Friday, October 31, 2008

regurgitating everything....latest update

Latest update from FJ. The civics teacher today turn down her request a not so nice manner too...told FJ to get away from her, which I think speaks for the type of teacher she is. Also challenged FJ to complain to the Asst. Headmaster, which i find pretty unacceptable because i feel it is something minor, so why should she need to refer to the Headmaster. Doesn't the headmaster have other more important issues to attend to then to mediate in a dispute over some marks. I suppose it because FJ is just a Form 1 student, that she can be intimidated by the teacher, but timid her, has managed to take the issue this far.
Well, the other civics teachers agree that FJ's answers are acceptable, but they being colleagues are unwilling to get involved!
Have advised FJ just to let it go, but then to be disappointed at this young age about the education system and her teachers, who she expected to be more approachable and open-minded!

....regurgitating everything..will be continued as FJ is going to take up the teacher's challenge and will go to see the Asst. Headmaster on the matter.

Knitting Pattern - Child's sweater

Patterns for sweaters for spring dating back to 1988 from "Sandra". Love this 2 patterns because they are so easy to knit. I knitted the yellow sweater in pink for FM, and a friend knitted the purple sweater for her daughter. The two child models looked so adorable, and I think I fell in love with the patterns because of them!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

regurgitating everything....update

FJ was unsuccessful in her appeal today. Went to see the teacher who set the questions...teacher agreed with her, but were unable to revise the marks.. reason being that he was not her civics teacher, and did not assess her answer papers. So now she has to go back to her civics teacher, i.e the one who assessed her answer paper, to appeal again. Have doubt that FJ will succeed, seeing as the teacher has already rejected her request in the first place...which i feel is pretty unfair!
The tactic now is to get the consensus from all the civics teachers in the school, I mean the agreement of all the teachers that you do not need to regurgitate the answers word for word in a civics test, and then tell the teacher concerned that. All the trouble just for a few marks, but to FJ it is a matter of proving herself correct, and an A or a B...

..regurgitating everything ..../to be continued...

regurgitating everything....

Last, Friday, FJ was very upset when she came home from school...reason being that the teacher who marked her civics paper for her year end exams penalized her and marked her answers wrong because it was not word perfect, in other words she had not memorized the answers word for word from her textbook. I wonder what are being taught in schools today.. students are not taught independent thinking but instead are expected to regurgitate everything word for word from the textbooks! I can understand if it was the Moral paper, where one have to memorize the 36 Moral rules, so in other words, does it mean that a person who fails the moral paper is immoral...and one who is able to regurgitate the 36 rules are a very moral person! I wonder....
CK being the protective big brother, he is, is going to accompany FJ to see the teacher who set the questions for the civics paper, and they are going to argue out that FJ should at least get a few marks for getting the answers correct even though it is not in the prescribed format as in the text books.
...regurgitating everything continues ..once i get the latest report from CK and FJ when they returns from school today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Knitting Pattern - Child's sweater

the sweater that i knitted for FM in '93

This pattern was published in 'Sandra" in 1988. I knitted it for FM in 1993 when she was 3, but living in a tropical country she never really wore it. FJ wore it once though when she went to Genting Highlands. 'Jaeger' yarn is not available here, so FM's sweater was knitted in "Robin" 'Bambino' DK yarn.

Instructions for the sweater to fit a child 4 yrs and 8 yrs, chest measurements 58 cm and 68 cm. Figures in brackets are for the larger size. If only one set of figures, it applies to all sizes.

Materials : Yarn Jaeger, quality 'Matchmaker' 2 DK, 100%wool, 250 g
One pair 3 mm and 4mm needles, 3mm double pointed needles

Basic pattern using 4mm needles : number of sts. multiple of 11+2 edge sts.
1st row : K
Row 2 and 4 : P
3rd row : edge st., *P2 tog twice, yarn over needle (yo), K1, yo, k1, yo.k1, yo, P2 tog. twice, rep from *, edge st.
These 4 rows form pattern.

Tension : 22 sts and 33 rows to 10 cm

Rib pattern : using 3 mm needles, *k1, p1, rep from *

Method :
Back : Cast on 66 (76) sts, and work 4 (5) cm in rib, increasing 13(14)sts evenly on last row=79(90) st. Continue in basic pattern. When work measures36(42)cm, shape neck. On next RS row, work 28(33) sts. in pattern, turn and leave remaining sts. on a holder. Complete these side first. At neck edge, cast of on every alt. row 4 sts once and 2 sts. once.
When work measures 38 (44) cm, cast of remaining sts for shoulder. With RS side of work facing, slip first 23 (24) sts on holder for centre back neck, rejoin yarn to remaining sts, and work pattern to end,complete to match first side, reversing shaping.
Front : proceed for back, except neck. When work measures 33 (39) cm shape neck. On next RS row, work 34 (39) sts. in pattern, turn and leave remaining sts. on holder. Complete this side first. On neck, cast of every alt row 3 sts once, 2 sts 3 times,and 1 st 3 times. When work measures 38(44) cm, cast off remaining sts for shoulder. With RS of work facing, slip first 11 (12) sts on to holder for centre front, rejoin yarn to remaining sts and work pattern to end. Complete to match other side, reversing shaping.
Sleeve (both alike) : cast on 36 sts and work 4 (5)cm in rib, increasing 10 sts evenly on last row = 46 sts. Continue in basic pattern and increase 1 st at each end of every 6th row 5 times, then 1 st alt on every 4th and 6th row 8(12) times = 72(80) sts. When work measures 27(34)cm cast off.
To make up : Block pieces to measurements, cover with a damp cloth and allow to dry. Join all seams and set in sleeve to position. With the double pointed needles, pick up 90 sts evenly and work 2 cm in rib pattern.

I never could handle double-pointed needles comfortably, so I used a pair of 40 cm circular knitting needles for the neck.
Will upload the original pattern on another day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Collection of Matchboxes and the Trebor Cookie Jar

My collection of matchboxes

My late mum ran a coffeeshop in a small town in the '60s, and these jars were for displaying sweets and cookies on the counter. Instead of the plastic containers that we see on the counters at coffee shops today, then glass jars were used. One of the jar has the letter "T" on the lid for Trebor sweets, which were about the only sweets available then before the influx of the many brands of sweets we see today.
I started collecting matchboxes in the '80s, and when my collection got larger, my mum gave me this 2 containers to put them in, and I think it looks better in this containers then the common goldfish bowl! Thanks to my late mum for keeping this containers....
Lately, have not add much to my collection of matchboxes...bcos of the smoking ban in public places, most hotels and restaurants no longer place matchboxes on tables and in hotel rooms today. Only places I have been to obtain matchboxes were from some hotels in China... so now I collect toothpicks to remember the places I have been!
Among my collection of matchboxes are boxes from The Cave Disco (it was The place in the '80s), The Hilton (Crowne Mutiara now) and from many places which are now defunct. Some place are still around though, such as Hotel Malaya, and if i am not mistaken Hotel Waterfall in Penang which i stayed in 1981, which is like a long time ago....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Collecting recipes - Nestle Test Kitchen

a recipe for marbled agar agar from Nestle, from the '70s, and the estimated cost for the agar-agar was only $1.70 then!

I have always been very keen on collecting recipes. In the '70s, there were not many cookbooks available especially local publishers, and whatever were available were beyond the means of my schoolgirl allowance. So, when I wanted recipes, I would write to local food companies requesting for recipes, and generally the companies were rather obliging. One such company which I wrote to regularly was Nestle Malaysia, and each time I wrote in, they would send me a stack of their recipe cards. Thanks to my late mum, who kept them faithfully for me despite having to move house several times, the cards are still intact although a bit yellowed with age.

A recipe for Empress Chicken. Estimated cost -$3.90 . Today, RM 3/90 now won't even buy 2 pcs of chicken thighs.

2 sides of a Glossary of spices/herbs and vegetables - with the equilvalent in Malay and Cantonese.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Crispy Spring Rolls

A favourite at family gatherings. The last time I made it was for FM's farewell party.

Ingredients for the filling :

1 carrot, shredded
5 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked and sliced thinly
1 turnip, shredded
20 g wood fungus, soaked and shredded
2 tbsp dried prawns , soaked and drained
salt and pepper

1 pkt spring roll wrappers
egg white

Method :
1) Heat up wok with oil, fry the dried prawns until fragrant, then add in other ingredients. Fry till fragrant. Season with salt and pepper, and thicken with cornflour. Dish up and cool filling.
2) Place filling onto spring roll wrapper, apply egg white at edge and roll up.
3) Heat up oil in wok, and deep fry spring rolls until golden brown.
4) Remove and drain well.
5) Serve with mayonnaise or Thai chili sauce.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chocolate Marble Agar-Agar Cake

Chocolate marble agar-agar cake

Another recipe I found online at Baked it last weekend. FJ complained that the agar-agar layer was not thick enough, but i supposed that can be remedied by using a smaller cake tin. As advised I used a 10" x 7" cake tin.

Ingredients :
1 pc of chocolate sponge cake

Ingredients for agar-agar layer :
400 ml milk
50 g sugar
13 g agar-agar powder
2 egg whites
50 g sugar
1/8 tsp salt
30 g cooking chocolate(melted)

Ingredients for topping :
200 ml fresh milk
50 g hot water
1/2 tbsp instant jelly
50 g sugar
10 g cocoa powder
30 g cooking chocolate
1 tsp agar-agar

Method :
1) Cut cake to fit into cake tin.
2) Mix 50 g sugar and agar-agar powder together. Add in milk and bring to boil.
3) Whisk egg whites with 50 g sugar until frothy, and while beating, pour in the agar-agar from (2)
4) Divide agar-agar into 2 parts. Add in melted chocolate to one part, and mix evenly.
5) Quickly scoop white and chocolate portion alternately onto the cake. Keep aside till half-set.
6) Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Mix cocoa powder and hot water together until paste. Mix instant jelly, agar-agar powder and sugar together. Add in cocoa paste and milk. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time to prevent lumps.
7) Pour topping onto the semi-set agar-agar. Cool and set before chilling in the refrigerator.

Tip : When making jellies, mix the agar-agar powder or instant jelly with sugar together first before slowly adding in the liquids to avoid lumps when boiling the jellies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Home Made Egg Noodles

A recipe for home made egg noodles. Used to enjoy making the noodles, but have not made them lately because I did not enjoy cleaning the noodle machine after the task. The noodle machine need to be kept clean of floor remnants otherwise the rollers turn moldy.

Ingredients :
350 g flour
3 Grade B eggs
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt

Method :
1. Sieve flour into bowl.
2. Add in eggs, oil and salt.
3. Knead until smooth.
4. Cover and rest down for 30 minutes.
5. Divided dough into balls and roll out using the noodle machine.

A lot of elbow grease is needed if you are kneading the noodles by hand. I used the dough hook on my kitchen machine. First time, I tried it, I used the K-beater, and broke it in the process. Cost me RM70/- to replace the beater, which certainly made for very expensive noodles!
This is a recipe from 'Hongkong Delicacy'.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My teapot collection

Chinese teapots. Smallest one is an Ebay find. 2nd on the left is from Hongkong circa 1987. Only the tallest one is in use, and is for brewing hubby daily Pu-erh tea supply.

Teaset bought from a shop at The Peak, Hongkong in 2005

Very mini teasets. Set on the left is a gift from my friend Pat from her trip to Bangkok

Mini teaset from Hong Kong, circa 1987

Xisha teaset from Wuxi, China- from my holiday in 2007. Hope I did not pay too much for it.

A cheerful doll house set bought from Hot Market, KL for RM5/

A brass kettle (an Ebay find)

Doll house teaset bought from a roadside stall in Bangkok in 2006. I remember I was so happy when I found it, as I thought I would not be able to find any in Thailand!

The grand dame of them all. Almost 40 yrs old. A child hood gift from my brother(the best brother in the world). As a child, whenever i was ill, he would try to find me a small gift to cheer me up, which shows his niceness as he is only 2 yrs my senior.

Mini hand painted teapots from Riccardo, Southern Pottery

Cute little teapots. Brown teapot is gift from Jacobs Cream Cracker and is shaped like a cream cracker. Centre 4 teapots are finds from local gift shops. Teapot at the back right is sold as a sauce bottle, but decided not to use for soya sauce as flies keep getting into the spout.

I like collecting teapots and tea sets, and will try to buy a teapot or tea set from wherever I travel to. In Kuala Lumpur, I will look for teapots at chinaware shops, gift shops and also RM2 shops. I also look for bargains on Ebay, and have so far have come up with some gems. These are just part of my collection.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Orange raisin cake

A mixed fruit caked that I baked a few months ago

Orange raisin cake baked last week

I adapted this recipe from a recipe that i found in Creative Making of Cakes by Alex Goh. Original recipe was for a sultana cake, and is one of my favorite cakes. I have baked this cake countless times, but instead of just sultanas, I like to use a mixture of raisins, sultanas, fruit peel and cherries. I do not like the packed mix fruits available in the shop, but instead will buy them separately, and mix them together. For example, I like the taste of fruit peel, so I will add a bit more than is usually available in ready packed mix fruits.

Ingredients :
250 g butter
230 g sugar
5 eggs
1 tbsp glycerin (optional, as it is to keep the cake moist)
200 g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk powder
250 g raisins
60 g high protein flour
Peel and juice from 1 orange

Method :
1) Mix raisins and high protein flour. Sift flour, baking powder and milk powder together. Set both aside
2) Cream butter and sugar until white and creamy
3) Add in eggs, one at a time. To prevent mixture from curdling fold in a tabsp. of flour into mixture
4) Add in glycerin.
5) Add in orange juice and peel
5) Fold in flour, then add in the raisins from (1)
6) Bake in 9" sq. tin at 180 deg. C for 50 mins. Cool.

If I am baking a mixed fruit cake, I normally substitute the white sugar with brown sugar, and 1 tsp of rum essence (available in bakery shops) for orange juice.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baking bread

sweet dinner rolls

raisin buns (on the left) and sausage rolls

Have been neglecting this blog lately. Reason being that last week the children did not have to go to school, so were glued to the computer all the time, which meant that I did not have access to the computer. Besides, have also been busy with my knitting. Yes, after 1 1/2 months, I finally completed the pullover, and it is now on its way to North America to FM. Now that FM is living in colder climes, I have got a reason to pursue my knitting hobby, though if this carry on, she will be overloaded with knits.
Anyway, I did find time to bake, and last week, I baked cake bread (it did not turn out successfully) and pizza on Tuesday, bread on Thursday and on Sunday I baked an orange raisin cake (more on that another day).
For the bread :
Ingredients :
500 g high protein flour
1 tsp instant yeast
60 g sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp milk powder
1 egg (50 g)
250 g water (but i used fresh milk and water)
50 g butter

Method ;
1) Mix flour and instant yeast together at slow speed using dough hook. Add in sugar, salt and milk powder. Add in egg and water. Use medium speed, and blend until like dough (5 mins). Add in butter, and continue kneading for about 15 mins, until dough is springy.
2) Cover dough with cling wrap (I normally placed the dough in a Tupperware), and leave to rise until double in bulk (45 - 60 mins)
3) Punch down dough, and set aside for 10 mins.
4) Scale dough and shape into 40 g balls.

I made 3 types of bread from the dough :
a) Mini hot dog buns : Roll dough lengthwise, add in half a hot dog and roll up like a Swiss roll.

b) Raisin buns : Wash and dry about 2 tbsp of raisins, and add into the dough. Shape into balls

c) Dinner rolls : Roll into oval shapes, then roll up like a Swiss roll.

Brush buns with egg wash, and bake at 200 deg C for about 10 minutes.

Found the above bread dough recipe in "Bread Code" by Wendy Kor, and I think this sweet dough recipe works out better than my earlier dough recipe for the pizza.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sweet corn soup

Another easy soup for you. You have been telling me that sometimes you do not know what to cook. I guess that cannot be held, due to the limited ingredients as unlike me, you cannot go shopping everyday for food. I suggest that on your next shopping trip, maybe, you should stock up on some canned food, such as baked beans, canned soups, and sweet corn (creamy type).
For sweet corn soup, you will need

1 chicken breast
1 can sweet corn (creamy)
1 egg

Boil the chicken breast. When cooked, removed, cool and shred chicken. Retain the chicken stock. Bring stock to boil again, add in the sweet corn. Add in the chicken. Switch off flame. Beat egg lightly and add in slowly to sweet corn soup. Season with salt and pepper.

You can substitute the chicken breast with crab meat.