12 May, 2010
There are many things I miss about England. None more so than the humble crisp.
Kettle crisps – particularly the sweet chilli flavour – have their equivalent in Australia. But this Australian chip is a different kettle *cough* of fish to the UK crisp. The latter is denser, more packed with flavour and seems more a product of an obsession with the craftsmanship and artisan values inherent in the frying of the ‘umble tater than well, just a snack.
Fortunately, there are birthdays. And folks in Blighty (thanks, Sads!) happy to mail out care packages.
9 March, 2010
The raucous Chinese New Year celebrations of my childhood seems to no longer exist. Children these days don’t get to light firecrackers in the backyard and then run inside to watch them explode from the safety of the house (probably a good thing). They don’t get to push exploding gumdrop-shaped firecrackers into the neighbour’s house in the hope of maiming, or at least scaring someone before getting caught, told off and grounded. There are no impromptu gambling sessions with a myriad of aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents and random visitors for booty like roasted watermelon seeds and copper coins. They aren’t given a chance to stuff themselves until they’re groaning, bellies full of the cakes, biscuits and mandarins which magically appear in the household this time each year. And they certainly no longer endure the endless traipsing around to pay respects to all their elders, whether near or distant relatives, friends or acquaintances of their parents. I never minded the endless traipsing because at the end of each visit, after you’d paid your respects and looked suitably cute, you would be given an ang pow containing money, a precious, precious pocket money supplement.
But like Proust and his madelaine, whenever I bite into a kueh kah peik (a sweet flakey biscuit called Chinese Love Letters) or a kueh bung kek (tapioca flour cookies) around this time each year, those happy memories always float to the surface.
Some pics from recent celebrations ushering in the Year of the Tiger.
A paper cutting of a tiger
Ang Ku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cakes). These cakes are traditional at occasions like a baby's first month celebration and weddings, not Chinese New Year. We ate these at my niece's first birthday, which we celebrated along with Chinese New Year this year.
Pineapple Jam Nibbles
A paper cutting of a tiger
Mixed New Year Noodles (in the white and red plates) and a host of other goodies to celebrate the one year old's birthday.
7 December, 2009
My first attempt at a pop-up card was for a friend’s thirtieth birthday. And it was criminally delayed in execution, posting and receipt. Still, I was banking on the doe-eyed, long-lashed mammoth (thanks, Belle & Boo!) to smooth things over. As it was, it was the fawn which made her go ‘awwww!’.
Thanks, Finchy, and happy belated birthday again!
2 October, 2009
It’s been a long, tiring week. I’ve been learning new things, thinking in new ways, and rediscovering pastimes which I enjoyed a long, long time ago.
Like drawing. It was with shock, and a surprising sense of relief, that I picked up a pencil and began to sketch. I used to spend hours at school drawing trees, horses, women in fancy clothing I wished I owned… the things which little girls love to draw. Sure, my current level of drawing skills are nothing to write home about. But I’m not sure why I ever stopped.
Playing with paper is another activity. Just the simple act of cutting, shaping and arranging paper gave me a wonderful, unexpected sense of coming home.
Here’s another recently constructed 3D paper sculpture.
18 September, 2009
I recently had to produce a 3D paper sculpture, inspired by something I had come across, to a certain brief; it had to be organic, somewhat architectural, fit on an A4 base and be made out of white paper.
The trees would not thank me for my various experiments and neither would my (imaginary) cleaner for the myriad scraps of paper which littered my room like confetti during my endeavours. But, apart from the stress of deadline and the fact that I was calling on parts of my brain which had long lain dormant and creaking them into gear was protracted and painful, it was a lot of fun.
The initial inspiration
Subsequent inspiration - trilobites!
The Millenium Falcon?
Aerial view of the final piece