2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 670 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Been Busy!

The last few months have been really busy, between work and other domestic issues, but with the end of year holidays coming up, it’s time to take a breather and contemplate the new year ahead.

Another year older, still not much wiser.
My birthday came and went, with not much to show for it’s passage. I did wake early to make some nice coffee with the last of our Kopi Luwak Beans and come up with (I think) an original quote, and had a nice lunch with a bonus birthday (cup)cake when I ran into an old friend by accident:

Birthday Kopi Luwak 13 Nov 2014Birthday Lunch
Contemplation of a life lived thus far, should be done with the aid of a good coffee.

Frying Pan Pizza Bianco with Mushrooms & Egg.
One thing of note though, was that I discovered a recipe for a home-made pizza which looked interesting:

Dinner 23 Nov 2014Dinner 23 Nov 2014Dinner 23 Nov 2014

175g self-raising flour
2 tsp oil, plus a drizzle for frying
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 rosemary sprigs, chopped
140g mushrooms, sliced
85g light cream cheese
1 egg
Good pinch of chilli flakes

1. In a large bowl, mix flour with oil, 85 ml water and a pinch of salt to make a dough. Tip onto work surface and knead 1-2 mins to bring together into a smooth ball, then return to bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside.

2. Heat a drizzle of oil in a flame-proof frying pan, roughly 22 cm wide. Ass garlic and most of the rosemary and sizzle for 1-2 mins until just turning golden. Add the mushrooms and cook 10 mins or until golden and tender. Season and tip out onto plate. Shape the dough into a thin disk roughly the same size as your pan, use hands. Place in the pan and cook for 4-5 mins over low-medium heat, until underside is golden. Flip and cook another 4-5 mins.

3. Heat grill to high. Season cream cheese and spread over pizza. Top with mushrooms, leaving space in the center for the egg. Crack the egg in the space and season, then place the pan under the grill for 3-4 mins until the white has set but the yolk is still a little runny. Sprinkle with chilli flakes and remaining rosemary before serving.

I left the pan in the oven a little longer than called for, and the egg turned out leathery. Still, it was an easy recipe and turned out much better than I imagined. More mushrooms and less on the rosemary would be good and perhaps a standard tomato base instead of the cream cheese might work as well.

We may never go back to frozen pizza ever again…

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Look What I Found!

Was doing a little house keeping on the laptop, moving files and backing up old pictures and stuff, and I found this:

It’s the eldest from just before he turned two, and shows him determined to have his lunch even though he’s about to fall asleep!

And just look at the boy today, ready to take on the world.

My goodness, they grow up so fast!

Two Brothers

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Been A While!

Hi Folks! It’s been a while since I’ve updated; life with kids and work in general has had my hands full the past few months.

Not much in the way of cooking, but I did mess about experimenting with Bannock recipes a while ago:

Dinner 1 Jun 2014Dinner 1 Jun 2014

For a bread that only takes about 10 minutes to whip together, it tastes surprising good, though I guess the salt and frying it in oil does make it rather savoury to the taste buds.

2 Cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup each of milk and water
Oil for frying

1. In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add the liquids in the middle and stir with fork till soft dough forms; this should be sticky.
2. Remove dough on to floured surface and using floured hands, press into a circle roughly the size of your frying pan.
3. Heat oil and fry dough till golden, flipping once.

We ate that for breakfast and saved some as a side for dinner:
Dinner 1 Jun 2014

It went very well with the canned tomato soup, and served to soak up the cheesy spinach sauce for the pasta as well.

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Home brewed Ginger Ale

Time flies and already we’re at the mid-point of the year… where did it all go?!?

Anyway, the kids seems to have picked up a taste for sodas and other sugar saturated drinks lately, and it’s a disturbing trend (not least because I will also start to crave these as well!). Having come across a recipe for home-brewed Root Beer previously in the Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun, I thought of making some but with lowered sugar content (it really only takes about two to three tablespoons worth of sugar for the carbonisation process) – and with Ginger instead of Sarsaparilla syrup.

There’s lots of recipes available online for home brewed Ginger Ale, and I modified one from Wikihow, but with only half the sugar, and brown sugar at that.

Making Ginger AleMaking Ginger AleMaking Ginger Ale
Minion with newly bottled ginger ale

And so, with the inexpert help of my eldest kid minion, we made an experimental bottle just to get the hang of things. I expected the carbonisation process to go quickly given our weather here in sunny tropical Singapore, but it still took a full 48 hours before the bottle was ready.

End result, was a spicy and not too sweet drink (which was timely as I started to develop a sore throat about the time the drink was ready! Did you know that Ginger Teas are a great natural remedy for sore throats?). Now that we’ve gotten that little experiment down, we’ll brew up more batches… now, where can I get my hands on some rum to make some Dark and Stormy?

+Geek Dad’s Guide to Weekend Fun
+Ginger Ale Recipe
+Dark ‘N Stormy Cocktail Recipe

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The Tae Kwon Do Kid

It’s been a busy month, but we managed to squeeze some time for little family activities.

The eldest kid has started to show interest in martial arts, not just because of the various TV programs, but it seems that one of his classmates has also started martial arts as well. So, at his insistence, we started looking around for kid-friendly classes to attend and found one close to where we used to live.

Gone for TKD!Gone for TKD!
The Karate Tae Kwon Do Kid

It turns out that Trifecta Martial Arts actually has a tots program for 3-5 year olds, and after a quick trial session, we had him enrolled in the program. He certainly seems to enjoy it, listening intently to the instructor’s commands and following the activities energetically. As a added bonus, it turns out that one of the program directors turned out to be an old colleague, and so we were very much assured that the kid will be in good hands.

Having taken Tae Kwon Do in my earlier days, I’m happy that he enjoys the activity, and this is a good foundation for any further martial arts that he may want to pursue in the future – once he has the basics of discipline, strength and flexibility down, I’ll start him on line, measure and tempo of swordsmanship.

+Trifecta Martial Arts

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A Kiddy Subscription Box

We got to know of a kid’s monthly subscription box service here in Singapore through a friend, and it looked too good to pass up. So, after checking out the website, we decided to sign on for a 12-month service as it seemed most value for money – and there’s a money back guarantee with a free first month’s box even if we don’t decide to go ahead with the service after all.

We got the kid's Subscription Box!We got the kid's Subscription Box!We got the kid's Subscription Box!
Checking the box out…

The folks at Smart Alley were most helpful, and even asked us for the names of the kids so each box would be personalised and addressed to them! Finally, the first box was delivered after a few days and the kids were dubious about the box at first, but once the protective shrink wrap came off and they figured out the stuff was for them to play with, they didn’t stop till all the activities were done in one go.

We got the kid's Subscription Box!We got the kid's Subscription Box!
Finger Painting Fun!

Among the contents were a boardgame that the eldest enjoyed immensely (and giving great hope for his grognard dad!) and asked for several replays, cardboard cutouts of animals which both enjoyed decorating with the supplied finger paints (with a supplied apron for the little one as he got very messy), as well as a storybook (which was kept for bedtime) and a rather more complicated cardboard safari jeep with decorative stickers which the kids put together with my help.

When told that they would be getting another box every month, the kids got excited I found myself looking forward to spending time with the kids and keeping a sharp eye out for the postman to come deliver our next box.

All in all, a good investment; we’ll be renewing the subscription for a long time to come.

+iNbox by Smart Alley

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A Cute Postcard From South Korea

It’s been a busy few weeks, mostly to do with work, and a serious illness in the family. Still, all’s well now, and there’s finally time to sit down for a breather – and to check the postcards that have been piling up in my mailbox!

Of the lot, this rather cute one from South Korea caught my eye:


Pity the Singapore Post put their stamp right across the picture… *damn you! shakes fist*

As usual, the whole set of postcards both sent and received can be found at the flickr set.

On a separate note, the missus has been on the K-drama craze that’s been sweeping the airwaves recently, so perhaps it’s time to look a possibly a trip to Korea for a holiday!

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Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Lunar New Year folks!

We’d be out visiting and eating ourselves silly, but just about everyone in the household is down with some viral flu, so we’re staying home and resting up.

Here’s a little something whipped up earlier this month, and was quite easy to do: Pork and Caramelized Apples.

Dinner 1 Jan 2014


1 tbsp olice oil
3 apples, cored and sliced
500g pork fillet sliced into medallions
200ml reduced fat chicken stock
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp chopped sage leaves
2 tbsp half fat crème fraiche
Mashed potato or rice, to serve


1. Heat half of the oil in large frying pan. Cook apples for 10min till caramelized and soft. Remove and set aside.
2. Heat remaining oil and fry pork each side 2min. Add stock and mustard to pan, bubble 5min or till pork is cooked. Return apples to pan with sage and cook 1min more.
3. Remove from heat and stir in crème and seasoning to taste. Serve with mashed potato or rice.


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Once More Around The Sun!

Round and round we go,
When it ends, nobody knows!

The year has been busy and flew almost right on by without notice, but now it’s time to take stock and look over the things we accomplished and what we regret.

First up, 2013 New Year’s Resolutions:
+ Back to swordsmanship, and with more regularity. ehh… nope, didn’t get to do much of that in 2013. Partly from work, and partly from medical reasons.
+ Continue to cook! Oh yeah, the kitchen has been put through it’s paces, and looking back most of the posts have been pretty much about food!
+ Be a better man, a better father, a better husband, and a better boss. I think I did the best I could on this one, so I’ll mark it down as a “done”.

As an added bonus, we did manage to go for a couple of family holidays, which the kids enjoyed quite a bit, so in all it’s been a fruitful year.

In all, a pretty minimal set for 2013, and mostly achieved. So, time to get a little more ambitious and aim higher!

For 2014 New Year’s Resolutions:
+ As always, back to the sword. But given the medical problems I’ve been experiencing on the left arm, I may have to switch from longsword to possibly side sword. Plans are in motion to attend the HEMAC Florentia in Florence in Mar 2014. We’ll see if this works out.
+ Continue to expand on my kitchen skills. Perhaps I’ll take a formal course or something…
+ Go for another family holiday!
+ Get in better shape. Since I’ve been medically downgraded, the requirements for passing my annual physical fitness tests have been laughably easy. Still, that’s no reason to get fat and lazy – to that end my new bicycle should be delivered in a couple of days, so it’s off cycling I go!
+ Game more? Kinda debatable here; I’ve pretty much taken a sabbatical on the weekly roleplaying games (at least tabletop ones) and boardgames for the past year to spend time with the kids, but now that the second kid is able to amuse himself and his big brother is helping him along with interaction, I may just go back to it sometime later this year. Fingers crossed for it, anyway.
+ Spend more time with the dog. Tess is starting to get a little long in the tooth, and age is beginning to become a factor for her, so we should be starting to make things comfortable for the old girl. Frankly, I’m hoping that we can adopt a new dog before Tess passes on, as I’m afraid that if we don’t, the sadness over the loss may just make the rest of the family give up keeping pets forever – losing Stanley was a pretty traumatic experience, so I’m not sure how they will react when it’s Tess’ time to go…

And with that, it’s time to break open the bubbly and party hats put the kids to bed and get a good night’s sleep.

Happy New Year folks!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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