Fun Double Joy - Birthday And Valentine’s Day

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Beautiful red roses

Beautiful red roses

Last week has been the most amazing week because of Valentine’s Day and also my Birthday…..Double Joy! I was extremely busy but just wonderfully busy and happy. I thought I won’t be cooking but I ended up with LOTS of cooking for farewell parties, for friends at home and for church events.

Mater Chef Malaysia T-shirt and apron

Mater Chef Malaysia T-shirt and apron

Do I deserve to be called a Master Chef? No, definitely not. But, my very dear friend, Joyce, my best friend’s daughter from Malaysia who came here last year, obviously didn’t agree. She bought me a Master Chef Malaysia T-shirt and also a Master Chef apron….WOW. I blushed to receive them……still blushing. I was so overjoyed but I think it’s TOO ‘heavy’ for me to wear…hehe. I wish I am up to that standard! Still working on it ….*big smiles*. Juuuuuusssst……Keep Learning Keep Smiling! And if you want to know more about Joyce and all the fun that we had when she was here, check it out at 8 Beautiful Characteristics Of A Young House Guest. She is coming again this year….*BIG smiles* Can’t wait to see her again. We are going to rock Scotland, especially Aberdeen…….dancing and clapping with joy as the day get nearer.

Special birthday kiss by a pure breed Siberian husky!

Special birthday kiss by a pure breed Siberian husky!

Oh, I must tell you. I got a SPECIAL KISS on my birthday…….yippeeeee! My youngest daughter asked me out. She just wanted to pamper me on my special day. We had a great morning shopping, chatting and lunch before she went for her lectures. How sweet!! She really warms my heart, all the time. While we were at the shop, we saw an elderly man named John, 80 years old, with a huge dog. The dog’s name is Spirit and he is a 7th generation pure breed Siberian husky. My gosh…he is just so friendly. The moment I squatted to pat him, he kissed me on my cheek…….wheeeee! That’s a special birthday kiss for me!….*wink wink*. He actually licked my cheek! You can be sure my cheek feels sticky….haha. John had stayed in Malaysia long time ago and still remembers a lot of the Malaysian culture, food and even the language. We had an awesome time chatting.

Well, just before my daughter went off, my hubby came by to join me for lunch……my second lunch…hehe. John told him that there’s a pure breed Siberian puppy available for sale at £800 and that my hubby should get that for my birthday. Immediately there was total silence…haha. I think he would move out if the dog moves in……LOL.

iPad birthday present

iPad birthday present

And talking about presents, I am just over the moon. I got an iPad for my birthday, from hubby!!….yippee. I really didn’t expect that. It was just total surprise. I mentioned about it sometimes, just jokingly, that maybe I should get an iPad. Would be great for travelling. Apart from that, I don’t really need it. And now here it is… iPad! My hubby always wants me to go for more travelling. But then I am just very happy where I am. I have so many interesting things to do everyday. But wait, I think I am now on the journey to emptying hubby’s wallet……a love for travel has just started!….*big cheeky grin*.

When I got my iPad, know what my girl say? She said, “Mom, I know you will totally enjoy playing your Bejewel Blitz on your iPad now!” That was one of the very first apps she downloaded for me. That’s really sweet of her! Whah……the game looks big on the screen….awesome! My hubby remarked, “Oh dear, now she is going to play in bed!” I was just so amused….haha. He is quite right…*wink*. I play sometimes but I still love to read before I sleep. My girl grins all the time because she always beats me in this game. Just wait….one day I will beat her….one day…ahem ahem.

Talking about iPad, I think it’s a great educational tool for little kids. It can keep them occupied while the mom can safely do some stuff. Besides that, there are lots of games, stories, cartoons and other educational programs for kids to learn. My little 2+ year old friend above, Max, is very good in it and I am just blown away. When I got my iPad I just couldn’t wait to show him that I had the same toy as him….*big grin*. We managed to sit with each other to take a picture (picture above). Isn’t he adorable? His family is going to move back to Malaysia soon….so sad. We are going to miss them dearly but happy that we can still meet when we go back.

Awesome baking book

Awesome baking book

Oh, and I received an awesome baking book from a very dear friend from a faraway land for my birthday. I was shocked to receive it through the post! More shocked to find it wrapped in 2 pieces of present paper! My friend told me the inside present paper was her little daughter’s choice. Wow…. full of red hearts! Awwwww…..SO sweet of her! How I wish I can give her a BIG hug! Then the outer piece is full of colours because she found out from my girl that I love colours! That’s just too sweet. She bought the book because there’s a velvet cake recipe there. She knew I love velvet cake and had been trying to make it. I even tried making velvet cake using beetroot instead of using red colouring. Check it out at:
White Chocolate Beetroot Cake
Healthy Chocolate Beetroot Cake (Dairy Free)

Smiley red heart shape from little friend

Smiley red heart shape from little friend

That’s not all. My friend’s daughter, just turned 5 last December, asked her mommy to take a picture of her hand with a red smiling heart-shaped toy to send to me. That’s really, really so sweet of her! I sure owe her MANY hugs and to the mommy, too! Will make that happen one day……*big smiles*.

I also fell in love with the pumpkin whoopie pie in the cookbook. I have always wanted to make whoopie pie because they look cute like macaroons. I still remember last year I made macaroons (for the first time) for Valentine’s Day. I tried 6 times! That was such a challenge. No wonder macarons are so expensive. You can check that out at My Big Fat Valentine’s Day to read more about my macaron adventure. But if I make whoopie pies, I would like to make sweet potato whoopie pies because I love sweet potatoes. I am already drooling! If you love sweet potatoes like me, I have quite a lot of sweet potato recipes in the Recipe section.

Oh yes, I received awesome gifts and a special card from my youngest girl. You may want to know what she wrote. This is what she said, “Firstly, you don’t look a year over 40! And your heart is not a year over 20! You may be ……., but you definitely don’t look it!” Whao….that’s very flattering….*big smiles*. But that’s not all. When I received the iPad, she asked me what I am going to do with it. Excitedly I told her I would enjoy watching all the Disney cartoons and world badminton competitions! Immediately she said, “Now you sound like Max!” ……. my 2+ year old friend. We all ended up laughing…..haha. Maybe I should watch the Disney cartoons secretly so that I don’t get teased…*big grin*.

Heart craft and drawing birthday gift

Heart craft and drawing birthday gift

Oh, I must not forget another very sweet little friend of mine. She is 3 year old Isabel. She is one of the sweetest girl that I had met.

Heart shaped craft by 3 year old

Heart shaped craft by 3 year old

I was so surprised and happy to receive her heart-shaped craft with her drawing. Her mom said she has just learned to draw flowers and wanted to give to Aunty Mary! I was really SO touched! Kids always warm my heart and bring big smiles!

Big cookie jar

Big cookie jar

Ever think and talk about wanting to buy something and never get down to doing it? That’s me. I have been thinking of a big transparent jar to put cookies but somehow never got to getting one. And here I am, given one by my dear friend, Muna. She is a very sweet and friendly lady, another Malaysian food blogger who landed here in Aberdeen. Her blog is Life Through My Lenses. She cooks some of the most delicious Malaysian food. Please check it out.

Table of desserts

Table of desserts with my pink chocolate mochi balls and also the chocolate millie crepe cake

Now comes to my cooking and baking for the special week to share with my friends. I made a few new food. It was Valentine’s week and I thought of making something special. I made a chocolate millie crepe and pink mochi balls with chocolate filling to bring along to our ladies’ potluck lunch (picture just above here). But then there was an accident somewhere along the road earlier in the morning which caused a huge traffic jam. By the time I arrived, it was dessert time….still good though.

When I went back last Dec, I met a very friendly Sibu blogger, Arthur at Still Crazy After All These Years! How exciting is that! Blogging really makes the world a smaller place. I found that he was my sister’s classmate! The world became even smaller…haha. He took us out to the best place in Sibu, The Noodle House. I must say the food there was fantastic. If I go back again, you can be very sure I will go there many times.

Pandan millie crepe at Noodle House Sibu

Pandan millie crepe at Noodle House Sibu

Arthur introduced to us the pandan millie crepe. Oh my gosh…that’s like heaven on earth. The taste, flavour, texture was just SO good….heavenly. I loved every bite….mmmm. I told myself I have to trying making it.

Chocolate mille crêpe

Chocolate mille crêpe

It was Valentine’s Day and my Birthday so it’s perfect time to make my first millie crepe cake. It tasted good but then nothing compared to what I ate. The soft texture was not there. Will surely try again and again and again until I get it.

Pink mocha balls with chocolate filling

Pink mocha balls with chocolate filling

It was also my first time making pink mochi balls with chocolate filling. My friends told me that chocolate mochi balls are very delicious. I gave a try and my friends liked them. But if you ask me, I think I still prefer the bean paste or peanut mochi balls. My friend told me that a Japanese restaurant here serves chocolate mochi balls where the skins are also chocolate. Wow…I have to try that one day.

Chocolate banana cake

Chocolate banana cake

I also made a chocolate banana birthday cake to share with my friends in church. Everyone liked it very much. They said it’s not too sweet and the bananas with custard filling gave it a lovely mix of texture, flavour and moistness. But then they didn’t realise that my cake wasn’t successful. I meant to make chocolate sponge cake but then the sponge cake failed. It turned out quite tough. I was thankful that I baked them in separate thin layers so it’s not too noticeable and the cake could still be used. I need to try that cake again. Can’t tell from the picture, right?…*wink*

steamed bean paste dumplings (pau)

steamed bean paste dumplings (pau)

Steamed bean paste dumpling (pau)

Steamed bean paste dumpling (pau)

Another item I made for the first time to share with friends are steamed bean paste dumplings (pau). They were really good. I tried to put in more filling. You can tell from the picture here.

Birthday cake by friend

Birthday cake by friend

I also received a birthday cake from a very dear friend. The cake was really delicious….very moist and soft. Her daughter walked to my house with the cake! I was just SO touched! We stay not too far from each other but still it was so cold and windy in this winter time. Her daughter, Yu, is one amazing, smart girl. I still remember teaching her how to make a chocolate brownie last year. She loves to learn and is quick in learning. I love young people who are keen and willing to learn. She is a medical student and has just started learning the guitar recently. Being initiative, willing to learn and determined, I’m sure she will make a very good doctor one day. Really proud of her. Check out my baking lesson with her at Double Chocolate Brownie - Baking Lesson For a Teenager.

Chocolate birthday cake

Chocolate birthday cake

And here’s another birthday cake from a very close friend. It’s a lovely chocolate cake, very moist and delicious. It’s very rich so I have to go by small bites and lots of badminton…hehe. Love those big, red strawberries. This cake was a complete surprise to me. When my friend came to my house, there was no birthday cake in sight. We had food, chat and laughter and then when I turned around at one point, I was facing a beautiful birthday cake! Was so touched by what she did. When asked, she said she had to hide the cake in the car. If this is in Malaysia, all the chocolate icing would have melted…haha.

It’s 4 cakes so far. Any more? Yes, another one is on the way. My eldest girl is away and will be back soon and I was told we will have another round of birthday celebration….yippee……*big smiles*. Really miss her and can’t wait for her to be back.

Quite a lot for one week huh. But then, that’s not all. The week ended with a wonderful Couples Evening that we organised for our church couples. We had lots to eat and lots to shout and laugh about especially the games. I had 6 games for the evening. I must have added lots of wrinkles on my face after all the laughter. It was absolutely hilarious while yet so sweet to see everyone enjoyed it all.

The face tells the story......Just love it!

The face tells the story......Just love it!

This is a shoe wearing competition. All the ladies loved it. it’s winter and most ladies wore boots. It’s just hilarious watching how the men struggled to wear them for their wives…..haha. The men were obviously enjoying themselves. Though I bet in their minds they must be wondering and questioning, “Why are women so difficult!”….*grin*

Eating donut competition......Just relax and enjoy!

Eating donut competition......Just relax and enjoy!

This donut feeding competition is really sweet. All the men are so relaxed and really enjoyed being fed by their wives. Now, if you need more sparks in your marriage, I suggest that you feed each other donuts……*BIG smiles*. You won’t have time to argue or quarrel! But actually, it also look like fishing…LOL. The next time I play this game, I will make the donuts myself and take it onto a more difficult level….*wink*. More fun and laughter on the way……hehe.

Wow…….this is sure a long post. I actually enjoy writing it. Hope you enjoy reading it. I hope that what I wrote will encourage you to get out and have fun, enjoy your everyday and keep learning new things. Life can be hard and tough sometimes. All of us have good days and bad days but it doesn’t help by staying low and depressed. Take time off to pamper yourself or even go for exercise or sports. Each day will still pass whether we are happy or sad. So, why not choose to be happy. It will all be worth it at the end of the day.

Till then, see you in my next post. Enjoy your week. Keep Learning Keep Smiling!

Quote of the day……

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

- Steven Jobs

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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suituapui  on February 22nd, 2012

Ooooo…your choc mille crepe looks absolutely great. I’m sure it tasted great too - you’re just being typically Sibu Foochow…very humble. LOL!!! Check out the post in my blog tomorrow. They have a double chocolate mille crepe there now…

Belinda @zomppa  on February 22nd, 2012

Double joy indeed! What a fun evening - that donut competition is awesome!

Blackswan  on February 22nd, 2012

Hey Mary, Happy belated bday! U must be a very romantic person to be born in the mth of Feb :)

What a fun post! Full of joy & laughter! I enjoyed reading as much :) XOXO, Shirley

Jeannie  on February 22nd, 2012

Could see that you are very blessed and live life to the fullest! Happy birthday to you, albeit abit belated:)

Little Inbox  on February 22nd, 2012

Happy belated birthday! That’s great reading this post. Nice sharing. :)

Nasifriet  on February 22nd, 2012

Happy belated birthday to you, Mary. I can see you had a smashing time. Your steamed bean paste pao looked delish. I’m looking for a quick and easy recipe for the dough. Does yours fall in this category :-) Would love to make these steamed dumplings.

Dulee An ;)  on February 22nd, 2012

WOW WOW WOW Mary! I don’t even know where to start. You sure had a very busy and heartfelt birthday and Valentine’s day. I think half way through reading your post, I lost count of all your birthday cakes until you reminded us. Lol.
Your daughter is so very sweet. I agree with every word she said! And all the gifts and cakes from your friends were just so touching. I especially loved the two hearts you got from your friend’s daughters. Children really do bring big smiles to our faces and warm loving feeling to our hearts. And your best friend’s daughter is just too sweet! I agree with her though, you are our master chef. Wear the shirt and apron proud, my dear, not too heavy for you at all. Joyce, if you’re reading, two thumbs up! JENG JENG JENG!
Last but not least…’ve just killed me with all the deliciousness from this post! I want everything! Love love live mochi balls. Have you tried making mochi ice cream balls? Those are my favorite! I’ll bet they would taste so good with little dynamite’s coffee ice cream. Oh I am drooling right now. Lol. So glad to hear that you had such a wonderful birthday and valentines! I enjoyed reading every word of this post coz it brought me big smiles to see you so happy. You deserved all of this and more, my dear. Big big hugs!

Mary  on February 22nd, 2012

@suituapui - The look is deceiving, Arthur…haha. Wait till I get it right then I have everything to boast :D By the way, I am not Foochow….hehe….which means I am ready to boast when I get it right…LOL. Can’t wait to see your post tomorrow. Ready to drool big time! You sure have a way of killing me…haha

@Belinda @zomppa - You should come here and we can laugh together. Or rather I will laugh at you feeding donuts…haha :D

@Blackswan - Thanks very much Shirley! Oh wow…didn’t know that Feb birthday girls are romantic. Yeah…I am romantic!!….haha…dancing around the house :D

@Jeannie - You are quite right. I have fun here…intentionally created to make life meaningful and fulfilling. I do have bad days sometimes but that’s when baking and desserts bring back the smiles. Of course badminton too :D Thanks very much for birthday greetings. It’s never too late. My birthday is the same everyday. Once you hit certain age…it doesn’t increase anymore….LOL

@Little Inbox - Thanks very much for your birthday greetings and your lovely compliments :D

@Nasifriet - Thanks very much for birthday greetings, Nasifriet. So sorry I don’t have a quick and easy pau dough recipe. I used yeast, lots of kneading and waiting. That’s really a lot of work huh. So, I don’t make them. I guess there’s no short cut in certain food. I wish there is. The texture will be very different without the yeast. But I do know that if you make a few times, it becomes easier. Have fun cooking :D

@Dulee An - You don’t know where to start? Now I wonder how many times you read through…haha. See, I know you would get lost halfway that’s why I mentioned in the end…..4 cakes…..just for you….LOL. Sorry…just kidding :P
Ok, ok, I’ll wear the Master Chef T-shirt and apron……only for myself….hehe. What a way to motivate myself!
You know, you wrote, “Love love live mochi balls” !!!! That’s just totally hilarious. I got a shock initially. I thought your mochi balls got legs and can run…haha. And yes, I must try ice cream mochi balls one day. Sounds extremely delicious…mmmm. And yes, with coffee ice cream…..more MMMM. Will post it when I make them. I have to try them soon. That will get me to Cloud 9 :D

peggyclyde  on February 23rd, 2012

Happy birthday. What a wonderful post. It looks like you had a very happy few days.

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on February 23rd, 2012

Happy belated Birthday to you! Both mille crêpes are stunning. I would really love a bite, or two.

5 Star Foodie  on February 23rd, 2012

Happy belated birthday! Such yummy treats, especially the mille crepe cakes!

Juliana  on February 23rd, 2012

Oh Mary…Happy belated Birthday…love the pictures and the gifts. My eyes got bigger when looking at you table of desserts :-)
Hope the joy of your birthday stay with throughout the year!

Pandy  on February 24th, 2012

Is always a joy to read every post in ur blog Aunty Mary…but is also torture to look at all those yummy delicious food! LoL! I can’t wait to go to Aberdeen again.. Now u have a new toy to play with! Now the sound kaching kaching kaching will be! Choco mille crepe n pink chocolate mochi balls goin to my list…=D one more awesome cook book into ur collection meaning more food! Hahahahaha..I’m being so greedy! Dulee an..thank you…Jeng Jeng Jeng..=)) Aunty Mary…glad u had an amazing birthday! Continue learning n smiling…great post! Big HugSSS!!

kitchen flavours  on February 25th, 2012

Happy Belated Birthday, Mary! Wow, so many birthday cakes and each one is special! Love your cookbook present, one can never have enough of cookbooks! Have a lovely weekend!

tigerfish  on February 27th, 2012

Happy belated Birthday!

From the photos, I can see great and happy times. :) Thanks for sharing.

Katerina  on February 28th, 2012

Mary Very Happy Birthday! You had a wonderful time and you’ve done so many interesting things! May your life be as beautiful as those roses!

lena  on February 29th, 2012

happy belated birthday, mary!! wow, so many lovely gifts and also a kiss from a special friend! that chocolate banana cake looks really tempting, you still so busy cooking and partying! dont let it stop!

Mary  on March 6th, 2012

@peggyclyde - Thanks very much Peggy! :D

@Angie@Angie’s Recipes - Thanks very much, Angie! Come and you can have many bites, with coffee or tea, too :D

@5 Star Foodie - Thank very much, Natasha! :D

@Juliana - Thanks very much Juliana! Come and join us :D

@Pandy - Just come and you won’t be tortured…haha. Oh… the kaching kaching…LOL It sure gets very loud and more fun :D My cookbook library is getting bigger and bigger by the week…haha. Cooking and baking is just such a wonderful hobby :D

@kitchen flavours - Thanks very much! You are very right….can never have enough cookbook. I think I must open a bookshop in order to enjoy browsing through all the cookbooks…haha :D

@tigerfish - Thanks very much! :D

@Katerina - Thanks very much Katerina! Yes, life is interesting. I think I just wake up every morning and tell myself that life each day has to be interesting. Then I’ll plan for it :D

@lena - Thanks very much, Lena! Yes, still squeezing in time for cooking, baking and parties :D Life would be so boring without friends! Hope you have lots of fun cooking and baking too.

kristy  on March 6th, 2012

Ooo…800pounds for a dog! I think I prefer just to give it a big hug instead of bringing it home. One is enough for me! I mean it. Just imagine those cleaning job you need to take care of. Not funny at all. Oh wow, looks like you had a fabulous day. Somemore, ipad for present. (I think I prefer this than the roses. haha…)That is sure a double joy. Oh so envy~lah. haha….

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