Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bahasa Indonesia Pekerjaan Rumah Saya

Nasi ayam, kue coklat, daging sapi panggang, ikan salem dengan makaroni … saya gemar akan memasak se makan. Saya suka sekali malakukan percobaan dengan resep baru atau berusaha menciptakan piring yang saya sudah makan di kafe dan restoran tadi. Bagaimana karena saya sedang membekerja dari hari Senin sampai hari Jumat, saya bisa memasak makan siang pada hari Sabtu.

Sejak perjalanan ke Seoul dua Tahun yang lalu, saya sudah menyuka sekali Korean makanan. Oleh karena itu saya sudah malakukan kimchi saya sendiri dan bi bim bap. Keluarga saya suka kimchi chigae saya. Kimchi Chigae adalah daging dan sayursayuran pedas yang direbus dengan api kechil.

"The Computer says No...." My New Fav show

Little Britain has moved to USA... literally "Little Britain USA".

In this short season, they make fun of both the British and American sides of the house, with really crazy recurring characters from the original series as well as equally crazy new characters. My favourite "couple" are Mark and Tom, the supposedly straight definitely avid "gymmers".

As per Heel's request, the file will not be autoplayable. Must watch though!!! :D

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday Munchies 2 - Crazy Omelettes Day

The Boyfriend Fiance and I are going backpacking in Japan (in the dead of winter, we are nuts!) so we needed to buy backpacking gear. He had lost his luggage between San Francisco and Montreal while returning from a conference. It did come back later, after having a week-long sojourn in France (we have the stickers to prove it). Anyway the thing is dead as a doornail, after being cracked open by some arschloch official.

So we bought two 60l backpacks at Mustafa. I love Mustafa, especially with Deepavali around the corner. We had a great time squeezing through the crowds and checking out the mechandise on the streets and in the store. The street decorations were repetitive, a huge, disappointing reminder of the recession now upon us.

We went last Saturday after a light lunch (we had overshot our cholesterol limit at MacDingDong in the morning). While catching snippets the new buffet show on TV last Thursday, I became terribly fascinated by the chef churning out omelettes in perfect semi-circles. I was reminded of that episode while watching the Fiance chomp on Big Breakfast.

So I got home and started frying omelettes. I had one failed attempt where I poured in too much egg-milk mixture into the pan, and thus encountered difficulties flipping the omelette. So I made more (remember, my sunny side up episode at the chalet this year?).

A lot more.

About 9 mini tomato omelettes. Way too much Cholesterol. The F was convinced I was trying to do him in... so I fried a simple Farfalle dish. Two omelettes sandwiching a piece of Cheddar (hmm, maybe I was trying to kill him), and Farfalle fried with julienned carrots, onions and asparagus. The plastic looking stuff on top of the pasta is bonito flakes, if you are wondering.

But I digress. The F and I were exhausted after walking through the entire maze of Mustafa Centre (I got to see the Indian Army and Navy uniforms. I love the Navy uniform, though I wonder if the poor men will split their pants when they bend, because they are so tight! Nice asses, though rather visually and "imaginationally" disturbing...

So ladden with our various heavy packages, we popped over to the Tandoori Restaurant next door.

I was attracted by the cute "Superb!" declaration next to the description in the menu for the Butter Chicken, so we ordered that, 1 Puri, 2 Garlic Naans, 1 Chapati, and 1 Cauliflower fried with Potato (I remembered fondly the cauliflower I ate at an Indian NTU schoolmate's wedding) and Masala Tea. I loved the onion side dish that came with the Naan. The butter chicken was as described, pretty superb, with the just right amount of salty, sour and heat. The breads were pretty plain, but adequate in their way, if rather plain-looking. But the Cauliflower, while not being the one I had at the wedding, was very nice. Tandoori Restaurant's staff were attentive, and friendly (except for one Chinese waiter, who suddenly swooped in and cleared my dish without asking me first. Gave me a lovely whiff of Eau De Pit as well with his proximity. *Yeww*). The waitress was very nice to advise us to order ala carte instead of taking from the buffet (which was actually for some private function???), which was slightly expensive for the variety. The price however was rather steep (~$45).

320 Serangoon Road, #01-26 Serangoon Plaza, tel: 6294 2232

Saturday Munchies 1 - Bear 2 Bento

I went mad at Daiso and bought a really bizarre egg mould. We are talking star and heart shapes. I was rather doubtful of its effectiveness, though I have seen samples in some of the bento images on the Internet and books.

I decided to try it some Saturdays ago while giving my bento dishes a little airing.

It was an interesting attempt. Note: should insert into mould while hot, which I did. Unfortunately the egg yolks were not located at the centre of the egg, so the end effect was pretty ugly.

What you see in (clockwise from top): [1] fried dumplings (with homemade skin), rosti, boiled carrots and egg (heart shape), [2] sausage flowers and two rice bears (one with a cracked head. By the time I gotten everything ready for arranging into the containers, the rice had cooled down too much to give the bear a headache).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Arrogant or Insecure? Hitching Rides with Buddha

Will Ferguson likes to ask the helpful yet hapless Japanese who offered him a ride, if Japanese people are arrogant or insecure. Most said insecure, some said arrogant and insecure. Finally he encountered Katsuya-san.

"Arrogant or insecure? Or?" He looked at me as if to say, Well, there's your problem. Perhaps the problem is in the question itself. "We Japanese," he said confidently, "are not arrogant or insecure, we are both. You know, it is possible to be insecure in a very arrogant way - and vice versa. Look at America. I have always thought that you Americans manager to be dumb in a very smart way. Very smart." (Note: Will is Canadian)

I initially thought he asked this in retaliation for all the "harros" and "zis is a ben" announcements by annoying brats and "Japanese is number one" comments from the equally annoying adults. He also likes to retaliate to patronising xenophrobes who compliment him on his people's (apparently all white people are Americans) girth, by coolly replying that it wasn't because they, meaning the Americans are big, but that the Japanese are ...

Maybe Will asked the question because he considered the Japanese a paradox. They politely, hospitably treat Will and include him in the group, and yet remind him now and then that he is a foreigner, that he is different. Will will always be an outsider looking in, no matter when he is carrying the shrine with them, soaking in the bath with them, or even singing "Diane" in the Karaoke with them.

I have to say that Will himself is a paradox, he resents the invisible wall and yet he also takes advantage of it as well. He doesn't mind freeloading on the free rides, the free food the drivers ply on him and even sneaks into a bar behind a group of salarymen, hopeful that they would notice and include his horny self in their play. He did succeed, but he did not manage to touch a free thigh, because the salarymen were only interested in drinking, singing, bitching about office politics (conveniently whoever was on in attendance) and in the vice senior supervisor's (he is higher ranked than the senior vice supervisor, don't ask me why) case, promoting everyone, even Will.

One of the funniest incidents in the book occurred when the very pissed (do not read: angry) inn manager in Hokkaido, Mr Saito, became very worried that Will would not be able to sucker anyone into giving him a ride (disregarding the fact that Will had already made it across land and water all the way from Kyushu to Hokkaido). In fact it is quite ironic how all the Japanese drivers who stopped for William are adamnant that other Japanese people would not stop for him. Mr Saito scrawled drunkenly on a cardboard, this message in gradually smaller script:










let's be international friends!

The title was concepted from the Zen saying "If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him." According to the Ordinary Mind website, The idea was that the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, realised upon enlightenment that all beings are Buddhas, while the road is two-fold; the road outside where the road outside where we look outside ourselves for the ones who have all the answers, and the inner mind road, where we set up all the "shoulds" we must obey to turn ourselves into the Buddhas we don't believe we already are, but think we must become.
So "killing the Buddha" means killing or wiping out this fantasy image, and "the road" is two fold: the road outside where we look outside ourselves for the ones who have all the answers, and the inner mind road, where we set up all the "shoulds" we must obey to turn ourselves into the Buddhas we don't believe we already are, but think we must become.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Living without the omnipresent China

With the recent furore over China's dubious milk products, Yours Truly (who is very bored and about to do the "Cocker Spaniel" act) pondered on the mystery of human cheese, soya cheese (she is truly cheesy), and now she has read "A Year without 'Made in China': One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy" by Sara Bongiorni.
She, husband Kevin, son Wes, and daughter Sofie, embarked on a year-long crazy adventure of literally, trying to continue American consumerism while boycotting Chinese products and Walmart (her great hate for destroying family-run shops, landscape with their empty storefronts, and squeezing vendors) in 2005.
I would say it was a beautiful ideal, but an ideal it is. It is certainly not infallible, when Sara had to cajole her sister-in-law to circumvate her rebellious husband's demand of a play pool for the kids by giving him one China-made on his birthday. Often even when the product does not come from China, the box it came in was from China. And does one consider "Made in Hongkong" as "Made in China"? These were some of the many "trying" issues they encountered while crippled for gift ideas, resorted to a Mexican pinata, a tiny German doll and Taiwanese swords etc.
Apparently gifts, even though China-made, are acceptable, even very appreciated by the family. In fact the biggest obstacles often happen on the toy front. The children even subconsicously "monkey see, monkey do" copied their mother, by picking up toys in the shop and frown while saying "China". The irony was not lost on Kevin, when Sara's narration of her toy-starved children's antics at the mall to her friend, who cried and gathered up all the abandoned toys left in an empty hurricane shelter, and gifted them to her kids.
"Well, that's just great," he says. "We've become a charity for deprived children".
Like Sara concluded herself at the end of the year long adventure: "But is a lifelong China boycott what I really want? I am not at all certain that it is. On the one hand, it's been satisfying to learn firsthand that China really hasn't taken over the planet, or our lives, at least no entirely, although sometimes it looked that way, especially in the toy and electronics aisles and at the shoe store. Of course, we're not out of the woods yet. I have a feeling China is just getting started when it comes to world domination.
On the other hand, we have a broken blender, a stuck kitchen drawer and a television that's fading fast, all problems that seem to demand Chinese solutions, We are still boiling water for coffee in the mornings because we don't have a coffeemaker, and if we don't give up the boycott then maybe we never will. Lots of little things in life come from China: birthday candles, squirt guns, light swords. These are small, inconsequential things that cannot properly be described as important, but I'm not sure I'd like to live my entire life without them..."


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