Tag Archives: i talk

In the Year of the Rabbit

28 Feb

CNY Eve reunion dinner's Yu-Sheng (Click picture for more information). A jazzed up family special edition filled with extra yummy things.


Hello! So this is very late, but here’s wishing everyone a happy Chinese New Year, I hope it has been a good one filled with plenty of glorious food and hopefully, for some, lots and lots of red packets!

I have been busy whilst in Singapore, working most of the day away, 6 days a week. Working in a kitchen has been something I have been planning on for a while now, despite having worked on my health science degree in the past 4 years. It appears to be an important year for me to spend some time gaining experiences and making important life decisions, and after all,  I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, my year..!????

… Okay, not entirely sure how it is relevant myself, but irregardless of what lies in the year ahead, we all still need to eat, right..? May the eating continue!

So here’s to a good Year of the Rabbit for everyone, Gong Xi Fa Cai!! 新年快乐!


A gift that’s a cut above the rest

23 Jun

Rachel and I have been friends since we were 8 years old. Besides primary school where we met, we grew up in completely different schools, but we remained friends to this day. So it was natural for me to put her up at my place in Sydney while she was visiting for a month, I would think, and I really don’t think too much about it, really. After all, what are friends for? Especially after 15 years of friendship!

But Rachel insisted on getting me a gift anyway, as a thank you and parting gift. I was completely bowled over and left flabbergasted as the box was presented to me, with Shun stamped proudly on the lid. Not quite knowing what to say is an understatement to describe how I was. Just a day or two before we were at the Essential Ingredient, and I went ga-ga over the display knife – hard not to do when I have been keeping my eye out for a good chef’s knife for some time now. Rachel, who had been stressing over what to get me as a gift, saw it as a beacon of light, and worked out a plan to amuse then astound me.

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Cookbook mania

14 Jun

31 hours since my last sleep, my body crashed and I wake 14 hours later, half of the Queen’s birthday already gone. Yes, I still hear the voice in my head go, “What Queen?! There’s no Queen in Australia!”, and contrary to what my friend told me, that it is the celebration of the current Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, it is NOT. It’s just a day recognised as a public holiday in all Australian states except Western Australia. Don’t ask me why, read it here. In any case. PUBLIC HOLIDAY.

The first thing I remember thinking when I woke, besides the guilt of sleeping in and not having woken up to a morning call as my phone lay buried in my bag on silent mode, was PANCAKES.

Unfortunately, there were no pancakes. Sorry to disappoint. -pats own shoulder-

I did, however, decide to get out for a breath of ‘fresh’ air (I live in the city.) and some eggs. I pondered and decided against a deceivingly quick (I know it won’t be) expedition to a nearby cookware store, practicing self-restraint in the name of ‘Getting data analysis done’ and… walked into Kinokuniya.

I have a thing with bookstores. Since I learnt how to read, and as a young, once-skinny, child, I would read everywhere and anywhere, very often to my own detriment (Sprained ankle reading while walking down stairs), or to others’ annoyance (During mealtimes). Libraries and I never shared the same affinity, probably due to the lack of selection and because I had to return them. I wasn’t allowed to buy books simply because I would read the Parents broke and I think they caught on to that. I therefore rented books. Still. Bookstores had the selection and newest books, and sometimes you’d pick up a hardback that has not been molested previously by similar intrigue, the sound of the spine conceding, the smell of paper and print hits you, the glossy pictures (Nowadays of food more than anything).. I digress.

Such is the habit that I naturally walk into any bookstore, finding myself in one before I have actually decided to walk in. I have practiced restraint over the years, and I have learnt to do some shopping as opposed to sitting alone in a huge bookstore for hours before I was collected at the end of a shopping day, but you know, people slip up. And over the years, I no longer found myself in the ‘Fiction’ section, but in the ‘Cookery’ section.

I have a fair collection of cookbooks, magazines, food-related books, and other food-related publications. No, I have not cooked everything in those cookbooks and magazines, and I admit I have not pored through every single page and word. It is without a doubt that my passion for food and cooking is the basis for my obsession with food literature, but the books I choose are not just useful references and a wealth of ideas, but actually a reflection of how I relate to food, or would like to, how ever you might like to view it. How I wish to eat or cook, how I was brought up with food in my life, how I would like to be involved with food for the rest of my life.

At this juncture, I’m sure I would be questioned by the Family as to how this ‘thing’ with food came about, seeing as how I was a picky eater for the first, greater part of my life, and I never really took part in any discourse about food with the Family, or took an interest in the family business when we ventured into food. Gee. I would like to know too. But I suppose, it was always there, and for that I have to thank the Family. I never got involved as I thought that it was an area of life covered well by the rest of the Family, and I simply enjoyed the ride. But being on my own in Sydney has definitely got me involved with food on a more personal level. To this day, little things dawn upon me, and I realise I have truly come full-circle, and that you really can’t deny what you have been brought up with.

The cookbooks are not just books filled with recipes to cook everything in them. I am, and have been, truly fighting with every ounce of my being to avoid being corny and cheesy and gushy, but.. I find them inspiring, alright? Food articles about food issues educate and makes me feel defensive from time to time; Recipes guide and inspire me; and the authors’ stories not only amuse me, but also allow me into a world I either relate to, or aspire towards. It’s all a bunch of mushy greasiness here, so feel free to throw up in your mouths, but that’s it, that’s my spiel on food – That’s my defence on my cookbook mania and similar. So cast your verdict, but I am not changing my stand.

Of course I don’t mean to buy everything that is out there, that is, in no means, realistic thinking at all (Though one can DREAM to own the entire food literature section, right?), but some girls buy Louis Vuitton bags, Bottega wallets, and Jimmy Choo pumps – I buy food-related books. So I will continue to let my legs take me into them bookstores, and get inconveniently sidetracked for longer periods of time than ideal (Sorry, TheEvilTwin, but you were in MY neighbourhood and you followed.). And perhaps, guiltily, but delightfully, I will eventually leave that bookstore, with a shiny, beautiful new purchase.BLISS.

*Note: I practiced self-restraint, and I walked out of Kinokuniya today without a single purchase, albeit a lot later than I had planned… And I got my eggs.

Tastes like home: Linda’s Home Kitchen

7 Jun

The Family, for as long as I can remember, have always spoken about opening a restaurant. Many would hold their ground and affirm that their own mothers were the best cooks in the world, and I am no exception. It has always been a family dream to put The Mother’s food out there, and last September, we finally made the dream into reality: Linda’s Home Kitchen was born.

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Childhood food memories: MasterChef 2010

6 May

I was catching up with MasterChef a few days back and I just can’t seem to stop thinking about the challenge that Alvin won – the Childhood Memory challenge (click to watch on the official website).

The challenge was for the contestants to recreate their fondest childhood food memories. To put their heart and emotions on a plate. To tell a story through wonderfully cooked food. After all, as Matt Preston puts it, “Memory, is the most powerful of our senses.”

Alvin, a Malaysian, won the challenge, and while I have no idea what the dish really tastes like that had the judges up in a spin, I do believe they are flavours I can fully identify with. And it led me to think, well, if it were me, what childhood food memory would I recreate?

This thought has flitted through my mind over the past few days, and I still don’t know. My mom is an excellent cook, in my opinion, it’s my mom, after all! But to pick a dish, and make it MasterChef worthy? Geez. I know there are things that drive me crazy and I’ll just gorge myself unnecessarily the moment she cooks it up for me (though it seems like pretty much.. EVERYTHING she cooks..) but to present it all pretty and attractive.. Hm. Birthday mee sua? Chicken rice..?

But I agree with Matt Preston. The power of memory when eating, makes a hell lot of a difference. It’s the reason why we still think moms/grandmas are always the best cooks, no matter what, it’s why we miss home when we are away, it’s what brings people together. When you’re hungry, and you fill that empty stomach, you inevitably feel that satisfaction and happiness. When food, cooked with love and care, it not only fills the belly, but warms the heart. Good food with a story, a history, a heart. Such food brings you back to your personal memories, and stir you from within. To be able to cook food like that, would take a great deal of heart and passion.

And I hope that if I do cook, that I will be able to convey that same heart and emotion to those who eat my food.

That said, what would YOU cook to recreate that childhood food memory?

*You can watch Alvin cook the dish as a recipe video from the same website. Note: Only people accessing the site from Australia can watch full episodes.