Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Next destination :))))

Last week during my usual weekday dashing around from meetings to meetings, Monkey managed to zoomed into the book store and got the book I wanted......so I smacked it into JS's face...
"Okie this is it...this is where we are goin in a few months time!!!!"

frankly my travel buddy aka JS is quite mixed when it comes to traveling
he only prefers places that he's familiar with, or even better if he's been there before.
then this is not called adventure darling!!!!
but on the bright side, he's pretty adventurous if there's another crazy partner aka ME who'll go with him :))))

even better if Monkey does all the research, reading, planning, bookings etc aka tour guide lar
but I've been playing his tour guide for the past few years, inclusive of reading out all the historical facts of all the places that we've been, history and biodata of chefs for restaurants that we dined in, name of artworks and its artists and year of conception, name of masons and how they died for all the stone carvings/buildings that we visited...
isn't it easier if we have a personal paid tour guide???
coz I don't get paid....ok ok lar...I got paid in kind coz JS takes me for holiday :)))

but I really enjoy the process of getting there
bcoz I learnt so much and when we visit the actual site, we appreciate it even more
and when I google Seville....instead of seville oranges....I found the above pic
so Moorish with a lot of Arabian influences
I can't wait to visit you!!!!

Seville's old town is the 3rd largest in Europe after Venice and Genoa
read again...OLD TOWN...
wow so this gonna be another Indiana Jones trip, I like!!! :))))))))))
Then I did more readings on Andalucia and found Malaga!!!!
wow what a beautiful and huge BULLRING!!!!

those who don't know Malaga, it's lies just 130km north of Africa and has one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain.
Founded in 8th BC, it is even older than ROME.
It was then called Malaka...hmmmm familiar???
Are u thinking wat I'm thinking??? Malaga is only 400km away from Portugal *portuguese conquered Melaka*
hmmmm Melaka? Malaka? Malaga

Anyway....Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas were born here
I hope there's a nice Picasso museum there :)))

oh my oh my...now I need 1 month in Spain~~~~
let's forget about Paris Ok???
I can forgo all my shopping for these!!!!
then my readings got into this place!!!
wat the hell is that????
I dunno wat Rock is that but it makes me wanna climb it!!!!

this beautiful Rock is situated very very near to Morocco
almost at the end of the Continent of Europe

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory so they are technically the responsibility of the Brits
so they govern their own politics and affairs...
how interesting!!!!
and yes English is the official language and Sterling Pound is their currency
the Rock of Gibraltar
and Monkey was trying so hard to convince JS....that Gibraltar is just a few hours away from Seville

so how to do Seville, Malaga and Gibraltar in a week???
plus we have Madrid, Paris, Bourgogne, Rhone then all the way down to Provence???
yea how to squeeze all those in one month???
*smacks forehead into the rock*
so u see....Monkey is meant to come here
and scale up the Rock of Gibraltar

but today, u dunnit to climb it....
there's a wonderful invention called the Cable Car that will take u all the way up there
JS, can we go to Gibraltar after Seville?
Please please please please~~~~~
I'll bake u all the Madeleine that u wanna eat every single day :))))
Please please please please~~~~~


Monday, July 30, 2012

Vanilla cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting

I got inspired by Nee Lee after she sent me a glorious website and started whipping cupcakes out. You see, I'm not really a cupcake fan coz it's usually just way too sweet. Plus I'm a very very savoury person....and I'm taking a big risk making something that I don't like to eat.

the recipe begins with mixing 2 eggs together in the mixer
it's best if you always remove your eggs from your fridge to rest before started using them
*only for baking*
the rest of the stuffs required for these cupcakes

so in the mean time while the eggs are beating for 30 seconds, weigh 1 1/4 cups of cake flour
*cake flour has got lower protein content*
1 1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
*I didn't know wat it was, and JS got me Natrium Bicabornate and I trust this engineer
1/2 tsp of salt

then into the 2 eggs mixture, u add 3/4 cups of sugar
after it is completely mixed, u add in 1 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

then reduce mixer's speed and slowly inter mix the flour mixture and 1/2 cup of Buttermilk
flour buttermilk flour buttermilk flour buttermilk

till it bcome completely thoroughly mixed like the above
so far so good rite? very easy rite?
most of all u don't use a lot of utensils = spells speedy cleaning later
line your muffin trays with papercups
and pour in the mixture 2/3 like the above
make sure you don't make a complete mess

in order to achieve that, just pour in the mixture into a jug/watever that u have with a pouring spout
and u will have a clean pour with no excess around your trays :))))
bake at 350 Fahrenheit = 176 celcius
for about 12-14 minutes depending on your oven
again pls do always use a pre-heated oven

my advice would be to always switch on your oven whenever you start to bake
*yesterday, my oven was switched on for 12 hours, baking/drying lavender off my soft toys, cream cheese fruits tarts, madeleine and finally roast potatoes for dinner :P*

the cupcakes are not perfect because I didn't sieve my ingredients :P
*lazy me*
okie, I will do better next time :)))))

do not let the cupcakes sit in its tray
once it is out...wait for a minute or two then transfer quickly into a wire rack
bcoz if it's gonna sit there, it will cook on its own pan

this recipe makes about 16 cupcakes
it could be more or less depending on how much your "pours" are
so I've separate them evenly - 8 cupcakes on each tray
next is the cream cheese frosting
prepare 1/2 cup of butter = 113 g
8 oz of cream cheese = 227 g
dunk them all in here....
by the way u need to take the butter out fr the fridge and let it rest for about 10 mins
it should be soft
then whip the above with 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 4 cups of powdered sugar *icing sugar*

When I saw the recipe 4 cups???? I actually reduced it to 2 cups
and it proved to be a huge mistake....
whip till it bcomes like the above
creamie and yummy
put them into the pipping bag and start frosting
it was my first time frosting anything

it was horrible!!! coz it's so difficult for me....guess practice makes perfect huh?
well if u do use 4 cups of powdered sugar, then this frosting will be stiff but not too stiff, just nice
bcoz I added only 2 cups, it was a bit soft and will not sit nicely on top of the cupcakes
anyway....dun care lar...
maybe next time I'll just do 4 cups of powdered sugar
but the tasting note came....
my gawd....2 cups is already so darn sweet...I guess if I used 4 cups all my teeth gonna come out

but it was a good experience
I'll definitely attempt it again at 4 cups...just to see the results
and yes poor JS my guinea pig for all my baking
he also bought me this beautiful cupcakes stands
for every of my recipe, he'll get me something as "moral support" hahahhahahaha

so far he has gotten me a lot of nice and beautiful gadgets at home
including a beautiful glass holder for macarons *which I have yet to attempt*
he even got me the Pierre Hermes books on macarons :)))))
ok ok ok ok ok one day some day soon soon akan datang

thank you :)))))))))))))))))
you are the best guinea pig ever!!!!!
smoooocchhhhh ~~~~~~

and thank you to Nee Lee for inspiring this Monkey to get her ass into the kitchen and start baking
for more beautiful cupcakes to drool at, visit the author of this recipe at:
trust me, after visiting this website it's gonna get ur asses into the kitchen too

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Great Synagogue, Budapest

Monkey on her way to the Great Synagogue
the largest Synagogue in Europe, and the 5th largest in the World

for those who don't understand what does Synagogue means,
it's a house of prayer for Jewish people
if u still don't understand what is Jews/Jewish...pls google
Judaism is their religion, and Hebrew and Yiddish are their languages

Monkey has been working for a great Jewish boss for the past 6 years
I better understand his religion and beliefs in order to assimilate into the company
though very sensitive to speak about esp in Malaysia, I have no qualms and I admire him greatly
well if u noticed, our dearie Malaysian passport can go anywhere around the world from Timbaktu to North Pole except Israel >.<

I think it's still not too late to blog about this, though the visit was done back in April. The Great Synagogue was part of the itinerary, in fact it was so important I put a star next to it in our itinerary sheet.
Just below the beautiful Rose window was a Hebrew inscription from the 2nd book of Moses

okie, if u really have time and wanna do some research over the weekend...go do some reading about Islam, Christianity and Judaism
coz it's gonna be lengthy and I don't think this posting can accommodate
but I think all three are very very beautiful religions :))))))
JS was wearing a white Kippah on top of his head
it was our first time stepping into a Synagogue and we didn't know what to expect
so we engaged in a private tour with a lady very well versed in English
plus she's a Jew :))))))))) and that made our tour very meaningful

when we stepped into the main prayers' building, an elderly man was trying to put the white Kippah on JS's head. JS in his usual protective/attack stance instinct immediately said no and shoved the old man aside....>.<

awww that poor elderly man was trying to explain that by Law all men entering the Synagogue must have their head covered...and he was explaining it in Hungarian >.<
we felt so uneducated and ignorant WAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
*and most of all Horkatis = orang Kampong!!!*

okie Mr. JS, next time we better do our homework before doing any historical visits, and that includes types of stones/soil esp when we need to do Indiana Jones kinda visits
*click here to read our extremely Archaeology adventure*

oh WOW!!!!!! so beautiful~~~~~~~
is it this beautiful all the time???
and its chandeliers are not even lighted yet!!!!

this Synagogue was built in 1854-1859 following the Byzantine-Moorish style by a Viennese architect - Ludwig Forster.
the lower level are meant for Men...while the upper 2 levels are for Women and Children
reason being is, the men needs focus and concentration during service so it is better to separate them
the entire hall can accommodate about 3,000 worshippers at once.

the Torah Ark with the Star of David directly on top
filled with golden geometric shapes

u see, in Judaism, they don't worship angels, animals etc
so there's no sculptures of heaven hell, angels, demons, animals of half man half horse....
there's only geometry shapes and flowers
the exterior of the building
with facade of white and red brick
kinda reminded me of Venice with those moorish windows :)))))))
if u like architecture and design....u'll definitely gotta learn this
Later our guide took us around the Synagogue to the courtyard
love this multi colored glass/wooden door
when the Sun shines through it, multi colors were reflected
made me a happy girl - well for the time being...before I started to cry for what I saw after this door

after that door, was this serene peaceful courtyard of trees which are definitely so much older than me
it's actually a MASS Grave
of Men, Women and Children

unforgiving pictures where piles and piles of human beings being stacked upon each other
u can't tell which body parts were they...but you could tell from the lifeless limbs entangled in that bundle

600,000 people were murdered then in Hungary
but this was only a small fraction during the systematic wipe-off by the Nazi Germans led by Mr. Hitler

in total....3 million of Men, 2 million of women and 1 million children were killed mercilessly during this holocaust in the entire of Europe
that makes a total of 6 million.....6,000,000
*that also reminded me of Japan and China*

Today this mass grave is as serene as a beautiful park by the lake
with birds chirping not to happy tunes but to tunes that words can't describe but it just adds to the mood and ambience of this place
it's not exactly scary in a haunted way but a very sorrowful one.
then the Guide brought us to the famous Holocaust Memorial - Weeping Willow
designed by Imre Varga in 1991and partly funded by the famous actor - late Tony Curtis
u know Jamie Lee Curtis??? *think Freaky Friday, Beverly Hills Chihuahua and You Again??*
well Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Tony Curtis :)))))

The weeping willow has got names in-scripted on each of its leaves
the 600,000 names
and it was then that I began to weep
another abundant quarter of this area, we just walked around and explored
while our Guide Agnes was attending to some tourists asking questions
Names of Heroes and contributors were in-scripted here

our Guide Agnes proudly pointing to the name of Her late Father
who has helped and contributed in order to save the remaining Jews in Hungary during the holocaust

many other non-Jews and Jews took high risks to help Jews during this dark period. At that period, there is no religion nor lines to be drawn
it's about humanity and such killings and taking of lives is totally inhuman

after about 1.5 hours of tour, discussion and questions we took some time to digest all the new information we have gathered. We were speechless but continued to walk around...
my heart was aching in pain, as I shoved my feet walking on the pebbles
it was definitely heavy but I'm glad we did this tour

teary Monkey and our Guide Agnes, whom dedicated her life to the restoration works of the Jewish community in Budapest

Thank you for your passion, it's so deeply in-grained and I am surprised that though the pain was deep there wasn't hate in your eyes. It ain't easy to learn to be open and to let go. In order to achieve that, you have taught us that our thoughts our head is the vessel of our intellect and that's Wisdom of God.
then we sat outside the park watching the sun sets together
before it fully sets.....we realised it's the end of another beautiful day and more to come tomorrow.
JS didn't wanna miss another beautiful sunset pulled Monkey back to the room
so we were dashing around on the busy streets of Budapest to our hotel like shooting another Mission Impossible hahahahaha
by the way Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol was partially shot in Budapest
to watch another beautiful sunset with Berr and Labbit
a really beautiful one :)))))))))))))

Life is really precious and our body is our only Temple
take care of it yea!!!!

this was another milestone of our trip in April
now I am sourcing more interesting things to do in the next few months
and of coz interesting eats

Happy Friday there!!!

The Great Synagogue
1074 Dohany Street 2,
Budapest, Hungary.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Swined over by Swine

I know it's a bit heavy for Brunch but who says who can't eat these for brunch?
just like champagnes, u can pop them anytime u want anywhere
not only after the sun sets
coz even if u drink champagne at 8am in the morning, it's evening elsewhere around the globe rite???

yeah Milanese drink prosecco at 8am in the morning for breakfast, with orange juice
oh dang!! I missed Milan for its Coffee with heavy whipped cream, Nutella infused pastries, thinly sliced prosciutto, dining at Cracco Peck, lazing around Parco Sempione watching autumn leaves fall and Leornado da Vinci's museum!!!

okie let's not divert to my daydreams and focus on this succulent brunch
we woke up early on Sunday *7.30am*, tottered to the kitchen counter, made coffee and started typing ferociously on gadgets...
him on his iPad and me on my piano for a few hours when finally our tummy were rumbling a few symphonies

so bcoz of the above activities, we allowed ourselves to indulge a bit more for brunch
since Monkey wanted to buy that ugly BLACK CHICKEN to make soup and the only place that I know have it is at Ben's Independent Grocer, soon we found ourselves parked our asses at Swine at Ben's Grocer
Crispy Roast Pork with homemade chili sauce
usually we don't style our food once it's served on the table....we'll just take a few shots and dig in
but that morning it was unexceptional bcoz they placed the crispy skin facing the center of the plate!!!! *refer 1st pic*

Monkey sulked
JS: "Ok ok u wait..."
and repositioned the saucer while pushing the slab of chopped meat into the other side of the plate in under 3 seconds

like a lil boy,
JS: "Ta-DA!!!!"
okie it looked so much better but then the saucer is a bit dirty....the chili sauce were all over.

hmph dun care lar...
hungry need to prioritize first
JS had a mushroom and spicy chorizo with caramelised bacon pasta
*he's the pasta man*
the plates was pretty messy when served but we can't be bothered
hungry must eat first....

my crispy Roast Pork sandwich with homemade apple sauce served on ciabatta bread
a token of a small mixed leaves salad and vegetable chips

yes :))))))
2 more slabs of roast pork!!!!
but these are definitely for me

the first dish was for JS and JS alone :P
Pasta man needed some protein to play golf later
I must say the homemade chili sauce for the roast pork was really good, it's the same type of sauce served with chicken rice.

now my next learning curve would be the ciabatta bread
JS's fav bread...he's my guinea pig at home

okie guinea pig, wat u wanna eat this weekend?
I'll try to learn and make :D:D:D

S.Wine Cafe
Ben's Independent Grocer,
Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 603 6209 1716