Saturday, October 29, 2011

Osmanthus in the Wind

 Osmanthus in the Wind

Meeting up with Aunty Terri in KK has been great. She was very hospitable and kind to bring us to various food places. But most importantly, when seeing her passion in the food, she has inspired me to write and blog about food, recipes and eating again. Having baby Kay is a joy but she is a little tornado that completely changed our priorities and lives. As most of you know, her arrival has been full of drama and the first 4 months has been torturous for first time parents like Greg and I. I would rather hit the bed or watch tv drama if I have the time what more to say cook, bake and take photos and blog.

So meeting up with Aunty Terri and the trip has reminded me of the things we had loved doing ~ baking, eating, cooking, travelling and now with Baby Kay in tow, it is still fun even though in a different way. So here I am back on my feet, i think. I had a sudden urge to clean up my house, get some new furniture, patch up anything that is not working, rearrange the photos, and most of all to cook and bake (other than for Nee's), come out with new recipes and blog about them. Anyway, Christmas is hitting straight in my face and Mommy needs to think also about Baby Kay's first Christmas ~ decoration, presents and menu.

Well, to come back to this blog, I wanted to do jellies (as inspired by Terri at I really enjoyed talking about jellies and recipes with Terri during the trip. You can check out all Terri's creative and beautiful recipes here. Check out the Sakura Jelly, Summer Jelly, Kinabalu Jelly, Mt Purple especially as they are my favourites!).

Terri and along with 9 other bloggers are competing in the Royal Selangor Jelliriffic! Challenge, which is to to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Malaysia. This association is a non-profit organisation set up by medical specialists to help women with breast cancer. The bloggers were given the jelly moulds designed by Nick Munro for RSP and were to come out with recipes using the moulds for 30 days in the month of October. Others like me (Yes! I bought these shiny gorgeous babies and they have just arrived on Thursday) and you can purchase these lovely and highly versatile moulds from RSP and proceeds will go to the Association. I bought the moulds thinking of those pretty gorgeous items I can do for my Baby's future parties. And to give our absolute support to Terri (I hope you win this and you should) and the Royal Selangor Jelliriffic! Challenge.

The first jelly I did was Osmanthus in the Wind. Osmanthus flower (Gui Hua) comes in tiny pieces, light, gold to yellow in colour and has a beautiful scent, not overly flowery with a fruity apricot like scent. Commonly used in China and Hong Kong as tea and desserts. Commonly seen the Guilin China.

This flower reminded me of Women. I thought of Women in the older days, especially Asian Women, who do not have status, rights or identity even. There is a famous Chinese saying that goes "Women follow their fathers at home, when they are married, they follow their husbands, and when they grow old, they follow their sons" See the word FOLLOW here. These women were like Osmanthus in the Wind. They were not allowed to have opinions, dreams and ambitions, they were not even allowed to go out from their home, and in some culture deemed as worthless. Basically they had no control over their lives! Just like the Osmanthus, blown and dropped onto wherever the wind shall bring them.

But little Osmanthus is beautiful, and they are resilient. They survived! Just like those beautiful, strong, resilient fore-mothers of ours. They had supported their husbands, raised their children and with little acknowledgement, they had held up half of the sky. Osmanthus in the Wind is a tribute to these women who had walked the journey of pain, abuse and put downs quietly to allow us(the women) to enjoy many rights and privileges today. I hope those women suffering from Breast Cancer can also draw their strengths from these women.

Osmanthus in the Wind Jelly is a combination of 
Osmanthus flower and dried and canned longan.

For one 200 ml mould:

Osmanthus Layer:
1/2 tsp of Konnyaku powder
200ml of water and Osmanthus liquid ( infusing  1/2 tsp of Osmanthus flower with 1/2 cup of warm water)
20gm of castor sugar 
1 tsp of Osmanthus Flower

1) Osmanthus tea is yellowish, depending on how yellow you want your jelly to be, use some of the Osmanthus tea with the addition of water.
2) Mix Konnyaku powder with castor sugar in a pot, stir to mix them. Add Osmanthus liquid.
3) Bring to a boil, stirring all the time. Turn to low fire and keep the mixture warm, that is why i used 200ml as evaporation will reduce the liquid.
4) Rinse the mould and sit it in a glass. Drop a few pieces of the Osmanthus flower into the mould. Add a tiny teaspoon of the mixture. Osmanthus flower is very light and will sit on the jelly mixture. For the swirling effects, I drop a tiny pinch of the flower on top of the jelly siding to one side of the mould (say 3pm position). Scoop some more jelly mixture onto the other side(9pm position) of the mould first and finally covering the flowers  to as much as possible push in down. Do this to 1/4 of the mould. Let it cool a little.
5) Continue the above by the dropping the flower at the 6 pm position up to 1/2 of the mould. Please try to push the flower down with the jelly mixture.
6) The final layer will cover the 3rd quarter of the mould, dropping the flowers more on the 6 to 9 pm position. When you reach the 3rd quarter top, sprinkle the flower over the entire base lightly. Wait til semi set to place the pieces of canned longans. 

Longan Jelly

10-12 pcs of dried longans
3-4 pcs of canned longans
some warm water to soaked the  dried longans
1/4 tsp of Konnyaku Powder
10 gm of castor sugar
Some more water

1) Soften the dried longans with warm water. Blend it in a blender.
2) Add some more water to make it to 120gm
3) In a pot, mix konnyaku powder with sugar. Stir. Add the longan blend. Bring it to a boil and stirring all the time.
4)  Pour over the canned longan and Osmanthus Jelly.
5) Chill for 2 hour to set.

Have fun! The difficult bit is dropping the flowers and pushing them down to the jelly. See what I say about resilient.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nee's Durian Fiesta

The whole Kuching town is going mad with durians or so it seems. There's a durian seller at every roundabout in Kuching, and they line up all the way to Kota Samarahan. And I've just heard that the imported Mao Shan Wang are back in town. 

Being a durian lover, I thought hey, I should join in the fun. And it has been fun spending two afternoons dabbling in the kitchen mixing and concocting new durian recipes. It felt good to get my baking engine started again after such a long post-pregnancy break. 

But this also meant that poor Baby Kay had to be passed around between the grandmas. Every time she comes near the kitchen, mommy can only say hi and kisses and see you later, baby. I think she misses mommy especially today.

LAdies & Gentlemen, these were the new recipes that I came up with. All of them are available at Nee's from 6.30 pm onwards today. If you missed it today, fret not, we are open again on Tuesday 2pm to 11 pm (Nee's is closed on Mondays). I promise you there will be more to come.

Durian Cheese Cake

The rich king of fruits blended into cream cheese making it a super yummy combination. A must for cheese and durian lovers.

Durian Delight
Light sponge layered with special rich durian mousse making it a delightful combination. One piece may not be enough.

 Durian Swiss Roll

 Nee's Special Durian Cream gives traditional swiss rolls a delightful twist.

 Cream Puffs with Durian Cream. Ehmmm...need I say anymore?! Slurping yet?!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Greg & Nee Do Durians

 Nee & I don't usually take the trouble to go out to buy durians as this would be one of those things on our lazy-to-do list. Normally, someone else like our parents would buy them in a bunch from somewhere and we'd sneakily get our share as well.

But this year, I don't really know what had hit us both. We've become pro-active durian hunters. Maybe it's the new baby or something else, although I can't see how the logic works.

I didn't fare too badly with the hunt. The stall beside BSN bank at Tabuan Jaya had a good selection of kampong durians selling from RM10-14. Being not able to tell a good durian from a bad one, I usually go straight up to the guy & ask for yellow ones, and yellow ones I'll get. He sold me two small ones with short thorns and they were as yellow as Big Bird. And I thought I was already in heaven.

But then came along these which were at the top of the game.

Do you see how yellow they are? Can you almost feel the texture in your mouth?
These were the original Cat Mountain King (Mao Shan Wang) aka Musang King aka D197 aka Butter Durian aka Raja Kunyit originally from Gua Musang, Pahang (some say Kelantan), and they cost RM35 per kg here in Kuching.

We got these babies through Jo, who placed special orders with the people that brought them into Kuching from Pahang. Apparently they were selling them somewhere next to Yow Kee cafe at 101 Premiere. We got two batches, and these were the last of the season (to come into Kuching), or so we heard.

Mao Shan Wang is known for its sweetness with a tinge of bitterness, and its small flattened seeds. When you bite into it, it's soft enough to melt in your mouth without becoming too mushy, and it's tender enough without being too chewy.

Now how can you ever resist this? Stanley Ho couldn't.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baby Report: Baby Kay @ 5 Months 3 Weeks

Sorry we haven't been able to update as much as we want to. With the arrival of this little firecracker, our lives have been turned upside down, sometimes driven up the wall, and most of the time been plagued by backaches.

We've actually been taking tons of photos and videos (in HD mind you!) of Baby Kay and her development since Day 1. I think we have enough to build a library and to start a new blog. But of course we're not going to do that. We couldn't even find the time to post anything for the past 4 months or so.

Anyway, we will try our best to get back on track cos the blogging bug is biting again. No doubt most of our posts will be on Baby Kay for now but we're itching to travel and eat again.

This was Baby Kay on the first day of her delivery, fighting for her right to breathe then.

And this is Baby Kay now at 5 months 3 weeks.

The first 3.5 months was an intense battle with colic and crying in the middle of the night. But when she hit 4 months, her sleeping pattern stabilised and she was able to do longer sleeping hours without waking up in the God-forsaken wee hours in the mornings for feedings.

Baby Kay is now able to smile, chuckle, babble and squeal in delight and of course, when things do not go her way, she whinges and whimpers and registers a long list of complaints through booing and wooing (deciphered by mommy and daddy as I WANT MILK NOW, PICK ME UP NOW, I WANT SLEEP NOW, fill in the blanks NOW). 

She's a determined flipper with a short temper, working at it when she was just slightly before 4 months. Now besides flipping, she does a lateral 360 degree rotation, usually when we are not looking. She had just turned turtle last Sunday but fortunately she was on the floor mat and ended up on the tiled floor.

Physically she is about 7.2 kg in weight and 67cm in length at 5 months, which means that she's over  the 50 percentile on the normal baby girl growth chart. Based on the corrected age she is WAY too big. 

She loves her baths and can do two a day, sitting up in her tub with some support, but sometimes insisting to stand in the water. Her baths are now accompanied by a few rubber duckies plus two wind-up splashing Mr. froggy & goldfish.

We have finally joined the ranks of many parents, bringing baby out to the usual family-infested leisure parks, shopping malls, Sunday service, bible study, kopitiams and restaurants. The next impending challenge will be to bring her on a plane trip and hotel stays.

From a humble 1.85kg, she has come a long way in a short time. Mommy and Daddy are really proud of you, Baby! We can only thank God for this huge miracle that comes in a little package.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Baby Gifts

The gifts started coming in early 3 months ago but we hadn't had time to record our words of thanks until now. So here's a BIG THANK YOU to all who had generously showered baby Kay with your blessings (all the phone calls and messages; we can't thank you enough), gifts & ang pows. We think she is such a lucky baby just by looking at the amount of gifts and ang pows she gets and some sent specially all the way from Australia, Canada, Singapore, Sibu, KK and KL.

Uncle Raymond had thoughtfully bought us an Amway water filter five months before Kay's arrival, which in his words, good for his little niece and she will need it. Uncle Roger had showered her with a MacLaren XLR stroller in which he claimed that he only have one niece at the moment, so no expense is too much. Aunty Winnie and Uncle Felix got her her latex mattress with a whole set of cot bedding set, which they insisted, as it was safer and cooler for her to sleep in.

These beautiful creations were knitted by Greg's mom.

Baby Kay's collection of shoes has started. I hope she doesn't go down the same path as Imelda Marcos.

Beautiful gift packages with gifts of clothings and knick knacks such as photo albums, frames and even a clip fan, teething ring and rubber ducky.

And she has clothings that will probably last her till one year old at least. And they come in sets. 

Greg: I hope this doesn't become a habit. "Daddy, I want the whole collection, now."

Initially we thought Baby Kay had too few toys as we had not bought her any. I think now we can rival Toys R Us. She has all sorts, probably the whole collection  from wrists and feet rattler to play gym, courtesy of our many good friends and collegues. Special thank you to FS who specially send the toy over from KL.

Loved these, from Caryn. Look at the hot pants! And such beautiful hand sewn blanket you bought.

And finally, this has got to be the ultimate. Baby Dior pacifier.

Made in Germany. Thank you Leonard & Claudia!
Greg's hair is turning white. He's thinking what have we gotten her into? Flash forward 16 years into the future - super spoilt brat covered in branded attire from head to toe, and still wanting more. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

P/S We did not manage to thank every single one. Your love and kindness for baby Kay is so very deeply felt by us. And most importantly, Thank You so much for sharing our joy and giving us the support that we both needed during the pregnancy through Kay's birth and her time in hospital, and now the whole new journey of parenthood.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bay Kay at 3 Months

Baby Kay is 3 months old today. From a little scrawny baby, she has miraculously transformed into an overfed monster.

I want more of what I had just now, and I want it now!

Although she is still smaller compared to other full-term babies, we could now feel the difference in her weight & robustness when we hold her in our arms. 

She's been really packing it in and if this doesn't look like a full-fed, satisfied, happy baby, I don't know what does.

Both Nee & I are beginning to believe that she's a bottomless pit. She's just taking in however much we give her. It's senseless binging.

At this point, she mumble-complaints when we give her water, cos there's no milk in there.  She doesn't do pacifiers (which is a good thing) cos there's no milk coming out of it & she knows it's not the real deal.

The words on her T-shirt is a misprint. It should say I LOVE MY TUMMY instead cos Mummy is just a means to an end.

But this also means that she's growing (but not hair). We're not sure if she's developing at a normal pace as she's just beginning to give clear smiling responses, having more tendencies to flip now & able now to hold up her head like a chicken.

At her young age, she also amazes us with her agility & propensity for martial arts, namely Wing Chun...
and also kickboxing...



To our horror, she has been transforming into a horrible nocturnal creature; sleep by day, awake at night to torment innocent souls.

We have to remind ourselves again & again not to be fooled by her innocence.

But each time we see her looking like this, we have lost the battle entirely.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby Kay PAPA-razzi Photos

These photos go out especially to Uncle Roger & Auntie Jaclyn. Hope you'll both come back to see me soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Adventure Begins!

Despite our pleas & bibery, our confinement lady left us yesterday evening. So last night both of us were left alone with Baby Kay. She's on a 3-hour feeding interval and we thought we could outpace her by getting things ready even before she wakes. Well, we thought we could. That's as far as we got cos we were flat after every feed.

I think both of us are looking like pandas now. And the news is that it's only the first night. A friend told me that by the 3rd night, we'd be goners.

There is no Greg & Nee. Greg & Nee do not exist anyore. It's only Baby Kay & everything is about Baby Kay. Pretty soon this blog is just going to be Baby Kay on the Go! cos Greg & Nee is not going anywhere.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Much Ado About Poo

After 3 days of constipation, Baby Kay finally poo-ed yesterday. I don't think it was as much an ordeal for her as it was for us. Baby Kay was probably thinking what's the fuss while her mommy & daddy and the omnipresent grandparents shouldered the worry. The grandfather was hovering on the phone the whole day about the matter, and the grandmother couldn't get over why she wasn't informed when the little yogurt-like thing finally came out. We thought we should have published the news in Borneo Post.

This is not normally something that we'd write about, and definitely we're not keen to continue this trend of keeping up with every one of Baby Kay's poos, pees, burps & farts. If we did that, it wouldn't do her well. Imagine one day when she's all grown & she finds this blog. Or worst, when her friends find it. With that in mind, we'd skip the visual description of the you-know-what.

Apparently, we were told, when we brought Baby Kay to the doctor, the digestive system of babies in the second month after birth  go through a period of haywired-ness. And this has got nothing to do with the formula, but more because of the intake of breast milk. Interesting isn't it?
Well, we're trying to understand that as well. We're thinking maybe breast milk contains a lot of water and that makes the digestion easier as more of it comes out in the pee, rather than the poo. But that's just our own rationale and we may make more sense to ourselves rather than to someone else. Please don't laugh at us as we are still at parenting 101.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Baby Superkay Day 28

Baby Kay started showing off some head turning stunts while still in the incubator, 7 days after birth. I don't really know where that came from. Maybe it's from all the ginseng Nee had been taking.It can be quite scary seeing a little thing like that attempting a head lift and a head turn. 

Baby Kay's now Day 28 and I think she's already learning how to sky-dive.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Finally, I feel like a real cow."
- Nee (March 12, 2011)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Baby Kay on the [You]Tube

Baby Kay finally came home yesterday afternoon. This tiny little 4-pounder fought for 18 days & finally graduated from the Neo-natal ICU (NICU). It was a long journey where she had to learn how to breathe, and then swallow, and then suck, and finally to maintain her own body temperature. In between all that, she had to deal with lung infection, low hemoglobin, some blood top up, jaundice and a small, open heart vessel.

For us as new parents, walking through NICU is a horror. Dont get me wrong.  It is probably the most modern, brightly lit, sanitised and clean ward with a bunch of casual looking yet diligent doctors and very very kind and friendly nurses in the whole of Sarawak General Hospital (GH) (Dont quote me cos I have not been to other wards except the OBGyn and have no wish to go back there). It is no wonder they say GH has the best NICU unit in the state and possibly the whole Borneo Island, which is why Dr CM Wong strongly advised us to get prepared and go GH should baby comes before term.

But nothing could prepare us for the horror of seeing our baby all hooked up with tubes in the incubator backed by gadgets with millions of buttons (& probably costs millions) and a computer screen that definitely looked like it could do much more than your usual blogging and microsoft programs.

In the first few days we really could not fathom how she could ever pull through; especially for me as a mother. I had so much negative thoughts about giving up. And it didn't help initially when we could hardly get any satisfactory answer from anyone. The doctors managed to mumble something about lung infection and so on and on in a language we could not understand, at least to me. All I could see and hear was her very recessed chest as she laboured away for every little bit of breath she could get. Was my baby in pain? Was she too hot or too cold? Why was it that I couldn't hear her cry? She looked like she was crying. Did she miss me? How could I sleep upstairs in the maternity ward while she was down there, crying for and missing her mummy? I missed her so much then. How could I not? We were together for 32 weeks. I knew when her active and down time were, every kick, every tickle, every punch, every hiccup.

And on top of those negative thoughts, every time I saw her, there were sure some not-so-good news. Intubated? I thought she was already in the incubator, wasn't that serious enough? Oh no, wait a min, this is different; Rubber tube into her little mouth, down through her throat, to send oxygen straight to the lungs. The oxygen was not enough because she couldn't breath well and the little oxygen mask was not sufficient. She's getting tired because of lung infection; what lung infection?! Where did that come from? Then the blood deficiency's delaying the bone marrow  from  kick starting. 10 days of antibiotics and something else for 7 days for closing her heart's blood vessel (in full term babies, they close 1-2 days after birth).  You've got to be kidding. How can one so tiny take so much medicine? And watching her labouring for her every breath, I could only feel pain and guilt, and that I was an absolute letdown as a mother. Besides peeping at her through the incubator potholes and stroking her and letting her know that mummy and daddy were there for her, there wasn't a single other thing we could do.

So much guilt because she had to be born early. I had placenta previa type 3 covering a major part of my opening and on the 22nd February, 2011, at 2am on a Tuesday morning, the bleeding was torrential. Greg and I thought we were losing our baby, and Greg thought he was losing his wife as well. But that's another story.

Kayleigh was delivered through an emergency C sect in Sarawak General Hospital. The team who took care of us was absolutely professional and compassionate. Unfortunately that same standard does not apply to the entire OBGyn department of SGH (especially the old school nurses). So we praise the Lord for this particular team.

We'd like to share a few videos of Baby Kay while she was still at the NICU. These videos are really mild compared to her first 7 days. We would not want anyone to see the earlier ones as they can be disturbing.

So there you go, our little miracle baby's journey through NICU; from the ICU to Special Care, and graduating from the nursery as of yesterday 11th March, 2011.

Baby Kay at Day 7
Her intubated rubber tube was finally taken out on Day 7. She managed to swim above the more serious problems - her breathing and infection clearing; and she opened her eyes for the first time.

On day 9, she made her way out from ICU to Special Care. Still in the incubator but most of the wiring and tubes were off except for the heart rate, oxygen level, & temperature monitors, and the feeding tube.

Baby Kay at Day 13
We were wondering when the feeding tube would be taken off cos it looked like it was irritating her. Doctors told us it'd be off when she could swallow and suck.

Baby Kay at Day 14
And sucked she did on Day 14.  And she did that right in front of all the doctors who were doing their rounds including the specialist. And it was loud, coming from a little thing like this. The smart little gal knew when to take her cue. The tube was taken out that afternoon.

Baby Kay at Day 15
From Day 15 onwards, she was on cup feeding, sucking and swallowing away. Baby Kay has not fully grasped breastfeeding yet cos she gets tired after trying. But she tries hard, and because she could also maintain her body temperature, she graduated on Day 18. 

Welcome home Baby Kay!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Arrival of Baby Kay

Look what the stork brought us.

Kayleigh-Anne Wee Ern Hui
Delivered at 32 weeks on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @ 5:59AM
Birth Weight: 1.85 kg
Current Weight: 2.05kg

Stay tuned for the videos.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Power Puff Babies & Other Stuff

Nee started letting me play with fondant quite sometime ago. While it is definitely much more manageable compared to marzipan (in terms of its durability), I am still lunging myself at it like an amateur. 

Like photography, my attempts have been mostly intuitive, lacking the technical superiority of other sugarcraft artists.

These were a few of my attempts for Nee's customers who wanted something a bit more on top of their cakes.

This fairy cake was a bit tough cos to make fairies, you have to feel like one, to become one with them; and for a guy, that's not easy.

I used to love these girls until I had to sculpt them in 3D. These Power Puff Babies were tough. It took me 4 hours & cracks started appearing.
In between all these were also a pumpkin for Halloween & a 3D sports car (no photos unfortunately) which made me work my butt off.
A word of warning though. If you're looking for aesthetics above the quality of the actual cakes, you can do better if you try places like Mita or Taka cakehouses (I don't think they would hire me in a million years).

However if the quality of the cakes is more important to you & the decor is just a bonus  distraction, then Nee has got the right stuff for you.

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