Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Baked Spicy Stingray

We are on a "fish diet" this week. Kinda "meated out".

We bought some kind of a white fish (this is really bugging me now - I do not know my fish well - pomfret, sole, salmon, tuna and cod I know well but am stumped with most other fish - will check out the labels and signs on the fish at the supermarket and confirm later) and stingray from pasar malam (night market) on Sunday.

Yesterday, I made the panfried unknown fish topped with crispy ginger/shallot/garlic mix for myself and steamed version for him with tomato and cucumber salad. So, no recipe until I know the name of the fish cos I KNOW these recipes work well for this particular fish.

Today, both of us had the same - hot baked spicy stingray with rice and crab salad on the side.

Baked Spicy Stingray

Ingredients :
2 cut pieces of stingray (about 300-350gms)
1 inch of of young ginger (sliced)
6 shallots (peeled and sliced)
2-8 cili padi or bird's eye chilli - more if you can take fiery hot chillies (cut)
4 key limes
salt and/or Maggi Seasoning
2 tbsp olive oil

Method :

1. Preheat oven to 250 deg C for 5 mins.
2. Season fish with salt and/or Maggi Seasoning. I used both so a teeny weeny bit of each.
3. Place 2 tbsp of olive oil on a baking dish. Rub all sides of the fish lightly against the oil in on the baking dish. And once coated thoroughly, leave in the baking dish.
4. Place sliced ginger, shallots and cili padi on top of fish.
5. Bake for 10 mins. Remove, squeeze 2 limes all over and turn the fish carefully. Bake for another 10 mins.
6. Squeeze remaining 2 limes. Serve hot with white fluffy rice and a cold salad.

I feel lighter and healthier already. Hahaahahhahaha!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Shio Creativity

Shio and I met at Pizza Hut in Klang about almost 15 years ago. We were the Pizza Hut girls!! Great times - nearly always stuffed with pizzas and garlic bread.

In true tradition as girls, we shopped and dined together throughout the last 15 years - more sporadic at certain period of time but always in touch. Always supportive and encouraging.

There was a time in early 2004 when I had just returned from biz trip to Europe, I was so dead tired and was sick too that I slept for a day not realising there were calls and messages coming in.

Having no response from me, Shio came all the way from Klang to Shah Alam where I was staying alone back then to make sure that I was safe. I appreciate a lot that gesture.

Apart from playing and teaching piano, Shio is also very artistic in many other ways - has an eye for beauty. And I think that runs in the family.

Lamp shade MADE by Shio's brother
A basket of Heineken beautifully arranged by Shio - idea from her mom

Amazing, aren't they?

Last Post on Birthday 2006

I. am. 32. now.

I still feel 22... lol! My family still treats me like a 2. Being the youngest is quite fun, I'd say.

One example, the last message I received from one of my sisters was yesterday and it went like this : IF YOU WANT TO BUY CLOTHES, LET ME KNOW. I WILL TAKE YOU TO BAYU.

That was sweet of her.. still thinks that she can pick up pretty dresses in bows (actually, shirts and pants cos I was and still very much a tomboy) for her young sis. Ha!

Mom is great - never controlling. And makes the best of comfort food ever!

Apart from her, I love her :
1. long-life noodles ginger soup with sliced pork, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried oysters and ginger omelette
2. Pork tripe peppery soup with mixed clams and abalones
3. Herbal chicken soup

Oh ya, I am a soup fan. Totally.

Am going to Ozmosis Health & Day Spa next Saturday for 3.5 hours of pampering courtesy of B who gave me a voucher for Ozmosis Ultimate Indulgence Package. I am gonna be spoilt max!

I simply can't wait!!!

Life's great with family and a dog (a cat, fish, snake, iguana, chimp...whateva!)!!!

Chilli Tuna Pasta

Have a can of tuna, will survive!

The fridge was empty so last night, I made chilli tuna pasta for dinner.

Ingredients :
1 can of 185gm chilli tuna (I use Ayam brand)
1 jar of 400gm traditional pasta sauce (I use Prego's)
1/2 of a yellow onion

Pasta of your choice (I like angel hair, so angel hair it was)- cooked till al dente

Method :
1. Drain as much oil as possible from tuna and put the meat in a saucepan. Add the pasta sauce and chopped onion. Simmer for about 15-20 mins at low heat till onion is soft. Stir frequently.
2. Serve on cooked pasta with grated Parmesan cheese and also garlic bread if like.

Isn't this easy? Watch out though - SPICY!!

Japan 21 September 2006

A very, very tired Karen was inflight ....

Having finished all important discussions with various main EPC companies in Japan, I flew home. Tons of stuffs in my mind... my to-do list was getting longer. I dislike clutter of any kind with the exception of the one in my car trunk. It must be a compost bin by now....

I flew Japan Airlines for both flights to and fro KLIA. Wasn't up to eating and drinking except for yuzu drink on my way to Japan so I decided to write about the trip home instead.

For my return trip, I was one of the last to enter the cabin as I was busy doing last minute shopping, sending postcards at the airport and then went to the lounge to chill and check e-mails.

Japanese cheese cake and strawberry chocolate daifuku for the little nieces and nephews at home.

So, I had in my hands boxes of Japanese confectionary (yup, I assume everybody loves food as much as I do!), laptop, luggage bag and handbag. I was struggling to put the luggage bag into the overhead compartment. No help given (cabin was filled with Japanese men and cabin staff were a distance off). The guy next to my seat was motionless, stared straight ahead and sat as though he was the Rock of Gibraltar. I always have someone offering help onboard but not this time. Anyway, a stewardess finally came and assisted me. I noticed there were no steward onboard both JAL flights I took. Pretty sexist, I must say.

At one point when I had to go to the loo, he refused to get up but instead lifted his legs to sit cross-legged on his seat. I must give him credit though for loosening up a bit after awhile. Was a bit more helpful later on. Helped me bring down my laptop and the bag of food when we were about to disembark. There is hope after all!

Menu and Wine List

I choose the Japanese set with a glass of Piper Heidsieck champagne as aperitif, Labouré Roi Chablis 2004 to go with my meal and finished off with Bailey's. The whole meal was perfect. One of the better biz class meals I've had.

Western lunch menu

Japanese lunch menu

White wine list

Red wine list

Throughout the journey, I had lots of yuzu drink and water (they provide small Evian bottles). They also offer Sky Udon, Sky Ramen, Sky Soba (all instant cup noodles), Onigiri, ice-cream and sandwiches as snacks thoughout the flight anytime you want. And also dry Natto and mixed Japanese crackers and nuts.

My lunch onboard - can't even figure out which to start with. Literally too much on my plate.
My dessert - I chose fresh fruits over pastries and cakes. Love fresh figs!

Shiseido skincare in the toilets and moisturising eye masks and face masks were also available so that one's skin is rehydrated.

Service onboard was impeccable!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Japan 20 September 2006

I woke up feeling the drain from lack of sleep (waking up at 7am after so little sleep the night before is no fun) but the birthday wishes I received via sms and email really cheered me up.

So, meetings and more meetings...... head pounding, eyes refusing to stay open, mouth wanting to open and yawn..... but, the will won. We had superb meetings.

View from Conrad International Hotel's Kazahana Japanese restaurant on the 21st floor where we had a very rushed 40mins lunch. I had unajyu (grilled eel on rice) set. It was good but sigh! Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo and Cerise brasserie by Gordon Ramsay was just next door to Kazahana!!!...if only we had more time....

Some idea of the industry I am in......I love it! So much to learn, so many people from different walks of life to meet. I was told more than once and beyond that I am a workaholic...maybe... I dunno...I don't think so. I call it passion.

Birthday Dinner - Teppanyaki at Miyako, Azur Takeshiba
Starter - Teppanyaki Goose Liver
Finished Product - Foie Gras from Hungary cooked in Japan eaten by a Malaysian... what a global food chain!

Spiny lobsters being peppered
Cooking the lobsters on the hot plate

Mid-course - Worth killing for.... I remembered one of The Simpsons episodes where their pet lobster was accidentally cooked in the pot while getting a hot bath... Homer's guilt was gone the moment he tasted the meat.

Peppers, Pumpkin, Eggplant and a type of Japanese potato being grilled. There were also the usual bean sprouts and condiments, a miso soup and salad for each of us.
My tenderloin (haha) and others' sirloin being grilled - see the fatty chunk left at the side? That's to be fried up and served to us with some left behind to flavour the garlic rice later.
Nearly done....
Me - waiting patiently for my beef main course.... thats the face of having slept a total of 6+ hours over last 2 nights. And oh, see my "temporary" phone? Nokia - rented from Vodafone, soon to be changed to Softbank.
Dessert - chocolate apple tart, strawberries, melon and strawberry sorbet. One thing for sure, the dessert was much, much fresher than the bday gal.
Me - 2 years old...... LOL! See the pendant I was wearing? That's from B.
My bday cake..... le moelleux au chocolat (my fav!). Everybody at the restaurant sang bday song.... made me feel supershy then. I shared this tiny beauty with the others.

Then, one of the chefs performed magic tricks for us. Was fun to watch.... It's great to be child-like at times.

Rounded off the night with a glass of kir royal at the hotel. Absolutely decadent!

Japan 19 October 2006

I have always liked Japan - however, this trip was a bit dreaded as my flight left KLIA at 11.55pm on 18th and it was an overnight flight (scheduled to arrived Tokyo Narita at 6.55am - which is 5.55am Malaysian time). So, one can imagine how very little sleep I had. Maybe 1 hour or so.... too many people snoring all at once before I fell asleep! I would have no problem if I had fallen asleep first before the snorers.

I had to catch the 7.44am Narita Express train to get into Tokyo city - now, 54mins to get out of the plane, get a ticket for Narita Express and rent a 3G phone before boarding the train is not so bad at all in Japan (though as stressed as I was with the thought) as they are very efficient.

My problem was the flight left 25mins late from KLIA. I arrived Narita at 7.20am and literally ran all the way through to get pass immigration and did all that I had to do. I did it!!!

However, the worst had yet to come..... My contact in Japan was to met me at Tokyo station at 9.04am (mind you, Narita Express is 5 levels below ground, I think) and whisked me off in a taxi for a 15mins ride to the hotel where I had to deposit my bags plus meet my 2 bosses and take another taxi to see customer for the first meeting at 10am. And there were THREE meetings back-to-back,

I had to change in the toilet of the moving train - out of my hoodie and sweatpants into my biz suit. No chance to shower that day till 7pm at the end of the work day. I was terribly self-conscious for not having showered the last 24 hours. The consolation : confirmed that I am not OC. I thought I was as I love showers.... up to 3 a day. Phew!

And I finished about 2am on my first day in Tokyo.

The same full day followed - and it was my birthday too! Out by 8.10am and finished by midnight.

On 21st, I had to leave hotel at 8.50am for my flight home.

Tiring though it was, I managed to capture some great moments during the 2.5 days there.

19 September 2006 - Dinner at Seryna, GINZA
We wanted teppanyaki and was recommended Mon Cher Ton Ton in Roppongi but as fate would have it, the taxi driver couldn't read the map well and dropped us at their sister (or brother) restaurant, Seryna in Ginza. Their specialty is shabu-shabu (esp. their Kobe beef) and none one us craved that. So, the closest we could get was grilled Kobe beef on a hot plate.

Our wine for the night - am not a connoisseur but I think it was pretty good.

Boss' sushi starter platter - I know, I know....he helped me with this photo. They are great people.

My lobster with curry mayonnaise starter - cholesterol what? yum!

Our Kobe beef - still makes me drool everytime I think about it - it really is that good! They used the fat from the beef to oil the grill. Oh man, best beef I have had, ever!

After dinner, we went to a champagne bar - woohoo! I had just a glass of Gardet.

When I got back, I opened up the card and gift that Barry had given before I left for Japan. Was sweet of him to want me to open a gift on my birthday.

And I also got a nice video clip from him at midnight...no, not of the obscene kind (ha!) but a birthday video clip from pup (wearing a party hat) and him which brought a lump to my throat. At that point, I really wished I was home.

But no, I was in a hotel in Tokyo, tired and stressed and had to work till almost 2am to clear urgent emails.....

Before I went to bed, I played the clip over and over again till I fell asleep. It was a great comfort and made me feel lucky and thankful.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Surprise Birthday Do!

It has been a GREAT weekend!! Firstly, I had Jen and hubby and their 2 superadorable boys, Ryan and Aidan dropped by. We hung out at the pool and chitchatted. Gosh, it had been ages since we last met at Mid-Valley sans the 2 little boys.

And last night, Barry threw a surprise birthday party for me. I was out shopping with Shio (THE Diversion) and was greeted with a loud "SURPRISE!" from about 20 people when I got home. I was stunned for quite a while. Suffering no heart attack nor brain damage from the shock, I had an amazing time. It was a blast! AWESOME! I was very pleasantly surprised!

It was a great evening - lotsa food (there was naan, dhall gravy, curry chicken, tandoori chicken, noodles, fried rice and a host of yummies from everyone), wine and beer - and above all, the presence of so many great people - very, very memorable for me!

And now, the thought of being in Japan, away from home from everyone on my birthday this week is not so bad.....

I love surprises!! Thanks B!

And my thanks to his project members Elsa, Sai(?), Shio, Tim and Sashe and also to Mike Owen, Michael Z, Sharil, Irene, Sunny, Beth, Mark, Dian, Chris, Augusta, Bob (the photographer - whose photos I used here), Lisa, Ruben, Rosemary and husband.

Their presence made all the difference.

Augusta, Mike Owen, Barry and Chris closing the door, Irene, Ruben (hidden) and Lisa

Tim in his T. Fox run outfit

Lisa (left) and Beth (right) - such sports! Michael Z and Sashe in the background looking kool

Elsa and Chris bringing in the bday cakes - Sashe and Sunny in the background - Beth on left and Barry on the right

Me - blowing candles - yup, 2 cakes (from Elsa & Chris) - Augusta, Beth and Barry in the background

Beth and Tim - two sports greater than ice hockey (Guess where I copied this phrase from. Ha!)

Chris, Augusta, Sai - Another 3 sports greater than hockey

Role reversal - Bob "Albino" Marley being photographed for once, by Sharil

Mark, Dian, Ruben, Lisa and Elsa doing the Kitchen Confidential

Me, Shio and Irene

Barry & Me - I am a very happy camper...WOOHOO!!! ;o)

Bacon Chicken Wrap

1 skinned chicken breast (cut into 2 pieces thickness-wise; if you are making as appetiser, you can cut further width-wise) - Cut criss-crosses on all surfaces.
Cracked black pepper
4 bacon strips

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1/2 cup breadcrumbs
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp butter (to grease frying pan)


1. Rub black pepper onto chicken meat. Lay 2 strips (1 strip on 1/4 of a chicken breast if making appetiser) of bacon on each half of the chicken. Roll up and secure with an oiled toothpick.
2. Dip the rolled chicken/bacon pieces into the beaten egg followed by breadcrumbs/Parmesan cheese mix.
3. Fry onto lightly greased non-stick pan over very low heat till brown on all sides.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Breaded Lemon Sole

Today, we had breaded lemon sole for dinner. Tuesday is a great day to buy fish and other seafood at Village Grocer, Bangsar. Fresh, fresh, fresh!! I like! (I know the picture doesn't show that...it's me, the photographer's fault)


2 lemon sole fillets (about 350gm in total)
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
freshly cracked black pepper

1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsps olive oil

2 lemon wedges or 2 limes


1. Rinse sole fillets and pat dry with kitchen towels.

2. Season with lemon juice, salt and black pepper.

3. Heat a non-stick pan. Melt 1/2 tbsp of the butter and add in 1 tbsp olive oil.

4. Coat sole fillet (one at a time) with beaten egg followed by mixture of breadcrumbs, paprika, salt and white pepper.

5. Fry for about 3 to 4 mins each side, turning only ONCE till golden brown. The fillet will be flaky.

6. Squeeze lemon or lime over and serve warm.

We had this breaded sole with Greek salad and bagels (I know, not very dinner-like).

Anyway, fresh fish and meats need very little other than salt and/or garlic and/or lemon juice to bring out their flavour.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pesto Alla Calabrese Stuffed Chicken

I had cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, half a bottle of Calabrese pesto and chicken breast to finish up.

So, pesto alla Calabrese stuffed chicken it was for dinner with tomato and corn salsa.

Ingredients :
3 skinned chicken breasts

Filling (mix well together) :
1/2 of 185g bottle pesto alla Calabrese (I use Agnesi)
1 green bell pepper (very finely chopped)
4 tbsp breadcrumbs
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Tomato and corn salsa (mix all ingredients and cover with cling wrap and place in fridge) :
1 can of sweet corn kernels (drained)
10 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
1/2 lemon (squeeze juice)
2 shallots (chopped finely)
2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
A pinch of salt

Method :
1. Heat oven to 220 deg C.

2. Cut chicken breasts in the middle of the thickness but not all the way so that it opens up to an almost rectangle (I find this easier than flattening the meat with a mallet). Do use the back of a cleaver to flatten the meat slightly.

3. Season meat all over with some black pepper - no salt is required.

4. Place 2 to 3 tbsp of filling on the chicken. Either roll or wrap like a parcel. Secure ends with oiled toothpicks.

5. Place the stuffed chicken rolls/parcels on oiled baking tray and bake for 20 mins at 220 deg C. Remove and spoon oil from baking tray onto the chicken and bake for a further 10 to 15 mins till slightly brown and crisp at the edges.

6. Serve the stuffed chicken with the salsa and crusty bread.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What Have I Been Up To?

I have been very busy and will continue to be till end of the year.

From nursing a sick dog to a hacking and sniffling boyfriend to work and also my own personl stuffs.... at least both the pups are better now....

My little wiener taking a snooze...what a pose!

I will be travelling to Japan 18-22 September followed by budget meetings 4-8 October in Kuantan and Singapore. I will then leave for holiday in Canada for 3 weeks from 15 October. Immediately upon return, I have to be in Singapore again for IT training on 7-8 November. So, am busy preparing for these few events.

One of the things I need to do is to get my visas done to enter Japan and Canada.

Most importantly, to organise a cookout with my nieces and nephews after trip to Japan.

We were at Laura Southgate's (wife of my colleague) birthday party last night. Had tons of fun! Great food (they went Indian), wine and champagne. My boss and colleagues were there. I got her a jade choker from Madame Butterfly as pressie. Being the sucker I am, I bought 2 for myself too. Hey, they are gorgeous!

For once in my life, I could not finish a book within 2 days maximum. I am now reading 3 books at the same time - Freakonomics, Animals in Translation and Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, not to mention Cleo magazine's September edition. Jeez, I am becoming very indisciplined in reading...

But, I am having fun doing all these.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Poopy Was Sick....

My favourite dog, Claudia was really sick early this week due to her own gluttony and also partly my fault.

I gave her a piece of bone (about 5cmX4cmX2cm) to chew on Monday night. Thinking that it is pretty big for such a small dog to swallow, I allowed her to play with it unattended and we went to bed.

We woke up to a gritty grainy sandy bed.... yup, bones.

She chewed the leg bone of lamb to bits and swallowed it all (some left on the bed, of course) - and thereafter, those bones were out again, some the size of a marble (and mind you, she ain't no ruminating cow). Gave me a real fright knowing that she had ingested the whole bones, pretty jagged as it was a cooked bone.

I cleaned up the mess and she ate her usual kibbles after vomitting. I saw the good appetite as a sign that she was ok.

Anyway, I had to leave for work and rushed home at lunch to check on her. She was still retching. This time, out came her dog food eaten that morning. Subsequently nothing else ingested (even water) could stay in her. Her pukes were all over the home, our bed, the guest room's bed, rugs.... I called up various vets and friends who have dogs to seek advice. I was recommended a 3 vets with x-ray facilities. Chose the one at Taman Megah as it was the nearest and have heart good things about him before.

X-ray was taken - no sizeable bone was found, squeeze checks made - no yelping in pain, meds fed (to coat the stomach walls and intestinal linings) and all that.

We came home and I washed the sheets before I went off again to work She was better that night....

...but started vomitting again the next morning. She continued to have the yakk attack, with traces of blood - wasn't herself, lifeless and weak. By then, I was terrified, mortified, whatever. I felt like I was losing her. Man, did I really pray. In many ways, I am there for her and she is there for me...it's a very special relationship, my dog and me.

What I have missed out on doing was to check to ensure that the offensive bone was totally gone from our home. And that wiener had kept remnant of the bone somewhere and being the dog she is, enjoyed it the 2nd night around. The bed was gritty grainy and sandy again......
I cleaned up another round of the mess, washed sheets again and went off to work. Again, I went home at lunch to check on her.

Sick Puppy - She really is dishevelled in this pic. Shaggy.

And poopster was weaker than ever. She didn't even do her usual barking when I got home. I was horrified, called up Sham, my good ex-neighbour now friend and asked for her advice. She said that her vet had recommended soft scrambled (without fat - using non-stick pan) or soft boiled egg and some glucose for the dog to regain some energy. I called up the vet again too. He said to bring her in again to check.

I cooked and egg and fed her half of it - she wolfed it down - she was hungry after all. Couldn't find Glucolin (glucose). Again, I set off to work (it was piling up fast) as Barry finishes work early on Wednesdays. So, he could monitor her condition.

Poopster was stronger and no more puking - Barry fed her the balance half of the egg 2 hours later. And that night, she finally defecated and was back to her normal bratty, ratty self.

Never again will I give her any more bones. It can be fatal ingested ESPECIALLY cooked bones. If you have to give your dog bones to clean their teeth, make sure you watch them.

This whole week had been a week of checking her vomit and poo for traces of blood. And no, it didn't come across as nasty to me as I was very very worried.

I am so relieved now that she is fine.

Ahhh, much better!!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Post-Merdeka Post

Merdeka Day (31 August) came and gone.....This is a bit late... was busy over the weekend with guest Travis.

We were shouting Merdeka! (means Independence!)

We had a little get-together over Merdeka eve at Elsa/Beth's place. We were dressed up in the Malaysian flag colours of red, blue, yellow and white or anything Malaysian like Malay baju kebaya/kurung, Chinese cheongsam, Indian sari etc. The girls of course went in full force with theme of the night but with a contemporary twist by pairing traditional tops with jeans or bottoms with T-shirt. See below.

Alex (in Chinese top) & I (in kebaya top)

Mike Owen, dashing in Malay baju and songkok (headgear)

Augusta in Malay kain sarung and T-shirt

Food-wise (or snack-wise rather), we had murukku, keropok and such... and then there were fireworks to be seen from the balcony at the stroke of midnight.
It's a great way to remember our country achieved independence. We (yup, foreigners included) even sang the national anthem Negaraku.