Saturday, October 30, 2010

Weekend Drama at the Jolie-Pitt Household

Scene 1: Bedroom
I was still in lalaland when that slave of mine tried to wake me up.
Brad: Angelina, wake up. Did you know that Mama just went out?
Me: And she didn't take us with her?
Brad: You know she can't cope with four cats in the car.
Me: We can always leave Pingu and Ginger at home.
Brad: But that would be mean, Angelina.
Me: Brad, don't you get it? I am the personification of "mean".
Brad: You are, indeed. I should know.
Me: Har! Har! Har!
And so I went back to sleep.

Scene 2: Main door
(the sound of door opening and closing)
Brad: Mama,'re home. Where did you go, Mama? Why didn't you take me with you?
Mama: One question at a time, Brad. I just went to the shops to buy some groceries.
Brad: Did you buy any chicken, Mama? Did you?
Mama: Yes, I did. And I plan to cook something special. Just for you.
Brad: Just for me? Why? Not for Angelina too?
Mama: Just for you because you've been a good host. Not causing too much trouble for Pingu and Ginger.
Brad: Woohoo!!!! Did you hear that Angelina?
Me: I'm not deaf yet, Brad. You want a paw mark on your mug?
Mama: Now, now. Calm down. Don't you two start quarreling.

Scene 3: Kitchen
Mama: Look at that chicken, Brad. Isn't it juicy and plump?
Brad:'re making me salivate. May I have some?
Mama: No, no raw meat today. We're all going to be civil people. We have house guests, remember. We don't know how Pingu and Ginger's parents feel about feeding them raw meat.
Brad: I have to wait until it's cooked? But I'm hungry.
Mama: Patience, naughty boy! You've just had breakfast.
Brad: But breakfast was at 8.30. It is now 11.30.
Mama: Goodness. How time flies. So, let's start cooking now. Go fetch Angelina. I need her to help me.
Brad: Can't I help instead? She's napping.
Mama: OK...but promise you won't bite the raw chicken.
Brad: Yes, Mama. I promise.
Mama: Let's start by gathering all the ingredients. Write it down.
Brad: Yes, Mama. Here's the list of ingredient:
1 medium-sized chicken
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 inch piece of ginger
1 stalk lemongrass
2 large cloves garlic
3 shallots
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 bunch fresh rosemary (from our garden)
1 lime

Brad: Mama, I've written them all. What next?
Mama: Write down the cooking method, step by step.
Brad: Alright, you dictate and I'll write. Step by Step:
1. Clean chicken, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut along the backbone so it become butterflied.
2. Crush dry spices in stone mortar.
3. Use food processor to blend lemongrass, ginger, garlic and shallot.
4. Mix all the ingredients and rub thoroughly on the chicken as well as under the skin.
5. Keep marinated chicken aside (in the refrigerator) for about half an hour.
6. Preheat oven to 160oC.
7. Put chicken in roasting tin, skin side down, and cook in oven for about 30 minutes.
8. Take chicken out and turn skin side up. Cook for another 20 minutes.
9. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving. Squeeze some lime juice on it.

Yummy chicken roast....

Scene 4: Dining/Living Room
Brad: Thank you, Mama. The chicken is so yummy.
Mama: Thanks to you too for helping me cook.
Brad: It's OK. I love helping you, Mama. Aren't we inviting everybody else to eat?
Mama: Well, they all napped while we toiled in the kitchen. So, let them be. More for us, right.
Brad: Yes, Mama. More for us. I like that. Eat your heart out, Angelina. har har har *evil laughs*

Mama also cook other dishes to accompany the chicken. There's beef curry, salad, acar, sambal belacan and fried dried fish. All served with rice.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fish on Friday!

Mama does inventory of the fridge's contents on Fridays, before her usual weekend grocery shopping. Brad and I would usually plant ourselves in the kitchen during this exercise. Never know what she might cook for us on that day.
"hmm...see Angelina. We have a couple of Spanish Mackerel cutlets in the freezer. Fancy some yummy mackerel today?" You have to ask, Mama?
Then she rummaged in other parts of the fridge to see if she has enough ingredients for whatever recipe she has in mind.
Then another rummaging in the pantry.
I can't wait to know what she has in mind.

Voila! It's the Holy Mackerel! or what is actually Spanish Mackerel in Hot Chili Coconut Sauce....

Here's the list of ingredients:
1 large piece Spanish Mackerel cutlet (we love our fish with the bones too)
5 bird chilies (ours is from our garden)
Small but fiery - bird chilies from our own garden...
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp aniseed
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 small piece fresh turmeric
1 small piece galangal
1 lemongrass

OK, we cheated. Should use fresh galangal and lemongrass but since they're not in stock, we have to make do with these.
1 cup stolon of taro (it's the stem of the taro plant) - you can substitute with potato or even spinach

OK, we cheated again. It's too far to drive to get the fresh ones so we use the frozen ones. Got them from the Bangladeshi butcher shop. 
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
3 pcs tamarind skin (or 1 tbsp thick tamarind paste)
1 pc kaffir lime leaf (this is from our garden too)
Mama's pride and joy - the kaffir lime tree. It's fruiting now.
Salt to taste

And now, let's start cooking.

First, take out the stone mortar and crush the dry spices.
Doesn't matter if you crush them coarse or fine. We just want the aroma.
Then add in the chilies, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, onion and garlic.
That's how everything should look. You may use food processor but it's easier to wash the stone mortar.
Put fish cutlet in claypot, add in mortar-crushed mixture, tamarind skin, lime leaf and water.
No oil required. Healthy cooking, OK?
Put on heat and simmer until fish is tender.
Add in stolon of taro and coconut milk.
Add salt to taste, let simmer for a few minutes and take away from heat.
Serve with white rice.
That's how I like it. More fish than rice. Yummm.....
Best eaten on a nice and cool day. Or in an air-conditioned room with plenty of serviette to wipe away the sweat. It's hot, I tell ya. purrr....meow!

After lunch siesta....zzzzzzz

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brad the Statistician

Eh, how many people read your blog Angelina?

I don't know, ask Brad.

Lemme check for you...lemme lemme...can I count using my toes, Mama?

Should I register with StatCounter? purrr....meow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guess Who's Come to Stay

Pingu and Ginger!!!!
Pingu seems shy at first! He's a great actor.

Ginger shows his belly to my Mama....shameless!
Their parents have gone there:
Aunty If and Uncle Is are somewhere there...among the large crowd.

So, the next few weeks, these two humongous man-cats will be staying with us.

Brad says I should be happy that my fiance #1 is staying under the same roof as me.

Yeah...right! I think Brad is jealous.

Hmm...Mama seems to be a bit lenient with them. How come?

I get flicked at the ears if I mess up the food corner. Pingu gets NOTHING!!!! So unfair.
He literally got away with jumping on the kitchen bench and sink.
The two rascals at the kitchen sink! Something Brad and I are never allowed to do.
Ginger sitting on the dining table. It's a big issue when I do it.

"We have to be nice to our house guests, Angelina," Mama said.

Yeah...even though she has to scoop more poo than usual. They eat a lot...therefore.... *chuckle* purrr....meow!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Running Away from Home?

Hmmm....I wonder how long the food can last?

Actually, I don't know how to open these cans.
Do you think you can survive living on the streets, Angelina?

I refuse to answer that question. purrr....meow! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Early Birds Get the Worms...Early Cats?

Mama woke me up at dawn so that I could see these from our balcony.

Magnificent, eh?

But nothing beats doing this:

See y'all later......zzzzzzzzz.....purrr....meow!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Forbidden Fruit

I can't wait for Summer. Yeah...most people would argue that Spring is the best time of the year but to me...nah...Summer is special. Because Summer is when I get to taste manna from heaven - those delectable, tastiest of fruits aka APPLES!!! (most people do believe that the apple is the forbidden fruit of Adam and Eve....)

I'm not talking about those waxy old stuffs at the fruit shops. I'm talking about those tree-ripened apples of Bilpin, New South Wales, Australia. Granny Smiths, Royal Gala, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Jonaton....the list goes on and on. I love them all. And I love visiting the orchards. The delicate late blossoms, the many many branches of the trees....even the squishy fruits that fall on the grounds.

Well, this incident happened last Summer (enter theme from I Know What You Did Last Summer). It was about a week after we came back from Bilpin and the apple stock was diminishing at lightning speed. Somehow, I managed to keep some for my still life project. Hey...this cat is artistic, OK?

Anyway, I changed my mind and decided to practise my photography skills using the apples as the objects of desire. Who knows...I may get to be a pawpawrazzi someday... Oh...but I digress. So, tell me, does the apple look more delectable this way:

....or this way?

Suddenly, "Angelina, stop playing with your food!"

"No, Mama. I'm not playing with my food. I just want to see if I can make these Granny Smiths look more alluring with proper photography technique," I thought I sounded so defensive....

"I'll enrol you at the Uni of Sydney summer course in digital photography if you want to improve your skills, OK? Now, help me turn those apples into something more delicious," Mama continued.

"What could be more delicious than eating an apple in the raw, Mama? Hmmm....I know. You're making apple pies."

"Nope. No apple pies. I don't feel like making pastry today. It will be something equally delicious but less fattening. More importantly, less work," she explained.

"What could it be? You know I love those apple pies we ate in Bilpin. I'll take out the food processor."

"Have you heard of Apple Crumble, Angelina? That's what we're making today. Now, write down the recipe and then take out the ingredients from the pantry and fridge."

"Sounds delicious too, Mama. Let's get started."

Woohoo! So, here's the list of ingredients.

For the bottom layer:
4 medium apples (Granny Smiths), peeled, cored n diced
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp brown sugar
Combine all in pot, heat until apples are soft.

For the top layer:
1/2 cup flour or almond meal (Mama is gluten intolerance, hence the option of almond meal)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup oats or chopped nuts (we used walnuts - in abundance in Bilpin around same time as apples)
60g butter or margarine
Mix all ingredients by hand until they crumble like this.

Then, put the bottom mixture in a baking dish. Use the back of a spoon to press the mixture so that you get a firm bottom like the pix below.
Then, spread top mixture evenly. Also use back of a spoon to press the mixture so you get a firm top.

Next, bake 30mins at 170oC or until top is browned all over.

Voila! Now you can scoop the Apple Crumble into small bowls and serve with ice cream. May I recommend Bulla vanilla ice cream? yummm.....

I do agree that this is way easier (and faster) than making apple pies. purrr....meow!

Masterchef Angelina signs off!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letter to Pe'ah binti Su'ud

Dear Pe'ah,
I heard that congratulations are in order. You have self-appointed yourself as the guardian of Madam Pe'ah Sushi Quattro. Below are the initiation rites that you'll have to undertake.

Never leave the door of the wardrobe open. Some people may want to help you with the laundry.

Never ever leave the toilet seat up. Pe'ah may want to have a taste of "flavoured" water. disgusting!

Be prepared to sit on the floor. Your feline may decide to conquer your dining set.

Did we tell you that you MUST buy the tallest cat tree available? Oh, and replace every quarter or so. The rate of wear and tear is just mind boggling.

Don't be lazy. Do your laundry. Don't expect a cat to help you fold the clothes as clothes in laundry baskets are very very comfy indeed.

If you think the largest bed in the house is yours, think again. Sharing is the order of the day.

Coffee table are comfy "lepak" spot too. Glass, wood, any material would do just fine.

The bigger picture. In case you don't get it.

Glass is dangerous for cats. Oh, and humans too if it gets mistake or by design. Accidents happen, you know...

Sorry. Prime position taken.

This is better than prime position. Don't you dare change the channel.

More of the sharing and caring option. Beds are fun play stations too.

Side tables are for the taking too. No furniture shall be left "un-furred."

Has she been spayed? Let me tell you, she will never ever regain her shape after giving birth.

These rites are just to facilitate you to obtain an "L" license in bringing up a cat. To gain a "P" plate, you'll have to undergo more vigorous tests, mostly practical, outdoors. To gain full license, you'll need to show exemplary performance for 24 months, provided the relevant feline is still alive. If for whatever reason Pe'ah dies while under your care, we'll suspend your license for life and then "tar and feather" you. har har har....purrr....meow!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Precious Moment

Rare....a very rare scene indeed.

I was fast asleep when the spoilt brat crept up and silently dozed off next to me. Mama thought she would lose the moment if she had gone to fetch the DSLR from the study so she took the photos using her mobile. True enough, when I realised what the rascal did, I showed everyone my tail of disapproval. But the sofa was too comfy for me to move elsewhere so I let him be.

I promise to myself I will never ever let this happen again. purrr.....meow!