Thursday, January 26, 2006

Grace Reading in Formal Hall

I received this note in my pigeon hole the other day. For 30 seconds I was like ? ... I thought I had committed a crime by reading during formal halls. Doesn't make sense till *smacks forehead*, I realized what it meant. Apparently I am in the rota to read Grace for one of the College formals during this term. Must be joking rite... Grace speaking Latin when her French can't even make it. -_-'''

Just for your info, here is the College Grace:

Benedic, Domine, nobis et donis Tuis,
quae de Tua largitate summus sumpturi,
et concede ut iis muneribus Tuis
ad laudem Tuam utamur
gratusque animis fruamur,
per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

which translates to:

Bless us, O Lord, and all your gifts,
which of your goodness we are about to enjoy;
and grant that we may use these your gifts
to your glory
and enjoy them with thankful hearts,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Master even offered to coach anyone who needed help. Mine is on 23rd Feb, sounds challenging but think I will opt out of it LOL. The thought of me speaking Latin... haha :P
ANYWAYS, its near CNY already! Yippee, time to rush the work and party during the weekend!
Gong Xi Fa Cai and Gong Hey Fatt Choy everybody!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Memoirs of Gay-sha

(L-R) Sayuri (Zhang ZiYi), Mameha (Michelle Yeoh), and Hatsumomo (Gong Li)

Went and watch this film after hearing so much about the cinematography and the beautiful costumes and kimono. Having read the story book years ago, I felt that it only did an okay job of trying to fit everything in 2 hours. The story wasn't emotionally touching enough, though I must say that Zhang Zi Yi (Sayuri/Koichi) and Gong Li (Hatsumomo) conversed very well and clearly after their language training. But do go watch it for cultural exposure, there's lots of Japanese elements that I learnt from it. For example, I always thought Geisha's were equivalent to courtesan's (prostitutes), but they are artists (dancers, musicians etc) althought they do auction their mizuage. Despite being the villain, I thought Hatsumomo played by Gong Li was the most outstanding amongst them all. Just look at how Sayuri and Hatsumomo had different endings in their approach of the same problem in the life of a geisha : the freedom to love.

A famous quote taken from the show in reference to geisha's:

She paints her face to hide her face. Her eyes are deep water. It is not for Geisha to want. It is not for geisha to feel. Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings. She entertains you, whatever you want. The rest is shadows, the rest is secret.

Yet, my favourite quote would be
" A true Geisha can stop a man with one look..."

Trust me, you will understand why once you watch this FIRST, and then only this. :)

A true Gaysha indeed... :P

Friday, January 20, 2006


Eventful day, but too long to elaborate coz its late, hehe. Basically: good experience, hilarious moments, sore feet, blister on toe, zero productivity and having telephone marathons. Gargh, what a way to start the term eh? Not in the mood to do my piling work, maybe its because of CNY mood... Have weird lecture timetable as well this term, with crazy 4 hours non-stop-brain fryers on Mondays (now I REALLY have an excuse to have Monday blues), and then 1 hour or 2 on most other days, with a bizzare 4pm lecture on Wednesdays... there goes the days where economists had 3 day weekends and only morning lectures. Hmph

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Food for the Mood

Ahhh, I feel like Spanish food today.
This post was inspired by Yan, whom reminded me of the glorious week in Barcelona and Valencia last year. I think I took too many pictures of food rather than scenery/people that time, but then I probably do everywhere. Just can't seem to perfect the technique, LoL

Anyways, here are some to share with you guys. Be warned: do not proceed if you're hungry! :P Your first thought about Spanish food is probably just Paella or Tapas.

Paella, the ultimate comfort food, is probably a risotto to an Italian or a 'chow fan' (fried rice) to a Chinese. Very versatile and goes with most ingredients. Authentic method of making it requires some time or effort though, by cooking the rice with flavorful stock in a big wide flat pan and constantly keep a watchful eye over it. Sadly due to time constraints, many restaurants just use ovens or even pressure cooker to do it. The squeeze of lemon right before you eat gives the punch ;)

The first one is just a normal seafood paella. The second one is interesting, hehe. No, its not a 'chao tarh' (i.e. burnt) version of the first. It's not carsinogenic either for the health conscious amongst you all out there. It's Paella Negro, which is Squid Ink Paella, hence where it gets its color. It's my favourite kind of paella I must say, noticed some people eating it in restaurants and decided to try it. Cooking with squid ink is just adds a different unexplainable aroma and dimension to it, have to try it for yourself when you're in Spain, highly recommended! But make sure you wipe your lips after eating it to avoid looking like a dracula! Will do a Paella post when I cook it :) (soon hopefully...)

On another interesting note, Tapas to me is like the Spanish version of sushi. It's a westernized version with bread/baguette instead of rice in sushis. Ok, maybe not ALL, but I did see some with salmon, and a crabmeat mayo one on top of bread.

Tapas from top-bottom: Blood sausage, salmon mousse and grilled pepper with mozarella tapas. Quite artsy, just like sushis. Hmm.. I think I still prefer sushi, hehe. But these are different story ...

(First picture) Tomato and garlic mussels and grilled baby squids. The next one is deep fried calimari and baby squids. Mwahaha, seems like a total seafood feast! But its all right coz its very fresh over there and not too expensive anyways compared to the UK.

Time for the highlight of the trip. I'd been reading up on what special stuff to try and finally landed my hands (or rather mouth) to these devilish desserts/snacks:

This is Buñuelos (Boon-way-loos). They are a Spanish favourite snack or dessert, basically crunchy flour tortillas coated with cinnamon sugar, dipped in DARK CHOCOLATE *swoon* :P

This is Churros. Churros are fried strips of dough typically served hot and sprinkled with powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar or dipped in chocolate (again!). Sounds equally sinful, hehe, but I had it for breakfast anyway a few days in a row! It's only a westernized version of 'Yau Char Kwai' (a.k.a) Chinese crullers, typically a breakfast item which probably originated from Hongkong. :P And I eat it with chocolate milk (though Chinese crullers normally goes with soya milk or even dipped in coffee :) ) Choosing between the two? Tough choice.. *think think, scratches head*.......... I think I prefer ....Ch.. Bh.. Chhu.. Bhhu.. CHuRRoS!! gargh

Haha, I think I went overboard again and ended up posting 80% of my food pics taken during my trip last year to Barcelona and Valencia. For souvenir? Yesh, I bought myself a Paella pan :P

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Cool Japanese Inventions

Be prepared for a good laugh!

Needed something to cheer me up today as I am feeling a bit lousy. Hence instead of doing work, I surfed and came across this interesting topic. I mean I have always been fascinated with the Japanese for their crazy inventions, like ramen noodle vending machines, smart toilets (where you can adjust the ideal temperature for warm seats and plays music while you're doing your business so it's less awkward) and even square watermelons. But seriously, these inventions are out of this world... Check it out!
Do you love singing and RED BOX (the karaoke entertainment chain) but just a bit shy coz you know you're not a Malaysian Idol material or Whitney Houston? Then the "Personal Karaoke" is for you!
This personal soundproof microphone lets you practice your (awful) singing without disturbing your family. It also comes with little earphones which lets you torture yourself by yourself. Just remember to brush your teeth before using it!
For the vain pots, here's introducing the "must have's" gadgets for beauty's sake. Who needs plastic surgeons when you have these:
No, it's not a ninja mask, but a FACE SLIMMER! Apparently having a slim face as a Japanese women is considered as a rare beauty feature. So that's why they made this Slimming Face Mask. The mask works by putting it over your face and letting contact pressure do it's job. It's also acts as a sauna for your face. That way you can "sweat the fat off" your face. WhoT? We should tell them that the Chinese believe that having a round face is a sign of happiness and prosperity! As for the one on the right, it's a Nose Stretcher! >_<''' A flat little nose is a common feature among Japanese women. But that all changed with this nose lengthening device. The thing works by stretching the cartilage in your nose to a desired size after wearing it for a few minutes a couple times a week. Pretty soon all Japanese women will have nice noses and slim faces, LoL
Okay, not all of the inventions are as random as those. I actually thought these were quite cool and useful, especially for a noodle lover like me.
Meet the Noodle Stove and Noodle Cooler. Just place your favorite cup of noodles over the single stove plate, and wait a couple of minutes and it's done! I think the Noodle Cooler on the right is more practical coz there's nothing worst than burning your mouth while eating some tasty noodles. Attach the Noodle Cooling Fan to your chopsticks and set the little fan to chill the noodles and save your breath from doing the job, common sense invention. *Thumbs up*
This is also another useful gadget for those tube/subway commuters out there. Being stuck in a cramped compartment like a sardine just makes you real sleepy during the rush hour. To make more efficient use of time, we all love to take a nap, but standing on a space constrained tube? Noooo problem, the Japanese said, coz we have the Nap Helmet!

Just put this baby on your head and pop the plunger onto the window as you dose off in Japanese dreamland. Maybe you can combine this with the face slimmer for a facial session in the subway and you probably look beautiful in time for work! But then, you'd probably look like a horrific alien/criminal in the subway with a RED helmet and a PURPLE mask...

Okay, I'm having a tummy ache now laughing too much. But really, I still respect the Japanese for their creativity no matter what. And yes, I'm feeling MUCH better now :)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Shopaholics unite!

What intended to be an innocent 'sightseeing' trip around town changed into intensed shopping spree as I got myself 2 new pairs of Adidas' from a sale! :) Yup, only 2. I had a friend, he who shall not be named, who bought 5 pairs of shoes, okay? (Don't stereotype :P) The beauty and power of comparison --> I bought relatively less :D Haha, good justification eh?
Anyways, can't believe term is starting soon, in less than 2 weeks! Where had all my holidays gone? >_<'''

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year, New Cuisine

In the spirit of 2006, feeling a bit more adventurous than usual, I ransacked my food cabinet and found this:

It's the Korean Hot Pepper Paste, a.k.a Gochujang in korean. This was adapted from a website on Gochujang:

It is a unique Korean food boasting of an excellent harmony in nutrition, taste, and color. Its savory taste and rich protein come from soybeans, the primary ingredient, and its sweet taste comes from carbohydrates contained in glutinous rice, ordinary rice, or barley, which are also major ingredients. Powdered hot pepper gives it a hot taste and red color, and its salty taste comes from soybean sauce and salt. While western dressings are sometimes added to vegetables, Korean hot pepper paste is used more widely (in stews and sauces, as well as in vegetables).

Sounds healthy LOL, perfect for a New Year dish. Hence I decided to try out this easy recipe called "Dak Chochu Jang Boekum" (Chicken in Hot Pepper Sauce), found from an online website.

All you need is:

  • 2 pounds chicken parts, loose skin and fat discarded
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoon gochu jang, hot fermentedchili paste
  • 2 tablespoons Korean sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup of water


  1. Cut the chicken into 3-inch pieces. Divide the wings.
  2. Mix the parts with the sugar and marinate for 1 hour or more (the sugar is a tenderizer).
  3. Mix together all the other seasonings: garlic, scallion, ginger, soy sauce, gochu jang, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Mix well, add to the chicken, and marinate for another hour.
  4. Pour the 1/2 cup of water into a pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the chicken and marinade and simmer, covered, over low heat for about 1/2 hour, which is enough to cook the chicken and evaporate nearly all the liquid.
  6. Stir the mixture once or twice during this process. Serve warm with rice, salads and kimchi.

It's THAT easy! I was a bit dubious and doubtful of its outcome, but rest assured, its tried and tested and its YUMMY! :)

Here are some pics I took during the preparation:


plus this ...

equals ...


It goes really well with noodles too for that spicy kick! Happy 2006 everyone, may the new year bring more joy and happiness to all! =)