CNY Potluck Gathering, Melbourne Flash Flooding Drama & Girls Weekend Away

(Photo: “Tu Kha Sng” Pork Leg dish I cooked up for Chinese New Year)

I just had a very interesting weekend. So much was happening in the last few days it was crazy! It all started on Friday night, as the rain started pouring at 6pm and I had to drive through areas in Narre Warren that already started flash flooding after less than 15 minutes of heavy rain. My poor little Barina braved through the flooded areas and I somehow managed to get home safely.

But it didn’t end there. As soon as hubby got home, we had to brave the heavy rains and potential flood areas once again to get to our friends’ house for the Chinese New Year potluck gathering I already cooked for the night before. It was still raining very heavily, and the drains outside our house were overflowing and water was everywhere, but we went out anyway. We probably should’ve stayed home, especially after we turned right into Bemersyde Drive and was greeted by water so high our tyres were covered, and there was already a car there stuck! We persevered, and drove slowly but steadily and soon got out of the worst areas and arrived safely at our party house on the hill.

Once we were inside, we had a great time…

The rain stopped later that night, so eventually we managed to drive home without too much drama. We had no idea what we were about to see the next day…

This was a photo of MY street! Just down the road the flash floods were so bad the road was closed and people walked over there to see what was happening and we were just amazed at what we saw. The farmlands down the road were all completely flooded, animals had to be rescued, a few houses were affected but thankfully most of the commercially built houses were up my end of the street at higher ground so our house was safe.

Can you imagine seeing ducks swimming on the road I normally drive on every single day?

So we decided to go on a little adventure and explore nearby areas where we think were highly affected. Hashtags #vicfloods were everywhere on Twitter. I was tweeting the whole time too.

Check out my photo album on Flickr: VICTORIA FLOODS 5TH FEB 2011

One of the major dramas we witnessed while we were out exploring was seeing a teenage boy cling on to his life in surging waters hugging a telephone pole! Apparently, 3 silly teenagers decided to “have a bit of fun” until they realise the water was surging dangerously fast and whilst 2 boys managed to get out safely, one got stuck! So eventually, the rescue teams from CFA and SES arrived and the picture above was when the teenage boy was being rescued in Beaconsfield. I was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and took some amazing shots of the rescue in progress that Reuters News contacted me via Twitter and asked to purchase my photos!

So, I was “Citizen Journalist” for the day and my photo got published in news websites all over the world thanks to Reuters. Example here below on Yahoo! News:

(Click for larger image. I’ve circled where it says “REUTERS/Kimberly Peterson” I thought that was really cool. This photo was also featured on SRN News, The Irish Times and 2space)

Click here to see more rescue photos including more flooded areas, the traffic chaos and Channel 9 News helicopter hovering right above us!

After all that drama and the excitement of speaking to reporters and emailing my photos to the local news, my day took another lovely spin of traveling to the coastal areas of McCrae and Rosebud with my sister in laws for our Girls Weekend Away. We were spending the night at The Shores Accommodation at McCrae in a lovely 3-bedroom townhouse.

The Shores Accommodation provided everything we needed and the townhouse is absolutely gorgeous! We were a short distance away from Rosebud shops and restaurants, but unfortunately the weather obviously meant we didn’t get to spend any time at the beach. No complaints though, we were more than happy to stay in the townhouse and enjoy a night in watching movies and just talking and enjoying each others company.

Finally, I am not forgetting the fact that this is indeed a food blog and this post would somewhat be incomplete if I didn’t share my recipe for the “Tu Kha Sng” Pork Leg which I cooked up for Chinese New Year! This dish is one of my aunt’s signature dishes and I am grateful that this recipe has been passed on to me! It’s my favorite childhood dish during our annual Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner back in Malaysia. The Hokkien name “Tu Kha Sng” directly translated means “Pork Leg Sour”. Its flavors are predominantly sweet, sour and mildly spicy from the fresh chillies.

“Tu Kha Sng” Pork Leg Recipe

Serves 12 – 16 people

6kg pork leg, chopped into casserole pieces, skin and bone on
20 garlic cloves, unchopped, thin layer skin on
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup hot chilli sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup caster sugar
4 red chillis, sliced

In a large pot, slowly heat pork leg (covered) for about 10 minutes or until the water produced naturally by the meat starts simmering. Add dark soy sauce. Simmer further for 30 minutes, covered, in medium heat.

Add garlic cloves and simmer for another 15 minutes, covered.

Add tomato sauce, hot chilli sauce, vinegar and caster sugar. Stir gently. Simmer for another hour, or until the meat is tender. Add most of the amount of sliced chillies (leave some for garnish) and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve hot and garnish with remaining sliced chillies. Serve with steamed rice and stirfried Chinese vegetables with egg tofu.