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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Leisure Pursuits to indulge in

Tired of jostling with the crowd this festive season? Stay away from shopping malls and hole up at home to watch a Korean drama…
CATS Classified In The Straits Times - December 27, 2007
By: Linda Lee
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Leisure Pursuits to indulge in

Tired of jostling with the crowd this festive season? Stay away from shopping malls and hole up at home to watch a Korean drama…or consider the following leisure pursuits (inspired from the rom-coms) to while your time away.

Learn how to cook

In Korean drama Love Truly, Yeo Bong-soon (played by Eugene aka Aileen Yeo) is a sweet and thoughtful 25-year-old who works as a chef at the presidential residence. A naïve soul who is also a gifted and diligent cook, she enthralls and gets into a love triangle with co-stars Lee Min-ki (a seemingly lazy and self-centered bodyguard) and Ryu Jin (the President’s son and a well-loved doctor).

Apart from the sappy boy-girl relationships, you’ll notice the ease with which Yeo whips up an amazing array of sumptuous dishes. If you’re inspired by the happy-go-lucky lass to pick up a thing or two about cooking, here are some tips:

  • Always start with the basics. Bone up on different recipe terminology. Get ready a set of standard utensils (eg measuring jugs and cutlery) so that you can prepare your meals with the right tools and measures.

  • Choose a simple recipe to start with. Don’t be too anxious to flaunt what you don’t have yet. If at first you don’t succeed, fine-tune until it works. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get what you fancy on the first try.

  • Follow all stated instructions and don’t skip certain steps just to get around a seemingly tedious routine. Every step is there for a reason and could make a difference to the end result. Shortcuts may work for chefs with years of culinary experience, but they are definitely no-nos for novices.

  • Don’t be garang and try to prepare too many dishes at one go. You may not be able to cope and could end up stressing yourself silly or getting confused. Just concentrate on getting one dish right at a time. When you’re more experienced, challenge yourself with more difficult stuff.

  • Keep a notepad for jotting down accidental discoveries, mistakes, and comments for every dish you prepare. Keeping a record of things can help you improve and remember what errors to avoid in future.

If you wish to learn more about cookery, there are many courses available. But should you instead prefer to be an “armchair” cook, you always have VCDs/DVDs like Love Truly to rely on.

Wine-tasting pointers

The Vineyard Man is a romantic comedy about Lee Ji-Hyun (played by Yoon Eun Hye), an aspiring fashion designer who hopes to have her own label one day. However, her ambition is put on hold when she agrees to a lucrative proposal from her grand-uncle. The caveat is that she must work for a year at the latter's vineyard in order to inherit it eventually.

In the countryside, the city girl finds it hard to adapt. It doesn’t help that she has to work under the supervision of a stern and uncouth Jang Taek-Gi (starring Oh Man Suk). But through a series of conflicts and events, a quaint relationship blossoms between the two, amidst picturesque scenery and with grape cultivating processes in the background.

Speaking of grape harvesting and wine, this is a good time to share some quick wine appreciation tips:

  • Pour a an inch of wine into a clear wine glass, whose rim should bend inwards to help prevent spillage while swirling, and to channel aromas to the nose.

  • If you are tasting several wines, begin with the lightest, then proceed to the heaviest (sparkling, light whites, then full-bodied). Take a sip of water after tasting each wine to refresh your palate.

  • Hold the glass by its stem and swirl its contents to aerate the wine. After nosing your drink, take a sip that fills your mouth halfway before swallowing a small amount at a time to savour varied layers for a lingering finish.

Online shopping tips

Dalja's Spring spins a tale about a talented managing director of a home shopping channel (played by Chae Rim). At 33, she frets over whether to remain single or conform to cultural norms and marry before getting any older. Besides the usual shenanigans and love triangle, the story highlights what it is like for someone who, despite her accomplishments, is trapped by societal expectations.

Engaging as the plot is, right now it's her home-shopping management job that reminds me: It's the season to shop - and some of us may be shopping from home, online. If so, it's important to be clear about certain rules, terms and conditions in a cyber transaction. When making purchases via the Internet, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Make purchases from reputable or well-supported sites that offer a recognised payment mode. Stay clear of options that that look dubious.

  • Refrain from hitting the "back" button in the midst of a transaction as this may disrupt the process and result in errors. Should you get stuck, hit the "stop" button or scan the screen for alternative "stop transaction" options. If in doubt, call the site customer service hotline immediately. It also helps if you keep a (printed) copy of the pages as proof of the confirmed transaction. You can either save, copy and paste your copies onto a document file, or print the page out. These could come in handy when you need to give details of the transaction later on.

  • Familiarise yourself with policies (hidden costs, warranties, refund period, shipping insurance, exchange provisions et al) and legal terms. Always read the fine print before buying!

  • Make sure your Internet connections are secure before making payments.

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