Birthday Treat(s)

Posted: April 7, 2010 in Belgium, Family, Feel-Good, Nostalgia, Personal

Oh no, not again…. I hate birthdays! I really don’t mind celebrating someone else’s birthday, but NOT mine. However, yes however, this year had been different.  How so  you may ask ? Because this year my birthday fell on Easter Monday, a “holy-“day, and as far as I could remember, this was the first time I was NOT at work on MY birthday.  I was not bogged down by a month-end close deadline.  No un-welcoming stresses,  only  sheer relief  and utter relaxation on the anniversay of my birth…..for ONCE!!  Yahoooo!!!!  AND…..guess what,  to top it off,  I was spoilt to death (or rather, to life  😀 ).  Hey, I did not get a pair of diamond ear-rings, or  went for a thermal spa weekend, or received  gucchi’s or prada’s or what have you on my birthday.  It was the simplest of things that made my birthday this year so special.  Perhaps,  one of  the best birthday treats  ever!  A gift that would surely and dearly melt the heart of every mother.  I was blown away…totally and utterly by my sons’ treat with a 3-course meal, from starter to main  course to dessert !!  Armed with “The Usborne First Cookbook” (‘Usborne’s Eerste Kookboek’), my sons unanimously chose the 3 recipes themselves with the approval of papa. For God’s sake, my boys have been “spoon-fed” all their lives, until Easter Monday, 2010!  The best my older son could conjure in the kitchen was a 2-egg omelette, but a 3-course meal in 4 or less hours??  That would be a miracle AND… it WAS!

The starter of herbed cheese dip served with a trio of fresh vegetables (carrot, celery and cucumber) was superb.

The main course of spaghetti bolognese was sublime and……

….The dessert of chocolate brownie garnished with fanned strawberry and mango, dusted with icing sugar was just stunning! 

Nothing tasted oh, so good when it’s prepared with love and by your loved ones. I’m itching for more!! You hear that, boys??? Come to think of it, my boys are blessed with hidden culinary skills ;-). I guess it’s also thanks to “S.O.S Piet”, “Komen Eten”, “Mijn Restaurant”, “Masterchef goes large”,  and  all the kitchen series from Jamie Oliver.  Anyway, there are nothing short these days on the tube with all these kitchen reality soaps spreading like wildfire.  Like it or not, they ARE addictive.  Look on the bright side.  These programmes are didactic, educational and informative.  There you go. Let your kids explore the culinary world of the kitchen domain. You will be surprised how much they know. Damn it, I was amazed! Oh, by the way, whoever says that cooking is for girls must be living in the wrong century! Duh!

While growing up in Kuching, I remember birthdays were something my siblings and I were always looking forward to.  Or was the attraction, mum’s chicken in corn soup?  “Yes” and “No”, but the star of THE day was actually the pair of whole chicken legs! LOL!  That was the only day in 365 days, the birthday child had a pair of whole chicken legs for him-/herself.  Growing up in a family of 6 kids, we learnt to share amongst ourselves almost everything  (food, books, toys and clothes), so don’t expect gobbling down the drumsticks and thighs to yourself in every meal.  Dream on, mate! That would be selfish, innit?  During my early years (between 7 years old to 12 years old), mum prepared the whole chicken legs in corn soup (ahem, every year!).  One leg for lunch and the other reserved for dinner, which, more often than not, made the other sibilings’ mouth watered.  LOL!! Oh yes,  for breakfast, the birthday child had 2 hard-boiled eggs, some osborne biscuits and a mug of warm Milo (drink) or Horlicks. When I turned 13, I found my whole chicken legs in corn soup a bit boring.  Mum understood perfectly. My whole chicken legs in corn soup was then upgraded, or rather, magically transformed into mum’s version of the KFC, served with either mashed potatoes with gravy or steamed rice with vegetables. Simple yet YUMMY!  And this regime ala KFC went on for the next 3 birthdays (for me, at least) and it stopped when I turned 16.  I probably grew out of it 😦  These were small things that made a lot of difference, because they were extraordinary! Mum, if you are reading this, thank YOU for making my birthday(s) so unique and unforgettable.  Love ya!

Til another episode…………Ciao!

  1. Cynthia says:

    Happy Birthday Dora!!!! Starting this blog is GREAT! Big hugs to the boys for spoiling their wonderful wonderful Mom.

    Cynth XXX

  2. DADA says:

    hi che
    yes, will always remember this. For me boiled eggs masih ada til now. hahaha…

  3. Dada says:

    I really love to read your blog…I hope you will post some more. I hope to taste your boys cooking, when mom & I di sia this July.

  4. Perpetua says:

    Glad you enjoyed your birthday treats from your two wonderful boys….Hooray to them and to you, too and falls on Easter holiday some more…Praise the Lord.

    You take care and God bless xx

    Cuz Nani

  5. MOM says:

    ureu, u forgot abt kek pasir rubuh. i hope my grandsons wil cook up something for their ah ma’s birthday.


    (this comment was written thru diek)

  6. Mimi says:

    Happy belated birthday cuz!
    and Happy belated easter to you and your family too!

  7. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Cynth! I’m still trying to find my way through this. Next step, is to download some pics… Hope all is well at your end

  8. Nasifriet says:

    Hey lil sis, thanks for the compliment. Much appreciated. Will post when I can or when a story pops into my head. LOL! Will probably do this once a week? Oh ya, I’ve told the boys abt EE and Ah Ma coming over and wanting to taste their cooking. They said, “No problemo!” Niels even challenged to do sth diff than what he did on my b’day… we’ll see.

  9. Nasifriet says:

    Hey cuz, thanks for passing by 😉 Appreciate that ! And thanks for the birthday wish. Oh ya, thanks for circulating the word around to the other cuzzies. You take care now. Hugs xxx

  10. Nasifriet says:

    Hello mum!! You’re right, I forgot abt the “kek pasir rubuh” Sorry, mum 😦 . Da, don’t forget to bring the recipe with you when you and mum come over this summer. I’ll bake this cake for old times’ sake, k? Mum, no worries, I’ve pre-warned the boys abt cooking sth for their Ah Ma and EE. They said, “Deal!” We’re all looking forward to seeing you and diek! Hugs and kisses from all of us here xxx

  11. Nasifriet says:

    Hey there cuzzie! Good to hear from you. Hope all is well at your end. Happy belated Easter to you and Jay! Stay in touch, k? Bear hug xxx

  12. Marianne & Andre says:

    Greetings from Langkawi, ISIDORA
    Congrats on starting your very own Blog.
    Especially enjoyed reading your commentary on your birthday treat….Bravo to your Boys! Whole-heartly agree that it’s the simple things that make birthdays memorable. We plan to return to Brussels in early June – we can arrange to meet-up after, OK – perhaps you can start the ball rolling by asking Xylina for a suitable date for you both – for me I’m flexible – can always compromise. Then between the 3 of us, we can decide on a venue……till then, MAnn

  13. Nasifriet says:

    Hi Marianne, Good to hear from you, and thanks for the lovely comments. Will definitely catch up when you are back in BE. Hope it’s not too hot in Langkawi at this time of the year? We’re back to spring weather, which is nice after the harsh cold winters (which you missed…hahaha!). Will let Xylina know and we’ll take it from there…. Enjoy the rest of your hols in MAL and see you soon. Cheers xxx

  14. Francis says:

    Happy belated birthday cuz Dora and congratulation on starting your own blog..i really like the story in this blog, what better way to appreciate your own bithday then your own sons cook their best dish specially for you…well i got to wait for another 15 years to reach there..hahaha and hopefully he knows how to cook too. Wow..your birthday at kuching reminds me of mine too…well just like my most loved EE (your mom), my mom also have her secret receipy for ayam goreng and guess what, i have two big pieces of drum stick and two red eggs..all that just for myself…well of cos Ita and Yvonne look on in awe…and of cos i’am enjoying myself. Wish you and your family well and healthy always.

  15. Nasifriet says:

    Hello dear cousin! Thanks for dropping by. I love your blog, too. It’s amazing how you expressed your stories in all your paintings. A picture is worth a thousand words, right! You have such artistic talent. I hope your son will carry on this God given genes. Thanks for the compliment. Er….you don’t have to wait that long you know. Niels, my older just turned 13, but I’m sure your boy will be as artistic as his dad, if not in the kitchen! Ya lah my mum and your mum ‘seperti isi dgn kuku’ (I hope I got the right proverb here!). Oh, speaking of Ita, where is she now? Heard she left NZ for Canada? I’d love to get in contact with her. Yvonne is in Miri, right? It has been so many years. Maybe we should all agree on a time to meet with each other one day. Gather all the cousins, their spouses and kids. I’m sure it’ll be a blast !! Take care now. God bless….cheers!

  16. Nasifriet says:

    Hey, sis, didn’t see this one earlier. Good for you for keeping up the tradition. Makes u feel young forever 😀

  17. Ita says:

    Hi! How are you? Long time no hear. Koko forwarded me your blog’s address. What a delight! You write very well. 🙂 What delectable birthday treats too! Your boys are so good.

    Unlike you, I used to enjoy holiday (Hari Merdeka) on all my birthdays until now. Hehe. Another perk that I’ve forfeited by immigrating to Canada is retiring at age 55. Now, I have to work for ten more years before I can do that. However, I heard working keeps you young so I’ll hang on to that. 😉

    Virtually, thanks to internet, we are distant only in kilometers. 🙂 Optimistically near in future and hopefully in our lifetime, teleportation will bring those kilometers to zero but at present, you’ve got my e-house address now so there’s no excuse not keep in touch, eh? 😉

    Hope everything is good. Adios from your past in time zone. Hmm… I used to enjoy beating everybody in time (time zone wise) in New Zealand. Now I’m lacking behind everybody, especially in New Year’s countdown. 🙂

    Hugs and regards to all at home,

  18. Nasifriet says:

    Allo! Allo my dear cousin!! Gee-whiz it has been a long time since I saw you last. Light years away! LOL! I love your bro’s paintings. I’ve bookmarked his blog so I can follow his paintbrush trails… Oh yes, that’s right….you’re a Merdeka child. How lucky as you got to stay home on your b’days, but what’s the diff now that you’re in Canada. I was surprised when I heard fr my mum that you left NZ for C’da, but you have always been the tough one, anyway :-D. So independent, and I’m sure you have made the right choice! Should you come to EU, do look me up, now that you know where I am 😉 . I’m not sure if you have met my 2 boys, but they have grown by leaps and bounds!! Take care now, and your e-mail add noted 😉

  19. Ita says:

    Yes, indeed. I’m glad Koko continues to pursue his talent amidst his busyness. He was my saviour when it came to my art homework and tests during my secondary school heydays. 🙂

    Two years in NZ had been awesome. Not that I had a chockablock of NZ but I think curiosity got the better of me when Canada granted my PR. While NZ is very British in everything including Coronation Street, Canada (at least British Columbia) is very American. It’s very refreshing. It took me a while to look left first before I crossed the street and three practical tests to get my driver’s license! 🙂 I still can’t believe they allow turning on red traffic light.

    It has been very challenging though on job front with regards to my field so it has been quite a steep climb uphill. However, I believe the view on the hill top must be great so I’ll stay positive and keep trudging.

    I don’t believe I’ve met your two handsome young princes yet. I’ve met the king but that was light years ago. 😉 I think it’ll take me a while to settle down here but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for whence I could come and visit you and your family. 🙂

    Ye take care too. Cya in a while.


  20. Nasifriet says:

    Hey Ita. You know I really thought you left NZ b’cos life was less exciting there? Which reminds me of an NZ colleague I had once. He said there’re more sheep and cattle in NZ than people! LOL! Reason he left NZ for EU is not that he was moving to greener pasture (literally speaking…hahaha), but more for the excitement and acquiring a broader knowledge. But he will return to NZ, when he retires :-D. So, you’re somewhere in British Columbia now? Vancouver, is it? I heard that your parents will want to visit you one day…. ;-). Take carexxx

  21. Ita says:

    Aye, Vancouver it is. 🙂 Or Hong-couver coz Cantonese is king here. There are many chinese here. The chinatown is big enough to spend a four hour shopping trip in. The best thing is you could find rojak sauce, Maggi chili sauce, lemon grass, galanghal, belacan, durian, etc. here. There are a few good Malaysian restaurants in Vancouver too that serve satay, roti canai, beef rendang, masak merah, char kuey tiaw, etc. but unfortunately no Sarawak laksa and tomato mee or kuey tiaw (I missed this dish so much that with the right balance of soy sauce, tomato ketchup, corn starch and sugar, I found out that I could make my own tomato mee.) I don’t know if my parents could visit me anytime soon. I’m still finding a stable ground here. Hope things will run smoothly for the coming years. I might consider going back to school, see how it goes.

    Catch ya later and be good.

    xx Ita

  22. Nasifriet says:

    Aahhh… you found the right nest there! A home away from home, yet, it’s not really home 😀 . There’re chinatowns in every nook and cranny of the globe, but I guess nothing can beat the chinatowns (outside of Asia) in San Fransisco and Vancouver!! Lucky you! Hey, you can make your own Sarawak laksa paste (with all the ingredients available there). But of course, it’s a lot easier if you have the ready-made paste, so don’t forget to replenish your larder when you’re back in Cat city next!!

    OMG, Ita!! Have I heard correctly? Back to school??!!! Taking another PhD? Golly gosh, I hope you will not end up with a Permanent Head Damage! LOL!! Hugs xxx

  23. Ita says:

    Haha… no lahh, I only have a MSc. I get out in time so I still have my head and sanity intact. 🙂 I’m thinking of switching to pharmacy and taking up a pharmacy technician course. It’s hard to cari makan with Chemistry here. The competition is high and the pay is low.

    Hmm… I haven’t thought of making the Sarawak laksa paste from scratch, to be honest. It’s a good idea. 🙂 If you don’t mind relinquishing your version of it (plus the secret ingredient(s), if any), you’ve got my email addy. 😉

    Say, where do you get your Asian food ingredient? Do you have Chinatown too near where you live? You are in Brussels, right?

    Let me know if I’ve taken too much space in your blog here. We could always email, eh? 🙂

    Have a sweet day. Take care n hugs!

  24. Nasifriet says:

    Nah.. we have more than enough space 😀 But Ok, will take it from here offline 😉 See ya later, alligator 😀

  25. Ita says:

    At present I don’t have your email addy so I guess I’ll wait for you to email me first, hopefully with Sarawak laksa paste recipe. 🙂

  26. Nasifriet says:

    I just sent you my email adds 😀 Depending on the one you picked, I will only check my emails on weekends…

  27. Rachel says:

    You’ve great kids! And what talent they have!

  28. Deb says:

    Thumbs up to your boys! Wonderful and what nice story you wrote.

  29. Nasifriet says:

    Thanks, Rachel.

    That was about the only time they cooked for me (with a bit of supervision, of course). I hope to get these more often from the boys, esp now that it’s the start of the summer school hols!!


  30. […] something with ‘garnalen’ (prawns).”  He went through the pages of “The Usborne First Cookbook”, which I bought at the school book fair two years earlier.  He flipped through the pages and […]

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