Monday, August 30, 2010

Merdeka at Balok Beach

It has been a long time since I went to the beach. The last time I went to Balok beach was sometime last year before I was pregnant. Balok beach is Alfred's favorite spot to learn kite-surfing. He is addicted to the new sport and he is always dreaming to go back to Balok beach to polish his kite-surfing skills. I love the beach for its tranquility and peace - there are usually not many people around that part of the beach as compared to Cherating.

We took the opportunity of the long Merdeka weekend to drive down to Balok beach. At 33 weeks of pregnancy, the car ride from KL to Balok was excruciating on my back and hips. However, I survived the journey and it felt so good to lie down on the bed once we reached the chalet. It felt so good to inhale the fresh ocean breeze. 

Balok beach

Alfred kite-surfing

Kite-surfing is dependent on the wind strength and we were lucky that there was sufficient wind for Alfred to polish his kite-surfing skills during the 2 days we were there. He was gleaming with pride when he managed to get on the board and kite-surf for a while before he dropped in the water again. It needs lots of practice - definitely not an easy sport. It's about learning to control the kite according to the wind direction and balance yourself on the surfing board at the same time. And if the waves are strong, it's difficult to maintain balance on the board while controlling the kite at the same time - it requires lots of skill. That's what Alfred is trying to learn - and he's happy that he is getting better at it.

Me chilling out by the beach

I just sat back and relaxed by the beach watching the guys kite-surfing. Though I feel tired so fast, it was certainly rejuvenating just to sit by the beach and hear the waves crash by the shore and enjoy the cool breeze.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

8 months pregnant

8 months preggie - starting to feel heavy and sluggish. Little one is having a gala time inside my womb - practicing all his/her movements before the big day arrives. Looking forward to seeing you, little one!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thirusshen's 1st year Birthday Party @ Lukut

My former colleague's son just turned 1 a few days back and his parents celebrated his 1-year-old birthday at their house in Lukut. It seemed like it was just yesterday that Kavi gave birth to Thirusshen and now 1 year as passed - and the little hero has grown-up so fast. 

Us with Kavi and Thirusshen Kumar

We met up with Mages and Selvam there and they brought a delicious vegetarian butter marbled cake. 
Kavi and the vegetarian butter marbled cake :)

Mages and I

 Group picture (Thirusshen was already asleep by the time we left the house)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Naan Mahaan Alla

I have been hanging out with Mages for the past week or so. It was a good change for me - rather than being cooped up in the house alone, it was fun venturing out to new vegetarian eating places with Mages. Mages introduced me to 2 organic vegetarian restaurants; one in Damansara Utama and the other one in Bangsar. Both have excellent and a tantalizing variety of vegetarian fare. I appreciated her company a lot especially since I spend most of the days alone at home while my husband is away at work. During times like these, when I am out with Mages trying out new vegetarian places to dine in, I value the amount of free time that we both have. And having a good company is certainly an icing on the cake. I have to thank Mages for being such a wonderful company and for feeding me delicious vegetarian dishes :)

One of the days after having a delectable vegetarian cuisine for lunch, we decided to catch a matinee show in PJ. We decided to watch the latest movie showing at that time which was Naan Mahaan Alla. Our mistake was that we didn't know the storyline nor did we read the review of the movie. The movie turned out to be very VIOLENT and I was traumatized by some of the scenes so much so that everytime I think about the movie, I'd rather not talk about it. My rating: 0/5!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Delicious Classic Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice-cream

This is the best-ever chocolate cake! The warm-moist-cake-with-melting-chocolate-ganache with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the top is simply irresistible! It's so rich, it might be a good idea to share it - although it's so tempting to have the cake to yourself. This cake was recommended by my friend Gaya's husband, Aaron when we met up for dinner at Delicious, Bangsar a few months back. When I took the first bite, I fell instantly in love with the cake - the best part about the cake is that it is served warm with the ganache melting on its sides - mmmmmmm!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Marbled Cheesecake

Ever since I got pregnant, I had pretty much been lazy in baking. But, I do miss the euphoria I get when I bake - the satisfaction in my heart when I see my loved ones devour the cakes I bake and the joy of sharing the cake with my family members and friends. When I moved to KL after marriage, it was just the two of us - and baking became less exciting because I couldn't share it with my sisters and cousins who have always been the ever-ready 'testers' of my baking outputs. 

This time around, my sister made a special request for a chocolate cheesecake. Cheesecake had always been a popular request from my family members. I have baked chocolate cheesecake before, so I decided that I should try baking marbled cheesecake. It turned out very creamy and nice and it's so easy to make because this cheesecake does not need to be baked in a water bath as my previous cheesecake recipes required.

Marbled cheesecake

Recipes as follows:

For the crust:
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
For the filling:
2 blocks of 250 gm Philadelphia cream cheese
1 cup of sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, room temperature
120 gm bittersweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius.
2. To prepare the cheesecake crust, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until the crumbs clump together.
3. Spread the mixture evenly into the bottom of the cake pan and press down firmly to make an even base. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Set aside.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees Celcius. 
5. Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside to cool slightly. 
6. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. 
7. Add condensed milk and beat until smooth. 
8. Add eggs, one by one, beating each until fully incorporated. 
9. Pour 1/2 of the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir well. 
10. Pour chocolate and plain cheese batters into the prepared pan, evenly distributing and alternating batters. Swirl with a clean knife. 
11. Bake cheesecake for 50-55 minutes. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble/jiggle to it. 
12. Cool the cheesecake in a fairly warm place after removing it from the oven to allow it to set without cracking. 
13. Chill the cheesecake overnight before serving. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wa Zen Japanese Restaurant @ Melaka Raya

I am a big fan of Japanese food. But ever since I got pregnant, I had to stop consuming raw seafood. Nonetheless, I still dine at Japanese restaurants and order mainly sushi dishes without any raw seafood on it and edamami. I love the simplicity in Japanese food.

Chin Lay and I have been regular customers in Sushi King for the past few years. As a change, Chin Lay brought me to this cosy Japanese restaurant in Melaka Raya. The ambiance is warm and cozy with its warm lighting - it's perfect for romantic dinners. You have to make booking in advance due to the limited seats in the restaurant. The food is superb and authentic - a big difference to what we are used to having in Sushi King. The pricing is very reasonable as well. The only thing that turned me off about this place was the strong fishy smell that greeted us upon entering the restaurant. It took me a while to recover from the strong smell - it must have been aggravated by my pregnancy hormones. Eventually, I got used to the smell and enjoyed the dishes we ordered.

We ordered the unagi set which comes with a bowl of rice, two slices of unagi, chawanmushi and few slices of watermelon. We also ordered edamami (my favorite) and potato salad (YUM!).

Unagi set
For dessert, we had green tea ice cream with red bean paste. It was very good.

 Green tea ice cream dessert

I would strongly recommend this place to all Japanese food lovers. 

Wa Zen Japanese Restaurant
38, Jalan Melaka Raya 15,
Taman Melaka Raya, 75000 Melaka.
Tel: 06-2823882

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Valaikappu (Indian Baby Shower) ~7th August 2010~

My Valaikappu (traditional Indian baby shower) was held on 7th August 2010. I was 29 weeks pregnant at that time. 

This ceremony is performed during the odd months of pregnancy mostly during the seventh month for the expectant mother in her mother's house. Prayers are invoked for the well-being of the mother-to -be and the foetus. Mostly women are invited for this function. The expectant mother is made to wear a lot of bangles mostly glass ones of red and green colors and the sound of these bangles are supposed to reach the womb.

My mom insisted that she wants to do all the cooking by herself - she refused to cater. So, it was a merry occasion with all my relatives helping to bring their own home-made dishes to the ceremony.

Tairu (yogurt) rice made by my mom

Pulli (tamarind) rice courtesy by Aunty Seetha

Tomato chutney made by my mom

Ponggal (sweet) rice made by Bala Sinamma

I made this vegetarian butter cake

Idli by my mom

My husband and I

We started the ceremony at about 6 p.m. All my aunties were there by the time. The ceremony starts by Alfred having to break a coconut and put the garland around me.

Next is the bangles ceremony. 9 married ladies blessed me by adorning the bangles on me and prayed for a safe delivery and a healthy baby.

Next, I was asked to pick one of the three bundles of rice tied in a white muslin cloth. The three bundles being ponggal (sweet) rice, pulli (tamarind) rice, and tairu (yogurt) rice. It's a old wives' tale that if you pick the tamarind or the yogurt rice (both of which are sour), you will be having a baby boy and if you pick the sweet rice, it's predicted that it's a baby girl. Back in those days without the modern-state-of-the-art ultrasound device, they relied on this method to guess the baby's gender. It was fun for us as well since we don't know our baby's gender - we are leaving it as a surprise until the big day arrives. 

I picked the sour rice - so everyone is guessing a baby boy :) Let's wait and see!

My husband feeding me the rice
My mom feeding me

A shot with my sisters and cousins

With my uncle, aunties and grandpa

Chin Lay, Me, Shuba, Durai and cute Nithish
I was so happy to see my good friends Chin Lay and Shuba and Shuba's family. It was a great celebration filled with love and joy. I feel so blessed. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Last Airbender

I have been a huge  fan of M. Night Shyamalan ever since I watched his movie The Sixth Sense and I haven't missed any of his movies since then. But I presume that there is usually only one masterpiece created in most forms of art. This seemed to be true in M. Night Shyamalan's subsequent movies - his masterpiece being The Sixth Sense where he gained international recognition. Some of his other movies which I would give good ratings are: Lady in the Water and The Happening

His recent movie, The Last Airbender has received largely negative reviews; but that didn't stop us from watching it. Contrary to the newspaper reviews about the movie, I enjoyed the movie. I appreciated the moral message behind the story. The movie showcased the disastrous effects when the Fire Nation waged war against all the other nations to gain more power. I liked the message imparted in the movie regarding the importance of living in harmony with each other - the whole message seemed to point towards the reality of our current world. The little boy's acting was just awesome. I would give this movie a rating of 4/5.