Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Danish Butter Cookies

You know what taste great in winter time? Danish Butter Cookies with a good hot cup of milo, tea or coffee. I love Danish butter cookies- esp the ones that sprinkle the large (rock?) sugar bits on them. Its hard getting them now- most manufacturers use the small normal sugar.

Does anyone care to recommend their favourite brand?

Monday, April 24, 2006

God, food, cooking and theology

I like good food; that's nothing better than to sink your teeth into a wonderfully cooked roast salted chicken when you're starving. Hmmmmm.... I can't talk anymore about it otherwise my stomach will explode.

Found this site written by this young Singapore mom- who loves God and cooks great food. Apart from the awesome receipes she has- she also offers some good insight into Christian living. I found this article brilliant see here :

Husband made lunch for me again. He's been doing this every weekend for past three weeks, as a way of giving me a nice break and a yummy treat. Last week, he made Nikujaga (Jap beef stew), one of my favourite dishes as it's so hearty and warm. Today, he made beef & broccoli pasta. Lurve-ly. ^__^

Husband's gesture of love-by-cooking made me reflect on a principle our church taught us in marriage preparation class - namely, that Husband should Lead and Wife, Submit. Like all normal women of this day & age, I struggled with that concept for a while when I first heard it. It made women sound subordinate, inferior even, as if we didn't have the brains or wit to make our own decisions and live our own lives. But I have come to realise that this principle is harder for men than it is for women. This is because it places the onus squarely on the man's shoulders to lead in love, communication, reconciliation and service. To put it across clearly, Husband is to be the first to apologise, to serve, to love and to forgive. Now how many men can do that???!!

Well, I thank God that I have a husband that strives to obey God & live out God's design for marriage by trying his darndest to do exactly that. His efforts are not necessarily in the Big Theological Things - he doesn't give me a sermon or a Bible Study everyday. Nay, it's in the small things - in apologising even when he is not in the wrong, in patiently listening to my grumbles even when he is busy with work, in reminding me to spend time in personal devotion to God and of course, in cooking and doing the laundry over the weekends. And here's the cool thing - the more Husband leads, the more I submit, i.e., the more I reciprocate. And the little virtuous cycle of love grows and grows.

Serving each other is not derogatory, nor is it mere duty. Christ came to serve us all - by dying for us. Likewise, as part of God's design, serving each other in marriage is deemed delight, both to each other and to God.

Marriage Christ's way has taught me that two is indeed better than one.


Isn't she lucky? Thankfully she is married to a good bloke. Pity the women who end up with monsters for husbands. In that case, no amount of submitting with do any good. Its a bit like trying to appease monsters like Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Jack the Ripper, etc... Try and submit to them and see where that gets you.

The More the words the less the meaning...

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, a small treatise on how to live a decent happy life- its located somewhere around the middle of the Bible, there's this awesome line:

"The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that benefit anyone?" Ecclesiastes 6:11

I wish more Christian preachers would heed this verse in the bible. Every week, when I goto church or attending church meetings, I dread hearing the preaching.

First up- there are some good stuff in their sermons. But there's an awful amount of rubbish and nonsense. Often the preachers are talking off-tangent, then they go circling around the point and not expounding on it, then they cloud their sermons with rubbishy stories- the sort you expect from a drunk Uncle on NY's eve... it deeply saddens me. Its the word of God. Can't they talk about it in a reverential way?

Anyhow, I just shutup and do some "gold digging". Miners often need to dig through 100 tons of crap to extract an ounce of gold. Its the same for most sermons. There's something in there - that God wants ya to hear. You just need to listen. At the same time I pray that the preacher's next sermon will be better. Sometimes it works!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Cold Winter Days Fun

Brrr!!! Winter is now here! Officially its Autumn here in Melbourne- but with blizzard conditions of the ski mountains and average temperatures under 10C at night- you gotta concede a little hey?

I like winter- everything tastes so good- esp. hot food and wine. Doesn't a hot bowl of oats porridge taste so much better on a cold winter's morning? When you walk outside, and if you're healthy and fit, it feels so exhilarating, you just feel so alive!!!! Once when I was in NZ, the temp had dropped below zero, I walked to the grocer shop to get some milk- I was just wearing my shorts, ski boots, t-shirt, and a beanie. People were just looking at me like I was nuts. But it felt so amazing.

However, if you're not feeling well- well, its crap.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Being safe

I was reading my friend - Nate's blog. And its really amazing what he's doing- ie. helping out street people.

The whole idea of going out on a limb and trying to help "troubled" people - I'm a little scared by the whole idea.

One word popped up in my head. "Safety". Then "risk". For half of my my life- although I've been living a fairly sheltered life- but I've been constantly bullied and jerked around- by relatives, teachers, bullies at school, the boarding house and then the army. I just want to be in a safe place.

If I can get thru the day without someone yelling/screaming at me- its a great day! I really mean it.

I find that if I am being encouraged- I can do wonders. But if I being yelled at, pushed around, my whole attitude to the job/life just goes downhill.

I'm an easy going guy and I just want to get along. Unfortunately, some people usually take my willingness to help as a sign of weakness and try to exploit it.

Fuck them.

The whole world would be a better place if people were just willing to work together and get along.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Marvellous Melbourne

Melbourne really has a great showcase of food. Maybe its not the very best. Maybe its not the very cheapest. But its got it all- and its pretty damn good.

This from the Age Epicure section - the only reason to buy the Age which I think is only available on Tuesday?

Here's some excerpts from the article.

Brett Crittenden, wine buyer, left Melbourne in 1998 for Argentina:

"One of my absolute institutions is to go from the airport directly to Prahran Market. We go straight to Claringbold's and buy three dozen Coffin Bay oysters - we buy them unopened because I love to eat them absolutely fresh. I love that market.
"Or we head straight for the middle of the deck at the Stokehouse. Up on the veranda in the sun with a bottle of Champagne. France-Soir is also absolutely mandatory - for the oysters and the salmon, and the steak tartar.

"A lot of our life revolves around food and wine, and to me (these places) are institutions. It's food you can eat every day of your life. Food that is brilliantly simple but in a classic way. And that's what I love about Melbourne - it's sophisticated, it's alive, it's got a real pulse, and it's got a real heart."

Geoffrey Johnstone, hotelier, left the Meridian Rialto in 2005 to head up Moscow Country Club, one of the Russian capital's premier hotels. For Johnstone, Russian caviar can't replace the appeal of a great Melbourne pizza.

"There's just such a variety in Melbourne. You can go from the very expensive, like the Flower Drum, to some nice, inexpensive Italian place. One of our favourites that I started going to way back in the '80s, and it's still there today, is Pizza Napoli in Russell Street. I think that's just about the best pizza in Melbourne."

Anthony Reynolds has cooked on four continents, from Melbourne to Europe, India, Dubai and now Bermuda at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, but he still can't refuse a Bannockburn chardonnay.

"For me, Melbourne cuisine is fresh and it's fast. It's not laboured over, and that's something I miss. Like Caffe E Cucina in Chapel Street. That is great food, fantastic coffee, good wines, great service. And it's still going for, well, must be 10 years now.

"And the markets too. I mean, I love hanging out at the Vic and Prahran markets, with the fresh pasta and all the organics.

"My dream Melbourne food day? Breakfast would have to be on Southbank, then a nice long brunch at the Windsor or the Regent Hotel. Those two places I love. And dinner, um, Mietta's in Queenscliff.

"I do take things back. Last time it was a box of mangoes from Melbourne and a box of Bannockburn chardonnay to give to all the staff here.

"To bring it in through importers is a nightmare. And I have a friend up in the Yarra Valley who makes a great pinot noir. I brought back six bottles of that and paid a heap of duty. But it was worth it."

Chef Lucas Glanville left Melbourne four years ago for Singapore and later Bangkok.

"There're about 16 million people in Bangkok and it's probably built to hold about half of that, so it's non-stop. The city never sleeps. For us, a normal day would probably be 3000 meals.

"So I'll tell you what I miss about Melbourne - going out for breakfast on a Sunday. Going to Acland Street for a hearty brunch, good coffee and catching up with a newspaper.

"The cafe society here hasn't really kicked in yet. Most stand-alone restaurants are either hawker style or pretty ordinary. You know, (there's) a local guy trying to do Italian food and he's not really pulling it off. So that sort of leaves the five-star hotels, which takes the fun out of it a bit.

"And to be able to go to a winery restaurant in Red Hill with your family, that's a million dollars coming from a city like this. Lounging out on the lawn, eating the local products, and drinking the local wine while enjoying views of the bay."

Justin Bernhaut joined New York's food photography scene a year ago. He has had plenty of opportunity to discover the pleasure of a perfect bagel and just how much he misses burnt backyard sausages.

"Last week, I had a one-inch-thick slab of sashimi - generous, but it kind of missed the point. Melbourne has a great Asian influence and there is a subtlety that I miss. Not to mention Cascade beer - as rare as a thylacine in New York.

"But I really think Melbourne food is as good, if not better, than anywhere in the world.

"There's Cheese Freaks cafe in Yarra Glen, Daniel Chirico's bakery, the Vic Market early on a Saturday, and mangoes, mangoes, mangoes. And I really miss barbecues in a backyard.

"The perfect day for me back home would be brekkie at The Galleon: espresso, poached eggs with avocado, fresh juice, another espresso and the Good Weekend. Lunch at home - linguini with fresh prawns from South Melbourne market - and dinner at Shira Nui way out in Glen Waverley.

The Times Cook in London and Epicure contributor Jill Dupleix has no trouble finding great pubs in her adopted home. But great coffee? That's what trips back to Melbourne are for.

"It's funny, having first moved from Melbourne to Sydney for six years, moving to London was a lot like moving back to Melbourne - the two cities have a lot in common.

"But while London has great pubs, there is no real cafe scene (except for one cute little Antipodean caff in Soho called Flat White). And you wouldn't believe it, but it's hard to find good tea here in all but the best places.

"My dream day would start with Cafe Racer, so I'd start there for either porridge or fruit or a toastie. Then I'd pick up some bread at D. Chirico in St Kilda, go to the farmer's market by the Yarra, and then get a tram over to Mario's in Brunny Street for a coffee.

(You know what my dream day would be?- Walking in Rathdown Park, drinking coffee and feasting on good quality Danish Butter Cookies... the ones with the big huge chunky sugar bits.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Touching Story

This is quite a moving story. It touched me. Its about a woman who came from such a fubar family- that she was stayed in college during the holidays than go back home to stay with parents who would criticize her every behavior. Read the story here: WorldNet Daily: How to Redeem a Bad Childhood.

My take on this... my philosophy... is that families are like teams. They work together to achieve an objective. - That is happiness- contentment. Families should care for one another- and help each other out. There is no "me". Its "us". Of course, everyone is entitled to a certain amount of privacy. Its a fine line that should be drawn with love. But when that gets replaced by a desire for power and authority. Things just go belly up.

Its written in the Bible- Children respect and obey your parents. Parents do not exasperate your children.

Works both ways.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Silver Cat

Just got a silver cat off eBay. Cost me just $6 including postage. Looks very cute. Its from Hong Kong I think- and incorporates the "Buddhist waving cat" look often seen in the doorways and windows of Chinese and Japanese restaurants and homes.

The Golden Book

In ages past, there was a mighty king. His empire was vast, his armies undefeatable, his wealth beyond measure. Yet, his greed and lust for power was unquenched and seemingly unstoppable. Instead, of using his powers for good- he used them for wicked evil purposes. He demanded that all people of all races submit to his tyrannical rule. The peoples cried out but noone heard their cry. Then in one Spring- his emissaries discovered a small kingdom ruled by a brave Princess in the far far north which refused to submit.

The kingdom's princess spoke out - "No. Is that a word you do not understand? Why bother us? We do not trouble you! What are we to you, o great and mighty king? Go your way, and leave us in peace!"

But the wicked ruler refused and reigned in his horde armies for war.

Yet as doom seemed certain. The Princess sent forth a magician to the callous king. The magician was a great conjurer- and he charmed his way to the Tyrant's courts.

Then he spoke: O' Great and Illustrious Ruler. Why do you trouble our little fiefdom? The annual income from our puny settlement will not even cover the wages of your military for an evening. But allow me to speak - I see that you greatly fear the deep darkness that no man or woman can escape. Death terrifies your majesty. As your forces strive for glory, you seek to defeat death and achieve immortality. Be happy! I can give you what you ask for. Your kingom will last for all eternity. Your armies' weapons will never rust or falter. Your wives and concubines will remain forever young and supple. Your gold will gleam forever. Your palaces were never turn to dust. No assasin or ursurper will touch you.

The murderous ruler- taken aback by the magician's brazen insight- was stunned. He ordered the magician locked away pending execution.

Yet, in the quiet of the night, he met with the magician and demanded what he asked for.

The magician asked that the process could take long- for he had to write down in a golden book whose pages were made from gold leaf- the tyrant's story.

And locked away in the dungeon, the magician wrote... and wrote... and after three winters had passed- he had completed the book. All he asked was that the ruler- sign his name and write "The End".

The wicked king hesistated. But in his arrogance, he signed anyway. It was afterall a flattering and glorious account about his kingdom.

And then suddenly, all things started to disappear, his armies, his palaces, his wealth. Until finally he was gone. Everything was gone. No one could remember the king. All that was left was the golden book- the pages of which contained the story of a wicked and evil king whose armies were undefeatable, whose palaces wore splendour without belief... A story that would last for all eternity in a book made out of pure gold.

copyright- yau-ming 2005

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Royal Mint worker walked off with gold coins in his shoes

Read this in the news

These boots are made for... hiding 112,000 dollars in coins

Friday April 7, 2006
A former worker at the Royal Australian Mint Thursday pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from his employer by regularly hiding two-dollar coins in his shoes and walking out of the building.

Prosecutors allege 48-year-old William Bosia Grzeskowiak stole more than 155,000 dollars from the Canberra mint between April 2005 and February 2006.

Coining hall worker Grzeskowiak literally walked out with about 600 dollars each time by secreting the two-dollar coins in his boots, and sometimes his lunchbox, under the eyes of watchful security guards, they said.

He admitted the theft charge but his lawyers said he would dispute the amount stolen during sentencing hearings later this month.

Grzeskowiak was arrested in southern Victoria state in February after he tried to change a large number of two-dollar coins for notes.

Police said they found more than 100,000 dollars in coins hidden in his mother's garage, and estimate more than 23,000 dollars had been converted into other forms of cash by the time of the arrest.

(Silly bugger- he should have taken a day off every 2nd or 4th Friday- and gone bank to bank changing a sackful of coins. Or he could have opened a cheap video arcade store and washed the coins off... change anyone?)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sad Diabetes Story

I read this story today- its about this 24 year old girl who contracted diabetes. Once active and intelligent- now she has problems pouring a glass of orange juice to save her own life.

It is before dawn and there is movement in the kitchen. There is the soft tread of feet, the fridge door opens and there is the clinking of glass.

I find Jessica, my daughter, who rarely rises early, standing immobile as if contemplating something deep and puzzling. The light from the open fridge spills across her face. She has placed a bottle of orange juice next to the sink, but it is clear she does not know quite what to do next. Jessica is trying to save her life. Normally brilliant and sparkling, she is trying to make her brain solve the riddle of how to find a glass and how to pour the juice. But her brain is dulled, deprived of the energy that makes the neurons spark in correct order.

Diabetes Type I is an auto-immune disease, but despite immense research efforts, the precise cause remains unknown. It is increasing in frequency – about 3% a year in Australia – though at nowhere near the rate of Type 2. Apart from genetic factors, environmental triggers are suspected, and studies are looking at wide ranges of possible causal links, including recently the age at which children begin drinking cows’ milk. It is vastly less common than Type 2 – about 140,000 Australians are diagnosed as suffering Type 1.

Whatever the cause, Jessica’s immune system had made a massive mistake: instead of protecting her, perhaps against a virus, it had turned upon itself, destroying the beta cells within her pancreas. Her own protective system had ruined her body’s ability to produce insulin.

I should have known. Jessica had spent the previous weekend with me. We drove around town and at every service station she asked me to stop. Each time, she would fly to the toilet and buy a bottle of water before we left. She guzzled the water before the next stop. I assumed it was some kind of diet, and it was all that water that was forcing all those pit stops.

In my happiness to be spending a weekend with my child, I had ignored the classical symptoms of the onset of diabetes. Her body was no longer processing sugars and it was demanding the impossible – to be flushed.

Within a day, she was desperately ill. Glucose had built up in her bloodstream to the point she could feel pressure behind her eyes. Her heart was having difficulty pushing the increasingly gooey stickiness of her blood through her arteries. Potassium, the electrolyte element required to keep the heart beating regularly, had been stripped from her system by excess urination. Her blood sugar content was so high she was entering a state known as ketoacidosis (DKA) – a complex, major life-threatening state.

Fortunately, workmates became alarmed by her obviously deteriorating circumstance. Nearing unconsciousness, she was taken to a doctor who sent her directly to hospital. Short analysis of her symptoms and blood glucose content confirmed her condition.

She would, she learned within hours, be required to inject insulin four or five times a day for the rest of her life. In effect, she would have to save her own life every few hours, every day. (An increasing number of young diabetics are able to control their insulin requirements through a marvellous invention known as a “pump”, which is attached to the body and administers the hormone more automatically. The pump requires a story of its own, but the principle remains the same: insulin has to be injected either by syringe or the pump because stomach acids would destroy it if administered orally.)

Jessica had been catapulted from the carelessness of youth to the ranks of those from the Options Generation who could no longer afford options.

Her life now would be a balancing act: figure out how many portions of carbohydrates – starchy food from plants which are basically lumps of glucose – that would be in each meal and then inject the corresponding dose of insulin to deal with it.

Too much insulin and she would risk a hypoglycaemic episode – the dreaded “hypo”, when the glucose level of the blood, required to provide the energy to sustain life, plummets. Too little insulin and the result is a hyperglycaemic state, when sugars build to dangerous levels. Both are potentially fatal.

Read the full story here

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cute item but postage hell

Saw this ship's plaque on eBay. Looks quite cute with the elephant and all. But the postage on this- is close to 50 pounds (that's practically Aussie $200).

Sometimes the sellers are quite happy to change the postage. I bought three porcelain pieces from this lady in England- the initial postage cost was 10 pounds- but she changed it to 5 pounds later and sent it by economy air. It still got to me the same time as did a first class couriered parcel which cost me 16 pounds.

I'm getting a friend in England to bid this for me- and then I'll meet up with him- sometime in the future to get it off him.