Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Savoury Muffin ~ Ham, Cheese and Red Peppers

I've been wanting to make this savoury muffins. Basically what you did is change the fillings with savoury items, such as sausages, cheese, tomatoes and so on. This time I use ham, cheese and colourful baby peppers (I choose yellow, red and orange peppers). For the cheese, I want to experiment with the Provene cheese. It tastes nice, with the texture of cheddar but not too salty, more similar to Danish Mozerella. Just nice as I don't like salty cheese. The ham? I use honey chicken ham (the supermarket under my office currently doesn't have the honey-baked ham, so chicken it is). Initially I want to use tomatoes, but I find it too troublesome, must take out the seeds and water as they're not good for the batter.
As you see in the pic, it looks... heavenly... imagine it hot and fluffy just come out from the oven... yumm....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer 2008 Blockbusters

I love summer! It's sunny, no frequent uninvited rains, and most of all, it's the season of blockbusters. Have listed 3 must watch movies: The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. And now you can see Jet Li as a mummy haha...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bangalore Day 3,4,5 ~~

Day 3 in Bangalore started with major stomachache… ouch… and off course follow by major diarrhea. Not sure whether this was caused by my stomach unable to adjust to having curry everyday, or the gap between the meals (FYI, our lunch started at 1.30 and dinner most likely started at 8). But whatever the reason is, I suffered for the next 2 days. I went to the wellness center in the office and the ‘doctor’ there gave me the medicine plus electrolyte powder. I’m impressed with India’s electrolyte. It tasted like Calpis water J. So at least I don’t have to force drink myself. We had another event on our Day 3. It’s bowling follow by dinner. Me and several colleagues arrived first at the ‘7-star’ hotel. He hotel was nice with the beautiful garden spread to entice your eyes. It’s like an oasis in the middle of dessert. And that’s the first time I saw BMW and its likes in Bangalore. We happily went to the room and waited, waited, nobody come so we attacked the appetizer and turned out the rest of the team were already down there play bowling. I didn’t play bowling, just happily cheered people because I scared if I move too much, my effort drinking the electrolytes go wasted, so don’t want to take a chance. After 1 game of bowling which took 2 hours to finish (8 people shared 1 lane hihi), we finally hit the buffet spread, only to find… curry served in more glamorous silver disk. By that time, I only looked for white color food only. As much as I like curry, I prefer to be able to survive until day 5 without having to go to hospital. After we got to hotel, I ate the medicine given to me in the afternoon, and it was a bad decision.

By Day 4 morning, I haven’t really slept for 1 hour continuously. So, there I was in the classroom looking pale and sick like a zombie. I only got better after I drink the 2nd ‘Calpis’ powder drink. I’m a bit sad when I decided not to join the rest of the crowd take the stroll to Bangalore city side. The gals were so nice help me buy the pink shawl. It’s nice and I loved it J. We passed Saibaba’s castle again on our way back to the hotel. This time it’s in daylight and the castle is totally different light. It’s in beige color with lots of colored glass for the windows. Still grand but I think the night view is more majestic. My dinner for the night was… room service. The food was so plain that I was too happy to eat it. O ya, we couldn’t take picture of our company logo from the office premises. So, we have to… walk till the outside pavement to take the picture J. The security guard didn’t say that we can’t take the picture at all, did he *wink*.

Day 5, finally, our last day in Bangalore. As I ride our usual bus to the office, I noticed certain things about Bangalore. Although lots of construction in the midst of run down shop buildings, there’s no holes, I repeat, no holes on the main roads, unlike some countries (off course, you know which countries I’m talking about right :)). I didn’t see any beggars hanging around the roads and intersections. People just buzzing around doing their own jobs, which is the sign of moving up, the city is building for the better. The ‘bajaj’ in Bangalore are in yellow and bigger, but with the same noise, off course. If there’s no noise, it’s not bajaj, right? Our last day of training went so fast and it’s time for us to part and quickly back to hotel to go to airport. Alas, we were caught with a very bad jam on our way to the airport. To avoid jam, our smart driver took the bus to the short-cut, and I noticed that the road getting smaller and smaller, and the street getting ruddier. It’s India at the ‘kampong’ side. It took us more than 2 hours to reach airport in the end. By the time we got to the airport, one of my Aussie colleage almost missed her flight. Luckily she’s still can check-in, so there she was rushing through the crowded airport. Btw, On the airport gate, they placed the biggest LV bag I’ve ever seen. But due to time constraint, we did not have the chance taking picture, late alone shop for some pins *bye bye my collections**. We had pasta for dinner and IT’S PLAIN!! By the time we finish our dinner, off we were for boarding. During the flight, I made sure that I get the continental dish. No curry for my tummy for the rest of the month (I predict). We reached Singapore at 6am, I was half awake by the time I got home and quickly snoozed until 4pm :) :).

So there, the Bangalore adventure ends here. :) :) :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bangalore Training Day 1 & 2

As some of you already know, I’m in India right now, in Bangalore to be exact, for a 1-week training. Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India. You can find almost all the big players in the IT field, from SAP to Intel, and also other Fortune 100 company like GE and so on. It’s a fast paced city with major developing process which can be seen from all construction going around. So, it will be another totally new city when you visit Bangalore in let say, the next 2 years. Personally, I’ve never heard of Bangalore until I was assigned to go for this training, and when I see the Channel News Asia covering the city the day before I flew off, it only showed the luxury side of Bangalore, definitely surreal and not worth comparing.

So, without much data researching (I’m here for training, not sight-seeing), there I was on the plane to Bangalore. Off course, the flight was enjoyable as always been expected from SQ. The remote control on my seat was not working after resets, so the stewardess was so kind to find me another seat in a very full flight for me to move so that I can watch the movies. Upon arrival, at 10pm, I was amazed by the new airport settings. Its interior is so similar to HK international airport, though it’s smaller in size. I could even still smell the paint. Seeing these things, I was actually looking forward to see what’s out there in Bangalore… until… I was outside looking for taxi. All the taxis were taken when I came out and I was caught by this one guy saying that he’s a license taxi driver. He even showed me his license. Since I couldn’t find the taxi brand that I want, I said fine. It’s not fine until I was walking so far on the airport parking lot and there’s a 1 small car waiting there, definitely not a taxi, and the guy showed me the fare listing which was so much more than the supposed rate. I was inside the car and got a bit scared to say no and get out from the car since it’s an unfamiliar area for me. I grew up in Indonesia and not supposed to be scared in this kind of situation, but alas, when you’re actually in the real situation, you forget your roots. So, I decided to stay inside the ‘cab’ (while praying hard and making sure that my cell-phone was working properly). Bangalore at night was not as friendly as the airport states. It’s not only dark (unless there’s other cars passing), with minimum lamp post around, but also give an eerie feeling as you literally cannot see anything except construction ruins and no people walking around (hey, it’s past 10 already). After 30 minutes, 50 minutes, 1 hour, I got nervous, and even more nervous as somebody don’t even reply my sms until morning (that somebody is hopefully reading this and feel sorry for me ;)). My heart almost stopped when the car suddenly pulled over and the driver said he got lost. Luckily I brought the map and he went to ask the hotel nearby. After another couple of turn arounds, finally I saw the 1 logo I know, SAP. Yes folks, this was the first time I was so happy to see the SAP logo. Finally with all the commotion, I got into the hotel in one piece. The hotel service is fantastic, I couldn’t complain more. The hotel staffs knew that you’re not used to the city and they accommodate that to make you feel comfortable. Kudos for those staffs J.

The next adventure came on Day 1 of training. Breakfast was nice except for the ‘mushroom’ accident. I pick out some mushrooms, so I thought, from the Western section of the buffet line. When I eat one, it turns out to be kidney (I dare not ask from which animals) and they didn’t clean it properly, so it smells, and I lost appetite soon after that fateful bite. Our buses were late because they went to the wrong hotel. After our morning adventure (including the joy ride that we had), we finally arrived in the training center. Our India office is so huge that it has its own cafeteria. I will skip all the training part as it’s… training, nothing more can be said. The facilitator arranged a catering for lunch during our stay. It’s nice and I actually tasted some Indian dishes that I’ve never tasted before. After training we had a welcome dinner and we, again, waited for the bus. It seems buses in here don’t like to wait for passenger, they prefer that we wait for them J. Dinner was Chinese Indian cuisine, something new for me, and I actually like them, though some of them were quite spicy for me. As we reached the restaurant, they still smoked the place with mosquitoes spray. So, we ate our appetizer with extra-repellent-infused. During our ride home, we came across Saibaba’s ‘castle.’ According to my colleage, Saibaba is a Hindu preacher. The ‘castle’ is a fusion of Taj Mahal and Buckingham Pallace. It’s so huge and grand with the white paint. I wonder how it looks like during the day time.

Day 2 was another new adventure. Today our bus almost hit another bigger bus. It’s obviously our driver’s fault. Our front rear almost hit the middle side of the other bus. But, our proud driver insisted that he’s right and went over ready to fight with the other driver. After venting his anger, our driver presumed his original task, and we reached the office safe and sound. I liked today’s lunch better than yesterday, although I wish they brought back the potato salad and the cheese-curd salad. They’re simply delicious. During our ride back, we noticed that the route that we took back and forward to the office was always different. The only sign that we knew we’re in the right track is the GE and SAP logo (note that the SAP logo become more and more important?). Our adventure continued to the dinner we had on the hotel’s restaurant. It’s a new restaurant (I guess) serving Chinese-Thai cuisine. Let me elaborate the set menu: It’s Ying (vegetarian menu with most of the menu made from baby corn) and Yang (non-vegetarian). We had the Yang. Yang consists of Pomegranate Chicken soup (you’ll wonder what the wonder fruit is doing in a soup), Pan Fried fish with garlic, Lamb with mushroom, fried rice/Sze Chwan noodle and last but not least, the dessert is the banana toffee with ice cream. To summarize, let’s just say the meal was good (something for a change from Indian food routines and the lamb and noodle was actually good), except for the soup. The soup was sweet, too sweet for my liking, made us had doubts and wonder on what we’re getting into this time.

With the end of day 2, I can conclude the rest of my trip will be another set of different adventures each day. It’s something different and definitely memorable with so many new people I met and went through the series of event together. So, stay tune for the next Bangalore adventure J.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Chocolate Cranberry Muffin

Just made it. Smells heavenly with the chocolate scent and taste delightful with the tanginess of cranberries.
What you need to do is change 20gr of flour from your fave muffin recipe with choco powder and add dried cranberries. Another combination for you to explore :).