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?