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.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


My eldest daughter Esther is a profession dog groomer. After getting her Hotel and Catering degree and working for a short stint with the hotel industry, she quit to do what she loves- handling dogs and cats.

I remember when she was a kid she begged me to get her a pet. So we finally got a cat from SPCA. We were given a dog later by a friend who went overseas and then her collection had grown as 2 more stray dogs joined the family.

She studied for her professional dog grooming certificate and was awarded the Golden Scissor by her Japanese examiner. That's the highest award given by the school. I am glad and happy that she had taken her interest and love for dogs to a new height.

She was headhunted by her Uncle to help him start a pet shop. He is a breeder of those expensive pedigree -pug, papillon, shetland, husky etc. He wanted to venture into dog grooming as well and enlisted Esther's help. She had been very busy helping to set up the shop - taking no off days and working till late doing all the necessary work and I had taken over to "cat/dog-sit".

Well finally, last weekend was the official opening of FOREVER SHINE PETS SOLUTION.

Toto: "I misses my owner Esther but at least I can smell her blanket".

I went with Sarah and my sisters for their official opening and being my first visit, I misread the map and we lost our way. Luckily, we managed to reach the place in time for the buffet lunch.

I baked some Red Velvet Cupcakes and made my Chicken and Potato Pies for the buffet lunch and also a Almond Butter Cake especially for uncle Micheal. He definitely had treated Esther very well and taught her about going into business, starting up the shop, banking and meeting suppliers etc. I am sure Esther will definitely treasured all these useful advices.

The champion dogs (2006) on parade

Esther handling the Shetland (long hair) and papillon - small cute - his characteristic - "butterfly" ears

The emcee for the day

Mr. Michael Chen - the owner of Forever Shine Pet Solution


from the Chan family.

Of course the Chan family will be all the way behind you, Esther, be strong...

So do drop by:-




KEPONG, 52100



Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Finally the Day has come for both the young persons. Today they will be united as one.

After the late night, I missed the contingent that went over to fetch the new bride home. However, I am glad to stay behind and helped my sister to get ready the buffet for the friends and relatives that came to witness the wedding.

This is my wedding gift to the newly weds. Red Velvet cupcakes and a heart-shaped topper cake on my homemade cupcake stand.

Red Velvet cupcakes (recipe taken from Flavours Magazine) with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Red is the auspicious colour.

The homemade cupcake tower made with recycled cupboard boxes and cans.

My sister, Vicky helping me with the icing and decoration of the cupcakes
I had planned to put a heart-shaped mini cake as the topper for the cupcake stand.

Besides the cupcakes, I had baked 2 heart-shaped Red Velvet Cakes.

The cream cheese frosting is used in the centre of the cakes.

Smoothing out the frosting.

Sandwich both the layers together.

More icing goes over the top

As I did not have enough frosting, I dirty iced the whole cake before making a fresh batch of frosting.

Silver bead were carefully placed around the base and the top outline of the cake.

The final touch- adding the milk chocolate in the golden wrappers and then placing the silver and gold doves.

This is my first attempt for a wedding. I am happy with the results.

I am submitting this to Aspiring Baker#13: Enjoy Cupcakes (November 2011) hosted by Min of Min's blog at