Saturday, 30 August 2008


I was recently contacted by NOTEBOOK, a well known Australian lifestyle magazine, to put up a post on curbing food wastage and any handy tips I may have (see its September edition article on FOOD WASTE). In support of this campaign, I will be dedicating this week’s postings on stopping food waste. My main focus will be on FRUITS.

I am sure that we have all been guilty of wasting food one way or another, usually unintendedly. I know I have been barred from going food shopping by Mr G as I always tend to buy more than we need, usually on those ‘I am gonna make this one day and therefore may need this item’ but the dish never eventuates and the item gets commissioned to the bin because the used by date has expired.

Anyway, I have developed my own ‘pantry system’ to ensure that this does not happen in my household anymore. Yes it may seem tedious, but it takes only 5 minutes of your time. Every month, I check the dates on the items in my pantry and make sure that those items that are nearing its expiration date are placed on the front row. Not only will you save unnecessary wastage, you will also save money and this could also help you in your weekly meal planning and grocery shopping.

During the summer seasons, when we and the neighbours (they make a good source of offloading any extra food, especially if they have teenagers!) get sick of eating the plums off our plum trees, Mr G makes his own plum jam and plum sauce. In fact, we still have a few jars of the jam left over from the previous batch. The jam is lovely as a spread for scones (try MR G’S FEATHERLITE SCONES) and I love pouring a few teaspoons of the plum sauce on vanilla ice cream. I will include the recipe for the PLUM JAM in the next few days.

Other fruits that work well as a sauce or coulis (a form of thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits) are raspberries and strawberries. I will include a simple STRAWBERRY COULIS recipe in the coming few days – ironically, I had some strawberries in the fridge that were slightly overripe and perfect for making coulis.

Another good fruit to ‘recycle’ when it is gone by its eating stage are bananas. Overripe bananas are great for making BANANA CAKE, BANANA MUFFINS and banana fritters. A popular Malaysian snack made from bananas is the Cekodok Pisang or FRIED MASHED BANANA BALLS. A great snack for the family. The recipe for this teatime treat is posted below.

The ways to stop food wastages are endless – you can use leftovers to create new exciting dishes that even the fussiest of eaters won’t know that it was yesterday’s meal. Any left over chicken from the yesterday’s roast can be made into a pasta bake, chicken pie, toppings for salads or as fillings for sandwiches. Chop it up and use it to make fried rice. Not only have you reused the chicken, any leftover rice is also used. According to the magazine[1], throwing out a kilo of white rice will waste around 2,385 litres of water that was used to grow that rice! That’s the water to fill nearly 0.6 percent of an average council or school swimming pool (assuming it takes 375,000 liters of water) for 1 kg of rice. With the cost of production rising faster for our farmers than farm gate prices, and water as a scarce and costly resource for the farmers, I believe we are morally obliged to curb our waste.

So in conjunction with the campaign by Notebook, I would like to spread this awareness and I am asking and therefore tagging my fellow blog friends to paste any recipes that utilise leftovers or any handy tips around the house to minimise food wastage or recycling kitchen waste. I also ask that they tag their friends to increase the awareness of this issue.

The rules are:
1. Tag five new blogs (if possible) to join this campaign.
2. In each tag, include the name of the owner of the blog and his/her link.
3. Post an article on the campaign – it can include anything from handy tips to curb food waste, recipes for leftovers, composting tips, opinions on food waste, etc.
4. Each ‘tagee’ has to show the ‘STOP FOOD WASTE’ poster and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the tag itself.
5. Show the link to ‘MY HOUSEHOLD CAPERS’ so everyone will know the origin of this tag.

To this cause, I would like to tag:
My Kitchen Snippets
Veg Inspirations
Tastes of India
Mexican American Border Cooking
Mommy’s Kitchen

PS: I have not tagged any of my Muslim blog friends because I know it is Ramadan now. However please feel free to join the cause and voice your opinion on this matter. Please paste the rules on your blog and spread the word.

Thanking you all in advance for your efforts – Here’s to stopping food waste!

DISCLOSURE: I have NOT BEEN PAID for this article.

[1] Notebook Magazine, September 2008, p 79


A simple recipe to get rid of your overripe bananas without wasting it! My first contribution to the STOP FOOD WASTE Campaign.

4 to 5 large ripe bananas
3 to 5 tbsp sugar (depends on the sweetness of your bananas)
1/3 cup milk
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for deep frying

In a blender, blend the bananas, sugar and milk. Put into a bowl.

Gradually add in the flour that has been mixed with the baking powder. Mix well to make a very thick batter.

Heat oil in a wok. Using the tips of your fingers, drop in the dough, in the shape resembling golf balls. Cook on medium high heat (if the oil is not too hot, it will absorb the oil and your banana balls will be greasy. If the heat is too high, it will brown quickly on the outside and the inside could be uncooked.

Repeat the process until the dough is all used and serve hot with a cup of tea or coffee for a mid morning of afternoon tea snack.

Friday, 29 August 2008


'I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit' - Kahlil Gibran

To all my muslim friends, RAMADAN MUBARAK.


Yes I am back and I received a pleasant surprise when I logged on to my blog. Thank you so much to my friend Ummi of HOME SWEET HOME for the ARTE Y PICO award. I am humbled that she thinks my blog is creative and interesting. Thank you again dear.

As per the rules of the award, it is of my opinion that I should pass this on to:

and ask that they pass it on to other deserving bloggers based on the rules below.

The rules of the award are:

1. Choose five blogs you consider deserving of this award. (Creativity, interesting material, etc.)
2. Each award includes the name of the owner of the blog and his/her link.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4. Award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

Enjoy your new awards, my friends.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


I will be away for work and will answer your e-mails or comments when I return - I could not bribe Mr G to take on the responsibility!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


'The Taxation Department must love poor people - it creates so many of them!' - William George Plunkett aka WGP

NB: I just did my tax return :(


For a change, I made some STRING HOPPERS (aka PUTTU MAYUM in Malaysia and Singapore) to go with my SAMBAR (see previous post). It may look complicated but it is actually very easy to make; more so if you get the premixed string hopper flour.

FYI: The string hopper, is made from rice flour. It is traditionally served for breakfast in Sri Lanka with a thin fish or chicken curry, containing only one or two pieces of meat, a dhal (lentil) dish, and a spicy sambal or fresh chutney. String hoppers are made from steamed rice flour made into a dough with water and a little salt, and forced through a mould similar to those used for pasta to make fine vermicelli like strings. They are cooked by steaming. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

In Malaysia and Singapore, these hoppers are sold very cheaply in coffee shops or road side stalls. It is however served with grated fresh coconut and palm sugar as a breakfast food or snack.

This is how I make my STRING HOPPERS.

2 1/2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup bread flour
OR use 3 cups premixed String Hopper flour
1 teaspoons salt
Scant cup of luke warm water (approximate only)

If using your own flours, warm the flours in a cool oven or in a sauce pan on low heat. Add salt.

If using premixed flour, skip this stage. Just add salt to the premixed flour. For both flour versions, slowly add water to the flour and work into a soft dough. The mixture must not be gooey.

Place the dough into a string hopper press and squeeze onto hopper mats (available at Indian grocers – In Canberra, go to SPICE WORLD which is located at 28 Colbee Court, Phillip).

Place the mats into a steamer and steam until strings are fully cooked and springy, about 7 to10 minutes.

Serve hot with curries or dhal dishes such as SAMBAR. Alternatively, serve with freshly grated coconut (mix with some salt – go easy here) and sugar (such as jaggery, palm sugar or ordinary white sugar).

FYI: You can use fresh banana leaves in place of the hoppers mat. Cut banana leaves into 8 cm squares and press you hoppers onto these. If you can’t find a hopper press, check your cookie/icing press gadget (if you have one). You may find a vermicelli mould in it which you could use to make the hoppers. My Avanti Cookie Press and Icing Set has this.


As promised yesterday, this is a quick version of SAMBAR, using a premixed SAMBAR curry powder. You can find this at any Indian grocers.

SAMBAR is a vegetable and lentil (toor aka toovar lentil is usually used) dish common in South Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. As the ancestry of the Indian population in Malaysia and Singapore is predominantly from this region, it is also very popular there.

The toor dal is cooked until it crumbles. Tamarind pulp is soaked in water to extract the flavour and then the pulp is discarded. A mixture of ground spices known as SAMBAR powder (which contains roasted coriander seeds, chillies, lentils, and other spices), the tamarind and vegetables such as okra, carrots, aubergines, etc are added to the dhal.

2 cups toor lentils – soaked overnight if possible (this quickens the cooking process)
1 tsp turmeric powder
8 dried chillies – torn into 2
6 to 8 cups water
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste – around 1 tsp
1 heaped tbsp tamarind pulp – mixed with 1 cup water to extract juice
4 tbsp sambar curry powder
Vegetables of choice – I used carrots and aubergines
1 cup desiccated coconut – dry pan fried until golden brown
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tbsp mustard leaves
Extra oil – about 2 tbsp

In a deep saucepan, put the dhal, water, chillies, turmeric and 1 tsp oil and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum and cook the dhal until it is soft and has split.

Add in the vegetables, tamarind juice and sambar powder. When the vegetables are nearly cooked, add in the coconut. Check seasoning and turn the heat down (not off).

In a small pan (with a lid), heat the extra oil on medium heat and add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. Cover immediately as the mustard seeds will start popping (and make a mess everywhere!). When the mustard seeds have stopped popping (around 30 secs or so), turn off the heat and add this mixture to the dhal. Mix well, turn the heat up and bring to the boil for 2 mins. Turn off the heat and serve hot with ROTI CANAI or STRING HOPPERS.

Monday, 25 August 2008


'The hardest work is to go idle' - Jewish Proverb


I used to make this from scratch years ago when premade roti canai were not available. Now, they are easily accessible all over Australia from any Chinese or Indian grocery shops in the freezer section. This is a popular 'anytime' meal for Malaysians and Singaporeans. Just for reference, here are some pictures of the premade rotis cooking process. As you can see, Mr G (the designated ‘roti man’) makes it on the hot plate on our barbie. Just follow the directions on the packet. It’s pretty self explanatory. I served mine with an EASY SAMBAR. Recipe of the SAMBAR and STRING HOPPERS (another Malaysian/Sri Lankan favourite) to follow tomorrow.

FYI: Roti canai (pronounced "chanai," not "kanai") is a type of flatbread found in Malaysia. It is identical to the Singaporean roti prata.

The dish is composed of dough containing copious amounts of fat, egg, flour and water. The form of fat used is usually ghee (clarified butter). The entire mixture is kneaded thoroughly, flattened, oiled and folded repeatedly. It is then allowed to proof and rise, and the process is repeated. The final round of preparation consists of flattening the dough ball, coating it with oil, tossing it and then cooking on a flat iron skillet with a lot of oil. The ideal roti is flat, fluffy on the inside but crispy and flaky on the outside.

Traditionally, it is served with dhal (lentil curry) but nowadays, it is served with any types of curries, such as chicken, beef or lamb. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

Check out this video I found on YouTube (source HERE). It shows the roti making process. If you want to try to make this at home, there are some pretty good recipes you can find doing a Google search on this topic. Good luck!

Sunday, 24 August 2008


Sunset over the Simpson Desert, South Australia
Picture courtesy of National Geographic

'Life is an invariably fatal disease' – 365 sentences

Check out this blog….it is really cool. Thank you 365 for allowing me to quote your work on my site.


A simple, easy and nutritious meal for all you working wives (in fact anyone) out there. Works well with rice or tossed with some Hokkien or flat rice noodles or even some spaghetti. Give it a try!

Ingredients – serves 5 to 6
750 gm pork – sliced thinly across the grain
2 tsp sesame oil
Peanut oil (or veg oil)
5 spring onions – sliced thinly at an angle
3 cloves garlic – smashed using the back of your knife and chopped coarsely
2 tsp finely grated ginger
3 large carrots – julienned
200 gm snake or French beans – cut into 3 to 4 cm lengths (blanch the beans for 1 min – this shortens the cooking process)
2 tbsp seame seeds – toasted lightly in the oven or using a frying pan

Sauce Ingredients – Mix together in a bowl the following:
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
2 tsp corn flour
3 tbsp water

Heat oil in a wok and fry the pork in batches (in shallow oil) until browned (around 3 mins per batch). Drain on paper towels.

In the same wok (does not matter if the wok has the pork juices in it – it adds to the flavour), add about 2 tbsp peanut oil (if required) and the sesame oil, and stir fry the spring onions, garlic and ginger for 1 min. Add in the carrots, fry until the carrots are half cooked and add in the beans. You may need to add about a few tbsp water to moisten the veg a bit (not too much). When the veg is nearly cooked (make sure the beans are still crunchy), add in the pork, stir well and heat through.

Next add in the sauce mixture, mix well and cook until the sauce thickens. Toss in the sesame seeds, mix well, lift and serve immediately with rice or medium of choice.

Friday, 22 August 2008


The Golden Wattle - National Flower of Australia.

"Consider the postage stamp; it's usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there" - Josh Billings


This is a really yummy cake and the recipe is from my blog friend Suhana of SUHANA SWEET SAVOURY. Thank you dear for sharing this recipe. I encourage you to try this. A delicious tea or dessert cake. As Su said, nice served warm with ice cream.

1 can of pineapple rings - decorate according to your pan shape plus some glace cherries.

50g softened butter
50g light brown sugar

Beat the above until creamy, then spread onto the base and sides of an 8-inch round pan. I used a ring tin. I used all the mixture but in my opinion, half the mixture would be sufficient.

Hint: Estimate how high the cake batter would be when you put it into the tin. Therefore, do not spread the caramel crust until you have made the cake batter. If you cover too much of the sides, the caramel will melt onto your cake and stop it from rising at the sides.

Arrange the pineapple and cherries creatively in the pan which has been spread with the caramel crust.


100g softened butter
100g of castor sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence OR pineapple essence – I used pineapple essence. ½ tsp is plenty!
120g of cake flour - sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder - sifted
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda - sifted
Pinch of salt (if your butter is unsalted)
2 tbsp of pineapple syrup from the can (this is optional)


Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs and essence. Mix until well incorporated.

Add in the sifted flour, baking powder and soda. Drop the batter by the spoonful, slowly over the arranged pineapple and cherry slices. You don't want to move their positions. When all the batter has been poured, level the top nicely with the back of a spoon or spatula.

Bake in a preheated 170°C oven for about 35 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the pan for 5 mins on a wire rack before inverting over on a plate.

FYI: I used a non stick ring tin so I decreased the cooking time and temperature to 25 mins and at 160°C.

Thursday, 21 August 2008


Thank you so much to Usha of VEG INSPIRATIONS for this and my previous award. I much appreciate this, though I think there are other deserving bloggers than me as I have been only blogging for 3 months. Once again, thank you.

To this end, I would like to pass on this award to some awesome bloggers and their great sites. They are:



My heartfelt gratitude to Usha of VEG INSPIRATIONS for my award. I would like to pass this on to:

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


“A man ought to carry himself in the world as an orange tree would if it could walk up and down in the garden, swinging perfume from every little censer it holds up to the air” - Henry Ward Beecher


I am too tired to write a spill today. Just enjoy my biscuits. Another one of mum’s recipes.

½ cup corn flour - sifted
2 ½ cups plain flour - sifted
1 cup caster sugar
125 g butter
1 orange – grate skin and extract juice
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg yolk – for biscuit mixture
1 egg yolk – lightly beaten (to rub on biscuits)

Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced oven). Mix flours with baking powder. Set aside.

Beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add in grated skin and 1 egg yolk. Beat until well combined.

Gradually add in sifted flours, followed GRADUALLY by the juice (you may not need to use all of it). Knead into a pliable dough.

Cut a plastic shopping bag into two pieces. Get a big chunk of the dough, make into a ball. Lay one piece of the bag on a smooth counter and place the dough on it. Cover with the other plastic bag and using a rolling pin, roll into ½ cm thickness.

Using a cookie cutter, cut into shapes until all the dough is used up. Place on lined trays, rub the egg yolks on top of the cookies and bake for 10 to 12 mins. Now eat!

Monday, 18 August 2008


Children have more need of models than of critics - Joseph Joubert


This really yummy bickie recipe is from my mum. Another one of those things that we used to make for Diwali….I just felt like eating it, so here it is.

I have substituted an ingredient in this recipe because I cannot get Sunquick™ Orange Cordial here. So if you live in Malaysia or Singapore, you may use this product (if it is still around, that is!). You need to dry fry the plain flour (I have no idea why – I have always done it cos the recipe calls for it) and cool it before using. Great recipe to get the kids involved. So make good use of the cheap labour!

250 g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup custard powder
2 cups plain flour – dry fried in a pan or wok, on low flame until the flour is light and changes colour slightly
2 egg yolks
½ box of mixed fruit (I used half of a 375 g packet; so approx about 180 g) – chopped but not too fine
1 ½ cups Milo™
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp Sunquick™ Orange Juice – I substituted this with 2 tbsp fresh orange juice with ½ tsp orange essence

Heat oven to 170°C (I used a fan forced electric oven). Separate mini paper cups or grease mini biscuits moulds. Mix the fried plain flour with the custard powder.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the yolks one at a time and continue beating until well mixed Add in the vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, add in the chopped mixed fruit followed by the Milo™.

Using a sieve, gradually add in the flour, mixing well during each addition. Moisten with the orange juice. If the dough is too hard, add more orange juice but make sure that you add only a tsp at a time. You don’t want the mixture to be too soft. The mixture is ready if you can roll it into balls without cracking (dough too hard) or without sticking too much (the dough will still stick, but it would not be too uncomfortable to roll).

If using mini paper cups, roll your dough into balls the size of a marble. Put into the cups and press down slightly to flatten the top. Repeat the process until the dough is finished. Bake in oven for 15 mins, turning the biscuits once during the process. Make approx 120 biscuits using mini paper cups.

Sunday, 17 August 2008


Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow;
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead;
Just walk beside me and be my friend - Albert Camus


Thank you Jun, from YUMMYLICIOUS for my big bear hug. My HUGS to you too. The bear will definitely keep me warm in this cold Canberra weather. Thank you again.

I would also like to pass on my very bearish hug to:
Gert of My Kitchen Snippets
Bhawana of Tastes of India
Suhana of Suhana Sweet Savoury
Tina of Mommy’s Kitchen
Shafidah of Someone is Watching

Thank you for being my friends!

Friday, 15 August 2008


The manner in which one endures what must be endured is more important than the thing that must be endured - Dean Gooderham Acheson


Now I know why I don’t make this cake often; because it took me nearly 4.5 hours to prepare and cook! But the taste is divine and it is worth the effort but not something you’d want to do too often.

When I was growing up, mum used to make this once a year, during Diwali and we were not allowed to eat big slices, only petit pieces. She got this recipe from our Malay neighbours when we were living in the Sungei Petani army camp in the early 1980’s. If you have the endurance, give it a go. You won’t be disappointed. And thank you Mr G for helping out in the kitchen (he was my dish washer and water boy – he had the job of topping the steamer with hot water!) and the kids for separating the Haw Flakes. Unfortunately, the Haw Flakes separation process caused a fatality to the amounts – half of it was consumed by the kids. Thank god I had extra! So a word of warning – if you have children helping, make sure you have plenty of the haw flakes at home!

10 eggs – yolks and whites separated carefully
3 cups caster sugar
3 cups (about 300g) of plain cream cracker biscuits – I could not find any Hup Seng or Jacob’s Brand (made in Malaysia) so I used a brand from Sri Lanka called Maliban. Worked out great!
1 tin (400g) sweetened condensed milk
250g butter – softened
10 packets Haw Flakes (Chinese fruit lolly) – available at most Chinese grocery shops and some supermarkets
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 scant tsp each of green and yellow food colourings

Lightly grease cake tin with butter. If lining the tin, make sure that you only line the bottom and no paper is touching the side. This will spoil your layers.

Grind the biscuits to resemble a course whole meal flour texture. Add in the baking powder. Mix well and set aside.

Beat egg whites with sugar till light and fluffy (see picture). I used a Kenwood cake mixer with the whisk gadget throughout this cake making process.

In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with the butter till fluffy. Gradually add in the condensed milk, whilst still beating the mixture.

Turn the Kenwood setting to low and add in large spoonfuls of the egg white into the bowl. Mix well but not for too long – you don’t want the ingredients to curdle.

Next, using a wooden spoon, add in the biscuit flour, followed by the vanilla extract.

Now pour half the mixture into a separate bowl (make sure you get this spot on or you will have uneven batter quantities) and colour each batter with the green and yellow colours.

Spread ½ an inch of the batter in a tin (I used a 22 inch spring form tin) and top with haw flakes (see picture). Steam for about 10 to 12 mins per layer (skewer should come out clean when inserted). Repeat the process with alternating colours until the batter is all used up. Do not top with the Haw Flakes at the last layer. Also, on the last layer, steam the cake for about 20 mins (instead of the normal 10 mins). Remove from the steamer; wipe the cake tin dry and now finish off the cake in a 170°C preheated oven for 10 to 15 mins.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before taking it out of the tin. Make yourself a good cuppa tea (or coffee) and enjoy your cake! Oh, and make sure that you take good pictures….you would not be making this in a hurry!

Thursday, 14 August 2008


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shafidah of LIFE'S PRETTY SHORT for posting me some ovalette from Sydney. Thank you sooo much dear. I received it yesterday afternoon. Watch out for the postie…..there’s a surprise for you, hopefully it will arrive tomorrow. Fingers X. In the meantime, here's a virtual bouquet for you.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


Nothing is more sad than the death of an illussion - Arthur Koestler

NB: Like my cake (sigh)! - VG


This recipe is from my friend ST when I was working at the ACCC. Again, yummy and easy to make. Unfortunately, the type of pears that I used made the bottom of the cake look as if it was uncooked. Next time, I might sear it in a bit of butter or torch the top of the cake (now why didn’t I think of that sooner???). I will be trying another upside down cake shortly, this time a pineapple version from my blogging buddy Suhana’s website.

Anyway, apart from the appearance, the cake is very nice and spongy. Maybe you would have a better result (appearance wise) than me.

250 g self raising flour*
125 g butter*
1 tsp vanilla extract*
125 g caster sugar*
150 ml milk*
2 eggs*
Raw sugar
Fresh or tinned pears – drain well if using tinned pears

Heat oven to 180°C.

Combine all * ingredients and beat in mixer for 2 minutes.

Line spring form tin with paper, sprinkle with raw sugar and arrange pears to cover the base of the tin. Pour blended mixture into tin and bake for 30 to 40 mins.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments! - Earl Wilson

NB: I just paid my yearly car registration and insurance :(


This is a really easy and nutritious dish (full of calcium from the fish) to accompany curries or coconut gravy dishes such as CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES IN COCONUT MILK. The ingredients are easily attainable at Asian grocery shops or the Asian aisle at your Coles or Woolworths’ Supermarkets. Try it!

250 gm dried Asian anchovies or Ikan Bilis – washed and drained (to clean and remove excess salt)
1 tbsp tamarind pulp – soak in ½ cup warm water and extract juice
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 large red onion – sliced
1 tomato - diced (optional)
6 to 8 dried chillies – torn into two
Salt to taste – I did not put any
Veg oil

Line a plate with paper towel. Heat sufficient oil in a wok. Fry the dried chillies for 30 secs. Lift onto the lined plate and set aside. Repeat with the process with the ikan bilis. Fry until golden and crispy.

Tip out most of the oil and leave sufficient oil to fry the garlic and onions. Fry for about 1 min, add in the fish and dried chillies, followed by the tamarind sauce and tomatoes (You can add more liquid if you like to the remainder pulp and extract more juice if you prefer a bit of gravy with the dish). Mix well and lift immediately.


I used the same recipe as the BUK CHOY IN COCONUT MILK but I used chicken instead of the anchovies. You can omit the chicken and make it into a vegetarian dish.

Monday, 11 August 2008


I am doomed to an eternity of compulsive work. Success only breeds a new goal - Bette Davis


This is my sister-in-law’s sponge cake recipe. She found this recipe in the newspaper nearly 40 years ago and it is still in its original condition, pinned with other old recipes. I told her that she seriously needed to do some filing soon! I on the other hand am the queen of organisation. Everything needs to be in its proper container, right order and catalogued. Mr G reckons I suffer from excessive compulsive disorder! I do tend to drive my kids nuts, especially my son cos I tend to put away his toys in categories (cars, aeroplanes, trucks, soldiers, leggos, etc all in its own containers).

Anyway, back to the cake. The texture is so soft and fluffy and it is delicious. You can decorate it any way you want. Here, fresh cream is used to sandwich the sponges and it is decorated with lemon icing and crushed walnuts.

I nearly forgot to take a picture so this is the best I could do this time. The next time I make the sponge, I will upload a better picture :)

4 eggs – separated
¾ cup castor sugar
¾ cup corn flour
½ cup custard powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt

Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beat until dissolved, add in the egg yolks and beat for 5 mins.

Fold in the sifted dry ingredients and pour the mixture into two deep 23 cm tins. Bake at 180°C oven 25 mins. Remove immediately from the tins and cool on rack. Decorate as desired when the cake is totally cold (or it will make the sponge soggy).

Sunday, 10 August 2008


It's important to begin a search on a full stomach - Henry Bromel


Keema is a traditional dish of the Indian subcontinent. Originally this word meant minced meat. It is typically minced-lamb curry with peas or potatoes. Keema can be made from almost any meat, can be cooked by stewing or frying, and can be formed into kebabs. Keema is also used as a filling for samosas or naan. (Source: WIKIPEDIA)

This is how I make my Keema. The ingredients may be intimidating but you can find it at almost any supermarkets. We used to have a friend in Malaysia who could ‘sniff out’ when I made Keema and he would turn up with a loaf of white bread. Most of the time he would just bring some fresh mince meat over and asked (actually demanded) that I cooked him some Keema. I wonder where you are now, J and V van der Wetering?

Ingredients – serves 6 to 8
1 kg minced lamb
Salt to taste
2 tbsp ghee or veg oil
Large handful frozen peas
Around 2 cups of water
1 cup milk
1 cup plain or Greek style yoghurt
2 cinnamon sticks
8 cloves
4 whole star anise
B – grind in a processor with a little water
3 large red onions
½ a large head of garlic
Thumb size fresh ginger
½ thumb size fresh turmeric or 1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp cumin powder
6 tbsp meat curry powder
1 tsp ground white pepper

Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Fry A ingredients until aromatic. Add in B and fry till the water has nearly evaporated and the paste is slightly browned.

Add in C and a cup of water. Mix well and add the other cup of water. Cook until the water evaporates again and the oil has seeped through the paste.

Next add in the meat and coat well with the spices. You may need to add a little water at this stage. Make sure that the meat is not lumpy and is well coated with the spices. Cook for around 5 mins then add in the milk and salt. Simmer until the liquid evaporates and the meat is dry in texture. Add in the peas and the yoghurt. Mix well and cook for another 3 mins.

Lift and serve hot with fresh bread such as CHAPATTIS OR PURIS.


This has to be one of the softest (malay = gebu) puris I have ever tasted. Thank you Mona from the Lotus Indian Centre, Phillip for the recipe. FYI, Lotus is a grocery store in Dundas Court, Phillip and specialises in Indian groceries.

Puri is almost identical to chapattis except that they are deep fried in oil. The secret to cooking and ‘puffing up’ the puri is to keep spooning the oil over the top of the puri while it is frying on its underside. A small wok is ideal for this.

This measurement is sufficient for two meals for 5 to 6 people. You can keep the batter in the fridge for a couple days. Make sure you knead it again if you have kept it in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you are planning to cook. Unlike chapattis, puris should be smaller in its diameter when you roll it out.

Tip: Make sure that you roll out your puris before you start frying them. I usually roll out half the batter, fry, let the kids start their meal and then start on Mr G and my meal. This ensures that you don’t waste gas/electricity and that the oil does not become too hot. This way you know that you will be eating nice hot, hot puris!

PS: You can half the recipe if you like.

2 cups atta flour or fine wholemeal flour
3 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cumin seeds – dry fried to release its aroma; cooled slightly and lightly pounded
Sufficient luke warm water to make a soft pliable dough – about 3 cups
Sufficient oil to half cover a small wok

Add all dry ingredients into a large bowl (make sure there is plenty room to knead the dough), mix well and keep adding water, a little at a time to make a pliable dough. Knead for about 2 to 3 mins. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for 1 hour.

Knead dough again, about 3 to 4 mins. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, into 20 cm rounds. Heat oil in a wok (filling it about 1/3 full).

When the oil is very hot (but not smoking), put in one puri at a time and immediately start spooning the oil over the top of the puri as it cooks. As soon as it swells up and is golden underneath, flip the puri over and cook on the other side until golden. Drain on paper towels or a clean tea towel and serve immediately with curries, dhal or dishes such as LAMB KEEMA.