Saturday, 31 May 2008


Exams are over!! *runs around in circles laughing maniacally*

*coughs* Yesterday's paper was the last one. It was alright I guess... I finished 50% of it in half an hour and spent the other 1 and 3/4 hours trying to figure out the second section, which had a case study. *sighs* I didn't do a 20% question very well.... I think I made up for it in the 10% question that follows it though.

After the paper, I said bye to my friends for the summer and went to Canary Wharf. I looked for a camera battery charger again at Jessops, but the lady there finally told me that I could place an order on their website for store collection. I went to the bookshop and bought 4 cookbooks (including Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer), had a dinner at BK's, then stopped by Tesco's to look for polenta (eurgh... Why do all my usual supermarkets not sell the stuff I look for specially?) but they didn't have it. I did buy a bottle of macadamia oil though... I can't wait to use it!

After reaching home, I was feeling kinda restless so I wrote out a looong list of things I need to do and I finished more than half of it last night! *feels accomplished* In my defense for not finishing the other half, I ran out of laundry detergent after doing two loads. Plus, one of the items involved sending clothes to the drycleaner's, so I couldn't very well do it then.

I washed one of my yukata yesterday!! It was an easy way of washing, and doesn't wrinkle your yukata at all so there's no need to iron it! *hearts* I'm waiting for that yukata to dry now. It's hanging by the staircase wall, so it's become a sort of decoration for the flat, for a few days at least. When it's done, I'll have to wash the other one I wore to the Expo. Only thing is the one I washed smells really funny (that's why I washed it first) and even after washing, the smell is still there albeit lessened now. Ah well, maybe I could wash it again with more detergent...

This morning, I went to Wentworth Street behind Aldgate East station to look for cloth. I ended up buying I think 18 yards altogether. There are 3 patterns, but one is black on black. I'll take pics once my camera's done charging!

Something stupid happened when I was walking along the road. I was typing out an sms, and these Chavs were bumming around. One of them kinda said "You got the time?" and I, being the blur idiot that I am, looked up and said "Huh?"

Obviously, they'd take it as an invitation, and he started going "Hey what's your name?" -___-"" I just looked at him and said "Don't talk to me." and just walked off. LoL, it felt good to let out my inner bitch.

Yeah, anyway, I got the fabric, then walked to a bus stop and got on a bus to Canary Wharf to finally get my charger. After that, I stopped by Itsu for a sushi lunch. I didn't take any of the usuals (salmon, tuna, etc) as they were freaking expensive. Instead, I chose the odd fusion thingies you never get anywhere else. I had a crab maki roll, beef tataki (boy that was good!), tenderstem broccoli with sesame sauce (unusual cos they usually serve spinach) and this duck wrap thing that's actually a Chinese and Vietnamese fusion with nothing Japanese in it at all. Yum.

After that, I finally came home! *joy*

I decided to take up Yan's offer to let me use her table, but all I found was the tabletop and not the legs =___="" Spent an hour moving heavy boxes around to look for them but I didn't find them. *sighs*

I did find her mannequin though, so I borrowed it to try and tie some kimono on it. The other yukata I wanted to wash (the one that's a purple furisode yukata) is currently tied onto it lol. It isn't very good though so I'm going to have to retie it before taking pictures *evil giggle*

Okay, I'm gonna go and cut some cloth to make a nice han-eri for some of my ensembles, then I'm going to go shower. Bye people!

Thursday, 29 May 2008


Hey, do you guys remember this furisode from this post??

Oh my goodness, I've just realised that despite my enthusiasm at the prospect of wearing it, I still haven't bought an obi to match with it!! I think that the dark purple fukuro obi I got was meant to go with this, but it matched my pale peach butterfly-and-fans furisode far better than it matched this one, so once again, I am left without an obi for this.

I also need to search for obiage and obijime for this set. Despite my earlier hesitation to buy a bright green obi for this furisode, I think I will search for one simply because it is the easiest colour to match this with. However, I don't really know what obiage and obijime will match!! Red? White? Dark orange? Blue? Does anyone have any suggestions?

.... But I really shouldn't be shopping now, should I? *goes off to eat strawberries*


It's been busy. On Monday, the weather was absolutely horrible. We went out anyway to Chinatown cos Patty wanted to have Misato. Before we stopped by, we went grocery shopping for instant noodles and found a whole pile of other junk to buy. Whoopsie >.> For some reason, they couldn't read my debit card, so we had to pay by cash.

Then we went to line up at Misato. HAHA while we were halfway through the line, we realised we didn't have any cash on us after the grocery store, and I hadn't remembered the cash point that was right beside Cafe de Hong Kong. Misato doesn't take anything but cash. So we got out of line and went to HK Diner across the street instead.

We shared a baked pork rice, a deep fried squid and a plate of steamed 3-style eggs. Yum! Patty couldn't eat much of the eggs (it was the century eggs he wasn't too fond of) so I ended up eating 2/3 of that. Whoa, I feel my cholesterol levels shooting through the roof! Patty enjoyed his pork rice, though. I can't believe he's never had it before!!! He said he'd tried the seafood one before, but in my opinion, the pork one is much better. After eating it, Patty agrees XD

On Tuesday, Patty went back to Concord. I'd baked cookies the night before, so I packed him most of them to eat and to give to Eva (if they didn't get completely crushed..). I hope he gave them to her!

Yesterday was my IT exam. If I thought I died on my other exams, that was nothing compared to this one. I don't want to talk about it.

After my exams, I went to Waitrose. I was feeling upset over my exam and was craving for loads of spaghetti with cream sauce. So I bought spaghetti and 4-cheese sauce. I also bought some veggies, a salad, ground almonds, bulgar what, canned soup and a bunch of other junk >.> My cupboard is full now. Please stop me from grocery buying unless it's fruits and veggies.

I went to bed extra early last night too. Well, I hadn't meant to sleep, but I just lay down for a minute and the next thing you know, it was all dark outside and I was waking up at 3am. I just went back to bed lol. Woke up at 9am again. *sighs*

I had a really odd dream two nights ago about Prince Harry. I seriously have no idea where the heck he came from, but yeah. I can barely remember it, though, after my *grumbles* exam. Last night I had another odd dream about my old classmate from Sri KL Ming Yang (I'd dreamt about another old classmate Kenny a few weeks ago). *snorts* In my dream he was shy and sweet. In real life, he may have been quiet around me (unless he wanted to copy my notes/homework) but shy and sweet?? *snorts again* Liss, if you're reading this, remind me again what he was like? I swear, from what I remember in Form 4, he was anything BUT shy and sweet! Unless you put him next to his girlfriend, but that's a completely different case!

I wonder why I've been dreaming of ex-classmates lately. A premonition? Will we meet up in the summer? Nyehehehehehe... I wouldn't mind meeting up with the Sri KLian bunch again, though. It would be... interesting ;)

I feel like wearing kimono again. But I must tahan till Saturday, after my exams end! Then I can gallop around in a kimono all I want and no one can say a thing about it! Of course, I also need to remember to clean up my room from all the junk that seems to have accumulated from less than a week ago... I blame Patty's visit! He left behind a LOAD of junk! Clothes on my chair, clothes in my laundry bag, books, DVDs, cds.... Ling, I know what he spends his money on now -___-

Okay okay, I'm feeling hungry, so I'll go get the salad I bought yesterday and study for tomorrow's exam. Bye people!

Monday, 26 May 2008

Spaghetti with prawns and rocket recipe

Here's the recipe! I mentioned AGES ago that we should cook this for Pa. I know Pa hates tomatoes, but just cook it and don't tell Pa that there are tomatoes in it. See what he says. I seriously think the parents will like it if we add hotter (and more) chillies. It's really easy to make and only takes me 15 minutes including prep time to cook it straight from the fridge (or plastic bags) if I use fresh spaghetti, 20mins if using dried spaghetti. Out of all that, only 5 or 6 minutes involves cooking!

Spaghetti with prawns, lemon, chilli, garlic and rocket
400g dried spaghetti (but I use fresh, as it tastes better and cooks faster)
6 tbsp olive oil (this may look like an alarmingly large amount of oil, but I assure you, it's good)
3 garlic cloves, crushed (I like more garlic, so I use 5 or 6)
2 medium-hot red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped (use more and hotter chillies. This isn't enough for a nice, spicy, bombastic taste! The chillies I get from Waitrose are nowhere near hot enough and even using 4 of them isn't enough! For Malaysian chillies, may I suggest using 3 normal chillies if you know they're hot enough?)
150g vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned and chopped (skinning is very important! It makes it look far more aesthetically pleasing and the sauce texture will be better. Also, don't use canned chopped tomatoes. It won't taste so fresh anymore then.)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon (if you like a more lemony flavour, like I do, use the zest of a whole lemon)
2tbsp lemon juice (generally, the juice of 1 large lemon)
300-400g cooked and peeled prawns
150g rocket leaves

1) Cook spaghetti according to instructions.
2) Shortly before spaghetti is ready, put the oil and garlic into a large deep frying pan (my preference) or shallow saucepan over a medium high heat. As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle, add chillies and fry for 1 minute.
3) Add tomatoes and fry for a further minute.
4) Add lemon zest, lemon juice, prawns and seasoning (hold the salt till after you taste though). Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until prawns are heated through. I'll add that the tomatoes will liquify in the hot oil, so don't panic. This will turn the sauce into a lovely reddish colour, but not enough that it can be called a tomato based sauce. Be warned that you will barely taste the tomato. Oh, and don't use slightly underripe tomatoes like I did yesterday, or the tomatoes won't liquify properly and the sauce will turn out pale red with a greenish tint, and will taste slightly bitter.
5) Drain spaghetti (always save some of the cooking water, though!). The recipe says to add it to the pan of prawns with the rocket and toss, but I prefer to put the rocket into a very large serving bowl, then add the spaghetti and the sauce on top of the spaghetti, then toss, as my pan isn't big enough to toss all of it together. If you think it's too dry (not very likely, though) add half a tablespoon of the cooking water to loosen it.

Warning: Do NOT prepare the ingredients hours beforehand then cook it. It'll make the whole thing taste really off and bland!!! This recipe is really meant for the freshest stuff only. Don't use frozen prawns, cos you'll be able to taste it. I'm just sorry we can't find packaged pre-cooked prawns at home, so we'd have to cook and peel them ourselves. England is so convenient, isn't it?

This recipe is supposed to serve 4, but Mel and I can finish it with leftovers for 1. It looks very fresh and out-of-the-magazine. The picture for this recipe was on the cover of the recipe booklet and when James saw it, he said that it looked "exactly the same" =^_^= I'm so happy I can make something that looks like the magazine pictures! Maybe I should take a picture of the magazine cover and a bowl of that spaghetti and post it?

This is something I'd serve with garlic bread and a glass of crisp, chilled white wine. I haven't thought of what would be a good dessert for this yet, but usually I eat it with anything :P I use this recipe for 2 or 3 very hungry people for dinner, with leftovers if it's 2, but if you add a slightly heavier dessert, I think it can stretch to 6 people for a light lunch. Maybe an ice cream dessert? Maybe raspberry semifreddo with a raspberry coulis? That would certainly make for a nice, summery Italian meal!

Mmm.. Mel tried adding cheese to it, but I don't think it's very suitable for cheese. Anyway, it seems perfect for Pa and Ma to me. I mean, it's got seafood, it's got rocket, it's fresh, the sauce is clear, it tastes like Tabasco sauce. Put a bottle of Tabasco on the table anyway, cos it'll go well with it, and Ma likes Tabasco with her pasta. Just don't tell them there's any tomato in it - if you skin the tomatoes, there won't be any indication that there are any tomatoes in it. It only provides a base for the lovely flavours of the sauce.

Oh! And don't use an olive oil that's too strong. I'd say mild virgin olive oil would be good. I used extra virgin olive oil yesterday and the taste of the oil was pretty strong. All the other times I cooked this, I used mild virgin olive oil, and the taste was fantastic.

Busy week!

I've been pretty busy since my last exam!

On Thursday, I needed to get some stuff from Boots, and remembered that there was a Jessops at Canary Wharf right next to Boots, so I went there to get my stuff (I spent £22 on hair items! Well, admittedly, that included shampoo) and popped by Jessops to ask for a charger for my battery. Sadly, they didn't have stock on hand, so I'll have to go back later. The guy at the store said there will be stock later this week. Maybe I'll go on Friday or Saturday after exams?

Anyway, Mel and I decided to meet up for an afternoon of shopping and a quick dinner. We had a late lunch at BK, and spent like an hour just sitting there and chatting before we finally went shopping. x_x I can't believe I spent so much money! I bought two £50 dresses and a load of hair accessories.

The dresses are really pretty!!! Both are sleeveless (straps are slightly thicker than spaghetti straps), and one has a white background with light turquoise, dark turquoise and dark-ish pink patterns. There's a strip of light turquoise at the waist, where a ribbon is. Even Patrick said it looked nice! The second one has a red bodice and a red skirt with cream flowers. The upper border of the bodice had a strip of cream edging it, as well as a strip of cream at the waist where there is a ribbon. Once I get my charger, I'll put on the dresses and take pictures to post!

Even though we'd had lunch only 3 hours before, we still decided to have dinner at 7pm anyway. We went to Chillies and had a nice dinner of steak (Mel's), and fajitas (mine). We wanted to have dessert too, but felt too full. I needed to buy some baking stuff as well, and thought that Tesco's might have strawberry essence, so we stopped by before hopping on the train home. *sighs* Too bad there wasn't any strawberry essence... Does anywhere in England sell it??

Anyway, we went back to my flat to pick a yukata for Mel to wear on Saturday, as we were going to the London MCM Expo (I meant to post about it but just plumb forgot). We ended up talking alot, and she finally went home at 2am (OOPS, I really hadn't meant to keep her here for so long!) but we picked out my new Uniqlo yukata that I've posted before somewhere (too lazy to find the link now). It's red with white and pink bunnies and carnations, and a yellow obi. We also had a practice session of putting on yukata. It was fun!

On Friday.. I didn't do much. I just studied mostly, but was suddenly inspired by something (I honestly don't know what) to go grocery shopping, so at 8.15pm, I ran out to Waitrose and was back within 25mins (Waitrose closes at 9pm btw). OH I remember now!! I got my taiyaki pan, so I wanted to get ingredients to make taiyaki with. Too bad I forgot to buy the adaptor, so I couldn't even use the pan in the first place! (Btw Ling, once I read the instructions manual and figure out how to clean it without zapping myself, I'll make some, take pictures and send them over!)

On Saturday, Mel and I had actually planned for her to come over at 9am, but because of public transport trouble, she ended up reaching here at 10am! Not that it matters, cos I woke up late anyway :P I managed to do my hair and "make up" (read: lipstick and gloss) and put on my yukata and obi before Mel arrived, so when she came, I just put her yukata on her and packed my bag, then washed some grapes and preened a little. Then we went to Waitrose to look for nail polish remover wipes and water, but ended up getting only the water.

We took the bus to Shadwell station, only to find that the DLR wasn't on from Bank/TowerGateway to Canary Wharf/Poplar!! So we took the bus to Blackwall and took the train from there to Custom House, where ExCeL is, which is where the Expo was being held. It was packed!! Seriously packed!! Loads and loads of cosplayers, although most of them were Naruto or Bleach cosplayers. There were kids cosplaying too!!!! *squeals* SO CUUUUUTE!!!!!!!

Mel and I spent alot of time queueing - waiting at the cash point to get cash, waiting to get tickets.. Oh that reminds me! There was this guy cosplaying as Jack Sparrow! He looked SOOO accurate, albeit his hair was slightly too light. Great cosplay! *hearts*

When we finally got into the convention, it was super packed x_x Lots of people everywhere! Not many Asians, but still a fair few. Lots of stalls selling plushies and merchandise - I was sooo tempted to get a few, but they were expensive, so I settled for only a Chocobo plushie (from the Final Fantasy series, even though this one was labelled as from FF7) and one of the black cat from Kiki's Delivery Service. CUuUuuTEeE!! I'd also gotten a book from this seller, called the "Gothic and Lolita Sewing Book". Mel mentioned she had one issue of the magazine, but only my issue had the sewing bits in it! *yay* Lucky me! I'd only bought it because of the sewing patterns and tips anyway lol.

I hope Mel had fun! She seemed fairly enthusiastic, especially at the DDR competition thingies, but she didn't want to do it in a yukata (quite understandable).

I didn't stay there the whole time, so at about 4pm, we went home. We took a cab from Poplar, and stopped outside Waitrose to buy ingredients for dinner (well, lunch, really). I cooked my favourite spaghetti recipe - spaghetti with prawns, lemon, chilli, garlic and rocket. I'll post the recipe later! We also had a raspberry trifle for dessert. We were so stuffed!! Especially since I cooked a little more pasta than what the recipe called for (it calls for 400g pasta, but they're sold in 500g bags, so I just cooked the whole lot).

James happened to see it and commented that it looked "just like the magazine picture! =^_^= A great compliment, that is! He also mentioned how fast it took to cook. I don't know if it's just because I've gotten alot of practice making this, but it takes me only 15 to 2omins to make it, including preparation time! The sauce cooks really quickly - in only 5 or 6 minutes. I use fresh pasta, so that takes only 3 minutes and is done the same time the sauce is. Anyway, yeah, I told him to take what was left in the bowl (which was one small portion) and he said it tasted nice and fresh. Yay!

After dessert, I washed up the dishes, and Mel and I lay about, talking. We eventually moved to my room and watched anime while waiting for some files to finish transferring to her iPod. After that, she went home, and I studied for a bit before I went to bed.

Patrick came to London today. Only thing is that it's a Sunday and Bank holiday weekend, so there weren't many trains out of Shrewsbury! He ended up having to take a train to (somewhere I don't remember) then take a train to London Paddington from there. The whole journey took him about 5 hours!

Also, I was late in going to greet him, as while traffic was better than I thought, there were so many people at each stop that we had to wait a full minute at every stop! We took a cab back, though, so it wasn't bad at all coming home. I cooked dinner for him, since he was feeling really tired (he'd only slept at 7am - party at Auntie's last night!). Dinner took about an hour in the oven, so to sate his hunger in the meantime, I toasted bread and served it with pork liver pate. Patty loved it! I loved it too - I've always been fond of that bloody livery taste even as a child. Patty hates liver in pan mein, but I remember I always took his portion of liver hehehe.

We had roasted lamb with a redcurrant glaze (I bought it in a ready-to-cook pack from Waitrose yesterday. Mel was craving for meat, but by the time we were done with dinner, we were too stuffed to eat it!), baked potatoes and rocket salad with homemade lemon vinaigrette.

I didn't really follow any recipe for the vinaigrette, I just sloshed together 4tbsp olive oil, 2tbsp rice vinegar, 2tbsp lemon juice and seasonings (i.e. lots of pepper) and whisked it till it was nice, thick and saucy. It still tasted not bad with the rocket, but I still think I should've used that honey-mustard dressing I wanted to try but couldn't cos I didn't have mustard.

The potatoes were good! Even though I'd baked it for a shorter time and at a lower temperature than what was recommended, it still turned out really soft and its texture was almost melt in the mouth! We had a potato each, and Patty used an ungodly amount of butter on his. I wonder why the heck he doesn't put on weight!!!!!

Yeah, he looks even skinnier now. I had him try on that men's yukata I bought for him ages ago, and it fits him perfectly, but he's just too skinny. FEEDING TIME!! Tomorrow, I'm hoping Misato is open so I can bring him there. He can demolish his plate while I eat half and tapau the rest.

Anyway, this post is getting waaaaay too long, so I'll stop here and post the spaghetti recipe next. G'night people!

Thursday, 22 May 2008


Exams sucked.

Yesterday's paper was the problem paper where no one knew what to expect. We had to read a case study and answer 4 questions about it. I really don't know if I did anything right at all.... I barely had enough time to write down all my points and analyse them!

Today's paper was even worse. I wrote alot, but I still missed alot of points and was once again lacking time for the second and final question. This time I know why that was. Even though I had planned out my answer really well, I had written it so badly that it barely made sense and didn't answer the question at all. So after wasting fifteen minutes on one whole page, I had to scrap it and start all over again. *sighs* But thanks to my (relatively) high coursework marks, all I need is the bare minimum to pass.

This time, I think my essays turned out better because I allocated enough time to plan out my answers in detail. Everyone sitting around me mentioned they thought I was crazy for wasting so much time writing on the question paper, but I find that when I do, I tend to write out my answers far better, with a smooth flow and all the points have pros and cons. Sooo much better than just diving straight in with a vague idea of what to write!

When I got home, I started feeling really restless. I tried playing a game, but it didn't hold my attention for very long. I tried reading, but even that didn't hold my attention! I typed out an entry for this blog - and it got deleted -___- After that, I was simply too demotivated (omg I can't count how many times I wrote that in my exam today) to retype another entry, so I started cleaning up my room, namely unwrapping my antique tea set and putting all the trash into one gigantic black bag, and also transferring the mountain of books on one of my chairs to the bookshelves downstairs.

O_O OMG I didn't know I had this much space in here! XD I'm taking a break halfway through, but I'll have to continue some parts tomorrow.... I still have to:

1) Do laundry (2nd load of sheets, kitchen towels, normal clothing, delicates)
2) Change my sheets (only after 1st load of sheets is dry)
3) Vacuum the whole flat (but only in the morning when everyone's vacuuming)
4) Fold all the clothes piled up on the chair next to me *eyes it suspiciously* I feel like there's gonna be an avalanche soon..
5) Dust all the surfaces in my room
6) Rearrange all the stuff on shelves
7) Rearrange my whole cupboard
8) Take out the trash

It sounds like alot, doesn't it? But I don't think it'll take all that much time. The clothes folding will take only an hour at most, since it's mostly kimono on that chair. Rearranging my clothes cupboard after folding my clothes won't take more than half an hour. Rearranging my shelves and dusting the surfaces will be done at the same time, but probably tomorrow after I vacuum. Vacuuming the flat will take only half an hour if I do it right. Taking out the trash is easy: just plonk it right out the door before 9am tomorrow.

The only thing that'll take a long time would be the laundry, because I always have to set the tumbledryer on for 2 hours, which takes each load of laundry 3 hours to complete, even on the fast cycle. And sometimes, it wouldn't even be completely dry!! How annoying.

Okay, I'm gonna go shower now, then start folding my clothes. Toodles!

Monday, 19 May 2008


I baked bread today! I've been making dough pretty often, but it never seems to end up as proper bread (only as mantou, dumplings, etc) so I thought I'd try my hand at bread.

I found a recipe somewhere online that I thought might work well, but the recipe was for a bread machine, so I had to adapt it on my own to suit my tastes and for hand-making (the "recipe" was just the ingredients. The instructions were "Put ingredients in bread machine and make as normal"). Also, I'd flavoured my bread with honey, which made the flesh of the bread quite sweet, but the crust turned out to be slightly bitter. Here is my recipe:

My Honey Bread

2 1/2 tsp dried yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour
2 tsp olive oil (I used this because it was all I had. Use vegetable oil if you have it)
2 tbsp honey, more if you like it that way. I think I added the equivalent of 2 1/4 tbsp.

1) In a small bowl, pour in 4tbsp of the warm water. Sprinkle the sugar into it (dissolve as much as you can) then sprinkle the yeast over it and leave for 15 minutes until there is 1cm of foam above it. Actually, just follow your packet instructions. Mine said to whisk well before and after leaving it to activate, so I did.

2) While yeast is activating, put the salt and flour into a large bowl and mix together, then create a large well in the middle.

3) When the yeast is ready, pour the mixture, the remaining water and the rest of the ingredients into the well. TIP: If you use the same measuring spoon for the honey as you did for the oil, the honey will slide right off it. Remember not to scoop the honey out of the jar with that spoon, but to pour the honey onto it! Just fyi, 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons.

4) Mix into a dough, then turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, and the dough springs back when you press it with a finger. Most recipes tell you to use a wooden spoon, but I usually just use my measuring spoon from the honey and mix it till the dough is solid-ish, then I'll turn it and the rest of the flour out onto my well-floured surface and start kneading and kneading till all the flour is incorporated.

5) Form a ball with the dough, then place it into a lightly greased bowl. Turn the ball so that its entire surface has a very light covering of oil. This is to prevent it from forming a skin while it rises.

6) Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel, then place the bowl in a warm drought-free area for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

7) Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead again for 2-3 minutes until the dough is back to its original size.

8) Form into a smooth ball, then place on a greased and floured baking tray. If you want to make this in a loaf tin, then divide the dough into two balls and place them into greased and floured loaf tins. I'm not actually sure if this will make one or two loaves, but I think it's probably only for one loaf.

9) Cover with the same tea towel, and leave in the same warm, drought-free area for 30 to 45 minutes until the dough has once again doubled in size. In the case of loaf tins, leave it to rise till the dough is 1cm over the top of the loaf tin. At the same time, preheat the oven to 200C.

10) When the dough has risen, slash it if you're doing it country-loaf style. I like to slash a short shallow X onto mine, as it turns the dough into a nice fat ball rather than a flat round. But if you like a flat round, slash a deep, long X into it. Alternatively, you can slash 4 parallel slashes onto the bread. If you like a more artisan look, sprinkle the dough with flour before baking. I haven't tried this, but I have read everywhere that if you like a crusty bread, spray the dough with mist-water just before you put it in the oven.

11) Bake your bread in the oven until it is done. I had to bake mine for 45 minutes, and even then it is barely cooked through!! My bet is that for this recipe, 55 minutes would be great. But it would be better for you to keep checking to see if it's done once at 30mins, then every 5-10 minutes thereafter. Check to see if it's done by tapping the bottom (use a teatowel that's been folded many times to hold the bread so that you don't scald your hands). If it sounds hollow, it's done. Another way of checking is to poke in a thermometer through the bottom of the bread and see if it comes up to 200C.

12) The moment you take your bread out of the oven, transfer it to a cooling rack so that the bottom of the bread doesn't sweat and make it all soggy. Leave it on the cooling rack for at least half an hour before digging into it - this prevents the bread from crumbing (or so I've heard. Doesn't make a difference to me!) and drying out too quicklyafter you've sliced it. Of course, if the hot bread just means you're going to finish it all in one sitting, then go ahead and cut straight into it!

Just a small warning: if your bread crust browns too quickly, like mine did, cover it loosely with aluminium foil, and carry on baking as normal. I'm lucky I remembered that little trick - I'd accidentally put the dough in the oven at 220C instead of 200C! I nearly panicked when I found that the bread looked cooked on the outside 10mins after I put the dough in.

The crust for this recipe is kinda soft (but tough) and chewy. It's perfect for me, because that's how I like it! But honestly? When you look at it, it looks as though it should be crusty and crunchy. So maybe I'll find a mist-sprayer someday and try to make a crusty bread.

Oh! I got James to try a slice with some honey on it. He said it was good, but then again to quote him, "I'll eat anything" :P So yeah. I never know if my cooking is actually good or not. But at least someone eats it! We also had a small discussion about yeast and what it does to bread and how much we use in a loaf of bread.

Great thing about making bread - it's so easy that after measuring everything, you can do it all mindlessly while studying at the same time! I was reviewing my study notes the whole time I was kneading. Just as I was making the warm water, my classmate Sumeyye called and she was frustrated about our exam on Tuesday because we don't have any past papers to look at! In the end, we both decided we'd just read the textbooks and wing it. The lecturer had mentioned that the exam will be like our courseworks, and those are mostly common sense. *sighs* This sucks...

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Closet Feature: Yukata~~

I wore a yukata today. Seasonally and weather-inappropriate (at least later in the day it was) but it's my furisode yukata. I really wanted to wear a furisode, but I didn't want to spend hours and hours just on putting on something when I wasn't even going to go out in it! So yeah, my furisode yukata was the best choice.
Actually, this yukata is one of my "matchless"/"unmatchable" kimono. I had a couple of obi I thought would go well with it before I received it, but when I look at them together, they just don't look good.

In the end, I had to wear it with my purple yuzu/mikan-motif nagoya obi.

I tied this obi normally this time, because it's short, so the biyo sugata wasn't a good option, and I wanted to tie my obi quickly, and practicing getting a perfect otaiko with the biyo sugata takes time. I'm glad I'm getting better at tying otaiko obi!! <3!>
I'd matched the outfit with a dark dusty pink obiage and obijime. In my opinion, the whole outfit looked really girly, especially with the geta I chose to match it with (even if I didn't go out and thus didn't wear the geta at all except to see how it looked like).
The geta, admittedly, isn't a perfect match, but it's the best I have at the moment.
I took loads of pictures with my phone. Darn, I've GOT to learn how to transfer pictures into my laptop from my phone!!

Closet Feature: Kitsuke

I'm wearing kimono!

Today's ensemble is actually something I put together at the last minute last night when I thought of wearing kimono out to meet with Zhen. In the end I decided not to because I was going to be walking the whole way and didn't think it'd be very comfortable wearing kimono and trying to walk properly in all that wind!

I still ended up wearing it today anyway. I was supposed to go to Waitrose, but the weather's so rainy and dreary that I thought that I should go tomorrow instead. Anyway, back to the kimono..

This is the kimono I am wearing. It's synthetic and the best length for me - 163cm. The material is a little stiff, I suppose, but otherwise it's really easy to wear. One of my neatest kitsuke ever!
And details of the pattern. It's quite a nice kimono, really. The colours are very pale and neutral, and it almost looks like a black and white kimono from afar. I really really want a black and white kimono!! I can't tell you how many black kimono I've bid on just because the patterns on it are nearly white. Not that I've won them all of course... This one is my favourite so far ^_^
I matched it with this obi to get a black and white outfit. I'd worn this before when I went to Takenoko's kimono exhibit in Wales. I've also paired it with many of my "unmatchable" kimono. I think I got the best value for money out of this obi :P
The lining of the kimono was a really dark red, so I decided to add some colour by using this obijime and obiage set, showing off the red side of the obijime:
Again for more colour, I paired the whole thing with this zori set:
The obi can be tied normally, and still have the pattern turn up dead center in the back. Still, I thought of practicing with my biyo sugata:

It was a good practice. It will take some getting used to, of course, but otherwise, it's made my otaiko turn out very well. Slightly lopsided and slightly wrinkled (despite the TWO obi ita I'm wearing) but a perfect otaiko otherwise.

I haven't a picture of it, but the juban I chose to wear with this kimono is PERFECT. The length is adequate, the sleeve length is perfect.. Even the sleeve width is perfect! The whole juban sleeve fits perfectly into the kimono sleeve without anything peeking out or scrunching up! Plus, the juban is white with pink (nearly red) flowers and green leaves with the odd yellow flower flitting about here and there.

*sighs* I wish I had a camera to use to take pictures. Once my exams end, I am soooo going to find a camera shop in London and see if they have a camera charger I can use! Till then, I'll just have to be satisfied with my phone's camera....

Saturday, 17 May 2008

I want this set!!

Okay, I haven't really been posting much about kimono these days x_x"" It's not so much because I've been losing interest, but rather, I haven't been buying anything new lately ^^;;

Anyway, I thought I'd post about this set from Yamatoku Classics that I've been eyeing for years now. I really really like it, but it costs $320! Then again, the sizing is really good, plus it's a 7-piece set. It has the kimono, the obi, a juban, the obiage, the obijime, the zori and a matching bag! It's so very much worth it - but I just balk at the idea of spending so much in one go.

Here are pictures of the set. Enjoy!

Front view of the whole set:
Upclose view of the front:
Side view:
Back view:
Upclose view of the back:
*sighs* Isn't it just gorgeous?? I know that this sort of pattern doesn't really appeal to many people, but it just strikes me as the kind of kimono I'd wear often. It's so casual and so "town-wear" that I can't help but want it!! *hint hint* Birthday present, anyone? :P

Italian dinner

I went out with Zhen last night. It was quite a sudden thing, as I'd been studying when she asked if I wanted to go out. I meant to stay home and study, but since I hadn't seen Zhen in a long long time, I thought it'd be okay to go out with her, especially since I didn't go for the picnic with Mel due to bad weather.

We had dinner at an Italian restaurant called "The Don" near her place, which is just across the bridge from mine. I honestly don't know why we don't meet up more often. Dinner was really nice. She had this pasta with scallops and salad, while I had this dish of sea bass topped with mussels and clams that were cooked in a white wine sauce. Really delicious and the fish was really soft and fresh! Yum.. I had tiramisu for dessert while Zhen had some chocolate ice cream thing. The manager was a nice guy as well - he kept coming to us to talk ^_^ Funny dude, he was.

After dinner, we went to her place, which was 5 mins walk from the restaurant. We chatted for a while and tried to tie our hair into buns using pens :P Zhen even Youtube-d it, and we tried to follow those videos! Hahaha... But I walked home at 12am. It was a quiet peaceful walk, with the exceptions of the catcalls and jeers I got for wearing a dress in this weather (it was COLD.. but my cardigan helped). I finally reached home at 12.30am... And found that my foot had a blister the size of Canada =____=""

So now my foot is ugly. *sighs* I wonder why I always get blisters so easily...

Friday, 16 May 2008

Strawberry Cake

I was feeling restless again, and this time I had a whole punnet of strawberries sitting in the fridge. I've been wanting to try my hand at strawberry cakes for quite a while now, and so I baked a whole strawberry cake from scratch.

It's currently sitting in the kitchen, cooling on a wire rack. I'm going to leave it to cool overnight cos it's simply too late to wait for it to cool before storing it. I did cut out a small piece to try, and it's.. uh.... well I'm not actually a cake person ^^;; So I can't really say. It's dense though. It isn't a very pink thing, as I didn't put any food colouring in it (not that I had any food colouring anyway) and looks pretty natural. The colour is sort of a slightly pinkish beige.

I can't find the written version of the recipe now. It's disappeared somewhere in the kitchen... But since I just made it, I still remember ^_^ So! The recipe:

Strawberry Cake (from scratch)
2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup pureed strawberries
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup organic milk

1) Preheat the oven to 180C (although 175C would be better if you can manage) and butter then flour two 8" round pans (I used only one 9" round pan).
2) Mix the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
3) In another bowl, whisk the remaining 4 ingredients together. I don't think there's a set order in which the ingredients are to be mixed in, but I first put in the pureed strawberries, then milk, then butter, then eggs.
4) Pour the liquids into the flours and whisk into a batter.
5) Pour into the cake pans.
6) Bake for 30-35mins or until it passes the toothpick test. Since I was using only one pan, I had to bake it for 45mins before it was done.

After that you can cool it on a wire rack. The website I got it from gives a few recipes for icing (and also a few recipes for strawberry cake) but I didn't have anymore strawberries after pureeing them, so I didn't bother with icing. Oh, for reference, I got the recipe from here.

As to the strawberries, you may use fresh or frozen, but if you're using frozen strawberries, thaw them before you puree them. I couldn't find the small blender my flatmate has, so I pureed them by hand. It was rather tedious, but somewhat calming hehe. All I had to do was grate each strawberry against a Japanese mortar (luckily I haven't used mine very often at all, so there aren't any leftover scents from previous foods). I ended up squashing the strawberries into a pulp with my fingers when most of it was gone, but I still ended up leaving any white parts of the strawberries behind and only using the red parts. It was a messy ordeal and now one of my pyjama shirts has a couple of pink strawberry stains on it! D:

I still don't know if I'd recommend using this recipe or not, but I honestly think that in this case, icing is something that makes a difference. *shrugs* Oh well... Since Mel and I are going for a picnic tomorrow (or so we hope... Weather forecast says it'll rain D:), I thought I'd cut a few small slices and pack it up in my pink bento boxes. I guess I'll also heat up and pack my leftovers from dinner (creamy garlic and basil mashed potato! Yummy, especially since I used chopped fresh basil rather than dried basil). I also have a couple of boiled eggs leftover from brunch... I'm definitely going to have to find a few uses for that!

I hope the weather'll be accomodating >___<"" We're planning to meet in Chinatown at 12pm, then we'll buy some cakes and pastries and tea (maybe some beer too) then we'll go to Piccadilly Circus (i.e. Japan Centre) to buy sushi and maybe sake. I can't wait!

Okay it's really late now, and I gotta wake up early tomorrow to shower and pack all the foodstuff. G'night!

Thursday, 15 May 2008


OH MY GOODNESS, remember when I bought those 5 yukata sets???? The same seller is now selling 5 geta sets!! *shrieks in excitement* I've been looking to get more geta for a long time, and here they are, cheap as hell!! *goes all starry eyed* Ahhh my dream.. For those who wish to shop there, the seller's name on Yahoo Japan Auctions is adakinu kyoto.

You know, someone once told me I would be classified as a "high maintenance" girlfriend. At that time, I was very insistent that I wasn't, but after seeing my shopping habits, I will admit I have expensive habits. *laughs maniacally* Pity the poor soul who marries me (if I even do get married). Especially if I get pregnant. My cravings are bad enough as they are!

EDIT> I've tried tying a fukura suzume bow using my more complicated biyo sugata. Everything went perfectly fine... until time came for me to put it on -___-" I swear those things were made to infuriate the human race. Why is it so easy to tie bows onto, but so difficult to put on!!!! *grumbles* Back to the drawing board.... But I will admit that for my first time using a biyo sugata, it turned out pretty good.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Closet Feature: Obi Aid & White Obi

They're being eaten!!! My mantou are being eaten!! *dies from shock* MeiZi ate one (or maybe two, judging from how many have disappeared from the plate) and I ate 3 for lunch, and James took one. Now there are only 12 left o_O

I'm surprised they actually dared to eat them (they're not visually appetizing at all) but both MeiZi and James ate them and said they were good. I don't know, I just can't get that yeasty flavour out of my head (and tastebuds). Oh well...

I really don't know what to do with them. The crusts have hardened slightly already, and microwaving them makes the crust tougher. Maybe I should re-steam them instead...
*snorts* I bought a new 4pint bottle of milk yesterday and over half of it is gone. Guess that shows how much I love drinking milk.

I tried using one of my biyo sugata today. It was a simple, easy one which I will use mainly for otaiko musubi with a nagoya obi. It looks like this:
It works really well!! The fastest otaiko I've ever tied. Usually I take about 15mins to get it on. With this thingy, it only took me 8-10mins! The only problem is that I can't figure out how to use it so that the picture appears in front, because it's usually hidden under the second wrap around the waist. Oh well... I'll keep experimenting till I find a way to do it! Otherwise, I may have to use this only for obi which have constant patterns and leave the plain ones with one large pattern to my other more complicated biyo sugata.

Also, I have good news! After searching for one for months, I have finally won a plain white nagoya obi!! *squeals in delight* Here are a couple of pictures of it:

Ooooh, I can't wait to receive it!! It'll most certainly go with nearly all of my dark-based/colourful kimono. I may even put it next to one of my unmatchable kimono to see what it'll turn out like! *excited*

Oooooh I've really got to learn how to transfer pictures from my phone to my laptop! ;_;


I made mantou. O_O OMG it turned out quite nicely!! Only thing is that it's too yeasty, so it tastes kinda off. Also, I made aLOT of it, because I'd absentmindedly done everything according to the recipe rather than halving it all. *screams in frustration* Thanks to THAT, I ended up making 22 buns. It doesn't really sound like much, coming from someone who bakes 100 cookies in a go, but when you actually put them on a plate, they look overwhelming.

At least they keep well for a day or two, so maybe I'll have them for breakfast tomorrow. I'll try to convince James to eat some lol. But I kinda don't want anyone else to eat them because of its yeasty taste.. Ugh. It isn't really all that bad once you get used to them, but... Come on, YEAST! It's disgusting! The smell's disgusting! Too bad we have to use it to get beautiful breads. And I'll admit that they made my mantou turn out really good. They're so soft and fluffy.... Not the pure white you see in shops, but I don't want to know what the heck they do to the mantou in restaurants to make it that white!

I took a picture of the dough with my phone. That was when it was rising. The bowl I used for the rising was too small, so it ended up puffing waaay over the top! And it was soooo cuuute XD *hearts* I did forget to oil the bowl and the dough, unfortunately, so the dough stuck to the bowl and developed a crust. I don't think it made all that much of a difference, but oh well.

The recipe I used was from this site and is as follows:

1 tbsp yeast (I think this ought to be reduced a little)
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 cups plain flour (I used bread flour just 'cos I had it)
tiny bit of oil, preferably vegetable

1) In a small bowl, pour in 4 tbsp of the warm water, then sprinkle with the sugar and yeast and leave for 15 minutes. Actually, just follow the instructions on the yeast packaging. Mine said to whisk thoroughly before leaving it and while adding it to the flour, so I did.
2) Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining water.
3) Mix into a dough, then turn it onto a floured board and knead till smooth. Because my bowl was too small (not intentional), I just mixed it till it was more solid, then dumped the sticky dough and the unmixed flour onto the board and kneaded in the flour that way. It was tiring, but fun :D Oh, to tell if the dough has been kneaded enough, press it with a finger. If it springs back, it's done. I'm usually good at kneading dough (always manage to knead it till it is right before I test it) so I don't know what it looks like if it hasn't been kneaded enough. Besides, more is better :P
4) Put it in a lightly oiled bowl, then brush the top with oil. Cover, then leave it to stand in a warm place for an hour or until size of dough is doubled.
5) Punch the dough down, cover it again, and let stand for 20 more minutes.
6) Knead the dough on a surface once more (I floured the surface, but it didn't seem to need it), then shape into buns. I divided them equally into two balls, then rolled them into a large sausage and used a large knife to cut them into pieces evenly. I hadn't intended to, but I ended up rolling all of them to look like char siew pau. No need for it, really. Also, at this point, if you don't want so many buns, you can continue from here to make bread. I nearly baked the last batch of dough, but decided I wasn't confident enough to bake bread yet.
7) Place them 1 inch apart on the steamer and cook for 10 minutes. If you're using an electric steamer, oil the base of the steamer compartment slightly or the bottom of the mantou will stick. If using a bamboo steamer... I'm not sure, but some recipes I've seen call for a cheesecloth to be put on the base before you put the dough on the steamer. *shrugs* Really not sure about that one.

The recipe said it will yield 32 buns, but I made big buns, so I got 22 instead. Also, 10 minutes may sound like it's a little too short, but trust me, it's absolutely perfect and makes the fluffiest buns ever.

Oh, this reminds me! I found this website that has the best basic white bread recipe ever! And it's the best simply because it has details on what to do, when, for how long and the most important of all: why. It's seriously helped me understand alot about why we leave the bread to rise and how it can go wrong!

I cooked a minced beef, chilli and french bean dish to go with the mantou for my dinner. Unfortunately, because I only started making the mantou at about 8pm, I'm only eating my dinner now, which is about 12.30am o_O Then again, this might be considered supper, especially since I haven't been hungry the whole day apart from this afternoon, just before I went to the post office to collect my parcel. I sated that with a bottle of juice. Not sure what kind of juice, but the label said "Multivitamin" *shrugs* Whatever it was, it staved off my hunger till now lol.

I noticed I've been getting hungry less and less. As a result, I've been eating less and less. Not sure if I have some sort of problem, but *shrugs* oh well. When I do eat, I try to get in as much fiber (fibre?) as I can, as well as protein, but I don't know if it's the correct thing to do. I've tried eating at least 2 meals a day (lunch and dinner) as well as a snack time, just like I used to in secondary school, but so far, all I'm managing to eat is dinner and a biscuit. Sometimes a piece of fruit as a snack. The only time I ever eat two proper meals a day is when I go out with Mel for both lunch and dinner! And that doesn't happen very often either.

I need to fix myself and get healthier before I go home and before Pa notices. Otherwise, I'll get nagged at alot and Pa and Ma will worry alot = not good for their health or my sanity. *sighs* I kinda miss home now. I really really really want to drink Chinese tea with my dad :( You know, the bitter tea that's really dark brown and brewed in a tea set, drunk like shots in small sake-cup-like cups?

Mel told me it's a very Hakka thing to do, and yeah I suppose it is (after all, we are Hakka) but it just reminds me of my dad and when the family used to sit and drink tea while watching TV ehehehehe. I remember I used to hate the bitter tea, but just kept on drinking and drinking and drinking it till I got addicted to it. Hehehehe...

*sigh* I want to drink Pa's tea and eat mooncakes... ;_;

Grocery Shopping

The lack of vegetables (and loo paper) convinced me to go to Waitrose today instead of tomorrow, as planned. I spent about £75 today. O_O OUCH. The reason? I bought 5 cooking magazines.

I haven't read them all yet, and have only finished reading one so far and am about halfway through delicious magazine, but I must say that some of these recipes are really interesting!! Ling, you love creme brulee right? Here, there's a recipe for honey and lavender creme brulee!! This is fantastic! I'll have to go to Borough Market sometime to get some lavender sprigs to make this.

Then there's also a recipe for ratatouille. To be honest, just watching the movie Ratatouille makes me crave for the dish. On the other hand, the dish has a heck load of peppers in it, so I don't think I'll eat all that much of it, really.... Unless I lessen the amount of peppers and up the amount of courgettes. Gotta love courgettes XD

On a side note, I went to collect a parcel today. It had a new Uniqlo yukata set in it (a second hand set) and two biyo sugata. O_O YAY I finally have my long-awaited for biyo sugata!!
I'm ever so glad it came with instructions too - I've looked all over the net but could never find instructions!! Of course, I never got to poke around the Japanese websites, but still! I was thinking of taking pictures of the instructions and posting them on the Immortal Geisha forums, because even there no one has the instructions (in picture form) posted!

Hehehehe, once my monthly visitor leaves, I'm going to have to practice using it!! ^_^

Speaking of my "monthly visitor", I swear my uterus has a mind of its own. It's practically become tradition that I get my period a day or two before my first day of exams!! *grumbles* And the flow is quite heavy, too, this time. Ah well.. If everything goes as usual, all I have to do is wait till a chunk of my uterus comes out then it'll slow down and stop in a couple of days. Sheesh.

Oh bugger I just realised I'd forgotten to buy more vitamin supplements. And strawberry essence (but Waitrose doesn't sell strawberry essence!! O_O Shocking!) as well as cream (both double and single). Ah well.. At least I remembered to buy yeast and bread flour. Now I can make mantou. Finally!! I'd been craving it all week!

Despite my exam schedule, Mel and I are planning to go out on a picnic on Friday. We're going to buy the food instead of make it, so I won't waste too much time on it. Plus, we're doing it Japanese-style! Okay, more like we're just gonna sit on a blanket and eat onigiri and sushi and dango and drink tea and beer. I hope the weather will continue to be nice on that day!! My black and gray dress from Singapore will be perfect to wear there. I'm also going to wear geta as they're the most logical choice, but I haven't decided which pair yet. Probably the mustard yellow pair, although I don't know if it'll really match. It's at times like this that I really wish I had a maroon pair! Oh well..

Okay, I'm gonna go flip through the food mags now. Bye and sorry for the random ramblings!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


I had my Econs exam today. It was alright, I guess. I knew at least a bit of everything that came out, even though we only had to answer 3 out of 6 questions. Of course, I chose the 3 that I knew most of.

The first I chose was about moral hazard behaviour and its consequences for business profitability, and using stock options to reduce its effect. I was lucky, as the past papers we were given had the same question and I'd revised it over and over and over again - I had a hunch. Not sure if I did this right.. I explained what moral hazard behaviour was, but I don't know if I did it accurately, then I said that it will reduce business profitability. For using stock options, I just mentioned the risks involved and said that it would be an incentive for managers to work hard, but may only work if said managers are not risk-averse.

The second one I chose was about how businesses can use price discrimination to extract consumer surplus and increase profits. I'm not quite sure I did this one right. I wrote that there were 3 levels of price discrimination, gave a brief discription and definition of each one, then gave examples on how price discrimination can be applied in those cases. I had a HECK lot to say about this, but I couldn't write down everything I wanted to before the time I'd allocated myself was up and I had to go on to the next question :( So yeah, this question was left unfinished.

The last question was on how supply side policies can be used to "promote economic growth and business profitability". Well, this one was fun to do! First, I defined supply side policies and gave two examples (research, development and innovation and education markets combined with labour markets). Then I described possible effects on aggregate supply and how that will affect aggregate demand, how the economy grows from it, and how some businesses may profit from a growing economy, but others won't (i.e. inferior goods). I had alot to say about this too, but I didn't have enough time to expand on it :( I'm not even sure what I did was entirely right... *stress* Oh well...

I think I quoted the textbook's examples alot o_O

This time, I was worried about my timing, as I usually don't have enough time to write down everything I want during essay exams. So, what I did was divide my 2 1/4 hours into 5 parts - 30mins planning, 30mins on each question, and 15 minutes checking. Of course, I ended up going overtime, with 35mins for everything except the last question, which I only had 30mins for. *sighs* At least I managed to write alot for it... The planning part really helped too! I wrote down all the main points on the question paper, and when it came to writing the essay, I didn't have to stop and think much, just write it all! Of course, I still got some ideas when I was writing stuff down, so I had alot and alot to write..

O_O Omg, one of my friends amazes me! She said she was done in 45 minutes!! *jaw drops* I don't understand hooooooowwwwwwww ;_; She said she essentially wrote the answers that were given to us in the past year papers (the questions mostly remained the same) but I hope she expanded on them more... Those answers didn't seem nearly enough!

Anyway, okay, I'm tired of reviewing this one exam. Don't really know why I did a whole review other than the fact that both the questions and answers are sitting right next to me hehe.

Ling, care to see if the general idea of my answers are right?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Soup again

I made soup again today. This time, it was French Onion Soup, albeit without the croutons and cheese. I noticed the only vegetable I had left in the house (other than broccoli, but I'm saving that for later tonight) was onions, and I wanted to have soup, but didn't have any suitable meats for it (my cuts of beef and lamb aren't the best choice for stewing either). What did I do then? Google for French Onion Soup recipe!

Of course, I faced a second ingredient problem - no dry white wine or spirits suitable for non-dessert dishes. But I was getting quite irritated by then (yeah, it was PMS) so I just went and cooked it anyway, replacing the spirits with plain ol' stock.

It was really easy to prepare, now that I have my slicer set. Here's my recipe, which was really a combination of a few I'd read online:

1) Slice 2 large onions. Doesn't matter if they're thickly or thinly or evenly sliced, but I prefer thinner cuts.
2) Melt 50g butter in a pan, then add 1 tbsp sugar. Stir till sugar is melted and butter is frothy.
3) Add onions, fry around, then leave it for half an hour to caramelise. Check and stir from time to time.
4) Add 1/2 tbsp flour, mix around. At this point, I added about 1/2 tsp of thyme and 1 tsp garlic powder. That was waaaay too much thyme, as I only intended to add 1/4 tsp of it. Anyhow, mix it around till blended with the onions.
5) Add water (or stock). I'm not sure how much is good, exactly, but I added about 1.25litres and it kinda seems like too much. Oh well *shrugs*. By the way, if you're using water instead of stock, you probably should stir in a stock cube as well. I tried using vegetable stock, but the flavour was so bland I added in some chicken Maggi Shake Shake. The best to use would be beef.
6) Bring to boil, and simmer gently for about 30mins (you can put it on a lower heat and simmer for longer if you want). At this point you can go away and do whatever.
7) Add seasonings, serve.

Rightfully, you should make croutons, sprinkle cheese on top, then grill till cheese is melted, then serve cheese croutons with soup. Some recipes require the soup to be made in a casserole pot, then have the croutons added into the soup and sprinkled with cheese, and the whole pot grilled. But as I don't have any bread, I can't follow this so meh. I don't feel much like eating cheese-bread at the moment anyway.

Try making this! It's so easy and doesn't require much attention, and doesn't taste all that bad. Only thing is, it's a really warming soup, so it's best if you eat it in the winter or on a cold day, or in a room with air conditioning. I'm a weird idiot, so I'm eating it in summer-like weather. HA.

That last statement reminded me of something I told my sister once, back in December when I was wearing long sleeves to a mamak stall:

"Some people ask 'What kind of idiot wears long sleeves in Malaysia??'. My answer would be 'The same kind of idiot who wears spaghetti straps in winter."

:P Obviously, the statement refers to myself.

Okay, I've got to go and study now. Soup is smelling great (it hasn't finished boiling yet lol) and it's no wonder people think it goes really well together with cheese-bread. It just smells right. Hehehehehe, I can't wait to drink it! The taste-test was already damn good.....

EDIT> Okay, because I boiled the soup without a cover, the water volume was reduced to about 2/3 of what it originally was. This was great, as it made the flavour more concentrated and yummy. Also, I just found half a baguette which is MeiZi's leftover, and she'd sent us an email saying we can use it. I'm not gonna make croutons, but maybe I'll just slice a little of it to eat with the soup :) Oh! Point to soup: warmth = less period pains. WOOHOO. I'm soooo making this again.

Yet another weird dream

Oh my Lord, last night I had such an odd dream that I can't help but post about it!

I dreamt that we went back to Sri KL for something, and I was studying while listening to my iPod in my Form 4 class. The principal called for an assembly but the whole class didn't go. Suddenly, the classroom started moving and flew down to the assembly courtyard o_O We got yelled at, and they wanted to a spot-check on us. I practically panicked, because I wasn't wearing the proper school uniform. I mean, sure, I was in the baju kurung uniform, but I was wearing slippers rather than the school socks and black shoes, plus I had my phone and iPod with me (both aren't allowed in the school).

All of a sudden, my Sri KL friends Doreen, Siew Jean and Swen were standing on a street in London (if I'm not mistaken, it was some small road off Neal Street) and they wanted to go to a marketplace with loads of food. I agreed to take them there, because Yan and I had gone there the day before. So we got into Doreen's inflatable car (shaped like a canoe, and has to be filled with custard before it can be driven) and I directed her to West Kensington station to get on a District Line train. I'm not entirely sure how, but apparently, in my dream, West Kensington station is close to Covent Garden. Lol.

Anyway, once we got there, I realised we were at the wrong entrance point, and had to go to another station to get to the right place. By that time, we were joined by Patrick (my brother) and Lee Tung (Concord friend). Doreen then told me there wasn't enough time for them to visit before their flight, so instead we drove off after expanding her inflatable car to fit 6 people instead of 4. I can't remember when or where, but somehow our group included this little girl who had to sit on my lap while Doreen was driving. What I do remember, is pitching a fit that I had an exam later that day and I shouldn't have wasted my time on that useless "quest" because I could've studied instead.

Odd, isn't it?? I think the car was the funniest thing, because it was like driving a soft, squishy canoe in the middle of the streets!

Okay, I gotta go study now. Just thought I'd share my odd dream lol.


*raises eyebrows* I just cooked a Western-style dumpling soup, and it's surprisingly good, despite how plain it is! I couldn't follow the original recipe I found online, as I didn't have potatoes in the house, so I tweaked it a little. Here's how I cooked it:

Mix 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 or 2 tbsp basil and some pepper in a bowl. In a measuring jug, crack an egg and beat it, then add water till it makes up to 250ml and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix. Pour liquids into flours, mix till it forms a dough, adding more flour to make it more solid if you like. Chop half an onion and a few slices of bacon. Melt about 30g butter in a pot, tip in onions and bacon and fry till brown, then add as much hot water as you want. Remember to keep it in proportion to the onions and bacon, but add plenty as the dumplings will expand. Bring to boil. If you like, add some chicken stock cubes and seasonings, but take care not to add too much as it is already salty from the bacon. When water is boiling, drop teaspoonfuls of dumpling dough into the soup. Take care not to add too much to one pot. Boil dumplings and soup till the dumplings have expanded. Because of the extra flour on the dumplings, the soup should thicken slightly. Take it off the heat and leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.

Well, that's my recipe.

The original recipe actually called for about 1.3kg of potatoes to be boiled, and a whole onion and 110g bacon to be fried in a separate pan then added to the soup when the potatoes were nearly done. The dumplings didn't have basil or garlic powder in it either, but I prefer them tasty rather than plain, so I added them. Since I didn't need to preboil the potatoes, I didn't see a need for me to fry the onions and bacon in a separate pan, so I just did everything in one pot. Thanks to that, the water deglazed the juices from the pan naturally.

Someone who reviewed the recipe said that the soup was salty enough without stock, but mine was kinda tasteless (I like rich-tasting foods) so I added some chicken flavoured Maggi Shake-Shake into my soup. Damn, it tastes good! It tastes of pork and chicken, and is quite buttery too! Yum...

Just for reference, I got the original recipe here.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Steamed eggs

I discovered something odd just now.

I was cooking steamed eggs and decided I wanted a bit more flavour in them so I decided to replace the water with chicken stock. I added a little too much stock, so when I steamed the eggs, it ended up being cooked, but with a heck load of water left behind! But because it was stock instead of water, the dish turned out to be a steamed egg with soup dish. How odd! But still, I think it tasted damn good. I mean, steamed eggs and soup! Nothing can go wrong with those two :D

Anyway, here's a quick recipe. I swear, steamed eggs are the easiest thing to cook in the world! Can't go wrong with them! And it's easier to cook than fried eggs, that's for certain!

Beat a couple of eggs in a bowl (one that can be used in a steamer). Add 250ml to 300ml of stock and seasonings (I usually use pepper, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Don't ask about the last one, I just like it in every dish I make). Mix thoroughly, steam for 20 minutes or so. Eggs should not be watery, and any liquid in the bowl should be clear.

Of course, this was done in an electric steamer and I notice things tend to overcook in them if I use the timings I would use for a normal bamboo steamer. If steamed eggs are overcooked, they tend to turn grey and the tops will be wrinkly. Despite its unappetizing appearance, it does taste alright.

Okay, I'm not entirely sure why I put up such a basic recipe but *shrugs* okay. Next time I'll cook the one with minced pork! I haven't eaten that in ages.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

UNIQLO yukata sets!

UNIQLO has once again started selling yukata sets. The link to the site is here. ^___^ The prices have gone up since they first started selling them.. They used to go at ¥3990, but this summer they're being sold for ¥4990! *sighs* Inflation, inflation.

Anywayz, I thought I'd post a few pictures of the ones I like! I couldn't get close-up pictures (it was a flash player thingy that controlled the zooming in and out), but I assure you they're really pretty!

The first has retro-ish spots on a navy yukata. O_O OMG even though I hate spots in any yofuku (Western clothing), I've adored spots in kimono for a long time! *sighs dreamily*
Second is a black yukata (again) with a rose pattern. It doesn't look like much here, but it looks gorgeous up-close!!
Last of all is my absolute favourite set that I feel I MUST have! It's white, with a more autumn-y pattern in maroon. I want it so badly!! It has everything I love in kimono! White based yukata - check. Vertical stripes on yukata - check. Darker, more mature colours for pattern, - check. Said colours are a variation of red/maroon/purple - CHECK!! *sighs* I want it so badly!
Can I get it....? *puppy eyes* Please?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

I forgot!

It's May 5th today.


I would hang koi-nobori outside my window, but I don't have one, so pooh. This is the first time I'm posting about a Japanese holiday here, since I usually forget (like March 3rd is Girl's Day, and yesterday was Green Day). I should wear kimono for this occasion, shouldn't I?


I just placed a bid for an electric taiyaki maker. O_O I hope I win it!! Or else I'll have to buy one from YJA, which may end up costing more.. But I'm still determined to get an electric one rather than one of those pans you have to manually do it with!

When I do make my taiyaki, I won't put anko in hehehe.. I'll put my all-time favourite filling since I was a scrawny kid - CHEESE!! *screams in delight*

Here are some pictures I got off YJA and Wikipedia:


Monday, 5 May 2008

Cookies: The Verdict

So I've baked the cookies and they're all cooled and sitting on a plate downstairs. I was right, I did add too much flour, so the dough was rather crumbly, and it was difficult to roll. I think I spent around 15 to 20 minutes rolling out the dough each time! Ugh..

Cut-out Sugar Cookies: Review
Taste: Sweet when warm. Not as sweet as the previous sugar cookies, but certainly sweeter than Nigella Lawson's cut-out butter cookies. Then again, these are sugar cookies. When cold, the sweetness lessens and is overwhelmed by the texture of the cookies (or so I feel).

Texture: Like I said, I put too much flour, and you can tell from the texture. It isn't really biscuit-y or cookie-like, or even cake-y! I'm not sure how to describe it, but it isn't a texture I like (I'm quite particular about food texture). It seems "thick". Like I said, I can't describe it :P

Easiness of recipe: Making the dough is really really easy. After that, it becomes really tedious and takes up alot of time. It's only something I'd do when I'm really bored, feeling restless, and have lots of free time.

Overall: Will I use this recipe again? Maybe once to see what will happen if I play around with the ingredients a little. If the cookies still turn out odd, I don't think I'll use it again.

The Recipe
2 1/2 cups flour (but this is too much - try reducing it to 2 1/4)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter (or 170g)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

1. Beat butter and sugar till pale and fluffy, then beat in egg and vanilla.
2. Add flour and salt, and mix till it forms a dough. Knead the dough, if necessary.
3. Divide dough into 2, flatten into 6-inch discs, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
3. Heat oven to 180C.
4. Roll one disc to 1/4 inch thickness on a well-floured surface with a well-floured rolling pin. Keep flouring the rolling pin and the dough, if needed.
5. Cut out cookies and place on trays about an inch apart.
6. Bake for about 10-12 minutes till edges are starting to turn golden.
7. Reuse scraps for more cookies. If dough becomes too soft to roll, wrap in plastic wrap again and chill for about 10-15 minutes.

I got the recipe from here: this site.

This recipe gave me about 27 cookies, 2 of which weren't cut out, but were just scraps that were pressed into discs. I used a medium-sized heart-shaped cookie cutter. I haven't iced them, as I don't have any icing materials, but I think I may go out and buy chocolate tomorrow to melt and dip them into.

What do you think?

Cookies again

Hehehe I got bored of sitting around and studying, and I've been feeling restless lately, so I went grocery shopping today (haven't been to Waitrose in ages! Two weeks I think. Or two and a half. O_O Whoa, what did I eat??). Unfortunately, I was stocking up on fish and meats to freeze, and my basket got really heavy with my basic essentials so I couldn't visit the baking section :( I'm going to have to go back tomorrow, though, cos I forgot to buy dishwashing liquid, and sponges. Hehehe, I'll go nuts with the baking stuff then!!

I wanted to bake a cake again, but with what I had, I could only bake the most basic of cakes, or peanut butter cake (which I'm not in the mood for). I had to turn to cookies instead, but once again, it was either peanut butter cookies or plain cookies. I decided to bake cut-out sugar cookies, since I felt like putting my cookie cutter collection to use hehehe. I actually didn't have enough plain flour, so I replaced the remainder with self raising flour x_x"" I know it's not a good thing to do, but I was desperate, and Waitrose closes early on Sundays!

I also made a mistake with the butter, as I'd accidentally melted a bit of it in the microwave when I was softening it (the setting was too high). Oh well, it all turned out for the better in the end, because it was really easy to cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy, and it did seem quite airy when I was done mixing (okay okay, I'll admit that creaming butter and sugar manually is my favourite part of baking aside from the eating part :P It's so fun!!). I think I may have added too much flour, despite the fact that it was what the recipe told me to add in. Oh well...

As of now, the dough is sitting in the fridge to firm up so I can roll it out and cut the cookies. I can't wait!! There's still 40 minutes left to go before the minimum fridge time is over, but I'll head downstairs in 20 minutes to clear up a space in the kitchen to roll out the dough, preheat the oven and wash some of the dishes (yeah yeah I'm lazy to do it right away). When the cookies are baked, I'll post again to give my verdict of this recipe, and to post the recipe as well! :P

Oh, I probably should mention that I bought scallops to cook for dinner (I had a late lunch, so I'll only cook dinner after the cookies are done) and "Madagascan Vanilla Flavoured Milk". It's.... interesting. It smells and tastes like vanilla custard -___-" The only difference is the texture! Oh well, I'll see how well it goes with the cookies. It does go well with the chocolate cake thing I baked the other day. Speaking of that, I haven't been eating them, but someone has. They're disappearing one-by-one. GOD I'm so glad to be sharing a flat with someone who'll eat my cooking! *sniggers* "Homemade with love", as is my food shop's name in Ragnarok Online.

Okay, I'm gonna go get more milk. Bye!

Friday, 2 May 2008


I had this really weird dream last night that I kept on seeing ghosts. I vaguely remember seeing PorPor and KongKong, and it was quite creepy. The most memorable ghost was the father of this girl (about 12 years old I think) and her brother (my age, thereabouts). Apparently, he died a few years ago in front of them, and ever since then, he's been haunting their living room, which looks suspiciously like a combination of the lounge in Sandford House Hotel and another cosy, modernistic living room I saw in a magazine once. It was weird because there are always lots of people in the living room, and he'd just be sitting there, staring at all the people with that creepy expressionless face. Sometimes, he'd be outside the window, sitting amongst the plants and staring in. I remember always being freaked out by the ghosts, especially whenever I had to use the loo in that house, because there was always something just standing there and watching me.

After that dream, I woke up to go to the loo then went back to bed. I had another weird dream then. I dreamt that the family went to watch a play in the West End, and it was somewhat like Phantom of the Opera but more supernatural. For one thing, the "Phantom" of the story was really a ghost, and he kept enticing the heroine into following him (i.e. die and becoming a ghost) to grant him eternal happiness. Then came a really weird part where I remember being the heroine for a moment, and singing something that essentially asked the ghost if he ever thought that the heroine may leave him to find her own eternal happiness. The moment that was done, I panicked cos it wasn't in the script, and the whole play ended oddly :P After it was over, we walked out and were suddenly in KLCC/Pavilion/Gardens (the surroundings kept changing as we walked), and were given prizes from a lucky-draw. The most hilarious prize was mine, because for some reason, they gave me lockers. As in, the keep-stuff-in-them-at-school kind of lockers. *rofl*

I wonder why my imagination's suddenly going into overdrive.

Thursday, 1 May 2008


*frowns* I was kinda craving something sweet today, but we didn't have any dessert stuff in the house except for one box of instant cake mix. I really wanted to use it, but I couldn't as we had no eggs either. I decided to try using an egg replacement thing I found online while looking for recipes.

For each egg I had to use, I replaced it with 2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp oil and 2 tsp baking powder, all whisked till the froth goes away (that was damn fun to do hehehe). The result was.... odd. I accidentally overbeat the cake mix, and the result was that the batter before I put it into the tin was kinda mousse-like and very light. I think that may also have been a side-effect of the frothy baking powder.

When the mini cakes (I used a muffin tray cos I'm lazy to use a cake tin) were cooked, they turned out really light, with an odd taste. The lightness was due to the overbeating, the baking powder and also maybe because this time I whisked the liquids till quite frothy, then added the packet mix rather than just campur-ing everything in one go.

About the odd taste.... Well, you can taste a little of the olive oil in it (the olive oil had a really strong flavour, but it was 11pm and we didn't have any other oil in the flat other than my truffle olive oil), and the aftertaste is really bitter. Seriously!! I mean, halfway through the second one, I wanted to spit it out because it was so bitter!! But then again, "bitter" is rather relative to what I usually like in baked goods. Hehehhee, sweet tooth queen...

Appearance-wise, I think they turned out quite nicely! No parts were overly brown, the whole cake is evenly cooked throughout, and the tops are really nice and flat. Exactly the sort that's perfect for frosting!! Some of them did crack a little on the top, but whatever, the others were still fine! Hehehehe..

All in all, I'd only recommend using the egg replacement thing when you're really really desperate, like I was.

I had a weird dream last night. I dreamt that the whole family moved into a new house, and the inside was very very big and comfortable, with huge rooms and tasteful antique-y interior decorations.

What I really REALLY loved about that house was the outdoors bit!! There were balconies and patios EVERYWHERE and we had this water feature thing that filters rain from the roof, and flows through these wooden pools/baths/fountains over 5 floors! They were all sturdy enough to hold the weight of 5 people, and I remember sitting in the one right outside my room in a swimsuit, playing with the water. It was so fun as well, when it started raining! A whole group of us (my friends and sister.. an all-female group) just sat there in the tub with its mysteriously warm water, and let the light rain fall on us. Very therapeutic! (Did I spell that right?)

The best part is that it all looks natural and new outside and because it was in a remote and very quiet area, and we were surrounded by trees, it felt very peaceful. It's really hard to describe it in words, but it's certainly a dream I wouldn't mind having again or sharing with others, if I could.

Ahh, just thinking of it makes me feel the peace flowing through me again. *heart*

Have you had any interesting dreams lately?


Seaweed and century egg porridge may sound plain and boring, but really is the best. Especially when cooked in chicken, ikan bilis and belacan stock with just a bit of ginger and soy sauce. Yum. If you're cooking it, don't forget to add two kinds of seaweed! Wakame, the kind you'd put in miso soup, and seaweed flakes, the kind you use as a topping for okonomiyaki and takoyaki. Maybe next time I'll try adding dried scallops.

As I said, yum.