Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Exploring China - A Culinary Adventure

Ken Hom, the godfather of Chinese cuisine, and Ching-He Huang, leading chef of the contemporary generation, together undertake an epic 3000-mile culinary adventure across China  to reveal its food, its people, history, culture and soul.

This 4 x 60 minutes video takes viewers to the diverse cuisines in China.

Episode 1 - Beijing. Recipes featured in this episode includes Beijing Ramen, Peking duck, Beijing dumpling cornmeal pancakes, vegetable tempura and egg crepe.

Episode 2 - Sichuan specialities. Recipes featured include mapo tofu, stir fried rabbit meat, crispy Sichuan sausage, hot-pot steamboat, twice-cooked pork, chilli bean paste and crispy aromatic duck.

Episode 3 - Yunnan and Kashgar. Yunnan is famous for its tea leaves and of course the panda. Recipes featured include chicken in bamboo, fish in banana leaf, pineapple rice, chicken with tea leaves. Other interesting recipes include how to make rice noodles, tandoor bread, roast lamb, fragrant briyani rice and hand pulled noodles.

Episode 4 - Canton and Taiwan. Recipes featured include stir fry razor clamps, steam scallops, dim sum, sweet and sour pork, black chicken soup with wolf berries, dates and tang kwei. Other recipes include drunken prawns, stir fry lala shells, roast goose and bitter melon. Ching He-huang is pretty good at making zhong zi or Chinese dumplings.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Uranium - The Sector To Watch In 2013

Nuclear energy as a source of electrical power is something that large economies have to consider seriously, especially if they do not have natural oil resources. Although few and far between, nuclear plant accidents do leave a frightening impression on people.

The big first nuclear accident happened in USA on 28 May 1979 on Long Island (link)

The Chernobyl (USSR) disaster on 26 April 1986 is an instance that is etched in people's mind (link)

As if that is not enough, the Fukushima (Japan) nuclear fallout on 11 Mar 2011 continues to remind people of nuclear disaster (link)

Perhaps, people should remember the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima that brought WW2 to an end (link)

If you take a balance view of the energy situation, you might want to read this report.

Infographic by StreetAuthority.comLearn How to Get This ReportLearn How to Get This ReportInfographic by StreetAuthority.comLearn How to Get This Report

Friday, 23 November 2012

Joke - The Ostrich

A man walks into a restaurant with a full-grown ostrich behind him.
The waitress asks them for their orders.

The man says, “A hamburger, fries and a coke,” and turns to the ostrich, “What’s yours?”
“I’ll have the same,” says the ostrich.

A short time later the waitress returns with the order.  
”That will be $9.40 please.”  
The man reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.
The next day, the man and the ostrich come again and the man says, “A hamburger, fries and a coke..”
The ostrich says, “I’ll have the same..”

Again the man reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.

This becomes routine until the two enter again. 
“The usual? asks the waitress.
“No, this is Friday night, so I will have a steak, baked potato and a salad,” says the man.

“Same,” says the ostrich.
Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, “That will be $32.62.”

Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table.
The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer.  
”Excuse me, sir.  How do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?”
“Well,” says the man, “several years ago I was cleaning the attic and found an old lamp.  
When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes.   
My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there.”

“That’s  brilliant!” says the waitress.  ”Most people would ask for a
 million dollars or something, but you’ll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!”

“That’s right.  Whether it’s a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there,” says the man..
The waitress asks, “What’s with the ostrich?”

The man sighs, pauses and answers, “My second wish was for a tall chick with long legs who agrees with everything I say…….”

Be Careful What You asked For ....

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Recipe - Baked Mussels With Tomato And Chilli Paste

Mussels are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. A mussel's omega-3 content is not as high as a salmon, but it is a good source. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for the heart, the brain and our immune system. Omega-3 lowers the risk of cardio-vascular diseases such as stroke and heart attacks. Omega-3 improves our memory recall and cognitve functions.

Mussels are rich in vitamin B12, vitamin C, folate, iron, phosphorous and zinc. 

Live or fresh mussels are very sweet. The frozen mussels are not as sweet. 

Fairprice supermarket seldom sells the live mussels and I do not know why. But Cold Storage and ShopNSave still do. Mussels are cultivated in some seafood farms in Singapore.

Frozen mussels are already clean, especiallly those that come in half-shell. For the fresh ones, you need to prepare them for cooking.

To prepare fresh mussels, just rinse them and parboil them. In a pot of boiling water, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and toss in the mussels. Within a minute or two, when the shells open, give them a swirl and take them out. This will get rid of the sea smell. Get rid of the "beard" if any. They are half-cook.

The simplest way to eat them is to to just boil them and dip them in a sauce of your choice. They are really sweet.

In this recipe, I use fresh mussels and top them up with tomato and chilli paste for the spicy kick.

500 grams fresh mussels, about 30 pieces

Green mussels
For the paste ingredients:
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 tomato, cut into smaller pieces
2 red chillies
Half a Knorr chicken cube

Parboil the fresh mussels in boiling water and vinegar.
Remove when shells open and get rid of the beard.
Use half shell, discard the empty half shell.

Blend the paste ingredients and spoon over the half-shell mussels.
Bake in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 10 minutes.
Serve with a wedge of lemon.

A short 6 minute video on baked mussels with cheese and herbs.

A 5 minute video on steaming mussels with white wine

An easy 2 minute video on baked mussels with cheese and bacon

Joke - Politics And Politicians

What happens if a politician drowns in a river? 

That is pollution.

What happens if all of them drown? 

That is solution!!!

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.

~Nikita Khrushchev, Russian Soviet politician

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.

~John Quinton, American actor/writer

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by 
promising to protect each from the other.

~Oscar Ameringer, "the Mark Twain of American Socialism."

The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn.


The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.

~P.J. O'Rourke, American comedian

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.

~Texas Guinan. 19th century American businessman

I have come to the conclusion that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.

~Charles de Gaulle, French general & politician

Sunday, 18 November 2012

You've Been Blessed - A Thanksgiving Song By Libby Allen

A heartfelt song that will help you appreciate what you have and encourage you to help others who are less fortunate. 

Saturday, 17 November 2012

If Someone Gives You $86,400 Everyday ...

Imagine there is someone who credits your bank account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? 

Draw out every cent of course! 

Each of us has a bank. Its name is time. Every morning it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against 'tomorrow'. You must live in the present on today's deposits.

Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness and success.

The clock is running, so make the most of today.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Recipe - Swedish Meatball (Köttbullar)

Mince pork (or any kind of mince meat) is a versatile ingredient. It can be made into won ton or just steam as in steam mince pork with salted egg. In this recipe, I made them into meatballs.

Meatball is a popular recipe for families in Sweden and is made famous by Ikea.  I adapt some of the ideas from Ikea with a different touch.

The first difference is that I use only mince pork. I did not mix the pork with beef.  The Ikea recipe uses sauteed onions for flavour. I use crispy shallots which achieve the same purpose. One other big difference is I cut the potato into strips, like french fries and grill them till fragrant (or you can fry them). The potato is then mashed and mix with the pork.  This make the pork very fragrant.

250 grams mince pork
2 tbs of crispy shallots (or saute onions)
1 potato, cut into strips like french fries and grill till fragrant
1 tbs of oyster sauce
1 egg, beaten
Dash of pepper

Prepare the onions or crispy shallots and the french fries separately
Then mix all the ingredients together.
Roll the pork into balls.
The meatballs can be pan fried or grill if you want to use less oil.
Enjoy with a sauce for the extra touch.
The sauce can be as simple as yogurt.

I am attaching 2 videos so you can have some ideas on making the sauce.

A 5 minute video on making Köttbullar (meatball) the Ikea way

A 4 minute video on making meatballs, a simpler way

Laura gives her take on how to make Swedish meatballs.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Joke - Who Wants To Be A Millionaire

A contestant Sally, on 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' had reached the final plateau. 
If she answered the next question correctly, she would win $1,000,000. 

If she answered incorrectly, she would pocket only the $25,000 milestone money.

And as she suspected the Million Dollar Question was no pushover. 

It was, 'Which of the following species of birds does not build its own nest but instead lays its eggs in the nests of other birds?

Is it:

A) the condor

B) the buzzard

C) the cuckoo

D) the vulture

The woman was on the spot. She did not know the answer. 

She had used up her 50/50 Lifeline and her Ask the Audience Lifeline. 

All that remained was her Phone-a-Friend Lifeline. 

She hoped she would not have to use it because........ Her friend was, well, a blonde. 

But she had no alternative. She called her friend and gave her the question and the four choices. The blonde responded unhesitatingly: 

'That's easy. The answer is C: the cuckoo.' 

The contestant had to make a decision and make it fast. 

She considered employing a reverse strategy and giving any 
answer except the one that her friend had given her. 

And considering her friend was a blonde that would seem to be the logical thing to do. But her friend had responded with such confidence, such certitude, that the contestant could not help but be 

Crossing her fingers, the contestant said, 'C: The cuckoo.' 

'Is that your final answer?' 

'Yes, that is my final answer.' 

'That answer is Absolutely correct! 

You are now a millionaire!' 

Three days later, the contestant hosted a party for her family and friends, including the blonde who had helped her win the million dollars. 

'Jeni, I just do not know how to thank you, ' said the contestant. 
'How did you happen to know the right answer?' 

'Oh, come on,' said the blonde 'Everybody knows that cuckoos 
don't build nests. They live in clocks.' 

Sally fainted

Sunday, 11 November 2012

12 Year Old Paints Visions of The Lord

This young girl has been painting visions from the Lord for many years which is surprising since she was raised in an atheist household. God gives powerful gifts to each and everyone of us. As you can see, painting is hers…

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Recipe - Steam Mullet With Tomato And Pickled Mustard Green

Fish are a great source of protein. They contain healthy fat that will reduce your bad cholesterol and improve your health. Fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your heart healthy and may even improve your mood.

The problem with fish is that they may contain mercury which can cause damage to the kidney and brain. As a general guide, the bigger the fish, the higher the mercury content. That's because bigger fish live longer and have more time to accumulate mercury.

The wild mullet is classified among fish with the lowest risk of mercury. In Singapore, the mullet is a cultivated fish, kept in fish farms along the shores of Singapore.

The mullet is best eaten steamed. One very good way is to steam the mullet with the scales on, just have the guts removed. That way, the scales protect the flesh and preserve the fish during steaming. Just remove the scale gently before eating. The fish will taste very sweet.

In this recipe the fish are already gutted and scaled. I use tomato and pickled mustard green to garnish the fish.

2 mullet fish, about 300 grams each
1 tomato, sliced

A few slices of pickled mustard green
A few thin slices of ginger,
1 tsp of salt
Coriander leaves for garnishing

Cut slits on the fish for quicker steaming
Rub salt on the fish, let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse to get rid of any sea smell
Lay the ginger, tomato slices and mustard green on the fish
Steam on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
Garnish coriander leaves and serve with a light soy dipping sauce and small chillies.

A short 4 minute on how to steam a fish

A 7 minute video in mandarin on steaming fish. The fish is rather big and is rubbed lightly with salt and corn flour.
Condiments used:
Blend 1 thumb ginger (60 grams), 10 pcs garlic, 2 sprigs spring onion and 4 chilli padi (optional).
The blended ingredients are mixed with 1 tbs oyster sauce, 1 tbs garlic oil, 2 tbs soya sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice wine, a dash of pepper and corn flour.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Gold And The US Presidential Elections

Chart showing the behaviour of gold after the US presidential elections since 1999.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Joke - OWLS (Older Wiser Laughing Souls)

To all you OWLS
(Older Wiser Laughing Souls)

Wisdom from Grandpa

Whether a man winds up with a nest egg or a goose egg, 
depends a lot on the kind of chick he marries.

Trouble in marriage often starts when a man get so busy 
earning his salt that he forgets his sugar.

Too many couples marry for better or for worse,
but not for good.

When a man marries a woman they become one ; 
Trouble begins when they try to decide which one.

If a man has enough horse sense to treat his wife like a thoroughbred,
she will never turn into a old nag.

On anniversaries, the wise husband always forgets the past,
but never the present.

A foolish husband says to his wife:
"Honey, you stick to washing, ironing, cooking and scrubbing.
No wife of mine is gonna 'work'"

Many girls like to marry a military man,
he can cook, sew, make beds and is in good health
and he is already used to taking orders.

Eventually, you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age
and start bragging about it.

Some people try to turn back their odometers.
Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way.
I have traveled a long way and some of the roads were not paved.

How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are ?
You know you are old when everything either dries up or leak.

Old age is when former classmates are so gray, bald and wrinkled
and they don't recognize you.

Have a great day and keep laughing.
It is good for the soul.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Black Pepper And Health Benefits

Black pepper is popularly used to enhance the flavour of food and make it more appetizing.

Piperine, an alkaloid that gives the sharp and pungent taste of black pepper is responsible for its many health benefits.

Here are some of the most beneficial health effects of black pepper:
- improves blood circulation

- promotes mental clarity

- improves digestion

- it is both an anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial

- it is a good source of manganese, iron, and chromium

- improves the body's ability to absorb vitamins and nutrients from foods

- helps treat fatigue and tiredness

- stimulates appetite

- lowers blood pressure