Thursday, 10 December 2009

Singapore and closure

After years of being away plus a lot of reflection and prayer, I can finally say, with absolute closure that Singapore is no longer a long term option. I love Singapore, I miss my friends there, and it's close to home, but there is something about permanence there that doesn't agree with me or the plans that God has for my life.

For a long time I have flirted with the idea of moving to Singapore to settle there permanently after I marry, since it's an English speaking country and I can practise law in Sg pretty easily (compared to the US). When I go back to visit you amazing people I feel a tinge of covetousness, like oooh I wish I was back here! Little pleasures like sitting in Clarke Quay with friends . And ooh the MALLS and the MRTS that take you virtually everywhere I just love it love it love it love it. I missed Singapore for a long time.

But I want my kids to know what I knew. When I was little, I didn't have PSLE worries or streaming or tuition. In fact, I never had tuition in my life. I did extra curricular activities for fun, not to earn points. I climbed the longan tree in my front yard, collected sea shells by the sea shore in my back yard, leapt over the neighbours fences to escape the resident psycho stray dog. I didn't have an elite upbringing, I didn't wear OshKosh B'gosh and I didn't go for Kumon classes. My only form of education before kindergarten was Big Bird on a fuzzy TV1 (the aerial had to be tweaked), digging up earthworms with my younger brother and helping my mum collect water from the water truck during the drought (somehow that memory sticks like gum to sole of shoe - there was a drought in Melaka, and the truck would come every two days and all the neighbours will walk out with pails. My mum will station me to watch for when the pail is full and I will yell "Mummy man3 le!!"). I don't necessarily want my kids to have the exact same memories but I do want them to know what it's like to not have people piling on expectations on them as to how to act, what to be, what not to be and how to learn. I won't let them get away with everything (my parents were dead strict) but I do want them to love childhood. I turned out fine, so I believe my kids will be fine learning at their own pace too.

I think Singapore produces extremely brilliant and talented people, and kids in Singapore are very blessed. But practically speaking, my dream house is pretty big (it's got a large kitchen!) and it has a back, side and front yard for the kids to play so practically speaking, that's not going to be possible in Singapore without plenty of moolah. So I need to be somewhere where land is more affordable.

I would love to be in Singapore for a season as a tourist, visitor or expat but that's as far as it goes. No offence to you very beloved people in Singapore, like seriously I love you guys and I love the convenience and shopping and LOVE LOVE LOVE Singapore. But God has called me to be elsewhere.

And the good news is wherever that elsewhere is, you guys can come stay in this lawyer's house and we can cook a meal together in my big kitchen :)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

God wants Christian lawyers too

I am good at my job. I love my job and my workplace. But there used to be a time when I considered my job to be somewhat un-“Godly” compared to say, a doctor, teacher, carer or cleaner. I read the Bible and I don’t see my job described anywhere in Scripture. A corporate lawyer doesn’t exactly pop into mind when you think of a servant, teacher, prophet, evangelist, pastor or apostle.

Millions of pounds pass my hands so that they no longer feel like real money, just numbers on the screen. I have meetings with clients who want to restructure, buy companies, take them apart and sell them on. I speak with clients who step in as administrators when things go bad for a corporate body. I have calls with clients who want to downsize or outsource to limit their exposure and soften the blow of the economic downturn.

There will be days when I get a list of properties in which the client wants to terminate or sell its interest. They could be the company’s retail units around the world, manufacturing plants, branches of banks or entertainment centres or restaurants. I think about the number of people who are going to be relocated or made redundant as a result of the downsize. I think of their families and their lives, and how they will be affected, and I pray for them.

Part of my job is to keep track of the financial and political news. The characteristics of good corporate lawyers are that we are commercially and politically aware, efficient and good communicators. We should have sound legal knowledge and more importantly, we should be able to advise on practical solutions. There’s nothing in my job description that requires me to be a good teacher, pastor or servant. At least, not on the official job specifications.

God made me good at my job for a reason. In a commercial world where its players have a reputation for greed, bureaucracy and self-interest, I reflect a different order. God’s job specification for me is that I conduct myself with love and integrity. When my colleagues are stressed because of a completion, I can minister peace. I can testify that hard work and peace are in agreement, they are not contradictory. When gossip flies across the hallways, I can choose to listen to the truth. When panic of redundancies spread, I can minister God’s faithfulness to His beloved people. I can be excellent at my job whether or not my boss is looking over my shoulder.

But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all. Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.

You can show love anywhere, even in the most unlikely places.

Photo taken from

Saturday, 5 December 2009

I don't need a Paul Smith Evian bottle

I was walking through Selfridges and what do I see?

First up, a beautiful Christmas Hamper overflowing with luxury food items, complete with a cute polka-dotted bow.

And if a hamper just doesn't quite cut it, a tub full of Christmas food goodies! The Selfridges guys really know how to make the best of their visual displays. It's abundant, it's fun, it's colourful without being tacky, and it's a signature Selfridges yellow.


Mini (and full sized) bottles of Moet encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Try recycling those on New Year's day?

And finally, Paul Smith Evian bottles. Lets break this one down. It's a glass bottle. It contains water. It has candy stripes and the words "Paul Smith" printed on the glass. Would you pay the 1000% mark up to drink some mineral water?
I know it's pretty. I was going oooh and aaah too, but after some thought I simply cannot justify buying any of these items for myself. Instead of buying some water in a Paul Smith bottle, I'd rather spend the money on providing clean water to under-developed communities around the world. These gifts are cute, and I'll feel very blessed to give and receive gifts. There's nothing wrong with expensive gifts. But this Christmas, I've decided to play an active role in serving the world in which I live.
God placed me in this world to steward it, not to live a me-centred life.
I don't have the answers, and I'm not planning to go on a mega long trip to Somalia or Ethiopia or rural India. I don't need to go far away to make a change in a world which I'm responsible for. Every little counts! Think In Pennies :) Click on the link to find out more.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Heard from my bedroom...

It was 10pm on a weeknight. I was doing some prep for the following day's Civil Litigation when I heard a disappointed wail from my flatmate in the living room:

photo from
"AARGHYYEEERRR but I don't want the caramel one!!"

I didn't need to pop out to ask. I totally understand. I don't like the caramel ones either. That is why only the caramel ones are left in the chocolate assortment platter in our living room.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

JS - Unashamed (cover)

I am still having exams but praise God, three down, one to go. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a song covered by Janice and Sonia. A great song about being able to stand before God unashamed not because of anything we've done, but because of our complete faith in Jesus.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


I'll be having exams from tomorrow for a week so no blog updates till then. Do come back to visit next week though!

Love xx

Saturday, 14 November 2009

My midnight birthday surprise

The video says it all. WP is amazing!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Seoul Kimchi - the yummiest Korean food in Manchester!

I went to Seoul Kimchi with four other friends a few days ago for dinner. Seoul Kimchi used to be a little provision shop selling tasty korean gems like biscuits, beancurd paste, korean candy and staple korean ingredients. I would pop in every now and then to purchase a little korean treat, like a bag of unidentifiable savoury chips or a pack of soy bean drink.

After I moved out of Victoria Park and into Castlefield, Seoul Kimchi was just never on the way and I never had a compelling enough reason to make a trip there. I was therefore very surprised when WP told me she'd been to Seoul Kimchi to have lunch.

Me: You mean you bought lunch from Seoul Kimchi and ate it at home?
WP: No, I ate there!
Me: What, but where?

I thought there was a secret back door to a restaurant that I didn't know about. In fact, what had happened was that Seoul Kimchi had refurbished since I'd last been there. It is now a clean and bright looking joint that would probably fit a maximum of 17 people, uncomfortably. It's tight in there, but they make maximum use of the area available, sometimes by moving the chairs and tables around a little. It was roomy enough for me as coming from a high-density city myself, I'm used to being in small spaces.

We arrived at 6.30pm for dinner and the place was already packed. The kind lady owner welcomed us in whispering that it was very cold outside and so sorry we had to wait but she will get some chairs to put in the kitchen so we could sit there and stay warm while we wait for a table to clear. She took our arms like a familiar aunty would and ushered us behind the counter and next to the kitchen, extracted two different-sized little seats and asked us to Sit. The place definitely felt like home. WP and I tried to make ourselves as tucked in as possible so that the busy waitresses could bustle up and down the kitchen corridor without tripping over our legs.

Looking around patrons range from international students in the know to locals who know they've stumbled across a gem. These are the dishes we ordered that evening. It goes without saying that there was a constant flow of their signature kimchi in the usual little dishes for us to eat our mains with.




The Chicken Teriyaki Bento

This was part of the Japanese selection in their menu. It comes with shredded vege salad, noodles, some strange fried pancake thing which was yummy (in the right bottom corner), rice with sesame seeds sprinkled on and the chicken teriyaki itself.


The Salmon Teriyaki Bento

Another bento from the Japanese selection. Seriously what's the point of coming to Seoul Kimchi when everyone was having Japanese food! This also had all the same ingredients as the Chicken Bento but had salmon teriyaki instead (in the foreground). The salmon was properly doused with sweet sticky teriyaki sauce. WP said this was really good.


Luxury Korean Bento

I ordered this one and it was YUMMY! It's such a shame blogger minimises the quality of my photos because you can't really see what's available. Clockwise from the top left, you get: Vegetable korean pancake slices, pork bulgogi, shredded vegetables in a sweet marinade, beef kalbi and rice. You also get a little middle section of what I know as ikan bilis in Malay (in a sweet marinade). I don't know the proper korean name for these but they're basically little anchovy-like fish. The whole combo just worked so well, especially for someone like me who likes a little bit of everything. It was larger bento than what I'm used to but no complaints!! In the bottom right was the beef kalbi, which according to the Boss Lady, would cost me £8++ on its own. The whole bento was £8++ and she was eager to impress upon me that it was "very good value". I had no complaints, this was YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY I WANT MORE RIGHT NOW.


Up close shot of my beef kalbi. Mmmmm...

The Boss Lady comes over to check if we like our food. She is clearly very passionate about cooking, and doesn't need much persuasion to explain what we were having. With our mouths full, we could only manage to nod vigorously (I think I gave her a thumbs up). When we could manage, we told her the fare was delicious because it was!

It was so good that I hesitated to blog about this place for fear that it becomes even more popular such that I'll always have to wait for seats at my favourite Korean restaurant. However, this is one restaurant that I'd love to see succeed and grow (yay! more seats!) because the food is truly excellent and very affordable. The boss lady is absolutely lovely too and you can't help but feel like you're sitting in your family dining room. :)

Friday, 30 October 2009

The full armour

I was going through some old photos when I stumbled across this old one of my fiance D. D and I have known each other for more than five years now, and in four of those years, he was deployed to various parts of the world by the US military. I would be lying if I said I wasn't anxious or worried for him. I certainly missed him a lot. Our relationship was rocky in the beginning but God gave us both the same word when we sought Him individually. That He is with us in our relationship, and that He has an awesome purpose for the both of us. All we had to do was seek Him first - and so we did. As the years went by, and he got re-re-re-deployed time and time again, being together with D felt like a losing battle. At the same time, my parents were keen on me pursuing a law degree in the UK, and I wanted to honour their decision. Studying in the US was too expensive for us to afford at that time anyway. So I came to Manchester, completely confused as to why this was the only open door when my boyfriend is American, and my family are in Malaysia and Singapore.

My first year in Manchester was a whirlwind. I didn't know anyone when I arrived, and I didn't know where to begin to establish a network here. I left home when I was 15 to go to boarding school in Singapore - and I made so many firm friends that moving again didn't really make sense.

Then I found a church family here in Manchester with King's Church. In hindsight, I see how God has worked in our lives through our situations. I have been equipped and challenged in King's to mature in God. My testimony is that in King's Church, my relationship with God is closer than ever, and I have got to know amazing brothers and sisters in Christ. We may not always understand why things happen when they happen, but all that matters is that we know God's truth. God's truth is in His word, and it's this truth that we have to stand on:

My God is mighty to save.

My God is the King of King's.

My God loves me with an everlasting and passionate love, regardless of what I have done in my past.

The favour of God is upon me through my faith in Jesus.

My God will never leave me nor forsake me. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Can you say the above about the person / entity / god in whom you place your faith or trust? Jesus loves you as much as he loves me. In the Bible, we are called to put on the armour of God. The belt of truth, the sandals of peace (an inner peace that transcends all understanding), the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation through Christ today and forever. The truth is, we are on the winning side of a battle against loneliness, low self-esteem, anxiety, poverty, depression, sickness and violence.

In my personal life, Jesus has been the ultimate comfort and wisdom to me when I was missing D. Indeed, without God, our relationship would have failed with the prolonged distance. We refuse to let the distance get in the way of us serving His kingdom today. I stand on God's promise that D and I will be together soon. As for now, God has provided the both of us with very full lives - full of God's work, service, blessing, power and family. It's such a privilege to serve the highest King!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The most important relationship

One very famous quote from the very brilliant designer Diane von Furstenberg:

"The most important relationship you have in your life is the relationship you have with yourself."

Diane was talking in the context of how we cannot rely on other people, or items, or ideas to make us happy. It follows that the most important relationship to build, first and foremost, is not our relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, material possessions or our job. It is instead the bond we have with ourselves. I have to love myself, take control of myself, invest in myself to build me up before I can even think of being "whole" enough to build relationships with the world. It's us in the driving seat of our lives.

As much as I love Diane's quirkiness and genius wrap dresses, I have to disagree with her on this one. As human beings, we are all so flawed. I can disappoint me, and indeed I have, so many times in my past. When I came to terms with that fact, I was halfway through my revelation. People are fallen persons, and yet God loves us so much that He continuously reaches out to us. He never gave up on us. God sent His only Son to die for our sins so we can have The Most Important Relationship with God, freely and limitlessly.

I learnt to love God first instead of loving myself. As I spend time with Jesus my Lord and my Best Friend, he starts to reveal things about me. I start seeing how God sees me. How I am completely and unequivocally loved. How I am His child, and I inherit His kingdom. How I am created beautiful in His image and how He has an amazing plan and purpose for my life. That made me love me a thousand times more!

The truth is, the most important relationship you could ever have is with Jesus. He needs to be in your driving seat. The freedom you will experience from surrendering all to Him is inexplicable. No more chaos, worry, self-loathe, pity, confusion, anger or anxiety. Jesus bore all of these on the cross so that you don't have to experience those things. Instead, we enter into a life of joy and peace that no situation nor person can take away from us when we accept Jesus into our lives.

Jesus died for all, not just me. And regardless of what you think of Him, or the state of your relationship with him, the unchangeable truth is this: He loves you more than you can ever understand or imagine.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Japanese food - always healthy?

There is a common stereotype that Japanese cuisine, in general, is good for you. Life expectancy in Japan is amongst the highest in the world, despite the perceived high-pressure, fast-paced environment in which the Japanese live and work. In fact, as a child, I've always had it in my head that the Japanese diet is hailed to be low cholesterol, low-fat, packed with superfoods and antioxidants etc etc. It's also delicious! You could say I have the best of both worlds, but for the following three Japanese snacks that I absolutely love and are not too good for them hips and thighs...

Inari, sushi rice and mayo

It's a carb bomb and to make matters worse, the inari (beancurd) is soaked in sugary syrup. I don't think it has any nutritional value. Mmmm... did you know that cellulite is the main ingredient of refined white rice? (Yes, I'm a fan of that movie).


Oh boy do I remember when takoyaki first took off in a big way in Singapore and Malaysia. There were takoyaki stalls EVERYWHERE, thanks to the relatively low barriers to entry and set up costs. All you need is a takoyaki mould grilling machine, octopus, grease, batter, that dried shaved fishmeat stuff (katsuobushi), lots of Japanese mayonnaise and condiments and you're good to go. The smell of the batter grilling is just so yummy. There were lots of variations too if you aren't a fan of octopus: ham and cheese, tuna and chicken being a few of them.

And finally, this. I don't actually know what this is called. In fact, I don't know whether this even exists in Japan. I've certainly seen it in lots of sushi bars in Singapore but I have no clue if it is in fact a localisation. It reminds me of the deep fried Mars Bars in Scotland. Most things deep fried are yummy. Mars Bar is yummy. So by logical deduction, a deep fried Mars Bar is double-yummy. Right?

Same concept applies here:
The Deep Fried Sushi

Smothered with mayo and roe, no less. This one was a simple tuna and cucumber maki, dipped in tempura batter and dunked in hot oil. Delish...

Is this one authentic Japanese? Can you find it in Japan?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Back in Manchester

There are a few good reasons why I disappeared over the summer, and they are as follows:

1. I've been on a Langkawi island trip with D on the back of a motorcycle

2. I've been snorkelling

3. I've been spending my time just chilling out and admiring one of my all time favourites of God's creations: the big blue sea

4. And finally, and most importantly - I got engaged!


Sunday, 31 May 2009

Castlefield - my walk into the city centre

This is St George's Island, a relatively new development by Dandara (a large mixed use property developer). St George's Island is made of five blocks of modern apartments (which kinda remind me of new HDB flats but no fear, there's nothing wrong with HDB flats and I love my flat very much. This is where I live, and for me the three biggest selling points of the apartment are:

1. The new-ness. No faulty windows or creaky floors. No cracked tiles or funny boilers.
2. The balcony which is accessible from all rooms within the flat through floor to ceiling sliding glass door-windows. Lots of sunlight and amazing to sit outside and just chill (or do pilates, sunbathe whatever - the balcony is massive compared to a lot of space-starved city centre apartments).
3. The proximity to the city centre without actually being in the city centre. I walk to work every day and it takes me about 20 minutes of leisurely walking. No buses shifting up and down the roads on the ground floor driving you nuts

So let me take you through my daily walk to work. Sorry I didn't get to take very many photos and the ones I did take didn't do very much to document the whole trip, and certainly not the excellent bars we have along the canal! I'll update this one when I get a chance to take more photos. Castlefield is extremely picturesque and so even for a photography noob like me, it's still pretty easy to capture good photos.

Geese and the canal. Yes we are inundated with geese and I have a love/hate relationship with these birds. They are pretty to look at but boy are they aggressive when you have (food) shopping bags in your hands. These geese have been completely urbanised and the sound of a rustling Sainsbury's plastic bag means food to them. The white bridge leads to the other side of the canal, a shortcut to Dukes 92, the Museum of Science and Industry, the White Lion and many other Castlefield gems. But we're keeping to this side of the canal to get to Deansgate station and beyond... into the city centre.

There are plenty of narrowboats going up and down the canal or just parked (docked?) at the sides of the canal. I often get the smell of woodfires as I walk to work, especially on a frosty winter's morning. Woodfires will always remind me of my little flat now. This dog is always around, s/he's really mellow and chilled out, and he loves lazing in the sun. Sometimes the boatowners put out knitted baby jumpers, pottery and other bits and bobs that they've made to sell to passers-by.

This is one of my favourite boats. It's definitely more modern than the others and looks out of place but there's something very cool about it. I love the nautical colours (blue and white). If you look beyond and into the background, behind the trees on the left, that's where the exit into the real Manchester city centre is. You go under a bridge (a motorway runs above it) and I always think of this exit point as being similar to the wardrobe in Narnia. Two different worlds, one bustly and concrete and the other chilled out and peaceful. I love Castlefield!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

First signs of summer

Newborn goslings! Fluffy little furballs with their baby down. I like to share little gems of Castlefield with you. These babies must have hatched a week or so ago and they are peddling their little webbed feet out through the canal that runs along my apartments into the city centre. WP and I had some crumpets in hand and decided to do a little test to see if they'll take to crumpets.

The parent geese were a little hissy at first but after some cajoling with pieces of crumpet, they were fine to let their young 'uns near us.

Nom nom nom

Arrghhh look at the little baby goose butt in the air! The crumpets sank very quickly and this one did a half dive to try to retrieve a sinking crumb. How clever, eh? They were able to fend for themselves and scurry for food despite being only a couple of weeks old max.

I love it that summer is finally here!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Oklahoma - Northern Quarter

WP, a friend and journalist, and I took a walk round the city and in particular, the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

By way of a very short background, Manchester city centre is further divided into sub-areas. Each of these areas are known for having certain features, be it posh, high street, bric-a-brac, ghetto-ropey, urban, industrial, academic or commercial. For example, I live in Castlefield and it is known for being regenerated, nu-posh and full of young professionals. However, it is debatable as to whether this falls within the "city centre" in the strict or loose sense. I love Castlefield and it is my favourite part of the city centre. I'll talk about this in a separate post.

Today it's the Northern Quarter, and in particular, a cute little shop called Oklahoma.

As the name suggests, the NQ lies in the northern part of the city centre, right above the convergance point in Piccadilly Gardens. If I could pick just three words to describe the NQ, I would say it is:

1. Hippie (you know, Earth-friendly, say-no-to-waste, save the planet, organic produce)
2. Individualistic (no high-street chains or mass production - just really bespoke boutiques and shops)
3. Artsy (Prints, music, painting, posters - you name it, the NQ's got it)

WP asked if I could help her take some photos of Oklahoma as she was going to write a review of the place in an article for an online magazine. Her camera had ran out of juice and mine was still running. As the ever professional journalist, she had spoken to the shop owner before to ask questions and find out about the history of the place. I will post a link to her review here once it's published. As for me, I thought I'd just share my experience as a first-time visitor and my thoughts on the shop and its products and services.

You will see from the photograph above that Oklahoma is hidden behind a pair of solid wooden doors, graced by a neon sign above them reading OkLaHoMa. Higgledy-piggledy (sp?) neon letters and a cute orangutanhouse-esque menu next to the front door - so far so good. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time, nor belly space for lunch but the place seems obviously vegetarian/vegan and in line with the general theme of NQ shops, is probably fair trade and organic. There was not a sliver of chicken (battery farmed or otherwise) in sight.

Walking into the shop, I missed the cafe section entirely as my attention was immediately wooed by an explosion of kitsch and quirky products strewn haphazardly within the store.

On closer inspection, this appears to be an organised mess of knick-knacks.

Enter Oklahoma:

The first thing you see

Little socks hanging on the washing line

They even rented out DVDs - off the beaten-track ones, not your normal blockbuster films.

I know, anyone want a flamingo for your living room? I like the bags in the background, really cute and you'll spot them a mile away on the carousels in airports.

Cards, reusable shopping bags made from vietnamese rice sacks, paper chains, unidentifiable colourful objects

Quirky one liner mugs, crystal curtains and wrapping paper

Pots of beauty potions - they even carry Burt's Bees - my favourite lip balms!

The side entrance to the cafe. Love the frilly blue brolly and flower power seats. Every piece of furniture was slightly different from each other.

I really like these lunchboxes, they remind me of Strawberry Shortcake - a ubiquitous fixture on our pencil cases and dresses as children back in Malaysia.

The patrons were mostly young adults dropping by for a coffee, cake and conversation. I didn't see any families with children but would

Earrings, headbands and bangles - WP informs me these are Oklahoma's bestsellers

Finally, my favourite item in the whole shop - these adorable rainbow candy cane earrings. I love these!! Fantastic Plastic - the puffy cloud pieces at the end of the rainbows are so cute.

My verdict: Oklahoma definitely impresses in terms of its decor and layout. It sells a concept rather than products. I could find very few items which I actually needed - this is probably a place to visit when you need to find a present for a friend, as a bit of a joke or otherwise. (No one really needs a rubber chicken laying a rubber egg, or a pink clay flamingo). In the good times, there is a definite market for things we don't need, and Oklahoma markets them well. It's a little bit too chaotic and frivolous for my personal taste, I'm a minimalist I'm afraid. However, I could see how people would enjoy coming here for a nosey. Oklahoma is a feast for the eyes, but as to whether I would actually pick something up worth taking to the till and paying for...

My favourite item was the rainbow earrings - yes I would wear them. As for everything else, they're fun to look at but that's about it. I'm sure there are tonnes of people in Manchester who love Superman glasses (the cups, not the spectacles) and Korean Pucca headbands. I do think it makes perfect business sense to set up the cafe next door as this was bustling on a Saturday.

If you know someone who loves the fun and quirky, this is definitely a winner. It's a one stop shop - the cards, wrapping paper and present can be purchased and you could probably be quite certain that you won't be getting the same thing as her other friends who went gift-hunting on the high street.

Monday, 13 April 2009


I was vegetarian for a good two months or so and here are my thoughts:

1. Being vegan is nigh impossible. If you think going vegetarian is a big change, veganism is an absolute LIFESTYLE change - one which I personally find too much trouble for what it's worth. I don't feel passionate enough about (not) consuming animal products to be motivated to say no to milk, butter and eggs which are in everything.

2. Being vegetarian is easy because my favourite things like mushrooms, aubergines, cheese and bread are available.

3. I put on (!!!) weight being vegetarian. I think it's the carb overload. Lets just move swiftly on.

4. My hair started thinning out when I gave up meat. I think it's the lack of iron and protein. Lets just move swiftly on.

5. I am certainly making a conscious decision to make healthy choices (no processed meat ever) but am looking forward to regaining some balance in what I eat.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

My first meme

1. What is your name : you know lah

2. A four Letter Word : nest

3. A boy's Name : noel

4. A girl's Name : nancy

5. An occupation : neurosurgeon

6. A color : navy

7. Something you'll wear : navy uniform??

8. A verb: nurse

9. A food : nata de coco

10. Something found in the bathroom : nook

11. A place : negeri sembilan

12. A reason for being late : nintendo ds overplay

13. Something you'd shout : no!

14. A movie title : narnia

15. Something you drink : nestle ice tea

16. A musical group : no doubt

17. An animal : newt

18. A street name : neston street

19. A type of car : nissan

20. The title of a song : never ever

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Vegan, with eggs

Image taken from

For the past month, I have made a conscious decision to give up all forms of meat. So far, it's actually worked out pretty well, much better than I expected. In fact, I don't actually miss meat!! Don't get me wrong, I love a good burger, grilled chicken and I adore any form of seafood. In fact, the hardest thing about being vegetarian would be the part where you give up seafood. Fortunately for me, fresh seafood in Britain is tres expensive, hence I never buy anyway. I did in the past buy frozen cod or frozen prawns but they lack flavour and are easy to give up. If I was in Malaysia on the other hand, things would be different - it would not be possible for me to give up fresh crab, lobster, freshly caught fish, mussels mmmmmMMMMMM as they are widely available. You know, the kind that still move before you chop their head off/ stab it / drop them in a hot pan.

There's more to give up, purely because I feel that a simple and easy line has to be drawn in order for me to shift the weight I have been so keen to lose. I want to lose 11 kgs.

From now onwards I will be vegan - i.e. no dairy products whatsoever (once I have finished up all the milky cheesy stuff in the fridge, there will be no wastage in my house!!). I will continue to eat eggs as I don't think I could give that up (yet!).

Two reasons for this: health & financial. Meat in general cost more than non-meat products. Cheese is an expensive part of my weekly food bill.

Wish me luck guys!!

Saturday, 7 February 2009


Normally D and I talk over the phone. We very seldom go on webcam because it's quite limiting - we have to stay put in front of the laptop, and hook ourselves up to the headphones and talk into the mic. I have a cordless phone at home:

Pro: Can move everywhere, do dishes, cook, tidy up...

Cons: I always forget where I put the darn phone, and so have to use my mobile phone to ring it. Sometimes, I also forget where I put the mobile phone - PROBLEMMM.

Anyway, so very rarely, we decide to go online and talk to each other over video conferencing, especially when his nephews are around because they want to talk to "mee shin". And they are so FLIPPIN CUTEEEE, I love watching them jump around and make faces. Matthew's 3 and Jake's 1 year old.

A couple of days ago, we decided to do just that. Finally when I was totally exhausted talking to the boys and trying to entertain them with silly faces, I asked D to shoo them away. He did, and then parked himself in front of the computer and talked to me. But his eyes were glued on the TV. Superbowl weekend - don't ask. It was fine, cuz I was surfing the net as well, and he was still talking to me. After awhile though he became a little quiet, with the odd exclamation like "urrgh! snap! whoooah! hooohooohooooooo!" when something exciting happens during the game.

I carried on chattering away about my day, and what he thinks about the heavy snowfall here in England, or how during the course of the weekdays we should spend time meeting with God and just being in His presence. He was doing his normal "mmhmm, yup, cool, yeah" mid-exclamation.

And then he moved slightly and all of a sudden he burst out laughing. I asked him what the matter was.

Diego: "Oh man I'm so sorry babe but I actually pointed the remote at you and tried to pause you."


Saturday, 17 January 2009

Winter '09: Breakfast for two - Sweet pancakes & spiced potatoes (21/12)

I woke up that morning, walked into the living room and poked D buried in the couch.

Me: Hey breakfast? Savoury or sweet?
D: Mpphrgghhh.
Me: Ok both.

Before I start, I just want to explain that these two breakfast goodies are NOT meant to be eaten together. Unless you're a little bit strange. And lets face it, we're all a little bit strange, which makes those who are perfectly normal the strange ones.

Think about it.

Right, first the pancakes. Cinnamon is actually one of D's favourite things. I like cinnamon too, but he takes his love for cinnamon to a completely different level. Cinnamon flavoured chewing gum anyone?

So I present to you a step-by-step guide to making Cinnamon Apple Caramel pancakes... from scratch.

First get half a cup of sugar, two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of water and bring to a simmer. Be careful, simmering sugar is VERY HOT. You want to get it to a point where the sugar has dissolved into a syrup, and the syrupy mixture turns a caramel brown colour, like so:

Prior to mixing the sugar, you will have of course been super organised and cored and diced some apples. Most people prefer the apples peeled, but I like the texture of apple skin, so I kept this on. Remember, you need to get the apples ready because there is a point where the bubbling caramel mixture turns into caramel and is ready to engulf the apples in its warm sugary love. Wait any longer, the sugar burns and there's no turning back. You'll have a pan of burnt sugar which you need to scour, and missed out on really good caramel.

So go ahead and dunk your apples in! Mix to coat and let it simmer awhile more.
Now take some cinnamon. I happened to be in Tesco when I got this but cinnamon is cinnamon, so any one will do. Haha, my thumb is FATSSSS.

Dunk it in baby. Liberally. Don't hold back. Mmmmm... Arllughghhhlllhhgghhh (*Homer Simpson style*)

Now for the pancake batter, this is the mixture I have been using since time immemorial. Well not really, since a French friend of mine taught me how her mummy makes it: One egg, one cup flour, half cup water, half cup milk, and a little bit of salt. Only I changed it a little bit, and tweaked it to how I like pancakes! One cup flour, one cup milk rested with a teaspoon of vinegar (makes a good buttermilk substitute) one egg, a little bit of salt. Simple right? But soooo good trust me.

Next spray the skillet with some oil and put a little bit of batter, swirling to form a thin pancake. When the top starts bubbling, it's a good time to flip. Unlike this prematurely flipped pancake.

Make a stackful. I'll present the final product in a bit :)

Whilst you're doing all this, you would have been boiling some diced potatoes for your Spiced Potatoes! I boiled these in a chicken stock for extra flavour. Mmmm..

Spray some oil in a pan, cook some diced onions until translucent and soft and lay the cooked potatoes in one layer (so they all get the chance to be coated in a lovely crispy outer layer). Season pepper, cayenne pepper and Lawry's Seasoned Salt.

Get a little closer...

When one side is to your satisfactory level of crispyness (crispiness?), flip them and do the same with the other side.

Dish and serve!

Here's what the pancakes looked like stacked and drizzled with apple caramel topping, and of course the potatoes: