Life is a jigsaw puzzle. Every segment of the puzzle is formed by different elements of life. I cherish all my felicity elements, what about you?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

In the name of Chinese New Year ...

Folks back home are most probably overwhelmed by Chinese New Year (CNY) preparation/celebration by now. As for me? Hmmm, let's see ... except the chinese groceries stores are displaying some CNY related products (年货) like CNY-candies, red packets, gift-baskets/hampers (which is very different from Malaysians' product in terms of packaging and products included in the baskets), we can almost forget the fact that CNY is around the corner. As a matter of fact, I wasn't aware of CNY until last weekend.

Anyhow, life goes on. After so many years, we're pretty used to the fact that we are not celebrating as much Chinese festive seasons when we're in overseas. Sounds pathetic? Nah, don't worry, we are alright.

Nevertheless, I will still try to get some CNY related products, in the name of celebrating CNY ...

Zhangzhou Mandarin Oranges (漳州芦柑). It tastes like it, looks like it ...

Very sweet, seedless ...

I am not sure whether are they the same thing, that is Clementine=Zhangzhou Mandarin Oranges? But I have read somewhere that clementine is the result of a cross between traditional mandarin oranges with sweet oranges ... Sounds like it is.

BakGwa (肉干)[Dried and processed meat]. Such product is a common item especially during CNY in Malaysia and Singapore. Many people normally will buy a few boxes of these as gifts to give each other.

Such small box of product for USD8. Well, it tastes alright, but it is so hard to chew! Yeah, I know, better than nothing ...

I found no CNY cookies, so I bought a box of this instead.

Here goes, some stuffs to elevate the CNY spirit in my household.

For folks in Malaysia, I hope you have a wonderful CNY celebration, and a prosperous year ahead.

Happy Chinese New Year, and Gong Xi Fa Cai!

With love,
Greenapple & Tomato

Friday, January 20, 2006

Missing Rambutan ...

What happened when I developed a crave for Rambutan when I am away from home?

Canned fruits loh ...

Thank goodness for canned food.
Alright, you might say 'These are not fresh...'

At least, at least, it's still rambutan ... With pineapple, they both make a perfect combination.

Now, will you please excuse me ... I need to self-indulge myself to something homey ...

Meme of FOUR.

I saw this from loopymeals. No, I wasn't tagged by the author, but I feel like doing it and tagging my fellow bloggers, in the name of 'knowing these friends/bloggers better'.

4 jobs you've had in your life
Part-time dental assistant.
Temporary Primary School teacher.
Temporary data entry cleark in my dad's office.
Temporary Histotechnologist and lab technologist.

4 movies you could watch over and over
Love Actually.
Something Gotta Give.
The Sound of Music.
The Incredibles.

4 TV shows you love(d) to watch
The Apprentice.
Sex and the City.
Everybody Loves Raymond.
The Berenstain Bear (yeah, cartoon...)

4 places you've lived
Petaling Jaya
Kuala Lumpur
Halifax, Canada
Currently in Richmond, Virginia, USA.

4 places (preferably overseas, if not, anywhere else) you've been on vacation to
Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast, Australia.
Xiamen, China.
New York City, USA.

4 places you would rather be
Anywhere, as long as he is with me.

4 of your favourite foods
Fresh fruits, like watermelon, honey dew, canteloupe, longan, etc.
Fish tofu. Assorted types of balls, like fishballs, meatballs, shrimp balls, etc.
Cheese, especially those melted one ...
Vegetables ...

4 blogs you MUST visit daily
Twin Happiness
a s h l e y
All About Zara
Snippets of Life

4 tagged
Twin Happiness
a s h l e y
All About Zara
Snippets of Life

Ahhh, a very very easy meme. Don't mind the 'FOUR' taboo okay?
We all promise to try to get to know each other throught our blogs, right?
Here we go ... =)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Japchae is a well-known, and well-loved Korean dish. As far as I know, Japchae means 'mix everything'. Traditionally, this dish is served during festive seasons, or birthday parties, etc. It's a dish that incorporates a wide selection of vegetables (with beef or just vegetarian) with DangMyen (Korean style glass noodle[韩国冬粉,or韩国粉丝]). DangMyen, although looks similar to Chinese glass noodles, is slightly darker in colour. Aside from the colour difference, DangMyen is much more chewy (or Q-vy) in texture, due to the fact that it's made from sweet potato flour, instead of the ordinary flour.

It was a love at first bite for myself with this noodle dish. As a matter of fact, this is my most favourite Korean dish, having KimChee as first runner up. I often cook Japchae myself. Not only that it's a dish easy to master, it's a meal full of fibre and hence good for your health.

DangMyen. The package.

DangMyen. Before cooking. You'll have to cook the noodle in boiling hot water before frying with assorted vegetables.

The vegetables. Zucchini, Chinese eggplant (brinjal in Malaysia), green pepper (capsicum in Malaysia), onion, and spring onion (or scallions). Slice them before cooking-in-action.

The ingredients. Sliced onions, sliced zucchini, sliced green pepper, chopped spring onion (into lengthwise), sliced mushrooms, sliced Chinese eggplant, pre-cooked Dangmyen, and some shredded egg for garnish.

It's easy to cook. First, to your wok, add in some oil. Next, add in some garlic, and stir fry until the garlic turn golden brown and you get the aroma of garlic. If you're having meat as part of your ingredients, put them in after garlic, and stir fry.

You can then put in your vege one by one. The order that I usually go by: onion-> Chinese eggplant -> green pepper -> zucchini.

Stir frying in action.

When the veges are half-cooked, put in mushroom, and DangMyen. Keep on stir-frying.

The sauce? I give you, my new-found recipe:
LKK's Korean Barbecue sauce.

Previously I was only using normal soy sauce with dark soy sauce. But I always feel that I am missing something. So, one day, I incorporated this sauce into my Japchae, and oh boy, I was so delighted with the end result. The taste that I made is very similar to the one I had in Hee Been (a great Korean restaurant that is closely nearby Washington D. C.).

Back to the method. Use LKK's Korean Barbecue sauce to taste. Depending on the amount of vege and Dangmyen you're using, a couple of spoonful sauce should suffice everyone's tastebud.
When the dish is almost ready, add in spring onion and keep on stir-fry for another minute or so.

The dish is often garnished with sliced eggs and sesame seeds.

I hope you'll like it.


Please pardon my inactivity.

Somehow life is happening too fast, and I am too caught up between here and there. It it so hectic until I find no time to decompress, or simply jot those moments down.

Alright, the aforementioned statement is just another way of saying, I am lazy, ha!

But it's true.

Whenever a year starts, many people will tend to make a list of New Year's resolution. Well, I don't usually have one. When it comes to that matter, I prefer to be a spontaneous person. I prefer to make necessary changes rightaway. I prefer to ....

Oh, maybe that's just another way of saying, I am lousy at adhering to plans.

Anyhow, what lies ahead of me, is rather hectic.

I am planning to take GRE (Graduate Record Exam) at this coming June, hoping to get into a Master program this coming Fall semester. That means I will have to cram 2000-3000 tough vocabularies into my head, alongside with essays preparation, as well as mathematics portion of the exam. I also plan to take the certification exam offered by ASCP (American Society for Clinical Pathology) at the end of the year. All these just implies that there will be A LOT OF studying work this year, in addition to having a full time job to commit.

I just hope that everything will turn out alright, and I possess the strength to cope what I have set for myself.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sweet Beverage: Apple with Preserved Sweet Dates

This is what I will normally do when fresh apple loses its freshness, or when the apple get too starchy, or having too many apple cores as leftover after making an apple pie. It's really easy to make, just prepare the ingredients, put them in the pot/slow cooker with water and cook until the apple turns brownish, then a soothing beverage is ready to be consumed!

The ingredients: apples and preserved sweet dates (蜜枣).

To get thing started, first peel off the apple's skin (unless you are using certified organic apples) and slice the apples, then place the apple and the preserved sweet dates into a big pot of bowling water, or slow cooker.

Cook until the apples turn brownish, and the dates turn mushy. In the middle of cooking, you might wanna take the dates out and give it a light squeeze in order to break the dates a little so that the sugar content of the dates can be released completely to the water. This way, you don't have to further add in anymore sugar. If you like yours to be sweeter, or you didn't add in sufficient dates for the sweetness, you can add in some rock sugar.

This is a drink my mum loves to make, and everyone else in my family love it a lot. It's a big hit especially during the warmer days back home. Even during chilly season like now, I love drinking it. I call it poor people's bird nest drink! Heh!

p/s: You can substitute apples with pears. The outcome will be similar.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chicken Vindaloo.

When you have your roti canai in mamak store in Malaysia, which type of gravy do you normally prefer? Dhal or kuah ayam (Malay, kuah: gravy; ayam: chicken)? I always go for the latter. Have you ever wonder what type of curry is that? (the curry that mamak stores would normally offer as kuah?)

I have been searching the recipe of such curry for quite a while. I mean, I am sure that it is neither ordinary curry chicken, nor any assam dishes. So, what would it be, then? A few weeks ago, I had a dinner at my friend's place. She made this dish that is known as Chicken Vindaloo from a recipe that is taken from one of her Amy Beh's cookbook . I am glad that she did. The minute I sampled such dish, I knew my search was over! This is it!

Ingredient :
600g chicken thighs, chopped into bite-sized
3 tbsp oil
1 Bombay onion, diced
1 stalk curry leaves
1 tomato, diced
3 tbsp meat curry powder, mixed with a little water into paste
1 tbsp tomato puree ( I think tomato sauce is fine. Actually I used tomato paste yesterday)
125 ml water
lemongrass (optional)

Marinade :
1/2 cup plain yogurt,
2 tbsp lemon juice,
1 tbsp pounded garlic,
1 tbsp ginger paste,
1/2 tsp salt,
1/4 tbsp cumin seeds (optional),
1/4 ground black pepper.

1/2 - 1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Method :

1. Season chicken pieces with the marinade for several hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pot. Fry the onions until soft and fragrant. Add curry leaves, lemongrass, diced tomato and curry powder paste and fry until oil separates.

3. Put in marinated chicken, tomato puree and water. Then cover and cook simmered over a moderate heat until gravy is thick and chicken is cooked and tender.

4. Add seasoning. Serve garnished with Coriander leaves.

Needless to say, the best way to savour this dish, is to have it with roti canai, like fellow Malaysians do. I actually like this curry recipe a lot, as it doesn't require too much ingredients. You don't even need coconut milk for this recipe, only yoghurt, and curry powder, and you're almost there.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Congee Supreme.

Oh well, I didn't know how to name this congee, and since it has a little bit of everything, congee supreme it is. Due to the cold weather out there, my craving for warm food has grown stronger by each day. So I thought of a bowl of warm and homey rice porridge.

2 litre water
2 cups rice
3 chicken drumsticks
6 small pieces of Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) => chinese herbs
1 tbsp of Chinese Wolfberry
1 cup of diced carrots
1 cup of diced onions
1 cup of diced tomatoes
1 cup of diced potatoes

Sesame oil
Soy sauce
White pepper

1. Prepare the ingredients. Dice all the vege.
2. Boil the water.
3. Put in all the ingredients. Orders not necessary. Cook until the rice is soft and well-broken. I prefer the gruel type.
4. Salt to taste. Add in some sesame oil for the aroma.
5. Soy sauce and white pepper can be added either to the entire pot of congee, or only add it on your plate when you're about to consume it.
6. Bon Appétit!

A plate of warm and hearty congee, having stir-fried watercress (西洋菜) vege as side.
I would normally have a stir fry vege to go with my congee, as fiber provider.
Dash of white pepper, and some soy sauce would make it perfect.

The congee was a wild try, but I love it! It has sweetness from all the ingredients, you can taste a hint of tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions, dong quai, Chinese wolfberries, as well as essence from the chicken.
! Oooohh-la-la!

Something homey.

I once said 'You can take a Malaysian out of Malaysia, but you can never take Malaysia out of a Malaysian'. The response I got was 'more food for thought'. The comment was right, but only partially though. When you're in overseas, you tend to ponder over the differences between races and nationalities more than you're in your home country. At least that is what I have experienced in my recent years living abroad. I do have many Chinese friends from China. We click really well. We all look physically alike, but deep down, we all know that there are many huge differences between ourselves. Food, culture, perception, habits, etc., just to name a few. For a foreigner, they might have viewed all Chinese as a whole, but we sure think that a Malaysian Chinese differs from Chinese from China, a lot.

Alright, this post is about food. Something Malaysia, something homey.

I manage to get a packet of Hup Seng's Ping Pong Cream Crackers from the grocery store. Oh, what a precious! Crackers and coffee is a common combination for breakfast in my family. Ahhh, a cup of hot aromatic coffee, together with homey cream crackers (from Malaysia,yay!), perfect combination!

I am not a big coffee fan, as coffee tends to dry my throat. On top of that, I dislike the unpleasant breath one will develop after taking coffee (please do not be offended! that is my personal view). I will not say no to this breakfast nevertheless, as it is THAT good.

It is best to have the crackers dip into boiling hot coffee, so that the crackers will be softened nicely, and that the aroma of coffee will diffuse evenly in every bite of the crackers. When you have the crackers in your mouth, the softened-crackers-but-still-with-a-hint-of-crunchiness+coffee aroma= heavenly!

See, you can take a Malaysian, out of Malaysia. But can you take Malaysia out of a Malaysian? Nah. More food for thought? Oh well, perhaps.

Food, partakes a culture, afterall.

Friday, January 06, 2006

at sea.



Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Cranberry Bean Soup.

I felt ecstatic when I saw Cranberry Bean (also known as Borlotti Bean, or Pearl Bean. The latter term is commonly used in Malaysia when directly translated from Chinese.) in the grocery store in Northern Virginia last weekend. Gosh, I hadn't consumed this vege in years! I never saw this when I was in Halifax. I rationalize that such fresh produce is way too exotic to appear in East of Montreal.

The most common way to cook this bean, is to make soup. Can we cook it another way? Oh, you really got me, because, I really don't know! Do share if you have different recipe.

Ahh, how I missed this soup!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Konnyaku Jelly.

Konnyaku jelly, something I am crazy about. I love it; my family members love it, even my grandpa is a big fan of such dessert. I like it's unique texture, so Q-vy, so soft yet so firm at the same time. Sometimes I will have some longan to go with it, but I actually prefer having only the jelly, without any other fruits. That way, I can savour the jelly bits by bits.

Be forewarned, though, that this is an adult food. Konnyaku jelly, having konjac as its active ingredients, is a possible choking hazard for the kids. Such product imposes a high suffocation risk among children. As a matter of fact, Canada banned such food a few years ago, so does Australia. I was shocked when I learned about this. But I agree with the decision made by the authorities. So, do becareful if you're sharing this food with your younger one.

It makes me feel so weird that a food that I like so much is hazardous to certain people. Bah.

Everything Online.

Are you an 'online' person? How 'online' are you?

Since our days in North America (previously Canada, now USA), broadband internet is something we cannot live without. I call it an 'essential' of daily lives. We do banking online, we pay all our bills online, we rent our DVDs online, we order our digital photo prints online (and pick them up at stores an hour later), etc. Internet is a great tool for communications, but I guess we have lived a life that is way beyond that. Online shopping is something really handy these days. You can buy almost anything, or everything from the internet now. More often than not, the deals are better on the internet, than the deals you get in stores. All you need to pay is the shipping and handling. Most of the websites would offer free shipping if your order exceeds a certain amount, so that's even better.

In Canada days, I was a big fan of Amazon.Ca, and Chapters.Ca. These sites are cool, and they have given me an option for more affordable books. In recent days, Amazon.Com and Barnes & Noble.Com are my fave when it comes to books. Tomato loves to get his computer accessories online. I bought my current laptop from the internet, so does my scrubs, my movie tickets, my broadway tickets, my flight tickets, even lingerie!

This is a lifestyle that is totally different from two decades ago. I wonder how will our lives be 20 years from now.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A good head start.

This might not be the healthiest breakfast, it's still homey nevertheless. Very americanized indeed. Our first breakfast in 2006. I don't live a very americanize life, so such breakfast is my very first. My first time making scramble eggs, as well as turkey bacon after not having bacon in a very very long time. I also prepared baked beans and toasted bread together with english tea to go with everything.

Oh well, just wanna do something special at the beginning of the year. A good head start, literally.

May all of you have greater days to come. Happy 2006!


Tomato & Greenapple's 8th Dating Anni.
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