Play like an old man. 

At piano lesson this morning, my teacher said something that really stuck in my head. I’m currently working on Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp minor op 48,  no. 1, one of my favourite nocturnes. Yeah, the super sad one. All that ‘zal’ in the first lento section. And you know how it is like, playing in front of the teacher; you tense up, a million thoughts irrelevant to the music zip through your head – not helpful at all in expressing the music.

After a few tries, I paused, took a deep breath and told myself to stop worrying about whether my interpretation sounds ‘correct’ , wrong notes etc, and played.

At the end, my teacher said, “You are beginning to sound like an old man.”

“Yeah, too slow, huh?”

“No. An old man has lived a life of experiences, known love, and pain, and grief; he is full of wisdom, and all that is easily expressed through his fingers onto the keys.”  The gist of it is, for this piece at least, I want to sound like an old man. So, I wrote this on a little post-it pad and stuck it on the music. Note to self:  “Play like an old man”.

Here’s a video of the beautiful, heart-rending nocturne in C minor, op 48 no. 1, played by Vladimir Ashkenazy.

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Hiking and sight-seeing in Valdez, land of waterfalls. Part 1: Keystone Canyon Pack Trail of 1889

As a continuation of our weekend road trip, we set off from McCarthy early in the morning, went back onto McCarthy road, Edgerton highway, then onto Richardson highway and headed South towards Valdez. Edgerton Highway and McCarthy road have beautiful views and you can see some pictures of the scenery in my earlier post on McCarty and Kennicott. You can also read about the Bonanza Trail Hike, a beautiful hike up the challenging Kennecott Bonanza mine trail in that post.Read More »

The husband’s birthday cake: Lemon-curd with swiss meringue buttercream ombré cake 

In following the tradition of baking a birthday cake for my husband every year (a tradition that has only started last year really), I began to starting looking through Pinterest to look for some inspiration a week before his birthday for some inspiration. A picture of an ombre cake piqued my curiosity and then many clicks later, I decided to try making one!Read More »

Panda Express’ Beijing Beef Copycat Recipe. 

Have never been a fan sweet and sour pork/beef/chicken. I didn’t dislike them, just never much cared for sour stuff…until I came to the U.S four years ago. Most of the Chinese takeouts are sweet and sour meats, but, I must say, the Chinese restaurants here have perfected the art of deep-fried sweet and sour meats and I have slowly developed a liking for them. Now in Alaska, we started to miss Panda Express’ Beijing Beef and so, at the husband’s constant nagging for me to try cooking the dish, I went onto the Internet to search for copycat recipes. I’m pleased to say, i found a pretty good one! Read More »

Nostalgic childhood treats: Iced Gems (Recipe) 

These are the biscuits I love to eat as a child but I only got to know what they are called a few months ago! Everyone I knew in Singapore spoke about these biscuits so fondly and how they would eat them (only icing, throw away the biscuits/love the biscuits, hate the icing/pop the whole thing in) but none of us knew the name of these delightful treats. It was only when I am now faraway from home and to my utter surprise, found these biscuits in a local supermarket a couple of months back, that I know what they are called! Read More »

Two days of solitude: Alaska’s most famous ghost town of Kennicott and sister town, McCarthy.

I have just moved to the beautiful state of Alaska a little over three months ago and when my husband said that he wanted to go to McCarthy for our first road trip, I had no idea where it is or what it is like at all. After a quick google search and reading a bit about McCarthy and the nearby ghost town of Kennicott, I was intrigued. Read More »

Want a quick dessert tonight? Try Gordon Ramsay’s Bread and Butter Pudding. (Recipe) 

I love desserts. And Friday nights. I like to think that meals on Friday nights should be a little more special – kind of a way to celebrate the approaching weekend, and a nice home-made dessert was that little extra special thing I wanted to do this Friday.

I envisioned something sweet, warm and fresh-out-of the-oven for dessert, but I didn’t have the time to spend hours on making one dessert. Baking cakes, pies and biscuits was out; I just didn’t feel like putting in so much work. So I turned to Mr Gordon Ramsay for some inspiration, and his Bread and Butter Pudding recipe caught my eye. Perfect. One of those just-put-everything-in-a-bowl-and-throw-it-in-the-oven kind of recipes. My favourite kind of recipe. 🙂 Read More »

A cup of heaven every evening. My new love – Chocolate tea.

Okay. So this isn’t really a recipe, but I really want to share this with you. I’m a tea-drinker and I always have at least 15 flavors of tea on my shelf at any time. (Yeah! I bet some of you can identify with that tea-collecting obsession and perhaps have even more!) While ‘window-shopping’ on Amazon one evening, I came across Tisano’s chocolate tea blends. The first thought that came to me wasn’t “Mmm! Delicious!” but rather a tentative “Hmm…”.  Read More »