Parenting Tips

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Monthly Reflections 0702

This is the shortest month of the year. Yes, it’s the end of February 2007.

So far, my achievements are:

  • For the whole month, I went brisk walking with my husband only once. Still watching his diet and getting him to exercise more though.
  • Had more outings with Lawrence - did massage/facial, went for buffet; bought table lamps for the rooms; went to IKEA to look for sofa covers.
  • For spring-cleaning and house-keeping, finally found the ant hive in one of the kitchen cabinets and got rid of it.
  • Was at my mum’s place twice a week and took her out at times. On one occasion, had buffet with her. We sure had a good time. Glad to see that she is much better now.
  • Met quite a few writers during the gathering at the Singapore Society of Writers. Good to have them share their experience on writing and publishing their books.
  • Went down to 2 schools - one primary and one secondary. Shared with them on the 6 basic elements of Art Fundamentals.
  • Was involved in a road show at Kovan Bus Interchange. Managed to get 2 prospects to go for complimentary workshop for children's development programme.
  • Had lunch with my mother-in-law before Chinese New Year. My son is the only paternal grandson and she is always happy to see him.
  • Hosted a Reiki session with 3 other classmates on the 2nd Saturday. Intend to make this a monthly affair. In total, have Reiki-ed more than 50 people this month.
  • Got my 2 younger girls to share their daily delights and woes.
  • Finally hit 100 posts on 26/02/2007 for my "parent-joy" blog.

Task to be done in Mar 2007:

  • Do more brisk walking with my husband. Target to bring 1 kg of down every month until he hits 65 kg.
  • Complete filing of documents.
  • Continue to make new friends with success stories to share.
  • Go for one massage and one facial for maintenance of well-being.
  • Continue to Reiki those in need, especially family members.
  • Target to enroll 5 students for self-improvement courses that will benefit them in the long term.
  • Start gathering materials on parenting tips.
  • Switch to wordpress for my new website.
  • Settle application of maid for my mum as a companion and help with household chores.

Parents, hope your month has been a joyful one with Lunar New Year celebrations.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Green Tea Recipes



GREEN TEA BUTTERED PRAWNS

Ingredients:

200g of raw tiger prawns
1 green tea bag
15 gm salted butter


Pickle (optional):

1 radish (diced)

1 cucumber (diced)

1 carrot (diced)

2 tbsp lime juice (to be mixed with above vegetables)

Method:

  1. Devein the prawns
  2. In a frying pan, steep the green tea bag in 250 ml of hot water for 5 minutes
  3. Remove tea bag and bring water to boil
  4. Add prawns and cook for 3 minutes
  5. Drain liquid, leaving one tbsp
  6. Add the salted butter and fry prawns until they sizzle
  7. Serve with lime juice pickle, if desired


GREEN TEA MANGO CHILL

Ingredients:

300 ml double cream
5 green tea bags

75 g icing sugar
2 mangoes (cut into slivers)

Sweet biscuits (optional)

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, warm 300 ml of double cream and 5 green tea bags, until just below boiling
  2. Remove from heat and cool in fridge for ½ hour
  3. Discard tea bags
  4. Whip cream and the icing sugar until it holds soft peaks, then chill
  5. Layer cut mangoes and cream in dishes
  6. Serve with sweet biscuits, if desired

Goodness of Green Tea

Research has found that green tea has very powerful anti-oxidants and aids in the following medical conditions:

  • cancer
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • high cholesterol levels
  • cardiovascular disease
  • infection
  • impaired immune function

Other Benefits

New evidence is emerging that green tea can even help dieters. It can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that cause dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea - from deodorants to creams - are starting to appear on the market.

Negative Effect

So far, the only negative side effect reported from drinking green tea is insomnia arising from caffeine. However, green tea contains less caffeine than coffee. There are approximately 30 to 60 mg of caffeine in 6 - 8 oz of tea, compared to over 100 mg in 8 oz of coffee.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Good Luck Tips



The following are extracts from the Anthony Robbins organisation.

  • Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  • Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
  • Do not believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
  • When you say, "I love you," mean it.
  • When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.
  • Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
  • Believe in love at first sight.
  • Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who do not have dreams do not have much.
  • Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
  • In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
  • Do not judge people by their relatives.
  • Talk slowly but think quickly.
  • When someone asks you a question you do not want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"
  • Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  • Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
  • When you lose, do not lose the lesson
  • Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
  • Do not let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  • When you realize you have made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  • Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
  • Spend some time alone.

Singapore parents, if you find the above tips useful, do practise them and get good luck. Also, pass them along and let others share the luck too.

A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0708



This is the 8th week into 2007 and today is the 8th day of Lunar New Year. As usual, I will share the delights first:
  • On Monday, kept my mum company, just staying at her house. We chatted a lot though.
  • On Tuesday, stayed home the whole day, just relaxing. No visiting.
  • On Wednesday morning, collected medical report for my husband and send in for insurance premium waiver. Thereafter, had buffet with my husband and eldest girl at Le Meridien. Presently, they are promoting local dishes.
  • On late Thursday morning, went for massage. It's a once a month enjoyment that I indulge on myself.
  • Finally found the ant nest in the kitchen on Friday afternoon. At one of the cabinets. With my husband's help, cleared the whole mass. Of course, threw out some more unused stuff.
  • On Saturday morning, attended 2 meetings at Cedar Girls Secondary School. Volunteered for the Rainbow group and Parent Guardian Programme.
  • This morning, finished Feb issue of Reader's Digest.
Now for the woes:
  • My 2nd sister quarrelled with her husband and this had upset my mum.
  • Need to get carpenter to fix up the cabinet with the ant nest.
  • Had 2 prospects this week but failed to get them to sign up for the children's programme. Must try harder.
Singapore parents, if you have yet had Yu-Sheng, there is one more week to go.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sex Matters



Under the Home section (H3) of The Straits Times today, there was an article on "Married S'poreans prefer condoms". From a study by the National University of Singapore (NUS), it was found that the condom is the most popular form of contraception among married Singaporeans. The findings reveal that:

  • Husbands are more agreeable to put on condoms
  • Women are having more say on fertility decisions
  • The use of the rubber has more than doubled over the last 30 years
  • Of the 900 married couples interviewed, 39% of them said they use condoms (in 1973, it was only 17%)
  • The contraceptive pill, on the other hand, plunged in popularity - from 21.7% to 7%
  • Next in popularity is withdrawal (21%)
  • This is followed by the rhythm (11%)
Overall, the reliance on such "low-tech" methods implies there is good communication and respect in marriages. The presumption is couples do discuss on the choice of contraception and this is good.

Just last night, my 2 younger girls were also talking about fertility period (biology class topic) and some sex matters. Intrauterine Contraceptive Device
(IUCD) and sterilization were also discussed. It was a very casual interaction. We briefly discussed how each contraception works. They asked if I used any of those and I shared with them. After the birth of my 4th and last child, I opted for ligation.

Parents, should your children approach you on this subject matter, just be natural and deal with it like you are just having a discussion.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Art of Marriage

While clearing some of my old stuff, I came across this poster that I bought 25 years ago. On it is this beautiful poem on The Art of Marriage:

It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right person -
It is being right partner.


Every time I read this poem, it gives me the sense of peace within me. Now that the poster is tattered and torn, I am going to discard it. Nonetheless, I will always treasure the message it implies, especially the last sentence of being the right partner.

Having been married for 25 years and being parents of 4 children, we have always cherished each other's companionship. Although we do not say "I love you" every day, in our hearts, we do. As Singapore is in the Asian region, people in this part of the world are rather conservative and we like to keep it that way.




Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bonding by reading, story-telling and . . .



In today's mindyourbody in The Straits Times, I read with interest the article on "Bonding by reading".

I fully agree with Md Hartiny that bonding continued from the moment the baby is borned. I also like her idea of reading not confining to just books - reading anything and everything, like television sub-titles, road signs and even instruction manuals.

Well, I would like to add that story-telling and singing are also good for bonding. I remembered telling my children the same old story every night and they still ask for the same story on the next night. That's because, I will have high and low pitches when I relate different roles in the story. One example is the The Three Bears. I will have a low pitch voice when I imitate Papa Bear, medium pitch for Mama Bear and high pitch for Baby Bear. The children just loved it.

When they were babies, I used to sing lullabies to them. When they were older, I changed the lyrics to suite the family story. This really sparked their creativity and they also start putting their own words to change the lyrics too.

For story-telling, all libraries do have these sessions on specific days and for different age groups. Singapore parents, do check out the schedules and make an effort to bring your children there. While they enjoy their delights, you can also have a break to pick some groceries or do some chores and fetch them later.

At different age, children have different needs. After certain age, they will not want to go anymore. So wait no more.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Recipes with Bird's Nest (2)



Hi parents
If you still have bird's nest and still wondering what to do with them, here's another 2 recipes to consider:

Stew Duck with Bird's Nest Soup

Ingredients:
  • 15 gm duck's meat
  • 15 gm bird's nest
  • 15 gm ham
Method (serves 4 - 6 persons):

  1. Soak bird's nest in warm water for 1 hour
  2. Drain and cook in boiling water for 5 minutes
  3. Drain and set aside
  4. Wash duck and book in boiling water for 6 - 8 minutes
  5. Remove and rinse in cold water
  6. Steam these prawn balls for 10 minutes
  7. Place duck, bird's nest, ham and 3.5 cups of water in pot
  8. Steam for 4 hours
  9. Salt to taste before serving


Steamed Egg Custard with Bird's Nest Soup

Ingredients:

  • 20 gm bird's nest
  • 2 cups of superior soup stock
  • 50 gm pea shoots
Custard:
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tbsp shredded cooked ham
  • 2 tsp wine
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup stock
  • 1/2 tbsp wine
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp corn flour

Method (serves 4 - 6 persons):

  1. Soak bird's next in hot water to soften
  2. Simmer in 2 cups of stock for 2 hours
  3. Combine custard ingredients and beat lightly
  4. Steam the custard until it is set
  5. Blanch pea shoots in boiling water until tender-crisp, then drain and set aside
  6. Place custard in centre of a deep serving platter and surround with pea shoots
  7. Bring sauce ingredients to a boil and cook until thickened
  8. Place bird's nest on top of custard and pour sauce over

Lunar New Year lasts for 15 days. Today is only the 3rd day so Singapore parents, you still have time to plan ahead if you want to try the above recipes.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0707



This is the 7th week into 2007 and today is the 1st day of Lunar New Year. Being a positive person, naturally, I have more delights and these are:
  • Making a trip to the market with mum. It sure reminisced old times.
  • Continue to share recipes to those who read my blog. This week, 2 dishes on using bird's nest.
  • Managed to register domain name "JUNEPARENTING.COM" with my sifu's guidance.
  • Had a belated Valentine's celebration with my husband on 15/2. He had a body massage while I did a facial. Thereafter, we had buffet lunch at Oscar's Cafe at Conrad Hotel.
  • Got some spring cleaning done to get ready for the coming Lunar New Year, with the help of my youngest girl. She sure is a darling.
  • Prepare dishes for reunion dinner for my family. We had steamboat and barbeque.
  • The 6 of us took turns to play mahjong from 9 pm to midnight.
  • Paid a visit to my mum's place today as the kids have not seen her for quite a while.
As for the woes, I am sad to note that there are a lot of 'sick' people around me. My Reiki list just keeps getting longer.

Singapore parents, here's wishing you and your family a nice and long weekend. Do find time to relax.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Dealing with Constipation

Of late, while visiting my mum, she shared that she has constipation. When I ask around, I found that a lot of people also have this problem. So what is constipation, what are the causes and how to go about treating it ? ? ?

What is constipation?

To different people, it means different things. Basically, it refers to infrequent bowel movements. However, some will interpret it as a decrease in the amount of stool. Others describe it as difficulty in passing motion or a sense of incomplete evacuation. When this happens, they usually seek medication to help pass motion.

Ideally, one should clear his/her bowels after every meal. For some peope, it can vary from three times a day to three times a week while some may go a week or more without experiencing discomfort or harmful effects. Bowel habits are affected by diet. The average Singaporean diet includes 12 to 20 grams of fibre per day. This is below the recommended 25 to 30 grams of fibre.

About 80% of people suffer from constipation at some time during their lives. While brief periods of constipation are normal, it is advisible to seek help when the situation prolongs. The general assumption if that if motion is not passed out, it will result in poisons in the body. This can lead to overuse and abuse of laxatives.

What causes constipation?

Many factors may cause constipation. This include inadequate fibre and water intake, a sedentary lifestyle, and environmental changes. It may be aggravated by travel, pregnancy or change in diet. For some people, repeatedly ignoring the urge to pass motion may result in constipation.

More serious causes of constipation include growths or areas of narrowing in the colon. Hence, it is wise to seek the advice of a doctor when constipation persists. Constipation can also be due to nervous or endocrine disorders or diseases like thyroid, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, stroke and spinal cord injuries.

Treatment for constipation



Below are some tips for treatment of constipation:

  • Eat well balanced, regularly scheduled meals to promote normal bowel function.
  • To ensure roughage, eat foods that are high in fibre such as bran, shredded wheat, whole grain breads and certain fruits and vegetables. The recommended fibre intake is 25 to 30 grams per day for proper bowel function.
  • With high fibre diet, this will also help lower cholesterol levels, prevent symptomatic hemorrhoids and reduce the risk of developing colon polyps and caner.
  • Ensure that you drink enough fluids to help keep the stools soft. Try to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of liquid each day in the form of juice, milk, coffee, tea, soup, water or other fluids.
  • An increase in activity such as exercise will also help the bowel move.
  • Alternatively, fibre supplements may be taken as these are not harmful to the body.
  • While laxatives stimulate the colon to work more rapidly, prolonged usage may stretch and weaken the colon. Hence, it is advisible to avoid laxative unless recommended and monitored by doctors.
  • A change in lifestyle may also help. Having a specific time each day to have a bowel movement may be helpful. In some cases, bio-feedback may help to retrain poorly functioning anal sphincter muscles.
  • Only in rare circumstances are surgical procedures necessary to treat constipation. Your doctor can discuss these options with you in greater detail to determine the best treatment for you.
  • Last but not least, try Reiki. After learning this technique, I now have more frequent bowel clearance.

Metaphorically, the intestines represent garbage that are to be disposed. Parents, if you still have a lot of cluttered items, why not take this opportunity to spring-clean them. Who knows, your bowels may be smoothier. . .






Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tips to Healthy Foot Care



With Chinese New Year round the corner, many shopping malls in Singapore offer a good variety of makes and brands. While new shoes may look pretty and trendy, old ones are usually more comfortable. Get new ones if you want but here are some things to take note:
  • Select shoes that conform to the shape of your feet
  • The toe area should be roomy
  • Heel height should be low if you need to stand or walk for long hours
  • The front portion should be square or round to suit the shape of your feet
  • Foot size changes as one ages so it is always good to try on the spot
  • Due to weight gain or loss, one foot may be bigger than the other so choose the size that fit the larger one
  • For sneakers, replace them after running more than 600 - 800 km or after doing 300 hours of aerobic activities
  • Avoid tight shoes and those with stiff backs
Other pointers on foot care include:
  • Cutting toe nails across in a straight line to avoid ingrown toe nails
  • Standing for long hours without shoes may cause fallen arches
  • To avoid planter warts, wear flip-flops instead of walking barefoot
  • To avoid tendon inflammation, it is good to warm up and stretch before and after work-outs
Parents, hope you find the above tips useful and happy shopping for your kids and yourself. For more information on foot care and treatments, you may log on to www.sgfootcare.com.



Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine

Today is Valentine's Day indeed. I was at my mum's place today and she asked if I celebrate this special day with my husband. I told her we used to even after the kids came along. So far, all the celebrations were in Singapore. We either go for a movie and have dinner together, just the 2 of us.

After my husband's stroke 3 years ago, we somehow stopped. He was never the romantic type but I know he appreciates what I have done for him.

To me, every day is Valentine's Day as long as our love ones are healthy and happy. Parents, I am sure you will agree with me on this.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Recipes with Bird's Nest (1)



Lunar New Year is a big event for all ethnic groups in Singapore. Here's 2 recipes for parents to try out for the reunion dinner:

Bird's Nest Twin Prawn Delight

Ingredients:

  • 20 gm bird's nest
  • 200 gm shelled prawn meat
  • 200 gm pork or chicken
  • Oil for deep-frying
Seasonings:
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup corn flour

Method (serves 4 – 6 persons):

  1. Soak bird's nest in warm water for 1 hour
  2. Slow-cook in coup stock for 1.5 hours
  3. Combine prawn, pork or chicken and seasoning into blender and blend to a paste
  4. Split the paste into 2 portions
  5. For the 1st portion, form into small balls and coat in bird's nest, gently patting the bird's next into the mixture
  6. Steam these prawn balls for 10 minutes
  7. For remaining prawn paste, again form into small balls and coat with corn flour
  8. Heat cooking oil in a wok over medium-high heat
  9. Deep-fry for 5 minutes or until golden brown

Bird's nest with Quail/Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 15 gm bird's nest
  • 80 gm small yam
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 quails or 100 gms chicken meat
Sauce:
  • 1cup superior stock
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1/2 cup water
Seasoning 1:
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 1 tbsp wine
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tbsp cooking oil

Seasoning 2:
  • 4 cups superior stock
  • 1/2 tbsp wine
  • dash of sesame oil
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt

Method (serves 4 – 6 persons):

  1. Soak bird's next in hot water for 4 hours with lid on
  2. Drain and combine with seasoning 1
  3. Boil for 5 - 8 minutes and drain
  4. If using quail - steam for 15 minutes, remove meat when cool and mince
  5. If using chicken, just steam for 10 minutes, mince when meat is cool
  6. Slice and steam yam until soft, then mash
  7. Place yam, quail or chicken into blender with the sauce and grind to fine paste
  8. Place paste on plate and steam for 0.5 hour
  9. Finally, put paste, bird's nest and Seasoning 2 into pot and steam for 1 hour

As this soup requires longer cooking time, it would be good to prepare the bird's nest one day in advance. Happy bird nesting . . .

Monday, February 12, 2007

To market with Mama



The last time I went to market with my mum was a long long time ago. In fact, should be before I got married. Now that she is better, we intend to go more places. So, this morning, we make a trip to the market.

Now a parent with 4 kids myself, I finally found time to be with my own mum again. It was like going back to old times. Of course, people have changed and so have the stalls and nearby shops.

Along the way, we met several people. First was a neighbour who had quite a bundle on her hands. She was on her way home with some New Year goodies. Next was an old acquaintance that mum had not seen for a long time. She is also in her 70s but looking just great. We exchanged some updates and proceeded to walk around. We met some more people whom mum just said hello and we moved on. As it was already late morning, most of the stalls at the market were already closed.

As we strolled along, we 'discovered' some new stalls and shops. Mum was glad to have found her favourite fish-ball seller at one of the coffee shops. For some of the shop outlets, we also found that the owners have changed hands. In Singapore, shop-keepers are finding it hard to compete with the bigger players with many malls springing up.

As noon time drew near, we settled for a stall at the market that sells Teochew porridge with ready cooked food. We ordered 2 bowls of porridge, a plate of cabbage, sardine and some pig trotters. It really was like going back to old times. I do miss the morning breakfast that dad prepared for us.

Mama, we should do this more often. When I grow old, hope my children will still go to market with me!


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Delights and Woes of the Week 0706

It has been an eventful week. I am delighted that I:
  • accompanied mum to Chinatown on Monday. She finally got her pair of shoes.
  • was able to share another recipe with friends who read my blog.
  • was elected Treasurer for the CPT Alumni. Looking forward for more events coming up.
  • shared art aspect on elements of design with Class 1/4 at Pasir Ris Secondary School on Friday morning.
  • had a body massage at Subtle Senses at Singapore Mosque Street while Yulin (my eldest girl) had her facial done.
  • learned about another art aspect on Saturday morning - photojournalism. Sure would like to share this with more children.
  • hosted Reiki session at my place on Saturday afternoon. 4 of us took turns to 'roast' each other.
  • had lunch with my mother-in-law this afternoon. Have not seen her for quite a while. Also did some Reiki for her leg pains.
Well, for the woes, I have yet to:
  • convert my blog using Wordpress
  • complete my filing of bills and documents
  • do more spring cleaning to get ready for the Lunar New Year
Must really set a time frame to finish above tasks.

Parents, hope you done your spring cleaning and are ready for this coming festival.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Getting Good Results

Today is the release of GCE 'O' level results in Singapore. My youngest girl, Yusin, scored an 'A1' for her Express Chinese. My other 3 elder children had also done well in their 2nd language previously.

Both my husband and I are really proud of them. As parents, we have always avoid stressing our kids. Instead, to strike a balance between study and play, we encourage them to take up a sports or join a uniform group.

At home, I let them study at their own pace. When they are in doubt, they do check with me. For questions that need further probing, either their siblings help out or they will check with their friends.


During exam time, I have never taken leave to 'supervise' them. To me, this way is better as I think they are already stressed up one way or another.

This is indeed a pre-Chinese New Year gift for the 2 of us.



Thursday, February 08, 2007

Serving National Service



In Singapore, it is compulsory for all guys reaching age 18 to serve National Service.

So, on 8 April 2005, my only son was enlisted. My husband and I were invited to Pulau Tekong where he and the rest of the company underwent BMT (Basic Military Training). We were given an orientation tour around the premises and also got to taste the food they were to be served.

After 3 months, we were again invited for the passing out parade. It definitely was a MUST Go. Knowing I had a heavy schedule, I remembered my son telling me it's ok if I cannot make it. I told him he is my only son and I will not get another chance if I miss it. So I took half-day leave against the displeasure of my supervisor.

And today, he is finally 'out' after almost 2 years. All I can say is he seems darker and fitter than before. My husband sums it all: "Son, you are now a man!"

Was I worried during the 2 years. Of course. But as his parents, we are proud that our son has done his part for Singapore.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Questions Children Ask About Everyday Life

Hi Parents

You will agree with me that children learn by asking questions. Well, below is a collection on what they ask about everyday life:

I wonder:

  • Why I should say “Thank You”?
  • Who belongs to a family?
  • Why are there different kinds of families?
  • What is an adopted child and how do you get one?
  • Why do we need money?
  • Why do some mothers go to work and some don’t?
  • What is a neighbour?
  • How does a letter get to the right place?
  • Why do I have to go to school?
  • Who builds and pays for the school?
  • Where do teachers come from?
  • Why do we need policeman and who pays them?
  • Why are traffic lights green, red and amber?
  • How does a fireman know which house is on fire?
  • Why do we need laws and who makes them?
  • What is the government and do they do?
  • What is a citizen?
  • How does a mayor get elected in Singapore?
  • Who can be President?
  • Why do people speak different languages?
  • Do children in all countries play the same game?
  • Do different countries have different holidays?
  • How can I get to know children in other countries?
  • Why must we stay away from strangers?

It’s quite a handful of questions, isn’t it? Well, you do not have to question all at once. Just pick one a day and make it an open session for the whole family to be involved. Everyone is free to air his/her views and share what they know. This way, every family member gets to participate.

Won’t this be a great to interact with each other . . .

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce/Dried Shrimps


Brinjal or commonly known as eggplant is a vegetable well-liked by all races in Singapore. The usual cooking practices include baking, barbecuing, frying or pickling the fruits. They can also be pureed, flavoured or used as a dip or chutney as is popular in Mediterranean and Indian cuisines. In Indian cuisine, they are used in curries and even made into soufflés. The cut vegetable is soaked in cold salted water before being cooked to avoid discoloration and to remove its mild bitterness.

Parents, below are 2 recipes that you can try out.

Eggplant with spicy garlic sauce

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm Asian eggplants
  • Corn flour for dry-coating
  • 200 gm chopped shrimps
  • 50 gm Sichuan pickle, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
  • 1 fresh chilli, thinly sliced
  • Oil for deep-frying
Seasonings:
  • 1 tbsp chopped spring onions
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp fresh Thai bsil or cilantro
  • 2 tsps corn flour

Sauce:

  • ½ cup or 125 ml soup stock
  • 2 tbsps vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp wine
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 2 tsps corn flour
  • 2 tsps sesame oil

Method (serves 4 – 6 persons):

  1. Cut eggplant diagonally into 1 cm slices. Cut each slice in half lengthwise, but do not cut all the way through.
  2. Dry coat eggplant with corn flour and let stand for 15 minutes
  3. Combine seasoning ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  4. Combine sauce ingredients in another bowl and set aside
  5. Process shrimp, pickle, egg and seasonings in a food processor to a smooth paste
  6. Stuff eggplant with 1 heaping tsp of shrimp filling
  7. Dust again with corn flour to seal filling
  8. Heat cooking oil in a wok over medium-high heat
  9. Deep-fry eggplant, a few pieces at a time until golden brown (about 1 minute)
  10. Remove, drain on paper towel and transfer to a serving platter
  11. Remove all but 2 tbsps oil from wok and heat over medium-heat
  12. Add garlic, ginger, spring onion and chilli
  13. Stir-fry for 10 seconds
  14. Add sauce and bring to a boil
  15. Reduce heat to medium-low
  16. Add eggplant and cook for 2 minutes

Eggplant with dried shrimps

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 50 gm dried shrimps
  • 4 gloves of garlic
  • Oil for frying
  • Sambal chilli (optional)

Method (serves 4 – 6 persons):

  1. Soak dried shrimps with enough water to immerse them for 30 minutes
  2. Cut eggplant into 5 cm length-wise strips and soak in salt water for 2 minutes
  3. Drain the eggplant and set aside
  4. De-skin the garlics
  5. Drain the shrimps and pound with the garlic until fine texture (keep the shrimp water)
  6. Heat 2 tbsps cooking oil in a wok over medium-high heat
  7. Stir-fry eggplant until colour changes, dish out and set aside
  8. With remaining oil, add in the shrimp cum garlic paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes
  9. For spicy version, add in sambal chilli (if not, just omit this step)
  10. Add in the eggplant, followed by shrimp water and mix well
  11. Add another ½ cup of water and simmer for another 3 minutes
  12. Add soy sauce to taste before dishing out

Goodness of eggplant

Eggplant is high in nutrition, low in calories and also used in traditional medicine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, all parts of the plant can be used to stop intestinal bleeding. The fruit of the plant is used as an antidote in cases of mushroom poisoning. In Indochina, parts of the plant are used as a purgative. For Traditional Malay Medicine, the ashes of the fruit are used in dry, hot poultices to treat hemorrhoids. To treat ulcers, the root is pounded and applied inside the nostrils. The Amboinese take the juice of the root from a wild variety of the plant to ease a difficult labour. Arabs have a superstition that the fruit has high "heating" properties which causes melancholia and madness. For this reason, Malay and Indian women do not consume eggplant for the first 40 days after giving birth.