Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Mummy!!

When we were younger and she was into baking (for a small window of time), she once asked us if we want banana cake or pisang cake!!! mummy still cracks me up. Don't get me wrong...she drives me insane too but she very often unconsciously cracks her kids up.

Have a lovely birthday mummy...hope my birthday card arrives in time

picture shows my mummy helping me out with my seating plan cards for my wedding. Years as a secretary meant she is a pro with the old skool typewriter....dang she is fast with her fingers!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Scott!!

Tea at Mariage Freres, Paris

Picnik collage

A trip to Paris and 18 bottles of beers as birthday pressie...I think he is pleased.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oui Paris

It's Scott's birthday this Sunday and I am taking him to Paris as his birthday present! (OK - the truth is Eurostar is doing £55 return deal and I really wanna go!) We are leaving on Thursday after work until Sunday and we are so very excited! Paris is the only city we have both been numerous times together and still yearn to go back for more.

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There is definately something about the city no? We have done the touristy bits and now we enjoy exploring different parts of Paris and returning to our old favourites for a quick hello (Left bank / Latin Quarter/ Ile Saint-Louis / Notre Dame).

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For this trip, I want to do the following:
- visit the Lourve and actually go in to see the Mona Lisa
- try the bread from Poilane as recommended by David
- have a winter picnic with bread, cheese and wine from the market at Motte-Piquet
- then warm up with a cup of hot chocolate, hopefully we are close by an Angelina
- get a Berthillon ice cream from the shop at Ile St Loius - this is a must for us in Paris
- try to grab a seat by the corner pub near Pont St Louis for a dark beer and watch the street musicians
- buy some macaroons from Laduree for Scott's birthday and as a sweet treat for the train ride home
- buy more cheese and wine for our train picnic home (my cold bag is already in my luggage!)

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We rented an apartment for this trip. We did it once before and love the space it provided. We used this agency again and fingers cross we will not be disappointed

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I did loads of research via blogs this time round - I love Jordan's blog about her life in Paris and the amazing DIY she shares. She recommended David's blog and there are a wealth of information in there on Paris! He is my new favourite blog of the moment - go check it out

photo source: 1, 2, 3, 4

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Pancake Day

ricotta pancake

Did you know that today is Shrove Tuesday? Nope, me neither but I do know that today is Pancake day. Same thing really...but Shrove Tuesday has a greater significance - it is the last day before Lent.

Today was a little bummer to start with but come dinner I am feeling better. I somehow had it in my head that I want ricotta with my pancake, then I found this recipe and decided to give it a go. It was heavenly and importantly, filled the kitchen with a lovely eggy, vanilla-y aroma. hmmmm...comfort. It turned out better than expected. Just what the doctor's ordered on a hectic day

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Modified 'heart attack'

My hubby has done good...he got me a mahusive bunch of flowers on Valentine's day with the message ' Sorry I can't be there'. He told me later his instructions to the florist was vintage inspired and no red roses! Ha...he knows me well

Valentines date flowers

I really like the 'heart attack' idea I blog about earlier so I decided to recreate something similar as a thank you valentine's day gift...but crucially an in-door style 'heart attack'. I can't be doing outdoors with the cold we are experiencing at the moment! I initially wanted to cover just the door to our bedroom with pink hearts but 3 hours of mindless TV later and I have enough pink hearts for our hallway! Bonus....!

Heart attack 1

Heart attack 2

Heart attack 3

Scott flew in from Eindhoven the following evening to an empty house as I was out having dinner with the girls. He later told me it was a great surprise...his initial reaction was 'WTF is this?!? hahahah....I am so glad it works and it brightens up his evening...he has been working late most days and we both need something light to laugh about. The pink hearts stayed on until today....that is his treshold for pink hearts

p/s: while we are on the topic of love, check this out! I love his style of photography and even went as far as emailing him for a quote to capture our wedding day when we were still considering having the wedding in Scotland. I figured it might actually be cheaper for me to travel to LA than get him over to Scotland - maybe one day...I am still hopeful...maybe on our 10th year anniversary?

Monday, February 13, 2012

'Heart' attack

Adorable Valentine's day surprise by Miss B....too bad our garden is still covered in snow. Scott is away on this special 'love day'...we never make a big deal out of it but it would have been nice to have him around for our first V day as hubby and wifey. I think I would have to settle for my 4 'trusty ol' girlfriends' instead - Sex and the city reruns!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

10 hour slow cooked pulled pork - OMG!

pulled pork


pull pork

This winter is finally getting to me...I am down with the cold and feeling a little blah today. We are looking for a fuss free Sunday dinner and I have an unsatiated cravings for pulled pork as Pitt Cue Co was full when we tried to get a seat last week and I haven't left that thought of tender melt-in-your-mouth pork since...frustrating really. So desperate times call for desperate measures... this is finally the incentive I needed to lug home the slow cooker from our old flat, all the way from the other side of London and after a long day trip in Basel for work. Crazy...maybe that's why I was down with the cold making that trek in the snow!

Scott was in charge of the pork and as usual he amalgamated 3 recipes into 1. I don't know anyone else who does you? Not being happy with just the 1 recipe so comes the need to look at another 5 at least and essentially take the best bits (i.e. ingredients he likes / we have at home / easy to source) and recreate his unique own. I have learned to trust him on this as more often than tastes 'out of this world'

So this pork started out late at night on Saturday....all the spice mix, blended, crushed and rubbed into it, then wrapped up tightly and refrigerated overnight. Scott started cooking at 10am this morning and at 8pm we feasted on it like hungry horses. We took our first bite and turn to each other with a sly smile....its an unspoken but understood language...we have trumped yet again - screw the wedding diet!

Nutella + Peanut butter + marshmallow brownie
I had to bake a 2nd helping of this brownie again - this is a first ever...baking the same thing twice in a week. The long wait for the pulled pork meant I have to keep myself occupied. You are never too ill to have some brownies...and Scott needed cheering up as Scotland lost at rugby (again)

Nutella + peanut butter + marshmallow brownie
close-up of the goo from the would be selfish of me not to share!

Rambo is my dad


Dad went for a knee replacement op earlier this week and he is now back recuperating at home - the op went really well and he is already walking with aids the next day and now he is walking unaided...albeit a little slow and stairs are still a no-no at the moment. Just a quick post to say 'Congratulations on the op Papa and Get well soon!'

He has his armies of friends and families rallying around him this week in Singapore - a big thank you for being know who you are *wink*

So far he hasn't complaint too much about the pain...yet....he is a big man...big man don't cry...ya know

(picture taken in the morning of the wedding in London - glad I inherited his hair...let's hope not his size!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Nutella + Peanut Butter + Marshmallow Brownies

Scott has been working late many nights recently and he was supposed to have the night off tonight but had to work late again last minute - so I thought I will surprise him with a little something.

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I followed this recipe which I got off the Nutella day website - do you realised there is such a thing as a Nutella day website? Yup! It exist! And it has a crazy number of nutella based recipes on the website...I recommend you pop over now with a cuppa in hand, a notepad and pen to list the ingredients you would need to buy to make a nutella-something pronto!

Still digressing....I mean check out the list of recipes! You can have a day of nutella-based meals - My perfect Nutella day would be as follows:
Brekkie: Nutella & Mascarpone Grilled Cheese Sandwich on brioche
Mid-morning snack: Nutella oreos truffles
Lunch: Nutella bacon sandwich
Mid-afternoon snack: the brownie I just made
Dinner: Nutella marinated steak
Dessert: Nutella and hazelnut praline ice cream

There is also Nutella day which falls on February 5th - how amazing is that. My cousin V's birthday is on the same day too so a big shout out to her...albeit a little later than expected.

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Anyway back to business and I think it is important for me to share why I chose this recipe from the many available on the website. Simple ingredient list, practically store cupboard type of cooking which tends to rock my boat (nutella is store cupboard essentials in casa Percival...I mean how can it not be?). But the key USP in this recipe is intructions #2 - "melt butter..." That screams weekday baking to me! Measure butter, plonk it in pan and move on to instruction #3. It is very hard to plan ahead of time and get the butter out of the fridge to soften prior to baking when you get the urgency to bake brownies at precisely 3.46pm while at work. This rant might only be applicable if you do not own a microwave to speed up the softening process...I obviously don't but I have been know to leave it above the radiator which does work a treat in desperate times.

So just to note that I alter the recipe a little: less sugar and I added in about a handful of marshmallow, rationale being I have marshmallows at home to use up and I wanted to experiment with the gooeying-ness from the marshmallow. Also please go with her recommended chunky peanut butter vs smooth option. The unexpected bite into the peanut was heaven alongside the goo. I can stand firm, hand on heart and say I love it. This recipe will be filed under the 'so freaking good - memorise it!' category.

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p/s: I know the pics are rubbish. This is what happens when the camera is not charged and pictures are taken using a mobile phone during a midweek dinner rush. The brownie looks burnt but it is just the marshmallow getting caramelise...yes ...oh yes....

Monday, February 6, 2012

Where is January? it is February? already? dang....
January flew by a little too quickly without a post. We were in the fast lane with work which is often the case in typical January fashion, all projects delayed over xmas are ramped back up in January with deadlines looming left, right and centre! Scott was away a lot as well (NY, Paris, Milan, Geneva) so I ended up watching lots of bad TV while working at night!

Anyway a few pictures from January as a reminder ...
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January started quite promising with some greenery in the kitchen. But with the snow I killed my money plant I left outside in the garden...I hope this doesn't mean bad luck with cash for the year no?

Scott's 'thank-God-I-marry-him lasagna'. Yes it is that good. What made it even better is him making this in a big batch for me in anticipation of him being away a lot in January and me eating crap alone (he was right about that bit!)

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Yee-sang for Chinese New Year eve dinner with the Au Yongs. Thanks a million for having us over every year! And we were both given ang pleased!

Picnik collage
London finally had snow - Scott tried to take a picture of me but he had cold fingers and bad light = shaky pic. Oh well, it was the only picture with me in it!

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Breakfast at Elk in the Woods after the heavy snow we experienced
L: duck egg with asparagus, sausage and toast (me)
R: potato and panchetta skillet, with baked eggs, red pepper and tomatoes with toast (Scott)
I love the decor here - very Scandi meets Alpine chic with raw wood panelling on the walls, reindeer heads/antlers, random church chairs and old mix and match wooden tables. It had a great laid-back Sunday brunch vibe when we were there as they had an open fire and everyone was in their cosy winter gears. Will be back soon!