Monday, 26 February 2007

Yaen (ஏன்) can cook but can't eat?

"Yan can cook, and so can you", declares TV chef Martin Yan... ஏன் (pronounced "yaen", or "why?" in Tamil), then is it that I can cook but not eat?

By saying I "can" cook, I merely mean I'm physically able to, as in propping myself up in a high chair and stirring something in a pot, etc, and has no relation whatsoever to a favourable palatable result. :)

Now that we understand the extent of my ability to cook, let's examine why I can't eat, at least not in peace, for the next week or so. I dislodged a crown today eating something as innocuous as gingerbread, and the earliest I can see the cute young dentist is Wednesday. I have terribly brittle teeth so this is not the first time I'm losing fillings, but losing a crown is trouble. We're talking about a pre-molar here, and I guess if you were looking for it, you'd notice its absence even if I smiled faintly. And I smile easily. Often.

The only upside of this missing pre-molar for now is that it effectively pulled the plug on my foraging ways, but I'm sure I'll more than bounce back once the cement on the new tooth sets!

You have no idea then how frustrating it is for me to continue preparing Chicken with baked beans - something I learned in Homec when I was 13 or 14 and had not made again since then - with the full knowledge I won't really be eating much of it. A poorly-timed trip back in time! I had already defrosted the chicken, so didn't feel like I had much of a choice. Of course I still have all my other teeth and am still capable of downing solids, but somehow, having to chew gingerly on just one side of the mouth (where there is another crown I'd hate to rouse) does strange things to my appetite.

Understandably, I don't remember the ingredients I had in Homec class all those years ago, but if this dish managed to resurface from the recesses of my memory, I have my mom to thank. It was during a recent conversation with her that I realised this funny combination had more of an impact on her than it did me! :) I hadn't noticed that she'd been making this occasionally throughout the years, although it's only been less than 6 years that I moved out! So this is something I'd taught her, forgot about, and had her teach it back to me. :)

How to: Cut 3 chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season for a few hours with 2 tbsp of soya sauce, a few slices of ginger and 2 tbsp of cornflour. Dip chicken pieces into beaten egg, then roll them in breadcrumbs (optional - I didn't bother with the breadcrumbs) and fry. Mix with a can of baked beans and serve hot with rice or bread.

Variations: Hmmm, never really thought it over, but I don't see why curried baked beans wouldn't work.

Body Count: 3 chicken breasts.

Now, for a mugshot of the offending gingerbread and the reason for its purchase:

I shall call these my lazy tiramisù, because they don't have all those pretty layers, and doesn't have coffee and all that typical stuff.

How to: I beat 250g of mascarpone with 2 tbsps of amaretto + 1 tbsp of Absolut Vanilla, 2 egg yolks, 40g of poppy seeds, 70g of sugar, and about 50g of whipped cream (can't be sure because it came out of a spray can).

Base - gingerbread softened with Marsala wine, topped off with frozen mixed berries.

Variations: Oh, I do believe you will be seeing quite a number of them from me! :)

Body Count: 0 (2 egg yolks)

Sunday, 25 February 2007

A Very Humble Offering

Oh dear, it's one of those weeks again... no idea what to cook, and not hungry anyway*. But in desperate times like these, I always have someone to turn to.. Sophia (and eggs).

Gosh, how many women continue to smoulder like that at her age? Although I've had this book for years and have thumbed through it countless times, I haven't made many of its recipes. The anecdotes inside provide for a good read, which I suppose distracted me from the cooking part. In it are snippets from different milestones of her life, photos and occasionally, the history of certain Italian favourites. One of mine is Carbonara, which varies from kitchen to kitchen.

This isn't Sophia Loren's recipe, but she pretty much taught me how to make a good one!

How to: For 4 - separate 4 eggs, cook 400g of fresh or 300g of dried pasta, chop one medium onion, crush 5 cloves of garlic and hack away at 200g or so of fatty bacon. Standby 300ml of cream, some oregano and grated parmesan.

Heat bacon in an empty casserole until the fat sizzles and the bacon starts to brown. If you're not health-conscious, add 1 tbsp each of butter and olive oil, then add the onions and cook until they brown, too. Add garlic and a few pinches of dried oregano, as well as a few tablespoons of water from cooking the pasta (if you remembered to keep it - I seldom do!). Throw in the pasta and heat through.

In a bowl, microwave about 300ml of light cream, and beat the egg yolks into it. Add salt and pepper if desired and pour onto warm pasta. Divide into 4 portions and sprinkle parmesan generously over each portion before serving.

Variations: Pancetta or coppa instead of bacon. Parsley instead of oregano. In this recipe, I also added the juice of one lemon to the cream. Not everybody adds onions. Alternatively, if you don't like your yolks to set, don't add them to the cream, but make a shallow well in each individual portion of pasta and place a yolk in it.

Body Count: 200g of bacon.

*I'd been losing myself in bags after bags of Doritos lately, even shortly before dinnertime. Now I know why my mom used to get mad at me for all that snacking! :)

Monday, 19 February 2007

WFF 3 - Bean there, Dhansak

How often does a novel with no real relation to food inspire the reader to the extent of cooking a patently time-consuming dish that only gets a cursory mention in said novel? From the moment I first heard about dhansak, a Parsi classic, while reading "Such a Long Journey" by Rohinton Mistry, it intrigued me so much I knew I had to make it someday. Strangely, none of the random recipes I came across seemed to have much in common with each other apart from the lentils, so I'm still wondering how proper dhansak should taste. For this trial (was it an error?) I picked the recipe from a source I expected to be an authority, and even better, which required ingredients that I could find in my pantry and freezer! Ah, probably not a foolproof strategy.

I'll be frank here. For all the time spent stirring it to ensure it didn't stick to the base of my pan and burn, I wasn't impressed, and I'm not even sure if chicken dhansak is supposed to be this green and fenugreeky! I won't go so far as to complain about the taste, but I think I'll have to experiment with The Curry House's recipe the next time, mainly for the fact that its list of ingredients is half the length of the one I had. ;-)

How to
: Wait for the "successful" version!

: Like a curry, I believe dhansak also exists in lamb, beef, seafood and vegetarian.

Body Count: 3 chicken breasts.

I digress, but have I been in the dark all these years, or did everyone else know that Freddie Mercury was a Parsi and who counted Lata Mangeshkar as one of his inspirations? I hadn't the faintest clue until a few months ago!

It's a good thing I'm an effective multitasker, and
so had Chicken Balti simmering alongside on another cooking range. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I just wanted to eat and not think, so this recipe is basically the same as the one from The Curry House, but with my own addition of 2 teaspoons of amchoor (dried mango powder). As for the "basic curry sauce" they mentioned, I ran out of it and used a different generic homemade one loitering in the depths of my freezer, and it still turned out quite good. Whew. I don't know about you, but when making curries, occasionally I get so distracted by the long list of spices that I forget the salt! :)

I had to soak some tamarind for my dhansak and pairing what was left with my mustard seed needs gave me more than an excuse to make Rasam, a sour South Indian soup usually poured over white rice to moisten it (thus facilitating the formation of rice parcels when eating with your hands), or just served on the side to be drunk alone. Rasam is supposed to aid digestion at the end of a meal, or if consumed at the beginning of the meal, to "open" the appetite. In any case, it doesn't allow room for indifference in your stomach! An infinite variety exists, so this is just how I made mine yesterday.

How to: For 1 litre of soup, soak about 2 tbsp of tamarind paste in some hot water, chop 1 large onion, crush 6 cloves of garlic and slice 3 green chillis. Slice 2 medium tomatoes or pierce the skins of 8 - 10 cherry tomatoes, then boil them along with the garlic and chilli in 1 litre of water. Add 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander seeds and black pepper. Remove seeds from tamarind and add it to soup. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In another pan, heat some oil or ghee and temper 1 tsp of mustard seeds. When they stop popping, add the chopped onion and 10 or so curry leaves and fry until onion is soft. Add these to the soup and it is ready to serve!

Variations: Lentils or toor dal (pigeon peas) can be added to thicken the soup, and for a different flavour, pineapple, lemon or tomato purée. Most vegetables can be added, too, to make a heartier soup.

Body Count: 0

The mister has a low spice tolerance, so I omitted most of the chilli I normally would have added in all the above dishes (I'm not intending to share the rasam, though). Nonetheless, I made a stack of these fajita-pizzas just so he has something else to eat for the week. I can't even say this was any work!

How to: I grated 200g of cheddar, sliced 200g of chorizo and 1 green bell pepper (capsicum), then spread ready-made fajita sauce on 8 small tortillas, added the chorizo, cheddar and capsicum in that order and baked them for about 10 mins at 200°C.

Variations: You must be kidding if you need pointers for this. :)

Body Count: 1 chorizo

To top it off, I also made these Raspberry-Ginger crumbles just because. Except that I forgot to use fresh ginger instead of dried, so it just wasn't the same.

How to: (I didn't weigh anything, so these are just approximations) Mix 500g of raspberries with 150g of sugar and 2 - 3 teaspoons of very finely chopped ginger. Spoon into individual mini baking dishes or a big one and bake for 15 - 20 mins until some of the raspberry juice evaporates. Let it cool completely.

Crumble pastry: 2 parts flour to one part chilled butter and one part brown sugar, plus a few teaspoons of milk. Rub butter into flour, and when there are no more lumps of butter, add the sugar and continue rubbing until you obtain what looks like fine sand. Add milk 2 teaspoons at a time to create lumps in the pastry, but don't overdo it, or you'll end up with cookie dough!

Distribute pastry over the portions of raspberry-ginger mixture and bake at 180°C until golden.

Variations: I've done this with ripe pineapple and fresh ginger before, and it was awesome. In that case, prepare a caramel and cook finely-sliced pineapple in it. In the pastry, add desiccated coconut to complete the whole "tropical" get-up. Otherwise, I can't think of any fruit that won't be good in a crumble (whatever can be made into a jam should work in a crumble). Ginger can be replaced or complemented by all sorts of spices - cinnamon, cardamom, clove, Sichuan pepper, nutmeg, vanilla - you name it... If you're adventurous, replace half of the butter with an oil that can withstand high heat - hazelnut (I used some here), olive, walnut, sesame.

You don't necessarily have to cool the fruit mixture before adding the pastry. I just prefer to do it this way instead of having my pastry sink into the fruit juices and become an indistinguishable glob!

Body Count: 0

Thursday, 15 February 2007

I never thought I'd see this day...

Wow. This is what I call a breakthrough in my cooking and something for which I'm still deciding if I should pat my own back or sock my own left eye (there have been several of these pat or sock dilemmas in recent months, but will tell you about them when I make the dishes in question). For years, I'd been depriving myself of Lor Mee (literally meaning "soya sauce noodles") under the incredibly unambitious and idiotic impression that I *couldn't* replicate it here and shouldn't bother. Tzk tzk. People who say they *can't* do something without giving some thought to a try systematically irritate me so I suppose I had double standards when it came to myself, which is despicable, I concede. It's not entirely my fault, though. Throughout the years, I had attempted googling for a recipe, but the results only frustrated me by giving me addresses of where to get the best, but never how to make it.

All this talk is getting cheap, so let's see what a breakthrough looks like to me:

Summary: Egg noodles, thick brown gravy, fishcake, ngor hiang (spiced pork roll), hardboiled egg, raw crushed garlic and some serious posterior-denting chillli paste.

Some of you would know by now that I'm a Singaporean and have been living in France since 2001, so Singapore is where I discovered these noodles (I can't be an authority on where they came from). It took me time during my teenage years to warm up to Lor Mee, but when I started working, I gave it a second chance and thereupon renounced many other edible pleasures that I thought I'd enjoyed up until then. Ex-colleagues to whom I'd preached its virtues would tell you that I was crazed enough those days to totter on heels for almost a kilometre under the scorching equatorial sun at high noon to get a decent bowl of it, and sometimes return with packs of it for some of them. For those of you familiar with the area, I'd walk from my office in the old Supreme Court building, past Victoria Memorial Hall and Empress Place all the way to the 3rd floor of the Golden Shoe food centre, usually running faster up the stairs than the lift could take me!

What's all the hype about? you may pause to wonder... Until I finally succeeded in making it yesterday, I think the hype was really in the mystery shrouding the components of the gravy. I've eaten Lor Mee in tons of places all over Singapore and to my recollection, no two servings have ever tasted the same! In any typical book of Singapore recipes, you'll never find it, so I'm starting to think it's one of those things early settlers did with leftovers.

I made it with no real expectations of success, and originally wanted to make just a prawn stock. Remember, I had access to quite a lot of prawn shells this week and didn't feel like throwing away the shells unceremoniously. Besides, garbage collectors do go on strike here once in a while without warning, so if I had to dispose of prawn shells, I thought they'd definitely smell better in the trash cooked than raw.

So cook them I did, and I actually even forgot them on the stove and let a few of them burn. It was a very fortunate accident since that gave my stock a smoky taste.

How to: Gravy for 4 - 5 servings: Make about 2 litres of stock from shells obtained from about 1 kg of prawns by heating them in an empty casserole, then adding water when they turn orange. Boil shells for about half an hour. Turn off heat. Boil 4 eggs in a separate casserole, let them cool and peel them.

Add about 50 ml or more of dark soya sauce and 20ml of light soya sauce to the stock, as well as 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of 5-spice powder and 2 tablespoons of black vinegar. Mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or potato starch with 1/2 a cup of water (stir if starch settles). Lightly beat an egg and set aside. Return stock to a boil, and when it bubbles, pour in the starch and water mixture and keep stiring to ensure that lumps of starch do not form. Pour in the beaten egg and stir. Add the hardboiled eggs.

Cook egg noodles according to the instructions on the package and divide them into individual portions. Pour gravy over the noodles, then add a hardboiled egg, slices of fishcake, minced pork roll, chilli paste and raw garlic. Add a splash of black vinegar if desired.

Fishcake and chilli paste can be found in most Asian grocery stores. As for the pork roll, I mixed 400g of minced pork with 1tsp of 5-spice powder, a handful of chopped coriander, 1 tbsp of potato starch, oyster sauce, white pepper and light soya sauce. Then I rolled a spoonful at a time in beancurd sheets and deep-fried the rolls.

Variations: In some of the places I've eaten this, fried fish bits, with or without batter, are added. Instead of sliced pork rolls, I've also seen pork balls made with just the stuffing. Some people add beansprouts or braised pork. Egg noodles can be replaced with rice vermicelli or wheat noodles.

Body Count: 0.5% of a whole pig, fishcake and maybe 100 prawnless shells.

Let's take another look, with a slight rotation of the bowl:


PS: I'd meant to warn those of you who are adventurous enough to try this recipe that Lor Mee isn't something you should eat if you're dressed in white. :)

Sunday, 11 February 2007

What to do with garlic & prawns

Before this starts to look like a post with a theme, it is worth noting that it's inadvertent. When I buy something I like, I tend to buy in bulk and then wonder what to do with the excess. See, raw prawns are hard to find here, and where I usually get them, they are sold in either an 800g bag or a frozen block of 1.8kg, in both cases already headless. I don't think I need to state the obvious...

So you see, I can't extricate, say, 20 prawns from the frozen block and use the rest later, since they're all tightly packed in overlapping layers, making it necessary to thaw the whole block. As for the garlic part, I didn't notice it during the preparations, and it was only after I'd started sinking my teeth into my prawns that I realised ALL of them were basted in some way with garlic.

Typically, I prepare the 1.8kg of prawns in 3 different ways, one of which is almost always Black Pepper Prawns, with the shells on. Cutlery is not a recommended part of this experience, and is even frowned upon.

How to: Crush as much garlic as you want (I think I easily crushed 10 cloves) and crack as many black peppercorns as you can handle. Melt some butter over high heat, fry half of the garlic until it turns white, then add the pepper and fry for a few seconds. Add oyster sauce, light and dark soya sauces in equal parts. When the sauce starts bubbling, throw in the prawns and fry until they are cooked through. Add the other half of the garlic, stir and serve with rice.

: Add red chilli if you like it fiery, or add all the garlic at the same time if you don't like it too pungent. Lobster or crabs instead of prawns.

Body Count: A lot

This is my first time making Lemongrass Prawns, but the baste is not new to me - I just habitually use it with chicken.

How to: Pound or blend 2 stalks of lemongrass with 3 shallots (or 1 onion), 1 chilli and 4 cloves of garlic to obtain a fine paste. Add 1/4 tsp salt and
1 Tbsp each of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce and honey. Put prawns and baste in a freezer bag and let it season for a few hours or overnight. Thread the prawns on a skewer and grill.

Variations: Chicken, beef or pork instead of prawns.

Body Count: A lot

Finally, one of my favourite recipes for getting rid of this bottle of nasty tequila I bought way back in 2003, with which I have trouble making real Margaritas. Well, I can make those margaritas, I just can't overcome what smells suspiciously like industrial alcohol, you know, the kind you get in antifreeze? I've yet to find a decent brand of tequila here, so in the meantime, I'll continue to make Margarita prawns:

How to: Mix equal parts of lime or lemon juice, orange juice and tequila with 4 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 green chillis or jalapenos (finely minced), 1/2 a cup of chopped coriander, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp cumin. Pour into a freezer bag with the prawns and season for a few hours. I left them overnight, and the lemon juice half-cooked the prawns, thus shortening their oven sentence.

Variations: Use Triple Sec instead of orange juice.

Body Count: A lot!

(Hey Trupti & Sandeepa, should have done this earlier, for Independence Day! :) Look at those colours!)

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Like shooting fish in a barrel

My suspicions that Saturday's output would go to seed midway during the week were indeed founded. After having squirrelled away most of the vadai into the freezer before the encroachment of surfeit (one of my regular visitors), I realised that my kala channa masala and aloo gobhi weren't very salty and could thus be eaten on their own without rice or roti. The result? A fridge that emptied itself sooner than my legs could regain their feeling. *Shilpa continues to box her calves*

Mercifully, while making space in the freezer for the vadai, I came across some salmon filets and made a mental note to cast them somewhere in my weekly list of dishes to cook.

OK, here's a poll - I'd like to know how many of you are as geeky as I am : every Monday, I look through my fridge and pantry and actually sit down to draft 3 separate dated lists (make that 4 if I'm buying Asian ingredients) - what leftovers there are to finish and the estimated number of servings (1), what I feel like eating next (2) and what needs to be bought (3 - 4). Logically, the longer List (1) is, the shorter will be Lists (2) and (3) for the week. List (3) relies heavily on List (2) which in turn relies on my imagination. Not something I have heaps of at the start of a week!

Whatever glowing remarks my friends and bosses past and present have to make about me, they'd hardly include "organisation". Ever. So it might come as a surprise (not to mention mild outrage) to them that I make this much effort for something as ephemeral as food. Hey, a girl's got to have priorities, right? :)

Well, List (1) was pretty paltry by Tuesday, so I had no choice but to quickly fill in List (2) and came up with a fuss-free way of using salmon - in a one-dish meal I can say was one of the first things I learned how to make after leaving the roost - Salmon Kedgeree.

How to: Cook about 2 cups of rice (Basmati or Thai) to get a kilo of cooked rice and set aside. Rub salt onto all the surfaces of 2 large salmon filets and let them season for about half an hour. Boil 4 eggs, then shell and chop them.

Fry salmon filets in hot oil (enough to cover the base of the pan) until they brown then roughly flake the flesh with a fork and set aside. Using the same oil, fry some crushed garlic and chilli or curry powder to taste until garlic softens, then add rice, 1 tsp salt (if necessary) and 1 cup of chopped parsley. Mix well, then add salmon flakes and eggs. Heath through and serve.

The cut green chilli tucked away in the corner just serves to feed my current addiction, so don't mind me!

Variations: Smoked salmon, salt cod, trout, haddock or any other firm salted fish. Coriander or dill to replace the parsley. Lentils with the rice.

Body Count: 2 salmon filets

Sunday, 4 February 2007

WFF 2 - Take my pulse!

Last weekend's feeding frenzy (hereinafter known as "WFF") so effectively lived up to its name that not only did I not have to cook at all during the week, I also had several choices and didn't let anything go bad! In my speak, that is quite an achievement for someone who habitually cooks for 6 when there are just 2, who has trouble eating the same food more than twice in a row, and who has a small appetite at mealtime from all the surreptitious snacking... What confounds me, though, is how I spent so little time and energy getting so much variety.

Alas, it was not to be this weekend... I definitely feel a varicose vein snaking up my calf from all that hovering over the stove, and I'm not even sure I WON'T have to cook during the week.

Legumes (pulses, geddit? heh heh) were on my agenda when I went shopping on Thursday, and my collection now includes kala channa (brown chickpeas), toor dal (pigeon peas) and urad dal (black gram/mung beans), which I recently discovered were available in my area.

Urad dal is the main ingredient in vadai, a savoury fritter in South Indian cooking, flavoured with onions, curry leaves, ginger and green chilli:

Not contented with just the usual coconut chutney (seen here in the white triangular receptacle), I also paired my vadai with a Kerala-style kala channa masala, a striking curry of unskinned chick peas, fresh grated coconut and a wonderfully fragrant combination of spices.

What better way to wash it down than with some potent adrak chai (ginger tea)?

It probably doesn't look like much, but this meal alone had a total of three items I made from scratch, and that was all I was able to cough up for Saturday's dinner.. I'd made a couple of other curries by then, but any curry worthy of such a name should only be consumed by earliest the day after...

I'm ashamed of this half-hearted attempt at a masala thosai below, another South Indian favourite, but I'll publish it all the same.. a decent thosai you get outside is not supposed to collapse like mine in the picture! *sheepish grin* Anyhow... it was filled with a potato and onion curry, accompanied by the ubiquitous coconut chutney and a mound of aloo gobhi (potato and cauliflower curry), which happens to be Punjabi and out of place here, but I added it for colour and good measure. :)

Since I was planning to wake up just in time for brunch on Sunday, before I snuggled under my comforter on Saturday night, I prepared a bread and butter pudding with walnut bread, jam, raisins, dried apricots and leftover coconut. Then I beat some eggs with milk, sugar and a good dose of kirsch, and let the bread sit in it until Sunday morning. I used to hate soggy bread, or the mere thought of it, but strangely, I find it easy to forget it's bread in puddings like these!

As for the pick-me-up, I could not decide between Olive Sencha...

(yes, green tea with dried olive bits! Tastes exactly like olive oil, but lighter)

...Hattiali, an Assam brew, apparently so strong that the guy who sold it to me repeatedly warned me "Uniquement le matin!" ("to be consumed only in the morning!") with a wag of the finger...

...or Maharajah, a blend of fine Indian teas from Mariage Frères, my favourite for making a simple version of masala chai with just cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper.

Conclusion: Hattiali meets Maharajah (with store-bought paal kova)! :)

How to: I suggest googling for these recipes, especially the curries! They're so much work, I'm surprised anyone even opens restaurants serving them! :)

Body Count: 0 - Everything except the bread and butter pudding (which contains eggs and milk) is vegan.

Friday, 2 February 2007

I'm IT!

I had the honour of being tagged by Stefanie of Cumin & Coriander for the "5 Things Most People Don't Know About me" meme, and I must admit, this one's going to be harder than making my own puff pastry from scratch (which I've been too chicken to attempt at all)! What my friends know, my family probably doesn't, and what my colleagues know, my friends probably don't! So let me compile what I think are my best-kept secrets (or simply things I'd never found the occasion to bring up in a conversation)..

1. For all the junk I'm often seen eating and the sporadic exercise I deign to take part in, I definitely deserve to be obese, but am about 20kg/44lbs short (my secret is water, darlings, not genes or high metabolism, mind you). What most people don't know is that I'm NOT a calorie counter, carb hater, additive & artifical colouring & flavouring detractor, etc.. I am at peace with my food, even if it's blue and resembles a WC-scouring tablet. I read labels, just out of curiosity (and to learn my ingredients in foreign languages), and used to have a reputation for living by toffee alone and sucking on so many Sweetarts (see link) that my tongue and/or palate would start to bleed. Sorry, I know that's sick, but it's the whole truth! :)

2. I still don't have my driver's licence despite an embarrassing number of lessons, and aim to FINALLY get it this year. I panicked during my first attempt almost 2 years ago, making stupid obvious mistakes I ordinarily wouldn't have made, and cried like a baby all the way home because I couldn't understand what came over me. I'm usually a cool cucumber with a "chalta hai" (can do) attitude, but the feeling of not being able to succeed no matter how hard I tried was very humbling!

3. When I was 12, I wanted to break the world record for longest fingernails, so I decided to stop cutting them despite my teachers' repeated warnings and threats following complaints from classmates who got scratched. I lovingly measured them each week, but never got past 5 cm for a single finger because they kept chipping. Damn it, nothing ever seems to go my way!

4. Please, I need someone to explain this to me: Even though he has waxed armpits, there aren't many films he's acted in that I can safely say I liked and he's received lots of bad press for boorish behaviour, Salman Khan remains my idea of a hunk. Expert opinion welcome !

5. Shilpa is not my real name, but you'll have to be really nice for me to tell you what it is! :)

I'm relatively new to blogging, so I'll have a shorter list of people to tag:
Keropok Man of Singapura Daily Photo

Quick, tell us your secrets!!