Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thank God for Labu

Got a nice surprise yesterday afternoon when an old friend suddenly called for the recipe for Sekaya Labu [Pumpkin Custard].

Zipah surprised many of us when she turned up with hubby and youngest son for a 'makan makan' [casual gathering] last October. It was such a great pleasure when your school mate of thirty years ago took the time to visit you. I was happy beyond words. It was just a casual get together. A spur of the moment thingy. No special occasion whatsoever. Instead, the gathering became an event itself. With the advance of technology [read: internet (specifically Yahoo Group)], I was able to share the moment with many other old school mates on the egroup. The ripple effect was unbelievable.

Best of all, the sharing of the event on the net spurred a few more such get togethers between us. Communications in other modes has also enhanced. I would say we are closer now as friends than we were ever before.

Yesterday, Zipah called to confirm the recipe because her youngest son asked her to make it for him. He is now in a boarding school and came home for CNY. His aunty sent some pumpkins to the house and being the youngest son back for holiday from a boarding school, it is time to 'manja manja' with mum. And what best way to manja with mum than ask for something special to eat. And that manja act is now extended to me for which I am welling up here. I just have no words to describe the beautiful feelings I have inside me at this moment.

It was made more beautiful when this morning while I was still in bed lazing the day away thinking of the missed sunset watching I was supposed to have yesterday evening in PD, Zipah called. She wanted to share her success in making the sekaya labu. Her son was having it for breakfast and shouted 'sedap' (delicious) into the phone from the back.

What better compliment could one ask for? Thank you Zipah for helping me start my day beautifully.

Thank God for labu.

Friday, January 16, 2009

14 January - Ayong's birthday

First thing I did when I got up on 14th Jan was sent a birthday wish sms to Ayong. Later during the day, she responded telling me she got two belated days off from her annual leave which she had to spent. We decided to spend next day at Bukit Tinggi.

We have never been to the place before. Just heard about the privately developed highland with some

French castles and medieval styled buildings ...

and French bistro lined street [hmm appropriate pics. Will go back there soon for another quiet stroll and better pics]
It started raining swords and daggers in the afternoon. I was hoping it would subside by evening. It just got heavier however and I had to brace the swords and the daggers and reached her place very late in the night.

We had wanted to leave very early in the morning for the highland, but the warmth of the bed just got the better of us. After a leisure breakfast of last night's 'tapaued' dinner [on the way,I stopped at Dapur Kita for my fav Som Tam (fresh papaya salad) and kung fu kway teow plus tiga rasa quail on the side for the birthday girl - her office mates had surprised her with a cake in the afternoon].

We arrived at Colmar Tropicale at about eleven. The day was cloudy with cool breeze. Very nice weather for quiet stroll. There were no other visitors except for the employees and few couples of lodgers. We had the place pretty much to ourselves.

The towering castle and the design of the tall buldings was quite impressive.

Reminded me of the buildings in Amsterdam and Milan when I visited there in the late 90's.

There were two couples of swan. One white and the other black. They looked bored in a small enclosure. Wonder why they didn't fly away.

This is the smaller of the black swan couple. It is friendlier than its much bigger size mate which came charging at us.

These two whites were just content to preen themselves oblivious to the goings on around them. Familiar?

Our actual plan was to have a special lunch. Since the place is French themed [despite the chinese red lanterns filling up the entire overhead stretch of the alley], Ayong set her mind to have some French lunch [when asked what constitutes French lunch ... answer was pasta]. Excuse the confusion there! Obviously somebody messed up [mashed is more like it, ;D] our world cuisine repertoire.

We picked a place under a pergola with tables covered with dark green and cream chequered tablecloth [somehow I associate those colours with drinking coffee in the streets of the foreign places I visited]. However, being a weekday, the section was not opened. We decided to sit inside. Three waiters rushed to take our orders.

The food was a great disappointment. The seabass fillet Ayong ordered tasted like rehydrated salted fish. The mashed potato was papery. I ordered the season's offer of sweet sour garoupa fillet with rice. The garoupa was better than the seabass but the rice was worse than the potato.

The bad food was compensated by a group of musicians [one even played cello] who did the birthday song for Ayong. It was out of our imagination. That only happens in movies, not to us. [the only snag was the group was from the Philippines - my husband married a Philippine GRO].

Here's Ayong after being serenaded.

After lunch we took the shuttle provided and went on a tour to the Japanese village. It was well worth it

We managed the Botanical Garden and the Japanese Tea house.

Ayong paid twenty ringgit for a half hour photography session in kimono at the Japanese tea house.
The camera ran out of battery! Luckily the 'Geisha' suggested the use of our phone camera. Unlucky because she was not a good photographer. The pics didn't turn out well. I managed a few last shot with the camera

This is what happened when one has too much money and too little culture. Why bother to built a French themed place and decorate the street such. I bet every brick and every cobble in the street were screaming murder at the insult. Oh well, Berjaya Group owns the place and it is after all Singapore based - a model of true multiracial country where meritocracy is the order of the day.

Here we are mum at twice the daughter's days and daughter at half of mum's. Happy Birthday my Jewel.