Thursday, August 30, 2012


A Happy Merdeka to all Malaysians.

A Happy Birthday to my friend, collegue and counselor too.

  May God be with you always!

Looking forward to a long weekend of baking and cooking again!
Have fun and enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


What has Ketupat and Hungry Ghost Festival in common?  Nothing spiritual or whatever, just that Ketupat are served at every table during those Raya open house and the Hungry Ghost Festival will be on celebrated on 30/8/2012.  So when our family have the gathering for the festival on Sunday, I decided to cook this dish for dinner.
Recipe was taken from the booklet from Flavours Magazine from Rohani Jelani.

Soak the glutinous rice overnight. Drain and steam them over high heat for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add mixture of santan, water sugar, and salt. Mix well and return to steam for another 20 minutes.  

Meanwhile, blend these together: serai, galangal, tumeric, dried chilies (soaked till soft), buah keras (optional), onion or shallots and garlic to a paste.

Prep and clean the sotong/squids and dust  some cornflour inside sotong and stuff the sotong with the steamed rice.

Use the toothpicks to secure - you can re-attach the head and tentacles to the sotong- I just added these parts to gravy.

Tumis-saute the chilie paste till fragrant and the oil separate.

Add the tamarind water and santan and bring to a boil. Add the stuffed sotong to the gravy and cook it for just 5-10 minutes (do not overcook as the sotong will be tough/chewy).  

At the last minute, I decided to add some of these belimbings.  My neighbour had this beautiful tree growing outside his house and every time I pass by, I salivate at these golden fruits dangling from the tree.
Adjust seasoning.

It could be better to slice them with a sharp knife when ready to serve instead of cutting with the scissors - cause the rice to squeeze out.
You can serve the sotong and the curry separately.

Aunty told me that this is a popular dish in Terengganu.  She okeyed my dish!

These are some of the dishes for the dinner: Blanched Choy Sum, Roasted Duck; Steamed Chicken, Pan Fried Prawns, Roasted Pork, Braised Mushroom with Dried Oysters, Sotong Ketupat and Vegetarian Chye (with prawns!) besides the Steamed Siakap Teochew Style and Lotus Root Soup. 

After we had enjoyed ourselves, it was time to offer prayers and food for the hungry ghosts. 


Monday, August 27, 2012

Superstition or what?

It rained heavily early on Saturday morning.  That morning, the Chan clan were to attend to my grandmother grave for "wong san" prayers ("grave warming" as my young nephew adeptly called it).     

Now my grandmother's grave was located at a slope yet every year whenever we went for tomb-sweeping (Ching Ming), we could find that the place was being flooded and it was really "tomb-sweeping" to get rid of the mud and the weeds. And every year my brothers would said that they had to do something about this. 

Finally after Ching Ming, this year, they had started the ball rolling and get the caretaker of the cemetery to build/refurnish the tomb.  And on that Saturday, the family were to go for prayers/dedication for the "new" tomb. 

So just to prove to us that a good job has been done and my grandma is satisfied with her new abode, it rained that morning. What a coincidence? :p

I was told by my brother not to attend as I was supposed to be in mourning still for my MIL. I have requested my niece and nephew to take some photos but I cannot downloan them, hence there are no photos - have to wait till the next Ching Ming.

So, I was at home and I have started my home brewed rice wine  last month and it was time to harvest it.  I was in for disappointment when the wine was revealed! The rice were floating on the surface and the wine looked pale and white instead of the golden  and when I dipped my finger to taste- IT WAS SOUR!

See the pale liquid- I shall not call them wine!

I was still not satisfied till I tried to cook some with the eggs and black fungus- and it was still undrinkable-Sarah asked whether I put in vinegar ! - we ate the eggs and black fungus anyway.  

Now the old wives' tale said the wine will turn bad when death occurs in the family.   As my MIL had passed away just last 2 weeks, could this be the reason? Or it is the new yeast that I have bought? Could it be the glutinous rice- I can remember that the rice were mildly infested with weevils when I bought them.  

It could be a hundred and one reasons. So far  the success rate of brewing the rice wine has been good but this time I am really flabbergasted!  My purpose of brewing these wine is for my niece who will be giving birth end October and now with just 2 months to go, there won't be enough rice wine for her confinement. 

My sister immediately agreed to sought the help of her daugher-in-law's mother to make- seems that she is an expert (being a Hakka). Hopefully with her expertise, there will be enough rice wine for my niece.  

I was told by Aunty that I should not  start another new batch as I was supposed to be still in mourning. (too late as I had already started another batch immediately).  She recommended that I should place a knife and some lime (or pomelo leaves) on top of the pot to get rid of the "bad" omens.   I do not have any of those leaves so I will let it be and the result will be known in one month's time. 
Now at around  the same time  I also made some Red Yeast Rice Wine. So last weekend, I quickly drained them, fearing the worse.  However this Red Yeast Rice Wine is Ok, good, strong  and sweet wine!
 It was my first trial, so I used only 1 kg of the glutinous rice and it yielded only 1 bottle of the wine but 2 bottles of the lees! Can't wait to cook with them.

I did some baking afterwards- making my first batch of Shanghai Mooncakes.   I think the White Lotus Paste old stock as it was rather dry. 

I did 2 types of the dough- the normal Shanghai Mooncake dough and also the spiral (layers) dough.  
This is the layered dough - cannot see the swirls clearly  as I baked  them  instead of deep-fry. It tasted rather  bland but crispy/hard.

 This the normal Shanghai Mooncake dough -creaming method- soft and buttery.   I think I will stick to this one. I know its too early to take orders now and counter is open - haha.

Last but not least my Char Siew Pau - I used the Hong Kong Flour instead of the normal pau flour. They looked really white and the dough is spongy and soft. However this flour which I think is available only at the Chinese Sundry shop is rather expensive 500gm for RM3.50.
My pleating is still not up to the mark but the paus are smiling after steaming!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Over the long weekend I was able to make some Braided Sausage Roll.

The sweet bread dough was very sticky and soft to handle. 

Rolled the risen dough to an oval shape. Place sausage in the center.

Make small cuts on both sides of the dough.
Braiding the dough- reminds me of braiding my daughter's hair when they were small.

Getting the hang of braiding after the first few mis-shaped rolls.

Waiting to proof the 2nd time.  Apply egg wash and sprinkle with dried thyme before baking. 

Bread Glorious Bread - it smells heavenly with the dried herbs.  The bread is soft - even on the next day.

I did not do much cooking during the long weekend.  Before my son Jeremy flew  back to Sydney, we went for farewell dinner with my sister to Woh Kei Restaurant at Taman Connaught, Cheras.  

 Their famour Yat Tong Gai- one pot chicken. It is very tasty but it is not chicken in rice wine. Tender pieces of steamed chicken in a gravy/soup base.  

Piece de resistance - Butter Crabs- smooth and buttery sauce- yummy.

 Salted Egg Yolk Crabs -equally tasty and salty

Steamed Tilapia in Assam sauce- just the right balance of sour and spiciness.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vanilla Macarons with Salted Caramel

With plenty of time on hand during the long weekends, it was perfect to try out recipes.   So while I was busy trying to bake the Braided Sausage Rolls, Sarah said she wanted to make macarons for her friends.  She had done these a few times successfully  and  it has been well received. So now this is her baby- (the recipe was taken from Food & Travel Magazine August 2011)  As she was wondering what flavour to do, I suggested to make it with vanilla beans and salted caramel filling.

Getting into the vanilla beans.

Mixing the vanilla seeds into the almond paste.

Whipping  the meringue to a stiff peak

Must have been over-mixing of the colour, those "feet" were not that tall this time.

Making the salted caramel-

Adding in the thickened cream to the caramel and the fleur de sel.

Adding the butter to the caramel

Sarah sandwiching the macarons with the chilled salted caramel.

These macaroons were a hit with her friends.  The salted caramel mellowed the sweetness of the macarons and hence it was a very nice balance of sweet and savoury.

There were some salted caramel left and I used them to flavour some  cream cheese frosting for the Banana Cupcakes (recipe taken from A Table for Two.Australia Masterchef).

The salted caramel frosting is so yummy.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Went for a cake demo at the T-Garden Cooking School in Taman Midah the previous weekend. I alway like to attend baking/cooking workshops, you'll never know what tips you can pick up from these professionals.
 The pretty young  chef to the day.

Part of the kitchen.  The school takes up 2  lots of  double storey terrace house.

 Another part of the kitchen

The participants waiting eagerly for the demo to start.

The cake demonstration included Carrot Cake with  cream cheese frosting; Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Ganache and Red Velvet Angel Cake with Fresh Fruits.

Whipping cream to a stiff peak.

Making the Red Velvet Angel Cake- very similar to a chiffon cake - using egg whites.

The cakes waiting for the finishing touch.

Frosting the Carrot Cake with the cream cheese

She showed us how to pipe the cute little carrot.

Plating the Red Velvet Angel Cake

Finally we had the food tasting of the 3 cakes.

Red Velvet Angel Cake - a white cake batter tends to be a bit dry.  However eaten together with the whipped cream and fresh fruit, it makes a nice combination.

The Carrot cake was light and fluffy as it was made by creaming butter and sugar together before adding the rest of the ingredient instead of the normal mixing using vegetable oil. The brownies were dense and very tasty with the ganache.

The school offers various workshops eg making sushi, mooncakes and also the Junior MasterChef during the school holidays besides courses in Western and Chinese cuisine as well as baking course.