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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

What’s your hope for 2008?

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

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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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜€ 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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜› More than that, she’s taught me how to dance to your own tune that you compose entirely yourself πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜€

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!!