Friday, 29 July 2011

of mee hoon kueh…

been craving for this for quite some time, so i decided to try making it 2 weekends ago. i mean, how hard can it be, right?

P1080910yellow mee hoon kueh…

no, it’s not hard, but because i was only cooking for one, it’s quite difficult to control some things. for example, we’re supposed to knead the flour with water and egg. but because the flour needed is of such small portion, i didn’t even have to use water! i just broke the egg onto the flour and kneaded. that’s why the mee hoon kueh turned out to be yellowish. hehe…

anyway, i didn’t have anchovies, which is the main ingredient for the soup. the only anchovies i can find in the markets here are from india, and they looked quite weird. not at all like the anchovies we have back home. i also can’t find any ikan bilis stock cubes here. we have more varieties of knorr and maggi cubes here, compared to back home: chicken, beef, vege, tamarind and even pork. but don’t know why, no ikan bilis! *note to self: buy dried ikan bilis and ikan bilis stock cubes on my next trip home.

for the soup base, i put in prawns, dried shrimps (which is like redundant coz i already have prawns, but dun care lar), chinese mushrooms, chicken slices and some chinese cabbage that i bought from the chinese grocery store. the soup turned out quite nice, but the mee hoon kueh was too thick! so it’s not that nice. i should have thought of pressing it out with a rolling pin or a bottle to make it thinner. anyway, will give this another try when i get my ikan bilis.

making mee hoon kueh reminds me of my late poh-poh. when i was very young, while all the adults go to work and the bigger kids go to school, i’ll be left at home with my poh-poh. so most of the time, i’ll be messing around in the kitchen, while poh-poh was cooking lunch or doing whatever that adults do in the kitchen. i particularly loved it when poh-poh cooked mee hoon kueh, coz she’d always let me knead the dough and later when the broth is done, let me help to pull out the dough into small pieces to be dumped into the pot. then when it’s done, she’d ladle out a big piping hot bowl of mee hoon kueh for me, but won’t have any for herself because she’s a vegetarian.

i guess that’s the reason why i love mee hoon kueh so much. it reminds me of those innocent childhood days, all those precious time spent with my beloved poh-poh. for me, this particular dish would forever be my comfort food. it reminds me of a time in my life so long ago, where there was someone who spoilt me rotten and who held me so dear that in her eyes, i could do no wrong.

ok, stopping now before i soak up my sleeves…

Monday, 18 July 2011

dressing like a pro-rider…

i went shopping for my equestrian apparels today… how do i look? :P

P1080913 in full apparel…

previously, other than my helmet, i went for my lessons in my normal clothes, meaning a pair of slacks, a t-shirt and my brown hiking shoes.

then i discovered that i always end up with bruises in my inner calves. coz as we’re riding, our calves will be rubbing against the leather of the stirrups and sometimes a bit of flesh will get caught in between the leather and the horse’s body. sometimes our ankles will also hit the stirrup metal, causing bruises. so now you know why riders wear boots when riding. it’s not for fashion hor!

then i discovered that my fingers will always get blisters, coz they’re always rubbing against the reins, which are made of leather. hence the gloves…

and as i get more advanced (not advanced as in pro, but more advanced as compared to when i first learnt to ride), we’re required to start whipping the horses to make them go faster (with the trainer’s reassurance that they won’t hurt one bit). up until now, i’ve always used the trainer’s whip, but as they were not so expensive, i decided to get my own.

P1080925 soft leather-like thing at the end of the whip. i gave my thigh a tiny slap with it and it hurt like hell! which was why i always only use it to slap lightly on the horse, much to my trainer’s exasperation coz my speed didn’t pick up at all! :P

actually i only bought an ankle length riding boots. i’d love to wear those knee length boots, but as i have such extraordinarily big calves, that i think only the phua chu kang boots will fit me! argh!!! so i had to go for ankle length boots and half chaps. half chaps are these covers for the calves, something like sleeves but worn on the legs to protect our calves.

P1080920 ankle length riding boots and half chaps… sorry for the blur photo! click here for a clearer picture of how half chaps look like.

the riding pants, called “schooling breeches”, also has an extra layer of reinforcements at the calf area, for extra protection. it’s form fitting for ease of movement, as well as to increase the touch between our legs and the horse, coz we also cue the horse with our legs to get them to do what we want.

now, maybe you’ll ask, “since you have the extra padding in your breeches and the half chaps, why do you still need to buy the riding boots?” well, remember when i fell down twice previously? the 2nd time that i fell, my right foot actually got caught in the stirrup and my leg was still hanging onto the horse while my whole form was lying on the ground. it was a good thing that sebastian stopped when i fell. if he’d continue to trot, he’d be dragging me along by my foot! the reason my foot got caught in the stirrup was because i wore the wrong shoes. a pair of hiking shoes has more spikes and better gripping soles. but for riding, we want to wear something that has a bit of heels so that our feet will not slip too far into the stirrups and get caught in it, as well as will slip out easily in case we fall.

actually, looking at my photo now, i see that i’ve bought the wrong helmet. it doesn’t match the rest of the apparels at all! the helmet looks like it’s more for horse racing than for equestrian. should’ve gotten something more pretty and charming… haiz, too bad lar.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

chicken porridge…

made this last weekend, coz i bought some chicken breast fillets and had to finish them up.

P1080894chicken porridge with wolfberries and conpoy

just a typical weekend meal… but dunno why, even though i blanched the chicken, it’ll still produce the “white stuff” in my porridge/soup. maybe i didn’t blanch it properly?

claypot chicken rice…

i made this some weeks back, but didn’t post it up due to sheer laziness… :P

P1080886in satisfying my crave for claypot chicken rice…

been craving for this for quite some time, so decided to google up the recipe and try to make it myself. i found a few versions on-line, but in the end, decided to use the one sent to me by absolut ginger. it’s her mom’s recipe, and i chose it for its simplicity.

but my first attempt didn’t turn out quite so nice… coz i didn’t really measure out the amount of sauces used, but just went by my intuition. a dash of sesame oil, pinch of salt, a dollop of oyster sauce etc. the result was too salty!! so obviously i’m not that seasoned a cook yet to be relying on my “intuition”… hehe…

and no, i didn’t cook it straight in my claypot, coz i’m not sure if it’ll work on my electric stove (something like a hot plate kind). i don’t want the claypot to crack while cooking… think of all those mess i’d need to clean up! so i used the rice cooker method as per the recipe.

neeways, here’s the recipe absolut ginger sent me, in case anyone wanna give it a try:

chicken - chopped in small sizes.
garlic, pepper, sesame oil, oyster sauce, black soya sauce, soya sauce, chicken stock (knorr cube or ajinomoto)
my mom would stir fried chicken first.
1. add oil. put some chopped garlic into wok. stir garlic until brown.
2. pour chicken in it.
3. add in oyster sauce, thick soya sauce, soya sauce, pepper, a little sugar, maybe a little chinese wine if you like.
4. add some strips of ginger if you like.
5. cook until gravy is thick.
6. add in chicken stock/cube.

cook rice as usual - when the rice is almost cooked, pour in the chicken. stir. leave for 20 minutes. then add some sesame oil (as you like). stir. garnish with shallots, spring onions and red chilli.
serve while it's hot.

may give this another try, when i get another round of craving for claypot chicken rice ;)

lavender me time…

DSC_0008 a pot of tea, a good book, a whiff of lavender, a basket of craft and a dose of tbv/k-drama… ah, blissful weekend!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

who visits you when you sleep?

i was sleeping peacefully and was vaguely aware of myself rolling to my left to continue sleeping on my side. then suddenly, i felt a slight stirring behind me, as if there's someone sleeping next to me on the bed, as well as a slight sinking of the bed. i thought, "ah shucks, not again!" and started chanting.

i tried to chant out loud, but no sound came out of my mouth. i can't move a muscle nor even open my eyes. but as soon as i started chanting, i can feel the "pressure" lifting off me with again, some stirring on my bed as if a heavy object has been lifted off the surface.

when i felt that i'm completely free to move again, i opened up my eyes and saw the clock reading 4:00am. damn! my heart pounding, i quickly looked around my room, but everything is in order as they should be. but now that i'm wide awake, i'm just angry. another interrupted sleep! blardy hell! took me more than an hour to fall asleep again, and then it's time to wake up for work. double damn!

actually this is not the first time this has happened to me. the first time was during my secondary school, form 4 i think. scared the hell out of me! up until now, i've experienced it for 5-6 times, in bear hill, in bkt jalil, and now in sandland.

according to chinese lore, this is called "pei kwai jak" (cantonese: pinned down by a ghost). in other cultures, they refer to it is "hag phenomenon" or "old hag syndrome". basically, the symptoms are about the same, with slight variations depending on the person. at first, i too thought that i was visited by some supernatural thingy. the first few times, i daren't even tell anyone. then another time when that happened and i told my parents, my mom said it could be because i missed my gongyo the night before.

then lately, i came across an article about "sleep paralysis" and the symptoms are what i've experienced, except that i had them while lying on my sides instead of on my back as reported by many others. so there's actually a scientific explanation for it! but they still can't explain about the hallucination (is the sinking sensation of the bed and stirring behind me really a hallucination?) though.

anyway, i'm more calm now, whenever i'm "pinned down", coz i know it's not really a supernatural visitation and i'm not about to be possessed by a ghoul or kidnapped by the aliens. but that doesn't dispel the initial fear when i feel the first stirrings behind me. after that, i'm just hell pissed that i'll have trouble going back to sleep, which will make me even more pissed! why am i always being inflicted with all these sleep problems??