Saturday, 21 July 2012

Trio-Flavour Pork Grill & Trio Coloured Caprese Salad

Not long ago, I read that the skin of green tomatoes are usually thicker than their red or yellow cousins.  Its true.  They are overall firmer too but taste just as delish so I´m finding out ways on how to prepare them when my harvest of Green Heirloom tomatoes are due.

Mozarella is a must.  Need not have to be specific size but today, I wanted them small to balance off the mini cocktail tomatoes I´m preparing them with.  I tend to get pretty generous with the salad dressing too.  Seen here, served with basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Mallorcan´s almond oil for a change.

Today after sending our garden leftover material to recycling centre, went to pick up some stuff for the balcony in a garden centre and asian grocery and a few other chores inbetween ... we decided to end the day with an assorted flavoured meat grill.  Some came naturally flavoured with oil, some with curry, some with paprika and some tasted weird and unidentifiable.

We had two cases of beer and radler left from hubby´s birthday celebration so ...

This week, we got ourselves two new addition to the balcony.  A new flower pot or box to house my Queen of Sweden (right across) and a cool water fountain where water drizzles down from the hollow frame in the middle.

This thing ain´t cheap at all at 159 Euro each but we were surprised it went on sale today.  Luck was truly on our side so we used the savings to further add stuff on our shopping cart.  A pot of Campanula (4.99euro), Balloon Flower (1.99Euro), Winterheide (can´t remember how much) plus some can of Anti Moss Spray on outdoor furniture pieces.

Nice?  Btw, it is lighted too where the water drizzles from ...

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Boys and their Toys ...

Hubby´s brother dropped in surprisingly an hour before the party starts. WITH a birthday gift.  I stared at it amusingly not because of what it is but because assembling itself is no easy task.  I would definately cry if someone would have given that to me.  These truely are boys toys.  After testing them in the livingroom before the rest of the gang arrive, hubby promptly place them aside.  But not for long because as soon as one of them spotted it, everyone started congregating around it to see how high can it fly and to further discuss the technical detail ... :-)  What a contrasting difference when I went clothes shopping with the girls just weeks and they wanted to peak inside my shopping bag! :-)

So yes, he was really please with it.  With his new helicopter toy, his new Truck game on Wii, plus another car racing game he bought just a week ago but base on our old PS2 console.  I guess I won´t be surprised to see him occupying TV for weeks to come :-)

My MIL gave him something unexpected this year.  A solar tree that charges his mobile, ipod, or even this new helicopter toy!  There is a lot of solar charger out there but not as decorative so I was in love with this myself.  However, it is his gift so he decides where to place them.  In the house or bring them to his office?

I discovered a new favourite beer flavour :-) It was not long ago where I was smitten with Cherry Beer from Belgium.  Unfortunately, the brand that I like is sold only in Belgium.  This one from Krombacher is german base and one can find it easily in getrankemarkt.  It is laced with Holundeer berries and I LOVE IT!  Even the girls whom came loveddd it so much they finished it to the last bottle.  Looks like its a ladies drink this one so I think I´ll stock this one up when expecting any female friends over.

Krombacher´s Fassbrause .. yumyumyummm :-)

Monday, 16 July 2012

His 42nd ...

As usual, there´s a little gathering at home with his friends in the evening.  Cake session with mama downstairs is a norm too.  This year, he said don´t bother baking.  Our weekend was spent running errands and doing up the geratehaus so he knows how exhausted I am.  I love him for being understanding like that :-)  After getting what´s needed for the garden, we stopped by Edeka for some stocking up.  Things for this evening such as beer, pizzas and snacks.  It was not possible to pass off this gorgeous looking Bailey Cake from Coppenrath.  We had it a while ago and totally agreed it tasted un-factory made.  Generous portion of Baileys, lovely mousse filling and nice layer of cake between.  Portion was not too huge so we were all happy campers end of the day.

This year, I decided to give hubby something practical.  Something he need and something for him to indulge in ... :-)

Happy 42nd Lou Kung! Have a good year ahead :-)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

German Driving License in my Hand ...


It has been one hell of a journey since summer last year.  To think of it, way before that when I started inquiring over the German Driving License process in a local driving school.  I went to one of the most reputable where I live.  The experience left me disheartened.  The lady whom attended to me answered everything possible there is with her limited knowledge of how to convert a Malaysian license to a German one but what upsetted me most was when she referred to her colleage, a driving instructor on how many lessons should I take.  In Germany, there is no hard or fast rule to this.  It seems it difers from school to school.  This instructor, without even checking my background (18 years of driving experience) took a look at me and quoted 45 lessons.  A freshie takes approximately 30 lessons onward so what is it about me that needs 45 lessons?  And so, I left that at that ... and did not proceed further till the following year.

My hubby mentioned there´s such a thing as taking your license intensively in a holiday package deal.  I did a quick search online and true enough, found one I was comfortable with.  The lady I spoke too sounded normal.  The whole process is in English which is a big plus and she is willing to do it within 2 weeks excluding the theory.  The only thing is, it is in Hamburg - Germany´s second biggest city up north.  And quickly too, we made arrangement, went there to do up my theory which I passed thankfully after getting all my first aid test, paper translation and eye test done up.

The practical lesson went well the first day.  I took 2 lessons after arriving at her driving school myself.  She is not up to picking me up from the B&B I was staying which I initially thought was normal but it was not apparently.  Fine.  Second day came the real shocker.  She started raising her voice.  Oh well.  And we had 2 lessons that day too.  By end of the lesson, she asked if I am keen to take an evening extra lesson.  I jumped at the chance because I had time to kill plus I wanted to get as much practise as possible.  That evening, we did a round around an industrial and housing area outside of Hamburg.  She apparently had to pass something to her mother and had use our route to do up her chore.  Which is also fine by me.  But then later while on the way back, something happened that shook me.  I was driving as usual when I spotted a traffic light ahead with its red light blinking.  It is new to me so I did what I thought was normal.  I stopped the car.  And she SCREAMED. And took over the wheels and swirl it aggressively towards the curb at the right side of the road while stepping on the gas pedal HARD.  Can you imagine my shock when it happened?  I didn´t know stopping a car can be such a big no-no especially so when I am in a driving school car where everyone would or suppose to have noticed.  Also, it was a 50km zone, means the car are all going slow.  Who would hit me from behind?  Driving school car are all insured so well here so what´s the big fuse?  We got out of the car, I was clearly shaken ... she noticed and apologized quickly.  I told her, her behaviour is unacceptable and reminded her why I am paying her then.  The next day, I called her early in the morning to cancel that days driving lessons.  So that she got the message that is it NOT right.

After that incident, she was more polite.  But her actions, putting her hand on mine to demonstrate how to change gear in a rough manner ... it is her way of letting go frustration, something to that effect.  At times too she would curse on drivers on the road which I try to turn on a deaf ear.  Its an emotional roller coaster ride for me each time I am to start my lesson.  But I told myself it will be short.  In a weeks time, it will be over and thats it. 

On the day of my exam, she puked.  SHE, the teacher and not the student taking the practical exam PUKED. 

I had to move the car to the side to calm her down during my last lesson just before the exam.  Amazing.  I failed of course.  But by any mean, it was my mistake.  I missed a stop sign because the examiner actually took me to this junction with more than 10 signages lined up one after another.  Why the hell did he do that for?!  He also failed me because I was driving 5km slower than the stated speed limit. I did´t get that because I always thought, it is fine as long as you don´t go above that speed limit.  It seems one is endangering oneself and is hogging the road.  Stupid reason if you ask me.  And a whole lot more from the list like I was not stepping on the gas pedal confidently.  When you are at 40-50 using 4th gear, how much gas can you step on?

I took it again, had to go all the way to Hamburg to get it done and I failed the second time.  This time round, I do question the reason behind failing me.  I was on a main road leading towards the autobahn on the right.  Parallel to me is a cyclist but since I am faster, the cyclist was 100 metres behind me by the time I reached the turning junction.  The examiner said, by right, I should stop for him although he is faraway.  And for that, he failed me.  I find it confusing because, my very nice driving teacher told me NOT to stop in such circumstances especially when one is on the way to autobahn.  Cars behind could have hit me from behind.  So who is right and who is wrong???

Last winter, I decided enough is enough and do not want to see her face anymore.  I applied for a school transfer application via a new driving school I found in my town.  It is a fairly small school from the first one I went too, but bigger than the one I used in Hamburg.  His online credential seems good.  What I really liked was, all the photos of his students whom had passed the exam - all bearing a huge smile.  The teacher too looked pleasant and importantly, it is a HE.  My driving teacher was a HE back in Malaysia and he was so cool.  Perhaps a women instructor are more particular over small details such as how to hold the gear knob, at what gear should you use when you touched xxx line when you´re at junction and at what degree should your steering be etc (which I am super uncomfortable btw when I was with her) ... so yes, all this stupid stupid details.  This new instructor is super cool without fusing too much over unimportant things.  And by doing so, I got comfortable in his car so quickly and soon, I was driving like I owned the car - he said :-)

He does not scream but explain to me what my mistakes are.  He would stop the car when necessary to show me some signs if I am not certain off.  And he compliments me when I get them right.  I think that is important to instill confidence in a student.  It is strange that I also need them after having driving back in Malaysia for upteen years.  Driving in Autobahn in his sun-roof Tiguan was fantastic feeling too.  Perhaps I am use to a VW, with hubby Passat almost a similiar feel to the Tiguan. And of course, the traffic here is not as horrendous as in a big city.  Perhaps too it made a difference that the town were I live marked the roads very well and it helps.  I did 12 lessons with him in addition to 15 lessons I did in Hamburg.  27 lessons is not too bad compared to the 45 quoted by the first school isn´t it?  Plus, I´ve also gained driving experience in Hamburg so it does make a difference.

And so at last, I passed.  With flying colour and no comment or feedback on what else I need to improve on when the good news was handed to me.  Fantastico.

All and all, getting a good instructor is important if I may add or any of you whom plans to get your license done here in Germany. So now yeah, my freedom is finally in my hand ...

p/s : this is not the ´good´ news yet ... :-)

p/ss:  this card is from hubby. he was happier and jumping higher than me btw  ... :-)

Friday, 13 July 2012

July 2012 Flowers from our Garden (update)

Herb Grilled Chicken & Salad

Still counting my calories but I am getting the hang of it and my cravings for anything sinful seems to be getting better and better.  Of course I do wish be able to eat whatever I want but that day have to wait and so dear readers and friends, please be patient with me while I go through the process ... muchos muchos for understanding. Just for an update here, It is another 1kg lighter since I last updated my post few days ago.  A few more would be icing on top of the cake :-)

Mäigang Trip in July with Stammtisch

We use to be 10 and now we´re down to 8 members in our stammtisch.  Fine enough.  But isn´t it always the case that the lesser the number of members in the group, the easier it is to gather everyone around?  Not exactly so this year.  Our yearly Mäigang got postponed twice to two months later for this exact reason.  I´m cool with it as long as I am not the one organising.  It is nice putting one´s feet up once a while, enjoy the wonderful summer day in the chosen city of Münster.  With a little shopping inbetween as well as ending our dinner in a cool medievel restaurant somewhere off the beaten track from town centre, I do now wish Christmas come early so we get to gather again :-)  It was indeed lovely.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

My Minus 6kg in a Month Program ...

I was getting really, really tired of upgrading my clothing size here.  And of course, the bigger it is, the more boring the cut gets and it does nothing to one´s self esteem.  About a month back, I thought ... this is it and something needs to be done!  I want back my old size when I first arrived here.  I want to wear my summery dresses which I use to wear but had since ditched it for thick pullover over the cold months here.  Food here is of course, full of cream, cakes with lots of pork pieces.  Its not good but I shall not put the blame on what is norm to eat here.  Self control is always the key.  So, here was my action plan which I am sharing here because two of my DH friends wanted to give this a try too ...



Day 1 - Breakfast (Small Coffee with milk and sweetener 80 calorie) & 30 grams Cornflake in 80ml Milk (175 calorie), Lunch (Half Plate of Noodle with Vege 200 calorie), 2 Peaches (160 calorie), Dinner (Provence Style Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Capsicums, Mushroom Stir Fry with light Bacon and serve with 50 grams Pasta (400 calories), Dessert (Yoghurt Ice Cream between 80-120 calorie) - Calorie of the Day is around 1135.

Day 2 -  Breakfast (Small Coffee with milk and sweetener 80 calorie) & 30 grams Cornflake in 80ml Milk (175 calorie), Lunch (Half Portion Leftover Pasta 200 calorie), 2 Nectarines (160 calorie), Steam Chicken Rice (600 calories), Dessert 1 Praline 80 calorie) - Calorie of the Day is around 1295.

Day 3 - Breakfast (Small Coffee with milk and sweetener 80 calorie) & 30 grams Cornflake in 80ml Milk (175 calorie), Lunch (Half Portion Leftover Chicken Rice 300 calorie), 1 Apple (80 calorie), 1 Bak Chang (300 calories), Dessert Ice Cream 120 calorie) - Calorie of the Day is around 1055.

Day 4 - Breakfast (Small Coffee with milk and sweetener 80 calorie) & 30 grams Cornflake in 80ml Milk (175 calorie), Lunch (1 Bak Zhang or Instant Noodle 300 calorie), 2 Peaches (160 calorie),  2 Pc Grilled Chicken Breast with Fresh Salad (500 calories) - Calorie of the Day is around 1215.

Day 5 - Breakfast (Small Coffee with milk and sweetener 80 calorie) & 30 grams Cornflake in 80ml Milk (175 calorie), Lunch (Chicken Sandwich with leftover Chicken on Toast 350 calorie), 1 Peach (80 calorie), Morrocan Chicken Tagine with Potato 280 calorie (1 chic thigh serving), Dessert Ice Cream 120 calorie) - Calorie of the Day is around 1085.

Day 6 - Breakfast (Small Coffee with milk and sweetener 80 calorie) & 30 grams Cornflake in 80ml Milk (175 calorie), Lunch (Burger King Grilled Chic Burger 300 Calorie), 2 Nectarines (160 calorie), Chicken Sate (4-5 sticks) 250 calorie, Dessert Ice Cream 120 calorie) - Calorie of the Day is around 1085.

Day 7 - Breakfast (Small Coffee with milk and sweetener 80 calorie) & 30 grams Cornflake in 80ml Milk (175 calorie), Lunch (Leftover Sate 250 calorie), 2 Peaches (160 calorie), Fish Curry 300 Calorie White Rice (s) 100 Calorie, Dessert Ice Cream 120 calorie) - Calorie of the Day is around 1185

Its a recommendation and up to you girls to play around what you feel like cooking girls! The main objective here is to count the calorie (painstakingly) but once you go around it the first week, you will feel more concious of the food implication you put in.  The calorie intake here is too low for daily requirement yeah so you have some extras to play around with either with the food portion or treat yourself to something else in between! As for me, I do recommend striking off sweet stuff altogether such as cakes, biscuits, or even soft drinks! Those prove to pile up the kilo straightaway when I step on the scale (but its applicable to me, not sure about you so do try!).

Lastly, keep a spreadsheet of what you take.  It helps a lot. And yes, also drinking lots of water which I´ve not included.  And exercise of course but I´m a lazy bump so nothing extra for me except for housework which is already sufficient!

So far I am happy with it but I feel that I have lots lots more to go because my butt is still sticking out like a sore thumb!

Good luck girls, kar yau!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Tiziano Ferro "La differenza tra me e te" - Wind Music Awards 2012

I just found out today that one of my cousin back in Malaysia is CRAZY over him too!  She lovessss Italy and had visited several times and does not mind visiting again so I invited her to go attend his consert together next summer! And she said yes! So weeeee ... next summer :-)

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Summer Lounging with Cold Salad and Sushi ...

We did an impromptu purchase somewhere last week, seeing that weather´s turning warm and its time for us to spent more time on our balcony outside.  In the past, we relied on our good old, loan set from downstairs whenever we wanna dine al-fresco on the balcony.  It is white in colour, made of wood, solid and comes with a huge cushion to give one a nice padding where its needed.  But, its time to return the set.  We wanted something multi purpose, not just for al-fresco snacking (cannot really call it dining due to its height) but also to lounge around with a book when we feel like.  We settled for a simple 2 seater lounge set with a coffee table which acts also as a stool to sit on, or to rest ones feet on.  Perfect.

It arrived today.  Came in a huge carton box, and personally delivered by this UPS guy whom seem to have been under the hot sun too long, he looked burned and out of breathe when I greeted him at the door.  I felt bad for not abling to help him when he moved the carton in.  Not that I was enjoying myself seeing him huff and puff but space was an issue at our front door.

This evening, and coincidently, I packed some readymade sushi from a local discounter store.  Sushi are hard to come by.  I do check them out regularly but the expiry date sometimes make me stay away.  But today, it was an exception.  With a long due date more, I assume its fresh so I packed one into my shopping basket.  True enough, it truly was.  Did I mention its been a hot day today?  Well, sushi under such weather goes hand in hand.  It was nicely polished in seconds way before hubby finished his first helping of cold pasta salad in his tiny little serving plate.  I picked that little cocktail plate to match our new lounge set you see but didn´t realise it was very unpractical. Ha.

Hubby as usual, being the typical German could not wait to put up the lounge set right after he came home. 

We had a nice, relaxing meal there after ...

Everything was perfect.  The birds were chirping.  It was not too hot and the wind was blowing gentle breeze onto my hair.  With the sound of water sprinkling fr our little fountain, its bliss.  Only thing left doing then was, fix my nails.  It started chipping and oh-how-i-hate-that.  Tomorrow, I am off to my stammtisch´s Mai-Gang tour so I usually make an effort to polish them up with another layer instead of taking them off.

Soon, this pot of Geranium might find a new home in a rectagular container.  Hubby is eyeing another water fountain for our balcony so when that happens, the current container which we turn into water fountain will be left unused.  I reckon these babies here would look good in them.

Thats him with his 75 calorie ice cream :-)

First Attempt at Zebra Cake

A few of us (DH Girls) decided to take this Zebra Cake baking challenge.  I failed miserable.  They say, bake when you´re in best of mood.  I was juggling a few things yesterday and was inbetween calls downstairs.  I was impatient - wanted to quickly get it over and done with and did not even read thru the recipe fully before getting started.  The big sin is I substituted the cocoa powder with drinking cocoa powder. So here it is, my Tapir Cake as how DH Almere calls it.  But ... it is yummy :-)

Mushrooms & Bacon Carbonara Classic ...

Summer is here, finally!  Just when I thought we´re gonna skip summer again like last year and going to head straight to autumn, it is here at last, in the month of July.  Things have been picking up for me lately.  A lot is happening.  I will be sitting for my driving exam this Wednesday, for the third time! But finally, I´d decided to do it in the comfort of the town I am living in.  I´ve also engaged a good school with even temperament tutor to guide me thru.  He is one cool fella and I really doubt he is the type who would get so nervous on the students behalf during exam day that he would puke.  Yes, the one I had earlier did that just before I sat for my driving test.  Unbelievable.

Someone close and dear is coming over to visit me soon, too!  That is super great news.  Nothing in this world would make me happier than to rejoice with my family member again.  I miss them so dearly and hence me going back to see them every single year, but this time round, our reunification is even sweeter.  I will finally get the chance to show them our lovely home, meet my inlaws and friends and to show them how my day to day life here is like.

My great news just kept on rolling one after another, and I shall keep the third one till much later.  I promise to spill once it is firmer.

Alright, its dinner time.  Its hot here so we´re having cold, cold pasta salad for dinner!