Saturday, 15 July 2017

DAD CELEBRATES 88


Dad is 88 today.  To celebrate, we went to eat chicken rice. On a normal day, he will tell you that he doesn't like chicken. But for his birthday, he'd always ask for chicken rice!  As I recall, he also requested for chicken rice on his 80th birthday


Dad's appetite was surprisingly good.  We ordered half a chicken, large portions of roasted pork belly with crispy skin and honeyed char siew, and a bowl of laksa. Dad isn't fond of spicy food, yet he polished off all the laksa gravy, leaving us with just the noodles.


In the afternoon, when he was beaming after he devoured a creamy durian crepe, I asked him, "Are you happy?" He replied, "VERY happy!"

Being bogged down by illnesses and dementia Dad sinks deeper into depression day by day.  He is rarely happy so today is a day to be cherished.


This is my mother.  She complains that I take shitty photographs of her.  "You make me look like an old woman!"

Sunday, 9 July 2017

FINALLY FOCACCIA!



Dad is in one of his foul moods - he has been so for the last five days or so.  On August 1st, he'll be seeing his doctor at the polyclinic.  I really ought to recommend that Dad be tested for dementia.  

A few weeks ago, Dad's bank passbook ran out of pages.  Since he was hard of walking and hearing he did not want to go personally to the bank to get a new passbook.  I explained to him that the bank account is in his name so it would be make sense for him to make a trip.  While we were both in the bank, I enquired if I might apply for new passbooks on Dad's behalf in the future.  Yes, was the answer.  Dad simply needs to place his thumbprint on an authorisation form.  Two bank officers explained this to him separately in Mandarin before Dad affixed his thumbprint.

This week he suddenly felt insecure about the whole thing.  He claims that he didn't sign the form out of his own free will and no one at the bank ever explained anything to him.  Then he even told my Mum that that form would allow me, his daughter, to tap into his bank account and withdraw all his cash!

Each time Dad acts crazy, I'd withdraw into my own bedroom - tormented and depressed - thereby ruining too many perfectly good weekends.  Today, I decided that life is too short to wallow in another person's misery.  Today, nothing would come between and my beloved baking. Today, I made a focaccia that is by far the best one that came out of my kitchen yet.


I keep my focaccia simple.  Light olive oil,  a hint of Italian herbs, a (generous) scatter of coarse sea salt on the top.  No elaborate topping that would turn it into a pizza.  


This focaccia smells incredible.  Finally, that perfect recipe.  Finally, a focaccia that's everything I wanted it to be.


Bread dough: 300 grams Blue Jacket Bread Flour, 4 grams instant yeast, 4 grams dried Italian herbs, 2 grams caster sugar, 5 grams salt, 1 tablespoon light olive oil, 220 - 240 grams water.  Topping: light olive oil and coarse sea salt

Sunday, 2 July 2017

BELGIAN PRALINES

Look what my BFF brought me all the way from Belgium!  Dark and intense.  Smooth and creamy.  Luxury chocolates of every shape and size.  




Friday, 23 June 2017

THE DREAM


Dad has good days and bad days. On a good day, he is utterly sweet, doting and forgiving. On a bad day, he would refuse his meds, hurl verbal abuses at Mum and I, trash the apartment, and threatens to kill himself by jumping off the building. Having lived this same drama for 3 decades, it takes all of my willpower to suppress the urge to utter, “You promise?” 

Well, this wicked daughter had a strange dream last night. Most of the time any details of my dreams would’ve fled by the time I awoke. Other times the dream doesn't quite add up.  For instance, in one dream I was in a mall with my friend and then poof!  I was in a fire engine racing towards a school or college of some sort.  My friend had disappeared only to be replaced by a very large sparrow.  My dreams can be very Alice In Wonderland.

Last night’s dream actually played out like a movie. 

In the dream my father and I sit, legs dangling from the back of a pale blue pick-up truck. My mother is nowhere to be seen. There is a row of two-storey buildings behind us. Facing us is a row of similar looking two-storey architecture. It is late afternoon and for some reason I know we are in Hong Kong (even though the setting is really Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park). I see a queue forming outside an ice cream shop directly in front of us. I look up and the sun turns into a runny egg yolk. Sunset! People are leaving the shop and scurrying away. I jumped off the truck and asks my father for 40 dollars. Was it 40 HKD? It must be so for we are in Hong Kong, no? 

I walk into the shop and removed two large chocolate ice cream cones from a freezer compartment. Even as I make my way to the cashier the ice cream begins to soften. The biscuit cones are going limp before my very eyes. There isn’t a moment to lose! The cashier tells me, “You can choose to pay with HKD or TWD.” At this point I notice that I have a money pouch hanging upon my waist. It is filled with TWD. With an ice cream cone in each hand, I allow the cashier to help herself to cash from the pouch. Hurry, I wanted to say to her.  Can’t you see I’m running out of time? 

I step out of the shop and it was already night. Our little pale blue pick-up truck is still in the same place, illuminated by white florescent lights from the building behind it. I spot my mother but do not see my father. I push one of the fast-melting chocolate ice cream cones into my mother’s hand. She takes a bite and I actually hear the biscuit crunch. I ask her, “Where’s papa?” and she answers, “Didn’t you know? He has gone to the hospital.” I’m looking down at the melted ice cream in my hand. It’s too late, it’s too late! 

I start to weep. 

My face was wet with tears when I awoke. That was too vivid and too weird!  I was crying so hard my nose was congested and I had to sit up in bed. The apartment was silent except for Dad’s snores that vibrated from the next room. Wave upon wave of sadness hit me. My eyes were like two unmanned taps. I was crying when I was inside the bathroom. I was crying as I drank a glass of water. I think it took another two hours or so before I fell asleep once more. 

I guess despite the heart ache, frustration, and mental abuse I’m not ready to let my father go.

May you share happy times with your loved ones before time runs out.


Sunday, 18 June 2017

遇上好心人

父亲节。一家人开开心心到小红楼享用点心。用餐后才惊觉手机弄丢了!一时不知所错,过了好一阵子才想到借用餐厅的电话拨自己的手机号码。果然手机是遗留在Uber车内,被一位男孩上车时拾到了,替我保管着。庆幸男孩的家离我家不远,很顺利便把手机领了回来。

好心的男孩,你会有福报的!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

DRAMA FROM THE HIGH FLOOR

Sure enough the rainbow was forewarning for stormy days ahead. The day after it appeared Dad became obsessed with dust in our living room. 

“The entire apartment is coated in dust,” he claimed. “It comes in via the kitchen window and the air carries it through the living room.” 

“The walls, furniture and floor are plastered with brown particles!” 

The trouble is, we (our helper, Mum and I) don’t see any dust particles. Mum is OCD.  Dust has zero chance of survival in our home, especially if the dust is as thick as Dad describes it.  What got Dad really upset was when I recommended that we set up an appointment with the eye specialist. 

Explosive tantrums ensued.

On Saturday morning, Dad demanded that I lodge a complaint with HDB.  To appease him, I did.

On Sunday afternoon, under Dad’s watchful supervision, I dragged a vacuum cleaner around the living room for almost an hour, paying close attention to every nook and cranny. 

But Dad wasn’t the least satisfied. On Sunday evening he threw a violent fit. 

Dad: The dust is so thick. It cannot be good for anyone’s health. I just don’t understand how you can say you don’t see it!

Dad: Do you or do you not see it?  Don't lie!  Listen to your own conscience!

Mum: ??

Me: ??

Dad: (hysterical) The entire place is coated with dust!  You keep saying you don't see it!  But I see what I see.  It is there but you say it isn't!!!  All of you - 3 against 1 - conspiring to make me think I'm crazy!

Mum: ...

Me: (inaudible) $#@%*& 

Dad: (very audible) $#@!&*#@&^%$#!>!@#$%^&*!*&%$#@!*&^%#$%^*<!!!!! The place is a mess!  You keep saying you don't see it!  But I see what I see.  It is there but you say it isn't!!!

Dad: (repeats above for 25 minutes)

After 3 dramatic days, I began to see. That perhaps this is the onset of dementia. A friend once advised that a dementia patient often suffers from hallucination. He sees what he sees and truly believes in it. To avoid conflict we must not try to dissuade or show signs of disbelief. Instead it is important to VALIDATE. So if he says he sees mice in the bedroom we should ask “how many?” 

Now we’re doing just that. Our helper, Naw, has been cleaning the living floor twice (sometimes thrice) a day. It seems that the episode has temporarily come to pass. Until the next episode.

For more drama from the high floor, watch this space.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

THE RAINBOW

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dad has good days and bad days.  Once in a while, he can be sweet and docile.

Most days we owe him a living.

He was downright despicable this morning.  I was seriously ready to throw in the towel.  Then I arrived in the office and found a vivid slice of rainbow on the carpet.


Perhaps the Universe is telling me to hang in there.  Perhaps I need to put up with the torrent for longer.  Perhaps I should go out and buy a slice of rainbow cake, eat it, and relax.


SaveSave

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

ANOTHER BIRTHDAY

Flowers + Roosters - just what every woman wants for her birthday!  Thanks, boss!

"Why roosters?" I asked him.

"Because it's the Year of the Rooster!" was his very matter-of-fact reply.



Sunday, 28 May 2017

SHIO PAN

台北一禾堂的海盐奶油卷一直很火红。10天前我人在台北,也去朝圣。傍晚6点多,扑了个空。也罢!从台北带回厉害的北海道面粉,今早自己试着做。

还ok啦!






Bread dough: 220 grams bread flour, 30 grams Top flour, 3 grams instant yeast, 10 grams caster sugar, 4 grams salt, 180 grams water, 20 grams salted butter

Filling: 40 grams butter (5 grams x 8)

Finish: sea salt, milk for glazing

Saturday, 27 May 2017

台北小点滴 - 闲逛


在台北享受4天少有的个人空间。Once in a while 能随意到处的乱晃、拍照 是件挺美好的事情。




迪化街







 小摊贩




传统市场
肉贩

小鱼头 - 可爱,可怜,还是可怕?

Hello, Whiskers!

什么鱼?

端午节快来临了

可爱的猪手

什么瓜?

一片果海

火龙果

巨峰葡萄



龙山寺






台北小点滴 - 吃喝



抵达台北后的第一顿晚餐
杨记大馄饨: 综合云吞面汤
 

阜杭豆浆:厚饼油条 + 咸豆浆
Up with the birds at 5:30AM 已经有约30人排在我的前面。服务还蛮快的但烧饼没有想象中好吃,觉得有些失落,仿佛浪费了一个quota, 心有不甘。忽然想起林青霞在学禅里写的:"吃饭的时后要心无旁骛专心吃饭,好吃的时后不要高兴,不好吃的时后也不要讨厌。要感恩这食物是经过很多人的辛苦才到我们的咀里。" 从几时开始竟为一顿饭设下quota? 何时能够放下自己心中这份执着?



青岛早餐: 随意餐
就是老板娘挑什么你就吃什么的意思啦。今早有荷包蛋、薯饼、火腿,萝卜糕、香肠、小鸡块、鸡肉饼、煎饺 60元。含大杯奶咖啡喔!




永乐市场外美味铜锣烧







青島豆浆店 (杭州南路): 肉饼
现烤现卖。热呼呼, 真的很好吃!

东门市场双胞胎

永康花枝烧


巷弄里的美食:非常好吃葱抓饼
台北市大安区忠孝东路4段216巷19弄2号