Thursday, April 29, 2010

Herbal Tonics Made Easy

His beard was as white as snow. His fragile fingers delicately sorted out the array of herbs while I became fixated my fascination on wall-to-wall dark timber drawers. Each drawer was filled with some anecdote of which the man slowly bundled and weighed. He then hands me my package bundled in brown paper and carefully ties it with a white string.

I get home and sit myself infront of hot stove- placing all my ingredients into the the charred-brown pot. I continually fan the steaming brew- at times falling asleep and waking up with beads of sweat across my forehead. After slaving for eight hours, the herbal tonic being reduced to half, I gently pour the ingredients into a ceramic bowl, careful I don't waste a drop..


..totally fictional!!! But its so much like a scene in a ancient Chinese movie no?!.. I just couldn't bring myself to lie to you though I wanted you to think I slaved over a little pot. But truth is..

I bought this little packet of stuff...and all I did was put it together and tapped the 'on' button. 

Easy as 1-2-3. I par-boiled my pork and chicken bones, quickly rinsed the Chinese herbs, chucked it all into my beloved slow-cooker with adequate water, turned it on and went to work. Eight hours later, I have a herbal tonic!

Ahh..I love my life! 

But the real reason why I wanted to share this with because if I want the exact same tonic in the near future- I can just go to the herbalist down the road and tell him exactly what I need without looking for this particular pack of stuff in the shops or gather these ingredients myself. Maybe I'd feel better that way- that I do get my herbs from timber drawers instead of hung up on commercialized shelves.-Self-deceiving! Makes me believe I'm a better wife. Not.

The ingredients for Bei Qi Dang Shen Tang are [please don't let the names scare you..]:

3.5g Bei Qi (Astragalus Menbranaceus)
3.5g Dang Shen (Condonopsis Pilosula)-otherwise known as Poor Man's Ginseng
23g  Huai Shan (Dioscorea Opposita)
15g Dried Longan- Finally! A name I can comprehend!
15g Boxthorn Fruit (Dried Wolfberries)
30g Dates

1 skinless chicken breast with bones
3 pieces pork bones
Water to cover over everything

*Ps: Please skim off the fat above the soup before drinking..obviously I was too lazy to do it for these photos.

And just incase you're wondering, the soup is sweet tasting and not bitter at all. More like a consume with herbal flavours. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Flourless Nutella Cake

I was inspired by my Le Creuset Ramekins. Lame I know. Who get's inspired by cookware? But I just had some sort of impulse to use them- I was feeling sorry for it- they've been sitting pretty- in their un-opened boxes for several months and I needed to justify my buy.

Then came my other sudden thoughts that came as abruptly as my Le Creuset thought.




I came across some hand written Fallen Chocolate Cake recipe I later realised was from the net and modified it. I normally wouldn't modify recipes before trying the original version first but:-

a) I was out of chocolate 
b) I really wanted to use the Nutella. The tub that's sat in my pantry for yonks and nearly overdue.

So here goes...

Flourless Nutella Cake

200g Nutella
2 Heaped Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
250g Unsalted Butter
6 eggs, Separated
1 Cup White Sugar

1) Melt butter in a heatproof bowl (either by putting it over a saucepan or in the microwave). Preheat oven to 180C.
2) Stir in cocoa powder and mix until even. 
3) Beat eggs whites in a separate bowl.
4) In another bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until pale and then add Nutella and chocolate mixture.
5) Gently Fold eggwhites into the chocolate mixture.
6) Pour mixture into 1/2 of each ramekin. (I got 6 ramekins) and bake for 15-20 mins, making sure it rises and falls before taking it out of the oven.

*Optional: Dust with additional cocoa powder.

Serve warm/room temperature. Eat lots. Get fat.

It was so quick and chocolate was definitely permeating the air! I've stored my remaining 4 in the freezer..I think it'll be nice heated up and served with some vanilla ice cream. Maybe I'll add some ground hazelnuts next time.

Note: It's addictive!

Friday, April 23, 2010


..and I swear, by the moon and the stars in the sky..and I swear...

Sorry..the title reminded me of a boy-band from era's past. High school memories! 

So cheesy.

Where was I? Oh yes...I was trying to figure out something that would kill all birds with one stone. It's hard to cook for 2 you see..I tend to overestimate and end up with many leftovers. So I got inspired by Hong Kong cafe food...oven baked rice. Got my meat, my veges and the carbs all in one dish. 

I was so proud of myself when I sneaked in 5 vegies into this dish. See Choy Sum with the fried rice? One. Broccoli? Two. Spot the remaining? I pureed it into a homemade tomato sauce: Tomato, Capsicum, onion a vegetable?! Anyway..5. -I felt like a mother trying to hide all the vegetables from her children.

And I made myself feel better about the carbs by using organic brown rice. Bad carbs. But...good-bad carbs. You know what I mean?

H was so content. ..and I was happy the serving was just right.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Belated Birthday?

I'm putting all my marbles in one jar, by hoping Jo doesn't read my blog. I don't think she does anyway. 

..Because I made her a birthday card, today's her birthday, the card is still with me and she's oohhh..about 12000 kilometers away? Get the picture?

It's not my fault. I swear. H was suppose to mail it- blame him! [So much for sticking through thick and thins huh?] But he got stuck with work and hasn't had the time. And me?..well, I just don't go to post offices. Full stop. Rumour has it that I don't speak our national going to post-offices will just be something completely horrible. All in all, it's still not my fault. I insist.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Coffee Agar-Agar

Some friends came over for afternoon tea the other day and I just wanted to make something simple. Ok, that ..and I wasn't in my baking aura, nor was I willing to part with my newly cleaned oven. 

So enter...agar-gar. I think agar-agar is such a easy Asian dessert thats also really versatile. Those not very familiar with this- its basically a jelly-gelatine type texture. Just harder. It's tasteless, so just about anything goes.

I would give you the exact recipe, except...errr...I don't really measure. I just throw things in by taste. But if you'd like a go's what I used:

2 Sachets instant coffee powder (Super brand), approximately 350-400ml coconut milk, handful agar-agar, a few cups of water, sugar to taste. 

Throw everything in a pot and cook for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Easy huh? And when it cools, it naturally forms the clear layer and milky layer where the coconut milk has separated from the liquid. 

Have fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pho & Goi Cuon

Come again?!?..ok, I admit it's something I just googled 'cos I wanted a cool heading. But it isn't working is it?

Vietnamese Beef noodles & Summer spring rolls.

If you come around to my place for dinner, you'd know I don't stick to a particular type of cuisine. I vary from craving to craving- which means it could be Indian one night and Italian the next. I'm also lucky my husband isn't one of those Asian men that need to have rice for dinner [not that there's anything wrong with them, just that my wife duties will be so dull if I had to stick to Chinese food and rice everyday- my problem completely].

So after viewing a few recipes, I thought this one was my favourite beef noodle recipe. I made it easy by throwing everything into a slow cooker and enjoying the divine smell lingering in my house the whole day. Its a pity that the beef here isn't up to par, because that would of made a huge difference.

What I love about Vietnamese food is how casually vegetables are thrown together- and it works. The colours, texture and tastes light up my eyes and taste buds. Its light. Refreshing..and that's what I love about Vietnamese spring rolls.

Care for a bite?

I just might try the Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup next. Wanna come?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tumeric Raisin Rice

Don't blame me. I had a huge craving for carbohydrates and totally, completely, utterly gave in. Hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. Just when everyone is worried about global warming and volcanoes erupting I'm worried about carbs. Ah huh! 

And you know what? I've been on a spice spree. Ever since my curry encounter, I love spices in everything. I mean everything! I don't know about you..but I spent my weekend stealing my mum's food processor grinding  spices, onions, garlic, lemongrass and storing them in cute tupperwares. Awesome right?! Not. I just became obsessive. Obsessive compulsive.

Anyways..lets get back to some super easy rice cooker stuff:-

Rice Cooker Tumeric Rice

2 teaspoons tumeric powder
1 stick Cinnamon
Handful of Raisins
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon Butter

Throw everything into the rice cooker and tap your fingers anxiously. 

I served mine with microwave dried anchovies and curried eggplants. 

Ps. See my scrawly handwriting besides? I got that recipe somewhere online, and u'd note I omitted saffron and sugar, and lessened the butter. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pomegranates and other important stuff

Let's face it. My blog will never be about the trials and tribulations in my life. It will always revolve around food, craft or marriage..or something along those lines. So even if a put a picture of a pomegranate, I won't be telling you about my eventful morning without 6 hours of electricity- which meant 6 hours of no air-conditioning in a hot and humid country..which also means a grumpy and unsatisfied me. 

You still sticking with me? 

Because H knows I get grumpy in hot weather. He's learning to live with it. I nearly put it in the wedding vows..and it would of gone something like '..Will you H, take L to be your lawfully wedded wife? In hotness and in health, through happiness and gruff..' of which he'd have to say 'I do'.

And then theres the whole big storm and lighting thing last night which resulted to my lawn flooding and this constant rain drop dripping near my window. What's with that??! 

And how about the endless phone calls this morning..on the morning where I was already late to work because my gate jammed up on me?! Oh bother. Then!..I didn't even get my breakfast because I was all worked up? Shucks.

This is clearly not a day you want to mess with me. But I've blogged...and shared..and gonna get back to the important stuff.


Where was I about pomegranates?.... 

Oh yes! I just wanted to tell you I love pomegranates..and I find it therapeutic to peel the thin yellow skin enveloping the pink flesh. My parents have a pomegranate tree in their backyard. Isn't that interesting?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

3 beer bottles

H has a weird collection of collecting glass bottles. We've got clear ones, green ones, brown name it. I don't know why he collects them though, he doesn't use or recycle them. Its just one of life's mysteries.

I took the liberty of using them. I'm still thinking of what else I can do with them without looking like a rubbish collector. Or maybe one day I'll just secretly throw them out 'coz its invading my kitchen space- just like how I secretly throw his weird paper collection out and re-organize his hobby aeroplanes while he's out. I'm the most considerate wife! Really. 

What would he do without me? lol.

I'm sure he wouldn't miss them. Honest.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Best Bud's Cake

Who knew one cake could conjure up so many memories?

Whenever I see or taste a butterscotch cake, I think of one of my best buds. She bakes the best butterscotch cake! 

We were in a stage of our lives where we were both at crossroads. She was back in Perth for a good break and I was really just a newly graduated bum. We both weren't sure where we were headed next, both single and probably spent 50% of the time procrastinating, 25% talking about 'what ifs', 23% doing grocery shopping together and maybe 2% of the time looking for jobs and doing our resumes. 

We were crazy happy though, even having food gatherings just to use up free time. Roast lamb nights. Chicken Rice Nights. Fondues. Halo-halo.

Fast forward to year 2010- and she's happily married with a sweet new-born girl! I couldn't think of anyone more deserving.

So Paul, congrats again! ..And boy do I miss those times! Your butterscotch cake still remains as one of my personal favourites. know how we spent so much time looking for molasses? You are sooo right!! tastes wrong without it- cos I thought I could skimp and use honey instead.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cave-Woman meets City

Looking back at the last few entries, it seems like I've been living in a hole doesn't it? Everything revolves around my house and my kitchen and photos are getting generic- and things are most probably not gonna change any time soon.

But wait! H and I finally dragged ourselves out for a date night, one of our monthiversaries actually- more like, it gave us a reason to go out because we'd much rather lounge in our old overstretched pjs and vegetate than to do the whole kaboom of going out- make up, getting dressed..bleh!- I can definitely foresee age catching on! So on this rare occasion we actually dolled up a bit- but still ate like a caveman.

Avocado Best Western. H's favourite entree.

Seafood Cocktail- now I want a lemon squeezer too!

Beef. Chunky goodness.

Beef with flags. Cute flags. The flipped prawn bum tail is kinda cute it's own contorted way. This dish had some fancy name..but can't they just call it Prawn + Wagyu Beef? 

Beef the way I like it.

We can't resist Wagyu. Heart its marbling and juicy meat. Awww.

If you want to eat like a caveman, just like us:

Grand Palace Hotel
Best Western Restaurant
Pelita Commercial Center, Miri.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Still Loving Weddings

There's just something about weddings that get to me- I go all gooey and wanna go 'awwww~!'.

A while ago I did some invitation mock-ups for my brother...but somehow all of us weren't satisfied with the outcome.-I think it was a case of idea overload. So after several attempts..I took a breather..and totally started afresh.

Here's a peek at their new and improved monogram [geez I sound like I'm selling a tv!]..and we're all loving it!

Now I want to do my own monogram too. Hmmm... But it would go something like CLY...which is pronounced cee-lee and basically equivalent to 'silly'. Great.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Curious Case Of Vegetable X

Would you eat something you don't know? 

'Cos the story goes a little like this:

Mrs H goes to market. Vege-stall owner tells her about this flower-vegetable thats alike asparagus but soft, like chives but not as pungent and as sweet as onions. Mrs H doesnt have a clue what it is but buys it anyway because she is curious!. Mrs H shows Mr H vegetable 'x' and they still both don't know what it is. But..Mrs H still cooks and eats it anyway.

..And they both lived happily ever after...with no awkward toilet moments.

..And I'll let you in on this..I'm Mrs H. ....Durh.

So can someone tell me what it is??

I cooked it with mushrooms and oyster sauce. Is that how you're suppose to cook it? Is it like a lily flower of some sort? 

Tell. Tell. Do tell.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


What do you do with leftover curry- the curry meant for the truckload of people and didn't get finished?

Exhibit A- Get some nice warm bread and dunk it into the rich curry gravy

Exhibit B- Feed the dogs. Real dogs silly. Do dogs eat curry?

Exhibit C- Make curry puffs? Which I didn't make because I was plain lazy.

Exhibit D- Forget about it and go eat ice cream? can choose all of the above.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Mrs Strawberry

Its rare to get lushious strawberries here. They're all imported from Australia or Genting and not that sweet. But I crave much so I'd buy them for 22 bucks! 

And if you think RM22 is's a special discounted price where I unleashed my inner-aunty abilities to sweet talk the fruit seller at the markets. [I'm currently a proud housewife with a RM4 discount!..and boasting about it!!]

Good gawdddd..I need a life!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Many Many

During Easter, H and I managed to invite a truckload of people to our place. simple terms, we held a family get-together come official housewarming with a few of my relatives. Oh boy do we have heaps of relies!! The 50+ relies were all from my mum's side, I couldn't invite all of the relies from my dad's side..and after much deliberation, we didn't invite all of H's relies either because they've previously been to our place.

I knew I couldn't possibly cook for 60-70 people, so most of the food was catered. I only put myself in charge of desserts and easy stuff like pizza, garlic bread and curry chicken. But I wish I took more photos. You should of seen the food- the satays- the stir fried noodles! OMG!

Everything was in abundance and my fridge has never been this full!. ..Thank goodness the caterers took care of the dishes and cleaning up!

I only got the chance to take some pics of the sweet stuff, then I got really busy and forgot everything..

Vanilla Cupcakes: frosted with buttercream, chocolate ganache. These were a hit with the kiddies! ..And note the really demented cupcake at the top left corner- what a blob!!

Cheesecake Slices topped with peaches. Confession: They were originally going to be fruit tarts..but after doing like 2 tarts, I figured it was too time consuming and swapped the whole idea. Opps.

Now ..did I mention I needed to to heaps of each?..OMG...don't think we're having this many people over for ages.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The 3 year wait and 4 year promises

Many years ago a evil bunny promised me a easter egg.

He also promised me if I came back he'd chuck me a barbecue. [geez i'm easy to please!]

He also promised me he'd bring me to see Disney on Ice.

To which this evil bunny has never attempted. Hmph. And too bad Easter is around the corner..'cos it made me remember everything.

Ps. I'll always remember the wedding speech scenario too. Its one that the kids will get to hear repeatedly.

Pps. A Happy Easter to you all non-evil bunnies!

Ppps. Don't you like knowing my personal relationship issues?

The grumpy wife.