'm also careful not to over indulge. A healthy weight gain is also important.






Friday, May 2, 2014

Roasted Milk Tea from Chatime


When Chatime first opened its doors in Malaysia, I brushed it off as another bubble tea craze (if you recall, there was a craze before Chatime/GongCha and all that brand name came about, which didn't last very long). I was never a fan of bubble tea, pearl tea, fruit fusion tea etc. To me there were just pure sugar drinks in bright colours and with chewy black rubbery balls. Yes it's tapioca balls, but the paranoid girl in me has this idea some other ingredients had gone in to make those balls so bouncy.

It was also  because a lot of these beverages came cold, very cold. And ever since I completed my traditional Chinese medicine treatment, my body has been rejecting cold stuff, simply because I had abstained from taking cold drinks during the duration of the treatment. Hence the body had adapted and in the process, rejected cold beverages. I can take tiny sips of chilled drinks, but anything more than a gulp, I start getting cramps in my lower abdomen, and they are not pleasant (trust me, I've experimented).

Even coffee is out, and I used to enjoy getting a cup of white coffee from Old Town for breakfast. I had to abstain from coffee as well, and the result is (and very likely some roast have higher acidity than others), can't really take coffee anymore. I was never a coffee drinker to begin with, but the occasional sips of white coffee and latte was something I had enjoyed in the past. Not anymore.

Anyway, when I discovered that Chatime offered hot roasted milk tea, I decided to give it a shot. The hot drink comes in one size only (500ml) and cost RM 5.90, a steal compared to Starbucks of course. And I like it with slight sugar as it brings out the roasted milk tea aroma. I've tried it without sugar before, taste was acceptable, but I think the sugar adds to the fragrant taste. The body didn't reject it, no pain nothing, so it's a go :) Once a while I do enjoy my cuppa, as long as it is hot (and I don't take anything caffeine after 3pm).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Beyond Miscarriage

I came across this article and this article while doing some research about another topic. What piqued me was really the title of course, as having gone through this experience a few times already, I had thought that perhaps this article was going to touch on some stories about how some couples managed to pull through, giving encouragements etc.

What I got from the article after reading it, was pretty intense and eye opening.

You see, after my third miscarriage in 2012, I fell into depression. Now, this is something I have never openly mentioned in my blog before. I figured, it's been a while, and I've dealt with it already, maybe it's time to share a little about it.

We went through a third miscarriage back in 2012, and I became depressed. I lost concentration in my work, and I couldn't care for anything else. The word suicide started to cross my mind ever so fleetingly, and though I didn't attempt anything, that word was visiting my mind a lot. I knew I had to do something before I got sucked into a deeper state, before I actually tried to harm myself.

I quit my job which I had for 7 years, and took some time off. I went shopping along, tried some new restaurants, watch movie etc. Basically doing stuff to try to love myself again. I started a new job in 2013, which the intention of starting things from zero (new year, new job, new friends, new experiences), and that worked out really well for me. I started to pick the pieces of my life back together, and it really took me about 6 to 8 months to completely step out of depression.

Most importantly, I had put a huge burden down, and let go. I had not realized it, but I had been carrying the pain with me over the last 4 years, and kept blaming myself for something I had no control of. No one could explain to me why it was occurring, even though I had been doing everything right.

I decided to stop asking. And when I stopped asking, the pain just went away. I decided that I just had to let go, and move on. I was under traditional Chinese medicine for several months too, and the physician also told me to let go, as my emotions and my body's yin and yang were at war and running havoc in my body. And that if I didn't let go, my health was only going to get worse.

It's been over a year now. I've a brand new working life and I'm enjoying it (OK, I admit, still ups and downs here and there, but you get that everywhere). And after reading this article and this article, it's also giving me a lot of assurance that I should not be blaming myself, because no one is really in control about these sort of things. Even countries as advanced as USA can't solve such mysterious, at most the medical professionals will ask you to keep trying, don't give up yada yada yada.

But I think more importantly is, the support you can get when you're going through the loss. No one can completely understand you, because each loss is different. Sure, you have friends and family members who will try to encourage you, give you pep talks etc, but really, sometimes, some of you should shut the fuck about about your know-it-alls, because really, we don't give a fuck about what you have to say. We just want you to listen, stay quiet, and be our shoulders to cry on when we need them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Snapshots of #100happydays

I admit, I haven't been very diligent about my #100happydays campaign :P I won't stop trying! Here are some snapshots of my #100happydays so far. To be honest, sometimes I forget :P
Day 22


Day 21



Day 19



Day 15



Day 12


Day 04


Day 03
Day 01

Monday, March 31, 2014

Window Shopping

Hubby and I went window shopping for cars over the weekend, and sad to say, we were kinda disappointed with the two giant Japanese models available in the Malaysian market. But before we go there, we have owned a MyVi since 2008, and it's a really good car.

Economical, zippy, spacious, all the trimmings for a good town-use car, and the price factor is also attractive as it is affordable. Lately we've been thinking of an upgrade, maybe something with a bigger boot space (the MyVi boot space is small, you can't fit a large suitcase in there). So we thought OK, let's take a look at the newly launch sedans, the Toyota Vios and Honda City. Both are under RM 100K, both seem practical and value for money, let's check them out. Yes I admit the Korean models didn't it our minds first, but we are considering them as well.

Image from Paultan.org
We took a spin on the new Vios G variant, and sadly, it felt like I was in a MyVi (and I was sitting at the back!). Despite the new interior, new dashboard, new exterior... The overall sensation of the car, just felt like I was sitting at the back of a MyVi (my first and foremost thought while on the test drive). I might as well get the 1.5L MyVi, it's cheaper and has the same engine capacity of the Vios. It really really felt like I was in a MyVi which was wrapped in another skin which cost twice as much. Pfffft!

We also asked to test drive the Toyota Altis 1.8L, but the salesperson said that model is not available for test drive, and the Altis V variant has no petrol.

Image from Motor Trader.
Next up, we drove to the Honda showroom and requested for the new City. The test drive car was the V variant, will all the trimmings of 6 airbags and touch-screen panel (the variant before has only 2 airbags. Yes you now have to pay for extra safety features). The steering was very very light, which makes the car very easy to maneuver. The experience only felt slightly better than the Vios, otherwise everything else is pretty much the same. 

Cars cost way too much in this country, and for such a hefty price, you would think car manufacturers will put more goodies in there for consumers (and expect things like airbags to be a given, not an optional feature). Maybe I'm living in a dream world, but to fork out over 100K for a better car, seems ridonculous in this country. 

Le sigh.