Thursday, January 29, 2015

Final Act of Love

We just had to let go of our cat, Spike, last Thursday. Spike followed Bob home 2 years ago, I posted about this handsome boy many times and you can find his background here  and here.

We did not know his age or history apart from the fact that he had been neutered and learned to keep his claws in. So we assumed he had been abandoned for some reasons. It might be that his former owners broke up and neither party wanted him or his former owner passed away and he was not attached to the will so no one wanted him. Or he might have run away from home which was so unlikely – this boy was desperate for food, shelter and a little bit of love.

We fed him and kept him warm. Treated his wounds – regularly wormed him and gave him flea treatments. We thought that he was a young cat as he was big and strong and bounced back from his ailments quite quickly. It’s only his teeth that we had concerns.

Last year he started getting to be inside the house more and more At one point we thought we could take him to the vet to have his vaccination and his teeth checked but we had to deal with Bonnie and Pipi for their vaccination first - could not take them all at once. Then Pipi got sick (and eventually died) last November so we had to postpone the plan to take him to the vet until after New Year’s holidays.

Mid January, we noticed his tummy was a bit swollen but he still loved his food. We checked him in with the vet and the prognosis was not good (this was at the different Veterinary practice we used to go in the past 15 years as they had lost our trusts after Pipi was seriously sick because of mistreatment – I will post about this later). The vet gave him 1-3 months to live because he had aggressive cancer. We could not do anything apart from making as comfortable as possible. And when he started getting uncomfortable and did not want to eat – then we would have to let him go.

He stopped eating 5 days later and we knew that it was time to say goodbye. The cat that was once unwanted and starving had his final sleep peacefully – loved, secured, relieved and not alone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Summer Food: Chicken Wrap

This is sort of Tex-Mex dish - a bit like Fajita. You can use any meat of your choice but chicken is best IMHO.

For 4 wraps, you’ll need:

1 Chicken Breast, skinless and boneless cut into small stir-fry pieces
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ teaspoon Dry Oregano
1 tablespoon Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups of mixed Salad Greens or Shredded Iceberg
1 portion of TomatoSalsa 
4 tablespoons Sour Cream
½ cup Grated Cheddar
4 Tortillas

Marinate chicken pieces with salt and pepper, paprika, oregano and oil for 10-15 minutes. Fry the chicken in a pan over medium high heat. Stir-fry until just cooked through – add tomato sauce and fry a bit longer until cooked.
Pile the greens on warm tortilla, layer with chicken, tomato salsa, sour cream and grate cheese. Wrap tightly and serve. Yum, yum.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Stanley in the Park

I have mentioned Stanley early on  here when we haven’t got to know him and he was just a stranger cat back then.

Stanley is a cool cat – very confident around dogs, not friendly like Rudi who thinks he’s a dog himself but in a way that commands respect from them.  He’s a big cat and if he’s in a mood, he’ll play with us.

Stanley also has a pet mouse (or mice). More than once that Bob has seen him with a mouse – live, intact, standing on its hind legs kind of mouse – not a butchered kind. You know what I mean.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tomato Salsa (Pico de gallo-ish)

It is summer and tomatoes are abundant. Sun-ripened cherry tomatoes are sweet and apart from eating them with a sprinkle of sea salt, I like to turn them into salsa.

For a small bowl as a side, you’ll need:
10 – 12 cherry tomatoes
½ green chilli, seeds discarded (or leave them on, if you like it hot!)
1 tablespoon chopped Spanish/red onion
1 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon lime/lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Dice tomato, discard seeds if you can (cutting it in half and squeeze before chopping). Add onion and chilli. In a jug, mix olive oil with lime or lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over tomatoes. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Drain off some of the liquid and garnish with chopped coriander.

You can serve them alongside other dishes, not limited to Mexican. It’s good served as dip and relish.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another Best Friend in My Kitchen : Sri Racha Chilli Sauce

I grew up with Thai chilli sauce which we call Sri Racha Sauce because legend has it that the sauce was originally made in Sri Racha, the seaside town in Chonburi – east of Bangkok as a dipping sauce for seafood. The most authentic and well-known Sri Racha sauce is made by Sri Raja Panich (now part of bigger food corporation – Thai Theparos Foods).

Sri Racha Sauce has been made widely known in the US by the American-Vietnamese entrepreneur who manufactures the sauce and bottles in squeezable plastic bottles (Huy Fong Foods). Its taste and colour are different from Thai Sri Racha Sauce. Thai ones are not as red and taste better as it’s more familiar to me.

The originality aside, I always have a bottle of two of Thai Sri Racha sauce in my larder. I do not mind whether it comes in a plastic or glass bottle – but the glass bottles make me feel nostalgic with fond memory of spending part of my childhood in Sri Racha. The Sri Racha sauce I’m having at the mo is in glass bottle and made in Chonburi (probably not in Sri Racha). A teaspoon or two of Sri Racha sauce will lift up the taste of many dishes. I use it in my Pasta dishes , Seafood Chowder , Buffalo Wings, Spicy Coleslaw, Tuna Mornay and Chicken Pot Pies, etc. It’s also good as a substitute for Portuguese Peri Peri Sauce for Baked Chicken.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I have heard that NBC will release new version of Heroes : “Heroes Reborn”  this year and I welcome it. I was a big fan of Heroes Season 1and a much, much smaller one of Season 2.

It was a great comic book styled TV series - funny and exciting at the same time. It’s all about people with special ‘abilities’ but not all of them using these abilities in a heroic way – and this greyness made it even more interesting. The story line was good and did not try to be too serious. The Cheer Leader was in her uniform almost all the time as in comic strips. The cinematography, visual effect and art-direction were amazing. The actors and actresses were good especially Gabriel Grey and Hiro Nagamura.

They did not shy away from killing old characters to make way for the new ones either which was refreshing and we were very much looking forward to Season 2. Season 2 was a bit slow but still interesting enough – a hint of romance would be fine but obvious one did not mix well with comics. Even Tim Kring, the creator of the show admitted it. He also admitted that he had made a lot of mistakes which resulted in downward rating in every consecutive season.

We stopped watching after Episode 4 in Season 3 – it almost killed off our fondness of characters in Season 1. Heroes Reborn should be interesting - I hope that it will be at least as good as Heroes Season 1 if not better now that the creator himself knows what had gone wrong with Heroes from Season 2 onwards.

Note: The photo above is from NBC Website.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I'm Serious

I'm serious and I mean it. I have business to do here. I have Bob to look after and I have to lead him all the way through the forest, to the beach....etc. Sometime he stops a wee bit too long with that darn camera in his hands and I have to egg him on to move along. It's not easy you should know that.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass and Coconut Milk (ไก่ย่าง)

Towards the end of the festive season is a good time to have a nice long dinner with friends. The anxiety and stress and hypes for Christmas have long gone – people are getting mellower. The weather has been good – why not having some meat on the barbecue.

We had some friends over for Thai-ish meal with grilled chicken, carrot salad (Som-tam) and spicy pork mince salad (Larb Moo) served with sticky rice. I think every one’s gone home well fed and happy.

The star of the show was the chicken – with Thai marinade.

For 4 people you’ll need:

2 Chickens, cut in halves
1 Stem Lemongrass, chopped
2 -3 coriander roots, chopped
6 – 7 cloves of garlic
8 white pepper corns, 8 black pepper corns
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce for basting
½ can (425 g can) of coconut cream + 2 tablespoons for basting

Pound lemongrass, garlic, coriander roots, peppercorn and salt with mortar and pestle into fine pulp. Add the mixture to coconut cream and soy sauce. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the marinade for basting and pour the marinade over the chickens in plastic bag – massage the chicken pieces through the bag and leave overnight (or at least 6 hours) in the fridge.

Add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and dark soy sauce to the marinade for basting.

Grill the chicken halves on charcoal BBQ, keep basting all the way until cooked through – serve hot with sticky rice, sweet chilli sauce or this street style sauce.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year's Day Snorgle

New Year's Day was nice and warm and Bonnie had her walk in the park as usual after brunch. She came across this little kitten. She has known this kitten a little bit but not as up-close and personal until the New Year's Day when it gave Bonnie a New Year's Day snorgle. The look on Bonnie's face is priceless.

It's  newly acquired by one of the houses by the park. It's been groomed and trained by Rudi since Day1 so you can imagine how friendly it is - the community cat in the making. The kitten seems to wait for Bob and Bonnie almost everyday. It (sorry, we haven't flipped it over to see if it's a she or a he:) also seems to be interested in Bonnie than Bob.

It's their first snorgle - many more to come, I guess if Bonnie lets it, that is.