Happy meal #28: Ginger fried rice

I’ve never been a fan of fried rice. I know, the horror! It’s just that my impression of fried rice has always been not entirely positive; I am not enamoured of the oiliness, the frozen vegetables used, the dryness. Urghs.

Husband, on the other hand, is all YAY FRIED RICE! He LOVES the stuff. Whenever we go to a zi char stall or a Chinese restaurant, I’m the one ordering hor fun and he’s the one having a plate of fried rice. We’re pretty predictable people. I love noodles, he loves rice.

When I saw this recipe by Mark Bittman, it intrigued me. For starters, it’s really simple and contains none of those frozen veggie crap. Plus, there’s ginger, which is one of my favourite ingredients to cook with. I have a thing for ginger, which husband does not understand.

Anyway, I tried this a few times and I think I’ve got it mastered. Husband gave it the thumbs up and it’s crazy easy to make on a weekday after work. I made some changes to the recipe – the abundant use of sesame oil, replacing leek with onion, added Chinese cooking wine etc.

Can I just say how much I ♥ Chinese cooking wine? The taste and fragrance is amazing. I have been searching for Shaoxing wine high and low in the supermarkets but always come up short so I turned to this as an alternative. It still galls me to see Nigella using Shaoxing wine ALL THE WAY IN ENGLAND and I can’t find it here. What the.

Ginger Fried Rice (adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe)
Serves two

What you need:

  • 2 cups day-old rice, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Chines cooking wine
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil into a wok over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic, and fry till everything turns brown and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove from the wok and stash it onto a plate with paper towel.

Toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil into the wok. Add the diced onion and Chinese cooking wine, fry until fragrant. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add rice, cooking till the onion and rice is evenly mixed and the rice is warmed throughout. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Divide rice onto two plates.

Pour the remaining olive oil into a pan and fry up two eggs, sunny-side-up. Try to keep the yolk runny. Put it over the rice.

Drizzle the remaining sesame oil and soy sauce over the two portions and then sprinkle the ginger/garlic mix that you had fried up earlier over everything.

Health Goddess

Laparoscopy, dissected

It’s more a week since my laparoscopic surgery and man, I am still not 100% yet. I honestly didn’t think that the recovery time would take so long and I’m so glad that I have a long break from work.

Following the trend of my journaling of the surgeries that I have been through (this one comes to mind immediately, as well as the traumatic LASIK one), I’m going to go to gory details and tell all about this.

Also, this would act as future emotional blackmail for our future kids. You know, all that look what I did for you spiel our parents enjoy dishing out on us. I used to hate it when my mom tells me I am an ungrateful little thing but hey, I am beginning to see its usefulness. Whadya know.
Continue reading “Laparoscopy, dissected”

Little Miss Shopaholic, Photography, The organised chaos

Valentino, and of turning 30

Note: Before I go on with the next post, I just want to thank all those who emailed/tweeted/texted me their support and encouragement, as well as those who hearted and commented on the previous post. Reading those wonderful messages showed me that I have much to thank for. To those whom I confided in, thanks for hearing me out all these times and for giving me the much-needed fuel to continue on this road.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

When I was 19, I was convinced that being 19 was the best year of my life. The thought of turning 20 depressed me greatly and I honestly thought that my life was coming to an end. There might have been a tear or two shed.

On my 25th birthday, I revelled in my youth. My life was ahead of me, I had so many dreams and aspirations to work towards. Leaving my 20s behind was something that happened in the distant future.

I blinked and then two weeks ago, I turned 30. Quietly and without fanfare.

And the world DIDN’T END.

Of course, life is not exactly as I had thought it would be. When I was a kid, I believed that I would have a family with two children and a career that I love by the time I hit the 30s. Well, turns out that the children are not exactly here yet and I have an aversion towards climbing up the corporate ladder.

But that’s not the end of the world, it just means my path has taken a different turn. It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different.

Well, guess what?

30s is the new black, my friends.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

On my 30th birthday, husband cleverly took me to see the Valentino, Retrospective: Past/Present/Future exhibition at Resorts World Sentosa. I had missed out on the Christian Lacroix showcase previously so I was super glad that he had made the effort to take me to see this.

The bad news was, we got there in time for the 7:30pm free guided tour and the exhibition closes at 8pm on weekdays. We didn’t exactly have enough time to wander around the dimly-lit aisles. The staff were kind enough to let us linger for a couple of minutes more but I would have preferred it if I had the leisure to stand and stare in hushed awe at these works of art.

The dresses were breathtakingly gorgeous.

I’ve adored Valentino since Julia Roberts wore his black and white vintage gown to the Oscars back in 2001. To me, it was the epitome of elegance, femininity and simplicity, and it made me realise that this was a designer who understands the female body well and makes clothing that drapes beautifully.

If you love and admire beautiful clothes as much as I do, please don’t miss this showcase. It runs until February 13 – and it’s so worth the trip to Sentosa!

(Methinks I missed out on a career in fashion, no?)


Audrey Hepburn collection, Spring/Summer 1968


Worn by Jennifer Aniston

Love the toga, corsage and red

More photos here.

The organised chaos

Let’s ignore the infertiles

I got so angry reading the papers this morning.

Emblazoned across the front page of our national daily was a story on how fertility rates are at an all-time low and how worried the authorities are. Some of the suggestions on boosting our population include improving childcare welfare, maternity/paternity leave and reducing the opportunity costs for women who leave the workforce to look after their children.

Sounds good on paper but what really galls me is that everyone seems to have forgotten about a group of people: those who want to have children but, for one reason or another, have difficulties conceiving.

I speak from experience: both my husband and I are on the infertility journey. There, I’ve said it. We are battling the challenges of being infertile. I never thought I would ever say these words but that, my friends, is the truth. Since coming off birth control and working seriously towards building a family in late 2009, we have struggled at conceiving.

Right now, as I type, I am recovering from a laparoscopy done to ensure that my womanly plumbing is in order (thankfully, it is). It was done under general anesthesia and boy, did I suffer from the effects of it. I almost blacked out at the hospital and had dry stomach heaves. My stomach hurts from the two incisions and I can’t do little things like bend down and cuddle my cats, or cough, or get out of bed without feeling pain. I stubbornly resist taking my painkillers because I don’t want to ingest yet another medicine.

Over the past year, we’ve both suffered the indignities of being poked and prodded like cows. I’ve taken so much hormone medication that I don’t know if what I feel is from my own reserves or from the side effects of the meds. I’ve had so much blood taken for tests that I feel like a blood bank. I’ve taken hormonal trigger shots that hurt like a bitch. You would think that I would get used to the pain with every jab but it never goes away.

We’ve done five intrauterine inseminations over the past six months with two different doctors. I cried buckets after the second and the third – because my doctor had difficulties reaching into my cervix, she tried dilating me manually and the excruciating pain is like nothing that I have ever felt in my life. I’ve cried with every negative result, cried at the injustice of it all, cried at my in-laws’s desperate need to have grandchildren, cried at all the rejection I received from my first doctor (she said it’s hopeless, try IVF), cried at the kindness of the second (he said it’s okay, you don’t need IVF yet), cried with the births of loved ones’ children.

Pity party for one? Check.

And yet, we still plod on this tedious journey that’s costing us more money than we have. And for what reason other than the fact that we really want a family?

But does my government care? Apparently not. Sitting in their ivory towers, they are of the belief that our population rates are falling because, the selfish citizens that we are, we don’t want children. But they seem to have forgotten that there are those of us who want it but can’t have it.

And what do we get in return for our fervent desire? A maximum of three deductions from our Medisave for ALL assisted conception programmes. That means, if you have withdrawn from your Medisave for three IUIs, you will not be allowed to do so for any subsequent IVF treatments. Also, the government will only co-fund any treatment costs for a maximum of three cycles in public hospitals. If you are seeing a doctor in private practice like we are, tough luck, everything will have to come out of your own pocket.

Neither of us is raking in the big bucks, to be perfectly honest. These treatments cost quite a bit and we’ve had to put off big-ticket purchases indefinitely. That means no long haul holidays for us, no replacement computers and if my washing machine or refrigerator breaks down, well, too bad, we’ll just have to put up with three-day-old clothes and eat dry crackers.

If only they would include this group of us when planning policies, even a little bit of help would go a long way. Not just financially, but spiritually too. Because on this seemingly endless road of infertility, it can get really lonely.

I’ve only shared it with very dear friends and family members because I felt nobody would really understand what we are going through. The emotional distress is heavy on the heart and the physical pain is nothing compared to the emptiness you feel. And the very last thing I need to hear is relax, if you don’t stress it will come naturally. I call bullshit on that one. I don’t need well-meaning useless advice, I don’t need someone to join me in the pity party, I just need to go at it till I get the result that I want. And without financial aid or the recognition that we need help, the going can get tough.

So dear government, if ever someone in the right place is reading this, have some sympathy for us. We have the brains, we have stable jobs, we have a house. We would be the perfect citizens if we could have a child too. And that is something you can help us with. Please don’t shun us, don’t ignore us, don’t pretend that we don’t exist. If you would just offer a helping hand to all those having problems with infertility, you can be certain that your birth rates would definitely be boosted.

Because there’s more of us out there than you would ever believe.


The Queen of the Prairie

Early last week, I said goodbye to the girlfriend – the former Apprentice Housewife – as she embarked on a life as an expat tai tai for a year. She was headed to the corn fields of Kansas City together with her husband, who is on course there.

Because of the girlfriend’s tight schedule, we almost didn’t get to catch up before she flew off. Thankfully though, we managed to squeeze in a girly chat on the day of her 29th birthday. Of course, it’s NOT FAIR that merely two weeks after she celebrates being 29, I turn 30.

I’m happy that she gets to do nothing but plan holidays and watch trashy daytime soap operas for a year. But I gotta say, I’m going to miss my girlfriend so very much. Who’s going to gasp over scandalous text messages with me? And listen to me whine and complain? And make me laugh with her bimbo antics? Who’s going to have Taiwanese porridge for lunch with me now? And hello, my office is now nearer to hers and SHE’S GONE?


I look so old and wrinkly next to her.

This song reminds me of her, not because of the dysfunctional relationship, but because we always have crazy fun together and my life would suck without her.

The organised chaos

Baby, baby, baby, oh

On the evening of January 1, husband and I were chilling out in front of the TV when I received a text from the Sista: Water broke. Going to the hospital now.

Wait…what? We were supposed to have the baby shower the next day! And he’s not due till the 18th!

Oh well.

Baby Rai came into the world 26 minutes after midnight on January 2. He’s a teeny, tiny little thing at just slightly over 2kg but he’s oh so adorable.

Have I mentioned how much in love with him I am?

It’s just amazing how much larger my heart grew with his arrival. All of a sudden, I feel like I need to cuddle and hug him all the time. I want his little frame to fill up. I watch him sleep with such quiet joy. It makes me happy to see him sucking hungrily at his bottle. And when he frowns in his sleep, I think that it’s the cutest thing ever. When he opens his eyes and gives a little squawk, my heart melts. He grabs and holds my finger tightly, and I stare at him in wonderment. He doesn’t cry like most babies do and I feel so proud of him.

And he didn’t even incubate in my womb for nine months.
(I hesitate to say that he is not mine because really, he is absolutely my precious darling.)

Is it impetuous to say that I am in love with him already when he’s merely three days old?

The organised chaos

Office drones

Back in the office for the first day of work and surprisingly, I’ve been feeling less blue than expected.

During the holidays, I was having one of those what am I doing with my life internal debate and crazily enough, I was actually contemplating doing something else. But rationally speaking, I do like what I do (most of the time) and I have a great boss who lets me take off for doctors’ appointments. She’s understanding and it’s hard to find a boss like that.

See, positivity! Now that’s what I am talking about.

I think what I’d like to do for this year is to plan activities during the weekends, instead of lazing around with nothing to do. Go to the museum, watch a play, visit the zoo, check out a new cafe, go on a photography trip, attend a yoga class. There are plenty of activities that nourish the mind and soul.

This week, I shall finally check out Forty Hands. My colleague F has been raving about it since last year and I never took the time to go down to the cafe.

2011 shall be a year I break out of my Cylon mould!

I shot this with the Holga while I was at Universal Studios Singapore and it turned out like this. That’s why I love the Holga so much – it always surprises me (some pleasant, some not so).

The organised chaos

Love letter to 2011

Dear New Year,

I didn’t do a 2010 review because, like one of my favourite songs say, I didn’t want to look back and regret.

Truth be told, the past year was all about chasing a dream and sometimes, I got terribly lost. But throughout it all, I never failed to see that I am also very blessed. If anything, this year has shown me how loved I am. When I needed some encouragement, my dear friend the former Apprentice Housewife (she’s in search of a new identity, any suggestions?) sat down for tea with me and ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the right places when I told her my stories. My sisters took me out to dinner and regaled me with funny tales of the nephews. My love gave me his unconditional love, even at times when I was most unloveable.

Honestly, I know myself well and I know that there have been times when I dwelled on the negativity of it all instead of focusing on the good. I always wonder about a better life when the life that I should lead fully is right here and right now. I think about what should be, what could have been, instead of creating my own joy in the now.

So 2011, even though I have never believed in making resolutions, I am making a steadfast promise: that I will stop living in the make-believe world and start embracing the now. I am also looking forward to turning 30 in just 11 days’ time – before I hit 21, I was a child. My 20s was all about discovering my own identity and believing in myself. And 30s? Well, who knows what these glorious years will bring?

Please be gentle with me, I have high hopes for you. I can’t wait to fall in love with you.


(PS I was all prepared to hate this song but I just…couldn’t. Don’t we all want to believe that there’s something in us and that our lives are not dead ends? Also, I happen to adore fireworks.)