Friday, August 29, 2014

Give Me Some Sugar

This is my friend’s Chi Chi - a very cute girl with white and tan long hair. I have recently learned something about these tiny dogs. When my mother has just got her Chihuahua, the breeder told her to give the puppy sugary drink from time to time. I was alarmed and told her to talk to the vet first. I have never owned such a smallish dog with special needs so I have had no idea whether it’s the right thing to do.

With Bonnie, our half Keeshond, half Jack Russell, we have to keep her weight in check and the vet told us not to give her too many sweet things – not good for her diet and her teeth. However, since then I have learned that Chihuahuas tend to have low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia) that may lead to coma so they need some sugar supplement in their diet (and you have to take better care of their oral health). I am quite sure that Bonnie would love to be a Chihuahua for this reason so that we would give her some sugar of the edible kind.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Risotto with Mushrooms and Kale

I have forgotten about kale this winter until a friend mentioned to me that she had her vegetable juice with kale in it. I like kale – it’s flavourful and does not have a weird after taste like Spinach.  It seems to hold itself well when cooked – not a wimpy vegetable, I’d say. So when I cooked this risotto the other night – I have added some chopped kale to the dish and the result was a tasty one.

For 2, you’ll need
¾ cup Arborio rice (I used Jasmine rice)
1 litre chicken stock
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
6-8 mushrooms, sliced
4-5 big leaves curly kale, chopped
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped
4 rashers bacon, chopped
2b tablespoons butter
Oil for frying
¼ cup dry white wine
2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

In a pan, fry bacon pieces on medium high heat until crispy, drain on kitchen paper towel and set aside. (If you wish to cook the chicken by frying, cut the breast into three or four small piece, season with salt a pepper and fry the pieces in the same pan, using the oil rendered from the bacon). In the same pan, fry the chopped kale until wilted – set aside. Next, fry sliced mushrooms until golden then set aside.

Heat up the stock and let it simmer. Add butter to the pan with a little bit of oil and fry onion and garlic until fragrant. Add rice and stir well so that the grains are well covered with oil – pour in the wine. Wait until the liquid is absorbed then reduce the heat, and add a ladle of stock at a time to the rice. Stir regularly. This process will take about 25-30 minutes for rice to be cooked. I don’t like my rice al dente so I cook mine a little bit longer – but add enough liquid so that it does not get too dry. Add chopped chicken, kale and mushroom, stir well and cook until heated through. Remove from heat, add the parmesan, stir and divide into the plates. Add a round of freshly milled black pepper and topped with crispy bacon. Enjoy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Queen of the Red Car

This red car is part of the Glenbrook Vintage Railway run by The Railway Enthusiasts Society Inc . The train normally runs from October to May but it can be chartered for special events.

This must be one of them and probably this girl is a Birthday Girl and has a privilege to be at the front of the red engine car. Some days in November and February, this red car will turn into Thomas the Tank Engine for the kids. It’s fun – I have been there and transported myself back into childhood.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Curse You, Red Baron!

Bonnie is posing as Captain Snoopy ready to engage in a dogfight with The Red Baron. The fact: Bonnie is generally a very happy dog – the times she is grumpy are when she is in bed and when she has to wear stupid things for us to take photos!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chicken Wings in Red Sauce - Tender Version (ปีกไก่น้ำแดงอย่างนุ่ม)

For 2 you will need:

750 grams Chicken Nibbles/Wings
2 coriander roots
2 cloves garlic, peeled
7-8 white pepper corns
¼ teaspoon salt
½ onion, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1-2  tablespoons sherry
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon corn flour, mixed with a bit of water
Oil for frying

Pound coriander roots, pepper corns, garlic and salt with pestle and mortar until pulpy. Marinate chicken wings with this mixture, oyster sauce and a tablespoon soy sauce and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

In a wok on medium high heat, add oil and fry chicken wings until golden brown on all side and transfer to a casserole. Add a bit more oil in the same wok and fry onion until translucent – add sherry and half the chicken stock. Transfer the mixture to the casserole and add the rest of the stock, tomato sauce and sweet soy sauce. Bring to the boil then cover and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for an hour. Add flour mixture and stir to combine, simmer a bit longer until thickened. Serve warm with steamed carrots and peas and rice.

It is a comfort food dish - this version. You can also deep fry the wings and make a thicker sauce (only a bit of stock required) in separate pan with chopped onion and smother the wings in the thickened sauce before serving. A bit like Buffalo Wings but gentler.

Monday, August 18, 2014

You Sexy Thing!

That’s right, we girls wouldn’t see anything sexy about this but boys especially the audiophile types see it that way. Nothing much, just the inside of the amplifier and it seems to attract them.

In my line of work, I have to deal with hi-fi parts – audio enhancers and etc. I like music – and superior sound at that but, mind, I have never found the naked amps sexy. I would say I’d prefer them with the lids on!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Upside of Being Tiny

My mother’s Chihuahua is tiny but he uses his size to his advanrage. He can escape to his shelter under the sofa when playing with Sheene who is much bigger (full size Bangkaew). He can twist humans including my brother around his tiny little paw. Imagine a 5 foot 10 man cradling this boy and talking to him in puppy voice! I’m sure he’s not the only one ever fallen under the spell of little puppies (or kitties).

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cheat’s Cabonara

My cabonara contains more proteins and you can do either lighter version with sour cream or a bit heavier with cream cheese. The real Italians will not touch this with a 10 foot barge pole!

For 2 you’ll need:

150 grams spaghetti
4 rashers of bacon, chopped
1 egg yolk
½ cup sour cream for lighter version or ½ cup cream cheese for richer sauce
2-3 tablespoons of milk or cream
6 medium size mushrooms, sliced
1 chicken breast, boneless and skinless, sliced
1 spring onion, chopped
Grateก Parmesan
Salt and pepper

Fry bacon until crisp and set aside. Fry mushrooms until lightly brown and set aside. Cook pasta in boiling water. Whisk sour cream, cream, cheese and egg yolk in a jug. Fry chicken with a little bit of oil in the same pan that you cooked bacon and mushroom until cooked through. Add mushrooms and sour cream mixture. Stir quickly – don’t let it boil then remove from the heat and add hot pasta. Return too gentle heat but only briefly if you want to make sure that the egg yolk is properly cooked. If it becomes too dry – add some water (I use cooking liquid from pasta). Season with salt and pepper and add bacon and chopped spring onion. Toss well and serve warm. Garnish with more Parmesan and black pepper

Monday, August 11, 2014


I am Murakami’s  fan but this is the only second novel of his that I have read. I have to read something easy and relaxing in between his, to tell you the truth, otherwise my head would hurt too much.

Saying that, 1Q84 is a trilogy – there are 3 books altogether and it took me more than a month to finish them. I only read at my leisure and I am definitely not a speed reader. There were so many places in 1Q84 that I had to flick the pages (on Kindle) back to re-read in order to understand or seem to understand those bits better!

If you were old enough in the 80’s you would be able to connect with this novel – no cell phones, no laptops or tablets – but we somehow have survived! The story is surreal (without much explanation – very Murakami-esque) but in some way quite cute and romantic (and of course, gruesome in some places) at a slow pace until the second book. It is about a long journey of two main characters, Aomame and Tengo – in the twisted world of 1984. While reading this novel, trust me, you wll not be able to help it but looking at the sky for the second moon.

I have heard of and experienced for myself (in Kafka on The Shore) with Murakami’s endings or lack of endings so to speak. To my surprise and (some) satisfaction – at least this one has its conclusion.

Note: The picture of the book is from

Friday, August 8, 2014

She's One of Them

She is light's and fire's worshipper. She would make R'hllor and Lady Melisandre so proud.

Aren't all the cats like that? We had our old oil column heater on the other day when our heat pump played up and Pipi and Splosh (aka Spike) curled up along side the heater to cook themselves.

Why didn't Lady Melissandre own a cat? They are sort of similar in nature - cute and evil in one package. Might have to ask George R R Martin one day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Creamy Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

Comfort food for winter - for two, you'll need:

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
6 – 8 medium mushrooms, sliced
Half onion
1 carrot
4 tablespoons butter
1 heap tablespoon flour
2-3 tablespoon cream or sour cream
½ teaspoon mustard powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Poach chicken breasts in a pot with water enough to cover them. Dip the chicken breasts in boiling water about three times until the outside is sealed – before submerging them in the water with half an onion and a carrot. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes (the timming depends on the size of the chicken breasts). Switch off the heat and leave the chicken undisturbed for 15 – 20 minutes. Lift the chicken and slice thickly, set aside and save about a cup of cooking liquid.

In a pan over medium heat, fry mushroom in 1 tablespoon butter until golden, remove from heat and set aside. In the same pan, add remaining butter – add flour and fry quickly until frothy remove from heat and gradually add reserved liquid. Return to the heat until bubbly and thickened, season with mustard, salt and pepper. Add chicken and mushroom and heat th
rough – stir in cream or sour cream and mix well. Serve warm with mash and steamed vegetables.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Made with Love - Partie Deux


I posted about my old school friend Sasha a couple of months ago – her and all the good work she has done all these years for the hill tribe children in Thailand. Those ones with less opportunity than city or town kids as their villages are in remote parts of Mae Hong Son. She travels to these remote areas to visit the villages and help out with their projects every year..

To express my appreciation for her hard work, I have made her this dyed howlite and agate necklace. Sasha will travel to Thailand and Nepal this month with her American husband and their daughter. I hope she will take this necklace with her and wear it from time to time so the token of my affection for her is with her throughout the trip. Have fun and enjoy every minute of it, my friend.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Barking Busker

One of my school friends went to Germany last month on business trip and had a brief excursion to the border town of Strasbourg in France. It was sunny and warm and people spilled on to the pavements for their drinks and entertainment. She came across these two buskers. The barking kind was multi tasking - taking a break and guarding the coins in the box. I think he also had had a fair share of work bringing in some of those coins early on.