Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Diet and exercise - Doctor's orders

Went to get my medical check up done on Saturday. Blood test results are back and...... (drum roll)...

My cholesterol level is still high (for all three, HDL, LDL and triglycerides - is that how you spell it?). In fact, it's gone higher. So what's new.. *pah*...

Pa and I went back to the Tmn Desa Medical centre this morning cos I needed to get a few more tests done.

Got a nice lecture from the nurses and the doctor about exercising and losing weight. The GP even said I have to watch out for risks of getting a stroke soon... That's the second doctor to tell me so.. The first being my GP back in London.

I haven't even gone to see Dr Ng, our family cardiologist yet! I daren't go because I know what he'll say. But have tentatively made an appointment to see him with Pa next week.

Pa has decided to put me on a diet. But first, he fed me fish head noodles soup and kaya toast for breakfast (we went to the coffee shop next to the Old Klang Rd BHP Station). Muahaha.. so much for discipline. Lunch was more controlled. Steamed corn and sweet potato. And a glass of carrot with red apple juice. Then for dinner, we're going to the tea house in Kuchai because we should eat something steamed, without fancy sauces and healthy. We'll see how healthy that is!

Shen, I cant remember if I've told you but Pa has given us the ultimatum. We have to lose weight by August cos he wants to go take a family portrait by then. But when you guys come back in July, we'll be pigging out like there's no tomorrow so I dont know how a diet regime is going to fit in!

Anyway, I found some pics from our Japan trip in 2004. Look what 4 years has done to us! (And Fatteh too... Lucky for him, he's lost the weight and gained in height.)

First, here's a picture of me in Glover Gardens, Nagasaki... eating a very nice strawberry soft cream on a stick (I still remember it.. yummm)

Here we are... eating again! Still along the streets near Glover Garden, buying more soft cream and steamed mantou with braised pork filling. (How much soft cream did we eat during the whole trip? I lost count..)

Picture perfect!

And lastly, the super yummy sausage at one of the rest stops on the way to Mount Fuji! It was so good that we went back for seconds

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Knit update: Shen your shawl is done... plus a matching bag

Completed Shen's Triangular Japanese shawl this morning. I had some extra bits of yarn left so I decided to make a matching bag to go with it. Super-easy!

The shawl was made with GGH Capri in Mint and Deep Lavender, and with Debbie Bliss Merino DK in grey. Pattern was from the Let's Knit Series Crochet Lace book we got from Kinokuniya in December.

One thing I must note, the shawl is pretty heavy!

The matching bag was made in a jiffy, I followed the pattern for the base in The Crocheter's Guide to Yarn Cocktails book - The Topaz Cocktail Bag, but made the body in simple single crochet.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Restaurant review: Prime @ Le Meridien KL

Restaurant: Prime
Location: Le Meridien Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2263 7555
Verdict: Utter disappointment, horrendous service and mediocre food

Upset would barely describe how I felt after last night's dinner at Prime.

I've been looking forward to trying Prime out because of all the great recommendations from friends and floggers alike. I'll admit though, that I have been warned by a few that it was not all that great but, you'll never know until you try.

My parents have been bugging me for a meal ever since my bonus was announced a few weeks ago.. And we've all always wanted to try Prime. What better place to make the daughter buy dinner than at one of the best places to have steak in town (and also one of the most expensive!).

My first complain would be the service. Our waitress was really rude and had an attitude problem. She was acting as if we didn't belong there. My dad had brought a nice bottle of French wine (Sorry I can't remember what name now... I think it was a Chateau Margeoux, Year 2000. But I might be wrong because i only got a glimpse of it). She rudely pointed out that they had a policy not to allow outside wines. We were pretty fine with not having the wine with the dinner but it was just the way she said it. Plus, she didn't even bother to push to sell their wines since we cant drink ours.

Ordering time. Again, she was horrid. Absolutely horrid. I wanted her to explain certain things on the menu, since it was our first time there and all. She didn't look like she least cared and she barely said much.

For starters, I had the clam chowder, Rommel and Pa had the portobello salad and Ma decided to have the fresh oysters.

Clam chowder was disappointing. Too much cream, just one large clam that was sliced up and some chunky bits of potatoes. A far cry from the clam chowder I'd had in San Francisco Bay as a kid.

The portobello salad was pretty good, I suppose. But, Rommel said the reason why he ordered that was because the other salads just didn't sound interesting.

Mom's oysters were fine. Came with various types of sauces which was interesting. But she said, for the price (RM65), we could have gone across to Latest Recipe and all had the buffet for slightly more and she could have eaten loads more oysters.

Main course:

Mine was the Simply the best Beef set which came (in one plate).. 110g each of the Australian Black Angus, the Argentinian and the Wagyu, all cooked slightly differently with baby potatoes, asparagus and other veg as accompaniments. Sounds good? Well, the taste was something else.

I started with the Black Angus. Definitely NOT melt in your mouth. In fact, it almost tastes like (but is worse than) the RM52.90 steak I get in Monte's at BSC (which I very much prefer anyway). And I asked for medium. The steak came pretty much well done. FAIL.

Next was the Argentinian steak which was really tender. But I didn't quite fancy the curry-ish sauce that it came with.

Then the Wagyu. Ugh. Don't even want to think about it.

Pa also had the Wagyu, but he took the a la carte ribeye, 220g. He complained to the waitress when she came around to ask how were things. He said that the meat was not as tender as expected, considering this was supposed to be their best cut (I asked her if it was). All she could say was, "I'm sorry about that. Enjoy your meal." I mean... WTF?!?!?!

Rommel had the Australian Black Angus ribeye, 340g. Pa tried some and actually said that he prefered Rommel's one which cost less than half the price of his.

Ma has been abstaining from red meat so she took the grilled US cod. And guess what, it was not fresh. Can you believe it?? I took a bite to test since I'm the family's freshness detector when it comes to fish. Yup. Not fresh at all. Perhaps that was why the waitress kept forcing us to order the sauces to go with our steaks and the fish. Cos Ma said that once you added the sauce for the fish, you couldn't really tell.

For dessert, we'd read that the hot chocolate cake was supposed to be good. So we ordered that, and a strawberry cheesecake to share. Now, I dont mean to be fussy, but when the "hot" chocolate cake arrives at the table 5 mins after ordering, something is not right. It's too fast a service. Then we saw why. The cake was just a little round cupcake and they had the hot chocolate sauce in a separate jar which you then pour over the cake. It was too dry and bland tasting. Its only saving grace was the ice cream. Not too sweet, rather light... Yummy.

The cheesecake was alright I suppose. Ma wanted that one but it wasn't what she was expecting. So for the first time, we barely touched the desserts (except the ice cream).

We'd also ordered 2 lattes. They only brought one. When we asked for the 2nd one, the spoon that came with it was not chocolate-coated like the first one. Inconsistent?

At the end of it all, Pa said that the quality of the meats were actually pretty good. It was the cooking which ruined everything. His steak had a bitter aftertaste due to over-charring. But, he would have very much more enjoyed eating at Le Francois or Angus in Pavilion or at Max or even Monte's.

A lady from Le Meridien called me this evening to see how our dinner went last night. I told her we were very disappointed and then passed the phone to Pa and he gave her an earful. Poor lady. She was just doing her job. But, the chef needs to know.

And so now we have finally tried Prime. After all the excitement and anticipation, it was downright disappointing. Rommel said he thinks the steak we cook at home is much better. Pa said he'll never go back there unless someone wants to buy him dinner there. I say - those who told us that Prime is not all that it's cracked up to be were absolutely correct.

Now, I feel like running back to Max and ordering my pepper crusted steak just to make myself feel better. Or back to Angus in Pavilion for a proper wagyu.

(Another disappointing steakhouse is Jake's Charbroil in Starhill's Feast Village. Long story, maybe worthy of another review. But, to sum it up, after one disastrous Father's Day meal there 2 years ago, we've never gone back.)

Shen and Fatteh, are you game to try Prime after reading this? I think this experience is worse than the Gonbei incident. At least at Gonbei, the manager redeemed himself and the restaurant waived off the whole meal worth RM900++ because of what happened!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Results and Thank you!

First up, thank you so much Ellie for the little piggy!!

Here is a pic of her knitting a part of my Lorna shawl - I'm calling her Angel pig for the teeny wings on her back!

And now here's a pic of how Lorna shawl is coming along... The Filagura Di Crosa merino wool yarn I got in Lily Handicraft is really, really nice to work with and the pattern comes up beautifully, even though it's just a simple stockingnette with garter stitch border.

Fatteh, I think you're the weirdest! How's the modifying of flashlights coming along? I think you'd prefer modifying cars, no? Btw, you better work on trying to encourage Pa to buy me the Golf GTI (I dont mind the Mini Cooper S too)!!! We dont have enough cars in the house if you start driving during summer too. He already said that when you and Shen come back this summer, BOTH of you are taking your driving lessons and test! Got that, Shen?

And it's the end of American Idol Season 7... And my vote, David Cook won!! So happy.
Also, Man U beat Chelsea last night. I heard the cheers all the way from Neelas. it actually woke me up at 5am. Must have been during the part where Chelsea's penalty kick didn't make it. Then more cheering when the match was over. I didn't even need to stay awake to watch it to know the results. Fatteh, did you watch it?

Bai... Time to sleep!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Finals day: American Idol and Champions League

It's a day of Finals....

First, the American Idol finale... Who will win? David Cook or David Archuleta? If I could vote, it'll go to Cook, simply because I think he has more star material vs Archuleta. Also, I find Archuleta rather annoying and wannabe cute (eww).

BUT, I admit that Archuleta can sing. In fact, tonight's finale was his. Superb performance. I give that to him. Although I hope David Cook wins...

A tough decision and I can't wait for the results tomorrow!

Then, starting at 2am Malaysian time - it's the Champions League finals. Man U vs Chelsea. Lots of boys and grown men who really are boys wont be sleeping tonight. In fact, I'm making a mental note to observe if any of the guys in the office are late tomorrow or keep yawning.

My fascination with football was short-lived. We even set up a girls football team in boarding school.... much to the entertainment of all the guys.. They routinely showed up at our practices and laughed at us. But it was World Cup 2002. We were a bunch of bored kids in the middle of the English/Welsh countryside. We even bought face paint, jerseys etc and never missed any England match.

When I got to London for uni, hanging out with a bunch of guys meant that watching football was inevitable. My favourite part was always sitting in a cosy pub, watching the crowd cheer or groan while watching the game. Of course, a nice cold lager as an accompaniment was great too.

Back in KL, I rarely watch the game. Simply because both my dad and Rommel are not big fans. No particular team, no particular country. My dad spends more time watching Golf TV and Rommel Fifth Gear. So, for tonight's results, I'll happily read in the papers tomorrow. No rush.


Oh, I bought more yarn today. Went to Lily Handicraft in SG Wang again to get the matching yarn for the Lorna shawl. Bought 10 balls of Filatura De Crosa's Zara in medium brown. Cost me RM35.90 each ball.

And, I had a yarn epiphany last night just before I fell asleep. Instead of trying to figure out if I should buy more yarn online, I have decided that it's enough for now. Until next month, that is.. Because, I'll most likely be in Singapore some time mid-June for training and if I have the time, I'll head to Golden Dragon at People's Park Centre, Chinatown OR to Ishida Craft in Tanglin Mall. Yippee...

Then we'll be flying over to London end-June so I get to shop for yarn there too!! Can't wait to check out some of the shops whose address I've found online. Plus, I've also found a yarn shop in Barcelona which is pretty near the hotel. *bliss*

And Shen, there's actually a forum for flashlights?!?!? Fatteh is weird..

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Ravelry and Pay Pal surprise!

Never have I been so happy to see my credit card bill!!

I finally managed to sort out my Paypal account and pay Sarah, the Plucky Knitter for the remaining yarn that I've ordered. She shd be able to send all the yarn I ordered soon!! Am so so so excited! However, I hope the yarn doesn't arrive before June 8th or I'll have a hard time trying to concentrate on my exam!

Saw the credit card bill the moment I got into the house, tore it open, rushed upstairs and switched the laptop on immediately. Checked my gmail as well and found another great surprise! My Ravelry account has been set up!

For non-knitters/crafters, Ravelry is basically a website that caters to knitters and crocheters, for us to post our projects, our WIPs, our yarn stash, needles and hooks. It's a great tool to help us keep track of all the yarn we have (which I admit, I sometimes lose track of), and all the needles and hooks we have (I have bought the same sized needles over and over again so this shd help me keep track!). We also get to meet with fellow crafters and we get access to a great database of patterns and listings for stockists, suppliers etc..

Oh boy.... A lot of time will be spent on Ravelry... I feel it already... *yippee*

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sleepy Sunday and Audrey's Baby Shower

What a relaxing day it was today. Simply because tomorrow's a holiday! (Wesak Day)
And we went for evening mass yesterday so since we didn't have to wake up early, it felt even more like a holiday!

Woke up ard 11am, wanted to go Midvalley. Got in the carpark and found too many cars circling around so my dad got impatient. Got out and headed to Bangsar Village instead. We walked around BV and bought quite a bit of things at House of Presentation. Shen, I got new baking pans - a square cake pan and a round one and a tart pan - all with loose bottoms so for easy removal after baking!

I also finally got a nice proper grater.... and a wooden spoon cos we couldnt seem to find ANY wooden spoons in the house the other day... And some ladles..

We wanted to eat at Reunion cos Pa is still not feeling well and wanted porridge but it was packed! They said we had to wait 20mins or so... We headed for Chatterbox instead.

Bumped into quite a few people... Aunty Lena and family.. Jeff and family (client)... and an ex-colleague of Mom's. I guess more people are opting for BV instead of MV nowadays.

I also bought some ciabatta, foccacia and brioche together with some bacon and ham for tomorrow's breakfast. We'll be having the sandwiches with rocket leaves, sauteed mushrooms and yummy cheddar.

I managed to do some studying in the afternoon and later also went to get my haircut at Hair Atelier in Tmn Desa. Shen, FYI, Florence is 8 mths preggers now so by the time you and Fatteh come back in July, she'll most likely be on her maternity leave. Perhaps you guys shd try this place out. I went there with Ma today and she also got both her normal hair and her wig washed. Haha.. She also has to look for an alternative when Florence isn't around. And it's great cos this place is near home!

While I was studying, Ma was in Aunty Sam's house for Audrey's baby shower. Here is the doorgift they gave everyone. So cute! I put my camera lens cover to show how small the cupcakes were..

Ta... Back to knitting and then sleeping. So happy tomorrow's a holiday.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Recipe: Mushroom soup & garlic bread

Shen, here you go... Our mushroom soup recipe... Foolproof, easy and always a hit with everyone at our family dinners/parties.


400g mushrooms
60g butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup plain flour
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
Salt & pepper to taste


Chop up the mushrooms into equal sizes. (You can mix a variety of mushrooms like portobello, shitake, button, oyster. Different combinations give slightly different tastes so it's fun experimenting.)

Heat the butter in a large pan, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft (about 5 mins).

Add the flour and stir for a minute. Stir in stock and simmer, covered for 10 mins.

Turn off the heat and blend the soup until smooth with a metal handheld blender. (Or let the soup cool a little and blend it in batches in a normal blender.) I usually prefer my soup slightly chunky so I try not to overblend.

Turn the heat back on and add the cream, stir over low heat until the soup is heated through. Add pepper and salt and serve.

* If you are making this ahead of time, don't reheat and add the cream, salt and pepper in first. You can leave the pot alone and do the reheating and adding of cream just before serving.

I also like to add a dash of truffle oil at the end sometimes.

Goes well with our family garlic bread. I'll need to try to make proper measurements for the garlic spread cos I always just throw everything in a bowl and hope for the best. But here's the gist of it:

Garlic spread recipe:

I use Neosoft margarine for this as it's really smooth and easily spreadable. I put the whole tub of it in a bowl and add finely diced garlic, thinly shredded cheese, chopped herbs and black pepper.

We discovered that by frying the garlic beforehand until crisp does wonders. Although remember to let the fried garlic cool before adding it in to the margarine.

You pretty much can use any cheese, all up to your preference really. However, I once used Emmental and my dad didn't like it. You can also use more or less cheese, as you wish. More cheese = cheesy garlic bread!

Any herb can be used or you can just omit this. If I happen to have herbs in the house, then I use them. Chives to parsley to whatever tickles your fancy... All in the name of experimenting!

Spread the mix generously on thinly sliced baguettes and bake in the oven (heated at 180'C) for about 5-8 mins until golden brown. Best served immediately.

Recipe: Baked cheesecake

We were at the Village Grocer last night and I suddenly decided I wanted to make cheesecake.
Came back home straight away after buying the ingredients and started on it.

125g digestive biscuits crumbs
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
450g ricotta cheese
450g cream cheese, melted
2 tsp vanilla essence
175g sugar, sieved
3 eggs,
150g fresh blueberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 160'C. Place 12 paper baking cases in a muffin tin.

Put digestive biscuit crumbs into a bowl and stir in the butter. Spoon tablespoons of the crumb mixture into the cases, pressing firmly into the bottom. Chill to set.

Beat the ricotta until smooth. Add the cream cheese, vanilla and icing sugar, blending until smooth. Slowly add the eggs, blending well. Spoon the mixture into the cases.

Bake for 25 mins. Remove from oven and cool for 5 mins before removing the cupcakes to cook on a rack. Chill for a couple of hours or overnight. Serve topped with blueberries.

Store covered for up to 2 days in the fridge.

Pet's Comments:
I made the mistake of not allowing the cream cheese to soften a bit more before adding it to the ricotta. Perhaps it would be better to lightly beat the cream cheese separately before adding it in. The mixture came out rather lumpy but after baking and chilling, it seems to have turned out alright..

We managed to get 21 cupcakes out of this. This may be because our cupcake cases were smaller?

Also, the top didnt look nice and smooth, which is perhaps why the recipe calls for blueberries to be added on top.

But it tasted great!!

The recipe comes from my favourite cupcake book - 500 Cupcakes & Muffins by Fergal Connolly. Almost every cupcake recipe I've tried in this book works... which to me, indicates a good cookbook.

Knit update: Japanese shawl, GGH and Lorna's Laces yarn and other FOs

Finally, I find time to take pics of what I've been knitting/crocheting of late.

First up is the Japanese crocheted shawl I've been talking about. I have been using this pattern with various yarns and then frogging the whole thing and reusing the yarn for something else. I finally decided on stripes of these colours together instead of just one colour.

I am using Capri from GGH in Mint and Deep Lavender and have incorporated the grey Debbie Bliss Merino Aran I got from Shrewsbury 2 years ago. The GGH yarn were part of my recent purchase from Jimmy Beans Wool, along with the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport yarn shown below in Envy.

Isn't this gorgeous!? I've decided to knit the whole thing in a stockingnette stitch. I CO 80 stitches on 4mm circular needles I bought from Lilly Handicraft in Sg Wang, did 8 rows in garter stitch (ending with WS) and started the stockingnette stitch. Since I bought 5 skeins of this yarn, there shd be enough for a decent-length shawl.

A couple of days ago, I thought about making the shawl a bit wider. Have decided that I need more yarn and that the yarn I bought for Ellie's scarf was the perfect size and texture to complement this. So, I need to find time to go to Sg Wang to buy matching yarn... I'll most likely get a light brownish tone yarn and will knit 2 thinner strips in the same pattern (CO 50 stitches instead of 80) and stitch it all up when I'm done.

Am looking forward to finishing this one...

Next up is my long delayed WIP - my lilac top. I've finished the back portion and now need to work on the front before I go back to Lilly Handicraft for more instructions. My first garment.. *so proud*.

Next, this scarf/shrug was finished long long ago but I never bothered to take a picture of it. I was pretty upset with how it turned out as a shrug (I didn't follow a pattern and made up as I went along, you see), so I just chucked it in a corner.

Then I realised that it looks much better as short scarf.

Yarn: Sirdar BLUR with Kid Mohair. Bought in John Lewis, Oxford St last September.
Pattern: my own "creation"

Finally, here is a pic of my first ever knitted item, a scarf of course since it's the easiest. I used it as a shawl the other day while watching Narnia. I remember I got the gauge totally off and had to run off to John Lewis to buy more yarn because I made it too wide. A really great scarf for cold winter

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian - the drama

The SFX youth group organised a fund-raising pre-screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian last night. The tickets cost RM30 and was in aid of their upcoming trip to The World Youth Day in Sydney and was held at the MidValley GSC.

A pre-screening is well... you get to watch the movie at the cinema before the movie's official release (which happens to be tomorrow). You'll be amazed how so many people don't understand the idea of a pre-screening. (or think they do but in fact have no idea)

My mom bought out a whole cinema hall for clients, family and friends. So we had to be there early to sort out the food and drinks and door gifts which we had purchased for our guests. It was pretty funny though because there were other halls also for the pre-screening and so there were obviously other people who were there. Everyone seemed to think that we were giving out free F&B to everyone and wanted them. spent time shooing people away (nicely of course).

And then there were people who had no clue about the strict rule on no camera mobile phones, no recording devices, PDAs, laptops etc... And those people got upset that they were "harrased" by cinema staff and the authorities... and then start screaming at me for no particular reason. How unreasonably rude..

And then there were those who were late. Obviously, we didnt have that many door gifts so if you were late, your fault. And my family didn't have seat numbers as preference was given to guests and we were supposed to allow the guests to be seated and we go find any empty seats available.

I only entered after the movie started and found 4 seats in a row with good view. Thinking that those people most likely didn't bother to show up, my parents, Rommel and I sat there. It was also a great seat to look out for latecomers so that we could usher them to their seats.

A couple walks in like 15 mins into the show and demand that those were their seats. My parents graciously gave their seats up and moved to sit right in front. About 20 mins later, a girl comes in and seemed to know the couple. Apparently, we were sitting in her seats. I was cool with that, after all, we were supposed to let our guests sit first. Then the old man (I cant even bear to give him the respect of calling him uncle) starting scolding me, saying, "Where exactly are your seats? Why are you sitting on other people's seats??" in an extremely patronising way.

Now, even my dad doesn't speak to me in such a tone. The old man had the gall to accuse me of doing something I never had the intention to do! And to top it off, it's not like he was paying for the tickets! My mom paid for the whole thing. How dare he demand for more.. especially when all of this was done in the name of charity!?!?

In fact, the tickets are usually sold for free seating, so it usually is a first come, first served basis. My mom had personally gone through the trouble of allocating the seats for our guests so that there would not be conflicts.

So, my mood was pretty much spoilt by all these rude, unreasonable and extremely depressing people.

On the movie, loved it. Then again, I always like fairy tale and magic stories, myself having grown up on Enid Blyton books as a child. We actually have a copy of the Chronicles, my sister's present from Aunty Regina and family many a year ago. I know my sis and bro have read the whole thing, but I have never found time to read it. I went home and found the book last night and have started on the first few pages.

I'm not going to spoil the movie by spilling any beans, though.

Shen, can we get a pet lion who looks like Aslan?

Recipe: Summer fruit pie

Here you go, Shen... The recipe for my fruit pie..

Dice 2 apples and a punnet of strawberries.
Mix in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of honey (although the original recipe called for sugar).
Spoon small amounts onto a puff pastry square and place another square on top. Flatten the edges to seal.
Bake in a 200'C oven for 20 mins.
Best eaten warm and maybe with a scoop of ice cream.

Note: I used frozen puff pastry which was already cut into squares and all you needed to do was lay them out one by one and leave to thaw for 8-10 minutes. So easy!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Beef steak sandwich - the pics

Okay I think the pictures don't really do the sandwiches much justice. They were really yummy! Although, Pa and Rommel both thought that we shd've bought better beef... Hey how was I supposed to know the beef wasn't going to turn out nice!? It was some new brand we were trying from Cold Storage at BSC.

So anyway, I was supposed to make them for our breakfast but when I got downstairs, my dad was already happily chomping on one while watching golf. Since Evelyn had already started making it, I figured let her make the sandwiches for all of us. Pa somehow never likes the panini maker so he insisted on his ciabatta being toasted on the pan.. I asked for the same since Evelyn'd already had the pan on the stove and all..

I must say the sliced cheddar from President was really good. Rommel added 2 more slices of it into his sandwich..

While waiting for my breakfast, I make some pies.. Diced strawberries and apples, mixed with some brown sugar and sandwiched between 2 squares of puff pastry. I got the recipe from one of the BBC Good Food magazines but everyone found the fillings a bit too sour. Back to the drawing board...

For Sunday supper, we had simple pasta with ragu sauce (tomato-based pasta sauce with minced beef, diced carrots, celery and onions.

While Evelyn was cooking, I made blueberry muffins for tomorrow's breakfast...


Friday, 9 May 2008

Steak sandwich for breakfast, anyone?

Rommel and I headed to Bangsar Shopping Centre this evening for dinner. We wanted to try this "typical English pub" that we'd read about. I think it was called George and Brown or something like that. Sorry.. Can't remember the name now but all I know was we got there and it was pretty full of people. There were some empty tables but all were reserved.

They wanted us to sit by the bar but the thing was, I was there to eat, not really to drink (still recovering so won't wanna touch alcohol just yet). I refused, and so we left.

Ended up at Alexis Bistro, one place we haven't been for ages. My family used to frequent the Telawi Alexis years ago... My mom liked their Sarawak laksa and we liked their cakes too. For old times' sake, I had the laksa but was really disappointed.. Not nice at all. Rommel's mushroom risotto was quite nice, especially with the drizzle of truffle oil but Rommel said he'd still go back to Paradiso. I figured, the next time we go to Paradiso, I bring a small vial of truffle oil to add onto the risotto. Perfect!

Anyway, since we were at BSC, I had to do some grocery shopping. Bought loads of stuff back as usual... but the most interesting of all were... grapples! "Looks like apple, tastes like grape.." It sure smells like those grape gummies Fatteh was addicted to as a child! Have yet to taste it so will comment later..

Also planned tomorrow's meal... I bought ingredients for a steak sandwich so that we could have it for lunch but my dad's off to the KL Convention Centre tmrw for some exhibition so we're having it for breakfast instead. We're having pan fried thin beef fillets with baby spinach, sliced cheddar, sauteed mushrooms and caramelised onions (optional) sandwiched between 2 slices of fresh ciabatta smothered with mustard and toasted through on our panini maker. Can't wait to take pictures!

I also bought strawberries and blueberries.. and frozen puff pastry... Am thinking of making strawberry pie and blueberry muffins. We'll see. I'm supposed to study 2 hours in the morning before I can bake anything. Self-imposed rule! Hope it works...

And since I have made myself hungry thinking about tomorrow's meals, and after a disappointing dinner, I leave you with Max Chin's pepper-crusted steak with mushroom ragout, onto which I added a full piece of pan-fried foie gras. Yum...

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Flu bug galore, knit update and shoes!

In case you're wondering why am I so free at work... it's because I'm not at work. Been sick since Sunday and it doesn't seem to be letting up. I went to work on Monday but felt ill. Tuesday went to work again but still felt horrible.

Tuesday night was bad - went home early (ard 5.30pm), showered and slept until dinner time. Ate dinner and went back to sleep. Wednesday morning, work up with a really bad sore throat, didn't go to work and slept the morning off. Rommel came back during lunch to take me to the doctor. Got some medicine, slept the afternoon away. Woke up in time for American Idol (although not on purpose.. I just happened to turn the TV on then remembered it was time for AI).

Oh I must add that we went to our "new" shop for dinner. Ipoh Road Hakka Yong Tau Foo in Kuchai Lama! Verdict from Pa, Rommel and Evelyn: Yummy, can beat the Madras Lane Yong Tau Foo which has consistently been my favourite all these years. I cant trust my taste buds at the moment (everything's tasteless to me). But from what I could taste, it was good. Also, the restaurant was really packed and there was a constant stream of people coming and going. I forgot to take my camera with me so couldn't take pictures. Will do a proper review the next time we go there!

So anyway, woke up this morning feeling slightly better (although sleeping proved to be difficult these past 2 nights). Went to work and after sorting some things out, I'm back home again. Just took a packet of the Beechams flu medicine. I totally forgot I had it until Prem asked me why I went to see a doctor. Cos he said there wasn't much point in seeing a doctor for these things. He asked," What did you do when you go the flu in England?". Then it struck me... I take Beechams!

Thanks Shen for buying them for me. And so gonna stock up on more when I get to London in June.

I am waiting for the medicine to lull me to sleep.. and also for the telephone repairman to fix the phone system (it's my phone and the upstairs hall phone that need fixing so I can't go to sleep with him walking in and out of my room, now can I??).

So here are some pics I've been meaning to post but always forgot to....

First up: My new crocheted bag, completed a couple of weeks ago... which has been made using the yarn I frogged from my orange hat. had some leftover yarn (the ball in the picture) which I promptly used to make a matching phone pouch. I'm thinking of making this my first felted project but am a bit scared of felting. Never done it before!.

Next are close ups of the knitted scarf I'm making for Ellie. About 50% completed only so far. This is done with the yarn bought from Lilly Handicraft in Sg Wang Plaza. Gorgeous. I've done a simple lace mesh from "The Knitter's Bible" by Claire Crompton, published by David & Charles. A really easy pattern to remember and great for knitting when driving!

And since I was taking pictures, here's a pic of my new Louis Vuitton shoes! Okay they're not so new. Bought them a month back and have yet to wear them out! Still haven't found an occasion to wear them too. This shoes are probably the second most expensive shoes I've ever bought. First place goes to a gorgeous pair by Sergio Rossi. 4-inch heels with orange snakeskin leather. And absolutely comfy.

Oh yes, I wore the Sergio Rossis together with the dress in my last post to the Climate Change Gala. Shen, the dress is from Salabianca and it isn't yellow, it's lime green. On the rack, I wouldn't have though to buy it but Ma made me try them on and they looked the best on me (compared to other dresses which made me look potentially preggers!). I first wore the same dress for our Chinese New Year housewarming so some ppl who were at the Gala would have remembered the dress. One girl actually had the gall to come up to me, look at me up and down and said, "Oh you're wearing the same dress again." As if it's a crime to do so. Snooty b*tch, I say! So what if I wear it again?

Oh and Shen, another thing, I think I'd better buy Ma a Mother's Day present.. Something from LV? I dunno.. Cos I just got my bonus (which was pretty good, thankfully) and I got a promotion and I got a pay increase. So Ma wants a BIG present. Well, that's what she said... She's in Hong Kong now and probably buying half the shops already.

Sigh still waiting for the guy to fix the stupid phone. My eyelids are closing already. Maybe I'll sleep in your room, Shen.


Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Mother's Day 2008 Fund-raising sale

The RCIA team at SFX is doing another fund-raising event - this time it's for Mother's Day. The ladies were over at my house last Saturday decorating and packing everything..

For those interested in buying for your mommy dearest, we're selling them this Sunday morning at St Francis Xavier church, Jalan Gasing, PJ. Best time to buy is right after the 8.30am Mass, i.e. around 9.45am. We did not make a lot of baskets to sell this time as my mom is away in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Here are some of the things for sale:

I noticed that the beautiful orchids we got from the Climate Change Gala last Saturday have been placed in the foyer. Looks nice!

And here's a pic of May, Calista and myself at the gala.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Global warming - I feel it

It's been so so so so hot lately. Especially yesterday and today. I went for class yesterday and fell sick almost immediately. Some classmates said it could be due to the change in classroom, the subject or the teacher.

I think it was the weather. The multiple sneezing finally got to me and I left class at lunchtime. Bought wantan mee from Koon Kee for lunch for the family and a packet of porridge from Hon Kee for Rommel (the parents and I had the porridge for breakfast). My dad came to pick me up and we checked the temperature - 37'C... Goodness!! I can't really remember when the last time it was this hot.

And to make things worse, it's really humid too... stifling to be exact. The air doesn't seem to move. It's days like these that I really do appreciate the air conditioning systems - although yes I very well know that they contributed to global warming too.

And in the midst of all this heat, what am I doing? I'm crocheting a shawl. The yarn I'd bought from Jimmy Beans Wool finally arrived! 15 balls in total - 5 GGh Capri in Lavender and 5 in Mint. A remaining 5 are Lorna's Laces Oddball Shepherd Sport in a nice green and brown mix..

The shawl is actually the same pattern I'd done before with the pretty Alpaca yarn I got in London but I ended up frogging because it didn't go with other colours. So now I'm doing the same shawl again, this time alternating the colours between the lavender, the mint and the light cream coloured yarn I used for my baby blanket and Suen's scarf. Rommel has yet to warm to the colour combination yet but he says he'll comment again as the scarf grows. I like it though. Feels like a summery scarf.. and it's always summer here in Malaysia.

Another knit update: Ellie's scarf is doing well, almost halfway there actually. It's just that I keep forgetting to bring it to work and leave it in the car for the drive home. BTW, how many ppl out there do knit and drive? I wonder why everyone's always so shocked when I say I knit and drive during traffic jams. Cos I find reading more distracting - you actually have to really concentrate on reading whereas I dont have to think much when I knit and drive. The key is to choose a simple, repetitive pattern.

I'm thinking of buying more yarn. I just found this new website selling yarn too called Knitch and have signed up for their newsletter. I can't decide. Tough tough tough. And I feel like flying off to Ho Chi Minh City for the weekend to buy yarn from the 2 ladies as mentioned in Sally Knits. Need to find the next long weekend. Shen, I think that'll be during my birthday... Hint hint..

Oh and SHENNNN... Check this out - Kimono style Baby Surprise Jackets

Ta! I'm off to continue crocheting my shawl.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Review: The Eagle's Nest Steakhouse, Damansara Perdana

Restaurant: The Eagle's Nest Steakhouse
Address: Ground Floor, 1-1, Jln PJU 8/5D, Perdana Business Centre, Bandar Damansara Perdana, PJ
Tel: 03 7726 1120
Verdict: Still prefer Monte's any day.

Rommel had read about The Eagle's Nest on friedchillies and wanted to give it a try. Hey, if it says good steak at good prices, we're always up for it!

We headed there after Ascension Thursday mass last evening. Found the place pretty easily with its clearly lit signage. The simple decor with windows instead of walls was nice cos we could sit inside but still watch what was going on outside. We rather liked the ambience as it was not noisy at all (unlike in Monte's where you sometimes have to practically shout to get yourself heard). Only issue was the music they were playing was totally off.

Drinks first: I had a lime soda while Rommel ordered an iced lemon tea. My lime soda was really good and refreshing (and I was really thirsty so it helped). Rommel's iced lemon tea tasted homemade (i.e. I could taste the Lipton) but it wasn't very nice. Not enough lemon.

For starters, we ordered a mushroom soup and their escargots to share. The soup was extremely disappointing and tasted like the canned mushroom soup with added enoki mushrooms. My homemade mushroom soup tastes way better than that! The escargots were so-so. Not much taste to it actually and although yes, they were fresh and chewy, I prefer the Monte's escargots anytime.

(You'd have noticed that I keep comparing this place to Monte's because they are in the same price range and pretty similar food. Monte's has been in Bangsar Shopping Centre for years and is a firm family favourite for its steak, peppermint lamb, escargot and garlic bread. Great pastas too... **Mental note to myself to write a review on it soon**. Yay a reason to go there!)

For the main course, both of us had steaks: him the Tenderloin Natur which was supposed to be a favourite (costing RM45.90) and me the Steak Americana (RM52.90).

I have more complaints than compliments, unfortunately:
1) We asked for the steaks to be cooked medium but both came out slightly overdone - sort of like medium well already.
2) Rommel's steak was simple with no sauce but mine came with the chef's homemade bearnaise sauce. I felt the sauce lacked character... it was rather bland. And there was way too much sauce. My dad would have complained until the cows come home if someone served him that much sauce with a steak. I should have asked for the sauce to be on the side.
3) Also, another thing on the steaks... The Taste.. We both think the meat tasted like local beef instead of imported beef. Very much like the Fogal meats in the Gardens. Just had a slightly musky taste.
4) The accompanying salad was rather weird.. There was some sourish coleslaw at the bottom with canned corn and some lettuce leaves.
5) We also ordered a side of oyster mushrooms stir fried in garlic butter. Way too oily and I think they should have just added a touch of truffle oil or something to give it a boost.
6) BUT, some hope... The garlic bread was really nice.. That's cos the bread was fresh and really light. The garlic butter used for the bread was nothing great though. Again, I still prefer the one in Monte's.

Needless to say, I doubt we will be going back anytime soon. Or rather, if we so happen are back in that area for a meeting or whatever and are thinking of a place to have a quick meal, then maybe we'll eat there.

My dad was right again (even though he wasn't even there to try it!). He'd already warned that it's always best to stick to the tried and tested, i.e. Monte's.

Here's a map if anyone's interested anyway.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Bird's nest soup and Cordyceps soup

Shen, Pa is into his bird's nest soup phase again. Only this time, he's alternating between bird's nest and cordyceps soup every night.

My dad gets into these phases once in a while. He will decide all of a sudden that we should all be drinking bird's nest soup. Then for the next couple of days, he will personally make the soup for all of us to drink. He thinks that drinking it just once in a while won't do much good. You have to drink it for a couple of days at least to make the best of it.

During Christmas, we were all at the Pavilion shopping mall one day and came across the Chinese herbs and medicine shop on the first floor (where the food court is). We all went it and came out with various goodies such as dried scallops, oysters and red dates... in various packets for the home, for Shen to take back to London and for Fatty to take back to Concord. We also bought a small box of cordyceps which I think cost RM4000+.

Last week, my dad bought a much bigger box of cordyceps, this time from the Chinese medicine shop near my home.. This one was really expensive and he's all eager to try it out. But, we have to finish the ones bought in Pavilion first!

I like the cordyceps best with abalone and a little bit of pau sum (a type of ginseng). Also add a hint of sea salt for taste. That's what I just had and it tastes pretty yummy. We used the abalone Pa bought in Hong Kong a couple of months back. 2 days ago, he tried a different combination - cordyceps with ginseng but there was too much ginseng so it turned out a little bit too bitter to drink.

One gross thing about cordyceps - they kinda look like maggots. So when you're drinking the soup and you seem them swimming around in it, some tend to lose their appetite. I just eat them as well. Hehe.. Evelyn called it the worm soup the other day.. Haha..

My favourite bird's nest soup combo is with gingko nuts and egg white. But unfortunately, my mom and sis don't like it so I rarely get to have it that way. My dad usually puts in ginseng and red dates and some rock sugar which also tastes great. Beats those bottled ones anytime! (But I still drink the bottled ones once in a while since we have a stash in the fridge).