Friday, April 30, 2010

Eddie's again

At the insistence of our I'm-the-center-of-the-universe-the-world-revolves-around-me coworker,  we ordered Eddie's for lunch today.  Not liking the breaded chicken in thickened sauce, I thought I would try something else, and the Spicy Thai Green Curry Chicken sounded really appealing.  I was expecting the kind of Thai Green Curry I know - thin but packed with flavours of lemongrass and coconut, but little did I know Eddie's interpretation of Thai Green Curry Chicken is breaded cubes of chicken in a thick and greasy green sauce that is spicy.  There was no coconut nor lemongrass nor anything Thai about it, and it was so thick and greasy that I could hardly stomach it.  I ended up eating less than half of the generous serving, and I don't really know what to do with what's left.  Good thing the lunch special was served with corn soup and spring rolls, otherwise I wouldn't have managed to enjoy lunch.

By the way, we all got Eddie's because of her, but the one who insisted on Eddie's in the first place did not enjoy her lunch neither - apparently the manchurian chicken she ordered left a really bad aftertaste in her mouth.  We think it's just her being picky.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Word of the Day: Limbo

Limbo: "an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place", "a region on the border of hell"

I absolutely hate being in limbo - but that's where we are, knowing about the impending misfortune but not a clue when it will actually happen.  Makes it all the more stressful - kind of like that Nicolas Cage movie "Knowing" - you know it's happening, but you can't do anything about it.  The helplessness makes it all the harder to deal with the actual blow.

Interestingly, as the stress level built up, the more make-up I am seeing around the office.  I for one used to come in with the bare essentials - eye liner and a quick dab of concealer for the dark circles under my eyes, but lately, I've been needing more: powder, 2 to 3 shades of eyeshadows, shiny lip gloss... and I can see my coworkers are being quite ornated too.  I wonder why?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Summer Corn Dip

For my boss's and coworker's birthdays yesterday I had also brought in a corn dip - I was going to bring some bruschetta, but since my Italian coworker is already bringing her famous salsa, I would bring something else that would go nice with it.  Now I wasn't brave enough to try my hands at guacamole, and I didn't really want to endure another trip to the grocery store, so I improvised with what I had on hand.  Turns out the dip I made was a star - everyone in the office was raving about it and everybody I talked to requested the recipe for it:

  • 1 canned corn kernels, drained (I used Del Monte Summer Crisp - hence the name)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small roma tomato, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 baby cucumber, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 thai chili peppers (small red pointy ones), seeds removed, finely chopped – be careful handling these as they burn (skin, eyes, nose, whatever they come into contact with)!!
  • A squeeze of kraft sundried tomato and oregano dressing (1 tbspn?) - I think it would be nice to add some lime juice but I didn’t have any on hand so I used this instead.

Mix everything in a bowl, then add enough mayo to coat mixture (3 -4 tbsp?) and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Refrigerate overnight.
Serve with Melba toast, crackers or tortilla chips.  Enjoy :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Challenge: No Flour Allowed - Chocolate Truffle Cake

Today was my boss and my dear coworker's birthdays (yes, they share the same birthday, and there's another lady in the department down the hall that also had her birthday today), so likely always I made a cake for the occasion.  This time around, however, they were proactive in planning the celebration and had taken care of the fruits and snack and cake - but there was one coworker in our group that was allergic to gluten and it didn't seem like he could enjoy the cakes nor the other treats.  So I rose to the challenge and made a cake that he, too, can enjoy: a chocolate truffle cake.

The original recipe was found in Good Housekeeping Great Baking (which, by the way, is the best cookbook EVER), this is adapted to what I had in terms of time and ingredients:

Wrap bottom of an 9” spring-form pan with foil and grease. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In big bowl, make ganache by combining 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks, and 16 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 bag of Hershey's special dark chocolate chips) - microwave at low power for 30 seconds, stir, then repeat until melted and smooth.

In another bowl, beat 9 egg yolks with mixer at high speed until thick and lemon-coloured, about 3 minutes. Gently fold yolks into ganache using rubber spatula until just blended (colour uniform throughout).

In another CLEAN bowl and CLEAN beaters, beat 9 egg whites at high speed until almost stiff (soft peak = when you lift beaters the whites stay standing but doesn’t hold its shape). Gently fold 1/3 of the ganache mixture into the whites then fold the whites into the rest of the ganache.  Fold just until cake batter is uniform in colour.

Pour cake batter into pan and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven immediately – the centre will still be jiggly but DO NOT OVERBAKE.  Let cake cool in pan for an hour then transfer into fridge – refrigerate overnight.

Run knife around the side of cake to separate from pan, then remove side of spring-form pan. Invert cake onto serving plate then lift pan bottom and peel off foil. Dust with confectioner’s sugar or garnish with whipped cream (which I had forgot to bring today, but it still turned out great - it's just that it doesn't look very pretty...)

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I had pickled some radish and carrots, thinking they would be nice in cold spring rolls, but I never got around to getting all the ingredients and making them until this weekend.

And guess what I found at the Asian supermarket when I was picking up the mint and basil for the spring rolls?  RAMBUTANS!!  I love rambutans because they are often sweeter yet more refreshing than the lychee.  The only thing is the skin of the seed usually gets stuck and are quite hard to remove.  If you haven't tried them, don't be scared of this red hairy fruit - they are delicious!!

Love me, Love me kNots

After trying out different stitches and patterns for Michelle's scarf, I finally settled on this crochet stitch called "love knots", or "lover's knots".

I was drawn to it because of its name, and also because it was exactly the kind of texture I was looking for - simple and lacy - just perfect for summer wear.  And it worked really well with the multicolor yarn that I picked - the other patterns I had tried usually get lost in the colors and don't show like they are supposed to.  So I am very happy when I finally found this stitch, and even happier when I realized how quickly it grows.  From start to finish it took me less than a week, and I had to stop myself from continuing despite having yarn left because it was getting too long - even after wrapping around my neck it still fell close to my knees.

I had so much fun working up this scarf, I hope Michelle will like it too!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

As two we were just about to snap, as one we now stand strong.

stressed and depressed

About a hundred of us were herded into the gas chamber today... or at least that's what it felt like.  Going through the grand hotel lobby where our Christmas party was held (when we still had one the year before), we were in a totally opposite mood - anxious, worried, tense.  I found it so ironic that we so politely applauded to welcome the big people from our new parent company - afterall, they were here to bring us bad news.  I guess it's inevitable and most of us half-expected it, but actually hearing it was still a shock.  And what's worse, after the devastating news, I also realized something more frightening - the support that I need the most, like usual, will not be found in the one I seek from.  I was never - nor would I ever become - the priority to the person that I want to lean on.  I guess I must be too demanding because I just wanted a little bit of attention in my emotional crisis.  Furthermore, I don't know if I should break the news to my parents, and if so, how to tell them so as to minimize stress and tension because they do tend to jump to conclusions and to over-worry.  I am so stressed and depressed for I stand alone, with no clue of what's to come and how long until I fall apart.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

pastel de nata

Treats from the recently opened Caldense Bakery in Streetsville - different flavors of the Portuguese custard tarts.

Friday, April 16, 2010

feeling better

Congratulations to my coworker, who managed to save a sick day at the expense of my having to take one.  But after my 18-hours sleep-a-thon, I do a little bit feel better.  My dislike level for my coworker is growing though, since she has been unapologetic and unsympathetic during this whole episode, and she's gone back to dialing on the speaker phone again!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I don't know if she's just rubbing it in, but the coworker who got me sick keeps telling me that "it'll get worse, and THEN after you'll get better". Geez. If she hadn't selfishly and inconsiderately stood over my shoulder to babble on about her kids or to bother me with her son's math homework when she was sick, I wouldn't have gotten this lingering cold to begin with!!! I mean, who does that?? I'm sick and I lay low when I come into work - I don't want to pass the cold onto anyone else. One person suffering from this lingering cold enough, it'd be horrible if anyone else comes down with it too.

And she still wants to talk, even though I could hardly speak with my sore throat. Or maybe that's why she wants to talk, because then I'd be forced to listen to her endless monologue about how hard life is treating her.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Cake for Darling

It's going to be my dear coworker's birthday tomorrow and I always try to bring a cake for my coworkers' birthdays. I didn't know if I was up for it this time around, being sick and all, but after a long day at the front desk and a nap induced by the supposedly non-drowsy daytime Neocitran, I was feeling much better and thought I could come up with something. I had wanted to bake her a cheesecake originally because of how much she seemed to enjoy it last year, but I didn't want to spend too long in the kitchen and overexert myself, so I switched to something quick and easy - a mousse cake similar to the Portugese "pudim de bolacha". Of course I adapted it to what I had on-hand, but it's basically a layered pudding of cookie crumbs and whipped cream flavored with condensed milk, made in a spring-form pan to resemble a cake. Yes, that's right - merely three ingredients and you can have a presentable and delicious cake that couldn't be any simpler.
Indeed it was simple. I was done assembling and decorating in about an hour - but tragedy struck when the bottom of my spring-form pan gave in and collapsed on the way to the fridge and half the cake ended up on the floor. I could only salvage what's left in the pan (which remained in my hands) and it wasn't pretty. All the time and effort that went into piping and decorating were lost - plus now I had to put in extra time to clean. It was the first time ever that I had scraped whipped cream from the floor. It was also the first time in a long while that I had mopped the kitchen. It's time to shop for a new spring-form pan.

Sorry Darling, but I don't think there will be home-made cake this year for your birthday.  Unless if I skip Zumba tonight, but I doubt that would happen.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Michelle's Scarf in Progress

I keep starting then unravelling the scarf for Michelle - I've picked out this yarn with gorgeous colors but I just can't decide on the pattern!  First I tried just a simple knitted lace pattern on my Size 9 needles and it looked quite nice - except I was hoping for bigger holes in the lace so that it could be worn as a summer scarf too.

I turned to crochet for more of an "open" lace pattern:

But it turns out that this yarn with its varigating colors is not quite suiting this pattern as the shells sort of got lost in the colors.

So I undid that, and dug out my 15-mm needles (my coworkers called them needles-on-steroids) to work a simple yo/k2tog lace pattern, but that slid off the needle accidentally and it was a nightmare trying to pick up all the stitches.

So now I'm onto the next pattern - in crochet, because it feels like crocheting grows faster than knitting.

I don't know when Michelle will ever see this scarf finished!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Our Pair of Scarves

Finally done!!

And with the sudden drop in temperature this weekend, we got the chance to wear them together before having to stow them away until next winter.

Same pattern for both his and mine - if you can call it a "pattern" at all, because it's so simple and easy.  It's basically a 2 x 2 ribs with a slip stitch in the beginning and a knit in the last stitch of each row (i.e. multiple of 4 stitches plus 2), changing the color of the yarn whenever I felt like and ending whenever it's long enough.

These two were done on Size 9 needles in Patons Classic Wool in Chestnut Brown, Aran, with Deep Olive and Leaf Green for his and Current and Woodrose Heather for mine.

Now onto Michelle's scarf...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sick... Yuck!

Thanks to my industrious coworker who has decided to come to work this past week despite her lingering cold (so she could gossip, surf the net and dial on speaker phone), I've got a sore throat and a splitting headache.  The problem is, when I get sick, my nose doesn't run like it should - instead of coming out through my nostrils, the gunk somehow gets stuck in my throat and I can't breathe.  I was told that it's called "post-nasal drip".  I guess the lack of sleep was a contributing factor too, and the weather's just been horrible.  I've practically finished my supplies of Halls and the non-drowsy NeoCitran is making me really sleepy.  Bleh!

On a brigher note, B and I are back to the tables for talk, although I can hardly speak with the lump in my throat.  At least he is willing to approach the subject more rationally this time around...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3 days and counting...

i think that's the longest time that we haven't spoken out of spite...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Woke up to thunders and a gloomy sky today and somehow I felt the need to pile on some make-up.  I have long forgone the make-up ritual in favor of arriving on-time for work, but I figured several minutes spent on sweeping some powder on my face is better than all the explanation for the dark circles and feeling down for the whole day.  It's funny how make-up seems more necessary when you're dejected - it's like a barrier, almost, to keep the harsh reality out and to cover up the wavering confidence and nasty emotions.  It's almost like a drug, or therapy.  I guess when you look better, you'd feel better too.

Monday, April 5, 2010