Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Gathering

I basked in the warm glow of friends gathered around an amply-provided
table. Now 30-somethings, the talk has turned to baby things, house
hunting and the best ever containers to hold detergent. In a few
years, the conversation is bound to include tuition for the kids,
choosing schools and so on... More and more, I find myself appeciating
friendships and people to go through the seasons of life with.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Veggie Sandwiches

I toasted slices of baguette, spread some mayo on some slices and butter on the rest.

Then I added some salad leaves that I'd tossed up with dressing. Artistically arranging the salad is my favourite part.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Detox Lunch

After all the feasting - leftover porridge & stir-fried cabbage.

Christmas 2010

This Christmas was more laid-back than most, with my gifts mostly settled before the last weekend before Christmas. I must be growing up.

I had to force myself to break out some nice gifts I'd been keeping, hoarder that I am. Embracing the daily cute, eh... but more on that another time. So the really nice wall stickers from Paris with princesses and coaches (coaches a-la Cinderella, not the bag) went to a deserving lady with a sweet first baby, more of my mum's friend but I know her too. I like it when presents match the person, don't you?

I put a lot more thought into this year's presents and I am satisfied. It's not about present-giving, this season of Christmas, but I do think one thing we could take away is the joy of giving rather than (or as much as) receiving.

As of this moment though, the surprise gift for my mother is not at my house yet due to shipping delays, so it remains a surprise (3 days after Christmas! SURPRISE!) ...and because of that, my dad's gift is on hold too... online shopping has its fun moments but next time round I won't be holding my breath that the packages will arrive on time.

I enjoyed the usual gatherings with family and friends, unwrapping presents next to a Christmas tree (never gets old, does it), and I feel really blessed with all that I need - and then some.

One last thing. I think we have so much! I know I do. I hate to waste things though.

Exhibit A:
A box of misprinted cards that were bound for the bin (courtesy of Chelle) got chopped up into very decent cards and gift-tags. And I still have enough for several more Christmases!

Exhibit B:
I thought the ends of ribbons (when I snipped them off) were too cute to just chuck. Found a piece of red card. Stuck the ribbon ends on. Added an A (die-cut at Chelle's erm 2 years ago I think?). Voila, graphic-looking a hand-made card! I like it!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A voice

The human voice is amazing.

It hums, sings, sighs, hisses, booms, moves one to tears.

You could hum a little tune to yourself or join a chorus and raise funds for charity.
It's inspiring when you think of the things people can do to use their talents for good.

Earlier this month, I was invited to a charity concert.

The beneficiary: Casa de Producao Audiovisual (website here), a group working in Timor Leste. In a country where more than half the population is illiterate and where violence and conflict is rife, CPA is working to unite the East Timorese through storytelling and introducing education programmes.

The performers: students, church choirs, choirs of people who just simply like to sing for singing's sake. They were young, and they were old. I couldn't help but think of how the sweet young voices contrasted beautifully with the older, more mature voices. Life has a way of moderating your tone, I suppose.

So sing, sing a song...and see if you can do some good in this world while you're at it!

Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Online shopping is addictive

The other day, I went for a bit of a walk with my mum and some shopping and returned with nothing except aching feet. It was good to get out though.

Then I went a-hunting online, appalled by the prices in the shops. Finally signed up at Amazon and vpost and like they say, I let my fingers do the walking. (I now have my own address in Portland, Oregon). It feels a little ostentatious to have items being packed and shipped just for me. I am having fun checking on where my packages are (Indianapolis). Now if I could think of something meaningful to send to my aunt in Canada, I would. Because you know, I still have 4 days to make it it time for Christmas...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day Off

I am a dipper

Yew Char Kueh and kopi-tiam-style kopi.
Yum yum.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yet another satisfying afternoon off

I would have had tea at TWG @ Ion Orchard today, except that it was
crazy crowded! On a Monday afternoon! My feet were killing me but at
least I got some shopping done. Love the festive atmosphere at year end!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I love home-cooked food: Hot Soup

Sunday morning.
I feel the love. Or rather, I smell it.
The smell of sweet comfort food wafting from the kitchen.

Presenting my mother's 10-minute soup.

Old Cucumbers. Wash, cut, remove cores.

Dried Mushrooms & Scallops. Rinse and soak. Slice mushrooms.

Pork Bones. Rinse. Defrost if necessary.

Boil. Add salt & pepper. Add pork bones. Add mushrooms & scallops. Add old cucumbers. Bring to boil. Plonk pot into handy thermal pot (in which the soup keeps cooking all day without the need for a continual fire.)

With this soup cooked, all that remains to be done is to come home after a busy day, cook steaming hot rice, re-heat soup and serve. Voila, home-cooked goodness. Slurp.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Friday Afternoon in the Month of December

At this time of the year, things are delightfully peaceful.

I have no meetings! Email has slowed down to a trickle! I can send off an email and not have it boomerang back with 3 or 4 responses! I have time to get my belongings in order!

And also, I have time for the nice picnic-style lunch I always wanted to do, as seen here.

I love snail mail

My brother visited the Vatican and sent a postcard back. He arrived home many days ahead of his postcard but still, it was a nice momento.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Muffins on a Vintage Plate

My mum's marvellous muffins for tea time!

The old school carnival

It felt good to be back.

I have a lot of good memories in this place, seeing as my batch of schoolmates & I probably spent more years in this place than any others because of school-building projects.

My mother and aunts raised money for this school when they were in school.
I did my fair share of spell-a-thons and walk-a-thons too. At least I got to enjoy the new place.

Some things never change, for here we were attending a carnival to celebrate the school's 80th anniversary and well, the money goes into some upgrading projects, I'm sure?

It was an impressive carnival. Huge! Three bouncy castles!

We soaked in the atmosphere.

It felt good to walk across the field once more.

We went back to the hall where we'd had performances, overnight camps and O'level exams.

Back to the courtyard where we'd had art lessons like drawing still-lifes of these statues. I think my fondness for museums and literature was nurtured in my time here.

I remember a piece of calligraphy pinned up on a noticeboard near the statues. It read: I think that I shall never see a thing as lovely as a tree.
In some funny way, that has stayed with me all these years.

Retraced steps where we'd scampered up and down as little girls and later on as more sophisticated teenagers. And peered at the staff notice board where we were astonished to see that some teachers were still there (bless 'em) and astounded to see that the most unlikely of people had become teachers themselves and returned to the school. Life is funny.

Am glad that all that fund-raising helped to build such a beautiful place :)

Comfort Soup

Soup! Slurp. Shown here is my mum's radish soup with carrots, diced mushrooms, dried scallops and pork bones.


Sometimes, all I need for dinner is a hot bowl of soup and plain white rice.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ye olde mixer

I don't know how old it is.
But it is certainly from a different era, waaay back in the day...
I like the brown. The old-school stuff has a certain colour palette.

Baking with my mum

As you can see, we made cookies today.
They were remarkably simple to make and oh! they taste. so. good.

They went right into these trusty containers.

Figuring we'd need a savoury snack for tea, we made sausage rolls too. Yummy.

And all the baking was done by 12 noon, after we had a morning walk and cooked mee siam :)

Retro Biscuits

Totally ka-poed this photo from my brother.

I think I may have bought the biscuits, though.

Pretty, huh?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On google and travel

My brother is off on his first trip to Europe this week and has been thoroughly enjoying the fun of reading guidebooks and doing travel research and making the hotel/transport arrangements.

Ahh, it brings back memories of Paris.

Like this restaurant in the Marais area (I think). Asian-inspired.

Le Petite Marche
9 Rue de BĂ©arn 75003 Paris, France

Enjoyed the duck (below).

Maybe it's best not to over-research travel plans and to just go with the flow instead.
But if you wanted to read some reviews, you could (Summary: the food's nice and good value for money but the service is allegedly better for locals). And if you wanted to see what it looks like, you could, courtesy of google map's street view (hey! that noticeboard below the word restaurant is still there!). And oh yes, I remember the outdoor heaters that are the secret to how one can sit outside on a cold day and look warm :)


They don't make doors like they used to.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bali 2010: Seminyak

One of my favourite things to do in Bali: take a long jaunt along the streets of Seminyak. Target destination: unknown. But how fun to amble past single-storied houses, admiring the displays and ducking in when the fancy takes you. Back out onto the street, traffic whizzes by you and moves in fluid motion to accommodate tourist jaywalkers and locals on bikes that appear suddenly from small lanes. Stop for a drink and a nibble if you want to. And hey if you get tired, it's really easy to hop into a bluebird taxi to get to your next destination.

Love the embroidered look of this chair in Chanti, a fusion restaurant along Seminyak.

A random burst of pink. Enjoy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

As sweet as a meringue

Memories of a happy tea time.

Love... Pretty plates, chocolate cake, pastel-pretty meringues, cute
tiny cupcakes...

Breathtaking sky

Oh, the joy of sight.

(Took this photo one evening from my window. God is awesome.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Good times

Calamari, pasta, lava cake, and good times with my peer group at
church, yay (yay about the people, that is.) We used to hang out so
much more but these days we are so much busier with work, different
areas of service in church and so on. I guess in some way it makes our
times together more valuable.

Monday, October 25, 2010

And we're back

Am back home... and missing the view.
But it's home, sweet home anyway!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Auntie Moment

Location: soft serve ice creamshop. What's soft serve, you might ask?
A shop selling smooth Japanese ice cream...

So we stood at the shop.

Me (mumuring): it's quite expensive, right... Macdonald's is only 60
cents...(auntie moment!!)

15 year-old cousin: it's different! And it's 70 cents, b-t-w...

Anyway, it still looked exactly like the same ice cream you get at
macs, minus the extra toppings which don't matter to me because I only
need chocolate... Still, I liked the design of the shop :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Back to the 80s

My heart starts aching
My hands keep shaking
and you know, you know, you know...

It was a nice, though rather warm, night and it brought back memories of being 12, listening to Debbie Gibson warble on my classmate's walkman during recess time (talk about old school).

A sizable crowd had gathered at Fort Canning.

There was chilling to be be done.

We also got to our feet and sang along. Words that I hadn't suspected I'd remembered came out on cue...

Oh and Rick Astley was in fine form. The crowd clearly approved.

And just to leave you with a perky number for the week... (I was in a cab 2 days ago and it came on the radio. Good memories :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday lunch menu

The last time I was in Bali at one of my favourite restaurants, I had a delicious grilled chicken with avocado salad, or something like that.

I wolfed it down before I remembered to take photos but I do remember thinking I could replicate it at home.

Something was missing...

I bought ingredients for a balsamic-vinegar type salad a week ago. Namely, balsamic vinegar, rocket, mustard seeds, raisins, cherry tomatoes. And the rest, like olive oil, I already had at home.

We had the salad 2 or 3 times this week, accompanying different dishes. And for the balance of the salad, I was dying to cook something for myself this beautiful Sunday after church. So I hotfooted it back home, seasoned the chicken breast with salt, pepper (I like adding both finely ground and coarsely ground pepper seeds) and lemon juice.

While the chicken sizzled away, I tossed the salad and plated it, mind you (a-la-the food network and TLC...). I turned the chicken a couple of times and placed it carefully on top of my artistically-arranged wild-and-organic-rocket salad. Voila. Jamie Oliver would be proud.