Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mee Rebus

Mee Rebus which is of Indian origin and a spin off from Indian Rojak.  It does not need any introduction to Malaysians or Singaporeans who are not Indian. Ask them about Mee Rebus or Indian Rojak and you get a smile in their faces and a thumb-up - sedap, hojiak and yummy.  The Singaporean version of Mee Rebus differ slightly from the Malaysian, the gravy is sweeter and does not have the work which includes coconut fingers, shrimp fritters etc.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Apple Frangipane Tart

This tart has that perfect combination of buttery and crumbly pastry, sweet almond cream, and slices of apple. Apples are one of the more versatile fruits and in baking, it is important to use the right type of apple i.e. one that retains its shape when baked and Granny Smith Apples is the one.  They are readily available year round and their tart flavor and firm texture make them ideal not only for this tart, but in pies too..

Frangipane is the French name for a rich pastry filling/topping whose principal ingredient is ground almonds or almond paste.

Since i have a roll of almond paste which has been in the freezer begging to to used and i had to bake something for my daughter, sandra, to bring along for a dinner party.  Time was not with me as the request for something to bring was at an impluse.  Thinking that making this tart would be an easy and quick task but no, no, - the almond paste was hard as rock. How can i use it?  It needed to be softened, I tried using a meat mallet to break it, but it refused to budge.  Perhaps i should just throw it away but thinking that i paid an arm and a leg for it, i just can't see it going into the garbage bin.  Think, think fast and as i was going through all sorts of possiblities, i saw the steamer.  Yes, steam will softened this roll of rock, after all, it was only sugar and almond which has lost it's moisture.  So, in the steamer it went and after 15 minutes, it was nice and soft and ready.  Lucklly, it did not take that long for the almond paste to be pliable and anyway, the crust dough needed sometime to rest too in the fridge.  I made the tart in time for Sandra to bring to the dinner. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tang Yuan/Yuanzi

I do not recall any festivities for this day, the first 15th day of the first Moon.  The only thing i remembered was my grandma reminding me to 'cheong heong' - cantonese - light some joss sticks and give prayers as it was 'Sun sap mng'.  It's only now that i can surf the net and found that there is a festival for this day - Yuanxiao Festival and you can read about it Here.

I found out that by eating glutinous rice balls on this night when the moon gets full for the first time in this year, will grant your wish for happy ending and reunion.  I know the moon will be glowing in it's brightess tonight, so i made glutinous rice balls with orange sweet potatoes/yam to make them look bright.  The black sesame seeds filling represents the darkness of the sky complimenting the moon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Drink

Tomorrow is February 14 and on this day, lovers express their love and affection for each other by presenting flowers and offering confectionery. This is a western tradition and lovers around the world are all worked up on this day especially with such high media on this subject. I think although the chinese might be less romantic, they are more sensible. This chinese say is so true - YAU CHENG YAM SUI PAU (Cantonese meaning - when you are in LOVE, you don't need food, WATER will satiate). Lovers around the world, don't you agree with this saying?

So, for the love in my life, i give you - WATER



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pong Saik Ku

Days or Months before this day, the eighth day of the Chinese New Year, the folding of Thee Kong Kim had begun. I remembered that multiple large baskets were lined up all over the bungalow, filled with 'Kim' which were in the shape of 'gold ingots'. Even touching them made  one feel lucky and bountiful of wealth and prosperity.

In Grandpa's bungalow, the Thee Kong altar was on the upstairs hall.  Joss stick, candles and oil lamps,were placed on the altar, while a pair of sugarcanes were tied to the sides. On an  extended specially erected altar ,was that handsome spread of offerings. The food and fruits were specially wrapped around with red paper, even the roast pig with its butts stuck up and the tail  adorned with a red ribbon.  Pineapple “flowers”  a popular offering, lovely mee koo, kuih nng koh and other foods were food offerings for the Gods,    "Gold” paper (kim chua) was hung from the sugarcanes, and later burnt as a thanksgiving offering to the Jade Emperor.

Tonight will be the second time we will get to meet our uncles, aunts and cousins who we have met during the first day of the Chinese New Year.  After tonight, we will only meet again the next Chinese New Year.  That's how close my dad and his siblings were.  There was no communication and the Chinese New Year or the Hokkian New Year were their only time to catch up and then we will be introduced to the new additions to our families. It was then that you will discover that we have duplicates in naming the new addition.  My cousin, Lily Ng, who is in Sydney, Australia, did not realised that her dad named her Lily until she started school, she was and is still Lena to our family.  My brother, Cheong Hock is also a duplicate.  Thank goodness we were the only 2 although there were so many Ngs in my generation
Eleven at night, all the prayers stuffs were carried out and placed on a specially erected table for the grand prayers.  Before the stroke of twelth, my dad, being the eldest of his generation, would light up the whole bundle of joss sticks and would distribute to all us, each one 3 joss sticks.  There was a hierarchy call in this matter,  Granpa, of course, was the first to give his prayer, followed by my dad and so on.  Grandma's turn came after her sons, then was my 'Ah Koh's' turn followed by the wives of dad and his brothers. Next, it was my brother's turn, followed by the male cousins and finally, the females of your's truly's generation.  After the joss sticks ritual, everyone was summoned to the garden for the burning of the baskets of Thee Kong Kim which after piling them looked like a mountain. Grandpa would be the honorable to lit this mountain of 'Kim' and us children would have the duty to stir the 'kim' with long sticks so that the 'kim' burned efficiently.  Hey, remember, the sugarcane, yes, throw the sugarcanes onto the bonfire.It was so delightful to watch the bonfire and seeing the burnt paper shooting up in the air, bringing the offerings and prayers to Thee Kong. 

After this hard chore of stirring and tossing and everything was burnt to cinders, it was time to attack the foods on the altar.  I especially like the yellow flat ku which i remembered that you were not to talk and eat this ku at the same time, the filling was so dry that it may land into someone's face.  For the longest ever, i did not know the name of this ku and finally found it to be known as 'Pong Siak Ku'. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ong Lai Rabbit/Rabbit Pineapple Tarts

I made these pineapple tarts this year in the shape of the Rabbit and name it Ong Lai Rabbit.  "Ong Lai" in hokkien dialect is 'Pineapple' and the hokkiens love 'Ong Lai' cos it sounded like 'Ong'  which means 'fortune or luck' and 'lai' means 'to come'.  Put them together - 'Ong Lai'  means 'fortune or luck please come'.  Who wouldn't want that. 

With these Ong Lai Rabbits, i wish all alot of 'ONG ONG LAI'

A Prosperous and A Happy Chinese New Year

I know by now most of my relatives and friends in the otherside of the world, should have enjoyed their Reunion Dinner and would be having fun karaoke-ing and waiting for The God of Weath to arrive. Me, still snuggling under the blankets and dreaming of a luxious meal. Anyway, i am awake and trying to post this so that i can wish all of you out there who will be celebrating the Chinese New Year - A Prosperious and Happy Chinese New Year.
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