Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekend in Washington!

This week has been real busy, with 9-5 lectures and constant homeworks. But it's all fun in the end when you get to know your friends (I prefer not to call them colleagues) much better. Plus we have an excellent corporate finance lecturer for 3 days, Mr Damodaran, which made the week much more pleasant than the accounting one.

It's the Labour holiday weekend here, and planning to go to DC for a day or two to check out the White house and all that jazz. Gotta have to do that despite the mountain load of work thrown at your face. Can't come all the way to the States and work, right? :P Definitely a test of time management here, with family, friends, work and own commitments, all fighting and screaming for a fair share of time ...

Anyways, still haven't manage to locate anyone here who's got a USB cable for a TZ2, so hopefully my literary power would come into great use in terms of describing what I've been up to. :) Trust me, my backlog food posts are immense. So take this as an opportunity for you to get to know Grace for 3 weeks without mentioning much about food :P

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back from NYC!

Ahh, I'm finally back from New York! It's been a mad 9 days there going for training and trying to squeeze in as much time to sightsee, shop and of course eat :P

Literally just got back to Princeton, had a shower, unpacked and I'm online again finally :) Scary how dependent we are on technology these days...

Got loads of interesting stories to tell and pictures to show you all! Sadly I can't seem to find my USB cable to transfer my photo files :S I've gotta ask around some friends if they have the same model camera of Panasonic Lumix TZ2.

Fingers crossed I'm gonna get some positive feedback as pictures do paint a thousand words!

Monday, August 13, 2007

National Food

In conjunction with Malaysia's Independence Day the end of this month, I thought it'd be appropriate to list down my favourite food that I think represents Malaysia. But then due to the immense culinary diversity in Malaysia, I just have too many favourites (if that makes sense) across the different local cuisines.

Hence, if I just have to list down my absolute favourite which I think is uniquely Malaysian, it's gotta be Nasi Lemak and Ice Kacang.

Nasi Lemak typically comprises of some warm fragrant rice steamed with coconut milk, slices of cucumber, fried anchovies, roasted peanuts, hardboiled egg, a good dash of sambal (a sweet and hot chili paste with caramelized onions) and chicken/beed rendang. The meat curry can vary from seafood (squid, prawn) to chicken and more usually beef. The preparation of each ingredient is rather simple, but it's slightly time consuming since there's so many ingredients needed for this dish. I'll post one in the future with my simpler version :)

In my opinion, Ice Kacang goes perfectly hand in hand with Nasi Lemak especially if the sambal is pungent and spicy! A standard ice kacang is made of shaved ice, dollops of Gula Melaka (a local brown sugar syrup), creamer, accompanied with some red beans, jelly, peanuts, sweet corn and canned fruits to form a gigantic snow mountain. It is a good drink/dessert on a hot summer's day, or for those craving for a good sugar high, hehe.

Currently in Princeton, US at the moment. First day of training is pretty hardcore. Hope to get some good posts in NYC next week then! Stay tuned :)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Swanky Sweden II

Speaking about my IKEA furnished rooms previously, here's a few pictures for illustration. Strangely how something so basic and simple can look so elegant and classy, don't you think?

Even the wash room is spacious and practically designed. You can see the simple curtains for the shower on the mirror image. Somehow everything in Sweden seems to be designed to maximize space without making it look tacky or extremely claustrophobic, especially noticeable in the place we stayed in Stockholm. Apparently Britain may start building "IKEA-villes" in the future to increase home affordability for first time buyers, with houses/apartments furnished with IKEA furnitures and designs to save space. That'd be cool to see :)

Dinner was a stone's throw away from our hotel. Barely 20 seconds walk there (yup, the island is that small). I decided to take my parents and family for a full fine dining experience, not sure why I decided to do that in Sweden, a country with 25% service charge :P (ouch!). But it's well worth the time and money of course as I get comical responses from my parents given its their first time trying out fine dining.

Starters are either Seafood Cocktail with Buttered Toast

or Grilled Scallops with Asparagus Soup. I got my taste of both and I must say the latter is slightly better and more unique as I've never had home made asparagus soup before. It was creamy with tiny bits of asparagus, served in a dainty cup as you see below. The seafood cocktail was light and well dressed with citrusy flavours, matched well with the mini buttered toast. Grilled scallops done to perfection, lightly seasoned and bursting with springy-ness. Yumz!

I had Chargrilled Lamb shoulder with Polenta. I usually like my lamb slightly medium done, still pinkish, hence this fits my palate nicely. I was quite excited to try out Polenta too, which is basically coarse ground cornmeal, forming a thick mush after boiling and lightly salted. To describe the taste, let's just say Polenta is to Italians, what potatoes are to the Brits. I quite like it for a change of scenery after 5 years of potato, but I think I'd still miss my potato mash after a while :P

G had Steak with Mash and Tomato Salsa, I'm sure they'd a nicer name but the menu was in Swedish, hence I'm providing the basic breakdowns, heh. I don't really take beef, but with the lightning speed he ate, I'm sure it's good stuff.

M chose to have Squid Ink Tagliatelle (pronounced tah-lyah-tel-le) with Poached Sea Bream and Asparagus. You all know I'm a super-big-squid-ink ANYTHING fan (well, maybe not a drink on it's own), so I was relieved when M liked my recommendation :)

Think the highlight of the meal wasn't really the taste of the food nor ambiance of the restaurant, but rather the opportunity to be able to gather around as a family over dinner, and more importantly laughing over M's comical expressions of wonder and confusion like "You pay so much for this small amount of food?!". I don't understand much either about the fine dining concept, maybe the price you pay also includes the presentation (BIG plates with SMALL servings), ambiance (candles and yellow lighting etc), and even the expensive rent these restaurants have as they're usually situated at prime locations. I somehow prefer more 'down to earth' cooking, like the ones I had in Portugal, but nevertheless, it's nice to pamper and treat yourself once in a while :)