Friday, May 27, 2011

Chef Once More

Since I'm on such a long holiday now (till September yo! xD) I guess I should start working on my cooking skills more eh? :P

Actually, I don't really mind cooking. I just hate the preparing part. You know, mincing and chopping and slicing and grating and cutting and peeling and marinading. Don't like doing that much.

Oh, and I don't like the spurting oil either. I mentioned that the last time I was helping to make murukku didn't I? I'm absolutely terrified of it. I squeal every time I think I got some on my hands or arm >.<

(My mum's expression when that happens ------> =.=|||)

And I dislike the cleaning up part too. The washing and scrubbing and rinsing and drying and get the picture.

So you see? I don't have a problem with the actual cooking besides the spurting oil. I just hate the before and after.

Anyway, here's another attempt at making dinner !

Dish 1: Cabbage with carrots and garlic seasoning 
I love the natural sweetness that comes from the carrots. 
Simple, but one of my favourites! :D

Dish 2: Steamed Egg
Unfortunately it didn't turn out smooth. My mum says to get that you'd have 
to steam it over a very slow fire. Is that right? Sorry, next time then >.<
Heyyyy. It didn't look too aesthetic but, trust me, it tasted fineeeeee :D
(And don't worry, those aren't scorch marks. It's just some soy sauce that I sprinkled 
on the top. How bad of a cook would I be to botch up Steamed Egg???!!! @.@)

Dish 3 (Main Course): Tomato Chicken
This was what earned me 7.5 points. The gravy was sweet and sour enough with the right consistency. And my mum had taught me to put it in the thermos pot to sit in for a while before serving so the meat was tender and juicy. I was also glad we decided to add more tomatoes. It was just perfect! :DDDDD

Everything turned out fine :) 

My dad gave me a 7.5/10 this time !! Which is really rather good, coming from my dad (since he's the biggest food critic in the world.) (Okay, fine. We all know I don't mean 'in the world', but he's tough on my mum's cooking all the time. So getting a 7.5 out of him as an amateur is superbly good !!!! :P)

Burning the house down with my cooking attempts is no longer a worry, it seems ! :D

I call that SUCCESS !!!!! :)

Let me end with a very random thought (but is somehow related cos it's cooking-related):

Dare to be different.
Dare to stand out.

(See how it's cooking-related cos I'm using chillies? :D)
(I noticed one red chilli amongst the green, and I thought it was 
worth snapping a picture of. Cool right?)
(I already warned you this was gonna be random!)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Murukku for Sale!

The other day, I made murukku.

Okay, fine. I didn't actually make them on my own. I just helped my aunt make them :)

This is how murukku looks like :)

Do you know what murukku is? It is actually an Indian traditional snack that is made out of flour, butter and spices, normally served during Deepavali (Indian Festival of Lights) but is now enjoyed by all Malaysians--Indians and nons alike--at any time in the year. :D

My aunt, for example, loves them, and makes them to give to friends and colleagues.

Even my Phor Phor enjoys them ! After every bite she sneaked from our murukku jar, she'd say "Ooh, yummy yummy!" (Well, not exactly in those words--she said that it was 'nice to eat' in Hakka--but that's what she meant anyway :P)

So I went over to help my aunt make them. I helped her squeeze the dough through the mold to make the murukku strips (I have no idea what to call them =.=) and my Phor Phor was in charge of frying them (cos both my aunt and myself are terrified of spurting oil. I know. We're great cooks xD).

The dough--made up of butter, flour, jintan putih spice and water with 
pinch of salt. My aunt does not allow me to disclose her recipe though @.@

Murukku mold ! Man, squeezing the dough with 
these things made my hands hurt >.<
(And they still hurt--this was 2 days ago!! @.@)

My aunt kneading the dough. (Oh, and the reason for all the plastic covers is cos none of us were brave enough  had the skills to squeeze the dough over hot oil. So we did it over these plastic covers first before throwing them into the oil :P) 
(Yes, we're good at improvising xD)

Phor Phor, who was Chief Fryer :D

I take one look at that spurting oil and I stay 
ten feet away from it @.@

After all our hard work,

Ta daaaaaaaaa~

Beautiful golden colour eh? Yummy yums :D

Don't they look scrumptious?

Crunchy, and not too hard. The flavour is good. :)

My aunt is pestering me to help her advertise her murukku.

So anybody in the near vicinity of Rasah Jaya who is interested in buying these babies, let me know ! :) (Seriously, my aunt's taking orders :D)

Yummy murukku for sale! My aunt's gotten praises 
for her murukku. Care to try some? :D

btw, I painted my nails again ! The idea for the design I credit to Nana. :)

They're red with silver streaks, with the 
pattern quite like wood grain :P

The streaks were so difficult to paint on, what with my shaky left hand and all (which explains why the pattern on my right hand is not as pretty as on my left >.<)
It definitely took me some time to be done ! @.@ But totally worth it !!! :D

Nice right? :)

(Okay, looking back at the pictures, they don't look too awesome, but my 2.0 mp phone camera does not do them justice ! They're waayyyyy prettier than it seems, I promise!!!)

I don't understand why people aren't getting my nails :(
How can they be anything but gorgeous?????!!! >.<

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Perfect Match

The first time I saw her, I fell head over heels in love with her.

Ah, her. She was absolutely perfect. I could just close my eyes and imagine........

She had the most romantic, shining eyes. They seemed to reflect the full moon that was shining so brightly on the night that I first met her. And her body. Whoa, did she have a hot one! Those slim and slender legs--they practically took my breath away! And when she walked past me, my eyes could not help but follow the curves along the lines of her back, all the way down to her a-- Ahem. Sorry. 

Oh, and she had the daintiest feet I had ever seen! They were small, and pretty, and reminded me of fairies and pixies. When she finally turned her head over her shoulder to look back at me, her eyes completely captivated me. I was mesmerized. And then I heard the most beautiful sound in the world--the smallest purr, that stopped my heart. It sounded oh-so-inviting. As if she were telling me that I actually, had a shot at this.

Did I?

But you know what was the best thing about her? She had the most beautiful, beautiful stripes all over her body. I always thought they matched mine, streak for streak. Didn't that prove how perfect we are for each other?

Now, if only I could convince her of the same.

What could I do to prove to her of my love?

Maybe I could follow her around tomorrow, and rub my body up against hers to let her know I'm interested in more than being just friends. And maybe, if I could, I'll find her a scrumptious morsel to treat her. A big fat rat, possibly, if I can catch one in the dumpster at the back row of houses. That would be really impressive, wouldn't it? And also, maybe I could----

Whirrrrrrrr. Rattle. Bump. SLAM!!

What the--

What's happening?

How DARE you disturb my daydream??!!!

You're gonna pay for that, human. Just you wait. 

Just. You. Wait.

p.s: This cat that (I think) was napping under my mum's car gave me this murderous look when we got into it. I imagine it was daydreaming about its ladyfriend. And I disrupted it. Oops.

p.p.s: It totally hissed at me too! Chillax, brah! I said I was sorry. @.@


Since a reader mentioned that this innocent post somehow, inexplicably, reminded him of the whole cats-mating ritual, I thought I'd share a National Geographic video here that my friend had shared on her FB profile. 

Watch and be horrified. You'll understand what the female cats are actually saying in their yowling the next time you hear them "doing it" behind your house @.@

Friday, May 13, 2011

Them Babies

I've always adored babies.

I still do.

Sure, children can be a handful--they can get antsy, they can't sit still, they talk too much, they don't listen to a word you say, they bang on the keys of the piano even though you've told them not to. (Had my fair share of dealing with children in the music class I teach. Don't say I don't know. >.<)

The trigger for this rambling: three kids playing "fishing" (with actual nets!) 
in church the other day. I couldn't resist capturing them in a photo :P

But somehow, babies just warm my heart. :) (Well, excluding the diaper-changing and spit-up cleaning.)

I think they have this natural ability to make me smile whenever I see them--with their drooling chin and almost-there baby teeth, or their rubber band wrists and their chubby little cheeks. And their smile. They have such a cute smile :D

I've reached the stage where, when I look at babies, I think of motherhood, and by motherhood, I mean for myself.

I know I'm pretty young--too young--to be thinking about motherhood. But it's one of those things where I daydream about: having kids, being a stay-at-home mom, where my kids are as close as I am with my parents, where we adore and respect each other. I wanna know if I can be that some day.

I feel the same way about marriage. While all my peers are thinking, "I'll maybe get married after I my career is established," or "Marriage? After I'm 30 !!!" or "Why settle down so quickly? See the world, do everything you wanna do first."

But not me.

Sweet baby Isabel, 2yo, was folding tiny bits of paper and giving them, one by one, 
to my dad, who was sitting beside me. How adorable can you get?! xD

I wouldn't mind giving up my career. I seriously wouldn't. Strange isn't it? I study so hard, I love teaching, I have these dreams of becoming a great teacher. But if I had to give that up for my husband, to start my own family, I would.

If I finished my degree but never go out to teach, it wouldn't kill me.

But of course, I want to have my career in teaching and start my own family as well. It's not necessarily an either/or thing. I'm merely saying that at the point where I stand, if I had to choose, I would choose family over career.

Sure, I have pipe dreams. Who doesn't? I've actually thought of writing, singing, acting, being a talk show host, a radio VJ, as a career. Somehow I doubt it will happen. Pipe dreams seldom do huh? But if I had a life that revolved only around my family, I don't see that as a bad thing either.

While many of the people of my generation are not even thinking of marriage, I can see myself getting married young, even right out of university. I want to.

I dream of marrying young, starting a family young, taking care of my kids, and then watching them "leave the nest" as young adults to start families of their own while I am still in my mobile mid-50s, retiring early and then travelling the world on a second longgggg honeymoon with my husband.

Isn't that dreamy? :D

You guys must think I'm crazy. To actually want to be a stay-at-home mom? In this day and age??

But the thing is, when I think of the future, I think of marriage, motherhood, babies, a home. Not me being some kick-a** hot teacher teaching in a school somewhere.

I don't know if that means there's something wrong with me.

Isabel asked me if I wanted "somore" bits of paper!

I'm only 23, but when I see them babies, I think of when it will finally be my turn.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day is a Good Day to try Making Dessert

It's Mother's Day today ! :D

Yeah, I know how they always say that Mother's Day should be every day. I agree, in the sense that you should always, or at every opportunity, show your mum how much you appreciate the woman who has raised you all these years.

But Mother's Day is when you do something a little extra special, a little out-of-the-ordinary, to remind her that we appreciate what she does, and show her a glimpse of how much she means to us :)

This Mother's Day, I thought I'd do something special--something I never do on any other occasion, or in any other circumstance (normally).

I made her Apple Crumble for dessert :D

Under the guise of helping my aunt to "fix her sucky internet connection" and "dye her hair with the new hair dye she bought", my brother and I headed over to my grandma's place to use my aunt's oven.

(My mum totally bought it. She didn't suspect a thing! xD)

Here's how you do it (sorry, I don't have step-by-step pictures. Didn't have enough  clean  free hands >.<):

How to Make Apple Crumble That's as Easy as Pie

85g of flour
35g of butter
25g of caster sugar (I actually think this is not necessary, especially if you have diabetics in the family you are concerned for.) (But then again, this is a really sweet dessert. Control their helpings >.<)

2 green apples; peeled, cored, cut into slices/wedges
50g granulated sugar

1. Place the slices of green apples into a casserole dish. (Please take note of the words in bold. Avoid the mistake I made >.<)

My brother, Ming, cutting and arranging the apples :)

Arrange them nicely in a casserole dish. Do NOT use a baking tray. 
Unless you wanna be scraping melted sugar off the bottom of the tray. >.<

2. Sprinkle the granulated sugar all over the slices, making sure they are evenly coated.
3. Sift flour into a mixing bowl.
4. Drop dollop of butter in, and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you get a texture of fine breadcrumbs.

They do look like breadcrumbs, don't they?

Me, making the crumble, full-concentration-mode !

5. Add in caster sugar and mix. (Believed to be unnecessary.) This is your crumble :)
6. Sprinkle your crumble all over your apples in the casserole dish (take note of bold emphasis AGAIN) and make sure they are fully covered.

Okay, fine. Mine isn't exactly fully covered. 
So make sure yours is.

7. Put into preheated oven at 190 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes, and then at 180 degrees for the next 40 minutes.

They were beginning to smell heavenly :D

Done ! :D

Mine got a liiiiiittle burnt. So maybe you can try slicing thicker slices of apples, 
and using a deeper casserole dish. And make sure the apples are 
really fully covered by crumble.

Well, you can also serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. (I highly recommend you do this, and with vanilla ice-cream, not any other flavour. Cos I think it made this dessert that much better! I swearrrrrr~ :D It was totally THE BOMB !!!!)

I swear to you it tastes waayyyyy better than it looks
in this picture. Really !!!! @.@

I got the recipe here. :)

Note: The recipe above is for only ONE tray of apple crumble dessert. The pictures look misleading cos there are two trays. I replicated the recipe for a second tray of apple crumble because there were 8 of us for tea today >.<

It was a relatively easy recipe. I chose that intentionally, trying NOT to be overly ambitious. And it was a success ! :P

Both the mothers (my grandma and my mum) gave me an 8 out of 10. Not bad for a first attempt eh? :)

Oh, and here's what I made for my mum:

Front cover

The inside of the card; My youngest brother, Kit 
came up with the wordings :D

I love my mum cos, more than the little things that she does for us and the family as a whole, she has now become my confidante and.....friend. Yes, I said friend. :D

If I really thought about it, I tell my mum a lot of things. When I was in school, I'd come back and rant and rave to her, and know that I'd get a sympathetic ear. I'd even tell her some of the jokes that me and my bunch of friends laughed out loud at that day, or retell their crazy antics.

At that age, nobody would wanna admit that they tell their moms everything. It just ain't cool, know what I mean? @.@

But the reason I tell my mum everything is because, mainly, she's a good listener. :D

She really listens. And she taught me to listen too :D

She always supports, is always willing to give her advice. And her thoughts and opinions, I always value.

Now that I am in uni, I seldom do the I-just-came-back-guess-what-happened-at-school-today act anymore. I'm not the kind who calls back home every day, nor once a week either.

Actually, I never call at all. Unless for very very important stuff. Like banking in money to pay my fees, or something.

But when I get home, especially after a month away for exams, I have tons to tell. And guess who I tell first? :D

My adorable, cutesy momsy :D

I love you, Mum.

Happy Mother's Day :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

When I First Met You

Can you believe it has been 3 years since I first stepped foot in UKM as a first year undergraduate student?

I can't believe it.

Though it doesn't exactly feel like just yesterday, it certainly doesn't feel like three years.

Going to a foreign place, a new temporary home, with no friends and far away from my family was a nerve-wrecking experience. "It's going to be exciting!" people tell me. But it comforts me none. I wonder if I'm ever going to fit in, to get used to all this newness.

The first photo of Nana and I :)

Then I meet my new room mate, whose first question to me is "Are you a Chinese?" It takes me completely by surprise, because I never thought I ever looked anything but Chinese. Apparently not.

I tell I am, in fact, Chinese, last I checked. Didn't I look like one?

She laughs and apologizes, explaining that that wasn't what she meant. Only that she was pleasantly surprised to be roomed with a fellow Chinese, having come from a majority-Malay-student environment in matriculation. I laugh with relief.

How different we looked then! :P

And my first friendship in uni is born, as we both then proceed to sweep, mop, and wipe the surface of every bit of furniture--clean the room that we now share.

Uni, then, didn't seem so scary after all. :)

I am standing in line where the facilitators have barked at us to. I am nervous, and honestly, terrified of all that is happening around me. There is shouting, and facilitators running around, more shouting. Other first-years seem to know what to do, but I don't. I stick by my roomie, clutching the identical blue bags they had given us during registration.

I happen to glance at the girl standing right beside me in line. She was wearing a silky blue baju kurung with pink floral prints that somehow, to me, seemed almost comical. Or it could possibly have been the expression that was on her face. She had a look of absolute terror on her face, which seemed to reflect mine.

Me and Chrissy :)

I smiled again, making sure she saw me this time, and introduced myself, and then my roomie. A wave of relief visibly washed over her face and she returned my smile with her own.

I stood just a little bit closer to her, and I knew, that I'd found a new friend. :)

You should have seen Chrissy's look of terror that first day when I met her! 
I tease her about it, still. :P

All were gathered in what they called the Memorial Room, or Bilik Memo, folding our legs so we had more space to breathe in the cramped room full of over a hundred fellow freshies. While my roomie, Christina (our new friend) and I were struggling to make ourselves comfortable in the itty bitty space we had (and pulling parts of our baju kurung from beneath the bottoms of a few oblivious neighbours), the facilitators continued barking instructions, trying to create some semblance of order amidst the chaos.

And above the din, one girl's voice could be heard.

Noisy and talkative from the day I met her :P

I tried to look above (and between) the heads of the girls sitting in front of me to find out the origins of the voice. It belonged to a fair Chinese girl with long curly hair who was actually sitting right in front of us.

She continued talking (at the top of her voice, it seems) to a Malay girl beside her. Somehow, our little group of three must have caught her attention.

We got into conversation and realized that Christina and she would be course mates! She told us her name was May Lee, written in Chinese exactly as "beautiful" would be written. ("Because I am mei li!" she claims often, in the three years I have known her. We always shrug and let her get away with it. If I was feeling cheeky, I'd tell her that her poor parents had no idea that the mei li daughter they had expected would turn out to be the complete opposite of the name they'd given her! She would whine, or maybe playfully smack me, going "Heyyyyyy" to which we'd just laugh.)

I call her "bu mei li" (not beautiful) instead :P

We of course also got to know the Malay girl May Lee was busy chatting with as well. Our sweet and initially-shy Hani :D

Hani Bunny :)

Another two friendships were born. :)

How do you feel when you know that these friendships are about to change forever?

Three years marks the end of their undergraduate studies in UKM. They will graduate, and leave UKM for good.

And I'm left behind. (Stupid Education four-year course! >.<)

It feels sad to see them leave. It's sad to know that they're moving on without you, ahead of you. It's sad to know in your heart that things will never be the same.

It's scary to think of what will happen in the future. Will your friendship survive?

With the busyness of working life, and study life, and all the demands of everything else, will the friendship continue?

I really hope so.

I have had such great times with each one of them--Nana, Chrissy, MayLee and Hani Bunny. They've taught me many things, and I have learned much from them. They have shared my joys, and my pain. They've been the ears to listen, and to encourage when I needed them.

We have certainly changed from when we first met. But we have also grown so much, because of each other, together.

They have made me who I am today.

During Orientation Week--how innocent and naive we all looked! :D

Webcam fun during debate practice :P

This post is way overdue, since my "last day" with each of them was almost two weeks ago. I cannot explain why I suddenly got emotional and felt the need to write this. Maybe because I see their posts and updates on FB and Twitter on working life, and I feel left out and so far away. Maybe because I miss them, knowing that on a night like this, we might be hanging out in one other's room, watching movies together, or gossiping, or painting each other's nails. Maybe because I miss those things, coupled with the fact that I know they won't be returning to UKM next semester as I will.

Hope you are doing well, and think of me sometimes, as I'm thinking of you now :)

Love you guys! <3

Lazy Bum No More?

In the spirit of let's-not-be-lazy-bums-and-get-off-your-butt-and-do-some-exercise, I went for line dancing on Wednesday morning, and for Praise Exercise on Thursday morning. Since they're both on every week, I think I'll try to commit to that. 

Cos I doubt sitting on my bum in front of the computer all day every day is very healthy. Though, it does encourage finger exercise (from typing).

Line dancing

What's Praise Exercise? It's a little like tai chi in that it involves a lot of stretching, and works on all parts of your body. It's not as vigorous as line dancing, or as fast-paced. Line dancing is just a lot of footwork, and not a whole-body workout. 

Praise Exercise had me sweating bullets by the end of it, while line dancing barely broke my sweat. But that was probably because I was too focused on where my feet were supposed to be, and not on the dancing part. >.<

Both were populated by aunties--those who are retired, or housewives, or not working. I was a little embarrassed that they seemed to catch up really fast (especially the fast-paced line dance steps) while I was practically stumbling over my own feet. >.<

If only the line dancing group I join is populated by 
more hot shirtless guys *sigh*

I guess I realized then that I'm not much of a dancer T.T

And you'd be surprised, some of these "aunties" have really got some moves in 'em ! They can sway and swag better than I ever could ! And look really good at the same time too !!

Ugh. Like I said, embarrassing. =.=

Although my thighs were aching from the stretching exercises we'd done in Praise Exercise, I decided I'd done enough lazing around for the past few days.

I really needed to clear out my wardrobe. 

My clothes had to be stacked on a chair cos there was not enough space in my wardrobe to put them all.

How did that happen? you ask. 
I don't really know myself. =.=

Anyway, I spent close to 3 hours clearing out my wardrobe, putting all the clothes I didn't want anymore, or have been in my possession for waayyyy too long (from ten years ago--that's the thing about being the same size and never growing out of your clothes for that many years >.<) in a huge bag, and rearranging those I did want neatly into piles and placing them in the right drawers and compartments.


The piles of clothes stacked precariously on my bed.

The give-away stack of clothes that toppled over 
which I was not bothered to stack up right again.

By the end of it, I was sweaty and disgusting, and surrounded by piles and stacks of clothing.

But man, the sense of accomplishment ! :D

I guess I can check that off my to-do list now ! :)

I was pooped. Kong-ed on my bed for three straight hours, dead to the world. =.=

And so, to reward myself for a day's good work,

I painted my nails.

I'd been saving these Elianto nail stickers to go with the perfect shade of purple in my nail polish collection.

(Do you know how difficult it is to have these nail stickers in your possession and have to stare at them for a good one month, and not do anything with them because you know you shouldn't be painting your nails in the midst of exams? People would look at you weird. They were already looking at me one kind when all I did was take a few extra minutes in the morning to put eyeliner on before sitting for my exam. wth. So to have nail stickers and not be able to do anything? So difficult !!! >.<)

But I was kinda disappointed. The nail stickers weren't wide enough. So they looked kinda........weird.

Apparently, my nails are too wide--wider than the average skinny Chinese girl, I bet >.<


But well. They look kinda awesome---if you don't look too closely.