Today I have a special guest appearance on my blog, and that's my pa. Of course, he's not writing it (and unlikely to read this post unless I get it translated to Chinese). My pa is in his mid-60s and has not been working for more than ten years, I think. Sometimes I do hope to 'retire' so early but most of the times I can see the boredom and loneliness in him, and can't help but think that early retirement is actually not a good thing afterall. With our government just announcing the retirement age to be pushed from 62 to 65, and the eventual 68, Singaporeans have to be working/ slogging throughout their lifetime! The only probable benefits would be financial security (i.e. when children do not take care parents anymore) and mental alertness (i.e. the age of dementia patients are getting younger) for us.
These days, my dear old pa is helping us to fetch Zakris from the childcare centre every evening, and on some Saturdays, he will bring Zakris to take train rides or just walk around. I hope these activities had keep him active and bring him joy.
There are many things which I remembered about my pa - I would cry when he goes to work; he used to drive a lorry and the whole family of six will squeeze into it (can't imagine how we did it?); he was very good with carpentry and made some of the furnitures in our old house; he could speak thai because most of his workers were thais; we would go to 7-11 in the night to buy loaf of bread; he would drive me to the school even though the school was within walking distance; days when I have ECA on Sat morning, we would go to the Malay stall at the foodcentre for nasi-lemak and teh tarik before heading to school; he let me play with his hair; he will "lock" us in the room for an hour to do self-study & homework everyday; I can't remember when he started cooking for us , but he sure can cook; he took great care of my mum when she was ill; etc.
Just today, after not cooking for a very long period of time, he decided to cook dinner. Originally he wanted to cook preserved vegetables with duck soup, but I requested him to do a braised duck instead. I remembered that on his very attempt to cook braised duck many years ago, it turned out so good that the taste still lingers in my head! Of course, I took this opportunity to learn the ropes and jot down how it is being done. It still tasted as yummy!
1 fresh duck (bought from supermarket, cost around $13+)
2 cloves garlic
1 stick cinnamon
3 star anise
2 tsp five spice powder
7 slices ginger (each abt 3mm thick)
5 tbsp dark sauce (Tiger brand, top quality dark saucce. This has thicker consistency, and less saltish)
3 tsp salt
**The quantity of ingredients are eye-estimated cos my dad don't measure them.
1) Boil 1L (or enough to cover more than half of the duck) of water in a wok. When boiled, put the duck into the wok and blanch it, about 3 to 5 minutes. The purpose is to remove the "duck" smell. Discard the water. Set the duck aside.
2) In a wok, add all ingredients except duck in 1L of water, and let boil using high heat.
3) When the water is boiled, put in the duck and continue to cook on high heat. If the water does not cover half of the duck, add more water.
4) When the water starts to boil again, cover the wok and turn the heat to low-medium. Cook for 20 mins.
5) Remove the cover and turn the duck over. Continue to cook for 20 mins on low-medium heat.
6) Turn the duck again and continue to cook for 20 mins.
7) Repeat step 6 but cook for 10 mins only.
8) Remove duck from wok. The braised duck is ready to be served.
**The duck would be nicely cooked within 60 mins i.e. you can omit step 7.
If you want it soft and tender, you may follow the cooking time in step 7.
If you want it VERY soft and tender, step 7 should be 20 mins.
**If you want to add braised eggs, cook hard boiled eggs in clear water first and remove shells. Remove the garlic/ spices etc from the dark sauce, and put the eggs in and cook for 10 mins on low-medium heat.
I hope you would enjoy it as much as I do (^,^)