BIRTHDAY BATCH & PERLIS TRIP IN MAY….


… Birthday batch… Yusuf  (9) & Maryam (3) 5th Oct , dad (..) 15 Oct & Umar (16) 29 Oct.. Happy Birthday !!!

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It’s almost six months since my last post. I’m sharing some photos from our not-so-recent trip to Perlis, north-end state bordering Thailand. We were there at the end of May to send our daughter to matriculation college in Arau. Photos below were taken as we left Perlis. Except for some shots taken at the college ground, we did not take many snap-shots  of Perlis as there were not much time for us to tour round the state. We planned to head for Padang Besar after leaving our daughter at the college. We drove through Chuping..Malaysia’s largest producer of sugar. But saw only empty plains. There was no sugarcane in sight. They’ve probably chopped down all the crops and send them to the factory… ha..ha.. just kidding.

Vast empty plain are kind of alien to us. We commonly see plains of paddy fields or pass through palm oil plantations elsewhere in Malaysia but theses are not common.

In Padang Besar, we hoped to do some shopping  at the duty-free shopping complex. We drove for almost 40 km only to discover that the complex at the borders are closed at 6 in the evening much to our disappointment. But luckily some shops and eatery outside the complex are opened. Padang Besar is just a small border town. There are both of Malaysia and Thailand here. Both currency are accepted. Asam manis  or sugar-coated tamarind, pickled fruit, different types of rice such as fragrant rice, glutinous rice or black glutinous rice and fresh fruits like mangoes and guavas are among the popular items that local tourists like us will bring back home. Items like  good grade rice are difficult to be found elsewhere at a good price. So we packed home some before going back to our home-stay in Kangar. We left Kangar the next day, making a turn into Penang Island on a ferry.

This is the holiday awaited by my kids.. a good splash by the sea-side. They really enjoyed themselves, while mom (me) thoughts flew to the daughter she left behind in Arau.  I missed her then and still misses her now.

This is Feringghi Beach. Just a short stretch left for public picnickers. The other stretches are private beaches taken up by hotels, apartments and resorts.

STUFFED PEPPERS (CAPSICUM)

Everytime when the kids came back from school in the evening, they would pop into the kitchen to give salam and.. to see what’s mum cooking for dinner. If it’s chicken..it’s  yeay! yeay! If it’s fish.. then it’s a “not exciting  ok”. Vege’s?? Salad?? It’s only for umi and walid.

So when I saw these capsicum at the supermarket, I was thinking of stuffed bell peppers I blogwalked sometime back.  One for me and another for hubby. For the kids, I decided to put up potatoes (par-boiled first)..but later I found the potatoes are too small to carve a cavity (or maybe I’m not that skillful to make fine carving). So the potatoes was finely mashed , then added milk and butter to it. And to make up the space in the baking dish was tomatoes. Easy to dig out the core.

The fillings..I make extras, not just to fill the vegetables, but the baking dish too.

VEGETABLES: Wash and pat dry all veges. Cut off the top, spoon out the core and seeds.

Green bell peppers(capsicum), red bell peppers (capsicum), potatoes (par-boiled), tomatoes.

STUFFING:

Chicken meat/breast (cut into cubes)

Butter

Onions (diced)

Garlic (crushed and finely minced)

Coriander powder*

Dry chilli flakes*

Turmeric powder*

Seasoning and  salt

Water

Cornflour (mix in some water)

* The spices I had added was not fiery enough for my asian toungue, to be honest. It would give a little more kicking if I added more chilli flakes..plus ground black peppers or curry powder. But the kids liked it as it is.

Marinate cubed chicken with spices for 10 minutes. Then melt butter and add in garlic. Saute garlic till  golden brown then add in diced onion. Cook till onions is translucent then add in chicken. Stir and add in some water to moisten. When it  starts to boil round the edges, add in cornflour mixture. Cook for another 5 -8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then spoon into veges cavity.

TOPPED WITH:

Grated cheddar cheese and golden breadcrumbs

Preheat oven at 180 deg C. Grease a baking dish with butter and arrange stuffed veges. Fill the remaining chicken filling in the empty spaces around the vegetables. Top with  grated cheddar cheese, then sprinkle with golden breadcrumbs. Bake at for 20 minutes or until cheese melts.

 

A Simple Meal – Brunei’s Nasi Katok

What is nasi katok??  I have never savoured this meal myself. Just the stories my husband brought back from his 2 months stay in Brunei for an assigned job.  And .. his first meal was nasi katok.

It’s actually a simple meal of rice (they used fragrant rice)  and chicken with sambal. The sambal is either sweet or ‘padas’ (hot/spicy). I can’t say there is one special recipe, because after searching high and low for the recipe… there are so many versions. There’s one which names the sambal as ‘sambal oelek’??

rice, chicken and sambal..

burrp..alhamdulillah

There’s a story behind nasi katok though. I picked up one from a blog. It was started many many years back by a chinese man who sold freshly cooked rice pack meals until late nights from his home. People who wanted to get a meal at this hour would have to knock on the door of his home. That is why it is called ‘katok’ means knock and ‘nasi’ is rice. There are a few more stories , but basically it’s about the same. A tale of a 24 hr readily prepared meal and.. they knock! knock! to get their packet of rice.


An outlet selling nasi katok..also considered a fast food by bruneian

The best thing is.. It’s 1(one) Brunei dollar which is about RM2.50(ringgit Malaysia). A sigh of relief from an average income Malaysian who has 7 kids.. His initial budget for a meal was BND5 which is about RM13. That was before he set foot in Brunei.. now we know that not everything is expensive in Brunei. Well.. he will be leaving again for Brunei soon. Salamat!!

 A simple meal prepared at home.. hubby says “not any close to sambal nasi katok”.. makan je lah :[[[

http://www.bt.com.bn/features/2009/03/03/knock_knock_the_story_of_nasi_katok

BRUNEI

WATER VILLAGE ..FROM THE JETTY

FRIDAY PRAYER..IN A MOSQUE

Batik Cake

I don’t know if it’s right to translate it.. The cake has been known ever as kek batik (in malay). This cake started some 20 years back when I was still in high school. I remembered my kaklong(eldest sister) was so excited trying it out for eidulfitri back then. The cake got it’s name from the pattern when sliced. It’s not a bake cake. It’s a mix of biscuit and chocolate custard. There are varied recipes around and none uses  flour but Marie Biscuit instead. Not sure if there are marie biscuit in other places but it’s known here locally.  Sorry..forgot to snap any pictures of the wrapping. I have used up all the biscuit from the 2nd try..which is also the cake delivered to my customer. I’ve passed through a  recipe using Arnot’s Digestive though.

Actually, I was not enthusiastic to try it out myself until I got this order from a customer. Ho..ho, never put aside any orders.. it’s not that she’s asking me to make a 3-tier wedding cake.. So make my try.. a recipe from xxx.com.  My cake testers says OK but ehhemm..a little bit too sweet for my tastebud. Need to watch out for my sugar level too.. After going through a few blogs on kek batik recipes, I merge and modify and came up with the recipe below..

Kek Batik Recipe:

150g Marie biscuit or just enough..I used Tesco’s Mini Marie Biscuit

3 large eggs (beat till evenly mixed)

100g butter

1 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup water (I’ll try with evaporated milk/creamer next time)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp instant coffee granules

1 tsp vanilla essence

Line a tin with baking paper well up above the rim. Mix all ingredients in a non-stick pan except biscuit. Cook on low until mixture thickens and grainy but not dry. (You don’t want the biscuit to be mushy nor too crumbly.)  To put up the cake, there are 2 ways:-

1)  Mixed in the biscuits before turning off the heat. Mix well until all biscuits are coated. Then spoon and pressed into lined tin. Pressed and glide evenly with the back of a spoon at all corners. OR

2) Thinly fill the bottom of the tin with the cooked chocolate custard and arrange biscuits. Cover with custard mix and arrange another layer of biscuits, and so on alternating custard and biscuits until all are used up. I used this method from wendyink.blogspot which has the illustration.

Refrigerate overnight before slicing. I had topped my cake with melting chocolate ganache.

Mexican Bun

I tried out this buns few months back but I’m only posting it today bacause a friend had asked me to share. I first saw this yummy looking buns posted on a friend’s facebook  and requested for the recipe which she kindly shared with me.

About this buns.. as I picked out from other blogs, has nothing to relate to the mexican as its name, mexican buns. It started out from Rotiboy (a coffee shop/bakery locally??) and later adapted by many bakers outlet, then the recipe started circulating in the internet. Well, that’s all I got in hands.. but I guess what’s important is that, I’ve tried it out and it’s superbly delicious. The bread is a basic sweet bun recipe, which turned out so nice and soft. The filling and topping which makes it stand out for its name. My first attempt was not totally successful as I did not seal it properly and some of the buns had its filling leaked out. Any tips on how to seal buns from you out there.. would be grateful if anyone can share. The following recipe is as what my friend shared with me but you may want to halved the recipe for the filling and topping as there will be a lot of leftover. Anyway, you can freeze them. So here’s the recipe :

FILLING:

200 g butter

70 g brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

(I had added a pinch of cinnamon powder the last time I made these buns)

Using a mixer, beat butter on medium for 3 minutes. (I beat them by hand with a spatula.) Then add in brown sugar and vanilla essence. Mix well. Keep in the refrigerator. I would suggest you spoon the fillings (17 drops) on a sheet of baking paper or aluminium foil before keeping them in the fridge or freezer. Believe me.. It will make your tabletop less messy.

TOPPING:

200 g flour

200 g butter

160 g icing sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp coffee flavor or dissolve 2 tbsp instant coffee with 1 tbsp of hot water

(The coffee was not strong enough for my liking when I tried it the first time, so I added 3 tsp of coffee powder, sifted but undiluted. Adjust as you prefer.)

Using a mixer, beat butter on medium for 5 minutes, then add in sugar, egg and coffee. Fold in the flour and mix well.Fill in piping bag. Set aside.If you’re going to make the buns straight away, don’t keep them in the fridge, or it will be difficult to pipe out.

BASIC SWEET BUN RECIPE:

500 g high protein flour

2 tsp bread improver

2 tsp bread softener

20 g milk powder

(Sift together the above)

75 g caster sugar

3 tsp instant dry yeast

1 tsp salt

1 small egg – lightly beaten

250 ml slightly warm water/fresh milk (leave out milk powder if using fresh milk)

60 g butter

In a mixing bowl, combine together sifted flours, yeast, salt, sugar. Mix well. Make a well in the centre and add in egg and 3/4 ofwater/milk. Bring in the flour and mix together. Add in more water, if necessary, until a dough is formed. Knead in butter and continue kneading for 10 -15 minutes until dough is soft and elastic.

Divide into 17 rounds. Cover with cling film. Leave aside for 10 minutes. Flatten dough anf fill with filling. Pull edges together to seal filling.* (Seal tightly). Arrange in pans, greased with butter and flour, 7.5 cm apart. Rest 45 minutes on warm place. Pipe topping onto each bun.

Bake bun in preheated oven at 170 deg C for 15 minutes or till brown.

Tea-time Kuih…

These are just photo updates as I was really hooked up with so many things lately. Also, I’m on my own managing home, kids and everything…as hubby’s away for work for the next two months. So, its just pictures. Maybe I’ll update the recipes when there is time to spare..

Corn pudding

Chocolate Dadih..by darling daughter

Sardine Roll

Strawberry jam filled muffins

Birthday cupcakes..

Mexican bun

Gumpaste Recipe

Here’s a recipe for gumpaste which I had tried out recently. Actually, this is the first time I tried decorating using other than chocolate ganache, buttercream or whipped cream. It was surprisingly easy to make up the dough and working with it. The difficult part is looking for the gum. This recipe actually calls for tragacanth gum but I couldn’t find it in the baking supplies store. Instead they have this xanthan gum. If you couldn’t find these gums, look for others such as arabic gum or guar gum etc.

Gumpaste recipe:

60 g cornflour

400 g icing sugar

22 g tragacanth gum

Sift the above three times and put into a mixing bowl.

60 g water

22 g glucose syrup

Add in  water and glucose syrup into the above sifted flours and mix it until everything comes together. I used my hands. You can use the mixer.

22 g shortening

Now add the the shortening and mix well and continue kneading till everything comes up to a nice ball. Keep tightly in plastic wrap for 24 hours before using. The gumpaste will harden and you will need to knead it again.Take a little at time as you required, add colouring and shape as you want. Keep unused portion tightly wrap.Lightly grease your hands when working with the gumpaste and dust icing sugar on the working table. When you have made the cut-outs, dust with more icing sugar for easy handling. Leave on a flat sieve or you can use it straight away.

I started out with alphabets using alphabet cutters but need to practice to make other shapes. I had sourced my recipe from suzinor.