Mrs. Chan

Archive for the ‘Momsie’s Garden’ Category

spring with Mrs. Chan

In Labour of Love, Momsie's Garden, What's Blooming on January 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm

While affixing plastic peach blossoms onto her water jasmine plant, Momsie proudly advised me what’s blooming in her sporadic garden.

Then with her chin, she proudly pointed to me a ‘must see’, her prized wild ginger flowers.

I was expecting the magenta button ginger flowers we commonly find decorating in hotel lobbies and spas. But what I saw were two potted plants with very large majestic flaming tangerine petals with a pale, waxy honeycomb centre. They look unreal from a distance.

A few years ago, Agnes brought home a Chinese New Year’s hamper decorated with a few stalks of fresh exotic flowers. Momsie liked the flowers very much and decided to grow them and this is the result from that love-at-first-sight.

Googled but failed to find out it’s name.

Regrettably, I do not know the name of these brightly coloured flowers, but momsie calls them “Japanese Flowers”. There is a 3 feet by 6 feet patch of this flowers right behind our clothes line. They attract many bees, butterflies and dragonflies as they bloom in bursts of vanilla yellow, fuchsia and rosy red.

Lookie here, so pretty are these chillies! I laughed my head off when momsie told me that they were grown from the seeds she had saved from the last batch of dried chillies used for making her sambal.


Recipe For Love

In Happy Chan Family, Momsie's Garden on June 30, 2011 at 7:30 am


What is your idealised childhood pastime?

I remember mine as carefree, filled with many indoor and outdoor activities with neighbours and visiting cousins. Joyful portrayal of brides with scarves and beauty accessories; plentiful make believe dishes from our “masak-masak” kitchen; skipping, hopping, picnics etc. Of course these are the usual for us girls and the boys would be collecting soft drink bottle caps, rubber seeds, marbles and occasionally spinning a top or out fishing at a nearby stream.

Tic Toc and Margaux, cousins and best friends spend hours together on their own, discovering friendship. When they play, they work very hard to make things real in their tiny little world. Margaux, though the younger one, usually leads. Tic Toc is comfortable following kiddo into the classroom when Margaux plays teacher, the submissive wife when kiddo is playing dad. I love to see them together.

I captured this series of photographs, a couple of years back when Stevie and I were dating. I carry with me a point and shoot camera. By now, I have a very huge collection of family photographs that I am dying to show off to everyone.

On this typical Sunday morning when we were back in Malacca, the children are having fun. Margaux was 4 and Tic Toc was 5, both blowing soap bubble and lost in their world, though on Momsie’s garden.


I bumped into this cute song and would like to share the cute ingredients with you.

A RECIPE FOR LOVE by Harry Connick, Jr.

A little bit of me and a whole lot of you
Add a dash of starlight and a dozen roses, too
Then let it rise for a hundred years or two
And that’s the recipe for making love

It doesn’t need sugar ’cause it’s already sweet
It doesn’t need an oven ’cause it’s got a lot of heat
Just add a dash of kisses to make it all complete
And that’s the recipe for making love

And if you’ve made it right you’ll know it
It’s not like anything you’ve made before
And if you’ve made it wrong you’ll know it
‘Cause it won’t keep you coming back for more

I didn’t get it from my grandma’s book upon the shelf
I didn’t get it from a magical and culinary elf
No, a little birdie told me you can’t make it by yourself
And that’s the recipe for making love


wild orchids

In Momsie's Garden, What's Blooming on June 12, 2011 at 12:21 am


I first saw this plant as a parasite, residing on the trunk of Momsie’s forty-six year old rambutan tree. Scrawny, yellow and hardly a worthy sight. During the three years that I had been visiting the Chan Clan house at Tanjung Minyak I never saw them bloom.

Momsie is not a keen orchid grower. She has no orchid plants of her own. A decade ago, Dai Lo found them young orchid plants at his shop in Pantai Kundur and brought them home for Momsie.


It is sad to grow orchids and having to wait such a long time to see them bloom.


Last Qing Ming, it suddenly bloomed in vigour. It was a sight of happiness, blossoming cheers and applause.


Hope we do not have to wait till Margaux is sweet 16 when it next bloom.

Potted Kai Lan (kale) – Chinese Broccoli Rabe

In Labour of Love, Momsie's Garden, Snack Food on May 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Stevie and I are  interested to cultivate some greens for our balcony. Obviously, we had eyed a few plants from Momsie’s garden that we could either sweetly get her to ready few seedlings. Otherwise, I would just sweetly coaxed her to part with a few of the amazingly seasoned ones in her garden.

I am thinking of a pot of these Kai Lan or Chinese Broccoli Rabe.

There are so many types of Kai Lan’s in the market; especially now that they are importing in by the hundreds of containers daily from China. You can find baby kailans, big stems kale, and many variety more. I used to love this vegetables back in the olden days; they were crisp and odourless. They didn’t taste like chemical or pesticide stubbornly clinging onto the waxy plant.

Momsie’s Kai Lan tastes heavenly.

Momsie says it’s magical, they keep growing as you peel them off to cook. Endless supply.

Pretty foliage.

Good thing, Stevie loves the mustard leaves and I am crazy on the crunchy sweet stems. We never have to fight.

Fried Rice with Kai-Lan

It’s the morning after the grand celebration of Stevie’s eldest brother, Keng Choon’s 50th birthday party. Although we were promised a hearty breakfast treat from his missus; no one seemed to be up yet.

Momsie knew we all needed to be ahead of the mad rush home to KL. She was already busy in the kitchen planning to cook us a simple fried rice. Nothing tastes like Momsie’s simple fried rice. She will use whatever ingredients that are available in the kitchen.

She was, as usual shy and apologetic. She didn’t expect me to be up that early and especially to be interested to blog about the 2 simple snacks; a fried rice and keria gula melaka ; she was about to prepare for her children. Anyway, I told her to be easy and let me just be a happy trigger by the side.

This morning, we ran out of long beans and spring onions. Of course, Momsie without any hesitation used a few leafy Kai Lan from her garden. Although fried rice seems to be such an easy platter to dish out, I can tell you it is never easy to fry a tasty simple fried rice. I have my fair share of stress doing this dish for Stevie. Most times I know I can never match Momsie’s and I can really know why.

I hope you have a chance to sample Momsie’s Fried Rice; perhaps the next round you are here she will be using some ladies’ fingers instead.

Washed, cleaned and cut.

Lightly beaten eggs, minced garlic, diced wax sausages.

Savoury, salty and tasty anchovies add special flavour.


  1. cold steamed rice;
  2. kai-lan, washed and chopped (1 cm in length);
  3. ikan bilis/anchovies
  4. chinese wax sausage, diced
  5. eggs, beaten
  6. dark and light soya sauce
  7. fish sauce
  8. mince garlic
  9. pinch of salt
  10. cooking oil.

Fried Rice with Kai-Lan Cooking Method:

  1. Stir in some salt into the beaten eggs;
  2. Fry ikan bilis/anchovies till golden and crispy, drain well and set aside;
  3. Blanch the Kai-lan in boiling salted water for 1 minute, then rinse it under cold water, drain well and set aside;
  4. Heat 1tbsp oil up in a wok, stir fry the shiitake until fragrant, scoop out and set aside;
  5. Heat  oil up in a big wok, fry the beaten eggs until set;
  6. Add the sausage, garlic and fry till fragrant;
  7. Add rice, cook it under high heat until it is heated through and separated;
  8. Then add the kai-lan, stir them very well with the rice;
  9. Optional, you can add colour to plain white fried rice with a little thick dark soya sauce;
  10. Season with salt, fish sauce, and light soya sauce, and then serve.

the star of fruits

In Labour of Love, Momsie's Garden on April 3, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Momsie is supervising her harvest. Who gets what and how much or how many. She is reserving that pair for us to eat on this hot Sunday afternoon.

Isn’t it amazing. This little star fruit tree provides us a year round supply. Golden, juicy, sweet and no disgusting chewy fibre. Pure goodness in every bite.

When it is time for us to depart for KL, momsie and maid will be very busy. They will make sure every golden fruit up the tree is harvested and shared among us. This time around, I counted more than 20 star fruits on momsie’s patch.

A platter of golden serving.

tiny blooms

In Momsie's Garden, What's Blooming on April 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

We are home!

So looking forward to this Qing Ming weekend as we will be spending a weekend home, in Malacca. It has been a tremendously nice drive back with the grace of an overcast sky.

Qing Ming is known for its stubborn drizzle, the dampness and rain to remind us of loved ones who have passed on.

There isn’t a raindrop today. Bless.

What welcomes us home is the lone star fruit tree, in full bloom.

Without the tree flowering, she isn’t going to bear you fruits.

Marvellous tree, such tiny little flowers but bears us awesome big golden fruits.

Wonder why so many buds, but not many made it to be fruits.

Don’t lose sight of the small things in life while pursuing the big ambition.


Smell the flowers along the journey.

love is in the air

In Momsie's Garden, What's Blooming on March 12, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Can anyone tell me the name of this plant?

Yes, I am desperate. I am prepared to reward anyone who can come with a name for these beautiful blossoms.

We asked, tweeted and researched the internet but no one has been able to help me identify this pretty blossom. I patiently googled, scanned through all the pink and purple blooms. Night after night, both eyes gone blurry screening rows and rows of digital images of pink and purple blooms. I was hopeful when I saw a few posted on Flickr, however they were just tagged as “lilac blooms”.

Closest I got, the “syringa” – lilac or common lilac. Somehow the floral petals are so different from the ones here. I presumed those from our garden come from this same family.

I find it difficult to start on this blog, all because I cannot address it.

Anyway, I decided to address her as lilac blooms; and lilac means love. How romantic.

Recently, in mid February, mid of our Lunar New Year Celebration, our lilac was flourishing loudly to blend into the spring festivities.

Momsie asked if I had noticed that her lilac is in full bloom. She knows these lilacs in her garden has a very significant place in my heart.

We have a story about how a son borrowed some lilacs from his momsie’s garden, went down on his knees and made a formal proposal of marriage .

Lilac is about love, mind you.

13th DECEMBER 2009

It was a hot Sunday. Sundays are always hot. In Tanjong Minyak, Momsie’s home, it feels even hotter.

That day, our little princess turned 5. I was busy helping Agnes with Margaux’s birthday cake, candles, presents and what not. Sharen and Soon were so sweet, they brought along presents for the birthday girl and her best friend and also cousin, Tic Toc Chan. Soon, all friends and relatives were gathered at the patio. The party begun.

In any family festivities, I am the official photographer. Whether with my favourite G10 or iPhone, I happily shoot. A very large collection has been amassed these last 3 years; a treasure chest for me to dig in and write about our Chan family.

I happened to capture this, one of my favourite and made cover for our wedding invitation card.

Not suspecting anything because I know Stevie adores Margaux very much. Plucking flowers for his princess is a normal thing. Very often, he plucks wild flowers from outside her school compound, ready to greet her when he fetches her from school.

The lilacs were for me!

I blushed. Can you see the flush on my face?

Teary and pleasantly shocked. First time ever in my life, a guy went down on his knees and proposed for my hands.

Of course, I said “YES”.