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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

a little complaint

...if I do have any, would only be the salad served with the seared tuna with yellow beet and avocado. The tuna was succulent, literally melting in my mouth and the understated cream sauce over it was magnificent. But the trite choice of supermarket washed and packed common salad leaves assaulted the harmony of the sublime tuna. In fact, it should be omitted.

Friday, September 23, 2005

a taste of autumn

We chose to have the Blijmoedige Keuken - the menu that celebrates the season's market offerings. No other meat actually exalts Autumn like venison. It was presented in three ways roasted, grilled and steamed all in pink-melt-in-the-mouth perfection, served with jus with just an illusive whiff of rosemary.
The potatoes accompanying the main course was a trio of fried potatoes in butter, crispy lace potatoes and gratin.
And as a complement, we were served venison ragout - stewed in spicy perfection with chanterelles - another sure sign of Autumn. Crunchy garden green beans sauteed with garlic and butter completes the main course.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

a little dessert

And the dessert was truly magnificent - mixed forest berries bavarois, mixed berries ice cream, souffle and berries poached in red wine.
The tartness of the chilled bavarois and ice cream was rounded up by the rich and creamy souffle - still warm from the oven - so airy, so fluffy, so light!

coconut macaroons

I hate to waste things. So I made some coconut macaroons with the egg whites. I mix some almond paste, a little sugar (the almond paste is already very sweet), salt and add some unsweetened coconut as I go. Put it in a preheated oven at 180C for 10-15 minutes ;-) It is one of the easiest, simplest and fastest cookie to make but the joy it brings is tremendous!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

a little date

Last night, we were out for a little date. It's been a while since we go out, just the two us - enjoying each other in an intimate restaurant. The food was sublime and this was how the dinner ended - with coffee served in copper pot and handmade sweets, chocolates and little cakes and cookies for two.

Egg tarts - the recipe

The wonderfully efficient Elise has actually put up the round up in the afternoon of SHF. You can check all the recipes and drool over the wonderful creations here!

Sorry to have taken so long to provide the recipe but here it is!

Egg Tarts

Ready made puff pastry - or you can make one following this recipe here

Ingredient A:
225g sugar
250ml water

Ingredient B:
5 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
100ml of fresh milk or single cream
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. First make the syrup by combining the water and sugar. Boil untul all the sugar cool dissolved and leave it to cool.
2. Heat up the oven to 180 ÂșC or gas mark 4.
3. Beat the eggs and egg yolks lightly.
4. Warm up the milk/cream in a bain marie and add the salt and vanilla and slowly mix the milk into the egg mixture. Bring the mixture back into the bain marie and add in the syrup and whisk till it thickens.
5. Cut the pastry to size and place in muffin tins. Brush with a bit of milk and bake blind for 10 minutes.
6. Pour the custard into the pastry shell and bake for another 15 minutes
7. Cover the top of the muffin tin with a sheet of aluminium foil and bake a further 5-10 minutes.

Friday, September 16, 2005

SHF - Cooking up Custard EGG TARTS

My first SHF!!! Yeyse!!! And on a subject I hold close to my heart too.

Before that, a note to Caryn - still working on the meme, babe! Actually thought of doing this for the meme but it works for SHF too ;-) so will post other things for the food meme.

I grew up in the Malaysian part of Borneo and my paternal grandmother was a food snob. She doesn't cook and when she does, it is a very rare treat. She did however have a batallion of staff and a Chinese cook. One of the joy of childhood was going to my grandma's very Sunday for a round of dim sum, prepared by her chef. And one of the dim sums served for dessert was this - the egg tarts... and not just any egg tarts. My grandma's egg tarts.

I was reading the comments in Elise's post about the SHF18 and thought to myself - good god... custard powder in custard? My grandma must be rolling in her grave.

Unlike my grandma, I don't have a batallion of staff to run things for me and neither do I have a chinese cook. And over the years I have been trying to simplify a lot of the cooking I learned from childhood and adapt them to the local flavour wherever I live and I once made the mistake of serving my grandma egg tarts made with custard powder!

"Nenek (the Malay word for grandma), look at this it is quick - you don't have to wait for the eggs to set and it works!" I was 22 then...

"Custard powder? Do you think we don't have custard powder here? This is sacrilledge. The eggs will set if you make the custard properly. This is a dish that has to be cooked with love and patience. If you have to cook it with custard powder, you might as well go and eat them at the bakery."

So she sat me down and showed me - how to make the perfect puff pastry, how to make the custards and how to bake the egg tarts so they turned out just right.

I sometimes cheat by using store bought puff pastry. As I did here by using the puff pastry from one of my artisan baker friends. The egg tarts turned out to be gorgeous with butter and flaky-crisp pastry filled with light, rich, sweet, eggy and creamy custard.

The recipe for this wonderful dish can be found here. Please check the other goodies from all the participants here:-).

note: recipe will be posted later, I just want to post this to qualify for the SHF today - there is a little accident in the house - my daughter broke her foot today and the afternoon was spent in emergency room, getting xrays done and her leg and foot in plaster!

Friday, September 09, 2005

EBBP2: The Ingredient Edition

I missed the first one. By the time I discovered it, I was already going on my grote vakantie, what the Dutchies called Summer Vacation, but I kept in touch with Andrew of Spittoon. And when I got back from my vacation read all the write ups and drool at all the pix, so I promised myself I am not going to miss this one!!!

I am so looking forward to share my version of autumnal cooking - also my favourite season - and send someone a box of Malaysian and Dutch exoticas ;-)

For more information, go here!


Friday, September 02, 2005

snake eyes

I haven't lived with my parents since I was 11. That was the age that I started living in a fully residential prep school. Being away from home makes me long for the simplest things - my Mom's very clear, clean and plain chicken soup, crispy fried fish, sambal and most of all omelette.
The omelette I grew up is always brown on both side, thicked with vegetables, onion, potatoes and onions. The filling varies but my favourite is this one - made with cubed snake beans or long beans and red onions or shallots and served with plain white rice and some sambal or a sauce made of light soy sauce, lemon and cut red chillies.
Now, even when I am weary and dead tired, I would sooner make a simple omelette and eat it with rice or bread with a glass of wine and a little green salad, sliced cucumber or tomatoes than opening a can of baked beans!
This is my comfort food!

Dadar Kacang Panjang
Snake eyes omelette

Dadar or Telur (eggs) Dadar is the word for Omelette in bahasa Melayu (Malaysian Language) and Kacang Panjang is the literally the Malay word for Long Beans. However in chinese, long beans is called Snake Beans. I call this dish snake eyes omelette because the cubed snake beans do look like snake eyes when you look at them closely...


1 cup of cubed snake beans (or you can use french beans)
4 eggs
1 red onion - sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
a dash of sesame oil
1 tsp of oil
salt and pepper

1. Break eggs into a bowl and stir lightly.
2. In a hot pan, heat oil until smoky and add in crushed garlic and red onions and fry until the onion is caramelised.
3. Add the snake beans and stir fry.
4. Add a dash of sesame oil and fry some more.
5. Sesaon with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
6. Add in the eggs.
7. Let it rest for about 3 minutes and the eggs are set.
8. Flip the omelette and cook the other side for another 3 minutes.
9. Serve with white rice or bread.