Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gadget Hunting Over

Finally got my hands on the gadgets in my wishlist. A laptop, iphone and finally a new camera. Thanks for all tips and advise from you great fellow bloggers, got myself a Canon G11. Now gotta familiarise myself with all that functions..Hmm..where's that manual again?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, May 24, 2010

Trip to Far, Far Away Land

Am over the moon! Soon, Mr Hubs is bringing me to one of the beautiful cities in the far, far away land ;) The more reason I have to get a new camera fast! (Ada aje excuse nak shopping kan?)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The French Recipes

Apologies to dear readers for delaying this entry. Blame it on the late nites spent at work. I sempat curi2 baca your blogs aje.. Anyway, here are the much awaited recipes by Laura Calder, copied directly from the recipe handouts given to us on the cooking demo day ;) Apart from the apple tart, Laura 'demo'ed asparagus with orange sauce and shallots and steak au poivre with potato gratin.

Asparagus with orange sauce
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 tbs vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp vinegar
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 20 spears asparagus, trimmed
  • Parmesan cheese for shaving


  • First, make the dressing. Zest one orange into a bowl, then juice both oranges and boil the juice down in a small saucepan to about 3 tablespoons. Meanwhile, mince the shallot and out in a ramekin with the vinegar poured over. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Add the mustard to the zest.
  • When the orange juice has reduced, strain in over the zest. Drain the shallot, discarding the vinegar.
  • Whisk all together then slowly whisk in oil.
  • Taste, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Bring a saute pan full of water to boil. Salt it, then add asparagus and cook until tender.
  • Drain, immediately rinse under ice cold water to set the colour.
  • Pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a serving platter.
  • Spoon over the sauce. Shave over the parmesan cheese. Grind over some pepper and serve.

Steak Au Poivre

  • 2 to 4 tenderloin steaks or eye of round (estimated 5 ounces per person)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp green peppercorns, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (Muslims, skip this and subsititute it with the same amount of beef stock instead)
  • Salt to season
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (You can substitute this with heavy / double cream)

  • Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking, about 20 minutes. Soak the peppercorns in wine or water or black tea (drain before using).
  • Heat the pan to high and season the meat.
  • When the pan is very hot, fry the steaks on both sides to your liking (rare? medium rare? well-done?).
  • Let the meat rest on board while you make the sauce.
  • Deglaze the pan with the stock and boil it down to generous tablespoon, about 2minutes.
  • Lower the heat and add the drained peppercorns and cream to heat through.
  • Put the meat back in the pan, turning once to coat. Then put the meat in a platter and pour over the sauce to serve.

Potato Gratin

  • 1 kg potato peeled and thinly sliced
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • A few garlic peeled and grated
  • 250 ml Milk
  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • Heat the oven to 375°F/190ÂșC
  • Spill half the potato slices into a gratin dish
  • Season well with salt, pepper, and nutmeg
  • Smear over the grated garlic
  • Spread over the remaining potato slices
  • Pour over the milk and cream
  • Season well again with salt and pepper
  • Dot with the butter
  • Bake until all the liquid has been absorbed and the top is bubbly brown, 1 to 1-1/2 hours
  • Serve

Petua from Laura: While baking the potatoes, the best is to have a brick (or anything else to use as weight) put on top of the layers of potatoes to ensure they are packed. Laura actually has a brick in her kitchen. She wraps it with a cloth and uses it as weight for her bakings etc.

We were all given a small plate each to taste all the dishes. Verdict? Magnifique!!! The asparagus were divine, especially with the orange sauce. I swear if I was on my own that day, I would have licked the sauce clean from the plate! (Tak senonohnya kan?) The steak was so tender and the sauce was excellent. Potato gratin pulak sangatlah lembut and creamy! Yummmm....Well, there you go readers...if any of you do try the recipes above, do share with me apakah resultnya ye? Bet they're gonna be delish! Ooooh la la!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A French Affair with Laura Calder

The first thing that came to my mind when I first saw Laura Calder this afternoon was, “Hey, she doesn’t look like how she looks like on TV!” And yes, she’s a lot taller than I expected and barely had make-up on. A natural beauty.

Laura has a great sense of humour and is a good storyteller. She shared a lot of stories; how she started learning to cook from the age of 5 by helping her mum in the kitchen. She is a big believer of home cooked food, that’s why she doesn’t feel right when people call her a chef, she prefers to be called a home cook coz it sounds fuzzier. She has no intention of opening her own restaurant, but she loves entertaining. When her schedule permits, she has at least 4 dinner parties every week! Of course she’s been serving French food in her dinner parties, and admitted that they were all simple recipes like the ones in her shows. She added that people get intimidated hearing about French food because the public has been bombarded with the images of how high end French food is but the truth is, like all home cooked food, French food is actually simple. It’s clear from the dishes that she prepared for us that she was right. Simple and hearty flavours are what she’s all about, and it is evident through her recipes.

Laura started with making, guess what? The apple tart, which recipe I shared with you guys few entries back. And yes, it was that simple and fast. After that she made asparagus with orange sauce and shallots and steak au poivre with potato gratin. Laura continued saying that she loves her steak rare, she normally leaves it for 10 minutes on the fire. She added that one of her friends loves it even ‘rarer’ coz she only cooks it for only 3 minutes. The room roared with laughter when she said “For her, if it ‘moos’, that’s perfect!”.

The good thing was that the chefs of Berjaya University College of Hospitality (where the demo was held i.e. 14th floor of East Tower of Berjaya Times Square) had also helped to prepare the dishes back stage and we were told that they skipped the wine from the recipes ;) That’s very good, that shows AFC is sensitive towards their Muslim fans kan? Will share the recipes of the dishes she ‘demo’ed in coming entries.

The dishes were lovely. Again, hard to believe that French food is so simple to make, but Laura stressed that it is a cuisine that is evolving. French women work, and are increasingly leaning towards quick and easy ways to cook delicious dishes. I wouldn’t mind having these kinda food every week!

After the demo, she came forward and answered questions. Answering on how she keeps herself slim, she said “Ohhh..don’t come near me, I’m not that slim!” while trying to pinch an imaginary love handle on herself! She continued that the thing to do is try to keep your raw materials as fresh and as organic as possible and avoid processed food. “Basically cook your food yourself. That way, you know what goes into your food. Spend time cooking for your families. Don’t chase your kids away when they wanna play in the kitchen and cook with you. That’s how you spend time with them”. So true, huh?

The afternoon continued with autograph signing and photograph session. Laura is indeed a lovely person. Less sexier than how she is portrayed on TV, I would say. She told us she doesn’t like to watch herself on TV. Oh yeah, the kitchen where she shoots her shows from is not hers, it’s her producer’s. One more thing, Anis Nabilah (from Icip-Icip) arrived to meet Laura at the end of the session. Comel and friendly! I sempat tukar business cards with her lagi!

Well, it was a fun afternoon! Lets look forward for more no-hassle French food recipes on AFC. French Food at Home Season 3 shows on AFC Monday-Friday at 9pm. Happy cooking ladies!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Batwings..No More!

Heard about Tracy Anderson, the fitness guru to hotties like Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Shakira etc. while watching E! News few days back..Totally loved the feature on the arms exercise she particularly designed for Gwyneth during her training for Iron Man 2. Didn't know that character like Pepper Potts was also put through hours and hours of punishing, grueling workouts to get super fit. After all, bukan ke Gwyneth is like totally stick-thin already? Anyway, I googled Tracy and wallah, stumbled upon this video which I think is rather unique and pretty fun to follow. This is the arms workout to target and banish that batwings. You knowlah, when you start hitting 30s, mulalah you'll blame gravity as the enemy to everything perky and firm kan? So, when you feel like gravity's pulling and sagging you down, perhaps these Tracy's arms series might just save your day ;)

Note to self : Cari her cardio and lower body workouts pulak..

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Trapped in the traffic on the way back from work today, I thought of Mum and Dad. And then out of nowhere, I went into my analytical mode and started analysing myself. Like everyone else, I am what my parents are :
  • Sensitive - like Mum
  • Calm - like Dad
  • Musically inclined - like Dad
  • Shopaholic - like Dad (percayakah? Dad is a great shopper..If he buys stuff for me, I memang akan berkenan. Imagine he buys me handbags, bajus, kain ela, semua cantik ok?)
  • Bookworm - like Mum
  • Into sports - like Dad
  • Traveller - like Dad
  • Loves cooking (and a good cook too! haha!) - like Mum (of course!)
  • Romantic - like Dad
  • Charitable/Giver - like Mum
Before I go on and further masuk bakul angkat sendiri, the message is that everything starts from home. How your next generations turn out to be would definitely be a result of how they were moulded from young. Would like to thank Mum and Dad for all the good I am. Am looking forward to shape my 'next generations' (whenever and if ever they come into our lives). Since I didn't have a special blog entry sempena the recent Mother's Day, Happy Belated Mother's Day, Mama and Happy Father's Day in advance, Abah! Love you both loads!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The French Taste

Just a quick update. Have finally bought tix for Laura Calder's cooking demo this Sat! Watch out for my update on the event :) Any of you readers going too?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A French Invite

To those who love Laura Calder and would like to catch her in person, hey, there's a chance for you to do just that! She'll be in town and making public appearances this 14-16 May. How to meet her?
  1. Enter the contest organised by AFC to win tickets to her cooking demo (but hurry, the contest ends tomorrow though) ; OR
  2. Buy tickets for her cooking demo or dinner sessions.
Further details from AFC website

Perhaps I see you guys there? ;)

Thursday, May 06, 2010


I am being so fickle-minded over my intention of purchasing a digital camera now. Have recently sold my DSLR and now am looking for semi-pro/system compact camera. Loved the DSLR but couldn't stand the bulkiness and the weight. When travelling, terasa sangatlah tengkok ni menampung berat yang amat sangat. I always ended up keeping the DSLR in either the backpack or the sling bag that I had with me. As a result bila ada object or scenery yang cantik for me to capture, I would always miss it coz I would be taking a long time rummaging through the bag to take the DSLR out.

After that, been eyeing the Leica D-Lux 4. Have been going around town surveying, tinggal masa je nak grab it until...I saw this baby featured on youtube...Canon Powershot G11. Features memang banyak - wide angle, supports macro shooting, good in low-light etc. etc. those things you want a good camera to have lah..But what really made me teruja with this one is the fact that it's viewfinder can swivel :) Pic from Canon webbie

Bolehlah shoot gambar sendiri dengan senangnya..Price, it's almost 40% cheaper than Leica yang I konon2 nak tu..Hmm..this calls for another round of window shopping this weekend. Any of you readers have the same camera? How do you find it? Sharelah..Thanks!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tried and Tested - Apple Tart and (Cleavage?)

Do you guys know who is Laura Calder? To those peminat setia Asian Food Channel (AFC) would definitely recognise her from French Food at Home series. Yupp, she's another Nigella Lawson I would say, but she specialises in French cuisine. She cooks from her kitchen just like Nigella but you guys know what people have been associating her with? Her cleavage!! Yupp, she dons low cut tops during most of her shows and there used to be noises saying that too much of her cleavage is not suitable for daytime cooking shows. Haha! Lawaklah..Alaa, give her a break, she's cooking French food kan, let her be sexylah with all that butter and cream, rite? Nigella pun top heavy (very) kan? Something these women celebrity chefs have in common kot. Ok, sape nak jadi celebrity chef, you know what it takes to be one now right? Haha, apa lah yang I melalut nih?

Anyway, what I wanna share with you guys today is Laura's easy peasy tart recipe. I baked the tart using the exact measurement for the makan2 session last 2 weeks and walla, it turned out well and was a hit amongst the guests. Here's the recipe (taken from the Food Network webbie), sangatlah senang, tak payah guna mixer and all.

Tart Shell
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour

Cream Filling
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar

3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup slivered almonds or chopped walnuts (I used almonds)

Tart Shell
Heat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
Make the crust: cream the butter and sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Finally, mix in the flour to make a smooth dough. Press into the bottom of an 8-inch/20 cm spring-form pan, giving it about a 1-inch/2.5 cm rim. Bake 15 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven.
Cream Filling
Beat all the ingredients for the cream filling together until smooth. Make the topping by tossing the apple slices with the cinnamon, sugar, and nuts. Remove the tart shell from the oven. Spread over the cream mixture.
Arrange the apple slices on top, then scatter over the nuts. Bake until the apples are tender and golden, about 40 minutes.

In the excitement to serve the tart to the guests, I totally forgot to snap the pics. So I leave you guys with Laura Calder's pic instead ;) Happy baking!

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Name Is Khan

Spoiler alert!

I have never been a fan of Hindi films but when I saw My Name Is Khan dvd sold at the shop yesterday, I grabbed it without any hesitation. Knowing that it is Karan Johar's (from Koffee with Karan fame) directorial and the film was shot almost entirely in the States, I told myself why not give it a try, ay? I thought since it's directed by a young chap, perhaps this one would bring something fresh unlike the typical Hindi films. Maybe this one would be different, with little less of running around the garden in the rain or rolling down the hills in colourful saris but with a dash more reality?

Moment of truth : half way through the film, discovered that yupp, it's pretty OK. The film is about inter-racial marriage, autism, American's anti-Muslim hysteria post Sept 11 attack etc. Well, one thing which more or less the theme of all Bollywood films, the hero woos and wins the heroine-a single mother, but alas, the problem is that she's a Hindu and he's a Muslim. The family cuts him off and he goes to stay with his newly-wed bride and son from her previous marriage. Then Sept 11 happens. A somewhat predictable tragedy takes place that tears the family apart, the wife blames the husband and from there, the film becomes a pilgrimage of the husband to fulfill his wife's demand to tell the President that he is Muslim and he is not a terrorist. Yupp, he finally meets the President at the end of the film, the couple and the hero's family reunite. Yeay! Wait! I think the guy who plays Obama is a wee-bit skinny, evident by his ill-fitting jacket. All-in-all, if you're looking for something different, go grab a copy. Eventhough some supposedly emotional moments seem gimmicky, this is worth the 160 minutes. Oh yeah, one more thing, apart from the background music, you won't find the actors running around singing, in 17 different bajus ;) Yeay!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

I can't recall when was the first time I heard this phrase but when I actually watched the video of Steve Jobs delivering the commencement speech at a Stanford graduation ceremony, I saw myself playing it over and over again. It is truly enlightening, inspirational and in summary, the three stories that Jobs shared in this speech will make you realise that :

1. A lot of things will happen in life and they won't always be good. You'll not understand why some of these things/events take place. You won't be able to connect the dots in looking forward, but when you believe that the dots will connect somewhere down the road in the future, this will give you the confidence to trust your gut.

2. To do great work, is to love what you do. If you haven't found it, keep looking and don't settle.

3. Your time on earth is limited. So start living your own life, don't waste it living in someone else's. Don't let other people's opinions drown you. Have the courage to follow your heart and intitution. And to become better every single day, STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH!

Check out this video. Hope it will inspire you in some ways, coz it did exactly that for me! Have a good weekend people!