Monday, June 30, 2008
Our week in Sanya was lovely. So lovely it took me the same amount of time to get over my post holiday blues.
The island itself is laidback and very reminiscent of Singapore in the 70s while the city centre is bustling with shops, commerce and traffic.
The resorts were a different matter. Stepping into them was like stepping into another world. You'd be forgiven to think you were in Langkawi or Phuket or any one of the beautiful island resorts in the Phillipines. They were designed to pamper and spoil.
There were the usual international hotel chains suspects but we picked the Crowne Plaza Hotel as it was self-contained and had great facilities. This was important to us as we wanted a lazy holiday and would hardly be venturing out beyond the hotel's private beach. After some consideration, we opted for a deluxe room with a small private pool which links up to the main lagoon pool.
The room given was very spacious which left us pleasantly surprised. I had the presence of mind to snap pics of it before Sonny-boy thrashed it. The hotel website has a better photo but you get the general idea.
This is our little private enclave, complete with deck chairs and jacuzzi cum pool. Check out the lush landscape! It was amazing swimming among all that greenery. Not pictured is the balcony just at the room entrance. It was furnished with a divan-like couch, huge cushions and another single seater chair with a rustic and simple wooden table. It gave a good view of the pool area and I spent most of my time there crocheting - one eye on the hook and the other on Sonny-boy.
Just beyond the bridge (in the pic above), is the submerged pool bar. We spent a fair amount of time there too - swimming and relaxing can be so tiring, don't you know? It was hilarious, the three of us swimming up to the bar, plonking our super soaker guns on the counter and ordering mango martinis, coconut juice and mango ices. The waitress was very patient and never said anything about us flooding her bar counter surface. For me, sitting in the pool, sipping at my coconut juice, that was the spirit of the holiday. After finishing my drink, the waitress would offer to cut open my empty coconut so I could eat the flesh as well. I was more than happy, it's been ages since I had fresh coconut meat.
And where would a beach holiday be if a boy couldn't build his sandcastle? Here is our budding architect slapping on the final touches after Dad, the project manager, did most of the manual work. Mum was imitating a beached whale on one of the deck chairs. She only budged to ooh and ahh at the completed castle and take photos. And when it was time for refreshments at the beach bar, of course.
This is the beach. If it looks empty, that's because it really is. It's low season during the summer which was great for us because we and a smattering of other guests pretty much had the resort, its adjoining shopping mall and restaurants and beach all to ourselves. And with no harried staff, they were more than attentive and friendly.
As for the food, it still makes me weep to think about it. Dim Sum, Thai, Brazilian, Japanese, Cantonese, Szechuan, Italian.....
Labels: going places
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 3:44 am
A Housewife And Her Holiday Laundry
Monday, June 23, 2008
7.30am - Sort out washed holiday laundry into the ironing basket. Go away to get showered and dressed for the day.
8.45am - Come back and poke around the basket, wondering which ones to start on first. Go away to wake Sonny-boy up, get a glass of water and some crackers.
9.30am - Put out the ironing board, the iron and spray starch. Poke around the basket some more. Go away to switch on the computer and surf my favourite forums and blogs while contemplating on how best to attack the laundry.
12.00pm - Ooops! Got to go for my yoga class. Will do the ironing later. Promise! Cross my heart and hope to die.
1.35pm - Back home for a quick shower. Ignore ironing basket completely.
2.30pm - Have conversation with damn laundry.
Me: I don't suppose by chance any of you will iron youselves to a crisp military finish, march all the way to the wardrobe and hang yourselves up ready to be worn, would you?
Labels: home life
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 8:32 am
Houston, We Have Visual
Friday, June 13, 2008
Perhaps the Powers That Be at the censorship board decided to spring a birthday surprise on this poor cut-off housewife. Perhaps they wish to create a good impression with the lau wai (foreigners) with the very impending, very important Olympic Games. Whatever the reason.....
..... I can now access Blogspot blogs.
Labels: home life
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 1:16 pm
To end off my birthday celebration and kick start Sonny-boy's summer vacation (he's only due back in school on 1 September), we leave for Sanya, Hainan for a week long break.
See ya later, alligator!
Labels: Beijing, going places, home life
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 1:06 pm
Happy Birthday To Me
Monday, June 09, 2008
It's me birthday today.
Labels: home life
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 5:10 am
Beef And Asparagus Stir-Fry
Friday, June 06, 2008
Here's an everyday dish that's simple to whip up. Served with rice, this makes for a pretty balanced meal. Unless of course you have a husband and son who pick at the beef and leave the vegetables behind.
Beef And Asparagus Stir-Fry
600g beef filet, thinly sliced cross-grainwise
Green asparagus, cut into lengths of 1"
Red bell peppers, sliced
Spanish onion, cut into wedges
1 tsp chopped garlic
oil for frying
Salt and Pepper
Hua Tiao Wine
Marinade for Beef
- Marinate beef and set aside for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, bring a pot of water to the boil and blanche sliced asparagus and carrots. Set aside.
- Heat up oil in a wok till smoking hot. Slide the marinated beef in, fry until brown to seal in the juices, remove and set aside.
- Add more oil and on high heat, fry garlic until golden brown. Throw in onions and when it is slightly transparent, add in the bell peppers, asparagus and carrots. Stir fry for a minute or so.
- At this point, pour the soy sauce and oyster sauce in. Add some water so it doesn't burn. Stir fry for another minute or until almost done. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Finally, add the beef and mix well. Splash some Hua Tiao Wine, give the whole lot one final stir and you're good to go. Serve hot with boiled rice.
Labels: asian food, she cooks
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 3:58 am
Veni, Vidi, Visa - Wicker Handbag
I am smitten by Ferragamo's wicker handbags. They are light, fun and lovely for the summer. What's not so lovely is the price tag. Are you kidding me? For that amount of money, I can purchase two sets of wicker garden furniture for our backyard and throw in one or two topiary trees as well. I am in love, not insane.
But all is not lost.
I found this adorable 29 euro version in a shopping mall on Tuesday. It opens, it shuts, has leather handles and trimmings, is properly woven and looks like it can hold my make-up kit and purse.
Hey, I'm there.
Labels: retail therapy
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 3:29 am
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Phrik Thai house special - Crab in Red Curry Sauce.
Over the weekend, we visited a restaurant called Phrik Thai. It is fast becoming a favourite haunt for us when we hanker for some authentic Thai cuisine.
Phrik Thai has a wide variety of dishes but not so wide till you can't make a selection without wanting to pull your hair out. The restaurant has two sections, smoking and non-smoking. Smokers get to sit at proper tables and chairs while non-smokers have to contend with a more traditional touch of floor cushions and low-rise tables. Not that we mind though. The cushions and tables are covered with ikat woven Thai silk which really added to the ethnic atmosphere. And while we may be technically sitting on the floor, there's a sunken area below the table where you can rest your feet. Or play footsie with the hubby.
This evening we were famished, having skipped lunch earlier on, decided to go for it when making our order. We had Crab in Red Curry Sauce, Beef in Yellow Curry, Tom Yum Chicken Soup (this had coconut milk and was heavenly), Kang Kong with Bean Paste, Grilled Thai Style Chicken Wings, Pad Thai Noodles and Beef Rice Noodles with Gravy. The rice noodles were a dead ringer for Singapore's Beef Hor Fun, right down to the charred noodles.
To coin a Dutch phrase, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs which led to leftovers, despite our best gluttony efforts. However, nothing goes to waste here in China. From the poshest restaurant to the hole in the wall establishment, one gets to take away leftovers. What's the norm on this side of the pond is an etiquette faux pas on the other. I love the practice though because I just can't stand wasting food. And good food too, wouldn't you agree, if the crab photos are anything to go by.
Labels: Beijing, eating out
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 4:08 am
Stranger Than Fiction #45768
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I punched myself on the cheekbone yesterday. Just below my right eye.
And I can assure you, thanks to years of Taebo, I do not punch like a girl.
Double ouch when I saw the the slight bruising this morning. Thank the make-up gods for MAC and Yves St. Laurent concealers!
I was trying to remove the plastic ring tab holder thingamajig from a new bottle of apple juice. Instead of cutting it with a pair of kitchen scissors like I normally do, I decided, out of laziness, to use brute force instead.
Well, I was a teensy weensy too brutal and the force sent my fist flying right into my face.
I howled. I cursed.
This naturally piqued the interest of an eight year old boy splayed out on the couch watching TV. Mothers do not use swear words.
Sonny-boy: What's wrong, mummy?
Me: Oww....! I punched myself in the face by accident, bloody hell! *and a few choice words*... tried to remove this damn plastic ring *more choice words*
Sonny-boy, looking confused but concerned: Is it painful?
Sonny-boy: Are you going to die?
Sonny-boy: Okay. Bye!
And off he runs, back to the telly.
Apparently, Jamie and Adam attempting to blow up a shack with a water heater is more compelling than an injured mum.
Nine months in the belly and all for nought.
Labels: home life
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 3:07 am
This entry is for all my blogging friends who are on Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad and Xanga.
The reason why I haven't been round your blogs or left any comments is because I've been firewalled. Yet again. This has been going on for more than a month now. It's extremely frustrating as I feel cut off from you, my friends.
So please be patient, the powers that be may have a change of heart with the coming Olympics (if only for a while) and you can be sure I'll come knocking.
With bells on.
Labels: here and there
The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 2:59 am