November 25, 2013

Look who's back.

It's November 2013, and I still have no idea how to fix my blog alignment, whatever its name is. That's one of the reason why I went MIA for last few months. Don't get me wrong. I love this space, but tiny little thing like this seldom put my mood off. Let's not talk about changing platform, cause that, for sure, will bring more headaches. Can we just pretend that all pictures are aligned with this paragraph. #eyesore

Anyway, these are some pix that I managed to snap last week. Let just ignore the bok choy. I did not eat them with my burger. I just love the picture so much that I've decided to include it together in this entry. Non-affiliated with the burger.

I merely have mood for my dslr nowadays. IG is much more fun. But of course, you can't compare them both. Doing so is just like trying to compare apples and oranges. But iphone camera... they are just too easy to use. And VSCOcam make everything looks so pretty, of course in that tiny IG square-format.

But I guess I'm back now... nevertheless. Trust me, I'll make time for this space. I'm not going to shut it down, for sure.

Will write more soon. :) 

July 10, 2013

July 6, 2013

Claypot Chicken Rice with Mushroom & Salted Fish

At a first glance, this dish may seems like a lot of work. It isn't. The whole prep works and cooking took about 45 mins or less. A perfect, simple weeknight dinner perhaps. I found some tenggiri salted fish at the wet market today. I bought two, which I later regret. The towkay uncle told me that they are rather rare during this unpredictable weather. 'Banyak tak jadi'. And I bought two. Sobs. I only nodded to him as if I really understand him. He later told me that the best place to keep this fish is in your freezer. Yes, in your freezer. Not in your fridge, not under your kitchen sink, or inside your onion's basket. Guilty as charged. To me, the dish won't be the same without the salted fish. I personally think that the star of the dish belongs to the salted fish, rather than to the chicken or mushroom itself. (Claypot salted fish rice with chicken and mushroom?) The subtle fragrant (oh the smell)of the salted fish, camouflage in between the rice grains, bind the wholly things inside the bowl. Make sure you get these seasonally rare gems beforehand.

Claypot Chicken Rice with Mushroom & Salted Fish
(Loosely adapted from Noobcook & mycookinghut)

1/2 fresh chicken
2-3 garlics
1 cup of rice
1 cup of chicken stock
A few stalk of scallions
A small piece of salted fish, chopped
A small knob of ginger-julienne
A small piece of ginger torch flower bud -chopped (optional)
A handful of dried shitake mushroom-soak in warm water, reserve the soaking water
cooking oil, as needed

1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp of sweet soy sauce
1/2 tsp honey/brown sugar

1. Marinade chicken pieces for 1 hour or so.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and sautéed the garlic and ginger. Add in the mushroom and let it fragrant.  Stir-fry marinated chicken meat for 1 minute. Put aside.
3. Add the washed rice together with the salted fish into the pot.
4. Cook the rice with 1 cup of chicken stock+ some water used to soak the mushroom.
5. Cover claypot with lid. Simmer the rice until it is almost cooked, about 10 minutes.
6. Spread the chicken mixture all over the rice.
7. Cover the claypot and simmer for another 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

July 3, 2013

North, East & South

“Reaching Up” Mural, Cannon Street, George Town, Penang
Travelling has never feel any safer.
Ben's Vintage Toy Museum, Penang
Old mosque in Pekan, Pahang
Teluk Chempedak, Kuantan, Pahang. 

Early-July. And the new school term has finally begun. We were finally home after three weeks escape to the North, East, and South of Malaysia. It was merely a vacation, more like a tag-along trip (visiting relatives, husband's client's meeting plus, etc) with my parents, but boy I/we had a whole lot of FUN with them. I believed that was one of the longest time I managed to spend with my parents, this year alone. Yep, the bitter part of married life- living away from parents. But then, two weeks of vacation is a par for me, else I would die of ecstasy aka pure laziness of doing nothing. I guess routine-life has finally engulfed me after years of being SAHM.

Like always, a week after my return from a so called 'vacation' would turned me into something that I, up until now, don't understand it. A post-vacation syndrome is what some people labelled it. I'm nor bored neither angry, nothing interests me, and I'm at loss over what to do next. Sleep is just a short-term solution. But slowly, it fades away like nothing ever happened. No remedy needed. 

Anyway, there's only a week left for Ramadan and I feel slightly panicky for not being aware of it earlier. I was so occupied with nothing (read: pure leisure) for the past 3 weeks, and I always felt I still got a month before Ramadan. I. was. wrong. Sigh. Time is sprinting across our life rather than tick-tocking like a normal clock does now. 

Adam will turn 4 in the next 10 days. Gubra. I dont care bout the celebration party whatsover. It make me slightly gabra to know that my son is going to be four. I got a four yrs old in my pocket people!! I feel rojak inside. Partly proud of myself for raising him this far, sad for he's not going to be my little guy anymore, happy as he is what he is now, and excited for what else can he put in his plate in the near future. I love him. My little man has got his own mind and saying nowadays, so I have to be very careful on how am I behaving towards other people around me, and not to forget the way I talk- bottom-line, the way I live my life. There were lot of things I wished I didn't do back then, but we would not be in this state of life if it's not for those mistakes we made on the past. Kan?

So these are some of the photos which I've captured with my iPhone during our trip to Penang, Kuantan, KL and Melaka. :) Cheers! 
Cannon Street, Penang.
“Boy on a Bike” Mural, Ah Quee Street, George Town, Penang
Little India, Penang
Ben's Vintage Toy Museum, Penang
Telok Chempedak, Kuantan, Pahang.
Jam as usual in KL.
I love this pic even-though it's a bit blur. (Little India, Penang)

Dead Hearts

My favorite track at the moment.
Have you guys watch this movie yet? 

May 27, 2013

Spinach-Basil Pesto Penne

Pesto, as a rule, can be made from anything that consists of leafy greens, nuts, cheese, garlic, and olive oil. It is something I would  have on days when bolognese, carbonara even olio suddenly sound complicated or on days when I could not be bothered to cook at all. Of course, there are thousand of different ways to substitute the ingredients. It all depends on your creativity in the kitchen. The leafy green, nuts and cheese are the variables. However, if you are a first timer, sticking to a classic pesto ingredients is a must: basil, pine nuts, parmesan, salt, pepper, olive oil. 

All you need is a pestle and mortar.  Optionally, you may need a pan to toast the nuts. This is only if you want to preserve the oil from nuts, which gives you the creaminess rather than the nuttiness* taste. 

You can opt for a food processor, which by the way  does not make you a cheater. From what I have read, different techniques (chopping, bruising, crushing, etc) would produce different pesto-taste. Or if you are not in any particular rush, try chopping. It is said that it will single out each taste of every ingredient in the sauce. I'd love to try this method one of these days. Lastly, whichever method  you choose, please avoid using a blender. You do not want to end up with a smoothie. #ggs lol

Spinach-Basil Pesto Pasta
1 handful of basil
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful of pine nuts-slightly toasted
1 garlic or more if you like it to be garlicky
Salt & Pepper
Lemon juice (optional)
1 handful of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Extra virgin olive oil

*Start by slightly toast the nuts in the pans or oven.
Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar.
Add the pine nuts to the mixture and pound again. Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.
Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it's not essential. 

May 17, 2013

Custard Chiffon Cake

Happy happy Friday peeps. I sincerely apologise for the silence. The whirlwind aftermaths of the general election had me hooked on all sorts of medias; FB, Twitter, TV, and so on. I'm no more near the election news now. The outcomes of the election, to me, showed how much the other half of the voters want that change to happen. No matter which party governs the country, let's just open up your eyes, mind and heart and make that change happen. The support will always be given to those who walk the talk. So walk the talk. Frankly, I'm a bit unpleased with some of the election outcomes, but life goes on. 

I went Malacca on Friday, and arrived home on Monday, the day after the general election. It was my first time travelling without both Adam & Husband. Nope, my second one. But that was several years ago. It felt different this time. A whole lot of different. The journey felt... weird without his voice asking me this and that. Without his big voice singing and zikir-ing. A very quiet journey I'd say. And to make it weirder, I managed to finish the whole book "An Old Palace in the Village" in few hours time. I rarely finish any book these days- But most of that time goes to Adam and I'm indeed lucky. ;)

Next, photos in this entry. Honestly, I am a bit unhappy with it. Well, you know how the weather behaves lately. Sunny in the morning, and in just a blink of an eye, it changes! I took the "prep" photo (before the baking happened) at 11 am in the morning, and the cake was ready to be shoot at 2pm, you know, this kind of cake needs some time to cool down. The prep photos look good to me. But by the time I wanted to shoot the cake, the weather had turned gloomy. I wanted to use the flash but the thought of setting it up stopped me. Plus, I have no idea where my husband keep it. And that brought me to the ISO, my last resort. Sigh. Darling husband, where did you keep that flash? 

Now, to the cake. The recipe is from "Monday Morning Cooking Club" cookbook. I first discovered this cake almost a year ago through my Facebook timeline. It directed me to this touching video of Merelyn, making her mom's recipe, Custard Chiffon Cake. I was totally moved by Merelyn's story, and the cake... it was lovely. It's JUST a simple yellow cake, with a nice custardy scent. I don't know what, but the simplicity of this cake kindda WOW-ed me. It ranked right on top in my favorite cake list, to date. It's a big cake for the three of us, but poof, it's gone easily in less than a day. We had it for tea and keep the half chunk of it for breakfast. My picky Adam had more than two big slices, and that is enough to show you guys how great this cake is. :)

The recipe, adapted from MMCC cookbook. 

175g self raising flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
35g (1/4 teaspoon) custard powder
6 large eggs, separated
345g (11/2 cup) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80ml (1/3 cup) extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
170ml (2/3 cup) warm water

1. Preheat oven to 180C. You will need an ungreased chiffon cake tin (not a non stick one as well). Do NOT grease it.
2. Sift the flour,1 teaspoon of cream of tartar and custard powder three times to ensure they are fully combined.
3. In an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks with 230g( 1 cup) of sugar until pale and creamy, then add the vanilla extract.Pour the oil and warm water into a jug. While the yolks are still whisking on low speed, add the flour mixture and the oil & water at the same time, whisking until just incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the remaining sugar & remaining cream of tartar and continue to whisk until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Very carefully fold the batter into the egg whites with a metal spoon until just incorporated.
5.Pour mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 1hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into cake.- I baked it for 1 hour and 10 mins. (Note to self, reduce the oven temp to avoid the cracks)
6. After removing the cake from the oven, immediately invert it to cool by balancing the middle funnel onto a bottle neck. It is important for the cake to be inverted and suspended upside down until it is cool to stop it from collapsing.

P/s: The comment box is not working and I'm doing my best to fix it- FIXED! :)

April 30, 2013

Raspberry Vanilla Ice-Cream Cake

This is dessert at its very best. It is so simple, you could whip it with a blindfold on. Seriously, why use your oven during this unbearable hot days. Try this and you'll agree with me. 

You could switch raspberry to strawberry, or any other berries, if you want. Frozen raspberries are so scarce we don't even have one at our local store here. I was looking for them since last Dec. But thankfully, the fresh ones seem to be breeding in the shopping rack again. The cheapest I could get is at 5.99 dollar a punnet. Isk.

Anyway, this dessert definitely has a winning taste. It's unbelievably less sweet than I thought it would be. The raspberry's tangy flavour has acted brilliantly. Love, love, love it. 

I can't help's a perfect dessert..  :) 

Raspberry Vanilla Ice-Cream Cake
(Resource: Martha Stewart)

1 loaf pound cake, sliced horizontally into thirds- I sliced them thinly
1 1/2 cups raspberries (6 ounces)-
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
Confectioners' sugar, for serving

1. Place bottom layer of cake on a large piece of foil or in a loaf pan of equal size. Sprinkle half the raspberries over cake, spread evenly with half the ice cream, and top with another cake layer. Repeat with remaining raspberries, ice cream, and cake.

2. Wrap with foil and freeze at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove cake from freezer about 30 minutes before serving. Serve dusted with confectioners' sugar.

RC Note: It's important to bring the cake out of freezer half an hour before you serve it. Or you gonna end up like my cake in above pics. See how messy it was. It takes some times for it to soften enough to cut. Trust me, it's definitely well worth the wait. ;)

Happy voting to all Malaysian! :)