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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Brining





I was recently clued into brining, a process of soaking meat in a salt concentrate solution. This process allows salt exchange to take place within the meat until a natural equilibrium is reached. A nifty kitchen trick as I am always clueless as to how much salt to use.
 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Canon Powershot Photo Contest





Have an existing library of all your pictures? Enter your photo to win the new PowerShot G12 and S95 at http://www.canon.com.sg/powershot/


Contest ends 28 December 2010


Friday, October 29, 2010

Gucci, Burberry, Longchamp Bags





My 2010 indulgence. Shopping for tax free luxury bags during my Europe vacation, who knew it would be this much fun =)




The discount outlets in Europe slash their prices by up to 75% on past seasons. Longchamp doesn't need to be on sale to be half the price we pay here in Asia. All tax free of course.





Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eastern Europe Vacation





My 2 week eastern Europe trip started with a stopover at Dubai Airport, the only place that offers a millionaire raffle for USD$250 a ticket. I think there is a Maybach in there somewhere as well.




Day 1 - Prague. Sophisticated old world charm characterized by blackened sandstone buildings with gold accents, cobblestone roads and one colourful town clock.




The cool weather was perfect for a cup of hot chocolate and freshly made cherry gelato. Ice-cream must have been invented in winter, it never melts.




Day 2 - Berlin. I awoke to Autumn's lovely colours of green, yellow, orange & red trees that scattered their leaves like confetti everywhere.




The Berlin Wall. you'll be surprised to know it is entirely covered in graffitti...oops, artwork. Even neighbouring electrical boxes and road dividers weren't spared.




Found some space in my tummy for a German snack of hotdogs. It really is much tastier here, bigger too.




Day 3 - Dresden, the town of saxon kings & parties.




The old castle that has giant statues on every pillar, larger than life!




Tried the local Dresden specialty Eierschecke.




Dinner at a Chinese Restaurant. All Chinesche restaurants have chopstick instructions for diners.




Day 4 - stopover at Poznan. Checkout the front row view from my hotel suite.




Day 5 - Warsaw. My batteries died, so no pictures. Dinner at a vampiresque lair, 2 levels below ground *eeks*




Day 6 - Krakow, the legend goes that the dragon slayer built his castle on Wawel Hill near the dragon cave.




Murals were uncovered on only 1 half of the castle walls. The other half must have been destroyed in a fire.




Onto the old town, the heart of the city and social centre of locals.




Free time for a spot of shopping. Lots of handmade stuff and I managed to get some wooden toys for my nephews.




Delicious freshly made ice-cream again, this time in a waffle for 1 euro.




Day 7 - UNESCO World Heritage site, the Salt Mines. In existence since the middle ages and still functioning in this day and age. Amazing!




Day 8 - Budapest, named after Attila the Hun's brother. Well-known for it's pate (especially foie gras), paprika & saffron spices and lively gypsy music.




Beautiful sculpture of Archangel Gabriel in the centre of Heroes Square, with the wind blowing against him, frozen in time.




The magical sandcastle like structures in Fisherman's Bastion.




The tapestry weave atop Matthias Church




This beautiful day ended with a sunset river cruise down the danube.




Day 9 - Vienna, the city of music.




Schonbrunn Palace, a tour of the real living space of the Austrian royal family, Queen Maria Theresa was Mozart's patron. From the right-angle manicured trees to matching yellow roses. I purchased a swarovski crystal hairclip from the palace gift shop, a replica of the one queen Elisabeth had. 




A Mozart memorial concert at the baroque Musikverein concert hall. Blue Danube never fails to draw signs when performed by an orchestra.




Pumpkins galore. Hey, it's Autumn.




Day 10 - Salzburg, the city surrounded by cliffs and also filmsite of the movie "The Sound of Music".




They carved a public garage into the cliff, picture of the entrance below.




Seegrotte, originally a gypsum mine that was converted to a secret airplane manufacture site during WWI.




Day 11 - Swan Castle. On the way there, it started snowing and the tour bus stalled.




And just kept snowing! We were freezing.




Finally, we reached the castle but had trouble ascending it. Slipping, falling and got soaking wet.




This is how much snow fell, we could make snowballs! Now for some syrup...




Day 12 - Munich. More hot chocolate to warm up.




The old cobblestone paths are open game for vehicles and humans. With no clear markers, I realize vehicles zip in and out as long as there are no metal dividers preventing them from doing so.




Local produce will surprise you, white asparagus from a street vendor costs just 5 euros for 1kg. Fresh figs, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, red mangoes, dragonfruit.




And a musical clock at old town square that chimes and rotates at noon, just like the cuckoo clocks sold (I bought one).




It's also Oktoberfest! What better time for beer and pork knuckles.




Finally, time to head home. Stopover again at Dubai airport for duty free shopping. I lost my boarding pass and blame jet lag.




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SIM Card Backup Device





I received this handy device with the compliments of UOB for updating my details. In the event you lose your mobile or changing SIM cards, this device stores your address book. I always wanted one and didn't know where to get one.
 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Da Paolo Gastronomia



Long overdue post on one of my favourite lunchtime haunts. Great for supper as well. Then proceed onto Da Paolo Restaurant at Chip Bee Gardens for Saturday night dinner. I prefer the deli soo much better than the restaurant. Same authentic style but soo much more accessible! I can have this everyday for lunch.


Feshly made starters, salads, pasta, sandwiches, pizza, mains and dessert. All pre-packaged in takeaway boxes for your convenience. A parma ham sandwich in the middle of the week always hits the spot. 


And they sell dried and canned goods as well, so you can whip up Italiano meals right in your own home.