Showing posts from June, 2010

A Stroll with Jay Jay

I cannot get over the fact that Jay Jay has gentle eyes, but when I look into them, his eyes also reveal a depth of understanding, emotion and communication. 

We were strolling on a street in Baulkham Hills near his abode, and Jay Jay was particularly sensitive and polite to me.  He did not plunge off in a sudden way from his leash, except for one occasion, despite the bark of an occasional neighbourhood canine, or some other diversion - and I quietly appreciated that he took the effort to not cause a disruption to my intent of having a leisurely time with him on a cool winter's day in greater Sydney's north-west. The only exception was when he took an interest in approaching some older teenage girls, who instinctively smiled as they passed by him.

Jay Jay loves the elements and outdoors.  He would enthusiastically sniff off herbs, plants, grass and shrubs along the route we took, as if he was Charles Darwin himself discovering new species in New Holland. Then he would perfor…

Passing Thoughts

Tonight I am blessed with a full moon, with the kind of yellow tinged light and an almost happy celestial look.

The afternoon had been surprisingly warm that made my Kathmandu jacket feel hot, rather than comfortable.
I had tasted a vegetarian risotto first thing for lunch, as the rather unimpressive effects of a cereal breakfast always did not work for me - instead of making me satisfied and defy hunger, they always serve instead as an appetiser to make me look forward to relieve more hunger pangs. The risotto had pumpkin, carrot, peas and things with colours that are meant to be good for health - and was tasty too. Maybe the warm foods preferred during winter time does make one feel truly warm inside. However, at twenty degrees Celsius at teatime, this was definitely not winter.

The pork bites that I had marinated with palm sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine and the lot had turned into a delicious braised serving for dinner. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, otherwise I would have sprayed …

Do We Really Need To?

I felt much warmed up after finishing the clothes ironing and left over pork curry from last night. No need for a heater, as I prefer au naturale approaches to climate management (okay, except for the thermostat heater tube for the goldfish tank, I must admit). No one talks much of the dryness of skin from electrical or other human induced heating, and the effects of searing summer is only for a few unbearable days in Wollongong.  There is so much push by the media on climate change, but they also overload us with plenty of models of electrical gadgets during advertising breaks.

Passing showers fell after I watered the garden beds last night, with precise timing as if I had invoked it once I took out the garden hose. I felt good to see moisture on the sand coloured pebbles placed to try to prevent or discourage weeds. Water flowed over the small stones like a break of drought over a river bed. Flora never go out of fashion as fast as bath sets, tapheads, vanity cabinets, stoves, ovens…

The Art of Making Radish Flavoured Cake

Radish Flavoured cake is not a dessert nor for tea time - it is a much looked forward snack for breakfast or supper in food-obsessed Singapore or Malaysia. Inspired from southern Chinese provincial fare, it is a stir-fried combination that provides reliability to quell hunger, be inspired by aromatic flavours and topped by omelette's pieces.

The wok hei- or heat - is important in dishing up tasty stir-fried with a oomph.
here cousin Susan takes the cooking tot he courtyard on a cool winter's night in a Sydney suburb.
Her freshly plucked chillies from her garden are combined into a paste that essentially gives the otherwise plain looking radish-flavoured cake (known colloquially as Kueh Kak) a kick to the palate.

Chives are washed and cut length-wise for blending with the wok-induced aromas from bean sprouts, dashes of ginger, garlic paste, pre-cooked rice-based cubes and eggs.

The Art of Making Chung

Chung in the Cantonese dialect refers to the bamboo leaf-wrapped steamed/ boiled dumplings of glutinous rice cooked with various ingredients. Comfort food steeped in tradition and history, it is wholesome, tasty and essentially a summer delight. The southern Chinese versions feature mushrooms, pork cuts, beans and more - all doused with flavourful marinades of soy sauce to give colour, preservation and principle.
These dumplings tell a story of holding upright principles in feudal China and are linked to the annual celebrations of the Dragon Boat races in most of eastern Asia.

Each bamboo leaf has to be culled and thoroughly washed with warm water and scrubbed. The aromatic infusion of these leaves add to the cooked flavour, and they are not merely used for wrapping.

Glutinous rice is pre-cooked even before being used as fillers in bamboo leaf wraps.

The various ingredients are set out before filling in the triangle shaped delights. Time is of the essence, as there are various stages of p…

Sydney in May

A bottle of champagne, albeit Australian, awaited me from my host. It is  a gesture much appreciated, that echoes personal mindfulness and care, actual  implementation of all the otherwise often empty promises of advertising and customer services in commercial services. The unexpected Falung Gong protest had blocked
my usual road path and I had to take a convoluted route instead, but here I was with my bags at my residence for the next few days, with an opportunity to refresh and recover from my usual regime.

I looked forward to the paucity of the variety of food from different cultures and cuisines near my host's residence. Away from the lamb roast expected at one committed event, I could not wait to savour something different from the Illawarra base. I enjoyed a homely ambiance at the Yakuzano Japanese cafe run by a family. The Glasgow Arms was a solid heritage establishment which retained a very English setting and offered a bulwark to the demographics of its changed neighbourh…

Wollongong Fare

Aussie lamb cutlets with rocket and ricotta salad - appetising.

Ceaser Salad - always easy and balanced.

Fettucine with one of the may variations of sauce and garnishings, a staple in a town influenced by Italian traditions.

Angel hair pasta, this one with bits of blue swimmer crab and barramundi, a reflection of the harvest of the Illawarra coast and beyond.

Wollongong in Winter

Just outside a bay window.

View on the first morning of June.

Blooms from succulent despite a wet and windy week.

Breakfast fare from Lee & Me Cafe, Crown Street in the CBD - mushrooms and tomatoes to balance with the bacon and the omelettes.

The owners still cannot decide on a name.

Settling in with a cosy sofa and reading, where's the cuppa?


When does a viewing of an episode of the US television series Ugly Betty and the Rick Stein sojourn through Asia, Far Eastern Odyssey, become especially relaxing? It is the evening in early June after a hiatus from the Reserve Bank Australia in edging up the interbank rate after four months, a welcome relief as the Bank seemed to be utilising the rate as apparently the only tool to affect monetary policy for the nation. The dishwasher was running a cycle, also especially appreciated as it was not properly working not too long ago. I realised having  arrived at such simple but not to be taken for granted pleasures, which offer personal happiness beyond expectations and which one need not contrive for - the positive feelings just emerged, as unplanned as pottering in a garage on a rainy weekend afternoon or from strolling amongst well placed displays in a shop with no obligation to get or buy anything.  Sensations which increasingly we do not get at work, if we join a bad employee envir…