Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Manja-manja For Si-Manja!

My kids have always asked me to make my own pizza, especially after they found out that my colleague has made a business of selling frozen pizza dough from the basic recipe that I discussed and talked about two weeks ago.  I don't really mind actually, but I thought that my children were right when they said that I should make my own pizzas.

So, last Sunday before going to school, I whipped up the simplest pizza I knew, slathered on top of it, the sauce that I had made about a week ago; leftovers from a spaghetti sauce and a few choices of toppings according to what my children liked.  Suffice to say that it will be a long time before anyone of them ask to go to a pizza restaurant again! 

The following recipe is for three medium-sized pizza base :
*250 g high-protein flour
*10 g sugar
*1 tsp instant yeast
*150ml tepid water
*1 tsp salt
*25 g olive oil

Mix all the ingredients above, knead about ten to fifteen times and set aside for half an hour until double in size.  (While you are waiting for it to rise, you can start grating the Parmesan chesse and slicing the rest of the ingredients!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Banana Flower Power!

Banana Flower Kerabu
I have been having this craving to eat banana flowers for almost a month now.  I have been searching to buy this elusive flower at the Saturday Market for the past three Saturdays to no avail, and I felt like I couldn't hold back my hunger pangs for this flower any longer.  However, today, lo and behold, I managed to buy one after asking about it from every single vegetable seller!  I am happy how my 'Banana Flower Kerabu' turned out and am enjoying the fruits of my labour!  Of course, I have tweaked this recipe here and there to cater to my tastebuds!

*1 banana flower, quartered, boiled until tender and
*3 medium mackerels, boiled, deboned and shredded
*10 small shallots, thinly sliced
*10 birds eye chillis, thinly sliced (more of you like it 
*1 cup instant coconut cream (I used from a carton; it 
  claims to be cholesterol free!)
*1 large 'asam keping' (or stir in juice of two limes before turning off fire)
*5 or 6 (or more!) Vietnamese mint
*a handful of rice, dry roasted and pounded until fine

My Mint

Daun Kesum

"Why buy what you can plant?", I always ask myself.  This is true for all the herbs that we generally use in our daily cooking; because it doesn't really make sense to buy twenty to thirty stalks of a particular herb when all you want to use is just a few leaves.  And, for heaven sake, don't ask to buy only a few leaves of that herb from the vegetable seller for he may just laugh at your face!

So, I always find it useful to plant a bit of everything in my tiny patch, especially herbs that I often use.  Of course, you would have to buy some of the herbs in order to propagate them or better still, ask some from friends.

One of the herbs I have in my patch is the Vietnamese Mint or affectionately called 'Daun Kesum' locally.  It is widely used in local delicacies like 'Asam Laksa', 'Kerabu', 'Asam Pedas' and 'Laksam'.  And in every one of the dishes, one would only require a few leaves of the herb or at the most a stalk or two. 

So, it's worth using your two cents to save a few dollars!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Super Spaghetti

Chicken Meatballs
Five days of preparing and executing a long list menu, was in a nutshell, demanding on the nerves and energy, so much so that I finally suggested that we have something simple for dinner tonight.  I proposed that we have my version of Spaghetti Bolognese; one with chicken meat balls instead of beef meet balls!
  • 1/2 kg minced chicken meat
  • a pinch of Italian herbs
  • some salt and pepper
Mix everything together, form into bite size balls and leave covered for about twenty minutes.  Then fry in a little oil until lightly browned.
Bolognese Boleh!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lontong Breakfast for Abah!

Lontong a la Mala
Abah had already booked a train ticket back to KL at 12.00 p.m., so he told us not to bother with preparing lunch for him, since he would be having his lunch on the train.  It was nice having him here since last Saturday.  The only challenge was that we had to have a different menu for four meals every day.  However, we are happy and thankful that he was happy with the menu we prepared for him.  So, since he did not want any lunch today, we decided to prepare something heavy for breakfast that is Lontong with the works; compressed rice, thick coconut gravy with all the trimmings, 'sambal tumis', boiled quails eggs and not forgetting 'beef serunding'!  And, we were doubly happy when he had second helping of the lontong!  Nothing beats home made lontong!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ayam Percik For Abah!

My dad decided to pay us a five-day visit this holiday.  It has been about six months since we last met, and he seems to have aged a little bit.  Alhamdulillah, he still looks healthy and still has a good appetite, so much so that he asked my wife and I to prepare 'Ayam Percik' which, according to him, he has longed to have.  So, 'Ayam Percik' it is for lunch today!

    Ayam Percik (Grilled Chicken)
    5 shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalks lemon grass
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 10 dried chilies
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 6 pieces chicken thighs
  • 1 pot yogurt (135g)
  • Coconut milk from 1 shredded coconut
  • plus a few pieces 'asam keping'

Monday, March 7, 2011

Por Que Quesadilla?

Quesadilla para mi y para mi hija
The sudden pang for something light, and the fact that I was not in the mood for rice, had me rummaging through my fridge.  I found some tortillas and some other ingredients and decided to make my version of Quesadilla.  I loved how it turned out and so did my daughter.  My wife maintained her local taste for rice and Malay dishes.  Oh well!  But here's the recipe for my version of Quesadilla! 
  • 4 pieces tortillas (I used potato tortillas)
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 stalk spring onions (finely sliced)
  • 1 green chili (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (I used leftover fried chicken)
  • some mozzarella

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reading Richie

One of the things I do when I have nothing to do, is go through some of my old things.  And while doing just that today, I found this novel by Richie Tankersley Cusick titled The Lifeguard that I have not had the chance to read.  I think I bought it about twenty years ago and had forgotten that it existed.  It's an interesting novel about Kelsey holidaying in Beverly Island.  I'm half way through the book, so I'm going to catch up with some reading now!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cosy Corner

Cosy Corner
I was just sitting around at home the other day when I decided to rearrange the furniture in my corner of the form 6 teachers' room.  After much moving here and there plus dusting (which made me sneeze and sneeze and sneeze!) I was finally satisfied at how it ended up looking.  A bit smaller than before but cosy nonetheless.  Plus I love the chair!

Farewell Flan for a Friend

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Today, we had a farewell pot-luck for Farihah, one of our colleagues who has been with us for more than four years.  Everybody brought different types of food which included Fried Rice by Kak Limah, Mee Rebus by Kak Yan and a few others.  My contribution was a cake that I had wanted to try and make for a long time; a very simple version of Pineapple Upside Down Cake! 
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g castor sugar (I used soft brown sugar)
  • 100g soft margarine
  • 2 grade A eggs
  • 5 pineapple rings (from 1 tin of canned pineapples)
  • 3 tbs of the pineapple syrup
  • some glace cherries (I used the red ones!)
  • an extra tbs soft margarine and 2 tbs sugar

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tidying Up

The New Computer Table
Today, I didn't actually have any spare time at the office, however I made time in the afternoon after school to do a little bit of tidying up, that is to replace the old computer table in the Form 6 Teachers' Room with the new one I had ordered earlier this week.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reading Corner

A Humble Reading Corner
 I very seldom find time to do anything else in school except those related to teaching.  But when ever I do have some spare time at hand, I always like to add personal touches to the place I work.  Recently I set up a small reading corner for the Form 6 teachers, whose common room used to be a tiny store room.  Of course, I did the cleaning up all by myself until it became hospitable.

Reading materials for the corner I helped to establish were kindly donated by a colleague and of course, myself.  It is good to note that some of the materials I contributed have been borrowed by fellow teachers who have found the contents useful.  I also noted that children of colleagues also like to flip through the books and magazines even though they may not put the materials back neatly where they belong.  Thus the notice on the book rack!  Let's read!