Monday, July 28, 2008

Help... there's a hubby in the kitchen!

A moment in history...

In the 11-12 years that I have known him, I've never seen hubby so much as lift a pan, except when washing up. Gosh! I had to whip out my camera two nights' ago when he actually ignited the flame to fry an egg!

Woohoo! Good job! Well done!

Unfortunately it's resulted in a greasy kitchen floor which I need to clean up after this, on top of my pile of dishes and laundry. :P

But it's a start...


I was browsing through the blogs and chanced upon this lovely pancake recipe. Made from buttermilk and baking soda plus powder, it resulted in a lovely fluffy pancake and with each bite you feel little bubbles bursting in your mouth. Truly light and airy. Maybe HK, you might like to try out this recipe? I believe it should give you the same result as the blinis, although I can't be sure as I've not tried those blinis before. ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I was very upset by someone yesterday. I'm one person who greatly values friendship. Friends mean the world to me. I have a handful of friends who've been with me since my primary school days, and along the way I picked up more in secondary school, pre-u etc. I'm so thankful for these friends who've stuck around. You know who you gals are.

When my daughter started going to playschool at around 2 plus yrs old, naturally I was surrounded by other mums. I got along particularly well with a certain mum and we both adored each others' daughters. We had common interests and became fast friends. We were very close. We spent Christmas, Hari Raya together and our girls enjoyed each others' company. It was very sad for me when cracks began to appear in our friendship. I often wondered to myself during those days if I had done something wrong, something which upset her. But after speaking to a couple of friends, I was enlightened by them that in actual fact, she was the one with the problem. Being the only girl in the family, she was used to having her own way, thus she was very possesive. She even told me once, after her daughter had left the school as she was a year older than mine, that she was jealous of another mum whose husband used to give us lifts home after school. That friendship gave me a lot of heartaches as I had invested a lot of trust in it. I was very affected when she shunned me without so much as a warning and left me in a very sad, wronged state. I shed lots of tears during that period and hubby too was aware of it. But the thing with hubby is, I daren't tell him too much bad things about a person as he takes it very personally. I guess he probably doesn't like to see me get hurt.

From that experience, I vowed that I won't make friends with the mums from school when my daughter started pre-school. I didn't want to get hurt so badly again. In the initial stage, I hardly went to school and only did so when she was bullied by a certain classmate when she was in nursery and I wanted to observe them in class. (Her school has viewing rooms with one way mirrors which you can observe through). There was a grandma who was there every day as her little boy has serious food allergy and it was she I first made friends with. I then got to know her daughter. Our kids were classmates for 2yrs. Through the 2-1/2yrs there, I've gradually formed some wonderful friendships. I guess I've been slowly recovering from my broken heart. I've made a couple of very good friends there and they are ever-so-wonderful. When hubby was in hospital they came to my rescue without my even asking them for help and I would say that it really touched me to know that there are genuinely nice people around. It renewed my faith in friendships again. And I am thoroughly spoilt by them. They always offer to come and pick me/us up when we are planning to meet, and I really appreciate that, although it isn't necessary. Thanks much J,B & P. The list goes on. As our kids have 1/2 a yr left together, we try to spend more time outside of school together so they can play with their friends and hopefully create some memories for them before they go on to proper school.

Likewise at swimming and ballet classes, I unwittingly make friends with other mums while we wait for our kids during their lessons. This incident yesterday involved a mum from one of the enrichment classes. I won't go into details as it is too long and complicated to relate. What pissed me off yesterday was that she (mum A) had made plans with another mum (mum B) whom I'm also close to and they had a meeting today at the latter's home. I was curious, as I had forgotten to bring something when I had met mum B and she told me to give it to mum A, that they would be meeting on Sunday. I kind of felt left out as the 3 of us are pretty close, so just wondering why I wasn't invited. Then I thought, well, maybe it was a gathering with their mutual friends and I didn't know them. So I didn't dwell too much into it. On the other hand, I tried to sound out mum A. Unfortunately for me, while I was rushing out to class yesterday, I again failed to bring the item. So I said it to mum A that I was supposed to bring something for her to pass onto mum B and she kind of tried to avoid the topic. I thought it strange. At the end of class, her daughter came up to her and said, 'when are we going to so-and-so's house?'. She was in a fluster and tried to cover it up and ran off without saying goodbye, and even left the note which the teacher had given out, behind. I mean, what's with her? Why did she have to be so ridiculously guilty and secretive? I honestly hate people like her. One minute they pretend they are your good friend and behind your back, you don't know what they say. She insisted on picking us up the day of the funfair even though I told her it's ok we'd make our own way there. Her hubby had rented a car and I suppose she just wanted to do something good to boost her own morale. It was clearly out of the way, and I'm not even sure her hubby was too pleased with having to do that favour. And her daughter has been acting weird too. I'm not sure if her mum has been talking bad things behind my back, as kids pick up all sorts of stuff from listening in on adults' conversations, but she didn't wanna look or greet me yesterday. I said it to her sarcastically, 'you don't like me anymore?'. Honestly, what is it with me that I attract these kind? And the other thing I hate most is that when something happens and no one comes and gets the truth from you but instead talk behind your back, not that anything happened in this instance. I was just quoting an example.

To think that we had lunch a few weeks' back, and she had taken my girl for the rest of the afternoon, and now this is the way she treats me. But I do know she's not a simple person. I can't describe it. You just have to know her to understand what I mean. Unfortunately I have a knack for sniffing out people like her and how they work. Hers is a superficial kind of friendship. Let's put it this way, you won't want to tell her any secrets or they won't remain a secret anymore. She even said something about mum B to the teacher which she told me. Well, not being a b**ch, I won't be spilling the beans.

Nasi Lemak

This is one food item which I am very careful not to eat too often. In fact I hardly do. I know I will suffer when I wake up the next morning and have to put up with all the pains in my joints. Coconut is a great ingredient in dishes and I do so miss being able to savour it. But between that and the pain, the latter wins. I am naughty at times, like oh what the hell, just suffer for one day. I will do it on a day or week when I feel good and am not having an attack of the joints. The same goes with tofu, which I do so love, but can now only pinch a little here and there.

For this meal, all I did was cook the coconut rice, fried an omelette and sliced up some cucumbers. The rest of the accompaniments were bought. Fried shrimp paste chicken wings from Crystal Jade Kitchen; otah from Lee Wee Brothers (I usually go for the Mackeral Otah at Joo Chiat but I didn't bother to do so today); and ready ikan bilis sambal by Woh Hup. I served them on banana leaves which I was given months back and had them in the freezer.

The portion below was for princess. In place of spicy otah, I got her the non-spicy kids' version.

This was the sambal which I tried. It wasn't too bad.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

King of the fruits

I have been tempted for weeks by the man who comes by in a truck every evening, shouting from downstairs "溜莲, 溜莲". It was getting on my nerves. The reason being I'm not allowed to bring the fruit into my household, and secondly, it isn't much fun eating it on my own. I've been waiting patiently for sis to come back for her holidays in a week's time but with every holler from the durian man, my resolve is weakening.

This evening, I was very lucky to have had the chance to finally taste it. What pleasure! But because we got it from a little makeshift stall, there wasn't much choice. I've been wanting to try the 'mountain cat', the new kid on the block. The durians this evening were nice, good as a starter for someone who's been deprived, but nothing to shout about. I've eaten far better ones.

I love durians which are creamy, thick and bitter, well, not too bitter. What is your preference?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Choconana brownies

What a name! Haha! I came up with these today. I guess it's a mix of disillusionment as well as boredom. There's a banana cake recipe which I've been trying out. The first time it failed as it turned out very dense, not like the one I tried at the funfair. A mum had made it and because it was so yummy, I asked her for the recipe. Mine turned out nothing like hers. So just this morning I tried baking it again. Everything was perfect till the cake went in the oven and goodness! I had forgotten to add the oil! Another failure. I wanted to try it again but didn't have enough bananas. So since I had promised to bake brownies for princess and hubby, I thought, hey banana and chocolate go hand-in-hand. *Ding* (lightbulb moment). So I experimented and came up with this creation. I have yet to try it as super full from breakfast. But I hope it's good. ;)

All you have to do is use your favourite brownie recipe and cut up a banana into tiny bits and mix it in then bake.

Slice & bake biscuits

I was looking around for a lemon poppyseed recipe and came across this one. I didn't really want a muffin type to bake the seeds with, so after going through the countless recipes out there, I decided to try this biscuit out. It's very versatile and has a lovely texture. It's not for those who love their biscuits crispy though. But it is lovely. I divided the dough in half and added chocolate chips. They were made for a special friend. :)

Daily blogger award

I received this Daily Blogger Award from little corner of mine ages ago but never got round to collecting it and distributing. Sorry bout that. :P

"This award is to be given to blogs that have at least 3 posts per week. I appreciate their kindness and generousity of sharing their wonderful recipes with us rain or shine". Quoted jthorge.

Please feel free to help yourself to it as I do not visit that many blogs and those I do have been covered by lcom. ;)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Nyonya Kaya

Sitting here and typing out a post at this time of the morning is sheer madness. Unfortunately I'm not able to sleep as my little one has caught the sniffles. She was fine just yesterday till we met up with some ballet mates for a 'thank you' lunch organised by the teacher, in appreciation of our dedication in making the funfair a success. She was playing for hours with a little girl who, towards the end, I realised was sick. :( Have just given her her favourite Dimetapp but she doesn't seem to be nodding off to dreamland. Kids are addicted to this stuff. My little nephew too professes it to be his favourite medicine and so does my girl. How did they make medicine taste this good?? She'll even want to have it when she's well. Lol. But of course she's not allowed. ;P

On to my topic - kaya. I've had this recipe handed to me more than 10yrs ago and it's the first time I'm using it. A quick search on google showed up many others who have made and written about it in 2006. I'm 2yrs late. Lol. Having been told that it was tedious and it involved many hours slaving and stirring over the stove, I was hesitant in preparing it. That's the reason it took over 10yrs. Also, I don't have anymore space to store a double boiler on top of my tons of appliances. However, little princess was introduced to kaya by her dad earlier this year and she loves this coconut jam. I had tried introducing it to her a couple of years before but she didn't take to it. This I have to blame her school for feeding her lots of jam sandwiches. She never liked fruit jams too. And I wasn't too bothered by it as the less sweet stuff she took, the better. So, while we were at a bakery one day, I think it was Han's, she wanted me to buy a bottle of it. Alas, all they had was the bigger bottle and how were we supposed to finish it all within a week? So I decided to make some for my princess. Besides, I never liked the ones sold outside. They are too smooth and sweet for my liking. I love mine with the lumpy texture and making it at home, you can reduce the amount of sugar. A friend of mine made it the same week I did and she says you shouldn't reduce it too much or the kaya wouldn't last. It acts as a kind of preservative?

My recipe calls for 10eggs. A little too much considering the sites I've checked out listed 1 cup or some said 4-5 eggs. I'm not sure what kind of results those will yield, maybe smoother texture? Best I stick to what I know works for me. In the first picture, it shows the lumpy texture of the kaya that I like. Some say you are supposed to blend the kaya at the end to achieve a smooth paste, some others say that you need to stir it constantly from the minute you dump all the ingredients into the pot. I've discovered that it is not that tough after all, to make kaya. In fact it's pretty easy except it takes hours.

In the 2nd picture, it shows the double boiler that I created. I placed a smaller pot into a big pot. I then tied a tea towel over the cover to prevent water droplets from forming and dripping into the kaya mixture.

The ingredients I used were -
10 eggs, beaten
1 coconut (I used the ready coconut milk from the chiller section of the supermarket)
600g sugar
pandan leaves, tied into a knot and bruised a little

Method -
I put everything into the pot and steamed it for 3-1/2hrs, stirring now and then till cooked. As I made it at night, it was only ready after 10pm. I left it to cool while I went to bed and filled them in jars in the morning and then refrigerated them.

I didn't have the local kopitiam bread on hand. Thus we had them on plain white bread. It tasted gorgeous, just the way I remembered it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

From Modena with love

A lovely friend brought these gifts for me. Thanks so much. I'll have to figure out what to do with the balsamic vinegar first and once I have the time to get fresh seafood, will look forward to trying the risotto.

It was lovely to meet you and baby girl and boy again. Glad the kids had fun. And thanks for making time to meet up with us. I had fun chatting and catching up again.

Belated Happy 1st birthday

Happy birthday to my dearest blog. No big birthday cake or anything. I've been busy and the day went past without my even realizing it. I've been good but sometimes I do neglect it, just like on its special day - 16 July.

I can't believe my blog is 1. Time flies, doesn't it? Well, maybe for the fact that I write in it so often, it seems I've had it for much longer than 1 year. :)

In this 1 year, it's simply amazing the friends I've made through it. Some I've met, others I've yet to. But the important thing is that I've connected with the outside world, other than just the 4 walls of my flat, or mums of kids I befriend at school or at enrichment classes. People with the same interests as I. It feels good.

It's also through the blog that I have found the encouragement to bake more, to try out new recipes and build up my confidence in baking. And I would like to thank those who have inspired me. As for my readers, thank you for visiting so often and leaving encouraging words.

Papaya & Ikan kurau Soup

That's what the inside of the green papaya looks like.

I'm out of ideas what to cook for soups for dinner so while I was at princess' swim class one day, we mums were on the topic of soups and one of them gave me the idea to make the above soup. I didn't do it immediately as it took me a while to go hunting for the green papaya needed. Just last week, I was at the veg stall, not the one I frequent, and I came across it. I picked up a small ikan kurau head as those were the 2 main ingredients which form the basis of the soup.

I was rather apprehensive in offering it for dinner but both princess and I had no problems with it. It tasted great. However, hubby didn't like it. I think he found it too fishy.

Ingredients (for 3) -

A small ikan kurau head
half a green papaya, seeds removed and cut into cubes
6 red dates
a piece of ginger approx 1/2inch (can add more ginger according to your preference)
dried scallops, approx 5-6
salt and white pepper to taste

Method -
Put everything into the pot to boil for 2hrs. Do not stir it while it's cooking in order that the fish does not disintegrate. You will end up with a messy soup otherwise. It starts off clear and ends up a milky colour. I put the dates into a stock bag so it's less messy that way. You might like to add dates halfway through cooking else the dates will break apart if boiled for too long.

Note - Apparently this soup is very beneficial to nursing mums as it helps increase milk supply.

Friday, July 11, 2008


My most absolute favourite cherries. Many years ago, I was introduced to these yellow cherries by an aunt who had gone to SFO. She brought them back and I was in love with them. They were crunchy and very sweet. I prefer them to the red ones as those tend to have a softer skin. It's lovely to get them fresh from USA as by the time they get here through other channels, they aren't that crunchy anymore. Apparently there are some good health benefits to eating them and it's supposedly good for arthritis. Now, that is a good excuse to eat them! Unfortunately they belong to the 'yang' (yin & yang) family, so consuming too much of it will lead to sore throat which I already have so now's not a good time to have them. However, I came across it a couple of days ago and couldn't resist the price tag that came with it. It was $11.90 for a good-sized packet (can't remember how much they weighed) and that was a good buy, as these little gems don't come cheap. I never have the heart to pay such a high price for them, but this time, I couldn't resist the offer.

I love summer time as all the beautiful fruits are out in season - berries, durians, Taiwan mangoes etc. But on the other hand, these are mostly 'heaty' fruits, so if you take them, do remember to drink more fluids.

Part-time mum

We had a little guest with us in our home yesterday. Princess' little friend, C, had gone for her P1 registration at a school near my place. She currently lives in Woodlands and it's unusual for her to be in our area. But they are looking to move closer to school. While I was messaging her mum in the morning, I thought why not see if little C wants to spend the day with us while her mum went back to work. Her mum said to do it another time as C had speech and drama classes yesterday. So I took it as that. After like 5 minutes, she rings me up and says C refused to go to school and was asking when she was coming over to me. Her mum had told her that princess was in school and there was only me at home. That didn't deter her. Anyhow, I told her it wasn't a problem, that I would take her for the day and the girls could have fun together. So it was settled, and while they were on the way, like only 15mins away, I ran around doing all the little things to get the house tidied up a bit. By the time they arrived, it was slightly more presentable.

The girls played very well together and not a quarrel between them (phew). They made crafts with Hama beads, played on the PSP and DS, and made more crafts. Meanwhile, in the kitchen I had some ready cupcake mix which I made up real quickly and after frosting them, gave two little bowls of decoration for them to decorate the tops with. Here's what they did...

I fried some fish fillet with breadcrumbs, which I had picked up a couple of days earlier. Love the crispiness on them when freshly fried.

This is what they had for dinner. Hey Al, do those plastic containers look familiar? ;) Ooops, yes, I also made some blueberry konnyaku jelly with my new moulds but they are mostly gone now so this is all that is left. Can you spy the heart, flower, pineapple and cat?

For lovers of Hello Kitty, Daiso has new stocks of HK merchandise just on the shelves on Tuesday this week. Don't miss them.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Brownies & lunch

I seem to be in a baking frenzy. :D I guess I've been inspired by the few of you with all your yummy-licious bakes. Just couldn't stay away from my oven for long. Thanks gals for inspiring me. My next bake will be the sesame and wheat biscuits once I get hold of some wholemeal flour. ;)

I've been itching to bake these brownies ever since I laid eyes on them and here they are. I didn't do a ganache to go over the top but they were delicious on their own. I would have liked them to be a little more chewy and more chocolatey so will make some adjustments to the original recipe the next time I bake them.

For lunch yesterday, my only day at home this week (thanks to cleaner coming), I prepared a noodle dish for lunch. I usually like these noodles done in dark soya sauce but my little one does not like 'black' food. That is the opposite of me. I love black food myself. Ingredients included fishcakes, crabsticks, thinly-sliced pork fillet, bean sprouts, egg, sliced carrots and yellow noodles. I made a stock with dried anchovies to 'sweeten' the dish.

Oh dear, got to go... Michael's calling. More about that later... ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gifts galore

In the past 2 weeks, I've been given lots of gifts. I wasn't expecting them so it was a real pleasant surprise. Thanks to you gals for your thoughtfulness. I will treasure them. :)

First gift was from Australia; little decorations for cuppies. Thanks KY for so kindly asking your aunt to bring them over for me. You notice something missing from the collection? ;)

Gift No.2 came from USA. Before I could even get over the shock that she was in town, she was already leaving. Thanks V for thinking of me when you got these. I love them and would absolutely not use the cupcake boxes. Hehe. Hope to meet up with you the next time you are home.

Gift No. 3 from SS, mainly from Japan. Can you see the Disney gang in kimonos on the cover of the photo album? How cute. And I love the bento bag.

Busy busy week

So what else is new... I'm busy every week. I have a waitlist of people wanting us to go on playdates but not enough days in a week to accede to all their requests. Was tied up with funfair preparations last week, doing up posters, etc. And was baking muffins half of Saturday and spent the other half helping out with the setting-up of the hall. Hardly slept that night as was afraid would wake up late with tons to do in the morning. Thank goodness was up by 7am and did some little labels for the foodstuff we were selling. Unfortunately, I did not take one photo. It was a great photo opportunity lost as I was too wrecked by the time the fair started and was busy on-site. My contribution to the funfair, initially, was sausages and fishballs. I figured they were very simple to prepare and wouldn't take up too much of my time. However, a week before the fair, a mum said she was contributing 250 fishballs, so ok I was down to only sausages. Having come across Cranberry's muffin recipe, I was keen to try it out. I sent them out to taste-testers a few days before the actual mass baking and the response was good. (WL, I don't think you'd want to touch any muffin again after this. Sorry about that.) ;)

For the fillings, I had fresh blueberries, peanut butter, Oreo. All were well-received. However, for the funfair I did not use blueberries (as they didn't cost $2.95 then. ;P). Instead I made chocolate banana. Unfortunately I didn't try any of that so I don't know how it tasted.

This recipe is a keeper. Thanks, Cranberry. I made another batch just yesterday, the day after the funfair because it was that good! :D

Friday, July 4, 2008

Just some info

Hi ya, for those who are registering your kids for the first time, remember to make copies of all the relevant documents. I thought we only needed to make copies of our ic so had to make a small 'donation' to the infamous school bookshop to get the rest photocopied. I've been told many horror stories of the kids spending all their cash in these bookshops which stock cute little stationery items in order to lure them in. Haha. I shouldn't laugh too soon as my child will soon belong to that group, hopefully not. :P

Did my registration yesterday and got a bit of a shock as the cover of my report book did not state the branch of the school I attended. But after having flipped through the pages, they found the school code in there. Phew! Other than that, everything else was a breeze. Some forms to fill in and the online registration took a couple of minutes and we were done.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

P1 registration updates

For those who are monitoring the number of spaces available for the schools you are eyeing, you can check it out here.