Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Gong Hei Fatt Choy!

... albeit a rather belated Chinese New Year wish!

This is my sister's first CNY celebration at home in five years... so I think my most frequent question to her all of last week was... "So does this feel like Chinese New Year yet?"

CNY is a special celebration time for Chinese families worldwide.

There's the must-have reunion dinners... This is actually taken on the second day of CNY when we went back to my aunt's home in Rawang one more time for another round of "feasting'. In accordance with tradition, we went back to my dad's hometown on the eve of CNY for the actual reunion dinner.

My aunt's cooking is something I really look forward to every CNY. We had my favourite chun kuen (similar to spring rolls but its meat rolled up in thin pork fat sheets and deep fried), another favourite qu tou tong (pig's stomach soup with pepper), siew yoke (roast pork) and steamed chicken.

There's the rounds of full course Chinese dinners (and lunches).

Here are my cousins Samantha, Vanessa and Melissa tossing the "lou sang" at our family reunion lunch (for my mom's side of the family). We ate at Ming Room, Bangsar Shopping Centre.

We also had one round with my dad's side of the family on the third night of CNY. Here's my dad, his youngest sister (I call her Mui Gu), her son, her husband and my dad's second sister (Chui Gu). We had a great feast in Gu Yue Tien, Chulan Square.

This picture is for my friend Suen who sadly couldn't make it for my CNY party this year. She loves this jelly cake, ordered from this lady we've affectionately called "The Jelly Auntie" who lives nearby. Suen can eat a whole cake by herself!

The second night of CNY happened to be Rommel's birthday so we took a break from all the Chinese dinners and celebrated at Sage. They took the liberty to specially prepare the truffle pasta for us although it wasn't in the menu. This was so good, we wanted to go back for lunch the next day to have it again.

More pictures are here.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Piggin' Out: Cilantro

I was supposed to blog about this ages ago. Once I found out Cilantro had reopened, I checked with the family for the next available dinner slot and booked a table straightaway. I got so excited, I blogged about it on the day we went to eat there in late December.

The main question most people would have in their minds would be - how different is Cilantro to Sage? At least that was on my mind when I got there.

First up = the truffle butter.

I can sing songs and write poems about this truffle butter. I read so much about it before, having never tried Cilantro before it closed for the renovations. It was a really glorifying experience to finally have tasted it.

We also got to taste the nori butter, a specialty that isn't made and therefore isn't served that often. Good, very good infact, but still couldn't beat the truffle butter. We were shy about asking for more truffle butter. In our next 2 trips to Cilantro, we literally gobbled it all up.

One point I would like to make though is that the bread at Sage is much much better than the one in Cilantro. We had Cilantro and Sage within the space of a few days so the memory was still very fresh in our minds. Maybe Cilantro should pinch over the person making the bread at Sage, just to complete the experience.

Starters (from bottom right, clockwise - that was the order we were told to eat it): Raw tuna with truffle shavings, uni or sea urchin pasta (absolutely heavenly), prawn with avruga caviar, raw oyster and umeshu.

Next was pan seared foie gras with braised quail. Yum... How can one say no to foie gras?

This was probably the highlight (apart from the truffle butter, of course) - lobster consomme. Really really good.
For the mains, my dad and I chose the grilled Japanese beef while Rommel and Patteh chose the lobster.

For dessert, passion fruit creme brulee with mango sorbet. I like...

That first meal there was really good, I must say. However, my third visit to Cilantro proved to be a slight disappointment because I didn't quite remember the food itself. Although, that could have been because I was with a whole bunch of girls and we talked non stop throughout the entire meal and so I didn't spend as much time savouring every bite.

In any case, I will definitely be going back there...

Friday, 5 February 2010

Knit FO: Misti scarf

I thought for a very long time about what to do with these 2 skeins of Misti Alpaca that I purchase from Loop London more than 2 years ago. After all, they were the most expensive yarn I had purchased (at that point in time) so I didnt want to "just make something" out of them.

As it turns out, the simpler, the better. I ended up knitting the most basic 2-colour garter stitch scarf for our London trip.


Ravelry link: here
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky Solids
Needles: 6mm straights

Knit FO: Auntie Annie's shawl

Made for my Auntie Annie for her birthday last October... I'd actually completed it, got it washed, took pictures and all before giving it to her but I've just realised I forgot to post pictures of it here!

Ravelry link: here
Pattern: Japanese mag ISBN978-4-277-17230-1, Shawl No.5
Yarn: 4 skeins of Winter Soft in rose pink, purchased from Jet Sun at Sg Wang.
Crochet hook: uh-oh I can't remember now.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Knit FO: Japanese Hippie Bag

A super easy Granny square bag with plastic handles. This was meant to be a birthday present for my aunt but after I made it, my mom decided that it might not be something she'd use. So we kept it for ourselves!

Ravelry link: here
Pattern: Sorry no links to it. It's from one of my Japanese magazines.
Yarn: Patons Jet, purchased from Spotlight Singapore
Crochet hook: Japanese size 7

Knit FO: Travelling woman 1

This shawl really fits its name.

The yarn travelled from The Plucky Knitter in the US to my home in Malaysia. I then brought it to London where I cast on in London in December and completed it in Paris a week later. It has followed me home to Malaysia and has been given to Rommel's mom as a Christmas present.

The pattern was very simple to follow and I had fun knitting this! In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I made another one right after. That second one has been washed and blocked but not photographed yet!

Ravelry link: here
Pattern: Travelling Woman by Liz Abinante
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Merino Seacell in Garland colourway
Needles: 5mm circulars

Knit FO: Cherry leaf shawl

Finally the internet gods have allowed me to post some pictures! (It's been soooo slow of late that I've tried various times and the connection was just too slow.)

Anyway, here is my Cherry shawl, named after the pattern in the Victorian Lace Today - Shoulder shawl in cherry leaf pattern. As usual, I didn't knit the border as I thought it was nice enough as it is.

The pattern itself was pretty easy to memorise after a while and the yarn is super soft cashmere lace from the Plucky Knitter. I've worn it out to a friend's wedding (the picture below was taken that night after the wedding dinner), and I brought it along to London where it was very well used to keep out the cold winter winds!

Ravelry link: here
Pattern: Shoulder shawl in cherry leaf pattern by Jane Sowerby
Book: Victorian Lace Today
Yarn: The Plucky Knitter Cashmere Handpainted Laceweight in Francie Stevens colourway.
Needles: 5mm circulars