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Monday, October 26, 2009

Made me smile

Faking it

My sister's baby faked it, she has been faking her birth for the last 5 days!! We were expecting a baby to be born last weekend but still no news. I guess it is time for her to induce. Will wait for news here and head down to Singapore later in the week.

Meantime, I faked it too. Came across a recipe for 30 minute chocolat croissants. Impossible? Not until you tried it.

Joy the baker is a baker extraordinaire , I came across her blog by acident and although her recipes were mouthwatering, it was this that got me working on dough at midnight last night.

Read here if you are interested.

I only had a small handful of puff pastry dough left in my fridge and after rolling it out and stuffing it with chocolate, it was the world's scrawniest croissant.

Still, after 10 minutes in a hot oven, it tasted like the real thing!

You can see the choc stuffing and I used dark choc so it was quite tasty without being over the top sweet. Should have stuffed more so it would ooze.

Next to try is Joy's Pecan Maple Muffins.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Winter lust

How sexy is this jacket? Winter collection hit the stores already and I could not help but try this baby on.

Armani Exchange black bomber jacket with detachable fur collar. I love the skewed zip in the front and the zips along the sleeves keep you warmer.

The back is even sexier that that clinched waist.

Now tell me why it costs RM 1,300 while it is only USD $195 if you buy online?!?! They will not send it outside the US the bastards.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Travel Watch

After months, I am still lusting after Michael Kors Turquoise rubber watch but nobody stocks it! I have tried buying it from Amazon and they won't send it anywhere outside the US. I found one website who will let me buy stuff in the US and ship it to me but the cost after shipping would be close to RM2,000!

Not the kind of money I want to spend on a watch. Especially not since I really just want a watch for when I travel.

Today at the Pavilion shopping mall, I came across this brand Toywatch. They had a whole range of bracelet and jelly strap watches in the most delicious colours. Priced at RM 688, it was much closer to my price range.

When I got home, I checked the Toywatch brand out and found that even Michelle Obama has one!

The one she's wearing is nice but the darker shade in eggplant is more me. Although this one in stormy grey is pretty classy.

Or I could choose the jelly strap in one colour and the face in another. How about this combo ?

Or this one?

Which one would you pick?

Waiting impatiently

My sister is due today and though the baby is engaged, the doctor said she is still not dilated and have to wait. Or induce soon.

Everyone is quite excited and hope all goes well. Once baby is born, S is on a mission to lose all the weight and so booked an Indian masseuse for 10 days.

She is weighing in at 71 now and baby is only 2.8kg! Where is the extra 15 kgs ?

How does Heidi Kllum do it? From baby bum to Victoria Secret runway ?!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lanka Wishlist No.1

"It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up".

W. Somerset Maugham

So I am starting a wish list for Project Lanka and first on that list, I think, has to be the hammock. The whole holiday house idea would not be complete without one. On a previous post (here) , I blogged about the insanely expensive dream beds. Well now I found others that are more in line with my budget.

Do you like this design in seafoam blue?

Or this caribbean styled rope version?

Or Inghua Ting's environmentally kind recycled seabelt hammocks that come in stunning jewel tones?

I think the first option is best but white would be my colour of choice.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wow factor

Last night at a friend's house during pre dinner cocktails, our friend's shared this little nugget with us.

Have you seen it?

Watch Cowell's reaction. Priceless..........

The X Factor - Jamie Afro - Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon / Audition 2 Birmingham - The best free videos are right here

Friday, October 16, 2009

Homebaked Bread

Happy Friday all! It's the weekend and I have nothing planned. Lovely.

Bought some flowers from C our friendly florist down the street to spruce up the loft plus made some delicious blackened cod for dinner.

We were planning on having breakfast tomorrow in bed with kippers and toast but there was no toast. When we took our breadmaker out we found that the crucial part, the little paddle in the appliance was missing. Undeterred, we went ahead with making bread by hand, the ol'fashioned way.

I bought the best bread recipe book ever many months ago and from it, yielded several loaves of incredible bread.

Richard Bertinet, French baker showed the key techniques in making the airy, light and yummy loaves. The book was brillant because it came wth a DVD and watching him in the tutorial taught me a lot. I did a google search and found to my delight that he runs a cookery school in Bath, UK! Maybe the next time I visit T's mum I can sign up for a few workshops there.

Here's my baby loaf, from its birth.

After resting for an hour, she swelled to twice her size.

And only after 15 minutes in a hot oven................. manna !!!!

Fresh bread for brekkie tomorrow! The weekend is starting off pretty well.
I hope yours is too!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dunking Donuts

On the menu board today were donuts and a tiramisu cake order. As I laid out the measurements for the cake, the donuts were being cut and laid to proof. Malaysians have been swept by the donut fever courtesy of J Co and Krisy Kreme in the past year. These places are mobbed during lunch and tea time. Especially when they tempt you with quick and cheap deals like free coffee with every donut. I tried one donut at J Co but they were too sugary for my liking.

We made a chocolate coated and a plain sugary donut and I tried them plain as they came out of the fryer. Divine doesn't begin to describe it.

This is me with my donut while watching " The Ugly Truth".

Perfect during a chick flick don't you think?

Slow day

(photo via)

Woke up after having a full night's sleep and still feeling tired. I am fine, not ill but knackered from "working"at B's pastry shop yesterday. Her Afghani sous chef packed up and left her without a day's notice over the weekend so she was left stranded.

She had several cake orders and because she's 6 months pregnant and feeling a little ill, I offered to help out. I was in the kitchen only for a total of 5 hours but since I was not used to standing for long hours, it really took a toil. What a weakling I know.

Anyway, I am going to go over again today and maybe for the next few weeks and help her out. If I can hack it.

We backed 3 cakes yesterday - a spiced carrot cake and a fruit sponge cake both customers and a coffee swiss roll for the cafe.

The coffee cream was out of this world and I was taking fistfuls of that stuff and gobbing it down.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Garden of Bawa's Eden

The late Geoffrey Bawa was a prolific Sri Lankan architect born in 1919 and died of a stroke in 2003. He pioneered the use of modern lines to simplify spaces. Bawa loved nature and broke the barriers of inside and outside living. His use of courtyards and gardens is widely respected and often said to form the current architectural model for the Tropical House.

Since 1948, Bawa used the Lunuganga Gardens as his private retreat. 12 acres of rubber plantation were fringed by a lake and a river - Salt River or Lunuganga.

We took the hour long tour around the gardens and visited the cottages that dot the landscape. He created wide grassy boulevards sheltered by frangipani trees and skirted by lily ponds. Every now and then, we come across a concrete bench under a massive flowering tree. The guide tells us that he often sit and read in these parts and there he hangs a large bell so he can ring for tea. The bench is now weathered and covered in moss but the ancient bells remain.

( pics via )

The guide who took us didn't speak very good english and we struggled to understand each other. One of the things that baffled us was his reference to a beef garden ?!

We emerged from a set of trees and we arrived at the Cinnamon hill cottage which looked onto a large grass garden. In that garden, there were two cows grazing aka beef garden! Haha. Bawa apparently loved cows and he kept them as pets.

The last part of the walking tour took us to the main house and at first approaching the house, it looked tame and nice though it was, nothing spectacular.

But when you pass through the corridor, you come to the verandar that had the breathtaking view. It was here they would serve a lunch of Sri lankan curry and rice. Love.

Directly in front of the sitting area was a tortured Auraliya tree or Frangipani as we know them. Bawa had placed strategic weights on its branches to train it to grow low and wide creating the most beautiful framed vista of the lake down below.

The tour and lunch cost USD 22 each. We were served ice cold pitchers of lime juice sodas while we waited for the famous curry rice lunch.

12 dishes in total ! There was pineapple curry, beetroot curry ( my fav), eggplant and mango relish, chicken curry, dhal, beans and more... everything was delicious.

We stuffed our faces so much that we didn't have dinner that night!

Project Lanka 101

We are back ! The trip was a total success and what a relief. The main concern was that J would design a house we hate. Even though he has not drawn up any plans, through the many discussions, I am confident that our ideas are similar and that he is the right person for us.

T, our friend was the perfect host, and through him we met some very interesting individuals there. There is Dawn, a woman of much drive, who left the UK in 2004 and bought a slice of paradise on the beach. She then spent the last two years building and created a 7 bedroom hotel with an adjoining bar and restaurant. Her boutique hotel will open its doors end October and so far, it looks amazing.

There is Judd who is an interior designer who renovated an old local cottage into a 6000 sq feet luxury house. Her property lies inland with wide expansive views of padi fields with the occasional mud chewing buffalo.

The two ladies and others were very generous in offering advice about contractors and the tribulations faced during their projects. The road ahead is going to be tough and T and I have agreed to spend all holidays in SL in 2010 to make this work.

On our second day there, we spent a night in Tangalle where our land is. J wanted to visit the site as many times to experience the different light. We went during sunrise and sunset and once he even went on his own.

At Tangalle, an Australian lady has set up a retreat, Talalla. This hotel had 8 villas and 33 rooms with a large communal dining hall and a yoga room. The hotel is about 4 years old and though it looks basic, the amenities were very good. The outdoor showers and toilets had marble floors. At USD 50 a night, I think it is really good.

At Talalla, you can swim, have a massage, or as you can see against that wall, strum a few tunes on their guitar or play a game of carram. T and I found a pair of rackets and had a game of badminton on their lawn.

As it was low season, we were the only ones there. We were shown our rooms that were completely opened to the elements. You can see the mosquito net that is over the bed. I spent some dangling my feet over the open balcony and listening to the ocean that was only about 300m away.

Great that so many projects here are spearheaded by women. I could have stayed longer if time permitted.

Our land sits in the southern tip of SL, perched on a cliff that leads directly to a private beach! I wandered down to the beach while T and J discussed ideas and I would be lying if I didn't say it was heartbreakingly stunning.

I picked some gorgeous coral that had been washed up on our beach!

The land used to belong to a fisherman and he had a little cottage. The house is very old and quite decrepit but very sweet looking.

We are contemplating removing it completely or renovating it to incorporate it to the new house. So I took some photos to remind us of its past.

The outhouse though, that has to go. :)

The fisherman had another house but that has been broken long time ago. We are not sure what to do with that yet.

A greenhouse / herb garden and open kitchen maybe?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Project Lanka Virgin Trip

Tomorrow we will head to Sri Lanka with John on our first fact finding trip. The expedition will take 7 days and hopefully yield some results. Our first stop will be Colombo and then a 5 hour drive to Galle where there has been a burgeoning of boutique villas and hotels along the coast.

We were planning on cheap and cheerful backpacking joints but Tai, our contact there has kindly offered his mates' place The Ambalama ( meaning resting place in Sinhalese) at a steal.

I think I will lounge by the pool while the boys do the heavy lifting. Problem is that the weather is forecasted to be very wet.

We will use this as our base for the next few days and see how it goes. So have a good weekend ladies and see you in a week !

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oodles of Fun

That's Rohani, famous Malaysian food stylist, chef and a cooking teacher. When I first moved to Kl in July 2006, I attended her bread making class and enjoyed it. Since then, I have not returned mostly because I got busy and started working and honestly forgot about her.

Several weeks ago, I got an email blast from Rohani saying that the lessons were back on and she even opened her own little boutique hotel on the premises- Bayan Indah Culinary Resort .The menu on Oct 1st caught my eye and I signed up for it.

Hot Noodles Class - choose to make mee rebus, soto ayam, mee siam or kerabu meehoon.

Mee Siam !! My favourite !! L used to make this on special occasions and I always wanted to learn.

My cab driver and I set off from my house at 9am and after many confusing turns and U turns we arrived in Sungei Pencala kampung. Her house has gone through much change since 2006 but the massive herb garden and pond remained. The kitchen has been extended twice its original size and now opened out to the back gardens where she grows fruits and vegetables. Dream kitchen.

Today there were only 3 students including myself so after brief introductions and hot ginger tea, we started cooking. I started on the prep work for the soto ayam and much of the work was with pounding spices in the mortar.

It was a fun afternoon, we were encouraged to taste and cook at the same time. The kitchen was just smelling heavenly as great big pots of stock were brewing and sambal was being fried.

This was the tossing of Kerabu Mee Hoon, a salad of carrots, tofu, sprouts, banana flower, dried prawns, kerisik ( shaved coconut dried fried til golden and crispy), chillies and calamansi juice.

The mee rebus stock was the most tedious to prepare as it was a combination of beef and prawn stock. The prawns had to be first peeled then fried, then boiled in water and then blended and sieved. After toiling for 3 hours though, the results were very satisfying.

Voila Mee Rebus !

And now I can make my own mee siam too!