Friday, April 24, 2009

Project 365: Day 52 Atari-Ya? Ya Sashimi Ya

Any sashimi lovers out there in london? Are you fed up with expensive but stale sashimi? Are you a person on a budget but can't stop your craving for sashimi or sushi? If you said yes to ANY of the above, I have an answer for you.

Introducing ATARI-YA!!! (That is if you don't already know it)

Atari-ya is a specialist japanese grocer and fishmonger, owned by a man called Mr. Tai. A lot of japanese restaurants get their fish from Mr. Tai so instead of paying the middleman, why not go straight to the supplier? They have several shops around london but the one I prefer is in west acton on central line just next to the tube station. Here they sell the fish by weight so you will get more bang for your money imho.

Check out what I got for £36: o-toro, chu-toro, mackarel, scallops, sweet prawn and a raw fish mix you eat with rice (we had noodles). There is one small catch, the quality of O-toro varies from time to time, but the ones we had this time was excellent by ANY standards. Think I'm joking? Try it out for yourself. Yours dearly and ying ling definitely look like they enjoyed it.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Project 365: Day 51 Borough Market

I woke up to a beautiful english saturday morning, sunny and breezey. I liked the weather to be that way, but on a spring/summer day, the wind catches just a little bit too much grass pollen with it. So the downside to it is that it sets my hayfever on full motion. Anyway, we went to borough market for some lunch.

First up, the legendary chorizo, superbly cooked, slightly charred which contributes a smokey flavour to the already tasty meat. It was served with piquant pepper and rockets on a white bun. Mind you, I had to queue up for 20 minutes to get my teeth anywhere near those juicy sausages.

Next up was a german sausage served with saurkraut which was ok. I mean it wasn't something to shout about but it's not too bad either.

We then proceed to our favourite coffee company, the Monmouth coffee company. Two shots of espresso brewed from the carefully selected coffee beans poured over ice cold milk to make the yummiest ice latte you've ever tasted.
I also tasted the weirdest ice cream, hazelnut chilli flavour, and it was awesome. You don't really taste the chilli but after your second lick, you could feel a little heat at the back of throat, which i thought was quite enjoyable.

I then round everything up with one of the nicest oysters I've ever tasted, the colchester native grade 1 oyster. To sum up the taste, the flesh is firm and tasted salty. It's aftertaste is sweet and slightly iron-y and lingers around your mouth for up to an hour after you ate it, absolutely fantastic. I will definitely be back for more oyster some other day......

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Project 365: Day 50 Funny face shirts

Yours dearly and I went shopping today after satisfying some of her craving for sashimi. As usual, I did my bit of window shopping to spot if there were anything interesting. Yours dearly, on the other hand was a lady on a mission to get some new cute t-shirts.

Here's what we spotted in h&m, cute isn't it? Look at how she's trying to imitate the facial expression on the shirt.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Project 365: Day 49 Visitors from Malaysia

We've got a couple of guests from Malaysia today so I spent most of my time cleaning the house up, or tidying if you like to put it that way. Here's a photo of bayswater because that's the only time I got out of the house.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Monday, April 20, 2009

Project 365: Day 48 Green Tea Ice Cream

So the story goes like this. A few days ago, during easter monday, yours dearly had an urge to bake something using the passion fruit we bought a day earlier. Now easter is a funny time of the year, it's one of the rare weekends where u have good friday and bank holiday on monday here in uk. This is usually the time people take time off to bring their family on vacation. It's also a time when retailers have odd opening hours so going grocery shopping on this day means going to small and more expensive shops. You could imagine how hard it was hunting down the ingredients I don't have stocked up at home.

Now, while she made her passion fruit swirl cheesecake, she got a wacky idea on how to use up the extra cream we had. She decided to make green tea ice cream. For those who don't know how ice cream is made here's a rough idea. Beat egg, cream, sugar and flavouring up. Put in a case and into the fridge. Take it out every 30 minutes or so and mix it around to let little ice crystals form for that smooth, fluffy, soft texture of what we call ice cream.

As we were late for our bbq, we decided to leave the ice cream to settle on its own after we mixed it a few times. That was when yours dearly issued her orders:


So I did as she said and not touch it...... UNTIL TODAY, when she finally was in the house to officiate the spooning of the ice cream. Just look at how happy she is...... Sigh.......

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Project 365: Day 47 Zipping car to Heathrow

Are you one of those people staying in London who wants to drive, can legally drive but don't want to fork out money to buy a car?

Introducing zipcar, one of the many car clubs around. I have been using them for 2 months now and have enjoyed driving so far, a mini cooper, a honda civic hybrid and a honda jazz. Not very glamorous yes, but very convenient when I need to get around London for various purposes. And here comes another purpose to add to the list: sending or picking someone up from airports.

For those who used minicabs to get to airports from central london, a trip from central to heathrow would set you back about £30. With zipcar, our little trip sending siewch off was only £25 including parking at heathrow. It was quite a tricky route we took passing by chelsea with the match against liverpool going on. Chelsea won that thrilling encounter eventually...... to top up the already emotional evening of sending someone off.

So there you have it, looks like I'm gonna be the designated driver whenever someone wants to go to heathrow or back. Don't say I mind at all.

Photo today is of a pre-driving session with yours dearly eager to crave her trigger happy finger. Happy Easter all.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Project 365: Day 46 BBQ at Bermondsey

If you've been to UK and stayed here before, you probably understand the type of weather people are used to here. Yes I'm talking about the grey and gloomy and always looks like it's gonna rain type. Well, the morning started off like that and to top it off it's very cold for some weird reason, where's the spring gone? But towards the later part of the day, it suddenly turned bright and SUNNY. Somebody upstairs must be kind to us as we were planning a bbq at yours dearly's that very afternoon.

Prior to the bbq, we had lou sang which was given by a friend during CNY. Fire was started promptly after that and soon the guests started to arrive. The amount of food prepared was staggering and it had just enough alcohol to go with it. It was a real struggle to finish half of what we had. We ended the night with lounging around the living room chatting, it's siewch's last night here in UK so it's kinda emotional as well.

All in all, a really good day. What can I say? I love BBQs.

p.s. I'm missing my lamb though.......

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Project 365: Day 45 Korean, Snog and Man-in-moon?

Today yours dearly and I went to this korean restaurant near piccadilly circus. It's called jindalle and they were supposedly good for their bbq. The food was alright, the bbq was tasty but as usual portions were not big. We had 2 hotpots, one with beef and the other with pork and kimchi. I still prefer the ones over at tottenham court road for korean tho, anywhere else just doesn't cut it in terms of price and quality.

Later, the usual after dinner stroll brought us to snog. They sell frozen yogurt, somehow all frozen yogurts taste the same to me, whether it's from snog or itsu. I always go for the natural flavoured ones with strawberry (or any other berry) as I enjoy the sour taste bringing out the natural sweetness in the fruits. Sweet frozen yogurt just doesn't cut it for me. Hint hint: business idea.

Today's picture is of yours dearly in the man in moon passage near the bus stop at piccadilly circus, quite funny name I thought. Too bad I always forget taking photos, so nothing from the restaurants today.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Project 365: Day 44 Kon loh curry mee

I woke up this morning and asked yours dearly what she wants to have for breakfast brunch. And she said "kon loh curry mee". So I went downstairs, took out the 2 chicken breast, sliced them thinly into strips, took out a packet of A1 curry paste and whacked them all together. I then peeled a potato and 2 carrots, sliced them into cubes and tossed them along with the chicken strips into a pot. I shallow fried all the ingredients for 2 minutes and poured in some water before letting it simmer for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, I boiled 2 rolls of "har zi mee" (prawn roe noodle)and some kai lan in a pot of slightly salted boiling water. I also placed 4 strips of thin bacon on an oiled frying pan, frying them crispy.

To serve, I placed the bacons and kai lan on one side of the plate and the noodles in the middle mixed with a little soya sauce. I added milk into the curry just before pouring it over the noodles.

And this, my friends, is my version of kon loh curry mee, in 30 minutes. How do you like it? Yours dearly had 2 servings that morning......

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Project 365: Day 43 Probably the best dark chocolate I've ever tasted

....... And it's Willie's delectable cacao, costing me £3.49 per box of 2 pieces from Selfridges (I later found out it cost £3 for the same thing in waitrose). It's kinda expensive but well worth the money imho.

I have to admit that I hunted for these chocolates because of the tv shows willie has been doing. The first was willie's wonky chocolate factory and the second was...... can't remember the name of the show. The most obvious thing one could see from the shows were his passion to make good old highest quality eating chocolate, unlike the sugary craps we get off supermarket shelves nowadays. True to his words, the chocolates were absolutely brilliant.

There are two choices here: Peruvian 70% cacao and Venezuelan 72% cacao. Both come in a box of 2 delectable squares, with the caption "one for now, one for then". Both contains fruity notes, although I felt the peruvian one was a little more sourish than the venezuelan. And although I prefer the venezuelan ever more so slightly to the peruvian, both are equally addictive.

Ohh what delightful flavours when you place a small piece on your tongue. It's not laced with sugar, yet it sweetens the deepest depth of your heart and mind. Now that's what I call the perfect (dark) chocolate.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Monday, April 13, 2009

Project 365: Day 42 The successful ban jian kuih

Finally, I've done a successful ban jian kuih. It's thinner than the failed one and it's NOT BURNT!!!!!!

I have to say it tasted exactly like my favourite ban jian kuih in Alor Star, thin and crispy. This said, it still needs to be a bit thinner (can't really spread it fast enough on a big pan) and a bit more butter or planta inside would make it taste better. Nonetheless, I'm still happy about it, I've got a feeling the perfect ban jian kuih is not far away. Ahhhhhh......... Day dreaming again.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Project 365: Day 41 The snowball

The snowball is an autobiography on Warren Buffett, yes that stockpicking and investment legend. I know what you're thinking, "not another warren buffett book". Not really, this is his first and only memoir, in which he granted Alice Schroeder hours and days and months to ask him questions (and getting straight, from the heart answers as well). I've glanced through many books on "the sage of Omaha" before and many of them focus on his decisions and results rather than why he made some of those important decisions. And many of them are just what other authors think he did, which frankly is just bullshit.

Let's see what alice has gotten out of the man himself. I've got a feeling this would be an interesting read, already the introduction makes me want to read more. It's a thick book but bring it on baby.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Project 365: Day 40 Probably my last day in Dresdner office

Today I went into office to help with some packing. I will be expecting my redundancy letter any day now and I'm a free man again. Here's a picture of gresham street from where I work. I heard there was a mob outside here on financial fools day for the G20 protest.

It's been almost 7 months since I started here and the period is fun nonetheless. I get to meet lots of people, many of them my peers out of university during the training program. As I have said, this is a shrinking industry, even more so during a bear market.

So the question is, what next? Let's wait and see.......

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Friday, April 10, 2009

Project 365: Day 39 The failed ban jian kuih

The last night my sister is in London before going back to Nottingham, she said she wants ban jian kuih, or apom balik I was told. It's a food which I'm not really fond of growing up but grown to appreaciate as I got older. My favourite was the thin and crispy ones sold at "hai tao ki" in Alor Star. Sweet, nutty and crunchy all in a small pack.

Anyway, it was a tiring day driving the sister up to Harlow in a honda civic hybrid. I must admit I quite like that car, the whole feel of driving it, and of course the morally superior feeling of driving a clean car. What a bunch of hypocrits, they are no cleaner than turning my heater off for one hour and leave it on for the rest of the day. In any case, it is a triumph of innovation once again.

Well you guys should get what I mean. I was tired from all the driving and now I have to attempt to make this kuih for the first time. It wasn't the most aesthetically appealing thing I make but it does the job of solving the cravings. Yes it's burnt and we had to eat the inner part without touching the burnt part but it was all nice. The next attempt will be much bettet, I've got a feeling.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Project 365: Day 38 I like window shopping

No longer able to afford shopping for things I like, I tend to wonder off in my own little world when I go out shopping with yours dearly. The department store is truly one of the biggest innovation of humans, I really mean it.

A day out window shopping can broaden your horizon much more than travelling in my humble opinion. Where else do you get to see 50 different types of pepper grinder each claiming to be the best. The most astonishing thing is that they all sell. You also get to see the latest innovation, like a so called best wine bottle opener in the world, a double pot you can use to heat stuffs using steam (making delicious butter sauce for steak), and the different types of teapots. Whoosh, it's a brave new world out there for innovators.

I said innovators because let's face it. This world needs more inventors but inventors are hard to come by these days. On the other hand, most entrepreneurs nowadays are genius innovators. They see a need in the market, no matter how small the need is, they will find a way to fill that gap. The market is no more saturated than stones in a bowl, you just need to be sands, or even water if you wanna be bruce lee.

Remember, no matter how small the gap, you just need to be smaller to fill it up.

A picture of deno and my sister looking tired after walking thru countless shops and buys NOTHING. Hahaha, it's the process that's enjoyable, think about it.

Best regards,

Jing Qi Quah

Project 365: Day 37 Ye Olde Scallop Tartare

Well it isn't that old. Quite like a new recipe of gordon ramsay's I tried with deno like 2 years ago. The taste of it I could still remember 2 years on, and the recipe will be with me for a long long time. So go ahead drop me an email or a call if you want the recipe too.

The day started out with us going to borough market to hunt for some fresh hand-dived scallops. Now this is the important bit, since dretched scallops tend to be too sandy and remember we're eating them RAW.

Next you gotta remove the scallops from their shells, separate the red meat (or roe) from the white meat (or muscles). Mix the ingredients together the chopped up white meat and serve up on baby gem lettuce leaves. Absolutely refreshing on a hot summers day accompanied by a bottle of splendid riesling wine.

Ingredients: raw scallops (white meat), mascarpone, creme fraiche, chervil, lemon, salt and pepper, baby gem lettuce.

Give it a try, don't bother about measurements it's all about making it to suit your taste.

Best regards,

Jing Qi Quah

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Project 365: Day 36 Siewch's farewell dinner

I went to saint germain's at farringdon today for siew ching's farewell dinner. Yea it feels weird when somebody is leaving for good but hey, home is 13 hours away and internet is borderless, it isn't that bad. It also started me thinking, should I go back as well? I think not yet, it's not the time yet.

Now let me say something about the restaurant. I had goat's cheese for starter and coq au vin for main. I have to say that looks can be deceiving here, look at the duck confit everybody had, it looks great but what lurks underneath it, the thick layers of fat, made eating it next to impossible. Why didn't the chef cook the fats down I don't know, but when you're cooking duck, please put it in the oven for at least 2 hours for the fats to melt out.

The dinner itself was kinda fun. Met lots of people whom I haven't seen in ages and bullshitting over a meal is a pleasure of life. It truly is.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Project 365: Day 35 Stud 100

Quite an uneventful day except for the boring G20 meeting which got world markets rallying on false hopes. Printing money to solve an economic problem, ha, let's see how well that works now since it never worked in the past, fascinating really.

Anyway, I was on the tube and guess what I saw on the advertising space on the carriage I was in.

STUD 100. Apparently for £6.99 you can delay ejaculation for ....... wait they didn't state the length of time, will somebody try it and let me know? So viagra prolongs erection and this delays ejaculation...... What if you combine the both?

Again, please do let me know what happens if you tried it.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Project 365: Day 34 Watchmen

I went to watch Watchmen in Greenwich on Wednesday and let me tell you my first reaction after the movie ended.

"The movie is just damn weird."

I mean I was expecting it to be some superhero movie where there is hero vs evil like batman or superman. But all I got out of the movie were some weird blue naked man and weird 5-minute sex scenes in a flying machine up in the sky. Not that it wasn't hot. But if I wanted sex scenes I'd rather watch porn. The fight scenes were not too bad though, some serious moves there with rage.

All in all, it was just weird. And particularly so after I watched Knowing in the afternoon, another weird movie.

Anyway picture was of greenwich peninsula where imax greenwich is located and the sainsbury's where I bought some snacks to smuggle in for the movie.

Best regards,
Jing Qi Quah

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Project 365: Day 33 Nestum tau kwa

I was itching for some nestum prawn since that tasty vegetarian nestum prawn meal back in the temple at bukit mertajam. A few days after I got back, I found 2 packets of nestum prawn mix in the cupboard and decided to cook them. The problem is, I'm vegetarian for the day so what could I substitute it with? Yours dearly said she wanted to eat tofu so I came up with the idea of deep fried tau kwa with nestum.

And the end product? Seems a bit burnt but tasted just as nice. Not a bad twist to it eh?

I also started reading a book titled "white tiger" a few days ago. Quite an interesting book which started with "For the desk of His Excellency Wen Jiabao", a very inviting beginning indeed.

I'm also working on a project right now to keep myself occupied. Hopefully I can start my own little thingy here in a foreign country.

To my readers, please be supportive when it take offs yea?

Best regards,

Jing Qi Quah