Food

Korean Chilli Wakame Seaweed Salad Recipe

I was at a Korean restaurant recently, and they served a seaweed salad that was so appetizing I wanted to make it myself. And it is SUPER EASY. You basically soak the seaweed, drain it, and pour chilli sauce over it. But don’t worry, I’m not going to just leave it at that!

Seaweed is not for everyone, but I spent some time growing up in Korea so I learned to love it from a young age.

I’ve always known that seaweed helps with weight loss as it boosts metabolism. It’s also full of vitamins so it’s great for the skin! Maybe that’s why the Koreans and Japanese are so thin because they eat so much seaweed. I realize diet definitely plays a huge role when I see Asians in general are quite small sized while there are huge obesity problems here and in the States. I like to see evidence of the research though, and found out that not all seaweed have anti-obesity properties. Only those that are brown and part of the kelp family contain these properties. And Wakame is a type of brown kelp. You can find the research article here. But of course, exercise and diet are very important for weight loss and you can’t just rely on eating kilos of seaweed. It’s also very important what type of exercise you do, but I’m veering off into another topic here (what can I say, I’m a physio!).

Now on to the cooking!

Ingredients

Dried Wakame seaweed
Small piece of carrot, sliced very thinly

Chilli Sauce:
1 tbsp Korean chilli paste (Gochujang)
1 tsp Korean chilli powder (Gochugaru)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar or honey
1 tsp garlic granules (you can use finely minced garlic, I just didn’t have garlic at the time)
1 tsp white wine vinegar (rice vinegar might be better if you have it)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp warm water (or more if you want it runnier)

Method

  1. Soak the dried seaweed in warm water until soften. Make sure the water is not too hot or the seaweed will become very soft and slightly soggy. It only takes about 15 minutes or less. This is what it looks like dried.
    Dried Wakame Seaweed

    This is what it looks like when it has expanded. Rinse it in cold water and put aside.

    Wakame Seaweed
  2. Mix all ingredients for the chilli sauce in a bowl.

    Chilli Sauce
  3. Snip pieces of the seaweed (some can be quite long) into a bowl. Put the carrot slices on top. Drizzle the chilli sauce over it and mix well. I didn’t mix it for photo purposes or you can’t really see the chilli sauce.

    Wakame Seaweed Salad

It was very similar to what I had at the restaurant (if not better *grin*). So simple, so easy, so healthy, so delicious.

Outfits

Mystery And Masquerade

Ever just snap away with your camera and end up with photos you meant to write a million posts with, then forget to because you have a million other more interesting things to write about?

A frequent occurence for me.

I wrote about buying a Masquerade Mask for a party, what feels like centuries ago, and promised I would write about the whole outfit together. Then never did. So here it is now, photos dug up out of my external hard drive (that I dropped one too many times).

Broken External Hard Drive

Luckily, all files were retrievable! So yes, this was part of my delay.

Instead of wearing a black dress like I had planned, I wore a navy dress lined with a little black. I’m a girl ok, it’s part of our genetic makeup to change our minds everytime we think we’ve made it up!

Navy Dress

Dress was from Zara. I kept it quite simple because I always lose accessories when I start dancing. My secret superpower – randomly hurtling bangles, earrings and necklaces at all those around me. I was so relieved to come back with both my earrings in place.

Masquerade Mask

I really wanted to exaggerate my eyes, but it made me look scary so I decided against it. Mask is from Accessorize.

It was a great night, though it wasn’t much of a mystery because a) most of us knew each other and b) all masks came off after 10 minutes.

And I can’t show you photos of me dancing. I just can’t. I will never live it down.

Maybe one day. I rock Michael Jackson’s Thriller *laughs*.



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Happy Rabbit New Year!

Chinese New Year is probably my most favourite holiday (though Christmas comes pretty close!). I’ve noticed in Western countries that Christmas is a major festivity, THE time of the year when families gather together, enjoy great food, and have fun celebrations. Some Asian families also celebrate it, but perhaps not to the same extent. It seems that for the Chinese, the Lunar New Year is to us as Christmas is to Westerners.

Celebrations last up to two weeks and it is the most fantastic time! Dragon Dances, Lion Dances, great food, yummy cookies, and for many people an excuse to buy new clothes! Then of course there’s all the visiting of relatives where you struggle to know how to address your greeting in the various dialects (especially if you don’t know who they are).

Chinese New Year Decorations

The tradition is to eat a feast on New Year’s Eve. In our family, because of Grandma, this also includes having to eat “soh mian” (this is in Foo Chow, I don’t know what it is in English) with a hard boiled egg in her special chicken soup. And I never like eating hard boiled eggs. But the noodles signify a long and healthy life, while the hard boiled egg is for prosperity. So if anyone of us grandkids say no to any part of this dish, well, we’d get quite a earful! We also have to eat this on our birthdays.

My favourite Chinese New Year food (though you sometimes find it all year round) is the Dragon Beard Candy, an ancient Chinese Emperor’s Dessert. It’s made into very sweet thin strands and sometimes filled with peanuts.

Dragon Beard Candy Stall

If you’ve never tried it, you simply have to! The only place I know to find this in the UK is London’s Chinatown. Though prices are obviously extortionate!

Dragon Beard Candy

In any case, I wish everyone a most fantastic New Year!

Gong xi fa cai, wan shi ru yi, zhu li meng en!

I love Chinese sayings. They can fit SO much meaning into just FOUR words. Same goes for their proverbs. Roughly translated it means Wishing you Prosperity in the New Year, May you have everything you wish for, and May God bless you.

Sounds much better in Chinese.

Outfits

Zara Waistcoat And Ruffles

I recently wrote a post about Sporting A Zara Waistcoat and I figured it was time for it to make another comeback appearance (even if it might give the impression I don’t have other clothes!). Quite frankly though, my closet is in dire need of professional help.

Now as we all know, sometimes we (and I’m mostly referring to myself here) don’t make the best choices in coordinating our outfits. Yet we wear it out anyway! I had a blue ruffly top from Zara that I love, for no other reason than the fact it had RUFFLES.

*lightbulb* Hey, wouldn’t that be a great name for a puppy? Ruffles! I digress.

So I decided to wear a waistcoat and a top with ruffles. I look back and wonder if that was really such a good idea. I thought it looked like they go together. Kinda. Maybe. Sorta.

Zara Waistcoat and Ruffle Top

My hair was frizzing that day like every strand had a mind of its own!

I went shopping and decided I felt like a biker chick (of all the random things!). So what did I do? I dressed up as one with black jeans and a black leather vest. All that’s missing was my helmet. And my bandanna. And bike. I simply can’t bring myself to show you the photo because I looked like I stepped out the Matrix movie looking like a cheese. I shall show you the perfected look one day when I get my bike. And I’m talking about the megacool bike like a Harley. Not a BMX.

I loved this ruffly top in the summer too. And I think this is such a fantastic shade of blue. I wore this chunky necklace with it. I don’t wear big necklaces much because they feel heavy, but something about this just caught my eye and I love it.

Necklace from Accessorize

Got it from Accessorize. Ain’t that great? It just looks so bold and strong.

I thought it went quite nicely with the ruffles.

Zara Blue Ruffle Top

I was having the time of my life swinging from a tree with a swing that we made with a rope and a dead branch as the seat (I’m very easily amused).

How hilarious would it be if it had broke!

Have a great week everyone! Have fun, enjoy life and show me your pearly whites! *big toothy cheesy grin*



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A Manolo Blahnik Inspiration

High Street vs. Designer. Which do you tend to go for? Maybe a bit of both?

I am very much a High Street person and completely agree with Gok Wan, who is a British fashion consultant who hosts the TV shows ‘How To Look Good Naked’, ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’ and now ‘Gok’s Clothes Roadshow’. I love this guy and actually bumped into him once when I was out one night in London! He shows women how to dress well and boosts their confidence and self-esteem. His glam-ed up high street outfits often rival its designer counterpart on his Fashion Fix Runway. So I am very much in the line of thought that if you know what clothes to buy and how to put them together (which I sometimes have problems with), you can look tres chic without burning holes in your pockets.

That said, I would be inclined to part with my hard-earned cash for designer wear IF (and only if) I think there’s something special about it that can’t be replicated on the high street. Sometimes I see a plain cardigan that costs almost £300 when I can find a similar one in Zara and you think “Why spend that money!”. So I don’t look for brand names – I look for the artistry and creativity that defines the designer. It is only for that reason I would admire any one of them.

One designer that I absolutely love for his designs is Manolo Blahnik. Walking into his store is like I died, came back to life, fell head over Heels, died again, and went to Shoe Heaven. His shoes are INCREDIBLE. I came across a couple books of his sketches in a bookstore the other day and I was in awe – the origin of his great shoes!

His sketches and drawings were amazing. Creative, artistic, beautiful – GENIUS!

Manolo Blahnik Sketch

Manolo Blahnik Sketch
Manolo Blahnik Sketches
Manolo Blahnik Sketches

You’ll definitely NEVER find such designs on the high street. What is inspiring is that he used to be a nobody. Until an editor at a fashion magazine noticed his talent and he became a somebody.

What struck me was how he would’ve been looked down upon when he first started out. How difficult it must have been to make his mark designing shoes. But having the support of people around him, he’s now one of the most famous shoe designers in the world. Being Asian, I’m in a culture where most parents exceedingly encourage their children towards scholarly achievements, which is of course important. But sometimes, their inherent gifts and abilities may be overlooked. A kid telling his parents that he wanted to design shoes for a living would be given a smack on their head and told to forget such ridiculous nonsense. So I was, in fact, quite surprised when I learned that Jimmy Choo is Malaysian! If anything would encourage patriotism for my country, THIS WOULD BE IT.

Manolo Blahnik Shoe

My point is, whatever talents you have, whatever skills you’ve learned, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant such as drawing pictures of shoes, keep doing it. Put them together, mix them around, practice all you can and you never know what might happen. You may not get results today, you may not get results tomorrow or even years down the line, but you are building something that will enrich your life in one way or another. Love working with children? Keep working with them! Who knows, you might be the next Super Nanny (you’ve seen her TV show right?)!  At the very least, you know you’ll make a fantastic mom to your own kids. Love encouraging people? You may not get much in return but who knows, you might be a great motivational speaker one day! At the very least, you know you brought some comfort and made a positive difference in someone’s life. Love playing with Lego? An architect in the making!

People may look down on you or on what you do (and there will always be such people) because they don’t SEE the potential. Why should you let that stop you? Even if you’re on the road less taken, walk it anyway if it will get you to where you want to be. Stay focused, hold your head high, keep the chin up, and strut your stuff.

And make sure to wear your “Manolo Blahnik” shoes with pride while you’re at it!





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