Loving Life

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cin's molten lava cake - 2nd attempt

After the heavy tex-mex dinner, I could not persuade Jin and RY to have their own slice of choc cake. Lin indulged me by saying yes :)

This time round, I left the cake much longer in the oven..maybe a bit too long as most of the centre became less liquid. However, Lin loved it and that was most important. Still have not found the perfect vanilla bean ice-cream to go with this. The Waitrose brand I bought yesterday was creamy enough but lacked the bean taste.

Happee Birthday Lin! *hugs hugs*

Tex-Mex for Lin

Lin wanted to eat Au Petit Salut at Chip Bee Gardens for her bday meal..unfortunately, they do not open on Sunday nights so we went with her 2nd choice - Chico's and Charlie mexican at Orchard Parade Hotel. When I made the reservations, they failed to tell me that they were now called Harry's (same chain of Harry's at Boat Quay) and we actually walked past the restaurant in search of Charlie's :p

Tex-mex food is definitely best eaten when in a group..cos all their portions are usually huge! We ordered nachos, seafood platter, grilled chicken chimichangas and beef steak fajitas. When the nachos arrived, we were a bit taken back by the size of the serving and immediately asked the waiter to cancel one of our mains. However, they replied that everything was already being prepared so we waited to stuff ourselves silly..heehee

The nachos were our favourite tonight..crispy and light, unlike some shops which serve them from the packet - this one seemed handmade - it came with generous toppings of sour cream, cheese, olives, tomatoes, guacamole and jalapenos. For the other dishes, although tasty, we felt that it was ordinary..Iguana's serves better mains.

We did not have dessert as I had Lin's bday cake waiting at home.

McD's for breakfast???

With so many bdays recently and coming up, there was a need to tighthen up the money belt ;). Passing the McCafe at Shaw this morning, we were surprised to see that they served sandwiches for about $5 and cappucinos at just $2.50. It looked pretty good on the menu so we decided to give them a try.

Jin ordered the chunky chicken sandwich and the Himalayan tea frappe. I went with the chicken pesto sandwich and cappucino. My sandwich bread was enveloped with multi-grains and had a lot of chicken meat, cheese and tomato slices with pesto spread. Pretty tasty! and the cappucino - surprisingly good..now I am beginning to question the $5 I pay for spinellis..sigh, wished there was a McCafe at Depot 2! Oh, the Himalayan tea frappe not only smelt fantastic but made a great thirst quencher..reminded me of Thai ice tea.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cin's molten lava cake - 1st attempt

Lin's birthday's coming up and seeing that she's one the few who actually enjoys my baking (she's just a nice nice person ;), I wanted to continue the 'baking a cake for her on her bday' tradition. Last year, I bake her a sinfully choc choc cake and as seen on the right, it was sinful alright :).

One of my favourite cakes of late is the molten lava cake. I just wished restaurants do not charge over $12 for one small helping. I decided to attempt making it for lin's bday which we are celebrating tomorrow and made the trip in the pouring rain today to Holland V to get the ingredients. I splurged a bit to buy Valrhona chocolate instead of the normal other brands. The lady at Shermay cooking school was really helpful and indulged me with a few samples of the different cocoa mix in the Valrhona chocolate range. I settled on the 62% cocoa one.

The recipe was relatively easy and my only setback was when I could not get the mixer going - had to yell for Jin who as usual managed to fix it :)..yay! I accidently let go of the cake holder (it was hot!) and the cake popped out before I could stop it and the choc oozed out :(. Mental note to self - bake the cake longer and don't let it drop next time round :p However, in terms of taste, I can only quote Homer Simpson : Hmmm,...chocolate :D I don't usually say this, but was feeling rather proud of myself. Even though it failed in presentation, I can confidently say that given a few more attempts, I would pay myself $12 for this cake! heehee

Unfortunately, I did not have the vanilla bean ice cream which was recommended in the recipe and I substituted with teh tarik flavoured ice-cream instead. Nope, just does not taste the same..am running to the store now to find the vanilla bean flavour. Hopefully, my 2nd attempt tomorrow will turn out better.

Respite from the city ..Pulau Ubin

This was one of the rare weekends where we had absolutely nothing planned - no trips back to KL, no theatre plays, no movies, no appointments, no errands...my hyper-self felt that something was amiss :p.

Never one to let a weekend go without something planned, I managed to convince Jin to wake up early and head to Pulau Ubin (little island - 10 minutes bumboat ride from S'pore) for a cycling expedition. To catch the bumboats, you need to get to Changi Village and as every true blue Sporean will tell you - what's a visit to Changi without having the famous nasi lemak at the food centre. There are like 5 stalls next to each other selling nasi lemak but only one stall has a 30 minute queue. Sad to say, today was no different so I decided to skip the famous store and went to one with no customers thinking the competitors should be of minimum standard to survive.....to my dismay I soon found out the 30 minute queues are there for a reason - the nasi lemak was pretty ordinary (sigh!). Jin's chicken cutlet wanton noodle was good though and lived up to the 'die die must try' makansutra billing.

After a quick breakfast, we jumped onto the bumboats which by the way, does not take off unless they have 12 passengers..thankfully, we did not have to wait long! It's $2 a ride per pax and moves at a slighty faster than snail speed..hand powered canoes would be the equivalent of snails in this sense ;)

Upon arrival, we did a quick check of the island map to get our bearings and then went to one of the many bicycle shops to rent our bikes for the day ($7 each). The weather was thankfully cloudy so the heat was manageable. The nice sea breeze helped as well. Halfway through, Jin started complaining that his bike seat was too hard and conveniently took over my bike (which had a wide, cushiony seat) as he said I have enough body cushion! grrr..MEN!

It's nice to leisurely cycle around Ubin - one does get the feeling that you are no longer in Singapore...its laidback and rustic and the nature is relatively unspoilt..some parts make you feel like a true explorer :p

July is also durian month and we saw local/wild durians for sale at $10 a kilo...which seemed a bit expensive to us. So as I was cycling pass one durian tree, I decided that it would be nice to try and get durians for free ;). The fruits were still on the branches which were really high up but I figured that if we shook the tree hard enough...tada! the fruits would fall..after 5 minutes of persuasion and lots of coaxing, Jin finally relented to my request of ramming one of the bikes hard into the tree :D

He did just that and guess what? nothing, nada zip! The tree did not even move..not a single leaf even fell :p...he shot me the exasperated "i told you this would not work" look and after I stopped laughing, we started to get on our bikes to head back..and then the shocker! Bcos of the impact against the super solid tree trunk, my bike chain had dislodged itself ..opps :p

So Jin had to come back and got his hands all dirty trying to fix the chain..the good news is he managed to..the bad news was that he gave me more dirty looks..:p

We stopped for a much awaited drink of Thai coconut water..very refreshing after all the heat! Then I saw another cyclist carrying durians he had managed to find and decided that I would not give up and would continue looking out for durians to fall from trees. Just around the bend from the drinks stall, I saw one tree with lots of fruits...and as I was stopping my bike to get off and search the area, one of the local villagers rode by - I casually asked him if there were any durians and he said that they only fall at night :(..but he came over and offered me one from his bike basket! You should have seen Jin's eyes widening at the uncle's generiousity..and my meano husband then said - "see, there are easier ways for a bimbo to get her durian"- grrr..MEN!

We left just after noon as the cloudy skies looked more like rainy clouds. It was a lovely Saturday morning outing where one gets away from the madness of the city and work to the simple life of ruralness, butterflies and monitor lizards.

And the durian, yum..the BEST I have eaten in ages..it had 6 seeds and tasted of the bitter version. Definitely was the perfect ending for our Saturday adventure :).

Jordy the parrot speaks...

One of the best outcome from our Egypt trip 1.5 years back was that half the people in the tour still keep in touch, meeting 3-4 times a year at someone's house. Helen was kind to invite us for some home-cook Thai cuisine. It's fun to visit Helen's place as she not only has 2 cute cocker spaniel doggies but also a funny parrot who cackles "1,2,3, 4, 5", "I love you" and get this! He really loves chilli padi :D

So long Albert Tay...

Albert is actually leaving after 8 years! Funny, always thought he was one of those die-hard people who never leaves HP. Am quite sure our paths will cross again but until then - I wish him all the very best and may he continue to entertain his new colleagues with his unique sense of humour and quick funny come-backs :). Pix shows us at his farewell lunch at House of Sundanese, Great World City.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Happee Birthday Yappy!

It's really hard to choose a restaurant to bring Yappy to as she does not take both carbo and beef. As we were catching The Lakehouse movie at Shaw, I recommended Crystal Jade..however, upon arrival, I also noticed that there was a Tonkichi restaurant next to crystal jade and we bravely decided to eat (un)healthy fried Tonkatsu instead :)

Their speciality was the grain fed pork meat but I personally thought the basic tonkatsu tasted better..must be that my taste buds have to reached a higher status yet :p. Both Andrea and Ah Loi insisted that the tonkatsu at Liang Court basement was much better..I can't recall (been there too!) but then again, was never a tonkatsu fan anyway..

I went with a safe choice of the cold ramen which was rather tasty..I love eating cold ramen with yellow mustard but I think I had a bit of an overdose - finishing 1.5 small plates of mustard :p.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sambal chilli paste fried fish..

...definitely not the healthiest of lunch choices but hey, we live to eat ;).

While talking about food in Port Douglas some months back, I remembered DC going on about this fried fish he loves in the Zion Road area. He agreed to bring us to try it out but this "promise" was conveniently forgotten in the bustle of work back in Singapore...

I bumped into DC at the cafeteria yesterday and reminded him of the fried fish and boom (!) today we got to try it out for lunch. He drove us to a dingy hawker area just next to the Boys Brigade at Zion and we ordered from the zhe char store the fish, tofu, belacan chicken and pork chops.

The fish was indeed good. The sambal chilli tasted excellent with it - more sweet than spicy. We polished it to the core or should I say bone? :). Besides the fish, the pork chops were also yummy. They had tenderised the meat really well making every bite easy. I really enjoyed this lunch outing and will definitely bring Jin back here..maybe we will each have our own fish serving.

Barbeque meat galore @ Aburiya

Jin has been pestering me to try out Aburiya ever since we walked by it while looking for the ramen place in the Robertson Quay (RQ) area. Getting a food request from Jin is quite rare - seeing he only eats to live and not live to eat like me ;) - so I thought I would indulge him and got a group of us together for this meat escapade.

We got a seat outside facing the river and the lovely coloured bridge in RQ. They have thoughtfully installed big fans on the outside so it was not warm. The menu is pretty intimidating as they had meat in ranges of pork, beef, duck, chicken, lamb - the words were small and Japanese was the main language followed by English. After the 2 guys scrutinised the menu for 10 minutes and still could not decide, we figured that the help of the waiter would move things along ;)

That it did - we ordered like 6 dishes of meats and 2 salads - spinach and cabbage..the salads were great compliments to the rather "heaty" bbq meats and yummy too. Our absolute favourite cut was the beef 'Jo Karubi' ..no words to describe this - everytime I think of this dinner, I can just imagine Jin's words - Hmmm, IT's soooo Gooood! Aburiya is definitely our place of choice the next time we are hit with a bbq craving and cannot fly to Hiro in Japan ;). Much better than Gyu Kaku down the street and cheaper too!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Little angel - Elizabeth Lang

Today we visited Jin's ex-colleague - Arthur's house-warming. They have a little 18 month year old girl who is really good natured, lets everyone carry and play with her. Elizabeth is such an angel - she really melts your heart :)

Her home is a nice semi-D house near Bukit Timah. Her daddy must really like fountains cos he had one built at a whooping cost of S$10,000 *gulp*.

Finally - no more cinderella :)

It has been some time since our regular maid, Aurora went MIA on us ...and I am sure those close to me would know this as they hear my constant whining about having to iron Jin's work shirts and not to mention keeping the house clean on top of doing laundry.

Thank you everyone who helped pass me the contacts of their maid. We finally settled on a lovely burmese lady by the name of Pow. She came highly recommended from Jin's ex-colleagues (Steph and Doris) who are now residing in Hong Kong.

She came right on time today and I liked her immediately..very sweet looking (infact I told Jin that I am happy she's not our full time maid as she can be a temptation ;) and five hours later, my house is back to its pristine condition! Hurray,,I hope she stays!

Non- blogger comments

Dear Charmaine casually informed me last week that my blog does not allow non-blogger comments..opps, I did not even realise that there was such an option. Anyway, I hope I managed to do the right thing and tweaked the settings correctly. Non-bloggers - do try giving me some of your lovely comments ;)..warning : not nice comments will be carefully, discretely edited :D...In full support of Spore's understanding of freedom of speech and all that nonsense :p

Johnny Depp - the funniest pirate of all

Pirates of the Carribean - dead man's crest was hilarious..perfect movie to end a long week at work and usher in the weekend ahead :). My favourite scene was that of Jack tied to a super long bamboo stick with fruits on both end..I will never look at a kebab the same way again ;). I surfed through 54,000 pix in the Google image library but could not locate that same scene..so decided to put in my 2nd favourite scene - showing Jack with multiple eyes..hahaha ;).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Triple M - Mark (at) Moghul Mahal

Bday Post No 1 - day before actual bday.
If there ever was a world's fusiest eater title - I am 100% sure my colleague Mark would hold that honour. This Ozzie guy does not eat seafood of any kind, mushrooms (yes, you read correctly -what's wrong with him right?), tomatoes, fast food and gives coffee a miss. Going out for meals with him can be quite entertaining as you always discover something new that his delicate tastebuds reject!

Anyway, for his bday - we decided to go with indian and choose Moghul Mahal located at Novotel Hotel. They serve a pretty decent buffet lunch for S$15 nett. Mark seemed quite excited as he piled his plate up high with food- not once but twice!..we wondered if he knew the concept of a buffet is that you can go back for repeat servings (no need to cheong!) ;).

A good place to come to to satisfy indian food craving and value for money!

Bday post No 2 - actual bday
Angela (sweet gal she is), Mark's cube mate bought him a small choc mousse cake from Bakerzin. I gathered everyone around and we surprised Mark with the cake and a 'traditional' Sporean birthday song. Mark had previously commented that only in Spore do people clap while singing the Happy Bday song..I can't agree with him more! It's quite funny ..heehee.

Oh, and that Bakerzin cake? too yummy for words..it had a really nice crust at the bottom which we all attacked first leaving behind the mousse for WH to clean up. I believe this was his 34th - talk about being old ;))

Martinis, Steaks and more...@ Mortons

I love the steak sandwiches at Morton's. I'm not much of a steak eater but somehow, the chunky bite sizes of meat sandwiched between 2 slices of perfectly crispy bread and loads of butter always draw me back to the Morton's....how to resist with happy hour deals of Martini's for S$10 and occassional free steak sandwiches (which you need to alertly pounce on as the waiter brings them around). I say occasional cos it only comes round every 20-30 minutes and you are only allowed one slice at a time..then the wait starts all over again ;p

Anyway, each time I visit, I have only had the steak sandwiches and lychee martinis. This time though, as there were 8 of us and we were a hungry bunch, we ordered some jumbo prawns and scallops with bacon wraps. The prawns were true to their name - big! and presented with some yummy marinara sauce for dipping, around a extra wide martini glass which all but screamed "eat me" - if prawns could talk :)

The scallops honestly deserve a blog post of their own. These were definitely high quality scallops - big, round and very succulent. The bacon was perfectly fried and that together with the scallops made every bite simply divine.

After 4 martinis (lychee, apple, lychee - i think Cass stole my 2 lychees!, apple), I can't remember much of what happened after that..though not drunk, I was definitely very sleepy so the rest of the night was quite a blur - i recall hitting some tennis balls and falling asleep on the bench in the courts ;). I blame the vodka laden martinis from Mortons *hic*

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bangkok - city of massages and spicy food

Jin and I along with RY and Lin made a quick weekend getaway to Bangkok (we managed to secure a good deal on flights at S$182 nett per pax several months back). After a quick check-in at the boutique Luxx Hotel, we made our way to nearby Chinatown for supper. Bangkok Chinatown is quite well-known for bird nest and shark fin soup noodles. Honoring our credo as newly certified divers, we decided to give the fins a miss and had a bowl of delicious and nourishing (although a bit sweet) bird nest broth instead along with interesting road side clear noodles (pictured) and wet fried rice.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Even though I've been to Bangkok many times, this time I thought it would be fun to do something a bit more touristy...so I booked all of us on a half day tour to visit the "real" floating market. Unfortunately the main downside to this was the 710am pick-up (groan!) :( After a 1.5 hour drive we transfered to a motorised long boat. Got showered with muddy brown river water but hey, guess that's part of the experience :). The boat ride took us through some banana and coconut plantations and we saw lots of locals using the same water we were on for washing (of all kinds and all parts =)).

After a short ride, we reached the floating market and were told that if we wanted to ride the smaller man-powered long boats through the market, we had to pay another 150baht each *grrr*..talk about money making! Anyway, part of being a tourist is being fleeced so we paid up. The boat ride was fun... I got to at least experience trading with the boat vendors who were selling all manner of food and wares. We bought a coconut and some local Thai delicacies. The rest of the story is better told through the slide show below :).

Siam Paragon
This is Bangkok's newest and if I am not mistaken - largest shopping mall. Very similiar to Taka and Paragon in Spore - except for their food court area. It's super huge! with tons of stalls. I was craving pad thai (pictured) so my choice was easy. We also ordered some really good fried chicken to share. Lin and RY bought lots for shareware too - fishcake, otak, thai mini sweet pancakes.

Spa -ing
One would have thought in the a city where spas sprout like mushrooms, you can easily get an appointment. How wrong we were..every other "nice" spa we called up that weekend was either full, did not have couple rooms or time was not suitable. In the end, we decided to try out the no name spas along Patpong and tumbled upon Green Leaf. It looked clean and the ultra comfy recliner chairs helped seal the deal. I went for the foot + shoulder, neck, head massage. The 2 hour massage was splendid and at less than S$30, a terriffic deal! We went back the next day where I had a repeat session of the same package..hey, who's complaining :).

Staying at Luxx
Luxx which I assume is short for luxury? is a nice boutique hotel off Silom street. Checking in was quite fast and we had to walk up 2 flight of stairs to reach our small room. Not recommended if you have lots of heavy luggage. The rooms were clean, nicely decorated and good enough if you only plan to sleep in it and not spend the whole day lazing in. RY and Lin were shocked when they were shown their assigned room which someone had forgotten to clean...the cleaner's mops and rags were still lying around! The nice staff were quick to react though and offered them the suite at the top floor which was HUGE. It had a patio, kitchen, separate living and sleeping space. Only downside was that they had to climb double the flights of stairs. heehee...oh, check out the cool bath tubs in our rooms :)

Breakfast at Luxx was a continental affair. You are given a slip of paper to tick off what you want to eat and naturally we went for everything - eggs, bacon, toast, cornflakes, yogurt, fruit, juice, coffee etc. Their crossaints were especially good.

Service wise, they did mess up on the breakfast timing but with pleasant smiles and accomodativeness, how can one stay upset. :). Not a bad place to stay if you only have USD58 for a night and want a clean bed, a hearty breakfast and somewhere with good access close to main tourist attractions.

Food-ing at Ishq
My colleague Myra recommended this place. Housed in a 105 years old Portugese Colonial residence, Ishq serves a mixture of Pan-asian style cuisine. This refers to food from Laos, Cambodia, Thai, Vietnam and SEA. For starters, we had the combi platter (pictured) for pork balls, springrolls, crab sticks and seaweed wrapped beef. I always say every meal should start with appetizers followed by dessert. Mains can be skipped and this should have been one of those occasions..not because the mains were not good..but just because the appetizers were yummier :).

The mains were quite standard - we had a banana flower salad..I first tried this at Ruen Thai in Suntec and I still feel that theirs is better than Ishq's - flavourful with tiny bits of shrimps. The one at Ishq just tasted ordinary (although I liked the spiciness) but portions were a good sized. We also ordered the duck confit, green curry with lamb and deep fried seabass. The duck was a tad too dry and some extra sauce would have been nice. The green curry had more brussel sprouts than lamb and curry..we actually ordered 2 bowls of rice to go with the curry but ended up not finishing the rice as the curry was lapped up too quickly :p. The seabass was quite interesting - they removed all the meat from the fish and placed the cube sized meat at the side for easy eating. It was cooked with lemongrass but I think garlic and onions would have made a nicer combination. We did not try the dessert as RY wanted to eat the sinfully good, condensed milk laden pancakes from the Patpong street vendors.

Oh, the ambience was really nice..classic colonial and the toilets alone made this place worth the visit :)

Final meal in Bangkok before catching flight home...
After squeezing in our last spa session at Green Leaf, we wanted some simple Thai noodles for lunch. Across the road was a Momo noodles shop. Momo essentially means instant noodles - the fried style. We were really hungry (it was like 3pm!) so I forgot to take pictures of the food..heehee. but the noodles, salad and tom yum soup was made for me..super ultra spicy! ..I paid for my indulgence in the spiciness with a fiery stomach all the way home :(.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Chatterbox is not all chicken...

After more than 3 years living in Singapore, I finally checked out the famous Chatterbox at Meritus Mandarin hotel - home of the "Singapore's best"(and in my opinion - pretty pricey) chicken rice . However, for those of you who know me well, I am not too much of a chicky rice fan so I ordered the next good looking item on the menu - The Lobster Laksa!

Surprisingly, the food took a while to arrive (considering that they were only about 70% packed and it was already 9pm). My laksa arrived in a huge bowl and the lobster looked really delightful...it tasted great as well ;). The laksa also came with 2 quail eggs, fish cake, lots of tau fu pok. I really liked the lobster and tau fu pok..I just wished the gravy had a bit more aroma and spice. The noodles were too soggy. The nice thing was that they served an extra bowl of gravy on the side just in case one felt the need to block up the arteries with more cholesterol ;)

My friend ordered the bak kut teh and it came prepared in the Msian style way - herby sweet soup instead of the pepper version. I now know where to come the next time I have a bak kut teh craving and am willing to shell $20 bucks for a bowl :)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

le papillon (aka the butterfly) is no caterpillar...

After racking our brains for a new place to check out for lunch..we were down to a choice between Song of India and Le Papillon. We finally settled on the latter as the restaurant of choice for our 2nd Pabulum Club monthly outing.

We had no problems locating the pretty Red Dot building (reminds me of A famosa in Melaka!) where the restaurant is housed but had to spend a considerable few minutes walking up and down the corridors (passing Pacific Coffee twice) to locate the restaurant. A sign on the walkway would have been helpful. A cute waiter ushered us into our seats and presented us with the set European lunch menu priced at an affordable S$32+++.

Complimentary bread (choice of brown or white) was served. Adel commented that it would have been nicer if the rolls which were cold, were served warm instead. Our appetizers came quickly - we had the proscuitto ham and rock melon salad , cumin carrot soup and warm chicken caesar salad. For appetizers, the servings were a fairly hearty...pretty yummy too. WH liked it that the melon was sweet and ham were sliced thinly.

Mains took some time to appear (the waitress had warned us that appetizers were fast and mains slower), which gave us time to let our eyes explore the chic ambience (love the wall murals!) and we especially enjoyed checking out their cool looking cutlery. Being safe (or rather health conscious), 3 of us ordered the pan-roasted sea bass and Adel ordered the beef heel stew. I found the sea bass a tad too salty and the portions a bit small (or maybe it was the large plate it was served in?). The fish came with sides of carrots, long beans, onions and potatoes..the onions were particularly good! Adel's beef stew stood out with its mushrooms raqout, sweet potato and melt-in-your-mouth beef chunks.

There was only one type of dessert on the menu which was the poached pear tart. I wasn't a big fan - it was tasty but I did wish they had put the valrhona cake on the set lunch list as well *hint hint*.

Overall - the food and ambience made this place a nice weekday lunch outing.. Their service needs a bit more fine tuning - they took forever to refill our drinks but thankfully, the cute waiter always had a ready smile and was very friendly. Their ala-carte menu is something we hope to explore next. This butterfly has definitely taken flight!

Waraku for simple Jap fare

Met up with Jin for dinner at his work place and after 15 minutes of checking out the eateries at Marina Square, we settled for Waraku Jap Restaurant - hidden away from the main shopping area, next to UOB bank. Walking in, I had a feeling that I had somehow been to this place before...my suspicions were confirmed when I found out that they did have a branch in the East Coast - I had checked it out a couple of weeks back but the food was so unmemorable that I had forgotten the name of the place..heehee

This time round, I decided to go with Jap 'satay' (izakaya?) and Jin went for the ramen despite me telling him that the meat was pure fat as per my previous visit. My satay dish was a combination platter of pork, chicken, scallops, bacon with asparagus and a hotdog. My fav were scallops and Jin loved the bacon but overall, all the skewers were really good..just the right amount of grilling and teriyaki sauce seasoning that was just right so as not to overpower the other flavors.

Jin's ramen was a lot better than the one I had at the East Coast branch, the char siew was in succulent round cuts of lean and fat..I wanted to finish the yummy soup but he insisted that it had ajinomoto..bah!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Goodbye my gentle T-rex : April 1991 - July 2006

He lived till 105 in doggy years. Rexy was given to me by my Form 4 secondary schoolmate when her brother developed asthma shortly after they got him. I remembered really wanting to haven him and therefore, took the risk bringing him back - all prepared for the "no no no" from my parents. Surprisingly, they took a liking to him too :). My fondest memories of him was when we went for a beach holiday leaving him alone for 3 days and when we returned, the living room was in a state of disarray. Rexy being the hyper silky terrier he is, obviously did not enjoy being couped up in the house for 3 days alone and decided that chewing and tearing down the house curtains would entertain him tremendously :)..I'll miss how he always barks like crazy and acts all brave when big dogs twice his size pass by our gate - knowing that he's safe with the gate protecting him from his nemesis.

We will all miss him dearly..Rexy - who greets you like there's no tomorrow despite having seen you just a couple of hours before - thanks for all the wonderful memories and as my friend Karen has aptly put it - for being the best companion one can ever ask for.

Girlfriends gathering = major mahjong sessions!

Old friends Mei Leng(ML) and Karen visited from Sydney and KL respectively over the weekend. I have known ML since our old school days when we wore our hair in pigtails. ML introduced me to Karen while at college and we've remained good long distance friends over the years.

When I meet up with my other girlfriends, it's always the usual shopping or eating spree..with this group (Lin included) however, one thing always come to mind first ..and that's our get-together mahjong sessions. We played soo many hours of mahjong the past 2 days that I am now suffering from sleep deprivation! I did not know I looked so bad until my facialist told me today that my eyes clearly reflect severe lack of sleep. :p

Back to mahjong, I started with a winning streak..and was up quite a bit (the three of us basically emptied ML's start up capital) right till the point ML decided to go for a toilet break..we are still trying to figure out what she did in the toilet because right after that, she started winning..and winning and winning! Thankfully, she was also really sleepy and was quite happy to retire to bed after we finished the customary 4 wind-round of mahjong. I don't know about the rest but I was secretly relieved she was tired as I was just about even at that point and was quite sure that if we had played on, ML would have swept up all my $$ too :p (Pix on the right shows Karen eating up the super sour "kumquat" which ML brought from Sydney)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why cook?

Q : Do You Cook?
A : No, I don't
Q: Why?
A : Read on to find out why...

Jin's mom gave us some "mui choi kao yok" (preserved veg with meat) and I figured that we better eat it up before all her kindness goes to waste. As usual, if I have to eat post-cooked food (now, doesn't that sound better than "leftovers"?), I try to make an occassion out of it. In this case, I offered to cook fried rice and have the meat dish as a supplement. Now, everyone always think that fried rice must be one of the easier dishes to concoct..but no one ever talks about the amount of work required to make it. Here's the breakdown (calculated in minutes spent) :
- Time spent to mentally list down all ingredients required to make yummy fried rice ( 10 min)
- Supermarket : choose brocolli, mushrooms and prawns (20 min + lining up at counter to pay)
- All over Ghim Moh market and supermarket near office : looking for the fried rice paste (40 min - and never found it!)
- At home the night before the big cookout : pulled out meat to defrost (1 min)
- At home on the cooking day (here's where the madness starts) : de-shell and clean prawns (7 min), cut brocolli, mushrooms and sausage (12 min - hey, it was a lot of cutting!), crack eggs (30 sec), chop garlic ( 2 min), bring out frying pan and wok, wash them (1.5 min), actual cooking time (20 minutes), take picture of food (2 min), cleanup and washing up (45 min and still cleaning)
Total time taken to cook yummy fried rice at home : approx 2 hours and 20 minutes
Time taken to take-away fried rice from nearby coffeeshop : 20 minutes

Q : so why don't you cook in Spore?
A : Go figure ;p

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Marc Loh turns the Big Three '0'

Marc turning 30 is a big thing..soo big that we made a weekend trip back to KL just to celebrate along with him ;). We met at Sure Pizza, a pizza place at Plaza Hartamas and had quite a feast followed by a RM90 cake from Bakerzin! (gosh, cakes are such good money!!) The pix here shows me with bday boy, the huge bruschettas we had as appetizers and the Bakerzin sponge cake. Oh, forgot to mentioned that I cut my hair - short! The last time my hair was this short was probably in secondary school :p

After dinner, we adjourned to a nearby mamak to catch the England world cup game. The view was bad (we could not get a good seat!) and it was soo hot! Thankfully we had lots of teh-o-ais limau to cool us down. :)

Nicklas San - exposed to his 1st smelly durian cake

Finally got to see CW and SC's baby..he was sleeping about 80% of the time we were there despite all the noise us adults make..very oblivious to noise which SC attributes the reason to the construction noise she heard every day at her office while carrying him..heee..

He has a 'mature' look surrounding him - lots of hair, well defined lips (like CW), my favourite feature are his cute cheecks..felt like giving them a quick pinch but way too many eyes on me :p

We also introduced 'baby Nicky" to one of life's greatest joys..the undisputed KING of fruits - the Durian. Keat picked up the durian cake (which I sponsored due to a lost bet ;p) and us adults had an excellent time digging in while baby had durian dreams - poor guy must be wondering why he could only smell and not taste! Soon Nicky, soon ;)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Breakfast tradition in KL

Was back in KL for the weekend and a visit back would never be complete without going to our fav. 'heartlands' coffeeshop (O&S in Sea Park area - like only the best coffeshop in PJ, KL and some say, Batam too - because every stall here is excellent!)

(images from left to right) Penang Chee Cheong Fun - made out of simple rice noodles, lots of sesame oil and seeds, lots of fried shallots and sweet black sauce with prawn paste. Prawn Mee - spicy version of it's more bland version in Spore. Penang Fried Kuey Tiow - I truly believe it takes great skill to perfect this dish. A very hot big wok, a serving of good sized prawns and not too much oil coupled with a spoonful of chilli and THE secret ingredient - duck eggs! - makes the perfect dish (minus the cockles ;). Always end the meal with a kopi peng - kurang manis (ice coffee, less sweet).