Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fettucini Marinara with Prawns

Menu for tonight is fettucini marinara with prawns - a meal that I used to have almost everyday when I was staying in Puchong last time. It's a quick dish - can be whipped up in less than an hour and it's delicious. I added prawns to the sauteed tomatoes, garlic and onion and served with grated parmesan cheese.

Tangy Smoothie

Today's smoothie: Orange, Tomatoes & Banana Smoothie - it's refreshing, tangy and a booster early in the morning.

Breakfast this morning: Oatmeal with milk, almond, dates, and flaxseed - the crunchy almonds and the sweet dates are perfect complements to the otherwise bland oatmeal.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Perfect Getaway

We didn't know what to expect out of this movie. I didn't bother reading the review of this movie - it kinda spoils the 'what-to-expect' thrill. We were just hoping that it's not another chronic movie like Wolf Creek - turned out that this movie is far from that. The movie plays heavily around with the guessing game, making you ponder on who is or are these mysterious killers. Milla Jovovich's performance in this movie is good. With a perfect twist at the end- and a real suspense element - and an added bonus ---> breathtaking scenic locations on the island of Hawaii - this movie is definitely worth a watch.


I must admit that I have not been very disciplined in my PhD work recently. I keep telling myself that I've gotta keep the rhythm - but ended up breaking it now and then. Right now, I am reading as many journal articles as I can to re-identify the gap in literature in order to make a significant contribution. Sometimes I get lost in the midst of reading - so I've done a flow-chart on my list-of-priority-of-things-to-do. Now, I have more ideas on how to increase the depth of my study - now is just the question of the availability of data. I have collected some preliminary data earlier (on GDP, ICT capital, etc.) - but now, I am re-identifying my objectives and the variables to be used - and then verify the data.

My flow-chart:

1. Read related journal articles
2. Go through - identify gap in the literature
3. Formulate/Re-examine objective of study (What is the problem statement?)
4. Significance and contribution of study (Justify)
5. Identify sample and sample size
6. Variables (data availability?)
7. Definition of variables ----> Review the literature
8. Source of data
9. Data collection - verify data

Tomato Thosai (Dosa)

Breakfast for today: Tomato thosai. Recipe as follows:

The ingredients for the batter is the same as the thosai batter - the addition is the tomatoes.

A. Ingredients for the original batter:
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup Ulunthu (black gram dhal)
- 2 tbsp avval (rice flakes)
- 1 tbsp cooked brown rice
- Salt to taste

B. Ingredients to be added to the batter:
- 4 medium-sized tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 pip garlic
- 1 red chili
(Blend the tomatoes, garlic and chili to form a paste).

1. Soak the brown rice and black gram dhal together for 4-5 hours.
2. Soak rice flakes for 10 minutes, separately.
3. After soaking, wash the soaked brown rice and black gram dhal a few times and drain the water.
4. After blending the tomatoes, garlic and chili into a paste, place all the soaked brown rice, black gram and rice flakes in the blender with 1 tbsp of cooked brown rice. (You don't have too add too much water to blend because the tomatoes, garlic and chili paste will provide the liquid base. Just add enough water to blend).
5. Add salt to taste.
6. Blend until the batter is fine and smooth.
7. Leave the batter overnight to ferment. (Note: Don't keep the batter too long at room temperature - pureed tomatoes can go bad if left too long at room temperature).
8. Fry the thosai on a flat pan.

The thosai turned out soft and supple - with perfect texture. And the pureed tomatoes in it enhances the taste - plus it's nutritious as well.

Banana-Watermelon Smoothie

Today's morning smoothie: Banana & watermelon - sweet, delicious & refreshing.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Nasi Paprik

Tonight's menu: Nasi Paprik (this is the modified version according to the ingredients that I had).

Prawns (shelled and deveined)
Green chillies
White tofu
Big onions

Thai stir-fry sauce
Tomato sauce
Chilli sauce
Oyster sauce
Sweet black sauce (kicap manis)
Lime juice

Serve with brown/white rice. Bon-a-petit!

Fruit & Veggie Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette dressing

Today's dinner: Fruit & vegetable salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing.

- Purple cabbage
- Pineapple (cubed)
- Red apple (chopped)
- Cucumber raita
Brown rice
- Steamed broccoli

- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Black pepper

A healthy wholesome meal.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hiking adventure #4 - FRIM Hill, Kepong

Today's outing is to FRIM (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia) in Kepong. FRIM is located along the Selayang-Kepong Highway. It's about 1/2 hour journey from KLCC to FRIM. FRIM was founded in the year 1929 and is one of the leading institutions in tropical forestry research both locally and abroad. This 600 hectares tropical forest is one of Malaysia's oldest tropical flora & fauna with good facilities for nature lovers and outdoor activities. FRIM is the perfect place to learn much further about forest and at the same time relax in an environment with fresh cool clean air. As you enter FRIM, you will be amazed by the arboretums or living museum of trees.

Of particular interest is the park's canopy walkway; but unfortunately the canopy walk was closed due to some maintenance work until 28th September 2009 - quite disappointing actually.
Nevertheless, we followed the trail towards the canopy walk. We trekked the FRIM hill of about 300 m in height - a good workout - and it's so relaxing and amazing to be surrounded by nature. As we walked uphill through the steps, sometimes the pathway smoothens up and sometimes the pathway forms steep continuos stairs. It was a beautiful walk - the air up there was really fresh and revitalising. Every now and then, we just had to stop to admire the old and majestic trees with strong roots on both sides of our pathway- species of meranti, Merawan Siput Jantan, Kapur among others.
Other activities that you can do there include camping, picnic near the waterfall, cycling, and jogging. There are a few nature trails that you can explore. The beauty of walking in a rain forest is absolutely amazing. We completed the entire path walk around FRIM. Though tired from the trekking and walking, we felt so rejuvenated and alive! The glory of beautiful Mother Nature!

We came back home and had home-made banana leaf meal - I made fish curry with loads of tomatoes, cucumber raita, and steamed broccoli. In the evening, we went for a walk at the KLCC park and chilled out at the fountain while admiring the beauty of dusk. A perfect Sunday.

Watermelon-Orange Smoothie

Today's smoothie: Watermelon & Orange smoothie - a refreshing start for a brand new day. It's best to use oranges and watermelon to make smoothie - so that you don't lose the fibrous matter of these fruits. Basic things you need to make a smoothie: fresh fruits and a food blender.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Ai Lin's Church Wedding - 26/9/09 @ Assumption Church, PJ

Today was our dear friend's big day! The night before was Ai Lin's bachelor's party at her home - the puspanita's gathered there - with our usual banter and chattering. This morning we left from Melaka around 7.30 a.m. - actually I overslept and ran around half-shocked and half-stoned and dressed up in a record-breaking time, haha.

Sharon picked us up and drove to Assumption church in PJ. It's a very beautiful church. Everything went on smoothly and now Ai Lin's is officially married - welcome to the club! We are so happy for Ai Lin and Renee - wishing them everlasting happiness!

Dragon Fruit Smoothie

After coming back from Ai Lin's church wedding, we were craving for some smoothies. So we made ourselves dragon fruit smoothie - it's yummy-licious and so refreshing - and it's a mood-booster.

Herewith is the recipe:
- 1 ripe dragon fruit (the one we bought is with the pink flesh)
- 1/4 cup yogurt (depends on how sour/creamy you want your smoothie to be)
- 1/2 cup soy bean or low-fat milk
- Crushed ice

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Nothing to shout about. Though, it's quite hilarious watching a squad of highly trained guinea pigs, a fly and a mole on a mission for the US government to save the world - and the movie is packed with punchy lines and funny jokes. UP has set such a high benchmark - it is unbeatable. G-Force pales in comparison.

Carrot Thosai (Dosa)

Carrot Thosai/Dosa with fish curry

The batter

A healthy wholesome breakfast - a great way to start the day!

Herewith is the recipe:

A. Ingredients for the original batter:
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup Ulunthu (black gram dhal)
- 2 tbsp avval (rice flakes)
- 1 tbsp cooked brown rice
- Salt to taste

B. Ingredients to be added to the batter the next morning:
- 2 carrots (finely grated or blended)
- 2 pip garlic
- 1 red chili
(Blend the garlic and chili to form a paste and add to the finely grated/blended carrot mixture).

1. Soak the brown rice and black gram dhal together for 4-5 hours.
2. Soak rice flakes for 10 minutes, separately.
3. After soaking, wash the soaked brown rice and black gram dhal a few times and drain the water.
4. Place all the 3 ingredients in the blender with 1 tbsp of cooked brown 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.
8. Next morning, add the carrot mixture in Step B to the fermented batter and mix well.
9. Fry the thosai on a flat pan.
10. Savor it to the last bit!

Dragon Fruit and Lettuce Salad with Balsamic Vinegar

The menu for tonight's dinner - Dragon fruit and Lettuce salad. It's a delicious wholesome and healthy meal - with a mix of sweet-crunchy-and-tangy-taste.

Garden salad mix
Dragon fruit (flesh chopped)
Hard boiled eggs
Cherry tomatoes

A dash of balsamic vinegar
A dash of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hiking adventure #3- Broga Hill a.k.a. Bukit Lalang, Semenyih

On Tuesday, we woke up early feeling enthusiastic to hike Broga Hill. Had a hearty breakfast - freshly squeezed fruit & veggie juice and egg-cheese-sandwich. We departed at 6.45 a.m. from our condo and reached Broga Hill at 7.20 a.m. Broga Hill is fondly called as Bukit Lalang (direct translation: Weed Hill) - as the hill is covered with weeds resembling an African Savannah. The hill is about 350 meter in height. No trees are found up there due to the hard ground - with rocks. The peak of the hill guarantees a scenic view of the Broga valley and a glimpse of Semenyih.

The Broga Hill

It's an easy hike- took us less than an hour to reach to the peak. The trail is beautiful with rhythmically swaying weeds. At some crossings, there are ropes to help you trek - the trail is slippery in the morning due to the mist - so, we had to be careful as not to fall off. At the first peak, we took a break to enjoy the cool morning breeze - absolutely refreshing and calming - a good place to de-stress - and the greenery is truly a feast to the eye. It's good to start off early - to enjoy the morning breeze and avoid the scorching afternoon sun.

Directions from K.L: Follow the signboard to Sg. Besi - Kajang - Semenyih. Once you reach Semenyih, make a left turn about 2 km away from the town centre - heading towards Nottingham University Malaysia campus. Continue from the University's main road till you come across a Rabbit Farm on your right. Park at the opening of the palm oil plantation. When we reached the palm oil plantation, we were baffled at the number of cars parked at the roadside - we didn't expect to see that many people . On a hindsight, it's good to see families with children waking up early for hiking - a healthy and active lifestyle.

Oil palm estate en route to the foothill

After the hike, we headed towards Broga - 1 km away from the Broga Hill. Broga town centre is located in a valley and being a dead end, there are no more settlements beyond the town square. Broga town exudes the classic-vintage atmosphere - with its infamous kopitiams in traditional settings - love it! We had breakfast in one of the kopitiams. Due to its obscure location, this town a perfect quick getaway for city dwellers.