Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thai-style Salmon & Salad

This is a delicious recipe I have adapted from this original one. I have been having so much fun cooking and experimenting! This one is a definite winner.  It serves 2, but is very easy to adapt for more (in fact, the marinade will probably do for up to 4 salmon fillets).

Small bunch coriander, washed
2 cloves garlic, crushed (Always try and keep fresh garlic in the house, it has along shelf life and has an extra something special over the jar kind)
2 green chillies, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon peeled and chopped fresh ginger (the ginger in a jar is OK too, but fresh is always better)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 salmon fillets

100g thin vermicelli noodles
150g snow peas, washed and cut in thin strips
Small handful cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 cup peanut oil

1. In a food processor blend together the coriander leaves and stalks, ginger, garlic, chilli, lime juice and fish sauce and process until smooth.

2. Place the salmon fillets in a shallow dish and pour over the sauce. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes. 

3. Meanwhile, to make the salad place the rice noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 8 minutes or until noodles are ready. Drain and rinse with cold water.  Combine rice noodles, snow peas and cherry tomatoes in a bowl. To make the salad dressing combine the red chilli, lime juice, fish sauce and peanut oil in a glass dish (I just use a small Pyrex measuring jug). Put to one side. Dress the salad immediately before serving. (Both of these items can be make in advance, simply cover and place in the fridge.)

4. Heat a small amount of peanut oil in a frypan over med-high heat and place the salmon, skin side down, scraping off most of the marinade. Cook for around 5 minutes, turn, and cook for a further 5 minutes. You can cook for more or less time depending on your preference. (I like to cover the frypan with a makeshift lid so the salmon cooks in the middle faster as the husband doesn't like rare fish.)

Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I just finished reading this book and it was amazing! It is crazy to think this kind of thing happens, but different cultures have different rules.  This is the start of a change in the way people think.  I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, by Nujood Ali wth Delphine Minoui.

“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”

Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.

Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, where underage marriage laws are being increasingly enforced and other child brides have been granted divorces.

Recently honored alongside Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice as one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, Nujood now tells her full story for the first time. As she guides us from the magical, fragrant streets of the Old City of Sana’a to the cement-block slums and rural villages of this ancient land, her unflinching look at an injustice suffered by all too many girls around the world is at once shocking, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sichuan Beef with Chilli & Capsicum

I made this delicious recipe the other night for dinner and would love to share. It was very easy and because it's a stir fry - quick!

700g beef fillet, thinly sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger [I just used the jar in my fridge]
2 Tbsp peanut oil
4 shallots, ends trimmed, cut into 4cm lengths
1 red capsicum, seeded & thinly sliced
1 yellow capsicum, seeded & thinly sliced
1 fresh long red chilli, thinly sliced diagonally
1 fresh long green chilli, thinly sliced diagonally
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
Steamed rice, to serve
Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve

1. Combine the beef, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce and half the garlic and ginger in a medium bowl. Set aside for 15 minutes to marinate. Drain the beef, reserving any of the marinade.

2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add half the oil and heat until just smoking. Swirl to coat. Stir-fry one third of the beef for 1-2 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a place. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with the remaining beef, reheating the wok between batches. [I just cooked mine in 1 lot, I'm not 100% sure what the difference is with the cooking in batches. I'll try it next time to see]

3. Heat remaining oil in the wok. Add the shallot, combined capsicum, combined chilli and remaining garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until capsicum is tender crisp. Add the beef, remaining soy sauce, reserved marinade and hoisin sauce. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Serve with steamed rice and coriander sprigs.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Malaysia - Day 15

Day 15 - Sunday 30 September:

Our final day in Malaysia. We awoke, showered and packed our bags for the trip back home to Australia.

At 9.30am we took our luggage downstairs and pack it all into Terrance's car. Then we all got into the van and headed off for breakfast, leaving the Luther Centre for the last time. Zen was driving, as unfortunately Ps Calvin was unexpectedly tied up with other international guests.  We had our final Malaysia breakfast out (Dim Sum) and then went to the Damansar Utama Lutheran Church (from whom we were borrowing the van), and the youth who were Brazil the previous day/night.

I was slightly nodding off during the sermon (it was a guest pastor - from Zen & Terrance's church!) but I don't know if it was tiredness or my cold, but I just couldn't concentrate. After the service we stayed around briefly for a drink, photos (all of the girls got around Dan and Cameron!) before heading off to Times Square mall.  We had about 4.5 hours in which to buy last minute gifts and kill time. 

Jesse and I went off together and quick found a place to have ear-candling done again to try and reverse the effects from the previous time; to relieve the pressure and remove wax before he had to fly.  While he was in there I made my way around the whole third floor.  I didn't buy anything in that time. When Jesse was done we went to have lunch (Nandos!) and that killed quite a bit of time as the restaurant was quite busy.  As we were leaving the restaurant we ran into Chris, Vicki, Dan and Cameron who had all been at the theme park.

We did some more wandering, and then went over to the Digital Mall where we ran into Bradley. He had just played in some racing tournament (for which he actually came 2nd overall!) Jesse and I ended up buying a new digital SLR camera. The sales guy was good and sat and showed us 3 different cameras for about a half hour.  We ended up buying a Song, costing about $650AUD (RM2000). Not wanting to spend too much more money we went back to Times Square. We wandered around some more, and I bought a few things to use up my RM. The interesting thing about most clothes stores in Malaysia is that mostly they don't allow you to try things on. Luckily, I am average Asian size, and the 2x dresses and top that I bought fit!

At 6.15pm we all met up, swapped shopping stories, went to the car and started our journey to KLIA.  Zen only made one wrong turn (took the exit took early) but we made it. We all checked in our bags together (14kg to spare over all 9 of us), had a quick bite to eat at Burger King, gave our thank you bags to Terrance and Zen, and made our way towards the International Departures. We made a quick detour via the duty free store for alcohol (and spent the last of our RM, putting the balance on credit card) before getting to our gate and joining the long line through security to board the plane home!

 The plane food was good, and I watched the movie Brace.  By the time the lights were dimmed my movie was finished and I attempted sleep.  My strawberry pillow, despite how silly I look carrying it around the airport, was comfy for my head.  However my legs kept cramping up so I only managed about 3 hours of solid sleep, and more drifting in and out.  The lights came on around 5.15am for breakfast (I skipped that, it was far too early for food). We landed in Adelaide at 6.56am, and we all made it through immigration, customs and quarantine in record time: we met our families in the arrivals area by 7.30am.

After one final group photo we all went our separate ways, exhausted, but with this amazing experience in our minds.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Malaysia - Day 14

Day 14 - Saturday 29 September:

I was still quite tired when my alarm went off at 7.30am, so I lay in bed while others used the bathroom, and so I kind of missed breakfast. So at 10am when Vicki and Jesse went out to try and find more props for our Waltzing Matilda performance I tagged along and had Maccas for breakfast. I had an egg McMuffin with a chicken roll (no bacon). 

Our booth
While Vicki was in the newsagency grabbing a few supplies Jesse and I wandered through a small Tech Mall. We met up and then headed back to the Luther Centre. We all helped set up our booth for Australia and managed to recruit a couple of youths from 'Germany' to assist in our play - Rebecca and Henry. We had a couple of quick run throughs up on level 5 so they knew their cues. 

Shortly before 1pm our booth was ready, we had our Passports and were excited for the afternoon to begin!

We had an influx of people looking at our display, trying our vegemite (as a reward they got a chocolate) and Anzac biscuits, and playing a handball competition. About 1.45pm Jesse and I took a lunch break (Terrance had gotten some pork and rice for us). 

Brazil's booth
From about 2pm I started my way around to see all of the booths. It was such a fascinating experience. I learned all about Brazil, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Napal, Philippines, Germany, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Japan, USA, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Zambia. I made origami in Japan,did calligraphy in China, tried on traditional outfits in Korea, and tried different foods from about half of the booths. I have notes of prayer points for various countries to keep in mind. I managed to get back and help out in our booth for the last hour & a half, and it went so quickly! Before we knew it it was almost 5pm and I was palming off the remainder of our food snacks.

Me in a traditional Korean outfit
We had a break for 2 hours, during which we dismantled our booth, and a couple of people went for dinner. I had eaten enough during the afternoon so I just went to level 5, got changed and relaxed by reading.

At 7pm everyone who was performing met down in the chapel for a technical run-through. We were all instructed on where to sit, the order we were in, and then did a quick run-through of what would happen before and after our performances. The actual run-through itself went for about 20 minutes. The Ps Calvin led us in a prayer and we all had about 10 minutes to relax while the audience was seated before the show began.

Indonesia began with a hilarious shadow puppet show. We were sixth in line for the night, and very glad we were following Germany, and not Korea. Korea did a traditional bow with the traditional outfits, and then a dance routine featuring Gangnam Style - everyone was very enthusiastic! India did a traditional dance, Cambodia did the story of Mr Richard Chong, an elderly man who decided to cycle in order to raise money for the starving children in Cambodia. His wife was in the audience to receive the thanks on his behalf.  Germany did a hip-hop breakdancing routine, it was pretty impressive. And then it was our turn. Our performance went flawlessly! And the audience was so very enthusiastic about singing with us in the chorus (we had a powerpoint presentation with all of the words and pictures of what the slang meant). And everyone laughed at our costumes. In my opinion, it couldn't have gone better!!

Other acts to follow were Egypt who sang as a choir (and part in Hebrew!), China who did a flag dance, USA sang a Jason Mraz and Justin Beiber song (I guess they don't understand Canada is different to the USA), Brazil danced (and the audience all joined in with them), Nepal did a song, and Japan sang as a choir.

The last performance of the night was Malaysia. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure what it was about. I know part of it was about the 3 main races in Malaysia living in harmony, but after that the whole dialogue was in Malay. Apparently it was hilarious (the whole audience, save us Australians) were laughing quite hard.  It finished up with the Malaysia national anthem, and then a representative from each country took up a flag and held it up while Ps Calvin led a prayer.

Then the praise and worship began! It was such an invigorating experience. It was in both Chinese and English (and a bit of Malay) - sometimes both languages at the same time - and my throat became dry and sore from singing so much! The night ended on such a massive high and the most amazing joyful feeling (I'm still struggling to find words to describe it!).

The people were amazing and it was such a great experience to worship God with people from all over Malaysia (and a few from Nepal). Eventually, after we swapped Facebook details and email addresses, we headed up to level 5 for our final sleep in Malaysia.

I managed to get most of my packing done before I went to sleep, because after we left in the morning, we weren't coming back.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Malaysia - Day 13

Day 13 - Friday 28 September:

I slept like a log after taking a couple of cold & flu tablets, as Jesse & Chris were up for several hours trying to tire Jesse out so he could sleep through the pain from his ears.

We had breakfast at 9am - the boys had left some bread and peanut butter for us.  Then we started working on our presentation for the International Youth Mission Night - this had was set aside for our preparation.  We spoke to Clarice in the church office who unlocked the chapel for us to practice.  One of the security guards helped us set up the keyboard and a fold back speaker and I quickly learned Waltzing Matilda.  We organised who was playing what parts, what volunteers we still needed, and the powerpoint.  We did a couple of run-throughs and called it a day.

In the meantime Jesse went to the doctors and got his ears looked at. He had the consultation, got prescriptions for eardrops, antibiotics and painkillers for RM60 and was back in about 30-45 minutes!

For lunch we were in for a treat - we had lunch with the bishop of the LCM! We went to a Chinese Restaurant (a proper one). I didn't like most of the food but it was a wonderful experience. The bishop was remarkable at remembering our names and what we were getting up to.  Cameron, Jesse and Dan had a competition about eating the hot chillis. They were very hot by our standards, and Jesse and Dan managed 4 small slithers each. Then Terrance said his 7 year old daughter eats them. Haha!

We went back to the Luther Centre and discussed the extra props we would need for our presentation and wrote a shopping list. Chris & Vicki decided to try to local shops within walking distance while Zen took the rest of us to a shopping mall.  We walked to the train station and caught it into KLCC.  As it was an upmarket mall we didn't find anything we needed. As we were discussing alternate shopping centres Terrance appeared and came up with an idea. We walked about 115-20 minutes taking the sky bridge to the Pavillion shopping centre and we went to the mall the next building down.

After splitting up and wandering around for about 1.5 hours we met up again. In this time I only bought a paid of sandles. I was getting tired. For dinner we went to a food court. The own of the building restored the area and then paid several of the top food sellers to put their shops there to attract people - an ingenious idea!  After dinner Chloe & Erin still wanted to shop so Zen and Terrance stayed with them while the rest of us walked back to KLCC.  We stopped outside the shopping centre and took photos of the Petronas Towers at night, and the beautiful light and water display at the base.  We caught the train back to tour station (the busy one just after 10pm as all of the shops closed). By our station, though, we all had our own seats as the train was almost empty.  We were proud of making it back by ourselves.

The Luther Centre was busy with activity as several youth groups were already there setting up their booths ready for tomorrow.  The Sunway Youth were there and we chatted for a bit - it was nice to recognise people!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Malaysia - Day 12

Day 12 - Thursday 27 September:

Being awake at 5am is not natural. Along with my cold, the early start didn't make me feel very well. Our hot water didn't work so the shower wasn't really a shower, and our 5.30am pickup arrived at 6.10am. There were 2 other tourists on our tour - a young couple from Holland. We stopped at a lookout on the side of the road (not the mountain peak as it was too cloudy) to watch the sunrise. There were even wedding photos (or a wedding dress shoot) happening! The sunrise was a bit disappointing as it was too cloudy or the mountains too high to get the full effect of an amazing sunrise.

From there we went to the Mossy Forest boardwalk. It was very foggy and damp and cold, and the boardwalk was quite slippery. We didn't spend too long there and I was the first one back in the van in an attempt to stay warm. 

Afterwards we went to a tea plantation and watched as people harvested the tea leaves.  They are paid by the kilogram - $0.28c per kg! Their normal hours are 7am - 2pm, but it it's raining they'll work until 5pm (the leaves are heavier). Most of the workers are from Bangladesh or Indonesia, so while approx RM1200/month isn't enough to live comfortably on in Malaysia, it's a lot back in their home countries. From there we went to the BOH tea factory, had a light breakfast and a look around at the information and the gift shop. At 9.30am we headed back to the Bungalow.

We packed our bags and the car and went into town for last minute shopping. I bought a strawberry pillow (RM23). It's quite soft and comfy.  Our trip back towards KL was going to be long as we stopped at 2 small Orang Asli villages. I missed the first one as I was trying to help Jesse release the pressure in his ears with drops and squirty spray - he had a very short temper as the pain was getting to him.  

At the second village I got out and we pinned smiley face badges on all of the kids. They sang us a song, and we sang to them Jesus Loves Me. After leaving pencils and a few other things for the kids with their teacher we had a group photo and hit the road again.

We made one final stop on our way.  We stopped at a natural hot spring.  The river itself was lovely and cool but on the edge of the river was a small inlet where the water was close to boiling - there was steam coming off of it, and we put an orange in it to see what would happen: it cooked.

We were all quite tired when we got back to the Luther Centre.  Most of us just went to Pizza Hut and had dinner, and then called it an early night.