Words of Wisdom

In life, we have to choose between the jeans and the cookie jar. Liz Hurley chose the jeans and I chose the cookie jar

~ Nigella Lawson....(on women's body image and her own voluptuous body)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Seafood Paella and what you see may not what you get

Saw an ad in the paper this morning. Pizza Hut is offering a Mediterranean feast and among the dishes is Seafood Paella.

This is a picture from (click for the recipe). What I thought I would get!

(Photo by by Ben Dearnley & Steve Brown)

The last time I had this dish was in Barcelona, Spain during a class trip. It's been too long, I cannot remember how it really tastes like. I remember not being that nuts about it. So, I decided to try out the one from Pizza Hut for old memories' sake.

So, this is what happened:

What I saw in the ad!

Look at the size of the mussels and the garnishing prawns with the herbs sprinkled on top bringing out the myriads of colours there.
Looks good huh?

What I got!
Look. It was the mussel SHELLS that stick out like TWO sore thumbs.
I couldn't see the garnishing prawns and there wasn't a trace of greens on top, side or under!

Disappointing? Yes.

Taste-wise? First of all, the rice used wasn't the paella short-grained rice. There wasn't enough "fillings" for the price they charged me RM12.90 pre-tax and charges (see above picture). Then, the taste of the dish it self. Now I remember not being too overly excited over it back in Barcelona. Honestly, fried rice is the rice dish for me. This? Hmm...melted cheese on rice just doesn't do it for me. Hey, in fact, I have never come across any paella recipe with cheese in it!

I'm so not ordering this again. Next time, I'll just go for the pasta.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Butter Cheese Cupcakes

I made Butter Cheese Cupcakes last night.

Been wondering what it would taste like when I found the recipe on the Internet. I do not remember which blog it was. Credit to the original recipe owner.

What I like about it is the ingredients are not complicated at all. Only 5 main items.

Butter Cheese Cake


160g butter
100gm cream cheese
200gm castor sugar
5 eggs
210gm self-raising flour
(vanilla extract optional)


1. Cream butter till soft.
2. Add cream cheese and beat thoroughly into the butter.
3. Add castor sugar little by little. I used a steel strainer to break down the sugar that had lumped.
4. Add egg one at a time and mix through. I added in a bit of vanilla extract so it wouldn't smell too egg-y.
5. Add the flour through a sifter to reduce lumps.
6. Mix well. I hand-mixed my batter from the start because I was making only 3/5 of the recipe.

My baking time was 20mins at 180deg Celcius in my electric oven. The above amount is enough for an 8" pan.

Mind you, I only heated the oven barely 1 min before popping the cuppies in. Many recipes ask you to heat the oven first before preparing the batter. I'm not too fussy about following recipes strictly. I mean, we can always add more time later if we want browner bakes, can't we?

Btw, talking about 'mixing well', I am now a bit wary about the term as I had bad experiences beating batters 'well'. At the time, I was using all-purpose flour. My cake turned out hard and chewy. So hard that it could be categorized into what my mother would say as, "If you throw this and it hit a dog, the dog will die (of trauma xD)". After some searching on the Internet, some bakers informed that overly beating a batter will develop the gluten in the flour just like making bread. They said that flour needs only to be folded in or mixed lightly. So, that's what happened huh?

I used medium-sized #8 papercup for this particular baking session. I'm not sure what's the grading code for other countries. That's the size written on the label when I bought them from the cake supply shop. The size is about 3cm(height) x 4.5cm (bottom width) x 5.5cm (upper width). I filled the cups up to the max. If you intend to decorate it, better fill in 2/3 cup max. I made these just to eat. So, overflown cuppies were fine.

The verdict?

I love the taste of the cake. The texture was soft and moist enough. Since the cream cheese was not as much as the amount in full-blown cheesecakes, the taste sometimes come across as vanilla cupcakes with very thick soured milk in them. You get the hint of cheesy taste and smell but not that heavy.

I was a bit concerned about the amount of sugar at first but with the cheese and eggs, the sweetness was pretty light. You can certainly frost these cuppies with buttercream. I am not too keen on overly sweet recipes because it will be too overwhelming to decorate with buttercream later. Fresh cream is great tasting but the shelf life is too short.

So, yes. This one may enter my list of "repeat offender".....ha....ha..

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The scraps and their last journey on the highway

What a day yesterday!

Spent about 6 hours on the road driving the company's Auto-transmission Nissan Sentra all the way to the South and back. Very nice. Exceeded the speed limit many times. I hope there won't be any 'letter' from the Administration office telling me that I need to pay fines for speeding on the motorway. The last time we went there was in the company's Perodua Myvi. Cute car but not very suitable for long-distance.

Thinking of my predicament regarding the scrap car thingy, it so happened that we managed to pass by not one but TWO trailers with old cars that we assumed to be sent to scrapping centre. In other words, the government would send the fully working ones to some countries where the standard of living are lower than ours. You can always rely on our government on finding ways to extort money from the people.

Saw an old Honda at the back of one trailer. I know that one. Very hard body. Sturdy build. If any of the newers cars hit it, you'll know which one would suffer and which one would get away with some minor scratches. Now, tell me why would anyone in the right mind scrap an engineering wonder like that?

My colleague was like, "One of those could be yours". Yikes! Horror!

Met my old buddy from school who was adamant to give me some durians from her father's yard. The 'King of Fruits'! Told her of my problem and both of us were totally missing brains! None of us remembered that one of her housemates actually renews car insurances as a job. My buddy talked about me to her and the girl said she could do it for me because she has even renewed insurances for 40-yr-old cars!

Anyway, at least I have a backup plan for next year. Good news. I got my insurance renewed yesterday along with the road tax label. So, I can keep myself afloat for the next 12 months.

p/s: So, how were the durians? Yeah, anything to keep my nephews happy.
Thanks mate. Love.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How tiny I am in the hands of the powers-that-be..... :-(

scrapped car

Malaysian Government want us to do this to our beloved old cars!

Photo from Winchester City Council Operation Scrap It

Something happened today that woke me up to the reality of living and how powerless I am.

I got a reminder from the bank to renew my car insurance in March. The deadline is 19 June. So, today I went to the bank as I had always done before to get it renewed.

I was shocked when I was turned down. The reason being my car was too old. To add insult to injury, a FAT lady standing next to me laughed at me like I was some kind of a villager from a remote jungle who had no idea of the world and how it worked. I felt like yelling to her face, "Oy, nobody asked for your opinion, you fat b****h!"

It struck me in the head how naive I am about the grip that the powers-that-be actually have on little people like me.

Last year, when the economy started to go downward, the car sellers started to complain to the government about not making sales and lobbied to have the cruel system of forcing any car older than 15 years to be scrapped. Meaning all car owners in Malaysia would need to replace their car every 15 years regardless how good you take car of the car or how much you love it.

I know there are many people who see cars as 'things'. I'm one of those who don't. I see the car I drive as a reflection of my life and personality. My car is everything that represents me. So what if it's already 17 years old? It's of a much higher quality than many of the newer cars nowadays.

Even at 17 years of age, the body is sturdier than most of the local cars. The dashboard doesn't vibrate 'violently' on rough tracks. It's fuel efficient, smooth and even with its quite expensive spare parts, they last long.

I never thought that the 15-yr car ruling would affect me. They said it's optional. So I guess people like me and lovers of classic cars would be able to continue with our passion. Man, I was so wrong!

If no banks would renew insurance for cars older than 15 years, the owners wouldn't be able to renew the road tax either. Meaning their cars couldn't be legally driven on our roads. So, that's what they meant with 'optional'. You can opt to keep your car but that's all there is to it. You keep the car. Nobody said anything about you being allowed to drive it!

Shocking? Yes. At the moment, I'm very very angry.

How easy for the powers-that-be to sideline me. This is also unfair for lovers of classic cars. Now I know why my father has been keeping his 1978 Mercedez under the roof depreciating and collecting dust. He can't renew the insurance. So, that's why he was so gung-ho about getting another car a couple of years ago.

I am outraged! How unfair this is. Btw, my other dream car is actually the classic Volkswagen Beetle. Great engineering. Super cool design. A head turner anytime. However, if the banks continue to behave this way, believe me they will, then I will never be able to drive one in our country :-(

Finally, the worst nightmare. I might be forced to give up my car T_T

How could they do this to me? That car means the world to me. It holds so many memories. I can't afford to get a new car without letting go of the old one. This is just CRUEL! CRUEL! CRUEL!