Friday, February 28, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
Quite the draw for those wishing to find natural landscape backdrop to proceedings as the countryside itself is charming.
Kota Kinabalu is not only the gateway to lush jungle and abundant wildlife in Sabah’s heartland, but is also a luxury adventure destination in its own right, whether you stop here for a few days before your trip to the interior or to relax for a few days afterwards. Tropical islands, sandy beaches, lush wetlands and parks, and golden-domed temples, these are just a few of the things you can look forward to seeing here. This gorgeous resort city is tucked into the west coast of Malaysia, and it is one of the hidden gem tourist locations in the country.
Sabah is located on the east of Malaysia and the only way to get there is with an airplane. We were extremely lucky that Malindo Air was offering a really good rate to Sabah. Of course there are other flight options but the best fare that one can find is from Malindo Air. The new airplane which comes with an entertainment system and a USB charger port… How convenient! A visit to KK is not perfect without swimming in the Poring Hot Springs, Which are 40km northeast of Kinabalu Park in the lowlands, as opposed to the Parks highlands. Our drive took about two hours to get to the Park. The view was phenomenal, and the Hot Springs have baths along a hillside. Simply get in one, turn the water on and wait for it to fill up so you can soak away stress and relieve aching muscles in the spring’s sulphuric minerals. Beside the Hot Springs there are several other attractions around like a butterfly farm, an orchid conservation centre, a tropical garden, a Rafflesia flower site & the Poring canopy walkway. The canopy walkway is not what the tourist sites will have you believe. It is no ‘stroll amidst the lush canopy of the Menggaris trees’ and are actually 157.8 meters long and 41 meters high. A little tree top walk and good views, yes. The walk itself is over 1km in length; over 500m uphill through the jungle, a good hearty walk that left me breathless, but was lots of fun.
Kota Kinabalu has a few gems lying less than 30 minutes off its coast. A bundle of small islands that are a part of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park that are connected via speed boat make for a great day trip and break from the city. Getting to the islands is easy – you walk down to the jetty where there’s a large room with small booths where people sell tickets for a speed boat to the islands. You can also arrange to rent snorkelling equipment and do snorkelling/diving trips here as well. If you just want the speed boat to get you over to the islands, most companies advertise the same price, just make sure the one you choose has a boat leaving soon! Just let the company know what time you want to be back on the mainland and they will book you on that speed boat to come back. At the Island if you want to catch a glimpse of what lives under the sea, don a Snorkel and flippers and head out as the water is remarkably clear and the underwater flora and fauna before your masks turns into a kaleidoscope of brilliantly stunning colours. You can swim over hardly touched healthy young corals, discover big marbled groupers lurking in the shadows and even encounter turtles. Craving more thrills, go Scuba diving, a practically religious experience for divers. You can in your local sarongs walk along the beach to the over water restaurant for a mouth-watering taste sensation of arguably the finest BBQ you can find in Malaysia. All in all it’s the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy and wander the beach.
THE BEACH SIDE
Kota Kinabalu doesn’t exactly seem to hide its charms. ‘If you’ve got it flaunt it’ could well be the sea side town’s motto. Famed for its beach stretch and even more famed for its vibrant nightlife, it is a popular vacation destination. Start your evening with drinks at the lounge in your hotel and move on. Nightlife and party enthusiasts never have a tough time searching for a place to enjoy the evening with narrow alleys filled with unique bars and restaurants to choose from. By the way you might be more than happy to find Massage parlours as a further point of relaxation and for the ultimate indulgence one can retire to massage beds and saver the true Asian feel. Their special mineral oil sets the mood and a cup of green tea completes the experience. Voila!
published in Tlf
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
‘Good Morning Honey, Wish you a Happy Valentine’s day’, calls up Adam and wishes his fiancée. Extremely pleased Eve says, ‘Same to you sweetheart’. In a rush to go get ready Adam says ‘Got to go for work, but I hope you remember our plans for the Evening, we’re cooking dinner together, I’ll pick you up at Eight, or maybe a bit early, cooking together will take some time,’ he adds wickedly. ‘All right see you then, and have a good-day, I got to go too’, answers Eve.
Adam has something else on his mind, he takes a half day, (he’s worked late in the evening a day before to make up for it), and guess what! Eve has done the same. So off to the market they both go (separately of course), to buy the ingredients for the dinner, they have planned. Knowing how health conscious Eve is Adam plans to surprise Eve with a smoothie and pasta for dinner (before she arrives) and Eve knows that Adam simply loves fish cakes, so she plans to make that.
Sharp at 7:45pm, Eve hears the bell ring, and she gives a last minute look at the mirror before opening the door. ‘You look gorgeous as usual’, says Adam ‘Let’s go, hungry aren't we?’ he says in good humor. ‘Sure we are, and cooking will take a while. Bye mom, I’ll be back around 11’, says Eve to her mother and they both rush off.
On reaching Eve quietly goes to the kitchen and puts her packet, but well there’s a surprise for Eve.
The table is laid, candles are lit and so is the dinner!! And Adam is equally surprised and happy with what Eve has got for him. As they say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Adam seats Eve on the dining chair and says ‘I’ll be back in a jiffy’, Eve can hear him whistling and true to his words he’s back with 2 glasses of strawberry smoothies. ‘This is amazing, and how did you make it?’ questions Eve. ‘It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 if you own some KitchenAid products baby!’
For a couple
Yoghurt: 450gms; Honey: 2 tsps.; strawberries (sliced): 250gms.
] Combine all ingredients in the KitchenAid cordless hand blender.
] Use the Puree until extremely smooth.
HOT FACT: Strawberries improve blood flow; and feed the capacity of sexual and carnal desire. Strawberries tipped with chocolate can get the ultimate in desire!
After the smoothie, both go to the kitchen together, Eve with the KitchenAid stand mixer makes the fish cakes while Adam rustles up the pasta for his darling. And they start with their favorite main course. ‘You would have made an excellent Chef if not a chemical Engineer, and what may I ask is the recipe for this, it’s just the way I like it,’ says a mesmerized Eve. ‘Sure sweetie, and here it goes,’ shares Adam.
PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS IN BASIL SAUCE
Pasta: 150gms (made using the KitchenAid pasta attachment); Basil leaves: 10 Gms; Lemon juice: 15 ml; Salt: as reqd; Olive oil: 8 ml; Mixed mushrooms (regular, oyster, shitake):130 Gms; Vegetable stock: 75ml; Rocket leaves: a large handful; Parmesan shavings: Accompaniment/garnish.
] Boil pasta for 5-6 minutes. Drain and keep warm
] Chop basil finely and put into a small bowl with the lemon juice and 4 ml of the olive oil.
] Heat the remaining oil in a thick based frying pan and fry mushrooms over high heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and continue cooking until the mushrooms have softened and stock evaporated.
] Pour basil sauce over the mushrooms. Add the cooked pasta and rocket leaves to it and toss. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with parmesan shavings.
‘And darling how do you make the fish cakes, I just love them’, says Adam. ‘It’s really simple and easy when you know it.’
FISH CAKES WITH CUCUMBER RELISH
Makes about12 cakes
Fish fillet (sole): 300 Gms; Red curry paste: 25 ml; Egg: 1 no; Granulated sugar: 5 gms; Corn flour: 30 Gms; Kaffir lime leaf: 1 no; Coriander (chopped): 15 Gms; Green beans (finely sliced): 50 Gms; Oil: For frying.
Rice vinegar: 60 ml; water: 60 ml; Sugar: 50 Gms; pickled garlic: 1 head; cucumber (quartered and sliced): 1 no; spring onions (finely chopped): 100 Gms; Ginger (finely chopped): 20 Gms.
] Relish: - Bring vinegar, water and sugar mixture to a boil, stir till sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool. Combine the rest of the relish mixture in a bowl and pour vinegar mixture.
] Combine the fish, curry paste and egg in the KitchenAid chopper attachment and process well. Transfer to a bowl and add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
] Mold and shape mixture into cakes.
] Heat oil in a wok or deep fat fryer, fry the cakes for 4-5 minutes or golden brown, serve hot with relish.
‘So, honey what we do for dessert, should we make that together?’ suggests Adam naughtily. ‘Yes, sure, we’ll have fresh a wild berry sorbet, that’s simple, easy to fix with the KitchenAid ice-cream attachment and just delicious and very valentine!’ adds Eve with innocence.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
In my last post I wrote about what women want on Valentine's day…here’s to men now!!
WAY TO A MAN’S HEART IS THROUGH HIS STOMACH
Send him a dinner invite at his workplace, with timings et all. Set up the table with the best linen, crockery, cutlery, Champagne glasses etc. But of course it should be a candlelight dinner and you should be dressed to kill. Present him the menu card when he sits on the table. Aphrodisiacs like caviar, chocolate, strawberries should be on the menu. Start with Champagne the best aphrodisiac and you can be sure of no complaints. The dessert can sure be had in bed!
BOYS LOVE TOYS
Some gifts cost little to nothing, while others are expensive. Whatever your desire or budget, you can be sure to get interesting gifts that will be remembered for years to come. Gift your man the latest technology phone, I-pod or laptop and he’ll love you for it. Men are Gizmo freaks and love to explore anything new. As a matter of fact to really make the day special, and one to remember, give a gift personalized. You could even do monogrammed stationery or better still some bed linen or just an embroidered pillow, or monogrammed bed linens. You could even gift him a cut out of a heart from some nice Cardboard, cover it in layers with some nice paper, make it look fancy, be creative and don’t forget to add your own personal sentiment to it. Trust me it will be in his memory box years.
GO DOWN MEMORY LANE
The most creative thing you can do for Valentine's Day, is decorate a huge piece of white poster board with memories. You may take chocolate wrappers that you may have saved from the first date, love notes received from your man, a receipt from a dinner date that you may have paid for (since he was broke), a stuffed animal from one of those claw machines (which may have cost him at least 500Rs to win), movie tickets, and many other such reminders of the special times you have spent together. Pin them up in the shape of a heart and it’ll be wonderful to relive the romance and go down memory lane together.
GO THE ITALIANO ROUTE
Prepare an Italian meal with your own hands, play some background Italian music, enjoy it with a bottle of Italian wine and end it up with cups of amaretto flavored coffee for a taste sensation - top it off with a sensuous scented bubble bath for two.
Insert sweet surprises into red heart shaped balloons before inflating them - add a small Valentine’s message too. Tie daintily with red ribbons and attach to his computer chair, tie in all places where he goes in the morning for him to find it on Valentine’s morning. He’ll love you for it and then pretend you are not married and plan a date in the evening.
Whatever way you do it, remember to say “I love you” as often as you can as for a Woman it is probably one of the most treasured gifts she could receive. It doesn't cost a penny and your love is essentially the best gift you can give of yourself.