Thursday, 5 November 2009


Last night, my husband and I were sitting in the living room, and I said to him, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

He got up, unplugged the computer and threw out my Jim Beam and Coke.

He's such a bastard!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


My cousin SR, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is currently visiting me. It has been so great to have her here, especially since it has been 16 years since I last saw her.

On our outing to the War Memorial in Canberra, she was so fascinated with the suave Australian police patrolmen that were chaperoning the Macedonian President (on his visit there to place a wreath at the Memorial) that she got me to ask the boys for a picture with her. Don’t they all look great????


Okay, so I have been a little slack…..agreed. I think I am going through ‘blog fatigue’ - I saw this phrase coined somewhere on the net; apologies for the plagiarism…..but it is an apt phrase!!!

Also, I am still feeling so tired that I do not have the energy to take pictures, load them and type up recipes. Oh well, I guess I am just going to have to take it easy and only do a posting or two each week. So if I go AWOL again……you know blog fatigue has taken over…..again.

Not only this, I have a new toy and hobby at the moment too. Converting my old vinyls and songs into high quality cds and also restoring old bollywood vinyl covers and movie posters with the aid of ‘adobe photoshop’. I just love the art and to date, I have collected nearly 2000 pieces. But it is a slow and painstaking process. I MAY put up my pictures on my blog…..but I don’t know if that infringes copyright laws!!!!

Anyway, talking about pictures, here’s a ‘not very good attempt’ at taking them. Actually, it is because I forgot to take a picture of it served up nicely in a casserole. Don’t let my half hearted effort put you off. This is one easy and yummy dish, perfect for the cold winters. I got this off the Sunday Telegraph magazine and it is by Donna Hay. Enjoy.


2 tbsp veg oil
2 tbsp plain flour
1 kg chopped beef chuck steaks
1 brown onion – chopped
4 cloves garlic – chopped
2 carrots – chopped
2 celery sticks – chopped
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup dry red wine
1 ½ cups beef stock
400 g can dice tomatoes
4 Sebago potatoes – peeled and sliced (see my GLOSSARY post on POTATOES)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Place the flour and steak in a large bowl and toss to caoat, shaking off any excess flour. Heat oil in a large pot over high heat and cook the steak, in batches for 3 to 4 mins or until browned. Set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and rosemary to the pan and cook, stirring for 8 to 10 mins until brown.

Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and wine and cook for 2 mins. Add the beef, stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 mins. Add in the potatoes and seasoning and simmer for a further 45 mins.

Check seasoning, remove from from heat and serve hot with fresh crusty bread.

Note: If there are leftovers, remove any leftover potatoes from the stew and freeze the stew for future. Serve with mash potatoes.


The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family (also known as the nightshades). The word potato may refer to the plant as well as the tuber. Potatoes are believed to be from Peru where it was cultivated as long as 10,000 years ago. Potatoes are the world's fourth largest food crop, after rice, wheat and maize. The name Potato comes from the Spanish word ‘patata’ which is compounded from two south american words (of different dialects) – papa and batata.

Although Peru is the birthplace of the potato, over 99 per cent of all cultivated potatoes worldwide are descendants of a subspecies indigenous to south-central Chile.

The potato was introduced to Europe in 1536 and subsequently by European mariners to the rest of the world. Once established in Europe, the potato soon became an important food staple and field crop. Lack of genetic diversity, due to the fact that very few varieties were initially introduced elsewhere in the world, left the crop vulnerable to diseases in the introduced countries. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, spread rapidly through western Ireland, resulting in crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine.

China is now the world's largest potato producing country, and nearly a third of the world's potatoes are harvested in China and India. Potatoes are now a staple in nearly all cuisines throughout the world.


An attractive potato with white skin and flesh. Good for boiling and baking, superb for frying and chips.

Yellow, banana-shaped, waxy-type tubers with firm texture that have wonderful flavour baked, boiled and steamed. Perfect for salads.

A waxy potato from the Netherlands. It is creamy with a yellow flesh and ideal for potato salads.

Ideal for roasting or frying when you want crispy skins. Available only around mid Summer.

Brownish-pink tubers and white flesh. It is excellent for boiling, especially when new, and for mashing and chips when more mature. Not recommended for baking. Stores very well.

A white potato ideal for mashing or roasting.

A white potato ideal for roasting and chipping.

A pink skin and yellow flesh potato ideal for boiling.

Originally from Holland but grown widely in Australia; the best hailing from Tasmania. Best boiled and eaten with a little salt.

White fleshed potato good for chips, roasting and mashing.

Cream skined and white flesh potao great for boiling whole or in potato salads.

Creamy skin and white flesh - the old staple potato.

White flesh. Great for roasting, boiling and mashing.

A waxy, finger shaped with creamy-coloured flesh. Great boiled, steamed and in potato salads and for presentation purposes.

Yellow skin and flesh. Good for boiling and mashing.

An oval, white-skinned and white-fleshed potato. Excellent flavour. Good for baking and roasting, makes great chips. Especially recommended for boiling. Very similar to Kennebec.

Creamy-coloured skin and flesh. A general purpose potato except for chips.

Yellow flesh. Excellent for mashing and gnocchi and good for boiling, chips and roasting. It has a very buttery flavour.

Good all rounder.

Ideal for roast or salads. Waxy, very firm and never fall apart. Light yellow flesh and skin. Great for curries.

A cold climate potato, so those from Southern Tasmania are usually the best. A very nutty flavour. Good for roasting, boiling and salads.

The ultimate salad potato. They are very waxy and very firm.

Pink skin and white flesh A good general purpose spud.

Originating from Peru, it has a subtle lavender flesh which can add a decorative touch to potato salads or gnocchi. No need to peel.

Early red potato with excellent flavoured white flesh. A very versatile potato, best for salad, boiling and mashing.

Purple skin and yellow flesh. Good for roasting, mashing and chips.

Creamy texture, white flesh, rosy skin.

A good frying potato and good all-rounder. Used by McDonald's throughout the world for its French fries.

A spectacular purple potato with rich purple flesh that maintains its colour when cooked. Makes the most striking mashed potato.

Cream skin and white flesh. Good for chips, mashing and general purpose.

A waxy potato with a yellow flesh.

A yellow fleshed potato that is a good all rounder and good for potato salads.

Red skin and yellow flesh. Good for roasting, mashing and chips.

Tasman is a useful all-purpose with white flesh. Great for boiling, salad, mashing, chips and baking.

With a pure white flesh and a creamy texture they are a very good general purpose spud.

Named after the Department of Agriculture's potato research station. Good mashed or in their jackets in oven. The purple skin will rub off with water.

An heirloom Scottish variety, introduced in 1894, with a high reputation for its baking quality. It's also good for boiling, mash and chips. The tubers are flat and oval, with creamy-white skin and cream flesh.

Developed in Canada and not readily available in Australia, the Yukon Gold is a yellow potato similar to the Bintje but not quite as flavourful. A useful general purpose potato.


For mashing: Nicolas, Desirees, Bintjes, King Edwards, Russet Burbanks and Toolangi Delight.

For potato salads: waxy varieties such as Pink Fir, Kipfler, Patrone and Pink Eyes.

For roasting or baking: King Edwards, Delaware and Up-To-Date.

For chips (or French Fries): low sugar and floury varieties such as Sebago, Russet Burbanks and Bintje.

For boiling, steaming stews and curries: waxy varieties such as Patrone and Desiree.

For gnocchi: Nicolas.

All purpose: Tasman, Russet Burbanks and King Edward.

Source: Wikipedia, White Hat Cookbook and Tasmania Gourmet Potatoes

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Something I whipped up quickly in the kitchen!


800g chicken thigh or breast meat – sliced
2 tsp freshly crushed red chillies
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Splashes of soy and fish sauce
Vegetables of choice – I used snow peas and baby corn
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 onion – sliced fine


Marinated the chicken with the crushed chillies, soy and fish sauce for 30 mins.

Heat about 4 tbsp of oil in a wok and sauté the garlic and onions for 1 min. Add in the chicken and cook until the chicken is nearly done.

Add in the sweet chilli sauce and vegetables. Moisten with some water and a few splashes of soy and fish sauce. When the vegetables are done, lift and serve with rice or fresh hokkien noodles.


Stay with this; the answer is at the end. It will blow you away……

One evening a grandson was talking to his grandfather about current events.

The grandson asked his grandfather what he thought about the shootings at schools, the computer age, and just things in general.

The Grandfather replied, "Well, let me think a minute, I was born before television was commercialised, penicillin available widely, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, Frisbees and the pill.

There were no credit cards, laser beams or ball-point pens.

Man had not invented panty hose, air conditioners, dishwashers, clothes dryers and the clothes were hung out to dry in the fresh air and man hadn't yet walked on the moon.

Your grandmother and I got married first, and then lived together.

Every family had a father and a mother.

Until I was 25, I called every man older than me, "Sir".

And after I turned 25, I still called policemen and every man with a title, "Sir."

We were before gay-rights, computer-dating, dual careers, day-care centers and group therapy.

Our lives were governed by good judgment and common sense.

We were taught to know the difference between right and wrong and to stand up and take responsibility for our actions.

We thought fast food was what people ate during Lent or Ramaddan.

Having a meaningful relationship meant getting along with your cousins.

Time-sharing meant time the family spent together in the evenings and weekends……not purchasing condominiums for holidays.

We never heard of FM radios, tape decks, CDs, electric typewriters or guys wearing earrings. If we did, they were gypsies or sailors.

We listened to the Big Bands, Jack Benny, and the King's speeches on our radios.

And I don't ever remember any kid blowing his brains out listening to Tommy Dorsey.

If you saw anything with 'Made in Japan ' on it, it was junk.

The term 'making out' referred to how you did on your school exam.

Pizza Hut, McDonald's, and instant coffee were unheard of.

We could actually buy things for pennies and threepence.

In my day:

"Grass" was mowed and "coke" was a cold drink.

"Pot" was something your mother cooked in and "rock music" was your grandmother's lullaby.

"Aids" were helpers in the Principal's office, "chip" meant a piece of wood, "hardware" was found in a hardware store and "software" wasn't even a word.

And we were the last generation to actually believe that a lady needed a husband to have a baby. No wonder people call us "old and confused" and say there is a generation gap.

How old do you think I am?

I bet you have this really old man in mind... Well, you are in for a shock!

I am only 60 years old!!!

Monday, 31 August 2009


Wishing all my Malaysian family and friends happy 52 years of independence. Merdeka! Merdeka!

Independence Ceremony, 31 August 1957

Sunday, 30 August 2009


DID YOU KNOW……They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families used to all pee in a pot and then once a day it was taken and sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive you were said to be "Piss Poor."

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't even afford to buy a pot...........they "didn’t have a pot to piss in" and were the lowest of the low.

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500s and 1600s.

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom we have today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all were the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt Poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way to stop the thresh from slipping outside. Hence: a "thresh hold".


In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old".

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat".

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the "upper crust".

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of "holding a wake".

The folks in England started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (this became known as the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer". And that's the truth......


Friday, 28 August 2009


Another take of meatballs with plum sauce.


500g meatballs
1 large onion – sliced 1 cm thick
2 carrots – sliced fine
Capsicum - sliced
3 cloves garlic – minced
2 tsp Galiko or John West brand freshly minced chilli *
1/3 cup of plum sauce *
2 tbsp light soy sauce *
2 tbsp oyster sauce *
2 tbsp water *
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine - optional
2 tbsp veg oil


Mix * ingredients in a bowl or small jug. Set aside. Warm meatballs in a microwave.

Heat oil in wok and fry garlic until aromatic. Add in the carrots and capsicum and fry for 2 mins or until nearly cooked. Moisten with a few tbsp of water if needed.

Add in the meatballs and stir through the ingredients. Add in the blended * ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil. Add in the sliced onions just before lifting. Serve hot with rice.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


The 'CASH FOR CLUNKERS PROGRAM' was Obama’s answer to stimulate the economy and bail out the automobile industry. Many Americans brought their old cars to the car dealers and received a sizeable discount on a new car, thank’s to the American Government.


If my body were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish, and my paint job is getting a little dull. But that's not the worst of it. My headlights are out of focus, and it's especially hard to see things up close.

My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather.

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently.

But here's the worst of it…………..

Almost every time I sneeze, cough or laugh, either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires.


Tuesday, 25 August 2009


If there is one recent Bollywood movie you should have on your ‘must see list’, it has to be OM SHANTI OM. This movie was released around a year and a half ago in cinemas, but already has a cult following that equals that of the Blues Brothers. The acting is superb even from the then newcomer Deepika Padukone (daughter of badminton legend of the 1980s and 1990s, Prakash Padukone) and actor Arjun Rampal makes a great villain in the movie. Actors Kiron Kher and Shreyas Talpande shine in their supporting role and Farah Khan once again excels as the director and choreographer of this movie. But it is Bollywood heart throb Shahrukh Khan that steals the thunder and is downright titillating (apologies for the graphic description, but he is!) in his role of Om Prakash Makhija, a junior artist (in other words, a movie extra) who dies and is reincarnated as Om Kapoor, who becomes a Bollywood superstar.

Set initially in the 1970s, the movie depicts scenes of Bollywood’s golden heyday and mimics the heroes and heroines of that genre. For those of you that grew up watching Bollywood movies in the 1970s, it is a great journey through memory lane. Moreover, it has some really great songs too.

If you haven’t watched the movie, I don’t want to spoil it for you by telling you more.

I strongly recommend you watch OM SHANTI OM and enjoy a Bollywood cinematic journey from the 1970s into the present. And check out Shahrukh’s pecks whilst you are there!!!

OM SHANTI OM will be screening this Friday night at 9.00 pm on SBS Two. Don’t miss it!

NB: Check out the official OM SHANTI OM website HERE.

VG’s Rating: 5 stars for the music and movie!