31 January 2007

so february is slowing creeping up behind january to kick the latter in the butt. in january i celebrate my birthday and therefore january is one of my favourite months of the year. then comes february together with its nice little friends called CNY and VDay. so i like february too! well you can probably now guess that, basically, i just like any month during which i can hold a small(or big) celebration for a special occasion! this includes festivals such as the dragon boat festival and the mid-autumn festival. somehow that makes only march and sometimes november the months that i don't really like. then again, i can always celebrate special occasions on non-special days! ^^ but i digress. let's just move on back to february.

so i'm going to wrap this post around february and more specifically, valentine's day. come february and people start gearing up themselves for this particular day. gifts, flowers, chocolates, dates! although i'm not a detractor of valentine's day, i do know of cynics who regard this 45th day of the year as a complete sham and just a marketing strategy for many potential benefitting companies and merchants. is valentine's day really overrated? maybe.

but hoax or not, how can you not be affected by the festive spirit around you on this particular day? i guess you don't have to have a valentine to enjoy celebrating valentine's day, do you? it is, after all, a day that is dedicated to sharing love amongst people. it is true that sharing love should not be limited to only one pathetic day of the year, but since there is such a day in the calendar, why not fully exploit make use appreciate it! and since love knows no boundaries, i can also share my love with my friends and family(alright, it simply just means i don't have valentine, but being "date-less" isn't a crime!).

so while all of you are busy fussing over valentine's day, be it believers rushing to get gifts and tokens ready or non-believers snobbing their way through the "festive" mood, i'm gonna make little plans for valentine's day, my way, the way which makes me happy(while loving others, i have to love myself too right? and yeah, i do have the tendency to force things upon people sometimes. but i do make sure they are good things!).

should i tell you to get ready for my presents? or are you already rubbing your hands in excitement?
if there was a quota for the amount of tears that each and everyone of us shall shed in our lifetime, i might have reached it. or maybe, as the years go by, our threshold for sadness gradually rises to a point where most things dont trigger the welling up of the eyes. why else would i, the self-admitted crybaby, find it hard to cry now?

i remember the times where i used to tear over the shows i watch, or the stories i read. when i was little, "the land before time" always sent me weeping into my pillow when the reel was nearing the end. when i was a little older and the internet crept into our lives, sad, fictitious stories that could be summarised just by "boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy dies, girl cries" often saw me dabbing a tissue under my eyes(come to think of it it was kinda stupid). later, relationships(not just those boy-girl relationships, okie) often caused me to sob beneath my blanket and sniffle my way to sleep.

have i somehow become less emotional after what i've been through all the past years? or maybe the tear ducts have become jaded and malfunctioned due to the heavy work load in the recent times. i can now count the times i've washed my face with those salty liquid in the past quarter of a year. before last september, i couldn't keep track. and interestingly enough, i might have been sent back in time to my toddler days for i've been shedding my tears for programmes i watch on the tele. silly but true. the past two times i've really squeezed out enough tears as to constitute to the action of crying was while watching the last few episodes of korean drama "goong" and the last few minutes of korean movie "my brother". perhaps its the appeal of the foreign language. tonight i found myself on the verge of tearing again. i was watching "cold case".

somehow i miss the feeling of tears trickling down my face before finally falling onto my lap from my chin. tiring no doubt, but at the same time, i get to do some catching up with my inner side.

i'm afraid i sound slightly... sadistic.

29 January 2007

it is during times like this when i feel exceptionally nostalgic. when i occasionally(okie maybe more than occasionally) look back and think about the past that have in some way or another sculpted the present me.

as a typical singaporean girl, the most memorable events and vivid memories ultimately fall into the category of "when i was a student in xxx school". this is unavoidable. i mean school days are and will be the time for most of us to socialise, make friends and create memories for ourselves. memories that will follow me through the rest of my living days and friends that will be there with me no matter what happens.

however, realisation always come late. it may be an inbuilt mechanism of the homo sapiens to cherish only when its gone, to treasure only when its lost. it may also be a genetic default that the human species take all things for granted, and presume everything will stay the same. but things dont say the same. the only permanence is impermanence. nobody, or at least i think nobody, seem to take that in until circumstances forced it in.

as time pass, i shall sit and reminisce. but having to reminisce means i have seen things go far beyond the possibility of reliving. it means i have let certain things pass me by without me reaching out to catch it in time; not even let it slip out of my fingers, because i never did had it in my grasp in the first place.

i have, only just, come to know that my alma mater, dunman high, has moved from the old campus off tanjong rhu which is 10 mins by foot from my residence to mount sinai near buona vista. but has that table that i kept my stacks of worksheets and papers back then been moved too? the particular chair that i sat on? how about the easels that held my canvas when i was painting my coursework painting? maybe the swinging chair that the conductor used to sit on and the shaky lecture theatre chair followed? could they have shifted the words that spelt the school motto together with everything else? they must have brought those kois along, haven't they? things just won't feel the same anymore, right..?

i regret. i regret not having acted on impulse when i had the thought of visiting the old bue and white buildings that have housed much of my growing-up days. i regret procrastinating those pre-festive-visit-the-teachers sessions. i regret not having gone back to take a look when the bell still rung, the classrooms still flourished with energy and music still played in the lecture theatre.

is it too late?

i must do something before it really is too late. i must catch up with teachers who have so taught me lessons in or out of the classroom before they retire and i lose all ways of contact with them(whether they recognise me or not is another problem that is yet to be solved). i must touch the tables, chairs and walls before they're gone. i must sit down in the canteens and savour the oh-so-wonderfully-nostalgic foods before the vendors call it a day. i must remember every sight and sound and carefully put them under lock and key in my memories before they ultimately fade away.

i must...

27 January 2007

ambiguity is such a sucky state. when you're neither here nor there. not in but not out. it is misleading. often causing people to either pull the reins when they should ride free or speed ahead when they should decelerate to a stop.

tell me. how can you stand being unclear?

the waiter at nydc wheelock was cute. so was one of the nepalis that came to open house.

...crawls when you're desperately anxious for it to run but flies when you're hoping it will stay...

20 January 2007

would you continue playing a game that you're halfway through knowing that, no matter how or what you do, you have absolutely no chance of winning?

what if you have no way out?

is it in human nature to always want to win?
or to not want to lose?
what's the difference?
is there any difference to begin with?
optimistic or pessimistic?
should we look at the brighter side or be prepared for the worst?
why do people instill in us contradicting concepts?
how does someone look for a silver lining if he has to get ready for the rainy day?

am i confusing you..? heh...

dont worry.
you're not alone.

19 January 2007

sweet little things

tartlets! what a good way to end my holiday baking stint. once again, its my first attempt at baking proper tarts and it turned out really well, i should say. the tart shells were nice and crusty, slightly sweet, almost like a cookie. for a first timer, i should have stuck with traditional tart dough recipes that were tested and tried over and over and published in books. but no! the usual, ambitious me decided to try the recipe for tart dough i found on alpine berry. but i'm glad i did! my rebellious side was probably showing when i ever so slightly changed the recipe. i added an egg to enrich the dough after referencing from Sweet Food. i'm so lucky i succeeded.

Tart Dough

230g butter
90g sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
300g flour
1-2 tbsp cold water

Cream butter until smooth and light in colour (about 2mins).
Add sugar, vanilla essence, salt and egg and beat for another 2mins.
Add flour and mix on low speed.
Add just enough cold water to moisten the flour until it the mixture forms pea-sized bits.
Form dough into a disk and refridgerate for at least 1 hour.
Lightly butter and flour tart tins.
To line tart tins, roll dough to the thickness of 1/8 of an inch on a lightly floured surface. Alternatively, take balls of dough and press into tins.
Prick the base of tart shells with a fork.
Refridgerate lined tart tins for 15 mins or until firm.
Bake in pre-heated oven (175 degC) for 15 - 30mins depending on size of tins.

the recipe i used for the custard was adapted from a recipe for vanilla cream i found on La Tartine Gourmande. i made only 1/3 of the recipe as i only made a batch of 10 tartlets. making small batches proved to be very troublesome. but still the outcome wasnt too bad. it wasnt too sweet (maybe because i decreased the sugar) and had the a nice eggy flavour from the egg yolk. it wasnt smooth enough though, and that was probably due to the fact that i didnt stir enough while cooking or that it was cooled for too long before i spooned it into my tart shells. but it still tasted good!

Custard Filling

125ml milk
1-2 drops vanilla essence
1 egg yolk
20g sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp butter

Beat yolk, sugar and cornstarch in an electric mixer until thick and light in colour.
Bring milk and vanilla essence to a boil.
Add hot milk gradually to egg mixture while beating on low speed.
Transfer mixture into the pan again to cook, stirring frequently until thick.
Let cool.

Spoon lukewarm custard into cooled tart shells.
Top with sliced fruits (kiwis, plums, nectarines, etc.) or other garnishes (orange zest, sugar decorations).

18 January 2007

would you like some snow on your cake?

for my first attempt at baking cheesecake, i must say i am very proud of myself! the cheesecake was really rich and had a very strong refreshing scent of the orange zest that was added into the batter. i liked it a lot. so did my friends! i baked my cheesecake using a recipe i found in Sweet Food and followed it rather closely, with the exception of the instructions for a sour cream topping to the cake as i wanted to decorate it otherwise. however the next time i use the same recipe i would make slight reductions to the amount of butter used for the cookie base of the cheesecake as it was too soggy and didnt hold up as well as i expected it to.

i am also happy with myself for having accomplished a satisfactory success at making a cake look very pretty! of coz it is also my first attempt at putting in so much effort into decorating a cake, although i think its insignificant compared to many others who make GORGEOUS looking cakes. i dusted the cake generously with icing sugar and made some almond and orange brittle to decorate the cake with. the idea of the brittle came from here and so i googled for a brittle recipe and improvised from there my own brittle to decorate my cake! decorating the cake proved to be a very fun and self-satisfying process as i watched my plain old cheesecake evolve!

however, whoever said beauty doesnt last forever was right. because i decorated my cake at 2am in the morning, i refridgerated it so that it could last till we cut it. but the condensation that formed when i brought my cake out to school proved to be deadly. my lovely white coat of icing sugar dissolved (and hence the cake became really really sweet). but the white icing turned sugar glaze didnt stop my friends from savouring the entire cake with the help of some teachers! i guess beauty is not just skin deep. ^^

Baked Cheesecake(adapted from Sweet Food)

250g digestive cookies
100g butter, melted (would probably half this amount the next time and add more if required)
2 tbsp bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 tsbp unsweetened cocoa powder
500g cream cheese, softened
160g caster sugar (would probably use 100g the next time but also consider the type of topping)
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
Juice from half an orange
Grated zest from one orange

Lightly grease base of a 8-inch springform tin.
Finely crush the biscuits in a food processor or put in a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin.
Transfer to a bowl and mix with melted butter, melted chocolate and cocoa till all crumbs are moistened.
Spoon biscuit mixture into the tin and press firmly into the base.
Refridgerate for 20mins or until firm.
Preheat oven to 180 degC.
Beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add sugar and beat till smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Mix in vanilla essence, orange juice and zest.
Pour cheese mixture into prepared tin and crumb base and bake for 45mins or until just set.
Leave to cool then refridgerate until firm.

now you see it...

...now you dont!

17 January 2007

glazed nuts and molten chocolate & marshmallow tartlets

what a day for baking! its the first ever time i've tried my hands on baking more than one thing in a day and i'm quite glad with the results.

Glazed Nuts

200g raw mixed nuts (i used almonds and walnuts)
50g sugar
1-2 tbsp water
1 sachet jasmine tea powder
sesame seeds to toss nuts in (optional)

Put nuts, sugar and water into pan and stir over medium high heat.
When all the sugar has melted, turn the heat down and add jasmine tea powder. mix to coat the nuts evenly.
Sprinkle sesame seeds over the glazed nuts and toss to coat.
Spoon nuts over waxed paper to cool. store in air tight container.

i have been wanting to make glazed nuts for a very long time (actually i think it has been a year) but did not have the time to try out recipes that i've looked up on the internet (you should now realise that i'm a procrastinator by nature). Christiane of 28cooks prompted me to get my hands on making glazed nuts with those wonderful pictures and recipes. i tweaked the recipe a little and added a little water when glazing the nuts as i always had problem melting the sugar when heating them dry. the jasmine tea that i was using was also not as fragrant and flavourful as i wanted it to be. i do think they make nice presents for friends and such when put in a pretty glass bottle decorated with dollies and ribbons!

Molten Chocolate & Marshmallow Tartlets

i loved the concept that i had for my marshmallow tarts. when served warm the tops of these tarts were crisp from the toasted marshmallows and the molten chocolate filling oozes out with the prick of the fork. BUT! these cute little babies of mine were too sweet. and the tart shells were actually made with the mixture left from my cheesecake baking and did not hold as well as a normal tart shell would have and my tarts were bottomless when i removed them from the mould. so before i finalise the recipe and bake a proper tart, you'll just have to be satisfied with pictures!

16 January 2007

pork chops
now i finally know what i missed on tv yesterday while i was out (which ended in me having a bruised leg, broken toenail, a hurting ass and most of all a hell lot of fun).

i missed the finale of so you think you can dance. ah dammit.

15 January 2007

if you have speakers, you would have noticed that i have a song playing on my blog. even if you dont hear it, it is playing and you should have seen that additional section i have on my navigation column. yes it is on auto play because its a very nice song and i think everyone should hear it no matter what and its just in me to force ideas onto ppl a little. so if you have heard it and decide to turn it off, just click the green button that says pause.

about the song

the singer is olivia ong and she's a singaporean girl based in tokyo, japan. this is her 4th album, "girl meets bossa nova II". the title of the song is "so nice" (emma bunton has sung it before) and it is just simply so nice (literally). the lyrics of the song were featured in my previous post. another song that i've heard from her is "one note samba" which is also really nice but i have yet to find it. her other songs like "one note samba" (previous singer that i know of is frank sinatra) and "make it mutual" are very nice too. you can listen/download them here. i do think her album is available in hmv and she's going to perform in nus come march.


ps. a million thanks to jy who helped me look for the downloads and also the streaming site.

i'm 20.
and i think its the time to get high and wild.
did i forget to mention narcissistic?

14 January 2007

someone to hold me tight
that would be very nice
someone to love me right
that would be very nice
someone to understand
each little dream in me
someone to take my hand
and be a team with me

dream dreams, wish wishes, hope hopes.
they will come true
wont they?

someone to cling to me
stay with me right or wrong
someone to sing to me
some little samba song
someone to take my heart
and give his heart to me
someone who's ready to
give love a start with me

12 January 2007

Pencil on paper.
~85cm x 115cm.

far from complete. but i'm still quite happy with it. by far my fave life drawing ^^ needs building up of contrast and tonal values.

11 January 2007

i'm blessed.
happy birthday...

10 January 2007

less than one hour to go...

why am i not excited.

its a beautiful day. now all i need is to keep myself from thinking about the impossible.

tmr. will be a lonely day.

09 January 2007

不要害怕 不要害怕
不要害怕 不要害怕

08 January 2007

a new way of talking to myself. rushing fashion design has made me schizophrenic.

maybe it wasnt fashion design.
Nobody knows... except me...

07 January 2007

well. some ppl have asked to see what i've been doing in fashion school... so here you go! i'm not like 100% happy with this, but its currently the only thing i have in my com. haha.this was done for my assignment for history of fashion where i designed the collection of 6 based on the baroque period (17th century) fashion. i'm not gonna rattle on and bore you with the details on Louise XIV. so, i scanned my illustrations that i had previously done in pen on layout paper and applied colour with photoshop. then i added background, etc etc.

ps.: some of my girls look hedious! my fav is the one on the extreme left. though its by no means perfect.

pps.: i dont even know if you guys are interested.

06 January 2007

"dont look for gurus... you're the only one you need now..."

05 January 2007

i just made the worst avocado milkshake ever. and here is the recipe.

*&@#^(# Avocado milkshake

Flesh of 1 unripe avocado
1 tbsp honey
1 cup milk

Put all ingredients into blender and blend.

*Secret Ingredient
Drop of blood from finger
what do i do when my stomach doesnt agree with me about when, what and how much to eat?

04 January 2007

a day of dumb moments.

02 January 2007

oh simple thing
where have you gone?
i'm getting old and i need something to rely on
so tell me when
you're gonna let me in
i'm getting tired i need somewhere to begin

01 January 2007

it had started to darken. ever so slightly by the minute. the orange glow crept in. bit by bit, peeking through the little windows framed in that deep forest green. stains appeared, lightly, but beautifully, in the warm, welcoming shade of chrome yellow. then, as if a sponge was at work, the soft hue concentrated, leaving it ever so beautifully clad in misty blue satin and the softest of white crinkled chiffon.

the scent, travelling through the thin thin air, had filled the space. it was pleasant: musky and slightly sweet, just enough to make one realise its presence. one step closer and you realise, those elegant pearls and crystals, so cleverly strung and woven into the satin, creating brilliant trails and tassels that twinkled when light was shone upon.

and then, it was gone.
but you know it'll be back.