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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Bamboozled!?

A friend has been raving about an artisan milk teahouse that has opened in her neck of the woods for some time.

Curious, I decided to give the high-end tea a try and ordered via a food delivery service.

The milk tea was delivered in this beautiful paper bag...


and in a tall, elegant, 9 inch cup. 

It cost me almost twice the price I would pay for my regular bubble tea but I thought it was well worth the money, judging by the height of the cup.

I had the White Peach Oolong Milk Tea and it really was amazing!

Funnily, when I savoured the last drop, it didn't feel like there was a lot of tea in such a tall cup.

My curiosity piqued, I tore up the back of the cup and here's what was revealed!

Haha! This explains the very short thin straw that came with it!

So was I duped?

Not really. I was told that when the milk tea shop first opened, they launched their "Tear Cup" campaign where mystery gifts like discount vouchers, lipsticks, mini bottles of hand sanitizers and perfumes, etc were hidden in their signature cups.

A rather clever marketing gimmick, don't you agree?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Of Squid and Calamari

Your probably know that the rule of thumb for cooking tender squid is to flash fry under 2 minutes or  you would end up with a texture that is tough and rubbery.

Today, I learned something new that is game changing!

I was stir-frying squid when suddenly, I had to answer nature's call!

Dang! I knew I should have gone easy on the hot chili oil in my ramen yesterday!

So back to what I was saying ......by the time I returned to my squid, it had been cooking for more than 2 minutes and no surprise, it tasted like rubber band!

What a waste of good squid!

Surely, there must be a way of salvaging the lunch blunder?

Upon googling, I learned that the secret to cooking tender squid is either to cook it under 2 mins or at least 45 minutes! Anything in between turns it tough and chewy.

I never knew about the second option.

Armed with the new knowledge, I dumped the lunch mishap into my claypot, added coconut milk and curry powder and braised it for 45 minutes.

The result?

Fork-tender squid in a rich and flavorsome curry!

I learned that slow cooking breaks down the squid's collagen so you're left with a soft texture and a stew that's infused with a robust, briny flavour.

From lunch mishap to winner dinner

Interestingly, while I was googling for an answer to my squid conundrum, I also discovered that squid and calamari are not the same! 

image credit - http://www.ralphobenauf.com/blog/?p=427

I used to think that calamari was the Italian name for squid!  Although they are both cephalopods, squid and calamari are two different species. They also differ in price — the more tender calamari costs more than its tougher cousin.

An easy way to distinguish them is by the fins. On a squid, the fins form an arrow shape and these run only for a short distance on the sides of the body. A calamari's fins extend much longer than a squid's, almost all the way down the hood. 

An amazing squid recipe to share.

I am interested to know do you use the fast or slow method when you cook squid?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Bathing A Newborn

My son Josh was born 2 weeks earlier than his due date.

It was an induced labour as my doctor established that Josh was safer outside my body than inside my womb as I had complications during the pregnancy and because of my history of miscarriages. 

Story of my miracle baby here.

When Josh was delivered, he was no bigger than our family cat! 

He looked so tiny and frail!

And I would burst into tears each time I looked at him!

I had a bad case of post-partum blues and I just couldn't bring myself to bathe my precious baby. 

I was terrified of hurting my little bubbaleh — he looked so fragile!

The hubs would bathe him every morning before he left for his office.

I only started to bathe Josh when I got over my fear and anxiety after the 4th month of his birth.

This video of a Vietnamese soon-to-be grandpa teaching his son and  daughter-in-law how to bathe a newborn made me smile!

Haha! He couldn't have picked a cuter prop!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Kolam 2020

Around this time for the past few years, I would be hopping from mall to mall to photograph kolams for the upcoming Deepawali/Diwali festival.

This year, Covid-19 has stolen the fun from me.

Here, you might instead enjoy these photos I snagged from a local newspaper!

Kolam 2020

image credit - S.S Kanesan, Art Chen & Sia Hong Kiau


You can see photos of kolams I've captured over the years here - 2019, 2018, 2014.

Wishing all my Hindu pallies a very Happy *Deepavali in advance!

For those who are new to my blog, below is an excerpt from a previous post explaining what Deepavali/Diwali and kolam/rangoli are.

* Deepavali/Diwali also known as the Festival of Lights is celebrated by the Hindu Community to symbolize the triumph of good over evil; the victory of light over dark.

The entrances to Hindu homes are decorated with fresh mango leaves and kolams. It is believed that Lakshmi, The Goddess of Wealth, will only enter a home that is adorned with a *kolam. 

* Kolam is an ancient Indian art of drawing using colored rice grains or powdered rice to form symmetrical geometric patterns on the floor. The Hindus believe that a kolam at the entrance of a house will usher prosperity and harmony to the home. It is also believed that a kolam wards off evil spirits and diseases.

Another purpose of the kolam is to invite birds and small insects like ants to a home to symbolize man’s co-existence with and consideration for other living things.

Traditionally, the ritual is performed daily by the women of a household early in the morning.

Fun Kolam Facts 

1. The lines in a kolam must be continuous and unbroken so that evil cannot enter the house via the gaps.

2. The patterns are traditionally passed on from mothers to their daughters.

3. Kolam in the Tamil language means form and beauty.

4. As the kolam erases during the course of the day by birds and insects feeding on the rice, people's foot steps and the natural elements, a new kolam is drawn again the next morning, thus repeating the cycle. It imparts the idea that life is renewed daily.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Indy

This is Indy, one of the dogs my son bathed at the animal shelter he volunteered at.

She is now in a forever home.