What to cook, what to cook??

Having quite a few people over this weekend. Wondering what menu to prepare that is typically Malaysian, yet not too complicated to prepare or eat.

Thinking of Mee Goreng Mamak and Rojak Celup / Pasembor, followed by the normal dessert stuff of cakes, cheesecakes and traditional Malay kuehs.

Ahhhh decisions, decisions!

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Back to cooking… Recipe for Mee Rebus Johor

Last weekend, we invited some friends over and decided to surprise them with “Mee Rebus Johor” a.k.a Mee Rebus Hj. Wahid – well, well… of course not the real recipe as that one is tightly guarded by Hj Wahid’s kids. It was a matter of going to various websites, reading up on recipes, and settling on my take of it. It is not the easiest recipe in the world, seeing that we had to make the noodles by hand, then the sauce, followed by its accompaniments. However, the result turned out rather close to the original version, in my humble opinion.

The menu for the day was as follows:

– Mee Rebus Johor (for adults)

– Pizza from scratch for the kids

– Chocolate Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake and Kuih Kaswi for dessert.

Let it be said though, I forgot to take pictures of the cooking process OR the spread – having 8 kids running around the house tend to distract me.

But here is my take on that recipe for Mee Rebus Johor:

Ingredients (feed about 15 people if served for afternoon tea)

  • 1.5 kg fresh yellow noodles
  • beansprouts (clean) 
  • 10 eggs – hard boiled
  • 1/2 large packet of tofu – fry and dice into small pieces
  • green chillies, cilantro (daun sup) and green onion (sliced into small pieces)
  •  calamansi limes
  • fried shallots

 

For the Gravy:

  • 20 dried chillies – de-seed, boil and blend fine
  • *15 shallots
  • *5 garlic
  • *5 lemon grass
  • *1 thumb-sized galangal
  • *100 gm dried prawns
  • * 2 cups dried shallots (*blend fine the items with *)
  • 4  tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin + 1 tbsp fennel seed – blend fine, mix with coriander powder
  • 800 gm meaty beef ribs (cook till soft in pressure cooker – reserve the stock for gravy)
  • 500 gm shrimps – shell the shrimps and set aside, boil shell and head, blend fine and sieve – reserve the stock.
  • 500 gm sweet potatoes –boil– reserve boiling water. Mash fine.
  • 1 1/2 cups thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup tauco (fermented soy beans) – rinse (get rid of excess salt)
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • salt to taste

Method: 

  1. Shell the prawns, set aside. Boil the shells and heads. Blend this stock. Sieve. Add to the beef stock.
  2. Add water from the sweet potatoes to the beef and prawn stock.
  3. Remove meat from bones – slice meat fine. Add bones to the stock.
  4. Heat oil, saute blended chillies. Once fragrant, add the rest of the blended spices. Cook slowly until dry and fragrant.
  5. Once the oil has separated from the spices, add the coriander+cumin+fennel powder. Stir. Saute till fragrant.
  6. Add all the stock and leave to boil.
  7. Add sweet potatoes, salt and sugar. Let the gravy thicken. If not thick enough, add mixture of corn flour and water.
  8. Finally add the shelled prawns. Bring the gravy back up to boil, stirring occassionally. When prawns are cooked, the gravy is ready.

 

When ready to serve, quickly boil the fresh noodles. Use the same water to quickly boil the beansprouts.

Serve the noodles with gravy. Add the accompaniments (boiled egg, green chillies, cilantro, calamansi lime, green onions, fried shallots, some of the sliced beef and fried tofu.) 

Enjoy

OPTIONAL – Crispy Prawn Fritters to sprinkle over noodles
5 fresh prawns, shelled, pound fine.

6 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp rice flour
1 tbsp dried prawns (soak in water ,squeeze out after 10mins and pound finely)
Salt to taste

Mix all to form a thin batter (similar to crepes consistency). Add 1/2 tspn alkaline water (air abu / air kapur) to the batter.  Heat oil, deep fry till crispy. Break into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the noodles before pouring hot gravy.

Has it really been a couple of years…

since my last blog? Unbelievable. How time flies. I apologise for having been so remiss with this blog, but now that I am back hopefully, I will be back with a vengeance.

Life is no longer the same for me. For one, we  are now in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia instead of Malaysia. Back to a life of posting abroad – with its own unique challenges, and of course, oodles of cooking.

I remember posting in my personal blog (haha.. this issupposed to be the cooking one!) In that blog post, I was waxing lyrical about living abroad and missing the life of diplomacy and the friends that I had made in Poland. To a certain extent, that is still true now. I love the aspect of helping my husband in his quest to serve our beloved country, making new friends, and I especially enjoy the process of adaptation and learning new things. The little cub is doing well in school (Alhamdulillah,)  and enjoys having friends from all over the globe at school and in the compound. Most importantly, he brings us a lot of joy, laughter and remembrance of our blessings with his actions as well the simple truths that come from his mouth.

Our posting in Riyadh is also very special. Being Muslims in the land of our Prophet Muhammad pbuh gives us the opportunity to perform umrah and hajj as well as ziarah to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. For all these, I am truly grateful to my Creator and His wisdom in planning for the best for His most humble and insignificant creatures like me.

So, for the most part, my cup runneth over.

Yet, with opportunities presented, He has also given some shadows in my path, and everyday I have to learn the lessons of patience and humility. I am reminded of the need to have faith in His wisdom, mercy and magnificence. For this too, I am grateful. It is difficult though at times, to be supplicant, and accept things with a heart full of redha when you hurt each day by the actions of others. My faith is strong though that truth will always prevail and true colours will shine through in the end.

Yet, looking at the big picture, I realise how insignificant His challenges  are when compared to the blessings that He has given my family and I by placing us in this holy land. I pray that each day He will continue to guide us into taking the right actions, saying the right things and most importantly – keeping a humble heart and guarding our lips.  More of my lips rather than hubby’s – for he is a man of very few words and almost infinite patience.

 And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives, that would truly be from the things recommended by Allah. (Surah Ash-Shura-42:43.)

Ramsay’s Scrambled Eggs

It has been a while since I blogged. Mostly due to being very busy at work, and not being very committed to trying out new things, or baking any old thing. Oh well, sometimes we all need a break!

However, I have become rather addicted to Gordon Ramsay on TV. Yesterday, while “You Tube”ing around, I came across his video on how to make sublime scrambled eggs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1SM73Qi1BQ

As we were out with the little cub the whole afternoon yesterday, I took the opportunity to nip to Cold Storage and get the sour dough bread, creme fraiche, some mushrooms (I could not find any big, fat, button mushrooms, so ended up buying Swiss Brown Mushrooms instead,) and cherry tomatoes (couldn’t find any on the vine!) Of course I forgot all about the chives.

This morning (Sunday,) I woke-up at 6 am, and went back to sleep at 6.30. Woke-up again at 9.20 am – gasp! Hubby and cub were both up for ages. Came down to calls from the cub – “Mama! You are up! I am hungry!!” (Oops! I forgot that I had written a note the night before for the fawn saying that I will be preparing breakfast.) Owwwwkay!

So quickly prepared the mushrooms and tomatoes. Got the sourdough bread toasting – and concentrated on the eggs – EXACTLY as Gordon the man instructed (Ok, without the chives! I forgot!!)

How did it turn out? It was GORGEOUS, the most melt-in-the-mouth, silky, buttery, velvety, YUMMIEST scrambled eggs I have ever tasted. That, on top of a slice of flavourful, crispy sourdough bread, and with the rich earthiness of the mushrooms, and the acidity from the tomatoes – it was the best breakfast that we have ever had at home. Looks like we have found THE sunday morning breakfast menu! Would love to slide a few slices of smoked salmon into the eggs in the future. EVERYONE cleared their plates and we were full for the most part till about 3 pm!

Thank you Mr Ramsay – you are THE man!

Baking to Feel Better?

I felt really bad when I woke-up this morning. Raging temperature, nausea, the feeling of wanting to curl up and die. Curled up and wanting to die was more or less what I was up to the whole day. With temperatures climbing and dipping, I vaccilated between shivering and sweating – my whole back felt as if it was being trod on by some horrid giant. So, have not been able to eat much today either and towards the evening I began to have a hankering for plain, butter cake. Just plain, nothing fancy, yellow butter cake. The kind that crumbles but moist. Not really pound cake in consistency – it’s supposed to be soft and spongy but with crumbs to die for.

My sister-in-law (hubby’s youngest sister,) makes the best butter cakes I have ever eaten in my life. I have watched her make those cakes. Helped her even, when she makes the cakes in my in-law’s house and I swear, she does not put in anything special, but those cakes of hers… I have yet to taste anything like it anywhere else. Since she lives so far away, I had to crawl out of bed and mix a batch of the butter cake myself – but of course, now that its in the oven – I don’t really wanna eat anything anymore. Oh well… Here’s the butter cake recipe that I use. I don’t really feel up to taking pictures today, but I will share the recipe with you here :

 Rich Butter Cake

260gm butter

250gm sugar

250gm self raising flour

6 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/3 cup fresh milk (room temperature)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (normal oven) or 120 degrees celcius for convection.

Cream butter and sugar till mixture is white and fluffy (I tend to take a long time here)

Beat in the eggs 1 by 1, beating at least 20 seconds per egg before adding the other one

Add the vanilla essence – beat well – put away your electric mixer

Using plain wooden spoon, mix in the flour and milk – alternate one with the other. Do not over beat the flour.

Bake in 120 degrees (convection oven) for about 1 hour

 Sometimes when I am in the mood, I would add lemon peel to this mix, just to give it that fresh zing. But not tonight. I can hear my bed and blanket calling out to me again. Peace and out!

What Actually Happened…

Today is Sunday. Mr Right took the cub to the Zoo. Since I have boycotted zoos since the day I turned 10, they had to go without my company. Actually, I didnt mind it. It gave me some time to sleep in and recuperate. This morning, we had more Roti Jala or Lacy Pancakes for breakfast. The cub can never have enough of it. I have pictures, but have not had the inclination to upload it yet. I am still sleepy.

It has been a wonderful couple of days of entertaining. The menu that I planned didn’t totally go exactly the way it was supposed to. Mum arrived at our house in the afternoon, so, we had a minor cake and samosa tea party. For dinner, we had Chicken Rice, followed by more chocolate cakes and cut fruits for dessert.

The following day, we had Nasi Lemak – rice in coconut milk served with sambal and other condiments for a brunch of sorts, and Apple Pie with Custard made from scratch.

Then our guests left to visit relatives and I got to spend some time with mum before sending her to elder brother’s house and mum spent the night there.

The next morning, I prepared breakfast at home for mum and my brother and his family. We had chicken curry with Lacy Pancakes. Then a very late lunch or rice, chicken curry, beef in soy sauce, fried fish, stir fried veggies, sambal belacan etc, etc. When our guests arrived, we served Lacy Pancakes and Chicken Curry to go with the tea. (In case it didn’t cross your mind before, yes, I made a BIG pot of chicken cury!)

Then mum and everyone left at about 5pm.

The house felt very quiet after that. I was left wandering around from room to room with the cub. Just looking at stuff and not knowing what to do with ourselves. I am sure we did something as a family last night…. but, I just cannot remember what it was.

Today was the dad and cub Day at the Zoo thing and for dinner, we went to Pizza Uno. Cub had chicken parmigiana, hubby had his usual Lamb Shank. I tried the Baccalao (salted cod made into little croquettes — looooovely!!) then shared a REALLY, REALLY spicy Pizza Mexicana with the cub and hubby. It was sooo spicy that both of them had a nice time laughing at my red nose.

So, today was really a very relaxed day for us. But, somehow, I wish my guests were back! It was fun cooking for everyone and made me realise that I really miss all the entertaining that we used to do when we were abroad during hubby’s tour of duty.

Sigh. OK, I will post the photos and more recipes when time permits… :o)

Happy Birthday Mum!

Mum’s turning 59 this year – and she is away on an island, celebrating her birthday with her closest friend and my youngest brother. How nice! She is coming back tomorrow with her friend and her kids, and I am up now, at 3.53 am because my mum’s chocolate cake has just finished baking. It is now cooling, the topping and filling is ready, as are the decorations and the candles.

So tomorrow is going to be an impromptu type of party – the menu will be chicken rice with clear soup and salad, then fruits and chocolate cake for dinner.

 The next day for breakfast, I am preparing Egyptian style breakfast Foul Medammas ok.. it’s not Foul as in horrid. It is pronounced “Full” – another name for a type of beans dish with spices, fresh tomatoes, fresh coriander etc, served piping hot to be dipped with French Baguette. If I am awake enough at the time, I might take some pictures and share the recipe.

For lunch, I think we will be going a bit Italian with Pasta dish  and salad for the adults, and the kids will be having their Swedish Meatballs with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. For dessert – I will be making Apple Pie and custard from scratch.  I have got 8 Granny Smiths waiting in a bowl, ready to meet their destiny – the pie crust!

For tea, yes, yes… we will have samosas with hot tea..

For Dinner.. I think, we might go out for that one. Have a feeling that I will be totally exhausted!

Oh well, at least no one can say that they will go hungry in my house…! *snicker*