I Am Legend and bringing in the New Year

It was an apt movie to watch for the last day of the year, technically the second last day since I saw it on Sunday but who’s counting. My parents and I caught I Am Legend at the Grand Cathay which my Dad has declared as his favourite cinema. I’m still partial to Golden Village at Vivocity but if they had better food joints in the Cathay, it’ll easily become my favourite. I digress.

The movie had a profound effect on my mind, it being the end of the year and all. I found myself lamenting the future of mankind as Will Smith fought to make sense of nature’s way of rebooting itself … or at least that’s how I see it. Like nearly all movie adaptations, the book was better than the movie but Will Smith made this version of the book quite yummy 🙂 It was really impressive how he managed to hold your attention as he was the only character in the movie most of the time

If you can’t tell from all the trailers by now, the movie is about a not too distant future where a man made virus kills off nearly the entire planet and one man has to be the messiah. Maybe I over read into the spirituality of it all but the movie renewed my thoughts that at the end of the day, everyone of us needs to believe in something … even if it’s as simple as a higher self.

Whatever it is, it made me ponder about how I hope 2008 will turn out … and while I can’t change the world, I sure can work on myself so I’m hoping to be kinder person in 2008. Hopefully, by this time next year I’d be able to report if I was at all successful 🙂

What’s your hope for 2008?

Meanwhile, here’s my warmest wishes for an excellent 2008 and year end parties that rock!!

Dim Sum

It was the last weekend before Christmas, I took a bus into town on a Saturday morning expecting the worse but was delighted with a swift ride into Scotts Road where I then took a leisurely stroll to Shaw Centre. I was early for a 12:30 yam cha session so I stroll around looking for last minute gifts before venturing on the fifth level of Shaw Centre. Who goes up there, anyway?

Well, I found the little authentic yum cha place Erv was talking about. It’s called Kam Boat, don’t you just love that name?

How more authentic can you get from that? And there I was sitting at a table for 4 alone and wondering if people do yam cha by themselves? Before I could finish the thought, I was joined by the lone guy who later in the day wondered out loud if it was strange for one straight guy to be hanging out with 3 straight girls? I’d figure it’s be most straight guys’ dream but whatever … … back to dim sum. He went on an ordering rampage. It’s the yum cha thing. Get there hungry, over order and figure out who eats what at the end.

Of course, it didn’t help that I’m vegetarian and most dim sum dishes have some form of meat. Jules was still recovering from the bad food in Bali and … Tessycat … well, let’s just say she doesn’t eat much, dim sum or no dim sum. So to the lone guy, he wasn’t quite sure why he agreed to have dim sum with 3 girls. Where are the boys when you need them?

Apparently out doing their own things. Strangely though, like most girls I know, the three of us had room for desserts 🙂 All in all, it was a good place to have dim sum and it was a hoot especially coz the place makes you think you’ve walked into a time machine that brought you to circa 1986. Don’t forget your May Bank credit card if you have one, that’s the only one with the discount.

As Murphy’s law would have it, between the four of us we have nearly every card from every bank except May Bank … …

Vegan Pancakes

Over last weekend, I was trying to do the whole wife-y thing. Staying home, doing chores and making breakfast. This does not happen often. I’m not the wife-y sort which is really strange because growing up I always thought I could be the wife-y sort. Life does have a strange way of changing on you and I turned out to be pretty much an independent chickie whose only few talents include making my husband laugh (I think that’s the only reason he married me) and having silly rules like “No jeans in bed”. So I pretty much don’t do the cooking and house cleaning thing too well.

But it was the weekend before Christmas and I was feeling all family and needing to nest. So I got up early, 9am (that’s very early for a Saturday in our household) and was all inspired to make pancakes with no eggs and milk. I flip through a couple of my recipe books, trying to figure what’s the best way to get the fluffy pancakes from my pre-vegetarian days. I gathered the ingredients I thought would work best.

Stuff to make pancakes with

Using 2 references from my favourite cookbooks, I came up with my own batter of rice milk, brown rice flour, oat flour, soy protein and a pinch of salt. It was looking rather good, I was feeling all proud and was going to declare myself, Carlene, the Wonder Chef till … …

first pancake

That’s my first attempt. Not quite the usual pancake and it was kinda crumbly too, the batter wasn’t holding together very well. After another two more sad attempts, I was about to throw in the pancake towel when my dear husband told me that the first couple of pancakes are always the worst of the lot. Now you know who is the more patient of the two. So I kept at it, varying the amount of batter I poured for each pancake and the speed of which I poured the batter.

Midway through

Not bad, huh? Yes, I was starting to enjoy doing the whole wife-y thing again. Thinking to myself, I can do this everyday and the more I practised, the better the pancakes were turning out. By the last bit of batter, I figured out thinner was better and slowly pouring it out worked the best.

at last

However, while it looked pretty good, I was told by my ever patient and kind husband that it could do with more time on the pan i.e. it was undercooked. Unlike him, I doused my pancakes with maple syrup so I couldn’t really tell it was undercooked. Did I mention I love maple syrup … YUM 😀 Anyway, I’ll be practising some more this weekend and hopefully I’ll come up with a batter that even my super-allergic-to-almost-everything little friend can eat.

Nice to look at

Here’s to a fantastic last weekend of 2007 and year end parties with a blast!!

Turning 30

This time it isn’t me but my little sister … so I guess, I shouldn’t refer to her as my little sister any more; but I finally understand what my Mum means when she said to me (while I was already 15), “You’ll always be my baby.” (I remember gagging behind her back :p) So I guess this is payback coz I think my sister can be 70 and I’ll still think of her as my little sister 😉

A couple of weeks ago, on her 30th birthday my little sister spent the milestone with, what I reckon are a couple of women with the strongest feminine traits of our time – the Tan/Lam girls 🙂 We went to Patara at Raffles City. Great Thai food, especially vegetarian Thai and even better company.

We’re pretty hot too, if I don’t say so myself 😉 These are the women I draw inspiration from, who constantly amaze me with their kind hearts and strength to not let things get them down and my gratitude goes out to my little sister who takes the sole responsibility of putting up with all my nonsense. Lord knows how much of it, I have. And through her I’ve learnt to be the better person I am. My husband should be so grateful too 😛 More than that, she’s taught me how to dance to your own tune that you compose entirely yourself 🙂

So to my little sister, here’s to a fantastic 30th year filled with happiness and dreams coming true, know that no matter what happens in life you’ll always be surrounded with people who love with you with all our hearts.

Dairy-free Carob Cake

I’m thinking there’s a market for healthy cakes that aren’t sweetened with sugar and filled with trans fat so I’m testing more recipes to fulfil my bake goody cravings and maybe one day be able to have my own bakery too. So over the weekend, I tested out a recipe for a cake I brought over to Cherry’s for Christmas lunch.

It’s a real simple one, takes about 15 mins to prep and is in the oven for about 40mins. For the Christmas lunch, I changed the whole wheat pastry flour for a combination of brown rice flour and oat flour as one of my little friends is allergic to wheat and it tasted just as good too.

It’s been declared yummy by my husband and friends 🙂 So if anyone needs a SIMPLE (as you can plainly tell from the pictures I don’t decorate yet) healthy allergen free cake (depends on what you’re allergic to) give me a buzz and I’ll be happy to oblige. For the record, my tasters were surprised that there were no eggs, milk or butter in the cake … ok, maybe coz they love me too. They were even more surprised that it didn’t have chocolates. Yep yep yep, you read right. No chocolates. I use carob. Naturally sweet and free from caffeine, it’s a healthy alternative to chocolates.

Anyone up for some organic dairy-free carob cake?

Next best thing besides waking up happy the day after Christmas …

… is definitely being an aunt, especially to the munchkins that exist in my life. Thanks to my cousin and his dear wife, I have a little nephew and niece. Hopefully, they’ll be more along the way 🙂 If you can’t tell from the pictures already, the both of them are the epitome of monkey-ness and sweetness all rolled into one. And one of my favourite things to do in the world is to watch them play … and smelling their little heads after a day of playing :p Come on, I know I’m not the only nut that does that 🙂

My nephewBrother and SisterMy niece

Watching the two of them always reminds me of times growing up with my sister and my cousins. How we were royally spoiled by our Grandparents, my Granddad in particular. How we were goofy, happy and always laughing. How we’d get into good fights and make up nearly just as quick.

And when I’m with these two, it never fails to amaze me how much love I can feel for the two of them. I would die before seeing something bad happen to either of them. If I could, I grant them every wish but I also know I want them to grow up becoming people with kindness and compassion, so I tamper it with, what I hope is the use of common sense. With them, I’m quickly learning that parenting (even my pseudo type) is not an easy thing to do.

So hats off to all you parents (yes, I’m talking to The Lims, The Geralds, The Lohs, The Tans) out there, especially mine who’ve really had to battle with lots when my sister and I were growing up … let’s just say girls are easy to look after when they’re little but teenage girls are hurricanes in the the making. So raising my sister and I makes WWII seem like a walk in a park … ok, we’re not that bad, just the boys we wanted to date 😉 Even now while we’re in our 30s, it’s not a job my parents have retired from … I guessing it’s one of those vocations that never leave you. Thanks Daddy and Mummy for doing such a great job … … If I don’t say so myself 😉 Okayyy, maybe they should have spent more time on humility but we all can’t be perfect, right?

All said and done, anyone who has little girls (especially two coz a pair of sisters are as unique as it gets … … I already said humility isn’t my strongest trait) and need advice, write me and I’ll pass you my parents’ email addresses 😀

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Goodnight

Usually my husband and I are back in Canada for a visit. This year we’re staying in Singapore for a tropical Christmas (the kind I grew up with and know so well), cool from the rain in the evening, I’m enjoying Christmas eve … after a scrumptious family dinner and before midnight mass so I thought I take the quiet moment to wish everyone out there a VERY MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Untitled by Faith

I like museums, not in a pretentious “oh check out this exclusive collection by so-and-so” type of way. I like them because in some quiet way, they always manage to wake a certain part of me – the part that falls asleep from the doldrums of everyday life.

So somewhere in the back of my soul, I had once thought I’d make a pretty good curator and here’s my not-going-to-quit-my-day-job-yet attempt. Presenting the first ever exhibition of a new and upcoming artist, Faith.

Mummy by FaithSelf Portrait by FaithAuntie Carlene by Faith

Remember my old friend who I caught up with a couple of weeks ago where I was completely taken by her 2 and a-half-year-old. Well, it turns out she’s not only articulate but a photographer in the making. Mid way through the afternoon, she went around the house taking pictures with my camera which strangely found the sleeping bits of me stirring to wake up.

Untitle 1 by FaithDaddy & Meimei by FaithUntitle 2 by Faith

I love her angles even if they are accidents which we can never tell for sure 🙂 My favourite picture is the one of her Daddy carrying her little Meimei. I also like the uncanny similar expression she caught of me and herself. So when she becomes a famous artist, remember you saw her here first 🙂


That’s what I have for breakfast on a regular basis. Vegemite on toast, with cream cheese, with butter, with avocado, with tomatoes, with cucumber. It’s really quite yummy.

I see some eyes rolling and I can almost hear, “What are you talking about?” I agree, Vegemite is completely an acquired taste and unless you’re Australian or you’ve spent some time in Australia or have lived with Australians, you wouldn’t quite know what to do with it. Too little and you barely taste anything, too much and it’s complete overkill which is too too easy to do with Vegemite.

So it was in Perth, Australia circa 1995 when I was educated in the ways of Vegemite. I actually remember the day quite clearly. One morning, I woke up at 8:42am, got dressed real quick, drove like there’s no tomorrow (don’t tell my Dad) and walked in late for my 9am lecture … aaattt aaabout 9:15am which is a little amazing considering I live way North of the Swan River and my uni was somewhat way South of it (seriously don’t tell my Dad). I found my first Aussie mate, Melanie sitting where we usually sat, left back. I quietly got into the seat next to her and found her munching on toast.

Me (whispering): What’s that?

Melanie (whispering more): Vegemite toast, want some?

Me: Errr … vegemite?

Melanie: Have you had Vegemite, it’s quite yummy. (offering me a bite)

Normally, I would have had a bowl of cereal by now, a big bowl and Vegemite toast would not at all appeal to me. However, having literally just woken up from bed, my tummy was starting to rumble … yes, I have one of those tummies that needs to be fed FIRST thing in the morning … so I thought to myself, what’s the harm and took a cautionary bite.

It was simple Vegemite and butter on toast. It was really quite yummy and thanks to the very gracious Melanie, I finished the rest of it 🙂 And I’ve never looked back since … yummmm … Vegemite toast …. yummm

Rice-Chan and Tomato-Chan

Let me introduce to you, Rice-chan and Tomato-chan.  When I saw Shannon’s little Lettuce-kun (not in the picture, sorry) some 3 weeks ago, I knew I had to get me one of those soon. Alas, they were out of stock. I was promptly told that they would be back in stock soon. So one night after aikido (this was 2 weeks ago now), Tessycat and I headed to MOS but were sorely disappointed as they were still out of stock. The girl behind the counter did tell me that they would be coming in the next day.

So you can imagine my thrill when veggie lunch buddy, Chee Wee suggested Bugis. The first thought was, “There’s a MOS burger in Bugis!” where I got Tessycat a Rice-Chan and me a Tomato-Chan. She kinda reminds me of Ketchup, a character from the very first animation series I help develop and produce 🙂

Yes, I do recognise we are a little nutty that way … … nutty but happy 🙂