Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ChocoNanaNut Sarnies

The rain seems to be getting everyone down....sigh.

I like the rain - it hardly ever makes me feel gloomy. I love the sound of raindrops pattering against my window as I'm falling asleep. Or better yet, waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of torrential downpour and then burrowing in just a little deeper under my duvet and just a little snugglier against the lucky person sharing a bed with me (for the present, it's Mr Higgins!).

Ok, I admit it kinda sucks if you're out on the town having spent 2 hours putting your make-up on and contorting yourself into knots drying your hair in a new filmy see-thru chiffon dress and strappy heels without an umbrella...then the Rain Is Your Enemy.

One of my friends in particular is feeling especially gloomy and thinking about his melancholy almost made me feel down in the dumps so I had to quickly find a way to cheer myself up before that could happen....

Here's the perfect remedy. It's for EMERGENCIES ONLY!!!

ChocoNanaNut Sarnies (makes 2 sandwiches)
20 mins prep to mouth
4 slices of white plastic bread (you know the kind!)
1 Banana
Chunky peanut butter
Butter, softened

- Slice the banana WAFER-THIN...as thin as you possibly can
- Butter the slices of bread on the outside
- Spread two slices with Nutella and the other two slices with peanut butter
- Overlap the WAFER-THIN slices of banana onto the peanut butter slices, they should be 2-3 WAFER-THIN layers thick
- Squish the Nutella slice on top
- Get a nice flat bottomed frying pan and heat it up on full power without oil
- When it's hot (drop a little butter on it and it should sizzle right away) put your sandwich peanut-butter side down and then turn the heat down to medium.
- Leave it on for about 3 mins then peek to see if the underside is nice and golden brown.
- Use a pair of tongs to flip the sandwiches over to the Nutella side and squish them down a bit.
- Drop a little blob of butter around each sandwich to make it just that little more unhealthy and buttery! Well ok, you can skip this step if you like.
- Cook till golden-brown and then serve it up with a nice frosty glass of milk.


And if a ChocoNanaNut Sarnie doesn't work then there's always DB Boulevard's "Point of View" that always got MooMoo and I dancing at Happy!!

Point of View - DB Boulevard

Monday, July 30, 2007

WHILT: Getting the Yolk in the Middle

When making oeufs en cocotte with a soft filling underneath (like creamed spinach, leeks or duxelles etc) it is SUCH an annoyance when the yolks slip to the side instead of sitting prettily in the middle of the ramekin. It really bothers someone as anal as myself!

Here's a super neat way to get them bang in the middle everytime:

Get a little teaspoon or melon baller and make an indent in the middle of the filling. Then crack your egg over it. The yolk wiggles into the indentation everytime!

Doubtless this is an age-old trick, but I was so thrilled when I figured it out!!

I'm moving my WHILT posts over to its own blog because it will soon take over this one otherwise!

Sunday, July 29, 2007


As in What Have I Learnt Today?

This is going to be a new thing on my blog because...well, because sometimes even I get bored of the sound (sight?) of my own complaining.

It's not that I only learn just one thing a day but there is always something really awesome that I discover during my meanders through cyberspace, or randomly flipping through waiting room magazines. There's always a geeky fact that I think is SOOO cool, or a completely practical now-why-didn't-I-think-of-that trick, or a hysterical nugget of urban insight that would be WRONG not to share!!! Plus, my ridiculous short-term memory needs a space to put them all.

Whilto ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum.
I WHILT therefore I think; I think therefore I am.

Did you know that 1% of the hissy white noise you hear on the radio as you're tuning between stations is actually the echo of the Big Bang?
-Focus Magazine #178 Jul 07, pp 45

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Up at 5:30am this morning with an idea igniting my veins, couldn't sleep, had to get to my computer to write to my favourite brainiac, Juliet Ceres, whom I met in Second Life when we were both learning to build and who has since surpassed my modest virtual achievements in leaps & bounds....and is quite possibly one of the cleverest people I know (um, present company excluded).

Our SL acquaintance has evolved into an RL friendship and I hope will continue to grow until we can work together in the same physical space!

How privileged are we to benefit from the technology that enables us to become friends with someone thousands of miles away and to make genuine connections with people you've never even met....it's amazing! Love it!

Anyway, it was raining and the Fruitcake was the only person awake at that crazy hour. I wonder why I don't get up at that time more....it's so peaceful and silent. The sky, dark when you first emerge but gradually bleeding into daybreak. The silence of the stars melting into the melodic dawnsong of a hundred birds.

It's a good time to think.

It's a good time to listen to Portishead.

Melody - Portishead featuring Lane Birkin

Monday, July 23, 2007

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

It's been awhile since I posted updates on the NewBiz.

Topline : I've committed to a location, started renovation and will be able to get on with some real work by August.

The edge of my exuberance has dulled somewhat, especially compared to a month ago when I first signed on for the location.

I've always believed that money is a necessity, but passion & hard work create the adrenaline that keeps you going. I still believe this but my rose tinted glasses have been tempered by reality.

A truth: Money = Time

If you have alot of money, things get done quickly. If you don't have alot, be prepared to scale your timeline and expectations accordingly. I didn't, and searching for a location has been a huge learning. On hindsight, I should have been prepared. Sahar & Bobby Hashemi wrote that it took almost a year to find their first Coffee Republic outlet after they'd secured their funding. I laughed in disbelief at the time, but I sho' ain't laughing now.

With a (very) conservative budget:

  • You're not a priority with the estate agents and will have to physically drive around looking for places, knocking on doors.
  • The majority of available property listings are beyond your reach, either in terms of monthly rental, deposits and/or the amount of renovation work needed to get things in order, especially if you need a kitchen like I do.
  • ALOT of flexibility is required on your part re professional standards.
  • You can't be picky (no-one's ever praised a persnickety beggar in a proverb)
  • You have to deal with unsavoury characters because....well...that's the pond you're swimming in.
But here's what no-one tells you in the books - if you're an optimist and haven't prepared yourself for the realities, every pitfall sucks you in. The time spent chasing leads that end at a dead end, starting negotiations over, not being given the time of day, being dismissed as that small fry making so much noise....the sleepless nights, the self-doubt, every dead-end or obstacle translating into endless dialogue inside your head at 4am in the morning.

And to add to the jamboree let's not forget watching your bank digits slide into the grey area between singular and plural, because you had planned on two months MAX without income to set everything up, and you're into your 4th or 5th month... way beyond your buffer, isolating yourself from friends out of shame & pride, eyeing the money you'd put aside for the start-up capital, thinking about going back to your old job and asking yourself over & over how much you really believe in your idea and IS IT FUCKING WORTH IT?!!??

I wasn't prepared for this Vicious Spiral. It's not even a circle because when you come around again you find you're at now Square One, Basement One! I have picked & dusted myself off so many times and on the outside, I'm always ready for the next round. But inside, it feels like I've been compromised. Adulterated. There is a loss of innocence.

It's like seeing snow for the first time, thrilled with the crystalline purity, marvelling at the sparkling magic all around you. Then you dive in, and you realise it's cold. And you're not dressed warmly enough. And the snowflakes are dirty. And it's deeper than you thought it was. And there's something brushing against your legs that you can't see.

I recognize that beast so well now, I can smell it approaching. Fear.

Now is the time to ask yourself how much you want it. If you're truly passionate, and you've done your homework and your intentions are pure then get ready for the fight. Lean into the problem and brace yourself. Fear separates the weak from the strong. It's natural selection.

  • Pick your allies and recognize your foes early on. I have been naive and far too trusting. I didn't respect the environment I was in, I was like a goldfish trying to make friends with pirhanas. It was my ego in a way, thinking I could charm people into doing the right thing. I will not make that mistake again.
  • Keep your values safe. Bend, but don't break. That's a whole lesson in humility - to get fucked and not be tempted to bring out your biggest, blackest, spikiest dildo and fuck them right back in the ass. Ok, I admit I'm always tempted but I try very, very hard not to do it (but here's a tune for those moments of weakness).

    Cock the Hammer - Cypress Hill (Black Sunday, 1993)

    Don't let your pride corrupt your intentions. It's tempting to lose sight of your goal, your perspective changes and your pride makes you greedy to prove all of them wrong.
  • Value your allies, now more than ever. You find one diamond in every 100 useless piece-of-shit pile of dungstone so treat them well. If you have managed to retain your integrity, you will recognize each other. If they're a supplier/provider then pay them as much as you can afford, and pay them first. I have met some real gems throughout this process - my designers (esp Jee who enthused with me right from the beginning, and offered help without being asked), my lawyer (who has refused payment despite my protests), my contractor (who has been as inconvenienced as I have but always wants to help) and the Fruitcake who, a stranger until recently, has so generously volunteered as a sounding board and shown a huge vote of confidence by offering partnership. I will value all these connections for life.
  • Learn from the bad eggs. Remember their lessons because one day you will be a Big Person and you will come across a Little Person so you should know what not to do. This is also a good time to differentiate between professionals and amateurs. Professionals will do their best no matter what the price.
  • Be realistic about what your money can buy and don't be discouraged by the truth. Make it work. Scale down. Stripped naked, a great idea should still be great. Focus. Be single-minded.
  • Don't get greedy. Desperation will do that to you. Don't be tempted to beg, borrow & steal by luring investors under false pretences to dilute your gamble unless there's a genuine advantage for everyone. Responsibly managing risk is about being assiduous with everyone's exposure, not just your own.
  • Treat everyone with respect, even the assholes, because that's just good karma.
And last but not least, appreciate the ones who love you and support you. Our problems always suck the best out of us leaving dregs for the ones waiting on the other side of the pillow. That's not the way it should be.

I leave you with one of my favourite TV commercials of all time, Apple's "Think Different".

Of course, if you've got tonnes of money then skip this epic post and go make another million instead.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Culinary Canine : Stelline alla Signor Higgins

Yeap, I pamper my pooches. It's true what they say about owners projecting themselves onto their animals - I can't bear looking at Mr Higgins eating the same type of food day in, day out, how immensely boring!

We've also been so concerned about all the pet food recalls arising from unethical manufacturing processes in China that we've switched to holistic kibble and I need the assurance of knowing exactly what little Higgy is eating in his moist food. We lost Jedi a few months back to kidney disease, just as the recalls hit the headlines and we've never been sure if it was due to his food.

So I cook Mr Higgins a little feast at the beginning of the week and then mix it in with his dry kibble, about 1 portion of cooked food to 2 portions of dry (not the other way around as much as Mr Higgins begs me to!)

I also double-check all the ingredients in my Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats to make sure everything is good for the tubby poochums.

Ingredients for 1 greedy French bulldog for 1 week
Prep 45 mins prep to bowl
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped into little bits
500g chicken mince
2 skinny carrots (or 1 fat one), diced
Grabful of peas
100g stelline soup pasta
A lump of cold butter as big as a matchbox

- Start boiling some water without salt in a saucepan, enough to cook the pasta in but not so much it takes an hour to boil.

- Splash a bit of olive oil in another saucepan and fry the garlic and bacon until it's cooked but not crispy (pink vs brown)
- Add the chicken mince and stir fry until cooked through. Using one of those wooden fork spatulas help break up the clumps into smaller bits.

- By the time the chicken is cooked, the water should be boiling so chuck the stelline in.

-Add the carrots to the chicken mince and stir around for a couple of minutes
-Add the peas, stir and then turn the heat down low (about 1 or 2) and put the lid on.

- When the pasta is cooked, don't drain the pasta in a colander but rather get a ladle out and scoop the pasta out of the water, draining it a little against the side of the pan, and then adding to the chicken mince. You want some water to add moisture to the mince because who doesn't like a bit 'o ggrrraaaaaavy????
- Mix the pasta into the chicken and check that there's enough liquid. When you press the mince down with your ladle, the hole should fill with liquid.
- Put the lid back on and let it simmer for about 10 mins or so.
- Stir the lump of cold butter in and then it's done.

- Ladle a spoonful into the doggy bowl to cool down, and store the rest in the fridge for up to a week. I normally just get a scoop out into the bowl an hour before feeding time, it'll be room temp by the time it comes to mixing it with the kibble.

Higgy LOVES it. He's horny as hell after he's eaten.

Oops, have I said too much????

PS: The Dolphin is back to the seas tomorrow and I've been learning to use his camera! You like? I'm going to be better than him when he gets back - 'ees not 'appy!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Very Drunk Cherry

That would have been me last night, so I suppose it's appropriate I'm posting about boozy cherries today.

My Fruitcake tells me black cherries are in season. How I love a plump, juicy, arterial blood red cherry, they remind me of London when I was little. Mum used to buy us a pound of cherries from the wheelbarrow man, rustling in their brown paper bag and warm from sunshine. I'd bite them in half and then squeeze the remaining half with my fingers, letting the juice run down my arm and imagining myself in some horror movie. I was a morbid little freak.

Anyway, I'm all grown up now and I still love cherries - the only difference is now I get to eat them with rum!

1 day soaking, 2hrs prep to mouth
Cherries with their stems
Dark rum
Your favourite dark chocolate, about 1 square per cherry - I like Lindt's bittersweet

- Prick your cherries all over with a toothpick and put them in a container with a lid
- Pour dark rum over them until completely submerged, cover with lid and leave them in the fridge overnight. Soaking them for 1 day gets them quite boozy. I soaked them for 3 days, had a couple for breakfast and then had to go back and lie down for abit!

The next day(s),
- Find a small saucepan and a bowl that will sit on top of it like this. The smaller the bowl, the better unless you're melting a mountain of chocolate and planning to take the next week off work.
- Fill the saucepan halfway with water and bring to boil.
- Place the bowl on top of the saucepan and break the chocolate into it

- Take the cherries out of the rum and wipe them dry.
- Find a plate large enough for all the cherries and lightly oil the surface with a mild-flavoured oil like sunflower and then pop the plate in the freezer while you prep the chocolate

- By this time, the chocolate should be melting so keep stirring it until it's all melted and lovely and glossy
- Take the plate out of the freezer
- Pick a cherry up by its stem and dip it into the chocolate, gently swirling it around until it's all coated
- Drop it onto the plate and repeat with the other cherries
- Pop it in the fridge and try not to obsessively check to see if they're ready. It'll take at least an hour.

There'll be chocolate left over in the bowl, and I NEVER like to see good chocolate go to waste so make chocolate milk by adding a little milk to the melted chocolate, stir until incorporated, add a little more and stire and keep doing it until the chocolate is very runny. Then you can pour a big glug in until it's as chocolately as you like.

And of course one mustn't forget the lovely cherry flavoured rum left over! Make a Rum & Cherry Coke by pouring a big sploosh of cherry rum into a glass, top with Coke and garnish with a......chocolate rummy cherry!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


My mum is/was a lawyer and worked very hard when my sis and I were growing up. My Popo looked after us, did all the cooking and she was proper oldskool - she's the whole reason for my cooking = love philosophy.

When mum did cook on the rare weekend, she usually made spagbol and Shaz and I would go mad! It would be a whole day affair, starting with supermarket shopping in the morning and prep after lunch, followed by an entire afternoon of simmering which would fill the apartment with stomach-gurgling smells. Shaz and I would sneak tastes of meat sauce all afternoon, burning our tongues and always taking care to smooth over the telltale gouges our teaspoons would make.

When dinnertime came, mum would lift the lid and our thievery would be so obvious. There would be a crusty red line on the side of the pot, and the meat sauce would be sitting about 2 inches below it.

My bolognese is such a bastardisation of the classic ragu alla bolognese because it's based on memories from those times. I have also been influenced by those mafia movies like Godfather where there's always an Italian mother hovering in the background cooking up pots of big RED pasta sauce. I have never been to Bologna. I don't like spaghetti because I prefer a thinner pasta that holds more sauce. I like alot of meat sauce. My mum has never liked too much acidity so I use milk to balance out the tomatoes (consistent with an authentic ragu in this case). I like alot of tomatoes, it's gotta be red red RED. And there are mushrooms in it because mum always put them in her sauce.

These days it's the Dolphin sneaking spoonfuls from the pot, and mum doesn't need to make spaghetti bolognese anymore because I make it for her.

Ingredients for 4 hungry people
1 hr prep to table
Olive oil
1 medium white onion
4 cloves garlic
500g beef mince
Splash of milk
3 bay leaves
1 pinch of dried basil, oregano and parsey
1 can Hunt's Tomato Puree
1 can Napolina chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
200g mushrooms
2 bunches fresh basil leaves

1/2 pkt dried vermicelli pasta

- Chop the onions and garlic up really fine and fry in olive oil until soft and translucent
- Add a bit more oil, enough to see a very thin puddle on the base, and add the beef mince
- Using a wooden fork, stir it around, breaking up the big bits until it's brown and crumbly
- Add a glug of milk. Enough to throughly moisten the meat but not enough to create a pool
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and dried herbs (bay, oregano, dried basil, parsley)
- Put a little hot water into the can of tomato puree and add the beef stock cube. Dissolve it, stirring up all the sticky bits of puree left in the can and add it to your beef.
- Add the sliced mushrooms.
- Give everything a good stir and add freshly ground black pepper.
- Turn the heat down low (to 1 or 2, so it's juts making little bubbles) and put the lid on, leaving a crack and simmer for 30mins*.

- Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the vermicelli according to instructions on the packet.
- While the pasta's cooking, chop your fresh basil up. I usually pluck the leaves into a small glass and then use kitchen scissors to snip it in the glass.

- When the pasta is done, switch heat off, drain and put back into the pot on the hob to steam the water away.
- Take the lid off the meat sauce and sprinkle the fresh basil into the bolognese, leaving a little for garnish.
- Taste the sauce and salt/pepper if needed.

- Scoop a big ladle of bolognese into the pot of vermicelli and tong it around until all the pasta is covered in a little sauce.
- Plate the pasta, add more sauce over the top and lots of fresh Parmesan.

Good, honest grub.

*Simmering 30 mins is good, an hour or so even better. But if you're hungry, just simmer till the pasta is cooked - it'll be good enough to eat!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Peking Rectums

"Waste not, want not", said the hungry Singaporean.

Link to ieatishootipost's review on Peking Rectums


Wow! Geek Discovery of the Week!

Matt Bites' nerd post linked to Edwin Tofslie's Apple evolution chart and it's frickin' amazing!!! I lost my virginity with the Apple IIe in 1983 - what about you??

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Bit of Comfort : Mushroom Soup with Bacon Croutons

Another month has gone by and when it comes to finding an office, I've come a full circle....except the knots are tighter in my neck and my 8am out-of-bed-bounce is considerably less springy.

I barely slept last night, thoughts running around my head like a Bull Terrier with CCB. After this evening's discovery that I'd been gazumped on Location B, I decided to forego my usual hair-pulling with a culinary escape to one of my favourite comfort foods, Mushroom Soup.

Who doesnt feel nostalgic about a big bowl of mushroom soup? I grew up on Campbell's, always using milk instead of water. So the Dolphin took me to the 24hr Cold Storage at Holland Village (there are some interesting characters to be found by the freezer section at night!) to stock up.

But first, a list:

  • My Popo likes her mushroom soup with lots of shitake
  • My dad loathes butter or cream in savoury dishes (but will devour a cream cake or croissant in a blink)
  • My mum likes her soup dark and full of bits
  • I'm not a big fan of shitake, but agree that its addition makes it more mushroomy
  • The Dolphin prefers his mushroom soup hearty but not gloopy
  • I think bacon and mushrooms are a lovely combination
  • My sis probably likes hers without mushrooms but she's not here, so tough!
Here's a version that I hope will please everyone.

Ingredients for 2 generous bowls, or 4 people on a diet (whatever!)
45 mins prep to table
1 sprig of rosemary, just the little leaves
1 sprig of sage
1 medium white onion
3 cloves of garlic
20g of butter and 25ml of olive oil

2 punnets (approx 400g) of button mushrooms (caps & stems)
150g of fresh shitake mushroom, caps only (the stems are usually too dry)
1 can of chicken broth
1/2 can of milk (I used semi-skimmed)

3 slices of streaky bacon
Some bread (preferably old, but nevermind if its not)

- Get a large saucepan, sprinkle a bit of water in it and put it on the heat at full power.
- When the water sizzles, disappears and the pan is perfectly dry, throw in the butter. When it starts to froth, add the herbs and then olive oil.
- Turn the heat off and let the herbs infuse while you prep the rest of the stuff.

- Finely slice the onions and garlic.
- Finely slice the mushrooms. I used my mandoline to get them really fine. You'll end up with a small mountain, but it reduces all the way down.

- Turn the heat back on until you hear the herbs sizzle then add the onions and garlic. Cook till the onions become translucent, but not brown.
- Add the mushrooms and mix everything up, getting the onions off the base
- Cook for about 5 mins, or until the mushies have reduced and given up their lovely mushroomy stock.
- Add the chicken stock and milk, then turn the heat down low and simmer with the lid on for 30 mins.

In the meantime,
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
- Splash a little olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the bacon on medium heat until the fat renders and the bacon crisps but don't let it burn. Turn the heat off and remove the bacon, leaving the flavoured oil.
- Cut your bread into your favourite crouton sizes. I like lots of little ones. The Dolphin likes big ones. I usually do it my way.
- Toss the croutons in the oil. You just want to coat them evenly, not soak them until they go translucent.
- Lay them out on a layer of foil (or a baking tray) and pop them in the oven on a high shelf. Check after 10 mins to see if they're brown. If not, leave them a bit longer but keep checking them!
- Eat the crispy bacon on the sly.

- Check your soup when 30mins are up and taste for salt/pepper. Season accordingly.
- If you've got a food processor, whiz it around till it's smooth. Or pulse for more texture. However you like. Or use an immersion hand blender like me (I still haven't really figured out how not to splatter hot soup when I use it).

- Pour into bowls, drizzle with a little cream and sprinkle the croutons over the top. It's even yummier the next day...but who can wait?

You can make this a whole lot fancier using dried porcini, morels, truffle oil, sherry etc...but this is more than good enough for everyday. And I sho' do feel a lot better!

Monday, July 09, 2007

An Observation Insight Honest Truth

One of the disadvantages of being short-sighted is forgetting that just because you can't see someone, it doesn't mean they can't see you.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chuck it on the Barbie: Red Onion Jam

So James says "I've got loads of meat" and at first I think he's referring to something else, but then I get he's talking about the bbq.

I offer to make an onion jam cos that goes with everything, and they never give you enough at the restaurants!

Ingredients for an Island Creamery ice cream tub approx 500g
1 kg red onions
100ml olive oil
120g soft brown sugar
2 tspns of salt
6 cloves
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 bay leaves
75ml of red wine vinegar
100 ml white wine

Ok, you should REALLY get a mandoline if you want to make this because slicing 1kg of onions is 1) boring; 2) tedious; 3) dull and 4) dreary.

- Peel and finely slice all those bloody onions
- Put the sliced onions and olive oil in a wok or a big heavy based frying pan and TURN THE HEAT ON!
- When you start to hear everything sizzling dash back to the hob and give everything a stir
- Alternate stirring the onions and drinking the other 650ml of wine until the onions look soft and translucent
- Add the brown sugar, vinegar, wine, herbs, cloves, salt - everything else, basically
- Stir it in
- Turn the heat down low, about a quarter of full power and let it bubble away for about an hour. Don't cover it cos you want the liquids to evaporate and leave a gooey caramel
- When most of the liquid has disappeared and the onions look brown, sticky and like the picture, they're ready!

Delish with...everything. Steaks, sausages, cheese, cheesey toasts, pate, pork. venison ... good with animals, basically.

It's the yummiest onion jam I've ever had! It'll keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge. Next time, I'm going to try a version with blasamic balsamic vinegar and red wine.

Chuck it on the Barbie: Whiteley Potatoes

My favourite friends, James and Erin, are having a BBQ today which I'm really looking forward to. I wonder if they're trying to entice me out because I have been an elusive little bookworm this past few weeks (months)!

It's been a bit of a tradition to bring potatoes round to James' whenever he has a get-together because of Owen a.k.a "Jamo I've Embarrassed Meself" so I'm bringing....er...potatoes.

I don't know what to call this, so I'm calling them Whiteley Potatoes. Not least because they're salty and extremely well-seasoned. But also because of James.

Here's the recipe. I don't use weighing scales so I hope you'll understand the descriptions!

Ingredients for 6 : 1 hr prep to table
6 Russet Burbank potatoes about as big as your fist
8 button mushrooms
8 honey tomatoes
10 pitted black olives
2 red onions
4 cloves of garlic
1 packet of McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Marinade

1 chargrilled red pepper*
1 chargrilled green pepper*

3 stalks of spring onion
2 stalks of chinese parsley (just the leaves)
1 handful of coarsely grated parmesan
Olive oil

- Preheat the oven grill to 250 degrees Celsius
- Cut your bell peppers in half and throw away the seeds & white bits
- Put them under the grill as close as you can to the heat element, skin side up

- Get a big baking tray out, or just use the one that came with your oven (wash it first!)
- Scrub the potatoes and chop them into your favourite sized chunks. I like them about as big half my thumb-ish. Then throw them in the baking tray.
- Halve the button mushrooms. If they're really big, then quarter them. They shrink so don't make them too small! Put them in with the tatties.
- Chuck in your honey tomatoes
- Cut the onion into chunks and add them in
- Smash your garlic with the bottom of a wine bottle (or anything weighty!), peel away the skin and chop off the woody crusty whatchmacallit at the end. Then add them in the mix.
- Cut each olive in half and add them in (or leave them whole if you prefer)
-Sprinkle the McCormick seasoning onto the crazy mix
- Glug olive oil all over....I don't know how much...enough to coat everything nicely but not have it swimming in a bath!
- Use your hands and mix everything together until it's all shiny and glistening and spread everything out in an even layer

- Check the peppers and see if the skins have gone all black. If they have, take them out and put them in a little plastic bag. I just reuse the one from the supermarket that I bought the peppers in. Close the bag with a twirl and leave them aside to steam

- Turn the oven down to 200 degrees Celsius
- Slide the potatoes and stuff into the oven on the topmost rack
- Set a timer for 15 mins

In the meantime,
- Snip the spring onions and chinese parsely leaves into a bowl
- Have a glass of wine or go watch Oprah for a bit

When the timer goes off 15 mins later,
- Get a flat slotted spatula thingy and turn everything over
- Set the timer for another 15 mins

- Take those steamy chargrilled peppers out of the bag. You should be able to slip the black skins off really easily now. Don't worry if there are bits left, it's just a bit of carbon! They give you carbon pills when you've got the runs so it can't be all bad. Whatever you do, don't wash the peppers. That's just foolish!
- Slice them into slivers and pop them back into the bag where there'll probably be some juices left

When the last 15 mins are up, go back and look at the tatties. Take them out if you think they're sufficiently brown. Or leave them for a bit longer. I like them with a golden crust. The Dolphin likes them like Peter Andre. You decide!

Then pour everything into a serving bowl. Add your spring onions and parsley. Add the chargrilled peppers. Throw in the handful of parmesan. Give a few vigorous twists of the pepper grinder. Salt if you must. I had a muscle spasm and ovesalted my tatties . Better to undersalt than oversalt, believe me - my lips are still pruney.

Then get a flat serving spoon and fold everything together. Don't stir like a madman otherwise it'll turn into babyfood (which would be useful for the morning after a night at James'). Fold. Like scoop and turn, scoop and turn, scoop and turn...


*If you don't have time to buy chargrilled peppers, they're available at the deli counter. But they're a complete ripoff!!! A fresh red pepper costs $7.30/kg and a chargrilled red pepper from the deli counter costs about $40/kg. I'd rather go without the peppers and get a better bottle of wine! And so should you!

Do these instructions seem complicated? They're not - it takes 45mins prep to table. 1hr max if you keep going to the fridge for another glass of wine.

I hope my friend Shermie isn't reading this, he'd freak at the commercial spice mix. I couldn't be arsed to pound my own. I will the next time.

Friday, July 06, 2007

A Trip to Melaka

The family and I had made the little trip across to Melaka in search for antique Peranakan tiles and we had a lovely time. I wouldn't stay more than one evening because it's a sleepy little town, but it's a fun day out, and only 2.5 hours from Singapore.

Melaka is famous for Peranakan culture, architecture and food. We went on a weekday, but save your trip for the weekend when the pasar malams, or night markets, are on.

My mission was to admire the 19th century shophouses and to search for vintage pieces for the NewBiz.

My dad's mission was to hunt down the authentic cendol from his youth, but he was pretty disappointed . So I'm going to make it my new mission to make him some from scratch! I wonder how I'm going to make the "green worms"? I read somewhere that oldskool street hawkers in China, when the need to make thin strands of dough arises, they pack a mouthful of raw dough in their mouth and squirt strands out through the gaps in their teeth.

I think I might just use a potato ricer!

Anyway, I digress.

The best place for antique shopping is Jonker Street because there are loads of shops and many of the shophouses have been beautifully restored.

Unfortunately, most of the antiques were well beyond my budget. A real shame because there were loads of funky finds! Here's a great shop with oldskool lighting fixtures...

But back to the tiles. There are basically two kinds : the glazed ceramic tile which are mostly used for walls, and the hardier floor tiles. The price differential is substantial!

Glazed wall tiles (on the left) can cost up to RM$150 per piece depending on its condition. The floor tiles on the left cost about RM$20 per piece. I need about 10 metres worth, so guess which ones I'm going for!

We went to practically every shop in Jonker Street, Heeren Street and Jln Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Abdul Company had the best selection of both tiles by far. Most shops would have about 10-20 tiles. These guys had hundreds, if not thousands!! The glazed tiles are out front, and the floor tiles are in the back. BE WARNED, if you're going to see the floor tiles bring loads of mozzie spray. I'm not being a princess here, the tiles are stored in a dusty shed and there are as many mozzies are there are tiles. The Dolphin and I got into a bit of an argy-bargy because the mozzies were annoying us so much. We couldn't get out of there fast enough, which was a shame because you should really be able to spend time picking the right tiles, and checking the condition of each piece.
We also found a shop, Lagenda, that does great reproduction tiles. They've got a good selection, but you need about 3 months lead time. Each tile costs RM$15 but I'm sure that's negotiable!

We called it a day after the Mosquito Shop, and in typical Lim fashion went in search of food. I've heard so much about Famosa Chicken Rice Balls but after trying them, I don't really get it. The rice came as a plate of oily, glistening balls and they looked pretty ick to me. All I could see in my head was a fat man witha dirty sarong, squatting in front of a bucket of rice and rolling those rice balls with his sweaty palms.

Here's a screengrab from their (pretty impressive) website! Did they really say "sweat flows down to earth like a river"? Do they actually mean "sweat flows down to earth like a river....and into our chicken rice balls"? Ew.

There was a teahouse on Jonker Street we really wanted to visit cos it looked sooo pretty, but it was closed :( If anyone passes through and has a chance ot check it out, let me know what it's like!

Finally, some tasty retro goodies to bring back as souvenirs and sustain us on the drive home...

From top left: authentic gula melaka, kai chai peang (little chicken biscuits),
gula tarik kok kok candy, tau sar pneah (not technically a Melakan treat!),
coconut candy, nonya pineapple tarts (in plain and pandan), coconut and durian dodol

Monday, July 02, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For

...the Universe will give it to you. It may not be on your terms, and it will almost always require a sacrifice, but when you recognize the gift that has been sent your way then your eyes will open to the countless blessings that surround you.

The question is : How badly did you want it in the first place, and was it worth everything you gave up to get it?

Sometimes I wish I could be content with a simpler life.

Here's a tale of the macabre to start your week, taken from American Literature. Try to enjoy it :P


"Be careful what you wish for, lest you receive it." - Edgar Allen Poe

Part I

Without, the night was cold and wet, but in the small parlour of Laburnum villa the blinds were drawn and the fire burned brightly. Father and son were at chess; the former, who posessed ideas about the game involving radical chances, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire.

"Hark at the wind," said Mr. White, who, having seen a fatal mistake after it was too late, was amiably desirous of preventing his son from seeing it.

"I'm listening," said the latter grimly surveying the board as he streched out his hand. "Check."

"I should hardly think that he's come tonight, " said his father, with his hand poised over the board.

"Mate," replied the son.

"That's the worst of living so far out," balled Mr. White with sudden and unlooked-for violence; "Of all the beastly, slushy, out of the way places to live in, this is the worst. Path's a bog, and the road's a torrent. I don't know what people are thinking about. I suppose because only two houses in the road are let, they think it doesn't matter."

"Never mind, dear," said his wife soothingly; "perhaps you'll win the next one."

Mr. White looked up sharply, just in time to intercept a knowing glance between mother and son. the words died away on his lips, and he hid a guilty grin in his thin grey beard.

"There he is," said Herbert White as the gate banged to loudly and heavy footsteps came toward the door.

The old man rose with hospitable haste and opening the door, was heard condoling with the new arrival. The new arrival also condoled with himself, so that Mrs. White said, "Tut, tut!" and coughed gently as her husband entered the room followed by a tall, burly man, beady of eye and rubicund of visage.

"Sargeant-Major Morris, " he said, introducing him.

The Sargeant-Major took hands and taking the proffered seat by the fire, watched contentedly as his host got out whiskey and tumblers and stood a small copper kettle on the fire.

At the third glass his eyes got brighter, and he began to talk, the little family circle regarding with eager interest this visitor from distant parts, as he squared his broad shoulders in the chair and spoke of wild scenes and dougty deeds; of wars and plagues and strange peoples.

"Twenty-one years of it," said Mr. White, nodding at his wife and son. "When he went away he was a slip of a youth in the warehouse. Now look at him."

"He don't look to have taken much harm." said Mrs. White politely.

"I'd like to go to India myself," said the old man, just to look around a bit, you know."

"Better where you are," said the Sargent-Major, shaking his head. He put down the empty glass and sighning softly, shook it again.

"I should like to see those old temples and fakirs and jugglers," said the old man. "what was that that you started telling me the other day about a monkey's paw or something, Morris?"

"Nothing." said the soldier hastily. "Leastways, nothing worth hearing."

"Monkey's paw?" said Mrs. White curiously.

"Well, it's just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps." said the Sargeant-Major off-handedly.

His three listeners leaned forward eagerly. The visitor absent-mindedly put his empty glass to his lips and then set it down again. His host filled it for him again.

"To look at," said the Sargent-Major, fumbling in his pocket, "it's just an ordinary little paw, dried to a mummy."

He took something out of his pocket and proffered it. Mrs. White drew back with a grimace, but her son, taking it, examined it curiously.

"And what is there special about it?" inquired Mr. White as he took it from his son, and having examined it, placed it upon the table.

"It had a spell put on it by an old Fakir," said the Sargent-Major, "a very holy man. He wanted to show that fate ruled people's lifes, and that those who interefered with it did so to their sorrow. He put a spell on it so that three separate men co uld each have three wishes from it."

His manners were so impressive that his hearers were concious that their light laughter had jarred somewhat.

"Well, why don't you have three, sir?" said Herbert White cleverly.

The soldier regarded him the way that middle age is wont to regard presumptious youth."I have," he said quietly, and his blotchy face whitened.

"And did you really have the three wishes granted?" asked Mrs. White.

"I did," said the seargent-major, and his glass tapped against his strong teeth.

"And has anybody else wished?" persisted the old lady.

"The first man had his three wishes. Yes, " was the reply, "I don't know what the first two were, but the third was for death. That's how I got the paw."

His tones were so grave that a hush fell apon the group.

"If you've had your three wishes it's no good to you now then Morris," said the old man at last. "What do you keep it for?"

The soldier shook his head. "Fancy I suppose," he said slowly." I did have some idea of selling it, but I don't think I will. It has caused me enough mischief already. Besides, people won't buy. They think it's a fairy tale, some of them; and those who do think anything of it want to try it first and pay me afterward."

"If you could have another three wishes," said the old man, eyeing him keenly," would you have them?"

"I don't know," said the other. "I don't know."

He took the paw, and dangling it between his forefinger and thumb, suddenly threw it upon the fire. White, with a slight cry, stooped down and snatched it off.

"Better let it burn," said the soldier solemnly.

"If you don't want it Morris," said the other, "give it to me."

"I won't." said his friend doggedly. "I threw it on the fire. If you keep it, don't blame me for what happens. Pitch it on the fire like a sensible man."

The other shook his head and examined his possesion closely. "How do you do it?" he inquired.

"Hold it up in your right hand, and wish aloud," said the seargent-major, "But I warn you of the consequences."

"Sounds like the 'Arabian Nights'.", said Mrs. White, as she rose and began to set the supper. "Don't you think you might wish for four pairs of hands for me."

Her husband drew the talisman from his pocket, and all three burst into laughter as the Seargent-Major, with a look of alarm on his face, caught him by the arm.

"If you must wish," he said gruffly, "Wish for something sensible"

Mr. White dropped it back in his pocket, and placing chairs, motioned his friend to the table. In the business of supper the talisman was partly forgotten, and afterward the three sat listening in an enthralled fashion to a second installment of the s oldier's adventures in India.

"If the tale about the monkey's paw is not more truthful than those he has been telling us," said Herbert, as the door closed behind thier guest, just in time to catch the last train, "we shan't make much out of it."

"Did you give anything for it, father?" inquired Mrs. White, regarding her husband closely.

"A trifle," said he, colouring slightly, "He didn't want it, but I made him take it. And he pressed me again to throw it away."

"Likely," said Herbert, with pretended horror. "Why, we're going to be rich, and famous, and happy. Wish to be an emporer, father, to begin with; then you can't be henpecked."

He darted around the table, persued by the maligned Mrs White armed with an antimacassar.

Mr. White took the paw from his pocket and eyed it dubiously. "I don't know what to wish for, and thats a fact," he said slowly. It seems to me I've got all I want."

"If you only cleared the house, you'd be quite happy, wouldn't you!" said Herbert, with his hand on his shoulder. "Well, wish for two hundred pounds, then; that'll just do it."

His father, smiling shamefacedly at his own credulity, held up the talisman, as his son, with a solemn face, somewhat marred by a wink at his mother, sat down and struck a few impressive chords.

"I wish for two hundred pounds," said the old man distinctly.

A fine crash from the piano greeted his words, interupted by a shuddering cry from the old man. His wife and son ran toward him.

"It moved," he cried, with a glance of disgust at the object as it lay on the floor. "As I wished, it twisted in my hand like a snake."

"Well, I don't see the money," said his son, as he picked it up and placed it on the table, "and I bet I never shall."

"It must have been your fancy, father," said his wife, regarding him anxiously.

He shook his head. "Never mind, though; theres no harm done, but it gave me a shock all the same."

They sat down by the fire again while the two men finished thier pipes. Outside, the wind was higher than ever, an the old man started nervously at the sound of a door banging upstairs. A silence unusual and depressing settled on all three, which last ed until the old couple rose to retire for the rest of the night.

"I expect you'll find the cash tied up in a big bag in the middle of your bed," said Herbert, as he bade them goodnight, " and something horrible squatting on top of your wardrobe watching you as you pocket your ill-gotten gains."

He sat alone in the darkness, gazing at the dying fire, and seeing faces in it. The last was so horrible and so simian that he gazed at it in amazement. It got so vivid that, with a little uneasy laugh, he felt on the table for a glass containig a lit tle water to throw over it. His hand grasped the monkey's paw, and with a little shiver he wiped his hand on his coat and went up to bed.

Part II

In the brightness of the wintry sun next morning as it streamed over the breakfast table he laughed at his fears. There was an air of prosaic wholesomeness about the room which it had lacked onthe previous nighrt, and the dirty, shriveled little paw was pitched on the side-board with a carelessness which betokened no great belief in its virtues.

"I suppose all old soldiers are the same," said Mrs White. "The idea of our listening to such nonsense! How could wishes be granted in these days? And if they could, how could two hundred pounds hurt you, father?"

"Might drop on his head from the sky," said the frivolous Herbert.

"Morris said the things happened so naturally," said his father, "that you might if you so wished attribute it to coincedence."

"Well don't break into the money before I come back," said Herbert as he rose from the table. "I'm afraid it'll turn you into a mean, avaricious man, and we shall have to disown you."

His mother laughed, and following him to the door, watched him down the road; and returning to the breakfast table, was very happy at the expense of her husband's credulity. All of which did not prevent her from scurrying to the door at the postman's knock, nor prevent her from referring somewhat shortly to retired Sargeant-Majors of bibulous habits when she found that the post brought a tailors bill.

"Herbert will have some more of his funny remarks, I expect, when he comes home," she said as they sat at dinner.

"I dare say," said Mr. White, pouring himself out some beer; "but for all that, the thing moved in my hand; that I'll swear to."

" You thought it did," said the old lady soothingly.

"I say it did," replied the other. "There was no thought about it; I had just - Whay's the matter?"

His wife made no reply. She was watching the mysterious movements of a man outside, who, peering in an undecided fashion at the house, appeared to be trying to make up his mind to enter. In mental conexion with the two hundred pounds, she noticed that the stranger was well dressed, and wore a silk hat of glossy newness. Three times he paused at the gate, and then walked on again. The fourth time he stood with his hand upon it, and then with sudden resolution flung it open and walked up the path. Mrs White at the same moment placed her hands behind her, and hurriedly unfastening the strings of her apron, put that useful article of apparel beneath the cusion of her chair.

She brought the stranger, who seemed ill at ease, into the room. He gazed at her furtively, and listened in a preoccupied fashion as the old lady apologized for the appearance of the room, and her husband's coat, a garment which he usually reserved for the garden. She then waited as patiently as her sex would permit for him to broach his buisiness, but he was at first strangely silent.

"I - was asked to call," he said at last, and stooped and picked a piece of cotton from his trousers. "I come from 'Maw and Meggins.' "

The old lady started. "Is anything the matter?" she asked breathlessly. "Has anything happened to Herbert? What is it? What is it?

Her husband interposed. "There there mother," he said hastily. "Sit down, and don't jump to conclusions. You've not brought bad news, I'm sure sir," and eyed the other wistfully.

"I'm sorry - " began the visitor.

"Is he hurt?" demanded the mother wildly.

The visitor bowed in assent."Badly hurt," he said quietly, "but he is not in any pain."

"Oh thank God!" said the old woman, clasping her hands. "Thank God for that! Thank - "

She broke off as the sinister meaning of the assurance dawned on her and she saw the awful confirmation of her fears in the others averted face. She caught her breath, and turning to her slower-witted husband, laid her trembling hand on his. There was a long silence.

"He was caught in the machinery," said the visitor at length in a low voice.

"Caught in the machinery," repeated Mr. White, in a dazed fashion,"yes."

He sat staring out the window, and taking his wife's hand between his own, pressed it as he had been wont to do in their old courting days nearly forty years before.

"He was the only one left to us," he said, turning gently to the visitor. "It is hard."

The other coughed, and rising , walked slowly to the window. " The firm wishes me to covey their sincere sympathy with you in your great loss," he said, without looking round. "I beg that you will understand I am only their servant and merely obeying orders."

There was no reply; the old womans face was white, her eyes staring, and her breath inaudible; on the husband's face was a look such as his freind the seargent might have carried into his first action.

"I was to say that Maw and Meggins disclaim all responsibility," continued the other. "They admit no liability at all, but in consideration of your son's services, they wish to present you with a certain sum as compensation."

Mr. White dropped his wife's hand, and rising to his feet, gazed with a look of horror at his visitor. His dry lips shaped the words,"How much?"

"Two hundred pounds," was the answer.

Unconcious of his wife's shriek, the old man smiled faintly, put out his hands like a sightless man, and dropped, a senseless heap, to the floor.

Part III

In the huge new cemetary, some two miles distant, the old people buried their dead, and came back to the house steeped in shadows and silence. It was all over so quickly that at first they could hardly realize it, and remained in a state of expectatio n as though of something else to happen - something else which was to lighten this load, too heavy for old hearts to bear.

But the days passed, and expectations gave way to resignation - the hopeless resignation of the old, sometimes mis-called apathy. Sometimes they hardly exchanged a word, for now they had nothing to talk about, and their days were long to weariness.

It was a about a week after that the old man, waking suddenly in the night, stretched out his hand and found himself alone. The room was in darkness, and the sound of subdued weeping came from the window. He raised himself in bed and listened.

"Come back," he said tenderly. "You will be cold."

"It is colder for my son," said the old woman, and wept afresh.

The sounds of her sobs died away on his ears. The bed was warm, and his eyes heavy with sleep. He dozed fitfully, and then slept until a sudden wild cry from his wife awoke him with a start.

"THE PAW!" she cried wildly. "THE MONKEY'S PAW!"

He started up in alarm. "Where? Where is it? Whats the matter?"

She came stumbling across the room toward him. "I want it," she said quietly. "You've not destroyed it?"

"It's in the parlour, on the bracket, he replied, marveling. "Why?"

She cried and laughed together, and bending over, kissed his cheek.

"I only just thought of it," she said hysterically. "Why didn't I think of it before? Why didn't you think of it?"

"Think of what?" he questioned.

"The other two wishes," she replied rapidly. "We've only had one."

"Was not that enough?" he demanded fiercely.

"No," she cried triumphantly; "We'll have one more. Go down and get it quickly, and wish our boy alive again."

The man sat in bed and flung the bedcloths from his quaking limbs."Good God, you are mad!" he cried aghast. "Get it," she panted; "get it quickly, and wish - Oh my boy, my boy!"

Her husband struck a match and lit the candle. "Get back to bed he said unsteadily. "You don't know what you are saying."

"We had the first wish granted," said the old woman, feverishly; "why not the second?"

"A coincidence," stammered the old man.

"Go get it and wish," cried his wife, quivering with exitement.

The old man turned and regarded her, and his voice shook. "He has been dead ten days, and besides he - I would not tell you else, but - I could only recognize him by his clothing. If he was too terrible for you to see then, how now?"

"Bring him back," cried the old woman, and dragged him towards the door. "Do you think I fear the child I have nursed?"

He went down in the darkness, and felt his way to the parlour, and then to the mantlepiece. The talisman was in its place, and a horrible fear that the unspoken wish might bring his mutillated son before him ere he could escape from the room seized up on him, and he caught his breath as he found that he had lost the direction of the door. His brow cold with sweat, he felt his way round the table, and groped along the wall until he found himself in the small passage with the unwholesome thing in his hand.

Even his wife's face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her.

"WISH!" she cried in a strong voice.

"It is foolish and wicked," he faltered.

"WISH!" repeated his wife.

He raised his hand. "I wish my son alive again."

The talisman fell to the floor, and he regarded it fearfully. Then he sank trembling into a chair as the old woman, with burning eyes, walked to the window and raised the blind.

He sat until he was chilled with the cold, glancing ocasionally at the figure of the old woman peering through the window. The candle-end, which had burned below the rim of the china candlestick, was throwing pulsating shadows on the ceiling and walls ,until with a flicker larger than the rest, it expired. The old man, with an unspeakable sense of relief at the failure of the talisman, crept back back to his bed, and a minute afterward the old woman came silently and apethetically beside him.

Neither spoke, but lat silently listening to the ticking of the clock. A stair creaked, and a squeaky mouse scurried noisily through the wall. The darkness was oppressive, and after lying for some time screwing up his courage, he took the box of match es, and striking one, went downstairs for a candle.

At the foot of the stairs the match went out, and he paused to strike another; and at the same moment a knock came so quiet and stealthy as to be scarcely audible, sounded on the front door.

The matches fell from his hand and spilled in the passage. He stood motionless, his breath suspended until the knock was repeated. Then he turned and fled swiftly back to his room, and closed the door behind him. A third knock sounded through the house.

"WHATS THAT?" cried the old woman, starting up.

"A rat," said the old man in shaking tones - "a rat. It passed me on the stairs."

His wife sat up in bed listening. A loud knock resounded through the house.

"It's Herbert!"

She ran to the door, but her husband was before her, and catching her by the arm, held her tightly.

"What are you going to do?" he whispered hoarsely.

"It's my boy; it's Herbert!" she cried, struggling mechanically. "I forgot it was two miles away. What are you holding me for? Let go. I must open the door."

"For God's sake don't let it in,: cried the old man, trembling.

"You're afraid of your own son," she cried struggling. "Let me go. I'm coming, Herbert; I'm coming."

There was another knock, and another. The old woman with a sudden wrench broke free and ran from the room. Her husband follwed to the landing, and called after her appealingly as she hurried downstairs. He heard the chain rattle back and the bolt draw n slowly and stiffly from the socket. Then the old womans voice, strained and panting.

"The bolt," she cried loudly. "Come down. I can't reach it."

But her husband was on his hands and knees groping wildly on the floor in search of the paw. If only he could find it before the thing outside got in. A perfect fusillade of knocks reverberated throgh the house, and he heard the scraping of a chair a s his wife as his wife put it down in the passage against the door. he heard the creaking of the bolt as it came slowly back, and at the same moment he found the monkeys's paw, and franticly breathed his third and last wish.

The knocking ceased suddenly, although the echoes of it were still in the house. He heard the chair drawn back, and the door opened. A cold wind rushed up the staircase, and a long loud wail of dissapointment and misery from his wife gave him the courage to run down to her side, and then to the gate beyond. The streetlamp flickering opposite shone on a quiet and deserted road.