Phew…here I am! Sounds like I have been plucked out from the clouds and thrown back to earth….haha. So sorry for the long silence. I have not disappeared. I know it has been quite a few weeks that I have not updated my blog. Now I think I am in trouble….trying to summarise all that happened in the past few weeks in one post! Let’s see how much I can type with my 3 fingers. Blogging has actually helped me to type quite fast these days even with 3 fingers, actually using 2 of the time!
To all my readers, fans and blogger friends out there, thanks very much for dropping by, for your lovely comments and also for your emails. I am fine and in good health. Thanks very much for your love, care and concern. Thousand apologies that I have not been visiting your blogs recently. Miss your blogs and will drop by soon. Keep Reading Keep Blogging Keep Smiling!
My Big Dream - Mary’s Kitchen
Well, to keep the short story long….*wink*…..I had stayed very focussed and had been working very hard on the final stages of my long awaited dream for the past many weeks…….starting a food business! This is my second time but in a different way. The first time was about 7 years ago, straight from being a high school Mathematics teacher to being a self made chef. It was real craziness, a total challenge but a great experience. I sold the business after one year.
But my dream of owning a food business didn’t die there. It continues to burn in me. It has not been an easy journey because I wasn’t born with any cooking talent at all….sigh. I must admit most of the time it was very stressful and frustrating. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable. I learned a lot of new things along the way, learning some shortcuts while refining my recipes over and over again.
Cooking is my passion and I felt it’s high time for another round of challenge…..turning my hobby and passion into a business, making money out of my free time to feed my cooking hobby and hopefully make my other dreams come true. After all the long, hard preparation, it was all finally approved….phew….huge relief! It’s called Mary’s Kitchen!! Yes, Mary’s Kitchen. The name makes me smile. I owned it. It’s another dream come true!
My own food business has finally started, serving some of my best Malaysian dishes that I had learned after I came to Scotland. What a thrill to hear from my customers that they really like my food….Malaysian food in Aberdeen! Finally I can call myself a ‘Chef’….yippee! This is just a totally exciting, challenging adventure. Gosh…it has been giving me lots of nerves and sleepless nights. But I’m really glad I made it through.
I want to thank many of my friends, including several blogger friends, for all their support, offers of help, encouragement and belief that I will be a great success. That’s really so encouraging and heart-warming. It means a lot to me. On top of all the food business requirements to fulfil, the most challenging is doing my food brochure. I made countless changes to it. Each time I edit, I told myself, ‘This has to be the final time’, but it never was…..*sigh*. At last….at last….enough is enough. No more changes!! I’ll slap myself hard if I do….haha.
Making my food brochure was a BIG learning curve to me. I spent endless hours and sleepless nights trying to put in the right pictures, the right wordings, the right menu and the right pricing. You see, I wasn’t born with the talent…so sad. So, everything was real hard work. I want it to look professional. I remember I got up one morning at 4 am to cook 3 dishes just for the pictures!!! Crazy huh. I thought so much about my brochure that I wonder whether anyone saw smoke coming through my head…haha. Well, I’m so happy my friends like my brochure very much. They said all the food pictures make them want to order every dish…haha. That makes me smile even more. I am proud of myself for completing the brochure myself. Well, Keep Learning Keep Smiling!
The picture above shows a few of my best food on the menu.
Blogger Chefs That Inspire
There are a few blogger chefs in the blogosphere that have been my inspiration all along. They are also my friends. They are Divina at Sense & Serendipity, Drick at Drick’s Rambling Cafe, Anna Johnston at The Hospitality Guru, Chef Dennis at More Than A Mountful - A Culinary Journey and Tracey at Tasty Trix to name a few. They are very friendly and always ready to help. Reading their blog posts never fail to inspire me. Do visit their blogs. I’m sure you will be impressed and learn a lot of things from them. Other food bloggers are just as friendly and inspirational.
I also believe that blogging is a catalyst in helping my dream come true. Along the way, I had learned to take better food pictures, write better and meet lots of other food bloggers and chefs whom I have learned a lot from. There are many who had even written their own cookbooks. That’s very inspirational. I hope one day I will also write my own cookbooks. But oh…….please don’t put too much hope on that, at least not so soon. May even take me a million years to write…haha!
Believe At Last
My family has learned not to believe me until they see it happen. One time my dear hubby said, “You give me stress!” Know why? Because I talk too much about my dream…..*big cheeky smile*. He just got confused because he hears it all the time but nothing happened….haha. To him it’s just empty talk for years. I told him, “I’m building castles in the air, but I’m also building legs to them! I need your money to make it happen!” Total quietness…..haha. Well, now my family FINALLY believe. I am having fun now, and dragging them along. If I don’t make money, I can still have my fun and they have the nice food to enjoy….*wink*. And if I make money, they know they are going to get lots of nice stuff from me! Good deal, right?
Friends - Big and Small
In the midst of all the stress and busyness, I did had moments of fun and surprises…..MY FRIENDS! I am really thankful for all my wonderful friends, from far and near, big and small. My life would be so miserable and depressive without them. They bring sunshine to my soul.
First of all, I received a BIG surprise parcel from a very wonderful blogger friend, all the way from Canada. She’s none other than the lovely LeQuan of luvtoeat. I think I almost passed out when I received it. I gasped and my heart must have missed many beats when I saw the amount of postage on the box! Tell you, it’s a heavy box. She sent a very beautiful floral plate for Mother’s Day and a very beautiful wooden cookbook stand for my birthday (belated). I was so touched but felt REALLY bad. Now I owe her a trip to Canada! Saving my money first. She will cook loads of prawns and lobsters for me…yippeee! And I will get to play with her adorable kids and make them very naughty…hehe.
LeQuan is a Vietnamese and cooks awesome Vietnamese food. Her food always makes me go hungry. We had tried her beef salad and also using the same ingredients to make lamb salad. You got to try it. It’s very delicious. Also I tried her asparagus soup that she wrote as a guest post for me….beautiful….mmm. Check out her blog. It’s both entertaining and mouth-drooling. It’s such a delight meeting LeQuan through blogging.
I will continue to say that blogging is a great hobby. It takes you into the world of friends and cooking adventure. It is truly through blogging that I have met many wonderful friends and had greatly improved on my home cooking. Most of the dishes on my blog are new ones that I tried and turned out well. There were some blunders, too, like my badly burnt soup! Read more at Super Star At Bad Cooking.
Next, my dear little 4 year old friend, Ellie, came by to visit again. Of course I kept my promise to cook fried rice for her…her favourite. However there was one day I was not home when she came by. She passed 2 heart shaped pink jellies to my daughter asking her to pass to me. There was even the word ‘I Love You’ on it. Awwww….how sweet! I was really so touched I almost cried. She’s such a sweet adorable girl. This is not the first time I received something from her.
She came again the next week. This time I made salmon fried rice for her. She loves fried rice. But felt so bad that she didn’t like it because there was a tiny little spiciness to it because of the salmon. I felt so sorry.
Immediately I went and fried her another portion of fried rice, just using mixed vegetables and egg. She finished it all…..happy me!
I must say that Ellie is a very special 4 year old kid. She is polite, talks very well, confident and very generous. She loves music and plays piano very well, too. I really like her very much. I believe all the credit should go to her parents for teaching her very well. She reminds me of my mom who instilled in us politeness and generosity and my mom lived it out.
I was very touched, encouraged and inspired by Ellie one day. She came with a bump at the back of her head. Her mom told me that a boy pushed her down. I turned to Ellie and said, ‘That boy is sure naughty!’ She replied, ‘No. He is not. He was just trying to hug me!’ I felt so sorry for her but yet really amused. This little boy sure needs to be taught how to hug a girl properly! I wonder whether he pounced on her when he actually tried to hug her. I hope his dad doesn’t do that to his mom…haha. But what touched me was that Ellie thinks good about others. She is selfless, caring and loving. I’m sure she makes her parents very proud.
Next, I have another little 2 year old friend, Isabel, who came by to visit. I love her big ‘dancing’ eyes. She is very intelligent, tough, cute and adorable. I managed to catch her a couple of times on my camera. I just had to be very quick. I found that Isabel loves to eat peanuts. One day when she was about to go home from my place, I gave her a bag of peanuts. She grabbed it and exclaimed excitedly, ‘This is my favourite!’, with a big smile on her face! My gosh..she blew my mind. I only learned the word ‘favourite’ when I was in upper primary school! She is only 2 and speaks like an adult! Puts me to shame…haha.
I also cut some oranges for her. She loves oranges. But see what she did with the skin……haha. I just love that shot.
Oh, I must share with you another little friend of mine, 18 months old Max. He comes quite often too. Initially he didn’t like me because I always want his food….haha. I can see you staring at me with big, stern eyes…haha. No, I am not trying to be greedy. Just trying to teach him to be generous. Each time he comes, I give him food. He loves my dumplings. I’m happy to tell you, he is more friendly to me now. He gave me an orange the other day. I’m sure winning him over, a little at a time!
In my busyness, I started taking up pilates exercise. I was told that pilates helps with our postures and balance by strengthening specific weak muscles. Now, I never imagine I would take up pilates. I hate slow movement activities, including walking and jogging. But then thinking that I am not getting younger each day, I felt it just wise to go for it. No harm just giving a try. I can always drop out…hehe. I see lots of elderly folks walking around stiff and bent. That frightens me. Prevention is better than cure.
My first lesson was a nightmare. It was so slow and boring!! I just kept thinking, “When is it going to finish?” and asking, “Why can’t they make pilates as exciting as badminton?” Then I wonder how long will I last. Right at my first lesson, my instruction said, “You are so tight!”, “You are so stiff!”, “You cheat!” My gosh…that frightens me but also amused me at the same time. I thought I was very fit as I play lots of badminton. But then I realise that there are other sets of muscles that are not fully worked out. I thought of skipping class but on second thought I decided to go for the second lesson. I really shouldn’t give up so easily. My gosh, the next 2 days, my abdomen hurt so badly! I told myself I must not give up. It will be good for me. On the 3rd lesson, I was very tired that day and fell asleep way before my lesson started. I woke up the next morning and was secretly happy…..haha.
Oh, finally I must reveal to you one of my biggest surprises of all! Absolute thrill to have another Malaysian food blogger here in Aberdeen. She is Muna, a very sweet, friendly and helpful lady. I thought this would never happen. But it did…at last! She has just moved here from Denmark a couple of months ago. She found me through my blog while she was still in Denmark. That’s just amazing. Blogging just makes the world smaller. We were so excited when we finally met. We clicked INSTANTLY!! There’s always lots of laughter and food talk when we meet. It’s just so wonderful that not only do we just drool over each other’s food on our blogs but actually get to test the real thing. How wonderful is that!
I was invited to her place the other day for lunch. We had a great time. There’s one cake she made that my family likes very much. It’s the pear almond cake. It’s very moist and delicious. I have to make it one of these days. Muna cooks and bakes very well. You got to visit Muna’s blog. She has so many mouth-watering dishes there! I wish I can cook all of them!
Muna is in the same pilates class as me. Last lesson she came with ‘ayam percik’ for me. My gosh…it’s just so very delicious. ‘Ayam percik’ is a popular Malaysian chicken curry dish. You can imagine what my mind was filled up with throughout the whole pilates session. Of course ‘ayam percik’! I couldn’t wait for the lesson to be over to eat it. My instructor that day said to me, “You are doing very well!” Bet she must be wondering why suddenly I could do so well. Shhhh…….it’s the ‘ayam percik’ of course!….haha
Oh, I can’t afford to miss the ALL ladies get-together every now and then. We just had one last week and more next week. There was so much food, laughter and fun. We even played pass-the-parcel game and celebrated birthdays. The picture above only shows some of the ladies.
I was much attracted to a very beautifully carved melon. It took my friend about 30 minutes to carve it. It makes for a very beautiful centre piece. I don’t think I will ever cut a nice one like this. Reason….lack patience…hmmm. Well, maybe one day I must give myself a challenge like when I made macarons…trying out 5 times in a row! Imagine if I try to carve that beautiful watermelon, I can see my family eating watermelons for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday…haha. You can read more about my attempts at making macarons at My Big Fat Valentine’s Day.
There were lots of food and desserts. I’m sure none of us took dinner that day. I must have eaten 3 meals in one! The food was just too good not to over eat.
So, you see, it was not all work and no play. It was ‘work hard and play hard’….*big smile*. I may have a big dream but it was really my family and all my friends around that make my dream come true and my life wonderful. And it is the joy of sharing my dream with them and you that makes my life meaningful and fulfilled. Yes, of course, I had met several negative or critical people around. Well, I’m sure they mean it for my good. Sometimes we do need such type of people. They help to keep our feet on the ground….*wink*. Well, life comes with lots of risk-taking, hard work and ability to take criticism if we ever want to achieve anything.
Ok, I think I better stop here otherwise this post will never get posted….haha. Thanks very much again for visiting. Hope you have a wonderful day!
Quote of the day……
“Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born.”
- Dale E. Turner
Keep Learning Keep Smiling