On Saturday morning, I was greeted by rather bleak sky and the sun seemed lazy to shine. I’m not really sure about others but the weather does influence me in deciding what to prepare for members of the clan. We have been having fried rice vermicelli quite often so I was thinking of something comforting yet satisfying during the gloom weather. Since it was a rather cold and cloudy morning, I decided to try this recipe which had been in the folder for months. The verdict? I was so glad with the outcome of my experiment. Mr KHz enjoyed it to the last spoonful!
As the first step towards such blissful and comforting feeling, first, spoon the piping hot broth onto a bowl of soft rice.
Next, sprinkle all the toppings on top and enjoy the wonderful burst of tastes and texture!
NASI AIR SIAM (Thai-Style Soft Rice in Beef Broth)
Source : sitiazma@MyResipi.com
- 3 cups of rice (add more water than usual so your rice would be soft and slightly mushy but not watery)
- 1/2 kilogramme of beef
- 5 inch piece of ginger (finely pounded)
- bird’s eye chillies ( I used 15 pieces)
- 3 to 4 tablespoonfuls of vinegar
- salt and sugar to taste
- cooking oil
(B) For the toppings
- dried anchovies ( I used 1/2 a cup)
- fried shallots (I omitted this and replaced with thinly sliced omellette made from 2 eggs)
- rice vermicelli (rinsed and drained and deep fried till crispy) (I omitted this)
- Chinese parsley (finely chopped) (I replaced it with spring onions)
- limes of calamansi limes (I used 1 lime and cut into wedges)
- chilli water
- As your rice is cooking, cut beef into large chunks and put into a large pot. Put enough water so your beef pieces are submerged and boil till cooked. Once cooked, take out beef pieces and keep aside. Heat up the broth and add sugar and salt to taste.
- Meanwhile, shred the beef pieces finely and mix with pounded ginger. Deep fry till crispy, drained and keep aside. *A tip from the recipe owner: if you decide to use all the toppings, you you fry the rice vermicelli first, followed by the anchovies and finally the shredded beef. This is to make sure that the oil is clean and will not ‘tarnish’ your rice vermicelli and anchovies.
- As for the chilli water, pound chillies finely with salt and sugar (I used 1 teaspoonful of salt and 3 teaspoonfuls of sugar). Then, add in vinegar and mix well.
- Now that everything is done, scoop some rice into a bowl and pour the broth. Add the toppings and mix well.
Having a long break does bring both positive and negative impacts. Looking at the positive side, I do feel calm as I do not have to follow the routines as when school was in session. Unfortunately, this long break has brought its fair share of negativity. Somehow, I have lost track of the days and dates. Everyday seems to be the same and I feel as if time crawls and very soon, I am affected. As a result, most of the time, you would find me rather glued to the monitor, staring at the square box or bury my face into novels after novels.
After all, I am not to be fully blamed. My kids have ‘helped’ in lowering my productivity level. Since they do not fancy rice, this means, no elaborate dishes needed to be prepared. Simple fried noodles or a roast chicken would be finger-licking good to both of them. For a change, I would just prepare chicken soup and boil some rice vermicelli and voila! A dish is created and as long as they eat and they are happy, I am one satisfied mom. Hence, accumulating my laziness to try new recipes so lesser hours were spent in the kitchen. As a result, this blog has been left abandoned for nearly a month.
Glancing at the calendar this morning had more or less awakened me from my long hibernation mode. There would be less than 2 weeks before I have to go to school again. In fact, I have to be in school for duty on this coming Friday. Well, I got some help from my breadmaker to prepare something for the kids to much for dinner. take it as a start for me to crawl back into the real world. One step at a time, ay?
PIZZA WITH CHICKEN CUBES, MUSHROOMS AND COCKTAIL SAUSAGES
(A) For the crust
- 140ml water
- 1 tablespoonful of olive oil
- 225g of bread flour
- 1 teaspoonful of salt
- 1/2 teaspoonful of sugar
- 1/2 teaspoonful of instant dry yeast
- I used my breadmaker to knead and proof and it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Once risen, take out the dough and sprinkle some flour onto the rolling mat and roll the dough into a circle of 1cm thickness and carefully transfer onto your pizza pan. This recipe fits a 30cm diameter round pizza pan nicely.
- Put tomato sauce onto the dough evenly and sprinkle with cheese.
- Arrange toppings of your choice and top with more cheese.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 175C for 15-20 minutes or till the crust is brown and crispy.
- If you do not have a bread maker, mix sugar,yeast and flour into a large bowl. Mix salt with water and add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in olive well and knead till your dough is elastic and dos not stick to your hand. Let to rise for about 45 minutes and follow the procedure listed above.
(B) For the sauce:
- 1 can of peeled tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 100ml of water
- 2 tablespoonfuls of brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoonful of tomato puree
- 1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoonful of dried oregano
- 2 tablespoonful of olive oil
- salt to taste
- In a pot, heat olive oil and stir fry chopped onion till translucent but do not brown the onion.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Lower the heat and stir occasionally till the sauce thickens. Let to cool.
- This sauce can cater for 2 pieces of pizza. Use as you wish and keep the remaining sauce frozen in an airtight container.
(C) For the toppings:
- 8 pieces of canned button mushrooms (sliced)
- 5 pieces of beef cocktail sausages (sliced lengthwise)
- 150g of diced, cooked chicken breast
- 150g of grated mozarella
- 50g of grated parmesan
I have been blogging since 2008 and part of this activity has resulted in three main recipe folders. Truthfully, I’ve tried some of them but there are plenty which are still waiting to be experimented in my humble kitchen. Some time last week, I told my helper to thaw the beef, but at the same time, I did not have any idea on how to prepare it. As I was having my usual cup of morning tea, I flipped through my recipe folder and finally came across something very simple to prepare. Typical me. End of story.
The recipe stated that I needed these ingredients :
Source : erna@MyResipi.com
- 500g beef
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoonfuls of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoonful of sugar
- salt to taste
- oil for frying
To be ground :
- 2 tablespoonfuls of cummin seeds
- 1 tablespoonful of fennel seeds
- 10 shallots
- 3 tablespoonfuls of chilli paste
- a small piece of ginger.
- Slice the beef thinly and mix well with a little bit of ground ingredients. Keep aside for a while.
- Then, deep fry your beef pieces till crispy and keep aside.
- Then, stir fry the remaining ground ingredients, put in the tomatoes, salt, sugar, soy sauce and fried beef slices. Cook till the gravy thickens.
Well, since I had already prepared the ingredients and the cooking steps seemed to be straight forward, I was ready to be in action. Only after I had fried my beef pieces, I noticed that something was not right. I had mistakenly used up all the ground ingredients to marinade my beef and I had nothing left for the gravy. I checked the recipe again and admitted my mistake for not being careful. No, no, no. A budding cook should never panic. A cook should always try to improvise (and yes, you guessed it right. I was merely trying to calm myself!). So, since I’d already fried my beef pieces, I decided to put them back into my wok and added the remaining ingredients and continued to cook until the gravy thickened. The verdict ? Mr KHz agreed with me that the dish tasted good. Disastrous cooking steps? Yes, but taste wise, undoubtedly delicious!
Here’s the photo of my ‘disastrous’ creation. Just to note that I used sirloin and added 5 cloves of garlic to the actual recipe. As for the soy sauce, I used sweet soy sauce and 1 inch piece of ginger. About the cooking steps, it’s up to you to follow which version that you find more suitable.
My idea of comfort food does not necessarily involve tonnes and tonnes of sugar, fat and sky rocketting amount of calories. As far as I’m concerned, Mak’s asam pedas has never failed to do its ‘comforting’ job but fruits would carry out the similar task well enough. Talking about fruits, sometimes I go for the crunchy ones but with the current weather, anything juicy is the best option.
I have always liked to use fruits whenever I’m baking. However, my kids are the opposites. They are Mr KHz’s carbon copies. They only eat chocolate chip muffins. Fruits are meant to be taken as they are. Cooking with fruits should never take place. However, I decided to prepare my banana chocolate chip muffins last Saturday just to find out if this combination would work on them. Well, they love chocolate and surprisingly adore jemput-jemput pisang. Besides, there was school on last Saturday and don’t you agree that it was the perfect time for some comfort food? As a spirit booster I went and prepared my muffins. Brought some for my sister and she ended up making three batches of the same muffins! Oh yes, just to let you know that my mission failed miserably. The muffins turned out soft and moist, with the right amount of sweetness but the kids (as well as their father) remain loyal to their jemput-jemput pisang. Anyway, here’s the recipe which might help to cheer you up in case you’re feeling under the weather.
BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
- 3 ripe bananas (mashed) (I used Pisang Montel but using 5-6 pisang emas would produce better muffins)
- 1 and 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar (press the sugar tightly into the cup)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup of corn oil
- 1/4 cup of yoghurt
- 1/4 teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
- Preheat oven at 170C.
- Put the flour into a big bowl.
- Mix brown sugar, corn oil, yoghurt, mashed bananas and bicarbonate of soda till well-mixed.
- Then, pour this mixture into the flour and fold using a fork. Your mixture should be lumpy.
- Spoon into muffin tin lined with paper casings.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Note : I managed to get a dozen of large muffins from this recipe.
I prepared this dish because the recipe was very, very simple but frankly, the boiled beef pieces had been in the fridge for two days so I was left with no choice but to cook them. Since the beef pieces had been boiled beforehand, the cooking process just took less than 30 minutes, which was the same amount of time taken for Mr KHz and I to finish eating the dish. I do recommend you to try.
BEEF IN BLACK PEPPER AND SOY SAUCE
- 500g of beef (cut into thin slices and boil till tender, keep beef pieces and juice aside)
- 5 shallots
- 3 pips of garlic
- 2 inch piece of ginger
- 1/4 cup of sweet soy sauce
- 2 tablespoonfuls of black pepper (finely crushed in a pestle and mortar)
- 1 ripe tomato (quartered)
- 1 medium size onion (cut into rings)
- 1 fresh red chilli (deseeded, cut lengthwise and chopped into large pieces)
- 1 tablespoonful of cornstarch (to be mixed with two tablespoonfuls of water)
- salt to taste
- Grind shallots, garlic and ginger till fine.
- In a wok, heat some cooking oil and stir fry ground ingredients till fragant.
- Next, put in the beef pieces and the juice, soy sauce and black pepper and mix well.
- Cook over medium heat till the juice reduce.
- Then, pour in the corn starch mixture and stir again.
- Add in the chilli and tomato and add salt to taste. Mix well.
- Serve hot with sliced French loaf or plain boiled rice.
I have to admit that this afternoon was kind of ‘colourful’ in its own way. As I was getting ready to go to school, my helper told me that she couldn’t iron my tudung because the electricity was out all of a sudden. I told her it was okay and as I put on my creased tudung, I had already thought of bringing my iron to school. Better still, try to talk to one of the Living Skills teachers to let me use the Home Science room. Little did I realise that what awaited me was more serious than an piece of crumpled cloth.
As I brought my bags to be loaded into the car boot, I couldn’t help but notice the gates and I was dumbfounded! How am I going to drive the car out if I can’t open the gates which need electricity to function? Trying to keep calm, I made a call to Mr KHz, with high hopes that the key for manual opening is somewhere in the house. My hopes shattered when he told me that only he and my father-in-law has a key each and they were both at the office. I had expected him to be annoyed but he told me to wait. Initially, I had planned to call a taxi, which means, Atush has to skip school for the day but since Mr KHz had instructed me to stay put, so I followed his instructions. It was panic and amusing at the same time for I had never been in this situation. School was going to start soon and Tuesdays are one of my hectic days! Silently, I told myself that have to be more cautious in the future and be prepared of any emergencies. In my case, the sweet, taken for granted taste of modernisation had actually spat some of its bitter juice onto my forgetful self.
Ten minutes before Mr KHz arrived, my helper told me that the electricity was back! The moment he arrived, I believe he had guessed it for he saw my crease-free tudung. Judging from his look, I know he’s very, very angry! What else could I do besides saying sorry for troubling him and of course, thanking him for coming to my rescue..tee, hee, hee. Well, one thing that Mr KHz didn’t know was, while waiting for his arrival, I had enjoyed my share of the beauties in the photos below in between my panic and amusing moment! I feel that I have to let you know that I considered them as lucky ones for I managed to bake them, half an hour before the electricity went ‘missing’!
DOUBLE BERRY MUFFINS
AN ATTEMPT TO FINISH UP THE STOCK ENDED UP AS MY SAVIOUR
I have used Fergal Conolly’s Blueberry Muffin recipe, from her book, 500 Muffins and Cupcakes but of course, with some amendments.
- 115g of unsalted butter (melted)
- 150g of caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
- 265g of flour
- 1 tablespoonful of baking powder
- 1 teaspoonful of vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoonful of lemon rind ( I replace it with 1 tablespoonful of lemon juice)
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 225ml of milk
- 250g of fresh blueberries (I used 125g of fresh blueberries and 100g of dried strawberries)
- 12 large paper cup casings (I used 2and 1/2 quart paper cup casings and I managed to get 18 pieces of muffins)
- Preheat your oven at 200C (I set mine at 170C).
- In a bowl, mix sugar, flour and baking powder using a wooden spoon and keep aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat melted butter, eggs till well-mixed. Put in the lemon rind and vanilla essence and mix again.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and put in both berries and fold the batter. Do not over mix.
- Line your muffin tin with paper cup casings and spoon the batter.
- Bake for 20 minutes or till golden brown. To test, insert a skewer into your muffins and if it comes out clean, then your muffins are ready.
- Serve with a warm cup of tea.
Do you know what these are? Yes, the ever glorious sambal belacan and salted fish!
I admit that I do not represent the whole Malay population in this country but I am sure that many Malays are very fond of their ‘sambal belacan’. It is actually an accompaniment made up of pounded red chillies, a shallot or two, toasted shrimp paste, salt and sugar. From this basic recipe, you can simply add raw mango or chopped, ripe tomatoes for a sourish taste or simply squeeze some lime juice to make it more appetizing. It is an unwritten rule that if you have already prepared your sambal belacan, you MUST have fried salted fish to go along with it.
Talking about pairing, I begin to realize that whenever Mak prepares her Kobis or Labu Masak Lemak Putih (Cabbage or Pumpkin in White Coconut Gravy), she would also prepare her sambal belacan and salted fish. Only after these years have I finally understood how brilliant were the womenfolk of the yesteryears. In the kampung, dishes are prepared using sources around the household perimetre, where vegetable dishes are more common. When you have to cook for everyone (with various likings) in the house, you can’t afford but to be creative. In the case of Kobis or Labu Masak Lemak Putih, those who fancy spicy food, can simply add the sambal belacan into their meal for that extra zing. What an ingenious idea!
As for me, since I still have my sambal belacan and salted fish, I decided to prepare this dish, using another Chef Wan’s recipe.
‘LABU MASAK LEMAK PUTIH’
- 300g pumpkin (peeled and chopped into large chunks)
- 200g of prawns (peeled)
- 3 shallots
- 2 pips of garlic
- 2 tablespoonfuls of dried shrimps
- 500ml of coconut milk (from 1 grated coconut)
- 1 red chilli (deseeded and cut lengthwise)
- salt and sugar to taste
- In a pot, put all ingredients except turmeric leaf , chilli and prawns and let to boil till the pumpkin chunks are soft. Stir continuously or your coconut milk will split.
- Next, put in the remaining ingredients and stir till the prawns are cooked.
- Add salt and sugar to taste.
- Serve hot with your sambal belacan and salted fish.
It’s funny to know that many of us take ice cream to quench our thirst, but to find out later that the so-called cooling delight has caused us to be more thirsty. I’m sure that many of us out there would look for a glass of water after a nice scoop of cooling, sweet sensation. Using the recipe taken from MyRespi.com, I’ve tried making ice cream in different flavours, such as chocolate, mango and durian. However, vanilla remains my favourite
Some time last week, I needed to finish my milk stock and there was a packet of fresh strawberries in the fridge so I decided to combine both ingredients. After all, it has been quite long time since I made ice cream. Ideally, I have to puree the strawberries and get the puree sieved to get rid of the seeds. In reality, I had simply dumped everything in the blender. Then I put it into the freezer for an hour, took it out and blended it again and put it back into the freezer. Two hours later, I shared a bowl of ice cream with my daughter and she had told me to use bananas the next time I make ice cream. So, should I feed her curiosity? What do you think?
SIMPLE STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM
- 1 cup of fresh milk (I used low fat)
- 1 cup of non-dairy creamer (I used Coffeemate)
- 200g of fresh strawberries
- 5 tablesponfuls of sugar
- Put everything in a blender and blend till fine and well-mixed.
- Put into a covered container and freeze. this might take one to two hours depending on your freezer.
- Once frozen, take our and leave for 15 minutes. Scoop into the blender and blend again.
- Pour back into the container and freeze till firm.
- Now, you can enjoy your ice cream.
Monday was very hectic for me. I had my English society meeting from 8.30 till 10.00 am and it continued with another meeting with the boss at 11.30 am. I struggled to finish marking my students’ books while waiting for it. Then came the launching for Safe School programme which took part an hour after the second meeting. As a result, I had sent a text message to Mr KHz for while marking my books, I realized that I should have gone for my grocery shopping during the weekend!
Once I reached home, I saw two trays of eggs on the kitchen counter. To add more to the surprise, my helper told me that there was another tray in the fridge. A tray contains thirty eggs and having three trays altogether, I have a total amount of ninety eggs! Instantly, I took out my phone and checked the message I sent to Mr KHz and part of it read :
- 2 packs of Grade A eggs
- 1 pack of Grade C eggs
- 2 tins of Ayam Brand mushrooms
and there I was, blaming myself for assuming that everyone knows that a pack has 10 eggs. As a result, I’ve to figure out what to do with the stock before they expire! My first attempt could be seen in the photo below. Instead of putting raw eggs into the boiling gravy, I had poached them because I prefer clear gravy. Well, I’d used 4 eggs in this recipe and I still have 86 more to go. After all, 86 is just a number, isn’t it? (Help me!!!)
‘TELUR MASAK LEMAK KUNING ‘
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups of water
- 4 tablespoonfuls of white vinegar
- 3 bird’s eyes chillies (bruised)
- 5 shallots
- 3 pips of garlic
- 2cm piece of ginger
- 2 stalk of lemongrass (bruised)
- 1 piece of turmeric leaf (sliced thinly)
- 1/4 cup of thick coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 piece of ‘asam keping’
- 1 teaspoonful of MAGGI ‘ikan bilis’ granules
- salt to taste
- To poach the eggs, bring to a boil 2 cups of water mixed with vinegar. Once boiled, reduce heat to medium.
- Then, break an egg into a bowl. Next, slot it slowly into the boiling water. You should be able to see the egg white ‘wrapping’ the yolk. When the yolk hardens, use a slotted spoon and take out and drain. Repeat the process withe the remaining eggs.
- Pound the shallots, garlic and ginger till fine and put into a pot.
- Put in all the other ingredients and cook over a low fire, stirring at all time.
- Season with salt.
- Put in your poached eggs.
- Serve hot with plain boiled rice.
School break has always been the much awaited time by Mr KHz and the other two members of the clan. It is because they can simply turn me into their genie by requesting numerous dishes which they couldn’t sample during the weekdays. Unfortunately, being a genie without any magic spell or touches, it could get very tiring at times. However, I would say that I’m willing to fulfill their wishes for I guess, cooking is the only skill I have to make them happy. So far, it works and I also have the fun watching them finishing what I’ve prepared.
Some time this week, Atush requested for pizza and she insisted on round pizza. I believe that she has been monitoring me all this while for I would usually dump the whole dough on my largest rectangle baking tray so that I wouldn’t have to repeat the shaping and baking processes. Well, so much of fulfilling someone’s wish so I took out my round pizza pan and got to work. This is the outcome of my hard work.
HOMEMADE PIZZA WITH CHICKEN SAUSAGES, FRESH BUTTON MUSHROOMS AND COOKED CHICKEN PIECES TOPPINGS
A CUT TO SHOW THE INSIDE
ATUSH’S HAND – SHOWING THE STRINGY AND GOOEY MELTED CHEESE
THE BOY WHO FINISHED TWO AND A HALF SLICES OF PIZZA
Since I’ve included the recipe for both dough and sauce, please refer to the entry, titled An Evening with Atush if you feel like trying.