Sunday, December 03, 2017

Love is in the air

The courtship of two Olive-backed Sunbirds in my backyard. The two were spotted by my son. The male puffed out two orange pectoral puffs during the courtship ritual which would have been no less dramatic to Birds of Paradise.

These birds have been building nests just outside my house. So far, three broods have hatched. I feel blessed by their presence and am especially happy to see them feeding from my Scarlet Passion Flowers.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Portulaca Grandiflora

The pretty Portulacas are doing spectacularly well in the sunshine. With water from the fish tank and some pest control, they are blooming beautifully.

They were constantly infested with Mealy bugs. Spraying them wasn't effective as they had a white waxy coat. I found that dabbing them with turpentine worked as the solvent dissolved the waxy protective coating.

Fruiting season

The Passionfruit vines grown from seed are finally bearing flowers in the front yard. Draped on the front wall, they look very attractive. They started fruiting after I hand pollinated them.

The Bittergourd in the backyard have finally sprouted delicate yellow flowers. Small butterflies have been pollinating the flowers and the gourds appeared.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Garden update

With more time on my hands to look after the plants, I am glad that they are thriving well. I am especially happy with the two Passiflora Miniata plants which I had grown from cuttings. They finally bloomed after adding Rabbit poop from my dear cousin, who is more of a brother to me. Seeing the scarlet blooms just make my day.

The other Passiflora Edulis is also blooming.

Passiflora Edulis outside my bedroom windows. Spot the four blooms.

Hand pollinated. Waiting to see them fruit.

The herbs are thriving beautifully from the rich soil.

Basil bush

Rosemary and mint

Chye sim


Pandan, Curry leaf and Laksa, Tumeric

Chye Sim


Art installation

Visit from Singapore national bird, the Crimsom Sunbird

New couple visiting their BTO in my backyard. Waiting patiently for their little one to hatch. This is there second time that Olive-back Sunbird are making nest outside my house. I take it as a recognition of my love for nature and home as an abode of peace.

BTO nest of new couple. Can you spot the female looking out of the portal waiting for her mate to return?

Coffee roasting - Columbian Supremo

5kg Green beans

Green beans

After roasting.

Coffee roasting on a quiet afternoon. Having run out of my Lintong beans, I had to roast two batches of coffee for my afternoon fix.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Coffee roasting

My new roasting cage finally arrived and I wasted no time in trying it out. It worked very well and the beans were evenly roasted.

For this roast, I chose Sumatra Grade 1 Semi washed Lintong.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Chinese new year 2017

Its that time of the year again. The annual endeavor to make my favorite Chinese new year treat, pineapple tarts. This year, I did both open faced tarts and pineapple shaped ones made to look like pineapples, using guidelines from Mrs Leong's cookbook.

The pineapple filling was spiced up with Star Anise, Cinnamon and Cloves. There is a huge difference between homemade filling and store bought ones. Like what a noted baker said, good bread is difficult to find in a store, but easy to make at home. This hold true for me as far as pineapple tarts are concerned. In Singapore, it is unbelievably expensive to buy commercially made ones and yet, it just doesn't taste good as home made.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Making coffee from scratch
Fresh Arabica coffee berry

Depulped in their muscillage


Coffee beans in their parchment after a few days in the sun

Dehusking by hand. 
Green coffee after parchment removal

The finished product after roasting

I had a fun time processing two kilos of fresh coffee berries from a colleague. It was a tough job processing the berries by hand but the effort was very interesting and exciting.

To speed up the process, I used a tool for cracking crab shells and completed the task in an hour. The beans were then washed with water. This "gilling basah" wet processing is used in Indonesia as compared to the dry processing methods used in other parts of the world.

The beans were then fermented for a day and then sun dried over a week. The dried beans must now be dehusked to remove the parchment covering the bean. It was yet another tedious job doing it manually. I resorted to using a garlic mincer to crack the parchment.

The result are the green beans which are
 roasted to make the coffee beans we buy at the supermarket.

As soon as the beans were roasted and cooled, I couldn't wait to make myself a cup of coffee. I can only say that the taste of that coffee was extremely satisfying. The wife liked it and that meant more to me than anything else.

The yield from 2 kilos of coffee berries was slightly over a 100g of roasted beans. That certainly gave me a new found appreciation for the hard work put in by the coffee farmers.