Thursday, December 22, 2011

OH! Mr. Newspaper Man....

This morning, both the dogs fought again! These 2 males have been at loggerheads with each other - just can't stand the sight of each other. Have I contributed to this jealousy? Have I shown more love and attention to one and not to the other?

So what a beginning to the Christmas season where love and peace is supposed to abound.

Since I was early reaching my workplace, I decided to get my breakfast and these are the chaotic and hectic scenes around my workplace every morning.

Now ever wonder how that newspaper is at your door step every morning?

They work in groups out the banks/buildings. This uncle even smile and he is so happy doing his job! -- no comfy chair, no air-con- if only we have this attitude at some of the government office !

The papers are bundled in groups and each vendor then carry this load on his motorbike to deliver to the masses. The load could be so heavy and it is even bigger than the man himself and the poor fellow has to balance it on his bike.
Be it rain or shine, he will deliver it to your office and/or home.

So say a prayer for the vendor who risk his life in the heavy traffic jam to deliver the papers to you.

So say a word of thanks to him on receiving the papers from him.
More so, give him a treat be it that pack of nasi lemak or that piece of cake.

Otherwise, what would our morning be without newspaper with that cup of coffee.

By the way, this is where they have their cup of coffee or teh tarik- before they be on their way.

God Bless them. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today is the winter Solistice Festival. Hope everyone will enjoy their bowl of tang yuan.
I will be busy with the coming Christmas season and then to prepare for the Chinese New Year baking as well.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


It is now a year since I started this blog. My blog on the Tong Yuen Festival last year also coincided with the birthday of my sister-in-law as well as an early Christmas party. Well it's that time of the year again last weekend. I know the Tong Yuen Festival is on this coming Thursday. But normally we could celebrate any festival on a weekend to make it easier for everybody to come together- no excuse !

I had baked the meringue for the Pavlova the previous weekend when I had some egg white leftover. Pavlova is a meringue base and topped/filled with your favourite choice of fruits. It is a dessert named after a Russian dancer Anna Pavlova.

I assembled the pavlova after dinner. It is not my kitchen, so here am I trying my best to whip the cream for the filling and topping.

The meringue disk is still crispy outside and marshmallowy soft inside. Top the first layer with whipped cream and strawberries.

Top with more whipped cream (which some how had deflated).

The next meringue goes on and again top with whipped cream and more strawberries and blueberries.

The finished result.

We were reminiscing about last year party when someone suddenly decided that we all sing a birthday song for my sister-in-law.

So we used the Pavlova as a birthday cake and sang her a birthday song. May she be blessed with good health throughout the year.

Little Chloe was surprised to receive her christmas present too!
There are a lot of senior citizen in the family and hence the complaint is the Pavlova is too sweet!

But then again its the sugar and egg white that holds the structure of the Pavlova/meringue, so there is no way to reduce the sugar, correct me if I am wrong?

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Christmas is just 2 weeks away! Horray!

As we gear up for the celebrations- baking and more baking, cooking and shopping, its time to reflect the goodness and the grace of God throughout the year.

There blogs of Christmas log coming up everywhere.

This is my maiden effort last weekend.

I made a cranberry filling. Fresh cranberries boiled together with half orange juice and 100 gm sugar and some orange zest.

The recipe for the sponge was adapted from The Good Food Magazine.

I made 2 sponges.

For the first log, it is brushed with some rum and then layer with whipped cream.

The cranberry filling goes on next.

I decided not to dust it with icing sugar, as I dont like them too sweet.

The sponge is light and the cranberry filling is perfect with the sweetened whipped cream. It is a bit tart and yet sweet. Good.

Now for the 2nd log, it is again brushed with some rum and filled with the buttercream mixed chopped roasted chestnut. Actually this is the original recipe from the magazine. The quantity of the buttercream is just enough for one log and hence the cranberry filling came in.

The remaining buttercream is used for the top.

Use a fork to rake through the log to get the "bark" effect.

I used melted chocolate to create the swirls for both ends of the log.

Next cocoa powder is dusted on to the log.

You can put some Christmas decorations on the log to make it look more christmassy.
The buttercream is not too sweet and taste great with the roasted chestnut.

Have a Bless Christmas.

Monday, November 28, 2011


As I was browsing at the market stalls on Sunday, the vegetable vendor showed me a winter melon and said that his father had grown it back in his hometown. He assured me that its organically grown and a good buy.

Since the weather has been hot and stuffy in the day and raining in the evening, maybe this could be a good tonic drink for the body. As both my daughters have been so stressed lately, Esther with the new business and Sarah with her exams coming up, maybe this tonic will be good to calm their body down. My mother told us that this is cooling and stress-release drink to "yuen" for the body and good to combat the pimples and good for the complexion.

For this purpose, the whole wintermelon is double boiled with rock sugar and red dates. You could add some American ginseng too if desired.

Cut the top off but retained the cap.

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and the fibers.

Place the melon on a deep bowl.

Filled the melon with warm water, rock sugar and red dates.

Replace the top on the melon and place the bowl into the pot filled with water halfway of the bowl (no need to add water to the bowl). I use a string to tie the bowl for easy removal from the pot when cooked.

Bring the pot to boil and lower to a simmer for around 4 hours. Make sure that there is enough water in the pot and refill with hot water, if necessary. After boiling for 4 hours, the melon has shrunk and the bowl is filled with water due to the steaming.

You can serve the melon whole at the table as dessert.

To serve, scoop out flesh and syrup in individual bowls and serve hot.

It is very soothing and not overly sweet.

The next time, he offer me a winter melon, I will try to serve it as a savoury soup. This is another way which I remember my mother used to cook too.

I am submitting this to the Christmas Giveaway in "The Sweet Spot".

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I am trying out those dishes that I have learnt from the workshop at the French Culinary School. One of them was Lentils. I loved lentils especially the Dhal curry with Thosai, which the Indian lady at the market place used to sell. And I guess this the most common way of cooking lentils/dhal in Malaysia. I have tried cooking dhal curry and sad to say that it was not well received by the family. So I was given a packet of French style lentils (Puy) by my sister and it has been sitting in my fridge.

So I decided to cook it the "French" way as taught by the French chef. The lentils were boiled with some chicken stock with some diced carrot and bay leaf till just soft. Then diced peeled tomatoes were added the last few minutes before serving.

I served the lentils with pork chop (at the workshop, it was served with Smoked Duck Breast).

The pork chops were seasoned with cayenne pepper and paprika and a bit of salt and black pepper before browning them in butter/olive oil quickly. I finished cooking them in the microwave oven for just 2 minutes. They retained the moisture and were tender.

I also caramelized some onions in butter and olive to serve with the pork chop which added a sweetness to the meat.

Verdict- pork chop was moist and tender. I like the texture of the lentils- just soft and nutty.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


During the workshop at the French Culinary School, I was given a RM50.00 voucher and Risotto/arborio rice and dried porcini mushroom were a few of the ingredients that I bought with the voucher (of course RM50.00 cannot buy both and other things!). I had always wanted to try out this recipe after viewing so much about risotto on the AFC channel. Jamie Oliver made it so easily and I am really very tempted!

The basic ingredients required for the dish: arborio rice, diced onion, fresh shimeji mushroom (or any other type available), dried porcini mushroom, butter, olive oil, white wine (optional) and of course chicken stock.

I sauteed the mushrooms and set them aside.

Into the same pan, saute the diced onion and then add rice. Stir till coated and then add white wine and let it reduced.

Continue to cook over medium low heat and keep adding chicken stock; one ladle at a time and let it absorbed before adding another ladle till the grains are cooked. Lastly return the mushroom to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving add a knob of butter and let it melt in the rice. Can be served with grated Parmesan cheese.

Verdict: the rice was nutty and chewy and creamy and totally delicious. I like the aroma of the porcini mushroom, its not so overpowering as the dried shitake mushroom.

Sunday, November 20, 2011



It was an eye opener for me during the introduction to Chinese Calligraphy class at the Wawasan Open University. It is not simply just writing the strokes anyhow. Even with my own name I have gotten all the strokes wrong. There is a sequence to write each stroke in the Chinese character and emphasis is place at certain points when writing the strokes.

Luckily, we had a very good teacher, Ms Huang. She is from Sichuan, China and she has been doing calligraphy since she was 4 years old and had been champion in many competitions.

This class is an introduction to calligraphy for those who do not know Chinese or maybe a bit a Chinese. There was a Malay lady in the class too.

Ms Huang briefed us on the 4 Treasures before the class.

The ink stick above, the brush, paper and ink slab. The best brush are made from rabbit's or goat's hair.

Nowadays for convenience, the bottled ink is being used. Besides, bottled ink is more constant in the sense, the quality of the ink is the same. You won't get thin/watery ink or too heavy ink if you were "grind" the ink yourself.

My niece "grinding" the ink. You need to add water to the ink-slab and keep going round and round till the water becomes ink. This is a very simple ink slab. I have seen very elaborate and decorative ink slab in China.

Ms Huang also gave us a history of the evolution of the Chinese word- from picture form to the present day. No doubt most of us have no knowledge or maybe a little of the Chinese characters, it is easy to guess the word from the picture form.

After that we were taught how to hold the brush and got to practice the different strokes.

She is a very patient teacher, giving us individual attention and correcting our strokes throughout the 4 hours.

At the end of the class, Ms Huang wrote our names for each of us.

It has been a thoroughly enjoyable class. As our Malay friend said "its interesting to learn something new".

Will I take up this hobby? Why not, afer all I am Chinese and proud of it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


It has been ages since I last went up Fraser's Hill. This is one of the hill resorts in Malaysia.

I remember when I went there once with my classmates. We rented a bungalow and had a good time with the BBQ at night. Another time, went up with the family and kids- but my youngest daugther (who is 2o years now) cannot recall the place- so that shows how long it has been. That's all.

So, when my sister and her husband came back for the wedding, I planned a short trip to Fraser's Hill for them. This is the first trip for my brother-in law up Fraser's Hill. As their trip back this time is just a week and in the midst of the frenzy of the wedding going-on, this would be a perfect getaway to relax. I had booked us at the Silverpark Resort with their current offer on Groupon inclusive of daily buffet and a dinner and studio apartment for 2 for RM135.00.

So before we depart for the resort, we had our breakfast at the Yut Kee Coffee Shop in Jalan Dang Wangi. This shop is now in the 4th generation. White coffee and toast, eggs are the normal fare besides they also offer chicken chop and pork roll. I tried their French Toast - more like bread dipped in eggs batter and pan-fry. The centre was not creamy as I would like it to be but rather dry. But their coffee was good. This place seems very popular with the weekends crowd for breakfast/lunch.

We then drove leisurely and the trip was short- just around 2 hours to reached the Gap.

The reservoir before reaching Fraser's Hill.

The iconic Clock Tower in the centre of the town of Fraser's Hill. See practical nobody can be seen around - maybe its noon time- siesta time?

The air was cool and we can felt the peaceful and slowdown.

My sister Vicky.

We easily located the Silverpark Resort. The resort again seems very quiet and isolated. The apartments could do with a new coat of paint as most of them looked very forlorn and drab outside.The apartments that we checked into smelled dank and stale- which were quickly remedied by opening all the windows to let in the cool breeze. The furniture were very basic and the sofa definitely had seen better days. The only consolation was that the beds were clean and there is hot water shower! As it is not the holidays season we felt as if we were the only occupants.

After lunch, we went to visit the waterfall- the only major attraction here.

There are other attractions, horse riding and jungle trekking too which we did not bother to do. We are here to relax and that's what we did- sat around, have numerous coffee and read the papers- nothing hectic please.

Another favorite guest of the hill.

This look like a leaf on the floor. A closer look says otherwise!

Numerous cobwebs along the railings- no disturbances from human beings.

Early misty morning view of the forest.

My breakfast - I asked for scrambled egg and got fried egg instead.

So, after breakfast, we made our way down.

Maybe the breakfast was not hearty enough and upon reaching Kuala Lumpur, we went to this restaurant called Riverview at Jalan Ipoh for lunch. This restaurant sits beside the river exactly. As it was lunchtime, we had to wait at least 15 minutes before we were served.

"White" Fried Hokkien Mee- tasty with bits of lard.

Their most popular dish- Fish with preserved mustard. This sauce is more sourish rather the then traditional bean paste sauce which my late Mother used to cook.

The Mee Sua with seaweed and peanuts.
Another famous dish here is the Fried "Pak Koh" (rice bean cake).

A very short but enjoyable holiday with family.