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Friday, March 30, 2018

A Goat Story

Remember my goat story three years ago? He came to 'pet' me when we were visiting the village where hubby's uncle lives. Story here. I've just found out the goat's name is Manja (pampered in Malay).

Me and Manja when he was just a kid
We were driving into the village to visit Uncle Beng during the Chinese New Year when we saw Manja, now a full grown billy goat, charging head-on towards an oncoming motorcyclist and head-butting the vehicle! Next, the old goat rammed his head against a tree nearby when the man on the motorcycle chided him!

Uncle Beng explained that Manja had wandered too far off into the next village and the owner had to look for the old goat to herd him home. Manja wasn't quite ready to return to his pen and like a spoilt brat, he was throwing a tantrum!

Suddenly, Manja started to bawl hysterically as if something spooked him. He darted back into his pen on his own. According to Uncle Beng,  the old goat went weird because he knew it was going to rain. And sure enough, within minutes, raindrops came pouring down!
Apparently, Manja is one spoilt goat, hence the name. As the villagers were largely Hindu, Manja is considered a sacred animal and is honoured and revered. Hindus believe that animals may contain the souls of their ancestors or may be reborn as friends and family members. Besides, Manja's weather forecasting ability makes him even more important! He is a reliable weather vane and his predictions are 90 percent spot-on. In fact, the villagers count on him to tell them when it is going to rain. If he is near his pen, rain is expected. If he is far out in the next village, the weather will be fine!

Evidently, goats hate water. I wasn't able to google for a scientific answer. Veterinarians have not identified any reasons. Goat breeders don't have the real answer either and so far no goat whisperer has come forward with an explanation! It would be really interesting to know why.

I wanted a take a selfie with Manja but Uncle Beng cautioned that the ornery old goat was likely to head-butt me.

After watching this video, I am sure glad I didn't!

My Random Musings

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Fine Dining On The Cheap

Shhhhh! I've discovered a secret for fine dining at a price that is less than a fraction of what you would otherwise have to cough out in a fancy restaurant.

The secret, my friends, lies in the in-house restaurants of culinary schools! And lately, I have been enjoying  fancy 3 to 10 course dinners at my sons' university campuses. Haha! A  10 course dinner prepared by student chefs costs less than a bowl  of soup in a five star restaurant!  I am cheap, I know!

I am a messy eater and more of a soup and sandwich girl although I do enjoy the occasional formal dinner in a posh restaurant and  ONLY with people I am really comfortable with.  Haute cuisine served up by culinary students is more fun and less intimidating.

One - You don't have to deal with poncey waiters/waitresses. The rookie serving staff are probably more nervous than you.

Two - You don't have to sweat over the confusing tableware. Nobody cares if you are eating your fish with a soup spoon instead of a fish knife. The other diners who are mostly students are too busy having fun snapping photos with their phones. Heck, I could eat my fish with a pair of chopsticks and nobody would bat an eye! Hey, I am very talented with my chopsticks! I can pick the tiniest bone off my fish with chopsticks, even a microscopic sesame seed! Fun fact -  did you know it's easier to eat spaghetti with chopsticks than a fork? All that twirling with a fork is a sheer waste of effort.

Three - You don't have to dine with pretentious guests. No one rolls their eyes at you if your fork clanks a little too loudly or if your escargot bounces of your plate!

Remember that famous Julia Robert dining scene? It never gets old!

Four -  Who knows, you may even experience the talents of the next top chefs before they become Michelin stars!

Five - You don't need to attend a fine dining etiquette workshop to learn about the right utensils to use. You get all the practice you need!

The downside? The RARE occasion when your steak is a tad underdone. Pardon the lame pun.

My latest experience to share. A Valentine-themed dinner inspired by Spanish Chef Elena Arzak. She is one of only six women in history whose restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars. Arzak was named best Female Chef in the World in 2012.


It was a 10 course dinner - Amuse-Bouche (3), Starter (2),  Main (2),  Pre-dessert (1), Dessert (2).
The rustic bread and Spanish garlic rolls were really good. At home, just these and soup alone would make a hearty dinner for me.

Gotta love the fun names the students DISHed out for their creations.

Deep fried butterfish in Kataifi

Marinated sardines with balsamic strawberry

Raspberry gazpacho with melon

Yabbies with mangosteen and garlic

Baked egg with yolk veil and chicken broth

Seared red snapper with green and red parterre
Rack of lamb with pea purée, green sponge and fondant potatoes
Lime soufflé with smoked lemon ice cream
Chocolate sponge and mousse with orange parfait
Petit fours - Banana marshmallows, almond biscuits, passion fruit jellies, white bean truffles

Burp! That was a mighty fine dinner. I heard that a Gordon Ramsey inspired dinner is next on their calendar. Can't wait!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Devil Curry

Debal Curry, a quintessential *Eurasian dish is The Hubs' favourite curry. It is also my favourite recipe to bring to a potluck 'cos I always come home with an empty bowl and lots of compliments! It's like bringing a rum cake to an AA meeting! There's nothing sorrier than leaving a potluck with a plate that is still three-quarters full, don't you agree?
Debal curry is unique to Malaysia and Singapore and is usually made on Boxing day with the leftover meats from the previous day's Christmas feast.  In Creole-Portugese, Debal means  leftovers.  I am guessing that this dish might have been coined Devil Curry because it is laden with chilies and therefore fiery hot.

*Eurasian - A person of mixed European and Asian ancestry.

Many Eurasians in  Malaysia and Singapore  trace their roots to the sixteenth century when Portugal conquered Malacca. Marriages between the Portuguese men and the local women of Chinese, Malay and Indian descent led to a thriving Eurasian community.

Sharing my late Godma's recipe.


600 gm chicken/pork cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 tomato, quartered
1 green chili, seeded (optional)

6 dried chilies
10 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size ginger
2-3 thin slices fresh turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
3-4 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp sugar
salt to taste
1/2 cup water

Heat oil in pan. Fry ground ingredients until oil separates. Add meat, carrot, onion and seasonings. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25-30 mins or until meat is tender. Set aside for 30 mins before serving. Better still, refrigerate overnight if you can resist eating the curry right away as this will allow the flavours to mellow. Devil curry always tastes better the next day!

Have you ever brought a dish to a potluck that nobody ate??

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Pregnant Deer

Ever heard of the pregnant deer story? It resonates deeply with me. Time and time again, I draw great inspiration from that very scenario  whenever I feel that I am inundated with negativity and adversities around me. I think of myself as the pregnant deer with the happy ending. The allegory is so very symbolic of life. Negative thoughts are toxic. They can destroy your morale and oftentimes be overpowering enough to be incapacitating.

The story goes like this.
A pregnant deer is about to give birth. She finds a secluded spot in the forest near a swift flowing river. Just then, dark clouds gather in the sky above and lightning starts a forest fire. She looks to her left and sees a hunter aiming to shoot her with an arrow. She looks to her right and sees a hungry lion waiting to pounce on her. What is she to do in a desperate situation like this?

1. There is a forest fire
2. There is a swift flowing river
3. There is a hunter on her left
4. There is a hungry lion on her right

It seems like she is doomed and there's no way out in such a hopeless situation,

But the deer knows there is only one thing she can do so she decides to focus on the one thing she can focus on - giving birth. And as she gives her full attention to the process of just giving birth, a sequence of events happens.

There is a bolt of lightning.
The hunter gets disorientated and  releases the arrow.
The arrow zips past the deer and strikes the lion.
The lion flees.
Rain pours down heavily and puts the fire out.

And at that very moment, the deer delivers a healthy fawn.

The moral of the story? We should stop worrying about things that are beyond our control and just  give our full attention to what is most important at the moment and focus on giving our best.  In the midst of a storm, do not lose faith.  Surrender to God and He will guide us through the puddles and remove the obstacles in our path.

Watch this video. It is life changing!
Let this be our motivation for 2018

image source - Returning To Oneness

Friday, March 2, 2018

Dog Yu Shang

Canine-inspired Yu Shang seems to be trending this Chinese Lunar Year of The Dog.
For the clueless, Yu Shang is explained here.

I scoured the net and found these.
image source - instagram  @logeswaran_vadiappan
image source - instagram @lovefoodlove3
image source -  twitter @mytownpharmacy
image source -

image source - instagram @michelecheong
image credit - instagram @trinston_lee
image source -
The above Yu Shang costs a whopping S$999.00 (USD756.93)!  It is a limited edition masterpiece created by the chefs at the Singapore Fullerton Hotel. Inspired by Pekingese dogs and their resemblance to Chinese Fu Dogs, the intricately assembled showpiece looks like a cross between the two. Orders are made three days in advance.

Run Jump Scrap

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