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Friday, April 27, 2018

Butterfly Pea Tea

When we were little, my late grandma loved to amuse us with this "magic trick". She would  squeeze lime juice into a tall jug of blue liquid and voila! It magically turned purple!
Afterwards, she would serve us the concoction and we would happily gulp it down, believing that it was some kind of magic potion!

I didn't know then that the 'magic potion' was actually tea made from an infusion of the Butterfly Pea flower. I had long forgotten about this purple limenade until a recent visit to Cousin R who was back for a holiday from Ohio. She was picking the blue flowers in her mom's garden when we  dropped in. She was going to dry the flowers and bring them back to the States. According to her, Butterfly Pea beverages have started to hit American shelves and people just can't get enough of it!

Photos like the ones below are popping up on Pinterest and Instagram.

Aren't these pretty! Don't they just scream SUMMER?!
image source - https://www.instagram.com/p/BZOMr1uFS51/?taken-by=bluechaitea
So fun to serve at parties
image source - https://www.theflavorbender.com/galaxy-color-changing-lemonade-slushie/
Beautiful, refreshing and loaded with health promoting antioxidants, flavonoids and peptides. What's not to love?
image source -  https://www.instagram.com/p/Bf3malynzRT/
The Butterfly Pea flower
image source -  https://drhealthbenefits.com
Clitoria ternatea aka Butterfly Pea. This genus was thus named because of its resemblance to a certain vital lady part!
Known as Bunga Telang in Malay, this vine is easy to grow and commonly seen creeping on fences in most Malaysian backyards all year round.
The Malays and Peranakan use the Butterfly Pea as a natural blue dye for cakes, rice and dumplings.
image source -  http://sekkito.com
So what was the magic behind Grandma's color changing limenade? Ha! That was no sorcery!
The 'magic' (science!) lies in the deep blue petals of the Butterfly Pea flower. Once steeped, the liquid changes colour based on the pH level. So adding an acid like lime juice is what causes it to turn bright purple, or violet.



A beautiful drink to make


5 Reasons why you should drink this tea

1.  It is rich in anti-oxidants
2.  It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties
3.  It boosts collagen production, increasing skin elasticity. SOLD!
4.  It improves vision as the anthocyanins promote blood circulation helping the eyes to adjust to changes in light conditions. Also, it could be an excellent preventive aid for cataracts, retinal damage, and eye infections.
5.  It promotes healthy and luscious hair growth

I like my Butterfly Pea tea warm with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of honey.
Butterfly Pea Lemonade - Naturally purple and refreshing
Ingredients
A glass of hot water
6 butterfly pea flowers
Ice if you like it cold
Honey or sugar to taste
A slice of lemon

Directions
Drop the Butterfly Pea flowers into a glass of hot water. Steep for a few minutes until the water turns blue. Add the sugar or honey, followed by a squeeze of lemonade. Add ice and stir.


Have you tried Butterfly Pea beverages? What do you think?

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My Random Musings

ethannevelyn.com

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dysgeographica? Spatially Challenged? Geographical Dyslexia? Directional Disabled?

I can't drive. I can't find my way around even in places I've been to a thousand times. I can't judge distance. And if I turn left to enter the ladies or an elevator in the mall, I need to remind myself to turn right when I come out. I dare not even take a few steps away from my hotel in a strange city 'cos I know I wouldn't be able to find my way back unless I leave a trail of breadcrumbs! If I watch a Youtube tutorial on a hundred ways to tie a scarf, my brain can't register which way the scarf is being twisted or turned.  If I want to create something symmetrically, my brain can't do the whole mirror-image thing. I can’t look at a two dimensional drawing and translate it into a three dimensional picture in my head.

tumblr
image credit - https://giphy.com

When I was fifteen, I used  to ride my bicycle to my best friend's house  but was chronically lost. I had not one, but two accidents while cycling. The first was when I was knocked down by an oncoming motorcyclist when I attempted to cross the road. Luckily for me, I wasn't hurt. Just a few scratches and a bruised ego. I felt so dumb. My cousin who was cycling with me asked me afterward why the hell I crossed the road when the biker was so near. But to me, he appeared to be quite far away.
The second time, I was hit by a bus while cycling home from my cousin's house. I can't really recall what exactly happened. I vaguely remember the sound of screeching brakes and the driver alighting and yelling at me maniacally, causing a scene. I was more mortified than petrified! Miraculously, I was unscathed, not a single scratch. Perhaps the driver braked just in time. Or perhaps I have a powerful guardian angel who was working overtime, watching out for me. Ha! I bet he/she is relieved I don't drive!

The incident scarred me for life. I have since become dromophobic (fear of crossing streets) and vehophobic (fear of driving).

In today's liberated age, the idea of a non-driving woman isn't acceptable. "What? You don’t drive??!!" People would say, bemused and amused, looking at me like I am a wimp.  And when I answer that I am spatially challenged (I don't know how else to describe my condition), they think I am making it up just to find an excuse for not wanting to drive.

Recently, my younger son, Rodney, has been displaying some of the symptoms when he started to drive. He clearly has no sense of direction, lacks any memory of routes, can't find his way back to where he has parked his car, etc. He is perpetually lost just like me! Thank God for GPS!

It dawns on me now that some of his traits are related to this whole spatial awareness thing. For instance, Math. While he excels in all the other branches of Math, he just can't ace Geometry.

I feel really bad for passing this defective gene to him but now people give me more credence and understand that my inability to drive is not just a quirk of mine or that I am lazy or stupid. I know I sound like a bad mom but knowing that I am not alone in this is comforting. Believe me, I hate myself for having him inherit that flawed gene. It can be pretty hilarious when Rodney and I are out on an errand, even if it's just in our neck of the woods. It's a classic case of blind leading the blind!

Save for the two of us, I don't know anyone else personally who lacks spatial awareness. Looking back, I do remember an uncle who didn't drive. His wife was always at the driver's seat and it was a running joke between my aunts and uncles. Back in the 60s, a  non-driving male was less than a man and had no place in society. Poor guy! Perhaps, he too, was born without an internal compass.

There is no official name or write-up for our condition. Many websites lump this undiagnosed disorder with Directional Dyslexia. The writer of The Reading Well defined it as "Extreme difficulty distinguishing right from left and following a sequence of directions or retracing a path." But I disagree. Rodney and I have no problem distinguishing left from right or west from east. But we most definitely can't follow a sequence of directions or retrace a path!

I am often haunted by recurring nightmares of getting lost in a forest, inside a building, going to school, office, etc. I await the day when medical science can decipher the symptomatology, why our brains are wired differently and give us a medical term and cure for it.

Meanwhile, we have our own coping mechanisms.


Funnies .....

My Random Musings

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ethannevelyn.com

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Walk

Parking is always a problem for my son Rodney when he goes to his campus every day. The car park is perpetually full so he has to park his car in a shopping mall that is linked to his campus by an elevated pedestrian walkway. It is quite an interesting 6 min walk with many motivational quotes along the way. The  bridge is about  360m long and crosses over a section of a wildlife park that is part of a theme park.

Join me on this fun walk from the campus to the mall


You see motivational quotes like this spurring you all the way

STOP WHEN YOU'RE DONE, NOT WHEN YOU'RE TIRED


YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY, YOU CAN GO THE DISTANCE!


KEEP CALM, STRETCH & CONTINUE WALKING

A CIGARETTE ON ONE END, A FOOL ON THE OTHER END

BE YOUNG AT HEART - YOU'RE NEVER TOO OLD TO WALK

YOU'VE WALKED APPROXIMATELY 450 STEPS! WELL DONE!



Approaching the theme park.....
 I hear screams!
 The 360-degree rotating pirate galleon.


You read it right the first time! There are LIVE tigers beneath as the walkway spans across a section of the theme park.

Can you spot the tiger?  It took a while for me to see it as I was expecting to see something bright orange. Hint - it is a rare blue-eyed White Tiger.


Can you spot the two sun bears?

DO CARDIO, YOU CAN OUTRUN A ZOMBIE ATTACK!


GET YOUR FEET READY AND HEART STEADY

Almost there.....

THE WIDER YOUR WAIST LINE, THE SHORTER YOUR LIFE LINE
Can you see the Wagon Ferris Wheel from the theme park on the right?

A view of the Wagon Ferris Wheel


The last quote
THE HEART SEES WHAT THE EYES CAN'T - TREAT BOTH WELL
Yay!!! I walked more than 10,000 steps today!

The walk

Did you complete your 10,000 steps today?

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My Random Musings

ethannevelyn.com

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Fusion Food

I just witnessed my son, Rodney, tossing 2 slices of cheddar cheese into the pot of Tom Yam flavoured instant ramen  he was cooking. "Fusion food, Ma!", he quipped, in response to my grossed-out face.

Actually, he wasn't wrong. Isn't fusion food after all, borderless? The hubs eats lasagna with kimchi! Korean-Italian fusion, he says!

I am a big fan of fusion food, but not lasagna with kimchi or cheese with ramen though!
Fusion food is like pairing the best of two cuisines together to make a dish that's better than each on its own.  I love Bahn Mi (Vietnamese ingredients inside a French inspired baguette). Yummmmm! Cheese naan (oven baked Indian flatbread heavily stuffed with gooey melting cheese), Thai Tom Yam Pizza, Japanese-Italian fusion pasta... these are all my favourite foods.

Have you tried Chinese style baked cheese rice? Apparently, it is very popular in Hong Kong. Essentially, it's pork chops on a bed of fried rice, topped with mozzarella cheese. Chinese-Italian fusion, if you will. It's Josh's favourite.

Here's the recipe to share.

HONG KONG BAKED RICE


INGREDIENTS
6 pork chops
oil for frying

MARINADE
1 tbsp Chinese wine
1 pip garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
a pinch of ground black pepper

Coating
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten (for coating)

FRIED RICE
6 cups cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp oil

SAUCE
4 large tomatoes, diced
6 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sugar
salt
ground black pepper

TOPPING
250 g cups grated mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese

METHOD

PORK CHOPS
Marinate pork chops for at least an hour.
Dip marinated pork chops in beaten egg. Coat with flour.
Pan fry pork chops until golden brown. Set aside.

FRIED RICE
Using a wok, heat oil until smoking point.
Add rice and salt and stir fry for a minute.
Make a well in the middle of the wok , pour in beaten eggs. Allow the eggs to set just a little before scrambling gently. Mix the rice and egg and stir fry for another minute.
Remove from wok and  set aside.

SAUCE
In a bowl, mix tomato ketchup, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock and cornstarch. Set aside.
Sauté  garlic and diced onions until the onions turn transparent. Add diced tomatoes, followed by the sauce mixture. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
Place the  fried rice in a casserole, followed by the pork chops. Pour in the sauce and then top with the cheeses. Bake in a  preheated oven at for 220°C for  15-20 minutes or until the cheeses are browned.

Enjoy!

So what's your favourite fusion food?

My Random Musings

ethannevelyn.com

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