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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 11:59 am

some post exam shopping.....

here's what i bought..











for my summer read ;D

bet you were expecting pictures of clothes, shoes, accessorises

amazon does such good deals on second hand books in good condition!! some were as cheap as 2.76 gbp ( book price 0.01 gbp, are u kidding me???? its the postage fee per book that add up to ~3gbp but that is still half price)

so far i've bought :
1.The Diving Bells and The Butterfly (lock-in syndrome )
2. Never Let Me Go
3. The Book Thief
4. The Reader
5. The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Times ( autism : Asperger syndrome)
6.We Need To Talk About Kevin
7. I Know This Much Is True (schizoprenia)

and it was fun researching, reading reviews from facebook's visual bookshelf application -its one of those rare application that I actually like from facebook.

and allow me to be geeky over my choice of books featuring medical conditions ;D

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Sunday, June 14, 2009 @ 1:57 am

eating in spain


a typical tapas bar with the array of tapas on display. I've read that the tapas with wooden skewers are not meant to be picked up by the stick as the bread and meat would fall off, showing that you are an inexperienced eater. The skewer functions to hold the pieces together only, to lift the tapas, one has to hold it from its side.

most cafeteria offers a good money for value lunch menu set with a tapas, a main meal and dessert. We had a cheap set deal on our first meal though the quality of the food was proportional to how much we paid. still it was good enough an exposure to spanish culture.


for our tapas, we chose red sausage ( chorizo) which was really succulent and rich in flavour, somewhat resembling that of taiwanese sausage. the salted codfish ball and fried cuttlefish were classic tapas. didnt like the snail tapas at all.and the long anticipated paella - spanish seafoodrice, i swear i will not leave spain without tasting one! i've seen my housemate cooked it once but did not properly learn it, a shame really. this one was alright, i think it's one of those heat-it-and serve-it type rather than properly brewed from scratch type.

A proper paella takes 20 minutes to cook, says the guidebooks, brewed with heaps of seafood.the orange colour is a result of - xaffron/saffron, a type of seasoning that comes from a rare flower, saffron. i did not realise that saffron was that expensive until we hunted for a pack as a souvenir for our housemate.

for dessert we were served the typical spanish dessert - flan, custard with caramelised sugar on top. thought it was rather sweet and tasted like any normal custard minus the pastry, liked the burnt taste of the caramelised sugar though. as the saying goes, a little bit burnt always taste nice...


another dish i ached to tried ever since i saw a man laddle himself a generous helping of black goo is the Aroz Negros! - black rice, paella cooked with squid ink! this one tasted nicer than the previous one even though it was another one of those precooked version. our lips were lightly stained black after the meal:)

last but not least, we had xurros/churros, fried dough. it's a miniature version of our very own chinese you tiao. served with hot chocolate with the consistency of chocolate mousse in which we dipped the churros into. the dough is squeezed through a star-shaped syringe to give it its shape.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

holly shit

me and steph got invited for Distinction Viva for Preclinical Biological Science!!! It's a 15 minutes oral test where if we pass we'll be awarded distinction!!!!!

It's been three weeks ago since our last exam?? Not in the mood for revising 2 year's worth of notes by next Tuesday and dont think I can rmbr all my lectures=(

But heck, got invited happy enough liao, pass or not doesnt matter=)

i still cant believe it, maybe its based on 1st year results only.
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Monday, June 08, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

japanese-themed house party


we weren't dressed in kimonos or sumos or ninja outfits (javier thought it was the dress code XD), it was a japenese FOOD theme party. In fact, I was wearing my 8-years-old Chinese Orchestra T shirt again=/

Our housemate Claire loves Japan culture ever since she watched The Memoir of a Geisha and even takes Japanese lessons at uni. So we thought it would be good fun to teach them how to make sushi over a japanese/east asia themed meal.


so we had japanese curry, miso soup. the japanese curry ( using steph's curry cubes) was a sell out ;D mainly coz it is not spicy albeit the term 'curry'. It was the first dish that i learn before coming to uk and back in college days, its the only dish i always cook for occasions.garlic fried rice by steph with bonito flakescawanmushi which took an hour to steam, it was my first try as well. Nobody touched it to begin with, so i took a spoonful and said ' I shall eat it to show you its not poisonous' XD

my british housemates said it was something they never had before and they couldnt quite describe what it tasted like.
sushi ingredients,we used mayo tuna and salmon as sushi fillings too.
kimchi at the side. Vitty said eating kimchi was like eating nettles.
and so we begin, teaching them how to roll sushi, manz I was kinda stressed out when all eyes were on me demonstrating sushi-making, would have been so embarrassed if the sushi just falls apart XD
luckily it did not, and we let everyone else have a go. It was like a cultural lesson=)I was so excited when I found fermented rice wine 酒酿at the oriental shop!!酒酿桂圆 rice wine with tang yuan is my favourite chinese dessert - try it at Dragon-I!
Cooked the tang yuan in 2 batches - one alcohol-free, one with the rice wine.
steph and eimon brought out a surprise birthday cake after the meal!!=) it was lemon cheesecake!! one of my favourite cheesecake flavour that is not available from Secret Recipe.
*wish that we will all pass our finals and dont have to come back early for resits*
Results will be out next friday=((((
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Saturday, June 06, 2009 @ 9:54 am

Of Tapas, Sangria and Flamenco


sangria!! means 'blood' coz of its red hue.
this was made from scratch by the bartender,so it was nicer than than then 2 euro sangria we had at our hostel ( though that was a good cheap option to try out sangria)

its a mixture of fruit juice, red wine, gin, rum, sugar, fruit slices.

note the white layer at the bottom? that's a bloody ( no pun) layer of sugar!! made it more palatable ( for me) than the bitter one I had at the hostel.


a Scottish guy sat down opposite us while we were waiting and for one moment I was worried he is a cheat. Turned out he is an English guide for people who took the flamenco package, and he told us many interesting stories like the origin of tapas, flamenco, sangria over our dinner.
our tapas plate :

chorizo (smoked cured sausage) get its red colour from the dried smoked red pepper

In this photo : chorizo / sausage; jamon / ham ; mushrooms , green peppers , baguette rubbed with tomato , olives , tortilla de patatas / spanish omelette with potatoes

Tapas is a snack usually eaten as a complement with alcoholic drinks and has many stories of origin. According to one, to cover the pungent smell of rotten cheese served ( so that customer aren't aware that it's rotten), wine is served alongside.

Tapas are usually served in small brown round plates, as wine and tapas are consumed in a socialising environment. The small brown bowls are placed on top of the wine glass to free one's hand for the customary handshake.

A more practical explanation is, the Spaniards have their dinner rather late at night - between 9 to 11 pm. Hence they usually have a small snack at the bar to socialise with their friends before heading home for a proper big meal.
Most of us think that Flamenco is the Spanish dance, but the dance is only part of it. Flamenco is a form of art consisting of guitar, singing and finally the dance.

just short of watching a bull fight and our Spanish culture experience would have been perfect=)
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@ 9:33 am

Barceloneta Beach

Tom said look out for the nudist beach in Barcelona! and i thought woohoo~should definitely check it out. Though just as a drop by rather than spending an afternoon joining the nude crowd, hence our inappropriate beach wear ( jeans??sneakers??) Barcelona was that hot, i think i turned darker in only 3 days time:(


anyhow, I didn't expect to see the beach to be so packed full of people, there was more sand than people!
it was a long looooong walk from the nearest metro station
most tourist here dont walk, they either cycle, or use the skateboard, or roller blades. its kinda cool when you see people skateboard pass in a group


so while resting our tired feet on a bench, i finally spotted the ledendary nudism, spotted one lady talking into a phone. that was about it really, there are probably more naked ladies just that it would have been obvious if we wandered nearer to the sand gawking

we came to Barcelona for Anthonio Gaudi's colourful, imaginative architectures, and even at the beach there are some spectacular monuments?

though this haphazardly decked boxes are not the works of Gaudi

And also sandcastles by street artists

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Friday, June 05, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

Barcelona -transport, lodging

Swine flu hit Spain and UK really badly ( more than 100 cases confirmed) and initially we hesitated whether or not to go forth with our post-finals Barcelona trip.

I was really bummed coz from the initial 5 people group, we lost 3 travelmates, 1 had to renew his passport in China, the other went back to Malaysia for an entrance exam. Just me and Steph in pick pocket infested Spain, and we would be reaching BCN near midnight.

All the meticulous planning since Easter along side revising for finals wasted? Thanks to Javier for pushing me to go, Roger my junior who spontaneously agreed to join us at the very last minute, we eventually hit the road…


…Armed with mask my mum sent from Malaysia!!


No kidding, we were the only passengers wearing masks! Bet we looked like paranoid idiots =p or doctors-to-be on a missionary trip? better be safe than sorry.



shan't bored you with all the fine details so they will be in tiny prints at the end of this post :)

BCN stands for Barcelona, it was a really nice youth hostel experience. We had a 6 people dorm with bunk beds that squeeks everytime I turn on my sides - think Steph who slept below me didnt had a good sleep coz of me:(


On our first night, our roommate was a Malaysian studying in NTU Singapore! What a small world! They were on a one month europe tour on a budget of 5000 Singapore dollar.

Found the door lock system uber cool, its a wrist watch that we flash at the green button to open the door and our locker.


Ryanair :~ 60 pounds return flight, cheaper if booked earlier.
-checked in online
-free 10 kg hand carry luggage allowance.

1 hour bus ride: Girona airport - Barcelona Nord Bus Station
- the
bus timetable coincides with Ryanair’s flight schedule.
- return ticket : 21 euros.

Hello BCN youth hostel
– 23 euros/ person/night
- taxi from Nord Bus Station 17 euros
- metro from Arc de Triumph ( Nord bus station) to Parel.lel stop
- bookings made via
hostelbookers website only requires 10%deposit of the total charge

Metro around BCN
T10 travel ticket
- 7.70 euros
- 10 journeys unlimited days,
- each journey last 1hour 15 min
- Can be shared with many people

2 day travel card - ~10 euros
- unlimited journey within 2 days
- individual ticket

I bought the T10 thinking it would be cheaper shared among us, didn’t really know how it works but I survived with it for 3 days. My friends bought the 2 days tic and a single tic ( 1.50 euros) for our final trip to the bus station on the last day.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009 @ 9:09 am

enchilidas at Ros's

after our penultimate paper, I bumped into Ros, my first year classmate, in the Uni toilet. We decided to have a catch up date either dining out or cooking together.

Ros has been a vegetarian for 4 years with a story behind it. She stayed in Prague for a week, eating meat stew, meatballs, meat soup, meat this meat that, and got sick of meat and since then converted to a vegetarian.

so i thought, oh no, what presentable vegetarian dish have I got to share with her??

鱼香茄子? has got mince pork.
蕃茄炒蛋?doubt it would be nice without chicken breast
凉伴?vinegar pickled cucumber?
干扁四季豆??it's only long green beans with pepper, nice as a side dish but to eat it with rice only as dinner? I would make do with that myself

sooooooooooo, I said, Ros, teach me how to make your favourate dish

We made Enchilidas!! a Mexican wrap somewhat similar to fajita. It was that easy to make, quick and simple. All we had to do was stir fry the ingredients, stir in the sauce paste and shredded mature cheddar, wrap it in tortilla and pop it into a preheated oven till the cheese melts and voila!I made it yesterday with my housemate Steph but i added chicken breast, and a tad too little sauce as topping, but my 2nd try should somewhat resemble Ros's =p

recipe:

1. stir fry sliced mushroom, onion, capsicum, chicken breast.
2. stir in canned pineapples, canned sliced olives

3. mix one lump of tomato puree with little bit of water, add in dashes of paprika as seasoning.

4. stir in tomato paste and shredded extra mature cheddar.

5. wrap fillings in tortilla, placing them in the centre but leave spaces at the margins.

6. simply roll up the tortilla longituidinally from both sides, the toppings will hold it in place.

7. dribble remaining tomato paste on top of the wraps and sprinkle more shredded cheese on top.8. bake in preheated oven ( 180 degree? i set mine at 200 coz I am that impatient, but the tortilla wrap came out crispy like biscuit - it's suppose to be soft ) till cheese melts.

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My Name Is...

housefly
coffee lover
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Siang to Vietnam mates
Ing to the rest


and no, my dad aint the boss of ING insurance company



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