Thursday, 27 November 2008

What a week

So much has happened in the past couple of days. I went to Singapore for training on Tuesday, came back and whooosh... there's been some major changes all across the company.

Yes these are tough times indeed but all I need to do now is work hard and smart, lay low and pray. (Daddy's orders - he called from Guangzhou last night to tell me)

But looking at the brighter side, I'm almost done with my report, just letting it get through to the top and hopefully it comes out soon. I'm already starting on my next project.

Also, I have a nice little trip to look forward to. Am off to Pangkor Laut tomorrow with Mom to attend a friend's wedding. All I need to do is pack and decide my wardrobe. Have already bought a matching top-and-bag combo from Emilio Pucci for the trip (on sale, great bargain!). Hopefully, I'll get to chill by the beach for the next 3 days and catch up on sleep and do some knitting.

Speaking of knitting, I've barely had time to do much of it these few weeks. But I was adamant on finishing my Snow White shawl in time for the wedding so I did squeeze in some time for it. Almost done now and I'm hoping to complete it on the drive to Lumut tomorrow. Yes I wont be able to get it blocked in time but what the heck.

One joy I found in the midst of all this was a package I received from Cucumberpatch. I've been wanting to try them out for a while now but was trying to be disciplined. Due to a very stressful week last week, I succumbed to temptation and started clicking away at a variety of yarn. Damage: 25 skeins of yarn for less than GBP75!! And shipping was only GBP3.5o. Talk about a bargain. And the best part... despite the low shipping rates, my order arrived on Monday, 6 days after I paid!!

I bought 20 skeins of Jaeger Extra Fine Merino DK (10 cream and 10 salmon pink), and 6 skeins of Artesano Inca Mist in Juniper. Of course, every time I buy yarn, I am swimming in ideas for those yarns. Am getting dizzy just thinking about options! And on top of this, I previously bought the same Jaeger yarn in Singapore in a nice mossy green so I can actually make a blanket out of all 30 skeins (suggestions suggestions!)

That's all for now. Ta...

Monday, 17 November 2008

Monday Blues

I'm feeling it. It's Sunday night (or technically, Monday morning already since it's past midnight). I know I should be asleep now but we had a late dinner at CWZJ Tea House. Met the parents there since they came from RCIA class and Rommel and I came from the Gardens where we watched the new Bond movie.

About the movie, not too bad la. Was never a Bond fan and am not an action movie buff either but I didn't fall asleep throughout the movie so that's something.

About dinner, it's as always, simple but satisfying meal of steamed fish, tofu, veg and steamed minced pork with salted fish. We're going there again on Thursday for hairy crab. And we were just there 2 weeks ago, also for hairy crab.

So, I'm full now and have trouble sleeping. Maybe it's copious amounts of Chinese tea that we had.

Am trying to mentally prepare myself for work tomorrow. Making mental lists of things I need to get done, people I need to call, data I need to collate for my report....

And Shen, yes I've read your post about your annoying coursemate. Like I already told you the other day, you'll need to get together with your other groupmates and there should be a way for you to make a formal complaint about the one who's not doing the work. Worklife is like that as well. But then you need to make sure that your lecturers (in my case the bosses) know what work you contributed. And I always definitely complain when someone does not do the work they're supposed to do. After all, we're all being paid to do our jobs and so when someone doesn't do their part, why should anyone cover up for them?

Knit-wise, not much has been happening. I'm supposed to finish my white shawl for TC's wedding next weekend (which I recently started but have yet to blog about). Only managed to do some today while having drinks with Rommel's friends.

Which reminds me, yesterday was super busy day. I managed to get a good night's sleep and woke up ard 11am on Saturday morning. Rushed to get ready cos the driver was picking me up at 11.45am before heading to Ma's office to pick her and Grace up (they had to go to office for something). We attended a client's wedding at Carcosa Seri Negara. A small but very cosy affair.. simple French cuisine that was done impeccably.

Came home to rest a bit before heading to Aunty Regina and Uncle Wai Keong's housewarming party. They've finally moved in to their new place in the Mines. Nice place, all modern deco etc etc etc. Food was catered from our regular caterer, Le Oriental. And we had a special treat - siew yoke from that Uncle who sells it in Happy Garden. Shen do you remember him? Pa's schoolmate from Rawang.... *yum* I still think his siew yoke is the best best best in the whole wide world!

We had to leave early to head on to a client's birthday party. Free-flow champagne, pan seared foie gras, super tender beef and an assortment of cocktails. Enough said. Rommel spent quite a lot of time in front of the foie gras table. I think the foie gras was a really big hit. Another client who was there (I'm not mentioning names) had maybe 4 or 5 servings of foie gras.

Siew yoke and foie gras in one night. Oooohhh.... Killer.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Have I lost my knitting mojo?

I sure hope not. But I've been really busy with work so have not done any knitting at all for the past couple of days.

That made me very fidgety.

So last night, we were at The Curve/Cineleisure watching Madagascar 2 (charity premiere tickets - and the movie is pretty funny) so I stopped by Borders to see if any new knitting magazines were out. I came out RM200 poorer but with 1 new knitting book and 4 knitting mags.

Shen, remember that this book called "Kimono Knits"? I found it at Borders and bought it. Looks like they have patterns for various overcoats and other kimono-like tops that you can wear with jeans.

Then today, I still felt fidgety (buying knitting-related books and mags doesnt equal actual knitting) so I headed to Jet Sun at Sg Wang Plaza for a perk-me-up. Great thing to do after a stressful week. I bought 2 balls of red yarn, 2 green, 2 peach and 3 white. What does that colour combi indicate?...... Yup, Christmas!

I saw some cute patterns for Christmas ornaments in some of the magazines and wanted to try making them. The peach is for skin colour to make little Santa pom-poms.

Also bought 5 balls of Winter Time Super Soft yarn in a nice baby pink for Ma as she wanted to make this shawl she saw in one of the Japanese books I got on Saturday at Kinokuniya (I've been on a book spree this past week).

Hopefully, I get to do some knitting soon before I stress out even more!

Piggin' Out: Sage, The Gardens

Restaurant: Sage, The Gardens, Midvalley City
Tel: 03 2268 1188
Note: Dinner only and it's best to call up and book beforehand.
Directions: Take the Isetan side lifts to Level 6. There's nothing else on that floor when you come out of the lift so finding it shouldn't be an issue.

I was just reading The Cork Brothers' recent post on Sage and remembered that I wanted to write about my experience there too.

Sage is the sister restaurant to the famous Cilantro at Micasa apts which closed a while back. Now, I never had the chance to go to Cilantro... One, I was in the UK when the whole buzz about Cilantro was on. Two, I procrastinated when I came back. People had been telling me over and over again that I should try it out. I said I would but never did until it was too late.

So, after reading this blog post, I knew it was time.

Last Friday, with no particular plans in mind for dinner and the parents both available for dinner, we headed to Sage. I was surprised we could get a table at such a late notice but we did. When we arrived, we saw why. The whole place was pretty empty except for 3 other tables. Unlike a few weeks ago when we called and they'd said they were fully booked that weekend and the weekend after. (worsening consumer sentiment, perhaps?)

The parents only took a main course each while Rommel and I both went for the 4-course set. There was a reason for this though - we shared the starters and desserts. (Our miserable attempt at eating less).

The Chef's Special of the Day was the same as what the Lyrical Lemongrass had - oysters topped with fresh cream and caviar. I wasn't in the mood for oysters so Mom had it instead.

Next I had the scallop while Rommel had the wagyu beef. Note, I said scallop, without an s. For RM60 (if you had it ala carte), that's pretty steep even though the scallop was a decently big. The wagyu beef was pretty nice from that one bite I had. Rommel said it was good.

Mom wanted "something light" and she initially wanted the scallop for her main meal until I pointed out that the menu says scallop, not scallops (and I was right). So she ended up ordering the threadfin fillet with wakame, which frankly, was rather bland and she kept complaining. It pretty much just tasted like some poached fish served with some bland seaweed broth.

By this time, I was already feeling tremendous disappointment. Then Pa's salted cod with foie gras came. I remembered this from the Lyrical Lemongrass' review. I didn't try it but Pa seemed to enjoy it. Maybe he would have enjoyed it with some wine but he was trying to be disciplined that day - no alcohol and no red meat. The dish certainly looked interesting and the foie gras - delectable.

Then my main course came. Duck confit with foie gras. I took a bite and was in foie gras heaven. Like literally. I didn't realise my dish came with foie gras actually. Was craving for duck and so I didn't read the rest of the sentence in the menu to see what came with it. But it was certainly a yummy surprise. And I shared this sinful treasure called foie gras with Rommel (he was already eyeing it the moment the waiter placed the plate on the table). We both enjoyed it so much that I now have it as my phone's wallpaper.

The duck itself was also perfection. Really moist, enough fat but not too much, lightly seasoned.

Rommel ordered the lamb cutlets. I had a bite and vaguely remembered that it tasted really nice. Sorry but I cant comment anymore because all I really remembered from the main course was the foie gras.

Dessert was actually a great disappointment. Mom saw the "apple crumble" and wanted that. Rommel took the chocolate biscuit with some sweet sauce (I cant remember now if it was caramel or butterscotch). Mom's apple crumble turned out to be an almond crumble with poached apples at the bottom (again, we did not read the menu properly). She had in mind some sort of apple pie. In any case, I wasn't impressed at all with the dessert that day but maybe it's because the foie gras had shadowed everything else. (yes I can still go on the foie gras).

Price-wise, I'll actually say it was decent. Not the shocking OTT price range that I was expecting (I've heard stories from others on how the cost of their meal at Cilantro can be pretty steep). Yes, the scallop was expensive but when you include it as part of the 4-course Gourmet set that goes for RM160, I thought it was acceptable. If you didn't want the full course, they also have the 3-course Sage set at RM140 or you can order a la carte - starters at RM60, main course at RM80 and the dessert at RM30.

I'd order just my duck confit with foie gras next time.. At RM80 for that, it's really value-for-money. Especially when a certain other French-ish restaurant in downtown KL once charged me RM90 for just the foie gras.

Next on my checklist - a visit to my cardiologist to see what he has to say about this. Doctors already predicted that I have a really high chance of getting a heart attack sometime soon, given my cholesterol levels. Eep. Eat and Be Merry!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Knit update: Current WIPs

Shen, here's the pictures of my current WIPs, just to give you a better idea of what I'm doing. Easier than explaining it to you on the phone!

First up, the Vanna throw. The main colour is the purple which is the Vanna's Choice yarn by Lion Brand. S$4.95 from Spotlight, Plaza Singapura. Then the strips of blue are the Sublime cashmere merino silk aran that I got in Tailor and Alteration, Hong Kong. Not very cheap but its soooo soft and I just had to mix the two together cos the colours match really well with my room.

After every 2 blue stripes, I'm trying out intarsia knitting for the first time (something like knitting a few different colours on the same row). That way, I get to use up more of the purple yarn (which I have more of) and so that it doesn't get too boring a knit for me.

Next, the lace stole which I have yet to name. Suggest one!

The pattern comes from my Let's Knit Series: Crochet Lace book that we bought in Kinokuniya last Christmas. I actually tried this pattern out with some other yarn and made good progress with it on one trip to Singapore but I ended up frogging the whole thing because I didn't feel that was the right pattern for that yarn. Hopefully, I stick with this one and complete it soon.

I have a trip to Singapore (work-related), a trip to Pangkor Laut (a client's wedding) and a trip on Uncle Loh's boat, the Kaleebso (with Uncle Max and gang)..... all coming real soon! Yay... great opportunities to knit!

Sorry the pics are a bit ugly and not very clear. I used the small Sony camera instead of the SLR cos I was lazy and the Sony was within reach. Good night!

Headaches or migraines, come what may

I'm sick. But what do I have? Is it a headache? Or is it a migraine? It comes and goes. My head really hurts when I make sudden movements. My neck is perpetually stiff and my right thigh keeps getting numb.

Add to that a sore throat and repetitive sneezing (but weirdly, no flu or blocked/runny nose).

What do I have?

My dad diagnosed me with dehydration (resulting in the headaches and sore throat) and body aches caused by late night showers.

But then several people in the office have been falling ill too. So is it a bug going around then?

I dont know.

What I know is that I have several things to blog about:

- All Saints Day and All Souls Day over the weekend - pics from our visit to the cemetary to see my maternal grandparents. They lived a long and happy life, had 8 adult children who all married and have loads of grandkids (23 of us at last count) and 2 great-grandkids. Before prayers, we reminisced about my grandma's cooking, which is something all of us really miss. No one cooks like Por por.

- My first knit meetup last Saturday - finally got to meet the various ladies from our Ravelry group. Too bad I couldnt stay long as Ma was waiting for me (she spent time at the Club21 sale so time was not wasted on her part) and we needed to head off to church for All Saints Say Mass.

- My Grandpa vest - almost completed but it's wayyyyy too big for me. What should I do? Give it to Melissa, perhaps? I dont want to frog it!

- My Coco camisole - completed and fits me really well! Am not very happy with the neckline so may frog that part and redo it.

- Started on two new projects:
(1) Katia baby blanket - am knitting this in simple garter stitch after I frogged the crocheted version a couple of months ago. The yarn is so soft and fuzzy that it makes no sense to use any pattern at all. Great mindless knitting while driving!
(2) Crochet lace stole (yet to be named) - Shen, I'm using one of the hand dyed yarns you shipped back to me. I think you bought it at iKnit. Am following a pattern from one of the Japanese crochet lace books. A pretty simple but pretty pattern.

- My Vanna throw which is coming along really prettily and quickly. I love knitting on larger needles. Instant gratification! And I got nice compliments from the Ravelry ladies on Saturday for this. Mona noted that my tension was too tight so that explains why the intarsia part wasn't looking that great. Am trying to loosen it for future rows. Thanks Mona!

Oh great, my headache is coming back. Panadol anyone? Ta...

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Piggin' Out: Afternoon tea @ Jim Thompson Tea Room

Place: Jim Thompson Tea Room @ the Cameron Highlands Resort

Similar to all the other YTL hotels, when you book to stay at the Cameron Highlands Resort Hotel, you are most likely given an all-meals inclusive package. We had a 3 days 2 nights package with 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners costing RM899++ per person.

BUT, since we had intentions to eat at other restaurants in CH, we asked if we could convert one of the lunches into the Jim Thompson Afternoon Tea set. On that fine Sunday, we had a full breakfast buffet spread, then lunch again was a buffet spread (which was really really good and I'm going to post pictures of the bread and butter pudding which was super yummy!!), then afternoon tea and later steamboat dinner at Brinchang. And this is all after Saturday's feasting (as noted in my previous posts).

*pats tummy happily*

So anyway, TA-DAHHhh..... the afternoon tea set for 2. Served with a selection of Cameron Highlands teas. Notice that one scone is already missing from the bottom tray. Ma attacked the scone before I could take the picture!! And Rommel attacked the other scone from our set as well.

The only complaint I have is that again, they did not use clotted cream like how they described in their menu, for which we were understandably upset with them. It was just normal whipped cream. How can this compare to clotted cream?? But, our family cardiologist will be slightly relieved that we have not been scoffing down clotted cream.

The sandwiches were really yummy, especially the smoked salmon ones.
The cakes - so-so. I didnt even try any of them actually. Was too stuffed and so we just packed them up for dessert later in the night.