Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Since the last post...

I have been watching Monk like crazy. I'm up to Season 8 now, almost the end of the series. After 12 years, will Mr Monk finally catch his wife's murderer? (I know he will. The last two episodes are called Mr Monk and the End.)

In the kitchen, I've been making things like mad. Panna cotta, Chicken and spinach lasagne, Chocolate Mousse, Jam Biscuits, Chocolate Cookies and Norwegian Cinnamon Buns. In the space of a month to boot. I'm grateful to E for eating up everything =P It's such a boost to know that your creations did not fail and is being hungrily devoured.

It's currently the Easter holidays here. For the first time in the 2+ years I've been here I finally realised how quiet the city is during the Easter weekend (Good Friday til Easter Monday). Previously I've always been holed up in IH or busy with other things to go out. But this year, living outside and with no food in the fridge, I had to go out to eat. Well, an empty city and closed restaurants greeted me. Thank goodness for Chinese restaurants. Even the supermarkets were closed!! For some reason, I suddenly wanted to bake the Norwegian Cinnamon Buns on Good Friday, as I was walking home. I knew I had everything I need in the pantry to make the buns, except for BUTTER. All the way home, I was moaning "butter, butter" until an exasperated boyfriend told me to shut up and said he'd walk me to the Indian convenience store to see if it was open and had butter. Well, it was open and had butter, so when he got back from his gaming session that night, there were two trays of cinnamon buns ready to be baked =D

Currently I'm eying the Strawberry Charlotte and Strawberry Mirror Cake recipes. But they're really complicated and time-consuming, so I'll just leave it to a very special occasion before I make it.

I'm into photography lately. To be more specific, Lomography. It's a style of photography whereby the photos look "old-style", for the lack of words. Google it and you'll understand. There are basically two ways to achieve the lomo effect. The first is to just Photoshop your photos. The second is to buy a cheap lomo camera and take the photo. Now when I mean cheap lomo cam, it's really cheap. Cheap to the point that the photographers themselves don't even hesitate to crack open, drill, tape, paint and do other horrific stuff to the camera. Well, I got myself one after some research. And at the same time, got two friends to get it as well =P I'm interested in the "panorama" effects that can be achieved with the camera - a panorama in lomo terms is many pictures taken overlapped to create a huge scenery or panorama. When printed out it's going to be massive. Like 5 feet massive if you want =D

Well anyway, back to my assignments and Monk.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Baby Steps in the Art of Baking

I always wonder why I'm asked whether I DoTA. Is it because they want to find a girl gamer to play with? For that matter, I actually have played DoTA before, back when I was a first year, mixing around with a big bunch of gamers playing Catan and DoTA. It was an insane first year, and I loved it. I've never played DoTA much since then, preferring to concentrate on other activities. I always sucked at DoTA anyway, not being able to react fast enough or concentrate on the main screen and mini map at the same time. So I'm always the "free kill".

Since dropping DoTA my new passion is casual games. Now all of you gamers out there will groan and say that's boring, but hey, that's what rocks my boat. I don't complain about you guys DoTAing every night, you don't complain about me playing point-and-click games, capische?

Now that I have my own kitchen, I'm constantly going through food/baking blogs for recipes. I prefer it when a blogger has tried the recipes before, as they give feedback on the results and such. So I've been browsing through some of my favourite baking blogs and bookmarking whatever that took my fancy. To be honest, I've never baked much before, and whatever recipes I've tried before mostly ended in failure.

Like the cookies that melted into one huge cookie.

Like the cakes that never rose or burnt.

Like the time I used self-raising flour and the tarts ended up tasting funny.

This year, I started off with a banana cake and some chocolate truffles. No pictures, sadly. I baked it on the last Friday in February with the help of a eager-but-inexperienced friend. The banana cake did not rise and the cream cheese icing turned out wrong. The chocolate truffles came out right, but since I decided to forgo the normal "rolling in cocoa powder" and instead decided to coat it with melted chocolate, some turned out to look like shit. Still, it tasted pretty good, and my boyfriend appreciated it (since it's every otaku's dream to receive Valentine chocolate, late as they may be).

After that, I decided to make a cake for a friend's birthday. Now, after the banana cake fiasco, I was quite scared that something wrong would happen, so I tried to follow the recipe as accurately as I could. I decided on a chocolate strawberry cake as the said friend loves strawberries. Now, the recipe called for the chocolate cake to be cut into two and for the middle to be layered with white ganache, whipped cream and strawberries. The ganache tasted funny, I ended up using more whipped cream than the recipe called for. Thank goodness I had 4-5 bottles of cream on hand, and I ended up using 3 bottles to make the cake...goodness.

Guess which is mine?

Despite not looking fancy at all, the birthday girl was happy. Guess half a kilo of strawberry goodness will do that to you =) I even got complimented on the taste. Apparently it was better than the sticky-date pudding one of the other girls at the table had the night before.

Flushed with success, I decided to make a chocolate molten cake for dessert the next day. I had invited my boyfriend for dinner - just chicken soup with rice - and I decided to finish with something fancy. Now, the recipe called for 10 minutes of baking (overbaking will cause it to just be a chocolate pudding cake, not molten), the last time I did that, it ended up becoming said pudding. I changed the settings on the oven, and this time... one of the cakes turned out right, another turned out to be pudding. The reason was because I poured more batter into one ramekin, so the cake in that ramekin was only partially cooked, and the other was mostly cooked, resulting in a pudding.

As I knocked the cakes out onto dessert plates to be served with boysenberry ice-cream, my inquisitive boyfriend was standing there. The first cake popped out and immediately molten chocolate oozed out of the cake. The second smaller and more cooked cake came out dry.

"Ok, that's mine." He pointed to the cake resting in the pool of chocolate.

"Of course it's.... Hey!"

That's how it's supposed to look like. I failed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I think now I get the meaning that cooking is easy. So far I've survived one month plus of my own cooking whahaha (haven't died or poisoned yet). And in the process, I've cooked noodles in black sauce, steamed chicken pak cham kai and steamed pork with salted fish FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME!! The only reason I can do it is because it's all simple dishes, and it's cooked a lot in my house so I've absorbed the recipe by osmosis haha.

It's almost the end of the 6th week in my summer course, and next week is already the exams. There's no swot vac, you're expected to study fully the entire 6 weeks. What do you expect when you're just doing 2 subjects in 6 weeks. Sadly Chinese New Year is just before my exams, so I can't celebrate :( Valentine's Day is also on the same day as Chinese New Year this year!!! But who cares, I can't celebrate both. That's what happens when you're far from home. So much for anticipating my first Valentine's.... *sob*

So far I never update this blog because I rarely do interesting stuff lor.. I'm the "stay-at-home-and-rot" type. Whenever I get invitations to go out, I usually decline those by guys 50% of the time. The reason is because I feel more comfortable around girls~ Who else can you be a girl around than another girl? With guys, they only talk about games and technology.

Okay anyway, back to study... hopefully after the exams I'll actually end up doing something fun...

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm writing this in a fit of boredom. Here I am, in Melbourne at 2.45am. I really should be doing my assignment, unfortunately, I do not have the necessary program needed to compile the data into statistics. I've just finished boiling some barley water and it tastes good - not bad for someone trying it out for the first time.

My December holiday in Malaysia was great thanks to my family and friends. Jia Yi, who managed to squeeze some time in her busy schedule to see me and who very sweetly put up with my complaining. She also brought me a gift from Bangkok! Thanks girl! Steph, who accompanied me shopping and took me out for New Years. It was the best New Year I have ever celebrated, thanks to her and Ross. It was also great meeting up with my cousin and having a girly chat. There are things that I can talk to her about that I find hard to tell other people, and talking to her makes me feel better and freer. From her accounts her boyfriend is a very sweet and devoted guy; I'm really happy for her. He sounds way better than mine, but I'm not complaining. E is sweet in his own way too =)

It now hits me why long distance relationships break up so easily. I miss him so much even though it's only been a month and a bit. Another two months to go before I can see him again. It's frustrating, but at the very least we can talk to each other everyday, and not wait weeks for snail mail.

Since I've moved out of residential college, I now have to cook for myself. It gets tiring after awhile, and since I have a habit of cooking enough at a time for 2-3 meals, I end up eating the same food a lot. It gets boring after awhile. I want to experiment and cook new stuff, but cooking for one is hard. Cooking anything that's more advanced than just simple will result in too much leftovers. And really, is it worth making something like dumplings if you just want 3-4 pieces? I think not. It would be easy to just buy it, IF I wasn't currently allergic to seafood and trying to abstain from eating red meat. It's chicken all the way, baby. I want to see how long I can avoid eating pork in Porkland.

I really should try fried rice next.

Monday, December 7, 2009

And once again I'm back in Malaysia for a month's break.

The past one month was pretty rough on me. One-and-a-half-week's cramming for Business Finance and a management accounting subject, followed by a week's study for Corporate Law, and a bloody one and a half day's ultracram for Intermediate Fin Accounting. It drives in the point to me that consistent study is really important - if I hadn't done all my tutorial work for IFA throughout the semester, I would have screwed my exam up so badly because I wouldn't have understood a thing, thanks to Consolidation. Can't say I've not been warned...

Exams ended on Friday the 20th, and I spent the next few days relaxing with E until our parents' arrived in Melbourne (no more private time for us....). During the week I had to plan things down to the day as I had to move my belongings to the new apartment me and Kat rented, and also to collect stuff like the TV and washing machine. It was a bit hectic, but it all went okay, and by the time I left for Malaysia the apartment was all homey and wonderfully cosy. Now me and Kat just have to wait for her furniture to arrive (yay for sofas!!)

During the week I was feeling down and somewhat depressed over the state of my relationship that I picked a fight with E, that, thankfully, I managed to settle in less than 24 hours, with help from Kai.

I think that one important factor in relationships is having someone outside of the relationship to talk to about your relationship problems. I had Kai to confide into (even though it somewhat annoys E). Not any friend will do, however. In my opinion, they have to have these traits:

  • must be impartial and doesn't take sides - important so that when you tell him/her your problems they must be able to step back and see both sides of the problem. You're annoyed that he doesn't spend time with you - what if he really is busy?
  • someone who have experience
  • preferably someone who knows both of you, or is at least close to you
Of course, in order to make the relationship work, you need to be honest with your partner. If you have problems with him/her, say it! They might not realize what they're doing is upsetting you! I'm a hypocrite in saying this, as I once got depressed over something he did not do and I did not tell him that. Lately, however, I talked to E about certain stuff that had been bothering me for ages, and the result was that I realized that I've been worrying over nothing. I could've smacked myself for all those times I was feeling down when it could have easily been solved by talking to him!! (Take note that we're not an old couple - we've just been together for a few months).

Next post will also be about relationships - to my friends, please bear with me!! :P It's just such a waste to keep all this info to myself, so I am writing this here as a reminder to me and as knowledge to whoever stumbles into this blog. Until then...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Manifest 2009

Thursday, and I'm in the middle of finishing my assignment for Business Finance. What a headache. Annuities and Capital Market Lines and lots and lots of formula. Not exactly my cup of tea, but hey, I'll manage.

Manifest was waaaay awesome. This was my first time attending! Instead of Melb Uni, like last year, they had it in the Melbourne Showgrounds this year. Had to wake up at 7am to prepare, and catch the tram to the Showgrounds. Tram 19 to the city, and then waited nearly half an hour for Tram 57 to Manifest. Unfortunately, the wait was rendered useless as when the tram came, it was filled to the brim with otakus! T_T Instead of cramming in, we took a Maxi cab with 3 other guys stranded at the tram stop like us. And they paid for our fare! Yatta! ^_^

Once there I went to register, get my pass, and then made my way to the Auction. Here, people who want to get rid of their anime-related stuff can have it auctioned off to other otakus. Some things of note: pimp juice, Ouran High magnets, tons of manga, figurines, as well as.... an inflatable Pocky. Evan bid and won a Toradora illustration book, a beautiful and high quality work *envy* while Emir won the Saber illustration book (at a high cost!) which put him into shock.

After that, the next event was the Anime Idol, where finalists sing to win the title of Idol. Not bad, the best singer was the Azumaria cosplayer from Chrono Chrusade, who sang the CC OP. The guys went wild over her, she having a good, somewhat childish voice, and a moe look, which all lolicons rave about. Halfway through they had a break, and invited the audience to come up and dance the Lucky Star OP. Of course, the guys all turned as one to me and went "GO", since I actually learned the dance steps, and in the end I caved in to peer pressure T_T.

The Activities Hall was really cool, with many traders selling anime-themed wares. Had a great time looking around, and got myself K-On! bookmarks, a simple Mokona keychain, and... a pair of cat's ears. Cute! Met up with Nat Tan later and went DDR with her too!

Overall, a great weekend, and if anyone is interested in photos, check out Facebook. Most were taken by Mani.
Nathan, Emir, Evan and Chee Yean, Mani as photographer

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Life trudges on, and now it's August. It's currently Week 4 of the semester - in another 2-3 weeks I'll be sitting for my mid-sems, and I'm waaaay unprepared for it! Time flies too fast when you have plenty of things to do. Not that I'm as busy now as last semester. No more Cafe and Play for me. No more committee work, thank you. I'll just enjoy being free and available and stress-free. Sometimes, a break is needed to recharge and to relax, before plunging in to the next big challenge out there.

I'm already considering moving out of IH next year. I've been thinking about it for a few months already, but now I've made my decision. Goodbye IH, hello my new place. I took a look at the rental properties offered and their prices to check out the average rent I'll be paying. Boy, it sure is expensive for one person to live on her own! The cheapest option, of course, would be to rent a house, and cram as many people as possible into it (we're talking sqeezing two people to a room, and sticking someone in the garage). But I'd prefer a small place, with just another person. I enjoy my privacy too much to sacrifice it. Currently I'm in love with a beautiful apartment in Swanston St, just down from the uni. It's a tiny two-floor apartment (how awesome is that??!) and it's offered at a very very very reasonable rate. Now I just need to go find myself a housemate. E is out, as he's moving in with his friends. I'd love to have him, since he can cook. (Yes, I'm pathetic.) Hopefully he'll remember me from time to time - I have too little close friends now to lose them. Oh, and cross my fingers that the apartment will be still around until the end of the year.

One of my wishes came true. I finally got a soft-toy! Not that I didn't have any, but this is the first time someone actually gave me one. It's an Aspergillus oryzae (see Moyashimon the anime, and you'll know what I'm talking about). I pretty much freaked the kind giver out by tying a huge blue ribbon around the oryzae's head to change it into a her :D

This weekend would mark the beginning of Manifest (Melbourne's Anime festival) and a birthday party that I'm currently planning. Maybe there'll be updates later :) For now, toodles!