Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Oven Baked Rösti Cake


1. 10 medium-sized potatoes (skin removed and grated)
2. Sunflower oil
3. Sea-salt
4. Big onions (cut into small chunks) (optional)
5. 2 large eggs (beaten)
6. 1/2 cup of white rice flour


1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the grated potatoes, sea-salt, beaten eggs, rice flour and sunflower oil.

2. Mix all ingredients well.

3. Preheat oven at 220C.

4. Line a round baking tray with baking paper.

5. Pour the mixture into the baking tray. Even out the mixture.

6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked and crispy on the top.

7. Allow to cool before slicing and serving.

Bon appétit!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Glorious Heavens - Part 22

'Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.' - Rabindranath Tagore

Monday, 24 November 2014

Shrimp-ing Away!

Underwater yoga!

Mr. Orange!
Little Junior

He ain't heavy, he's my brother!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The ABCs - H is For Health


What is health? How can health be defined?

There are some people who do not fall sick in 10 years over but yet exudes the rottenness of attitude and character.

There are some who are the angels on earth but are the sickliest in their bodies.

So how do we define health?

According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. (taken from here)

There was an incident sometime back at the organic shop which I buy my organic stuff from. The fresh vegetables had arrived from the farm and soon the women (customers) swarmed upon them like bees to flowers. I was selecting my favourite vegetables and was almost done before this no-manners lady used her body to sideline me and proceeded to pick the vegetables as if nothing had happened. One of their sales person saw what happened and came and wanted to help me to continue selecting my vegetables. As I was almost done, I told her thanks but I was done. Then in my VERY LOUD voice, I said this, 'What's the purpose of eating organic and being so health conscious when some PEOPLE don't even have the basic foundation of character called MANNERS? Some people can't even wait patiently for their turn!' Of course Miss No-Manners dared not look at me as I was staring daggers at her non-stop. I think she could feel the daggers exuding from me. Miss No-Manners was no-manners at all as she continued what she did and shoved other ladies too. I just stood there and stared at her throughout her whole veggy selection. One could see that she did not hesitate to jump queue and shove people aside to take what she wanted. So how healthy is she in eating 'healthy' organic food? Her soul was definitely not healthy. She did not portray a healthy individual where manners and etiquette were concerned. And when she went to pay for her goods, she tried to jump queue. She behaved as though this was her everyday normal behaviour. She didn't even bat an eyelid. How un-healthy...

Are YOU healthy?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Did You Know....

... That baking powder and baking soda are not the same?

Yes, they are both leavening agents. They are both added to baking goods BEFORE cooking to produce carbon dioxide for the goods to rise. But they play their roles in two different ways.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. When using baking soda in baking, it is combined with moisture and an acidic ingredient (buttermilk or honey) to create a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide for the baking goods to rise. Another reason to combine baking soda with an acidic ingredient is because of its alkalinity, it will produce a metallic taste when the chemical change happens. Baking soda also needs to be used at that very moment. It is not to be added and placed aside for awhile before baking as the good will fall flat!

Baking Powder

Baking powder has 3 ingredients. It has sodium bicarbonate, cream or tartar (an acidifying agent) and a drying agent (starch).

There are two types of baking powder. The single-acting (fast acting) and the double-acting (slow acting) baking powder. The single-acting baking powder is activated by moisture/room temperature. The baking good which requires this single-acting baking powder must be cooked immediately after mixing. The double-acting agent reacts in two phases. When the baking powder is added to the baking good, some gas is released at room temperature but the remaining of the gas is only released when in the hot oven while baking.


You cannot substitute baking powder with baking soda when the recipe requires baking powder. However, you can make your own baking powder by mixing one part of baking soda and two parts of cream of tartar.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

The Perfect Baked Not Deep Fried French Fries

I got this recipe from Gordon Ramsay's recipe book. I did not follow it 100%. He par-boiled the potatoes until they were just tender. My potatoes were still hard. But they tasted just like FRIES! *DROOL!*


1. 10 large potatoes (washed, peeled and cut into thick french fries shapes)
2. Sea-salt
3. Black pepper (optional)
4. Sunflower oil


1. Fill up a large pot and boil the water.

2. Once it is boiling, add the cut potatoes and boil for about 5 minutes.

3. Drain and pat dry the potatoes.

4. Preheat oven at 250C.

5. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

6. Lay a single layer of potatoes.

7. Drizzle some oil and sea-salt over the potatoes.

8. Mix the seasonings thoroughly with the potatoes.

9. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Turn them a few times while baking.

10. Allow to cool before serving.

Bon appétit!

I re-baked it again and it was crispier. I had forgotten to take that picture as I was just too hungry!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Orthorexia Nervosa

We all want to be healthy. Especially those of us who have multiple health problems which stem from food.

In pursuit of Health, there is a thin line which we can inadvertently cross over to the Dark Side (NOT Star Wars, mind you!).

It's called orthorexia nervosa.

The word 'ortho' in Greek means correct or right and 'orexis' mean appetite. It literally means 'correct appetite'.

The definition of orthorexia nervosa is an unhealthy fixation on righteous eating. These people are so especially concerned with the quality of food which they put into their body that they become obsessed to the point that they fixate on the 'pure-ness' of the food which they consume. And they are constantly checking on the quality of the food that they eat to the point they are afraid of consuming something 'un-pure'. And when they fall off the wagon, it's the end of the world.

Of course at the same time, those of us who have multiple food allergies and sensitivities have to be absolutely careful with our food.

But in our pursuit to becoming better and healthier, do we become obsessed to the point it eats us up from the inside until it consumes every fibre in our body and every thought in our mind?

I'm currently on a search for the diet that could help my medical conditions. This year alone I've been diagnosed with esophagitis grade one, reflux which has deteriorated and IBS! And all involve the gut/digestion. I've also read and come across (and of late bumping into people who believe the gut is the root of our immune system and all) articles about how healing all begin in the gut.

At the moment I'm on medication for the intestines. The new reflux medication that was given to me caused an allergic reaction. The doctors tend to dole out medications as though they are sweets and that they are the only option for us who are unwell. My reflux medication dose was doubled! So if this too does not work, will it keep increasing to the point I have to take a handful of pills to control it or surgery will soon be on the checklist?! I do not want a life like this! I was also prescribed anti-anxiety medication to help me relax so that the IBS symptoms stay under control...... (NO, I did not eat them!)

I've been reading and researching on how to go about this. The information that exists is mind boggling. We have the Atkins, Paleo, Vegan, Raw Food, Kosher, Gluten-Free, Alkaline, Feingold, Blood-Type, Macrobiotic, and etc. What to do? Which to choose from? How to go about it????

I will eat as I have been doing and go about it very cautiously and slowly and with of course, common sense and wisdom and tons of researching, bearing in mind that what works for others might not work for me. Vice versa. But there are some universal truths.

Like I said, it's a very fine and thin line.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The ABCs - G is For Gelling Agents

Gelling agents go hand in hand with stabilizers and thickeners.

Gelling Agents

Gelling agents give shape and structure to food. They are used in jams, jellies, fruit pie fillings, desserts,  and vegetarian foods.

Thickening Agents

Thickening agents are exactly what it is. They thicken food. Milk shakes and low-sugar products are some products that use thickening agents.


Stabilisers maintain the physical structure of the food and also texture property of the food. They are used in ice-creams, sauces, dressings and yoghurt.

The Sources of Gelling Agents, Stabilisers & Thickeners

1. Seeds

The outer layer of the seeds are removed and the endosperm is grounded into a powder which then is used to thicken, stabilise or as a gelling agent.

Examples would be guar gum (E412), locust bean gum - seeds from the Carob tree (E410) and tara gum (E417).

2. Plant Exudates

Some plants excrete sticky liquids which can be then harvested and used.

Examples would be gum arabic (E414), karaya gum (E416) and tragacanth gum (E413).

3. Citrus fruits and apples

Pectin (E440) is obtained and drawn out from the fruits in liquid form and then filtered and jellied from the solution.

4. Plant Materials

Cellulose (E460) is obtained from plant cells.

5. Seaweed

Farmed commercially, seaweeds are used to thicken, gel and stabilise foods.

Examples would be agar (E406), alginates (E400 - E404) and carrageenan (E407).

6. Maize and Potato

The starch (E1404 - E1451) from maize and potato is obtained and processed.

7. Gelatin

Gelatin (E441) is derived from the collagen of domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs and fish.

Homemade Use of Natural Thickening Agents

1. Flours (Wheat, Maize, Rice)

Used to thicken gravies, gumbos and stew.

2. Roux (Mixture of flour and fat which is cooked into a paste)

Used to thicken gravies, sauces and stew.

3. Cereals (Oatmeals, Couscous, Farina)

Used to thicken soups.

4. Tomato puree

Used to thicken soups.

5. Egg yolks

Used in professional cooking.

6. Yoghurt

Used in Eastern Europe and Middle East to thicken soups.

Gelling, Thickener & Stabiliser Agents Trivia

1. Food thickening are important for people with medical issues who have problem swallowing or chewing as it reduces the chances of choking and inhalation of food particles which can lead to aspiration pneumonia.

2. Fumed silica is accepted as a safe food additive which is used frequently in cosmetics. It is also used in toothpastes.

3. Petroleum jelly functions as a thickening agent in emulsions.

4. Fruits such as strawberries, raspberries and cherries need a small amount of pectin to form jam.

5. The use of thickeners in the paint and printing industry is depended upon heavily.

6. Gelling agents are used when there are oil spills in the seas. The gelling agents will react with the oil and form rubber-like solids. The spilled oil then can be removed by suction, skimming and etc.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Little Red Engine at Dead End's Pavement

Everywhere Little Red Engine went, it became agitated and extremely irritated. Other engines would be guzzling down petrol from various outlets. Some drank premium oil. Others drank very-ordinary-oil. While there were some who drank the middle-range oil. The thing is, everyone drank oil from wherever they were. But Little Red couldn't. It had to drink its very own 'home-made-premium-oil'! And that sucked. BIG TIME. Everywhere that Little Red went, it had to lug its huge jerry can. And I mean literally everywhere. It was becoming a huge burden and a-pain-in-the-ass.

There was once where it tried to drink a little of the 'not-home-made-oil' and Little Red felt ecstatic for the very first time in a very long time as its engine didn't sputter and die. And so it drank a little more and a little more AND a little more.

It started doing a jiggly jiggle but not before long, its engine started coughing, sputtered and died! It had to be resuscitated and it almost lost its engine.

'How could this have happened??!!!' screamed Little Red to the heavens. 'Five years and a half is just way too long!' it shook its bumper in disgust towards the skies.

It wasn't long after that Little Red started going downhill. It was always leaking its engine oil. No matter how many times it was sent to the workshop, no matter how long it stayed at the workshop, no matter what they did to plug the oil leak, it still leaked. At times it leaked at an alarming rate that Little Red was afraid that it would just die at the side of the busy highways and expressways. There were times that Little Red went into dizzy spells while trying to get home in one piece as it just suddenly started leaking for no apparent reason. There were times Little Red had to just stop at the emergency lanes to gather up its strength to continue its way home.

There were many times Little Red felt as though it was going to just veer into the Abyss of Insanity. The panic attacks were crippling. But Little Red trudged on.

And then it happened.

It had to be sent to the special workshop as the mechanics felt that it was flooring its accelerator too hard. Little Red had to 're-learn' how to drive.

WHAT???!!! Re-learn how to drive? It had been driving for almost 20 years now.

'How can this be?' Little Red shrieked incredulously. 'There must be some mistake!' it continued.

No was the answer. In order for Little Red to stop leaking once and for all, it had to relearn many things where driving was concerned. It was back to basics. Little Red had to take a hiatus from life and learn the basics all over again.

At first it was stubborn in accepting the fact that it was unable to drive in a proper manner. It felt victimized. It felt that it was on par with 'professional drivers'. Unfortunately it wasn't so.

The mechanics wanted to pop all sorts of pills into Little Red's engine. The green pill for this. A blue pill for that. A pink pill for everything else. There was no way Little Red was going to be drowned in a a sea of pills.

Thus Little Red snatched its engine back and marched into the Workshop of Life and Health where it will re-learn the basics of driving without gagging on the rainbow of pills.

So when Little Red was in the Workshop of Life and Health, it realised that it has been 'flooring the accelerator' one too many times. It was truly a blessing that a disaster did not happen all this while. It also knew that it had to change its perspective of things and how to take car(e) of itself in a wholesome way.

There were things Little Red could never change, burdens that it could not carry, perspectives where driving was concerned that needed to be set right.

Little Red knew it will be better than ever when it leaves the Workshop of Life and Health in due time (how long it will be there, no one knows as that will be up to the Master Mechanic).

Truly Little Red found a new beginning at Dead End's Pavement.

(At this moment, Little Red is envisioning drinking a huge jerry can of 'premium-grade' oil from a joint somewhere in the midst of a busy street!)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins


1. 2 cups of white rice flour
2. 1/2 cup of sweet rice flour
3. 250gm of butter (softened at room temperature)
4. 4 eggs
5. 1 teaspoon of vanilla
6. 1 cup of apple sauce (Click on LINK for recipe on how to make home-made apple sauce)
7. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
8. 1 teaspoon of baking powder
9. 1 cup of blueberries
10. 1 cup of milk (I used rice/quinoa milk)


1. Cream the butter.

2. Add one egg at a time and continue stirring the batter.

3. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the applesauce and milk while continue stirring.

4. Lastly add the blueberries.

5. Preheat oven at 170C.

6. Line muffin baking trays with muffin paper casings and scoop the batter into them.

7. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

8. Allow to cool slightly before eating. You can freeze the extras.

Bon appétit!

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Life with IBS, Esophagitis & Reflux

IT returned. The forever-ill-feeling, the feverish feeling, the cold sweat, the nausea, never-ending-diarrhoea, bloated-ness, the excruciating-bone-crushing-pain and severe insomnia/cannot-sleep-through-the-night. I was completely off gluten. This cannot be happening. IT was so bad that one day after I had arrived at Joel's school, I couldn't get down from the car or even move. I stayed in the car for one hour fighting IT so that I could drive us home without crashing into something or someone.

Could it be parasites?


A leaky gut?

The pain and pressure in the rectum/anus was too much to bear. I thought I had a fissure, fistula or even an abscess. But I wasn't bleeding!

Dear god! What is wrong with me?

IBS. The gastroenterologist said it was IBS. Not parasites. Not gluten. Not even cancer (I didn't think it was).

He gave me a new and stronger reflux medication (as reflux has been misbehaving too). Also medication for the IBS to calm my very 'stormy' intestines. And he said that I have severe anxiety and stress that is triggering the IBS. Thus, he gave me an 'anti-anxiety' medication which will knock me out at night to help me to sleep and to calm my frazzled nerves.


Wait a minute. I have never in my life taken these anti-anxiety medications and I don't ever intend to. If I have any anxiety or stress, I will deal with it WITHOUT medications. I was so very depressed for a year after the anaphylaxis and I didn't even take anything to get out of it.

I reacted to the new reflux medication. I developed a migraine, itchy palms and itchy-everywhere. My right eye swelled up a bit.

The gastroenterologist said IBS is for life. There is no cure. And when stress and anxiety attacks, it exaberates IBS. And it is a vicious cycle. And majority of the people who suffer from IBS have anti-anxiety meds to help them get through.

I was feeling very down but I did not need meds to calm my 'stressed' nerves.

Life is amazing. You will meet the right people at the right time.

And so yesterday we went to an education fair and we met a man (whom I will call E) who was healed completely of his high blood pressure and was cured of an ailment which required an emergency surgery. How? He shared that he changed his life with the help of a man named Mark Skipper known as 'Skip'. Skip was a gymnast who broke his spine, was paralysed and doctors said he was never to walk ever again in his life. He defied all odds. His spine healed and he went on to win a second gold medal.

You must read Skip's testimony. Click HERE to read about it.

E shared with me a few of the tips he had learned and applied in his life. He was overweight too at one point. He lost the weight, changed his lifestyle, mindset and diet. He applied some principles which turned his life around. And he is a healthy man today, free of his high blood medication. The doctors told him that there was nothing wrong with him anymore.

It gave me hope. If a man with a broken spine, who was paralysed, healed his spine, could walk again and do crazy gymnast moves, what is a screwed up immune system like mine? If a man who had high blood pressure at the age of 25 and was on medication for many years and had to have a surgery to remove a part of his organ could be healed, what is a screwed up health like mine?

It can be done.

I have come very far since 5 1/2 years ago. I am not going to lose the life which I had built these few years to some 'cannot-be-cure-sickness' diagnosis.

Screw the 'anti-anxiety' medication. Screw the 'It cannot happen!'

It will happen. It has happened. And greater things will happen.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Halloween 2014 - Garlic & Pumpkin Fried Rice

This year the pumpkin plants in the garden just did not have a female flower. All males. Thus, I had to buy a pumpkin for this year's Halloween meal for the little young man.

To check on how to bake the pumpkin, click on LINK.

This year we used some uncooked popcorn for the pumpkin's eyes, nose and mouth. We also used two wooden chopsticks as horns!



1. 3 cups of cooked rice
2. 1/2 clove of garlic (sliced thinly)
3. 4 tablespoons of cooked pumpkin
4. Sunflower oil
5. Sea-salt


1. Heat wok or frying pan.

2. Once it is heated up, drizzle some sunflower oil.

3. Once the sunflower oil is heated up, add the garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant.

4. Add the pumpkin and stir-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Add the rice and sprinkle some sea-salt.

6. Mix everything together and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.

7. Scoop the rice into the pumpkin. Cover the pumpkin with the pumpkin lid.

Bon appétit!