The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Another anticipated sequel for the year end holidays has finally released! Having watched The Hunger Games last year without any prior knowledge of the story kept me wanting for more. It's quite a "torture" to wait for 1 year later for the movie to be released. So, is it really worth the wait? I'd like to believe so. After all, I refused to read the trilogy books for fear of spoilers.

For the record, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire picks up where the first movie left off whereby Katniss Everdeen & Peeta Mellark return home after winning the 74th Hunger Games. President Snow threatens Katniss to convince everyone that her actions during the games were out of genuine love for Peeta. Later, Snow announced a Third Quarter Quell whereby tributes are selected from previous victors. When Katniss & Haymitch was picked to represent District 12, Peeta volunteered to take Haymitch's place.

The development gets better this time as more characters are introduced into a more complex plot. Pace is quicker hence it almost kept me at the edge of the seat most of the time. Of course, Sam Calflin as Finnick Odair is no doubt an eye candy throughout the 2-hour movie. *drools* Although he buffed up for the film, Calflin's face looked chiseled & slightly hollowed, as if he lost some weight in the process. I need more Finnick in the 3rd movie considering I fancy Liam Hemsworth less.

A great watch for sure so don't miss this out. Otherwise, you wouldn't understand how the heck the 3 parts piece up together when the 3rd instalment is released next year. After all, The Hunger Games is one of the must-watch year end holiday movie.

Pic courtesy of

More than meets the eye

Friday, November 29, 2013

In case you didn't know, I tendered my resignation & is close to completing my 2 months notice at my current company. Just barely a week before my last day, my GM's secretary suddenly confided to me about her hidden feelings for the Key Account Manager (KAM). No, don't get me wrong. I didn't mean that she had a crush on the manager. She was expressing her dissatisfaction about the KAM because the latter seemed to be taking advantage of their office friendship to obtain corporate information.

Honestly, I was surprised by her willingness to share her inner thoughts about the KAM with me because she is the type who is extra cautious with her words. In the office, she is infamous for being nasty woman who doesn't hesitate speaking her mind off. We chatted for almost 2 hours today; the topic revolving around the same person & the secretary wasn't afraid to reveal her true colours. To put it nicely, she needed a friend to hear out her disappointment that she somehow felt betrayed for trusting & helping out the KAM. On a negative note, the secretary is no different from other staffs in the office merely looking for someone to bitch about another.

I was baffled that she decided to say many things to me now when I'm about to leave in a week's time. Many questions popped up in my head after today's incident. Was she genuinely upset that she needed a friend to lend an ear? Why am I only her friend now when we've known each other as co-workers for 1 year? Or was she taking advantage of me to backstab the KAM much to her desire, knowing that I won't be bothered to report it to the KAM, since I am leaving already?

I was skeptical about the secretary's behaviour & chose my words carefully too. Perhaps my hunch is right. Whichever the truth is, I didn't give a damn about how unethical the KAM is. I've already known that she was making use of my kindness all this while but I gave in mainly because we were colleagues with benefits. As for the secretary, she is probably truthful about her thoughts. Nevertheless, this is incident has taught me a great lesson. A lot of people you meet in the corporate world is certainly more than meets the eye. It is very important to choose your words wisely or risk getting yourself into serious trouble.

Canapes Escape

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Canapes are one of my favourites whenever I dine at hotel buffets. Imagine my joy when At 19 Culinary Studio planned for a Canapes Escape class. When I received the recipe, I was slightly disappointed that bread stick will be taught in class. In my dictionary, I never considered bread stick as canapes because canapes essentially have garnish sitting on top of shaped stale bread or puff pastry. Besides bread stick, we will be making seafood vol-au-vent, potato cakes & chicken burger.

We started preparing the bread dough first since it require longer completion time. To make mini burger bun, we mixed all the dry ingredients (plain flour, yeast, sugar & milk powder) using a dough hook in a bowl. Salt is added later to prevent spoiling the yeast if added earlier. Next, we added in eggs, milk & cold water, adjusting the mixer to slow speed & allow it to combine well for 10 mins. Butter is then added with fast speed setting for 5 mins.

The dough is proved for 15-20 mins. We shaped the dough & left it to proof for another 15-20 mins. See how huge the dough has grown just in over 20 mins.

The dough is baked for about 25-30 mins until nicely browned. The burger bun is left aside to cool & ready to use. Similarly, we prepared the dough for the bread stick first before moving on to the next recipe. The difference between a burger bun dough & bread stick dough is the absence of egg & butter in the latter. Hence, the bread stick dough will be more elastic compared to its counterpart. After the bread stick dough is ready, we cut it into strips & twirl so that it turns out curly when baked. Bread stick requires about 15-30 mins of baking.

Next, we started working on the 2nd recipe - seafood vol-au-vent which means seafood enclosed in a small hollow case of puff pastry. Vol-au-vent is usually filled with savoury ingredients but sweet fillings is possible too. For seafood, we picked squid & shrimp by cutting them into cubes. The cubes are then stirred together with sauteed garlic in butter. Cream is added then letting it simmer until the sauce thickens. We switched off the gas & allow the seafood to cool. Meanwhile, we cut the puff pastry using different size moulds. The cut puff pastry is stacked to form a hollow case, followed by a brush of egg yolk to promote a nice golden brown coating. Bake them at 180°C for 20 mins. We started scooping the seafood into the puff pastry, filling up the hollow space.

Our 2nd last recipe of the day is the chicken burger. We only need to prepare the patty since the burger bun was completed earlier. All that is required to make the patty is ground chicken, chopped parsley, onions, garlic, salt, ground black pepper & egg. Egg is added to the ground chicken & blended together until smooth. Once done, the blended chicken mix is combined with parsley, sauteed onions & garlic while adding salt & pepper to taste. We also mix in some capers to give a richer taste to the patty. The mixture is shaped into 4 1/2-inch thick patties which will be grilled over medium heat for 8-10 mins when covered. As soon as the patty is done, we started assembling the mini chicken burger.

Lastly, we continued with the potato cakes recipe. The potatoes were scrubbed before boiling them in lightly salted water. Once cooked, we grated them & mashed it with other ingredients - shallot, red chili, spring onion & coriander leaves. We formed the mash potatoes into patties which is then dredge in flour, eggs & crumbs. The patties is to be cooked in a non-stick pan for 2-3 mins until golden brown. For a lesser oil alternative, the patties can be baked in the oven.

There you have it, 4 different recipes to tantalise your personal taste buds. The one thing I didn't fancy is that the portion which was taught wasn't exactly mini size, in which defeats the purpose of calling the dishes as canapes. Oh well, as long the recipes tasted great & it's all that matters. The rest boils down to lots & lots of practice.

Thor: The Dark World

Friday, November 08, 2013

After the first instalment, the fans are left wanting more of the legendary Norse god, Thor played by the uber sexy & muscular Chris Hemsworth. As soon as you see random people posting fan gags dedicated to Thor & Loki, this insane fan fad is signalling the arrival of the sequel.

How did this sequel fare compared to the first movie? Definitely better, though not great. I like how the screenwriters inject more layers & try to add complexity to the rather thin storyline. Forget about the logic & science behind the plot because it'll never be answered. Despite the nonsense, the characters are still as lovable & the actions scenes are equally convincing so I just couldn't find major faults with this sequel.

There's a brief moment of skinship, if that's your reason for watching. Hemsworth bares his godly body to all you giggly females. I noticed some father figure there - the kind of body shape that develops among men who have recently became fathers. Common men usually become wider but Hemsworth seems bulkier/fatter than the first movie. Just my two cents. He still looks gorgeous.

Now the real star power here is none other than Loki aka Tom Hiddleston. Gah!! His entertaining prowess skyrockets in this movie. It's no wonder the world is obsessed with him, not to mention women's ovaries exploding at the sight of him. Search his name on YouTube & see for yourself his witty charm, & his love for impressions & dancing. Even I couldn't get enough of his acting. If only he would appear in the third movie but that wouldn't make sense, right?

I'm not gonna reveal any detail of the story. I must say it's predictable but it would be more fun to watch it yourself. Makes more sense to embrace all that is offered in Marvel Universe.

Pic courtesy of

Courage & exams

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

I was driving to work this morning as usual when the topic on exams was discussed on radio caught my attention. Apparently, SPM starts today & the radio announcers were giving words of encouragement to all the exam candidates who are sitting the first paper this morning. Those words did ring a bell - no matter what your fears are, you'll still have to go through the process. As long as there was effort put in, you'll be able to come out of it just fine with no regrets.

During the half hour drive, it made me ponder about my similar experience exactly 10 years ago. Those exam moments were nerve-wrecking at that time but it baffles me that I have no recall of how hard I slogged during my preparation. I just couldn't comprehend how on earth I breeze through SPM & managed to bag 7As in my credentials.

Then, I realised that no matter how difficult those times were, somehow I managed to find the courage to endure the entire process. The best part was coming out of hardship feeling ever stronger than before & reaping the benefits. The coming months will be trying times for me as I will be out of job for a while. I keep telling myself to be persistent & stay strong no matter the obstacles which lie ahead. If I feel strongly passionate about my dream, I should stop dreaming but focus to pursue it. Never mind about what others say as long the steps taken were well thought out. After all, everyone starts off on a bumpy road before succeeding at a later stage. All I need now is a little luck...