Monday, November 21, 2011

Yoga class @ Bodhi Yoga, Taipei

Our itinerary in Taipei was very packed, I'm glad that I had a chance to attend at least 1 class in the week. Before the trip, I searched for yoga studios in Taipei, most of the studios provide classes in the morning starting 8+ and in the evenings. Bodhi Yoga is the only place that provides the first class as early as 7:15am, perfect for me!

It was a 5 mins slow walk from the MRT station, very conveniently located at the 3rd floor of a corner lot commercial building. A big signboard can be easily seen across the road.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Birthday trip @ Gold Coast Morib, Sepang

Not my birthday, it was my hubby's. Wanted to give him a surprise by driving him to the destination blind-folded. During the journey I lost my way, my blind-folded man beside me told me how to travel back to the correct route! Nevertheless, it was still a birthday surprise for him :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Porridge

It's time challenging for a working woman to take care of household chores after her 9-to-5 job, let alone cooking dinner during working days. Cooking itself takes time, and preparing the ingredients too. I'm always searching for ideas on quick-prepared food for me and my husband.

I got the slow cooker porridge idea from some mommies' blogs. They have to take care of their toddlers (especially busy if they are not sleeping) and at the same time prepare porridge for them, have to make sure the porridge doesn't overflow or dries up/overcooked, and most importantly have to make sure they remember to turn off the stove when it's done. So boiling porridge in slow cooker with a timer solves all the problem.

 And I use this idea to get my dinner prepared when I'm out to work. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

I like baking chiffon cakes. While the cake is baking, I always look through the oven door every 10 mins, wishing for the cake to rise, rise, rise. When I take the cake out from the oven, overturn it on the table and look at it, I wish: don't fall, don't fall, don't fall.

But this time (this is my 4th or 5th time, lost count), it still falls. It's too heavy for a chiffon cake, and it falls out from the cake tin immediately when I overturned it to cool it.

Thankfully, friends and family who ate it still considered it nice :)
The cake fell off the cake tin, but still intact.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale 2011

I thought this book sale is only for children books (that's why I missed the one last year), until a colleague told me it's for all kinds of books and her photos of purchase convinced me. More importantly, the prices are too tempting, ranging from RM5-RM25. I decided to go right after work.

The place is conveniently located near office, with highway free from traffic, we reached in 20 mins, and walked another 10 mins to reach the exhibition hall - impatient to wait for the feeder bus. It's a Monday, the hall wasn't as crowded as weekend. Books were nicely arranged in categories, and most of them were tidily-stacked brand new books. Boxes were provided as "shopping bag", I even saw a few pushing trolleys and luggage bags for their purchases. We were just strolling along each section, picking and flipping books that look interesting, nothing particular in mind. I picked a few books and proceed to the cashier, so nice to shop during weekdays, the cashier were quite empty.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Croquette (可乐饼)

I watched a cooking program on TV some time ago and this dish was introduced. It's very popular in Japan and Taiwan, especially among kids, I think because of it's crispiness.

I forgotten about it and only recently, when I'm out of idea what to make for a less time consuming dinner, I thought of it. I adapted the recipe here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shanghai mooncake

I made the lotus paste using Christine's recipe. I used white lotus seeds so the paste is fair in color. The texture of the paste is not so right. It's too dry to be considered as paste, probably because I cook it for too long. I like the taste, not too sweet, unlike the commercial ones.

I used SeaDragon's recipe for the Shanghai mooncake. I made plain and egg-yolk version, and everybody (who had eaten) prefers the egg-yolk version. The skin is a little too moist, it would be better if I can make it a little more flaky.

For the egg-yolk version, I used half salted egg-yolk per mooncake. The egg-yolk is pre-cooked in the oven, 180C for 10 mins. I topped it with some black sesame seeds for decoration, also to indicate it's egg-yolked.

After our lantern session, we had some mooncakes with hot tea.


Jelly Mooncakes

I've made jelly mooncakes a few years ago, but totally forgotten how was it. This year I planned to try making it again since nowadays commercial mooncakes are getting too expensive.

I started with the simplest one which is jelly mooncakes. It actually should be called mooncake jelly because it's really just jelly, with the shape of traditional mooncake.

Simplest in the sense of ingredients and steps. The tricky part of making jelly mooncake is timing. Making the 'filling' at the center of the 'skin' requires good timing. Too soon (when the first layer of jelly not readily set), the filling will drop to the bottom of the mould - causing the 'filling' to be on top of the mooncake; too late (when the first layer is set and 'dries up'), the second layer of the skin will not stick to the first layer - causing the mooncake to split into half when done. This I learn from the hard way, trial and error to capture the correct timing.

Another miskate I made is didn't bring the liquid mixture to boiling point before taking off heat and pour into the mould, the jelly did not set, it remains liquid after refrigerated for one night.

I used the recipe from here. And modified it accordingly to the flavour/ingredient I like. The recipe is enough to make 6 'filling' jelly (I use muffin tray as mould) and 4 mooncakes.

A: 'Filling'
1 1/4tsp Agar-agar powder
40g castor sugar
100ml evaporated milk
200ml water
1/8tsp salt

B: 'Skin'
1/2 tbsp Agar-agar powder
70g castor sugar
350ml water
100g dragon fruit (blended)

Mix all ingredient A together and boil it, then pour the boiling mixture into the muffin tray. Let it set, to be used later.

'Skin' and assembly
B: Mix Agar-agar powder and castor sugar, then boil it in water with the blended fruit, scoop some boiling mixture into the mooncake mould, about 20% full, let it slighty set in room temperature, then place the 'filling' at the center. Pour the remaining mixture into the mould till full. Can poke a few holes in the jelly with toothpick to avoid the bottom and top part split off. Let it set in room temperature, then refrigerate it overnight. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cuti-cuti Malaysia

Next time when you are planning for a location to visit during a vacation, do consider local destinations first. There's really a reason why Malaysia is attracting so many tourists every year :)

Batu Caves - Selangor

Berjaya Hills, Pahang

Ipoh Train Station - Ipoh

Perak Cave (Temple) - Ipoh

Melaka River - Melaka

Dutch (Red Square) - Melaka

St. Paul Church - Melaka

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Clear Water Cake

What is simpler and easier than baking muffins? This, the Clear Water Cake, I think it's a direct translate from its Mandarin name - 清水蛋糕

Even for a baking novice like me, I only used 10 mins to prepare the batter and send it to the oven. A perfect quick cake for breakfast or tea-time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Let your smile change the world

I always try to give out my best, love to see people leaving the classroom with a smile, or great laugh after a good workout, or even with loads of related questions for me.

Though I can't be the favorite of everyone, I still hold on to my principles, not trying to please everyone, understanding that humans are all individuals knowing what is best for them.

Like what a friend told me today: Let your smile change the world, don't let the world change your smile.

How sweeeeeeet :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Yesterday a student asked whether I used to teach in YogaZone. She followed an ex-YogaZone teacher somewhere else and she finds that our teaching is very similar.

So glad to know that people still remember YogaZone. Although is no longer exist, its teaching and spirit will always continue.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The benefits of stretching

Many think that Yin Yoga is for flexible people, or ladies, merely stretching and holding a pose for a long few minutes is torturing and boring.

In fact, everybody should be enjoying this and gain the benefits of stretching:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Incorporate yoga into your lifestyle - Reading while Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a variation of the original 'Legs-Up-the-Wall' pose. It is a calming pose helps relieving tiredness and tensions on the legs, neck and back. Bringing soothing effect to your mind.

Sliding your legs apart into a wide "V", a Yin way to stretch your inner thighs and groins. Wide-legged pose also helps to detox kidneys.

End this practice by bending your knees and hugging your knees towards your chest, then rock yourself from side to side. Lastly rock yourself to either side and rise yourself up.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ekta Holistic Centre

Yesterday was the soft opening day for Ekta Holistic Centre. The founder Master Surjit Singh Khalsa prefers not to name his centre as a Yoga studio because it provides more than that.

Ekta Holistic Centre is a safe and nurturing place for healing and personal growth. Its mission is to bring understanding of healing with yoga, concentrating more on mind, body and soul with a purpose of bringing us inwards; teaching us to listen to the body and observe the mind.

Friday, April 1, 2011

MY Vegetarian

I've been to their branches at Puchong and Taman Equine. White is the main color of the shops, a clean and bright environment; with paintings of vegetables and fruits hanging on both sides of the walls, making the shops look fresh and appetizing!

It serves a wide variety of food, ranging from snacks, appetizer, set-lunch/dinner, main dishes, rice and noodles, soups, and 'dim sum' too. The food are priced reasonable, the drinks are a little pricey. So I usually order soup and not drinks.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Simple Fried Spaghetti

Chinese New Year is always the season to feast in rich food. Visiting relatives and friends during Chinese New Year also involve lots of titbits and soft drinks. After this festive season, it's time to return to a light, healthy and balance diet.

Single portion Spaghetti Noodles
4-5 cloves Garlic, chopped.
1/4 Capsicum, thin-sliced.
1-2 Shiitake Mushroom, thin-sliced.
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Black Pepper

1. Boil spaghetti noodle until cook.
2. Heat olive oil in frying pan. Fry chopped garlic until lightly gold. Add in capsicum. Then lastly add in mushroom.
3. Add in and fry cooked noodles with all the ingredients. Add in salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve it hot.

Simple yet satisfying...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome to the 'Rabbit' year

Sasangasana, also called the Rabbit pose, is a simple pose with great benefits.

Sitting on Child pose, holding on your heels, rest the crown (top) of your head in front of your knees, then lift your hips as high as possible, until arms are straighten. Feel your spine curved and elongated, chin tugged to chest.

Benefits: relieves mild head, neck, and back pain; lengthens spine and stretches back, arms, and shoulders; maintains mobility and elasticity of spine and back muscles; improves digestion; aids insomnia.

Each time after a Rabbit pose, I release my forehead on the mat, come back to Child pose and rest for a few breathes before sitting up to avoid dizziness.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cornflake Cookies

Why cornflake cookies are popular during Chinese New Year? I think it's because the crushed cornflake on the outer layer of the cookies resembles golden flakes. It's all about prosperity :)

This is the last batch of Chinese New Year cookies I'm baking for this year. Surprisingly this is the simplest recipe. Original recipe is from Rasa Malaysia, but I needed a lot more cornflakes than suggested in the recipe.

200g butter
150g castor sugar
2 eggs
300g all-purpose flour
130g cornflakes (coarsely crushed, I used the end of a rolling pin)
1 tsp vanilla essense
30g corn flour

Beat butter and sugar till pale and creamy.
Add in vanilla essence. Mix in the lightly beaten eggs.
Fold in the flour and corn flour with a wooden spoon. The dough is moist and a little sticky but still able to be shaped using fingers.
Using a teaspoon, scoop out about 1 teaspoon of the cookie dough and roll it into the crushed cornflakes. When coated with cornflakes the dough is easier to be shaped. Roll it into a small ball and place it on a baking tray lined with baking sheet, then lightly pressed it to form a flat round cookie shape.
Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C or till golden brown.

The cookies aren't too sweet but it's fine to my taste. The outer layer is crunchy and the cookie inside is light and crispy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Golden Pineapple Roll

Now I understand why Pineapple tarts/rolls are sold more expensive than other Chinese New Year cookies. It involves 2 main effort - the filling and the pastry. After making the filling (pineapple jam) and the pastry dough, we need to shape the dough, using a cookie presser (for pineapple tarts) or pipe it into rectangular piece (for pineapple roll) or roll it into a small ball (for pineapple cookie). Then place the filling on top or in the dough and bake it. The steps are more tedious than the other cookies and the ingredients cost more too.

I got the original recipe from Fresh from the Oven. I made some modifications for a more moist dough so that it's easier to pipe and roll/shape it.

220g butter
360g all purpose flour
2 egg yolks
25g icing sugar
25g castor sugar
1 egg yolk, for egg wash

2 cans cube pineapple, drained and crushed
1/4 cup castor sugar
1.5 teaspoon cornstarch

Pineapple filling:
I used Ayam brand canned pineapple, the drained weight for 1 can is 245g. I crushed the pineapples using blender for just a few second, not too fine.
Using medium heat, cook the drained crushed pineapple and sugar until most liquid has evaporated, and the mixture turned golden. Stirring constantly using a wooden spoon to avoid burning. Taste, and add more sugar when needed. Add in 1.5 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken the mixture.

Sieve all purpose flour and sugar into a medium bowl. Beat butter in a mixer until it turns light in color and fluffy. Add in egg yolks until well combined. Mix in the flour mixture with wooden spoon until just combined. The dough should be moist but doesn't stick to the bowl.

Pipe the dough into a long piece, place an adequate amount of filling on the dough piece then roll it. Apply egg wash on each roll and bake it at 160°C for 15 mins or until the color turns lightly brown.

I followed the step-by-step instruction for assembling the pineapple rolls here.

With this recipe, I made about 64 cookies.

It's a messy and time consuming process but the end result is worthy :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Seated balancing

This isn't an original pose in Hot Yoga (Bikram Yoga). But I like to include it into my Hot Yoga session. In the heated room, it's easier to stretch, and the risk of hurting ourself is reduced. So this is a good time for us to challenge this pose. Stretching is not the crucial point in this pose, to be able to stay balance and stay still is the challenge we would like to overcome. We need to learn to ignore the heat, ignore the sweat, ignore the stickiness all over our body. Only when we can ignore the external factors, we can focus on our intentions.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chinese New Year Butter Cookies

This is the second Chinese New Year I'm baking cookies instead of buying. Not only it's more economical, I enjoy baking and seeing people eating the end product of my baking. It has more of a 'sharing' sense.

I tried 2 different recipes and I think this is better. The cookies are crispy and it melts in the mouth because of the correct composition of icing sugar and corn flour.

150g butter
50g icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
140g plain flour
40g corn flour

1. Cream butter and icing sugar until the colour turns a little pale.
2. Add in vanilla essence and mix well.
3. Mix in plain flour and corn flour using a wooden spoon. Batter would be a little moist.
4. Using a piping tip, pipe out the cookie onto a baking tray lined with baking sheet.
5. Top with chopped cherries (for a merry look).
6. Bake at 160°C till the cookies turn slightly brown (original recipe suggested 15 mins, for me I checked on the oven from time to time until I get the desired color of my cookies).

I got the original recipe from e's joie. I doubled the scale of the ingredients so I can bake more cookies in 1 shot, and it works :) I get about 100 cookies for my modified recipe, each cookie about 1/2 tbsp batter.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How to stick to new year's resolutions

Many of us like to set a list of new year's resolutions for ourselves. It may be learning a new language, joining a dancing class, quit smoking or stop being a workohalic and spending more time with family and friends. But most of the time we either procrastinate or we stop doing it after a few tries. And another year is gone.

How to stick to new year's resolutions? These are what we can do.

1. Reminder
Set the time slot for your new activity in your handphone/Outlook calendar with beeping reminder at least a day before, so you do not have excuses on last-minute reminder and have not prepared for it. You can have post-it notes on your PC monitor, mirror, wardrobe, fridge; anywhere that is often visible to you but it's private.

2. Companionship
Doing it with your spouse/friend/siblings/cousins, so that you can motivate and reminding each other. Doing something new in a new environment with a campanion helps to relieve the fear, nervousness and shyness too.

3. Rewards
Rewards always increase motivations. Treat yourself to a spa/massage or buy a pretty dress to reward yourself for a month's hardwork of Pilates.

4. Sidetrack
If you are planning to quit a bad habit, find something else to do to sidetrack your usual habit. Whenever you think of picking up the packet of potato chips for your DVD time, reach for an apple instead.

5. Enjoy it!
Enjoy what you are doing. Nobody will procrastinate or forget to do the things they enjoy.

6. Most importantly, START it now :)