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Archive for January, 2010

After 5 days of eating very little, I woke up this morning with a ravenous appetite. I didn’t have to think much about what I wanted to eat. CURRY! I had some lamb in the fridge, so lamb curry it would be.

Back home, we use mutton, and honestly, I prefer mutton curry as it has a better taste combined with curry. I prefer my lamb grilled. But I can’t get mutton here, and even lamb is not so easy to come by, not to mention pricey.

Actually, strictly speaking, this is not a curry. To me, a curry is when you have abundant “gravy”, the sort you can drench your rice with. This is more of a peratal as it is drier than a curry, but still with some wetness to it. And then you have the varuval. That would be a really dry dish but very yummy nonetheless.

I remember seeing mama making this dish countless times, and it seemed simple enough. But once I got to Italy, I somehow starting cooking more Chinese and Western food, and somehow, I kinda forgot how to make mutton curry.

Some months back, I started having a craving for curry again, and I pestered my little sister over MSN to ask mama for the recipe. I received it in a MS Word document, and it was in true mama style:

5 biji small onion

1 star anise

3 biji buah pelaga

…. when the thing got popping sound, put in……

or

….when got nice smell already, put in…..

 

I am quite proud of how “mixed” we are in that sense, cooking Indian/Chinese/Malay food using English and Malay terminology. We’re special like that 😉

Though I used lamb, I will always refer to it as mutton, so here’s Mama’s Mutton Curry

 

 

Mutton Curry

 

 

 

Ingredients

 

 500g mutton/lamb

 5 shallots

 5 cloves garlic

1 big onion 

1 green chili

1 sprig curry leaf

1 star anise

2 cm cinnamon

3 cloves

3 cardamoms

2 cm ginger

1 tomato, sliced into 6

2 potatoes, quartered

3 tbsp oil

 

 

Method

 

1. Slice onion, shallots, garlic. Julienne ginger.

2. Heat up oil in a pot.

3. When oil is hot, add in cinnamon, star anise, clove and cardamom.

4. When the ingredients start to pop, put in the curry leaf, onion, ginger, chili.

5. Fry till ingredients turn soft and yields a nice smell.

6. Add in the mutton, add salt and cover.

7. Cook on slow fire until the liquids are released from the meat

8. Simmer for 15 minutes but check constantly. It burns easily!

9. If liquid in pot has dried up, add in a little more just to barely cover the meat.

10. When liquids have come to a boil, add in tomato and potatoes.

11. Cook until potatoes and meat are tender.

12. Add in curry powder, mix well and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

13. Check constantly and mix as it may burn. Add salt to taste.

14. Serve with hot rice.

Mutton Curry & Rice

Best eaten with fingers, coupled with Indian soup, rasam. Absolutely delicious.

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Image credits to Google

The hubs left to Malaysia on Tuesday for a 2 week business trip. (insert green-with-envy emoticon here). A couple of days before that, we went out for dinner with a colleague of his and his wife. The restaurant was nice, and unlike most restaurants in this town, they had lots of seafood on their menu too.

The HB and the colleague’s wife chose the Seafood Crudita for starters. Crudita basically means raw, but it isn’t 100% raw like sushi is, but I think the food is very quickly blanched in hot water. Thus the less than 100% raw texture. I had the Gamberoni with Rucola Salad and Cheese (cooked big prawns), and loved it, as I love prawns. Somehow, raw food and me just don’t click. I don’t particularly enjoy sashimi either. The colleague had a pasta dish for starters.

For seconds, I had a Seafood Pasta, the hubs had Lobster Pasta, the colleague had a Steak and his wife an Octopus salad. I enjoyed my pasta, and loved having seafood for a change.

Then, on Monday, the HB started to feel ill, and he went to work only to come home 3 hours later all green-faced and nauseous. He said that the colleague and his wife too were sick. HB spent the day at home feeling nauseous, vomit-ish (he ended up throwing up). The next day, he had to leave to Malaysia. I thanked my lucky stars that I was the only one who did not get sick.

AND THEN.

On Wednesday, after lessons, I started feeling nauseous and walked home as fast as I could. At home, I felt utterly horrible, it was hard to describe. I didn’t have a tummy ache but I was feeling awfully nauseous, gassy and plain…sick. In the end, I ran to the bathroom to excrete……both ways. (Sorry! Too much information!) And it went on for the next 3 hours or so. Towards the third hour or so, I broke out in cold sweat, my palms were clammy and I passed out for perhaps a few seconds/minutes(?) in the bathroom. I was lying on the bathroom feeling like I was gonna die, and I just HAD to call the hubby, you know, to tell him I was really sick and to bid my last goodbye get me help! Notwithstanding the fact that he was in Malaysia, he called his friend immediately to get me to the hospital, and this nice friend of his arrived in less than 10 minutes. OMG I must have been quite a sight, with icky pukey stuff on my hair and face looking like utter crap. I was walking really unsteadily and got myself into the car, and of course I had to puke again. Thank God I managed to open the car door in time and that the car was still stationary.

At the hospital, he got me registered just by showing my Health Card and that got things moving. 5 minutes later, a (male) nurse took my temperature, blood pressure, the works. I think he was a little concerned about my blood pressure which was 80/60 if I remember correctly. I was then put on a bed and wheeled into the examination room. I didnt know how long that was as I was shivering under 3 blankets and my thick fleece lined jacket trying to hold in the puke, which I couldn’t. Threw up another time, this time just bile (scary looking if you ask me).  I felt like I waited quite a bit in there. I heard the nurse explaining that there was an emergency to which the doctor had to attend.

After some time, the doctor came in, spoke in some Italian which, thankgoodness, I could comprehend. His first few questions were,

  • How many times have you puked/pooped
  • Did you just return from any travel?
  • Did you eat anything in particular?
  • Are you pregnant? O____O
  • Is there pain

etc… etc. He spoke in English the few times I could not understand, so it wasn’t too bad. The nurses were polite, albeit a little ganas/rough when drawing blood. I heard her complaining that my veins were so tiny. Thats what they always say, don’t they.

I was then wheeled out to another area, and given an IV drip consisting of 2 bottles of Sodium Chloride and a bottle of Metoclopramide (anti-vomit). I felt tonnes better after that. After the three bottles, the doctor printed out 3 pieces of Clinical report as to what my blood test revealed, blood pressure reading, oxygen saturation, medication given and even advice on what to eat. The doctor then went on to say that if I still feel bad, to get the medication that was printed on the sheet. I think thats the way it works here; with the Health Card, you dont have to pay for anything apart from the medication which one probably has to get from pharmacies.

I got home feeling much better, but awfully exhausted and weak. I had to cancel my classes for yesterday and today. Was still feeling bad yesterday, I only had 2 mugs of tea and 2 slices of plain white bread the entire day. Today I woke up feeling muchhhh better. I think I overestimated it as I started washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen when I felt all light-headed and dizzy and my knees felt like they were gonna give way. I realized from our experience with papa when he was sick, was that it was a sign of low sodium. I quickly ate some salt, and about a teaspoon later, I was back to normal. Weird huh. When I told the HB about this over MSN, his ‘overjoyed’ response was “Ooooh, does this mean we get to more salty food?” 😀 Dream on mistah.

It was a horrible, HORRIBLE experience for me, probably the worst I’ve ever felt, even worse than the time I was suspected to have dengue and admitted to Subang Medical Center. Imagine being all alone in a foreign country, not being able to speak the language all that well, and falling ill AND passing out in the bathroom. In my state of light headedness, I even thought of the possibility of me dying all alone in the bathroom and people discovering me a few days later all rotten, and then seeing the dishes in the kitchen unwashed (only coz I was too sick to even wash a spoon!), the bathroom all yucky (no prizes for guessing why) and thinking what a disgusting person I was. What a disgrace that would be to my dead self!

I’m starving now, but I’m utterly terrified of eating and needless to say I won’t be eating seafood for a long, looooong time.

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First I was writing about our Xmas dinner and before you know it, January is coming to an end???

I have been swamped with teaching and studying, literally, day and night. But I’m not complaining. It’s a blessing!

Look at the new additions to our household. Its ironic that I started out hating coffee, and now I’m just *this* close to being addicted to it. I gotta admit, the coffee here IS good. We first tried out a coffee machine that the hubs had bought for his sister back in Malaysia. While the coffee was good, it was just too messy, and the froth for the cappuccino just wasn’t thick enough. So while we were shopping the other day, I spotted this gadget called the Bialetti Cioccolata e Cappucino. It is a versatile Hot Chocolate maker and milk frother for the perfect cappuccino. It can even prepare iced coffees and shakes, though we have not tried these functions yet.

Bialetti Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino Maker

Check out how it works by clicking HERE to watch the video on YouTube. Really cool I tell you. The video shows how you make hot chocolate with the gadget. It works the same way by frothing milk for cappuccino.

And this our 6 cup Bialetti Moka Express that makes the espresso that goes into our cappuccino.

Bialetti Moka Express

It doesn’t look as huge as the picture depicts, its just a (very smart) simple device that goes on the stove top. Watch this video below to learn how it works.

So, to make a cup of cappuccino, I add the espresso made by the Moka Express to the milk frothed by the Cappuccino gadget. It is a much cheaper option to getting a coffee machine and the plus side is that I get to make hot chocolate and frappes too!

The Hot Chocolate and Cappuccino Maker was EUR59.90. We got 10% off both the items as we used our hypermarket loyalty points. I foresee us having lots of coffee and hot chocolate ahead!

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