Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Thank you so much Dr Inahar Ali for your hand in friendship...I am humbled and extend my hand in friendship to you too. Once again, thank you so much.

I apologise for not putting this up sooner; I have been quite unwell these past few months and it has been my daughter who has been helping me out to type and publish my post.

I would like to extend my friendship to my other fellow bloggers. May our friendship last and never ends. Please collect your awards.

Beachlover's Kitchen
Bro Rozzan @ Shared Recipes
Chris @ PureGlutton
Diana @ Koleksi Resipi Pilihan Diana
For Spicy Lovers
Gert @ My Kitchen Snippets
Hema@ Adlak's Kitchen
HomeKreation - Kitchen Corner
Jen @ Tastes of Home
Jo @ Family First
Lady Home Chef @ Foodies' Kitchen
LG @ Salam Dua Benua
MamaFaMi's Spice n Splendour...
Mat Gebu @ Dapur Tanpa Sempadan...
Me and My Kitchen
Ms Charming @ From My Humble Kitchen
Ms Ching @ Little Corner of Mine
Ms Farina @ Salt & Turmeric
Ms Jan @ What do I want 2 cook today?
Ms Sripriya @ Srikar's Kitchen
My Small Kitchen.......
Noor @ Ya Salam Cooking
Quinn's Baking With Love &; Passion!
Retno @ Kedai Hamburg
Shafidah @ Somebody Watching Me...
Suhana's Sweet Savoury
teczcape- an escape to Food
Ummi @ Home Sweet Home
Veg Inspirations
Waterlily In Da Kitchenz
Yummy Food
Zue @ Zuraida's Recipe Collection


See Aamir Khan in one of his best performances ever. GHAJINI currently holds the record for the highest grossing blockbuster in the history of Indian cinema. It is out on DVD now and you can purchase original copies online from Bollywood Quarter or if you are living in Canberra, from Bharat International (17 Oatley Court) in Belconnen. BTW, the songs are great too (4 stars).

Trivia: Did you know that "Yaadon Ki Baraat" (1973) was Aamir Khan's first movie? He plays the role of young Ratan - the young child that needed to go 'wee wee' during the family song at the the start of the show. It wasn't until 1988 in the hit movie "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" (with Juhi Chawla) that he become a household name in India.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009


The movie SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE will be officially out on DVD in all good music stores in Australia on Friday 1 May 2009. You can however buy it online from overseas distributors and also from Bollywood Quarter now.

You may also check out my review of the movie HERE and the movie's oscar wins HERE.

Monday, 27 April 2009


My favourite snack and great for entrées for dinner party, as an appetiser and for cocktail parties. I also make this for my work lunches - very healthy and nutritious.

Measurements are approximates only – it basically depends on how much of the noodles, herbs or salad you would like to use. You may also use normal (rice) vermicelli instead of the mung bean variety.


60g dried mung bean/glass or rice vermicelli
Dried rice paper wrappers (22cm diameter)
300g cooked prawns
6 to 8 stalks Vietnamese mint – remove stalks and chop the leaves finely
3 sprigs common mint – remove the stalks and chop the leaves finely
6 lettuce leaves – chop fine

Place the vermicelli in a bowl and pour boiling water over the vermicelli. Leave for 3 to 5 minutes till soft, then drain.

Fill a large bowl with hot (not boiling) water. Dip one rice paper into the hot water for few seconds to soften. Lay wrapper flat.

About 3 cm away from the bottom (the end closest to you), place a row of 3 to 4 prawns, a handful of vermicelli, both mints and lettuce, leaving about a gap of 3 cm from the ends uncovered at each side.

Fold the sides first inward, then followed by the bottom closest to you. Roll tightly away from you until the end. Place on a plate and repeat. Serve with RICE PAPER ROLL DIPPING SAUCE.


These are two types of dipping sauces I normally make to serve with my rice paper rolls.


1/4 cup (60ml) fish sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic - minced
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground fresh chili paste


3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts (optional)

To make the sauces:

In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili paste OR

In small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and peanuts.



This is my Vietnamese mint which I have been growing in a pot for 8 years now. I will give a full description of the herb in the coming days.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Thursday, 23 April 2009


An iconic Australian fare and a family favourite, courtesy of Mr G. It's footy season right now ... in other words, time to bring out the meat pies too. Homemade pies taste so much better than commercially made ones and ironically, are quite easy to make.

Everyone has a favourite filling: steak and kidney, plain beef mince or with mushrooms and even vegetables. This version is the straight plain mince steak. Add mushrooms or peas if desired.

Ingredients – for filling (makes 12 pies)

2 tbsp oil
2 medium brown onions
2 to 3 cloves garlic - grated
1kg lean minced steak
2 cups beef stock
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp mixed dried herbs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp plain flour mixed to a paste with sufficient water

Additional ingredients

Short crust pastry – Mr G used store bought pastry
Texas muffin tins
Milk for brushing


Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion over moderate heat until softened. Add mince and garlic and stir until brown and crumbly.

Add in all the ingredients, except the flour paste, and bring to a boil. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for an hour.

Add in the flour paste and cook until the mixture thickens. Check seasoning, turn off heat and leave to cool completely.

To make the pies

Using a Texas muffin tray as your mould, cut your pastry to shape and line the muffin tins with the short crust pastry. Fill to about 4/5 to the top with the mince filling. Moistened the edges with water.

Make ‘lids’ for the pies with the remaining pastry and press into place. Make a ‘V’ in the middle of the ‘lid’ for steam to escape (use the tip of a sharp knife). Brush the lids with fresh milk and bake in a pre heated 200°C for 30 mins or until the pastry is crisp and golden.

Serve hot for lunch or dinner or whilst watching your favourite footy team play in the AFL….go Bombers!!!


WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE (aka Worcester sauce or spelled phonetically as Wuster sauce or simply known as LEA & PERRINS) is a fermented liquid condiment first made at 68 Broad Street, Worcester United Kingdom, by two dispensing chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins. The LEA & PERRINS brand was made commercially in 1837 and remains the only WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE still to be made in the UK. In 1930 the business was sold to HP Foods and was subsequently acquired by the H.J. Heinz Company in 2005.

The product is made and bottled in the Midlands Road factory in Worcester, which has been the home of Lea & Perrins since 16 October 1897.

The H. J. Heinz Company, which now manufactures "THE ORIGINAL LEA & PERRINS WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE", under label LEA & PERRINS, Inc., lists the following ingredients on the label of a bottle produced in the United States: vinegar, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, anchovies, water, onions, salt, garlic, tamarind concentrate, cloves, natural flavorings and chili pepper extract.

The ingredients of a bottle of WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE from England sold under the name "THE ORIGINAL & GENUINE LEA & PERRINS WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE" by LEA & PERRINS Ltd., lists the following ingredients: water, molasses, malt vinegar (from barley), spirit vinegar, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, garlic, spice and flavouring. The LEA AND PERRINS sold in Australia is manufactured in England.

It is a flavouring used in many dishes, both cooked and uncooked, and particularly with grilled and barbequed meats such as beef; and drinks, such as the Bloody Mary. It is safe to say that it is considered the western equivalent of the soy sauce.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE plays a significant part in the cuisine of Asian regions which have seen significant exposure to Western cuisine.

In Cantonese cuisine, WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE was introduced in the 19th century via Hong Kong and is today used in dim sum items such as steamed beef meatballs and spring rolls. The Cantonese name for this sauce is "gip-jap". It is also used in a variety of Hong Kong-style Chinese and "Western" dishes.

In Shanghainese cuisine, the use of WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE spread from European-style restaurants in the 19th and 20th century to its use as an ingredient in ubiquitous, Eastern European-inspired dishes such as Shanghai-style borscht, and as a dipping sauce in Western fusion foods such as Shanghai-style breaded pork cutlets. It is also commonly used for Chinese foods such as the shengjian mantou, which are small, pan-fried pork buns. In Shanghai, WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE is called "luh jiangyou", literally "spicy soy sauce". After imported Worcestershire sauce became scarce in Shanghai after 1949, a variety of local brands appeared. These are now in turn exported around the world for use in Shanghai-style dishes.

Japanese WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE, often simply known as sōsu ("sauce"), or Usutā sōsu ("Worcester sauce") is made from purees of fruits and vegetables such as apples and tomatoes, matured with sugar, salt, spices, starch and caramel. Despite this appellation, it bears only moderate resemblance to Western Worcestershire sauce. Sōsu comes in a variety of thickness, with the thicker sauces looking and tasting like a cross between the original WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE and HP sauce.

There are many variations according to flavour and thickness, and are often named after the foods they are designed to go with, such as okonomiyaki sauce and tonkatsu sauce. These sauces, however, and others that are worcestershire relatives are much closer in taste to American barbeque sauce. These variants have become a staple table sauce in Japan, particularly in homes and canteens, since the 1950s. It is used for dishes such as tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlets), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes), takoyaki, yakisoba, yaki udon, sōsu katsudon and korokke.

Source: Wikipedia

Tuesday, 21 April 2009


Adiantum Capillus Veneris or the Common/Venus Maidenhair Fern is perhaps one of the most popular of indoor ferns. With pale green new growth this fern is excellent for glasshouse or indoor use. In the summer months, I take most of my ferns out and place them in sheltered areas, normally under larger plants to allow them to ‘breathe’. The plant requires humid conditions, and air movement, but will not tolerate hot, dry winds. I find my bathroom to be the perfect place for my ferns as the temp there is quite constant. However, IF you have a cold bathroom, I don't recommend you put your ferns there as the temp wil fluctuate when you have a shower and this may 'shock' your ferns.

The fern will grow to about 40 cm. Although it is not as easy to maintain, don’t let this put you off. The fern is very regal in its looks and will brighten up any part of your home.

Quick reference guide:

 Requires an abundance of moisture in the air (humidity) and in the soil, though the soil should be well-drained. Provide humidity indoors by standing the pots on top of pebble filled trays or saucers, keep the saucers filled with water to JUST BELOW the bottom of the pot. This way the evaporating water provides humidity but the pot and potting mix does not become waterlogged from standing in the water.

 Likes a position with plenty of light but dislikes full sun. Prefers a sheltered shady position. Maidenhairs prefer a situation that has stable temperature and humidity levels.

 If the plant dries out temporarily. it will lose most of its fronds, though it will usually re-sprout from the base. Keep them evenly moist all year round and from September to March (Australian warmer months) feed them every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer. I use Fish Emulsion and find this to be the best.

 Plants are not very hardy outdoors except in tropical areas. They only succeed in areas with little or no frosts. Cannot stand direct sunlight.

 About every two years Maidenhair ferns need to be potted on. If they are very large they will need to be divided at the same time. Re-pot from September to February using a potting mix containing good amounts of sand and peat. Be careful not to pot the crown of the plant below the soil level as it is from this point that the new fronds develop.

 When re-potting, remove the plant from its old pot and cut off the bottom 40% of soil which contains a few roots. Put a good scoop of the organic mix on top of the gravel, but not too much as the plant will sit too high in the pot. Put the plant on top of this and place more potting mix around it. Don't firm down the mix, just give the pot a shake to settle it in place. Snip off any dried fronds with scissors.

 The main problem is finding the right position for the fern to grow in. They do sometimes get aphids which can be controlled with a Pyrethrum spray, or Disyston granules.


I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Richard, the 11 year old next door whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over.

Richard clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem. As he was walking away, I called after him, 'So, what was wrong?

He replied, 'It was an ID ten T error.'

I didn't want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, 'An, ID ten T error? What's that? In case I need to fix it again.'

Richard grinned. 'Haven't you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?'

'No,' I replied.

'Write it down,' he said, 'and I think you'll figure it out.'

So I wrote down: I D 1 0 T

And to think I liked the little sh!t head.....

Sunday, 19 April 2009


I have been sitting on this recipe for quite sometime and only remembered when I saw that Mr G had made a batch for the kids. It’s easy to make and great for times when improtu guest arrive around afternoon tea time; as most of the ingredients would be readily available in most pantries.


2 cups SR Flour
1 heaped cup of sultanas
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 cup CREAM or substitute with 1 cup milk (see my GLOSSARY post on CREAM)
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. Now add in the sultanas and mix in with a palette knife Add in cream to form a soft dough, using the knife. You don’t want to over work the 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 and a delicious cup of hot tea.

TIP: It’s always handy to have some long life cream stored in the pantry. During summer, I suggest you store it in the fridge.

Friday, 17 April 2009


A must for the lunch or dinner table for most Malays and Indians in Malaysia. The coolness of the cucumber acts to counteract the spiciness of the rich meals. There are many different versions of cucumber salads – this is the easiest!


Cucumber – peeled and sliced (see my TIP on HOW TO REMOVE BITTERNESS IN CUCUMBERS)
Tomatoes – sliced
Red or salad onion – sliced


Toss together in a large bowl.

You may season it with some salt and freshly cracked black pepper if desired. Serve as an accompaniment to curries, spicy stir fries or sambals.


A simple dish to accompany curries or stir fry. Your choice of ingredients is endless.


1 bunch PAK CHOY (see my GLOSSARY post on PAK CHOY) – cut into bite size
¼ WOMBOK (see my GLOSSARY post on WOMBOK) – cut into bite size
2 to 3 cloves diced garlic
1 small red onion sliced
2 red chillies sliced
Soy sauce to taste (see my GLOSSARY post on SOY SAUCES)
½ tsp chicken stock mixed in ½ cup water
Salt to taste
Veg oil


Heat oil in a wok and sautee the garlic and onion. Add in the vegetables and chillies and mix well. Season with some soy sauce.

Pour in the stock and mix well. Cook until vegetables are done. Check seasoning and serve as an accompaniment to curries or stir fries such as COCONUT GINGER PRAWNS AND SQUID WITH LEMON GRASS CURRY.


WOMBOK or otherwise also known as Chinese cabbage, celery cabbage, napa cabbage, tientsin cabbage or wong nga pak (Brassica campestris subsp. napus var. pekinensis) is a type of Chinese cabbage originating in China and is widely used in East Asian cuisine. In Korean cuisine, it is used in making the most common type of kim chi. The kim chi is made from WOMBOK pickled in salt, garlic and chilli.

WOMBOK has a sweet, mild flavour which is quite different to European cabbage. While the leaf blades can be slightly peppery, the thick white ribs are sweet and juicy. The inner leaves have been protected from the sun, so are particularly tender and succulent.

There is almost no end to the ways WOMBOK can be used. Its sweet flavour and crunchy texture make it perfect for use in a coleslaw, or as a change from shredded lettuce on a sandwich or hamburger. Shredded wombok is also a key ingredient in dumplings and rolls. It can also be boiled in a soup, braised in a casserole, or stir fried with other ingredients. The leaves can be used as wrappers for other foods during steaming. As it absorbs flavours during cooking, it is equally at home in a spicy meat dish or a delicately flavoured stir fry with fish or tofu.

WOMBOK has been cultivated in China since the 5th Century and remain one of the most popular vegetables in Asia. Although seeds were taken from China to Europe in the mid 1700s, the WOMBOK remained a curiosity among Europeans until the 1970s when commercial crops were grown in Israel and the Napa Valley in California.

Like broccoli, turnips and many Asian leafy vegetables, WOMBOK belong to the brassica family. WOMBOK is not a naturally occurring plant; it is thought to be a cross between a warm climate leafy brassica species (such as buk choy) and the cool climate turnip. There are tens if not hundreds of varieties, ranging from compact round barrels to long, slim cylinders.

While most varieties do best under cool conditions, WOMBOK can be grown at various times of year across Australia. They are field grown and harvested when the heads are firm and appear mature. Similar to open-hearted lettuces, the leaves can be harvested while the WOMBOK grows.

WOMBOK contain significant quantities of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C. Like other brassicas, WOMBOK also contain glucosinolates. This group of sulphur compounds are widely believed to reduce the risks for certain cancers. They may also limit some factors that lead to cardiovascular disease.

Source: Wikipedia, NSW DPI, AusVeg and NineMSN

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


I love seafood, especially prawns, squid and crabs. The sweetness of the coconut milk and the spices used in this dish truly enhances the taste of seafood. The original recipe calls for prawns only but I added squid this time. If desired, you may also add any firm fish pieces to the curry.

If using prawns only, increase the weight to 1 kg to compensate for the ingredients.


500 g green prawns in shell – peeled and shells/heads reserved
500 g cleaned fresh squid
5 cm fresh GINGER – sliced into thin strips (see my GLOSSARY post on GINGER)
3 tbsp Veg oil
3 stalks LEMON GRASS – bottom 1/3 only, hard outer layer removed and the stalks bruised (see my GLOSSARY post on LEMON GRASS)
5 whole kaffir lime leaves
1 cup water
1 cup thick COCONUT MILK (I used tinned COCONUT MILK) (see my GLOSSARY post on COCONUT MILK)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Grind the following:
5 cm fresh TURMERIC or 1 tsp TURMERIC powder (see my GLOSSARY post on TURMERIC)
8 cm fresh GINGER (see my GLOSSARY post on GINGER)
8 finger-length red fresh chillies
10 shallots or 2 large red onions
10 cloves garlic


Heat oil in a pot and add in the ground ingredients. Cook for 2 mins and add in the prawn heads and shells, lemon grass and lime leaves.

When the shells turn pink, add in 1 cup of water and simmer for 5 mins. Then add in the coconut milk and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 10 mins. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and strain the curry. Discard all the solids and return the curry to the pot and onto the fire. Add in the prawns, squid and sliced ginger and cook until the seafood is done. Serve immedietly with rice and side dishes of vegetables such as STIR FRIED PAK CHOY AND WOMBOK and salad such as CUCUMBER, TOMATOES AND ONION SALAD (recipes to follow in the next few days).

NOTE: You may also add some firm fish pieces to the dish or make this dish with prawns only.


TURMERIC (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is an ancient spice, native to South East Asia and used from antiquity as dye, condiment and medicine. It is cultivated primarily in Bengal, China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Java, Peru, Australia and the West Indies. It is still used in Hindu rituals and as a dye for holy robes, being natural, unsynthesized and cheap. TURMERIC is in fact one of the cheapest spices.

Its use dates back nearly 4000 years, to the Vedic culture in India where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance. The name derives from the Latin terra merita “meritorious earth” referring to the colour of ground TURMERIC which resembles a mineral pigment. In many languages, TURMERIC is simply named as “yellow root”.

The rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart colour to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has an earthy, bitter, peppery flavour and a mustardy smell.

TURMERIC is nearly always used in ground form however it is used fresh in Malay and Indonesian cooking where the leaves are also used in cooking. The powder will maintain its colouring properties indefinitely though the flavour will diminish over time so buy in moderation. Store in airtight containers, out of sunlight.

TURMERIC (coded as E100 when used as a food additive) is used to protect food products from sunlight. In combination with annatto (E160b), TURMERIC has been used to colour cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, orange juice, cakes and biscuits, popcorn, cereals, salad dressings, gelatine, winter butter, margarine etc. TURMERIC is also used to give the yellow colour to some prepared mustards, canned chicken broths and other foods (often as a much cheaper replacement for saffron). It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders.


In Ayurvedic practices, TURMERIC is thought to have many medicinal properties and many in South Asia (particularly India) use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises. Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine say it has fluoride which is thought to be essential for teeth. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.

It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. Pakistanis also use it as an anti-inflammatory agent, and remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive disorders. In Afghanistan and North West Pakistan, TURMERIC is applied to a piece of burnt cloth, and placed over a wound to cleanse and stimulate recovery. Indians, in addition to its Ayurvedic properties, use TURMERIC in a wide variety of skin creams that are also exported to neighboring countries. It is currently being investigated by Western medicine for possible benefits in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, Alzheimer's and colorectal cancer. TURMERIC is also used in the formulation of some sunscreens.

TURMERIC paste is applied to bride and groom before marriage in some places of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, where it is believed turmeric gives glow to skin and keeps some harmful bacteria away from the body.


Indian Saffron, Tumeric, Yellow Ginger

French: curcuma, saffron des Indes
German: Gelbwurz
Italian: curcuma
Spanish: curcuma
Arabic: kharkoum
Burmese: fa nwin
Chinese: wong geung fun
Indian: haldee, haldi, huldee, huldie
Indonesian: kunjit, kunyit
Malay: kunyit
Sinhalese: kaha
Tamil: munjal
Thai: kamin

Source: Wikipedia and The Epicentre

PS: I have successfully grown TURMERIC in Canberra. I cultivated it from fresh TURMERIC bought from the green grocers.

Look for turmeric with small rhizomes. You will need a small pot with some seed raising mix, bury the root about 2 to 3 cm from the top and hope for the best. Do not over water, as it would rot the fresh turmeric. Leave in a warm sheltered position. When the plant is about 12 to 18 cm high, (providing the temperature is right), you will need to transfer it to a garden bed…. and watch it grow!

However you will need to protect the plant from mid April to Mid October, preferabably in a hot house as Canberra weather will be too cold for it.


GINGER is native to India and China. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word stringa-vera, which means “with a body like a horn”, as in antlers.

GINGER has been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries, and is mentioned in the writings of Confucius. It is also named in the Koran, the sacred book of the Moslems, indicating it was known in Arab countries as far back as 650 A.D. It was one of the earliest spice known in Western Europe, used since the ninth century. It became so popular in Europe that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper. A common article of medieval and Renaissance trade, it was one of the spices used against the plague. In English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth century, barkeepers put out small containers of ground GINGER, for people to sprinkle into their beer — the origin of ginger ale. In order to ’gee up’ a lazy horse, it is the time honoured practice of Sussex farmers to apply a pinch of GINGER to the animal’s backside!!!

Although often called “ginger root” it is actually a rhizome. It is available in various forms. Fresh GINGER is essential to Indian, South-East Asian and oriental cookery. It is used in pickles, chutneys and curry pastes and the ground dried root is a constituent of many curry powders. In the West, dried and crystalised ginger is mainly used in cakes, biscuits, puddings, jams, preserves and in some drinks like ginger beer, ginger wine and tea.

In Asian cooking, GINGER is almost always used fresh, either minced, crushed or sliced. Fresh GINGER can be kept for several weeks in the salad drawer of the refrigerator. Dried GINGER should be ‘bruised’ by beating it to open the fibers, then infused in the cooking or making ginger beer and removed when the flavour is sufficient. Store dried and powdered GINGER in airtight containers.


GINGER has long been ascribed aphrodisiac powers, taken either internally or externally. It is mentioned in the Karma Sutra, and in the Melanesian Islands of the South Pacific it is employed ‘to gain the affection of a woman’. Conversely, in the Philippines it is chewed to expel evil spirits. GINGER is a known diaphoretic, meaning it causes one to sweat. It was recorded that Henry VIII instructed the mayor of London to use ginger’s diaphoretic qualities as a plague medicine.

GINGER is most commonly known for its effectiveness as a digestive aid. By increasing the production of digestive fluids and saliva, GINGER helps relieve indigestion, gas pains, diarrhea and stomach cramping. The primary known constituents of GINGER Root include gingerols, zingibain, bisabolenel, oleoresins, starch, essential oil (zingiberene, zingiberole, camphene, cineol, borneol), mucilage, and protein. GINGER root is also used to treat nausea related to both motion sickness and morning sickness. Ginger has been found to be even more effective than Dramamine® in curbing motion sickness, without causing drowsiness. GINGER 's anti-inflammatory properties help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism and muscle spasms. GINGER 's therapeutic properties effectively stimulate circulation of the blood, removing toxins from the body, cleansing the bowels and kidneys, and nourishing the skin. Other uses for GINGER Root include the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems by loosening and expelling phlegm from the lungs. GINGER Root may also be used to help break fevers by warming the body and increasing perspiration.


East Indian Pepper, Jamaica Ginger, Jamaica Pepper

French: gingembre
German: Ingwer
Italian: zenzero
Spanish: jengibre
Burmese: cheung, chiang, jeung
Indian: adruk (green), ard(r)ak(h) (green), sont(h) (dried)
Indonesian/Malay: aliah/halia
Japanese: mioga, myoga, shoga
Thai: k(h)ing (green)

Source: The Epicentre

PS: I have successfully grown GINGER in Canberra. I cultivated it from fresh GINGER bought from the green grocers and also through mail order from ALL RARE HERBS.

Look for GINGER with small rhizomes. You will need a small pot with some seed raising mix, bury the root about 2 to 3 cm from the top and hope for the best. Do not over water, as it would rot the fresh GINGER. Leave in a warm sheltered position. When the plant is about 12 to 18 cm high, (providing the temperature is right), you will need to transfer it to a garden bed…. and watch it grow!

However you will need to protect the plant from mid April to Mid October, preferabably in a hot house as Canberra weather will be too cold for it.


LEMON GRASS or Cymbopogon is a genus of about 55 species of grasses, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of the Old World and Oceania. It is a tall perennial grass. Common names include lemongrass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, citronella grass, fever grass or Hierba Luisa amongst many others.Not all varieties are edible.

The LEMON GRASS that is suitable for cooking is the ‘Cymbopogon citratus’ and is native to Malaysia. It has a citrus flavour and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. The lower portion is sliced, pounded or bruised (to release its flavour and essential oils) and used in cooking. As a spice, fresh LEMON GRASS is preferred for its vibrant flavour. The dried spice is available in several forms: chopped in slices, cut and sifted, powdered, or as oil.

LEMON GRASS is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African and Latino-American countries.

If using fresh LEMON GRASS, use only the lower bulbous portion of the stem. It can be pounded and used whole or cut in slices. When using the ground powder (sereh) use one teaspoon as an equal to one stalk of fresh. It is advisable to soak dried sliced lemon grass for two hours before using.

When wrapped in a paper bag, LEMON GRASS stems can last 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. The stems can also be frozen for several months. Always wrap and store separately, as LEMON GRASS will impart its flavour to other foods.


Citronella Grass (Cymbopogon nardus and Cymbopogon winterianus) is similar to the species above but grows to 2 m and has red base stems. These species are used for the production of citronella oil, which is used in soaps, as a mosquito repellent in insect sprays and candles, and also in aromatherapy, which is famous in Bintan, Indonesia. The principal chemical constituents of citronella, geraniol and citronellol, are antiseptics, hence their use in household disinfectants and soaps. Besides oil production, citronella grass is also used for culinary purposes, in tea and as a flavoring. The essential oil is used in perfumery too.

LEMON GRASS Oil is said to be an excellent pesticide and the Oriental Research Institute in Mysore, India apply it on ancient manuscripts to preserve them. The oil also keeps the manuscripts dry from humidity hence delaying the decay process of humidity. Research also shows that LEMON GRASS oil has antifungal properties.
LEMON GRASS also has medicinal properties and is used extensively in ancient Indian Ayurvedic medicines. It is supposed to help with relieving cough and nasal congestion.

The GRASS is considered a diuretic, tonic and stimulant. It promotes good digestion, and a preparation of LEMON GRASS with pepper has been used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea. It induces perspiration, to cool the body and reduce a fever.


Camel’s Hay, Citronella, Geranium Grass, Cochin Grass, Sereh (powder)

French: herbe de citron
German: Zitronengras
Italian: erba di limone
Spanish: hierba de limon
Indian: bhustrina, sera
Indonesian: sere, sereh
Lao: bai mak nao
Malay: serai
Sinhalese: sera
Thai: takrai

Source: Wikipedia and The Epicentre

PS: I have grown LEMON GRASS in Canberra. You can buy the plant from Bunnings from mid November to February. For a better yield, I’d recommend planting it in the ground and protecting it from the cold from mid April to mid October, preferably in a hot house.

Give it a feed of potassium nitrate in summer to 'fatten' up the stalks. Make sure you do not pour the potassium directly on the roots but about 6 inches away from the roots.

Sunday, 12 April 2009


To be honest, I have never made KUIH LAPIS before as I thought it would be too hard and time consuming. Imagine my amazement when I found that it is actually quite easy to make providing you follow some really easy steps. It took me 5 mins for every layer (there were eight layers in total) with an extra 15 mins for the last layer. With preparation and cooking time, the cake was ready in 1.25 hours. Not bad, considering it was my first effort.

I have to thank Sis Ummi for this achievement as I saw this layer cake on her blog and it gave me the motivation to make it. Without much ado, here’s my RAINBOW LAYERED STEAMED CAKE.


2 cups thick coconut milk (I used tinned coconut milk) (see my GLOSSARY post on COCONUT MILK)
1 cup plain flour
½ to 2/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp custard flour
½ tsp salt
Green, yellow, red and blue food colourings
7 inch (or smaller) cake tin


Sift the plain flour and rice flour separately. Set aside.

Get your steamer and cake tin ready. Do not oil your cake tin.

In a large bowl, and using a whisk, whisk together the sugar and coconut milk. Heat it in the microwave for 20 secs….don’t even try to cook it for longer as it will curdle the milk. We just want the milk to be tepid. Add in the salt.

Now, using 1 tbsp additions at a time (and still using the whisk), start blending the flours into the coconut milk, starting with the rice flour, custard flour and ending with the plain flour. You have to make small additions of flour at a time as you don’t want your batter to be lumpy. FYI, I did not use the last two tbsp of plain flour as the batter looked quite thick. The consistency of the batter should be similar to that of a thick pancake mix.

Now divide the batter into four bowls and and add ½ to 1 tsp of colouring. Now put a layer of the colour into your tin. I found that with this measurement, you can get 8 layers so use half of your colouring per layer. Steam for 5 mins and repeat the process using different colours for each layer until all the batter is used.

For the last layer, steam an extra 15 to 20 mins. Remove from the steamer and place the cake tin on a wire rack. Leave in the tin to cool completely (around an hour). Cut into desired shapes and serve with a cuppa for afternoon tea or as a sweet snack for the morning munchy attack!!!


A store that sells NEW HUSBANDS has opened in New York, where a woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the products increase as the shopper ascends the flights.

The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the HUSBAND STORE to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:

Floor 1 - These men Have Jobs

She is intrigued, but continues to the second floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

'That's nice,' she thinks, 'but I want more.'

So she continues upward. The third floor sign reads:

Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

'Wow,' she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.

She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.

'Oh, mercy me!' she exclaims, 'I can hardly stand it!'

Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:

Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor, where the sign reads:

Floor 6 - You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the HUSBAND STORE.

To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opened a NEW WIVES store just across the street.

The first floor has wives that love sex and never suffer from headaches.

The second floor has wives that love sex, never suffer from headaches, have money and like beer.

The third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors have never been visited!!!!!

Friday, 10 April 2009


This is one of my favourite dishes during the cooler months. Very quick to cook, hearthy and satisfying with deep and rich flavours and beef that will melt in your mouth.

Absolutely scrumptious with freshly baked crusty bread but works well with mashed potatoes too.


1 kg rump steak - cut into strips or cubes
1 tbsp plain flour
2 cups of beef stock – I diluted 1 OXO™ beef cube in one cup of water to make 1 cup of stock
One red capsicum – deseeded and finely diced - optional
2 brown onions - finely sliced
3 cloves garlic – minced or grated
2 large potatoes - diced
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp smoked paprika
50gm butter
Thickened cream - optional
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Parsley to garnish - optional
Loaf of crusty bread


Heat oil in a large sauce pan, add the beef and cook until just sealed - ensuring that the beef is still rare (cook in batches as opposed to all at once as this will prevent the beef from stewing).

Remove beef from the sauce pan and set aside.

Add the butter to the saucepan and add the capsicum, onion and garlic. Cook until the onion just changes colour.

Add the stock, tomato paste, smoked paprika and reduce the heat and simmer until liquid reduces by half.

Return the beef to the sauce pan, add in the potatoes and simmer on low heat until beef and potatoes are cooked.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a dollop of cream if desired, garnish with some chopped parsley and serve either with crusty bread, mashed potatoes or even rice.

Note: if serving with mashed spuds, you may omit the diced potatoes from the goulash.


Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Easter with your family and friends.

Take care on the roads if you are travelling.


1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You email the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have email addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your mobile phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your mobile phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile :)

12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. You are too busy to notice there was no number 9 on this list.

14. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a number 9 on this list!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Myspace Glitter Graphics Maker
Age is a number and mine is unlisted!
~ Anonymous

Well, another year older, that's for sure....but am I any wiser? myspace graphic comments


Some light-hearted humour. No disrespect meant to senior cits….we are going to be in the same boat one day. Well, I am after all one year closer to it anyway.....if I am already not there, that is!!!!


Just before the funeral services, the undertaker came up to the very elderly widow and asked, 'How old was your husband?'

'98,' she replied. 'Two years older than me'

'So you're 96,' the undertaker commented.

She responded, 'Hardly worth going home, is it?


Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:

'And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?' the reporter asked.

She simply replied, 'No peer pressure.


The nice thing about being senile is...
You can hide your own Easter eggs.


I've sure gotten old!
I've had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement,
New knees, fought prostate cancer and diabetes
I'm half blind,

Can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine,
Take 40 different medications that
Make me dizzy, winded, and subject to blackouts.

Have bouts with dementia
Have poor circulation;
Hardly feel my hands and feet anymore.
Can't remember if I'm 85 or 92.

Have lost all my friends. But, thank God…..
I still have my driver's license!!!!


I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising.
I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors.

I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down, and perspired for an hour.

But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.


My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.


Know how to prevent sagging?
Just eat till the wrinkles fill out.


It's scary when you start making the same noises….
As your coffee maker!



Grant me the senility to forget
the people I never liked anyway,
The good fortune to run into the ones I do, and
The eyesight to tell the difference.


Always Remember This:
You don't stop laughing because you grow old,
You grow old because you stop laughing!

HAVE A GOOD DAY.........