I would’ve posted this on Sunday but I felt too tired to do anything really. Let me share my exhausting Saturday with you!
We went to the shops on Saturday morning because we had a few unexciting things to do, like go to the post office. Of course, we were starving, having been really slow to get organised to go out and not having had breakfast before we left – so we had to get something to eat while we were out.
Jac had a hankering for pizza. She got a meatlovers pizza all to herself (one of those 6-slice mini ones; she didn’t eat it all, we took the leftovers home in the box. She’s eating the leftovers now as I write this). It had pepperoni, ham and ground beef on it, with BBQ sauce.
I felt like Japanese food and got katsudon. Good thing I was hungry, hey? The dish consisted of a big mound of rice over which teriyaki sauce had been poured, garnished with thinly sliced raw red and regular cabbage, a huuuuuuge chicken katsu which was smothered in barbecue sauce with yummy mayo on the side, and some cooked vegetables (carrot and cabbage) which was mostly hidden under the chicken.
The chicken was so crispy and fresh, sooo tasty with the barbecue sauce and mayo. Juji, you’d have loved this!
It’s terrible for me to confess this, but when we got home, we had a nap for an hour before getting up and getting ready to go to my folks’ house. Our weeks seem to be getting busier and busier, and by the time the weekend comes along we’re so drained. Although it would have been lovely to just sleep on, we had to get cracking to get to Mum and Dad’s because we were going to learn how to play mahjong! I’ll talk about mahjong in a bit. I just want to start getting these photos posted. Our esteemed mahjong tutor, my Auntie Susie, brought some kuih (the coconut-covered things below) for whoever felt like something to munch on while playing. Maybe someone will know what these are called, because I can’t remember. The chocolate-covered rectangles are (according the packet they came in) Battenbergs, which Jac bought the other day. They are Dutch sponge cakes covered in chocolate and marzipan. When Jac bought them she thought the white part was white chocolate (I guess she didn’t read the ingredients on the packet). Unfortunately, she dislikes marzipan as much as me! I think marzipan has a funny, unpleasant smell that reminds me of cockroaches. Any of you agree? Anyway, Jac brought them along thinking someone would be sure to eat them, as they’d just sit untouched if left at our house. She was right – I’d forgotten Mum really likes marzipan! The pink things in the Battenbergs photo are mahjong tiles! Jac said they looked like coconut candy.
All my siblings and their partners (minus our sibling and her partner who are in Sydney, duh) came to play mahjong, Juji and her boyfriend came later because they’d worked all day. A couple of Mum’s friends were also there, and my cousin Anne-Marie, her hubby Chris and 10-month-old baby Erin came later in time for dinner. We newbie-mahjong-fiends played from around 2pm, took a break to have dinner with everyone, and then started playing again. We played until around 10:30pm. It was such great fun! I’d have kept going until Mum and Dad kicked us out so they could go to bed, but Jac was getting a sore bum and back from sitting for so long, so we had to call it a night. We hope when Mum and Dad’s best mates from Malaysia come to visit they can bring some mahjong sets with them for us (much cheaper and readily available in Malaysia than in Australia). The bad news is that they are not due to come until December! Until then I have to try to find time to go to Mum and Dad’s to play, so I don’t forget what I’ve learned. Auntie Susie wrote out a printable document of the basics of the game, which I have been studying like a good little newbie mahjong nerd. I printed off two copies so Jac can study hers at her leisure. I’m illiterate as far as reading chinese characters goes, so I don’t think I had any significant advantage over Jac (for those who don’t know yet, she is not chinese). My Malaysian primary school days’ chinese lessons came back to me after a couple of hours, and I was okay with the numbers. But I still have to learn the characters for the winds. Anyway, back to food…
Everyone brought a dish for dinner, and as a result, dinner was a a huge spread. Our contribution was pork ribs. We marinated them overnight and cooked them in Mum’s oven.
Here are the ribs, on their serving dish, with all the chunky drippings spooned over the top. If anyone would like the recipe, let me know by leaving a comment, and I’ll chase it up and post it.
My eldest sister made a spinach salad. As you can see, as well as spinach it features boiled eggs, bacon, finely chopped onion and parsley. This was Jac’s favourite dish of the evening. It was really yummy.
We had three chicken dishes, would you believe? (If you read this blog regularly, you’d more than believe, you’d expect, you’d KNOW!). There were Nandos chicken pieces:
There was also Chicken Treat, complete with stuffing:
And we had Mum’s chicken curry too!
Mum also baked a big dish of lasagna:
And she made a hokkien-style dish of fried bangkwang with pork and dried (I think) cuttlefish. The cuttlefish is really stinky (I suppose I should tell you that say it really pongs – mahjong joke ha ha), but I love bangkwang, so I liked the dish. Jac wasn’t too keen on the stinky factor. Unfortunately for her, there was more stinkiness to come…
I piled my plate high and not surprisingly, had no room for a second round.
When cousin Anne-Marie got out Erin’s dinner for heating in the microwave, she asked me if I’d like to take a photo of it too. So, here is Erin’s dinner of potato and carrot, floating in a hot water bath and ready for the microwave, before mashing:
And here is Erin’s dinner, warmed, mashed and ready to be served.
And the stink of all stinks was revealed! I was thrilled to find out that Dad had bought a couple of durians! He opened them up after dinner and those of us who love durian fell upon it like locusts. Okay, okay, not true – I was busy concentrating on mahjong and was a little slower getting durian than I normally would be.
I took this photo as my eldest sister walked around offering durian to everyone. For those of us who love it – YUUUUUUUM! For those of you who don’t, sorry (especially thinking of you, Charlene)! But thank goodness there’s no smell-o-vision yet, eh? Poor Jay-Shian was sitting next to me as I ate durian. He is not a durian lover, and looked quite disgusted by the smell wafting around the room! I must admit it did smell particularly pooey. All I kept saying was – mate, if it were fresh*, then you’d know what stink was! Hahahahahaaaaa, YUM.
Thus ends my report of exhausting Saturday.
A couple of people emailed and asked about the Dixie Chicks Live AOL Sessions I mentioned, that Jenna kindly sent me the link to. Here’s the link. When the page has loaded up, mouseover Video to see the link to play all videos or choose a video. There are six songs in the session, and it is just amazing. If you watch them all, you will appreciate just how talented the Chicks are, with their singing/harmonising and playing of different musical instruments.
*The durians we get in Australia are imported frozen, usually from Thailand.