arigato

I love Japanese cuisine, especially the rice, sushi and sashimi. My beloved brother-in-law now works in research and development at a large Japanese food company, and he takes us all out for a meal at least once a month at one of the many Japanese restaurants owned by the company. “Arigato” is the Japanese expression for “Thank You.” I am so fortunate! Continue reading

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saturday noshments

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Yesterday was Saturday. Instead of the weekly noshments with Rick, I tucked into a different kind of feast. No less grace-filled, just as sumptuous, and not lacking in grace. I am now in home country, sunny Singapore. My sister and her hubby brought us out for a simple Japanese meal at Ichiban Boshi.  Continue reading

super feast

Luncheon feast today at 1Market. I definitely had way too much to eat. A smorgasbord of different cultural offerings, tastes, textures, colours and smells. Flavours from Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, India and more. My favorites? The light and spicy Thai salads and fresh prawns. I am far too stuffed to write a longwinded post about the gastronomic adventure. Suffice to say, I highly recommend this place if you are ever in Singapore. Oh and I should add that the tables are not so close together that one suffers from claustrophobia, unlike many other buffet restaurants. It wasn’t very noisy either. Aside from the odd one or two pushy greedy patrons jostling for the satay or curry, it was pretty peaceful. 🙂 Quite Aspie friendly, only moderately sensory challenging.

Do remember to call and make reservations in advance though. It’s a popular spot. If you are hypersensitive, ask for a table near the window. You get a view too, if you are not averse to some sunlight.

lunch recycle

recycled spinach risotto and salmon sushi roll

recycled spinach risotto and salmon sushi roll

Yes, I even recycle my food! Why waste? I had a brief lunch meeting today with two co-researchers – we met to discuss a new research project we are going to embark on. I ordered spinach risotto with cheese. I don’t usually eat much when in company, especially when I am not very close to the people I am eating with. I always feel ‘full’ when in company, there is a perpetual ‘lump’ at the entrance of my stomach, and I am too ‘strung up’ to eat. So, I only managed to get through a third of my risotto. Not one to waste good food, especially now that I am so barkingly poor, I closed the pack and put it back neatly inside the little brown wrapper that it came in. I did think it must’ve looked really strange to the other two, but then again, they are used to weird people, they are researching autism and education issues for goodness’ sake, they would know what we are like!

Anyhow, back home with my Lucy, after checking to make sure she hadn’t ingested anything she ought not to have, I felt more relaxed, and decided to finish my lunch. I made sushi rolls from the risotto, with some of that smoked salmon in the chiller, and had half a tangerine with it. Miam!

 

kawaii is hard work

Kawaii. That means “cute” or “pretty”. I have always found it weird that a whole range of pianos are named “Kawaii” and made in Korea. Maybe it means a different thing in Korean? Anyway, this is not about language. It is about “cute”-ness. Yes, I admit it, I am a fan of Hello Kitty, though not in an obsessive way – phew! But achieving “kawaii” is hard work – especially when one cannot afford to buy proper Japanese short grained rice. Continue reading

clement Sunday

I don’t much mind the cloudy overcast sky on a day like this, because the humidity level isn’t too high, and the Aussie sunlight is still very penetrating and bright. Well, the sunshine is pushing its way out through the clouds now, but I am happy indoors with Lucy.

A clement Sunday it is turning out to be. We begin our day at 5.30am – Lucy waits patiently for me to rise and greet her with a hug and “Good morning!” She watches me intently until I do, I know that because I’ve seen her face hovering over mine, amber eyes gazing intently at me. It’s now 1pm and feels like a lot of the day has passed.

Turned out to be a great morning for food creativity! I cooked Lucy’s second batch of minced beef patties. This time I pan-simmered the patties lightly in a shallow bed of water. The stock was given to Lucy with her breakfast of mince patties, chopped raw carrot, spinach, pasta, yoghurt and a spoonful of oat bran. The fresh diet seems to be working well for her digestion thus far. Too bad I cannot afford to feed her this way in the long run. Her kibble should arrive soon. I ordered a more expensive grain free one this time around.

After our morning walk, I got busy in the kitchen.

Baked bread, from a simple bread recipe that I modified it for myself – I used soy milk and olive oil instead of the recommended milk and vegetable shortening. I was a little too enthusiastic with the cheese stuffing and it oozed out of the bread while baking. The plain loaf looks ok, not great, but it tastes better than it looks, as is the case with most of my culinary adventures! Moist on the inside, quite yummy, but pity the cheese oozed out of the cheese roll though.

yinyang loaves

yinyang loaves

While the bread dough was sitting to rise, I made puff pastry to store in the freezer for future use, and also indulged in some sugar biscuits. Too lazy to roll and cut, I merely formed bits into small balls and pressed down, forming mis-shapened blobs. Again, tastes better than it looks!

mis-shapened sugar biscuits

mis-shapened sugar biscuits

The organic beef steak had to be cooked up today – expiry date was today. So I did just that. And for luncheon, I had one piece of steak, sushi rice rolls with Chinese choy sum, and cherry tomatoes, an eclectic collection of tastes and images. (Oh, and don’t forget the iced green tea, honey and lemon to accompany!)

luncheon for one

luncheon for one

Odd food, someone did comment to me, and I do admit to strange combinations. However, because of my hypersensitivty quirks, I prefer my food in identifiable portions, not mashed up in a goopy mass. At the same time, I do also want variety. I like my food as colourful as possible, varied in texture and tastes, and I do tend towards a bit too much salt than is probably good for me. It has to be sensorially interesting and tantalising, eclectic and contrasting, but never blended into unidentifiable gloop. When I was a child, I won’t eat stew – and I still won’t want to eat stew if I had a choice.

 

feast!

Despite the physical and sensory nightmare suffered during my trip, I nevertheless managed to eat very well, thanks to my dear friends. A gastronomic adventure it was too, revisiting some of my favourite places and dishes. I put on 3kg in just two weeks, but lost it all really quickly, when I was so ill I couldn’t eat a morsel for two days at the end, and ate very little for the entire week I spent back home trying to recover.

Check it out!

cool cucumber

One ‘new’ feature of my cooking habits now is that I need to cook up three times more rice than usual. Lucy eats rice at every meal, it was recommended by the rescue group’s vet, because her digestion was poor when she first came to me, and she didn’t do well to the kibble provided. Since going on a new diet of rice, sardine, boiled carrot and yoghurt, her stools are now healthier, albeit coloured orangey by the carrots. Not hard and dry like most doggy poo, but more like the consistency of a fluffy banana. At least I can now pick up her poo in the poo bag, when before it was all liquid and I had to bring a bottle of water to pour over it so it dissolves into the grass at the parks.

Right, not for the squeamish or poo-pee averse here. But every parent whether of human child (ugh) or fur child would understand the importance of keeping track of poo and pee!

OK back to the topic of cucumbers. “As cool as a cucumber.” Indeed. Now that is something that a literal Aspie can understand easily. Cucumbers are indeed cool – temperature wise, perhaps the water content makes it cooler than other fruit or vegetables? I love cucumbers, where I come from, cucumbers are cheap and abundant. They are made into salads, fried with salted dried shrimp and chilli as a side dish, preserved in a spicy traditional pickle and there are myriad ways of eating cucumber in South East Asian cultures.

Local Aussie cucumber was on special yesterday at Coles. AU$1.30 each – yup, that’s supposed to be special. Back home, a cucumber costs less than half of that. Anyhow, I haven’t had cucumber for ages, so I bought one for that lordly sum.

One third of the cucumber went in here: I made cucumber sushi rolls for brunch today. I had just cooked up a full pot of rice this morning, for Lucy and myself, hence the inspiration.  Refreshing on the palate, and a great energy source for intense writing today. One of my abstracts was accepted for full paper submission at a conference, so I now have two weeks to rustle up some intellectual musings and hopefully the writing will be good enough for publication thereafter. I also have to prepare some lecture notes for a special education teaching undergraduate class next week, on my experience with Asperger’s Syndrome, specifically in the confusing high school years.