Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Potato and Tuna Cakes

It has been a long while since I ate at the school canteen.  Not that the food there is not nice but sometimes (actually, most of the time!) the food tend to be swimming in oil and coconut milk and even the vegetables look wilted and unappetizing.  Apart from that, I find eating at the canteen a waste of time because when you sit there to eat, you tend to spend your time with idle gossips or reading the newspapers other than eating.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fruit Tart

I knew I had some kiwis in the fridge!  But when I searched for it, my wife told me that she had turned the fruit into juice!  Well, I was in the mood for making a fruit tart and thus, I resorted to using whatever fruit that was available in the fridge and in the larder!  And so my tart was topped with a hodge-podge of fruits.  Anyway, like Chef Wan used to say (a long time ago!) it is not the looks that matters but how it tastes.   But, of course now it is 'you eat with your eyes first, then with your mouth'!

I guess critics are hard to please but then again I was happy to learn that my kids had only praises for my fruit tart especially the pastry cream (borrowed from Stephanie Jaworski)  The three stages that it took to create the tart was, to me, quite daunting as I always love recipes that are simple to prepare!  But, I must say that this fruit tart, in spite of it's illustrious batch of fruits, was well worth the effort.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mee Rebus Sempadan Johor

The name of this delicacy actually suggests the town where I live, which is located just about five minutes drive to the border of Negeri Sembilan and Johor.  But the dish is truly an accumulation of different 'Mee Rebus' from friends and relatives who are Johoreans.  

It is a marriage of ingredients related to me by my sister-in-law who hails from the southern tip of the state of Johor and a former colleague whose family still resides in one of the villages in a Johor state that is about thirty kilometers from where I live.  And, it is also my own rendition through the many sampling of this dish during my six-year stint as a teacher in one of the districts of Johor!  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I was nervous and it felt like I was attending my first interview to become a teacher.  Actually, I had to bake a cake!  Not that it's anything new, but when someone wants you to bake for them, then it starts to put you on edge.  All this while, cakes have always been reserved for my family and neighbors and friends.  Never for sale!  And so, when someone ordered one for a party, even though it was a simple cake, I was all sweaty palmed and restless.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kacang Foul Kak Mar

I woke up this morning thinking about my duty as master of ceremony for a farewell event that will take place in school on 3rd February come next Friday.  The poignant event will be to bid adieu to a very dear friend whom I now regard as an elder sister, who will be retiring after having been in the teaching profession for more than thirty years.  

I feel saddened by her departure but I will always remember the many things that she has taught me for all the sixteen years that I have known her.  She has told me to be humble to colleagues no matter how high I rise in rank (Insya Allah, if God permits!) and not to do unto others (bad things) what have been done unto you.  I will also remember many things through her actions, like going to class right on the dot and always reciting 'Bismillah' as she gets up to leave her table in the staff room.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Curry Spaghetti

You know the feeling when you just cannot come up with a three-dish meal (protein, vegetables and plus one more!) for a late lunch, especially after coming back from a day of shopping (tired!) and you finally resort to preparing something simple; a one-pot meal!  Every one has his own version of this very Malaysian dish, with all the spices that go into the gravy and the trimmings that go on top!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Trio Marble Cake

One thing about starting to cook once again is that my time is used wisely.  At least I think so.  I still surf the net for my teaching materials and resources, like I used to, because I do spend hours collecting, adapting, creating and developing my own teaching resources. And now on top of that, I also spend hours surfing the net for recipes; and that is also how I came upon this beautiful cake by Chef Mat Gebu (nice cake, by the way!)  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Four-Onion Chicken Pie

I just love pies!!!  You show me one person who does love pies and I'll show you a person who has never eaten one!  However, in spite of the love I have for pies (savoury ones especially!) it has been a long time since I made one!  I have always envied Jamie (I watch all his series!) making and in the end, devouring his pies!  The last straw came when I saw Nigella (I watch all her series, too!) making her individual Chicken Pot Pies!  

Well, today I've decided to make a chicken pie, but unlike the one Nigella made.  I've decided to make my pie filling almost like Jamie made his Onion Soup, which is by using lots of onions, and in my case, four different types of onions!  And as my famous and experienced tv mentors used store-bought puff pastry, I decided a novice like me, can definitely do the same!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beef Steak Azizah

The last time I prepared this dish was way back (and I mean way back!) in 1977 when my late mother gave birth to my youngest brother.  She had got out from the labour room for about a few hours, and she was peckish for this dish.  Of course, at that time, I did not need to ask her for the recipe because I knew it at the back of my hand.  The thing I will never forget about bringing this dish to my mom at the maternity ward at University Hospital (now University Malaya Medical Center! Nostalgia! huhu!) was the question that the other mothers in the ward asked my mother; 'Is that your brother?'  Obviously the big age difference between me and my brother made them come up to that assumption!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bali-Style Fresh Water Lobsters

Saturday is the day I usually do my marketing (which I also consider as a sort of therapy!) for one week's worth of foodstuff mainly fish, meat and vegetables, because the nearest shop from my house is about ten minutes walk.  I mention walk because my wife doesn't drive, and with me at school from 7.05 a.m. to about 3.30 p.m. every day, so it is quite impossible for me to do marketing on a daily basis.  

And so today (yesterday actually, since this is posted a day late! hehe), while looking around at the array of fish and shellfish (all insanely expensive due to the coming Chinese New Year!), I chanced upon a tray of fresh water lobsters (udang galah)  I don't fancy them but my family, especially my children, absolutely adore them!    

Friday, January 20, 2012

Smoked Beef Salad

I was walking to class yesterday, when a strong familiar smell forced itself into my nostrils and I couldn't help it but to just hasten my steps to where the smell was coming from.  Kak Yam, our school canteen operator, was smoking some beef (daging salai) for yet another of her catering orders!  And I made my own order of a few pieces of the smoked beef seeing how fresh and tender they were.

Now, it is traditional for the citizens of the state of Negeri Sembilan to cook this smoked beef in one way, and one way only, and that is in thick coconut gravy, as per my previous entry on smoked beef.  However, today I decided to try something different with the smoked beef and that is to turn it into a salad or 'kerabu'.  And what a salad it turned out to be because of the multitude of tastes that were in it.  In short, my critics loved it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Steamed Tofu with Prawns

This has turned out to be one of my family's favourite dish and I am thankful that they seem to like such a simple dish, one that I can prepare any time in no time!  Any time I prepare this dish, my kids will be clamouring for this dish leaving the green scallions intact!  Kids will be kids!  Even if it is their favourite dish, they will only take what they like and leave what they don't for yours truly!  And thankfully I just love scallions.  

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Reinvention of Nigella's Hash Brown

I just came back from Seremban yesterday and was ready to make Chicken Pot Pie for breakfast today.  But my wife suggested that it would better if I waited for our son to come back on Tuesday so that every one could enjoy the flaky pastry crusted pie!  And so I conceded with the suggestion and decided to do a remake of Nigella's hash brown which I used to make once!  This time I thought, instead of frying everything, perhaps I should just boil them.  I should have anticipated the result!!!  A hash brown that resembled more of a potato salad.  Well, nobody minded having potato salad for breakfast.  At least, I didn't!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chee Cheong Fan with Prawn Filling

Today marks the first day for the second week of school for this year.  Things have begun to return to their normalcy and the routine of school life have now become more bearable (I think!)  Well, this morning I prepared breakfast; a quick and simple one though, because I had done most of the preparation last night and kept it in the fridge before steaming it this morning.  I have always wanted to eat this Chinese dish and have never found any halal one, so I thought I'd venture into making it myself.  It didn't turn out to be that difficult, and the result was both delicious (to me, at least!) and quite satisfying.  To top it all off, there are only five simple ingredients!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Vanilla Choc Chip Muffins

Recently  I went to my sister-in-law's house for a visit.  She's the closest relative I have living within my proximity that is about forty five minutes drive away.  I always go there empty-handed but when I go home, she usually has something for me and the missus to take home.  So, out of sheer embarrassment, this time, I thought, it would be proper if I brought something for her.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Colourful Mixed Vegetables

One of my many favourite types of vegetables (if that's ever possible!) is a dish containing many different types of colourful vegetables (sometimes I wish there were blue vegetables! Purple cabbage doesn't retain its colour if fried!)  I mean,  I can just sit down and eat the vegetables as a main course even though it is meant to be a side dish!  I can take it steamed, in soups, baked, grilled or in this case fried.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Banana Muffins

Oh, well!  It's another case of too many ripe bananas and there's just too many to eat!  We got about four combs of bananas from my brother-in-law who really does have green fingers because every seedling that he plants will simply grow well and bear fruits, including these bananas below.  And so I decided to make these Banana Muffins!  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fried Penne

Aaaaarrgh!  Today is the last day of the long school holidays!  For a moment there, I was shocked back into reality after more than one month of taking things easy and doing things I enjoy doing.  Not that I don't enjoy teaching, but I was having too much fun spending my holidays!  Well, no more lazy mornings and eating my breakfast slowly, chatting with the wife and kids and cooking!  Not until the next holidays, at least!  And talking about breakfast, today I prepared something for my family using some penne I had left from the Penne Bolognese I made previously; something simple yet satisfying for breakfast!  You will know it's simple from the way I arrange and sort the ingredients!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Koay Teow Bandung

Today the wife and I are at a loss as to what to prepare for lunch because after many days of planning the daily menus together, we have finally come to a mental block.  The theme as I suggested in yesterday's entry is that our meals should be light which means no coconut milk and with that in mind, we eventually decided on Koay Teow Bandung.

Don't ask me why it is called Koay Teow Bandung (of course other than Koay Teow, you can also use noodles or vermicelli)  I am happy to concede if this dish did originate from a town in Indonesia but I very much doubt so.  Anyway, where ever the origin, food, like songs, is something universal and it just so happens that we love this dish (occasionally anyway!) including our daughter!  Every one has his or her own twist to this recipe but here's ours!

Kerabu Sotong

The end-of-year celebrations have all but ended and I guess it's time to start planning on menus that are light as opposed to those that I have greedily consumed during the long holidays (my waist line is testimony to all that binge!)  It's time to make coconut milk-laden gravies and dishes a once-a-week affair or less if that's ever going to be possible for us Malaysians!  But, try we must and we have to persevere!  So, in the spirit of starting with that theme, I thought I'd spike my taste buds with this Squid Salad which happily enough, doesn't have a single drop of fat!