Thursday, May 30, 2013

Introducing Miss Poot Poot Poot

oh why....hello there :))))
So you are Miss Poot Poot Poot? Why would ur owner gave u such a silly name?

I know
I KNOW!!!!!
chill....hang on there....a few years ago, I declared my dislike for MINI Cooper but I somehow changed :P People changes all the time....I used to "deteste" Bordeaux wines and now...Look at me??? Who would have thought I went to Bordeaux and learnt so much about it?

and NOW a MINI COOPER?????
hahahaha sometimes I do surprise myself huh? I guess most of the time.

While I alwiz surprised myself....JS surprised Monkey with her birthday pressie :)))))
heeeeeeeeeeeee I know...I'm a super duper lucky gal...tee hee hee....

Once we were back from France....Miss Poot Poot Poot sat next to Mr. M downstairs the basement parking lot. Oh well, minus the ribbons though I alwiz wanted ribbons on my pressies all the time. When JS gave me a bicycle last year, it came with ribbons too...oh yeah that I have yet to blog.

If u were wondering what happened to Miss Alpine, she was sold back in October 2012 and got replaced by Mr. M....another mean machine. Yes I have yet to blog about him....will find time...will do....must do....-_-"

So Miss Poot Poot Poot looked so small next to Mr. M....she's at least half the size, half the height, half the engine capacity but double the cuteness and fun!!!!!!

when it comes to preference and selection with JS, u don't have to worry....He alwiz has it and sometimes it worries me :P

Miss Poot Poot Poot is a limited edition of MINI Cooper S Bayswater. A British inspired MINI design. The sales person told me in this color there's only a few in Malaysia....okie...if I do find more than 7 in this color...u'll know I'll come to u.

The signature Royal Mailbox on its bonet with limited ed colored stripes....only the Cooper S has this royal mailbox hole because its roaring furious engine is Turbocharged....yeah I know...for such a small's really fast!!!

with its limited specially designed 17" sandblast alloy wheel rims. It's oso high gloss u know??? I was happy like a bimbo bcoz it's wearing gloss just like my lip gloss...
*twirls in happiness*

So for a limited edition car, it needs to have its own uniqueness. The stripes design on its side mirrors were grey on the left and blue on the right.

everytime when Monkey stepped onto Miss Poot Poot Poot, she's being reminded that this is a Bayswater edition.....Yeah it was inspired by a district in West London.
Oh yeah Bay-Bey!!!! soooo austin powers :P

From the 5 series to this MINI Cooper S....parking needed adjustments.
I was very very careful with Mr. M all the time bcoz of its length and width...and now with Miss Poot Poot Poot....ahhahahah no issue...I can park anyway anyhow easily. This car is really meant for women. :P

Though it's compact, it can still fit 4 people. But usually I ride on my own with my 8 pairs of shoes at the back so no issues.

the interior blew my mind....
I didn't expect such space inside a compact and tiny car.

the limited edition comes with Piano Black dashboard and its signature Blue and Brown stripes. Really luxurious for such a tiny car. Me LOVE!!!!

its exclusive anthracite leather seat with a Tag just like those on your t-shirt to remind u again that it's a Limited Edition Bayswater.

yes Double twin exhaust's Cute Ferociousness hahahahhaha

hmmm why name her Miss Poot Poot Poot? a cute silly car like this deserves a name that matches it. In terms of handling, I needed adjustments and getting used to. MINI Cooper is designed to handles like a go-kart and they are not kidding, believe you me.

Its steering wheel is precise, short and sharp. As in if u wanna go left/ just changes so precise I am afraid the brain is too slow to digest. Pickup is fast...too fast it surprises me and other cars on the road....yea who said MINI don't have torque ? 0km to 100km in under 6.9 seconds. Sometimes it scares me...

Prollie I've been driving bulky cars :P
only complaint, it's too bouncy.....and MINI representatives assured me this is how it was designed...just like the original MINI.

It's a statement and unique car. I LURVE it!!! Now I need to find time to pimp her up coz MINI is really good in selling their kits and after-sales. There's so many accessories u can add on to make her more beautiful!!! Now I need to find/create a unique design for her roof....wat do u think? I don't think I want a UK flag :P

Thank you JS!!!! I lurve Miss Poot Poot Poot so much :))))
U may also drive her upon my approval bcoz I know u've been eye-ing her every morning when u retrieve ur car at the basement.....hahahahahaha.

For more information, log onto:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The mystery of Sak Keh Ma

The curiosity alwiz kills the cat they said....
but it's different for Monkey. Whenever she's curious, she'll be nosy and check it out....usually she'll ends up with something to eat/munch/drink.

Yes whenever we traveled, we alwiz take different routes home be it walking or by public transport *in this case, inside the comfort of our car*. This way, we get to discover something NEW, something interest...os good bargains.

We've discovered excellent seafood place in Rome, Great coffees and croissants in Paris, amazing paellas in Barcelona by the beach, succulent salt-baked fish in Bangkok, and the list goes on....Sometimes being in the comfort of our own country, there's too many blind spots. Prollie because we didn't walk enuff to discover much.

So last weekend we drove to a place about 45 minutes from Ipoh - Tg. Tualang. A town famous for its huge prawns. Ok ok ok I will blog about the meal of huge ass prawns but I've already done that before during one of the many trips here. The highlight this time would be these babies!!!

Sak Keh Ma

What is Sak Keh Ma? It sounded be precise, it's cantonese. I Ching saw this lil stall selling them as we drove by. Oh yeah we were so environmentally unfriendly...the men came here with one car and the ladies another. They said it's bonding time....I said it's a waste of fuel.

Whenever I made such comments, I'm asking for be piak on my mouth bcoz the men are in this industry - oil and gas....
so no such thing as wasting fuel/no fuel/don't use too much of fuel/fuel too expensive etc
oh well....I've did it so many times, over and over again, I got scolded and piak-ed for this comment. Fine...end of story.

anyway back to the star of this dessert - Sak Keh Ma
I was so curious that I stood there watching them doing business.

This boy/vendor was operating the stall with his elder brother. I wanted to ask him more questions on the history of this lil snack but my chinese is really limited. Plus I won't be able to understand much about what he's gonna say. I've alwiz get this thing from friends whereby they have to explain in details over a simple word. Please lar speak simple cantonese....I don't watch TVB nor any Hong Kong dramas ok?

Young boy then proceeded with cutting the caramelized snacks with such precision
each slab/block is so precise so it will fit into the plastic bag perfectly.

Each block consist of 4 huge pieces of snacks. One pack has one block.
But he cuts it in a way whereby each block is not apart in 4 pieces but it's enuff for you to tear them away from each other.

well it may looked/sound simple but it's not!!!!
it requires a lot of knife skills.
Oh well u don't wanna piss a young boy with high energy holding a sharp cleaver right?

Ta-Da!!!!!'s clean and precise
no rulers were needed

the sak keh ma was made fresh on the spot. I could smell the caramelised maltose and EGGS!!! 3 packs were sold for RM 10. We ate them on the spot :P HAHAHAHAHAHA

So after much digging and reading this morning *okie lar not that much*
Sak Keh Ma originated from be precise......Manchuria.
AIKS?????? I alwiz thought this was some Malaysian Chinese snacks originated from Ipoh?!?!?!?!

so u see the power of knowledge.....

so there were a few stories on the legend and beginning of this snacks. But the funniest one would be the chef made these for a general *who rides on horse* whom he hated. So he named it Sak Keh Ma - sounded like "Kill the one riding the horse" for this irritating general to eat :P

but out of the many legend/stories, the one I found believable was Sak Keh Ma/ Saqima is the translation of Manchu.....of cut and rearrangement. Oh well you do cut this slab of snacks and rearrange them to be eaten right?

only problem now...I've only bought enuff for myself to eat :P


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bordeaux, City of Art and History

Grand Theatre of Bordeux

a neo-classical opera/theatre built in 1780 is just right in front of our hotel
Bordeaux has got many historical monuments and have been listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. I couldn't believe it that Bordeaux has got roughly 362 historical monuments.

apparently the other city that out-rivaled Bordeaux is Paris....
in terms of historical monuments...but I guess Bordeaux is also so much better from the aspects of Wine tourism hohohoohohoho, quality of life, food, people and environment.

I really do enjoyed doing picnic by the Garonne river, under the warm spring sun, among the green green grass...chomping on my fresh produce bought fr the market. Will blog about it soon ok? :)))

This was our hotel - Grand Hotel de Bordeaux and Spa
pic taken from the Grand Theatre

Flatmate Amy booked us here under her corporate rate. Thank you!!!! Otherwise it's gonna cost a huge grand big bomb :P

I like this hotel for its location...right smack in the middle of everything...
but most of all the view of Grand Theatre

Monkey concentrating on the view.....hahahahaha
yeah I know I was born with this face....when I'm concentrating, it looked so stressful :P

We lurve to sit here right in front of the hotel.....doing nothing.....except ppl watch....hehehehehehe....the weather was too lovely to stay indoor

Fried Scampis with grilled artichoke and lentils, served with spring shoots of asparagus

There's a Michelin starred restaurant in the hotel but I guessed we were just being a bitch for not booking it. Sometimes when a gem is so close to u, u tend not to appreciate it. Well, JS has confirmed that we are coming back again so there will always be another time :)))))

Monkey had a simple sous vide free range egg with ham and white asparagus.
I had so much of white asparagus from my stay in Switzerland and France, think they are flowing outta my ears....hahahahahaa

it was supposed to be a chill and relax evening, preferably with simple light food...and great wines but we ended up eating....failed....

This brasserie - Le Bordeaux run by the same hotel is really good. I guess Bordeaux is so modernised now that everyone can speaks english. Good english too.

Mille Feuile :))

Brasserie Le Bordeaux serves only wholesome traditional french cuisines. Be sure to find lots of yummy goodness on its menu, most of them South West French style dishes.

the entire place was designed to evoke a sense of "belle epoque" translated to "Beautiful Era" back in the 19th century's great brasseries in France.

Oh well I lurve this property so no complaints and we will definitely come back here for everything. The people, service, food, view, wine list....:))))))))))

We continued to sit there and watch the evening past, with silhouette creating shadows on the plaza.
Musicians continued to roam the area with their enchanted singing and sounds that made me wanna be here everyday.....

ooh dream on Monkey....but hey dreams do come true u know?
so yes..I will continue to dream and dream really hard that it will come true.

Soon the streetlights bathed the area
the sky has got such beautiful colors

we closed our eyes and dreamed so hard we forgot we needed to rush to a place

Soon JS signed the bill and pulled Monkey's hands and dashed down to the river by the Grand Theatre. How could the theatre be so beautiful even on its back lane?? It has got bushes and gardens and frenchie lamp post with benches beneath it.

JS: "We are late!!! We kenot miss it!!!!"

Monkey was still she ran down the alley...think I was quite tipsy then :P

in less than 3 minutes, we arrived by the bank of Garonne River
oh yes we were rushing for some kinda view....JS alwiz knows where to get the best view and sunset.

Tipsy Monkey said that's a beautiful bridge...she wanted a pic with it....but JS was quite reluctant bcoz he said I was wasting his time as he was bz setting up his camera for something even more magnificent.

but he obliged...I know...he's the sweetest.

that's a really important bridge - Pont de Pierre
Built under the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte during the first French has got 17 arches depicting each letter of his name....*oh he's a narcissist I tell u*

I was still rubbing my eyes when ppl told me all parts of the A380 were transported using this same river under this same bridge to Toulouse for final assembly. WAT?
it's so small!!! how did they transport it? Look at the lil stone arches there!!! how can parts of A380 passed through????

and my dearie readers, guess wat? Monkey and JS had the privilege to see the huge ass super duper jumbo T-Rex dunno how many foot WING of an A380 being transported during our picnic by the river. I will also blog about this soon hehehehehe :))))))

So this was wat JS rushed here for....Place de la Bourse
originally built between 1730 and 1775 just to celebrate an equestrian statue in the middle. Yeah it was a symbol of show that they are god damn rich to build something this beautiful for a statue....hahahaha which was later destroyed during the French Revolution.

oh well, many things were destroyed during the revolution....pretty sad huh.

JS waited for the perfect sunset to capture this

Place de la Bourse faces this Water Mirror the largest in the world
Ok I promise that I will blog in details about this water mirror OK? I lurve it so much that we are here almost every single day. Different time of the day, we get different views.

but I wasn't as fanatic as JS who wakes up at 5.30am to come here to fight for the best spot for the best pic. Yeah he thought he was the earliest but someone else was more Kiasu *and that someone wasn't fr Singapore* who took the best spot with his tripod to the horror of JS.

Sorry lar...I think next time u need to be there much earlier. Anyway at any time of the day, I see people with tripod setting up here to capture the perfect pic with patience.

I thought our trip to Bordeaux was just a check list to do, I mean being a wine enthusiast this place is the a trip would suffice...but I was wrong. Looks like we are coming back :))))

JS, let's plan ahead. Looking at my calendar I may need to quit my job :))))))

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ipoh our Food Haven

The first meal that we had once we arrived Ipoh at 8.00am

in case u were wondering what was's a bowl of yummy crispy Roast Pork, Peeled prawns, Sweet Char Siew, steamed free range kampong chicken, succulent chicken feet, and fat juicy Ipoh Beans Sprout at the bottom....hahahaha...and plenty of spare parts too.

yes this was for the Curry Mee
last weekend was a long one, so we took the advantage and drove down to Ipoh on Friday....just for a short weekend getaway. Since JS needed to blast off and tee off at the golf course by 9.00am sharp, we headed down early in the morning. Oh well the usual time when we departed home from work. Yes I go to work at 6.30am, in case u were wondering.....and no I am not a teacher though my birthday falls on Teacher's Day.

and again.... No... I am not trying to achieve Employee of the Century award...because I alwiz believe that early bird avoids the worm...kakakaka..yes I just wanna avoid the early morning traffic jam.

that big bowl of yummy meat came with this dry curry meehoon
oh well I am not a yellow noodle person so I had rice noodle instead. Lighter and easier to digest.

laden with pork lard and crispy bits, topped with intense curry sauce, dark soya sauce and some secret sauce....basically u can just dip ur meat with this concoction.

Ipoh has got 3 curry mee that we love, but this time around, we didn't have the time nor tummy capacity to eat all 3 at one go. Well since the men needed to tee off and Monkey needed her massage. Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho.....

Find out more about this curry mee place *Click Here to read*
then last nite after all the yummy food @ Ipoh, we dashed back home to KL for another yummy dinner at Peakie D's home.

Crab Curry and homemade Thosai!!!
oh to die for...
GOSH!!!! I can't see my feet anymore.....the tummy is huge...

I am PREGNANT!!! with FATS!!!!!

all 3 months of it..
have yet to recover from France trip and now more to come.
Yes I know, we just got back from France and here we go trotting around Malaysia again. This week, Monkey is flying again.....see wat I mean when I said I can't have pets nor plants nor kids.

Woohoooo it's Monday....weekend is just erm...a few days away. :))))))))
Have a good one folks!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Château Haut Brion.... from the inside by *JS*

I like the logo of Chateau Haut Brion. Kind of symbolizes the grapevines
A very modest entrance to the domaine

When one thinks of Bordeaux wines, Chateau Lafite always appear first and it’s not definitely not in alphabetical order! This is not surprising as of the 4 first growth chateaus named during the inception of  the 1855 Medoc classification, 3 of them are located in Medoc and 2 of these are situated in the AOC of Paulliac and 1 in AOC of Margaux. So what happened to the 4th chateau?? Well the 4th one is Chateau Haut Brion and its not in Medoc but in Graves in the AOC of Pessac Leognan just south west of Bordeaux city.
Some facts about this chateau and her wines. Medoc was once a vast marshland and it was not until the mid 17th century that the Dutch came to Medoc and drained the marshes. Record shows that in the 15th and 16th century, when the people of Bordeaux think of wines they will head south west of the city where the gravelly sandy soil terroir produce great wines and this was way before Paulliac even existed as a vine growing commune. However of all the chateaus in Grave then, one chateau stood out for its quality........that’s Le Chateau Haut Brion. 

So magnificent!!

Apart from being blessed with the great terroir of Pessac Leognan, there are many other good reasons as to why chateau Haut Brion rose to prominence so much earlier on. One of the main attributes is the way the chateau owner was committed to good wine making and always striving and innovating to be the best. The two names worth a mention as part of the history of this chateau are Arnaud 2 de Pontac and Arnaud 3 de Pontac. So it is not surprising that when Napolean 3 commissioned the 1855 Medos classification system for the great Bordeaux wines, they really cannot ignore Chateau Haut Brion and hence it was named as a 1st growth Chateau. Infact in 1855 there was only 4 first growth chateau named....chateau Mouton Rothschild was named only later (hence today there are 5 first growth chateaus) for whatever good or no good reasons!
Monkey eager to step foot inside Chateau Haut Brion
Thats Arnaud 2 de pontac's picture on top of us
Everybody wants a picture with Arnaud
Reception area of the chateau

Production of a great grand cru wine is the convergence of what nature have to offer and human factors(ie, viticulture and viniculture). Nature provides the soil and the climate and micro climat which is the Terroir. At Haut Brion the soil and sub soil consist of large and small quartz gravel, hills, deep alluvial silt and a sub soil that is well drained. The quartz pebbles are of Pyrenean origins and washed and carried down by the rivers and glaciers during then last ice age from the Pyrenes mountain, south of Aquitaine some 1.8 to 3 million years ago at the end of the geological Tertiary era. The pebbles play a very important role in speeding up the ripening of the thick skin cabernet sauvignon grapes by absorbing heat in the day and radiating out heat during the night time which acts as a ripening catalyst.

The white quartz pebbles and gravelly silty soil of the domaine
We were lucky to witness the bud break which starts in April and the first flowers will appear about 8 weeks later
The grapevines have been pruned using the "Guyot double" method

The well drain soil ensure very little moisture retention hence making the roots of the grapevines dig deep down to look for water and nutrients. What the roots of the grapevine picked up from the deep rock strata (in most cases limestone) will be translated to the secondary and complex aromas that one will get when nosing the finished product which is the wine. The loose sub soil also contain a lot of air pockets which insulates and protect the roots of the grapevines during cold winters.

The southerly facing slopes also ensure that the grapevines received the most sunlight throughout the year especially when the fruits developed and need sunlight to photosynthesize and produce sugar(and reduce acids) which is an important ingredient in the fermentation process.

Chateau Haut Brion is the proud owner of 51Ha of precious vineyard in Pessac Leognan. It is the smallest of the 5 first growth vineyard in Bordeaux. Slightly over 48 Ha are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon(45%), Merlot(40%) and Cabernet Franc(15%). Cabernet sauvignon gives wine structure  whilst Merlot gives it roundness and body and cabernet franc enhances the nose. One point to note here is that despite the high ratio of cabernet sauvignon grape varietal planted, the finished blend of grand cru reds from this chateau contain 55% of merlot varietal……very similar to the reds of Pomerol.

The remaining 3 Ha of vineyard are planted with sauvignon blanc and Semillon grape varietal for making the stunning and exiting and rare Haut Brion blanc.

This equates to roughly 700-800 cases per year! Believe you me…..this is very special.

The higher proportion of Merlot used at Haut Brion means that the red wine will not be as big and powerful as her counterpart chateaus in Medoc where cabernet sauvignon dominates. Infact the high proportion of merlot is similar to the great Pomerol reds except the gravelly sandy soil in Pessac produces a different wine compare with Pomerol’s clayey soil.
The first stainless steel Vats for primary fermentation in wine making was first used in Bordeaux in 1961 and Chateau Haut Brion was the pioneer with the rest following suit later on. At Chateau Haut Brion, all the parcel of grapes harvested are fermented in separate vats (one parcel one vat).
The ribs are actually the cooling system for these squeaky clean stainless steel vats

The temperature of the Vats are controlled by the cooling system using water running thru the ribs situated outside the tank. Fermentation is an exothermic reaction where heat is release. The heat also acts as a catalyst for the fermentation to speed up hence it is crucial that the temperature does not rise too high and fermentation get out of hand hence the need for a cooling system.

On completion of the fermentation and the “running off” completed, the wines are “blended”  at this stage where lesser parcels and grape varietal juices are mixed with great parcel juices and or grape varietal. I believe not many chateaus practice this as most wines are blended after the aging process in the cask or oak barrels.  Blending the wines at this stage requires vast knowledge in viniculture and also the local knowledge of the vineyards especially how it is affected by the current year's weather, micro climat, local soil variation, etc.

After blending, the wines goes thru the secondary fermentation where the malic acids are converted to lactic acids. This process is also call Malo-lactic fermentation where bacteria is added in a control environment to convert and reduce the harsher and tart acids to a softer acids. Very technical indeed.
It is after this that the wines are now put into new oak barrels. The oak releases its tannin into the wine contributing to the aromas. The oak also soak up some of the wines hence creating a small vacuum in the cask. The pressure differential then allow air(especially oxygen) to be slowly sucked into the cask through the pores in the oak. This process is the basis of aging the wine where the slow and slight oxidation contributes to the quality and complexity of the wine.
Neatly stacked new oak barrels containing the 2012 vintage
The cask are manufactured by Sequin Moreau, one of the oldest makers in Bordeaux

That was one hell of a shitload of educational stuff and information on the chateau that we picked up. Monkey made the notes whilst I snap away :)
Now it is time for us to roam the Chateau’s ground and monkey around a bit :)

stop monkeying around with the beast :)
Yes Monkey. Thats the same chateaux on the label of every bottle of Haut Brion wine
That perched beast roaring into the courtyard is actually guarding the chateau ground and a symbolic icon of Chateau Haut Brion
The bottles have a name given to it for its size. here goes.....from left to right.....Balthazar(named after one of the 3 wise men from the bible), imperial, double magnum, magnum and full(0,75lits standard wine bottle) and each size up means doubling the volume. Yes, Monkey we are going to taste these babies later :)
The chateau comes with a nice garden. The frenchies aristocrats really know how to live in style.....hence the french revolution i guess :)

And finally it was time for tasting.
The tasting room at Chateau Haut Brion is spacious and reminisce of pre French revolution aristocrat’s type of accommodation. Two reds were tasted.

The grand tasting room
The view from the tasting room which is the rear of the chateau
That's the water tank in the distance. The dilemma faced by growers are either too much water or not enuf water.....hence the standby water supply

The Chateau Haut Brion and another wine from her sister chateau across the road that’s Chateau le Mission Haut Brion. Both are 2007 vintage. Both the wines are made in the same way. The difference is the Terroir. Generally both wines are beautifully dense and deep red. Nose of black fruits such as black currents and blackberries dominates. There is good grip on the palate but seems a bit tight probably bcos of the youth. Tannins have begun to soften. As expected, the Haut Brion was more intense compare with the Le Mission or was it the mind playing tricks since the wines are not blinded J Both the finish was long and aromatic. It will be a beautiful wine a few more years down the road.

the two Haut Brion 2007 red wine

Monkey:-  where is the Haut Brion Blanc??
JS:- Errrrr…….dream on notti monkey :)

Well….it’s been a good, informative and enlightening visit albeit a short one,  to this prestigious chateau and we definitely took away with us a lot of new knowledge and experience. I believe our mind set(poor impression of Bordeaux wines) after this visit must have took a turn for the better in terms of how we see Bordeaux wines in a different light. This was really the first of our chateau hopping in Bordeaux and we have seen the best of the best……. Crème de la crème.

Thank you ST for the arrangement and the experience. The only disappointment that I would like to register was the fact that they did not open a Haut Brion Blanc for us in the tasting room :)
A few more pictures and some tourist stuff and we will be on our way……

One for the album and record to show that we had a good time. I'd
drink to Chateau Haut Brion.....anytime!
yammmmmmmmmmm seeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg!!