Wednesday, December 30


The original plan for #32 was to print out the saved .jpg files of interiors I loved and then file them in categories -- bedroom, book shelves, etc -- in a binder.

However, the thought of printing out gazillions of crummy low-res pix and then punching holes and then all that filing was just too daunting, not to mention unenvironmentally friendly.

So I've done it digital style, in the form of a visual scrapbook. Well, it's actually another blog, but one with lots of pretty photos of things I love -- mostly home decor, but also some fashion and some quirky stuff I come across on my online travels -- and very few words. The fact that I can tag the posts for easy reference just sealed the deal.

I'm still slowly uploading all my photos -- I wasn't exaggerating about there being gazillions, but luckily my work involves lots of thumb twiddling followed by frenzied activity -- so come visit often at karang guni tendencies and leave a comment or 10 (I'm a comment ho! And don't worry about having to include your email address, just put a fake one or something if you want. Have I mentioned that I'm a comment ho?). And not to make this blog jealous or anything, but I may actually post there more often, since putting up pix is so low commitment.

Sunday, December 27

merry festivus

How was your holidays? Mine was filled with all the little things that matter.

Fairy lights put up for the family feast on Christmas Eve.

Mini Christmas tree I just had to get when I saw it in Cold Storage. Note to self: It is a warzone there on Christmas Eve. Avoid at all costs.

Unfortunately, I had to brave the hordes of last minute shoppers to get ingredients to bake some dog biscuits. The adorable cookie cutter was from Pantry Magic.

Very simple recipe which I modified. Pour 3/4 cup of hot milk over 125g (or half a block) of unsalted butter and stir. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 egg. Add whole wheat flour, half cup at a time, total of three cups. Knead for a few minutes, then roll out on a flat surface and cut into bone shapes. Bake at 160 deg C for 50 minutes and allow to cool.

They smelled quite heavenly, if I may say so myself. I also ate one, just to test if they were as good as they smelled. Not bad, but super hard.

They were a big hit with all the neighbourhood dogs (this is Chase the chocolate lab from next door)...

My friends' three dogs at their Christmas Day BBQ-cum-mahjong (this is Tyson the Italian Greyhound who snuggled in my lap while I played mahjong and lost all the money I had in my purse)...

And of course, Randolph (seen here with a Santa Claus ribbon around his neck, a cookie on his paw and a longing look on his face).

Ah, the indignities he has to suffer for a mere cookie.

Much as I detest dogs being dressed up, I have to admit that I find this hilarious, even if he doesn't. His grumpy face says it all.

After all that feasting, this is my weight. The scale reads in metric, FYI.

Wednesday, December 16

butter makes everything better

Struck by an intense craving for bread and butter pudding, I scoured the Internet (well, actually the recipe was one of the first few I googled) and decided to make it last night.

Right after work, I rushed to Cold Storage in the rain and bought a loaf of bakery bread (I think it makes a difference from the dense Gardenia/Sunshine type). All the other ingredients were pantry staples, so I didn't even have to buy them.

I sort of winged it and modified the recipe. Assembly took a mere 15 minutes, then the bread had to soak for 30 minutes before being baked for another 30 minutes.

And by 11pm, I was wolfing down hot, custardy, chocolatey goodness. (It looked burnt, but wasn't. It was the brown sugar I sprinkled on top. My sis cruelly described it as one of those topographical Google maps.)

Here's the recipe I made up (for my own reference, because I am sure I will be making this over and over again):

Six to eight slices of white bread (with crust), cut into four triangles
Half a slab of unsalted butter (you can use less if you butter the bread less liberally, but I went all out)
Two cups of milk
Two eggs
Half a packet of chocolate chips for baking (I used the semi-sweet ones I found at the back of my fridge, leftover from a long-forgotten baking project; the recipe called for raisins, but I was morally opposed to them)
Five teaspoons of sugar (I used brown, but white may have been better)

Grease the oven-proof dish, which should be deep enough to allow the bread to soak.

Butter the bread triangles and layer in the dish, buttered side up. Toss in a large handful of chocolate chips. Continue layering with the bread until you reach the top of the dish.

Beat the two eggs in a container that has a spout for easy pouring, then add the milk and three teaspoons of sugar. Pour the mixture over the bread, making sure all the slices are soaked. Sprinkle the remaining two teaspoons of sugar on top.

Let the dish stand for at least 30 minutes, for the bread to be thoroughly soaked.

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Bake for about 30 minutes until the tops are slightly brown and the pudding has risen somewhat.

Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long), and dig in. You don't even need to add custard or ice cream, it's good enough on its own.

Monday, December 14

the (accidental) wedding planner

Our union is like this: You feel cold, so I reach for a blanket to cover our shivering feet.
A hunger comes into your body, so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes.
You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance, and I quickly kneel by your side offering you a whole book as a gift.
You ache with loneliness one night so much you weep, and I say here is a rope, tie it around me, I will be your companion for life.

~ Our Union by Hafiz

A friend of mine, let's call her the Neurosurgeon, is getting married on Saturday to this guy who, for the sake of simplicity, shall be known as the Diplomat.

Because the Neurosurgeon works long hours on crazy shifts and the Diplomat is not even based in Singapore, somehow, I landed the job of Wedding Planner.

My only experience has been as a 姐妹 (twice), a guest-book-angpow-box guardian (also twice) and Polaroid photographer (once, super fun until I realised I had to shoot a former MP and my company's CEO).

So far, we have settled:

-- the dinner venue (after the crushing disappointment of not getting the first choice restaurant),
-- the hair stylist (the Nazi, of course)
-- the flowers (a very efficient and cost-effective friend)
-- the alteration of gowns (my seamstress, who is not only good, but also always cheery and has lots of gossip to share about acquaintances with $20,000 French lace wedding gowns and cheap bridesmaids' outfits)
-- the shoes (two pairs bought in one intensive Saturday afternoon of mall pounding)
-- the photographer (finally found one after being turned down many, including three by the names of Desmond, Desmond and Desmond)
-- the music (acapella outfit from a smokey cigar bar, zero input on song selection from me, because I have deplorable taste in music)
-- the accessories (vintagey, hand-made and a perfect match to the gown)
-- the last-minute cheongsam (Tong Tong Friendship Store)
-- the last-second additional wedding gown (designed by my former elf, still being made as we speak).

I was also asked (but adamantly refused) to design her wedding gown (no experience, too stressful) and take photos (ditto). I gladly offered my services for her food tasting session, though, where three of us devoured portions meant for six.

Only things left to do: Make the angpow box, do the place cards for the dinner and lose enough weight to fit into the dress I am intending to wear.

Phew. Did we leave anything out?

If I ever get married and if I decide to wear a poufy white gown and if I decide to hold a wedding dinner and if I do get a band to perform -- all very big ifs and all of which I am not sure I want -- then these would be the songs I choose. Of that I am sure. The tenderest love songs are those crooned in Hokkien.

Saturday, December 5


Trapped in Cold Storage during a sudden afternoon downpour -- seemingly a daily occurrence, afternoon downpours, I mean, not being trapped, although that has already happened three times in two weeks -- I succumbed to a punnet of cranberries on half price at $5.

I have to state for the record that before this, the only cranberries I've had were dried, juiced or sauced. After tasting them "raw", I realised it was with good reason they were processed. These glorious red rubies were both tasteless and sour at the same time, if that was at all possible. They sure looked purdy in my baby blue colander though.

The solution? Cranberry muffins (with walnuts added for more crunch), baked in the cutest floral muffin cases from X, on a drizzly Friday afternoon with my sissy. Mom stood behind us and breathed down our necks (oh, I mean supervised), finding fault with the way the flour was sifted, walnuts chopped and oven preheated.

Though the mini muffins looked way cuter, the big ones were more moist. And more satisfying too, as they took more than two bites to finish.

About 25 minutes later, we were gobbling these babies down. And the next day, we had them for tea. And there are still more left for breakfast picnic we plan to go on tomorrow, if we can wake up on time.

Listening to The Cranberries' Linger now, for the most tangential of reasons.


For way too many years, I'd put off going to the dentist. Just one of those things I never got round to doing, but now it's done. And my teeth are "pretty good", according to the dentist, so I guess not visiting didn't do any harm.

Next visit should be in 2014, give or take a couple of years.

[For those interested, toothbrushes belong to sis (bear), mum (panda), dad (frog) and me (dog, butofcos).]

Wednesday, December 2


Do gooding makes me feel good.

Instead of my goal of buying a cow for charity -- for some reason, none were on sale this year, although there were goats and pigs -- I substituted it with two school bags, four pillows, five standing fans, six mattresses and 17 rice cookers.

This was with the help of some friends from work, who all gave so generously, so that we could fulfil the wishes of some of the needy folks of the Boys' Brigade Sharity Gift Box.

So. These are not cows, but rice cookers can go moo, too. And that's #11. Good grief, I still have another 20 more items to cross off the list and less than two months to go.

P.S. The above photo was shot with a disposable camera from Muji, which failed me horribly. Out of 27 shots, perhaps three were half decent. The rest were horrendously under-exposed, even those shot in my brightly fluorescent-lit office or on a scorching day on Sentosa. Piece of 200-yen-impulse-buy crap.


Over the past three days, I had unwittingly cut all meat from my diet. Guess I was a temporary lacto-ovo pescatarian -- there was only one little lapse, can you spot it?

Breakfast: Carrot cake (the ang moh kind, baked by mom), prune juice
Lunch: Mee goreng, teh si
Snack: Mini bowl of laksa, soon kueh, chicken wing
Dinner: Fried fish, turnip, dark chocolate

Breakfast: Nutella with bread, prune juice
Lunch: Prawn and scallop udon, hard-boiled egg white
Dinner: Seafood salad with wafu dressing
Supper: Tomato, fish and tofu soup, dark chocolate, Yakult

Breakfast: Wholemeal bread, prune juice
Lunch: Seafood noodles, teh si
Snack: Mini dark chocolate tart, handful of honey dijon mustard chips, cuttlefish, two organic strawberry cookies
Dinner: Fish, spinach with century and salted eggs, dark chocolate, Yakult

Wednesday, November 25


I love me and memes. Thanks for the tag, Wallflower. Those who want to play along, please do. I'm looking at you, you, you and you.

where is your phone?

your hair?

your mother?

your father?

your favourite food?

your dream last night?

your favourite drink?

your dream/goal?

what room are you in?

your hobby?

your fear?

where do you want to be in 6 years?

where were you last night?

something that you're not?


wish list item?

where did you grow up?

last thing you did?

what are you wearing?

your tv?

your pets?


your life?

your mood?

missing someone?


something you're not wearing?

your favourite store?

your favourite colour?

the last time you cried?

your best friend?

one place that i go to over and over?


favourite place to eat?

Monday, November 23

ah sir

In case you are not familiar with TVB dramas or terrestrial TV crap, there is now a cop show on Channel U, 学警出更. My entire family tunes in because (a) we like TVB dramas and (b) terrestrial TV is crap, so we don't have much choice.

As I was showering at 10pm, I could hear the familiar macho theme song: "Oh can you feel, our sweat and tears, will overcome hardship and fears." Yes, I know the lyrics and can even sing it in the requisite Hong Kong accent.

My sis, who was brushing her teeth, exclaimed: "Oh, Zhang Sir fell off the cliff." To which I replied: "He won't die one lah. Because Madam Yuan is going to die."

At the same time, I could hear my mother asking in Hokkien: "Wu si bo? [Got die or not?]" and my dad assuring her: "Si liao bo hee zo! [Die already no show!]"

After all, it is only episode 12. Cannot be so fast bo hee zo.

Saturday, November 21

Wednesday, November 18

tis the season for gingie

What can I say? I love Gingie in all its incarnations.

Make your own with this pattern.

Tuesday, November 17

pithy, that

Notch in the mood to work, so am just loitering at time-sucking sites on the net. Like One Sentence, for instance.


At first glance, I thought these were karma sutra gingerbread men. But this is even better: yoga poses!

The Warrior 1 and Plow poses crack me up. Gingie has a fat ass.

From here.

Saturday, November 14

ichiran vs ippudo

After a hugely disappointing ramen dinner at Aoba at Ion Orchard (soggy noodles which bore only passing resemblance to ramen, sodium overkill in the soup, even for a self-professed MSG addict like me), I sorely needed to exorcise the bad memories of that meal.

Lucky for me, I was in Tokyo for a junket, so I made ramen my mission. (My other mission to get a Jil Sander for Uniqlo double-breasted winter coat was a fail. Sold out!)

First up, Ichiran (Iwamoto Bldg. B1, 1-22-7 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku).

I dub it the Anti-Social Ramen, because you have zero human contact during the entire meal. First, you purchase a ticket from a vending machine at the entrance, then you queue up in front of a board with two rows of red lights. When a light turns green, it means a customer is done and you can proceed to the vacated solo booth seat.

The bamboo curtain is raised and a pair of disembodied hands politely slips you an order form in Japanese. I whisper: "Sumimasen, English please?" and the Japanese form is whisked away and replaced with one in English like magic. It is extremely detailed, from noodle firmness to strength of soup to spiciness to even the amount of green onions.

I order an egg, thinking it would be added in the soup, but it comes first, accompanied by a sachet of salt, a thoughtful wet napkin and detailed step-by-step instructions on how to peel it.

When the noodle arrives, unexpectedly quickly, the bamboo curtain is lowered and I am left to tuck in in private. The soup stock is awesome, but my order is too moderate, being my first time and all. I prefer much firmer the noodles, spicier soup and much more green onions.

The egg, too, is not runny enough -- a cardinal sin in my book.

Nonetheless, I slurp up every last drop.

Three days later, it is time to taste test the ramen at Ippudo, (Odagiri Bldg. 1F, 4-9-11 Roppongi, Minato-ku).

If you squint, you can just about make out the name of the shop on the chopstick holder, which would come in handy should you not be able to identify the shop (although the queue outside is dead giveaway). Also check out its website with the cutest Lego people zipping around. My digital camera, which keeps faltering intermittently on me throughout the trip, dies on the spot. And my film camera only has only three precious shots left.

The customisation of your order is not as detailed compared to Ichiran. I only get to choose the noodles (firmest, of course) and spiciness (more spicy). You also get to talk to the waitress and oogle the cute young chefs just an arm's width away behind the counter.

The noodles and spiciness are just right, though the soup is not as robust as Ichiran. Being the freak that I am about different food items mixing in the bowl, I am secretly pleased that the meat, seaweed and half a runny egg (which came with the ramen) are served on the side.

The ramen at Ippudo wins this round, but finicky me will definitely be going to Ichiran again finetune my order. And I need a return visit to Tokyo to try another apparently hot fave, Kyushu Jangara Ramen at Harajuku. Next time!

P.S. It is on my travel wishlist to visit the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum. Other dream destinations include Legoland and Six Flags Magic Mountain.

P.P.S. Actually, my favourite noodle type is udon.

white wishes

Meringue rings, to be worn, not eaten.

Hipster headphones, to be seen, not heard.

White iPhone, to have and to hold.

Friday, November 13


Keep forgetting to post about these milk teef. Cute until can die, can.

My fave tale of them is the one where Lardee wants to play but ickle wants to read. Which is yours?

3D in the 19th century

I have no idea how to post these awesome, if a little nausea-inducing, animated gifs, so go here to see them. Way cool!

Thursday, November 12

molotov cocktails

Upon checking in at the unintentionally funky retro hotel (ie. hasn't been renovated since the 1970s, now finds itself back in fashion, immaculately maintained) in Karuizawa, I spotted this innocent looking blueberry pie on the side table in the nook by the window.

I didn't take a bite of the blueberry pie because I was momentarily distracted when I opened the curtains and took in the view. I may have also gasped audibly, suaku that I am.

D, in the next room, was able to multi-task and take in both the view and the pie at the same time, before we had to rush out again to go to the sprawling outlet mall before it closed. She could not raving about the one bite she managed. (Check out the graphic print of the carpet in the lobby. Groovy!)

We both did not find much to buy at the outlet mall, although two other girls bagged thousand-dollar totes from Tod's. Apparently they were a real bargain. I wouldn't know. Thousand-dollar anything doesn't sound like a bargain to me. The mall was real pretty though, in a manicured golf-course way.

After the shopping frenzy, we rushed back to our rooms to change for cocktails and dinner. I had a few minutes to sneak a bite of the blueberry pie. That was when I had my Molotov Cocktail* moment. If not for the fact that I was running late, I would have devoured the entire thing.

Throughout dinner (spectacular dining room with a million bulbs in the ceiling, but unspectacular Western food with Japanese touches, such as this green soup below, made of the yomogi herb), I kept thinking of the quarter of pie languishing in my hotel room.

And I wasn't alone. My dinner companions were also contemplating how to fit the pie into their stomachs after that four-course dinner.

The pie -- filled with subtly sweet raspberry jam, topped with fresh blueberries on a crumbly buttery base -- was that good. We were still talking about it the morning after. I just had to buy a Doraemon phone charm representing the region's special pie as a keepsake.

Back in Tokyo, while wandering around Ginza, I came across this supposedly famous Belgian waffle place. There was a longish queue, but since I had nothing more pressing to do than visit Muji, I decided to try it, thinking it would be like those limp waffles made on the spot at heartland bakery shops. I mean, how good can a waffle be, right? After a 10-minute queue, I was standing outside on the sidewalk having another Molotov Cocktail** moment.

Imagine "Hot now!" Krispy Kreme, crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, just not in a donut shape and without icing. The waffle shop name is Manneken -- not sure how to pronounce it, but I'm sure it means "best darn waffles in the world" in Flemish or whatever it is they speak in Belgium. I'm still kicking myself for not buying the gift pack to bring home.

* Molotov Cocktail is the shorthand X and I came up with to describe eating something so incredibly mind-blowingly delicious that your tastebuds just explode with a "jee-bah-BOOM"!

** I proclaim Japan the land of Molotov Cocktails. Erm, okay, that doesn't sound right, but you get the meaning. I remember having a Molotov Cocktail moment in Osaka last year over a stewed tomato. Coming up: the battle of Ichiran vs Ippudo. Ramen! Banzai! Kamikaze! Ganbatte!