Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The word ennui is french in origin. I've only recently learnt this in my foray into learning french.
Of cos it was ennui that propelled me to pick up Mandarin and French at the same time!
Est-ce que je suis fou ?

So these last few days my ears have been force-fed with hours of Pimsleur's French 1 and Mandarin Chinese 1. Admittedly, Mandarin is much more difficult to master, being a tonal language. And tone-deaf me just cannot get the difference between the 4 sounds. French is much easier as the sentence structure is closer to English and for the fact that some of the words are similar.

Someday soon, I hope to blog in 3 languages. Or write poetry in French or Mandarin??? How absolutely cool is that! That would be loads of fun, and something to look forward to as I'm ceasing to be fascinated with blogging as it is. Fault my silly restless nature. Anyway, with a new job to look forward to, I think things will be more exciting pretty soon hopefully! D' tard....a revoir! Jai jien!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Sinful Tale of Pho*

(*Pho~ Famed Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Father, I must confess…

Lately I have sinned
And no matter how I try, it seems to me,
I cannot resist the ecstasy
Of a Pot of Pho, or two, or three

Father you don’t understand
My consuming gluttony?
I’ll lead you there and I pray you’ll see. Here’s the broth…
Yes, I did warn you the smell IS simply heavenly!

Here, taste these noodles with texture slippery wet
And taste this beef, shaved thin and cooked just-right,
It melts in your mouth
Ah yes…now you see the light!

Noodles, beef and broth served
With a garnish of basil, chillies and a squeezing of lime
Heavens! Father, isn't that your 10th bowl?!
I’m assured then…God won't see this gluttony as a crime?

Tarte au citron meringue

Made lovely lemon tart today from a french recipe, inspired by what Romain baked for our Hari Raya party. It turned out just superb, with the tart crust thin and crispy and the lemon filling tasting sharp and tart from the juice of the lemons. Regretted that I left home with the tart in a rush to babysit the nephews and so couldn't get the chance to take a photo of it. For those interested to try out, c'est ici recipe...bon chance et bon appetit!

Recipe for Sugar Crust Pastry "Pâte Sablée" - It is only to be used for deserts because it contains sugar. It is sometimes used as-is, to make "Sablé" biscuits and it is ideal for sweet tarts that have a very thin or light filling (like tarte au chocolate or fruit tart)

200 gm plain flour
100 gm unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)
80 gm sugar
1 big egg
2 pinches salt

In an electric mixer, mix the flour, the sugar and the salt.
Drop the butter into the mixer, while mixing for 15 seconds.
Still mixing, add the egg, wait a few seconds until the paste forms a ball, then stop mixing right away.
If it does not form a ball, add a tbsp water/ if it is too sticky, add a bit flour.
Leave for at least 1 hour in a plate with flour in, then roll out the pastry and line it in the tart baking pan. Or if you're lazy to use rolling pin, just take the dough and drop it in centre of baking pan and push the dough out from centre outwards. Works just as well, and you save on the washing :)


Tarte au citron filling:
Zest of 2 big lemons
Juice of 3 big lemons
3 eggs
3 Tbsp sourcream
100 gm [3.5 oz] sugar
70 gm [2 oz] soft unsalted butter
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Meringue Topping (optional) :
3 egg whites
80 gm [3 oz] sugar

Line the pastry in the tart tin.
Preheat oven at 180°C / 350°F
Wash the lemons. Zest 2 lemons and use 3 lemons for juice.

In a salad bowl, mix together butter, cornstarch, eggs and sugar.
Mix well, then add the lemon juice and zests, then the sour cream.
Mix well.
Pour the lemon preparation on the pastry and bake in oven for 1 hour.

Stiff the egg whites until thick and frothy ; incorporate very gently the sugar 15 minutes before the end of baking, take the tart out from the oven and cover the lemon preparation with the egg whites.

Put it back in oven and finish baking. When finished, leave the tart in the oven with the door slightly open for 10 minutes. Let it cool, then refrigerate

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Eid ul-Fitr

This is a very very late post on the recently happened Islamic holiday also known in various parts of the world as:

Feast of the Breaking of the Fast,
Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (Malaysia, Singapore),
Idul Fitri, Lebaran (Indonesia),
Rojar Eid (Bangladesh),
Şeker/Ramazan Bayramı (Turkey),
Ramazanski Bajram (Bosnia),
Suikerfeest (The Netherlands),
Zuckerfest (Germany),
Aïd el-Fitr or Fête du Sucre (France)

"Eid" in Arabic means "festivity" and "Fitr" means "breaking of fast".
It is a day to celebrate the end of a period of abstinence from greed and earthly desires during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Eid ul-Fitr itself takes place on the 1st day of the month of Shawal.

Fasting is the sacred duty of all able-bodied and healthy Muslims. It is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith, and is meant to strengthen one's faith and a reminder of our shared obligation and duty to the poor and suffering.

During fasting from dawn to sunset, Muslims must abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual activity and harbouring any evil thoughts. Basic principles of see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil applies here. Instead, Muslims are encouraged especially in this holy month, to pray more, give alms to the poor and needy and enrich the soul by doing good deeds.

If you've never tried fasting before in the manner of a muslim, chances are you wont realize how much of human activity tends towards filling up our bodies with food, drink and sex and how little of our time is actually set aside filling our souls with good deeds. For my part, I tend to feed my physical needs more than my spiritual needs and I believe generally as humans, that's what most people do, believing selfishly that life goes on forever and we don't necessarily need to think beyond ourselves or this life. That is why despite the difficulties, I welcome and look forward to the month of Ramadan. To me, it represents an opportunity for muslims to become closer to god, even as they face daily hunger and thirst.

Below are quite a few snapshots of family and friends taken during this festive period :) I'm taking a huge chance on blogger loading it with all these images. Oh well...:)

Snap of my elder sis and her 4 favourite men! See the youngest nephew wrestling with his songkok (malay head-gear). He clearly has issues with it sitting atop his head.

Snap of my mum, younger sis and naughty nephews showing off their hong-baos or money packets! Big smiles all around :) Who doesn't like money?!!!

Hari Raya cupcakes I baked for my sis! They're strawberry and chocolate-fudge flavoured. I love seeing the kids burying their faces in these!!!

All 32 of them to be exact! :) Here they are all lined up prettily in the box waiting to be eaten!

Annoying songkok finally off, after much wrestling and tugging!

Another snap of the youngest nephew. Simply cos the aunty here can't resist showing him off! I call him my creampuff and to him I'm the mad ol' aunty who can't resist plopping his face with her big-ass kissies!