Friday, October 10, 2008


Greg had always wanted me to make bagels because he had it in the States, and therefore had been missing it here. Well, I suppose there is no bread more Americanized than the bagels. It is such a popular and common New Yorker breakfast as a grab-&-go item. It is Americanized because I think the origin of bagels is somewhat Austrian and Jewish but made popular by the Americans. They come in the New York, Boston & Montreal style and so on.

When I saw Terri doing her bagels, I was really excited and so very tempted. And I am thankful that Terri pointed out some dos and donts, which saved me a lot of trouble. I did some extra research with cook books and websites, tried some recipes out a few times, and the results are generally very good with the following recipe where I substituted sugar with honey instead.

But I hestitated in blogging this until now because to be honest, I have not tasted the original bagels before. And these goodies hardly existed in Malaysia previously. And I do not usually want to blog recipes which I dont have a certain standard to compare with, or that I myself have not eaten before.

I was fortunate enough to be able to try some at Bagel Street at London Heathrow. They looked so good and tasted as good, & after that, I was convinced mine should be ok.

London's Bagel

In case some readers may not know what a bagel is, it somewhat like a hard roll in a ring form with a glossy, puffy, brown exterior (sometimes topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt and onion, herbs). It has a chewy and dense interior. It is the only bread product that I know that has to be boiled and then baked in the oven. Bagels are usually eaten as sandwiches, slicing through a bagel to half it and to sandwich various fillings.

Bagel and Cream Cheese is a match made in Heaven. According to Jo and it is true, bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon is to die for. And we all would agree that Bagels taste and look like Foochow Kompia. I really wonder about the link there.

Make 8-12 (New York Style)
450gm of bread flour or high protein flour
1 teasp of salt
2 teasp of yeast
1 heaped tbsp of honey
225 gm of water
2 tbsp of corn oil/canola oil
One medium pot of simmering water and 1 tbsp of sugar
Egg to wash
some sesame seed, poppy seed or salt and onion to top

1) Sift the dry into a mixing bowl. Add active yeast. Beat on medium. Add honey to 90% of the water. Slowly add honey water mixture to dry. Add oil. Add rest of water if too dry. Continue beating on medium till gluten develop. Do the film/membrane test.

2) Set aside to rest for 50 min or so till the dough double in bulk.

3) Shape into 65 (make 12)- 80 gm (make approx 10) balls. Make sure each ball surface is smooth. Rest for 15 min.

4) Punch a finger into the middle of each ball and jiggle and lightly pulled it to form a large hole about 1/3 of the overall bagel diameter. Rest for another 20 min.

5) Generously oil baking tray. Get ready a pot of simmering water. Drop the bagel one or two at a time into the water and boil about 1 min each on one side. This step is essential in creating the puffy and glossy surface later but bagels look all crumpily at this stage. Dish onto baking tray leaving some distance apart as bagels puff up during baking. Egg wash the top surface and sprinkle on toppings as suggested.

6) Bake at 175 deg cel fan forced for 25 to 30 min till nicely brown. Cool slightly before cutting and sandwiching.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Inside the Notre Dame de Paris

Nee talked, I mean wrote, too much last night so I thought it'd be a good break for our dear readers to just enjoy the quiet solitude of the pictures without our usual yapping. So here goes, please enjoy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What Does Having A Father Mean?

I remember when I was 13, I won the 3rd prize in the school essay writing competition about my Mother. Come to think about it, many tributes have always been given to mothers. Have you ever wondered why? Even songs are usually focused on mums like "In this world, only Mum is good".

Dont get me wrong. I have nothing against tributes to Mums. They are the ones who have to go through XXX degree of pain just to bring us into this world after carrying us around for 10 months, then they spend the rest of their lives worrying about our lives. Based on that fact alone, we should all love our Mums with all our hearts.

Mother and child relationship is special and the bond is not something that we would have with another person ever. I love my Mum but there are times when I don't even want to see her. I can scream at Mum at the slightest annoyance, but if anyone ever say one bad thing about my Mum, I will tear them apart. I don't have the lovey dovey relationship with Mum but deep down inside is our ultimate love and trust for each other. Love does conquer all (any hurt, any pain, any sadness). Ehmm.. I am supposed to be talking about Dad.

For those of you who only have daughters, don't fret. Dad and daughter relationships are special in their own way. As the first man to pick your little gal up, she will always look to you as a role model. How many of you out there find that your husband is in some way similar to your dad?

For me, I tend to think that I am very close to my father. Maybe because we are in the same field of work. But somehow Dad seems to know me well. Mum says I can twist my dad around my fingers but I tend to think that I will do whatever for him, with or without him asking. Example: Why else do you think I did engineering? I would like to think that I am fulfilling his dream for him, achieving something that he never ha the opportunity to.

Having a father to most people is like having a mountain behind them, especially where finances are concerned. Many people never think of how lucky they are just because their fathers are around. For me, I thank God that I have my dad still, especially after his health scare in 2000. In engineering terms, my dad is my whole foundation of love, pillars of strength and my walls of protection, wisdom and advice.

To say that my father loves us is an understatement. I never doubt for a single moment that he will even give his life for us. Dad as a young man and just married, used to ride a motorbike . And what made him change his bike for a little car was when his first born and only daughter was born (that's me!). Mum used to tell us the story of how he refused to let his baby be driven around on a bike. What if it rains, what if it is too hot?

Only he would know how much money was spent on our education, and those credit card bills I had piled up for him because Melbourne was so 'cold' that I needed the latest fashionable winter clothing, every winter & non-winter seasons. Only he would know how many times I have called home crying because I was afraid of failing my exams the next day.

Before I started dating Greg, I actually showed Dad a photo of him, and poor Greg would probably not even get a date if Dad had not given his one of his neither-here-nor-there smile and said,"At least he doesn't look like a bad guy".

He is a pretty strict dad but we all know that he is softie. I remember when I got diarrhae a number of years back during one of the uni holidays and had to be hospitalised. I was in a lot pain but it really hurt more when I saw Dad started to panic and his tears dropped. It hit me like never before the love he had for the three of us.

I actually felt thankful to God that I still have a Dad. And I will not stop telling myself that I am very blessed because he is still around. By having a wonderful father, I am lucky enough to have a good example to follow, someone who could teach me about integrity, honesty and diligence. It means confidence in handling anything bad in life because he has shown it by example that there is no problem which cannot be solved, no bad luck that stays forever, and no bad things that will not pass.

Having a father means I have someone whom I can run to whether I am happy or sad. Having a father means that I can embrace life and be daring to try because I have the mountain behind my back. It means there is someone there who loves you as much as humanly possible and therefore, the world cannot be such a lousy place after all.

As he celebrate his 63 years of life, we wish him a very very long and happy life and many many more blessings to come!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Notre-Dame on the Outside

Unlike food, it's quite difficult to write a post about a building. That's why it's been taking me so long to 'digest' this.

Notre-Dame has always been one of the most famous French historical icons for centuries. I don't know how he did it but Victor Hugo even wrote a novel about it called Notre-Dame de Paris, or much better known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. It's strange how the later title moved the focus away from the building to the hunchback instead.

In a very pathetic way for me, the only little bit that I know of the Cathedral is through Disney's animated feature. I mean you probably don't realise it but when I say Oh Ya! I got see the kartun, Disney one right?, it tends to sound like ... very no class. I think Mr. Hugo would roll in his grave if he ever heard that.

Notre-Dame means Our Lady in French & during its time, it was a mega project which took forever to complete.

Construction started in 1163, & after passing through the hands of 4 architects, it was only completed in 1345.

That's 182 years man. That's equivalent to 2 generations of grandfathers. That's as long as the Chief Minister staying in power in Sarawak.

The 3 main entrances are called portals for some reason; Portal of the Virgin, Portal of Last Judgement & Portal of St. Anne. It doesn't take a lot to guess that the second one would probably be the least popular.

A Portal sounds very sci-fi somehow. I don't exactly know which portal this was. It was the first one of the left. That could have very well been the Portal of the Virgin.

Note the intricate designs on the door. Oh, by the way, these are Gothic designs.

These should interest the dark Gothic teens if they ever find their way to this goody-goody, bright & happy food & travel blog.

Notre-Dame is one of the very first Gothic cathedrals around, which meant that it had a lot of those peculiar screaming gargoyles.

It's strange. I would have thought that these were evil spirits trying to escape the power & clutches of the Holy Sanctuary, but instead, they were supposedly to be the protectors of the church.There's a reason why they're screaming like my secondary school teacher. You'd never have guessed it, they're actually there to drain out the rainwater which flows out of their mouths away from the building.

Besides going into the Cathedral, you could line up at the side & go up the towers to the top.

The line wasn't too bad that morning, we were feeling good, everything's on schedule, we had the time, so we decided to go for it.

It was a quick line, plus there was also free entertainment in front of us at the expense of other tourists.

Oh look, a cute wittle girl trying to interact with the pigeon man. Awwww.

Little does she know that these things carry the bird flu...

... & their shit is poisonous.

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