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Monthly Archives / November 2012

ALEmentary, My Dear!

November 30, 2012 10 Comments

Kilkenny is a popular Irish cream ale, and with a heritage dated since the 1710 century,it is now easily found in most pubs and bars around the country. Rich, creamy, and with its aroma and flavor of toasted malt, it is also easily one of my favorite.

Now what are the secrets in brewing up a good barrel of Kilkenny? It’s all in the ALEmentary Knowledge. Which incidentally, is also the name of the Facebook application that teaches and challenges you to a test of brewing quality Kilkenny Ale.

And as with any challenge worth its salt, there are prizes to be won, so let’s look at them:

  • Grand Prize – Samsung Galaxy Note 2
  • First Prize – Google Nexus 7
  • 5x Weekly Prizes – Exclusive Kilkenny T-Shirt
I don’t know about you, but I think the Galaxy Note 2 is a pretty sweet phone/tablet, and I certainly wouldn’t mind having it in my pocket (albeit it’s gonna be a bit snug, but I digress..)

In this post, I’m going to give you a short tutorial on how to play the ALEmentary brewing game, as well as some tips to become better at it and hopefully, you will at least beat the score Haze and I managed to end up with – 7790.

The game is a simple ‘complete tasks in one stage, move task to another within time limit’ genre similar to other business/time management games. There are a total of 5 stages to clear, and if you are raring to win this.. you’ve got to nail all 5.

Every stage is important, but some are more important than others.

The stages are:

  • Stage 1: Making Wort
  • Stage 2: Adding Hops
  • Stage 3: Fermentation
  • Stage 4: Packing
  • Stage 5: Pouring
There’s an in-game tutorial that teaches you how to complete each stage, go through that and you’ll be set to go. Now here are some methods we used to improve our scores.

First, don’t bother filling all 9 in one go when you start the game in Stage 1. That would means you put in the mashed barley in all 9 pots, add in the roasted barley and the water. This technique will only get you to about 50 pints before the time runs out.

Instead, focus on getting as many pots brewing as fast as possible, put in all 3 ingredients in one pot before moving to the next. Once the timer gets to red, proceed to the next stage and repeat this process. The idea is to have pots brewing as early as possible once the game starts.

Pro Tip: when you have less than 35 seconds left, don’t bother making any more worts, it won’t get through all the stages.

 

Another dangerous setback is right before you get to stage 3. You may have collected about 4-6 pots ready for stage 3, before you move any pots to stage 3, take a look at the temperature slider and make sure it is still in the green area. If it isn’t, press the burn button until it is green before you move the pots here. A wrong temperature will burn your current pots, rendering all your previous efforts useless.

Pro Tip: Don’t bother throwing away any burnt wort or hops if they aren’t interfering, but you shouldn’t have any burnt wort or hops anyway.

The 4th step would be to move the barrel into the truck. Beware of the slider again, if it passes green the barrel will overflow and will reflect in a lower point score.

Pro Tip: once it hits green, slide it to the truck as soon as possible, this ensures you to have more barrels instead of wasting extra precious ale (and time)

The last step is the most crucial. I always slide it all the way to the right till it hits the Kilkenny logo, then use the slow pour method (slide to left) to fill it up, you have to be careful not to let it overflow. This stage requires some practice, but it is crucial, since it is a multiplier that you use with the score you get from previous 4 stages. I managed a near perfect 99.975/100.

After quite a number of hours trying to beat this game Haze and I managed a total score of 7790. She’s better at making barrels, while I generally do better with Stage 5 pouring multiplier.

To be honest, most Facebook contest games aren’t terribly exciting, but we can’t stop ourselves from playing with this one. It has the element of frustration and excitement all roll into one, we still want to end up in top 10! Just need to be just a bit faster, gahhhh. Excuse me while I continue playing this.

The contest runs from 22nd November to 27th November, 2012, play it here - ALEmentary Knowledge.

Good luck!

By the way, another useless tip – having smaller screen might help since you reduce mouse movement.. hehe.

In 2011 I went to Bali, it was my birthday trip with Haze, we saw manta rays, mola-mola, ate bebek, babi guling, and visited a bunch of art houses and relaxed by the pool. It was in all, an excellent trip and we truly enjoyed ourselves the few days we were there and plan to return sometime in the future.

travel to Bali, 2012

But that however, wasn’t my first trip to Indonesia. My first trip to Indonesia was made when I was 4 year old. A trip to Medan with my parents that I only remember through the stories from them (didn’t even have many photos back then).

The one thing that mom always brought up was how worried she was when the 4-year old me started having diarrhea mid way through the trip. Luckily for everyone, I made a recovery the next day or two and nothing serious came out of it.

futsal injuries, torn MCL and dislocated elbow on different occasions

Then there’s injuries. This year isn’t a particularly awesome year for me when it comes to physical safety. I tore my MCL (a knee ligament) earlier in the year and in September I dislocated my elbow. Both were freak accidents while playing futsal, and happened relatively close to home.

But what if these stories have a slightly different twists?

What if the 4 year old me needed medical help in Medan? Or that those futsal injuries were suffered while running around in Myanmar? What to do then? Who to call?  Does the country you are traveling even have the appropriate medical facilities?

Or consider these other scenarios:

  • You travel and your luggage never arrived (this happens more than it should)
  • Your passport and wallet got stolen in a foreign country, you have no emergency cash and no idea who to call
  • You planned to visit a country and suddenly there was a terrorist attack or natural disaster, trip had to be canceled but you’ve already paid for everything
3 dogs on a bike

These are some of the things that most of us don’t want to think about nor plan for in a trip. We like to think of which museum to visit, tourist spots to check out, and what strange and exciting dishes to try, but not these and many other unpleasant scenarios that we should have contingencies in place.

And this is where Travel Insurance comes in, and it is something that’s plenty simple to do to get yourself covered for the scenarios above.

Some of the key benefits:

  • You are covered even before you make your ways to the airport with cancellation coverage in case  you fall severely sick
  • There’s a 24/7 doctors on call that speaks in your home language (Imagine trying to speak with Vietnamese or Burmese local doctors)
  • If you travel alone and are severely hospitalized for over 5 days, you can send your loved ones to be by your bedside (subjected to claim limit)

chartis direct online quotation

For a very small fraction of what you’d spend in the trip, you can get yourself covered in all these -  Medical/Travel Inconveniences/Natural Disaster/Terrorist/Child Guard/Loss of Money & Travel Docs.

For those who travels more frequently, there’s also an option to purchase travel insurance for the whole year as well. This eliminates the hassle of having to purchase on per-trip basis, and on top of that it is a cheaper solution too.

Click here to purchase and get yourself covered, everything can be done online in just a few easy steps (screenshot above). It is definitely something that should be made a habit for any trip. Don’t you think?

Do check out the Around the World with Chartis facebook application. The application has some very useful travel information as well as a source of inspiration for your next destination!

Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Chartis Malaysia Insurance Berhad. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of Chartis Malaysia Insurance Berhad.

 

A week ago Haze treated me to my very first experience at the acclaimed Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. We caught Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy, conducted by Arnie Roth.

Final Fantasy Distant Worlds at MPO
Final Fantasy Distant Worlds at Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

The show features many iconic music from the 25 years of Final Fantasy games, with many scores by Nobuo Uematsu. While I never really played Final Fantasy myself, and hence not particularly familiar with the music other than listening to them while watching friends playing the game, the orchestra still manage to massage my emotion just as easily. It was a splendid performance and definitely a very unique and moving experience.

Unlike classical orchestra, Distant Worlds features many cut scenes from the game and is just a tad less formal (you don’t necessarily need to wear a jacket and tie).

If you haven’t been to MPO, I highly recommend it. For those who wants to catch Distant Worlds though, you can check out the dates for other performances here. They’re in Chicago, Montreal, Paris, and Omaha.

Teeth makeover updates:

I’m now at my 3rd set of Invisalign braces, so I guess it’s high time for some updates.

Extractions for Invisalign
Extractions for Invisalign, my dentist looked happy at my misery

To kick start it all, I had 4 teeth (pre-molars) taken out on 19th October, 2012. Now most sane people usually have two on the same side taken out each time, separated by a week, instead I chose to have all four teeth extracted all at one go.

It was a mixed result I guess, I was a bit miserable for a couple days, but it saved me a trip and at least a week’s time, so it was all good. My dentist was professional and the process was actually quite painless.

my third set of Invisalign braces
my third set of Invisalign braces, notice the “attachments” on top two pics?

Each set of braces are to be worn for two weeks. They are usually very tight for the first couple of days, and then your teeth gets adjusted and moved to the new location after that, then it’s another 10 days or so for the new foundation to get strengthened. Two weeks, rinse and repeat.

For the second set of braces I had some attachments put in as well. There are totally 12 buttons on my teeth right now, they are there to hold the braces better and allow more efficient movements. The process of putting these attachments took almost 2 hours, while not particularly comfortable, it wasn’t painful.

The attachments felt like you have rice stuck on your teeth when the braces is off, but with braces on I don’t really feel them.

I’m about 10% through the treatment, will update as we move along.

Some 9 or 10 years ago a friend brought me to a Malay/Mamak place that was pretty special. There were tables set under and around a garden, and even a few on platforms set on trees, like childhood tree houses. I also remember the place to be beautifully lit, and that they served some decent food as well.

I had no knowledge of its location since I wasn’t family with KL then. It wasn’t till I mentioned to Yuki about this place that I found out it was actually Naili’s Place at Sentul.

We decided to check it out a few weeks ago.

Naili's Place, not your average night time hangout
Naili’s Place, not your average night time hangout

The place has probably changed a bit since my first visit almost a decade ago. It looks quite a lot cleaner and more comfortable. There are trees sprawling throughout the place, and yes, the tree houses are still there, but you’d have to be very lucky to get those tables unless you call ahead.

We picked a spot near the bar and ordered our dinner, it was on a raised platform with shoes off, pillows, and low table. Comfortable and informal. The music in the background goes well with the type of food served too.

tomyam seafood, nasi lemak, nasi temasik
tomyam seafood, nasi temasik, nasi lemak, 

The menu is pretty extensive (available on their website here), they serve local delights, Western foods, snacks, and some “special” drinks.

The Mixed Tomyam (RM 15) got the seal of approval from Haze & Yuki. It was a pretty big serving loaded with chicken, squid, prawns, mushroom, and does carry a kick. Positively spicy, and goes really well if you’re having some rice to go with.

I had the Temasik Rice Special (RM 12.90) and that came with spicy shrimp, beef rendang, and fried chicken alongside butter rice. This is similar to Madam Kwan’s Nasi Bojari but with better value, and equally as tasty. Make sure you’re really hungry before ordering this.

Nasi Lemak (RM 6.90) here tastes pretty decent too, it comes with a choice of  Rendang Chicken, Rendang Beef
or Sambal Sotong.

naili's special fried rice, "twin mermaid", fried chicken wings
naili’s special fried rice, “twin mermaid”,  fried rice with beef rendang

Naili’s Special Fried Rice (RM 12.90) is a pretty decent dish that came with fried chicken wings, fried egg, and keropok, but in my opinion the Temasik Rice Special is a superior dish at the same price.

We also ordered the twin mermaid (RM 14.9) to share, the fish can be either deep fried or grilled, we had the former since the grill wasn’t ready yet. They tasted pretty decent especially with the condiment, I’d love to try their ikan bakar next time though.

Winnie, KY, Horng, Haze and Yuki
Winnie, KY, Horng, Haze and Yuki

We didn’t try any Western food at Naili’s, they serve salmon, lamb chop, steak, chicken chop, pizzas, pastas, and even burger. It’s a pretty sweet place to hang out that is friendly to most everyone (it is halal). Other than Sentul, Naili’s place has branches at Ampang Point, Uptown, and USJ Taipan.

map to Naili's place, Sentul

Address:
Naili’s Place
116C, Kampung Chempedak,
Jalan Taman Dato’ Senu,
51000 Sentul, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.194678, 101.69353
Tel: 019 2020755, 019 393 0878, 013 205 6419, 019 919 2165
Website: www.nailisplace.com

Nan Feng bak kut teh

Naili's

It’s been a while since I posted any home cooked dishes. So here’s one, a simple garlic fried rice with seafood recipe.

This is something that you can prepare in less than half an hour, garlic fried rice is a pretty classic Japanese dish, I just add some seafood to kick it up a notch a bit. While traditionally they also use spring onion, I replaced it with red onion due to availability and that worked out well to add that crunchiness and freshness element to the dish.

garlic fried rice with prawns and scallops
garlic fried rice with prawns and scallops

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cup of rice for 2 person
  • 2 large eggs
  • prawns (you can also add squid or other seafood)
  • scallops(optional)
  • 2-3 bulb of garlic, chopped or cut in slices
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of soya sauce, some salt & pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoon of cooking oil

ingredients - garlic, onion, rice, prawns, scallops
ingredients – garlic, onion, rice, prawns, scallops

Cooking instructions:

  • heat up cooking oil
  • fry garlic till a shade before golden brown, remove and set aside
  • using the same oil, fry prawns (with a dash of salt), then remove and set aside
  • sear scallops with shells on, then remove and set aside

the key is to fry the garlic, seafood, and rice separately
the key is to fry the garlic, seafood, and rice separately

Cooking instructions part 2:

  • with the same oil, fry eggs till 80% cooked
  • add rice, and stir for a minute
  • add soya sauce, salt, and some pepper
  • add garlic and continue to stir for another minute
  • add garlic and prawns, stir for another minute
  • serve while hot (arrange your scallops with best of your artistic ability)

start with the egg, then rice, onion, then everything
start with the egg, then rice, onion, then everything

The key to this dish is to have the garlic and seafood fried separately. This allows better control and ensures that each ingredients are cooked properly since they have different cooking time. Try it!

More recipes from yours truly can be found here.

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