Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Ledbury

Have I ever mentioned how lucky I feel to have a really cool uncle living in London? Well if I haven't, lemme just say, I am so damn lucky! But I am getting ahead of myself.....

Yesterday I was brought out for a fancy lunch. No occasion in particular. Just because!

The food was utterly delicious! My stomach is still achingly full from all that good food. And I'm feeling so satisfied, still rubbing my belly today as we speak while the other hand is typing on the keyboard. This way of typing is very inefficient but, whatever.

Anyway, back to my uncle story. Since I got to London, my uncle has taken such good care of me and made my stay here so comfortable, he didn't leave any glimmer of hope for homesickness to seep into my life.

Instead, I get invitations by the Baroness to tour the House of Lords, lavish dinners at restaurants a normal student like me would never imagine of even being within the vicinity of, fabulous seats to watch the Royal Ballet and the list goes on.........





Yes, I had a really good year in London. And I feel really blessed to have an uncle like him. Truly. Honestly. From the bottom of my heart. 

A few days ago, he made this delicious home cooked curry for me. And even before that meal fully digested, he once again invited me for a beautiful lunch at The Ledbury. He asked me, are you interested to come....... 



Of course I am! 




Hang on & I'll walk you through the menu in a bit. 

Shortly after we got cosy in their rather comfy seats, we were served some amuse-bouche. They call it amuse-bouche, I just call it the starter before the starter. lol that's how simple minded people like me, function better.


They're meant to be single, bite-sized 'mouth amusers'. Well, they were really tiny.. and if you can't tell from the picture above, allow me to make some better comparisons.


After placing our orders, this magical lady then appeared out of nowhere with the most decadent bread tray. Ah, I love bread! You know how some kids get fat eating cake or chocolate or ice-cream, bread.... is my nemesis! I love all kinds of bread! I can literally finish a whole loaf of bread at one time if no one stops me :/


So, I hope you understand why in my eyes, this lady was just glowing and basically, floating in air with my bread tray!



After devouring my bread in a matter of seconds, we moved on to our starters. We started with craupadine beetroot baked in clay with smoked eel, Victoria plums and dried olives.


And poached new season's cepes with 2 year old Gruyere, dried black cabbage and truffle.


I don't know much about fancy mushrooms and cheeses but I know what I like & this was just superb. All the flavours together just worked perfectly!

As my main dish, I opted for a safe filet of dover with pumpkin, mandarin, crab and ginger.


It was delicious, but the main star had to be my uncle's choice of main dish.


It was jowl of pork with carrots, fresh walnuts and girolles(fancy mushrooms). It might not be much of a looker but oh boy... this has got to be the best tasting pork I've tasted in my life. Precisely kids, when your mum used to say that beauty is only skin deep..this was probably what she had in mind :p

The secret to making the meat so tender was supposedly that it was roasted for 8 hours at 85 degrees. 


The prized precious last mouthful. Just talking about the pork is making me so hungry. And I don't even really like pork to begin with. But that pork! It's not pork... It's in a different league of pork. I don't know. It was so tender. I'm confused. Sigh.... It was really delicious.

As desert, we both had whipped ewe's milk yoghurt with blackberry granita, meringues and beignets (pronounced ben-yeh). 


Isn't this just the prettiest looking dessert ever? It's so pretty, I didn't wanna mess the plate up. But sacrifices had to be made.... Lemme show you how to eat this.

Grab a beignet.


And mix everything together to make this awesome mush! Then, dip the beignet in all that goodness!


It was incredible.


The Ledbury is bustling with yummy mummies and celebrity types, everyone's well-dressed and thoroughly wholesome looking. The one thing we all have in common? A love of great food!

I highly recommend The Ledbury, the food was just fantastic. It has 2 Michelin stars and is widely regarded as the best restaurant in London. 


Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to my cool uncle Yean. I shared a lovely afternoon with him and David and I left feeling like a very lucky lady.


The Ledbury is situated in dreamy Notting Hill. Check them out here or call +44 (0)20 7792 9090 to book & knock a loved one's sock off!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder?

So I'm back! And I really hope there's a glimmer of truth in this wise old adage and at least some of you missed my updates. And if you didn't, ... well.. uhm..... I guess we're still cool? (:

If you're visiting my blog for the first time, welcome! And if you've read the nonsense I've written before, I sincerely appreciate your time reading more of my nonsense. Lol and you might notice that I have switched house to Blogger. I'm no longer writing on Wordpress, simply because it is just too complicated for my miniscule technology capacity. I must admit that you do get much greater control over the layout and the look of the blog using WP provided you're a bit of a whizz at coding. Which pfttt.. clearly I'm not. Blogger kinda holds your hand a little more and so far, I didn't need much tech help constructing this blog and it still looks pretty fabulous to me XD 

I kid. Perhaps one day when I get a lil smarter at coding (a looonnggg way to go), I'll consider using WP again. But for now, Blogger it is!

And also, I realised that my blog is filled with heaps of old pics of myself. Just in case you were wondering how I look like now, this is the most updated picture I have of myself.


So, now that that's done.. moving on, I've been dwelling over this blog for a long time and finally decided that I'd blow the cobwebs off and put quill to parchment.

As my first post in my new cosy home, I decided I should share an article I wrote quite a while back. 

If you don't know me well, hmmm... how would I describe myself to you..... well, my friend recently mentioned that I am resolutely opinionated. I kinda like that description. It's not particularly a good thing but all my ramblings come through some sort of observation. It sparks an attitude and I think if you want to know me better, you ought to read some of my ramblings. This article is one of the favourite things I've written and I really think that it portrays my personality quite well. At the same time, I think it might provide some useful advice to others. Killing two birds with one stone. Never a bad thing :)

Here goes!

Today my friends, I talk about respect. I refer to the word in all respects: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their qualities; an externally forced phenomenon by which others may hold our social rank accountable; an internally supplied sensation which renders social accountability moot and; perhaps most importantly, the opposite of being a hater.

In short, I think the world would be a much better place if people respected each other more. Wars would not be stopped, nor food shortages or economic downturns halted, but our little corner of the first world might be a more pleasant place to live in.

On a purely personal level, I respect almost everyone I have been acquainted with, and by logical extension the rest of my social strata. My reasons are simple:everyone is better than me. To further elucidate, everyone possesses some quality which, when compared directly with my relevant quality, is clearly superior. Perhaps you are more organized than me. Perhaps you possess a stronger will and drive to succeed. Perhaps you are more street smart. It could even be as simple as being able to run faster than me.

Maybe you can do things that lie outside my skill set entirely. You could play the guitar, or you could breakdance, or you could write concisely. You could wear a clown suit to children’s birthday parties and actually enjoy it.

This is not to say you are simply a superior being – do not forget that I possess (and I say this immodestly) qualities which you might struggle to achieve. It’s a remarkably simple balance. You can do something I can’t, and I can do something you can’t; instant mutual respect.

Ahah wait a minute! You exclaim – but what if there is an imbalance. What if I can juggle a soccer ball, while balancing on my head, while reading an economics text-book while saving the world and you can only make a pretty decent piece of toast?

Well! I exclaim back: I don’t give a fuck. Do you think that Einstein was a dickhead to everyone he met? I don’t actually know the answer (and I respect whoever who knows) but wouldn’t he have been a nicer super-genius if he wasn’t an arrogant prick to everyone else?

Of course, all of this must be taken with a pinch of salt. In cases where one can make a decent piece of toast but secretly harbors an evil desire to punch small children and puppies in the face, perhaps they’re not deserving of your respect. I will say now again, in my relevant social strata – people of the 1st world and largely college educated – of the few I know well, so far none has ever harbored any aggression to children or animals. I have never been maliciously wronged by any of these people. Ergo, if any of these people can make a good piece of toast, you’re good in my books as long as you don’t intentionally step on my toes. That indirectly includes the toes of people close to me.

So either I have incredibly good social luck or – more likely – I see some very smart, very well educated college/office persons simply disrespecting for the sake of it.

Then what about the haters?

Ok, that was too strong a word to use. Mild disapproval, possibly manifesting itself in a refusal to acknowledge or the saying of hurtful things to/about another person. Often, I have friends asking me for advice because they're feeling hurt from what someone else said or did towards them.

Chill out, give yourself a reason not to hate on others – Remember... key point! They might make a better piece of toast than you.

I really have to get off this toast tip.

But toast is really really delicious. And I’m so craving toast. Toast for breakfast it is! Lol I digress.

On the hate note, I know that most of us have been a victim of some motherfucker trying to impose his/her superiority over us. Most of us have, at some point, gotten bad vibes from people. Best advice I can give. Fuck it. First, convince yourself that jealousy is the highest form of flattery one can get or just give them the benefit of the doubt:

“Oh, he’s kinda cold towards me, and also a little weird, but maybe he’s just shy.”

“Oh, she’s kinda being a bitch today. Maybe she had a bad day? Maybe she had inferior toast for breakfast?” - I strongly believe that bad toast is a good enough reason for anyone to be grumpy.

Follow that up with making an effort at giving them respect – I don’t care what they did to you – shy of shooting you or beating you the fuck up – who they are as a person must have some sort of positive aspect which you can latch onto.

If none of that works, then have the self-respect to know – and I have said permutations of this countless elsewhere – that you are better than them, in some way or another. Having established that, step aside and let their affront slide. You know you’re better than, or at least different to the conception of you that is in their mind; what good does it do to you to be goaded down to their level? You’re like a bull to the matador, and everyone knows how that story ends.

Yeah, the bull’s testicles get chopped and served to some overeager foreigner, who subsequently vomits the reproductive organ into a sordid hostel toilet.

Just in case you didn't know :p

Lol I'm sorry guys.. this article was altered as I reread it and has dissolved into somewhat of a rant, and I’m not writing as coherently or as grammatically precise as I otherwise would. I think it’s because this is something I've been feeling lately and I needed to do something about it. It’s certainly na├»ve of me, and I certainly don’t extend this philosophy exclusively; just generally and often, depending on varying circumstances. Nor do I believe it is for everyone, because I understand it really is an ideal as opposed to grounded reality. Also understand that what I have expounded here is a very arbitrary version of what I actually try (sometimes I do struggle) to practice.

But being an idealist hasn't failed, or at least directly hurt me yet. The next day I get shot extending my hand to someone I probably shouldn't have, then you can come and laugh at my grave. Until then, just do your thang, be everything you can be, deserve all the respect your potential can realize, and give it back generously.

People don’t need to be exceptional to deserve respect.

I really hope you enjoyed reading my lil note.

Kinda loving my new home. Take care. 

Sabrina Ong

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Princess Diaries and the Amazing Clam Chowder Story!

Some people have the opinion that we make too much out of birthdays: that a birthday is no big deal, it’s just another day of the year, or it becomes an excuse to feel depressed for being another year older, and that birthdays are triggers for all sorts of comparisons.

Maybe much of this is true.

Yet, I am now the birthday romantic optimist. I love celebrating birthdays. I love my birthday.

I love celebrating ME!

I didn’t always though.

In fact, I've usually been rather discrete about my birthday. I still am but in the past, I found it very hard to be able to give when it came to giving to myself. I was so much better at giving to others. I’d make a big deal about their birthday, take pains to search for the right present for the person I love and if its a close friend, I'll write a genuine birthday message, appreciating their presence in life (my life) and reminding them of how they've made a difference in someone else's life ( I mean.. my life ). You must think I'm a very selfish person XD Yet, I hesitate to do the same about my own.

Anyway..

The situation has changed now. ( I can be quite the fickle person at times :P ) Now I say, If it's your birthday, celebrate it! 

Your birthday is the unique day you decided to join this world, and participate in this very interactive human experience with others. ( Well you didn't exactly have the choice whether or not to join this world ) But whatever it is... Celebrate it! Celebrate you.

Don’t spend the day working late. Or studying all day. Don't sleep in and mope, even if you're celebrating it on your own. Do something that makes you feel good. ( But if sleeping makes you feel good, then by all means, sleep! I take my words back ) Eat a nice meal off of a pretty plate. Light some candles. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful ( guys and girls likewise). Honor the very fact that you are here, because that very fact is something to celebrate!

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It was wonderful for me to receive so many birthday wishes and messages from others. Something as tiny as a FB “Happy Birthday” really touched my heart. Thanks everyone! :')

So, this year it was all about making my happiness important. Simple pleasures in life include buying luxury handbags :P
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New Kate Spade handbags for me and Natasha. From complete strangers to handbag twins (:

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And...... a functional Michael Kors handbag, together with my new Lumix GF5 (:

 Apart from that, although I didn't organise a mighty birthday celebration or go partying at a fancy club..... I spent my birthday in San Francisco - one very beautiful city. Quaint, eclectic, diverse, active, cultured, friendly accompanied with a gorgeous skyline.

It was a unique insight experience organised by the King's College London Business Club and included appointments with really high profile industry giants throughout San Francisco ( we're talking Google, Facebook, Microsoft & Dropbox ) and other successful start-ups. So.. it wasn't your typical holiday to San Francisco but I must admit, it was an excellent visit altogether. It was fun, enjoyable, sociable, yet educational, inspiring and absolutely eye-opening.

I'll gush more about my trip in a separate post and wrap up this post with :

  • Some obligatory San Francisco shots

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Golden Gate Bridge at sunset.

(I'm very proud of this picture because it gives me comfort in the fact that, if all fails with me and law, there's still hope for me to turn towards photography )

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Painted Ladies overlooking Alamo Square

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Nicholas and Sabrina, leaving their mark on the official Facebook 'wall' in the Facebook HQ.

And... bear with me, I'm almost done :

  • My amazing clam chowder story! ( as referred to in my title )

So, I'm sure you're all sceptical.. as to what possibly could be so amazing about this clam chowder tale... well, you'll see :P

So before I proceed with my story, for the benefit of those who are not familiar with clam chowder ( Where have you been all your lifeeeeeee?? ) ahem.. allow me to educate you :)

Clam chowder is a thick and hearty, creamy-like soup thats filled with all kinds of goodies like potatoes, onions, bacon and obviously, clams. It's very rich-tasting and sure to warm tummies of all sorts ( round tummies, flat tummies, toned tummies... you get the gist )

They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do... and when in Fisherman's Wharf, SF, California..... order clam chowder served in a sourdough bread bowl!! It's almost a rule. And being the good girl I am, I'm not that kinda girl who loves breaking rules. So, I went ahead and got myself a bowl of clam chowder.

So, our amazing clam chowder adventure begins on a sunny day at Fisherman's Wharf :
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It was a beautiful day, how can one possibly not be mesmerized by the surreality of the beautiful bay and waters? After enduring London weather for many months, it’s difficult not to get soaked up in the whole atmosphere.

From this point onwards... it's a very complex relationship of how one thing led to another but.... to cut it short, this indirectly sets you in the mood for seafood. :D

There were so many eateries - from small stores to big chain restaurants that offer mouth-watering dishes. It was seafood galore! But after walking around the perimeter, the choice on where to get my clam chowder was simple :)

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 Nick's Lighthouse :)

When I picked this shop, I'd like to think  Nicholas intentionally set up that stall to expect my presence... And when I order my clam chowder broth, he will surprise me from the back of the counter with a big hug, kiss and of course......... a big sourdough bowl of clam chowder :D

Well, it didn't happen. It was some strange American dude with a moustache. His name wasn't even Nick to begin with... But it's okay.. I consoled myself to the fact that Nick was hiding in there somewhere, he was feeling shy that day. You see, his shirt was stained after making that delicious bowl of clam chowder. He wanted to change his T-shirt first so he didn't smell of seafood. I understand dear, that is so thoughtful of you.

( Lol I tend to get delusional and quite creative sometimes.. don't be afraid. I'm normal... at most times )

From this point onwards, we'll let Clam Chowder aka CC tell the story. I think it's more interesting this way.

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So, this me.. CC, your ordinary clam chowder.. like all the others. My, isn't this girl fascinated at me. She can't stop taking pictures of me. Well, I know I'm good looking and sexy and all but seriously.. geez.. control yourself.

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Yes, that's me again. All yummy looking. Making people drool is what I do best. People from all over the world come here to watch me.

Oh, I feel us moving..

We're walking quite a distance actually. I'm not sure where we're heading...

But I see many strange creatures along the way.

Interesting.... Very interesting indeed.

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Can someone explain to me what this is? I've always been trapped behind the stall, I've never seen anything quite like this.. She's remarkable. She stands on two legs with perfect balance, gazing into the sky.

She's beautiful.

Wow.. could this what humans call.... love?

"Hey, I'm CC," I called out.

She turned towards me..... and

Noo...

Someone startled her. She flew away :(

But whyyy, I don't even know her name. She would've liked me very much. Come on, look at me. Who possibly wouldn't like me...

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My heart's broken. I feel like it's ripped into half. Like the sourdough bread. "Jo, I feel you now".

I find no reason to live...

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Perhaps I should jump instead? I could end this misery....

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But I heard the water is cold.. and it'll make my flesh all soggy and unattractive. I'll be food to the fish. Blergh.

* decisions decisions *

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Oh well.... I guess there is more to life than this...

I might as well make this little girl happy and feed her. She's obviously crazy about me. Can you believe it, she hasn't stopped taking pictures since she picked me up at Nick's Lighthouse. Even in the midst of my intimate thoughts. Can't someone get some privacy these days..

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So we slowly backed away from the pier and found a spot on the tables. She took one last shot of me. I closed my eyes thinking of the beautiful creature perching on the bin and went to sleep.

I'm pretty sure I made that little girl happy. She demolished me in a matter of minutes. Dunked all sorts in me.

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Best fries ever. One of the best things dunked in me.

She loved me so much, I heard I was getting a whole blog post for just being me. Well, it's a lovely day :)

So, that ends my tale of me and the amazing clam chowder. I apologise if I have wasted 5 mins of your precious time. If you spent longer than 5 mins, you read too slowly. And, I suggest taking up reading classes - it will benefit you in the long run. Lol you're welcome for the reading evaluation :D

Anyway, back to being serious..

Now that I've turned 20, I realise it's about quarter of my lifetime if God gives me 80. I pause and immerse in the moment of how blessed and loved I am, and how the remaining years will compare. I am ever so grateful to everyone who has made an impact in my life and I thank everyone.. really. I might not appear to be the most appreciative of people but the gratitude is there, I promise.

I've ha an amazing 20 years so far. From this age onwards, it's time to put all the skills I've learnt to good use. It's time to execute!

As to why this post is named The Princess Diaries.. It wasn't because I feel like a princess and this is my diary... I had a more legitimate reason.

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Doesn't this picture that I took in San Francisco remind you of that scene in the Princess Diaries, when Mia was sliding down the hill in her Mustang?

Well, it ought to ring a bell because it is that hill! :)

Take care guys!



A brand new 20 year me,

Sabrina Ong