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Showing posts from 2011

Happy Holidays

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December is definitely my favourite month of the year. The weather is just so pleasant and cool. The traffic is much more manageable. Everyone at work seems less tense. School work has been laid to rest. And most importantly, our annual Christmas dinner with my family is just round the corner!

So before I forget, here's wishing everyone Happy Holidays!

Good Read: The Burglar's Breakfast

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Today is the official start of the school holiday programme for our little princess at her kindergarten. It had been delayed by two weeks due to the halt for her school year-end concert rehearsals. With this, our little princess has completed her pre-school education and her teachers gave the thumbs-up that she is all ready to move on into formal schooling.

Except emotionally. The start of this year's school holiday programme is bitter-sweet for our little princess as it marks the last few days in the school which she has grown up with for the past 4 and a half years. I can already foresee that she will miss the place and teachers since she had asked if she could visit them from time to time.

I am still wrecking my brains how to help her overcome her reluctance to let go and anxiety of moving on to a new environment. Parenting is a treacherous path to thread.

As the first line of defense, I have piled on a series of books to keep her occupied and Hubby is upping her outdoor activi…

Korean Seafood Scallion Pancakes & Kimchi Fried Rice

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I just found out first-hand that it is really hard to snap a photo with your iPhone in one hand and a pancake in another. This is one of the very rare instances that I which I look into human genetic modification with hope.

My mom carted over one scarily huge squid (what do they feed squids these days?) and two large bags of prawns yesterday afternoon. And she told me I could do whatever I want with them. That's what you get from your mom when you are an adult. Freedom. And the responsibility to produce dinner, of course.

I chopped up the seafood and loosely followed Mark Bittman's recipe for the batter and relinquished the task of frying to my mom. Before long, we had a batch of the crispiest savoury pancakes ever.


Between our little princess, my mom and me, we ate so many pancakes that we had to remind each other to keep some for the other dinner attendees. It was hard to do that, but we did manage to save each of them a piece.


Since we had too much seafood left, I also mad…

Ice Cream Glee

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Me: "Do you like ice-cream?"


Princess: "Do you have to ask?"


Me: "Do you like this ice-cream?"


Princess: "This taste good." (Note: she had gummy bears and white chocolate bites mixed into it.)


Me: "Do you know how much this cup of ice-cream cost?" (Note: she has no concept of money.)


Princess: "Erm ... Anyway, Daddy is the one paying. You should ask him."

Me: "..."

The Need To Get Outdoors

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I don't think that I have ever mention here that during his younger days, Hubby was sort of a dare-devil. Together with his group of friends, they would do ridiculous things which until today, they would laugh at themselves whenever they talk fondly of the past. Some of the crazy things I heard them do were walking a round of Singapore on foot (!!), jumping off a cliff and into a pool of unknown depth at an old mining quarry at Pulau Ubin (!!!) and, of course, the infamous walk around the now-defunct Bidadari Cemetery at night (!!!!). What other stuff they had done? I could only guess and probably Hubby would have told his friends numerous times "Don't Tell My Mother ".



Now I look at my little princess, I can almost see some streaks of adventure seeking nature in her. There was once I caught her climbing out on the rail of our planter with her body half bent over looking 4 stories down to the ground floor. My knees nearly buckled. Another incident saw her balancing …

Deepavali

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It was a mad dash around Little India yesterday look for a suitable costume for her school party today.


She chose this set herself even though it was for adults (or very petite ones). A quick alteration by her doting Grandma, she was all ready to go.

Happy Deepavali!

Cheese And Fruits

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Apart from the skin care routine that I have picked up from my last trip, I had also picked up something else - eating of cheese with fruits and a glass of wine.

While in Penang, we put up at the G Hotel which I must say that we are certainly very happy with our accommodation. Because of our choice of room (a suite with two bedrooms), we were on the Executive Level which gave us the privilege to use their Executive Lounge. 
The Lounge basically serves drinks free flow all-day and provides buffet breakfast and pre-dinner cocktails. Being the mountain tortoise that I am, I begged everyone to go check out what pre-dinner cocktails is all about on the first evening we were there.
It turned out that it was almost like a mini high-tea session. There were hot pastries, cold sandwiches, pasta, rice, small cakes, lots of chocolate pieces, variety of chips with salsa and also a big platter of fruits with many types of cheese on the cheese board. And all these to be washed down with your choice…

What Are Colour Pencils Good For Too?

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Our little princess and I were sitting down for the daily homework session last night and when I turned to my eyes back to her from my computer, I saw her doing this.


Very gingerly piling up her colour pencils she recevied from her school as Children's Day gift.



I wondered what was she trying to build.


Then she told me it is her Stacked-Up-Tic-Tac-Toe.

Don't get it? Me neither.

Ever so often I find that in my single-mindedness to get things done, I lose sight of the bigger picture. My purpose of doing homework with her is to help her learn, but I forgot that the bigger picture is that learning comes in many forms and most importantly the ambers of interest in learning must be stoked slowly. Ever try building fire for a BBQ with charcoal? The principles are the same.

That little building exercise of colour pencils is learning as well. I remember when I was about her age, I would spend countless hours trying to build pyramids with decks of cards. I suppose this is just one of t…

Books, Plants & Music

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The weather has been so wonderful these past days, except for the occasional strong gale of winds.

During those hot summer days, I complained that it was too hot to be standing in front of the stove. But now, I have to find another excuse to be lazy.

Now that I have skipping the kitchen duties, I have found more time to read books, tend to my plants and listen to music. I haven't managed to squeeze time to watch TV yet, but that is low on the priority right now.

I have so many interesting books to catch up on before the library start sending me fines. I picked up The Fortune Cookie Chronicle, A Slice Of Life, Choice Cuts, Kansha and Cook. I have dipped into some of them whenever I have pockets of free time and found very interesting articles in them.

Talking about listening to music, I am crazy about this song right now ever since I heard it on Perfect 10, together with another song of hers - Set Fire To The Rain. I love the way she sings and her lyrics are just so beautiful.




Some…

Beauty And The (Lazy) Beast

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I recently learnt a very interesting thing about my brother. No doubt if he ever learn that I share this with you here, he would disown me immediately. So let's keep it a secret here, alright?

I found out, to my great surprise, that my brother is some sort of a beauty pro. He carries a stash of facial serum, toner, cleanser and moisturiser when he goes traveling. I had initially thought that the little neat pouch either belong to my sister or mom. But when I saw him sorting through the little vials and bottles, I shouted: "That's yours??!!"
Perhaps it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise if I had used my brains a little more. My brother has since puberty been struggling with acne outbreaks and probably still does to a lesser extend. Which probably had lead him to take more care with his skin than me. I have so far been blessed with clear skin and only have to deal with an occasional one-pimple-on-the-face situation during PMS. So what's my beauty routine…

Happy Problems

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It has become a routine for me to tend to my plants when I get back home in the afternoon. A few snips here, a trim there and lots of watering. Occasionally, I will go hunting for little bugs with a toothpick.

So one afternoon, I found that my precious basil was badly in need of a trim. The top section has grown too heavy and the stems were starting to tilt slightly.

*Snip, snip*

And I ended up with a few young stems for transplant and ended up with a handful of basil trimmings. What a happy problem to have!


But of course, I had anticipated this little problem which led me to stock up a small bag of pine nuts earlier. Now I have half a bag remaining, hopefully for another batch of pesto if my basil plant is coorperative.


And also, I found a bag of frozen grated Parmesan cheese lying around.


The recipe came from my new Joy of Cooking (75th anniversary ed.). Although I was suppose to mix these all up in a food processor but I was just too lazy to pull it out from the cabinet below. So i…

Not Much Of A Gardener

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I had never believed for a moment that I am a novice gardener.  There must be a more junior category than that, but I just can't find it.

A month after I brought those little plants into my planter, they have already thrown a few roadblocks my way. Or rather, they were trying to show me how inadequate a gardener I am.


First up, was Rosemary. She sported a good head of healthy green shoots and smelled absolutely wonderful.  Then two weeks later, she looked gaunt and tired. Her leaves shriveled to almost needle-like. I'm sure my needles in my sewing kit was broader than that.


Then I found out that I was not watering her correctly. Apparently her soil was so dry that it had caked up and needed a bit of coaxing by flooding it with more water to make it absorb. Much like a ultra dried sponge that is unable to absorb water initially.

After a round of proper watering, Rosemary came back to life again. But she didn't forgive me for my negligence and showed me her scars (browned le…

Of Taste And Facial Mask

Not too long ago I had mentioned here that dining out is always a challenge for me. And it still is. I don't know if there is a cure for this ... this ... challenge.

It is bad. Really bad.

To the point that Hubby now fears bringing my Mum and me out to eat. He once drove us to Old Airport Road (a.k.a the foodie paradise) hawker centre and we came out declaring that there was nothing to eat there. He was totally exasperated.

Hubby: "Almost all the stalls are open today! What you mean that there is nothing to eat?"


Me: "There is nothing to eat here. Nothing takes my fancy."


My Mum: "Yeah, nothing much."


Hubby: "Okay, then do you want to buy something back to cook instead?" Shaking his head and rolling his eyes. At this point he was willing to do anything to get out of this gridlock.

But before you read further, I just want to say that the Old Airport Road hawker do serve a wide variety of foods and many of them are great nosh. Everyone who has bee…

Keen On Quinoa

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I'm not too sure what's gotten into me these days, but I found myself doing something strange the past few weekday mornings. I have been tuning my car radio to 98.7 FM. In case you are not clued in, this (I think) is the hippy-est radio station on our small island of Singapore.

Initially it felt weird. I felt disconnected. I don't know who are current bunch of DJs. I have never heard of the songs they are airing. This station was life support system plugged through my ears. It sustained me through my secondary school years. But somehow along the way, I ditched it together with my school uniform and moved on to the more matured Class 95, where I have been since. It made me wonder if this is how it would feel if I get back together with an ex-boyfriend.

So anyway, I heard this on the radio this morning and thought that it had some element of truth to it. It goes something like "The secret to keeping your health is eat what you don't like, drink what you won't dr…

The Accidental Laksa

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It was not my intention to make laksa at all, but somehow life has other plans.
While standing over the sink filling up my kettle for my morning tea, I heard the door opened. Hubby was out to market and just got back. I was thinking, "What should I make for breakfast? Maybe French Toast? Maybe ..."
*clang*
"Sh*t!"
*shuffle, shuffle*
Then I turned around and saw him walking into the kitchen with a plastic bag partially filled with black soy sauce. He broke the glass bottle and had the sticky dark soy sauce coating all the other stuff that were in the same bag. The dried shiitake mushrooms and dried shrimps were stained black. If I wasn't so angry with him for creating such a mess on the floor, I would have laughed at the sight of these black UFOs (Unidentified Floating Objects).
Anyway, the long story short, I had to think of a way to use up the no-longer-dried dried shrimps. And the very first idea that hit me was to make laksa. A quick dig into my fridge for …

It Ain't No Famous Amos

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Warning: This is another butter-laden post. If you have hit your pre-set quota for butter consumption for this year after the Sun-dried Tomato Butter, proceed at your own risk.



This was the little treat which I made for our little princess to bring for her teachers. Though I had thought that these Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies were on the plain and boring side, our little princess feedback that her teachers were happily munching on them during their snack time. It ain't no Famous Amos, but it was good enough for her wonderful teachers.

These chocolate chip cookies taste best when they had firmed up after being out of the oven and still slightly warm. And don't forget your cup of milk.

The recipe is from Joy of Cooking and can be found on Culinate.

Butter And Bread

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This smudge of speckled orangey clump is the only reason to eat bread.
I have to believe that because I had scarfed down two thick slices for the past few mornings.
Salty, creamy, tangy and rich, I can't imagine a more delicious spread.
This sun-dried tomato butter only needed 3 ingredients - sun-dried tomatoes, butter and lemon juice. Of course, you can throw in salt and black pepper, provided the butter is unsalted.


For more detailed explanation on how to make this sinful indulgence, click over to my older post on this Sun-dried Tomato Butter where it all started.

Instead of pulling my food processor out from it comfortable resting place in the kitchen cabinet, I decided that I will mix this compound butter by hand. But please soften the butter first. It makes all the difference.

So chop, chop, chop (the sun-dried tomatoes) and mash, mash, mash (the butter with the sun-dried tomatoes thrown in) ... and then dollop it on a cling wrap and roll it up. After rolling, place it in a co…

Priority Shipment Next Time, Okay?

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Somewhere between the time from clicking the "Order" button at the Amazon website to the time when I hold the last shipment of my previous orders in my hands, I will swear to myself that the next order with Amazon will be on Priority Shipment.

But after waiting for five weeks of waiting for my latest order, instead of a DHL courier man knocking on my door, I found myself queuing up at my local post office with a "Notice To Take Delivery" card in my hand.

So much for trying to save that additional U$25.00.



And the other lesson that I learnt was never collect bulky book orders on my way to work. These hardcovers provided real challenge for my nonexistant arm muscles and good entertainment for the few workers sitting by the roadside for a mid-morning break as I struggle all the way from the post office to the car on my heels.

Next time, I will order on Priority Shipment!

More From My Mailbox

In case you have not seen this ...

There was this guy from some country who we will not mention, who applied to a medical school to become a doctor, but did not make it.
Here's why...
These were the answers he wrote in his entrance exam.
Antibody - against everyone Artery - The study of the paintings. Bacteria - back door to a cafeteria. Caesarean section - a district in Rome. Cardiology - advance study of poker playing. Cat scan - searching for lost kitty. Chronic - neck of a crow. Coma - punctuation mark. Cortisone - area around local court. Cyst - short for sister. Diagnosis - person with slanted nose. Dilate - the late British Princess Diana. Dislocation - in this place. Duodenum - couple in blue jeans. nema - not a friend. Fake labour - pretending to work. Genes - blue denim. Hernia - she is close by. Impotent - distinguished/ well known. Labour pain - hurt at work. Lactose - people without toes. Lymph - walk unsteadily. Microbes - small dressing gown. Obesity - city of Obe. Pac…

From My Mailbox

While cleaning up my mailbox, I found this email in it. I have no idea who sent it on to me but I sure found myself laughing when I read it.

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
2. My mother taught me RELIGION. "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
4. My mother taught me LOGIC. "Because I said so, that's why."
5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."
6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
7. My mother taught me IRONY. "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
8. My mother taught me about the sci…

New Plants For The Planter

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It has been a long time since my planter had some decent looking plants. Most of the previous batches are either dead or half dead. My planter is just too hot for most plants. Even the rosemary which I had thought would not mind the heat.

When I got to the nursery, I had initially wanted to pick up a pot of Thai basil for cooking. That's it. Just a pot of Thai basil. Seriously. And then they placed these beautiful pots of little flowers just at the entrance and they were so pretty that I couldn't stop myself. I know I will surely kill them within the month, but Hubby said that it is still cheaper than buying me a bouquet of flowers. Sigh ... So these fellows came home with me.



Just look at the bunch of them! They simply brighten up the whole planter and makes me smile every morning when I water them before heading out of the door.



I am still no wiser about how to take care of these plants except that I need to water it twice a day cos they are very heavy drinker. So I will hav…