Friday, January 04, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Sunday, December 30, 2007
It is ironic that after over a month-long buildup to Christmas, everything's put away in boxes in anticipation of the next major festival here. Lucky bamboo plants are already up for sale, and gaily coloured boxes of yee sang (or at least what tries to pass off as yee sang in its colourful artificial glory) are displayed prominently in supermarkets. Hello! Chinese New Year is more than a month away. Give me back my Christmas! I'm not done yet.
Before I get caught up with the CNY festivities and the feastings that follow, let's do a quick roundup of my Christmas week. When Bald Eagle and I are not traipsing the planet at year end, we normally spend our time at his parents' house in Kajang. Christmas dinner this year was with a difference. Recognising the family's roots in Kelantan, there were no turkeys or mince pies or plum puddings. This was a traditional Kelantanese Christmas dinner in all its juxtaposed imagery. We feasted on typical Kelantanese fare of steamed nasi dagang (a reddish brown glutinous rice) served with ikan tongkol (albacore tuna) in a creamy curry cooked so perfectly by my mother-in-law. To add to its authenticity, Bald Eagle spoke Kelantanese for a good 5 minutes. If I closed my eyes, I would have thought I married someone else. Well, sometimes, with all his impersonations, I am not quite sure of the man I married, but...it's too late now, isn't it? :-)
As a celebration of the traditions we hold dear, Bald Eagle presented us with a box of Goldilocks Polvorons which he brought back from Manila. His addiction to Goldilocks' Mamons (beautiful fluffy cakes) and Polvorons is a result of his 3-year stint in Manila several years back. I can understand his love for these confections. The Polvoron is made of toasted flour, butter, sugar and milk (and probably a whole host of unmentionables...err..I mean, secret ingredients) and has a powdery texture which means that if you don't pop the entire thing in your mouth, it will disintegrate in your hands. Quite a messy affair if you want to exercise decorum (i.e. taking ladylike bites). For Christmas, they coat these delicious biscuits with chocolate and decorate them with pretty shapes and colours.
Christmas with the bloggers was more of a riot. The food bloggers booked the entire restaurant (My Elephant in Section 17) and as an added surprise, came up with a list of "awards" for those who were present. Some of my favourite awards are:
Masak-masak - most idolized blogger. Woohoo! (she received a "masak-masak" set to keep her occupied when her oven ever gets broken)
Precious Pea - with her obsession over crabs, it was obvious that she was going to be crowned Queen to King Crab. (prize: pepper crab flavoured instant noodles)
WMW - the Human Tripod blogger - see her photography skills with just a camera and her wrist! (prize: an empty box to replace the use of her limbs)
Kenny Mah - most flirtatious blogger (but of course) (prize: condoms - will come in handy, I'm sure)
Lianne - the enlightened blogger, for moving from an obscure blogsite to a mainstream blog this year! (prize: a lightbulb)
Teckiee - the blogger with a gender crisis. Not sure why, but some people think she's male. But seriously, she's sometimes confused as well with XX/XY chromosomes (prize: a pair of boxer shorts)
Jackson - the blogger most recognised in KL, Klang, Shah Alam, PJ and some say even in Bangkok. (prize: disguise sunglasses)
Jason - the blogger with the most kissable lips! (prize: lipbalm)
Joe - the blogger with the best nick earned - Nipples. (prize: a baby pacifier)
Tankiasu - the activist food blogger (prize: a "cert" of a certain political party)
Kampungboycitygal - sweetest blogging couple (prize: a packet of sugar)
Nic - most poetic blogger (prize: a childrens writing set)
SC - almost a vietnamese blogger - visit her blog and you'll know why! (prize: almost vietnamese coffee)
Kusahi Keat - best male cook blogger (prize: a spatula)
Paprika the Ravenous Rabbit - hungriest blogger (prize: a bunch of carrots)
Friedchillies.com (Adly) - spiciest website (prize: a bunch of chillies)
Big Boys Oven - "One of the best bakers in town" blogger (Gardenia buns)
XiuLongBao - Former Malaysian Blogger now going down south (Prize: Malaysian flag)
Christine, Ai Wei, Yin and Jun - sweetest female bloggers (prize: sweets)
Ekeng and Riz - most handsome male bloggers (prize: sweets)
I almost fell on the floor laughing when they gave me the Celebrity Blogger of 2007 award. Well, I was touched too, as the girls (Precious Pea and WMW) had gone through the trouble of downloading a newspaper interview, printing and laminating the article. And Kenny Mah delivered a lovely speech to me. *blinking back tears* I do have the dearest blogging friends in the world!!
Unfortunately, I was too caught up in the fun to take any photographs, but do visit some of the links above to see what they have to say about the event - A Very Retro Christmas 2007!
Until my next post, ladies and gentlemen, I wish you a Blessed Christmas (yes, it's still Christmas in my heart and in my tummy) and a Very Joyful New Year 2008! God bless all of you!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
‘Delicious!’ I exclaimed, as I savoured the moist chicken patty in my mouth. I found out later that it was because they had used the whole chicken and not just chicken breast to make the patty. The thin sesame sprinkled buns were toasted to a slight crisp and liberally buttered. The pickles contrasted well with the burger. I was told that they made their own pickles. ‘Smoked salmon on chicken?’ I questioned. ‘What an unlikely combination!’ I was getting more and more mystified by the second. But this non-believer was soon shown the light. The cheesy sauce wrapped up all the flavours and made my burger encounter an out-of-body experience.
And that’s the thing. We’re talking burgers here. A meat patty sandwiched between two buns. As a teenager, it was a treat to eat a burger simply because mum and dad never let me near a burger joint. In university, it was a staple as far as fast food was concerned. From McDonald’s to Ramly and everything in between. I soon tired of it. I met my husband, a highly adventurous foodie, and we roamed the streets of KL in search of that elusive sashimi. The burger in its greasy shroud was soon a distant memory. It almost became a dirty word to me, and I’m not talking about those deliciously dirty words that I freely exclaim while driving along the Fed on my way to work.
She had a classic cheese burger. It was a thick juicy patty made of ground beef (yes, they freshly grind all their meat), homemade ketchup and their very own mustard mix. I half expected to see cows and chickens roam the hardwood floors, and I suspected that if I looked beyond the carpark of the concrete jungle of Bangsar, I might even catch a glimpse of their vegetable patch. A milkmaid and a shepherd would spell the beginning of my insanity. I digress. Two thick slices of cheddar cheese completed the experience.
I glanced at the tomato ketchup and chilli sauce bottles. ‘They’re all homemade,’ she said. No kidding. In my mind’s eye, I saw vines holding plump shiny tomatoes in that imaginary vegetable patch. The chilli sauce was wonderful, with a heady mix of ground chillies and mustard and other secret ingredients. The accompanying fries were merely a vehicle for me to savour the addictive sauce.
The man ordered a Down on the Farm burger. I glanced over my shoulder as I thought I heard a Moo. Only for those with a hearty appetite, this muscle flexing thick beef burger, barbeque basted and smokey grilled stacked with thick sliced onion rings was oozing masculinity. A corn cake made with whole corn kernels, crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, made the man go limp with delight.
Avocadoes are a constant love interest, so my second experience at The Daily Grind was an affair with a chicken burger covered with creamy avocado sauce and topped with hot salsa. The play between sweet and savoury and spicy ensured that the burger was a winner. Again, I was bowled over by the smoothness of the chicken patty, and I couldn’t get enough of the buttery buns, my carb addiction.
If you pace yourself well, you’ll have enough room for dessert, and one dessert that is worth trying is the peanut butter and roasted banana pie. I’ll let the picture do the talking.
I never did quite explain why my sudden interest in burgers at a time when I crave foie gras more than hearty meat patties. (Incidentally, The Daily Grind is currently having a Christmas special consisting of a prawn cocktail, a Foie Gras *gasp* burger and a sherry trifle for just over RM60.) It took an hour long discussion with the husband to figure it out. ‘You’re enjoying it because you’re viewing it as a dining experience’, he looked at me sagely. ‘You’re eating with a fork and knife, cutting small pieces and savouring each mouthful like you’re enjoying a good steak.’ He was right, you know. How else could I explain why I was paying between RM23 and RM36 for a burger? Once dissected, it made sense to pay that amount. I was paying for an experience. Sometimes, revelations such as these can be quantified, and the question is, how much would you pay to see fireworks on your plate?
The Daily Grind
Open daily until 12 midnight.
Open on Christmas day.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I panicked momentarily as I assessed my workload and looked at the calendar. 10 days to Christmas. I had forgotten how close Christmas was. And my Christmas tree wasn't even up yet. I rushed out and bought lights to replace the faulty ones from the previous year.
7 days to Christmas and my tree was finally up. I crossed the task off my list.
The base of the tree was bare, save for a couple of gifts from friends. Gifts. Panic. I had not bought gifts yet! I let out a curse.
Massive last-minute shopping. Traffic jams. Crowds. Bah humbug.
And even now, 3 days before Christmas, there were things that I had not done yet. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Adrenaline pumping.
Stop. Enough, I said. It's time to enjoy Christmas.
I let peace wash over me.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto
them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall
be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped
in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly
there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Have a blessed Christmas everyone, and cherish the true meaning of Christmas.
The good people of Abu Dhabi may view the pictures HERE.