The trials & tribulations of having a live-in chef (or living & feasting in our cottage in Seremban, and now Beijing)

Monday, 30 May 2011

Our garden in Seremban

Happy days again ! We have baby durians growing on our durian tree. Last year was great, we had enough fruits to share with the squirrels and my family. But we cut the trees quite ruthlessly 3 months ago. They were so tall, I think they had not been trimmed for over 10 years. We also did the same with the rambutan, quinine and mangosteen trees. Last July Big Chef had a wonderful time climbing the rambutan trees, cutting down the ripe red fruits while my sister went round collecting them. My mum the Durian Queen walloped most of the durians ! It was the first time Big Chef had ever tasted fresh durians and he enjoyed them. Strangely enough he had eaten tempoyak (a cooked durian dish) many times before and loved it.

 I'm so glad the durian tree is not holding any grudges.

The land area of the cottage is around 10,000 sq feet. The actual built-up of the cottage is only 2000 sq feet. So we have quite a big garden. We have fruit trees at the bottom of the garden, kaffir lime shrubs, lemongrass and various flowers and plants around our front porch. There's also a rather sorry looking orchid patch. Sigh..... I know, we've got to do something about the garden !

The spider orchid is growing, the bougainvillea as well as a plant with some yellow flowers.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Weekend in Seremban (and coping with roof renovations)

Supper in Seremban on Friday night - salami, garlic pork, speck, cornichons, cherry tomatoes, double brie and blue cheese. Followed by ice-cream with peach creme fraiche. Followed by a big bowl of nuts, dried mango and dried apricots. I think we deserve it after a long drive from Kuala Lumpur to Seremban on Friday night. The highway was jammed and there were multiple car accidents near the Seremban rest stop. It didn't help that Big Chef wanted to try a detour through Nilai.

I insist on poached eggs again for Saturday morning. Can't get it out of my head ! Ohhhh the perks of having a live-in chef !

Utterly fulfilling ! We really need a good breakfast today. Our 50 years old cottage needs a new roof and the roof boys are here knocking and banging away the whole day. They drive Big Chef a little mad, he thinks they are incredibly slow and disorganised. I tell him this is the Malaysian way. It happens with all house renovations. We've discovered broken roof tiles, a broken window slide, leaking ceiling, damaged cement seat, etc etc etc. All in the course of re-tiling the roof. But what really jolted me was the damage caused to the vintage chandelier in the dining room by the electrician. Oh the pain the pain ! I'm not sure how the damage can be repaired. Big Chef is pretty upset too.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Fabulous HK (and change of name) !

I could live in Hong Kong. We went there for 5 days a couple of weeks ago and it was fabulous ! Stayed in a little private apartment which we got online, only paid USD55 a night inclusive of unlimited internet access. Fantastic. We had checked the hotels beforehand but because it was HOFEX (food and hospitality show) weekend, most hotels were fully booked or wanted crazy prices. Stayed in Sheung Wan, the dried seafood street, just 10 minutes by tram from Central. Lots of cheap local food places around. If you have a hangup about the smell of dried seafood though, I wouldn't recommend you to stay in that location. If you enjoy the smell of the sea and the essence of a woman (I'm putting it delicately) , go !

Found Pret-A-Manger in IFC mall in Central. Good coffee according to Big Chef (they say they use 14g a cup). Delicious crayfish and rocket sandwich and BLT sandwich just like the shops in London. I wanted to try more but decided to save some space for dimsum.

Oh and was I glad I saved the space. We ordered pork and 'spare parts' porridge and it came in a huge bowl. Delicious. Silky soft flavorful rice porridge with huge liver slices, shredded pork and intestines. Oh oh oh soooo good. Big Chef was wallowing in pig heaven. We also had char siew pow, har kow and the preserved eggs. And the 4 big dishes and endless cups of chinese tea only cost RM80 for the 2 of us. About the same as what it would cost in KL for the same meal in a hotel. HK is still affordable.

Wow ! I've had a couple of people (friends, nice friends, dear nice friends) tell me they like my blog. Also, why Apple they ask ? Because years ago a lady mistook my name for Apple when I was introduced to her. (Nope, not because I'm the "apple of my eye" of Big Chef !) Others have thought it was Simple. I decided against using Simple. For a simple obvious reason as I'm sure you all will agree. However my girlfriend Slim C from Singapore says she already knows another Apple who doesn't speak much English and sells cars. As such I've decided to change to SpiceApple. Ok ladies ? Ok BC baby ?

Signing off, SpiceApple, formerly and very briefly known as Apple.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Dancing Chef

Big Chef is dancing in the kitchen today. He's in the kitchen of our cottage in Seremban, cooking a pasta lunch - rigatoni pasta, chorizo sausage, lentils, fagioli beans - big headphones blasting his favourite house music, bobbing, banging and weaving in the kitchen. He's happy. Big glass of Belgian beer on the bench. 12% alcohol. Of course he's happy.

We're always happy in Seremban. We bought the house in April 2010, took it over in June 2010 and have been coming down here during weekends, slowly fixing things up whilst enjoying the relaxed environment here. It is so incredibly relaxing and peaceful here. Except for Mr Lawnmower Man this morning waking us up. Oh well, it was time to have our poached eggs sprinkled with chives, sauted mushrooms, tomatoes and baby spinach. Beautiful.

Oh, this is my first blog. I'm Apple. He's the Big Chef. We normally live in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur Mondays to Friday. Weekends we used to take off to stay in an apartment in Damansara, hang out in Bangsar, have our pork porridge in Lucky Gardens, Illy coffee at Bangsar Village - we are terribly predictable ! Now that we have the Seremban place, we much prefer going there for our weekends.