Chinese New Year Eve 2014 in photos

drying out fireworks

My partial fireworks and firecrackers drying out. It helps with moisture absorbed during transport and storage. This is going to be set off at night!

reunion dinner

The reunion dinner! That’s my grandma in the middle and my aunties flanking her. The food is home-cooked, some of the items e.g. the yam balls are made from plants she grows herself!

longevity noodles

We Henghuas eat longevity noodles tossed in lard instead of rice. She also told me a funny story about her raising pigs when she was in her teens (some 70 odd years ago) and giving the pigs a *bath every single day*. Haha!

isabella fortuna scotch

I broke open a new bottle of single malt Scotch whisky – this is a traveler’s exclusive by Old Pulteney – the second release of Isabella Fortuna WK 499 edition.

gambling

The obligatory gambling session with my cousins where I lost about RM 100. I always lose every year, I don’t particularly mind since all of them are younger than me. I have a limit since I’m always the banker and we have rules like triple payouts for Blackjack that favors the players.

mom josiah

My mom, sister and nephew (he was soooo sleepy when this was taken) is back home! She’s been having a real hard time with late stage lung cancer and have been battling it for years so it’s good to have her here and smiling.

cny eve fireworks

The good people of Sibu always puts out a good fireworks show during Chinese New Year Eve!

Here’s a video of what it looks like 10 minutes before midnight! I also let off a string of firecrackers midway into the clip. I’ll upload the full midnight scene later. Happy Chinese New Year 2014 everyone! I’ll share a good wish I got this year. You need to understand Hokkien though. :)

May everything you do be Horsay, everything you eat be Horjiak, every friend you have and make be Horpengyou, everyday you live like a Horliday, and let 2014 be a year of Hormia in this Year of the Horse!smirk

8 things I got for Chinese New Year

cny 2014

Chinese New Year is coming up! Here’s 8 things (a very auspicious number) I bought for Chinese New Year:

1. CNY Hamper – Majestic Spring

hamper cny

I got this hamper for my dear’s family. There are heaps of hampers at BIG in Publika and I wanted to get one that doesn’t contain a lot of cookies (coz she already makes them). This hamper is called Majestic Spring.

cny hamper

I like how the hampers nowadays are packaged with this wrap – it makes it look nicer than the old “pyramid” style hampers. Her parents have been absolutely bang on awesome to me and I thought that the least I can do is send a hamper their way as a token of my appreciation.

2. Pineapple Tarts from Maxim, Hong Kong

maxim cny cakes

This is a wonderful CNY metal gift set from the famous Maxim bakery in HK. They have two versions – one contains biscuits and cookies (sold out) and the other is pineapple tarts (there’s only a couple left and I got one). It’s mahjong themed so each pineapple tart is shaped like a mahjong tile and *individually wrapped* with the tile picture! It’s RM 88 per box though.

cny cookies

My dear also baked my family some awesome Chinese New Year cookies! Thanks for that!

3. Jeep Trainers

jeep shoes

No, I didn’t get myself a Jeep! Haha! These are their footware apparel. Jeeps were used during World War II – it played the role that Humvees are playing in theatres of war today. That’s the interesting fact of the day, if you didn’t know it already.

jeep

I got myself a pair of trainers at just RM 149. It’s 50% off from it’s original RM 300 price tag. I reckon it’s a good buy, it’s my footware for CNY!

4. Sanbanto Pork Jerky

sanbanto bakua

I nearly didn’t manage to get the coveted organic Sanbanto pork jerky made from free-range pigs with no added preservatives. It’s RM 48 for the minced ba kua and RM 49.50 for the sliced pork jerky. It sold out real quick!

sanbanto pork jerky

Luckily, I managed to secure myself six (6) packs – 3 of each type. You just can’t get it now, they sell out really fast! The individually wrapped packages you see are already booked and ready for collection. I told my dear I’ll get her these last year and I gave her some this year! :)

5. Arrowhead Chips

arrowroot-= chips

Yup, this is the famous ngaku chips. It’s made from arrowroot. I can never figure out why these are so popular. My dad even got some from Kuching at RM 19. Mine was cheaper at RM 11.

6. Dorothy Perkins

dorothy perkins cny

I *didn’t* suddenly decide that I’m a female trapped inside a male’s body. I’m *not* saving up for gender reassignment surgery. I just wanted to get my dear some CNY clothes! smirk

dorothy perkins

She had bought me my Chinese New Year shirts and I wanted to buy her some too! I wanted to get her shoes as well but she didn’t see anything she liked.

7. Oink Floss

oink floss

Pork floss! It’s a must for CNY! I got three flavors – pork, chilli pork and seaweed pork. It’s RM 16 per can but I got it for RM 45 for 3.

8. Empurau Fish

ikan empurau

This is the (in)famous empurau fish from Sarawak! I saw it on sale while driving my dad and aunties out for a spot of CNY shopping just now. It’s *notorious* for being expensive, the prices are driven up by consumer demand over here since rich tycoons snap them up as if they’re going out of style.

empurau fish

This empurau fish is slightly longer than 1 meter and costs thousands. It’s the most expensive fish here, much more expensive than white cod, due to the unique qualities of the flesh – it doesn’t degrade much after chucking it into the freezer.

I’m neither rich nor a tycoon so unfortunately I didn’t get it. I was sorely tempted to but we don’t even have a steamer big enough to cook it. Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :D

Our anniversary: Shark breakfast, Body Shop, iPad mini

vday pandora

I know, some of you might be wondering why we have so many anniversaries. Haha! It’s coz we do the monthsary (monthly anniversary) thing that I think is a great way to show love, affection and keep the relationship exciting! I love the homemade crafts that my better half usually comes up with. I like to cook something special for her too!

ipad mini

Our actual anniversary is coming up though and my dear already gave me a wonderful present – it’s an iPad mini! I had an iPad 2 and was constantly gaming and reading ebooks on it until one day it *stopped working* and my loss didn’t escape the notice of my better half.

ipad 16gb

It’s one of my greatest pleasures to read ebooks on my iPad and I have been missing that coz I don’t like reading on dedicated ebook readers like Kindle, nook etc – I own one and hardly use it – the lack of back-light just didn’t do it for me since I mostly read in low-light conditions.

engraved ipad

She even got it engraved! <3 body shop cny special

I got her something from Body Shop. I saw the Chinese New Year special gift bags, and one was called Oriental Deluxe (RM 128) and featured all sorts of Japanese themed body shampoo and lotions – the cherry blossom (sakura). I thought that it would be nicer than the RM 88 one since we’re planning a trip to Japan!

ling poh

It also comes with a red loofah and it’s more meaningful to us coz of our upcoming Japan trip so I got that for her. I do think that the stuff there is slightly overpriced though – RM 20 for a hotel sized body shampoo bottle! It’s all good though! :)

pandora heart locket charm

Of course, tradition dictates that I give her a Pandora charm. It has become one of our anniversary staples and I want to keep it going since every charm tells a story of our relationship. She had made me this sweet vow exchange in a Pandora box during the previous anniversary – it’s two hearts, she wrote in one, telling me that she loves me and the other is empty for me to write.

pandora ang pow

The Valentine’s Day collection for Pandora is out and there’s a charm in there that’s shaped like two hearts! It’s actually a locket – it’s magnetic and opens up to show a red interior – one says Me and the other You. I thought it was like bringing the wonderful vow she gave me to life, and on a charm!

pandora valentines bag

I also know she’s a big fan of collecting nice ang pows and Pandora has a promotion where they gave out one pack of ang pows for a purchase of RM 888 on a single receipt. I didn’t qualify since the charm I got was RM 295 so I asked the nice staff at Pandora at TCM if they could make an exception.

pandora red packet

They had to call the Pandora Marketing Manager (Mandy? Wendy?) of Malaysia to get her approval and I explained over the phone how my girlfriend was a big fan (maybe it helped that I have a consistent purchase history too – at least once a month) and it would be much appreciated if she can make an exception and release one of coveted the Pandora ang pow packs.

pandora story

She was really nice about it and so was the staff at Pandora in TCM – cheers for that! I reckon this was the best “gift” of all, although I didn’t purchase it coz I had to do so much to get it. Pandora is quite strict about giving them out since it’s tied to the RM 888 promotion so thanks for giving a regular customer one! It totally made my better half’s day!

butter poached shark

I also cooked butter poached shark for breakfast! BTW, these are not the endangered species (contrary to popular belief, 70% of shark species are non-endangered, even according to the most conservative Sea Shepard type estimates and lots of people eat them nowadays in an effort to eliminate by-catch waste). I didn’t think it would be good but the shark surprised me! The meat was surprisingly tender and delicious and it was totally different from the shark meat that I’ve eaten before (either sandy or fermented like hakarl in Iceland).

pandora me you charm

I’ll post up my recipe tomorrow! I’ve got lots to write now that CNY is nearly here, just had my first pun choi session last night too! :D

Let’s Go to the Mall!

cny decorations

It’s Chinese New Year soon! There’s less than a week till my favorite holiday and here’s the little preparations that we’ve done. Yup, the title is a HIMYM reference. :)

two charms

I bought the Christmas tree Pandora charm for my dear – there’s a gold star one without glitter and a silver one with glitter and I asked her to choose which one she wanted, which turned out to be the second one.

pandora wrap

We went for lunch at Goku Raku Ramen and while waiting for our food, she opened the small pouch wrapper and I put it onto her Pandora charms bracelet.

pandora christmas

It’s another new charm to add to our story! I missed both the RM 50 voucher *and* the 40% discount promo but it’s all good.

hot katsu curry

I had the Hot Katsu Curry Rice (RM 25.90) which was a 20 minute wait. It didn’t taste all that good – the creamy Japanese style curry is overpowering but the fried chicken itself it alright. I didn’t manage to finish it though.

ultimate tonkotsu

She had the Ultimate Tonkotsu (RM 23.90) and the Yuzu Honey (RM 6.90) drink.

2tb

I had to get another external HDD on account of the massive amounts of stuff I’m collecting so I found a 2 TB one for sale at Harvey Norman’s (which is actually an Australian company, I still remember their radio jingle from 3AW when I was studying in Melbourne) for RM 459.

sous vide supreme

We also saw a line of Sous Vide Supreme appliances for sale with the MasterChef US Season 1 winner being the product ambassador! I thought she did Southern cooking and don’t remember seeing her even touch the sous vide water bath in any of the episodes but it’s not as expensive as I thought – 3k for the water bath and vacuum sealer.

corduroy shirt

My dear was kind enough to buy me some CNY clothes! I now have two new shirts courtesy of her. <3 vitamin gummy bears

I got some interesting vitamin gummy bears for the kids…

ang pows

…and we saw that the mall has a free exclusive cushion and ang pow packets when you spend RM 188 in a maximum of 2 receipts. We were thinking to get something to add to the clothes when I suddenly remembered that I *already* have spent that much on the external HDD (RM 459)!

new shirts

My dear also thought of the Pandora charm, which I totally forgot about (RM 211) so we managed to get two sets of the cushions and the ang pows (red packets). I thought that was quite funny, how to add on to the stuff we’ve spent when we already have bought more than that earlier.

namechoco sand

Gotta do some last minute CNY shopping for snacks this weekend before I go back to Sibu! :)

I found Finnish fireworks for sale in KL!

jewel of the nile

This is the first fireworks post of Chinese New Year! Well, it’s close to CNY anyway. I found this fountain / cake hybrid at the local market at a list price of RM 28 each. It’s called Niilin Jalokivet (Jewel of the Nile) and the quality of the packaging is like none I’ve seen before!

finland fireworks

The wrap details the optimal viewing distance (30 meters), minimum viewing distance (10 meters) and even how long it lasts! It says to *expect 20 seconds* of fireworks from this tall fountain and aerial repeater from Finland. I found the amount of information very impressive.

finnish fireworks detail

I got this at the local market. I’ve always found KL to be a bit dry in terms of fireworks and firecrackers compared to my hometown of Sibu. I managed to get 2 of this for RM 30, making it RM 15 each. There are firework cakes (multi-shot aerial barrages) listed for RM 780 (!!!) which I can get for RM 250 in Sibu.

fireworks in kl

I also saw the cheap generic 8888 Chinese firecrackers (usually RM 8 – got some during CNY eve) which doesn’t have the finish and sheer girth of the RM 200+ premium Chinese firecrackers selling for RM 25 here. The stuff here is 3x the price of what we pay in Sibu retail stalls (comparing apples to apples).

niilin jalokivet fireworks

I just wanted to let it off for my better half though, since CNY is coming soon, so I lit one across the road and another one closer to the house, which toppled. Luckily the Niilin Jalokivet doesn’t shoot up very high – 12 feet at it’s max.

There’s a center tube acting as a fountain and 8 + 2 tubes surrounding it which shoots up balls of flaming fire and whistling sparks respectively. It reminds me of the smaller version of the popular old perennial Desert at Night.

fireworks tubes

It’s not too bad, but we’re used to paying much lower prices. It was still a good find though, the fireworks display was pretty awesome, especially the first one I let off, which didn’t topple over halfway. Haha!

niilin jalokivet

I just let it off last night after dinner. I always feel like Chinese New Year is around the corner when I start playing with fireworks. :)

The Best Day of My Life

riding bicycles

Greetings everyone! I am back after a short hiatus – major stuff to sort out and everything is peachy now. In fact, I just had one of the best days of my life with my dear and the kids. It was actually quite a simple thing, I wonder why we didn’t do it earlier.

bicycles

We got a bicycle for the little one (second hand, person is moving out of the country) for just RM 40 and the big one got a new (and larger) bike for RM 200. There’s one bicycle at home, which is for adults and one day after work we just took the kids to the park!

happy us

It actually started out with me trying to ride the new bicycle with the little one while the big one is finishing her school. She had a quick dinner after that and we all cycled to the park. The kids kept wanting rides so it was the most exercise I did for to date! I also had to cycle with my dear at the back – we tried it the other way round, but she couldn’t even start cycling coz I was too heavy. smirk

setting sun

I gave so much rides and raced with the big one so much that I felt like puking. It didn’t help that I was still wearing my work clothes so I overheated and was nauseous for a good hour! I had fun though, and so did my dear and the kids. It’s the wholesome family fun that I’ve always wanted to have and I’m glad we did that!

elise dustbin

The funniest thing was watching the little one run with her short legs chasing after her sister. Haha! Too cute. The simple pleasures in life are the best.

It was nice that I could take a lot of awesome photos with just my phone too, which reminds me…

Short mention:

tranfering smartphone data

I’m using my Sony Xperia Z1 [link to my review] now and I’m constantly amazed at the new things that it can do. My previous phone is a Sony Xperia S and I used the Xperia Transfer app to sync everything on my old phone to the new one so it’s up and running.

xperia transfer app

The Xperia Transfer app can be downloaded from Google Play and it works for *all* Android devices. What if you have a Windows or iOS phone? Sony PC Companion and Sony Bridge for Mac (it’s an executable on your new Sony Zperia Z1 smartphone – just connect the microUSB) performs the same function.

how to use xperia transfer

Thus, whatever platform you’re using right now, you can do a direct transfer of your data, contacts, photos etc into your new Sony Xperia Z1 so you’ll be ready to go! :)

Our anniversary: Cardboard apartment, Christmas pudding, Murano glass charm

godiva craft apartment

My dear gave me a really *wonderful* present during our anniversary. It so happens that our anniversary also falls on Christmas so I had two gifts! She made this apartment out of craft paper and cardboard on a Godiva chocolate box base I had given her.

vows exchange

The entire creation is very intricate – there’s a lot of detail to everything, including a vow exchange, appropriately put inside a recycled Pandora charm box. <3 mailbox

It’s very beautiful and creative, and the Godiva box used as a base is a bit of an inside thing. She had given me the *cover* the previous month and now it’s a set with the *base*. I had originally given it to her as a trilogy of premium chocolates. Haha!

cardboard apartment

The gift is actually a MasterChef Australia dinner @ the apartment. Geddit? She got 4 x RM 50 worth of vouchers from winning a contest – thus, the apartment inside a cardboard apartment. :D The questionable thing about the vouchers it that they state that each one can be used on a per table, per meal basis. I thought that was a bit dodgy – this was the first prize of the contest!

christmas present

She had already known about the set dinner, it’s something we both like since we watched Season 5 together. She was prepared to pay the rest of the balance and use just a RM 50 voucher due to the rules but it turns out that the supervisor accepted all the vouchers, so that’s good.

chocolate covered pretzels

I also got a box of chocolate pretzels as a Christmas gift! :D

secret candy surprise

This is something that stems out of when she always used to cook for me. I’ll eat from her Tupperware boxes, wash them, and fill them with “secret candy surprises” so when she opens them, she’ll see her favorite candy as a gesture of thanks.

murano charm

I got her something that had always been missing from her Pandora bracelet, which is a Murano glass bead charm! She had originally mentioned that it seems a bit uncomfortable and clunky but I had seen her looking at it in the brochures so I got her a nice pink and purple one!

christmas anniversary

I also got a cute, red box to keep the charm inside. I found it while browsing through the Christmas stuff aisles and thought it would be nice to hide the charm in since I always seem to give her the same thing each anniversary. Heh. I also bought a tiny card to write a message to her.

christmas mini pudding

Pandora also sent me a RM 50 voucher for being a Pandora Club Member. Unfortunately, I had listed that I wanted to cash it in at Paradigm Mall instead of TCM and it expired on the 31st December 2013 so I didn’t get to use it at all!

pandora murano charm

I also got her another charm as a Christmas present – thus, this is the anniversary where she got two charms instead of one! I got her a Christmas tree charm so she’ll remember that this is our anniversary which coincided with Christmas! smirk

boiling christmas pudding

It was quite late when we did our gift exchange and I had bought a small Christmas pudding just for this dual-celebration.

christmas pudding

The mini pudding is quite nifty, you just need to dump the entire packaging into boiling water for 20 minutes! The wrapper is heatproof and it warms up the Christmas pudding nicely. It tastes good – there’s lots of brandy inside (thus the Tidak Halal sticker) and just the right portion for two.

loving

We had it with a scoop of ice cream to end the night with. I’m lucky to have you dear! Thanks for the thoughtful and loving MasterChef dinner anniversary gift and the house which you built. *hugs*

Our MasterChef Australia 5-Course Dinner @ the apartment

masterchef australia dinner

A MasterChef dinner? I was puzzled when my dear gave me this as a very special and memorable Christmas present. I was curious about how you can have a MasterChef dinner in Malaysia and we arrived at the apartment @ the Curve after making reservations.

masterchef dinner malaysia

It turns out that there is a special, limited edition degustation menu from the judges and contestants of MasterChef Australia Season 5. This is totally legit, the recipes were licensed to the apartment and my better half had won RM 200 worth of vouchers so she treated me to this delicious dinner.

masterchef degustation menu

There are three (3) main courses to choose from – Stuffed Turkey with Pumpkin Puree (RM 128++) based on Samira El Khaffir’s Stuffed Chicken with Pumpkin Puree recipe, Seared Steak with Hollandaise Sauce, Roasted Pumpkin, Cauliflower & Pine Nut (RM 148++) by Michael Todd and Confit Salmon (RM 98++) by Samira – the contestant we both dislike immensely. Haha!

Amuse-bouche

amuse-bouche

This was a duo of grilled cherry tomatoes with herbs on nachos. There’s only two on the plate (which is the standard plate the apartment uses for appetizers and thus a bit worn looking) which was a little bit weird, plating wise, coz you always put three (3) servings or another odd number. I only realized this when my better half told me about it. It’s a wonderful start though – this is a delicious complimentary starter from the chef.

Appetizer
Braised Lamb Shoulder Tostada (Andy Allen)

lamb shoulder tostada

We both loved this as well. My dear said the lamb didn’t have too much of a gamey taste so it suits her. I thought it was executed well and the lamb shoulder gave a nice texture to put on the tostada. It’s just a little too similar, texture-wise, to the amuse-bouche. I loved the juicy pomegranate seeds strewn throughout though – it was nice!

Soup
Carrot Liquid with a Hint of Blood Orange

carrot soup blood orange

The plating is well thought out – the blood orange comes in a shot glass so you can pour as much (or as little) as you want into the carrot soup. The soup has a very spicy end note though so my dear didn’t manage to finish hers. I loved mine though, I thought the acidity of the blood orange balances out the creaminess of the carrot soup.

Sorbet
Summer Peach Granita

summer peach granita

A wonderful interlude before the main course! The sorbet is in nicely large granulated form so it’s great as a palate cleanser before our mains arrived. There’s no attribution to this and the soup but I think I saw it in one of the MasterClass episodes from one of the judges – think it was Gary.

Main Course
Confit Salmon (Samira El Khaffir)

salmon confit

This is what my better half ordered. It’s the only one that she could have gone for considering she doesn’t like beef. I don’t like cooked salmon in general coz restaurants tend to overcook it but this one was done very nicely. It was cooked to perfection!

confit salmon

The entire salmon was nicely seasoned and pink and there’s none of the dryness that comes from overcooking this piece. I tend to prefer raw salmon sashimi but this changed my mind – it was juicy and tender, with all the natural taste of the salmon brought out.

Main Course
Stuffed Turkey with Pumpkin Puree (Samira El Khaffir)

samira turkey

I was torn between Michael Todd’s Seared Steak with Hollandaise Sauce, Roasted Pumpkin, Cauliflower & Pine Nut and this one and decided to go for the turkey since it’s Christmas. This recipe is based off of Samira’s Stuffed Chicken with Pumpkin Puree. It was quite an interesting dish as the Middle Eastern influence was *really* apparent in the dish.

rice stuffed turkey

The turkey is stuffed with a basmati rice and spice mix! That’s the most fusion stuffing I’ve ever come across and it kinda, sorta works. I can’t say I’ll give this 10/10, more like 7/10 – I enjoyed it but it wasn’t mind-blowing. There’s something to be said about eating a Middle Eastern inspired turkey and not all of it is good. smirk

Notes on service: The waiter took away her plate while I was still eating. She had finished her confit salmon but I was still halfway through my turkey. I thought that was quite rude – you never start clearing plates until everyone is done in the service industry. It’s a major service no-no.

feedback form

Also, he didn’t always serve the woman first, which is another service faux pas. However, the waiter was always polite and kept refilling our cold water so I mentioned this to the supervisor, Julito, who apologized profusely and gave me a feedback form to file my grievances.

masterchef vouchers

It seemed that they didn’t know this basic rule of etiquette about clearing dishes but the supervisor was professional throughout and the waiter was just plain ignorant so no harm done. The bill came up to RM 280++ so it was about RM 90 after the RM 200 vouchers was used.

Dessert
Modern Baklava (Samira El Khaffir)

modern baklava

This is an absolutely wonderful end to the dinner! The baklava was *cloyingly sweet* but I mean that in the most complimentary way. There’s two sauces that comes with the dish – one is sweetened condensed milk based and the other something akin to caramelized sugar. It was decadent and delicious! We both polished our plates! Haha!

masterchef dinner us

Thanks for the thoughtful gift dear! We both enjoyed our MasterChef Australia Season 5 dinner with recipes from the judges and contestants and would go again, except that was the last week of the promotion. It’s a wonderful Christmas present coz we both went to Australia at the beginning of the year as our first trip overseas and we both watched MasterChef Australia Season 5 together. <3

Gadget Frenzy!

chill relax

There are some things in life where you just have to brave the traffic and parking woes to get done.

There are other things in life which you can do at the comfort of your own home, wearing comfortable clothes and generally being a slob.

E-banking is one of them. I have never gone back once I started unless it’s to cash in cheques or something like that. It’s just so convenient to use a phone, tablet or PC to perform all your banking tasks. I’ve gotten so used to it that if you asked me to physically go and pay bills I’ll probably just terminate the service.

I personally use RHB Now, Internet & Mobile Banking. You can also get the RHB Now app from Google Play or iOS – you can download it for free and perform all the banking related tasks you want from the comfort of your couch or when you’re out and about. Very convenient stuff.

rhb now android

The transactions that you can do on RHB Now is almost everything you can do at the branch. There’s Bill Payment, Prepaid Reload, Send Money via PayPal, Western Union and Foreign Telegraphic Transfer – it can all be done digitally now! :)

You can win awesome gadgets just from doing digital transactions too! Perform a transaction with a minimum of RM 30 and you’ll qualify for:

rhb chart

The top 3 customers with the highest accumulated entries for the week will win a Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom each!

The top 3 customers with the highest accumulated entries for the month will win a Samsung GALAXY Note 3 each!

I think it’s awesome that you can win all these prizes just from doing digital transactions on RHB Now! New customers get 5 bonus entries when you sign-up on RHB Now via the Internet and 10 bonus entries when you download RHB Now mobile app for iOS/Android so get rewarded for doing your banking online now!

gagdet frenzy

The campaign period ends 19th March 2014. Get more information about the RHB Now Gadget Frenzy campaign here.

Our Christmas / New Year Turkey, Brussels Sprout and Peach Trifle Dinner!

turkey trimmings

This is our first time cooking a turkey together for the parents and kids! I wanted to purchase one but I was told that turkeys were all sold out. Thus, I bought the sides so we can concentrate on roasting the turkey! I got Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts (RM 50) and a Strawberry & Peach Trifle (RM 100).

stuffing turkey

It came in two huge boxes (think that the bigger box originally was supposed to have a turkey inside but they ran out) that delighted the kids – especially the trifle.

plan b

I had slated it for pickup at 6 pm so we can have it just as our turkey has finished cooking, but it turned out that the process took longer than that. Haha!

The story of how we got the turkey:

box

It’s a rather funny anecdote that we’ll look back and laugh at. My dear bought me a MasterChef dinner as a Christmas present and I thought I’ll call ahead and book a turkey. I know it’s sold out, I had already gotten the sides, but I had a sneaky feeling that frozen turkeys are in short supply too.

turkey discussion

I was right.

chestnuts

I called BIG and asked if they had frozen turkeys and the guy said he’ll go and check. He said there’s one left and it’s about 3 kg. I told him I’ll take it and I’ll pick it up in about 2 hours time. He got my name and number and we went to Publika after dinner to get the elusive turkey.

fresh herbs

However, when I got there, I was told that the frozen turkeys were all sold out!

stuffing

I think the dude was kinda sick of answering questions like these, there are signs saying so all over the place. Haha! I told him that I had called ahead just now and there was a definite thawing as he asked for my name…

turkey booking

…and sure enough, there’s a turkey booked under my name!

frozen turkey

I was quite pleased that they really did hold the turkey for me instead of putting it outside where anyone who’s faster can grab it. We’re both happy with the service (but not with the guy – you should always be jovial when asked a question, regardless of whether it’s the 1,000th time someone asked the very same question smirk).

turkey stuffing

I also bought the stuffing for the turkey and some other miscellaneous stuff. The turkey was RM 88.72 for a 3.18 kg bird and the total grocery bill came close to RM 300!

preparing turkey

It was just one day till dinner with the in-laws and the kids and the turkey was *still* frozen so we couldn’t brine the turkey. This is the most basic recipe but it turned out delicious! I just thawed the frozen turkey overnight and then put it in the fridge when it was fully thawed.

turkey oven

I chucked it into the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes before turning it around. It’s supposed to be a self-basting turkey but you do need to baste it every now and then. I used the simplest recipe to cook the turkey (from theKitchn.com).

basting turkey

I rubbed butter all over the turkey and stuffed two halved lemons into the cavity.

stuffing turkey last

I didn’t truss or stuff the turkey, just wrapped some bacon around the breast and put it in 2 cups of water and left it in the oven for as hot as it would go. It took us 3 ½ hours to cook the turkey!

carving turkey

Before the last 40 minutes, I prepared the stuffing using a gourmet stuffing blend hand packed from the Shropshire Spice Co in the UK. It’s an apple with cranberry and roast chestnut stuffing and I just needed to add 700 ml of water (for the 2 packs) and a huge pat of butter before, well, stuffing this Pink Lady apple based mix into the cavity.

inspecting trifle

It was a bit too much stuffing so I left some out so it looks like the turkey has laid some stuffing. Haha!

peach trifle

The turkey was rested for 20 minutes before serving.

roasted turkey

We had spaghetti with bacon (cooked by my dear) with the turkey and it tasted quite good! I still have leftover turkey, the kids loved it and the in-laws ate quite a fair bit too, so I reckon we did well with our turkey!

brussels sprouts

The Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts wasn’t that big of a hit but I thought it improved my view of Brussels sprouts. I didn’t really like it when I was in NZ and Australia due to the bitterness but it seems like the new genetically modified ones in the last decade are less bitter. It tastes quite good in fact!

trifle

The Strawberry & Peach Trifle was the true hero though – it tasted wonderful! I like the jelly-like cake bottom, and the peaches and cream in the middle and the strawberry topping cuts down on the sheer sweetness with some acidity. We finished that 1 kg trifle on the night itself!

turkey dinner

It was a good Christmas / New Year turkey dinner though – we had it on the weekend, which is neither Christmas or New Year but our own family get-together. We all had fun, the only thing that was missing was some Christmas crackers! :D

il panettoncino

(and we couldn’t even start eating the panettone or mince pies that we had so we saved it for this weekend)

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