12 things I bought for Christmas

1. Chocolate Monopoly

Chocolate Monopoly

This is an awesome find for RM 59.95! It’s a licensed Monopoly board game but all the cards, game pieces and property are replaced with chocolate pieces. The rules are somewhat similar but it’s of the spinner variety (there is no Monopoly money) so I thought it’ll be a great game for us to play with the kids on Christmas coz you can eat the chocolate pieces afterwards.

2. Christmas crackers

Tom Smith Selfie Christmas Crackers

An essential for the festive season, Christmas crackers are large pieces of cardboard with a snapper firecracker inside that explodes with a bang. The fun bit is that there’s miniature toys inside – usually tiny keepsakes that can range from a small compass to fart cushions. I bought a pack of six of the Tom Smith luxury version (RM 59.90) – one each for us and the kids plus two extra for my dear’s parents.

3. Snickers Slice n’ Share

Huge Snickers Slice Share

This is a *gigantic* bar of Snickers! It’s not pre-cut so it’s a solid block of candy that weighs 453.6 grams. You have to slice it into pieces yourself, thus the name. I’ve never seen this format before. I think it’s specially made for the 2014 festive season since it fits well with the large family dinner and sharing theme. This solid 1 pound (!!!) block of Snickers costs a staggering RM 68.95.

4. Porky Salt

Porky Salt

Haha! This is made by Garam Haram which literally translates to Forbidden Salt (and it rhymes too). It’s a play on the fact that pork is forbidden (haram) to Muslims and this is literally bacon infused salt. Porky Salt is a local artisanal product that’s just RM 15 and I can think of many ways to use it this Christmas dinner, whether we roast a traditional turkey like last year or go Asian.

5. Panettone

Panettone

What is Christmas without panettone? This brioche like edible is a Christmas staple in Milan and I’ve only seen it suddenly appear on the market in the last few years. I went to an Italian restaurant and had a wonderful “tiramisu” made with panettone in 2012 and I thought it was lovely. We also bought one last year for our Christmas celebrations. It’s tastier than the rock solid fruitcake that we’re used to eating before panettone started to flood the market as an alternative.

6. Giant Juicy Fruit

Giant Chewing Gum

Yup, this classic by Wrigley’s is supersized for the holidays! smirk I loved chewing on these when I was in high school – so much so that my Physics teacher in Christchurch called me “Eater”. Needless to say, I wasn’t a model student but I quite liked that nickname. You can eat in most classes in New Zealand (they’re not as strict as over here) but that particular educator didn’t like anyone doing so.

7. Huge roll of Life Savers

Giant Lifesavers

This classic sweet has put on some weight for the festive season too. The plus sized roll of Lifesavers is now 30 times as large as a regular roll! I used to eat this in high school too, it was cheap and I’m particular to the Musk flavored ones but you can’t find that flavor outside of Australia and New Zealand for some reason. Musk is not a popular flavor except down under.

8. White Cheddar Popcorn

White Cheddar Popcorn

You know how some people decorate their Christmas trees with popcorn? Well, not us, we prefer to *eat* popcorn. Especially if it’s this expensive! This bag of savory popcorn costs RM 21.90 and it’s made in the US by Angie’s. This is the White Cheddar flavor and they use all natural organic ingredients. It also checks all the healthy tick-boxes by being gluten-free, low trans fat, and whole grain.

9. Crème Brûlée

Creme Brulee

I accidentally bought this RM 12.50 packet of crème brûlée, thinking it was crème caramel. I love the latter, have eaten heaps of them as a kid (my mom used to make them) but it seems like they dropped off the face of the Earth! Since the advent of crème brûlée, the preparation without the blow-torched hard crack top seems to have disappeared. It used to be served in coffee-shops and I’ve been missing crème caramel since.

10. Christmas hampers

Christmas Hampers

‘Tis the season to be giving! I bought a RM 280 Christmas hamper for my better half so we could open it on Christmas Eve. I was torn between the one inside the sleigh and the one that’s in a large tube wooden reusable box (there’s only a RM 20 price difference) and after much consideration, chose the former. The retail assistant told me they both contain the same thing, it’s the wooden sleigh that’s more expensive due to craftsmanship.

11. Valrhona chocolates

Valrhona

It hurts my brain to even see this. Haha! We had gotten Valrhona chocolates from France – they have really good single origin Grand Crus and it’s the chocolate of choice for many high end Parisian fine dining restaurants. It’s very expensive to source your own Grand Crus from small gourmet purveyors like what Michelin starred restaurants do so this is the next best thing. I found it while shopping at BIG in Publika – I didn’t even know Malaysia stocks this.

12. Eggnog

Eggnog

You can’t have Christmas without eggnog. I have tried making my own but it’s a time consuming process if you have a turkey and other sides to take care of and store bought tastes just as good. They even have eggnog with alcohol included (mixture of brandy, whisky and rum for 14.75% alcohol) for RM 85.90 for 1.75 litres but if you have your own spirits, you can just get the regular 1 quart (946 ml) Grade A Eggnog for RM 23.90 and add your own to taste.

Short mention:

Christmas Hamper Ling

I used my credit card to purchase this Christmas hamper that I got my better half. I wanted to get my dear something nice and this beautiful reindeer sleigh contains all her favorites – hot chocolate, cookies, Turkish Delight. There’s even some marshmallows for the kids and a stuffed toy that looks suspiciously like Olaf from Frozen. I’ve been using my Maybank credit card for *everything* since I can get my purchases for free with their I LOVE 100% Cashback campaign! Just spend with your Maybank cards from now until 31st January 2015 and get your expenses paid off!

Check it out – there’s nothing better than getting your festive season spending paid off with a 100% cashback to spread some festive cheer! :)

Erdinger Weissbier jelly candy from Germany!

erdinger weissbier jelly

Yup, this is real jelly candy (sorta like Haribo in texture, or gummy bears in the US) made from Erdinger Weissbier beer!

erdinger weissbier sweets

My better half saw me looking at it at the confectionery shop in Frankfurt and bought it for me. The lady there offered me a taste and I was surprised to see it’s a sourish candy that actually has a hoppy beer note so I asked what it was made of.

erdinger weissbier

The jellies are actually made of Erdinger Weissbier (and sugar and flavourings) but the fact that it’s candy made of beer really sold me on it. It tasted a bit off too – certainly not for kids. I don’t know if it has much of an alcoholic content after so much cooking but I have grown to like munching on these slightly bitter sourish jelly candies!

erdinger weissbier liter

I like how the used the proper 0,5 liter glass and also made the “foam” with marshmallow mice! The marshmallow is not sweet either, there’s just a slight hint of sweetness to it, which makes it an awesome buy at 10.90 Euros.

erdinger jelly candy

An adult candy and a great souvenir from Germany, you can’t ask for more!

erdinger weissbier candy

There’s also a 3 liter version for 60 Euros! smirk

marshmallow mice

Why did the 3 mice go blind? Coz there was methanol in their beer! :D

Okay, that was quite lame. Haha!

3 interesting and unusual things I spotted in Sibu + a short mention

1. Taking it in stride

smart ass car

We both laughed out of surprise when we saw this. I was driving to breakfast and asked my better half for my camera so I could take a photo. It’s the most innovative way to display your car licence plate after being rear-ended in an accident.

Why, you just put it inside and life goes on. smirk

2. Confused car

confused car

This car has the symbols for:

  • No Food and Drinks
  • No Smoking
  • Photography Allowed
  • Headphones Only
  • Instant Messenger
  • WiFi Hotspot
  • Facebook Like
  • Playboy Bunny

I don’t know what kind of statement the driver is trying to make but it doesn’t make any sense to me. Heh.

3. Hard candy

mm snack mix salty

I always head to Ta Kiong when I’m home. It’s an import specialty supermarket that has things you wouldn’t think Sibu would have. They even stock stuff I haven’t seen in KL coz they import it themselves. I like the Pretzel M&M’s – the newer ones are crunchier, saltier and sweeter with “more pretzel taste”.

pretzel mm

I’ve never seen Pretzel M&M’s in KL before (this is imported directly from the US) so I got some and the new formula tastes good.

I also got a pack of M&M Snack Mix – it has Salty & Sweet contents like roasted peanuts, crunchy pretzels, chocolate chip cookies. Now, the biggest question is whether the stuff is inside the M&M’s or outside i.e. are they fillings or separate snacks. I know M&M has peanuts, pretzels, peanut butter etc as fillings but I didn’t know they make them in Chocolate Chip Cookie.

raspberry mint mm

I wouldn’t be surprised though as M&M’s have Raspberry and Mint fillings covered in dark chocolate.

We haven’t opened the bag yet, so it’ll be interesting to find out.

snickers 3x

I also got us some Snickers from the US…

twix pb snickers squared

…and my favorite Twix PB! This is Twix chocolate cookie bars with peanut butter milk chocolate! Twix was what I reached for when I had the munchies back when I was studying in Melbourne and it’s still one of my favorite candy bars. I like peanut butter in candy bars, there’s also Snickers peanut butter Squared at the bottom (but we got that in KL) which basically contains 2 squares instead of a bar in a package you can twist to close and save one for later!

Short mention:


How to Golf in One Night

Haha! The short film above shows the antics of a guy who has never golfed in his life trying to impress his girlfriend’s dad. His friends gave him some well-intended but ultimately disastrous advice for “The Judgement Day” (as it’s hilariously called). His first swing made the golf club fly from his grip and hit someone, much to the disapproval of his future father-in-law.

It has a truly heart-warming ending after he and his girlfriend’s father have “the perfect round”.

I’ve seen Heineken and CIMB Classic posters around town and it’s no surprise that the long term sponsor of premier sporting events in the global arena like the UEFA Champions League for football, the Heineken Cup for rugby, and the US Open for tennis is finally going into the golfing arena – by being the official beverage partner of the CIMB Classic 2013 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (GLGCC) from 24-27th October.

heineken cimb classic

The prestigious CIMB Classic is the first PGA tour in Asia and golf enthusiasts can finally get Heineken style premier hospitality from their public hospitality marquee at the CIMB Classic. Located above the food village, Heineken’s The Green Experience will be a place for fans to lounge in style as they enjoy a grandstand view of golf’s greatest in full swing while cooling down with a refreshing Heineken brew in hand.

That’s what I read and it really made me want to go and experience the exclusivity that describes! You also get to pour the perfect pint of ice cold Heineken and give your best shot at the various games while watching the world-class action on screens. It’s the ultimate in Heineken hospitality!

Find out more about Heineken’s exciting calendar of events at their Facebook page or Twitter.

Home made deep-fried Mars bar

deep fried mars bars

Deep-fried Mars bars are the stuff of legends. It originates from fish and chip shops in Scotland and is the epitome of unhealthy eating! I decided to make my own using a entire new bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) to give it a healthier veneer. ;) I not only did it with a Mars bar, but also battered and deep fried some other of our favorite candy bars.

candy bars

  • Snickers
  • Mars
  • Twix
  • Kit Kat Chunky
  • Cadbury Crunchie

I opened up a new bottle of fairly good quality EVOO – the bottle costs about RM 30 and you can’t reuse the oil since deep frying Mars bars causes the oil to turn entirely black (a snippet I heard from an interview in Scotland, where the battered deep fried Mars Bar originated) and chocolate will sink to the bottom.

deep fried mars bar recipe

Here’s my recipe for the deep-fried Mars bar:

  • Aroma Banana Fritter Flour
  • Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Mars bar (and the other candy bars)

plating

This project was done for our anniversary – I wanted to make Ling something sweet which also means something to us. Those are our 5 favorite candy bars and I wanted her to try the notorious battered deep fried Mars bar for our anniversary.

evoo

It’s very simple really – I heated up the 500 ml of EVOO in a frying pan until it’s hot (contrary to popular belief, fair quality EVOO can be used for deep frying – you won’t reach the smoking point) and prepared the batter.

batter

I should note that this brand isn’t ideal as it doesn’t coat the chocolate bars properly. I have beer batter meant for fish and chips from NZ in my pantry but I totally forgot about it. The banana fritter batter only has baking powder, flour and salt so you can use those three in the right proportions if you want.

deep fried mars bar

My first test was done with the Cadbury Crunchie bar – I had hoped that it’ll melt the honeycomb center but it didn’t. I also realize that the batter was too thin and fixed it for the rest of the chocolate bars. I then battered and deep fried the Twix, Kit Kat Chunky, Snickers and then Mars last – after I have perfected my technique.

black oil

I coated the Mars bar with the batter and dunked it into the hot oil. It tastes a while to melt everything. 1-2 minutes is ideal since it melts down most of the chocolate bar inside the batter while retaining its shape.

fried candy bars

Deep fried Mars Bar verdict:
It’s the best! The gooey caramel and nougat melted while the chocolate was runny – biting into it is awesome. The crispy batter gives way to a hot mess of goodness! Surprisingly, Snickers gives Mars a good run for its money with the addition of peanuts.

deep fried candy bars

Twix did really well too, the biscuit inside softened and turned it into something *magical* and I loved the deep fried Kit Kat Chunky as well. Crunchie was disappointing coz the honeycomb center didn’t melt but the other awesome candy bars more than makes up for it.

eating deep fried mars

You wouldn’t believe it but between the two of us, we ate all the candy bars! I made my dear promise to eat half (she ate more like 1/3) and we both agreed that the deep fried Mars bar is a delectable, if somewhat expensive venture (due to the use of EVOO).

deep fried mars

We loved it! Just be prepared for the sugar rush of your lives! :D

How I Met Your Mother in Melbourne

ling-hb

This photo is our inside joke. I was wearing a shirt that Ling got for me. She’s wearing a shirt that I got for her (she really wanted to see koalas).

Quite a few people have commented that my updates have been infrequent since I’ve met her. Haha! We’ve been somewhat busy but I’ll be getting up to speed starting from today with regular posts. I’m catching a flight to Bali so here’s one last photo for the candy bar themed post.

custom candy ripe

This is a limited edition Cherry Ripe which comes with a blank spot where the candy name is supposed to go. It’s meant for you to write a message to your loved one in the (). I saw it and thought of her – wrote “LIFE, <3, (universe)” in the space and gave it to Ling.

I thought it’ll be a sweet thing to do. smirk

A wonderful array of Indian sweets

sss

I’ve been a huge fan of these absurdly sweet concoctions since I first encountered a variant of the diabetic-inducing delicacies in Sri Lanka. The first time I had it, I had a look of pure shock in my face from the insulin response. It delighted the Sri Lankan shopkeepers.

The SHEER amount of sugar inside will astound you.

indian sweet vendor

I recently found one a place in town called Bakti Woodlands that offer similar sweets. It called mithai and touted as South Indian in origin, but most are from the continental Indian area (most of the sweets are similar throughout the region, with just different names).

sample box

They had a sample box of 10 different types of sweets for RM 10. I bought that and spent the night savoring the sweets and went back for more a few days ago.

They didn’t have the boxes anymore – I was told that the sample boxes are only sold during festive seasons. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t so I bought it a la carte at RM 1 each.

mithai

What I like about these sweets is that you can taste the different types of milk (goat, cow etc) inside. Here’s a sample of the sugar laden, ghee-infused concoctions that will delight (and challenge) everyone with a sugar tooth:

Jangiri

jangiri

This is the most common sweet you’ll find around here. It tastes like a very light and fluffy doughnut and is made with urad flour and sugar before being deep fried in ghee (clarified butter).

indian sweet stall

There’s a stall just beside Bakti Woodlands selling it for RM 0.70 instead of RM 1 but I find the former to taste slightly better.

Mysore pak

indian confection

This wonderful slice of sweet heaven is made with a truckload of ghee, sugar and gram flour/dhall flour. The interesting thing about dhall flour is that it’s gluten-free, which means my niece can probably eat it. This is my second favorite mithai (Indian confection / sweet).

The dude who was behind the counter didn’t recognize me at first until I brought up the topic of the sample box. He was intrigued and asked me if I was doing research. I wasn’t. Heh. I bought RM 30 worth the second time, and here’s the second video of him introducing the sweets – first one didn’t turn out right.

Laddu

laddu

There’s a type of laddu that costs RM 2.50 (as opposed to RM 1 for the others, like the one above). It’s a huge, fist-sized round ball made with brown sugar, cashew nuts and dried fruits.

There’s also a smaller type of laddu, generically named Ghee Ladhu here:

coconut laddu

The word laddu means “small ball” and can contain almost anything. There are some with ground coconut (the red one) but I prefer the plain ones with raisins inside.

Halwa

indian sweets

This has gotta be my favorite mithai ever!

Halwa is a very generic term that describes a lot of sweets across the Indian subcontinent and even to the Middle East. The name itself is Arabic for “sweet”. I first encountered it in Sri Lanka. I’ve also heard it referred to as barfi.

almond halwa

I like the white almond slices that contains an obscene amount of condensed milk. Halwa tends to be crumbly and insanely sweet. I imagine the recipe for it looks a little like this:

  • 2 tons of sugar
  • 40 kgs of ghee

for a tray of sweets. Heh.

apple halwa

I’m particularly fond of the apple shaped halwas. I highly recommend this if you’re willing to test the limits of your insulin tolerance. It’s sweet, crumbly and has a distinctive milky taste that you can smell as well as taste. The “stem” of the “apple” is made from a clove stick! :)

apple sweet with cinnamon stick

You might need a shot of insulin to stabalize but its worth it! Melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness! :D

Kim and Gareth’s wedding @ The Saujana Hotel

kim gareth wedding

The first thing I noticed was the K&G for Kimberly and Gareth ice sculptures which dominates the entrance to the ballroom where the wedding was held. There’s also an archway above with roses – nice touch, that.

candy station

This is my favorite bit – there’s lots of nostalgic candy with witty place cards at the lounge where wedding guests can help themselves to.

sweet station

I haven’t had some of these since I was in primary school! It certainly brings back fond memories.

wedding registrar

…so much so I had a brain fart while writing the guest book. Lives, not lifes. -_-

kim gareth wedding rules

Kim and Gareth’s wedding was held at The Saujana Hotel last Saturday on the 27th October. I was there at 6:30 pm for the cocktail reception.

vintage coke

Vintage Coke bottles from Thailand.

yee haw

Here’s Yee Hau with Yee Haw! That’s the tag for the haw flakes of our childhood.

childhood candy

Rabbit Candy! Anyone remember these? I still love them.

kim gareth replacements

I think this was a really great idea too – having photo cutouts to take photos with while the bride and groom were busy, very tongue-in-cheek. Heh.

volleyball

The wedding favors on the table were hugely popular too – we had an impromptu game of volleyball while waiting for it to start, made by Nicholas with the goo you can blow up into a balloon (also an artifact of 80’s babies – we had them in school).

kimberly gareth wedding

Kim and Gareth both had speeches going and I thought it was really nice, what they said, weddings always makes me feel good.

chinese wedding food

There’s also an 8 course dinner, with the soup dish called “Save the Sharks Seafood Soup” – obviously no fins in there but it tastes surprisingly good with the mini abalone and other seafood inside and it’s a great departure from traditional wedding soups by being clear, yet flavorful.

A lot of us at the table went for second helpings, myself included…and I’m not even a fan of soup.

yamazaki single malt whisky

I love the single malt whisky that was offered too – had a dram each of Yamazaki 12 y/o and a The Glenrothers Select Reserve. I preferred the latter, despite the novelty of drinking a Japanese single malt whisky – it had more character and complexity.

yam seng

Here’s the obligatory table-to-table yam seng session!

kim gareth hb

…and a photo with the (real) bride and groom at the end. Hope you have a wonderful life ahead together, Kim and Gareth! :)

*quaff* *gulp* *swallow*

gobble

*gobble*

munch

*munch*

chew

*chew*

slurp

*slurp*

chomp

*chomp*

scoff

*scarf*

Man, I had to dust off the trusty old thesaurus to find synonyms for eat to write all that. ;)

You know those Wrigley’s New Extra Professional Mints with ridges on the side? I thought it was there just for aesthetics until I was told it’s designed for a very pragmatic purpose. It works just like the tongue scraper you see at the back of your toothbrush:

tongue scraper

I’ve been sucking on those mints all the time without realizing it! It turns out there is a Proper Way (TM) to go about it – the ridges should be against your tongue to reduce germs after a meal to keep your mouth fresh and clean. I was so excited when I discovered this (coz I felt stupid from not seeing the bloody obvious :p) that I’ve been going around doing this:

popcorn

It’s essential to do the vigorous scrubbing motion while chanting “Scrub!” on top of your lungs every time you see someone finish eating.

banana split

It’ll be a compelling experiment to see many times you can do this to your friends before they get really annoyed by it. Trust me; it won’t take long at all, so unless you want to radically downsize your social circle, I suggest you do it online instead.

annoyed

Wrigley’s New Extra Professional Mints is launching a contest where you scrub food from your tongue. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to try to clean your mouth with a mint while burgers, popcorn, pizza and a plethora of other food stuff turns your tongue into their personal house party.

Wrigley New Extra Professional Mints Contest

It is your job, as the steward of this very important organ (it’s not just for tasting the stuff you eat, ya know ;)) to prevent the food from using your tongue as their playground, running amok and getting into all sorts of shenanigans that would lead to your neighbors calling the cops.

The highest score wins a Sony Video MP3 player weekly and the grand prize is a Sony VAIO Pocket Style PC. Flex your gaming muscles and start playing here.

mussels

M&M’s – Mussels & Mints. ;)

Durian candy

durian sweets

Durian candy mysteriously appeared on my table today. There was
durian sweets wrapped in translucent wrappers which tastes like…well,
durians…

durian nougat

…and also durian chews, which tastes like durian nougat (the crunchy type).

It’s not even durian season…

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