Saturday, August 30, 2008

My No.1 Char Koay Teow...

This is the stall we would frequent if we have that craving for Fried Kuay Teow. The kuay teow (flat rice noodles) is so smooth and soft. Of all the 'char koay teow' (fried kuay teow) in Penang that I've tasted, I still give this the thumbs up. Individually fried and the prawns are fresh and look at the size, big that is. In Penang, the "Sisters' Char Koay Teow" has been featured in travel guides but I still say, this is by far the best. Now, if you are wondering where it is, it is in Air Itam, and the coffee shop is situated next to Jalan 4. Name of coffee shop is Lasia. Penangites and Malaysians, you would know this food. For all those who don't, well, it is fried rice noodles. Rice noodles that are flat and cut in strips. It is fried in lard and prawns, cockles, chives and bean sprouts are added. Chilli is also added in the frying. It will always taste better if it is fried individually. It means, one order by one order and not fried in a whole lump and then scooped onto individual plates. You can opt not to have the cockles etc...whatever you desire on your plate. Of course, the 'koay teow' and bean sprouts, they've got to be there. Oh, eggs are also added (optional) and if you want more flavour, ask for duck egg to be added. Just one would suffice.



** This hawker is friendly. He gave son a very nice pose for the pictures. Nice guy.:o)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some nice quotes...

I thought I'd share these. These came to me through email. Hopefully it'll help make someone's day, evening or even night sweet. It did make mine sweet enough!
"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit." --- e.e.cummings
Just for today, believe in yourself. Believe in your greatness, your goodness, your worth. Go ahead and believe in yourself even if you think you're the only person on the planet who does.
May you always be willing to believe in yourself.---Heartfelt Blessing

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Japanese cucumber...

Friend of mine showed me a vegetable and told me that it is a Japanese zucchini. Huh Japanese? was what I mumbled. This is from my garden, a Japanese zucchini. Zucchini and a Japanese zucchini? I was actually surprised. I tried to hold it but it's got tiny little hairs that actually pricked. I think this is a Japanese cucumber but she insisted it isn't. End of story. I accepted her zucchini part of it cause I wasn't really sure if that is a Japanese zucchini or cucumber. The Japanese cucumbers I bought are without tiny hairs that pricked.
I stumbled upon this rack with vege seeds for sale at Tesco. Browsed through and wahla...there is one of Japanese cucumber. I thought I'd just plant it and see what comes out.
Here it is, the plant and believe you me, it isn't easy cause I've got to wait a good 2 months for it to bear fruit. I think it may be due to the fact that I have blue or light green hands. Does it actually take this long??? A fellow blogger has marvellous green hands. Her tomato plants has sooo many fruits the sight is really awesome. Then her zucchinis, oooh..is all that I can say!
Oh yah, the vege my friend planted, it is Japanese cucumber! To date, I've got 3 cucumbers and a tiny one (all with the yellow flower still stuck to it!). I'm going to see how many I get by the time the plant decides to dry up. :o)






Monday, August 18, 2008

Oogy

This article came to me through email. I copied and posted it here. I come from a country where animal abusers usually get away lightly. Most times, they are only fined and the fine is nothing to shout about. We do have cases of dogs being abused and they are somewhat similar to what OOGY went through. That prompted me to post this article just to create more awareness. [If the owner of this article deemed it not proper for me to use the article and post it here, I'll gladly remove it from my blog. Thank you.]
This amazing dog is Oogy. When Oogy was four months old and weighed thirty-five pounds he was tied to a stake and used as bait for a Pit Bull. The left side of his face from just behind his eye was torn off, including his ear. He was bitten so hard a piece of his jaw bone was crushed .. Afterward, he was thrown into a cage and left to bleed to death. I am not a religious man, but I can only conclude that at that moment God turned around and paid attention. The police raided the facility, found Oogy, and took him to Ardmore Animal Hospital , where Dr. Bianco stitched him up and saved him. This coincided with the last weekend of life for our cat, Buzzy, who was 14 at the time. My sons and I had taken Buzzy to AAH for his last visit. The staff had gathered Buzzy in when out comes this pup that looked like nothing more than a gargoyle. He covered us with kisses. The boys and I fell instantly in love with him. Life goes out one door and in another. 'This is one of the happiest dogs I've ever met,' Dr. Bianco said. 'I can't imagine what he'd be like if half his face hadn't been ripped off.' Then, Dr. B said, 'I am not going to tell you the things this dog has been through'. Dr. B's assistant, Diane, took Oogy into her home for several weeks to foster him and make sure he was safe and to crate-train him. Once Oogy came into our house, for my sons, then 12, it was like having a little brother. Whatever they did and wherever they went, there was Oogy. Oogy had to get involved in whatever the lads were doing. He became known as The Third Twin. Dr. B thought Oogy was a Pit or Pit-mix and would get to be about 45 pounds. By the time of his first checkup, Oogy weighed 70 pounds. When we walked in the door for the visit, one of the women who works at AAH exclaimed, 'That's a Dogo!' I asked, 'What's a Dogo?' She said, 'I'm not sure.' We went on line and learned that the Dogo Argentina is bred in Argentina to hunt mountain lion and boar. Oogy can run about 30 miles an hour, all four legs off the ground like a Greyhound. His leg muscles are so strong that when he sits, his butt is a half-inch off the ground. Dogos hunt in packs. Dogos hurl themselves against their prey and swarm it. Oogy has a neck like a fire hydrant to protect him when he closes on his prey. He is built like a Pit Bull on steroids, with white fur as soft as butter and black freckles. Fully grown, Oogy is 85 pounds of solid muscle, but he does not know this and sits on us. He absolutely craves physical contact. He is full of kisses and chuffs like a steam engine when he is happy. He has a h eart as big as all outdoors. One of the traits of the breed is that they fully accept anyone their family does. It is not unusual to come home and find three teenagers on the floor playing a video game and Oogy sprawled across their laps like some living boa. Oogy hated the crate and would bark and bark whenever we put him in. This puzzled me because I had been told by people with crate-trained dogs that their pets love the crate and feel secure in its confines. When Oogy was about eight months old, we hired a trainer who also happened to be an animal 'whisperer'. We introduced her to Oogy and she sat on the floor for a full five minutes talking to him. We could not hear a word she said. When the trainer lifted her head, her eyes were brimming with tears. 'Oogy wants you to know,' she said 'how much he appreciates the love and respect you have shown him.' Then she asked about his routine. I started by showing her where he slept in the crate. She said immediately, 'You have to get him out of that box'. 'Why?' 'Because he associates being in a box with having his ear ripped off.' It was a smack-myself-in-the-forehead moment. Oogy never went back in. Given what Oogy endured and what he is bred for, people are constantly astonished that he loves animals and people as much as he does. Walking with Oogy is like walki ng with a mayoral candidate. He has to meet everyone. A number of people we encountered in the neighborhood early on told me they were afraid of Oogy because when they would walk or jog by the house, Oogy would bark at them and trot parallel to them, and given his size and looks... But everyone falls in love with Oogy. By the end of their initial encounter they are rubbing, petting, even kissing him on the nose. Oogy kisses them back. Because of the way he looks, when people meet him for the first time they almost always ask if he is safe. I tell them, 'Well, he has licked two people to death.' For the first year and a half of his life, part of Oogy's face was normal and the&n bsp;other part looked like a burn victim's. People who saw him in passing could not grasp the duality. As Oogy grew, the scar tissue spread. He could not close his left eye, so it wept constantly; his lip was pulled up and back. Dr. B said Oogy was in constant pain. So, in January 2005, Dr. B. rebuilt Oogy's face. When all the scar tissue was removed, there was a hole in Oogy's head the size of a softball. After removing the scar tissue, Dr. B took grafts and pulled the flaps together and sewed Oogy back up. Now Oogy has a hairline scar, but other than that, looks just like any normal one-eared dog. An essential part of this story is the fact that AAH has never taken a dime in payment for anything they have done for Oogy. I never asked them for such an arrangement. When I went to pay the first bill I was told, 'Oogy's a no-pay.' I never asked why this is. Oogy is their dog. We are just lucky enough to look after him. Because some of his jaw bone was removed in the initial surgery, some of Oogy's lower left lip droops and is a repository for dust and dirt. It is second nature to us to pull the detritus off his lip when we sit next to him. One day I told my sons that when they tell their children about Oogy, they will remember this routine act of kindness. I think that, on some level, every day we try to atone for what happened to him. Last summer Oogy had ACL surgery; his body ultimately rejected the steel plates and developed an infection so his leg had to be opened up a second time and the plates removed. When I went to pick him up following the second surgery, the Technician who brought Oogy out said, 'This is a great dog, I really love him.' I said, 'Yep, we're lucky to have him'. The Tech looked at me and said, 'No, you don't understand. I see hundreds of dogs each week, and every once in awhile there is a special one. And you have him.' When I related that story to Dr. B he said, 'But we already knew that.' Oogy's name is a derivative. The first day I was told we could adopt him I was thinking, 'This is one ugly dog.' But we couldn't call him 'Ugly.' Then I went to a variation of that from my youth, 'Oogly,' and his name followed immediately. Two years after we named him, we learned that Oogy is the name of the Ghost Dog in the film, 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'. This is not inappropriate. On a recent Saturday afternoon, Oogy was curled up on the couch asleep, his head in my lap, and I was thinking about his life now as opposed to the way his life had been before. Would he have sensed he was dying? Was he conscious when the police put him on a rubber sheet and took him to the Ardmore Animal Hospital ? Oogy went to sleep in a world of terror and searing pain and awoke surrounded by angels in white coats who were kind to him, who stroked him gently and talked softly to him. Instead of people who baited and beat and kicked him, he was surrounded with healing mercies. I realized then that Oogy probably did not know he had not died and gone to heaven. So I told him. I said, 'Listen pal. It only gets better after this.' This incredible dog now lives on the Main Line with his adoptive family, Larry and Jennifer and their twin sons, Noah and Dan. Noah and Dan are pictured here in the photograph with Oogy. Main Line Animal Rescue would like to thank Larry, Oogy's proud father, for sharing his story and helping us educate people to the horrors of dog fighting. -- "A wise man regards the life of his animals.."Proverbs 12:10"The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated" ~~ Mahatma GhandiThe more helpless the creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man. -- Anon."He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher
** Oogy has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show together with his 'family' members.

For Suffolk lass and hubby...

Across oceans a fellow blogger is going through pain and grief. She just lost her beloved cat, Susie. My heart goes out to her, hubby and all. My deepest condolences. I went through similar pains just recently and Shropshire Lad and Suffolk lass were one of those who sent their warmth and comfort.They even sent e-flowers. It does make a whole lot of difference when the pain is shared. Yeah, blogging is odd alright. It has made the world borderless and that's what I can say. We haven't met, doesn't even know how the other looks like yet we share the pain the other is going through. Take heart Suffolk lass that Susie is happy where she is and you've given her a good home, lots of love and care. Yes, we are the lucky ones to be able to share our love with these four-legged ones. Enjoy the other cat, Clarice cause I am sure Susie would love you to do just that. Cry it out, it does make you feel better. Remember Susie wouldn't want that to last, she wants you to smile. Know that my thoughts are with you as you walk through this time of pain and grief.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hungry Ghosts Festival...

The Hungry Ghosts Festival is here. It is a month long and started on August 1st and will end on August 30th. I think this is somewhat similar to the Halloween of the West.
I did my prayers and offerings yesterday (in the evening). It being the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. I normally (like most people) would make my offerings by the roadside. Hell notes, coloured joss papers, gold and silver joss papers are burned. Food is also offered to appease the wandering ghosts. We lit 7 candles on each side of our gate. As told by my grandmother, this is to ward them (the angry ghosts) from the house. Mine is just a simple offering. The elaborate offerings has more things like paper houses or even cars. As such when these are burned, it can really look like a bonfire. I remember a time when my sister had visitor from the West who rubbed his palms gleefully and said "Look, Look, someone is having a bonfire!" when he saw the offerings. Remember this Festival if you do visit Malaysia during this time. It isn't a bonfire! LOL.
This is normally practised by those who are taoist. The belief has it that during this period, the gates of hell are opened allowing the hungry ghosts to wander the earth looking for food. These are believed to be angry and hungry ghosts. They are ghosts of those who had commited suicide or maybe in accidents. They can also be of those who has noone to care for them meaning no offerings of food or money are made to them. I remember as children, during this time we were not allowed to go swimming in the sea, river or lake. Grandma always cautioned that the ghosts will drag us into the sea. That means we'll die by drowning! Eeew... We were also not allowed to leave the house after sunset and that is a very strict rule when grandma was alive. It is feared that these ghosts will possess us, the children.
Street opera shows and live performances are held to amuse the angry ghosts. That was what was told by grandma. I remember when I was very young, it is almost a taboo to ask if I can watch the performances. Those are for the ghosts. As I grew, the rules were relaxed and I was able to follow the elders when they visit such places to watch the 'shows' there. Grandma, mom, uncles or aunties would always pay a visit to the temples to pray and make their offerings. These stage/roadside operas are usually held within the grounds of a temple.
**This is a picture of a live performance. Notice people standing and watching? Chairs are provided but only a few. You can bring your own chair from home! That's what we do if the shows are nice! LOL. I will get one of the opera performance if I come across one. :o)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rings or tabs...

What do you do with the empty aluminium can after you've gulped down your drink? Collect the ring/tab, yes! I've been collecting it for quite some time now. I used to lug bags of them to the Girl Guides Association in Jalan Air Itam. I wonder why the Girl Guides Association stopped accepting these tabs. I stopped taking it there after I met this crabby lady who asked me this, "Aiyah, why do you bring it here? We have already stopped collecting! " She sounded so irritated. It was then that I stopped taking it there. I didn't stop collecting, I carried on. Friends who know I collect them will past them to me. Hubby helped too, he collects from his friends at the local club. I think everyone can do the same. It is all for a good cause. For those who are in the dark as to why these little rings/tabs are important. This is the reason why. It is used to make prosthetic limbs. It takes 5,000 of them plus rm3,000 to produce one prosthetic limb. These are the two bags that are collected from friends/relatives. They weigh some 4 kgs. If you collect empty cans for sale, just remove the rings/tabs before selling them. It really is worth the trouble. The Lions Club of Georgetown City is undertaking this project now. The person to contact if you have any of the tabs is...Ms Margaret Lim, Tel:04-2262848 OR 016-4565033.I'm not a Lion's member. I am just being a 'busy-body'.
Since I'm someone who collects these little tabs and didn't know where to send them before, I thought I'd post it here after it appeared in the local daily. Go on, make it someone's day! :o)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Laksa...

Our good neighbour brought over 2 packets of Laksa for us. How sweet of him. Told me that the laksa is the famous one from Balik Pulau near the market. Mmm.. drool even before I open the packet! LOL... Lovely soup. Thick and full of fish. Enjoyed every mouthful of it. Comparatively, I still think this famous one isn't so mouth watering. I still prefer the one opposite the Penang Chinese Girls' High School. The stall that sells this Laksa and nyonya kueh. The one thing I disliked about visiting this stall is the attitude of the man manning the stall. Yeah, I think he has quite a peculiar attitude. One of that 'buy or not, it is not a problem to me'. Tsk...
Penangites and most Malaysians will be very familiar with this dish. The soup is basically fish broken into small pieces then cooked with spices , herbs and some vegetables. The common type of fish used is mainly the mackeral (kembong) but I remember when my grandma prepares it, she uses sardine. Vegetables are mint leaves, lettuce, pineapples, cucumber, pineapple and of course, the shredded bunga kantan (torch ginger bud) plus some red chilli which is always given in minimum quantity sprinkled on top before it is served. The noodles are quite similar to cooked spaghetti. I remember little son calling it Chinese spaghetti and he just loves the noodles. The soup, well NO, he never fails to say this, mommy no sauce, the sauce smells bad and at the same time pinching his nose !!! LOL...
Now this is a dish I would say, is sort of an acquired taste dish. I didn't like Laksa when I was young. I would pinch my nose if it is served or bought home for consumption. When grandma prepares it, I'm normally no where near the kitchen. The way I eat this dish initially was just going for the rice noodles. My order will be....one bowl of laksa without vegetables. I hate the mint leaves, raw onions, etc. Urghhh... However, Big Sis will be sitting beside waiting for me to finish off the noodles and leaving the best part for her. The gourmet part of this is the soup. I don't care. I feel real proud just being able to say this...I ate Laksa!!! I even try not to let the soup touch my lips. Impossible, of course. LOL...
If you are going to try it for the first time and you are not a Malaysian, try avoiding the prawn paste. The black (actually it is dark brown) goey stuff that is dribbled on top of everything. Frankly speaking, being prawn based, it actually stinks. Maybe also the bunga kantan though to me now, nothing smells more fragrant than this. I think this would be just like the durians. An acquired taste thingy. I think I can't go wrong if I say this, it is like trying the haggis when you visit Scotland. You have to muster some courage to try it. See if you dare...trying the laksa that is. :o)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Rambutan tree...

Here is a picture of the rambutan tree. Tree, it belongs to my neighbour. Look at the picture carefully, those red and yellowish things hanging, they are the rambutans. Use the double storey house as a measurement as to how big this tree is. It is stated on the web that these trees can grow to a height of 50ft-80ft. Gosh...I don't even know of this fact! I think because I see the tree so often, I never realised how big it can grow. Over here in Malaysia, it is quite common to find a rambutan tree in the garden. The problems one would encounter are black ants, leaves dropping all over and the flowers of the tree which drop all over. Untidy is the word to describe the mess. According to the information found on the web, there are six types of rambutans. The types they are 'Chooi Ang' (translated it means pink), 'Peng Thing Bee' (now peng thing is rock sugar and bee means fragrance), 'Ya Tow' (it is coconut head and I wonder why this name), Azimat (talisman translated literally from our National Language) and 'Ayer Mas' (Gold Water, translated literally from our National Language). Ayer is water and Mas is gold. We say it the other way round to be correct. The first three are translated from one of the dialects spoken here and in this case, it is the Hokkien dialect. Aren't all these beautiful names given to this small hairy fruit? LOL... :o)

I couldn't get a picture of the mangosteen or durian trees. I think it can be found only in the countryside, village or orchard. Will post pictures here if I happen to see anyone of them. :o)
**Note: To get a closer view at the leaves and fruit, please visit this site--www.rambutan.com

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Even our dogs love it...

Our two dogs are coping okay. (Thanks Kate for your concern.) Here you can see them devouring the King of Fruits, Durians!!! Yes, oh yes, these are true Malaysian dogs. I think they beat me to it...being a Malaysian that is. They love the durians more than me. I think the pictures says it all. Can you imagine our Miss Malaysia (black one) even drool while waiting for her turn to be fed.The picture with her head bent, she is drooling and I caught her on camera!LOL...

This naughty one couldn't wait to be hand-fed. Too slow I think and since she is tall enough, she decided to help herself to the durians on the table. She has the cheek!! heeeheee. :o)

Monday, August 4, 2008

King of Fruits and 'kawan-kawan'...

The durian season is here. Actually, we are at the tail end now. Our local daily published some myths and facts about this fruit and I thought I'd add my two cents worth. Myth or not, comments are always welcome. I am stating what was told to me when I was a child. A blogger mentioned that alcohol and durian makes the stomach bloat and explode. This as in the local daily is a myth. Hmmm, I've never heard about this till I read it in the local daily. Me, I was always cautioned by grandma and mom (I think she got it from her mom, too), that alchohol is to be avoided after consuming durians. This is because durians are 'heaty'. Yes, heat in the body is what we Asians always get cause I think we live in a tropical climate. Due to the heat, if alchohol is added, you will suffer a stroke or heart attack. Lethal in other words. Well, is this a myth or fact? 'Kiasu' (fear of losing) or 'Kiasi' (fear of death), I have never dared to try the two together. Being young, we are very gullible and it has stuck to me since. I am passing it on to my child. Myth or fact, I really am not sure. LOL... Another thing, has any of your mom or grandma or dad or grandpa told you that these durians, they are the 'poo' of our Jade Emperor. Pungent smelling as they are, we still love them so???!!! My grandma told me that! LOL...
Now is this a myth or fact? After we have had our fill of the durians, mom always ask each of us to pick a skin. One that is deep enough for some salt and water to be stirred with the fingers. Well, this supposedly helps to keep the heat at bay and to aid in the digestion. Durian is known to be very filling. Now this heat, it brings on sore throat and that'll mean you will be sick in a few days. I always like this drinking from the durian skin. Besides just eating durians on it's own, we eat them with rice as well. In my house (when I was young), come durian season, cooking days for mom is usually cut down. Right...we eat durians with rice and sprinkled with salt water. This is the time when you are allowed to eat with your hands! Blend it with your hands into the rice and eat!!! Fun time for the kids. The only one set back during this season is...weight gain. Of course, as kids, who bothers. We eat to our hearts' content but mom has to think otherwise. Go on try it if you have not. Another thing, if you have a moustache and beard, do be careful, eating durians can be a messy job! (no offence meant here) :o)
I am sure most know that these are rambutans. According to what I was brought up to know, rambutans are also 'heaty'. I am always advised to take minimal amount of it. Of course, how can a child control? I end up with a sore throat most times and till this day, I still believe what I was told. Sore throat is my cause of staunch belief. Now, is this a fact or myth? Where I'm concerned, I just believed it! LOL...my kid believes it to be so cause mommy says it is. LOL again.

These are mangosteens. Bottled mangosteen rind juice are being bottled now. It promotes well being (that's all I know) the rest, I'll leave it to the expert. My mom told me... is what I'm writing here. In fact, not just mom but grandma used to insists that each and everyone of us eat a few mangosteens after the salt water in durian skin fun. Reason being, mangosteen has a cooling effect. Since durian and rambutans are heaty, mangosteen is a save it all. Me...I don't particularly like mangosteen. Guess that is why I'm always the first one to fall sick. I can't open a mangosteen properly. It goes squished and squashed everytime I try to press, then open. Yes, that's the way you eat a mangosteen. Now, this is true, careful of this fruit's sap. Once it gets on your shirt or pants, it can't be rid off easily. It looks like rust stain stuck on your garment. Word of caution, wear dark coloured attire. Is the cooling factor a myth or fact??? Me, I take it as a I believe thingy cause of the numerous sore throats I get. Remember? I never like mangosteens! LOL...:o)