Archives

All posts for the month January, 2010

Tribute to Babe

Published January 31, 2010 by Mary Jane

A season of sadness

Hello everyone, I’ve just woken up from my long afternoon naps which means tonight I probably wouldn’t get to sleep until 2-3am in the morning. Last night, I have been thinking about my dog ‘Babe’ sometimes suddenly it would just bring back some sad memories. I thought I’ll write this post as a tribute to my dog ‘Babe’, I’m not a person who easily share sadness with other people but I’ve found that by sharing to people about you sad things helps you to heal and deal with grief. So here it is…

I had a pet dog named ‘Babe’ – why do we call him Babe, cos we loved the ‘Babe in the City’ – the pig who’s intelligent, loving, innocent and adorable. We really wanted to have a dog, so we started looking around for a suitable dog. On the newspaper someone was advertising a shitshu x maltease they came with black and white color. We were really excited and decided to visit this home in search of our dog. When we got there, there was only 1 black dog left. Mum really wanted a white one and she wasn’t keen on getting a black dog. It was love at first sight, ‘Babe’ was so small he’s not fully black, rather a greyish colour like a curly grey ball. He was active and energetic and keeps following us around and licking us. We loved him and was convinced he was the one. The owner gave us his immunisation card and said he was born on 14th Feb – valentines day that made him real special and perhaps a romantic fella.

You could say that Babe was my ‘dogmate’ rather than soulmate cos he didn’t have a soul – I have 2 other sister and he was my younger brother. His favourite hobby would be sleeping, eating and going for walks at the park. He lived a simple life. His weakness is overeating and stubborn – I remember when he was still a puppy, my friend fed him some sponge cake and he just kept on eating until he finished the whole large piece of cake, later on he threw up the whole cake cos he was too full. Stubborn – cos everytime when it comes to bath time, he would run around for us to chase him and it would take us ages to trick him into getting a bath. Usually a tackle followed by a little smack for being naughty. Occasionally we would have to bribe him with some smachos – that’s his favourite snack.

He lived a happy but unfortunate life. Why? As Babe grew older he started having lots of problems. Chronic ear problems, chronic skin problems, asthma etc. He’s gone through 3 eye surgeries to remove his cherry eyes and eventually he became half blind. It was hard to see him going through all this, but he’s a fighter and was very brave to endure all these hardship. I can’t recall how many times I would have to send him to the vet because there was something wrong with him. My vet even told me ‘he’s one of the worst case they’ve ever seen’. However, life plotted along and when I think back there’s alot of fond memories. Winter time, when I’m doing my assignments/or studying at my desk he would follow me into the bedroom and hide under my desk however his warm furry coat would cover my feet and act as a soft warm slipper. He likes to jump onto the end of my bed when he feels cold, every time I would grab him and take him back to his own bed, he would sneakily jumped back to my bed when I fall asleep. Eventually when I woke up the next day I would find myself with some dog hair in my mouth and his face next to my pillow.

When ever I’m sad he would just stood there infront of me looking rather miserable, perhaps it’s my own imagination but I would find him taking every little step closer to me as if he’s comforting me and give me his right little paw. I would usually just tell him why I’m sad and give him a big hug. I know it sounds a little strange but Yes I would share sad things with Babe. He’s a great listener. I often wish he could talk, but all he ever does is bark back at me. That’s his way of communicating with me. As years passed by, the year he turned 7 he moved in with Pandabear and myself. Babe is such a fussy eater, I would usually prepare human equivalent food for him as he doesn’t like to eat dog food. Sometimes Pandabear would whinge and say to me Babe eats better than us. Well, I can’t argue with that – when the vet suggested something that would improve his skin condition such as buying kangaroo, rabbits, beef meets and cook them and feed them to Babe I would do that. His favourite is still the beef steak. Sometimes I would mix his food with some doggie biscuit and he would scoff down all the beef steak, leaving the doggie biscuits behind (how cheeky!!) .The year he turned 7 was one of saddest years in my life. He was on long term steroid medication to treat his chronic ear & skin problem and eventually it started giving him the side effects of internal bleeding. I started to realise something was really wrong, he didn’t have much appetite and he didn’t feel like going for a walk. So I booked an appointment to see the vet and I was told it was time to ‘put him down’ . I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, he was still so young only 7 and I couldn’t bare losing him. But each day it got worst, one day when I bathed him, his ears stared to bleed with blood. He must be in pain and it was selfish of me to prolong his suffering 😦

It was time that we put him out of his misery – A season of sadness. Now, the vet recommended either sending him to the clinic and have him put down and they will also organise the cremation of his body or we could organise a mobile vet over our house and to have it put down at our place. We made the decision of having him put down at our home, because I didnt want him to think we don’t love him and let him endure a needle into his body to end his life. It was definitely a difficult decision and something that I wouldn’t want to wish upon anyone to go through. I cried for weeks as the time draws closer to him getting put down. The night before him getting put down, he looked rather sad as if he could sense something was wrong, or perhaps he was just in pain. I decided to spend his last night eating chocolate icecream together and sleeping with him. In total he woke me up 10-15 times that night to go out to the backyard, he must be feeling in pain. It was also a confirmation to me that I was doing the right thing. The day when he was schedule to be put down, our family met up together. Everyone was so sad, I had to pull up a brave face and signed all the paper work. The vet explained that he would have to inject this poison into his paws and occasionally the poison might not have reached the dog’s heart so sometimes they would feel the pain. But most of the time, it would be very quick and they will just die peacefully. I prayed to God and ask God to just let him die peacefully as I wouldn’t know what to do if he was suffering more. The vet shaved his hair of the paws and started injecting the poison into Babe, ‘Babe was a clever dog’ – he could sense there was something wrong so he wriggled around refusing to let the vet inject him. I hugged him tight and whisper to him ‘Babe – there will be no more suffering any more’ he seems to understand and became still. The injection was done, I thank God he rested peacefully in my arms. That was the end of his life.

Few weeks later I received a bag ‘named Babe’ he’s now been cremated and was just a bag of dust. It made me realised I would never see him again. The thought of not even able to see him in Heaven really hurts me, how I wished I could meet him again in heaven. Life without Babe was extremely difficult, we had to remove anything in our house that reminded me of Babe. As it would made me cry uncontrollably. Every time I go for my grocery shopping and come across the pets isle I would cry. As I would usually purchase his favourite treat – smachos and dental bones. Occasionally during nights, I would hear him barking and I would ran down the stairs to let him out to the backyard to find that I’m staring at an empty bed. My neighbour asked me one day how come I haven’t been taking Babe out for a walk, I answered I had to put him down – he was no longer with us. If anyone asked me would I ever have a dog again, I would say NO – most people said that in order to get over the grief of your dog passing away, the best medicine is to get another dog to replace that void. No other dogs could replace Babe – he was one of the kind, he was a brave fighter, my brother and my friend. I would never want to go through this sadness the second time.

Some days Pandabear and I would go out for our daily walks and we would bump into lots of dogs and I would get really excited and pat them. This will give me a great sense of joy rather than sadness, only time will heal. It’s been about a year since Babe is not with us and I still missed him terribly. But his bag of ashes is still with me and I will treasure this forever 🙂

”I love you ‘A Babe’ “- from ‘A jie’ (sister)

Advertisements

Comfort Food Recipe – Tikka Salmon with Salad

Published January 30, 2010 by Mary Jane

Good evening people, this is my last post for the evening. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I didn’t feel like cooking cos I was feeling tired. Anyways, since I’ve bought the ingredients for tonight I decide I must persist on. Pandabear said ‘why didn’t you buy 2 min noodles then you don’t have to cook much’ Well, I didn’t – 2 min noodles ain’t that healthy anyways. So tonight’s dish is something I saw on Jamie Oliver’s ministry of food, I vaguely remember how its done..anyways, it didn’t have a good start – I found the salmon I bought had lots of bones and I didn’t have tweezers to pull them out so had to use my finger nails strength that was painful and then I found some scales weren’t probably done, didn’t have the scaling metal thing so had to use my knife. Could this be any harder??? Grrr…but eventually my persistance was rewarded…

Here it is…

Tikka Salmon with Yoghurt Salad

Ingredient

1 piece of salmon
1 table spoon of tikka curry paste
2 cucumbers
2 tomatoes
3 table spoon of plain yoghurt
2 pieces of Nan bread

Instructions

1. First slice the salmon into thin slices, rub in the tikka curry paste. You can buy a jar of these in any supermarket stores. Tikka curry paste has lemony flavour that gets rid of fish taste like salmon.

2. Heat up pan with medium heat and put the salmon pieces into the pan. Few minutes on each side. Now, don’t need to put oil because salmon is rich in omega oil. It may look abit charred but it’s only because of the curry paste.

3. Now to prepare the yoghurt salad, chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, salt and pepper to season and add yoghurt in. Mix it around. Leave some chopped cucumbers and tomatoes aside

4. Placed your Nan bread in the oven for 200 degrees for 10 minutes. You can buy them in packets in any super market.

5. To plate up, lay the fresh Nan bread out of oven onto the plate. Put salmon pieces in the centre, pour the yoghurt salad over the salmon. Sprinkle the remainder chopped cucumbers and tomatoes on top along with my favourite chopped red chillie and if you are a herb person put some chopped coriander on top and it’s perfect.

What I found is the dish is delicious however the salmon and yoghurt makes the Nan bread soggy, so if I were to serve this dish again I would put the Nan bread aside and eat it with salmon and yoghurt salad.

Enjoy…

Tikka Salmon with Yoghurt Salad

Tikka Salmon with Yoghurt Salad

Maryann’s Organic Vegie Garden

Published January 30, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Everyone, some of my friends would know that I have a very very very very little patch of vegie garden. Nothing compared with Jamie Oliver’s huge backyard vegie garden. I’ve planted a few vegies and they have unfortunately died on me cos I don’t plant them in the right seasons. Yes, you may have noticed apart from not reading cook books I also don’t like reading instructions – I prefer the trial and error way. So it’s unfortunate that my basil, sugar peas, broad beans, tomatoes have not survived due to the harsh hot weather in summer. So whats left? My proud killer chillies growing strong and sweet potato leaves, parsley…I’m hoping before I go to Melbourne I would be able to harvest some sweet potatoes 🙂

Here’s some pictures of them…

Chillies

Chillies

broad beans who didn't survive

broad beans who didn't survive

Sweet Potato Leaves

Sweet Potato Leaves

Comfort Food Recipe – Chicken Rice

Published January 30, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello People, hope you guys are doing well – who ever is reading my blog 🙂 I have come to a realisation some days you just don’t feel like cooking, tonight is one of those nights I have no energy for cooking. This week has been a tiring week, being emotionally upset with someone and work is busy… sometimes when I feel upset my food turns out to be miserable too, bland and tasteless – might as well call it a blob. So it just goes to show that when you cook you need to add a special ingredient into it and it’s ‘LOVE’ So tonight I will still cook my dinner and let you guys know how it turns out 🙂

Anyways, this particular recipe is very simple – there’s quite a few variation to the chicken rice recipe. I’ve recently found this packet of Hainanese Chicken rice pre-mix sauce that makes awesome chicken rice – it’s for a night when I feel lazy. Anyways, my recipe is still quite simple – I still go with my own motto ‘anyone can cook if you put your heart to it’

Here it is…

Maryann’s Chicken Rice

Ingredients

3-4 pieces of chicken thighs
1 small ginger
4 sprigs of spring onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoon of soya sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 cup of rice

Instructions

1. To prepare for the rice part – you must heat up the pan with some oil and add in minced garlic, chopped spring onion, large pieces of ginger and stir fry it until you can smell the aroma and add in the rice and stir fry it for a few more minutes. Chuck the rice into the rice cooker and if you like it’s optional You can tie up some spring onions into knots and chuck them in 🙂

2. Now the chicken part – heat up the pan with some oil and add in exactly the same ingredients for preparing the rice part except this time you add in some sesame oil and soya sauce for extra fragrance. Take out the sauce put it aside and start browning the chicken thighs. Now traditionally chicken rice are made out from whole chicken, but if you’re lazy like me just use thighs they taste just as good and quicker to cook.

3. When the chicken thighs are golden brown, pop in the sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes until the thigh soaks up the goodness of the sauce. Make sure you keep some table spoon worth of sauce for plating.

4. Now it’s plating time, usually I would serve my chicken rice with some Chinese vegies – Gai Lan is my favourite with chicken rice. And ofcourse pour the remainder sauce over the chicken to keep it saucy and garnish with red hot chillies or coriander and you’re laughing!!

Enjoy…

Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice

Blog Insight

Published January 30, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello People, it’s been a few days since I haven’t blogged. Work has been hectic it seemed to drain my whole entire energy. Well, today is Saturday and usually this is the day I do my housework as well as grocery shopping. However this morning, we went to our church and decided to remove as much branches and leaves that’s been sitting there for ages (I can’t remember how long it’s been). It was time to clean up and chuck them into the skipper bin. It was a great morning, nice breeze and lots of people turned up to help out 🙂

We end up clearing most of it, could have done it all but it couldn’t fit into the skipper bin – it was too full. Me being me thinking if we manually sweep all these leaves it would take us forever, so I overhead our opposite neighbour with his big leave sucking machine sucking his leaves. So as much as it sounds crazy. I went over and shouted ‘dear sir, we are just cleaning our church would it be possible to borrow your leave sucking machine?’ – He answered ‘well, I was thinking about doing mine first – but you can borrow it first – let me fill in some petrol’. I was really surprised, such a nice elderly man. There’s this little secret I must share with you. I love children, animals and elderly people. It may sound bizarre but I find I connect with these things rather quickly and I have infinite patients for these things. So I was really happy he was able to lend us the big leave sucking machine 🙂 it shows there’s really nice people in this world…

Now, I went home had a nap and got up thinking do I have to go grocery shopping? Yes, I do!! So off I went every Saturday I would try to catch my good mate Mr J who owns a health food store at the shopping centre. Today I went by to say hello and we had a chat about my food & travel blog. Mr J who also has a photography business as his side business offered to do shooting for my food – that’s fantastic! I’m really excited… He also gave me some ideas on how to make my blog alive! Video clips of my food cooking – thinking about it gives me jelly legs…I’m so nervous plus I do not have a professional video cam, well I suppose my olympus camera has video recording functions…I really should be more brave…thanks Mr J for giving these ideas and showing me how to upload video clips onto my blog 🙂

Sometimes I think my writing is too long, nobody would want to read such a long blog..nevermind I hope one day my favourite chef Jamie Oliver will read it 🙂 and that’s all it matters…

Restaurant Review – Newtown House

Published January 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello people it’s come to that time to do a restaurant review. This particular restaurant is located at Busselton. I love going down south around Busselton & Margaret River just to get away from Perth for a little break. So I really enjoy this short time away even it’s only for a few nights it really makes a difference and every time I go down to these areas I’ve always enjoyed my road trip 🙂

So We arrived at this restaurant, it was so dark we keep on missing the turns. There really should be some sort of light or bright sign indicating where to go. Anyways, we turned into the car park and it’s was deserted…so kinda feel alittle scary. Upon arrival, the waitress was quite friendly – there appears to be only 1 waitress working that night. The decor is pretty relaxing we found this restaurant on our entertainment book. The price is on the expensive fine dining side, however with the entertainment card it was ok. So we decided to go straight into mains with some roasted veggies for our sides. Mum and Pandabear both had the snitzel with the fettuccine and Mum didn’t like it, she said the combination of meat and pasta tasted weird and the flavouring was lemony so she didn’t quite like her mains. Pandabear thought it was ok. For me I had the rib eye with blue cheese. The presentation for all our food was fantastic, my main was pretty well cooked – the blue cheese compliments my beef and I really enjoyed it. My friend Miss S had the lamb and she said it’s not bad. The serving was huge so we didn’t feel like having desserts. Overall, I think the food is ok if you entertainment card – but if you don’t I think it’s a little overpriced for the food you get.

Here’s my rating:

Dining Experience: 3.5 star
Food Experience: 3 star
Would I recommend going: Yes – only if you have entertainment card

Roast Veggies

Roast Veggies

Pork snitzel with pasta

Pork snitzel with pasta

Rib Eye steak with blue cheese and veggies

Rib Eye steak with blue cheese and veggies

Lamb with cheese

Lamb with cheese

Comfort Food Recipe – Parmesan Chicken Breast with Prosciutto

Published January 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello again, another recipe from Jamie’s ministry of food, this dish is great as it looks fantastic when you are serving it at a party.

Here it is…

Parmesan Chicken Breast with Prosciutto

Ingredients

Small bunch of thyme
8-9 slices of prosciutto
some Parmesan cheese
2 chicken breast

Instructions
1. Glad wrap the chicken breast in between 2 layers of glad wrap and hit it with a rolling pin to make it into same thickness so it cooks evenly. From thick end to thin end. With medium. Ad a sprig of thyme around the chicken and add in grated parmesan cheese, pinch of pepper, grate lemon zest and wrap the prosciutto over the chicken breast so that it covers up the cheese.

2. Heat the pan with some oil and flip the chicken breast over to the pan cook the chicken breast until the chicken is 1/3 cooked. Flip over and the prosciutto should be crispy. Approx 2.5 minutes on each side for cooking.

3. Drizzle over the chicken breast with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil and slice them up and serve with mix green salad 🙂

4. To make it more fancy you can pan fried some scallops and put them on top and it looks fantastic!

Enjoy…

Parmesan Chicken with Proscuito

Parmesan Chicken with Proscuito