Saturday, December 6, 2014

The market getaways

Before I started cooking for real on a daily basis, I've always thought that it is a very tiring tasks - the fact that I got a day job and after work just tires me. At this age, most working women that I know hires a maid or eat out, or does not cook because they don't have the time.

I used to think like that and don't get me wrong, I enjoy cooking just a very lazy person and the excuses above stated. But the other thing that I've always find every single excuses to go for it; grocery shopping. I know I have mentioned this before in my last posting but I find shopping for fresh foods very.. addictive.

However, I no longer shop at supermarkets for meat and vegetables, just at the wet market only. I have fallen in love with the smell of fresh and beautiful colours around the area. Not only do they offer the best ingredients with cheaper prices - they offer you recipes and tips as well.

Of course in google, we can search for many recipes but it is not as life like as talking to the butcher to buy my chicken meat. She would offer me weekly tips on what to do with the chicken - like today, you salt the whole chicken and just steam it, good enough and it already taste great. I told her, I will keep this simple recipe in mind and see her next week. Then comes to the other pork butcher, he would say, what do you want to cook today? boiled? steamed or fry. I would reply fry and he would say, you get this portion which is not as hard but soft, so that the fats will go into you sauce and it will bring out the flavour. 

After gathering the poultry, I would look for some nice fish and speak to the fish monger, whom tells me, if you are going to steam a fish today, get this sea bass. I assume it was his wife or daughter in the next stall would add, "ah so you're steaming that sea bass, here you will need this ingredients in which she gave me fresh chinese parsley, and spinash". 

In conclusion, for working executives like me, don't be intimidated by the market, sometimes if you don't know what the fish is called or the cut of the meat. Just tell them what you feel like cooking today and get your recipes every time you order something from them.

These are my delights in my frequent visits to the market, I learn cooking from them. The kind of knowledge you won't get at the supermarket but mere price tags and packed without emotions. So go on, try.. head to the market and its not the Night market "pasar malam" its the one you need to wake up early in the morning because it closes fast at 10am.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Like Water for Chocolate - Chapter One

It all started where my partner recommended this movie which is based on the book that he has. The movie is in Spanish that looks like your average B grade movie based on a love story - so expect a whole chunk of love scenes. However, prior to that, the recipes were interesting, I manage to experiment it for the first time from chapter One - Christmas rolls but I didn't follow exactly to the baking part; I really don't know how to bake yet.

But I have plans to go for culinary and baking classes in the near future, got my eyes on a few schools nearby my area.

For this recipe, I've only managed to replicate the taste only. It was a little adventurous cooking sardines with sausages (original recipe uses chorizo sausages)

This is the result;
Need to work on the presentation but this is still phase One.

I used Naan bread instead as a foundation for the sardine - sausage sauce.

Recipe ( made for 2 persons only)

1 onion
4 pieces of garlic
A can of sardines - medium and must be Ayam brand
2 sausages
Chilli powder.
1 small red chilli padi
Chilli flakes
Cayenne Pepper
Cinnamon powder

Step One
Dice onions into small pieces followed by garlic.

Step Two
Heat pan and fry sausage until semi cook. Remove and reserve.

Step Three
Fry garlic until fragrant or lightly browned then add 3 dashes of paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Chilli flakes and dice chilli padi.

Step Four
Stir fry until a dark red texture is formed, then add in diced onions until fully caramelised. Remove and reserve.

Step Five
Pour can of sardines (de-boned) with the tomato sauce and add half cup of water to simmer.

Step Six
Once sardine sauce is brought to boil, add in the fried sausages earlier followed by 1 table spoon of Oregano, stir gently and mix it together for about 3 minutes until fragrant.

Step Seven
Pour the diced onions into the sauce and stir for 2 minutes.

Step Eight
Lastly, lightly pour them into the naan bread to hold the meat and sardine sauce and top it off with a dash of cinnamon powder and chives.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

So I went to a Wedding Yesterday..

Despite my zombie state of mind that I've not rested for the past 3 weeks after daily continuous moving back and forth to a new place and to add, the daily overbearing errands which has infused into my hectic routines.

So, I attended my old friend's wedding yesterday. It was a lovely sight despite the traffic and to locate the place was near impossible - thanks to our wonderful Malaysian planning of placing road signs - did I mention the "Entrance" sign is placed 5 metres after the carpark entrance?

Anyway, the usual hi and bye around but my focus for this story isn't about the wedding actually. I try not to be judgemental and wish the newly wed all the best in their lives together. But my focus was this high schoolmate that I've stumbled upon my friend's wedding.

Of course I failed to realise that I have caused such a stink over the years that she had to stare at me in shock and then suddenly - she morphed into an ugly squinty hog. Yeah, I was suprised as she used to be a total opposite during her high school years and now zooming more than 10 years later; it looks like age has swallowed her up, spat her and left her mangled. I think this is because of how she narrowed her eyes and raised her nose at me, that I've noticed arrogance really makes a beautiful face looked very "witchy". I wasn't all offended nor affected but I felt sympathetic towards her instead.

So sympathetic that I would write about her as a morale story for all women. No doubt if you look down on others and think your lives is better,  more successful and what not. If you can smile and be humble, your beauty will always shine through that pretty face.Should you scowl or be arrogant - take a look in the mirror and see how you would look like. Or, take a selfie and hashtag it as #obnoxious #arrogrance #iambetterthanothers.

I have also pitied her as she walked around the reception - aimlessly while her husband was too busy hanging out with the guys. But then again, reaching into the age group of 30s, do we need such high school attitude to be brought forward to our future? is it really worth it? I can't really be bothered but I am curious about this narcissistic personality.

But then again, I could be wrong. According to my partner, he says when one puts on weight, their face becomes bigger so the big doey eye ex high schoolmate person - now has really puffy fat cheeks that squeezes the life out of their eyes that makes it look like a  narrow slit. I am really sorry about this article but I felt that I have to write it to make a difference,

For the sake of always


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Niki de Saint Phalle

Before, I only look at the Google design on their search engine landing page, mesmerise by their creativity of the design. The coolest part is that they have this birthday cake Google for you on your birthday when you open your browser or visit the Google page.

Today, I saw some really funky art that look like this;

At first I really thought it was some funky bikini day - much like those no bra day etc. But as I clicked on it, It was an info about Niki de Saint Phalle and her art. Much like those famous and frequently mentioned Pablo Picasso, she was one name I have not heard it before. So, I read on.

Despite her difficult childhood past, she manage to pull through and make a new for herself in the end, you can read more of her here

Quite a motivating article to start the day.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Egg Curry

Ingredients - made for 2 pax only 

1 long Moringa oleifera (drumstick)
2 big tomatoes
1 cube of chicken stock
2 cups of water
1 assam peel (depending how much of that sweet sour taste you want, you can put 2)
4 hard boiled eggs - peeled
3 pinches of sweet cumin seeds
3 pinches of cumin seeds
3 pinches of mustard seeds
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of garam masala
1 table spoon of rempah ratus (100 spices mixture ground power from Kelantan)
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
2 tablespoon of curry powder
125ml of full cream milk
4 pieces of garlic
1 red onion
1 inch of young ginger
3 star anise
curry leaves
1 cinnamon stick

It looks like a lot of ingredients to make for curry, but I guess being experimental with my cooking when it comes to spices, colour and flavour; which I like that kind of various layers of taste with that pinching feeling on your tongue and the aftermath cooling effects.

Also, I tend to be rebellious in a way that I'd always believe there are more to play with flavours than just one taste only. Mind you, I didn't get this from any recipe book. I only believe that food should come from the soul and the emotions that was put into it, rather than just technical. To be honest, I didn't know that I've put all of those ingredient just to make something simple like egg curry. I just went with the flow and my mood.

Cooking should be easy and fun, if it takes too long or you feel its a hassle, believe you, me, the result won't be tasty. Probably because I always believe that adding that one magic you put into your meals; LOVE. I know it sounds rather cheesy but what is a meal without that big hearty feeling dancing with the aroma of your dishes.

That is how I normally make my dishes.

The process for vegetables

Step One.
lightly peel the drumstick plant (Moringa oleifera) but not the whole thing off like how you do for potatoes. the result will look like you blunt the edges. cut them into 2 inch cubes.

Step two.
Cut the 2 tomatoes into four each.

Step Three
dice all your garlic, onions and ginger. Please try not to use a machine auto chopper thingy. Get your hands dirty when doing this, as all the juices from the dicing seeped through the other ingredients, complementing each other - a way of greeting.

The process for spices

Mix all the spice powders - garam masala, chilli powder, rempah ratus.

Mix all the cumin and mustard seeds together in a separate bowl.

The Cooking

Step One
Add 2 cups of water into pot with assam peel and brings it to a boil. After that add 1 cube of chicken stock and let it continue to dilute making a little chicken broth in the pot. then pour milk into it. (I can't really use coconut milk because it makes me dizzy after)

Step Two
While waiting for the milky broth to boil, add 1 tablespoon of oil into the heated frying pan. Let the oil heat up (you can see bubbles forming) on the pan and add garlic to fry until brown (you can smell the garlic fragrant then you know it's ready)

Followed by ginger and then you add your bowl of mix seeds into it. wait till you smell the fragrant or a pop sound, then pour in your bowl of mix spices and stir until oil is coloured dark red.

Lastly, add in your onions to play with the flavour of the spices. only stir fry for 1 minute or when onions are a little colour lighter.

Step Three
As the broth is boiled, add curry powder and half a fist of curry leaves into the pot followed by the pan of mixes with fried garlic, ginger and onion into it. simmer for 10 minutes or until the aroma is captured.

Step Four
Add sliced tomatoes and drumstick plant into the pot until boiled. Then add eggs, simmer for another 10 minutes. Close the lid.

There you have it. Egg Curry. Mind you it is not as a lot of work compared to writing this down. I don't know if there will be any readers but I guess, I want to keep a long mini diary for me to refer it to one day. Even though, I am bound to change the recipes, as cooking progress so will the recipes evolve.

Indian food should not only be flavourful but colourful as well.