Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Just before we came back to Malaysia, my parents did a major renovation to the house. The workmen are still coming in everyday to put in their finishing touches, from electricians to painters, and plumbers. There are fixings to be put up, curtains to be hung.
The kitchen is buzzing. It has transformed into a mini commercial kitchen producing tons and tons of food. The oven is on overdrive. Preparation is in full swing!
Sunday, 20 December 2009
It started with Lachy. It must have been something he ate. For 3 days he was really really ill, complaining of a sore tummy that comes in waves, just before an explosive poo action. (Sorry for being so graphic!) He had fevers, and was clammy and very very grumpy. Thank goodness I was still able to push some fluids in, else I don't know where we'll land! Lucas had it a day later, a little less severe but still the worst he's ever had. They lost their shine, their bubbly-ness and their usual self.
Now they're better, not yet 100%. But at least they've got their groove back.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Monday, 14 December 2009
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Friday, 11 December 2009
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Oh we feel so loved.
:) Thank you.
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
In a trivia night this year, I won a pack of customised greeting cards from Art By Kids. Basically, it's just a blank card where you can draw or create a card however you like. And they will print it out for you.
So I thought we'd make something christmassy to send out to our family and friends.
drawing scribbling above is a joint effort between Lachlan, Lucas and I.
There's one coming your way, or otherwise, here it is for your viewing pleasure. Well, you can tell the boys aren't the picasso type!
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Typically, we arrived sweaty and groggy and headed straight to mamak! We had our first pig out. Nasi Lemak sotong, Roti Canai, Mamak Mee Goreng, Teh Tarik etc.
After a late morning nap, the boys headed straight outdoors for water play! They were drenched, hosing each other down and playing with their water guns. We are such water-deprived Melbournians!
It's thundering down with rain now.
I'm about to let you in on my not-so well kept secret! I have gigantor feet, to put it mildly. Alright, so everyone in my family already knows it and friends close to me.
My mom bought me my first pair of heels when I was twelve. It was probably only half an inch high, but already a whopping size 8. This was when I was 12! Barely post-pubertal and still growing! Gaaahhh...
So over the years, my feet grew... and it grew, thankfully only 2 more sizes larger to a size 10. In my teenage years, I remember how hard it was to buy shoes my size, especially in an Asian country. Most shops only stock up to a size 8. So I strutted in my nike, probably made for boys. Thank goodness in those days, all I needed to do was go to school. But as you can imagine, when a certain special occasion calls for dressing up and nice not-too-chunky shoes, it can certainly spark a shoe shopping frenzy which almost always end up in tears.
Anyways, that was history. When I landed in the land down under, I was in shoe haven! Aaahhhh.... sizes, sizes, sizes! Wooo hoooo! I bought my first pair of 3 and a half inch disco shoes, it was glittery silver. And in the 7 years of my uni life, I collected up to 25 pairs of shoes! (Oops, are you reading this dad?) It only escalated when I started working, with my own money to spend.
Now, here comes the clincher. I am 19 weeks pregnant. And already my feet have blown a size up. I know that in NO way, I will be able to find a pair of nice heels for my brother's wedding in Malaysia. So out I went shopping, looking for my perfect pair of glass slippers. And guess what? Most shops in Australia stock shoes only up to a size 10! HORROR!! It came to a point when I walk into a shoe shop, I ask the attendant, do you stock ANY shoes in a size 11! Just pick a box that says size 11! In any style or any colour!
Guess what? I found it. My perfect pair of glass slippers. I heart BETTS shoes.
I think I'm here to stay Australia, thank you very much.
Photo credit: http://www.betts.com.au/ Shown above, PLATINUM in silver, size 11.
Monday, 7 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
So out of the blue, I have this silly idea. Well, I'm sure it's not that strange, it might be quite popular in some parts of the world. I made a chiffon cake, using durian essence for flavour. This recipe is adapted from one of our family favourites: The Pandan Chiffon Cake.
Durian Chiffon Cake
225g cake flour*, sifted
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
180g castor sugar
1 tsp durian essence
190ml coconut cream
125ml vegetable oil
7 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
9 egg whites
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
50g castor sugar, extra
* You can make your own cake flour (which is basically a low gluten flour) by using plain flour and substituting 25g with corn flour.
1. I have basically divided the ingredients into three parts: the dry, the wet and the egg whites. It is really easy to remember the recipe this way.
2. So all you have to do really is to sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle, and whisk in the egg yolks, coconut cream, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and pandan essence. Mix well until smooth and thoroughly combined. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer, beat egg whites until frothy. Then add cream of tartar. Now beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Add in remaining 50g of castor sugar, one tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff peaks occur.
4. Gently fold egg whites into the cake batter in a few additions until just blended. Pour mixture into a clean UNGREASED 25cm (large) angel cake tin. Bake in a moderately hot oven (170 degrees celcius) for about 1 hour.
5.Remove cake from the oven, and while still hot, turn the entire cake and tin upside down, balancing the central column on an empty jar. Leave to cool completely. This step is quite important as it ensures that the cake doesn't "sink". When it is cooled completely, release cake with a flat bladed knife and cut into slices.
Mmm... the same light and fluffy texture, with a hint of durian flavour. I liked it. For some, it's an acquired taste. Others might think it's a stinky piece of cake.
My husband for instance thought it was the smell emanating from the rubbish bin. What a load of rubbish!
Mmm... I heart durians.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
Yep, we are going away this year. And I don't know why I am glad to do nothing christmassy this year. No christmas tree up. No scurrying in shopping centres, finding last minute gifts. No cooking and baking frenzy.
My head is buzzing. With only 4 more sleeps to go, there are tons to do! It has been a big big week, with swimming catch up lessons, doctor's appointments, gym membership to suspend, the usual household chores plus more, a few bits of loose ends to tie up. Gaahhh....
So yeah, this year we're heading to Malaysia. There is a special event in the family coming up, a BIG event. It's going to be HUGE! And we are super excited. The whole family (almost!) will be reunited, cousins, uncles, aunties from all over the world. (We have a great big family with 7 uncles and 2 aunts from dad's side and 8 aunts and 4 uncles from mom's, not to mention their own family). We are looking forward to it.
Everybody has a summer holiday
Doing things they always wanted to.
So we're going on a summer holiday
To make our dreams come true
For me and you.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Just last week, Lachy came home from kinder with an important notice. There has been a lice outbreak in his class. Head lice that is. Gaahhh.... strangely enough, my own scalp had already started to itch!
They're tiny little wingless insects that breed and feed on human scalp. They move from head to head without discrimination, and do not carry or transmit disease. And you get it from direct contact, when you play together, cuddle etc. Lachy and ALL of us sleep on the same pillow if you remember his sleeping saga I wrote about not long ago.
So we had to hunt them down, if any.
Here's what the notice had to say:
Finding head lice
Half of the people who have head lice never scratch their head so itching is not a reliable sign. Lice can be hard to spot because they move quickly. The easiest and most effective way to find head lice is to follow these steps weekly:
Step 1 Comb hair conditioner on to dry, brushed (detangled) hair. This makes it difficult for lice to grip the hair or run around.
Step 2 Wipe the conditioner from the comb onto a paper towel or tissue.
Step 3 Look on the tissue and on the comb for lice and eggs.
Step 4 Repeat the combing for every part of the head at least four or five times.
Step 5 If the person has been treated recently and only hatched eggs are found, you may not have to treat them again since the eggs could be from the old infection.
Step 6 If lice or eggs are found, the person should be treated.
I read the steps over and over again.
Then out came dadda's good ol' clippers. What easier way could there be than to chop and look at the same time. Lachy was first to be on the barber's (mummy) seat, Lucas watching intently as his older brother's locks came falling off his head. 12mm. That was because we have a major event coming up, and we'll be in big trouble with the grandma's if they both ended up looking like shaolin monks for the big day.
Not a sign of a louse on the loose. Phew!
I kept a few wispy bit of fringe for Lucas. Just because. :) I am such a hoarder!
And you guessed it right, Lachy's mullet hasn't been touched either!
I wouldn't have a single clue what I'd do if I had girl(s) with long curly pigtails!
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
I was having a few friends over for an afternoon tea party one day, and already, I knew what I was baking that morning.
I stumbled upon this chocolate cake recipe from The Little Teochew (adapted from domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson) not too long ago, and was already immediately on my next (to bake) list. So not surprisingly, sour cream was on my shopping list on our next expedition out to the shops. The allure of simple, old fashioned chocolate cake was far too great, especially if you're a pregnant chocoholic.
Adapted from Nigella's Feast
FOR THE ICING:
3. Now all you have to do is put all the cake ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream – into a food processor
5. Spread into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester, or a thin skewer, comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes - 40 minutes.
The steps that I omitted:
11. Choose your cake stand or plate and cut out four strips of baking parchment to form a square outline on it (this stops the icing running on to the plate). Then sit one of the cakes, uppermost (ie slightly domed) side down.
12. Spoon about a third of the icing on to the centre of the cake half and spread with a knife or spatula until you cover the top of it evenly. Sit the other cake on top, normal way up, pressing gently to sandwich the two together.
13. Spoon another third of the icing on to the top of the cake and spread it in a swirly, textured way (though you can go for a smooth finish if you prefer, and have the patience). Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing and leave a few minutes till set, then carefully pull away the paper strips.
On my first attempt (oh yes, I've made this cake more than a handful of times since!) of making the chocolate ganache, I am shameful to admit that I did used up a mish mash of whatever leftover chocolate I have in the pantry: dark, milk and even white! To say the least, the outcome was a vicious, sweet, oh yes very VERY sweet chocolate icing. I had my guests almost in a sugar fit, if there's such a thing. But yes, we were very high from sugar. And because of that, I decided not to use too much of the icing sugar an hence a slightly runny icing. The glistening chocolate ganache slid onto the cake and like molten lava, dangerously flooded the entire cake plate.
We then mopped it up with more sugar! Lachy dotted the entire cake with marshmallows! The result: mind blowing sugar high!
Nevertheless, the cake was amazingly moist, the texture is soft and fluffy and the unadultered rich chocolate flavour was just to-die-for!
I baked it once again...
And this one is a double-layered smooth (almost!) frosted chocolate cake for my brother, my nephew and my niece's birthday. Happy Birthday three of you!
Oh yes, for the subsequent chocolate frosting, I used dark chocolate with 70% cocoa content, and substituted 50g of icing sugar with cocoa powder. Mmmmm...... I'm thinking of an excuse to bake it again. Cake anyone?
Friday, 27 November 2009
So, a few weeks ago we attended our very first ultrasound for Baby 3. A big sigh of relief for it's a singleton pregnancy! I wouldn't have a clue at this moment, how I could deal with more than one baby. I don't know why I was paranoid to begin with, it doesn't run in the immediate family. But I guess having 3 babies in the span of 4 years is enough to start me thinking a little bit more about family planning. Oh, isn't that what they do BEFORE they start having babies? Anyways...
Baby looks healthy from all angles, at this stage. We may have him/her a little sooner than expected. We went in for the ultrasound thinking we're at 12.5 weeks, but the figures are measuring up to a 13.9 weeker. Surprise surprise? (Or is it just going to be another whopper?)
Even better news, I'm feeling a whole lot better now. I'm getting a lot more energy back (to be wasted on mopping kitchen floors and brushing mouldy bathrooms!) and I don't feel half as bad as I was in the first few weeks. I'm back at the gym, just doing light workouts. So yeah, I'm feeling great.
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
For years now, my oldest child Lachlan always had a little trouble with sleeping. In fact, I don't think he had ever slept through a night without waking up once since birth. Yep, 3 and a half years ago. He wakes up, once, twice, three times or sometimes even more and needed one of us to put him back to sleep. He's addicted to stroking our ears, or holding us near. Sometimes, Gary would wake up with sore ears, as bright as a tomato.
Yes, he has a normal bedtime routine. He goes to sleep in his own bed, in his own bedroom. But without fail, he would creep and crawl into our bedroom, onto our bed EVERY NIGHT, sometimes without me even knowing it!
Lucas is the total opposite! He has been sleeping on his own for... I can't remember. We kiss him good night and lay him in his cot and won't see him until the morning. He prefers it that way, he couldn't sleep well any other way. So one day, a few weeks ago, I moved Lucas to Lachlan's bedroom, hoping that he would teach his older brother a little thing or two about sleep. It was a little crazy at first, they took turns waking each other up.
Now? Lucas sleeps through the night. But Lachlan? He still comes into our bed. Back to square one. But at least we got our spare guest bedroom back.
Friday, 20 November 2009
One day, Lachlan caught me with tears in my eyes and asked if I'm sad. I said, no, not really. They're just "nothing tears".
Nothing tears? He then wiped them with the tip of his pointer and "popped" them. There, he said... feel better now? What do you know? Soon enough, nothing tears started pouring out.
Oh no! Mummy, your eyes are raining! I just couldn't help but burst into a fit of laughter. Nothing tears soon became funny tears.
Oh, back to the topic of bitchiness. This little incident happened a little while ago. I had to blog about it only because I had to get it off my pregnant bosoms! When and if I do look back, at least I could blame it on the hormones!
We were at a kid's party and there was a pirate's treasure hunt. In this treasure hunt, presents and loots were hidden in little bushes and plants, and kids were meant to get their elbows and knees grubby and look for their loot. Read: KID'S treasure hunt. Anyhow, it was over within 30 seconds, because a MOM stood over the loot, pointing to the treasures, well literally fished them out herself and put it in her kid's palm. Trivial? Yes. Annoying? Oh yes!
Even my 3 year old said "Not fair, she's a GROWN UP" Ah huh.
OK...see? I'm getting bitchy.
To read the entire Pregnancy Diary, click here.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Anyways, I was already planning what I was going to do with the rest of the peaches, if I were to open that huge can! I took out some recipe books, remembering reading somewhere about an upside down cake. It was actually an apricot upside down cake, but they're pretty similar anyways. After a little bit of tweaking, here's my version of it, adapted from one of the Women's Day small recipe book series.
Caramelised Upside Down Peach Cake
425g can of sliced peaches in syrup or juice, drained.
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g butter, chopped
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon milk
1. Grease a 20cm round cake tin. Melt 50g butter with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour caramel mixture onto base of the tin, swirl it evenly so it coats the bottom of the tin.
2. Line the sliced peaches over the top of the caramel, in a nice and even circular pattern.
3. In the mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla essence and eggs one at a time. Fold through sifted flour, sour cream and milk.
4. Bake in a moderate oven (160 degrees celcius, fan force) for 40-45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.
5. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before overturning cake onto a cake plate. Serve warm with a dollop of fresh cream or ice cream.
The recipe calls for 125g butter in total, half of that melted for the caramel. But I find it really hard to cream 60g of butter, it all get stuck at the sides of the bowl! So I doubled the quantity of butter. Then I realised, oh crap, I didn't have any eggs! But I have duck eggs! Rich, creamy, huge duck eggs. (Why do I have duck eggs? My lovely mother in law gave them to me, freshly laid, free range duck eggs!) While rummaging through my fridge for bits and bobs, I found sour cream! Gaahhhh, why not make this dessert a triply rich and super naughty dessert. I figured the people around me need some fattening up, so I don't look too bad around them.
The cake turned out really really moist, and fluffy and rich. The gooey caramel just oozes out as I tip the cake upside down. The peaches went really well with the rest of the cake. Two thumbs up, a recipe I would keep and make again when I have a massive can of peaches.
Hah! What a naughty craving this has become!