Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu

Last Thursday Baby Sis gave me a tapioca (ubi kayu) tuber that she had harvested from her garden.

I simply accepted the tuber not knowing what to do with it. At first I thought of steaming and eating it with palm sugar syrup but decided to ditch the lacklustre idea.

Then I thought of making Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu. I googled the recipe and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very easy to make.

So this morning I woke up nice and early to go to the market to purchase santan and eggs.

I don't even have eggs in the fridge. That's how bare my larder is.
We used to joke that
we will have to subsist on
our dog's dried food if ever
a curfew is to be declared.
Now that our dog is
in doggie heaven, I suppose
we will have to eat the fish
in Hubby's marine aquarium.

The preparation was easy. The only part that took up most time and energy was grating the tapioca. It was such a tiny tuber but I really worked up a sweat grating it.

When I weighed the grated tapioca it was not even enough for half a recipe so I had no choice but to resort to some agak-agak (guess-timation) for the rest of the ingredients.

And here's the result.

Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu fresh out of the oven. I made the hole with a knife to check on doneness because I don't have a bamboo skewer.

I didn't have a smaller cake tin for such a small quantity of batter so the Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu came out katek (short) but it tasted good, even if I say so myself, and the aroma wafting through my kitchen when the cake was baking was simply heavenly.

I am definitely going to make this again. Sooner, if someone could kindly tell me where to buy grated tapioca.

See how katek or short the Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu was?

Enjoying my own homemade Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu

If you are interested in trying your hand at making Kuih Bengka Ubi Kayu you can find the actual recipe at Kitchen Tigress.

A Few Hours With Grandson

The sale has started! So on off to Pumpkin Patch we went. Por Por raided the patch and Grandson went home with a new set of clothes and 2 bibs.

The sales staff offered wrapping service and he used a gift box that says, "You are a STAR!" Isn't that just sooo appropriate?

I also bought 2 packets of teething biscuits for him which he didn't really know how to enjoy as yet. He was more interested in bashing the biscuit on the baby chair than in feeding himself.

Presents from Por Por and Kung Kung for our little prince

As if that is not enough, Grandson collected another present over lunch. This time from the lady at Passions of Kerala.

He must have charmed her so much that she came over to our table and unwrapped a cute little duckie for him to play with.

I forgot to take a photo of the duckie so here's a shot that has been cropped from a photo taken from a video of Grandson playing with the duckie. As usual there is only limited exposure of his chubby arms and fingers here due to privacy issues.

My other photos of him playing with the duckie were all blur 'cos his arms were flying all over the place. Non-stop movement like a windmill!

And he wasted no time in putting the duckie in his mouth. Either he is unable to differentiate between food and non-food items or the duckie must have tasted better than the biscuits!

Those few hours passed by so quickly. Cannot wait to see him, cuddle him and have him in my arms again.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Korean Night, 22 June 2013

We were soooo excited when we found out that the organisers on the TBW were going to loan us Korean costumes for the theme night.

Look at our happy faces.

We even went on YouTube to learn how to tie the ribbon for the hanbuk and I think we did ok.

Here I am trying to look Korean. Unsuccessfully.

Unfortunately it was only half a hanbuk. We were so disappointed. But half is better than none.

At least the hanbuk top matches my dress.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Doting Grandma Syndrome

You know you have a bad case of Doting Grandma Syndrome when... are watching Superman and you are immediately reminded of your grandson striking a similar pose. The outstretched arms and clenched fists was Grandson's favourite pose when he was younger and we would label it as his Superman pose. plot and scheme to see him very time he is nearby - nearby being anywhere within a 100 km radius. Doting Grandmas have to resort to such shenanigans because Grandpas are not similarly affected and will put a stop to the madness. take countless photos of him and find it hard to deleted a single one (even the blurry ones) because every photo captures him with a different expression. I cannot present any photo proof here but I can honestly say that Grandson has the most expressive face ever! His Jewel Ee Ee says that he has the widest range of expressions for a baby. totally, unabashedly and most sincerely believe that he is the most wonderful baby in the whole wide world. This biased view is definitely the clearest manifestation of the Doting Grandma Syndrome, but don't judge me. I am just honest enough to admit it while most people prefer to be politically correct.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bak Chung Lesson

All these years I've only eaten and enjoyed kngee chung (plain glutinous rice dumplings) and tau chung (mung bean and glutinous rice dumplings). I have always steered clear of bak chung because I don't like pork and bak chung is essentially glutinous rice dumplings with pork, salted egg yolk, chestnuts, mushrooms and dried prawns.

Last year I received 2 homemade bak chung from a good friend and for the first time in my life I found that I liked the taste of bak chung. So I bugged her to teach me how to make bak chung the next time the chung festival comes around. Well the Chung festival is only a few days away and so this morning I went to her house for a bak chung lesson.

When I walked into my Sifu's kitchen, I found that she had already pre-soaked, cut and prepared most of the ingredients.

Clockwise from the top: pre-soaked and drained glutinous rice, sliced mushrooms, salted egg yolks, pre-boiled chestnuts, washed dried prawns, pre-soaked red beans that were so big that I mistook them for peanuts, and some leftover glutinous rice from an earlier bak chung making session. In the middle are the marinated pork, minced garlic and sliced shallots.

The chung ingredients have been fried (left) and are now ready to be wrapped with bamboo leaves and tied with hemp strings (right).

From top: Putting the filling into the bamboo leave cone; I managed to successfully wrap my first bak chung; the fruit of my labour - 2 bunches of bak chung, 14 dumplings altogether. My Sifu is camera shy so no photos of her here.

See my beautiful chungs! I expected some of them to unravel but none perished. All of them survived the 2-hour long boiling process.

Thank you my Sifu Priscilla for so generously sharing all your little secrets. Thank you also for the chungs.

Very paiseh la. Not only did you teach me FOC, you also refused to let me pay for the ingredients and served me lunch too! I dunno how to ever repay your kindness to me.

God bless you and your wonderful family.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ang Zhao Mee Suar & Other Side Dishes

A few weeks ago Baby Sis organised a dinner for a group of us at Lynn's kitchen (not sure if there's a proper name for the place), which is located at 22 Padang Victoria Green.

Lynn Teoh is a painter specialising in Chinese ink painting as well as water colour and oil painting. Cooking is her hobby and her specialty is Ang Zhau Mee Suar or Red Yeast Wine with Rice Vermicelli.

The table nicely set up for the 16 of us. Those beautiful place mats are laminated copies of Lynn's paintings.

A cup of cold herbal plum juice that Lynn had brewed that day to start off our meal. Love it! So delicious and really refreshing.

Lynn's signature dish - Red Yeast Wine Chicken served with Amoy Flour Vermicelli. You may choose to have bee hoon instead of the mee suar (flour vermicelli).

This is pumpkin dumpling yen-pi and meat balls, a Hock Chiew speciality.

This is a Hakka dish called "shin pun zhi". The little discs are made from yam and tastes fantastic despite its unimpressive appearance. Four of us were supposed to share each serving of side dishes but I ate more than my share of this!

Everyone had high praises for the Pork Chop Noodles. We couldn't understand how it could be so tasty when it looked so plain. I don't know about the rest but I actually preferred this dish to the Ang Zhao Mee Suar. The crunchy pork chop had been marinated with red yeast wine and then fried. Delicious!

The complimentary red yeast wine tasted horrible.

Our meal costs RM18 per pax excluding the plum juice, which costs RM5 per 500ml bottle, and the wine.

Lynn serves lunch but reservation is required for dinner (min. 16 pax). Parking is available inside her compound subject to availability of space.

For reservations please call Lynn Teoh at 012-757 7909 or 016-430 3868.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grandma's Bragging Session

Warning! You are to enter a Grandma's bragging zone. Visitors run the risk
of turning green with envy.

I'm not allowed to post photos of my grandson on social media. Since blogs are considered part of the social media scene there won't be any photos of grandson even though a picture paints a thousand words. That's a pity 'cos my blog hardly commands any traffic at all.

Without the no-photo-on-social-media restriction I can assure you we would have uploaded a ton of photos for the world to see. Anyway, a post about the most adorable baby on earth would be quite meaningless without a photo so here's one of me carrying my precious grandson.

Haha, all you can see is his back! But that's better than nothing, right?

See his hair. He was born with a full head of hair. When we showed his photo to Hubby's nieces they went goo goo gaga over his hair; said that it was so "stylo" and asked us whether he used gel! What on earth were those girls thinking?

And he used to have golden streaks at the ends that looked like highlights. The highlights were snipped off when he had his hair-cut. :( Thank God they didn't shave him bald at Full Moon according to tradition.

The nieces, as did everyone else, also loved his eye-brows. Such thick, manly eye-brows! Many people have commented that his features are very "man". There's no way you can mistaken him for a girl.

Praise God, he is a happy baby with the most happy smile. And when he smiles dimples appear! Not just one, but two dimples. And when he laughs he really opens his mouth wide and his big eyes would disappear into slits. I am not the only one to notice that on such occasions the resemblance to my mom is uncanny.

Caden is also remarkably expressive. I've taken photos of him continuously and almost every photo manages to capture him with a different expression.

He also loves to talk. More so when he was younger. From the time when he was a month old he already could interact and verbalise as if he is having a conversation with you if you would talk to him.

And I love the times when he gets all excited and starts shouting, and flapping his arms and kicking his legs. Like a windmill! And oh yes, he's got such strong and sturdy legs. He loves to jump and always wants to stand up. In fact he managed to stand on his own when he was barely six months old! And that's before he could sit up or crawl.

One thing is for sure, the boy is an early developer and has been since he was born. When he was only 20 days old he kept rolling over onto his back whenever his mom put him lying faced down! I couldn't believe it until my daughter sent me a video proof. Isn't he simply amazing?

He also has a very strong grip. He doesn't just grab your finger. Once he has a hold on you he will start turning his wrist. Hubby says he'll make a good badminton player with such good wrist work and eye-hand coordination whereas his dad thinks he should be a tennis player. Que sera sera, maybe he'll end up being a swimmer or footballer.

Look at those busy fingers! He is always grabbing and feeling things even while while he's feeding.

It is very clear that I love my grandson to bits. Every single bit of him from head to toe.

Because I Have A Sister

...I always have a friend.

She has known me for the longest time. We have history and because of that she understands where my insecurities are coming from and my idiosyncrasies make sense to her. She has seen me at my worst and still thinks the best of me.

I'm so blessed.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Lunch at Tanjung Dawai

We were invited for lunch at Sungai Petani but it came as no surprise when Mr Tan, our host, requested that we hop into his car to go to a seafood restaurant that is located elsewhere.

Mr Tan is a foodie and he knows all the little nooks and corners in Kedah that serve the most amazing and delicious dishes.

After half-an-hour of meandering through padi-fields and small kampungs where villagers seem to be holding kenduris (parties) at every turn, we arrived at Tanjung Dawai, a small fishing village on the coast of Kedah.

The first thing Mrs Tan did was to head for the little jetties to buy prawns. Unfortunately there were no prawns in the catch that day so she bought crabs instead.

Meanwhile we took photos like any good tourist would.

The beach. In the backgroud is one of the many jetties where the fishermen land their catch.

Some fishermen preparing to go out to sea. Across the sea is Pantai Merdeka, the first beach Hubby visited when he was growing up in Alor Setar.

One of the rare times when we have someone to take a photo of us together.

While we were at the small jetty we also saw how the people made salted fish.

Hmmm, this part of the process doesn't look very hygienic to me

Then we headed over to Chooi Peng Seafood for lunch.

Our lunch. Clockwise from top left corner: Sea Cat Fish & Shark Curry, Crispy Battered Squid, Prawns Steamed with Egg White, Baked Jumbo Mantis Shrimp, Sea Crab in Spicy Gravy and Steamed Sting Ray

We ended up with a combo hai t'hor sart (sea cat fish) and shark curry because both were so fresh that the host could not decide on which to choose for the dish. So he did what any dedicated foodie would do, take both!

That's the sea cat fish meat on top and the shark meat below. I like that the sea cat fish doesn't have the muddy smell normally associated with cat fish.

The squids and prawns were not outstanding but the baked (not sure but they looked baked to me) mantis shrimps were really fantastic.

Live mantis shrimps in the aquarium

Look at that! That's how big the shrimps were and they were packed with plenty of sinfully delicious roe. You would have thought that
I was holding a sausage roll.

The sea crab is not a flower crab. It looks like a normal mud crab but it is found in the sea bed. Its meat is 'springier' than those of the mud crab. Its shell is also thinner so I could eat it with my fork and spoon!

Unfortunately there was only one sea crab left :( I wouldn't mind more of the crabs.

Finally, there's a steamed sting-ray that tasted better than it looked.

Their specialty is seafood so the fried yau mak was lacklustre (hence no photo). But we were told that the proprietor-cum-cook has a signature dish that he prepares with egg-plant. Must try that on our next visit.

See, it was so good that we were already planning a return visit before we even left the place.

On the way back we visited the Archeological Museum at the Bujang Valley. It was soooo terribly hot that I came back with a headache. We were crazy to walk in the hot sun without an umbrella or hat.

That's me with Mr & Mrs Tan. We even climbed steps in the hot afternoon sun. Crazy or not?

Hubby standing at the reconstructed site of one of the ancient Indian temples. Notice how colour coordinated he is with all the surrounding greenery.

We saw mangosteens for sale by the road-side and we just had to stop to buy some.

Hubby choosing mangosteens. He's the fruit expert in our family.

See the white flesh! Simply irresistible!

No thanks! We don't eat petai or stink beans.

At Sungai Petani we said farewell to our hosts. Reluctant to leave SP, we went to Secret Recipe for tea before leaving for Penang.

This is a rare occasion. Hubby normally doesn't frequent places like Secret Recipe or Starbucks. He's more of a kopi tiam guy.

We have already received a request from Bee Yoong in UK to bring them there the next time they are back in Malaysia.

So see you again Tanjung Dawai!