Friday, February 26, 2010

A long weekend

Today's been the perfect Friday for a few reasons. Here they are
1. I did no work. ( it's a public holiday )
2. I got 3 special eggs and am now ranked 2000+++ in the world. ( hatclings is addictive but in a good way)
3. I have been watching Yes Prime Minister the entire day.
4. In 's 5:45pm and I am still in my jim jams.
5. I squeezed in a bit of scale-practise on the violin. By this have eased the guilt of not practising the day before
6.Am reading "The School At Thrush Green" at a leisurely pace with bread and nutella as supplements.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reading this....

Dorothy Watson and Agnes Fogerty decide to retire. I love reading Miss Read ( Dora Saint) and the illustrations by J.S. Goodall are exactly how I want pictures in books to look like. I hate the modern drawings. It doesn't do justice to the story. At the moment, I am at page 66. It is however possible, I shall be tempted to start ( concurrently despite promising self a few months back not to do this ) on Binchey's "The return journey" which was a birthday gift. The birthday was in Jan ( thank you for the well wishes ) and as you can see, I've been saving this book for just the right time. I had a nagging headache which may have been a migraine ( pronounced mee-grain ) yesterday evening. I'm not sure whether it was brought on by the high salt content of the fried rice or the violin class at 9pm. I was so exhausted by the headache, I laid down with my laptop and was unproductive for the later part of the evening. It feels like months since the chinese new year break. ( In reality only 3 days ago)  I have made up my mind that "Love's Shadow" was easy to read. And I was right, that stupid man Bruce Ottley continued to annoy me right up to the end of the book. As for this wife Edith, I wish she had answered him back a little bit more caustic-like. Hyacinth's jealousy was a painful well described scene. When she felt angry and sad, I felt angry and sad too. As for Anne Yeo, she re-appears towards the end of the book, and despite being labeled a spinster and being depicted initially as not totally in favour of Hyacinth's infatuation and marriage to Cecil ( who's a fool I think ) does solves the problem.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Currently reading this...

I've finished the Enid Blyton/ Pamela Cox Mallory Towers books yesterday evening. ( Two thumbs up as indicated by my earlier post ) I'm in the third chapter of Love's Shadow thereabouts and already I am annoyed, no exasperated by Edith Ottley's character. I'm rooting for her to show some strength of character and tell that idiotic husband of hers off. ( I'm not sure whether I'll have the same sentiment as I progress further along) Aaaaargh!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A sore arm

I decided against hoovering. A layer of dust can only be satisfactorily removed by wiping with one of those super absorbent clothes ( the ones used to dry the car after a wash ) done on your knees and seeing the goo as you wash it off at the sink. There is now, a hint of ajax wash lingering in the air. That and the fact I'm all cleaned as well makes me happy.

Things I've learnt during the chinese new year break.
1. If you have an old broom, it defeats the purpose of cleaning by doing exactly the opposite.
2. Melt-in-your mouth Kuih Bangkit is hard to make.
3. One small bottle of colouring is enough to make THAT shade of blood red so desired in red velvet.
4. Buttermilk is made with milk and lime/cider, the chemical reaction does something to it. Curdle it I think.
5. Finding those special eggs on hatclings needs perseverance and a WHOLE lot of luck.
6. If you do nothing else the whole day, the maximum eggs you may collect is 500+ before the wrist hurst and you get sick of it.
7. If ( like me ) you get stuck in the kitchen for a good one and a half hours ( as a way of avoiding guests) you can be very productive and clean table tops, cupboards and fridge doors.
8. That blasted machine called the metronome is no longer my enemy. By keeping time, I have improved my intonation somewhat.
9. Watching youtube videos of the vibrato is informative. I can now do a vibrato. And it doesn't sound like a constipated cat any more.
10. The best weddings to attend are the Malay ones. The other races have this disgusting habit of making you wait up to an hour for your food. ( Malaysian time stinks )

picture from Holiday and seasons

Oh dear...

It's time to get down to the hoovering and ironing.......

Who is Pamela Cox??

This is the cover of my version of Malory Towers by E. Blyton. ( Circa 1986) Darrell Rivers, Sally Hope, Gwendoline, those names ring any bells yet? A week ago, I found a continuation of Malory Towers written by Pamela Cox. And this morning, I am reading my final book ( in my stash ) by Cox. I feel I now am in a position to say, these Cox-Blyton books are just as good as the original ones. Cox weaves in characters from the original series and brings them back to the school. This time, the series revolves around Darrell's little sister Felicity. The verdict is a resounding YES to whether these books are worth buying. 

Down but not out

Picture is of self with flour-ed hands attempting to arrange the cut-dough in a neat series on the tray. If we only knew then....the rusk-hard KB we were making.....*sigh*  I wish the recipes you find on the net would state the exact consistency of dough. Note to others: adding water to dough to get the consistency right does the exact opposite.  

Useless at baking  from CHRISTIANE ENGEL's Scrapbook Blog. 

Why you should embrace "red velvet"

Picture of a mac version of red velvet. Balanced on the MacBook. ( Done quickly to avoid crumbs)
Picture taken with macro mode. Note the flowers on the plate which are clear too
The red-ness had a tinge of pink before being popped into the oven

The recipe is from recipe girl. ( Click HERE for link ) I ooh-ed and aah-ed at the brilliant red colouring. The original plan was for me to actually do it. But I got distracted with egg-collecting on FB and only emerged from the hatchling world in time to pour the batter into the weeny cupcake holders. Granted it has lots of empty calories and surely the amount of artificial colouring recommended is enough to colour the lining of your stomach a permanent shade of red, but provided you don't havw an aversion of being left with a red tongue after tea, I do not see a good enough reason to stay away from these beauties. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Red Velvet cupcakes....

 The obsession with red velvet cupcakes is a strong one. This picture is taken ( with kind permission ) from Isn't it simply a gorgeous gorgeous sketch? I'll blog a longer post re our red velvet experience in a min. Our Kuih Bangkit making sessions ( we did two ) were disappointing. Incredibly frustrating as the first time we did it ( years ago ) it came up perfect. White, melt-in-the-mouth perfect. Naturally we were smug and pooh-poohed other feeble attempts made by others. Well, we were justly punished two days back when our own sorry attempts yielded rusk-hard kuih bangkit. Bleah!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Henrietta's War

This is my third book in the Bloomsbury Group series. The first being Miss Hargreaves and the second Mrs Tim of the Regiment. Henrietta's war is a series of letters written by Henrietta who is a doctor's wife. ( It is not one of those doctor books like AJ Cronin or James Heriott) She writes about her village and the invasion ( or what they see as an invasion ) of Londoners who turn up their noses at the villagers and how they cope with the war. There is a underlying tone of sadness that her children are away from her but oh boy, it is a good book. It chronicles the daily doings in the village with a generous helping of light hearted humour in the shape of Lady B. ( And Hitler gets a mention every once in a while too) Borders seems to be the only decent bookstore in town which has most of the books in this series. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A spot of baking

It has been many years since we last did a batch of kuih bangkit. As a direct result of this, we ( mother and self ) could not remember the exact consistency of the dough. We ended up with a rather dry ( hard to knead) dough. The weight of which could well bean a human being should you choose to hurl it across the room at a certain someone you hate. ( Just a thought!) I've uploaded some pictures taken at the begining of the venture. Mid way through the hands got sticky with dough and my arms starting aching that I decided to leave the pictures out completely and concentrate on kneading instead. Tip to those folks out there, too dry a dough results in a rusk-like end-product. Most disappointing. Tomorrow's exciting venture is "Red Velvet" cupcakes/ cakes. Wish us both luck.

It was the fault of my leaky nose

I suffer from allergic rhinitis and I live in a condominium which lies beside one of the longest roads in Kuala Lumpur. As a direct result of this, you can imagine the amount of dust which settles around me and when the fan goes a-buzzing, these minute nasty particles play havoc on the nose. Most days the nose behaves through the night and the non-stop obligatory 8-9 sneezes come on waking up in the morning. Of late, the nose has started this a good few hours earlier disrupting my REM sleep and making my head feel like cotton wool during the first 10 minutes of waking time. This is exactly what happened on Friday night....making me miss the alarum clock buzz ( I must have hit the off button and cheerfully continued dreaming ). I woke up with natural sunlight streaming into the bedroom. Not a good sign. Plans for leaving at 6:00am for home went right out the window. After a bit of breakfast and some last minute packing and re-packing and re-arranging so I could make just the ONE trip to the car....I made it onto the main road at *ahem* half eight. I was greeted with a whole line of cars at Batu Caves therein started the long crawl back home. I arrived at twelve noon hungry and with a very slight numb feeling in my right foot. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Why the psychedelic lighting

This is the entrance to Le Meridien which to me, is like Cinderella's step sister. Cinderella here being The Hilton. The two hotels are linked and appears symmetrical from some weird angle. In reality, Hilton looks bigger and has more glass areas and appears slightly more inviting.  The irony is, Le Meridien has better food. When you first enter Le Meridien these psychedelic lights hit you right between the eyes. They are a bad choice, making the place look like a high class brothel. It has to go. If you make it through this, you find yourself at the hotel lobby. A slight claustrophobia creeps onto you at this point. Especially when you subconciously compare the space to that of it's siamese twin. So no..despite having slightly better food, you will be bidden by some mysterious call to the Hilton rather than Le Meridien. I cannot finish this post without voicing the disclaimer: I have received no payment from Hilton for this post. I suggest ( midly) that you see for yourself and I dare you disagree:)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Technology has reached our doorstep ( the establishment where I work rather ) provided the price is right. ( It never is...of course. We can but hope).The picture above is that of the machine which will enable imaging in real life of all those ghastly lymph nodes you occasionally ache to biopsy. Having attended the workshop, with a revision of anatomy we then got a chance to get a feel of this and see for ourselves how it will revolutionize ( in a small way ) our ability of diagnose and stage lung cancers more accurately. How cool is that? The machine was on loan and is probably back to where it belongs now. BOohoo

NB: EBUS stands for endobronchial ultrasound.

Red velvet falls for Durian Cake

Such anticipation and then when I opened the box...BLEAH! The pristine virginal cream cheese white decided to get cosy with a certain chocolate durian cake. BAH!

A selection of food from Alexis

Fried Mee Hoon. ( the taste is forgettable.)
Stuffed squid. It has a posh name. It took a whole 3 minutes to adjust to the rubbery texture. In fact I've just decided I don't like this very much. Probably won't order it again. Ever!

Mushrooms with balsamic vinegar. I guess this was ok.Can't think of anything else to write about it.Except maybe that I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Disappointing. I couldn't tell you what I expected so it wasn't that it didn't live up to expectations. More that it failed to leave a nice warm feeling as I chomped my way through this. It left no feeling at all. 
Now THIS you must try. None of the soggy half crunch crap you're served in most restaurants. This is crunchy, piping hot and the stuffing is yummy.The sauce they served it with could be better. I have a personal preference for the Maggi Chilli Garlic sauce. YUM!

Burger...Alexis style. It has blue cheese in it so what's there not to like. I would have it again. In fact I nearly did last night, but I chose the steak sandwich instead. Don't ask me why. 

This is the steak sandwich. Comes with nice hefty sized wedges in a bowl. If you plan to have this, don't ask for the steak to be well done. My jaws ached when I got home and I wondered why..until now.
Very nice. I remember now, when I was eating it, I thought it was nicer than Madame Kwan's version. All pictures are taken at Alexis at Bangsar Shopping Centre. Which has since been  refurbished. Parking was next to impossible yesterday evening. I took 25 minutes ( possibly less in actual fact but oh boy it felt THAT long). to get a spot. The refurbishment includes an annexed off carpark which is where I parked. 


Chinese New Year theme cupcakes from Gourmet. A rather suggestive pair of oranges don't you think?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The last weekend before Chinese New Year

It's nearly 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. I'm rather pleased with myself, having woken up early, gone for Mass and completed some errands with some gorgeous buys thrown in for good measure. Here's a list of things I bought

1. La Mer Eye balm
3. A hair clip from Axeezz in the shape of a treble cleft.
4. Inner wear ( from the vouchers gained from purchasing item number one)
5. Four books from Borders
  • The Brontes Went To Woolworths
  • Henrietta's War
  • Fun and Games at Malory Towers
  • Goodbye Malory Towers
6. Three books from MPH Midvalley
  • Secrets at Malory Towers
  • New Term at Malory Towers
  • Winter term at Malory Towers
Kek Lapis the ones tightly wrapped in plastic and a box of pineapple tarts for Thursday's bible class at St John's. ( yes my turn to get the grub...and I hope there aren't too many diabetics in the group) Now wouldn't you agree this has been a very productive Sunday for me so far? I am currently taking a well earned rest at home with the air conditioned switched on. 

* picture taken this morning at the Gardens while waiting for Borders to open their doors to the public.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Busy day

Gmail inbox reminds me unnecessarily of my job to get the yearly report for the department done. Spent the entire weekend worrying about it. I have started and the going is slow only because I get detracted from it by my REAL job of seeing patients and actually doing medically based work. You know, the stuff I was trained to do. I realise, I do not mind being busy with things I can solve but when faced with paperwork and loads of typing, I am ill-equipt

Thursday, February 04, 2010

My new book...

Am now obsessed with collecting all books published by the Bloomsbury group. The series features  lost classics from the early 20th century. There are six of them, and I have 2 so far. Here are the titles:

  1. The Brontes went to Woolworths
  2. Henrietta's war
  3. Miss Hargreaves
  4. Loves Shadow
  5. A kid for two farthings
  6. Mrs Tim of the Regiment

Please explain

Why does the government continue to allow roundabouts to exist? By the time I reach work, my car would have cheated death at least 4 times. In the early 1970s, the roundabout would not have been a problem. There have been more than a few times, where I had to bravely nudge the car forward inch by inch before ANYONE lets me through. The ones with the big cars and small cars driven by members of the fairer sex are sadly the worst type. They guard the small space between the car in front and them possessively.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Public Holidays

Today is a public holiday. It's lovely when you have a three day weekend. That way, the third day should be spent recuperating from the exhausting preceding days. A very sensible idea. And it's (snigger) even better when the day off doesn't extend to everyone else in the country. This ensues clear roads, less folks in shopping complexes and the wonderful feeling that you and YOU alone are playing hooky whilst everyone else is hard at work. Human nature, we like to feel special. That we have been awarded this day off because you deserve it. ....We have 31 public holidays in Malaysia. Should you now have a visual of me counting the days with my fingers, allow me to confess. I merely googled the fact. Which also means, it might not be the true.

Miss Hargreaves...a second post

I cannot remember the last time I raced through a book at such a steady pace with such eagerness as I turn each page. I finished reading Miss Hargreaves in 2 days. A fantastic story line ...imagine making up a fictional character and meeting it face to face one day. What powers are these? You imagine and it becomes true. You start off being terrifically interested in the actual meeting. Then you get frustrated with this 83 year old spinster and her little fussy ways. As the story progresses, you get exasperated and even agree with the maker; Norman Huntley ( who's ability to expand on a lie is how this story came about) that Miss Hargreaves should die. Let Frank Baker introduce you to this delightful character in stages and feel yourself immersed in some pretty strong emotions. This book was first published in 1940. My paperback version is by the Bloomsbury Group  2009. This book has been adapted for both stage and radio. Somebody should make this into a mini series.  " Creative thought creates"

Fun Head Wear

Let me introduce you to fun head wear which basically means you can put anything on your head provided it's strapped firmly like so. On the spur of the moment I bought what looks like a one half of a legging the diameter of which should be able to fit Oprah Winfrey's thigh...and there you have it. My new head wear which I will parade shortly this evening, when ( if I can collect enough energy ) I will head out to purchase some more DVDs.  I'm not going to tell you much about the shopping spree this morning except to say it was lovely and I got a dress, my head gear, a book, a gift , a card and I enjoyed every bit of it.