Friday, March 28, 2014

Almost missed March... And some homemade cooking!

What can I say, even a busy bee is not as busy as me. Exaggerating, of course.

Life has been awesome thus far. So many things to write about, if only I have the time and patience for it. As it stands, I am stuck between experiencing a writer's block or merely going through a state of complete idleness (from blogging i.e).

It's the beginning of the year, and that probably explains the block. The Key Performance Index or KPI lists go on and on and I/we must catch up with or run faster than it, as long as I don't get left behind before the third quarters. That's work for you. Work hard now, play hard later. 

Won't it be nice to be a housewife and still get paid what I'm being paid now? Travel the world every now and then, do as I please, spend as I may, write what I want. But alas. Isn't that every woman's dream job?

But, I have been visiting the kitchen more often these days because it's so therapeutic. And nothing is as flattering and as rewarding as having your husband gaining weight from all those loves. Hehe.

While we're at it, here's a simple recipe for Kueh Tiaw Indulgence Soup (because most everyone can fix this. It all depends on your taste buds, your creativity and how indulgent you want to be.)

My Ingredients:
- 1 packet of plain kue tiaw (store-bought)
- A handful of fresh medium sized prawns (or as many as you like in your soup)
- 1 chicken thigh 
- Three-layer pork (about 3 inch length) - sliced thinly
- A handful of fresh bean sprouts (taugeh)
- Bok choy or choi sum (or whatever greens you prefer)
- 4 fat beef balls (store-bought) (if you prefer)
- Onion & garlic
- Parsley leaves (or you can also opt for coriander leaves)
- A pot of water
- Chicken stock
- White pepper powder (if you prefer)
- Vegetable oil & sesame oil
- Birds eye chilli (cili padi)
(Note: This serves 2 only) 

My Methods (instructions, if you may):
1. Boil the chicken thigh in a pot for 20 - 30 minutes or until cooked. Take out the chicken and wait to cool.
2. Use the same water in the pot to boil the deshelled prawns (I normally leave the heads to preserve the taste) for 1-2 minutes until the color comes out. Take out the prawn and wait to cool.
3. Bring the same water in the pot to boil, add onion & garlic, beef balls, extra chicken stock and pepper for seasoning and flavors, add a few drops of sesame oil. Taste the soup according to how you prefer. Leave the soup aside but keep it boiling on small fire.
4. Put the slices of pork in a non-stick pan and fry using its own lard on a small fire, until crispy. Put aside.
5. Fill another pot with water, bring to boil and add drops of vegetable oil. Once boiled, blanch bok choy, beans sprouts and kue tiaw in it until slightly soft; probably 1-2 minutes only. Cut the boiled chicken into few bite-size pieces.

All the ingredients are now ready. Here comes the easy part.
7. Arrange kue tiaw into two servings inside two bowls. Arrange crispy three layer pork on top of the kue tiaw, add the boiled chicken, bean sprouts, bok choy, and prawns in equal share. Arrange nicely, presentation does matter.
8. Pour the soup on top of the serving, and garnish with red chillies and parley leaves.

Voila! Dinner is served!

Easy right? And yeah... You can't really see the kue tiaw, it's like emm... drowned by all the awesome ingredients on top and all around. And that's why I named it Kueh Tiaw Indulgence Soup everyone! Hehe.

Have a great weekend ahead! Muahh!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

That thought about God and grief...

This is off topic of any kind. Just a reflection.

Talking about grief. Who understands the word better than those who have gone through the suffering of losing loved ones? Been meaning to approach this subject for a long time but somehow the points kept evading me, and also it might come of sounding insensitive. Not the intention at all.

But you see...

I find it strange that when a loved one dies, people tend to say "God loves him more". "God loves her more."

I not only find it strange, I find it a little lacking in depth because of all the excuse that we can come up with, we have to put it on something that we don't even begin to understand. The implication in that one very line -- in  my own understanding of comprehending grief -- is it makes God sounds like He doesn't care that you love him/her too or that you suffered upon losing a loved one.

Subjectively, every time I hear those words, I mentally tend to add "God loves him more... than WHO?" More than the loved ones left behind? But why the need to put it in a comparative mode because of course God loves all His creation.

Imagine a young woman losing her husband in an accident... how is it emotionally right for us to give words of comfort in that very sentence? Can you really tell her that? Put yourself in her shoes. Someone you loved, depended on, craved the sight of, missed the voice of, presence, heat, intimacy brutally taken away from you and you don't even get to say goodbye. Try reasoning with her. Does God loved him more that He would prefer her to suffer?

Just a little example.

If this is me defending God, then it is perhaps a futile attempt, but I shall say it anyway because we all know deep in our hearts that God isn't heartless. He shouldn't be made an excuse all the time. Deaths that occurred always have a reason behind them and an explanation that goes beyond all that is humanly explainable. 

Perhaps in some cases where an innocent child died from say, child abuse... I guess it could justify the phrase because indeed God loves the child more and doesn't want the child to suffer further hurt in the hands of his tormentor. But still, that is only my own reasoning. It still doesn't give God enough credit.

I am just saying. Because all this while I've heard that line being used times and again, and I feel like it doesn't sound acceptable at all. It's not being used right. Perhaps it shouldn't be used at all.

Surely there is a better way to handle these passing moments. Life and death are in the hands of God, true. That doesn't mean He would allow one in exchange for another at our expense, as and when He pleases.

I believe that if you cannot find any words to tell a grieving person, perhaps best not to try. Just show them with your presence, your moral and emotional support, anything... other than telling them that.

Post-note: If I offend anyone, I didn't meant to. My apologies. But the opinion stands.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I finally owned a ukulele!...

Hey I only remember 4 chords! Apparently that's nearly enough to perform one song. Can even play 'Making Love Out of Nothing At All - by Air Supply' with only 6! (Two I needed revision with...). When I first started learning at 18 years old -- which is a lifetime ago -- dad had this ukulele songbook, and one of the easy songs was 'Home on the Range'. Oh yeah, those were the days. Howling for the roaming buffaloes to come home...

This is a concert size ukulele... the smallest and sexiest among its siblings. Came with a canvas bag (bought separately) with back-carry-mode and enough pads to hold it safe and sound inside. My very own first ukulele which I bought with my own money. No matter that it was procured out of pure whim.

She's reddish in colour -- mahogany, I think. Look at the distinguished white linings... made it look pretty elegant and classy. Well it better be because it certainly didn't come cheap. Strings are soft and make really sweet twang. Not that I know how to twang it. I'm learning still. Daddy didn't teach me enough chords before somebody broke the old ukulele.

But it would go really well to compliment a guitar. My baby bought this acoustic for me last year as a pre-birthday present from Lepo Music Store. It's not a Taylor, but it may sound almost as good as a Taylor in my head because it's pretty special. <3 

So yeah... I got half a band at home and all we need now is to teach le hubby to play one of these. And a mini-amp, and a cajón, or a tambourine, and a bass. :)

By the way, bought the ukulele from a friend who sells uke and guitars via Facebook. I saw one on his page, enquired enough to state my interest, and 3 weeks later it was on my desk! Of course online shopping is the way to go these days. Completely safe and worry-free transaction, because I know this guy from a church in Alor Setar which is pastored by a family friend who solemnized my sister's wedding ....... okay long story. Well if you're interested, give him a message. I won't tell you how much I bought mine, because that is strictly between me and Shion. :) He can give you a good deal, right Shion?

But hey don't ask for public performance ya because I'm raw and this particularly stage-shy raw talent shall always be, like they say, hidden. :) ... unless a really special function calls for one.

Ahem. Ahem. *clears throat*

Home... home on the range.... where the dear and the antelopes play.... where seldom is heard a discouraging word... and the skies are not cloudy all day. <3