Archive for December, 2005

Home made cough tonic

December 5, 2005

I have had a chronic cough for donkey years. It is on and off, better some times and worse at other times. It is worst in a lying down position. At the dentist’s, lying down inevitably triggers on a brief coughing fit.

After a cold I would suffer incessant coughing for months on end. A string of GPs don’t know nuts. X rays always reveal nothing.
With the wisdom of experience, I have since found that drinking lots of fluid daily is very good at keeping it at bay. Coffee, and in particular western tea, seems to make it worse.

Having grown up with the all knowing smart-ass condescension that the London moon is bigger and rounder, I used to disdain Oriental home remedies. Now older, hopefully wiser and with the mellowing of the years, I am looking at age old remedies with new respect and benefit of the doubt.

When Du Du was here, she read a passage out of Ah Mah’s Chinese home remedy almanac for home tonics for cough. It prescribed a ubiquitous use of ginger in everyday fluid intake. Basically, just dump some ginger into the kettle each time you boil water!

Combining that and Mum’s old home remedy of boiling ginger with coke, I have lately taken to boiled ginger juice in plain water. Keeping a pot handy in the fridge, I pour out a little into a glass each day, heat it up and drink it hot with a spoonful or two of honey.

It actually tastes good, very good! It is like ginger tea except it’s even nicer!

I find it excellent as a relief for coughs, better than sucking on cough drops. On those nights when coughs are at its worst, I keep a sipping bottle ready on the bedside table.

Fantastico excellento!

Disclaimer πŸ™‚ : I am the only one in the family who vouches for it. Christopher gave one tiny sip and refused point blank to touch it thereafter. Andrew’s coughing fits keep him awake at nights but still, would not drink it 😦

Urticaria, infections and antibiotics

December 5, 2005

Except for Alexander, all in the family have had a poor run of health over the past two weeks.


Two weeks ago on a Sunday urticaria-like angry red welts appeared all over Christopher’s face and body. The flare-up was so bad he has had several sleepless nights, poor kid. After 3 visits to the GP, he is still on prednisolone 5 mg and one or two 30 mg Telfast daily. Called an Immunology dermatologist Dr Frank Kett today and could not get an appointment till next April !!!

We suspect it is a reaction to some makes of sausages and Leonard’s herb and garlic chicken patties.


Mild symptoms of cold that lasted all of 5 days last week. Enough to stay away from work for one day. Thankfully okay now. I have observed that this tends to happen to me during hay fever season each year 😦


Symptoms of a bad flu that began 1 day after my cold began last week. High temperature, body chills and muscle ache. After 5 days, saw a GP who prescribed antibiotics. 7 days after it began, symptoms have subsided but still not recovered completely. Worse, rashes have begun to appear all over his body, most likely an adverse reaction to the antibiotics. He is now at Norwood Medical Center, waiting to see Dr Tony Riding.

Sigh, not exactly in the pink of health 😦 Hope all this will blow over by Christmas.

Perfect steamed egg

December 4, 2005

This may be most people’s everyday no-big-deal simple meal but for me I finally reached the peak of a culinary summit this evening. If my steamed egg had ever been anything other than like the surface of the moon, then I cannot remember it. But tonight, tonight……… I reached the milestone woohoooooo πŸ™‚

Well, alright, so Ah Mah has always cooked very good steamed egg but she is always vague about the wherewithal and whatnots. But tonight I discovered the secret! Alright, the world’s worst kept secret, that everyone else knew except me 😦 Hey, but I dare say that even Ah Mah’s perfect steamed egg cannot beat this πŸ˜›

May I present…………. The Second-To-None Perfect Steamed Egg !

Updated Monday 5 December 2005:

Rating: 9 / 10

Haha, I did not give the recipe because it is too embarrassing, almost like trying to teach others how to cook Maggie Mee or fried egg! But since you asked, here it is. For copyright reasons I’d better not reproduce the recipe which I sourced from Lily’s Wai Sek Hong. Should the link no longer work, please let me know and I will give it to you in private.

The secret to perfect steamed egg? I thought I was the only one in the dark about the secret which is no secret at all. Get the water boiling, then turn it down to a low simmer, then place the bowl of egg mixture into the steamer. Steam at low simmer all the way through.

I sprinkled crispy fried shallots on top. Crispy fried dried shrimps on top would have been nice too.

Oh, hehe, just so as to crow a little bit more, the inside is as smooth as tau foo fah… here is the proof hehehe πŸ˜›

Summer in the kitchen garden

December 3, 2005

Kitchen garden

L-R: Tomatos, chives, grapes and spring onions.

Herb garden

L-R: Parsley, basil, oregano and thyme.

And of course, our trusty old chilli seeing out the last of its days and the Aloe Vera too.

Quite amazing what a tiny garden can yield. Not to mention that half the kitchen garden is taken up by Piggy and his pen.

Most Improved Pupil

December 3, 2005

His pet hate is Chinese School. He begs to be excused from Chinese School every weekend. A headache miraculously appears every Saturday just before Chinese School. Today is the last day of Chinese School for the year, so it is one bit Hooray and party at Chinese School today.

Chang Lao Tse (teacher Chang), a charming lady with the kindest heart, is always giving away gifts of home-cooked snacks for the kids to take home. During Dumpling FestivalΒ  she cooked and gave away one rice dumpling (joong) each to the kids. Other times it was cakes and tid bits. Today they came home with little gifts of chips and lollies gaily wrapped in clear plastic tied with colourful curly ribbons, and a curry puff and spring roll.

And Christopher came home with the biggest gift of all: a prize certificate for The Most Improved Pupil which carries a monetary gift of $5 πŸ™‚

It appears that 2 prizes are awarded at year’s end: Most Improved Pupil and Best Behaved Pupil. So cute πŸ™‚

My herb garden – the beginning

December 3, 2005

I am beginning to really like pasta dishes and what’s more delightful than my own herb garden? Here is the start of my green thumb adventures….. hopefully something will grow, with lots of patience and a liberal dose of TLC.

Here are pots of oregano, parsley and thyme waiting to spread roots in the garden proper. Basil is already planted out. I got these for just $3 each from Coles supermarket. They are from a range called Living Herbs. Cool eh?

Pandan chiffon cake

December 3, 2005

Rating: 8 / 10

This is at least my 3rd attempt to make this cake. My earlier attempts were all disasters though they all tasted a lot better than they looked. This is the first time that my pandan chiffon cake is finally recognisable as such. Hallelujah!

After this I can tell you here and now that beating egg white is an entire science in itself ! Did you know there are no less than five stages in egg white beating? Phew!

Let me know if anyone wants the recipe.

Jar joo joke

December 3, 2005

Rating: 6 / 10

I made this from a recipe out of one of the Hawker Series cookbooks, having forgotten that I wrote down a recipe from Mom many years ago. After the pork pieces were deep fried they tasted quite heavenly. The finished product was not too bad, nothing out of this world, but lacks the oomph of Mum’s version.

I am going to make this again, but using Mum’s recipe.

This is Mum’s recipe from many years ago. As you can see, it is very agak-agak, the hallmark of ancient home recipes πŸ™‚

Marinade Ingredients:

Belly pork
5-spice powder
1 egg
2 – 3 tbsp flour
Soy sauce
Onion juice
1 cube lam yui

Other ingredients:

Muk yee


Deep fry the pork pieces for 5 mins.

Drain the oil.

Put pork pieces in a pot and boil with some water (enough to cover pork), muk yee and 1 cube lam yui.

Boil 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.