Friday, January 30, 2009

Breakfast For One?

A quick breakfast was prepared with the leftover glass noodles that we had from the CNY's eve dinner. I added tons of vegetables including carrots, lettuce from my in-law, dried mushrooms and eggs. It did not matter that I was the only one who enjoyed it, 'cos nobody else wanted it. The noodles didn't get wasted.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Better ...

Things will get worse before they get better. That's used a lot these days when people talk about economy, about foreign exchange market, about housing prices, about life. It sounds so cliche and I wonder how many people really have the patience and capability to hang in there in bad times. Face it, life sucks sometimes. I read today that a man ended his life after losing his job. He killed his wife and his children too. It's a really sad situation and my heart goes with them. When things are hard, things are really extremely hard. I may not know the pains to that extent but I know how things could be so terribly bad that people are not able to foresee the possible light at the end of the tunnel. I had not idea how my mom managed to pull through being left with nine children with no money, no house and no source of income when she was merely 45 years old. But she did and I thank God for that. So when things are not as bad, I should believe that there's hope. I hope that people in bad situation still have strength and hope too.

Stress level is really high everywhere. Most people have lost money, only the extent of it that varies from person to person. Anyone who had no money or very little money to begin with, would probably be just fine financially, but then again, prices of basic necessities rocketed and in some way, they lose out the value of their money anyway. Too many people lose their jobs already and many more are expected to lose their source of income too.

Huh, life is definitely not easy. At times like this, your college degrees, your years of experience and your hard work do not seem to matter much. Perseverance is needed more than ever. How anyone can be prepared for this sort of set up, I have no idea. Hang in there, fella! Keep on trying.

Bringing some bright colors to the street here is the "pink ox taxis" that many people apparently have spotted around town these days. I saw them only today! Interesting!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Stuffed belly, body ache, feeling sleepy and regretting the over-consumption of food. That's the afternoon of CNY onwards...

Sometimes I forget what certain celebration means to some people and to what extent it means to them. The extent that I am unable to know because what I do never ever seem to be enough. I think I officially dislike CNY because up to this day, I still haven't mastered the skills to do certain things correctly!

So, blah!marah

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Entering The Year Of The Ox.....

Honestly, I didn't think of of the fact that it was going to be the year of the Ox. I see no difference and I think of no difference. Some people may do. We wanted to have a dinner to remember, just like previous years, we had Chinese Steamboat or Hot Pot for our New Year’s Eve dinner. People around here normally have this on their menu on the Lunar New Year’s Eve dinner, or reunion dinner. Me? Merely a follower, who also wanted to feed her family well...

We had a large selection of raw and marinated ingredients served on the table to dip into the stock that we put in the center of the table and continuously kept warm. Everyone could choose any of those items, we have maybe 15-20 different things to choose from that should satisfy everyone’s cravings. I find it mandatory to have sliced beef, but we also had chicken balls, fish balls, pork balls, stuffed fish balls, many different types of dumplings, fish ravioli, enoki, mushrooms, green vegetables, shrimp, sliced fish, bean curd, glass noodles and …………… a whole bunch of more stuff. Really, lots and lots of them.

A dipping sauce was provided too, it is a sweet chili sauce from the bottle that has been added with a little amount of water and mixed with chopped Chinese parsley.

We definitely stuffed ourselves so much, it was a great dinner, but more importantly it was a nice get-together time with family members. Next year, when No. 1 goes to college, we might need to live telecast it via Skype. fikir

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Buzz Around Chinatown

Greetings from Chinatown.

Here are some pictures from Chinatown taken last Saturday. It was a typical hot and humid day. IMHO, The Chinatown during this festive season looked very similar to every other festive season. The economic downturn is likely to have contributed to slightly fewer people there. I could be wrong too, because the crowds sometimes do appear after dark.

There are stalls and stalls selling Chinese New Year decorations and products.


Many stalls sold sweet goodies and cookies for the Lunar New Year.

Some places were really quite packed with people, made it hard to walk through.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Lunar New Year to everyone! Wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year!!

Once A Year Yum!

DH's friend in Jakarta always sends us this spiced multi-layered cake or called "lapis legit" prior to Chinese New Year. Thanks to Dutch occupation in Indonesia for hundreds of years that this cake has been inherited. This type of cake is widely sold in Singapore as well as in Malaysia, however the one that he normally gives us is one of the better ones if not the best that I have ever had. This particular one is so thinly layered and rich in taste.

The cake has firm texture and is really delicious. It is normally made using 30 yolks, 2 cups of butter and lots of sugar. You'll get your self around 8-inch cake. One thin layer has to be baked at one time and it requires tons of patience. I used to make them back when I only had two kids , who were still tiny and cute! senyum Beware if you have cholesterol problems! Just have a little slice, because it is so truly yummy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ready For Steamboat

I am finally getting warmed-up and stoked for the Lunar New Year after the whole day being surrounded with everything related Chinese New Year. I started off with going to the supermarket to buy a few things to complete my Steam Boat list for NY's Eve dinner and felt so trapped because it was super crowded. The check out lines were super long too and I could not help wonder why I tortured myself unnecessarily there....

Another self torture was imposed in the afternoon when I accompanied DH to his annual trip to Chinatown. It was crowded in some parts and surprisingly not so in many parts. It's a typical hot afternoon in Singapore and Chinatown looked very "new year-ish" everywhere. Many people lined up for their barbecue pork. I was glad it was done and completed again this year!

By evening, as I put my thoughts together for the NY's eve dinner, to make sure I got everything we wanted, I was already longing for the steamboat time to come sooner. Hmmmm.... hungry!

Friday, January 23, 2009

When So Much Is Too Much ...

It's food everywhere, it's food festival as Lunar New Year is approaching. I do not know how to say this without sounding ungrateful and arrogant. It's just too much and it does not make sense to me at all. Why would anyone give so much vegetables and fresh food to a family like us that our fridge can't possibly accommodate. I really appreciate the generosity. I do and I am thankful of how nice and caring she is towards us. But broccoli and a few types of leafy veges that I do not know, plus a bag of sweet potatoes, chillies and of course some oranges. Plenty of them.... on top of what we have gotten at home already. That's not all yet, we also got jars and jars of cookies and goodies. And a big bag of dried mushroom. And I am positive I would have missed mentioned a thing or two.....

This nice lady is DH's sister and of course I understand how loving she is toward her brother. and his family. Of course, this sentence will be continued with a "but... ". Here we go. But, for Pete's sake, why so much? Just give me a thing or two and I will be more than happy already. The whole over-giving thing make me so mad, because I know it for sure that some of them will be wasted. What a waste indeed and it makes me feel so bad to throw the food away. I am irritated because there's practically no space in the fridge anymore for anything else. I have been really busy the whole day that I could not possible make arrangement to pass some of them on to other people.

DH took the liberty to stuff everything she got from his sister in the fridge and turned my fridge into the ugliest fridge in the country. Yuck. By the time I got home and opened the fridge I almost got a heart attack and had to immediately without further ado, clean up and sort things out. Meanwhile on the dining table, many jars of cookies are waiting for us to gobble. I don't feel good. This is happening every year.... and this is no fun. I have no freedom to have food that I like anymore.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spring Rolls

The year has barely started and three weeks apparently have gone by. I am good at writing 2009 so far, no mistake has been made on the cheques that I have written. I have a niece who started internship this month, another niece that has already started being a lecturer, she's only 22. Scary! A little nephew who is down with typhoid at the moment. And Chinese New Year in five days. We still have no certain plan on D-day of whether we will be driving to Malaysia.

I am relieved to have found out that my OB Gyn knows really well how to fix my problem after I saw him yesterday. I am glad my Australian neighbor, Kaylene, introduced me to him. I still him on regular basis and whenever needed. Unfortunately, I have no idea where Kaylene is now. She and her family moved to Kuala Lumpur and then back to Sydney and I lost her since. I also lost a friend that moved back to Perth. And another one that moved to Austin, I barely heard. I lost her for a while. She changed her email address and she wrote to me only recently. I haven't heard from her again over the past couple of months.

The place that I am staying here is an expatriate place so people do come and go. That makes it hard to maintain a friendship with them. Just like maintaining long-distance relationship, it's hard. Add family and kids into the quotation and they disappear into thin air. Strangely enough, I still have friends from 20-25 years ago and they live very far away. I, however, get so messed up when it comes to childhood friends. I moved around too much that I could not remember their faces and names anymore.

I continue cooking and baking, here's the spring rolls from a few days ago, filled with bamboo shoots, carrots, minced chicken and more stuff. I like to eat them with fresh chillies. Spicy!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Banana & Peach Crisp

I am so tempted. Another sister and her friends are in Bali right now and from what I heard, they went places and were having a great time. Maybe I should start making a plan for my March holiday ....

We needed to finish up our bananas last week, we don't really have banana eater at home aside from my No. 2. DH is another banana eater, but he is away on business trip, the first one of the year!! Strangely enough, when the bananas are transformed into different forms, they get eaten. We put together the leftover bananas and a half a can of peaches and some other goodies and got ourselves banana and peach crisp. I love them for dessert and enjoy them for breakfast too. That's it. They're gone.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Javanese Fried Noodles

Today marked the last day, temporarily, of being bugged with challenging high school problems. What a relief, again, temporarily. The real exam will be coming in the next months and I will have to solve more Math problems. I probably should refresh myself ahead of time so I won't have to think too long to help my middle kid. The person I am talking about here is currently catching up with her TV programs after working extremely hard over the past many weeks.

I am so glad it is over, for the time being.

I am so aware that my recent postings have been more about food that anything else. In any case, food is happening every single day whether I prepare them myself or not. I have not been going places and find interesting stuff as much as I like to. Other than that it is the same old-same old...........

So food it is. Something that we all can appreciate here.

Javanese fried noodles is one of the most popular food in Indonesia. It is simple and it does not take along time to prepare. I spiced it up bit wiht one big red chilly pepper that I bleded well with onion, garlic and candlenuts. I love to have them once in a while, and I could use the crunchy fried onions from my mother in law to eat this with.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kung Pao Chicken!

The flexibility is ours when we cook at home. Kung Pao chicken, at the restaurants, is normally served with either peanuts or cashew nuts, neither of which, is a favorite of anyone in this family and most of the time are left on the plate. When I cook this dish at home, I love to incorporate bamboo shoots that are cut in small cubes into it. I can adjust the taste to our likings. Sweet and spicy, it is an ultimate satisfaction to the tummy. Hmmh........

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cat's Tongue In Demand

I woke up with a craving for Cat's Tongue, the cookies, last Sunday. I thought about them before I fell asleep the night before. Of course I had to have them, cause it would drive me crazy all day thinking about them if I didn't bake any. When the kids asked me why I suddenly made Cat's Tongue, I just said, God told me. Lame. Just like the day before when I suddenly went crazy over wanting to make some rice noodles with thick gravy of chicken and vegetables. Gotta have it, so I made it. The same question was asked and a similar answer was given. I was lying down in bed and the idea just popped into my head.

For the time being I am stuffed and we are well stocked with these Lingue di Gatto aka Cat's Tongue aka Lidah Kucing aka Kattetong. I am contended.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's Begun ...

You won't fail to notice that Chinese New Year is around the corner here. Definitely. Wherever we go, you are constantly reminded that it is coming, whether it is supermarket that you go to or shopping malls. Everything in everywhere seems to cater your Chinese New Year needs whether you want them or not. You will see the goodies on display and calling out your name.

Even Coca Cola ads at the bus stops also remind you of Chinese New Year. Go get into the mood and celebrate!

Loving Green Chilies

I only have one partner in crime in this house when it comes to this dish, my second daughter. This is mostly sliced green chilies. stir-fried with garlic and onion with some fried tiny salted silver fish and eggs, seasoned with salt, pepper and a little bit of soy sauce. It is ideally served smoking hot with hot steamy rice and we got ourselves a happy hot spicy me! I inherited this recipe from my eldest sister who got it when she studied away from home. My other sisters and some of my nieces love this too. They are unfortunately miles away, so I can't quite share my happiness with them. Only in picture. senyumsenyumsenyum

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Fine Lunch

I still have some of the rice noodles sent by my mother in law a while back. She recently sent us a jar of crunchy fried onion that I thought would be so great for fried noodles. They just make a quick and wonderful lunch. With some sliced cabbage and carrots as well as chicken, I couldn't say no to this. I love to have them with thinly slices of omelette on top. Delish!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Can You Smell That?

I started my baking early this morning, spreading sweet chocolate-vanilla aroma around the house. Well, 9AM for baking cookies is early for me. It's classic chocolate chip cookies for the family that we are meeting for lunch, they have two little kids whom I thought might enjoy them and are in town for their holiday. I could not think of anything to get them from around here, since everything is really accessible for them too. There's also a chance that they know this country's delicious spots better than we do, since we are desperately hopeless at going out places here, so I thought homemade chocolate chip cookies should be more special. I hope so.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is Bali Calling Me?

I am quite convinced of that. It was unexpected to have found out that DH's friend who was laid off last month, was spending time in Bali with his daughter. We thought he would be busy looking for a new job, not that he needs money, because he is wealthy. His whole family is wealthy and his wife still has her great job. Good for them! Why one must be so miserable over losing a job, if he could have the opportunity to bond with his daughter, unwind and relax in Bali? Super!

My younger sister apparently flew to Bali too. With her two kids and a niece who is having a long holiday. It is meant to be a holiday mixed a little tiny bit with business. They are having great time before the kids go back to school next week. She has been updating me with pictures using her Blackberry. I can see the beach, another beach, more beach pictures. Monkey and swimming pools too. The little turtle in the picture is going be mine, for my collection. It was really thoughtful of her. (PS: I did not realize that I was collecting little turtles, somehow I have many!)

They are still in Bali and I would expect more pictures from her. This sister of mine really knows how to have fun, she has so much energy and enthusiasm. I normally could not keep up with her when in comes to having fun. I get bored of having too much fun and want to head home. Weird. Gah, what an oxymoron?! Or plain weird I am.

Another sister is going to Bali too, with her two friends. What economy in recession are they talking about? These ladies certainly know how to get away from their husbands and kids. I wish I had friends that I could pull away from their family and have a little fun on the beaches of Bali. It's so hard enough to fit one into a lunch schedule, let's not ask too much. The three ladies are flying next week. I am turning green with envy......mrgreen and I will be hearing from them too when they are there.

Guess what I saw on TV when I randomly flipped around the channels. A program featuring Bali. They show the beautiful beaches again, calling my name, again and again..........

As much as I want too, I doubt if I'll be going there in the near future. But who knows?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Let's Hope It's A Phase!

I do not bother making New Year resolution, it does not work for me, it never did. If I want to change anything at all, I just do it when I want to do it, I won't wait until New Year to change. I hope I have the determination to do so and to remember my purpose when something gets in the way. That's the harder bit, I need a lot of push from people around me. But since nobody really knows it, nothing happens.

I read someone's resolution today and I could not help smiling, I feel it. It said "My resolution is to try and spend less time looking at all the negative things in life and find the positive things first. Sometimes it is hard. Especially with 2 teenagers." Hmm..... I want the same things and I am aware of how hard that can be.

Living with teenagers make me wonder about so many things in life. I am back to being five years old who keeps on wondering why this, why that and not being able to see the positive things because I am occasionally so overwhelmed by too many "wonders".

Why don't you pick up the eraser that you drop on the floor? Answer: because.......
Why did you leave the air-con if you are not going to be inside the room? Answer: because.....
Why don't you brush your hair? Answer: because.....
Why don't you make your bed? Answer: because ... I'm gonna sleep on it and it gets messy again....
Why do I have to feed you then, you're gonna get hungry again? Answer: it's different, we are talking about humans....
Why is it different? Answer: because.....
Why did you do that to your sister? Answer: because....

Huh, too many unanswered questions! Most of the answers are because dot dot dot dot dot....

One of them gets furious over things. Anything. Furious over what? What have we done? That's one more thing that I wonder as well.

Like most parents, we have tried just about everything and we are keeping on trying. And waiting for "this phase" to be over and looking forward to the new chapter. Yes, let's hope this is just a phase! From my comedic side, life is hilarious. Welcome to Parent City! doa


I like it when my kids take initiative on what they want to have as their meal and act upon it, i.e. putting together whatever they want themselves and being responsible for their choices. They do not have to do this everyday, but it'll be nice to have it more often. This way, they would clean up whatever they prepare, for better or worse. Unless they turn out really bad, which never happened anyway. Like these pizza with sausage and basil leaves, prepared with all of their hearts, only by two of them. The middle child just had to pick something different, as usual. Or asks from her sisters. Typical.