Friday, February 17, 2006


*** Note: This blog will be in hiatus for about 2 weeks as I will be away in Sydney starting a postgrad diploma, hopefully will return with stories from the hospital, stories about food and maybe even stories about hospital food. If I survive it that is ... my stomach having become more refined to tastes such as what I am about to review, and less like cold pizza.***

Within the first few weeks of arriving in Cowra, my bosses had sussed me out to be a foodie and raved about a local restaurant, Neila. At the first special occasion we got which happened to be Valentines Day, Richard surprised me by arriving from Sydney (we were dating long distance at the time) and whisking me to a dinner booking here. We were floored by the unique dishes on the menu, including oyster shots which I had tried to emulate in my humble kitchen.

Hence, it seemed apt that we spend our final (belated) Valentines celebration in Cowra, back at the same restaurant which we gazed starry eyed upon each other, and less at the food. This year I have to add that it is five years later and so more attention was paid to the food ;) I have been extremely lucky that my boss has chosen this elegant venue to hold each years staff Christmas dinner. The produce on their menu is always local but the flavours change with the seasons and with chef Anna Wong's imagination. Born in Australia and of Chinese descent, Anna's dishes bring new meaning to the term 'fusion cuisine'. There is never an overstatement of one particular flavour. A hint of ginger here, a dash of kaffir lime there, married with ingredients fresh from the farms, including their own herb garden, is enough to create an extremely enjoyable and unforgettable meal.

A humble shopfront, Neila is the first in its block entering from the west side of Cowra, just after the bridge over the Lachlan River. Its interior is modern and cozy, with dim lighting to create a comfortable ambience. The menu is not extensive, but extremely varied to cater to most. Entrees are $16, Mains $29 and Desserts $14.

My entree, the steamed shitake mushroom custard with wagyu-x beef roll. I had half expected a hot Japanese chawanmushi style custard and eyed the cold shotglass full of custard with some doubt. I took the first spoonful and stand corrected. Being still summer and with the night outside balmy, this was perfectly refreshing and an excellent appetizer. The brown sauce on top tasted like shitake mushrom essence, slightly sweet and bringing out tasty flavours of the silky tofu-like custard. Each of the two beef rolls were wrapped around julliened carrot,scallion and seaweed and they were carefully cooked to maintain its flavour and tenderness.

Richard's entree, the asparagus in sesame batter with lime and peanut sauce. This is a good way for getting kids to eat their veggies, if mum and dad don't grab all of it first! The fresh crunchy asparagus had a wafer thin coating of batter randomly dotted with black sesames and was dressed with a tangy slightly sweet dressing that also hinted of ginger. We commented that we had never seen such huge asparagus stalks, nor tasted asparagus done so well.

My main, the caramelised pork hock with green papaya and cashew nut salad served with jasmine rice. Again I had half expected a small pork hock sitting on the dish. However, the hock had already been pre-cubed for eating convenience and more importantly, thorough infusion of the flavours and a crisp even caramelised coating of dark sauce. The pork was melt in the mouth although dieters beware! The tenderness in pork comes with a price of having fatty regions. I merely trimmed these away and enjoyed how well the soy based sauce went with the magical green papaya salad which had mild flavours of five spice in it. The slightly salty taste of the soy pork, the sweet sour of the green papaya, the crunch of the cashews and the fragrance of the jasmine rice ensured that all my taste buds were kept extremely entertained.
Richard's main, the roasted atlantic salmon fillet with avacado and soba salad in wasabi dressing. Everybody knows it is hard to cook fish well but nowhere else have we had fish cooked to perfection as this. Richard has ordered this a few times over the years we have been here and it is always slightly crispy skinned to remove the fishy taste, with pink to orange flesh in the centre, tender yet with substance to ensure that it melts in the mouth yet never falls off the fork in flakes. The soba noodles salad with its slightly bolder soy and wasabi taste, softened by the avacado chunks complimented the milder tasting fish.
Our shared dessert, fresh fig with black sesame praline semmifreddo. I had to look up the definition of semifreddo on and it states that it is italian for "half cold". Culinarily,it refers to any of various chilled or partially frozen desserts including cake, ice cream, fruit and custard or whipped cream. This was really amazing. It was the second time I have ever had fresh figs and the soft slightly sweet flesh drizzled with honey went with the velvet texture of the praline, given a bit crunch with the black sesame. It was a perfect dessert. Not too sweet and full of new flavours and interesting textures.

After taking the last picture of the dessert, Jerry who is the maitre'd and also Annas partner could not contain his curiosity any longer and asked me what I was doing, photographing all the food. I went red as I had been busted! I had to explain that I have a blog and a ring of blogging foodie friends who would be interested in food from other parts of the world. I hope if both of you (Jerry and Anna) have time to read this, that you will like my little review. I am of course neither a food critic nor expert but defintely a food lover and a fan of this restaurant which has put Cowra on the dining map, having been awarded a star a few years in a row now by the Australian Gourmet Traveller magazine and a 'chefs hat' award four years in a row by the Sydney Morning Herald's good food guide. If you're not from these parts, it is defintely worth the drive out here to investigate.

Neila 5 Kendal St Cowra (02)6341 2188

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Monday the Thirteenth

Two days ago, as I was running out the door to work, I grabbed my coats ironed from the night before and left on the door knob so I don't forget them in the rush to get out the door. I threw them over my left arm and immediately felt this searing hot pain. I looked at my coats which bit me and found a huge spider on the underside of them!! EEEEEEEK !! I threw them down immediately and stood dazed for a minute. I then picked up the coats and shook the beast out. It was huge!!! As big as my hand when the legs are included. It immediately ran up the wall of the hall. I ran to the kitchen and got out a can of insecticide and started spraying it like mad. The big mother still refused to die. Finally it weakened to the point of falling to the carpet. I stepped on it and it curled up after a satisfying crunch. I kicked it outside so my 'babies' wouldn't eat it or lick it.

By the time I drove to the surgery, my hand was starting to swell. I walked into the door of the surgery and my dental nurse said I should ask them at the hospital what to do. It was about 200 m walk away and so i walked there. They were pretty nice to me and put some ice on my hand. They sat me on a bed and took my blood pressure. At first, I felt ok, but i got pretty drowsy and lay down. The next few hours were a bit hazy. I remember that a doctor came to look at it and they gave me panadol but not much else. They asked me what the spider looked like but being brown and furry it was not on the top two dreaded spiders in Australia, them being the Sydney funnel web and the Red back. I remember my arm feeling hot and I had hot flushes throughout my body. a few hours later though I woke up feeling ok. Arm was a bit sore but the swelling had gone. All that was left were 2 puncture marks from the bite. It was about a cm (half an inch) apart.

I told hubby and he is usually a nature loving person, letting any spiders I asked him to get rid off in the past free outside of our home. He vowed revenge on all spiders from this day forth and he also felt helpless that he was an hour away instead of being able to send me to hospital. Soon that will be better though, we are really looking forward to us working in the same town.

The nurse at the hospital was surprised when I jumped up and said I would go back to work. The doctor said to take the day off but I already felt better and would feel bad sitting at home doing not much else. So, I walked back to the surgery and did a crown prep and a few cleans and that was my monday.

This is a good link to the Australian Museum Online on huntsman spiders, which is what Richard thought I got bit by. A spider by any name is as yukky to me. It looked huge, brown and furry with a few lines so I guess it kind of looked like the ones in that link. Here is another pic I found on the web of one.

It was taken from which also has some pictures of a red back. I guess the plus of being in the country is the warm hospitality and next to no wait at the outpatients department of the hospital. The negative being many insects and even snakes spotted often in gardens every summer. I can't wait for autumn.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mulyan Winery

On Saturday, we took a leisurely drive around town, doing some shopping, had lunch (post of it to come later) and visited the Mulyan winery where the tasty red we had a few weeks earlier came from. It was a short drive out of town (about 5 minutes) and we were in rural landscape. A small dirt track off the main road, with adequate signage led us towards the airy building with a wide porch front.
These were a few grape vines growing close to the house but the main crop was grown elsewhere on the property.

Despite the rustic exterior, the main function room with tasting bar, was bright and modern. We were quickly seated and offered the currently small range of wines. There was a 2000 and 2001 Chardonnay under the Bushranger's Bounty label, a 2001 Chardonnay under the more premium Mulyan label, a 2000 Mulyan Shiraz and a 2001 Bushman's Bounty Shiraz. Other regional produce such as olive oil, home made sauces and chutneys, sheeps cheese and various salad dressings were also displayed on the counter.

We quickly decided that we loved the 2000 Bushman's Chardonnay which has won a few awards. It was light and very refreshing, fruity on the mid palate. The second tasting of the Bushman's Shiraz only confirmed that we needed to get half a dozen bottles of each. We knew that it would make great presents and we would keep a few as we wouldn't know when we would return. The shiraz retailed for $15 a bottle and the Chardonay for $11. We got the half dozen of each for $122 which was a good deal.

A quick stroll around the building revealed a sunny courtyard out the back where people could sit and enjoy their wine with a picnic at tables complete with large umbrellas. The function area indoors was also decorated with various scultures and art pieces.

If one was to chance upon the Bushrangers Bounty label, I would recommend you give it a try. Both the chardonnay and shiraz have lighter, less complex overtones than this winery's flagship label but this means that it can be enjoyed both on its own or with various foods, be it a fresh salad or a creamy pasta.
Mulyan Winery North Logan Road Cowra (02)6342 1336


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Virtual Vacation Comp

Since Cowra is a small town and this was a weekend we were staying here in the country, I decided to take you readers on a virtual vacation with me. Well actually, I just wanted to score a really cool food hamper from Reid of Onokinegrindz. He and his pal Alan are organising a virtual vacation contest to help bloggers beat the Febuary post holiday blues.

I thought back to our recent vacation to the US of A and my mind floated to what was easily the best sector, Las Vegas!When we visited in July, it was a sweltering 41 degrees celcius (106 F). Currently, it is a cool 17 degrees (61 F). We did a lot of walking on foot and I felt that was one of the best ways to explore the strip and all it has to offer. We did a split trip of Vegas, staying one night then driving through Arizona to the Grand Canyon, before continuing on to New Mexico where I met up with some long time net friends and stayed a couple of nights with them. We then headed back to Vegas for 2 more nights.

There is so much to gush about but I think I should get back to the main points of what inspired me to make a dish to recreate the feeling of "Viva Las Vegas!"

This is a picture of us getting plastered geared up for a great night. While walking through the Caesars Palace Mall, we came across people sipping from giant mugs of various shapes and sizes. They all said 'Fat Tuesday' and close to the Expensive Car Showroom and a dessert cafe near the Fate of Atlantis exhibit, we found a haven of frozen margaritas. They came in many different sizes but we chose a quart which is about a litre! I chose one with armaretto and pineapple flavours and Richard chose the 190 octane which has lots of spirit and an orange flavour. It was much bigger than we expected but hey! The night was young and we had much exploring to do. There is an amazing energy about the place, something in the air makes you feel like you can go on and on- and we did, staying up for 30 hours!

We started one end of the strip and wandered into various resorts. We were staying at the Luxor which was the egyptian-themed hotel, boasting a real exhibit of king tuts tomb, various themed simulation rides and a museum. All resorts have activities and features, most of them working around their theme. For example, Excalibur has decorations throughout spouting medieval merchandise, a live show featuring knights on horseback, various side shows with magicians and musicians and a fun park. I just can't believe how much effort is placed into each resort. New York New York had a "Coyote Ugly" club with of course bar top dancing, and had a roller coaster on top of the hotel. Forget the gambling! We were there for the fun and experience of stepping into another world behind each front door.

This was taken near the front entrance of the Venetian, I looked up at the massive paintings and had to take a shot of its ceiling.
This was also taken inside the Venetian. Of course we also went on a gondola ride. And our own gondolier sang for us as she poled the little boat through the waters.

There is just so much to share! The shopping on the strip includes many specialty shops throughout the malls, Caesar's Palace easily being the largest. It has about one mile of shops!!The shops are made to look like you are walking through a roman village, including fountains, statues and little stalls. There is a false sky with the light changing from dawn to dusk with every hour. Then there are the fashion factory outlets located just outside of the strip with many branded outlets at greatly reduced prices. The food!! There are just so many buffets to choose from. Naturally you get what you pay for but when dining at a few recommended ones such as the Spice Market buffet at Aladdin (sadly soon to be remodelled into Planet Hollywood), the french one at Paris(oh the way they serve it in cute little "shops"), and the one we had at the Luxor, you get quality as well as quantity. The nightlife!! We went to watch the Blue Man group live which was interactive, very creative and enjoyable. We also couldn't resist going to the Star Trek Experience the little geeks that we were and scored a free backstage tour as they were trialling it out! We got lots of great show facts and how everything works at "The Experience".

Needless to say, we had a lifetime of memories and all I can say is, leave at least 5 days to see everything, not forgetting the day tours such as Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire which we didn't get to visit.

Now that I am home, I made a few cocktails to put us in that party Vegas mood. I arranged it on this 3D collage of our souvenirs from Vegas. The strange looking litle glass is a Ferengi shotglass, conical and on a stand. The other two are one creamy cocktail and one fruity refreshing one.

These are my own creations that I know of, so please feel free to experiment according to the ingredients you like. We have given them names we feel capture the spirit of the drink (no pun intended).

Desert Rose
To make a smooth, creamy cocktail;
2 shots Baileys
2 shots Frangelico (hazelnut liquer)
1 shot butterscotch schnapps
Add some cream and blend with ice till smooth. Goes down easy and preps you for a great night.

The Strip
To make a strange green coloured refreshing cocktail;
1 shot blue curacao
1 shot Stones green ginger wine
1 can (250ml/metric cup) of V or other citrus energy drink
serve over lots of ice
Richard really really loved this one and said we had to make it again

Hairy Chested Klingon
To make a nutty coffee shot;
1 third Kahlua
1 third Frangelico
1 third Vodka or Butterscotch schnapps if you have a sweet tooth
Toss it back and enjoy!! Guaranteed to bring out the growl in you

Vegas baby yeah!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

I scream for Ice-cream!!

As mentioned two posts ago, here is more of our weekend away in Sydney (aptly labelled by Clare as "the weekend of excess") She has done an amazing job of capturing the bulk of our gastronomic tour of Parramatta area last Saturday night. Except for some of these pictures taken at Cold Rock. She was probably too embarrassed, but I didn't mind playing the country bumpkin and snapped away. I got asked if I was a tourist LOL I just said that I was from the country.

Step 1:Pick from a large range of ice cream flavours, including a low fat range. They come with little suggestions of what mix-ins go with it eg. fruits, chocolate bars, cookie dough, candy etc.

Step 2: The ice cream is placed on a specially refrigerated slab, optimum for keeping ice cream cold while it is mixed.

Step3: Your selected mix-in is first broken up into little pieces in a "well" made in the ice cream and mixed throughout.

Step 4:Enjoy your ice cream! This is what magic thinks about ice cream, any ice cream!

Ok ok, Claire has a pic of the finished product on the link above. But we all agreed that we had made successful choices for part 1 of our dessert. Mine and Richard's was Ferrero Rocher with cookie dough, CnC's was Rum and Raisin with caramel fudge and Kit Kat addins. We enjoyed them walking by the Parramatta River where people were trying to fish and old folk were canoodling in the moonlight. Ahhh sometimes I really miss the city.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Singaporean/Malaysian CNY in Australia

Chinese New Year is often the time I feel the most homesick. Many Australians might relate to that because it is as big as Christmas is to Aussie families. There is lots of food, lots of presents, more food, and the chance to see some family like cousins and Aunts you might not have caught up with all year. And before you know it, it comes around again.

While Christmas is also pretty big in Singapore, it is not in anyway as big as CNY. You might have a few friends over for a roast and pudding and you might exchange presents and cards. But for the latter, there are days of preparations for the feast- all the condiments must be ready, the house must be cleaned from top to toe and decorated with ribbons and lanterns. The pussy willow (yes its a real plant) is the traditional "tree" on which decorations are hung. All the freshest produce must be bought on the eve, and traditional greetings and gifts of various cakes and mandarins must be ready. There is a buzz in the air and shops everywhere blare out traditional tunes to remind you that the time is coming!

The past eleven years in Australia, my own celebrations have been low key. There was one year when CNY was in mid January (it follows the lunar calender) and I got to spend it back in Singapore once more. The last 4 years it has been virtually non-descript here in the country save for eating at the Hong Kong restaurant here in town. This year, things were a bit different as my childhood friend J who got married last year in October, had her own place and we decided to have a mini celebration of our own. Previously she had it mostly with her own family or extended family who also live in Australia.

I bought some char siu (chinese bbq pork), noodles and roast duck. She prepared the Yu Sang which is the lucky raw fish salad Singaporeans and Malaysians traditionally have during the festive season, and also obtained some of the traditional cakes and biscuits served this period.

This is a before shot of the salad. It consists of candied ginger and melons of various description. Some consist of fresh grated carrots and radishes etc. Everyone's recipe is slightly different. The fish J used was smoked salmon. This went beautifully with the dressing which has plummy overtones. The traditional fish is a white fish but salmon sashimi is also used.

An action shot of the tossing of salad. This is tossed high together saying "loh hei" and various toasts are proposed to each other, wishing each other good health, success in work, good results for studies and generally a smooth and happy year.

These are the various biscuits and cookies. They are popular only in Singapore and Malaysia, as they are made by the straits born Chinese. These were chinese whose forefathers arrived in the straits many decades ago and settled amongst the indigenous malays. They resulted in a unique breed known as Peranakans, Nonyas or Babas. Keeping their heritage, they kept celebrating chinese new year and the malay influences led to these unique biscuits served during this time. It can also be bought at other times of the year but you need to hunt around for it.

On the left, the white biscuits have a melt in the mouth quality, similar to powdered sugar but much less sweet. These are called kueh bankit (kueh meaning biscuit or cake). The fan shaped arrangement of striped cake is kueh lapis. A variation of this is also served in Indonesia with prunes amongst the layers. It has a buttery taste is very fragrant. The things that look like mini spring rolls, I have absolutely no idea what they are called! I cal them mini spring rolls and my mumknows what I am talking about. They are filled with sambal shrimp which is dried, fried, spiced shrimp paste. Richard reckons they taste great with beer. The little golden logs are pineapple tarts. They are a shortcrust pastry filled with pineapple jam and they come in many shapes and sizes.

It was really nice having the opportunity to share this experience with friends. Also, it gave Richard a little more insight to some of the traditions I have grown up with. He loved the yu sang and I am happy about that as it is one of my favourite dishes too! I don't know if I will ever be able to completely reconcile the differences in culture and lifestyle I experience and what I have grown up with. I suppose it is harder for me as my parents are still overseas, rather than say someone like J whose family are all now Australian. I recognise that there is no perfect country or place to live in and somehow I hope that our kids (if we end up having some) will be able to carry on the best of both Singaporean and Australian cultures, practices and traditions no matter where they might live in the future.

And after our busy weekend, I feel kind of like Magic, my doggie.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney

We spent Sunday the 6th of Feb in Sydney's Chinatown watching the CNY parade. It was a great way to end a perfect weekend. We had spent a big bulk of it catching up with Casey and Clare and we are hoping to do some joint blogging to share our Saturday night which involved lots of mexican food, feeling seedy after Sangria (what was in that stuff anyway?), cold mushed ice cream, and turkish sweet shops with hookah smoking. But for the meantime, here were some pictures that I tried to take amongst the crowds to try and capture the colourful event.
One of the first few items to come through the parade. Love the big red lanterns and firecrackers.
Always a favourite of mine... the lion dancers. Many a kid has tried this at home with bathtowels and a willing accomplice to prance around with. Yes, of course I mean me! Hope my cousin doesn't remember the time I tried to get him to stand on my shoulders to practice 'cai qing' or picking the vegetables dangling from the ceiling and we all fell into a heap on the ground. Many tears and bribes ensured he didn't tell mum about it :P

Dragon Dancers ... very colourful but not as cool as the lions!

Various mythical figures in operatic costumes on stilts as one of the items. The one on the left who looks like his pants are falling down is supposed to be the Monkey God. The balloons say 2008 as these items were presented by delegations who had flown in from China for the event.

The 'Roo and Panda, probably signifying friendship between China and Australia.

The Olympic colours... heralding the coming of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as one of the last few items. Overall it was pretty good quality...many acrobatics were performed as well as marching and dancing in costumes. Richard said he saw children on stilts doing the caterpillar! Pity it escaped me due to the crowds and my slow camera. We were glad we went as although it was crowded, it wasn't like a cattle crush and the slightly overcast day meant it was not too hot!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant

We usually celebrate Chinese New Year at this restaurant because the first time we came here in CNY 2003, we got to know Jasmine, the owner. Jasmine like myself comes from Singapore and she was extremely excited to know of this the first time we went there. At the time, she was the only Singaporean in Cowra. Her husband Kevin, the head cook, is Malaysian but they met and got married in Singapore.

This year, we were just reflecting on how Cowra now has 4 Singaporeans! There is a new male doctor at the large medical centre, a female doctor who has been there since late last year and myself. That has been a population growth of 200 percent in 3 years *grin*. Richard was joking that at this stage, we would soon have a hawker centre/ food court down in the main street.

This is the picture of the outside of the Hong Kong. It is one of the first blocks you see on the right when you drive into town from the Sydney side. As you can see, it was built as Parris's village plaza owned by the Parris family. They own one of those ubiquitous milk bars I was talking about two posts ago on the right. This was a fifth one in Cowra but shut down in May last year after the matriach of the family passed away at a ripe old age. She was a lovely lady and always had time for a chat if you ducked in for a drink or the paper. They used to own the Hong Kong as well but it was sold to Jasmine in 2000. On the left of the restaurant is a laundromat and over beyond that is the town fire station.

We started the meal with a traditional CNY celebratory dish, sharks fin soup. This is usually enjoyed with a dash of white pepper and red wine vinegar. It had a really tasty seafood and crab broth and lots of crab meat. Richard did not really fancy sharks fin soup at our wedding dinner but he really enjoyed this one.

For our next entree, we tried the chicken and ham rolls which were minced chicken and ham patties, made on premises and deep fried. They were very tasty and not overly processed. They were served with the usual Aussie-chinese entree complement, sweet and sour sauce.

Jasmine gave us a bottle of local wine to enjoy with our meal. It was a really tasty red, the 2001 Bushranger's Bounty Shiraz. We learned that it was from the Mulyan winery and have made a mental note that it would be one of the places we need to visit before we move.

In the forefront, is a dish concocted by Jasmine and Kevin themselves, pork fillet in tomato-garlic sauce. It rates very high in the yumminess factor and has the perfect blend of sweet and tasty. In the background is a dish I have actually grown up with, seafood in a basket. I am used to it being served in a rice vermicelli fried basket (you know the white shredded stuff normally used to decorate the bottom of plates?). Jasmine has somehow sourced a shredded potato basket instead, making it extremely tasty, especially after soaking up the stir-fried seafood sauce. It tastes kind of like a crunchy rosti. This variation was even better than the one I know and love.

On the whole, even though the food here has westernised items on the menu like sweet and sour, mongolian etc. It is done really well as it is not oily and has a home cooked freshly made taste to it.

We have been really fortunate getting to know Jasmine and Kevin as they have been kind and generous to us. We have always expected (and tried!) to pay for our meals. But sometimes, when things are going well for them, as Jasmine insisted this time it was, the meal is on the house. My estimate is that it would have cost about $43 for the lot (wine not included - no idea what that would have cost). Jasmine said that our friendship was priceless and this was but a token. I will definitely miss her and her family and knowing them has helped me appreciate how hard they life of a restauranteur is. They typically wake at about 8 am to make wontons, spring rolls and other appetizers, get ready for the lunch crowd, have lunch at about 3 pm, prepare and cut veggies and meat and marinate it, have the dinnertime crowd, eat at about 10 or 11 pm and clean up, washing tablecloths etc and going to bed at about 1 or 2 am. We babysat their youngest Zoe when she was newborn and it was a busy weekend at work and now she is almost 3! I will also miss our DVD/movie swaps, local and S'pore gossip and recipe exchanges. She sometimes even brings homemade soups to the surgery and leaves it at the reception desk for me :~)

I wish her and her family, and all of you out there:
Gong Xi Fa Cai (or Gong Hei Fatt Choy in cantonese) - Congratulations and many happy returns for a prosperous new year,
Wan Shi Ru Yi- May ten thousand wishes go your way,
Long Ma Jin Shen- The energy and health of horses and dragons,
Xin Xiang Shi Cheng- may anything your heart desires come true

Yes I'm a bit late but its still the fifth day of the fifteen day celebrations!