Sunday, September 30, 2012

A very noisy Red Angry Bird Mid Autumn

Yesterday while we were out DinoPapa suggested that we head off to Chinatown to get a new lantern for DinoEgg since the light (which is a small device with a tiny light bulb, it was clipped onto the wire in the dragon's belly) for his glass paper dragon lantern is missing.  This dragon lantern has been with him since 2009, I guess with the 2 house moving the light decided to have its own "house moving" away from us haha~

He set his eyes on the battery operated Red Angry Bird plastic lantern with its flashing light and super duper irritating loud music; we have NEVER like such lantern as its too noisy for our liking.  We tried distracting him, telling him that there are more lanterns at the next shop and the next shop and the next shop (you get the idea), steering him away from this noisy one and towards a silent & more traditional lanterns.  He would not have it, gave us a sad face, "No nice lanterns here" he says, so we relent.  We got one for him BUT not before telling him that he can only play the music when he is outside the house.  

Today is Mid Autumn, though it rained heavily earlier I asked DinoEgg if he wants to go downstairs with his Angry Bird lantern, walk around and have some fun with other kids' & their lanterns.  Surprisingly he don't want to go, he says he wants to do it at home.  So with DinoPapa sleeping in the room (we close the room in case the loud music wakes him up), I switched off all the lights in the house and let him have some fun with his new lantern; music & lights.

He had a great time dancing to the music, shaking him bum-bum to the rhythm, I whipped out my camera and start clicking away.

After some dancing, he got tired and poses for me instead.

I was having some fun with my camera too, playing around with the slow shutter speed.

The finale & the ending pose with a SUPER BIG SMILE!

A happy boy with his Angry Bird lantern.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Foodie Fridays {Linky} - Crispy Tender Soft Roast Pork

Being a selective meat eater, I am a die hard fan of roast pork!  It is difficult to savor one with crispy crunchy skin and soft tender meat.  When I saw my girlfriend posted photo of her delicious roast pork she made it herself, I was already salivating!  Of course I get the recipe from her immediately and tried our hands on it.  We were unsure if we are able to succeed, we DinoPapa watched over our pork belly while its in the oven roasting, fearing that it will become a bar of blacked gold if left unattended.

Almost an hour later, its done and the verdict is out.  PASS PASS PASS!!!  DinoPapa is so happy with it that he is grinning from ear to ear while biting into it.  DinoEgg also had 2 pieces, he stuffed a big piece into his mouth making it difficult for him to chew.  He is enjoying the meat even though it takes him a good 10mins for him to chew & swallow it down.

* 1 Pork belly 600 - 700g
* 1 teaspoon Five spice powder
* 1 teaspoon salt

1. Fill a pot with water enough to cover the pork belly & bring it to boil.
2. Turn down to small fire to boil the pork belly for 10 - 15mins.  Put the pork belly skin side first into the water to boil for a few minutes before turning it over.
3. Remove the pork belly, wipe off all the water using a kitchen towel.
4. Poke as many holes as possible on the skin, the holes must be close to each other as possible.  Wipe off any water that comes out from the holes with kitchen towels.
5. Use a knife and lightly make a few cuts on the skin.
6. Turn the pork belly over and do the same but this time cut it deeper so that the marinate can seep into the meat making it tasty.
7. Rub the 1 teaspoon of salt all over the pork belly, including the skin.
8. Rub the 1 teaspoon of five spice powder all over the pork belly EXCEPT the skin.  The skin will not turn out darker brown instead of golden brown if you put five spice powder on it.
9. Put the marinated pork belly, skin side up on a metal rack, place a plate under the rack and put into the fridge over night.
10. Remove the pork belly from the fridge.  Use the kitchen towel to wipe off any water vapour.
11. Heat the oven to 200deg, place the pork belly on the middle metal rack, place a plate below to catch any dripping oil, using top & bottom heat, roast for 25mins.
12. Turn up the heat to 220deg, move the pork belly to the upper rack, roast for 35 - 50mins using top heat.  Once bubbles formed on the skin or burst and the skin is golden brown you may remove it.  Do not over roast it otherwise the skin will be charred, if you did, just scrape off any charred bits with a knife.

- Try to get a big square chuck of pork belly, do not get those long rectangle ones.  This is because the pork belly will shrink A LOT in size after boiling and roasting. 
- We use fork to poke the pork belly, you can use anything sharp (my girlfriend says she use big thick needles) or spend some money to buy the proper tools (sorry I do not know what is the name of that tool).
- If there are not enough holes or the holes are not close to each other, it will be difficult for the water to evaporate while roasting thus making the skin to be tough instead of crispy.
- While waiting for the oven to heat up, you can try to poke some more holes on the skin.  I tried with my fork but is unable to do it, maybe with a sharper tool or needle it is possible.
- Depending on the size of your pork belly, 1 teaspoon of salt is more then enough for a 600 - 700g piece.  You do not need a lot of salt, just a thin layer will do otherwise your pork belly will be very salty.
- We put our pork belly on a rack with a baking tray below before putting it into the oven.  Due to the added height, we put it on the bottom rack in the 1st part and middle rack for the 2nd part.
- Even though it says to roast on the top rack for 35 - 50mins, we roast it for 30mins and remove from oven as the skin starts to char.

I am going to make this again soon and share it with my family, I am sure my little brother will love it very much.  We were too anxious to start roasting that we forgot to prepare the sauce!  Mustard should goes well with it *Yum yum*

Let us know when you decided to do this dish and share with us what sauce did you eat it with.  

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This linky is for anything that is FOOD related. It could be a restaurant you visited recently, meals you cook with your family or for your family or recipes you wish to share with every one.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Death is a Hyper-ventilation issue to me... for now

I am an avid reader who are more into thriller/mystery novels but I am open to other types of fiction or non-fiction books.  It just takes me longer then usual to read books that I do not normally touch on.

However, after slightly more then 3 weeks of treading in mucky water, each step heavier then the last and nearly half way into the book, I have to declare this; Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan, will be the first book.  I am not joking when I said that I was "treading in mucky water", that is exactly how I feel every time I pick up the book to read it, I was engulfed with a senses of sadness & heaviness in my heart.  I could barely hold the book for more then 15mins before being forced to put it down otherwise it will drain all my energy in return for some depressing emotions.  I am suspecting that it is the cause for the disturbed & restless sleep for the pass weeks.

I started the book and on the 1st few pages of there were descriptions of Bibi Chen's gruesome murder, postmortem (its one thing to watch CSI and seeing them doing it on the TV but to read about the procedure in words AND seeing it in your mind is a different story) and about the new found freedom in her "limbo" or "in-between" situation.  I started to image myself being dead and in that limbo-ness state of mind, my brain started to scream with questions that I can't answer; how will I feel?  Will I be a spirit with a lot of regrets?  Or I will be one who embraces death with open arms?  How was I able to breathe when "my breath was not gone but surrounding me"? I starts to hyper-ventilate...

As I read on I came upon the following paragraph which cause me to visualize that I AM the one lying in the casket... I started to hyper-ventilate, again.  Takes me minutes to calm myself before proceeding...

"When the first part of my funeral ended, the crowd drifted down the steps of thee Young Museum and onto Tea Garden Drive.  My casket was sealed with wax, placed on dollies, and quickly wheeled to a delivery bay, where a hearse was waiting."

And to be hit by the following sentence, with me as the subject...

"Two sturdy boys on stilts held up a poster-mounted photo of me in my Himalayan hairdo.  A wreath of flowers framed my blown-up face and its too-broad smile."

I snapped the book shut, turn off the lights and went to bed, a restless one of course.

It was a couple of days later that I picked up the book again and to put it down shortly after, this goes on for almost 3 weeks.  I stopped at Chapter 6, so far the book has nothing but misfortunes, sickness & unluckiness that sets upon the group on the "Following the Buddha's Footsteps" expedition starting from the moment when they set foot on Stone Bell Temple in Yunnan; using a grottoes as a urinal which angered the tribal chief who hurled curses at them. On top of that, the story revealed that Bibi Chen's child hood was not a happy one, the tour guide Bennie believe that his family is cursed by knowing the language English and he was sure he will be the next one to be killed.  Every thing about the group is so fucking depressing & negative!

"Who wants to read stories like that?  Memoirs of sacrilege, torture and abuse, one after another - they are so difficult to read, without a speck of hope to lift you, no redeeming denouements, only the inevitable descent into the bottomless pits of humanity.

That is how I feel about this book, without a speck of hope to lift the reader up, it makes you sink down, down, deeper & deeper into the bottomless pits.

It does not help that I have reservations and does not share with others openly my feelings about Death.  I cannot imagine how life afterwards will be.  Will I be sent to the heaven where everything is eternal or will I suffer eternity pain in the burning hell?  How does one feel when you breath out your last breathe?  There was once I tried holding on to my breath for the longest time & freaked out after that.  How does it feel to be "sleeping" in the casket?  Couple of years ago I had a dream 2 nights in the row, I was outside seeing my body lying in the casket, needless to say I woke up in fear.  How will I die?  Will I die peacefully or with illness and sufferings?  Will I die a lonely old woman?  I hope NOT!  When will I die?  Tomorrow, in my 60s, 70s, 80s or?  How does it feels to be burnt and cremate in the funeral rital?  Will I feel helpless & scream while the fire engulf my body, reducing it to ashes?

Ok STOP!!! Hyper-ventilating again!!!!

*deep breath deep breath*

And I have not gone into the part on how I will feel when my love ones leaves me in future...

*deep breath deep breath*

"Can fish drown?" Rupert asked once they moved away from the fish store.

"Of course not," Bennie said. "They have gills not lungs."

"Actually," Harry said, "they can indeed drown."
"In humans who drown, the lungs filled with water, and because our lungs are incapable of filtering out usable oxygen, the persons suffocates.  That's the cause of death, lack of oxygen.  We call it drowning, because it occurs in water or with some sort of liquid."
"Fish, on the other hands, have gills that extract oxygen, but most fish have to keep moving about to bring in a lot of  water to filter enough oxygen.  If they were not able to move ... ... they would eventually suffer from oxygen deprivation and suffocate.  They drown."

If I choose to continue this book I will drown in my hyper-ventilation and die before the fishes for sure!

So with tears in my eyes and sadness in my heart I shall banish this book to the deepest darkest corner in my house.  Until the day I have the courage to read it again.

OR any kind soul out there want to take this book off my hands NOW?

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Foodie Fridays {Linky} - Sweet & Sour Pork

Last weekend I feel like cooking dinner, I asked DinoPapa if he has any particular craving.  He said "I would like to have Sweet & Sour Pork."  My heart sank... and I thought "Why can't he want something that I've cooked before or something simpler?"  Ok ok I have high expectations of myself & my cooking.  I want my family to enjoy AND finish the food I cook.

So I googled for some recipe & also to get an idea how to cook.  

Here is the simple recipe.

* Some lean pork, preferably the shoulder part
* 1/2 red, green & yellow capsicum, cut them into cube
* 1 clove of garlic, chopped
* 1 cup of cornflour
* 1 cup of oil

* 2 tablespoon of light soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon of Shao Hsing Hua Diao Wine
* 1 large egg

* 6 tablespoon of tomato sauce
* 3 tablespoon of sugar
* 4 tablespoon water
* 1 teaspoon of white vinegar

1. Cut the lean meat into cubes and mix it with light soy sauce & Hua Diao wine, after that add in egg.  Mix well and keep in the refrigerator for about 15mins..
2. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl & set aside.
3. Coat the marinated pork cubes well with cornstarch ensuring that the cornstarch covers all sides of the pork cubes.
4. Heat up the wok, add in the oil.  When the oil is hot deep fry the pork cubes for 5mins or until its crispy & golden brown.  Remove from the wok & place on paper towel to drain the oil.  Set aside.
5. Clean the wok, heat it up with about 1 teaspoon of oil, when the oil is hot stir fry the chopped garlic till fragrance then add in the capsicum.
6. Add in the fried pork cubes, stir fry for a while and add in the sauce.  Stir fry over high heat for about a min then serve.

- You can get pre packed meat labelled "sweet & sour pork" in the supermarket or you can tell the butcher you want to cook this dish, they should be able to give you the preferred part.
- You may want to marinate the pork in the morning then put them in the fridge only to take them out in the evening when its time to cook.  This will save you some preparation time in the evening.
- Initially I wanted to add pineapples but could not find small wedges of them.  I do not want to buy 1 whole pineapple and wrestle with skinning & cutting it.
- I forgot to add in 1 onion in my rush to prepare the ingredients.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Around the World in 18 Days - Penang, Malaysia

We decided to hop on the Around the World in 18 Days blog train with our trip to Penang, Malaysia on November 2011 which I did not managed to blog this down then, a very much belated post but nonetheless a very memorable one.

It was a very special trip for us, with its many Firsts;
  • First trip out as a family
  • First plane ride for DinoEgg
  • First time DinoEgg meet up with our relatives in Penang
  • First meet up with 2 of our facebook friends whom we've been talking to each other almost every day for the pass 1 year.
  • First time DinoEgg eat fresh crab meat (he only eat crab stick which are mostly made from flour)
  • First encounter with the PSP for DinoEgg (which he begged us to get one for him the minute we are back to SIN)
We were very excited when planning for this trip, especially meeting up with the 2 ladies and their family. I went all out to get gifts for them and their kids, incidentally all boys!  Its going to be a All Boys Party.  DinoPapa made the necessary air tickets & hotel booking at Trader's Hotel (previously known as Shangri-la Hotel).

On 25 November 2011 the excited us set off to the airport for our 3 days holiday in Penang!  We checked in at the airline counter, had our brunch n waited patiently for our departure time.  DinoEgg of course is the most excited one.  He practically "plaster" himself onto the huge viewing window looking at the planes & action down there the whole time when we were waiting to board the plane.

Our plane~

Inside the plane waiting to take off!

Shortly after, we landed in Penang, Malaysia!  We took a cab to our hotel at Georgetown, Penang, feeling tired from rising early and the plane ride.

We have landed!
Day #1
I woke up early the next morning, my internal clock is still at work even though I'm suppose to be on holiday.  Decided to take photos from of the view from our hotel room while the boys continue to sleep.  We always stay in this hotel as its sort of centralized, plus there are a few shopping malls such as 1st Avenue Mall & Prangin Mall which are at a stone throw away.

View from our hotel room

After breakfast we went off to look for DinoPapa's aunt (Gu-ma 姑妈); DinoEgg's great aunt (Gu-po 姑婆) & officially starts our holiday in Penang with lots of food & minimal sight seeing.

Aunt brought us to a relative's coffeeshop for a visit, know that we love local food she ordered the fried kuey teow, wanton noodles & Penang laksa for us the minute we sit down at the table.  Ok I admit, I was too eager to get my mouth on these delicious food that I forgot to take a photo till *ahem* most of them are already in my stomach.

Anne & her family came over to our hotel to pick us up to their house where Jenny is staying over during the trip. We chatted like we know each other for a long time though its the first time we are meeting each other.  Later on we went over for dinner at Bali Hai Restaurant at Persiaran Gurney.  Their seafood are very fresh, food are delicious too. The kids ran off to see the live sea creatures after they had their fill. Look at the HUGE Alaska crab in the photo!

Our late night supper @ 1030pm!!!!  Irresistible prawn noodles, sambal sting ray & hor fun @ another relative's coffee shop.  We really couldn't eat any more but just cannot resist them yummy food.

Day #2
Our breakfast at  Kedai Kopi Genting, trying out the local breakfast.  The chee cheung fun, famous for its peanut flavour prawn paste sauce is a must try. 

And we set off for some sight-seeing~  1st stop is to the Snake Temple.  There are really alot of snakes there, you can find them at the altars and can even take a photo with a golden python which all of us ran far far away, too scary hahaha~  

Next stop is to Kek Lok Si - The Temple of Supreme Bliss.  As the temple is built on a hill you will see steps, steps and more steps as you climb up towards the temple; unless of course you drive then you can zoom up to the top in minutes.  

Feeding of the turtle is a MUST for the kids, you buy a bunch of fresh kang kong at RM2 (I think) to let the kids have like 10mins of fun throwing the veggie over the railing for the hungry turtles.  

If you are very devoted and wishes to visit all the halls offering your prayers, you can make a slow ascend to the top.  Alternatively you can take the inclined lift (RM2 for both ways) for a slow but comfortable air conditioned ride up.  When you are there you can see the 30.2m bronze statue of the Kuan Yin "Goddess of Mercy" and the seven storey Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas that combines a Chinese octagonal base with a middle tier of Thai design, and a Burmese crown, reflecting the temple's embrace of both Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism.  You can take a rest at the garden or take photos with the stone status of the 12 Chinesse Zodic animals.

In the evening, we head off to Straits Quay Marina Mall where we went for Popular Warehouse Sale!  So what we are on holiday?  It will be doing ourselves an injustices to miss this great bargain!

After jostling with the locals in the warehouse sale we head of to have a classy Italian dinner at Spasso Milano.  We are a big group with 4 noisy boys, its testing for every one especially when every one's trying to talk at the same time & the boys declaring to the whole world that they are HUNGRY!  The waiters were patient and fast in arranging 2 tables to accommodate 10 of us in shortest time and to make us as comfortable as possible.  While we wait for our food, the boys ran off to see the chef mixing, rolling, flipping the dough & making the pizza.  They were amazed with all the action inside that small "kitchen" and seeing the chef putting the pizza dough into the oven & taking it out mins later.

Group photo while enjoying our delicious food.  These are only some of the food that we are having, every one's too hungry to wait for the photographer aka ME to snap a picture before attacking it.

After our good dinner we walked around along the waterside for some cooling sea breeze and awwing at the yachts docked at the side.

What better way to end the night of good company with some good beer?  We head off to Weissbrau, a German Bistro & Bar.  The bar was kind enough to close one eye on the 4 noisy boys and allowed us to sit down and have decent beer.  Of course the boys are at the next table with their PSP & gameboy.  DinoEgg do not have either of those but he is content just to sit beside the older boys to watch them play.  

Day #3
Since we had a late night yesterday plus Jenny wants to go to the local market to buy some local delicacies,   we decided to meet up in the afternoon instead.  We went shopping at 1st Avenue & Prangin Mall, had light lunch at 1st Avenue as we were still full from our heavy breakfast in the hotel.  The heat got the best of us and we escaped back into the hotel for some cooling air con n comfy bed.

Anne met us at the hotel and we head off  to collect our order of Penang's famous Him Heang (馨香餅家) tau sah piah.  She was kind enough to place order a few days ago so we do not need to stand in the queue to buy or pay for the goodies, we simply collect from them when we reach there.  The traffic at their shop is very bad as many people; locals & bus load of tourists, wants to get their hands on their pastries.  Strongly suggest that you call them to place an order to avoid the crowd.

We went for late lunch at some place, I've forgotten the name but its a big food court.  We had delicious local food again, I forgot to take photo as I was too busy eating.

We sat down for some coffee and catching up at Starbucks in Sunway Carnival Mall but not before we drop the boys at the Kiddie World. Its something like our Kids Explorer or Polliwogs. The boys had an enormous time running up and down, through the tunnel, here & there, giving themselves a great work out.

We ended the day with a sumptuous crab & seafood dinner at Hai Wong ( King Crab) Restaurant in Bukit Tambun.  Anne ordered their famous crab fried rice & porridge, both dishes are cook with crabs & alot of crab meat.  The crabs are big, fat & juicy even DinoEgg who is eating it for the first time is enjoying it.

And DinoEgg's shopping loots, great buy & bargain of books and clothes. 

That's about sums up our Penang holiday. We had loads of fun, brought back alot of good memories, shopping loots & a few pounds from eating all those can't-miss local delicacies

Here are the address of the makan places we went during these 3 days.  May you have a wonderful time as we had.

Bali Hai Restaurant

90, 90A, 90B, 90C & 90D, Persiaran Gurney
10250, Penang

Kedai Kopi Genting @ Lorong Delima
Lorong Delima, Island Glades
Penang Genting  

Spasso Milano
Straits Quay Marina Mall
3C-G-2 Block C
Ground Floor
Straits Quay

Hai Wong ( King Crab) Restaurant in Bukit Tambun 
(Sorry we do not have the full address)

Him Heang (馨香餅家)
162-A, Jalan Burma
George Town
Penang 10050

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This post is part of a Blog Train hosted by Madeline at MadPsychMum. Continue your journey around the world through the eyes of Singapore Mom Bloggers!

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Coming up next on the blog train is

Winnie is a FTWM to a pair of girl and boy, aged two and a half years and six months respectively. She home teaches and is a firm believer of play and the great outdoors. She shares her parenting and home teaching adventures at ToddlyMummy.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Photo *Heart* Friday - Pain is part of growing up

*Thanks Adora for the photos*

DinoEgg's very first bad fall with a BIG open wound.

He was taught since the day he started to waddle around to pick himself up when he fell or bumped into things.

He rarely cry till tears flowing down non stop, loud & screaming.

He did not even care if he is crying in front of new friend, a girl some more.

So you can imagine how painful it is.

Its ok son, its just another hurdle you have to jump in your life. This is a small one though the pain is excruciating.

PS : Poppy is such a sweet girl!  She held his hand while they walked back & she insist on giving DinoEgg one of her plaster to make it better.

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Foodie Friday - Brushing up my skill on cooking SIMPLE

If you follow my blog, you will know that I cook quite frequently, a meal of 3 veggie & 1 soup is easy peasy for me.  However I find it challenging to cook a pot of simple noodle meal; of course instant noodle does not count, don't ask me why as I am clueless too.

Anyway I was on half day leave couple of weeks ago and was recently inspired by Alicia on her $10 meals, I decided to try my hands on cooking some noodle for DinoEgg since daddy will be attending his weekly meeting.  However turned out that daddy was not feeling well and took medical leave, did not even tell me, came home and saw him.  Actually wanted to let DinoEgg be my guinea pig on my noodle meal but alas... guess daddy has to be roped in involuntarily too.

I stopped by NTUC around 5pm+ and was afraid I couldn't find any fresh prawns but I was surprise to find them.  I quickly grabbed the stuffs that I need and headed home before fetching DinoEgg from school.  And after hiding in the kitchen for 45mins, the yee mian is done!

PS : Photo is super blur, too hungry to have a steady hand to shoot the photo.  I tried my best to sharpen it but still not good enough. 

  • Prawns (approx 8) - $2.70
  • 1 packet of xiao bai choy - $0.60
  • 1 packet of fish cake - $1.20
  • 1 packet of seaweed - $2
  • 1 packet of yee mian - $1.30
  • crab stick - bought for yesterday's meal not sure how much
Total amount $7.80

Both daddy & DinoEgg says the noodle is tasty but i think the soup base is not starchy enough and too bland, noodle a bit over cooked.  The prawns are really fresh and sweet, xiao bai choy was cooked just right.  Overall its a PASS but I think I can do better.

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