Tag Archives: cooking

A New Hobby

29 Nov

M1 recently gifted me a new hobby kit – a complete felting kit. I talked about wanting to try felting but never followed through because I was obsessed with crafting DIY miniatures. She must have remembered and bought the kit for me to try. Of course, I was thrilled when I received it.

The latest activity to try

But I was also afraid to even start on it. What if I don’t like this new hobby? What if I do like it? Then, how do I plan my schedule? As it is, I have so many things to do to keep me busy.

There’s the crafting of DIY miniatures. Currently, I am at the tail-end of DIY project number 22. And there’s carving on balsa and meranti wood to make my Citizens of Gigglesville and gnomes of all shapes and sizes.

Let’s not even delve into painting, which I have my easel and several canvases sitting there collecting dust. Throw in the cooking, cleaning, golf, and occasionally, some design work – there’s hardly any time left. And now, with a new hobby venture, how do I divide my time? Tough.

Returning to DIY Project #17, Part 3

25 Oct

DIY project number 17 is finally a wrap! Dang, this project is by far the longest one that I have taken. There were so many hiccups along the way in so many forms. Time management and the appeal of the tasks in hand were the two main reasons that stalled the progress, as in housework, cooking, golf, clay work, and mini plants to make.

The original version
My version with the Little Guy enjoying the setup

Along the way, I did not like what I had to do, so I changed the layout, color scheme, and pieces to put the whole set together. In the end, I must say I like what I have done, so this made up for the duration I took.

Well, now that it is a wrap, I can finally move on to the next project!

DIY project #17

A New Gardening Project

13 Aug

The lockdown this time is endless! So much so, we have decided to do sustainable things, like recycling used items and growing our food. Besides having hobbies to keep busy, we have embarked on a new gardening project to complement our baking and cooking endeavors.

The pandan leaves, chili, and curry leaves are not sufficient to make a meal, for they only complement the flavors. Only the bean sprouts can make a meal or two. The new papaya tree has just started fruiting, while the pineapple patch still has a long way to go. So we decided to grow some vegetables that can make a meal.

Recent harvest of chili and papaya

The planter boxes, seeds, and garden soil were purchased, and we started a mini nursery to get started. A few days later, the okra sprouted. How exciting! Eight out of the nine seeds made it. The next thing we have to do is ensure enough nutrients and sunlight, and proper care to deter the snails from coming at them. So far, it is rather rewarding to see some results.

The latest gardening project

The other seedlings are taking slower to sprout. We will have to monitor to ensure success with them. And when that happens, the sense of reward will be even greater. I can’t wait!

Groundhog Day

9 Jul

Lately, the will to do things is not quite there. I feel as if we are experiencing Groundhog Day. Sometimes even with a busy routine, there is a sense of repetition getting to the mind. Mental fatigue?

Day in, day out, we wake up, eat breakfast and go about the daily routine. Then before we know it, it’s lunchtime. Then we eat again and go about the daily routine again. Then it’s dinnertime. The next day, same old, same old. My goodness.

It has become predictable, repetitive, and so taxing on the mind. Sometimes I wake up unsure what day it is. Is it the weekend already or still a weekday? Then again, does it make any difference?

The worst part, we are under EMCO after the MCO was revised to this status and did not end on 7 June as initially planned. And with Covid cases on the uptrend even more dangerous now than ever, Groundhog Day will go on and on. Sigh.

DIY Project #15

6 Jul

Soon after completing the Gnome Trio, I started on the next miniature, DIY project number 15. Initially, it started at a good pace, but I got distracted again. I was having fun with the Gnome Trio, placing them at all possible sites in the house. I wanted to have their visual presence felt.

DIY project #15

But they dwarfed in comparison to the walls of the house. What I thought was big of the carved piece turned out minuscule! So I was determined to ensure the gnomes are more visual. Hence, I deviated from DIY #15 and started on a new set of gnome carvings that are double the original in size.

New gnomes are 8” tall, twice the height of the Trio

Three separate pieces this time, I have been working on them simultaneously. During the day, I would be at the garden terrace carving, hammering, and shaping the gnomes. And during the evenings, I am inside the house working, albeit slowly, on DIY project number 15.

And with the EMCO still ongoing, I think this routine is good to keep busy. And yes, I do cook to feed the family too.

The Gnome Trio has overshadowed DIY project #15

A Failed Lockdown

5 Jul

The announcement of a two-week enhanced lockdown (EMCO) took us by surprise last Thursday. From Saturday onwards, the place where we live, various districts in the state plus a few localities in Kuala Lumpur, was placed under this category. Dear, oh dear.

What this means, in my opinion, is that the previous Full Lockdown (FMCO) was a failed one. Locked down for so long, yet cases spiked up daily at an alarming rate. How are we going to survive these two weeks of even tighter restriction?

To combat this round, I have purchased several more DIY miniatures to keep busy. What else can I do to stay sane? Cooking, cleaning, and gardening do not count.

Doing Something, Part 2

25 May

Our doing something during this lockdown is the daily baking and cooking; throw in the daily efforts on the DIY project and chipping in the garden is not sufficient to pass the time. And we don’t sweat enough but end up eating more instead because of all the food efforts.

We decided to work on the garden again, focusing on the area at the side of the house. The plan is to convert a tiny plot to become a vegetable patch.

But before we could sit down to work out the idea, we jumped ahead and made another area into a pineapple patch!

Our pineapple patch!

Hubby relocated all the pineapples to one plot instead of being in pots and scattered around the garden. I think they look good being there. Furthermore, the plot is easier to protect from the squirrels. Remember that one time, the rascal of the squirrel ate our pineapple right in front of our eyes?

We look forward to the day the pineapples are ready to be harvested for our consumption.

Doing Nothing

10 May

I feel this round of MCO is taking its toll on us. It is only Day Five, and we are restless. Although hubby did bake, and I did work on my DIY project, it is not enough. At times, we feel as if we are doing nothing.

Thank goodness for my Apple Watch and the Activity monthly challenge. Without this, I would have been an assured couch potato. The Activity challenge keeps me on my toes to exercise and stay fit.

The days better hurry to go by quickly, for we can’t wait to go back to interacting with people, playing golf, and having more productive days.

Here We Go Again, Part 2

7 May

As anticipated, MCO 3.0 was enforced for six districts in the state, starting from 6 May until 17 May. Here we go again, homebound but two days shy of the usual two weeks.

A day before the official start, I didn’t go to the office and was bored to tears. Time went by so slowly. Oh dear, will I be able to handle this round of staying at home? We will find out.

The next day, I kept busy with house chores. And when there was a window of opportunity, I got down to working on DIY project number 13 or 12A. I must say there was good progress and I’m pleased. Hubby also got down to baking. If we keep these activities up to pass our time, we should be okay.

Piecing everything together!
A quarter was gone before the cake even left the cutting board!

He Bakes, She Bakes

29 Mar

The past year during our various MCO (Movement Control Order) to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, hubby learned to bake while I cooked. Initially, I baked using ingredients from ready cake-mix boxes, but baking did not interest me. So I stopped and, instead, focused on cooking to expand the menu for our meals.

But hubby enjoyed this activity and baked stuff from scratch. Admirable considering the kitchen was never his place to be, more in the garden. And we had a variety of baked goods. From scones, cakes, and all sorts of bread, I have never eaten so much of these things daily prior.

Hubby’s lovely herb bread…
…and perfectly shaped cranberry scones

Once in a blue moon, I itch to bake, and I only do one thing – apple pies. And mind you, I do just the filling; hubby prepares the dough. I don’t know why I find this fun. But my approach to this is more by feel than by measured steps. Nothing is ever accurate because I always read the instructions halfway, never pass what is needed. So the amount required is sometimes missed out!

And you can imagine what comes out when I bake! When hubby bakes, the result is predictable and almost to perfection. Occasionally, a slight burn on the scone surfaces or the bread did not rise. But we know what to expect. When I bake, well, you don’t know what to expect. Thank goodness, I don’t bake so often, if not at all!

My recent attempt was the perfect example. I was craving apple pies, but hubby was not too keen. So he suggested I use ready-made puff pastry skin. Knowing I will mess up the dough part of the pie, I agreed.

The apple pie recipe that I scribbled on a paper was missing from the kitchen counter! Oh dear, so I had to google it up again. When I found something similar to what I had in mind, I just read half of it and jumped right in. Very brave because I used only the ingredients that we have, skipping those that we don’t. The only thing I measured was the amount of sugar. The rest was just thrown in by looks and feel.

And I had to improvise because, with puff pastry, I was making puffs now instead of apple pies. Hubby was appalled at the situation because nothing was standardized! Besides the pie-looking puffs, there was also a real puff, a dim sum, a wrap, and a blob. It was spectacular!

My spectacular apple puffs of all shapes!

He could not understand why I can craft laboriously on DIY miniature houses and cafes with their minuscule detailed accessories, but not the apple pies, or in this case, apple puffs. Hmm, unexplainable.

Horrid as they look, they turned out good, I must say. The filling was just right in taste, while the puff pastry was perfectly flaky and buttery. Will I bake again? Well, there’s another pack of the puff pastry in the freezer, and I just might. Whether the taste will be the same or what they will look like remains, we will only know when that day comes.