Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Buah Kedondong / Ambarella

This is the  Buah Kedondong (Spondias dulcis / Ambarella). The tree is a tropical tree with edible fruit containing a fibrous pit. The traditional varieties are big tall trees of up to 20 feet tall or more. When I was a kid, I used to go to the farm of my maternal grandparents where they have a couple of these trees beside the pond in which they reared fresh water carps. I love the ripened yellow fruits. Peeled and dipped in sugar, it makes for a delightful snack! We also snacked on the pickled kedondong which we called bakolong in Hakka.

At the beginning of last year, my youngest sister-in-law, Ling, gave me a dwarf variety of the ambarella which she had collected from her mother's place. It was planted on the right side of the house beside my mum's apartment. This was what it looked like three months later .....

.. and it grew and grew.....  :-)


This tree is a prolific producer and even though we continuously picked the fruits, there are still some twenty or more clusters of fruits at all stages from flowers to ripened fruits all the time and each cluster can have 20-30 fruits! The fruiting is so heavy we had to propped up the branches with belian posts!

The flowers ....


The fruits as they set, grew and then ripened ....


So how to eat this fruit?

Well, you can eat this fruits at all stages ...

The whole young fruits can blended with some dried sour plum and sugar. Add ice to make a truly nice and refreshing drink. 

Both the unripened green and ripened yellow fruit can be peeled and segmented and eaten as they are or with a sprinkling of sugar. I prefer the ripened yellow fruits!

The fruit contains a spiky fibrous pit - see the above picture.

Of course, who can forget the pickled kedondong! The peeled kedondong is segmented and sugar is added to the fruits. You can also add in dried sour plums and/or salt. No need to add water. Keep in the fridge for 2 or 4 days.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Mid-Autumn Festival - 中秋节

Today is the 15th Day of the Eight Moon and is 中秋节or Mid-Autumn Festival. 

In the past, the family sat down to a sumptious dinner and then all adjourned to the flat roof-top of our old house to worship the Moon Goddess .....

Then all drank tea and ate melon seeds and mooncakes while the children carried Chinese lanterns.

Nowadays, it is just dinner and then off to the garden to play fireworks or send off  Chinese flying lanterns (孔明燈, kongmingdeng).

Of course,  the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) is still mostly about family gatherings and eating mooncakes. When it cmes to mooncakes, there are now huge varieties of mookcakes in all flavours, shapes and hues. Following are some varieties we have at from families and friends!

 Green Tea 禄茶
Teochew 潮州
  Baked 烤
  Shanghai 上海
 Snowskin 冰皮
Soya Bean Paste 豆沙
White Paste 白糕
 Air-Dried 风
Soft 软糕

Whichever mooncake you enjoy, just remember one of the stories behind this festive tradition - STAND UP TO OPPRESSION.

Happy Mid-Autum Festival! Enjoy your mooncakes!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Family Wedding

Today is the 14th day of the Eighth Moon and there is a wedding in the family. 

The first male of the 30th Generation (三十世) of our branch of the Peng (彭) Family getting married today is the grandson of my third brother.

In the front hall is the altar for the Peng (彭) Family Ancestral Worship Ceremony. The Peng (彭) family is part of the LungSiTang (隴西堂)Clan. Hence, the heading on the altar.

The young couple performing the offering of tea and wine to their ancestors - conducted by the Master of Ceremonies.

This is followed by the traditional tea ceremony where the newly-wedded couple offers tea to all their elders.

My mum, the matriach of the family, as the great-grandmother is the first to be greeted. She accepted the offered tea from her great-grandson and great-grand daughter-in-law and then gave them a red packet in return.

Each of the elders take their turns and finally the newly wedded couple got to sit down to accept tea offered by their younger siblings, cousins and nephews and nieces. The new couple then give each of them a red packet of money.

The ceremony is then followed by lunch in the house.

My mum posing for a picture with my second sister on this happy occasion.........

Both are hale and healthy!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bauhina Kockina

The third sturdy flowering climber in our creeper garden is the Bauhina Kockina. This plant is certainly my favourite climber and in our old PJ garden was the climber at the main piller of our front porch. Our plant in the creeper garden is about a year old.

It takes a while to get established and may not flower for years but once it starts flowering will produce year-round a profusion of bright orange flowers. So I was quite surprised to see the first few flower buds appearing after just a year or so .....

One of our neighbouring gardens has a very old bush ...... just look at the amazing flowers! It covers the entire side of one house and looking at the main trunk, reckon it has to be at least a couple of decades old.

Don't you think it looks amazing?

Talking about that PJ plant, it did not flower at all for more than two years despite the vine being a inch or more thick! I was so frustrated that I "threatened" the plant that I would cut it down a few months later if it did not produce any flowers ...and lo and behold - flowers :-) To this day, TK said t that it was just plain coincidence! 

Sadly, after we sold the house in PJ, the new owner dug up the front and back garden and concreted over the entire area - our 20 years of hard work demolished in a few days!