06 December 2006

Good communication, is it a new language?

How strange it is that in this day and age, where everything is so technologically advanced: PSPs, PS3, wifi, wireless, MSN, Skype, ipods (and of course the mobile!) and who knows what else, to keep us in the loop; to keep us in contact with our peers, but have we lost the ability to communicate in the most basic way - talking face to face?

Is it a new language that should be taught in schools? Do people now actually communicate as effectively as they want to with all these new gadgets, designed to aid communication?
In the past, if u wanted to let someone know something, u called them to tell them. Or you had to go see them. It's a planned move. It takes conscious effort. It takes effort, period.

Now, with MSN and Skype, you can type off endlessly, say (type) what you don't mean - communicate badly that is.

Blame it on technoligy that we get to hide and conceal our feelings behind them all.

I like talking on the phone to know how one's doing. You get to heard the breathing, the tone of the voice, the pauses, the words - everything really. But of course, does not beat talking face to face. Hence the need to see some of our friends to catch up and find out how one's really doing from time to time. I realised it is a luxury to be able to do it if especially our friends are all spread out throughout different parts of this world. Again, I know I've been fortunate enough to be able to do so from time to time.

For now, technology is helpful and is as good as it gets.

21 November 2006

My Paris Trip...

Special thanks to O for hosting me. Some of the photos....

See the magical creations of Sadaharu and of course, Pierre Herme.

15 November 2006

To Be less Me...

It's not all bad being Me. But just sometimes, the me is far too sensitive and far too emotional. That's the me I actually think is isn't all so great. Jumping to conclusions too quickly is another bad me...and recently, I learnt the hard way. The result did not turn out as bad as I thought it was, but nevertheless, with some good advice from Leons I think I salvaged it fairly quickly! Phew!

Anyway, today's been an okay day. I went to GOSH and RLHH and by some sheer coincidence, Tango reminded me about the Hunterian Museum and since I was around the Holborn area, it seemed like a perfect day to go over and have a look. I was always fasinated by anatomy and what surgeons did and all things to do with natural philosophy! So it was the Hunterian Museum then!

It turned out to be one of the best museums I've been in a long time (Thank you Tango!) - the exhibits were really fasinating and having one of the world's largest collections of anatomy specimens in the world just by my doorstep in London reminded me how fortunate I am, once again!
Then managed an impromptu lunch with Tango and it's nice to meet up having not seen him for so long despite being back in London. Sometimes just speaking to someone face-to-face really helps. He seemed happy but a little stressed with the upcoming exams(finals!?!) but I am sure he'll manage fine. Tango's a friend that you can have that does not judge (most of the time I hope), fairly clueless, but says some pretty sensible things despite not being v sensible himself. He keeps me fairly grounded. But yet at the same time, tells me things I thought only happened in movies, but obviously they actually REALLY do happen...anyway....shared with him a little secret (dont think he judged me on that one, but he was getting close to it) but it's good cos sometimes you need to get it out of your system.
Reminder: he's a friend to keep, though you have to remember he lives in quite a different world! HAHA....

11 November 2006


How odd...i'm incredibly looking forward to the HK trip at the end of the year! All my good friends...and yes...someone I've been planning to meet but just keep missing each other! Also have not been to HK for so long...wonder what's it like? Will I like it there?
Some friends have a mentality that its just flashes of light ; extremely shallow and hollow...hmmm...we shall see.

08 November 2006


One of the cities I have been many a times yet most of the time I see very little of. Trip this time is meant for a recharge, to think through some of those confused thoughts in my mind, to visit Sadaharu Aoki, Pierre Herme, La Maison du Chocolat, Fouchon and all the wonderful frenchy places really! Oh and also a trip to INSEAD and HEC as an MBA becomes increasingly favourable in times of uncertainty.

So nice of O to host me - having met her sis, bro and all. Even a visit to the family for dinner tomorrow! I'm blessed by wonderful friends.

Chill is what I plan to do, though I must say I am missing the said person somewhat. How strange that seems...even to myself!

... four days later

INSEAD is as I had expected it to be. People are interesting, extremely warm, funny and Fontainebleu is enchanting. I can imagine having a good time there. Oh and its the riding town of France so there you go! Where I can properly practise riding...hmmm...v tempting indeed.

HEC is shall we say what Milton Keynes is to UK. INSEAD's like Hampsted Heath and HEC Milton Keynes? I meant not in a bad way but it did feel v isolated and cold although the course structure is more appealing. INSEAD does sound too rushed, too fast.

Patisseries - I'm completely stuffed. Would not even dare to step onto the scales when I get back. The creations are truly enchanting and you can see why PH is so popular. Its proper quality and we're talking real real quality stuff like good ingredients and all. Compared to Sada, Sadaharu is a little more adventurous and very avant garde but not better definitely. Its like some days you want something quirky and different, but not neccessarily cheaper you buy Paul & Joe. For proper clothes of good make and always guaranteed to fit (me that is) you go Maxmara. Thats my wat of comparing ler.
And macarons - ate 4 on said person's account. 2 from PH and 2 from Ladureé. Must say that in terms of the balance between flavour and lightness, Ladureé rules. Though PH must be given some brownies points for the interesting flavours he had on sale. I had the Chocolate and Yuzu and a passionfruit and chocolat au lait one (tasted a little like cough mixture)

Enough of food, but yup. Have also been giving the whole MBA, London, baking thing a thought. Asking myself what I've yet to do and would be nice to do. Maybe HK? That will be someting new and also properly throwing myself into something. BIG AND BAD...sometimes I wished I had the courage to just go do it. Be less apprehensive, be a little bolder. Yes - giving up the job was a big thing. But I've not properly tried. Or have I? Isn't it all a gamble?

Still missing said person...

07 November 2006

Bothered and bewildered...

When you try to let down that social veil, you become truly vulnerable. As much as we would all like to protect ourselves, there comes a time when you just have to be what you are.
If you're just very weepy you cry. If you like someone you tell them (or is it so simple?). But sometimes you cannot seem to take that step forward.

Pushing boundaries are hard - extremely hard. Especially if it means it's not rational, it does not make any sense, there are complications to all of it. (are you feeling lonely or are you truly missing someone? 8+ time differences, here/there/nowhere)
As you grow older, you're meant to make responsible judgements, actions, say things you know are right (most of the time what you don't mean) and all that things that are associated with growing up.

Why are there such choices to make?

I was told to live for the moment. I find that incredibly difficult. Live for the moment is a very new and scary concept to me. It represents no security, uncertainty, fear and carelessness. Many things that do not define me. Am I losing my identity as a person as I take this time out to think through my options? What opportunities has this brought to me so far?
New friends, new relationships, new lifestyle?

I hope my trip to Paris tomorrow will help to clear this truly messed up mind of mine I have right now. Some perception, new discoveries ... yet, at the same time, I'm silently hoping for THAT miracle to happen. To be swept off the feet, to be surprised!

What are the chances? We live in such a predictable world today. Everyone is guarded, calculated and selfish.

06 November 2006

Sad movies, always make you cry...

Probably some of you might already know this, but I am a hopeless romantic and a complete sucker for sad movies. Of course my all-time favourite (get ready for the "chehs") is this old Chinese movie called 玻 璃之城. Yes - that's the one with London as a backdrop. That's the one with Leon in the movie. Yes yes...that's the one!

There's only 2 people in this world that guessed correctly when asked what they thought my fav. movie was(what are the chances?). One acted in the movie (eew!) and one was given a big clue cos I wanted the said person to guess correctly you see ...

Oh well - sometimes I think that the movie's so unrealistic and so so old-fashioned. But I guess it's just one those movies that reminded me of the times when things were so simple (in my life), when everything in my life was very clear and defined and so totally uncomplicated.
The most worrying thing was the A levels. That was it really.

Those were happy times. In fact, I relived some of those happy memories this weekend. I bumped into an old college friend in one of the bars. (the bar was hideous) It's unbelievable that after 10 years (omg! It is 10 years) that the life you left behind, creeps back and everything just seemed so familiar once again. Student Lounge, class bench, econs lecture..haha....
I did not particularly knew A well when we were in JC. Just that when you hear a familiar voice, a familiar mannerism, things are just so much more comfortable. Again, it's all to do with the fact that we are creatures that prefer things we know better.

Having said that, someone unfamiliar can also be familiar. And can be close at heart. Only if we allow ourselves to open up, to let down those boundaries. Maybe you'll discover that the world outside of your own might be very intimidating, or you might get lucky and find out that there is actually someone out there that cares!

p/s: NONO! I dont like A...for the benefit of all my guessing friends! It's the said person...or is it not?

01 November 2006

The Real thing starts today...

I've finally delivered my first order. I've baked, delivered (half of it) and collected payment for my very very first order! It's now real and tangible and kind of odd. It's probably the most difficult 87.40 pounds cheque to earn in my life.

A sense of achievement yet extremely physically exhausting. Yes. I was baking and packing those cantuccinis and langues de chat till 3am last night. And the first thing I did since I opened my eyes this morning was to continue baking the matcha sponge (which in a moment of anxiousness, I messed it up and had to re-do another one), went out to get more supplies for the ginger and cinnamon bread and came back baked that, then discovered I could not manage carrying all that at one go so it'd be another delivery tomorrow.
Then it's cutting those labels and logo by hand, then putting double-sided tape on them (yes...double sided tape..and even that was a pain to obtain in good old London) and then putting on 3 separate little things on each pack!

Wow...that was alot of work.

The cakes seemed to be well-received by the customers of postcard teas although we're already having my very first..issue!
The coconut milks langue du chats are losing their crunch very very quickly! It seemed that the seal has not been air-tight and unfortunately I have had to take them all back. I felt really bad that Tim had to be the one to discover this hiddcup and no myselves, which really I should have tested the product a little more rigourously before offering them for sale!

Oh well...that's another lesson learnt! Let's see how we can further improve the product!

As a result, I did not take any photos (too embarassed) of my products at Postcard teas.

26 October 2006

Test Recipes and reports

LING PATISSERIE kicks off with ONE order from Postcard Teas owner Tim D'Offay. Tim has been very helpful and encouraging with the concept of LING PATISSERIE and it's during these difficult start-up times that you need to meet people like Tim. So friends and family, do go and "幫 稱" and buy my cakes and cookies!

Lots of things to do when you're setting up a business (or trying to do so) and I'm learning along the way.
  • Working in isolation is a new concept to me. Sometimes I do not speak to anyone for days (that's difficult - given MSN and email. IF you consider that as speaking) and that's new too.
  • Recipe testing and creations is not masak-masak. You bake you eat, you beg friends to take them off you. Sometimes you get annoyed when things do not turn out the way they should be.
  • You decide on 4-5 types of products, you have to start thinking of marketing them, creating labels, packaging, transport, the works.

  • You learn to do most things yourselves (why pay?) - Adobe Illustrator (bleed, trim marks dpi, ppi...wow!

I've posted some pictures of the recipes I've tested and some of the stuff I'm going to be selling.

Matcha Langues De Chat - these have been very popular. See the packaged result!

Matcha and Adzuki Bean mousse cake

Banana Bread - at the request of Tango! (I like banana bread too but just needed a feeble excuse to bake it)

17 October 2006

Acceptance and fantasies

I guess it's because my life had always been considered as plain-sailing, all-achieving, blessed and some say "glamourous" ( I beg to differ). I'm not going to deny that some of this is indeed somewhat true. But at the same time, there had been so many a times I went along with the flow, not knowing what I wanted, and somehow, with lots of blessing, did OKAY and relatively well in the very end.

Everything I hoped for and wanted since I was a kid, I got. Be it the grades, the school I wanted to go to, the Uni I attended, living in London, the handbags (well - most of them but I guess the more the merrier), the shoes (see before), the travel (S: when is the Paris foodies trip?) and everything most people can only dream to have.


Is it because I expect too much of myself, I try to conform to social norms, there are expectations(real and imagined) I believe I have to live up to?

Or has it come to a time of self-realisation that maybe, just sometimes, when things do not go the way that seems right or are not plain-sailing for me, when uncertainty creates fear, that this is all normal and part of life? AND GROWING UP?

I feel pressurised to make the "right" decision: WHAT DO I WANT? What is the life I really want to lead? To be happy? To be right?

Definitions of happiness and rightness change as we proceed on in life. Sometimes we are motivated by money, sometimes we're motivated by love. Or none at all! (that's status quo for me as I write/blog I meant).
That's the one that often coined as the mind and the body?
Sadly, reality rules it bites and it hurts.
Living in a time warp is safe and comforting; facing reality and the brutal society is harsh and painful. Do you keep a constant balance of both or do you slip in and out of these two states all at one go?

I think that's the question that needs to be answered.
Still lost and confused....
Ohm it: 可 欲 , 不 可 求

Do you practise yoga? If you're a yoga virgin like Tango you'll find the chanting of "OHMmmmmm" extremely relaxing (not!) and somewhat, shall we say - giggly..haha...In all honesty, throughout my numerous years of on-off yoga practise (I'm coming close to a decade!) the ohmming part of yoga sessions, deeply touched my heart in times of lost and bewilderedness and as some of you might know, I'm going through this phase in my life right now.

Ohm suddenly becomes relaxing, calming and all things nice.It is claimed it calms the mind, it increases mindspace, it serenes your soul! (we all know there are a lot of chemical substances out there that do it much better, but hey! we're going au naturale here!)

But how about ohming " 可 欲 , 不 可 求" ?I learnt this through my long-lost childhood friend G. We recently found each other (on cyberspace) in one of the horrendously long mass email lists and have since kept in contact. G shared some of her dad's words of wisdom with me. One that touched my heart was: We should treat relationships as " 可 欲 , 不 可 求" .可 欲 , 不 可 求 (for the benefit of you non-Chinese educated people out there) sums up THE life philosophy we should all adopt. It literally means : can be lust over but cannot be hoped for.

If we eradicated all the mental "criteria lists" we created and stopped hoping and waiting in anticipation for boxes to be ticked, I believe we will lead much happier lives. Afterall, it does seem like fate and timing play a big part in most relationships.The right place at the right time. It's all about timing.Hence, instead of hoping to serene your soul through chanting ohm, how about chanting the new mantra " 可 欲 , 不 可 求" at yoga class tomorrow?

06 October 2006

Heralding the end of Summer...

Summer has officially ended in London and Summer of 2006 was a very special one to me. Lots of changes in my life; old responsibilities relinquished, new ones taken on (which I had no idea were mine to take on), lots of new friends made, BBQs, festivals, K nights, leaving dos, new business ventures (imagined and in the making), trying to sell my flat, visitors (X, Keng, S, A and numerous others...), travelling (successful and failed attempts), email chains, Lucy Gao, new dreamland, disappointments, weddings! and a host of other things which will remain vividly in my memory for a long time to come.

Below are snippets of photos that have contributed to formulating these memories. Although some of these photos speak for themselves, photos are only a part of the memories. The long-lasting friendships made will be the true takeaways of this summer...


12 September 2006

Seeing is believing...

Another successful attempt with the charsiew recipe. This time I've decided to let you see for yourselves as I've had numerous email/MSN requests about "proving" the competency of my charsiew. (Okay - I admit. It's ONE query on how to get the "char" in addition to numerous tasting queries from my good old friends here in London).

This last photo is symbolic in the sense that it shows how the char siew was enjoyed. We had "lou meen" (MY style) with the char siew...

BUT more importantly this picture also serves to remind me that once again, this is the life of The Blessed One and on this occasion, I had another Blessed being sharing this joy with me. Her name is Leons...lalalala....

BTW, somebody gave up the privilege of having this char siew. I shall not tell you who that is. (This, you might think is entirely pointless to blog about or even mention, but as the title of the blog states, it serves to remind me...blah blah blah. So you have to read about it unfortunately - whether you like it or not)

08 September 2006

Women are like raspberries, Men are like strawberries...(or rather the other way round)

During my very first holiday since living the life 0f The Blessed One, I visited a PYO farm called Grays Farm and had a very interesting obervation : women are like raspberries, men are like strawberries.

I shared this with M (my perfect travelling partner; sadly she's left for the greener pastures called home) and we both thought it was something we should share with all women in the world.

So why are women like raspberries? In the PYO farm, the raspberries grew abound. They were plentiful, clustered (aka cliquish) and as they were in season, they were pretty much "in your face". It was simple, in fact almost predictable as to which ones were going to taste fabulous and which ones would spoil the punnet. It was all clear and easy to see.

However, when we went on to pick the strawberries (Milan variety) we quickly discovered that they were few and far between, especially the ripe ones. The strawberries were not easy to spot (since strawberry plants are very low-lying) and hidden amongst all the leaves. We had to search really really hard to find ONE good fruit. Often, it involves concentrating and observing and lots of back-breaking hard work of bending over ! (hahah...) BUT I must say: the results are definitely worth it!

31 August 2006

Sweet nothings...Everything!

I've recently been creating lots of desserts (new ones and old classics) for visiting friends, birthday-dos, wedding afternoon tea receptions and generally to satisfy the sweet cravings of myselves and friends (Leons, G, shan, O, XY...).

Some of these have been inspired by visits to Borough Market, PYO farms, Ready Steady Cook requests and just a general urge to practice baking therapy!

I've decided to share these recipes (along with great photo evidence!) with all of you. Please let me know how you get on with recreating these little beauties:

Mango and passionfruit cupcakes (Ready, steady cook - style request)
These were created combining the Magnolia Bakery (in NYC) cupcake recipe and inspiration from the muffin we had at Ottolenghi

Ingredients (makes 6 cupcakes, 170 degrees Celsius)

1/2 mango - deseeded, flesh cut into small cubes (icm cubes)

2 passion fruit + gelatin leaves + icing sugar - to create the passionfruit topping for the cupcakes

125g butter

3/4 cup plain flour

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 egg - lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup milk (infused with real vanilla bean pods)


1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.

2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. Add beaten egg slowly whilst beating.

4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl.

5. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.

6. Add about one third the milk/vanilla mixture and beat until combined.

8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.

9. Fill cupcakes paper until 3/4 full, placing cubed mango pieces into the batter.

10. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

11. Remove from oven, leave to cool slightly and top with passionfruit topping.

Pavlova (english) - my style, my impromptu dessert

Meringue nests - you could make them or M&S sell decent ready-made ones. But these are basically egg whites and sugar beaten till tripled in volume and baked in a low oven.

Summer berries - blackberries, raspberries, strawberries

Raspberry coulis - macarate really ripe raspberries with a little icing sugar

Freshly whipped cream

Fresh mint leaves - roughly torned

Assemble as above.


27 August 2006

Is it 100% cotton?

I always aspire for my baby sis to never grow up? Or rather to not grow up too quickly?
I wished her world was about real wooden toys, running in open fields, climbing trees etc etc. You know what I consider as a proper childhood? At least that's what I think childhood ought to be IF I ever had kids of my own.

BUT Kyl-linn's surely growing up real fast and it saddens me when we cannot protect her from the evils of the modern world. However, she does say the most unexpected of things you would not expect to hear from a 4-year old. Below is dialogue between Kyl-Linn, mummy and her teacher at nursery school:

Another attempt by mum to get KLL to be less anti-social and take part in school activities:
K: Mummy, I am not going for any school excursions because all the other children have a special T-shirt that they wear to these excursions.

M: Is that true? We'll go and buy one from the nursery tomorrow then.

M: Teacher, could we buy one of those excursion T-Shirts? Kyl-linn feels very left out as she does not have the T-shirt the other kids wear to excursions.

T: Of course. So sorry - I did not know she does not have one.

K: Is the T-shirt made of 100% cotton?

That's my 4-year old sister for you! Could you actually be angry with her? And where on earth does she learn to say such things?

As much as we wished for her to grow up in a "normal" mannner, I guess it's the society we live in today that dictates how quickly our children no longer become children anymore. In Kyl-Linn's case, you cannot help but wonder if it's because she's got 2 very eccentric sisters and a "mad" mum!

23 August 2006

How classic are you?

I find it quite funny (well, more perplexed really) that some people choose to think that they are quite classic and timeless in terms of their dressing. You know - the taitai look? When really it's just bling-classic bordering slightly vulgar. (think: J Lo)

I go for understated classic - comfortable, timeless and sexy (not overtly but confidently). Afterall, you should always look up to how CEOs wives dress right? And if you mum's a CEO wife, even better. Just how your mum would dress. That's a yummy mummy for you.

Let me give you an example (starting from head to toe):

  • Chanel diamante sunglasses vs Oliviers People/Celine sunglasses
  • Dior T-shirt vs Asprey cashmere tank
  • Dolce & Gabbana jacket vs Asprey cashmere cardigan (twinset)
  • Chloe Paddington vs Celine boogie/Hermes Birkin/Tods tote/any Loewe bag
  • Mixture of fake and real jewellery (the more the merrier) vs the real stuff (preferably diamonds and pearls only)
  • Jimmy Choos vs Sergio Rossis
Enough said. Wished I had a picture.

Words that mean something to me
taitai - lady of leisure in Cantonese. But conjures an image of ornate looking, too posh for hands-on raising of their OWN children, does not do ANY cooking and often has a cheating husband.
yummy mummy - lady of leisure too! But is a modern hands-on mummy, stylish and quirky. Often runs her own business, actively involved in the community and cares about the food she feeds her family. Is always sexy and confident too...haha

18 August 2006

Really nice vs Properly nice (OR RATHER - REALLY VS PROPERLY)

Have you ever used these phrases before? I suppose "really nice" is probably quite commonly used. Generally to describe a person you know/have just met, parties, restaurants that was well, nice and pleasant. But "properly nice" is somewhat less common but I use it nonetheless.

I was queried last night about the difference between "really nice" and "properly nice". I guess it's a really subtle difference? But I gave MHK L an example that he thought was very fitting. In all honesty, both terms have positive intendment and are in no way meant to be antithesis or used as substitutive adjectives.

However it got me thinking: why did I feel the need to be euphemistic? Is it a social ill? (Americanism) Am I just conforming to the modern society I live in today?

The pressures of creating an ideal world (coupled with the perfectionist in me) in this day and age has got us rejecting ALL negative vocabulary/imperfect fruit (see supermarket spec to their suppliers)/the proliferation of IBanking analysts (the pitchbooks have to be perfect)/A* at GCSEs etc etc.

But without the ugly, how can we define the beautiful? Without the bad,how do you know what is REALLY good? (vs PROPERLY good...haha)

OR maybe, just maybe, it's due to the fact that I've (and it's only just moi) allowed my mind to go back in time (Anglo-Saxonised- see the meaning of "nice" in Middle English below) and decided that it's much nicer (no pun intended) to live in the past we've left behind.

The American Heritage Dictionary, 4th Ed. states:

nice adj. nic·er, nic·est

  • Pleasing and agreeable in nature: had a nice time.
  • Having a pleasant or attractive appearance: a nice dress; a nice face.
  • Exhibiting courtesy and politeness: a nice gesture.
  • Of good character and reputation; respectable.
  • Overdelicate or fastidious; fussy.
  • Showing or requiring great precision or sensitive discernment; subtle: a nice distinction; a nice sense of style.
  • Done with delicacy and skill: a nice bit of craft.
  • Used as an intensive with and: nice and warm.
  • Obsolete.

[Middle English, foolish, from Old French, from Latin nescius, ignorant, from nescre, to be ignorant. See nescience.]
nicely adv. niceness n.
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth EditionCopyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Words that mean something to me
Americanism - to be like the GAP store salesperson in NYC. Or that American tourist you meet in Florence by the Duomo, in Harrods, London and pretty much everywhere else in London.
Anglo-Saxonised - the use of the English language in a Peter Bowler way. Witty, English humour style.

16 August 2006

The best char siew ever...and kindly verified by my downstairs neighbour

That piece of char siew-quality meat I got from Borough Market? Well it was finally turned into char siew last night.
This involved marinating the meat for 24 hours (turning once over at the 12th hour) and a 40- minute wait later, the aromas of freshly roasted char siew engulfed the whole of my kitchen and my tiny flat. And that was already 9pm last night, but it was worth the wait.

I took the meat out of the oven, resisted picking on that divine culinary piece of artwork (resting time babes!) and figured it was a sin not to share this joy with someone.

However, given that my charsiew-loving friends are nowhere to be found (Tango's in HK, MHK L's not going to be home THAT night(woah!), DK's in loveland etc etc) I called my ever-reliable and loyal (to my culinary experiments) downstairs neighbour J to experience the "high" from char siew-eating.

1kg of ribeye pork - that's what we devoured over the course of an hour in the gallery of my kitchen, standing right in front of the oven that the char siew came out from, eating right from the roasting tray...did not even bother plating it up or slicing it...haha
Nothing was needed to accompany the charsiew - it was just good on its own. ALL we did was cut the char siew up into bits and just chomped along.

Life's good again...IF YOU HAVE GOOD CHAR SIEW.

To spread the goodwill, I've included my charsiew recipe. Friends: make sure your gfs can replicate this feat k?


  • 1 kg rib eye pork - this is called "mui far yok" in your Chinese butchers. Or go to Ginger Pig in Borough Market and ask for the fatty fillet.
  • 5 tablespoons Lee Kum Kee Charsiew sauce - as marinate
  • 25ml Shaoxing wine
  • 50ml Glenfiddich whiskey - this is the secret ingredient
  • Heather honey for sweetness and finished glazing
  • White pepper


  • Cut the 1kg pork into two long 1 1/2 "strips (char siew shape) if too large a piece
  • Mix all marinate ingredients (whiskey,wine,sauce and pepper) with the pork and leave covered in the fridge for 24 hours, turning round once at the 12th hour
  • Set oven temperature to 170 degree celcius
  • Line roasting tin with heavy duty foil, place marinated meat onto tin and roast for 30 minutes in middle shelf. Do coat the meat with half of the marinate that was used.
  • Remove from oven and baste with remaining marinate. Also baste with 2 tablespoons of honey to get the "char" quality. Roast for an additional 10 minutes at 180.
  • Remove from oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes
  • Plate up and eat!!!! Only needs to have fluffy thai fragrant rice if you really want a complete meal.

13 August 2006

The delights of temping

I decided last week over a phone conversation with the recruitment agency (she called me at 9am on a Monday) that I will take on a temping job as a PA in a Private Bank for 2 weeks. Temping - an entirely different world to what I've been used to in the past 4 years. The pay's OKAY. I mean the girl's got to pay for her food and shopping right?

However, what I've learnt is the following:

  • It's great to be working as a PA IF you know that it's not your job FOR LIFE as a PA
  • St. James Street as your workplace is detrimental to your purse - I spent my week's wages in advance in the first lunch break! HAHA
  • Work that requires so little brain-power and actually pays you to do minimal work is fab. BUT 2 weeks is probably the most I can be bothered with - really.
  • I now truly understand the phrase: "It's just a job"
  • Timesheets/hourly wages/faxes/binding machines....
  • Also, never work for someone that feels threatened of your presence. Even if it's just for 2 weeks.
  • Fortnum & Masons do nice chocs. Aspreys make fab clothing and Celine - pretty bags!

Again I am reminded of how blessed I am to be in the position to do this job with relative ease and that the money I earn is not for making ends meet but rather, is just extra shopping money! Keeps me grounded really! Lalalalala.....

06 August 2006

Fruitstock : Woodstock

Another year, another glorious summer... That's what Fruitstock is about and that is what London is to me.

I fall in love with London ALL over again when it comes to summer. The annual free festival "Fruitstock marks the pinnacle of MY summer in London.
It almost seems like that's when I renew my vows to this wonderful city. It reminds me why I love it so much, what life is about really - good company, friends, glorious weather, quirky people, great food, good music and all things innocent and nice!

This year's no exception. Especially since I had a cracking time with "Horn Hou Cheung" and his other half discussing the selling points of a Black and White and how we can create the most "in" drink of the Chinese partying community in London. Never be without a Black and White! Haha... flippant talk is always good.

And as with all happy times, the day ended prematurely with the rumble of JK's tummy calling for a proper dinner despite having been eating for the past 3 hours at Fruitstock. He claims the waft from the barbecue stall has activated the gastric glands in his tummy causing what we call "wai sek" (JK's claims its hunger). But having said that, it was almost 9pm so maybe it is time for dinner! Sigh...the long summer days do mess up eating times quite badly.

And where did we head off to?Chinatown! Again, it's just that one other factor that makes London quite so desirable to me really. Mayflower - voted by moi as the best Chinese in Chinatown. We had the Shaoxing steamed crab with rice vermicelli "nam yu" pork chops and garlic stems with lily bulb and squid cake. Yummy! That's what we call life...

It's just one of those days that seem to make London quite so appealing and that's exactly why I miss London when I'm back home!

Words that mean something to me
Black and White - a shot glass worth of "dao fu far" and "chee mah wu". It's going to be big!!!

04 August 2006

I did not go to El Pirata and all I got was this...

Using what I had bought from Borough Market and as a feeble attempt to cut down on my expenses, I unexpectedly cooked myself the best meal of the week!

The salad was inspired by what Leons served me at Keen M's flat (one of those days...) last week and the steak - what can I say? All you need is a good piece of meat and a decent griddle pan.

It's so good I'm sharing the recipe with you:


  • Good rump steak - the best your money can buy
  • Spinach salad leaves
  • Ripe tomatoes, preferably roma
  • Serrano ham - tiny shavings. Its expensive
  • Half a clove of raw garlic - for the salad; just a tiny grate
  • Extra virgin olive oil - dress salad
  • Balsamic vinegar - dress salad. Again I am talking Modena Balsamic Vinegar
  • Seasoning - lots on the steak, to taste for the salad

Griddle well-seasoned steak to preferred doneness (I go for medium rare) and leave to rest for 15 minutes (this is imperative and really helps bring our the best in your steak. BE PATIENT!). Assemble salad. Eat.

Contraindicated to share with anyone else - best for times of selfishness.

The Driving Theory Test Day

When you are actually not working, it's funny how time seems to pass so quickly.
Wake up, check email, have a coffee, MSN May Yee, check more email.
Logon to Bloomberg, scan through the dailies, Theresa MSNs and says we'll catch up over coffee. Then Boom! Its 12noon. Time to head off to Borough Market for lunch.

AS I'm attempting to step out of my flat, O&DK says they might see me there! Oui!

O&DK - such a lovely couple. O's the cool one (the one that wears the pants she says) and DK despite his playboy appearances, is actually quite a sensible and grounded person. It's nice to just hang out with like-minded people and really live the life of The Blessed One.

O & moi shopped around for her rabbit diet and I sat her down in one of my regular cafes and just chatted about how lucky we actually are to be able to lead this leisurely life of ours. We discovered if we were prescribed retail therapy by Dr DK, it'd be quite disasterous on his pocket and mine!
And also O & moi are really close to our family! It's warming to be meeting new people that still value the family as a important social unit. Sadly, this is evanescent in our modern society we live in...maybe that's why the both of us do actually click.

3ish I hopped off to Holyrood St to complete the most important task of my week - the Driving Theory Test. And as with all tests, big/small, important/unimportant, butterflies abound in my tummy.

Back to Borough Market and as I've got a no-show sms from T, I decided maybe some food shopping at The Ginger Pig will not harm. I bought the most amazing piece of ribeye pork ("char siew" quality) and was immmediately salivating: thinking about the char siew that I can make out of that beautiful piece of meat. And bought some pork ribs, chicken frames and some rump steaks. I promised the butcher I'll bring him some of my char siew if it's any good.

Also picked up some salad leaves and Serrano Ham from Brindisa for tonight's dinner (I'm trying to cut down on my expenses so giving El Pirata a miss today).
Life's never been so good...I'm not going to fancy restaurants but I'm happy.

On my way home, and in fact throughout the day, the question that T posed to me on MSN kept coming back to "haunt" me. Can I actually give up the Past life? Is that what I actually want? T's doubtful and thinks otherwise.

I must say: I'm not sure at all.

BUT what I know is that I'm a much happier person, I'm taking miniscule steps to move outside of my comfort zone (O: an irrational deed a day, keeps cynicism at bay) and trying to lead the simple life again.(not Paris Hilton way of course!)

Words that mean something to me
Borough Market - somewhere I always wanted to shop regularly but due to mad working hours and unfulfilling Saturdays of the past life, never quite got round to doing so. I'm now frantically making up for lost time.

Past life - the lifestyle I've chosen to leave behind.