Thursday, 31 January 2013

Uranium - Tom Drolet Interview With Investing News Network

At the 2013 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, INN (Investing News Network) Senior Editor Andrew Topf had the chance to speak with Tom Drolet, an expert on nuclear power and uranium.

In the 13 minutes interview below, Tom discusses the restart of Japan’s nuclear program, nuclear power in the US, the potential for thorium to be used as a nuclear fuel and which countries are most important for uranium mining.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Joke - Flight Of Stares

A woman was flying from Seattle to San Francisco  .
Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sacramento along the way. 

The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft, they have to re-board in 50 minutes.. 

Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind. 

A man had noticed her as he walked by and could tell the lady was blind because her guide dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight..
He could also tell she had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached her, and calling her by name, said, "Kathy, we are in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?" 

The blind lady said,
"No thanks, but maybe Buddy
Would like to stretch his legs."

Picture this: 

All the people in the gate area came to a complete stand still when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with a guide dog for the blind!
Even worse, the pilot was wearing sunglasses !

People scattered.
They not only tried to change planes,
But they were trying to change airlines!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Recipe - How To Make Chinese Steamboat (Fondue or Hot Pot)

 electric wok
Steamboat or hot pots are a great way for friends and family to get together for a meal. Other names for steamboat are "Chinese fondue" or "hot pot". The Japanese variant is called "shabu shabu" or "sukiyaki" . Steamboats are popular all over the world and different countries have different names.

The steamboat meal is to be enjoyed slowly and there is no need to rush. People can digest their first round and come back for second helping. It is a light and healthy meal.

The ingredients must be fresh and the variety of food, from seafood to poultry with lots of vegetables will make this meal enjoyable. The best part is that the choice of ingredients is up to individuals. You prepare what you like.

The stock is the most important part and always prepare a little extra for topping up. With the process of cooking all the stuff, the stock becomes richer as you go along and more delicious. You can take a short cut of using canned broth or stock cubes but it doesn't come close. Besides, different families have their own "secret" recipe for the stock.

So here is my "secret" recipe for the stock. For a family of 5, I need to prepare about 1.5 litres of stock.

To make 1.5 litres of stock
In a pot, boil 2 litres of water
100 grams of soya beans (soak for 1 hour before)
50 grams of dried anchovies
1 dried cuttlefish, cut into slices (microwave on high for 10 seconds to release flavour)
12 pieces of chicken feet, (clip off the nails) or chicken bones (about 500 grams).
dried cuttlefish
1 stock of lemon grass, helps to enhance the flavour of seafood.      
Blanch the chicken to get rid of surface fat.
(Note: pork bones are just as suitable, but they take a longer time to simmer).
Bring the pot to a boil and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 1 hour.
Strain the stock and you are ready to go.

Some pictures of the ingredients.

napa cabbage                      
enoki mushrooms
xiao bai chye
oyster mushroom

pork shabu shabu
cured cuttlefish
toman fillet
pork liver

my favourite chicken feet

garlic chilli sauce and sha cha sauce




A 2 minute video on Beijing hot pot

A 4 minute video on Australian steamboat

A 5 minute video on making shabu shabu

A 3 minute video on making sukiyaki

Friday, 25 January 2013

Dried Lily Flower Tea And Health Benefits

The Chinese name for the dried lily flower is Bai He Hua, which literally translates to mean a hundred meeting flower.

The dried lily flower is made from the bulbs of the lily flower.

From my experience, the dried lily tea is very effective in getting rid of cough and phlegm. It is much more effective than mint leaves.

To make a cup of tea, just add 3 bulbs into a cup of boiling water for about 2 minutes. A cup a day will help to keep the cough away.

For a pot, the brewing guide is:  Rinse tea cup and teapot with hot water. Fill the teapot with 2 grams (1-2 teaspoons) tea leaves for every 225ml of water. Infuse in hot water at 90°c (194°F) to 95°c (203°F) for 2 to 3 minutes for the first and second brewing. Gradually increase steeping time and temperature for subsequent brewing.

The taste is neutral.

Lily flower tea helps to moisten the lung and alleviate cough, clear heat of the heart and calms the nerves. Lily flower tea can firm the skin and reduces wrinkles. Lily flower tea is also effective in clearing body heat.

Where to buy? 

I bought from Sin Chong Traditional Chinese Medicine. 100 grams cost $2.60. I am not sure if other shops sell this dried lily flowers.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Joke - The Dedicated Decoy

A true story from Mount Isa in Queensland ..

Late one evening, a Police patrol car routinely parked outside a local neighbourhood pub. The officer noticed a man leaving the bar so intoxicated that he could barely walk.

The man stumbled around the car park for a few minutes, with the officer quietly observing. After what seemed an eternity and trying his keys on five vehicles. The man managed to find his car, which he fell into. He was there for a few minutes as a number of other patrons left the bar and drove off. Finally he started the car, switched the wipers on and off, even though it was a fine dry night. Then he flicked the indicators on, then off, tooted the horn and then switched on the lights.

He moved the vehicle forward a few metres, reversed a little and then remained stationary for a few more minutes as some more vehicles left. At last he pulled out of the car park and started to drive slowly down the road. The Police officer, having patiently waited all this time, now started up the patrol car, put on the flashing lights, pulled the man over and carried out a breathalyser test.

To his amazement the breathalyser indicated no evidence of the man's intoxication.

The Police officer said "I'll have to ask you to accompany me to the Police station - this breathalyser equipment must be broken."

"I doubt it," said the man, "tonight I'm the designated decoy".. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Recipe - How To Make Bak Kwa (Pork jerky)

This video recipe on how to make Chinese beef jerky landed in my mail. The recipe looked simple enough and since Chinese New Year is just around the corner, I decided to give it a try. Instead of beef, I used pork.

Close to Chinese New Year, people in Singapore go crazy about bak kwa (pork jerky). It is funny. As prices of this delicacy go up, more people queue up to buy.

Bak kwa comes in 2 versions, the minced version or the sliced version which is prepared by slicing solid blocks of meat and tends to be leaner and tougher. The minced version is more tender and easy on the mouth.

In this recipe, I use mince pork. When I made the bak kwa using the ingredients suggested by the video, it was not as flavourful. So I adjusted some of the ingredients to make it more flavourful. Instead of salt, I use oyster sauce and I also added hoisin sauce (a sweet sauce) to give some taste and flavour. I also added 5 spice powder to give flavour.

For 250 grams of mince pork, I was able to make 2 trays and a total of 8 pieces of bak kwa (see picture).

250 grams mince (ground) pork
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp pepper powder
1 tsp of 5 spice powder
2 tbs of honey for basting the bak kwa.

Mix all the ingredients together (except the honey)
Let the ingredients sit in the fridge for 2 hours or more.

Oil the aluminium foil on oven pan.
Place half of the pork mixture on the centre of the pan.
Spread out the mixture as thinly as possible over the pan.
(I use a spoon. Otherwise, cover the pork mixture with a plastic sheet and spread with a rolling pin)

Bake the pork in the oven at 100 deg C for about 5 minutes.
This will cook the pork.
Take it out and spread honey over the pork.

Increase the oven temperature to 200 deg C, on top heat
Put back the pan into the oven for another 5 minutes.
The edges should start to char a little

Remove the pan and flip the sheet of pork over and apply honey on the other side.
Finally, heat in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Repeat the process for the other half of the mince pork.

Note: To get the smoky flavour, pan fry the meat after it has been baked for 5 minutes.


This is the short video on how to make beef jerky that landed in my inbox.

You might want to try this recipe with video attached.

1 kg of minced pork
marinate with
11/2 tbsp fish sauce
11/2 tbsp soya sauce
1 cup of coarse sugar
1/8 tsp of 5 spiced powder
1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp of kam cho (licorice) powder
1/2 tsp of corriander powder
1/2 tsp of white pepper
1 tsp of rose wine
1 tbsp of hua tiao wine
1 tsp of dark soya sauce

Season ground pork with the marinate and leave in the fridge overnight. 
spread meat on the baking paper, and spread it out. You can cover with cling wrap and using a rolling pin to roll it out flat.
Bake in oven till dry. For about 1/2 hour at 75 deg C. Remove and cut meat to pieces. set oven to 175 deg C and grill meat to golden brown.

Another 7 minute video, in Cantonese.

Her list of ingredients:

一磅 免治豬肉 1 lb ground pork
十五毫升 紹酒 15 ml cooking wine
十五毫升 蠔油 15 ml oyster sauce
十五毫升 老抽 15 ml dark soy sauce
十五毫升 魚露 15 ml fish sauce
1/4杯 黃糖 ¼ cup yellow sugar

A 5 minute video from Vietnam. She uses solid block of beef.

Vietnamese beef jerky - Thịt bò khô
500g beef (top round/ flank / rump roast / bottom sirloin roast)
3tbsp lemongrass 
2tbsp minced garlic 
2tbsp sugar 
1tsp salt 
1tbsp five spice powder 
1tbsp turmeric powder 
½tsp pepper 
2tsp oil (or oyster sauce) 

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Prisoner's Dilemma

In Game Theory, there's a famous hypothetical scenario called the Prisoner's Dilemma in which two criminal suspects are apprehended by police.

Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of speaking to or exchanging messages with the other. The police admit they don't have enough evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They plan to sentence both to 6 months in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the police offer each prisoner a Faustian bargain. If he testifies against his partner, he will go free while the partner will get ten years in prison on the main charge. Oh, yes, there is a catch ... If both prisoners testify against each other, both will be sentenced to five years in jail.

If both suspects stay silent, they both get off with a very light sentence. If they both turn on each other, they both get a longer sentence. And if only one of them rats out the other, the suspect who squeals goes free, while the one who stayed silent receives the worst sentence.


Naturally, the best choice is for both prisoners to stay silent-- they both get off with a very light sentence. 

But imagine that your accomplice is in there being interrogated. You know that he's been offered the same deal... if he rats you out, he'll go free while you take the heat. When it's your turn, would you stay silent and risk a huge prison sentence while he walks?

The scenario points to an inevitable conclusion: each prisoner rats out the other, and they both do heavy jail time. It's clearly a sub-optimal outcome, known in Game Theory as the Nash Equilibrium. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Test - Left Brain Or Right Brain

Do you see a side face or a front face ?

If you see a side face, you are using your left brain
And you are good at logical thinking.

If you see a front face, you are using your right brain
And you are good at artistic creation.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Recipe - How To Make Salted Eggs

Salted eggs are very useful ingredients. They are used to add saltiness into the dish and also add a unique flavour and taste as well to the dish.

I use them for cooking vegetables and fried rice. But there are recipes like salted egg crabs, salted egg prawns, salted egg fish and even salted egg chicken.

This is a short and entertaining video on how to make your own salted eggs.

A short description:

1. Collect 10 eggs and wash the eggs clean.
2. Wipe the eggs dry and put into a pot
3. Boil 1 liter cold water with 300 grams salt. ensure the salt is dissolved in the water.
4.Wait for water to cool down.
5.Once the water is cool pour into pot. Cover pot to prevent water evaporation.
6.Place in a cool place for at least 12 days or up to 30 days.
7.Take eggs out, clean and you can keep the eggs in the refrigerator for 3 months.
8.Alternatively, you can boil the salted eggs before keeping.

Another video

A simpler way to make salted eggs.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Recipe - How To Cook Crispy Squid (Calamari)

Squid or calamari have lots of protein and also have lots of minerals such as zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and B Vitamins and also the Vitamins A, D, K and E. These minerals help boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, help the body relax, build strong bones. Calamari will help you keep a your nice looking head of hair, nice skin, and healthy nails. Calamari is also full of essential fatty acids and some Omega 3 oils too. Squid does contain a low amount of cholesterol compared to eggs or liver. And we do need some cholesterol in our diet to maintain a healthy nervous system and for creating hormones… so have some calamari and enjoy life!

My favourite way of cooking squid is still to steam them so as to enjoy the sweet and tender meat. But crispy squid is very popular. So once in a while, I do make crispy squid. It's an indulgence.
(Link ) for steam squid.

The desired outcome is to have the squid crispy on the outside and still retains the soft and tender flesh on the the inside. Squid cook very fast. To achieve this, the oil must be hot and toss in a few pieces at a time so as not to lower the heat in the oil too much. Deep fry or pan pry, it takes about 1 minute for the squid to become golden brown. Any longer than that, the squid becomes chewy, too long, it becomes rubbery.

For a mild sweet taste, I marinade the squid with a tablespoon of condensed milk.

400 grams squid, clean and cut into rings, tentacles and all.
4 tbs of corn flour for final coating
4 tbs of oil
Lemon wedges or garlic mayonaisse to serve

1 tbs of condensed milk (for sweetening and for binding the flour)
1 tbs of cornflour
1 tsp of salt

Remove the tentacles from the squid and cut the bodies into thick rings, about 1cm in diameter. 
Put the pieces and tentacles into a bowl and mix with milk , salt and flour, then let them sit for about 15 minutes.

When you're ready to cook, mix together the flour in a shallow container. 

Heat the oil in a wok or pan over a medium-high flame until a pinch of flour sizzles when it hits the oil.

Drain the squid well, then drag through the flour and shake off the excess. Fry in batches for about a minute, until crisp, and slightly golden. Place on kitchen paper and serve with lemon wedges or garlic mayonnaise.


A 5 minute video on how to cook crispy squid

Another way to make crispy squid, with batter:

Another 4 minute video on making spicy crispy squid.

Crispy squid Taiwan style. She tops up with condiments.

INGREDIENTS below: 2 medium squid, chopped into pieces 2.5cm (or 1 inch) square approximately 1 red chilli, 1 green chilli (as hot as you like!) chopped finely half a green pepper, chopped finely but a little bigger than the other chopped spices half an onion, chopped finely 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely a small piece of ginger chopped finely 1 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of coarse black pepper squid coating -- flour,egg and potato flour

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Recipe - How To Peel A Boiled Potato Without A Peeler

You do need a knife to cut a slit around the middle of the potato before boiling it.

Neat !

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Joke - Irish Job Application

Murphy applied for a fermentation operator post at a famous Irish firm based in Dublin. An American applied for the same job and since both applicants had similar qualifications, they were asked to take a test by the Manager.  When the results were in, amazingly, both men had only one wrong answer.
The manager went to Murphy and said, 'Thank you for coming to the interview, but We've decided to give the American the job.'
Murphy, 'And why would you be doing that? We both got 19 questions correct. This being Ireland and me being Irish surely I should get the job.'
Manager, 'We have made our decision not on the correct answers, but on the question you missed.'
Murphy, 'And just how would one incorrect answer be better than the other?'
Manager, 'Simple. On question number 7 the American wrote down, 'I don't know.'
You put down, 'Neither do I.'

Monday, 7 January 2013

Joke - Wait Till We Get Home

Obama with Thailand's Prime Minister


It's not Funny ...wait till we get home !

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Recipe - Bakwan Kepiting (Crab Meatballs)

Bakwan kepiting or crab meatballs is a Peranakan dish. These meatballs pack a punch with the combination of mince pork, crab and crunchy bamboo shoots.

It is usually served on special occasions, such as Chinese New Year, as the crab meat is costly and the recipe is laborious if you follow the traditional method of using live crabs. The crabs have to be steamed or boiled first before the flesh can be extracted to ensure there are no odd bits of shell.

Crab meat is valued for its succulent and sweet taste. It is also high in nutritional value, like other seafood. It should be noted a kg of live crab yields only about 250 grams of meat (about 25%).

The original recipe uses egg to bind the pork and the crab. I use fish paste. Prawns can also be used. I also find that using water chestnuts to replace the bamboo shoots makes for nicer meatballs. Maybe it is just me.

flower crab
There are 2 processes which are tedious. The first one is to cook by steaming or boiling the crab and extract the meat. Frozen crab meat are available in the supermarket but they are not as sweet as meat extracted from the live crab.

The second is to prepare the soup or stock as the dish is usually served as a soup. You can also use ready made chicken stock to save time.

For making 1 litre of stock
Add the following ingredients into a pot and boil for 1 hour on low heat.
1.5 litres water.
100 gms of soya beans (soak for 1 hour first)
50 gms of ikan bilis(dried anchovies)
10 chicken feet (cut off the nails)
1 piece of dried squid.

I cook the crab in the 1.5 litres of water before adding the other ingredients to make the stock.

250 gm of mince pork
100 gm of bamboo shoots, julienned or 5 water chestnuts, chopped
Meat from one crab
100 gm of fish paste
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped for making crispy garlic.
Pot of stock, about 1 litre

Put the garlic in a bowl
Add 1 tbs of oil to cover the garlic
Heat in microwave for about 2 minutes to make crispy garlic (link)

In a big bowl, mix pork, crab meat and fish paste
Add in half of bamboo shoots or water chestnut
Add in the crispy garlic and some garlic oil
(Add crispy shallots if you have)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well and shape into balls.

Bring the stock to a boil
Add in the meatballs and remaining bamboo shoots
Simmer until the meatballs floats
Serve and garnish with coriander leaves.


A 4 minute video on how to make bakwan kepiting (crab meatballs).

A 8 minute video on how to prepare live mud crabs for cooking

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Lotus Root And Health Benefits

The lotus root is the under-water edible root or rhizome of the lotus plant. The root grows underwater in mud. It is crunchy, sweet and has a delicate flavour. It is used commonly in Chinese and Japanese cuisines, mostly in a soup.

It has lots of phyto-nutrients (or plant nutrients) minerals and vitamins.

It is a good source of fibers.

It helps to reduce cholesterol, blood sugar levels, body weight and prevents constipation.

It is a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C boosts the immune system and protects the body from viral infection. Vitamin C helps to heal body wound and remove cancer causing free radicals from the body.

It has a fair amount of vitamin B complex which helps to stabilize the nervous system, prevents headache and tension. Vitamin B also helps to prevent heart attack.

It has a healthy amount of minerals like iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and manganese. The minerals helps in the production red blood cells.

The crunchy, sweet yet delicate flavour of root lotus is because of its optimum electrolyte balance. It composes agreeable ratio of sodium to potassium at the value of 1:4. While sodium gives the sweet taste to the root, potassium acts to counter the negative effects of sodium by regulating heart rate and blood pressure.

Lotus root is known for treating respiratory problems. It helps to dry up mucous and stop the cough.

A short video on lotus root soup with peanuts, wolf berry and dates.

Another video on pan fry lotus root stuffed with mince pork

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Recipe - Stir Fry Chicken With Pineapple

The honey pineapple shares the limelight in this simple, delicious and nutritious recipe. By itself, the pineapple is both sweet and sour. Pineapple adds colour and taste to the dish.

I use boneless and skinless chicken leg which is the juiciest part of the chicken.

The chicken thigh is cut into small pieces and marinated with light soy, dark soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and a pinch of sugar for half an hour before cooking. Corn flour is also added to help tenderise the chicken.

1 boneless chicken thigh, about 300 grams, cut into bite size
1 tsp of minced ginger
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tbs of cooking oil
One quarter honey pineapple, about 150 grams, diced

cut pineapple
1 tsp of  light soy
1 tsp of oyster sauce
1 tsp of dark soy
1 tsp of sugar
1 tbs of corn flour

Marinate the chicken and let it sit for about 30 minutes

Heat the oil in a wok or pan on medium till hot
Toss in the ginger and garlic, fry till fragrant, about 1 minute
Toss in the chicken and stir fry for about 2 minutes
Toss in the pineapple and stir fry for another 3 minutes.
The dish should be done.

A 6 minute video with Stephen Yan and his chicken and pineapple dish. He adds bell peppers, grapes and carrot to make the dish colourful and appetizing.

Cashew nuts, mushrooms, cucumber and corn also ways to add variety and taste to this chicken dish.
A 9 minute video with Stephen Yan.

Joke -Ben Bernanke When He was Young

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Dried Fig Fruit And Health Benefits

  • Fresh fig fruits have short shelf life so they are sold mostly dried. The dried fig fruit is very sweet. It can eaten on its own as a snack or it can be used in soup to sweeten the soup.

    Figs are very good in preventing constipation. Figs promote bowel function as every three grams of this fruit is loaded with five grams of fiber. It also prevents stomach ache and indigestion.
  •  For people who suffer from weight related issues figs can be their answer. The fiber in the figs helps in reducing weight when taken regularly.
  • A type of fiber that is found in fig is pectin. Pectin is very good in absorbing cholesterol from the digestive system and carrying them out of the body. So, a regular diet of figs can help you cut down on your cholesterol.
  • Figs are also rich in phenol, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. These compounds are natural heart boosters and so figs can contribute towards reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases.
  • It is also believed that the fiber in figs absorb cancer causing substances, thus reducing the risk of various types of cancer. Figs are especially good in preventing colon and post-menopausal breast cancer.
  • People suffering from diabetes should adopt a diet of high fiber. For this, figs are especially good. This fruit is rich in potassium which helps in controlling the blood sugar. Fig leaves are also known to have diabetic properties. The leaves effectively reduce the amount of insulin that is required by diabetic patients through injections.
  • Figs are high in potassium and low in sodium and this helps avoid hypertension.
  • Figs also have a high concentration of calcium and so it strengthens the bones. However, a high calcium diet can lead to urinary calcium loss and this is avoided by the potassium content of the figs.
  • Age results in macular degeneration which leads to vision loss. A diet of figs prevents this.
  • Sore throats can be effectively healed with figs as it also has high mucilage content.
  • Figs are also known to boost the health of the liver.
  • Figs are also high in alkaline and so they keep the body balanced because of the acidic diet by regulating the pH of the body.
  • Figs can also heal various respiratory diseases like asthma and whooping cough. They are also good for earache, boils, venereal diseases and boils.