Friday, December 31, 2010

Hong Kong - Day 7 (Part 2)

This Part 2 is all about the Disney's Hollywood Hotel, and a little about the Disneyland Hotel.

After the fireworks, we went back to the hotel to activate our key cards. We were told that our baggage would be sent up to our room after we checked in. porter service! Haha.

This is what our room looks like. Really big when compared to the guesthouse we stayed for 6 nights. I'm glad we chose to stay here on our last day. Because if we stayed here on our first night, then it will surely be a disappointment when we check into our guesthouse after this!

There were 2 queen-sized beds with plenty of floor space! We could practically skipped on the floor or even rolled on the floor! Haha!
And the beds and pillows were fluffy and soft...the way I like it!

We paid RM625/night for a room for 4-person!

This is the Mickey Mouse thingy on the wall above the beds.

There is the TV in a big TV cabinet and also a table with two chairs opposite the beds.

Then on the other side of the room is the coffee area and the slide-door wardrobe with the safe and a fridge.

There were packets of complimentary tea and coffee with the usual creamer and sugar packets in Disneyland logo.

And in the bathroom, there were also touches of Disney in it.

The Shower screen is with Mickey pictures...

And there were also a complimentary cup with cap which is Mickey Ears. Even the shampoo and bath soap bottles are with Mickey Mouse Ear caps.

And on the table, you can see the usual Pocket File which consisted of the service directory and also pens and black papers, envelopes and postcards with the Disneyland logo. Then there was also the Hollywood Express which tells you the FAQ regarding the Disneyland Parks and Hotels.

Even the in-room slippers have the Mickey Logo in it. :)

After we checked in, we went out for a walk. This is the three of us in the lift.

The three of us again.

The Mickey Mirror outside the lifts.

Mickey's Lift Buttons.

The place to grab a bite.

The swimming pool area.

Outside the grounds of Disney's Hollywood Hotel.

We then took the free shuttle over to the other hotel - Disneyland Hotel.

And it was really very, very pretty - all done up Victorian-style. Min & I walked around the hotel while Hubby went to the Tsing Yi MTR Station to buy some food back for tonight and tomorrow's breakfast.

Me taking a photo with Minnie bronze statue.

The grandeur of the place.

The lovely chandeliers.

Love the wall painting.

The Enchanted Garden is a restaurant where u dine and then the Disney Characters will greet u and allow photo taking.

Outside the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel.

Even the toilets are done so prettily!

The next time if I ever have a chance to go to Hong Kong Disneyland again, I will definitely be paying another RM200-300 more and staying in Disneyland Hotel. :)

After strolling around, we decided to call it a day. I slept early while Min waited for Hubby.

Hong Kong - Day 1
Hong Kong - Day 2
Hong Kong - Day 3
Hong Kong - Day 4
Hong Kong - Day 5
Hong Kong - Day 6
Hong Kong - Day 7 (Part 1)
Hong Kong - Day 7 (Part 2)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Applying Malaysian Passport for Shern

Today was Passport Day.
I needed to renew my passport and I also needed to apply for a passport for Shern.

We woke up early and initially planned to scoop Shern up from bed and just bring him into the car with him still sleeping. But guess we were too noisy and he woke up feeling all hyped to be able to go out 'kai-kai' so early. We got him changed and he was asking us to put on his shoes for him happily.

Reached the Immigration Office in Beach Street almost 8am. Got our numbers (#1XXX) and to our horror, it was 40 numbers away. The lady who issued us the numbers told us to go back to her at 8.30am if our numbers were not being called yet.
At 8.30am sharp, we went to her and she gave us another queue line (starts with #2XXX) which turned out to be the Priority Queue for the elderly, disabled or kids below 2yo.
She should have given us this number for Shern earlier. We waited for 1/2 hour for nothing. We felt cheated! We were like mumbling under our breaths cursing the person. Haha.

But there was nothing we could do then. And let me tell you this, it was not easy pacifying a 1 1/2-yo-toddler in a small space full of people.
After being there for 1 hour, I had already used up all ways to pacify him.
I had read him books. I had given him his toy cars. He finished his biscuits. He finished a mini box of raisins. Shern was getting restless!

And for the next hour, I carried him outside, showed him buses, lorries, motorbikes and other vehicles. He seemed fascinated by them and always pointed to them excitedly whenever he saw Rapid Penang Buses sped by. But then when I took Shern inside, he refused to go in. He wanted to stay out there to see those buses!

After given the priority queue which was just 5 numbers away, we still had to wait for almost another 40 minutes.
And when it was just a number away, I simply had to forced Shern inside to be prepared for our number to be called. Shern was making a big fuss then. I had to constantly distract Shern and hoped he forgot about those buses! It was exhausting!

And finally when our numbers were called, the men did not even take a glance at Shern. Why ask us to bring them here if they don't even take a glance at them! All they asked for is their original and photocopy of the child's birth cert, a parent's I.C, and 2 passport-sized photos. No fingerprint needed from children below 2.

After that, we still needed to wait for another 15 minutes before Counter#1 called for his name to make payment. At that time, I was already being dragged outside by Shern with him wanting to see those freaking buses! We were told that Shern does not need to be present when collecting his passport. Only need to bring his original birth cert. Phew.....

We left the place at 10.15am. Collection time was 11.45pm. Took Shern home to yee-pho for him to take his nap. Shern slept as soon as we got into the car, he was so tired. Hubby & I then went to collect our passports at noon. And luckily, collection was fast and efficient. I waited for less than 10 minutes for them.
Anyway, it was only RM150 for 5-years validity for children below 12. RM300 for adults with 5-years validity.

It was really nightmarish to bring a 1 1/2-yo-toddler to places like this. We are always reluctant to bring Shern to restaurants because usually he would not sit still for long. And they expect toddlers to be good and sit still for 2 freaking hours applying for passport. Gah!!!
Well, this is what we got for paying RM150 and spending 2 hours there. Shern's first passport.

And oh, I forgot to mention that it was another big fussy session when I brought Shern to take his passport photos at the photo studio! Lots of wailing and some tears involved to get Shern's photo taken.
Thank goodness for the Photoshop skills the photographer had. He photoshopped away Shern's tears and tilted his head erect. And this is the results....tada....

28 December 2010

Well, the next time Shern renew his passport will be in 5 years' time. Really good news for me. :)

*Pixi Photo Studio
7, Light Street, 10200 Penang

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Life List

Was blog hopping a few days ago and came across this blog post of Life List. It inspired me to create my own Life List. And no, I haven't watch The Bucket List. In that movie, the Life List is called the Bucket List. It is 'things to do before one "kicks the bucket" (i.e. dies)'.

Life is too short not to enjoy it to the fullest. Don't just go with the crowd. Do and enjoy things your own way. Please others only if it pleases you. Live your life for yourself. Do things that makes you happy.

I am someone who likes writing. I like writing down my thoughts and I like keeping a journal of everything. My trips. My thoughts and my feelings. I am a pro-diary person and I kept a diary since I was 8. So writing my own Life List just makes perfect sense.

I know this Life List of mine will change, in fact will change all the time. Because life is too full of changes. Well, like she says, this is my life, my game, my rule. I can do what I like with it.

My Life List

1. Plant a tree
2. Watch sunrise and sunset with my loved ones
3. Start a blog and keep writing
4. Set foot on all seven continents (Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe)
5. Buy a landed property with a spacious garden
6. Learn how to do make-up
7. Visit all the Disneyland Parks (Hong Kong Disneyland, Anaheim Disneyland, Paris Disneyland, Disney World Orlando  , Shanghai Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland etc)
8. Take up Ballroom Dancing
9. Sew something besides the ones in school
10. Own a pair of Jimmy Choos/Christian Louboutin
11. Learn kungfu/martial arts
12. Do snorkeling
13. Bake from scratch
14. Go backpacking (sorta)
15. Take up a sport
16. Exercise regularly
17. Develop all the photos in my hard drive and album them properly
18. Do scrapbooking regularly
19. Have a ride on a red Ferrari or any sports car
20. Stand on stage to sing/act/talk to overcome my fear of public speaking
21. Lie on a hammock and read the whole day
22. Fly in a helicopter
23. Have my dream kitchen
24. Have my dream bathroom
25. Have the courage to eat the fried bugs just like those in Cambodia
26. Take up pole dancing
27. Write a book
28. Sponsor a child
29. Write a big, fat cheque to a charity organization
30. Go for a shopping spree and spend RM10k just on myself without feeling guilty
31. Buy my dream oven
32. Read all the books on my bookshelves
33. Go for a costume party
34. Have a white Christmas
35. Sing a song in public for hubby
36. Watch my kids get married and have kids
37. Take a hot-air balloon ride
38. Wear a kimono in the streets of Japan
39. Admire the Eiffel Tower with hubby
40. Walk along the Great Wall of China
41. Crop my hair really short
42. Pierce 2 holes in one ear
43. Wear a bikini
44. Go for a massage class (Did it in Uni 2003)
45. Play a piano piece
46. Start an online business
47. Improve my Mandarin
48. Photograph Niagara Falls (USA 2018)
49. Have 3 children
50. Visit the Vatican City (erm, and it's boring!)
51. Type 50 words a minute
52. Visit birthplace of paternal grandparents in Foochow, China
53. Teach or work with children in any way
54. Start a new life in a new town/country
55. Pyramids at sunset
56. Appear in a magazine cover
57. Go blueberry/strawberry picking
58. Take a two-week vacation without computers/iPhone.
59. Safari in Africa
60. Ride a camel
61. Stay in the ice hotel
62. Grow vegetables/plants
63. Set foot in all states in Malaysia
64. Go camping
65. Make my own soap
66. Go a day without speaking
67. Bake a 2-tier cake
68. Go fishing and catch a fish
69. Attend the summer Olympic Games
70. See a total solar eclipse
71. Learn how to make pasta from scratch
72. Have my hands painted in henna
73. Have tiramisu in Paris
74. Sing in the rain
75. Go to the theater to watch an opera
76. Go outside and lie on the grass with my son
77. Watch the night view in Hong Kong
78. Christmas in Singapore
79. Sleep under the stars
80. Know my neighbours
81. Go whale watching
82. See the northern lights
83. Take my family on a luxury vacation
84. Go stargazing
85. Walk across a desert
86. Witness a meteor shower
87. Bring my son to catch tadpoles from the river (erm, from a waterfall though)
88. Colour my hair
89. Have a birthday party organized for me
90. Celebrate 30 years of marriage
91. Take a gondola along the Venice canal in Italy
92. Own and learn how to operate a DSLR
93. Write a song
94. Learn how to ride a bicycle
95. Go for a full body massage
96. To be able to fly without taking motion sickness pill
97. To own a Cuisinart Ice-Cream Maker
98. To do 50 sit ups in a row
99. To go for a trip somewhere with my 2 sisters - just the three of us!
100. To continue writing on my journal 'til the day I die

...updated on 28 December 2010
...updated on 28 July 2011
...updated on 22 July 2014
...updated on 14 Aug 2015
...updated on 23 Aug 2018

phew....100 of them!
I think we should all have a life list, no matter how long or short. Even if we don't accomplish everything on our lists, but just by attempting some, our lives are bound to get a little more interesting, am I right?
Come on, make your own Life List and link it back to me ;P

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the 3 of Us!

Homemade Reese's Bars

You know these irresistible Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?

I'm always buying them whenever I spot them in Jusco or Cold Storage although they don't come cheap. More than often, they are out-of-stock, which left me disappointed.
I'm actually not a fan of peanut butter, but these are the exceptions. I love them somehow.

And when I saw Jamienne's blog on the No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, I knew I had to try them out.
And I knew it was a success the moment I sank my teeth into them. Let me just summarize it in one sentence, ' I knew I will never buy Reese's again, because I have just learned how to make them...just that they are in bars!'

The best thing about them is that they are super easy to make. You don't even need an oven. All you need is a fridge :P
And since I could not find Graham Crackers anywhere in Penang, I simply substituted it with Digestive Biscuits.

Don't they look so homemade? So full of flaw with the ziggy zag edges and uneven chocolate layer on top.

18 December 2010

But once you cut them into squares, they look more fine and should pass as some grand desert. And don't you worry, once the guest bites into them, all they could think of is the creamy peanut butter crumbs with the chocolate oompphh. :P

Dad said it was amazing. Of course because dad is a peanut buttter and chocolate lover. And Min praised me highly. Ahhh....that made my night.

Recipe: No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (copied from Sweetest Kitchen)
Makes 12-16 squares, depending on how you want to cut it

3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used McVities Digestive Biscuits)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar (I reduced to 1 1/2 cup)
3/4 cups creamy peanut butter (I used Lady's Choice's)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
6oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate bars)
2 teaspoons Nutella or peanut butter (I used Nutella)

In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, peanut butter and butter and beat until combined. Press into a parchment-lined 8×8-inch pan, making sure top is smooth and level.

Melt chocolate and Nutella in a double boiler. Pour chocolate over peanut butter layer and spread out evenly (I tilted the pan around to get a smooth top, instead of spreading it out with a knife). Place pan in refrigerator just until chocolate is set and then cut into bars. Best served at room temperature.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Muffins

13 December 2010

I bought some fresh cherries sometime ago and I wanted to use them up before it got spoiled. Fresh cherries don't come cheap here, you know.

And although it is not Christmas time yet, it is already the Christmas month. And Penang doesn't have much Christmas mood, with just the occasional carol singing here and there. Well, it still doesn't stop me from baking something Christmas-y. And I don't fancy roast turkey or anything that tedious. So I guess Christmas muffins is just for me - simple and yet Chrstmas-y!

But to tell the truth, I don't really like the taste of this muffins. The fresh cherries made the muffins a little soggy, a thing which I hate. But the dried cranberries tastes so good in it.

And the texture of the muffins were so dense. But I know it is my fault because I simply made substitution to the ingredient. The recipe calls for plain yogurt. I did not have it at that time and simply substituted it with buttermilk. And I used 2 eggs instead of 1 as recommended by TechnicolorKitchen. I think that made the batter too runny, and thus caused an over mix. Sigh....

But if you don't mind dense muffins, the taste is rather nice. I love dried cranberries in any bakes. I love their chewy and tart yet sweet texture.
But this is not a recipe I would bake again. Nah...:P

Recipe: Christmas muffins (largely adapted from TechnicolorKitchen)
Makes 12 muffins

2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
½ cup + 1 tablespoon (112g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 ½ cups (390g) plain yogurt - I substituted this with 1 cup buttermilk
1 egg - I used 2 eggs as recommended by TechnicolorKitchen
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup (110g) dried sweetened cranberries
1 cup (150g) fresh pitted cherries, quartered
demerara sugar, for sprinkling

reheat oven to 190°C/375°F; line twelve 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity muffin pans with paper liners.
Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl, add the sugar and mix well. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, egg and oil. Add to the flour mixture with the cranberries and cherries and mix with a fork until just combined – do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, sprinkle with the demerara sugar and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gazing Into Tuai Ma's Eyes

While browsing through my hard drive, I found this photo.

15 February 2010

Taken during CNY, just a few months before Emah's passing.

The youngest in the family gazing into the eyes of the oldest in the family.
Very. Touching. Moment.

Passionfruit Yogurt Pound Cake with Passionfruit Glaze

I've got at least 3 baking posts queuing up to be published.
There seems to be so many activities going on during year-end that I've no time to post about my bakes. With one outing and another and also Shern's antics and also being an TVB drama series addict recently, I'd no time resize and edit my photos.

Well, so I just sat down my ass in front of my laptop and did all the backlog baking posts all at once. So please don't be surprised if you see baking posts being published in the middle of the night. It's not middle-of-the-night bakes, just scheduled posts. :P

2 December 2010

Beginning of December I was crazy over passionfruit. After the successful and most delicious Passionfruit Yogurt Cheesecake, I'd decided to do a milder version of cake using the same ingredients - Passionfruit.

And it was really a great choice. This exotic fruit emits a very nice and fresh aroma. My whole kitchen smelled so good while the cake was baking in the oven.

As usual, I tweaked the recipe by adding in the pulp and seeds. This is mainly because I was lazy to strain the pulp and also I thought of giving a little crunch to the cake by adding the seeds.

Adding the pulp was a good idea, it gave the cake much more flavour. But I guess I should have omitted the seeds. Don't get me wrong. I love the crunch, but then I took it out when I fed the cake to Shern because I think it must be rather difficult for Shern to bite them and is not so easily digested by toddlers.

By adding the yogurt, the cake was really moist and soft. I think it is the softest pound cake recipe I've ever made. I really like it.

The glaze is rather sweet though, but is a nice contrast to the rather tangy passionfruit cake. You can ommit the glaze if you don't have a sweet tooth. I like it with glaze though because I think I have a very sweet tooth now.

Look at the soft and moist yellow-y cake when cut. Looks so amazing, right?

Recipe: Passionfruit Yogurt Pound Cake with Passionfruit Glaze (largely adapted from Honey Bee Sweet)

Yogurt Pound Cake
150g plain flour

160g caster sugar
½ tsp baking powder
110g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs

120g of plain yogurt
4 tbsp fresh passionfruit juice
pulp and seeds of 4 passionfruits (optional)
pinch of salt

Passionfruit Glaze
2 tbsp passionfruit juice
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and butter it again.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together till light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time till well mixed in.

Add in yogurt and stir till incorporated. Then add in the passion fruit juice and mix well.
Add in the pulp and seeds here too.

Add in flour, baking powder and salt and stir till just blend in.

Pour the cake batter into the loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 mins or till the cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on rack.

To make the glaze, mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Drizzle the cinnamon glaze over the cake.