#WeekendCooking Lockdown week 2 meals

Basmati Bolognese

This was a lunch of leftovers. I had leftover basmati rice and leftover bolognese sauce. I combined them in a bowl and topped it with shredded cheddar. Zap it in a microwave and there’s lunch.

Sliced fish horfun

Horfun is a popular Singapore rice noodle dish with lots of yummy gravy. Typically there is beef horfun or seafood horfun but I had tilapia fillets I wanted to cook up, as well as spinach. The rice noodles used in Singapore tends to be the wider type, also freshly made, but I only had this medium-width dried rice noodles. So I soaked it in hot water until it softened a bit. Then fried it in a hot wok with some dark soy sauce for color and some regular soy sauce for flavor. Remove from pan. Stirfry some ginger then the fish slices which I had marinated in some soy sauce and white pepper. Remove from wok. Then add in some stock. I used bonito stock powder I had then added in some cornflour slurry to thicken. Then some baby spinach and beaten up egg to form a nice gravy. Dish out the noodles, pour out the gravy, top with fish slices. For a proper recipe, check out What to Cook Today. 



Tori no Karaage

My kids love to eat ramen and one thing they love to order at ramen restaurants is the karaage or fried chicken. Since we are stuck at home, might as well try a new-to-me recipe. I used this recipe from RecipeTin Japan, I had not realised that karaage is marinated in grated ginger. I didn’t have mirin so added some honey instead. It is deep fried twice, which apparently makes it juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The family loved it!

Leftover short-grain rice = onigiri for dinner the next day. I mixed the rice with some chopped up bacon and furikake.


Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs




Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

It can sometimes be intimidating starting a new-to-me writer, especially one with a huge collection of series and books written. And perhaps even more so for speculative fiction, where the worlds are strange and may take some time to sink into.

So admittedly the first chapter didn’t really do it for me, but as we moved on and met Vin, the young girl with a tough life and some strange power she calls Luck, it began to grow on me and I realized that I did not want to stop reading. And at the same time, I didn’t want to read it too fast because that would mean the end of the book. This was an amazing read. It was exciting and immersive and had this kind of Ocean’s Eleven kind of feel in parts – not in the smooth, Vegas way but in that great camaraderie among the crew and how they all played unique roles that came together as a whole.

And Allomancy, I mean, how clever that is. To introduce this use of metals, metals we are all familiar with, yet use them in this almost wuxia kind of way (all that leaping about especially).

And well, as you can see, I did bring myself to finish it, much as I didn’t want this story to end. But Sanderson has so many books (including more in this Mistborn series) that will make this newfound fan thrilled for many more reads to come

Library Loot (March 25 to 31)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you all are staying safe and healthy.

As I mentioned last week, we are under lockdown, and all libraries are closed. I wrote a little bit about how we are doing in this post here. 

But thankfully, ebooks and audiobooks are always available!

Claire has the link-up this week

Here’s what I got from our virtual library this week!

Pigs Might Fly – Nick Abadzis

All the sensible hogfolk in Pigdom Plains know that if pigs were meant to fly, they’d have been born with wings but there’s no convincing Lily Leanchops. The daughter of renowned inventor Hercules Fatchops, Lily has watched her father’s flying machines fail time and time again. Working in secret, Lily is trying to build what her father couldn’t: an aircraft that actually works. And of course, she’s following his example and employing scientific principals alone, not magic. (Well, a protection spell or two doesn’t count, right?)

Lily’s secret project takes on a new sense of urgency when a mysterious enemy emerges from beyond the mountains. The Warthogs are coming, and they’re piloting flying machines powered by dangerous magic spells. To save Pigdom Plains, Lily must take to the skies in her own experimental aircraft and there’s no time for a test run.

Darius the Great is Not Okay – Adib Khorram

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming–especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush–the original Persian version of his name–and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.


What did you get from your library this week?


It’s Monday and it’s the start of week two of shelter-in-place


Week one got off to a slightly rocky start with us all getting used to homeschooling (the husband had already started working from home the week before that).

I posted a little bit about that here. 

As I write this on Monday 9am, the third grader is working on an English assignment and the 6yo is grumbling about doing his English schoolwork. The third grader is more used to more independent-style learning and online learning too, but it’s not been easy for the first grader.

The husband braved the supermarket over the weekend so we now have some more snacks (very important to these hungry kids), more flour and sugar (I was running out! Also I have to make a birthday cake for my 8yo will be 9 next week!) and I feel better about having a bit more supplies.


An unofficial home economics class


Trying to get a slight semblance of regular life but buying take out from the Kebab Shop. This was just a portion of their family pack! Delicious!





Mistborn – Brandon Sanderson

Ok I am LOVING this




Ugly Delicious


Nothing at the moment. I just finished Double Cup Love yesterday and am looking out for a new audiobook.



A chocolate oatmeal cookie





I made some freezer baked pasta (topped it with bechamel after taking the photo)

Maybe some chicken rice made in the rice cooker and with a premade Singapore – style Hainanese chicken rice paste.



Last week:

I read:


I posted:


Meals under a week of lockdown #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (March 18 to 24)

Spring TBR list #TopTenTuesday


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date


Meals under a week of lockdown #WeekendCooking

And so yes, I went on a panic buy. Just for a few extra things after I heard that our county in the Bay Area was one of the six announcing “shelter in place” that would begin 1201am Tuesday. I learnt of the news just after lunch on Monday (the schools had announced closure the Friday before) and immediately the husband went to Trader Joe’s to grab milk, more fruits, bread. When he returned, I popped into our closest Asian supermarket for noodles, some frozen bao, fresh vegetables. I was hoping to also get some tofu and chicken but none was to be found. I was worried about the lines getting longer – and also staying out too long with possible COVID-19 carriers – so I didn’t want to wait at the seafood or fresh meat counter.

Anyway, we do have supplies at home like rice, flour and other staples. It’s more like the fresh produce that may require a trip to the supermarket next week. But for now we are doing ok. Hope you are too.

But with four people at home for all meals plus snacks, I am thankful that my kids are the kind who are happy to have sandwiches for lunch several days in a row!

Here are some of the meals I’ve made over the lockdown week so far:



Noodles with chicken, bean sprouts, prawns and enoki mushrooms.




Pizza with asparagus and bacon


Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Over the weekend, I’m thinking of making a baked Mac and cheese to freeze. Maybe make some more pizza dough to pop into the freezer. I don’t have any tortillas at the moment, but I was thinking of making some freezer burritos, either breakfast style with scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes, or regular with black beans, rice, and cheese.

Another thought I had was to make some wonton or dumplings to freeze.

What meals do you make ahead to freeze? I always make extra bolognese sauce to freeze, and whenever I make waffles at home, I always triple the batch to have extra to freeze. I also like to have homemade pizza rolls in the freezer which are a quick school lunch idea. And when I make bread, I tend to make two loaves at a time, and stick one in the freezer. Otherwise, I’m not quite sure that the Chinese-style food that we cook is all that freezer-friendly.






Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Life in the time of COVID-19

We are under lockdown. Schools have been closed. People are working from home. Non-essential businesses are closed. Restaurants are takeout or delivery only. I’m going to try to update this blog a bit with what’s happening in our locked-down house with two kids aged 6 and 8, one in first grade, the other in third grade, and me forced to homeschool them.

Luckily with the third grader, his teachers have been familiar with the online world for a while now. They’ve been running a class website for a few years, the kids use Google Classroom and a variety of online apps and websites like Newsela, Seesaw, iChineseReader. So really, it’s a bit like being in school. The first grade teachers had to scramble over the weekend, making videos of the work they do in class, like the writing of the Chinese characters and Math work. First of all, I should explain that my kids attend a Mandarin immersion programme in a public elementary school. They start off in kindergarten with 90% Mandarin, 10% English, and every year, the Mandarin percentage decreases slightly, so in first grade it is 80-20 Mandarin-English, and with the third grader, it’s 60-40.

So in terms of Math work, it’s all in Mandarin, but their books are the standard California Common Core texts in English. Quite a few parents don’t actually speak Mandarin so it’s helpful to have the kids watch the Mandarin-language Math videos from their teacher. In my case, I learnt Mandarin as a second language (or as Singapore calls it, Mother Tongue), since Primary One until I was 18. But everything else taught in Singapore was in English, so I am a bit clueless when it comes to teaching Math in Mandarin.

The teachers have done an amazing job in such a short time and the parents have also been helping each other out, starting WhatsApp groups and asking questions and getting answers.

And the variety of online activities we have these days, we work on Mystery Science videos and activities (you can sign up for a free account valid until June), we watch Brainpop videos (also has free access for those with closed schools) and answer their quizzes. I’ve also resorted to Netflix which has Mandarin language options for some kids shows like Magic School Bus – it’s a combination of science class and Mandarin class!

We take time to go out and have some exercise and fresh air – the PE teachers have asked us to keep a log of sorts for at least 20 minutes of physical education a day. And reading time of course. But sometimes we just need a random break, so we dance, we sing, we jump around, we check on classmates via Zoom conference call.

How are things going on your side of the world? Let me know how you’re doing!


Library Loot (March 18 to 24)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.


Hello from day 3 of COVID19-no-school-for-three-weeks-or-possibly-more.

The county I live in is under lockdown until April 7 and so all libraries are closed!

Today we will be trying out something new – piano class via FaceTime! The music school location is closed for the same two weeks so the piano teacher is trying out online classes for now. Hopefully it works. Our piano is located in the part of our house which has the worst wifi signal, although the husband added a repeater so we will see how that goes!

How are things going in your part of the world? Are you working from home? Are your kids (if any) home?

Meanwhile, link up your library loot here or let me know in the comments. Stay safe, stay healthy!

My first Sanderson. Not sure if this is the right one to start with? Oh well, that’s what I’ve borrowed!

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. Criminal mastermind Kelsier teaches Allomancy, the magic of metals, to another Mistborn, urchin Vin 16. The unlikely heroine is distracted by rich Venture heir Elend. Can Kelsier’s thieving crew take on the tyrant Lord Ruler and bring back colour to their world?

The Pomegranate Lady and her Sons – Goli Taraghi

Rich in characters both whimsical and deeply poignant, humorous and real, the stories of Goli Taraghi have made her one of the world’s most beloved contemporary writers from Iran. A best-selling author in her native country and widely anthologized in the United States and around the world, Taraghi’s work is now made fully accessible to an English-speaking audience in this standout and long-awaited volume of selected stories.

Drawing on childhood experiences in Tehran during the reign of the Shah, her exile in Paris, and her subsequent visits to Tehran after the revolution, Taraghi develops characters and tales that linger in one’s mind. In the title story, a woman traveling from Tehran to Paris is obliged to help an old woman–the Pomegranate Lady–find her way to her fugitive sons in Sweden. In “The Gentleman Thief,” a new kind of polite, apologetic thief emerges from the wreckage of the revolution. In “Encounter,” a woman’s world is upended when her former maid becomes her jailer. And in “The Flowers of Shiraz,” a group of teenagers finally manages to coax a shy schoolmate out of her shell–only to once again encounter tragedy.

Reminiscent of the work of Nadine Gordimer and Eudora Welty, Taraghi’s stories capture universal experiences of love, loss, alienation, and belonging–all with an irresistible sense of life’s absurdities


As for the kids’ loot, I’m going digital this week, although I don’t like having them read ebooks too much. And you may think I’m paranoid but I think it’s important right now to just stay home, keep to ourselves, practise social distancing.


What did you get from your library this week?