Archive for August, 2010

August 31, 2010

We are a bunch of settlers [pg. 29]

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The Settlers of Catan is a multiplayer board game. The players in the game represent settlers establishing colonies on the island of Catan. Players build settlements, cities, and roads to connect them as they settle the island. The game board representing the island is composed of hexagonal tiles of different land types which are laid out randomly at the beginning of each game.

I was quite shocked. I had never seen Micah so competitive. Hayley picked up the rules of the game pretty fast and before you know it she was 2 victory points ahead with the longest road in the game. Being the on to it girl that she is, she took it upon herself to be responsible for resource card distribution.  As per usual I was having an unlucky streak, without brick or wheat and uncharitable players, the real battle was between Micah and Hayley.

“This game sucks. Call me when it’s my turn to roll.” And off  I went to make tea.

“That’s not your land!” I heard Micah shout at Hayley.

I sauntered back to the table after spending as long as I could poking around our well stocked pantry. Turned out Hayley had been collecting brick resources from neighbouring land all this time. How sneaky.

Hayley with one of her rare I-feel-quite-dumb looks, said sheepishly, “Oh isn’t that my land?”

Micah and Hayley then proceeded to produce white noise to my ears.

I rolled.

“Seven. Oooo… this is the start of something big.”

“Isn’t that line from that Jessica Biel ad?”

I don’t know. Is there a morale to this story? I’m not sure. I guess, just keep doing your thing, do the right thing, don’t cheat — there are no real shortcuts — sooner or later the tables will turn. Big moments will happen when you least expect it. It will come so easy… just like a blessing. Know what I mean?

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From my travels to India. A fort in Jaipur (I think). How this is relevant to this post I’m not sure either…

August 29, 2010

Chicken/shrimp summer rolls w. peanut hoisin sauce

These are one of my fav things on a Vietnamese restaurant menu. Summer rolls/Goi Cuon/rice paper rolls. And the sauce! You need to experience the sauce! Having eaten so many; examined its size, taste and texture; admired its simplicity… I decided to try making it. And make it I did! So please see below for my efforts. Don’t worry, the recipe wasn’t pulled out of thin air, I did my research!

I’m going to be honest with you here. I do stuff up, and I actually only post up the gd looking ones. You should have seen my first roll — it looked like a cocoon. Still tasted good though. No waste in my kitchen!

I managed to get most of my ingredients down at the Asian grocery place, the international aisle in your local supermarket won’t do.

For the record, these rolls definitely passed the judging panel i.e. Hayley and Micah did not rid me of what is left of my self esteem haha. Into the menu they go!


24 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 chicken breast/pork tenderloin
thin rice vermicelli noodles
lettuce, washed
herbs: mint leaves, cilantro leaves
handful of brean sprouts
1 package rice paper (banh trang)


1. Pour enough water in saucepan until just chicken is covered. Season. Bring to the boil. Add the shrimp, simmer for a few min. Keep liquid as stock for sauce. Remove the shrimp and chicken with slotted spoon and set aside to cool. Shred chicken. Halve shrimp horizontally.

2. Cook rice vermicelli noodles.

3. Fill a shallow dish with warm water. Dip in rice paper into water. Place on to flat surface. Place lettuce at the end closest to you, proceed to top with vermicilli, chicken, mint, cilantro. Roll the rice paper over the filling and tuck it underneath. Place shrimp in front of your roll so far. Fold the sides inwards. Finish rolling up!

Now this is the stuff!! The rolls are nothing without this sauce.

Ladleful of stock/water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T thick soy sauce
1 t whole soybean sauce, mashed
4 T Hoisin sauce
2 T crunchy or creamy peanut butter

1. In a small sauce pan, add stock and garlic. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
2. Add rest of ingredients. Mix until everything is dissolved and forms a thick sorta sauce.


August 28, 2010

Foldover Pancakes

Left the house at 8am this fine Saturday morning, drove all the way out (and discovered John Mayer Trio’s version of ‘I Got a Woman’, Micah left his CD in the player) just to get butter… to make pancakes, because you can’t make good pancakes without butter.


2 cups self-raising flour
2 T sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
50g butter, melted
2 T greek yoghurt

1. Mix everything together. Melted butter, second to last, mix until smooth. Add in the yoghurt.
2. Pour ¼ cup batter into a heated non stick pan. When bubbles form, flip. Repeat.
3. Serve pancakes folded over with fruit (kiwifruit, canned peach…) in the centre. (I do this because I can’t make perfectly round pancakes…).
4. Eat pancakes and watch episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’. Finally up to season 4 after Micah downloaded them using up our month’s broadband supply…

Recipe adapted from Masterchef. Original recipe had 1/4 cup less milk but I wanted to thin out the batter a little and I also sweetened it up. I used Greek yoghurt because that’s what I had in the fridge although Ricotta is perfectly good. Otherwise it you like thicker and real fluffy pancakes go for the 1 3/4 cups milk.

The weekend is just getting started guys!