The Rankin Honeymoon Part 1 – Kuala Lampur

Choosing a Honeymoon destination is not easy. You need to think of places undiscovered, places you will probably never go again, romantic places, interesting places, exotic places. Then there’s the other options to consider – budget, time, tsunamis…

Our original Honeymoon choice was Kenya, but after hearing the prices we quickly forgot that plan. Islands such as the Maldives and Mauritius, although beautiful, just didn’t appeal to us – we wanted sea and sun and sand yes, but we also wanted food and photos and adventure and culture. It was only after my parents suggested it, that Malaysia became an option, and then the only option.

Choosing the country was where my involvement ended, and Barry’s took over. He planned the entire thing from start to finish and, if I may say, did a bloody good job!

The itinerary was a surprise until the day we left, and because we managed to fit so much in I thought it best to break #therankinhoneymoon blog series up into bite size chunks.

So here goes; the first installment. Kuala Lampur.

‘I don’t sleep well in pla…’ was about all I managed to get out before I passed out and slept literally all the way from Joburg to Dubai. They will tell you planning a wedding is exhausting and they will tell you, you will sleep. They were right. From Dubai we caught another flight to Kuala Lampur and apart from sleeping most of the time as well we still managed to fit in copious amounts of GnTs – Emirates are not stingy with their cocktails.

Landing in Kuala Lampur you are greeted by…well, nothing. Its 9pm and you’re exhausted so apart from fruit stands selling dessert in egg shells and the striking humidity of the place, it all looks very ‘Joburg’. That is until you see it in the day.

Our first night was a on-event. By the time we managed to get to the hotel, check in and shower it was well after midnight Malaysia time and because we had been flying for around 23 hours we quickly fell into bed. Into a King sized 1000 thread bed at the Majestic nonetheless, but fall we did.

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The Majestic Hotel
The Majestic Hotel

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The Majestic Hotel
The Majestic Hotel

Breakfast at this hotel, and all the others, looked like something out of an all you can eat Malay buffet. Delicious!

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The Majestic Hotel
The Majestic Hotel

Cue day 1 – the official start of Honeymoon and trying to impress me Barry suggests we go shopping. Our hotel transfer takes us to a shopping mall in a district called ‘Bukit Bintang’.

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Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang

Sadly for me the cheapest shop was a Louis Vuitton, and apart from browsing and silently weeping at the things I could never afford (apart from a coveted Urban Decay ‘Naked’ eye shadow palette from Sephora, of course) we left and explored the city.

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Shopping at 'The Pavillion' Kuala Lampur
Shopping at ‘The Pavillion’ Kuala Lampur

The comparison between that side of the mall and a few kilometers away is incredible. Not far from the skywalks and air-conditioned malls lies the place we had been dreaming of leading up to the trip. Malaysia’s version of China Town is a heaving, sweating, steaming, foodgasmic mess of people, sights, sounds, cars and energy. Street food markets and massage parlors litter the streets and even though its frenetic and overwhelming, its also incredible to watch as each and every person, shop and stand has its place.

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Visiting Kuala Lampur
Visiting Kuala Lampur

The well known street food market only opens up after 6 pm, so we grabbed lunch and explored some more before heading back to the Pavillion to get ready for our 7 pm Petronas Towers Tour.

A definite tourist trap but a must see – The Petrona Towers are an iconic landmark in Kuala Lampur and the price was semi-worth it to get to the top and get a birds eye vie of this vibrant city.

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Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers

We made our way back to China Town – now having established that we had walked at least 15-20 kilometers that day – and wandered around. I found a luggage store to buy a backpack in and I’m so glad we popped in – there in his dog crate was the sweetest bulldog we had ever seen. His name was Tiger, and Barry and I spent 20 minutes playing with him in the back room much to the shop owners surprised delight.

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"Tiger"
“Tiger”

Dinner in China Town is still one of our favourite meals from the trip. I based everything I ate from there on out on the Tom Yum soup I had and Barry’s word of the holiday became ‘Nasi Goreng meaning ‘mixed fried rice’. We also grew very fond (read fat) of the local beer ‘Tiger’. Alcohol in Malaysia is eye wateringly expensive (as we would soon discover at our next stop) and even a beer at a street market worked out to be R60.

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China Town at night, Kuala Lampur
China Town at night, Kuala Lampur

Feet aching and bellys bursting we returned back to our hotels satiated, sweaty and sleep deprived.

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An Ode To My Avo

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you fo the tragic passing (through the intestines of one of my creatures) of my beloved avo pip, loved by none other than me.

Pip, when I first planted you in that whiskey tumbler I felt a sadness (for the whiskey that would no longer go in said glass) and also, a glimmer of hope. I envisaged fat juicy avocados drooping from your swollen limbs, my future children playing games under your cooling shade, and the copious amounts of guacamole I would make from your soft green flesh.

Alas, you were taken from me too soon. Everyone told me to let you spread your wings, to grow on your own. So the day I planted you, was the day I let you go out into the world, alone. In hindsight, too soon, perhaps.

I hope your last thoughts before you were plucked with verocity and eaten by my dogs was a pleasant one. Rest in peace dear avo plant, and who knows, one day the laws of nature might mean you are replanted somewhere not too far from Rupert’s toilet area.

Avo's born day

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An Ethiopian Experience

One of the main reasons I love my friends is for their adventurous tastes and the fact that they are willing to try anything new, atleast once. My friend Lauren recently celebrated her birthday and we joined her for dinner at a very quaint, tucked away Ethiopian spot in Bedofrdview called Abysinnia. Practically a hole in the wall, this place oozes charm, and I can imagine that this is what a local eatery would look like of we had to be visiting their country in the horn of Africa.

The decor is minimalistic, rustic and quaint, and the 10 of squeezed around 3 small round tables. Faux clouds are painted on the ceiling, the ladies bathrooms are a bright fuchsia and dated soapies play on the TVs dotted around the restaurant. It truly was delightfully kitsch.

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The host was such a charming man and convinced us that we would be better off if he brought us platters of all their food and we shared amongst us. After warning him we had a few vegetarians in the group, he assured us there would be enough food for us. He even promised free seconds for any dish we loved. Bad move, especially when I’m around!

When he did bring the food, in 3 very large silver trays my jaw dropped. I was convinced that it had all been dished out onto thick linen napkins, so was very relieved to be told that the napkins were actually an Ethiopian bread, to be used as our utensils.

We waringly eyed the plates before digging in using our fingers as forks and the breads to mop up the sauces. I can only speak for the vegetarian items but they were delicious. Lots of curry infused legumes, cabbages, tomato and potato. The meat dishes consisted of chicken, mince, eggs, raw meat in a dish as well as a curdled cheese.

I ordered a few more portions of the curried lentils, although no-one else seemd as enthusiastic about those as me. After dinner we were served traditional ethiopian coffee. Delicious

If you are into different food, willing to take a bit of a drive and eating with your hands then this is for you. Make sure to enquiry about their coffee ceremonies over the weekends.

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Expect to pay around R100 per person including drinks.

Abysinnia is on the corner of Langer,an drive and Queen street Kensington.

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Vegetable soup

Really you ask. Veg soup is the topic of this post?

Let me tell you, dear friends about the unsung hero that is veggie soup. Never has a dish so versatile been found. This food can cure the common cold, encourage weight loss and take the chill out of a cold winter night. Also, having just come back from a rather pleasurable evening with my beastie and her fiancé and after having drunk several bottles of red and devouring a bowl of home made veggie soup, I thought it would be fitting to pay homage to this simple yet classic dish.

Kate’s veg soup :

Chop as many veggies as you can get your hands on – paying special attention to celery, carrots and beans.
Sautéed onions in olive oil until transparent, then add a few tablespoons of paprika and sautée for a minute more.
Add various vegetables until you think it’s time to add water ( relax, its almost impossible to cock up up veg soup)
Add a tin of tomatoes or a small tin of tomato paste
Add a stock cube or stock pot. If you don’t have these, a tablespoon of marmite or a dash of worstershire sauce does the trick.
Salt and pepper to taste
Chilli to taste
Make sure you add in whole celery leaves – these add great flavor and can be scooped put before serving.
Simmer
(I often add in red kidney beans or potatoes/pasta shells/ brown rice for starch. It it’s completely up to you)

Simmer for a few hours and enjoy (soup can also be frozen and is about 99% cheaper than your local quality grocery store. (No names mentioned, but rhymes with FullBirths).

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Oreo Cupcakes

I’ve been craving cupcakes for a few weeks, and on Saturday I decided to make vanilla cupcakes with a twist. I made the basic mix then added in several crushed Oreo cookies – the result was rather delicious.

Vanilla cake recipe :

1 box Oreo cookies

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Line two 23cm round cake pans or one 23 x 33 cm rectangular baking pan with wax paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan well.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened – about one minute.
  4. Add crushed Oreos, sifted flour, milk, oil, baking powder and vanilla essence, and beat for another minute – just until the batter is smooth and creamy. Don’t overbeat. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan(s).
  5. Bake in muffin pans preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the centre of the layer comes out clean.
  6. I used a pre-made icing and sprinkled crushed Oreos on top.

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How to eat a cupcake

Yes folks, seems we’ve been doing it wrong all along.

Yesterday we celebrated a colleagues birthday and in true Cerebra style we grazed upon glorious cupcakes, which were very fitting for Renee, our resident cat lady. Thanks to Kim however, we were able to enjoy these delicious treats even more, after being shown the proper way to eat them.

Choose desired cupcake. It could be this charming kitty
Or this charming ball of wool for kitty to play with.

Turn cupcake upside down and pop out of it’s container, like this :

You’re doing it wrong.

Finally, slice the cupcake through the middle, scone style, and pop the bottom on the top. Make sure the icing is in the middle, like a red velvet sandwich.

Now doesn’t that look edible?

Yum.

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