Friday, April 6, 2012

The Farmer

Pa looks at me and laughs.

"You and your photo taking..."


And goes back to his morning routine of tending to the veggie garden. 

[insert smile here]

Old skool Iron

Guess what my little niece Tuu Tuu found hidden in the display cabinet?

An antique charcoal iron! 

It was given to my mum by a friend of hers. Would it not be lovely to have our irons designed so intricately and with such detail? It must have been a delight living in the good old days.

Mian Fen Gao, a chinese flat noodle soup

Growing up, I remember looking forward to "mian fen gao" Fridays. Ma specially cooked the meat-free meals on Fridays to make sure that we abstained from meat as Catholics do.

Ingredients for mian fen gao
1kg flour
1 tbsp salt
2 eggs
3 tbsp oil
Ma has since modified the dough to make it just a bit healthier. She now adds pumpkin and yam.

Cooketh simply by deep frying small red onions and adding anchovy soup, "money" vegetable and [cuttle]fish balls. The anchovy soup is prepared by boiling anchovies and then sifting the anchovies when adding to the wok.

I admit, I have not really been keeping up the Friday fast since moving out from home. Tis a good reminder coming back here.


I thought that it was a bit odd that the turkeys looked the way that they did, not like the ones seen on TV until I saw them in full fashion the other evening.

They fluffed up their feathers and gobbled away in amazing snobbery.

Peculiarity at its best.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Farm - April 2012

We have four turkeys roaming around in the backyard now. My mum got them as a gift from a friend of hers. 

It is funny hearing them gobbling away in the morning. 

Synchronised gobbling too.

And as always, I find new additions to the family's ever growing veggie patch. Muk Choy, a healthy vegetable that helps to lower the blood cholestrol. And pangaga, the kidney cleaner.

And we had some freshly picked corn today. 

And pickled home grown chilli.

I cannot wait to try them!

Grass Jelly

I have been back in Brunei for three days now. And as each day passes, it gets harder to resist the call of food. We are talking about at least three dishes at every meal and a variety of snacks ranging from traditional biscuits to oven baked chips to jellies, available for consumption at any hour of the day.

From time to time, ma will call me into the kitchen to show me how to cook. Or bake. Or make a herbal drink. And today, it was to make jelly. As in the jelly from the well known "cincau" grass jelly drink. 

My mum makes it look so easy. But the truth is, she has been trying to master it for years. She found out the trick to making them the other day. "Su fen" as it is known in Chinese or tapioca flour as we know it. After boiling the jelly grass and sifting the leaves, mix the tapioca flour with water and add the mix to the sifted grass jelly.

Pour it into containers and let it cool. Then put it into the fridge to set.

I did not known that grass jelly was the result of boiling a herb and not some food colouring product. Interesting indeed.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Home land

As the rain pelters outside cooling the normally warm Malaysian air, I sit here already reminiscing on the here and now. I am back again with my family but this time, we have all flown to Kluang, the home city of my parents, to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Where am I exactly? Sitting on a purple sofa in the living room of my parent's shophouse with the view of luscious green trees outside and clouds of mists sheltering all that is in a distance.

A shophouse is a common setup here in Malaysia where the first level of the house, being the ground floor, is a shop. And the levels above are where the owners/employees live. I personally think that it is a clever arrangement. Great for afternoon siestas.

My parents have set up a health care centre here. Their services range from reflexology to body massage to acupressure. When I arrived at the shophouse, my dad was demonstrating some exercises to three of his customers. I admit, I have lost track of what they include in their services. It is probably just about every [health-related] thing under the sun.

At home, my mum is a feisty cook. Feisty. Last week, she woke up at 5 in the morning and cooked fried chicken, stir fried soya sauce chicken, herbal chicken with brocolli, chicken soup and a tofu and mushroom dish. And she has continued with her feisty cooking. So much that I have put on three kilos since I have been back.

In the mornings, she goes to the markets where they sell local produces. She also goes to the local butcher for fresh meats. It is something that my mum has been doing for years because that is where she can get the freshest ingredients at very reasonable prices. What is notable about this norm is that she is also supporting the local farmers which in turn supports a sustainable way of life.

And, she has been at her sewing machine again. This time, she has been converting old clothes into baby clothes so they fit my little nine-month old niece. My mum is a hoarder and has kept my family's clothes from back in the 90s. If not, from the 80s. She has taken my sisters' clothes, who is an Australian size 8, and transformed them into fashionable baby wear.

Photos to come [insert smiley face here]