Thursday, December 31, 2009
Stroll placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in a long tranquil nap. As far as possible, without being in any way humble, be on good terms with all creatures - with the obvious exception of dogs.
Meow your desires loudly and clearly and occasionally listen to others, even your human, for she may be calling you for dinner. Avoid the company of fleas, they are vexations to both spirit and body.
Enjoy your achievements - particularly wallpaper lovingly scratched and pieces of string thoroughly chased. Keep interest in your career, there will always be a need for good mousers in the changing fortunes of time.
Be yourself; especially do not feign affection - except when you need a warm lap to sleep on. Neither be cynical about the love of cream, for through your charmed and enchanted existence it is as perennial as the grass it comes from.Take kindly the counsel of the years and rejoice in the fact that you have nine lives.
Nurture arrogance of spirit to shield you from sudden misfortune such as getting stuck up a tree. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born out of getting less than 20 hours sleep in a day. Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself and groom yourself frequently.
You are a cat of the universe, so much greater than humans and dogs; you have a right to be served. And even though you may sleep through most of it, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. With all its snacks, adventures and peaceful dreams, it is truly a beautiful world. Be content. Continue to be happy.
I am, a contented cat. purrr....meow!
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010!!!!
Sunday, December 27, 2009
It was my birthday on Friday, 25th Dec 2009. My 3rd year (15 in feline terms) of existence on this planet. I was born on 25th Dec 2006. I have no recollection of my biological family. I think my life really began after my Mama rescued me from someone's backyard.
Anyway, Mama organised a birthday party for me. Even Brad was helping out and promised to be on his best behaviour. Well, he might just steal my thunder, you know...
Mama did me proud by supplying the food and drinks.
Aunty Z and family who came all the way from Hornsby also brought food.
After dinner, Mama made coffee and tea, and took out the cake too. Must say this is one of Mama's experiments. Baked blueberry cheesecake - low fat and low calorie. She used cottage cheese and yogurt to make this delicious cake. Oh, with fresh blueberries too of course.
Oh, the kids brought presents for me too. Nope, not cat food. purrr.....meow!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
So, last weekend, Mama tried a Vietnamese recipe she obtained from her friend (the lady owns the laundromat in the suburb). Mama tried to stay true to the recipe and did very little improvisation. Well, I haven’t tasted the authentic version but must say I like this dish, although I think Mama should lessen or omit the fish sauce. As a true blue feline, I love fish (canned or fresh) but fish sauce I can do without. However, we can’t call it authentic Vietnamese if it doesn’t have fish sauce in it, right?
Anyway, here’s the recipe for Ga Xao Sa Ot (Chicken with Lemongrass & Chili)
Ingredients: (serves 4)
450g skinless thigh fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp fish sauce (cut down to half or omit if you don’t fancy this pungent stuff)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, finely chopped
2 big cloves garlic, minced
4 bird’s eye chilies, minced (Mama substituted this with 2 tsp chili paste and then put in 5 bird’s eye chilies [whole] at the same time as the spring onions)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Additional sea salt to taste
2 to 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 stalks spring onions, sliced (reserve green part for garnish)
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish
1. Marinate chicken with all ingredients except the oil, spring onions, coriander and sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. (Mama marinated this for two hours.)
2. Place a non-stick wok over high heat and add a generous amount of oil to fully coat the bottom. When oil is really hot, sprinkle sugar into the oil and swirl skillet around to make sure the sugar has dissolved.
3. When you no longer see the individual granules of sugar, throw chicken in and make sure each piece touches the skillet. Leave it alone for a while to allow the chicken to caramelize and then toss quickly to let the other side to cook.
4. At this point, you can make some room in the wok for the spring onions to fry (and the whole bird’s eye chilies, if using).
5. When all the pieces of chicken have caramelized to a beautiful golden brown, transfer to a plate and garnish with the fried spring onions.
6. Sprinkle the green part of the spring onions on top and place a generous amount of fresh coriander leaves around the chicken.
7. Serve with plain rice.
Oh, sorry I didn't invite anyone to lunch. It was kinda impromptu. purrr....meow!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Anyway, it's not the team-bonding exercise I want to talk about. It's where they went that I'm envious about.
Katoomba is the main city within the boundaries of the Blue Mountains. It is also where the Chocolate Gallery is located. A picture paints a thousand words so this shall be a pictorial entry.
Aargh...some people say that chocolates are not suitable for cats, that it's poisonous because of a substance called theobromine etc etc... But we're still alive!!!! And loving it. purrr....meow!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I was given the task of writing down the recipe as Mama has plans for a family heirloom recipe book somewhere in the horizon. Here goes:
1 kg cherries, washed and the stems discarded
2 tbsp fish curry powder
1 tbsp hot chili paste
1 large onion
2.5cm ginger root
15 bird chilies, stems discarded
1 tsp salt
3 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 liter water
2 tbsp cooking oil
1. Mix the chili paste and curry powder with a little bit of water in a small bowl.
2. Put the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor, pulse until fine.
3. Heat oil in a non-stick pan.
4. Fry the onion mixture until fragrant.
5. Mix in the curry and chili paste, stir well and fry until fragrant.
6. Now, plonk in the cherries, bird chilies and water.
7. Season with salt, sugar and vinegar. Let simmer until the cherries have become soft and the gravy thickens.
8. Mix in the sesame seeds, let simmer for a few minutes and take the pan away from the fire.
9. Transfer the relish into sterilised glass bottle or container. Only store in the refrigerator after "concoction" has cooled down.
10. Always use a dry and clean spoon to ensure longer shelf life of relish.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Mama woke us up really early, "Wake up lazy heads. Go wash your face and then I'll give you breakfast. Early start so we can reach home early too," she said.
And Brad had to open his mouth, "Aren't we supposed to go back to the zoo? We haven't seen the lion or bison!"
"Brad, what if we leave you at the zoo while the rest of us return to Sydney. Would you like that?" Dad has a surefire way of shutting Brad up. I just laugh in my head. Don't want to risk getting scolded by Dad.
ON THE ROAD
As expected, it was a loooong and boooooring journey again. Brad, afraid of Dad, just curled up and snored.
Rescue, fortunately, came via Mama.
"Dad, did you notice people selling cherries by the roadside when we passed by this way a few days ago?" she said.
He responded, "Yes. So?"
"Let's find out if there's any PYO orchards around here," Mama suggested.
"I think the cherry orchards are either in Orange or Bathurst. We'll find out there," Dad, surprisingly, agreed.
When we reached Bathurst (Dad didn't stop at Orange!!!), Mama said she needed a pee-stop so Dad had to find one and stopped there.
Mama, my lovely cunning mum, actually went to the big map on the wall and tried to see if any orchard is listed there. When Dad saw what she was doing, she quickly ran to the toilets. teeheehee....
Street view of Bathurst. This city is famous for Mount Panorama, the V8 Supercar Racing circuit.
We found a kebab shop in the city centre and tried to get more information from the shopkeeper. The chap (he's quite cute) told us to go to the Information Centre that's located on the road to Sydney. He also said there's a mosque that we can visit in a suburb called Kelso. After a hearty meal of kebab and chips, we found ourselves on the road again. This time looking for the information centre.
The lady at the counter was very friendly. Mama and Dad bought some Bathurst souvenirs there before asking for information and maps. We found out that there are three PYO cherry orchards in Bathurst. The nice lady marked them on the map and gave us the addresses and telephone numbers. Mama called all the orchards and then made the decision to visit based on the way the orchard people answered. "In business, first impression counts," she explained.
OFF TO THE ORCHARD
Cows having a siesta under a tree. We saw many such scenes along the way to the orchard.
Although we were told that the orchard is just 15 minutes away, it felt like forever. I guess it was because we were all super excited. Oh, the orchard we were looking for is called Stockman's Ridge, located on Limekiln Road. It has a website, you can google it. It practises organic farming.
Look at those humongous cherries! This type is called Starkrimson and matures to a deep maroon.
Mama checking out cherries hiding under the leaves. As the farm is organic, we could eat the fruits straight away as we pick them.
Harvest of the day. The owners even provided us with environment friendly bags.
The harvest upclose. We only picked from three trees and yet managed to get almost 6kg.
Mama checking out a fruiting peach tree.
The peaches are unfortunately still very young. Not ready for harvest yet.
An apricot tree.
Plums, still unripe too.
Organic almonds, anyone?
Dad practising his photography skill. The wooden stilt house is the orchard's office.
On the way back to the main road leading to Sydney, Mama noticed that we would actually be passing by Kelso. So Dad made a detour to look for the mosque.
I must say that a day in the cherry orchard had a good effect on Dad. He even agreed to stop and stretch our legs at the Blue Mountains. It was late and so we miss the yummylicious hot chocolates at the Chocolate Gallery. But the Three Sisters in Katoomba is always open. So we visited them.
The graceful Three Sisters.
Sunset at Echo Point.
It took another one and a half hours before we reached home. But I'm not complaining. purrr....meow!