Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Teeny Tweeny Cat

Hobie: Where's my breakfast? It should have been here before I got up. You've ruined my life!
Mom: Hobie, breakfast is here, darling.
Hobie: I will eat whenever I feel like it. Don't ruin my life.

Hobie: Where are those laser points?
Dad: It's not dark yet, sweetie.
Hobie: I wanna play nowwwwwwwwww.........you're ruining my life!

Dad: We are running out of cat treats. I've gotta go out and get some (otherwise we'll be in trouble)..

...Half an hour later....

Hobie: Where are my treats?
Dad: Here they are, sweetie.

 ..Gobble, gobble, gobble.....

Dad: You like them, then.
Hobie: Whatever, I'm going to have my beauty nap now. Don't even think about ruining my life!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pizza Sauce:Pasata

You can freeze this homemade Pasata sauce for months (if you haven't eaten it all!) so it's worthwhile to make the whole portion. This recipe is enough for 3 medium pizzas (30 cm).

You'll need:
1 can of chopped Italian tomatoes in juice (400 gr)
1 clove of Garlic
1 tablespoon Sri Racha Chili sauce
1 tablespoon Thai Sweet Chili sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place all the ingredients in food processor and blitz until almost smooth. Lumpy bits here and there is OK - pour the content into a thick saucepan. Bring to the boil on medium high heat briefly and reduce the heat. Let it bubble gently for 8-10 minutes. The sauce will thicken up a bit. Remove from heat. Let it cool down before transferring to plastic tubs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rescued Cat

Hobie has been with us 5 months, about half of her whole life. I cannot help say something rather cliche about adopting a pet - that you cannot change the world but you can change a life - actually we might have changed Hobie's world. I don't know where Hobie was rescued from but by the sound of it - that Melanie could only estimate when Hobie was born, it's quite likely that she came from under someone's house or even in the bush somewhere around here. Melanie, as kind as she is, but with limited space, she has to put her rescued babies in shared crates. Now Hobie has her own home where she only has to share with us and Bonnie.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Butter and Cream Cheese Cake: Summer Variation

I know it's cheating but I can't help it. The weather has been quite warm and we see a lot of strawberries in the green grocers now. I bought 2 punnets a few days ago along with a bag of dried ones. My favourite butter cake is the one with cream cheese instead of milk and I think it will taste quite nice with some strawberries. It looks pretty too with a bit of food colouring and fresh strawberries and cream.

Just use the recipe for basic butter and cream cheese cake here and add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped dried strawberries (add a teaspoon of flour to chopped strawberries to coat so the pieces will not lump together). Drop a few drops of pink or red food colour to give the mixture a pink glow. Serve with whipped cream and fresh strawberries for the afternoon tea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Time Flies and It's been Six Years

It has been 6 years since we've got this puppy with us. Bonnie (aka Monster) was advertised on TradeMe for $250 for costs of vaccinations and microchipping. We were dogless after the last of our old dogs that we hauled from the street of Bangkok as puppies died of old age. I wanted to have a pet free holidays for a year but Bob did not think so. Actually, Bob had been looking for a new dog since our favourite dog died 2 years earlier. We tried to bring those new dogs and puppies home for a week but the old dogs did not seem to be happy and we had to return them eventually with some heartbreaks along the way because we really, really liked one puppy, a cross between Jack Russell and Shitsu.

Bob looked at this Jack Russell cross puppy ad one day and was sort of fell in love with the photo placed with the ad but we took cautious approach with this one. We arranged to see the puppy one evening. When we arrived, a little dark brown puppy came to greet us at the door. I was not quite sure to start with because she was 5 months old and had not been toilet trained properly. However, when I crouched down to have a look at her, this little Monster jumped up on to my lap and licked my hands. I was sold.

We changed her name from Monster to Bonnie. Bonnie is a cross between Jack Russell and Keeshond, a Dutch Barge Dog. It took only a week to toilet train her and teach her to use dog flap. When we enrolled her into puppy school at the local vet's, she could already sit on command. At the end of the class, she was the only puppy who could roll over when told. Bonnie is clever and learns fast. Initially, we were a bit worried that she would be super energetic with typical Jack Russell temperament but she seems to adopt more of a Keeshond's coolness. She enjoyed obedient and agility classes because she got to meet a lot of people and other dogs, the socialising part rather than the classes themselves. She didn't master the class because she was so easily distracted and she had to re-take Agility 101 before progressing to intermediate level. We stopped taking her to the class when she was about three due to work commitment but Bob still takes her for a walk in the park twice a day and we try to take her places with us (if allowed:) She is very friendly and very happy and we don't have to be worry that she will snap at other dogs or people. A lot of Posties seem to be fond of her.

Although she likes visiting the beaches and running into shallow water, she doesn't like sitting or playing in the paddling pool much. So she's not much of a Keeshond there. After 6 years, she has grown into a handsome (albeit chubby) dog. Nevertheless, she will always be a puppy to us.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Pasta with Cherry Tomato Pesto

I tried to make an easy dinner the other day and remembered I had a jar of store bought sun dried tomato pesto in the cupboard so I thought I would have pasta with that pesto as a side for my crumbed chicken. Alas, looking closely at the label, I found that the pesto contained cashew nuts which is a no, no for Bob. Well, I didn't have sun dried tomato on hands so had to resort to half a punnet of cherry tomatoes in the fridge. The result is quite OK so I have to share this recipe with you, especially those of you who cannot tolerate nuts.

For a side dish for 2, you'll need:
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil, and extra for frying
A pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon tomato sauce
2 tablespoons grated tasty cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon pine-nuts, toasted
1 1/2 cups cooked spiral pasta (Rotini)
1 teaspoon chopped basil or coriander
Extra grated cheddar

Fry garlic in small amount of oil on medium heat until fragrant then add tomatoes, fry further until soft. Add salt, sugar and tomato sauce. Remove from heat and rest to cool down a wee bit.

Place tomato mixture in a food processor with pine-nuts and grated cheese. While motor is still running drip 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the mixture. Pour the 'pesto' over cooked pasta and toss well to coat, if you like it a bit sharp, you may add a teaspoon of wine vinegar but this is optional. We like it without any added tang. Add chopped basil/coriander and extra cheese. Serve as a side dish to your meat dish.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Olive Kitteridge

I did not know Frances McDormand until I saw the film Fargo  a few months ago. I though she was wonderful in Fargo but after I have watched Olive Kitteridge, I think she's amazing.

Olive Kitteridge was made into an HBO's 4-pert mini series in 2014 basing on a Pulitzer Prize winner novel of the same name by Elizabeth Strout. The novel itself consists of 13 short stories of Olive Kitteridge over the span of 25 years. The TV 4-parter does not contain all the 13 stories but picks up the main parts to tell Olive's story.

Olive's character is quite complex and Frances McDormand has done a good job playing Olive, as a strict no-nonsense Math teacher, wife and mother. Olive's husband, Henry, was played by Richard Jenkins. I recognise him from Six Feet Under. Bill Murray had a part two in the last 2 episodes (they have to find very good and pretty strong actors to be opposite McDormand, and these two are not at all disappointing) . The story took place in a small seaside town in Maine. It's about people, normal and strange, their families, their interaction & interaction, Olive's up-tightness and  sharp tongue ruffle too many feathers but her well meaning and good heart also touch many lives along the way. The series conclude where and how it should. Strongly recommended!