April 30, 2012

Yan Yan singing and talking

This girl loves to talk. Whenever I have a conversation with her jie-jie or papa, she would just throw in some words, any words, in an attempt to join in the conversation :-)

This was taken last Sunday.  It was a milestone moment for her - it was the first time the scaredy cat slid down the slide on her own.

Some snippets of her talking and singing in recent months.

@ 2 years, 8 months
We were lazing around on the bed, when she suddenly held my face with her hands and proposed to me, “You are my best friend. I marry you ah!”

@ 2 years, 9 months
I was cleaning up Yan Yan’s bag and threw away some rubbish, among others, a milk powder scoop, a KFC mashed potatoes plastic spoon and several really short pencil colours, into the dustbin in our room. Moments later, she saw those things in the bin, picked them up, and reprimanded me with her serious face:
Mummy, these are not for throwing.
It’s your fault.
Don’t throw anymore ah.

She loves watching her jie-jie kindy graduation video, but she always does not place the DVD back into its case. One day I found the case on the bedside table, again with the DVD missing. I knew she had just watched it the night before so I asked her where the DVD was.
Yan Yan: It’s in the computer la.
She watched it on the portable DVD player so I took out the DVD player from the cupboard and retrieved the DVD.
Yan Yan: See, I told you it’s there ma.

Singing in the car.

April 24, 2012

First foray into baking buns

A mixer that steams food…
A food processor that makes ice-cream…
A rice cooker that kneads dough…
A weighing scale that minces meat…
A juicer that cooks soup…
Any many more.

What am I raving about? For cooking aficionados, you would know that I’m talking about this magic kitchen appliance, the Thermomix. I attended a 2.5 hour cooking demonstration recently and within that short span of time, with two Thermomix machines, they prepared lemonade, moist chocolate cake, multi-grain mantou, chicken charsiew bun, cauliflower and broccoli soup, rendang chicken, steamed rice, steamed egg, steamed brinjal and mango sorbet. Indeed an amazingly versatile machine.

If you are wondering, I didn’t succumb to the temptation, simply because I already own most of the appliances that makes up the Thermomix, especially a bread machine that also cooks and roasts.  And since I don’t cook that much, it would be an investment with pretty low returns.

Anyway, that demonstration rejuvenated my interest with my bread machine so last weekend, I wiped the cobweb off my bread machine and set out to make some buns.  It was an easy process of placing all the ingredients in the machine and letting it knead for 20 minutes, before leaving the dough to rise to twice its size.  Then I manually kneaded for a while before dividing the dough into smaller portions and filled them up with curry chicken and sausages, and let it rise again.

Off into the oven they go, and 12 minutes later, the aroma of freshly baked buns wafted through my kitchen.  The buns turned out really well, and I have my week’s supply of breakfast.  It was a satisfying experience, and I’m game for more.

Back to the Thermomix – do I really need it? No, I don’t. Do I want it? Yes I do. If only it’s not that expensive.

April 19, 2012

El Cerdo

I have a new boss, and he’s German. He’s just 5-6 weeks into the job, and has been doing the rounds meeting with some of our key customers. We had a dinner outing last Friday with some customers at El Cerdo, located on the hip and happening Changkat Bukit Bintang. I must be the most “ulu” person in town and was quite surprised by the lively atmosphere at Changkat Bukit Bintang. Can’t recall when I last stepped foot on this street.

Anyway, back to the restaurant – El Cerdo means "The Pig" in Spanish, and as the name suggests, specialises in pork dishes.

The restaurant is adorned with lots and lots of piggy photos and paraphernalia. We reached quite early and the restaurant was pretty empty, but not for long. By 8pm, it was full. I was told that reservations need to be made at least a week in advance, especially when it’s a big group.

We ordered the Spanish ham platter and the El Cerdo Sausage Platter, a variety of home-made sausages served with mashed potato and sauerkraut, as starters.  I didn’t find the ham platter extraordinary but the ribs were really good.  Next came the German Crispy Knuckle, which was another winner. The aroma was totally appetizing, and it came with a serving of potato dumpling and sauerkraut. We also had the Oven Roasted Spanish Ribs, another winner.

Clockwise from top left: German Crispy Knuckle, Sausage Platter, Spanish Ham Platter and Oven Roasted Ribs

The highlight of the evening was its famous Whole Roasted Suckling Piglet, which was accompanied by a traditional ceremony before eating. The piglet was apparently slow roated for six hours, until the meat is so tender that diners can cut in into pieces by using only a plate. The ceremony started with knocking the plate on the wooden serving dish three times, before chopping the piglets into parts. After cutting, the person who cut would made a wish before throwing the plate into a big wooden bucket, smashing it into pieces. Apparently it will bring good luck to the diner – I think it’s just a gimmick conceived by the restaurant owner :-) Though interesting, I find that it’s such a wasteful practice, as two plates are wasted per order of the piglet – one for the staff to demonstrate, and one for the diner who cut up the piglet. I didn’t like the piglet much, as the smell of the pork was too strong. Even the vaporizer volcano can't take away the smell.

We ended our meal with two varieties of paella – Mountain Paella, which is paella with pork bacon, chicken and fresh mushroom, and Paella con Mariscos, with king tiger prawns, squids and scallops.

Clockwise from top left: Suckling pig, the bucket with smashed up plates, Paella con Mariscos and Mountain Paella

We were so stuffed at the end that we didn’t have any room for desserts.

April 08, 2012

My 30 something birthday

I celebrated my 30th something birthday on Wednesday. I took leave from work and had the luxury of sleeping in. I was woken by Yiu Yiu who greeted me with, “Happy Birthday mummy”. We went for brunch and by the time we got back, it was time to get Yiu Yiu ready for school.

Hubby and I then visited the managing director of VKA Wealth Planners, hubby’s personal friend, for a quick chat on our financial planning for retirement and girls’ tertiary education. We concluded that our current portfolio of investments is not sufficient to support our future aspirations. He will perform an in-depth assessment of our current financial status and investment portfolio, and projected amount required for the future, and propose an investment plan that will help us meet our goals. There goes my hope of quitting my job, as we will need the income to fund our investments.

We ended the day with a simple dinner at this porky place.  Hubby had grilled soft ribs, I had pork chop with country gravy, and the girls had bacon tomato spaghetti, coincidentally, the exact same items we ordered the last time :-). We also tried the pig-in-a-blanket, which was pork cocktail sausages wrapped in bacon and oven cooked. They were delicious.

The only thing I missed doing on my birthday was visiting the nail salon and spa. I wouldn’t mind trying this awesome range of nail colours after reading the julep maven review.

And when I went to office the next day, I received this – hubby had ordered it earlier, not knowing that I would be on leave.

April 03, 2012

Co-curricular activity – gymrama

Yiu Yiu started on her gymrama class sometime in mid-February, and is enjoying herself tremendously.  Her class is on every Saturday, 1-3pm, and she always look forward to it.

The class is conducted by a former national rhythmic gymnast, a multiple SEA Games gold medallist, but the newcomers are mostly coached by the assistant coach.  For the few lessons that Yiu Yiu attended so far, she and the other new students were taught the basic rhythmic gymnastic moves like doing splits, balance, turn, etc.

Here’s a glimpse of the class in progress last Saturday.

Warming up 

 How flexible is your body?

Balancing - on the toes and chin up 

That's the coach

She ain't heavy, she's my sister...no, this wasn't part of the routine :-)

This is how you lift your legs, so says the assistant coach