Is dishwasher a necessity?

While Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Singapore’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) have been there long before I started work back in the mid 1980s, New Zealand’s Kiwi Saver was only launched in 2006, a year after I started work in New Zealand.

Although somewhat backwards in that aspect, the amazing thing I found what New Zealand has and what Malaysia and Singapore did not have (in those days, not sure now) is the presence of dishwasher in every average to luxury homes.

As per New Zealand Statistics, dishwashers started to become known as a home kitchen appliance in the 1950s. In earlier years, only restaurants, hotels, and wealthy families had dishwashers, as they were large and expensive appliances (Thompson, 2009). Over the following decades, they became smaller, cheaper, and more efficient, which saw them grow in popularity among households. In 1980, dishwashers were added to the CPI basket.

Even with a dishwasher, however, it is a common practice in every household (that I have seen) to hand wash and rinse the dirty dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.

I wonder if that is a habit, or can we not just let the dishwasher do its job?

Other than throwing away the scraps, if we have to pre wash and rinse off beforehand, why do you even need a dishwasher in the first place?

Appliance maker Electrolux have launched a “Stop washing up” campaign suggesting that in we should just “let the dishwasher do its job”.

It is also common habit here in smaller households, the dishes would first be hand washed and rinsed and then stacked into the dishwasher till it is full (maybe after three or four dinners) and then run the cycle.

In my case, I still keep my habit of having a drying rack and hand wash my dishes immediately after meals.  It is only when I have a party or group dinner that I use my dishwasher.  My friends would start the pre-hand wash and then into the dishwasher.

At times when someone offers to wash the dirty dishes (when this person probably because knows I don’t usually use the dishwasher or he sees the drying rack), after throwing the scraps, he or she will fill up the basin with water, put in the dishwashing liquid and with a brush, wash the dishes.  You often see soapy wet dishes towelled dry.

My method of hand-washing would be  –  throw the scraps, add dishwashing liquid and wash (with brush) the dishes under running water (some may think I am wasting water).  Leave to dry on rack and if not too lazy, towel dry after.  Otherwise, they will be dry tomorrow so I can then just store the clean dishes away.

When I host bigger parties, I usually use disposable cutleries, plates and cups.

So back to the question, “Is dishwasher a necessity?”

Or a luxury for laid back people who store away dirty dishes till they run out of clean ones?

Or is it for hygiene?

To kill most types of bacteria, water needs to reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit (scalding hot).  In my house we have a brush (with handle) placed next to the sink that we use when we hand-wash dishes to avoid contact with the hot water. Drying dishes with a cloth that is not sanitized may not be that hygienic either.

So what are your thoughts?


The Girl on the train

Sometimes I catch myself trying to remember the last time I had meaningful physical contact with another person, just a hug or a heartfelt squeeze of my hand, and my heart twitches.

The Girl on the Train is a movie I would like to watch when I can spare a couple of hours sitting down, doing nothing.  Coincidentally while waiting for my flight to Wellington last weekend, browsing through a bookshop, I saw that same picture, a face of a girl looking at me.

Now, I hold the book in my hand, debating if I should be reading it first or watch the movie.

I started reading….

Maybe Jess is upstairs in the spare room, painting, or maybe they’re in the shower together, her hands pressed against the tiles, his hands on her hips.

If you do not know, my name is Jess too.  Once upon a time, I had a spare room upstairs, an ensuite and probably could be in the shower with another ……………

Again, how coincidental can that be.  Last night, I dreamt I was in the shower (not with another) but someone was watching …………………


Just penning my random thoughts, now back to my book.

Sweet Chwee Kuih, sweet memories

I made my own Sweet Chwee Kuih today !

Yeah, in fact I have not had Chwee Kuih for a long, long time.  Was inspired to create this after someone shared Kenneth Goh’s recipe on facebook.

Chwee Kuih (Chui Kuih) is directly translated as ‘water cake’.  The main ingredients are rice flour and water hence Chwee Kuih literally means “water rice cake” and described as below in Wikipedia.

Chwee kueh (known also as chwee kwee or chwee kweh) (Chinese: 水粿; pinyin: shuǐguǒ; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: chúi-kóe; literally: “water rice cake”) is a type of steamed rice cake, a cuisine of Singapore and Johor.

To make chwee kueh, rice flour and water are mixed together to form a slightly viscous mixture. They are then placed in small cup-shaped containers that look like saucers and steamed, forming a characteristic bowl-like shape when cooked. The rice cakes are topped with diced preserved radish and served with chilli sauce. Chwee kueh is a popular breakfast item in Singapore and Johor.

I love to cook but I am not good in following recipes to exact measurements.  Thanks to Kenneth Goh for the basic ingredients and I ‘agak agak’ (in Malay meaning ‘to guess or to estimate’) the recipe.  I used all purpose flour as a subsitute for tapioca flour (as I didn’t have any in my pantry) and was very pleased the ‘kuih’/cake turned out well.  Looks like my ‘agak agak’ method worked just as well.

I stirred the ‘chui kuih’/rice cake ingredients (see below) and microwave for 3 minutes.  Leave the ‘chui kuih’ to cool.

Rice cake

  • 1 cup of rice flour (粘米粉)
  • 1/2 cup of tapioca flour (木薯粉)
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • Pinches of salt

Ingredients for stir fry

  • Rice cake from the above recipe
  • Sugar to taste (I added some palm sugar)
  • 1-2 tablespoon of sweet soya sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of preserved radish (or a large strip)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1-2 tablespoon of cooking oil


While waiting for the ‘chui kuih’ to cool, in a blender chop the garlic and radish together.  If you are using ready-made minced garlic and radish pieces, then you can skip this step.  I avoid using Chinese garlic (after reading about the bleach and chemicals in them) hence I do not buy imported minced garlic in jar. When the cake is cool, cut into small pieces and rub with oil.

In a hot wok, add the oil and fry the garlic and radish mixture till fragrance and then add the ‘chui kuih’.  Add sugar, sweet soy sauce and fry for 3-5 minutes.  Avoid over frying as that will make the ‘chui kuih’ hard.

Kenny’s method to microwave (instead of steaming) is magic.  You can have a delicious dish of ‘sweet chui kuih’ or ‘cha kuih’ (fried ricecake) in 10-15 minutes.

I eat them with toothpicks and that gives me sweet memories.  This is our hawker or street eats in Malaysia and years ago (in the 70s) they were sold for 50 cents a small packet.

Yummilicous !


All sorts of fried rice

Wikipedia interpreted Fried rice (Chinese: 炒飯; pinyin: chǎo fàn) as a Chinese dish of steamed rice that has been stir-fried in a wok and, usually, mixed with other ingredients, such as eggs, vegetables, and meat, and as such, often served as a complete dish.

Yangzhou fried rice or Yeung Chow (Young Chow) fried rice  is a popular Chinese-style wok fried rice dish in many Chinese restaurants throughout the world.

Rice is the staple food in Asia and fried rice could have been created from leftover rice and other ingredients charred together.  Many popular varieties of fried rice have their own specific list of ingredients.  In Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, fried rice is known as Nasi Goreng which comes with fried egg and can be spicy or non spicy.  The Indonesian fried rice tends to be sweeter as sweet soya sauce is a key ingredient.

There are all sorts of nasi goreng.  In fact another name of Nasi Goreng (fried rice) is Nasi Campur (translated as mixed rice).  You can create your own fried rice by mixing all sorts of ingredients such as prawns, eggs, chicken, beef, mixed veggies, peas, etc with rice and fried together till aromatic.  For flavouring, you could add curry powder, laksa powder, tom yum. chicken/beef stock, ikan bilis (dried anchovies), belacan (dried shrimp paste) to taste.

Is Nasi Goreng from Singapore?  Malaysia? Indonesia?

Indonesian Nasi Goreng can be differentiated by the use of sweet soya sauce but Nasi Goreng in Singapore and Malaysia are basically the same.

Check out below photos and click on the links for the respective recipes.

Photo credits to the originator of those links.




Sandringham Spices & More

Spring is here !

Sunny Saturday and we decided to visit the suburb of Sandringham, popular for its Indian restaurants, colourful mix of halaal butchers, Indian food and spices.

Surprisingly enough, we noticed that beyond Bollywood food and spices, Barber shops were bustling with men queuing up for haircuts!

Too bad we missed out the photos of Bollywood singles and barber shops.


If you are visiting Auckland and looking for something different, check out Eat Auckland and join the Sandringham Food and Spice Tour that introduces you to the best flavours Sandringham Village has to offer.


Rare – My one and only Toby

I was a cat lover till I decided to adopt a wee four-legged golden boy.  Years ago, I had dogs before but never made any effort to bond with them.

With Toby, it was different.  He came to me when he was around a month old.

He came from a litter of six pups, a cross of Staffordshire terrier and Labrador.  We got him from the local SPCA.

My Toby is a rare find.

He has the face of a Staffordshire terrier and the colour of a golden Labrador.  Sometimes, he barks for no reason.  He runs around in circles when he is bored.  For some reason (no idea why, probably his Staffordshire bred), he is weary of strangers especially when they come around the house.  He wants to be the boss but he is timid so he barks at the same time wagging his tail.

There were instances when he lunged at strangers and frightened the hell out of them getting me into trouble and frowned upon.  Although he doesn’t bite, his barks makes him look vicious.  However, if you are not fearful of him, a pat to him means you are a friend.

He is loyal and loving.   He loves to go for car rides and walks, loving them more than food.  He loves me and anyone who takes him for a walk or car ride.  He sleeps either in my flatmate’s room or mine.  He loves to go under the covers even on a summer night.

He loves toys and goes crazy with them.  His favourite game is ripping the squeaker off any stuffed toys.  When you walk into my house, you may think I have a baby in the house.

Yes, I do have a ‘baby’, only that baby is four-legged.  My baby turned 7 years old on 19 August 2016.  He was so thrilled to have a lick and a piece of his birthday cake !

Woof, woof, my cake is the same as what mummy had on her birthday too !   Yummy !




Weekend Fun

Happy weekend everyone.

Let’s make the most out of this weekend, have some laughs and fun.

Do the simple things, time out with friends or families.

Inject some fun into a lovely walk, jump for a photo shot.

Or if you are alone, go watch a comedy.

Life is only as good and as fun as you make it.

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Narrow Forest Tracks

Photos from our walk to Mangemangeroa Reserve.
A magnificent landscape of farmland, coastal native bush and stunning estuary views. The surrounding farmland gives you the chance to wander amongst grazing cattle. This walkway can be wet and muddy so best to explore the narrow forest tracks on a fine day. Dogs must be on a leash at all times.



Caressing my pillows

another night is here

resting my head, my body, soul

energized and relaxed

free from worries

rejuvenated, alive once more

enriched as we mellow with time

each day.


Carefree is the way to be.   Live and enjoy !