Friday, 29 April 2016

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Water Kefir



I've been researching a lot on how to heal my gut. Many articles state that diets which are rich in natural probiotics do help the gut to heal. I decided to try water kefir.

When I first heard that water kefir needs sugar to ferment, my mind revolted. I mean, sugar gives me PAIN! Excruciating pain. After researching about it, I understood that the water kefir grains needed the sugar to thrive. It will 'consume' the sugar and turn it into beneficial bacterial and yeast. It actually has a lot of beneficial microbes!

Here is a list of the beneficial microbes that water kefir can contain:
(*different grains and conditions may produce different kinds of strains)

Bacteria:
Acetobacter.
a. fabarum.
a. orientalis.

Bacillus.
b. subtilis.
b. graveolus.

Lactobacillus.
l. acidophilus.
l. alactosus.
l. brevis has been identified as the species responsible for the production of the polysaccharide (dextran) that forms the grains.
l. bulgaricus.
l. casei. Produces lots of lactic acid; colonises well in the gastric tract; creates a favourable medium in which other beneficial bacteria can grow; inhibits putrefaction and harmful bacteria; increases immune function; helps protect against bacterial infections.
l. casei ss. (subspecies) casei.
L. casei ss. pseudoplantarum.
l. casei ss. rhamnosus.
l. casei ss. tolerans.
l. coryneformis ss. torquens.
l. fructosus.
l. hilgardii.
l. homohiochi.
l. hordei.
l. nagelii.
l. plantarum. Produces lactic acid; fights listeria monocytogenes; makes plantaricin; inhibits a large number of Gram-positive bacteria - the type of bacteria that cause spoilage.
l. plantarum.
l. pseudoplantarum.
l. reuterietc.
l. yamanashiensis.

Leuconostoc.
l. mesenteroides.
l. citreum.

Pediococcus damnosus.

Streptococcus.
s. agalactiae.
s. bovis.
s. cremoris. Has similar properties to s. lactis.
s. diacetylactis. Produces carbon dioxide in the kefir; makes diacetyl, which gives kefir its characteristic odour; other properties similar to s. lactis.
s. faecalis.
s. lactis. Produces lactic acid, aids digestion, inhibits harmful microorganisms, produces bacteriolysins.
s. mutans.
s. pneumonia.
s. pyogenes.
s. salivarius.
s. sanguinis.
s. suis.
s. viridans.
Yeasts:
Candida.

c. lambica.
c. lamica.
c. gueretana.
c. valida.

Hansenula valbyensis.

Kloeckera apiculata.

Lachancea fermentati.

Saccharomyces.
s. bayanus.
s. boulardii.
s. cerevisiae.
s. florentinus.
s. pretoriensis.
s. uvarum.

Torulopsis insconspicna.

Zygotorulaspora florentina.
*the above list of microbes is taken from HERE

Longer fermentation will result in lesser sugar content. 

I got my kefir grains from a very helpful friend. And she gave me a brief lesson on how to ferment the water kefir grains. 

As I got to know the water kefir grains, I discovered that the grains ferment best for 24 hours. As the temperature of each person's house varies, the fermentation period varies. Once the first round of fermentation is completed, I will strain the water into another clean jug and add some fruit (apple, pear, goji berry...etc). I will put a lid onto that jar and let it ferment for another 24 hours. I will then place it in the fridge. The result tasted like a can of Heineken beer. Joel said that it tasted like 100 plus! There isn't any sweetness left after the second fermentation. 

Here are some ground rules to fermenting water kefir:

1. DO NOT use chlorinated water. The kefir grains WILL die. No chemicals are allowed too.

2. DO NOT use metal spoons or strainers. Use plastic strainers. Apparently the metal will affect the kefir rendering them to be less effective.

3. DO NOT pour hot water as it will kill them.

4. DO NOT use honey as the antibacterial properties will kill the kefir grains.

5. DO talk to them as they thrive on sound. (I was told of this when I attended a workshop!)

6. Do use sugar which has a good amount of mineral content. 

For more information, click on LINK

You can also click HERE to read more. 

So far, I've only tested a tablespoon and I haven't really started drinking it. I'm still in the experimenting stage. By the way, the water kefir grains will ferment the sugar and produce alcohol! HIC! HIC! HIC!!! 


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Thermomix Papaya Sorbet


Ingredients:

1. 500gm of frozen papaya (in cube size)

--------------------------------------------------

1. Place the frozen papaya cubes into the Thermomix jug.

2. Close the lid and set 1 1/2 minutes/and slowly increase to speed 10.


3. Pour out onto bowl and serve cold.
4. You can add any toppings to your liking.

Bon appetit!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Thermomix Purple-Carrot Bread


Ingredients:

1. 85gm purple carrot (skin peeled)

2. 200gm water
3. 400gm organic high-protein strong bread flour
4. 30gm oil
5. 1/2 teaspoon yeast
6. A pinch of salt
7. 1 teaspoon of sugar
-------------------------------------------------------------

1. Place carrot into TMX jug and set 10seconds/speed 6.

2. Scrape down the sides of the jug.

3. Add 200gm of water and set turbo 2 seconds.

4. Add the sugar and the yeast.

5. Set 2mins/37C/Speed 1.

6. Add 400gm flour, salt and oil.

7. Knead for 3 minutes.
8. Set aside and allow it to rise/double in size. (*Wet your hands when handling dough.)

9. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Knock the dough down and place the dough into the baking tin and allow it to rise again.

10. Preheat oven to 180C.

11. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

12. Set aside to cool before serving.

Bon appetit!


Saturday, 9 April 2016

The Love Affair with Sugar




*pictures taken from HERE

To read more about Malaysians and their love affair with sugar, click on LINK.


Monday, 4 April 2016

No Sugar = Life?

It has been 16 months since I ditched sugar from my life. By that I mean that I do not cook with sugar, drink or eat sugar.

Why such a drastic step you ask.

Sugar actually gave me problems.

It gave me such excruciating pain in my shoulders and neck to the point that I couldn't move my arms without being crippled with acute pain. I even saw a physician who specialised in rheumatology. I had thought I had the 3-in-1 disease which were arthritis, fybromyalgia and rheumatism. I couldn't sleep or function. I felt I was losing my mind from the pain.

It went on for years as I never suspected that sugar was the culprit.

It was only after the emergency surgery that I had two years back that I stumbled upon the possibility of sugar being the culprit.

There are times where I crave for sugar so bad that I could KILL for it!

There are times where I was so desperate that I ate something with sugar and then spat it out and rinsed my mouth many times.

I miss desserts very, very, very, very, very much.

But you see, one day after many weeks of abstaining from sugar, it suddenly dawned on me that I was PAIN-FREE! I was sceptical of course. Hence, I started eating sugar again. The pain hit me and it was so bad that I felt that I had been run over by a tanker. I stopped the sugar immediately and the pain left again after many days.

These days, I would know whether the manufacturers of certain food (chips or gluten-free biscuits) which state they do not have sugar are telling the truth. The excruciating pain would come back. And I would know that I can't buy that to eat when my tastebuds behave like a pregnant woman.

Do any of you abstain from sugar? If so, why? And what do you use as a substitute for sugar?

Do share your story.




Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The El Nino Heat Wave Effect

The weather everyday has been like an oven on fire. We had a heat index of 45C last week. Hot is truly an understatement. 

*Minions picture taken from HERE

**For those of you who do not understand what 'Goreng Pisang' means, it is "DEEP FRIED BANANA!"


Monday, 21 March 2016

Thermomix Minced Pork Porridge




Ingredients:

1. 1 cup of white rice (soaked and washed)
2. 1000gm of boiling filtered water
3. 200gm minced pork (seasoned with Tamari sauce, sea-salt, grapeseed oil, corn starch)
4. A handful of spring onion

------------------------------------------------------------

1. Place the rice into the Thermomix jug.

2. Pour the boiling water into the jug.

3. Set 25 minutes/90C/Speed 2. (Remove the MC)

4. Add the minced pork through the hole in the lid after 10 minutes.

5. Add some sea-salt to taste.

6. During the last 5 minutes, add the chopped spring onions.

7. Once done, pour the porridge into a big pot.

8. Serve hot.

Bon appetit!



Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Thermomix Ground Chick-Peas (Garbanzo Beans)


500gm of chick peas

1. Place 250gm inside jug.

2. Slowly increase speed to 8.5. Grind 35 to 40 seconds. If you want it to be finer, add another 10 to 15 seconds.

3. Voila! You have your own home-made chick-pea flour.




Saturday, 12 March 2016

Thermomix Brownie


(*NOTE: This recipe is from the Thermomix cookbook.)

Ingredients:

1. 220gm of unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)
2. 250gm of dark chocolate (70% cocoa - cut into cube size)
3. 70gm brown sugar (I reduced the amount by 3/4)
4. 6 eggs (room temperature)
5. A pinch of salt
6. 150gm of organic all-purpose flour (I used the less gluten flour)
7. *150gm of walnuts (optional) (you can choose to omit this or replace with cashews if you're intolerable to other nuts)

----------------------------------------

1. Place chocolate into the mixing bowl and chop 5 sec/speed7.

2. Add butter and melt 4min/70C/speed2.

3. Add sugar, eggs, salt and flour. Set 1min/speed4.

4. Add walnuts and mix 10sec/speed4.

5. Preheat oven to 170C.

6. Line baking tray with baking paper.

7. Pour the batter into the tin.

8. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes.

9. Allow it to cool before cutting into squares.

Bon appetit!





Tuesday, 8 March 2016

7 Years

Seven.

In the book of Harry Potter, seven is said to be the most powerful magical number.

Seven is the number of notes in a traditional Western diatonic scale.

Seven represents the deadly sins and also denotes completeness and perfection.

Not forgetting how the world was made in seven days (if you believe in the Bible).

In Judaism, seven (shiv`a) is the number of days of mourning.

In the world of mathematics, seven is a happy number, a safe prime and a lucky prime.

-------------------------------

I hope that this journey of mine in its seventh year, will be the last year in mourning where my health is concerned. I would be truly free of the shackles that salicylate and chemical sensitivities have placed on my life.

I hope that this seventh year would complete the musical scales of this journey and thus, open my path to an array of even more musical scales that I can paint my life with.

I hope that my new world would be made complete in this seventh year.

I hope that this seventh year would be an even happier and safer year for me.

And I hope that in this seventh magical year, I will overcome and slay my Voldermort and be healthy and strong again where my immune system is concerned.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Home Made Preserved Lime with Salt


I couldn't find kam kuat around here. I replaced it with lime instead. Apparently, it can cool the body down and help with cough and sorethroat.

The longer you keep it, the more potent it is.

I'll update all of you once it is one year old.

----------------------------------------

Ingredients:

1. 1kg of organic lime (thoroughly washed)

2. Sea-salt (lots of it)

3. Sterilised jars
-------------------

1. Alternate salt and lime in the jar until it is packed.

2. Cap the jar and set aside for one year.



Monday, 15 February 2016

Thermomix Cashew Butter Spread


Ingredients:

1. 1 cup of cashew nuts (soaked overnight)
2. Sea-salt (up to how salty you want the butter to be)
3. Sunflower oil (approximately 20gm)

-------------------------------------------------------

1. Rinse the cashew nuts. Place all ingredients into jug and set 2 mins/speed 8.

2. If the consistency isn't creamy enough, then add 1min/speed 8 again.

3. You can eat it plain or with bread/biscuits. (YUMMY!)

Bon appetit!


Thursday, 11 February 2016

A Fiery CNY Eve Lunch!

A very Happy Fiery Monkey Chinese New Year to all my Chinese fellow bloggers and readers.

Here was what we had for our reunion meal.

Steamed fish.
Thermomix stir-fried choy sum with carrots and prawns.

Steamed beancurd with minced pork (Yong Tau Foo).

Curry potato and pork.

Steamed okra with minced pork (Yong Tau Foo).

Steamed bittergourd with minced pork (Yong Tau Foo).

Double boiled bone broth with lotus root.

Steamed chicken.

And brownies for dessert! 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Year of the Monkey

May you go bananas over every joyous thing that life brings you,
May you trapeze from each branch of life smoothly,
May you never get the itchy-scratchies as long you live,
May your life be full of life and never cease to be lively,
May your mind be quick witted in dealing with the delinquents of life,
May you never stop in being curious about life,
May you be innovative in overcoming the obstructions of life,
And may you never stop being mischievous in the games that life brings you.
Have a great year of the Fire Monkey!

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Clutter Magnet - Little Red's Garage

Little Red could not believe the amount of junk that it had kept all these years. It felt that it had become a packrat! There were so many things that had to go.

Since Little Red had a few months more to go before the Great Big Move, it decided that it must start now. If not Little Red's engine would not be able to take strain. It would surely sputter and die. 

Monday - Cleared half the junk from the northern part of the garage.

Tuesday - Cleared the eastern part of the garage.

Wednesday - Brought all recyclable stuff that it had cleared to the recycling centre.

Thursday - Cleared the southern and southern part. The washing and cleaning started. Stuff with years of dust made Little Red sneezed a great deal. Dust that could cloud its lights. 

Friday - Clear, clean, wash, pack.....

Saturday and Sunday - Totally flat on its back.

Little Red did feel at times (while clearing out junk) that being a minimalist would be good. Well, maybe being a teeny, weeny bit of a minimalist would do some good! 

Little Red is determined to only take half of what it has. After all, the new garage is much smaller. If it took everything, the sidewalk would be its new bed!!!

Monday - Back to the northern part of the garage....... 


Friday, 15 January 2016

Elephant Legs

I remember when I was about fourteen, my class teacher gave me the duty to write out her notes-of-the-day on the blackboard. As I was writing, the hunk-of-the-school called me. When I turned around, he said this in his loudest voice: 

'Evelyn, why are your calves like elephant legs? You shouldn't be called Evelyn. You should be called Elephant Legs!'

He then guffawed and turned around to the class and shouted 'Miss ELEPHANT LEGS!!!!!!!!!! HahahahahahahaahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA!'

My soul was scarred from that day on. I researched religiously on how to make my calves smaller. I began to only wear pants and long skirts. I wanted to keep my 'elephant legs' under wrap so that nobody could see them. I detested my 'elephant legs'. I would rather kill myself than to expose them and walk out of the house! Why did I have SUCH ugly legs?! My mind was always in my legs.

Sad to say, this went on until I was in my twenties and even in my early thirties.

Most of the time when my husband and I went out, he would point out to me those plus sized ladies wearing dresses, skirts and shorts who had bigger legs than me. He would say, 'Look at them! They are so much bigger than you and are so confident! Why won't you be like them? You're not Elephant Legs!'

Unfortunately, the scales did not fall off my eyes. I couldn't spew out the thorn that was embedded inside my soul so deeply. It was too rooted.

Until one day....

When I met Death. 

The shackles have been falling off slowly over the past seven years. 

Imagine that I used to wear pants to the wet market. 

Thinking back, I was NUTS! Yes, the elephant legs must have love nuts!

The change was slow and steady. The confidence grew bit by bit.

It started with shorts to the market. Then it progressed to the supermarket.  To the shops. To school. Shorts soon graduated to knee length skirts. Worn to malls. 

Who gives a damn if my legs do not conform to the Supermodels' strict size 0 measurements? Who cares if my legs are not miles long? Marilyn Monroe was considered fat at one time. And then she became perfect. Fat, thin, skinny: the ruler that is used to measure fluctuates all the time. It never ends. Perfect beauty doesn't exist. I have legs that can carry me and walk. Period. And that's what I'm thankful for. 

To the little girl whose friends called you ugly and rejected you because you're different from them, you're you. You're special. And I hope you will not waste 20 years thinking that you're ugly. You're a beautiful girl. 

What happened to the 'hunk' who called me elephant legs, you ask?

Well, he got married, had a son and decided one day to walk out of their lives as he needed to have his life back. 

I guess he has an elephant butt upstairs.