Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chinese Tea Cups

I think we haven't been having brekkie at the cafes for quite a few weekends. So this Saturday, after an early power yoga class for me, and a tennis coaching session for G, we treated ourselves to the organic cafe and had brunch.

I had a veggie fritatta with some sourdough while G had the spinach and red lentil soup. It was a light brunch, healthy and quite tasty, despite the lack of animal protein.

We checked out the auction house on Sunday in preparation for the mid-century design sale on Monday. We spotted a sideboard which I liked a lot and which G was in favour of initially, but subsequently changed his mind. He wants a Chiswell sideboard, which will match my Chiswell display cabinet. The Chiswell sideboard he wants, is for sale at $1,200 at the gallery upstairs. I still like that sideboard but I suppose what we need now is not another sideboard, but a chest of drawers for our clothes. So focus, focus, focus.

But as compensation, I bought a pair of little chinese-style teacups that I found, for a princely sum of $2.50, being 50% off its normal price. I can immediately tell that one cup is much better made than the other, the look and feel are so disparate. And the better cup has a little white mark in the middle of the glaze but I like the colour and glaze enough to let all that pass. And the price tag helped as well.

We are going to be able to enjoy our trove of chinese tea from these little tea cups now in an appropriate style and ambience. And they can double up as sauce bowls too when we have company over.

Cost of a pair of chinese tea cups: $2.50.
Cost of finding treasures at $2.50: priceless.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Winter Orange Cake

With a dinner invitation for Friday, I decided I would bake an orange cake for dessert as my contribution. This used to be one of my favourite baked treats for the folks at work, with oranges being abundant in the winter, but somehow I have been slack for a while.

Finally with a catalyst, I decided to try out a new orange cake recipe. Just randomly googled up and selected one based on my whim and fancy. And went to work. In a jiffy, I had 3 cakes, a loaf for the dinner and 2 ramekins for our own consumption.

Citrus scents are hard to resist. G begged for a cake (despite Thursday night being a healthy diet night and not quite off the Nazi regime) and wolfed down three-quarters of it, leaving me with a measly quarter. Was quite a nice recipe, it was moist without being overly buttery and not as sweet as I had feared.

I'm definitely going to be baking more orange cakes before the winter is over.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Night Yum

I hereby declare G the Risotto Man. I love his 4-mushroom risotto. And when stuck for what to eat for dinner, if he's offering to cook, I almost always request for that. It's flavoursome, simple yet so delicious.

Tonight, he decided to make a carrot risotto. That sounds a little strange I know, but I assure you it was yummy. The onion sauteed in butter, had just the right amount of crunch and the smell of the grated carrots mixed with white wine was just whetting one's appetite.

I rate his carrot risotto my number 2 favourite after the mushroom. He's made seafood risotto some weeks back but that was just too complex I reckon. The simple flavours are still the best.

We topped the risotto with salmon steaks grilled in the oven, with a side of green beans. It was a warming and satisfying dish.

And we finished off the meal with an apricot tart, actually a sliver of tart since we are trying to be moderate with our dessert intake. Left to our own devices with no rules in place, we would be back to gorging on desserts over the weekend to make up for the deprivation of the week, undoing any good work and results of our healthy regime.

Home-cooked meals like this, is one good reason to stay home on a Saturday night.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Deprivation In Very Very Small Doses

The Nazi diet is in its fourth week. Sadly, the 1 kg weight loss that resulted from the kick-off of the regime did not continue. I had hit a plateau with that kilo. 1 measly kg.

The diet really isn't that hard. And most of the meals we make are tasty. We tweaked the components to make it compatible with my body. We listened to what the body was trying to say.

Perhaps the amount of exercise I was doing has been reduced, partly because of the cold which had cut into the walking-to-work routine because it is just so hard to get out of bed in the morning. Relentless sessions of power yoga has come to a halt after the expiry of my 2-week trial. It will however, become a weekly class so there will be some regular exercise routine.

Or rather in truth, we became more slack with sticking to the diet as time goes by. Frequently we caved in to ice-cream, chocolate and cheese toasties in the night after dinner. Maybe it was the winter cravings. Maybe life is too short to deprive ourselves.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Flowers And Friands

We got some flowers. Just because. The pink tulips came first. And eerily coincidental to what I was just eyeing on my way home. When I got home, there they were. Not exactly the same ones I saw, but pink tulips nevertheless.

The vermillion gerberra/chrysanthemum hybrid was another uncanny meeting of the minds. As we walked past the usual veggie shop to get take-aways on Friday night, the myriad of flowers in the pails along the pavement was so bright and lush. And when G echoed what I was just thinking, "the orange ones are really nice, aren't they?", I had to get them.

I don't know if some ESP has been going on, or just a matter of the most eye-catching colour amongst the blooms that people become instinctively drawn to. But we have flowers! And they sure are pretty.

And some home-baking also makes the house smell nicer, since the flowers already helped with the visual aspect. The first baking that I've done since I've moved in. And the start of more to come, I'm sure!

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being

When G and I moved in together about a month ago, we found ourselves with many duplicates. Actually, even before I moved in, G found himself with many duplicates, several of which was palmed off to me. And now that we are under one roof, the many duplicates just multiplied. So we went through our stuff and picked the best of everything and put the rest in the hall cupboard. Apart from stuff I had, G already had leftover stuff from his last flatmate. We counted 2 blenders, 2 popcorn makers (?!), 3 toasters, 3 electric kettles, 2 ironing boards, 3 DVD players plus a whole mound of cutlery and other kitchen utensils, pots and pans, baking tins etc.

So when his colleague who has just moved in with his girlfriend, needed stuff to set up home after travelling around the world, G jumped at the chance to de-clutter and be a do-gooder - to kill 2 birds with 1 stone! So out came the crate and bags of duplicates plus other things that we have too many of (like plates and bowls) and we put together a big care package for his colleague.

And just tonight, I came across this article, "How to Live with Just 100 Things".

How very true, that we are a people of excessive consumption, all trying to free up more closet space, counter space, shoe rack space - so that we can buy more? Or perhaps now, more and more like a whole movement of minimalists who are trying to live with less, people are trying to have less and be "more" free, and less shackled to an existence of tangibles?

And so we purge. To achieve a state of "lightness" (when the yoga teacher talked about the state of "lightness" at class today, I didn't realise that the concept could also be applied to this aspect of our life). But yes, to achieve lightness, to be free...

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Off Day

Winter Solstice. The shortest day of the year has passed us by. And the days will get progressively longer, and this means we are inching towards summer. Well it didn't quite feel like that today certainly, with the rain and the cold. It's a good thing I worked from home today, whilst nursing a fever and wooziness when I walk around too much. Sitting in my sweats and socks while taking 3 conference calls was a comfortable way of working. Could get used to this.

Don't know if it's the cold that made my fingers insensitive (unsensing?), but the accidental scrape against the blunt edge of a tin which normally wouldn't come to much harm, must have been a harder scrape than it felt, because a whole piece of flesh came away. Not skin. Flesh.

I recoiled in horror when I realised what I had done. To myself. In a bid to quickly seal the wound and hope that it would mend itself if I put everything together in double quick time, and also to not have to see the gaping dent in my finger, I tape a bandaid over the self-inflicted wound. Nothing. Bleeding started a little but didn't wet the bandaid as I expected. The pain only started 10 minutes later, when feeling slowly returned to the finger. A sharp aching that went on but I soon distracted myself from, with a 50 minute work conference call. That was good. And now I just hope everything grows back quickly and I do not need a tetanus shot.