Friday, 9 September 2016

It comes in waves

Mother has since passed away for 1 year 3 months. It has been less painful and I don't think of her everyday. But once in a while a memory will flash by. 

The other day I was driving my in laws to Teban Gardens to attend a wake. Suddenly on the Jurong Town Hall road I thought of mother. This is the route I often take when sending mother to the hospital for her checkup. She would sit quietly beside me because I would be in a grumpy mood. 

Yesterday I brought the boys to my brother's house. Each time I go there I am drawn to the room that was meant for my mother. Even though she has not stayed there before. I still found myself opening the door and felt closer to her.

Today I was eating a croissant at Delifrance for dinner. And I thought of a time during secondary school when I bought a croissant home and went to my room to eat. When I emerged from the room mother asked why didn't I show it to her. Delifrance was a very different thing during those times. We were a traditional family and so mother was curious. 

Everyone knows that someday their parents wil be gone. For me this fact never truly sinked in until my mother passed away. Tonight I really wanted to talk to her. 

Don't have regrets. Sometimes just let things go and be happy. I miss you, Ma. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

My birthday

Is today. 

As I get older birthdays become less elaborate. Presents become a thing of the past. Expectations should therefore moderate downwards. Otherwise the higher the expectations the higher the disappointment. 

So birthdays should be a time to be grateful. 

I am grateful for two wonderful children. When I came home this evening both boys were so excited to see me and shouted 'happy birthday mummy!' That really brightened up my day. 

I am grateful for my health. This year I had a scare with the hard lump in my breast. So I am grateful that it was nothin more than a scare. I turn 37 today and I shall make a resolution to take good care of my health consciously. My children need me. 

I am grateful for my job. I have a good manager who trusts me, a good environment that's not political and it has wonderful work life balance! It pays well too so on my birthday I can buy myself a present to make myself happy. 

I am grateful for my support system. I have wonderful in laws who help me everyday selflessly. And I have a wonderful helper whom I count myself extremely lucky to find. 

Everything is peaceful. So I am grateful. Happy birthday to me. 

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Very simple sushi rolls

One night after visiting the TCM the boys wanted to buy a snack. With one having cough and the other having blocked nose it's hard to find a friendly snack. Luckily we went past a sushi restaurant. And so today the boys asked for sushi for dinner again. 

I thought it shouldn't be difficult. It's just rice and some filling right? Haha... Well not too far off but without the recipes online and the easy sushi rice seasoning from Fairprice I would never have made a decent sushi roll. 

I referred very much to this website:

Makes 6 rolls.
- 2 cups of uncooked sushi rice (from Fairprice)

- 2 cups of water

- 10 tablespoons of sushi rice seasoning (also from Fairprice)

- 6 pieces of seaweed (where else but Fairprice)

- Filings of your choice
I used egg, cucumber, sweet corn, pork floss

Note to myself: 
Egg: for next time, 3-4 eggs would be enough to fill 2 rolls. Try 1 tablespoon of light soya sauce and 1 tablespoon of sugar. 
(I used 6 eggs, 1 tbsp light soya sauce and 1 tbsp sugar and There was no savoury nor sweet taste)

- Lastly, bamboo for rolling your sushi from Daiso)

1) Rinse the rice 3-4 times under tap water. 

2) Transfer the rice to a strainer and drain for 30 minutes. 

3) Put the rice and water into a pot on the stove. 

4) Turn on high heat to bring it to a boil, then turn to lowest and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 15 min. 
The original author was very specific about no lifting of the lid to peek. 

5) Turn off the fire and remove from heat to let it rest for 10 minutes. Still no peeking! 
The rice grains will look like they are undercooked but it was ok when we ate them. 

6) Finally you can open the cover. Transfer the rice to a non-metal bowl. Using a non-metal spoon, add 2 tablespoons of sushi rice seasoning and mix thoroughly. Repeat till you hit 10 tablespoons. 
You can taste the rice as you mix and decrease/increase the seasoning according to your preference. 

7) Now you are ready to roll. On your bamboo, place the seaweed and spread the rice on top. The author also advised spreading but do not flatten the rice as you spread. Very good advice. 
For the end further from you, leave 2cm so it can stick on the sushi roll later. 

8) As you roll, press on the bamboo to exert some pressure on the sushi so the rice can be packed firmly together. But again do not flatten it. 

9) To cut, make sure you have a sharp knife. Before each cut make sure there's no rice stuck on the knife,  dip the knife in  water and then cut it. 

And there you have it. Customise according to what you like. We made a luncheon meat roll once and it was the
most popular ๐Ÿ˜‰. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

No-bake Oreo cheesecake

I love this cheesecake. It's fragrant and tasty, that's something for someone who doesn't like cheese. That said, it also means it's not too cheesy. I think the credit goes to Philadelphia Cheese. You can't really go wrong with this cheese. I have put lychee in this one, it's also great with pineapple and it's also versatile for you to experiment with what you want. 

Check out the creamy yummy ice-cream like cheesecake:

Makes 2 x 6-inch round containers. 

For the base:
- 2 to 2.5 tubes Oreo biscuit, minus the cream (I like to use 2.5 tubes so you can't miss the Oreo taste)
- Slightly more than 1/2 cup melted butter 

For the filling:
- 2 x 8oz Philadelphia cheese (let it soften at room temperature)

- 1 x 200ml whipping cream (keep in fridge till you need to whip it)

- Cream separated from the Oreo biscuits
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 4 tablespoons of lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla essence
- 2 cans of lychee

1) Separate the Oreo biscuits from the cream. 

2) Blend the Oreo biscuits till fine. If you do not have a blender, put the biscuits in a ziplock bag and use something heavy to crush the biscuits. 

3) Melt your butter till its liquid. You can do this by putting your butter in a bowl and put the bowl in another bowl of hot water. 

4) Divide the Oreo crumbs equally into the containers. Divide the liquid butter equally too. Mix the crumbs and butter evenly. Flatten the crumbs with a spoon.  Then place the containers into the freezer to harden. 

5) Put the softened Philadelphia cheese in a big and deep mixing bowl for blending. Make sure it's deep else you will have cheese flying out when you blend. Use the whisk, stop when it's soft, like below. 

6) Add the cream from the Oreo biscuits and blend some more.

7) Addthe icing sugar and continue blending. 

8) Now for the lychee. Drain away the syrup and then cut up the lychee. Lightly squeeze dry the lychee of the liquid. 

9) Mix the lychee into the cheese with a spoon. 

10) Now the whipping cream. Pour it into a deep bowl and use the whisk to whip it stop when the cream stays in place when you invert the bowl. Seriously!

11) Add the lemon juice and vanilla essence into the cheese mixture. 

12) Add the whipped cream to the cheese mixture. Fold in with a spoon. 

13) Steal a lick and add more lemon juice or vanilla essence if you feel it's not enough ;)

14) Take out your Oreo base containers from the freezer and divide the cheese mixture evenly. Flatten the mixture with a spoon. 

15) Return it to the freezer and freeze for 3-4 hours at least. 
When you want to eat it, take it out to room temperature to defrost for 20-30min. 

Note: like Tiramisu it can be difficult to take the whole cake out at once. Either you line your container with cling wrap so you can easily lift the whole cake out or you just take each piece out as you cut it. 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Fluffy pancakes

Children go through food phases. At first they don't like pancakes then they like it. This is totally not my recipe, I found it from the below website. I'm so impressed with how fluffy the pancakes are that I have to document it for future uses. I did substitute the butter with oil as I didn't have any butter on hand. Perhaps it will be more fragrant with butter.  Can consider adding Vanilla Essence too for fragrance. 

Original recipe:

Makes 5 pancakes (think McD pancake size)
In my house I had to double it for my family of four. 

- 3/4 cup of milk
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar (if you don't have then use lemon. Or just don't add, it simply loses the fluffiness)

- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder 
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt

- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil OR melted butter

1) Mix A together and set aside. It's normal to see curdling. 

2) Mix B together and set aside

3) Whisk C into A in a big mixing bowl. Do this just for a few seconds until they are well mixed. You will see some bubbles in your mixture. 

4) Whisk B into (3), either pouring and whisking at the same time or pour all at once, it doesn't matter. Whisk till there are no lumps. More bubbles. 

5) You can choose to cook with oil or no oil. With oil it's more fragrant and has nice crisp at the sides but the browning is not even and you really need to watch the pancake closely as it can burn easily. If you choose not to use oil then you get even browning and it's easier to cook. 

On a flat non-stick pan with low heat, spoon a ladle of the batter and pour into the middle of the pan. 

6) When you see the batter bubble up like this, flip it over. Alternatively you can do 15 squats. By the time you finish cooking your pancakes you would have pre-burnt the calories!

7) This is how it looks after flipping, no oil version. 

With oil version:

8) Serve with honey and butter!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Airfryer vegan lychee muffin

My niece is a vegan and I tried a couple of times unsuccessfully to make vegan tasty muffins for her. They tasted either too dry or too oily. But finally I found a winning recipe. It's moist and fragrant and is not at all inferior to usual muffins.  Not only that, it's super easy!
I have added lychee and I find it's really fragrant. I don't taste the banana (the egg replacement). But you can add what you want and try out. Here goes, it's so healthy and easy, you don't have to be vegan to try it. 

Makes 6 medium sized muffins. 

Dry ingredients:
1.5 cups plain flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup mashed banana
1/3 cup soya milk
1-2 teaspoon vanilla essence (optional, but really fragrant if you are using chocolate chips filling)

1 cup lychee 

1) In a big bowl mix all dry ingredients together

2) In a cup pour all wet ingredients together. Stir enough just to roughly mix it all up. Do this in a separate bowl if the cup is too full. 

3) Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the well. Fold in with around 14 strokes maximum. It doesn't matter if you can still see bits of flour. 

4) Add the lychee and fold in. Don't worry that the mixture is quite wet. 

5) Preheat Airfryer to 180 deg C. 

6) Spoon muffin mixture into silicon cups and bake at 180 deg C for 9-10 minutes. 

There you have it!