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Aug 29, 2011

A Wish to All My Muslim Friends

Happy Eid Ul-Fitr (Aidil Fitri - as how we call it here) to all my Muslim friends out there. Have a great holiday whether you're sharing this holiday with your friends and/or family. Travel safe if you're travelling and eat safe when you're eating. Happy Holidays!

Vanilla Custard

This was made to go with the Spotted *ahem* in the last post.
Ok, ok, I'm no prude ... Spotted Dick, it was. You should have read what Veronica of Quay Po Cooks commented and a suggested name ... hilarious!

I think ... no, scrap that .... I'm definitely happier with the custard than the pudding. But there will be another post on the pudding soon. I won't give up til I get it right.

This is a no-fail recipe (can't say the same for the blinking pudding) and so simple to make and a very versatile topping to any dessert. Any leftovers and you can even turn it into a french-styled vanilla custard ice cream.
This makes a good 1 cup-and-a-bit of runny / pouring custard.
Feel free to double the recipe.

Check out those lovely specks of vanilla seeds!


250 ml whole milk
150 ml cream
3 egg yolks
40 g sugar
1 vanilla pod


In a saucepan, combine milk, cream and whole vanilla pod.
Bring to almost boiling and reduce heat to simmer for 10 mins.
Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, whip egg yolks and sugar until pale in color.
Remove vanilla pod from milk and set aside.
Add hot milk to egg yolk mixture, a little at a time, whisking continuously as you go along.
Once all the milk has been incorporated, pour mixture back into the saucepan.
Split the vanilla bean into half lengthways, scrape the seeds and add it to the egg mixture.
On medium heat, keep stirring until custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat.
Serve with your favorite dessert.

*Note: Custard will thicken a little more while cooling.
For a slightly thicker custard, heat a little longer but be careful as it may curdle.

Aug 23, 2011

1st Bloggiversary & Spotted What?!

Whoa! 1 year ... one whole year ... pinch me!

I didn't think I'd last this long. You know, I believe I wouldn't have if it wasn't for all of you supporting this crazy blog and me (ever so slightly crazy). When I first started this blog, it was a little like writing a diary and just talking to myself. But I am happy to say ... I've come a long way, baby! Uh, I didn't have to add the "baby" in, but somehow that statement reminded me of an ad from a long time ago. What was it? Virginia Slims? (No, they didn't pay me to put that in. Btw, are they still around?)

And a special thank you to my regulars who have not only supported the blog but who cared for my well-being during some political crisis that happened recently. I am truly touched. I have also learnt so much in this one year from all the blogs I've discovered, all the good friends I've made and I know there's gonna be lots more to discover out there.

Ok ... the end of my speech ... WAKE UP! and let's cook and eat!

Spotted What!?

Umm ... more correctly, it's called Spotted Dick. But I decided against putting it as the main header just in case google decided to label it as smut spam and blackmark my blog.

And no, it's not some bloke with measles either.

This is a traditional English pudding with a rather vague story behind its very interesting, attention-grabbing name, which recently has been changed to Spotted Richard due too many snickerings in the local cafeteria. There was, however, some hoohah about the name change, since its not good form to change anything traditional, so ... who knows what it's being called today.

The "spotted" part being the currants and the "other" part is probably due to the, umm... let's just describe it as "log-shaped". But I've decided to make it into the traditional pudding bowl shape instead. So, what should I call it? Any suggestions? And do I need to rate this post as G, PG or R before the suggestions come in?

Before I go on to the recipe, I'd like to say that I wasn't too happy with the outcome of the pudding. I had tasted this very interestingly-named dessert a long time ago and if my memory serves me right (no, I'm not going senile ... yet), it was like a fruitcake, dense but cakey. Somehow, mine turned out, yes, dense but sconey ... yes, crumbly, like a scone. It's suppose to expand some but mine did only a very unnoticeable bit. The taste was very good tho and the accompaniment of a very good vanilla custard helped it along. I will have to adjust some measurements, I guess. Or, I'll just take it as Spotted Scones and have it toasted with a slab of butter instead.

Anyone out there who is familiar with this recipe? I would appreciate some feedback about what I'm doing wrong here. I did check out a couple of recipes and came across 2 very different methods ... one uses eggs and the other doesn't. I figured a normal pudding uses eggs anyway, so I added that. Maybe that made it more dense? Or maybe I need more milk? I'm rambling. I need some enlightenment ... pleeez.

Can't remember where I found this recipe from ....


2/3 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup shredded suet (I used Atora beef suet)

3/4 cup soft, white breadcrumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup currants

zest of 1 lemon

1 egg + 1 tbs milk (I think I need more milk to make this work)


Grease 4 200ml pudding bowls.

Combine first 7 ingredients.

Lightly beat egg with the tbs of water.

Stir into flour mixture to make a soft but not too sticky dough. Add more milk if necessary.

Divide dough into 4 parts and place each ball of dough into individual greased pudding bowls. Flatten tops.

Butter or spray a round piece of waxed paper and place over dough, butter side down. Cover tops of bowls tightly with foil, fold in the ends and tie around the bottom of the lip with twine so that no water will seep inside.

Place in a steamer or into a large, deep pan and add water to just about halfway up the sides of the pudding bowls. Cover and bring water to a boil, then lower heat and steam for 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours.

Remove and cool for a few minutes. Unmold and serve with Vanilla Custard

or Vanilla Ice Cream.

Warning: Do not try this at home.

Note: I will definitely do another post on this one.

PS: Next post: Vanilla Custard

Aug 10, 2011

Tag! I'm it!

I'm it alright.

This tag is all about your own stuff. I think it's a great idea to highlight some long forgotten posts or some lonely, neglected, uncommented recipe ... especially during one's early days of blogging. I'm happy to be tagged by Three Cookies to take part in this 7 - Link Challenge. That's 7 of your own posts in relation to the categories and then to nominate 5 victims bloggers to join in. No extra cooking or baking required.

2 simple rules:

1) publish links for the categories below (1 link per category)

2) nominate up to 5 bloggers to take part

Here are my links:

1. The most beautiful post:

Hmm ... well, this link I chose for this category isn't about the looks of it but rather the content, the memories that are beautiful to me. Apple Sauce. I loved those times when mum was so able, capable and independent. Today, we can just talk about those good times since she's no more mobile due old age.

2. The most popular post:

That would have to be Spike! Yeah, I named my pie. I picked this based on the number of views.

3. The most controversial post:

What? Who? Me? Controversial? Wouldn't dare. This is so lame but it'll have to be the Red Velvet Cupcake.

4. The most helpful post:

I've 2 categories on my blog called The Occasional Tip and DIY with some helpful hints. Here's one .... Marshmallow Plugs

5. The post that was surprisingly successful:

This was so funny! It wasn't even supposed to be featured. It was just one of the many dishes we had for our dinner and at the last minute decided we'd just snap a shot just for the heck of it and it turned out to be a top9! Fried Pumpkin

6. The post that did not get the attention it deserved:

This poor biscotti ... I'm not sure if it had even been looked at. So lonely and sad :( This was actually a very good recipe using egg whites ... very light and a great snack. That's why it got to be featured above :D Egg White Biscotti

7. The post that I'm most proud of:

Most may not find this too interesting but it took a lot of elbow grease (ouch) for the dough. And the chicken turned out beautifully moist! Salted Dough Chicken

And my 5 nominees ..... (drumroll)

1. Citra - My Home Diary in Turkey

2. Elisabeth - Food and Thrift Finds

3. Kita - Pass the Sushi

4. Megg - Pop Artichoke

5. Kelly - Food Pusher

Aug 5, 2011

Pork Ribs Curry

I have an aunt who just cannot take coconut milk. Not that she doesn't like the taste, she somehow gets a tummy ache every time she takes it .... kinda like lactose intolerance,... you get the picture. But she, being a true nyonya, loves her curries and chillies too much to give up on them. I'm not too sure of my facts, but I believe she came up with this recipe all by herself and it became a great family favorite.

The die-hard nyonyas will have my head for cooking a curry in a slow cooker. Yes, I agree the aroma from the saute-ing of the ground ingredients may be lacking but I still think it tastes pretty good. You can always add in this step if you're a nyonya die-hard. Me, I'm a save-some-time

die-hard. Well, perhaps that might not be too true either, since there are periods when I'd do recipes "from-scratch". Fickle minded, that's me. But for now, it's save-some-time curry.


500 g pork soft ribs / short ribs

8 - 10 fresh red chillies (this can be adapted to your preference)

4 onions, cut into wedges / 10 shallots (the more onions the thicker the gravy)

1/4 cup tamarind paste plus enough water to make about 1/2 cup thick juice

1/2 - 3/4 tbs shrimp paste granules / belacan granules

1/2 tbs pork stock granules (you can use chicken stock as well)

1/2 tsp sugar or to taste

1 cucumber, halved length-wise and then cut into wedges

soy sauce, to taste


If you prefer a less spicy curry, remove the seeds and white membranes of half the amount of the red chillies.

Add these together with the onions / shallots, tamarind juice and shrimp paste granules in a blender or food processor. At this point, it's up to you if you prefer your curry to have a smooth or coarse texture. Puree the mix until the desired consistency. (We prefer it to be not overly smooth).

[Should you decide to saute the paste for that authentic nyonya-ness, heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan and saute the paste for a minute or so until fragrant. But you might need to add a little extra liquid (tamarind juice/water, about 1/4 cup) in the slow cooker as the paste would be drier.]

Plonk ground chillies mixture and pork ribs into a slow cooker. Add in stock granules and stir to mix. You don't need to add any additional water (unless the paste was sauteed) as the juices from the meat and eventually the cucumbers will make it just perfect. Cook on high for about 3 hours.

Taste to see how much sugar or soy sauce you need to add in and also if you need to add more tamarind juice** if it's not tart enough. Toss in the cucumber wedges and cook for another hour or 2 or until the cucumbers are soft but not mushy*.

*Note: My aunt likes to add the cucumbers right at the beginning since she likes it all soft and mushy. I like mine with a little bite.

** The tartness depends a lot on each batch of tamarind. Adjust to taste.

Serve with fluffy white rice.