Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Photographing Snowdrops

Happy Leap Year!!

We're experiencing ice-cream weather for two days in a row. All forms of winter clothing have been abandoned for the time being.
Hope it'll last till spring, but that would be just wishful thinking, wouldn't it?

Historically spring starts on the day of the vernal equinox, which usually occurs on the night of 20/21 March. But, looking at the profusions of snowdrops spreading across the woodlands makes me think spring is early this year come...

Monday, 27 February 2012

Spring Summer Centrepiece

The weather is awful and I'm in a destructive mood but, in a good way.

The changing season consequently makes the floral arrangement in the vestibule needing some updating.
I know the world will not come not an end if I decided not to do anything about it, but where is the fun in all of it? It is one of the enjoyment of living with changing seasons.

So, it's goodbye old Autumn Winter arrangement....

... there's no turning back now.

I decided to use a clear glass vessel for my new arrangement.

The base colour are predominantly green, white and lemon yellow.

I added splashes of blue and violet... err, just for the heck of it...

The end result...

My Spring Summer 2012 floral arrangement

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Steamed Sweet Buns

My semi-craving for apam started when I saw a photo taken by a dear friend in Zurich of her food spread for the occasion of his little boy's second birthday...
Her's looked really scrumptious with fresh coconut grating and all.
Well, I do love my apam (or apom, as it was known to me waaay back) but, I'm not willing to spend too much time on them.
Scouring the net,  I found this really simple recipe; more importantly it's made without using any chemical additive that I'm not so fond of.
These little almost perfect orb-ette got the family approval...

Steamed Sweet Buns

1 egg
40g sugar
60ml skimmed milk
100g flour
1 tbsp green tea powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp oil

Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
In another bowl, lightly whisk eggs and sugar.
Add in milk, oil and the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Fill the mixture into  6 silicone cups.
Place the cups in the steamer and cover.
Steam over high heat for 20 minutes.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Basket case

That's me in a nutshell.
I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to all things sports. I do not participate, nor am I a good spectator.
I find sitting and watching sports live or on tv extremely tedious.
Fortunately, I have a partner who doesn't like watching sports on tv either ... but if he did, heads will be rolling!!

Unlike me, Elsa is very much into competitive sports.

First, it was track and field, then comes rowing, rock climbing and god knows what.
She was in the high school basketball team but decided to dropout from the team due to time constraint.
Now, she's eyeing for a spot in the soccer team...
What will she think of next!!

Roasted Duck in pancake

Our dinner for this evening...

A simplified version of the more famous Peking Duck.

Using boneless duck breast, marinade the meat with some five-spice powder, salt, grated fresh ginger and a little black pepper. Leave to marinade, preferably overnight, or longer.
Bake the duck in a 140C oven for about 60 minutes. Separate the meat from the skin and shred the meat using 2 forks.
Remove excess fat from the skin and return the skin for a futher 20 minutes in a 170C oven or until  the skin is nice and crispy. Chop the skin and mix with the rest of the shredded meat.


To make life easy, buy some pre-made pancake and steam them (Note: it's not necessary to use bamboo steamer , any steamer will do the job nicely)

Take a piece of the pancake, place the shredded meat and some finely sliced cucumber and spring onions, a good spoonful of plum sauce and roll it up!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Morning Walk

Purportedly the weather would be on the high teens today. Well, it ain't all wrong.
The temperature was mild with light breezes with thick clouds, thus making it difficult for the sun to make its appearance.
Anyhow, we (the usual suspects bar one, who was down with cold) went on a planned brisk morning walk around my little kampung.

Back home, in my garden... more photo-ops for the ladies!!

Lunch was a simple Thai-style fare.

Cecilia made the deliciously spicy Papaya Salad, Gaye provided some crunchy fried salted fishes and I made Pineapple and Prawn fried rice with Thai Green Curry with Chicken.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Up the Garden Path

Finally, by mid-morning the rain stopped.
The weather today was extremely mild for this time of year. I was able to work without the use of a thick pair of gloves.
The soil was wet but not soddened, thus making digging way easier for me.

You wouldn't believe it, but a few days ago, my garden was looking like this....



Snow came but twice this season, and only stayed for a day or so...

So, what have I been up to, you may ask....

To start with, I transplanted some Hebe, a couple of Skimmia japonica Rubella  and sown some Agapanthus africanus along the front lawn.

Next, I decided that some of the shrubs really needed a good cut back. 
So,  armed with a wimp-sized secateur, I proceeded to wreck havoc in the garden. It was a carnage!

My constant (somewhat cranky) companion, Lolita

Early spring colours emerging from the garden...

Viburnum tinus

Dwarf Iris

Dutch Crocus



Uh, oh.... those pesky rabbits are back!!!