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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The beautiful hymn of praise, "Lord, I offer my life to you"


           Last Sunday was the 1st Sunday of Advent and when my husband and myself attended Mass, we were happy to see that the Priest who was presiding Mass was Rev Father Michael Chua, an impressive speaker with an equally impressive vocabulary, as he always, somehow manage to, give a beautiful homely in line with the Gospel or the Readings and I always find myself sitting on the edge of the pew, listening intently to what he had to say to the congregation.

           He started off his homely by saying that he had a weakness for chocolates bars and he had been procrastinating from slowly down his intake but somehow always say to himself that another time he will do so. Then he touched on the meaning of Advent, he said Advent meant "coming or arrival" and in line with the Gospel reading where we are told to stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" in other words Rev Father told us to be, Always, always ready as we do not know when our time of death will be.  He then touched on the subject that we should not be trapped in our own pains and hurts and that we should learn to let go of those old hurts that "we were, sort of, nursing". I felt that it was as though there was no one there but me and that he was speaking directly to me alone; telling me to get rid of, all my excess baggage that had been hounding me for the past 3 decades, to simply let go and surrender to the Lord.  Of late, I have been trying very hard to purge all the old hurts, the immense pain that has been eating deep inside of me and festering an old wound and letting it damage my piece of mind but it is so difficult to suddenly surface to the top and tell yourself that the pain has been Over 2 decades ago and to Let them go away and to live the remainder of my life, not in deep regret but in immense happiness with my own family, Something that I richly deserve and Something which is Long Overdue.  It is Never, never, easy trying to Forget things that has hurt one so badly in the past But I feel somehow, of late, with the Lord's Help and my loved ones that I am heading in the right direction But for me to be able to Forgive Completely, the desire must, first come from deep within me and in order to be able, to be a whole person again, I must first learn the Act of Forgiveness; not an easy task, I know it well, but then again, nothing is easy in this life, you must sometimes take the bull by its horns. The thought that our Lord died on the cross for us in order to save us should, somehow, give us courage and comfort And that there are more people out there, who are more worse off than me so I made a promise to myself that I want to make this conscious effort to forgive those who had hurt me so badly in the past and I really, really hope that Our Lord will see my deep desire and sincerity and help me in this unsurmountable task ahead of me and that if I should fall and fall I will as the devil always tempts us, Our Lord will Lift me up and let me continue in my endeavour for healing and inner peace, something I long for, for so long in my life and ultimately be able to reach a higher level of inner Solace and to finally be able to, Soar on the wings of an eagle.  I find the following lyrics of the praise and worship hymn, "Lord, I offer my life to you" somehow, deeply moving and comforting.

                 All that I am, all that I have
                 I lay them down before YOU, O Lord
                All my regrets, all of my PAINS
                I am making them YOURS.

                        Lord I offer my life to YOU
                        Everything I have been through
                        Use it for Your Glory
                        Lord I offer my days to You
                        Lifting my praise to You
                        As a pleasing sacrifice
                       Lord I offer you my life.

                 Things in the PAST, things yet Unseen
                 Wishes and Dreams that are yet to come true
                 All of my HOPES, all of my plans
                 My Heart and my Hands are lifted to YOU.
                

            Thank you Lord for all of these, you told us that you brought us here and you would bring us through it and, ironically, in a big way, it has made me who I am, a much better person, more Loving, understanding and Patient on all counts, it has also made me full of compassion for others, hurt in their own life and to be able to extend my love and advice to anyone who seeked me out for Love and compassion in their own troubled lives.  I also think that it is also God's call for me to, sort of, raise my own bar and reach out and touch others, for I went through the mill and would be able to give first hand advice and solace and if you are reading this, keep all troubled ones in your heart and pray for them, they need your prayers, thank you for "listening". Ophelia

           Lord if ever I should fall and fall I would, let these verses from "Footsteps in the sand" bring me solace:-

                  "You promised me Lord that if I followed You,
                   You would walk with me always
                   But I have noticed that during the
                      most troublesome times of my life
                      there has only been one set of foot prints in the sand
                   Why when I needed YOU the most,
                      have you not been there fore me?

                  The Lord replied, "The years when you have seen
                      only one set of foot prints, my child,
                      is was then that I carried you".

                             Till the next post, xoxo Ophelia

Monday, November 29, 2010

Prawn Masala



                        Learnt this from a fantastic Chef and one of my better half's favourite. Ophelia
Ingredients

700 gm               Medium size prawns
    2                     Kayu Manis
    3                     Star Anise
    4                     Dried Chillies
    1/2 teasp          Halba
    1 teasp             Ground Black Pepper
    1 teasp             Ground White Pepper
   1 1/2 teasp        Jintan Manis seeds
    3 teasp             Chilli Powder
    5 Tabsp           Fish Curry Powder
    4 Tabsp           Water
     3 Tabsp           Tomato Paste
     6 pips              Finely ground Garlic
    20 gm               Finely ground Ginger
    20 gm               Finely ground Shallots
    60 gm               Tamarind mix with 30 ml water
 220 ml                 Fresh Santan
     3 sprigs            Curry leaves [before frying crush it in order to release aroma]
     3 Tabsp           Oil
                            Salt
Method
  1. Make a paste with 3 teasp *Chilli Powder, 5 Tabsp Fish Powder & 4 Tabsp water.
  2. Heat 3 Tabsp oil saute kayu manis, curry leaves, star anise & dried chillies for 2 minutes.
  3. Add Jintan Manis seeds, halba & shallots, saute till shallots light brown.
  4. Add finely ground Garlic & Ginger & fry for 4 minutes.
  5. Add halba, ground black pepper & the *Chilli Powder Paste, Tomato Paste & Salt.
  6. Add in the prawn mixing it well for 2 minutes to combine smoothly.
  7. Add water to level of the prawns & let it come to a boil.
  8. Add tarmarind water, fresh santan & simmer on medium low heat till prawns cook.
  9. Do Not Over Cook Prawns. Check for taste and adjust according to your taste.
                     xoxo till next post, Ophelia

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tom Yam with a diff

           Normally one is usually served the famous Thai Tom Yam where the base/stock either freshly made chicken or prawn stock or a stock made of water and loaded with Maggi Concentrated Chicken Stock.  The one I am blogging here, the base is coconut water and the coconut is not the Thai variety which is very small and the amount of the coconut water insufficient and pandan flavour as that variety is, if I may add could be artifically flavoured sweet though I dont mind the aroma of the pandan but the coconut I use is the usual big green coconut that one would sometimes see some venders selling them by the road sides, and this is especially for Selangor, Malaysia readers :), you can sometimes find that the Venders are very innovative, they tie the coconuts on a tree along the Sungei Buloh Road, ok enough of small talk and let's get down to the business of cooking a delicious Tom Yam, which is Yammilicious :) :) :) again viewers sorry have no picture to show you of my Tom Yam as I was just initiated to blogsphere and fb five months back and prior to that I didnt take photos of my food :( so now I have to start from scratch and if you stay on as my ardent followers, not only will you be prompted when I have any of my new post, you get to learn to cook with me and you would ask, what would I get in return.  Well dat's easy for starters, my dream is to build a huge fan/follower base; second if those of you who have tried what I have lovingly uploaded, return back to said recipe and COMMENT on your take after you have tried same; well that would be simply marvellous cos I get then to interact with you, my second dream :)

Ingredients for Tom Yam

    1 kg          medium size prawns
    2              Big Green coconuts; you need both the coconut water
                    and the flesh from both
600 ml          Water
    3 Tabsp     Tom Yam Sauce + some of its oil [to give its colour to Tom Yam]
                     (the brand is "Mae Pranom Thai Chilli Paste" which is imported
                       by Seri Trading) :) again this "imported" info part
                       is for the benefit of Malaysian viewers as in other parts
                       of the world, I Do Not know which company imports
                       this brand, sorry :( but check the brand out in your
                       local supermarkets which will definitely stock them :)

  10                 Yin Sai roots [roots of coriander] as the flavour is in the roots
  40 gm            Lengkuas/Galangal, smash into piece to allow all the lovely
                            flavour to infuse the Tom Yam
    3                 Serai/Lemon Grass, smashed agin for infusing
  10                 Shallots
    3                 Ripe but firm Tomatoes, deseeded
  20                 Red Chilli Padi, whole [do not cut]
    1                 small packet of Inoki Mushrooms

    3                  Limau Perut leaves, remove the veins [bitter] and just
                        before adding to the Tom Yam crushed to release aroma
    7                  Assam Keping
    1 teasp        Salt
    3 Tabsp        Sugar
    5 Tabsp        Evaporated Milk [Not santan or UHT Milk pse]
    5 Tabsp        Limau Nipis juice [big green limes]

    Method
  1. Put in a big pot all the coconut water, 650 ml water, Serai, Lengkuas, Shallot, Chilli Padi, Limau Perut leaves, Yin Sai roots [cut 5" from the root, dont really want the leaves but if there are some sticking, it is ok].  Cover the big pot and let it boil for 15 - 20 minutes [after 15 minutes you can enjoy the heavenly aroma].  Put on the timer as the soup will overflow when you cover it and you dont want to waste the gorgeous slurpy soup!!!  Preferably use a 5 ply pot, like the Buffalo brand, which has a hole in the cover it would not overflow and at the same time you can inhale the aroma.
  2. Once it has boiled, add 3 Tabsp Tom Yam Sauce, a little of its oil [for colour], the flesh of the coconut, seedless Tomatoes, Salt, Sugar, Evaporated Milk, Prawns, cover the pot and bring it to a boil; making sure you Do not Overcook the prawns.
  3. Once boiled, stir the tom yam, taste to check seasoning.  If taste is to your liking, Switch off the fire Then only add the juice of the Limau Nipis as tom yam will taste bitter if fire is on and you add the limau nipis juice [that was what we were taught by the Chef and I wouldnt be one to go against the Chef's advice :)]
         N/B
  1. Chilli padi do not cut, put it in whole as the tom yam is not hot despite the 20 but of course on the other extreme for those who like it hot; may be you could smash 10 of them or all of them; the choice is of course yours, mine is just to teach you :)
  2. When adding the limau nipis juice, you should off the fire first;
  3. This is my take on it; it would be good if you make the soup the day before in order to allow everything to infuse and it taste so much better the next.  Another suggestion is that you can blanch some bee hoon to al dante and then eat this as a noodle which is yummilicious!!!
  4. As taste is something personal, salt and sugar mentioned in the ingredients is just as a guide for you.  For me whenever I have learnt something, I would first do as per the original and then if my family likes the taste, I will adopt it but if they prefer more spicy, etc etc I will then increase accordingly and at the same time I will note, straight away minute the difference in my recipe so that the next time I would follow their preference as for me it is important to always follow a recipe rigidly so that the taste of anything, be it my cakes or food, Constancy is Alway the same; no hit or run case for me that is why in terms of the cakes that I sell, my customers have always told me that it was the same as the last time they bought be it a month ago or 2 years ago because for me fresh ingredients and constant results are my priorities, sorry for this diversion it is just that I would like to share my cooking recipes, esp, the tips that the Chef "throws" at us, his students, so that you viewers will get the whole package from yours truly :)
                          xoxo till the next post, Ophelia
 

Getting away from it all

        An old tired looking dog wandered into my garden.  I could tell from his collar and well fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.

        He calmly came over to me.  I gave him a few pats on his head and he followed me into the house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and was soon fast asleep.  An hour later he went to the door and I let him out.

        The next day he was back again, greeted me in the garden, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again he slept for about an hour.  This continued off and on for a few weeks.

        Curious I pinned a note to his collar, "I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap?"

         The next day he arrived for his nap with a different note pinned to his collar.  "He lives in a home with a non stop chatting wife, 6 children; 2 under the age of three and he is trying to catch up on his sleep.  Can I come with him tomorrow?"



                                                   xoxo till the next post, have a lovely week end. Ophelia

Friday, November 26, 2010

Homemade Tofu and minced chicken/pork sauce

   
              Homemade tofu is something anyone, haha, with time on their hands like me, can do.  It is very easy to do, Very nourishing and Tasty, not much prep work best of all, No Perservatives used.  You then make a meat sauce and pour the hot meat sauce on the fried tofu and I can personally Vouch that after eating this, no one will say that home cooked food is second to none.  My better half who Never take second helping took a Big Second helping of the tofu and told me that not only is the tofu good and smooth, the meat sauce was good and now let's get down to business.

Ingredients for Homemade Tofu

500 ml        Sugar free Soya Bean Milk, room temperature
1/2 teasp   Salt
   4 "A"       Eggs [for overseas friends who stop by here, 240 ml eggs]
   2 "A"       Egg Yokes [it is not the yokes from the above]

Method for Tofu
  1. Rub the base and sides of a 7" round tin with some oil.
  2. Boil water in a steamer.
  3. Place the 4 eggs and 2 egg yokes in a small bowl and whisk it with a fork.
  4. Combine the Soya Bean Milk, beaten eggs & salt and mix it well with a whisk.
  5. Strain the soya bean combination with a siever into the 7" tin from a low height as do not want the mixture to have too much air bubbles.
  6. Place the tin into the steamer; DO NOT CLOSE the Cover of the steamer Entirely AND REDUCE the fire to medium low (and steam for 20 minutes) as too high heat, the tofu Wont be smooth.
  7. Once tofu is cooked, remove the tin from the steamer and let it Cool completely.  Once tofu is at room temperature, put it in the fridge for 2 hours in order for it to firm up.
  8. Cut it to desired size. Deep fry  Moderately Hot oil till golden brown. Remove and place on kitchen towel to drain excess oil.  Set aside [for busy mothers, one alternative, though not recommended by me as you should make my homemade tofu to see how good it is, is to buy egg tofu from the market and then fry same and then do my meat sauce.
 Ingredients for Pork/Chicken meat sauce

      300 gm             minced meat
                              marinade meat with 1/2 teasp salt,
                              1/2 teasp castor sugar,
                              1 teasp light soya sauce, 1 teasp Sesame Oil,
                              1 teasp water
                              and 1 teasp corn flour,
                              cling wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour

          4                   Dried mushrooms, dice
          4                   Shallots, dice
          4                   pips Garlic, dice
      1/2 teasp           diced Ginger
           4                   Red Chilli Padi, smash
           1"                  Belacan, toasted [This is the ompph factor]

      Seasoning for sauce

         2 teasp           Tau Cheong, finely grounded

      1/2 teasp           Maggi Concentrated Chicken stock
      100 ml               Water

           1 teasp          Light Soya Sauce
           1 teasp          Dark Soya Sauce
           1 teasp          Sesame Oil [dont add more as sesame oil is strong]
           2 teasp          Castor Sugar
           1 Tabsp         Shaoxine Wine
         1/2 teasp         ground White Pepper
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For thickening the meat sauce : Mix 1 teasp corn flour and 1 Tabsp Water
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Method for meat sauce
  1. Heat 4 Tabsp oil in wok; add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chilli padi, tau cheong and toasted belacan.  Stir fry for 3 minutes.
  2. Add in the minced meat and mushrooms and fry for about 5 minutes until you can see that the meat has changed to a pale colour till meat is cooked.
  3. Add in the combined seasoning, stir and bring to a boil.
  4. Add in the thickening agent.  Stir and Again Bring it to a boil. [FYI, pardon me if you know this :), whenever we add any corn flour and water to thicken a sauce, After adding the corn flour solution, you must bring it to a Boil otherwise sauce will taste floury].
  5. Once it has boiled, taste whether to your liking, then pour it on top of the fried tofu.
☺Happy cooking☺





             xoxo till the next post. Ophelia

     

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Muesli Bars


                           My favourite and its not too sweet. 


Ingredients for Muesli Bars

150 gm          Butter
  80 ml           Honey
140 ml           Liquid glucose Or Maltose
  60 gm          Brown Sugar
  20 gm          Milk Powder
    1 teasp     Vanilla
300 gm          *Rolled Oats, toasted
  60 gm          Almond nibs, toasted
  80 gm          Almonds Flakes, toasted
  80 gm          Puff Rice
  50 gm          Chocolate Chips
  50 gm          Dried Bananas or Dried Apples [You can use a combi but a total weight of 50 gm]

Preparation

(a)  For toasted rolled oats - Measure the rolled oats and put in a tray and spread the rolled oats. Switch on your oven to 140 ยบ C put in the oven straight away and bake it  for 15 minutes [No Need to preheat oven first].  Remove from oven and let it cool at room temperature. Dont forget to set the timer as it is very easy for us to forget same and dont want to land up with burnt oats.

(b)  For toasted Almond nibs and flakes put in a tray and since the oven is hot bake it for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take out, check whether colour is golden brown.  If not brown enough use a spoon to stir the nuts and bake for a further 3 - 5 minutes.  Set the timer too.

(c)  You have to first line a 12" x 9" Swiss Roll pan with Plastic sheet extended over two opposite ends as the muesli bars get harden fast.

Method

1.  Combine rolled oats, puff rice, almond nibs, almond flakes & dried fruits in a big basin  [hereinafter I shall refer this combination as "combined dry ingredients" except for the chocolate chips.

2.  In a heavy base frying pan [5 ply. Heavy base is used so that things wont burn easily] add the butter, sugar, honey, liquid glucose stirring constantly over Low heat without boiling till sugar dissolves.  Stir in powder milk and then bring it to boil over Medium heat stirring for 2 - 3 minutes for a chewy texture.  If you want a crispy texture stir it for 5 minutes.  Please note that you have to follow this exact timing to get the right results.

3.  Lower the heat and add in the combined dry ingredient and Gently mix it well till combine for 3 minutes.  Immediately spread mixture onto the prepared pan, Sprinkle in the chocolate chips and level the top.

4.  Let it cool in the pan at room temperature till firm before cutting into bars and storing into an air tight container. 

          N/B Tips that I wrote do while watching the Chef at class:-

                (a)  Level the top with a rolling pin and have to work extremely fast as it hards quickly;
                (b)  NOT necessary to press Very firmly when levelling;
                (c)  These muesli are very good for breakfast and not very sweet and not difficult to make :)
                (d)  Using liquid glucose makes muesli more chewy.

                                     Enjoy doing and eating same.






                   xoxo until the next time, Ophelia

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Badminton

            My husband, like most man, is a sport freak and loves all kinds of sport and although I dont really watch all the sports he loves I, really, really am dead crazy about badminton, luv the game man and if ever the live telecast on tv is at 3 a.m., I am able to keep awake for same and as for my better half, the tv will be watching him, haha and my neighbours can probably hear my vocal support for my favourite team which is definitely our boys and girls but of course when live match is late, I have to keep my voice down; like the picture below!!!

             My husband took me to the Badminton World Federation [BWF] Super Series Master Final at Kota Kinabalu held on the 18 - 21 December 2008 and that was one of the best present he could give me as I have never been to see one live!!! Woo hooo, two years ago, seemed so long ago and now hubby is "taunting" me to go for the next Olympics in 2012 in England and my resounding "yea" filled the corners of our hall; where I can see my favourite players up close and he can see what other sports he love best and also he can visit his favourite football team, Tottenham Hotspur in White Hart Lane.

             There is no comparison to watching a live Badminton game where all the best players compete and give their all and being in Kuching, Sabah was such an opportunity for me to observe up close and personal how a World Class event was organised instead of watching it on my telly and the running of the event was smooth. Kudos to the organisers who did a superb job and the best of all is interacting with all the fans; shouting and screaming our heads off; it was way, way too much fun and hubby enjoyed seeing the other side of me, aaahhh the mad side; hearing and joining in the "Malaysia, boleh, Malaysia boleh!!!"  was way too much fun.

              Hubby with the help of our daughter bought the best tickets online so that I could see so clearly and we were literally a few metres away from the players and it was exhilarating some of the World Class players strutting their stuff; jumping smashes, dives and return at eye level and the atmosphere was electrifying when our Malaysian players eventually won; nothing could equate the roaring thunder from the Malaysian fans including yours truly; so much wild abandonment!!! Incredible stuff!!! No words can describe the joy we Malaysians felt when our team finally won; even the long, long wait for a taxi to take both of us back to our hotel did not dispel the joy of actually being there and witnessing the fantastic game that our team put up.  Well done!!! 


           It was helluva cool to be able to take some pictures with my favourite players at the airport at KK, Sabah.




                    xoxo till the next time Ophelia

Friday, November 19, 2010

To all dog lovers - Dog logic

                           I simply love the logic behind this email.

             1.  The reason a dog has so many friends is that
                      he wags his tail instead of his tongue  - Anonymous


             2.  There is no psychiatrist in the world
                     like a puppy licking your face -  Ben Williams



                3.  A dog is the only thing on earth
                        that loves you more than he loves himself - Josh Billings



               4.  Anyone who doesnt know what soap taste like
                       never washed a dog - Franklin P. Jones


                5.  If your dog is fat
                       You arent getting enough exercise - Unknown


                6.  If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous
                       He will not bite you
                       That is the principal difference between
                       a dog and a man - Mark Twain


                7.  Dogs are not our whole life
                        But they can make our lives whole - Roger Caras


              8.  If you think dogs can't count
                     Try putting 3 biscuits in your pocket
                     And then give him only two of them - Phil Pastoret

                           9.  And now saving the best for last.



                      And now let's play a little game. Tell me from 1 to 9, which of the above you find true? For me, I love No.7 & 8 best because to me, all that a dog will ask is to be loved and to be feed and in return, she give you Unconditional LOVE!!! Ophelia

                      xoxo until the next time.  Ophelia

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Char Siew, Non Halal

                                               Char Siew

Ingredient

"A"

    1 kg        Belly pork, skinless, cut into 4 stripes

"B"

    3 Tabsp   Castor Sugar
    2 Tabsp   Char Siu Sauce [brand, "Lee Kum Kee" or Angel SOS Char Siu]
    1 Tabsp   Oyster Sauce ["Lee Kum Kee"]
    2 Tabsp   Shao Shing Wine
    1 Tabsp   Thick Black Sauce
    2 Tabsp   Light Soya Sauce
    1 teasp     Maggi Concentrated Chicken Stock
    1 teasp    Freshly ground White Pepper
    1 teasp    Sesame Oil

"C"

    1 Tabsp   Corn flour mix with 1 Tabsp Water
    2 Tabsp   Honey

Method

1.  Mix "B" in a small bowl till combined.  Rub on the belly pork.  Place in a tupperware and marinade minimum 5 hours or overnite.

2.  Next day:-

                 (a) Remove meat from fridge and thaw for 30 minutes;
                 (b) Line a foil on a baking tray [haha less mess to clean];
                 (c) Preheat at 250 degress celcius for 15 minutes.

3.  Place meat spaciously on foiled tray and bake one side for 15 minutes. Retain the marinade as you need same to make a sauce and also to baste the meat.

4.  Remove from oven baste with remaining marinade then turn over the other side and baste the other side too and continue to bake the other side for 15 minutes.

5.  After the second 15 minutes is over, it would be better if you could grill both sides for 3 minutes to get a charred effect which would make the char siew more authetic.  Remove from oven and let the meat "rest" for 1 hour.

6.  Mix the remaining marinade with 1 cup of water in a small sauce pan and boil same.   When boiling, lower heat slightly and add in the corn flour solution & bring the mixture to boil again [whenever adding corn flour solution, you should bring the sauce to a boil otherwise "floury"] Off fire then add in the 2 Tabsp of honey otherwise sauce might be bitter as Honey burns easily.

7. Slice the Char Siew, pour the sauce on top bearing in mind that the char siew is quite sweet and so is the sauce.  You can also serve without the sauce; the Choice is YOURS



                 Ppl may wonder, why am I, after paying, at times big bucks, for classes that I have learnt for cooking, that I am uploading on my blog.  I always think that it really doesnt matter, cos if we are no longer around, what we have learnt, would have died with us, of course excluding my children as, just as much as I have done here, I started long, long time ago, combining all the things that my husband and children love in my FILES so that they would not be lost without me.  That would be my legacy to them and to those who follow me that is, when I dont have any cake orders, I would upload food that my family loves and hope that yours would love it too and that in a sense, it will be my legacy to you too because for me, I feel that my call from the Lord is to share what I have learnt and it gives me so much pleasure if I have in anyway inspired your cooking; do let me know as food is the glue that keeps family together!!!

              A few suggestions you can: a) eat it with rice; blanch some Choy Sam; then pour a little of the sauce on the meat and rice so that it would look like something you would have bought from a hawker stall. Children would love this; b) you can blanch some koon loh mee and Choy Sam and it becomes Koon Loh Meen; c) you can fry rice with it.  There may be your personal variations which I would love to read in your comments to me.  Sorry that there are no pictures.

              xoxo till the next time. Ophelia

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A complete meal by Ophelia

                                                     Grill Pork Ribs
1st Step:-
#Marinade
1/4 cup      Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup       Brown Sugar [then remove a Tabsp of Brown Sugar & Brown Sugar is less sweet]
2 Tabsp      Honey
3 Tabsp      Light Soya Sauce
2 Tabsp      Cider Vinegar ["S&W" brand]
1/4 cup       Water
1/4 teasp    Mustard Powder ["DJ"]
Dash of      Tabasco Sauce, opt this gives the zingggg
1 Tabsp      *Maggi Stock Ayam Petak  Or Maggi Chicken Granules
                       [I prefer the stock to the granules]
                       [translation *Maggi Concentrated Chicken Stock]

   5 pips      Garlic, diced

                 1st Step -    Method for the #Marinade

        It is best to make the Marinade the night before, cool it then cover it and refrigerate same overnite to allow them to infuse together.

        Combine all the above Marinade ingredients in a small sauce pan & boil for 7 - 10 minutes, stirring all the while.  Remove from fire and cool completely then refrigerate overnite

                                 2nd Step:- Ingredients

    1 kg           Pork chops
    1 teasp       Freshly ground Black Pepper
    1 teasp       Salt
    1/4             of an Orange, do not remove the skin as the aroma is from the skin
    2                Big Yellow Onions, cut into half

    Method for 2nd Step

1.  Put alot of water in a pot [water should be about 3" above the ribs], add the freshly ground black pepper, salt, quartered orange & onions, cover [leave a slight gap, dont cover pot entirely as the water will overflow if covered entirely] the pot, set timer to 15 minutes and boil for 15 minutes.

2.  Once boiled, remove the scum & lower the fire to medium low & simmer the ribs for approximately 45 minutes till ribs tender. [Retain this stock to make brown gravy for mash potatoes].

3.  Remove ribs onto a plate uncovered & cool completely, cover with a big plastic cover to keep those "friendly" flies away.

4.  Once ribs are cooled completely, take the marinade from the fridge & rub well into the ribs, put them in a zip lock bag or tupperware & chill overnight. It would be perfect if after 3 - 4 hours, you turn the ribs to sort of "massage"  it & then put in the fridge again.

5.  Next day thaw the ribs for 30 minutes. Preheat oven at 150 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes.  Place a foil on a baking tray.  RUB a little oil on a rack & place the rack on top of foil and the ribs on the rack & bake for 10 minutes then take it out to baste the ribs with the excess marinade, turn the ribs, baste it and bake the other side for 5 minutes [bearing in mind that the ribs is already 3/4 cooked, the time I mentioned here is subject to your oven heat; most important do not over bake it as may then ribs may be tough.

6.  After the second side has been baked, remove same, baste the remaining marinade & then grill for 3 minutes as charred effect is more tasty then remove all the residue into a small pot, then rinse the foil some water or stock & add this into the small pot as it has tons of flavour.  Then boil same till it reduces slightly & has thicken, use this gorgeous sauce & drizzle on the grilled ribs.  If you want to decor' like mine below. Put a little of the sauce on the plate.  Place 100 ml dairy Whipping Cream [brands like Anchor, Emborg, Shani ect as long as it is not the non dairy whipping cream, which is sweet and for decor] in a jug & use a whisk to whisk it manually till the consistency is quite thick.  Drop a few drops on the sauce then use a toothpick & draw a line in the middle.  If you have a sprig of Tarragon, place same on the meat for an extra effect & there you have a great decorated meal for your family.

         N/B *I remember whenever a group of us, close friends, we meet at a cake class in 2000; ten years and still counting, went for any class be it baking or cooking, we always want to take note of the brand of the ingredients eg the Maggi Tomato Sauce, that the Chef was using cos if the dish that the Chef made was good, we wanted to make sure that we reproduce the same equivalent in our dish and that is why I am extending the same courtesy to visitors.
                                                       -----------

                                                  Mash Potatoes

      Boil 6 medium size potatoes for at least 40 minutes.  Pork with fork to see whether it is cooked.  Drain and cool slightly, try to remove the skin as soon as possible while it is hot as easier.  Mash, add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and a dollop of butter [when potatoes hot, butter will melt easily].  Form into equal size balls and cling wrap.

                                     Brown sauce for mash potatoes

1/2 teasp   freshly ground black pepper
1               big Onion, cut into half & put the cut side of onion on a non stick pan
                        on medium heat without any oil & char till golden black brown
500 ml       stock [that you earlier boiled the ribs in]

roux is a thickening agent and prepared by cooking one part of fat to 1 part of flour
               [use 100 gm butter & 100 gm plain flour] and the ratio I put here depends
                                                                        entirely on you the basic principle
                                                                        is 1 : 1

Method

1. Put the 600 ml of the stock with the ground black pepper & the charred onion in a pot and simmer on low heat.

2.  Now to do the roux - put the 100 gm of butter in a frying pan.  Once butter is melted add in the 100 gm of Plain Flour [Malaysian readers Plain Flour is Tepung Gandung] all at once & stir constantly for about 10 - 12 minutes.  It will now change its colour from light yellow to brown paste.  Dont stop stirring, it may get burnt.  Once you like the colour which should be brown [as this will give the colour to the brown sauce] Off the fire and immediately put this into the simmering stock GRADUALLY & INCREASE THE FIRE TO MEDIUM & KEEP ON STIRRING.  Check the consistency you want, if not thick enough add more roux. Put aside.  When you want to serve dinner, warm this brown sauce [remove any thick parts that has not been mixed well] & pour on top of the ball of mash potatoes.  For some decor you can add some fresh tarragon.


                                                   Butter Garden Vegetables

200 gm        French beans, wash & cut them in uniform size
200 gm        Brocoli, wash & cut - ditto -
200 gm        Carrots, wash & cut  - ditto -
200 gm        Pumpkin, wash & cut  - ditto -

                  Salt & freshly ground black pepper & butter

Method

1.  Boil water with some salt in a pot.

2.  Blanch the vegetable in batches in the boiling water till tender.  Straight away drain and immediately add a dallop of butter & toss the vegetables with salt & freshly ground black pepper.

     [In normal circumstances when I am not tossing the vegetables in butter, I would immediately drain the vegetable from the hot boiling water & soak immediately in ICY COLD WATER to stop cooking process but here since we are using butter, just follow the above steps]. 



                          Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

Dear Lord

                 Adapted from an email.

 
             Dear Lord, so far today am I doing all right?  I have Not gossiped, been greedy, been grumpy, been nasty, self indulgent.  I have not whined, cursed, complained, charged anything on my credit card.  I will be getting out of bed in a minute and I think I will really need your help then. 

             Anger is a condition in which the tongue works faster than the mind.  You cant change the past but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.  You always do your best for those who leave the choice with YOU.

              A hug is a great gift ... one size fits all.  It can be given for any occasion and it is easy to exchange.  I thank You for all my friends; good or otherwise as YOU determine who walks into our lives and who should walk away, and Who, YOU refuse to let go. Praise the Lord Allellulia.

                            xoxo till the next time. Ophelia

My Thoughts


        It is often said, "Until one has loved a pet, part of one's soul remains unawaken. One who loves animals is one who has a compassionate heart".



            Until the next time, "xoxo, I almost wanted to type, "Gossip Girl" as I am a die hard Gossip Girl fan, in fact strangely enough, I love Blair and Chuck the most as I find that they both try to hide their vulnerability behind their veneer of sophistication and worldliness but if one were to scratch underneath their surface, you will see that they each have a heart of gold and will go all out to help their good friends and THAT they were made for each other and to me even though it is just a TV series, it cements the point that, "friendship isn't about who you know the longest.  IT IS about those who came into your life, and never left your side ..." Sorry for the digression.

                         xoxo until the next time. Ophelia

Useful tips in Daily life

1.  Cooking soft tofu is quite difficult as it breaks easily. Soak soft tofu in salt water for 30 minutes before cooking.  Drain the tofu before cooking.

2.  If you have added slightly too much salt in your soup, do not add more water as then the taste of the soup will be affected. Boiled some potatoes till it is cooked then add them into the soup as boiled potatoes will absorb the salt.

3.  Cutting taro can make your hands itch.  Soak your hands in vinegar before cutting taro.

4.  The trick to slow down potato germination - Placing an apple in potatoes can significantly their germination time.

5.  When storing biscuits in a container, put a sugar cube in it at the same time.  The sugar will absorb the moisture in the container and the biscuit can remain crispy.

6.  Put a little baking soda directly into boots, shoes or sneakers that are obviously smelly due to dampness as it has the effect of absorbing moisture and odor.

7.  To sharpen scissors - stack 3 aluminum foil together then cut them together to sharpen scissors.  You will see surprising result.  I am waiting to test this out.

8.  How to remove annoying gummed label.  It is very annoying when it comes to removing price tags on merchandise.  To remove the gummed label neatly, use a hair dryer to apply heat on the label before taking them off.   Cool, I am often beset by this problem, have to check this out too!!

9.  Use left over beer to wipe the leaves of plant to remove dust and to keep them lustery.  Furthermore, it also prevents the ants from coming to the plant.

10. Before throwing away empty perfume bottles, you can use it to clean indoor light bulbs with cotton buds.  When the bulbs lights up and warm up, the whole room will be filled with the aroma of your favourite perfume.

11. To remove crayon graffiti on wooden furniture - The most suitable method is to use toothpaste, not only does it clean the furniture, it does not damage same. Although the use of paint solvent can do the job, the paint on the surface could be damage.  Note - Crayon stains cannot be removed with water, it probably would make it worse.

              xoxo, until the next time. Ophelia

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An unproductive Day

           My hubby decided that we should apply for a new passport and I told him that we should go during the school holidays as probably ppl would have taken off for their holiday already.

           So we went today before lunch. The scene that meet our eyes was unbelieveable. I groaned inwardly. There were hundreds and hundreds of ppl and to make matters worse, the air con did a number on us or probably there were too many ppl to get any effect of same, the Immigration Dept was stuffy, the numerous fans that was switched on didnt do much to help matters, it probably made it worse as one could, if one tried hard enough, smell the sweat that was emitting from the numerous ppl; not an inviting scene but something that had to be endured.

           We went through the usual routine of going to the counter and asked the staff there whether there was a counter for Senior Citizens and were glad to hear there was. We took the application form, filled same, attaching the required photos, getting a number, standing and then waiting for your number to be paged and that was like forever and after standing for more than 1 hour, back aching, legs aching, I spotted two vacant chairs and walking quickly to get it before someone else does.

           The waiting game continues.  Tried to entertain myself by what was happening all around.  I spotted a man rubbing his bushy mustache; up down up down, probably finding it soothing. Then I spotted a mother breast feeding her baby in public instead of going to the small cubicle assigned for this purpose; then another mother opened up a mat and laid some small pillows on it and then her four kids playing and eating fish crackers and generally making a mess of the fish crackers on the floor; another child was happy, he discovered that the chair he was sitting was loosen; he played a game of jumping on it and making quite a din and he felt like a hero when other kids were laughing at his antics.  I saw the fatigue on the faces of alot of elderly ppl; some of them were dozing off with their heads bobbing up and down.  It didnt help matters when the boy behind me kept kicking my seat; after suffering in silence, I gave him a glare and the kicking stopped for a while and then started again.

           Then we heard our number being paged, we went to the counter to hand the completed form and did the necessary. The staff told us that we have now to wait for our number to be paged again in order to pay for the passport.  It was already two hours before we were paged again and this time we paid the required amount for the passport to the Cashier, had our thumb print taken and the waiting continued.

            We waited for another 1 1/2 hours and still our number was not paged. Hubby went to the counter where we were supposed to pick up the passports and we were not at all amused to find that the Cashier omitted to tell us that we had to take a different number and the waiting continued again until finally after a total of 4 1/2 hours we got the passport and an extra bonus of a backache.  Hubby asked the personnel in the last counter why was there no preferential treatment, since the lst counter told us that Senior Citizens will be given preference, and guess what was the reply? "Uncle too many Senior Citizens today!!!

              I like to give my 2 cents:-
  1. If the public are supposed to get a different number, the Immigration Dept should have put up a Big Notice of same so that ppl are aware of same and not depend on their personnel to relay information as at the best of times, due to tireness, things get screwed up for the general public.
  2. Why the necessity of getting a different number? I simply dont understand? Why cant the same number be used throughout this body aching exercise?  We should all aim for efficiency.

           

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My mum

  
             My mum, where can I start, where shall I start to blog about my mum, which is long overdue. From the beginning of course.

             My mum came from humble beginnings. Her dad was a Portuguese from Malacca, Malaysia and her mum was a Chinese. My grandparents brought up two girls and things were not easy as my grandfather was a fisherman in his youth and it was hard making a living and raising a family.

             When my mum was 12, she fell from a stairs and fractured her left lower leg.  She had to be hospitalised but the government hospitals then were not well equipped.  It was rather unfortunate her leg was infected with pus and she had to have surgery done and after surgery was done, she was hospitalised for a year and the net result was that she walked with a slight limp.

              Mum's childhood was not easy and she started working when she was 18 and took over the role of bread winner. She worked hard and every month she made it a point to save a little bit for a rainy day. I remember she told me that it was then the Japanese Occupation and things got quite bad where food was expensive. She worked in the government and those days they used to get a ration of rice and occasionally, pork.  I also remember her telling me that on one occasion when she received a ration of rice and pork, she brought back very happy and thinking that the next day they could have a feast and when she got home the next day she was disappointed that her mum sold the pork to get some money to buy some groceries.

               Mum met my dad who was also in the service and my dad was a good ballroom dancer and it was really admirable that when they were dancing, one would hardly think that my mum walked with a slight limp and they even won a Silver in a local dance competition in the Tango.

                 My parents got married and mum carried on looking after her parents and sister.  When my mum retired, dad had then died earlier, she took the opportunity to go for tours around the world and the place she loved the best was Europe.  It was also fortunate that when she was in Rome, she managed to see Pope John Paul II. My mum was a prayerful person and after she retired she usually attend the daily 6.30 a.m. Mass Service with her BEC Church friends; never missing a Mass if possible and reciting the daily Rosary.

                Two years after retirement she had cancer of the left lung and had to surgery done to remove half of her left lung. The surgery lasted seven long hours and she never used to complain to any of the surgeons or nursing staff about the pain, which was immense, I could only stand by and watch her suffering quietly. Then there was a remission of three years. Then the cancer attacked again this time her heart. Again she had to go for surgery where they removed the affected area. Once again the senseless pain and the long climb to a short lived remission of another three years. The third time it affected her limp nodes and this time there was no hope. Mum came back home and her sister took care of her. One evening I received a call from my Aunty asking me to come back quickly as my mum was slipping away. Both my hubby and myself rushed home, mum was sleeping in the hall, I rushed quickly to take her prayer book and started reciting from there and I could see tears from from her eyes, it was as though she was happy that I remembered to pray from this particular book.  She waited for me to come back and not long after that, she passed away to a place where there is no more pain for her. I know my mum would be with the Angels and Saints, singing and paying Homage to Our Lord.


                             Till my next post, xoxo, Ophelia

God's Boxes

                                           God's Boxes & Footsteps in the sand

             I read these beautiful articles more than two years ago and saved them, to read and savour when the need to be touched by God's endless bountiful Love. They are so beautifully written to comfort the weary of heart.

                                     God's Boxes

                         "I have in my hand two boxes
                          which God gave me to hold
                          Our Lord said, "Put all your sorrows in the black box
                                                   And all your joys in the gold".

                                I heeded His Words and in the two boxes
                                both my joys and sorrows I stored
                                But although the gold became heavier each day
                                the black box was as light as before.

                            With curiosity I opened the black box
                             I wanted to find out why
                             And I saw in the base of the black box, a hole

                                  I showed the hole to God and mused
                                  I wonder where all my sorrows could be?
                                  HE smiled a gentle smile and said,
                                  "My child, they are all here with me".

                             I ask God, why He gave me the boxes
                             Why the gold and the black with the hole?
                             "My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings
                              The black is for you, to let go all your sorrows".

                                     -------------------------------------------

                                                       Footsteps in the sand


            One night a man had a dream
            He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord
            Across the sky flashed scenes from the man's life
            From each scene he noticed two sets of foot prints in the sand
            One belonged to him and the other belonged to the Lord.

                    When the last scene of his life flashed before him
                     He looked back at the foot prints in the sand
                     He noticed that many times along the path of his life
                     there was only one set of prints; he also noticed that
                     it happened at the lowest and saddest time of his life.

             This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it
             Lord, you said that once I decided to follow YOU
             YOU would walk with me all the way
             But I have noticed that during the most troublesome time of my life
             There was only one set of foot prints
             I dont understand why when I needed you most, you would leave me?

                    The LORD replied, "My precious, precious child.
                     I Love you and I would never leave you!
                    During your times of trial and suffering
                    when you see only one set of foot prints,
                    IT WAS THEN THAT I CARRIED YOU.

                                            -------------

                            Praise you Lord, Allellulia. Amen