Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas No-Knead-Bread

If I´m not mistaken, I think I´ve blogged about my recent experience of baking a No-Knead Bread?  Well ... as it turns out, and out of adventure, I tried tweaking the recipe by adding a bit of festivities in

AND here´s the result!

I´m amazed how good this No-Knead Bread recipe is ...

All I did was add ...

1 egg, 50ml of oil plus handful of raisins, dried cranberries, hazelnut slices, orange peel and 2 tablespoon of Cointreau :-)

Friday, 20 December 2013

Los Ponchos Mexican & South American Restaurant

I  love eating out.  As of late, we have been doing it pretty often.

This evening, we decided to do some late night shopping at the border.  The Christmas air is evident with lots of festive lights decorating the city, but somehow for me, it just does not feel perfect without the snow.

Hubby tried Potato Skin for the first time and loved it.  Due to its miserable portion (only 2 halves were served and me knicking some off his plate), there wasn´t a chance to take any photo at all.  In another word, its that good.  After appetiser, we waited a good 30 minutes for our main course.  His Chilli Corn Carne with chillies thrown in for good measures :-)

And my ...

Seafood Burritos, served with lots of side such as guacamole, baked potatoes, fries and salad.  Perhaps it did not help that I snacked away before the main arrive as I was really hungry, but the portion is hugeeeee, isn´t it?!  This plate is pretty good, but I would have preferred if they make do without crabsticks in my burrito ...

The bill came out to less than 30 euro inclusive of drinks which is very reasonable considering the portion and its actually a restaurant and not a cafe.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas Market Hunt ...

It is one of the foggiest nights of the year and we decided to take a lovely drive to nearby town to visit a Christmas Market.  But as luck has it, the Christmas Market in this part of town was opened till 1 December only and only for few days.  Rather strange if you ask me because it takes up so much effort just to built those cute huts to stock the goodies, least to say rental´s nothing short of cheap.  So yeah, with no Christmas Market in sight, we decided to have our dinner in a local imbiss instead ...

My ZweibelSchnitzel which I wrongly ordered.  I thought it would have been with some sauce on top of the schnitzel but no, its more fried stuff ...

So last night, I was coughing my lungs out again.  To oily the food and sitting in an imbiss with reused oil circulating the imbiss outlet since morning perhaps, is making me feel ill ...

Time for a slow weekend I presume, to nurse myself ...

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Salmon Wellington with White Asparagus, Served with Warm Caesar Salad

Moving on to another Christmas inspired dish which I´ve seen over and over again on cooking channels in BBC is, Salmon Wellington.  An interesting twist to the famous Beef Wellington if you ask me.  It is lighter and you have a choice to serve them as either starter or main course depending on its portion.  I am testing out a few recipes before the actual Christmas Eve dinner.  Tentatively, we already have an idea what to serve for main course but we might change our mind last minute.  Last night, I decided to warm up our Caesar Salad seeing its getting colder and eating cold salad is really no fun at all.  It proved to be really good!  The white asparagus are from bottles, easy stuff to prepare but nevertheless luxurious and fitting to a festive occassion.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Sticky Cranberry Sausages

Nigel Slater is a genious.  He is to me one of those chefs who understood what home cooking is all about by making it all so simple to replicate but at the same time, appearing gourmet-ish.  I´ve loved his cooking show for a while now especially recently when they decide to bring on his Christmas programmes.  This cranberry jam and fresh cranberry (I replaced them with dried cranberries) is a hit last night. It calls for a simple sautee with red onions and sausages, and thats it!  Cooked them all in a pan, the sausages and red onion grilled first then add in the sweet flavouring with some water.  Pretty cool idea to spice things up leading to Christmas ain´t it.  Served with vegetable of the season, the brussel sprouts ... we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner last night before calling it a week ...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Start of Advent, 2013

Last Sunday, we litted up the first of our Advent Candle Platter to commemorate the first week of advent.  This year, we have been pushing lots of to do list to last minute. Including our advent calendar filler which we quickly scribble on a piece of paper just the night before it starts.  Hubby quickly rushed off to town to grab some items to be filled in while I took time off after work the following day to search for something appropriate to give to hubby.  Today´s the third day of advent and we´ve just returned from dinner in town.  Its hubby´s treat today.  Last night, I made us a surprisingly addictive cocktail (picture above).  It is a mix of cranberry juice, chocolate mint liquor and Cointreau liquor.  As it was Monday yesterday, it was nice winding the start of the week with some alcohol I must say.  Tomorrow is my turn.  But I ain´t got anything for my other half although that piece of paper´s already filled up.  I hope he reaches out to it tomorrow evening and not 6am when he wakes up to go to work!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Teller Ouzu @ Taverna Zeus

Lately I´ve been doing some research on visiting Santorini for our wedding anniversary, and like any vacation, it covers anything from accomodation, what to see, what to eat and what to experience.  Coincidently a dear friend visited last weekend, wanted to try out Greek food in our town and I quickly jumped at the chance!  Here´s a quick sneak to what I had while they both went off to pick up some salad from the salad buffet.  My plate is call Teller Ouzu.  Its essentially slabs of pork meat in different preparation style such as gyros, on skewer and in patty form.  The side came with Tziziki and flavoured rice.  Though portion were hugeee, I love them all.  They were well seasoned and fresh tasting.  As one know, pork are surpreme quality in Germany hence even the famous parma ham are made using German pork.  There´s a couple of authentic dish I should have tried too using grape leafs, local cheeses and aubergine - all synoynamous with mediterranean kitchen but since this restaurant is near my place, I´m sure me and hubby will visit real soon.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

10 Excitement I look forward too ...

SIX weeks more then its Christmas.  After that comes Silvester or Year End, then Chinese New Year and before knowing it, I will be flying home to Malaysia again.  But before I do that, there´s 1001 things I have to do and what better way than to have a list so that I won´t forget.  Here goes!

We started this tradition of counting down to Christmas by putting little gifts in our little Advent Socks    many years ago.  4 years and counting and we are still having lots of fun surprising each other with a little something each day.  Last year was particularly memorable as we decided to embark on Advent experiences instead of little gifts.  We decorated some cookies, made snowglobes, shopped for chocolates, put up the christmas tree, listen to a new Christmas Album together, went for a movies, drink Glühwein at a Christmas market and more ... It was exhilarating to say the least.  Imagine every single day having something to look forward too.  But this year, hubby requested the advent to be combined with experiences and gifts instead of just experiences.  I think its a brilliant suggestion so I´m gonna put on my thinking cap soon to get ahead :-)

Christmas Presents
Like every single year, I´m left stumble with what to get for my other half.  Its not easy buying for a male as one knows but its even more difficult to get something for a person who would simply go buy it himself if he fancies something.  But I guess I´ve got to think a bit harder.  And then of course there´s other to consider like my beloved mother-in-law, father-in-law, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend.  I think I will suggest to hubby to take care of his dad and his brother while I take care of my MIL and the girlfriend of his brother.

Christmas Dinner Marathon
There´s 3 cake cum dinner session running from eve to 2nd day of Christmas.  Its crazy I know, but that´s how it is in this household.  I reckon I will be doing most of the preparation work this year as my MIL´s hand seems to be loosing its grip day by day.

Weekend Trips
Hubby´s got a dinner voucher to be used up by end of this year and a trip cum dinner to a nearby city to be used up preferably this year.  We´ve for another 2 unused overnight stays to be used soonest too and that too has been cast aside since ages.  A dear friend will be visiting over the weekend, and I will be visiting a dear friend up north over for a little Christmas get-together on another weekend.  Hubby has got a trip to go too plus some other company commitment so I´m wondering how are we going to pull thru all this arrangement by end of December.

Silvester Holiday
Transport and hotel booked but that´s about it.  There´s so much to check out but again, I´ve been pretty relax during holidays recently as I tend to have the habit of switching on my phone for information.  But it should not be this way.  Insight places needs time to dig out ...

Chinese New Year
This will be my first year celebrating Chinese New Year here so I´m very tempted to hold an open house.  Some of hubby´s friends who happen to be my stammstich here have always been keen to experience what its like celebrating chinese new year and its a big group.  My colleagues originating from England, Spain and Canada sounded very keen to get to know my culture too, and always asking me to invite them over.  Plus some lovely friends from Romania, Taiwan and also from Malaysia which I´ve grown close with within short span of time, my hands would definately be full then but for sure, it would be interesting to bake some cookies for them to try, but I personally would like to re-create some festive dishes I grew up eating and fortunately, I have most of these exquisite ingredients with me.  I´ve also sent back some lovely decorative stuff just for the occassion so I can´t wait to use them, really.

My 40th Birthday
I´m still indecisive if I should throw a party here or to go away, really but if I were to have a Chinese New Year Open House, inviting the same group over would be too close for comfort :-)  But I know in weeks to come, they will start asking soon so I really gotta prepare myself.  Hubby has been so dear.  Going for a lovely trip is always on our agenda but honestly, my trip back to Malaysia is on the following month so I really do not mind staying home.  Its your 40th, hubby reminded me ... haha.

Trip Back to Malaysia
Two major event will be happening when I go back this time.  Firstly, I owe my two nieces and one nephew a belated getaway.  I´m so excited on this one because I know they will be thrilled for what I´ve planned for them.  I love it when I see a BIG smile plastered on their face.  Its priceless and that´s all I look forward too.  The other major thing I´m looking forward to plan was a get-together with my old-mates.  They have been truly supportive of me all these years and I can´t thank them enough.  Sometimes good friends do not need reaasurance.  One just know they can be relied upon when I need them.  And so ... they have requested me to cook for them for ages.  Haha.  I can´t wait to poison them! lol ....

Baby Shower
I´m still not quite sure if I should bring this up to my colleagues.  Our boss is going to deliver soon and she´s been such a sweetie.  Will see on this.

More Training & Classes
With new classes, comes new learning curve ... things are moving on a fast pace on my work front and  I´m truly happy with that.  But with new classes comes new training and this means I will be away for work training again and honestly, I´m not truly enjoying the training at all except getting the certification part of it.  Oh well ...

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Mee Jawa

Frau Kocks told Herr Kocks one Monday evening that she´s not in the mood to cook.  Something is in the air thats making me super lazy.  Herr Kocks replied ... oh, me too.  We´ll see how it goes.  In Germany, there´s such a thing as Abendbrot where a slice of bread with any topping will do, just to fill up the tummy.  Back in Malaysia, my mum would probably roll her eyes for such frugal way of eating.  Well, I´m from a chinese family and in a chinese family, we take our meal time very seriously.  Its gotta be warm, healthy, nutritional, tasty and at least comes with 3 variety of dishes for 2 person like us.  I just can´t seem to keep up with that tradition here in Germany, not even a meal in the evening.  My dad who is 77 this year is still whipping up his 3 hot dishes every single meal except for breakfast.  Amazing I know.  So anyway, somehow the chinese in me resisted an Abendbrot evening and whipped up a Potato Gravy Noodle (Mee Jawa) in a zest.  Some ingredients are lacking for example prawns, tofu and coriander leaf but beggars can´t be choosy especially it being impromptu.  Herr Kocks gave thumbs up and Frau Kocks very please.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Vicchysoisse Soup

Returning to my first love, which is cooking anything french.  This Vichysoisse Soup essentially is just Cold Potato & Leek Soup but somehow its name strikes it as anything but boring.  There will be more to come I promise as I am hoping to bring my cooking mojo back before Christmas arrives :-)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Seafood Paelle Indulgence

Spanish food is one of my favourite cuisine apart from French, Thai, Italian, Japanese and Malaysian.  They make use of lots of fresh produces and their usage of seafood is something I cannot say no too.  Last night, I decided to finish up the half chorizo which was sitting in the fridge.  We had paella a few nights ago, something we do quite often since lugging this paella pan back from Mallorca last year and its been a bliss to cook in them.  Hubby is not into seafood so our paella usually without.  But last night´s version is the one I´ve grown to love since ages.  Lots of mussels, prawns, squid and chorizo infusing the paella rice flavour in addition of saffron tread.  Lovely.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Long Term Friendship

Quiet but reflective night.  Sometimes its good to walk away from friends pulling you down.  Friends are suppose to be supportive when you requested them but not challenge you all the time.  Challenge me when I lost my job and need to get up on my two feet again.  Challenge me when I lost someone dear and I need a push to go on with my life.  Please don´t challenge me when I have a longterm wish to fulfill and my intentions are clear.  They say, one have to give and take in life.  Which is very true.  I´ve always taken in the past and I felt I want to give something back.  Even if I´ve not taken in the past, it does not mean that I need to take it back immediately or take at all.  Friendship goes a long way and who knows what´s going to happen in the future and I need your help?  But if someone is clearly not comfortable taking from me and insist on giving back immediately, I do question this friendship.

Buttered Chicken

Its been ages since I last had my buttered chicken dish.  A few sprigs of curry leaves, garlic, chopped up chillies and pan fried chicken.  All sauteed with fragrantly cooked butter sauce towards the end.  Thats my dinner for last night.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mary Berry´s Swiss Roll

This Swiss Roll recipe is a gem.  All it need is 4 eggs, whipped till soft peak form, than add 100 grams sugar in followed by 100 grams of self raising flour.  Mix them well, spread them onto your baking sheet and bake them at 200C for 7 minutes.  Thats it.  I love it when some recipes works and its easy to remember!

German Breakfast

Ideally, breakfast for me would be something best when its prepared but not by me.  I´m not a morning person mind you, and breakfast would be the last thing on my mind when I spring out from my bed.  Last weekend, we decided to take a slow stroll to town for breakfast.  We know that the breakfast serve there would not derail too much from what we eat at home except for the bread variety where you will get a brotchen (a bun) instead of toast which we prefer at home.  But its nice neitherless to be able to enjoy them while people watch at the same time.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Stir Fry Beansprout with Salted Fish & Prawns

Warm lunch is a must nowadays.  With temperature dipping, not to mention the occassional storm hitting this part of Europe pretty aggressively, keeping myself warm and safe seems to be the motto of the day.  Sometimes I seek comfort in a hot bowl of soup.  Other days like today, I´ll just whip up an easy vegetable stir-fry to fill up my tummy.  Stir fries are amazing.  There isn´t any hard rule about it and its quick.  Here´s to warm lunch week ... stay safe everyone :-)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Easy Nutella Brownie, Again ...

Hubby would inevitably grin from ear to ear whenever he comes home to some cakes after work.  I do enjoy pampering him when time permits, and seeing this is my week off, I´ve decided to whip up an easy brownie recipe using a cup of nutella, 2 eggs and 10 tbs of flour.  This recipe is so easy, even  my 6 years old niece can do it.  What I did this time was pour the batter into some lovely mold instead of usual baking pan.  And voila ... tea-time!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Candles & Scenting Rituals ...

Autumn to me is not just about the weather and seeing the changes of colour outside.  It is to me where it had became a ritual on its own to start lighting the candles around the house around 6.30pm.  I have been scenting the home with Scentchips and other scented candles too, and it surely does make one feel warmth and comforting during such season of the year ...

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Nasi Kerabu (Vegetarian Version)

Apart from the rice which I warmed up in a rice cooker and turning two eggs into finely shredded omelette, this bowl of Nasi Kerabu needs not much skill except patience in slicing an array of herbs, shallots and chilli finely.  I have with me in here Bunga Kantan, Kaffir Lime Leave, Basil, Laksa Leave, Chives & Mint.  Such a sumptous meal on its own without any meat to welcome weekend.

Saturday, 26 October 2013


Its Friday! And that means coffee and cake session for our household.

Yesterday, I´ve decided to make use of our apples, again.  There are lots still hanging on the tree and honestly, I am getting a bit overwhelmed eating them day in day out.  My MIL is feeling the same way too and due to this, we have been thinking if we should invest in a good juicing machine to turn them into juice instead of eating them whole or baking them.  There´s only that much one can eat a day, or so much time one can spent baking something out of it.  One of the recipe´s I´ve been wanting to try out is Apple Strudel.  It is a fairly straightforward to make, if one has supply of filo pastry.  Can you believe it that there isn´t any around my area until recently?  Amusing I know but instead of dwelling in the shortcomings of what this country does not have, I´m happy that we are getting more choices coming into the market each day.

Here´s to a lovely weekend all of you :-)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Heide, Apples, Chestnuts & Candle Decorative ...

Autumn or Halloween, Autumn or Halloween?

With choices comes fun for me each time the season changes.  I´m into anything to do with home interior and seen here is a small decorative planter vase I´ve put up to welcome autumn.  Some colourful Heide, a few apples, some chestnuts hidden underneath and a candle holder to bring a little light to our little corner.

Halloween project would be something I wish to embark on too.  But first, lets see if I can get some lovely inspiration around ...

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Vegetarian Schnitzel

Not eating meat for a day ain´t as bad as I thought.  One just need to get use to it.  Its been months since I pledge myself to go vegetarian every Friday.  When I got started, it was tough because I was not use to not having my meal lace with some kind of meat or seafood ingredient or even flavour.  I was in lost of what to prepare.  But after awhile, I´m getting the hang of it.  Vegetarian can be delicious too, if not interesting if one look hard enough.  Seen here is my Vegetable Schnitzel meal served with a sunny side up egg, fresh seasonal beans, and a simple onion gravy pasta.  It is nothing to shout about in terms of appearance but taste wise is what that matters, right?  Both of us agreed that eating less meat does not have to be boring.  I couldn´t agree more.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Apfelmus Swiss Roll

Something rustic looking which was not planned, is this Apfelmus Swiss Roll.  I love a good swiss roll and decided to make one today for hubby.  Its Friday and he comes home early, so just in time for some lovely cakes and a good cup of coffee.  Our apple tree is still treating us abundantly with harvest and I get a feeling hubby is tired of eating my Dutch Apple Cake already?! So here´s to another apple variation.  Recipe was adapted from DH Southlake´s Chestnut Swiss Roll recipe.  Sorry, I can´t share the recipe here unless she gives me a green light.

Happy Weekend everyone!

Friday, 18 October 2013

Drink to Strengthen Lung ...

One of the things I told myself again and again to bring over to Germany from Malaysia was chinese herbs.  I grew up with it and swear by its medicinal value.  Every single year since arriving here, I have been plaque by acute cough and at times asthma attack.  The healthcare here is fantastic by providing me all sorts of inhalation device from preventive to as needed basis, but I thought there´s no harm putting some goodness into ones body before it strikes, no?  So what I did during my last trip was I carted some home.  Some were unrecognisable herbs, but some are those I grew up with.  Boil them with pear with skin on as instructed by the chinese medicine man, and drink them as how I would enjoy a glass of sweet drink.  It seems to work.  I cycled to town past week and by any means around this time of the year, I would be huffing and puffing already, but I seem to be getting on alright.  So here´s to a little nature´s wonder ....

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Braised Salted Mustard with Pork (Mui Choy Kau Yok)

Back in action, but this time I have left my french food craze aside.  The past week had been busy.  It is the last week before autumn school holiday and this means, I will be able to enjoy 2 whole weeks of holiday free!  Before doing so, the centre where I work for, has a tradition of throwing a little celebration before the kids goes off.  Its lovely for the kids, but for the teachers, it simply meant more work! Yes, its a complain but I should not really, and instead should concentrate on the two lovely weeks ahead.

This is a stew of chinese mustard and pork slices.  It is something I grew up eating.  Pure comfort food in a cold day, it taste saltish but what the recipe calls for is to balance the saltiness of the salted mustard vegetable with a cup of coconut juice.  Mine is with apple juice and worked just as well.  But for those who enjoys my western inspired cooking, afraid not because I´ve been skimming lately and all I need is time, time, time.  Which will be SOON!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Cold Vegetable Terrine

Eat your vege! 

Those were ringing words my mum drilled into me since young.  I am used to eating stir-fry vegetables since young since I grew up in a chinese family. 

Sometimes too, my mum would cook them in stews or curries, but never eaten cold like how I eat them here in Germany.  My meal were always hot back then and it took me a while to adapt eating something cold during winter here. 

Its Autumn now but strangely, I wanted to try out this Cold Vegetable Terrine.  It looked terribly attractive to say the least with its colours all perking thru the jelly stock. 

Quite easy to make but to set the stock was quite tricky since it was not from any recipe book but simply a creation I whipped up suddenly.  2 more gelatine sheets were needed on top of the four used earlier, just to get this small mould set!

But alas, it did set .. and it is sitting prettily in our fridge right now and am thinking of what main course to go with it tomorrow :-)

Sunday, 13 October 2013

American Pancake Brunch

Another lazy sunday brunch, but this time instead of enjoying a loaf of freshly baked No-Knead Bread, it is American Pancake stack with yummy Rasberry Syrup.  Patience is indeed needed to make these little fluffy babies, and to get them golden brown colour evenly every single piece, observing the amount of bubbles that formed on top of the batter before turning them over is so necessary.  Two got burned but ten pieces were serve-worthy.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Simple Fried Rice

A plate of fried rice.  So simple but yet, so fulfilling during cold autumn month here.  I will be lying if I said I don´t enjoy my bowl of fried rice.  Fried rice to a Chinese is like sushi to a Japanese, a burger to an American, or a sausage to a German.   It is staple food which comes in so many variation and uses mainly leftover rice and variety of vegetables or meat as seasoning.  In China, there´s the famous Yong Chow fried rice or Fujian fried rice.  In Malaysia where its multi-cultural, the Malays and Indians also has their own intepretation of fried rice due to their other counterparts influence.  The Japanese who neighbours China also owes up to this fried rice phenomenon, infact, some of the most amazing I´ve tasted are actually from Japanese restaurant.  It is usually very simple with 3 ingredients - rice, egg and garlic and that´s about it.  I tried replicating this simple taste today but I reckon I need to practise them a bit more.  This fried rice was made using 1 bowl of leftover rice with 2 eggs, so you can imagine how fragrant that is but I do suspect that Basmati rice is a no-no when it comes to frying rice.  It is too thin, too hard hence not abling to achieve the fluffiness needed.  Fried Rice 2.0 then ... :-)

Friday, 11 October 2013

Dutch Apfelgebak with Cointreau

This recipe is a keeper. Its my third year making this classic Dutch Apple Cake whenever our apple trees start rewarding  us with abundance of it.

Here´s what you do :

1) Mix 300 grams flour, 125 gram sugar, 200 grams cold butter (cubed), pinch of salt and 1 egg yolk in a bowl and blend till it comes together.  Keep in fridge for 30 minutes.
2) To prepare the apple filling, place 100ml orange juice, 100grams raisins, 2 tbsp custard powder, some cinammon powder, 1 tbs Cointreau and 1kg apple cube in pan, and cook till the sauce thickens.  Set aside to cool.
3) Heat oven to 175C.
4) Line a tart baking pan with 2/3 of the dough (roll them out to circle and cover the whole base evenly.
5) Pour the apple filling in.  Sprinkle your choices of chopped nuts if you wish.  Sprinkle some brown sugar and cinammon for extra flavour on the crust.
6) Roll the remaining 1/3 of the dough flat and cut 10 horizontal stripes (estimate).  Lay them out criss-cross and seal the corners tightly.
7) Bake for 40 minutes, or until brown at the top.  Brush the top with apricot wash (apricot jam + water).
8) Cool them.  Ready to serve.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

White Wine Mussels

I took the chance to pamper myself with  more seafood dish before hubby gets back, and this time, I´ve got to enjoy the whole pack of 500 grams mussels all by myself!  Not wanting any carb for my dinner, I simply sautee some chopped up onions, carrots and celery before pouring in half a bottle of white wine leftover from the night before.  In goes the white mussels with lots of dill into the pot.  Lid on and voila, in less than 5  minutes, dinner´s ready.  Last night had been fantastic.  I´ve started burning this wonderful Scent Chips I recently acquired from Netherlands, and boy, it does smell heavenly in the livingroom!  I tuned onto my favourite programmes, had the mood lamp all one, my dinner on my lap, a glass of white wine and .... stayed up till 1am just like that ... that I nearly doze off on the sofa :-)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Chicken Fricasse

Chicken Fricasse or Hanchen Fricasse as its known here is a pretty popular dish.  When I first heard them from my MIL, I thought what a strange name for a german dish!  As it turns out, its not German.  Its french and the method itself is halfway between saute and stew, but generally is white sauce base.  My version here is from Jamie Oliver.  As strange as it sounds, it contains cumin seed and thyme as its seasoning base.  Cumin seed?!  No idea how authentic that is, so I´ve vouched to go search for an authentic recipe to cook them one more time.   Oh, I read up something about this dish.  Apparently, this is one of Abraham Lincoln´s favourite dish.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Art of Flower Arrangement

Dark Pink Dahlias, White Dahlias, Pink Hibiscus and a mauve sprinkly perennials from the garden which I have no idea what its called.  Flower arrangement is something I´ve always dreamed of doing when I was young but back then, the variety available were and still is not as vast as compare to country of four season.  It would be lovely to learn the art of it though but not at such high level of intensity.  Over here, its a great profession and people make a living or even carve a name out of it and I do admire these people who follow their heart and go after their passion.  As for me, I´ll start small and enjoy them as they come ...

Monday, 7 October 2013

Duck Al Orange

I can´t get enough of french food. Evidently here, another lovely and well liked combination known all over. Duck slices served with a tangy orange sauce, and here, I serve them on a bed of cabbage. I have a confession to make. The sauce ought to be improvised with perhaps orange peel in it, to lift it up another notch because duck as one knows has an intense odour to it.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sichuen Pepper Spiced Up Chocolateria

A simple dark chocolate pudding turned into a kick-ass, mouth watering dessert. If you´ve not noticed, I´ve been getting adventurous with my dessert. Experimenting can be fun and sometimes, rewarding and this is one of them :-)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Lyon´s Poulet Au Vinaigre

Lately, we have been enjoying lots of french meal at home. Not the haute cuisine kind of french meal but more homely, provencial kind where a cast-iron pot is called for and I loveee cooking in them. They are easy and locks in the most wonderful, intensive aroma as compared to the other pots we have in the house. This is one of our `chicken stew`meal last week. It is basically a red wine vinegar and white wine base stew, with chicken meat, shallots, butter and variety of herbs thrown in. Its getting cold here so looks like stews will be showing up more often on my post here.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Spring Bulb Fetish ...

I have tonnes of old bulb still unmaned in my greenhouse and here I am with new ones for next year! The problem is this. I realise that prepacked ones promising multi-hues bulbs can be pretty unreliable. This year, I vow to get them individually and planting them in the alloted space as how I would imagine them to be. Lets see if this way works out. What do you think of my bulb collection for next year? Good?

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Prawn Aglio Olio with Bonito Flakes

Hub will be away for couple of days with his buddies and these means, I could have all the seafood meal I want 3 times a day! Woohoo!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Basil Pannacotta

If only I could capture the look on hubby´s face when I announced to him what flavour pannacotta I´m serving for dinner that night.  Basil, as one know is a well known herb.  Its intense, lingering flavour is best known to dress up various delicious pastas, and to Caprese lover like me, what is a caprese salad without basil.  I´ve heard of Basil Ice Cream a while back and had been wanting to try them.  Just out of curiosity and nothing to difficult for just the two of us so I decided on pannacotta instead. 200ml cream, 50 grams sugar, 120ml milk and 3 sheets of gelatine plus juices from a handful of basil leave which I pureed finely.  I then let everything cook for some minutes before cooling them in room temperature.  Then transfering them to the fridge to set them further.  I think this dessert is an elegant way to serve your guest, it is intriquing and at the same time, taste lovely!  Who would have thought that Basil could make a memorable dessert flavouring :-)

Monday, 30 September 2013

Yee Mee Across Continents

Five rolls of dried noodle stacked up neatly in a plastic bag.  How difficult is it to handcarry them across the continent?  Answer : Insanely difficult, considering my 12 hours transit in Dubai and this yee mee, is notorious for its crisp texture when uncooked.  It came back with me in almost perfect condition so I reckon I deserve a big pat on my back for a job well done eh :-)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Seeing Plums!

Sometimes I do get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of fruit hanging on our fruit tree.  Take for example from our apple tree last year.  The yield was simply amazing, but at times too much of a good thing can be a bad thing because one simply does not know what to do with it apart from giving them away.  Not to mention cleaning up the mess from the rotten fruits which had dropped to the ground.  I have been doing that past few days, giving a few kilos to my lady boss and another few kilos to my colleague but just awhile ago, hubby who earlier harvested a few bucket reported that we´ve only succeded in harvesting less than half so far.  Oh boy ...

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Squid Ink Angel Hair Pasta with Bonito Flakes, Sesame Powder & Chopped Chilli/Dill Topping

The title says it all and that´s what I call a fusion meal perfect for an asian girl living in a western world like me.  People say, the Italians invented pasta and exported this dish to all corners of the globe BUT it is the Japanese that mastered and perfected it.  I cannot agree more because some of my favourite happen to be in japanese pasta house.  They like them lighter, the pasta texture cooked to perfection and it is almost guaranteed there is some form of seafood in it, which I cannot live without and so does the Japanese. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Snowskin Lotus Paste Mooncake for Mid-Autumn Festival

This year, I was fortunate to be back home in Malaysia twice. The first during Chinese New Year where hubby came along, and second was during summer holidays here seeing I had a couple of weeks off work. The second time however was more of a humbling affair to see my dad. His cataract operation went horribly wrong under some unskilled eye surgeon and it was those moments where I felt its better to be beside him, giving him the moral support while trying to recover back. He is almost good now, but will take possibly few weeks more before he could drive. One of the thing I was fairly pleased about on this trip was buying some lotus paste back to Germany for baking. Infact, the snowskin ingredient itself was all readily packed neatly and all I needed to do was follow some instruction behind the packaging like how cake-mix boxes does. The verdict - superb! Snowskin are known to be quite tricky to make. You need cooked glutinous rice flour which I made last year but it tasted horrible. So, this readily packed flour, shortening and some syrup is a total blessing.

Pineapple Fried Rice & Pandan Wrapped Chicken

I have been trying for ages to get this post up, but as luck has it, something strange is going on wwith my blogger account and I simply can´t do so with standard writing feature. At the moment, I´m using HTML code to do this ...

Monday, 9 September 2013

Spicy Chicken Taco

Continuing my love for anything spicy, do blame it on the on and off chill weather!  But actual fact is, my tastebud never left homeland since returning. Hah.  Last friday night after heavy shopping in NL, I decided to open up a ready made taco dinner kit from the pantry.  If there´s anything I would remember our recent trip to London few months back, it is the taste of Wahaca London with the usage of freshest ingredient to churn out the tastiest Mexican street food I´ve ever tasted.  This is my intepretation, freshness on the plate with chopped tomatoes, chillies, lettuce, sweet corn, cheese, fresh cheese and seasoned chicken fillet.  All stuffed into taco shell that tasted just - oh-so-right for Friday night grub at home.  Oh, not to mention, serve them with some healthy salad at the side! Autumn´s heading this way, lots of people are starting to fall ill again so prevention is always better :-)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Sambal Hae Bee

Thanks to my sister´s maid Wati, who hails from Sumatera, my craving for spicy food is back.  She is such an excellent cook and I made it my mission during my last trip back to learn from her.  And learned I DID!  One of my most important lesson from her is, how to make sambal or curries appear fury RED.  I´ve experimented with dried chillies, bought the freshest and reddest looking chillies around but after sauteeing, it never seem to appear like those sold back at home by the old makciks.  I thought this is it, it must be the chilli qualities.  Until two weeks ago.  I´ve used too much onions in my sambal.  It should be more chillis and during the cooking process, don´t be afraid to add in more oil.  It worked and I´m more than please because it meant that I could get my supply of favourite sambal or curry anytime I want!  Hooray!

Here´s something sooo good which I would like to share with you all.  Some very unexpected ingredient goes into this sambal recipe and its WORTH the tweak.

Recipe :

Blend 15 fresh chillies, 4 large shallots, 2 clove garlic, 1/2 tomatoes and 250 grams soaked dried shrimps in blender with 150ml water.

Heat up 4 tablespoon of sunflower cooking oil in a deep pot.  Pour the sambal paste in.  Tear 12 pieces of kaffir lime leaf in.  Mix well.

Add 3 tablespoons of Gula Melaka to sweeten.  No salt is needed as the Dried Shrimps are already salty.

Add 3 tablespoon of sunflower oil.  Sautee them for 5 - 10 minutes.  I personally like them a bit dry so I sautee them for 10 minutes, but do make sure it does not get burn.  For those of you whom likes it wet, you can stop at 5 minutes.

Once its done, store them in air tight container and keep them in the fridge.  Spoon out to eat as needed.  I was told by Wati that this keeps for 6 months in the fridge!  Not sure about the six months thing but I can assure you it would not last that long!

Curry Potato Bun for Merdeka Day

It was Malaysia´s Independence Day on 31 Augusty but it was eerily a low profile day among my Malaysian contact in FB.  Not many people wished Happy Merdeka like how it use too.  There weren´t that many photos of gatherings to celebrate this special day too, which I find very strange because Malaysians are known to grab every opportunity to meet up and eat! But there wasn´t any at all.  But since moving here, I have made it a point to cook or bake something Malaysian whenever there is an occassion related to my birth home.  You can call it homesick or simply, a foodie at heart - whichever.  

This year, I´ve decided to bake a batch of Curry Potato Bun.  But with a little tweak.  Actually its more laziness on my part where I simply grabbed the nearest baking book available and started searching for bun recipe.  I ended up making dinner roll bun dough instead of those fluffy bun bread to go with this roll, so its a tad tougher to chew on really, as one know dinner roll are meant to be like that, or are to be eaten as a dip for ones soup.  The filling of curry potato is fabulous though.  Now that I´ve refilled my spice jars with a new batch of spices - mostly with asian spices I´ve carted home this year, it is something I have been wanting to do for a while but had put them aside till recently.  Well, better late than never!

The recipe makes 16 bun.  After a good bake in the oven for 20 minutes, munching on them couldn´t be more eventful. Malaysia had came a long way since getting independence from the English.  Happy Belated Merdeka everyone!  But, its a long road still to true independence so I do wish her a good journey to where she is suppose to head.

This is an excerp of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the father of independence. And here´s what he said ...

“At this solemn moment, therefore, I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new
Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice

and liberty – a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world. "

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Livingroom Project!

When I was away, hubby sneakily painted our livingroom.  Not that I´m complaining because this livingroom project is long, longgg overdue.  The wooden ceiling, though captivated me when I first saw it many years ago, it came in its original state which is orangey wood colour.  Not that it ain´t nice.  It just felt mismatched with our taste in modern home furnishing and orange wood basically lean towards country style.  And so, I have been hinting to hubby for the past year that it would be lovely to give it a fresh look, you know, just to jive in the whole concept.  And he did!  Its now painted white and boy, it actually opened up the livingroom so much that it just felt so much more airier and bigger!  Even hubby noticed the difference!  One side of the wall is painted platimum grey too, and wow wow.  Its amazing that a simple paint job can transform the look of a place so much.  Now that we´ve done with the wall, we will be moving on to storage next.  Our entertainment system has been repositioned to the other end of the room, somehting which hubby detest in the past because he felt that it would cramped the livingroom, but he was wrong again.  In his own words, he cannot believe how much space we´ve got just by repositioning some furniture pieces! Hah!  So yeah, I am the creative one in this marriage, and he is the logical one really, so from now on ... anything to do with imagination and creativity for the house is under my belt :-D Which I gladly do.

More to come!