Sunday, February 25, 2007


Gluttony. One of the deadly sins. By definition of - 'Excessive eating and drinking'.

Q: How much does it take to feed 3 guys?

1. One whole baked/roast chicken.

2. One whole cabbage. Half of it boiled with chicken bones for a big portion of soup. Another half fried with chillies and spices as a vegetable side dish.

3. One bowl of chilli and herb sauce.

4. Bowls of bubur cha cha for dessert. Contains coconut milk, sugar, sweet potatoes, bananas and sago/tapioca.

5. A final round of belacan (shrimp paste) flavoured fried chicken with sweet chilli dip.

A: Damn a lot.
Gluttony? What gluttony? I don't geel guilty at all. *BURP*

Friday, February 16, 2007

Snow Falls

Last week, the UK had its heaviest snowfall in perhaps the last century. In Reading, it was the heaviest snow in the past 16 years. Now, it doesn't usually snow around here, and even if it did it's so pansy that it doesn't settle but makes messy puddles instead. So when the forecast was 4 inches of snow, I was quite excited hehe. I like snow :)

So I thought I'd do a bit of a photoblog this time on my journey to work.

View from my room window at 7.15am.
Pavement right outside my front door.

Trying to be artistic, hehe.

Snow falling at Reading train station.

See that multi-storey car park in the background? A body was found there in the wee hours sometime last year. I went to have a look but the police cleared everything up already :P

Looking out from the train.

White all around outside the station where I got off.

Random shot, it feels kind of Christmas-y to me :)

Leading up to my workplace. Its the building in the middle at the bend of the road, where the van is. Very slippery pavement with ice.

There is a certain calmness that come with snowfall. Everything is quieter and more tranquil. Everyone drives slower, walks slower; no one is in a rush. People take their time and sometimes you'll get the odd few (like me) who will stop and take in the view. I wasn't the only person whipping out the camera too.

A really nice moment was when the snow started falling really heavily. Every single person in the office just stopped and looked out the window, and we all agreed how lovely it looked. For a minute we just stood there, admiring the view. I think snowfall has got to be one of the most beautiful weather conditions to ever happen.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Linguini Loving

You know how almost pasta has been and always will be the student's choice of meals when they're studying overseas? I for one totally agree with them. I mean, coming from an Asian country, pasta such as spaghetti, tagliatelle and linguini are the closest you can get to noodles; something which we've grown up with. Plus, they're just so easy to cook!

The thing that I don't agree about is to just have the same old boring tomato sauce and mince meat with pasta ALL the time. Now don't get me wrong. Cooked properly, the traditional bolognese is absolutely delicious and is arguably the easiest pasta sauce to prepare. However, with just a little tinkering and experimentation you can easily dress up hundreds of different sexy numbers to accompany those long stringy carbo bad boys.

I've recently taken a liking to linguini, mainly because they're so easy to cook. The typical spaghetti takes about 10-12 minutes to get ready, but linguini is all ready to please in just 6 minutes. I like. :) Toss them with some olive oil or flavoured oil, salt and pepper and you already have a good base to start with. In fact, toss in some canned tuna, tomatoes and herbs and it already is a great meal.

See how easy it is? Less than 20 minutes to prepare.

I made a Thai-oriental style topping a few weeks ago to put on top of some linguini that has been tossed with sesame oil, salt and pepper. This was very, very hot and spicy so adjust the chillies to your own taste ok?

Fry some garlic and onions until fragrant. Add in some mince meat (it can be pork, beef or even lamb), lots of chopped birds' eye chillies and basil. Basil is important to give the dish its distinct flavour and fragrance. Stir fry until the meat is almost cooked. Then, put in some fish sauce, soy sauce and ground black pepper to taste. I also dropped in some mushrooms as I had some left in the fridge. Let it all simmer for about 10-12 minutes to let the meat absorb all the funky mojo and get a bit tender. Toss in some chopped peppers (capsicum) and spring onions. Stir fry for probably another 2-3 minutes and then just serve on top of the linguini. If the sauce is too watery just simmer until it gets thicker before adding in the peppers.

Come to think of it, you can actually use any type of noodles - yellow, egg, rice, udon, flat, kuey teow. I think they will all work with the oriental flavour.

Another recipe I tried was a seafood marinara sauce. In contrast to the exotic East, this sauce is relatively simple and basic but equally delicious. While the fiery and strong oriental flavours are exciting, this western version has a subtle, quiet elegance.

For this dish, just get a can of chopped tomatoes in their own juice, some garlic, onions and some seafood. I just got a pack of mixed seafood from the supermarket; it had mussels, prawns and squid.

Heat up some olive oil and fry the onions until fragrant and soft. Toss in the garlic and stir until you can smell them. Put in freshly ground black pepper and salt. I'd recommend using sea salt. Normal table salt can taste bitter and doesn't have any fragrance and taste to it. It's just...salty. Sea salt, on the other hand, has a nice flavour depending on what type of salt you get. It also tastes kind of sweet. This will make a lot of difference in your cooking, especially if its a simple dish.

Pour in the can of chopped tomatoes and simmer for a bit until the sauce get a bit thick. You want it to have a thick consistency because seafood has a lot of water content. If your sauce is not thick before you put the critters in, you'll end up drinking seafood tomato soup instead (Hey! That's another dish! Hehe).

Anyway, put the seafood in and cook for about 3-4 minutes and your sauce has a nice consistency. Serve it on top of the linguini and garnish with parsley or coriander.

Finally, take a picture of the dish, pull out your fork and spoon, and tuck in! :)

Monday, February 5, 2007

The Pad

Well, hello. Welcome to my humble castle :)

I'd call it the shag pad, but unfortunately there's no such action going on. I'd also call it the love nest, but alas, not much loving going on here too. Boom-boom room sounds too dodgy, and to call it my oasis is really too cheesy, isnt it? So I'll just call it 'The Pad'.

The Pad sits on the corner at the end of Howard Street. It doesn't look like much from the front especially with the lovely bins decorating the landscape. But then again, over here not many houses look that appealing on the outside.

The house number is No.44 (superstitious Chinese readers may now shake their heads in disapproval). But that's not all, for my room number! 'Sei Sei Sei'! In Malaysian terms, very 'suey', hehehe. Its like the number 13 fuelled up with Red Bull. Luckily I'm not that superstitious.

The Pad is pretty much white all over on the inside. My landlady's refurbished it quite well and all the furnishings are new. Ninety percent of the furniture is from Ikea. Don't you just love the Swedes?

The dining table is where I have my evening chow while watching re-runs of Friends for an hour every night. :) But sometimes I stay on to watch movies and serials, which I do on the comfy black Ikea couch.

But the area where I spend a big portion of the time is the kitchen a.k.a. 'The Lab'. This is where I experiment, chop, wash, marinade, fry, boil and prepare the 'Soul Food'. Its a good layout too. The washing machine and dishwasher are hidden within the cabinets. Very neat and tidy.

And finally, leaving the best for cosy little cave. Ahh. At the very top floor, facing the backyard, its away from the noise downstairs and from the traffic. Its a rooftop conversion so there's actually not much space, but its comfortable enough for one. This is where I spend most of my time at home besides the kitchen.

Quick, how many Ikea items can you spot in 5 seconds?

I'd love to call it the 'Love Chamber', but that's already reserved for a certain room in the office. But it really is nice and comfy...anyone wanna come hang out? hmm? The bed's really comfy too...with lovely soft pillows :) (Guys need not apply. You lot can sod off. Hehe.) But becareful tho ladies, I've knocked my head a few times. The ceiling's less than an inch from the top of my head. :P

Friday, February 2, 2007

Tri-Nation Salad

A really delicious salad made a couple of weeks ago. It's so simple and yet so yummily good. I think its a great example of how fresh, quality ingredients can make all the difference in the world.

  • Pungent Greek goats' cheese that was soaked in olive oil. Chuan smuggled it from Greece. Really.
  • Superb extra virgin olive oil that Kit bought for me from Padova, Italy. It's so good I can't describe it.
  • Super-sweet cheery tomatoes and Mediterranean salad mix. From, erm...Sainsburys supermarket near Shawn's love shack, hehe.
  • Some sea salt and lemon juice.

Looks damn good right? :) I'm getting hungry dy.