Friday, 31 August 2007

Dress Me Up Doylies!

This is something you might want to consider doing and giving! i promise you they wont take much of your time (unless you do the bags yourselves).

These doylies are more than just doylies. they look too good to be underneath a cake, or some tart, or currypuffs. funny enough i dont store them in my kitchen, i store them in my craft boxes, in my craft room. you can find them everywhere, with different flowers, colours and lacy bits.

Never buy those flowey pattern gift bags. they look way too awful. if you're thinking of putting a gift in one of those bags, get a plain one instead and just paste those doylies to add that little feminine touch to it. here's what i did recently as gifts. did those tiny pink paper bags myself with my craft papers. make sure the bag has a base so that it could stand on its own. get those doylies and cut it according to the size of the top section of the bag and just fold it.

I did a tag and pasted a pressed flower sticker on them. write your personal note behind those tags but make sure use a ballpen coz those inks might get through the tag. clip them onto your bags with those cute little tiny wooden pegs.

So the next time you come across some doylies, store some of them near your ribbons and gift bags. oh! and they work on gift wrappers too!! arent they sweet?!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Deep Fried Calamari

I look forward to every Saturday (who doesnt?). yes, cause its the weekend, yes cause Hardy will get up first before me and bring Aidan to the bed, yes cause we can mess the bed up the 3 of us, yes cause we can actually spend family time, the whole day together, i can stay in the shower slightly longer than normal days, we can do so much and go places together... but one main reason why i love my Saturdays - we can go to the market in Geleen.

We get our supply of seafood (normally just fish), there. but last week, there was a catch! i saw some fresh calamari! fresh! and i didnt hesitate to get them! brought back a kilo of them and didnt know what to do with it! i asked Hardy what i should do with them and he told me to just fry them with some batter like those seafood restaurants do back home... so much for wanting to cut down on those oils!


Mix Self raising flour, with rijstflour, salt, pepper in bowl.
Beat one whole egg.
Make sure the calamaris are clean before you cut them into rings.
Dip them into the egg mix and chuck them into the flour mix.
Make sure the oil is super hot before frying them.

Oh, by the way, in case you're wondering, NO, i didnt cook the whole kilo!!! cant wait to see what they've got next Saturday!

Friday, 24 August 2007

Redza's Sticky Chicken

To those who knows Redza, my brother in law, you might be surprised that he cooks! apart from being a DIY addict, he can honestly cook!

My mum spoke of his grilled chicken wings last couple of months after tasting it last year. and last month while in the UK, Redza showed me his cullinary skills and how to make the ever so easy peezy sticky chicken wings. i almost couldnt believe how simple it was and how good it tastes! and to top it off, he came up with it himself! bravo!

Redza's version, you will need just 2 ingredients - Chicken Wings and thai sweet chilli sauce.
My version, you need to add another cruicial ingredient. one that i'd always have in my fridge (i ought to grow them myself by now) - Corriander.

Everyone, absolutely everyone can do this. thank you redza!! i love you verrrryyy much!!


Make sure you wash and later pat dry the chicken wings. arrange them on a baking tray, and spread some thai sweet chilli sauce. grill them in the oven. layering the chicken repeatedly with the sauce. make sure you turn them!! and the last layer of coat, sprinkle some roughly chopped corriander.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Lemon Rice

Another indian dish i made on one of our indian nights. i cooked curry without using any curry powder for the first time. it turned out really good. tried the the second time, i failed. i just have to keep on trying till i get the right balance. but anyway, i wanted to share this. a rice dish you can have with your masala, tikka, paneer, any indian main dish - Lemon Rice.

The lemony taste gives you that extra something! as usual, i'm no expert. i cooked this and tried it along the way as i wasnt sure on how much lemon i should put. so if you dare, give it a try! life's about taking risks! heheh ;)


Mustard Seeds
Fenugreek Seeds
Tumeric Powder
Curry Leaves
Lemon Juice
Cooked Basmati Rice

1. Heat a tad bit of oil in the pan.
2. Add the seeds and the curry leaves and wait till the smell gets really happening.
3. Squeeze some lemon juice and add a pinch of salt.
4. Add in your rice to the pan and stir till they are well coated and every grain's yellow.

Success! (good luck in dutch)

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Baked Crab Rangoon

I've always love appetizers. but most of them that i love are often fried. i'm really trying to cut back on the oil these days and cook healthy food (yea right!) altho sometimes i really cant help it but to fry those chicken instead of grilling them... but at least i'm making an effort!

One chinese appetizer that is quite well known, fried, is Crab Rangoon. it is absolutely devine and you wouldnt take time to actually dig in those puffy, oily, crunchy skins, and the soft silky center. and only after wiping your plates off clean, then only you'd realise that you have had an oily start to your course! the guilty bit will only sink in way way later and by then it will be all too late!

Being a Malaysian, i simply cant help but to fry most of my food, but i'm more careful now with the oil i choose and the ammount i put in.

Anyway, here it is, my version of Baked Crab Rangoon. i did a mistake by putting 2 layers of wonton skins, i wanted it to have the edgy bit but i think putting one is enough to get it crisp and cooked. you can always use filo pastry but i think you'll be taking away the 'rangoon-ness'. the sweet, delicate flavor of crab and the crunchy texture of baked wonton make an intriguing combination (note: i must say fried is better! but shhhhhh!)


1 can white crabmeat - drained, flaked
1/2 pack Philly Cheese (original)- softened
Thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup Light Mayonnaise
Half a handful of fresh corriander leaves - thinly chopped
Won Ton wrappers

1. Mix crabmeat, Philly cheese, spring onions, corriander leaves and mayo.
2. Gently place 1 won ton wrapper in each tin cups or muffin trays, allowing edges of wrappers to extend above sides of cups. Fill evenly with crabmeat mixture.
3. Bake until edges are golden brown and filling is heated through.
4. Serve warm. Garnish with chopped green onions or remaining corriander leaves.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007


My usual Sunday mornings - wake up, kiss Hardy good morning (or maybe the other way around depends who gets up first), kiss Aidan good morning, have a little cuddle, a little chat, a bit of a giggle and a wiggle with my two boys on the bed before going down to the kitchen to prepare us breakfast.

You will not see any cereals, jams, muesli, milk on our table on Sundays. i put on my apron earlier compared to normal weekdays and i put a little bit more effort to actually dig into those kitchen cabinets and see what i can make.

Last Sunday - Pancakes! i love making pancakes! you can make so many varieties of pancakes and can never go wrong with them (err...can you?). we love our pancakes fat, fluffy, less sugary, less buttery thus hopefully healthy. i used to crave for pancakes when i had Aidan! and he came out healthyly fluffy indeed!! (at 4.28kg!!)


200g Self Raising Flour
50g Castor Sugar
1 Egg
210-230ml Milk

I had 2 apples lying around and so i peeled and grated them. if you want to add the apples, add 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon.

1. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon in a bowl.
2. Beat egg and milk together, pour into the flour mixture.
3. Stir well with wooden spoon until liquid is well combined.
4. Stir in grated apple.
5. Heat butter in a pan until melted and bubbling and spoon the mixture. (note: it will rise!)
6. Serve when warm with maple syrup.


Sunday, 12 August 2007

Twisted Tissues

You know the tissues you normally stuff in your gift bags? those thin papers? sometimes you might get them in the box when you buy a pair of shoes? (depends where) well, there's plenty to do with them. dont throw them away! and no more stuffing them in your gift boxes or a bags. twist them instead!

You dont need much to decorate your gift boxes or gift bags. just a tad bit of that thin tissue paper. it helps if you have coloured ones. try crumpling it just a liiiitttle bit before you roll them into a flower. twist the ends to make it like a stem so that it'll be easier for you to tie them onto your bags.

I used a recycled white bag, got it from the chip shop! add your flowers and bring some life to the bag! no more going out to get ribbons or tying a bow!

Of course you can! keep on trying!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Grilled Thai Chicken Chunks

It was half 6 and all i had in the freezer was chicken breasts. our favourite butcher (in Belgium!) has gone for summer vacation, they're closed for a month! half an hour left before my Home & Away starts (yes, yes, i still watch that programme). flip through my new recipe book i recently bought in the UK, and on page 98, i found one that suits the moment - Grilled Thai Chicken Chunks - with my favourite ingredient - Corriander!


2-3 Chicken Breasts cut into small chunks
Fresh Corriander - chopped
1 Green Chilli - deseeded
1 Red Chilli - deseeded
1 whole Lemongrass - chopped
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1 1/2 tsp Brown sugar
2-3 tbsp Thai Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Lime juice

1. Make marinade by blending chillies, corriander, lemongrass.
2. Add tumeric, garam masala, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and blend until smooth.
3. Add marinade with chicken chunks in bowl. (if possible let to chill or set aside for at least 1/2 hour. - obviously i didnt have the time i put it on the pan straight away! it still worked!
4. When the chicken chunks are throughly marinated, barbecue or grill them on a pan turning them frequently and basting it with the remaining marinade.
5. Serve with steamed rice and garnish with chopped fresh corriander.

Managed to finish just on time. i get to enjoy my Home & Away, Hardy and i get to enjoy our dinner! :)

Monday, 6 August 2007

Hokkien Noodles

I was born and bred in JB, the southern state of Malaysia. and i grew up with certain food and taste. one of which is Hwa Mui's hokkien mee. those who have tasted it would probably agree that it is the most original - wrapped in flat clear plastic and newspaper and the best in town!

And back when Hardy and I were dating (those lovey dovey days), one of our eating places was at this one place called Group Base. yes, its a weird name for a eating place (mind you it took me several attempts to recall the name after gueeses such as garupa and seabass!).

They've got quite nice hokkien noodles there. the sauce were really thick black and everything was balanced. i quite like it. but you'd really need to tuck those paper napkins in your collars if you order the dish!

Anyway, last weekend was my attempt to try out this favourite noodles of mine. quite far from hwa mui's, close to group base's but jadilaaa for the 2 of us who are far from our previous base.


4 packets of Udon Noodles
Cooking Oil
5 cloves of garlic - roughly diced
1 whole chicken breasts - cut them into strips
Big Huge Prawns/ Squid/ Fish Balls/ Fish Cakes
Chinese Cabbage/ Pak Soi - sliced

3 tbsp dark thick soy sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 tbsp cornflour
1 cup of water

1. Mix all sauces in a bowl.
2. Boil udon noodles and once ready set aside.
3. Heat oil in wok, and add in garlic.
4. Once browned, add prawns, chicken and all your other seafood (if you choose to have them).
5. Pour the sauce and let it simmer for 2 mins.
6. Add your udon noodles.
7. Throw in your chinese cabbage/pak soi in the wok and let it cook for another min
8. Voila!!!!!

And back home, i'd have mine with pickled green chillies which i havent had the time to prepare this time around.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Crunchy and Spiced Beans with Potatoes

We occationally have our indian nights where i'd like to think that i'm practising my indian cooking. whether or not i've improved, that's a totally different matter!

We used to go to the UK quite a lot for our holidays some 20-25 years back and i grew to love the indian take-aways at Edgware Road and the ever so popular Khan's at Bayswater. Back at home, a good family friend owns a REALLY GOOD indian restaurant called Sheesh Mahal at PJ and Ampang and i dared myself in trying different dishes.

Now that i'm far from the UK, even further than malaysia and sheesh mahal, and not to mention the fact that there arent that many affordable indian restaurants down south, i cook my own. Will write more on them. but this was what i cooked alongside my bottled tikka masala yesterday.


2-3 Medium sized potatoes
A handful of fresh beans
2 Cloves of Garlic - chopped
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Corriander Seeds
1 tbsp Garam Masala
Vegetable Oil
1 Whole tomato

1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water until cooked through. DO NOT overcook as it will mushy and we dont want that!
2. Drain and set aside to cool.
3. Cut them into bite sized pieces.
4. Heat oil in pan and cook garlic, tumeric, chilli powder, ground cumin, mustard seeds, corriander seeds.
5. Stir well for 2 mins and add just a tad bit of water if it sticks to the pan.
6. Add beans and stir for a minuite.
7. Add the cooked potatoes.
8. Add the garam masala and salt, stir well.
9. Lastly, diced a tomato and chuck them in.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Sticky Business

Decoupage is an art of decorating an object by gluing paper cut outs onto an object, a small box, a wooden tray, or even an item of furniture. each layer is sealed with layers and layers of varnishes to make it shine. i've always been a fan of decoupage and even tried in on eggshells (which is something i did back home, but will surely try again and post up in here).

My previous decoupage project i made was on an ikea white vase, still using the method but i think they work best with wooden objects.

This is another decoupage i made using an cheap plain wooden box and some serviette cuttings. it is so simple but needs a lot of care when hadling and pasting them. as you can see, mine's still lack of care! but as they say, practise makes perfect!

I did quite a lot of them, when my son's sleeping of course! the best way to start is cutting the paper first and keep them aside. and when you have the time, you select the ones that you need, and paste it on your objects. remember the glue must be in the object and not on the paper. once done with first coating, put it under the sun or set aside to dry. and once dried, apply another coating. i used a special serviette coat, of course there's plenty of decoupage glue and varnishes on the market.

I make my own gift boxes! simple but sticky!! :)