Archive | September, 2010

Wrack-up Wednesday

29 Sep

Today is walk-into-walls-and-table-corners-and-bang-my-elbows-on-table-corners-and-edges day for me.  I seem to have forgotten to bring my depth sensation with me today.  It doesn’t help that I was woken up at 5:37AM this morning by an impossibly painful cramp in my left calf muscle!  It was painful!  I can’t even begin to describe how painful it was, and how much waking up like that has thrown my whole psyche off-balance!

I’m trying to do deep breathing to calm and centre myself as I need to do a lot today (not that that’s any different from any day, but today’s decidedly busier because of my “rude awakening”).

Here’s to hoping!

Ohmmmmmmmm….

Monday mania

27 Sep

Why are Mondays always so manic and slow at the same time?

I’m in the middle of my lunch hour but am already feeling so exhausted!  I feel like I’m watching everything happen through a film of jello.   I have a magazine I want to read but I’m afraid that if I read it, I might doze off!  I know it definitely has something to do with my going to sleep at after 1AM, but I feel so out of touch with everything.  Sleep deprivation is never good when one has a lot of things on their to-do list!

That bowl of mapo tofu over rice certainly didn’t help either!

I might need a strong cup of coffee soon!

Somnolent Sunday

26 Sep

I am sat on the couch, waiting for my family to go online.  I’m nursing a weird headache that’s just come on, I don’t think it’s a caffeine-deprivation induced headache as I’ve just had a big cuppa coffee.

The weather’s turned.  It’s gotten decidedly colder.  To be honest, I do love colder weather because I love the clothes that one can wear during the colder season.  I love wearing turtleneck sweaters and scarves.  I suppose this is strange for someone who’s lived in the Philippines most of her life.  But I find that am more able to breathe in colder weather.

Right.  My mom is online but they’re waiting for my baby sister to come home so that she can switch on the voice chat.  It definitely is a treat because I’m able to chat to my Ambing 🙂

Now, if I can just get rid of this headache, I can really enjoy my Sunday!

Bon weekend!

25 Sep

Warning: ramblings of a fairly relaxed person can be found below!  you have been warned! 🙂

I soooooo love the weekends, especially after an unbelievably busy work week.  One can stay in bed and let the whole day float away, or stay on the couch and completely vegetate, or get dressed, catch the train and join the rest of humanity and indulge in a little retail therapy.

I think I may just stay indoors today.  Mother Nature has decided it’s time the weather got a whole lot colder in my corner of  the world, and all without warning!  I think Mama Natura has removed the word transition from her vocabulary!  Wednesday and Thursday were fairly okay — well fine, Thursday was damp and gray.  But it wasn’t cold!  Looking out the window, it looks lovely outside, with sunshine and blue skies, but I am not fooled!  The tree branches are dancing merrily away, and that can only mean a cold wind!

I’ve got the telly on and James Martin is taking a break from Saturday Kitchen.  Watching Matt Tebbutt pinch hit for JM makes me feel like I’m watching Market Kitchen! 🙂 I mean let’s face it people, James Martin is Saturday morning eye candy, isn’t he?

I’ve had a cup of coffee and I’ve done the dishes from having brekkie.  I’ve paid my bills and I’ve finished sorting out my finances (until the next bill comes in).

My only disappointment today is that my balikbayan box isn’t going to get picked up today.  I was hoping to get my front room back.  Note to self: a jumbo box is great but is hard to fill up and it takes up nearly a fourth of my tiny front room!  Get a medium or a couple of small ones next time.  Quality is always better than quantity.

I might just go back to bed today.  I’ve started reading Erica James’ book Queen of New Beginnings again!

Have a great weekend everybody! 🙂

To bake or not to bake?

24 Sep

I am inspired to bake again.  And it’s all the Great British Bake Off’s fault.

The final show was a few days ago and am now itching to try a new set of recipes.  It probably wasn’t a good idea to watch Julie and Julia during the weekend because I am now inspired to do a Julie Powell–meaning I could try 1 recipe for every day of the year.  That would be expensive and very exhausting.  While I applaud Julie Powell for doing the amazing (and getting her writing kicked off after the blog), I don’t think I have the stamina and I want to remain friends with my finances.

I do have a book in mind, should I decide to do a Julie.  If she (Julie Powell) has Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which I also have but have only managed to leaf through twice since I received it as a gift on Christmas), I have Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Course, which is a very scary, very thick book.  I may just put off Delia’s book for a while.  I like being able to convince myself that I have the capability to accomplish my goals and I think that setting myself to do every recipe in Delia’s book is setting myself up for a fall.  It is achievable but not right now.  Now isn’t a great time for me!  And somehow, I feel better after admitting that!

I also aim to try all the recipes in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  Realistically, I think the HBC would be a better bet since I’ve managed to try 6 out of the 60 recipes in the book (which always turn out perfectly!  if you dabble in baking, this is, seriously, a book that you should have in your cookbook arsenal!).

Shall we put it to a vote?  To bake or not to bake?

15 Movies

22 Sep

This was a Facebook thing from a friend (obviously) and I just thought I’d throw it out onto the cosmos!  Also, this is what I did on my lunch hour yesterday.  Nothing like non-work stuff to help me mentally switch off for a while.

“The Directions: List your 15 movies — not the “best” films you know, just those that managed to stick with you, for whatever reasons.  Bonus points if you tell a little why it’s in this list.  Tag your friends, maybe you can get together and have a movie marathon after.

1.  Sliding Doors (1998) – can I just say that I LOVE THIS MOVIE?!?  I’ve seen it maybe, oh, at least 50 times (it’s gotten so bad that I can say every character’s lines now)? It has the glorious Gwyneth Paltrow, and let’s not forget to mention John Hannah and Jeanne Tripplehorn!  Classic what-if movie!  And the soundtrack is amazing too!  My goal is to visit the places where they shot the scenes! 🙂

2.  Possession (2002) – loved the movie but the A.S. Byatt book it was based on was even better! I’m a hopeless romantic and this is a beautiful story–tragic but beautiful.  It has the glorious Gwyneth and this is where I fell in love with Aaron Eckhart and Jeremy Northam and this movie introduced me to Jennifer Ehle.

3.  Emma (1996) – yes I know, another Gwyneth, as I am such a fan, but I find this one of my favourites versions of the Jane Austen classic.  I must say that this is the book that got me started on rereading all the Austen books I could get my hands on!

4.  Letters to Juliet (2010) – I am such a fan of Amanda Seyfried so I really just had to watch this movie.  Although mind you, I was a teeny bit disappointed that Gael Garcia Bernal didn’t play a larger role in this as I was excited to see him again after Y Tu Mama Tambien.  This is now a fast favourite!  I will be watching it again…and again…and again 🙂

5.  Little Women (1994) – after all the incarnations, this, as far as I’m concerned, is the best!   It has a stellar cast and it mentions my favourite bit of the whole story–Amy March’s lime trading 🙂  Plus this is a movie that will always remind me of my Duckie 🙂

6.  The Sound of Music (1965) – it has Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and they sing EIDELWEISS and it’s set in AUSTRIA.  How more apt for my family can this movie get?!?

7.  My Fair Lady (1964) – it was because of this book that I read Pygmalion and it was because of this movie that my parents asked me to sing “Loverly” with a mock-Cockney accent over and over (and over) again.

8.  Jose Rizal (1998) – this was a GMA Films movie that I had to watch for a paper, I think.  I think it’s reflective of what the Filipino movie maker can do.  I’ve yet to see a movie that affects me as much as this has.  It makes you look at our history and it makes you want to make sure people know that despite the news on telly, it’s wonderful to be Filipino.

9.  Cocktail (1988) – this is my requisite Tom Cruise movie.  I loved it.  And the soundtrack!

10.  Notting Hill (1999) – Four words.  Julia.  Roberts.  Hugh.  Grant.  Oh and the house with the blue door?  It doesn’t have a blue door anymore!

11.  Super Size Me (2004) – a movie which I watch when I want to be reminded that I should eat more healthily.

12.  Sixth Sense (1999) – I’ve only seen this movie once.  And it was enough to scare me silly for the rest of my life!

13.  Book of Eli (2010) – This movie inspired me to start memorising the verses in the Bible that mean a lot to me.

14.  When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) – this is the movie where I completely fell in love with Andy Garcia and I said to myself, “I want a man who will love me like that!!”  And this was the movie that I KNEW Meg Ryan could act and that she wasn’t just for the rom-coms.

15.  Band of Brothers (2001) – this mini-series left me crying and cringing and sometimes both at the same time.  It was beautiful and ugly at the same time.  It just drives home the point that another world war should be avoided at all costs!

Apple Pie

21 Sep

Right.   I’m braving the lions, so to speak, and posting this recipe.  It needs improvement and I haven’t actually gotten around to improving it yet.  So the warning is, “caveat emptor” if you do try the recipe.  This attempt at creating a “pretty” pie was inspired by a Rick Stein episode.  He was in France and he visited this lady who makes these gorgeous apple pies.  Needless to say I had to try to make it and well, my attempt needed a LOT of fine-tuning.

For the crust (as Jamie Oliver recommended):
Store-bought puff pastry, a 450g package (or thereabouts)

For the topping:
Store-bought filo pastry, a 270g package (or thereabouts)

For the filling:
4 Jonagold apples (you could use Granny Smith but you’ll have to use more sugar
1/2 c caster sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c cornstarch
3 tbsp lemon (fresh if you can get it, but bottled is fine too!)
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp sugar

Directons:

  • Press the puff pastry into a spring form pan (a 9-inch one will do).
  • In a mixing bowl, mix sliced apples, lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon and cornstarch (as Nigella said, your hands are the best mixing implements).
  • Arrange the apple mixture in the puff pastry shell (be as creative or as O.C. as you want to be!)
  • Cut each filo pastry sheet into 4. Fold into a triangle and “crumple” on top of the apple mixture. Do this until the pie is completely covered.
  • Beat the egg and sugar. Beat until egg mixture is fluffy. Brush over the topping.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 180C for 45 mins to 1 hr, when you see the syrup bubbling through the topping, turn down the oven to 150C and bake for 10 more minutes.