Friday, July 18, 2008

Let's Put A Smile On That Face!!

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Ladies & Gentlemennnnn..... The Dark Knight smashes it's way into box offices and I'm putting it right beside all those shows that I consider the best movies of all time. Among the things that I look for in a movie, it has fulfilled all of them with distinctions. Entertaining, action, special effects, humour, drama, story, plot... It delivered on all levels. Soundtrack no need to say lah... As long as you get Hans Zimmer... somehow, it can't go wrong...

Since Batman Begins, Christian Bale has pretty much replaced Michael Keaton as my favourite Batman. He's still not someone I would call the perfect Batman... Not the same way Christopher Reeve is identified as the one and only Superman or Alec Guiness as Obi Wan Kenobi... But he did great.

And Heath Ledger... Man... his performance gives me chills... In my opinion, the villains in this installment pretty much stole the show. Heath Ledger was simply amazing as the Joker... His portrayal of sadism and cruelty simply puts him right up there as one of my favourite villain of all time. And it's not just that, say what you will... but he even made The Joker classy. And Aaron Eckhart pulled off Two Face satisfactorily as well. His portrayal of Harvey Dent and his eventual 'fall to the dark side' earns him brownie points in my books. It's such a pity that Ledger died such an untimely death as I felt his performance should earn him an Oscar.

Christopher Nolan has pretty much pulled off with the latest 2 installments of Batman what I felt the earlier ones failed to do... Believable villains and a believable Batman. Till today, I still shiver when I think of the nipples on George Clooney's Batman... I almost expected they were gonna use it as a weapon... perhaps to shoot poison gas...

Maybe it's just different styles whereby the earlier installment by Tim Burton wanted to make the villains more comical but I guess I preferred Batman darker. Batman in another way is just not Batman... sort of like a PG-13 Predator vs Aliens movie...

Oh... And catch these few other movies of Heath Ledger... Knights Tale, Casanova, Brokeback Mountain, Brothers Grimm & The Patriot. Especially Knights Tale.

Rating... 20/10.

The Incredible Hulk

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Let's see... Was kinda eager to catch a movie after I got back from Redang... Had already missed Indiana Jones and choices that I had were Kung Fu Panda (Nah... Didn't feel like watching cartoons)... Hancock... Hmm... Nolah... Not really in the mood for comedies either...

Had kinda' set my mind on watching The Incredible Hulk queue to get tickets was like soooo long... Anyways, my girlfriend and I was having dinner when Lois called me up and told me she would be dropping by the Gardens so told her to get me tickets if she could... keh keh keh... Unfortunately tickets were kinda late in the night.. 11:30 show and it was only about 10 pm... Suan liao la...

Called Lois and checked if she was having better luck as she had crossed over to Mid Valley and was supposedly queuing for Kung Fu Panda and whaddaya know, Poon was in the queue.... and she was far ahead... So... to cut the long story short, got my tickets... didn't have to wait that late for a movie... Thanks Poon!! :-)

The movie was kinda ok... It was much better than it's predecessor a few years back (The one starring Eric Bana) but overall, I guess my expectations were much higher. Off hand, Edward Norton's an amazing actor. He wasn't that impressive in Red Dragon but was simply amazing in 25th Hour and of course, American History X.

Didn't have very high expectations of Liv Tyler though... Yeah she's a pretty face to watch but I didn't have that high expectations of her as an actress. No offence to all of her fans out there cos' that's just me.

I suppose when the whole show is banking on a character that's digital it's gonna be tough getting both the real and unreal to really jive. Unless if you're Peter Jackson of course... Gollum! Gollum! Gollum! And oh yeah... King Kong!! Btw, do you know that Andy Serkis played both? :-)

Anyway, again, show wise was okaylah... entertaining if I'm not too sleepy but I guess my main grouch is The Hulk was not as menacing as what I had hoped he would be. Yeah the effects were good... But still he didn't really strike it off as a truly menacing green monster.. more like a grouchy bully...

So anyways... I'd give it a 7 out of 10.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's Back!!!

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Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins and I'll bet that most of you heard it here first... keh keh keh... They have fortunately replaced Nick Stahl, the actor who played John Connor in Terminator 3 with.... *drum-roll* Christian Bale!! Who? Batman la!! The current installment will supposedly take place in the future. I've seen Christian Bale in a coupl'a movies and I'd say he makes the best Batman so hope he makes a more believable and less wimpy John Connor than the last one.

And nope... No Schwarzeneggar in the cast list. I think it's better that way. When? Early 2009.

In the meantime, go check out Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Not really that exceptional but still watchable la... Fills in the gap between T2 & T3... I'm kinda wondering if it'll eventually explain how John Connor in T2 became as wimpy as John Connor in T3... If for nothing else, go check out the babes...

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

PA's Homemade Pasta

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My girlfriend suddenly had a craving for pasta last night while I was getting the stuff for my siu yok & cookie recipe so got some Tagliatelle, some portobello mushrooms and pasta sauce. I normally make my own pasta sauce but in this case, was kinda lazy and wanted to do it fast so what the heck... got some mushroom (I have this thing for mushrooms... yum yummmm) pasta sauce.

Anyway, went shopping this morning and got some minced pork as well... can't do without meat, can we? I mean... vegetarians are good and all that but I don't see myself as a vegan... Nooooo way...

Anyway, marinated the minced pork, chucked it in the fridge and went about my business... When it was time to prepare dinner, I took out the ingredients and suddenly felt that the pasta was gonna be kinda empty so started scrounging around for more ingredients... I guess I kinda like it this way... looking around for what I have and tinkering around the kitchen... You'd probably notice that my kitchen is the nicest part of my house too... :-)

Anyways... it's pretty easy to prepare... Try it out...

Tagliatelle (You can use whatever you like)
Olive Oil
Pasta Sauce
Garlic (Chopped Roughly)
Gourmet Chicken Sausage (1 should suffice... sliced)
Minced Meat (Marinated with cornstarch, soya sauce & fish sauce)
Portobello Mushrooms (About 5 Pieces)
Bacon (2 - 3 slices... cut as you like)
Port Wine (Optional)
Spices (Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley) This is optional as the pasta sauce would already have it but I like spices in large quantities so what the heck

Start boiling the Tagliatelle or whatever it is you prefer as it'll take the longest. About 10 - 15 mins...

In a wok/ pan, splash some olive oil and saute the garlic, spices, sausages, bacon & minced meat until it's golden brown and crispy...

Dump in the mushrooms... saute for about a minute and pour in as much pasta sauce as you like.

Turn up the fire and wait till it bubbles, let it boil for about a minute then add a splash of the Port wine to give it some zing... Stir, wait for it to bubble then turn off the fire.

Once the pasta's done, heat up the pasta sauce, drain the water from the pasta and chuck it into the sauce, stir & serve. Voila... shouldn't take you more than 20 mins.

Roast Pork From Hell @ Siu Yok

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I bowed to the temptation of Babe In The City's 'Siu Yok' (Roast Pork) recipe... Partly to try it out and partly to impress my girlfriend. Well.. it worked to a certain extent. She was impressed... :-) Unfortunately I was expecting better... To be honest, I doubt that any respectable chicken rice restaurant would serve it... Why? Cos' from the picture prior to cutting it... it honestly looks like it came fresh from the ovens of Hell... hence, I christen thee the Roast Pork From Hell... Looks aside, it was quite okay. Europeans may like it though... I could possibly get employed as an assistant chef at Deutsche Haus or maybe Bavarian Bier Haus... :-) Ok! Ok! Enough self flattery...

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At any rate, the taste was not too bad but it was kinda salty at the bottom. I wasn't quite happy with the crisp factor as well... Overall, I'd give it a 6 or 7 out of 10. I told Babe In The City that if anything I try fails, it's the fault of the recipe... ha ha... But oh well... I probably just need more practice... I suspect that it's due to the thickness of the piece of pork belly (too thick) that I purchased and also the uneven distribution of the meat.

What's interesting though is that I tried 'grease-proofing' my oven cos' trust me... once the fat starts cooking... it's not a pretty sight... And anyone who likes his oven clean as a whistle will be groaning in agony... Anyway, I lined my oven with aluminium foil and it helped that pretty much every part of my oven could be taken apart. Fortunately. it pretty much worked...

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Well... hope whoever tries it has more success than me... You can get the recipe from Babe In The City's Siu Yok.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies a.k.a Choc Chip Cookies

Bao Yi: Wah... The cookies nice oh... Got chocolate chip summore... Wah got so much summore...
P.A.: Niceleh... Follow friend's recipe wan. Can taste the banana or not?
Bao Yi: Huh? Banana? What banana? I don't taste any banana...
P.A.: Hmmm... Sure boh?

Well... that pretty much explains why there's an a.k.a Choc Chip Cookies... ha ha... Anyway, it tastes okay but I think I probably should have put more bananas or maybe I should have used some other type of banana.

I got the recipe from Yozora's Website but I doubt I did it justice. I actually increased the quantity as her recipe made only 2 dozen and I was trying to make more so I roughly doubled the ingredients. But all the same, it was relatively easy to make... and yes Yozora... I have seen the light... I need to get an electric mixer...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Almond Chocolate Torte

This no-bake thingie is catching... I suppose the convenience of not having to use the oven and the cleaning that follows. Unfortunately, for an amateur, it seems that whether I use the oven or not makes no difference cos' it takes more time than it says... :-)

This is actually the 2nd time I'm trying this recipe. If I remember correctly, the taste is pretty much similar as the first time but the first time I did not have a springform pan and I had difficulty getting the finished product out of the pan... Erm.. it pretty much looked like mush after I got it out. And having had this 'experience' maybe I should have deviated from the recipe a little... maybe a little more gelatin... Not sure if it would have made any difference in terms of firmness. Anyhow, I think it tastes great. Girlfriend thinks so too... sooo... pass lah... keh keh keh... Self praise is no praise but who the heck cares...

Well... try it out yourself and if you have suggestions how to make it firmer apart from chucking it in the freezer, do drop me a line... and by the way, how do you actually weigh 7 gm gelatin powder ah? My weighing machine (no I did not use the Ikea weighing machine).. it's a proper weighing machine and it doesn't give me that low a weight... Maybe I need a digital one... Erm... hint! hint. Anybody? My birthday's coming up soon... :-)

The following is what you need:

Set 1
65 g sliced almonds, toasted. (Feel free to use as much as you want... It adds a great crunch to the finished product so I used quite a lot partly to give it a thicker base)

Set 2
224 g semi-sweet chocolate

Set 3 448 g cream cheese, softened
200 g sugar

Set 4
7 g unflavoured gelatin
60 ml cold water

Set 5
475 ml whipping cream

You can do either one of the first 3 instructions as it's not affected by time. When you are playing with the whipped cream, you have to use it immediately so do that last.

1. Set aside as much almonds as you want as garnish. Chop the rest and use them to line the bottom of a greased 9 in springform pan.

2. In a microwave or heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate (Set 2) and stir until smooth. If using the hob, what you should do is have a pan filled with water and set another bowl with the chocolate into the pan of water and melt it that way. This way the chocolate will not burn. If you are using big chunks of chocolate it may take you awhile. Take the entire thing off the fire and let it cool a little.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar.

Note: Once the first 3 are complete, start work on the following. 4. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved then beat into the cream cheese mixture (instruction no 3 above). Add the melted chocolate and beat until blended.

5. Lastly, start whipping the cream. Reason why I left this last is the first time I attempted this recipe, I kinda did this somewhere at the beginning and left it while I did the rest. What you end up with is mush... ha ha... You also can't beat it too much... just as long as the texture changes and is firm, you should stop and move on to the next step... Otherwise, the cream separates from the milk after some time and I think you will have low-fat milk...

6. Fold the whipped cream into the mixture.

7. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with reserved almonds. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I left it much longer as with the last time, it didn't really firm up very much except the surface. I'm not sure if it would help if you add more gelatin. Perhaps some of you can try it out.

If yours turns out like mush as well don't fret... It tastes better than it looks... at least, I think so. The original recipe says it takes a prep time of about 20 minutes and it will be ready in 20 minutes... For me, all in, it took me slightly over an hour. And this doesn't include the cleaning that followed. But again... it was worth it. Good Luck!!

Recipe courtesy of Rhonda Lanterman, downloaded from

Monday, July 7, 2008

Chagar Hutang 2008

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At long last... gonna squeeze in some time to write about my trip to Chagar Hutang (CH). The trip was pretty much the same as in the past. The usual briefing at the Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) campus where we would meet the other volunteers as well. I was supposed to meet Fong (last year’s RA) but the timing of my flight was out and she had to leave for Setiu on her other project. It was however pleasant to meet Karen again (a vet student whom I met during last year’s trip to CH). Anyway, we arrived kinda’ in the midst of the briefing so a tip here for volunteers would be to take the Air Asia flight which leaves at 7 am instead of the MAS flight which leaves at 9 am. Anyway, blah blah blah.. and we were then off to Merang after signing our disclaimer… so if anything happens to us in CH, UMT is covered… :-)

We arrived at Laguna jetty after 1 pm and Adie soon greeted us on Si Penyu (the speedboat belonging to the project). After loading the boat, we were on our way… Woo Hooooo…

The whole week was pretty much uneventful except for the stormy rains almost every night except on Friday and we had a sort of record landing and nesting as well, a total of 56 landings and 33 nestings thus ending up in 2nd place so far (lost out by 1 nest). That was pretty much my personal record as well. On top of that there were at least 5 new nesting green turtles (nesting for the first time) and there were 2 hawksbill turtles… (of which I saw one) YES... a dream fulfilled!!

Activities throughout the week was pretty much the same except that on Wednesday there was a bunch of school kids from all over Malaysia who visited the island as part of an event organized by the Co-Curriculum Centre in an effort to create awareness & appreciation for marine life and as we were short-handed, I was given the honour of giving the briefing to the kids in the gallery. Mann was briefing on the beach patrol and other conservation work whereas Lea (the Research Assistant) would be briefing the participants on the efforts of the Conservation Program.

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During the river hike, we also completed a mission… To place signboards of interesting spots… The river hike is pretty much an unguided one so I was thinking that it would be good to have the signboards in place so volunteers would know what to look for.
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The turtle rock hike had to be postponed till Thursday as certain events kinda’ threw the original schedule out. In addition, the sea conditions were quite bad since Monday so snorkeling at other spots (e.g. Marine Park, Pulau Lima) also had to be canceled. We still had fun snorkeling off the beach.
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This year, nests were affected quite badly by fire ants. There wasn’t that much monitor lizards lurking around (as I understand the staffs had gone on a lizard purging activity recently) but we were relocating nests on an average of 2 -3 nests a day due to fire ants attack. And it wasn’t a pretty sight. There was a nest that was attacked and though we managed to recover the remaining eggs and some of the hatchlings most of the hatchlings didn’t survive probably due to the injuries from the ant bites.
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Food-wise, it was as great as ever. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that food is better than at the resorts. Even Bao Yi who doesn’t normally go for Malay food is now a believer!!
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All in all, no regrets coming here again... now planning for the next trip... to French Guyana for Leatherback Turtles... Woo Hoooooo..... more like a dream... :-) Welll... enjoy the following pictorial account... and there are many more at my multiply album.

We saw turtles.... There were green turtle hatchlings...Image Hosted by
And there were hawksbill hatchlings...
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We saw the Green Turtle Mommy...
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And we saw the Hawksbill mommy (My first time too)Image Hosted by
We ate Bihun Goreng Chagar Hutang...
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We had Ayam Masak Merah
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And the Ayam Masak Tomato was outta this world...Image Hosted by
However, some of us were still hungry...Image Hosted by
We saw butterflies
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We even had our Mr Chagar Hutang competition... Adie Won!! Siooottt!!!Image Hosted by
We hiked up the river...
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And we hiked up Turtle Rock...
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We saw the sun rise...
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And we saw the sun set...
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Of course, we worked...
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But we also lazed...
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We posed...
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We also snorkeled...
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We lost a few...
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But we also saved a lot...
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Lets all make a difference... Pledge and say "No!!" to turtle eggs by sending an email to with the message “I pledge NOT to eat turtle or terrapin eggs for the rest of my life” together with your full name and MyKad number (needed for authentification).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

Was tinkering around with chocolate yesterday and dug around my list of recipes and came up with no-bake chocolate cookies. The name kinda' intrigued me so gave it a shot.

The following is what you need:

Wet Mixture
2 Cups Sugar (You can probably reduce this a little if you think it's too sweet)
1/2 Cup Fat-Free Milk (I couldn't find this so I substituted with low fat milk)
1/2 Cup butter/ Stick Margarine

Dry Mixture
3 Cups Quick-Cooking Oats
1 Cup Flaked Coconut (I used dessicated coconut... Not sure if it's the same)
6 Tablespoons Baking Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract


1. Combine the wet mixture in a large saucepan and bring to boil stirring constantly. Boil for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.

2. Stir in the dry mixture. You probably want to pass the cocoa powder through a sieve cos' it may have lumps... Anyway, once the mixture is well combined, drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. You'll have to do this quickly as the mixture thickens fast due to the drying sugar. I used aluminium foil in the place of wax paper which would do the job as well.

3. Let stand until set, this takes about 1 hour ++.

The cookies doesn't take that much time to make actually. The bulk of the time was spent cleaning up and also placing the cookies onto the aluminium foil.

The Verdict:
Personally, I liked the outcome... It was kinda gooey though... Probably because of the oats & dessicated coconut so not crunchy like traditional cookies. Or maybe I did it wrong... ha ha.

Recipe courtesy of Carol Brandon, downloaded from

Reunion at Chillis 1 Utama

I think it's coming close to a month since I last posted... What a month it has been. I was in Redang for a week (from 21st - 28th) on my annual volunteer work... :-) Trying to get some good karmic points. I'm still in the midst of what some of my fellow volunteers call the Chagar Hutang blues... defined as a down feeling that you get after leaving Chagar Hutang but I guess I'll survive.

Had a minor surgery yesterday to remove a boil on my forearm... Thank God I can still write but at any rate I'll be out of commission for a few days...

Anyway, the main event was a reunion at 1 Utama Chillis organised by Adrian & Joycelyn. The reunion was sort of like a farewell meet-up before he & Joycelyn uproots themselves to Melbourne Australia. It was a great reunion... meeting up with old friends... some of whom I have not seen for 10 years... Most with families of their own by now. Well... I've been told that my blog should contain more pics than words... so ... enjoy the pics... :-)

Khairul & I fighting over beaver skins in Montreal, Canada during a Summer trip.

Adrian, Joycelyn & I... Incredible Hulk Wannabes at Fork's Market, Winnipeg.

Khairul, Myself, Gabriel, Ngo, Adrian & Jean (Seated) celebrating Jean's Birthday at Kirkby Terrace, Winnipeg.

Adrian, Yuet Har, Irene, Liang Kwang, Chwan Keng, Myself & Urm.... forgot that guy... Fong I think... at Kings Park, Manitoba. Yeah... my hair was that long once...

Yuet Har, Joycelyn, Swee Sen (& Their Kids)

Myself, Faith & Yuet Har's Daughter... :-)

Las Hombres... The guys of Business Computing '92. Adrian, Khairul, Myself & Ngo.

Ngo & His Kids (Yi Leon & Yi Shion)

One Big Happy Family.