Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Spicy Lemongrass and Curry Leaf Tiger Prawns

One of the most memorable dinners we had during our vacation in Singapore was at the home of our dear friend Jeffrey Lim aka "Ah Lau" to his childhood friends. I was told by Ming that the nickname "Ah Lau" meaning 'old man' stuck because Jeffrey had a tendency to whinge a lot as a kid.The funny thing was, the nickname was given to him by his own mother, the brilliant lady that cooked us that awesome dinner.
Of all the dishes Mrs.Lim served us, I was especially impressed with this dish. She generously shared her recipe with me and now I'm sharing it with you.

You will need..

  • 1/2 kg Large Tiger Prawns, cleaned, shell intact
  • 1/3 cup chopped lemongrass
  • 3 stems of curry leaves, stems removed
  • 1 birdseye chilli, sliced finely
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 2tsp chicken powder
  • 1/3 cup full cream fresh milk
  • 11/2 tbsp vegetable oil for stirfrying
  • 4tbsp vegetable oil for shallow frying
How to..

  • Heat the 4tbsp of oil and shallow fry the prawns on both sides. Remove and set aside.
  • Remove some oil leaving only about 1 1/2 tbsp in the wok. Put the shallots, garlic, chilli, lemongrass and curry leaves into the hot wok and stir till fragrant.
  • Add friend prawns, sugar and chicken powder and stir for about ten seconds before adding the milk
  • Add in the milk and stir until most of the milk has been absorbed. Remove and serve immediately

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pressie Show and Tell

On a recent business trip to Indonesia, My sister Jacq came across these gorgeous food covers at a trendy up market homeware store called 'Anteak'. We've been looking around for food covers for the longest time and the ones we found were mostly tacky to say the least. Anyway, she carted 6 home, three for me and three for herself. Thanks Jacq!xo

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pandanus Chiffon Cake

We had a quiet day at home on Australia Day, Ming went to run a quick errand for my Dad who's away in Kuala Lumpur while the kids and I stayed home .I finished off the book covering 'chore' for the girls and then we put the Butter pecan ice cream mixture we prepared the day before into my smart looking 'Krups' ice cream maker. We watched in anticipation as the 'krups' started churning. 20 minutes later we had an unmemorable tasting butter pecan ice cream. It was too oily, and lacking in flavour. The abandoned ice cream took its place in the bin and the disinterested children and their father went to do their own thing. The Family project was over. I cleaned up the ice cream stuff and thought to myself, 'how uneventful, I have no Australia Day ice cream to post'.
So, I looked in my fridge and pantry to see what I could whip up , and there sitting in the corner of the pantry was the new Pandanus essence I brought back from Singapore. Why not? After all, Australia is a multi cultural country, I can make an Australia Day Pandanus Chiffon Cake. Objections, anybody? I thought so.
This recipe was given to me by my friend, Erica Usher, the mother of the young connoisseur I was telling you about a couple of posts ago. I used 1 teaspoon of pandanus essence instead of the required 1 tablespoon because I had not tried the essence before and since my previous attempt with another brand was a disaster ( I had to bin it) , I thought that the worst that could happen was that I'd end up with a less flavoursome cake. Anyhow, It turned out ok, so maybe I will use 1 tablespoon of pandanus essence next time. You can decide for yourself.

You will need...

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g 'Snowflake Sponge Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tbsp pandanus essence (I use Indonesian brand 'Koepoe-Koepoe')
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 120ml vegetable oil
How to...

  • Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff, leave aside
  • beat egg yolks with sugar until thick, add flour, oil, coconut milk and pandanus essence. Fold into egg whites
  • Pour into 'pandan cake tin' ( angel cake tin ) Do not grease tin
  • Bake in a 150 degrees celsius fan forced oven for 35 minutes
  • As soon as you take the cake out, invert the tin and allow the cake to cool completely inverted.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

My House Pig

I don't actually have a pig at home. I'm referring to my younger daughter, Paige. She's been away from me since 9 o'clock this morning and she's sleeping over at a friend's house tonight. I happen to be a clingy, over-protective parent. What am I to do? I just prefer it when my children are around me. I know, I know , - I have to learn to let go, but maybe not today though.
When Paige was about two, she had a huge appetite. As soon as she finished her meal, she would eyeball ours. That's how the pet name 'house pig ' came along. She's 10 now, slim and has lost her huge appetite. She's a feisty child with attitude aplenty. I wish she was here to drive me nuts today.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Chloe's Peanut Buttercups

My daughter Chloe seems to be following in my footsteps. She loves baking amongst a whole lot of other things. When we were on our vacation in Malaysia and Singapore recently, I was'nt the only one doing the shopping at Baking shops. Chloe got herself some chocolate molds and cups. She even got some stickers printed - 'Delicious' by Chloe Chong , to stick on her baked goods when she wants to give them as gifts! Chloe sure is like her mommy!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mango Pudding

Last Sunday we had lunch at a Dim Sum Tea House in the city. Frankly, I was'nt keen on having dim sum, not after tasting the most beautiful and delicate dim sum during my recent visit to Kuala Lumpur. I just did'nt want to spoil that memory. But for some reason, my husband Ming was quite adamant that it was what he wanted for lunch that day. So, Dim Sum it was, and "Eew" is all I can say. I hardly ate that afternoon.
Molly, my daughter Paige's "bestest" friend was with us. She wanted Mango Pudding for dessert, and I knew that the place we were at served a nasty (and I mean that literally, not 'nasty' as in 'good' in today's 'modern ' English) mango pudding. The main ingredient in their mango pudding is custard powder. Need I say more? Anyhow, I must tell you that Molly isn't any ordinary 10 year old. She's the youngest food connoisseur I know, and I did'nt want her to have a lousy mango pudding. So, I promised her that I'd make her some soon. 'Soon' happens to be today.
Before I continue, you must be wondering why we had lunch at that particular dim sum Tea House if the food was that bad. The truth is, it's one of the best dim sum places in Perth. It's just that , after I had that oh so refined dim sum in Kuala Lumpur, this one just was'nt worth visiting, not for awhile, at least until my taste buds forget....
Ok, this mango pudding recipe was given to me by a wonderful lady, Mrs. Betty Khoo. Friends like her are like "hugs from God". Do you know anyone like that? Well, when I was pregnant and very sick, so much so the hospital was my second home, she came by every day without fail with food for Ming and myself. I’m one of those unfortunate women who throw up about every 15 minutes and am bed-ridden throughout pregnancy. Well ‘Aunty’ Betty has been like a mother to me since my own mother passed away 14 years ago. So, Aunty Betty, this posting is dedicated to you.

What you need..

  • 3 Large Ripe Mangoes
  • 1 Litre quality Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 3 packets Aeroplane ‘mango mania’ jelly crystals
  • 600ml. boiling water

How to..

  • Empty the three packets of jelly crystals into a bowl with the 600ml of boiling water and stir until the jelly crystals dissolve.
  • Dice 2 mangoes into tiny cubes and puree the last mango.
  • Mix the diced and pureed mangoes together with the ice cream in a bowl , then pour in the jelly mixture and stir well.
  • Spoon pudding mixture into serving bowls and refrigerate until set and ready to serve.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What more could I ask for?

Going back to my Food Adventures in Kuala Lumpur, I thought I should give 'House & Co. a bit of a highlight. Why? Because they have two of my pet passions under one roof - Homewares and Beautiful Food! House & Co. is situated in Bangsar Shopping Centre, better known as BSC, in an area favored by European Expatriates.
My Dear Aunt Julie , a woman with exquisite taste for the finer things in life was the one who brought us to this place. Unfortunately, the homewares section displayed a "no photography" request. I'm sure the management has good reasons for this . I was , however, able to take a couple of photos of the delightful local fare we had there.
House & Co. stock items from local and imported Objet d'art, one-off furniture pieces, glassware and ceramic tableware to trendy cotton Bedlinen. In a sentence, it's a one stop giftshop. Now, here's some eye candy for you!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Raspberry Almond Friands with White Chocolate Ganache

Did I ever mention that I have a small group of family and friends over every friday or saturday (sometimes both days!) for Gin Rummy? Yup! I'm an avid gambler too. Just Kidding! Gin Rummy is just an excuse for us to catch up and eat cake. The stake is only $10 each, the evening is filled with laughter and at the end of the game , the winner goes home with about $70 or $80 !
So Friday is Baking day because of Gin Rummy. When I don't have a lot of time on my hands I always make Friands because they are quick and easy to make. My 13 year old daughter Chloe made some recently for her teacher as a thank-you gift. Oh, before I forget, don't be alarmed to see "salted butter" in the recipe. I ALWAYS use salted butter in my cakes and cookies. It's just one of my idiosyncrasies in Baking!

For the Friand..

. 185g salted butter, melted
. 6 egg whites, lightly beaten
. 1 cup icing sugar
. 1 cup ground almonds
. 2 tsp vanilla extract
. 1/2 cup Sponge Flour
. 1 cup raspberries

For the White Chocolate Ganache..

. 160g white chocolate
. 3 tbsp thickened cream

  1. Preheat oven to 190C and grease friand tin.
  2. Place all ingredients except raspberries into a large bowl and stir till combined.
  3. Spoon mixture into friand tin, 1/2 full and top each friand with 3 raspberries.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Stand the friands in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to cool on a rack.
  6. Melt the white chocolate and cream in a microvave, stirring every 10 seconds till it reaches a smooth consistency.
  7. Leave the ganache to cool for 15 minutes before popping in into the fridge.
  8. Stir the ganache every 15 minutes to prevent it from setting.
  9. When the ganache is firm, ( about 45 minutes) remove from fridge.
  10. When the friands are completely cool, spoon a dollop of ganache on the top and dust with icing sugar.
Makes 12

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New kid on the blog

Hi! My name is Carol and I live in Western Australia with my husband Ming and my two gorgeous girls Chloe and Paige. I’m a 38 year old spring chicken (after all, you’re only as old as you feel and age is only a number!) who’s just called truce with the computer, the internet, and the web. You see, up until Tuesday, I was computer illiterate and could’nt care less, but because of my love for food and my passion for cooking and baking, I finally caved in and got my dear friend Deon to show me how to work this damned machine. I must say that at this point in time, I have finally made peace with the computer and it’s allies though I must stress that because I’m new at this, I will take longer than most bloggers to put up new posts and photos.

Who am I? I’m a homebody (if there’s such a word!) because my whole life revolves around my wonderful husband and two girls. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret that I never went to University or never completed my hospitality course and never had a career. If I could turn back time, I would do this all over again, because I was made for this. I just LOVE looking after my family, making a beautiful and comfortable home for them, cooking and baking for them.

When I have some alone time, I spend it watching movies, reading foodie magazines and more recently, food blogging. I also have another passion,- art and crafts. I have a studio where I do ceramic painting, mosaic mirrors and chandeliers made from recycled copper cables. But that’s a whole separate blog! I love dining out with family and friends, trying out new restaurants then coming home and experimenting on the tasty dishes I tried based on memory of the taste and flavors.

When I feel the need to splurge, I visit homeware shops.This is because besides loving to cook, bake, dine out etc. I have a weakness for kitchen stuff and Egyptian cotton bedlinen. This ‘weakness’of mine more than rarely causes my husband Ming to be nervous. He ‘fondly’ refers to the objects of my weakness as “doodads” and himself as the “cash-cow” cum “camel”. Why “camel” you ask? He says it’s because he has to carry all the shopping too!

Well, before I finish off with this introduction, I’d just like to say that I have started this blog so that I can share my recipes and family life with anyone who bothers to read about them. On some occasions, this blog will be an outlet for my whining and whingeing . Most Importantly though, this blog is for keeping in touch with old friends and possibly making new ones. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hello Kuala Lumpur!

We were greeted with a hot steamy bowl of crabmeat sharksfin soup for supper on our arrival at Gasing Hill where we were staying. This was the real Mc Coy, - not the new agar-agar based imitation, and at RM 12.00 each, it was a real steal! Dad brought out the Martell VSOP and we all (except for Ming , my sweet other half, who wheezes at the whiff of alcohol ) added a dash of it into our bowl of comfort. This is the way to start a holiday!

Our Holidays are very much about eating, and I make no apologies for that. There’s this Restaurant in New Town Petaling Jaya that you should visit if you are in the area, Sri Karak but beware of Market Price Seafood dishes. Always ask to view the seafood item that’s been weighed and the price for the dish before placing your order. If you do this, I assure you , you and your tummy will be very happy. Sri Karak has a wide selection of local favourites at very reasonable prices, its clean and air-conditioned.

Food is not just a survival necessity in Malaysia, eating is a cultural aspect. We even eat as we are shopping, and that is why you will see quaint little food stalls lined up amidst boutiques and departmental stores.