June 7th, 2010


iTunes card giveaway winner

Congrats! You would have received an email from me :)

Thanks to those who participated - I've included those who sent in emails as well :)

You guys are just too shy though! I was hoping to get to know you guys better because the site statistics tell me that I have many silent readers :) The funny thing was that I have more people emailing and commenting to recommend makeup/hair artists or D.C trip tips so perhaps no one is interested in giveaways here or it's irrelevant to them. Someone asked me what an iTunes gift card was so oops. Perhaps I should try giving away something more generic next time.

Anyway, I was happy to know some of you better so keep the cheer and comments coming in :) xoxo

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With Lynn and Fur Rug

The Princess' hen's night

Happy hen's night xoxo

My sister's friend entrusted me to plan out her hen's night. I had a number of ideas but in the end, we decided on one that best suited her.

You see, my sis is quite unlike most girls. She's dainty, quiet, sweet and pretty much a Princess to most of her friends. She wouldn't be a fan of heavy drinking or the usual typical hen's night parties so we decided on a cooking class where she could have fun at - since she hardly cooks :P

The session went well, in fact, too well! I think Mervyn and Amanda said that we were one of the noisiest batch that they have had! They had to ring the bell many times and 8 girls finished up 8 bottles of white wine. *burp.

One of my favorite parts of the session was when each of us were asked to describe her as a dish or ingredient. It was so heartwarming to hear the responses. Crabtree and Evelyn cookies, ice kachang, caviar, thai mango - sweet, exquisite, all natural etc were some of the comments. I described her as Aglio Olio - a simple dish yet with a lot of flavor and substance beneath it :)

It's nice to see how much my sister's friends all love her. I am so excited for her big day and eh nervous as well since I have to walk down the aisle in HEELS. But in any case, my future brother-in-law is one lucky dude to have won her heart.

I am glad that my sis enjoyed the session - it wasn't such a happy ending for me though, as some would know. I was allergic to one of the food ingredients and suffering from a severe allergic reaction. More on that later.

For more information on Cookyn With Mervyn, check out the website here. There are many cooking classes available from Mexican to Spanish to Japanese etc etc. You can request for a personal class too!

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Spaghetti tossed in cashew nut and laksa leaf pesto sauce

This dish is so easy to whip up yet tasty, that I decided to replicate it the day after. Also, it was to experiment and test if I was allergic to the laksa leaves! So far it's a 'no'. Yay!

Anyway, this recipe is a nice twist from the usual pesto based pasta. Laksa leaves have a really aromatic unique smell and it makes a great combination with the cashew nuts. Preparation and cooking time takes about 15-20 minutes in total and you can add grilled fish or chicken or flash boiled Tiger prawns if you like.

As there was just the two of us, we halved the amount of the ingredients (since the original serves 4).

Our modified version.. halved. All ingredients were purchased from Carrefour.

125gm of spaghetti
3/4 tightly packed cups of laksa leaves (remove the stalks)
2 cloves garlic (we used our pre-grinded garlic which we always have a container of)
75gm of roasted cashews (unsalted and without oil - we actually used 100g instead as that was the minimum weight of purchase)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
4 prawns peeled and deveined (Tiger prawns were unavailable except for these tiny Malaysian variants!)

The ingredients

Blend the laksa leaves, cashews, garlic & salt

When a loose paste is formed, add fish sauce and pour in the olive oil in a steady stream

Pesto! The original recipe includes red chillies but I'm allergic to it

Cook the pasta in heavily salted water (similar to brine!) This will flavor the pasta. Also, to achieve al dente pasta, remove the pasta when it's slightly undercooked as it will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat.

Add seafood or grilled chicken as you wish

Recipe courtesy of Cookyn with Mervyn

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Allergies, allergies, allergies

For those that are on my Twitter or Facebook, you would have seen my frustrating updates on my recent allergy outbreak which started on Saturday at 5am and went full-blown on Sunday morning.

I have been battling allergies for more than a decade now and it's been awhile since I suffered one this bad.

Here's a background.

My sister had asthma since she was really young. Now, her version of asthma is one of the worst that I've known. My parents had to carry a portable oxygen tank wherever they went with her. I'm not kidding. The inhalers wouldn't work on her and when she had an attack, the only thing that could save her life was to hook her up to an oxygen tank supply immediately. Fortunately, she weaned out of her asthma and now she's fine.

As for me, I escaped that but since young, I have had hay fever, non-stop sneezing every morning and allergies. I was allergic to grass as a kid (outgrew that), I had sensitive skin on my feet so I couldn't wear the standard 'swan brand' nylon socks or those canvas shoes. I was the only kid in Secondary school that was wearing sports shoes as the skin on my feet would start shedding whenever I wore canvas shoes. I eventually grew out of that.

I am now stuck with a truckload of allergies for the last decade. Food and dust mainly.

I get into a non-stop sneezing fit when dust gets into my system. It would be so bad, it would sound as though I had a bad flu but it's really just a dust allergy. I'll land up having peeled skin at my nose and a red nose.

I am sensitive to strong smells as well. So strong perfumes and smoky places will put me into a sneezing fit. And believe it or not, I am allergic to industrial paint fumes. Yes. I would break out into hives whenever the office is having a paint job so those are the times where I am allowed to work from home. I always say, that it is really easy to try and kill me.. I am also allergic to certain medications.

Now my food allergies is the tricky part. It is so random, I have no idea what I am really allergic to. Red chilli. I used to be able to eat a lot of it then I noticed that I started getting diarrhea each time I ate it. Sometimes, my lips would swell and once, my colleagues watched in amusement as my arm started to swell up. So I steer clear of red chilli. There was a period of time where I couldn't digest oily food. Once at school, I noticed an orange oily stains on my panties and started to panic. I drove myself to the doctor and was told that my system was not digesting the oils in my food and it was coming out by the back door -_-

Every now and then, I would eat something that doesn't agree with my fussy system and I will notice an itchy red patch usually behind my calves or near the elbow. Sometimes, I'll get a couple of mozzie like bites but that goes away after awhile.

The worst case is when I get hives all over my body and it takes 2-3 weeks to completely clear out of my system. Twice, I got hit really bad and it was ironically due to.. chocolate. The first time, it was a bar of Carrefour brand chocolate. The second time, Carrefour brand chocolate spread. What happened?

Hives all over
I was on 5-6 different antihistamines that didn't work
Every time I ate something, the hives flared up
It took a month to clear out of my system totally
My entire back was breaking out in hives and I was heating up
An antihistamine jab at the National Skin Centre did not help

I have requested to get the skin prick test done but a few doctors have told me that it was pointless because I have so many random allergy outbreaks and there are so many combinations that there is not guarantee that I wouldn't get another allergy outbreak even with a list of food that I shouldn't take.

So the chocolate allergy? Strange because I eat chocolate practically every day. I checked the contents before I ate the chocolate on both occasions but I still landed up with the hives. The doctor said that it could be due to the addictive or processing. I've avoided Carrefour brand chocolates since then. This time around? The food suspects for this outbreak were from the cooking class - agruva caviar (however it's fake caviar made from fish), laksa leaves (tested and negative), scallops (I've eaten scallops many times and don't have outbreaks but since I was having a dust allergy prior to eating it, my resistance might have been low and I had a spontaneous allergy to seafood). Finally, the chocolate in the mousse? It's likely possible since I have never eaten that brand before.

I am hoping this outbreak clears up real soon. Meanwhile, I'm off chocolate, seafood and alcohol for now :\ No chocolates?!! Sigh. And I am going to stick to the brands of chocolates that I am familiar with from now on. Twice bitten, possibly thrice. I think I need to be cautious when I eat chocolate now.

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