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Girls' Best Friend

Bright and sparkly. Gemstones came to my mind when I was removing this Dragon Fruit and Orange jelly from the mould. Like a combination of gemstones...rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one!

Dragon's Eyes

The literal translation for the name of a small brown, juicy exotic fruit from the lands of Asia, known as Longan in Chinese, packed into these muffins


A taste from the humble beginnings, the Long Bean Rice brings back beautiful memories of the yesteryears

Light and Fluffy

Lemon, Yogurt and Cranberries~a nice blend of flavours in a light and fluffy chiffon cake

Bread Stories

Asian style buns ~ Popular as breakfast food or snack, sweet/savoury fillings wrapped in soft, cottony bread

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Gong Xi! Gong Xi! myspace graphic comments

Chinese New Year is exactly a week away! Gong Xi, Gong Xi to everyone! May the rabbit come hopping in with lots of goodies for everyone!

Chinese New Year used to be all fun and play, it is still something to look forward to but nowadays it comes with a lot of chores and burns some po
ckets too (side effects of growing up :)). At the end of the day, I think it's all about getting together. The opportunity for family and friends to meet again. Hence, the need for food, food and food since there is nothing better that one can do during these get-togethers than to eat, eat, eat and eat!

This year I attempted to make some cookies. Actually, quite embarrassing to say that this is the first time I am making my own. Better late than never, I am glad that I made the effort this time!

I chose to make 2 traditional ones and 1 not so traditional one but has been around for awhile.

1. Peanut Cookies
This one is for Pa, he loves them. Keeping my fingers crossed that he will love mine too. I used Amy Beh of The Star's Kuali for recipe.

2.Pineapple Tarts
This is my favourite cookie. I just love that buttery, melt in your mouth pastry when it comes with a dollop of nice, not too sweet, sourish and fibery pineapple jam. They are so sinfully delicious. Since, I am on this mission to bake my own cookies, I had to try baking my favourite too. It sure was hard work, I never imagined that it was this much work! One had to grate the pineapples and then cook it over a slow fire for hours before it turns into jam! Apparently I read that one will regret if one uses the blender because of the difference in the texture between grating and blending. Since this is my first time, I obeyed every single advice to ensure no room for regrets, especially when it's so much work! No risk taking! Verdict? It was worth the hardwork. Recipe? Amy Beh again!

3. Cornflake Cookies
This modern day cookie is nothing compared to the other two. Very simple. It is nice but somehow not so authentic...or maybe it's all in the mind only. It's funny that when one starts to grow older, every other thing that is old turns into gold! One thing that I now know for sure is our foremothers(or fathers??) are sure tough cookies to follow :)

Happy Chinese New Year!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

All in One Dishes ala Malaysia

All in One Dishes are part and puzzle of lives where we live. A fast, convenient, economical, balance (best effort :)) but definitely delicious meal all within a bowl. It's usually rice or noodles as the main ingredient with other ingredients like meat and vegetables thrown in, cooked in various styles resulting in countless number of variations!

One will find them almost anywhere; coffee shops, food courts, roadside stalls etc. It's the wisest choice when you are tight on time or in the pockets or in need of something to lift up your spirits! Ask any Malaysian and they will proudly introduce you to their very own list of 'the best...'

With the convenience, one
is so very often tempted to buy these All in One Dishes instead of making your own; so I can't help feeling a little proud when I beat these temptations and take the trouble to make them although they may not be as tasty as the ones out there :)

These two are among little one's favourites.

1. Curry Laksa Noodles

I am pretty sure this one is among the top 5 favourite all in one dish among the locals. Noodles and lots of other ingredients thrown in as accompaniment in
a coconut milk infused curry soup. There are so many variations to this simple looking dish, at the very least each state has one, giving us at least 13 variations to choose from not counting variations put in by different races in the country. Yes, we are spoilt for choice :) The fragrance from the spices and the creamy coconut milk make this a dish hard to resist (even for the little ones)

One can easily buy prepared curry paste to make this dish but for this time around, I prepared my own. It's a fusion of spices like lemongrass, ginger, candle nuts, turmeric, shallots, garlic, chili and coriander blended with dried prawns and belacan (shrimp paste). Made extra for future convenience. I threw in beansprouts, long beans, tofu puffs (aka taufoo pok in Cantonese), roasted pork, prawns plus hard-boile
d eggs as accompaniments. Yummy! I had to tone down on the spiciness to cater for little one but that was easily solved with a spoon of the ever ready sambal belacan in the fridge.

2. Loh Mai Kai

This one is mostly available in dim sum restaurants or old coffee shops. I think this is more Chinese (maybe Cantonese) than Malaysian hence the name Loh Mai Kai which translates to Glutinous Rice with Chicken in Cantonese. Firstly, the rice is seasoned and lightly fried before it's assembled in a bowl with other ingredients like chicken, mushroom, chinese sausage and egg before it is steamed. Soy sauce (both thick and thin) is the main seasoning ingredient giving the dish the brownish colour and caramelized aroma. This dish although looks small can be filling because of the glutinous rice.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

All Steamed Up

I bought this new book which featured all steamed dishes. Steaming sounds a bit boring doesn't it? But steaming seems to be easiest way of cooking. It's fast, it's healthy and most of the time, the wholeness of the food remains intact. I was attracted by the photos too. Moreover, hubby being a typical chinese loves steamed dishes :)

I made 2 of the dishes from this book for dinner.

1. Steamed Tofu with Ham and Mushroom
I think this one looks interesting enough to earn a place on the Chinese New Year reunion dinner table! To me, it looks like a little gold bar! Huat uh! ( meaning Go forth and Prosper! in the Hokkien dialect :)) The little pieces of traditional/hard tofu is fried before a piece of carrot, ham and mushroom is stacked on it, held together with a string of spring onion and lastly, steamed. A little gravy made from some oyster sauce, soya sauce and chinese wine is then poured over it.

2. Vietnamese Style Steamed Chicken
I am not too sure if adding Sour Plums qualifies this dish as Vietnamese Style! But sour plum was the main ingredient (both the pickled and the sauce), giving it a tangy, sourish and a little spiciness from the fresh chillies.

They both are simple dishes. Not extraordinary delicious but they simple, pleasing and comforting when served during dinner on one rainy night that day.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Masak-masak di San Diego (Playing Kitchen in San Diego)

Goodbye 2010, Welcome 2011!

Although 2010 had its share of downs, i am thankful for the way it ended. We spent the last two months of the year with my sister and her family in San Diego. Oceans apart, we have not seen each other for a few years. It was indeed a blessing to be in each other's company during this holiday season, co-incidentally it was also our birthday month. We couldn't even recall when was the last time we had the opportunity to do so.

This post is for her. Sweet memories of some fun that we had in her kitchen. The work, the rights, the wrongs, the chatter, the laughter, the satisfaction, the disappointments... It was like playing Masak-Masak, just like in the good old days only this time it was for real! Masak-Masak means Playing Cooking in the Malay language, pretending to cook with things that we collected, leaves, flowers, bugs and everything else with our toy cooking utensils (nothing fancy, just basic items like pots and pans, not like what they have these days, makeplay kitchen set that comes complete with hobs, ovens, baking sets etc, literally a whole complete kitchen)

First on the list is a Fruit Pastry Cake for her birthday. Very happy because I got to use fresh peaches, strawberries and blueberries, readily available and much cheaper than back home.
We made something similar for her friends as Christmas gifts. The icing sugar created a snowy effect on the cake, perfect for the wintery mood.

Next, our breakfast collection

Bread of course!

The soft, pillowy and milky Japanese Cream Bread

A healthier variety, Raisin Oatmeal Loaf

I forgot to take a photo of the end product but this one deserves mentioning. It was meant to be a nice, sweet smelling and braided Orange Raisin Bread but it turned out gigantic! My fault, a shopping trip to a nearby store took longer than planned because i got distracted! Nothing serious, only way bigger than it should be and as a result a little on the dry side! Sorry, sis!

Muffins, starring blueberries (still easily available though at tail end of season)!


Orange Butter Cake
That's the way we like it...simple, no frills

Traditional Chinese Dessert, Tau Foo Fah

Malaysian Flavours!
She knew i missed the tongue burning sensation that is common in the food that we make back home. We tend to spice up every other thing with chili, be it in the freshest form, sambal or the ever ready bottle of chili sauce. Thank you for making these 2 dishes, Sambal Grill Fish with Chilean Sea Bass and Black Pepper Crab with Alaskan Dungeness Crab. They tasted so good, i enjoyed every bit of it! It certainly satisfied the craving for some hot, spicy food :) Relatives / friends if you are reading this, make sure you get her to make you these if you are visitting! :))
I can't wait for you to make them for me again...this time at my place. Will be missing you so badly...


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