ONE of my favourite fictional characters is Bonnie Grape from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I have never watched the movie; just read the book and truth be told I had to google her name. All I remember of Bonnie is she is the obese, depressed, ultimate couch potato mother in the book. As she vegged [...]
ONE of my favourite fictional characters is Bonnie Grape from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I have never watched the movie; just read the book and truth be told I had to google her name. All I remember of Bonnie is she is the obese, depressed, ultimate couch potato mother in the book. As she vegged in front of the tv and got heavier and heavier, her son had to figure out how to prop up the floor board so it wouldn’t collapse. And my apologies for the spoiler, but her kids burnt down the house when she died so she didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of being gawked at when she is removed from the house. That’s what I call filial piety.
I sometimes think – ok, maybe more often than sometimes – that I wouldn’t mind being Bonnie. I’ll eat as much as I want and pack on the pounds, watch tv all day and night and munch on chips, and ignore the rest of the world in all its frenzy of sound and fury.
Some weekends are Bonnie weekends when nothing gets done and nothing happens. But by Monday morning, I’d be a little panicky at going down that slippery slope. These days, I try to not let Bonnie Grape take over – I resist the impulse to say No to invites, I go shopping, I take my daughter hiking so we wouldn’t end up sluggish. Some people are natural doers and go-getters; I have to work at being active.
I still balk at over-achieving on household chores; so a spick and span home is still a slow work in progress. I cleared out big bags of clothes, but still haven’t managed to haul them down some recycling bins. There is also an old vacuum cleaner, a printer and a couple of old suitcases to throw away. I have boxes of toys to hand to a friend who is a play therapist, and boxes of stuff from our last move. I have a room I have been meaning to turn into a home office or a sewing room, depending on what I fancy at that moment. I have lists of files and ambitions of reorganising my paperwork. I have photo albums to sort on my laptop and my hard drive, and photos to print and frame.
But I like cooking and food. So my favourite way of convincing myself I am not sliding into inertia is to try out new recipes. I try to plan ahead for the week, and prepare our packed lunches for the week. I am also trying to not waste food.
While mucking around on Pinterest (definitely Bonnie Grape rabbit hole) I stumbled on the recipe for pulled pork and was intrigued by the recipe to defrost my huge slab of pork immediately. I had meant to make roast pork or belly pork in soya sauce, but the Asian-inspired pulled pork recipe by one of my favourite bloggers Diane Chu of White on Rice Couple was calling to me. And so I made the pulled pork even though it calls for four hours in the oven and I got a little impatient waiting. I am glad I waited through for the reward is rich, deeply-flavoured tender pulled pork that we ate with pasta and in wraps that entire week. I like this recipe so much I have made it a second time.
There was haze in the morning, and then rain in the evening… it’s miserable weather that got us holed up at home on a Saturday, though we did manage to make it for gymnastic (daughter, not me) and groceries. I tried to come up with a weekend menu in my head so I don’t load [...]Continue Reading → →
Last Monday, we came home after a weekend away in Penang to a tripped circuit breaker, and a refrigerator that had been off for god knows how long. The electric gate wasn’t working and the back up battery for the house alarm needed to be replaced. Luckily I didn’t have that much perishables in the [...]Continue Reading → →
It’s a rainy Saturday morning, and these days the pitter patter of rain on the roof is a welcome sound. I still have buckets filled with water even though there is no announcement of water rationing in my area. I have loads of errands to run, starting with cleaning out the fridge. With food prices [...]Continue Reading → →
Sunday started out hot and scorching, and I wanted ayam masak merah with nasi lemak for breakfast. But my aunt made keow teow soup, so we had that instead. I googled ayam masak merah recipes, and thought I’d make it for lunch. But there was a long queue at the chicken section in the supermarket [...]Continue Reading → →
Our usual Sunday roast is more often than not plain chicken with lemon. I have been trying forever to get my roast chicken right consistently, and that meanns crispy chicken, tender breast and just-nicely done thighs. I scour every roast chicken recipe to check their roasting time, and I have tried different ways – from [...]Continue Reading → →
I am still fascinated with pegaga, and now I also really like ulam raja. I have been having rice with ulam raja, sambal belacan and fried salted fish at home and in my mom’s house, and in Malay restaurants and stalls these last two weeks. Anyway, I digress… in between my ulam raja meals, I [...]Continue Reading → →
I have never cooked with pegaga, and didn’t even know what it looked like though the name is familiar. Like all herbs, I knew pegaga or pennyworts, has all kinds of medicinal uses and it has been said to cure everything from sore throat to infertility. It’s also supposed to contain anti-ageing properties, and some [...]Continue Reading → →
ACAR fish is one of my favourite Peranakan dishes. It literally translates to pickled fish, but in our house we never leave it long enough to pickle in the vinegar mixture. It’s essentially fried fish topped with fried slices of garlic, ginger and tumeric, with a sauce made of vinegar and sugar. It’s usually garnished [...]Continue Reading → →
Last Saturday, we woke up to smoky air that had permeated into our rooms, even with all the doors and windows shut. And the air quality was only moderately hazardous in KL, can’t imagine what it’s like for people down south where the API reading had spiked at 746 in Muar. But it’s [...]Continue Reading → →
- Pulled pork
- Keralan chicken stew and flatbread
- Chicken with red dates and wolfberries
- Avocado and lemon pasta
- Ayam Masak Merah
- Roast Chicken with Za’atar, Sumac and Lemon
- Pegaga Tabouleh
- Pegaga Mallung (Salad)
- Acar Fish
- Sambal Ikan Bilis
- Salted Fish Curry
- Baking Bread With Indra
- Happy Sweet New Year
- Seafood Porridge
- Basil Chicken