Friday, January 30, 2009

Chinese Sticky Cake

I am back to the west! Miss home and blog very much. Haven't been able to work at all because we had been busy cooking, eating and catching up with each other. The eve and first day of New Year was spent at my in-laws house. On the second day we drive back to my mom's place for dinner and visited couple of my relatives. Ops, not to forget barbeque in hot and humid weather.

In my previous post, I shared about tradition or believe during Spring Festival. These are only a few which is popular. Another tradition that I would like to share is about the Kitchen God. According to legend, one week before the Spring Festival begins, the Kitchen God returns to heaven to report on a family's behavior during the previous year. A negative report by the Kitchen God means a family will suffer from bad luck during the year to come.

To ensure a favourable report from Kitchen God, the custom evolved of feeding him Sticky Cake. This bribe is to make sure that the Kitchen God's mouth was too stick or too sweet to report unfavourable comment about the family. Traditionally, Sticky Cake is made with brown sugar (to make it sweet) and glutinous rice flour (to make it sticky).

What You NeedP1300044

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups glutinous rice flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup chopped dates (preserved plums, jujubes or candied orange peel can be used instead)

What You Do

1. In a small pan, boil water.
2. In a mixing bowl, add brown sugar and stir in boiling water to make a syrup. Let cool.
3. Add flour, egg and milk and stir to blend.
4. Knead the dough until smooth, then mix in chopped sweets.
5. Pour batter into a lightly greased 7" shallow cake pan.
6. Steam for about 45 minutes, or until edges move away from the pan.
7. Let cool before unmolding.

I am not a Sticky Cake lover but my in-law and mom will remind me to bring home a couple to put it in the kitchen till the 15th day of the Spring Festival. After the Kitchen God had its feast, I would normally fried it with egg and flour and served it as fritters. Hope that I will get an excellent appraisal this year :-)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spring Festival

This Sat, we will be leaving far to the east for another New Year celebration. Don't worry, I am free from Alzheimer. Just that this New Year celebration are rather unique for Chinese. As a Chinese born in Singapore, I will celebrate a number of traditional celebration around the globe from Christmas, Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival), Deepavali (an Indian celebration), Aidilfitri (a Muslim celebration), Easter etc... This is what I called multiracial.

I missed Spring Festival dearly. Not much about all the tradition but rather the opportunity to meet up with my close families. Ops not to forget my in-laws.

Taking about tradition. There are so many superstitions during the New Year period that can drive you crazy. Just name a few:

1) Sweets are eaten to ensure a "sweet" year. If you are diabetic, don't forget to pop in extra pill on that day.

2) Getting a hair-cut in the first lunar month puts a curse on maternal uncles. If you don't like your uncles, get a hair cut.

3) Washing your hair on the first day is considered to be washing away your luck. Hang on to the dirty scalp.

4) Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck. Go barefoot when your shoes are spoilt.

5) Avoid clothes in black and white as black is a symbol of bad luck and white is a traditional Chinese funeral colour. No wonder Michael Jackson have been surrounded by so many problems. Bad luck for the black and white guy.

6) Buying books is bad luck. Don't read!

Did I mentioned that this festival ends on the 15th day? Yes, 2 weeks of crazy believes.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Stop War

Lately in the international front, Israel war against Hamas has been frontline. More than a thousand residents had been killed in the war which include children. I am very dishearten seeing how this barbaric action can still exist in today's world.

P1190079I teach Chloe in a way that she will loves others like the way she loves her teddy bear. Today when she saw the news about the war and children who are injured, she asked "Mommy, what is wrong with the baby?"

"They are injured, baby. Painful."

"Why are they injured? What is that? Very loud sound" she asked about the rocket fire shown in the TV

"It is the sound of war. Everyone is unique and sometimes people may disagree. When this disagreement involved a nation, sometimes they fight in a war and causes the children to be hurt."

"Why do they want to fight? Don't they love each other? Why didn't they say sorry and forgive each other"

"I don't know dear. Why don't we just lend a hand by donating to the children? What do you think?" trying to divert Chloe's attention from this complicated world.

"Mommy can I give them my teddy bear? Teddy will make them happy and painless"

"That's a great idea"

"Mommy, can I build a big car for them? They can drive here and play with me" starting to pack her teddy bear and Lego.

"Sure baby"

"Can they sleep with me then?"

..... I am speechless. I just wish that the real world is as simple as a child's world. What is your take in this situation?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Healthy Lunch

Today I hired a little sous chef to help me in the kitchen. I was preparing lunch when Chloe requested to become my sous chef (a word she learned from Jamie Oliver). Since I was making burger with fried and coleslaw, I thought it may be a good idea for her to help me put the finishing touch on the dish rather than playing with the hot pan and oil.

On the first touch, she just put the fries in her mouth rather than putting it on the plate. The moment she bite the fries, she cried loudly because it hot (just out from the fryer, my dear). Oh God, finally she realized why I ask her to arrange it in the plate rather than in her mouth.

P1010113 PA260057

The next serving that she put in the plate was chicken burger which I had just cooked. I get her to put the patties on top of the bun that I had half with some Cheddar cheese, onion and lettuce topping.

Immediately after the burger she got annoyed because the serving is not ready yet (my hubby was still preparing the coleslaw). She got angry and start to protest with attitude (picture above). HUNGRY ANGEL, that is what my hubby called her.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rabbit Farm

Chloe's first rabbit experience came as a surprise. One of my close friend had just invited us to her rabbit farm.

I loves rabbit very much. When I was young I used to care for a couple of rabbits. I will bath them (even when they hate it very much), I will feed them until they are too full to move and I will talk to them as if they will listen.

OK, admittedly I don't have gentle caring style towards rabbit when I was young but nevertheless they managed to survive a few birthday before they said farewell.

I was so excited when my friend invited Chloe to her farm. Chloe who had never seen rabbit before keep on hopping around the house when I packed her things. Hopefully she will be very gentle towards the rabbit.

When we reached her house, Chloe as always show a cute little girl character towards my friend. Her seems shy and quiet style amazed my friend. "Wait till she shows her true colour", my little heart said.

We had tea and scone which I made, chat over the coffee table while Chloe sat quietly beside me. Then the interesting or rather embarrassing moment began. We walked over to the rabbit farm and Chloe started to become while. She was squatting near the friendly rabbit looking at the strange creature and started to pat its back. Suddenly she hit the rabbit so hard that the rabbit started to hop away.

Chloe as mischievous as always started to run after the rabbit and tried her soccer practice by kicking the rabbit. I was shock and speechless. At that time, my friend was away and I had a good talk with Chloe to make sure she understand the rules or else it was the end of the trip.

When my friend came back with a few more rabbits, Chloe gentlely stroke their back and start to behave like an angel. What a child!


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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sick Spell

Lord Voldemort had return with great revenge. Being a great muggle fan of Harry Potter, I had hide the Philosopher's Stone which I found in Chloe's toy box.

Evil  Voldemort found about my secret from his Death Eater and cast a sick spell to me and Little Chloe during Christmas. Initially he just cast fever spell on me but after I recovered, he took revenge on Chloe.

Harry tried to protect me by counter attack his spell but unfortunately Voldemort is too powerful and cast a food poisoning spell on me until I was too weak and had to be hospitalized.

In an effort to save me and other muggles from Voldemort sick spell, Harry surrendered himself to Voldemort. I feel so guilty and helpless.

SOS to Ron, Hermione! Can you guys please help Harry and all the muggles from the sick spell?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tea Garden

It has not been a good start for me in a new year. First I was sick and now Chloe was down with severe mouth ulcer. She has not been eating anything for the past couple of days and I feel so helpless as I am not able to share with her the pain she has been going through.

Feeling sad, I decided to look back the time she was healthy running around until I saw this photo. It was summer last year when we went to Charleston Tea Plantation, America's only commercial tea garden. At that time, Chloe had fabulous time because she can walk around and picked the tea leave.

After I came back from Charleston, I tried to bake some scone because my father used to tell me that tea with scone makes life perfect. I just wish it is that simple....


Gingerbread-Raisin Scones

2 cups Flour
1/3 cup Dark brown sugar -- packed
1 tablespoon Baking powdergingerbreadsconesfront
3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/8 teaspoon Cloves
6 tablespoons Chilled butter -- cut pieces
1/4 cup Milk
1 large Egg
3 tablespoons Light unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2/3 cup Raisins
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease baking sheet.

Blend first 6 ingredients in processor. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Beat milk, egg, molasses, and vanilla to blend in large bowl.

Add flour mixture and raisins; gently stir until dough forms. Gather dough into ball.

On lightly floured surface, press dough into 1-inch thick round. Cut into 8 wedges. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 min. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Father's Love

I am back after a series of sore throat, high fever and nausea. I guess too much turkey makes you sick. Luckily my hubby is on vacation due to company shutdown and he had been helping me with all the household chores and the most important is taking care of Little Chloe.

For the past weeks I was impressed by the patience that my hubby showed towards Chloe. He bath her, feed her, cook for us and did all the cleaning. I felt so bad because I was in the bed and he had been taking my role at home.

Most of the time, we will keep telling ourselves that a mother's love is unconditional. In this case, I will say that a father's love is irreplaceable. From my hubby, Chloe learned to be tough and independent. He taught her the meaning of family, standing by our side during shine and rain.

I would like to share this touching story about a father's love with all. Enjoy.

"One day, a son asks his dad "Daddy, would you like to run a marathon with me?". The father says "yes".
And they run their first marathon together.
Another time, the son asks his dad again "Daddy, would you like to run a marathon with me?". The father says "yes son".
One day, the son asks his father " Daddy, would you run the Ironman with me?"
The Ironman is the most difficult triathlon ever ( 4 kms swimming, 180 kms bikin, 42 km running? )
And the dad says "yes".

Check this out"

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