Friday, September 22, 2017

Red Curry Paste Recipe

Ah, I found the curry paste recipe for the Thai Red Curry (for Roast Duck). It was scribbled in my notepad, amongst other recipes I've copied from the Internet. I am old-fashioned as such, I find it easier to refer to a notebook than the IPad. ;)

Red Curry Paste

Ingredients
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp salt
10 large dried chillies (or 20g), rehydrated/soaked in warm water for 30mins, finely chopped
1 tsp grated galangal
1 stalk of lemongrass, finely chopped
6 coriander roots, washed, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp shrimp paste
8 red birds eye chillies, seeds removed

Directions
1. Dry roast cumin, coriander and peppercorns over medium heat for 2 mins until fragrant. Cool.
2. Grind them until they become powder. Add remaining ingredients and pound until a smooth paste forms.

Alternatively, which I did, add 1/4 cup of water to all ingredients and blend until smooth.


I'm sorely tempted to make the paste right now but it's too warm to be eating spicy food today!


So sorry for the last post - I was too sleepy to end it properly. I was trying to make a list of some of his current favourite books and ask anyone some suggestions for new books to try.

I am excited about going to a books warehouse sale tomorrow - I really hope I snag some good bargains. The best thing about it is that, I'm hoping to get children's book and none for me. HAH!

For me, borrowing books from the library is so much better now as the bookshelves certainly do not have space for both Brendan and my books. :D


It's Time To Sleep You Crazy Sheep



... is Brendan's all-time favourite book and we don't know why.

Could it be the rhymes or the illustrations?

We've I've read it so often (at least twice a day: before nap and before bed) that I've memorised the first two pages. If I can memorise the whole book, that would be great - I'll just recite the whole book in the dark while he settles himself to sleep. Ha!

I thought our trip to the library on Wednesday was fruitful, with 9 books for him and 4 for me, but I realised later that night that 1/3 of the books were related to colours. Boring!



This book isn't too bad, although I try not to be bothered by the American spelling. :D

Except that I'm still trying to get him interested enough to read/go through the whole book! 



One of his other favourite book is called Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas and it's a pretty entertaining book. It was a birthday present and he happily shrieks "Nana!" when he sees the cover, although I do wonder if he's referring to the banana or the piranha.

I'm looking for more books to buy for him, although he's stopped flicking through a few of his Sandra Boynton and Dr Seuss ones. Noooooo ... I can't wait for him to be able to read so we can go through them together! :)

My little bookworm back in April. *heart*

Crap!
I just nodded off for a second here!

I think I better get to bed ... zzzz

Friday, September 15, 2017

Recently Tried Recipes

One of the hardest things I've yet to accept is the lack of time to do the things I want and long to do. Sometimes it gets me down, and I do the unthinkable of blaming it on B, but most of the time I've given up on getting things done ASAP, but choose to spread the work to be done within a few days. Hahaha!

For example, the Serunding Daging (Beef Meat Floss). It took me almost 5 days to get it done because I didn't have time to shred the meat as finely as I wanted it to be. [Tried in August 2017.]


Ironically, despite my attempt in shredding the meat as finely as possible before cooking it, they clumped together during the cooking process. Ha! I shouldn't have invested THAT much time. ;)



The recipe from Fried Chillies I referred to uses coriander seeds, cumin and fennel seeds. I'll probably find another recipe to try out as I didn't enjoy tasting the coriander seeds in my mouth. I picked out as many seeds as I could but alas, guess what? I've still got a container of the floss in my fridge as I haven't picked out as many as I am hoping to before consumption! :D



Nevertheless, it was good eaten with rice or even pasta! It's very useful to have some at standby should you need to have a quick meal to get out of the way.

Hoping to try the Chinese version one day. ONE DAY when I believe I have all the time in the world, haha!

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Angku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cake)

This is one of my favourite childhood snacks to have. My paternal grandmother would bring over tons of it when she visited and the ones with peanut filling were always quickly snapped up. I haven't tried making the peanut filling yet, but like mentioned above, ONE DAY I shall!

Initially I thought it was hard work, but after getting the hang of it the first round, the second one was a breeze. Well, I had the hubs helping me out as we were rushing to have food ready for Brendan's 1st birthday party. :)

Recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover. Tried in May 2017.

Hmmm, I wish I could have some right now. *tries not to drool* It turned out to be a huge hit with my Malaysian and Singaporean friends - and thank goodness there was enough for them to bring some home with them. :)

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Mee Hoon Kueh [July 2017.]

One of my friends was always sharing photos of this dish on Facebook and yes, it seems like most people know this dish as Pan Mee. The hubs said the same thing when he saw it the first time.

Recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover.

I believe they're the same thing, especially when Pan Mee condiments are added to this broth of pulled dough pieces. I made it plain the first time, like how my grandmother did it - just spinach and dough in broth. That was it.

The second and third time I made it, I added Pan Mee condiments of minced meat and mushroom, and fried anchovies.

In all honesty, as much as B loves the dish (he loves his carbs), it is quite time consuming to prepare it as a meal. Letting the dough rest for at least an hour before pulling it and cooking it in boiling water can take a while. Zzzz

Just last night I threw away the rest of the dough I didn't finish using the day before. :(

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Lei Cha [Tried in July 2017.]


I first ate this dish in Ipoh, when the hubs and I were still in an unmarried relationship. His father advised me that not everyone liked this dish and there were two ways of eating it, drown your rice and condiments with the broth, or eat your rice with enough broth as you please.



It turned out that I enjoyed the dish very much. I would request for it whenever we were in Ipoh for the weekend. Later on, we found a coffee shop in Kepong serving it, and some of our friends loved this dish as well.

The recipe I tried is from The Star Online with some of my own condiments. It's extremely hard work and the taste was 90% to what we were used to. The broth is heavy in terms of flavour but it looks watery in the picture. I'm not sure how I'd tweak it should I attempt the recipe again.

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Pumpkin recipes - Steamed pumpkin and radish cake.


I replaced a portion of radish with pumpkin instead, curious to see how it would turn out. Pumpkin, as you know, is mild tasting, so you couldn't tell that it was one of the ingredients in this dish.



Pan-frying leftovers are always so much tastier. I love the colour, if not disappointed in the lack of taste. :)


Pumpkin No Churn Ice-Cream


I was so excited to discover that you can make ice-cream without the need of an ice-cream maker!

I soon realised that unfortunately, I could mostly taste the cream in it, no thanks to pumpkin being mild flavoured, remember? It gives you a gorgeous colour, no doubt about it, but taste wise, it was a bit of a disappointment.

But it didn't stop us from finishing it, especially when you want something cold to end your meal. 

I'm hoping to try another flavour and see if it'll stand out. :)

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Roast Duck Curry [Tried in July 2017.]


OMG ... I LOVED the curry paste!

The hubs had brought home some leftover roast duck he had for lunch with a colleague. He commented that the duck was lean and wasn't very appealing (in taste) so could I please make it better?

I could only think of curry and had to find a recipe I thought suitable. The thing is, I can't recall where I took the curry paste recipe from. *ponders*

The curry was delicious, but would have tasted so much better with lychee and eggplant, both of which I didn't have. Grapes and mandarin just made it weird.

Nevertheless, I wish to emphasize that the curry paste was da BOMB.

Now where the heck is the recipe??

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Kuih Bangkit. [Tried in May 2017.]


I had cravings in May 2017. I was desperate to taste the creamy coconut in my mouth that I trawled the internet for a recipe I could follow.

Whilst they didn't look anything like kuih bangkit as I didn't have the mould, they tasted like it. I was so happy. I asked my friends to try it during Brendan's birthday party and made them take some home, too, otherwise I would devour everything. 

Now that I have the mould (thanks to the BFF for bringing them over), I shall make them again!
But one fine day!

Because, I shouldn't.
If I'm on a diet and all ... :D

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Laksa Johor [Tried in August 2017.]


I've only eaten this dish once, and it was a homemade version of it.

I loved the thickness of it, and the use of spaghetti that the dish just stuck in my head since ... 10 years ago?

For the first round, I blanched the diced french beans as I thought they would be too hard to chew. For the second round with leftover gravy, it was raw and it made such a huge difference. It brought out the flavours of the gravy and the dish was altogether whole.

There are plenty of recipes out there that will tell you what fish should be used (mackerel, tuna, parang or sardines) but I used sardines and they tasted good enough for me.

------

Right.

The pictures are making me hungry as I relived my cooking moments.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Spring is springing

Why, hello!
It's been a while!

I'm here because I'm wondering how long will it take for a tray of brownies to cool down before I can dig in. I'm also wondering if I should bake some cookies while waiting.

Or prepare dinner instead.

Betty Crocker's Triple Fudge Brownies - first time trying a brownie mix.

I can't believe it's September and in a few months, it'll be another new year. I dread the new years as they remind me of how old I'm becoming and how fast B is growing up!

There has been some progress in some of his skills and thought process that sometimes surprise us. I'm probably not like some mums who keep tab on every single achievement but should I?

August 2017 - He finally knew how to stack them. Almost brought tears to my eyes. :P

Just last Friday, I was chatting with another mum when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed B going down the plastic kiddy slide on his tummy. The fact that he was sliding down head first wasn't what surprised me (he's a bit of a daredevil, me thinks), but the fact that he had managed to climb up the 5 steps on his own and I didn't get to witness it the first time. Oh, man!


Mr Sociable wanted to be friends but the kid wasn't pleased to be interrupted
from his playing.

He's very keen on being friends with other children and it's hard to rein in his excitement and friendliness. When mums of the other children aren't around to guide or advise their children on how to react to B's attention, I try to steer him away, just in case the other children/mums don't really like it. 

B has a few friends at playgroup who are used to his attention by now. He likes handing over toys from the containers or anything, just to be friends. But now that he's a bit more aware of his surroundings and he is 15 months plus now, he is at that stage of wanting to play with the toys that other children are playing with. Oh gawd, I have to tell him to either share or wait for his turn, and sometimes drag him away, telling him that the other kid does not want to share the toy.

It's the truth, and I might be handling it all wrong but hey, it is NOT easy to deal with the situation, mmkay.

I know a mum who once told me she had tears in her eyes when she observed her son playing on his own while she was preparing dinner. She was imagining how lonely it was to be an only child. 

Yeah, I sometimes feel the same way, too, when I see B bored and alone with his toys, as if in need of some company. I tell myself that I need to bring him out as much as possible for play dates so he can play with the other little people like him. :)

But sometimes I want to do my own things, too ... and housework. :D

Neighbour's chilli was so spicy! I thought they'd harvest it so I left it there but they never did!

I am trying to get myself back into running and it's hard work when you have to push the stroller at the same time. It's a good workout, I have to admit, but my runs are pretty dependent on the weather. The weather is kinda crummy this week, and the sun peeks out from the clouds during B's afternoon naps! Hah!

Anyhoo, I need to post some recipes here before I forget them. I'd like to think that I've cooked up a storm for the past few months I haven't updated this blog but I don't think I've been that productive. 

Laters.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Autumn is here

This post was drafted last week and finally completed the day this post is published!


Brendan
One of the things I love doing is looking back at old photos of my little koala, and chuckling to myself, amazed as to how much he has changed. Heehee. It really tickles me.

Now that B is almost 11 months, I can see his developments progressing bit by bit, from improvement of his motor skills and expressing himself better. There's a lot of baby babble and hand pointing and I nod and respond accordingly, pretending to understand him when I only understand 10% of it!

One of my daily struggles involve preparing his meals. While I wish I was one of those super health freaks who insist their children eat only the best organic food, I can only be partially bothered. *guilt-stricken*


Breakfast are the toughest. I used to feed him some yoghurt when we were in Malaysia but I stopped, fearing for its sugar content. Right now, I alternate between oats with pieces of bread and fruit, and Cerelac with pieces of bread, as well as a piece of bread to keep his restless hands busy (so he'll feed himself) while we watch Sesame Street on tv.

I try to stay away from processed baby food but having Cerelac and some baby rice puffs (for snacks) readily available at hand is very convenient!

What a mess!

I dread cleaning up after his meals, I really do. Well, the hubs does, too. It's hard work!

Sometimes I prefer to feed him to limit the mess but it helps to have some finger food available when he insists on feeding himself.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Running Again - Wyndham Rotary Fun Run Walk 2017

I never thought I'd be running again (in races) until B turns 1. You know, until my pelvic floor and whatnots are functioning properly again. :D

But as a step towards regaining my fitness, I signed up for the 5KM run just two weeks ago as a kick in the right direction. Only then did I start 'training' for it, heh, jogging at least 3 times a week! 

It's a pain to run while pushing the stroller, you know, that's why I'm always inclined to walk around the neighbourhood instead!

Anyway, the goal was to complete the distance within 40 minutes, at most, as the hubs' 10KM starts 45 minutes after my run. Someone had to take over minding our koala.

Wyndham Rotary Fun Run/Walk 2017 was held at the Chirnside Park, Werribee on March 5th.

It was a pleasant Sunday morning for a lovely run as it was cool and cloudy. I love small events as it's less crowded on the route.

We ran along the Werribee River and made a u-turn halfway through (along the highway / Federation Trail) to head back to the field. I wasn't really paying attention to the scenery around me as I was focused on my breathing and trying to maintain a steady pace. I thought I would end up killing myself if I pushed too hard but the actual fact was, I held myself back.

I stopped to walk twice, just to catch my breath up a tiny slope and before entering the finishing chute. I know I shouldn't have!

About 500m before the finish line, I encouraged a fellow runner who was walking, to keep on going as we were nearly there. He must have somehow taken offence when I ran past him while saying that, because he suddenly shot off with a tremendous burst of speed.

(You know how sensitive some older folks can be ...)

Wanted to show off my dress here. :D
Oh, and my cute grumpy boo!

It turned out that my fitness is still OK, despite not running regularly for the past 3 months - there is hope to get back to where I used to be! 

I was pleasantly surprised that I could squeeze into my running dress. I only remembered it when I was getting reading that morning. 

I was also chuffed to finish under 30 minutes in good form! I should have pushed myself, shouldn't I? Heh. Let's not kill myself so soon ... baby steps!


Everyone did better than they expected, the hubs and Eugene. Everyone hasn't been running regularly so they had concerns about how they'd fare. Hehe. 

So, the hubs tells me that my next event (preferably end of this month) should be a 10KM. Whattt ... the thought of training again makes me feel lazy ...

But I confess, running regularly again and to be able to do a 10km effortlessly is this year's motivation. Well, maybe graduate to a half marathon distance by the end of the year. I can't afford to put in too much time into training as little B will need my time and energy as well!


Sorry for ending most of the sentences with exclamation marks! Haha

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Brendan's Bear

Once upon a time, my boy received a lovely gift pack from a good mate (I bet his wife did the careful shopping). He was two months old when we first visited them.

In the pack was a dark brown bear comforter snuggly (what do you call it?) and we'd place it on his chest every time he slept. I believe that's how he grew attached to it. :)

He'd shriek with glee each time he spotted the bear when we put him in his cot, and would proceed to chew on its snout or tag. In fact, he'd suck on the tag until he'd fall asleep during his naps.


Above is one of the pictures I took of his nap times in the past. I just couldn't resist smiling (with total adoration for my boy, hehe) whenever I find him with The Very Hungry Caterpillar cloth book or the bear partially covering his face.

He adored the bear so much that if you were to hold the bear and any other plush toys hostage, he'd dive and save the bear first.

Always.

A few weeks ago, we flew to Malaysia to celebrate Chinese New Year with our families. We made sure the bear traveled with us as his dependable companion on the plane.

Unfortunately, unknown to me, the bear fell out of my bag last Monday at KLIA before we cleared security check for our flight to Melbourne. I only realised this halfway through our flight.

Close up of the bear.

I was so so so gutted.

I felt terrible.

Bin and I were horrified!

The night we got home, I think Brendan had difficulties with heading into dreamland. Not sure if it was because there was no bear, as well as jet lag and tired, but he cried inconsolably for an hour. 

Two nights after that, he cried for 2 hours. 
OMG it was tough for everyone as we were a bit under the weather, too.

I decided then and there that I'd try to replicate the bear for him as the bear was no longer available on the shelves (since months back).

Geez, talk about true love for my baby ...

It took me 3 nights (intermittent hours here and there) and I finally managed to make something which resembled closely to the bear. Granted that the materials I used were not 100% accurate, but colour wise, I almost nailed it. 


Kinda.

When we presented the bear to him, he smiled and reached out for it. He checked its snout and tag, and decided that the bear was alright.

He doesn't have the same attachment as he did with the first one but he's doing much better now. At least he has something to reach out to when he needs it. :)

But should the hubs hold it hostage with the other plush toys, the bear would not be his first choice to save.


Nevertheless, I'm pretty impressed with my newbie skills. Heh.