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.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

hi hi, sweetie pie!

We have a Double Pie challenge today!

Having combed through the Internet for good pie recipes, LB and I just went crazy over two in particular. Shall we make a sweet dessert pie? Or a savoury pie? Oh heck... let's do both!

Part I: Apple Crumble Pie

I found this lovely apple crumble pie recipe from my favourite site, All Recipes. Hmmm, not too hard to make, just needed the right pie dish and shortcrust pastry. The other ingredients are easily found. After shopping for the necessary items the day before, we synchronised time to 2:00 p.m. Malaysian time (8:00 a.m. in Italy) for the first pie-making session.

Note on the pie crust:
I found some ready-made shortcrust pastry packs by Pampas in Cold Storage, Ikano Power Centre. They also have pastry blocks (both shortcrust and puff types) which you could roll out with a pin, but I decided to take the easy way out and bought the sheets instead. It's triple the price too, for that convenience - RM14.99 for 6 sheets, instead of RM5.49 for a pastry block.

1 (9 inch) deep dish pie crust
5 cups apples - peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup white sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C.) Arrange apple slices in unbaked pie shell.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples.

Mix 1/3 cup sugar with flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Spoon mixture over apples. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until apples are soft and top is lightly browned.

Oh, crumble-me-apples! This is an absolute must try recipe if you have the time to do it. The applesauce from the mix of apple juice, sugar and cinnamon is to faint for! Eat it while it's fresh and warm too, because then the top pastry crumble would still be irresistibly crunchy to bite into. Want a slice?

I had a peek at LB's apple crumble pie photos. His looks waaaayyyy yummier, as usual. Why does his pie crust look so much better? Must be all that Italian ingredients that make the difference! Ha-ha!

Coming up next...
Part II: The Savoury Twin

* * * * *

Part II: Chi(cken) Pie

Not just one hour passed after our Apple Crumble Pie post, LB said, "Eh, faster! Let's make the Chicken Pot Pie now!" Waaaa!!!

Ok, I've never done savoury pies before. Ermm... make that, I've not cooked savoury dishes much, except for kerabu glass noodles. So this Chicken Pot Pie was a real challenge for me, especially since Mom was also doing her share of cooking, and we had to elbow each other for the stove!

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

This recipe serves 8. Cut down or add where necessary.
I omitted the celery seed; I couldn't find any in the supermarkets.
For the pie crusts, I only used one sheet of puff pastry for the top.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
  • In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  • In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Smells good, smells good! I took a whiff when I peeked into the oven after 10 minutes. The puff pastry was slowly rising up and up and up... Waaa!!! It didn't turn out all that gourmet-looking, but the taste of it was certainly gooooood. It's similar to the DOME chicken pie, with a bit of variation here and there. I served this for dinner, and it was gone, all gone! Luckily I had a dinner party of 7 to help polish off the pie, otherwise I might have to have it for lunch and dinner the next couple of days.

Oooh, I can't get over at how pretty LB's chi pie was!! So the artistic, with the twistie border and heart in the middle. Awwww... looks too good to eat! I just wanna take it home and keep it under my pillow, and maybe have a spoonful of luv every now and then. *grin*

*beached whale...*

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

a hopeful visit

Wingz and I visited SCB (Lisa) this bright and sunny day, close to 12 noon. It was quiet on the floor; her father was there earlier, but had stepped out for awhile.

Lisa's eyes were slightly opened when we approached her. With constant, gentle encouragement, she opened her eyes almost halfway, with her pupils focusing on us. A small tear slid down as we spoke to her at the beginning. I would like to think that she heard us talking and calling out to her, and responded!

We constantly coaxed her to wake up and see the lovely string of colourful origami cranes hanging next to her bed. I also brought along a small jar of lucky, shiny stars from Kat for her (thanks Kat, I'm sure she'd love them!). Whenever Wingz and I would talk and laugh about something, she seemed to respond with a flicker of her eyelids, or a slight twitch of the corner of her mouth. Did she hear us? I sure hope she did, and was trying to laugh along with us.

Her dad came in about 15 minutes later. He explained that she's in a stable condition, and would be moving out from ICU to a semi-private room on the 5th floor. At the time of writing this, I've received messages from 9393 and Lin Peh that she's now in room H516-2. This is indeed slightly comforting news that she's in no immediate danger, and more visitors would be allowed to see her at one time.

Wake up, Lisa. Look... the sky is blue, there are lovely red flowers on the trees outside your window. Wake up so you could see them and enjoy the beautiful day.

We certainly do pray that you'll be able to do that very soon.

Related Posts:
JoMel: Hope, Hopper, Hoppest
Cocka Doodle: The Faint Silver Lining...
Diane: There's Progress!

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Friday, April 21, 2006

just one of those days

How strange could this be?

I have no reason to be glum or down in the dumps. Life's been treating me kind, I have work to keep me busy and pay for my (rather) expensive hobbies and indulgences, friends who pop by my Yahoo window to say hello, drop in a word or in my comments and shout box, a nice comfortable house and bed to go home to.

I should be thankful with what I have. Instead, I'm feeling rather grumpy and would rather indulge in a little self-pity. Oooh, how pathetic.

These are the times when I shut things and people out. Close the doors, pull the blinds, stay within my walls. Some may attempt to shine a little light inside, but it might not help; I'd just put on my shades and pretend to look the other way. Wear a nice little mask to hide the frown if I need to.

What's the problem here, May?

Can't be PMS, it's not quite that time of the month yet.

Too many chocolates, maybe? But that's supposed to be a perk-me-up, not bring-me-down.

Lack of sleep? I do feel tired these days but that's not something new. I haven't not feel tired for a very, very long time.

Taxes, insurance payments, car servicing... those are trivial stuff, easily taken care of. Nothing that I'd worry about.


Another 7 hours or so to endure, then I could really crawl under the duvet and burry my head.

Don't mind me.

I'm just having a bad day.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

short takes 20.04.06

This week's been a mixture of emotions and happenings. It felt kind of disconnected at first, but as the days went by, things are starting to fall into place again.

Work has been keeping me busy this week, which is partly why I've not blog-hopped nor posted much this week except for news on SCB. I think my brain is running dry of topics. Bummer. Is there a remedy for this?

Speaking of SCB, her condition as of today has improved immensely. JoMel had visited her again earlier this afternoon, and it seems that she's able to respond better. Do read her update here.

Met up with Fantasyflier on Monday night, just before he caught the train back to Singapore. Quite a charmer, he is! Too bad we didn't divulge in some delicious local food due to time constraints. Doesn't matter, drinks at Starbucks still count, yea? We'll have that dinner someday, sometime. Must coordinate our visits a little better next time!

Been awhile since I saw a movie at the cinema; the last was Geisha a couple of months back. Last night, I'd managed to catch She's the Man, a funny (although predictable) flick about a girl impersonating her twin brother for 2 weeks to get into the school soccer team. If you want a bit of light-hearted entertainment, have a go at it. Thanks for the invite and company, Seng Kor!

I've been procrastinating this month on my taxes. The deadline's 30 April, which is just 10 days away. Oh gosh... I guess I can't procrastinate any longer. Any volunteers for helping me sort this out?

Someone please take these bars of Ritter Sport away from me! I've been indulging in chocolates more these past couple of months that I've had in the last year. I could almost definitely feel the layers of fat thickening on my hips and tummy. Soon there'll be giant levers instead of love handles. I am, however, comforted by the fact that it won't give me pimples, and I'm technically eating a vegetable.

Only another 6 working days till the next public holiday. Yay!

I no longer own any property, but I don't owe the bank any money either. Housing loan, credit or otherwise. It feels bloody good to be debt free. Now I just need to keep it that way for as long as I can, probably until the next property purchase comes along. What are the chances of me winning a house and not having to buy that either?

Late nights, early mornings, lazy afternoons.
I love it when you call me Baby.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

record your message for SCB

It's been 10 days since Siao Cha Bor's in a coma. Although she's now breathing on her own and her condition stable, there is still little improvement since Lin Peh, King's Wife, Zara's Mama and Seng Kor visited her this afternoon.

It is said that whilst a person is in coma, he or she could still hear when spoken to. In SCB's case, she has shown response when someone called out or talked to her. A positive sign, yes!

As an effort to help her find her way home to us and her loved ones, Lin Peh is organising a recording of voices campaign - Voice for a Cause. This recording would be played to her in hopes that she'll hear us and speed up her recovery. Whether you know her in person or just as another blogger online, please do lend your voice and record a short message for her. Send your MP3 format recording to Lin Peh at xymalaysia [at] yahoo [dot] com.

We thank you for your participation from the bottom of our hearts.

* * *

Join in on a silent prayer on 19th April 2006, at 1:00 p.m. (Asian Time) organised by Mamabok.

* * *

Related Posts:
Lin Peh: Wake Up SCB!
GBYeow: Spare A Thought And Your Voice For SCB
Helen: Appeal for Your Words of Encouragement...
Wingz: Save a life! Join Voice For a Cause
9393: Send our voice of CARE to SCB
King's Wife: Voice for a Cause
Zara's Mama: Bloggers Unite
Seng Kor: Let's Unite Our Hearts

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Monday, April 17, 2006

a prayer for a friend

I received this piece of news today:

"She is currently in ICU in Gleneagle, Ampang. She collapsed while in Rum Jungle, last Saturday night (8 April 2006). Her current condition is stable, but still in state of coma until today."

An update from JoMel later in the evening:

"When I saw SCB, she was not hooked onto the ventilator. She was breathing on her own. I was glad when I saw that. Her breathing is heavy and hard. Heart rate is normal.

With one hand holding her cold hand, and the other touching her forehead, I spoke softly to her. I saw a tear coming out from the corner of her eyes. I asked the nurse, "Is her brain functioning? Can she hear what I said? See, there's a tear coming out of the corner of her eye!"

Nurse said, "Yes, brain's functioning, though not to its full capacity. Yes, she can hear you." "

* * *

My dear friend, Siao Cha Bor...

I confess that I'm not a religious person, but at times like these, I pray hard that you'll wake up and recover soon. Please get well, we miss you.

Related Posts:
5xmom: Keep SCB, a blogger, in your prayers please
Wingz: Monday Just Cant Get Anymore Worst Than This !!!!
9393: Blogger SCB in Coma, Please Everyone Wake Her Up
Helen: A Short Prayer
JoMel: It Has To Be Said
Seng Kor: A Prayer For Her
King's Wife: Please Continue to Pray...
Poison: A Special Entry For A Special Lady, SCB
Simmie: For Siao Cha Bor

Voice for a Cause: record your voice for SCB

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

"pick-me-up" tiramisu!

I've been wanting to make tiramisu for awhile now, but I lacked the one ingredient - these long-shaped biscuits called ladyfingers. Only a few weeks ago I discovered that they sold it in Chang Thung as well as Yen (the other bake shop on the same row). Whoppee! LB's other colleague, Susanna had graciously shared her recipe for authentic Italian tiramisu. I changed it just a tad here and there based on what ingredients I had at hand.

Once again, we synchronised our clocks to 4:00 p.m. Malaysian time (10:00 a.m. in Italy) for some tiramisu makin', armed with YM and Skype for intermittent commentaries. Check out LB's Whisky Business for a tiramisu escapade! He bought his first ever electric handheld mixer and couldn't wait to beat them eggs stiff... *ahem*!

200gm fresh mascarpone
3 fresh eggs
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 box Ladyfingers
1 very large cup of sweetened espresso*
Unsweetened cocoa

* I opted for a cup of strong Italian style rich roast instant coffee instead of brewing my own or buying it from the store. Works just as well.

Brew up your coffee and let it cool completely. Separate the egg whites from their yolk.

Beat your egg whites with 1 teaspoon of sugar, until it's frothy and kind of stiff.

In a separate bowl, beat your yolks with 2 tablespoons of sugar, until it's pale and thick.

Add the mascarpone to your yolk mixture**, and beat until creamy and smooth, then gently fold in your egg whites.

** If you want, you could add 2 tablespoons of Marsala or Kahlua, or any coffee liqueur to your tiramisu. Beat it together with the mascarpone and yolk mixture.

Dip your ladyfingers, one at a time, into your cooled espresso or coffee. If you are using soft ladyfingers, brush the coffee on with a pastry brush. If you are using hard ones, two quick dunks should do the trick. Be sure the whole ladyfingers is moist, and let the coffee drain out for a few seconds before laying them in your dish.

Figure out a pattern that will make the most sense, and make one layer of dunked ladyfingers. Place a layer of your mascarpone mix on it, and smooth it out. Dust a layer of cocoa on top.

Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours, and preferably overnight. That will stiffen up the cheese layers immensely, and all the flavours will blend nicely. Be sure to keep it cold, too, since it does contain raw eggs.

Heavenly DELICIOUS!!! Served the tiramisu for dessert after dinner, and it's almost all gone! Had to quickly save up a portion for my brother who went out for the night. The texture is smooth and creamy, just melts in your mouth.

This one's LB's creation. Looks different from what I had. Apparently this is how it's supposed to be ala authentic Italiano style. Mine looked more like cake, said he. But doesn't matter - what really matters is how it tastes like, yes? Almost as good as... ummmm... yes? Ha-ha!

Aaaahhhhhhh... *satisfied sigh...*

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Friday, April 14, 2006


I miss eating ice cream in winter with the wind blowing in my face.

I miss not having so many responsibilities.

I miss walking around aimlessly in the park, enjoying the sunshine.

I miss not having to make so many assumptions.

I miss playing the piano.

I miss the beach where I watched the seagulls float on the wind.

I miss not having to worry so much.

I miss receiving letters from the post instead of just bills.

I miss trusting with my whole heart.

I miss my childhood innocence.

I miss having someone to love with reckless abandonment.

I miss my grandparents and uncle.

I miss our friendship.

I miss feeling confident about myself.

I miss you.

I miss...


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

rock climbing @ camp5

The last time I did any indoor rock climbing, it was for a competition at Summit Climbing Gym to humour my friends (who were the organisers) a couple of years ago. I haven't been indoors since then, mostly sporadic weekend visits to Batu Caves. Climbing had really taken a backseat in the last year or so, ever since I took up biking and went for more rides instead.

Today, Eric and I decided to visit the new climbing gym at 1 Utama, called Camp5. We've been talking about it for some time since its opening a few months ago. A lot of our friends have already made their visit. Time for us to pay homage to the new gym on the block.

Our first few steps into the gym were followed by ooh's and ahh's at the sight of the walls filled with multi-coloured hand holds. There were kids running about, climbing up and down a small little boulder and peeking out through the holes. The proshop had a lot of gear goodies stocked up (which I had browsed through after our climb, greedily eyeing a few things I'm tempted to buy on my next visit).

The interior layout and wall placements are impressive; during daytime, the gym relies on natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the highway. The first floor of the gym, where the top-rope climbs are located, is carpeted so people could walk around without shoes and still stay fairly feet-clean. Despite the vast space, the air-conditioning system was working good enough to keep us at a cool temperature.

Coming back to our climb...

As mentioned, we've not climbed indoors for the longest time. The misconception is that if you could climb outdoors well, you'd be able to do ok indoors, and vice versa. The truth of it is, the outdoors is less protected and perhaps scary, but with endless hold possibilities. Indoor climbing requires more technique with fixed hand or footholds that one must use without other choices.

I'm used to exposure with lots of holds for my fingers, so if one didn't fit or feel right, there's always another. Today, I had to settle with WYSIWYG on the walls.

Over the long period of absence from indoor climbing, it was so apparent that my strength had deteriorated. I couldn't even do a simple pull up to the next hold, which I would've quite easily accomplished 2 years ago. By the end of it all, the skin on my fingers were kinda raw from "exfoliation", my muscles were fatigued and my poor toes were screaming for sweet relief from the tightly-fitted climbing shoes! Right now, my grip is a little weak, and I could feel the tense muscles almost wanting to cramp up when I try to wring a piece of cloth or tie my shoelaces. And I paid RM22 for this torture... ha-ha!

All in all, it was a good climbing session. A lot of familiar faces were there too; it was nice seeing some of my friends from the climbing community again. I wouldn't mind coming back once a week or so. We're already contemplating in getting a 10-trip pass for RM180, which saves us RM4 per visit. To trip or not to trip? I guess that'll be this weekend's question if we come here again. Hopefully the skin on my fingers would've grown back by then.

I think I'll be wearing open-toed sandals to work tomorrow; my feet would appreciate it and my hands won't need to fiddle with shoelaces.

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p.s. I did the unthinkable today... I dropped my camera on the floor! It now has a dent on one of the corners. What's worse, little pieces of the battery compartment door had broken off, and it can't close anymore!! *sob sob sob*!! I'll have to send it back to Nikon to get the flap replaced... *sad sigh...*

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