Monday, November 29, 2010

Harder Than Yoga

I got this really good deal on Twangoo a month ago for unlimited yoga sessions for a month. I told myself I would go at least 3 times a week for the whole month. So far I've been 3 times and its been 2 weeks now since the last time I went. I told myself I will go last Saturday morning since we had nothing planned. Hubby and my folks were home so there really wasn't a good excuse for me to flake out... until Boy Wonder asked me really nicely if I could make him a marble machine.

I've seen a few too many marble machine contraptions on You Tube due to Boy Wonder's fascination with them. I've always said to myself who would be bored enough to spend so much time and energy to figure out how to make a marble go from point A to point B while raiding your mother's cupboard or your dad's tool box while filling your room with every toy imaginable. Well now I know. All it takes is a very sincere and nice "please" from your kid.

I thought to myself it shouldn't take very long and it was only 9am. It should take me less than an hour and give me heaps of time to get to the 10:30 am yoga session. Boy was I wrong! It was after lunch by the time we were done.

So here is the bloody contraption we came up with. We've posted it on You Tube so Boy Wonder is now over the moon that he finally has something that people can look at as well that belongs to him. Who knew making something like this would be more difficult than yoga!



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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Press Up To Go Up You Moron!

One of the things I truly cannot stand about people in Hong Kong is the way they use elevators/lifts. Most people here press the down or up button with no clue as to what they are for. They think you press down because they see the lift needs to come down for them to get on. And if the lift does not show where it is while you are waiting, they just press both buttons! And most of the time, a whole bunch of them just get on no matter where they are going which screws everyone up because they ride all the way up and leave no space for those upstairs to come down.

I was running errands today and while waiting for the lift to go down, an old man comes along, sees that both lifts are on the lower floors and presses the up button. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I gesture to him when the lift going up arrives. He sees it and ignores it. Bastard! I was not surprised. There were no other people waiting to go up. If I were in the lift, I'd be shaking my head that some idiot has pressed the up button but did not need to go up. The lift door closes and the one going down arrives and we both step in. I look at him and told him he shouldn't press the up button if he wanted to go down. He glares at me and says in Chinese what's it to me. I told him doing that wastes other people's time. He then says what does he care about other people's time. At that point I knew it would be a waste of my time to argue with him, so instead I laughed at him and said he doesn't even know how to use the lift. hehe. I think that pissed him off even more, so my tactic worked. So I said it again and got off the lift while making an audible chuckle while the man was saying other words in anger. What a moron. Its people like that, with the I don't care about other people attitude that do no favors for Hong Kong.

I've also noticed a few of the buildings in Central have now installed these fancy lifts that asks you to punch in the floor you need to go to instead of an up or down button. Its hilarious watching some people trying to figure it out. They're looking up to see where the lifts are then when they proceed to press a button they're baffled at the lack of an up or down button. Some just go into a random lift and you just catch their expression of panic when they see there are no number buttons inside as the doors close. HAHAHA! I can totally imagine that old man stepping in and wet his pants because he doesn't know where he's going.

That's one thing I need to deal with in terms of people here. Many of them are oblivious to the world around them. They are on their iPods or walking with blinders on. They don't care about anyone or anything but themselves. You see people cross the street without even checking for cars coming. Hubby and I are constantly amazed that there aren't more reports of people being run over in Hong Kong. Even my ex-friend, she walked right past me ON the escalator, with no space between us without seeing me!

I know these are just petty things, but since I have to deal with it almost everyday, I can't help but have to tell some people off. So the next time you press the lift button, better make sure you press the right one because I just might be standing next to you to give you an ear full!
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Scallion Pie/Chinese Pizza

The yummy food continues again this week with me documenting my mom's scallion pies. My earlier memories of what my mom calls a Chinese Pizza dates back to when I attended Days With The Lord back in highschool. After an extremely emotion weekend stuck in school, we all sat down to a shared meal that turned out to be food brought over by all the families of the attendants. When Chinese Pizza was presented, a big big smile appeared on my face because I knew it was from my mom.

 She made some more last night so I've documented it again and posted it here:



As usual there are no exact measurements. To start off, scoop however much all purpose flour you think you will need for the amount of pies to would like to make. Be generous on your first try to make sure you end up with enough to play around with. Mix the flour with just boiled water from the kettle until you end up with a mixture like this:




When the mixture is cool enough to handle, pour it out onto a floured surface and using a fold and press motion, knead the dough. You will end up with something like this:


Cover the dough and let it rest for 20-30 minutes. This will make the dough more elastic in consistency and not make it burst open as easily when rolling it out at the end of the pie making process.


While your dough is resting, cut up a bunch of scallion.



After your dough has rested well, cut it into smaller pieces. This will take some practicing as you will need to figure out how much dough is needed per pie. This also depends on how big you want each pie to be which is then also dependent on how big your pan is. Whew!

Take one piece of the cut dough and roll out to about half cm. thick.



Pour sesame oil and sprinkle salt to taste onto the dough. Use your fingers to spread it evenly. Make sure you leave about 1 cm. of the edge of one side of the pie clean so that the pie will have a better seal when rolled.



Starting from the filled up edge, roll the pie towards the clean edge.


Lightly pinch both ends of the roll.


Twist the roll and tuck both ends into the middle of the round.


Press down to seal.




Roll out the pie until half cm in thickness being carefull not to break the dough on the edges like what happened here. But don't fret if it does.

Next cook the pie in a lightly oiled pan until slightly golden brown. Slice and enjoy!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dumplings From Scratch

With the arrival of my parents come my mom's home cooked meals again. We made dumplings from scratch today and since I don't know how to make the wrapper, I've documented it.
The dough is simply made from all purpose flour and water. After mixed well, it is kneaded until slightly firm.
The dough is then formed into a giant donut around 2cm in thickness, then cut and straightened.
It is then cut into 1.5 cm sections, sharp edges rounded and squished with your hands to make small disks.
This is where some fancy rolling skills come to play. Each disk needs to be rolled such that the middle is a bit thicker than the edges. That way the filling won't rupture the wrapper.
Perfectly rolled dumpling wrappers.
 
The filling is then wrapped inside, making sure it does not touch the edges or else the dumpling will break when cooked.
It's all in how you hold the dumpling that makes the perfect shaped morsel.
 Rows of perfectly wrapped dumplings, ready for the freezer.
For a healthier alternative to pot stickers, boil the dumplings until they float up and puff up a bit. Make sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot by stirring it just a little bit with the back of your ladle when dropped into the pot.
 YUM!
 My mom also make scallion pies with boiled water, flour, scallion, salt and oil. YUM!
I'm looking forward to more of my mom's cooking the next few weeks. I'll make sure I document more of the meals so my helper and I can learn!

Note:

I just thought I should include the recipe for the filling as well. Please note this is Chinese cooking, so there are no exact measurements. I will try to give the best description possible:

1 kg. ground pork
Chinese cabbage - same amount in volume, not weight as the pork, chopped up and sprinkled and tossed generously with salt, set aside
chopped mushroom - half in volume as the pork
minced garlic
minced ginger
chopped green onion
soy sauce
sugar
white pepper
salt

sesame oil
vegetable oil

1. Mix one cup of water into the ground pork. Mix until the water is fully incorporated into the meat.
2. Squeeze water out of the cabbage. Throw out the liquid. Mix cabbage into the meat.
3. Mix chopped mushrooms into mixture.
4. Depending on your personal taste, mix in desired amount of ginger, garlic, green onion and remaining condiments.
5. Add sesame oil until mixture smells of the sesame, don't put too much!
6. Add vegetable oil and mix until the filling has a nice glossy texture.


Wrap your dumplings! Enjoy!

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