Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Happy Teachers' Day

For me, teachers' day used to come and go without fanfare but this year, it has taken a new meaning after I started volunteering at the primary school. When I offered my time in the school garden, I didn't quite know what to expect.

I most certainly didn't foresee other perks besides seeing the kids blossom and the garden grow. I attended my first Teachers Day dinner (Groovie Nite) at Conrad Hotel last night and what an eye opener it was!

More than 100 teachers came dressed in their colourful best, ready to party the night away. Being surrounded by radiant and vivacious teachers made me appear staid in a black empire dress.

There were prizes and performances, coupled with good food, we didn't leave until 11pm. The teachers will get their well deserved rest today. My weekly session with the kids happens to fall on Wednesday, so it's an off-day for me too.

Volunteering my time at the school has made me realise how important the role of a teacher is towards moulding young lives. Our charges are a motley bunch of 8 and 9-year-old kids who have problems coping with schoolwork or social life. Some live in a children's home because their parents are not around or able to care for them.

With the guidance of the teachers, they've not only improved academically but also picked up useful skills after school hours. These same kids bake cookies and sell them in the school canteen to raise funds. Last week, one boy presented me a pack of butter cookies. I was so impressed.

They have performed line dance in many school events, to the delight of the teachers and students. When they've finished their homework, they spend the afternoons working on art and craft projects or in the computer lab.

When it comes to gardening, their enthusiasm for learning is so infectious, even their teachers enjoy gardening now. Besides weeding, growing and watering, they can now rattle off the names of all the fruit trees and herbs in the school garden as well as identify the various kinds of pest and diseases that plague the plants. It has been an extremely rewarding journey for me.

Monday, 30 August 2010

All that fuss

Just when I thought Ting had forgotten about the terrapins, I received a call yesterday. "Can you bring the terrapins here...now?"

"Nooo. I am at the office, the terrapins are at home and you're all the way across the island!"

"How about tomorrow?", she asked politely.

I couldn't promise so she extended the deadline to Friday. Then her mum called. "I heard you're coming on Friday? Ting wants me and her daddy to be around to welcome her terrapins."

Gosh, all that fuss over two tiny reptiles!

I brought the terrapins, tank and all, over to my parent's house this morning. Mum looked at me disapprovingly, "Why did you buy them live animals?"

Ting was estatic while her lil sister was super curious. They spent all morning peering into the box and bickering amongst themselves.

"Mei Mei, stop shaking the box! Keep your hands off the cover! Mine is bigger. The small one with the black tummy is yours."

Soon little Mei Mei came to me, all teary, "Cheh Cheh keeps scolding me."

Grandma got fed-up and threatened to give the terrapins away. "If you girls don't stop all this nonsense, I'll ask Koo Koo (me) to bring them back!"

Sorry, I'm not taking them home. Then I hurried off to work.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Realities of life

Mum wasn't in her best spirits when we saw her last weekend. She's not the type who reads the obituaries section but for some reason, she glanced that morning to discover that a dear friend (old classmate and neighbour) had passed away.

My uncle came to visit mum on Saturday, looking visibly thinner. Like most people in their 70s, he is suffering from a host of ailments ranging from hypertension to diabetes. It was news about their old auntie, who must be in her 90s, that saddened mum the most.

My uncle spoke about the pitiful auntie in a nursing home, who is all alone in this world (widow with no kids) and suffering from a rare condition that left her fists permanently clenched until the palms had begun to rot. When my uncle fed her some biscuits, she bit into them hungrily like she hasn't eaten in days.

It broke mum's heart to learn about the plight of her once capable and healthy auntie. "What's the use of living to a ripe old age when you're suffering so much? It's not the right way to measure longevity." Mum often lament.

My younger brother arrived later than usual. "This has been a bad week!", he sighed.

Just hours ago at their company function, one of his staff was rushed to the hospital because of a heart attack. Several days earlier, a clerk who had worked for the company for 29 years died of sudden relapse of stomach cancer. In her state of delirium, she kept repeating, "I want to go back to the office to work."

That scene, according to my brother, was so heartbreaking. Yet it is becoming more familiar as we can't stop the clock from ticking.

The terrapins

I am now the custodian of two baby terrapins. How did they end up here? I'm not even that fond of reptiles!

My 5-year-old niece, Ting, came to stay over last night. She had been looking forward to the sleepover for months, she was almost too excited to sleep.

Before we went to bed, we discussed about the things we could do the next morning. I promised to bring her to the pet shop nearby to look at the cute hamsters and buy a stuffed hamster toy as a souvenir.

I gave her a cup of warm Milo (sans milk) and we sat out in the garden, looking at stars and airplanes. She started coughing during bedtime. I've always known that she's allergic to cow's milk but I wasn't too sure about Milo.

It's been years since I've looked after a young child, I must admit I got rather anxious. I gave her some warm water and quickly pat her to sleep, resisting the urge to call her father. Thank goodness she fell asleep quickly. I was the one who had trouble sleeping all night.

She's an early riser like me. Even before the sun was up, she asked if we could visit the pet shop. We finally brought Rusty out at 8am and made a detour to the shop.

The shop owner's eyes lighted up when he saw her, "Woah, such a pretty girl. Her eyes are so bright and beautiful!"

Then turning towards me, he said, "She can't be your daughter right?" What was he implying?!

By now, Ting was no longer interested in hamsters. "Can you buy me that small yellow bird."

"No! You can't have the ($60) bird!" I exclaimed.

"Can I have a terrapin?"

I've already denied her a hamster and bird, so I played the good aunt and bought a pair of baby terrapins. Ting trotted out of the shop with two terrapins in a plastic tank and a big smile on her face.

On the way home, reality struck. She turned and asked me, "Can you keep them in your house?"

"Huh? Why? For how long?"

"Until I am 6 years old. Because mummy and daddy say I can't have any pets at home."

"Then why did you ask for them in the first place? I'm not sure they'll still be alive!", I chided.

Actually I had already planned to leave them at my parent's home. That way, when the nieces get tired of looking at (and after) them, we could release the critters into our pond.

Seeing her pained expression, I promised to keep the terrapins with me. Meanwhile, we were supposed to keep this a secret.

When I met up with her parents later in the morning, I had to let the cat out of the bag. They probably think I'm too indulgent but Ting is allowed to keep the terrapins at grandma's house.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Good ice cream turned bad

I bought two tubs of Haagen Dazs ice cream from the petrol kiosk last night. I drove home immediately and put them in the freezer. The happy kids opened up to find their favourite flavour (rum raisin) icy while the strawberry one was still creamy and smooth.

A couple of months ago, I had the same problem with a tub of Ben & Jerry's. The ice cream was yucky and icy, with a layer of settlement at the bottom. Nobody wanted to eat it.

Now a tub costs S$14.50 (US$10) here in Singapore. That amount can probably buy me three tubs in USA but the point is, it is a small luxury that I buy for the kids. If the ice cream turns out icy, the pleasure of eating premium ice cream is gone. I might as well buy the locally produced ones for alot less.

It's kind of silly to bring the tub all the way back to the petrol kiosk not knowing if they will give me a replacement. So here I am, complaining about it and wondering if anyone of you have had the same experience.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Coca cola chicken

I finally cooked Coke chicken for dinner last night. Indeed, it was such a cinch, one can't really go wrong with this straightforward recipe.

The chicken was tasty and tender, albeit a tad sour because I squeezed in an entire lemon instead of 2 tablespoons. I mean what I am supposed to do with the other half of a lemon?

Death penalty

Two pieces of news have been troubling me lately. The first one is about a young Malaysian man Yong Vui Kong who is on death row in Singapore for trafficking drugs.

According to reports, Yong was convicted on Jan 7 last year for trafficking 47g of diamorphine, a capital offence under Singapore's Misuse of Drugs Act. He was arrested on June 13, 2007 at the age of 18.

I can't help but feel affected when I read about how his family members had knelt in front of our president's palace gates appealing for his death sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment. While I know what he did was very wrong, how can I, a parent of an 18-year-old son, not sympathise for him and his family.

I'm trying to recall what I was like at that age. I was fresh-faced and not at all street-smart, in fact still very guillable. Luckily my parents were protective and made sure I didn't mix with the wrong company. Yong isn't so lucky, now his fate lies in the hands of our president.

This pomeranian wasn't even given any chance. He was brutally bashed to death by a man in the public. The penalty for murdering a pet, believe it or not, is one year imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of S$10,000.

Is it enough? I don't think so.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Shopping with a teen

If you're wondering what Coca cola chicken tastes like, so do I! We didn't eat that for dinner afterall because I didn't have the key ingredient.

I was planning to buy Coke, hair conditioner and body soap on the way home. Then YK asked if I could pick him from the fish farm. Then we swung by Giant Megastore which is so huge, my mind went blank and I completely forgot what I was there for.

Going to the supermarket with a teenager is never a good idea. YK headed straight to the sushi counter and picked up some sushi (for immediate eating) while I browsed at the fruit section. Just as I was about to drop a bag of Gala apples into the basket, he said, "Don't buy gala apples! I only like Washington apples because that's how apples should look like."

So he picked some shiny red apples while I got some rose coloured Fuji apples for SK. When I reached out for a bag of red onions, he said "Why not take the big white ones? They are nicer."

I personally like red onions because they release more flavour during cooking. Anyway,we ended up buying both types.

We went to the chiller to get some fresh chicken to make radish soup. He saw the meat and went "They look so gross! Let's not buy chicken. The fish stinks too." He's also against frozen food. We bought lots of vegetables instead.

Then suddenly he said, "We had better leave before my fishes (that he bought from the fish farm) die from the heat (in the car)."

So we paid up and left, without my Coke, hair conditioner and body soap. That is why we had grilled chicken wings instead of Coca cola chicken last night.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Life's a journey

It's only 11am and I'm already thinking about dinner. I have some chicken thawing in the fridge, think I'll make Coca Cola Chicken tonight.

It may sound weird at first but considering Coke consists of sugar, caramel and citric acid (I think), I don't see why it's not commonly used in the kitchen. I suspect the dish may end up tasting like the sweet sticky chicken (which uses honey and balsamic vinegar instead) that I often cook.

I have lots of broccoli in the fridge as well. The kids like their broccoli firm and lightly cooked unlike the mushy ones served at my parent's home. When we were living there, they complained about the bland and soft food that grandma cooked. Of course they're happy that I'm the one making dinner now because I cook their favourite dishes.

Life is indeed a journey even when it comes to food. In our youth, we indulged in all kinds of food but as soon as we hit middle-age, we become more conscious of what goes into the body. Then when we become old and ill, we may have a hard time keeping our food down.

My mum can no longer eat apples and nuts. When it comes to vegetables and fruits, only the softest and non fibrous ones will do. Even the fish she can eat is limited to the tenderest kind. Sadly enough, she is also too weak to cook. Now that she has hung up her apron, the kids will never get to eat mushy and tasteless food again.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Meet Harry the Hairless

My niece named the Japanese spitz Harry because of his striking white mane.

When I took him home after his haircut, everyone thought I brought home a new dog. Indeed Harry looks like a completley different dog without all that fur. Even Bodhi had trouble recognising (and respecting) him.

I feel a little sorry for him now but I have to convince myself that this drastic measure is necessary before his skin problem worsens. I'm stumped when my nieces ask when his fur will become luscious and beautiful again.

Look at him now. He looks like a big chihuahua.

Friday, 20 August 2010

French food

By now you would know that CH and I go out for dinner every Friday. We've been doing this, without fail, for 5 years! Whilst we used to plan ahead, these days we pick our location depending on the traffic.

Friday night traffic can be a nightmare especially on rainy days, so we keep our ears peeled on the traffic report. Yesterday, there was a massive jam along the highway, so we made a quick exit and ended up at Macpherson Road. That's when we decided to go to The French Stall.

Many years ago, we ate at the Serangoon Road outlet and left very impressed with the food and service. I can't quite remember what we ate though CH was sure we had the mussels and duck.

The restaurant was rather quiet when we arrived but the tables started filling up qucikly. Business is good here! There aren't many restaurants serving good and reasonably-priced French food in Singapore, so the owners have hit the jackpot. Despite being located in the heartlands, there was no lack of customers, both local and caucasians, here.

The food is excellent and service is brisk and friendly. Despite the casual ambience, it felt romantic having dinner with CH at the French Stall. Maybe it brought back memories of that dinner date long ago or the biking trip we did in France 3 years ago.

We must be feeling nostalgic when we ordered the Rose wine. It was the beverage that we drank daily during our vacation. For starters, we had escargot (S$9.80 f0r half dozen) served with freshly baked bread. The tender and plump escargots, smothered with garlic butter sauce topped with sliced almonds, were delicious. One of the best I had eaten.

Being the more adventurous eater, CH ordered braised beef tripe ($16.80). I baulked at his choice initially until I tasted one piece. It was absolutely delicious, I had to try another one. The tripe was cooked in a buttery sauce until meltingly tender and fragrant.

The duck confit ($25.80) was also cooked to perfection. The meat was soft and moist, just perfect, paired with lightly boiled lentils.

We shared a giant profiterole ($8.20, prepared in-house) for dessert. It was so good, we finished everything.

We had a really enjoyable dinner and the best part is, we didn't have to travel all the way to France for good French food.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

It pays to be nice

So we've all heard of this saying "Nice people finish last" but is it really true? Maybe only if you're nice but not wise enough.

Power is seldom used in the same breath as compassion. If I have to choose between the two, I would pick being nice instead of nasty anytime because I want to sleep well at night. What's the point of existing if you are wealthy but mean? We can't live in isolation and I certainly don't want people cursing behind my back all the time.

Being nice has immense benefits. A year ago, as we were about to write off a bad-debt after failing to recover a large sum of money owed by one company, an associate offered to mediate without asking for anything in return. Using his influence, he helped us recover the full payment within a year.

He didn't have to lift a finger to help us but he did because I had always been nice and fair to him. My philosophy in business is simple - we are all out to make a decent living, there is no need to be ruthless and trample anyone in the process. Instead we should work harmoniously to achieve more together. I know it sounds naive but this simple theory works in my favour. At least I sleep well at night.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

When Harry met Bodhi

I sent Harry to the groomers today. It's a first for me. I've never kept long-haired dogs. It's simply not practical to have them at the farm.

By now, you would know that Harry has been abandoned outside our gate and is now under our care. The farm life is turning the once pure white pedigree into a tangled mop, so the fur has to go before he develops skin problems.

Harry is really happy at the farm. He's very much the alpha male like Rusty. Harry can be so bossy. In fact, he quickly filled the void left by Cookie's departure. He struts around the farm with his head held high, barking at the workers or Bodhi when he's annoyed.

Bodhi reminds me of the meek Cookie. He is eating well and has grown so much in the last few weeks, he's a handsome young chap now and towers over Harry.

Until now, he still keeps his distance and will only come close when we call out to him. In fact, he prefers to get drenched in the rain than seek shelter in the porch. Maybe he's just too used to living and sleeping in the open field. It's fine when he's young and healthy but surely he can't go on living like this.

Bodhi is such a gentle giant. If only he is more courageous, so Harry will not bully him.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A new week

So last week wasn't the most perfect week. I was tired and grouchy until we met our good friends Chris and EY for dinner at Barracks. Good food, wine and company never fail to put an end to a lousy week.

The ahi taki salad was as unforgettable as the first time we tried it. This time, we ordered a skinny pizza to share. It was good too. So were the other dishes - lamb, beef cheek, pork tenderloin, fish and truffle chips. I'm already planning my next outing at the same restaurant. It's that good.

The weekend was surprisingly relaxing which put an end to my week-long headache. I even managed two jogs after a year's break. Of course I woke up aching all over the next day. It's amazing how every muscle in the body (even those in the arms, shoulder, back, chest and abdomen) can ache after a 30-minute run. But boy, it's wonderful to run again.

I'm sending my car for servicing this morning. With COE prices skyrocketing to ridiculous levels, my plan to buy a new car has been canned. Imagine I paid $20,000 (USD15k) some 5 years ago just to own a certificate to purchase a car. Today that same certificate costs $40k+, even more than the price of a decent car!

If not for my line of work, I would happily trade my car for a bicycle. Then I won't have to go jogging again.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Combating lethargy

Long weekends are never a good idea because when workday begins, you wished you were sleeping at home instead. Well, it's already thursday and the lethargy hasn't quite gone away. Thank goodness, another weekend is almost here.

As you can see, my energy level is dipping and on some days, I'm plagued by a tension headache. It's probably nothing serious but at the back of my mind, I can't help wondering...

It could well be due to my poor eating habits (Marie biscuits for breakfast and lunch), mild flu or early signs of menopause. Whatever it is, I need to kick lethargy out of my system.

So when Ji & Co urged me to join the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run in September, I signed up immediately. According to them, the run is special because it takes you through the Changi prison grounds. Last year, the runners were treated to performances (by the prisoners) and loads of ice cream after the run.

The run is 2 weeks away, I hope to kickstart my training this weekend. This will be my first race this year and I'm quite excited to start running again. Actually I'm more excited about eating ice cream after the race. I hope they're still serving this year.

Monday, 9 August 2010

A perfect day

When we were in junior college, we called ourselves the "Blackie Eight". Our rivals were the 'Pinky Five" - the giggly girly group that loved everything pink.

We were everything they were not. For two short years, our group of eight was very close - we attended lectures together, studied and played together. When we went on our separate ways, a few of us stayed in touch.

Recently we found our missing link, now the group is complete. The weeks of planning and flurry of emails finally culminated in a happy reunion yesterday. Unfortunately, the last member of the group Len who resides in Kuala Lumpur was unable to attend.

What better day to meet than on our National day? The weather was perfect and everyone was in a celebratory mood. Many people on the streets, dressed in the national colours (red), were heading towards the Padang to catch the parade and fireworks.

The gathering was held at Food for Thought at the Singapore Art Museum.

I was the first to arrive. I watched the girls trickle in. There were hugs and smiles. Soon the place was filled with lively chatter. We are still the Blackie Eight afterall.

Since it was National Day, the cafe took photos of customers holding postcards of "I Love SG" which they will make into a large collage.

I was the only 'Blackie Eight' member wearing black.

Food For Thought is a pretty cool place to hangout. Besides serving good food, they also collect donations for Living Water International and the United Nations World Food Programme. One can donate $2 in exchange for a free flow of iced water.

The basil almond pesto chicken with grilled eggplant & roasted tomatoes was a tad bland.

Szechuan pepper roasted beef salad with thyme pumpkin & szechuan balsamic dressing.

Grilled calamari & bacon salad with torch ginger & coriander lime dressing.

We ordered 3 plates of fries - Rosemary garlic, pepper thyme and spicy chilli.

The butterscotch apple and berries crumble was good.

The profiterole with vanilla & chocolate ice cream was huge, we were struggling to finish. It ended up looking like a muddy mudslide. Not a pretty sight.

After all that eating, we walked to City Hall hoping to catch the parade. The place was so packed, we couldn't see a thing. So we wisely made our way home before the crush. I got home just in time to see the fireworks on TV. It was amazing, I wished we were at the parade instead.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Ginger cake

I don't normally make cakes because the process is so fiddly. Measure this, whisk that.... it's too much work. The ginger cake recipe on Kitchen Tigress' blog aroused my interest because it looked so easy. By the time she posted pictures of the soft, moist cake, I was sold!

It wasn't difficult at all. Everything was measured in cups and teaspoons, I didn't have to drag out my cake mixer and weighing scale. No whisking, beating or chilling involved. Just stir all the ingredients together and pop into the oven. My kind of recipe!

The recipe called for molasses which I didn't have in my pantry. I used dark brown sugar instead. I didn't exactly measure out 1/2 cup of grated fresh ginger either. I simply grated a big chunk of ginger (juice and all) into the mixture. I like my cake extra gingery!

Here it is after an hour in the oven. We're bringing it to best friend's party tonight. I pinched a tiny bit off the top to taste (delicious!). YK snuck into the kitchen and took off a small bit too.

It looks so delicious sitting there in the kitchen. I had better hide it before we eat it all up before the party.

Oh, I have a chicken roasting in the oven too. I seasoned the chicken with a medley of herbs (rosemary, basil and kaffir leaves) from my garden. One more hour of roasting to go.

Finally, the chicken is ready. Look at Rusty!

And here's a slice of the delicious cake!

Old cow Vs Tender Grass

The newspaper vendor near my house always brightens up when he sees us. He's such a cheerful guy, I buy my papers from him even though his stand is the furthest (amongst the 4 vendors) just to hear him say, "Good morning My Lady!"

He's always on the lookout for Rusty. Today he asked about Rusty's age.

"Oh, seven?! That's old. I thought he's still a puppy."

In human years, Rusty is about 50. Last night, we came across Bella, a 5-month old pup who was out on her walk. She's a head turner. According to her owner, her father's a German Shepherd.

No wonder (the normally aloof) Rusty was all over her yesterday. They pranced and twirled about playfully. The high energy dance went on for about 15 minutes. Rusty's tiny tail was wagging like a rattlesnake's, showing his affection for that sweet young thing.

It took me a while to pull them apart. The moment we were out of Bella's sight, Rusty sat on the grass, trying to catch his breath. He was too tired to walk up the hill, I had to carry him home!

It was so funny, I instantly thought of this Chinese movie that is currently showing at our theatres - Old Cow Vs Tender Grass which tells the story of Moo (played by Henry Thia), a taxi-driver in his late 40s, and how his routine life changes when he gets acquainted with an attractive but eccentric lady, Moon (played by Crystal Lin). Meanwhile, Jack Lim plays a rugged taxi-driver who falls for a lady from China (played by Siau Jiahui). The movie attempts to explore the seemingly improbable romantic relationships in today's society, through a simple yet hilarious storyline.

Oh dear, Rusty is also an Old Cow!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

I should be so lucky

I can't help singing (and jiggling to) "I Should Be So Lucky" - a pop–dance song by Australian singer Kylie Minogue.

When I was at the Garden Festival, I came across a booth selling guidebooks to Australia. The author and publisher was there promoting his books, so I bought the entire set. I participated in the lucky draw and forgot all about it. This morning I received an email saying I had won the grand prize - a 3-night nature getaway for four at Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat worth A$930!

We were thinking of going to Western Australia for our year end family holiday anyway, so this is perfect timing. Here are some photos from the resort's website:

Yelverton Brook Eco Spa offers a sensational Australian wildlife encounter as well as an indulgent escape. Nestled within a bushland setting, these spa chalets offer every comfort including touches like fresh baked bread on arrival, outdoor spas overlooking the bush (expect to see kangaroos, possums, bandicoots, woylies and myriad birds as you laze in the spa) and are perfect for couples and families alike. The retreat offers a sensational Australian eco-experience and is in the famed Margaret River wine region, close to beaches and caves just waiting to be explored.

I can't wait!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Chickpea curry

I managed to cook the chickpea curry right this time. Everyone at the picnic, even our Indian and Bangladesh friends who grew up eating this gave their thumbs up. I can't thank my slow cooker enough.

After soaking the dried beans overnight, I boiled them in the slow cooker (on high heat) for 4 hours.

While they were simmering away, I prepared the curry mixture.

In case you're interested, here are the steps:
This is not really a recipe but you can find many good ones online.
1. Pour some oil in the pan. Toast some mustard and cumin seeds until they sizzle.
2. Saute chopped onion, grated ginger and minced garlic and fry until fragrant.
3. Add a teaspoon each of curry powder and chilli powder. Toss in some curry leaves and sliced green chilli into the mixture.
4. Then add 4 chopped up fresh tomatoes (or canned ones) in the mixture. Fry until tomato is soft.
5. Add in potatoes (cut into small chunks).
6. Let everything simmer for about 10 minutes until you reach a consistency like the photo below, then stir in the chickpeas and cook for another hour or so. If you like your curry rich and creamy, you can add coconut milk to the mixture. Finally, add salt and cilantro leaves before serving.

As I like the chickpeas to be really soft and mushy, I poured everything back into the slow cooker to simmer on low heat for another 4 hours. The slow cooker is perfect for cooking chickpeas because you don't have to worry about the curry drying out or getting burnt even after hours of cooking.

After a long day of cooking, the peas were very tender and moist. In other words, they were delicious!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Not your typical breakfast

I must have woken some neighbours up this morning with the aroma of pasta wafting out of my kitchen window. See, I was cooking pasta at 6am for the kids. It's no trouble at all especially when I had already prepared most of the ingredients the night before. The kids love pasta and wish I could make this everyday.

SK ate his portion at 6.30am while the rest was placed in a warmer so YK could eat later as he has no school today.

As for me, I had boiled chickpeas for brekkie. The kids often question my love for 'peasant' food.

What can I say? I just love the texture and flavour of simple food like pumpkin, sweet potato, yam and chickpeas. They should be happy when it's their turn to take care of me in my old age.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Monday = not a fun day

It's just another boring, mundane, almost blue Monday. Like a restless butterfly, I keep flitting from webpage to webpage in search of juicy news, ideas...oh, whatever.

Then some updates on Facebook set my little heart a-flutter. The August issue of Appetite Magazine, with a feature on my patio garden, is out. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

The other update on Facebook happens to be a wedding which took our group of friends by surprise. In real life, he's an aquaintance but in Facebook, he's a friend. Not too long ago, he was still a swinging bachelor. Then in quick succession, he dated, got engaged and married a foreigner.

None of us, even the ones who were once his good friends, were invited to his wedding. Naturally some felt left out. I didn't feel a thing because I've only met him casually during our outings.

Anyhow, being Miss Nosey, I couldn't help scrutinising the 100+ wedding photos. The bride looked beautiful in her traditional wedding gear. Everyone seemed to be having fun but why wasn't the bride's mother smiling in all the photos?

It got me thinking about daughters and marriage. It is every parent's dream to see their beloved daughter being betrothed to a good man. Twenty years ago, I got married against my parents' wishes. Looking back, it must have been so painful for them to sit through the wedding ceremony of their only daughter. Mum revealed years later that she almost fainted that night. I wasn't aware of course, we were too busy partying. I was foolish then.