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Friday, February 24, 2012

ME time!

I had such a wonderful day yesterday. I started the day with some yoga because I had gone for a walk in the park the day before and my muscles were a bit stiff. So after a good session my body felt so much better, all stretched and less stiff.

My mother agreed to fetch little H from school so I could meet my husband for lunch in KLCC. He was attending a course nearby at the convention centre. Since I was early I decided to browse Kinokuniya. I just absolutely love Kino. I could spend hours there, and I did just that. They have a good selection of books but I usually go there for their children's books and (I just discovered) they have lots of trashy romance novels too. I ended up getting some books for myself and little H.

Then it was lunch at the lounge in Mandarin Oriental. It costs a bomb to eat there but the food is good and I love the hot chocolate. Also we don't get to do it much, kind of a little treat for both of us. We spent about two hours just talking and taking our time over our meal. It was nice to spend the afternoon relaxing together.


Suffice to say, I went back home with a smile on my face

Potatoes


I’ve just finished 12 sessions of personal training which nearly killed me and guess what? I gained 2 kgs. Everyone says it’s muscle, hah! I think it’s my tummy. I’ve got terrible weakness for potatoes, you name it, I like it. Boiled, fried, roasted, mashed, chips, crisps and well, you get what I mean.

Potatoes are comfort food and nothing says comfort more than a hot baked potato, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little butter, sprinkled with cheddar cheese then topped with a dollop of sour cream. I remembered having a baked potato during winter on one of our visits to London when I was younger. It was from a little food van parked near a side road near Covent Garden. The potatoes were hot and steaming, and the butter and cheese were soft and melting nicely into the potato. So, so good on a cold winter day. I’ve tweaked my baked potato toppings so that it’s healthier. Nowaday I use mature cheddar so I won’t use so much to get the same flavour and I’ve swapped the sour cream with plain yogurt. I also like it topped with some Bolognese sauce and baked beans. It adds more protein so I can actually have it as a meal if I add some salad or steamed veg. 

I also make good mashed potatoes, as my son and nieces will attest. Forget the packet ones or the instant powders. You just need Russet potatoes, butter, salt, milk and a strong arm. Boil the potatoes in water with a little salt until soft. Then empty the water out into a bowl (I use it to add more liquid if the mash is too dry). Add butter and milk, then start mashing. I used to use a potato ricer, but I didn’t really like the texture. When I mash by hand, it brings out more of the starch which makes it softer and fluffier. I usually go by taste, but with one kilogram of potatoes, I tend to finish off a block of butter, 3 cups of milk, 2 teaspoons of salt and some of the potato water. It tastes soft, creamy but slightly lumpy (because it’s handmade), buttery and salty. Serve it hot with a protein like steaks, chicken or fish and a salad or steamed veggies. I also use it in my Shepherd’s Pie recipe.

Potatoes are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, especially if you cook it with the skin on. But everything in moderation though and I am going for the healthier versions, roasted, baked or boiled instead of fried, but sometimes you just want to be naughty and tuck into a hot packet of McDonalds chips, which I do have once in a blue moon. I’ll just have to log on more hours on the rowing machine if I do.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Penang Trip 2012


Since hubby was off for City Day (1st Feb), I asked him to take Thursday and Friday off as well so we could take a trip to Penang. The last time we went was two years ago for a wedding and we didn’t get to see much of Penang. My aunt came along, though she flew. And my cousin and her family joined us a day later.

Hard Rock Hotel
This time we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel (HRH) in Batu Ferringhi. The main reason was so little H could have some fun. We booked a hillview room (read: not much of a view). The room was modern and clean and had enough space for the three of us even after they put in an extra bed. Little H also loved the Li’l Rock Kids Club. It’s basically a place where parents can drop off their kids and they arrange activities like swimming, games, movies, dancing etc. Little H just went there to throw a ball around since he was too busy playing with his cousins and going out to actually take part in any activities.

HRH also has a really fun pool area for kids with 3 slides and lots of water spraying apparatus’. They even have an area with some sand so it feels like you’re on the beach or swimming in the sea. Even I had fun at the pool area. Hubby and I took turns playing with Little H while the other uses the gym. The gym workout was in anticipation of all the food we were going to eat, hopefully it helped.

We were quite pleased that we managed to try most of the food that we wanted to try. Thank God for GPS or we wouldn’t have found some of the places we wanted to get to. First we tried the Gurney Drive hawker centre. Lots of stalls selling all manner of hawker food. Tried the satay, asam laksa, char koay teow and some ikan bakar as well. Not too impressed with the food, but it was a good start. Overrated or perhaps we just didn’t go to the correct stall?

Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng
The next day we tried the Bangkok Lane Mee Goreng. It was one of the best mee goreng I’ve tasted. It’s cooked wetter than the normal mee goreng with lots of ‘sotong’ giving it a really distinctive flavour. I love mine with a squeeze of lime juice since I like it a little tangy. After that we brought my aunt to get her jeruk (fermented fruits) near Chowrasta Market. That night we decided to have seafood, so hubby’s relatives (Penangites) brought us to Teluk Tempoyak, all the way across the island near Bayan Lepas. It was a small, out-of-the-way food court selling fresh seafood by the sea. I chose grilled fish and prawns from one stall, then sweet and sour fish, steamed cockels and clams cooked with ginger from another stall. It’s more of a Malay style of cooking instead of Chinese style seafood. The food was cooked simply and served with steamed rice and sambal belacan. It was really some of the freshest seafood I’ve tasted. Even the kids enjoyed the food and wolfed down the ikan bakar and clams.

Tropical Spice Garden
The next day we went to the Tropical Spice Garden. It's eight acres of secondary jungle where you can "Explore over 500 varieties of tropical flora specially selected from all over the world. Divided into 3 designated trails, landscaped on natural jungle terrain, each trail offers sufficient interest for a 20-45 minute walk" (www.tropicalspicegarden.com). They also have a cooking school and gift shop. The kids thought it was a big adventure walking the trails and trying to find their way around using the map. Everyone ended up all hot and sweaty, so we headed for drinks at the Tree Monkey Restaurant there which had some very interesting food choices and drink concoctions. Since we were thinking of having char koay teow for lunch we decided to have some drinks and went off. We were looking for a halal char kuay teow stall but couldn’t find it. Since everyone was already starving we headed to Nando’s at Gurney Plaza.

Teochew Chendol
Asam Laksa
We were not too satisfied with lunch so off we went to look for the famous Teochew Chendol. Using Google Maps we managed to find the stall, which was off Penang Road in a small lane. We had Chendol and also Asam Laksa and Rojak Buah. It was a really good end to the day. After that, no one could have dinner so we just ordered pizza for the kids at HRH.

The next day was our last day so not much to do except have a nice leisurely breakfast, check out by noon and head back to KL. As usual we stopped at the Ulu Bernam R&R to get our fill of Tanjung Malim pau.

All in all, everyone had a really great time. Good hotel, good company and excellent food throughout the trip.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Not Guilty!

No, I haven't been up to no good, it's the title for the current Comedy Court show that I managed to catch on 6th February 2012. This was my first comedy show of 2012 and it was hilarious. I've seen them once last year and thought they were extremely funny (of course) and witty. Nothing was spared by Alan Perera and Indi Nadarajah, Chinese, Indians and Malays, NFC, corruption, politics and they even had us laughing out loud in their (rather crude) skit on the Obedient Wives Club.

I managed to catch their last show at PJLA, however they did mention extra shows later in February so if you're interested in laughing till there are tears in your eyes, check out www.pjla.com.my or comedycourt.com.my for their latest shows.