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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A WEEKEND AT THE ESTATE IN PERAK

Every couple of weekends I get into my car and make the 3 hour and a half trip back to Perak.  G runs a palm oil estate in upper Perak which keeps him very busy.

My parents are originally from Perak however they both left after finishing secondary school.  My dad went off to study in Sydney and my mum to Penang.  I remember making the annual trip (from London) back to Malaysia as a child.  After  having loads of fun, swimming and playing with the cousins in KL we were whisked off to stay with our grandparents (on both sides) in Ipoh.  I remember dreading going to Ipoh as a child.  I always thought it terribly boring consisting of un-inspiring trips and long queasy (i was consistently car sick) drives visiting numerous relatives whose names I couldn't remember.

Never would I have imagined that now Perak is my second abode.   Life is very different up here and I have learned to relish the quiet weekends.   I tend to nap alot when I go up there and watch a bit too much television for my liking though!

rear view of our house


Anyway G. has acquired a great hobby planting indigenous tress within the estate and in our garden.  He has definitely greener fingers than I do (lol) and we are complete opposites in that sense however I do admire his patience and perseverance in planting these specimens almost single-handed in this hot humid climate of ours.  


Huge jackfruits in our back yard

Pineapples grow from the ground up!

G and our avocado tree which hopefully will bear some fruit soon

With the help of our housekeeper, Theresa, G has been busy turning our garden into quite a nursery. We have everything growing there from limes, pineapples, beans, eggplant, chilies, avocados, papayas, passion fruit.  You name it - we have it.

Sometimes we can just have meals consisting of produce from the garden which feels great after spending a week eating food on the go!  Anyway I do appreciate the escape to a different environment where I can just relax and put my feet up for a while.

Hope to post more pictures up soon!



Pumpkins ready to be picked!
clusters of Sarawak pepper creepers



Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A BUSY DAY AT WORK

Last month I had a great time working with a client, organizing her husband's 50th birthday party! 


Assembling the lights

Quickly setting up the flowers before the guests arrive
 The party was held at  Il Lido Rooftop and we took care of the decoration, flowers, lighting, audio visual and programming of the event as well as reception duties. 

Voila!




Table setting with customized drink mats

Aside from a few light bouts of drizzle, we were fortunate to be spared of rain and the party was a huge success.

Plasma TVs and slide-show

Memories for safe-keeping

Tempting canapes

Guests during cocktail hour - loving the disco ball effect      
Porsche anyone?
Event Partners in Crime: Suzanna, Azrina & I

P.S Many thanks again to Lyla Lin from Il Lido, Azrina Effendi from Studio 51,  Suzanna Khan and of course the lovely hosts J & E.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Kazakhastan Affair


Recently, my client, Al-Amar provided their catering services to the Embassy of Kazakhstan who were celebrating their national day.  Held at the Shangri-La Hotel ballroom, I went over to lend my support and take a few pictures.

Different Mezzes on offer
As usual Al-Amar had its usual spread of great Lebanese grub on offer.  I was particularly enthused with the whole roast salmon deliciously prepared.

Roasted Salmon...mmm

I was expecting that the night would be rather slow however it turned out that I had a great time and I got to try some Kazakh food which was prepared by the embassy!  I completely forgot to take some photos of the Kazakh food however let me tell you that it consists of alot of pastry and thick beef stews which I imagine works wonders in the freezing temperatures over there in Kazakhstan.  Lucky for me I am very fond of potatoes and stews (yes I love my carbs) so I was happy to indulge.

I can't get over how Asian the Kazaks look. Asian features with a western physique!  All the women are tall too.  I managed to take this pic with one of the Kazak usherers.  I thought his coat resembled a velvet dressing gown don't you think?

Kazakh boy (man!) and I
Anyway hats off to the Al-Amar team once again for a successful event.  For more info on their outdoor  catering services email them at info@al-amar.com for more details or call (03) 9281 5855.


A short trip to Istanbul. Another place I call home. (Part One)

Few people know that I used to live in Istanbul.

At the tender age of 14,  I was whisked off to live with my mum and Turkish stepfather in the glorious city of Istanbul while my two elder sisters stayed behind in London to continue their studies.  As one can  imagine,  it was a major change for me to be thrown into a completely different environment and learn a whole new language that was so different to my own.  At the time (early 90s) not many Turks knew much about Malaysia or even asia.  They did not realize that Malaysia, China and Japan were very different countries both geographically and culturally speaking.

At first, my mum and I were subject to many a friendly taunt when walking down the streets.  "Japon Japon" they would shout and point!  I remember being pretty annoyed about this.  It was hard enough being 14 years old in a new country let alone being singled out every time when walking down the street.    As time went by I realized that they were just curious and meant no harm.  Asian faces were far and few between back then.


the very bold and vibrant design of the Turkish flag

I have been back to Turkey a couple of times since then however this year I decided to travel to Istanbul on my own and brush up on my much-forgotten Turkish (hubby was busy with work so couldn't join me.  He however let me go alone!  Thanks again hubby!).  Since last year Malaysian airlines flies directly to Istanbul from KL so I took the opportunity to fly over there for a few days before continuing my journey to London.

This time, I stayed with my stepfather's family in Istanbul who in a way I am very much closer to compared to family I have here in Malaysia.  Auntie Semra is the sister of my stepfather and she resides in the suburbs of Istanbul together with her husband Uncle Fikret and their son, Bahathir.

After an early morning arrival, I was treated to a sumptuous breakfast or khavalti (as they say in Turkish) prepared by Auntie Semra. 

A typical Turkish breakfast consists of various types of cheeses (white cheese and other types of regular cheese), olives, soujouk (dried spicy sausage) and home-made preserves like apricot or cherry jam.  The meal is accompanied with bread or simit (sesame-seeded pretzel), freshly sliced tomatoes, cucumber together with lashings of hot sweet Turkish tea.  It was a definitely a great way to start my holiday and  indulge in a true Turkish food experience.

a typical Turkish breakfast - cheeses and various olives





















Later we all went for a stroll by the sea. I had a great time chatting with my cousin, Bahathir who is now a doctor who works in the emergency ward in one of the major hospitals in Istanbul.  It had been 18 years since I last saw Bahathir and my last memory of him was of a quiet gangling teenager.  It was very surreal to see him now as an adult.  I didn't recall him being this tall ! (I had not seen him on my last trip a few years back as he was doing national service at the time. In Turkey it is compulsory for all male citizens to join the national service).

Bahathir,  Auntie Semra & I


As we walked towards the pier I couldn't help noticing how many cats there are in Istanbul.  Not the usual scrawny skinny strays that we see here in Malaysia but big fat fluffy looking cats.  When I asked my aunt she told me it is because in Turkey everyone feeds the stray cats and as a result all of them become extremely spoiled and fat.  They are also incredibly tame too and are not frightened at all when you approach them!

beautiful Turkish cats
lots and lots of stray cats lazing away


























I also saw this huge dog which reminded me of a lion with his shaggy coat and size?  It wasn't stray but I think it was a guard dog in one of the restaurants on the pier.  Anyway he was pretty harmless when I approached him.


Gi-normous dog/lion
balloon seller on the pier
After our walk by the sea, we went to one of the local Cay Bahcesi or tea-houses.  The Turks love nothing better than drinking copious amounts of tea while catching up on the latest gossip in the cay bahcesi.  I guess the cay bahcesi is the equivalent to the mamak stalls in Malaysia. They are inexpensive,  open all day and found in practically every street in the city. 

I chose to drink salep which has always been one of my favourite hot beverages in Turkey.Salep is a hot milky drink made from orchid roots and milk sprinkled with a topping of cinammon.   What a delight!  I remember many times as a teenager, travelling back from school on the ferry sipping on a hot cup of salep to keep me warm.

a hot steaming cup of sahlep

After this we walked back through a different route and came across this miniature animal petting farm where there were some beautiful peacocks and ducks.  I couldn't resist taking more pics!


peacock and  daffy duck in the background


Later in the day we went to visit my cousin Hande (Auntie Semra's daughter) who lives in Sisli a fashionable district in Istanbul.  Hande is a bio-chemist and runs her own business in Istanbul.  It was so lovely to catch up with Hande  and see her quaint apartment which she decorates with a blend of both antique Turkish pieces and modern furniture. If only I had taken more pictures of her place to show!



the lovely Hande

We had some superb snacks for tea such as dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with pine nuts, long grain rice and herbs) and also ayva with kaymak.  I was trying desperately to remember what ayva was in english and after googling it I found out that it means quince fruit!  I am not very sure of how the quince was cooked but I imagine that it was boiled or steamed in its own juices until tender and syrupy.  After it has cooled down it is then eaten with the kaymak to tone down the sweetness of the fruit.  Kaymak is a clotted cream made from the milk of buffalos and the taste is pretty spectacular. Words can not describe how delicious kaymak is.  If only they had it here in Malaysia!



Ayva aka Quince Fruit


Hande is also the proud owner of two cats and they (like the Turks) are incredibly friendly.  Michael the cat popped up on my lap for a quick cuddle and stroke before i left.


Michael, Hande's cat popped on my lap to say hello

Once we got home,  I quickly fell asleep happily recounting the experiences I had so far and looking forward to the days ahead.

TO BE CONTINUED... 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Photo Shoot at Al-Amar Express @ Fahrenheit 88



Yesterday I had the pleasure of working with former professional football player, coach and TV host Abbas Saad for a photo shoot and advertising campaign at the new Al-Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88 mall.

It seems that Abbas has just moved to Kuala Lumpur recently and spends alot of time traveling between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur working as a TV host for both ESPN Star Sports and Astro Supersports channel.

Abbas is an Australian national of Lebanese descent therefore it only seemed natural that he was chosen to be the new "Brand Ambassador" for Al-Amar.  Can't wait to see the final pictures and advertising campaign!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A sassy and stylish evening at ilLido Lounge Bar



M Privé was recently invited to the official opening of il Lido’s new stylish alfresco lounge bar.  The venue is a perfect sanctuary to enjoy premium cocktails and wines, delicious and original bar grubs at sunset.

Newly-joined Italian Bar Manager, Emanuele ‘Lele’ Pauletto, and his team served up delicious vodka-based premium cocktails Lychee-tini, Caipiroska and Cosmopolitan while Executive Chef Samuele Alvisi presented an assortment of gourmet bar grubs and canapés. We were particularly thrilled with the fresh, homemade Buffalo Mozzarella cheese that was prepared “live” by renowned Italian guest chef Michael Bruschi.

Against the striking scene of KL’s iconic landmarks, Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower, ilLido amped up the party vibe with Soundcheckmasters (DJ Chris O and DJ Phinans) as the dynamic duo take the decks with their original soundtracks of contemporary remixes and funky house tunes. DJ Chris O and DJ Phinans, possibly KL’s fastest-rising DJs, are also ilLido Lounge Bar’s resident DJs for its Ladies’ Night every Wednesday. OMP Entertainment’s DJs Shazan, Azran and Victor G presents their already-renowned club brand, ‘Funken Fridays’ at the after-party, keeping the party spirit alive till the wee hours with their house mix.

Amongst the attendees were His Excellency Folco de Luca Gabrielli (the Ambassador of Italy) and wife Mdm Nilou Zand de Luca, award-winning singer/ producer and DJ Melissa Indot, Miss Universe Malaysia 2010 finalist Tiong Sue-Lynn, other high-profile players in their respective industries and fields, business owners as well as media friends.

We highly recommend you try out the ilLido Lounge Bar as an alternative location for a chilled alfresco drink with friends.  They currently have a happy hour promotion which offers 1-for-1 on all beer, house pours and house wines all week from 5pm to 10pm.

Many thanks again to owner Beppe de Vito, Sales & Marketing Manager, Lyla Lin and the rest of the Il Lido team for an enjoyable evening!

For reservations and enquries:
183 Jalan Mayang (Off Jalan Yap Kwan Seng) 50450 Kuala Lumpur T: +603 21612291 F: +603 21612295

E: reservations@il-lido.com.my W: www.il-lido.com.my

Opening Hours
Restaurant: - Lunch: Sundays to Fridays, 12 noon -2.30pm - Dinner: Mondays to Sundays, 6.30pm-10.30pm Bar: Mondays to Sundays, 5pm-1am