Monday, May 01, 2006

My Darlings,

Please come to my new home.

I will cease to update this blog with any new posts, nor reply the comments here. Everything new for the month of May!

*muah muah muah!*

Sunday, April 30, 2006

pomodoro focaccia

I had bought the Bread Book by Sara Lewis a few weeks ago during an MPH book sale. Flipping through the pages just makes my mouth water with all those delicious breads, ranging from basic whites, to rustic and flavoured breads, as well as festive ones. I'd wanted to try something a little different other than the usual loaves I've been making, so after checking out a few options, I settled for the Tomato Focaccia.

LB had the easy way out - the supermarkets in Italy sell focaccia dough! He only had to roll it out and rest for 10 minutes before baking. I had to make mine from scratch and let it proof for some time, so I had to have an hour's head start before he woke up. Yet despite all that, he could catch up with the thawing and baking of his "instant" focaccia, and he was already eating it by the time mine just came out from the oven!

475g (15 oz, 4 1/2 cups) strong white flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
275ml (9 fl oz, heaping 1 cup) warm water

For the topping:
200g (7 oz, scant 1 cup) cherry tomatoes
a few sprigs of rosemary
a few black olives
1 teaspoon salt flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil

Put the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Add the olive oil then gradually mix in enough warm water to make a soft dough.

Knead the dough well on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Put the doubh back into the bowl, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, knead well then cut into 2 pieces. Press each into a rough oval shape a little larger than your hand.

Transfer the loaves to 2 greased baking sheets then make indentations in the surface of each bread with the end of a wooden spoon. Press the tomatoes into some of the indentations, add small sprigs of rosemary and olives to some of the others. Sprinkle with the salt flakes and leave to rise, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Drizzle the loaves with a little of the oil and bake in a preheated oven, 200 degrees C (400 degrees F) for 15 minutes. Swap shelf positions during cooking, so that they both brown evenly. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve warm or cold, torn into pieces.

Hmmm. Does it look like focaccia to you? It certainly doesn't look anything like the picture in the book:

LB commented that focaccias are rather like flat pizza bread, not bulky chunks like these. Ok, so they didn't quite turn out flat... ha-ha-ha! Even I couldn't help but laugh at that!

Nevermind, the consolation is - the focaccia "bread" turned out really nice and soft. Way better than any of the other breads I've made! The others were a little chewy and rough-edged, but the texture on this one is moist and fluffy. Hmmm, maybe for me to bake a good loaf of bread, I'd have to not bake bread but bake something else instead...?

The bread goes very well with tomato-based stuff like baked beans, pesto sauce or even tomato soup. I liked mine with just yummy salted butter. Ok, time to finish off those pieces I tore out for the photoshoot!

In the meantime, if you want to see what an authentic (although refridgerated) focaccia ala-Italia looks like, check out LB's Buitoni Focaccia Day. (And please, be kind when you compare our creations... I know his is better yet again... *sigh*!)

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Friday, April 28, 2006

my friday night dates

Earlier on Friday evening, 7:00 p.m.:

Jo Mel: mei mei
Jo Mel: why are you still here?
May: hi dear
May: work! sigh
Jo Mel: shouldnt you be on your way?
May: I'm gonna be late for dinner... heheheh
Jo Mel: aiya...
Jo Mel: come quick quick
May: where are you?
Jo Mel: i am going you know
May: u coming to our dinner? YAY!!!!

* * *

Friday night. What to do, what to do?

Meet up with some bloggers for a good time, of course!

Cocka-doodle was going to be up from JB for the weekend, so King's Wife called for a dinner meet of sorts earlier in the week. The usual suspects included Lin Peh and Seng Kor, with special guest appearances by none other than our dear JoMel, and Kiki the Rambling Traveller who's back for a 2-week holiday from the UK. With efficient arrangements handled by King's Wife, the venue was to be Pizza Uno, Centrepoint at Bandar Utama.

Finally met JoMel Jie Jie tonight! And she's just as I'd imagined her to be, from what little we've corresponded through chats and blog-reading. I'm sure those who've met her would agree that she's a sweet babe for sure. I might join her this coming Tuesday night for dinner with a few other bloggers, if I could make it to KL on time. Keep your fingers crossed!

I didn't have my camera with me, as it was still in the shop for repairs. I only managed to take a couple of food shots with my Nokia 6230i phone's camera, and to my surprise it turned out pretty good after all for a mere 1.3-megapixel hybrid gadget. See that succulent lamb shank? It was absolutely mouth-watering-ly yummmmmmmy! The pasta choices were great too, thanks to Cocka-doodle who did the ordering based on his experienced taste buds with this restaurant's dishes.

The night was really warm and humid; we were gently perspiring as we ate our dinner of various pasta and lamb shank. Good food, even greater company! Lots of laughter and story-telling, especially from Lin Peh and Cocka-doodle. Even Kiki had his fair share of stories from his college days to tell. The good doctor certainly was a "bad boy" way back then... *teehee*!

We didn't stay for dessert at Pizza Uno; the heat was quite unbearable, moreover they were doing some renovations closeby and was quite noisy at times. We adjourned to Secret Recipe for drinks and more story-telling till late. Oh, what a night! Must definitely have more of these blogger meets, yes?

I've been asked what's cooking for the coming weekend. Oh dear. In actual fact, LB and I were thinking of taking a break, but now that there's some expectation of a culinary storm of sorts, we can't fail them now, can we? Looks like we'll have to cook up another storm in the next couple of days! Ha-ha! Alright dearies, we'll see what we could do for a good dish or two... *winks!*

Thanks for a wonderful Friday night date, darlings - King's Wife, JoMel, Lin Peh, Cocka-doodle, Seng Kor and Kiki! Another round soon?

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Thursday, April 27, 2006


Online chat is a truly wonderful thing. Brings people together no matter where they are. And when you need to tread on thin ice without really confronting the other person, sometimes chat could be a good mediator of sorts.

I've been asked a couple of times why I don't initiate chats, and thus might have come across as unfriendly, or a little... how shall I put it... unfriendly. Ok, I guess there's no other way of putting it! Well then, hear me out, my friend.

I shall begin with the "it's not you, it's me" line.

Because that is truly the case.

Those who are close to me know that I could yak a lot at the right place, at the right time. But other times I just clamp up like a seashell hiding the soft insides from the world outside. It's nice and quiet. I don't have to make small talk and accidentally disturb someone who might be having a bad day (and perhaps get my head chopped off then). Having said that, I don't mind it if people come and make small talk with me. Ask, and answer. I just don't know how to do the asking on my part. Answering is much easier, yes? Saves my poor brain from having to rack up some ice-breaker questions.

And once you get the ball rolling, chats flow naturally.

Or not, in some cases. Can't be helped there, we just naturally chat well with some people, whilst other conversations die a natural silent death.

We use instant messaging at work very often, where us lazy buggers won't have to get up and physically seek the other person out. The boss occasionally buzzes me if he's working out of office or in another meeting room, to have quick checks on things. This also reduces the number of ringing phones and too many voices in the air. And especially useful for gossiping catching up on the progress of a project while being able to access workfiles on the computer at the same time. (So what's the latest news, boys and girls?)

At rare occasions, I'm the seeker. I sniff out a few preys whom I know wouldn't mind me disrupting their peaceful (or busy) thoughts with a few nonsensical statements or questions. I do have a very, very small select audience whom I disturb on a regular basis, out of habit. Some things you just can't do without, alike a good cuppa in the morning to give you that buzz.

About 99% of the time, my instant messenger sounds are all off. I dislike the drings, knocks and slams that interrupt my music at their most melodious moments, or when I'm concentrating on something and suddenly get the fright of my life with a very loud "dddrrrriiinnnnngggg!!!" from a caller. And for this, I hardly ever monitor who comes on or goes offline, and admittedly quite ignorant about it. I don't even look at my MSN chat list; most of my contacts are on Yahoo. MSN is just slightly better for file transfers, otherwise it's there as a not-so-happening alternative.


Don't feel slighted if I don't seem to be the one to say "howdy" every morning (thanks for the greeting, Simple American!) or asking me if I still have a cough around midday (which I do, Seng Kor). When I have the time to spare, I could be quite talkative (like in the afternoon with karipap boy, Fantasyflier), or type one sentence every 5 minutes when I'm busy (don't get offended ya, Lin Peh?). Girl chats are fun with the cool chics (Kat, Bkworm, Selba, King's Wife, Zara's Mama & JoMel). Oh, and not forgetting about the weekend culinary experiences between sifting flour and trying not to mess up the keyboard (more this weekend, LB?).

Looking forward to tomorrow morning's regular meeps, Jimbo.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

gadget woes

PDA Woes
It's been ages since I last backed up the data on my Palm Tungsten T5. Granted that I almost never look at or use it, I still had a lot of contact numbers and files transferred over from my previous PDA which I don't have anywhere else. Ok, so maybe I should do that overdue backup, yes?

I finally installed the Palm Desktop onto this new baby Dell; now that I had a faster machine, it shouldn't be a problem having all these applications running simultaneously. Click here, install there... But wait, what's this? When I tried to sync my data using the USB cable, it failed!! I tried numerous times to get a connection, changing different USB ports as I went along. Oh, bugger. No such luck. My cable connector points must have konked out with my carelessness in storing them (I just left them in this little bin along with my phone's quick charger). I had to pop by 1 Utama's IT Planet to get a new cable, which wasn't the original Palm accessory. Too costly to bring them in and stock up, apparently. Oh well, worked just as good. I have my stuff sync-ed up and stored now.

Camera Woes
I dropped my camera a couple of weeks ago, and there went the flap for the battery compartment. It didn't break off, but it chipped at the most inconvenient corners - the bits that held the flap to the hooks of the main camera body. I had a rubberband around the camera since then to keep the flap closed. Finally dropped it off at the camera shop last night for repairs.

At first the store assistant almost freaked me out by saying that it would take a couple of weeks to get it fixed. What?? No camera for 2 weeks? That's like saying "don't wear your glasses for 2 weeks". Ok, so maybe that's exaggerating it a bit. You know what I mean. Then he had a look at the damage, and said it'll only take a few days, since it's nothing to do with mechanical failure. *PHEW*! What a sigh of relief. I hope I'll get back my "eyes" before the weekend comes along, otherwise no photos of yum-yum food for you to feast your eyes on.

Phone Woes
I like my Nokia 6230i. Except these days, it seems to hang on me. The screen would go fuzzy, and when I press any key, it'll go even fuzzier. Hmmm, what's wrong with it? Sometimes it would just turn off, too. I don't mind having to restart it, but it shouldn't have such problems since it's only a year old. I wanted to get it serviced at the Nokia shop in 1 Utama, but their service centre was closed for the night. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., said the sales assistant. Alright... I guess I'd have to take this baby to the doctor another time.

Notebook Woes
Actually, this isn't a woe; I just forgot to bring my battery pack home last night in my haste to get the sync cable for my PDA. I didn't get to blog-surf nor chat online for long. Aaarrghhh! It's like scratching my nails down a blackboard when there was only 50 minutes left on the battery. I needed to save some juice for a morning call as well, so after 2.5 hours trying to do as much as I could online, I had to put Dellie to sleep. Not literally. Just hibernate for the next 6 hours till I could get some juice back into her again. She's drinking greedily right now, almost 100% charged. Yay!

Moral of the story is...

Don't be too reliant on your gadgets like me. It'll just drive you crazy.

And have a spare power cable at home for your notebook, just in case.