Jul 31, 2011

0 Growing up or old?

There are times when it just hits you right between the eyes, like "Huh, wasn't it just yesterday that I was in my sweet pink tee and hip miniskirt carrying a bunch of books in my backpack, to attend class?"

I was queueing amongst a group of teens, waiting to get my bag checked. Security was quick to remove water bottles, cameras, umbrellas and whatever wasn't allowed in, for the safety of concert goers and copyright protection, I guess.

I was ready to leave my camera in the car if need be. Biasalah (as usual), although I knew the rules, I couldn't resist.

Then, my turn came. I slid the zipper on my bag open..

"Harr?...Aunty, you no need lar." said the young man wearing the green military uniform. He waved me in with a smile. 

Shhh...there are priviledges when you reach a certain age.

Jul 30, 2011

2 Kitchen timer baffles these newbies

Oohh, I spotted this gem of cuteness in Ikea, strewn over many boxes, in various sweet candy colours. It certainly brought back a couple of schoolgirl memories as I picked up a few and meticulously inspected it for scratch marks and what not. 

Men have their grown up toys like sports cars, computer games and complicated gadgetry such as the apps filled Iphone or that...mmm.. anything that's apps filled, I guess?

I've outgrown those tiny pink plastic stoves and inedible Play-Doh burgers I used to play with as a child but amusingly, where toys and interests are concerned, I haven't strayed far. I've just upgraded to sterner stuff and this time, what I cook can be eaten. 

The timer on my old trusty oven has gone haywire and I felt that this would be the ideal opportunity to get one. Of course, the thought wouldn't have crossed my mind if I had not seen how immensely cute these STÄM timers were. At RM7.90, it was a bargain hard to ignore.

"Gah! It doesn't work!" I said, after five tries.

"Really? Allow me!" said my friend, who gamely followed what I was doing. She turned the timer and waited for it to ring. It never did.

We busied ourselves in one corner trying to puzzle out the mechanics, being even foolish enough to shake the timer and listen patiently for the ticking sound to come to life, as though that made sense.

Embarrassingly, it seemed that we were the only ones obsessing over the works of the timer. Anyone noticing us could have easily mistaken our actions as typical of two fussy old ladies thoroughly inpecting an item to ensure what they were about to purchase was still in pristine condition.

Since we couldn't get it to work and "we've had our fun", we put everything back and headed out to the next store that would appeal to our curious minds.

It was in Daiso, amidst giggles, that the mystery was solved.

"OHHhh, so that's how it works!" we exclaimed in unison, after reading the instructions. Now, why couldn't we find it in Ikea....

Make a full turn, turn all the way back and turn it again to the number of minutes required. That's enough to confuse me. I think I get it!

The RM5 chicken...oops, I mean kitchen timer from DAISO

The next thing I knew, I was already in the car humming to Jessie J's "Price Tag" on the radio, heading home with my new toy.

Jul 29, 2011

0 Politicians and their rainbow promises

Oh, how easily they promise ..
“Affordable homes for all of you, Miss!”
“Parks will remain, we won’t cut the trees!”
“Corruption? No, no! We have laws for these!”
“By merit? Of course, anything you please..”

Another day passes, a year gone by
Funny how costs remain high
Funny how less trees reach out for the sky
Funny how the cream of our crop continue to cry
Mayhaps they lie? ..

Mr. Politician, you speak half truth!
Your cunning words do not soothe
Is there nothing you will not loot?
In the coming election, you, I will boot!
In with another, hopefully, of good repute…

Sharon D. @ 29 July 2011

Jul 27, 2011

0 David Archuleta Live in Kuala Lumpur

See? It pays to be an Astro subscriber - I got a pair of free tickets to David Archuleta's concert. But ..shhhhh..I also wish that they would  give out big discounts on their subscription fee.

I honestly didn't think I would be wow-ed but I was. David brought the house down with his energetic performance and charming demeanor. One would expect seeing some difficulty singing on pitch with all that prancing about, but there was none here. Only confidence and a great voice.

It wasn't long before I started clapping and humming along to catchy tunes like "Something 'Bout Love", "Elevator" and oldies like "Everybody Wants to Rule The World" and "Stand By Me". 

The stage, before it began

Here he is - all heart and soul

Just a short clip to show you how amazing it was.

Jul 25, 2011

2 Pluck : Musical Arson - A potent laugh inducer

I was a little sceptical about forking out RM55 for "Pluck - Musical Arson" at the beginning. Whenever I think of classical music, I imagine an audience of men and women with toothpicks holding their eyelids up and lips pursed to keep from yawning.

My reservations left, as I guffawed and haha-ed throughout the show. Kit Massey, Brooke Day and Flora Allison brought classical music to life in a tale of comedic chaos.

The story begins with the two men vying to hog the limelight as they played their violin and viola with gusto. In between is Flora, who plays the cello. From the glare she's giving the boys, you know she's had enough of their competitive antics. What ensues is mayhem and mischief.

They did such a great job interacting with the audience, you would not have come across a more enthusiastic crowd. I left feeling so good that it felt like I had spent a day at the spa and in this case, the treatment was laughter.

The show runs from 21 July - 31 July 2011 at PJLA, Jaya One (Landmark: The Bee). Tickets priced from RM44 to RM77. We bought our tickets on the day itself from the counter.

A brilliant execution of classical music and comedy, not to be missed! 

At The Bee, Jaya One to get our tickets

A poster at The Bee

Our tickets - my name is printed on it!

The stage - Just 3 red chairs

Autograph session after the show

Kit (Left) and Brooke (Right)

Flora, the sultry singer..gives me "fever"

No, of course not! He doesn't bite!

Jul 21, 2011

2 The "Title" Chase

There are times when I actually believe I'll bump into my neighbours one day, having to greet them with, "Good morning Tan Sri, Dato' Sri, Datuk Seri, Datuk, how are all of you today? Is Puan Sri, Datin Sri, Datin at home?"

"OhHh, our wives are busy with the kids, you know, my son the Datuk and my daughter, the Datin...hehehe," drawls one of them.

An oversupply we would have been proud of, if not for a few(?) bad apples. It would have meant that we have a large number of outstanding individuals contributing to society and to the progress of the nation.

While we lament over the loss of prestige in these titles and wonder whether it was accorded through merit, we blind ourselves of an issue close to our hearts and it is alarming how we're responding to it.

Aaah, it is so easy to speak about the Datuks and what-not in disdain without looking at our own backyard. 

How many of us are guilty of demanding for recognition although we haved performed only 'so-so' because we're "seniors and we deserve it" and through excuses like "we need that Manager title so that our customers will respect us"? How many business owners have promoted an employee to a managerial post just to fill a gap or because he was next in line?

And how many of us have titles that baffle like "Nail Technician" instead of manicurist? Has technicality lost it's depth in meaning and are Janitors really "Cleaning Technicians" or "Assistant VPs in the Janitorial Department"? 

The "title frenzy" is most evident in the office but no one cares to admit it because it would mean losing the opportunity to be someone "important". Monetary recognition signifies achievement in the workplace but a great job title brings a sense of self-importance. We want to be known as "important people", not outstanding ordinary citizens.

We are quick to cry for things to be accorded based on 'merit'. With Account Managers who lead files, accounts clerks who are Assistant Vice Presidents in the Finance Department (handling the VP's private bank account, I suppose), telemarketers who are Sales Executives, marketing assistants who are Business Development Consultants and so forth, I'm afraid many of us are just not ready to face the truth about ourselves.

Corporations have only themselves to blame for gasps of horror when sub par employees who are unable to live up to their title go out and try to impress the world.

Signing off,
Keyboard Maintenance Manager (I do keep it clean)

Jul 18, 2011

2 Curry Chicken with Campbell's Prego Cheese & Herbs Spaghetti Sauce

Curry chicken, the lazy way! That's just me - I love shortcuts.

Our Sunday favourite has always been mom's onion chicken curry. It was her signature dish. It has a rich delicious flavour that can only be obtained through sweat and tears. I admire her tenacity as it involves chopping lots and lot of onions and spicy red chillis.

I remember the days mom used to make me sit in the kitchen to watch her cook. I felt only resentment then as I missed my favourite anime shows like Voltron, Macross and Mospeada.  While mom was trying to explain what goes in with what, I had my head in the clouds. I guess you can't fault a teenager in her angsty years - she's just dying to have fun and that did not involve being stuck in the kitchen with a pink apron round her waist.

I'm sorry I digressed. Anyway, I was salivating for such a rich curried dish but was reluctant to do 'the work'. But who says I can't come up with something similar looking, eh.

I found a can of cheese and herbs spaghetti sauce in my cupboard and thought, why not..?

The main ingredient

Tadaaa! Rich creamy curry

Perfect with rice

The rough guide.

- 1/2 can Campbell's Prego Cheese & Herbs Spaghetti Sauce
- 200g chicken fillet, sliced
- 1 potato, cut into small cubes
- 1 red chilli, sliced into long thin strips
- 2 tbsp meat curry powder, add water and mix into paste
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste (if necessary)
- Lettuce

1) Heat oil in pan. Add garlic and stir fry until golden brown.
2) Add curry powder paste and cinnamon stick. Give it a quick stir fry.
3) Add chicken, potato and Prego Cheese and Herbs sauce. Mix well (add water if it's too dry).
4) Cook until chicken is well done (salt and pepper, if necessary)
5) Place lettuce on plate, top with curry chicken. Serve with rice.

Note: The colour of this curried dish depends on the curry powder you use.If you wish for a darker shade of orange, choose a curry powder of a similar colour.

Jul 16, 2011

2 We CAN-DO with less

We were all raised on a good cup of Milo. It was a morning ritual for the family.

I've often thought of it as the must-have health drink, so that I'll grow up big and strong. That was what moms told us kids back in those days. Children of all levels of society in my hometown drank milo. No one I knew did not have milo at home. If we had our way, it have would been accorded the National drink title, not Teh Tarik.

But today, with rising costs and all...Gomen say, "Change lifestylelar, spend less" hmmph!..not in these exact words..

In line with this "change lifestyle"  motto, I've taken up the task of trimming our grocery costs in earnest. It was therefore with a heavy heart that I finally left Milo out from our regular shopping list. A family tradition spanning three generations, finally broken.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel that it's pretty costly these days?

Finding a breakfast replacement was a soul searching journey. It was, after all, the start of our day and there's nothing worse than meeting the rising sun with a "Aiyarr, must I drink this horrid tasting thing every morning..blekk".

Everything was compared to the "rich chocolatey taste of Milo". I was beginning to wonder if this'll ever work.

"You're addicted," I delcared in the face of a weakening resolve. My fingers trembled as I reached out towards a packet of Milo after weeks of abstention. I stood at the grocery aisle for sometime deliberating and arguing with myself. I am my own mortal enemy.

"No! Don't do this, save money!"

"What's the harm? It's a health drink. Just this once.." I think I winked at myself there.

"Be strong!" the positive in me replied. 

"I can start slow, can't I? Milo this week, other brand the next. I need calcium!"

Before I lost my marbles, I took a step back, cleared my thoughts and gave myself a dressing down. The good people out there argue with  themselves over whether abortion is right, whether death sentences should be upheld, whether they can afford THAT house and here I stand arguing over the merits of drinking milo...

As soon as I reached out for the 2Kg chocolate malt pack next to Milo, which costs a whopping RM10 less, I gave myself a pat on the back.

First Choice Chocolate Malt was the answer to my breakfast drink predicament and a little 'shake' gave it the oomph I needed to stay on course.

It's been three months since my last Milo drink and as far as savings go, it's as they say "sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit" (little by little, over time, it will accumulate into a hill) not a molehill, I hope

Do I miss Milo? Not at all, because this tastes as g-r-e-a-t ..well, not at first, not until I added this extra step ♫♪ shake, shake, shake ♫♪  shake, shake, shake ♫♪

A yummy frothy hot chocolate malt drink

Aahh.. (licks froth from lips)

Ditanggung Halal and 'shake' sedap
(Purchased from Cold Storage)

This is how I make my cup of frothy goodness.

- 2 teaspoons of chocolate malt
- 2 teaspoons of milk powder
- Hot water (enough to fill a cup)

Add all ingredients together in a cup. Stir well. Pour this into a water bottle or flask (with cover). Give it a good shake. Serve into cup of choice (I use the same cup).

Sprinkle a bit of chocolate malt on top (if you like it chef-like).

Jul 13, 2011

0 You Are No Patriot

The silence on bribery
The dereliction of chivalry
Approval of mediocrity
Acceptance of National thievery

The undeserving, heralded
Unsung heroes, discarded
The needy, unaided
Calls for justice, unheeded

You, who abide in this unkind
You’re not God fearing, but blind!
Kept in check and in line
By reasonings of a fearful mind

A patriot, not you, but a slave to tyranny
Cry peace? Cry wolf, you see!
No one finds peace in governmental debauchery
Only shackled lives, only misery!

~ Sharon D. @ 13 July 2011

Jul 12, 2011

2 Banana Puff (Cinnamon sugar and everything nice)

I've decided to add more fruits into my largely carbo, meaty diet but got a lil carried away when I bought a whole bunch of bananas thinking I could finish it all in a couple of days.

Black spots started plaguing the outer yellow skin on the second day. I was, of course, bored with eating ripe bananas in the plain by then and knew that if I didn't do something about it soon, it would go to waste.

So I went to my favourite supermarket and stared at the rows and rows of shelves, waiting for that lightbulb "ting!"...and soon enough, there it was, the flash of inspiration!

I came home with just a couple of ingredients I was missing and put my oven to work.

Hah! This is such an easy do, perfect for lazy me. and the guy was impressed enough to believe I was a pro at this.

Operation: Banana Puff

The ingredients

Fresh off the oven with a light whiff of cinnamon

Glazed with honey for that new plastic shine

Soft on the inside, a light crunch on the outside

No fruit shall be wasted henceforth.

- Ripe bananas, sliced 
- Ready made puff pastry
- Cinnamon sugar (to taste)
- Honey

1) Mix bananas and cinnamon sugar together in a bowl
2) Roll/Cut pastry into shape of preference - rectangular, in this case 
3) Place banana mixture on top of rolled pastry, cover with another pastry and seal by pressing the sides
4) Bake according to instructions (around 15mins at 210c using Kawan Puff Pastry)
5) When it's done, glaze top with honey

Note: Don't panic if a little juice leaks out in the middle of bake time - just use a tissue or cloth to dab it off

Jul 11, 2011

0 Surisit Thai Kopitiam @ TTDI

We chanced over a new Thai restaurant located in the peaceful township of TTDI just amonth back - Surisit Thai Kopitiam.

And ..mmm-mmm..I'll never forget that tom yum soup. Simply slurpilicious!

I really like the small no frills set-up of the restaurant. It's inviting.  A great meal experience is always had in comfy casuals. 

The prim and proper of fine dining has never provided me a satisfied meal. Well, how can I truly enjoy my experience if I'm worrying over my lipstick being smudged and I'm busy trying eat like that dainty princess who can kung-fu through baked shelled prawns in a ladylike manner.

I've always found it to be an injustice to the gastronomical world whenever I forgo food I really want to try because "it'll ruin my lipstick"  and "it's too difficult to look ladylike eating this".

It's a social requirement that wasn't there in age-old days. People still found each other attractive, even in their unpolished ways. We've changed for the better, yes and no. 

The entrance

A look inside

Spice things up a little

Cucuk paku - the vegs (like!)

Stir fried beef (so-so)

Tom Yum Soup (da bomb!)

A lil steep for budget conscious me
But that doesn't mean I'm never going back there.

Jul 7, 2011

0 Creative Home Talk Show with Eric Leong @ 3 July 2011

Who attended Creative Home's Talk Show with Eric Leong last Sunday? Me!

It was part of the activities for in Publishers' idea (Interior Design Experience @1Utama) event.

I had a great couple of hours listening to our local celebrity designer talk about home renovations. My whole family is a fan of Eric Leong. He's lively, humorous and actively engages his audience with freebies.

Eric started off the talk with a guide on home renovation. We each got a nifty workbook to help us out. How cool is that. I'm going to keep it in 'mint' condition.

Unfortunately, home renovating is something I've been through so, "been there, done that, know it". What this Miss Know-It-All didn't know, was how to answer any of the questions Eric asked. That said, I didn't win any vouchers obviously although the organisers were giving it out for every answer, correct or not. Haaa..wrong answer also you could't get it right..pfft!

I had wanted to catch up on the latest renovation trends but couldn't last the four hours and left the hall while he was still on the topic of home renovation, which wasn't very polite of me. I knoww..I'm sorry, Mr. Eric

But it was either that or distress the crowd with my growling stomach. I was downright hungry and try though I did, the rampaging sounds of thunder plaguing my insides, would not ease away. The importance of breakfast should not be  taken lightly...I'm talking about missed opportunities.

Bah it all! I wanted so much to have my photo taken with Eric Leong because mom asked for it. Now, I've nothing to show....except for some amazing vouchers from a great goodie bag we got.

Goodie bag treasure

Mega money savers in the form of vouchers

Lebensstil Kollektion is my favourite brand, by the way - they've a cool collection of home and kitchen appliances at a pretty reasonable price.

Also in the bag, a Lebensstil keyholder and a DeLux name card holder

This one's a keeper. WhatTtt..I just like cute workbooks!

Mint condition

Jul 4, 2011

2 Pumpkin Project - Pumpkin Fried Rice

A small pumpkin was deposited into my shopping cart. I studied the fruit skeptically with an eyebrow raised, much like Mr. Spock of Star Trek.

"Okayy..I know that the way to a man's heart is through his demanding belly, but this is taking things a tad too far," I thought to myself as I pushed the cart along the aisle of fresh greens and suspiciously eyed the culprit ahead of me who had tossed in the pumpkin in an unashamedly nonchalant manner.

Having never cooked pumpkin before, I felt a little intimidated. The man either knows that and is up to mischief, or I've misled him to believe that I could rival Nigella Lawson. It looks like I've been tossed a challenge. I was about to put up a fuss but with the confidence of a fool and Google on my side, I instead embraced my new culinary adventure with gusto.

As it is, I remember a meal I had in a fancy Chinese restaurant in Hartamas recently. I had ordered pumpkin fried rice and it was so yummy that I'm now inspired to cook just that, my own version definitely.

But what shall I call this dish of mine? I've long wondered why dishes with names like "Buddha Jumps Over The Wall" and "Spotted Dick" have stuck although it would have been much easier to recognise what food we're talking about if it were called according to the main ingredients.  

I could have a Plain Jane label like "Pumpkin, Long Bean and Sausage Fried Rice" but I think not today.

Something leaning towards "A Sprinkle of Sunshine", referring to the bits of pumpkin or "A Sprinkle of Sunshine on Planet Earth" will do nicely, I think. Earth refers to a round-shaped fried rice with bits of meat representing the animals and bits of green representing plant life.

Well, that's a mouthful..

A Sprinkle of Sunshine

A Sprinkle of Sunshine on Planet Earth 

Would you like to have the recipe for "A Sprinkle of Sunshine On Planet Earth"? Mmm...I thought so.

- 2 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
- 1 handful of Pumpkin, cut into small cubes
- 1 handful of Long beans, sliced thin, 0.5cm or so
- 1 piece  of chicken Sausage, sliced thin 
- 1 piece of Chinese sausage , sliced thin
- 1 small red chilli for garnishing, sliced thin
- White rice for two, cooked and cooled to room temperature
- 3 spoonfuls of Corn Oil
- 1 teaspoon of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (Available in Cold Storage)
- Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oil in a cooking pan or a wok. Add in garlic, give it a quick stir fry.

Toss in the pumpkin and cook until soft to the bite, not mushy. Mix in long beans, chicken sausage and chinese sausage. Leave it to cook for a minute or so. Then, pour in the white rice. Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Give it a good stir and you're done.

To serve, grab a fist-sized round bowl. Fill it with fried rice and press it down a little. Place a large flat plate on top of the bowl.

Hold the bowl and plate together and turn it the other way round (bowl top, plate bottom). Lift bowl away and there you have it, a nice round serving of fried rice. Sprinkle red chilli on top.

But that still leaves me with a lot of pumpkin left over. What shall I do ...mmm..

Jul 1, 2011

9 Single Storey Terrace @ Lazenda Villa 2, Labuan

Guess what I found on a recent trip to Labuan? A newly completed single storey housing project located amidst the serene Lazenda Villa 2 neighbourhood - perfect for raising a small family.

Cousin signed the papers at around RM360K last year. The price was, of course, bordering on unrealistic for a sleepy township.

Photos were taken three weeks ago. The homes were almost complete except for some wiring work.

I found the overall colour choice neat. Green tinted glass against white is nice on the eyes. It has always attracted me because it gives me an illussion of freshness. I like this combination very much.

I'm really picky about colours and I get riled up when architects or designers (whoever it is who gets to pick the colour) do a lousy job at matching. 

It's off-putting when professionals choose to throw up an unimaginative colour scheme when they've been given the golden opportunity to showcase their creativity.

Unfortunately, I don't have the deets for this project. It wasn't a planned visit and I don't find it highly necessary to bug my cousin for it.

The facade, with green tinted glass.
The front porch fits 2 cars comfortably.

The living hall

The kitchen - A large backyard

The kitchen, from another angle

The gate

Overview of the single storey terrace homes.
A street party is possible.

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