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Jul 30, 2012

Lemon Scones & Clotted Cream Substitute

When these came out of the oven, my friend walked into the kitchen and this bit of conversation took place ...

Friend : "What's that?"
Me : "Scones".
Friend : " Why are they that shape and not round?"
Me : " Why must scones always be round?"
Friend : "Dunno. They're always round"
Me      : *roll eyes*

Someone tell me why do scones have to be round? I like to free form my scones. So usually I make them into wedges, like these. Does it make a difference in taste? Nope. Still pretty good. 

'Nuff about the scones. Now, we talk about the clotted cream. Why does it have to be clotted cream? I love mine with big chunks of butter and a good jam. Not necessarily strawberry jam (altho it is strawberry jam in this pic). 
We can find Devonshire clotted cream here .... at a cost. And not too many places carry it. Mascarpone, you can find anywhere. This is a really good substitute I must share with you. You might not even need a jam to go with your scones with this ..... Mascarpone Cream. (Found this on Joy of Baking. I've halved the recipe here).

If you still insist on being a stickler for tradition, knock yourself out, but just try this out and then have an opinion.


3 cups plain flour, sifted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
6 oz cold butter, diced
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk


Preheat oven to 180˚C.
In a food processor, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add in cold, diced butter and zap a couple of times until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add 1/4 cup of cream and zap to mix. Add another 1/4 cup and zap again. Add the last 1/4 cup of cream gradually so that the dough just comes together. (I used a little less than 3/4 cup in total).
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. 
Flatten dough gently (do not knead) with your hands or a rolling pin, fold it over, flatten, fold over and flatten again. (This is the secret to a flaky scone). Shape and flatten into a rectangle of about 1 inch thick and cut into wedges or use a round cookie cutter for that traditional scone shape.
Place onto lined baking sheet.
Beat egg yolk into remaining cream and brush the tops of the scones.
Bake for about 18 - 20 mins, until tops are lightly browned.

(Adapted from Joy of Baking)


2 oz mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbs caster sugar
zest of lemon (optional)


Mix everything together and beat until it holds its shape and resembles whipped cream. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Jul 23, 2012

Pearl of the Orient : Diet Buster

I had a great weekend in Penang, aka Pearl of the Orient. Short as it was, the visit was well spent with good friends and good food! And that, my friends, was the end of my very short-lived diet. Nobody goes to Penang and goes on a diet. 
Do you hear a complaint? Heck, no.
I'm blissfully contented, and I shall just have to start another diet soon.... did I say soon? I meant, now.

In the meantime, may I tickle your tastebuds with pics of some of the popular local dishes on the island? 
These are some of the stuff I crave for. I live in the big city now, where things are modern, fancy, expensive, the city where you can get cuisines from all over the world. Great chefs have graced our 5-star hotel kitchens. Well known celebrity chefs have bothered to visit our not-so-humble country and cooked for the country's rich and famous. And yet, nobody here can make a decent plate of fried koay teow (fried rice noodles), mee goreng (indian fried noodles), just to name a couple. Yes, of course, there are those who claim they come from Penang and that the dishes are authentic. You can't fool a real Penangite's tastebuds. Pffft.

I can't believe I've only 6 dishes to show you. I know we ate more than that in one sitting. (Told you my diet's busted). We must have eaten them so quickly there wasn't even time to take a pic. 

Anyway, ogle and drool time .... (I'm speaking for myself)

Top row, left to right:
charcoal baked crab with roe, salt baked prawns and baked crabs before they got massacred (peeking out from top right corner: stir fried littleneck clams)

These were from a ramshackled restaurant, very old but famous for the Chinese temple next to it. (You think it's good feng shui?). It's also by the beach. Sitting in the outdoors, praying hard that the grey clouds above don't decide to turn on their faucets. There was a lovely cool breeze blowing, was there a good sunset? Too busy eating, laughing and chatting to notice. 
There were also grilled fish, chicken and mutton satay, fried noodles ... pictures we forgot to take.  

Bottom row, left to right:
fried oysters omelet, fried koay teow and kerabu meehoon (nyonya rice vermicelli salad)

These were from another old but popular place where the locals like to hang out and load up on their favorite hawker fare. A place we Penangites fondly call "padang", which means "field". Aptly named, as there is a huge padang beyond these stalls, where kids and adults from around come to have their walkies and whatever form of exercise and play. And as usual, we were so engrossed in stuffing our faces, we forgot to take photographs of some of the things we had ..... pasembur (Chinese style salad, consisting of shredded jicama and cucumber, crispy fritters and tofu, all drenched in a sweet potato sauce), nyonya kuihs and fresh coconut to drink.

And this is where I hibernated after each meal.

sigh ...... definition of Contentment: Ping.

Jul 19, 2012

Easy 2 Potato Salad

On a less dramatic note ... (see previous post)

My diet have recently been kicked out the window BUT I'm totally ok with it. Was off for a weekend of food and relaxation .... mainly food. That episode might get turned into a "Just for Reads" post soon.
But for now ....

It looks like I have a "Quickie" series going here.

Quick doesn't have to be boring, even if it's just using the fewest ingredients.
In fact, some of my quickie meals turn out to be quite the favorite at home, with friends and even on Foodbuzz  (now known as DailyBuzz), to the point of getting Top 9!
I am so thrilled and encouraged by it, knowing that I don't have to slog over a hot stove for hours, have fancy gadgets or have a fancy camera with fancy lighting to turn out a dish that looks and tastes good. Fancy that!

We had a pretty heavy and late lunch today and just didn't feel up to another heavy meal for dinner. But we still needed to eat something otherwise it's gonna be a rather unhealthy midnight, raid-the-fridge type moment.

I wouldn't call this a proper meal. It makes a great side dish. We just love potatoes around here. And I had a bunch of sweet potatoes and chats lying around. Also, I'd had this salad at one of our regular hangouts and I thought it was such a lovely salad to have even on its own. So, I'm doing a copycat here. Shhh ... I'm trying to save my arm and my leg, if you know what I mean.


Sweet potatoes / yams, peeled and cut into chunks
Chat potatoes or any waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
a little oil (I used grapeseed)
a good amount of finely chopped parsley (I used the curly leafed ones)
toasted pine nuts
salt to taste


Preheat oven to 200C.
Toss the potato chunks evenly to coat with the oil. (Just a light coat will do, definitely not dripping).
Place potatoes on a parchment lined baking tray and roast for about 30 - 40 mins, depending  on the size of your chunks. (When it's nice and lightly browned, it's done, or just poke a fork through a piece to check).
Remove from tray and toss with salt, chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts.

So simple. So tasty. So satisfying!
And to think they charged me both my limbs for that at the eaterie. Huh. 

Jul 8, 2012


It's hopeless!!
I'm hopeless!!
I can't stand it anymore!!
It's not possible!!
I can't do this!!

Drama ..... in the 1st degree.
I'm sure some of you might agree with me when it comes to dieting. I've read several blogs about people going on diets and losing 2 - 3 kgs in a week. I hate you.
Dieting makes one (me) crabby, negative, depressed (not really), dramatic for sure.
I've been given several suggestions from eating for my blood type to having just fruits for breakfast. I've tried the Atkins diet .... that worked, really it did, but coming from a society and upbringing of having rice or noodles at least 5 times a week, it finally turned into a raging crave of carbs that had me bingeing on an equivalent to 4 cups of rice in one sitting ... not good.
I do the exercises, mainly tennis about 3 times a week, less now having been afflicted with rotator cuff tendonitis.
Cut the sugar. Yup, doing that as well. (I am so craving for a cheesecake right now.)
I can't last. My will power is weak .... especially when it comes to food. Being a food blogger doesn't help, unless I start blogging about healthy stuff. Yeah, right.
Forgive me if I don't visit as regularly as before. This is a compliment to you. You know your food posts make me drool and this really is not helping.
So, while I still have some semblance of will power left in me, I'm trying to cut the carbs, come up with some energy food, enough to get a good tennis game going and not get thrashed by my fellow players.
This one is freakin' easy and it has enough stuff in it to satisfy my cravings for a while ..... until the next meal? Sigh ....

*Note: Not recommended for dieters.


3 eggs beaten
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
ground black pepper
coarsely chopped bacon (lean bacon if you must)
2 small waxy potatoes, sliced thinly (I know, I know, potatoes are hi-carb. Cheez, lighten up, will ya? I did say "small")
a handful of coarsely chopped rocket leaves


Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Line a 7" X 7" non-stick baking tin with parchment. You don't have to do this. I just thought it would be easier to lift out when it's done.
Line the bottom with the sliced poatoes, overlapping them.
Place the chopped bacon and rocket over that.
In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and salt.
Pour that into baking tin over the bacon and rocket.
Bake for about 25 mins.
Serve hot.

Jul 1, 2012

Oven Fried Chicken

There is a shop in Ipoh, one of the northern states in Malaysia, famous for their salt baked chicken. And then there's the lesser known one just 2 roads away. I'd found it by accident trying to find the more popular shop. After buying one from there, we went further up the main strip and found the other. So, I had to buy another chicken. Why not? I need to compare, right?
And the verdict .... I like the one from the underdog. I can't quite put my finger on why I prefer that. It could be that it's more herbally, the chicken tastes more free- rangey (yeah, that's a word). You know how free-range chicken meat is a little tougher and stringier than commercially bred chickens? Well, it's like that.

Anyway, point of the post is, I've been trying to replicate the flavors at home and haven't had much luck. Sometimes, one may get all the spices and seasonings correct but it's in the tweakings of the proportions that can make or break a recipe.

Or, you might get lucky and have a fairy-blogmother send you the perfect concoction in a packet!
In this case, it was Elin of Elinluv's Tidbits Corner. (Thank you so much, Elin!) Actually, she sent me this a while ago and I've been happily using the spice mix in different ways and each time trying hard to get a nice pic to do justice to her generosity and kindness. But each time it gets gobbled up so quick, or folks complaining about the chicken getting cold and not too appetizing ... you get the picture ... or not.

This was also a technique I learnt from Shannon of Just as Delish ... Oven Fried Chicken. Yup, Oven + Fried. Nope, my brain ain't fried, just the chicken. I love this way of cooking chicken. Of course, it doesn't get as crispy as deep frying but there is a delicate crunch minus the usage of potfuls of oil. I hate deep frying. I don't hate eating fried foods, just hate doing it myself. You can get Shannon's version here.

I used what Elin sent me to marinade this. The original recipe calls for the chicken to be baked in a salt crust or as the packet of spices instructed, to use the foil included as a wrap. But, like I said, I'd used the oven-baked way instead for today. You can see how it's supposed to be done using the foil here, at Elin's.

Either way, it's easy, no hassle, no mess, no extra oils ... no kidding!

If you can get your hands on this packet of spices, I highly recommend it. For the folks who aren't of this world ... I mean, this side of the big blue .... try out this way of "frying". I'm very happy with it and I'm sure you will be too. Just use dry-ish seasoning and make sure the coating is sticky and not watery. That's all there is to it!


2 whole chicken legs (with skin)
1/3 pack of salted chicken seasoning (scroll all the way down for pack) / or just use your favorite dry marinade
1 1/2 - 2 tbs cornflour


Make slits (or not, I do that to make sure my chicken's thoroughly cooked through) on chicken. (See pic)
Rub marinade all over (chicken, of coz. Oh boy.) and into the slits.
Place in a baggy, seal and leave to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours (not too necessary).
Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Rub cornflour evenly all over chicken. You'll want a sticky, paste-like coating. If it's too dry add a little water. (Too watery and it won't turn out crispy)
Place a rack (big enough to hold all pieces in a single layer) on a lined baking tray, place the chicken on top and bake, skin side up, for about 45 mins (depending on the size of the pieces) or until skin is crisp and nicely browned. (This is to prevent the chicken from soaking in the juices or fat).
Serve hot with a side of greens or whatever.

*Important note: This is best served hot out of the oven. If left too long, the skin gets chewy. Not advisable to make for the next day.