Happy 13th Barkday!

Member of the Family

What would I do without you,
My precious, furry friend?
Part mischief, but all blessing,
And faithful to the end!

You look at me with eyes of love,
You never hold a grudge...
You think I'm far too wonderful
To criticize or judge.

It seems your greatest joy in life
Is being close to me...
I think God knew how comforting
Your warm, soft fur would be.

I know you think you're human,
But I'm glad it isn't true...
The world would be a nicer place
If folks were more like you!

A few short years is all we have;
One day we'll have to part...
But you, my pet, will always have
a place within my heart.

- Hope Harrington Kolb 

Recipe: Watercress Soup 西洋菜汤

In the west, the Watercress is widely used in salads, sandwich and even made into juice. In Asian countries, however, we like to use them in soups.

I love Cantonese soups - the kind that have been simmered over a mild fire for an entire day, preferably over a charcoal fire.

Such lo fo tong (老火汤) are extremely wholesome and hearty!

When I was young, soup is a regular sight on the dining table and I was so easy to feed then. As long as I have soup in my rice, there is no need for any other dishes.

I remembered growing up drinking [Lotus Soup] the most, followed by the Watercress Soup.

This is a much beloved soup in my family for it's "cooling" abilities.

As with all vegetables, I know Watercress contains certain minerals and vitamins but what I do not know is that it even contains cancer-suppressing properties till now!

There are so much goodness in this vegetable it is no wonder why they called it a herb in the west.

Here are some other benefits of the Watercress:

- Antioxident
- Eases coughs
- Aids weight loss
- Controls blood sugar
- Aphrodisiac (really??)
- Treats failing eyesight

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Bon appetit!

Recipe: Roselle Tea 洛神花茶

Don't you love those old school coffee shop glasses?
I was first introduced to this strange-looking flower by Mum who has bought a bagful of it from the market.

Due to it's odd appearance, I was apprehensive to drink the tea brewed with the flowers.

"It tastes just like Ribena," Mum said.

The color looks similar but I cannot be too sure about the taste. You know how parents tend to lie through their teeth just to trick us into eating/drinking something that is "good for us"?

Remember when you were a kid, how you had medicine forced down your throat while your parents chant, “甜甜的” nonstop?

Taking care not to incur her wrath, I took one small sip just so to appease her.

One sip led to another and before long, I finished the entire glass of tea.

Mum is right afterall!

I was amazed by it's similarity to the Blackcurrent drink except this is a little sour but so much healthier without all the unnecessary sugars!

This flower, a relative to the Hibiscus, is rich in antioxidants and minerals especially vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamins B1, B2 and B6.

Here are some benefits of Roselle:

- Diuretic
- Controls fever
- Aids digestion
- Soothes colds
- Controls diabetes
- Clears up mucous
- Controls cholesterol
- Clears blocked nose
- Controls high blood pressure
- Promotes proper kidney function

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Bon appetit!

Recipe: Huai Shan With Spare Ribs Soup 淮山排骨汤

Huai Shan (淮山), also known as Shan Yao (山药) or the Nagaimo, is a root vegetable belonging to the Yam family.

Although I have seen them plenty of times at the wet market, it is still my very first attempt cooking the fresh variety.

One interesting thing about this root was how slippery it would become the moment you started peeling off it's skin. It is almost like trying to grab a live eel which is desperately trying to wriggle out of your grasp!

The soup is exceptionally flavorful that I do not even have to add any salt or MSG and I am amazed to find that Huai Shan tasted almost similar to the potato in texture.

I am so loving this soup!

Here are some benefits of the Huai Shan:

- Antibiotic
- Antioxident
- Lowers blood sugar
- Prevents osteoporosis
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves digestive system

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Bon appetit!

Blog Action Day 2011: Food

I have been trying hard to come up with a title for this post but seriously, my mind just went blank after watching this video.

Would you eat something that has been discarded by others?


Well, I wouldn't do it myself and yet, there are people who actually depended on these food scraps just to survive!

What do you think of that?

Please spend a few minutes to view this award winning video (while I go grab a piece of tissue).

This video is a wake-up call to all of us and it gives me the opportunity to reflect how good I have it better than these people.

A Mission Down Under!

By the time you read this, I am already at the airport waiting for my chartered flight to Rockhampton, Queensland.

I will be there for the annual Exercise Wallaby with the Armed Forces for two weeks.

It was not my first time there, though.

The last time I was there is eleven years ago during my active days with my unit. As a NSF then, it was an eye-opening opportunity for me to be involved in an military exercise of such magnitude!

Although we do have our own local exercises, what we could acomplish in land-scarced Singapore is very limited compared to what the training area in Shoalwater Bay could offer us!

Training was tough definitely, but we were still able to find simple joys amidst the dull and monotonous exercise.

I remembered how we used to play wrestling in the tentage and even disturbing each other in the bathroom which, I will leave the details to your imagination...

At the end of the day, we would chill out at the canteen and recount our day over a beer and a pop-in-the-microwave burger. 

Video: Inch Chua - Semoga Bahagia

Semoa Bahagia by Inch Chua

Semoga Bahagia

Sama-sama maju ke hadapan

Pandai cari pelajaran

Jaga diri dalam kesihatan

Serta sopan-santun dengan kawan-kawan

Dengan hati bersih serta suci

Sama-sama hormat dan berbudi

Jaga tingkah pemuda-pemudi

Adat dan budaya junjung tinggi

Capailah lekas cita-cita pemudi-pemuda

Supaya kita ada harga di mata dunia

Kalau kita lengah serta lupa

Hidup kita sia-sia

Jiwa besar sihat serta segar

Rajin dengan sabar tentu bahagia

Lemah lembut perangai pemudi

Cergas tangkas wataknya pemuda

Suka rela selalu berbakti

Sikap yang pembela dan berjasa

Capailah nama yang mulia pemudi-pemuda

Rajinlah supaya berjaya semoga bahagia