Saturday, August 29, 2009

BookFest @Malaysia 2009

This week was my book-shopping week @ BookFest 2009 held in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. To encourage people to come in on weekdays, they had massive discounts for selected books - it was a great bargain. So, from Monday to Friday this week, I was happily bounding to Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, which is just a stone's throw away from our place. Only at these times I appreciate living in the centre of the town! No traffic, no rush.

The books that I bought over the weekdays:

My two most favorite books on the list: Planet Earth and National Geography's Journeys of a Lifetime - RM 29.90 for each - a great bargain! Even the cashier exclaimed "Wah, so cheap ah!". These books were selling out like hot cakes. For its brilliant photography and narratives, it is definitely the best buy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stay at the Majestic Hotel, Melaka

The Majestic Hotel Malacca - YTL's best signature boutique hotel. We stayed here the night before our registration of marriage on 07.07.09. It was a surprise from me for Alfred - and boy, he was really smitten with the interior of the hotel. The facade of the hotel reflects the original serene mansion dating back to the 1920s whilst a new building has been created, mirroring the original architecture, to house 54 spacious rooms and suites.

The design integrates old with new, modern with historic, ensuring that the total experience is one that is authentic, honoring the past while bringing every modern convenience to bear.

We love the interior of the suite, with its teakwood furniture and fittings - the fourposter bed decorated in a mixture of rich silks and cool cottons - very colonial and majestic. The service was excellent as well.

It was a pure coincidence - our room number - 707 - the date of our registration date :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

District 9

The first part of the movie - I kept giving Alfred THE GLARE - it all seemed comical, that at one point I asked him if this is a comedy. But as the movie progressed, I started to understand the underlying message - the message from the movie points to many social issues plaguing mankind - immigration issues, apartheid issues in South Africa, how we treat foreigners, the fight for land space, etc. The uniqueness of this movie is that they used the aliens as an example.

During certain parts of the movie, I felt really sad - how certain people treat something of which they don't understand. It made me think - about how humans are treated by the more powerful ones - how the fight for land space and war have created thousands of refugee - and how the refugees are treated in concentration camps. It highlights the real life immigration issues. The movie also highlights inhumanity that rears its ugly head in the name of fame and power to achieve a scientific breakthrough - conducting experiments that exploits the weak and the defenseless - that scene in the movie was really moving and sad.

This is definitely Peter Jackson's thinking man's action movie of the decade - despite the aliens and the gory scenes - it is a sentimental sci-fi - a unique combo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today's Breakfast: English Breakfast

For today's breakfast, I made English breakfast (the healthy version): Sauteed quarter-chopped tomatoes; fried eggs with cheese-topping; and baked beans sauteed with shallots.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kanchipuram Idli: Today's breakfast

I used the remaining of the batter I made for kanchipuram thosai on Sunday to steam idli for today's breakfast. After leaving the batter for a day, the taste of the ingredients was more intense - delicious. As an accompaniment to the idli is tomato chutney - our favorite.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hiking adventure #2 - Bukit Tabur, KL

To prepare for our Kinabalu hike, we have been scouting for good hiking spots. This weekend, we hiked Bukit Tabur - located in Gombak, Selangor. The hill can be accessed through Taman Melawati. The hill, which is less than 1000 meters, is said to have the longest quartz ridge formation in the world (quartz is one the three common components in the formation of rocks). The trails and surfaces around the ridge is littered with quartz crystals - you can see them shimmering on the ground. The Gombak Forest Reserve and Klang Gates Dam are beside the hill. The peak offers spectacular view of the dam on one side and the Kuala Lumpur city skyline on the other.

The trail
View of the KL city skyline

It was a great hike - I love using my hands to climb up the steep trails - and I love clinging on the tree branches for support - felt so 'native' and adventurous :)

After the hike, we went back to Alfred's parents place in Taman Melawati and had a great lunch.

Kanchipuram Thosai - Sunday breakfast

My mom tried out this new recipe - Kanchipuram idli (recipe given by my grandfather - yes, he is into recipes, especially new recipes which uses healthy ingredients) - and it was superb. I was excited in trying out this new recipe - and it turned out well on my first attempt. I didn't have the idli tray so I used the batter to make thosai instead. This is my first time making thosai batter from scratch - and I enjoyed the process :)

Herewith is the recipe:
A. Ingredients for the original batter:
- 1 cup Ulunthu (black gram dhal)
- 1 cup kadalai paruppu (Australian dhal)
- 2 tbsp avval (rice flakes)
- 1 tbsp cooked rice
- Salt to taste

B. Ingredients to be sauteed & added to the batter the next morning:
- biji sawi (black mustard seeds)
- paruppu (dhal)
- ulunthu (black gram)
- dried chilli
- green chilli
- garlic & onion
- curry leaves
- ground black pepper
- serbuk jintan manis (cumin seeds powder)
- a pinch of Asafoetida powder

1. Soak the black gram dhal and the Australian dhal together for 4-5 hours.
2. Soak rice flakes for 10 minutes, separately.
3. After soaking, wash the soaked dhals a few times and drain the water.
4. Place all the 3 ingredients in the blender with 1 tbsp of cooked rice. Add water until it is about 1-inch above the ingredients.
5. Add salt to taste.
6. Blend until the batter is fine and smooth.
7. Leave the batter overnight to ferment.

The batter

8. The next morning, saute all the ingredients in Part B above and add it to the fermented batter.
9. Mix well.
10. Fry the thosai on a flat pan.

Ingredients for the tomato chutney:
- dried chili / fresh red chilli
- fresh tomatoes
- garlic
- onion
- coriander
- salt and pepper to taste

Step: Saute all the ingredients first before blending it.
Enjoy the tomato chutney as an accompaniment to the thosai - delicious!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wonderful week

The days spent in Melaka for the last couple of days was wonderful - I am glad I managed to accomplish all the things that I wanted to do when I am back in Melaka. Had a great time with family and friends - just catching up on old stories and sharing laughter. Reminds me of the beauty of relationships and to enjoy the richness of life.

"The terrain of life is filled with wonderful and astounding detail. Slow down and take in its richness" - a phrase which I frequently cite to myself when I find myself rushing and hurrying through each moment and obsessed with getting to the next checkpoint. When I do slow down, I begin to see the beauty in all the things which I missed out when I rush. And by slowing down, I begin to enjoy the beauty of life - simple pleasures - watching the rays of the sun at the horizon, waking up to the chirping of the birds, gazing into the stars on the sky; and many more magical moments...

Our Hindu Wedding Ceremony online photos

Yay! I just received the link from our photographer, Grace - of the wedding day photos and slideshow of our Hindu wedding ceremony held at Thean Hou temple, Kuala Lumpur on 5th July 2009.

Check out our Hindu wedding ceremony photos and slideshow at:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Registration Pics - 7/7/09

Our registration day at Maju Junction, KL. This will be our official marriage date - 7.7.09. We chose this date so that we'll have an easier recollection of the date for all our wedding anniversaries to come :)

Post-Wedding Celebrations

One of the scenes of our post-wedding celebrations at my grandpa's place - a day after my sister's wedding - everyone is joyful and thankful that everything went well, with God's grace. 2 weddings, week after week. And of course what better way to celebrate than to 'rotate' some cash around in a good-humored-gambling-session with my uncle as the humorous-cum-sneaky banker, hehe. And not to forget my maternal uncle's scrumptious mutton curry - thumbs up! The house was filled with lots of laughter and joy on that day- with all the relatives (including relatives who came all the way from India) gathering under one roof to celebrate two joyous occasions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back in Melaka

I am back in Melaka - Alfred left to Miri for a business trip - and I took this opportunity to go back to Melaka and run some Phd 'errands'. Borrowed some books from the library - a typical sight of me carrying piles of books from the library - to and forth - this time, I vouch that I'd read each one of 'em. I'd be meeting my supervisor this evening for a short discussion - and also to keep my momentum going!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Post-Vacation mood

It has been almost 2 weeks since we got back from our honeymoon trip from Mauritius and Reunion islands. One word to describe our trip - awesome - filled with lots of awesome people at the islands, scrumptious food at the resort in Mauritius, beautiful sandy beach, and lots of adventure! Mauritius ----> paradise on earth; Reunion ----> breathtaking landscapes! A perfect combo trip.

The week after we got back, we were both attacked by 'post-vacation blues'. Now, back to reality. The first week after vacation, I had to practically drag myself out of the bed - and boredom starts to hit by sitting in the apartment alone. It's only until this week I picked myself up and started on my PhD work - which has been sitting idly for quite some time. Met my supervisor last Thursday - and managed to get my 'engine' started.

Will post our wedding pictures as soon as we get 'em and honeymoon pictures soon :) Cheers!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Favorite Quote

Whenever you go out of doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering of direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding by, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual… Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. ~Elbert Hubbard~