Mama Chow's Curry Chicken, a very special treat, yet predictable in its ability to uplift the soggiest homesick spirits. Her secret ingredient: A dollop of belacan! This was prepared and consumed at the tail end of my extremely short but gratifying weekend home in Penang.
Beatrice brought to work on her last day an Apple Pie she'd baked. Her secret ingredient: Custard! The buttery, crumbly short crust pastry she made from scratch was the perfect accompaniment to the cinnamon explosion of the apple filling. Her baking prowess, along with her presence as part of the team, will be sorely missed.
In observation of Dumpling Festival today, Lee came to work armed with a truckload of his Mom's dumplings for everyone. He'd painstakingly taken pre-orders to make sure everyone got exactly the dumpling they wanted, from a list Mrs. Lee's choice ingredients: Belly pork, Chinese mushroom, Mung beans, Chestnut, Onions, dried shrimps and Preserved egg yolk. I had two, and they packed a mighty homemade punch! My Inner Dumpling is appeased for the year.
A thoughtful (albeit non-edible) gift from Mei Shean - my very own Breadou, looks like a bun, smells like a bun, feels like a bun, but a bun it ain't! It's a computer wrist-rest and stress-reliever made from foam, designed to be ergonomic and to whet the carbo appetites of those committed to spending pretty much every waking hour in front of the laptop. Mei Shean got this from Action City in Singapore; also comes in the shape of other baked confectionaries.
The best gift of all is to be let in on the secrets that lie embalmed at the heart of these offerings. I can only say thanks in so many ways and someday, I hope to be able to return all these wonderful favours.