Updates: Choy sum

Choy sum three days after germination (Sept 2013)

That’s a look at the seedlings three days after germination.

I used organic soil purchased from a seller at Bayan Baru and added hummus fertiliser. The seedlings were watered every three days but growth appeared to be very slow. The pic below shows the growth one month later. Not much difference.

Choy sum, a month after germination

Later I found out that because my veg isn’t grown on the ground but in boxes, I’ll have to fertiliser the vegetables more frequently – at least once every two weeks – and water them nearly every day. Some folks at the gardening forum on Facebook were helpful too. So after a few doses of goat manure, vermicompost, hummus fertiliser and Epsom salt, these babies started looking pretty substantial. I’d say that they started bulking up after the Epsom salt treatment (I basically watered the plants with 1 tsp of organic epsom salt diluted in 1 full can of water). Here’s a look at them now.

My choy sum - two months after germination

They are not quite ready for the table yet although I must admint, they are looking pretty yummy now!

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Dirt-to-Dish

My balcony garden

Dirt-to-Dish concept isn’t a new one. It’s basically growing your own produce and later cooking with it. I have been intrigued by the idea of growing my own vegetables and having a little balcony garden and thus, decided to document it…on Facebook. I had totally forgotten about sharing my experiences on this blog…until now.

Anyway, the balcony garden has the following plants:

  • Orange Jessmine
  • Jasmine
  • Curry leaf tree
  • Pandanus
  • Lavender
  • Ginger

It has two planter boxes which contain some choy sum and angled petola seeds as well as mint cuttings. I also got myself a Japanese Rose plant as well as a Dianthus to help give it some colour.

Am hoping that with some care, this little corner will grow to be a green one soon!

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Dance & music lessons?

I’ve been toying with the idea of enrolling Eva for dance or music lessons for a while now. I remember her being very interested in dance as a toddler and then as she got older, well, it became more obvious that she had this love for dance.

That’s one of her performances during a school concert and just yesterday, when I sat down with her teacher for a year-end conference, I decided after that to start hunting for a dance school just for her. “She loves dancing and responds very well to instructions.” This is no mean feat, especially when you consider that she joined her class in August and didn’t have a long time to prepare for the performance.

I could explore the other option which is music but I think we’ll give music a go first and see how that works out.

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Homemade naan

Homemade naan

My first try and making homemade naan!

I had another recipe which called for slightly more ingredients – yogurt and butter – but I didn’t want to drive out just for these two items so I settled for something simpler. While the preparation time took a while (total 2.5 hours minimum), I reckon it was well-worth the wait! (It is simple to prepare and most of the prep time is more of you waiting for the dough to rise.)

The result was very lovely, fragrant and soft yet crispy crusted naan! We had this with baked BBQ chicken breasts and Nyonya achar. I know, weird combination but I was trying to clear out the fridge. The kids had this with either BBQ chicken or stuffed with back bacon and mozzarella. It was easy to make “stuffed” naan – simply place the ingredients in the middle of the flattened out balls and foll over. Noah kept asking for second and third helpings!

We had extras which is great because these can be chuck into the freezer to be kept for one of those days when I don’t feel like cooking up a storm in the kitchen! Tehehehe.

Cheesy naan

Homemade naan
From Periplus Mini Cookbooks’ Malaysian Hawker Favourites

Ingredients
(Makes 8 naan)

450 g plain flour
200 ml water
50ml milk
1.5 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Add the vinegar to the milk and set aside until the mixture curdles and thickens. In a separate bowl, dissolve the sugar in 100ml of the water and sprinkle in the yeast. Set aside until the mixture turns frothy.
  2. Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture and the soured milk into the flour and mix with your hands. Add the remaining water gradually to get a fairly soft dough. Add more flour/water if necessary.
  3. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (takes about 10-15 mins of arm muscle!).
  4. When ready, set aside and cover with a damp cloth to rise until it doubles in size (minimum 1 hour).
  5. Divide the dough evenly into 8 portions. Roll each portion into a ball and set aside on a lightly floured surface until it rises and feels soft to the touch (about 30 minutes).
  6. Dust the working surface lightly with flour and using your fingers, flatten the balls into an oval/round shape. They should be approximately 1 cm thick. Lay them out on a well-floured surface (IMPORTANT!) and cover with a clean, dry cloth to rise until the dough feels spongy and light to the touch (about 30-45 mins).
  7. To cook, use a non-stick frying pan and place one naan in the center of your ungreased pan to cook on high heat and covered for two minutes. Turn and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately with any dish of your choice.
  8. To store extras, cool the naan on a wire tray and store them in a container. They can keep for 2 days in the fridge or 2 weeks in the freezer. To heat up, sprinkle each naan lightly with water and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side in a frying pan. Frozen naans should be left to thaw to room temperature before reheating.
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