Monday, February 22, 2010

I might have gotten a tan...

Now that CNY is almost over, I can declare to myself that this is possibly the hottest CNY in living memory, all thanks to el Nino and the Pacific Ocean and global warming et al. Hiding indoors or in shopping mall (with air-cond on full-blasting mode) seem to be no respite from the sun. Glad I didn't get a heatstroke!

Instead, I think I've gotten a tan but not in California (how i wish!!). No beach in sight. The closest I got to Malibu/San Francisco/LA was California Pizza Kitchen, fondly known as CPK. With no car and the hot tropical sun beating down relentlessly upon me as I flail about KL with the LRT, my two good legs and occassional car services, I think I've enough sun exposure to last me the next 1 month. It's not like I go home to be a hermit right? So, off we go to visit people and gain some cookies-induced weight, la la la

Back to the actual story, I was in CPK for an important event...I know, eating is always important to all Malaysians (in fact, I feel that we create events/festivals/birthdays/anniversaries just so we can have a good pig-out sometimes!) but it was really, sincerely a family event.
First off, salad. Waldorf classical apple and walnut salad. Lifted me up and made me feel so happy and slim, ready to conquer the next few dish with gusto. I mean, they really put good stuff in this salad. Not to be missed..esp if you like balsamic vinaigrette.

Next, came the Jamaican Jerk pizza. It's not meant to be disrespectful k? I mean, the jerk is really from Jamaica. Get it? Apparently, the chicken is jerked (a somehow-Caribbean cooking style but ended up in a pizza joint) and this creation was awesome. The sweet tangy chicken, savoury slabs of turkey bacon mixed with thicky gooey Mozarella cheese almost made me swoon in joy. Don't forget a thick blanket of Parmesan cheese and chilli flakes for that extra ooomph. The rest of the menu featured a good mix of quintessential Italian pizzas with funny quirky toppings that will guarantee repeated patronage. Not bad for my almost-neighbourhood mall, huh? The 'almost-neighbourhood' mall that was once-upon-a-time the tallest building in the world.

The reason why I took two pics of the next dish was that I think I fell in love with the mushroom ravioli. The cream sauce was just the right blend of heady, rich cream and spices. My bro (clearly more food-savvy than me) ordered extra helpings of mushroom and I agreed that it made a biigggg difference. Each package was stuffed with more mushrooms and other 'unmentionables'...I think maybe some chicken meat and spices perhaps? More funghi for me, anytime!

IMHO, the entire meal was quite reasonable...around RM40 per person. I mean, the place being so strategic and easily assessible (transportation will probably cost like RM2 on the LRT) would also mean that some people do have meals here on a weekly basis and so it's not a big hoo-hah right? Wrong! After all, I've been living in the vicinity for ages (ok la, 20 years) and this is my 2nd or 3rd time here. So people do go long-sighted sometimes...

My 'lucrative' trip (also known as the CNY-delayed-gratification trip) also involves a lot of other awesome meals...and I cannot possibly describe it all. I guess the chronicles of the crispy ducks, assorted balls, springy chicken and so on will have to wait another day as I flew back to the bustling cosmopolis armed with a new running aid (which I intend to use tomorrow). Can't wait to test drive my new gadget :-P

Anyway, my lively weekend jaunt has officially ended as I'm now back in Sin City, oops, I mean Sing City for more food-, sports- and fun-related adventures. Till the next edition from the CPD, please save up some Mandarin oranges for me k? I think I might need to join the orange-throwing ceremony thingy in 5 days' time...see you by the River! Hehehe....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chronicles of a migrant worker on New Year

I knew that Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year coincided with Valentine’s Day this year. Somehow, subconsciously, that didn’t register in my mind until the day came and I was on my way to work. WTF (pardon my French)…I’m working on a double public holiday. How depressive, right?

Actually, it was a good on-call day for me. One of the only few times that I didn’t go in OT at all. Somehow, I have to confess that I was still nursing a big GD headache and dizziness that I attributed and strongly blamed the Bacardi for. I think it was God’s way of telling me : I’m not made for heavy-duty ethanol intake.

I mean, the Friday night before was total mayhem. You know, the last night in Vegas kinda craziness. We danced the whole night away while being sloshed (although I have to admit I was sleepy half the time). The consequence was a whole day of tiredness, sleepiness and lethargy.

When I went for reunion dinner, I was still a bit dizzy and unsociable. I felt quite bad for not being able to chit-chat with M’s parentals but what’s a girl gotta do when her head is doing an Apache helicopter tribute. I was really glad I could at least eat something. Of course, I felt like pinching myself silly for not able to enjoy the absolutely scrumptious spread in front of me. Yee sang, sushi, steamboat, soft tender meat, wonderful soup…it was all so tantalizing to my stunned taste buds. Sigh....

Then, on Sunday, it hit me. I’m actually working on Chi-Vas (Chinese New Year-Valentines) day. Although it wasn’t very busy, I was not up to 100% super-hyperactive, crazy can-do-everything surgical registrar self. Instead, I was sluggish, lost appetite and hid in my room most of the time. Chi-vas day came and went with just one trauma case and no admissions to the surgical ward. A new record perhaps?

I thank God that on Monday, I left the hospital in one sober piece, although still in deep regrets over my excess consumption of you-know-what and the annoying minor dizziness. I slept through most of Monday, again wondering when am I gonna get my cerebellar functions back.

It was only today that I’m back to around 95% of my normal self. I could eat as usual and spent more time sitting than lying flat. In fact, I strongly suspect that my prolonged recovery is a combination of physical and psychosomatic manifestation.

I have to admit that I may be slightly depressed over the recent events in my life. Career challenges, being away from home for the festive season, relationship issues (or rather, the lack of it) and adjusting to a new way of life has taken a toll on my fast-forwarded life. I guess I need to hit the pause button and really rejuvenate in somewhere pretty and isolated with just me, myself, a backpack and a book. Any suggestions, please do email me k?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And when you are serious about ice-cream....

I remember the days when the only ice-cream that you could find were the 20 cents ais-krim potong. If you are really lucky during your birthdays and special events, we may get the 1 dollar Cornetto cone. Nowadays, the making and selling of ice-cream, gelato, frozen yoghurt, icy dessert, etc is a huge multi-million industry, found all across the globe, in many different guise and size.

Actually, this is a confession of how I succumbed to the delightful goodies found not far from my humble home in a popular expatriate enclave. On one fateful day, a group of girls had dinner near my house and decided that something seemed incomplete without some dessert to end a good meal. Our makan radar picked up good signals from a place called Cold Rock and we quickly head to this 'creamery'. I am still wondering about the history of this shop as I ask this question : why is this called a creamery when there are no cows or grass in sight?

If you have been following this blog (thank you for being such faithful 'follower', you are really one in a million), you would have noticed that I've always been a non-dessert person. However, the ice-cream here is really sinfully good.

I guess it all boils down to choosing the right flavour, ahem, ahem. The cheesecake and fruit yoghurt combination caught my fancy and I added some blueberries in it. The verdict: I enjoyed the end product tremendously.

Basically, there are many stores selling similar ice-cream all across Singapore. However, I feel that besides marvelous cream, this shop is one of the best around.

I like it when they put fruits in the ice-cream and keep them in bigger pieces. Not only that, the mixture of savoury cheesecake, mixed with sweetish yoghurt and the sharp tang of blueberries perfectly balanced out the flavours.

An additional fun factor: we can thoroughly indulge ourselves with fully loaded carbs like candies, marshmallows, mints, chocolates by adding these stuff in our final product.

So how do I feel after a session at Cold Rock? It trully rocks!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A different season altogether

There is always a first time for everything. First day of school, first day of exams back in Primary 1, first time wearing a skirt, first kiss, etc, etc. Last week was my first week working in 2 departments simultaneously and you could say that I feel strangely 'schizoid'. It's like having 2 personalities in the same person....on one hand, I am an A & E MO and on the other hand, I am a GS registrar.

Looking back, it's not that tough...just very delicate and intricate, like Queen Anne's lace. Being in this really efficient country and hospital really helps the process, because we can arrange my multiple rosters way ahead thus minimalizing my pain. Not only that, the A&E people have this cool software that arrange doctors' roster the fairest and most random way possible, thus no one will complain against a statistically proven program. Feels so high-tech huh?

The problem is that I cannot do my regular work-outs because my schedule is so packed, I felt as if I am wearing Scarlet O'Hara's 18inch-corset all the time (not that I can fit into it!). On one hand, I'm still gobbling up my meals regularly but the strange thing is this intermittent, mild fatigue that I'm not used to. Each time people ask me how am I...I'm still feeling this baseline tiredness (not in-sync with my character at all, right?) I guess I have to watch out for signs of burning out....

That's why I am looking forward to a weekend of pure sleep and chilling out at home, something that's so simple, yet so elusive for the past 1 month. I still have 12 more days to go before I can go vege out. Anyhow, this CNY is gonna be the most unique CNY celebration in my life as for the first time ever, I am spending it away from KL and my nuclear family. In fact, day 1 will be spent in the hospital while most shops will be closed; so praying that I will get good supply of food throughout the entire season! So, if any of you are dropping by hospitals during this season, please remember to feed the doctors, nurses and healthcare staff k?

Friday, February 5, 2010

OSI 2010 Part 2: Cebuano Culinary Wonders

What’s travel without food? In fact, what’s life without food? Eating well is one of life’s greatest joy. People groups and different culture around the world express their heritage through good food and to me, last month’s trip to Cebu Island was truly memorable. Why? I love Cebuano food!

It’s actually a gastronomic melting pot, comprising of Filipino, Malay, Chinese and a few other minority groups’ style of cooking. What I remember most:

The mangoes here are so sinfully sweet that I felt diabetic just by looking at it. I am addicted to the mangoes here. Can someone please grow me a Filipino mango tree here in Singapore/Malaysia?

Well, this is a no-brainer. After all, Cebu is an island surrounded by very clean, deep ocean and so of course we were spoilt crazy by fresh seafood. I could still remember the savoury clams, huge crabs and giant prawns. This is one time I didn't care about iodine overdose!

So what’s up with fried banana fritters? Nothing if you are used to the ones they sell in school canteens but this is one special fried banana. The soft sweet banana is coated with the popiah-skin and dipped in a teriyaki-like sauce. Sounds like fusion food, numero uno. Finger-licking good.

I nicknamed this : ais kacang, turbo version. Pimped up and very impressive. I love the way the tapioca ice-cream (purple thing) , vanilla (white thing) and various fruits combined to create a wild explosion of tastes in your mouth. Aaaah…

Other fruits
This is one of the example of what a fruity wonderland Philippines is. Didn't have a chance to sample the extremely gigantic durians in Mindanao (because I wasn't there, duh!) but the other fruits like jackfruit, etc was equally cheap, huge and yummylicious! Btw, the tree was found outside my hotel room ok? Dun play, play...

And the highlight of it all....Lechan
This legendary food has taken the limelight in many international tv shows, i.e. mentioned by Anthony Bourdain, et al. The most special thing about this dish is the crunchy skin and soft, tender meat. Apparently, Cebu is well known for this dish. Initially, I was a bit apprehensive on sampling this cholesterol-laden, coronary artery bomb but upon tasting one bite, there is no turning back. However, I exercised some moderation but still, wow, this is good stuff.

Anyhow, I know that I will blog again about food in Cebu so I’ll keep this post short and the photographs speak for themselves. Till the next inspiration comes along, au revoir!