Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bridal dress = check!

It is 7 months and one week away to the wedding date and I finally ordered my dress today! Why the wait? According to the designer, it is best to place the order for the dress within 6-7 months from the wedding date. After the order has been placed, it takes approximately 4-5 months for the dress to be ready and bear in mind to tag on another month or so for alterations (how ever minor or major alterations that may be required).

After placing the order, I was happily informed that the designer of my dress is really great in having their orders in on time, infact they may actually have the dress ready for me by May (minus alterations). I would now have extra buffer time for the dress to be ready before the wedding date. And since summer weddings are so sought after, I do not want to be caught with no dress at all :P

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ween's CNY cupcakes in the news!

Ween's creative and scrumptious Chinese New Year cupcakes were mentioned in the papers. Below is the full article and I have highlighted the section about her and Manila Place.

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Goodies aplenty
Sunday Metro - The Star Newspaper (1/27/2008)

The rush to meet orders for Chinese New Year cookies and cakes has already started, with all kinds of tantalising aromas wafting in the air.

LOOKING at the plethora of cakes, cookies and confectionery available in supermarkets, bakeries and restaurants as, once again, Chinese New Year looms in the horizon, it’s difficult to believe that just a couple of decades ago there used to be only a few varieties available.

Then, the two main ones were crispy brown kuih kapit otherwise known as love letters, and whitish, powdery kuih bangkit. Although the former, its thin, crispy wafer-like biscuit folded into a delicate fanshape is still synonymous with the festivity, sadly, the latter seems to be slowly disappearing, to be replaced by a host of other equally delectable sweet pastries.

Even as housewives start to prepare the home for the two most important days in the Chinese calendar, spring cleaning and buying the latest knick-knack which signifies “prosperity” this year (gold mice apparently), together with requisite new clothes and ang pow packets, the more industrious will be ordering their eggs, flour, sugar and santan in readiness for the big bake. It’s a back-breaking task, hand-burning task, not something to be taken lightly, as the entire family, particularly the womenfolk, is roped in to help.

In demand: Amy Cheah preparing her popular Green Pea Cookies.

The batter having been prepared in readiness, the production line begins, in front of a long grill filled with smouldering charcoal, above which lengths of metal love letter mould handles stick out. The thin batter is poured into the inside of the mould then returned to the heat, and each is rapidly inspected to check if it’s done before it’s whipped out, still soft, and folded into rapidly cooling quarters, before the now brittle biscuits are loaded into clean containers.

And that’s just to make kuih kapit! Fortunately, for those of us like yours truly who have neither the time nor inclination to do so, there are many others who are gearing up to supply every type of goodie you can imagine. All over the state, small cottage industries which only start production at this time of year, restaurants and enterprising individuals try to make a bit of spare cash, like Ah Seng whose kuih kapit is different: it has meat floss wrapped in it, giving it a more interesting flavour and texture.

Her little place in town is a hive of activity especially around this time, as she and her husband, aided by friends and family, rush to fulfil orders which started coming in as early as October last year.

“It’s hard work,” she says in modest understatement. “And takes four hours of slogging over the heat to use up that amount of batter,” she adds, indicating a 2-3 litre pot full of the santan mix. They’ve been doing this for nearly six years.

Although Amy Cheah sells her melt-inyour- mouth cookies (she defines this as butter dough with a smaller proportion of flour and more main ingredients like almond, sugee, etc) from the New Cathay Coffee Shop all year round, the number of orders she receives swells considerably around this time, especially for her Green Pea Cookies, which are very popular with her clients.

“Although I still get orders for the more traditional types, this is my bestseller,” she explains. She also makes Almond, Sugee, and Pineapple Tarts.

Ah Kim starts making over 20 different types of cookies and kuih from the beginning of December, which she sells to her clients from Hawker Stall No.20 in the Balik Pulau New Market, which she moved to only recently. “My daughter has taken over the baking,” she says, “and now I help her!” It’s good to know that her most popular item is kuih bangkit, which she’s been selling for over two decades.

At Manila Place in Gurney Plaza, proprietor Ween Nee makes cupcakes with a difference.

“I’ve chosen nine designs which all signify Chinese New Year,” she explains. Available only by special order, there are goldfish for harmony, pineapples for prosperity, and even a gold tortoise for longevity, or you can choose a customised design of your own.

For years, Ah Huah in Mount Erskine was selling, amongst other goodies, potato crisps, which are another popular item at this time of year. “We decided to make it ourselves instead,” he says, “and the first few batches were a disaster!” Experience has triumphed, and now he sells a couple of hundred tins of own homemade sweet or salted crisps.

I take this opportunity to wish readers a Happy Chinese New Year and eat to your heart’s delight during this boisterous and fun festival!

Helen Ong is a self-confessed foodie who loves to hunt down the best of Penang.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Producers on Tour

The girls and I saw The Producers last night at the Center for the Arts. Fond of musicals, we four hummed to the tunes while the real actors were doing their stuff and left the theatre singing merrily to the tunes of the musical as we headed to our car. The actors who played Carmen Ghia and Roger de Bris did a marvelous job portraying the frivolous and flamboyant duo.

Jason Simon & Austin Owen did amazing justice to the part of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom. As Bialystock (Simon) pointed out during the performance while portraying an audience, "He's (Bialystock) good, he's no Nathan but he's good" referring to the amazing Nathan Lane in the original Broadway production as well as movie of The Producers. As for Owen who played Leo Bloom, he delivered the same charm as Matthew Broderick had.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another wedding in the family

Peter's cousin.... my cousin-in-law Mary Anne Legan is engaged!! Congratulations to you and Danny! We're so happy for you two. Mary Anne lives in Florida and was back in NY for the weekend to shop for bridal dresses with her mother. Thank you so much for coming with me, Nancy and the girls to the bridal salon to see Nancy try on mother of the groom dresses last week. It was great seeing you again and Pete and I are looking forward to your Wedding Cruise heading out to the Caribbean next February!

Mary Anne & Julie
Bride-2-be daughter and a proud, happy mother - Mary Anne and Julie

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Just an update from my dear friend Ween the Baker Extroardinaire. She has updated her cupcake blogsite - check her amazing creations on her blog by clicking on the banner below.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Multi-talented Punam Bean

Our wedding photographer Punam Bean is multi-talented!! Punam did some acting before turning to photography full time and I am so excited to hear from her blog that a show she was in, Floaters (TV for the Internet - a revolutionary idea at the time) has been chosen to be showcased at the PGA’s Producers Lab Screening Series at Sundance Wed. January 23 at 9 p.m. at the Stella Artois House, Main Street, Park City.

Hurrah for Punam!!

You can read about the posting she made on this very exciting news on her blog where she also included clips of her from Floaters or visit the PGAlab website to see the screening.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

27 dresses

The girls and I had a blast catching 27 dresses last night. The variety of bridesmaid dresses which Katherine Hiegl's character, Jane accumulated was an interesting mix of themed wedding attires and also included outfits with every possible fashion blunder of our time. For a girl's night out movie... or if you happen to have your bridal party on speed dial - this one is a must see!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

If the shoe(s) fits!

Lately, Peter had made it really clear to me about shoe purchases. "No more!!", he said, "...except for ONE nice pair of shoe for the wedding." Hmmphh... yes dear! Well my dear love, I think I might have found the pair which I am going to wear on our special day. Thanks to Ann Taylor (again!) for providing me with yet another item from your Celebrations collection. May I present to you, the Gold Isadora Pleated Sandal with Ornament heel. Isn't she a beaut? Originally, I was going with an ivory pair of heels as pictured in my wedding ideas collage but this pair of Isadora was gorgeous and might I add cushy comfy for my Bride-y feet! Yay for me!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wedding photographer

This is a late post... I cannot believe that I left this important posting out. Fiddlesticks!! Well, Peter and I are very happy to have found our New York wedding photographer. She is the amazing Punam Bean. We love her work and are so very excited to have her as our wedding photographer. We are both very much looking forward to meeting her in the city when we have our pre-wedding photo session in two weeks time.

Check out Punam's website and her blog.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Stolen Engagement Ring

Simon G E-Ring
Originally uploaded by
Just received a message from a fellow Flickr member that one of my picture's being used in a travel blog - gadling.com. It's a picture of my engagement ring. This sure explained a lot from the high counts of views it has received :P

The blog entry was about a stolen engagement ring over the holidays.... stolen right before the proposal and shockingly from the suspected TSA - airport security!! My heart goes out to the boyfriend/fiance. Read it HERE.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

PR status approved!

It's official... I have my green card. Well, it's in the mail but I got a stamp on my passport saying its approved. So, any day now I get the physical card itself :P What this means is that I am a legal permanent resident here in the United States with all the benefits a citizen receives, minus the voting part.

All it took was about $1500, numerous photocopies of documentation, hair pulling and tugging in trying to decipher the documentation requirements and a weekend in the office trying to collate and organize all the documents before mailing it off.

It took 11 weeks in total from the day we submitted my paperwork, including a visit to the immigration office for some biometrics (fingerprinting & photo) to be captured. No hitch to anything!

That's quite a record I must say after hearing all the harrowing tales I hear from people trying to get their immigration status adjusted or as the picture clearly points out. Pete and I are just glad that I can come and go from the the country now without adhering to any visa category restrictions, and work and pay plenty of taxes! Ick!! ;D

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

8 in New York...

Today marks the eight anniversary since I first set foot in Western New York. It's been eight years of myself primarily living here. To put things in perspective, that's:

  • Eight and a half winters (the other half is happening right now!)
  • Eight New Years
  • Eight missed Chinese New Years
  • Eight summers
  • Eight Christmas's
Happy 8 years in New York to me!!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bridal Show

Peter, Sharon, Amelia and I attended a Bridal Show at the Buffalo Convention Center this morning. It was the largest organized in Buffalo. The first show I attended was crummy, but this was from a different organizer and it was a lot better. I got some more ideas for cakes, bouquets and table arrangements, Peter received a free beer (he could have more, but he limited himself to one) from the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery and the girls got plenty of chocolate fondue treats, cakes & champagne gingerale - that was their lunch!

Bridal Show Ideas
Cakes and bouquets...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Dinner at Mike's

Last evening, Mike invited the Tans, myself and Lori over to his place in Elicottville for a homecooked Italian dinner. Thank you for the delicious meal Mike!

Dinner at Mike's

Maltese Cupcake

Originally uploaded by

Saw this at the bakery section of a SuperWalmart (no kidding! There's artistry in the bakery section there - so, go check it out!) and I just had to get it for Lori (dog lover and mother of Bam Bam the Shih Tzu)!! It's a little Maltese shaped 'cupcake'. What's so cupcake-y about it?! The cupcakes (2 of them) are the 'base' of the maltese puppy. It's been decorated with icing to resemble a Maltese... therefore you have a Maltese Cupcake - get it?! :P It's too cute to bite into!!

Ween: Isn't this a cute idea for Love-a-Cupcake?!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

We wish you a fun-filled, adventurous and happy new year ahead.
May 2008 be everything you hope for and more!!

Pete 'n Sher
Happy New Year!!