Friday, May 29, 2009

Bitter Gourd in the Backyard Garden

Bitter Gourd Plant.
This plant replaced my Butterhead Lettuce which had overgrown (due to gardener's lack of experience. It was supposed to be replaced by another bunchof salad plants, but due to some 'error' it becomes 'brinjals' after it sprouted and later changed to Bitter! Go figure how!

When it grows, it dominates! My tomato plant was the first victim, then the fighting basil. They even attempted to conquer the chinese spinach and laksa leaves nearby.

Current harvest. Still in the fridge.

Over ripe melon.

I normally prepare the simplest dish for this vegetable. Some shallots, bird's eye chillies and dried shrimp and salt to taste, stir-fried. I can just take it alone with rice. :)

Info source from: Juicing For Health

Bitter melon is one of the best vegetable-fruit that helps improve diabetic and toxemia conditions.

The bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd) looks like a cucumber but with ugly gourd-like bumps all over it.

As the name implies, this vegetable is a melon that is bitter. There are two varieties of this vegetable: One grows to about 20 cm long, is oblong and pale green in color. The other is the smaller variety, less than 10 cm long, oval and has a darker green color.

Both varieties have seeds that are white when unripe and that turn red when they are ripe. The vegetable-fruit turn reddish-orange when ripe and becomes even more bitter.
Bitter gourd thrives in hot and humid climates, so are commonly found in Asian countries and South America.

Westerners may not be so used to bitter melons, so may find them more difficult to consume. But if you can generally take bitter taste, you may be able to take this too. Try it, at least for all its healthful virtues!

Nutritional Benefits
Bitter gourds are very low in calories but dense with precious nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fiber. It is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana.

Bitter melon contains a unique phyto-constituent that has been confirmed to have a hypoglycemic effect called charantin. There is also another insulin-like compound known as polypeptide P which have been suggested as insulin replacement in some diabetic patients.

Health Benefits
Few other fruits/vegetables offer medicinal properties for these ailments like bitter melon does.

Blood disorders: Bitter gourd juice is highly beneficial for treating blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to toxemia. Mix 2 ounces of fresh bitter gourd juice with some lime juice. Sip it slowly on an empty stomach daily for between four and six months and see improvement in your condition.

Cholera: In early stages of cholera, take two teaspoonfuls juice of bitter gourd leaves, mix with two teaspoonfuls white onion juice and one teaspoonful lime juice. Sip this concoction daily till you get well.

Diabetes mellitus: Bitter melon contains a hypoglycemic compound (a plant insulin) that is highly beneficial in lowering sugar levels in blood and urine. Bitter melon juice has been shown to significantly improve glucose tolerance without increasing blood insulin levels.

Energy: Regular consumption of bitter gourd juice has been proven to improve energy and stamina level. Even sleeping patterns have been shown to be improved/stabilized.

Eye problems: The high beta-carotene and other properties in bitter gourd makes it one of the finest vegetable-fruit that help alleviate eye problems and improving eyesight.

Hangover: Bitter melon juice may be beneficial in the treatment of a hangover for its alcohol intoxication properties. It also help cleanse and repair and nourish liver problems due to alcohol consumption.

Immune booster: This bitter juice can also help to build your immune system and increase your body's resistance against infection.

Piles: Mix three teaspoonfuls of juice from bitter melon leaves with a glassful of buttermilk. Take this every morning on empty stomach for about a month and see an improvement to your condition. To hasten the healing, use the paste of the roots of bitter melon plant and apply over the piles.

Psoriasis: Regular consumption of this bitter juice has also been known to improve psoriasis condition and other fungal infections like ring-worm and athletes feet.

Respiratory disorders: Take two ounces of fresh bitter melon juice and mix with a cup of honey diluted in water. Drink daily to improve asthma, bronchitis and pharyngitis.

Toxemia: Bitter gourd contains beneficial properties that cleanses the blood from toxins. Sip two teaspoonfuls of the juice daily to help cleanse the liver. Also helpful in ridding jaundice for the same reasons.

Consumption Tips
Choose unripe bitter melons that are firm, like how you would a cucumber. Avoid those that have turned orange or have soft spots. Ripe bitter melons can be excessively bitter.

Store bitter melons in the vegetable bin in the refrigerator which has the right temperature. It should keep for three to four days.

Keeping bitter melons at room temperature or with other fruits and vegetables will hasten the melon to ripen and become more bitter, due to the emission of ethylene gas.
Clean your bitter melon under cold running water and brush with a soft vegetable brush. To prepare, slice the melon length-wise and scoop out the seeds. To lessen the bitter flavor, soak it in salt water for about half an hour before juicing/cooking.

The smaller variety is more bitter than the bigger one. To help make bitter gourd juice more palatable, take it with honey, or add carrot or apple juice. For diabetics, drink the juice with green apple juice.

Do not consume more than two ounces of bitter melon, or more than two melons a day. Excessive consumption may cause mild abdominal pain or diarrhea. Diabetics taking hypoglycemic drugs will need to alter the dosage of their drugs if they consume bitter melon on a regular basis. Please consult your doctor.

Pregnant women should avoid taking too much bitter gourd or its juice as it may stimulate the uterus that may lead to preterm labor.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Minty's Adventures Part II

It's getting cold out here. The breeze is getting chilly. But I can see the beautiful full moon. And I hear Mommy singing me a lullaby. Thanks for the song, Mommy. I know you're crying. And I can hear you....

'Somewhere, out there,
If Love can see us through....
Then we'll be together...
Somewhere out there,
Out where dreams, come true..!

Another morning breeze. Its refreshingly cool. It should be okay if I stay here! There's plenty of food....all I have to do is to catch it! (Eeewwww..!!) There are friends....fellow furry friend, big and small. I can run around here and there everyday. I don't need to do my duty call when Mommys sent me back to my 'apartment' at home. I'm free! Totally free!

But wait, there will be no Mommy to comb my hair. I don't like the routine bath, too, but its not too bad. Only once a while when I get too dirty. No Mommy calling me for food! No herbal garden for me to jump around...No cheery 'Good Morning Dearies' for me and Oreo every morning...

Oreo? My father? I wonder why... He doesn't like me anymore. He'll always put up a fight with me. We were not like this. I just don't understand why? But I missed him, too! But Mommy always managed to stop him and keep us from scratching our eyes out. Maybe its better if I stay here, and Oreo will get the house to himself.... Naaah! I'm headin' home, no matter what!

The only problem is, where do I head? No, don't say problem! Say 'Challenge'! Its a challenge to get home, and I will find it. Imagine, visualize...."Mommy..., I'm home...!"

Well, there some houses over the hill. Let' see...

Nope, this one's not mine. But the human is nice. They gave me food and water. Biscuits, at last! Niiiiccee..! Well, I am tired. Maybe I'll take a nap here for a while. ZZzzzzzz... But no, don't you came near me! No, No! Get your hands off me! Time to go! Thanks for the food!!

Well, how many moons has it been now? I see the moon five times alraedy. Yikes!! 5 days away from home? Mommy must be worried sick!

Hey...what's that I hear in the distance? Is it rain? No. Its very bright here. Sounds like water. Yes, water flowing! Is it a river? Mommy's house is by a stream, a few meters away! Beside that tall fence and thick bushes and tree across the other end. Hey, if I follow the stream, maybe I will find my house? Will I? Well, what have I got to lose...I'm lost!

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream..
Well, mine is no boat, just my four furry legs..haha!

(Readers, friends please bear with me, k. I can't help!)

Its getting nearer! I can feel it. Its also getting dark again. Oh no! Never mind. I'll take a rest here under the tree. Its raining? Oooh...what's another rainy night. I'm so used to it already! Once I'm home, I'll never be wet again.

Great morning fellow furry friends! I'm going to be home today! Wish me luck!

Now, let's see! Doesn't this place looked familiar? It is! I was here before when Mommy let me out to play! Hey, that's the river bank I used to hang out at! I'm home! Am I?

I am? Look at that familiar trees! And the shady street! My house is oh so near already! Now, there it is! There it is!

Oh..I am so excited! Mom must be very happy to see me! Oh, I missed her so! Ahah.. the door is open!

Mommy...! (Meeoow....meeooww....meeooww!)

Minty? Minty? Is that you? You're not a ghost, aren't you? Is it really you??!!

Mommy...! I am so happy and excited! Oh, I missed home. Home, at last!

But...what's that furry orange little thing doing there? What is it?? What is it doing here??

To be continued....again!

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Hobby To Stay

My newfound hobby is here to stay. I have been busy in the kitchen after sending the last maid home. I have not been applying for a new maid yet, but it has to be soon. Getting to feel the stretch now. In the meantime, I'm still enjoying my kitchen all to myself...haha. Who said you don't need a break from a maid?

I just read Mamafami's blog this morning and saw this mouth-watering sardine rolls. My favourite! And looking at the ingredients, check! All are available. Actually I just did a round of sardine rolls 2 weeks ago. But you can never have enough sardine rolls if you are a fan like me.

Different sizes rolls! :)


Source : Mamafami (Kak Teh)


250 gm cold butter

500 gm flourA pinch of salt

Chilled water from the refrigerator

Method :

1. Rub butter and flour with a pinch of salt till it resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Add in chilled water until a soft dough is formed.

3. Cover the dough with cling flim and keep in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.


1 can of sardine in tomato sauce!

onion ~ diced

Red chillie ~ diced

Lemon/Calamansi juice

Salt to taste

Method :

1. Mashed the sardines and mix with the diced ingredients.

2. Add in a bit of tomato sauce if you find it too dry.

3. Squeeze some calamansi juice.


1. Place a portion of the dough in between two plastic sheets.

2. Roll the dough thinly.

3. Cut to small squares.

4. Place the filling in the middle.

5. Roll it and arrange on the baking tray.

6. Egg wash the rolls. (Better use egg yolk. Mine looked pale)

7. Bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 4o minutes or till golden brown. (Mine takes about 20 minutes)

Well, over the last two weeks, I've been experimenting with some cookies with some repeats of success as well as not-so-successful attempts, gearing up for the next festive Raya season. Still a few more months to go, but I just need to 'practise' and ensure that the recipes are workable. If not, bulan puasa penat2 tak jadi...alahai! This year most of my cookies will be home-made. That's my last Raya resolution that I intended to keep. Haha...Seriously!

And here's my XXL Pizza!

Its the size of the width of the oven. In fact, it is the oven!

As usual, my blurred result. I think I need a DSLR camera now! Haha!

And seriously, I don't have a clue what this DSLR camera is all about except it can take good close ups. Time for googling again! (And maybe do a DIY food studio I saw in one of the blogs food photography....oooohhhh, get real, Ydiana! Lol!)And there goes the cute colourful Sony camera that I've been eyeing, (can't decide if it should be red, pink, or green) small and slim and handy for the handbag...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"My (mis)Adventures...'' by Minty

I'll never forget it. The day I got lost...

About almost a year before, Mommy sent me to the vet for grooming. I don't know why, Iam already so handsome! I can always wash myself clean. She can save the money to buy more food and toys for me, but....she still sent me there. She just came back from a vacation, so she assumed I have been naughty and dirty and decided I needed a thorough wash.

She took me to a neighboring vet that had just been operating for less than 2 months. I never like the vets, or their assistants for that matter. Oh well...

She reminded me to be good just before she left. Ok, ok..... She'll come back late in the afternoon to fetch me home. Oh...hurry up, Mommy!

Then the assistants started to do the job. I really, really didn't like it. I hated how they handled me. What, they think I'm just another furry things to be washed, like a car? Hey,....easy, easy! I hissed at them. Where's Mommy?

eewww...what shampoo are they using? Smells like medicine! Get away there! Oh no, wet time!

They opened the door! Hey, I can get out through the window! I think its not too high for me to climb! Its still morning and I hate to wait for a few hours more here. I'm outta here.....bye bye humans! Don't miss me...I'm going home!

One of them tried to grab me, so I scratched them. And what do you know, the next thing I know is the sunlight from the back alley. I'm free!! Now lets find my way home!

Let's see, there's a few houses not to far from here... Which way should I take? Across there's a busy street. Behind are the hills. Lets head for the houses.

Nope, doesn't look like my house..! Doesn't smell right. Move on!

Oh no, where am I? Oh dear! I am lost, and hungry....! And its getting dark.! Mommy...!!!

Maybe I can sleep here under the shade for tonight? Hope the home owner doesn't mind, Its only for one night..! I'm sure I will find my house tomorrow. Hope Mommy is not too worried about me. I am okay.... I think!

Aha...daylight! Lets see..which way should I take today! Its gonna be a great day. Affirmations! I am happy, healthy, handsome, and grateful! I will find my house soon!

Houses, houses, and more houses... Nope, nope, nope, not my house! Hey there a few kitties, here too. But not my house. Where's Oreo? I miss him already...ooops... did I really say that? WHERE IS MY HOUSE...??!

It must be across the street, then. Whoa! So many cars? I just have to dash it! Hey, I made it! And I am still alive! Now, lets head on.

Not my house, not my house, no, no, no! Mommy! Oreo! Where are you? Where am I?

Maybe its beside the forest? Hey, its cool in here! So many trees! And Birdieees! Gothca! Hey, its fun playing with real birdies!

Its getting dark again. Looks like I had to find shelter here under the trees. Whoa, there so many animals out here. Don't you all have humans at all? No? You don't like them? Well, I love mine, and I am looking for her!

Is that food? No biscuit? No fish from the can? I suppose this will do. Yikes! I'll just take a little... .thank you!

Its cool and breezy here.. I wonder what Mom is doing now? Hey, did I just imagine it or did I hear her singing 'Somewhere Out There'? Did I hear her cry? No, Mommy, please don't cry..! I am ok!

Don't worry Mommy! I'll find my way home. Soon... good night!

To be continued....!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Down the Memory Meow Lane

A few entries ago, when Anya and Kareltje awarded me with the World's Best Cat Mom award, my thoughts suddenly ran through all the cats that have touched my life, some of the happiest times in my life, some briefly, and some deeply. Suddenly I missed them all so much.
This morning, I managed to dig some old photos stored in the boxes (now on the shelf) from my college and university days, and hey presto! I found two of my favourite cats, Gumiaow and Titanic. Their brief story here.

Gumioaw.....the pretty lady!
Gumiaow, is named after a mandarin word that we learnt in class. "Gu" if I'm not mistaken is a word for 'cat' and 'miaow'......well, take a guess! She appeared at the doorstep one day, and we were taken to her almost at once and adopted her immediately. Loving and adorable baby.

Titanic!! Handsome hero!

Titanic, or 'Titan' in short and a real handful and playful fella. We picked him up among the siblings for adoption because he was the naughtiest looking and screams the loudest at 2 weeks old. We wanted to take 2 kittens, but the owner, probably known us as foreign students, only allowed us to take one. But we thanked him all the same. Wise guy...!