Sunday, June 30, 2013


After the haze, the weather over the weekend was too hot to venture out and the best place to chill out is in the house.  Yet I still felt very hot too- because I have been cooking, baking and steaming.

We braved the heat on Friday and went for lunch with Sarah and my niece and sister-in-law at the Three Little Pigs and Big Bad Wolf.  The cafe was located at Bangsar Village and the main entrance is through the car-park but you can also go through the side entrance in the supermarket. 

The main food item on the menu is- as the name says it - pork.   

The lunchtime crowd has swindled by the time we arrived and we did not have to wait too long for our food.   My niece ordered the Meat Lover's favourite- Aglio Olio Spaghetti served with roasted pork, pork patty and bacon and ham. The roasted pork with its crackling was delightful.  

I decided to skip the meat and ordered this Spaghetti with Soft Shell crab and Salmon roe - which make the dish tasted rather "fishy".

The Big Bad Wolf's favourite

Grilled (or burnt?) bacon crisp with spaghetti in creamy sauce and soft boiled egg. 

Little Piggies rolling in mud- pork cutlet top with grilled cheese and served with Japanese curry and rice. Mildly spicy and yummy!

So over the weekend, I decided to create my take of the Little Piggies. 
Recipe taken from Pengskitchen.

I was recommended by my sundry shop to buy this can of  luncheon meat.  I seldom use luncheon meat  and only then to serve them pan-fried(to render off as much oil as possible) and as a condiment for plain porridge.
Cut the meat into squares and pan fry them (not necessary to add any oil at all) till lightly brown.  

I had prepared the pau dough: 200 gm pau flour; 5 gm instant yeast; 1 tsp double action baking powder; 50 gm caster sugar; 1 tsp vegetable shortening and about 100 ml water. I just mixed everything together and knead by hand for around 10 minutes till smooth.  Let it proof till double in size.

Divide the dough into 40gm per piece.  Roll each piece into oval shape and place a piece of  the luncheon meat and fold over.

Here they are- the little piggies covered under the "blanket" 

Let them proof again till double in size (30-45 minutes).  Steam over high heat for 10 minutes.

The pau tends to be a bit dry upon cooling.   However each bite of the bun did not taste oily and the luncheon meat makes the whole bun moist and tasty.  This  recipe is easy and ingredients are minimal which is great for a quick snack.

Next----  more piggies in a blanket coming up. 

Monday, June 24, 2013


It seemed to be  bad timing to go in the open with the hazy weather hovering to the dangerous level but this trip has been planned before the  haze swept in.  According to the organiser, if not for the haze this is an idyllic place to escape to de-stress,  de-toxify and rejuvenate your body and mind and to attune your body with nature again.
Once again I have joined Mr. Wong of the Meetup group and together with his group of students from the RPA Holistic Wellness Academy for this field trip.

Mr. Wong explaining to us on what is organic farming.  

According to him, to be certified as an organic farm, there are at least 7 criteria to be fulfill ie:- 
1. There should be no usage of pesticides
2. Likewise no chemical fertilisers should be used
3. There should be no pollution of the air and water
4. Non  GMO - the plants should not be genetic modified
5. The plants must be a native plant of the area eg. kale is not a native plant for  tropical climate rather it  belongs to temperate climate. Kangkong, tapioca leave etc are natives for tropical climate
6. The plants must be native of the season of the area.
7. Last but not least there must be the concept of sustantability- able to sustain our health and the earth.
    There is an article on Sunday 23/6/2013 in the Star about healthy and responsible farming.  

We left KL after 8 am. A part of the journey was uphill through twisting and winding bends with dense forestation on the both sides and in between were one or two orang asli settlement.    

The entrance of the farm

 Dragon fruit trees.

Aloe Vera plants 
 Everyone immediately made a beeline towards the toilets after the long ride.

 First lesson - save the trees! But I think they forgot to carry the lesson through to save electricity as well because the toilets were all lit up even though it was almost late morning!

The reception area- again too brightly lit even in the afternoon.

 A much needed cooling welcome  drink- leaves pluck from their farm.

The dining area with - 

its panaromic view.   It was getting hazy later in the day. 

We were only there for the day trip.   For those staying overnight, this will be your breakfast...

Yes, raw organic food: hibiscus flower,  another type of flower (white colour), sprouted black sesame seeds on the left and fruit jam on the right, guava and slices of aloe vera in the glass as well as the leaves from  all  sorts of herbal plants. 

After refreshing ourselves, we were taken to tour the farm by the owner Mrs. Lim.  Along the way, she was  teaching/showing us  plants (some of which I have not seen before) and their nutritional/medicinal value to us. She really knows each and every one of  her plants as we followed after her, we  pluck the leaves off the plant and eat them,  yes raw.

Guava as it should used to be.   Mrs. Lim told us that these plants are actually grown from the undisgested seeds that passed out from the birds, think of  Kopi Luwak and its the same principle here. 
Someone in the group was saying that chicken waste was used as fertilisers, hence the chinese name for Guava is (translated)"chicken faeces" :D! 

 Hibiscus plants were abundantly planted along the paths, both decorative purpose  as well as for their  edible flowers.
Ixora - I am sure many of us have suck the honey from this flower before and need no introduction!
Rows and rows of tapiaco leaves.
 The roselle plant - all the leaves and  flowers can be used for medicinal purpose- hypertension and urinary tract infection.  The fruit can be used for making syrup and jams as well.

Can you see the bee making its way to the flower?

 The mini Lotus pond- Mrs Lim told us that the lotus roots are too mini size.

Mrs Lim had shown us their own factory to produce their own jams, coconut oil, vinegar, enzyme drinks and pickled fruits.  One of their highly recommended bestseller is Papaya Enzyme Powder- promotes blood circulation, anti cancer tonifies the stomach, slimming fat reduction and detoxication.

Mr. Wong had also informed us that one of ways to differentiate an organic farm is the presence of insects around the farm especially the small white and yellow butterflies, dragon flies and the ladybird bettles.  These insects are very sensitive to pesticides thus their presences will also mean that no pesticides are being used.

Lastly we were also shown the compost area- again one of must-have feature  in an organic farm.  

We arrived back to the resort for our lunch. While waiting for lunch, we were served with freshly cut slices of papayas.  We were told to eat the seeds and skins as well.   The seeds are slightly peppery in taste and they are beneficial for treating piles/hemorrhoids.

Salad Demo.   

Raw Papaya Salad

Sprouting black sesame seeds 
Sprouted black sesame seeds - tasted bitter and you need to chew it very thoroughly as the skin is quite tough

Everyone creating their own amuse bouche- raw edible leaves!

Very Mixed Vegetable soup - white fungus(organic?), corn, pumpkin, winter-melon, papaya and assorted vegetables- surprising very "sweet" and "ching". 

The main course- Organic Nasi Lemak- raw long beans(crunchy), raw luffa (soft and sweet);  sprouted beans (well just beans) and herbs with a spicy sambal of ginger, galangal, chillies.    

Dessert was a bowl of tong sui of mixed cereals/grains.  I prefer this latte to end the meal- made from their own raw coffee beans ie no roasting of the coffee beans. By the way do you know that most coffee beans are roasted with added sugar and butter?  I was a bit disappointed that I cannot get some of their coffee beans as it is not for sale.   
These are some of the activities that you can do after lunch-

Foot Spa -soaking your feet with herbal water to detoxify.

Going down this long stone slide or swing on the wooden log (not photograph)

Testing your balance on this suspension bridge (Photo taken from Mr. Wong)

getting your adrenaline rush by crossing the river! (Photo taken from Mr. Wong)

There was also a bread making demo but we were unable to taste the bread as it had to proof before steaming- here they steam their bread instead of baking.

I enjoyed the trip though it was a bit tiring (maybe due to the haze and all the walking!).  It was good to know the difference between organic farming and its contribution to health and the environment. However it will take me some time to get accustome to eating raw food even though I know that it is good for me. 


Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Monday headlines in The Star- be prepare for hot and hazy weather.   Yes, it has not been raining over weekend and it was really hot yesterday.

So Monday's dinner was not only meatless but it was  COLD too!

Ingredients that I used: cherry tomatoes cut in half, Japanese cucumbers cut into thing strips, Fried taufoo - these are slightly salty so just blanch them quickly in the boiling water after cooking the soba  to get rid of any oilyness and cut into cubes.    

I also roasted a yellow bell pepper- (I loved the smoky flavour of the bell pepper) and cut into thin strips and lastly when ready to serve, cut the advocado into cubes and squeeze lemon juice over to prevent it from browning. By the way can someone please confirm whether I have been cheated by fruit vendor who told me that advocados are cheap - 3 for RM10.00.  When I got home, I remember he used to sell them @ RM3.00 each! Anyway.... my fault - never use my brain!.

The only cooking that I did was to boil some water for cooking  the soba and using the same water to blanch the taufoo. 

This one dish meal was chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, toss with some Roasted Sesame Dressing and a twist of the pink salt and black pepper mix and maybe a sprinkling of toasted white and black sesame seeds (which was omitted!) would be more eye catching!

This simple, easy,  healthy and very refreshing dish is so suitable for the hot weather besides you get to eat all your colours as well! Enjoy.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I was at the wet market on Saturday and sweet potatoes seem to be in season, - not those  purple Japanese type but rather the local varieties - yellow and orange ones.  Though everyone nowadays is going after those purple coloured varieties as they are purported to be good for  health,  these  sweet old yellow/orange ones do not lag  far behind in the list of healthy super foods for tomorrow.  Besides they are much  cheaper and it is always better to support our local farming  industry. Also, I find that the local potatoes always taste much sweeter too.

Straightaway, a recipe which I had bookmarked some time back came to mind and I bought a kilo of the sweet potatoes.  

When I saw the recipe Kueh Kledek in the BBC Good Food Magazine June 2012 (oh, just a year ago :D!), I just knew that I will have to try it one day.  This seems a  good time to try, sweet potatoes aplenty and besides the Dumplings festival just over too. What has it got to do with the Dumplings festival?  Well if you have eaten those Nyonya Dumplings you will know what these Kueh Kledek will taste like.  Yes, those fillings are similar to the fillings used for the Nyonya dumplings. The combination of  coriander powder and cekur is a distinct flavour for these dumplings.   Cekur belong to the ginger family and I had 2 pots growing in my garden for a very long time.  However, I was only able to get a few very small roots, so out of the pots  it goes into the open ground- hopefully they will flourish!    

According to the magazine, these kueh kledek can no longer be found for sale in Singapore. The disappearance of this  Nyonya delicacy maybe due to the work involved in making them.  Actually, all the work can be done one day, but I also took 2 days to finish them and it is definitely worth all the work involved.  The results are indeed moist sweet balls with a delicious savoury/sweet  meat filing.          

Sweet potatoes steamed for 25 minutes and then mashed.  Mix with a tablespoon of sugar, 140 gm of glutinous rice flour and 105 gm of rice flour to a smooth dough. You will need to add water a bit at a time (around 120-240 ml) to bring the mixture to a smooth dough. I  kept the dough overnight.  

The fillings: finely diced chicken breast, candied melon and mushroom.  These are saute together with a mixture of minced garlic, shallot,  coriander powder and cekur till fragrant.  Add a bit of water to simmer  till the meat is tender and moist.    Season with white pepper, salt and dash of dark soya sauce. Set aside to cool.      

Divide the dough into around 25 pieces.  Flatten to a disc and spoon around 1 tablespoon of filling and close and seal to form a smooth ball.   

Deep fry the balls, a few at a time till golden brown. You have to move/roll  them as soon as they are in the pot otherwise they tend to stick to the bottom of the pan. 

You like fried Sweet Potatoes? You like the spicy sweet/savoury filing of those  Nyonya Dumplings?  
You have got the best of both worlds in this Kueh Kledek.