Uncle David and $10 Soft Toys

I have read about Uncle David’s stories a few years back. I heard Steve and Shaz interviewed him on LiteFM too. Until recently, I saw him in person selling soft toys in front of HSBC Damansara Uptown.

Uncle David is still undergoing leukemia treatment and has a son studying engineering in overseas. He sells soft toys for $10 each to fund his treatment and living expenses.

I’ll buy him fruits on some day when the weather is hot. His favourite is papaya. Last month, he was sad and told me he hardly sell 10 soft toys in a day. 2 weeks ago, as usual during lunch time, I bought fruits for him. As I reached HSBC, I didn’t see him there. And I did not see him the following day too. I was wondering what happened to him. Is he ok? Then, one day after work, I bumped into him within the vicinity. He told me there was a surge in his business. Thanks to Pokémon. He broke his record and sold the most soft toys in a day. He had to make another trip during the day to replenish the stocks and hence, wasn’t there during lunch time that I visited him.

Today, I bought him papaya and watermelon. He was happy to see me. Surprisingly, he gave me $10 and asked me to buy for him some plastic bags. I asked him “Plastic bags?”. He replied “Yes. Ran out of plastic bags”.

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There was quite a crowd during lunch time and he could not step away. I walked over to nearby supermarket but they ran out of plastic bags too. I asked the staff “Where else can I get plastic bags? It’s for Uncle David to pack soft toys”. Immediately, the staff gave me a packet of their plastic bag.

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Saw this on Facebook posting today by World of Buzz about an irresponsible man who ordered 250 Pokémon soft toys from Uncle David but never came to collect them. No wonder there was a pile of soft toys and I thought Uncle David stocked up too many soft toys. He didn’t complain to me about it at all.

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Glad that quite a number of customers bought a few Pokémon soft toys each from Uncle David. I hope he’ll clear the stocks soon to help him to ease his cashflow.

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I told Jared and Jaden about it and Jared asked me to buy a few Pokémon soft toys from Uncle David for him to give to his friends.

Bought this for Jaden and he adores it. Not that he likes soft toys. Probably it’s Pokémon craze and the story behind it.

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Nice to know there’s a lot of kind people around. Do support Uncle David if you are around HSBC Damansara Uptown vicinity. Remember to say Hello to Uncle David. He is a nice and humble man.

Contribute to ACCA Community

And so that’s how it started …. an email to Head of ACCA Media on 24 Aug 2015 with the subject “Contribute to ACCA Community”.

In the email, of course, I introduced myself and gave my ACCA background ie studying ACCA on part time basis while pursuing my career with Coopers & Lybrand (now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers). I have the passion to write and share my knowledge, just as in my blog here. The purpose I approached ACCA was to offer my service, be it contribute articles or as speaker to young accountants or ACCA members who inspire to be accountant, sharing my journey and challenges to be a qualified accountant today. Or any other suggestions to collaborate and work together as I just wished to make the best use of my time and contribute to the society while in between jobs then.

A week later, I received a reply from him introducing me to the editor of Student Accountant magazine.

After 3.5 weeks, there was still no news from the editor and I was thinking if I should pursue it further. Probably, ACCA didn’t think it was a good idea or my suggestions were not good enough. Then I remembered my first boss, Chris Wong, told me this “You don’t ask, you don’t get”. And so I wrote a follow up email to ACCA.

After almost 3 weeks later, the reply finally came! The editor of ACCA Student Accountant Magazine was thinking about the best way to use my expertise. With few emails exchanged, we agreed on series of articles by me, sharing my experience, challenges and learning on “My Life as an Accountant” starting from ACCA students life to Head of Finance of MNC. I proposed the titles of my articles in line with my journey and experience from ACCA students to finance professional with the aim to guide, prepare and inspire our ACCA students.Capture

After 5 months of working together and planning, the first article Why Accountancy was published on 28 January. I wrote about my ambition of being Accountant since I was 6 years old. ACCA editor has done some editing to my articles to make it short and sweet. I was so thrilled and read it again and again.

The 2nd article, My ACCA Journey was published on 5 Feb, just a week after the 1st article was published. I wrote about why I chose ACCA and the struggles that I had in studying ACCA on part time basis. I was feeling a little shy after reading this 2nd article. However, ACCA editor told me that they were very happy and thank me for being honest about all the required motivation and sacrifices while getting through the ACCA qualification. They added that having an honest profile is a great way for other students to identify with especially having to juggle between work, study and life. It will be a real boost to students reading about my story and eventual transfer to ACCA membership. I was so motivated by them.

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As of today, I’ve submitted 4 articles to ACCA of which 3 articles have been published. In the 3rd article, An Eagerness to Learn, I wrote about my worries of not doing and learning enough at the start of my career and how I see an opportunity in every problem.

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ACCA requested for photos to go along with my articles. I gave photos of myself taken about the same time as the stage of my series of articles. Unfortunately, some of the photos quality were not good enough for its sharpness.

Some asked me if I get paid for writing these series of articles for ACCA. No, I don’t and I never expected it. As I mentioned from the very beginning, I offered my service to contribute to ACCA community. I just wish to make the best use of my time and contribute to the society while I was in between jobs. My hope is to learn from this experience and be a better mentor/coach for upcoming accountants.

My learning from this is “be humble” and yet have a strong determination to achieve your dreams. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Sometimes, we are just not at the right place, the right time. In fact, I’ve tried this with ACCA back in September 2012. After a few emails exchange, it stopped and I was too shy to enquire further, thinking my work probably wasn’t good enough.

I’m glad that I finally found the right place, the right time. Thanks ACCA for the opportunity and most importantly, for believing in me!

Palm Sugar Jelly (Agar-agar Gula Melaka)

Palm sugar, coconut milk and pandan leaves are good combination. You can find them in a lot of Nyonya Kueh and Chinese tongsoi (dessert) recipes. These food reminds me of childhood life in Teluk Intan.

My late Ah Ma (grandmother) and Ah Yi (mother’s sister) were good cook. I enjoyed making CNY cookies with them and always look forward to finish my school homework and weekend so that I could join them in making all these festive cookies. Ah Yi was good in making mee rebus, tongsoi and many other food. I wish I obtained all those recipes from them then.

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My Mom was always busy sewing clothes and she did occasionally make simple dessert for us. One of it is Palm sugar jelly.

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Ingredients:

  • 750 ml (3 Cups) water
  • 220g (1 block) palm sugar (gula Melaka), roughly chopped
  • 20g agar-agar threads, washed and squeezed or 4.5 tsp agar-agar powder
  • 1 stalk of Pandan leaves, washed and tied into a knot
  • 450 ml coconut cream
  • Pinch of salt

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  1. Put water, palm sugar, agar-agar threads and pandan leaves in a pot and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer until agar-agar threads completely dissolve.
  2. Remove pandan leaves.
  3. Stir in salt into coconut cream and pour this into the jelly mixture.
  4. Return the mixture to the heat and bring it up to a boil and turn off the heat immediately.
  5. Pour jelly through a sieve into a jelly mould and leave aside to set at room temperature.
  6. Chill jelly in refrigerator.
  7. Remove jelly from mould. Cut into bite sized and serve cold.
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Jelly mould given by Mom

When jelly cools, the coconut cream floats to the top leaving the bottom half layer a beautifully translucent amber of palm sugar.

My first attempt was when my MIL and SIL were in town. The jelly was rich with the flavours of coconut milk and palm sugar. The texture was right and the jelly was light and refreshing.

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Unfortunately, it did not separately nicely into 2 layers but only a very thin layer of coconut cream.

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And today I made this again.

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This time, I replaced the agar-agar threads with agar-agar powder.

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I like this texture better but I need to boil the jelly longer for the palm sugar and agar-agar powder to melt completely.

Rich Chocolate Mousse Cake

Today is already the 1st of November and another 2 more months to new year 2016.

On Friday evening, I love to watch my favourite shows “Bake with Anna Olson” and “Summer Home“. My love for baking and home design.

Anna Olson shared lots of baking tips and experience in her show ie why egg must be at room temperature, the functions of vinegar in merengue, what should you do if you over-beaten the eggs, etc.

In Summer Home, I love the sweet, girl next door, design star, Samantha Pynn. I like her taste in colours and home design of earthy, yet freshen up the entire house. Lots of inspiration and ideas circling in my head each time I watch the show. Give me a home to realize it. And I really hope it will be soon.

This morning, I had roti canai and teh halia for breakfast. I had not been having these for a long time until our relatives from Melbourne and US came back for visiting. The roti canai was nice. Not oily and yet crispy with nice fish curry, dal and chicken curry. The less sweet teh halia had a strong ginger taste to it and gave a nice soothing to my itchy throat from coughing.

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Roti canai kosong with teh halia.

This weekend, I decided to bake another chocolate cake from “Bake with Anna Olson’s Chocolate cake series, the ultimate in chocolate cakeRich Chocolate Mousse Cake. This is a challenging, time consuming cake with the skill stated as “Hard”. Since my mind is clear, no stress and I’ve watched the YouTube several times, I decided to give it a try.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) boiling water
  • 56g (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160g (1 1/4 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) hot, strongly brewed coffee

For the mousse

  • 720ml (1.5 cup + 1.5 cup) whipping cream, divided
  • 340ml (12 oz) milk chocolate, chopped
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) water

For the chocolate glaze

  • 125ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 100g (1 cup) sugar
  • 60ml (1/2 cup) whipping cream
  • 60g (1/2 cup) Dutch process cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1½ tbsp unflavoured gelatine powder
Method

  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and then lightly dust the sides of the pan with flour, tapping out any excess. *Please note that only 1 cake layer is needed for this recipe, but it is easiest to make this recipe in its full measure and freeze the second cake for a later use.
  2. Whisk the boiling water, chocolate and butter together until melted (it will be visibly grainy) and set aside.
  3. Whip the egg, sugar and vanilla until the mixture doubles in volume (about 2 minutes on high speed) and then fold in the chocolate mixture by hand.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt over the batter and fold in, then stir in the hot coffee (this will make the batter become fluid). Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans.
  5. Bake the cakes for about 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans.
  6. For the mousse, have ready a 9-inch springform pan, lining the bottom with parchment paper (in order to make the mousse-filled cake easier to remove from the pan). Whip 360ml of the whipping cream until it holds a medium peak when the beaters are lifted and chill.
  7. Heat the remaining 360ml of cream to just below a simmer and then pour it over the chopped chocolate. Let this sit one minute, then gently stir until incorporated. Set aside.
  8. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whip for a minute on high speed. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepot over high heat and boil (occasionally brushing the sides of the pot with water) until it reaches 120°C on a candy thermometer. Start whipping the egg yolks on medium speed and then carefully pour the hot sugar down the side of the bowl to avoid splashing, and then increase the mixer speed until high and whip until this has doubled in volume and cooled to about 40°C (just above body temperature).
  9. Measure the temperature of the ganache to ensure it is close to 40°C as well, and fold the ganache into the whipped yolks. Let this cool for 15 minutes, or until just above room temperature, then fold in the chilled whipped cream in 2 additions.
  10. Pour half of the mousse into the ungreased springform pan. Slice one of the cake layers in half horizontally and place this over the mousse, as centred as possible. Pour the remaining mousse over the cake layer and gently place the other half of the cake layer on top, pressing gently just so the mousse covers the sides of the cake, but not so that it sinks in. Wrap the pan in plastic wrap and freeze the cake to set it, at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  11. While the cake is setting, prepare the glaze. Bring the water, sugar, and cream to a boil in a medium saucepot. Once boiling, whisk in the cocoa powder and simmer (reducing the heat if needed) for 4 minutes, stirring often, (the consistency will not change). Remove from heat. Soften the gelatin in 60ml of cold water and then whisk this into the hot cocoa mixture until dissolved. Cool the glaze to room temperature, then chill completely, at least 3 hours.
  12. To finish the cake, remove it from the freezer invert the pan onto a cooling rack placed over a parchment-lined baking tray. Use a hair dryer on a low, hot setting to gently warm the pan so that it releases from the pan, the sides first and then the top. Warm the chilled glaze while whisking occasionally until just melted and smooth and pour this over the torte, spreading gently with a spatula to ensure that it covers the top and sides of the torte evenly. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes, then lift it onto your presentation plate and store chilled until ready to serve.
  13. The cake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 days

I made the cake and mousse yesterday and let them set overnight in the fridge.

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Cake and mousse set overnight in the fridge

This morning before went out for breakfast, I made the chocolate glaze.

We had it for tea today. The cake was moist, with a very nice and strong chocolate taste. I realised in making chocolate cake, it is very important to use good quality chocolate and cocoa powder. I used Belgium couverture.

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As a kid, I was a fan of chocolate cake. But with more varieties of cakes in the market, for a long time, I forgotten this was my favourite until I tasted this rich chocolate mousse cake again. It kind of reminded me why I love chocolate cake and I know why.

Another lovely cake addition to “My Virtual Cakes Shop“. Love it.

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Pavlova with fresh berries

I had egg whites from making tiramisu (which uses egg yolks only). Since I also had whipping cream, strawberries and blueberries in the fridge, I decided to whip pavlova which I served it for afternoon tea while my MIL and SIL were in town.

Pavlova is a dessert of Australian and New Zealand origin, consisting of a meringue base or shell filled with whipped cream and fruits.

Ingredients:

For the merengue (egg white with sugar):

  • 4 egg white (at room temperature, to stretch higher volume and stronger for more fluffy like merengue)
  • 100 g castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch (to pull in moisture. As merengue bake in the oven, it holds moisture from the sugar in the centre of merengue for crispy exterior and soft marshmallow like in the interior)
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar. Can be replaced with lemon juice or white vinegar but double up the measurement. (Acidity in this gives egg white strength and stretch to add volume to egg white)

For the whipping cream (assembly):

  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar (to sweeten the cream, bearing in mind the pavlova is sweet).
  • fresh strawberries
  • fresh blueberries
  1. Separate egg yolks from egg whites
  2. Place egg whites into a clean and oil free mixing bowl
  3. Mix egg whites until soft peaks formed
  4. Pour in sugar part by part
  5. Add corn starch part by part and whisk until firm peaks (if you turn the bowl upside down, the meringue will not fall out or when you lift the beater, a peak will form)
  6. Spoon onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. 2 of about 8″ diameter disc and nest. Or more of smaller diameter if you intend to serve individual mini pavlova.
  7. Bake at 120C for 1.5 hours
  8. Turn off oven (do not open the oven door) and leave the meringue and let cool down in oven overnight for the pavlova to be crispy on the outside.
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Meringue of 8″ diameter

For fillings,
  1. Wash all berries
  2. Whisk whipping cream until firm
  3. Place the meringue on a plate
  4. Add one spoon of whipped cream on top
  5. Add berries on cream layer
  6. Add second meringue tier
  7. Add cream and spread remaining berries around
  8. Serve freshly

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A good pavlova should be crispy on the outside and marshmallow on the inside. Since the meringue and whipping cream are sweet, it is best to match with berries or any fruits with sour taste (mango, passion fruit, grapes, kiwi, etc) or fruits with bright colour ie jackfruits to light up, add some colours to the pavlova.

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This pavlova is a light, cool and refreshing dessert. I am glad that my SIL, MIL and family enjoyed eating it.

$1 Happiness at Nyonya Colors

Whenever I crave for Mee Rebus, Assam Laksa, tongsoi (Chinese dessert) or Nyonya kueh, I’ll go to Nyonya Colors. When my SIL was back from LV, we both went to Nyonya Colors and SIL bought lots of Nyonya Kueh. Luckily, both of us have almost the same taste, we both shared them and she could have more varieties of Kueh to eat.

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Even parents love the Nyonya Kueh too. After breakfast at Nyonya Colors, they wanted to buy more Kueh home to eat.

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Breakfast at Nyonya Colors. A day after Ah Niu Concert in Genting in Feb 15

This photo was taken when I was busy with annual budget at work previously and I went to Nyonya Colors on a very late afternoon for my lunch, tea and dinner … all 3 in 1. While waiting for food to be served, I took this photo of nice oriental paint on stools and wall.

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Nice oriental prints on stools and wall – May 15

Today, I went to Royal Selangor to get a souvenir for John and Minh who are leaving KL for Toronto.

While at the shopping complex, I stopped by Nyonya Colors to pack my favourite food. While putting my change back into my wallet, the lady behind me made her order. I heard her telling the cashier that she only brought $15 for lunch and wanted to check if she had sufficient money for her order. She wanted to have a main and dessert but the cashier told her she was short of $1. I saw disappointment in her face.

I took out a $1 note and said “You can have this”. Both the lady and cashier were surprise but soon after, I saw joy in the lady’s face. I asked her “Do you need parking money?” and she said “I’m fine”.

Looking back, it was all on impulse. I’m glad I did what I did. I know the feeling of craving for favourite food, especially when you are hungry. And I also know how happy a person can be after a satisfying meal. The $1 note is a small token in exchange for joy and happiness in someone face.

Mid-Autumn Festival with Mushroom Chicken Rice

Today is Mid-Autumn Festival. The haze situation is bad and no one in our family organised any outdoor lantern session. It rained in the evening and now the floor is wet. Not in the mood to light up any candles outside the house.

With API reading of above 200 in our area, I decided to cook and eat at home. Not going out for family dinner. I cooked simple mushroom chicken rice with spare ribs and fish balls soup for dinner.

This mushroom chicken rice recipe is from Nestle, which I obtained from their website back in Nov 2012. I’ve made some changes to it to suit my family taste. It is a simple and nutritious meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 5 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 2 inch ginger, julienned
  • 500 g boneless chicken meat, fat and skin removed, cut into small pieces
  • 8 pcs (about 20g) dried shiitake mushroom, soaked and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups rice, washed
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons spring onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon salted fish, fried (optional)

Gravy Mix:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons water (I used stock from spare ribs soup that I was boiling)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce

Phototastic-28_9_2015_e21bad96-26b5-47bf-aaf0-64885af11f53  Cooking Steps:

  1. Heat oil in a wok, then fry shallots and ginger until fragrant.
  2. Add chicken and mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes.
  3. Add sesame oil and gravy mix.
  4. Leave to simmer on medium heat for 3 minutes. Then set aside.
  5. Cook rice in a rice cooker with 2 1/2 cups of water. When the rice is just cooked (grains are fluffy, about 20 minutes), add in the chicken mixture.
  6. Stir, then cover the lid of and leave to cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Garnish with spring onions or fried salted fish (optional) and serve with thinly cut chili and garlic in soya sauce.

WP_20150927_2081I also boiled spare ribs and fish balls soup to complement the mushroom chicken rice.

WP_20150927_396 The boys enjoyed the dinner and we saved the hassle from busy restaurant on Mid-Autumn festival, a Sunday evening of haze.

WP_20150925_3349Cute biscuits from Jaden’s classmate who came over to play with him over the school holiday.

Ever since I watched the HK drama, I always love to wish this in every Mid-Autumn festival … 家好月圆, 庆中秋!

Fruits Pudding

I wasn’t a fan of pudding until I tasted it at my previous employer’s function. The pudding was not too sweet, the texture was soft and smooth and I liked its flavour too. After a short chat with the event organiser, I bought the ingredients and made them at home.

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Mango puddings

These puddings are my family’s favourite, inclusive of my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. I’ll make them when we have family dinner, gatherings or guests at home.

Ingredients:

  • A packet of fruit bean curd pudding powder
  • 3 litre of water
  • 100 g of sugar
  • 400 ml of evaporated milk

I usually bought this Happy Grass fruit bean curd pudding powder, either the strawberry, mango or corn flavour.

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Fruit bean curd pudding powder

The method of making the pudding is also stated at the back of the packet.

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The tips of making a smooth pudding is to turn off the flames after boiling as strong flame will cause the pudding to become hard and rough. I have been following this tip every time I make this pudding.

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Strawberry puddings

Occasionally, I will decorate the puddings with swirl of whipping cream or fresh strawberries or mango.

 

Hitman David Foster & Friends Asia Tour 2015 Concert

After 4 months of waiting, the day is finally here. This morning, I’ve been listening to David Foster’s music. Feeling really excited. Tonight is the night.

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With so many international artistes, Jackie Evancho, Ruben Studdard, Peter Cetera, Natalie Cole and Boyz II Men, the tickets for the concert are not cheap. It took me a while to decide if I should buy PS1 or PS2 tickets. But with 4 concerts and all the tickets that I bought in Apr 15, I chose PS2 instead. The seats were quite high up.

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The happy Me … when there’s music.

The opening song for the concert was Winter Games.

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Seeing the familiar fingers on the piano and hearing “Winter Games” live were unbelievable.

Unbelievable … I was actually listening to this piece of fantastic music live, watching David Foster and seeing his fingers playing the piano live. Not on TV, not on YouTube.WP_20150814_21_20_43_Pro WP_20150814_21_20_48_Pro

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The first artist that sang was Jackie Evancho, the runner up of the 5th season of America’s Got Talent. She was 10 years old when I first watched her on the talent show.

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She has grown up so much now. She’s 15 years old.

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Yesterday, Jackie sang 3 songs. One of which was Music of the Night.

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The second singer was Ruben Studdard, the American Idol Season Two winner. I’ve forgotten about him for awhile until I watched him singing again yesterday. The first song that he sang was I Swear.

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I Swear by the moon and the stars in the sky. I’ll be there.

Rubben also sang Home which was produced by David Foster for Michael Bubble, who wrote the song together with David Foster’s daughter.

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And I know just why you could not come along with me. Let Me Go Home.

Other than David Foster, I was really looking forward to listen to Peter Cetera, the Chicago singer-turned-solo artiste.

The funny thing he said when came out to stage was he saw Kenny Roger’s fried chicken in Malaysia. Then, David Foster mentioned he wrote “Hard to say I’m Sorry” for Kenny Roger but Kenny Roger rejected it and finally made popular by Chicago and Kenny Rogers sells fried chicken.

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Hold me now, It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry. I just want you to stay.

Peter Cetera sang Hard to say I’m Sorry, You’re the Inspiration and Glory of Love. Age is catching up and he couldn’t sing the high notes as well. I’m glad that I watched him performed now before he stop singing.

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You’re the meaning in my life. You’re the Inspiration

Natalie Cole … somehow she looked pretty frail on that night. When she sang Miss You Like Crazy, I was worried if she could pull through the chorus and high notes. Hope everything is ok with Natalie Cole.

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I remember the things that we used to do. Miss You Like Crazy.

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Unforgettable. How the thought of you does things to me

Natalie Cole also sang Unbelievable, with her late father, Nat King Cole’s voice and video played on the screen.

The last song she sang was This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) which usually light up the room when she sings this song. It did on this concert night but not as much energy from Natalie.

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The last artiste that performed was Boyz II Men, the reason most people went for the concert. The first song they sang was Water Runs Dry.

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Let’s not wait till the Water Runs Dry, we might watch our whole lives pass us by.

When the group sang I’ll Make Love to You, we just could not help but sang along. It’s such a lovely and nice song to sing along.

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I’ll Make Love to You … Close your eyes, make a wish!

Really, really like Boyz II Men. The last song that they sang was End of the Road. The next time they are in town, I would like to go for their concert.

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Although we’ve come to the End of the Road, still I cant let you go.

The show ended with all the musical guests reuniting onstage to perform The Beatles’ Hey Dude

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Hey Dude

David Foster took the opportunity to acknowledge a few Malaysian. One of which is Jimmy Choo who came to his concert and was sitting somewhere. His wife loves Jimmy Choo, for his shoes must be. David Foster also mentioned that he has recently became the ambassador for Air Asia.

For encore, David Foster played Love Theme from St Elmo’s Fire.

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The concert ended at about 11.30pm. Wish I can watch the concert again. The following day concert is a private concert held in conjunction with Genting’s 50th anniversary

David Foster, THANK YOU for the beautiful music and songs that you composed.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta and Smoked Salmon Bruschetta

My body was aching after taking care of Jared and Jaden all by myself for the last 9 days. I was their driver, cook, cleaner, tutor, etc and it was just the 3 of us for more than a week, which was a record for me. Tough job, no wonder my body was aching terribly.

I made a massage appointment for 11am. Before left home for the appointment, I prepared and cooked meat sauce for spaghetti Bolognese for dinner tonight. Looking at the ingredients, suddenly bruschetta came to my mind. The thing about Italian food is all in few ingredients i.e. olive oil, garlic, tomato, salt and pepper. I decided to make Bruschetta as appetizer for dinner tonight which has been ages since I last made it.

I felt so good after a good 1.5 hours of warm oil massage with hot stone. I was served with ginger tea. While sipping the hot ginger tea, I admired these lanterns hanging at the massage place. Such a sweet colour and pretty lanterns.

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Sweet and pretty lanterns

There’s a nice Korean restaurant next to the massage place, owned by a Korean lady and have lots of Korean dine at the restaurant. I’ve been there several times and particularly like its kimchi pork stew.

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My favourite Kimchi pork stew

On the way home, I stopped by neighborhood café to buy baguette. The staff asked me “Do you want to cut the baguette into slices?” “Oh … yes please”. And that made my work even easier.

Bruschetta is another easy to prepare food. It’s just a mixture of chopped tomatoes, balsamic, basil and garlic, spooned over olive-oil brushed slices of toasted baguette. It is a perfect finger food for a party or as appetizer of Italian dinner.

We can prepare in advance a large bowl of bruschetta topping, cut baguette into slices (or asked shop assistant to cut for you) and toast them ahead of time. I remember preparing this and brought to friends house to eat and watch football match together. And it was a hit, especially we paired it with beer.

In this recipe, I’ve replaced balsamic vinegar with Maggie Beer’s Verjuice which we bought from Maggie’s Farm Shop in Barossa Valley.

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Simple ingredients for Bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 8 plum ripe tomatoes (cut out stem base, remove seeds and diced).
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Verjuice (or balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 baguette French bread, sliced diagonally 1 cm thick and toasted

Method

  1. In a bowl, mix together tomatoes, basil, Parmesan cheese and garlic.
  2. Mix in Verjuice (or balsamic vinegar), olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Brush one side of each slice of baguette with olive oil and place olive oil-side facing up on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Toast in toaster or on the top rack of oven at 230°C, for 5 minutes until bread lightly browned around the edges.
  4. Serve the toasted baguette slices plain with a bowl of the tomato bruschetta mixture on the side for guests to top their own, or use a spoon to gently top each toasted bread slice with some of the tomato mixture, right before serving.

If you do not like the sour taste of tomato, peel away the tomato skin.

  • Put water in a pot to boil.
  • Make shallow cuts in a cross pattern at the tip ends of tomatoes to peel tomatoes easily.
  • Once water boiled, remove the pot from heat.
  • Put tomatoes in the hot water and blanch for 1 minute.
  • Remove tomato from pot and once cool, gently peel off the tomato skins.

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I made these few for my photo taking. And my bruschetta didn’t make it to appetizer for spaghetti dinner as they were all consumed during tea time.

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We can also add slices of smoked salmon on top of the bruschetta topping to make smoked salmon bruschetta.

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