Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Party

Today is the New Year's Eve party at our place. We've invited family and friends over for dinner and then to watch the fireworks display at the KLCC park. We are so fortunate to be staying at the most strategic location during celebrations like this - there is no need to be trapped in traffic jam; we could just take a lift down and join in the celebrations - or we could just stand on our balcony and watch the fireworks display comfortably.

For the party, I cooked and baked the following items:
  • Cakes
    • Chocolate cake with frosting
    • Blueberry cheesecake
    • Orange almond cake
  • Pizza - with an assortment of toppings of pineapples, button mushroom, capsicum, brinjal, minced chicken, chicken ham, sliced tomatoes, stuffed olives, tuna, crab - topped with mozarella and cream cheese. I prepared the pizza dough in the afternoon; by the time I finished kneading the dough, I was worn out. But, it was all worth it!
  • Vegetarian ikan bilis sambal
  •  Idli
  • Fried lady's finger in yogurt
  • My in-laws brought some pasta and pie.

The spread of food

Ingredients for the pizza

Everyone had a great time - chatting, joking and giggling. And watched all the funny movies - Proposal and Kung Fu Panda - it was merry and fun.


The beautiful view of KLCC's tip accompanied by the moon - a perfect sight.

At sharp 12.00 a.m. - 01.01.10 - we popped the champagne and gave a toast to great health, happiness and abundance for the brand new year. We enjoyed the fireworks display - it was so exhilarating to usher the new year with our loved ones accompanied by an array of fireworks and baloons on the sky. HAPPY 2010!

Reflecting 2009

Today is the day for me to sit back and reflect on the memories of 2009 - the time of the year to look back at all my accomplishments and setbacks for the year that is almost coming to an end. It is equally important to spend some quiet moment reflecting on how I've spent each second of all the last 12 months.

1. Getting married to a wonderful and loving husband.
2. Traveling experiences:
  • Honeymoon @ Mauritius and Reunion islands - absolutely the most wonderful experience.
  • My 30th Birthday @ Phuket - mind-blasting experience.
  • Perth visit - informational and inspirational - learnt many tips of managing and raising a family.
3. Resignation from my job. I decided to resign from my job at Multimedia University since I couldn't rationalize being away from my husband and travelling to and fro from Melaka. Despite letting go of a job which I was so comfortable in, it was the best decision I made for myself. Now, I have more time and flexibility to do anything I wanted with my time - a sort of liberation from the monotonous life I had before. That said, I am definitely missing my colleagues. The 5-month leave I took gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted with my time - and I had more time to relax, breathe and enjoy life at a quieter pace. However, like all things in life, anything done excessively is not good for you. So, I guess I have rested and traveled a lot during the past 5 months and I guess it's time for me to gear-up for some serious goal-setting next year. Though I am ashamed to admit that I have been slacking in my PhD studies recently, I am still glad that I have gone to places which I have never been and experienced new and exciting things with my husband. We've maximized the time spent together.

I realized how the first half of the year had been a very hectic one for me - classes, marking, administration work and the preparations for our wedding and reception; I was basically juggling everything and hardly had anytime to breathe. On the other hand, the second half of the year had been going on a totally relaxing pace - I had so much time for myself and for my loved ones. I learned that in everything that we do, moderation is the key. I have to learn to balance my time - I believe that the best way to know if you have utilized your time to the best is to gauge how accomplished and contented you feel at the end of the day.

4. Discovery of a new passion - hiking. This year, especially the last 5 months, I discovered how much I love hiking and trekking - something that I look forward to doing more in the future.
5. Conquered Mount Kinabalu. It was certainly an important milestone for us this year. It has taught us some invaluable lessons.
6. Incorporated some healthy eating habits. Now, juicing has become a daily morning routine which we look forward to so much - savoring the freshly squeezed vegetables and fruits is the most rewarding experience at the break of dawn.
7. Physical activities. We have made it a routine to walk around the KLCC park almost every morning. Although sometimes I have to drag myself out of bed, the morning walk is absolutely revitalizing.
8. Learnt to cook many new dishes and received compliments from family and friends, especially my husband :)

The year has thrown an equal share of setbacks to us - Alfred's surgery and the ensuing chemotheraphy; the demise of his beloved paternal aunt and grandmother - a great loss to his family. As the saying goes, 'Behind every cloud there is a silver lining", the most important thing for us to remember is to learn and grow stonger whenever life throws challenges at us; and be very grateful for all the wonderful things we have. 

My GOALS for 2010:
  • Complete my PhD thesis
  • Bring a new life into this beautiful world
  • Be more patient and loving to my wonderful husband
  • Religiously indulge in activities which I am passionate in
  • Meditate religiously
  • Maintain a closer connection with my friends
  • Find new friends
  • Find new passion and indulge in it
  • Lead a healthy living - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 
  • Instill good habits and practice it as a ritual
  • Be more hardworking, disciplined, and focused.
  • Live the motto of 'Do it now or never'.
  • Be more kind and patient to others.
  • Participate in charitable acts.
  • Live in the NOW - present and aware. 
  • Read more - especially inspirational books. 
  • Learn a new language.
  • Learn new dance steps
  • Write a short story
  • Practice Yoga and Pilates religiously
As the year is drawing to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year - may the coming year bless you with all the good things life has to offer. Be joyful!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Baking Spree

Today is a baking-spree-day for me. I baked chocolate cake with frosting, blueberry cheesecake, and orange almond flourless cake - all-in-a-day's work. Despite the tiredness, it puts off huge amount of stress of having to do it all on the day of the party - it's just impossible. Tomorrow will be all the cooking and pizza-dough-preparation day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Planning and Organizing

28th - 30th - basically busy days organizing, arranging, and preparing for the New Year's Eve party on Thursday. With a list of to-dos and proper planning, it takes lots of stress out of the equation. I am getting better at planning and executing - and am aware at how effective planning helps to alleviate huge amount of tensions.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Xmas @ Singapore

On the 24th December, after dropping my cousin and his family at my grandpa's place in Seremban, we headed straight back to Melaka. The plan is to drive down to Singapore on Christmas day - partly because we had to pick my cousin up at the airport on Christmas eve and partly to avoid the Christmas eve traffic jam.

We left Melaka at about 10.30 a.m. on 25th December and decided to take the 2nd link to Singapore. There were practically no cars at the checkpoint - so it was a smooth and relaxing journey for us. We joined Aaron and his former colleagues for lunch at one of the eateries and then headed back to his apartment with his girlfriend, Jocelyn. Since he had to attend a family gathering that night, we both decided to stroll along Orchard Road to bask in the Xmas mood with all the lights and decorations. The road to Orchard was closed due to the concert and celebrations, so we took the MRT to town. We had dinner in one of the food courts there - it was jam-packed and there were no vacant tables- so we decided to just stand and relish the best-ever-rojak we've ever tasted - I am practically drooling at the thought of it while typing this - it was damn good! Then once we found a place to sit, we ordered some Chinese dishes - which was so mediocre compared to the ROJAK.

At the food court

After dinner, we walked around the beautifully-lit and decorated Orchard road. It was just too crowded and we had to shove ourselves around. Despite the crowd, we enjoyed the Christmas atmosphere with all the brightly lit lights and ornaments - it was just so Christmas-ty.

At the Orchard Road

The next day (26th Dec), we had dim sum breakfast with Aaron and Jocelyn - we ordered the steamed dumplings - it was a hearty breakfast. At noon, we went over for a Christmas lunch at Uncle John 's sister's place in Marsiling Road - it was so merry with the house full of relatives - and delectable food! There were abundant food everywhere. We had great fun there and left in the evening.

We hung out with Aaron for dinner that night. Went back to his place and watched Inglorious Basterds over some wine. The company was good but the movie - a chronically violent and funny movie - I didn't like it.

The next morning (27th Dec), Aaron brought us to the famous curry laksa place for breakfast. Then, we had the best ever coffee (I was never a coffee person - but at the first sip of the coffee, I fell in love with the smooth and aromatic flavor). We left Singapore at about 1 p.m. and stopped over Tangkak to indulge in some durians! Reached home around 7.30 p.m. and brought my parents and sister out for a Chinese dinner. A great and eventful Christmas weekend - thank you God.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Relatives from India

My cousin and his family from India will be arriving at LCCT at 11.40 p.m. today. They are coming down to experience the Christmas and New Year's celebrations here. We are so excited to see them since after our wedding. They are a bunch of sporting and exciting people to be with and we are looking forward for all the fun in store for the end-of-2009 celebrations. Let's celebrate like there's no tomorrow!


Yesterday was Alfred's grandmother's 16th day death prayers. I made kesari and chocolate-fudged marie biscuit to bring for the prayers. Kesari is a type of Indian sweet made from semolina flour and it is popularly made for parties or prayers. It is relatively easier to make as compared to the other Indian sweets like mysorepaaku or ladoo. An interesting fact - Kesari literally means "lion" in Sanskrit and it commonly refers to the saffron color used as a natural food color. Since saffron is relatively more difficult to obtain and it is more expensive, artificial colorings are used.

Herewith is the recipe:

1 cup of sugi flour (semolina / rava flour) -roasted
Cashew nuts (broken)
Cardamom pods (3-4)
2 cups of milk
1 cup of water
5 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
3/4 cup of sugar
Orange food coloring

1. Heat a wok and dry roast the sugi flour till pale yellow and aromatic. Transfer it to a dry plate once done.
2. Then heat 1 tbsp of ghee and fry the broken cashews, raisins (fry until the raisins turn plump and juicy) and the crushed cardamom pods. Set aside.
3. Add 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of water in the same pan and let it come to a boil.
4. Then add the food color and mix well.
5. As the water starts bubbling, reduce the flame.
6. Now add the sugi flour in a wide spread manner . Do not put as lump in one place . Add it slowly without stirring and cover it tightly with a lid.
7. Allow the sugi to be cooked at very low heat .
8. Do not stir the kesari now, as it may create lumps.
9. Check often to see if all the water has been absorbed.
10. When it is fully cooked and there is no water, add the sugar and stir well.
11. When the sugar is fully dissolved, add the remaining ghee and stir until the kesari starts leaving the sides of the wok. Garnish with the fried cashews and raisins.

I've always loved rich and moist kesari and the trick to this lies in adding the milk and generous amounts of ghee. Love it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Almond Orange Flourless Cake

Almond and orange - my all-time favorite - and the combination of both in a cake is simply delectable. This recipe doesn't call for any flour - the ground almond act as the binding ingredient for this cake. This is a rich and moist cake - absolutely scrumptious to the last bit! The syrup poured on the cake gives it a super-moist texture. It's perfect for a tea party.

Herewith is the recipe (Note: This is the less-sweet version):

Ingredients for the cake:
6 eggs (the white and the yolk separated)
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 3 oranges
1 1/2 cups of ground almond

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
2. Separate the eggs into two bowls.
3. Beat the yolks with the sugar and orange zests until the mixture turns into pale yellow.
4. Then, stir in the ground almonds. Set aside.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to peaks.
Tips to beating egg whites to peaks
a) The bowl in which you whip the egg whites should be immaculately clean and completely grease-free. Even the tiniest bit of grease or egg yolk will cause them to break down into a pathetic soup. 
b) You will get more volume when beating egg whites if you first bring them to room temperature. 
c) It's best to begin with a slow speed and gradually move up to high when beating egg whites.
d) When your egg whites get fluffy, STOP! If you overbeat them, they will liquify again. 
e) Use beaten egg whites straight away. Don't let them sit. 

6. After beating the egg whites to peaks, stir a spoonful of it into the yolk-almond mixture. Then, fold in the rest of it gently to the mixture.
7. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes.
8. Let the cake cool slightly.

Ingredients for the orange syrup:
Juice of 3 oranges
1/4 cup sugar

9. Heat the orange juice and sugar together in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes until it slightly thickens.
10. Spoon evenly over the cake, letting the syrup soak in as you go. The cake will absorb all of the syrup.
11. Bon Appetit!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sassorosso Italian Restaurant

Tucked away from the city's hustle-bustle, this place leaves a  warm and contented feeling for those who come to dine- making them return the next time. We chose to dine at the alfresco area surrounded with a beautiful garden and with a view of KLCC. We loved the quaint and romantic ambience.

Sassorosso is situated in a quaint neighborhood along Jalan Yap Kwan Seng; with a great view of KLCC; extensive menu; and superb service. And the food is absolutely delectable. So far, this is one of our best dining experience. We ordered fresh and succulent oysters, pan-fried scallops, and wild mushroom soup with rosemary crouton for starters. And for the main course, we shared a wood -fired Italian pizza - Siciliana (with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, eggplant, ricotta and parmesan cheese) - delicious!

It's a perfect place to go to celebrate wedding aniverssaries or during Valentine's Day - this place is highly recommended for romantic dinners if you wish to have some quiet time with your partner. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our 'Fying' Project

A perfect Sunday night designing and flying paper planes and enthusing and giggling over its 'flying 'performance from the balcony. The first attempt flew straight down - pulled down by gravitational force; the second one flew some distance then just propelled downwards; and the last attempt was the coolest - it traveled some distance moving with the wind with its aerodynamic design and finally propelling downwards - so cool! But on the hindsight, we know we are causing some paper-plane litters out there, haha!

Our New Baby - Kenwood Juice Extractor

Today we bought a new juicer - Kenwood Juice Extractor Model JE 660. The current one that we have has a very small feeder - so it takes more laborious time to cut the fruits and vegetables into smaller sizes to fit into the feeder. Since we are using the juicer everyday, we thought it'd be great to invest in a better juicer. So, we were just looking around at Best Denki, Suria KLCC and we spotted this baby - and it was sold at a very good discount - RM 199! Wow, we thought that is a great bargain for a Kenwood Juicer and bought it straight away. This one has a big feeder which can fit an entire apple - which will save me so much time early in the morning! It feels great to start a brand new year with a new juicer :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Alfred received an invitation from GE Energy for the premier screening of the movie, Avatar at TGV, Suria KLCC. On Thursday night, Alfred, John, and myself went for the screening. Although the movie was a tad draggy (2 hours 43 minutes - almost the same running time as Tamil movies), it highlights the epidemic that is ruling mankind - Greed - the greed for more land, more money, more power, and so on. And in the quest for more of everything, the weak are oppressed - animals, the poor, and the less powerful.

This movie highlights the plight of the indigeneous population (known as the Na'vi) inhabiting a planet called Pandora when humans begin to attack their peaceful sanctuary in order to acquire the precious stones located around the area where this population live. When the indigeneous population refused to move from their sacred sanctuary, the humans waged a war against them to force them out of their own land - a classic tale of greed. In between of all these, love blossoms between the lead cast (Jack Sully who was chosen to inhabit the body of a genetically-engineered Na'vi hybrid known as an Avatar to gain the trust of the indigeneous population and convince them to move) and the indigeneous girl; and along the story important lessons are imparted - how every living being is connected to the same source - the oneness of energy that binds every soul and the purity of that energy. It has a deep meaning if you choose to look beyond.

I would rate this movie 5/5 for it's visual effects and the depth in the story.

Today's Lunch

Idli with sambal tempeh - my two most favorite dishes.

Refreshing Green Juice

This time, the green juice tasted much better - with cucumber, celery, and green apples in it - so refreshing and has a mood-boosting effect early in the morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Evening Drive to Bukit Permai

The view of KL city from Bukit Permai lookout point

It was a lovely evening today - it just rained heavily and the cool breeze was luring us to go out. We spontaneously decided to go for a drive to Bukit Permai lookout point to admire the city's skyline. There's something very romantic in sitting in the dark with your loved one with absolute silence around you while marveling at man-made wonders. The best part of the evening was the sight of a fire-fly flying over us at the lookout point - absolutely miraculous. I wish for many evenings like this :)

Sambal Tempeh


Today's lunch: Sambal tempeh with rice and stir-fried cauliflower in oyster sauce. I love the hot sambal and tempeh and the combination of both is explosive! Herewith is the recipe for sambal tempeh.

Dried chilies (the amount depends on how hot your want it) (soak it in hot water)
Red chilies (the amount depends on how hot your want it)
1 red onion
2 big onions
Dried anchovies (soak it in hot water to remove all the impurities)
3 cloves garlic
3 tomatoes (diced)
2 tomatoes (blended)
Tamarind juice
Diced tempeh
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste

1. Blend the dry and red chilies, dried anchovies, 2 tomatoes, and 1 big onion into a paste. Add some oil to the mixture while blending.
2. Slice the remaining big onion and red onion and garlic.
3. Heat some oil in a wok. When the oil is moderately hot, saute onions and garlic until golden brown. Then, add the chili paste and saute until it is fragrant. This should take about 15 minutes (until the oil and chili separates and is cooked thoroughly - it is ready when oil from paste floats to the top). Use only low heat and stir constantly.
4. Add the tamarind juice, sugar and salt to taste.
5. Add the diced tomatoes and tempeh.
6. Cook for another 5-10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Before serving, remove the excess oil.
7. Serve with rice, idli or bread.

Multi-Fruit Smoothie

Today morning's smoothie: 2 kiwis, 1 mango, watermelon, and 1 dragonfruit. Refreshingly delicious!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mashed Potatoes with Tomatoes and Basil

It was raining here in the evening - and the first thing that came to my mind was a warm bowl of mashed potato - my perfect comfort food. To add some nutritional values to the meal, I added some tomatoes and basil leaves. 

Herewith is the recipe:
- Baby potatoes
- Garlic
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped basil leaves (from our mini-garden)
- Some butter
- Cheddar cheese
- Mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes and garlic.
2. Drain and peel the skins of the potatoes and the garlic.
3. Mash the potatoes and garlic.
4. Add some butter, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Finally, add in the chopped tomatoes and basil leaves.
6. Serve warm.

The Princess and the Frog

We watched this movie with my sisters and cousin, Natasha in Melaka. Maybe since we were freezing in the cinema theatre, we didn't really enjoy the movie. Or maybe, I am comparing it with the movie UP - which is of course unbeatable.

However, there are some important lessons to be learned from this movie. The essence of the story highlights the importance of having dreams and believe with all your heart that the dream that you are so passionate about will come true, one day. Accompanied with a great degree of faith and perseverance - dreams do come true. 

Delcom PD Breakaway ~11-13th December 2009~

Last weekend was Alfred's company's annual trip to Port Dickson. Since Alfred is the vice-president of the Delcom Sports and Recreation Club, we decided to go for the trip to give support. After watching a movie at MBO Melaka, we drove to PD and reached Thistle Resort around 11 p.m..on Friday. We checked in and had a good night sleep.

The room comes with a lovely view of the beach and the swimming pool. I love the interior of the room as well. The place has been recently renovated and refurbished.

We had a lovely breakfast while mingling with his colleagues and their families. After that, there were some activities organized in the afternoon at the Eagle Ranch - paintball, abseiling and archery.

Saturday night was the much anticipated annual dinner with the theme Twilight Masquerade.

The theme for the annual dinner

Us in mask

The dining hall

The emcee, Alvin, organized some fun stuffs which enticed everyone to participate. He managed to get everyone on the stage to have fun - I must say it was such a fun night filled with laughter and fun! Alfred was one of them who got picked by his boss to the stage, haha. And they were asked to go to another room to get changed. And when they made their special entrance to the stage, this is what they looked like:

Alfred with his goggles, wig, and his furry wraps - haha, he looked so funny, I couldn't stop laughing.

Another team dressed funnily


Shrek, George Bush and Saddam Hussein and the Emcee

The last bit of the fun-filled night