My Favourite Things: December 2014

December 6, 2014 @ 10:26 pm (Permalink)

My Favourite Things

I’ve decided to do this “My Favourite Things”, a monthly meme that focuses on what I’ve been obsessed with for the past four weeks. This meme is hosted by Raisa and Eirene.

Kindle Paperwhite and Coffee

For the past month or so, I’ve been obsessed with reading The Lord of the Rings and/or The Hobbit fanfics on my first generation Kindle Paperwhite. These are epically long fics (majority of them are 100,000+ words long), and they are addicting. Super addicting. I’ve stayed up until 3:00am one day reading a fic I just couldn’t put down. Thorin Oakenshield and Bilbo Baggins are the two culprits who wouldn’t leave me alone. I don’t know what it is about these two, but they need to shut up, haha! Seriously, though, fanfics own me. And there is nothing better than getting in my cosy bed after a long day of work with a cup of coffee while I escape into the wonderful world of Middle-earth with drama, humour, and angst through well-written fanfics by fans like me.

Speaking of coffee, I also discovered coffee I actually LIKE that’s not espresso-based. I got my dad a Keurig machine for his birthday in August. Since then, he and I’ve been trying out different K-Cups brands to see which are good. I discovered that my favourite is the Green Mountain Blueberry Coffee and Newman’s Own Special Blend. The latter is really great in that it’s so flavourful to where I can drink it without adding any sweetener. I’ve got other flavour/brand to kill, but once they are gone, I’m only going to buy these two.

And that’s my two-cents for this meme! Hopefully I’ll be able to do this regularly, so I hope to see you guys next month for the January edition!

2 Comments » | Filed Under Books, Food, Memes/Surveys

Slow Cooker Experience

December 2, 2014 @ 9:12 am (Permalink)

A couple of years ago, I nagged my dad for a slow cooker. It took me a while to convince him to get us one because he didn’t think it’d be a useful appliance. However, I wore him down, telling him that this is something I could utilise, saying that I wanted to cook more, but it’s hard to do so when I’ve got an evil split shift which really means working twelve-hour straight. So he got us one, and I used it twice since then to make beef stew.

Beef Stew

This was my first attempt. This attempt was a major learning experience for me. I kept envisioning my first attempt ending up with stew exploding all over the countertop, and I was even alarmed when it started “spitting” at me, but I ended that by placing a heavy coffee mug to keep the lid on tight. Regardless, the stew turned out well. This one was more savory and more clearer because I added too much liquid and I used Korean daikon because turnips were nowhere near me. For seasonings I used thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and coarsely ground black pepper. This was a hit with my parents and me.

Beef Stew

Couple of days ago, I made the beef stew again, but I changed things up. Instead of Korean daikon, I substituted it with sweet potatoes. For the seasoning, I added a bit of rosemary and bay leaf. This stew turned out to be much sweeter — I blame the sweet potatoes — but it was still good. So much better than my first attempt! Just, nom.

Now, though, I need to branch out and try other recipes in the slow cooker. Never mind that I like stew and I like how it’s so easy to throw it in and let it cook for hours. Maybe I’ll try chili next time . . . Anyway, if you guys have a favourite slow cooker recipe, point me in that direction! I never say no to good recipes :D

3 Comments » | Filed Under Food

Veterans Day Weekend

November 11, 2014 @ 2:54 pm (Permalink)

I was able to get a bit of a reprieve this Veterans Day by taking Monday off, thus giving me a four-day weekend. I’ve enjoyed this much needed break that was full of many good things and a couple not-so-good things :) Here’s my adventure!

Iced Latte at Chansbros

My weekend started with me going to exchange some money and then stopping by the new branch of Chansbros. Chansbros #1 is my favourite coffee shop, but I found out Chansbros #2 opened, so I finally checked it out. The coffee is different here (but still good!), there are more selection of drinks here, and it gives a great view of the Itaewon’s entrance . . . all in all, it’s nice place, but I still prefer Chansbros #1! I much prefer their iced latte over the new place’s.

Butter Chicken and Vegetable Biryani from Taj Palace

Later I utilised Ynot Takeout to order some butter chicken and vegetable biryani from Taj Palace in Itaewon. This was the first time I used Ynot Takeout, and I’m glad I did. Normally, I wouldn’t want to pay an extra 4,000 won ($4 USD) delivery fee, but work had got me to be so mentally and physically drained, that I decided to use them this once. My food arrived within 30 minutes, and it was all warm and delicious! I’ve had Taj Palace before, but it’s been years since I’ve eaten there. I’m glad their quality hasn’t shrank since! Their butter chicken was one of the best ones I’ve had since Tiger Masala had closed. All the other ones I’ve tried in various Indian restaurant tasted nothing like this. Plus, the portion was huge! It was enough to last me four meals. :D

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

Sangdangsan Fortress

I went down to Cheongju on Saturday to visit a friend. We went to Sangdangsan Fortress, and it was an amazing trip. We didn’t walk around the entire fortress — for one, I was wearing the wrong pair of shoes! — but what we did view was amazing. The autumn foliage was gorgeous, it was fascinating to see a fortress that was intact, and we even saw squirrels! I was even momentarily struck with a vivid scene where I imagined to be a warrior in the 1600s, standing in front of the fortress, and watch an arrow come straight at me from one of the archer’s holes. This is a place I’d like to come back again and walk around the entire fortress. Just gotta remind myself to wear the right shoes! All in all, I had a great time in Cheongju, but coming back to Seoul, I encountered traffic jam hell on the expressway. I was not pleased that my 1.5-hour ride turned into a 3-hour one! I swear, Gyeongbu Expressway HATES me.

Chicken Avocado Panini and Iced Vanilla Latte at Kafe Nordic

Sunday found me going back to Kafe Nordic, one of the other cafes I like in Itaewon/Hannam area. There, I bought me an iced vanilla latte, and I tried their chicken avocado panini meal. The panini wasn’t bad — I really liked the bread and the cheese, but the flavouring of the chicken and avocado was bland. Not a meal I’d get again, but I still like their coffee and their cosy cafe!

Then I went to my hair salon and got my fringe trimmed and had them chop off about 3-4 inches of my hair. The bottoms were so damaged and kept getting tangled, so I knew it was time to cut my foxtail off. The foxtail being the bleached tips from when I dyed them blue/purple.

Curries and Bread at Taj Mahal in Ansan

I went back to Ansan on Monday. I met my friend whom I went there with last time, and this time we decided to try a South Asian restaurant. We decided to try Taj Mahal, a Pakistani/Indian/Nepalese/etcetera restaurant. We got the chicken curry, mutton palak, roti, paratha, and mango lassi (which isn’t pictured), all for 24,000 won ($24 USD). This meal was so much better than our Indonesian restaurant experience from the previous visit. The chicken curry was different, yet tasty, but I was sore that they didn’t have makhani! There are quite a number of other South Asian restaurant there, so we’ll try those next time.

And that’s pretty much it! Tuesday (today) is my bum day, so I’m just relaxing at home. I hope everyone else had a good weekend. And remember to thank a veteran in honour of Veterans and Remembrance Day!

4 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Social Life

A Belated Back-to-Work Post

October 19, 2014 @ 9:24 am (Permalink)

After my wonderful staycation, I returned to work where my to-do list exploded in my face, and since then I’ve been busy with so many work-related tasks. So much to the point that I’ve been quite drained during the week. That’s what happens when one has to report to work at 5:30am and do a split shift. However, I usually work straight through until 5:00pm, so that makes for a super long day . . . anyway, I still had time to meet friends for dinner and brunch, and here are a couple photos I took of that.

Lambchop and Bobotie from Twiga

Amarula Cheesecake from Twiga

My friend D and I visited Twiga, a South African restaurant that sells the best cheesecake in the world. I’ve been wanting to try their food-dishes, so D and I went there together. D opted to get the lambchop, and I opted to get the bobotie which is a minced meat casserole with an egg-based topping. We both shared this mushroom rice, and then we both had the Amarula cheesecake. The cheesecake was the best part of our meal. The other dishes were just not really to our liking. Plus, it was pretty pricey. We ended up paying $63 USD together. I will go back there for the cheesecake, and maybe for their quiches, but that’s all.

Parfait Pancake from Greenstreet

D and I met again for brunch at Greenstreet in the Dragon Hill Lodge. I got the parfait pancake — pancakes that’s topped with a yoghurt and whipped cream mixture with berries, bananas, and granolas. This was my first time trying the dish, and I actually liked it. I think I much prefer the yoghurt and whipped cream over the usual syrup.

I got some lamb stew from Silence of the Lamb the other day, but I didn’t picture it. It was delicious, very flavourful and spicy! And that’s about it for my food adventure.

Oh, on a side note — I’ve been watching Downton Abbey and been enjoying the show. I’m not big on TV series, but I decided to give Downton a try, and I do not regret it! So good. So much British accents. *swoons*

7 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Movies/TVs, Work

Staycation Recap: Week Two

September 28, 2014 @ 1:01 am (Permalink)

My staycation is coming to an end. :( I am not looking forward to returning to work. I’ve really had a blast these last two weeks relaxing with my hobbies and going around to various different places. I’ve accomplished a lot of what was on my to-do list, so that’s a good thing! There are several tasks I didn’t get around to do, but I also did a lot of other stuff that wasn’t on my list originally. Anyway, moving on to my recap!

Paper Gundam Model

People Watching Outside of Chansbros

Coconut Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

On Saturday, the 20th, I took the time to dust out Kazama, my wonderful computer. I dreaded tackling this task because I am horrible with computer hardware, but it went a lot smoother than I thought, but that experience still left me feeling stressed out. I unwinded by going to Daehakro after to pick up more of Purie’s jam. In the Hyehwa subway station, I saw this display of paper models, this huge Gundam one being an example. I just cannot believe how big it is! I admired that display and returned back to my neighbourhood — of which I encountered a horrid traffic jam on the bus — and did some people watching outside Chansbros. When I made it home, I decided to try my hand at making ice cream from coconut milk without an ice cream maker. It turned out pretty good, but I sure didn’t enjoy stirring it every half an hour!

Sunday was spent doing errands like applying for jobs and going to the commissary. Very boring, really, but I also took that day to start re-watching The Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition films. Of which I spent all of Monday continuing.

Eggplant and Hummus Wrap at Daily Kitchen

Coffee and Dessert at Hell Cafe

Strawberry Smoothie at Good to Go

Tuesday ended up being a bit more exciting. I met up with one of my former professors for lunch. We decided to go to Daily Kitchen, and I had a delicious, but extremely juicy and messy eggplant and hummus wrap. It was very good and filling, but just really messy! After lunch, we hit Hell Cafe to get some coffee and dessert. The dessert was this cheesecake that was very mousse-like with no crust. It was actually very good. After coffee, we walked back to my neighbourhood and we settled for having some smoothie at Good to Go. I got mine as strawberry. Yum! When I got home, I finished up the last of my LotR marathon :)

Wednesday had me . . . walking 5 miles to cancel a service I no longer require and a trip to the bank. My poor feet were not happy, but I didn’t mind the actual walk. ‘Twas another boring day, really XD;;;

Thursday on the other hand had me trying out Il Gattino with the professor friend. Il Gattino is doing a soft opening, so I had to make a reservation and told the manager our preferences and budget, and his chef created a customised menu for us. It was fabulous. Everything there was home-made from their breads and pastas to their sauces to their butter and whipped cream. Everything was divine. And this whole course cost us only 50,000 won total! This is what we had for our course:

Bread Set at Il Gattino

This bread set came with rosemary infused butter, olive spread, and mushroom spread. I loved the olive spread and the butter a lot!

Italian Salad at Il Gattino

Next was a salad that came with greens, apples, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, and parmigiano cheese with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Puttanesca at Il Gattino

Then came my puttanesca, a pasta dish with olives, capers, and garlic tossed in tomato sauce. The noodles were definitely home-made. I could literally taste the difference between their noodles and the store-bought ones.

Lasagna at Il Gattino

My friend had the lasagna. This thing appeared to be small, but it was packed with five layers of meat, noodle, cheese, and sauce. I tasted a bit, and this is perhaps the best lasagna I’ve ever had.

Latte Macchiato without the Espresso

Then my friend and I had some coffee before our dessert. My friend had this coffee in a shot glass with chocolate in it. I didn’t get the name, and I didn’t take a picture, unfortunately. I decided to have the latte macchiato. The espresso came separate from the milk mixture, and the manager told me that a properly made latte macchiato will take on three layers when the espresso is added . . .

Latte Macchiato with Espresso

. . . and it did give me three layers! Yay!

Chocolate Fondant Pudding

Lastly, we had our dessert, which was chocolate fondant pudding. This chocolate cake with melted chocolate in the centre is truly a decadent treat. Top it off with home-made whipped cream? Even better.

After that wonderful meal, my last major adventure, which is really the highlight of my staycation, occurred on Friday and Saturday. During Friday morning and afternoon, I spent the time playing Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, but that night, I met up with two friends, and we travelled to Donghae in Gangwon Province to spend the night there. Our main goal was to go to Penis Park (NSFW!!!), a pilgrimage of sort. It was in the next province over, in Samcheok, but we found a hotel we liked in Donghae.

Beach in Donghae

Beach in Donghae

Beach in Donghae

On Saturday morning, we decided to visit a beach in Donghae. Since our hotel was only ten minutes away from it, we walked over to the small beach. Nobody else was out there but us, and it was so peaceful and calming. This is the third time I’ve been to a beach or ocean. My first three time occurred in Incheon, and I recall the water there being brown and unappealing. Hence why I wasn’t all that excited about going to the ocean when my friend said she wanted to go, but after seeing the ocean on the east coast, I’ve changed my viewpoint on the ocean. This is the kind of beach I like, where the water is actually BLUE and where there’s not many people disturbing the peace.

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Beach in Haesindang Park

Just when I thought Donghae’s beach was nice, along comes the beaches around Haesindang. It. Is. Beautiful. I think I’ve fallen in love with Samcheok area now. The water was so much bluer and clearer, and the rocks on the beaches were amazing. This place has me smittened. In fact, it had all of us smittened, so now we want to go back there in the winter since I’ve never experienced a beach or the ocean in wintertime. I can’t wait!

Annnnd . . . amidst all the beach hopping, we enjoyed our pilgrimage. Here are my NSFW photos of Penis Park. This place is really one of those places you have to visit at least once, and I’m glad I found the right people to go there together! :D

With that typed, my staycation recap has come to an end. Again, I really enjoyed my break. It was much needed on my part. I am not sure when my next big vacation will be, but I hope it will be just as fun as I had these two weeks!

4 Comments » | Filed Under Food, Korea, Materialism, Social Life