Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Orphaned Kangaroos

Kangaroos

At Whistler’s cellar door, Martin informed us that he had kept kangaroos who may have been victims of road kill. He described one kangaroo who was a wallaby in its mum’s pouch when its poor mum was ran over whilst hopping about.

Fenced in an enclosure and fed well, these kangaroos grew up well taken care of with loads of nutritious fruits & grains. They were like pets and I could go very near them without any reaction on their part. Whilst there, I caught sight of a wild kangaroo trying to get into the enclosure…ha ha one would think captivity frightens any wild beast. OR maybe, this kangaroo was lonely and wanted to know why his friends were in there and he was not.

I pet the roos (Australians use the slang word “roos” for Kangaroos) and they felt soft, quite unlike a dog’s fur, but much like a koala. They did not smell very good and there were flies or insects buzzing around them. Hmm, if I had a roo for a pet, I guess I would be showering them like a dog, making them smell fragrantly floral!

I remember once when staying at Bushy Lake in Perth, I woke up early to harvest some Easter lilies and boy! I saw a roo about my height, hippity hopping away, jumping over a high wire fence without any issues. They could certainly leap high!


Steve Cuddihy of Woody Pears Vineyard in Perth used to share with us how he would shoot these roos as they were pests, culling grapes off the vines, devastating his crops. He used electric fences to keep these pests out.

To me, a kangaroo is an animal I would see in a zoo…but here, it was up close and personal and I learnt how pesky a kangaroo could be to farmers and yes, I was treated to kangaroo steak by Steve but I certainly did not even want to try it! Imagine, eating Skippy the bush kangaroo. It would be as bad as eating Mary’s Little Lamb!

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My Favorite Jetty@Harbor Quest, Fremantle Perth – Throwback 2013

image

I love living at this service apartment as my unit faced the marina.

I would wake up to smell the sea air, hear the gulls calling and see boats setting out or mooring.

John owned a red sailboat and is an old salt. He helped me haul in an octopus once.

I caught alot of interesting fishes here. Breams, Trumpeters, Squids, Skippies and Blowies or Puffer fishes.

The waters are so clear and I could often see the blue crabs or we call Flower Crabs, crawling on sea bed. Once or twice, I can see the Portuguese Man Of War swimming away in the waters.

I can spend hours sitting on this jetty, legs dangling over the jetty with my handline in hand.

It is a treat to be there always 😉

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A Bird’s Eye View Of Kangaroo Island -Throwback To 2013

Bird

This was a unique shot I managed to take whilst getting off the ferry and driving into Kangaroo Island. The ferry ride from port was choppy. Parking the vehicle was a challenge within the ferry and if it was me parking it, I would have probably driven off into the deep blue sea 🙂

My brother is a great driver and his best achievement was driving from Fremantle airport all the down south to Albany at one go! This is is unique skills set. He also does a great job of avoiding kangaroos or dawdling wombats as they cross the roads!

This photo showed a lone gull perched on a rock looking out to sea. As if waiting for someone or something to come by. It sat there for a while, not excited about wanting to fly off or going anywhere.

I call it – the deep thinker!

Though breezy and cool, almost to the point of cold if you were to sit under the shade of a tree – this avian specie was not disturbed by the extremities of weather that day. It was probably basking in the sunshine, watching the world go by.

As I have often blogged – I love the sea and the peaceful calm if brings from the magnificent spread of blue waters! This is to me, therapy for the eyes 🙂

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Why I Fish

I am impatient by nature. But yet, I can sit hours by the jetty fishing.


My wise brother enlightened me when I asked a profound question of how come an impatient me, could like fishing.


The lure of a catch ie the competitive me that makes me patient as I want to catch or must catch a fish! Eureka, he is right.


All the wee hours I spend squid jigging or bream or whiting fishing in Adelaide, Perth or Gold Coast is exactly that.

My prize catch is the bream posted in this blog which I caught at Kangaroo Island.


So I am impatiently patient when it comes to fishing!

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Bird’s Urban Farm #4 – A New Veggie

Bird is trying her hands on cultivating the Brinjal plant. Also known by the botanical name of aubergine or eggplant, I wonder how it will turn out as the egg shaped fruit can weigh down the plant stem it grows from.

Tiny sprouts now of the egg plant

I guess she will learn how to stake it such that the eggplant fruit is supported with stakes and not break the plant.

Encouraged by her harvest of the Cai Xin which Bird used to fry into an egg omelette, she is trying for a second harvest.

Perhaps when I am semi retired, I could do this as I have no time for things now. Anon…my vacuum cleaner calls…floors need to be cleaned!

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Miracle Foods & I Think Again

A lot has been thrown up to tell us of the goodness of miracle foods!

What are “miracle foods”?

Miracle foods are anything that works for some people or deemed to have good nutrients. Examples are chia seeds, cinnamon, turmeric, mung beans, quinoa and all sorts as it becomes a fad.

The humble oats is good for heart health but over the years, the more advertising other miracle foods get, the better it gets snapped up and oats is left behind.

I do believe in some simple good foods that are good for me. Oats is one. Barley is the other. These are not expensive as there are generic ones and even good ol Quaker oats is still affordable!

Cranberry juice minus the sugars in juices and now I pop as a pill has more efficacy than drinking litres of it.

My sister is strong proponent of miracle foods. She goes after cider vinegar, baking soda with lemon and chugs it down. I disagree with her. Does baking soda really help my digestive system when drinking it daily with lemon juice?

Some of my friends say drinking alkaline water is good for me. I drink tap water, boiled. In the office I drink bottled water from the dispenser. Drinking alkaline water reminds me of drinking car battery water! Does it work?

In my Asian culture, we too have our own miracle foods – the humble mung bean or green beans have become scarce as it is touted to avert Covid-19. In fact this green bean that people boil as a sweet dessert is touted to have defences against respiratory ailments as it cools the body’s system.

It tastes good and runs against my adage of what tastes good is bad for me. I take it occasionally minus the sugars and like it when it is made into a delectable treat of “tau sar piah” (crumbly cookie of Teochew origins) or “tau suan” eaten with chinese croissants.

Quinoa, I cannot stomach it as the taste is just weird. Boiled with rice it tastes yukky to me and it costs a bomb. Is it really good for me?

The humble white rice is pipped by brown rice and the pasta is now replaced with brown wheat pasta. Everything is now wholesome.

Yet the population of people with diabetes, heart health and everything else is going up. People are weekend warriors and yet they are not healthier.

Some drop dead during exercises – sudden death syndrome due to undetected underlying health conditions.

So what is a miracle food?

Is it one size fits all?

I like to think of moderation and a blogger once shared how her mother is still fit and spritely with good mental faculties as she was strict with diet for the family. Do pop by her site as she has a really big dog that weighs many pounds and her fun reads at https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/

I think the base of one’s health starts from young. I had a tough growing up time as I had to work hard at temp jobs and study hard. I do not eat luxurious foods and ate to survive. I worked 3 jobs and it involved stacking supermarket shelves, heavy carton lifting too.

Perhaps all this led to my current state of poor health. The years of hard labor has taken its toll on my body and thinking when young, it is ok to work hard and build a strong economic base to sustain adult life.

Health is wealth and I agree as even if someone drops a sack of one million dollars on the road and I found it, I would not even be able to lug it home for keeps LOL! (*There is a law in lil red dot that finders is not keepers and technically, I would have had to haul it to the Police Station)

So, the moral of my story is, eat what works for you. If it costs a lot of money to buy it, check your pocket food and if it is unaffordable switch to simple greens, fruits and normal foods, we would eat.

Mushrooms, vegetables, fruits, fish and meats or nuts or lentils if you are a vegan and live with moderate exercising.

Life is not about designer foods or fads that come our way.

Eat what works for you and if it is quinoa and all great stuff then go for it!

Stay healthy and keep hygiene top of the list to avoid that dastardly Covid-19 and mask up!

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Dumpling Festival Or Dragon Boat Festival

Chicken sent me this photo she took and the cloud art made me see it as twin typhoon or tornado spirals and this led me to this post about Hong Kong. Hong Kong is famous for its annual typhoons in hot summer months!

25 June 2020 is the Dumpling Festival in Lil Red Dot as well as in Fragrant Harbor (Hong Kong or HK for short).

It is not a public holiday in Lil Red Dot, although in Fragrant Harbor it is a big deal with a holiday to mark it.

I miss the old vibrant HK where night life is exciting and lots to see. I use to visit Temple Street to shop at the Night Market and hear the buskers there with their solo performances.

The bum boats or old ferry that plies between HK island and Kowloon is so fun. I used to have porridge on the bum boat as an activity for date night. It was tasty and fun caressing the waters in a small bum boat steered by an elderly lady. I admired her tenacity to ply a living out of this.

The HK of today is filled with riots, protests and everything not reminiscent of the old HK.

For me, it has lost its charm as fear fills me as to when it is the next protest or riot and if I decide to visit HK for a short break, will I be caught in it.

Like any tourist, I am sure this frightens us off.

HK’s economy was already floundering before Covid-19 and with Covid-19, it really hurt it even more.

Businesses suffered. Hotels retrenched people and everyone suffered.

I feel sad for HK as it was the happening place for bankers, trade and business, pipping Lil Red Dot back then.

As I look back at how I used to celebrate the Dumpling Festival with gusto back then in HK and now in Lil Red Dot, it is non existent. With Covid-19, I do not even get any dumplings from friends, contacts or self bought.

Anyway, these days, the traditional dumpling is replaced or upgraded to super high end Michelin type truffle ingredients to lure the well heeled. I prefer my old fashioned nonya bak chang (pork dumpling) with glutinous rice and rich chunks of fillings!

Happy Dumpling Festival to all in Asia and who celebrates it! Have an extra one to cheer selves in this tough time of economic challenges and Covid -19 times.

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My Adventure Yesterday At Newly Found PS Cafe At Dempsey Hill

It was such a treat yesterday to have an hour or two spent for a lunch treat with Mr Kind.

Mr Kind has his own business in a unique niche of the medical sciences and has the freedom to be a minion or boss or both! Lucky him!

For us locals, we will always decide on a place to chow down but yesterday was interesting in that he would prefer to leave it to serendipity.

Ooh big word, I told him and we both laughed as it suited my frame of mind.

But we both agreed to eat at a place where it is less crowded and noisy. He then mentioned that a decade or so ago, he wanted to sup at a restaurant called PS Cafe but no matter how, he could not find it.

Dempsey Hill is indeed a treasure trove of eateries, but because the buildings used to house the army, the eateries are stashed in different niches of this quiet area.

Being directionally challenged, I was of no use as usual. Google maps took us past PS Cafe but did not allow us to park.

After 2 tries, Mr Kind eventually found it. He is good with directions I say!

In a wooded area, it had both indoor and outdoor seating. We opted for outdoor seats as to sit indoor and be exposed to potential Covid 19 was not a fun thought.

The menu was not elaborate but it had fun stuff to our liking.

Specials had a slow stewed beef rendang (Beef cooked till dry with spices) served with rice.

I do not eat chicken and was amused to find a pair of wild chickens in the wooded area where we overlooked.

Yes, I am a city girl who lives in an urban jungle and never grew up as a farm girl. So whenever I see wild chickens, I get all excited as if I was bonding with nature! LOL!

A pair – Rooster and hen owning the land it seems!

As the waiter approached us for orders, I teased him and pointed to the chooks and said, “your supply of chicken for today’s special?”

The waiter gamely replied, “Free range too!” but after laughing with me, he assured me it that those chooks were not used on their menu!

I stuck to my beer battered fish and chips and it was served nicely with a bucket of chips with carrot stick, french bean, asparagus spear and a leaf of romaine lettuce. Plating was done in a rustic way, as if how it would be, if I was eating at a restaurant at a vineyard in Perth, Australia, sans the cool weather! I miss the cool winters of Perth.

Despite the fear of Covid19, this eatery did not suffer poor lunch sales. It was crowded and I was glad I did not sit indoors as the din would be too much. We were told that dinner was less crowded than before.

We washed down our meal with ice lemon teas (Mr Kind had his iced tea with berries).

No stomach space left for decadent cakes that measured at least 8 inches a wedge! But it was admittedly alluring!

For me, having genuine friendships like those with Mr Kind is a treat and he is always thinking about helping me and for this, I am especially grateful.

He knew that I could not get groceries and so, he arrived at my doorstep with lots of fruits; blackberries (which reminded me of Eugene, Oregon as I used to bring a bucket to pick them off the blackberry patch on the banks of Willamette River), strawberries, peaches, plums, blackberries, S Korean brown pears, seedless black grapes and a local favorite of my mum, Jambu Ayer.

It was my first outing since post surgery and I was careful to wear my aircast boot and gingerly managed the steps to this PS Cafe.

I enjoyed the pep talk Mr Kind gave me too.

Life is complicated and like I mentioned to Mr Kind, maybe it is time for me to be aloof to all or any nonsensical persons and be zen about it!

Zen sifu……master Zen…where are you! I need classes! Haha!

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Makings Of A Great Chef

I feel that sometimes, it is not necessary a great chef that makes a meal great but the ambience, company and event that makes it so.

Please do not misunderstand that I am belittling chefs – no…no…we need chefs to create that oomph of a dish and that creative artistic plating of the food we see before us in fine dining restaurants.

But what I am referring to, is that those meals of beauty and elegance often leave the diner still hungry haha! Or at least that is what majority of my business associates tell me!

I remember how a meal in an Australian outback fire tasted so good when a tripod was used to brew bush tea and a simple meal.

Under the stars, in the outback with my Aussie pals and the guide doing the cooking, the meal was simple and delicious, non pretentious.

Chefs take great pains to craft and plate a meal.

I remember Mr Docile taking me for a meal at Morsels at Dempsey Hill.

Every dish was an artisanal crafted plate.

I could literally count that singular piece on a giant plate.

Mr Docile paid a handsome price for the meal but it left us both, I am sure still hungry. I was but, being polite, I said nothing. He said nothing as well.

The cost was paid for the ambience or what we call the environment and feel as the restaurant setting was like a barn with lesser than 10 tables.

The place could not seat more than 20 persons at most without losing the circulation space.

Comparatively speaking, I was wined and dined at Cat Cora before, another restaurant by a great chef.

The restaurant was enveloped by an aquarium or a fish tank and I could see sting rays, sharks and all sorts of fishes swimming around in the restaurant as I feasted on food and the marine life.

This is by far a bigger restaurant than Morsels and the menu was more commercial I feel and lesser of a personalised ambience of a chef’s attention.

So to me, what makes a great chef is the experience I am given for that meal.

It makes it more memorable when supping with that special someone or family or commemorating a special occasion that was accentuated by the meal and the service staff.

It is about friendships, camaraderie and the laughter or tears that came with the meal.

Food is eaten when happy or sad and it is the experience we remember of the Chef who prepared it.

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Nuggets Of Fun – Singapore Hawker Culture Vying For UNESCO Heritage Status

A Typical American Menu You Think?

A good and wide choice menu is hard to find.

A good and wide choice menu that is also economically priced menu is priceless.

A good, wide choice menu that is both economically priced and with 1Michelin star status is a jewel of a find.

Lil Red Dot as I fondly call Singapore is unique in that our little fishing village of an island state in 1800s came alive in 1819 with Sir Stamford Raffles bringing in colonial influence and making us into a trading port.

Migrants from China, India and neighboring countries came to Lil Red dot to work as coolies or cargo handlers doing menial laborous work.

With them, came their food culture.

Floor Noodles or Hokkien Noodles were invented by 2 Hokkien brothers from China who cooked food using bricks and kindling to fry their noodles for dinner in woks over this low brick fire at floor level.

Their dish was shared and they ended up dumping their menial job to turn hawker as demand for their noodles was a more lucrative income.

Today, one of the 73 year old descendant of the original Hokkien brother, is still frying up a storm at Old Airport Road.

Our Ambassador At Large, Prof Tommy Koh summarised our hawker culture well:-

1. Singapore has rich, middle and poor classes of people. The only place they meet, interact together regardless of class is the hawker center.

2. Hawker center removes all inhibitions of class as we eat, laugh and joke as one people – the hawker crowd.

Our dishes are distinct like the fish head curry. A man from Kerala, India emigrated to Singapore in the 1900s and successfully created and sold this dish in Singapore. He then took the recipe back to Kerala to expand his business. Today this dish is uniquely ours.

I sincerely hope we can put our hawker culture on list of UNESCO Heritage list and share it with the world.

Homemade Burrito or Taco?
Best Dish!
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