Monday, 31 December 2007

Christmas in Singapore

If you've noticed, I've been rather silent this past week.. That's cos I was in Singapore for Christmas - 4 days of shopping, shopping and shopping. Of course, one also has to eat! So we pretty much just shopped, ate, shopped, slept and ate the whole time.. Not to mention attending Christmas Vigil too!

We drove down to Singapore on Christmas Eve, arrived in Sunny Singapore early afternoon. After checking into the Fullerton, we headed straight to Takashimaya! I found a craft centre in one of the upper floors of Ngee Ann City (where Taka in situated in). Next to it was a shop selling Japanese stuff so my sister was happy cos she found an obi to buy (and cos my mom allowed her to buy it).

After some shopping (there were too many people and I was hungry, so I got grouchy and started complaining), we went back to the hotel and had afternoon tea.. It's buffet-style but they serve the food to you.. You just keep ordering as much as you want.. For S$48 per person, it's pretty steep and personally, I thought it was not worth it. But hey, we were starving and I can never say no to scones with clotted cream! (We really liked the clotted cream but the scones were so-so only.. I've definitely had better back in London!!)

Sister's tea.. Love the tea cosy..

Fruitcake and other pastries/cookies/cakes..

There were much more stuff on the trays but we were too hungry to take any pictures until we finished. The waiters were rather stingy with the food though, as in whenever we asked for refills (hey it was a buffet so eat all you can!), they seemed reluctant to give too much - like only 2 cucumber sandwiches despite the fact that there were 5 of us eating!

When we got back into the room to rest and get ready for dinner, we had a nice chocolate surprise.. Sister was happy.

Me the brat resting before dinner..

We were kindly invited for dinner at Aunty Lena's home (Note: this is not Aunty Lena from office, but my mom's long time Singaporean friend). The gracious hostess and her family treated us to a really nice and simple meal of ham, lamb chops and pasta.. They also took us to their parish for Christmas Vigil mass at 12am.

The dinner table all laid out. The plates we used were apparently over 25 years old, kept from the time one of Aunty Lena's 2 sons was born.. used only on special occasions.

Our starter: a platter of smoked salmon, brie cheese, caviar, salami, olives and crackers - all top quality and super-yummy.

The crackers and dip went really well with the caviar.

Meet Tinkle, who kept us entertained the whole night - she's certainly helped me overcome my fear of dogs!

Rommel playing with Tinkle..

Christmas Day

We spent of the day shopping really, although the morning was pretty much wasted as we were too tired from sleeping late the night before - Mass ended at around 1.30am so we got back to the Fullerton at ard 2am.

For dinner, I wanted somewhere fancy and that I've not been to, so we went to Japanese Restaurant Sun, in Chijmes. Chijmes used to be the Infant Jesus convent many years ago but was bought over from the church and converted into restaurants and bars, although the existing architecture was preserved and restored beautifully.

My maternal grandmother was an orphan from a young age and actually lived in this convent as a child. This is where she met Sister Bernardine, her good friend and my mom's godmother. Sr Bernardine now lives in the convent in Balik Pulau, Penang. I should go visit her again.. I remember the great steamboat feast we had while there too so that'll be worth a visit as well!

Anyway, check out pics of our meal at the Sun. My dad usually tries to have at least a meal there whenever he is in Singapore which was why I really wanted to try it.

Foie gras croquette - okay this is more of a snack but my sister never says no to any form of croquette, and this had foie gras.. perfect..

Mom's wagyu tenderloin teppanyaki.. Not too bad, not the best of wagyu that I've had but still pretty good. I remembered this cost S$98 so it's steep.

Sister's dish: Beef wrapped around melting cheese with a tomato sauce - a Japanese-Italian fusion twist. Interesting..

Dad and brother had the Christmas course which looked good. I didnt get to taste all of it! Above is their starter..

Another part of their course: Lobster tempura - this was good.

Dessert! Mochi..

More dessert... yum..

My good friend Joyce was back in Singapore for holidays so we met up with her that night. We decided to head to Clarke Quay since I've never been there.. The entourage included myself, Joyce, Rommel, my dad and my brother. My dad wanted to check out the pub that brews its own range of beers.. Sorry I cant remember the name right now.. But yea the 4 types of beer we tried tasted fresh and quite good..

Boxing Day

Woke up late again but still made it for the hotel breakfast. Patrick had plans with his friends so we pretty much had mothing much to do. We ended up going to People's Park Centre in the heart of Chinatown. I have no recollection of ever going to that part of Singapore despite having been to SG so many times in my life. But I searched on Rowan's website once and found that the only place in South East Asia that sells Rowan yarns was a shop in People's Park Centre so I thought to check it out.

I'll post pics of what I got at that shop and a short review of it soon! In a nutshell, I'm happy I found the place! The selection of Rowan yarns was not great but they had loads of other haberdashery items..

We later headed to Sentosa Island cos Rommel had never been on it.. Nothing much to do there, the Underwater World queue was too long so we didnt bother, and we all ended up at the Sentosa Golf Club, sipping iced teas and cappucinos.

Dinner was arranged with some of clients in Singapore. We were recommended the "No Signboard" Seafood restaurant by local Singaporeans so that's where we headed to. We went to the outlet in the Esplanade (or the durian as I prefer to call it!).. Good seafood... really good crabs.. yum..

While in Esplanade, I stumbled across something I never expected to be in Singapore - Max Brenner! To those who have been to Melbourne and Sydney, you should know this name pretty well. Lovely hot chocolate... yum yum... However, I did feel that having hot chocolate in Singapore where the weather was warm just did not feel right.. Hot cocoa is best for winter..

Rommel and I met up with Joycie again and we trooped over to the new "cool place" in Singapore: The St James Power Station. Its a collection of clubs, bars and restaurants, all situated in an old power station just across the road from Vivo city and across the waters from Sentosa. Not too bad though.. since it was ladies night, Joyce and I got in free and got 5 coupons each for drinks.. Rommel had to pay S$20 and got 2 drinks for that. A total of 12 drinks or 4 drinks each so it was a good deal. We each had 2 Midori shots after we finished our coupons and decided to head to Zouk for Mambo night..

Sadly, I cant seem to drink much anymore so I wasnt doing too well by the time we got to Zouk. We spent time sitting outside waiting for me to "feel better" but I never really recovered.. Haha... it's been a while since that's happened. So anyway, we went back to the hotel soon after since I was apparently in no shape to go in.. What a waste. Shdnt have taken those Midori shots!!

Anyway that's all for now.. it's 3.15am and I'm tired... Ta..

Christmas Carolling 2007 @ Home

Merry Christmas all! The youth group from our parish, the Saint Francis Xavier church in PJ, asked if we wanted to have them over for carolling.. We happily obliged and the date was set for 20th Dec. Later, we got a call from our BEC carolling group for the same night too but my parents had already promised the SFX bunch so we had to decline.. Anyway, here are some pics from that night..

Our nativity set in the foyer welcomes each visitor into our humble home..

Some of the BEC ladies whom we invited to join in for the carolling

More beautiful ladies..

And more...

The Grub - to feed the hungry carollers... and of course ourselves!

Yong tau fu - from the famous Madras lane stall..

More of the yong tau fu and chee cheong fun

My fav - deep fried fu chok stuffed with fish meat. The best are from this Madras lane stall.. I can eat LOADS of this, in one sitting and also munching throughout the day. My mom always buys packets-full of them whenever she goes there.

Wantan mee - from the food court near my home. Yea so we didn't really cook anything but hey at least the food was good!!

Me the glutton with the Christmas essential - The Fruitcake

Finally the carollers arrive, after making us wait almost an hour.

It was also Lawrrence's (one of the carollers and Sherece's godson) birthday so we had a surprise cake for him.

Friday, 21 December 2007

MacQ Go-karting challenge Dec 07

We had so much fun that Sunday 9 Dec, that I went again, with Rommel, my brother, Ian, Uncle James, Hilton, Mabel and Aunty Lena - who brought her family.

Here are pics from our MacQ championship:

Myself with Godbrother Ian and Aunty Lena

Seated (L-R): Salina, Calise, Calise's husband
Standing (L-R): Wai Fun & husband

The boys (L-R): Alex, Salina's husband, Yazif, Deen, Hazman, Azim

(L-R): Wai Fun's husband, Hilton, Kok Hoong and Uday

The team that made it to the final round - notice that Im the only girl who qualified! And Im the only one with a grey top and hugging my helmet.. Good to know my karting skills are improving.

The final race...

The irony that the championship was won by a non-MacQ staff. But Im proud my boyfriend was the winner! :D (Although I think with more practice, I soon will be able to beat him at this!)

MacQ Paintballing challenge - Oct 07

Boy am I on a roll today.. so many posts! But that's cost I know I'll be disappearing next week - am off to Sunny Singapore with the family for a couple of days for Xmas and of course the great Singapore sale! We were initially booked to go to Hokkaido for a skiing and feasting trip but due to my mom's accident, she cant fly for the next few months. We've had to decide on somewhere close enough to drive to and so Singapore it is!

Anyway, here are some pics from our company Paintballing trip in October. Enjoy..

The battlefield

Me in battle - I spent most of the time in fear of getting shot!

Getting ready to attack!

My team! (L-R): Gordon, Maureen, Alex, Me, Tracy, Ashraf

Cats and knitting - what's the connection?

I've been fleetingly taking peeks at some knitting blogs all morning (I'm supposed to be working but since it's the week before Christmas, nothing much is happening.. In fact I dont want something to happen cos it's my last day at work for this year!).

One thing I noticed is that quite a number of knit-bloggers have cats! I dont mean to stereotype ppl as there are those few with dogs but the majority of blogs I've seen today also featured the bloggers' cat.. Perhaps I should post pics of my cat too.

Let me share a story about cats and my home.. My mom is NOT a fan of cats. She has never liked them at all despite the fact that the stray cats in the neighbourhood love to "hangout" at my house since we're practically the only house on our cul-de-sac without a dog.

A couple of years ago, my godbrother Edwin brought over a small kitten he found near his home. He couldnt take care of it as he lived alone and worked long hours. The plan was for us to keep the cat in our home for a couple of weeks/months (we never did stipulate how long it was going to stay with us) until he found a decent place to keep it.

As the months went by, we all became fond of this ginger-and-white tomcat (with my mom as the exception of course). My Indonesian maid, Ana, affectionately starting calling him "Ming" and so that name stuck. Ming grew up to become a solid, healthy cat with a slight tendency to be fat (I think we overfed him with too much good stuff). He used to disappear for weeks before coming home hungry and bruised from fighting with other cats. So when he did one of his disappearing stunts again sometime late 2003 - about 2 years after he came to live with us, we hardly took notice.

He came home looking thinner than usual, and rather weak. The next few weeks, he barely ate, didnt move much and didnt even run away when my mom shoo-ed him off. That's when we knew something was not right. We took him to the vet and he got a jab and some medication. Ming was not happy at all about it and at one point he escaped from our clutches and hit in a covered drain for an hour - I was crawling in the drain the whole time with my maid, trying to coax him out. We took him home, fed him the medication as instructed but he didnt get any better.

This was during Christmas time, I remember and I soon had to leave home to go back to London (I was still studying there then). A few days after I left, my dad took Ming to the vet again and the doc said that Ming was having liver failure and didnt have many days left. We had a choice of leaving Ming at the vet where they'd put him to sleep or bring him home. My dad couldnt make the decision especially since my brother was attached to Ming so he brought the cat home. That night, Ming disappeared again and never came back.

Sad as we are, Ming did leave something behind.. one of his "escapades" involved the neighbour's cat and we ended up with 3 kittens. They have grown up now and we occasionally see one of them in our garden.

However, one day this black tabbycat with white patches on its paws and tail showed up and has been living in our garden ever since. She's so far given birth twice - the first time was to 3 kittens but they unfortunately did not survive the first 2 months. She is very secretive of where she hides her kittens so we have no clue where they are kept. We think the first litter may have gotten some sort of food poisoning or somehow became unwell. We finally had sighting of the second litter 2 days ago but that was pretty brief and we have yet to find out where they usually stay..

I shd post pics of the cats soon - they are in my home laptop at the moment. Ta for now!

Jimmy Beans Wool

I have just added Jimmy Beans Wool to my "Usual Haunts" list.

I read an article about this website in CNN Money - about how the founders came up with the idea and stuff - so decided to check it out! They basically sell yarn and other knitting stuff online so it's great to window shop and see what types of yarn are there in the market. They also list down knitting books that are most popular, newest etc.. And they provide some free patterns that are not too bad. Nice website to check out once in a while..

I've been itching to buy stuff from there but they dont say how much the shipping will cost as they'll have to send it all the way to Malaysia. Perhaps it'll be cheaper for me to just get my sister to buy from John Lewis in London. But yea, I've been resisting the temptation to buy more yarn since I have 3 drawers full of nothing but yarn in my room! The funny thing is, I've bought some of the yarn on impulse and now I have no idea what to do with them!

For example: There is this one rather ugly, cheapo yarn (greenish and greyish in colour) I got at the shop in Shrewsbury - I think it was 50p per ball. My sis and I just thought, "Oh that's cheap.. But what can I make out of it? Ah well, let's just buy first and figure it out later.." It's been more than 2 years now and I still havent a clue what I should do with the yarn!!

An update on my lilac top project: I've completed parts A and B, as per the instructions of the lady at Lily Handicraft. I'm tempted to move on to part C but Im not sure if this is where we change from the 3.5mm needles to the 3.25mm ones.. I cant read the Japanese instructions and the diagrams are of not much help at the moment. So, I've brought my stuff to work and will be heading to the shop after work to get instructions. I'll be away in Singapore next week so I wont be able to go back to the shop then.

Oh yes, I cant wait to go to Singapore actually.. I found this haberdashery shop in Tanglin Mall during my last trip to SG in August and I definitely will be visiting there this time... Problem is I havent used to yarn I bought during the last round so Im not sure if I should buy more... :P

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

I've started knitting again... finally

If you've noticed, despite the fact that my blog is called Knits n Nibbles, I mostly talk about food. Well, that's cos I spend more time eating than knitting! Haha..

But anyway, yesterday evening, I decided to go to Sungei Wang while waiting for my family to pick me up for dinner. It was on the way to Melia Hotel (if you come out from the SMART Tunnel, then it is on the way), so I thought I might as well do some shopping and maybe get a manicure...

I walked ard, bought 2 work shirts at Key Ng.. Not too bad, Im wearing one right now, they were 10% off. Decided to check out the back alleys of Sg Wang since I have not ventured to those places in a while. That was how I found Lily Handicraft! It's on the same floor as the Famous Amos shop. When you are facing Famous Amos, take the left lane along it and walk all the way to the end and turn left... It's one of the shops on your right.

I was just browsing and nosing around, like how I like to do in haberdashery shops, the ppl in there were pretty friendly and said that they provide free lessons as long as you purchase your products from there. So it just happened.. she showed me some magazines, I decided on a pattern, she got it photocopied, I chose my yarn and voila! I was sitting next to a bunch of aunties and casting on my first stitches.

I spent more than RM400 in there yesterday. The yarn was pretty expensive at RM29.90 per ball and I needed 12 balls for my design. I also bought the 3.25mm and 3.5mm bamboo needles (2 sets each) since I didnt have them as yet... But I think it was worth it cos I picked up lots of small tips that I wont usually get in my knitting books and also its so much easier when you actually have someone show you how to do something as opposed to pouring over a book trying to understand the picture or the instructions!!

Needless to say, I was hooked again and went back today at lunch time. I wanted to get on with the patterns! I've so far learnt how to make baubles and perfect my "yarn over" technique - funnily enough, I never understood the books although its actually not a difficult technique. I'll try to take pictures of my yarn (100% Italian cotton, lilac in colour) and what progress I have made so far.. And hopefully will post them here soon..

I also need to post my other completed or half-complete projects - they're all in the camera at home!

Oh yes a short note about yesterday's dinner at the Chinese restaurant of Melia Hotel - not too bad, typical Chinese cuisine, like Overseas Restaurant or SuperTanker. But it was really quiet (as in we seemed to be the only ppl there) so perhaps the freshness of the food can be worrying! Ah well, pretty decent dinner..

Tmrw is a public holiday here in Malaysia - Hari Raya Haji - it's the day when the Muslim men go to the mosque and perform some ceremony that involves the slaughtering of goats.. I think.. Something like that. Anyway, I'll be going go-karting at the track next to the Shah Alam stadium again with Rommel, Fatty, Ian and Aunty Lena's family. Then tmrw night the SFX Youth are coming over for carolling at 10pm. Tiring day and I may not get enough time to knit, unless I bring my knitting to the go-kart track and knit there..

So bye!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Restaurant review: CWZJ Cuisine - Home of Tea Kings

Restaurant: CWZJ Cuisine - Home of Tea Kings

Cuisine: Chinese

Address: 9B, Batu 5 1/2 Jln Kuchai Lama

Verdict: Good simple Chinese food, can be pretty pricey though. We had Hairy crab and Hoi Tai Kai yesterday. Yum..

I know I know its quite a name for a restaurant. But it basically is what it say it is.. Home of Tea Kings. I personally just call it the Tea House. This restaurant specialises in specialty Chinese tea and they're fussy about how they prepare and serve the tea (the proper way).

The restaurant is actually just a few doors away from our shoplot (see my entry on Chili crab feast - Tian Tian Hot Wok Food). Our shop is a corner lot while the Tea House is one of the middle ones. My dad one day decided to "check out the competition" and decided that the food was pretty decent. As usual, when he decides its something worth taking me to try, we will all go and have a feast.

Yesterday evening, I got home ard 6.30pm (its the holiday mood and I dont feel like spending too much time in the office!). During the drive home, I saw some ppl jogging and thought to myself, I really need to exercise! I got home, dragged my brother and my god brother Ian who's staying over, and all 3 of us went jogging! Ian and I arent exactly the fittest of people (which is also why we're not the thinnest!! Haha) so we didnt really jog but more of walk..

We got home ard 7.30pm, the maid didnt cook dinner so Dad decided to take us out to eat. Our first choice was "The Shack", aptly named so because the restaurant is literally a shack. It's near the FGA church along Kuchai as well and has good noodles, char kuey teow with raw egg, loh mee etc.. It used to be very much nicer about 7-10 years ago but I still go there once in a while to satisfy my cravings for good noodles.

Anyway, it was closed yesterday so we had to look for alternatives. I thought of the Tea House cos it was nearby and we hadnt been there in a while.

My sister actually wrote down in detail what we ate but she's somewhere shopping in Midvalley now so I'll just do it from memory..

1) Hairy Crab - plainly boiled, served with vinegar and chopped ginger. We also had this Chinese rice wine called Nu Er something which was served warm with a sour plum inside the cup. The wine goes really well with seafood and the crab was perfect with it. I last had hairy crab in Shanghai in 2005 but that wasnt as nice as the one we had last night! At RM88 per crab, I thought it was a decent price. Others might not think so though.

2) Steamed Hoi Tai Kai - Literally translated, this means "Sea Bed Chicken". However, it is actually an oily salt water fish which is found on the seabed. My dad tells me that this fish is normally very difficult to catch but people rear this fish nowadays so it's more available. He says this fish cant be bought frozen, it has to be fresh and swimming because of its high oil content - if frozen then thawed, there will be a very fishy smell and taste to it. Therefore, this fish aint the cheapest of fish.. RM160+ I think it was last night. In terms of cooking style, the chef just steamed it very gently, it was not overcooked and tasted good with a bowl of rice. I hate fish that are overcooked, worse that being undercooked!

3) Steamed minced pork with salted fish - yes I know that this is a simple dish that you normally would see in a home but not in a restaurant. BUT, I think what makes a chef a good chef is if he can cook simple food and do it good. And this chef can do this dish good, in fact I have it almost everytime I eat there!

4) Stir fried baby "gai choi" with garlic - another simple dish but this restaurant always serves good, fresh vegetables. The veg had a slightly bitter aftertaste which is actually kinda addictive.

5) Tofu with some green sprouts and egg sauce - Im not too sure how to describe this dish really. The sauce went really well with rice but the tofu was rather bland. Perhaps it was because all the dishes were really tasty..

Another thing I'd recommend is their noodles which is made very simple, just a touch of sesame oil, a touch of peanut oil, some salt, and that's it!! But its bloody tasty for something so simple...

I will have more food reviews coming up over the next few days.. Just realised that I'll be having some sort of dinner thing every night until Saturday! Tonight my godbrother, Uncle Lee and his wife are taking to the Chinese restaurant in Melia Hotel. He's been telling us about it for the past few weeks so finally we're going to try..

A note about Uncle Lee: He can eat maybe 3 times of what I can stuff myself with.. And usually when he says something is good, it usually is.. More to come tmrw!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Hangover weekend

It's been a while since I've had a hangover. As in a really bad one.. I wouldn't call Sunday morning's hangover really bad.. but maybe bad. You know the works: headache, nauseous feeling in the throat, feeling really thirsty, tired but cant sleep.. Yup.. that's how i felt.

Saturday night, Rommel and I attended his friend Claudine's birthday party at her home somewhere in Kuchai. Quite a nice, cosy home with quirky furnishing, good garden space.. Only bad thing was the roads were really narrow and steep but I think it's cos the area is so old. I didnt try the Devils Curry or other stuff they had laid out cos we had just had a full 8 course dinner at Gu Yue Tien, Chulan Square. More on the dinner after this.

Anyway, we got to the party at about 10.30pm I think.. I didnt know anyone and wasnt really in a sociable mood so we bummed in the living room with Sheena (a long-lost church mate I hadnt seen in maybe 8 years) and her friend Cecilia. Soon, Destine came with Jared and Terence so I knew more ppl. We had some beer, then the Absolut Pear that Rommel and I brought as present, then when that ran out, we had a 42 below in some weird flavour that wasnt even nice. Not to mention the glasses of wine we had during dinner.. I dont think I had that much to drink.. I mean, I wasnt drunk, I remember everything that happened, I didnt break any glasses... Haha..

Claudine and Carl (I think that's his name) announced their engagement that night too. They've been living together for 3 yrs now so I guess that wasnt a surprise to everyone. Anyhow, congrats to them both!

Now, on to dinner.. The parents decided we shd go to Gu Yue Tien and invited Uncle James, Aunty Irene, Ian, Celine, Aunty Julie, Rachel and Becky.

Here is our menu:
Fresh Oyster Sashimi - I dont really eat oysters but the wasabi sauce was nice
Oven Baked Tomato with Seafood - nice fusion dish with a creamy, cheesy filling. Sort of like seafood chowder stuffed in a tomato.
Braised Superior Sharks Fin Soup - the soup was a bit thicker than usual but I like sharks fin soup in any way.
Pan-fried Black Pig with Wasabi & Butter Shoyu Sauce - tasted like smoked bacon.. something different and interesting.
Wok Charred Rack of Lamb - a nice twist to the usual rack of lanb fare.
Steamed Mini Glutinous Rice - Pretty much a "Lo Mai Kai". Yum..
Cofee Cake with Ice cream and Avocado cream - The avocado cream is one of Gu Yu Tien's specialities.. A must have for me whenever I go there.

The chef didnt include my favourite steamed egg yolk with foie gras reduction so my dad asked them to make it anyway, despite already having 8 dishes on the menu. Always a favourite although this time, I think they didnt put enough foie gras in it.

Okay time for a bit of essay writing now, right Ellie?? Hehe

Macquarie Christmas Party 2007

Place: Max Fine Food & Wines
Date: 14 Dec 2007
No of attendees: 29

We had this year's office Christmas party at Max Fine Food & Wines, recommended by Geraldine and myself. We chose the place mainly because they had an upstairs area which can take about 30pax comfortably. And we both like the food there as well!

I forgot to take a copy of the menu to put in here so perhaps the next time I go there, I'll ask Max for it.

Most people seemed to have enjoyed themselves (I think). We spent Thursday and Friday planning the games - The Price is Right, Group Treasure Hunt, Matching pictures and Trivia - which we played while waiting for the various dishes to be served.

Some people had complaints about the food though - Aidah's chicken was not cooked through, some said the chocolate souffle was too dry or the chocolate was too bitter etc.. Need to give feedback to Max about it although I cant really fault him cos the dishes were all served in large plates and you take your piece from it. It was not a really fancy way to present the food..

I would have preferred the way we had it during my mom's birthday where everyone pre-ordered their main courses and only the starters were for sharing. That way, you can have whichever dish/meat you wanted. But ah well, the main idea was for everyone to get together and have some fun..
Anyway here are some pics from the party:
(L-R): Petrina, Ellie, Lena, Geraldine
Geraldine, Ellie, the presents & the Xmas tree

Geraldine and I at the tree

(L-R): Edward, Lena, Petrina, Ellie, Hilton

(L-R): Petrina, Edward, Geraldine

Thursday, 13 December 2007

TGIF.. But it's not Friday!

Im meeting with Nik, May Pearl and Jalil for lunch today at TGIF.. Been a while since I ate there. Am not the greatest fan of their food (prefer Chilli's any time) but it's nearby for most of us, except May Pearl who has quite a bit of distance to walk.

Priority is to get a place which is most convenient to Nik as she is due to give birth next week, 20th is her due date if Im not mistaken. Am actually really excited cos this is the first time a friend of mine (as opposed to a friend of my parents) is having a child! Plus the fact that I knew and worked with both Nik and Farouk when they started dating, attended their wedding and now witnessing the both of them become first time parents..

Am not too sure what dinner my dad has planned for tonight but everytime the whole family is together, as in when the kids are back, we have like daily feasts cos we want to let them try everything they've missed out on by being in England. And everyone knows England is not the world's culinary capital. Not that Malaysia is but I think we get pretty good food for much cheaper than the UK. Esp seafood.. and of course nothing beats good local nibbles.

Anyway, have been typing in here on and off while doing requests, updating some stuff and getting calls from Prem. Poor Premmie. He's getting married this week but still has to work. The Chinese tea ceremony was on Monday in KL and that was the day the TM announcement came out. His Hindu ceremony is tomorrow in JB so he's now back there to prepare but he has to work on TM today hence the frequent calls to the office. (In case anyone's confused on why he's having the Chinese and the Hindu ceremonies, his wife is Chinese while he's Indian).

Things are pretty quiet in the office and all of us seem to be in the Christmas mood already.. Still, work has to be done! Anyhow, I'm off for lunch!

Fish head curry... again.

We had fish curry for dinner last night, for the sister and brother. This time it was not made from scratch but my dad got the kuah (sauce) from a shop in Puchong.. Really nice Chinese style curry as opposed to the Indian style one we made a month ago.

We added 2 types of fish (one was pomfret and the other was a fish my Uncle Michael gave us from Sabah), squid, prawns, tau fu pok and loads of veg (cabbage, lady's fingers, aubergines). When eating fish curry, you dont need much else, a bowl of rice (or two) and a nice ice-cold glass of beer (I had Hoegaarden - shared with Rommel and my brother). Yummy..

Dinner was later than usual as I had a briefing to attend last evening at 6pm.. It ended at 7, I had to go back to office to write the flashnote, send it off to editorial and wait for it to be published. I left the office at about 8, got home at 8.20 so that was when my dad started putting the ingredients into the curry. Sis and bro were sleeping (still jet lagged) so we had to drag them out of bed to eat.

I introduced my sis to the Asian Food Channel (AFC) since she wasnt around when it was launched and now she's hooked! Haha..

Last night we watched The F Word - a Gordon Ramsay show and my current favourite on AFC. was rather sad that they finally slaughtered Trinny and Sussanah, the two pigs that the Ramsay family bought and reared for 18 weeks before sending them off to the abbatoir..

We also watched Dosanko Cooking which showcases Hokkaido cuisine. Sister fell in love with that and it helps that she understands and reads Japanese better than me.

Anyway, time to work!

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Chilli crab feast

I really should remember to take pictures of the food I keep describing. After all, a picture often says a thousand words. But again, I forgot to take pics of the chilli crabs I bought last night for dinner. I brought it home, the maid put it all in bowls, placed them on the dining table, and we started stuffing ourselves silly. By the time I remember about taking a picture, there wasnt much crab left! Haha..

Anyway yesterday evening started with me calling Tian Tian Hot Wok Food. This restaurant is in Kuchai Enterpreneurs' Park, a typical "tai chow" place with no aircon and not the greatest of service. But they serve really good chilli crabs so we dont complain. We also dont complain cos they are actually renting their premises from us (my parents own the 4-storey corner shoplot) so good business for them means we get our rent payments on time. Anyway, there was no answer on their phone so I had to presume that they were closed.

My back up plan was Restoran Hai Peng which is along Old Klang Road just outside the exit to Taman Desa. We used to go there really often when I was a kid and each of us had a favourite dish there, apart from their chilli crab of course. I loved their deep fried pigeons (which they dont have anymore unfortunately), my sister loves their lala (clams) stir fried with chillies and my mom loves their Hokkien-fried meehoon. So for yesterday's dinner, we had the crabs, the lala and the meehoon.. and also marmite chicken which was alright. Main highlight was of course the crab. We ordered the Kalimantan crab which was pricier than the local crab but it was bigger, had more meat and tasted great.

Now with chilli crab, we usually have toasted bread (or fried mantou if I'm ordering from Tian Tian in Kuchai). But since the bread turns soft and soggy once you get home (if you're taking it away that is), I went to the local mini mart, Sri Kota to buy Hainanese bread which we then toasted at home so it's fresh... Yum..

All this talk about food is making me hungry.. Time to go home for dinner then! I believe today's menu is steak, rocket salad with balsamic vinegar dressing, garlic bread, mushroom soup. My dad and siblings went grocery shopping at lunch time for the ingredients and if Im right, I have to head home early cos I usually have to make the salad dressing, the garlic spread and make sure the mushroom soup came out right. Now Im wishing I went and got that bottle of truffle oil I wanted.. Darn!

Restaurant review: Food Republic @ Pavilion

Restaurant: Food Republic @ Pavilion
Cuisine: Mixed, it's actually Pavilion's food court
Address: 1st Floor, Pavilion Shopping Centre, 168, Jln Bkt Bintang, 55100 KL
Verdict: My current fav place for lunch cos it has a vast selection to choose from and prices, although on the steeper side, are still affordable.

It is rare to want to do a review on food courts but I really do enjoy trying out the various stalls. Thumbs up also for the decor - simple, modern, pretty good space planning. Ambience is well... it's a food court.. so expect lots of people, kids running around and lots of noise, naturally.

Food Republic is actually a Singaporean chain which is why you'll notice that the names of the stalls dont sound quite Malaysian. There's also the typical "Singaporean" favourites like Hainanese chicken rice, hor fun, 'o' chien etc..

Here's what I think of some of the stalls there:
1) The You Tiao stall - "you tiao" is more commonly known as "yau char kuai" in KL so again, the obvious Singaporean connection here. It's been a while since I had good "you tiao" cos its so difficult to find nowadays. Most of the time its too soggy or chewy - my last experience was from the Old Klang Road market. Horrendous. Anyway, back to this stall, I think their stuff is nice, they also have a butterfly "you tiao" which is savoury and has sesame seeds on it.. They also have set meals - I took the set with 1 "you tiao", a bowl of porridge and a cup of soya bean milk. Cost me abt RM6 so that's pretty decent for a lunch in the middle of the city.

2) The Vietnamese stall - I tried the "Pho Bo" (beef noodles) once. It costs RM11+ but they give you good pieces of beef. Taste-wise, it can almost compare to the Pho 2000 shop in Ho Chi Minh city where Bill Clinton himself once ate at. Not as good of course, but almost. For me, it's good enough to get my Pho Bo fix esp since the closure of Du Viet in Bangsar Village.

3) The Korean stall - I tried the bulgogi beef set for lunch today. Not bad, cost me RM15+ and reminds me of the Korean set lunches I used to have in London's Arirang or the restaurant near the corner of Tottenham Ct Rd and Oxford St (sorry I cant remember the name of that place). My colleague Ellie previously tried the dolsot bibimbab which looked alright too, albeit a little too dry for my liking. And I also prefer my beef in the bibimbab to be raw so that the hot stone bowl cooks the beef as you mix it all up.

4) The 'O' Chien stall - I dont think this is the correct name for this stall but I've never tried it so I cant remember. All I remember is my colleague Gerald saying how he likes their 'O' chien and that there is always a long queue. And I certainly remember the long queue in front of this stall so maybe it really is that good.

5) The Pan Mee stall - Today, Kingston ordered the pan mee while Geraldine got the assam laksa. Feedback was that the pan mee was so-so only and the assam laksa was not nice at all. Lest to say, I'm not trying this stall anytime soon.

6) The Taiwanese stall - I had the fried chicken with rice last week which was not too bad. Aunty Lena had the claypot lou hsu fun today which she said was good too..

7) The Juice stall - I like the papaya and milk drink.. had that today and also last week.. It's fresh juices so they cant really go wrong with that.. Just remember to tell them to put in less sugar!

8) The Indian stall - Sunaina had the masala tosai which she said was alright. We've had better obviously but then not many places serve tosai for lunch so I'm happy to go back.

Of course there are more stalls to choose from and I have yet to explore or get others to try and tell me about it. I guess I'll have another review for the other stalls soon...

Monday, 10 December 2007


Yay the siblings come home today.. 3 weeks to fatten them up before sending them back to cold, cold England!

We as a family seem to have an obsession with food. Good food to be exact. Once my dad finds a restaurant he likes, he will keep going back... repeatedly... as in 3 times a week! Examples of his favourite places are:-

Restaurant SuperTanker @ Damansara Kim - typical Chinese fare, the chef is from Overseas Restaurant, great food, decent prices, loads of people all the time so you need to book, especially on weekends. His recent addition to the menu is a variation to Peking Duck, where he uses mantou instead of the usual thin pastry and adds a deep fried dough with the duck. Quite nice as a new twist to what we have normally.

Max Fine Food and Wines @ Tengkat Tong Shin - Another regular haunt of my dad's. We first went there sometime earlier this year and were not that impressed with the service. Food was good however and so after a few rounds and complaints, my dad got chummy with the owner/chef, Max.. Now we go there so often that the waiters remember what we ate the last time we were there so they actually recommend us other things to try! I go there for the food and atmosphere... Great lamb chops and chocolate souffle.

Uzen Japanese Restaurant @ Concord Hotel - Great Japanese-fusion food, I used to go there for lunch when I was interning at Credit Suisse.. I like their beef rice set.. Simple, not too expensive and most of all, yummy! My dad has been there numerous times, bringing different group of people. We always order the Chef's Menu which rarely changes (can be a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it). My fav: Butter fish tataki with Ponzu sauce.. I think it's better than what I've tried in KL Hilton's Iketeru and Equatorial's Kampachi. Also love their grilled prawns on papaya..

Anyway, I better finish off my stuff and head home. Im in charge of getting chilli crabs for the siblings as that is their special request as their first meal home... They arrive in half an hour so shd be home in time for dinner. Gluttons we are..

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Restaurant review: Cafe Cafe

Restaurant: Cafe Cafe
Cuisine: French
Address: 175, Jalan Maharajalela, KL
Tel: 603 2145 8141
Verdict: definitely worth going back! In fact, I've told my dad about it and we'll most probably bring the family there again soon to try..

I am SUUUUUU-PER stuffed!

Rommel and I decided to try Cafe Cafe, a quirky French restaurant on Jalan Maharajalela, near the Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka building. My colleague Geraldine has been telling me about this place and how nice it is... Rommel has been there before about 3-4 yrs ago and remembered it as good too. He always said he wanted to take me there so finally we did!

The Food:
We had the 4-course meals since it allows you to try more stuff on the menu as opposed to the a la carte which are bigger in portions (I think so, cos the other tables that took just a main course looked like they had much bigger portions. But I could be wrong.. The only way to confirm is to go again! Haha.. such gluttony!)

I had half a dozen baked escargots with truffle oil as my first starter... Yummy, you can never dislike anything with truffles in them.. Next was their soup of the day - mushroom soup. This was a bit of a disappointment but Rommel said that's cos the mushroom soup we make at home is way better. However, they added truffle oil into the soup so that made it nicer. (Note to myself: Im gonna hunt for a bottle of good truffle oil. Anyone has any recommendations?)

For my main course, I had a risotto with black truffles and white truffle oil (I think you would have noticed the mushroom/truffle theme I had going tonight). Really nice, I always love risotto.. Another place in KL that serves good risotto is Banquet in Bangsar Village 2, which incidentally, is Cafe Cafe's sister restaurant!

Rommel ordered pan fried foie gras with a balsamic vinegarette salad. Yummy too as the foie gras was just nicely fried, slightly burnt at the bottom so its crunchy.. His next course was escargots in some butter and parsley sauce.. This was not too bad but not as nice as mine.

He chose the wagyu beef cheek for his main course which came out perfect! Nicer than even the one at Max Fine Foods and Wine! (at Tengkat Tong Shin) Am definitely going back for this dish..

For dessert, we shared a tiramisu and a chocolate cake.. Tiramisu was not too bad but my favourite one is still the Shook! one (at Star Hill). The chocolate cake, Rommel said, was one of their really good desserts which was why I chose it. It is more like the chocolate fondant at Le Francois (at One Bangsar) but I prefer the Cafe Cafe version as it is not too sweet and they decorated it really nicely.

The Ambience:
Small and cosy, quirky deco which I quite like. Dark furniture with soft lighting which makes the place really romantic... Quite a number of the tables were just couples... The place gives me the same vibes as La Tasca in Covent Garden, London although La Tasca is a tapas/Spanish bar. Nice crowd, not too noisy.. Only thing though, they could have a slightly better choice in music - they had xmas carols then some weird Japanese song, then some French songs.. It's like the CD player couldnt make up its mind.

The Service:
Thumbs-up for the waiters. Very attentive but not overbearing. Good, proper service with smiling faces (who likes a sulky waiter anyway) The manager also served us a white wine jelly with fruits in it... He said this was a new recipe they were experimenting and wanted comments. We basically said the alcohol taste was slightly too strong.. perhaps less of the wine or more sugar.. Am not too sure what was wrong with it but I frankly didnt quite like it.. Although the grapes in it were quite nice..

The Wine:
Rommel had a house French red and I had an Italian white. Problem: the wines tasted flat, as if they've been opened for too long already. Which is most likely the case since they were the house wines. Or perhaps both of us have been spoiled by my dad with his fancy wines. After all, my dad always says that if you dont enjoy the wine or think something's not quite right with it, just dont drink it. In any case, next time I'll stick to the Hoegaarden or go with my dad and ask him to bring a bottle from home.
Corkage: RM50 for wines, RM70 for champagne and RM100 for hard liquor

The Cost:
Almost RM400, including tipping etc. which was not too bad considering the amount of food we had!
They also provide you with a free magazine (the name is Men's Folio) if you spend more than RM300.
As we asked for their business card, the manager gave us their sort of brochure for Cafe Cafe and the latest menu for Banquet as well... Banquet is having some champagne buffet thingy going on so I think that's where we'll head to next... Hehe..

Overall: I'm taking my family there once my siblings are back from London and we find a free evening! As we always say, if the food is good, people will come.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

To knit or not to knit..

My sister sent me this blog which had pictures of knitted kimono coordinates... Yes Shen stuff look nice but I'll need a lot more yarn of the same type than what I have currently... although I think I may have enough of the yarns I got in Shrewsbury this September. I like the black and white haori that was made using granny squares... Hmm.... A project to think about as it'll take a long time before I finish it!!

I really should upload the pics I have taken of my previous projects.. It's all in my camera at home! Perhaps I'll do it over the weekend or when I can find time at home.

Hmmm my social calendar seems to be filling up. There's a BEC dinner tonight in Restoran SuperTanker in Damansara Kim. Not the most exciting of dinners but hey the food there is good and I dont mind catching up with some of the aunties and uncles. You'll never know what bit of gossip you can get from them! Haha..

Tomorrow evening I'll be attending some launch party by Coach. My friend Suennie got invites for it and is dragging me along with her. My mom also had invites for it but she's sending Rommel on her behalf instead.. (or rather I asked him to come along!)

It so happened that I saw a nice clutch in Coach on Sunday evening (yep, right after my exam I went shopping to destress). And you cant really expect me to go to a Coach event and not carry a Coach bag! So what did I do? Of course, I bought the clutch! I went to Pavilion with Suennie for lunch yesterday so I could get the clutch and she could look around at things too... Hehe

Anyway I best get back to work, have stuff to get done! Ta..


Monday, 3 December 2007

It's Monday and Im back at work

I really need to start blogging more consistently.. but since my exam is over, I think I shd be able to!

So, how was the exam? Alright I suppose, I cant really say it was the most difficult thing on earth, but I dare say it was the most confusing exam I have ever sat for (maybe the next-most confusing after last year's attempt since I barely studied last year). I knew most of the concepts, having poured over them for the past 2 weeks.. I did the sample questions and revision questions from my tuition place.. And yet, there were some questions that I really had no clue on! At least I tried to answer everything!

Will I pass? I certainly hope so cos I definitely do NOT want to sit for it again... I have never failed an exam in my life until last year's Level 1!

So anyway, Im back at work and actually I did miss the office a bit.. It was rather mundane staying at home all day but that's cos I had to study!! This morning's time was filled with my usual monthly requests and one weekly request as well. That spilled over slightly into the afternoon bit. Also did most of my updating stuff and read up on things I've missed over the past 2 weeks.

Cant wait to go home and knit! Am still trying to finish my teal shrug, still work-in-progress. I have sewn up the sleeves so am now crocheting a little border for them since I decided I shd have made the shrug a wee bit longer...

I need suggestions on how to use up my yarn. Perhaps I shd post photos of what yarn I have at the moment and see if anyone responds with suggestions? I dunno if anyone even reads my crap!

Anyway, Im off now... I wanna go homeeeee...


Saturday, 24 November 2007

Christmas isnt Christmas.... until a month from now..

Christmas carols have been ringing in my head all evening.. I dunno why but carols always seem to cheer me up. Especially the image of Angeline dancing away while banging on her keyboard.. I cant wait for Christmas to come, although much planning is needed esp with regard to presents - I dont have time to knit/crochet all that I want to give to people. Perhaps I should start making next year's present now then I'll have time..

Anyhow, we were at Midvalley for dinner, decided to bring Mom to Ninja Jones since she hasnt been there before (surprisingly esp since we've all been there numerous times). I had my Mentaiko spaghetti which was as usual delicious. Dad had the Bara sushi set which turn out smaller than when Patty ordered it a few months ago. Evelyn had the beef and fish set which was really disappointing cos the portions have also seemed to have shrunk. Mom had the tori karaage and garlic fried rice which were quite good.

After dinner, Mom wanted to hop over to Metrojaya to have a look at the Christmas deco there. Yesterday we had already ventured into Robinsons and thought the stuff there were quite nice but Metro's designs were much nicer, they had a wider variety AND they were cheaper. So yea, we're gonna buy the rest of our Christmas deco from Metro.

Sigh, it's Saturday night, everyone's most likely out partying or having drinks or at least watching a movie. Me? I've got to finish reading at least half of macroeconomics by the end of the night and since its already 11.40pm, I guess I'm not gonna finish.. Ah well, there's always tomorrow! And besides, it's such a boring topic, it's mostly stuff that we've learnt in A-Level Econs (Shen, think Mr Morris talking about the cross elasticity demand of strawberries and cream... or apples and oranges?? Yup.... and I was busy drawing all those demand-supply charts this afternoon while doing microecons.. Yawn.. I thought I was done with those things after A-Levels)

Huei Suen called me this morning and gave me such a scare. She was asking which was the correct calculator to buy for the exam... and I was like... Umm it's only a week away to the exam.. But yea I went through a similar thing last year when I took the exam as well.. Haha..

Oh yea Shen abt the new layout for this blog, go ahead.. Im too lazy to figure this out right now and am fine with how this looks so I'll wait until you come back and you do it then.

Anyway I'm off to try and read some stuff from the Econs book.. Let's see how much goes in at this time of the night... Ta..

- Petrina

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Fish head curry, anyone?

I am looking disappointingly at my score for Spider Solitaire - 26% pass rate. Yup I suck at this.

Anyway, back to my main topic for this post - fish head curry.

It all started on Monday night with Daddy getting a phone call regarding a 13.5kg garoupa that was caught and the fishermen were wondering if he was interested in buying it. Of course he was.. he always is, which is why we have a hoard of fish in our 2 freezers, all waiting for their turn on the dinner table). But a whole 13.5kg fish was too much for us to finish so we shared it with my dad's colleague.

Tuesday evening's dinner featured part of that fish, deep fried then drizzled with a mixture of oil, soya sauce, thinly sliced ginger and spring onions. We decided that night that this fish was PERFECT for a fish curry and so the next night's dinner menu was planned.

The head alone was a foot in length and mind you, since we shared the fish with my dad's colleague, we only got half the head, cut length-wise. Still that was too big for the 5 of us (maid included) so the parents started inviting ppl over for it.

Wednesday's dinner guestlist included Uncle Wai Keong, Aunty Regina, Uncle Max, Aunty Rubyann, Soon Chye, Ivan, Andy, Andy's wife and daughter, and of course godbro Uncle Lee who came after his usual badminton game.

Daddy went off to the Old Klang Road market early Wednesday morning to buy the curry paste, santan and all the other ingredients. Cooking started at around 4pm and there were quite a few disagreements between the two chefs (i.e. Mom and Dad) regarding what ingredients went in first and whether some of the ingredients were even supposed to be put in! We didnt have a recipe to follow and pretty much just "went with the flow" adding things along the way. Dad also added prawns and squid...

The ending result was not too bad for a first attempt, everyone said it was good (am not sure if they were just being polite though!). We also had some fried chicken that was marinated with curry powder which were mainly for Soon Chye, Ivan and Andy's daughter in case they didnt fancy the fish curry. At the last minute, Mom asked me to fry some Tori Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) in case the kids thought the curry powdered fried chicken was too spicy for them. I tried out this recipe from the Maranatha fund-raising cookbook my mom helped to create in church. Aunty Regina also brought some pork ribs steamed with fa tiew wine and bean paste which were really nice (I had the leftovers for lunch today). For dessert, Mom prepared bubur chacha.

Verdict: We cooked too many things and for me, personally, after spending all those hours in the kitchen helping to cook the curry, I didnt have much appetite to eat it! But I did have quite a few bowls of bubur chacha cos that wasnt too heavy.

Leftovers: Evelyn (our maid) made yam fried rice with the leftover rice and the extra yam from the bubur chacha for our lunch. We also reheated some of the fried chicken and the pork ribs. We still have about 3/4 of a pot of fish curry left. We definitely cooked too much!

You must be wondering why are we planning and cooking up dinner parties when Im supposed to be studying!? Well, I did manage to study and am more than halfway through my 3rd book. 2 books to go after that which is mainly revision. I need to read 2 chapters before I sleep tonight though and it's already 11.45pm.. Maybe I'll just read 1 chapter and rush the next one tmrw morning. Sigh...

Oh yes I did take pictures of the food but am too lazy to post them tonight. Perhaps another time..

- Petrina

Monday, 19 November 2007


This is a rather odd time for me to be starting a blog. It's 8 days to my exam so ideally I should be studying. But yea, procrastination is something I do really well, especially when it comes to studying. I thought I was done with exams the moment I left university. I mean at the back of my head, I knew that I would soon be pushed to do the CFA exams but I didnt want to think about then.

But anyway, welcome to my little world of constant babble and small talk. I'm a normal working young adult, back in Kuala Lumpur after 5 years of studying in England (2 yrs in the small but pretty town of Shrewsbury and 3 yrs in London). I like to knit (and crochet) in my free time and also dabble with other craft projects such as cross stitching and decoupage. I also like to bake and cook, esp when my sister is back from London (it's her turn in university there now, along with my brother who there is doing his GCSEs).

I occasionally read other ppl's food blogs (I believe a term has been coined for such blogs - flogs was it?). A colleague of mine is a foodie as well and she keeps herself updated with these flogs regularly. I also like reading knitting blogs and love drooling over lovely yarns from England which I cant find in Malaysia and it will be ridiculous to wear wool in our hot, humid weather anyway! Then it crossed my mind one day that I have never come across a blog that discusses BOTH food and knitting.

So that's when I decided I should just start my own blog and decided to name it: Knits and nibbles.