Friday, July 12, 2013

stool too?

I went for my annual health check on Monday. I have been postponing it due to various reasons; all of them work-related!

Right after I came back from Amsterdam with some prescription for the mouth infection, I thought it should be a good time to do the health check. Anyways, it's part of the company benefits for the employees, so I should make the most of it.

I went to the same clinic last year and had quite an enjoyable experience. Enjoyable, not like going for a pleasant tea party with your grrlfriends, but enjoyable in terms of atmosphere and service. I hate going to anything that makes me think twice about my health and mortality, especially if it involves something like drawing out blood from my veins.

So I was relieved I was finally able to make time (I had to catch up with work/emails after that!) for this. They had sent some forms and "gadgets" in advance; see if you can guess what it's telling me to do :

It's quite obvious to those who can read Japanese, but just as a summary, these 2 instructions are actually for collecting stool samples. I never had to do this in Malaysia as part of any health checks, so I found it quite an experience!

Basically you're supposed to line the toilet bowl with the soluble paper (pic above), and then after your poo comes out, use the pink stick given to collect some samples and then insert back into the tube.

How nice of them to decorate the instructions with colourful illustration and cute images.

I'll write more about the actual day's experience later, but it's something I hope you all don't have to go through!

Monday, July 08, 2013

I AMsterdam p2 postcard

My initial plan for the May trip to Amsterdam was to visit the world's largest flower garden (imagine tonnes of tulips!) at Keukenhof. Unfortunately, it seemed that the weather was just not right. It was wet and raining (almost) the whole time I was there.

So instead Niels brought me around to the Hague (he was going to get his visa sorted out) and Zaanse Schans to look at some windmills. It's a bit out of the way being in the North of Holland, so the train trip allowed some views of the countryside.

I had somehow developed some infection near my mouth, which I initially thought was due to dry weather. I still tried to enjoy the trip out despite the discomfort. Even after slapping lots of vitamin E cream, it still didn't get any better. That's why if you see my other pictures, I have an awkward smile >.<

* Retro photo blend thanks to Ms Barbie

Friday, July 05, 2013

onion sprouts

I got my gardening itch recently. Felt like the apartment lacked something as my winter plants and spring bouquet had all... erm... passed away :D

It was a joy waking up to greenery near the balcony and to see if there were any changes to them. As the weather got warmer, the flora slowly shriveled and all that was left were clumps of dried plants. I felt so bad for they were all gifts.

I read somewhere that it's quite normal as these plants usually dry up and go into hibernation during warmer months, but would somehow flower again when autumn comes.

So I had this half eaten onion sitting in the fridge. Since I hardly use onion in my dishes, I actually used it many rounds, and still was not able to completely finish it!

One day I realised it had started growing sprouts. Usually I'd just throw it away because I hear these sprouts could be poisonous, similar to those of potatoes.

I had a pot from last year which wasn't able to grow the herb seeds I had initially planted. So I recycled it and stuck the onion sprout inside.

Since it's already summer, it was good to leave it outside the balcony. I guess onions need more sun and water than winter plants. After about 4 days, it had grown to be about 10cm tall. It was exciting to see it change from the 1st picture, as I was too busy to even look at the plant properly after work.

After a few more days (about a week after I planted the onion), it had grown to about 15cm tall from the base of the pot.

I'm not sure how long more I should keep growing it, or when I can harvest this. In fact, I don't even know what to call this - chives? spring onions?? onion sprouts???

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

steamed cheese cake

This was a perfect recipe when I had some extra bacon and eggs to be finished before they go bad. To be honest, they were actually over the "expiry date", but Japanese food usually have early expiration dates :D

I probably got this on one of my rounds at the grocers and found I should try to make some a "cake" which doesn't take up too much effort. I don't think I'd be very good at baking because I find measuring things too troublesome! I'm very used to "secukup rasa" and experimental style, which may turn out either way :)

For this cake set, it comes with a pre-mix flour and plastic bowl. Just need to get some bacon and an egg. First beat the egg in the bowl provided.

Then add the flour mix as you continue to beat the egg. There's already bits of cheese powder, so you can imagine the smell when the cake is done.

Continue until all ingredients are evenly beaten. Then put in the bits of bacon into the mix. If you don't like bacon (or can't eat bacon), this can be substituted with sausage. I have to admit there was a bit too much bacon in mine, so perhaps I could have fried it first for the flavour to come out.

I didn't take the picture, but the next step is to put this into the microwave oven. 500W for about 2 minutes. I got excited seeing the cake mixture rise!

Unfortunately, it didn't rise out evenly >.<

But I was happy coz I finally "baked" something on my own! LOL Never mind this is kinda like cheating, but I guess this is how bakers feel when they see all their measured ingredients coming well together to produce something deliciously edible.

If I go by my experimental style, I'm sure it won't turn out to be a cake at all.

I had a bite of it while it was still a little steaming hot. Not bad I must say, though kinda strange to be eating cheese flavoured steamed cake with bacon bits. This reminds me of the traditional steamed kuih that we used to get in markets back home.