July 2013 Archives

in family first |

Still at parents’ place. Hiding out for the day, it’s too hot to go anywhere but I guess I’ll head home tonight after dinner. It’s really nice to stay with them once in a while.

in eating and drinking |

buffetcrab01 buffetcrabprawn02 buffetcrabprawn03

Went with parents to a hotel buffet, they have senior discount and we all get 25% off with our credit cards. The main attraction is alaskan king crab legs. I got a whole plateful, they keep refilling so there was no danger of running out. Initially I just peeled and ate them like everyone else, then I decided to shell it all and save it to eat in one go. Made a nice salad with the crab leg meat and fresh prawns.

There were other food too. Other salads, pasta to order, various skewers, chicken rice and hot dishes like braised beef, lamb curry, chicken. For dessert it was pancake, ice cream, chocolate fountain and fruits. The cakes pastries were disappointing, they were too sweet, too dry, or generally not tasty at all.

in eating and drinking |


It’s probably only a slight exaggeration to say that I can make this chocolate mousse in my sleep. I’ve done it so many times, and served it to so many people, it’s sort of a signature dish of mine. Mum felt like it, so I made it and tried to teach her. Usually I make it from dark toblerone, but we couldn’t find it so I used a good quality Belgian 70% dark chocolate.

Four ingredients only, and 4 steps:

  1. melt 300g chocolate and a knob of butter over a bain marie
  2. separate 3 eggs; add chocolate mixture to egg yolks when melted and cooled — slowly, otherwise there’d be scrambled eggs
  3. whisk egg whites, fold into chocolate mixture
  4. whisk 500ml whipping cream, add to chocolate mixture, leave in fridge to set for at least 1 hour

The end result was smooth and very rich, the chocolate was good. Sprinkled a little grated chocolate on top for decoration. We liked it.

in eating and drinking |


At parents’ and trying a new recipe for fake cheesecake made from yogurt and tofu. Supposed to be a quick recipe. The problem is, mum doesn’t have a cake tin. So I made the digestive crumb in dessert glasses. Combined 250g firm packaged tofu with 300g mango yogurt. The mixture was pretty lumpy, the recipe said to mix in a food processer which obviously we don’t have, so I sieved it. Added some diced mango and a little gelatin to set.

The mixture was still pretty lumpy, and there was probably too many mango pieces. When set, it looked like rather unsuccessful rice pudding. Tasted nice though, especially topped with even more delicious fresh mango pieces and a small drizzle of honey. It’s like sweet tofu, but with a little creaminess from the yogurt. I can see how the fake cheesecake version may be good. Only for people who like tofu though, and the idea of sweet tofu isn’t to everybody’s taste. Nice low calorie dessert. Will try with mixed berries yogurt and strawberry topping next time.

I really have to work on following recipe portions and presentation.

in eating and drinking , on the relationship front |


Badminton with mm after lunch. I went to her place early to try to fix her airport express, which was mine and is almost 10 years old. But to no avail, she’ll have to use ethernet until she can get the ISP to switch her to a wireless modem.

In terms of badminton, we’ve progressed slightly to the point where we were trying to win points against each other, slightly. Her way is to drop the shuttlecock just over the net and my way is to get some height and smash it. She doesn’t seem to like the shuttlecock heading straight towards her so I eased up on the smashing. Fun game, even though rallies were short, we played almost the full hour, just taking a few mins’ rest halfway through.

After showering, it was time for our feast. Salami and cheese from last year. Gigantic, thick scallops and sweet prawns we ate as sashimi. Chicken wings. Edamame and a cold starter she made from sea fungus, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic and ginger. Just one small glass of rosé each.

I napped whilst she played piano. And then it was time to leave. I felt weird. She gave me very little notice, only told me when I arrived, that she’d booked a foot massage session at 8.30pm. So it kinda meant I got kicked out just after 7pm, and I was a bit hurt that she didn’t ask if I wanted to join. She did drive me to a nearby station so I could catch the minibus home. I dunno, it’s the state of our relationship that always catch me unawares.

in going places |


After much deliberations, we think we’ll go to Japan this year for our big holiday. Looking back, the last time we visited was 2008, just before I went to Chicago. Wow, time flies. We are partial to the Osaka/Kyoto area this time, with possible day trips to Nara, Kobe, Arima spa and the Yamazaki distillery.

in eating and drinking |


Went to a local Irish pub with sis and gis. Their wine was apparently rubbish so we had a pint of house ale (me) and magners (sis) instead. They also have a large whisky menu, but I wasn’t in the mood. Anyway, for dinner I ordered fish and chips. Came in a faux newsprint paper, quite a large portion with 2 large pieces of unknown white fish and lots of chips.

Still suffering from a cold I contracted a few days ago, went through a whole box of tissues already. Not much of an appetite. Ate all of the fish, about half the batter and…5 chips. Really not much of a carb person today.

in eating and drinking |


Okra seems to be an acquired taste. I’ve always been suspicious of it because it’s slimy and I never know how to prepare it. Then we had it at a Japanese buffet, where they served them grilled on skewers, and they were really nice. There are methods to lower the slime quotient which basically minimises how long the okra is in contact with water.

Bought a couple of bags from the market, not expensive at all. Typical southern cooking method is to deep fry it, or use it in gumbo. What I did, I just heated the grill pan to smoking hot and grilled them quickly for 10mins. Didn’t cut off the tops until just before throwing into the pan. Seasoned with s&p. Simple, crunchy, not slimy at all and very nice.

in family first |


Parents’ anniversary today, we all went to the Indian buffet at Jojo club. No okra today, but there were 2 paneer dishes. Everything quite spicy though. I’m still not feeling very well so I didn’t have much appetite. Mango lassi all round, pretty artificial, but necessary to fight the heat. The best thing, buy 4 get one free so we only paid for 5 lunches.

in on the relationship front |

She took the afternoon off and we went on a drive. First to a place where she bought coffee and we had a quick lunch at a nice diner place. Then onto Tai Po. Got a bit sidetracked looking for parking and stumbled across the famous wishing tree. Can’t throw wishes onto the tree anymore, it’s falling down. We had a snack then went back to town, market and walked around. I was coughy and not feeling too well so we skipped dinner and she took me home.

in how the day went |


Walked around aimlessly in the afternoon. Ended up at sis’ place. Went with them to the yacht club, they swam in the pool whilst I read and enjoyed a glass of rosé. Dinner at the bistro, had calves’ liver and mashed potato, been a while.

in being healthy |

8.01km 1.12.57hr 9.06min/km (14.39min/mi)

Not much to be proud of, I don’t think I’ve run a 9min km before. Ugh. I haven’t been running for 1 month and quite honestly, I’m not enjoying running at all here. Hot, humid, pollution, too much traffic, too many ignorant people blocking the path, bad route. Yes, all excuses. But, well. I went slowly, almost shuffling. So slow that I was overtaken by a walker. Sigh. Still, 5 miles is 5 miles.

in eating and drinking |


Went especially with sis and gis to this bar at happy hour, braving the friday night crowd, so we could have their 500g burrata. Gis loves the burrata at pizza express and this one was much larger, although IMO less tasty. What is burrata? Read about it at the kitchn. It’s not mozzarella, although it’s similar in taste and texture. To my not so great palatte, there’s a small difference but that’s it. Expensive too.

in workstuff |


I can barely believe it. A whole year with nothing happening in terms of opportunities and work/business stuff and two things happen at the same time in just one week. It’s as if I’m either blessed or being tested. I hope the former.

in eating and drinking |


Early start. 9.30am meeting with the consultancy. It’s been weeks since I last interviewed with them, and I had written the whole venture off. The meeting with a new director went very well. We met at a coffee shop, he had some breakfast and I tried eating a banana bread (managed 1/3). Talked for 2 hours. I’ve never heard of an interview meeting lasting 2hrs. Positive feeling.

Met mm and a colleague for drinks at a peanut peeling place. Shared a buffalo wings starter and tried to go to pizza express for dinner. We were full from the peanuts that all we could manage was one small slice of pizza, a couple of stuffed mushrooms and some salad each. Took the rest home. Lots to think about.

in eating and drinking |


Met up with mm to see the shopfront from yesterday. Dinner at our usual Korean place — bibimbap, tofu soup, topokki. Everything quite spicy. She hasn’t been feeling well, the spiciy stuff should help, at least that’s our theory.

in workstuff |


I walked 2 hours in very heavy rain to see this. It’s an empty shopfront. More to come, perhaps, may be.

in eating and drinking |


Went over to help sis tidy up her flat, she’s about halfway through unpacking and putting things away only after 1-2 days, yay.

After dinner with parents we headed over to the LKF beer festival. When we were in the taxi it started pouring, so we had to take cover and wait for the rain to stop. The whole LKF area was pedestrianised and there were stalls selling beer and food. We only tried one craft beer stall, got a tangarine and a rather hoppy beer. Some other stalls had quick games. We missed getting bar towels but managed to get some finger lights.

It started raining heavily again. After sheltering under a leaking canopy for a while, we decided to brave the downpour and head home. She went to the FCC to get a taxi and I headed downhill to get a bus.

in eating and drinking |


Pizza and rosé at mm’s place for lunch, we had stuff to talk about so I went over. Tired afterwards so we each napped where we were sat.

She wasn’t feeling very well, but made the effort to go to her niece’s 5th birthday party. Just family and there was a lot of food — spare ribs, chicken wings, lamb rack, pasta, 2 types of salad, grilled prawns, nachos and a hello kitty birthday cake. And sangria too. Was late when we left.

in family first |


Went over to the new place in the afternoon to help with unpacking. Movers had gone by then. Put books on shelves, moved furniture and the like. Dinner at the Scottish pub, a nice set dinner — pumpkin soup, roast lamb with trimmings, ice cream and a glass of house wine.

Went with sis to a birthday party of her friend’s son. Irish pub this time. Met some old friends. May be found a business venture. To be continued.

in family first |


Sis moving day 1. I went over to her new place to help her clean. Lunch at a sushi place — sushi salad, spicy salmon roll, chirashi and we ordered additional uni sushi and a sake. Back to her old place to meet with parents and watch the movers. To the new place for unpacking. Dinner with mum at a Vietnamese place.

in family first |

Long day hanging out with Sis. Took her to see my financial adviser so she can get an idea of what investments she can do if she wanted to. Then to the bank for her errands. Steak lunch at the pub near her place, more errands. Finally ended up at another pub for wine and dinner with her old college friend. Just as we were walking out from the restaurant, it started absolutely pouring. She managed to go home quickly, I stood at the minibus stop for a while trying to stay out of the rain before one came by. Tiring day, but nice.

in eating and drinking |

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Went to a tapas bar near the office for lunch with mm, she called me up mid-morning. Not cheap but very nice and delicate plates. Beet & pear salad on goat’s cheese and some sand; lovely steak tartare on very thin melba toast; cuttlefish with chorizo, broad beans and mint. Dessert of custard tart from a nearby bakery.

She had to go back to work, so I went to get my hair cut. Sam moved to a new place, older and more crowded. Not the greatest shop interior but we’ll get used to it.

in eating and drinking , family first |


Met up with sis for lunch, she took me to sushi. Had a set that included appetiser, chopped fish chirashi, small bowl of udon, steamed egg, fruit and coffee/tea. Hung out at her flat in the afternoon, trying not to be too tired.

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Dinner with parents and sis for late birthday dinner for sis. Went to the restaurant at the market that we had to get there before 6pm. Had golden prawns, steamed clams, chicken and vegetables. Got a bottle of wine at the wine shop nearby, only HKD30 corkage. Nice meal. Long day, quite tired because I woke up early.

in being healthy |


I know I need to start running again, it’s been far far far too long and I’m losing my fitness. So I got gerared up, went out and…it started pouring. Cats and dogs. With thunder. Yes, a real runner cares nothing about the weather, but I’m not feeling very brave today. Went home and did some weights.

in how the day went |


Took the ferry to Lamma island, we hadn’t visited in ages. It was a hot day, but some breeze and occasional drizzle made it more or less bearable. Wanted to walk towards the beach and a sweet tofu stall, but followed the wrong sign and ended up on a rather remote path. Good exercise though, a nice hour of hiking. Finally examined google maps more closely and turned back, finding the right way to the beach and the stall.

Ferry back to town, taxi to a restaurant at the market. Had steamed fish, squid ink fish balls with spaghetti, stir-fried clams and vegetables. Pretty dehydrated so stayed off the alcohol.

in eating and drinking |


Went with Sis to a tapas place for drinks. They don’t have happy hour, no 2-for-1, no lower prices. They have a few choices, I tried a Barbera for the first time, nice. The trade off for no happy hour is that they have free tapas. Bread rolls, stuffed tomatoes, fried balls, prawns, tortilla omelette and later a spicy pasta.

Visited a polynesian bar called Honi Honi afterwards. Disappointing — watered down cocktails, no polynesian atmosphere except the glasses and some decorations. Finished at the FCC for satay, calamari and cheesecake. Macallan 18 year sherry cask.

in eating and drinking , on the relationship front |


It’s July 4th but it doesn’t have too much significance now that I’m not in Chicago. It’s really hot but I needed food so I braved the heat to go to the market and supermarket to get some vegetables, fruit, milk and the like.

A small nod to a July 4th tradition, met with mm for korean bbq. Went to the AYCE place my parents like. Took our time, ate lots and chatted. It’s good to be spending time together again.

in going places |


Arrived NRT at 2pm. Long line at additional security, looked like several flights came in at the same time. I didn’t have my boarding pass yet, and the CX counter said it’d only open 1hr before boarding. I didn’t want to wait so I went over to the gate of an earlier flight and got it from the agents there.

Didn’t shower. Bought a Yamazaki 12yr at only ¥4,500. Watched the plane arrive, boarding was a little late because of late arrival but we ended up arriving early anyway. Caught a nice sunset on the way, the pink clouds were just like candyfloss. My trolley bag came out relatively quickly but there was a longer wait for the duffel. Home at around 10.15pm. Total travel time 26hrs door to door.

in going places |

dal144dfwbfastbbq dal145dfwbeerita

Even though my flight wasn’t till 11am, the airport shuttle pickup was 7.15am. Got to the airport around 8am, had to queue for counter check in after not being able to use the self check in terminals. There was a woman who wanted to take her 2 dogs and there was a problem with either their cages or taking them in general, she was screaming and in tears. Probably didn’t do research or notified the airline beforehand. Typical entitled dog owner.

Plenty of time after security. Had a brisket barbeque sandwich, it satisfied my hunger but was pretty dry. Tried a cocktail called beerita — regular margarita with a bottle of corona stuck in the glass. The beer came out as we sipped the margarita. Pretty nice.

I only had my backpack so was able to board early with the “small bags” group. I’d changed to an aisle seat so I could walk around. Watched some films, had meatballs & rice, sandwich, pizza and my neighbour offered me a big piece of chocolate. Lots of diet coke.

in going places |

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Breakfast was at Whataburger, another fast food place. I had one of their popular burgers, and it was…a burger. Service was pretty poor too. Took the shuttle to the DART light rail station, the nearest one was Lovers Lane. $5 for a day pass. The trains were new and, well, I was impressed there was public transport at all.

I wanted to go to the hard rock café so we got off at west end station. This is the historical district with restaurants and stores selling western stuff. Didn’t buy anything at hrc because they had a repeat design. Continued walking in the sun and heat around the city, pass the museum of nature of science and to the central district. Stopped at a CVS and then at a square to rest.

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Continuted south towards city hall and the pioneer park cemetery. There were old plots there at the cemetery. One thing that struck me was how deserted the city seemed, on a weekday. Although most working people would be indoors, there were a lot of empty shopfronts and office buildings. We saw a sign for a supermarket and got excited, by the time we reached the entrance we saw that it had closed down. We also got excited about a steakhouse, which was also closed down when we got there. Perhaps the local economy isn’t doing too well. What a shame.

Next to the cemetery was the huge convention center. We went inside to look for the loo, and to enjoy some aircon for a bit. Was absolutely surrounded by teenage girls, there was a schools volleyball championship going on. Actually even at the hotel there were parties of volleyball kids so we weren’t surprised to see them. We made our way out of the convention center and walked back north. Stopped by an outdoor sculpture of a herd of bronze cattle, cowboys and horses that showed a typical cattle drive scene. Very lifelike and as they say, everything is bigger in Texas.

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Back near the west end district was the JFK memorial. An imposing square of concrete walls that surrounded a simple granite block. Our final stop was at the Bryan log cabin, a historical landmark associated with John Neely Bryan, the founder of Dallas.

It was mid-afternoon, and we had set our hearts on steak. Went to one place that was closed and ended up at Palm’s. Shared a strip steak, fries, spinach, potato gratin and I had a beer. Back at the hotel by late afternoon, had a drink with a couple of friends still at the hotel, rested in the room for the rest of the day.

flickr set here, including the barbeque sandwich and beerita cocktail I had at DFW when I flew out.


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