Sunday, January 30, 2011


In frenzy of preparation for the Chinese New Year, I was busy digging up recipes for goodies/candies which have more or less disappeared from the usual lazy susan tray.
These goodies are traditionally all make by hand with tender loving care and these are cherished as family favorites. They only make their appearances once in year- because it is always time consuming. But they taste marvelous and you can still recall their flavour and texture and its etched in our memory. Sad to say, nowadays the younger generation seldom treasures these "gold". Nowadays with fast pace living and everything available in instant mode, who wants to bother making them.

But in doing so, we missed the camaraderie, the joy and laughter that we had when we are doing these goodies together as a family and it is this time together that really makes Chinese New Year worth looking forward to.

Now one of these candies is DRIED AGAR-AGAR CANDY. Now I came across a food blog on this candy and immediately I can recall the first time I had this candy. In the early days of my marriage we used to visit our friends and relatives and it was at this friend's house that I ate them. It was made by her mother and of course, being curious I asked how it was made, but then I never made them. I can remember the chewy texture, its crusty on the outside and soft gel inside.

So, I tried the recipe just before CNY hoping to bring it to my family members. Alas, the weather has not been kind and the sun had gone on holidays. But then again the sun came out again and it was ready for the CNY.

Anyway, the recipe used rose flavouring. I have omitted this and instead use around just 50 ml of the Rose Syrup topped with water to bring it to 750 ml. The result is very good, the jelly sets beautifully and hard and can be cut nicely. After that the jelly sits in the trays waiting to be dried in the sun. It should be dried for 7 days so that a sugary crust is formed.

I also tried another lot with lemon zest and again I used lemon juice to make up the amount of liquid required. But funnily this lot does not set. I think it must be the acidity of the lemon.

Then I remember that I had a bottle of Rose Water and Orange Blossom water in the fridge- gifts from my sister May from Australia.

So, I tried another lot with Orange Blossom water. I love the aroma arising from the pot when cooking this lot. It smells so heavenly of Orange Blossom-hah-happy sign! Again this lot is successful.
(lovely smell arising from the pot)

So I am greedy and tried another with Pandan juice. Needless to say, it was good as practice makes perfect!.

However, it was really time consuming as I have said. I had to carry these trays to the sun, take them in now and then and turn each piece over individually and again to the sun. I think, I must have been sun tanned by CNY.

By the 3rd day a sugary crust has formed. The texture is crisp outside and gummy inside. The flavours seems to have gotten lost and so is the colour, so more or less like a very sweet.

Will I make them again? Why not- come next CNY?

Sunday, January 23, 2011



A very happy 60th Birthday to my sister - Yoke Mea -

The lovey-dovey pair-

There is so much rave about Red Velvet cakes- one of my friends keep telling me that "it is very nice". These cakes are sold rather expensively. So what's the secret recipe?Curiousity got me and I looked up a few recipes.

One of the ingredients that caught my eye is the use of shortening. What?? Is this the secret recipe - shortening instead of pure butter? So how good taste can it get? Isn't shortening bad for our health? Also the rather large amount of red food colouring used to get that wonderful red colour in the cake. And use of distilled white vinegar in a cake? I was really very septical about this cake.
However, I tried it out last weekend-I know- these few weekends before the CNY is usually devoted to hectic spring-cleaning by almost all the Chinese communities. I had a sudden urge to try them and to make them as gifts for CNY - after all they are red colour- very auspicous offerings!

So I adapted a recipe and made some RED VELVET CUPCAKES. I found that the colour is too dark red and the taste is a more chocolatey than sourish -can't taste the vinegar- as it use only to enhance the colour I think. The cakes are fluffy/crumbly and moist. They are frosted with Cream Cheese icing and they are delicious! I find that the red colouring is too dark- too much cocoa powder. Change to use Pink colouring and I got a bright pink colour.
So I made some Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes for the CNY.
As the Cake Boss said, you have to serve this with the Cream Cheese Frosting(use good cream cheese).

Mini cupcakes waiting to be frosted.

Then again, for my sister Yoke Mea's 60th Birthday, I decided to make her this cake. I revert to the red colour and use only 1 tablespoon instead of 2 and 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder only. Cream Cheese frosting as usual. Moist cake with that Cream Cheese icing. Topped with strawberries.

The Cream Cheese Frosting seems to be melting as we have left the cake out when we went out for the birthday dinner at a "old" chinese restaurant in Seri Kembangan.

Small crowd but big hearts of blessing to her!

Monday, January 17, 2011


Waxed duck, waxed pork sausage, waxed liver sausages and waxed pork belly- these are delicacies that are prevalent at mealtimes during the Chinese New Year celebration.
A must-have for the New Year celebration.

Most waxed meat makes their appearance during and or after the Winter Solistice Festival. It heralds that the Chinese New Year is coming.
It must be a comfort food to many Chinese - a pot of piping hot rice flavoured with the waxed meat -usually cooked in clay pots to keep it warm in the winter.

It is easy to cook and a one pot meal.

So I have got a waxed duck, a pair of waxed pork sausage and a pair of liver sausage.


1. Scald/blanch the waxed duck with boiling water - to remove the oily smell and the saltiness

2. Remove the casing from the sausages and blanch them with boiling water too

3. Here I am using brown rice - I like the chewiness and nutty flavour of the rice. So boil the rice till almost all the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.

4. Place the meat/sausage on top of the rice and let to cook/steam.

Just before serving remove meat from pot and cut up into slices and put back on top of rice. Add seasoning- a mixture of oyster sauce, dark soya sauce, sesame oil and pepper. Top with with fried garlic and ginger crisp.

I could normally served this with a side dish of greem vegetables stir fry with garlic. Makes a complete meal.

I have not gone missing.

I am back from one week's leave.

Doing what?

I have been very busy from early hours of the morning till dusk falls.

I have been making Pineapple Tarts for the Chinese New Year.

After 10 hours per day x 6 days = 60 hours, this is the result.

Is it worth all the backache, headache and mouth ulcers that I and my sisters are experiencing?

Yes, its our personal satisfaction and not to mention the monetary gains!

I want to thank all our supporters who continue to purchase from us.

You are guarantee the "best pineapple tarts" for the Chinese New Year.

Here's wishing all our customer and everyone


P/s: sorry the picture is not clear- hand shaking badily from overwork- haha!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Literally translated as "Big Aunty marrying off her daughter".
My daughter, Sarah asked me why this dish is called such. I regret that I cannot answer her, as I did not asked my Mother when she cooked this dish. Let me think up a story to tell her, so that she can tell her daughter in future.

My sister in law gave me some dried sweet beancurd sheet. This is a rare commodity to find except during the Chinese New Year where it is normally used in vegetarian dishes. Maybe its the bad review about the chemical used to preserve them. But I am very happy to receive it and I think to eat them once in a while is ok better than the oily foodstuff or fastfood which we eat everyday. By adding the sweet beancurd, the dish get a sweet and yet savoury taste.

Sarah says this is one of her favorite dish and I taught her verbally how to cook it.

1. Peel off the hairy skin of the green marrow. Cut into rounds and then julienned them
2. Soaked dried prawns and "fun see" till soft and drain
3. cut sweet beancurd into slices
4. heat oil and fry beancurd till aromatic and remove and set aside
5. fry dried prawns till fragrant (ie till they dance in the pan!) and set aside
6. add minced garlic and then the green marrow
7. add sweet beancurd and water (more or less depending whether you like more sauce or not)
8. cover pan and let simmer till green marrow is cooked.
9. lastly add seasoning and fun see.
10. dish up and serve

Simply delicious. Yet another dish passed down from Mother to me.


School re-opens today after a long break of holidays. Its back to the traffic jams. It is also back to cooking for me after a long lull. After all the festive celebrations and eating out, its time to get back to easy and fast homecooked meals.

However, I find that first of all, I had to clear my fridge of the leftover foodstuff from last year.

What did I find?

Chicken stock + a small head of Chinese Cabbage + 2 overly ripe tomatoes + a few frozen Chicken feet = a warm, tasty and comforting soup. I did not know that such a combination works that well. The soup was a bit sourish due to the tomatoes but its refreshing too.

Minced pork + 4 pieces of pre-fried taufoo + julienned carrot + 1 spring onion = a delicious dish of FRIED MINCED PORK WITH SPONGY TAUFOO. why did the spongy taufoo came in? Its the taufoo that had been left sitting in the fridge for 2 weeks- the texture had turned spongy. Cut them into squares slices and lightly browned them and then fry with the minced pork. It taste great as it soaked up the sauce and the texture is both spongy and yet soft.

A packet of fresh mushroom + a packet of sweet peas = a vegetarian dish which is light and easy after all those heavy festive dinners.

So, think of creative ways to use up leftovers and save money and still serving tasty meals.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A NEW YEAR -2011

I have been making cookies for past 2 days. That's my way of welcoming the new year.

I hope that this year will bring along more business opportunities, better health and more joy to everyone.

I pray for peace and joy throughout the world.

I pray for peace and stablility in Malaysia and that the government will meet the needs of its people.

I pray for less corruption and more truth from everybody.

I pray for homes and families ties to be strengthen.