Sunday, 26 April 2015

Body Issue: Low Carbing as a Lifestyle?

In general, it is easier to gain weight than to lose em'.

Not applicable to all but most of us (I would like to believe) is facing the hard truth of maintaining a perfect-size figure to exclude ourselves in becoming the subject of mockery.

I'm not sure how it all begin but I used to be skinny and have no problems in eating any kind of food, anytime and anywhere I want and still look the same. Everything changes when I started to work in office-environment and having the pleasure of earning my own income (buying and eating food that I never had a chance to taste when I was a student). On top of that, probably age and my sedentary lifestyle is also the main cause of my 'expansion' moment so..yeah, my body changes and I can't seem to stop expanding although eating less (thanks to binge eating).

After trying lots of products, types of exercises, juicing and what not...I almost gave up and actually beginning to accept myself for who I am. Until I came across a facebook page which shares tons of great low-carbohydrate recipes which I think is pretty interesting, fun and some of it is ridiculously easy to make. (You can try to search under the name - 'Low Carbing Among Friends'). Hence, I did my research and saw that Atkins diet is associated with low carb menus and I even joined a local support group on people practicing Atkins diet.

My curiosity get the best of me, I even tried the first phase of Atkins but I only managed to last for 5 days due to my ever-long love and hate relationship with sugar. Even for 5 days, I managed to lose 3 kg and remain static until now, provided I balanced my carbs days with low carb days. So, yeah..thank God for low-carb food! And oh..not forgetting to exercise at least 3 times a week.

The struggle is real, people. Consider yourself lucky if you don't have any problems in maintaining your figure. For people like me, we miss our old body, we envy those who can enjoy their sweet dessert for every meal and yes, we cry a little inside because some people talk to us as if we killed a man or something (most probably only a chicken because we eat everything that is served on top of our table)

My face everytime I'm reading the scale

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Ten things I love being an aunt

Hello lovelies,

It's been awhile since my last update. Heck, my last entry was back in late 2014 and now we are approaching the end quarter of 2015. 

Anyway, just wanna let you know that I'm an aunt (again) to a beautiful baby happy and can't wait to be back to my hometown and meet the lil' pumpkin.

You know the excitement right? That baby smell, those mini feet and chuckles (minus poos and crying moments of course lol) Thus, I would like to share my top 10 things-to-do list of a dutiful aunt in fulfilling her responsibility as the coolest aunt everrrrr:

1. Shopping time! especially for baby girl, the spending habit is most likely to be 1000 times more stronger. I mean, she NEED those cute crochet shoes, flowery hair bands and puffy dresses, no?
2. Be kind to the elder sibling(s) of the new baby...because you know how it feels to be left alone and lack of attention. Eh wait...aunty gotta kiss the new baby first before handing out the candy ok?
3. Becoming a human-tripod - selfie, taking photos and recording every second so you won't miss any moment (because you will miss it even more when they grow-up getting more annoying hoho)
4. Offer to baby-sit so that the new parent can have a breather or enjoying his/her 'me' time (and so I can have more time to selfie with the new baby)
5. Sing a lullaby or two (because nobody else can tolerate you voice except the innocent baby)
6. Searching for the right toys, for the right age and the right reason (toys for teething, toys for the baby to throw, educational toys, toys for cuddle etc etc)
7. Reading baby stuff like, why does baby fart smells like toxic? (just kidding there)
8. Keeping an eye on the surrounding, especially bugs like mosquitoes, ants and sometime jealous cat/dog (haha)
9. Sniffing on the baby-smell like oxygen
10. More shopping!! Yes, the baby need those pink-cuddly-fluffy bear

Picture courtesy of Pintrest

Also, please remind this aunty to write more okay? :-)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Durian Delicacies : Durian Flower and Durian Soup

Durian is popularly known in Asia as 'King of All Fruits'. It does lived up to its name due to its pungent smell and thorny skins. In fact, in Malay durian means 'thorny'. There are various type of durian in Malaysia, from the infamous Musang King/Raja Kunyit (also known as Cat Mountain King), Red Prawn (D175), D24, Black Thorn and Durian Kampung (Village Durian). The priciest among the durians? I'd say it is either Black Thorn and Musang King as the price range is between RM20 - RM30/kg. An average durian fruit is weighted around 1.5-2kg per fruit, so be ready to fork out that amount for that special treat!

Dad proudly show-off his durian

Look at that yummers! For those who never tried it, oh my I have to warn you, not many can survived the pungent smell. Mostly Asian have no problems in digesting and savouring the fruit but based on experience, some Westerner may enjoy the taste by closing their nose (some say it smells like death, haha). So, it is only meant for people with exquisite taste (not all Asian are into durian though).

Personally, I loved Durian Kampung (Village Durian), as I like the surprises it brings. If you are lucky you score a sweet, soft flesh and creamy durian. But in the end, it all depends on your preferences as some like it bitter, sweet, creamy, fleshy, less sweet etc. 

Both my grandparents and parents own a small durian farm back in Kuching (location). So, whenever I'm back in town during the durian season, it is something that I look forward for. My mum even stored the durian flesh in  frozen refrigerator to retain the original taste (taste like ice-cream) especially the sweet & creamy type. This is to ensure all-year round supply of tasty durian for the families. The not-so-tasty batch will be stored in a jar, to be fermented into something that we called tempoyak. 

Fermentation of tempoyak will produce a sourly-version of durian flesh which often served uncooked together with sliced chilies as a side dish. However, in Borneo tempoyak is usually stir-fry with anchovies and sliced chilies (I'm salivating while writing this). The longer the tempoyak kept in the jar (room temperature) the more sourly it gets, unless it was kept refrigerated. 

For me, I'm a big fan of durian soup (Sup Tempoyak). It is a type of dish that I would make to remind me of home. Durian soup is often cooked together with chicken (thigh), fish (fish head/silver catfish) or pork (pork bone/ribs). The end result would be something made in heaven savory & sour, best served with rice. How to make durian soup? It is quite simple, pound 2 lemongrass stalk, 2 clove of garlic and ginger. Saute everything until fragrant, toss in the meat and continue stir-frying it until the meat is half-cooked. Pour in one bowl of water, put in 2-3 tbspn of tempoyak and simmer it until the meat is thoroughly cooked. 

Durian Soup (Sup Tempoyak)

Another thing to lookout for is durian flower. While durian flesh can be stored in frozen refrigerator for a long time, durian flower is a very rare treat. It is only available during flowering season and quite difficult to retain the freshness after refrigerate. Picking up the flower also can be a fun activity with family as it process of 'pollen cleansing' can be tedious. 

Durian flowering season

Durian flower, after cleaning

You can refer the step-by-step process to clean the flower from the pollen in this blog.

Due to its rarity and tedious cleaning process, people are selling it off as much as RM2-RM4 for a small plastic bag (my mum selling cleaned flower for RM2/bag). Don't worry though, the flower does not smell anything like the fruit, in fact a fresh durian flower smell a fairly sweet. Stir-fry with chilies and belacan (shrimp paste), makes a perfect companion to a hot plate of plain rice.

Durian Flower with Belacan (Shrimp Paste)

Lazy girl guide: Low Carb Eggplant Pizza

Today is a no carbs day.

Ok I lied. I did had a bowl (or two) of steam rice with stir-fry chicken with dry chilies and small portion of veggies. That is the third-world country problem; whenever you ordered an ala-carte menu, it always comes with 2 slice of raw cucumber and if you are lucky, they throw in one piece of romaine lettuce as garnish. That is why, I always make it a point to prepare my own food when I have the time.

If you are looking for something fast and easy to make, you can try this recipe. I love eggplant so much, always looking for it especially when I had dim sum for brunch. To make eggplant pizza you need these:

1. 1 large eggplant
2. 1 tbsp olive oil
3. Tomato puree
4.  Grated parmesan ( I used single slice cheddar cheese, because it's in my fridge)
5.  Salt

1. Minced sausages
2. Chopped green chilies

1. Slice eggplant thinly, about 10cm thick (not too thin, so it can hold the ingredients above it and not too thick to ensure it is evenly cooked)
2. Put the sliced eggplant inside a food container. Add on olive oil & salt. Shake vigorously
3. Preheat oven to 175c
4. Arrange eggplant in oven rack. Baked for 10mins
5. Remove the eggplant from oven. Now, topped it with tomato puree, small amount of minced sausages, green chilies and cheese
5. Baked for another 15mins

It's mine. ALL MINE.

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Lazy girl guide : Stuffed Capsicum/Pepperbell

Imagine this. You wake up late. You are hungry. Since you are skipping breakfast and about to have lunch soon, you need to prepare something convenient, satisfying and  can be cooked while you are in the shower.

Well, this is not a fast food but it is definitely a menu for a lazy girl who wanted to stay away from carbohydrate. The original recipe does involved rice/rissotto but today my friend, lets just keep em' in the jar shall we?

Okay, here's what you need to prepare:

1. 3 capsicum/pepperbell
2. 100g minced beef (or chicken)
3. 1 tomato (diced)
4. 1 egg
5. 1/2 onion & 2 clove of garlic (diced)
6. 1tbsp oil

1. Cheese
2. Tomato puree

1. Pre-heat an oven in 180°C & marinate the beef with salt & pepper for 5 minutes.
2. Remove top of capsicum. You may retain the top and baked it together in the oven but I prefer to cut it off and diced up the remaining (except for the stem part & seeds clinging to it)
3. Heat oil/butter in a frying pan. Add in onion & garlic and saute until fragrant
4. Add minced beef and fry until browned then add in tomato & diced capsicum for 10 mins
5. Remove the meat mixture in a large bowl. Add in egg and mix well before filling it into the capsicum
6. Baked for 30-40mins. If you prefer, topped the stuffed capsicum with  tomato puree and cheese.

While the capsicum is doing it's 'thang' in the oven, you can enjoy your shower, make yourself a coffee and select a movie that you wanted to watched for quite sometime. I always prefer to cook something with oven. You have more time for yourself. Am such a lazy girl :-)

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Lazy girl guide : Crispy Roasted Pork Belly (Siu Yuk)

Krukk! Kruukkkk!

That is the sound you will be making while eating 'siu yuk', the crispy pork belly that you can find in nearly all non-halal Chinese restaurant and hawker stall. Sometime I get disappointed when I ordered a plate of pork rice and end up with a fraction of the pork and almost equivalent to two bowls of rice. Huh! And get charged for tiny weeny pork. Can I seek justice for this? Haha..

Anyway, I have seen lots of siu yuk recipes and it seems like a hard work. Until, I found out about this simple way to prepare your own version of siu yuk at home. I think it is because most of the recipes show how to prepare roast pork, big enough to feed a family of four (providing each and one of them are not greedy enough, like me). This recipe works great if you cut the pork belly into a size which is less thicker (refer picture below) horizontally. You can cut down the cooking time and it is easier to cut into small pieces for serving.

You can easily buy pork belly this size in major supermarket. In choosing the right kind of pork belly, please avoid the 'pork tits' as it can be a bit chewy (besides looking kind of gross, to me.sorry). Below are the ingredient in preparing your DIY siu yuk:

1. Pork belly (refer picture for sizing)
2. 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
3. 1 tbsp vinegar
4. Salt (based on your preference)
5. White pepper (based on your preference)

1. Tomatoes
2. Zucchini
3. Olive oil

1. Wash & dry pork with paper towel. Make sure it is really dry
2. Rub the meat side with 5-spice powder & salt, avoiding the skin. Marinate for 30mins
3. Cut tomatoes & zucchini into small pieces. Transfer in a food container. Add in olive oil & salt. Shake the container vigorously
4. Preheat oven at 180c
5. Place pork belly in the oven rack. Make sure the skin side is dry and free from any marinate. Arrange tomatoes & zucchini on the rack. Bake for 10-15mins
6. Meanwhile, mixed vinegar and a pinch of salt in a small bowl
7. After 10-15mins, remove the rack from oven. Prick the pork skin with fork (by this time the skin will become softer) and brush the vinegar mixture onto the skin before putting it back in the oven
8. Baked for another 30-44mins. You have to observe the progress of your meat to make sure the skin is turning into crispy form and not burnt.

If your oven have the option to choose roasting side, you can change it after the meat is well-cooked and to speed up the roasting process. After removing the meat from oven, allow it to rest for 10mins before cutting them for serving. Cutting the meat proved easier in this portion, you may have to use clover to chop pork belly in bigger size.

You can listened to the cracking sound while cutting the meat..oh, so heavenly :-)

Warning: The whole thing can disappear in less than 15mins.

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