Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Dinner This Year

The year-end celebration seems to be a funny social phenomenon. This is the time when everyone is celebrating everything possible under the sun - birthdays, anniversaries, annual dinners, promotions, good exam results, & there would be someone striking Jackpot somewhere. And a celebration is not a celebration if its without food. And so begins the race to eat before the end of the year comes.

We, like the rest of you of course, were not spared from this social binging. And when you come from a large extended family like Greg's, there's a tendency to combine ten anniversaries & ten birthdays all in one night's worth of dinner. Things probably start rolling 2 weeks before and cap with his Uncle William's Christmas birthday or is it new year dinner. And not to forget our yearly cell group's dinner too.

We spent Christmas eve at Greg's VERY extended family's, this time at his youngest uncle Francis' home. I made a Shepard's pie & a couple of quiches for my mum-in-law for the pot luck.

Christmas day this year was at our place with my family. I decided to do something just for them since most of the time we're at Greg's VERY extended family marathon-like celebrations. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the partying, eating, drinking and be merrying without having me to cook up a storm.
This year's preparations where a bit more challenging. I normally have two gas tanks for cooking at the back of the house. Guess what? They both ran out & it was Christmas day.

Guess what again? Santa doesn't deliver gas tanks on Christmas Day.

But fortunately I had the electric cooker & portable stove to rely on. Thank God. But going back to basics was really tiring.

Fortunately these were done on time:

Australian Ham on the bone, complimentary from Roger ~ it was braised again in pineapple sauce.

Braised Lamb Shank ~ which my dad quite liked. Mind you he does not eat western food.

Rissoto with prawns and asparagus.

Chicken mango salad in lettuce cups ~ couldn't find the smaller cups so I had to make do with the less 'refined' version.

How can anyone go wrong with asparagus and bacon wraps.

French beans drizzled with aged balsamic and olive oil.

And this bottle of sparkling wine was really gorgeous. We learnt that we couldn't call it a champagne just because it did not come from the champagne region. Tonight, we're bringing another one to Alex and Jac's party. It's just another excuse to drink.

Cheers to all of you out there. What better reason to celebrate, it is Christ's Birthday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Xmas Delights From Nee's Kitchen

Christmas is about one day away & usually at this time of the year, Nee would be whirring, stirring & baking away in the kitchen.

I've just set up the Christmas tree today & the lights are now blinking. The holly is up & the candles are on the dining table.

And as always, I am playing the role of the kitchen helper, fridge space organiser, secretary, driver, errand boy, and stand by maid.

Behold, delights from Nee's Kitchen:

Apple Crumble

Heather's Four Seasons Stawberry+Mango Cream Cake -NEE: She wanted a surprise. Hopefully this is enough of a surprise for this talented gal. This idea if i remember correctly is from chickyegg. We must give credit to people. Thanks!

Winter Wonderland Strawberry Cream Cake

Chocolate Mud Cake
BTW, I am also Nee's blog representative.

NEE: This year's favourite orders are the strawberry cream cakes, double choc fudge cakes, choc hazelnut cheese cakes, crumbles and some other chocolate items and fruit cakes as well. Greg did not manage to take all the photos. Everyone is going chocolaty!

We wish you all a very blessed Christmas & a very Happy New Year ahead.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jeju Day 4: An Encounter with Daejanggeum

Six years after its television debut, Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace) is still the most watched Korean drama series ever in Asia. Mention this to any Malaysian housewife & they will show you their complete pirated DVD collection which they've watched repeatedly 10 times.

For those who live in the jungle, or not Korean-wave-inclined, Daejanggeum is a drama series about the legendary first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty. The chapter where she was cast away on an island was shot in this particular place called Oedolgae, which was located south of Jeju island.

As with most other tourist spots on Jeju, Oedolgae was created by violent volcanic eruption 1.5 million years ago.
The place is defined by pine trees & high cliffs that overlook into the ocean, and strange rock formations which have become legendary stories.

The Oedolgae actually refers to a strange rock that sits upright alone. Its also called Grandmother Rock. The story goes that once upon a time, an old woman waited for her fisherman husband to come back from the sea in desperation. She waited in vain & in full sorrow until she turned into a rock.

Funny, I've heard this turning -nto-a-rock thing before from my grandma. If you tell lies, the lightning will strike you & turn you into one. I guess it worked with kids of my generation. We were dumber & ranked lower on the evolutionary scale back then.

There's supposed to be another rock lying down which was believed to be the body of the deceased husband. I don't really know which one that is, but I'm sure its in either one of the photos. See if you can recognise the corpse.

From this point-of-view, you can see the old lady's side profile with the crop of hair at the top of the rock. She seems like she's wailing with her mouth wide open in sorrow & pain, just like in the Korean drama series.
The Oedolgae is also called General Rock. Legend foretells a general who fought against invading Mongolians. He cleverly disguised the rock as a giant, & that scared the sh*t out of the invaders & they defecated in their pants & committed suicide.
There is a spot called Cow Rock & I think its here.
It's supposed to be a good place for fishing & for watching the sunset.

And I think the island opposite from Cow Rock is called Beomseom island.

We stopped at about here cos the trail didn't seem to end. We didn't want to go on at this point just in case we'd turn into rocks.

Korean actress Lee Young Nee spotted.

Oh wait a minute. That was Nee. This was the real Lee Young Ae.

I didn't think she looked as good on TV as she does in real life. What a beauty.

Nuffnang Ad