I have redefined retirement at age 23. I have a lifestyle where I do the things I like, with the time I have and still get paid for it. I designed my freedom these two decades, traveling to more than 40 countries. I run a successful business doing consulting works as a Corporate Writer, Corporate Emcee, Event Producer and a Workshop Facilitator. I am also a talk-show host on an Internet Radio station with two programs "A Course In Miracles for Work-Life" and "Freedom Speaks". Life is Healthy, Rich & FREE! You can design this lifestyle according to your willingness. I hope mine will inspire you to achieve that freedom too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Venice, Italy

I love love love love love love love Italy. I have been to Venice twice and loved it more. The first time I was there, I saw the most beautiful, clean, uncluttered, white-glazed fullly rounded moon ever. It was so bright and it was so low to the horizon, I didn't need to even look up to see it. It was winter and the sky was so clear, not a bit of particle or a leaf of dusty cloud, it was just miles and miles of clear dark sky. I could not imagine then there could be such a clearly defined moon in its entire glory could hang in the air like that. That experience was like 15 years ago, but it was edged into my mind so clearly, I could describe it even now. I remembered I held tighter to my jumper and coat, while I basked in the light and the chill of the winter air, so crisp and cold yet I felt so warm and cuddly.

I went back to Venice 5 years back and loved it more. This time I had more time to explore and I went walking over its many bridges to many small connecting islands, just shopping and enjoying the best foods Italy can offer.

I love Italy for its life. It is always so bubbly, so loud, so authentic, so real, so human, so living. it is like enjoying life as it is, say it as it is and just be who you are. People are beautiful there, they take their time to make up, dress well, have time to pamper themselves. I love walking in the streets and just have a cup of coffee while I marvel at all the happenings.

I remembered at one occasion, when we were having lunch on the island called Murano, which is an island about 20 mins boat ride awat from Venice, their speciality is linen weaving. It was a crisp cool winter afternoon, the sun was brimming, so you could imagine the people on the island hanging out their clothes to dry, with their bedsheets in white and blue and towels in red, pillow case in yellow, all hanging out in the yard, over their windows, while the wind plays with them, all the colours seem to be flipping in the air, it makes a great picture. (I took some pictures but it was all in slides, I got to find them to convert them to digital format before I can upload them here.) But in the meantime, just imagine, it was the loveliest sight. Moreso, when you could smell the floral scent of the detergent in the air, it sort of remind me of those white linen hung out in the kampung in my younger years, the kind of scent that never left you........so much reminiscence.

We went to a restaurant where they served us lunch with so much food beginning with appetiser to main course to dessert. Then it was the Italian way of going full throttle even on lunchtime -- the yum seng time with wine. We were served bottles after bottles of wine, the great enjoyment wasn't so much the drinking, it was the friendship, the merriment even the those who were eating at the next few tables want to us to join them. And they will raise their voice and laugh and talk in Italian, I could not understand, but who cares about language -- happiness need no explanation!! Oh, my goodness, when I got on the boat to go back to Venice, I was tipsy. I think it was drunk in their joy not the wine..........

Monday, June 11, 2007

Recipe for Bread Pudding

This is the first time I tried this Bread Pudding recipe from my Periplus cookbook. When I first got Periplus cookbook, I was in South Africa. I was staying in this Backpackers Bungalow (in Johannesburg, a lot of Bungalows with private swimming pools are converted to Backpackers hostels, very clean and with well-equipped kitchen, sun-deck near the pool and very private), I went out for dinner at the nearby shopping supermarket. It was just walking distance, less than 5 minutes walk. I was fascinated with the display of foodstuffs and all other things in the supermarkets, then I saw a very brilliant way of promoting an item. Right beside a shelf which display, say cake baking stuff, they will have a vertical shelf displaying items that are used for baking, such as spatula, whisking spoon etc. So, when customers pick up the baking ingredients, they pick up the utensils as well.

At this corner where they display lots of cooking materials, they too display the cookbooks. That was where I referred to one cookbook while looking at the displayed ingredients. There I had a better knowledge on how the ingredients are used in cooking while I browse through the cookbook. And so happened the one cookbook I took was from Periplus (in South Africa the same cookbook is published by Woolworth, I kept using the name Periplus because I found out later when I came back to KL, the cookbook is sold in KL under the Periplus label).

I changed some ingredients and name as I put the recipe together, and it turned out superb. I must pat my own back for having baked a scrumptious Bread Pudding. Here goes the recipe :

Dried Fruits Bread Pudding
(serves 4)

5 slices of white bread
30g butter
¾ cup mixed dried fruits (more if desired)
4 eggs
2 ½ cups milk
1/3 cup caster sugar ( ½ cup if you desire less sweet)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (can try with nutmeg too)

  1. Preheat oven to 160ยบ C
  2. Remove crusts from bread. Spread slices with butter. Cut slices diagonally in half. Place half the bread, buttered side up, in a 1.5 liter ovenproof dish. Top with mixed dried fruits, and remaining bread, buttered side up.
  3. Whisk eggs, milk and sugar in a large bowl until combined. Place dish in a shallow baking dish. Pour in enough hot water to come half way up the sides. Bake 1 hour or until set and light golden. Remove dish from water immediately. Serve warm.