I am sure a lot of us know that our fellow blogger, Jennie recently lost her dear husband suddenly. Many have responded to pay tributes to her late husband Mikey by making his favorite Peanut butter creamy pie. It is heartbreaking enough to lose the man she loves but it is even more heartbreaking to know that she might be in financial difficulty after finding out that she is not eligible for widow’s benefits because her income is too high to qualify.
I know what it is like because I have been through that myself. If you have been following my blog you would have known the difficulties I faced when my first husband passed away suddenly. I do not wish another soul to have the same experience as Jennie and I. Here is a link about that time if you are curious:
I told you in my last post that I had not decided what I would do on my birthday this year. When I got up after a good night’s sleep, I knew what I wanted to do! I told my Quay Lo that I wanted to spend my birthday with the old folks at Persatuan Rumah Caring Kajang Selangor.
He immediately replied that he thought it would be a fantastic way to spend my birthday. So my mum and I went off for a nice breakfast, and headed to the nearby Careffour to buy the household items and food that they are always in need of at the home.
Mum is happy with what
we got for the old folks home
I sent a text message to a few of my close friends to ask them if they would like to make a donation and thus armed with donations from my sister in law Jennifer, my god daughter Cheryl, my best friends, Peng, Rina and Fernand, the gift money from my brother Vic and sister in law Jenny, my niece Christine and her boyfriend Sim, my step-daughter Erin, and my Quay Lo, I drove to Kajang where the old folk home is situated. I also brought with me my birthday cake to share with them. It was so heart warming to see the smiles on their faces when they received us.
This aunty kept on telling my mum how lucky she is and they both had a nice time visiting
Me and the oldest aunty who is 95 years old, She is the cutest!
This lady is autistic, 41 years old. Her development ceased at a young teen age. She is one of the star singers at holiday times.
It was a wonderful birthday gift for me to see them enjoy my birthday cake.
This old uncle has been living in this home for many years
Obviously this boy is not old. He is here because his parents need to work
and there is no one to take care of him so Wendy agreed to provide day care for them.
He is a handful as he is an autistic child and gets agitated very easily.
The aunty eating cake in this photo was a factory worker in a paper factory.
She could not work after she hurt her back. When Wendy learnt
of her plight, she took her in so that she has a place to live and
food to eat. The rest of the uncles were there for many years.
We chatted during a long visit. A few of them kept on telling my mum how lucky she is to have a daughter who cares for her and do things with. I told them that I am the lucky one.
I met one of the social workers, Xi Le who helps Wendy take care of the residents. Her story is so touching. She was homeless and a street urchin when Wendy found her. Under her guidance, she is now a capable, caring social worker. If you want to know more about her, here is the article:
Can I shamelessly ask for a belated birthday gift from you? Would you mention the home on your blog, or link to this post, and help us spread the word about the Caring Old Folks Home in Kajang, Malaysia so that more people are aware of it? Those who might wish to make a donation, here is the information you need.
The operation is not funded by any corporations or government grants. It exist solely on the determination of Wendy who has devoted her life to caring for others and those individuals that support her efforts. Even a small donation to them makes a big difference. Here is the link to get to know Wendy.
Her dream is to build a four-storey building on their own land to provide shelter for the needy, including old folk, orphans, single parents and the mentally challenged. And I have to add, this visit to the home was for me. Every time I visit, I reaffirm how fortunate I am, and I learn again how expressing your care for others pays you back ten fold.
I did not do any cooking on my birthday but when I arrived home after spending a day in the old folks home, I could smell the fragrance of spices in my home. My Quay Lo had cooked a dinner for us and not only that, I got some surprise gifts from him on top of the pasta machine he bought me a day before my birthday. He had taken me to Pantry Magic in Bangsar to let me shop for kitchen goodies. Oh I would like to thank Mel of Through the Kitchen Door for telling me about the shop.
Check this new toy out, Yippe!
These are the surprise gifts from my Quay Lo - I LOVE them all!
My home cooked birthday dinner by my Quay Lo
Note: these photos were taken with a point and shoot camera under low light settings. It did not do justice to the actual dish. Although my Quay Lo thought he had slightly overcooked the sausage but I give it 8/10 on the taste and we both enjoyed the meal very much.
Here is My Quay Lo’s recipe for Sauerkraut and Sausage, if you are interested.
Ingredients: 1 jar 600 - 700g of pickled red or white cabbage (sauerkraut) reserve 1/2 cup juice from the jar 4 large sausages of your choice 2 slices smoked bacon (I used American bacon but pancetta would do very well) 1 medium apple cored and diced 1 medium carrot, diced 1 medium onion diced 1 small - medium fennel bulb diced 1 rounded tspn carraway seed 1 level tspn coriander seed pinch of sea salt Olive oil 1 tspn brown sugar
Set oven for 180C (350F) Use mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to blend the spices, and sea salt, then set aside.
In a frying pan add a tblspn of olive oil and sweat the diced apple, onion, carrot, and fennel. Just before the onion goes translucent add the reserve juice from the sauerkraut jar. Leave pan on the flame for another minute, or until the steam dissipates and the pan contents begin to simmer. Turn off the heat and add the blended spice mixture, stirring until well mixed.
Put contents of the frying pan in the bottom of a covered casserole.
Wrap sausages in 1/2 slice of bacon each. Position on the sauerkraut mixture in the casserole. Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatos and brown gravy
Great with a Mosel Riesling or an Australian Riesling for the slightly higher acidic levels for a rich meal.
Although I am Hakka but I am more Cantonese because my mum is Cantonese. Since I am not very close with my Dad and my Dad's side of the family, I really don’t know much about the Hakka heritage. I consider myself more Cantonese than Hakka. The Cantonese dish that I am going to introduce to you brings back childhood memories and reminds me of the hardship my mum had gone through raising me alone after my Dad had lost all his fortune through gambling. From a rich man’s wife, my mum had to go to work as a factory worker peeling prawns. She earned very little at the factory so after work, she had to go wash clothes for our neighbors to earn more to make ends meet. From staying in a bungalow with a maid to not able to afford even to rent a room, mum and I had to share a room on the first floor of a shop lot with another lady. We had no bed or wardrobe. We shared a cheap thin mattress on the floor and we hung our clothes on a clothes rack and cover them with a piece of cloth. Yes, we have gone from rich to rags! Although we were poor, my mum ensured that I ate well. Every morning she waked up in the wee hours to cook lunch for me. She cooked a simple dish everyday and left it in the kitchen food cabinet (we did not have a fridge) so that when I returned from school, I had food to eat. Then on my birthday, she always cooked a special dish and it was clay pot chicken rice and she did that for many years. She could not afford to buy chicken but one of her good friend was a restaurant owner and he was a kind and generous man. He used to give my mum chicken meat now and then. Since today is my birthday, I thought it is very meaningful to share my mum’s claypot chicken rice recipe with you all. Each time when I eat this dish now, it reminded me what a strong person my mum is. During those days when we were down and out, she had never whined about having to work hard for little money or felt ashamed of being poor. It was also during that time of difficulty that she saw who were her true friends. Many rich aunties that my mum used to play mahjong with all avoided her the moment they knew that my Dad had lost his wealth. I guess they were afraid that we would borrow money from them. That did not bother my mum at all. She thought it was a blessing in disguise. She said there is no loss in losing fair weather friends. She is right, we do not need enemies when we had friends like these. My mum was worried that I could not handle the big change in our life style, so she continuously reminded me that no one could look down on us as long as we do not look down on ourselves. When time were too tough she said to me, “Don’t give in for no matter how tough the time might be, it will pass, for everything will pass, good or bad”. She is absolutely right! Nowadays, when time gets really tough, I will say to myself the three magic words, “It will pass!” and I move on. Oh yes, I moved on for 56 years! I hope I will move on for a while more. LOL!
Last Saturday, my Quay Lo gathered family and good friends to a really nice fine dining restaurant in Kuala Lumpur to have an early celebration of my 56th birthday. He personally selected food and the wine. The food was delicious and the wine were paired so well with the food! I enjoyed myself very much and I am very grateful for all the effort my Quay Lo put in to make this an enjoyable and memorable evening for me and our guests. Darling, YOU ARE THE BEST!! Hehe HUGS! I would like to thank everyone who took time from your busy schedule to join me in the celebration. I had a GREAT time and hope you all did too!! HUGS and KISSES to you all. I would like to share my joy with all my readers and blogger friends too.
A birthday card from all
The hand-picked restaurant by my Quay Lo
The hand-picked Menu for the dinner by my Quay Lo
My family and good friends who joined me
In his pic, top: our good friend - Diana,
center: our best of pals - Brad & Andrea,
bottom: Diana's hubby John
In this pic, from top: me and my son, Nick,
Centre: Me and my son's lovely girlfriend - Lehbin,
Bottom: me and my son Nick
In this pic, left: my godson in law- Valen, my god daughter - Cheryl
My sister in law - Jennifer, right: our good friend - Fernand, his daughter - Efa
and my best friend - Peng
In this pic, top: Andrea and my mum
center: Fernand and his daughter - Efa
bottom: my niece, Christine and boyfriend - Sim
In this pic, top: my godson - Darryl and girlfriend - Venice
center: my sister in law Jenny and my niece Christine
bottom: my son Nick and girlfriend - Lehbin
Hand picked Birthday cake by my Quay Lo
Chocolate cake with salted caramel served with vanilla ice cream
The American Style!
"Looking through the Glasses" taken by my son, Nick
I love this photo!
My BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT -
MY QUAY LO!!
My advance birthday party is over but my birthday starts now. The time now is 0001. I am not sure what I am going do today but I will share with you in my next post if I did something interesting. First, I guess I go and have a good sleep but before that here is my mum's clay pot chicken rice recipe which I am eager to share with you. This is a famous dish from Ipoh, Perak that means a lot to me and I already told you why.
Ipoh claypot chicken rice
1 cup fragrant rice
250 gm chicken breast and drumsticks
ginger, julienned, to taste
water, to cook rice
To marinade the chicken meat:
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbs oysters sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cornflour
1 tbs Shaoxing wine
a pinch of white pepper
a pinch of salt
Chop chicken into smaller pieces. Marinade the chicken for 1 hour. Measurement of water for the rice is ¾ cup water for 1 cup rice. Transfer rice and water into a large, deep bowl. Steam in a wok over high heat for about 20 minutes, covered, or until the water in the bowl dries up. Add chicken together with the marinade and sprinkle ginger on top. Continue to cook for 20 minutes, covered. Turn off the heat, let chicken and rice sit in the wok for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.
I was tagged by Elisabeth of Food and thrifts find to participate in the 7 links challenge. Elisabeth is one of the nicest people in the blogsphere. She is very generous in giving compliments to her fellow bloggers. I noticed she is especially encouraging with new bloggers because she knows it is a joy for any blogger to receive comments on their posts. Elisabeth, thanks for tagging me. You have given me the excuse to look through all my posts. HUGS.
P.S. I wish to apologize to Sandra of Sandra's Easy Cooking for missing her tagging me on this challenge. I am so happy that she dropped by here and let me know. Oh, if any of you have not been to her blog, I recommend that you do so now because I know you are going enjoy yourself there. I always do when I am there. Like the title of her blog, her recipes are simple and methods are easy but yield dishes that are not simple in taste. I do not want to elaborate further but I know you will agree with me when you see all of her fabulous food shots. Sandra, many thanks for thinking of me. HUGS.
My mum’s Shanghai noodles are very tasty and I ask her to make this very often. It is a perfect weekend brunch. I received no comments on this post. I hope you will go check out this recipe and try it. I would really like to hear from you all after that.
When my mum served this bowl of soup to me, I asked her for the recipe and the method. I was dumb founded to see the short list of ingredients and how easy it was to cook this mouth watering delicious healthy soup. I noticed she did not use any oil. I took two bowls with rice. I told mum I wanted to share this recipe with my readers and friends and she gave me the recipe and told me how she cooked it. I asked her twice if she had forgotten some ingredients and steps in the method. She got impatient and answered me, “Haiyah, hai kam lor, mun kam tor bai. hoe yoong yee geh, yoong yee ko Quay Lo ABC.” (Haiyah, this is it, ask so many times. very easy, more easy than Quay Lo ABC). OMG! even my mum who does not know English or speak the language knew how to say that! I could not help but laughed out loud! So are you convinced now that this soup is simple to make? Oh... and does anyone ever wonder why it is "easy as ABC" and not XYZ?
Borlotti bean soup
500 gm borlotti beans
2 medium carrots, peel skin and cut into chunks
200 gm pork ribs
800 ml chicken stock
salt to taste
Take out the beans from the straw. Wash them and put them (both beans and straw) into a soup pot. Blanch the pork ribs and drain away the water. Put the pork and chicken stock into the soup pot and bring to boil. Let it boil on high heat for 15 mins and lower heat to a simmer. Let it simmer for 1 hour or until the pork meat is tender. Serve hot after dishing out the straw.
Note: I added plain fragrant rice to the soup and this is another perfect healthy one dish meal. I think for those who are working, you can do this in the crock pot so that when you return from work, all you have to do is to cook some rice and you have a wonderful meal!
I was not a blogger when my first husband, Mike suddenly passed away 22 years ago. If I was, I would probably have done something similar as Jennie did for Mikey. I would have written a post to remember him and made one of his favorite meals and invite all my blogger friends to join me to celebrate his life.
I do not know Jennie of "In Jennie's Kitchen", nor did I know her husband Mikey, but I do know what she is going through. The sudden loss of the man that you love most is devastating! The loving tribute she has written for her husband brought tears to my eyes. She wanted to make this pie for Mikey but did not get to do it before he passed. So she has requested her fellow bloggers to make this pie for his memory. This is what she said. “For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there's no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.” I have made the pie using her recipe and I am going to share it with those I love and tell them that I love them, and remind myself that I don't say that enough and yes, I will follow Jennie’s advice, I will keep in mind that TODAY is the only guarantee we can count on! What a wonderful thing she has done to memorialize her husband's life. She has reminded us the importance of expressing our love to our loved ones. And she has shared her husband's love for a pie, and her love for him, all across the blogosphere. I hope you make the pie, or another favorite, for someone you love.
The past few days I was really, REALLY not in the mood for cooking. In fact I even uttered that to my Quay Lo and he said that I might want to consider telling my friends and readers that I am going to close down Quay Po Cooks for a break. I don’t know why, but I just felt out of it. I wondered if an episode of depression was starting to kick in! Then after a short conversation with my Quay Lo who is ever so supportive about how I feel and ever willing to do anything to make life easy and happy for me, including foregoing a real meal, I decided to not take the path down darkness instead I went into my kitchen and started cooking.
Just a few days ago, when my classmate, Puteh posted on her FB: "Depression is NOT a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long. Put this as your status if you know someone who has or had depression. Will you do it, and leave it on your status for at least an hour? Most people won't, but it's mental health week and 1 in 3 of us will suffer at some point in our lives. Show your support. I copied and pasted, will you?"
I re-posted that on my FB status because I agreed 100% with what was said. In reply, I have written on my FB that we are what we think and my blog is instrumental to my healing. So now I have to walk the talk. This made me change my thinking that very moment and I went straight to my fridge. I took a piece of pork loin out of the freezer and let it thaw. Then I started to gather all the ingredients and prepared to braise the pork loin with lots of vegetables and herbs for dinner. Braised pork is one of my Quay Lo's favorite dishes.
When the pork loin was done perfectly and the gravy was prepared, I told my Quay Lo that dinner will be ready soon. He came into the kitchen and looked at the pot of gravy, cooked vegetables and the braised pork loin and an idea struck him. We had talked about cooking ahead so that on evenings we didn't feel like cooking, we would have something in the freezer that we could simply warm up. He observed that we could save the pork loin for future meals (he loves pork sandwiches) and use the gravy and the aromatic vegetables from the braising pot for a soup. His wave length was on minestrone, so he suggested that we add more chicken stock, a small amount of diced boiled potatoes for thickening, a can of Italian tomatos, a can of black beans, and a handful of freshly cooked pasta. Though the vegetables and gravy were already well spiced, we added freshly ground oregano. We ended up with a two quart braising pot full of soup which we simmered for half an hour then let it sit for another two hours, before reheating qnd having our first meal of it. I knew the reason he suggested this was because he wanted to have the soup ready so whenever his Quay Po goes cranky, he can just tell her “Honey, it is okay, no need to cook if you don’t feel like it.” By this time, the heaviness in my heart was gone. We now have a whole braised pork loin, well seasoned and cooked perfectly, wrapped and ready in the fridge and an ultra delicious soup placed in three containers (each enough for a meal for both of us) in the freezer as welll as that evening's dinner.
My god daughter, Cheryl posted on the status of her FB "If you have a wonderful husband or a boyfriend who works hard to take care of you and would do anything for you, then re-post this as your status to give the honest good men out there the recogniton that they deserve. Because great men are few and I am proud that I HAVE ONE.:)" Cheryl, if you are reading this post, I am happy you feel blessed because we will be a happier person if we all have gratitude. My Quay Lo told me that gratitude is one of the most important keys to a happy life and if we can truly be thankful for what we have, we will be contented and what we don't have will not bother us.
I did not re-post that on my status, but I am giving my Quay Lo the recognition here for successfully pulling me out of my "CRANKINESS" and into cooking a nice meal for him instead! It is one that I am proud of. The soup was so good and I know the pork loin will be "killer". Yay! Quay Po Cooks will be here to stay for my Quay Lo, my friends, family, my readers and especially my blogger friends! So remember when you feel down and out, you can change your thinking! Trust this, you are what you think:D
Here are the recipes for the pork loin and the last minute self created pasta and vegetables soup (Quaylo says it's "minestrone"). Both braised pork loin and the soup is SOO delicious that I am not shy to blow my own trumphet! Tell me if this is not the best of both worlds! I would also like to dedicate this post to all those who have or had depression and wish you all speedy healing! HUGZZ!!
Braised pork loin
2 to 3 lbs boneless Pork loin without skin and tied with kitchen twine
1 green apple, chunks
2 stick celery, cut into 1 in piece
200 gm asparagus, cut into shorter length
1 ½ medium white onion, cut into 6 portions
5 cloves garlic with skin
4 shallots, sliced
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
2 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
2 tbs sunflower oil
Enough of chicken stock to cover the pork loin
To Marinate pork loin:
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin
Mix all the above and rub thoroughly over pork loin and set aside and let it marinade for about 30 minutes.
Method of Braising the pork loin:
Heat oil in the cast iron pot. Add onion and garlic, stir fry till onion is slightly limb. Add shallots and stir fry till fragrant. Remove onion, garlic and shallots and set aside. Use the oil to sear the pork loin and make sure all sides are browned. Remove seared pork loin from pot and set aside. Remove half of the oil from the pot and turn the heat up to high. Throw in all the vegetables and mix well with the oil. Return the pork loin back into the pot. Add chicken stock till it completely covered the pork loin and top it with the cooked onion, garlic and shallots, rosemary and thyme. Braised it in an oven at 220 degrees C for about 50 mins or till the meat thermometer reads 72 degrees C for medium cooked pork. Remove all contents from the pot and reduce the stock till it thicken. You may thicken it further with 1 tbs corn flour in 2 tbs water. Return all the cooked vegetables into the pot of gravy. Make sure you cover the pork loin and let it rest for 15 mins before cutting to serve. I served it with mashed potato and buttered asparagus.
For those who want to know how to tie the pork loin here is a good video tutoial:
Ingredients: Reserved liquid, vegetables and gravy from braising the pork loin 1 litre chicken stock 1 can Pomodori tomatos, roughly chopped, with liquid from the can 1 can black beans with liquid from the can 200 gms cubed ham (smoke cured will work especially well here) 2 small potatoes, skinned, par boiled, and cubed 1 tsp fresh or re-ground oregano 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley salt and black pepper to taste (be sure to taste before adding) 140 grams of cooked pasta shells or macaroni*
* We had a bag of corn and "vegetable", gluten free, pasta that had been purchased by my Quay Lo by accident so we decided to use it up. It was quite good actually but semolina flour pasta is more traditional.
Method: After braising, remove the pork loin (this would work well with braised beef as well) and add the above ingredients to the pot. Simmer for thirty minutes and let stand until completely cooled (this will result in a nice exchange of flavors between braising herbs and spices with the newly introduced ones.) Store and reheat as desired.