Monday, 29 October 2007

Brown Is Not Boring

Who says these brown papers are dull? and who says they are only good for packing parcels? call me a cheapsket, but i think they are worth much more!
Brown is definitely not boring!

In case you run out of wrapping papers, you can always count of them. all you need is just some coloured paper cuttings and jazz it up with your own style. you can find brown paper rolls at almost every stationary shop almost everywhere, wherever you are! they're easy to fold, they're reliable, they're not as fragile as most wrappers, and they're cheap!!

I used some butterfly cuttings to decorate my gift. you can cut any shape you fancy, using templates or those crafty punchers etc. if dont have much time in your hands, get varieties of them, all ready made, and cut out at most craft stores.

You can do so much with them, commonly, you can stick them on to the paper, but i wouldnt be happy with just that. what i did was i string them onto a thread. this will take quite a bit of your time but once you're done, you'd be very pelased with yourself for not simply sticking them onto the wrapper.

Its time to give these brown paper a place on the wrapper stands. its time for you to create your own style, its time to get creative!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Onion Bhaji

This is the perfect start to your indian dish. they are light and full of flavours. you can serve them as starters, and part of your main course. as you already know, we have our indian nights about once a week. now fasting month is over, indian nights are back on! sometimes we crave for those tandoori chicken, chicken tikka and those curries. it is almost impossible to go out and have a good indian meal here, none in sittard, and no indian take aways as well.. so we just make do with what i can come up with (or shall i say dare to try?)

I made some onion bhajis, Aidan was tempted to give it a go, look at him helping himself!


1 Large Egg
1 tbsp Lemon juice
150ml (appx) Water
175g Plain Flour
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Tumeric
1 tbsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
3 Whole onions - finely sliced
Lemon Wedges - to serve
Youghurt Sauce/Mint Sauce - to serve


1. Break the eg into a small bowl, then add the lemon juive and water and whisk lightly together.
2. In another bowl, sieve flour and spives together, then stir in the salt. make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the egg mixture. using a fork, gradually incorporate the flour into the liquid until a thick batter is formed. leave to stand for 15 mins.
3. Heat the oil in a deep fryer.
4. Stir the onions into the batter and using a tablespoon, scoop them to the hot oil to cook, turning them frequently.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Laksa Johor - Johor's Finest Food

We would definitely have Laksa Johor every Eid in JB, we would have it at my grandma's house, and then at my Mak Ngah's (aunt's) house, and if we're lucky, my other aunt from KL would send us the gravy. hers was our favourite. thanks to an anonymous comment in my previous blog entry Seri Muka, asking me to make laksa johor, we managed to get ourselves into preparing and eating this tedious yet delicious and fine dish. i have to be honest here, it was mum and dad who actually made them. credits all should go to them (and my aunt in kl who shared her recipe with mum on the phone a day before Eid.)

Unlike other laksas from other states, Laksa Johor is rarely found in stalls. this dish needs lots of helping hands. you really need more than 1 person to help you out, otherwise you'll be stuck in the kitchen from morning till night. i suppose the more people helping the merrier, especially during the festive season.

We try to make it as traditional as we can, we try to make every bit of it as "Johor" as we can, from shaping the sphagetti, cutting the cucumber to dicing the salted redish to extremely fine and tiny.

Thankfully we found all the ingredients needed - plenty of fish, prawns, salted fish, dried shimps, desicated coconut, coconut milk, dried chillies, chilli powder, curry powder, galangal, lemongrass, onions and garlic, sphaghetti, and for garnishing - cucumber, red chillies and shrimp paste for the sambal, phew leaf (daun kesum), beansprouts, salted redish and lime (couldnt find limau kasturi) it was a complete and wholesome dish!

I have lots of photos to share on this signature Johorian dish - too many in fact. one with Hardy eating, and one with my sister Fifi eating but i will spare them the embarassment. it is our favourite malay dish, so just imagine us eating it full heartedly, heads all down concentrating on what's on the plate, and after every mouthfull we would go"Mmmmm...."

It was all worth the wait, worth the effort, worth waiting for, and worthy to be one of Malays fine dishes. We had the best raya!!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

The Hardy's New Tradition on Eid

This is our 2nd Eid in the Netherlands. and i think we're going to start on a new tradition - Hardy's Laksa Penang on every Eid.

Laksa is a popular noodle soup. this is a type of noodles served with a sour fish soup. back home, almost each state have their own signature laksa dish. Penang is a state in Malaysia where Hardy grew up. Laksa Penang, is made of normally mackerel (in Hardy's case he used tinned sardines in water). and its soup - tamarind, which gives the soup a sour taste.

You'd have to mash and flake the fish. and the paste consists of lemongrass, galangal and dried chillies, all blended together. another important ingredient is the laksa leaves or daun kesum, as we malays call them. we then garnish the dish with mint leaves, sliced little pineapples, thinly sliced red onions, torch ginger flower, cucumber, thinly sliced lettuce and some prawn paste.

And this is the Hardy way of eating Laksa Penang, with his crispy version of cucur udang (prawn fritters). absolute lekker!

Dont ask me of the exact ingredients, i honestly dont know! but this was what he said to me:

Galangal - the size of your toe probably, dried chillies - a handful of them, tamarind juice - a bowl first, and if its not enough, add another bowl, how many tins of sardines? - try opening 10 tins first and see if it's enough... that's Hardy in the kitchen! but whatever it is or however he did it, it is definitely the best laksa penang i've ever tasted!

Care to share your Eid tradition?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Eid Mubarak - Selamat Hari Raya

It will be end end of Ramadhan, end of fasting month end of this week. Back when i was still in Malaysia, Ramadhan was a month full of activities, where my crafting session goes full swing, when i would exhaused myself and had little sleep, where i can loose a few kilos, it is when i work my heart and soul out and give my outmost 200% effort. (i only have these pictures to share, the rest are back at home).

Ramadhan is still very special to me, eventhough i no longer go full swing doing my hampers. my priorities have now changed and my Ramadhan now has a different meaning. i miss it, of course, every bit of it. and i hope i can resume back to it one day.

I've made lots of friends during my past Ramadhans. presentations to major companies, buying my materials from the suppliers, meeting other competitors - most of them are meaningful people. one person who will remain close in my heart is K.Liza, of Lubis House, whom i share my passion with back then. and another is Toughcookie, whom i met in 2005, at her office, doing a presentation for my Raya Hampers and up till now, we still keep in touch (and thanks for compiling my recipes!).

We have had a good Ramadhan this year, yet again. no hampers, but lots of cooking in the kitchen. and besides, there's quite a number of birthdays this month! so i shall put my effort into those birthdays instead.


To you my friends, loyal readers of my blog, here's me (picture taken on Ramadhan 2005 just before moving to the netherlands, with my last batch of hampers going out) wishing you many thanks and hope you'll enjoy your Eid, wherever you are.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Maaf Zahir & Batin

Monday, 8 October 2007

Paper Mache Boxes

Frequent readers of mine would know by now that i collect boxes. i love them. i have quite a few of them, i use them as my storage boxes to store all my arty crafty bits. i was out shopping the other day and i saw these two.

They are actually paper mache boxes. paper mache is actually quite an easy craft. a bit messy but a fun thing to do. be prepared to stick your hands into those wet sticky papers, glue and starch! and it'll probably take days for it to be all dried up and ready. but the end result will be all good. the last time i did paper mache was when i was teaching at a preschool some years back. the kids loved it.

The thing that attracted me about these two boxes was of course the colour, my kindda colour - pastel and their sticker in front of the boxes. they are absolutely sweet and as often the case when i buy something new, and especially at a bargain, and i'm all in love with them, i'd put them on my side table, next to my bed, so that i can look at them and smile when i go to bed! :)

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Stunner Starter

I adore prawns. i can never get enough of them. there's frozen ones we can buy at the toko, and we also do get some fresh ones at the market. Thais might call this dish Krathak, which means firecrackers. this dish is absolutely delicious! good for starters. you will definitely impress your guests with this one! for sure.

What i did was, i had some remaining egg noodles and decided to tie them up with a bow. why should i wrap my arty crafty things and not my food? and it paid off! it worked! arent they gorgeous? you'll love them too. not only they look stunningly good, they taste awfully good as well.

Their contents explodes with flavour i marinade them with a few dashes of thai fish sauce and sprinkle some curry powder. and what a combination!!

Next time you invite people over, start off with this stunner, definitely food to impress!

Ikan Sambal

Look what i found at the fishmonger's! as soon as i saw them i shouted "een kilo!!" happy! happy!

I didnt even look at the name of the fish in dutch, nor the price. was so happy to get them all wrapped up in a bag and was all set to go home to fry them! one can get this dish at almost all the shops and stalls that sells nasi campur for lunch. Nasi campur means mixed rice. its like a rice buffet. rice, being the staple food of malaysians, we even eat them during lunch and breakfast! (imagine how your eyes would be after eating rice and then head back to the office) the stalls will carry at least 10 different side dishes for you to choose, eaten with rice. i'd say on most days, most stalls will have this dish.

There's so many versions, i'm sure. but here's mine..

IKAN SAMBAL (Fish with Chillies)

I'm gonna write about the sambal, i'm sure you guys know how to fry them fishes.

I used a handful, or a handful and a half of fresh chillies, red and green. deseeded, and then roughly chopped. put them in a blender and blend.

Onions! loads of them. i used 3 big ones. diced.

Heat oil in wok, add onions, fry until they are really fragrant. add in your blended chillies. stir them up well and wait till the smell gets to you, about 5 mins or so or maybe till you had a couple of sneezes. add sugar, probably about 1tbsp, more if your chillies are super hot. salt, half tbsp and half of maggi chicken stock.

Happy! happy food!!