I Ken Lee without my computer!! So I made Coffee Cake

Argh!  I thought I wouldn’t have ANYTHING to blog about today because tonight’s dinner was Daikon Radish Cake (the one we bought and needed to finish because it doesn’t keep more than 4 days and it’s like the 5th day now) and stir fried vegetables. BORING….  But here’s a picture of it anyway 😉

But in my case, as always, ask and you SHALL receive!  I really need to work on what I ask for!!  A story to share is one thing but “OH THE DRAMA” is another…

OK, so last night while I was trying to post my blog about the Pork with Plum Sauce, my computer crashed (randomly, no blue screen, just went completely black, like I’d turned it off).

I should’ve taken the hint (but I didn’t) and backed up all my files (but I didn’t) and today, I got the blue screen of death… and now, after NUMEROUS (over 15) times of trying to turn it on, it won’t 😦

So now I’m singing this song… and crying…

I spent 2 hours trying to get it to work but to no avail so, I’ve now borrowed Tony’s work computer and in the interim between my computer going down and me getting on this one, I baked a Coffee Cake!

It’s made of everything that’s bad for me…

1) sugar – I’m sugar intolerant (my body can’t process “processed sugars”… HA!  I fall asleep when I eat it because my body needs to shut me down completely in order to process it).

2) coffee – I’m very sensitive to caffeine, I stay up on the smallest doses AND if I have too much I start shaking, seriously – I lose control of my motor functions it’s like I’ve got Parkinson’s Disease or something (just the shaking part).

3) wheat – in the flour – it makes me bloat.

4) butter – there’s TONNES of it in there, I really don’t think that can be good for anybody to eat that much fat.

So… I guess after losing all the work I’d been doing for the last week (if I can’t get this computer working, I’ve lost a LOT of work and I’ll have to use the weekend to redo it all), there’s nothing left but for me to wallow in my sorrow with a coffee cake.

Maybe the coffee will keep me up when the sugar’s trying to make me sleep – I’ll be a trembling, fat and bloated mess BUT the consolation is that my taste buds will LOVE me for it.  Eh, worse comes to worse, Tones can eat it all – he loves sweet things, and better still, he’s not super sensitive like me! AND he could do with gaining some weight 😛

SO… here’s the deal, the recipe I used was this one…


and the icing used was this one

It was referred to us by a work colleague of his who loves baking.

I actually don’t like baking, I think it makes too much mess and requires way too much washing up!  However, I’m trying to use up all the wheat and sugar from the cupboards.  There’s no point having them there if I have a hard time digesting them!

So we tried making it once with the original icing recipe and used almonds instead of walnuts (because we didn’t have any at the time of baking)…

and the one I cooked today had walnuts and I used the cream cheese icing instead.

Between the two, I liked this cake better than the last one – the walnuts make it better with texture and taste.  The last one was toffee tasting with the icing but this time, the icing was too runny (we ran out of icing sugar) and REALLY sweet! Right up Tony’s alley – he loved it!

Well, this bumbling mess of a cake is going to console me while Tony tries to fix my computer and extract the files…

Alternatively, I could always go for the French Toast with maple syrup like what we  had this morning for breakfast 🙂  Much better for me… no wheat, no dairy, no sugar, no gluten (we used free-from bread).  Awesome! Here’s a picture of it – YUM!

Until next time… I KEN LEE any more!!! “Oh the DRAMA”!

See you again soon!


Krav Maga + Pork Chops with Plum Sauce

Before I get to the Pork Chops I have to give you some news…

I just booked Tones and I into our very first Krav Maga lesson (next week).  I am TERRIFIED… I had heart palpitations and butterflies in my stomach just hitting the send button on my email to book it in.   We bought this 10 class pass in January and I’ve procrastinated for 3 months and waited until it’s almost expired (I hope I wasn’t too late) before booking it in!

Why?  I tell you why… I hate getting hit and I’m scared of knives (that aren’t being used for food)… Big men with huge muscles scare me… I imagine they can snap me in half with one flex of their bicep.

I do YOGA!!! YO…GA….You know…. ahhh the serenity… be one with yourself and the world… meditate and love oneself?  OHMMMM!

And now I’ve just booked into a class that will teach me how to beat the crap out of every living thing I come across (should they provoke me) as well as probably receiving some of those hits myself… urgh.

The truth is, I’m not quite sure what to expect, I don’t know what I’m going to learn and I’m such a chicken when it comes to getting hit.

Don’t get me wrong.. when I was mugged last year (coincidentally almost a whole year ago), I took a punch to the jaw and remained standing and screaming my head off.. and struggling to keep my bag.  I think I did alright against 2 taller, younger, males, though they won in the end.  I have to say that’s one huge reason for me to go do Krav Maga ’cause I would love to be able to give that punk-ass a punch back as hard as I took and take them both down to make sure they couldn’t get away before the police arrived.

Maybe the butterflies and the heart palpitations were just my unconscious mind trying to keep me away from such things – at the end of the day I would avoid any place where I know I’d definitely be getting hit and there’s the irony…. it’s always going to be a surprise attack on the street but walking knowingly into a place where you are going to get hit, in a controlled environment with controlled scenarios is a LOT safer and really should be much less scary!  WELL… more of that on another blog I’m sure.

I promise not to mix it with food next time.  Although, “Krav Maga and Pork Chops” does make for an interesting title 😉

So now, back to the Pork Chops, here they are, this is what we had for dinner today 🙂 

Pork Chops with Plum Sauce

So I cut these into strips and marinated them in the afternoon and then headed to a Bikram Yoga class, came back and cooked them.  YUM – nothing like tucking into this after 2.5 hours of exercise (1.5 hrs in yoga and 30mins walk each way in Shape Ups, in the rain)!

These babies were marinated in sherry, soy sauce, hoi sin sauce, sesame oil, sugar and salt, then drained and cooked in a hot wok (about 10mins).  The marinade left over was mixed with plum sauce, dried chillies and water, boiled and then poured on top of the pork.  They simmered together for about 15mins.

Also cooked steamed rice and stir-fried veggies.

Tonight’s Dinner

The verdict?  I’ll quote Tones on this one… “It was bloody delicious!” (Say that in a strong Aussie accent like the shark, Bruce, in “Finding Nemo”.)

Nothing like steamed rice to heat up ones tummy and calm down one’s nerves 🙂  Krav Maga, here we come!

Bikram Yoga: A warning… it’s hot!

Someone visited us recently and as we’re so loving the yoga and really enthusiastic about it, she decided to join us.

It was an early morning (6.30am) class because we wanted to do it before the work day and it was the day after she arrived from her 24 hr flight over from Australia.

We thought it would be good for her, to help with jet lag and encouraged her to drink water to prepare etc.  In fact just the week before, our yoga teacher got off a flight from San Francisco and came straight in to teach a class so we thought it would be ok for her to join.  Also during class, they always say that certain postures are good for regulating sleep patterns.

“I’ve done it before” she said.

I responded, “Well, just to warn you this is Bikram Yoga”

“Yeah, I know!”

“The hot one! Where…”

“Yeah, I know, I’ve done it before in Sydney.  Me and my husband used to go and I used to laugh at him because he couldn’t do the poses. I don’t think he liked it.. “

“OK so, just want to check that it’s the one where you get really sweaty because it’s hot in the…”

“Yeah… it’s the same, I told you, I’ve done it before.”

I didn’t want to push the issue so said “OK great… Well it’s exactly the same here, there’s nothing different.”

She said “Yep, OK, I’m ready, let’s go!”

The next day we all got up to go, she wore long tights.  When I asked where her shorts were, she said “oh I’m wearing these”.. I thought, well, no biggy, lots of people wear tights in Bikram yoga…

So I then asked “where’s your change of clothes?”

She said  “Oh I’m wearing these back”

“Really?  But you’re gonna be really sweaty afterwards and..”

“Yeah, it’s fine, I used to do this back in Sydney”

“Yeah but this is London… it’s cold.. are you sure..”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

At this stage alarm bells rung in my mind “is she really serious??” but hey, if she’s alright with being in a really hot room and then walking home in wet clothes with a cold wind blowing, that’s her prerogative.

“OK then…”

When we got there and entered the room, her first words were “It’s so hot in here!  Is it supposed to be this hot?”

Did she seriously just ask that question?   “What?!! I thought you’d done this before!?!”

It was the first class of the day, the room was just starting to warm up, it wasn’t hot at all…

“Yeah, I have.. just not in a hot room like this..”

The teacher walks in.. it’s too late to explain anything.  The teacher asks “is this your first time?” her answer “No, I’ve done this before, ages ago” and off we went.

She did alright for her first class, she stayed in the room.  Thank God it was first thing in the morning and we hadn’t eaten anything for more than 6 hours because right after class we went into the change room and immediately she said, “Where’s the toilet?  I need to throw up.”

Actually she didn’t say it.. she just made motions with her face and hands… so I quickly showed her the toilet.  She was in there a while.

4 times.  She vomited 4 times.  I actually don’t know what she vomited considering we hadn’t eaten since the night before.  Apparently water…

So what’s the warning?

NEVER assume that Bikram Yoga is the same as other yogas.  It’s distinctly known for the temperature at which you do the yoga.. It’s hot.

I did ashtanga for a while before my very first Bikram Yoga class when I was in my 20’s and I couldn’t get through my first 3 classes because of the heat…

I have never been to a Bikram yoga class that wasn’t hot?  Anybody out there been to one that wasn’t?  I’ve been to Bikram in London and in Sydney… they’re just as hot as each other!

That person STILL insists that she’s been before just “not in a hot room like that”.

Alright mate.. whatever you say!  I don’t believe her and I’m still not convinced.

Who the hell goes to a Bikram yoga class that’s cold?  I know I ranted last time about it being TOO HOT but I’d rather that than just doing poses in a cold room.  If that’s what I wanted, I’d just go do Ashtanga in the park.. or in my lounge room.

Can I just say that if any of you have ever been to a cold / cool Bikram Yoga studio, I’d like to know where one exists… not so I can go there but so that I make sure I avoid it!

As for any of you who have “done it before”… don’t EVER ask me if it’s “supposed to be this hot?”  I’m telling you now… yes, it’s supposed to be that hot!

Drink your water and prepare to sweat unless you want to vomit 4 times afterwards…

As for the person who joined us… I still don’t believe that she’d been before that time.  I realise now that as a general rule, everybody who’s been to Bikram Yoga will never JUST say “I’ve done it before”.  They’ll definitely tell you if they loved it or hated it, they’d know immediately if they want to re-attend and they’ll never ask if “it’s supposed to be this hot!”

Chicken Livers with Pasta

Of all the livers on this planet I have to say that chicken livers are my favourite…. hmmm maybe goose and duck livers too (foie gras)!

Chicken livers were the only livers we ate as kids, usually just fried with onions and soy sauce.  Simple but yummy!

I tried a lambs liver when I was about 20… OMG it was so gross, way strong in taste and it was quite hard and chewy!

Tones thinks he used to eat pig’s liver which he describes as rubbery and floury.. apparently it tasted “OK” (because if it didn’t taste OK he’d get a big whack across the back of the head).  Hmmm…. I believe our children are in for a treat!  I can just see them now weighing it up… “Liver…? or hit on the back of the head…? Liver….?”  *WHACK*

“Stop day dreaming and eat your food!”  😛

I tend to avoid all livers now unless it’s foie gras or chicken livers… yes yes I know the controversial foie gras… but you have to admit it’s bloody tasty!

Why do I mention chicken livers?  Because it had been AGES since we had them (maybe a year?) until today!  We had chicken livers for dinner!

Tony did Bikram Yoga this morning while I got up early to make breakfast, cook and pack our lunches (left over beef ho fun + rice and omelette).  It’s not often I have to go to work before he does… but today was an exception.  I then came home before he did (7.30pm vs his 8pm) and had to cook a quick meal and this is what I made…

It doesn’t look too good BUT it was tasty 🙂

It’s actually quite easy to make and if you like chicken livers, you’ll enjoy this dish.

Lucky for me, we’re both Asian and got taught to eat EVERYTHING even if it didn’t look (or taste) so good!


If you’re picky, then here are a couple of tips:

1)  I just never know when chicken liver is cooked and this time, I under cooked them (they were still bloody inside).. SO I had to reheat and cook them AFTER I’d already put in the egg….

Just like you’re not supposed to cook the egg to scrambled when you make carbonara.. it’s the same in this dish… so make sure your chicken livers are cooked properly BEFORE you add the egg!  Otherwise it will look all crumbly like mine.

2)  Use fettuccine or tagliatelle (spaghetti was too thin) – also ours looked a bit broken because we used the free-from (wheat free, gluten free, dairy free) version which always cooks differently and tends to be a little more crumbly than the normal durum wheat spaghetti.

3)  We like stirring the pasta into the sauce before serving but you can serve it on top of pasta.


Anyway, here’s how you do it….

While the pasta is cooking, saute onions on low heat, add chopped chicken livers and cook, then add cream.  Just before serving, quickly stir in beaten eggs, season with salt and pepper, serve on top of pasta with grated parmesan cheese.  Easy Peasy!

If you do decide to try it… Enjoy!

Until next time,

Joy & Tones

Beef Ho Fun

Firstly, we want to tell you about our new find… it’s in China Town and you have to walk into some dodgy looking “alleyway” to get there.

How dodgy?  Well we walked past a whole lot of industrial bins full of rubbish as the entrance to this place exists at the back of all the different restaurants.  I thank God that we went there when there was light and that I was wearing my wellingtons because it was raining that day and the puddles were deep and dirty.

Nothing like walking into a dark alley full of strangers, bins and rubbish-filled puddles.  I have to say, it was worth braving the dodginess!

So many people were there, there was a queue behind us as we were leaving!  I’m not surprised because you can buy really fresh Ho Fun noodles (600g) at a legend… wait for it… dary £1.00!!

We also bought 6 x cha siu baos (bbq pork buns) to steam at home for £2.00 and they were delicious!  We couldn’t resist and ate 4 of them  on the day.  Froze the last 2 and ate them a couple of days later.  Here’s a tip… they’re better off eaten fresh!! They taste good when steamed after freezing but they taste way more delicious fresh.

We also bought a really large container of Daikon Radish Cake for £3.50

All these things will only last 3-4 days so unless you can eat it all in that time, we suggest multiple visits (or freezing the buns and knowing they just won’t taste as good).

Here are the pics of our cooked treats 🙂

In order they are, steamed bbq pork buns, daikon radish cake and beef ho fun.

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We made Beef Ho Fun for the first time, it turned out OK, a bit tasteless to me so we’ll try a different recipe next time.  We may need to marinate the meat first.

The noodles had a really nice consistency and moistness but the beef and sauce didn’t offer much excitement to the taste buds.  Basically we got some fillet steak (at a ridiculous £5.17 for 199g) stir fried it in a hot wok with spring onions, bean sprouts, soy sauce and sesame oil.  We were so excited that it would be so simple but the result was pretty simple too 😛

Maybe we just didn’t have the hot wok skills required to pull off an amazing meal… Whatever the case, it was a waste of a perfectly good fillet steak! Next time we’re getting cheaper meat and using a mallet, bicarb and seasoning on it!

And we’re just going to have to brave the bins and revisit Lo’s Noodle Factory again for our next attempt at Beef Ho Fun (aka Beef Chow Fun / Dry-Fried Beef Noodles)!  Well, we needed another excuse to visit again anyway – they’ve got custard buns and chicken buns which we want to try as well!

For those in London, here’s the address:  6 Dancey Place, Soho

Enjoy and let us know what you think!  Also, if you have any really good Beef Ho Fun recipes, let us know!

See you again soon!

Joy & Tones

A whole new world

A couple of months ago, we went to dinner at a friend’s place and one of the many topics of conversation was how the world was changing quickly and nobody knows what the future will hold, not even the Mayans…

Is it going to be the end of the world?  What’s going to happen after 20/12 2012?  Well, it will be the end of the world as we know it.  That’s what I believe anyway.

There are already huge shifts taking place in people’s minds.  There is no job security and more and more people are going forth and doing what they love, the rise of the world of the entrepreneur and global mobile businesses.

The weather’s gone crazy, there are massive cries for change throughout the world, in different countries on different issues.  The internet is changing the way business works at phenomenal rates but what does it mean?

Who knows.. it’s like seeing a double rainbow all the way across the sky! 😉

If you have no idea what I’m talking about.. here’s the clip! And for those of you who do… it’ll make you smile seeing it again! Go Yosemitebear.. you rock!

So what does it all mean?  My very simplified version is that in the past, women had lots of power.. the Goddess, the Witch, the High Priestess.  Maybe they had more power than men liked so they went on a Witch Hunt and killed off any women with influence, persuasion, self belief or talent and created their own world, one ruled by men.

This is the world we live in today – the God, the Wizard, the Priest.  Business, corporations, government, religion, computers are all ruled / led or have senior positions populated predominantly by men.

And now, it’s time for a shift.

We men and women know that this way to live is just as imbalanced as the other.  We need to have a world where both masculine AND feminine energies work together in synergy.

So what are these energies?

Masculine Energy

  • doing
  • aggression
  • analytical
  • concrete
  • impatient
  • striving
  • rushing
  • assertive
  • left brain
  • thrusting
  • organizing
  • logical

Feminine Energy

  • being
  • surrender
  • intuitive
  • abstract
  • patient
  • tranquil
  • nurturing
  • receptive
  • right brain
  • receiving
  • synthesizing
  • creative
  • calm
  • soft
  • allowing

It makes the most sense for both to exist equally in the way we all operate don’t you think?  And how wonderful would it be to live in a balanced, co-creative, synergistic and synchronous world?!

If this is the world to be after 20 Dec 2012, then I am very much looking forward to it!! It definitely would be just like seeing a double rainbow all the way across the sky!!

Bikram Yoga: Feeling HOT HOT HOT

If you’ve ever asked can Bikram yoga ever be too hot?  My answer is ABSOLUTELY!

I LOVE the hot room.. mate, the hotter the better!  I hated when the room was cooled down by opened doors and people fluffing their towels and whatnot because it would send a cool breeze to my warm muscles and give me shivers or make me feel slightly more cramped and less flexible.  Besides, I like using the sweat to lubricate my eagle pose… it’s a LOT easier to do when you’re sweaty than when you’re not!

However, after my Bikram yoga session (on Easter Monday), I’ve changed my mind… I like hot rooms but not THAT hot.  Just before the class started, the teacher said, “This class is going to be tough…”

Class listens in silence, anticipating the onslaught of a screaming, pushing, boot-camp style teacher.  She was nothing like that at all…

“…because we’ve had a 4 day weekend, been eating chocolates and drinking alcohol…. the goal is to stay in the room”

Oh!  I breathe a sigh of relief!  WELL, I didn’t eat chocolates or drink alcohol so I’m sweet!  I’ll get through this class no worries!

The first half of the standing series went OK but then people were starting to sit instead of doing the postures and some were lying down.

I think to myself… wow.. those guys must’ve had a HUGE piss up over the weekend and ate TONNES of chocolate!

It was starting to get quite hot, my thighs were red, my face was red, my towel was drenched and I was sweating profusely – much more than ever before.  Every inverted pose I did sent sweat up my nose making it hard to breathe…. I decided to ignore this, “it’s all good…. just relax… and breathe”.

Standing savasna, I hear the sound of water pouring… ???? I look around.. water would be AWESOME right now….  I see the guy next to Tony is DRIPPING, soaking, water all over the towel, mat and floor… OMG he sounds like a waterfall!! Is that sweat? Or did he just pour water on his head???

Not knowing the answer, I returned to my practice, completely baffled BUT insisted that I remain with my breath…. “all is well again.. focus on one spot and breathe”.

Floor series, a person walks out… a few postures in, another person walks out… half way through the floor series, yet another person walks out.  I agree it’s hot… but why didn’t they stay in the room and just lie down?

I’m sweating a lot still.  Usually by floor series, my sweat has stopped but it hadn’t in this class, making all the gripping postures practically impossible.

And then.. it happened… my entire body was BURNING.  I have never begged in my mind for the door to be opened before but I could hear myself begging for a cool breeze.  For the first time during yoga, my mind left the room entirely.  I thought of everything except what I was doing.. I thought of what work I had to do and the calls I had to make… basically I had to think of ANYTHING other than how hot it was.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse… I started panicking…. I just HAD to get out… I just HAD to, my fingers were red and felt like they were burning!!  Even in a fever my fingers don’t burn!  I then understood why those people left the room… we were being cooked alive!! RUN!!!

I wanted to get out, there were only 6 people left doing anything and I was not one of them.  The teacher opens the door… ALLELUIA!  A cool breeze!! Thank you God!!  One guy moves and sits right next to it and he sits there for the remainder of the class.

I breathe a sigh of relief…. OK I can stay here… but she closes the door all too quickly and the heat starts to build up again.  I’ve now completely finished sweating.  I was still hot so I either had no more water in my body left or it was so hot it evaporated my sweat as soon as it emerged from my skin… either way… I was becoming a slow roasted pork belly.

But before I could imagine myself wallowing in mud, I gave it one last shot and got through the last few poses limp and ready to give up.  By that stage, Tones was lying down on his mat not moving.

The begging in my mind started again…. “please make it stop!!! When is this class going to end?????” and then… it did and I rejoiced when I heard the fans and heater switch off.


It took me 30mins to cool down after class and have enough energy to walk home again.  Turns out Tones was lying down because his brain completely shut down… he was lying there with pins and needles in both arms and both legs and couldn’t move anything.  I had the same feeling after class so we rested before walking home.

I’d asked the teacher if they’d turned up the temperature and she said that “it wasn’t any hotter than normal”.  Man, I’m now scared of her classes if that’s NORMAL!

On the way home we felt AWESOME!  I’d like to say we felt awesome because we both stuck it out even when it was clearly getting to be extremely uncomfortable for both of us but I think Tones’ explanation for our feeling of awesomeness rings truer.

Tony: “We felt great because the torture was over, we were NOT in the class anymore and we got the F*ck out of there!”

Ha ha ha!  Too right!!  In saying that we’re alive, our skin is soft (not crispy like a roasted pork belly) and we’re still going back even in the early mornings, in the cold and in the rain.  So it couldn’t have been THAT bad!

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