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Review: Personalize your Valentine's Day Gift with Printcious.com

>> Monday, January 16, 2017

In a blink of an eye, the first 2 weeks of January, the 1st month of the year, is over! Gosh...time passes WAY too quickly. Right after Chinese New Year, we'll be looking towards Valentine's Day in LESS THAN a month's time *wow*

I enjoy making personalized gifts for my loved ones. My husband, family & friends have received quite a number of personalized gifts, cards & bookmarks since my youth days. To me, personalized gifts are more meaningful, unique & is "the only one in the world"! It warms my heart & brings back good memories to see such gifts displayed at the glass cupboards of my loved ones' homes or even kept in their stash of personalized gifts collected through the years :)

With advanced technology in this 21st century, Printcious provides everyone a simple platform to design & purchase personalized gifts for themselves & their loved ones. I find that buying & designing gifts on Printcious fun, simple & hassle-free, especially with such a busy schedule this 2017.

Their home page

Zoom-in on their front/home page

Product Categories
There is an extensive list of product categories to select from & customize your gift. Shopping for a gift is indeed made complete at Printcious!

With their tagline, "Printcious.com – Precious Gifts From Your Heart", you'll be spoilt for choice in selecting the perfect gift this Valentine's Day for your precious someone :)

As a "certified software tester" by profession, I decided to test out their customization tool to verify the ease of use as well as check out their user interface for the tool. I dare say that it's pretty easy to use, especially if you're familiar with using the computer, internet & online shopping!

Customization Tool (example below is to customize/design a heart-shape cushion)
1. Hover on the top drop-down link "Create" (between "Shop" & "Sell")
2. Select "Categories > Cushions > Cushions (Love)"
3. Select the Color for your cushion.
4. Select the quantity.
5. Click on the "Customize It" button to add a customized image/words.

6. Click on the "Photo" drop-down button.
7. Click on "Select Image".
8. Select your method of choosing the image, whether it's by Uploading from your computer ("Upload Files") or selecting from an album from your Facebook/Instagram account.

9. Insert the image & click on the "Done" button.

10. If you're satisfied with your customization, click on the "Add to Cart" button. If you would like to add more customization e.g. words, click on the "Customize It" button again & repeat steps 6-9.

11. Click on the "Checkout" button.
12. Fill in your Shipping Address, Method, Payment Method & Review your Order before finalizing your order. Once confirmed, you can wait for your order to arrive! :) If you order above RM80.00 & you're delivering to an address in West Malaysia, you'll get your item(s) delivered for free as well!

You can also select from their pre-designed selection of gifts for Valentine's Day. There are at least 477 varieties to choose from! Just go to the "Gifts > Occasion > Valentine's Day" page to begin browsing.


Currently, they are having a Back To School promo, which ends this Saturday, 21st Jan 2017. You can also receive a RM20.00 cash voucher for your very first purchase at Printcious!


Don't say I "bojio" ya...pre-designed Valentine's Day gifts start from RM10.50/mini tee! Customized gifts will cost more, but you may not find the 'same designed' gift elsewhere unless you make more than 1 unit for someone else! Hehehe...

Printcious.com – Precious Gifts From Your Heart



Valentine's Day is coming too soon! 

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Review: Fruit & Flower Teas by T Garden

>> Thursday, January 12, 2017

Everyone knows that the history of tea begins way back in ancient China around 350 A.D. Various countries are well-known for their teas, especially China, India, Japan, Europe & even Turkey. Even Malaysia grows our own tea leaves in Cameron Highlands, eh? :D

Tea has its benefits & nature has its ways of providing, sustaining,  & restoring for itself, the way its Creator has purposed it to be. Fruit & flower teas are one of the "in" things now as more & more people are more health-conscious & looking at natural remedies for a healthier living. As the common Chinese/Ceylon tea leaves can sometimes cause selected individuals to stay awake through the night, fruit & flower teas are a good option for tea-lovers & those who are keen to draw benefits from these dehydrated/dried fruits & flowers.

T Garden is a new brand in Malaysia since its launch last October 2016. Started by a simple, tea-lover in Kuantan, this brand currently carries a variety of 11 fruit & flower teas. Their best seller is no doubt the blueberry tea, a fusion of blueberries, blackcurrants, grapes, hibiscus and rose buds, that is rich in vitamins & anti-oxidants. Some of the benefits include reducing the risk of diabetes, prevents dehydration, & boosts immunity. Best part is that all these fruit & flower teas are caffeine free! :) All their tea fruits/flowers are imported from Germany, & packed locally in Kuantan.

Left->Right: Chamomile, Jasmine, French Rose & Peach Flower (front, loose)

Each fruit/flower tea has its benefits. You can refer to T Garden's FB to read more about the health benefits & reap from the benefits that these teas give by consuming them regularly.

Left->Right: Peach, Dried Lemon (loose), Blueberry

Left->Right: Dried Ginger, Lemongrass & Gingko Leaves (front)

For this review, I have decided to try out the blueberry tea first since it's their best seller (can't be drinking all 11 types of tea at ONE go for this review!), just to check out how it really tastes & what's so special about it that most of their clients purchase this variety. I had the one in a tea bag, but to show you what exactly is in the bag, I opened the bag for photo purposes.

Blueberry tea bag

Just add hot water & you can see the rich, deep, dark red color of the blueberries slowly infused in the cup of hot water :D

Looks like the Ribena berry juice minus the sugar
The tea has a fruity & floral aroma. It has a tart, sourish taste, yet light & pleasant to the palate. One tea bag can actually last at least 2 cups & be enjoyed slowly. A colleague of mine who tried the same tea said that she keeps refilling her tea cup throughout the day as the taste of the blueberry mix is still evident even after several rounds of refilling.

You'll notice the berries & flower petals in the mix
If you prefer to have a slight sweetness to your tea, you can add honey :)

All of T Garden's teas are sold in the form of loose fruits/flowers/leaves or in sealed tea bags for convenience. Some people prefer to purchase the loose fruits/flowers/leaves as they have their own tea strainer or they prefer to put more tea ingredients into a large tea pot to be consumed throughout the day or by more people.

Sealed Bag Packaging Option
Photo credit: T Garden's FB page

They also sell their tea loose in jars, zip locked bags & metal tin gift boxes
At present, the gift boxes come in baby pink heart-shape, light turquoise heart-shape, silver square & gold square. 
Photo credit: T Garden's FB page

Tea prices 
Photo credit: T Garden's FB page

As Chinese New Year draws near, why not consider giving away some packets/jars/gift boxes of fruit & flower teas together with your cookies, mandarin oranges & CNY snacks to your relatives, friends, colleagues or business associates? After all, tea is a rather Chinese thing, right? Just that not everyone fancies Chinese tea, but they may find fruit & flower teas something new & pleasing to their palate! T Garden is also more than happy to package personalized hampers as gifts according to your budget as well, so feel free to drop them a message :D

If you're keen to purchase packets/jar/gift boxes of teas to include in your gift bags or hampers, do drop them a Facebook message or email them at tgarden.ktn@gmail.com with your enquiries/purchase order. Their FB page also provides a step-by-step instructions to purchase the tea. Do indicate that you're PerutBesi's reader & you'll get some sample tea bags to try out as well (only from now 'til 11th Febraury 2017)!

It's time to stay health-tea & beau-tea-ful! :D


Let's stay health-tea,


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Review: Salted Egg Yolk Crispy Chicken & 2 Limited Edition Drinks at Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks

>> Monday, January 9, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

I hope your new year celebration has been fantastic & this year will be a greater one for you :) I've been on a pretty long "break" here as the year end break was filled with chores & activities to prepare & execute. I'm glad for the short Christmas break & am hopeful for this new year.

To kick-start my blog for the year 2017, I would want to share on no other than one of Malaysian's favorite item: salted egg! Who doesn't fancy salted egg in "every other dish"? Salted egg chicken, salted egg moon cakes, salted egg croissant are some of the food items that have been infused with the fragrant, preserved salted egg.

Painstakingly experimented & tasted, Shihlin Taiwan Snacks has launched their version of the Salted Egg Yolk Crispy Chicken (咸蛋超大雞排). Together with this new snack, 2 new, limited edition drinks were also launched i.e. the Taro Milk Blended (芋頭牛䑊) and Papaya Milk Blended (木瓜牛䑊).


The salted egg yolk sauce is creamy, rich & has a perfect balance of savory & sweet taste that pairs well with the deep-fried XXL crispy chicken. I purchased the salted egg yolk crispy chicken as take-away & thought that it would taste WAY better if you eat in at the Shihlin Taiwan Street Snack outlet itself instead of taking away. When I ordered for take-away, the crispy chicken piece is brushed with the salted egg yolk sauce before placing into the paper bag. The journey home made the piping hot crispy chicken 'sweat' & the condensation soaked the paper bag + chicken that the chicken wasn't as crispy as it was if you eat in at the outlet itself. Furthermore, the salted egg yolk sauce was brushed onto BOTH SIDES of the crispy chicken piece, so, "soaking" it in condensation definitely didn't help preserve the crispiness of the chicken.


The 2 limited edition drinks were very rich & creamy as well; both felt like blended taro/papaya with milk + sweetener/syrup/sugar! I personally am not a fan of sweet, milky drinks as I'm slightly lactose intolerant. The drinks were too sweet for my liking, but I felt that it would actually do well as deep-freeze ice-creams! *lol* You can actually taste the taro/papaya bits/fibers in the milky drink, which I was pretty impressed. The only thing is that I'm not entirely sure if pairing the new salted egg yolk crispy chicken with either the taro or papaya milk blended drinks would be the best idea since all 3 of these new items on the menu are rich & creamy :P I guess it will all boil down to individual preference & tolerance towards rich & creamy food intake!


As the pioneer brand for authentic Taiwanese street snacks and now boasting more than 150 outlets across 5 different countries, this Taiwanese street snack brand features a variety of authentic favourites on their menu as well, such as the XXL Crispy Chicken, Handmade Oyster Mee Sua, Crispy Floss Egg Crepe, Seafood Tempura, Happy! Ricebox, Sweet Plum Potato Fries, Mushroom Cheese Egg Crepe and Sausage Cheese Egg Crepe.

From 1st - 27th January 2017, try out the Salted Egg Yolk Crispy Chicken + either one or both Taro/Papaya Milk Blended drinks & receive a packet of  cute, limited edition red packets for the upcoming Chinese New Year! Hurry, while stocks last!

For more information on Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks, please visit their website at www.ShihlinSnacks.com.tw or their Facebook at fb.com/ShihlinSnacks.


New year, new hope, new list of food to try!


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Home-Cooked: Prawn Noodles - PerutBesi's Style

>> Wednesday, December 21, 2016

When you're too lazy to bother with recipes & you don't purposely purchase ingredients for a meal, you're exactly like the PerutBesi! Welcome to my world in the kitchen! I rarely buy ingredients specifically to cook something, but I'll check what I have in stock & I'll think of something to cook...hahaha...yeah, it may not be the best way, but it has been working so far...

I've been experimenting on prawn noodles twice. Last night was my 2nd time cooking prawn noodles again & I think it tasted pretty good :) The hubs approved with a big smile on his face *yay*

What made me think of cooking prawn noodles last night? Well, it's the home-grown kangkung (the Thais call it "morning glory") that I've just harvested - it has to be cooked & enjoyed, right? :D

Part of my small 'lil garden before I harvested most of the crops :P

The 2 veggies that I harvested yesterday 

I'm sharing a simple "recipe" of sort with steps on how I prepared my version of prawn noodles (it's all "agak-agak"/by estimation method). It may not be exactly like the original, but I think it tasted pretty good to us. Heh. If you're picky, you may not want to follow my recipe. But if you're an "explorer" like yours truly, then enjoy this journey of discovery! Feel free to tweak the recipe according to your preference! :)

* serves 2 persons. If you don't take pork, you can use ikan bilis/chicken as well, I'm sure.

Ingredients for soup (Set A)
- garlic, 5-6 cloves chopped/blended 'til fine
- shallot, 3-4 bulbs chopped/blended 'til fine
- chili boh paste, approximately 2 tablespoons
- dried shrimps, 3-4 tablespoons
- ikan bilis/dried anchovies, 1 handful
- cooking oil, 2 tablespoons or more

Ingredients for soup (Set B)
- fresh prawn shells (I used just 10 prawns + at least another 15 prawn shells from previous consumption; I just ate the prawns & kept the shells with their heads in the freezer)
- pork bones for soup, 2 palm-size pieces (if you have more, your soup will be tastier, so you can use however much you can afford to add into the soup...hahaha...I just had 2 more pieces left in the freezer, so that's all I used)
- rock sugar, 1-2 pieces to taste
- salt, 1 teaspoon or according to your preference
- chicken stock/cube, optional (I didn't use it as I don't have any in the kitchen, but it'll make the soup tastier, I'm sure)

Ingredients for the overall dish
- noodles, cooked, drained & set aside (you can use the yellow noodles, vermicelli/meehoon, or like me, use those air-dried Vit's noodles)
- kangkung, at least 2 handfuls, blanched/pre-cooked (I just used however much that I harvested from my garden)
- fresh prawns, shelled (that same 10 prawns in Set B)
- egg, hard-boiled & halved
- fried shallots, optional (I didn't have & was too lazy to fry them on the spot)
- beansprouts, as much as desire, optional (I didn't purchase beansprouts)

Directions
1. Bring a pot of water to boil.
2. Add in the pork bones.
3. Add in the fresh prawn shells. If you want it to be more fragrant, you can fry/stir-fry the prawn shells with the other ingredients of Set A first before adding to the pork-based soup.
4. Keep the soup boiling on medium flame & proceed with the next part of the preparations.


5. Heat frying pan/wok with at least 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
6. Add the chopped garlic & shallots & fry 'til fragrant, but not 'til it starts to brown.


7. Add the dried shrimps & ikan bilis into the garlic+shallots mix & fry 'til fragrant. I had a pre-fried dried shrimps + ikan bilis + chili mix, so I used that instead of individual ingredients.


8.  Add the chili boh paste into the pan & stir-fry 'til the paste mixes well with the other ingredients.


9. Add the paste into the soup & stir/mix well.
10. Do a taste-test before adding the rock sugar & salt &/chicken stock. (this is because the chili boh paste + dried shrimps + ikan bilis can be rather salty)
11. Scoop/filter out all the prawn shells & pork bones. (I allowed the soup to boil with all the ingredients for another 10-15 minutes before filtering the prawn shells + pork bones)
12. Discard the prawn shells.
13. Peel off the meat from the pork bone & set aside.
14. Blanch the fresh prawns in the soup 'til cooked. Set aside.
15. "Assemble" your noodles, veggie, half the hard-boiled egg, prawns & pork in a bowl & add the prawn-pork soup into that same bowl.


Tadaaaa! PerutBesi's version of simple prawn noodles! Bon apetit!



Me thinks me is quite a good "agak-agak" chef,


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Review: Green Tomato Cafe & MyBatik

>> Monday, December 19, 2016

Earlier this month, I was invited to a nasi lemak cooking demonstration workshop at the Green Tomato Cafe in KL. I was actually pretty excited since I've never really had the opportunity to formally learn the art of cooking a good plate nasi lemak.

Upon arriving at the Green Tomato Cafe, I was informed by the owner that their blender wasn't working & thus, they had to cancel the day's nasi lemak cooking demo :( Instead, I was offered the opportunity to experience batik painting at the same vicinity! Now, that too was interesting although very different from what I've expected from this review session :D


The entire area is managed by the same person, Emilia Tan, who is the founder of the MyBatik workshop & the Green Tomato Cafe. She's very hands-on & creative, & her passion for batik painting can be seen in her cooking, coffee art & other workshops that her place offers (it's a whole, long list of workshops available, so check out their website or give her a call to enquire! She can even customize & accommodate a variety of requests).

The batik workshop area

One of the many batik paintings

According to Emilia, there are 2 ways of batik design drawing. The most popular way is the canting way, where the artist draws the design "free hand". MyBatik is the only place in KL with batik design molds for their batik design printing. It's very much easier for newbies to explore the art of batik making & painting, plus it's less stressful as well!

Batik design mold in hot wax

My chosen batik design mold

Important tips to batik painting!
First, we'll need to select the batik design mold of choice.
Once that's done, you'll need to place the mold in hot wax.
Next, shake off excessive wax & press the mold onto the cloth material. If there's too much wax on the mold (you didn't shake off the excessive wax enough), upon pressing on the cloth material, the prints will look blotchy & thick. If there's not enough wax on the mold (you shook too much 'til no wax is on the mold or you took too long to transfer the mold from the hot wax to the material that the wax solidifies), your batik design print will not be visible enough & when you paint, the paint may seep out of the design onto the empty spaces of the cloth material.


I did some 'test runs' before I was confident enough to stamp the design onto my white shirt!

Hmm...doesn't look perfect, but let's try the 'real deal' now...

Step 1: Soak the mold into the pan of hot wax 'til the mold is heated up.
Step 2: Shake off the excessive wax 'til there's no wax dripping from the mold.

Step 3: Without wasting any time, transfer the waxed-mold onto the shirt/material.
Step 4: Press hard & for at least 5-7 seconds so that the wax gets printed onto the shirt/material. (ensure that you place a layer of thick plastic + newspapers beneath the shirt so that the back of the shirt won't get the wax as well)

Tadaaaa...my wax-print! Looks a 'lil inconsistent...but it's a good 1st attempt :P

Optional: If you would like to write your name/initialize on the shirt, use the canting method. Similar procedure, a bowl of hot wax is prepared. Dip the canting tool into the bowl of hot wax to scoop up some hot wax.

Draw/Write your name/initials without spilling the wax onto your shirt/material.

SO ugly...hahaha...it was a challenge to write properly using wax!

Step 5: Paint your batik using fabric watercolor (I think) & paint brushes!

We were given only the 3 primary colors: blue, yellow, & red. So get creative & paint away!

I started painting the leaves first...

Then I painted the flowers...color tones is something that I wanted to achieve, so I took my own sweet time to finish up the painting.

Painting completed!

The next step was to soak the fabric in sodium silicate for a minimum of 5 hours to 'fix' the colors onto the fabric. While that's being done, I went over to the Green Tomato Cafe for a simple review of their best sellers.


Simple outdoor cafe

Dish #1: Wild Mushroom Soup (RM12.00/serving)
It was quite a pleasant surprise to find a small cup of wild mushroom soup loaded with mushrooms in every mouthful. The cream-based soup is adequately thick, well-flavored & fragrant with the aroma of all the different types of mushrooms, from oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms to golden mushrooms. It's served with some croutons as well.


Dish #2: Eggs Benedict (RM19.00/serving)
Poached eggs with chicken ham on toast, topped with home-made Hollandaise sauce
I love eggs Benedict & I'm glad that these poached eggs were cooked perfectly. The yolk was still runny, but I couldn't really taste much of the Hollandaise sauce. The salad was lightly dressed & the sauteed herb-potatoes was a decent side dish to accompany the eggs & toasts.



Dish #3: Home-Made Pizza Margherita (RM20.00/serving)
Everything from the base to the toppings are either home-made or freshly prepared. It's a very light-crusted, simple yet delicious pizza to have on a lazy Saturday afternoon :) They even have pizza-making workshop for children, so check out their website for more details/drop them an enquiry!


Ice Lemon Juice (RM10.00/glass)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice with syrup for a refreshing treat.

We were chit-chatting casually with Emilia after our meal to get to know her more & her business better when she shared with us that coffee art can be a very simple art to master. She applied her batik painting techniques & skills to coffee art, so it's a different approach to the popular coffee art that we find at various cafes.  


The milk had to be steamed as usual & the latte was prepared.

Next, just scoop some milk foam & place on the top of the latte. Using a sharp tool, 'draw' the flowers & hearts that you desire.

Tadaaa! The simple coffee art that even kids will enjoy making :) Emilia runs such workshops as well as hot chocolate art for kids. To her, nothing is too difficult to design as long as you use your creativity :D

Thank you for the creative experience, MyBatik & Green Tomato Cafe!

We left in a hurry with our packed shirts as we couldn't wait for the 5 hours 'til the night nor had time to come back the next day to pick up our shirts. Emilia's worker graciously packed the soaked shirts for us & Emilia gave us instructions on how to complete the batik process. The following photos & descriptions below will show you the end process of my batik shirt, which I'm so proud of! :D

Photo of the compound (taken from inside the car as it started raining!)

After 5 hours...

Step 6: Wash away the sodium silicate in clean water (I washed it at least twice...haha)

Step 7: Boil a pot of hot water & add the soda ash powder into the pot of boiling hot water.
This solution will help to melt the wax away.

Step 8: Soak the shirt into the pot of hot soda ash water, 'stirring & rinsing' it using a stick to ensure that the wax falls off the shirt/get dissolved into the pot of soda ash water.

Step 9: Remove & transfer into a pail of clean water to ensure that all the wax is removed from the shirt.


Step 10: Hang dry the shirt without direct sunlight exposure!
Your batik print shirt is now ready to be worn :D

What do you think of my self-painted batik t-shirt? I thought it's pretty good for the 1st attempt...hahaha, don't you agree? :P


Green Tomato Cafe/myBatik
Yayasan Seni
333, Persiaran Ritchie off Jalan Ritchie
55000 K.L.
Tel: (+603) 42515154/ Whatsapp numbers: (+6012) 2579775, (+6014) 2470224
Business hours: 8:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. daily (even on public holidays)
Email: manager@tmsart.com.my
URL for the MyBatik workshop: http://www.myBatik.org.my
URL for the Green Tomato Cafe: http://greentomatocafe.com.my/
Online Shop: http://www.myBatik.com
GPS: 3.15937,101.7369173


Creative juices flowed for half that day!

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