Friday, February 27, 2009


Ha,ha. Your ploy worked, my dear sister S! After our "long" Skype conversation, dear husband was too hungry. We went out to eat! I have to state here, I was more than prepared to cook but he wanted to eat soon. We headed up to Convoy proposing all along the way, various restaurant we could eat in. We each gets a turn in deciding which restaurant to go to. Today was husband's turn. Not that we do not try to influence the choice for the day. Daughter L always wants Thai. Son A likes Korean. Husband likes Indian. Me..... it depends often on what else I need to buy and the restaurant I know I can persuade them to go to which is near to the shop. Otherwise, for me it is often where I can get soup or noodle soup. So there is always little negotiating in the cars whoever its turn to choose. We ended up at Mitsuwa supermarket at their noodle shop.... wanted to shop Japanese stuff. This time it was my husband's decision. Hm, did I ask him,"where did we go this week to eat without the children?" Maybe. Well, he wanted to take his son to try their Ramen noodles. So, you see how this works.......

How easy little sister C has it. She just cooks and eats at home with husband and little M and the whole world looks in on them via web cam. Daddy would have love that my siblings! Did we ever do that with him? The closest I think was during Christmas, Chinese New Year or maybe someone birthday and we went on web cam. He would have love adorable little M.

So what's for dinner?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catch up

A long silence after a slew of postings......guess what? Life got in the way! I have been out there living my life as it should be instead of blogging. Not that I have not thought about blogging. I often found myself thinking in the midst of a event or moment, okay I will blog about this.... a fleeting thought because now I do not remember what it is I wanted to blog! I have learned not to agonize over this lost moments.....

Okay, since last posting. Chinese New Year has come and gone. I did cook some marvelous meals which I cannot remember offhand and which would require considerable effort to pluck out of my aging grey cells. I realized that I cannot keep cooking great meals 2 weeks in a row!! I think 3 days in a row, maybe 4 is achievable but beyond that, it is just no more fun. That is what the Chinese New Year blogging effort revealed. I did enjoy the effort (as did my family). Getting the flu and allergies to the Santa Ana stopped me in my track. Dear husband said I have been down for 2 months... I think that is an exaggeration....Getting better and then going into the rain and cold to catch my children play their sports did not allow me to fully recover but hey, I was there living my life.

Okay, quick run through. We enjoyed son A's second Lacrosse tournament with La Jolla Country Day School- he was spectacular. He started the tournament with a goal right off from face off and scored within 50 seconds! He scored 3 goals in all within 10 minutes off the game. What a start to the tournament!! Yesterday he started with the South Bay Outlaws. He is hoping to make Team A although he is a first year player. I think he has a shot at it. They will be competing against Middle School Teams across San Diego.

Daughter L is getting anxious for those college letters. The other days she said that she wishes they will come already- even if they are rejection letter!!! Ha, ha talking about anxious.Those letters should come in March or April. She has done interviews with Princeton, Havard and and phone interview with Brown. Today, her high school soccer team goes to the 1st round of CIF playoff!! Keep your fingers crossed. After that she will jump right into Lacrosse. For the first time this year, we may have to make some decisions if son A's and daughter L's Lax games conflict!! But that is a wonderful dilemma.

Now that the weather is nicer, husband is back biking. He is out there biking even as I blog right now. He has lost a fair bit of weight and it a lot fitter than he has been in a long time. Your truly? Not so hot! I weigh the same but flab instead of fab :( Getting back into it even as the weather is getting better.

I made persimmon pudding from the persimmon from our garden. Made Kumquart Marmalade form the Kumquart. What else? I spent 3 days ( and still ongoing) organizing my pantry, inside and outside. We have even groceries to run one of those grocery store they have at the back of residential houses in Malaysia. Sisters do you remember them? The one at the back of the house when we lived in Meru? Anyway, warned husband we are not allowed to buy any Indian groceries except for fresh food- tons, and I mean tons of curry spice paste mixes. 3 bottles of Thai fish sauce? Threw out open bottle and open a new one. Then there is my Chinese/ Malaysian stuff - not so much but more than adequate. Do not have stuff for Chinese soups - something I had not done much off but is on my list. Everything is being stored in containers, labeled and sorted. Shelves are being labeled. Still there are those that do not fall into a category so..... drives me insane. I throw them into the pantry and close the door!!! What would you do????

Oh yes, I knitted a cute little cotton sweater for my nephew M- he looks so adorable in it. The cheek of his mother C, asking me to make a sweater for her - sort of mommy and me. I have only enough attention span to make a baby size sweater.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bamboo Grove

Mr.Chau our landscaper was here yesterday to thin out my Bamboo Forests, particularly the one at the rear of the house. Our neighbours from behind had come over a few weeks ago to ask if we could trim our bamboo. The bamboo stalks were bending over to their side of the garden unto the roof of their patio. We had told them last year that if ever they grew too much to let us know and we will trim the bamboo.This time they asked if we could trim them back maybe every six months if necessary. I told that to Mr.Chau, who laughed. You see we had hired Mr.Chau maybe 4-6 months ago.He is Vietnamese. He says after he trims the bamboo we do not have to worry about trimming that often. He will eat up all my bamboo shoots!! The clump will not get out of control from now on. Ha, ha. Little did I know the savings I would be making with hiring Mr.Chau.

I would say the upper garden has maybe 40% more sunlight with yesterday's trimming. I am not sure if my neighbors will be as happy as they think they were going to be... You see, their master bedrooms face the back of our garden. Our bamboo grove was shading their room. If our front rooms are any indications, it will be a lot hotter for them now.

Maybe, my tomatoes will do better this year. Talking about that I should start some seedling soon.

P.S. Mr.Chau said he came across a possum in the bamboo grove when he was clearing away the leaves.

I like Mr. Chau- he brings me delicious dragon fruit from his garden.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How a Dog celebrate Chinese New Year

This years while surfing the web, I discovered that the 2nd day of Chinese New Year is considered the Birthday for all Dogs. It said we were to be extra kind and feed them well. What did Frasier get? One serving of Oven Finished Lamb plus Lamb bones from what we ate. Pretty good right?
Today, for breakfast, Frasier enjoyed leftovers- a Char Siew Pau. Isn't he cute? He loves jumping over the wall surrounding our patio. See him just about to jump back into the patio from the garden.

I just checked. Frasier was born July 8, 2005 and that means he was born in the year of the Rooster. Gosh my Rooster Dog! Whatever, I love that mutt. He is going to be 4 years old this year, which is 28 in human years. Last year he became older than my own kids in human years.In 2013 he will be 56 years old in human years and older than the whole family!!!

Nonya Curry Powder

6 tablespoons coriander seeds
4 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
4 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 cinnamon sticks (6cm lengths each)
3 cardamon pods
10 cloves
1/2 nutmeg
5 tablespoon chilli powder
5 tablespoons turmeric powder

Over low heat, roast the whole spices separately in a dry frying pan until fragrant, shake the pan or stir the contents as necessary to prevent burning. Allow the spices to cool and grind to a fine powder in a fry blender or spice mill. I use a Braun coffee grinder specially dedicated to grinding spices. Sieve for a finer texture. Combine with ground spices with the chilli and turmeric powder. Store in a dry jar in the pantry.

* heat of the curry powder depends on the chilli powder. Adjust with additional chilli powder or fresh chillies when using in recipes

Chayote and Tiger Prawn Curry

  • 1 lb of Tiger Prawns
  • 2 Chayote Squash, peeled and cut into slices
  • 2 large yellow onion
  • 6 pips of garlic
  • 2 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 stalk of lemongrass (bottom part sliced and top part crushed)
  • 3 Chipotle chillies in Adobo sauce(more if you like hotter curry). I use Embasa Chipotle Peppers in Adobo sauce
  • 3 teaspoon of crumbled roasted shrimp paste (belachan)
  • 2 tablespoon Nonya Curry Powder or Amy Beh's Curry Powder on Kuali)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil ( I use olive oil)
  • 2 cans of Chaokoh brand Coconut Milk (5.6 oz or 165ml each)

Grind together onions, garlic, ginger, sliced lemongrass, chipotle chillies and belachan until a smooth paste. Heat oil in saute pan. Add ground fresh ingredients and crushed lemongrass stalks, fry over medium heat, stirring continuously to prevent burning. Sprinkle over curry powder, stir in and continue frying, until fragrant.Add a little more oil to assist frying if necessary.

Add chayote squash slices and fry for 2 minutes. Add coconut milk ( I used 1 1/2 cans but 2 cans can be used for more sauce). Stir. When it comes to a simmer let Chayote cook until almost just tender. Add tiger prawns and cook until just done and the prawns have the beautiful colorful red strips.

Garnish with fried sliced shallots. Serve with white or basmati rice.

**fresh or rehydrated chillies may be used in place of the Chipotle Chillie in Adobo sauce. I have found them to be convenient substitute and invaluable in my impromptu cooking sessions!***

Day 8 and 9

Day 8 - what can I say? I am down with the flu.... I blame those beautiful people that traipsing through my house on Saturday before the Baronial Dance to take pictures. Some 15 or so couples plus parents and even a grandfather was here to take pictures! Lots of hugs. For a few days before the Baronial daughter L was saying she hoped that she would not fall sick as there was (is) a flu bug running around the school. Well, she was unscathed but your truly went down.....

Day 8 was a bust as far as food preparation goes. I was beginning to feel bad.Thankfully, husband bought some Sui Mai from the Filipino restaurant. We were going to have that for dinner with a little something else on the side. I peeled some ikan bilis to make more ikan bilis sambal. Still had plenty of Nasi Lemak left over. Husband took over and actually cook the sambal and heat up food as I rested. Dear son made me hot green tea. Nice.

Day 9 - Pretty sick now. Rested most of the day until time for daughter's soccer game. Had to go watch. Their regular goalie was out on injury, sweeper and another defender had hurt knees and ankles. Daughter has never recovered from the sprained ankle since the first game. Still needed it to be tapped up before every game. It was not a pretty game. They lost.....

Husband suggested we go out to dinner to spare me from cooking. As I collapse on the sofa I agreed. But lying there and thinking about the effort it takes to go out and then rush back for Son's martial art class, I mustered up my last ounce of energy and headed to the kitchen. All the while husband is asking if I am sure I want to cook.....

  1. Cooked basmati rice- lower glycemic index than regular white rice. I either cook brown rice or basmati rice for dinner....if I am cooking rice.
  2. Took out pork bones from freezer. Rinse and pop into pressure cooker together with water. Cut up some daikon radish, add to pot. Added some Kai Chee (Goji berry?) and some Yoke Chuk (Polygonatum), salt and peppercorn to pot. Pressure cooked for 20 minutes. Good soup from frozen bones - got to love it!!
  3. Defrost some tiger prawns for Chayote and Prawn Curry. Delicious.
Dinner was very satisfying. Hot soup felt so good and exactly what I needed. The Tiger Prawns were very sweet and the curry gravy probably made us ate more than we should.A hot cup of green tea and NCIS on tv and I was fast asleep on the sofa and missed Fringe.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Perfect 14 minute Hard Boiled Eggs

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover the eggs with cold water, about 1 inch above the eggs. Boil on medium to high heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Cover. Turn off heat and leave for 14 minutes. At the end of 14 minutes, drain egg and cover with cold water. Crack the egg shells against inside of pan. You can shell them immediately but sometimes leaving it for about 2 minutes, makes it easier to shell. Perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs. Easy.

Day 5 through7

I do not think I can keep this up... The daily drag of housewives throughout the world since the beginning of time... what to cook for dinner? I have been forcing myself to cook something special for dinner each of the 15 days of Chinese New Year and have fallen flat on my face on more than one occasion. I just cannot keep it up....The pressure is too much, I tell you !!! Not to mention this blogging bit.. okay it pushes me. It is nice to rant. I feel I am talking to my family back home and people who care. Is anybody listening??? :P

Day 5- Ma Po Tofu and Baby Bok Choy with Chinese Bacon. Mundane I know and one of those one dish dinners my husband complained to you about my dear sister S. The days of one meat, a plate of vegetable, a soup and maybe a curry is ... well, only happens at your house!!! The one upside is Ma Po Tofu is husband's favorite dish... which lets me get away with it a little. Son loves it and daughter not so much. Me- just sustenance.

Day 6 - Saturday, went for late Tim Sum Brunch (yum). Had some leftover Noodles Fried with Special Soya sauce and Porridge with Pork Meat for dinner. Ha, ha.... yeah, major flat on face situation. Daughter L was going out to Baronial dance (more about that later) and son was at his best friend's house. Only snacks needed to keep hungry pangs away for us left at hom

At around 8 pm as rumblings rose from our traitorous belly and we broke out Son A's birthday present - the Sunbeam Rocket Grill. I grilled a delicious New York Steak, broke out a can of baked beans and toast up some crusty bread. Light supper! Son A heated up his precious stock of Tee Toh Tung ( Pig stomach soup) from our friend Grandma O ( she specially made the soup for him, knowing how much he loves it). Sort of redeemed myself right???????

Day 7 - Sunday,late brunch again. This time Mr. Dumpling House for individual steamboats. We had the Old Beijing Soup Stock. It was kind of salty this time. We had been there two o
ther times before and it was always good. Today was a bit of a let down but it felt good not to be eating oily food. The lamb and noodles were good.

Although sluggish and too full at meal's end but we forced ourselves to grocery shopping at 99 Ranch Market - Oriental Supermarket, since we were all the way up here in Convoy. It is a huge supermarket even by Asian standard, complete with Asian Butcher, Fishmonger, Green Grocer ,eatery and all kinds of Asian (and some American staples) you could possibly want. Was planning to cook Nasi Lemak tonight. Saw the sotong and just thought,"No way am I cleaning the sotong today." 99 was packed to the gills with people. I had forgotten it was still CNY. Had to get out quickly. Headed to get ikan bilis for ikan bilis sambal and tau kwa. Could not get to kangkong and was not about the fight the crowd. No pandan...Will have to make do.

Beng Hoe headed to the frozen section. The men in my house had discovered these frozen Tha
i Dinners complete with curry and real jasmin rice.$3.59 a box. Stocked up on those and some Pad Thai for daughter. Everyone but your truly has tried them. What do I get? Green Tea with Brown Rice. Had run out and been missing it and being spoilt by my kids. The joy of yelling "Mommy needs green tea" in the evening and being rewarded with a fragrant cup of tea. Service has been slow (if any) when they had to make a hot pot from loose green tea. Such is the limit of their love for me.

Still full from lunch, general consensus for to push Nasi Lemak to another day. As usual our belly betrayed us. At around 7 pm, I moseyed to the kitchen and started to cook. Prepared the rice first. Coconut milk out of the can. Hey, this is the USA.Boiled some hard boiled eggs (14 minutes perfect hard boiled eggs). Rummaged freezer for my stash of frozen sambal. Peel and fried up ikan bilis. Fried some peanuts and toasted up the tau kwa. Cooked the fried ikan bilis in the sambal together with more fresh slices of onion. Peeled and cut cucumber. Dinner is served. Everyone is happy. Son A loved the ikan bilis sambal so much he polished it! Said it was like the sambal in the banana/ paper wrap packages in Malaysia. Isn't that sweet : )

That is day 5 to 7. How we will be going forward is anyone's guess. Work week, sports practices, soccer games, Muay Thai and Jujitsu classes in early evening....