Archive for the ‘Just some thoughts…’ Category

Well, it’s about time I come back to updating this blog more frequently. After 3.5 months, things have finally started coming together. Moving to Sydney was and still is a nightmare. From movers, to internet, to phone etc, nothing seemed to fall into place. It took us more than a month to get all our stuff (long story..movers were a nightmare!), and then 3 months before we got our internet. The bad news is we still don’t have a home telephone but the good news is we are finally on track to bringing normality back into our lives. 

If there are things we should be thankful for, it’d be friends whom we’ve lost touch with for a long time but who have nonetheless welcomed us here with opened arms. Guess this is what we call true friendship. It’s certainly been a life changing experience for both Alan and I. Him being his first job and mine being a career change. It hasn’t been any easier having to do all these in a totally foreign place and would have been a lot harder if we didn’t have friends who were constantly lending us a helping hand. You will only truly understand when you relocate. You miss the simple pleasures of knowing how to get to the supermarket, or where’s the nearest ATM machines, or shortest cuts to your destinations etc. etc. I wouldn’t dare say we’ve settled in, but I’d have to say we are trying, hard as some of the days may be, we will continue to try. 

Setting up home took forever! With both of us working full-time and crazy hours, unpacking was a real pain. Furniture shopping, cleaning, clearing, throwing….man! *big sigh* Finally, we have a house we can start to call our home. Each of us leaving our own mark in our own unique ways. All in the name of making this place where we rest, be it for 4 hours or 4 days, a place we can call home. Here are some photos I’d like to share with all of you of the place we now call home. 

The second part of my sharing will be broken into 3 separate blog entries – highlighting the 3 different group of friends we’ve had over for dinner as a way of sharing our new life together in Sydney. Our first dinner party was the first week we finally had 90% of our stuff unpacked, and a livable living room. It earmarked my achievement as a girl who not only uses her hands for cooking and baking, but also one who can assemble her DIY furniture all by herself! 🙂 To celebrate my achievement, we had Mei Gee and James over for dinner. It was my first proper home-cooked meal, which was prepared from scratch, in my new kitchen. To mark this special day, I opted for a simple yet classy dinner – a nice, slow cooked roast, some vegetables and a simple dessert. Nothing very fancy, but full of flavours and spices. You should’ve seen the look on my face as I peeled and chopped herbs in the kitchen – pure heaven! 🙂

Entrée: Antipasto Plate


  • Turkish pide bread, toasted and rubbed with fresh garlic
  • Grapes
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Cheese (any choice)
  • Pâté (I used smoked salmon and cracked pepper)


  • Assemble everything onto a platter and serve. 

Mains: Herb Crusted Beef with Confit Cherry Tomatoes (Delicious, Dec 08-Jan 09 edition)

Herb Crusted Beef


  • Mixed herbs, chopped (I used rosemary, basil, lemon thyme)
  • Premium eye fillet
  • Olive oil
  • Aioli
  • Fresh rocket
  • Baby carrots and potatoes


  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Spread chopped herbs on a sheet of baking paper. Brush beef with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roll beef in herbs till coated well. 
  • Heat a frying pan with some oil. Sear beef on all sides till evenly brown. 
  • Transfer to tray, add carrots and potatoes, and bake till your liking. Mine’s a gas oven and I had to bake for nearly 2 hours to achieve medium. 
  • Arrange fresh rocket on plate. Thickly slice beef and top it on rocket. Top with confit tomatoes and a dollop of aioli. Serve meal with a bottle of red wine. 

Confit Cherry Tomatoes


  • Remaining mixed herbs from above
  • 2 x 250g punnets cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves


  • Cut a small cross at the base of each tomato.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil and set a bowl of ice water on the side. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 20-40 seconds, remove and placed in ice water for another 30-40 seconds. Peel immediately and place in a bowl.
  • Warm balsamic, oil, garlic and herbs in a pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Pour over tomatoes and marinade for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

Dessert: Lime and Basil Sorbet (from Jamie Oliver)

(Sorry, forgot to take pictures and can’t seem to find my old ones)


  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • 1 cup water


  • Bring sugar and water to boil, till sugar dissolves. Add fresh lime zest from 4-5 limes. Remove from heat and allow to cool down.
  • Add freshly squeezed lime juice and adjust taste accordingly – sweeter or slightly more sour – up to you.
  • Rip basil and pound it in a mortar. Bruise it well and add every bit to the lime syrup.
  • Give it a good stir then pour it through a sieve. 
  • Place in container and freeze for an hour.
  • Take it out and give it a good whisk. Freeze again and when the time comes, serve in chilled glasses. 








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Yes I know…Pearlyn’s been slacking again! What happened to her? Why hasn’t she been posting? Oh well…it’s the same thing again…work commitments…falling sick (AGAIN!)…lack of inspiration…moodlessness…etc etc. Well, I’m back again! 🙂

I’m not sure if any of you guys remember but I was MIA in July/August due to overwhelming “work” commitments. Up till now, I’ve yet to come up with any reasonable explanation to justify my lack of posting for that month. Well, finally, after a lot of hassling and nagging, ah koh gave me the photos I needed to make this post even worthwhile. I have to bear 50% of the lateness in this post but only because I had to do a bit of further photo editing myself.

I was actually busy with one of my “sons’ ” engagement party. About a month before the event, I was approached by the couple to handle the food side of things. After comparing prices of various caterers, it was agreed that it would beneficial for them and for me if I did the catering for the engagement. It was really exciting for me as I finally got the chance to cater for a big group of people officially, and it was the ideal event as I love weddings and engagements.

So off I went designing a menu that would entice the tastebuds of all the guests. Whoa! It was hardwork! A lot of time was spent pouring over library books, magazines and various websites. In the end, we decided on more variety but lesser quantity of each item. It was great fun revising and re-revising the menu over and over again as I decided on feasibility, deliciousness, presentation etc etc. It was frustrating too having to come up with something that would hopefully please everyone (as the saying goes: you can never please everyone!). It was also a time of bonding for me with a good friend and “sis” – Ade (who sadly has returned to Singapore), as we experimented on different food and prepared for the event. All in all it was an adrenalin packed 4 weeks filled with many ups and downs.

It was also a chance for me to try new things. Not just cooking-wise, but also in terms of baking. I was asked to make the engagement cake and was just excited at the prospect of trying new decorative ideas and brainstorming on various designs. When I saw the design at the cake decorative shop I go to for supplies, I knew then that it was THE cake! Alan doubted I’d be able to produce it as it was something I’d never tried before but being me, I was all out to prove him wrong.

I got my first taste of being a professional caterer the week leading to the event. Every night before going to bed, I’d be planning the next day’s schedule. I became a stickler to details and plans as any one being out of place would throw my entire day off. The night before the engagement, I was up till late prepping for the next day, and was up early to make sure everything was in order. Then it was off to the venue and time to “kick some ass”!

Being a perfectionist, I had selected a group of friends whom I knew could be trusted to work with and for me. With delegation and instructions, we all got down to work. I won’t say it was smooth sailing but we pulled through. We had a fair bit of wastage thanks to a couple of miscalculated accidents. But all in all we had fun and it was indeed an experience to remember.

So here are some pictures to share the amazing and memorable event with you guys and also hopefully to entice your tastebuds! 🙂

The fun and hardwork pre-event....

The fun and hardwork pre-event....

The Feast

The Feast - (fr L-R): cocktails and mocktails, sushis, nachos and dips, rosemary and balsamic glazed drumsticks

Japanese anyone?

Japanese anyone? - Assorted sushis and inaris

More food....

More food.... (L-R): BBQ pork wrapped hoisin roll, prosciutto wrapped rockmelon, pie tee and little provencal tarts

Food for the sweet tooth

Food for the sweet tooth -Mini fruit tarts, blueberry cheese tarts, serimuka and kuih lapis

Engagement Cake

Engagement Cake

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This is an example of coversations I’ve had in the last couple of weeks with various friends:

Friend: Are you sick AGAIN?

Me: (nodding my head, pointing to my throat and in a whisper) Yes!

June as most could sum up by now has been by far the worst month for me all year!! Just when you think it’s going to end, news of Aunty Jenny’s return to the Lord came and that was probably the last straw for me. So, when July came, you could probably guess how glad I was June was finally over!

Aunty Jenny’s departure was in itself something to rejoice and cry about at the same time – rejoice in the fact that she’s back in the arms of the Lord and is free from suffering, but sadness in the loss of a great woman of God. Leukemia certainly robs one of their life in a quick manner. The last 5 months have been a roller coaster ride – drop in white blood count, then rise, then drop then rise…..we prayed, we praised, we worshipped, we hoped but in the end God’s in control and knows what is best. I never thought I’d be affected as badly as I had by her death but something in me changed. I realised that every moment now is precious and that I need to not take people for granted. When Uncle Frank and AJ were in OCF, I never took the time to sit down and have long talks or visit them in Margate because I always thought I had plenty of time”. There was always a “next time”, a “I’m too busy”, a “Christmas next year”, etc etc.

After she left, I knew that it was time to actually do something instead of PLANNING to do something. I promised I’d call UF as often as I could and would visit more in the future. By some pre-arrangement of God, a close friend and I were talking the night after AJ’s celebration service and UF came into the topic.

Me: Hey, weren’t you UF’s connect group leader?

Her: Yeah.

Me: Do you still have your old stuff? Do you know when is UF’s birthday? I somehow don’t ever recall celebrating his birthday in OCF.

Her: Hhmmm…I’ll check.

The next thing I know I received an sms saying it was Sunday the 6th of July. Whoa! 4 days after AJ’s service. Immediately we started planning a party for him because we know how hard it would be for him seeing it’s his first birthday without AJ. We managed to gather more than 20 of us and together we went down to UF’s place to shower him with as much love as we could. It was laughter, joy, happiness and love all around the house that night. We had heaps of food – lasagna, wedges, roast beef, salad, herb potatoes, quiches, spaghetti etc. I whipped up 2 different kind of cupcakes – Mississippi Mud Cake and Caramel Mud Cake, and decorated them to form out the words “Happy Birthday Uncle Frank”. It was all worth it just to see the smile on a man who’s played such an important role in so many of our lives. We knew that not only did it mean a lot to this 74 year old man that we were celebrating it with him, but each of us left that night knowing that we were changed in one way or another.

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It’s been slightly over 2 weeks since the wedding and I think it’s about time I returned. So many things have happened in the last couple of weeks – the wedding, my annual “flu” fight, Slave Auction at church and Aunty Jenny’s leukemia relapse. I’ve been busy, busy, busy!

I can finally sit back now and relive the wedding.

It was indeed a beautiful wedding – bursting full of love, joy, tenderness and laughter. I have to admit, I was really stress the week leading to the wedding. There were just too many details to finalise, too many things to buy, too many meetings to attend and too many itineraries to plan! People who’ve never worked with me previously were shocked at how domineering and demanding I can be. The bridesmaids were so afraid of screwing up that every little mistake they made, they were praying I didn’t catch it! 🙂

I was really lucky that as wedding planner, I had the support of a solid group of friends who helped out with the preparations. The day before the wedding was packed full with decorating the reception venue, ceremony rehearsal, last minute equipment collation, purchasing and preparing food and drinks etc etc. But it was all worth it in the end. By the time the photographers arrived and the groom and his men came to pick the bride, tired though we were, the atmosphere was charged with excitement, and anticipation. For many of us, this wedding was our first close friend wedding. Hence making it all the more exhilarating. 

I don’t think it’s a western culture, but in the Chinese culture, when the groom and his men come for the bride, it is tradition that the bridesmaids and girlfriends of the bride make it a little hard for them to achieve their aim. Needless to say, we had a few tricks up our sleeves! 🙂 When the guys arrived, everyone started running around. Doors and windows were shut – making sure that there were no possible entrance ways into the house. The guys were put through a series of tests – the first was to perform “The Chicken Dance”. This was so that they would lower their guard and think that we were gonna go easy on them. After that, there was a grueling session of 29 questions about the bride – whereby for ever wrong answer, they had to do a pushup. What made these all the more fun was that during these “tortures”, the bride’s father was there taking videos and photographs and taunting the groom and his men! After the 29 questions, the best man and groomsmen had to do 29 pushups, sit-ups and ear pulls individually. Why 29? Well, it’s ’cause the groom will be turning 29 this year! After the intellectual and physical round, it was time to work their creativity and originality – composing and singing a song with the bride’s name in it. Lastly, it was “angpow” (which means red packet) time. In the Chinese culture, the groom and his men have to give the bride’s girlfriends an “angpow” when they come for the bride. We girls decided that we were going to make their lives difficult by asking for 29 pieces of 5 cent coins. From here on, everything became a blur. We had a traitor amongst us and she had secretly opened one of the doors. The guys rushed in and people were running all over the place, shouting, screaming, some of us trying to barricade the stairwell and everything became chaotic. We were warned of a traitor, whom the groom had planted over a year ago, but our trusting nature led to our downfall! 🙂 

The wedding ceremony was held at Coal Valley Vineyard. The weather the day before when we went for rehearsal was really cold and rainy. As the wedding was to be an outdoor affair, we were praying really hard that the next day would be the opposite. God was on our side and the weather was just amazing for the last day of autumn – bright sunshine and warm enough to hangout on the patio for canapes and drinks after. 

This is my third close friend wedding and I think I can conclude that regardless of how many weddings I will attend in the future, as long as it’s a close friend, I’ll still be brought to the brink of tears. As I stood up on the patio watching bridal procession as YQ was led to Terence who was waiting for her, I felt myself holding back tears of joy. The joy radiating off her face and the pride shining from his was more than anyone could ask for. They were definitely a match made in heaven! 

The rest of the afternoon/evening flew by just like that. I allowed myself an hour of at the vineyard, catching up with old friends visiting from interstate and enjoying the scrumptious food and delicate wine served. We introduced out Aussie friends to the Chinese wedding toast. This is when we all raised out glasses in the air, and led by the groom, everyone will lift their voices and together we go “Yum Seng”. It’s not just a simple syllable pronunciation but the words are dragged out until you voice runs dry! Our aussie counterparts after the initial shock, enjoyed themselves so much that they were the leading voices in the following cheers! 🙂

It was back to a flurry of activities after that. I only had an hour gap between the ceremony at the vineyard and the reception at Quayside Cottage. Rushing from one place to another and touching up on all the last minute stuff kept me constantly on my toes. The rest of the night flew by without me remembering much of what happened. There was food, blackouts time and again thanks to the coffee percolator, speeches, more toasts and the cake of course. As previously promised, here are some pictures of the cake and sparkling wine arrangement. Sorry my designated photographer didn’t get an up close take so you guys will have to settle for this. I modified my tiramisu recipe and it was YUMMY!! 🙂

Sitting back now and reliving the wedding indeed brings smiles and sighs of contentment to me. I’ve discovered a new career path of weddings/events coordinating. Let’s just hope new doors will open for me henceforth…




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Easter bunny visited our house this easter…actually I should say easter bunnies cause there were two of them! 🙂 

After the hustle and bustle of last week, I actually felt weird having nothing to do on Friday. Being Good Friday and all, most places were closed and we were just feeling moodless..not really wanting to go anywhere. I decided that it was the day to try a recipe (click here for it) I copied from Woman’s Day nearly 2 easters ago but have never had the chance to give it a go – Mini Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns. CY loves the choc chip hot cross buns from Banjos and every easter, he’d go there and buy a few bags. Growing up in M’sia, I’ve never had hot cross buns and easter eggs were only stuff we used to get in Sunday School. A couple of my aussie friends were telling me about how easter was celebrated when they were kids. Their parents would would leave a trail of hidden easter eggs around the house and the kids would follow one clue after the other searching for these hidden treasures. I asked Alan if he could make an easter trail for me so I could relive my childhood. Sadly, being unromantic he refused to do it for me 😦 . Oh well….as for my buns, they were pretty successful for homemade buns. Soft and fluffy on the inside, with chocolate melting in your mouth when you bite into them. (Sorry for the really sucky photo!) I made 32 in total, but the buns were hot items when they were removed from the oven. The only thing I didn’t like from the recipe were the crosses and in the end I replaced them with my own chocolate icing. 

Saturday, Alan and I went Salamanca. We had fun roaming around the vegetable stalls, picking up bunches of fresh vegetables and herbs, smelling them and arguing about Italian parsley and coriander 🙂 . As part of our “scavenger hunt”, we found fresh zucchini flowers. We were so excited as it was our first time seeing them and finally we could tryout the recipe we watched on Jamie’s show. We decided then that this weekend was Jamie’s dinner weekend. We got cherry tomatoes, asparagus, chicken breast, white peaches, pork chops and together we became chefs! This was our menu: Saturday – Pan fried chicken breast fillets with cherry tomatoes and asparagus; Sunday – Beer battered deep fried zucchini flowers, and Pork chops with white peaches. It was great fun teasing and arguing in the kitchen preparing for the meals. Alan’s a “must-follow-recipe” guy and I’m a “go-with-the-flow” girl so you can just imagine the constant bickering going on in the kitchen 🙂 . The meals were awesome – all credit to Jamie. The company, needless to say was perfect and the ambience superb as it was our own home and we could sit however we want, eat however we like and drink however we desire 🙂 . 


Pan Fried Chicken Breast with Cherry Tomatoes and Asparagus


  • Chicken breast fillets
  • Asparagus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Bacon rashers
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


  • Heat a pan with olive oil.
  • Put chicken breast onto pan and allow it to cook and brown. Place bacon strips on top of the chicken allowing it to season and cook with the chicken.
  • Trim off bottom of asparagus and put into the pan. Cut the tomatoes into halves. 
  • When chicken and asparagus are nearly done, add the tomatoes and olives. 
  • Dish up, leaving a couple of tomatoes in pan. Mash it up with a spoon and top the sauce onto chicken.

Beer Battered Zucchini Flowers


  • Zucchini flowers
  • Self-raising flour
  • Salt
  • Beer
  • 1 egg white
  • Coriander, chopped
  • Chili flakes
  • White wine vinegar


  • Whisk flour, beer and salt to a creamy batter. Whisk egg white and add into batter.
  • Heat oil for deep frying.  Batter the zucchini flowers and deep fry till golden.
  • Top with coriander, chili flakes and drizzle with white wine vinegar. Serve hot while it’s crispy!
Pork Chops with White Peaches
  • Pork chops
  • White peaches
  • Sage
  • Honey
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Preheat oven to 200C. Heat a pan on medium heat with olive oil. Stick a couple of sage leaves on the pork chop surface.
  • Sear it till brown on both sides. Place onto baking tray and bake in oven.
  • Halve the peaches. Saute with olive oil and honey. Turn off the heat and add the sage. 
  • Plate the pork chops, top with peaches and sauce. 

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I’ve been absolutely flat out the last week..hence explains why I’ve been MIA (missing in action). March is the month for birthdays man! First, I made two chocolate gift boxes for 2 good friends. Then all of a sudden, I had 2 orders for 3 birthday cakes! And these cakes were all due this week with my last major assignment. It’s all over now! Thankfully I’ve survived it all! Phew! 🙂 AND…..I graduated from my Hospitality course yesterday! I’m so excited…but also worried at the same time as I’m not too sure what’s next. Oh well, God has great plans for me and I’ll just leave it to Him.

Back to the cakes. There was my “daughter-in-law” Rebecca’s cake – which was a green tea ice cream cake. It’s been some time since I’ve made one and my freezer isn’t exactly empty these days. It was a task in itself to create room to store the cake. This involved eating frozen food for a couple of dinners and throwing out a lot of stuff. Everything was worth it in the end as the response was awesome from everyone who saw and ate the cake. This is what brings joy to every baker – the delight and pleasure of seeing people’s faces and expressions when they taste your food. It makes all the effort you’ve put in feel like it was nothing. 


Another thing to congratulate me on is my first internet cake order! 🙂 Thank you so much for your support Julie! Hopefully, James enjoyed his tiramisu and chocolate banana cake. I was really jubilant when I received this order as I never thought someone would order cakes from me over the internet. We had a couple of communication glitches initially but all went well and the orders went through smoothly in the end. 



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Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone! Happy Chinese New Year! For those of you who’ve been (and also those of you haven’e been) following my blog, I just want to take this opportunity to wish you all a prosperous year of the rat! May the year 2008 bring with it abundant prosperity, great health and overflowing happiness to all of you! 🙂

I haven’t had the time to blog as I’ve been flat out with CNY preparations – making and baking cookies the weekend before CNY, and then preparing for reunion dinner and a CNY party at my place on sat. Busy, busy, BUSY!! But it’s all good fun! I haven’t properly celebrated CNY in M’sia for 4 years (I think) and it’s really very sad to be away from family and friends during this time of the year. This year we gathered a close group of friends for reunion dinner – which was just a really small affair as we all had work and classes the next day (yeah, it’s really sad…no public holidays for us!) The big one was saturday night! You’ll be surprised how many people there are who haven’t gone home for CNY or have just returned from hols as classes start a wee bit earlier for them. Due to space constraints, we had to stream our guess list very tightly and it was indeed an accomplishment to fit 20 people (and a dog) in a small living room! it was potluck and the arraignment of mouth watering food on the table was enough to make anyone forget the misery of not spending CNY with family and friends back home! 🙂

Unfortunately, my designated photographer (Alan) didn’t do a good job hence I don’t have many photos in the slide. But I can tell you we had yee sang, prawns, duck, chicken, vegetarian dish (lo hon zhai), tofu, dumplings and the list goes on! How could we forget the cards – poker, Big 2 and blackjack, and of course mahjong! CNY is not CNY if there are no cookies, no food and no gambling 🙂 ! It was great just having people over and celebrating together. The sound of laughter, the continuous chatter and the overstuffed tummies made this night memorable. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such fun!

The song in the slideshow sounds a bit corny but wut-the-heck, it’s Chinese New Year! I used to hate these songs, and still do, but what is CNY without these bubbly, bouncy songs filled with blessings and wishes for the coming year! Once again, Gong Xi Fa Cai! 🙂 

PS: Don’t worry, you’ll only be listening to this song for 15 days! 🙂

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