Friday, April 30, 2010

Cooking for dummies - Chawanmushi anyone?

Erykca had a craving for my chawanmushi & I gladly obliged to fulfill my role as a doting sis. BTW, Meg thinks that I make the best CHAWANMUSHI in the world (and she hardly lavish praises!) :p The recipe was give to me by Aunty Mary & I loved it cos it's so easy to make! If a cooking idiot like me is able to master it, you can too.

This is the 2nd batch of chawanmushi - ran out of some ingredients but tastes just as yummy.
Custard: 4 eggs/ 1 tbsp Kikkoman soya sauce/ 300ml Dashi Stock (10gm/sachet)/ 2 tbsp Mirin
Condiments: 60g diced chicken leg/ naruto (Japanese fish cake)/ shitake mushrooms/ crab-meat sticks/ gingko nuts

1. beat & then strain the eggs
2. add the rest of the ingredients for the custard into the eggs & then strain again for a smooth texture

3. divide the custard & condiments into the steaming cups - fill it only 3/4 full
4. cover the steaming cups with cling wrap to get a smooth surface

5. steam for 15mis over a low fire (longer if cup is bigger) - temperature too high will cause bubbles

Ta-da!!! I'd steamed it a tad too long & hence the cracks :p You may also serve it cold with salmon roe if you like. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Houston, we have a problem

I'm doing something seriously wrong. I shouldn't have to be sitting here till midnight almost every other night going through Meg's homework with her.

It's not just homework. It's EVERYTHING. I'd said what should have been said over a million times but somehow it's just not sinking in. In fact, nothing seems to have registered.

I'd tried putting myself in her shoes but failed. I don't know what's going on in her head. The head whose thoughts I thought I once knew so well. She seems to be swimming in her own thoughts, oblivious to the world. It's so frustrating cos everything is hanging so precariously on a precipice. One small wrong move & it could tip either one of us over.

I must be doing something wrong but I just don't know what it is.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happy birthday Ju darling!

Celebrated one of my most favourite person's birthday last Friday - Juliana darling! Her belated birthday actually. Like always whenever we meet up, we always had fun!

Japanese buffet in Akira Restaurant located @ Link Hotel
Darling Meg with all my other darlings
Haven't met dear dear Miko in such a looong while!
Adjourned to NOSTALGIA across the street to satiate our beer lust
These 3 ladies are the stars ✯✯✯ in my life
Wishing you all the best that life have to offer my dear girl
Looked up & saw the sky overcast with clouds.
And of course, I can't resist the urge to get arty-farty :p
I ♡ my BFFs!

P.S. I apologise for the bleahness of this post ........ my brain's pretty fried from Meg's homework :p

Monday, April 26, 2010

So quitting my job tomorrow :p

Extremely long post but read it. I promise you won't regret it.

Written by Adrian Tan, author of The Teenage Textbook (1988), was the guest-of-honour at a recent NTU convocation ceremony. This was his speech to the graduating class of 2008.

I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It’s a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.

My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.

On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.

Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.

And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument.

Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.

The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You’re done learning.

You’ve probably been told the big lie that “Learning is a lifelong process” and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters’ degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don’t you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.

The good news is that they’re wrong.

The bad news is that you don’t need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You’re in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.

I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I’m here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.

You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There’s very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.

Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.

So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you’ll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.

Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they’re 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn’t meet their life expectancy.

I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.

After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.

Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.

That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.

If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.

What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.

Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.

What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.

Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.

The most important is this: do not work.

Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

Work kills. The Japanese have a term “Karoshi”, which means death from overwork. That’s the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there’s nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.

There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.

People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan “Arbeit macht frei” was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.

Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.

Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.

I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.

So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don’t imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I’ll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.

Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don’t, you are working.

Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I’m not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.

In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.

I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.
You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.

You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mad as a hatter

I just have to show off my new nails! ♥
And my toes? OPI's JADE IS THE NEW BLACK (but toes too ugly so no pics! :p)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pearls of wisdom from a 9 year old

Meg: You are allowed to lie if it makes someone feels better.

Me (in my best mummy's voice): This is wrong, you should never ever lie no matter the circumstances.

I think I just lied :p

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gastronomic getaway

I recently held a birthday lunch celebration for a very special (mysterious) person & especially engineered it to be held in MIMOLETTE! (Partly cos I want to eat there real bad :p)

I'm not big on food & it's taste, but I'm huge on ambience & presentation. I know ..... SHALLOW! But that's only to be expected from someone who self-declares herself gorgeous, right? *shrugs* And Mimolette is everything that I'm huge on. Quoting the restaurant's website (too lazy to come up with my own description):

"Tucked away in the backyard of the old Turf Club, set in what feels like cottage country with plush greenery and surrounding horse stables, sits Mimolette. In this charming black and white colonial house, which used to board the aspiring jockeys back in its day, is a quaint yet stylish restaurant that has a comfy-chic homely style."

It was awesome to move away from the hustle & bustle of the city during a busy afternoon to this rustic getaway. Time seems to come to a standstill here & it was invigorating even if it's just for a few hours. Mad love!

Brought my D1000 to lunch - totally OTT considering my lunch circumstances but I just can't pass up the chance to take beautiful pictures of food :p
nom-nom-nom ........ scrumptious!
Wanted to kick myself so bad cos I was too busy having fun & forgot to take pictures of the most yummilicious brownie ever!
So totally going back again soon! ♡♡♡

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trista's lil' bundle of joy & The Arena

Ok, so no blading & cycling afterall. Meg hasn't completed her homework & so that means we're confined for the day. Well, I'm actually kinda secretly happy inside cos that means I get to slack :p Hence, I'm back to blogging! ✍

Heading off to see Trista's lil' bundle of joy yesterday

This one's taken with my lousy HTC Tattoo

I just ❤ babies ..... they're such angels

Proud mummy Trista

In the night, it's off to THE ARENA to meet up with the peeps of Gudu Gudu Club

Shenna, Belinda, Peggy, Shuhanth & Amrish

Peggy, my photography consultant

They can dance non-stop & to everything! *amazed*

But I think no one can beat Amrish - he was definitely in his elements last night!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Hokkaido Day 2 - Abashiri

Been staring at this post for the longest time but just can't seem to find any words for it. Sigh ....... myself to blame for being so out of touch. There goes my dream of being a full time blogger :p

Rise & shine!
My staple breakfast - porridge ♥♥♥
Stunning snowy backdrop
Love this pic!
I couldn't get luckier being flanked by 2 hunks. My current profile pic on Facebook *hearts*
Kamikawa Ice Pavilion
Experience the coldness of -41℃ in memory of a time in 1905 where temperatures dropped to this level. We were each given a towel & we watched it freeze instantaneously when the temperature zoomed right down. Check out our 'roti prata' towel in the pic - amazing!
Had an enormous amount of fun snow sledding ✶
Awesome scenery
Pretty good shots for starters I think :p
Gin Ga & Ryu Sei Taki (husband & wife waterfalls)
Fell flat on my bum ~~ bummer
Gin Ga No Taki (Husband)
Brrr .... freezing! I bought that hat from Topshop in Oxford - kept me totally warm. Looks very OTT though :p
Ryu Sei No Taki (We took one look at it & burst out laughing. Now we see why it's the 'wife' waterfall :p)
My favourite time of the day again - LUNCH. And even better, it's in a microbrewery - BEER!
Okhotsk Beer Factory
Lake Kussharo
❄ An igloo ❄
My 1st time trying out snow mobile
Trying to capture sundown
Thought the angle was great
And I decided to pose for a shot (not candid, mind you :p)
Yipeeee ..... onsen hotel! Abashiri Hokuten Hotel
I couldn't believe my eyes at the array of food presented
What a feast!
Headed outdoor for the foot hot spring. But oh my, the cold!!! Can you imagine we were walking out there only in our yukata?
Of course, we can't resist cam-whoring. Not just me but the entire lot of us!
Machiam super studious when it's all an act :p
We love souvenir shops!
I had at least 1 ice-cream per day. Now that explains my size, doesn't it?
Chill ~~~
Then it's hot springs & more beer just before sleep. Totally satiated :D

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