Friday, 30 October 2009

Monday, 26 October 2009

Raining AGAIN

Sure, it rains in Malaysia too. In fact, there are times when it rains much harder (not the pissy drizzle like in NL) but you don't notice it (except for the thunderstorms which kill your cable TV and modem ;)). Here, on the other hand, because you HAVE to do things outdoors (I can't drive, shops are on the street, not in a mall, have to take public transport so that can mean walking/waiting in the rain etc.), it bothers the shite out of me. Yes, I'm a complaining, grumpy cow.Seriously, NL can be such a dreary place- not just the weather.. the people, the food, the lack of anything to do other than drinking.

The rain makes everyone sleepy including my cat

She slept next to me on the couch ALL DAY. She's STILL sleeping now and no she's not ancient quite yet (4 years old).

I really like loaf pans for some reason and I generally don't ice cakes. Did make a frosting this time though

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Nyonya's Night In

Dutchman had dinner with a friend in another city yesterday. I took this opportunity to cook something I love (a love he doesn't share, I must add)- MUSSELS! Incidently, Dutchman's friend made mussels as well and Dutchman is currently laying in bed with food poisoning. Huahuahua

Decided to keep it simple. It was good and I have about 800grams in leftovers. Ate half of that for lunch with some crusty bread and am planning to eat the rest with pasta later today.

I didn't really follow a recipe but it was good (anything fresh doesn't need lots of ingredients anyway!)

About 1,6kg mussels (after cleaning and throwing out the bad ones)
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped finely
1 red chilli, chopped
a handful of parseley, chopped
About 2 glasses of dry,white wine

1) Saute onion, 1/2 the chilli and garlic in some olive oil.
2) When soft, add wine and 3/4 of the parseley. Leave it to boil.
3) Add mussels and give it a good stir. Close pot.
4) Turn off heat about 6-10 minutes later. Mussels should be done. Throw away the ones which aren't open.
5) Sprinkle 1/2 chilli and 1/4 parseley.

Dinners last week:

i) Sze Chuan minced pork and eggplant

ii)  Pepper steak with potatoes and Brussel sprouts

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Malaysia in February

We're looking forward to our short holiday in February! We talk about it almost everyday. It's nice to have something to look forward to, especially as the days get shorter and darker. Winter is definitely upon us. When I first arrived, I loved the winter. It was different, romantic, special. Now, it's just plain shitty- everyone is grumpy, it's cold, dark, nothing is open, you have to grab your coat before leaving and your feet might turn purple if you don't wear socks.

Initially, this was to be a cheap holiday. Celebrate CNY, do lots of necessary clothes & cosmetics shopping and that's it but of course, holidays never end up quite as free of frills as we expect so we started looking for short holidays. We settled on Langkawi but our schedule started to mess it up (Chinese New Year, 2 extended families) and we felt guilty for spending so much money on such a short trip (we're also going to Malaysia again in July and that's going to be an expensive holiday). We can be quite picky regarding our hotels since we like to be pampered. 400 euro per person for a 3day/2night at The Datai, Langkawi just seemed like a waste.

So, we finally agreed on a place I never thought I'd ever go. Port Dickson (shitty water-Straits of Melaka-,brown beaches)! It's also so much more affordable - 50 euro per person!- ,the hotel (Avillion Port Dickson) looks nice enough and best of all, it is only an hour away from KL/Melaka! I figured the Dutchman would need a break from my family, especially after the 30- people- living- in- one house- experience (which is what is going to happen during Chinese New Year).

I am so excited! So many things to look forward to in 2010!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Jam & Clotted Cream

Made scones today. They are so yummy! They didn't rise that high though. What do you reckon? Is this good enough or are these not 'real' scones? I'm asking because I have to bake them for a friend next week! This recipe didn't call for Cream of Tartar or shortening but if that's absolutely necessary, I suppose I could trek to Utrecht or something...

Simple dinners:

Roodkool Schotel (red cabbage casserole)- one of our favourite standby-dinners. Very easy and super tasty!

Char Kuey Teow 

Thursday, 15 October 2009

You Might Be Wondering

why I have resurrected after a period of inactivity...

The answer is always the same (if you follow my blog). Yes, I'm supposed to be home, studying, for my exam next week. As usual, I'm in a baking/cooking frenzy or pottering about the plants or shopping instead of doing what I'm suppose to!

Nigella Lawson's Cream Cheese Brownies

The brownies were surprisingly yum. I'm not a big fan of Nigella Lawson. I enjoy reading her books. She's a great writer but her recipes have never wow-ed me. These were deliciously fudgy and the brownies were quickly scarved down by some rather picky Dutch people. That's quite a feat because many Dutch people find the idea of cheese in something sweet absolutely disgusting:D

For lunch, I made a simple pasta dish but before I could take a bite, the doorbell rang and I , stupidly, left my cat alone with it!

Dinner! It was YUM. I was hunting for some Cream of Tartar in Arnhem the other day because I've been jonesing for some chiffon cake. I came across this English store, Hartley's, who sadly did not have cream of tartar in their inventory. I did pick up a few other things though- namely, Lyle's Golden Syrup (can make Nigella's Sour Cream Chocolate Cake yay), Walkers Shortbread (I LOVE THEM)and a packet of Cumberland sausages.

I'll try not to bake for some time. I need to lose weight. I've become disturbingly plump. I don't have a scale at home but I'm pretty sure I'm in the 53-55kg range right now which might not sound that bad if you're European but when you're a 5ft 3" Asian person with a small-ish frame.. I don't even care about my weight really- just the flabbiness, the way my top rides up my sides because I've got humungous love handles, my muffin top, the way my bikini bottom is too small for me now etc. My boobs have stayed the same though- small and disappointing;) Man... Right. Time to kick my ass and start making use of the gym membership I pay for every month for a year but only used one month... I just cancelled it last week but will have to pay for it til January....

With some luck, I will not be fatter in a bikini than my MIL when we're on an island next year!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

My Reward

I love flowers. I'm quite picky about them though. I hate boring ones- I don't like gerberas, geminis, roses (except the really beautiful ones they sell individually), sunflowers, baby's breath .... the list goes on.

Luckily flowers are quite cheap in The Netherlands so I buy a bunch every week or so (anything between 3 euro- 25 euro).

As usual, I haven't been cooking much lately. We either eat out (Turkish) or grab a take-away (Chinese,Indian). Takeaways can be cheaper than cooking sometimes- a 12 euro takeaway easily lasts me 5 meals.

A horrible rendition of Thai Chicken with Cashew Nuts from Knorr

An even more horrid nasi goreng Tom Yam (Adabi or something). Never again.

All that has definitely reaffirmed my belief in making things from scratch!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Sticky Buns with Pecans

Photo above is before baking. The pecan glaze is at the bottom. No photos of the final product because I was late for school. Took most of it for friends to eat. Very sinful but oh-so-good! What's not so good is the cleaning up afterwards. Stupid glaze is every effing where.

Stephen Gately is dead! I used to love Boyzone (embarassing, I know!) and Stephen was my favourite. I even went for that Swatch concert of theirs on September 6th, 1997. I was 12, had protective parents and was desperate to go. I cried and sulked for weeks, refused to talk to my father because he wouldn't let me. Finally, my uncle interfered and said my cousin is going and he would personally see us off at the concert hall or whatever it was. The next day, we went to Watatime in One Utama to purchase the Swatch watches which doubled as a ticket. We made posters and annoyed the shite out the people at Polygram daily (called them to beg for backstage passes).

After the concert, we wrangled out where Boyzone was staying from a security guard. We went to the hotel. Went to the right floor. Rang the doorbell and found...

Keith in a bathrobe. He was sort of mad hahaha but he told us that the rest were at the swimming pool. That's where we went and saw the rest swimming before we were asked to leave by one of the people around them.

Not very nice of us, I suppose but in our defense, we were young and we were very much influence by Smash Hits, TV Hits and Top Of The Pops. My taste in music developed and I started listening to Blur, Greenday, Jack Johnson and lots of big band jazz but I always had a soft spot for them. Too bad he died. End of an era and all that.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

The Economy?

I don't work part-time anymore. The parents of the little girl I used to babysit separated some time ago. Because they weren't married (very common especially among the well-educated bunch), the mother has full custody of the child. I work for the dad so you can conclude what happened. I don't mind, the parents have more things on their minds right now and I don't really need the money but it would have been nice to have a chance to say goodbye to the little girl. Considering the dad himself, barely had a chance to, I shouldn't complain...

I've been trying to look for a part-time position but it's difficult because my timetable changes every 6 weeks and because my hourly rate is on the high side. Still, I used to get emails once in a while from random families (even when I only had au pair-ing experience!). Now, I don't even get emails from people offering 5 euros an hour. Could it be the economy? I guess that's possible. A number of acquaintances were laid off and many people expect it to get worse.

Luckily, the Dutchman has a permanent contract and is on actively 'on duty' (as opposed to a few months ago when he was drawing a salary but didn't have an actual assignment) so the chances of him getting fired are minimal. Would be nice to earn some extra money so that I can save for my study abroad though... It'll be expensive, maintaining 2 households at the same time.

Gonna hope for the best!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Living Costs In The Netherlands

Room - 250-500 euro (excl. furniture, including utilities, council tax etc.)

Loaf of bread from the supermarket- 1.20-3.00 euro

1L milk -0.40- 1.30 euro

Health insurance- about 100 euro per month

2nd hand bike (probably stolen)- 50 euro

New bike- 280- 1000+ euro

300g minced beef- 1.50 euro

1kg chicken breasts- 6.00 euro

1kg potatoes- 1.30 euro

1 cucumber - 0.50 euro

Cheap: food, groceries, flowers, alcohol
Expensive: accomodation, service of any kinds

Taxes are rather high : 33.65- 52%. In addition, there are many other taxes one will have to pay (healthcare, council, BTW etc )