Friday, December 27, 2013

Short cut to Hakka Yong Tau Foo

I must have been watching "The Voyage" too often these days, as visions of traditional Chinese dishes keep haunting me, like Hakka yong tau foo. Luckily, in these modern times, all the ingredients can be easily found in the supermarket, and there isn't even a need to mince and chop the stuffing! 

The fried beancurd, taupok, is cut into half, split, before being filled with a mixture of fish paste, minced pork and carrot bits. Because I made really fat bags, I steamed them for 20 minutes. This is going to be another of my easy, short-cut dinner recipes :) 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Yuletide Snuggle

Double disapproval

Well, have a restful Christmas anyway :) 

Monday, December 23, 2013

For everything there is a season

For everything there is a season
A time to travel, a time to remain
A time to drink, a time to abstain
A time to party, a time to do the laundry

No friends, this is not intended to be a spoof of Ecclesiastes. I was just reflecting on the comfort that comes from knowing that life comes in seasons. 

No situation is ever permanent, whether it is a good or bad one. A mature person who has lived through seasons is able to be patient in dull times because he knows that seasons turn and life changes. In the same way, it would be foolish to cling on to certain plans and desires even when circumstances have made it difficult to do so, far wiser it would be to let them go, and wait for a to pursue them afresh one day. 

Looking at the groceries that came home with me from the supermarket, I can't help thinking that, perhaps, I have become an "auntie" in the eyes of my younger self. Yes, I am keenly interested in cleaning agents and devices and ways to keep my home clean, in recipes and home improvement tips. My skating costumes have been tucked away. In fact, I cannot remember where they are. Alas, my brand new Riedell figure skates have been relegated to the storeroom before I could break them in. 

Yet life's seasons are such that, I know, one day I would be able to use them again. And in the meanwhile, I will just find peace and enjoyment in what I am doing, instead of fretting about when things would change. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sorry about my rabbit

"The white one is very naughty and strong," remarks Pet Groomer, ruefully checking the scratch marks on his arms. Oh dear, I hope Whitty didn't draw blood. I should have warned him first :P We left hurriedly, before they decide to charge us more for our naughty rabbit. 

Whitty, sulking after being manhandled. 

Still sulking, an hour later. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Money: In retrospect

Young couples (like we once were :P) are always tempted to spend a little more than they need to in the early days of their marriage. Extensive traveling, fine meals, anniversary and birthday gifts are par the course for any middle-class couple "before the kids come". But therein lies the problem.

By the time we actually settle down to manage adult affairs, like retirement planning, or  begin to have caregiving duties, we find that perhaps we should have saved up while the carefree days were still happening. A new mother told me recently that she wanted to stop working so that she could devote all her time to her baby. This would mean a significant drop in their family income. Ah, the price of love...and it got me wondering what the ways there are to mitigate this situation.

I suppose, a passive income stream from investments could help to boost the father's salary. Some of the relatively safe options I looked up are:

  • REITS - Happy to note that Cache Logistics is giving me 6% this year :) 
  • High yield bond funds - Such as UOB GEM Bond fund often give up to 5% a year
  • STI ETF - Gives only about 3% in dividends but it also may have capital gains
  • Short-duration bond funds - Fullerton Short-duration Bond fund actually pays out 1-3% a year, and it is also safe enough for me to use it as a saving vehicle. 

But alas, all these require a fair amount of capital before the yield becomes significant in any way. And so friends, if you are a young couple setting up your home, it would be wise to start building your investment capital first, and enjoy the fruits later, rather than spending everything too early. As for me, it is kind of late, but never too late to start :P

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A rabbit's rabbit

Whitty is spoilt to the core, being loved by the bunny slaves, and Blackie, who grooms her all the time. It isn't surprising, because she is such a very pretty little thing. As V commented, she is a "rabbit's rabbit". Just look at her, white, chubby fluffiness, lash-rimmed round eyes and short little ears. It is like she walked straight out of a Disney cartoon. 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Little India riot: While you were sleeping

Like everyone else, I was transfixed to my iPhone and TV late last night, watching the live coverage of the Little India riot in fascinated horror. The scenes seemed unreal, especially those of police cars overturned, burning. Is this Singapore? Finally, at 1am, I was exhausted and went to bed.

The next morning, I woke up to find that peace had been restored. The streets were cleared, and some culprits had been arrested. It was almost like magic, but of course, it was not. While you and I were sleeping, there were people toiling through the night to maintain the security and order that we have become used to. Thank you very much.

It was sad to read all the crazy, inflammatory remarks on the social media. Some inveighed against another race, others nitpicked at the way our police handled the situation. There was even gloating over the trouble caused. These must be people who are so bitter about life that all they want to do is to make everyone as miserable as they are. Haters will always hate, but friends, let's do our best to make the voices of sensible folks be heard over theirs.

Let compassion, common sense and truth be louder than hate and lies.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Party food, the Chinese way

Chicken wings are the ultimate party food, and here is one way to serve it in a relatively healthy way: braised with spring onions, garlic and ginger. Braising must be the easiest way to prepare food for a potluck. Little preparation is needed, and you can cook a lot at the same time. 

The wings were marinated overnight in oyster sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil.

I panfried crushed garlic and ginger pieces in a little olive oil before adding the wings. When the chicken was nicely browned, a little dark soy sauce was drizzled into the wok together with two tablespoonfuls of water. After simmering for 10-15 minutes on low heat, I threw the spring onions onto the chicken, covered the wok, and waited for 5 minutes more. And that was all!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A Suggestion for Apple: iPhone Plus

It seems like Apple is running out of creative juices. The recent new launches are all variation on the same theme - iPad mini, iPad air.

What I would really like to have is a bigger iPhone, something the size of Samsung Note. In fact, the Note is highly tempting, and it is only inertia that is preventing me from trying to get used to a new operating platform. As the generations of Apple fans age, I think it is time to realise that some of us, at least, are tired of squinting at those tiny screens, but don't want to splash out on a tablet. The simplest way out for me is to get a smartphone with a more generous screen.

So Apple, how about giving us an iPhone Plus?

Monday, December 02, 2013


Hush...the fat, furry baby is sleeping.