Saturday, November 23, 2013

In Search Of A Cake To Bash

I am totally bushed from running all over town looking for a plain vanilla sponge cake covered with plain white fresh cream cream for Grandson to bash on his first birthday.

Nowadays people are so sophisticated that the plain vanilla sponge cake has been shunted off the shelf in almost all the cake shops I went to. Taking its place are its more glamorous and well-dressed cousins such as the Tiramisu, Black Forest, Cheescake, Opera, etc.  

Somehow the chocolate sponge cake managed to hold on to its tenuous distinction of being the standard no-frills birthday cake in one or two shops. Maybe that's because it is not as plain as its vanilla sister. 

In one shop, when I insisted on a half kilogram plain vanilla sponge cake, I was told that I must pre-order and that the minimum size for the cake must be 1 kg. Is the demand for plain vanilla sponge that low that it is no longer feasible for the bakery to make a half kilogram cake?

Thank God! I eventually found a shop selling mini sponge cakes at RM12 each but they have all been decorated. The least decorated one was a chocolate sponge cake with plain white fresh cream and a few cherries for decoration which we could remove to leave a plain white cake. 

It was a dilemma for me. Chocolate inside and plain white on the outside after we have discarded the cherries, or vanilla cake inside with fresh cream and some colourful decorations on the outside?

When Grandma is undecided, ask the Mommy. So, after consultation and a FaceTime session with 'bee, she decided on a plain vanilla sponge cake with some decorations that are quite appropriate for a little boy's first birthday cake. 

Finally, Grandson has a cake to bash on his birthday. :) 

At this point in time, I don't think I will have the energy to do this for my other grandchildren on their first birthdays. Despite the daunting thought, I know I will do it for all my grandchildren as long as the Lord enables me to. After all, that's what Grandmothers are for.  

After all the trouble I went to I cannot resist giving you a sneak peek of the cutest cake ever. Although it looks big in this cropped partial shot, the whole cake could actually fit into the palm of my hands!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

An Impromptu Girls' Night Out

It all started with Baby Sis buying a Groupon deal for dinner for four at 1881 Chong Tian Hotel. As is usual with all these discount vouchers the tendency is to leave it until the very last day to redeem the deal. 

Well, Thursday, 7 November 2013, was the very last day to redeem that particular deal. Baby Sis couldn't make it so it was left to Big Sister to come her rescue or the coupon would have gone to waste. 

Let me tell you, it is not easy to get people to join you for dinner at the last minute and it was really last minute. I was informed at 3pm and dinner was at 8pm. Hubby, who was just recovering from a bad cold, wanted an early night so he couldn't make it but, thank God, I managed to persuade these two ladies to join me. 

Esther and Melissa
That's what friends are for, right! To be there for you 
at the last minute and to help you eat! 

So that's how we ended up with an impromptu girls' night out with an impromptu hostess (me!) and impromptu guests (Esther and Melissa) who sacrificed their plans for the night to accept an impromptu invitation. 

The place was decorated pre-war style with rosewood furniture, ornately carved room dividers and lovely embroidery pieces. Unfortunately the choice of selection for the piped-in music jarred with the old world atmosphere. 

We were so disappointed with the food - taste-wise, presentation-wise and price-wise. The meal was supposed to be worth RM165 but we felt that it was not value for money. It wouldn't have mattered so much if the ambience had made up for lacklustre quality of the food but both were equally disappointing. Despite such shortcomings, the 3 of us managed to finish a 5-course meal for 4!

Will we return? Certainly not for the food but we might for the sake of visitors who want to have a peek into the lifestyle of the rich and famous of bygone days.

The menu: Puay Leng in Supreme Stock, Curried Prawns,
Curry Chicken, Barbecued Spare-ribs, Fish Head with Yam
and an unidentifiable Dessert
(yes, it was that terrible!)

I was not really dressed to complement the old-world furniture. 

Caden's First Drawing

Today is a very special day. We received our very first drawing from Grandson. 

See how artistic he is. 

Such bold strokes, such confidence. He's an artist in the making!

Wait till he discovers how much more fun it is to draw on the furniture, on the walls and on himself. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Prawn-mise Fulfilled

A week ago there was a morning when Hubby had to go over to the mainland to meet a client. As usual I waited for his call to notify me whether I were to go for lunch on my own or wait for him.

First he called to say that he was in his way back. Then he called again to say that the client was taking him to eat Udang Galah. :(

When he came back he was singing the praises of the fresh and delicious prawns that he had for lunch and he promised to take me there. Well, yesterday he did! It was a prawn-mise fulfilled.

The town of Nibong Tebal situated on the edge of the muddy Kerian River

Another view of the river showing the thick swathes of nibong plants along its banks that gave the town its name

The unpretentious facade of the Lim Aik Chew, the shop famous for its prawn dishes

Poor things! These fresh water prawns eventually ended up on our table.

Lunch is served!
Top left to right: the famous curry and steamed garlic prawns.
Middle left to right: chunky slices of bread to mop up the curry with sugar-cane drinks (in the background) to quench our thirst on a hot afternoon; fish fried to perfection and served with 3-flavoured sauce.
Bottom left to right: simple stir-fried Yau Mak and a cup of thick, smooth local coffee to complete our meal

The colours for the pictures of the food look a bit off because I accidentally activated one of the colour filters. And I didn't realised it until Hubby pointed it out to me. So blur.

I normally don't drink local coffee so I was pleasantly surprised that I like taste of the local coffee here. I also don't eat bread that is not toasted and I have not touched the fake plastic stuff called margarine in years. Imagine how amazed I was that I enjoyed the taste of bread with Planta and kaya.

Enjoying bread with Planta margarine and home made kaya

Maybe it's the novelty of eating at a new place or the excitement of taking a road trip and going out of the island. I don't know. But whatever it was, the four of us, God-daughter, God-son-in-law, Hubby and I, really pigged out on our meal.

It was well worth the trip.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Patterns And Textures

A few months ago 'Bee and I were at the (then) newly opened Paragon Mall when Grandson started to fuss and demanded for his feed. We looked around and eventually managed to find a secluded spot with enough privacy for 'Bee to breast- feed him.

Just as 'Bee was getting ready to nurse him, he caught sight of the floor tiles. Immediately he forgot all about his hunger, turned himself around to face downwards and started examining the pattern made by the floor tiles.

Nothing we did could turn his attention away from the distraction. The little boy loves patterns and textures.

Grandson studying the pattern made by the floor tiles