Monday, December 29, 2014

The Movies Catch-Up

Haven't been watching a lot of movies lately and am still trying real hard to catch up with some that I've missed in the cinema. December till February will be exciting though, especially with two Johnny Depp's movies coming soon! Woot~~!!! Who's with me??? :p

Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson
Synopsis: Carl, a head chef in a restaurant, quit his job when his boss doesn't allow him to be creative with his dishes. After some soul-searching, he decided to open a Colombian Sandwich food truck, which eventually turned up to be a success.
The Thumb-Up(s): I really love how the movie surprises me when I thought this is going to be just another cliche oh-so-old storyline. The funny yet heart-warming scripts, the detailed yet not boring developments, and some of the twists make the movie very interesting.
Plus, some lovable roles and actors who play them make the movie all the more lovable. And the way they show them making those sandwiches with cheese oozing out will make you drool so much you just want a bite of that yummy-looking sandwiches just right there!
Also love how they make cooking and relationships so much related!
The Thumb-Down(s): I can't remember any.
The Verdict: It is just such a joy to watch the movie!

Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine
Synopsis: A science fiction movie about a former NASA pilot being sent to space for a mission to find a new planet where human can sustain as the earth faces danger.
The Thumb-Up(s): If you think about it, the storyline is pretty possible to happen in the future, or perhaps, it is already happening. Though not entirely entertaining (sometimes very deep), some of the nail-biting moments were joy to watch.
Love the award-winning cast as well! I can't even choose who's my favourite, they were all pretty good in the movie! And [spoiler] such a great surprise to see Matt Damon half way through the movie!
The Thumb-Down(s): What happened in the end when Matthew McConaughey found out something where he can see his daughter in his room? I'm too dumb to understand those theories!
The Verdict: I am indeed not a space geek/science fiction fan and I can't say that I really love this movie. But at least, at least, I find it way better than watching Sandra Bullock dancing her way alone in space in Gravity!

The Hundered Foot Journey
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Cast: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon
Synopsis: The Kadam family moved from Mumbai, to London, then to France where they finally decided to open an Indian restaurant right opposite (just a 100 foot) Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-star restaurant. Kadam's second son, Hassan ended up learning French culinary from Le Saule Pleureur's owner Madame Mallory and with his additional Indian spices knowledge, he managed to bring the restaurant to achieve a 2-Michelin star, while making himself a star chef.
The Thumb-Up(s): It is indeed, a heart-warming movie about an underdog climbing up to stardom with pretty-looking food showing up almost every minute of the movie. With a little bit of humour, plus the beautiful location the movie was shot at and the the outstanding performance by Helen Mirren (since when is she not good anyway), the movie is pretty not bad.
The Thumb-Down(s): The entire movie runs pretty unexpectedly, no surprises, no nothing. And I shall say this - we need more air time for the food and the making of the food, it really feels like you didn't get enough of scenes where the food are cooked that makes you wanna eat them. Chef did much better in this.
The Verdict: Perhaps I had too high an expectation for the movie it was a little let down when I finally finished the movie.

The Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball
Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter
Synopsis: A group of boys are sent to a place where they have to find a way out of a maze for survival.
The Thumb-Up(s): I like the twist in the end, although we kinda anticipated something around that storyline anyway.
The Thumb-Down(s): Since it's based on a teen novel, it is easy to understand how irritating it is for us adult to watch this movie without thinking of how childish these boys are and all. Action wise, it wasn't too impressive either. It's like we were expecting more of the actions in running through the maze than a massacre between the boys.
The Verdict: It's true that the movie is a stand-out among other teen movies like, I don't know maybe the Twilight series? But the trailer made it real action-packed and cool to watch but the real movie disappoints. Like kaw-kaw.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Unforgettable Sandwiches @ Dash of Nutmeg, Bangsar Village

Dash of Nutmeg is a kiosk-style, a smaller version of Nutmeg that sells mostly snacks like quiche, pies, sandwiches, salad and simple pastas. Personally I think it's a great concept since there are a lot of cafes out there who chose to serve only coffee and cakes and not other savoury stuff and that irritates someone who prefers savouries, like me. 
Anyway, Deardo and I gave the place a try on a lazy weekend when we were wandering around Bangsar Village. The display of the sandwiches really look damn good so we both ordered sandwiches.
It runs on self-service basis, so we ordered and paid, then sat down and waited for the food to be served to us.
A spatula with your number on it!
Prawn Salad Sandwich (cold), RM17.50.
Smoke Chicken Sandwich, RM12.50.
The Prawn Salad Sandwich, served cold, was extremely refreshing whenever you bite on it. Crispy and fresh lettuce and cucumber, fresh prawns and that thin layer of pesto paste made it so perfect! I normally don't like white bread but the freshness and yumminess of the fillings pretty much made it up for that already! Love it! Then for a change of temperature, there is the Smoked Chicken Sandwich which is served warm. Juicy and tender smoked chicken slices with coleslaw made a surprisingly nice combination! And that tomato herb bread oh man.... So soft, and tasted so unique almost like you are eating some kinda cake, was truly to-die-for!  
Cappuccino, RM11.
Fresh Orange Juice, RM10.
Coffee and fresh orange juice were pretty decent as well.
Us happily hunting for another nice new place for food! And man I looked swollen! :p
Together with 6% gov. tax, the bill came up to RM54.05, which some may find a little too much for just sandwiches. But I reckon if we go once in a while it doesn't hurt that much cos those sandwiches are really SO GOOD!!! Next time I should give their quiche a try too! :)

Dash of Nutmeg
F13A, Bangsar Village,
1, Jalan Telawi 1,
Bangsar Baru,
59100 KL.
Tel: 03-2201 4229

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Super Awesome Homemade Burgers @ Restaurant Burger Hong Ya

From the outside, many may think twice before entering Hong Ya Hamburger (or officially Restaurant Burger Hong Ya), a Taiwanese breakfast/burger chain that has recently landed in Malaysia with their first outlet at SS15, Subang Jaya. I was however, quite eager to give them a try since I know Taiwanese are very big on their breakfast shops and the quality shouldn't be too bad.
So the restaurant sells mainly burgers, from chicken, pork, bacon till chicken floss, with the filling can be slipped into breads for sandwich for their breakfast menu available till 12pm. The cheapest burger is only RM4,90 and the most expensive is RM7,90 (ala carte price). You order your food, choose ala carte or combo and sit down and wait for your food to arrive.
The best thing about the food here is that it's obvious their burger buns are uniquely theirs and the pork patty are definitely homemade with bits of carrots in it and tastes pretty light compared to those commercialised ones out there. And how cool is it to have eggs in your burgers, just like what you get at your favourite Ramly Burger stalls out there?
Pork, Bacon & Egg Burger, RM9.90 for a combo set.
Kala Chicken + fried egg combo set, RM11.90.
For an early dinner, we sampled the Pork, Bacon & Egg Burger, which is a new item in their menu. The homemade patty is lovely, tender and juicy yet not overly salty. It goes really well with the lettuce, fried egg, bacon and some orange-coloured sauce that I'm not sure what it is, but definitely not Thousand Island. Very delicious and homey. The Kala Chicken Burger (we went for the spicy one) is a bit of KFC's Zinger Burger, only this one the entire piece of chicken is chicken thigh and tasted a little lighter and less oily, while still managed to remain very crunchy. We top it up with a fried egg (additional RM1) to make it a wholesome yet super addictive burger! Yummmzzz to the maxxx!!!
Criss-cut fries in stead of normal fries for us!
The combo comes with either a fries or the criss-cut fries and ours was the latter which was pretty crispy too!
Our tea to go with our meal! :)
Oh, did I mention the drinks don't necessarily has to be cheap fizzy drinks? Oh yeah, we added RM1 and had Taiwanese fresh milk tea and black tea to go with the burgers and that is really a big plus point, especially when they are not very sweet too! Love them!
I think we just found a new favourite place to eat near our house! Even our little baby loves it ( I guess...). :p
We paid RM21.80 for the two combo sets (no other extra charges yet) and thought hey that was such an awesome dinner at such an affordable price! I mean, at some other burger joints, you could probably only get one ala carte burger with that price okay! We are so going back to have more of their yummy burgers!!! And you guys should really try this place out!!!

Hong Ya Hamburger
74, Ground Floor,
Jalan SS15/4D,
47500 Subang Jaya,
Tel:03-5613 0155

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yummy Authentic HK-style Cafe Food @ Hong Kong's Food Culture, Plaza Low Yat, KL

First visited this restaurant many years ago when Deardo and I just starting seeing each other. He claimed that this Hong Kong cafe-style restaurant may have been opened since before the likes of Kim Gary joining the fray. 
One thing for sure, their interior looks almost the same as those we see in Hong Kong or Hong Kong drama series, only this one way spacious. Before their recent renovation, they used to have an extended kiosk outside where you can also buy Hong Kong street food like curry fish balls, deep fried sotong, deep fried innards, etc but after renovation the section has been removed.

Another thing for sure is that the variety of food here look more appetising, more authentic and like you know, proper food than those you can find in Kim Gary. At least you get real Char Siew, roast chicken, roast pork and roast duck here! 

We've visited the place quite often in recent months and here are what we have tried so far...
Deep Fried Squid, RM7.
Boiled Water Cress Soup, RM4.
The Deep Fried Squid is simply awesome! Crunchy batter covered with salt and pepper that makes the fresh squid super delicious. And at RM7 it is quite a steal! We also ordered their boiled Water Cress Soup with pork lung (woah, authentic HK-style soup ler), Chinese almond and honey dates. It was pretty yummy and flavourful too!
Black Pepper Beef Fried Nissin Noodle, RM12.50.
Fried Beef Hor Fun, Rm12.50.
Fried Cantonese Beef Hor Fun, RM12.50.
Duck Breast Rice, RM9.50.
As for mains, we have tried their Black Pepper Beef Fried Nissin Noodle, Fried Beef Hor Fun and Cantonese Fried Beef Hor Fun which we fell crazily in love with. All of them are very tasty, flavourful, very authentically Hong Kong and the beef OMFG so tender I can't even describe how much we love them! You just have to go give them a try! They give you choice to go with pork too but I bet beef will taste much better in this case.
Us hungry and happy diners! 
We also tried their duck breast rice which was the only dish we didn't find very nice so far. Other selections in the menu include rice and porridge dishes or you can order some ala carte dishes to go with rice for a wholesome Chinese meal too.

As you can see, their pricing is very affordable (total bill comes with 10% service charge) and normally we don't order any drinks because they serve you Chinese tea FOC just like what you'll get in a Hong Kong cafe in Hong Kong.

We are loving that place, the HK experience, the yummy yet economical food. Surely going back more often after this! :)

Hong Kong's Food Culture
LG-18, Plaza Low Yat,
Off Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2141 6998

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mummy's Ups & Downs

I think most blogger mums out there who are constantly happy and looking so good during their pregnancy are either lying or faking it. I mean, seriously? I don't see how pregnancy can be such bed of roses lor so far! I'm not even talking about the nausea and stuff, but the 'dan lain-lain' in this context! 

As a first-time mum, I have and still having my ups and downs I thought I just want to jolt down and share with you guys so that maybe it will comfort you who has the same problem or you can comfort me, or we can comfort each other? *hugs~*

The Constant Worry if Baby is still Alive
Please tell me I'm not the only person on earth who constantly think I've done something wrong that could kill my baby boy who is still living in my tummy. I freak out on every twitch, pain or any form of discomfort I feel in my belly. Walked past and hit softly on a chair I would think I've hit my baby's head. Sleep too side way and I think I would have put too much pressure on my baby and would kill him...

The worst thing is that since I'm still not at that stage that I can feel baby's kicking me, I'm forever in doubt whether or not he is still alive until the monthly scan, which is why I'm always excited about the check-ups even though it means decades of waiting at the hospital!!! Gaaaahhhh... So annoying! 
Please baby, kick mummy and let me know you are still in there okay? *knock knock~*
Cute onesies we couldn't resist buying for our little boy! :)

The Weird Appetite
Thank god 1st trimester is over and I no longer feel nausea all the time. But my appetite has changed from the time I was not pregnant to pregnant, and from 1st trimester to now, the 2nd trimester! I love sour stuff a lot at the beginning I drank so much of orange juices without sugar but now oh please, bring on the sugar cos sour juices are just bloody yucky!!!

Only thing that has not changed is the fact that I still hate button mushrooms (my favourite food, that is) and salmon fish (also my favourite food) that I feel like puking even talking about them now. It's so weird baby is rejecting mummy's favourite food! :S

The Craving 
I've heard a lot about mummies wanting certain food and need the husband to speed out to get it for them even if it means it's middle of the night. I'm not sure if I should be thankful (Deardo sure should be thankful) or what that I don't really have that kinda moments and my Deardo still hasn't need to do much things like that. The only time was a day when we had very early dinner and I was hungry I just needed this Fried Bihun from a particular restaurant near our house and he actually bought it home for me! Yay! :)
One of my favourite Fried Bihun delivered to me! Oh nom nom nom nom...
Other than that, my ultimate comfort food now are anything Asian, tonnes of ice-cream and some junk food. Okay fine, loads of junk food...

Well, once in a while, I still crave for coffee but yea I take a sip here and there anyway. :p
I want my Kopi Peng like real soon!!!

So it is true, mummies-to-be are known to go through crazy hormone changes that make them crazily emotional. Emo watching movie, emo at Deardo's harsh words, even when he was just joking, emo listening to preaching in church, emo cos nobody answers me in a Whatapps group chat... And by 'emo' I mean sometimes it can be crying like shivering and all! It's crazy! In fact Deardo and I fight more during the past months although it can be just some small matters cos I tend to start screaming first. LOL.

And then after every crying session, I'll start to feel either tired or hungry again...

Sometimes my emo-ness is very easily justify. This pregnancy is a very surprising one so we had no time to think about what to do after the baby is born. E.g. the fact that I still can't drive makes it complicated next time when I need to send baby to nanny or to school, or the fact that should I quit work and stay home to take care of baby? And these to me are worries that haunt me until now. Most of the time I just feel so helpless and useless that I'll start to cry and cry and cry... And this will only go on until I finally pick up driving (and can drive a baby safely around) and us deciding what to do in terms of my career...


The Insecurities are REAL
Those who say women look prettiest when they are pregnant, you are probably lying or you are trying to get something out of that woman. I mean, those are bullshit to a pregnant woman. How can you be so big, bloated and swollen and still think you look super fabulous? Unless you are not as big and are still as gorgeous, like Blake Lively (gah, why can't I look like her?).
Mummy at 18 weeks!
Until today I'm not used to seeing my growing tummy and I'm sure I will never get use to it. I'm also constantly worry about how much more I would put on after this before I could look like a gigantic walking balloon. I wasn't exactly an XS or even S before this so up-sizing myself to even bigger size can be quite scary. Especially after a successful battle to lose weight for our wedding last year, it just feels so terrifying that I could put on another 20kgs or so during pregnancy! 
Mamo still looking quite slim when she was pregnant with Vivian! 
I don't know, I don't even want to put on my maternity dresses yet in fear that they will make me look even bigger! :S

The Oh-So-Old Comparison Story
SIL has also just confirmed that she is having a boy, who will be only 2 months younger than our boy. Judge all you want but I'm not too happy about that.

Having gone through my childhood feeling insecure and having a low self-esteem because my cousins around the same age do better than me both academically or socially really ruin it for me. And what about the stuff they own and you don't? Fancy toys, hi-tech video games, blah blah blah... 

Well one thing for sure is that both Deardo and I are not going to be those kiasu parent who want their kids to be top of the class and send them to numerous tiring classes or tuition to get it right. No offence to parents who actually succeeded in that area, it's just our personal preference really! Instead, we wish and will train him to be street-smart, brave enough to present himself in front of people and conquer what he wants to conquer. So no thanks, we won't compare our kid with SIL's kid in terms of academic cos we all know that does very little when you go into the working world these days. 

But... You know the reality is people around them will still be comparing them and that's still pretty annoying.

And then, while I can only assure myself that I will have better genes (ah hem) that my son will probably look better, better in languages (like mummy and papa) and that I am sure I will teach him good values to be a better person, Deardo and I are going to face the reality that the two boys will end up comparing each other's toys, gadgets, then cars, and maybe girls, when they grow up.

Well, I'll leave that up to the papa who will be more of the decider on what to buy (girls not included)! Muahahahahaha...

Mummy's Stronger than Everrrrr
On a happier note, My pregnancy experience so far hasn't been as bad as I've expected it to be. During my 1st trimester, I've only puke once despite all the constant nausea. Constipation? What is that? I poo even smoother and more frequent than before I was pregnant! And touch wood, so far I've not fall too sick I actually find my sinus sort of gone better already! Baby boy must have been making the mummy STRONGER!

Keep up that good work, mummy's strong little boy! :)
Mummy in the making? Me at 9 years old, carrying baby Vivian like a pro? LOL!

Every single time one side of me think about all these worries, the other side would pop-up and say something like: hey, cheer up, let's not worry so much about the future yet! Okay fine, I admit, most of the time 'the other side' is Deardo who has been doing extremely well being a papa-to-be compare to me and I can't thank him enough for being there and showering me with all the love that I need during this emotional period. 

So keep up that good work too, you loving hubby and surely, a loving papa! :)

Anyway, I also heard if mummy is always sad, down or crying, the baby will end up the same. So I'm still trying my best to put all these worries behind me and be happy for our son's sake! So please slap me if you see or hear me being so down again. Thanks! 
Deardo spending some sweet time with Lil' Jolie, a little promising photo that Deardo will be a great dad! :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Home-cooked FTW!!!

It's such a joy that I've gotten over my 1st trimester!!! I don't know if you realised it, but there were the few months that I blogged very infrequently, and they were hardly about food because I felt like puking just by looking at those food photos! That explains why I was also not cooking a lot until we came back from Greece and decided to have more homecooked (on weekends only, still) after all the food we ate outside.

Because of the baby boy in me, my cooking are restricted to things I (or maybe the little boy) like to eat. For instance, button mushrooms being my favourite food is totally rejected by the boy I can't even smell that thing now! I also don't fancy too much of fish, very little of meat, but boy I love potatoes and rice now (cos Papa likes it too).

Anyway, here are just some cooking from our kitchen that cooked to feed mum-to-be-me and the Papa. :)

#1 One-Pot Ginger Chicken Rice 
Perfect for those who are lazy like a pregnant woman! Got the recipe from Kim. Completed the dinner with some boiled broccoli and water cress soup.

#2 One-Pot Chicken, Shiitake Mushrooms & Chinese Sausage Rice
This is probably easier to make. Just marinate the chicken with soya sauce, dark soya sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and some Shao Xing wine and dump everything with the, sliced sausages and mushrooms in the rice cooker and ta da! Doesn't it remind you have those claypot chicken rice?
Also had it with a boiled broccoli and sweet corn soup. Must have balance meal with meat and vegetables mah! *wink~*

#3 One-Pot Pork Ribs, Shiitake Mushrooms & Chinese Sausage Rice
Same method as above, just replace chicken with some Pai Kuat, take out the dark soya sauce and add in some cut chili. Very yummy too! :)
Also had it with some stir-fry mixed sprouts and water cress soup.

#4 One-Pot Baby Porridge
Here I put marinated pork balls, potatoes and carrot. 
Same ingredients but with broccoli in it so no need to cook another vegetable dish! Lazy to the max! :p
Here's chicken porridge and carrot. One of my favourite Mamo's recipe. 
Slightly different because I used 10 grain rice to cook and added Bovril to it to make it even more like a baby porridge. LOL.
I love porridge and I'm very glad baby boy is loving it too! Now you take that Papa (not Papo, I'm starting to call Deardo 'papa' now)!

# 5 Vermicelli in Pepper Soup
Wow, that must be a day I was in a damn good cooking mood. I boiled the soup with pork ribs and smashed white pepper, then added the rest of the ingredients separately! See, there were vege, homemade pork balls, fried sliced pork, prawns, Fuchok and even fried egg! Phew~! Served with MIL's homemade sambal.

#6 Lime Leaves Prawns Pasta
Incorporated my signature Lime Leave Prawns into this Aglio Olio and it tastes bloody fantastic, especially with the nice fragrant you get in the lime leaves! Served with an ABC Soup.

#7 All-in Macaroni 
Simply pan-fry the pre-boiled macaroni and broccoli with some chopped capsicum, zucchini and marinated minced pork, season with dash of salt and pepper, and my home-alone-lunch is done!

#8 Sesame Oil Stir-fry Pork with Black Fungus & 'Drumstick Mushrooms'
Went random-cooking this dish with the pork and black fungus MIL gave me and it turned out pretty delicious! And yes, I do realise this look and sound like confinement month's food already! LOL!

#9 Oven-roast Chicken Drumsticks Served with Pan-fry Brussels Sprouts and HK Choy Sum
Experimented with my marinate again, this time with some HP Sauce, Worcester Sauce, oyster sauce, Shao Xing wine, Sesame Oil and black pepper and boy it was sooooo good! I think this will be good for BBQ sessions!

#10 No Rice Chinese Dinner
Cooked three dishes and a soup - Stir-fry spinach and iceberg lettuce (lazy to cook separately so yea), shrimp omelet, stir-fry sesame pork (this time with wolf-berries and oyster mushrooms) and ABC Soup for a sumptuous, nutritious and healthy dinner. No rice, only potatoes in the soup!

#11 Porridge and Soup Dinner
Well since Deardo also wants to eat a bit more healthier/lighter lately and requested for porridge for dinner the other night, I made this really nutritious and yummy porridge with minced pork, cubed carrots and potatoes, Shiitake mushrooms and some wolf berries to go with a boiled broccoli (yes we are broccoli freak but also because it is known as a super vegetable) and sharkfin melon soup which I added sweet corn, tomatoes, red dates and wolf berries to boil. We were so both damn full even though it was supposed to be 'light dinner'! :p

Although cooking during pregnancy can be tedious, but nothing can really beat the fact that home-cooked are always cleaner, more nutritious and healthy for both mummy and baby. We eat out every single weekday and that's really a shame. So I'm trying to make it a point that we eat at home on weekends, no matter how tired I am! :)