Monday, February 27, 2006

Ramblings: Something brewing .......

... somewhere
... in another Blogophere
... Here!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Travel: Time After Time @ NZ, Hamilton & Tairua

Here are some "early" morning photos at Hamilton & Tairua (Coromandel Peninsular)
NZ Hamilton @ about 7am NZT

NZ, Tairua @ about 7am NZT

NZ, Tairua @ about 9am NZT
And about what we are doing waddling the waters during low tide, I shall leave this to another post. Well, actually not that low, water level is right up to our neck at the deepest part. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Travel: What time is that? @ NZ, Paihia (Answer & Update)

Now a little quiz just for fun ... What time do you think this photo was taken? Taken at NZ, Paihia in Dec 2005. Cheers!

Answer: 9pm NZT

Can you imagine this is 6:30pm NZT??!!!

And this one is 8:39pm NZT :)
Actually it works to our advantage. More daylights means we have more time to go around. When we drove back at 6pm, it still looks like sunny afternoon! :)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Food: Bun Bo Hue @ VN, HCMC

Time for another delicious Vietnamese dish. HCMC is full of surprises (just like me?), you never know what you will find along some back alley until you try. So does this path along Le Thanh Ton looks like it going to lead you to some great food? No? You'll regret if you didn't try!

So what do you get when you have ...
Bun (Coarse Rice vermicelli)

Bo (Beef)

And a Warm & Friendly woman from Hue

A delicious Spicy beef noodle from Hue.

There are loads of ingredients added to make this delicious & flavourful stock. Pineapples, beef, bones, lemon grass, spring onions & probably some other vietnamese herbs. She particularly meticulous in removing suds, constantly lookout & replenishing with more herbs & stock when needed.
psst ... ok, actually she added some fresh ingredients for my photo taking here, awww ... isn't that sweet! :)

As usual, they are served with a plate of fresh herbs made of banana spayte (flower bud, I think), coriander, bean sprouts etc artfully presented!

All these efforts produce a light sweet-sour tasting beef broth with a nice tangy touch from Pineapple. Surprising, from the amount of red liquid she added, presummingly its chilli, it only mildy spicy. The cooked rice vermicelli are soft but never soggy. Cooked & raw beef were nicely done & more herbs gives the final aromatic touches. It's such a nice change from the usual Pho Bo and certainly have wish that I found this dish earlier!

Now, one non-food surprises is that you find these fans operating without the usual protective grille cage. I'm not too sure why, perhaps it's easier to clean. This one is just right above me. While it certainly not touching my head even when standing (as long as I don't make any wild jumping action), I'm worry those taller folks may have to take extra precaution of this potential danger. :)

Photo: NZ2005_Botanical_Series 2 (The Dahlias)

The Dahlias are very popular gardening plants producing spectacular flowering with vivid colors during summer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Food: Sweetest Valentine @ NZ

Happy belated Valentine Day! Traditioanlly for Japan & Korea, this will be the day when Girls buys gift for their sweetheart while guys will return a bigger gift on white day (i.e 14 March). On the other hand, the west have their version of St Valentine day. Whatever, Valentine Day should be sweet, perhaps as sweet as the Pavlova.

Crispy crust while moist & fluffy inside, Pavlova is meringue dessert named after the ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova. While there is a controversy surrounding the origin of recipe. I shall leave that to Aussie & Kiwis to sort out for themselves.

I have my first taste in NZ 2005, Paihia. It's very commonly found in NZ supermarket and available in various fruity flavors.

Pavlova is made by beating egg whites, salt till stiff before folding in caster sugar, vanilla, vinegar.

A slow baking process create a crisp crunchy shell while keeping the insides soft & moist. I have to say this is very sweet dessert, the crispy crust breaks into many small pieces when moment you sink your teeth into it, while the moist & fluffy insides simply soften & melts on your tongue.

To sweeten the deal even more, add NZ honey wine. There, the sweetest dessert, Valentine or not, I have ever tasted.

Of course, our kind kiwi host, Jenny, showed us the traditional NZ way of serving in Christmas, whipped cream with lots of freshly sliced fruits toppings. Beautiful & sinful way to end any meal!!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Food: Sleepless Meals @ SG

I have been contemplating making the switch to Wordpress (WP). In fact, I started with WP. Well, actually it never really got started as I've to drop when work rushes in. I also did played around with CMS (Content Management System), stuffs like PHPnuke, Mambo etc. Interesting, but it's a steep learning curve for me. Anyway, I restart with blogger because everyone seems to be using this.

Recent revisit to some blogs powered by wordpress got me thinking again. I really like blogger, but one of the features, Post categorization isn't anywhere in the horizon. So it's sleepless, sleepless nights, thinking & thinking if to make the switch. And sleepless makes me hungry. Fortunately, in Singapore, you have food available 24hours everyday. I decided on simple porridge.

Just right at the entrance of Keong Siak Rd @ Chinatown is one of my favourite hunt for porridge, Tiong Shian Eating House. it's very popular and offers quite a big assortment of porridge. From raw fish slices to fried intestines etc.

I have Fish Stomach porridge. Well, it's not exactly fish stomach but just the flesh around the stomach area. They are more tender portion of a fish. Oops! I forgot the exact price but it should be around $3.50.

It's already midnight and you can see the amount of "sleepless" people here :)

Big Auspicious banner meaning Money Luck, ahhh, yes I needed this alot :D

Alright, I'm all already for ZZland ... GOOD NIGHT! zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Friday, February 10, 2006

Food: CNY2006 Luncheon @ SG

Although this Obligatory Chinese New Year (CNY) Luncheon post was delayed, still it isn't too bad to post it now. Because on 12 Feb 2006, we have reached the great finale of CNY. The full moon is lovely tonight and many would have their final round of celebration.

As usual, we had our annual CNY luncheon & "lo-hei" session. "Lo-Hei" (Cantonese) means to grab yourself happiness, prosperity. In Singapore, traditionally, we will do this with dish called "Yu Sheng" (literally means raw fish) means abundance. Actually is a wonderful salad of vegetables, raw fish slices, small crispy crackers with plum sauce dressing.

Alantic Salmon Yu Sheng
This such a wonderful dish auspicious colors & textures. Every colors, every ingredients signify something which is auspicious. As with traditions, everytime a new ingredient is added to the plate, the waitress will have to say some auspicious greetings.

The ingredients are typically finely shredded daikon (white radish), carrot, red pepper (capsicum), fresh ginger, sweet pickled ginger, fresh chinese parsley,chopped peanuts, Toasted sesame seeds, pepper, five spice powder and much more. Here you see the raw slices of salmon been put on top, whether is it from Alantic or not, I really can't tell :D

Plum salad dressings was poured over.

And finally crispy bitesize chinese crackers. At this juncture, I will have to put aside my camera and getting ready for "lo-hei"!!! :D

All of us tossed as high as possible, as we mixed up and shouting "lo-hei" and auspicious greetings. The end results of the tossed. OK, gotta tuck-in! ;)

Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Abalone and Sea Treasures
I have gotta say that we don't have Sharkfin Fin often. For me, it's often once a year affair. Serve it with good red vinegar, this is breaming with seafood goodies.

Steamed Fillet of Sea Perch with Fried "Taiwan" Yellow Bean Paste

The steamed fillet is well done. What got me interested is the paste. Looked like sambal belachen sauce but it's not spicy & made from yellow bean. I'm not too sure how they done it, my wild guess will to have the Yellow bean coarsely mince & crispy fried before making it into this wonderful paste. The sandy / coarse textures goes very well with tender fish.

Braised Fish Maw, Sea Cucumber, Mushrooms, Dry Oyster, Black Moss and Garden Greens.

More seafood. Those black stuffs are black moss which is actually some kind of dried seafood. It's called "fa cai" (Mandarin) which make it sounds like making money, and there are alot of "fa cai" there. Got the idea?! :)

My plate

Yes, overflowing with Abundance!

Lotus Fried Rice with Chinese New Year Sausages and Preserved Meat

Hmmm ... interesting presentation, but I'm more interested in what goes inside the Lotus leaves.

Look messy, but the aroma alone going to entice your taste buds.

Well done! Very delicious. Don't ever judge anything by the looks. :)

Sweetened Almond Cream with Sesame Dumplings

Almond cream sweetness just right, smooth & tastybut would have prefer to be thicker.

The dumplings skin with thin skin & black sesame fillings was fanastic!

And with that, I gonna do that again once more :)

Photo: NZ2005_Botanical_Series 1

I guess if you having been following my blog, it's quite evident that I'm pretty fond of botany even though I'm STILL A NUTZ when comes to identifying them. Well, I'm working hard on that but I DO STILL in need of much help.

I took quite a handfull of shots while I was in New Zealand last year. And I will be trying to ID 3 plants a week as part of my self-learning process. If you do indeed know the plant, kindly share your knowledge. Thanks in Advance!!!

I'm kicking off this NZ Botanical Series with 3 shots for this & next week.

Variant of Lavender?? Need more info

Sedum pachyphyllum???