FOMO

I’m entering the high-pressure week as Valentine’s and CNY orders piling up. No complaint really, only feeling blessed.

Yesterday I found out about the demise of my dear orchestra conductor back in KL. Someone whom I really look up to and someone who’s made me proud of having the chance to practise under his baton. I knew him for less than a year and we hadn’t spoken for the longest time. But to know that he’s gone somewhat created a void deep down in me. Then I started wandering what it is about him that made me sad, and many other people too that they threw a tribute concert after his funeral.

He’s just a normal guy, the only tipping point is that he had so much passion and compassion during his lifetime. He restored faith in me when I didn’t even have one for myself. Then I looked at myself and started analyzing what it is that I’m actually after. I’ve been working at averagely 12 hours a day, sometimes even more, and weekends mostly included. But have I been a blessing for those around me?

It made me realize that I should pour in more love and compassion to myself, my folks, my siblings, my bestfriends, my goodfriends, my pooches, my acquaintances, my customers, my delivery guys, my suppliers, etc. We are all connected in one circle and I highly believe what we invest in others are what we reap one day.

I’m not looking at myself being a billionaire, that much I know. I just wanna live with freedom and simply, to love and be loved in return unconditionally, to travel, and to die with those I love surrounding me. Maybe i should cut down my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) rush a little bit and start to enjoy life a little more at a time. :) Like taking my pooches out for walk whenever possible.

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RIP, Brian. You’ll be foreverly missed, especially your spirit. 

The tune of this song has grown euphoria in me. A friend gave it to me few weeks ago when I was at the bottom of my day. Looking at where life right now, I can’t feel any more blessed. I might have worked a tad too much lately but hell I’m happy. Sometimes I get excited even before getting off from the bed thinking what’s lined up for the day. It may not always be rainbows and sunshine, but to be able to wake up and cuddle my pooches and see my ever-spirited staff in the kitchen with freshly baked smell every morning, that’s more than what I could ask for.

Update on what’s coming up in February: Chinese New Year & Valentine’s promos! And we’re also finalizing on our product photoshoot, soon about to jump on rebranding our brand (don’t worry it will still stay as MPL no less) and many other things that I’m so excited to reveal when the time comes.

Wishing you a lovely day today and forever.

xx.

J

Salmon Fat Salad

I’m not really a big meat eater, but when I dig into one, I usually fancy the fattiest part. Might as well right? My most favorite part of a salmon? The fat! Down here in Jakarta it’s pretty easy to get one that’s already nicely packed over at the seafood counter, and it’s super cheap too! Usually I would cook it with spaghetti, but today I had it with a bowl of salad for my #2015cleanse. (uh huh…)

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Ingredients: 

  • 3 pcs of okra
  • 3 pcs of baby corn
  • 1 small bunch of watercress
  • 3 pcs of mushroom
  • 3 pcs of imitation crab stick
  • loads of salmon fat :9~
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  1. Wash all veggies away in a colander
  2. Slice them up real nice
  3. Fry the garlics over heated olive oil until fragrant. Put in okra & baby corn and toss them lightly until it gets browned. Put in the watercress & mushrooms and cook till slightly tender. Sesame oil & soy sauce follows next. Lastly season with some salt & pepper. Pour in some water to let the veggies cook more. Turn off the heat as the water is all evaporated.
  4. Lay the veggies as you like it on your serving bowl.
  5. Fry the salmon fats over heated olive oil on one side for about 1-2 mins. And then season with salt & pepper. Turn over the other side and fry for another 1-2 mins. Et voila!
  6. Don’t forget the crab stick. Bon appetit!

 

Project “Pay It Forward”

It took me a while deciding to post something as personal as this into a public space. But I think I do owe some sort of lessons/advices/experiences to be shared to help others. Paying it forward, you know. Because right after my incident many of my friends also did go through the same thing and my story was somewhat ‘inspiring’ to them.

Let’s cut to the chase.

Year 2014 wasn’t easy at all for me, in fact for all I know it was the most difficult year to get by.

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Continue reading…

Chicken Avocado Truffle Sandwich

One of the major intentions in 2015 for me is to resume my cooking regime. I used to cook a lot but laziness had the best of me last year. Boo.

Let’s take sandwich more seriously this year, people. And I mean, live off those processed sausages and hams as much as you could. Here’s my take on a simple sandwich, I went with leftover Korean chicken to start with.

The stack:

1. White bread bathed in butter on both sides, added fresh parsleys, seasalt and grounded black pepper on one side – for decoration purpose. You can totally opt this out. Get them lightly toasted on a frying pan. (Did I mention I want a panini maker for birthday?)

2. Fresh lettuces

3. Homemade aioli (to which I splashed in some truffle oil & fresh cuts of corianders – I LOVE CORIANDERS!)

4. Chicken shreds (I used a leftover Korean bbq chicken)

5. Fresh avocados

6. 3/4 cooked eggs – coarsely chopped

7. Lastly grilled tomatoes with thyme, seasalt & pepper on the side

Chicken Avocado Truffle Sandwich

Chicken Avocado Truffle Sandwich

And that’s our brunch from last weekend. What shall i cook next?

 

Happy 2015!

How’s everyone holding up in the first week of 2015? Mine has been great so far. Just come back from a holiday with my loved ones and shifted to a new place.

Looking back, 2014 was sort of rough on the personal end, but it ended pretty victoriously on almost all aspects for me. MPL has multiplied and we’ve just recently shifted to a lab 3x bigger than the previous one. All thanks to God. :)

Managed to do travels (some even solo travels) to many new places I’d always been curious about. Decorated the new lair all according to my taste. I really couldn’t be any happier and content with how things are at the moment. Thanks to you guys who have always supported me. I’ve been so surprised that there are actually quite a lot of ppl reading this blog (that I thought was so hidden) and thanked me for inspiring them in some way.

One of my biggest resolutions for 2015 is to keep this blog alive – either with my silly thoughts or just some experiments in the lab. Things have gotten so hectic in the kitchen for the past half a year that we haven’t got the chance to look at joining bazaars to meet you guys. Hopefully we can get in more kitchen personnels as things grow.

Just thought I should say my first hi for 2015. :)

How to save money in your late 20s.

One of my big resolutions in 2014 is to have my targeted saving come true.

I was not a saver when young. I bought things (some even expensive things) based on my wants more than my needs. I wish someone could’ve taught me the word ‘discipline’ instead of just telling me to stop doing this and that. I have chronic case of wanderlust, so traveling is absolutely one thing that I couldn’t and wouldn’t skimp on. But to make it fair, I almost never took a repeating trip eversince I started my traveling journey – cos my goal is to see and learn new things.

From my first paycheque up till today (6 years that is), I’ve taken trips to Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Indonesia (overland Java – Lombok), Hong Kong, Japan, Europe and have moved around in 4 countries including opening up a business. So how much saving do I have? Go figure.

They say it’s never too late or too young to start saving. I guess I’m just right in between when I already have most of my travel dreams came true (err.. not true actually! the more you travel the more you wanna travel! but!!). Anyhow, here are some of my 10 tips to save money. Not to say I’m an expert, heck i’m far from one, but I hope you can find it useful.

This post is somewhat inspired by this writing.

10 Tips To Save Money ala Me!

  1. Buy something only because you really need them, not because “who knows if I’ll need it in the future?”, or “but it’s on sale!”. Why spend money when you could’ve not spent it.
  2. But reward yourself with something you’ve yearned for once in a while. For example, for being able to save $100 a month?
  3. Invest, invest, invest! There are many ways to invest, including buying high-quality stuffs that last really long time. For example, rather than buying several mediocre cheap lipgloss-es, buy 1 Chanel Allure lipgloss (oops! obsession revealed!)
  4. But of course there are many other ways to properly invest – gold, mutual funds or stocks. Start small, now you can buy even 1 gram of gold online anytime you like. Before you know it, by the end of the year you could’ve had a virtual goldmine :D
  5. Take care of your health. Drink mineral water, eat whole food, rest well, take it easy, and lastly, exercise. If ‘exercise’ makes you shudder, it’s no different from what I’m experiencing. But i’ve tried my best to take my dogs out for walk at least 2km a day. And if you’re worried about gym budget, you can always look up for ‘short exercise at home’ on YouTube. Why? Because it costs more when you’re sick. 
  6. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Some people prioritize their study, while some other prioritize their family, or parents’ healthcare. Write them down in one piece of paper and plant that in your memory each time before you start spending money.
  7. Homecooked leftovers VS processed food? Of course homecooked leftovers! Not only it helps you save by cooking, but it guarantees you health. I’m gonna touch on “homecooked food” topic in the next posts.
  8. Cook whenever possible, even if it’s just simple stir-fries. Cooking is just one of the basic skills all people have, just like singing or drawing. It trains you to be confident and reward you with self fulfillment.
  9. DIY if there’s an option. Not only most of the times it cost cheaper, but the satisfaction that it offers is often times beyond measure.
  10. Why do you need to save money? Because nobody ever knows what tomorrow can bring.

Don’t know what to do in life?

Oh well who hasn’t been there? Wandering lost in a huge circle of life being intimidated of not knowing what to do with it? Can’t have it all figured out? Sounds familiar? I’m so glad I chanced upon this post on Facebook.

As soon as I posted it many of friends started sharing it. I guess it’s something very familiar for almost everyone. Including myself.

Let me share with you my story of how I finally found my soul in what I’m currently doing after 7 years of crying and sweating being in something I didn’t like. I took up Graphic Design/Advertising back in college and graduated with a BA. After that I worked my ass off (though I didn’t know why) prettifying my resume to get a job. Well so I finally managed to land some decent jobs at advertising agencies and I stayed for a good 3 years doing those. Needless to say, I was not that very happy while at it, there were moments I shed tears in the train. When Sunday evenings came, i would start to sweat it and when Monday mornings eventually came, I would instantly turn very sad while parting ways with the boyfriend in the MRT (back in Singapore, at that time). Actually the companies I worked for weren’t all that bad (except for one of them!). I maintained good relationships with my ex-colleagues and even bosses up till now. It’s just that, I didn’t feel accomplished while doing the jobs. Like something’s missing. Like I was meant for something more.

Unlike my friends who still stay in the industry, I really didn’t get why I should stay till late to do up something for other people’s advertisements. So what if your logo is not big enough or too big? So what if the green you’re using is only 98% accurate to what your company policy says?

Thank God I found baking. It was a remedy for me back then, eventhough most of my trials failed. Then one day after my frustration piled up, I decided to pursue for something totally different. “I like cooking, I like eating. I even have a blog about it. Maybe I should try and see how I fit in the baking business.” i said to myself, with the mentality that even if I failed, I still had Advertising as my last resort. As soon as weekend came I started searching for baker jobs across the country. How to look for a job when you have no experience at all? Being a foreigner and zero background in the F&B industry only made me look like a loony. I was rejected pretty much everywhere, face-to-face, via emails, via phones, you name it. But one day there’s this international-chain restaurant that replied to me with a good news. I went for a trial and they loved me! Based on my performance, they even almost sent me to Europe for training! Though lasted only half a year before i moved country, I really enjoyed that job of mine despite the 12-hour working hours daily and much lower salary compared to Advertising. From there on, I slowly built my confidence and finally managed to run a baking business for almost 2 years now. And I haven’t been any happier every day.

It wasn’t a walk in a park at all, especially when I came out to my folks about it. From a prestigious office job to a junior baker job in the kitchen? You’ve gotta be kidding! Where did our money of funding you for university go to? It definitely wasn’t easy explaining the ‘why’s to people, ‘coz not everyone can accept the concept of ‘passion’. When I first ran my business, I also got the same look-me-down gaze, but I just gotta shrug it off. It wasn’t till publicities about my business came out that people started to consider what I’m doing is real deal.

And now, I’m almost 28. While most of my friends have probably earned way much more than I do, I’m still here, struggling to magnify my dreams. But, people, I’m happy. I was shortlisted to work for Google before. I doubt if I could be as happy if I really worked for them.

Your past or background doesn’t have to imitate who you are. And the people around you don’t have the rights to say anything about your future, not even your parents. Every day I still have to remind myself why I’m doing what i’m doing, because otherwise no one else would. I haven’t reached my ultimate goal with my business, and I always have to remind myself to work harder. It’s okay to not have any backgrounds, you just gotta have the gut and real reasons of doing it. And it definitely is okay to have made wrong decisions in life. Make a u-turn, and go elsewhere. You’re never too old to dream.

I hope my simple story has helped you if you’re ever as lost as I was. :)

It’s always better homemade.

I’ve been missing my grandma a lot, especially since she left us forever in August last year. She’s just so fun to be with, and being with her I wouldn’t ever have to worry about my stomach. It’s always filled with good food. The matriarchy in the kitchen department of my family has always been strong, and I’m so glad that I chose to carry on what I’m doing.

This homemade burger was made a long time ago for my beau and I. I hope I can carry on home cooking our food till the rest of our lives.

No-fancy homemade burger: homemade pork patty inside lightly toasted burger buns, roasted potato wedges with salt, pepper & herbs, & little basic green salad on the side. 

Happy Monday

Monday is usually the day where everyone in the lab feels lethargic and sore from what’s apparently not a very happening weekend either (:P). Usually we leave work earlier with some sunshine still left outside the window.

The weather again hasn’t been very pleasant. One minute it’s hot, and then pour like nobody’s business, definitely not the perfect weather to macaronnage (the crucial process of making macarons). At days like this, I just wanna stay home and binge on mango crostatas.

Today I made Kasutera, a Japanese spongecake that involves lots of tears in making it. Unlike the western counterparts, kasutera requires no butter nor margarine nor oil, BUT 1 hour of whisking the eggs with hands. That’s right, manual baby. And unlike any other cakes, this cake should be chilled while still warm to maintain moisture. I so can’t wait how it’ll turn out, right now they’re still cooling down in the chiller.

Chocolate chip with roasted pistachios & smoked sea salt. Totally an adult cookie. Coming right up in our menu.