Of Odes to Spell Checkers

A response to the ode to the spell checker no name

Foodful Friday: Meatball Curry

Once in a while —  okay, more than once in a while —  I crave a curry. However, only once in a while do I actually step up and cook a curry from scratch. Maybe things will be different this year (which is already more than a quarter gone).

I have never cooked a meatball curry before, but the mince was in the fridge waiting and waiting to be cooked and bolognese sauce just wasn’t going to cut it, so I decided to have a go at meatballing and currifying it. Why yes, I like verbing nouns, didn’t you know?

Ingredients:
Meatballs:
1.5 kg minced beef
1 Tbsp. ginger garlic paste
3 tsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp.  salt
4 tsp. lemon juice

Sauce:
1Tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1 onion finely chopped
1-2 chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp.  ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 can tinned tomatoes
4 tsp.  lemon juice
salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves for garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. In a bowl, combine ingredients for the meatballs, shape into balls and set aside.
  2. Set a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the ginger-garlic paste, chillies, cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for another minute. Add the tinned tomatoes, lemon juice and salt. Stir in 3 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Carefully place the meatballs into the pan and cook for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has reduced.
  4. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top for garnish and serve hot with rice.
Easy Meatball Curry

Easy Meatball Curry

Movie Review: Cinderella (2015)

I was a bit apprehensive when I heard that Disney had plans to make a Cinderella movie using real, live actors. After all, the original Cinderella is a classic and why mess with a classic? And why use real-life actors?

Still, I was intrigued and curious. And since it is the school holidays, I decided we’d go.

I thought it being the school holidays that the place would be packed. I called and made reservations an hour before the movie started and hoped we would get good seats. As it turned out, most people probably watched it when it first came out a couple of weeks before and the theatre was not busy at all. We even got to sit anywhere we liked!

The pre-movie entertainment was a seven-minute short film Frozen Fever featuring Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf. It’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa and the others are busy arranging a surprise party. Elsa is not feeling 100% but, by George, she’s going to throw Anna a party – complete with singing and dancing – even if every sneeze droplet transforms into a miniature snowman. The short was entertaining enough featuring already-familiar characters in a new situation with new songs and it fulfilled its intention of preparing the audience for what they really came for.

Who doesn’t know the story of Cinderella? Tale as old as time, true as it can be….No, wait, that’s Beauty and the Beast, which, incidentally, Disney also has plans to remake using real live actors, with Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) playing the title roles. Mmmm, yes please! Anyway, I digress.

Where were we? Oh, right. Cinderella.

Everyone in the developed world above the age of five and who hasn’t lived a cloistered life should be familiar with the story of Cinderella (various versions, even!) so I won’t bore you by retelling the story here. Suffice to say, all the key characters are there: Cinderella, Prince (not called Charming), the stepmother, the two stepsisters, the fairy godmother, the animal friends, the pumpkin, the glass slipper etc.

This Cinderella does a wonderful job of showing us Ella when she was young, her relationship with her parents, and her affinity with animals. Her mother does not pooh-pooh Ella’s ability to understand animal talk and encourages her to believe in things magical such as fairy godmothers. At her deathbed, she reminds Ella of the secret that will help one see through life’s trials: Have courage and be kind. This becomes Ella’s life motto and it does indeed see her through many, many trying situations.

Fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy watching Lily James (Rose in Downton) and Sophie McShera (Daisy) play Cinderella and Drisella respectively. Cate Blanchett as the stepmother is deliciously cruel; a bit overdone, but hey, it’s a fairy tale.

Very enjoyable. Beautiful remake. Is it a must-see at the cinema? Not really. Watch it at the discount cinema (we did), or wait for it to come out on DVD.

Easter 2015

I’m going to keep this short and sweet because Jeremy wanted to keep it low-key. For about six weeks, he had meetings with our pastor. At first, I took him to the church thinking these meetings were about getting involved with helping out at Kids’ Church. (He mentioned something about telling the pastor that he helps out at Little Athletics and already has a Working With Children card.) After a couple of weeks of taking him, I finally asked, “What are these meetings about?” He replied, “I’m getting baptised.”

The Plan was to have meetings with the pastor and get baptised on Easter Sunday. It all happened quickly and we didn’t have time to plan anything special.

Here is what you missed.

Little Athletics 2014/15 Awards

It’s been a while since I lasted posted. I start out the year with grand intentions of blogging regularly. This year, I had the wonderful idea of blogging every day with a theme for the day. Movie Reviews on Mondays, book reviews on Wednesdays (Wordful Wednesday), recipes on Fridays (Foodful Friday), etc. (I also adore alliteration.) Well, watching a movie every week is a bit much and although I tell people I like reading, the truth of the matter is, I find it increasingly difficult to stay focused on a book these days. Could be my age, could be something else. I still cook, but unlike those of younger years, I don’t feel compelled to take a photo of my food every time I interact with it. Besides, I am not that great photographer.

And what happened to Summary Saturdays where I talk about the week’s events? Well, that kind of went out the window, too.

Lazy. That’s what it is.

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Happy Pi Day 2015

A once-in-a-lifetime event: March 14, ’15 9.26.53

I ought to be congratulated because this is the first time EVER I remembered to do something for Pi Day!

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie

 

Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert

Chocolate Cream Pie for dessert

 

Happy Chinese New Year 2015

Today is the eve of the Lunar New Year and that means it is time for the Big Family Reunion Dinner. Mark and Jeremy were scheduled to go to a Little Athletics meeting tonight. Tomorrow night there is going to be a Twilight for Little Aths. Friday night the children have Youth Group and I have choir practice. It was beginning to look like our Reunion Dinner wasn’t going to happen.

Last year, Chinese New Year Eve fell on Thursday which also happened to coincide with a Twilight as well. I managed to whip up something last year.

On Monday, the guys learned that the committee meeting had to be rescheduled. This meant that CNY Dinner could go ahead!

 

Clockwise from top: Chinese Broccoli (kailan) with oyster sauce; Asparagus with Prawns; Prawn Crackers; Cabbage, Carrots, Glass Vermicelli Stir-Fry; BBQ Pork (Char Siew); Roast Pork (Siew Yoke); Roast Duck; Szechuan Eggplant and Tofu.

Centre: Fish with Cheong Cheng Sauce

The Problem with Compounds

A couple years ago, Allie from Hyperbole and a Half wrote about the Alot, an imaginary creature she created to help her cope whenever she encounters the “word” alot and she has to resist the urge to correct people. If you have not read that post, I suggest you stop here and go read it now. If you have read it before, it’s worthwhile reading it again.

In case you haven’t noticed, alot happens a lot. I’m not sure why.

Maybe people don’t have spell-check turned on. Maybe they think they know better than spell-check. For example, until a couple of weeks ago, I truly and honestly thought that desiccated was spelled with two ‘s’ and one ‘c’ – dessicated. Yes, I had my spell-check turned on and a red squiggly line appeared under it alerting me about the misspelling. What did I do about it? To my shame, I scoffed and thought I knew better. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I looked at the suggested spelling and was mortified to learn I had been spelling this word incorrectly for years! Had to find all previous posts with that word and correct them!

Maybe they think alot is an alternative spelling. It isn’t.

Maybe they think alot is different from a lot, where alot is used to describe “a large amount” and a lot is used when talking about “a piece of land”. It isn’t

Maybe they are too set in their ways to change.

Maybe they’re like me and the word desiccated, ie, not being able to see the correct spelling even when it is right in front of them.

Or maybe —  it pains me to say this — they just don’t care.

 Alot is not a word; it is two words: a lot. It is always two words.

Still, it must be comforting to be able to create an imaginary creature as a coping mechanism.

Sadly, there is one particular grammar mistake for which I have yet to find a coping mechanism, and that is when compound subject and compound object pronouns are used incorrectly.

First World Problems Meme | WHY CAN'T PEOPLE USE PROPER COMPOUND PRONOUNS? | image tagged in memes,first world problems | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

My First World Problem

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Movie Review: Philomena (2013)

Philomena (2013) PosterPhilomena tells the true story of Philomena Lee who, as an unwed teen in the 1950s, fell pregnant and whose widowed father sent her to spend the rest of her pregnancy in a Catholic convent. After giving birth to a baby boy, Philomena was forced to work for the convent to repay the costs of her stay. During this time, her son was adopted out. Fifty years later, with the help of journalist Martin Sixsmith, Philomena goes on a search for the son she was forced to give up. This movie is about that search.

The nuns at the abbey are apologetic and claim that all adoption records were destroyed in a fire. Curiously, however, they are able to present her with a document which she signed promising never to attempt to seek contact with her son. Martin and Philomena learn from the locals that the convent adopted out children to American couples and they go to the US to learn more.

First off, anything with Dame Judi Dench in it has to be good. Her portrayal of a Philomena, a simple woman from small town in Ireland, has the right amount of innocence and naivete and delight when experiencing the Greater World, and the compassion and sophistication when dealing with Real World Issues.

I’ve only seen Steve Coogan in comedic roles (Around the World in Eighty Days and the Night at the Museum movies), so to see him in a dramatic role was a change.

When Philomena learns of the career her son (Michael) had in the US, she realises that she could never have given him that kind of life and perhaps things were better off that way. Still, she wonders whether he ever thought about her. Martin and Philomena track down her son’s partner and learn that he did indeed try to look for her by going to the convent where he was born but was turned away from the nuns.

The search for Philomena’s son started at the convent where he was born, and ends at the same convent where he chose to be buried.

Although some things could be said about the Catholic Church and Michael’s lifestyle choices, the film does not focus on that. Instead, the film is more about the search for a ‘lost’ son and finding closure to a sad chapter in one’s life.

Rating: 4.5/5

Foodful Friday: Ginger Garlic Baked Chicken

Got the recipe from here. I tweaked it a bit.

Ingredients:

  • 2 kgs chicken drumsticks
  • 2 Tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 heavy dashes white pepper (or to taste)
  • Pinch of Chinese five-spice powder (optional)

Method:

  1. Place chicken in baking dish. Gently rub the ginger-garlic paste onto the chicken. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine evenly. Pour over chicken drumsticks  and stir until the drumsticks are nicely coated with all the ingredients.
    Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2.  Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Place baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the surface turn golden brown and charred. Serve warm.

What I was aiming for (pic from here):

What I got:

2015-01-09 18.23.50

Nailed it? Close enough? Missing sesame seeds and coriander leaf garnish, I know.

 

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