Hi Yo Silver

Giddy up!!  If you haven’t noticed, it’s the year of the Horse and I have officially over ate.  I don’t think I’ll feel hungry again for a long long time and I truly can’t complain about it.

It started with the annual reunion dinner and the ubiquitous steamboat.  With my Mummy in town, I had every craving met with all the traditional dishes my Grandma use to make but vegetarian!!  How lucky am I?  All I can say is that the year of the Horse is looking good for me 🙂  It’s off to a bountiful start.

Depending on the sources you refer to, this year being the Wood Horse is suppose to good for the Wood Rabbits, which is what I am except for their health.  We’ll see how healthy I am when I usher in the year of the Goat next year.  Meanwhile, I’ll take all these advice with a pinch of salt, like I do every year.  That’s because I’ve learnt, every year will have it’s ups and it’s own downs, typically a fair share of both and it’s things we can’t control.  What I can control is how I react and deal with them.  For now, let’s see how much control I have over the remaining traditional Chinese New Year yums that’s still in my house.

中秋节快乐

My family got together early to celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival 中秋节 (zhong qiu jie) where we had mooncakes galore, even vegetarian ones with vegetarian yolks.  It was yummy!!  Coupled with tea and good conversations, we ushered the full moon in about a week earlier than everyone is going to do today.

Of course, there was the customary walk with lanterns and traditional ones at that.  None of those music blaring battery operated modern lanterns … actually we had a couple of those but when came time to take a walk everyone chose the candle lit ones 🙂  And not forgetting sparkles.

There’s something about sparkles that just adds to the celebrations.  From my family to yours, may mooncakes fill your belly and the lights of sparkles fill tonight and all of your nights!!

Wheat Free Vegan Baking

I decided to make things a little bit more challenging since my last baking.  For someone who can’t bake, it seems a little silly to do that but what the heck, life is too short 🙂  More than that, my good friend SP bought me a gluten free baking book for turning 38.  Took me a couple of months to gather the ingredients and find the time motivation to do and ta daaaah!!

I made Dark Chocolate Cupcakes for the 12th of May and replaced cocoa powder for carob.  In my opinion, it looked decent, the taste was ok but the texture was plain awful :p  It was like taking a bite into a cake and have it crumble into sand soaking up all the moisture in your mouth.  I did say awful.  My husband aka resident guinea pig of the MacLaughlan household kindly ate a couple and said they were not bad.  If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is 🙂

If you knew me, you’d know I’m not the sort that backs away from a challenge and that’s what it felt like when I looked at the remaining 14 cupcakes in the fridge the next day.  The terribly failed carob cupcakes were sitting in the container daring me to do it all over again, make another batch as awful as they were.  So one night while waiting for a work call to start I had a couple of hours to kill and decided to try the Coconut Heaven Cupcake.

I am happy to report, this time it was slightly better … yes … just slightly.  “Small steps” is my motto.  I’ll get there eventually 🙂  The texture wasn’t so terribly crumbly but still it doesn’t have the cake texture that a normal wheat and dairy filled one would have had but it was ever so slightly better.  The perils of trying to eat better.  People ask me why I do it?  For one, it really does make me feel better.  Ask people who knew me before my vegetarian-bordering-on-vegan days, I would eat anything.  After cleaning up my diet, I do feel like my stomach digests the less processed, less dairy vegetarian-bordering-on-vegan meals more and I do feel better overall for it.  It may all be in my mind, I don’t know and am open to that.

For now, I actually enjoy experimenting with healthier options.  I’m happy to have more tasters if you’re allergic to wheat or diary and wanna try them … I can’t promise they’ll all be good though :p

Playing with Pancakes

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.  It started with SIGGRAPH Asia, then Asian Television Forum and next Asian Animation Summit.  In between all that we launched the beta of our platform.  Yes, at Cloudpic we live on the edge 🙂

The night before SIGGRAPH Asia, I was feeling unusually nervous and decided to flip a couple of pancakes before going to sleep.

It is totally possible to make vegan pancakes.  Good ones at that!!  Unfortunately, these were just ok.  It’s been a while since I made pancakes and I think it was a little too much baking powder but nonetheless, it worked for a late night snack to calm the nerves before a crazy 3 weeks.  Can’t wait for a lazy Saturday morning to make them again.

The trick about pancakes is know you have to sacrifice the first one.

I don’t what it is but the first pancake off the pan always looks terrible.  I think it’s got something to do with the pan not being hot enough.  After that though, they seem come together on it’s own.

And viola!!

One more week before we start to settle down into the holiday season.  Meanwhile, it’s back to the grind and making sure everything on the beta is moving along smoothly.

TGIF!!

Muffin Take 2

We all know what happened the last time I tried to bake with no sweetener.  So I made sure I had ample amounts of maple syrup before I started doing anything this time 🙂  Then I got bee in my bonnet and decided to be adventurous :p  My husband was trying a wheat free diet and I recently found out a friend was allergic to wheat so I decided to make gluten free muffins this time!!

They looked fine, smelled great again, thankfully this time the taste was not bad but the texture seemed a little off.  Vegan gluten free muffins is going to take A LOT of practice.  The combination of quinoa, potato, brown rice and soya flour needs more work.  I think quinoa has a taste that I’m not use to and maybe I have to learn to hide it … I’m thinking I’ll try carob vegan gluten free muffins next.

The world will be happy to know, other than my poor husband, no one else has been punished with eating my muffins :p  I just may be nice to him and make a regular banana bread before my next crazy experiment.  For the rest of you, fear not, I’m not planning to open a bakery any time soon so on one else will be subjected to my baking adventures 😀

Post Curry Day

Only in Singapore would a National Curry Day happen and in many ways I’m very grateful for it.  I’m gone for only 3 weeks and come home to the fervor that is curry.  Like any true Singaporean, I love my curries.  Indian, Chinese, Malay, Eurasian … heck, any curry, I’ve yet to not like a curry, bring it all on Thai, Japanese, African.  I’d probably enjoy them all.  So when I heard that a fellow Singaporean had to cook curry only in moments when their neighbour was not home, I thought it strange and was somewhat bewildered.  I’m glad so did many Singaporeans.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know the whole story and they are both probably very lovely families.  That simply renders my opinion here bias and I’ll be willing to be proven wrong.

Till then, here’s my thoughts on the matter.  I’ve been very fortunate and have lived in different places and experienced many different things.  There was one thing that struck me about immigrants, how they cling to their own way and not adapt to the new ways of their new home.  It happens every where in the world where immigrants stick together, eat their own food, hang out together, complain about their fellow native citizens and don’t try to truly interact with the people they share their new homeland with.  It’s strange to me because why move there in the first place.

For some reason, I have a feeling that last statement will come bite me in the ass when I move away some day :p

All I know for today is that I’m glad that I’m inclined to stinky food … yes, durian, blue cheese, smelly tofu (which my husband likens to dog poop), exotic spices, if it has a powerful pong chances are I’d go for it :p  So I won’t have problems with a neighbour in that respect.  My poor neighbours though, all past, present and future, I eat and  often crave for these stinky food types.  Bring on the pong!!

Again another statement I may regret some day.

Meanwhile, life lesson here for me, there’s going to be crazies everywhere and by that I mean people who don’t agree with me … yes, that’s a lot of people, I know, life would be simpler if everyone just agreed with me!!  Did I hear someone call me a narcissistic egomaniacal twit?  There are days my husband would agree with you.   So let’s start with my husband 🙂  I can’t change my neighbours or change to suit them but I can try with my own home and me – complain less and keep an open mind.

Playing Housewife

Every now and then, I reckon I can give up the rush of getting a project done, hanging out with friends over lunch, having financial independence and be a stay-at-home wife.  So on weekends and over holidays I can pretend and test out the concept.  My husband gets to benefit from wholesome meals 🙂

Tofu, eggplant and mushroom in the foreground.  French beans stirred fried with carrots coupled with brown rice 🙂

It was fun and I reckon, sure, I can do the whole Nigella thing for a meal here and there but I’ll definitely need a little angel or two before I can do the whole stay home thing.  For now, my husband gets to benefit from my nesting needs.  I’m thinking of what to whip up next … soup and fried rice?  Yes, my Asian palate is yearning for some comfort food.

Meanwhile, I’ve found out why we have finger nails … in my case, thumb nails.  They are there to protect you from chopping the tip of your thumb off.

Yes, it happened as I was chopping garlic for the stir fry.  Don’t worry it didn’t fall into the garlic … I had to peel it off and chuck it in the trash but if my nail wasn’t there … I may have no tip of a thumb to speak off anymore.

More than that, it looks like I’m in serious need of a manicure :p

My Cousin The Chef

Growing up my cousin, Gary a.k.a Ah Boy always had a penchant for the kitchen.  I remember him cooking things up, experimenting with different cuisines … he actually makes a good steak … yes, when I ate meat :p  If he didn’t mumble so much, I’d actually produce a cooking show for him and he could be Singapore’s Jamie Oliver 🙂  Since he does mumble, I’ll just be grateful when he whips up an incredible meal for me.

Which is exactly what he did last week when I dropped by to hang out with my munchkins 🙂  And for someone who isn’t a vegetarian, he made a killer salad with mushrooms to die for and POLENTA!!!  I love POLENTA!!!  And I never made it before because I don’t know how.  Trust my dear cousin to figure it out and it was good too 🙂

Thank you Ah Boy for the very yummy vegetarian meal, you constantly surprise me and thank you thank you especially for my little munchkins 🙂

I’ve said this before but I’m saying it again, I’m so  so so happy that they live so close by now 🙂  but I think I’m going to get fat from our weekly ice cream jaunts :p