July 26, 2009

Social butterfly

The past few days have been jam-packed with activities, starting with dinner last Thursday with my 2 favourite bosses ever – Adrienne and Jean. Jean was in town from NZ and we had dinner at Sakae Sushi at Wheelock.

It was lovely catching up with them, only wish we could do it more often. Food was surprisingly good, we ordered quite a bit and managed to finish almost everything. I deviated from my usual Tempura Udon and had a Teriyaki Chicken Ramen instead, which came in a big-ass bowl. It was huge!


After dinner, we walked around the newly opened ION for a bit. I didn’t quite like the layout but it needs further exploration. Must get some Dunkin Donuts soon!

Whilst having dinner with Jean, I mentioned Nick was going to NZ next week…since I was not going Perth anymore, I thought I could lobby Nick to let me tag along, but he’s such a party pooper!

On Friday, I checked out a private watch sale LVMH were having. The Tags were going for under S$2K, but there were some Zenith watches that made my eyes pop – they cost the same as a HDB flat!

Met Rena for lunch and we met again in the evening for the musical Sing Dollar. It was funny, but I wouldn’t say it was that great…prefer Dim Sum Dollies but there was one outstanding bit for me, when they spoofed white collar criminals to some Michael Jackson hits.

Before the show, me, Rena and Jane had a quick dinner at Chocz but we soooo regretted it. Worst pasta I’ve ever had, such a rip off. What was wrong?

1) Waitress spoke no English at all…I mean at all!

2) Food was cold, lukewarm at best.

3) Not only were portions small, I ordered a creamy mushroom pasta for $9.90 but got a tomato-based one instead. Didn’t bother changing because we were late. The extent of the mushrooms was 1 large button one cut into 5 slices and not cooked, it was raw!

4) Jane and Rena’s order was a mushroom and bacon pasta with red wine sauce. Similarly, they had raw mushrooms, pathetic slivers of bacon and the sauce had no hint of wine. Tasted just like mine exactly, which was clearly straight from a bottle. Pure bottled sauce. For $14.50 a plate!

5) We all ordered iced berry teas, but Rena’s drink colour was a lot lighter…clearly diluted and they saw no wrong with that but reluctantly changed it.

Don’t ever go there for the food!

On Saturday morning, Nat had a playdate with Cameron at the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden. We parked at the wrong place and were drenched by the time we hooked up with Desmond, Chen Tze and Cam. Nat was shy at first but eventually warmed up over a kickaround. Cameron struck the cutest pose whenever he wanted to throw a ball…like he was diving, but actually he was trying to bowl!





During lunch, Nat refused to eat her porridge so I let her try my buah keluak and rice instead. She loved it and I ended mixing some buah keluak into her porridge…Nonya in the making!



In the evening we headed to Toh Yi for Ann’s 21st birthday. It was mainly her friends, we were one of the few family around, food was catered from Manna Pot and surprisingly good…will try them for a home party next time.

There was a Hawaiian dress code, me, Ma, Swana and Gigi wore assorted floral dresses from DD, while Nat wore a Gap dress.



This morning we had breakfast with Mildred at a coffeeshop near her house. Cheapo dim sum, I’m not a fan.

In the evening, met Jane, Albert, Germaine and her brother Kenny for the Liverpool match at the National Stadium. We beat Singapore 5-0. Notice I used ‘we’? Practically everyone there was supporting the away team!





Jane was so lucky, she actually met some of the team at Vivo the previous night, thanks to some inside information that they would be at the Adidas store at 11pm. She met Rafa and Carragher and Riera etc. Priceless!


July 20, 2009

Kueh Wajid




Kueh Wajid

400 gm glutinous rice (soaked overnight)
Gula melaka syrup (melted palm sugar)
Pandan leaves
Coconut milk/cream
Sugar
Pinch of salt

1. Steam the glutinous rice and set aside.

2. Put 300 ml of coconut milk and 10 tablespoons of gula melaka syrup, along with some cut pandan leaves in a pot and simmer over low heat. Stir continuously and don't let the mixture boil over.

3. Add a pinch of salt and when it thickens and starts to caramelize, add in the steamed glutinous rice.

4. Keep stirring so that the rice is evenly coated, and add more sugar if not sweet enough or more coconut milk if too dry. Keep stirring so that it does not burn, the mixture will start to thicken and when the rice has softened and the liquid almost dried up, remove from the heat.

5. Remove the pandan leaves and spread the mixture onto a tray,pressing down compactly to form a 1 inch high layer. Cool and cut into squares to serve.

Kueh Dadar



Kueh Dadar (skin)

(I originally got a recipe off the Internet, but ended up improvising in the process because the batter turned out too thick). This is what I think should work.

200 gm plain flour (sifted)
2 eggs (1 if egg is large)
350 ml thin coconut milk
4-5 drops of green colouring
80 ml of corn oil (canola and sunflower should be ok too)
Pinch of salt (optional)
Some water

1. Combine half of the coconut milk with flour. Add in the eggs, green colouring and corn oil; beat mixture till well-combined.

2. Gradually pour in the remaining coconut milk. Continue beating for 5 minutes. The green should be pale, not bright.

3. Let batter stand for 30 minutes. If the batter is too thick, dilute with a few tablespoons of water first, it should be runny and smooth but not watery.

4. Heat up a non-stick pan. Pour a ladle of some batter onto pan and tilt the pan so that the batter is spread evenly thin, about 14 cm diameter and 2mm thick When sides turn dry and brittle, remove kueh.

6. Repeat this process till all the batter has been used up.

7. When cool, spread 2-3 tsp of coconut filling in the middle of the kueh. Roll up kueh like a popiah and serve.

Makes approximately 18-20 skins

Recipe for coconut filling (Inti)

This coconut concoction can be used in a variety of dishes, including kueh dadar and pulut inti. Basic ingredients are freshly grated coconut (without skin), cut pandan leaves, some water, melted gula melaka (palm sugar), and a pinch of salt.

All that's needed is to stir the coconut, gula melaka syrup(enough to make the coconut a medium brown colour), salt, pandan leaves and water (not too wet, just submerge maybe half the coconut first) in a pot over low to medium heat. Keep adding small amounts of water and gula melaka whenever the mixture gets too dry. Stir continuously for at least 45 mins till the coconut softens and attains a translucence. The outcome should be moist but not watery, and not too saturated with sugar.



Nonya kueh weekend

I've had an overdose of coconut and gula melaka this weekend thanks to the preparation done for an office event. You see, once a month, volunteers prepare savoury or sweet items according to a set theme and sell the food to our colleagues in order to raise funds for our adopted charity. This month's theme was Nonya kueh and guess who decided to be kaypoh and volunteer?

And so the last few days, under Ma's supervision and help, we made kueh dadar, kueh wajid and pulut inti. The wajid and dadar were 1st time experiments but turned out pretty well but in the end I only made the wajid and pulut inti for sale this morning. Everyone was fascinated with the blue colour of the pulut and more than a few enquired about the pretty pink baskets I displayed my fare in. They were my only purchase from Bali 3 years ago!



Will post the recipes soon but don't ask me about measurements because everything was done through 'aggaration', so I can only tell you what goes into the dish, but we didn't actually get to measure specific quantities.

Today is Ben's birthday, but we had a mini-celebration for him last night at his house.


On Saturday, we finally ventured to Chili's at Tanglin Mall, had been meaning to go since I found out it was back and as usual over-ordered. Portions are big-ass and I found some things a little too salty but the strawberry lemonade was yum, and so was the mesquite chicken salad.


July 17, 2009

Anti-climatic but in a good way

As some of you know, Nat was scheduled to have the surgery to remove her cyst yesterday. However, at the very last minute, the op was cancelled. Literally last minute!

KK had called the day before to inform us what time to register and provide instructions on fasting etc and so the night before I woke up at 2 am and 5 am to give her milk and water. At 7.45 am we arrived at the hospital and did the necessary paperwork, Nat had no clue what was in store for her.

Shortly after, I brought Nat into the inner reception area to get weighed, and the nurse also applied some creams and stickers on her before I changed her into the hospital gown. Kinda cute, she was running around with her diapers sticking out from the back of the gown, which was held together by strings.


The policy was one parent per child, but I persuaded the nurses to let Nick wait inside. While waiting, Nat played with some of the toys and books provided until the anesthesiologist came to explain to us what would happen and we signed some more forms.



Then we were informed the surgeon had arrived and one of us was to follow Nat into the operating theatre. Nick had earlier said he would do it, but changed his mind. So I had to don an ugly shower cap, shoe covers and gown and go through 2 doors into the theatre. It was quite imposing, a large, fluorescent-lit room with a team of nurses waiting, monitoring equipment, and a lone bed in the middle. Very cold and clinical.

Just before everything started, the doctor said she wanted to feel Nat's face again. I warned her not to press too hard after Nat's past 2 inflammations were triggered by pinching that spot. So she gently poked and prodded and declared she could not feel anything. I went 'huh' and she asked me to feel. We had assumed it was still there because of the discolouration on her skin and had avoided touching the area all this while for fear of anymore inflammations so when I lightly went over Nat's cheek again, I couldn't make out a distinct nodule.

The doctor was surprised and referred back to her notes, which stated there was a 0.8cm nodule on the cheek at the last check-up. I told her it got inflammed after that and we had applied a topical antibiotic cream. She then suggested it might have dissolved on its own or had been a blocked blood vessel, and said if she could not feel the nodule, she did not want to proceed with the op. She suggested doing an ultrasound to check again. And so we left the room and I changed Nat and we went to look for Nick who had been anxiously waiting outdoors. He was surprised to see us but relieved Nat hadn't gone under the knife.

We did the ultrasound immediately, Nat would not sit still but somehow the technician managed to get a scan. Nothing unusual turned up though there was a dark spot. She consulted her boss who said there was nothing there, just a blood vessel and so we had breakfast, went to the pond and left. The pond has a gazillion catfish in there by the way!

And there you have it, operation aborted. Nat has a follow up appointment in 3 weeks to check again, I hope they don't suddenly find anything then.

Actually last night as I felt her face again, I thought I detected a small bump but it's negligible. I hope the discolouration fades over time, if not it's ok...she can always use concealer. Better that than a scar. A lot of people prayed for her, so thank you whoever you are. The doc said it was a miracle, I think so too...but I'm sure there's a scientific explanation out there!

In the afternoon at home, Nat and Gigi wore matching outfits thanks to Swana...cute eh? At night, they hugged each other to sleep...geram!





July 14, 2009

No time to blog!

July is passing so fast, especially now that I am a lot busier at work...hardly got time to blog! Some quick updates for the past week:

Our office held a regional sales kickoff from 8-10 July at Traders Hotel, I was involved in the initial planning but then had to leave for Greece, so two colleagues took over the preparation. When I came back, I didn't have to lift a finger since I was supposed to be attending the meetings instead of running around arranging the logistics.

Everything went well I think, a lot of people are impressed with our new sales director for the region, he's got substance and style! One of the nights, we had dinner at The Wine Company at Evans Lodge, nice place! This is me with the APAC marketing team, and some of my lunch kakis.



On the last day, a few of us headed to House at Dempsey to unwind. I had a berry mint drink that was lovingly presented in a jar, plus we tried their skinny pizzas that are generously topped with rocket leaves. Yums!



Through the event, we saw all the fancy cars our colleagues drive...it pays to be in Sales. Check out this lime green Saab cabriolet with matching sneaker on the owner!


9th July was Kevin's birthday but we did a mini cake-cutting on the 10th. Nat and Gigi were fascinated with the candles - time to start Gigi's training on how to blow candles out before her 1st birthday!



On 11th July, me and Nick brought Nat to Changi Beach to see the aeroplanes land. Had lunch at Charlie's Corner, I love how cheeky Nat looks in these pics. Went to Nick's grandma's house in the evening, where his aunts fawned over Nat as usual. They just swoop down like a gang of hyenas!





July 8, 2009

Gone too soon

Watching the MJ memorial 'live' on TV now, it still feels so surreal that Michael Jackson is dead. I don't think the world will ever see an artiste of his stature ever again, they don't make them like they used to.

He was a legend, an icon, and as some have put it, 'the greatest entertainer of all time'. How true that is, he has influenced so many, his songs are classics and his legacy will live on. I am so glad I got to witness his genius and lucky enough to have seen him perform twice. They have been playing tributes on MTV, Nat has caught some videos and bopped to Billie Jean, I shall ensure she knows his music as she grows up. RIP Michael Joseph Jackson.


GONE TOO SOON by Michael Jackson

Like A Comet
Blazing 'Cross The Evening Sky
Gone Too Soon

Like A Rainbow
Fading In The Twinkling Of An Eye
Gone Too Soon

Shiny And Sparkly
And Splendidly Bright
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like The Loss Of Sunlight
On A Cloudy Afternoon
Gone Too Soon

Like A Castle
Built Upon A Sandy Beach
Gone Too Soon

Like A Perfect Flower
That Is Just Beyond Your Reach
Gone Too Soon

Born To Amuse, To Inspire, To Delight
Here One Day
Gone One Night

Like A Sunset
Dying With The Rising Of The Moon
Gone Too Soon

Gone Too Soon

July 5, 2009

Seventeen

Nat is now 17 months but I missed a third of her 16th month while on our trip. She was taken care of real well by Ma, Swana, Arlyn, Mildred, Ben & Wendy who took turns to bring her out and stay over. She stayed at Membina most of the time though but everyone chipped in when they could. Thank goodness for them, I was never worried about her although I can't say the same for Nick.




I don't think she even missed us or realised we were gone so long, she had Gigi to play with. But there was one night when she wanted to sleep with a butterfly balloon Swana bought her and refused to let go.



When Gigi naps, Nat looks on from outside the crib and calls out to her. The two of them are getting really close, Nat runs around the house and Gigi Gonzales is not far behind. I call her Gonzales because she is pretty speedy for a chubby bubba! A much faster crawler than Nat, if there was a crawling race I'm sure she would win!


Nat can do a pretty turn when you ask her, she's also started to imitate our actions. Such as patting her face pretending to apply make-up! And learning to wipe her face with a towel after she's been shown once, and brushing her teeth.

Her default answer whenever you ask the colour of something is 'purple' and her 'thank yous' are more audible. She likes to make funny faces and really likes to boogie. Swana captured her and Gigi dancing to 'Maghalena' on video one day when we were away, it's so funny. Gigi tried to dance too.

Gigi is 10 months and still toothless and sporting a gummy smile. She loves to roam around the house crawling here and there, and has started to cruise around the furniture. She's had a couple of falls too but is really lazy in learning about stuff like where her eyes and nose are etc, she just wants to play!


That darn pacifier is still constantly attached to her mouth, especially when sleeping. She listens to Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours' practically every night, it puts her to sleep.


I'm gratified that she remembered us after we came back from the trip, when Swana and I both reach out to carry her, most times she'll come to me. It's the same with Nat though I think. She prefers Swana to carry her, and Gigi prefers me. I guess we are fun aunts but not fun mums to our own daughters!