Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015



After a leisurely breakfast, we drove to the Badan Warisan for the People's Merdeka Exhibition. 

This event was organised by the Malaysian Heritage and History Club.
The Badan Warisan ie The Heritage of Malaysia Trust is a non profit organisation comitted to the conservation, preservation and promotion of Malaysia's built heritage.  The Heritage  Centre in Kuala Lumpur is a restored British colonial style bungalow itself at Jalan Stonor. And sitting on its vast grounds, is the Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman. 

The old traditional Malay timber house and the new skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur 
We participated in the free guided tour of the house.  By looking at the whole house, you can tell that the oldest part of the house is the one with the highest roof and that is the main house. The other buildings were annexed later when the son or daughter get married.  

This traditional malay house belong to the village headman (Penghulu) Abu Seman in Kedah estimated to be have built around the 1916 as evidenced by a coin found in the core pillar of the house.
When he died, his son Ibrahim Abu Seman later sold the house to the Badan Warisan and it was relocated from Kedah and reconstructed and restored at the present premises in 1996.  The traditional way of moving a whole house were carried (yes manually carry)  on shoulders with wooden poles/bamboo by all villages! But I don't think it apply to this house!  

The core pillar is the centre one. 
The olden way of purchasing a house. An interested buyer would place a pillar was used to determine where the house would be built. The next day, the interested party would come again to see if the pillar had moved or shifted position.  If not, this pillar would become the core pillar of the house to be built. In the olden days, houses were built by the riverside and hence we can see them on stilts.  Later the stilts were reinforced with cement base. Beneath the house, normally could be used to rear some domestic animals or use for cooking during kenduris (festivities/celebrations).  

The decorative carving and the roof.
You notice that unlike the usual attap roof, this house had roof tiles instead. We were told that the way the tiles were made (by the women mainly) by modeling the clay on their thighs and hence you get the inverted "v" shape piece by piece.  And they are paid 5 cents per day not per piece!  I guess the tiled roof is one of the sign of the wealth and status of the owner at that time. Normally no 3-D animals carving are not used at all and floral carvings are more popular ones.  At the left you can see the carving of a vase, a chinese feature here as the vase is prounounced "peace" in chinese. 

There is also a carving of the crescent and star at the apex of the house. 

A very natural "burglar-proof" device.  
These plants are normally found near the front of the traditional malay houses.   It has very sharp point ends. The egg shells are placed over these ends during the day when the kids are running around but at night the sharp points are exposed to deter any thiefs.  

Low entrance to the reception area so that you actually showing your respect by bending (bowing) your head as you enter.

As he was the Penghulu aka the village headman, every big and small problems were brought before him and this is the window through which the complaints were filed. Behind is his office. 

This staircase leads to his personal living spaces and the door is always kept locked. 

some knick knacks  collection of the daun  sireh
All these furnishings etc were collected and decorated by the Badan Warisan.

This is one corner of the main hall 

An Indian influence this time... the cloth at the top of the pillar, sorry cannot recall what she was saying about this... can someone find out and let me know?

again the crescent and star in the praying room

the wedding dais 

and the wedding suite in the next  hall 

this low ceiling and narrow staircase (seen from the office) leads to the back of his house where the women stayed or did their housework. 

the door is double bolt to prevent intruders..

the steep and narrow staircase.. meant only for ladies' feet! 

After this, we went inside the Badan Warisan to have a look at the posters exhibition, photographs comparing "sekarang and dahulu" (now and then)..

There were also heritage talks but we did not stayed. It was a very interesting visit.   

Thursday, September 10, 2015



Another round of mooncakes making on Saturday.

After the hard work, Sunday is our rest day.  So, went gai-gai with Sarah......

First stop for breakfast. Heard about the Green Tomato Cafe with its batik-painting workshop. I love batik cloth and the unique designs in each piece. The batik cloths are so colourful, bright,  suitable for the hot weather (cooling and absorbent) and lastly even if you don't iron them the creases are almost invisible. That's the greatest bonus for me who detest ironing ever since when I have to do ironing for my whole family and what more with the old charcoal iron!   So, I have self-imposed a uniform for work....tailored batik blouses chinese style... my signature design. hahaha! I buy these sarong pieces, normally costing around RM30-40 from Central Market, but the tailoring costs could more as the Chinese saying "the servant costs more than the owner", referring to cheap material but expensive workmanship.

The Green Tomato cafe sits on a lush open space ground with plenty of trees around  

the batik workshop.
Each person  is charged RM50.00 and you can choose the design (l small piece of cloth)  and thereafter you can paint however you like.  Paints and brushes are provided.  If you have a large group of 35, then it is RM35.00 per pax.  

You can choose to sit inside the "cafe" (not air-con) or outside under the trees. 

Order and pay at the cash counter, pick your table and they will serve your food. 

While waiting for the food to arrive, I took a walk around the workshop..

these are pattern moulds for batik printing... 

the loom for batik painting. 

tables with pots of paints or is it liquid wax, I forgot to ask them.
You can choose a design from them or if you are creative to design and paint your own. 

there are plenty of space for kids to roam and play around. 
Right at the back you can see their gift shop.

among such peaceful surrounding, I am sure everyone can be creative. 

Our coffee- flat white and latte 
What the difference?.. its the milk added to the coffee.. latte is more milky. Want to know more? The cafe also offer barista course. 

We were recommended that these 2 are their signature dishes

Egg Benedict but eggs were a slightly overcooked.... no oozing runny yolk.
The potatoes are nicely grilled on the outside and soft inside. 

Hearty breakfast.. the ham was dry and overcooked. 
Portion was very filling indeed.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, September 7, 2015



Yam Mooncakes with homemade yam paste. 

This year I decided to sell my mooncakes again.   So I baked these mooncakes as samples for the coming festival.  

Shanghai mooncakes will be make with White Lotus paste and single yolk.

the flaky swirl pastry best taken fresh as it is not advisable to keep the yam paste too long.  

These are mini size without yolk as they are samples only. 

After all the hard work, time to relax with a bowl of this heart warming soup- 
Chicken soup with bitter gourd corn, carrot and soya beans. This soup is not bitter at all and very delicious with the soya beans.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015



Various latte art done by  Mr. Stephen

The number of cafes opening around  KL is amazing! The coffee culture as its called is mind boggling to an ignorant coffee drinker like me.   I don't know whether the draw to these cafes are the wonderful coffee or the free wi-fi.  Funnily, I happened to watch an Astro programme on Sunday also draw our attention to this trend.
So, I decided its time to get a clear understanding of appreciating coffee and latte art through this meet-up group held at Hobby N Coffee at TTDI.   The shop is on the first floor of the row of shophouses along McD.  As we have been told that no food will be serve on the premises, we took our breakfast at the coffeeshop without ordering any coffee!. 
We met the amicable and friendly owner of the shop, Mr. Stephen Yong.   This guy truly love his coffee and passionate of his latte art.   He give talks/demonstration/lectures on latte art. 
Before proceeding with the demonstration of his latte art, he explain about coffee beans and how to purchase them.  I wonder how many of you did the same mistake as I, trying to smell a bag of coffee beans from that tiny hole in the bag? HAHAHA... Wrong, that tiny hole is not meant for that purpose, but rather it meant as a escape route for the gases that built up within the bag of coffee beans. Only a air-tight bag will keep the coffee beans fresh.   And make sure you do not store them inside the fridge. 

Master at work ...... on our first cup of coffee.
Usually the milk is pour from the side and this pushes up to the surface and the foam part is then slowly pour onto the top 
and then he start to do some etching to create this 

cartoon  picture.. cute. 

2 different taste in one cup.... cappuccino and latte!
This is called "mirror" image.  The milk is splash this time straight in the center and you get the dual effect. 

Again another creation..... 

the constellation ...... stars and planets 

Eureka.... the light goes up!
The place is unpretentious..... basically just  long black tables and stools, no fancy decoration and definitely not the instagram worthy type of cafes around town.  But you do get a cuppa or 2 of decent fresh coffee and awesome latte art.  
Beside coffee, the back portion of the cafe is used as a sewing class. Bales and bales of beautiful cotton (yes pure cotton) lined one side of the wall.  The wife, Ms Lucy is the one in charge of organising sewing classes now and then and some of the pretty handicrafts included blouses, drawstring bags, aprons etc. 

You can get most of sewing materials too 

These are pre-cut squares for quilting.   

For dinner I made these Teochew kueh....recipe from Nasi Lemak Lover

the glutinous rice with dried prawns and peanuts filling 

Happy with the appearance - but as she said the dough will  harden once when cold. 

Keep Calm and drink coffee... have a happy weekend.