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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Felt like Tokyo when in Hawaii

Waikiki Beach is such a breeze to do a walkabout. The beach is clean, full of shopping malls, beautiful things and people to watch out for. There is also an Apple flagship store just a few yards away from the beach. Imagine going into Apple shop in your Hawaiian blue floral shirt and crocs flip-flop with a straw hat, getting into the grooves of i-this and i-that. The feeling is 500GB vs SPF60, zap on the music and slap on the sunscreen lotion.
Somehow the feeling in Waikiki (not the whole of Honolulu) was not American, it was like walking in the streets of Tokyo minus the population and the neon lights, speaking English but reading Japanese, eating American foods in Hawaii but eavesdrop Japanese chit-chat. 
There are more Japanese writings and Japanese people in Hawaii than, I think, anywhere else in the world outside Japan, per sq m space.
For a while, I was confused, was I in Waikiki or on the beach in Odaiba. Everywhere I looked, there were signboards, flyers, buntings, banners etc all in Japanese.  At one of the biggest mall in Waikiki - Ala Moana Hawaii Centre, almost all their eatery counters have their signs in foreign language, Korean too.
Nevertheless, the beauty of these clusters of island that formed the archipelago, being so divinely protected exclusively by the Pacific Ocean, is blessed with so many natural wonders. Great place to just unwind and not to worry if you have covered any other places in Hawaii. Being in Honolulu alone is all that is - for the time being! 

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Sunday Tea Time Treat - Apple Strudel

Merdeka holiday was truly relaxing. Sat, Sun and Mon, the traffic in Kuala Lumpur during the holidays was so free. Getting to places within minutes. So easy that I found too much time to spare, even after watching a few shows on TV, ran a few errands and meeting up friends for meals. Then, I decided to bake - hmmmm...., took out some cookbooks, browsed through them and found Apple Strudel. Oh, that was easy, I thought. Got the ingredients and created a perfect Strudel for a Sunday tea time treat. 
Since I posted these photos on Facebook, I have received many of my friends asking me for the recipe. So, here goes :

Apple Strudels

  • 4 green cooking apples
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup sultanas
  • 2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 220℃. Brush two oven trays with melted butter or oil. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Heat butter in a medium pan; add apples and cook 2 minutes until lightly golden. Add orange juice, honey, sugar and sultanas. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and apples are just tender. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  2. Place a sheet of pastry on flat work surface. Fold in half; make small cuts in folded edge of pastry at 2cm intervals. Open out pastry and sprinkle with half of the ground almonds. Drain away liquid from the apples and place half of the mixture in the center of the pastry. Brush edges with egg and fold together, pressing firmly.
  3. Place strudel on prepared tray seam-side down. Brush top with egg and sprinkle with half of the combined sugar and cinnamon. Repeat process with other sheet and remaining filling. Bake 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp.
This is my experience and suggestions :

  • Puff pastry to be moved from freezer to lower fridge (chill room) to thaw. Remove from fridge only when ready to roll. I took 2 pieces out of the fridge, when one made a perfect strudel, the other had softened so much it was impossible to fold and got sticky too, so it got out of shape. But still taste fantastic.
  • I took a little longer to make because this was my first time making apple strudel. With this experience, it will be easier the second time. In fact, making this is so easy, within an hour, we can have a mouth-watering dessert with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. Next time, I can prepare the filling a day before or earlier, then fold it with the pastry, bake it, just perfect for an after-dinner dessert.
  • Next time, I may try to use other fruits, like pear, instead of apple. Also, freeze dried cranberries instead of sultanas. Yeah, and maybe use more than 1 type of fruits, hmmm...
  • Instead of putting the strudels on the surface of a baking tray, I placed a piece of aluminum foil on the tray, buttered it and sprinkle with flour, then place the strudels on top. After baking, the strudels can be removed easily and save me from washing the tray, just dispose of the foil.