Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You were there

You were there
soloist: Tom Cully

You were there in everything I knew
From the moment I began.
Always there in every way I go.

Saved me falling, held my hand.

You are shelter from the storm.
The shadows fade away, all cares pass away.

As hour by hour, day by day
Your love lightens up the sky

As it shines across the night.
Ave, regina caelorum decora
Virgo gloriosa, ave!

And when the end of day is come,
Stay with me through the dark and bring me home.

You are there whichever way I go.
Keep me safely night and day.
Always there, whenever I'm alone,

Hear me calling, show the way.

You are shelter from the storm,
The shadows fade away, all cares pass away.

As hour by hour, day by day;
Your love lightens up the sky

As it shines across the night.
Ave, regina caelorum decora
Virgo gloriosa, ave!

And when the end of day is come,
Stay with me through the dark and bring me home.

Stay with me through the dark and bring me home

Monday, December 7, 2009

No Matter What

Boyzone Andrew Lloyd Webber (music)/Jim Steinman(lyrics)

No matter what they tell us
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach us
What we believe is true

No matter what they call us
However they attack
No matter where they take us
We'll find our own way back

I can't deny what I believe
I can't be what I'm not
I know I'll love forever
I know, no matter what

If only tears were laughter
If only night was day
If only prayers were answered
Then we would hear God say

No matter what they tell you
No matter what they do
No matter what they teach you
What you believe is true

And I will keep you safe and strong
And sheltered from the storm
No matter where it's barren
A dream is being born

No matter who they follow
No matter where they lead
No matter how they judge us
I'll be everyone you need

No matter if the sun don't shine
Or if the skies are blue
No matter what the end is
My life began with you

I can't deny what I believe
I can't be what I'm not
I know this love's forever
I know, no matter what

Will You Dance With Me?

A quick check in my inbox brought this very realistic and heart jerking message to light...

Will You Dance With Me?


Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because
they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't
know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who
passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut
back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband
didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been
thawed? Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while
you watched ' Jeopardy ' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, 'How about going
to lunch in a half hour?' She would gas up and stammer, 'I can't. I
have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known
yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain.' And my
personal favorite: 'It's Monday.' She died a few years ago. We never
did have lunch together.

Because Canadians cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule
our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to
ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve
toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room
carpet... We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out
of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter,
and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we
awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm
going to,' 'I plan on,' and 'Someday, when things are settled down a

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to
adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new
ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for
five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of
Roller blades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord..

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's
just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a
spatula and eliminate the digestive process The other day, I stopped
the car and bought a triple-Decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on
the way home, I would have died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to......not
something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and
had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what
would you say? And why are you waiting?

Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I posted this.

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to
the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butter fly's erratic
flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through
each day on the fly? When you ask ' How are you?' Do you hear the

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred
chores running through your head? Ever told your child, 'We'll do it
tomorrow.' And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let
a good friendship die? Just call to say 'Hi?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened
gift....Thrown away..... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the
music before the song is over.

'Life may not be the party we hoped for.. but while we are here we
might as well dance!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Early season greeetings!

I leave you this fun clip till I begin updating my blog next year when the school term begins.

Thank you to those who have sent me e-mails asking about the silence and scarce updates on Bento.

Year end programs are keeping me very busy and much as I want to share with the world all the exciting happenings, time is a huge constraint at this point.

God bless all Catholics for the upcoming Advent preparations and here's wishing everyone an early "Merry Christmas"! God bless you with a blessed year ahead!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Horny Frenchman

Something for #2! Hope you feel better after watching this.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gaden update

I've been busy in the garden trying to keep my herbs alive! Actually it's not difficult but they do need some attention.

Look at my Basil here below. I keep trimming and cropping it for my cooking and it's growing, but not as fast as I want it to.

Trying to plant some parsley here.

The mint are in full bloom. I probably need to trim them soon.

Ahhh....this one is really good for steam fish, Lui Cha and Thai tom yum. I think it's called sawtooth coriander.

I saw this tree fruiting. Hubs got this from a friend who wanted to dispose it. Honestly, I don't know how to pickle them.

My lime tree is blooming again. *happiness*. Fortunately there is more than one! LOL!!

This is a newly acquired miniature lemon tree. Can't wait for it to turn yellow!

These bell pepper seeds were planted two weeks ago and has begun sprouting. I hope they survive to begin fruiting!

My chilli padi plant is forever producing an abundance of very, very spicy hot chillies.

This Sage plant is hardly thriving well enough to allow regular trimming for use.

I just re-potted Thyme and there has been some damage. I think they'll survive.

My 'sawi' veggies growing.

My tomato plants have doubled their heights since the last update.

I've begun feeding my compost bin.

My compost bin.
Pictures 'speak' a thousand words!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bento 239

It's been more than 10 days since my last bento. I've been dying to pack one but unfortunately there was trial exams involved and then a long holiday following that.

I packed this for my lunch today.

It's basically some left over 'one pot rice' from last night's dinner. The rice had slivered Shitake mushrooms, yam cubes and slivers of lean pork, I topped it with a celery leaf. There was some steamed lady fingers and fried salt fish too.

This other box had some delicious store bought Korean Kimchi and some "Better banana bread" which I baked yesterday. I edited my post here if you want updates.

Home made sourdough bread is still going strong. I improvised another bread recipe and added sourdough thus reducing the yeast. I think I'll reduce the water too, next time. It's edible but definitely can be improved!

Hahaha! #2 refreshed my Photoshop skills!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

#3 playing with 'dough'

I made gyoza today. #3 loves to help me because she claims that it's like "playing with playdoh". Today being Saturday, her two elder sisters are busy with their own programs be it studying or out with friends.

I'm blessed to have this 10 year old who is ever eager to help and be ready to offer hugs and kisses in between.

I really don't have a recipe for this and everything is just put together by memory. Actually it's very simple but if you need details, go visit Terri's site. Her recipe is near perfect. I love making these dumpling and I find it very therapeutic.

We made three plates of these in two hours. Wish I could do more but with one assistant cutting the dough and doing the first 'roll' to flatten it, and myself alone continuing the process of further rolling and adding the filling and 'sealing' the gyoza. I'd declare that it was quite a feat on my end! LOL!

My Olympus gave up on me and I took this picture using my handphone. *Gawks*

The quality of the handphone picture was so poor, I couldn't but ask #2 to help me take the bottom few pictures. The reason I don't like to use the Canon 40D is because I find it bulky and the pictures take forever to load. After all, I do the same thing with all cameras, just press 'click'.

This is my 2nd batch of "Sourdough starter a.k.a. sponge".

I used the 'sponge' together with all these ingredients...

...to make another batch of Sourdough bread. This time, I was home most of the time and managed to 'handle and shape' the bread properly. I tried plaiting one and it looks like I have to practice it a little more.

I haven't been able to use the no-yeast method yet. Soon...

Tonight's supper is freshly baked sourdough bread with home made lemon curd. Care to join me?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sun dried tomatoes

I had a bottle of sun dried tomatoes in the fridge which I originally bought for making bread. I was in a hurry to make a quick meal for the kids and a pot luck at Church.

I blended the whole bottle of sun dried tomatoes, roasted some peppers, slivered some garlic and chopped a bunch of fresh basil from my garden. Tossed them all in olive oil and poured a box of cream and set to simmer for 10 minutes.

Result of this easy peasy recipe was awesome!!! I cooked 2 X 500g of pasta, one fettuccine and one spaghetti. I brought the fettuccine one to church and it was a hit.

Had some leftovers and had it for lunch, topped with some fresh herbs. The mint added a wonderful flavor to it!

"One pot rice"

LOL!! I think I've become quite an expert in 'producing' one pot rice! I do this at least once a week due to the laziness which I succumb myself to. In the early days of experimenting, I'd either turn out with 'burnt rice' at the bottom or too soggy rice which was really difficult to eat.

I work on some basics, i.e. One cup of rice to one and a quarter cup of water. Depending on what meats I want to cook, I use the same formula and top up with another quarter to half cup of water, again depending on the time used for simmering the meats.

This pot of waxed meats was simple.


1 1/2 cups rice
2 cups of water
1 waxed duck drumstick
1 lup cheong
1 oyster lup cheong

1. Boil the waxed duck in hot water for 5 minutes or more (to remove saltiness), and remove the fat and excess skin. Steam together in a metal plate with the 3 lup cheong for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, wash rice and place in a clay pot or casserole.
3. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
4. When the water boils, turn fire to low and cook covered for 8 minutes. Set timer, do not open cover.
5. Remove the steam plate of wax duck and lup cheong from the steamer and pour out the oil into a bowl. Add shoyu and thick black sauce. Meanwhile, slice the duck and lup cheong.
6. Once the timer rings, open the cover for the rice and drizzle the oil, shoyu and thick black sauce. Top with sliced wax duck and lup cheong.
7. Continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes over low flame. Switch off fire and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Hubs was supposed to have dinner with some friends but couldn't resist 'cleaning the pot' because this "one pot rice" tasted so good!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sourdough bread and strawberries from the garden!

Finally, I made Soudough bread! There are lots of recipes on the internet forever tempting me to attempt my first.

I got smart and obtained some 'mother' from my local baker. I fed it and kept postponing my baking for almost a week. Worrying that something would happen to my starter dough or 'sponge' as it's technically called, I began work early at 9a.m. this morning.

I had a busy morning between making bread, going out for breakfast, tuition and Uni runs and errand runs. It was a chaotic morning rushing from one place to another in between the "bread proofing moments".

Nevertheless, the bread came out very well. I'm elated that the recipe called for so little yeast. I bake often and I do have some issues with the amount of yeast used so I bought organic active yeast. Now with the sourdough sponge, I can choose to omit the yeast but allow longer rising and proofing time.

Delicious Sourdough bread! I fed another batch of flour and water to the 'mother'. I'll try the no yeast method next!

See what I found in my garden!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

10 minute Banana Bread

I love the holidays! I have time to experiment with new recipes, do some spring cleaning, browsing my recipe books and surfing the net for new 'adventures'.

Banana is our favorite fruit. In this house, we eat bananas if we get constipation, eat them for energy, eat bananas for dessert, make smoothies out of bananas, etc.

I came across this banana bread recipe today and was captivated by the simplicity of it's method. I didn't even have to bring my Kenwood out!

As described in the recipe, it is really simple and quick. I made a double recipe here.

Beautiful banana bread!

Look at it's texture. It was delicious!!

A great recipe to try if you're in a hurry!


I tried the better banana bread.
I improvised on the ingredients because I only had one cup of Yogurt, so I balanced the recipe with another cup of cream. It tasted softer and more moist. Personally, I prefer the no fuss and more 'textured' 10 minute banana bread.

My own version of "Chirashi Sushi"

I made sushi for dinner last night. More often than not, the kids would be waiting impatiently for their dad to return home for dinner and as soon as he walks in, they'd all be ready at the dinner table to feast on home made sushi!

It was past 7.00p.m. and because 'dad' wasn't home yet, I decided to make a dish of Chirashi Sushi so that everyone could 'dig in' instead of waiting for me to roll the futomakis.

This was a quick and simple version of chopping the same ingredients which I use for rolling the futomakis and hand rolls.

Clockwise: Tamagoyaki, carrots, Teriyaki chicken, Crabsticks, simmered mushrooms, Kyuri all alternate with Sakura Denbu and kewpie mayo.

Delicious combination which resulted in many happy and contented stomachs!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hari Raya Holidays

Malaysia, being multi-racial and multi-cultural has once again provided opportunities for families to spend time together. I love living in this country despite of all the underlining 'issues' (many too, at that!).

Hari Raya is wonderfully welcome because schools get the longest break. A whole week to celebrate this festival, adding the weekends, they total up to 10 days.

Last night after dinner, #2 promised to make breakfast for us this morning. Pancakes were the call for this morning. They were freshly made and I made the 'accompaniments'. Instead of Maple syrup and butter, we had a variety of, whipped cream, lemon curd and a combination of onions and canned mushrooms cooked in Italian herbs and cream.

A closer look at this deliciously savory combination. #1 exclaimed that it was "delicious"!

This is a sweet combination of whipped cream and lemon curd.

Breakfast was at the terrace where my vegetable seeds has begun to sprout. These are tomatoes in the making!

My "kunyit" (tumeric) and spring onions are already growing and so is the "sawi" or was it "siew pak choy"? Anyway, there's going to be more updates soon on my other herbs. My little pots of herbs are growing and keeping me very busy.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

More cooking lessons by and for #3

When I got home one night, #3 told me that she and #2 "made an ice-cream cake" for #1's birthday! I was surprised and asked how they did it. Apparently she stumbled on an old 'cooking activity book' for children and there were simple pictorial descriptions of how to make an ice-cream cake.

They used a round loose bottom pan and lined it with plastic cling wrap. They crushed some digestive biscuits and scattered onto the base of the pan. They then scooped Vanilla ice-cream into the sides of the pan and then filled in with Strawberry and Chocolate ice-cream.

The original recipe called for nuts but knowing that their eldest sister didn't like nuts, they avoided it and used Digestives instead. I thought that they were very discerning and considerate!

After that, they returned the fully filled pan into the freezer. The next day, #2 drizzled Hershey's chocolate syrup on top and served the ice-cream as a dessert. #1 was amazed and touched! This 'cake' was one of the many which came along the way in celebrating the end of #1's teenage journey and the beginning of a new horizon as a growing young adult.

Happy Birthday sweetheart!


Lemon Curd is a hot favorite in our home. I saw lemons going for dirt cheap at the wet market and instantly bought some with the intention of making lemon curd.


Grate the zest finely and squeeze 6-8 large lemons equivalent to 300ml of lemon juice

Cut 225 g of unsalted butter into small cubes. Add together with 575 g caster sugar and the 300 ml of squeezed lemon juice and zest.

I created a Bain-Marie from a casserole over another pot of simmering hot water and slowly dissolved the combination of butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice

Lightly beat 5 large eggs and sieve into the above combination. Stir continuously for 25 minutes over a pot of simmering hot water until it gets 'thick' and able to coat the back of a wooden spoon. #3 was patiently doing that and once again enjoyed this supervised 'cooking lesson'.

This recipe filled the various sized bottles below.

The taste and texture was awesome as previous times. "Smooth, sweet, sour and just addictive!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Why all the 'excitement' about making a local dessert? Well it's easily available locally, and it is not expensive. To be honest, I haven't attempted making any local dessert since my home science lessons in high school.

A recent weekend trip to Melaka saw me coming home armed with loads of gula Melaka, belachan, curry powder and a couple of souvenirs for the two elder girls.

In Melaka, we had the most tasty Cendol, generously laced with fresh coconut milk and the most delicious, fragrant gula Melaka. I couldn't stop thinking about the delicious combination of coconut milk and gula Melaka!

I had to try making Abok-Abok Sago again today and it was one great success!!!

Nothing beats steaming it wrapped in banana leaf!

Delicious and a simple Malay dessert to make.

Made a bowl of popcorn too!!

Yeap! I'm random like that!

Bento 238

This is a quick fix. #2 finishes school at noon and need a light meal for break or in between exams.

In the left box are some sliced carrot circles for munching. There is a pancake sandwich slathered with peanut butter and strawberry jam.

In the right side box, there is home made Ciabatta bread with tuna and moyo in between. I also experimented with Abok-Abok Sago. This is a Ramadan sought after desert and sago, being #2
s favorite, I decided to try making it.

I read about it in the Star newspaper yesterday and since there was a recipe included, I experimented it. It was a simple recipe. I tried to follow it as closely as possible but because there wasn't specific measurements for some ingredients, I had to use my instincts. It turned out okay with some tweaking but I'm intend to try it once again today just to get the actual measurements.

By the way, I didn't have banana leaves yesterday so I steamed it "talam" style. I got some from the market this morning to try the recipe again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bento 237

I had to get my maid's passport renewed today so we were out of the house very early this morning. Got this bento ready bright and early.

Spaghetti tossed in the balance of the oil from the pan, after frying the prawns. #2 enjoyed this!

Quick blanched baby corn and baby 'sawi', topped with a squeeze of mayo. I added two muesli bars for 'just in case'.

All went well at the Indonesian embassy despite hearing and reading about un-settled disputes.
God is good!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bento 236

It's been more than a month since my last bento. Today's bento is for lunch, I am supposed to drop this off at school because #2 stays back to take an exam paper she earlier missed due to a throat infection.

Today, in the box on the left, we have Cha Soba topped with sesame seeds, some home popped popcorn coated with melted butter, honey and salt. The Cha Soba recipe can be obtained on the right side bar under Labels - look for Cha Soba.

In the center box, there is a mixed salad consisting of rollo rosa, julienned carrots, tomatoes, green apples and fresh button mushrooms. The prawns were fried with olive oil, garlic, mixed Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Very fresh and very delicious!

The small box on the right is filled with cold dipping sauce.

Here's a close up of the bento.


I had Cha Soba for lunch too and it was delicious with the additional condiments!!


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