Why I Love My Husband - #5768

Monday, May 28, 2007

On Saturday, I had on a silky buttoned-down shirt dress in black with a bronze/gold print. It had three quarter sleeves with the hemline about two to three inches from the knees. To finish the look off, I wore a pencil thin patent leather belt. I thought I looked rather spiffy in it. And I did. I was also aware it's not one of my husband's favourite dresses on me but hey, I like it and on it stays.

I did, however, press my husband for a reason on why he disliked it so much. He replied I was too young for a dress like that. Whoa! How sweetly put was that? The norm would be - 'It makes you look old' or 'You look old in it'.

Just for that, I've banished the offending article to the cold palace. Heaven forbid I put on a couple of unneccessary years to my age. Ack! And honestly, a reply like that deserves a certain reward, does it not?


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:39 am

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Een Meisje!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Girl!

This morning, my sister called to announce that as of today, I'm officially an aunt. Everyone please say hi to Isabelle who clocks in at 3.5kg and 52cm long. Yes, she's a big girl. Big babies tend to run in the family. Both my sis and I were huge babies and so was my son, when he was born. The last month of my pregnancy was difficult on me since I'm on the petite side. Imagine a cantaloupe with toothpicks for limbs - that would be a fair description of what I looked like. I didn't walk, I waddled as with so many of the other pregnant women on the home run of their term.

My niece's birth brings to mind a Dutch custom involving newborns. When visitors come to ooh and aah at the little bundle of joy (or terror as his or her parents will find out soon enough), they are served this snack of beschuit met muisjes. "Beschuit" is a Dutch rusk and "muisjes" (literally translated means little mice) are tiny sugar coated aniseeds. Here's the cute part: baby boys get the light blue and white variety while girls get the pink and white ones. What you do is butter a beschuit and sprinkle it with muisjes and serve with the mandatory cup of coffee or tea.


Once again, congrats to the happy family, can't wait to see the photos!


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 6:04 pm

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And In Other News.....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Oswald Orange Has Meltdown, Refuses To Give Juice
by: The Dutchess, ChannelNews Cookalot

KINGDOM OF COOKALOT: The people of Cookalot went without their orange juice this morning when Oswald, the resident orange refused to "give it up", followed by what was described later as a meltdown.

"The Dutchess was about to juice Wally as usual when he suddenly jumped out of her hands and went beserk." said Molly Mango, a close friend. "He started bouncing up and down the counter top yelling,"No more, 'ya hear? No more!". I don't understand it. He's always up for a laugh and a squeeze or two. That is not the Wally I know this morning."

An inquiry has been set up to investigate the case. Meanwhile, Oswald Orange has been warded into the fruit compartment of the refrigerator. Reports say he is recuperating and doing well.

Special thanks to Alice for the news tip.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:55 am

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Going Green

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The folks at KitchenAid have added a new shade to their already mind-boggling repertoire of colours for the Artisan Series 5-quart mixer.

Say hi to Apple Green, a lovely spring-ish colour which makes me feel like sinking my teeth into a real apple now. I think it's one of those colours where you have to love green to appreciate this concoction. I like it though. It's different and so very retro.

I've been toying with the idea of a KitchenAid for a long while now. And if I ever do get one, it'll be in my favourite colour of Empire Red. To match my flaming red kitchen and all.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 8:14 am

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Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Like clean streets and a great health system, the average Singaporean exile takes the humble chilli pepper for granted. It is not missed until one sits down for a meal, thousands of miles away from the sunny island, on another continent.

You take a few bites of whatever you're eating. It's all very delicious but you feel a certain something is missing. You can't really tell what precisely and then it hits you.

Where's the chilli?

And you look around and realise - no chilli. Ack! No wonder the food is a tad bland. No spice! No bite! No fun! Chilli is to the Singaporean (besides a good bargain) like what mayonaise is to the Dutch (who also enjoy the occasional bargain).

This was exactly the scenario five years ago. I've since remedied the problem at home by making my own chilli condiments and finding an excellent well stocked asian store. As chilli comes in various forms, I've decided to highlight the 2 staples found in my refridgerator - Pickled Green Chilli and Red Chilli Sauce (used mostly for chicken rice and noodles).

Here are my recipes:

Pickled Green Chilli

You need:

500g fresh green chilli peppers (the fresher the better)
500ml white vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

How to:
  1. Rinse green chilli peppers, slice and set aside.

  2. In a deep pot, bring water to a boil. Blanche sliced chilli peppers for not more than 15 seconds. Resist urge to leave it in for longer as this will result in soggy chilli. We do not want that.

  3. Remove chilli peppers from pot and drain well. Set aside.

  4. Using same empty pot, combine white vinegar and water. Bring to a gentle boil. Add salt and sugar to taste. The above measurment is just a guideline, add more or less to own preference.

  5. Let simmer for a few minutes, turn off flame. Leave aside to cool completely.

  6. Once cooled, add in chilli peppers and mix thoroughly. Bottle into clean glass jars. These store well in the refrigerator, lasting for weeks at a time.


Red Chilli Sauce

You need:

24 red chilli peppers (again, the fresher the better), chopped
40g ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup water
4 tbsp vinegar

How to:
  1. Put red chilli peppers, ginger, garlic and water into a food processor. Blitz the whole lot

  2. Transfer the blended paste into a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil.

  3. Add vinegar. Season to taste with salt and sugar. If you prefer a thinner consistency, now would be the time to add a few tablespoonfuls of water.

  4. Simmer for a few more minutes. Turn off flame and leave to cool completely before bottling in clean jars.

Note: Both recipes can be halved or doubled. I normally halve the red chilli recipe since they don't store as long as the pickled ones and it's only me doing the eating.

* photo header of this entry is not me. I wish.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:08 am

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To Sleep, Perchance To Dream.... NOT!

Friday, May 18, 2007

I spent the entire day in a zombie like state today.

That's because I had a grand total of two hours worth of sleep last night, or this morning, if you want to get technical, seeing how I only dozed off at almost 6am.


I'm almost too embarrassed to say it but I shall anyways.

You see, I'm a big fan of crime related documentaries or drama. Recently, the Discovery Channel started a series called "Crimes That Shook The World". Airing every Thursday night, it focuses on sensational crimes and the people who commit them. I've been enjoying the series until last night when they featured the BTK Killer. BTK stands for Bind, Torture, Kill. It was so damn creepy because I could easily identify myself as a victim. The killer tended to prey on women who were alone (or with small kids) at home most of the day. And he looked like someone I'd come across in say, the supermarket or a passerby walking his dog. All in all, it creeped me out. Usually I'm not afraid but I guess this episode was a bit too close to home. *shiver*

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I tucked myself into bed but just couldn't fall asleep. I read my book, which was another mistake, since it was a Jeffrey Deaver thriller. Like I needed the extra aggravation. Then I felt like a little snack but was too liver-hearted to make the trek down to the kichen. So there I am, in bed with the covers up to my neck, eyes bright like stars. Did you know that the neighbourhood birds start singing at around 5.30am? I didn't either but now I do.

I did finally fall asleep at 6am but my darling son came running in my bedroom at 8am. It was a free day at school, why couldn't he just sleep in like normal kids? So I drag myself out of bed and got both of us ready for the day. Him to play, me to start on some housework and groceries.

You can be sure I'll be catching up on some much need sleep tonight and yes, I'm looking forward to the next installment of the crime series.

Some people never learn.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:02 pm

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Pretty In Pink

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sometimes it's difficult having two men in the house. What with all that testosterone flying around, it's no wonder that occasionally, I try and balance the 2:1 ratio with things like these:

Newly bought pink tea towels for the kitchen.

Just so they remember there's a girl on deck.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 2:25 pm

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(Almost) Hot Off The Press

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Last Saturday, I bought the latest issues of GoodFood and Olive. Now, I haven't really gone through each and every single page yet. However, based on my quick flipping of the pages, I think I'm going to love this month's issues.

There are lots of summer recipes. This translates to light meals for outdoors, salads, sorbets, ice creams and cakes using the summer harvests of berries and vegetables.

I can hardly wait to try my hand out at the blueberry cheese cake. Also on the to-do list is a strawberry tart from Gordan Ramsay. With a step-by-step pictorial guide, I can't see how it can fail. It looks easy enough. Besides, I won't have Mr Ramsay's eagle eyes on me, spewing out the F-word like a fizzy drink if I make a mistake.

So if you can, do lay your hands on the mags. They are really worth it.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 5:08 pm

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Roasted Peking Duck

Monday, May 14, 2007

This was done last week but I just didn't have the time to make an entry.

I love duck meat in every manifestation or form. You name it, duck in orange sauce, duck salad, peking duck, roast duck rice, duck pate, lor ark ( Teochew braised duck), duck soup with kiam chye (salted mustard greens)... I've eaten it and if I haven't, I will.

Anyway, I would have liked to say that I made this particular dish from scratch. But I can't. Not that I don't want to go through the whole arduous process which takes overnight or so - I do - but what do I do with one whole duck when it's just me doing the eating? No, this is a frozen, neatly filleted and marinated duck from the asian store. All I had to do was thaw it, add a couple of more spices and stick it in the oven. An hour later, out comes Peking duck in a more managable portion, namely, for one.



The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 4:51 pm

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Mother's Day

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Just about every blogging mum on this planet have posted photos of their Mother's Day gifts. And since I'm one of them, you'll just have to bear with this entry.

However, the difference here is that I don't buy this whole Mother's Day thing. To me, Mother's Day (and Father's Day) is right down there with Valentine's Day. It's just utter rubbish. Why would I want someone to give me a designated day to show or receive appreciation by the people I love and love me back? With my husband and son showing me affection spontaneously on a regular basis, Mother's Day is redundant in our household.

And it's always been like that, ever since I became a mum. I was the one who vetoed celebrating it. However, what we might do occasionally is go out for a meal or I make something special at home. But then, it's just another excuse for us to eat. *ha ha*

Of course I don't mind it if other families make a big show out of the occasion. To each their own and all that. Unless we're talking about birthdays and wedding anniversaries - then it's big business here in Cookalot.

And I also don't mind it at all when my son presents me with gifts he made at school for Mother's Day. This year, I got this:

A written poem.

My son freaks me out with his neat cursive handwriting. I don't remember possessing such a tidy hand when I was seven. I still don't.

And this:

Hand-made soap, and it smells good too! I can't believe my son made this in school.

And this just about sums it all up:

"...but most of all, I love you still!" From Robin.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:19 pm

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Table For Two, Please

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mother-in-law's unexpected offer to take our son for the day after school left us with the afternoon off. My husband, who was working from home today, asked if he could buy me lunch at our favourite Brasserie Goya. Hellooo! Is the sky blue? Do the Dutch love their mayonaise? Of course he could buy me lunch!

Brasserie Goya is situated on the ground floor of the Corio Center, a shopping mall in Heerlen. It's named after the famous painter and is modern and chic. The food is excellent and well-presented. With good service and a reasonably priced menu, you can forget about getting a table during peak hours. And we are talking about a two-storey establishment here.

Today I had the Croque Corio while my husband picked the Satay set-meal. Sorry, I don't have photos - I find it so embarrassing photographing food in public - but I will try to describe what we had. Croque Corio is a grilled open sandwich of onions, leek, salami, egg and loads of cheese serve with a small salad. My husband's Satay was a large metal skewer of grilled meat, dressed with a generous helping of peanut sauce. On the side, he had a salad of achar and keropok, both of which I sneaked on my plate from time to time and when he was on the phone making a business call and not paying attention.

And what else did we do that afternoon? Well, after lunch we went home whereby my husband continued working while I went to bed for a two hour beauty nap. Ah... bliss!

Now, that's the way to do it.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:50 pm

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Living Your Dream

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Last night I went to bed rather late and very hungry.

I decided I would be good by not paying any attention to my tummy. After all, Oprah advocates the rule of not eating two to three hours prior to bedtime and whenever I can, I follow it.

Big mistake.

Some time in the night, I dreamt I was eating cookies. Oreos, to be exact. In my dream, I went down to the kitchen, grabbed a few from the cookie tin and ate them in bed. Then my dream stopped and I don't remember anymore.

This morning, I woke up to find an Oreo cookie on my night table and tiny crumbs on the floor. What the heck happened last night?! I know of sleepwalking but sleep-eating???!!!

Oprah also advocates the rule of living your dream but I'm quite sure this was not what she meant.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 5:30 pm

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Midweek Madness

Refreshed my manicure last night with a bit of Madness. This is one of three nail polish featured in Chanel's Spring 2007 make up palette. I've been walking around with liver coloured nails for the past two and the half months, a far cry from my usual reds.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:37 am

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Birthday Come Early

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My birthday won't be for a month yet but today, I received not one, but two birthday surprises through the mail. *happy dance*

First up was a package from I was completely flummoxed as I didn't remember making any recent purchases. So I assumed it was for the husband but nope, my name was right there on the box. My heart very almost stopped when I found these two gems inside:

A sudden burst of adrenalin and blood rushed through my head which made me rather dizzy. Somehow, I recovered enough to look at the billing list and saw that it was from Karen. Ack! It was the birthday present she told me to look out for. My dear girl, I love you! The two books have been in my shopping cart forever. I just never got round to clicking the 'buy now' button. Thank you, thank you!

Still reeling from the morning's gift, this came in the afternoon post:

A birthday card from my younger sister, her husband and their soon-to-be born baby niece. I had to smile because she knows me too well. These are exactly the kind of shoes I would wear and knowing how I like sparkly things, the shoe even has a bit of glitter on it. Thanks Rosie, James and soon-to-be born Isabelle. The card is sitting prettily here:

On the kitchen ledge, next to my pig photo above the art gallery.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:14 pm

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Just The Soup Please

Disneyland was great fun even though the refreshments were horribly overpriced. I can still hear my husband grumbling about having to cough up 3.50 euros for a small cup of beer served in a plastic cup. And me being me, told him, "Hey, you missed a drop there!" when he put his empty cup down.

Honestly, everything was expensive there but to a certain extent, I suppose it's justified because it really is a very well put together theme park. Everything was so slickly done. The entertainment might be child's play but the money was most certainly adult.

So, after being bled out dry (we didn't drive to Versailles after all opting to visit Walt Disney Studios instead), I've had no choice but to put soup and bread on the dinner table for the last 2 days.


The real reason behind this very modest dinner is because I, no, we over indulged ourselves at the hotel buffet dinner. Okay, I was we were pigs. Absolute pigs. The food was suprisingly good. I mean, by default, there's no such thing as a bad meal in France, provided you step into a local establishment. But you never know with hotel buffets do you? The first night was basically an Italian spread, the next, French. I went quite mad on the second night because they had all sorts of shell fish and molluscs in the cold starter section. Among the selection were periwinkle sea snails. Mon Dieu! I was in snail heaven. I'm not sure of the shell count but I'm sure I had nine of them babies. At least.


Excuse me while I go have my soup now.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 6:34 pm

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M-I-C, K-EY, M-O-U-S-E

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Yup, we're off to meet The Mouse himself tommorrow at Paris Disneyland and will stay over the weekend. The two men are very excited, the little one understandably more so. Me, let's just say I realise it's not about what I want all the time and if little man can survive the Vatican City and her museum as well as half of Rome last year, then I can be sporting about this too. I've already packed ample reading material for the time I shall spend waiting for them to go on this ride and that. I suffer from heights, speed and motion sickness. An ice cube will have a better chance of surviving in hell than me getting into one of them rides.

Oh, and being the dear man that he is, my husband has promised to stop by Versailles on Sunday. It's not really on the way home but he knows I do so love the palace. This time, on top of visiting the interior again, we'll also explore the gardens. Hopefully most of the plants and flowers will be in bloom. With the exception of the evergreens, all of the flora were asleep the last time we were there. No surprise since we visited during the last legs of winter.

So, it turns out everyone gets something after all.

Well, zippity doo-dah, zippity day, then!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 7:28 pm

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Was going to upload the Maastricht pics into the PC when I accidentally deleted the whole lot! Arrrrrggggghhhhh!!!

What the f### fishballs!!!!


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 7:24 pm

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Veni, Vidi, Visa (I)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spent something like eight hours shopping in Maastricht today. I'm so tired I can't see the difference between a wok from a frying pan.

It's really hard work shopping with the male of the species. Even more so when he's just seven years old and you can't park him at a café and ask him to nurse a couple of cold beers whilst waiting for you.

Will post more tommorrow. This time I risked looking like a tourist and snapped some pics of the lovely city itself.


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:25 pm

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When Engaged In The Boardroom With The Empire...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

... do not, DO NOT, on any account, do this:

You go, Darffie!


The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 12:10 pm

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