Wednesday, 29 July 2020

AAHHH ...

I just discovered that the new Blogger interface works with CHROME. How come no one tells me this?! I've been blogging with SAFARI since 2009! #我太难了#怀疑人生

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

AU REVOIR

Hello! 

I'm sorry to tell you that I'll be taking a break from blogging due to problems I'm encountering with the new Blogger interface.  Do catch me on Instagram if you’re still interested on what I’m up to!

It has been a lovely 11+ years.  I'm leaving you with an adorable art piece to remember me by.  If you've been quietly following my rantings, I want to say a huge "THANK YOU" from the bottom of my heart.  

French Kiss by Huebucket

I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss, but more than this

Someday we'll meet in Paris - you, your cat, and me.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

FRESHLY BAKED

Nothing beats the smell of fresh bread in the morning.  

Last night, I made the dough and placed it in the fridge for the final proof.  

I got out of bed at around 7:30 this morning to do the baking but Mum sent me on an errand.  Before I headed out, I removed the pan (with the already shaped dough) from the fridge and set it on the dining table to thaw.


Shoved the pan inside a pre-heated 200 degrees C oven at around 8:30AM.  Baking time: 18 minutes.


Got to eat hot, buttery homemade tear-apart butter buns before 9.  How cool is that?


Mum says she really likes the flavour.  Not surprising because the low temperature slows down the fermentation process, increasing the flavour of bread.   Here's how the science is explained in Cook's Illustrated:

Yeast left out at room temperature consumes sugars and leavens the batter rapidly. But then it’s spent; it stops producing not just gas but also compounds that give bread flavor. At cool temperatures, yeast produces carbon dioxide more slowly, so refrigerating the batter allows yeast to leaven at a slow and steady pace, providing more time for a more complex-tasting combination of flavor compounds to develop. The net result? A more flavorful dough.



Bread dough: 250 grams Casarine flour, 1 packet (5 grams) Shirakami Kodama Koubo, 25 grams caster sugar, 2.5 grams salt, 110 grams milk, 70 grams water, 25 grams butter

Filling: 45 grams butter (5 grams x 9)

Check chillicrabkitchen out on Instagram!



Friday, 26 June 2020

SEEING DAD AFTER CIRCUIT BREAKER


Finally saw Dad this afternoon!  No one in the family hasn’t seen him in person since the first week of April due to Covid-19. The Nursing Home introduced very strict new rules: 

o Dad is in Ward 3 (an odd number) so we can see him once a week on either Monday, Wednesday or Friday. 

o Visits are by appointment only. We get to choose from 3 time slots in a day. 

o Only 1 visitor is allowed per visit. The visitor has to be pre-registered in the Home’s database. This means only either Mum or I can visit. The rest of the family will have to wait until further notice. 

o Each visit cannot last more than 30 minutes. 

o Visitors are not allowed to bring wet foods into the ward. 

Today, I wasn’t allowed to stroll into the recreation area as per normal. Instead, Dad and I were placed a metre away from the front door. Two “X”s were marked on the floor, a metre apart. I sat in a chair on one “X”, Dad in his wheelchair on the other “X”. 

Dad was excited to see me, “I’m very comforted to see my youngest daughter!” I said, “I’m your only daughter!” For some reason, Dad burst into tears. I leaned over and managed to clutch his fingers. He calmed down right away. 

Then came an outpour questions: “Why did you set my bank passbook on fire?” "Everyone gets to eat dinner at 3:30pm.  Only I eat at 5:30pm.  Why is that?"

And for finale: “Why does your mother walk around without her pants on?  She is an embarrassment.”

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

CATARACT SURGERY (2)



Had cataract surgery done this morning.  Unlike the last one, I was awake throughout the entire procedure today.  It wasn't scary at all but I'm glad it's all over for both my eyes.  Hurray for ultra HD vision!

I've been relying on my friend and coworker, Donna, to help me out with work while I'm on medical leave.  She is holding the fort marvellously.  Truly cannot ask for a more fantastic colleague.  

Gotta rest my eye.  See you back here in a few days.


Sunday, 14 June 2020

CATARACT SURGERY


During a Team Lunch at the start of 2020, everyone took turns to share their New Year’s Resolution. When it came to my turn, I announced, “I’ve spent a great deal of time taking care of other people - both in my job and my personal life. This year I want to take care of myself.” 

At that point, I had signed up for gym membership and had already completed 8 sessions with a personal trainer. The next thing I did was started the process of having cataract surgery done. My right eye was in bad shape. Surgery was originally scheduled for the Apr 21 but postponed to Jun 9 due to Covid-19.

When I went in for pre-op assessment on the morning Mar 19, my blood pressure reading was 140/xx (cannot remember the lower number). The nurse said gently that it would be good if we can bring the upper number down to 130. I tried to relax and the reading reluctantly snailed to 138, then 135. 

I’d be crazy to let a set digits hold me back from surgery so I went on a diet. On the morning of the surgery, the reading was 128/xx. Still couldn’t figure out the lower number ‘cos I wasn’t wearing my glasses. The two nurses who had been staring intently at the monitor cried out in unison, “VERY GOOD!” and I mentally petted myself on the back. 

A day before surgery, I told Krishnan, “I suppose they’ll need to clamp my right eye open throughout the 20-min surgery. The question is: Do I keep my left eye open, or close?” I needn’t have been concerned because I was given a sedative “to calm down” and I ended up being asleep the entire time. 

Am looking forward to set a date to have surgery on my left eye so I can have UHD vision!

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

THE BEST WAY TO SAY IT 2020

Always exciting to hear the doorbell and be presented with gifts, especially during WFH days.  I'm not big on flowers and I don't even own a vase but a bouquet at 9:30am is a welcomed surprise.

It is very sweet of the folks in HR to remember this important day.  All bubble tea shops are closed during the Circuit Breaker so Joycelyn sent Miss Bubble Tea along with the bouquet.  简直甜死我了 :)




Sunday, 19 April 2020

A FRIEND TO REMEMBER



After Tammy passed away, her collection of quirky fabrics went to Cindy, who commissioned an adorable patchwork bunny for me.  Something to remember Tammy by, she said.  Thanks so much, Cindy!  Tammy would have loved the idea.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

ALL IS OK WITH THE WORLD



COVID-19 brings fear, anxiety, uncertainty and disruption but with a batch of muffins in the oven all is OK with the world.


Chocolate chip and candied orange peel make great combination.  I've now used up the all the Ghirardelli chocolate chips from my fridge!


Friday, 10 April 2020

WFH - LIFE OF A HOMEBODY

Have been working from home since March 19.  My mum is so excited about having me home 24/7 she wants to talk to me every waking moment.  I'm not kidding.  Each morning I would wake up and she'd stand outside my toilet door and talk.  She talks while I'm washing up.  She talks while I'm having breakfast.  She tries to continue talking after that until I tell her that I'll be in the shower.  Even after I retreat to my work space and she'll continue to talk loudly from her sofa in the living room, in an attempt to share what she's reading in the newspaper.  Twice, when I was having a conversation with my boss on Teams, Mum VC bombed us, peering over my shoulder to see what was going on.  Kill. Me. Please.

I'm slowly getting used to this co-existence with my mum.  In any case, I really enjoy mum's home cooking. :D

Is it human nature, or just me?  I used to have such difficulty getting out of bed in the morning to go work.  Now I miss the office and my colleagues quite badly.

Even though I am an introvert whose life revolves around work and home (and sometimes, the gym),  I miss hanging with my peeps on odd occasions.  I also miss having my friends over to sample my not so great cooking.

I never thought I'd say this in my lifetime - but I really miss going to the gym.

Most of all I miss my dad because the nursing home has temporitly banned visitors.  Luckily, I'm now able to book a time slot to video chat with my dad daily.  Huge thank you to the staff at KWS who make this possible,

I treat every WFH day like a regular work day.  I eat a hearty breakfast, take a shower and wash my hair.  My work laptop on standby at 0900 (0915 latest) every weekday morning.  

If there is little or no work in the afternoon, I would don on a face mask and stroll to the nearest Fairprice or Watsons.  I've discovered that the supermarket is busiest in the morning and the shelves are usually bare.  In the afternoon, however, the shelves are restocked and people are few.

Occasionally, I treat myself to a snack.


Yesterday I made a batch of cheese crackers.  I plan to use up whatever ingredients that I have on hand.  Like this Korean flour which I bought in Hong Kong in December.  There was a mini mart near Tin Hau MTR Station that carried Korean flours and luncheon meats.


I also uncovered about 170 grams of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the fridge!  I'll do something with them next week.

Meanwhile, happy Good Friday everyone!  Please stay safe.


Tuesday, 7 April 2020

NO MORE PARTIES


All social gatherings of any size in both private and public spaces have been banned under a new Bill passed in Parliament on Tuesday (Apr 7).  While this may sound like the end of the world for some people, I'm happy to stick to the rules for the greater good.


Friday, 3 April 2020

CIRCUIT BREAKER

Today, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the nation to say that the government is introducing new 'circuit breaker' measures in order to slow the community spread of Covid-19. This means that we must stay at home and leave only for essential services.

At least there's still food.


Thursday, 19 March 2020

IN LOVING MEMORY

Tammy passed away in the early morning of Christmas Day, after losing battle with cancer. I think about her often.    


I miss her most when I’m baking lemon yogurt cake because we once baked one together in my home.  

Coming across persimmons, dried figs and whole grain mustard at the supermarket reminds me how much she loved them.  Eating hor fun and lor mee reminds me how much she detested thick gravies.  “Like mucus!” she’d declare.   Lamb chops, sashimi, cold soba, naan and bbq stingray will now forever hold a special place in my heart. When a friend mentioned a bagel shop in Novena recently, Tammy sprung to mind immediately.  But we won't be able to eat together anymore!

Tammy and I travelled together several times. She would take a flight out from Hong Kong, and I would choose a flight that lands at around the same time so we can meet at the airport. 

Here we are in Jim Thompson House, Bangkok. The top I'm wearing in the photo is something I bought while we were in Melaka.

Having a jolly great time with pelicans at The Entrance, NSW, Australia.

And then, of course, there’s Taiwan.  It was Tammy who introduced me to beautiful Taipei in 2009 and I’ve fallen in love with it since. During that first trip, we shopped for shoes in Shingkong Mitsukoshi and went absolutely crazy.  I bought 6 pairs!  (I think she bought 8!!) I’ve revisited the city by myself a number of times since but I never bought that many pairs of shoes again.  Shoe fitting just isn’t that much fun without Tammy. (She was a very encouraging friend.)

It was also through Tammy that I got to know her two amazing friends - Anna Chin and Anna Au.  I'm proud to say that our friendship is still intact after so many years.

Tammy was very talented in sewing. When she was Singapore last I took her to shop for fabrics in Chinatown. I chose this fabric myself. 

Tammy turned it into a lovely drawstring bag and added the matching accessories.   

Tammy tried to keep her illness from me until Cindy phoned me.  It was Cindy who reached out and pulled me to Hong Kong just in time and I’ll be forever grateful to her for it. 

On December 12th we celebrated Tammy’s 55th birthday in the hospital.  On December 25th early morning, Tammy passed away with her family by her side. 

Cindy and I chose this birthday cake because its name was "HOPE". 

Last night I had switched off my bedroom lights and crawled into bed before realising that my mobile phone screen was still lit up.  If Tammy was in the room with me, she would’ve nagged me out of bed to turn it off.  My mind then drifted to the time I was in Hong Kong and Tammy cooked a super delicious pasta with clams. Having food on one’s mind doesn’t really help at bedtime because I woke up this morning craving for pasta.  And then I suddenly got downright pissed off at Tammy for dying.

I still keep the letters and cards that Tammy, Cindy and Anna (Chin) sent to me years ago - long before we had email.


Memories are meant to be cherished forever.  I'd like to think that Tammy is now an angel and is keeping a watchful eye over us.


Sunday, 23 February 2020

SDH

Small but Definite Happiness (小确幸) can be as simple as making only four muffins. :-)


Sally gave me 2 packets of Japanese pancake mix some time ago.  I checked on them yesterday and found them close to expiry.  Used to make muffins.

The muffin ingredients are simple - butter, 2 eggs, 80 ml milk, 160 grams pancake mix and a handful of dried fruits.  Just mix everything together into a lumpy batter.  Bake 220 degrees C for 18 minutes.


I firmly believe that a muffin that rises well is a good muffin.  These babies are destined for greatness.

AAHHH ...

I just discovered that the new Blogger interface works with CHROME. How come no one tells me this?! I've been blogging with SAFARI sin...