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Archive for September, 2008

The day is as gloomy and grey as can be. I never thought that the weather would affect me this way, but it sure is making me grouchy.
Gloomy day

Gloomy day

 

I just wanna crawl into bed. That’s what it’s doing to me.

 

View from my room

View from my room

 

At times like this, I miss the scorching heat and 150% humidity that is Malaysia.

 

Moral of the story, boys and girls, do not take the sun for granted. You have no idea how happy I get when the sun is out. No wonder the angmohs worship the sun.

 

And it’s not even winter yet. Bah humbug.

 

😛

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It is fun cooking and experimenting with new recipes when HB is back. When he is away travelling, I usually eat simple, easy-to-make meals. HB was home this weekend, and we decided to try something more challenging.

 

We had decided earlier on to make a nice roast pork dish, and I figured pork loin would be a nice cut.

 

So for those of you who are feeling adventurous, do try this, it’s really yummy! Actually its not even all that challenging. Quite simple really, if you have all ingredients at hand.

 

Roast pork loin

Roast pork loin

 

The meat was really juicy and not dry as I thought it would be.

 

Baked potato wedges

Baked potato wedges

 

This was HB’s effort (mostly 😛 ). He did the cutting and mixing of seasonings while I coated the wedges with the said seasoning. Now, I really love my potatoes, and this turned out REALLY yum. I think I could have finished the entire 4 potatoes myself!

 

Delizioso!

Delizioso!

 

We coupled our meal with a glass of wine, and it was just like a meal in a restaurant, albeit 90% cheaper. 😛 The wine we had was a Chianti Classico, and it was quite mild. I think I am probably used to stronger tasting wines these days 😛 And no ma, that does NOT mean I am turning into an alcoholic. =________=

 

So, for those of you who may be interested, here’s the recipe for our Roast Pork Loin and Baked Potato Wedges.  

 

Baked Potato Wedges

4 potatoes, washed (leave skin on)

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

8 teaspoons vegetable oil (we used olive oil)

 

1. Cut potatoes into wedges

2. Mix the parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, paprika powder, garlic powder and oil in a small bowl.

3. Place potatoes skin side down in a baking pan/tray. Brush the seasoning mixture over wedges.

4. Bake in a 180 degrees celcius oven for about 45 minutes.

 

 

Roast Pork Loin (serves 4)

 

1 boneless pork loin (about 1 kilo).

4 tablespoons softened butter

400 grams chopped prosciutto (can be substituted with shaved/chopped ham)

4 tablespoons finely minced garlic

2-3 tablespoons dried rosemary (of course, better if it is fresh)

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon black pepper (or more if you prefer)

2 cups dry red wine

 

1. Mix butter, prosciutto, garlic, rosemary, cheese and black pepper.

2. Cut slits on loin about 4cm long and 2cm deep on both sides of loin.

3. Spread butter mixture all over loin and ESPECIALLY into the slits. (Use fingers for best results).

4. Place loin in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight. (Do not freeze!)

5. Preheat oven.

6. Place loin on a roasting pan and pour wine all over it.

7. Roast for about 1 hour or so at 180 degrees celcius, depending on size of loin.

8. Baste with pan drippings every 20-30 minutes.

9. Let it rest in oven for about 10 minutes before serving.

 

Sit back and enjoy the aroma of roast pork and baked potato wedges wafting through the air. 🙂 I had actually wanted to steam some broccoli to go with this meal, but we realized that there is already too much for us to down 😛 So, we made do with grapes later on for fibre.

 

We polished off the potato wedges, and there’s about 1/5 of the loin left in the fridge. Excuse me while I go heat it up and have another wonderful meal. 😉

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It is what I would like to believe anyway. Things have been going really well for me lately. After all the unbelievable trauma I had to go through, things really are looking up for me. I found (and married!) the love of my life. I cannot begin to describe how utterly happy I am with him. I moved to a beautiful country, I am actually enjoying learning Italian, and latest, I was offered a job.

 

 

It is when things are going so unbelievably well, that sometimes, you tend to worry that only something bad can happen next. Coz come on, He isn’t all THAT generous is He? He has got to spread some “goodness” to others too doesn’t He?

 

 

Today, I got a call from my dad. I called him back coz it’s cheaper that way. And I spoke to mum. She said that dad isn’t eating well. Just two to three spoons, and thats it. His cough is not getting better either. Sigh. The Big C takes its toll on dad, mum, everyone. 😦 

 

 

It is also no secret that I miss Boo, my dog. Every corner I turn, I see (ugly!) dogs here. I can’t help but miss the little fella. I know that I have been ranting about Boo quite a bit, and you may wonder what the fuss is all about. Well, here’s the thing, he isn’t any ORDINARY dog. He’s molto, molto ADORABLE!

 

 So, all you folks out there, presenttttting (*drumroll*) BOO!!!!

 

WATCHA LOOKING AT!!!

WATCHA LOOKING AT!!!

 

 

Oh, bother! Go away!!

Oh, bother! Go away!!

 

 

Did I just hear someone say "walk"???

Did I just hear someone say "walk"???

 

Here I am, thousands of miles away from home, wondering whether things will be ok.

 

I hope they will.

 

 

 

 

(Note: Pics of flowers, scenery were taken in Bukit Tinggi, Malaysia, in June 2008. Pics of Boo courtesy of the lazy sis who should send me more pics)

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when your idea of a good day includes listening to Amos Lee late at night while downing a mug of hot chocolate.

 

kimmelcenter 拍攝的 Amos Lee in Commonwealth Plaza。

Picture by kimmelcenter on flickr

 

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Cross my fingers……

Something really good may happen soon. I am crossing my fingers….and toes. Cross your fingers for me too, please! 😛 Lets see how it goes tomorrow.

 

EDIT: NO, WE ARE NOT EXPECTING A STORK DELIVERY!!!!!

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I am a lucky girl.

Sometimes, the little things in life remind me of just how lucky I am. To be able to love whole-heartedly is one thing, but to be loved whole heartedly is just……the best thing in life, ever.

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I know, I know. Everyone’s sick and tired of this whole campaigning thing that’s going on in the US. As for us, we have BBC and CNN on TV, thus I have been watching quite a bit of reporting on this whole campaign. Usually I am disinterested. But today, I happened to be watching Larry King on CNN, and he had a representative from the Democrats and another from the Republican. Also, he had a representative from Factcheck.org.

 

Factcheck claims to be “a nonpartisan consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. They monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews etc”.

 

So, Larry King chose a few statements/TV ads that both parties made to check its accuracy. And although both representatives were debating things out, in the end, the rep from Factcheck had the last say. And it seems to me that the Republicans made more inaccurate statements and claims than the Democrats did. Funnily enough, the topic of the show today was, “Why can’t politicians tell the truth”? 😛

 

I think they should ask our Malaysian clowns politicians back home. They ought to know best. 😛

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I went for my first Italian lesson today. Can’t really call it a lesson though. It was more of an introduction to the teacher. Her name is Stefania. (OMG I couldn’t help but think about Stefania from Everybody Loves Raymond 😛 ) I was quite surprised to see that the teacher was quite young. I thought I’d be getting some old teacher who wears pince-nez 😛  Somehow, those Enid Blyton books I used to read still give me false impressions.

 

So, Stefania hinted that I look young (wheeeeeeeeee!) and I said, I wish! Turns out she is only a year older than I am. She has that typical Italian fashionista look about her and was very friendly. She gave me a basic overview about the course and the textbooks. I will attend 2 private lessons with her; tomorrow and Friday. Next week onwards I will join the group class which takes place every Tuesdays and Thursdays. This goes on till June. One thing I like about this school is that they are flexible in arranging the classes. If I get tired of the group class, I can opt for the private lessons. I get 40 hours of private lessons.

 

Yesterday we went to the hypermarket, it’s about the size of Tesco back home except with less shops outside of the hypermarket. It’s called Grand Emilia. OMG, I found red chilis!!! The cute thing is, they sell the chilis in a bunch tied together with a string, kinda like how one buys grapes. I’m so happy I tell you. I’m gonna blend the chilis into a paste and freeze it so I can cook sambal-ish stuff. 😀  Ooooh, maybe I can even try making nasi lemak!!!  Apart from that, we also bought baking trays and tins. I have an awesome oven at home and I ought to fully utilize it. HB also got bamboozled into buying this sleek weighing scale coz it looked….. cool. Guys! *rolls eyes*

 

I am slowly getting over my craving for Malaysian food. My fridge’s contents is starting to look more Italian. Salami, mortadella, cheese, pork loin, salmon, different types of wines etc. It’s fun to be whipping up new dishes. I am gonna try lasagna and perhaps canneloni next. Yum!

 

It’s starting to get cold now. It’s about 22 degrees inside the house (which means it is much colder outside). When I arrived, it was close to 30 degrees. Cannot wear shorts already 😦

 

Apparently, my dog Boo has attempted two major escapades. Mum thinks that he’s looking for me. Which may not be untrue, as he has NEVER done that before when I was home. He even peeks into the bathroom to look for me. I miss you too Boo. No other dog in Italy is even remotely as adorable as you are.  😦

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The title says it all. It is a place filled with wonderment. It seems to house secrets that only the ancient walls and streets seem to know. It is indeed a legendary romantic destination. We wandered through the maze of bridges and streets; backroads included, and it always seemed to surprise me that somehow we would end up on a piazza or a canal with a lovely view.
We had a map (Lonely Planet guidebook), but we got lost on purpose, soaking in all the sights this lovely place had to offer. I don’t know how many times I squealed to HB how much I loved the place.  🙂

 

We left Modena really early, about 6.30am, and we took the train to Bologna and hopped on another one to Venezia St.Lucia Station.

Our tickets to Venezia

Our tickets to Venezia

It was really cold when we left the house. The weather forecast said that Venice would be about 13degrees that day, so I had on my thick jacket.

In the train, there was this realllllllllllllllly annoying couple on the left aisle (we were on the right). She had bright red (almost pink actually) hair and they were giggling and laughing their heads off for nearly two hours in the train. They would break into “kissing intervals” at times. I didn’t mind the kissing coz I was trying to sleep during the journey, but they were talking so loudly and would burst into fits of loud laughter suddenly that I got really pissed and glared at her even 😛

Italy is an EXPENSIVE place. Here’s proof; a picture I took at Bologna Centrale Train Station:

€0.80 fee for use of public toilets!

€0.80 fee for use of public toilets!

Yupp, that’s right folks. €0.80 to use the toilet. That’s close to RM4 to PEE!!!!  They have an autogate system for the toilets, similar to the LRT’s we have in Malaysia. Only difference is that you put in €0.80 in coins in the slot, and the gates open for you to enter the toilets. Imagine, if a family of five wanted to pee, that would cost €4; about RM16!!!!!  I was shellshocked and decided to wait till we reached Venice to use the toilet. Pee a little bit only waste money, might as well wait till I really need to use it then only pay lah. Heh *cue kiam siap mode* 😛

And so, after a couple of hours on the train, we arrived at Venice!

First view of Venice

First view of Venice

We decided not to take the vaporetto (water taxis) as we wanted to explore the city on foot. And walked we did! 

The Grand Canal, Venice, shot from Rialto Bridge

The Grand Canal, Venice, shot from Rialto Bridge

One of the many, many canals.

One of the many, many canals.

We did not have a specific route mapped out while walking, but we knew we wanted to head towards St.Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco). But this is what happened when we arrived:

Piazza San Marco is flooded!

Piazza San Marco is flooded!

Piazza San Marco is the lowest point in Venice, and during high tides or heavy rain, it is the first to flood. They provided platforms for people to walk on and to get into the basilica, but when we arrived at the door, there was this guy who seemed like an employee (but did not have any ID or uniform on him) who was yelling: NO BAGGGGAGGGGGEE, NO BAGGGGGS INSIDDDDEEEE!! 

I tell you, its REALLY stupid. Half the people who queued had to turn back, coz almost EVERYONE were carrying bags! They only allowed small bags (like ladies’ handbags). HB had a backpack on, so we had to turn back. Really silly of them. Why? Coz they should have put up a notice or have that yelling guy at the START of the queue, not at the END of it! So we did not visit the basilica. The queue was unbelievable, and some people even removed their shoes and were walking in the water to cut the queue. But we did not feel upset about it coz there were plenty of other churches around for us to see.

PLUS we had another mission; to find the BEST gelato in Venice according to Lonely Planet! 😀

But Lonely Planet is a RIP OFF!!!!!  Read on and find out why.

We walked and walked, stopping several times to take pictures and look up the map.

 

 And thanks to HB’s awesome navigating skills 😉 we arrived at Dorsoduro, another area of Venice where Gelateria Nico is situated. Now, the Lonely Planet guide book said that Gelateria Nico has the best gelato in the whole of Venice. I must say that the view from Gelateria Nico was one of the best, as it faces the waters.

Beautiful view from Dorsoduro

Beautiful view from Dorsoduro

But honestly, the gelato was a letdown. The chocolate wasn’t creamy enough, and the After Eight (mint) flavour also lacked oomph. The one at Modena, called K2 was LOADSSSSS better and cheaper too. Gelateria Nico also had a stuck up employee who had a slight attitude problem.
Two gelatos for 3.80.

Two gelatos for 3.80.

So peeps, don’t believe everything you read in the Lonely Planet!  Sometimes I think that book is a rip off. Or likely that they have been paid by these proprieters to boost their business.
But we had a fun time taking lots of pictures and wandering through the lanes, thinking that Casanova once roamed these lanes. 😛 And people in huge, fluffy Victorian dresses too. Like this one:
Victorian Dress from the 1700s

Victorian Dress from the 1700s

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this window display. The dress was so ornate. How I wished we were living in the 1700s era with those elaborate dresses and what not. But that would mean no blogs and Internet! 😛   *shivers at the thought of that*

Gondola in Venice

Gondola in Venice

Nope, we did not go on a gondola ride. It costs anywhere between €60 – €100 PER PERSON!!!!! Thats waaaaay too expensive. We were content watching the gondolas go by.  🙂
And finally, to end this long post, a totally irrelevant picture that I took while at Venice. Brace yourself.
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Vulgar shorts!!!

Vulgar shorts!!!

Who in their right minds would EVER wear shorts like these!!!!!! 😛  😛  I saw this pair of shorts and many other vulgar (albeit funny!) 😛 articles on sale.
In a nutshell, HB and I enjoyed our visit to Venice tremendously. The weather was great, there weren’t too many tourists around, and being in such a romantic city with a loved one is the icing on the cake.
I love Venice, and I WILL come back some other time.

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VENICE!

Tomorrow, we visit the ONE place on earth I have always dreamt of exploring: Venice! Stay tuned for pictures!  😀

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