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June 2008

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My grandfather turned 82 on Friday, so this is why I’ve been AWOL for a bit. On Friday morning, my mom & I started baking, my mom baked a birthday cake & I baked cupcakes. I decorated 24 cupcakes as well as the birthday cake and it took FOREVER, but it was worth it to see my grandfather’s little face when blowing out his candles (video is uploaded to my personal facebook account, for those with access!).

We had no clue what to buy him for his birthday, so we ended up getting around 10 DVD’s for him based on the history of Airplanes, World War II and Ancient Cities. He really liked those and it gives him something to watch when he’s not snoring his head off 😛

On Saturday, my two aunts came over with ANOTHER cake, this time a huge double chocolate one so we ended up with 2 huge cakes and 24 cupcakes hahahaha needless to save, we have tons of leftovers!

It was a fun weekend, except the few drama’s that happened, which needs a whole other blog post in the coming days… I’ll leave you now with pictures of cakes & more cakes & some more 😛


















Isn’t this the cutest thing ever? A little girl puppy was born without any front legs, so specialists ended up fitting mini airplane wheels so she could walk properly. Each new “leg” can move on it’s own and go up and down.

Check out the video too:

One word… ADORABLE!

Someone must really hate Pizza Hut. This afternoon, there was police everywhere, fire engines, navy bomb diposal units and a huge section of the road closed next to my apartment. A suspicious device was found in Pizza Hut that is seen from my bedroom window *shiver*




The worst thing was, I slept through it all! I’m still pissed I missed all the action!

& it was a false alarm btw lol

It’s been a while since I posted one of my foody creations, I didn’t want you getting bored of me posting about food so I stopped posting for a while, the result is… I have a backlog of pictures and recipes to blog about.

My grandfather was craving this dish, so I had to try find the ingredients in the cupboards and fridge to make it. We didn’t have any garlic so I had to make do with adding extra herbs and you really couldn’t tell that garlic was missing, which was a good thing 😀 It turned out really nice and flavoursome.

Ingredients:
500g Minced Beef
1 Onion, Chopped
1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
4 Fresh Tomatoes
5 Mushrooms, Sliced
1 Red Pepper, Sliced
Handful of Fresh Basil chopped roughly
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
4 tbsp Dried Mixed Herbs
1 tbsp Chopped Garlic (if you have it!)

Method:
1. Fry Onion in a pan on high heat until golden. Next add the minced beef and stir until brown.

2. Add vegetables, tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed herbs, garlic, and basil and mix together throughly making sure all the minced beef is covered.

3. Turn down the heat on the stove, and cover the pan letting the mixture simmer away for 20 minutes. Make sure you stir occasionally so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.

4. Next, boil some water on high heat until bubbles appear, then add in a handful of dried spagetti. Once it all has shrunk into the pan (see pictures), turn heat down a little bit and let it bubble away for 10-12 minutes until tender.

5. Drain the water from the spagetti and put on a plate covering with some of the bolognese meat, maybe some leftover basil leaves and enjoy 😀














Coming in the next few days…. Roast Chicken & Pasta Bake with Homemade Garlic Bread *yum*

I saw this on Swair’s blog and thought I’d do it to pass some time waiting for dinner to cook, so here is my outcome 😀

Rules:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker (choosing 4×3 columns)

1. What is your first name? Michelle
2. What is your favorite food? Steak
3. What high school did you go to? Kuwait English School
4. What is your favorite color? Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Henry Cavill
6. Favorite drink? Diet Coke
7. Dream vacation? Maldives
8. Favorite dessert? Chocolate Fondant
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Computer Geek
10. What do you love most in life? My friends
11. One Word to describe you? A Nutcase
12. Your flickr name? Michelle

If you wanna do this tag, do it… it’s pretty fun!

The phone rang, my grandfather picked it up
“Hello?”
The phone was still ringing
I looked over and he was talking into a tissue box wondering why no one was answering him
He looked and it finally clicked that it was a tissue box (after a lot of confusion)
He finally picked up the house phone and said “Hello?”
They hung up
*sigh*

I’m pretty much going nuts the past few days due to my grandfather, I’m around him 24/7 and as much as I love him to pieces, it’s seriously getting to me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy being around him, it’s the fact that his memory is fading and he’s getting worse by the day. It’s been nearly 3 weeks since I’ve looked after him alone (without help!), my aunts who are seriously pissing the hell outta me either come once or twice a week and make me feel like shit (my aunts are another blog post though!). In those 3 weeks, I’ve only had around 4 hours break away from everything, I desperately need a whole weekend away to rest, have some ME time and see my friends. I feel evil for even wanting some ME time but it’s seriously hard look after someone on your own when they are really ill. Thank god my mom is back next week, she can take the burden off me a little bit!

Here is what I’m currently coping with:

    I was on the phone to my grandfather’s siter updating her on his condition, my grandfather was sleeping on the sofa, after I closed the phone I heard running water… I ran to the kitchen to find the sink overflowing and water everywhere. My grandfather forgot he had the tap running, so I had to clean all that up.

    At the end of last week, my grandfather was screaming at 7am. I rush out of bed to find him in the bathroom shouting that the toilet is blocked. My grandfather has to wear sanitary pads (male versions of the female ones) and he put it down the toilet by mistake. So at 7am I had to try unblock the toilet, get the pad out of the toilet using my hands (thank god for gloves) and keep throwing water down the toilet to try flush up any blockages. 20 minutes later it was working

    Yesterday, my grandfather took an overdose of his medication. He is supposed to take 3 pills in the morning, 4 throughout the day and 1 just before bedtime. In the morning, he ended up taking 4 of 1 pill along with the other 2. He forgot that he took them just minutes before. Luckily my aunt was over at the time and she called the doctor for advice as my grandfather was getting really scared. Thank god that he was okay and didn’t cause any damage!

    Last week, my grandfather’s car wouldn’t start. He doesn’t drive anymore but he runs the engine daily to ensure it starts and works. My grandfather’s car has been in and out of the garage for various problems which resulted in my grandfather thinking that unscrewing the car battery after every use and then reconnecting it before use is a good thing. Anyway, his car would not start last week so he ended up using jump cables and this box thing he has. The result? he ended up putting the cable the wrong way around and now the car will not start at all. This morning to attempted to start the car again and now you don’t even hear the engine attempting to start, all you hear is crunching noise. When I told him to stop trying and to call the road side maintence people (The AA) he told me “arrgh just go away and leave me alone”, so I did. I went back to bed and left him to his own stubborn ways.

    When you talk to him, he doesn’t register what you’re saying. He wears a hearing aid but even with that he doesn’t hear you. He thinks you are whispering when infact I’m nearly shouting at the top of my lungs. My mom called the other day saying she’ll be back here on the 17th instead of the 14th and when I replayed that information to my grandfather, I had to repeat it 5 times, slowly… like I was talking to a kid or someone that didn’t speak a word of english e.g. Muuuuuum *pause* saaaaaaaays *pause* thaaaat *pause* ssshhhhhe *pause* willlllll……

There are tons more examples of things I’m going nuts with, but I guess you all get the jist of it. He gets confused with everything that goes on around him, has trouble reading the time and repeats himself all the time, starts sentences without finishing them, or comes away with things that don’t make sense at all.

Just as I’m typing this, he just woke up out of his many sofa naps and says oh it’s 8pm already? How long have I been asleep for? I say “no it’s only 12:40” he goes “is neighbours on yet” (australian soap opera) and I’m like “no it’s not 1:40 yet, remember” then he says “what about the news” and I say “no that’s on at 1pm”. Then he rubs his eyes and asks “what’s the time?”.

I know he can’t help it, but I just feel bad that I’m going nuts, but you seriously don’t understand how hard it is to look after someone who is nearly 82, memory is fading, can hardly walk and you’re on your own.

Damn, it feels like my blog has suddenly turned into a cooking blog since I moved in with my grandfather. The funny thing is, I hate cooking when I’m on my own, I normally eat junk food but I love cooking for other people and my grandfather is my test dummy hehe

Last night I used some left over rice to finish off this dish, I ended up cooking way too much rice with the Chinese food the other day, so rather than throwing it out, I re-used it and the good thing was it still tasted fresh when I re-heated it in the microwave. This recipe is really simple to make and takes in total, 20 minutes to do 😀

Ingredients:
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 can canned chopped tomatoes
5 mushrooms, chopped
4 garlic cloves, cut into fourths
Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper to season
Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 chicken breasts
Rice or Spagetti

Method:
1. Take your chicken breasts and flatten them a little. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and some lemon juice and wrap in foil (loosely not tight) and cook in the oven at 200ºc for approx 20 minutes.

2. While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare and cook the sauce by heating some oil in a large pan in medium heat. Add chopped onions and mushrooms then cook gently for 5 minutes until they are soft and slightly golden. Next, add the tomatoes and garlic and bring it to boil. Simmer (turn down heat) for let it bubble away for 15-20 minutes. Season with a little salt, pepper and sprinkle basil throughout and stir.

3. Once the chicken is cooked, put straight on a plate with some rice (or spagetti) and spoon over some of the yummy tomato sauce and eat 😀 I used a little plastic cup to make the rice look all funky of the plate!




Tonight my aunt stayed for dinner, we had left over steak from last nights dinner (I tried a new sauce which I’ll blog next week) and I had some chicken in the fridge. So I decided to make two different chinese dishes; Beef in an Oyster Sauce and Sweet & Sour Chicken with boiled rice. It turned out yummy, my favourite was the beef *drool* This will be a long post so beware 😛

Stir-Fried Vegetables
Grab any vegetables you like, I used onions, mushrooms, green pepper, mange-tout and fry with a little oil, salt and pepper until soft. Set aside for use in the two upcoming dishes 😀



Soft Fluffy White Boiled Rice
Heat a large pan of water which has been seasoned with a little salt and bring to the boil. Add in rice (I used 2 cups today) and make sure the water level is approx 1 inch more than the rice level, stir once and then put lid on the pan and turn down the heat and let it simmer away for 15 or until water has evaporated. To check if the rice is ready, get a knife and make little holes in the pan to get to the bottom of the pan, when you take the knife out, if it is sticky and watery then the rice is not ready and should take a few more minutes. Becareful not to stir the rice or else it will become all sticky and yuck! Take off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before making sure all water has gone from the pan and plate up with the dishes featured below (or any other for that matter!).


Beef in Oyster Sauce
Ingredients:

    500g sirlon steak cut into pieces
    3 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
    1/4 ginger – thinly sliced
    1 tbsp sake or soy sauce
    5 tbsp oyster sauce
    pepper
    vegetable oil

Marinate:

    1 tbsp light soy sauce
    1 tsp corn starch
    2 tbsp water
    2 tsp vegetable oil
    A pinch of pepper and sugar

Method:

    1. Mix all the marinate ingredients together in a bowl and add the steak for 30 minutes in order to soak.
    2. Heat the oil in a wok (or deep frying pan), saute garlic and ginger until slightly brown.
    3. Add the marinated steak along with the leftover marinate juices and cook until cooked (approx 8 minutes)
    4. Add oyster sauce, sake or soy sauce, 1/2 of the ready prepared vegetables & season and stir all together for a further 2-3 minutes, then serve.


Sweet & Sour Chicken
Marinate Ingredients:

    500g boneless chicken breast sliced into chunks
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp corn starch
    1 tbsp cold water

Sauce Ingredients:

    4 tbsp vinegar
    4 tbsp ketchup
    1 tbsp sugar
    5 tbsp cold water
    5 tbsp pineapple juice
    3 tsp corn starch
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp vegetable oil

Method:

    1. Mix all of the marinate ingredients together in a bowl and let the chicken sit it in for approx 30 minutes
    2. Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
    3. Add a little vegetable oil in a wok (or deep frying pan) and put on high heat until you hear the oil cracking. Add in the chicken stirring for approx 4 minutes until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside remembering to drain excess oil away from the wok or else the dish will be too oily.
    4. With your now oil drained wok, add a little vegetable oil (yes it doesn’t make sense but it’s fresh oil rather than used oil! Add in the rest of the previous prepared vegetables, sweet & sour sauce and stir until it because very hot, this will take 2-3 minutes.
    6. Put the chicken back in the wok with the sauce and stir for a few minutes then serve.



& that’s basically it… the preparation takes the longest but munching into the hot yummy food at the end is great! Since I’ve moved in with my grandfather, I’m cooking much much more so these posts will continue for the near future so I hope you don’t get too bored & I would like some of you to try them out and lemme know how they worked!


This was the dish I was busy cooking when I sliced part of my finger off, it still hurts like a bitch but eating yummy food made it feel worth it, yes I’m weird like that! My aunt bought a Roasting joint of Scottish Topside Angus Beef the other day so I decided to cook it today and this is what I came up with. The recipe and cooking times are based on the weight of the beef I had. Increase/Decrease cooking time depending on weight. If you are stuck, email (comment) and I’ll give you the times based on the weight 🙂

Ingredients:
1. 1Kg Roasting Joint of Beef
2. Olive oil
3. Dried Mixed Herbs
4. Salt and pepper
5. Water
6. Beef Stock Cube
7. Corn Starch
8. Potatoes
9. Milk and Butter

Roast Beef:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°c

2. With a knife, make around 6-8 incisions, this will allow the juices to flow around the joint and also for heat to get inside

3. Take a tablespoon of olive oil and dried mixed herbs and rub into the joint along with sprinkles of salt and pepper

4. Get a baking tray with alumninum foil and place the joint in it and cover. Place into the middle rack of the oven

5. Cook for 50 minutes and then take out of the oven and prick the joint with a sharp knife to see what the juice colours are. If it is red it is rare (and probably still raw), you are looking for a clear juice to come out in the end. By now, juices will be at the bottom of the baking tray, so take a spoon and put some of the juices all over the joint and put in the oven for an additional 15 minutes

6. Take out of the oven and let to sit for 10 minutes before carving. This will allow the meat to set and make it easier to cut up.

Herb Gravy:
With the juices left over in the baking tray from the roasting joint, put into a meduim sized pan and put on the heat. Add some water and beef stock (use a cube that has been mixed in water). Dissolve a tablespoon of corn starch in some water and add to the pan. Stir quickly as the gravy thickens up to avoid any lumps (which taste yuck!). Add a tablespoon of dried mixed herbs (and some thyme if you have it) along with salt and pepper to taste. If you feel the gravy is too thick for your liking, keep adding water slowly and mix until you get a consistancy you like.

Mashed Potato:
1. Peel the amount of potatoes you want depending on how many people will eat. I peeled 6 potatoes, along with my finger *cries* and then chopped each potato either into halves or quaters depending on the size of it.

2. Boil water with a sprinkle of salt and once brought to the boil, add the potatoes and boil for 20 minutes or under soft and tender.

3. Once boiled, drain the water and add a knob of butter, a little milk, salt and pepper and mash the potatoes together with one of those masher things (no clue what its called). The potatoes will be nice, creamy and fluffy by this point.

That’s basically everything. It turned out yummy and there are tons of leftovers for tomorrow! I was going to serve some other vegetables but my finger was hurting too much so I just stuck with the potatoes lol and then a scoop of ice cream and peaches to cheer myself up 😉










I’m currently in the middle of cooking (recipe will follow later) and as I was peeling potatoes for the side dish, I sliced the top of my index finger on my left hand off. Blood started pouring out and I kept running it under the tap but more blood was coming out. I then spent 5 minutes running around my grandfathers house looking for antiseptic cream, bandages and band-aids while blood was dripping all over *cries*

End Result = my finger hurts like a bitch, I’m typing really slowly, I still have to finish cooking dinner and chewy now finds my finger rather fascinating and enjoys licking the bandage lol