Sunday, August 31, 2008

Last minute touch up before the big day



My paunch-ing husband who loves his clean walls, happily painting away.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trial makeup at D'sire

Not showing my wedding dress.
I like the MU done by the nice MUA.
Hairdo will be similar but bottom part needs to be improved.
The back part is somewhat horrendous. Lots of pins visible.
Hope she can do a nice one for me on that day.



Poor Hubs waited 4hrs for me and he still had to satisfy the camwhore me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some of Hubs favourite food turned disaster

Cooked these for dinner on Sunday.

Deep fried chicken wing



Quite failure as something wrong with my egg mixture that caused the breadcrumbs not sticking to the wings.
Resulted in some parts of the wings not covered with breadcrumbs.
Second failure is not enough marination time so quite tasteless.
I'm still left with a big bag of breadcrumbs. How?

Stir fried broccoli with carrots



Supposed to be an easy dish but I was too generous with the black bean paste that the whole plate of veggies super salty.

The most disastrous thing was when I tried pouring the hot oil from frying the wings to the plastic bag and the hot oil caused the plastic bag to melt and oil leaking to the whole kitchen floor.
Made us super busy.
Hubs a bit fed up at first but he was quite good about it and mopped the whole mess up.
I double cleansed the floor after dinner.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finally... (I think) I got it right

After watching the nice video from Gordon Ramsey, I also tried to make one.
Results: Excellent (hehe thick skin).



My version is put in the cream with the margarine and egg instead of putting it after taking it off the heat.
Topped on mum's homemade bread.
Yums!

Where I learned from:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU_B3QNu_Ks

My next attempt will be complete with the shrooms and tomatoes.

Mad about Fancl



I ignored my poor bank account and zapped my card all for vanity's sake.
Of course the KS me got a lot of samples la.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A weekend of nothing yet full of pictures

A super random post.
Pls skip this if you are looking for content.

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Cooked this new dish for D for Fri dinner cuz Hubs is working late and meeting some friends after that.
Used Teriyaki sauce to simmer mid-joint wings.



I think it's pretty good. D thought It's hard to make but it's actually super easy.
So easy that I feel embarassed to say it.

Next dish: Steamed tofu with mixed mushrooms.
I'll need to work harder on presentation for this dish.



I steamed the tofu for abt 10min then slice it and lay on the plate.
Stir-fried 3 different types of mushrooms (Shitake, Shimeiji and Enoki) with 花雕酒 and light soya sauce.
Pour the mushrooms + sauce over the tofu. Another easy dish.
D loved it.

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Robinsons parcel arrived early Sat morning while we still sleeping.
Needless to say Hubs was appointed to open the door to receive it :P



I love to do the unpacking.

Contents in Box 1:



Unpacked to reveal Lock & Lock boxes and my Tanyu pot.
I love this pot. Mum uses this lots at home to cook yummy soup.
Believe it or not, soups tastes exceptionally good using Tanyu pot.



Ok I did a really auntie thing to prepare the pot for usage.
The modern way is to boil a big pot of water in it. That's it.
But I boiled a whole pot of porridge instead of water. Porridge of course cannot be eaten la.
I prefer the traditional way.. hehe I'm not called Auntie Jo for nothing hor.

The real challenge is in the next box.
Selection of cockery picked by me!



I really have to salute the packing staff. Shrink-wrapped each item so densely.
Took me a loooong time to unpack each and every pce.
Hubs said I should use scissors to cut away everything to save time.
But the fun is in the unpacking. For me at least.

For a starter set, I think it's pretty good.
My favourite Patra label. NOT Prata hor.



See what the packing guy did to our environment?
A few plates can use so much shrink wrap.



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Ok. So I already said this is a random post.
You can leave already if you really find it pointless because I'm finding it pointless too but I can't stop.
Try to stop an Auntie when she'e blabbering. See successful or not.
Wanna introduce 1 of my best buys recently: Rice container.
You say, what's so special about that? Every household owns one.
Ya maybe yours is nothing special. Mummy's also nothing special.
BUT mine is, ok.

This is how ordinary it looks. Never judge a book by it's cover.



Side view. So funny right? Container also must take side view.



The rice level indicator.
Isn't it cool? Not like those old-fashioned Bi Tang (Hokkien for 米桶) which I don't think has any indicator.



*Yawn* Open up still so ordinary. Faster finish leh.



Ha, there's a secret compartment inside.
You can slide the little drawer this side or keep it other side to hide it.



The little cup makes it easy to measure the rice.
After using, just keep little cup in the drawer.



I'm so proud of my new buy. And it's not expensive. $15.90 from Metro Compasspoint.

We have not found a really nice glass pitcher yet (must be more than 2 litres) so I brought over a glass container Mummy finished her juice from.
Hubs hates it cuz it's too squeezie for the fridge side door compartment but what choice do we have now?



Since I had half the Sat afternoon to myself, I decided to clean things up a bit.
Finally removed the wrapper of the hanging light in MBR.
Think there's still a layer of plastic inside but too high for me to reach.
*Think someone already knows what I mean right?* *wink wink*



Sat dinner was at Bakerzin.
Wanted to utilise my bd voucher.

My first time trying the steamed milk with rose petals.
It came with hazelnut syrup as well.
So nice!



My silly old man had the Assam prawn with rice.
Was surprising nice but not enough for his huge tummy la.
He told me to cook the same dish for him soon.
Ok, small challenge for me. I can search for the receipe no problem :)



I had the Steak and Mushroom sandwich.
Really good as well. Tastes like BK mushroom swiss but meat is much juicier.



Huge portion of mushrooms. I could finish the bread.
How nice if only they served it with side fries. That would have made it my day.



Complimentary chocolate cake topped with vanilla ice-cream.
That's what we came here for!
The nice thing about the service staff is, they didn't even ask to see my I/C and gave us the discount and complimentary cake.
Daniel Tay must be a good boss and not the 斤斤计较 kind.
No wonder the staff all quite cheerful one.



Hubs also wanted me to replicate this cake.
Ok, pls sponsor my Shermay Lee class then you get to eat it.
And also not sure our Aw-ta oven can make it or not.

Bought this pair of nice wedges after dinner.



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Watched the Table Tennis finals at SK and dinner was 出钱一丁instant noodles.
I thought finally can cook simple but fry the luncheon meat made the kitchen oily and that meant I still had to wipe the floor after cooking. No escape.
Luckily I already reached the stage don't clean the hood filter after each cooking session.

While watching the match, I realised my AK can be seen in another view!
So happy that I had to capture a shot of it.



Then I thought of something that made me damn angry and felt like (not the first time I thought this way) skinning that Fat Guy alive.

Just see how ugly it's done.
Beyond words fugly.
Round, not round. Line, jagged. Ending part not a full line. Like a funny diminishing tail.
The pic is quite blur but what's the point of re-taking something that's not even even in the first place?



Felt sick to think of it but every morning apply sunblock sure see the uneveness.
And he got the cheek to tell me it's due to I kept struggling then it turned out this way.
Stop crapping me can? Not that I don't love you but I hate that irresponsible guy for doing such a crap job and not admitting it.
Oh and I'm trying to physco this husband of mine to get a matching one below the neck, which is low enough to be covered by clothes and he's not budging.
Tiny one cause I'm so scared of that pain still.
My dear bro seems more interested than him.
How to get him do it huh? Hm... our 9th anniversary coming hor.
Maybe this can be our 9th year memory?

In case someone ones to buy me a 9th yr pressie, http://www.amazon.com/Gordon-Ramsays-Fast-Food-Ramsay/dp/1554700647 is on my wishlist right now.
Gordon Ramsey is my current 偶像. *love*

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And so... just how much did we pull together for all that fuss?

My Dear Sis linked our blog to hers some time ago and some of her buddies been popping by.
A big HELLO to you guys :)

The initial idea Hubs set up this blog is to track our renovations progress but I took over and posted a lot of personal stuff instead.
When Hubs protested, I told him this is also part of our "Atrina Journey" :P
Along the way, we posted a lot reference on where to buy what and the prices we paid.
One of Sis' very dear friend Lina is going to start on her renovation soon so she wanted some reference and I'm going to post here how much we spent on it all.
Pls bear with this pic-less post :)

Renovation cost: $28,800
This costs covers a lot of items but I'm too lazy to list out everything in the quote.
Briefly, it covers:
- System 3 Toshiba airconditioner (non-inverter) for the 3 bedrooms
- Paintworks (unlimited colour)
- 11 feet TV console with full length feature wall covered in choice of Goodrich wallpaper
- Feature wall for household shelter cum shoe cabinet with 2 pcs mirror and faux leather cushion for doors
- Raised cushion settee at bay window
- 12 feet (I think) suspended study table
- 6 feet sliding door wardrobe in spare room
- 5 feet casement wardrobe in MBR
- Customised 8 feet headboard in fabric with Goodrich wallpaper on 1 wall in MBR complete with suspended side tables
- Mosiac tiles in MBR bathroom for mirror backdrop
- All mirrors that can be seen
- Whole kitchen cabinet inclusive of hood, hob and built-in oven
- False ceiling at living room
- Glass shower screen in MBR bathroom
- Glass casement door for kitchen
- Installation of accessories

That's all I can remember offhand.
Do note that our unit is a brand new premium unit and all flooring and bathrooms done up.
It would have caused more to do up re-sale units.
No hacking done. We were happy to use the default flooring.

Furnishings:

Slumberland Queen size mattress: $3899 (Harvey Norman)
Matching Divan: $655 (special discount for the set. Harvey Norman)
Dining table: $1300 (Furniture Mall)
Dining chairs and coffee table: $ not sure if appropriate to disclose (SoHo Living)
Fabric sofa: $1050 (Siang Yang at Furniture Mall)
Curtains: $1469 (Jimmy Textiles at Joo Chiat Complex)

Electrical:

JVC 42" Full HD TV complete with 5.1 Home Theatre System: $3288 (IT Show) - $200 Taka voucher thrown in
Electrolux vacuum cleaner: $150 (pre-owned by D)
Hitachi Refrigerator, Electrolux washer & Novita garment steamer: $2019 (package price from Harvey Norman) - You can bargain price with HN staff and they are happy to match HDB shops prices
Philips iron: $77 (staff discount from Y's dad)
Tefal steamer: BD pressie from Sis
Ceiling fan: $600 (Elmark) - We got an export model but average price is ard $200 for local models
Ariston storage heater: $xx (pre-owned by D) - We paid her a small sum which included some lightings

Miscellaneous:

Bedsheet (2 sets) and comforter: $390 (Robinsons) - Ours is expensive as we got a 16" mattress and not all brands make it
Lighting: $961 (Light craft and a shop in Jalan Besar) - Ours is considered cheap compared to most ppl. We saved by using some of D's pre-owned
Cooking/dining/kitchen ware: About $600 (Tangs, Robinsons, Isetan, Taka)
Ceramic kitchen sink: $320 (Poh Joo) Great place for buy taps, sinks
Mixer for sink: $185 (Ditto)
WINK decal: $69 (www.winkplay.com)

That is all for now and we still have not gone major shopping at IKEA for more miscellaneous items yet.
Still lacking 2 computer chairs, mat for protecting parquet flooring in study room, 2 bookshelves and maybe a rug for living room.
Next next payday. Perhaps.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another attempt at Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Ok, so the amateur me decided to venture into something else besides the boring rice dishes.
I chose to make Carbonara after seeing a short clip on youtube.
Gosh, didn't realise it's so easy and time saving -
Compared to the 1.5-2hr preparation + cooking time for my usual dishes.

Not too much descriptions needed since this is an easy dish.
All ingredients leftover from first attempt on Monday, except for broccoli.

Step 1: Fry the bacon cubes in pan, stirring occasionally.
Made the mistake of throwing in ALL the bacon. Half should be enough actually.
I added a teaspoon of magarine (as if not fatty enough!) but you could do without it if you don't wanna clog your arteries like me.



Step 2: Prepare a pot for boiling the pasta.
Mum bought me a pasta pot but it's not at SK yet so clever me decided to use my newly bought WMF 16cm circumference steamer.



Steamer tier



Step 3: I decided to improvise by adding broccoli.
Boiled broccoli set aside



Step 4: Using the same water, boil the pasta without cover.
Add 1-2 teaspoon salt. Some say add oil but I usually don't see the need.
The packaging says 6min so I boiled for 5min. I was using Vermicelli.
Ok Al Dente doesn't work for me. I don't know how to appreciate that.



Step 5: Remove bacon from heat.



I overdone it cuz keep thinking want to fry till the fats gone but became too brown.
I added some chopped garlic when almost done. I love garlic.

Step 6: Beat 2 eggs in a big glass mixing bowl.
Add 3 tablespoon shredded Parmesean cheese.
I get the shredded pack from supermarket.
Add whipping cream and pepper/salt to taste.
Set aside.
Forgot to take pic cuz rushing the mixture.

Step 7: After that 5min, remove pot from heat and pour into the steamer tier.
I hate using the metal sifter to scoop the pasta so we do it this way.
Hubs pouring and me holding.
Bear with it till the real pasta pot comes ok :)



Easy does it.



Step 8: Put all the cooked ingredients into the mixing bowl and toss.
Wanted to take a pic of that but it looks really messy and ugly so skip to next step.

Step 9: Dinner is served!

My proud creation.

Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese if desired.
I thought the first attempted tasted better but Hubs preferred this one.



Can't find the video which I learned from but this is definitely a good one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX_Br6ONlbY&feature=related

This is worth a watch as well.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBwE2sHCdL0&feature=related

Next to come:
Gordon Ramsey style scrambled eggs

Monday, August 11, 2008

New chill out place found!

Location: 211 Roof Terrace

We were attracted to the open roof top concept.
Except for Al Dente at Esplanade, I have never come across another roof top dining place.
We were there at about 5pm on a Sunday and we were the only ones since a few diners left after their afternoon tea.

This auntie very proud of her new buy.
Copy me buy Miffy. Chey act cute.



To utilise the DBS 1 for 1 offer, we had to order a drink each.



D's Iced Mocha with scoop of vanilla ice cream and my pot of hot Earl Gray tea.
The mocha was very rich. We like it.
Tea was not of good quality. Bakerzin and TCC serves better tea.

D wanted Spicy Chicken Wings for starters. $9.80.



6 pcs of 3 mid joints and 3 drumlets each is very expensive I think.
Not very impressive and we couldn't finish it even after mains have been served for a long time.
I like the accompanied veggies but was too little.

My order of main course: Batter Fish with potato wedges and aglio olio. $24.
Pretty strange combination but it had everything I like.



Results: Very mediocre batter.
Never tasted such hard batter. Was hard more than crispy.
Can't finish it too. Too oily. I finished the veggies though.

D's Spaghetti Vongole. $16. We got this FOC using the DBS promotion.



The way I took the pic makes the clams (was it? Sorry I'm bad at naming seafood) look huge.
According to her, no taste at all.
Had to keep downing Tobasco sauce.
Some of the clam shells does not open.
Indication that those were not fresh?
I don't take any kind of shellfish so I'm not a good judge.

We were too full for any dessert after this fattening and greasy meal.
So we just sat around to enjoy the nice ambience.
Total bill came up to be $53 after the discount and taxes.
Although the food is disappointing but I'll still be back for drinks and dessert next time round.
Bring Hubs see nice place :)



Pic taken by the waiter.
Not very nice but it shows the nice background of the premises.
FM93.3 DJ http://www.crazycoolcute.blogspot.com/ was at the next table next to us.
She's very pretty. Too bad I don't like her or I'll take a pic with her.
I love to listen to her morning show though... but it's her partner http://www.cruzteng.com/ I love.
Like his way of presenting and he's so good at suan-ning ppl (in a good way).
Never fail to brighten my morning up.
But I can only enjoy my 25min every morning cuz I have to go off for work at 825am.
No FM walkman la.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's on Auntie Jo's new menu

Took an impromtu half day leave on Fri.
Nothing particularly important but Fri is always too short for me since I have to buy the groceries after work and cook for Hubs at SK.
So, I went for an hour long massage at Spa Elements before getting down to do the groceries chore.
The massuere was very good with the right amount of pressure.
Except that she kept persuading me to purchase a bottle of massage oil.
Said that it makes more sense to purchase a bottle than to pay per usage.
Ended up she walked in and out the room several times and THAT ate into my 60min session.
I realised she stopped 5min earlier to apply powder for me.
I was really starting to enjoy that rhythm and nearly falling asleep when she woke me up and applied powder on me.
That was when I realised she stopped 5min before actual time and spent it on applying powder!
I feedback to the consultant they should not do that again in future.

Ok. You must be thinking why my post has got nothing to do with my header.
Here you go:

Ketchup Tiger Prawn. Hue too strong here.



My first attempt and I would say it's GOOD! Proud :)))
Price of the prawns put me off at first.
About $13 for 10 prawns but the size is med-large.

See close-up. I think the sauce tastes almost like Chilli Crab.
Too bad someone dunno how to appreciate the sauce :(



Veggie stew with egg tofu on my new mini claypot.
I love the claypot. Cheap cheap $19.90 from BHG (ex-Seiyu).
But it's too small till I can't put in the whole cabbage and can't add the mushrooms at all.



Recipe taken from: http://www.noobcook.com/2008/07/28/ketchup-prawns/
I printed out the recipe but forgot to bring it home with me so all cooking done based on memory and estimation.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's finally my turn to turn 28

It was supposed to be a special day.
My 28th birthday and our ROM 1st anniversary.
But my husband does not do romantic.
He prides himself to be a practical man *hmph*.
I spent the whole time sulking on the way out.
Hubs had asked me where I wanted to go.
He always lets me choose the place.
Why can't he make the decision once in a while?
So I wanted to go to HV for a walk THEN Rochester Park for dinner.
But this lazy bum lazy to drive over once he settled the parking.
He chose convenience over ambience!
See what I meant by practical?

We had an impromptu buffet dinner at a small little Japanese place at HV.
I've been here once almost 2 yrs ago with R and D.
At first not really keen to dine here again as I didn't think they were any outstanding but well... Hubs chose it.

Since it's the first day of my 28th year, I will do blog something a little different.
I will do a mini food review on the dinner we had.

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Location: Raku @ Holland Village
Setting: Modern Japanese



We opt for the ala carte buffet so we could try more things.
I think we were the only ppl taking the buffet dinner.
The rest of the diners either opt for set dinner or ala carte.

The buffet menu



Appetiser highly recommended by our server.



Cold tofu with century egg sauce topped with fish roe.
This is very good. Very refreshing and just nice to up our appetite.
So good that we decided to go for seconds later on.
It's also available in deep fried version (reviewed below).

Salmon sashimi was served next.



Hubs only requested 2pcs and a big plate came.
Well, I don't eat anything raw so he had the whole plate to himself.
He's not a good judge of the freshness but I guess it must be good by looking at the grains of the cut.
Hubs so wanted me to have a try at it but I'm too chicken for that.

Soft-shell crab



I love the sour-spicy sauce it came with.
Portion just nice. Anymore of it will be too oily to swallow.

California and Fried Ebi reverse roll



The portion is huge but our server said 4pcs is the smallest serving.
The filling is like downing a big bowl of rice at 1 shot.
I still prefer the one they serve at Akashi.

Gindara with fish roe sauce (top) and Teriyaki sauce (bottom)



We both like the Teriyaki sauce one lots.
Can really say it's "Divine".
The fish roe tastes a bit strange. I just eat the fish without the roe.
Clever me took a little of the maki roll rice to eat with the fish.
I can't stand eating yummy dishes like this without rice.
We ordered a second serving of Gindara Teriyaki. Totally worth it.

Deep fried oysters



Again, Hubs had this all to himself.

Raku Special Chawanmushi



I can't figure out what's so special except that it came with prawn roes and something which I forgot it what.
Texture very smooth and very tasty though.
We also ordered 1 "ordinary" Chawanmushi. Texture not as good.
Not sure why this is the case since the only difference is supposed to be the prawn roe and that little thing.

Some strange Nabe with veggies and tofu



Why I said it's strange? It tasted bitter!
Not the bittergourd bitter but a strange bitter.

Can't eat much of it. I can only manage some enoki and Hubs polished off the tofu.



Yasai sticks with dip. I requested for all cucumber



Call me silly but I always order Yasai stick salad in a Japanese buffet.
This dip is a little sweet/sour. I could taste some miso flavour there.
Mind you. Raku charges a good $6 per plate of Yasai sticks.
The first visit I was with R & D, we thought it was free flow and ate 2 plates of that.
Paying $12++ for 2 small plates of veggies is crazy if you ask me.
Hubs and me loved it so much we second-ed this order.

My silly husband





Deep fried tofu with century egg sauce



We still much preferred the cold version.

Grilled Saba



A tad too dry. Reminded me of Sun Dining's set lunch which I used to eat with Jeanne during Plaza By The Park times.
Sun's version is more oily and tastier.

Raku Agedashi tofu



Yet another tofu dish! Nothing special at all.
Just a normal agedashi tofu. Don't understand why the special name for it?

Deep fried ebi with wasabi-mayo



Just normal fried ebi. We also ordered Tori Karaage which was quite good but I forgot to take picture.

I tried to place order for a cold spinach dish but was later told that they ran out of the veggie.
Our server came back with a "Chef Special" for us.



Which I realised later it was just a rock melon and cucumber salad.
Definitely nothing to shout about.
In fact I didn't even wanted a second bite.
Hubs polished it off as he's scared it might reflect rudeness if we don't finish it.

My last order. Garlic Fried Rice



Very fragrant. Again, I paired rice with Teriyaki Gindara.
Great combi. The auntie lady beside us was very funny.
She asked for belachan chilli to go with her GFR.
Her hubby was teasing her about it.
This lady enjoyed all the dishes so much that each time the waiter came over to clear her plate, she would tell him "Very nice leh. See I eat so fast."
We were very amused. Think the waiter also amused.

We finished off our dinner with "Fruit Platter" which turned out to be a measly 3 tiny slices of 1 each: papaya, dragonfruit and rock melon.
By tiny, I mean you could down it in a single bite without looking greedy.
I was happy with the quality of the fruits. Very sweet.
But disappointed that they only serve that once.
WTH? I thought only something precious like Shark's Fins or Peking Duck served once in a buffet.
Who'd had heard of 3 measly pcs of fruits served once?

On a side note, my hot green tea, although refillable costs a good $4.
Hubs can of Coke costs $6. I got a shock when he told me that later.
It's such a rip-off to pay $10++ for 2 drinks. As rip-off as what they charge for the Yasai sticks.
I don't even wanna mention how much it costs per head for the dinner.
The chef must be laughing his head off. 2 silly diners clearly not a fan of sashimi eating this buffet.
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Stuffed, we went for a walk nearby.
We found a nice swing place right outside Ariston's cooking school.
Don't I look happy (pardon the *um* ugly armpit part)?



My nice wine red nails courtesy of R. The female R.
Thanks R for the treat for the nice pedi session.



It's the same feeling I felt as I sat on a swing 20yrs ago.



Went for second round. Ice cream at Haagen Dazs.
My treat for the husband.



Some vain buys at the nearby SaSa.
Bursting my already bursting MU box.

Sana loose powder. Compact size.



The powder feels very smooth. Finely milled.



Some unknown brand of colourful balls.
Too cheapskate to buy the Guerlain version so I settled for this.



So pretty to look at.
Think I should put it on my work desk and look at it every 5min :D



Thanks to all my dear friends for all your well wishes.
It's an ordinary day but I felt contented enough to spend it for my loved one.