December, 2007

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All it took was a PS3

One of those little nagging things about lecturing in a Gaming course is that I’ve always felt a little left out when my students rave about the newest console title. I mean, so many of them tote around PSPs to school it’s scary.

blog-2007-Rivervale-CIMG2897-ps3-ling.jpgMy parents got my two brothers and myself an Apple II computer in 1983, and while both my elder brother and myself got into computer games from that point, I was also altogether interested in the creation of games through writing programs.

From that point, I’ve chalked up about 24 years of computer gaming but very little on consoles, despite my good bud Matt’s best attempts to get me to at least take a look at consoles.

That said, the nagging feeling that I could be missing out got to me eventually, and a fortnight ago I started seriously looking deciding whether to get an XBox360, a PS3, or a Wii. All three have their advantages and appeal, but I decided on the PS3. I figured that if the console gaming didn’t appeal as much as PC gaming, at least we’d have a Blu-Ray high-definition player.

The Blu-Ray player didn’t disappoint. The first title we got – Ridley Scott’s director’s cut of his movie Kingdom of Heaven looked so splendid on high-def that Ling actually enjoyed the viewing much more than the two times we watched it on the big screen and on DVD later.

As for the collaborative gaming with wife-thingie itself, well, the picture here says it all. Ling’s never quite played games before; my few attempts to get her interested in PC gaming failed so badly I gave up. But now she’s gotten into Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and enjoying it that I cannot but help feel satisfied at this small achievement. Oh, she still gets me to go through the combat portions for her, but she’s handling all the platform and adventuring aspects of it.

Pigs can fly, indeed.:)

Brownies for you?

blog-2007-Cooking-CIMG2813.jpgI used to enjoy chocolates in my younger days until a few years ago.

For some reason unknown, I’ve stopped preferring chocolates and anything in chocolate flavour. Hence, I have little motivation to bake any chocolaty items such as cakes. I find them too rich for me. The same goes for Yang. In recent years, I tend to go for light, fruity flavours, ’spice-y’ or even savoury foods.

However, there are 2 chocolaty items which I don’t mind baking: 1) brownies and 2) chocolate muffins. Today, I tried baking brownies using a recipe which makes them really moist and gluey on the inside. They turned out marvelous. The recipe is taken from Diana’s Desserts. I followed everything right down to the T except for substituting the bitter-sweet chocolate with semi-sweet dark cooking chocolate, and reducing the sugar content to 75%. In addition, I also halved the ingredients and size of baking pan as I would have problem finishing all the brownies on my own!

The method is really simple if you have done basic baking before. Have a go at it if you’re a chocolate fan. :) Try eating warm brownies with vanilla ice cream. It’s awesome. :D

I feel like pumpkin today

Whenever I browse at the fresh produce section of local supermarkets, I often wonder “What dish uses this vegetable?” or “What an unusual root (or fruit)! How does one cook it?”.

I grew up eating hardly any pumpkin at all. Just the other day, I tried some pumpkin soup at a restaurant and it tasted so good and hearty. Since then, I had been wanting to prepare pumpkin soup at home.

I got a recipe for pumpkin soup recently and today I finally had the time to test out the recipe. It turned out to be an easy dish to prepare. The ingredients were few and the steps simple.















Butternut or Japanese pumpkin (sweeter) – 800g (when bought), seeded, skinned and coarsely chopped

Potato – 1 medium (I used russet)

Brown onion – 1, coarsely chopped

Chicken broth – 1 can (topped it up with water to make 3 cups, I used Swanson’s low sodium)

Butter – 20g

Sour Cream – 4 tbsps

Fresh tarragon – chopped


1) Melt butter in a non-stick pot and stir-fry onion until soft.

2) Stir in pumpkin and potato – stir and cook for 5 mins.

3) Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes until pumpkin becomes soft. Stir occasionally.

4) Blend the soup (I did it in 2 batches) until pureed.

5) Stir in the soup puree through a sieve (to make it velvety smooth), with the help of a spoon, into a large bowl. (Optional: Heat up the puree if you like your soup piping hot)

6) Scoop the pureed soup into 2 bowls and top with 2 tablespoons of sour cream and sprinkle chopped tarragon (this herb goes well with pumpkin soup!). Serve warm.

Serves 2-4

See step by step photo-guide here :)

p.s. The herb used in the photo was spring onion, not tarragon. Go for tarragon if you could find it. :)

Walk, walk, walk, walk in delight…

blog-walking-DSC00004.JPGDearest recently suggested that a brisk walk to Compass Point or Hougang Mall for a meal would be good exercise rather than driving. I was excited. This is definitely healthy living. In addition, the impact on the knees caused by walking is lesser as compared to jogging.

I remember an ex-colleague who adopted a different mode of transport to work. Instead of taking public transport, she would walk to and fro the workplace. The rest of us lady colleagues soon noticed how slim and fit she had become (and her muscles looked well-toned). She used to have slight flabbiness, you know, in those areas we women abhor. And wow, how walking had done away with those disturbing sights! Pity my home was so far away; I would have to start walking at 4am if I were to report for work on time!

Another ex-colleague of mine sweared that walking could help weight-loss. Together with her hubby, both would do 30 mins of brisk walking along the East Coast Beach every other evening. Great idea – bonding and exercise in nature! Pity we don’t have much nature surrounding our place but I’m sure with a little imagination, nature is everywhere :D

Okay, for a start, darling and I walked to Compass Point for dinner yesterday. It was a cool, breezy evening and we had a good time poking fun at each other and also our surroundings. The journey took us 35 mins and for some reason, darling decided to take a bus or LRT home later. Duh…Anyway, that was our first time taking a LRT home and it was fun too.

We tried walking back from Hougang Mall this evening after dinner (took a bus there). Weather was once again breezy and we both loved it. I can still feel my calf muscles a little achy now. Therefore, I confirm that walking is good exercise. :D