Monday, February 29, 2016

What's going on

It is another Monday. Weekday could be pretty hectic for me.

And yes, Happy Leap Day, guys! How does it feel to have an extra day this month?? ^^

It rained this morning but I did went out to pay bill in post office and grocery shopping. And I had to pick up my hubby as he dropped his car for servicing. When it was almost 12, everything seemed to run fast. I were lazy to go out to buy lunch so I cooked a simple lunch today. 

Made 2 rolls of Chinese spring rolls for lunch and dinner.

Jan has her extra-curriculum class in school so I packed her lunch and passed to her in school.

Laundry is a never ending task at home. I have been overwork my washing machine and dryer for the past months. What to do? I couldn't stand the laundry baskets piling up. Thankfully my girl helped me some day on folding and keeping them.

In the evening when everyone got together, it was nothing but cheekiness and noise. The kids happily posed for the camera with their new cloth masks my sis bought from Vietnam.

In between, I taught Jay his test. Life as a child is not so much fun now. Every week, you will have all the 3 languages dictation to learn. And as a mum, I also get stressed because of school! Sigh.

After dinner, we rested in front of tv and by 9pm, the schooling kids called it a night. And yours truly has some peaceful time to write a post and maybe catch on some tv or continue my book later before calling it a night.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Brave the weather

It was middle of the week. Weather was not good; rain was on and off. One minute it rained cats and dogs and next minute, it stopped or slight drizzle.

Jamie was up early that day so we thought of finding my mum for our weekly breakfast and grocery shopping. It was clear in my place that moment but once we were half way to my mum, it rained like crazy. And I were caught in an-hour jam on the road!!

As it was still raining and cold, we thought of having something warm. Like soup. And I thought of Top 10 Food Court in Jalan Song since it has been a while since we were there.

I used to enjoy the fish head mihun soup there. It was clear but you could request to add milk into the soup. This round, I ordered fish meat mihun soup; much easier to eat than fish head mihun.

After waited for about 5 minutes, here came our warm mihun soup. Luckily not many people there otherwise hard to find seat and even have to wait quite long for the mihun soup.

My clear fish mihun soup (RM8.50) was warm, sweet and sourish. The fried fish fillets and fish ball were fresh. And that goes with the fish maw, beancurd skin and fresh tomato. A lovely meal to be enjoyed on a cold morning.

Fortunately the sky clears in the afternoon and how happy to be able to push my laundry to dry under the sun. 

One thing about rain I hate is it rains when it is time to pick the kids from school. One hand holding on to Jamie and a spare umbrella while another hand holding umbrella walking on the wet road. Some more Jamie does not want to hold to my hand now and he loves to run. Really troublesome. And even more troublesome when I had to carry the heavy school bag while both hands are full and instructing the kids to follow me. Tsk tsk.

Anyway, I saw this nice plant in the school compound that day so I snapped a photo and share here. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Green lately

Now that the busy part of CNY is behind me, I could put my energy into one of my hobbies. Gardening!!

My plants needed some trimming and taking care of. So few mornings ago, I took almost an hour trimming off those crawlings and dying leaves. At least I think they looked better.

And I also re-organised my plants. Putting most pots under the sun.  For now, they would stay like this.

The weather has been sunny lately with lesser rain so I have to water my plants twice a day. Usually I only do it once, in the morning. 

Been thinking of doing some racks or stands for my plants but that would be my future list-to-do.

I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.
Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs,
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Our mandarin oranges salad

What to do with the leftover Mandarin oranges from Chinese New Year? Other than eating and juicing, you could make salad from them, like I do.

This salad is refreshing and appetizing. You would love it, like how hubby and I do.  The acidity from the salad dressing give the salad a distinctive taste to the sweet oranges and oniony onion.

This salad is healthy as I used healthy and organic ingredients including the bacon bits. Hormel brand of 50% less fat bacon pieces is my choice here.

2 Mandarin oranges (lokam), peeled
1/2 big onion, diced
Handful of roasted almonds
1 tbsp bacon bits

Salad dressing
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Malt Vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
1/4 tsp salt

1. Arrange the salad in a salad plate.
2. Mix the salad dressing in a bowl.
3. Pour the dressing onto the salad and toss and mix well. 

This salad nice to be taken with a cup of black tea! Now you have all the 4 tastes in one serving. A real taste teaser.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lunch, beautiful fish and at night

In my previous post, I shared my Chap Goh Mei lunch. Here was some of the dishes, I took a shot of them individually.

Stir-fried celery and carrot with sliced beef

Braised pork trotters

Black olive (okana) with sugar and black soy sauce dipping

After lunch, hubby took out this frozen fish that we brought back from Kapit last December. We had a few in the feezer and till Monday, I have not cooked any of them.  Meant for special occasion or festival.

So for such auspicious day, hubby told me to cook it for dinner. It is Sima (as the local called this fish). Cheaper than tengalak and empurau, its flesh is nice and sweet. But one has to be careful when eating it as it has many small bones.

Sima - out from the freezer

So after thaw this beautiful fish for few hours in the afternoon, it was ready to be steamed. Luckily I had hubby to help me gut the fish. The fish was big and it fitted my wok nicely. Lol.

Sima - after fully defrost

I had a little assistant in the kitchen to help me prepare dinner.

She was thrilled looking at the big fish.

Besides her, there was another busybody conquering the kitchen's cabinet!! Really, three of us is a crowd in there!!

Anyway, back to my fish, once it is fully defrost, I season the fish with salt and pepper. Wait for few minutes for it to be seasoned.

Meanwhile I chopped lots and lots of ginger and garlic. Add some ginger and garlic in the gut.  Add half of the ginger and garlic on a steaming plate. Then place the fish on top of the ginger and garlic. Add the remaining ginger and garlic on top of the fish. Dash light soy sauce and sesame oil on the fish.

Lots of ginger and garlic

Place the plate into the steaming wok of water and cover the lid. Let it cooks for 30 minutes.

And here comes the beautiful fish!

And I am proud to say that I steam a whole big fish for the first time and it turns out good. Sigh.

After our wonderful dinner, as promised we let the kids have some "pop-pop" fun.  Someone was missing! Yes. The little one was taking his late nap so he missed out on the fun.

The night air was good and we could sight the full moon in the sky.

And I called it a night after having a glass of red wine outside enjoying the moon as well as the fireworks.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The end

Today marks the end of Chinese New Year celebration after 15 days of festivity.

No more gorging on food at open houses, no more nibbling on cookies and various types of snacks, drowning down the soft drinks, and inevitably leading to sore throats and coughs. Many of us may have started the plan on losing those extra baggages too.

After tonight, we would be sighing with relief that life is back to normal pace. Maybe or maybe not. The Year of Monkey has been seeing many downpours and certain places in Kuching have been badly hit by floods. Some people are forced to stay in shelter and lost their homes and belongings. This monkey sure loves to play in the rain!!

However thankfully this morning we get to see sun and clear blue sky. The weather on Chap Goh Mei is so beautiful and warm, I bet everyone is happy to see the sun after so many days of gloomy sky.

Red pamelo

And for us, not much of a celebration today. A simple home-cooked lunch whipped up by yours truly. Both hubby and kids are on leave and no schooling so everyone gets together today.

Lunch time

Finished up the last Mandarin orange with juicing. Mix with celery and apple.

Juice of goodness

And tonight, the dark sky would be seeing the beautiful light of fireworks accompanied by the loud noise of firecrackers for the last time this year.

Do my kids be playing outside? You bet! Just hope that the sky remains clear till tonight as the kids have been restless over the weekend because unable to play fireworks due to rain in the evening.

Wishing everyone, Happy Chap Goh Mei!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Weekend Menu #77: Deep-fried Salt Pepper Squid

I seldom cook squids at home. One reason is the cleaning part. Not my fondest thing to do if you ask me. So when I could get some fresh and cleaned squids, I would not hesitate to grab them.

It was so that we had a steamboat lunch on 3rd day of CNY and we had some leftover squids after that. So last weekend, I decided to give this simple recipe a try.

I love salt & pepper squid and sometimes I would order this dish when dine out. Who doesn't love this savoury delicious bite, right??

300g Squids, cleaned and cut horizontally
85g plain flour, sifted
85g cornflour
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp shao xing oil
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp white pepper
Some spring onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

1. Marinate the squids with sesame oil and shao xing. Toss gently and set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix the plain flour, cornflour, white pepper and salt together. 
3. Coat the squid with the mixture. In heated pan, slowly fry the squid in batches 2 minutes on each side or till crisp.
4. Drain the squids on kitchen towels.
5. Drain the oil from pan and leave about 1 tbsp oil. Add in minced garlic and fry till golden. 
6. Arrange the squids in a serving plate. Toss the fried garlic on top. Garnish with spring onions.

Hope you like this. I am going to cook this again and hope to get the perfect salt & pepper squids recipe. ^^

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The sweet cake

Nian gao (Chinese New Year cake) or ti kuih (sweet cake) is popularly served on Chinese New Year as it symbolised success and togetherness. Eat this sweet cake snack with tea as it is sweet and sticky.

This is how I fry my nian gao. I made some on the 6th day of CNY for breakfast for everyone.

300g nian gao, sliced in uniform
5 tbsp plain flour, sifted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Cooking oil

1. Prepare the nian gao.
2. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, egg, and salt till consistent and smooth.
3. Dip nian gao in the batter one by one and into a heated pan with oil.

4. In low fire, fry each side till slightly golden brown.
5. Bite into nian gao while it is warm.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Eat out on CNY

During Chinese New Year, we ate out few times. Few establishments opened even on 1st day but during public holidays especially CNY, certain places would have a hike in the price. Like a cousin told us, a bowl of laksa on normal day priced at RM5, would cost you RM7 on CNY.

So you need to be judgemental and clever in choosing where and what to eat on such holiday and one good thing about Malaysia, we are a multiracial country. We could easily find food all year round. 

Most establishments closed on Monday which was the 1st day of CNY. So most places are deserted that day. We had a car ride in the evening; catching on firework display in the sky amidst the rain in the car.

The weather was kinder on us on 2nd day with occasional drizzle and shower that day.

We went to the old part of the city for breakfast on 2nd day. A thick roti telur in Bismillah Cafe in Khoo Hun Yeang road. 

After our light breakfast, we went to Matang for a hunt of lemang for our open house. We bought 2 sticks of freshly charcoal-cooked lemang home. RM8.00 per stick but they have different stick sizes for different prices.

On 3rd day, we went to Megabite Cafe for breakfast. Very few stalls opened and one of stalls was the fried noodle stall. So we ended up having fried noodle and kway tiaw.

My fried kway tiaw with a fried egg (RM6.00). Not bad; quite good with some cockles.

We also visited the shopping malls over the holiday and one of them was VivaCity. Quiznos Sub was not packed when we were in the mall so we went in for a bite.

The traditional chicken (chicken + chicken ham) for RM12.90.

I wouldn't mind coming again for breakfast as they open pretty early for early birds at 7am.

I were not well last Saturday evening. Must have eaten wrong thing as threw up twice that late evening. No appetitite and I felt weak and giddy on Sunday so I have been having porridge the whole day. Hubby bought McD's chicken porridge for me in the evening.

That was how we spent the Valentine's Day. Not so romantic evening at home. Lol.

Thankfully I am well now and it is back to chaffeuring my kids routine. Now I couldn't wait for the school holiday, which is less than a month away. Lol.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Reminiscing CNY

Chinese New Year has been nothing but a whirlwind of good times for us this week.

We rejuvenated, played, slept, relaxed, indulged in feasts and spent some good time with friends and relatives over the one-week holiday. The weather has been chilling and wet but it did not dampen our holiday mood.

Let me bring you through our CNY holiday.

On the eve.....
CNY is about family, tradition and food.

We had our family reunion dinner at my parents' house. My parents catered most of the food from their favourite Chinese cafe, 8 Way Cafe. 

My mum cooked her once-a-year's specialty soup - fresh bamboo shoot with pork. 

Then we went home, let the kids have some fireworks playing time regardless of the rain.

Everyone stayed late waiting for the midnight to arrive, and we joined in the noise and atmosphere in the neighbourhood by lit up the firecrackers.

I always have the practice of getting ready my red packets on the eve.  And also ironing the new clothings.

First day.....

Wore the traditional Chinese dress, cheongsam. A must photo with my kids.

Had chicken mee suah for breakfast, symbolised longevity and prosperity in the new year.

Gone to church service at 9am and after it ended, we had a brief visit to the pastor's house which is behind the church. After that we visited my parents and had lunch in their house. My parents have vegetarian meal on every 1st day of CNY.

Vegetarian noodle by my mum

After ward, we went home and relaxed for the rest of the day in the cold weather.

Second day.....

Thankfully rain has stopped on 2nd day as it rained for the whole 2-3 days here and some places were flooded.

The water in the river near our place was pretty high!

Open house on 2nd day and we got hubby's staff to cater 2 dishes for us. Sarawak's specialty, daging masak hitam and chicken curry.

Everyone commented on the daging masak hitam. Very tender and tasty. Our lemang also finished up fast. We should have bought more; we only got 2 sticks from Matang this year.

Daging masak hitam

Chicken curry


Satays and curry chicken

Green salad

And we served our favourite green salad for those who wanted something light and healthier. ^^

Third day......
Went shopping for steamboat as we invited hubby's relatives and my parents over for steamboat and mahjong. Stayed at home and waiting for anyone who care to visit us.



In the evening we went to a friend's house for buffet.

Fourth day onwards....

Woke up late in the morning.

Breathe in and out. Relaxed at home. Did not do much but lazying around the house.

We did went visiting on 5th day; a big reunion with some of my old college classmates who came back to Kuching.

We also did some juicing; clearing the mandarin oranges in the fridge. Mandarin oranges tasted good with celery and a bit of sugar. 

Hope everyone has an enjoyable, wonderful and fun Chinese New Year.

And not forgetting,  Happy Valentine's Day.