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Showing posts from 2015

External Memory

I am barely in my 40s and already I am experiencing memory problems. Where is my handphone? Can you remind me when we are suppose to meet? Did I add salt to the dish already? Where was I just now? Somebody told me that some time ago but I cannot remember who. It is increasing in frequency and it is freaking me out. As much as possible I try to rely on my handphone as an external memory. I snap everything from school events, make-up lessons, remedial lessons, letter from teachers/tutors, exam timetable, etc.  Then,as one might have noticed, I have not posted much on this website for some time. It is not that I had suddenly switched my diet to thin air but more like lack of time and inspirations to post anything here. I still cooked aplenty these days, but they usually go undocumented. At most just a snap on my handphone if it is anywhere in sight. This is all well and good, until recently I found that I couldn't remember which recipe I had used for a particular sala

Mini Cheesecakes and Back To School

It is back to school after 10 days school break. The working-mommy part of me says, "Finally!", the mommy-mommy part of me says, "What?! Already?!" These two poles of mine really need to sort themselves out. Terms 3 ended in a blitz with princess's last paper on the third day before the school term ends. The school celebrated Teachers' Day while handing out test results back to the kids. We made a mini cheesecake as a thank-you gift all her teachers and tutors. Teaching is a thankless job which many forget. This cheesecake recipe was from Gourmet Today Cookbook and can also be found online at the Epicurious website . The taste was wonderful and rich while not being cloying. This is definitely a good recipe to make again. We made these the night before we gave them out as cheesecakes taste best after they have rested overnight in the fridge. I felt almost jealous of them as I craved for a similar undisturbed rest in somewhere cool after two hectic week

Morning Walks

Now that we have finally put away the last remnants of our move into our new-roof-over-our-heads, I have free time in the mornings before heading off to work. Instead of sitting around for a long breakfast, Hubby and I have been walking in the mornings. Slow walking when we feel like dragging a sack of bones, brisk walking when we have a bit more energy or the rain is coming and hit the gym when we really need air-conditioning. Which ever the choice, I try to squeeze in a daily workout. It has not been too successful, but at least I am working out 2-3 times a week. During my morning walks, I see many things. Walking allows me to take time to reflect on myself and also to look at things around me more closely. I saw day break. I saw sunset. I saw lovely yellow flowers. I saw tiny pink flowers along the edge of the pavement. I saw dirt tracks winding into the wooded areas. I saw morning dew sitting prettily on a fallen leave. And I saw synchronised swimming by fishes in a

Chinese Overload

Since end of last year, I have been thinking of how to revamp our princess’s study programme. I t was no small feat for these brains of mine which is beginning to show signs of early dementia. Or so I think. I have realised very early on that relying on her Chinese textbook used in her school is not enough to carry her into upper primary’s Higher Chinese. To do Higher Chinese, one has to be able to use the language as one would its first. Which in our case is near impossible for both Hubby and I are not even proficient with the language even when we were in school. So what is this mummy to do when Her Highness insisted on doing Higher Chinese?   In an effort to get her to read beyond her textbook, I went hunting for some suitable reading materials and collate them into bite-size. I told you it was no small feat. This was the vocabulary list of words which I culled from a short 500+ words story. Listing out was the easy part, but as you can see, I have not even worked out the defini

Quick Noodle Salad with Tofu

I love noodle salad. Carbs and fibre at the same time! Technically this is a noodle salad even though I cheated with spaghetti. Hey, I was merely up-cycling the leftovers. Since moving into our new place, I haven’t quite gotten used to the tiny space called kitchen. I am quite a disorganised person, so I need lots of space for prep. Well, I guess things will have to change if I really want to adapt. In fact, I have to. So while I still carry on this internal struggle in my head, I have hungry mouths to feed. And what’s a desperate and lazy cook to do? Assemble. Step 1: Assemble dressing . Step 2: Assemble salad base (i.e. pasta/noodles, greens, tomatoes, wakame and tofu). Step 3: Assemble dressing and salad base in a big plate. Step 4: Assemble hungry mouths to the table. I really like the Hosin-soy sauce dressing from Cook’s Illustrated as it uses ingredients which I always have in my pantry and it goes really well with any sort of noodles, even good when drizzled over pl

Does It Make A Difference?

Whenever I am helping Princess with her school work, I am always digging for old memories of my studying years to better understand what she is going through. But, to my dismay and her frustration, what she is going through right now has little semblance of what we had gone through then. What we did previously perhaps makes up only 5-10% of what is still existing in her curriculum. During our time, a standard Primary 4 Math exam would include questions like this: Q: What is the L.C.M. of 15 and 18? Q: What is the H.C.F of 5 and 8? In case you have forgotten all about your primary school work, L.C.M. refers to Lowest Common Multiple and H.C.F. refers to Highest Common Multiple. Today, the question looks something like this: Question from Popular Primary School #1: A shopkeeper has more than 50 sweets. If he puts them in packets of 7, he has 5 sweets left. If he puts them in packets of 9, he has 6 sweets left. How many sweets does the shopkeeper have? Question from Popular

Golfers And Their Arms

Yesterday while Princess was doing her revision for today's Science test, I showed her this photo.  Photo taken from Straits Times. Me: "What do you see in this photo of these top golfers?" She: "Their arms all looked the same [size]?" Hubby: "They have straight hair?" Me: "Wrong!" Do you see what I saw? Need a hint?  Photo taken from Straits Times I saw tanned lines on their arms. And what those lines told me was that these ladies trained extremely hard. Under the hot sun. For long hours. This brings to mind what Malcom Gladwell wrote in his book Outliers about practising for 10,000 hours to achieve mastery. For me, I believe that whatever that is worth doing, is worth doing 10,000 hours of practising for. Maybe that is why I seldom do anything.

Names and Shame … Over Pineapple Tarts

Year after year, I have been churning out these little pieces of sinful indulgence for since I have gotten my own built-in oven in my own home. Hmm … Let me see how long is that ... 12 years?? What!! It has been that long already? So I decided that maybe it is time to change things a little and then I came up with these! I don’t really know what I should call these. Little baby butterflies? Where’s the antenna? Worms on blankets? Doesn’t sound too appetising. Can of worms? Whatever the name, the munchies must taste good, right? But unfortunately, I have to hang my head in shame although it was not entirely my fault that they didn’t. You see, I have yet to get myself acquainted with my high-tech oven in my new roof-over-our-heads. The darn thing came with so many options that I had to scratch my head to consider each of them carefully! I am very sure that any one here who had seen these would call them pineapple tarts. So, of course, I had gone with the “Tarts” function even tho

Back To Square One … Or Primary One

After many attempts at The Question , I finally managed to get the answer. Should I laugh or cry? I did neither. Instead I went to the nearest bookshop and bought this. Yes, it is for 7 – 8 years old. And yes, I am quite embarrassed about it. But what is even more embarrassing is that I still can’t solve some of these questions correctly! Questions such as this still get my goat. Annoyingly easy but still requires a bit of thinking. A quarter of a century ago, when Hubby and I were kids in primary school, we did not have to be too bothered by these sort of questions. They seldom make an appearance in our test/exam papers. If they did, we weren’t too bothered by the cost of a few marks lost as most in the cohort were probably in the same state. Questions from Math Olympiad? What is Math Olympiad? I  have never heard of that term back then. Now, it is a totally different story. Some of the questions I have seen in this book had actually appeared in various incarnations in our pri

Excuse Me, Are You A GEP Student?

  When I encounter questions like this, I will send up a quick prayer of thanks that our little princess is not in the GEP programme. This is but just the tip of the iceberg of what they do and I am already drowning in my own confusion! *Head spinning* I need to meditate on this. Bye, see you next year! Ommm … **Update: Princess solved this question in less than 10 minutes. That was a bit longer than the standard require but given that she has never been trained before in such questions, that is quite an achievement. I, on the other than hand, am still working on the solution. Bordering on hopelessness.

Putting You Best Foot Forward

My mum came to stay with me last week to help me pack up for my move to our new roof over our heads. Given her age and health, we had to take it easy this time round. So we brought her out for hearty breakfasts and morning coffees everyday after dropping Princess off at school. Then we proceed to this place:       Morning walks are new to me. Usually we would head home to eat breakfast and then rush to office. Walking amongst the trees and breathing in the fresh morning air really does make me feel good and gives me time to think. As we walk, we plan the day's work, chat about the people and life in general, discuss about our Chinese New Year menu and also talk about many things which otherwise we would not have time for.   Thanks to my mom, I was able to achieve the 10,000 step target daily on my Fitbit. It was a record week of steps for me. And thanks to her, I realised that I really do like walking and morning walks.     Although most times, I am more like this:

Stuff-Your-Face-Silly Cheesy Garlic Bread

If you think that I am just trying to make the name sound catchy, I dare you to make this bread and resist stuffing your face with it. I have not met anyone who does not like this crunchy, cheesy and aromatic loaf. I made this for our Christmas lunch and it was almost gone as soon as I returned from the kitchen to put my hand mittens back into the drawers. If not for my mom who saved a chunk for me, I would only have crumbs and bits of garlic which fell off the bread.   Although there are many versions of this cheesy garlic bread which I have tried, I didn't like any. So I created my own version which I think is pretty easy to prepare.   Buy a good loaf of bread which absorbs oil well. I usually just go with a French loaf. Slice it up as shown in the photo. Place the bread on aluminium foil and set aside. Finely chop up as much garlic as you want to knock out whoever you are going to talk to. In a pan over low heat, drop in a good chunk of butter and let it melt

A Non-Chinese Chinese?

Many months ago, we were dealing with this whole horde of books. If you look closely at the piles of books, you would have noticed that the number of Chinese books was outnumbered by their English counterpart. I have noticed that too and had hoped to remedy that situation. Unfortunately, I am no Chinese book reader. It takes me a loooooong time just to read a paragraph in Chinese. My usual joke is that it would take me a year to read a day’s newspaper from the first page to the last. It is that bad. Seriously. I really do not want our princess to suffer such a fate. A non-Chinese Chinese?  And to that end, I am willing to pay the price and make some effort. As part of the push to help princess read more widely in Chinese, I have came up with this: It nearly killed me. We are slowly working our way through these model compositions from China. They are ultra tough even by my standards. The question that I always ask myself in disbelief is how is a primary school kid to able to wr