Tea with Rose

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Our Moms

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Ky and I were brought up in families that function very differently. My parents have always been really warm, affectionate and generous with hugs and kisses.

And I see that in all of us siblings, we are chatty, expressive and we show our feelings openly. Sometimes too openly. We tend to raise our voices more than necessary just to get heard sometimes, we have the shouty gene. Everyone needs to be heard. 

Ky’s family, in comparison, is a whole lot more reserved and almost a little distant. But of course, the good thing’s that there are never any fights at home.

Yet, our moms are alike in more ways than I imagined. They are both sociable and they love people. And most of all, they take such good care of their families. I always tell Ky how blessed we both are, to grow up in the care of our loving moms, who dish out the best home-cooked meals.

The two moms also share a romantic streak – they adore flowers. Here’s a pic of the bouquet we got for my mom-in-law this Mother’s Day.

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A pic of my beautiful mom and the lilies we gave her on her birthday. Check out her outfit – ain’t she chic? =)

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Written by rosemaryoong

May 11, 2009 at 8:36 am

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Mom’s Birthday Tunch

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Mom’s birthday fell on a Tuesday this year. Dad was back on the weekend before and we had our dinner celebration at Man Fu Yuan. With Dad the traditionalist around, we always end up at Chinese restaurants for meals somehow. 

Among the kids, we have one undergrad, one master student, one aspiring webpreneur and my big sis who is able to take half day leave quite easily. So on Mom’s birthday, the kids took her out for lunch at Tatsuya, Goodwood Park Hotel. Here’s a pic of Mom and me. She loves her flowers and I love her so =) 

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The food at Tatsuya, was good as always. Mom and I enjoyed our Ladies Lunch much.

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The Yoongs are big on cafe culture. So right after lunch, we headed to the hotel’s lounge. Love this pic – so much excitement over what to order hah!

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Predictably, Mom couldn’t resist the durian temptations at the deli. We ordered a durian roll, a durian strudel and a hazelnut crunch cake (for Jac who doesn’t take durian), add on some tea and coffee, it was a wonderful after-meal treat and a perfect afternoon out!

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See Mom savoring every morsel of the durian delight haha!

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We call us ‘The Four Sisters’ – a term Mom’s always delighted to hear gee!

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Written by rosemaryoong

May 8, 2009 at 2:41 am

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Shop for Inspiration

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Due to a slew of events and circumstances, Mother’s Day celebration is to be held at our nest this Sunday. We’ve decided on brunch and to be honest, I’m rather excited about the whole idea.

I’ve always wanted to cook a celebration meal for Mom but without a kitchen of my own, it was all too difficult to execute. So this year is the perfect time for me to cook for Mom.. hurray!

And to top it off, we are having a few cousins over as well, cousins from Malaysia and Taiwan. This doesn’t happen often, so I’m even more thrilled we are all gathering to spend some time together!

I love planning parties. And I like to tie things together with a theme of some sort, easier to work that way. Yet, amidst all the excitement for the party this Sun, I had no inspiration for this one. The fact that two of my cousins are strict vegetarians certainly makes things slightly more complicated.

Well you know, I have absolutely no issues going vegetarian. The challenge is feeding vegetarians and carnivores in the same setting. I’ll have to come up with a balanced menu for both groups without having to prepare too many dishes.. hmm.

So I kept making lists of possible items to prepare but they just didn’t fall into place. I couldn’t finalize anything, and by then it was time to head to the supermarket to grab a couple of things for dinner tonight.

And guess what? I’m convinced the best way to draw inspiration for a party is to go grocery shopping! Seeing what is in season and the different ingredients available really makes ideas flow better.

I saw beautiful ripened plums, pomegranate and berries and it struck me to feature all these lovely fruits for the party cos Mom simply loves fruits! I’m even inspired to do a red and blue color theme and decorate the buffet table in these deep hues! Alright, I have a picture in my head now, finalizing the menu should be easy =)

Note to self: Please do not over prepare and overkill. Make as many stuff in advance as possible. Keep things simple. Don’t kill yourself.

Written by rosemaryoong

May 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm

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A Quick Dinner

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Ky has been staying behind for work a fair bit lately. This morning, he asked if I could make dinner tonight since he won’t be staying late. It’s quite rare he gets to arrive home in time for dinner at normal hours so I didn’t want to say no even though I have tons to do.

All the one-pot stews and dishes came to mind. Ky loves curries and since I have a few cubes of Jap curry stock sitting in the pantry, I thought I’d make just that.

Throw in some onions, potatoes, eggplant, carrot, shrimp and enoki, here’s what I got. Hmmm… yummy! Apparently, it smelled so good he could guess what we were having for dinner when he stepped out of the lift!

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Written by rosemaryoong

May 7, 2009 at 3:22 pm

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I love..

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Making breakfast for my husband! A famous food writer (can’t recall who! or was it a chef?) once said breakfast, when done properly, could well be the best meal of the day. I’ll have to agree. 

It’s a nice feeling to start the day right by having a hearty healthful breakfast. Since Ky’s work schedule can be somewhat erratic, I’ve come to realize breakfast is the only sure meal I get to put together for him. 

I usually plan ahead what to serve but there’s no denying I have my lazy days, and on such days I just make sure the pantry is stocked with a loaf of bread, cereals/ muesli and milk/ juice. But most of the times, I’ve realized with a bit of planning, it’s really quite a breeze to make a simple, good breakfast.

I try to keep things varied with a balanced mix of sweet & savory, different textures, colors and styles ranging from the staples (bread & cereal) to Western (wraps, sandwiches, eggs, pancakes) to local flavors (stir fried noodles, porridge, sweet soups, paus). And I always make sure there’s a small portion of fruits. 

This is what Ky had this morning – caramelized onion omelette, a small bowl of cereals with milk and some fruits.

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Written by rosemaryoong

May 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm

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I Can’t Do Without…

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EXERCISE! I’m no sports fanatic but exercising has become such an essential part of my  life that each time I slip up on my workouts, my life spirals out of control! I can’t concentrate as well, I feel lethargic, I am not productive and I feel lousy.

What motivates me to get my butt off is more than knowing that exercise is good for my body, but the fear of what lack of exercise does to my whole well-being. I work out to feel good and in control. 

A typical weekly workout schedule consists of two half-hourly swims and two sessions of hot yoga which make up just three hours of exercise every week. Yet, I’m constantly amazed how they really work wonders for me – physically, mentally and emotionally. 

I love swimming. It’s one amazing exercise that really uses every part of the body. It may sound like an exaggeration but each time I step out of the pool after a swim, I am convinced my arms just got more toned, my body more taut.

Enough has been reported on what yoga does to your body. I used to be cynical of the claims before I started on yoga two years ago but there’s no looking back since I joined the bandwagon. I only have to miss a few sessions and my neck, shoulders and back will feel tight and stiff. And each time I survive a hot session, my body feels renewed and every cell in me is rejuvenated!

Did my usual laps this morning and I’m feeling good – gotta keep this going! =)

Written by rosemaryoong

May 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm

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The Most Gracious Guests

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So we’ve been hosting endless house parties in our new home. Being an inexperienced (yet somewhat ambitious) host, I inevitably find myself analyzing every party we organized, in an effort to make the next one better.

Given that we are such amateur home entertainers, there are always new tips and lessons to pick up, and it’s no exception with the housewarming dinner we had with Ky’s colleagues last Friday.

Mistake #1 (something that still happens for every party): Portion estimation! I always have tons of leftovers and it’s no fun eating the same stuff for the next few days. I need to remind myself guests fill up on a bit of everything and stop worrying about not having enough food. Ky suggests I halve everything I have in mind to prepare.

Mistake #2 (something I knew beforehand but still thought I could manage): I looked at my menu and it crossed my mind I had quite a few items (chicken wings, pizzas, wedges) all fighting for the oven. I thought I would just pop everything in and they’ll be ready in no time. BUT I should have realized how food disappears faster than you can say fast with a group of ten! And all of a sudden, the food in the oven seemed to take forever to cook and I found myself agonizing when the pizzas were going to brown! More make-ahead food the next time round!

But nothing beats Mistake #3.

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I prepared tiramisu served in individual wine glasses (thought it’d be quite a mess for ten persons to eat from the same bowl) for desserts. I thought I spotted a glimmer of delight when I handed the guests their desserts. Really, it couldn’t get any worse to have raised the guests’ expectations and then for them to taste the worst tiramisu ever – the creamy parts were all hardened up in clots! I could have just killed myself!!

To be honest, I was feeling rather queasy about desserts for the evening since I didn’t actually try it prior to serving. I’d wanted to make extra glasses so I could taste it before bringing it out but there wasn’t enough cream to go around. Still if I’d tasted it earlier in the day, I would have tried letting them sit out a bit. And if they still didn’t taste right, I could quickly work on backup desserts, run out to get a few tubs of ice cream or something. 

Gosh…………. so Mistake #3: NEVER SERVE ANYTHING YOU HAVEN’T TASTED YOURSELF!

I had a strong urge to stand up and stop the guests from eating the hardened tiramisu. But that would put them in a really awkward spot….. more agonizing moments!!!

The guests, however, didn’t flinch though I was certain they concealed it so well. Most of them actually finished their desserts – how gracious!

Written by rosemaryoong

April 29, 2009 at 1:32 am

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