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Archive for September, 2009

Gone to see the Queen

Yes, as corny as it sounds, I’m off for my long-needed break in London. Will not have Net access I reckon, thus updates will resume only when I get back second week of October.

 

I’ve got so much to blog about though; updates on the new house, more food and our little trip to a nearby town today. Oh well, thats much better than having nothing to blog about innit.

 

See you all soon!

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Firstly, I must stress that it was the HB who prepared this for our meal 😀 I was only the sous chef. The HB got the recipe online, though I don’t know where exactly, so I’m gonna write this down from memory. The HB had a friend who went mushroom picking and gave us some. I was quite happy as they’re quite pricey, and oh-so-yummy.

 

 

Wild Mushroom Bruschetta

Wild Mushroom Bruschetta

 

 

Wild mushroom bruschetta

Wild mushroom bruschetta

 

 

Ingredients

 

  1. 1 cup wild mushroom
  2. 1 shallot, chopped
  3. 1 clove garlic, chopped
  4. A dash of dried parsley
  5. A dash of salt
  6. A dash of pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  8. 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  9. 2 tablespoons bottled Pesto sauce (or enough to cover your bruschetta with a thin coat)
  10. 2 slices baguette
  11. 1 tbsp butter for sauteeing

 

Method

 

  1. Heat butter in a frying pan.
  2. Add garlic and onion. Saute for about 1 minute.
  3. Add mushroom and sautee till water evaporates, or till mushroom softens.
  4. Add salt, pepper and parsley.
  5. On one side of bruschetta, brush with olive oil. Place on frying pan, oiled side up till it gets a little “toasted”. You can do this in the oven too, if you so wish.
  6. Remove from heat, spread pesto on oiled side of bruschetta.
  7. Top with mushroom mixture.
  8. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dribble with olive oil.
  9. Serve hot.

 

 Note: We like PLENTY of mushroom on our bruschetta, hence the abundance 😉

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I have been trying to incorporate more fish into my diet lately but it has been quite difficult as the best (and cheapest) fish are from the hypermarket which is quite a distance away. We try to stock up on fish whenever we go to the hypermarket, being a typical guy, the HB doesn’t like those trips. I am absolutely over the moon coz our new house is directly opposite a large-ish supermarket, and they also stock fish! And buttermilk!

 

I wanted something quick for dinner today and I  usually eat very quick, simple meals when the HB is away. I opened the kitchen cabinets, mulled over the ingredients I had and also those I have to finish, as they were nearing their expiry date.

 

Thus I came up with my own recipe of sorts 🙂

 

Baked Cod With Parmesan Breading

Baked Cod With Parmesan Breading

 

 

Ingredients (Serves 1)

1. Cod fillet

2. 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs

3. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4. 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (I love mine hot, so I used a whole teaspoon)

5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice

6. 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

7. 1 tablespoon mashed anchovy fillet

8. 1 teaspoon garlic powder

9. 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley (I used dried parsley)

9. Dash of pepper

10. Dash of salt

  

  

Method

  

1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celcius

  

2.In a bowl, mix mayo, chili flakes, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, mashed anchovy, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

  

3. In another bowl, mix breadcrumbs with parsley flakes.

  

4. Drag one side of fish over Parmesan-mayo mixture. Drag again in the other bowl with breadcrumbs to evenly coat.

  

5. If you feel that you have a lot of remaining Parmesan-mayo mix, place fish on baking tray and spoon remaining mixture on fish before spreading with breadcrumbs.

 

6. Bake on tray lined with foil and smeared with a little olive oil for about 15 minutes or till crust turns a golden brown.

 

7. Serve with a slice of lemon.

 

Note: This is quite a forgiving recipe, and I suggest you eyeball measurements as you go along. Add or reduce cheese, chili flakes and garlic powder to your preference.

 

 

 Super easy, very yummy!

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The weather is great today. The skies are clear, the sun is out, and it feels cool. I decided to take a walk today, and headed for the public garden nearby with my book in tow. Good thing I had my camera in my bag too, for I took some nice pictures.

 

Shady trees above my bench

Shady trees above my bench

 

 

Building in the park

Building in the park

 

I have no idea what that building is called. I think it is used when they have exhibitions and the like.

 

Lying down on the bench reading Ken Follett's World Without End

Lying down on the bench reading Ken Follett's World Without End

 

 

And THEN, I spotted this really cute little dog that looked like a Bichon Frise. It was mighty adorable, and I am guessing, well trained too. The owner let it potter about without a leash on, and I was watching the dog traipse about everywhere in the garden and then head towards the gates. Eeeks. I thought it was gonna run away, but it turned around, sniffed at more flowers and pottered right back to its owner seated about 300metres away.

 

Dog looks constipated, but is not :P

Dog looks constipated, but is not 😛

 

I was beckoning him to come over to where I was seated, but all I got was a quick glance from it. >____<

 

And then, it decided to walk past me. I made all kinds of sounds one would normally make to call a dog over, but this snobbish little fella walked RIGHT past me with nary a glance at me. SOMBONG! Harrumph!

 

Sombong/snobbish dog

Sombong/snobbish dog

 

 

Oooh, but he DID stop at some shrubs right next to my bench.

 

Sniff sniff. Should I mark my territory?

Sniff sniff. Should I mark my territory?

 

Take this you little haughty dog. Serves you right for not wanting to even glance at me. Boo would’ve gladly ran over to whoever’s calling him, and gladly accepted a pat or two.

 

Ahhhhh.....that feels good

Ahhhhh.....that feels good

 

😀 😀 😀 Face of dog has not been shown (much) to protect anonymity 😛

 

I spent close to 3 hours in the park, reading. And I took a few more photos before I headed home.

 

Spot the amorous couple

Spot the amorous couple

 

I honestly did not want to capture the young couple in the picture, but just the greenery. I guess my camera is pretty good to have captured them from afar 😛

 

Not-so-nice pond

Not-so-nice pond

 

There were some ducks in the pond. And some geese were waddling about too.

 

Goose staring at me

Goose staring at me

 

One goose is staring at me, the other is doing some acrobatic maneuver presumably to groom itself. Geese always give me the shivers, as I recall trying to avoid a whole gaggle of geese whenever I had to walk home from school. There was this house that reared them, and each them I walked past, they would start yelling/screeching/yelping out loud. Scary. And oh, I totally didnt notice the couple in the background when taking this picture. Only realized it when I was uploading the pictures.

 

I *should* do this walk in the park thing more often. At least while the sun is still out and the weather is great.

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The pampered pooch

A pampered pooch, that would be me,

I get haircuts, salon treatment, hey, I’m pedigree.

Mangoes are my favourite, everyone knows,

It gets on my face, my ears and also my nose.

I have my sleeping closet, and I sleep with air-cond,

It gets cold sometimes, so I have PJs on.

They treat me like gold, my family does,

I love them for that, I’m their precious ball of fuzz!

 

I hate posing

I hate posing

 

 

It's bedtime, let's go!

It's bedtime, let's go!

 

 

Turn off the lights already! Turn off the lights already!

 

Goodnight!

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Response to our ongoing renovation works:

 

Nice Neighbourly Notice

Nice Neighbourly Notice

 

Translated loosely: Please. When do you finish the drilling? But what, is it (are you building) the Duomo of Milan?? Boeri family.

 

HB and I were dumbfounded when we saw this notice in the house. I wonder whether they pasted it on our door or slipped it under the door, as the workers must have taken it in. I went out to see which was the Boeri family, and lo and behold, they were just right next door.

 

Good Lord, we have not even moved in and we get this kinda remarks already??? I’m TOTALLY ok if they were to put up a note asking when the works will be completed, to complain if we were disturbing their “peace”, but was the sarcasm really necessary?

 

Firstly, we have done everthing LEGALLY. The contractors put up notices informing the residents of the building that works would be carried out for approximately 2 months (that 2 months isn’t even up yet!!), we informed the caretaker of the building, we got permission from the management office and the workers adhered strictly to the working hours. What, do you expect us to sound-proof our walls before carrying out building works???

 

What is it with so many of these Italians and their rudeness? I don’t mean to make sweeping generalizations, but I’ve encountered so many of them that they seem to overshadow the nice polite ones. Like our really nice, friendly neighbours upstairs.

 

And here I was, thinking I’d bake my neighbours some cupcakes once we moved in. Well Boeri family, you ain’t getting ANY of my cupcakes. Heck, I hope you don’t even get a whiff of my baked goodies. I do hope you get LOTS of whiffs of my belacan/shrimp paste and ikan bilis/anchovies. It isn’t any secret how much I love my belacan. Muahaha 😀  Too bad I can’t find any durian in this country, else you’d be getting lots of whiffs of THAT too! Grrrrr.

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The new apartment – Update 2

 

These pictures were taken on September 5th. The major piping and electricity cabling work has been completed.

 

New heating pipes

New heating pipes

 

Toilet tank

Toilet tank

 

This is the toilet tank that is embedded in the wall. Thus, one would not see the tank. To flush, there will be two “buttons” on the wall.

 

New water pipes

New water pipes

 

Repositioned water meter and new valves

Repositioned water meter and new valves

 

New track for sliding door

New track for sliding door

 

New piping for air-cond placement

New piping for air-cond placement

 

Elevation of electricity sockets

Elevation of electricity sockets

 

The sockets spray-painted with a big X are the old sockets. Italian law requires that electricity sockets be at least 30cm from the ground, and thus we have requested this to be carried out. To see how much tiles and concrete that has been removed from the ground, look at the grey line at the bottom of the wall where the blue bottle is. The workers had to remove about 15cm worth of tiles and concrete in order to remove the pipes. When the works are completed, the floor would be 15cm higher.

 

Can’t wait for them to put in the tiles 🙂

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We got back from Milan late last night. Although I thought I wouldn’t enjoy Milan all that much, I actually did. It was a lot more vibrant than I thought it would be, and somehow reminded me a little of Oxford Street in London and along the street of Champs Elysees in Paris. Except with a lot more fashionistas around 😉

 

The HB and I went to Milan to get some paperwork done at the Consulate of Malaysia. And thus we only had a few hours to traipse  through the city.

 

Stazione Centrale

Stazione Centrale

 

Stazione Centrale

Stazione Centrale

 

Of course, in the fashion capital of the world, EVERYTHING has to look good, including the train station! The photos above depict the walls and roof of the main train station in Milan.

 

We took the Metro to Piazza Missori where the Malaysian consulate is located. We were quite early, and thus sat on a bench under some shady trees to watch the world go by.

 

Trams

Trams

 

The trams reminded me of school buses back home 🙂

 

And soon, it was time for us to go to the Consulate. Upon arrival, we were quite impressed by how tasteful the office looked. It had Malaysian elements such as batik as a focal point on the wall, songket on the wooden panels and even Malaysian timber for flooring.

 

Lounge area

Lounge area

 

Malaysian Consular Office

Malaysian Consular Office

 

We spent quite a few hours here, and our tummies were rumbling by then. The consul, who happens to be really nice and friendly suggested that we go to Mei Lin, a Chinese/Malaysian restaurant that was close by. It was almost 2pm by then, and we were anxious to make it on time before the restaurant closes. Looking at the map, we decided to hop on the Metro again, as it would save us some time. It was actually not far away, I think almost everything is within walking distance in Milan. But yes. The time factor. Plus, we had also gotten ourselves a 24 hour Metro pass that costs EUR3 per person and gave us unlimited rides within 24 hours, which meant that we should make full use of it. And that, we did.

 

We were greeted by the friendly Malaysian owner at Mei Lin, and I was nothing short of *ecstatic* to see Malaysian food (!!!!!!!) on the menu. They had rendang, satay, roti canai, char kuay teow, Hokkien mee (the Penang version, which would mean Prawn Mee for non Penangites), pandan chicken, Tom Yam, kangkung belacan, Nyonya prawns, and various types of dim sum and fried rice.

 

The HB decided on the Char Kuay Teow and a small bowl of Tom Yam. And gosh, how hard it was for me to decide! 😛 I wanted EVERYTHING, but finally decided on plain rice with kangkung belacan, nyonya prawns and pandan chicken. Yes, that sounds like a lot, but it wasn’t. The pandan chicken was appetizer sized, really small but quite tasty. The tomyam arrived first.

 

Tom Yam

Tom Yam

 

And that, dear readers, is the only picture I have of the food! 😛 I did say I make an awful food blogger. The rest of the food arrived and I was just famished and totally forgot about taking pictures.

 

The tomyam was just ok, not too spicy and with bits of seafood in it. The pandan chicken was tasty but being an appetizer, it was really tiny. The kangkung was really fresh, oh gosh I miss it already and had that belacan taste, although with much less pedas/hot factor. The winner was hands down the nyonya prawns. It was really authentic, and I could get hints of galangal and lemongrass in it. How I would kill for some right now. HB’s char kuay teow was quite alright, although of course, its not like the real thing. With lots of sambal belacan added to it, it tasted a lot yummier.

 

We had a nice long chat with the owner later on, and we were the last customers to leave the restaurant. I was lamenting the fact that we can hardly get any Asian ingredients here in Modena. Milan being a major city, gets it fresh supply of Asian foodstuff from Thailand directly flown in. And thats how they get kangkung, tofu, galangal, kuay teow etc, ALL of which I cannot find here. How sad 😦

 

It was almost 4pm by the time we left the restaurant, and we made our way to The Duomo.

 

Window display

Window display

 

 

Bustling city

Bustling city

 

And lo and behold, The Duomo from afar :

 

The Duomo

The Duomo

 

 

The Duomo

The Duomo

 

There was a mass/celebration when we were in there, and thus, we could only walk at the sides, as the main area was barricaded. I observed the mass celebration, and it wasn’t the usual mass. I did a quick Google check, and it turns out that yesterday was the The Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

The Duomo was beautiful. It has a gothic architecture and stained glass windows that let light in. The unusual thing about this cathedral is the fact that it doesn’t have a bell tower.

 

In the cathedral

In the cathedral

 

 

Mass in progress

Mass in progress

 

We wandered about for a bit, and then decided to go to the roof the of Duomo, where you get a good view of the city.

 

Ticket to roof

Ticket to roof

 

The ticket costs EUR5 each, and you walk up the stairs to reach the roof. There is an option to take the elevator too, but that costs more, and isn’t half as exciting, I reckon.

 

Arches and Spires

Arches and Spires

 

 

Spot the Galleria

Spot the Galleria

Me being a tourist ;)

Me being a tourist 😉

 

 

The highlight

The highlight

 

And this would be the highlight; The Golden Madoninna at the top of the spire. I had read about Milan and its infamous smog, but we were very very lucky as the sky was as clear and as blue as can be. Too bad some parts of the building were undergoing maintenance work.

 

Me

Me

 

I don’t know what the HB was thinking when he took this picture, but I thought I’d show you the picture of the flooring. They’re all marble. I wonder what its like if it rains. It would be mighty slippery. We wandered around for a bit, got another tourist to snap some pictures of me and HB together, and then we made our way down. We had a train to catch, and we didn’t want to miss it. Our last stop was the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It is situated right beside the Duomo.

 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II

Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II

 

 

Pretty as a picture

Pretty as a picture

 

This is easily the prettiest mall I’ve been to. Check out my favourite the Louis Vuitton store at the bottom 😉

 

And of course, not to miss out on the Famous Bull 😀

 

The famous bull

The famous bull

 

 

If you look carefully, the poor bull has missing…err…balls. For some reason, it is tradition to spin on the bulls (non-existent) balls for luck. This tradition isn’t just for tourists as you will see locals doing a little spin and then walking away.

 

 

Spinning for good luck

Spinning for good luck

 

 

And that would be me, doing a little spin, while others wait their turn.

 

It was late by then, and we had to catch our train. We hopped on the Metro to get to Stazione Centrale to take the train back, but as luck would have had it, the queue was EXTREMELY long, and after waiting ages to get to the ticket vending machine, the machine went OUT OF SERVICE just as the lady in front of me was trying to get her ticket. And I had to join ANOTHER long queue again. In the end, we missed our scheduled (cheaper) 6.20 pm train and had to wait till 8.05pm for another (more expensive) train.

 

I will be back in Milan again soon for more paperwork, and would definitely catch up on the sights that I missed this time around, most notably, the Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church to see the ever famous The Last Supper painting, The La Scala Opera House and window shop at Quadrilatero D’oro area.

 

For those of you wanting to visit Milan, I’d suggest just one day, as everything can be done within a day, really. These are the must see/do items:

 

Things to do/see in Milan

 

1. Visit the famous Duomo. Pay a small fee to see the city from the roof of the Duomo, and to see the wonderful architecture.

 

2. Spin on the Bull’s Balls in the Galleria (one of the oldest malls in the world) and take in the pretty frescoes, tiles, details around you.

 

3. Visit the Santa Maria Delle Grazie Church to see The Last Supper painting. It is VERY hard to get in, and you should book tickets weeks/months ahead.

 

4. Visit the Museum at La Scala Opera house. If you’re a huge fan of opera, then maybe you would want to catch a show. Otherwise, visit the museum as it comes with a peek into the theatre.

 

5. Window shop in Quadrilatero D’Oro. This is where you will find Prada, Armani, Versace and the like. Of course, you can just window shop if the wallet is thin 😉

 

6. Have a taste of local cuisine. Try the panzerotti; dough stuffed with mozarella and tomato, then folded and deep fried.

 

7. If you have the time, discover Milan’s Canals in Navigli.

 

8. Simply people watch in front of the Duomo or in the Galleria. It’s fun to watch all kinds of people go by. Men in their well-tailored suits. Women in their sunglasses and latest fashion. And oh, The Shoesssss. 🙂

 

 

It was an enjoyable trip for us. We had great weather, great food and it would have been nicer if we had more time. I miss the vibrant Kuala Lumpur city life. The bustling city, the throngs of people, and Milan was just that, with lots more culture and history thrown in.

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I wonder

 

 

I wonder

If you are among the stars above

Watching us on earth try to live life

The way you would want us to.

 

I wonder

If you miss us

Or know how everything reminds us of you

The songs, the sounds, the sights,

Of memories to which we cling on so tight.

 

I wonder

If you know how hard it is

For try as I might,

That part of me is still missing.

 

I wonder

If it was really you

If what you said was really true

To let go. To move on. That you love us too.

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Ne…..?

The HB and I had quite a bit of discussion pertaining to recent events happening in Malaysia. Merdeka 2009 didn’t feel very Merdeka-ish to us, especially for the HB.

 

And then I watched this clip after chancing upon it on Pinkpau’s blog. This video cheered me up somewhat. Sigh. Why can’t we be a better, more united, fair nation?

 

Especially loved the ending. Listen carefully 😉 Watch it, it will put a smile on your face  🙂

 

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