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And To All A Good Night...


Sunday, September 30, 2007



One last stitch, one last cup of tea and it's off to beddy bye.

Tommorrow it starts all over again.

Nighty night everyone and have a good week ahead of you!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:26 pm

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Grilled Salmon Filet On Witloaf With Tarragon Hollandaise





What a mouthful of a title!

This was done last Wednesday but I've been busy with this and that to write about it. Well, here I am now with a few minutes to spare so it'll have to be a quickie.

As a rule, Hubs and I never order salmon when eating out. You see, eight out of ten times, the salmon comes to us cremated and very dry on the inside. I have a better experience gnawing at cardboard. Even the finer restaurants are guilty of this. The weird thing is, it only happens to salmon, never to the other fish like sole, dory, snapper, nile perch etc. One of the mysteries of life I suppose.


So, when we feel like a bit of salmon, I do it at home. In this instance, I bought a lovely thick chunk of salmon filet with its skin intact and sliced it into four pieces. I then marinated it with nothing more than sea salt, a bit of pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. While it was absorbing the seasoning merrily, I prepared the witloaf (Dutch for endive) and set it aside. Next I heated up some lemon flavoured olive oil on a griddle (grill pan) and cooked the filet, searing the skin first and then working my way around it. When the fish was just about done, I removed it and placed it on the waiting bed of witloaf and tarragon hollandaise sauce (done while waiting for the fish to cook). To finish off, I drizzle more sauce at the sides and voila, dinner is served.

Not pictured here are the sides of brussel sprouts and herbed garlic bread which I made to accompany the main dish. The salmon was succulent and soft, to the point of flesh falling off the crispy skin effortlessly - just the way we like it.

Lekker!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 6:18 pm

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Guilty Pleasure #57847


Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I have a bad habit.

Not the I-want-every-single-Ferragamo-shoe-I-see habit. The other one.

Where I graze the whole day.

Instead of eating a proper lunch, I'm picking and chewing from early afternoon to dinner time. Not unlike a cow. One wonders if I'm trying to emulate the bovine creature since I was born in the year of the Ox and am cow mad. Although some people (the ones who truly know me) might prefer the term mad cow instead. But, that's a story for another day.

Anyway, being well aware of my grazing habit, I try to keep my snacks as healthy as possible which is what happens in the ideal world. In the ideal world, I also own every single Ferragamo shoe I see. But it's not and I don't. As I was saying, I try (try being the operative here) to make healthy choices and go through different food phases with my snacking. One time it was celery sticks with thousand island dressing for two weeks. Another was a long and fattening love affair with brioché with full cream butter or Heinz sandwich spread which lasted almost a month. Yet another was Kettle Chips. You know the one with sea salt and crushed black peppercorns? And the sour cream and chive? Yup. Shame on me!

So this time, it's Japanese soya bean rice crackers. Available from the local fromagerie or Albert Heijn, these savoury morsels have key components for a great snack - too much salt and an exellent crunch factor. Strangely enough, it was Mother-in-law who introduced us and I can't thank her from my crumb filled mouth enough for it.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:45 am

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The Cheat's Guide - Ravioli in Lobster Broth




This is not so much a recipe than a set of instructions. It's really fuss-free, doesn't take up too much time and best of all, easily modified to suit your personal taste or whatever was available at the supermarket that day.

The quality of this broth depends on two things: the lobster stock and the seafood. For the former, get the best you can lay your hands on and the latter, buy the freshest. The appearance of your broth also depends on the kind of stock you use. Mine comes rather thick and slightly reddish because of the herbs and spices that were already in it. With that disclaimer of sorts out of the way, let's get a move on.

Ravioli In Lobster Broth

You need:

ravioli (if you can't get lobster stuffed ones, the cheese variety will also do)
1 bottle of lobster boullion / stock
langoustine or lobster meat
cod, or any sort of firm white fish
prawns
1 medium sized bay leaf
a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley
cognac or sherry
salt and pepper to taste

You do:
  1. Cook ravioli according to instructions. Arrange them in soup plates. Cover and set aside.

  2. Empty contents of lobster boullion into a saucepan and follow the water to stock ratio instructions if any. Add in bay leaf and parsley. Bring to a soft rolling boil.

  3. While the stock is heating up, prepare seafood. Cut lobster and fish into chunks. Shell and devein prawns. Make a slit down the middle of the prawn body so it 'flowers' prettily during cooking.

  4. Let the boullion boil for a minute or two and then lower flame. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Cover the saucepan so the broth doesn't dry out.

  5. Bring it up to a soft boil again and add in the lobster/langoustine, fish and prawns. Add in a few tablespoons of cognac to taste. Season with salt and pepper if neccessary.

  6. Once the seafood is cooked, ladle out immediately onto the cooked ravioli and garnish with leftover parsley. You may give it a drizzle of double cream if desired.


Note: I didn't specify the amount of seafood required as you can use as much or as little as you want, it doesn't really matter.

*****

By the way, I've started what I call The Cheat's Guide. It's a collection of short cut method recipes I've devised when I'm pressed for time, feeling lazy or busy with hobbies housework to spend copious hours in the kitchen over a meal.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:46 am

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Ravioli In Lobster Broth


Monday, September 24, 2007



I made this last Thursday, just before I fell really ill and still had my sense of smell and could taste.

This broth makes an excellent entreé. It warms up your tum, making it all fuzzy and warm, preping it up for the main course. Great for special intimate family dinners at home or to spoil yourself rotten if cooking for one, which was what transpired that evening. The other thing is, it looks impressive too. Like you slaved all afternoon over it and depending on your chosen method, it could hold true. You did work very hard, from preparing the lobster to boiling the stock and making up the soup. Me, on the other hand, bought the best stock I could lay my hands on and went from there. I love cooking but sometimes one has to work around it. Especially when one has to get her husband to drive her all the way to a certain supermarket in Belgium where they stock frozen raw lobsters, shell and all.


In this instance, I added cod fish, shrimps as well as langoustines (aka Norway lobster) in the broth. My only mistake was using the ready-made lobster and crabmeat ravioli I saw at the Albert Heijn. I thought I'd try it instead of making them myself. I now know better. It was so floury and if one imagined really, really, I mean, REALLY hard, you might even fool yourself into thinking hey, there's some semblence of crabmeat there. Forget about the lobster which is supposed to make up the other half of the ravioli. Nobody's imagination is that good.


After tasting the disappointing ravioli, I decided to concentrate on the rest of the soup instead. By the third comforting spoonful, I completely forgot all about it and began to seriously enjoy my broth. I don't know if it was the generous slosh of cognac I added to the stock during cooking or it was the super fresh langoustines doing it. Whatever it was, I went to soup heaven that evening.

Next stop: I want to try this recipe from Chubby Hubby. I love fusion cooking and dining and this is right up my alley.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:57 am

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A Spoonful Of Sugar Makes The Medicine Go Down And The One About Fall


Friday, September 21, 2007


I've caught one of my infamous throat infections and I've got the antibiotics to prove it. It had to happen of course, with the change in season and all.

They don't call it Fall (I prefer the word Autumn) for nothing. Everything falls. The temperature, the leaves, the rain, the damned acorns, people fall(ing) sick, the acorns... Did I also mention the acorns?

The acorn nut itself while small, becomes a deadly missile when released from say, a two-storey high oak tree. I should know. I got hit on the head by one this week. It poffed me (as Sonny-boy puts it)squarely in the middle - William Tell couldn't have done better if he'd taken aim himself. Anyhow, the pain was so excruciating (it left me with a headache for the next few hours) and the incident actually drew blood. Well, nothing as dramatic as blood dripping down the side of my head (are you kidding? I had an off-white blouse on that day!) but it did break skin. Thank goodness I wasn't hit by the acorn fruit itself (picture below). And thank goodness it didn't hit Sonny-boy who was inches beside me. That would've been fun.

And you know what the beauty is in all this? Sonny-boy and I have to play dodge the acorn nut/fruit whilst walking to and from school everyday. Our entire street and the main road are lined with oak trees, bless the town council's hearts. I'm quite sure there must have been an offer on oak saplings the day they had to decide on The Subject of Trees.

Anyway, after the falling fruit comes the falling leaves. Fun for the boy to slosh around in but scary for the mum because you never know what's under all the layers of leaves, do you? I really must stop watching all them crime shows...




Photo credit goes to Getty Images for the one featuring the cup of ice-cream that will give you more than just a sugar high.

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

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Ijs Prijs


Thursday, September 20, 2007


We love Ben & Jerry's ice cream here in Cookalot.

And we love them even more when they are freebies. Hubs won some coupons from the national postcode lottery of which we are subscribers. Technically, the subscription fees go to charity and we don't mind doing our part. Especially if there's a possibility of hitting the first prize of a couple of million euros. You now what they say about good or bad deeds, what goes around comes around.*haha*


Anyhow last week, while doing my groceries at the nearby supermaket, I picked up our booty. Well, part of it because the freezer could only hold 3 tubs as opposed to the original 4 we had coupons for.


Sonny-boy couldn't wait to attack his New York Super Fudge Chunk. He insisted on using the Ben & Jerry's ice cream bowl and wanted me to dish it out with the matching scoop as well. I swear that boy...



The set of two bowls and scoop was part of a promotional tie-in with a local video rental store last year. We had to collect stamps for 15 -20 tubs of the stuff in order to redeem the set. I can't remember how many tubs exactly but I do remember consuming way too much Karamel-Sutra for my own good. But it's okay, because, like you know,

We love Ben & Jerry's ice cream here in Cookalot.




*ijs prijs : ice (cream) prize

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:47 am

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Nigella's Baklava Muffins


Wednesday, September 19, 2007



Here's another stab at a Nigella recipe from her How To Be A Domestic Goddess baking book.

I'm still on my Turkish streak. I know, I know... I can hear some of you say, get over your Turkish holiday already! But that's the fun of travelling, you learn about and maybe even fall in love with the country's culture and cuisine, not just the exchange rate and shops.

Anyway.

Yesterday I made some Baklava Muffins as a prelude to the real Baklava I have on my to-do list. I absolutely love this recipe! Dripping in honey (I practically drowned mine in it) and smelling ever so slightly of cinnamon, on account of the cinnamon and walnut filling, it's sticky and gooey - 100% hardcore comfort food. And forget about eating this daintily. You can't. Even the Queen of All Things Proper, Emily Post will get her fingers messy, let alone us mere mortals.



In keeping with the theme, I put out my Turkish teacup and saucer set and brewed myself some Apple Tea, both of which were bought during our little summer sojourn to Turkey this year. I figured the cinnamon in the muffins would go nicely with the apple tea. It did.



A note about these little cups. They are only 3 inches tall (I've got heels higher than that!) and can only hold so much tea each time. There's a reason for it as the Turks make their tea extremely, extremely sweet. I had the priviledge of being served a cup while we were at a silver shop a few years back - okay, I'm not stupid, the guy was trying to make a sale, hence the attention - and boy, did I get a sugar buzz after. Oh, and the tea wasn't a wasted touch, we did eventually walk out with a couple of bracelets and earrings for me.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 8:52 am

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Because I Make "Housewife" Cool


Tuesday, September 18, 2007



I'm one happy camper today. *beams*

I've just been given a Rockin' Girl Blogger Award from Precious Moments. I know this award is floating around cyberspace but never thought I'd get one myself, reason being I keep a very low profile and don't put myself, or my blog out there. Well, save for the recent Foodie Blogroll of course. Also, I don't think anyone ever reads me or if they do, like what they see enough to think I rock.

According to E, I'm awarded this because of

her sense of humour and she makes "housewife" so happening and cool.


Well, I'll be! Thanks, E!

*****

I would like to pass the award along to three other ladies:

Precious Moments - not because she awarded me first but because I truly enjoy her blog and have been reading it way before I started mine. I love her accounts of daily life and her recipes are always spot on.

Beau Lotus - for her tantalising recipes and her honest, calling a spade a spade attitude.

Molly Chicken - she's funny as she is crafty, with her hands I mean.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:37 pm

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Hell's Bells




A local TV channel aired a new season (for us over here anyways) of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen last week. Hubs and I thoroughly enjoyed the previous run. Each week I would be in culinary heaven watching the devil himself give hell to aspiring chefs. And now it starts all over again. *swoon*

The other programme which we enjoy, also from the same said devil, is Kitchen Nightmares. Except now he comes in the from of an angel, giving help to restaurants in need of a boost.

As usual, the shows come with a huge dose of Gordy's trademark profanity. Sonny-boy watches it with us and hears everything: bollocks, shit, f*** and all. I don't stop him from listening to such words, they learn more than just reading and counting in school nowadays. The way I see it, it's better to let him know these words exist, that they are bad and if I hear the f-word coming out of you young man, you are going to get chilli powder rubbed in your mouth. And don't test me, you know I will.

So far it's worked. No cussing from him. Yet. I do allow him a swear word though - shit or in a more polite form: ships. I mean, a boy's got to let out steam too, you know.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:37 am

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Rosebud Madeleines And Tea


Friday, September 14, 2007



Yesterday I did a spot of baking.

I made some madeleines from a recipe found in the Nigella baking book Karen gave me for my birthday this year. With a name like "Rosebud Madeleines", how's a girl going to resist? Also, I always welcome a change when it comes to the nibbles accompanying my pots of tea, which comes up to about two daily, more during winter.

Verdict: These little dainty cakes turned out superb. The were dense, buttery and left a pleasant rose aftertaste. The only downside was the amount the recipe yielded. Nigella says I should pop about 48 of those babies out but I only managed a paltry 10. Perhaps it's the size of my molds? Mine's the supersized version while hers are of the midget variety? No matter, this is just a small glitch - I can always double the recipe in future.

Initially, I'd wanted to have the madeleines with my very last ball of blossoming tea but I remembered a bottle of dried rose buds sitting in my tea drawer so I popped a couple of them in the pot instead. Not just any pot, you understand. Being fanatical about my tea, I have pots for different kinds of teas and moods. Today, I chose the transparent one with the glass filter so that I could see the pretty rosebuds floating about while I pour my tea. Something to feed the eyes, while feeding the tummy.



Why go through all that trouble over a cup of tea, you ask? Well, the simple reason is because I like it. It makes me feel special, calm and above all, it relaxes me. Although I do occasionally use prepackaged teabags out of convenience, I prefer the loose leaf ones and get mine from specialty stores in the bigger cities. Like I keep reiterating, a girl's got to make her own fun, especially the stay at home mum kind of a girl. So I get my kicks out of dried leaves when I'm not frolicking with my shadow.....

Here are more photos from yesterday's afternoon tea.





Lekker!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:53 am

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There Once Was An Old Lady


Thursday, September 13, 2007



There once was an old lady who (being shoe mad) wished she lived in a shoe.

She made so many bottles of kaya jam, she didn't know what to do.

"Here, I better go make meself a lovely batch of steamed kaya buns then!"


And so she did.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:36 am

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My Other Passion


Tuesday, September 11, 2007




"Hi, it's me again! I thought I'd show you Dutchess is not all wok and no play. There's life beyond the perfect soufflé and melt-in-your-mouth carpaccio, don't you know. Introducing my other passion which keeps me away from the boring old vaccum cleaner: Cross-stitching.

The sharp eyed reader might exclaim: Hey! That's not stitching, that's knitting! Yes, I know. However, the kind people at Meez.com only had the knitting option. Besides, I have knitted scarves and sweaters so let's not quibble about a boring old detail, okay? Okay.

Where was I? Yes, as I was saying, this is my other great love apart from food and has been since I was a girlie of seven. I've tried all manner of needle or craft work but somehow, like a loyal, lovesick Japanese crane, seem to always find my way back to cross-stitching. Damn! My nails keep snagging into the yarn. Now I remember why I prefer stitching.

Well, tra-la for now!"


I've been thinking of shutting down my stitching blog and making the occasional crafty entry here instead. You see, stitching, unlike cooking, is not about (almost) instant gratification. It takes time, often because of the projects I undertake, a WHOLE lot of time. And it seems pointless to maintain a blog where I don't really post too often. Lekker! is still primarily a food blog of course but this time, I'll show you I'm as handy with the needle as I am with a spatula.

And I promise, it'll only be pictures of completed work or work in progress. I won't go into long dreary discussions such as two ply or three, linen is so much better, and what do you mean, you don't own a q-snap???!!! I have my fellow stitchaholics for that. *wink*

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 12:54 pm

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Kitchen Is Closed




I'm closing the kitchen today.

Hubs has a business dinner this evening so I thought I'd take it easy. Sonny-boy will have last night's leftover pizza and I will eat out of the fridge. Who said cooking was back breaking work?

Oh, don't feel sorry for us though. When I talk about leftover pizza, I meant homemade from scratch pizza, with loads of salami, chorizo and waaaay too much cheese topping. And I know for a fact the fridge has a bag of bagels, gourmet salmon, Philly herbed cream cheese, alfafa and if memory serves me right, a small potty of caviar as well. It's not Beluga but it'll do.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 12:20 pm

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Seri Kaya


Monday, September 10, 2007




Seri Kaya

You need:

400ml coconut milk
10 eggs
560g sugar
3-4 blades of pandan leaves, knotted
few drops of green colouring (optional)
strong arm and loads of patience *haha, just wanted to see if you were paying attention*


How to:

  1. In a saucepan, beat eggs and sugar until well mixed.

  2. Heat egg mixture over a very low flame and stir constantly with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. (about 10 minutes)

  3. Remove from heat.

  4. Add coconut milk into the egg mixture and strain into a double boiler. Place the cooked pandan leaves into double boiler too if you prefer a stronger flavour. If not, just discard the leaves. Add optional green colouring at this point.

  5. Place over a low flame and heat egg mixture until it becomes a thick custard like cream. This will take about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on desired consistancy and flame used. Don't forget the magic word: STIR. Gently but constantly. Your kaya is counting on you.

  6. After cooling, transfer to bowl or bottle. Refrigerate.


Note: If it's possible, this kaya is best eaten the next day when all the flavours have had a chance to settle down and meld like a newly wed couple. Enjoy!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 1:06 pm

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Got Kaya?




I found an unopened package of pandan leaves deep in the recesses of my fridge last Friday. Just behind the pack of ravioli and cheeses. It didn't look too fresh but it wasn't growing its own vegetation either so I thought I'd better use it before it does. I only had to trim off the edges and it was good to go.

There were 20 blades in the package so I made a list of possible ideas. One of them was kaya, a Peranakan rich custard used as a spread on buttered toasts or as a filling for bread buns. After making sure I had the required 10 eggs and 560g of sugar (they don't call it rich for nothing), I got on with it. For the next two hours, I hovered over the stove stirring away like a witch brewing a spell in her cauldron. Kaya is very easy to make. You just need to watch over it like a hawk. I can't tell you how many burned attempts I've had to discard because I wasn't vigilant enough.

So anyway, here's Ilsa, my stone cow who happens to weigh as much as the real animal itself, with one of the kaya filled potties.



She likes her kaya but I think she loves her chocolate milk even more.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 12:45 pm

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Plotting And Planning




Although we've only scratched the first week of September, I've been planning Hubs' birthday (which falls in November) for almost two months now. I honestly hate buying him gifts because he's already got the latest and greatest of every gadget he fancies. I do know of two more toys he would like to lay his hands on - a Ferrari and a Aston Martin db9 - but unless our printer has begun to miraculously churn out euros, it's one of those things filed under 'My Wishlist'.

I was so happy I aced our anniversary present with the LG Blinding Shine mobile phone in April earlier. It was something he liked and best of all, didn't have yet. I received a very nice present in return too so we were both happy.

Until my birthday in June.

Please note I say this with deep affection and am in no way ungrateful: That husband of mine had to buy me this and this. Mon dieu! How's a housewife going to top that? Oi.

This is not a competition about who buys what and how big it is. To pull a cliché, it's the thought that counts. However, we only celebrate anniversaries and birthdays and don't 'do' the rest of the other stuff, save Christmas which is more like tradition. The former occasions are the ones that hold any real meaning for the both of us so its important to do something special.

That's why I've been digging deep in my creativity department for the Mother of All Presents and I think I might just have it. I've been in cahoots with a girlfriend whose been very kind, pulling all manner of strings to help. I don't wish to say more but if it does come to fruition, I promise you'll have a blow by blow account.

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Are You A Snobby Girl?


Sunday, September 09, 2007


I'm sorry, I promise this is going to be the LAST quiz of the day. You see, Hubs has hijacked the telly to catch the F1 race and I can't stitch without it. It's also too early to potter around the kitchen for dinner so I'm infesting the blog with silly quizzes.

You Are A Little Snobby

And being a little snobby every once and a while is totally allowed.
Because if no one was ever snobby, no one would ever try to dress up or look pretty.
And while you do enjoy the finest things in life (that you can afford), you tire of superficiality.
You know there's more to life than what's just on the surface.



I think the race is over now. I better run upstairs now before Sonny-boy swoops in. The hand that holds the remote is the one who controls the telly.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 3:30 pm

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What Kind Of Food Are You?




You Are Japanese Food

Strange yet delicious.
Contrary to popular belief, you're not always eaten raw.



If I had to pick just one cuisine for the rest of my life, this would be it.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 2:16 pm

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My Deadly Sins




Your Deadly Sins

Gluttony: 40%

Sloth: 40%

Greed: 20%

Envy: 0%

Lust: 0%

Pride: 0%

Wrath: 0%

Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%

You'll die choking on a cookie in bed.




I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 2:10 pm

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What Kind Of Tattoo Should You Get?




You Should Get A Butterfly Tattoo

Sweet and sassy
For you, tattoos are a thing of beauty - not toughness




Pssst.... I already have one on my right shoulder. It was done years ago to mark Hubs' birthday. He had one done at the same time too. No, not a butterfly, but a manly unicorn. Where? That's for me to know and for you to find out.

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And The Hae Mee Won


Saturday, September 08, 2007



I now have to do some serious airing of the kitchen and living room area (that's what you get with the open space concept). The prawn and pork stock has been brewing merrily for the last four hours resulting in a rich, flavourful broth. But everything has a price and mine comes in the form of a stinky, fishy kitchen.

Maybe I should go light a couple of scented candles now.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 7:33 pm

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Home Alone




Sonny-boy and I are on our own today.

Hubs is driving up to Amsterdam with M (brother-in-law #3) to watch the Nederland vs Bulgaria Euro 2008 qualifying match. It should be good fun for the boys. If it wasn't logistically viable, I should have liked to join them as well. No, not for the match, Hubs could drop me off in the shopping district of Amsterdam, prefably right smack in the middle of P Cornelisz Hooftstraat. Home to Salvatore Ferragamo, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and a smorgasboard of other designer and fashion labels, it is not called the "Fifth Avenue of Amsterdam" for nothing. I suppose we will have to keep that trip for later.

You'd think with today being the weekend, I'd be upset with Hubs gone for the entire day, coming home only late at night. This is on top of not seeing much of him during the week. But no, I'm not. We may be married but it doesn't mean we're supposed to be glued at the hip. It's healthy for a couple to periodically have indidvidual me time to recharge the old battery.

So, I'm now taking this opportunity to cook the smelliest, most repungent comfort food I love but Hubs hates. Dishes I selfishly make for me when he's away. Today, it's a toss up between Hae Mee (Prawn Noodle Soup) or Nasi Lemak. The coconut rice in Nasi Lemak is not smelly but the frying of the accompanying sambal belachan is. I still haven't decided but Hae Mee seems to have an edge on account of the weather. Nothing like a big, hot steaming bowl of soupy noodles on a bleak day.

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100% Sugar


Friday, September 07, 2007


Oh look! Gordan our garden gnome made some candy and brought a plate round to share:



*****


Okay, so that's not what really happened.

Here's the not so fancy version: I bought these from a confectioner in the town centre last Wednesday right after Sonny-boy's visit to the dentist. I'm incorrigible. Poor boy's just had two gaping holes fixed and mum's already bringing him to the sweet shop faster than you can say 'flouride toothpaste'.

So, back to the confectionery. No gnomes, fairies or elves there. Nary a pixie in sight. Instead, a super friendly lady runs things. She's always smiling whenever we visit. I suspect she's perpetually high on the aroma of chocolates, truffles, fudges and various assortment of sweets she's surrounded herself with. Talk about job hazards. Oi.

I gave Sonny-boy a small plastic tray and a metal tong and told him he could knock himself out with five pieces of three varieties each. I also reminded him that mum can count so please don't even try to sneak in extras. For my private tea-time stash, I bought some chewy coconut squares and white chocolate stawberry flavoured truffles.


Pretty and dainty enough for fairies with the nibbles.

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We Are Not So Different After All - Foodie Blogroll




Eating is one of Singapore's national pastime. Coming in at a close second would be shopping (although one might disagree and award it the top spot instead) and in third place, discussing about money or money related issues.

Being a Singaporean, proudly born and bred on the sunny island, I have to say I am guilty of pastimes #1 and #2. I don't really care much for #3 though - as long as I have enough to feed the first two, I'm a happy camper.

Before the dawn of the internet and blogs, I used to think the passion of food was perculiar to Singapore and her neighbours. How wrong can a girl be? Since jumping on the blogging bandwagon, I've come to discover there are serious foodies from both sides of the pond who can give the average Singaporean a run for their tastebuds. We are not so different after all, you and I.

As you can see, I've revamped my sidebar. I've updated my links and added a foodie blog roll. Some of the blogs are already my daily bread, others the occasional treat (meaning: when I have extra time to read) while others are like new dishes, waiting to be sampled. Do give it a run through, you might find something delectable yourself.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:37 am

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Veni, Vidi, Visa


Wednesday, September 05, 2007



I came, I saw, I bought.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 4:57 pm

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Do-It-In-Your-Sleep Chorizo Omelette


Tuesday, September 04, 2007



Late Sunday night, Hubs suddenly had a case of the munchies. He'd skipped dinner earlier (his fault) because of all the snacks and finger food I'd plied on the coffee table during the afternoon (my fault). You see, we were having our customary lazy family Sunday. I was doing my needlework while the two men were having a go at the Tiger Woods Golf Wii thingy. This lasted all morning and stretched into the late afternoon. Being the concerned wife and mother who didn't want her men to keel over with hunger, I put plates of various cured sausages, little salmon bagel sandwiches, toasts and paté out at regular intervals.

Of course Hubs wouldn't want dinner. Sonny-boy did though. He has a bottomless pit for a tummy.

Anyway, I lifted my usual " the kitchen is closed after 8pm; you are on your own thereafter" rule. I poked around the refridgerator to see what I could dish up. After considering the options, I decided a big fat omelette was the way to go.

It's really easy, one can even do it in one's sleep.

*****

Do-It-In-Your-Sleep Chorizo Omelette



You need:

- Eggs ( I used 3 because that was what I had left)
- chorizo; skinned and diced
- green pepper; diced
- red pepper; diced
- yellow pepper; diced
- onion; thinly sliced
- a few flat parsley leaves; stems removed
- salt and pepper to taste

You do:

  1. In a bowl, crack eggs and beat lightly. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Using medium flame, heat up 2 tbs of olive oil in a fying pan.

  3. Add in diced peppers and sliced onion. Stir fry until onion is translucent.

  4. Add in chorizo. While frying, the chorizo will start to emit its natural oils and spices, make sure this coats the peppers and onion. Fry for about 1 minute.

  5. With your spatula, spread out the chorizo, peppers and onion evenly. Pour beaten eggs over it.

  6. When it is half set, scatter parsley leaves over it. Cover the frying pan with lid and lower flame. Continue cooking until omelette is completely set.

  7. Serve hot with slices of toast or crusty bread.

Note: There's no specific amount of each ingredient used in this recipe. You can add as much or as little as you wish. Me, I had a handful of everything and used one small onion.


Hubs' verdict: Eggs-cellent! Better than Mama! *


* Hubs was alluding to Cooking Mama, the Wii game I'm currently enamoured with. Bah!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:14 am

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Mum's The Word


Monday, September 03, 2007


Once in a while, a touchy or controversial topic would come up at this parenting forum I belong to. Mums (and the occasional Dad) will give their opinions, sometimes rather brutally, others thought provoking but never boring. It's always a real eye-opener to see how much greener (or not) the grass can be on the other side.

One such topic that arose a while back was The Stay At Home Mum vs The Full Time Working Mum. Well, I'm not here to proprogate my choice and condemn the other. I don't think it's a question of right or wrong, it's a matter of choice, whether personal or circumstancial. All I do know is, whatever path a mother chooses, the ultimate goal is how best to raise and provide for her child, be it within the four walls of the family home or a corner office with a view.

I can only speak for myself and my choice.

I am a stay at home mum. I choose to be one and this is how it came about.

Three months into our relationship, my husband (then boyfriend), started talking babies. OUR babies. Now, normally this is the signal for me to run as fast as my stilettoed feet will take me but he was different. I actually liked what I was hearing and from who. I wasn't prepared of course, but the very idea and the underlining significance it held..... I could most definitely see us together. Until I met my husband, I'd never thought about settling down - I was too busy living it up as a singleton about town. At the back of my mind, I always knew I'd have my picket fence in future but not right now. Now, I wanted to live my life to the fullest and then marrying The One with no regrets knowing I'd been there and done that.

As with what all sensible engaged couples do, we discussed our future, what we expected from each other and as a couple. One of the issues was children: how many, how best to raise him/her etc. I had this condition that if we were ever blessed with a child, I would like to become a full-time mum. I suppose my husband was pleasantly taken aback, since I'm the last candidate on earth suitable for such a role. You must understand at that point in time, I was completely undomesticated - completely useless in housekeeping or cooking with no leanings towards the maternal.

Why then would I choose something so opposite of who I was?

Well, I reached the moment in my life where I was ready to take the proverbial plunge. Everything felt so right and I was ready to start a new chapter with someone who, in my eyes, was my soulmate.

Call me old fashioned but when it comes to having children, I've always had this notion of "You make 'em, you raise 'em. Yourself." Now, I know in this day and age of the double income family, this is becoming more of a luxury than the norm. Financial reasons aside, some mothers choose to work for personal satisfaction and independence. I don't judge it, different strokes, different lives.

Looking back, rocky bits and a period of adjustment aside, I have to say I'm enjoying motherhood immensely. I have no regrets whatsoever. I treat it as I would a job in the commercial world. I set myself routines, goals and time-off. Heck, I even dress as if I was going to work. Not in power suits of course but nothing fuddy duddy either. I think it's precisely the way I've treated the situation, coupled with a lot of love, understanding and emotional support from my husband that have kept me through the times when motherhood got too much and I just wanted to dig a hole and pretend none of it ever happened. I must also stress I'm not the perfect mum. I have my kinks and I'm still learning how to be a better parent than the one I was yesterday.

So, here I am. A stay at home mum. What started as a sense of responsiblity has now blossomed into a full maternal love. Everytime I look at my son, or when he bursts into fits of spontaneous affection, it's a confirmation of a path well chosen. I don't know what lies ahead but we're definitely looking forward to it: my husband, my son and I.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 9:25 pm

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Party Of Five




As I mentioned in my Saturday entry, we were expecting Hubs' parents round for dinner. Earlier that morning, I had this sudden urge to entertain and ran the suggestion by Hubs and after he was agreeable, gave them a call. Yes, they can make it this evening. Whew, lucky us! They may be in their 70s but their social calendar leaves me breathless. Like restaurants, one has to make advance reservations with them.

That evening, Mussels and Paella was on the menu. The mussels were specially for Father-in-law. He loves them. Unfortunately, Mother-in-law does not so it's never on their dinner table. We're mussel-mad in Cookalot so when it's in season, like now, we bury ourselves in the stuff. For four years running, we've had the in-laws come round every mussel season. Bearing Mother-in-law's distaste for the mollusc in mind, I always make a separate meal for her. Tonight, I decided to show off my new found paella skills.

Paella!

Mussels!

Father-in-law having a go at it.

Dinner was a blast. They are easy people, as in-laws go. Conversation was flowing, aided no doubt by the two bottles of wine. After dinner, we all adjourned to the living area for some coffee and tea, accompanied by little slices of baklava (yes, I'm still on my Turkish streak). What followed next was almost three hours of Wii gaming. It was really fun, for everyone else at least. I didn't take part. My tummy was so full (two huge plates of paella and an equally big bowl of mussels will do that to you), I parked myself like a beached whale on the chaise lounge. Even Father-in-law had to comment on my er, 'good appetite'. What can I say? I love paella and mussels. Burp!

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 10:09 am

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