Monday, 20 August 2012

MULTI-TASKING



It has been hard to juggle between work and elderly parents, and still find time for photo trips and baking. But all is not lost, I just need to put in more effort in time management. Plus, who doesn't multi-task these days?  I accomplished a lot over the 3-day weekend, if I do say so myself. 

On Saturday I paid a visit to Little India and came home with some great shots.

My parents wanted to have fish porridge in Chinatown yesterday.  On the way we stopped by to shop at two Chinese medical halls which my mother frequents but they were both closed!  I know it's Hari Raya but I had expected the Chinese shops to stay open.  Hmm ... I guess everyone needs a holiday.

At the Zhen Zhen (真真) Porridge stall in Maxwell Road Food Market, I was in the queue for 32 minutes!!! Arghh!  If it wasn't because Dad likes the fish porridge, I swear wouldn't stay in line for more than 10.


The good thing about this Swedish Visiting Cake by Dorie Greenspan is how little effort it takes to put together. The recipe is too simple for words!   It doesn't involve creaming the butter or whisking egg yolks until thick.  Dorie says to bake it in a oven-proof skillet or 9-inch cake tin.  I used a 8-inch square tin.  As you can see, the cake isn't very tall so it didn't take long to bake.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

DAY OUT: LITTLE INDIA

I really want to go on a vacation but several things are keeping me grounded until end of September. No matter, I can still take short excursions around our tiny island. 

Today I spent a few hours in Little India and returned home smelling like jasmines. Somehow, despite having lived in Singapore all my life, I've only been to Little India three or four times. It's a shame really, I should visit more often - and not just for fishhead curry or prata.

I took about 60 photos but I've chosen the most colourful ones to share with you.


Indians are huge on worship.  Flowers and garlands are offered to the deities.

Kaffir limes to ward off evil spirits.

Before the coconut is offered to the deity, the fibre is stripped to symbolise the removal of the heart's desires. The coconut is then broken in half and the water inside purifies the soul. 

Kumkum powder, used by Hindu women to make the small distinctive red mark (or bindi) between their eyebrows.

The application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration and applied during special occasions like weddings and festivals.

These aren't mini ice-cream cones.  They're henna dyes.


Splashes of colours

Little jewel boxes

Decor

"Gee, that's a lot of onions if I do say so myself!"

Making a garland

I like the striking colourful little packets of spices against the green background

Beautiful Indian lady in beautiful sari

News vendor

Sweets

Indian Rojak

Newstand

Spices

Rice and more


Fresh produce


Fabrics


Jewellery fit for a queen

Aside from bus fare, I didn't spend a single cent on the trip.  The best holidays can be free, and needn't involve a flight overseas.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

FAMILY AFFAIR



As my mother gets on in age, she can no longer manage to cook wonton noodles (云吞面) at home without turning it into a family affair.  Especially today, when she was eager to get through dinner and washing up early enough to enjoy the National Day Parade on TV.

And no wonder she's busy! A lot of prep work goes into this simple dish.  Nothing short of the best ingredients would do.  It begins with my parents going hand in hand to the wet market for a good slab of 五花肉(which is the shoulder cut of the pig, otherwise known as picnic shoulder), shrimps, water chestnuts, Chinese dried mushrooms and some 左口鱼 (a kind of dried fish that really adds flavour to the filling).  The noodle soup is superb because Mom uses dried fish, dried scallops and 金华火腿 (Chinese air-dried ham) as base.

Mom doesn't believe in buying ready-ground meat, preferring to chop it up in her own kitchen.  The shrimps deveined and split length wise, the water chestnuts and dried mushrooms chopped, the dried fish fried and ground finely. 


I was assigned to form the wontons, a task which I enjoy immensely.





Mom removed 13 shrimps from the freezer this morning, cleaned and split lengthwise each into two, and I got exactly 26 wontons from my 100 grams of wrappers! Talk about coincidence.


These are SO good!  Dad proposed that we set up shop.  "But," he jested, "we simply cannot sell them as large as these or it'd take ages for us to breakeven."

Happy National Day, Singapore!

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Saturday, 4 August 2012

REAL

What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." "... but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
Extracted from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams