Sunday, 27 September 2009

Willen Park @ Milton Keynes

It was a lovely weekend of sunshine. As usual, when the weather is good, we spend our time outside! "Life is too short to be wasted indoor" Adrian's belief . Sometimes (not all the time) I do hope that the weather will not be as good, so that I can stay indoor and chill. "If you have nowhere to go, no point wasting time outside" Stephenie's belief.

We went to Milton Keynes on Saturday, often abbreviated as MK is a new town developed to ease congestion in London. We've been to MK a couple of times since it is quite near our town, just under 30mins drive. It has a massive shopping complex and I to walk the whole complex, you'll probably need the whole day. The town also has an indoor ski, rock climbing, indoor skydiving facilities, and the list goes on. Definitely a more happening town compared to Luton.

This time around, we went to Willen park to take some pictures. We've been to the park a few times already but have not cover the whole place coz it's massive. They have a huge lake at the centre of the park which is a popular spot for water activities such as cable skiing, fishing, wind surfing, canoeing.

One of the main attraction is the Peace Pagoda. Taken care of by the monks and nuns of the Nipponzan, it is the 1st peace pagoda to be built in Europe. The 1st Peace Pagoda was built in Hiroshima after the 2nd World War. Set on the edge of the beautiful and peaceful Willen Lake, there is a spectacular view all around the stupa. A thousand cherry and cedar trees have been planted on the surrounding hill all around the stupa as a mark of remembrance to the victims of all wars. Next to the Peace Pagoda, you have the Japanese Shrine.

Lion at the Peace Pagoda
Granite sculpture
Pampas Grass

Stone arrangements Oh, and the exciting bit of the journey was... we saw lotsa blackberries! Cant resist plucking them, and in the end we have about half a sandwich bag filled with blackberries to bring home. Yummy!Fat spider

St Albans Roman town

Continuing from our previous post, we often drive down to St Albans town which is only 20mins from our place. This was once a Roman town, and the name of the town originates from a priest St Alban, the first British Christian martyr which was beheaded in the town.

There is a huge park next to St Albans cathedral which we always go to and also the popular weekend outdoor market. The cathedral is quite similar with the other churches here, not one of those rare ones which makes us go aww but still not too bad. When we were there last week, we got to witness a wedding ceremony taking place in the cathedral.

Childrn's water play area at the park, quite a cool concept. Wish I could join them.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Bird watching @ St Albans

Some interesting birdy pictures from our trip to St Albans park.

Steamed baoz and mantao

Its officially autumn in the UK but surprisingly it isn't that cold yet. We can still go out with a single layer of clothing but I doubt that will last for long. Just completed a round of pau and mantao making and was very satisfied with the results. The texture and taste was very nice and similar to the ones you usually get at dimsum restaurants. The colour was a bit yellow compared to the extra white ones you get at dimsum place probably due to some additives they use. Anyway, just thought we share some pics we took of our pau and mantao. The flavours were black+gold (red bean and kaya) and for the mantao was black sesame.


Monday, 21 September 2009

Steam buns @ Mantou

Back to blogging again!
It's been awhile since our last blog. I blame it on the good Summer that has come and gone. To be honest, I'm just feeling lazy.

What have we been up to the last couple of months?
Abit of travelling, catching up with friends in the UK, random drive and exploring different parts of UK, playing host to family and friends who came visiting, celebrating birthdays, engagements, baby shower party, football, BBQ, phototaking, berries picking, and of course our favourite pastime baking & cooking!!
And what have we done today?
We had Mantao with chicken curry, I made the curry and Adrian made the "Mantao", usually reffered as Chinese steamed buns. This is what I call team effort! You can easilly get those Mantao frozen pre-cooked from supermarkets and all you need to do is just steam it. But Adrian being him, made them from scratch. There is a popular story in China that the name Mantou actually originated from "barbarian's head" (direct translation). Interesting yea? Anyway, Adrian knead the dough yesterday to let it rest in the fridge. He rolled them up into individual mantao and steamed them today. He made unfilled mantao but he added a cheeky amount of butter into each one to give a nice buttery taste.
The mantao look really gorgeous sitting in the steamer.
I was really excited when I see the Mantao double in size. I somehow thought they look like alot like durian puff.. wish we had some durian paste around. Maybe we shall do that the nextime, or maybe not considering that it cost close to 10 pounds for us to buy one durian here.
Adrian then decided to panfry them later to go with our chicken curry. It was good, we had an amazing dinner tonight (as usual) =)

We will be making more mantao tomorrow, but with black sesame as stuffings. Hopefully will post some pictures up.
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