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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Winekaki - 22 October 2011


The winekakis... or shall I say, wine-keteers gathered again last Saturday at our home. We haven't been hosting for a long time since without a domestic helper and this time, we graciously played host to our fellow wineketeers.

No particular food theme, just the usual bring-whateva-you-like pot luck.

 Our fellow wineketeers brought KFC, braised chicken wings, Kajang sate, salad and braised duck feet (not in pic)

I prepared bacon aglio olio and prawn spaghetti for mains and the olive and cheese chunks are for nipping into while sipping wine.

The piece de resistence.... Roast pork
I finally got it right this time. Not blowing my own trumpets but hubs said this roast is the best and the mother of all roasts dished out from our oven. I tried a very simple and fuss free method of blanket-ing the rind with rock salt and roast.  However, X-factor here is to choose a good piece of meat.  I go to the the butcher at Taman Tun Market - Lee Wah Trading for a perfect cut of meat. Belly is the most expensive part of the porcine and I want to make sure I get the best to. Lee Wah's  pork is absolutely fresh, clean and odorless. This piece of has even layers of meat, fat, meat, fat and meat and fat.... simply divine for roasting pork !!!

I made tiramisu in a cup, in perfect serving proportions.  I find digging into a dish of tiramisu totally yucks. The first slice is always nice and the remaining pieces gets sloshy and sloppy. Tiramisu is such a delicate desert and I want my guests to enjoy their servings. I used the little drinking glass I got from Ikea.

I also baked a french almond cake.  

The 4 wineketeers who was present.

The selection they had.

Good food, good company and good wine. The wineketeers are already talking of another round to wrap up 2011.  :D

'Competition'

Amber's mental arithmetic teacher enrolled her for a district competition. I was skeptical as we've just enrolled her to UCMas 3 months ago and she had to undo what she had do-ed in her abacus program. To cut the long story short, Amber was following some Taiwanese method using only right hand and 3 fingers to manipulate the beads. She (or rather, US!!) found it difficult to manage bigger digits and tends to make mistake easily. We decided to change her to UCMas and was thankful to have met a teacher who understood why Amber kept making mistakes and she was willing to 'undo' what she has learnt and start her all over again. And so, she went... learning abacus all over again, a different method, using both hands and two fingers on each hand, the UCMas approach and which I found to be more systematic and less prone to errors.

Teacher encouraged us to send her for the district competition for exposure. It was a good experience for her, having to compete among the champions and having a feel of how it's like to ready-get set-go upon hearing the starting whistle.



 
Up and early at 8am, her teacher pinned ID sticker on her uniform

   I didn't expect the competition to be such a big event .


Her competition slip and she has to stick on the back of her exam paper. 
 Hubs giving her a good luck high-5 !!!
Pasting the sticker on her exam paper. The girl seated next to her was kind to teach her what to do.

 Jeng ! Jeng ! Jeng ! Competition begins !!!  Parents were allowed to stay along the side of the hall and wait and fidget nervously.
The competition was over in 8 minutes. They had to complete 100 equations (or more.. and I'm not sure but heck, she's only here for the experience).

While waiting for results, we were treated to Magic Show and lucky draws. Amber batch was the last to receive prize and luckily we had our ipad and Sunday papers to keep us occupied.

She didn't win any top prize but only a consolation prize. We were very happy for she completed the competition. Initially we were worried ...

.. that her eyes will be itchy and she'll be crying
..  that her body will be itchy
.. that she'll wanna go 'shee-shee' during competition
.. that she'll feel too cold
.. that her pencils will break
.... we're just like 2 fidgety parents, worrying anything and everything under the sun ! Silly me n silly him !

After a long wait.... it was her turn to receive a consolation prize..




 My little girl, on stage to receive a prize , no big prize but we are sooooo proud of her !

Amber and her dedicated teacher. She  said Amber needs more time, at least a year, to compete at International Levels. 

We praised and rewarded her with a gift of her choice. She went to Guardians and chose a Lip Ice lip gloss.
Competition is not all about winning first, second or third. Just being there and doing her best, she had already won :D

Monday, October 17, 2011

Allergy Update - 27 August 2011

We went for another follow up visit on 27 August 2011. It's really not necessary to visit Dr Wong so often but hubs, Amber and I are on our toes, all the time and we want to double triple make sure she's clear of her allergies.

We're counting down to 'Butter in February' and we're determined to make it.

My heart beats very fast when Dr Wong tests her allergies. With each test tube that he runs, I'll be praying with all my heart, fingers and toes crossed that she's clear. I don't want her to be bummed down to square one again.

She's clear of her allergies except for house dust mites :

House Dust Mites  -  7
Eggs        - 0
Dairy       - 0
Yeast      - 0
Colorings E110 and E103  - 0


Needless to say, we're happy beyond words, our diligence and her sacrifice paid off ! We forgot to test her for latex but that's not as important as getting her clear of the food allergies. I suspect her reading for house dust mite went up as she has itchy eyes and especially bad on days when she attends reading class. The school is fully carpeted and.. dusty. It's mission impossible to be rid of house dust mites. It's everywhere and I can only do what I can do and she can also only do what she can do. She wears long pants and long sleeves to the reading class to minimize her exposure to dust mites.

Anywayzzz.. the  follow up check gave us reassurance Amber is on track to recovery.


Hip Hip Hurray and 4 months to taste a dollop of creamy salty BUTTER again !!!

Old Notes of Malaysia

I have a quiet hobby of collecting old Malaysia banknotes.


I keep  a lookout for old currencies whenever I scour the Jonker Street. You'll never know what you find there and in the early mornings, especially at Jalan Hang Lekir. Stalls are up as early as 7am or earlier but I only discovered the little surprise as I traipsed out of our hotel around 10am on a Sunday. The peddlers were already wrapping up but I managed to get some old coins. 



My father collects some old notes and he has kindly shared some with me.




This is a RM100 not-so-old note but it's never been used before and smells new.

I remember receiving these as angpows, when I was in still single. RM100 is a hefty sum and I remembered feeling very 'rich' when I received these ang pow tokens

This 1941 ten cents is my favourite piece. I was so happy to receive this from father. He was only 7 years old then and he must have got it from his parents.

Unstained and in perfect condition, a Thomas de la Rue production, this is 70 years old !!

I shall treasure and safeguard my note possession with care.




Anyone into collecting old notes too ?

The Best In The World ?!?!

Whenever I cook for Amber, I always get the heart melting praise from her :

Wow.. Mummy, your cooking IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD !!

Always.

Until recently, she asks who cooks, before complimenting. If it's kakak's cooking, she'll hold back her compliments.. tsk tsk tsk

One day.. I cooked her instant noodles and she said..

Thank you Mummy.. Your cooking is THE BEST IN THE WORLD !!


All I did was boil hot water and dunk in the noodle. :(

LOLOL... kecil kecil pun dah pandai bodek !


Friday, October 14, 2011

Amber does a double Hula

video 
The ever hyper Amber surprised us one day with a double hula. Our helper can even hula around her neck but I forbid Amber to follow. I watched in awe.. my little girl doing the hula.. whilst I can't even manage one hoop !

Amber does the hula

Amber loves hula. She's been practising for some time now and she finally got it right.



video
The single hula (check the background voice... her #1 supporter)

I'm so happy for her. I'm still struggling with the hula. Been picking up hoops more than swinging. :D

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Best Coffee Jaunt in KL

Hubs - the coffee addict, as all his friends know it, is extremely fussy over his coffee. His favourite is black, plain espresso with hot water. He is so fussy, I'd let him add his own water. Too watered down, he'll complain, overroasted , complain again.. Haih.. hard to please this fella. Lucky I don't serve him coffee at 
home. He serves me instead :D :D

He's found He's found this jaunt - Spazzio's at Pavilion KL, and he's hooked. Spazzio serves illy beans and Rohit, the  barista makes a perfect cuppa with passion -  americano, espresso, cappuccino, latte, you name it, he presents every cuppa with excellent showmanship. Here's to show what he did with our servings of cappuccino and latte we had :






The beautiful froth doesn't go down after a a few sips. A cappuccino can only be perfect if the foam is firm and not watery. Milk foam is created by steam and milk and it takes skill to get it right. Too much steam will cause milk to be watered down and tasteless and lack of steam doesn't bring up a good foam. So, it's really a balance of skills and Rohit does it so well


Rohit makes a mean and thick latte, creamy, milky and with sufficient caffeine to jolt you back to reality, unlike some latte which tends to make me fall into la-la-land. Latte makes me sleepy, except this one.
 
I had a cappuccino and a latte.. and oh.. have I mentioned ? They are running a promotion now , from opening till 6pm, you get a free pastry or another cuppa coffee with every coffee purchase. Good eh ?
Rohit says 'hi'
So, if you yearn for a good cuppa, go to Spazzio and look for Rohit. Spazzio is at Level 3 Pavilion, exit Tangs Department Store from the Ladies Dept and you'll see Spazzio right across.

How to Shop In Peace




Drop the hubs and kid off at sand art area.

Choose and pay for the biggest and most complicated piece



 Guaranteed peaceful shopping for at least 1 hour !

Chun Kee Hakka Da Pu Mien

I was watching Axian's show one night and this particular episode on Chun Kee's Hakka Da Pu noodle caught my attention. I picked up some ideas on how to fry minced pork.. I precook a lot of minced pork at home for Amber's lunch of noodles, rice or porridge.

The secret to their ever tasty minced pork is adding some dried flounder fish powder and fish sauce to the minced pork. Hmmm.... another trick I pick up... dried flounder fish !!!

I thought the Chun Kee's noodle must be tucked somewhere in rural Malaysia. Nothing around KL is authentic anymore but I was wrong.  Chun Kee's is at Jalan Sayur off Jalan Pudu. I quickly noted down the address and bugged my roomate, a wantan mee fansee to check out the place.

Our trusty Garmin directed us to Jalan Sayur but it's a lane off Jalan Pudu. It's impossible to park at Jalan Sayur (aka  Pudu Wai Sek Kai). We took a turn to the left at the traffic light junction and found a car park and walked back to Jalan Sayur.

The stall was busy, very! and next to it is a shop with doors closed but that's where they make the noodles, by hand. Take a sneak peak and you'll see the sifu kneading flour and eggs by hand and using a long bamboo pole to knock down the mixture to a smooth dough.
 I ordered a small and roommate ordered large. He'll never miss and opportunity to top up his tummy on occasions like these :D

Verdict ?

TO DIE FOR !!!!

Authentic springy bitey egg noodles smothered with tasty minced pork. The noodle is QQ but not too Q and no taste of alkali. The minced pork sauce lends just sufficient flavour to the noodles. No dark soy sauce needed. I can't find similar noodles as such in KL and I think this is as close as you can get to kampua noodles. Annie, if you're reading this.. you must try Chun Kee!


Their pickled chilly is nice too. Very green, fresh and crunchy, unlike the other pickled green chillies from other wantan mee stalls.. Pickled to deadly yellow color !



The roommate literally licked his bowl clean ! LOL !

Chun Kee Hakka Da Pu Mien
446 Jalan Sayur, Off Jalan Pudu
Kuala Lumpur

Open from 6am till 10pm. Runs on three shifts by 3 brothers  - morning, afternoon and night. An elderly man who shared our table told me the night shift's tastes best :D


Along Jalan Bunga Raya

Last weekends trip to Malacca was an eye opener for me. We stayed at Renaissance Malacca, located at Jalan Bendahara and we spent some time walking around, discovering new places of interest makan interest around the hotel.
Adjacent to Jalan Bendahara is Jalan Bunga Raya. We walked via the side lane of Renaissance Hotel and crossed over to Jalan Bunga Raya.

There's lots to see at Jalan Bunga Raya, on one side is the riverfront and Majestic Hotel. This brings back memories of my first trip to Malacca back in the 80's. I kepoh-ed along with my sister and her colleagues to Malacca for a nights stay. We were looking for accomodation and walked in to the old Majestic Hotel. Back then, before YTL bought over the properties and the giant transformation, Majestic was very run down and managed by a couple of elderly Chinese staff. We had to swing through the cowboy doors to get into the hotel. They quoted us RM60 for a nights stay but it looks so ghostly, we left as quick as we can blink.

Today, Majestic Hotel stands grand and spells luxury. Too deep for my pockets ! Back to Jalan Bunga Raya, we came across many old sundry and household shops. I bought lots,  dulang- made of pleated bamboo for drying ikan bilis, mushroom and what nots.. foldable bamboo mats and classic can openers used by mamaks (the one where you puncture a hole in the middle of a condensed milk tin and swiftly and firmly turn the can around to produce and opening.).. Hubs bought a big kite and giganto pulley (with ball bearings, hubs claims it's really really canggih.. impossible to find in KL - now, let's just see when he takes us to 'main wau', LOL )... It was like a balik kampung shopping trip for me.

Walking down Jalan Bunga Raya, we came across a small but busy looking desert parlour and after a long walk, all we want is iced cendol. We found - Min Chong Hygienic Ice Cafe
at :

43, Jalan Bunga Raya, Melaka
Opens from 10am - 7pm.

Funny name ! The place is authentically run down and small. Only 3 or 4 tables available but there was a big family there digging in to their cendol and so I'd think it shouldn't be that bad.

We ordered a cendol for Amber.. currently her favourite desert. She loves the gula melaka , ice and santan and hates the slimy green cendols and kacang merah (just like me !)




Amber walloped with no complains.. She shared it with hubs with her taking the ice+gula melaka+santan and hubs finishing up the cendols, nuts and beans.

I personally think the cendol is just average. Nothing to shout about and with so many cendol stalls around Malacca, we're spoilt for choice. I wouldn't purposely make a trip here for the cendol but my rojak, was different.

It's less sweet compared to the KL rojaks and heavier on the 'hae koh' - prawn paste. Really yummy. I almost wanted to order a second plate until the hubs reminded me we have a long food trail ahead.

Would I come here again ? Definitely but just for the rojak and only if I'm around Jalan Bunga Raya. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Malacca - 1 Oct 2011



My colleague, the moderator for  Persatuan Peranakan Cina Malaysia's facebook page, invited us to the associations anniversary celebration, held at the association's premise at Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.

We took the opportunity to go for a short break at Malacca as it's been some times since we last went for a short getaway.










Getting ready, all set for fun and sun (and makan) at Malacca
 We stayed at Renaissance Malacca, a break from the bustling Jonker Street. The hotel's clean and fuss free and allowed us early check in. Very nice frontliners, unlike some hotel who'll turn you down flat.. no rooms till 2pm ! We had the pool to ourselves (LOVELY!!), dipped and dunked with Amber whilst the hubs was busy playing PvZ  (aitelyu, he's addicted, !!)

I anticipated a lot of walking and sightseeing at Malacca and obviously Amber will complain with too much walking. I made out short getaway sound interesting by promising her a swim in the pool. Throughout the car ride to Malacca, she kept asking .. when can I go swimming ? can I go swimming now ? please ? can I go swimming now ?...  aiyer.. I wished I had earplugs :(

My ex colleague and her family drove up from Singapore to join us and Amber was looking forward to meet her friends too.



No trip to Malacca is complete without stepping foot at Jonker Street. Did our mandatory shopping of iced coffee from San Shu Gong for our friends, some timber stools for home. Very good deal and I shall blog about it later and some souvenirs and snacks.

The hubs gotta be kerbau for the day. Amber the lazy fart is a lazy walker and will complain till no end of leg pain, body pain and tired, hoping the big kerbau will piggy back her and doting big kerbau will never refuse.

The little fart is almost 19kg now and I'll never risk breaking my bones or back to carry her and not to mention piggy back. Well, a kerbau dad's gotta do what a kerbau dad's gotta do

We walked to the night market (with fart on the kerbau) at Pasar Kota Laksama to get a taste of local Malaccan pasar malam. Apart from the usual Angry Bird stuff which is all over Malaysia pasar malams, we found Baba Charlie and feasted on their angku kueh and packed some kaya home. Unlike our KL pasar malams, this pasar malam wraps up by 7pm and timing was just nice for us to walk over the the association. I know my way better around Malacca after this trip and there's actually a lot of parking space around Kota Laksamana, a walking distance to Jonker's Walk ;)

We're (me and my friends) were the only non-Pernanakans at the association. I felt a bit out of place until some of friendly association members started talking to us. I have always been intrigued by Peranakan culture apart from their food and witnessing the anniversary celebration is certainly eye opening. The members prepared a feast and we're truly blessed to be able to taste Peranakan food prepared by Peranakans.

Chap chye
 Rojak and acar timun
 Ayam pongteh
 Ikan Asam
 Sambal udang petai (moi's favourite)
 Sambal bendi (another all time favourite .. I love ladies finger)
 Lorbak
 Babi pongteh

The Association members working hard to ensure we had a welcoming feast.
Amber and her friend Renee, my colleagues 6 yr old daughter)


We had to make a quick dash after dinner, the kids were tired and restless and missed the later celebrations of singing and dancing. 
On the way back to the hotel, I saw a familiar place, I've seen in many blogs, the famous or-chien (oyster omelet) of Jalan Bunga Raya
We dropped our friends off and went back to pack some or-chien. The queue was long and we had to wait for 30 minutes


Mr Omelet doing his works and I enjoyed watching him kung-fu up a big wok of or-chien that serves up to 7 plates. RM6 per plate. One portion only and you can choose plain or spicy (chilly).

He'll fry a wok full with chilly and then another without. If you order both chilly and non-chilly packs, then  you have to wait for him to kung-fu up 2 woks to delivery your order. I also noticed he used lotsa fish sauce (secret ingredient??).
Somehow the or chien didn't taste as good as it looks when we had it in the hotel room. I think it taste better served on a plate, dining in house (there's a coffeeshop adjacent to the or chien stall where you can sit and eat). I forgot to take a photo, as always when I'm too engrossed with eating but I'll try again on my next trip to Malacca but it has to be dine in. I think takeaways tastes somewhat different. I still prefer my regular big fat juicy oysters from Thye-Hong's at Pavilion's Food Republic.


My friends left early for Singapore. Renee had to attend her concert rehearsal.We had little time left too but did squeeze some time to go Jonker's Walk for our cendol dose at Donald & Lily. I bumped into Linda, my dear Malaccan friend who helped me lots in dealing with Amber's allergy. That, was a sweet end to our trip :D