Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Birthday Shen and Melissa and Happy Halloween!

Today is my sister Priscilla (aka Shen) and my cousin Melissa's birthday. And it's also Halloween! And it's a Friday...OOoooOOOOoohh... Spooked yet?

Anyway, Shen, Happy Birthday! Welcome to the world of twenty-somethings. No longer a teen! Treat yourself to some Kulu Kulu Sushi or be a brat and head towards Royal China in Canary Wharf for a feast!

To Melissa, I dont even know if you know about this blog of mine! But anyway, Happy Birthday!!

And another good news - Uncle Tan has just undergone a successful angioplasty. Thank God! I just received Uncle Thomas' sms to let us all know.

Bye for now... Back to work!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Piggin' Out: Brinchang pasar malam

After our lunch feast at Restoran Tringkap and afternoon tea in T-Cafe, we headed to the Brinchang pasar malam (night market) to "browse" and see what produce we could buy.

So much choice...

My favourite was this tarts and muffins stall. Don't they look just delectable!? This is just a stall that they have at the pasar malam and there's a proper shop called Great Taste. It's in the same building as Hotel Titiwangsa, just at the end of Brinchang before heading off to Tanah Rata. I didnt buy any though as we thought we'd stop over on Monday morning before heading home but we all forgot. This will be a must try for me on our next trip!

Loads of stalls selling strawberries. Which reminds me, I have 3 cartons of strawberries in the fridge I need to finish...

Strawberry ice, anyone? Apparently, how they make it is by diluting strawberry jam with water, stuffing that into plastic tubes and freeze. Tastes good anyway!

And of course, homemade strawberry jam...

Who can forget the Cameron Highlands teas? We bought quite a variety...

Steamed lentils. Really old school.

Fried mushrooms stalls were everywhere. We decided to buy from this little girl..

And here is Andrew trying out one of the mushrooms.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Piggin' Out: T-Cafe, Cameron Highlands

Restaurant: T-Cafe
Location: Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands
Directions: Just on top of Marrybrowns in Tanah Rata, across from the bus station. The entrance is a small stairway on the left.

Rommel and I first came here 2 years ago after I'd read about it in the Cameron Highlands website. Absolutely loved the scones here. And the prices are pretty affordable too. There were 9 of us, we each had a drink (teas were going for about RM1.90), we had 5 servings of scones, a chocolate cake, a strawberry cheesecake, 1 strawberry crepe and 2 apple pies. The bill came up to RM58.

The highlight: the freshly baked, homemade scones with homemade jam, butter and cream. The only thing missing is good cornish clotted cream. I actually went to the Village Grocer in search for it and Rommel search Cold Storage in the Gardens but we couldn't get any clotted cream to bring along. :(

Chocolate cake....

Strawberry crepe...

Strawberry cheesecake...

Apple pie, served warm with vanilla ice cream..

And we had this about an hour after we had the lunch in Restoran Tringkap. So we're pigs. We know. After that, we went to the Brinchang pasar malam where we also pigged out and then came back to the hotel for a 3 course dinner.

Yup, definitely pigs.

Piggin' Out: Restoran Tringkap

Restaurant: Restoran Tringkap, Tringkap, Cameron Highlands.
Location: Along the main road of Tringkap, directly across from the civic hall.
Other reviews: epicuriousgirl (1) and (2)

Now we were on our way to Cameron Highlands, using the new Simpang Pulai way. Pa only realised while we drove past Kampung Raja that this new way took us to CH from the back (as in we came up from Kampung Raja, past Tringkap and then arrived at Brinchang instead of the old route via Tapah where we'd pass Ringlet, Tanah Rata and then Brinchang.)

So Pa got all excited, saying that there was a restaurant in Kampung Raja that was famous for really good fresh water fish. Rommel did a google search on his iphone and found Niu Kee in Kampung Raja and this restaurant: Restoran Tringkap.

Since we were already on the way to Tringkap, I kept on the lookout for it. Really easy to find - just across the civic hall.

So enough words.... here was what we came to this restaurant for.... deep fried sliced fish with black pepper. Wow... the fish was sliced really thinly and fried so perfectly that when you bite, you can literally hear the crunch. And the fish is so fresh that I didnt even mind that it was a fresh water fish. Ma loved this dish so much that she was happily munching away until the end of the meal (and that is realllllly rare!). The fish is served with a Thai style mango salad that complemented it really well.

Fresh veg from the highlands... simply stir fried with garlic.

And we ordered another one of the specialties - steamed ikan keli or catfish. Again, I'm no fan of fresh water fish and I have serious issues eating steamed fresh water fish but this was really really good! No fishy smell or taste!! That shows how fresh it was.

Pa also ordered a typical Hakka dish - stewed sliced fatty pork with yam. This was not very good, in my opinion, simply because my aunt makes a killer version of this dish! And Pa agreed with me on this.

Also ordered the steamed kampung chicken with soya sauce and minced ginger. Now this was really good too. Of course the chicken meat would be tougher than usual since it's kampung chicken but it was really tasty. Loved the minced ginger. I think I can eat a whole bowl of rice with just the ginger.

Shen and Fatteh, we are bringing you to this place when you come back for Xmas!

**Forgot to add that the meal cost RM128. And we had 2 fishes!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Happy Deepavali!

Just a short post to wish everyone a Happy Deepavali! My colleague Sunaina tells me that today is the actual day in India for the festival so I guess I'm not a day late like I thought I was!

More to come on our Cameron Highlands trip:
- Restoran Tringkap, Tringkap - really good fried fish and other yummy dishes.
- The Cameron Highland Resort hotel - absolutely lovely, beautiful scenery, Shen we're going back there in December.
- Afternoon tea in T-Cafe, Tanah Rata - the one place I must visit whenever I go to CH.
- Afternoon tea in The Jim Thompson Tea room at the hotel - a proper posh afternoon tea but sadly even they didn't provide us with proper clotted cream. tsk tsk...

Also, I managed to complete my geometric shawl during the drive up to CH and during the evenings. Special incentive to complete it because I didnt bring any other shawl to keep me warm! It's now being washed, dried and blocked by Evelyn so pics soon to come!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Busy week, stressed out

It's been a busy week for me and my brain's totally dead right now. My report's due and so I have to rush rush rush to get it out. Plus with the global market in such a situation, I really wonder if I should be initiating on a stock right now. And there will be questions on why am I initiating at this point in time. And share prices have been collapsing so that's not helping. Markets everywhere seem to be in free fall.

So this week was filled with 14 hours a day in the office, get home, have dinner, shower and work again until midnight before collapsing in bed. The alarm rings at 5.45am and the whole process starts again.

Add to that 2 dinners with Pa's clients (there was an exhibition in KL so he had guests from England, Indonesia and Singapore).

Then pile on crappy weather - super heavy thunder storms that leading horrendous traffic jams in the city that even at 8pm, most cars are barely moving on the roads. One of the dinners we had was at Max and it took Pa 2.5 hours to get from home to Impiana Hotel to pick the guests up and then turn to pick me up (I walked in the rain to the Weld to meet them) and then finally arrive at Max. We were 2 hours late for dinner.

So you can imagine how I'm looking forward to this weekend. We're off to Cameron Highlands as it's the long Deepavali weekend. Time to breathe in some clean highland air and chomp on strawberries and have steamboat feasts! Of course some time during our relaxing weekend, I will have to turn on my office laptop and do some work but hopefully when I get a bit more sleep and relax a bit more, my brain can function slightly better and I can write my report.

And now..... I'm off to bed for some much-needed rest. G'night.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Knit FO: Lydia cowl

I actually completed this a month ago but have never blogged about it. Perhaps it's because I was not too happy with the outcome.

Shen, in case you don't remember, this was what I was knitting in London (remember me knitting while we were waiting for the bus near your place?).

Knitting stats:

Yarn: Lydia by The Plucky Knitter (100 Perfect Blue Faced Leicester).

Yardage: 400 yards
Needles: 4mm circulars
Pattern: from my Chinese hats knitting book.

The picture below is how it would be as a cowl:

And if you wanted it as a cap instead of a cowl, you can tighten the i-cord to seal one end and you have a cap!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Knit FO: Morticia cap

Meet my latest FO, Morticia. I'm currently into knitting hats/caps and bags since they're a much quicker knit compared to shawls (I still have 3 WIP shawls and I'm taking my time with them!).

I used Morticia from the Plucky Knitter. Sarah (a.k.a. Plucky) named this colourway after Morticia Addams of the Addams family so I just had to buy it when I saw the name. (My sister and I used to watch the cartoon ALL the time).

The stats: Superwash merino wool handpainted worsted weight, 190 yards per skein and I have some leftover. Knitted on 4mm circular needles.

Monday, 13 October 2008

The story of Pa and Perold

Shen, check out this post on The Cork Brothers. I'd written about my experience in Elegant Inn here and the reason why we went there to eat was because Pa had attended this wine-tasting dinner there a few days back and he wanted to take me there to try.

P/S: Guess what. Pa is going to have musang for dinner tonight. I'm still contemplating if I should go along for the meal or not. Decisions, decisions. Will keep you posted if I do.....

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Knit FO: Suki bag

Shen, remember the beige bag I started in August? I think it was just before you went back to London. Well, here it is, completed and oh-so-cute!

I'm now using it as a knitting storage bag so I get to keep my smaller projects in it and carry it around conveniently. But if you want, you can have it when you come back in December.

This bag is called Suki simply because I like it and suki means like in Japanese. Apologies for the unoriginality but it's Sunday night, I'm suffering from back to work blues and it's raining heavily outside so I wanna crawl into bed and sleep. Plus I figured that calling it something else like kawaii bag would be even lamer.

No particular pattern was used, I followed the base pattern for one of the Japanese crocheted bags and then made a straight single crochet body and improvised the handles from another Japanese magazine.

The string is basically a simple crochet chain using my newly purchased 10mm hook from Singapore. The yarn is actually 3 different strands of stash yarn that I had - from my Green fairy shawl, my sushi cap and my Alpaca bag.

I'm so pleased with this, my first attempt at making bags that I'm inspired to try making more. And this time, I think I'll follow one of the patterns I've earmarked.

Piggin' Out: Duck King, Jaya One

Restaurant: Duck King, Jaya One
Tel: 03-79579819
Verdict: A new place for Sunday brunch!

After mass today, Pa wanted to take us to try Duck King in Jaya One. Jaya One is the one of the latest developments in town and hosts a variety of restaurants catering to PJ residents. Rommel and I have been hearing from quite a few friends about the whole place and so we were keen to check it out.

The restaurant was obviously famous for.... duck. So we ordered a platter of roasted duck and char siu. The duck itself was pretty good, of course not as good as the ones in London but still pretty good. And not too fatty as well. The char siu was a bit too sweet for Pa's liking though.

They also have some dimsum-ish fare so we ordered....

... pork innards with pepper soup....
(really good, the meats were really soft and it certainly was peppery enough)

.... rice wine soup with tin kai (frogs)...
(a bit too sweet and too thick for our liking)

.... siew long bao...
(not much soup/sauce in them and the pastry was too thick but it tasted really good. Just think of it as a normal dumpling)

... stir fried nai bak with garlic...
(probably the second best thing we had there. I loved this dish and ate most of it.)

.... egg tarts...
(What dimsum meal would be complete without egg tarts for me? So of course we ordered them. Sadly, the pastry tasted like it wasn't baked long enough and you could taste the flouryness in it. A great disappointment, especially after what we had in Hong Kong.)

I wanted to order their deep fried tofu but the chef came out to say that it wasn't fried to his expectation so instead he offered some yau char kuai stuffed with fish paste, deep fried and coated with some mayo-like sauce. Suuuuper fattening but hey it tasted good!

And now, I'm getting hungry again. Time to decide what's for dinner.

Shen, is it any wonder why I dont lose weight?

Piggin' Out: Elegant Inn, KL

Restaurant: Elegant Inn, Menara Hap Seng, Jln P Ramlee, KL
Verdict: Pricey but yummy!

For yesterday's dinner, Pa, Rommel and I headed to Elegant Inn after much deliberation (the other choice was to go to Max but we've been there a bit too often of late!).

We started off with the mud crab, stir fried with salted egg yolk. Sorry I was too hungry to take a picture of the crab before we gobbled it up. The crab itself was large and meaty, the sauce was not as thick as how it's usually served at other places but I like it this was as well. Not too rich. Here is a teaser of what was left..

We kept things simple for the rest of the meal : stir fried bittergourd....

(really crisp, not bitter at all and really fragrant)

.... chiew pai tofu...

(Homemade, very soft and delicate texture, accompanied by blanched stems of brocolli)

....sliced pork cheek stir fried with black bean sauce...

(recommended by Wendy who took our order, interesting texture, rather chewy but in a good way, loved the freshness and crispness of the bells peppers that came with it)

.... and finally, the fried rice... came highly recommended by my dad's friends when they ate there just a few days ago.

(At first bite, I thought it was rather bland but then I was comparing it to my benchmark fried rice in London - the harm yu kai lap chao fan or salted fish and diced chicken cubes fried rice from Royal China, Baker Street (I used to tar pau it home all the time). But as Pa had put it, you will slowly be able to taste its subtle flavours while slowly chewing on the rice.

Feeling slightly incomplete, we ordered the warm shuet kap with almond tong sui for dessert. Pa is trying to perfect his almond tong sui "formula" so we had to check out how the pros do it! Glad to say that Pa's recent attempt with the almond soup came out pretty similar to what we had yesterday. He double boiled some bird's nest soup and added the powdered almond in a few minutes before turning off the fire. Yummm...

All in all, a pretty good meal.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Knit FO: Her Ladyship stole

Here is Jilly's birthday present, all folded and packed into this wooden box. But before I gently stuffed it in, I got the white tiger to model it for me again.

Such a lovely and very easy to remember pattern... it's the easy lace stole pattern from Arlene's World of Lace, available for free Ravelry download here.

I used The Plucky Knitter's BFL superwash in Her Ladyship for this, simply because I love love love the colourway and thought it would suit Jilly.

My only problem with this project was that I'd made some mistakes which I somehow could not figure out so one end is now shorter than the other. I was really upset with this at first which is why I hesitate in giving this to Jilly but after some thought, I decided that you can't really notice the mistake unless you're specifically looking for it!

Ma's birthday.... at Max!

We celebrated Ma's birthday in Max! Kitchen & Wines again this year. Not because we couldn't think of anywhere else but because Pa and I really do like going there to eat! Plus, the upstairs section is just perfect for a cosy group of 24.

Of course, the wines are a must at any dinner Pa organises (no surprise there).

And the tables were nicely set for our arrival...

Of course, my favourite.... warm, toasty foccacia with olive oil and really sweet, sticky balsamic vinegar that's absolutely addictive.

To start, we had the unagi with duck liver terrine with Martell Cognac flambed chanterelle and cepe ragout (I'm copying it from the menu so it's not as if I remembered it by heart!).

For the soup, I chose the creamed borlotti bean soup with scallops and fresh tarragon. Creamy, rich, not too overpowering, a hint of truffle oil and very yummy scallops. And really filling because by the time I was done with the soup, I was almost full.

We offered the guests another choice of soup: roasted shiitake mushroom soup with pan fried frogs legs and parsley. Evelyn had that so I tried a little bit. The frogs legs were really really good, just lightly floured, slightly crunchy and tasty. The soup however, was a bit of a disappointment because there was more cream than mushrooms so it ended up being very very rich!

For the main course, one could choose the cod fish fillet oven roasted on clam stew with chevril puree and braised leek:

Or have what I had... tenderloin of Angus beef with black truffle sauce, parmesan gratinated potato and french beans.. *yum* that was good. (but not as good as my favourite steak from Max - the pepper crusted ribeye)

A third main course choice was the charbroiled lamb cutlet with port wine - mint sauce. Rommel had that so I tried some. Really juicy and tender but still nicely grilled on the outside. As always.

And then came my favourite part.. Varlhona French chocolate souffle with creme brulee with macerated fruit salad and latte ice cream, accompanied by a good cup of cafe latte.

Of course, we must not forget the purpose of this meal, the birthday girl!
The birthday carrot cake is courtesy of godbrother Calvin of Blackforest Tavern.

Happy Birthday again, Ma!