Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Metamorphosis of the Swallowtail Butterfly

I have three different citrus trees growing in my container garden. An orange tree, a lemon tree and a lime tree. These three attract the swallowtail butterfly to the garden. And they come to lay their eggs on the trees. I have caught the Orange Dog caterpillar which morphs into the great Swallowtail butterfly. Here are some of the pictures of the metamorphosis.

1. Egg

2. Caterpillar

The four pictures shows how an orange dog caterpillar wards of its enemies. The two forked-snake-tounge that is extended when under threat is called osmeterium which expels a very FOUL smell to deter its enemies. Believe me when I say FOUL! The osmeterium retreats back into the caterpillar's head when it no longer feels threatened.

3. Chrysalis

4. Butterfly

This butterfly was in the midst of laying eggs on my lemon tree. You can see the tiny egg that was deposited on the leaf in the picture below.

Fried Bitter Gourd, Eggs & Minced Chicken Dish


1. 1 bitter gourd (de-seed and sliced into thin slices)
2. 500gm of minced chicken (marinate with sea-salt)
3. 4 large eggs (beaten)
4. Sea-salt
5. Sunflower oil


1. Heat a wok/frying pan on high heat.

2. Pour about 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil onto the wok/frying pan.

3. On medium heat, stir fry the chicken until 90% cooked.

4. With the back of the spatula, break the minced chicken into fine pieces.

5. Add the bitter gourd and beaten eggs.

6. Season with sea-salt.

7. Keep frying and stirring until the eggs are cooked and the bitter gourds have softened.

8. Once done, scoop up on serving dish.

9. Serve warm with rice.

Bon appétit!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

By Progressing, We Have Regressed

Take a look around you. I mean, REALLY take a look around.

What do you see?

Let me tell you what is seen by many.

Progress. Development. Advanced technology.

It would seem that we are living in the best of times!

But sadly, it is not so.

Malaysia is now at first place in the South East Asia! Why? Simply because we have the fattest people in this region. Don't believe me? Click on this link.

We are a nation so encumbered with our smart phones, tablets and all-sorts-of-gadgets that we forget to get up to pee, what more leave home! I mean, who would want to leave home when you have the app called 1000 most beautiful pictures in the world. And then there's the app called Relax where at a press of a button, you get to hear sounds of nature. Which are actually supposed to help you to, well,  R.E.L.A.X.

So not only our souls and minds relax, even our bums and guts relax to the point they triple in size. And then there's the just-a-phone-call-away-take-away-food-outlets. Just dial a number and you have food delivered to you right at your doorstep.

So with state-of-art-technologies, we have come to a point that we now only exercise..... our..... FINGERS! We swipe, tap, click like a pro. We write like chicken scratchings. We cannot spell without the stupid ever-helpful-auto-corrector. We eat with our phones glued to our hands and not notice the dead fly in our food until it has been crunched to a paste and swallowed. And yes, not forgetting incidences where the phone actually fell into a bowl of curry beehoon soup! (Yes, I am talking about YOU!) And I must not forget the toilet too!

We walk with the phone. We shit, pee, sleep, talk and yes, there are some who have sex with the phone switched on (they all have cameras and video cameras now!). We even navigate the roads with our phones. And we all Facebook ever so busily. (By the way, isn't it odd for the people who live with each other to be Facebooking on each others walls about the disappearance of the chicken eggs in the fridge? You mean you can't open your mouth to ask? Does this mean together with the tripling of our guts and bums sizes, our vocal chords will soon evolve and one day cease to function as a voice box but as an organ as useless as the appendix??)

I think the movie Wall-E depicts this scenario the best. In one of the scenes, humans in the state of extremely advance technology, no longer get up to walk or even roll over. Heck, they don't even know what the hell 'WALK' is. They all sit on fully-automated-electronic buoys. Humans don't think. They do not need to think! All they do is have their eyes glued to their screen. Conversing with each other. With the screen. They NEVER speak with each other. They all have food and soft drinks delivered to them. And they are all extremely OBESE!

This movie is about a dystopia in the distant future. Which is like 700 years in the future. And that is VERY distant. The scary thing is that we are experiencing the tip of the iceberg TODAY!

Now, take a look around you again. What do you see?

Just like Haley Joel Osment's answer in the movie Sixth Sense to Bruce Willis' question, 'What do you see?'

'I see dead people walking around like regular people.'

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Fried Eggs with French Beans


1. 500gm of french beans (cut into tiny pieces)
2. 6 large eggs
3. Sunflower oil
4. Sea-salt
5. Soft brown sugar


1. Break all the eggs in a large bowl.

2. Add about 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil, a dash of sea-salt and brown sugar to the eggs.

3. Beat the eggs.

4. Add the cut french beans to the beaten eggs.

5. Heat a wok on high heat.

6. Once the wok is hot, pour the eggs and stir fry on medium heat until slightly browned and the aroma of eggs and french beans fill the air.

7. Scoop onto serving dish.

8. Serve hot with warm rice.

Bon appétit!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Container Garden - An Insect's World Update!

I have been busy burying compost in the pots these past few weeks. And I sowed some okra seeds. 2 seeds have sprouted. I hope the heavy downpour today did not kill them.

The black & red squash bug!
Rain droplets on Periwinkle flowers!

Orange Dog Butterfly!
We had a family of 3 blue-breasted quails who came to sunbathe in the garden!

A closeup picture of a chrysalis which belongs to the orange dog butterfly!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The 3Bs Pancakes!


1. 300gm of organic all-purpose flour (sieved twice)
2. 100gm of organic buckwheat flour (sieved twice)
3. 6 large bananas (mashed)
4. 50gm of barley flour (sieved twice)
5. 2 3/4 cups of barley water
6. Sunflower oil
7. 1 teaspoon of sea-salt
8. 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
9. 4 eggs (beaten)


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients above.

2. Whisk the mixture with an electric whisk until all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly and the mixture is smooth. (*Add more barley water if mixture is too dry.)

3. Heat the frying pan.

4. Pour a ladle of the mixture into the pan.

5. Once the bottom side of the pancake is browned, flip it over and cook the other side until it is browned too.

6. Repeat steps 4 to 5 until the mixture is all used up.

7. Serve warm.

Bon appétit!
Banana, buckwheat & barley pancakes!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Home-Made Cabbage+Chicken Nuggets!


1. 500gm of minced chicken
2. 1 very small cabbage (washed and shredded into very small pieces)
3. 2 tablespoons of organic all-purpose flour
4. Sea-salt
5. Sunflower oil

1. In a large bowl, pour the minced chicken, shredded cabbage, organic all-purpose flour, *sea-salt and *sunflower oil.

*according to your taste

2. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until it forms a paste.

3. Form nugget shapes from the paste and set aside.

4. Heat a frying pan/wok.

5. Once it is hot, pour some sunflower oil into it.

6. Stir-fry in batches. Once one side is cooked and slightly browned, turn the nuggets to the other side and continue frying.

7. Serve with warm rice.

Bon appétit!


Things have been FAR from rosy.

The cough which I had for almost a month in December is BACK! With vengeance.

The cause?

Joel's school which has been going through extensive painting and renovation.

The first week of school was a breeze for me, because I was at home as hubby was on leave!

Then the second week came and then today being the third week and I am down.

I feel as though the insides of my chest is filled with spiders spinning and weaving webs. And it's getting tighter to breathe and I want to scratch my lungs out!!!!! And the COUGH!

Last Monday was bad. On the way home in the car, the migraine developed. Then not long once we were home, I had a severe diarrhoea and burning sensation in my mouth. By the next morning, I woke up with ulcers in my mouth.

Joel started sneezing non-stop by last Thursday and by Sunday, a full-blown cough.

So Joel has been on MC since Monday and I am in a f*cked up mood. Pre-menopause is in full swing with insomnia too. And the ulcers have multiplied.... Lovely!

I feel like those water pumps in several districts of Malaysia which had a major breakdown. Even the back-up pumps have broken down. And MY BACK-UP generators are certainly having a major breakdown too at this point of time.

Yes, I have been knocked down and before I get up again, I would just want to lie down on the floor, curl up and sleep.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Home-Made Brown Rice Crackers


1. 3 cups of brown rice
2. 1/2 teaspoon of sea-salt
3. Filtered water
4. Sunflower oil

1. Wash the uncooked brown rice thoroughly.

2. Add approximately 1+ cup of filtered water. (The cooked rice should not be too hard. It should be on the soft and mushy side).

3. Boil for approximately 25 minutes on high heat for the first 10 minutes and then medium heat on the remaining amount of time. Add time if the rice is too watery.

4. Once the rice has cooled down, blend it into a mashy paste.

5. Then add the sea-salt and sunflower oil.

6. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

7. Preheat the oven at 200C.

8. Scoop tablespoons of the paste and spread them thin with the back of the spoon.

9. Bake for 40 minutes or until slightly browned.

10. Turn them over and continue baking for about another 10 minutes. This is to ensure the middle part is thoroughly baked too. If not the whole piece will turn soft and mushy and cannot be kept for long.

11. Repeat step 8 to 10 for the rest of the paste.

12. You can keep them in air-tight containers for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Bon appétit!
The cooked rice!
The rice paste!
The not-yet-baked rice crackers.
Home-made brown rice crackers with no flavourings, colourings, additives or preservatives! Truly yummy to the tummy.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Steamed Red Snapper


1. 1 red snapper
2. 1/2 teaspoon sea-salt
3. 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
4. 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
5. Pepper (optional)
6. Chives (sliced into small pieces)
7. Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
8. 3 shallots (sliced into thin slices)
9. 10 tablespoons of warm water.


1. Wash fish thoroughly.

2. Place in a large dish.

3. Season with sea-salt, soft brown sugar and sunflower oil.

4. Pour the chives, minced garlic and shallots onto the fish.

5. Pour in the 10 tablespoons of water.

6. Place in steamer for 45 minutes.

7. Serve hot with warm rice.

Bon appétit!
This was one BIG fish! But totally yummy-licious!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

1st Day of School 2013!

Joel was amazing today. Wasn't clingy, did not cry and though he was a bit nervous (after a 7-week break from school), he was brave. By recess time, he was his usual chatter-box self. HAHA!

The weather on the other hand was not so obedient. It was fabulous in the morning and early afternoon. Don't believe me? Look at the pictures below.

I've not seen such beautiful skies in a LONG time now! Whoops! Spoke too soon!!!
 By 3.40pm....
Armageddon approaches!
The lashing rain was so, so, so, so bad that we did not know whether there was a car in front or whether the road was submerged in water. Joel kept asking us whether we would make it or die in a flood. (Too much Noah story, in my opinion.) It looked like there was a blizzard outside. Extremely poor visibility. With Waze directing us and by driving REALLY slow, we managed to arrive home in one piece! Thank God. And I was not THAT stressed as hubby was the DRIVER!!!!! He took leave this whole week to help me slowly get back to routine without compromising my health. Thank you hubby!

And this was the aftermath of the severe, lashing storm that felt like a mini typhoon!
I am exceedingly grateful that we were in a four-wheel drive and not a Ferrari! HAHA! That was really scary.
Even the water level at the canal rose to scary levels!
Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us tomorrow!