Sunday, April 28, 2013

Satay Beef balls 沙嗲牛肉丸

 Homemade meat balls

This simple savory flavor not only can be made into meat balls, it can easily be made into burger patties too. This quick and easy recipe is not only great to serve with pasta; it can also be awesome kid’s finger food for children party. When made into patties, it is excellent for BBQ too!

Not in favor of beef? You can replace ground beef with any other meat to your preference such as pork or chicken. 

Satay Beef Balls before oven bake
Satay Beef Balls

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Omelette 煎蛋饼

Serving home grown vegetables

Omelette is a recipe which needs no introduction.  A basic omelette is so simple and easy to prepare that a kid can do it. For variations, it can be as simple as eggs, onion and milk mixture to rich cheesy, meat, seafood, vegetables and any combination of your choice.  

Vegetarian Omelette 煎蛋饼

To some, it can be a little tricky to cook an entire omelette without folding. The skill in flipping the omelette over to cook both sides evenly without breaking may not be easy to master.

My experience tells me practice makes perfect. The following additional tips would also be of some help.

1.   Recommend to use a non-stick pan with less oil.
2.   Not to put too much eggs mixture:
This is because when egg mixture is too thick, the centre may be too runny resulting in inconsistency in the omelette texture where it can tear easily when flipped.

3.   Cook with medium low heat to avoid the bottom side turning brown before the top centre egg mixture sets.
4.   Only start to tilt the pan when the centre of egg mixture sets.
5.    If omelette too big and too thick to flip, use a bigger plate to cover and slide the omelette cooked side down onto the plate. Invert the pan over the plate, then holding them firmly, turn the plate and pan over together.

Shared below was my healthy vegetarian version with home grown cherry tomatoes and dwarf beans freshly picked from my home garden in Auckland. For more of my Kiwi garden click on My Green hopes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

African Violets 非洲紫罗兰

My first flower gardening experience

As a practical person, this trait has influenced my choices in gardening.  I’m not keen in flower gardening but favour vegetables gardening because if I were to put in efforts into growing something, I’d rather have plants that I can harvest for consumption than for aesthetic appreciation.

Some time ago, my company’s HR manager decided to do away with the fountain corner in the office lobby due to poor maintenance. Seeing the unknown flowers surrounding the fountain left unattended and dying one after another, I decided to bring back the last two pots and tried my best to revive them.

The pots that I brought back only had a few stems and a few dark green, thick, hairy leaves.  I had no idea what species these plants were at first and had no clue of how to take care of them. I continued to water daily but the initial firm standing stems gradually turned soft and looked sickly. A chance visit to a nearby flower nursery made me realize these plants were known as African Violets. (Saintpaulia ionantha) . These plants needed just enough water to keep the soil moist, but never soggy.  It should not be exposed to direct sunlight. I was advised by the owner of the nursery that I might have overwatered the plants and that these flowers were not easy to take care of.  After knowing the source of the problem, I went home and made some adjustment.  Not long after, voila!  I was pleased to share the following results J

I was so overwhelmed when these flowers blossomed, and felt so contented that I succeeded in reviving these flowers.


African Violets (Saintpaulia ionantha).

But I was equally sad to find they only lasted for 3 weeks before they withered. Overall it was a really good gardening experience for me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My 1st Project Runway

Barbie Fashion Project Runway

During the school holidays last December, my niece in Penang, Kyra came to me saying that her mommy (my sister Cindy) told her that I was good at sewing and asked that I make some new clothes for her Barbie dolls. How could I possibly reject an adorable 7 years old’s request? So, I accepted her request and that gave birth to my 1st ever Barbie Fashion project runway! Smile

Like most girls , I often played dressing up dolls in my childhood days, but never a Barbie.  Barbie seemed to become popular only after my “time”.  At my tender age, the popular dressing up doll games was paper dolls, not this type of sexy plastic doll.  I guess some of you ladies would know what this paper doll game was about. Yes, it was a paper game made of A4 size thin cardboard, with a printed dolly girl figure and other colourful and fashionable dresses with tab and pre-cut tearing line. To play, we just had to press on the tear line to detach the doll and dresses. To dress the doll, the tab of the dress was folded and fixed on to the paper doll.  I still could remember that I used to design new paper dresses for these dolls from my own cardboard. Now with Barbie, instead of paper, I used scrap cloth that I salvaged. 

At first I did not obtain the right measurement from the Barbie doll. I did online search for Barbie free fashion templates and downloaded those as sample. However after making a few dresses,  it seemed very difficult for me to get the measurement right unless I had a doll to try on. I asked around my lady colleagues to see if any of them had daughters who had an extra Barbie doll to loan to me for this project. I managed to get one from a co-worker whose daughter had more than 10 Barbie dolls and wouldn’t mind to lend me one of her least favourites.

I took a few weekends and some late nights to come up with the following collection. I tried rushing to complete them in order to bring them to my niece during the Chinese New Year holidays for her to dress her Barbie with new clothes to celebrate New Year too. Smile

I must say, thanks to this project, it brought back many of my happy childhood doll playing memories. Not only I got to fulfil my fashion designing dream by coming up with series of fashion to dress up her Barbie dolls, I got to experience playing Barbie which was not available back in my time.

Shared below were my experimental Barbie Fashion collection.

Elegant Evening Gowns
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One dress 2 ways
My own design gowns, with scarf  and hair accessories.
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Casual Wears
Matched with bags, scarf and hat.
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 Sexy hot bikini swim suits
Using stretchable fabric recycled from my evening dress, after I had shortened the dress into mini skirt.
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Kyra and her Barbie dolls performing Chinese New Year Barbie Fashion Show


The Project Runway Models

Kyra and her models enjoying high tea



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