It’s Monday and I am officially back in London. “Officially” because “unofficially” I arrived about this time yesterday but was so exhausted and having been away two months (but mainly because my brain was mush from exhaustion), everything felt surreal and I didn’t feel as though I was really back.

But today is Monday, a work day. The week day routine is back. Reality bites.

And I miss my parents so ridiculously much 🙁

I know, I know, y’all think I’m being a sentimental human being cry baby which is completely polar opposite to what I usually am, but you know what? I’m not ashamed to admit it, but spending all day, every day for five whole weeks with my parents did something to me. We re-connected, re-bonded, got to know each other as adults (because I left home as shit of an 18 year old) and amazingly, no one so much as even wanted to kill the other person.

When I really think about it, I realise I haven’t spent this much time with my parents since I was prepubescent. No joke. Being broken and all that, I was at home Every. Single. Day. … and Night. And except for one ice creamery evening, I literally had every dinner with my mum and dad and spent every single day with my mum or both the parental units.

And as much as it sucks now, I wouldn’t trade the last five weeks for anything. I cherish the time we spent together and appreciate beyond words the way they looked after me when I couldn’t so much as take a step on my own or eat anything that wouldn’t glide itself down my throat. I kind of just wish that I didn’t live three continents away…

BUT! It’s only a few more months until I see them again and really, my brain probably still isn’t totally officially onboard yet. It appears to be stuck in the smushy land of love and Care Bears, so don’t worry, I will be my old perky self again very soon!

By the way, this fantastic looking dish is acar, a Malaysian salad of pickled vegetables. Them Koreans have their kimchi, we have our acar, and it’s just as stupendously tasty all spicy and nutty and crunchy and YUM.

It’s the last of my mum’s recipes that I’m sharing, so enjoy! x

Acar (Malaysian pickled vegetables)
1 medium carrot
handful of green beans
1/2 medium red pepper
1 small green cucumber
1/4 small cauliflower, chopped
5 leaves Chinese cabbage
1/3 cup (50 grams) roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
1 cup (250 mL) white vinegar
1/3 cup (75 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon olive oil (for step 1)
2 tablespoons olive oil (for step 4) 

Spice paste:
1 teaspoon belacan (can be store bought)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 small fresh red chillies, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemongrass
4cm piece fresh galangal, chopped
4 cm piece fresh tumeric, chopped
3 cloves garlic

* Note: mixed vegetables can be substituted and you need not use all suggested above. My mum often likes to use fresh pineapple pieces as well.

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a pan and lightly toast sesame seeds. When they are fragrant, remove and set aside.
  2. Chop up all the vegetables into small pieces, or 4cm sticks. Add vegetables, vinegar, sugar and water to a pan and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat, set aside.
  3. To make the spice paste, put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. On a low heat, heat up olive oil in a wok, add spice paste and cook for 1 minute. Add vegetables (including all liquids – do not drain!). Cook for 5-10 minutes, add crushed peanuts, toasted sesame seeds and peanut butter and continue stirring until well mixed.
  5. Remove from heat and cool. Refrigerate before serving.
Shared dish. Can me made 3 days ahead.

11 Thoughts on “acar (Malaysian pickled vegies) and sentimental me

  1. Ngawww…. Good to know that you got home ok and we shall see you when you get back!

  2. Awww, I second your sentiments about your parents. I first left home immediately after high school, days after my 18th birthday, returned home a year later, left again for a year, came back and am now abroad again. My family has always been close but you really learn to appreciate them once a hug, a chat, a family dinner is no longer a short walk or car ride away…
    Sorry for going all mushy 😉
    P.S.: My parents are coming over to visit me in a few weeks time. Yeah!

  3. yeah, the relationship with parents changes and changes again the older you get.

  4. Awwww (hug). That’s always an adjustment for me, and I don’t even have the length of time to deal with as you did. Good to hear though you will see them again soon. And, most importantly, that you’re on the mend. Xo!

  5. alli on April 5, 2011 at 7:20 am said:

    Poor Cat! I know what you mean re parents I missed mine too much after saying goodbye time and time again. But you do plan on coming home for good oen day don’t you ? Its much easier living in Oz, but when will that be for you guy s?

  6. good to know that you’re home! cheer up! xx love the acar recipe!

  7. Phuoc: Thanks! I did get home in one piece luckily! Hehe see you soon 🙂

    Kay: How fun that your folks are coming to see you! You can tour guide them around London!

    mc: I think it’s because they learn to chill out too (and we are less of the little shits we once were) hehe…

    Lara: Thanks Lara! I used to be totally ok seeing them for a few days or a week but yeah 5 weeks 24×7 was crazy! ahhh… we learn to appreciate them, don’t we?

    alli: Hey ALLI!! Yes we totally plan on coming back to Oz, hopefully in the not too distant future. Will have to see you back there!

    Melissa: the acar recipe ROCKS. let me know if you try it!

  8. Aww Catty! *hugs* you poor thing missing your parents! I’m glad to hear that you got home ok though!

  9. I can’t imagine anything worse than that flight back to London if you were still feeling a little delicate. Hope you’re ok. There’s nothing better than spending time with your parents as adults and realising that beyond the family connection, that as people, they rock. My mum’s turning up in London to visit in 5 weeks. I can’t wait.

    • Yeah I wasn’t looking forward to the 24 hour flight. I bit the bullet and paid for an upgrade though (EXPENSIVE!) but so worth it. How exciting that your mum is coming! You’ll have such a great time 🙂

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