Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cream of Pumpkin

It's freezing here. In Okinawan terms, that is.

rarely do temperatures dip below 15 degrees in winter, but this year the thermometers have been hovering at 12-14 degrees for the past few days. in case readers are sniggering about how i seem to be making such an issue of okinawa's relatively balmy-sounding winter, a walk outside will be all it takes to silence the cynics.

it doesnt snow here, but the strong northern winds are enough to freeze your underpants off. and it helps little that we are living in an old, rickety apartment that seems to be letting in drafts of cold.

so now here i am, clad in three layers of clothing and typing with cold fingers. tried to fend off the shivers by trying out a very simple recipe for cream of pumpkin soup (thank you ma for giving me your women's weekly is a godsend!) for dinner today and it was mouth-watering, lip-smackingly delicious!

started off by caramelizing half a brown onion and four cloves of chopped garlic in a pot, before adding in one large potato and half a pumpkin (both cut into chunks).

then i added three cups of chicken stock (take the shortcut like me and just dissolve two knorr chicken cubes in warm water) before letting the mixture come to a boil.

i let the soup simmer for a further 20 minutes to soften the vegetables, and then processed the soup by passing the entire mixture through a sift (which was a huge pain in the ass, by the way). i then returned the pot of soup to the stove and added in a quarter cup of milk.

all the hard work sifting by hand paid off eventually because the soup turned out so robust and flavourful that i didnt have to add any salt! just a generous sprinkling of coarse black pepper and my dinner was ready!
one painful regret though - i didnt have any bread at home to go with the soup and i was too chicken to venture out in the cold to buy some. Tsk.
note to self: buy a hand blender so you can try making all other types of cream soups!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back Home

And finally over with the pack-unpack, pack-unpack routine of the past months.

with the bathroom and shower freshly scrubbed of months of misuse and neglect while i was away, the apartment properly cleaned and the transition from "just living together" to "married" complete, i am enjoying my downtime trawling the internet while listening to 91.3.

thank goodness for live streaming. because now even though i'm a couple thousand miles away, i can still have the comfort of knowing that ECP is experiencing bottleneck traffic because of road works on the extreme right lane just after the bedok north exit. and oh, how i've missed the american twang of our local deejays' english!

this is just a very random update, but after reading the sybarite's rave about it and using it for my wedding, i decided that this was the best way to go:

i am past 30, but somehow my skin still behaves like an overly excited teenager. every now and then huge angry zits pay me a visit and my eyelids are so oily that NOTHING stays. not even those cream-type eyeshadows or waterproof mascara. so while most of the world happily traipse about with thick kohl-lined eyes and fluttering mascara-tinged eyelashes, i have had to contend to just nothing on my eyes because anything that i apply will just find itself deposited at the bottom rims of my eyes like dark rings in a matter of hours.
until now, that is!
i've heard more than a few good things about Majolica Majorca, a japanese line of cosmetics best known for their eye make-up. their mascara regularly makes the top spot in the beauty product rankings of japanese fashion magazines and they are also the brand of choice of those hip fashion queens in shibuya.
despite its huge popularity however, the brand is still considered a pharmaceutical-line product and goes for cheap in japan (1,260 yen).
which of course, only gives me more reason to give it a go.
majolica majorca has three types of mascara and a brush-on colourless lash base, all with equally confounding english names and all aimed at doing different things for your peepers such as adding length to pumping volume to creating the illusion of thick lashes.
i tried the "lash expander frame plus" mascara and am pleased as punch to report the following:
1. Definitely oil-proof! Does not smudge.
2. Has a wonderful two-way applicator that is easy to use for mascara dummies like me. Also prevents clumping and over-application.
3. Instantly adds length. It's really amazing watching your lashes grow longer upon application because the mascara contains fibre wigs that attach themselves to your real lashes, making them look longer.
4. It really looks natural!
So yes, with this glowing report card Majolica Majorca has earned a place in my personal beauty book of favourites.
Next stop eyeliner!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Bread Factory

All thanks to Ros, actually.

She descended upon my serangoon apartment like a stork bearing gifts, quietly dropping off her much pre-loved breadmaker at my doorstep before leaving for new york.

back when she was in sapporo, the little japanese breadmaker would fill her tiny apartment with the smell of freshly baked bread on cold, wintry mornings. ros thought she would do a good turn by passing her mobile bread factory to the one who resides in okinawa, since the breadmaker would be far too heavy to make the trip to america and rendered useless in singapore because of the different voltage requirements otherwise.

buoyed by her happy memories of crispy onion and bacon bread, i decided to give the breadmaker a test drive. with an electric current transformer my dad salvaged from his workplace, my mom and i succeeded in baking our first loaf of bread this afternoon!

ros, say hello to Walnut Bread:

and this is the nifty little box that made it all possible:

Big Thank You to Ros! : )