Thursday, 26 March 2009

Interweave Crochet - Spring 2009

I've been glued to the computer screen, staring at the lovely patterns in the Spring 2009 issue of Interweave Crochet. I rarely see IC magazines in bookstores in KL although I managed to buy Interweave Knits at Times in Pavilion. Am going to pop by there again today and hope that I find a copy of IC.

Here are my favourites:

Seaside throw by Rhonda Davis
Adalia tank top by Marikka Hughes

Spring Shell by Simona Merchant-Dest
Fan and Petal Necklace by Doris Chan

Snuggle Hoodie by Lisa Naskrent

Solas Caomh by Jodi Euchner

And last but not least, my favourite...
Malabrigo top by Julia Vaconsin

Time to go hunting!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Screwy internet at home

I'm having issues with the Maxis broadband at home. And Ma, Rommel and I have also had issues with Maxis 3G on our phones... *pffffh* It's been unstable for weeks... Sometimes ok, sometimes really bad. As in you cant make any outgoing phone call or send any sms. So annoying!

Which then explains my inconsistent blogging of late. When internet's fine, I blog a couple of posts, when it's not, I can't do anything, can I?

So anyway, it was a busy weekend for me. I took yet another shot in my attempt to emulate the domestic goddess aka Nigella Lawson.

Our Saturday schedule:

-Pa and Ma head to the wet market early in the morning to buy the ingredients for pan mee. I'm still in bed but I think I'm entitled to a little bit more sleep since I'm up much earlier than they are on weekdays.
-I wake up at 9am to the sound of the doorbell ringing. The RCIA volunteers arrive to help with "dressing up the teddy bears", as I call it since they were basically changing the colour scheme for over 900 bears and trimming the ribbons etc etc etc..
-Pa prepares his pan mee as the rest set off to "work". I, on the other hand, head out to do my grocery shopping since I was in charge of dinner.
-First stop: The Village Grocer at Bangsar Village where I got the steaks (3 wagyus and 3 black angus - all nice and chunky) and 10 lamb cutlets and a free range chicken and ingredients for mushroom soup and salad. Also bought the usual veggies and stuff for this week's consumption.
-Next: Cold Storage at BSC, because I couldnt find decent seafood in BV. Bought prawns (for the pan mee), cod and salmon for dinner and sh*tloads of icecream to feed everyone. I felt all eyes on me when I was carrying this whole stack of Haagen Dazs to the counter.
-Rommel and I got home in time for the pan mee lunch, for which I was grateful because I was really hungry. No wonder why I was in a cranky mood before that.

-I decided that this time I wanted to prepare everything way in advance instead of rushing through it as we always do (although that's because we usually decide on these things at the last minute). So I marinated the lamb and chicken, trying to copy how Robert in License to Grill does it, ziplock bag and all.
- Next I made my garlic butter for the garlic bread and the mushroom soup. I'd finished everything at about 4pm, just in time for tea.
- So I served whoever was still in our house some soup and garlic bread. Which meant I wouldn't have enough baguette slices for dinner so we headed out again to buy more.

- The godsiblings were supposed to arrive at ~7pm. Thank God for Malaysian timing as everyone was at least half an hour late and so my food timing turned out just right.
- I'd put the chicken in the oven at 6.15pm and let it roast for 45 mins.
- Next were the lamb cutlets which I grilled in the main oven instead of the smaller grill oven because that's where the garlic bread went into.
- At the same time, Rommel and I prepared the salad dressing (I poured the stuff in the cup, he stirred). I modified Michael Smith aka Chef at Home's recipe for this. The salad leaves were prepped and everything was tossed together just as the guests were arriving.
- After a very heavy and meaty dinner (courtesy of the juicy steaks), we sang Happy Birthday for Kok Beng and Stella. The chocolate and walnut brownie cake was of course made by Calvin and we served it with a scoop of Haagan Dazs Macadamia brittle.

So yea, that's why I always say my weekends are always busier than my weekdays.

Pictures to come. I intend to post the recipes (although I dont have any measurements for the ingredients since I just estimate everything).

Friday, 20 March 2009

A time for prayer

I've been following the news on Natasha Richardson's fall and subsequent passing. My condolences go out to her family as they go through this difficult and painful time. And this has brought back memories of what happened to my mother two years ago.

My mom had a bad fall in October 2007. This resulted in a blood clot in her head which was only found during an MRI scan 3 weeks later. She had travelled to Singapore for meetings during those 3 weeks and was also on chinese herbal medication to improve her blood circulation. We will never know if any of these reasons had caused the blood clot or if they made it worse but doctors have told us that these are possible explanations since there didn't seem to be any indication of a clot earlier. She had emergency brain surgery on the day that they found it. Thankfully, in my mom's case, she has recovered and is pretty much back to her old self.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Piggin' Out: CWZJ aka Tea House

Restaurant: CWZJ - Home of the Tea Kings (or more affectionately known as Tea House to my family and close friends)
Address: 8, Jalan 11/116B, Kuchai Entrepreneurs Park
Tel: 603-7981 8714
y previous posts: Dec 2007, March 2008

One my family's favourite restaurants - for its simple, home-style cooking and the great quality of ingredients used. My sis and bro usually request for this place as their first meal home after 6 months of being deprived of good food.

My dad paired the meal with a rose champagne I recently bought at the airport after my Phuket trip. I wouldn't say it went very well with the tea (we had sui xin).

For starters we had deep fried pig's large intestines.

And deep fried minced tofu cakes. Ooh I always love anything with tofu in it.

We each had a very nicely marinated pork ribm served with a mix of mayo and Chinese mustard.

We had one garoupa, cooked 2 ways..

The first was plainly steamed.... steamed fish goes well with good rice (see below for sinfully delicious rice).

And the other part of the fish was deep fried. This was because some of our guests (and my mom included) are not fond of steamed fish (what a pity I'll say but it's okay cos then it's more fish for the rest of us!).

And here comes the piece de resistance: claypot rice cooked with crispy (and very unhealthy) pork lard and a dash of soy sauce. Altogether now.... *drool*

Ooohhh my arteries.... No wonder why Pa went to do a medical test and stress test this morning. It's all due to meals like these!

The Invasion of the Teddybears

Mom's been shopping again. And it's not all clothes and shoes and bags. At one of the wholesalers on Petaling Street that she usually sources her stuff from, here's the latest items to invade our home.... teddy bears...

There's more bears in much larger sizes too and even bears decked out in LV and Burberry and all bedazzled... all for a charity event that she's involved in. I can't say much cos I dont know how much I'm allowed to reveal but I will hopefully be able to post pictures of the end products. I've seen the prototypes and they are cute!

P/S: If you're wondering why I'm so free to be blogging in the afternoon, it's because I'm home sick today. The multiple-sneezing got really bad yesterday so I'd gone home to rest but I had to come back to office to listen in on a results conference call and sort some things out. This morning I woke up with a killer sore throat and killer headache to match. I've done the whole take VitC-drink lots of water-gargle with salt water-drown my misery by watching E! nonsense so I'm feeling better now. Except the headache threatens to make a comeback every few hours... ugh... this is so annoying. And I look like Rudolph on a bad day. Now let me go wallow in my misery.

Piggin' Out: Xenri

Restaurant: Xenri
Address: No.9, Wisma Elken, Jln 4/137C, Jln Kelang Lama, KL
Tel: 603-7783 8118

Rommel has been mentioning Xenri for a couple months now and so we finally made a trip to this Japanese restaurant in Wisma Elken, just off Old Klang Road, opposite Pearl Point shopping centre and about 5 mins from Tmn Desa.

It was rather odd to find this really simple, clean and nicely decorated restaurant "in the middle of nowhere". I love the simple zen-like furnishing. (I'd taken some pictures but they didnt turn out nice so I'm not posting them).

We'd enjoyed our Friday night meal so decided to bring the parents there on Sunday night again for my dad to try it out.

The following pictures were taken from both nights:

I ordered the 3 taste mini chawan mushi, which came as a real surprise (although if I'd actually paid attention to the pictures in the menu, there was a picture of this so it shouldn't have come as a surprise). Cost: RM18.

Egg and dashi mixture steamed in egg shells instead of the usual ceramic cups. Each egg is topped off with (1) caviar, (2) uni or sea urchin, (3) crab meat.

Ooh delectable.... Shen, you'll love this since you love anything with steamed eggs. We ordered the same thing again for my dad and he approved.

On the first night, Rommel ordered the sashimi moriawase, cost: RM68. I only took a slice of butter fish, scallop and hamachi while Rommel polished off the rest. Verdict: pretty good and fresh according to him. (I'm not a big fan of sashimi and so I'll abstain from voting.)

I felt like eating grilled fish that day and so we ordered the hamachi kama shio or grilled yellow tail fish head. Yum... grilled to perfection and not as jelak as salmon head.

When we went with the parents, we also ordered the tori karaage. I believe I have mentioned before that at every new Japanese restaurant I go to, I must try this fried chicken dish. It's like my benchmark on whether the restaurant is good. Why? Because despite the fact that it's a pretty simple recipe, not many places can do it well. And how did Xenri fare? Alright I'll say, just alright.

On Sunday night, Rommel had the sashimi dinner set. Sorry I can't remember how much this cost since I dont have the receipt for it.

My dad had the sushi moriawase. Sadly, my dad, the sushi snob, didn't quite enjoy it. He said the sushi rice was alright, the fish were fresh but he just didn't seem to have enjoyed his meal.... "It's all about the experience".... which usually means, he probably wont eat there again unless I drag him there.

I tried their kinoko kama meshi (cooked rice with assorted mushrooms in a pot). Rather bland in my books but maybe that's how it's meant to be. Looks good though, doesn't it?

What I really enjoyed was the hot somen.. I dont usually see hot somen on the menu in most Japanese restaurants in KL so I was really happy to have it. Simple soft noodles in a clear broth. Yum...

And so.... will I go back? Yes because the food is decent, pricing is decent, I like the ambience and location (so near my home) and parking's not an issue. What do you think? Shen, would you want to try it when you come back?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Piggin' Out: Champs, Centrepoint Bandar Utama

Restaurant: Champs
Address: Lot F-10, 1st Floor, Centre Point Shopping Centre, Lebuh Bandar Utama
Tel: 603-7722 5800
*Definitely not halal*

Just wanted to post pictures from my favourite place to have chee yoke mee (pork noodles).

*drooling at the amount of crispy pork lard**

And Rommel, without fail, will always order the Black Worm Noodles (aka Hokkien Mee).

If my mom is with us, she'll order the chee yoke mee. Then, my next alternative is the char kuey teow...

*yum* Simply lovely. I feel like running over just to get my dose but I'm not even hungry since I just had a really heavy meal (I took pics so that's another post to come).

Monday, 16 March 2009

Knit update: Current WIPs

Internet's being a bit crabby at the moment so it took ages for these to upload.
And Flickr was being a pain too. As such, it's now way past midnight and I need to sleep (Monday blues again) so I leave you with the few pictures of my current WIPs.

The feather and fan stole:
I started on the second ball of yarn today. This is the project I currently carry around with me. You can't really see the changes in the colour very nicely in this picture but it's really pretty upclose!

The drawstring raglan (and the picture from IK Spring 2008):
Progress has stopped in the interim for this. I dont like to bring this project out since I really want to make sure that this comes out perfect (i.e. no mistakes)! Since this is a variation of the feather and fan pattern, I'm concentrating on the stole above first since I really want to complete it.

The Handsome Triangle from Victorian Lace Today:
Started this during my India trip but have yet to find back the mood to continue with this. Requires more concentration that I would usually have (I'm too tired by the end of the day to think when I knit, hence the really simple projects most of the time). But I love the colour of the yarn and the pattern.
The kusa shawl:
This is an even older WIP - started this during our Lourdes trip last June but have made little progress on it since then. It looks so soft and squishy though. I reserve this for short work training trips to Singapore where I can only afford to bring a small and light project along with me.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Knit FO: Basic crochet bolero No.2

How odd that I'm posting about Bolero No.2 before I even took any picture of Bolero No.1! But I wore No.1 to work on Friday and so it's now in the wash.

I made both No.1 and No.2 last month. Simple, easy and quick pick-me-up projects - a great boost since they are so easy and so quick to make. No.2 was made with smaller needles for a tighter gauge (and smaller size) and will be given to one of my younger cousins as a belated birthday present.

Yarn: Sublime cashmerino silk aran in duck egg blue.
Hook: Japanese hook size 7.
Notes: No.2 was made following the simple single crochet border pattern (the picture on the left in the book) whereas No.1 was made with the frilly border (picture on the right).

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

My brother a poet?

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this.

I mean, I've never thought that my brother was.... poetic?

But yea, my brother, Patrick, won his school's annual Haiku Poetry Competition with this entry:
Heh Congrats Fatteh although I know you didn't expect to win!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Piggin' Out: The C. Club, Pavilion KL

Restaurant: The C. Club
Location: Level 6, Pavilion KL
Tel: 603 2141 3160
Other reviews: A whiff of lemongrass, Jules

Rommel has been wanting to try The C. Club for a while now but we don't usually go downtown during the weekends. Mom and I eat here rather regularly because of business lunches and (for me) because it's so near my office. So, at his request, we finally dragged ourselves over to Pavilion on Saturday.

I must say, business seems so much quieter on weekends. We were the only table here at 1pm. Which, to me, is not a bad thing because service can get super slow on weekdays when the restaurant is full - this is why I wouldn't recommend having lunch here if you're in a hurry.

So anyway, let's start with the drinks. I ordered one of their specials (which is listed on one of the front pages of their menu/catalogue/magazine) - the ginger beer. Not too sweet, really gingery (which I like) and icey cold (which I needed after being parched the whole morning). You can tell I was thirsty cos I had half the drink before I remembered to take a picture.

For starters, we shared the scallop and foie gras with caramelised onions. This is my second time trying this dish (the first was when I was introduced to it by TC and Cal a long time back). We found the foie gras not fatty enough (sinful, I know) but smooth in texture and really complemented the scallop. Apologies as I was pretty hungry so we'd gobbled it up and the salad that we'd also ordered to share before I remembered to take a picture. So here's what it looked like in the menu.

For mains, I had the shredded duck confit spaghetti with rocket leaves and sundried tomatoes. I think my dad will like this dish. It has 2 of his favourite foods - duck and rocket leaves. Plus, it wasn't oily at all. I usually order pasta when I have lunch here - either this or the mushroom risotto.

Rommel opted for steak. The grilled aged beef with wasabi and sea urchin butter served with wakame, broccolini and tempura shimeji mushroom, to be exact. At RM69, one cannot expect the beef to be great and, rightfully, it wasn't the best steak we've had. But, taste-wise, it was pretty good. Interesting combo with the wakame...

I really wanted to take this home:

It has a "C" on it so if we had it at home, we can serve drinks with it and tell ppl it's the family crest. Yea, right.

All in all, I rather like this place because the food's been pretty consistent all the times I've eaten there. There's not so much of a crowd too (esp compared to Kampachi) so if you're entertaining clients at lunch, it's quiet enough to talk. My main issue with the place is the slow service during "peak hours" - although I've never seen the restaurant actually packed. Decor is nothing much to look at, as Rommel had put it, it looks nicer from the outside.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Ice cream or afternoon tea?

The great debate in the office today was where should we have ice cream? And the reason for the celebration: I passed Module 19A! (the SC regulation exam for analysts). But the timing isnt right today for all of us to leave early and we just had an ice cream celebration 2 days ago at Gardens to celebrate Sunaina passing hers 2 weeks ago. So it is now scheduled for 2 weeks later when Ed gets back from leave.

Then I was reading Jen's recent post about afternoon tea at the St Regis Singapore and it made me remember our teenage days. Unlike most high school kids at that time, we didn't spend our Saturdays "hanging out" at places like 1 Utama and stuff (just doesn't fit our image, y'know). Instead, we had tea at the Ritz Carlton after an afternoon shopping at Starhill and Lot 10 (the Pavilion hadn't been built in those days or we'd be shopping there too).

I'd never thought at that time that we were brats at that time for doing that as it just felt normal to us. It was only during our London days that we talked about it and joked that we must have seemed like such spoiled brats then. All this being said while shopping in Selfridges and Covent Garden. Hehe...

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Knit FO: Vanna throw

Okay finally found time to post these pics!

Some stats on the Vanna throw:

Started on 15 Oct 08, completed 10 Feb 09.
Yarns used: Sublime Merino Aran (in duck egg blue) and Lion Brand Vanna's choice (in purple).
Needles: Addi 100cm circulars, 6mm.
Pattern: my own random design - an attempt to master knitting with 2 colours.
More details on my progress on Ravelry.

I took the picture below on 5 Nov.... Still a WIP then...

And now the throw is a permanent fixture on my bed.

Shen, did you notice the new big Snotty? He takes up a big part of the bed but I sometimes kick him off when I'm asleep, just like how I used to kick you off the bed. He's wearing a nice knitted jumper so now I want to make other accessories for him too. A scarf perhaps?