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Monday, August 31, 2009

Spa in the Sky

On Sunday, our lovely friend Paddy invited us over to the Traders hotel for a bit of pampering. The spa was launching their signature foot massages and wanted a few ladies to try them out. How can one resist ?! 5 of us gathered at tea time and met at the hotel's top floor , Skybar

We were served with cocktails while the staff prepared the space and soon we were seated and more drinks and magazines were offered. The foot massage was tender and very relaxing, unlike the brutal experiences you pay for in chinese traditional joints. Still they hit some of my sore spots and I did a bit of cringing.

The bliss ended all too quickly and soon we were yawning and feeling totally chilled out. After the massage, the staff ushered us downstairs with more drink offers and even snacks.

Brillant way to have a lazy Sunday I say.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Baking with B

B runs a lovely little french cafe and I always harboured working/learning in her kitchen. I think most chefs and especially pastry chefs are highly particular people and the kitchen is their private club and it is hard to get an invite. Thankfully we are good friends and one day I popped tthe question about me helping out. She said yes!! and I started going there this week.

On Wednesday, we got an order from a stunning looking Persian customer, big sunglasses, silk scarf, very Sophia Loren. Anyway, she requested for Baamieh, a sweet that is popular during Ramadan when breaking fast. It is sweet and lovely with some hot tea.

Baamieh is essentially fried dough dunked in sugar sugar spiked with rose water. Sugar and water is combined with eggs and beaten.

Then we formed little lumps and deep fried them til golden brown.

When they are done, they go into the sugar bath and Voila ! Baamieh.

Who doesn't like a bit of sugar coated fried dough eh?

When the work was done, I was treated to a bit of lunch. B made pasta and you can see that I gobbled it up rather quickly. Baguette came straight out of tthe oven, piping hot and smelt crazy good.

On Thursday, I was back in there with my apron. This time we made 3 types of biscotti:- plain, cranberry + almonds and finally coffee ( favourite) .

Toyi pictured here works in the kitchen, so he did the prep work and laid out the ingredients neatly in a row.

Here is the pic of the cranberry biscotti before it went in for the first bake.

After half hour of baking, the smell in the kitchen was just divine.

Second baking takes longer, about an hour but first we had to slice it.

It was a good day.................. I will be back in there come Monday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kampung Life in the City

Life in KL just got more charming. I first heard about the van lady ago but never had the opportunity or the need to contact her. My fav. supermarket was just a bike ride a way and they stock all sorts of imported groceries. Recently I found out that van lady stations herself at the condo next door every Tues and Sat at 7-8pm.

Today is Tuesday and I didn't have time to do a shop so I waited til the time came and strolled to my neighbours.There were two vans and 2 ladies. Each van opens up like a transformer toy unveiling all sorts of treasures. You can get fresh veggies, cheese, fruits, meats, tinned food. There are sundries too like toilet paper, smokes, cleaning agents, brooms and sponges. It was quite a sight. I am told you can order anything from them and they will bring it to you.

The prices were also very close to supermarket rates and the quality was very high.
The vans are refrigerated so the fruits and veggies are plump. I got quite excited at the sight of the broccoli ( I know, such a housewife eh?)

How do they keep everything in place? Here's a closeup.

The van is bursting at the seams and it is a funny sight to see auntie climb deep into the mobile to pull something out for a customer.

This is how you pay for your goods. She weighs them on the traditional scales and everything is per kilo so you pay for what you want. That's my box of groceries, I picked out some peppers, mushroom, salmon, chicken, basil and cheese.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Slow Monday

Weekend came and went but not worth talking about. Had to attend an acquaintance birthday party but we snuck on home before the cake. It was one of those parties where one had to mingle and I was not in any social mood. One guy I spoke to was somewhat interesting. He claims his grandfather was a NY mafia gangleader and ran Harlem back during Prohibition days and that these days his cousins are running downtown. Anyway, forgot his surname or else I could wiki him.

Went to the Popular book fair at the convention centre today and picked up some titles. One of them being The Book Thief by Australian author Marcus Zusak. The setting is Nazi Germany and the story is narrated by Death. I sense this might be one of those tearful stories like when I read Kiterunner, which reminds me that I should still try and watch the movie.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ukrainé Got Talent

Kseniya Simonova won the contest by doing sand animation, I watched the video this morning without undestanding a word and was in tears. It is so moving and there are no words to describe it. She was drawing the Nazi invasion in 1945 and about the people who died.

Apparently, she was drawing the lyrics to the songs and the final word was "You are always with us".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brunch Ideas

My mum's retiring and will be a full time granny to my niece. Her last day at work is 31st August, and after 15 years of working for the same dentist, she is looking forward to some free time.

My plan is to take her out and spend some quality time with her before she gets busy with babysitting and so this September, I will be heading home for a week of so.

She loves to eat just like me and we love trying new restaurants and flavours so I am looking out for ideas.

Chubby Hubby posted an entry about Willin Low's latest venture = Wild Oats on a Hill. Willin is slowing becoming quite the chef to watch as this is the third restaurant he has opened along with Wild Rocket where M had her wedding and Relish, a gourmet burger joint.

Wild Oats looks promising and rather inviting.

Their motto -
“we distrust camels or anyone who can go for
a week without a drink”

AMEN to that !

It is located in Mt. Emily so close to Wild Rocket. He has given a new twist to old favourites including spam fries with kaffir mayo ! Wicked !!

read the whole post via here

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day One in Project Lanka

Today we put Project Lanka into action. The idea of building a house in Sri Lanka has been on our minds for over 3 years now but never gained currency. The civil unrest and the poor tourist figures were some of the reasons but also because we had no idea how too go about doing something like that.

We still don't know how to, but about a month ago, we came across a magazine that featured a lovely Malaysian house made out of bamboo and concrete. I contacted the architects, Design Unit and made an appointment with the chief. After several emails and 2 meetings, today we sat down with him and shook hands on it.

We are both excited and nervous for it is a huge commitment and we have no clue if it is the right thing to do but we can't wait to find out. Leap of faith.

J, an englishman living in KL for the past decade, is experienced in building green and sustainable houses and it is this that piqued our interest in his work. He spoke of designing spaces that reflect the land and using unique building materials and technology and the challenge of our limited budget will force us to look to these alternatives.

The first trip to Tangalle has to be made before the house concept is born and he didn't flinch when I suggested camping on the land so that is promising, ( or quick reflexes).

I will be documenting Project Lanka and keeping tabs on the challenges we face along the way.

I know what I want - outdoor campfire gathering spaces where we can have bbqs or simply sit under the stars.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lazy Sunday

After last night. we are taking it easy today. Being a lump on the couch is the only order of the day.

Saw this video and thought it was rather fab.

Dinner with Friends

Last night we had some friends over for a small dinner party. Planned a Lebanese menu a week ago courtesy of Saha cookbook and I wanted a Mideast theme to the decor too. Wildy ambitious I know, so at the last minute, I ditched the idea and catered instead. Lebanese cuisine takes too much prep time and I have to do it all myself, T was at work.

The chef made 4 mezze platters, we had baba ganoush, chickpea hummous, eggplant stew, spiced potato and to wipe it all up, he provided stacks of warm fresh bread. De-lish! I didn't have time to take pics cos when the food arrived, the guests spared no time diving in.

One of our mates brought us a fresh rack of lamb and we fired up the stove and roasted it right there and then. It was juicy and fatty and so good.

I made strawberry mojitos and it complemented the dishes quite well.

Here the only photos I took.

The champagne bowl was a recent purchase in Bali.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Final Day

It's Z's last day at work today and come monday, she'll be moving up!! Corporate businessworld watch out !

Have a blast at your leaving drinks tonight !! Cheers!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Birthday Pressies

I treated myself to new jewellery today, earrings from a new designer in Isetan since my birthday is just round the corner. :) She is a fellow Singaporean and the label is Maya & Ruhi.

I am so relieved to see their exquisite collection breathe a life of sophistication and style to the dribble they put out in the shelves. Pearl Bhasin is behind this line of jewellery and she also sells her stuff on Etsy.

I liked her stuff - elegant, delicate and different. And she uses stones. Love stones. The earrings with an indian influence are my favourites. Bangles made from agate are stunning.

I walked off with a pair of earrings and a cuff bracelet with blue agate.

She also has a blog and her photos are way better. I can't wait to see what else she comes up with.

Aren't these mini pearl earrings just stunning? I think I want them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

In Singapore?

Archdaily, a website about architecture featured Telok Blangah Hill recently. I think someone told me once about this project before but I never paid much attention. These photos though stopped me in my tracks.

How wonderful!

photos via archdaily.

Think I will have to go and see it for myself one day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Artist of the day

I bookmarked a photo of some rooms a few months ago. What caught my attention in these rooms were the paintings. I love the mood of the artworks and is always on the lookout of artists that produce similar works.

But I think I may have found the artist who did the works above even though I have no way of finding out who it was.

Sally King Benedict
. These are part of her portfolio and they have the same strokes and feel as the works I bookmarked.

Would look great in an airy, white holiday house no?

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Earlier in the year there was a huge storm and one of the roads leading to our condo was blocked by a fallen tree.

The authorities chopped up the tree the next day but left debris all over the side of the road. T, who goes by that road everyday spotted part of a tree stump left as debris and without telling me, brought it home and presented it to me like it was a trophy. ( In his last life, he must have been a lumberjack).

T loves wood, craves wood. most of his furniture is wooden and the more organic it is, the better. It has been months since the stump's homecoming and it is now sitting in the back waiting for debutante as a .....well something.

I have been entrusted with the task of finding use for the thing and ideas have been forming.

As a tray

As a support for coffee table tops or a stool

As a side table

( via laurie owen )

Or if I have a group of them, I can create this stack as a low table.

My stump has a 20 cm diameter and is about 1 metre tall, so I could turn out a couple of trays or two short side tables. Will post pics if we do complete this DIY job.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Latest Kitchen Rave

A few weeks ago I posted about a lovely Lebanese dinner at Bahar's place. The experience stuck with me and I have been trying to reiterate the dishes at home. Browsing the Times bookshop one day and I came across this beautiful book Saha by Greg and Lucy Malouf.

The book cover was enough to persuade me to part with RM 150 but the foreword by Anthony Bourdain caused the heart to beat a little faster.

The book is a visual delight, the photographs captured the journey made by Australian born Greg Malouf who is of Lebanese origin. He made the epic trip back to homeland after achieving success with his Lebanese restaurant in Melbourne.

The book reads like a travelogue and depicts age old traditions in Lebanon. One such experience was their visit to a district that is famous for their butchers and meat. One selects a cut and portion at your favourite butcher and he chops up the meat along with a bunch of fresh herbs and onions before wrapping it up for you. A butcher who marinades on the spot, how about that!

You take the meat/herb mixture to the communal (!!) baker who then combines fresh mountain bread, home made yogurt cheese and your marinated lamb and within minutes you have piping hot meat pies.

How unbelievable is that?!!!

I devoured the whole book in an hour and could not wait to try the recipes. Thankfully most of the ingredients are available here except for yogurt cheese which I have to ask Bahar's chef if he makes his own.

So for the past few weeks I have tried out at least 4 recipes and they have been massive hits. Tonight I am also recreating from his book, the Upside down poached chicken and eggplant pilaf. It doesn't sound like much but the ingredients, fried pine nuts and ground lamb cooked with rice in aromatic chicken broth is heavenly.

The prep work for this cuisine is painstaking. It took me 2 hours to cook this dish but very fulfilling.

Totally yummy !!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bali driver

We used a private car service to take us from Tanah Lot to seminyak and it cost us 120,000 rupees which was slightly more than a regular cab on meter ( 100,000). The driver though spoke good english and was very friendly.

We used him again for an all day journey down to ungasan, karma resorts and around seminyak. He charged us 500,000 or about USd 50 for 8 hours. That seemed to be the average private driver cost around.

Mr. Wayan Suama
mobile: 081 239 60511
office: 0361 831 264

I left something in his car and forgot all about it, he was very apologetic though it was clearly my own fault, drove back to the hotel early next morning to return it. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Back from 5 glorious days in Bali.

The unpacking is partly done with clothes strewn all over the floor but we are too lazy to do anything about it.

The trip was a huge success, the days filled with activities albeit too much so I hardly read my holiday book. The start of the trip however was not at all rosy and too stressful.

As soon as we landed in Denpasar at 4.10pm, we were faced with about 2000 other tourists at immigration. There were confusing lines and people were shuffling in stealth from the visa line to the main line and nerves were rattled.

15 koreans shuffled right into our lane and those in the front of the line were Japanese and too polite to tell them to shove off ! T went up and tried to reason with some of them but they were nervous and looked at each other and shrugged,

After 1 long hour, we finally got through, and hit the ground running. The driver sent us to the villa to drop off the bags and we headed straight to Kudeta where the Thomases were waiting.

The place was packed and vibe clubby. I hover haven't seen them for year now and there was lots of catching up. The girls have all grown up and Ally is 7 while Maddie is 9 going on 16. :)

The next day T and I went round Seminyak street, browsing in the shops in Seminyak but I had my shopping fill 3 weeks ago so didn't buy anything else.

The villa had arranged for a 2 hour spa treat for us in the afternoon and after that we went up to Tanah Lot Le Meridien to meet the Thomases.

The girls and I spent the afternoon going down water slides and it was tons of fun. The Meridien is a bit old but the hotel grounds were lush and appeared very comfortable. At only 90 USD a night, we plan to stay there next time. With 3 pools and 5 restaurants, one doesn't really need to leave the hotel at all. Seminyak is only a half hour drive away anyway.

The golf course is the main highlight, the par 3 has the picture postcard view of the tanah lot temple and at sunset, it is a popular spot for photos.

T and D had a game, I missed out but spent the day shopping with D for her new house. Chez Thomas is 50% completed and we saw the foundations and the walls going up. In Feb 2010. the place will be fully built and hopefully we will get invited to stay over !!

The birthday dinner at Sarong was very good. The exec. chef is also responsible for Long Grain, one of my fav restaurants. Dishes were Indian and Thai influenced and everything was good. Especically the dessert which had black sticky rice with rich coconut cream and mango ice cream.

Grilled fish ....yum

On the last day, the car took us to Ungasan, the southern most tip of Bali, to Karma Kandara. The hotel is even more spectacular than the photos I posted previously. Di Mare restaurant that overlooks the vast ocean and the pool served up a fantastic meal. T has the seafood bouillabaise and I, the seared scallops with melted leeks and green lentils.

Nammos Beach Club can only be accessed via a lift ! The beach club had sofas on the sand and cabanas reserved for hotel guests.

It was truly divine but afforded only by the rich and famous. The bottom rung villas are all 2 bedrooms and cost USD 900 per night and get this, you don't even get a sea view! They are all placed at the back of the hotel. Only the 3 and 4 bedroom villas are ocean facing. The palatial villa is at USD 7,000 a night and has 5 rooms, own spa, butler, gym......

Still, it was an experience and anyone who is planning a bali trip, I say go for the food, it is outstanding.