Monday, July 20, 2009

Asian Delights for Tea

When I was a little child, i once had a dream so vivid that i still remember to this day. A little old man was selling his sweet desserts in a small wooden box, (maybe approximately 3' wide x 1' deep x 1.5' high) that had been attached to the back of his old beaten down black framed bicycle (which might have been a tricycle. Whoever said dreams had to be logical?)

I even remember the colour of the wooden box, which was painted in uneven brushes and sweeps of azure deep blue. The tyres were worn and old just like the shirt and straw hat that he had on but that he had one of the most unforgettable, inviting and sincerest smile that could only have come from his heart. The same kind of smile that i have seen in mom, Ben, my children and all the people i have ever loved.

He had me drooling with my jaws gaping wide as he slid open the little wooden panel exposing the most magical and enchanting looking desserts that i had ever seen. As i did not have any money on me, he looked at me deeply, kindly and still wearing the same smile said that it was to be his treat and that i could choose one of anything i like from the grand array of display. Just one?

I never did make my pick. Now that i am a grown woman, I am quite certain that i still would not have been able to finalise on the pick if i had met the little old man again.

Which would yours have been, i wonder?

Rainbow Sago

Kuih Talam Pandan

Kuih Lapis Merah

Pulut Tatal

Pie-Tee (Top hat)

Alluringly gorgeous in presentation and rank high in the taste and flavor department, it’s undeniably one of the most inventive and vividly luscious Nyonya creations.

The two-step process starts with the making of the cases or “top hats” with a metal mold, follow by the cooking of julienned jicama, carrot, and chopped shrimp. These ingredients are then assembled to form these eye candy treats.

These munchies makes a killer hor’deurves in any parties, be it a Malaysian or Singaporean party or an all-American schmooze fest.

Sago dessert in coconut milk and palm sugar

Kuih Tako


Kuih Talam


Kuih Dadar


Kuih Tapai Nyonya

Kuih Jade

Mua Chi Kuih
(or sometimes also known as Japanese Mochi)

Pulut Inti Kelapa

These are commonly known as "kuih" and the assortments of the multi coloured and sweet flavoured snack items in the Malay Archipelago. They are easily available and are usually a tea time favourite for both the young and old.

They are in delightfully delectable bite sized pieces that is usually accompanied with a mug of "Tea Tarik" or "Pulled Tea". It is tea with condensed milk and best when it is frothy, airy and bubbly from the process of 'pulling'. Or one can also opt for the local black coffee, with or without milk.

In almost all kuihs, the most common flavouring ingredients are grated coconut (plain or flavoured), coconut cream (thick or thin), pandan (screwpines) leaves and gula melaka (palm sugar, fresh or aged). Their base and texture are built on a group of starches namely rice flour, glutinous rice flour, glutinous rice and tapioca. Two other common ingredients are tapioca flour and green bean (mung bean) flour (sometimes called "green pea flour" in certain recipes). They play a most important part in giving kuihs their distinctive soft, almost pudding-like, yet firm texture.

For most kuihs there is no single "original" or "authentic" recipe. Traditionally, making kuih was the domain of elderly grandmothers, aunts and other women-folk, for whom the only (and best) method for cooking was often replied to be in "agak agak" (approximation).

They would instinctively take handfuls of ingredients and mix them without any measurements or any need of weighing scales. All is judged by its look and feel, the consistency of the batter and how it feels to the touch.

Each family holds its own traditional recipe as well as each region and state. Though each may be called by other names, one is likely to find various similar versions of kuih in neighbouring countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia.

Have a great week ahead all ! Be sweet, be safe.. as always. :)


Monday, June 22, 2009

Tasty Hamburger

Initially I had planned for a posting on STREET FOOD. Yes, with busy looking street peddlars, happy smiling children on the sidewalk, a grand array of street food, tantalising aromas and smells in the air that makes up the the very heart, soul and lure of the South East Asia.

I shall reserve that for another time, however. With a subject like that, i could use more time to gather more pictures to work on it. The pictures that i have and write up is hardly going to make it into a decent read at all should i release it now.

Following my last post on picky eaters, it gave me an idea to extend it a little to finger foods. Variety is the word. Ideas. Interchange. Small unintimidating looking bites.

If it doesn't work, try presenting the food by distracting them with their favorite movies on. Or try serving it outdoors. Anywhere for a change and not solely restricted to the rigid rule of the accustomed dining space.

And then i asked my fussy eater what he would like to have and both the boys (including the easy eater) unaimously voted for Mc Donalds. (stucked expression..)

So, even finger food post will have to wait. We'll do one on tasty hamburgers and a dinner so good they will hopefully vote for ahem, Mommy instead of my colorful happy rival sometimes, huh?

Tasty Hamburgers

(to make the patties)
250g minced beef
1 onion
1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
a tablespoon(tbsp) of tomato sauce
a tbsp of Parmesan cheese
a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp of evaporated milk
1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
seasoning to taste
some olive oil

Dark Soy Honey Garlic and Sea salt Roast

Creme Caramel
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water

4 cups of milk, warmed
1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Melon and Passionfruit in Ginger Syrup

Kiwi Fruit Sorbet

Hope that it had inspired some ideas for you to have a most delightful dinner with your precious ones at home too.

.. and if your past week had been a hectic one, then i wish you lightness and sweetness as you stepped in to yet another exciting week ..with lots of wonderful and pleasant surprises awaiting you.

Bloggy love ,


Friday, May 22, 2009

Picky Eaters

Have there been days when you feel like a short order cook? A short order cook, or sometimes also known as grill or line cook is someone who makes "simple, fast-cooking meals and snacks".

Having to deal with a child who seemed to go on food jags does put a great amount of stress on the parent or caregiver who has to get through these food battle on a daily basis.

Variety is an idea and presenting them in a most colourful, delightful manner is another to tempt and tease..and hopefully see some of these food get in can be such a challenge.

Bacon & Onion Quiches

olive oil or melted butter
2 cups plain flour
150g butter, chopped

3 rashers bacon, rind removed
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cream
finely chopped chives/optional
1/3 cup grated cheese

* sometimes i substitute bacon with crabmeat/salmon/canned tuna/sardines.

Sometimes the task can be an overwhelming one, so it's a good idea to break it into small jobs or batches. That way, it cuts down the whole preparation time when one needs to get a decent batch of quiche (for eg) ready and out on the Summer table when a request for a craving of carbo is on the alert.

Do you sometimes also feel like the entire weight of the world is upon your shoulders as one who plays such a vital role in determining and influencing the health of your young children and family members but feel like a total failure at the end of the day when the child can be so blasé about food or even refuse it after all those planning and preparation?

Cooks today break under the weight of devising a thousand variations just on one particular preferred food choice. Strolls through the farmers’ markets are replaced with trudges through the frozen food aisle. It is an unbelievably immense task for a quasi sane parent to go through in order to make the communal meal less hostile of a brutal battleground.

Aren't you glad it's Friday again? TGIF!! Those who haven't got much of a Saturday evening plan can join me in the kitchen.. creating more food ideas.. ;P

sending and blowing out lots of love to all my bloggy friends out there.. be safe, be well now. ;)




Monday, May 4, 2009


An Al Fresco lunch or a late evening meal outdoor just about when the evening breezes start to stir creates a very casual and comfortable setting. It can be set anywhere in the garden, a terrace or even a breakfast nook can be fine.

Racks of Lamb


4 racks of lamb, each with 3-4 cutlets
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
ground pepper
handful of rosemary sprigs

A delicious dessert. Oranges in Cointreau and Maple Syrup. Place the parcels on the hot barbeque and cook for about 10-15 minutes. You can serve with creme and topped with shreds of blanched orange rind.

(Substitute with Marmalade for the Cointreau liqueur if an alcohol free version is preferred.)

2 tbsp butter, melted
4 oranges, peeled, pith removed and slice them cross-ways
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp Cointreau

(Reassemble each orange and place it on a a square of doubled foil parcel)

Rum & Lime Cream Pie

According to Wikipedia, the word barbecue has attracted several inaccurate origins from folk etymology. An often-repeated claim is that the word is derived from the French language. The story goes that French visitors to the Caribbean saw a pig being cooked whole and described the method as barbe à queue, meaning "from beard to tail". The French word for barbecue is also barbecue, and the "beard to tail" explanation is regarded as false by most language experts. The only merit is that it relies on the similar sound of the words, a feature common in folk-etymology explanations.

Another claim states that the word BBQ came from the time when roadhouses and beer joints with pool tables advertised "Bar, Beer and Cues". According to this tale, the phrase was shortened over time to BBCue, then BBQ.

Isn't that interesting?

I like kebab pieces or cut cubes of fillet for fish or meat on skewers. They are quick and so easy to make and taste terrific. With tender top sirloin, you don't need to marinate a long time to tenderize the meat, just long enough to impart the flavors of zippy ingredients like balsamic vinegar, crushed red peppers, ginger and soy sauce, you just can't go wrong.

Chicken breasts, drumsticks, wings and quarters are often popular choice. (It is a good idea to pre-cook meat in the oven first before transfering them onto the barbeque. )

Some ideas you might like to try out- how about cook mushrooms with herb butter in foil on the grill? Or desserts like baked bananas and glazed pineapple cook so well on the dying embers. Try it!

Put in some love into the preparation. Let the marinates and salts sit in just long enough before the grill, it's going to be one of the most tasty and tender outdoor meal ever. There is nothing more evocative than the delectable aromas of a barbeque. The cool breeze stirring, family and friends, beers and sensational looking cocktails- it's going to be an evening to remember.

So anyone in for a BBQ this week?

I have enjoyed putting this for all you friends out there and hope it inspires some ideas of your own and you may like to kick back and have a relaxing outdoor experience with your family and friends too.

Stay well, be safe and have a great week ahead!