Monday, 30 September 2013

The ABCs - C Is For Colouring (Part2)

5. FD&C Red No.3

This is also called Erythrosine, Erythrosine B, Acid Red 51, C.I. 45430, Aizen Erythrosine, and Tetraiodofluorescein Sodium Salt.

It is a cherry-pink synthetic which is primarily used for food colouring. It is also used in printing inks, a dental plaque disclosing agent and a radiopaque medium.

Erythrosine is used commonly in candies, popsicles and cake decorating gels.

As it is a food additive, it is labeled as E number E127.

In the US, erhythrosine is hardly used because FD&C Red No.40 is widely used. But in Europe erhythrosine is used widely as many European countries ban FD&C Red No.40 because it is an azo dye.

6. FD&C Yellow No.5

This dye is also known as tartrazine, Acid Yellow 23, Food Yellow 4, and C.I. 19140. Under the E number is it E102.

Tartrazine is a synthetic lemon yellow azo dye.

A. Foods that contain tartrazine

a. Desserts and sweets

  • Ice-cream
  • Ice pops and popsicles
  • Confectionary/Hard candies (Gummy Bears)
  • Cotton candy
  • Instant puddings
  • Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Cake mixes
  • Pastries
  • Custard powder
  • Marzipan
  • Biscuits/cookies
b. Beverages

  • Soft drinks (Mountain Dew)
  • Energy/Sports drinks
  • Powdered drink mixes (Kool-Aid)
  • Fruit cordials
  • Flavoured/mixed alcoholic beverages
c. Snacks

  • Corn chips (Doritos, Nachos)
  • Chewing gum
  • Popcorn
  • Potato chips
d. Condiments & Spreads

  • Jam
  • Jelly
  • Marmalade
  • Mustard
  • Horseradish
  • Pickles
  • Processed sauces
e. Others

  • Cereal (Corn flakes/muesli)
  • Instant cube soups
  • Paella/Risotto
  • Noodles (Kraft Dinner)
  • Pureed fruit
B. Personal & Cosmetic Products

  • Liquid/Bar Soaps
  • Green hand sanitizer
  • Moisturizers/Lotions
  • Mouth washes
  • Perfumes
  • Toothpastes
  • Shampoos/Conditioners
  • Cosmetics (Eyeshadow/Blush/Face Powder/Foundation/Lipstick)
  • Nail polish & Remover
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Tanning Lotions
C. Medications

  • Vitamins
  • Antacids
  • Cold medications (Cough drops/Throat Lozenges)
D. Other Products

  • Household cleaning products
  • Paper plates
  • Pet foods
  • Crayons
  • Writing instruments inks
  • Stamp dyes
  • Face paints
  • Envelope glues
Among all azo dyes, tartrazine appears to be the dye that cause the most allergic and intolerance reactions. People who are asthmatics and who have aspirin intolerance/sensitivity appear to react to this more easily.

To read about tartrazine in detail, click on LINK.

7. FD&C Yellow No.6

This is known as Sunset Yellow FCF, Orange Yellow S or C.I. 15985. This is another synthetic azo dye. It is manufactured from aromatic hydrocarbons which is derived from petroleum.

In Europe, it is denoted with the E number E110.

It is useful in heat treated fermented foods.

The Uses of Sunset Yellow

  • Orange sodas
  • Marzipan
  • Swiss rolls 
  • Apricot jam
  • Citrus marmalade
  • Lemon curd
  • Sweets
  • Beverage mix
  • Packet soups
  • Margarine
  • Custard powders
  • Packaged lemon gelatine desserts
  • Energy drinks (Lucozade)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Snack chips (Doritos)
  • Packaged instant noodles
  • Cheese sauce mixes
  • Powdered marinades
  • Bottled yellow and green food colouring 
  • Ice-creams
  • Pharmaceutical pills
  • Over-the-counter children medicine
  • Cake decorations and icings
  • Squashes

Sunset Yellow is banned in Norway and Finland. For people who have aspirin intolerance may react to this azo dye. It can trigger gastric, diarrhoea, vomiting, urticaria, angioedema and migraines.

A study by the British Food Standards Agency in 2007 found that a cocktail of food colourings do increase hyperactivity behaviour in children. Sunset Yellow was one of the cocktail of colourings.

Dyes Which Are Limited, Delisted & Banned

1. Limited Dyes

  • The Orange B food dye is only allowed to be used in hot dogs and sausage casings.
  • The Citrus Red 2 is only allowed to be use to colour orange peels.

2. Delisted & Banned

  • FD&C Red No.2 - Amaranth (suspected carcinogen)
  • FD&C Red No.4
  • FD&C Red No.32
  • FD&C Orange No.1
  • FD&C Orange No.2
  • FD&C Yellow No.1,2,3,4
  • FD&C Violet No.1
Natural Food Dyes

As consumers are becoming more aware of the dangers of synthetic/artificial colouring, more natural food dye colours are being produced.

Some popular natural colouring are as follows:

  • Caramel colouring (E150) - This is made from caramelized sugar. (Brown dye)
  • Annatto (E160b) - This is made from the seed of achiote. (Reddish-orange dye)
  • Chlorophyllin (E140) - This is made form chlorella algae. (Green dye)
  • Cochineal (E120) - This is from the cochineal insect named Dactylopius coccus. (Red dye)
  • Turmeric (E160a) - This is made from carotenoids. (Yellow dye)
  • Paprika (E160c) - This is made from ground bell or chilli pepper. (Red dye)
  • Lycopene (E160d) - This is made from tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables. (Red dye)
  • Elderberry juice - This is made from elderberries. 
  • Pandan - This is made from the pandanus amaryllifolius plant. (Green dye)
  • Butterfly Pea - This is made from the Clitoria ternatea plant. (Blue dye)

In order for the coloring to be extracted at its highest form, hexane, acetone and other solvents are used to break down the cell walls in the fruits and vegetables. As they are under the 'natural' label, the ingredients are not declared on food packagings.

Even though they are 'natural', they can cause allergic reactions and anaphylaxis to people who are sensitive. Annatto, cochineal and carmine are the 'famous triggers'.

Food Colouring Trivia

  1. Colour additives are known as dyes or lakes. Dyes are manufactured as powders, granules and liquids. Lakes are made by combining dyes with salt. Dyes dissolve in water but are not soluble in oil. Lakes are oil dispersible. Lakes are more stable than dyes. Thus it is suitable for food which contain fats and oils. 
  2. In 1978, Norway banned all products containing coal tar and tar derivatives. It was lifted in 2001. 
  3. Tartrazine causes hives in less than 0.01% of those who are exposed to it.
  4. In a lab research, the Brilliant Blue food colouring (BBG) was injected into rats who had spinal injury. They regained motor control!
  5. The most common food colouring that are used today are the FD&C Blue No.1, FD&C Red No.40, FD&C Yellow No.5 and FD&C Yellow No.6.
  6. The ancient Romans used saffron to colour their food into a rich yellow.
  7. People back then also used minerals and ores to colour food. They used azure (copper carbonate), gold leaf and silver leaf.
  8. The E number for gold is E175. 

The ABCs - C Is For Colouring (Part 1)

The colouring that I am writing about is food colouring.

Food colouring is also known as colour additive.

What Food Colouring Is

Food colouring adds/changes colours of food or drink when added. They come in many forms such as liquids, powders, gels and pastes.

Food colouring is used widely in commercial food production. Many use it in domestic cooking too. Not only is food colouring used in food, it is also used in non-food applications such as cosmetics, pharmaceutical, home craft projects and medical devices.

Why Food Colouring Is Used

1. As consumers connect colours to flavours, the use of food colouring in food will influence the perceived flavour, thus enhancing the 'feel-good-factor' which will indirectly cause them to buy the food again.

2. Colours will fade due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions. Food colouring will rectify it.

3. For added colour effects. (Such as Heinz's GREEN ketchup!)

4. To enhance existing colours.

5. To make 'colourless' food attractive and 'fun'.


In US, approved synthetic food dyes are given FD&C numbers.

1. FD&C Blue No.1

The common name for this colouring is Brilliant Blue FCF or Blue 1. It is a colourant for food and also other substances.

In the EU, it is labeled under the E numbers as E133.

This synthetic food colouring is formed from aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum. Its appearance is of a reddish-blue colour.

This colour is often found in ice-cream, canned processed peas, packet soups, bottled food colourings, icings, ice pops, blue raspberry flavoured products, dairy products, sweets and drinks (liqueur blue curaçao).

It is also used in soaps, shampoos, mouthwash and other hygiene/cosmetics products.

This colouring was previously banned in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. But today it has been certified as a safe food additive in the EU and is legal in most of the countries.

Be aware that it is capable of inducing allergic reactions in individuals who have pre-existing asthma.

2. FD&C Blue No.2

This is also known as indigo carmine. It is approved for use as a food colorant in the US. In the EU is labeled as E number E132.

This colouring is used as a dye in manufacturing capsules. In obstetrics, this dye is used to detect amniotic fluid leaks. In surgery, intravenous indigo carmine is used to highlight the urinary tract to check if there are any leaks. This dye can cause a very dangerous rise in blood pressure for some people.

Indigo carmine has been known to be an irritant to the skin and eyes. It is also harmful to the respiratory tract if inhaled.

3. FD&C Green No.3

This food colouring is also known as Food Green 3, Green 1724, Solid Green FCF or C.I. 42053. It is labeled as E number E143.

This food colouring was used as a replacement for the Light Green SF yellowish in Masson's trichrome (which is histomy - a study on the microscopic anatomy of cells/tissues of plants and animals).

This food colouring is prohibited in the EU though in the US, it is one of the FDA approved food dyes. It is used for tinned green peas, jellies, sauces, fish, desserts and dry bakery mixes (permitted to 100mg/kg).

In experimental animals, this food colouring has been found to cause tumours and mutative effects. It also causes eye, skin, digestive tract and respiratory tract irritation.

4. FD&C Red No.40

This is an azo dye which is known by many other names such as Allura Red, Food Red 17, C.I. 16035, 2-naphthalenesulfonic acid, and the E number E129.

This was introduced in order to replace the amaranth dye which was banned.

Originally, this was manufactured from coal tar. But today, it is mostly made from petroleum. Many believe that FD&C Red No.40 is derived from the female cochineal insect. That is not true. The food colouring carmine is from the female cochineal insect.

A research was conducted in 2007 on the effects of additives and food colouring on children's behaviour. E129 was one of the colours. And it was found that children had an increase in hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when they consumed these chemicals (E129 included).

In the US, FD&C Red 40 is approved by the FDA for use in cosmetics, drugs and food. This dye is also used in some tattoo inks. It is also used widely in soft drinks (strawberry soft drink), children's medication (cough syrups) and cotton candy. This is the most commonly and widely used red dye in the US alone.

In the Europe, FD&C Red 40 is not recommended for children consumption. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France and Switzerland.

This azo dye is also less tolerated by aspirin intolerant people and asthmatics. People with skin sensitivities should also be careful with this azo dye.

(to be continued...)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The Rice Pot Version of Stir Fried Minced Chicken + Potato + French Beans


1. 500gm of minced chicken (seasoned with sea-salt)
2. 4 large old potatoes (skin removed and cut into quarters)
3. 400gm of french beans (cut into 2 cm length)
4. Sunflower oil
5. Sea-salt
6. Soft brown sugar


1. Pour about 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil into the rice pot.

2. Heat it up.

3. Pour the potatoes into the pot and close the lid. Cook until potatoes have soften.

4. Push the potatoes aside and add the minced chicken.

5. Cook until minced chicken is 90% cooked.

6. Break the minced chicken into tiny pieces.

7. Add the french beans and close the lid for about another 7 minutes.

8. Mix all the ingredients together.

9. Add sea-salt and soft brown sugar to taste.

10. Scoop up onto serving plate. Serve hot with hot rice!

A Diarrhoea-Ful Day!

Yesterday was the day that the car needed to see its doctor for its 3-monthly checkup. I had an 8.20am appointment. Well, I left the house at 7am. I would be early. Or so I thought.

Of all mornings, it decided to POUR! I mean, the heavens just opened up and POURED!!!! Oh well, I was still early. (Yeah, right!)

I got caught in a jam for 1 1/2 hours! It was so frustrating!

But the beautiful sun which was slowly emerging from the dark clouds put a smile on my face!

And then I started to feel some mild rumblings in my bowels. Well, that's normal. Sometimes it happens.

I arrived at the service centre at 8.30am! By then the intestine rumblings got louder. I thought they were doing some Mambo in there.

After registering the car, I took a seat to wait.

Before my bum could even heat the seat up, the Mambo dance became a frantic war dance. The war cry was just too strong.

I got up, went to the toilet and appeased the war cries.

That was it! (Or so I thought!)

Frantic war dance became a wretched soul's howling cries. It was so disturbing that I had to run to the toilet and appease whatever that soul was screaming.

That was done! (Not so, said the bowels!)

It progressed to the howlings of a banshee. It then evolved to a battleground in WW1. It then promoted itself to WW2. And it went on to even WW3.

I think I had even purged my lungs out by the time I was done! I could not even FEEL that I had any intestines left in me. I had gone to the toilet for 8 times!

I could not wait to get home.

But I had a very strong prompting in my heart to ask my hubby to how he was feeling. He too said he had much rumblings in the bowels. If the both of us have this, then Joel too must be going through the same thing! And he was in school!!!

After I got my car at nearly 11am, I sped to his school.

True enough he had purged twice in school and had gone to the infirmary.

I then had another excruciating battle at the school's toilet.

We left school and headed for the ER. Joel was nauseated in the car.

The doctor said that we have some stomach bug. We were given anti-diarrhoea medication, anti-nausea medication and ORS (Oral Rehydrating Salts).

I drank a glass of the anti-diarrhoea medication the moment I arrived home. I was so weak, exhausted and dehydrated. I could barely stand. It was a miracle we made it home without having to stop at some petrol station!

But the episodes continued at home. He purged. And I purged. By the time night came, I don't think I had any bowels left. I had gone to the toilet for 11 times!

Joel was on MC today. Unfortunately I do not have any MC. Hubby came home after lunch. I was spent.

I could only stomach this horrible looking porridge.
This was Joel's. I could only take a quarter of this amount. YUCKS!
Sleep was so disruptive last night. Joel too had very disruptive sleep.

And then a sore throat crept in today. Oh boy....

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Aniline Chicken!

Click on link to read on how unscrupulous business people dye the chickens yellow in order to pass them off as 'free range chicken'.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Happy 2nd Bloggersary!

Another year has passed.

'The Right to be Alive' is now officially 2 years old.

2 years old. The age where a toddler begins to understand 'now', 'later' and 'a few minutes'. It is a stage where the toddler is able to follow simple instructions, realizes that she/he is a separate individual, where temper tantrums manifest itself quite often, and is also able to command about 50 words.

Well, 'The Right to be Alive' certainly does understand the meaning of 'now' and 'later'. I mean, the slow climb to better health did not magically appear overnight. Neither did it come 'later'. It happened 'VERY, VERY, VERY much later!' And it's not even back to 100% normal. It's like about 40%. So I guess this 2-year-old toddler GETS the meaning of now, later and a few minutes.

And don't get me started on the 'temper tantrums'. I think it can be likened to 'menopausal craziness'! Anyway, I think this toddler has learned to follow simple instructions such as 'cannot eat or smell', 'must sleep early', 'sleep is thy vitamin', 'you must eat even if you don't feel like eating' and etc etc etc....

50 words?!! I think this toddler surpasses 50 words. Hell, this toddler can even swear like a sailor...Oh shit!

A very happy 2nd birthday to 'The Right to be Alive'! You are indeed alive! Alive with much frustrations and joy, sadness and happiness, health and sickness, peace and burdens, insomnia and deep-sleeps, calm and tsunami-filled days and the-never-ending fight to attain the finish line in one piece.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Rice Pot Version of Fried Beehoon with Chayote, Minced Chicken & Salted Duck Egg


1. 500gm of minced chicken (seasoned with sea-salt and sunflower oil)
2. 2 medium sized chayote (skin peeled and sliced into long, thin strips)
3. 1/2 bulb of garlic (sliced into thin slices)
4. Shallots (sliced into thin slices)
5. 500gm beehoon (Soak in a bowl of water to soften. Once beehoon is softened, drain water away and set aside.)
6. 1 salted duck egg
7. Sunflower oil
8. Sea-salt
9. 1/4 cup of filtered water


1. Pour 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil into the already heated rice pot.

2. Add the garlic and shallots and fry until they turn slightly brown.

3. Add the minced chicken and cook until it is about 85% cooked.

4. Break the minced chicken into tiny pieces and add the chayote.

5. Close the lid for about 10 minutes until chayote is softened.

6. Mix chayote and minced chicken together.

7. Add the softened beehoon and 1/4 cup of filtered water.

8. Add some sea-salt and break the salted duck egg over the beehoon.

9. Mix and fry everything until egg is cooked.

10. Scoop up onto serving plate and serve warm.

Bon appétit!


1. Beehoon is also known as vermicelli or vermicelli noodles or rice noodles.

2. Here is the link to my post on how to make home-made salted duck eggs. Click on HOME-MADE SALTED DUCK EGGS.

3. If you want to just have stir fried minced chicken and chayote, here's the link to my post. Click on STIR FRIED CHAYOTE & MINCED CHICKEN.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Banana & Carrot Cake


1. 3 medium sized eggs
2. 75gm soft brown sugar
3. 175gm of organic all-purpose flour (sifted twice)
4. 2 teaspoon of baking powder
5. 1 teaspoon of sea-salt
6. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
7. 175ml sunflower oil
8. 3 medium sized bananas (very ripe and mashed)
9. 175gm of grated carrots
10. 175gm of pumpkin seeds (OPTIONAL)


1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture thickens.

2. Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

3. Mix well and then add the oil.

4. Add pumpkin seeds. Mix thoroughly. (If you are not able to tolerate pumpkin seeds or any other seeds, omit step 4.)

5. Lastly add the grated carrots and mashed bananas.

6. Mix well.

7. Preheat oven to 170C.

8. Line a baking cake tin with removable base with baking paper.

9. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown.

10. Once it is done, allow the cake to cool.

Bon appétit!

Friday, 13 September 2013

The ABCs - B is for Biodynamic Farming

What Is Biodynamics?

Biodynamics is a spiritual-ethical-ecological approach to agriculture, food production and nutrition. The word 'biodynamic' is derived from the Greek words where 'bio' means life and 'dynamic' means force.

The purpose of biodynamic farmers is to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible FROM WITHIN the farm itself. The farm itself is a living organism.

Founder Of Biodynamics

Rudolf Steiner (1861 - 1925) is the man who founded biodynamics. He was a highly trained scientist and respected philosopher. Steiner had come to a conclusion that our world would be in a serious state of destruction if we did not begin to incorporate the understanding that the spiritual world and its interrelationship with the physical world. He saw that it would be increasingly difficult for us to grow food. He believed that there is a very strong connection between the cosmic and terrestrial, the heavens and the earth, the stars and the soil.

The Principles of Biodynamic Farming

1. Plant Diversity

This is a method where the farmers allow a variety of plants to grow on uncultivated land. This is done to keep the soil healthy. The crops that are planted support each other. When a certain plant is depleted where a certain nutrient is concerned, its companion plant will release that nutrient which is needed.

2. Crop Rotation

Crop rotation and an assortment of animal life are very important in maintaining the biodynamic farm.

Many conventional farms today practice monocropping. This is where they plant the same crops and harvest at the same time year after year after year. That is how diseases and pests spread.

A well-designed crop rotation will reduce pests and diseases in the farm.

Benefits of Crop Rotation
  • Crop rotation replenishes nitrogen through the use of green manure in sequence with cereals and other crops. 
  • Crop rotation mitigates the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped.
  • Improves soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow rooted plants.

3. Animal Life

A biodynamic farm setup is a mixed farm with livestock and fodder crops, producing its own manure for the crops.

As animals have feelings and instinct, on biodynamic farms, they are allowed to 'express their feelings'. And by believing that animals are astral beings who are allowed to 'bond' and 'express' their 'astral self', the manure that they produce contain 'astral forces' that will breathe new life and benefits into the earth.

For more information about animal life in biodynamic farming, click on Animal Husbandry in Biodynamic Agriculture.

4. Composting

Biodynamic Preparations of Composts
  • BD500 - Also known as 'horn manure'. This is made from cow manure which has been fermented in a cow horn which has been buried in the soil for six months (which is through autumn and winter). It is used as a soil spray. The purpose of this compost is to help stimulate growth of the roots and help form humus.
  • BD501 - Called horn-silica. Made from powdered quartz which is packed inside a cow horn which has been buried in the soil for six months (which is through spring and summer). This is applied as foliar spray. The purpose of this compost is to stimulate/regulate growth of plants.
  • BD502 - Yarrow blossoms (Achillea millefolium) This enhances the plant's ability to absorb potassium in a balanced manner. Helps the roots to absorb and retain fine doses of silicic acid. (Silicic acid is the plant's natural self defense against pests and sicknesses.)
  • BD503 - Chamomile blossoms (Chamomilla officinalis) Stimulates plant growth and stabilizes the nitrogen content of the compost.
  • BD504 - Stinging nettle (Urtica dioca) This is made from the whole plant when it is in full bloom. Enhances the ability of the plant to absorb iron. 
  • BD505 - Oak bark (Quercuc robur) This enhances the plant's ability to absorb calcium.
  • BD506 - Dandelion flowers (Taraxacum officinale)
  • BD507 - Valerian flowers (Valeriana officinalis)
  • BD508 - Prepared from horsetail plant. Used as a foliar spray which is to suppress fungal diseases in plants.
  • BD509 - Barrel compost which consists of BD502 - BD507 which are combined in different combinations to make compost.
  • Tree Paste - This helps rejuvenate a tree's cambium (cells which multiply) and helps build resistance to the attack of fungi, insect, and beetles. Tree paste is made from a mixture of casein, silica, clay and cow manure.
One to three grams of each preparation is added to a dung heap by digging 50cm deep holes with a distance of 2 meters from each other. BD507 is stirred into 5 liters of water and sprayed over the entire compost surface.

The oak bark preparation have been found to improve disease resistance in zucchini. 

5. Homeopathic Solutions

This is where homeopathy is applied to agriculture to influence the biological processes of plants to either accelerate or delay growth. 

Homeopathic nosodes and autonosodes are used to assist in controlling plagues and diseases by the use of the same disease of the plant, plants that have been damaged by plagues or even the actual plague.

A nosode is prepared from a viral or bacterial culture. This carries the molecular imprint of the pathogenic agent. When it is prepared according to homeopathic procedures, the remedy is free of toxins. A nosode is also called oral vaccine. 

Autonosodes are homeopathic remedies which are created from the patient's own disease-causing material, such as bodily fluids or warts. (taken from medical dictionary)

This is to ensure no chemicals or pesticides are used. 

To read more on agro-homeopathy, click on LINK.

6. Life Forces

Biodynamic farmers have a planting calendar which is based on the lunar and astrological influences on soil and plant development. They follow the phase of the moon and the zodiacal constellation the moon is passing through.
To read more on planting calendar rhythms of the biodynamic farming, click on LINK. (I found it to be very interesting.)

Biodynamic Farming Trivia

1. Biodynamic farming practices open pollination of seeds. The farmers basically grow their own seeds.

2. In order for a farm to be biodynamic, it must first be certified organic. And the farm has to have at least 3 years of organic farming.

3. To receive certification as a biodynamic farm, the farm must follow these standards: agronomic guidelines, greenhouse management, structural components, livestock guidelines, and post harvest handling and processing procedures.

4. Germany's biodynamic farms produce 45% of the world's biodynamic agriculture.

5. Demeter International is the largest certification for biodynamic agriculture. It is difficult to obtain and must be renewed annually.

6. The name Demeter is used in reference to the Greek goddess of grain and fertility.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Cashew Biscuits

I bought a cooking app for the iPad sometime back. It is called the Photo Cookbook - Quick & Easy. One of the asian recipes is the almond cookies. I amended it and changed some of the ingredients. I made cashew cookies instead.


1. 675gm of organic unbleached plain flour
2. 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
3. 1/2 teaspoon of sea-salt
4. 100gm of finely grounded cashews
5. 225gm of butter (softened at room temperature)
6. 80gm of soft brown sugar
7. 1 egg (lightly beaten)
8. 50 whole cashews (for decoration)


1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl and set this aside.

2. Pulverise 100gm of cashews until they turn into finely grounded cashews.

3. Add the flour and finely grounded cashews into a large bowl.

4. Add the butter and mix with the flour until a crumbly mixture is formed.

5. Add the sugar and egg. Mix well until the dough is soft and pliable but firm.

6. Preheat oven at 160C.

7. Divide the dough into 2.5cm size balls.

8. Place on baking trays which are lined with baking papers.

9. Flatten the balls with the back of a spoon.

10. Press a whole cashew nut onto each biscuit.

11. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

12. Once they are done, allow to cool before storing in airtight container.

13. You can store these biscuits in the fridge for about 1 to 2 months.

Bon appétit!

Blood Test Results

I had some blood tests done 3 weeks ago.

I received my results today.

I have perfect health according to the results. I even tested for the anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO). It came back negative. The reading was within range which was 17.9 which is less than 35, which is normal.

My physician said that I am good to go for another year.

Which should make me feel very happy.

I am. But at the same time sad. Because I achieved this by living a very strict regime. My health demands that I live a dictatorship life. It's good for the body. But draining for one's soul at many times. The price to pay is high. The stakes are equally as high.

I am like a wild horse at times being held back by a thousand reins. I feel like breaking free. I wish for more spontaneity. I can't go anywhere without having to deal with what to prepare, cook and eat.

I get so tired of always thinking ahead. I want to pack my bags at a whim and go somewhere far away and just eat (without worrying AND knowing that I will die from doing so!)


It gets tiring after 4 1/2 years.

Oh well, here's to another year full of good health!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Stir-Fried Cabbage with Garlic & Poppy Seeds


1. 1 small organic cabbage head (washed and sliced into strips)
2. 2 garlic cloves (outer layer removed and sliced thinly)
3. A dash of poppy seeds
4. Sea-salt
5. Sunflower oil


1. Heat a wok.

2. Pour about 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil into heated oil.

3. Add garlic into heated oil and stir fry until garlic is slightly browned.

4. Add cabbage, a dash of poppy seeds and sea-salt.

5. Stir all ingredients throughly and continue frying until cabbage has soften.

6. Scoop up onto serving plate and serve with hot rice.

Bon appétit!

Totally Grossed Out...

But yet at the same time, am extremely glad that I am unable to eat anything apart from my cooking and baking!

Watch the video below and you will see what I mean!

Happy 'watching'! Hehehe...

Friday, 6 September 2013

The ABCs - A is For Arsenic

What Arsenic Is

Arsenic is a chemical element in the environment. It can be found naturally in rocks and soil, water, air, in plants and even animals. There are some agricultural and industries that do release arsenic into the environment.

2 Compounds of Arsenic

Arsenic has no smell nor taste. Arsenic in its pure form is a steel, gray metal. But it is also sometimes a part of chemical compounds.

1. Inorganic Compounds

  • Arsenic is combined with oxygen, iron, chlorine, and sulphur.
  • Inorganic arsenic compounds are found in industries such as processing of glass, pigments, textiles, paper, metal adhesives, wood preservation, ammunition, and as an alloying agent.
  • Inorganic arsenic compounds are also found in pressure-treated wood and in 'arsenic-contaminated water'.
  • This form of arsenic is more toxic and tends to lead to various health problems and cancer.

2. Organic Compounds

  • Arsenic is combined with carbon and other atoms.
  • Organic arsenic compounds are very much less toxic than inorganic arsenic compounds. 
  • These compounds are found in food such as fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, dairy products and cereals.
The Uses of Arsenic

Arsenic compounds are used in many ways, such as:

1. In pressure treated lumber, it is used as a preservative. It helps protect wood from rot and insects.

2. In pesticides.

3. In animal hides, it is used as a preservative.

4. As an additive to lead and copper for hardening purposes.

5. In certain glass manufacturing.

6. In electronic semiconductor manufacturing.

7. In homeopathic remedies, arsenic is extremely diluted to be sued for digestive disorders, food poisoning, insomnia, allergies, anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive-disorder-behaviour (OCDB).

8. In traditional Chinese medicine formulas, arsenic is used to treat psoriasis, syphilis, asthma, rheumatism, hemorrhoids, cough, itchiness, as an anti-inflammatory agent, general tonic and pain-killer.

9. In treating acute promyelocytic leukemia, arsenic trioxide is given intravenously.

Arsenic in Food

As arsenic is found in water, soil and air, arsenic is absorbed by all plants. Although arsenic is absorbed by all plants, it is more concentrated in leafy vegetables, rice, apple and grape juice and seafood too!

1. Rice

Rice absorbs arsenic from soil or water much more effectively than most plants as it is a crop that grows in water-flooded conditions. This allows arsenic to be absorbed easier by the roots and stored in the grains.

An example would be the southern region of US. Certain parts of California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas have rice acreage which have high levels of arsenic as previously, those lands were filled with cotton. And cotton back then was heavily treated with arsenic pesticides for decades to combat the boll weevil beetle.

Brown rice has higher levels of arsenic than white rice. In brown rice only the hull is removed. Where else in white rice, the rice is processed by polishing the rice to remove the surface layers. Thus, this reduces the level of arsenic in white rice.

2. Cereals

As rice cereals are produced from rice, it is not surprising if cereals contain worrying levels of arsenic.

The worrying thing is that the cereals that were found to contain worrisome levels of arsenic were for babies between 4 and 12 months!

Also ready-to-eat-cereals and rice drinks contain worrying amounts of arsenic.

Click on LINK to read in detail.

3. Marine Fish & Seafood

These naturally contain high levels of organic arsenic. It is labelled as 'fish arsenic'. Calcium supplements which are made from seashells sometimes do contain arsenic too.

Exposure to Arsenic

Being exposed to arsenic (for a short time) can cause many problems in our human bodies such as:

1. Stomachache
2. Nausea and vomiting
3. Diarrhoea
4. Muscle weakness and cramping
5. Skin changes/rashes

Long term exposure can cause irregular heartbeat, liver and kidney damage and cancer.

How to Minimise Exposure to Arsenic

1. Rotate your food. Try alternating foods with arsenic and without arsenic (as you can't just stop eating!)

2. Use gloves and respirator in areas that have high levels of arsenic blowing in the air.

3. Make sure your water is from arsenic-controllable-sources.

4. Avoid homeopathic remedies and Chinese medicines that contain arsenic.

5. Avoid products that have been pre-treated with arsenic or use arsenic as a preservative.

Clink on Arsenic: Medicinal Double-Edged Sword to read.
Click on Arsenic to read more.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The 3-Ingredients No-Oil Rice Cooker Fried Rice


1. 2 cups of rice (rice of any choice)
2. 4 eggs (beaten)
3. Sea-salt


1. Wash the rice throughly.

2. Fill the amount of water needed and boil the rice in the rice cooker.

3. Once the rice is cooked, switch off the rice cooker.

4. 15 minutes later, open the lid allow to cool for about 1/2 hour.

5. Pour the beaten eggs over the rice and mix the eggs and rice thoroughly.

6. Sprinkle some sea-salt and fry the rice until the eggs are cooked.

7. Scoop onto serving plate and serve hot.

Bon appétit!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A Short Getaway - Part 2

We had actually planned for just a one night's stay at the beach resort. Of course to a little boy, one night just isn't enough!

And then I had a call from my neighbour.

More than 1 million people in Klang Valley had unannounced water cut due to some spilt diesel into the river which leads to the dam. And we were affected as well.

Thus, we would be heading back to NO WATER!

OH MY GOD! Imagine, after a vacation, with so much laundry and no water??!!

Many eateries too, were closed due to no water.

We decided to extend for another day. But it was fully booked!

Thus, we packed up and we were ready to check-out when lo and behold, there was call telling us that there was an empty chalet. Would we like to have it?


And then came the interesting part....

I had no more food!

I had just finished my last meal, which was lunch!

We drove out and bought a small 1kg packet of rice and a small carton of 10 eggs.

I had brought my rice cooker with me to reheat my food which I had frozen. (I froze them in plastic bags. They were like blocks of ice. I had forgotten to take pictures of them. I kept them in a styrofoam box. They were still as hard as rocks on the 2nd day!)

TA DAH! Lightly fried egg rice! No oil. No sugar. Just some salt. 
This was the spa. I was really in need of a massage. The great thing is they offer massage with no oil or cream BUT the place was saturated with lime incense oil. I was so disappointed.
It was slightly hazy on the first day.
It was clear skies on the second day! YAY!
Low tide!
VERY horrible looking water. Smells awful too.
The day we arrived, the moment I turned on the tap, I could SMELL the water. I told my husband that the water smelt like rust + fungus. And the picture above is the colour of the water. I couldn't drink it. It tasted so horrible. I drank bottled water all the way. We usually boil the water for hot drinks. Not this time. I messaged a friend who lived nearby and she said the water 2 days before we arrived was even browner and smelt worse! YUCKS! I didn't have any reaction to the water. But I couldn't take the taste.
The third day! We'll see you again Port Dickson!
And how could I not take a picture of this cute little creature? Right Miss MCS? Hehe...