Hees Done It Again!

A classy and enjoyable way to enjoy Chinese cuisine

Chopsticks – I find them really fascinating eating utensils. It is definitely a skill – handling these. Otherwise, it is daunting to think that one can be satisfied eating with these. Many years ago in Singapore, I was put to shame for stuffing my face with a fork and was not able to enjoy my hosts’ hospitality that spanned a 7- course meal. No kidding! You might say I learnt the hard way but learn I did! Looking back now, almost 20 years, I must say I am glad I ate humble pie and learnt something new and different. It is now second nature to me at any Chinese restaurant. My heartfelt gratitude to my Singaporean hosts’ wherever they are for challenging me to enjoy many Chinese meals since that embarrassing lunchtime at a classy restaurant on Orchard Road.

A couple of evenings this week we decided to drop by the Hees Chinese Restaurant in Mill Hill for dinner. We were in the neighbourhood and it felt kinda good to take in the long days and stay out until about 9pm or 10pm at night.

On both occasions as usual, service was immaculate, fast and pleasant. We have been there a couple of times so I reckon you could safely call us Hees regulars.

Our table...inviting

The place is clean, warm and so tidy. The food is absolutely delicious. For starters, try the beef satays and salted and pepper pork spareribs, the ever popular (with me that is) chicken sweet corn soup or salted and pepper squid.

Loveeeeeeely...
My favourite...
Just the thing to keep hunger away...
Inhaled it....nothing left. So yummy...

For dinner, you may want to try the shredded chilli beef and fish Peking style and mixed vegetables. Ambience and sumptuous food, superb ‘express’ service and a friendly team keeps calling us back.

As beautiful to the sight as it is to the palate...
Soooooo tasty...
Crunchy and yummy...

The menu goes on forever. That’s what I like about restaurants – long menus and feeling spoilt for choice is my kind of eatery – posh or non-posh.

As we left the restaurant smiling and absolutely smashed with great yummy morsels I couldn’t help thinking wow! Hees done it again!

Hungry Eyes, But…

Pleasing to the eyes...

A couple of weeks ago I was really hungry so I went to my local supermarket cafe to get a bite to eat at lunchtime. Actually brunch. The cafe area is arranged in such a way so that you grab a tray and pick what you want from the buffet then pay at the end of the line – at the cashier.

As I stood in line, the first thing that attracted my two big brown eyes was this sweet thing – a cream bun of sorts. I stood there debating whether to put it on my tray or to resist the desire and just walk past it. I decided that less was healthy so I walked past it but first I took a shot of it so I can at least remember how I resisted great temptation.

Loads of cream weakens the knees...

There was quite a range of sweets and they all looked delicious. I stopped long enough to take this photo too, conscious that people were queuing up behind me. I walked past this one as well. I did not indulge my desire for sweets that day and funnily enough, did not feel deprived at all.

Had I picked up one or the other it would have been because my eyes were bigger than my stomach. That was it – I had hungry eyes!

The lesson I learnt from this experience was that instead of taking food or whatever tickles my fancy or taste buds as in this case, I’d take a photo to remind me that I had triumphed over temptation. Now that makes me happy.

‘Schooled’ Over Lunch

A lovely finish to any meal...

One of the best ways of working is to meet and talk over food. Not necessarily drinks. That too, but I think that with eating you have to stop sometime whereas with drinking – well, too much drink, as we all know, could be counter-productive, big time.

I had lunch with a colleague yesterday at an eatery close to where we both work. I must admit I picked my colleague’s brains and the result? Well, some really important and useful information about something I feel very passionate about. I have spoken to a few people about my interest and have also done some research so I kind of expected this logical flow-on: more information. Fair enough, it was just that – a logical flow-on of information. I was so glad I sat there and listened and questioned this guru. My questions and gentle interrogation was countered with confident responses. I felt comfortable in the  knowledge that I am being ‘schooled’ over lunch by a technical expert with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom and heaps of experience in his field. A field I am becoming more and more compelled to explore and apply in my own work. I could see new career horizons in the not-too-distant future.

This was no coincidence. Far from it! I believe that if you desire something so much and are prepared to work for it, which includes a thirst for new knowledge and skills, someone somewhere will pick up the vibe and approach you with ways or means of realising your desire. After yesterday’s lunchtime ‘schooling’, albeit brief,  I would definitely be committing pen to paper on my future plans pretty soon.

At the end of the lunch a little taste of luxury. The healthy serving of an apricot flan with blueberries languishing in yoghurt was just the thing to complete a lovely convivial lunch. I am truly blessed.

Impromptu Wonders: Tea And Cake…

Just the thing any day of the week...tea and cake

It was a lovely sunny and warm day. I got to my office after a rather gingerly start to the week. I was really happy it was the end of the week and I was so looking forward to the weekend. I had plans and it was just the time to put those plans into action. Especially on a sunny day, I feel a rush of adrenalin thinking of the exciting stuff I’d be doing including reading up on my favourite subjects. Of course sitting back and watching the World Cup on telly, anticipating the USA vs Ghana game on Saturday and the England vs Germany game on Sunday. It is forecasted to be 30 degrees Celcius that day!

I settled down and looked at my diary. A couple of meetings and a few other matters to attend to and going through the heaps of emails on my computer. As I turned to begin my day at my desk, a thought entered my mind: to text my niece and ask her to join me for tea and cake if she was free in the afternoon. She texted back that she’d be happy to join me for tea and cake. The day went swimmingly and soon it was time to meet her.

Ending the week on a high...

We met at our favourite cafe on Regent Street, London, ordered from the partisserie and tea. I had the Black Forest gateau and my niece the strawberry cheesecake. We both enjoyed the time to chill and exchange news and happenings in our lives. We enjoyed the chance to get together and welcome the beginning of the weekend. We also had time to browse through a great store nearby. Soon it was time to go our separate ways. We said our goodbyes and parted company.

As I walked towards Piccadilly Street, I kept thinking: there is always the impromptu wonders that put a wonderful end to a working week…in this case tea, Black Forest gateau and strawberry cheesecake.

Nature’s Drawcards

At dusk...awesome

I was sitting downstairs at home this evening watching Japan play Denmark when I happened to look out of the window. I saw this awesome sight! Well, I didn’t have to think twice. I ran out of the living room, took my faithful Nikon D90 and ran upstairs. This was one of my first shots of the moon at dusk. We have daylight saving so it seems like twilight stretches forever. It was still light – albeit faint – at 10.00pm.

Twilight stretches forever...and what a time to capture this sight

This captivating sight, over the rooftops looking towards Wembley was just so beautiful. I feel always with vistas like this, that there are so many man-made things which attract our attention. In doing so, we sometimes take for granted the coolest natural processes like the rising of the sun, the setting of the sun, moonlight etc.

The beauty of dusk...

It is here in Middlesex amongst some of the prettiest parks and tree-lined avenues, that my attention is acutely drawn to what I’d call – nature’s drawcards.

Suspended in the sky...I couldn't take my eyes off this view of the moon at dusk.

Nature’s drawcards are the beautiful and sometimes the not-so-beautiful things in nature that draw the attention of for instance, amateur and professional photographers and those that are avid nature watchers. They also draw the attention and interest of various people around the world for various reasons.

I just feel blessed to witness God’s handiwork on a day like this.

After I took these photos I went back to the living room just in time to see the final score of the Japan vs Denmark game. Well done Japan!

My, My, My, My Mushroom…

Lovely stuffed with Leicester or Emmenthal cheese and washed down with a glass of cold apple juice.

When I was growing up on Kwato Island, Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea I would join my grandmother to look for mushroom in the forest or woods. In the Suau language, they are called ‘he’eahe’eawa’ (hair hair wuh). She told me that these were the most nutritious things to eat. They were too as far as I could recall, and I guess that knowledge stayed with me ever since.

Delicious anytime, anyday...

In 2oo3  I sampled some local mushrooms in northeastern Thailand. They were absolutely delicious – fried in high heat and lightly seasoned. We had a basketful of fried mushrooms which we shared on the bus as we travelled around looking at a number of small cottage industries and rural development projects in this area. The basket of mushrooms was empty in a matter of minutes…was a great snack and nutritious too!

Mushroom is a great source of protein and many other nutrients. Some mushrooms are edible but some are very poisonous. There are many varieties of mushroom and truffles which make beautiful dishes such as this one from Jamie Oliver. The qualities of mushrooms are numerous and thank goodness we can eat a lot of the varieties.

One of the many varieties of mushroom available in specialist food stores in London

In June 2010, London:  I came across these beauties in a specialist food store I visited recently. The label on the shelf  read ‘mushroom chicken of the wood’. Yes, these would be tasty no doubt in my mind.

Sometimes I buy fresh mushrooms for Sunday morning breakfast as a worthy accompaniment to a lightly spiced omelette. Delicious always. So meaty and filling – my, my, my, my mushroom…

I remembered my forays into the island woods with my grandmother…and the feast of exotic food of the woods that usually followed. Those were the days…

Eyeballed By Fish Candy

We are the bait...

No, this is  not New Zealand…try one of the hubs in London for those who love the finer things in life. This is chocolate fish ala London, displayed so handsomely at a store I recently visited. I think it’s rather weird to have candy in the shape of fish. But as they say, nice things come in various shapes and sizes.  Why not in the shape of another species! Hmmmm…

New Zealanders love their chocolate fish – a favourite chocolate coated confectionery in the shape of a fish.  But I think smaller in size than these displayed life-sized chocolate-covered coloured candy.

Eyeballing my will power...

These are so tempting in my eyes not to mention the bright colours – super creative and also very attractive. I am currently off chocolates but get my usual choc fix via hot chocolate  in the mornings and afternoons. I was a chocolate junkie until I realised that I was eating (chocolate) for Britain! I stopped then, pronto!

Trays of creamy delights...

Seeing these, and especially offerings of these gorgeous tasty morsels really tests the strength of one’s willpower. When confronted with this tray of goodies it was almost rude and insulting to say no, but I did. Hooray…but not for long….hahahaha!

I nonetheless accepted my friend’s kind offer of these classy boxes of the classy confectionery – so much for will power. I promised myself I’d take them to the office and share them with my colleagues, which I did and felt better for sharing my goodies.

When we went to the store, we weren’t fishing for chocolate. When we found ourselves in the chocolate section it was more like being ambushed by this creamy delight! Now that has to be the biggest challenge to anyone’s will power.

Simple packaging but delicious contents.

The gentleman serving us was so attentive and polite. He even created the simple display (above) so I could get a good shot. He even reminded me which button to use on my small compact camera to get depth of field. I felt his co-operation could only mean one thing: many people before me also took photos of these gorgeous mouth-watering chocolates and lovely chocolate displays. My luck really.

As we left the store I felt exhilarated. It was a lunch-time well spent.