Sunday, May 07, 2017

The new French president is younger than me

I feel old.

The new elected French president is younger than me, only 39 years old.

 A historical high score against the rival : 65% vs 35%. For the first time the traditional strong political parties from the right and left wings were left out in the final.

8,8% of blank vote, that shows how many French felt unsatissfied with the final two candidates.

I watched the final debate between the two candidates. Once again I admire the system, having the candidates talking about their programs, defend their ideas and attack their rival. You need to be excellent in public speaking at least to be able to be the candidate.

Anyway, I don't remember much of the debate, the few things I recall was:
- The "taxe d'habitation", one kind of local tax will be cancelled
- There will be fewer students in each class in the elementary schools, like 12 per students instead of 20++ today.

Hope for a better France, especially in terms of security.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When walnut is a dessert

My in laws have been to our place often to help with the DIY projects. When they were here, we usually had a tapas type of Saturday dinner. Over the time I had made almost the same kind of food.

 We usually have these...

 This when I was in the mood to make something visually attractive...

 My in laws brought this because they were cheaper in their place...

 Stuffed mushroom with something, I tried to alternat the stuffing..
I made this, I would like it to be a bit more chruncy, still need improvement...

So one day I was putting all kind of appetizer on the table, and since I know my MIL loves walnut, I purposely put it right in front of her. She was eating everything else except walnut and cheese. I felt weird, but when they had finished other stuffs they moved on to cheese. Then I realized they were following the appetizer-main course-cheese-salad-dessert-coffee kind of sequence. And when we moved on to dessert, I saw my MIL eating walnut, finally. I was like, oh!!!! Walnut in the shell is dessert!!!! When the shell is removed packing with nut mixed it is appetizer.

And I only realized this after living more than 11 years in France??? Oh my.

PS : In Malaysia we can jump from appetizer to dessert then back to appetizer and cheese. So, that's why I still couldn't get why eating in sequence is so important.

Now you see, now hopefully don't!

When we bought our land, we realized there was a big house right in front of our garden. We hesitated, as French people dislike houses with "vis à vis", they prefer to be able to relax in their own garden under privacy.

Don't know why, our neighbore decided to install so many windows on the North side of their house. It didn't bother me much, as I got used to those non privacy houses in Malaysia. 

So we finally did something to it. We bought 12 trees that would have green leaves during all 4 seasons, hopefully it would hide the view gradually. Hubby is conscious that he has a lot of maintaining works to do, as we can't let the trees grow too high.

I have never expected that planning trees needed so many times. It took hubby and my FIL the whole weekend. They had to dig up holes enough to put the tree in. It was hard work. On Sunday, an old lady cameby to tell them to stop as they were making some noise while digging. Oh, the sacrosanct Sunday. Hubby was supposed to mow the lawn but it was pu on hold. So no lawn mowing on Sunday then.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Yogurt cake from school

Aelig came back from school and took out a sheet of paper.
It has yogurt recipe on it and she requested me to make it together.
The school has been teaching them baking, making crêpes and pies with some simple recipes, but I have never really tried any at home.

Since she asked for it, I just let her play with it, and of course her sister wanted to join. The little one was more into eating the dough then making it.

The result : it was eatable considering how simple it was the making process. Plus, I had never made Yogurt cake before, hubby told me that I should use a square baking dish instead of a rectangular one.

Here is the recipe, translated from French:

Yogurt Cake
Quantity : 8 persons
Preparation : 15 minutes
Baking time : 30 minutes

4 eggs
1 natural Yogurt
2 cups of sugar (I presume it means using the Yogurt container as measurement cup)
3 cups of flour
1 cup of oil
1 tablespoon of yeast

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C
Mix in the order of the ingredients one after another
Pour into a baking dish
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes
The cake is to be eaten when it turns golden and not too cook, it will remain soft.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

No cheese in the cake

I was trying to learn to make more desserts so that when there are guests coming, I won't be limited to those that I make regularly.

Through Whatsapp, I learnt that there was a type of Taiwanese cake that was quite popular at the moment. Since I got most of the ingredients I decided to give it a try.

After I had put the cake in the oven, I realized I made a mistake. The dough was mixed with grated Parmesan cheese, and it had a layer of cheddar cheese. What makes the cake unique was its sweet and sour taste, but it is a taste not too common in France, especially for a dessert.

It turned out ok. I kind of like it but I was the only one. :-(. Some kids from the neighborhood came to play and it was the 4pm snack time, so I offered them to take a slide of this cake. One had a bite and announced that she didn't like it. The other one took several bite and decided to give up. Luckily my girls finished their part.

The second morning I suggested this as breakfast to my daughter (in Malaysia we do eat cake as breakfast), but she refused and mentioned that she didn't like my "cheesecake". As for hubby, he reluctantly tried one, and told me that the fact to see a layer of cheddar cheese in the cake turned him off.

So this was just an effort that didn't bear fruit. No cheese in the cake then. That's probably why American style cheesecakes are not popular here.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

The weekend of DIY

Hubby continues on his DIY projects. This weekend, the focus was on lamps.

The goal was to add three lamps to the kitchen area. To do this, he has to dig a hole on where he wanted to hung the lamp, then link an electrical cable from the hole to the central hole where it used to have a lamp thus the electricity supply. It took him quite some times to do this, as the cable had to passe through above the ceiling, to go through between the ceiling and the roof, then come down to the electrical supply hole.

 The result. The central hole was closed after so that we won't see the electrical cables hanging there.

He also installed a design lamp in his daughter's room with color matching the wall color.

Lamp installed in the other girl's room. She was not happy at the beginning when she saw it. She said her daddy should had asked her opinion on the color, she would have wanted a red one. I explained to her that it was to match her wall color, she was thrilled after. However, the brightness was not suitable for reading, since she has myopia, I urged hubby to change the bulb.

Finally we can hung a towel and toilet paper in the toilet. I was so amazed, the design these days included a flat surface above the toilet paper so that you could put your smartphone on it while doing your business. 

Anyway, hubby has become a handy man, he is so into DIY now.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A visit to her future kindergarten

Awena will turn 3 year's old soon. She is eligible to enter kindergarten during the coming fall.

The school organized an Open House to allow the potential future students to visit the school.

 Parents can ask question and pre-enroll their kids.

 La chaise pour réfléchir : The Thinking Chair. Probably use to ask a kid to calm down. I sense that Awena would be here often, she is quite a stubborn kid.

 She was very happy here. So many toys to play around.

We also visited Aelig's classroom. She was very proud to show it to us.

A new organisation awaiting us, dealing with babysitter would probably soon a history to us.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chicken and Duck Talk

Aelig starts using sentences mixing Mandarin and French. Sometimes, after coming back from school, she would speak pure French to me. Most of the time I ask her to speak only Mandarin, but sometimes I just let it go.

One day, she was using mixed languages again. I stopped her and explained that if she would say the same thing to my mother, my mother would not have understood. "Your grandma doesn't understand French, she wouldn't have known what you are trying to say. This is just like a chicken trying to speak its chicken language to a duck who doesn't understand a word of chicken. We called it chicken and duck talk in Mandarin. " I told her.

She paused, looking at me, proudly said this with a smile:
"Oh I know, you are chicken, dad is duck, that's why I know how to speak Chicken and Duck languages. " Her response made me laugh, she was not wrong in her logic. Unfortunately, chicken and duck both have pejorative meanings in Mandarin. Chicken could refer to a prostitute and duck could mean male prostitute. I didn't correct her as I didn't know how to explain this to her. 

Anyway, during lunch time, hubby spoke in Mandarin about something. Aelig didn't get it because she didn't expect her dad to speak Mandarin. I told her that the fact she speaks Mandarin at home, it helps her father learn as well, and now he could speak simple mandarin to his mother in laws. But then she should keep doing it so that her dad would make progress. 
Her response : "Why doesn't dad speak English to grandma? 
"Because not everyone speaking English in Malaysia, including your grandma. " I promptly said. "Then dad would speak in English, and someone else would translate for him." She came out with a solution. 
"Well, it is better if we all can speak Mandarin to grandma. And you know, grandma had never had chance to go to school, do you know why?"
"Yes, you told me that, she needed to take care of her siblings."
"Yes. How about you quit going to school, and take care of your sister at home instead?"
"No! I love going to school!!!"

Wishing everyone happy and prosperous year of Rooster!