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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Merdeka Open House 2008 - Mee and My Malaysia

Babe of babe in the city has been organising a Merdeka Open House event every year for the past 3 years. in 2006, the theme was Long Forgotten Malaysian Recipe and last year, Muhibbah. I promised to participate last year with my salmon masak assam pedas but I was too sick to even cook for us let alone cook assam pedas. But this year I am so going to participate and all of you Malaysian out there should to.
This year's theme rocks! We Malaysians are noodle fiends. We eat Mee/Mi/Laksa/Mihun/Kway Teow/Noodles for breakfast, tea break, lunch, tea, high tea, dinner, supper and when we're stressed we reach for Maggi Mee. And every other Malaysian who travels will have maggi mee in their luggage - no matter how seasoned they are as travellers.

Please participate and let's have a Jolly Merdeka this year... with lots and lots of noodles... Here is the rationale, rules and details of this year's event, pilfered from babe's blog - babe gimme permission OK?

Mee and My Malaysia theme would require participants to cook up a noodle dish of any Malaysian ethnic, of course the rare and unique ones from your family, hometown, kampung or some ulu place are most welcomed. Your noodle dish has to be something original and not fusionised or tweaked to fit the modern age. However, this rule will be relaxed for overseas participants since it's not easy to source for local ingredients. Don't forget, if you can't cook... try not to get away with store bought noodles hahaha just go charm your mom, dad, grandparents, sisters, aunties, uncles or whoever the cook in your family to come out with a noodle dish.
Next, take a picture (minimum 500x375 pixels) of your noodle dish, type in the recipe (if you have one, otherwise your ingredients and method would suffice if you're the guesstimate/agak-agak type) and write a post on why you cook up this noodle for this virtual party, if the noodle dish your favourite; if yes, tell us why and how you came across this noodle dish. Well, if you can write your entry in BM, it's all the better but I don't think I can round them up in BM cos I have left school aeons ago and it's very rusty hahaha...
Post it up in your blog by 29th August 2008 but of course if you can do it earlier, it’s all the better to ease me in rounding up on 31st August. Those who doesn’t own a blog but wish to participate, kindly do your write up and send it together with the picture to me. I’ll post it up for you.As long as you’re a Malaysian, you can participate no matter where you’re located. Do note that you must be sensitive to our multi-racial and multi-religion society, hence you'll have to be wise in using certain ingredients that are sensitive to certain religion (ie. dish must be halal and try not to serve beef to our Hindu friends as well).
All entries must reach me by 29th August 2008, midnight Malaysian time at babe_kl(@)yahoo(dot)com. Our virtual party will be on 31st August 2008. In your email, please state the following details:
Name or nick
Permalink/URL of your post
Name of the dish

Monday, July 28, 2008

hungry boy

Q is a hungry little boy! since he was 4 months old, we started him on solids. Initially it was single flavour of fruits or vegetables. He had pureed potato, zucchini, banana, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado, spinach, apples and pears. A month later when he got hungrier and we're advised it was time to give him 2 meals plus the 1 liter milk (divided into 5 servings) we started mixing the flavours using potatoes and rice as the base of his warm meal. So he got potato+carrot, rice+spinach etc.

When this went well, we started adding beef, fish, tofu and chicken and mixing up the veggies a little more. We discovered he really loves bakchoi and mushroom. We tried different mushrooms on him - shitake, chestnuts, enoki and oysters and he loves them all.

Now he gets three meals a day. He wakes up to banana (or pear or apples and now peaches and nectarines)+rice cereals. His lunch and dinner are usually variation of the same things which I cook everyday. I don't really use a recipe book to prepare his meals. I just read different books to see which veggies, meat and fish to introduce when and cook it as we go along.

The other thing I do is to give him the same thing we have for dinner - only cooked as soup or steamed for him. Which means if we're having spaghetti Bolognese, he will be having beef+carrot+mushroom+tomato+celery but with potatoes or rice porridge. If we have grilled fish with bakchoi, he gets a fish+potatoes+bakchoi mousse. We have been advised to wait introducing him to wheat until he is a year old. We don't add oil or salt into his food either but have added a tiny tiny pinch of cinnamon and cooked with a little fennel.
He is a hungry baby and he is eating well and happily and boy is he growing!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

goreng ikan kecik kecik

Chancing fresh small mackerels like this in my part of the world is very rare. We usually get lots of fresh sardines in summer but I haven't seen that much int he market or fish shops. So when I saw this 2 weeks ago, I bought 2 kilos because I can't stop myself... and we ate everything in one sitting.

I served in with Kobis masak lemak - cabbage in coconut broth and sambal mangga. The kind of food you eat in wet and windy times...
Goreng Ikan kecik kecik
(Fried small mackerel)
Make a paste with tumeric, chilli powder, salt, black pepper and a dash of vinegar. Coat the fish in the paste and leave to marinate for half an hour. Deep fry in hot oil. enjoy!
Sambal mangga is made using all the sambal ingredients and method sans the lemon/lime squeeze. In its place, 2 mangoes freshly pounded or grated is added into the sambal instead. this keeps in the fridge for about 3 days.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

blushing :-)

ohhh I have noticed a lot of traffic coming from the effervescent Jeska's blog, the enchanting lobster and swan. If you haven't been there, fly over quickly and have an enchanting visit! Jeska has given me the nourishing blog award. Thank you, Jeska. For those of you here for the first time, welcome!

When I was pregnant with Q last year and was totally immobile and was in debilitating pain 70 percent of the time, I by some magic discovered Jeska's blogs - Lobster and Swan and Record of the Day. I was there clicking 1001 times a day, cooing and in awe of her vision and talent. But more than her eyes and her vast knowledge of design, Jeska displays heart and bring you into her world that is not just captivating but totally enriching and warm.

For a pregnant woman who was unable to fulfill her overzealous nesting instinct, she and her blogs were godsend.

These days, I click on her blog probably 10 times a day, and she always leaves me smiling, enchanted and inspired!

Thanks for taking me into your world, Jeska :-)


Saturday, July 12, 2008

cottage pie

July is hardly the month to be thinking about Cottage Pie. But the weather is still rather petulant and this morning, I was even tempted to turn the heater on and bring out the winter blankies... Definitely a weather for cottage pie, methinks.

So I decided to make it for din dins. This is by no means the traditional Cottage Pie. But it is the way I have been making it and I made it so often, I don't even know what traditional cottage pie really tastes like anymore. I use whichever herbs I have in my garden/windowsill. Today it was more Mediterranean - fresh oregano, thyme, three types of basil and parsley. I love it, the kitchen was smelling of Italy as I was chopping the herbs!

I used my favourite smoked sweet paprika and creamy potato (instead of a combo of waxy and creamy) just because it is the only one I have at the moment. I used only butter when I made my mashed potatoes for this purpose. I think it leaves the mashed to be totally luscious and melting in the mouth. Sinful and dreamy.
This is definitely not a meal made for bikini, but in this weather... bikini seems to be a few galaxies away.

Cottage Pie

Mashed Potato

1 kg potato - I prefer to use half and half of waxy and creamy but today, I used only creamy.
75-100g butter
salt and pepper

Peel, wash and boil the potatoes until soft. Drain and let cool. Add the knobs of butter, season with salt and pepper and blitz with immersion blender.


500g beef - not lean - make sure there is a bit of fat
1 canned tomatoes - 450g
7 baby carrots - chopped
2 onions -chopped
3 garlics - chopped and minced
300g - chopped
1 cup peas
a handful of fresh herbs - I used thyme, oregano, basil and parsley - chopped
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika - you can replace with normal paprika or a combo of paprika and chili powder
salt and pepper

1. In a hot pan, fry onions, carrot, herbs.
2. Add in the beef and brown.
3. Add mushroom and stir for about 1 minute.
4. Add in the canned tomatoes - chop using your spatula as you stir it into the beef mix.
5. Add the peas. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to simmer for about 30 minutes.
6. Leave to cool.

To make the pie.
1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. Spoon the filling into the pie dish of your choice. Fill about 2/3 of the dish. some prefer the filling to have no gravy but I like it to be a bit wet and sloppy.
3. Using a rubber spatula, smooth the mashed potato over the pie filling beginning from the middle and smoothing it out adding as you go. The ratio of filling:mashed is totally up to you.
4. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

baked dorade

We love love LOVE grilled fish. In summer there are more variety to choose from and the dorade we got last week was just so fresh - smelling of the sea, firm and the eyes were sharp and clearer than the sky in July!

The weather really sucks lately and we have put our BBQ back in the garage. So the cravings for grilled fish was soothed with something baked instead. This is a quick, simple route to fish perfection - as long as you begin with the freshest product ;-)

Baked Dorade

2 dorades - as fresh as you can get
1 fennel
2 carrot sticks - or 5 baby carrots
1 onion
3 garlic
3-5 tomatoes
fresh thyme, oregano and parsley from the garden
Olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Slice all the vegetable and arrange on a baking tray. Add the herbs and garlic.
2. Clean the fish and pat dry and wash the insides with vermouth or white wine. Place the fish on the bed of veggies.
3. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
4. Add the sliced tomatoes on the fish.
5. Drizzle with olive oil.
6. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
7. Serve with a salad of your choice and baked or boiled potatoes.