Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crown of the Continent


"My left side – it's my best side."


"Hurry up with the photo! It's cold out here."

The Colombian ground squirrel was shivering as I was snapping its picture.

Well, the cold air was not my fault. We were, after all, in National Glacier Park in Montana.


Where even the goats wear a thick coat of fur.


It was a bit chilly. But how can you quibble about a few bits of Fahrenheit, when you have views like these:









Where the flowers look like paintbrushes.


And the rocks provide the perfect color palette.



While nature sculpts art into stones and tree trunks:



The views were big, but little details were just as rewarding if you paid attention. For example, spot the curly-horned ram here:


How about prairie dogs (why do they not look like dogs at all?):


The aftermath of the Robert Fire of 2003 provided us with the unique opportunity of walking through a young forest where new pine trees barely came up to the waist:


We supplemented our hikes with a ride on the legendary red bus. I highly recommend it.


Especially if you get Norman as your guide:


Not only did he regale us with the history the park, he also led us straight to a black bear!


Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of the bear.

Count on a return visit, Montana.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Happy Campaign

Interrupting my break from blogging to bring you this video - it made me tear a little bit.

In May, the two major public transportation companies in Copenhagen, Movia and Arriva launched a “Better Bus campaign” with the express goal of spreading love, positivity and smiles among passengers.

There were 3 parts to their campaign. Part 2 is where they celebrated the hard work of their bus drivers by staging 21 birthday surprises in the form of a “Flash Mob” event. Below is the video of one driver, Mukhtar’s birthday (They are singing “happy birthday in Danish). When he gets to the protest blockade, and they all turn around holding signs that say "Happy Birthday Mukhtar".

(via Superforest)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Twitter quote

twitter quote

via 5tevenw

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Morels and Fiddlehead Ferns

morel & fiddlehead fern

When S saw the green spirals, his reaction was "Hey, those look like they are vegetables from an Enid Blyton book!" I couldn't agree more and they even had a name to match - fiddlehead fern. Don't they sound like they belong to the Magic Faraway Tree?

Fiddlehead fern and morel mushrooms appear to be all the rage because they are in season. S and I had never tried fiddlehead fern before and morels are not so common either, so we decided to try them together. I stuffed the chicken I had planned to for dinner back in the fridge since I read that the fiddleheads should be cooked on the same day you buy them.

morels & fiddlehead fern

morel & fiddlehead fern salad

To prepare fiddlehead ferns, rinse them over several changes of water. Then put them in a pot of boiling water for about 5-7 minutes. These steps will remove the toxins in them. Immediately submerge in a bowl of cold water after removing from the heat, to keep the pretty green color.

I don't quite have a recipe. I just made a potato salad with less dressing. Saute the morels with butter and garlic. Do the same with the fiddleheads. Mix them together and sprinkle with pine nuts and slices of spring onion.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Exit Through The Gift Shop

S and I don't go to movies often and I take the blame for that. In the last couple of years, whenever I am in a cinema sitting in front of that big screen, I am likely to fall asleep. Yes, even with all that technicolor and surround sound going on, I get so relaxed, I am lulled into dreamland within 20 minutes of opening credits. If you have an explanation for this phenomenon, please share.

But I really wanted to watch this documentary (or "mockumentary"?) by Banksy and did not want to wait for the DVD. And yay, I enjoyed all 87 minutes eyes wide open. Touted as "The world's first Street Art disaster movie", the movie lives up to its hype. It does not have a mass distribution, but catch it in an independent film cinema near you. My advice – don't read anything about the movie before you watch it so that you won't have any pre-conceived ideas. But here are a few related articles that won't spoil your viewing:

Banksy in San Francisco?

White-washing over a Banksy.

I'd change the name of my band too if Banksy asked (and if I had a band).

Banksy - a list of controversies.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Twitter in 9 words


(via Brain_Wash)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Crab and Asparagus Soup

Crab and asparagus soup recipe

Life is busy again. And I love it.

I enjoy cooking Malay food which require nine types of spices to be toasted, ground and sauteed. The process of watching over a hot stove for three hours while the dish stews and develop flavors as you stir every five minutes to prevent the ingredients from scorching, may have its therapeutic value. But I enjoy it just as much when my to-do list is long and I am pushed to be more creative in the kitchen because I don't have a whole morning for prep work. So I turn to simple dishes, like this crab and asparagus soup which we had with brown rice.

It barely takes 15 minutes to cook. Less if I omit the onion and garlic. 'Cos sometimes, you just don't feel like cutting onion and garlic. Or, you forget to buy to them. Doesn't matter. The soup still tastes good.

Crab and asparagus soup recipe

Crab and Asparagus Soup

¼ medium-sized onion, finely minced
1 garlic, finely minced
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
8 oz. asparagus, cut into inch-long pieces
8 oz. cooked crab meat
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sliced spring onions
1 teaspoon oil

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pot. Saute the onion and garlic for about 1 minute. Add in the stock and asparagus. Bring to a gentle boil and then down to a simmer. Add the crab meat.

2. Break in the eggs into a bowl and pierce the yolks. Stir the soup, making a whirlpool and then slowly dribble in the eggs slightly away from the center of the whirlpool. Let the eggs set for about a minute.

Serve with a sprinkling of sliced spring onion.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Infidel

I can't wait for "The Infidel" to come to theaters. It's a movie about a Muslim man who's horrified to discover that not only was he adopted, but he was born Jewish. The trailer made me laugh.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dinner Tonight


Ramen - with braised short-ribs and homemade noodles.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Smoked Salmon and Asparagus Frittata

Salmon and asparagus frittata

It must be spring – it's hard to walk two feet in the farmer's market without seeing asparagus. I've roasted them, made soup, stir-fried and here, in my favorite everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recipe, added to a frittata. Not only does a frittata absorb leftovers in my refrigerator, it's also easy to make. I like the look individual servings so I used a muffin tin. Good with a salad. We had ours with stir-fried watercress and baby shitake.

Salmon and asparagus frittata

Salmon and asparagus frittata

Salmon and Asparagus Frittata

4 eggs
¾ cup smoked salmon, chopped
¾ cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ cup whole milk
½ cup grated parmesan

Pre-heat oven 400°F. Lightly oil a muffin pan.

Whip the eggs and milk in a bowl. Add parmesan cheese, asparagus and smoked salmon. Pour mixture into muffin tin. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Makes 6.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh Happy Day

Ceremony 2

Congratulations H & J!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


(via All Things Pakistan)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Macaron shells #2 - peanut

Macaron shells #2

For peanut butter and jelly macarons.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Haberdashery - Fauna


When I first saw the picture of the pandas, I thought the men were carrying stuffed toys! But they are not. More pictures here and a video here.

Cat owners "more educated" than dog owners. Word.

Super fat cats – Dexter does not belong in that gallery. Yet.

Maybe he should be featured here?

Some good looking dogs.

Rabbits have their day.

This made me laugh.

This made me cry.

Crispy Mushrooms and Squash Soup

oyster mushrooms roasted 1

oyster mushrooms roasted 2

oyster mushrooms roasted 3

The lack of food posts does not in any way indicate the state of my kitchen. The stove has been heating-up but the shorter winter days meant that the light was not cooperating so it was tough to take decent pictures. We've been eating well. We've been having plenty of soup. Like butternut squash soup. My new favorite thing is roasting mushrooms until crispy and putting them in the soup. I've been these throwing crispy mushrooms in everything we eat - salad, fried rice and sandwiches.

But back to the soup – to put it in the OTT category, I also microwave pieces of apple and stir it into the soup. Recipe? Make your favorite butternut squash soup. Mine is about 4 cups roasted butternut squash and 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock mixed with a teaspoon minced ginger and a tablespoon ground cumin. Line a baking pan with parchment paper, then roast oyster mushrooms (salted and peppered) at 425°F for about 10 minutes or until crispy. You have to scrape the mushrooms off the baking pan. Dice an apple and blitz it in the microwave for one minute. Serve both with the soup and dinner's ready.

I've also been cooking with recipes off the internet – I am still amaze at this resource. I have many cookbooks but the recipes in the blogosphere continue to tempt me. Here are a few, tried and tested, in our kitchen:

Oatmeal pancakes from Orangette. I made these the first time only because I had so much oatmeal. But I've made it four times since. It's that good.

Citrus and beet salad. This is a dish inspired by Sassy Radish. I added roasted beets and used honey instead of maple syrup for the dressing. My new favorite way to eat oranges. Three times.

Fish & chips. I used No Recipe's, err, recipe. I've made it only once but I used 3 lbs worth of fish so that I could freeze some of the fried fish. I just pop a couple in the toaster oven when I feel like a savory snack.

Ma pu tofu. Userealbutter's version is the easiest and tastiest I've ever made (I use ground chicken or turkey). Made this too many times to remember how many exactly.

Marshmallows. I had all the ingredients so while S was assembling new furniture, I whipped this up. I flavored them with orange zest. And then coated them with chocolate.

– Ok, I didn't make any. But D did - and they were awesome. Have been meaning to try making some myself but never got round to it. Soon. And other recipes that I hope will be heating up the kitchen in the near future – shrimp salad in wonton cups, morrocan fish stew and chestnut torte.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Happy that Jeff Bridges won best actor at the Oscars last night. But have you seen "Starman"? One of the best romantic films I've seen – poignant and heartbreaking. Jeff Bridges is brilliant in it. As an alien. So it's a romantic film about an alien. No, really, it's good. I highly recommend it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Alice In Wonderland circa 1903

The damage to the film makes it, sort of, magical.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Vintage Crochet Blanket

crochet blanket white turquoise 1

Ever since we had our own home, I have fallen into the trap of "collecting". Wooden carved animals? Check. Pretty tins? Check. Vintage cake stands? Check. Globes? Check. I need to join "Collector Anonymous."

My latest obsession is the crochet blanket. I love the look of the stitches, the texture and most of all, how it adds a homely look to an otherwise a bland decor of our home. I recently acquired this white blanket with dark aquamarine circles because it matched the colors of our bedroom perfectly.

crochet blanket white turquoise 2

crochet blanket white turquoise 3

And more importantly, Dexter likes it because the color matches his eyes.

crochet blanket white turquoise 4

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Half Price Books


Nothing makes me happier than discovering a new book store. Over the weekend we drove to the Fremont branch of Half Price Books. We spent over an hour browsing and I bought the five books above for $1 each! Love.