Archive for February, 2012

Fishing for Supper

I haven’t been blogging about weekends in Perth since I’ve been back. In general, they have been jam packed filled with activities and really fun. Last weekend, Jason and Wendy kindly agreed to host a bbq at their house which really was a disguise to get rid of all the leftover fish in my freezer.

_DSC0623 (680x1024)

This salad prepared by the hosts was really nice and fresh, I remember eating lots of this.

_DSC0626 (680x1024)

Yeah, we managed to clear out half the fish in my house! But we still have another pack left…so I think we might have to organise another bbq soon. These fishes were coated in batter and deep fried till golden and crispy, easy to polish off in stacks.

fishing wkend (1024x576)

It was also the night that I had my first taste of Johnie Walker Blue label haha. No, none of us got drunk or even slightly tipsy. Jason and Wendy were looking after their colleague’s dog Buzz so it was fun to have two dogs in the house. They were both really cute and fun to play with. The last picture in the corner was the dogs looking at Jo with hopeful eyes because she had fed them earlier with sausages. She had to tell them ‘I have nothing left for you!’

fishing wkend1 (1024x576)

Some of the home cooking for the week, included Japanese beef brisket curry and roasted pork ribs.

_DSC0688 (Medium)

It’s a rare treat to get a Saturday where R wasn’t working. We had something nice planned for Saturday, it was a Scoopon day 🙂 meaning we had booked in a dinner to use our Scoopon voucher. This voucher was for Pink Pepper on Royal, a pizza joint located at Royal Street, East Perth. It was a $29 voucher which included two garlic breads, two mains of either burgers/pasta/pizzas, two drinks and two gelatos. Pretty good deal right?

The pizza place itself was exactly what I expected it to be, a casual tiny joint which mostly caters for takeaways but has a few tables for sit in customers. I like the whole pink and black theme though, very cheerful and befitting of it’s name Pink Pepper.

_DSC0690 (1024x680)

The garlic bread was really more cheese bread with hints of garlic. But I’m sure no one would ever complain about bread with lots of cheese, bad for the hips but otherwise yums.

_DSC0700 (1024x689)

R’s pasta was a fettucine in cream sauce, it came in a big portion and had chunks of chicken, sundried tomato, mushrooms. Nothing wow but tasty enough and definitely better than what I can cook at home. I’m still trying to cook good pasta but not getting there yet.

_DSC0698 (1024x688)

My pizza was a ‘The Works’ pizza with a bit of everything. After the cheesy garlic bread and creamy pasta, I was glad that this pizza was on the lighter side with oodles of olives, capsicums and even pineapple pieces. I’ve had better pizza elsewhere but really have nothing to complain about this pizza, it was perfect for the night.

Overall I was pleased with Pink Pepper, we were not treated like second class customers (which tends to happen with these vouchers), service was prompt and food was pretty good. We finished up with green apple gelato and mango sorbet which was a nice refreshing end to a filling and fun dinner.

_DSC0705 (680x1024)

After dinner we drove up to Freo to meet up with the rest of the bunch for some late night fishing. It’s funny to think that fishing has become a weekend social event for us. It really started with the fishing fanatic HC. I’m still amazed at his complete attention when fishing, the rest of us mill around, play with a few rods now and then, chat with each other and feast on snacks, everything but fishing really. But HC will always be there, recasting rods, replacing baits (I’m quite sure I’ve gotten the terminology wrong) and doing all things fishing dudes do. He really is the ultimate fishing guy.

_DSC0719 (721x1024)

If HC is the ultimate fisher, then Gerry must be the ultimate fishmonger. I was dreading having to clean and gut the fish at the end of the day but luckily Gerry was around to do the dirty job. It took him 5 minutes to do something that would probably take me half an hour. It’s funny to see that the guys all have different cleaning techniques, one day we’ll need to have a competition to see which technique is best.

_DSC0712 (Medium)

Our fishing nights have started to take on this dreamlike quality. Maybe it’s the late hours, being the only people around a wooden jetty with dim lights casting a warm glow around the surrounding waters and the gentle bobbing yachts nearby. Everything feels a little unreal. If we were in a movie, Muffin would be cast as the faithful dog. He is such a good little thing, always waiting about patiently and taking a keen interest in the activitites around us. He enjoys sniffing at unknown fishes but we try to keep him out of the crabs. I don’t think these fishing outings would be as fun without him really.

_DSC0725 (1024x680)

Earlier in the day Gerry had sent me an enticing picture of an empty pot of plain porridge which he claimed we would cook with crabs if we caught any that night. And we did catch many crabs! Gerry is our Crab King as well as fishmonger. After fishing, we found ourselves heading over to his place around 2am for crab porridge supper.

_DSC0726 (680x1024)

I’ve actually never had crab porridge before but will be having lots more in future if they’re always this good. Gerry cooks a mean porridge , the porridge was piping hot, silky smooth and infused with the sweetness of fresh crabs. This was seriously good supper fare.  We also steamed some of our freshly caught fish which was really good too. Or maybe we were hungry *wink*

_DSC0732 (Medium) (2)
It was surreal, I was half asleep (I’m an old woman now and need to sleep early) but I remember thinking this is something I could get used to, midnight crabbing/fishing and fresh seafood for supper afterwards with a fantastic bunch of fishing mates. My only question is, do people fish in winter?

Advertisements

Life should be so simple …

but right now, it’s feels downright difficult. I’ve just received news that just makes me feel….arrrrgh.

I knew 2012 would be tough but really … this is something else.

Is it terrible that I just wish I could run away from all this? Forget being brave and facing challenges head on, surely it’s not that bad to just lie in bed and bring the covers over your head?

Only it’s too hot in summer to lie in bed. (T____T) Arrrgh.

 

Kuching Day 14 & 15: Kuching Tour + Kenyalang

Kuching Day 14 was the day after the wedding. Everyone was tired but buzzing from the excitement of the wedding. This unfortunately, was also the day that Jason started falling really ill.

After a really late night out celebrating with the boys, I was surprised that we could crawl out of bed to have breakfast at Chong Choon cafe.

_DSC0198 (680x1024)

Brio and Calv had done their research before coming to Kuching and were hankering for the famous giant teh c pengs in Chong Choon that I didn’t even know about *hang foodie head in shame*. I don’t even know how they managed to finish that giant class.

IMG_4441 (Medium)

After a good breakfast of laksa and kolo mee, we rushed to Hilton to meet up with the rest of the tour group for our Kuching tour! Yes, my mother had organised for a 25 seater bus to bring the Singaporean relatives and my friends around Kuching. It was quite fun even for us Kuching-nites. We visited the cat museum, Sarawak musuem etc. But the best was probably the sampan ride across the river.

IMG_4445 (Medium)

It’s been a while since I’ve had a sampan ride, I think the last time was when I was a teenager. Nowadays the sampans are very high tech and come with engines. The Sarawak river however, is still brown and murky. It was actually really nice being in a rickety sampan laughing and joking with good friends and family.

_DSC0203 (1024x680)

It was a hot day in Kuching and all this traipsing around mesuems etc. wasn’t actually cooling. So we stopped for afternoon tea or should I say afternoon ice kachangs at the famous stalls behind Chung Hua Primary School No.3.

I must admit the location wasn’t my first choice because we always prefer the ice stalls at Song Kheng Hai which unfortunately wasn’t open due to Chinese New Year. Still, Gillian and the others enjoyed their ice kachangs very much.

_DSC0199 (1024x680)

Calvin has his first taste of Sarawak belachan beehoon a.k.a. ‘it tastes like the bottom of the sea’ as dubbed by Andy my brother-in-law. This dish is of course an acquired taste but a firm favourite for many Sarawakians. I know Brio didn’t like this, but everyone else seemed to like it.

_DSC0204 (1024x680)

I don’t know why ice kachangs, belachan beehoon and rojaks are always eaten together or sold in stalls next to each other. Maybe it’s a typical Kuching afternoon tea fare. Our rojak (I think you could  call it a mixed salad of some sort) was a special because it had cuttlefish in it, yums.

I remember Day 14 ended with a trip to the airport to send off my Singaporean relatives and my brother Darren. Jo started the waterworks and the women in the family were all teary eyed when we farewelled my brother who is off to start his career in US. One of the reasons why this holiday was so memorable was because of all the time that I got to spend with my brother. I will remember the funny conversations that we had, him teasing my mum, us teasing him about his harem of girls, listening to his music in the car while waiting for him to order road side burgers for us, teaching him how to cook even though he fell asleep halfway! Aaah,  it was a wonderful summer holiday and I really miss him.

_DSC0208 (1024x680)

Day 15 was quiet and a little sad because everyone was leaving or had left. It was the last night in Kuching for Brio, Calv and Cheng. Perhaps it was the perfect day to visit my favourite Kenyalang, with the festive Chinese New Year market over, the normal sleepy Kenyalang of my childhood returned.

_DSC0210 (1024x680)

Most people visit Kenyalang nowadays to buy pirated dvds/cds. I still remember when we were young, we visited Kenyalang almost everyday because we hired TVB/Singaporean drama video tapes from the video store. Everyday we would bring in the tape that we had watched the night before to exchange it for a new episode of TVB drama. This was a huge part of my childhood, watching dramas with my parents in their bedroom.

_DSC0211 (1024x680)

These little shops have been around in Kenyalang forever. Sin Kui Seng sells all sorts of knick knacks, from junk food to kites to electric fly killing bats (I bought this!). I can’t remember whether my father ever cut his hair in this barber shop, I’m sure he would have at least once, but I remember his regular barber shop was another shop in Kenyalang. I wonder whether he still gets his haircut in Kenyalang nowadays. I’m guessing the answer is yes. It’s so nice that some things never change.

_DSC0220 (680x1024)

Speaking of things that never change, I was so upset when many years ago, the icecream stall of my childhood ‘Moonlight’ moved away from Kenyalang. Whenever we had our daily stops in Kenyalang, my ah pa would sometimes give us $1 each to buy pandan icecream with chocolate sprinkles from Moonlight, we always had an extra $1 to get one for him as well. My ah pa still loves soft serve icecreams to this day, and so do I.

_DSC0214 (680x1024)

Guess what?! Moonlight moved back to Kenyalang!

I was so excited when I discovered this a week ago, and swore to return to try the pandan icecream again. So I did! It was manned by the same husband and wife!! And the icecreams still cost $1 haha.

_DSC0215 (680x1024)

I bought a pandan icecream for all of us. It was still wonderful and a blast from the past. I must tell my ah pa about this so that he can come and get some for himself in the future. I’m so happy that Moonlight is back in Kenyalang.

cny and wedding1

At night it was time for my birthday gathering. All my close friends came and there was lots and lots of food. We spent the night chatting, playing cards, eating, drinking and eating some more. The core bunch Jaso, Gill, Cheng and co. insisted on waiting till midnight so they could wish me happy birthday. My ah pa waited with them too. I felt especially bad for Jaso who was feeling so sick.

But midnight came and they all wished me happy birthday. Thank you for being there and waiting till the stroke of midnight dear people. I was very touched and happy.

It’s a bit scary turning older each year and thinking of all the dreams that I have yet to achieve, but I know I’m really lucky, because I will have the love and support of my wonderful family and friends supporting me all the way. I reckon, it will be pretty great growing old with you guys (^___^).

Kuching Day 13: Jo and HC’s Wedding Day

Before you continue reading, I must warn you that this is the mother of all Kuching posts and contains up to 50 pictures! So if you don’t want to suffer from picture overload, please stop right now. It took me all night to sift through 1500 photos (mostly taken by the professional photographers but some from my personal collection and taken by friends) but it was fun.

These photos brought me back to that balmy crazy day of close family and friends, laughter, joy and a lot of happiness, I hope you enjoy them 🙂

1

The big day fell on the 28 January 2012, sixth day of the Dragon Chinese New Year.

2

The girls in the house woke up bright and early for the makeup session. The photographers were even earlier than the makeup artist, there were 3 of them and it was just snap snap snap all day. But the real early birds of the house were actually my poor parents who rushed around everywhere, buying breakfast for everyone and making sure that everything was running smoothly.

4

 Jo’s jee muis/girlfriends of the day arrived. These girlfriends have been friends with Jo since her high school days. Everyone was very excited and whipped out their cameras/phones to take pictures of the bride.

5

 The covering of the veil by the parents. This went on for quite a long time because the photographers wanted to get it picture perfect. Obviously this lousy side angle photo was taken by me (^_^)Y.

6

The girlfriends and the bride! It was so nice that Gill could be there. She was the unofficial bridesmaid of the day and was such a great help to Jo. Tip for brides to be: make sure you appoint a lovely bridesmaid, they are very helpful and will assist you in everyway possible!

7

Why does my brother and Jaso look so nervous? Because they knew they were in for a torture session designed by the girls. For those who don’t know this Chinese custom, the groom is usually not allowed into the house to fetch the bride until jokes and games have been played on him and his hengdai/brothers by the bride’s girlfriends. I had been teasing the guys for days about my horror games, hence their slightly terrified facial expressions.

9

It is traditional custom for the male relative (usually the brother) to open the car door for the groom so as to ‘welcome him into the family’. We had to do this a couple of times because my brother kept opening the wrong door, haha. So blur, it’s obvious that we’re related.

10

The night before, Gill, Jo and I had designed ten challenges for the men. The first challenge was for the boys to play ‘pass the groom’ in diferent ways without his feet touching the ground.

11

The second challenge which I had pre warned the boys about was to dance ‘Gee’ a very popular Korean song by Girl Generation. Actually all the boys were supposed to do this dance routine as a group, but they cheated *hmph* and Calv had to step up and do a solo dance. It was hilarious though, I can’t wait to watch the video.

12

Suan Tian Ku La, meaning sweet, sour, bitter and spicy. The guys had to drink these four terrible concoctions of different tastes, it wasn’t too bad I think, I could have been more cruel. But I’m sure the guys will beg to differ.

13

It was actually really funny and I would have gone on with all 10 challenges but time was running out so…

14

we let the groom enter the house to fetch his bride.

15

This is when the groom presents the bride with her bouquet and they exchange rings.  6-7 years ago, a similar scene was enacted in this living room, only it was my eldest sister and my brother in law Andy!

16

The red umbrella is another chinese custom. I’m not sure what it’s for, but hey, at least it blocks out the sun!

17

The bride and groom and the groom entourage then left to go to the groom’s house for the tea ceremony.

18b

HC’s immediate family, he is the eldest son in the family and has three brothers and a younger sister!

19

The groom’s hengdai/brothers were rewarded for their hard work with angpows.

19a

Meanwhile, back at my house, the relatives were pouring in for the buffet lunch and upcoming tea ceremony for the bride’s family. Can you tell that Cheng and Gill were very tired? Coincidentally, HC’s hengdais were all in blue! Minus Cheng who insists on standing out in white.

20

Darren and I left the lunch halfway to go to HC’s house to ‘fetch’ my sister back home for a short visit. I know, chinese bridal customs are very finicky. We lft off fireworks when the bridal car came back home.

21

Yeah, the first food picture of the wedding (and possibly the last). We ordered catering from Ya Huang/Imperial Duck, I’m told the food was yummy and everyone enjoyed it.

24

A bit of light entertainment in the middle of lunch. Do you know who caught the bridal bouquet yet?

25

Once lunch was over, it was time for the tea ceremony where the bride and groom pay respect to their elders and receive lots of angpows hahaha. ($____$)

26

Group photo of the Singaporean relatives who flew in just for this occasion.

27

The Kuching relatives, a much bigger bunch and I’m not even sure that’s everyone. I hope my brother never reads my blog, he might kill me for posting his funny pose, what was he doing? Riding a motorbike?

28

After lunch we had a short break before heading to the wedding reception in the evening. Poor Jo and HC went straight to the hotel for their next makeup session. It’s really not easy being the bride of the day.

29

The swan ice sculpture that is typical of a Hilton wedding.

30a

Wedding gifts for the guests were chopsticks, I much prefer them to the normal cake slices or chocolates.

30b

The banquet hall was ready.

31

The beautiful wedding scroll ready for guests’ signatures.

32

The MCs for the night were also ready. Hehe, recognise a familiar face? Dear Jaso kindly agreed to be the English MC for Jo’s wedding, this was his first attempt MC-ing and he did really well. Tse Ling who is actually a professional DJ and events host was perfect as usual, she’s a close family friend or else we would never have gotten her for our humble affair.

33

The guests started streaming in and soon the banquet hall was packed. This signaled the start of the banquet and first up was the slideshow of Jo and HC. I really liked this slideshow, the photos were all really cute and memorable and I’m sure evoked a lot of warm memories for relatives that attended.

34

See, everyone was riveted by the slideshow!

35

The lights dim, the romantic music rolls, the bride and groom make their grand entrance.

35a

Straight up on to the stage to cut the cake. Unfortunately this was a fake cake so we didn’t get to eat any 😦

36

Jo changed into an evening dress halfway through the dinner. Then it was time for the champagne pouring and toasting of the guests. It was actually quite funny listening to Aussie Jaso booming out the very Chinese and  traditional ‘YUMMMMMMMM SENG!’ through the microphone. He was very good and loud!

37

By this time we had already made our way through six courses of dinner! I didn’t get to eat any of the food because I was too busy eating lozenges to soothe my itchy throat. It was speechmaking time.

37a

This is the view from the stage and how it feels like making a speech to 300 guests.

38

Jo’s girlfriends plus Alvin were all dolled up for the night. They were also our ushers during the wedding, thank you girls!

39a

The band ‘The Young Once’ (hehe) were fantastic. They’re a very experienced and talented band with band members that are pioneers of the Sarawak music band scene. I couldn’t help humming and swaying to their catchy tunes all night and I noticed lots of guests were tapping their feet and singing along.

39

Yeah, it was reaching the end of the night, time for group photos with the wedding couple. This is the Perth bunch. It was so wonderful that everyone was together again and all in Kuching too.

41

Both families gathering outside the hall at the end of the banquet. The wedding banquet was over, everything went wondefully well, everyone was exhausted but very very happy.

42

This is what happens when everyone relaxes at the end of the night. Hahaha.

40

The boys who have been in my life since forever. I don’t think there will ever be a chance for us to be together like this again. Thank you for flying in and being there to witness Jo and HC’s special day. Thank you for all your help before and after the wedding . Thank you for always being there and for being such wondeful friends.

15a

The wedding couple and my parents. I’m quite sure this wedding wouldn’t have been so memorable/wonderful without the support of my fantastic parents who are the best ah pa and ah ma ever.

 Congratulations Jo and HC! Thank you for letting me share your special day, I hope all your dreams come true (to strike lotto and pay off my mortgage haha) and your marriage is filled with lots of love and happiness.

Valentine’s Day

I know V Day is almost over for us in Perth, but it hasn’t started for others spread across the world so hopefully it’s not too late to say Happy Valentine’s Day!

_DSC0572 (Small)

This year we had our Valentine’s Day dinner with the newly wedded couple Jo and HC. We’re obviously not into the romantic couple theme and instead went for ‘the more the merrier’. I played with their wedding present from KaiMing, a coin eating dog gizmo. Haha, it’s actually a piggybank or should I say doggybank, you put your coins in the dog’s bowl and he gobbles it up! Very fun.
_DSC0581 (Small)
I knew that Jo loved Maneki Neko a.k.a. Fortune Cat/Lucky Cat but I didn’t realise that she had a whole collection of Maneki Nekos! Obviously she’s going to be very rich very soon. Hahaha. I like the 4 round ones best, they’re so cute.

_DSC0592 (Small)
Our dinner was whipped up by mostly HC and R. Scotch fillet steaks with red wine sauce, sweet potato mash and asparagus.  I know it’s terrible, us sisters just lay on the couches and sipped sweet white wine haha. Ok, well done guys, it was a very nice steak dinner.

Jo was blatantly honest today and commented ‘your blog is getting boring’ (0___o)”. She’s been waiting for the post on her wedding day and I know others have been too. I’ve just been too lazy to shift through the hundreds of photos but ok, I promise the next post will be on the big day. Just can’t promise when the next post will be up that’s all :).
_DSC3241 (Small)
To whet your appetite for the upcoming post, guess who caught the bridal bouquet?

Winner gets a Maneki Neko from Jo’s collection, just kidding, she will kill me.

Comfort cooking

It’s officially a week since I’ve returned from holidays and I still feel pretty miserable. For some reason, this time around it’s been really hard settling back into life in Perth.
ku gua

As usual, when I’m feeling blue, I turn to the kitchen for some comfort cooking. This was my first attempt at cooking stir fried bittergourd with minced pork and salted black beans (usually R cooks this). I used to hate bittergourd when I was young, but I guess as one grows older and has tasted bitterness in life (haha), you grow to enjoy the slight bitterness and crunchy texture of the bittergourd which merries so well with the saltiness of black beans. I also add some shaoxing wine in this dish which adds to the overall fragrance. This is comfort home cooking at its best.
belly pork
Another comfort food dish, loh bak as in braised belly pork in soy with fried tofu puffs and braised hard boiled eggs. I changed my usual loh bak a bit by using rock sugar instead of normal sugar. This was a tip I learned from one of my aunties during the holiday, and I do like the extra intensity and caramelised gravy.

If you noticed my pretty sakura bowl from the above pictures, I received this matching bowl and plate set as a birthday present from Jaso who lugged it all the way from Japan. He understands my love for beautiful crockery and I really do love these pieces, thanks Jaso!

beans

Surely nothing can be more simple than stir fried long beans with eggs? For an extra lift (and mostly because my herb garden is flourishing and I need to get rid of some herbs) I added basil leaves and it was extra good. I love basil.

eggs

Last night R and I tried this baked egg dish which required baking an egg for one hour at 63 degrees (will blog about this in future). The result was a decadent, amazingly rich and smooth runny egg. This made me crave for my usual Kuching breakfast of the champions of soft boiled eggs and kaya toast in the morning.

So I made it for Sunday brunch 🙂 It was actually really nice. But it made me miss home. I miss Kuching kopitiams, miss Kuching kopis, but mostly, I miss having breakfast with my parents and siblings in the morning.

Kuching Day 12: Everyone arrives

Day 12 in Kuching was the day before the wedding and also the day that everyone from overseas flew in to Kuching. Well, almost everyone, poor Gerry didn’t make it in due to visa problems (stupid Malaysian embassy). It was perhaps the most crushing moment of the whole trip.
jaso
In the morning, we brought Jaso and Gill to Yee Ann cafe for some good ol’ Kampua Mee and Laksa. See happy Jaso and my ah pa. One of the best things about this trip was watching Jaso and Gill interacting with my parents, I think it’s safe to say that they really enjoyed each other’s company.

fried noodles

Fried noodles to share. These noodles were great, full of wok hei.

soft eggs

After the failed half boiled eggs that I had at Chong Choon cafe, these were much much better.

mee pok

This was my breakfast, kolo mee pok with char siew sauce. Yums!

spring

Guess where we headed to after breakfast? Yes, none other than The Spring again! Hehe, I took this photo of Jaso taking a photo for the girls from the opposite side of the floor.

yee sze

I met up with my best friend Yee Sze and her freshly minted husband at Starbucks. It’s been more than two years since I last saw my high school mate, it was so good to see her and Shi Chao again. I wish we had more time to catch up with each other but unfortunately she flew out to Penang right after the wedding.
boys
Guess who else we met at the Spring? The boys are back!! And all in Kuching too. Bryan and Calv touched down in Kuching in the morning, it was Calv’s first time in Kuching too.

After our Spring meeting, the rest of us went home for a bit of a rest and a chat, this was when Gerry called to break the bad news and all hell broke lose. SIGH. I wonder whether Gerry will ever get to come to Kuching and try bak kut teh.

cny and wedding2

We tried to pick up our spirits and met up with the Singaporean relatives  for dinner. Where else but the ultimate tourist hot spot Top Spot for seafood. We had so much food it was amazing. But somehow we managed to polish off almost everything 🙂 Ahhh.. the wonders of Calv’s bottomless stomach.

After that Cheng and I followed the guys to Lime Tree hotel’s (where Brio and Calv were staying) rooftop bar for a drink. It’s a bit ironic but all their drinks (doesn’t matter whether it’s a Cosmopolitan or Mojito) tasted of lime juice!

I came home to find the bride to be and Gill wide awake. ‘I’m too excited I can’t sleep!’ Jo exclaimed. We were all pumped up with exhilaration and just couldn’t fall asleep despite feeling exhausted after a full day of activities. This btw, was the start of my three days cycle of minimal sleep.

We chatted incessantly and kept saying to each other ‘eh, better go to sleep, tomorrow big day you know’. Gradually, we fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning. And then it was really the big day!!


February 2012
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
272829  

Pages