Tuesday, 27 December 2016

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS


Am at home all week for the Christmas holidays.  The mobile phone is on silent mode.  I've ceased to check my work emails.  It's my feeble pursuit of tranquility. Living with emotionally needy parents can be draining.  On Sunday I attempted (unsuccessfully) to read a book.  With every 2 pages I read my mum would appear by my side with either a question, something to discuss, or something to say.  

Yesterday I finally spent half a day on my own - out of the house, sipped fruit tea and read my novel.  A much needed (albeit brief) liberation.

This afternoon, while Mum was busy at the sewing machine, I made a batch of Drop Scones.  Quickly at speed of light and quietly as a mouse I moved, and even managed to snap a few photos before the sun got smothered by layers of dark clouds.  



That was incredibly fun!

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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

SAVOUR PEACHES WHILE YE MAY

I haven't taken a proper break since July.  Work has been super crazy - Collision Training in July, Regional Meeting in August, the arrival of our new boss in September followed closely with Q3 financial reviews.  

During the weekends my energy is devoted to demanding parents who are keeping me on my toes.

I'm flat out exhausted. 

So life isn’t always a bed of roses, but it occasionally hands out a peach. Sometimes two or three.   What do you do with peaches?  Your savour them, of course.  A few weeks ago my work took me to Sentosa island, where I enjoyed a fab lunch with several peacocks at close range.  It was an awesome, awesome experience.

Recently, a friend reminded me to take time to smell the flowers. Today I did just that!

“Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.” 
― Robert Herrick



Saturday, 10 September 2016

OUT TO LUNCH


Today is the first time that I mixed up a lunch date.  Lee Ling and I are suppose to meet tomorrow (Sunday) but I thought it was today (Saturday).  I had began to Whatsapp her in the morning with the message, "See you at 1PM!"  Fortunately I scrolled up, re-read our previous conversation, and saved myself needless embarrassment by following up quickly with, "Tomorrow".

:P

My brain was out to lunch - for sure.




Sunday, 21 August 2016

喘息


忙碌了好几个星期,今天告訴自己一定要小小的喘息一下!

有一整年没自己做面包  感觉生疏了 今天就来做个简易的。

参考 Jamie Oliver 的video

用日本凯萨琳高筋粉(又称流淚吐司粉 )做出的focaccia 特别有弹性。


刚烤好 空气充滿香草和淡淡的橄榄油香味。


在忙碌的生活中 希望大家找到最適合自己的紓压方式, 好好地休息!


灰分0.35%  蛋白质 11.6%
 
Bread dough: 300 grams Casarine flour, 4 grams instant yeast, 2 grams caster sugar, 5 grams salt, 190 - 210 grams water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 4 grams Italian dried herbs.  Topping: extra virgin olive oil and coarse sea salt


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Saturday, 23 July 2016

学习的乐趣


父亲特别挑食。他不吃酸(会让胃不舒服),辣(会肚子痛),太甜(会上痰),煎炸(会便秘)和生冷(会咳嗽)。年纪大了,逐渐连虾,蟹,墨鱼,鸡,烧肉,蛋,菠菜,苋菜,玉蜀黍,米粉等也不爱了。 父亲却常说:我其实对吃没什么要求的,只要适合我吃就行了。

很好笑吧?

蒜香味噌炒豬肉片是父亲难得approve的一道菜。第一次做的时候没有成功。食谱上写:将肉片、酱油油、味噌、味霖、蒜泥一起抓醃約10分钟即可。但肉根本就没入味嘛!是我把肉切得太厚吗?食谱上並没交代猪肉该片多薄。还有,爆蒜片要放多少油啊?(嘟嘴)  母亲唸:所以常劝你别尽依赖“哑巴师傅“,做菜应改多看多学。

难得父亲这么欣赏,当然得花点心思把这道菜学好!依自己的口味一步一步改进食谱。一边练习,一边享受做菜的过程,生活的幸福就在细节里。 

蒜香味噌炒豬肉片 

火锅猪肉片 400克 
生抽 2大匙 
味霖 (mirin) 3大匙
白糖2小匙
日本白味噌 (Shiromiso / ‘white’ miso) 4大匙
6顆 蒜头,细剁
炒过的白芝麻1大匙 (菜市场里有得卖) 

今次用的是冷冻猪肉片。豬肉片先退冰,醃前用毛巾吸干水份。 每片猪肉可剪成2片。以生抽、味霖、味噌、细剁的蒜头醃约2小时。 

热锅后加8大匙油,将醃好的豬肉片下锅翻炒至变色即可。上桌前撒上白芝麻。 

咸香的猪肉片真是超超超超下饭!请给我来杯sake!



Sunday, 3 July 2016

BRAIN FOOD


Did you know that eating walnuts can improve your memory, cognitive function, and possibly help ward off Alzheimer's disease?  Make yourself a batch of these honey walnuts today to prop up those little grey cells!

CRUNCHY HONEY WALNUTS
See the original recipe here

250 grams walnut halves
3/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Castor sugar
White sesame seeds

In a mixing bowl, combine honey, lemon juice and soy sauce. Add the walnuts. Allow to stand for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Drain walnuts. Toss in some castor sugar and try to coat the walnuts evenly.

Heat sufficient oil to cover walnuts.  Fry walnuts over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Remove from oil and drain. Sprinkle sesame seeds all over.

Cool completely before eating.




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Saturday, 4 June 2016

SATURDAY BRUNCH


At home on a lazy Saturday.  Too hot a day for overly complicated, labour-intensive recipes. Made a simple Pasta Bake. A large pot of cooked penne. Tossed in plenty of olive oil.  Brown button mushrooms that had been stir-fried in garlic butter. Sliced hotdogs. Freshly grated cheeses, and a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs. Chilli flakes for a bit of attitude. Nothing particularly fancy about the ingredients, just an easy dish put together for family brunch.

Friday, 20 May 2016

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: PRECISE PIG PARTS

Last week I came across a recipe, written in Chinese, for Miso Pork that called for 梅花肉。It was rather perplexing not knowing which part of the pig that was!  So I did some research to learn the different cuts of pork.




This evening I asked Mum if she could help me buy 300 grams of 梅花肉 when she goes to the wet market tomorrow.  "There isn't such a thing!" she scoffed.  "You really mean 五花肉, don't you?"  

"No, no!  Certainly not!" I protested.  "五花肉 is the belly.  I don't want the belly."

"Describe it to me," she demanded.  I tried to indicate the part I meant by placing my right hand on my left shoulder, turning my body to show her.

My pig impersonation must've been weak because Mum still didn't get it.  (Perhaps it'd help if I had stood on all fours.)  The truth of the matter was, she laughed out loud and cried, "You don't really expect me to perform a charade in front of the butcher do you?"

I then informed her that the pork was to be used in a stir-fry.  She answered, "Oh, you mean 枚肉!" Some light (though dim) at the end of the tunnel at last.


Sunday, 24 April 2016

到香港公干


四月十八日到香港公干几天,其实最放心不下得是家中的长辈。还好有Naw在家。Naw是我们请来的帮佣,已住进我们家5个月,母亲也逐渐把厨房里的大小事务交给她。今天午餐一桌菜都是Naw煮的。回国后在家好好与家人吃一顿饭,也是种简单的的幸福。

在香港W酒店做conference,一切都非常顺利。酒店的员工都很专业。多年来在新加坡、曼谷、河内、巴厘岛都host过conference, 我对曼谷的Mandarin Oriental服务的评价是最高的。目前觉得W Hong Kong可以媲美。

在conference的前一天抵达香港,中午checkin 后便一直呆在房间里工作到下午三点多,忽然觉得好饿!酒店楼下是圆方(Elements Mall), 便下去”正斗“吃了碗云吞面。我点的云吞面是小份的:半个面+4颗云吞。那样的话,还可以尝尝蛋挞仔。大份的云吞面则是整个面+6颗云吞。


明晚的晚饭定在丽思卡尔頓酒店(Ritz Carlton Hong Kong)102楼的天龙轩(Tin Long Heen),所以务必先探索一下。金碧辉煌的米其林二星餐厅。 我们定了三间private room。 Minimum spending 是HKD30,000。


空前绝后的view。


然后回到W继续苦干。从房间内可以欣赏夕阳。





晚餐也在圆方里解决了。独自享受了一整只“桃花源”(Tim's Kitchen)的烧鹅脾,够奢侈吧?



开会咯!我为同事们安排了好多好吃的。



Conference的最后一天,眼看还有一小时便要结束了,心想这几天都过得还蛮写意的 (暗地里偷笑)。不料我们的Global CEO这时才给我发了个难题:要我在会议结束以前弄来24只招财猫!

我临危不乱,使命必达(握拳)


一切都归功于W 的Concierge。年轻的职员为我上網查询,写了地址,还打印了地图。我迅速地搭德士前往,然后又迅速地把猫儿们带回会议室。All done in under an hour.

会议结束了,告别甲级的W,搬进油麻地的Cityview Hotel。缺了WIFI, 多了点私人空间。好好享受下午茶:花园街兰亭咖啡阁新鮮出炉鸡批 and 无敌蛋挞。


因为时间的关系,都没跟在香港的朋友联系。抱歉呐!下次一定约你们出来吃饭。

Saturday, 23 April 2016

BROWNIE POINTS



Everyone is so busy these days but my cousins made special effort to visit us this morning, definitely scoring brownie points with my parents.

When your most favourite people in the universe is coming around, serving them something home-baked seems like a hospitable thing to do. Something like this Walnut and Double Chocolate Chip Brownies. 

I baked a tin of this classic brownie last night and once it's cooled, I put it in the fridge to chill.  This morning, it's nicely firmed up and so much the easier to cut.  I placed a few slices into the oven to be warmed up just before my guests arrived. They're rich, chocolatey, and moist without being overly dense.  I wish I remembered to buy some ice-cream!

ONE-PAN WALNUT AND DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP BROWNIES
Adapted from a recipe by Belinda Jeffery in the March 2007 issue of delicious magazine 

Makes one 23-cm square pan

250 grams salted butter
180 grams good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
385 grams caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 eggs
150 grams all-purpose flour
100 grams walnuts, roughy chopped
50 grams milk chocolate chips
50 grams dark chocolate buttons

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees C. Line a 23-cm square cake tin with foil. Butter the foil lightly. 

Put butter and chopped chocolate into a heavy-based saucepan over very low heat. Melt them, stirring from time to time. Take the pan off the heat when the butter is nearly melted and give it a good stir so the mixture is smooth and shiny. Set aside to cool for about 8 minutes. 

Add sugar and vanilla to chocolate mixture and use a balloon whisk to mix well for 20 seconds or so. 

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one is added so it is completely incorporated before you add the next. 

Tip in the flour and stir until just combined. The mixture will look lumpy. 

Don’t overdo the mixing or the brownie will toughen as it cooks. Gently fold in the nuts and chocolate chips and buttons. Scrape the batter into prepared tin. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. 

Cool completely in the tin on a wire rack. Once it’s cool, chill the brownie in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so to firm it up so it’s easier to slice. When you’re ready to cut it, grasp the foil and carefully ease the whole brownie out of the tin. Invert onto a chopping board and gently peel away the foil.

Enjoy!




Sunday, 10 January 2016

到植物园转一圈 蓝天白云艳阳天


还有鸭子!

"Four ducks in a pond
A grass bank beyond
A blue sky of spring
White clouds on the wing"
- William Allingham



Friday, 1 January 2016

SPEEDING DOWN



It’s hard to believe an entire year has come and gone. The older I get, the faster the they go. 2015 was hectic and eventful but with the recent installation of a new domestic helper, today I’m finally able to slow down and savour a quiet afternoon. 

A trusted recipe from my repertoire - rich buttery shortbread cookies with tangy cranberries and a kiss of orange. Happy New Year! May you always find the time for slow living.

CRANBERRY SHORTBREAD COOKIES 

Makes 40 cookies 

250 grams all-purpose flour 
40 grams rice flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
225 grams good quality unsalted butter, room temperature 
60 grams icing sugar 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons diced candied orange peel 
100 grams coarsely chopped dried cranberries 

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, rice flour and salt. 

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and zest. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Fold in the dried cranberries and candied orange peel, making sure they are evenly distributed throughout the dough. 

Form the dough into a log, about 5-cm in diameter.  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate overnight. 

When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven at 180 degrees C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough log and, using a very sharp knife, cut the chilled dough into slices no thicker than ½ cm. Place the slices on prepared baking sheets, spacing them well apart. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly brown. 


When the cookies are baked, rest them for a few minutes to firm up a bit, then transfer to wire racks. Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

Enjoy!