Monday, December 31, 2007

Ong T W's Roast Pork

Before we bid adios to 2007 , we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for dropping by our blog. Thank you for taking the time to share with us our food, our occasional musings, shopping, travels and basically our lives. It is a great way to help us keep in touch with our loved ones who live far away albeit a phone call away.

2007 has been a mixed year- good and bad, up and down, happy and sad, arrivals and departures but most of all, it has been a year of great awakening. I've learned great deal about myself- some good and much more that are screaming for improvement and changes.

My passion for cooking has been reignited by my hubby, K and this blog. K's enthusiasm with cooking knows no bound and from him I learnt to go out of my comfort zone and be more creative. With blogging, I discovered another new love and that is photography which, incidentally was K's old love and hence, is now reignited by my enthusiasm!

With 2008 looming ahead, I hope what I have learnt in the year 2007 will come in handy and get me through the coming year in a less bumpy ride.

So, to welcome the new year, we leave you with a Chinese classic dish the Siew Nyuk.

This recipe is from K's colleague Ong T W. I have never had any success with my previous attempts in this dish and I wasn't too optimistic about this recipe because it seemed too simple. The result came as a real surprise and a new year's bonus. We achieved the most sought after crackling of skin combined with a moist succulent meat. What a start to a new year!! Thanks, T W.

Use side belly meat with ribs still intact about 2 Kg

Dip pork skin side down in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Take pork out and score underside.

Marinade underside with about a tablespoon of fermented red bean curd paste (num nui).

Leave to marinade for 4 hours.

Puncture skin well with fork or fish scaler and then rub over with coarse salt.

Put a rack on the baking tray and a cup of water.

Roast in oven for 40 min @ 180-200deg C.

Important to incline pork skin side up to drain oil.

After the 40 min take out and rub fine salt over the skin.

Increase oven temperature to 240deg C and roast for another 15 minutes or until the skin turn golden and crispy.

Observe popping….. watch for burning.

Happy New Year to all!!


Friday, December 28, 2007

Yuletide's gifts

So much went on for the past few days,
meals to cook and eat,
friends and family to hug and kiss,
conversation to enjoy,
jokes to share,
presents to give
and to receive...
time just flew.
Then boxing day came along, everyone started getting ready to return to work, to their respective homes and reality set in...Christmas 2007 is officially over!

Between K and myself, we received three fantastic cookbooks for Christmas.

We would like to thank Frank and Iris for the Giorgio Locatelli's 'Made In Italy Food & Stories'. The book is worth its weight in gold - so much to learn from it all about the glorious Italian cuisine. Thank you again and maybe the next time you pay us a visit, we might be able cook up an Italian storm.

Thank you, Bryan, for the Jamie Oliver's 'Happy Days' and Heather, thank you for the Gordon Ramsey's 'Fast Food'. Our idols of all times.

Now, all I need is Nigella's 'Nigella Express' :p

My first laptop!! A Christmas gift from K. Was grumbling aloud to myself about how difficult it was to fight for the computer at home especially since the school holiday began and didn't realised that he heard me!!
I am doing this post on my bed with my brand new computer !!
Feels so luxuriously pampered...might just fall asleep while blogging.
Thank you soooo much, K.

Thank you so much again to all who dropped by our blog. Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging. It makes blogging so much more fun and interesting.
Before the arrival of a brand new year in a few days time, let's start making enough resolutions to last the whole year (to be broken, that is :p).


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mum's Chicken Salad

Chistmas won't be Christmas without mum's chicken salad.
Ever since I knew K, this dish is a must for this festive season.
My mum-in-law would prepare a hugh portion of this dish a few days before Christmas.
As her children started arriving home, the first thing they look for would be this Tupperware of salad in the fridge.
When I said hugh it means a 5L tupperwareful!
It would be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just an in-between-meals-snack all through the holidays.
You guess it, nobody is allow to get hungry at any time.

Chicken Salad
1 chicken, boiled, deboned and shredded
500g macaroni, boiled and drained
3 apples, cored and diced
500g frozen mix vegetable, boiled and drained
1 cup sweet pickled jerkins, chopped
1 can pineapple, drained and diced
1 can pimento, drained and chopped
250g cheddar cheese, grated
3-4 tablespoon Heinz salad cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ideal milk
salt and pepper

Mix everything together well. Chill and serve.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas time this year~

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

This got ot be one of the saddest Christmas songs ever written with the most hauntingly beautiful music. Listening to this song bring tears to the eyes and wish that all is well and pray that peace will prevail in the world.

On a happier note:

Christmas to us means family, friends, carols, presents...
angels, snowflakes, reindeers, mistletoe... (the deco)
turkey, fruitcake, lola's chicken salad, oxtail stew...(the foodz)
and the list goes on.

The one thing we all love most about the festive season is the family being home. This year, besides Daniel and Julia (K's brother and sister-in-law from Canada), we are also blessed with the presence of Mimi (our niece from KL).

We were expecting Mee Fung and David from the States but they couldn't make it. Maybe Chinese New Year we'll see them home, keeping our fingers crossed. :)
(while we're at it: Big Heather, Little David, Eros, Amy, Chris, Dylan, Pam, Anthony -WISH YOU'RE HERE, WE MISS YOU!)

Thanks to Bryan and Leanne, we have the Christmas tree up, and boy, it does look so pretty.

Presents are wrapped, thanks to Heather and Leanne.

And the foodfest has began since Tong Zhi.

While we stuff our faces, we promise to try and take a break between munches and blog about food we only bother making when our loved ones are around.

To everyone, we wish you all a wonderful, merry Christmas. One that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and fills your heart with gladness, wherever you may be.

Lotsa Love from,
All the droolers :p

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dong Zhi (冬至) Dinner

Dong zhi 冬至 is a Chinese festival celebrating the winter solstice -'the Arrival of Winter'. It is usually celebrated on the 21st or 22nd of December, this day sees the shortest day in the year. It is also traditionally a time for the family to get together.
Yesterday we celebrated the Chinese festival with the family in Tet Mui's beautiful new home.
As usual, we had the most sumptuous traditional Chinese fare.

A must-have whole steamed chicken symbolizing completeness.

Kai lan with pacific clams, so yummy.

A delicious stewed pork trotters.

The most traditional Hakka's stuffed tofu...

and khiew yoke.

Tofu in a sweet sauce garnished with bonito flakes, spring onions and fried scallions.

Butter prawns

Egg pockets filled with mince meat.
Sticky Rice Ball 湯 圓 (Tang Yuan).

Tang Yuan is a traditional dessert made of glutinous rice that we must have on this day and also on Chinese new year's eve. Tang yuan symbolizes reunion. For us as a family, sharing tang yuan on these two auspicious days means unity and harmony.

This year, I actually made the tang yuan's filling of peanut butter plus black sesame from scratch and it was so good. We usually have it sweet, boiled in a broth of red dates, dried longans, rock sugar and slices of ginger.

Will let you have the recipe before the Chinese new year comes around, I hope.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sydney Rock Oysters

I was in Sydney earlier this month and couldn't resist a visit to the fish monger at Paddy's market to get my fix of Rock Oysters. This shop sells what i would consider adequately sized rock Oysters, all shucked and ready to indulge. A dash of lemon juice...delicious...


Friday, December 21, 2007

Sao Nam @ Plaza Damas

The moment we landed at KLIA, we were whisked off to, according to Heather and K, the best Vietnamese restaurant in town.
So excited for a pho. I haven't had pho like for years because pho in KK is non-existent. I'd rather have our local ngui chap than risk going to one of those so called "vietnamese" restaurants in town. But I must say the best pho I ever had was in LA's Little Vietnam many, many years ago (sorry, I have never been to Vietnam).
A sign greeted us at the Sao Nam entrance - Malaysia Tatler's best restuarant, 2007. Wow! More exicted.

A pleasant corner

Pho Bo. It has a really good clear soup with all the right condiments and fragrant but the beef...expecting thin slivers of medium rare goodness, but alas, gotten sliced stewed brisket instead (I think I should have specified)...Nevertheless I still slurped up the lot.

The soup set came with this pair of very delectable crispy spring rolls and papaya salad.

This is mangosteen salad. The juicy fruits are enclosed in these sumptuous prawns, dried squid slices, roasted peanuts and the most gorgeous dressing. Every mouthful was heaven like. The sensation of the juicy sweet fruit coupled with the prawn, squid, nuts and sauce...soo good, perfectly matched.
I'd gladly come back just for this dish alone but was told it is seasonal and that we were very lucky because they just got the first batch delivery of these fruits that day after an off-season lapse.

Banana flower bud salad with chicken. Good too but totally overshadowed by the mangosteen salad.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Gila-Gila Night @ STAR, Kota Kinabalu

Monday night saw the first ever year-end formal dinner organized by the Kangaroo Club of Seri Mengasih to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
This club is very special as its members consist of only children (many are adults already) with special-needs and a few teachers who are not members but just as supporting friends.
The main aim of this club is for the members to learn to have a united voice. At the same time, they are encouraged to voice their opinions and speak their minds. The committee members meet every month to plan and discuss the club's schedule for the month. By organising these events they learn to make decisions and compromise on different views to achieve a common goal.
Just this year alone, they have organised three successful events - a physically challenging outing at the Outward Bound School, a camping trip in Kuilu and finally the year end Gila Gila Night at Shangrila Tanjung Aru Resort.
For this event, the committee members decided on the venue, menu, dress code, games and other entertainment for the night. They did a fantastic job. Syabas! To all the members of Kangaroo Club.

Mr. Goh, the guest of honour, is a director of Seri Mengasih who has been a long-time (20+ years) supporter of the school.

Andrew, the chairman of the club and the organising committee for this event. An ex-student of Seri mengasih and is presently working in a back-packer outfit.
Fui Chin, the vice-chairperson. She is also an ex-student of Seri Mengasih and now work as a teacher's aid in the school.

Keshia, the club's secretary and the night's master of ceremony...

With her teachers, Irene and Anna.

With her sister, Leanne and her best friend, Nurminah.

A few of the teachers of Seri Mengasih, who are truly the unsung heroes. Irene, top right, has been with the school since it started (almost 30 years ago).
They were 'ordered' by the organising committee to dress up in evening gowns and fittingly so, they looked totally stunning.

Irene, teacher turned singer for the night and she brought the house down.

Cikgu Dayang, all smiles, after receiving a present from the students.

The stars on the floor - Albert and Elaine. Definitely ballroom caliber.

The best dressed lady of the night, Nursyila.

Last but not least, food... glorious food. Choices made by the committee members and amazingly, there were petai sambal and pie tee (food that are not so commonly known in Sabah).


... in a most beautiful arrangement - the shape of a lotus flower.

Petai and sambal.

Penang famous 'pei tee' - Leanne's favourite.

The salad counter where I spotted all the above dishes. Western - Ceasar's salad, eastern - Thai pamelo salad and local. What a spread.

Yummy mango santan jelly, with chunks of sweet mangoes.

This kuih in pandan leaf is really good with the most lovely taste of fresh santan. I took more than my share (as Leanne and Keshia didn't want their share).

Mini cheese cake, light fruit cake and chocolate cake. I tried all and they were all good, especially and rather surprisingly, the fruitcake. It was moist and just perfect without been too sweet.

I didn't post any picture of the main dishes because they didn't look good enclosed in those Huge stainless steel containers. We had beef rendang, teriyaki chicken, seafood green curry (very good), Sabah vegetable and Sabah wild rice. Excellent choices.

The evening was packed with good food, games, karaoke singing, dancing and laughter. A truly beautiful evening.

Thank you, Kangaroo Club.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pineapple Tarts

I don't usually make pineapple tarts for Christmas, as they are sacredly reserved for Chinese new year. The Chinese pronunciation of pineapple 'wong lei' auspiciously means 'prosperity arrives'.
But then I learned that K will be travelling to LA this month and as this is one of Mee Fung's (and my) favourite snacks, I took that as an auspicious sign to make it for Mee Fung and Christmas (:=p).

These pineapple balls weighs about 4 g each and perfect for one tart in a mouthful. The pineapple jam was done few months ago when pineapple was in season - at its sweetest and cheapest. It can be safely kept in the fridge (not the freezer!) for up to a year.

Pineapple Jam
10 small pineapple, peeled and pureed
1 inch cinnamon stick
sugar to taste

Cook pureed pineapple with the cinnamon stick in a big saucepan over medium heat. This is a very tedious process and takes about 2-3 hours of regular stirring to reduce the puree into a jam-like consistency. Add the sugar to taste. For the tart we need the jam to be of a thicker consistency so just cook until it can hold its shape.
It is well worth the effort if you want to have control over the sugar content of jam, otherwise simpler to just buy the jam from baking supply store.

The pastry recipe came from Betty many years ago and so far it has never failed to deliver. It is so good that Leanne purposely made some without the jam in different shapes of course, so she could identify them. Maybe I'd try making shortbread with the pastry too.

Leanne hard at work - creating her shortbread cookies.

350 g all purpose flour
250 g butter (Golden Churn in can)
50 g icing sugar
50 g corn flour
50 g powdered milk
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add in egg yolks and mix well. Fold in the rest of the ingredients to form a soft dough. Put dough into a plastic bag and chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Shape pastry with the jam and place in greased baking sheet.

Egg wash each one and bake in the preheated oven at 170c for 15-20 minutes.

Wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas and an auspicious new year!!