24 August 2012

The Sun's Romance (Romanta Soarelui)

I am Romanian by birth with the language skills of an 11 year old which was the age that I left the country for Down Under Oz.

During a recent visit, my brother gave me a poetry book in Romanian and said something like this: "You want to learn Romanian, use this to get you started".  So I flicked through the book and realised how limited my language skills were.  I always knew my limitations, I just really didn't need to have it so obviously presented.  As I was reading the poetry, I found myself completely incapable of translating.

I figured the best way to expand my Romanian is to attempt to translate the poems into English.  As you might imagine that is no easy feat.  The two languages are articulated in opposite ways, making literal translation impossible.  Another challenge is what sounds good and makes sense in telling a poetic story in Romanian, most certainly does not sound good nor poetic in English.

Either way, I was game and up for the challenge.  I selected a poem that seemed interesting enough from the 20% I could actually translate without a dictionary and started one line at a time.  Of course by the end of the first verse, it was all "gobbledegook" and by the second absolutely made no sense.  Through perseverance and sheer stubbornness on my part I started fudging it, cut lines out that I had no idea what the poet was trying to convey and ended with something that seemed reasonable.  Maybe not to your liking but not bad for a first try.

This was the outcome with my interference:

The Sun's Romance
by Mihail Sadoveanu

I soar,
I stretch,
I set
And disappear,
Yet my sunset's still arisen...
Forever solitary as daylight's vagabond
I am eternally unique and infinitely exposed.

With a giant magic wand, 
I give ...

Rivers reptilian life,
Seas their phosphorescent look,
Distant mountains, troops of gorillas,
And coastline trees, enviable positions.

I give...
Dried fig trees new fruit
Bronze statues humanness 
And on marble-lined pedestals commanding gestures,
That Kings' shall forever command.

But when I set
And the heat struggles in the cup of the rising cold
I shall throw new seeds into old patterns
And listen to Perpetuation hum amongst the chaos.

For a giggle, here's the literal translation of the first verse:

The Romance of the Sun
by Mihail Sadoveanu

I'm tall,
And then disappear,
And my sunset is still arise...
Are homeless day forever solitary -
Portrait unique and eternal, infinite exposed

And for the Romanian's who are curious about it, here's the original version and if you want to shed light on it, feel free to comment.  Am widely open to it.

Romanta Soarelui
by Mihail Sadoveanu

Si-apoi dispar,
Si-apusul meu e totusi rasarit...
Sunt vagabondul zilei de-a pururi solitar
Portret unic si vesnic, expus in infinit.

Cu magica-mi bagheta uriase -
Stapina hotaririlor eterne -
Destept maturatorii albelor orase
Si-adorm intirziatii negrelor taverne...

Dau fluviilor gratii de reptile,
Dau marilor priviri fosforescente,
Iar muntilor din zare, aspecte de gorile,
Si brazilor, pe coaste, pozitii indecente.

Dau fructe noi smochinilor uscati,
Dau bronzului figura omeneasca,
Iar Regilor -
Pe socluri de marmura-nsirati -
Poruncitoare gesturi, ca-n veci sa porunceasca.

Iar cind cobor,
Cind calda-nfiorare
Se zbate-n cupa recelui repaos,
Azvirl saminta noua in vechile tipare
Si-ascult Perpetuarea cum fredoneaza-n haos!...

16 August 2012

Marshmallow Painting

Together with my daughter, we spend enormous amounts of time painting, painting and some more painting.  Not an artist myself, I ran out of ideas and looked for inspiration on You Tube where I came across marshmallow painting.

Not unlike potato painting, which Trini has done before, marshmallow painting comes with an added bonus.  Mummy buys a pack of marshmallow of which half is used for painting and the other half for eating.

Trini's got the painting and eating marshies down pat.

Using Crayola's Washable Kids Paint (comes in a pack of 10 pots) and a disposable plate, pour a dollop of the chosen colours and place a marshmallow on top of each colour.

On a sheet of paper, guide the child to pick up a paint loaded marshmallow and stamp away on paper.  Keep changing marshmallows till the paper has a kaleidoscopic effect.

Trini's solo marshie stamping.
Trini and mummy marshie artwork.
Let it dry and either hang it on an art wall or frame it in one of Ikea's child friendly frames (look for Nyttja which comes in several bright colours with durable plastic instead of glass, keeping the kiddies safe).

Trini loving the marshie stamping and even more
the marshie eating.
NB: make sure the child doesn't eat the painted marshmallow.  I gave Trini a small plate with 3 marshies on them so she can indulge as well as paint with them.

13 August 2012

Pan-Fried Fish Fillet with Black Bean Sauce

This dish is inspired by a recipe from A Taste of Singapore cookbook and my desperate need to know what to do with two large white fish fillets I had in the freezer. 

Deep in flavour the fish was accompanied by vegetable fried rice and sambal kankong (water spinach wok fried with chilli paste).

Pleased to report that nothing was left and my 3 year old girl enjoyed it just as much.

Pan-Fried Fish Fillet with Black Bean Sauce (Serves 4)

2 large white fish fillets
2 T black bean sauce
1 T oyster sauce
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sugar
0.5 tsp ground black pepper
2 T oil
4 T cooking white wine vinegar


Combine all the ingredients, except the fish, to create the black bean sauce.  Pour into a large & deep frying pan and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the fish and simmer for 10 minutes consistently spooning the sauce over it.  Gently turn over so as not to break the fillets and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.  This will give the fish a slightly crispy flavour.

Serve with fried rice, your choice of Asian greens and a crisp sauvignon blanc.

Tip: If you find the flavour too deep then add a cup of water to the sauce to thin it out.

3D Jigsaw Puzzle by MEGA Puzzles

On a recent shopping trip with Trinity, I came across Mega Puzzles' latest jigsaw puzzle design.  With the patent pending the latest jigsaw design is a combination of 2D and 3D technology.  Intrigued by the concept I swiftly paid SGD$30 and bought Minnie Mouse following Trini's selection.

With only 250 pieces at a moderate level of difficulty, Trini and I set off with the background which was the flat 2D part of the puzzle.  Once finished the puzzle was glued on both sides in order to make it solid.

The pieces from the 3D section, being Minnie's face and her gloved hands, were then punched out from the cardboard.  Each piece has several numbered tabs which needed to be folded, along with the overall piece that required to be folded where marked.

It didn't take long to realise that the 3D section of the puzzle required dexterity, a little bit of strength, manual manipulation and an organised approach to the construction.

Each pre-folded piece needed to be arranged in the order shown by the strip number and then each tab had a corresponding tab number.  This indicated how the pieces were to join one another. Tabs were then matched with their corresponding number and held together with joining clips.

L: Joining clips keeping Minnie's face together
R: Minnie's completed face
Completing Minnie's face was quite fiddly but immensely satisfying once I saw the end result.  The gloved hands were quicker and easier to put together.

Once finished the 3D images were attached to the 2D flat puzzle with more clips by matching the numbers for correct positioning and voila a ready made piece, perfect for framing without glass.

A totally fun jigsaw puzzle, the downside is that it can only be made once.  The flat puzzle must be glued in order to be able to attach the 3D section to it.

Would I do another one?  Definitely.  I love my jigsaw puzzles and I sure appreciate new concepts and designs in puzzling.

An angled photo to illustrate Minnie's
protruding face and hands.
The completed puzzle and Trini sneaking into the photo.

German Potato Soup

Fellow cook, Jenny Filips, posted this very yummy soup on Facebook's Homemade Recipes Group.  Immediately I made it and devoured it with my daughter.  Less than a fortnight later, I made it again and this time promptly demolished it with my husband, brother and daughter.

A quick and easy soup, it's thick, flavoursome and filling.  Jenny's recipe calls for bacon but since I didn't have any I used two chorizo sausages instead.

German Potato Soup

1 T margarine
2 onions, peeled & diced
2 chorizo sausages
2 T flour
1 L chicken stock
4 large potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 T freshly chopped parsley


Heat margarine in large saucepan, add the onion and cook till softened.

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the flour until all combined. Return to heat and slowly add the stock stirring continuously.

Add potatoes and parsley, bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Whilst the soup is simmering, fry the chorizos until almost cooked. Remove from frying pan and slice then quarter. Add back to frying pan and continue frying till fully cooked.

When the soup has cooked add the chorizos, stir, season to taste and serve hot.