Monday, 30 June 2008


The G household love eating Vietnamese food, and our favourite restaurant is this tiny place in O’Connor, ACT called TuDo Vietnamese Restaurant. My son’s favourite dish is their Ginger Squid (I’ll post my version soon). I can honestly say that TuDo is Canberra’s best Vietnamese restaurant. They make a really mean Vietnamese caramelised pork…..and if I may say so, I think mine ain’t that bad either. This is how I made it. You may substitute the pork with beef.

1 kg pork – sliced thinly (I used leg pork)
2 large onions – sliced about ½ cm thick
50 g caster sugar*
50 g brown sugar*
175 ml water*
40 ml Nuoc Cham sauce (see recipe HERE)
20 ml lime juice
½ tsp salt
2 red chillies – de-seeded and sliced finely
½ tsp chinese five spice powder
3 cloves garlic – minced
Oil for frying
2 spring onion – sliced finely at an angle
Crushed peanuts – optional

Heat oil in work and fry the pork in batches until brown. Repeat process and set aside. Turn off the heat and set the wok aside (no need to wash, we will be using it again).

In a saucepan, make the caramel sauce by boiling together *, stirring together constantly with a whisk, until the liquid turns golden. On low heat, carefully add the Nuoc Cham sauce and the lime juice. Stir to mix.

Heat the wok again and fry the garlic and onions until the onions are transparent. Add in the pork and mix well.

Add in the chilli, 5 spice powder, salt and the caramel sauce. Mix well and cook for 1 min. Transfer to dish and garnish with spring onion and peanuts. Serve with rice, vegetables and NUOC CHAM sauce.


1 bunch chinese vegetables – finely sliced (I used Choy Sum today)
2 tbsp veg oil
2 garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 egg lightly beaten with a splash of fish sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and fry garlic for 30 secs. Add the vegetables and fry until cooked (2 to 3 mins).

Make a well in the centre and add in the egg. Stir through the vegetable. Add the fish sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice as an accompaniment to a meat/seafood dish.


70 g palm sugar
½ cup boiling water
¼ cup fish sauce
1 tbsp white rice vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
3 bird’s eye chilli – finely chopped
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

Put the sugar in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it, stirring until completely dissolved. Add all other ingredients, stir well and use as dipping sauce for spring rolls or in dishes such as CARAMELISED PORK.


It's Monday and what better way to start the week than with some household tips from Margaret Fulton to get we working and stay-at-home-mums (SAHM) through the week. I especially like the response from the working mums to Maggie's tips. Quite witty, if I may say. See if you agree!

Margaret Fulton's way:
Stuff miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice-cream drips.

The Working Mum's way: Just suck the ice-cream out of the bottom of the cone for Pete's sake. You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it anyway!!

Margaret Fulton's way:
To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

Working Mum's way:
Buy a packet of DEB (packaged mashed potatoes) and keep it in the cupboard for up to a year.

Margaret Fulton's way:
When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking tin, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

Working Mum's way:
Woolworths sell cakes. They even do decorated versions.

Margaret Fulton's way: If you accidentally over salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a potato slice.

Working Mum's way:
If you over salt a dish while you are cooking, tough! Recite the working Mum's motto: 'I made it and you will eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes!'

Margaret Fulton's:
Wrap celery in aluminium foil when putting it in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

Working Mum's:
It could keep forever. Who eats it??

Margaret Fulton's way:
Cure for headaches. Take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

Working Mum's way:
Cure for headaches. Take a lime, cut it in half and drop it in a double vodka or gin. Drink the vodka/gin. You might still have the headache, but you won't care!


Margaret Fulton's way:
Freeze leftover wine into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Working Mum's way:
Left over wine??? HELLO!!!????

Sunday, 29 June 2008


Today’s offering is a pork roast from Mr G. To be honest, I don’t cook western style roast in my home because Mr G does such a good job that it does not merit me doing it. Another thing to his credit is that his crackling is always so crunchy! This is how he makes his roast.

2 kg pork shoulder – de-boned and skin left intact. Score the skin, i.e. cut shallow slits on the skin, about 2 cm apart
Coarse sea salt
4 cloves garlic – cut into thick wedges

1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic – minced
1 onion – minced
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Salt and coarse ground black pepper – to taste
2 tbsp or more of port or make some garlic water from 1 to 2 cloves grated garlic, mixed in 2 tbsp water

Mix all stuffing ingredients, except port/garlic water in a bowl. Gradually add port/garlic water to the dry ingredients until it holds together.

Fill the pork’s bone cavity evenly with the stuffing mixture. Tie with kitchen twine.

Insert the garlic wedges randomly in the slits, by pushing it in with a small pointy paring knife. Rub the pork skin with some cooking oil and then with the coarse salt (about 1 to2 tbsp). This helps the salt adhere.

Put about 2 cm oil and 1 cup water in a roasting pan, with a roasting rack sitting in the middle of the pan. Place the pork on the roasting rack, and insert it into the middle shelf of the oven. Roast at 180°c for 1 hour.

At the one hour mark, check to see if the skin is crisping. If it is crispy, cover with foil and turn down the oven to 160°c. At this stage, add your ‘hard’ vegetables (carrot, potatoes or pumpkin) to tray. Around the 20 to 30 min mark, turn your vegetables over. Cook for around 20 to 30 mins or until vegetables are brown and meat is cooked. The meat is cooked when the juices (if pricked with a roasting fork) run clear.

Lift meat and leave to rest for 10 mins. Lift vegetables out of the pan into a platter lined with kitchen absorbent paper. Keep warm.

Whilst meat is resting, make the gravy (recipe HERE), and serve the pork with the roasted vegetables or other vegetables such as peas, cauliflower or brussel sprouts along with cheese sauce (recipe HERE).


Pan juices from roast
1 clove garlic – grated
1 cup water
3 tbsp Gravox – Supreme variety

Pour out all the oil from the roasting pan into a container (can be used for future roasts) and place one corner of the pan on the stove. This makes it easier to cook the gravy.

Mix the garlic into the water and add in the Gravox. Turn on the heat and pour this solution into the roasting pan. Whilst stirring the gravy, try to scrape all the juices from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and continue stirring until gravy thickens. Remove from heat and serve with roast.


2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp parmesan cheese

Melt butter in saucepan. Remove from heat and add the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg and blend until smooth. Return to heat and stir over medium heat for 1 minute.

Gradually add milk, stirring continuously to maintain smooth consistency. Continue stirring until sauce starts to bubble and thicken.

Reduce heat and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted. Serve with vegetables or roasts such as pork or chicken.

Saturday, 28 June 2008


Absolutely scrumptious. The texture is like a very, very light sponge cake. I am going to try to substitute the lemon with lime next time. I’ll let you know how that version goes.

Ingredients (makes 18 medium muffins)
375 g self raising flour
125 g caster sugar
200 g white chocolate – chopped
2 eggs
375 ml milk
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
160 g butter - melted
45 g flaked almonds

Preheat oven to hot (210°c). Either brush muffin tin with butter or line it with paper cups.

Sift flour into a large bowl, stir in the sugar and chocolate and make a well in the centre.

Whisk the eggs, milk and lemon rind together in a jug and pour into the flour well. Add in the butter and stir with a METAL spoon until the mixture is just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX – The mixture should be lumpy.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin about ¾ full. Sprinkle the almond flakes on top and gently press into the mixture.

Bake for about 15 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool in tin for 5 mins before lifting out onto a wire rack to cool.


More pictures of Chlorophytums (Spider Plants). As you can see, they are very easy to grow. I propogated all the plants in the picture from one main plant. It's that simple and it is a cheap and easy way to dress up an empty space (in the above instance, a window ledge).

Friday, 27 June 2008


Having Char Kuey Teow on the weekends used to be a routine in the G household. It’s easy to cook but preparation can be a killer (that’s where Mr G comes in handy to tail the bean sprouts). How you cook your Char Kuey Teow is up to you but the most famous version is the Penang style Char Kuey Teow, which is usually made with ground chillies, cockles (Hum in Hokkien) and Chinese Sausage (Lup Cheong). I don’t put cockles in mine because one, you can’t get them here and two, nobody likes it in my household. I used to find it quite amusing when Mr G used to order Char Kuey Teow in Penang, in his anglo accent….. “sehtu chair kueh ti ow, no hum or lep chong please”……meaning ‘one Char Kuey Teow with no cockles or chinese sausage please”. I am surprised that the char kuey teow uncle (Asians call anyone that is older than them, uncle or auntie, or grandpa or grandma as a sign of respect…..we therefore have plenty of non blood relatives floating around the country!) actually understood him!

Anyway, did you know:
Char kway teow or char kuey teow literally means "fried flat noodles"? It is a VERY popular noodle dish in Malaysia and Singapore and it is made from flat rice noodles, approximately 1 cm or slightly narrower in width, fried over very high heat with light and dark soy sauce, chilli, prawns, cockles, egg, bean sprouts and Chinese chives. Sometimes slices of Chinese sausage and fish cake are added. It is fried in pork fat, with crisp croutons of pork lard, which give it its characteristic taste.

Char kway teow has a reputation of being unhealthy due to its fat content. However, when the dish was first invented, it was mainly served to labourers. The high fat content and low cost of the dish made it attractive to these people as it was a cheap source of energy and nutrients. When the dish was first served, it was often sold by fishermen, farmers and cockle-gatherers who doubled as char kway teow sellers in the evening to supplement their income. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

My version of Char Kuey Teow is as follows.

Ingredients (serves 3 to 4)
1 kg packet fresh flat rice noodles – prick the packet all over, unopened, with a fork and heat in the microwave on high for 3 mins to heat and soften the noodles
Handful of Bean sprouts – tailed…sorry but untailed bean sprouts look so ugly!
Bunch of Chinese chives – cut into equal 4 cm lengths and divide into 4 portions
100 g of long dried chillies – desseded and soaked in boiling water*
Small slice of belacan – toasted in the oven or over open flame until slightly dark (Beware, it may stick out your kitchen!) – optional*
Green prawns – peeled but head and tail left intact – around 4 or more per person
1 fish cake – sliced thinly – divide into 4 portions
1 large chicken breast – sliced thinly (I put this in lieu of the Chinese sausage – you may want to put it instead) – divide into 4 portions
½ head garlic – minced
Light soy sauce, Dark soy sauce and caramel soy sauce
Vegetable oil or rendered pork fat oil
Note: You may substitute * with Galiko or John West minced chilli

Method – individual serve
Grind chillies and belacan in minimal amount of boiled water. Set aside.

Heat oil in a wok and fry 1 tsp garlic and 1 to 2 tbsp chilli paste. How much chilli paste you put is according to individual taste. When I cook for the younger kids, I omit this altogether.

Cook for 30 secs and add chicken. Cook for 1 min and add in prawns and fish cake. Cook for a further 1 min.

Add in a large handful of noodles (or enough for 1 serve), around 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp dark soy sauce and 1 tsp caramel soy sauce. Mix well and add in sprouts and chives, fry for about 30 secs. Make a well in the wok and add a tsp of oil. Crack an egg in the well and cover with the noodles, blend the egg through the noodles, taking care not to over mix as you don’t want the eggs to be overly scrambled in the dish.

Remove, serve it to the first lucky person (I usually work from the youngest getting served first, to the oldest however I am always the last one as I have to cook it!). Repeat process.

Note: you could fry the noodles all together up to the egg stage – then cook it in individual portions.

Note: Ground chilli will last up to one week in fridge or freeze in individual portions for future use. If in Malaysia/Singapore, use chilli boh.

Thursday, 26 June 2008


Something easy for during the week. Real comfort food for this cold weather too. I thought I was going to be blown off my scooter today! How windy was it in Canberra today??!

Ingredients – for 6 to 8
Fresh pasta – I used fresh San Remo RAVIOLI
12 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
500g fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 large onions – diced finely
4 garlic cloves – grated
½ cup light chicken stock or water
4 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly sauté bacon over medium-high heat. Transfer the bacon onto paper towels to drain. Pour off all but about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the drippings.

Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the pan. Sauté over medium-high heat until mushrooms are tender, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup stock/water to the pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat.

Whisk egg yolks and cream in small bowl until blended. Add blended cream mixture and ¾ cup Parmesan cheese to the mushroom mixture.

Cook until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer pasta to serving bowl/s and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Serve with salad and/or GARLIC BREAD.


Really easy to make. Just get some baguettes from your local deli….the rest of the ingredients are probably in your fridge and pantry already! Enjoy with pasta (see my BACON AND MUSHROOM CARBONARA SAUCE WITH RAVIOLI). If all fails, the bread is readily available from the refrigerated section of your supermarket’s deli (not as nice though and there is no sense of satisfaction, is there???).

1 Baguette from your baker or supermarket
175g butter
8 cloves garlic – finely minced or crushed (depending on how you like you garlic’s texture on the bread)
3 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 230°C.

Melt the butter in the microwave (do it in 10 sec burst), add in the garlic and chopped parsley.

Cut the baguette in half horizontally and brush the melted garlic butter generously over the CUT sides.

Put on a baking tray and place in the hot oven for 4 to 5 mins, CUT SIDES UP or until toasted and golden brown.

TIP: You can make extra bread and freeze it for future use. Brush the bread with the garlic butter and freeze. I recommend you place a strip of plastic in the middle before freezing. Do not thaw out, put it straight into the oven and cook heat until golden.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Saw this carrot cake on BESTRECIPES. Nice and Light. Try it.

185g butter
1 ½ cups caster sugar
3 eggs
2 cups grated carrot
¾ cup walnuts
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup self-raising flour
1 ½ tsp mixed spice

60g cream cheese
30g butter
1 ½ cups icing sugar

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat eggs one at a time until well mixed.

Stir in carrots and walnuts. Sift in remaining dry ingredients.

Pour into greased tin and bake for about 1 hour at 180˚c. Cool, ice and serve.

Icing – Beat the cream and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. When cake has cooled, ice it and serve.


Last weekend I saw a really awesome Korean horror movie. When it comes to the spate of horror movie offerings in the recent years, my opinion is unshakeable – the Orientals are making better horror movies than the West (mind you I am not saying that Hollywood movies aren’t great….it’s just that I think Asians, with all our superstitious have come up with some really, really novel stories…a far cry from the ‘flying ghosts’ you used to see in Chinese movies!).

Take for example ‘The Ring’. It is undisputed that the Japanese version fares much better than the Naomi Watt movie. Then there are Chinese movies like ‘The Eye’, Thai movies such as ‘Nang Nak’ and ‘Shutter’ and Singapore with it’s offering entitled ‘The Maid’ (I will post a blog on this soon). Then there is ‘A tale of two sisters’.

A Tale of Two Sisters (장화, 홍련 Janghwa, Hongryeon literally 'Rose Flower, Red Lotus') is a 2003 South Korean psychological horror film. It was directed by Kim Ji-woon and is both the highest-grossing Korean horror film and the first to be screened in American theatres.
The film is inspired by a Joseon Dynasty folktale entitled "Janghwa Hongreyon-jon", which has been adapted to film several times. An American remake called The Uninvited starring Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel as the sisters is slated for a 2009 release date. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

You are intrigued from the start and because you know it is a horror movie, you are forever on your guard but the scary bits arrive when you least expect it. That for me adds to the appeal. You feel the love that the sisters’ share and you share their hatred for their step mother and anger towards their father. Horror aside, it actually is a really good movie and I recommend that you watch this….but if you are faint hearted, preferably with someone who is not easily ‘disturbed’ with supernatural themes. It is also a bit of a tear jerker, so have the hankies handy. And watch out for that closet!???

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


This is one way I make my lamb. I will share other versions later. Whenever I cook Asian dishes, Mr G always looks on and make me write the recipes. So today I present VG’s Lamb Curry recipe but cooked by Mr G. Here tis’.

1 kg lamb or mutton – cubed. FYI, Malaysians call goat meat mutton. Here in Australia it is older sheep (over two years old)!
10 shallots – sliced thinly (or substitute with 2 to 3 onions)
2 inches ginger*
6 cloves garlic*
2 sprigs curry leave
1 can coconut milk
5 heaped tbsp Malaysian style meat curry powder (available at Asian grocers)
Salt to taste
2 cinnamon sticks#
4 cloves#
4 whole star anise#
2 big potatoes – quartered
2 tbsp oil or ghee/clarified butter

Grind * and coat the cubed meat. Set aside for half an hour.

Heat oil/ghee and fry # for 30 secs. Add in curry leaves and the onions. Cook for 2 mins.

Add in curry powder and 1 cup water and cook on medium heat until the oil releases in the paste. This may take up to/more than 5 mins.

Add in meat and coat well and cook until the meat changes colour. Add in coconut milk and salt and simmer until meat is cooked and the gravy has thickened. Half way through this process, add in the potatoes.

Dish and serve hot with rice, Indian breads (such as CHAPATTIS or naan) or crusty bread.


1 can mackerel (or sardine) in tomato sauce
1 large onion – diced
4 cloves garlic – diced
1 sprig curry leaves
3 heaped tbsp (or more) Malaysian fish curry powder/masala (I use either Baba or Parrot Brand). I don’t recommend Clive!
½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
2 dried tamarind pieces (asam keping)
1 large tomato – diced
2 potatoes – quartered and sliced1
eggplant – quartered and sliced (optional). There were still some eggplants in the garden, hence the reason I used it.
Salt to taste
Coriander to garnish
2 tbsp veg oil

De-bone the fish and set aside. Make sure you don’t throw the sauce away.

Heat oil in wok and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Then add onions and garlic. When translucent, add in curry powder (and chilli powder if using), tamarind and a cup of water.

Cook until oil seeps through the curry paste. Then add in the potatoes, another cup of water and cook till potatoes are half cooked. At this stage, add in eggplant if using. Adjust water if needed.

Cook till veg is ready, then add in the fish, the sauce from the tin and diced tomatoes. Make sure that you fold the fish gently into the paste as you don’t want the fish to disintegrate. Add salt to taste and lift. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve hot.


The portions are appropriates only. What you need to do is to ensure that the dough is not too soft that it sticks to your hands (if this happens, add more flour to your dough) or too hard that when you roll it the sides crack or you bread does not rise when you cook it on the griddle/frying pan. Add more water in this instance to make it more pliable.

4 cups Atta (Indian stone milled whole wheat) flour. If unavailable, use any whole wheat flour.
1/2 cup of Atta for rolling and dusting – place on counter where rolling the chapattis or on a large plate
Sufficient water to knead the flour
3 tbsp veg oil or ghee or butter
Tea towels x 2
Extra ghee or butter to brush cooked bread (don’t use oil here)

Put flour in a large deep bowl. Make a well and add in oil or ghee. Pouring in about ½ cup of water at a time, knead the flour into pliable dough.

When reaching the desired consistency, cover the dough with a dry tea towel and leave aside for 10 to 20 mins. Then knead the dough again, make into balls slightly larger than the size of a golf ball.

Heat pan/griddle on low heat.

Flatten the chapatti ball slightly in the loose flour, roll out with a rolling pin into the size of a bread plate and shake off excess flour.Place the bread on the pan and when the dough changes colour (around 15 to 20 secs), turn the bread over. After about 15 secs, using a clean tea towel, gently press the edges of the bread in circular motions. At this stage the opposite ends from where you are pressing should start to rise. Don’t press the bread at this stage in the middle. Turn over the bread (there should be brown cooked spots on the bread), press in the middle for 5 secs and repeat the previous process (pressing the sides only) until all edges have been pressed and the bread is cooked.

Put on a plate lined with another clean tea towel. Spread ½ tsp butter or ghee all over the bread, on one side only, taking special care to brush the outer edges. Cover with the tea towel to maintain warmness. Repeat process until dough is finished or desired amounts are achieved. Eat whilst still hot.

Monday, 23 June 2008


This is my take of cooking with meatballs and chinese plum sauce. I use either Lee Kum Kee or Tung Chun brand. An easy meal to prepare during the week (providing you have the meatballs handy). Meatball recipe available HERE or you may buy it ready made from the supermarket. You can substitute the meatballs with meat or seafood or use sliced Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu).

500g meatballs – if frozen, defrosted and heated in the microwave
1 large onion – sliced 1 cm thick
3 cloves garlic – minced
½ thumb size young ginger – sliced thinly in strips
1 large red chilli – sliced thinly on an angle
2 spring onions – sliced thinly on an angle
1 tsp Galiko or John West minced chilli
1/3 cup of plum sauce
1 to 1 ½ tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine or water
1 tbsp veg oil

Heat oil in wok and fry garlic and ginger until aromatic. Add in onion and fry for 30 sec.

Add in meatballs stir through ingredients and add in chilli slices and mince. Mix well and add in both the plum and soy sauces. Moisten with the rice wine or water. Mix well and finally add in the spring onion. Serve hot with plain rice.


Meatballs are handy to have in the freezer. They are good for Spaghetti Bolognese and Meatballs, handy as nibbles when guest turn up unexpectedly or to serve as bites with drinks or to convert into a sweet and sour dish or a plum sauce dish. What I normally do is either make a few batches of the meatballs and freeze them in serve size portions or I buy some ready made flame grilled chicken or beef meatballs (which are available in the frozen food aisle in either Coles or Woolworths).

To make my meatballs I use whatever meat is handy (normally pork or beef) and I usually make about 1 kg worth of mince. The recipe below is for 500g and is enough to serve 5-6 people.

PS: Sorry no picture included as I had actually cooked the meatballs into a dish (MEATBALLS WITH SPICY PLUM SAUCE) before I realised.

500g mince pork/beef
1 leek – white part sliced thickly
½ thumb size ginger – sliced thickly
1/3 cup water
2 eggs – beaten
2 tbsp chinese rice wine or chicken stock
½ tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp dark soy sauce – optional (I use this to get a darker colour for the mince)
2 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp corn flour
1 tsp chinese sesame oil
Veg oil for deep frying

Simmer the ginger and leek in water for few minutes. Allow to cool and add to the mince. Mix the mince with hands until it forms a smooth paste.

Add in the beaten eggs and rice wine and mix well. Add in the soy sauce, salt and pepper, stirring the mixture in one direction until well blended.

Add the corn flour, mix well and add in the sesame oil. Mix well again.

Heat oil in wok on moderate heat and shape the mince into balls by taking a small quantity of the mixture in one hand and by forming a fist, squeeze the mince through the opening of the index finger and thumb. Fry the meatballs in batches until all the mixture is done.

Heat oil to smoking point and refry half the meatballs until crisp and crunchy (and avoiding burning the meatballs). Repeat the process with the next batch.

Serve with dipping sauces such as soy, chilli or peanut or convert into a main meal such as Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce or try my MEATBALLS WITH SPICY PLUM SAUCE.

Sunday, 22 June 2008


This recipe is adapted from UMMI’s blogspot. I have changed the proportions of some of the ingredients to suit my taste and I have added the directions to make “Kerisik”. I have other chicken rendang recipes that I will share on my blog at a later date. I served the rendang with TURMERIC RICE and STIR FRIED CABBAGE WITH MUSTARD SEEDS.

1 chicken - cut into bite sized pieces
Cream from 1 coconut (I used 1 can of coconut cream)
100g “kerisik” (see note below) – made from 100g desiccated coconut
2 turmeric leaves – sliced thinly (if you can’t find this, omit it from the recipe)
4 kaffir lime leaves – sliced thinly
¼ cup tamarind water – from 1 heaped tbsp tamarind pulp
2 tbsp ready made rendang powder – optional
Veg oil
Salt to taste
Ingredients to be ground (#)
250g shallots or red onions
2 large heads of garlic
100g large dried chillies – deseeded and soaked in boiling water for 15 mins
1 large thumb size galangal or lengkuas
1 large thumb young ginger
3 stalks lemon grass

Heat oil in a pot and fry # until aromatic. Add in the rendang powder (if using). Cook for 10 mins.

Add in the chicken and cover with the paste. Stir well and cook for a 5 mins. Add in the coconut cream and the kerisik. Mix well. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 5 mins, covered.

Add in the tamarind water and salt and mix well, ensuring that the chicken does not come off the bone in the process. Cook uncovered to ensure evaporation. When the gravy is fairly thick, put in the lime and turmeric leaves. Mix well. Render to the desired consistency. This dish is normally served quite dry.

Serve with plain rice or yellow glutinous rice.

NOTE: Kerisik is grated fresh or desiccated coconut that has been dry fried in a frying pan on the stove or oven roasted on a tray. To make the kerisik, toast (I used desiccated) coconut in the oven at 180° C for 20 minutes. Stir it from time to time till the coconut is dark brown (not burnt) in colour.


This recipe is adapted from the Star Kuali website. Great with rendang and curries.

500g glutinous rice
3-4 pieces dried tamarind pieces (asam gelugor)
1 tbsp turmeric powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white peppercorns (I used black peppercorns)
2 pandan leaves – cut into 6 equal lengths and I used this to line the steamer, allowing some vents to be visible
1 can coconut cream
Salt to taste

Wash and soak rice in water (just enough to cover the rice) mixed with turmeric powder, dried tamarind pieces and salt overnight or at least for four to five hours.

Drain well and place the rice in a steamer with the peppercorns and pandan leaves and steam for 15 minutes.

Remove the rice from the steamer and add 1/3 of the thick coconut milk to the rice. Mix well then steam for 15 minutes. Fluff up the rice then add another 1/3 of thick coconut milk; steam for 15 minutes again. Remove from heat and fluff up rice.

Add salt to the last 1/3 portion of the coconut milk. Stir well to mix then add to the rice. Steam for five minutes then remove rice from steamer and set aside to cool before serving with rendang or curries.


Easy way to stir fry cabbage. Make sure that you don’t over cook the veg as you want it to be crunchy in texture (you also maintain more of the nutrients this way). Great with curries and rendang dishes.

½ a cabbage – sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic – minced
2 spring onions and 1 coriander plant - sliced
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Salt to taste
1 tsp chicken stock (optional)
1 tbsp veg oil

Heat oil in wok and put in mustard seeds. When it starts to pop, add in garlic and fry till aromatic.

Add in cabbage and mix until mustard seeds and garlic are evenly distributed.

Add in salt and chicken stock, mix well and add in spring onions and coriander. Serve with rice as a side dish.

Saturday, 21 June 2008


I recently finished reading “Brick Lane”, which was short-listed for the 2003 Man Booker Prize. It is written by Monica Ali, a British writer of Bangladeshi origin.

Brick Lane is named after BRICK LANE, the street at the heart of London's Bangladeshi community. The novel caused controversy within the Bangladeshi community in Britain because of what they saw as the negative portrayal of people from the Sylhet region, saying that the novel made them appear uneducated and unsophisticated. Parts of the community were opposed to plans by the filmmakers to film in the Brick Lane area. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

Brick Lane tells the story of Nazneen, who came to England from Bangladesh at young age of 17-18 for an arranged marriage to Chanu, who is over twice her age, has big plans that never eventuates and is basically a pompous and intellectual snob. He blames racism for all his misfortunes, never himself. When Nazneen arrives, she does not speak any English and her attempts to educate herself is brushed away as her husband does not see the significance of an education in her role as a house maker. Her life is one of patient submission to her fate, though she longs for her home and her sister.

Meanwhile, it also tells the story of Hasina (Nazneen’s sister) who elopes with her lover and the tragedy surrounding her life. It tells the story of other Bangladeshi migrants, and the quandary faced by first, second generation Bangladeshis and also of Nazneen’s own children.

Nazneen’s fate changes when she meets Karim. Karim is everything that Chanu is not and the two begin an affair. The affair forces Nazneen to begin the process of self discovery. In the aftermath of 9/11, and against a background of increasing racial tension, she finally makes a choice, much to the surprise of Karim, Chanu and herself!

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it. I have not seen the movie so I cannot comment on it but it got good reviews from Margaret Pomeranz (3 ½ stars) and David Stratton (3 ½ stars) (for non Aussie readers of this blog, they are one of Australia’s top movie reviewers). You can see their review HERE.


As promised, my bread pudding with an Asian twist.

1 loaf bread - the older the better - torn into small pieces - crust included
1/2 tin coconut milk (large)
1/2 tin water (use coconut milk tin measurement)
1 large tin evaporated milk (I used Carnation brand)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup SR flour (or plain flour mixed with ½ tsp baking powder)
2 large tbsp butter – softened but not melted
2 drops of rose essence (not rose water and available from Asian grocery store, especially Indian grocer)
2 large handfuls of sultanas

Preheat oven to 190c. Line a square cake tin with paper and grease with butter.

Put bread in large mixing bowl, add milks and water. Mash till smooth. It’s okay if there are still lumpy crust bits noticeable in the mixture.

Add sugar, flour and butter. Mix well. Add sultanas and essence. Adjust with extra flour or coconut milk if required.

Bake in oven for 35-40 mins. Test with skewer, making sure that the skewer is not tested through the sultanas or you may think it is still uncooked! Serve warm or cold.

Friday, 20 June 2008


I felt like baking today so I decided to make muffins and a Malaysian style bread pudding. I’ll post the recipe for the pudding tomorrow.

The muffin recipe is by Ainsley Harriot and it is really yummy. The recipe makes 8 medium sized muffins but I recommend that you make double the mixture because it won’t last long. With all muffins, make sure that you do not over mix and use a metal spoon to mix the ingredients.

I have copied Ainsley’s recipe to the letter but I made my muffins at 190°c for 25 mins. You may need to adjust your cooking time according to you oven. Also I used ordinary caster sugar and frozen raspberries [by the way they are on sale in Coles this week (Creative Gourmet Brand) if you are interested….I bought a kilo each of raspberries and blackberries for the freezer].

Ingredients - makes 8
300g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
150g golden caster sugar (I used ordinary sugar)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract (not essence – you may need to put more if using essence)
225ml milk (I heated it for 40 sec in the microwave)
50g butter, melted
100g fresh raspberries
75g chopped white chocolate (I used Nestlé white choc melts and crushed it coarsely in a mortar and pestle)

Preheat the oven to 200°c/400°f/Gas 6. Cut parchment or greaseproof paper into 8x15cm/6in circles and push, creasing the paper to fit, into a muffin tin (I used paper cups).

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Crack the egg into a separate bowl and whisk in the vanilla extract, milk and melted butter.

Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients with the raspberries and chocolate, taking care not to over-mix. Spoon the mixture into the parchment cases and bake for 30 minutes or so until well risen and just firm.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


It is freezing here in Canberra, and according to the BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY, it is currently 10°c outside. Well I can tell you that it is more like minus 10°c! All I want to do is get under the doona and curl up, so it is the ever faithful ham steaks to the rescue. Thank you Mr G. Nothing much to do except to cook your steaks in a frying pan/on the barbie/under the griller with pineapple slices, accompanied by poached or fried sunny side up egg/s, chips, grilled tomatoes or salad. Always handy for CBB days (can’t be bothered)!

Also, the smiley faces of the ham steaks always entice children to eat their meal….not only are ham steaks easy to cook, they also don’t cause fights with fussy eaters.


As promised, and to be fair to the status quo, I found something on the web on what women think about men. See if you can associate with any of these thoughts!

Mae West:
Do not marry a man to reform him. That is what reform schools are for.

Zsa Zsa Gabor:
A man is incomplete until he is married. After that, he is finished.

Gloria Steinem:
The surest way to be alone is to be married!

Ann Landers:
The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married, and the married wish to be dead.

Courtney Huston:
Okay, so God made man first, but doesn’t everyone make a rough draft before they make a masterpiece?

Catherine Aird:
If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.

Rhonda Hansome:
A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t.

Margaret Thatcher:
If you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.

The Duchess of Windsor, when asked what is the secret of a long and happy life:
Fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches.

Molly McGee:
When a husband brings his wife flowers for no reason, there’s a reason.

Kimberly Broyles:
Adam and Eve had an ideal marriage. He didn’t have to hear about all the men she could have married, and she didn’t have to hear about the way his mother cooked.

Anne Bancroft:
The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they’re too old to do it.

Lizz Winstead:
I think, therefore I’m single.

Adrienne Gusoff:
Shopping is better than sex. If you’re not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like.

Zenna Schaffer:
Give a man a fish and he has food for a day. Teach him how to fish and you can get rid of him of the entire weekend.

Rita Rudner:
I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy:
I’ve had an exciting time. I married for love and got a little money along with it.

Jill Tweedie:
Always suspect any job men willingly vacate for women.

Kathy Lette:
Why can’t women tell jokes? Because we marry them!

Maryon Pearson:
Behind every great man there is a surprised woman.

Zsa Zsa Gabor:
I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


A colleague forwarded this on today (as you can see, we had plenty done at work...he!he!). I thought it was quite amusing, so I am putting it on my blog. I have to find one on women about man and marriage and post it on my blog to be fair to us women. We aren’t all that bad, are we????

Sacha Guitry:
When a man steals your wife, there is no better revenge than to let him keep her.

Hemant Joshi:
After marriage, husband and wife become two sides of a coin; they just can't face each other, but still they stay together.

By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.

Sigmund Freud:
The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, "What does a woman want?

Henny Youngman:
"Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays."

Sam Kinison:
"I don't worry about terrorism. I was married for two years."

James Holt McGavran:
"There's a way of transferring funds that is even faster than electronic banking. It's called marriage."

Patrick Murray:
"I've had bad luck with both my wives. The first one left me, and the second one didn't."

Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming: 1. Whenever you're wrong, admit it, 2. Whenever you're right, shut up.

Henny Youngman:
You know what I did before I married? Anything I wanted to.

Rodney Dangerfield:
My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.

Milton Berle:
A good wife always forgives her husband when she's wrong.

Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy.

A man inserted an 'ad' in the classifieds: "Wife wanted". Next day he received a hundred letters. They all said the same thing: "You can have mine."

First Guy (proudly): "My wife's an angel!"
Second Guy: "You're lucky, mine's still alive."

I had some words with my wife, and she had some paragraphs with me. The most effective way to remember your wife's birthday is to forget it once.


Thank you Mamafami (and happy belated Birthday!) and Ummi for your kind words on my blog. Unfortunately, after all that praise, the G household did not produce any spectacular results in the kitchen today for two reasons – sheer laziness that was caused by gluttony at the workplace!

Today is my colleague P’s birthday. We had cake (yummy Peach Upside Down Cake - recipe to follow when S passes it on to me) and chocolate fondue. It was totally decadent and the chocolate dip was from France, courtesy of N who just returned from Paris for work, lucky fellow! Then we all went out for lunch and had Thai, followed by more cake and chocolate. I would have burst if I had to eat another full meal!

So pasta bake it was. And the kids enjoyed it. Mr G had steak instead.

What we normally do is cook the pasta bake according to the instructions on the jar but we always add more ingredients. With the chicken, we sauté fresh diced chicken meat with 2 cloves of garlic, add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and freshly cracked black pepper. The rest is according to the instructions on the jar but we add more cheese.
Serve with grilled meat, salad or crusty bread. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


We had chicken curry with STIR FRIED CHINESE CABBAGE for dinner tonight. This is a version of my chicken curry.

2 big coriander plants #
3 spring onions #
3 large red onions #
1 very large tomato #
Half a head of garlic #
Thumb size ginger #
1 chicken - cut into bite sized pieces
4 medium sized potatoes - quartered
1 large cinnamon stick *
6 cloves *
6 cardamoms *
2 sprig curry leaves *
1 tomato - cut chunky
1 large sprig coriander and 2 spring onions - sliced thinly
1/2 to 1 can coconut milk
3 heaped tablespoons Malaysian made MEAT curry powder (Parrot or Baba Brand) - can be found at Asian grocery shop. The reason I stressed meat is that there is a different curry powder blend for seafood. If you like your curry hotter, you can add more curry powder.
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tbsp veg oil

Grind together in a blender or processor all the # ingredients in a bit of water – make sure you don’t put too much water it would take a longer time to render the mixture down.

Heat oil until hot. Add spices and curry leaves (*). Then add ground ingredients (#). Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until ground spices form a paste.

Add in curry powder. Mix well. Add about 1 cup of water. Turn heat down to medium, stir constantly. Cook until oil releases from the paste and the paste is slightly dry (around 5 mins or so).

Add chicken. Coat well with paste. Cook for about 3 to 4 mins. Add about 1 cup of water and salt, and cook till chicken is nearly tender (half way through this process, put in the potatoes - you don't want your potatoes to crumble, or do you?). You may want to add more water if you like your chicken curry to be runny. Add coconut milk. This depends if you like your curry hot or mild. The more coconut milk you add, the milder it will be. Cook till chicken is tender. Before lifting, add in tomatoes. Cook for a minute. Add in coriander/spring onions.

Serve with rice or bread.

I normally have a side dish of stir fried vegtable and a cucumber/pineapple/onion salad or cucumber raita with this.
I know the process is long……but the experience is pleasurable! Happy trying!


½ of a small wombok – cut to desired size
2 cloves garlic – minced
½ cube Maggi brand ikan bilis/anchovies stock (optional or you can use chicken stock)
Water (if required)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp veg oil
Sesame oil

Heat oil in work and fry garlic until cooked. Add in wombok and mix through the garlic.

Add in salt and stock. Moisten with water if desired. Cook until veg is done. Add in a few drops of sesame oil. Serve.

Monday, 16 June 2008


I feel as if I am writing a composition for school but I love my bike and what it means to me and I would like to share and show it off to everyone, so that’s that! To me, my scooter is my stand and fight against increasing petrol prices, green house emissions and against the ACT Government for charging paid parking to only certain people and places in the ACT. It is also my answer to my mid life crisis!

I believe it is blatant discrimination that public and private sector employees should pay for parking in the city centre precincts within the ACT, be it Civic, Woden, Tuggeranong or Belconnen but those in the Parliamentary precinct and Defence establishments are exempted.

Yes, I am only getting on my high horse now because it affects me….I should have voiced an opinion sooner. But what is angering me at the moment is that I heard a rumour that the ACT government is in the process of converting the free parking at the Futsol (off Commonwealth Avenue) to paid parking because too many people are parking for free and are not using the paid areas. The cheek, I say. Although I don’t park there everyday, the parking area has been a source of convenience when I can’t (more like won’t) ride my bike; especially when it is raining or when I was getting over my flu.

Anyway, with my scooter, I don’t have to pay for parking because it is free parking for motor bikes in the ACT (actually I don't utilise any public parking because I actually have my own parking spot at work) and it costs me around AUD$6.00 to $7.00 to fill up my tank which lasts me for 6 days. I would be paying AUD$30.00 for the same amount of travel in my car.
So, I present to you my scooter… is a125cc BOLWELL. I was going to buy a REAL Bike but bikes do not have much storage space compared to a scooter. With my scooter, I could literally pack the kitchen sink in it. It is now 8 months old and I paid around AUD$4 100, including on road cost and my kit (helmet, gloves and full armoured jacket). The insurance is around AUD$19.00 a month.

My only issue with riding my bike – ACT drivers. If you think they have no regard to other car drivers, think again. Their courtesy is virtually non existent when it comes to bike riders. To be fair though, I have seen some moronic riders out there too; having no regards to road rules and speed. :(


This was tonight’s dinner, courtesy of Mr G, and adapted from Donna Hay’s recipe published in the Telegraph Sunday Magazine. Very yummy. It is going to be my lunch tomorrow too.

Ingredients – serves 4
2 tbsp olive oil
250g button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
6 chicken thighs – trimmed and chopped
¼ white wine or chicken stock
1 cup pouring cream
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 sheet puff pastry (we recommend Borg’s)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Sauté garlic and mushroom until brown (3-5 mins). Add in chicken and cook until browned (2-3 mins).

Add wine/stock, cream, salt and pepper and cook 3-5 mins until sauce is slightly reduced.

Spoon into 4 x 1 cup capacity ovenproof dishes and place on a baking tray (this will catch any spills).

Cut 4 x 11 cm circles from the pastry and place on top of the chicken mixture. Brush with egg and cook for 20 mins or until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve with salad or chips.

Sunday, 15 June 2008


I think I have written enough this past few days….so I am saving my typing energy for work tomorrow, he! he! :p

This is what we had for dinner today. Easy peasy. I served this with stir fried Choy Sum (see HERE).

Veg oil for cooking
2 to 3 chicken breast/equivalent amount in thighs if preferred - sliced or cubed to preference
Capsicum - cut into cubes (had none at home so I left it out today)
3-4 cloves garlic - minced
4 spring onions - cut 3 to 4 cm lengths
4 to 5 dried or fresh chillies - halved and deseeded (if you don't like it hot). I leave it in and it's not hot if you use the long variety of either chillies.
4 heaped tbsp Lee Kum Kee Hoisin Sauce
4 heaped tbsp Yeo's Hot Bean Paste
1 carrot (optional) sliced thinly and diagonally. You can also add snow peas if you want. I did not because I had a separate vegetable dish
Handful of cashew nuts
Dash of sesame oil
Onion (optional) - sliced thickly

Heat oil and fry chicken in batches. Remove and set aside.

Add garlic to the oil and fry for 30 secs. Add in carrot (if using). Fry for a min and add in the chicken. Mix well.

Add in the capsicum (and peas if using) and both the sauces. Mix well. Cook for a minute or two. Add cashews, spring onion (and onion). Fry for 30 secs. Add sesame oil. Turn off heat and serve with rice and stir fried mixed vegetables.

Chicken in Hoisin and Hot Bean Sauce and Stir Fried Choy Sum


I would prefer to cut this vegetable into 3-4 cm lengths to cook this but my kids are fussy veg eaters. By cutting it small, I can at least force them to eat it! You can put anything you like in the veg or nothing at all. Today I sliced some fish balls and added to the meal. I put in about half a cup of water as well. You don’t have to add any if you choose not to.

2 bunches of choy sum – cut according to personal preferences
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 onion – sliced (optional)
200g meat or seafood (I used sliced fish balls) – sliced thinly (optional)
1 tsp powdered chicken stock
Salt to taste
Water (optional)
1 tbsp veg oil

Heat wok and fry garlic (and meat if using) in the oil. Add in the sliced vegetables.

Mix well and add the chicken stock, salt and water (if using). Lift when cooked and serve with rice.


Another easy house plant to grow is the “Chlorophytum” or commonly known as the “Spider Plant”. There are so many different varieties and variations of the plant. Another good thing about this plant is that it is so easy to grow and propagate. It sends out little plantlets that you can cut off from the mother plant and just put it into some soil. It is that easy. I have propagated around 10 plants from one plant and have given numerous away to friends and neighbours. And a bonus to boot – you can get it very cheap from nurseries! To ensure a healthy growth, position in good light but away from direct sunlight; water generously in spring to autumn and sparingly in winter; and feed with liquid fertiliser spring to summer. Easy!

Well, here are the few varieties of the Spider plant that I have in my home.

PS: I made the macramé pot hangers myself. More than happy to teach anyone who is interested.


Mr G is famous for his scones and between his sister’s sylvan berry jam and the scones, they are to die for. Even his mum and sister reckon that his scones are better than theirs (please don’t make a liar of me Aunty L!). What he uses for his scones is cream instead of milk. His only complaint about his scones (but I don’t know any better so I can't vouch for it) is that it would taste even better if it was cooked on a wood stove. Sorry, but I grew up with electric or gas stoves so I don’t really know what he is talking about. But I have eaten wood fired pizzas (at Australian Pizza Kitchen in Woden, ACT) and they are tastier than ordinary pizza so I guess I can see his point here.

This is how he makes his plain scones. I will put his recipe for fruit scones when he makes it next. Happy trying!

2 cups SR Flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 cup cream (or 1 cup milk)
Extra milk for glazing

Preheat oven to 210°c.

Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add sugar and distribute well in the flour.

Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in cream to form a soft dough.

Knead lightly on a floured surface and form into a square 3 cm thick. Cut into 16 equal squares and placed on floured or baking paper lined (ungreased) baking tray.

Brush tops of scones with some milk and bake for 12 to 15 mins (you may want to check them at the 10 min mark because of oven differences).

Serve hot with butter or with jam and whipped cream.

Tip: we always have some long life cream in the pantry. During summer, I suggest you store it in the fridge.

Saturday, 14 June 2008


I blame SBS for getting me hooked on anime. A few months ago, SBS was having an anime month featuring movies by Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli. The anime that caught my attention was “Howl’s Moving Castle” (see HERE). I could not believe the detail and effort that was used to make the movie. I have to admit that Japanese stories are a bit ‘out there’ but I have to say that they are quite entertaining to say the least. To reinforce how good Miyazaki’s and Studio Ghibli’s anime are, they have won academy awards. His last win was for “Spirited Away” (see HERE).

If you want to give anime a go, I’d recommend you watch “Grave of the fire flies” (see HERE) by Isao Takahata of Studio Ghibli. See if that does not bring a tear to your eye and make you a fan! This was made in the late 80’s. Studio Ghibli only gets better.

Anyway, yesterday we watched “Princess Mononoke”, another of Hayao’s offerings. Once again, the quality was superb and this time the theme was something much more comprehendible – nature and man’s intent of destroying it and how hate can consume people’s mind and thoughts and make them irrational. I don’t want to give too much away….I’d recommend Princess Mononoke. I am definitely buying it to add to my collection! Check out the cast and the synopsis HERE.

Another movie that I will be buying for my collection (I currently have nearly 400 DVDs) is the Australian movie “Home Song Stories”. My daughter and I cried when we watched this. Mr G declined to watch this because it was too sentimental!

It tells the TRUE story of Rose, a Chinese cabaret singer in Hong Kong (played by Joan Chen) and a mother of two, as narrated by her son who wrote and directed this movie (Tony Ayres). Rose and her kids migrate to Australia in the 60’s after she marries an Australian navy sailor. You are shown the ‘demons’ that are haunting Rose and how they impact her and her children’s lives. It well acted and Joan does a great job in her role. You can check this movie out HERE.


Today’s dinner rendition is an all time Chinese favourite. There are many variations of this meal, in terms of whether the medium is battered first before cooking or not; and the type of meat or seafood that is used to cook this meal. You can use chicken, prawns, fish or pork (funny but I have not come across sweet and sour beef! Correct me if I am wrong) to make this dish. This is how I made mine.

500 g pork leg – boned
1 large (green, red or a mixture of both colours) capsicum – cubed
1 large onion – sliced thickly
1 large or 2 small carrots – halved lengthways and sliced
1-2 eggs – beaten lightly
Around 1 cup corn flour
3 cloves garlic – minced
Canned pineapple pieces – optional (I had none today so I did not put any in)
2 tbsp chinese wine
Sauce (mixed together in a bowl):
· 1/3 cup vinegar
· 1 tbsp chinese light soy sauce
· 2 tbsp sugar
· 3 tbsp tomato sauce
· 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
· 1 to 2 tsp ‘Galiko’ or ‘John West’ crushed chilli – optional
1 cup veg oil
1 tsp corn flour dissolved in 1 tbsp water – use to thicken sauce if necessary

Cut pork into 1 cm thick, beat lightly to flatten and tenderise the meat, and cut into bite sized pieces.

Dip pork pieces into egg, then coat with corn flour and deep fry in batches until pork and batter is cooked through. Lift and set aside.

Remove oil bar 2 tbsp and fry garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, add in the capsicum and fry for 1 min.

Add in the pork, mix well and moisten with some rice wine. Add in the sauce mixture and pineapple (if using). Mix well. Thicken with cornflour if required. Lift and serve hot with rice.


This is a classic breakfast food in Malaysia. It would be quite healthy if it wasn’t fried in oil. To ensure that minimal oil is absorbed, make sure that the oil is hot enough and to discard excess oil, place the char kuey on paper towels and heat in a medium oven for 10 to 15 mins. To make this, you need:

250 g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ cup warm water
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp veg oil
Veg oil to deep fry

Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add in salt and mix well. To the warm water, add in the egg and whisk well. Add in the veg oil.

Add the liquid gradually to the flour, mixing well during each addition, to form a dough. Let to rest for 10 mins.

On an oiled surface and with oiled hands, shape the dough, by pulling it, into long pieces. Then fold it into 2 to 3 pieces. Repeat the process. This makes the dough soft and pliable. Repeat a few times. Cover with a damp towel and rest the dough for 6 to 8 eight hours.

Next, place the dough on a greased surface again and roll out to 1 cm thick and 12 cm long strip.

Cut the strip into 4 cm wide sections. Place two pieces together side by side, pressing them gently together. Heat oil in a wok. Gently lift the strips by the ends and lower them into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

FYI: Malaysians like to eat this dunked in local, very sweet coffee or sliced into 2 cm pieces and eaten with rice congee/porridge. You could say that it is the Malaysian equivalent to the crouton. In fact, it taste better than the crouton and can be used in soups such as French Onion.

You can find this goodie in Asian shops throughout Canberra such as the "Hub" and "Saigon Asian Groceries" in Dickson.