Thursday, November 27, 2008

Simple chicken soup

Dear FM

Came across a chicken soup recipe in the papers yesterday, and it sort of reminded me of the soups that new mothers take to boost their health, but of course for new mothers they add in plenty of ginger and DOM.

I used to make a simple version with less DOM and ginger, and I think it would be a very simple and nutritious soup for you to make. The other day, you were complaining to me that sometimes you can't think of what to cook for dinner.

Well for the soup you need :

1 chicken whole leg, cut into bite size
1 egg
3 Chinese mushroom, soaked and sliced
1 thumb size piece of ginger, sliced thinly
sesame oil
1 rice bowl of water

Method :

Heat up sesame oil, fry ginger until fragrant. Add in mushroom, fry for a few minutes. Add in egg and fry until fragrant. Add in chicken pieces, stir fry for few minutes, then add in water. Cook until chicken is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Friday, November 21, 2008


New at this stuff. Wasn't sure what a meme was, so I wikied the word like every self-respecting web addict would do. In brief : . A meme (pronounced /miːm/)[1] consists of any idea or behavior that can pass from one person to another by learning or imitation.
Please proceed if interested....otherwise click the little "x" at the top right hand of this page

– Name: Mum (thats what my children call me), Mrs...... (what everybody call me). Seems to have lost my name when I became a wife and mother.
– Birth date: 13 April
– Birthplace: a small town (so small you may not find it on the map) in Pahang, Malaysia.
– Current Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
– Eye Color: black
– Hair Color: Black (saw some white strands this morning)
– Height: 5' 3" (last time I checked was when I was in school)
– Righty or Lefty: Righty
– Zodiac Sign: Aries (or according to my heritage - Boar, pig, Elmer Fudd)

– Your heritage: Chinese born in Malaysia according to my passport (immigrant according to the clowns of a MP at Parliament)
– The shoes you wore today: no shoes, I wore Bata slippers today
– Your weakness: shoes and bags
– Your fears: alone in my old age
– Your perfect pizza: the one I bake myself.. cheese, ham, pineapple (lots of that), peppers
– Goal you’d like to achieve: at the present ..none

– Your most overused phrase on AIM: Yo
– Your first waking thoughts: do I have to get up now?
– Your best physical feature: remind me to ask my other half
– Your most missed memory: if i missed it already, how do i tell it here

– Pepsi or Coke: neither, I prefer 7-Up
– McDonald’s or Burger King: McDonalds because it is everywhere unlike Burger King which is more expensive and only found in upmarket areas
– Single or group dates: too old for dates
– Adidas or Nike: neither as very expensive here as compared to Reeboks
– Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: neither
– Chocolate or vanilla: Vanilla
– Cappuccino or coffee: neither as I am a tea drinker, but if I have to I prefer cappuccino

– Smoke: No
– Cuss: Once a while especially when driving
– Sing: if a hear a familiar song on the radio
– Take a shower everyday: at least twice a day, this is the tropics
– Do you think you’ve been in love: if like what they write in the romance novels answer is no, but if you find that you prefer to be with this person than with anybody else, than yes.
– Want to go to college: No
– Liked high school: Ok
– Want to get married: Already married
– Believe in yourself: If I dont believe in myself, who will believe in me
– Get motion sickness: sometimes and when I have to circle many times to look for a parking space
– Think you’re attractive: Ok, I guess, at least I wont scare anybody away
– Think you’re a health freak: not really
– Get along with your parent(s): quite well with my mother, but my father died when i was six for me to comment
– Like thunderstorms: don't mind, but hate it when my internet connection gets disconnected
– Play an instrument: No

LAYER SIX: In the past month…
– Drank alcohol: No
– Smoked: No
– Done a drug: does glucosamine and panadol counts.
– Made Out: too old for that
– Gone on a date: with the kids tagging along, yes.
– Gone to the mall?: Yes, just went today (shopping addict)
– Eaten an entire box of Oreos?: No, only had 2 pcs
– Eaten sushi: Yes, I love sushi
– Been on stage: No
– Been dumped: No
– Gone skating: No, fear of falling
– Made homemade cookies: No, prefer baking cakes to cookies
– Gone skinny dipping: Does bathing count
– Dyed your hair: No
– Stolen Anything: No

– Played a game that required removal of clothing: too staid for that
– Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: No
– Been caught “doing something”: "doing something" what
– Been called a tease: Never
– Gotten beaten up: No
– Shoplifted: No
– Changed who you were to fit in: No

– Age you hope to be married: Married
– Numbers and Names of Children: wanted 2, but ended up with 3
– Describe your Dream Wedding: Never thought about that, since I dont really like to dress up, or all that "yam seng" stuff at Chinese weddings
– How do you want to die: peacefully
– Where you want to go to college: No
– What do you want to be when you grow up: am grown up now (I think so)
– What country would you most like to visit: Canada (my daughter is there)

– Number of drugs taken illegally: None
– Number of people I could trust with my life: 5 (my husband, 3 children and my brother)
– Number of CDs that I own: not counting (too difficult as they are all over the place)
– Number of piercings: None
– Number of tattoos: None
– Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?: few times
– Number of scars on my body: a couple
– Number of things in my past that I regret:
some, but not counting (what is done is done)

Ok, all done. Not going to proof read, in case there is anything I regret putting down.

The original idea can be found at : (hope I got the details correct, still not very sure of copy/paste)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My mother's story

Mother's grandfather was a merchant in China during the Ching Dynasty. He was the god-brother of the Governor of Guangdong, and was thus able to move freely between Guilin and Guangzhou to ply his trade, and one of his most lucrative trade was opium (shame to admit it, but it was then). With his earnings, he bought parcels of paddy land in his village and harvested by the peasants. However, this good life was not to last very long, as he died before 60, leaving a wife and concubine, 3 sons (who had never worked a day in their life) and various family members. To survive, the land were gradually sold off. When all the land were sold, my grandfather and his brothers had to leave their village to find work. My grandfather went to Medan, Indonesia, but was not successful so he returned to China.

My paternal grandfather and father were at that time working in Malaya. In order to obtain an introduction to work in Malaya, my mother's father decided to marry her off to my father. So at the age of 13, my mother was married off by her family, and on the introduction of his now son-in-law, my mother's father came to Malaya, where within no time he acquired a concubine despite having a destitute family waiting in China.

Rich families in China at that time had bought maids to look after the household, as was the norm in my mother's family. But my father's family were not well off so had no maids. Overnight, by welcoming my mother as their new daughter-in-law, they acquired a maid in my mother. My mother had to look after her mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law, who were not much younger than her, and also her husband and father-in-law if they were around. My mother had to take care of the house including drawing water from the well for their baths while all this able-bodied persons just sat around without lifting a finger to help.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

In praise of my mother

My parents were immigrants from China and I am a first-generation born Malaysian. Both of them were born in a village (can't remember the name of the village, but it is about 30 minutes drive from Jiangmen, Guangzhou, China). My father came to Malaya during the '30s and returned to China to marry my mother. Theirs was an arranged marriage, and my late mum was a child bride at age 13. Barely in her teens, she had to take care of a mother-in-law and 2 sisters-in-law. By 15, she was a young mother taking care of her 1st born in war torn Hong Kong. War had come to China shortly after her marriage, and my grandmotherwith 3 young ladies to protect from the invaders, decided to move to Hong Kong believing that it would be safer there, but then Hong Kong was also invaded.
After the war, they returned to China, where my mother had two other daughters, but sadly both my sisters died at infancy. Life was tough because of the political unstability in China at the time, and money had to last until the next arrival of money from my father and grandfather in Malaya, which was rather erratic. There were no mail or telegraphic transfer at that time, and they had to rely on messengers who travel by boat between Malaya and China.
After the fall of the Kuomintang, came the peasant revolution in China. My mother being from the landowner class (even though they no longer own land then) were made to work in the fields by the peasants, and were severely punished for every error. My grandmother suffer the most when they placed a corpse face to face on top of her as punishment for buying more than the approved amount of food for her family and still behaving like the landed class . After toiling for a few years, the peasants decided they had been punished enough and freed them. Many wealthy landowners died because they could not stand the torture, and my mother were certainly glad they were no longer landowners then.
My grandmother died soon after the torture stopped, and my mother migrated to Malaya in 1957, but sadly she left a life of toil in China only to toil in Malaya. By then my father was diabetic and had TB, and my mother was widowed a few years after coming to Malaya. Having 2 young children to take care of, my mother became a shop keeper, and ran a coffee shop in the small town that I grew up. With the little income from the coffee shop and a monthly remittance from my grand-aunt who worked as a nanny for a wealthy family in Singapore, my mother managed to bring up her two young children (me and my brother) and educated us until we completed our secondary school education.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caramel custard layer cake

caramel custard layer cake

Nice tasty cake, which I never get fed up of baking. Looks difficult but once you get down to it, is relatively easy to bake.

Ingredients :
A :
60 g sugar

95 g fine sugar
220 g milk (use UHT milk)
3 egg yolks
1 tbsp custard powder

90 g self-raising flour
10 g cocoa powder
50 g fine sugar
35 ml corn oil
2 egg yolks (Grade A)
95 ml water

5 egg whites (Grade A)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp fine sugar

Method :
1) Melt sugar (A) to form caramel. Pour into cake tin. (alternatively you can melt it directly in the cake tin). Set aside to let it cool.
2) Mix together ingredients (B) and pour onto the set caramel.
3) Beat ingredients (D) until fluffy. Meanwhile, mix together ingredients (C) , then fold in the beaten egg whites (D)
4) Pour Mixture (3) on top of mixture (B) from step 2.
5) Put the cake tin into a bigger baking tray and fill the baking tray with hot water. (3 cm)
6) Bake at 175 deg C for 50 - 60 minutes. Remove cake from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before removing from the cake tin.

NB : In case, you are wondering won't the custard and the cake mixture get mixed together, don't worry, it won't. The first time i saw this baking demonstration, I was wondering if the two mixtures would be mixed together, but was duly assured that it would not! This cake tastes very nice when chilled. Use 100 g of SR flour and 1/2 tsp of vanilla and omit the cocoa powder if you prefer a plain cake.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

warming up the car engine?????

Just came in from outside where I was once again blasted for a full 10 minutes with exhaust fumes. One might think that I am staying right in the middle of the city, but then that is not the case, as I am staying 10 km away from the city in a leafy suburban housing estate, and I was standing in the compound of my house.
The noxious blast came from a neighbour's car. I just cannot understand why some people needs to warm up their cars before driving...we are talking about later models and not a 30 - 40 yr old model. ...and the car is not left idle but is driven for many hours daily. This is the same guy who left his car engine running with his toddler and pregnant wife standing behind the car.

Much has been written about carbon footprints and how we should try to reduce our carbon footprints and save precious petrol, and on the other hand there are people like this who insist on warming up their cars a few times daily (!!!), and starting the air conditioning 10 mins before to cool down the car before driving off, or leave the car idling with the air-conditioner on to cool down.

Out of curiosity, I once ask a neighbour why they had to warm up the car for so long as the exhaust fumes was getting into my home..and the answer I got - " so that Minyak lagi sedap" (so that the petrol would be more tasty) - , and I was thinking, "are they going to drink the oil"!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

knitting pattern - child's cardigan

A cardigan that any fashionable little miss or mum would be proud of. Kept this pattern because i wanted to knit it for FM but FM grew up before I managed to learn to knit in 2 colors.

Sorry, can't remember where I found this pattern since it was published more than 20 yrs ago, but most likely could have been from Family Circle or Woman's Weekly.

didaskaleinophobia - maybe I have it

Today I discovered this message on FJ's MSN. "didaskaleinophobia- maybe I have it". Big words for a 13 yr old. Could not understand the word so did what everyone would do in this age -I 'Googled' the word.

'disdaskaleinophobia according to ( means a phobia for school.

Now why would a child who has never missed a day of school other than for illness has this - only reason i can fathom is because of the events of the past few days has affected her quite badly and crushed her spirit.

It is hard sometimes for a young child to understand why when adults refuse to listen and react negatively.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

regurgitating everything....the vengeful teacher

Had thought of the consequences if FJ were to complain to the Asst Headmaster, ....after all we were dealing with a teacher who berates her students as urban animals and useless just because the students do not plant trees(???), spent all their time in front of the tv and the computer and did not get up at 4 a.m(???) to pray.....
Well, FJ's action has come back to haunt her. FJ just got the total marks for Civics, and only got 63, which meant a 'C', the only C among her grades. Under the present system for Civics marks are given for Folio (class project) and also Personal Conduct (behaviour???), though goodness why is it that way, and why should it be awarded by a teacher who only teaches her for 40 minutes a week unlike her class teacher, who teaches her for longer period a week. Should not marks for Conduct be awarded by her Class teacher, who would be able to make better judgement based on the time spent with the child. But then, that is the education system. So are students at the mercy of the Civics teacher? Seems to be so..FJ's has never skip any class nor played truant, does her homework diligently (I make sure of that)....only fault is that she dared to question the teacher and to refer to the Asst Headmaster!
FJ barely got any marks for her Folio and Conduct, despite spending so much time and effort to complete her Folio project. I am not being biased when I say that FJ really spends a lot of time on her Class project! This is the child who will spend hours researching and searching for suitable pictures and information from the Net and then printing them out. She will also spend hours colouring any pictures to her satisfaction which is a long time since she adores art.
As a mother, I feel sad and angry about the whole episode, but have advised FJ to put it behind her.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

dreams of the everyday housewife..........

When I was thinking about starting a blog, I was looking around for an ID for myself and could not decide. Then one day, I happen to be interviewed by some media people from the local papers who wanted to know my occupation, so I replied "Homemaker". Well, they replied "Orh, housewife" in a rather superior manner. I corrected them and repeated "No, HOMEMAKER", but they insisted "HOUSEWIFE" and that it was the term used for stay-at-home mothers in the papers.
Back home later that afternoon, the Glen Campbell started rattling in my head, in the way, that sometime you get a song in your head that can't seem to go away!
Decided that "Everyday Housewife" would be my ID, next was the title for my blog. 'Dreams of the Everyday Housewife' was already taken (maybe many others had that Glen Campbell song running in their head), so decided on Notes.
Actually, this blog is like a sort of personal challenge. I wanted to see whether I would have the perseverance to start a blog and whether I would be able to keep it going with interesting items so that readers would keep returning...which I think is the greatest challenge. After all, how many would be interested in a blog by a middle-aged lady blogging about cooking, knitting, and her everyday life and comments. But of 'cos, first I would have to direct people to my blog, so one day, I discover the 'help' button, and clicked on it..never realising that a whole new world awaits me ...the world of Blogger Help Share Group , and since then have been returning almost daily to it. Met up with a whole community of fellow bloggers who have been giving helpful and encouraging comments. you all wonderful people out there : "A WARM THANK YOU and NICE MEETING YOU"

Meanwhile, am still puzzling out HTML, and how to cut and paste that Ad-Sense Code on to my page! Somehow, can't get it to the right place on my template. Then, my challenge is how to persuade you guys to click on the Ad's....but then that is a story for another day..... be continued on another day

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mee Bandung

Remember the Mee Bandung we had at the restaurant, (cant remember the place, since its been a few years). Ever since then, CK has been hankering for Mee Bandung, and been pestering me to cook it for him. Been searching for a mee bandung recipe and online, there are so many versions all claiming to be the authentic 'Muar Mee Bandung'. Bought a box of 'Knorr' beef stock cubes last week as I wanted to make lasagne(yes, finally made that lasagne yesterday!), and there was a simple recipe for Mee Bandung on the box!
The recipe was so simple that I think you can attempt it in your little kitchen, but then, you may not be so keen on it since you are not such a keen fan of tomato sauce, unlike FJ.
Anyway, will list the recipe here just in case.
Ingredients :
1 tbsp cooking oil
4 pips of garlic, chopped finely
6 shallots, chopped finely
2 red chillies, sliced finely ( i did not have chilies so i used chilli sauce, haha)
250 g chicken (cooked and shredded)
250 g prawns, shelled
2 stalks of lemon grass (serai), diced
1.5 l water
1 1/2 beef stock cube
1 cup tomato sauce
4 eggs,lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
600 g yellow noodles (i used spaghetti, as i don't like the boric acid in yellow noodles)
2 cups choy sum
2 cups bean sprouts

Method :
1) Heat oil and fry the onions and garlic. Add in chillies and serai, stir fry. Add in water and the beef stock cube. Bring to boil, then add in prawns, tomato sauce and the salt and pepper.
2) Switch off the fire, then slowly add in the beaten eggs.
3) Meanwhile, bring another pot of water to boil. Blanch the choy sum, bean sprouts and noodles separately.
4) Place noodles in individual bowls. Add in choy sum, taugeh and the shredded chicken. Then add the soup.

FM, simple isn't it! Maybe you can cook this for your friends.....or reduce the quantity for a meal for one. I did not measure out the water, and I used less eggs, so the soup was a little bit watery. FJ liked it, probably because of the tomato sauce.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ikea - inexpensive kitchen tools

Come early September, I would be waiting eagerly for the arrival of a certain catalogue, and guess what is it. Yes, the Ikea catalogue. I enjoy browsing through the catalogue looking for new kitchen stuff, especially for inexpensive kitchen tools. In fact, CK (the anti-shopping guy) always complain when I drag him shopping at Ikea because he know he will be there for many hours,so I would treat him to Ikea 's curry puffs just to console him! These are some of the inexpensive kitchen tools I got from Ikea. There are more, but am going to leave that for another day. These are my 3 favourites.
A citrus fruit squeezer for less than RM5/- . Better than the conventional juice squeezer. Cut off the top of a lemon, just turn it, and you have lemon juice. Very handy when I just want a little bit of lemon juice for my salads, etc. Then I store the lemon in the fridge to be used another day.

3 small knives for less than RM 10/- . Yellow one, i used for paring fruits and vegetables. The blue one, I used for de-veining prawns, and the red one I used for removing cakes from cake tins, because it is thin and fine enough to go around a cake tin without spoiling the cake.

A pair of whisks for less than RM 5/-. The bigger whisk for whisking eggs and making batter, while the smaller one is very handy for making sauces and gravies.

4 handy and inexpensive kitchen tools for less than RM20/-, but which I find very useful in my kitchen.

regurgitating everything....updated

Well, FJ came back from school today...good news is everything settled, though not exactly to her satisfaction. The teachers came to a consensus that so long as the students answered with the key words from the textbook, the answers is acceptable, so now they have to mark all the answer papers again. As for FJ, she only got 1 extra mark, since she answered in her own words, and did not include the key words from the textbook.
Was the effort worth it? I suppose so... but then the jury is out. Probably by going all the way to the Asst. Headmaster, FJ has most likely antagonise the teacher concerned. All I can hope is that FJ will not get this teacher in her class next year. Otherwise, FJ will be picked on or maybe just ignored! But then, looking back, all this would have been avoided, if the teacher concerned had kept an open mind and listened and explained to FJ instead of telling her to go away and challenging her to see the Asst. Headmaster, which I strongly feel is intimidation as she was most likely thinking that FJ would not have wanted to approach the Asst. Headmaster!