My New Friends On My Trip

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Wonderful mother-daughter bonding

Wonderful mother-daughter bonding

A thousand apologies if I have been missing in action again! Too much travelling…..hmmm. I was away again to visit my daughter. She was very busy so I thought I would be a real blessing just being there to help her, at least cook healthy meals for her and give her lots of hugs to cheer her up. We had lots of fun together. That’s the heart of a mother that’s hard to explain, right? 

The first visit was so full of fun visiting the animal farm everyday. Yes, EVERYDAY! Crazy huh….haha. You can read about it at Memorable Animal Farm Adventure. I’m sure all the animals recognise me by now….*big grin* But in my second visit to my daughter’s place, I only visited once. I wonder whether the animals missed me….haha.

AiHua (left) and JuenJuen (right)

AiHua (left) and JuenJuen (right)

Well, I’m most delighted to to share with you my 2 new friends, AiHua and JuenJuen. They came all the way from China to visit their daughters who are my daughter’s housemates. My gosh….imagine 3 moms in the house? We had so much fun! I just love them. They are very friendly! We shared a lot of stories and I learned a lot from them about their culture, food and even some Chinese exercises for tummy problem. Oh, and you probably can’t believe…..we are all born in the same year!!!! What a coincidence! It’s so amazing how we met. I mean to visit our girls at the same time. We didn’t plan it that way.

When they heard that my hubby is coming to join us for the weekend, they decided to cook a big meal to welcome him! My gosh…we were so touched! My hubby is such a VIP!…..very important person……..*big smiles*. I think God knows he LOVES to eat…..haha. The kitchen is small. I mean it’s too small for 3 cooks. So I decided to go for the oven. I baked an apple crumble and hot and spicy chicken wings which I bought from Asda.

Delicious apple crumble with custard sauce

Delicious apple crumble with custard sauce

Everyone loves the apple crumble with custard sauce poured over it. I had made twice before but this one is the EASIEST of all. I’ll be sharing the recipe on my blog soon. So, make sure you come back for it if you love apple crumble. My other 2 apple crumbles are at Apple Crumble With Custard and Apple Pie With french Pastry. Both are very delicious too.

Enjoying apple crumble

Enjoying apple crumble

The 3 girls really like the apple crumble. I promised them I’ll post the recipe on my blog soon. Then they can always make it whenever they like, either for themselves or for parties. It’s really easy, promise you!

Delicious hot and spicy chicken wings

Delicious hot and spicy chicken wings

This is my favourite chicken wings. They are hot and spicy and very delicious. You can buy it ready marinaded at Asda. I look forward to it every year. It’s only available during summer, perfect for barbecue. You can use the left over for making pizza and you’ll enjoy the best pizza ever. I made it last year and my family and friends liked it very much. Check it out at My Best Healthy Salmon Avocado Pizza. Just replace the salmon and avocado with the chicken and cheese.

My new friends, AiHua and JuenJuen, and their daughters prepared the rest of the food. My gosh…….it was a lot of preparation but at the end of it all, the food was SO good….healthy and delicious…….mmmmm. We really appreciate them very much for preparing such a nice meal for us. It was really fun eating together, like a big family during Chinese New Year Eve Reunion dinner. I’ll always cherish this time together. It was so unplanned and yet from strangers we became good friends.

A wonderful dinner together

A wonderful dinner together

There’s very limited kitchen wares for cooking but still we managed to cook a big meal. It’s amazing! The youngsters must be the happiest because they really miss home cooked food by their moms. The big smiles on their faces tell it all. In China, most families have only one child so you can imagine the utter joy of AiHua and JuenJuen travelling all the way here to spend some time with their only daughter. Has to be electric! Even though my daughter is very near compared to theirs, spending time with her is one of the best things in life.

Table of delicious healthy food

Table of delicious healthy food

After tasting all the food, I tell myself I want to learn more of these pure Chinese cooking. I think I should show you dish by dish.

Very delicious and appetising eggplant

Very delicious and appetising eggplant

JuenJuen steaming eggplant

JuenJuen steaming eggplant

This eggplant dish here is most delicious and very appetising. I could have eaten the whole dish on my own…….*big grin*. Here JuenJuen was showing and explaining to me how to make this dish. She steamed the sliced eggplant first. Do not over steam. That’s what she said. It has to be the right texture….just cooked. That’s not easy, right? I would probably try a piece each time. By the time they are just right, I bet they are all in my stomach already….haha.

After they are cooked, prepare a dressing of black vinegar, garlic, wine, sesame oil, fish sauce and some sugar. I hope my memory didn’t fail me. I should have written it down…..*sigh*.

Very delicious dish with preserved vegetables

Very delicious dish with preserved vegetables

This fish dish was also prepared by JuenJuen. This is one of the best fish dish that I have ever eaten……absolutely delicious with the preserved vegetables (’mei chai’) made by her father-in-law. This fish is full of flavour and taste. Really good.

Delicious pork belly with preserved bamboo

Delicious pork belly with preserved bamboo

This pork belly with preserved bamboo was also cooked by JuenJuen. Very, very delicious. The preserved bamboo tasted really delicious…..mmm. I have never eaten it before. Again it’s full of flavour and taste.

Actually JuenJuen hardly cooks at home. Her husband does all the cooking…..wow. What a lucky woman! She said that when she knew she was coming, she intentionally learned a few dishes. Well done, JuenJuen! Those were some of the best dishes that I had eaten!

When I was away, my husband showed me a sad face everyday……haha. I wonder whether he missed me or missed my cooking….haha. I won’t want to know what he ate….*big grin*. My guess would be lots of instant noodles……hmmm. He was probably secretly happy because he doesn’t get to eat them when I’m around! Well, may be it’s time that he learns a few dishes like JuenJuen. Then I can shake legs sometimes…..*big grin*.

Let’s see what AiHua cooked. She cooks very well. Actually she really loves to cook, bake and entertain friends. She prepared the dumplings. My gosh…there’s SO much chopping and cutting the vegetables very, very finely to make the dumpling filling.

A well wrapped dumpling

A well wrapped dumpling

The girls helped to wrap the dumplings. They were really well trained. They could wrap very fast. See how nice the dumpling looked. I took pictures of them making the dumplings but so sorry, the pictures didn’t turn out well.

Delicious Chinese dumplings

Delicious Chinese dumplings

These are very delicious boiled Chinese dumplings. A perfect dumpling is one with a chewy skin and very delicious filling. These are just perfect!

Enjoying iPad after making the dumplings

Enjoying iPad after making the dumplings

I just love to see how close the girls were. They get along very well.

Say 'cheese' before dinner

Say 'cheese' before dinner

It’s wonderful to see that the girls are not only housemates but good friends too. The one on the far left, Binky, is a friend of one of the girls and came to visit.

Healthy and delicious potato strips dish

Healthy and delicious potato strips dish

This appetising, delicious and healthy potato strip dish was cooked by Binky. It was very delicious but a little too spicy for me. This is a very popular dish among the Chinese. One of my friend’s husband always cooks this dish whenever he doesn’t feel well or loses his appetite. It’s a lot of slicing. If I am to make this dish for party, I guess my potato strips will start thin and fine and end up big because my patience runs out….haha. Having said that, I actually cooked it before, but not for a big party. It was very delicious. You can check that out at Spicy Chinese Potato Strips.

Delicious cold noodle dish

Delicious cold noodle dish

This lovely dish was also prepared by AiHua. It’s very appetising and delicious. The seasoning was simply best. I enjoyed it very much. I need to learn how to make this dish, too.

A lovely smoked fish dish

A lovely smoked fish dish

This smoked fish dish is prepared by AiHua too. She is very creative to cook this fish the Chinese way.

Now if you look at Chinese food, they are all so healthy. They eat a lot of vegetables and they use quite a lot if vinegar. That takes away the oiliness and makes the food very appetising. No wonder all of them are so slim!

I baked quite a lot while I was there. Everyone loved what I baked. I’m very happy that they liked my food….*big smiles*. She was taking pictures and copying recipes each time I baked. She also googled and tried out new recipes. Both her and JuenJuen were thrilled to know I have a blog. AiHua is very excited to start a blog too. That’s exciting! She said she loves to write and will write about Chinese cooking, Chinese medicine, Chinese nutrition, parenting etc etc…..wow. I would love to read her blog but I need Google Translate! So thankful there’s Google Translate….*big smiles*

AiHua and her bakes

AiHua and her bakes

She made pizza, granola bars from my recipe and buns filled with lotus paste. She made the lotus paste herself. She made these all in one day! Isn’t she amazing?….wow. She is just such an inspiration. She is happy and cheerful all the time! Her daughter doesn’t like dried fruits, seeds and nuts but then she really liked my granola bars. Her mom was SO happy that she went and bought the things the next day to make. See…..we can spread cooking love around…..*big grin*. Check out my granola bars at My Best Homemade Healthy Granola Bars if you like. It’s very easy to make and not too sweet.

Beautiful egg tarts

Beautiful egg tarts

These are egg tarts made by AiHua. She used the puff pastry bought from the supermarket. Good attempt!

Chocolate cookies

Chocolate cookies

These chocolate cookies were also made by AiHua. I got up one morning and she was already in the kitchen making these chocolate cookies. She’s a real early riser! But I think they are more like chocolate cake or in between. Maybe not successful yet but a good attempt.

Best peanut butter cookies

Best peanut butter cookies

As for me, I made these peanut butter cookies and also chocolate cake which I posted earlier on. You can check it out at My Best Super Easy Chocolate Cake. It’s a very good chocolate cake. And these peanut butter cookies are simply the best. They are the easiest to make. I will blog about it soon, after the apple crumble I suppose. So do come back if you love peanut butter like me….*big smiles*. I’ll make and enjoy everyday of I am so slim like the girls above!

Oh well, it was a very short trip and soon I had to leave. Had to cheer up my girl first. Took her to Nando’s, one of her favourite.

Nando's chicken

Nando's chicken

Nando's chicken and mashed potato

Nando's salad and mashed potato

We had a lovely time there and really enjoyed the food for a change. She didn’t feel as sad as before because she knows mommy will be there again soon!

Well, I have come to the end of my post. This post must be one with the most number of pictures!….*big smiles*. As I wrote, I just cherish all the sweet memories with my new friends and I miss them. I really hope to meet up with them again someday, maybe in China. AiHua invited me over and over to visit her in China and she will take me around. So touched by her kindness and hospitality! Thanks very much, AiHua! China is one place that I would love to visit. We have quite a number of friends there. One day we will make a trip there and visit everyone of our friends there…..*big smiles*.

Well, isn’t it amazing how sometimes we bump into some really nice people and become friends? I do hope you have many friends. Keep the old ones, treasure them and keep making new ones. Friends make our lives meaningful and exciting. They keep us smiling, too……*BIG smiles*.

Til then, see you in my next post!

Quote of the day……

“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

- Muhammad Ali

Keep Learning Keep Smiling

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15 Comments

stella  on September 4th, 2013

Aunty Mary, are ur friends from Beijing and Sichuan? Food looks yummy!

claire  on September 4th, 2013

wow!!!! Just look at the food!! Three cooks with different recipes… what more could one ask for!! Great to know that you had a wonderful time there.. I can imagine your hubby patting his tummy.. fully satisfied… *burp* hahahaa…

Belinda @zomppa  on September 4th, 2013

I make the worst wrapped dumplings. All of these dishes look ridiculous - I wish I had a recipe for all of these! What a great time you had - little beats great food cooked with love.

suituapui  on September 4th, 2013

Gosh! You got me drooling over the wings… Slurpsss!!!!

elaine chan  on September 4th, 2013

Wonderful friends, delicious food and good time and company with family and friends. Enjoyed reading your post.
Have a nice day

somewhere in singapore  on September 5th, 2013

Good afternoon Mary… U makes me drooling over everything, hehe…

Juliana  on September 5th, 2013

Wow, what a feast…I am glad that you had a wonderful time Mary…hope you are having a lovely week :D

Angie@Angie's Recipes  on September 5th, 2013

You sure had a very busy summer, Mary. I love the photo of 4 young beautiful ladies!

张爱华  on September 6th, 2013

玛丽您好!
很高兴在中国看到你发的三位妈妈与孩子们的快乐聚餐,看到大家高兴的样子,又想到了那些天你做蛋糕时的情景,一边看你做一边吃着刚出炉的点心,感谢你教会我了我许多教育孩子及做家务事的方法,今天看到发了这么多的照片,好幸福呀!回国后,在没有烤箱的情况下,我暂时用高压锅做蛋糕,比较成功,这个周日准备做健康的燕麦条,就照你的方法做肯定成功!

张爱华  on September 6th, 2013

中国也有做蛋糕的食材,我到商场去看了,做西式点心的材料及工具都有,这下好了,可以快速实践了,希望跟着你的网页知识学会更多的东西,咱们会经常在此见面的呀!

Malou Perez-Nievera (@malou_nievera)  on September 6th, 2013

thank you for sharing your trip. the food tour is marvelous… so scrumptious looking.

Blackswan  on September 6th, 2013

Mary, you’re always making friends everywhere! Such a fun & colourful person you are :) I love Nandos & often visit to have my fave chicken breast. I enjoy their sauces a lot & often use them in my cooking too. Wish I could travel as often :)

Nami | Just One Cookbook  on September 9th, 2013

What a feast! Looks like you had an amazing get together with delicious food! :)

Cheah@No-frills Recipes  on September 13th, 2013

What a feast and to enjoy authentic Chinese food made by Chinese nationals, lucky you! Think the table is too small for all the goodies. Your girl likes Nando’s…. one of my favourites too! I can imagine you must be super busy now.

LeeQs  on December 5th, 2013

Oh my gosh! I just realised I’ve missed so many of your blog posts. Usually I get email notification but something was wrong with my phone and I had to reset some stuff. Anyways, long story short, I must’ve somehow missed all these posts.

Looks like you all had a wonderful time visiting your girls. Their isn’t any distance a mother wouldn’t travel to be with her baby, even if only for a day or two. Love how you all ended up visiting at the same time. So great to see all the big smiles on everyone’s faces. Partly why I love food so much other than the fact that it tastes so yummy; it brings people from around the world together at one table to enjoy each other’s company. Another lovely post, my dear.

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