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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I bet by the time you landed in my blog, you'll go 'oh no! not another halloween post!'.  Well, yes, it's Halloween today and although this is a big celebration in the US and not so much in some countries, especially Malaysia, I do want to make something to celebrate this day.  I don't have a costume party to go to neither do I go for trick or treat but I'm not gonna miss the fun just because we don't celebrate this over here.

So here's a post on my much needed improvement Halloween Red Velvet Cupcakes but before that, let's get into the mood of Halloween.

For the past week there's been a lot of scary movies shown on Astro.  Tonight, on History Channel, there's this documentary on Zombie and the movie channel, Hallowscream is on.

I do enjoy scary movies and I love to watch paranormal activity kind of program or documentary on real life stories ie. The Haunting, Ghost Adventures, TAPS etc.  I've always been intrigued by stories of ghosts, spirits, supernatural etc.  When I was little, I remember watching this local Malay movie called 'Pontianak' which means Vampire.  I remember that it was the most scariest movie of all at that time but now looking back, it's actually quite hilarious to think how scared I was. After all, what do you expect from an 8 or a 9 year old kid.

Many stories of personal encounters were told by my late mom, her friends, our neighbors and as I was growing up, more stories from school friends.  It doesn't stop there.  I continue to collect more stories from my office mates.  With so many stories being told, I think I can start to write short stories on all of them for those who have the thirst for it...hahahaha

What I am about to share with you here is on my personal encounter with the unseen which was seen by me about more than a month ago.  This happened in my office and it happened in the morning.  So, who says ghosts only appear at night!

Here's how the story goes...

One morning around 10+, I was looking for a colleague of mine in her office.  Let's call her Miss A.  Miss A wasn't in and so I walked past her office in search for her.  She could be in the pantry or maybe in another friends office I thought.  She was nowhere insight.  Then I thought she might be in a meeting.  I gave up looking for her and decided to go back to my office.

As I was passing by one of my other colleague's office (let's call her Miss B), I looked inside Miss B's office and I saw Miss B was on the phone.  She was seated behind her desk and there's a chair on the opposite side of  her desk.  At that splitting glance through her office while walking past, I saw this black figure sitting on that chair right opposite her.  I could not make out the outline of that figure and could not see the face although it's only about 5 - 6 feet away from where I was. What I can make out is a silhouette of a lady, all black and the outline was kind of shady.  That figure was seated uprightly rigid and was either looking at or past Miss B.  I felt it was quite strange and took a step back and looked again but that figure had disappeared.  The best part was, the swivel chair that the figure was sitting on, was not even facing Miss B.  It was actually facing the wall away from Miss B.  After Miss B was done with her phone call, I asked her if anyone was with her and she said no.

Okay.. so what did I saw a moment ago? I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. It was only 10 plus in the morning.  How can a ghost appear in a broad day light but I know what I saw.  I have seen the unseen which I was told of so many times by so many people who had an encounter or similar experience with the beings from the other world.  Knowing that my office is full of paranormal activities which some 'privileged' friends of mine have encountered, I was more than sure that what I had seen was true and not an imagination. This was further confirmed by Miss A when I finally saw her after lunch and she told me that she saw shadow passing by the ladies washroom while she was there.  There were no one else there at that time except for her.  There were no sound of footsteps but she saw a shadow passing by under the door.

Are you spooked?  You should be as it really spooked my friends when I relate this to them.
Let me spook you more by offering you blood red velvet eyeball and insects cupcake... Muahahahahahha!!!
Well, the eyeball cupcake doesn't look so much like an eyeball but who cares, it's Halloweennnnn...

Happy Halloween, Everyone! Trick or Treat??!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spices & Saffron Rice with Goan Pork & Potatoes

If you are looking for a flavorful and delicious Indian food, look no further.  These recipes will just blow you away into spice heaven!

Since we are now facing the monsoon season, this sure satisfy the hungry tummy and warm up the spirit.

 Basmati Rice with Spices & Saffron
1 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp warm milk (alternatively, I used hot water)
3 cups basmati rice or any long grain rice
pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
5 cardamon pods
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks

1. Dry roast the saffron threads in a frying pan and cool slightly then crumble into warm milk and leave to soak for 30 mins
2. Wash the rice, drain, add salt and soak in water for 30 mins. Drain.
3. Heat oil in frying pan, add cardamon and cinnamon sticks.  Fry for a minute, add the rice and stir for a couple of minutes.
4. Transfer rice to a rice cooker and cover with water as you normally would when cooking rice and add a pinch of salt.  Leave to cook.  Once done, use a fork to fluff the rice.  Keep warm until serving time.

Goan Pork with Potatoes
Handful of shallots
5 garlic cloves
1 in fresh ginger
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp whole coriander seeds
3 whole cloves
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp red paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
550 g boneless pork shoulder cut into cubes
vegetable oil
250 g red potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 tsp sugar

1. Peel and chop the onion, garlic and ginger.  Put half the mustard seeds and all the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cloves in a coffee grinder and grind as finely as possible.  Put the spice mixture and the onion, garlic and ginger, vinegar, cayenne pepper, paprika and 3 tbsp of water into a blender.  Blend until smooth.
2. Rub 1 1/4 tsp sal, 1/2 tsp black pepper, tumeric and 2 tbsp of the spice paste all over the pork. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.
3. Pour vegetable oil in a heavy non-stick lidded pan and over med-high heat, add the remaining mustard seeds.  As soon as they pop, add the remaining spice paste, stir and fry for 5-6 mins or until paste is slightly browned.  Add the pork, together with its marinade.  Stir for a minute, cover ad reduce the heat to medium.  Let the meat cook for about 10 mins, lifting the lid now and then to stir.  Meat should get slightly browned.
4. Add 700 ml water, the potatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and sugar. Stir and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook gently for 50-60 mins until  meat is tender.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chicken Quesadilla

I love Mexican food.  My family love Mexican food.  Base case, we love food that has cheese and tomatoes. 

It was a lazy Saturday last week and I was feeling a bit under the weather.  Really wasn't up to cooking dinner but hey, I have three hungry mouths to feed.  Thought of eating out but lazy to drive. I tell you, I was feeling extremely lazy on that day!  All I wanted to do was sleep...well! 

Anyway, in the end, decided to make a simple dinner.  Since I have a pack of ready made wraps in my little pantry, I made the simplest dinner ever...Chicken Quesadilla.  I didn't really follow any recipe, just throw in some chicken, onion, capsicum, cheese and that's it.

It's light but yet filling.  Most importantly, I don't have to sweat it out over the stove!

Serves 4:
2 pieces chicken breast, cut into strips
1 large yellow onion, cut into rings
1 large capsicum, cut into small squares
a few sprigs cilantro, chopped
cheddar cheese
8 wraps

1. Marinate the chicken with salt, pepper and barbecue sauce.
2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan, fry the onion, add in chicken breast and stir for a few minutes.
3. Add in capsicum and cook until chicken is done.  Set aside.
4. In another non-stick frying pan, heat the wraps (without oil).  Spoon the chicken mixture onto the wraps (while it's being heated), sprinkle cheese on top and lastly cilantro.  Cover with another piece of wrap and carefully, turn it over until the wrap is crispy.
5. Take it off heat, cut into quarters and serve immediately.

You can serve this with guacamole or sour cream.