Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spring Cleaning

my kitchen...

i discovered

- my onions have green stalks growing out of them - is this spring onion then?

- a whole legion of evil weevils have taken over my rice bag - i can't see my rice anymore, just powdery white dusk. everywhere

- i have half a block of parmesan cheese in my fridge that's expired

- i have pork ribs in the freezer, dry and frozen to their bones

- a steam and stew sauce that has expired

- 3 bottles of unopened Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce and i only feed a family of 2. I dont know if they will end up as expired stocks next year.

- thickened cream that I bought when i got excited after reading through delicious dessert recipes. excitement died down too fast and cream is now 2 weeks to expiry.

So. Lesson learnt.
Plan meals ahead and shop with a shopping list - memory doesnt get better with age.
Buy less, go eat out more often.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Confusion over Cream

I have so many delicious, cream based sauces and soups that I've been dying to try but almost all of the recipes required heavy cream. I've been searching high and low at our local supermarkets, hypermarts, Cold Storage and even places like Hock Choon for it but all I've ever seen were President's Light Cream, various whipping creams, heavy whipping creams, buttermilk, sour creams etc at the dairy section.

Finally, I decided to look it up in the world wide web of knowledge (heh)

Lo and behold (if i got it right, please correct me if I'm not!)

Heavy cream = Heavy Whipping Cream! link here and here.

Boy oh boy. Isnt there an international standard for labelling food stuff? Why the difference in naming a product? Poor, uninformed people like me wouldnt know ya? And to think, I have been avoiding making all the yummy, creamy recipes everytime I see Heavy cream in its list of ingredients.

But of course, heavy cream has a much higher fat content than light cream. Hence it gives sauces a richer, creamier taste and doesnt break down like light cream when heated. Some say light cream is not suitable for heated sauces but I've used it plenty in my Shell Pasta with Zucchini Swirls in Cream and it comes out delish every time! So I guess its up to every individual.

I can't wait to try a mushroom soup recipe this weekend. Probly use half whipping cream and half light cream to be a little 'healthier'. Heh

Shoot - camera's with Hubs. arrgghhh Won't be able to take a pix... hmm

Sunday, October 21, 2007

San Francisco (Part 3)

The Golden Gate bridge - one of San Francisco's top attractions. The weather was holding up ok on the day we went. Skies were slightly dark and cloudy but there wasn't any fog so we could see the bridge clearly in all its splendour.
We walked along the whole bridge and back - i think we took almost an hour plus coz of constant stopping to oohh and ahhh and take photos. The colour of the bridge is actually called "International Orange". Why wasn't it painted gold? Read here.
Heh. One thing that caught our attention:

My goodness! do people think its romantic to jump off this bridge? oh man, there must have been quite a number of people doing this else the authorities wouldnt have put up these signs.

At the other end of the bridge - Sausalito, looks beautiful but we didnt manage to explore it. I'm sure there are lots of beautiful places in the outskirts of San Fran. So many places to go still...

Food again! If you ever visit San Fran, head over to Mama's for a sumptious brekkie. Loads of reviews on this place. I read that people would line up as early as 7.30am (shop opens at 8). Sure enough, there was a line already when we arrived at 7.45am. Wow, people were still yawning but when good food beckons, its no trouble to wake up earlier and join the queue yea?

I'm somewhere in the line

Mama's is located on Washington Square, North Beach. We walked here from The Crookedest St (ie. Lombard St). The thing I like about San Fran is all the restaurants and tourist spots are within walking distance! What more with lovely cool weather, you can just walk on and on :) Ok. back to food. The Omelettes here are good and... Super Large. I can't imagine finishing it by myself. Good thing Hubs, the walking DBKL wiped my leftovers clean. (even though he had his OWN omelette) The omelette was stuffed with tomatoes, bacon, sausages and wat not. Yum! Mama's also serves French toast, cakes, muffins etc - I wish i had several stomachs so I could try everything! Cost-wise - not cheap for us Malaysians. The omellette costs USD 9 ++ excluding tax and tips.. Eating in San Fran is an expensive business. But we wanted to enjoy ourselves, after all, we came all the way here. :)

Food again haha. Dinner at Lori's Diner. Its a classic, All American Diner. I like the decor and ambience - Rock and roll musci, neon lights.. Makes me feel like i'm in the set of Grease or America in its 1950s. Food here is only so-so. Portions were surprisingly modest. I thought it would be large. If anything, dine here for the ambience only.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

San Francisco (Part 2)

Do you know i get a little stressed out every time I try to complete my travel blogs? Do any of you guys experience this? I'm pressed for time and yet I know that with every day/hour/minute that I delay my posts, I'll end up forgetting all the tiny but precious details that made my holiday Great.

Most of the time I just rush out the post and blog out everything in one mouthful (or post-ful) Sigh. I should be more disciplined. Wow - even a hobby that was suppose to be destressing - needs discipline. Gosh and Good Grief.

I need another break. Heh.

Anyway, while Hubs was going on and on about the chocolate shop, I was going on and on about this - The CROOKEDEST street in the WORLD. isnt this something better to harp on? I dunno why I was so excited about it and just kept saying - we gotta go to the CROOKEDEST St. in the world ok? CROOKEDEST St. Heh, i think i just liked saying it to irritate Hubs. Say it! You'll go on and on. After all, its the CROOKEDEST St !

ok ok. Before I irritate you all to bits. Look at it! Isnt it just so crooked? People would either ride in cabs or drive down the road themselves. Its a one way road, 40 degrees slope with 8 switchbacks - and its very well maintained by the people staying along it.

Will you look at the size of these strawberries?? ! DOUBLE the size of those we get at hypermarkets in Msia. And yes, they cost double if not triple too. Me being the typical tourist just couldnt resist and bought them by some fresh fruit stalls at Fisherman's Wharf. Reeaal Smart. The upside, they were the sweetest ever strawberries I've ever tasted. This was one of the moments that made my holiday Great. Sinking my teeth into humongous, sticky sweet strawberries.

Next, not so sweet a sight. Smelly, noisy sea lions that fight over drying space. Yep. Its a competitive world out there. Even for sea lions. Its kinda fun just standing there watching these great big sausages with fins. if ever a wet one lies on top of or takes up the space of a dry one, there'll be a great big honking or barking or whatever you call the sound sea lions make, and lots of pushing and shoving.

Hey! Don't you dare take up my space in the sun. I darn well need to get a good dry off before I get wet again. Eh?

Or that's what I imagine they would be saying. These sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf came here following the 1989 quake. Read more here or below:

View of Fisherman's Wharf - colourful and just fun to walk around and soak in the touristy atmosphere.

Must try here: Clam Chowder. The best place to have it is at Pier Market. Lots of shops sell it here, some claim to be the "original'. But the nice lady at the information center told us we should have it at Pier Market. We nodded our heads like enthusiatic tourists with a nugget of wisdom and headed there. Hubs was as usual in his "not hungry" mode. yea right. I never get fooled. Anyway! doesnt the pix just makes you drool? :)

EXCELLENT stuff. The steaming hot chowder was creamy and had that delightfully sweet taste of clams - not fishy at all, had lots of clam bits and crab bits too. mmmMMM served in a sourdough bread that was nice and chewy - great to dip into the soup.

Every last bit of chowder scrapped off!

Friday, October 12, 2007

San Francisco!

Whoopsie - I have not been blogging for ages! Apologies to the few people who frequent my blog haha (my parents and a handful of friends :P). I had the unexpected chance to go to the US as my hubby had to go there for work so we thought, hey - accomodation's gonna be free for 2 weeks so why not? I had my visa done and before i knew it, we were off on our first trip to this great country.
We stoppped over at San Francisco. At first we were torn between LA or San Fran. Lots of ppl told us to go to the latter as it would be more scenic. (besides, my hubby wouldnt be able to stand outdoor themepark rides. scares the daylights outta him heh heh *shhhh) So San Fran it was! And we didnt regret it ONE BIT!

I can say that to date, this is one of the most beautiful cities I've been too. hmmm i've been to Paris, Rome and several asian cities but the charm that enveloped San Fran just really got me. This city is a mix of beautiful quaint buildings, stretches of roads that roll up and down, dotted with lush greenery, covered by clear blue skies and surrounded by great food!

Of course we sat on the famous trams of San Francisco. You can see the Alcatraz at the background below.

Hubby was talking about this chocolate shop located at the end of the touristy Fisherman's Wharf non stop since he read about it. So obviously that was the first place we hit to keep him quiet or I'd never hear the end of it. There we are - Ghirardelli Square. Finally I had some peace.

hooray for someone!

We ordered the 'must order items' like the World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae and Decadent Drinking Chocolate. Yummers! It was sooo c-h-o-k-a-l-a-t-e-y !!! not your regular chocolate that just tastes sweet. Every drop of that thick, gooey, fudgey chocolate is HEAVEN! and The Drink was so rich, creamy and smooth - *drooollll* If ever there was a sundae and drink of the gods, these would be it.

We walked along the wharf area and stopped for dinner to sample their fresh dungeness crab. This was a let down though. the crab portion was small, flesh was dry and almost non-existent. So no pic for it here. Ha. But here is a pix of a wannabe dungeness crab.

So ends the first day of our stay - More coming up!