Monday, February 19, 2007

Little Things in Life...

Barry gave me a soft kiss on my cheek while I was napping with puppy.... I love it when it's spontaneous and unexpected like that.... gives me the oh-so-warm feeling.... :oD

Busy, Busy, Busy....

It's the 5th of the 15 days of Chinese New Year.... I started work yesterday, much much earlier than I would like.

I have my dinner at Lafite and cookies I made for the new year to blog about and have not found the time to upload the pics. Will do that soon, I hope.

My next couple of weeks is looking pretty busy starting with Japan.

26 Feb to 2 March - Tokyo/Yokohama
4 to 7 March - Jakarta
8 March - Singapore
14 to 16 March - Bangkok
20 to 23 March - Taipei/Kaoshiung

and these exclude the preparation I have to do for meetings and the presentations ahead.... and reports I have to write....

There goes the rest of Feb and March 2007.....

I need an extra brain.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

It's new year again according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. It also marks the arrival of spring...
This is the year of the Golden Pig. I do not know the significance really but there a lot of positive comments about this Golden Pig year.

The best part about this holiday is the chance to get-together with family and friends. And being single, I still receive hong bao/red packets (plus a lot of advice to make sure I "give" hong bao instead next year!)

Barry was great with the kids at home, doing magic tricks and watching them draw and play the piano.

Craig from Singapore came over this year and we also managed to have dinner at Tarbush, Starhill with him, Jeff and Dian last night.

I have been feasting on ngah goo (fried sliced Chinese arrowroot), kuih bangkit, kuih belanda/ kuih kapit (love letters), pineapple tarts and other cookies, mandarin oranges and am looking forward to have nian gao, dried meat, waxed duck, kuaci and other new year goodies.

Am heading out soon to visit more family members and will be meeting friends over the next couple of days.

Here is wishing you : XIN NIAN GUAI LE, GONG XI FA CAI!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Another great Valentine's Day!!

I came home from work to a nicely set table - with lit candles and a close up picture of Barry and me in a nice frame on it! Imagine the romantic setting.... I was very pleasantly surprised.

This year, puppy joined us for the celebration.

We decided on a hot date this year... Barry cranked up the heat at the BBQ pit and we were all set for a hot night...

For a start, we had tortilla chips with Old El Paso salsa followed by....
Grilled Garlic Mushrooms - Garlic is an aphrodisiac, isn't it?
Cheese sausages - I just love cheesy sausages!! Got these from Mr Ho's Fine Foods. Perfectly grilled.
Cool Greek Salad - a crunchy medley of cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, garlic and feta cheese tossed in white wine vinegar, sea salt, olive oil, basil, oregano and Dijon mustard.
What's on my plate? - cheese sausage and burger patty (homemade with melted cheese cascading down its side and fried onions) on buns, shrooms and salad. Out-of-this-world!
Barry's plate.

We had our candlelight dinner and rounded off a great night with Leonidas Belgian chocolates.

Ahhh..... simply orgasmic! ;o)

I got my most wanted Thai cookbook from Barry - look out for Thai food postings soon!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Claudia - Spayed Part II

Here is a phone camera pic of Claudia second day after her surgery...

We kept the room dark so she could sleep and have a good rest. She is much better in terms of movement - she could climb and sleep on any side now. And could beg too when we were having dinner last night and breakfast this morning.

Best of all, she has been eating and drinking and pooing and peeing normally. No behavioural change detected. The l'il brat rat has returned!

She really knows how to milk us both - we were always there next to her giving lots of hugglies, snugglies and kissies. I think it's worth giving her the extra TLC though just to make sure that she didn't think that the pain she is going through is some kind of punishment for her.

I do sound like a good parent here....

Pineapple Tarts and Apple Pie

There was pineapple left in the fridge (I made Spicy Hawaiian Chicken and Calamari and Onion pizza toppings last Sunday) and thought that it would be nice to make pineapple tarts from scratch.

I used :

3/4 pineapple (grated corasely and squeeze out some juice)
1/2 cup brown sugar
a pinch of ground cinnamon (as I did not have cinnamon sticks on hand; 1 clove would be nice too!)

Grated pineapple, sugar and cinnamon are placed in a heavy bottomed pan and cook over medium heat till thick and slightly caramelised (lower heat if necessary to prevent burning) - about 1/2 hour to 45mins. Set aside to cool.

I made the usual shortcrust pastry and baked 12 pineapple jam-filled tarts (in a preheated 190 deg C oven for about 15mins. I ran out of eggs!!! So, no eggwashing this time before baking....

You can tell I did not have enough jam to fully fill the tart shells... I like it though as I prefer to eat pastry than filling especially when it is of the sweet variety.

There was enough pastry left to make a 5-in apple pie.Not exactly pretty since there wasn't really enough pastry to cover the pie and no eggs. Also, I am not very patient sometimes... especially when I do not have all ingredients in hand.

Yummy though - just good ole peeled, cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith apple, some cinnamon powder, brown sugar and little dollops of butter as filling...

The smell of baking tarts and pies can be so therapeutic....

Wendy's Bistro

This is a post which is long due... we went to Wendy's Bistro on 13th January...

It really is funny how little I know about eat places near home.... Wendy's Bistro is one of those new places which came up at the commercial square behind Sunway Mentari (lots of steamboat restaurants). It was Sunny and Irene who suggested that we go for our dinner outing.

Us with our cheesy smiles before dinner....
The chef at work...
Mushroom soup - it is very yummy, made from fresh mushrooms. We ordered 3 bowls cos I thought it would be those so-so version and opted to share with Barry.
Portobello mushroom - grilled to perfection with bacon and cheese - I just lurve melted cheese!! We had 2 of this to share.
Mixed sausages served with crinkle cut fries - excellent dipped in Dijon mustard. 1 plate for all to share.
Barry's roast pork belly with mashed potatoes - I absolutely adore this one - make sure there is enough people to share it with. Main courses are huge!
My pork rib, also with mashed potatoes - I didn't quite like this one. I find the meat tough. Irene ordered the same and enjoyed it though. Carnivore...
Sunny had pork chop. I kidded that the presentation was ugly and didn't take any picture of it. The reason was that I wanted to start eating Barry's order of roast pork belly immediately.
We definitely ordered 1 main course too many for four person.....

Company Lunch - Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Andy called for lunch yesterday for this occasion since everyone travels for work and it is really hard to find a perfect time to lunch together.

We went to Oriental Restaurant at PJ Section 14's Cold Storage building.

Yap did the ordering - it was a set. We started with the ubiquitous CNY fare, yee sang. We were given salmon yee sang as it was part of the set. Personally, I would have ordered a la carte and chosen abalone yee sang. "Bao yee" - still has the "yee" right?

The salmon was fresh (most important point as the fish is eaten raw) and dressing of plum sauce and honey had the right balance of sweet and sour. And I love the crackers!! The plate was wiped clean in no time.

Salmon Yee Sang

Scallops wrapped in bacon with black pepper mayo and crispy fried lotus root circles - gave me some idea for apptisers in the future
Sharksfin with bean sprouts and a dash of black vinegar - Chinese lunch/dinner table's all-time favourite!
Steamed fish - I didn't try as I kinda prefer grilled or fried fish...
Fried quails - this dish spooked me a little as it came with the heads - nevertheless, I braved myself to try it - I must say that I do like the crispy skin and thin layer of meat (I do not like too much meat and usually go for ribs or wings when it comes to birds). Kim said it was too salty though....

Next came fried meehoon (rice noodles) with black bean sauce and fish head. More meat than the head. It was acceptable as I can tolerate a fish head better than a bird brain. I didn't finish the noodles as my tummy was alreday full after the soup course. Besides, I was thinking more about how pup was doing at the vet's.

We rounded off lunch with mango pudding with mango sauce... Would have been much better without the sauce. It overwhelmed the pudding. And as for the pudding, I have tasted many better ones...

Keegan paid this time and bill was close to RM520 for 6 person - no alcohol. The only beverage we had was Ti Kuanyin (Iron Buddha) tea.

I would say our experience would have been much better if we had gone for a la carte.... I have had very good experiences dining at Oriental before.The set menu is just ordinary.

Claudia - Spayed

I was a total bundle of nerves past 2 weeks after having decided to get Claudia spayed.

Spaying is quite common but I was more worried because she is after all, almost 6 years old. It's usually done before first heat to really minmize the risks of mammary growths. I waited too long. Nonetheless, spaying would also prevent uterine disease (pyometra) and tumour of reproductive tract. Read here if interested to know more about spaying.

I had, in the past, talked to many vets about spaying Claudia but despite their recommendation to get it done asap, I delayed it till now due to my own fear of the scalpel. I also had this idea that spaying was recommended for vets to make money. I also had this idea that I wanted to breed poodles but alas! that didn't happen.

The thoughts about possible pyometra was the major motivation factor to get the procedure done. The risks and complications of surgery for pyometra are even more!

Prior to making the appointment, I checked MORE about spaying online and also called her groomer, Colin who is also a poodle breeder for tips and also recommendation of a vet.

In my mind, I already had one - Dr Yeoh at Taman Megah, her regular vet for emergencies like when she ingested bones and also, when she made a dash for our new bed and hit hard straight on the solid wood which made her whimpered and very quite shaken for quite some time. We were worried about concussion and damage to her eye from the accident. But, she recovered and is fine.

As luck would have it, Dr Yeoh (Senior) would be on holiday on the date I had chosen and I was told it would be his nephew, Dr Yeoh (Junior). I checked with Colin and decided to go ahead based on the positive feedback received.

And after making appointment a week back, I had been calling the clinic nearly every day as new questions popped in my mind. It is better to be informed as much as possible! I believe your dog will sense your confidence or lack of confidence. It would be better for them to go into surgery sensing that it's good for them. I was stressed about the surgery but was sure it was the best for her in the long run.

Claudia had to fast for 12 hours before the surgery - so, I made sure she ate and finished her meal by 7.45pm on Thursday.

We went to the clinic the next morning and I requested the doctor to run a complete biochemistry tests and blood count to ensure that she is 101% OK for surgery. She is generally a very healthy dog. No health problems. She sees vet only for annual check-up and vaccination and when she gets into accidents because of her mischief. But, I just wanted to be supersure. That's the paranoid me at work.

I also asked for a jab of painkiller after surgery.

I left her at the clinic at 10.45pm - my heart was heavy especially when she clung onto me tightly as I put her in the designated cage. I hugged her and told her she would be fine and forced myself to not be too emotional. I let her sniff my fingers before I went out.

It was nice of the doctor to let me see the cage area - clean, organised, stainless steel cages with no bad smell. I was even more comforted to see that.

To ensure that she is doing fine, I called the clinic at about 2.30pm. Immediately, I was informed that she is awake but groggy. Great to hear that she is awake - use of anaesthetics on her is always my concern.

Barry went with me to pick her up after work. I let her stay a bit longer after surgery so that she can be monitored. Her eyes were glassy as she was drugged up for the surgery. But, could tell she was happy to see us.

She winced every time she moved to change her sleeping position last night but am glad she ate a little bit this morning. And, she dranks lots of water. Even let out a few growls when she heard neighbour came home last night.

I can't wait to see her get back her spunk and be bratty and ratty again. She is a little bit self-conscious about her shaven tummy now......