My passion for baking started at a very early age. Even though my task was limited to creaming the margarine and sugar, I truly enjoyed my share. It was the time when Mak used her multi-purpose pot for all her baking activities because we couldn’t afford an electric oven. Our Eid-ul Fitri cookies and cakes were baked in this trusted pot and until this very day, although an electric oven is available in her kitchen now, the pot remains Mak’s favourite.
Talking about cakes, I’ve to admit that I’m a cake person. However, I prefer the baking part and usually, I’d leave the eating part to others, for example, my poor colleagues in school who have always been willing to sample the result of my experiments. Thank you so much, guys! I prefer to bake cakes because the process is straight forward, takes lesser time and there are no repetitions involved. Although I enjoy watching ‘How It’s Made’ on the telly, repetitions are just not my cup of tea. This explains why I seldom make cookies. However, my kids, especially Atush, prefers cookies to cakes and this entry has certainly reminded me that I’ve promised to cake her favourite choc chip cookies! I will try to allocate some time to keep my promise.
A cake enthusiast I might be but I only have a few favourites. Throughout the years, I have been loyal to Mak’s Steamed Fruit Cake, Marbled Butter Cake, Banana Cake and ‘Kek Sarang Lebah’ (Mak calls it Kek Span). I know that the latest craze is Red Velvet Cake and Hummingbird Cake but when it comes to personal choice, I’m quite difficult to be converted. Over sentimental and always traditional, according to Mr KHz.
However, photos of cakes have always been part of my life’s temptation. Some time last week, I came across a cake photo in Secubit Garam and I decided to give it a try. I was very surprised with the outcome. It’s difficult to explain so I guess, you just have to try to bake the cake. How the layers turned out wavy is something that I cannot explain. I’m pretty sure that there’s some some chemical reaction involved. Have a try and be amazed like me!
KEK ALUNAN KASIH
- 5 eggs
- 250g butter (at room temperature)
- 2 and 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups of caster sugar
- 1 teaspoonful of baking powder
- 1 cup of evaporated milk ( I used fresh milk)
- 1 teaspoonful of vanilla
- cocoa powder
- food colouring ( I used Star Brand’s Apple Green and Cochineal food colouring)
- Preheat oven at 150C.
- Sieve flour and baking powder and keep aside.
- Beat butter and sugar till pale.
- Put in eggs gradually and keep on mixing.
- Put in vanilla essence and milk.
- Fold in flour a little at a time and mix well.
- Dive into 3 portions. Mix 1 portion with 1 tsp of green food colouring and the other portion with red food colouring. Leave the third portion as it is.
- Grease and line a 9×9 inch baking tin.
- Pour in the red portion and using a spatula, spread the batter. Be careful to make sure the cocoa powder is not mixed up with your batter.
- Next, using a fine sieve, sift cocoa powder on top of the red batter. The cocoa powder layer should be thin and covers the whole area. Repeat the same procedure with the green portion.
- Next, spread the third portion on top of the cocoa powder.
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Get ready to be amazed!
As Sundays have always been allocated for cooking dishes ‘ordered’ by Mr KHz and the kids, I actually dragged myself to the kitchen last week to keep my promise. You see, when there’s school on Saturday, I would feel very, very tired on the day after. Instantly, that particular Sunday would feel very short. This is worsen by the fact that I have to attend to my English Society meeting on the next day (Monday) as early as 8.45a.m.! Well, age is definitely catching up and with me, it is very, very fast.
Since I’ve told my helper to thaw the chicken from the freezer, I had to make do with it. Besides, there’s no other raw ingredients in the freezer. Initially, I planned to prepare chicken soup for the kids love slurping it with blanched rice vermicelli but I remembered that we already had the fried version of the noodles for breakfast on Saturday morning. Mr KHz would be okay with any chicken dish so I decided to try another Rubiah Suparman’s creation. As for the kids, I know they would be very delighted with my Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.
I chose the recipe because it is simple. However, no matter how simple a recipe can be, disasters do happen in the coking world. As the chicken pieces were baking, Daus ran to me and mentioned that the washing machine was not working. What? I went and checked and realized that there was no electricity. It was definitely the time to panic for my chicken was still in the oven and it was half-cooked! I took the chicken pieces out of the oven and was thinking very, very hard on how to settle the matter. Trying to keep calm, I continued stirring the sauce for the chicken and decided to pan-fry my poor Mr Chicky. However, Lady Luck was on my side for soon after, the electricity was back.
Just to let you know that I followed the recipe but as usual, I did slight changes in the cooking techniques. I do feel that the chicken would taste better if it is cooked over charcoal fire – the way it is usually done. Anyway, here’s the recipe which might be useful on those tiring and mundane days!
‘AYAM PERCIK ALA PUTERI’
- 1 chicken (about 1 kg) – cut into four large pieces
- 3 pips of garlic
- 1 onion
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger
- 1 teaspoonful of salt
- Preheat your oven at 170C. I used the roasting option but I guess, any over would be able to do the trick
- Ground garlic, onion and ginger finely and mix with salt. Run this onto the chicken pieces and marinade for 15 minutes.
- Put into a baking dish and bake till cooked. I bake my chicken for 30 minutes on one side. Then, I flip the chicken and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Leave your chicken pieces in the baking dish to cool.
For the sauce :
- 1 and 1/2 cups of thick coconut milk ( I used 200ml of Ayam Brand coconut cream, mixed with water to get 300ml of coconut milk)
- 15 shallots
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 2 tablespoonfuls of chilli paste
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (bruised)
- 2 tablespoonfuls of sugar
- salt to taste
- 3 tablespoonfuls of cooking oil
- Grind shallots and ginger finely.
- Heat the oil and stir fry ground ingredients till fragrant.
- Then, put in the chilli paste, lemongrass, coconut milk, sugar and salt and cook till the mixture becomes thick.
- Next, set your oven at grill function. Spoon the sauce over your chicken and grill for 10 minutes. Flip and do the same with the remaining sauce.
Note : Mr KHz gave 8.0 rating for this dish.
The photo for this particular recipe has been in my photo folder for quite some time but sincerely, I didn’t know why it slipped my mind. Judging from the photo, I tried to recall (which happens to get more difficult lately) which recipe book that I’d referred to. I was pretty sure that it wasn’t from MyResipi.com so I had narrowed down my search into two parts, namely Rubiah Suparman and Chef Wan.
As I flipped through my recipe books by these two chefs, I finally managed to find the wanted recipe. All that I could remember was the recipe requires candle nuts, Thai basil and fresh red chillies. Eventually, I managed to locate it. It’s another Chef Wan’s creation. Surprisingly, there’s no photo included with the recipe. Well, I guess, the photo below could be the closest of how the dish should look like.
SPECIAL ROASTED CHICKEN
- 1 whole chicken (about 1.5kg)
- 1 teaspoonful of salt
- 1 teaspoonful white pepper powder
- 60ml cooking oil
- 300ml thick coconut milk
- 20 pieces of Thai basil leaves (I didn’t use this)
- 1 tablespoonful of tamarind juice
- salt and sugar to taste
(B) : (to be ground finely)
- 6 fresh red chillies (deseeded)
- 6 bird’s eyes chillies
- 6 candle nuts
- 8 shallots
- 2 pips of garlic
- 3cm piece of galangal
- Coat the chicken with 1 teaspoonful of salt and white pepper powder. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C till half cooked.
- In a large wok, heat the oil and stir fry ground ingredients till fragrant. Put in coconut milk and basil leaves and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Then, put in the half-baked chicken and let to simmer till the gravy thickens.
- Pour in the tamarind juice, slat and sugar to taste and cook for another 3 minutes.
Note : Mr KHz gave a 7.5 rating for this dish.
I know a lot of us are very fond of crabs. Common dishes using crabs include deep fried crabs in batter and chilli crabs. The Malays should be familiar with ‘ketam masak lemak cili api’ which literary means, crabs in spicy, yellow sauce. My dear friend, Yong had also mentioned ‘Crabs with Salted Egg” served in Hokkaido Restaurant in KL and judging from her comments, I know the dish was lip-smacking. What’s your favourite crab dish?
Sincerely, I enjoy eating crabs but I have to admit that savouring crabs can be a time-consuming task. Thus, crabs should never be consumed when one is in a hurry. During my stay in Padang Jambu, Melaka during the Christmas break, Mak had prepared Crab Soup. I tried to recreate the same dish (after giving her a call for the list of ingredients needed) and I discovered something about crabs. In the future, I should cook my crabs on the same day that they’re purchased. Keeping them frozen is not really a good option. The taste is just not the same compared to fresh crabs. Perhaps, I should try to perfect my cooking skills. I shouldn’t put the blame on the crabs, should I?
Anyway, here’s the recipe if you wish to try.
- 3 medium-sized crabs (cleaned and each is cut into 2)
- 5 pips of garlic
- 3 shallots
- 3 cm piece of ginger
- a stalk of spring onion (cut into 1 inch length)
- 3 cups of water
- 2 tablespoonfuls of cooking oil
- salt and sugar to taste
- Chop garlic, shallots and ginger finely.
- Next, heat the oil and stir fry the chopped ingredients till fragrant.
- Pour in water and let to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Put in your crab pieces and continue cooking until your crabs are cooked.
- Add salt and sugar to taste.
- Sprinkle with cut spring onion before serving.
I have to admit that soy sauce has been a major part in my life. A satisfying meal to me, can simply be a fried egg eaten with a mixture of sweet soy sauce, sliced shallots and bird’s eye chillies or it can simply be piping hot, deep fried fish dipped in the black beauty! Enough to make me very happy . I’m very glad that Mr KHz shares the same liking but for him, it has to be a little bit elaborated. For lunch last week, I’d prepared a beef dish, using the glorious sweet soy sauce.
‘DAGING MASAK KICAP’
- 1 kilogramme of beef (I used sirloin steak) (thinly sliced)
- 10 shallots
- 5 pips of garlic
- 2 cm piece of ginger
- 1 teaspoonful of cummin seeds
- 1/2 a teaspoonful of fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoonful of coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoonful of black pepper seeds
- 1/4 cup of chilli sauce
- 1/2 cup of sweet soy sauce
- 1 cup of water
- 2 fresh red chillies (deseeded and cut lengthwise)
- 2 medium size potatoes (peeled, cut into wedges and deep fried and keep aside)
- salt to taste
- Grind shallots, garlic, ginger, cummin, fennel, coriander and black pepper seeds till fine. Mix well with the beef and marinade for one hour.
- Then, using the oil used to fry the potatoes (I used about 1/2 cup), fry the beef till slightly brown.
- Next, pour in the water, chilli sauce and soy sauce. Reduce heat and let to simmer till the beef is tender. Add more water if you want it to be a little bit soupy.
- Add fried potato wedges, red chillies and salt to taste. Stir well.
Saturdays for Mr KHz and I include trips to the laundrette, the wet market or the bookshop. this time, after sending his work attire for dry-cleaning, we stopped at Jaya33 to get some groceries. We bought some mussels and this had led to the dish in the photo below. It took me about 25 minutes to prepare it and as expected, about the same amount of time for Mr KHz to finish it!
SWEET AND SOUR MUSSELS
A CLOSER LOOK JUST TO EXCITE !
In order to enjoy all the mussel goodness, you need :
- 1 and 1/2 kg of mussels (cleaned, and you might need to scrub the shells but to tell the truth, I bought them because they have been cleaned)
- 3 pips of garlic (chopped)
- 1 red chilli (deseeded and chopped into small pieces)
- 1/2 cup of MAGGI Thai Chilli Sauce
- a handful of fresh coriander leaves (chopped coarsely)
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoonful of cooking oil
- juice from 1/4 of a lemon
- In a large pot, heat the oil and stir fry the garlic till fragrant.
- Then, put in the sauce and stir for another 2 minutes.
- Then, put in the mussels and water.
- Turn on the heat to high and cover your pot. Let to cook for 10 minutes or all the mussels are opened.
- Move the lid and sprinkle with chopped red chilli and coriander leaves. Squeeze the lemon and serve immediately.
Hello all! I know it’s a bit late for me to wish a happy new year to everybody but it’s always better to be late than never. I do hope that this year will be a blissful and blessed for all of us . Besides wishing for all the best in life, as well as being grateful for what has been granted upon me all this while, a new year also indicates that I have to go back to school and teach. Unfortunately, this means lesser time to spend on experimenting in the kitchen. I have to put my favourite pastime on hold and at the same time, trying to resist myself from the joy of trying all sorts of wonderful recipes in both cooking and baking worlds. In short, I cook (my choice of dishes, depending on how much time I have) and they eat. End of story. Specific dishes made to order can only take place during the weekends. To tell the truth, I am thankful because so far, Mr KHz has never complained. As for the kids, just prepare any chicken dish and they would be okay.
I believe, many working mothers out there are experiencing the similar scenario like I do. Hence, I would like to share an easy recipe which has saved me on countless occasions where time is not on my side. It is simply satisfying.
‘IKAN BAWAL MASAK TAUCU’
- 2 medium size black pomfret (cleaned and gutted and coat with 1 teaspoonful of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoonful of salt and deep fried till golden brown, and keep aside)
- 1 large onion ( halved and thinly sliced)
- 3 pips of garlic ( thinly sliced)
- 2 inch piece of ginger ( thinly sliced)
- 1 fresh red chillies (thinly sliced)
- 1 fresh green chillies (thinly sliced)
- 2 tablespoonfuls of ‘taucu’ (salted soy beans)
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 3/4 cup of water
- 2 tablespoonfuls of cooking oil
- salt and sugar to taste
- In a wok, heat the oil and stir fry sliced onion, ginger and garlic till fragrant.
- Put in the sliced red and green chillies and stir.
- Next, put in the ‘taucu’ , oyster sauce and water and let to simmer.
- Then, put in the salt and sugar. I did not use any salt for both the ‘taucu’ and oyster sauce are salty enough for me. Mix well and let to continue simmering for another 5 minutes.
- Put in your fried pomfret onto a serving dish.
- Spoon the gravy on top of your fish.
- Serve hot.