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Aug 30, 2012

Guest Post: Brown Butter Peach Scones by Lizzy!

It's Skinny Lizzy!
Lizzy from That Skinny Chick Can Bake ... yet can't get fat. I am so envious of her figure ... grrr... (I used to look like that once upon a time, you know). She claims it's the Hot Yoga she's nuts about but we all know her evil intentions. She's even admitted to it publicly on facebook. See incriminating evidence below:

Lizzy was one of my very early blog friends and pillar of support. She's one who has a great sense of humor and takes my inane comments with a pinch of salt when some others would have unfriended me by now ... facebook or otherwise. (I wonder if it'll actually happen after this). And she has the cutest dog named Lambeau who does great infamous people impressions. Hi Lambeau!!

Today, she's come up with yet another mouth-watering recipe. Brown Butter Peach Scones.

You know I'm so gonna to make this, right? I love scones. And I've always fallen back to my very basic Lemon Scones recipe and tweaked it this way and that. Not this time. This time, I'm following this recipe to the letter ... oh, except maybe the fresh peaches part. I suppose I could substitute that with dried peaches since fresh ones are either difficult to get here or too expensive. Oh what the heck, I'll splurge just for this. (And I'd better do so before the season's over). I can just imagine the subtle perfume of the peaches in each bite and with the sultry scent of cinnamon ..... heaven!

Well, heeerrre's Lizzy, everyone! Enjoy!

Today, I am thrilled to be guest posting for my sweet, hilarious blogger friend, Ping. She is another dear blogger I met through Foodbuzz. Quick witted with a warm, genuine personality, I knew I'd be friends with her after her first comment on my blog. She was patient enough to wait for this post till my summer vacation was over and Nick, my youngest, was moved to college. Now that I'm just baking for a family of three, with my two bottomless pit sons out of the house, I can't whip up round after round of decadent desserts...but a delicious breakfast treat is A-OK.There are still plenty of fantastic peaches available, so I made my version of brown butter scones which I saw on the blog of another friend, Laura (see her blog name listed with the recipe). 

These were moist and full of bites of sensational ripe peaches. The brown butter added another layer of definitely worth the extra time and effort.  I brought these to my knitting group (no, I don't knit. In fact, I stink at most crafty stuff...but they are such fun ladies and they tolerate me because I bring snacks ;)). Armed with freshly baked scones, jam and clotted cream, I saw delight in their faces as I set them on the table. At least one friend, a self proclaimed anglophile, had seconds. Guess they were as sensational as I thought.

I did err by using salted butter for the brown butter (laziness more than mistake as it would have required another trip to the market!), so I thought these were a wee bit salty. If you use salted butter, you'll need to decrease the salt to 1/4 teaspoon. But, to tell the truth, no one seemed to notice this but me.

Brown Butter Peach Scones...adapted from America's Test Kitchen with inspiration from Tutti Dolci-All Sweets~

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons brown butter (see instructions below)*
1 cup diced peaches, excess moisture dried with paper towels
1 cup heavy cream plus more for glazing
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Turbinado sugar, for finishing

*A few hours or the day before baking, cook butter (unsalted preferred) in a saucepan over medium heat till brown with a nutty frangrance...this should take 5-6 minutes. Cool, then refrigerate till solid.

Preheat oven to 425ยบ.

Combine flour, baking powder, 3 tablespoons of sugar and salt in mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Cut butter into 1/2 inch pieces, then scatter over flour mixture. Cut in butter with pastry blender until it looks like coarse corn meal with a few slightly larger lumps. Mix peaches with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and the cinnamon. Gently stir peaches into dry ingredients.  Add vanilla to heavy cream, add to bowl, and stir in with spatula or fork till dough begins to form.

Pour out onto flour dusted counter top and knead by hand till comes together into a slightly sticky mass...only about 5-10 seconds.  Pat into a round about 1 inch tall.  Cut into 8 wedges or use cookie cutter to cut rounds

Place onto ungreased or Silpat/parchment lined baking sheet.  May brush with cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired.  Bake 10-15 minutes (depending on size of your scones) till light brown.  Cool on rack 10 minutes before serving.  May serve warm or at room temperature.  These freeze well.

You may also make these in the food processor.  Be careful not to over process.

Makes 8. 

These are best on the day made.  Freeze leftovers and just pop in the microwave for a delicious treat or freeze unbaked scones and bake a little longer than directed.  

Thanks, Ping, for inviting me into your lovely home. Ping's Pickings is one of my favorite places to stop and visit each week!!! 

Aug 22, 2012

Reconstructed Mango Glutinous Rice

Or Mango Jelut.
Before anyone asks, there's no such word as "jelut". It's actually a combination of "jelly" + "pulut". Pulut (pronounced: poo-loot) being the glutinous rice as it's called in the local lingo.

I am calling this a "Reconstructed Mango Glutinous Rice" based on the popular Thai dessert, Khao Niaow Ma Muang. I see a lot of "deconstructed" recipes, so why not flip the other way?
Also, this was inspired by two of my good friends, who were making a whole lot of comments on my posting of the Mango Agar on facebook. One crazy comment led to another and somehow the word "jelut" came about. And the gears in my head started cranking up after a whole week of suffering from the flu.

This would be categorized as a "kuih" by local definition. And I've used the traditional nyonya "Bee Koh" or "Glutinous Rice Kuih" as the base. The top mango bit is a tweak from my mango agar recipe. It's very close to the Seri Muka (another nyonya kuih) so the mango top isn't jelly-like but more towards a firm custard. If you prefer it to be a jelly, just use the recipe for the Mango Coconut Cream Agar as is.

Glutinous Rice layer (adapted from the book Nyonya Flavours)

250 g glutinous rice, washed and soaked overnight
200 g sugar
1/2 tbs liquid glucose (optional) (*see note)
200 ml coconut milk

*Note: the use of liquid glucose apparently makes a springier bite to the kuih. But to me, I feel it's just as springy without it. Your choice. No biggy.


Drain soaked rice.
Steam over high heat until cooked. About 30 mins. Take a chew on a grain or two and if you think it's still too hard, steam a little longer.
In a saucepan, stir together sugar, liquid glucose (if using) and coconut milk over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
Mix in the cooked rice and keep stirring until thickened. About 20 mins.
Pour into a lightly greased 6" X 6" deep pan. 
Level the top with a spatula and leave aside while you make the top layer.

Alternatively, you can cook the rice in a rice cooker. 1 cup rice to 1/2 cup sweetened, light coconut milk. But this will make a softer, mushier texture.

Mango layer (recipe is enough for 2 portions of glutinous rice portion above unless you make a thicker layer)

1 cup mango puree
3 tbs sugar
200 ml milk
200 ml coconut milk
30 g cornstarch
1/2 tbs agar powder (you can use up to 1 tbs to make a firmer texture)


Put together sugar, milk, coconut milk, cornstarch and agar powder in a pot. Whisk until everything's well mixed.
Stir continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens to a paste.
Stir in mango puree and continue to stir over low heat until thick and custardy.
Pour onto glutinous rice layer. 
Cool and refrigerate until set. I left it overnight.

Aug 15, 2012

Repost: Happy Eid & Seeing Green (again)

I was just looking through some old posts and came across this which I'd totally forgotten I'd written about. This would be appropriate since it's around the same time last year when we decided to find our inner country bumpkins and cleanse our over-polluted lungs. 
It was so quiet and peaceful due to the Eid season. Some of us who did not return to hometowns or go off on vacations, benefited from this very short but sweet moment of nature appreciation and friendship. 
Happy Eid ul Fitr to all my Muslim friends out there. Travel safe, eat safe and come home safe.

16th September was Malaysia Day. And to celebrate, a bunch of us very city folks with a couple of city-but-a-little-more-experienced-in-jungle-trekking folks headed off to Janda Baik. This is located just below Genting Highlands, our own homegrown Las Vegas, started by Mr/Datuk/I don't-know-how-many-titles-he-has, Lim Goh Tong, bless his Chinaman soul. I watched a tv interview of him a long time ago and I really liked the guy, even though what he created brings out the devil in so many people and causes so many heartaches due to some peoples' gambling addictions and an incurable need to make money the quick and easy way. On the other hand, he's helped the country's economy and workforce. But that's another story.

Greens are good for you. It's been proven, gastronomically and visually. We all know about the benefits from eating vegetables, so we won't get into that. Looking at green things apparently relaxes the eyes and calms the mind and soul ... so I read ... somewhere.

Janda Baik, which means "Good Widow", is filled with lush greens, especially since it's been raining almost daily for the last month. The secondary tropical jungle surrounds small fruit farms scattered around the area. And if you look carefully, you might see some pretty fancy getaway homes among them. These farms produce a good supply of local fruits for sale at the surrounding village shops and also the scalp-the-tourist shops below the entrance to and at Genting Highlands.
The morning started out like all groggy mornings. Fortunately it wasn't raining and was quite a lovely day. 10 of us left in 3 cars and convoyed to a good Malaysian breakfast in the hopes of having lots of energy for the trek. Unfortunately and predictably, after stuffing our faces, we were all pretty warm and woozy. Cups of hot teh tarik (hot milk tea) and coffee didn't seem to work. The drive took another half hour before we got to the little township of Janda Baik. Meanwhile, folks who weren't driving were nodding off in the back seats.

We left our nice, air conditioned cars (hey, we're city folks, remember?) at the car park of a quaint little place called Hawa Resort.They have a good facility for training, leadership and fellowship building purposes. It was quiet at this time of the year due to Ramadan and Eid and most folks are off to their kampungs (hometowns), so we have the whole place to ourselves...

...except for 2 of the most ferocious geese I've ever met. Hmmm... Christmas is coming, and we haven't had roast goose for a long while. Ok, ok, just kidding ...
They make excellent watchdogs.. umm.. i mean, watchgeese.

The air was fresh and clean, the earlier couple of rainy days helped, lack of noise pollution (except for the occasional jabbering from some individuals of our group), breathe in, breathe out, inhale, exhale ....

We started our trek going through a "langsat" (botanic name: Lansium Domesticum) fruit orchard. And thus, our trek was delayed by a good half hour :)

After having been satisfied with taking pics and some mouthfuls of the sweetest, freshest langsats I've ever had, we finally set off on the trail that our so-called guide and friend claimed he knew like the back of his hand.
You know something's about to go wrong, right?

It wasn't quite so bad. After much slipping and sliding, cuts and bruises, bugs and leeches and crashing our way through some denser undergrowth due to non-traffic during Ramadan season, we landed up at a place we were not supposed to other words, we got lost.
Wild boar foraging grounds. You can see the upturned earth where they dig for edible roots. Thank goodness we didn't meet with any of them oinkers. Those things are fierce! and
dangerous! and you think just because they're big and fat they can't run? Think again. I've seen the pygmy ones in Africa and they were scary little round things with upright tails, running and nipping at our heels with sharp toothpick tusks trying to puncture the truck tires ... dumb things. I'm certain I wouldn't want to meet up with their Malaysian, 10x-bigger-in-size cousins!
I think some people in the group probably didn't realize this. Maybe it's just as well.

Nah, it's not quite as exciting as it sounds. It happened to be the backyard of one of those holiday homes and we just had to trespass (sshhh) and cut through the massive garden to the river where we had our picnic.

It was a lovely place to picnic. Some of us were frolicking in the river while others were enjoying the greenery and tranquility of the whole situation. And some were trying to stop the bleeding from leech bites with a forest herb called "Senduduk Hutan" (botanic name: Melastoma Polyanthum), a Rhododendron-like shrub, by crushing the leaves and rubbing it on the wound. It worked for some but not for all. Apparently, you need the ones that grow deep within the jungle.
(A word of advice: rub bug repellant around ankles to prevent leeches from crawling up your legs and into your socks and who knows where else.)

Things went really quiet after that. No more of the excited chatter at the beginning, no more screechings from discovering leech bites, no more shrieks from falling on one's butt into the mud (that was me...ahem).... just calm and peace with a hint of tiredness in the air. How do I explain it? A satisfying tiredness? Ah, yes,...... Contentment. Absoverylutely zen.

Aug 12, 2012

Pumpkin, Roasted Duck Meat Steamed Kuih

When I was a kid, my neighbor (I wonder where they've disappeared to?) used to make a delicious steamed pumpkin kuih (a twist to the steamed taro kuih), similar to this. She'd used pork and not duck. I happened to have some odds and ends pieces of a Chinese roasted duck sitting in the fridge ... too boney for anything and it would be such a waste to toss out. So I salvaged them, peeled and teased the meat and skin out of those bones, diced them up and added to this instead of the usual pork. I thought the amount was rather small and would have loved to have more of it so that the flavors can shine through a little more. 
I saw Sonia's no-meat version and knew I had to make it. (See it here).
The addition of the duck was a spur of the moment madness that turned out quite well. All inventors, musicians and artists have to be slightly mad to succeed ... not too sure about cooks tho.
(Those who have used rendered duck fat to cook ... you know the flavors of heaven).


65 g shredded / finely diced Chinese Roasted Duck meat incl skin (This was all I had. I'd recommend more than this amount. Say, about 100 - 120 g)
200 g pumpkin, diced
250 g rice flour
20 g tapioca starch
450 ml water
70 g dried shrimps, soaked to soften, drained and coarsely chopped
10 shallots, sliced


1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1/2 tsp white pepper powder

For garnish

chopped spring onions
chopped red chillies (seeded)


Grease a 9.5 " round and 1.5" deep cake tin. (I used a disposable foil tin).
Prepare steamer.
In a mixing bowl, combine rice flour, tapioca starch and water and stir to a smooth watery batter.
Add in all seasoning ingredients. Mix well.
Heat about 2 tbs spoons of oil in a pan. 
(*Note: I highly recommend a non-stick pan for this).
Saute sliced shallots til golden brown. Add dried shrimp and saute til fragrant.
Dish out half of the mixture for garnishing.
Add in pumpkin to the remaining half in the pan and stir til pumpkin is cooked. 
Stir in diced roasted duck meat.
Lower heat, and pour in batter., stirring quickly and continuously, until it thickens into a paste. (Do not allow it to get too thick, otherwise you'll be chewing rubber)
Pour paste into greased cake pan, level the surface with a spatula and steam over high heat for 50 mins.
Remove and cool before slicing. 
Garnish with the remaining shrimp/shallots mix, chopped spring onions and chopped red chillies.
Serve with a sweet chilli sauce.

Aug 6, 2012

Baked Eggs in Pomodoro Sauce

This whole week had been all about feasting ..... not the regular meals we have everyday, but feasting ... big, huge celebratory type meals. 
We had a bloggers meet-up. Feast. 
Then the inlaws had some happy moments and wanted to take us out for a treat. No coffee shop stuff, they said, so it's another fancy restaurant. Feast. 
Then we overdid it at the buka puasa stalls (that's the food stalls operated by muslim folks selling their specialities for the breaking of fast (Iftar) one month before Eid. And never go shopping for food on an empty stomach. I never learn). Feast.
Whoo! That's enough to have me hibernating for the next month. 
So a simple lunch it'll have to be today. Can't imagine putting in anymore rich, spicy, oily, creamy, sweet ..... gosh, that practically covers everything!
I'd bookmarked this from Quay Po Cooks sometime ago. It's perfect for a day like this. Light and easy. Served with some crusty bread .... I'm a happy person!
Thanks, Veronica, for sharing this. I did not have the exact same ingredients at hand, so I tweaked it to what was available in my fridge and pantry.

This was enough for 2 servings.


1 can (411g, dunno why such an odd figure) peeled whole tomatoes
1 tbs oil for sauteing (I used grapeseed)
a few sprigs of thyme, stalks removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely diced
3/4 cup grated strong cheddar (or more if you prefer)
2 eggs
salt and black pepper to taste


Heat oil and saute garlic and onions. 
When onions are soft, add in tomatoes. Squish them up a little. (Or a lot. I like mine chunky).
Add the thyme, salt and pepper. 
Simmer until reduced into a thick gravy. About 10 mins.
Scoop into 2 ovenproof bowls. (I used 4.5" ramekins)
Sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
Crack an egg onto that and bake at 180˚C for about 10 mins until cheese is melted, golden and egg is cooked but still has a runny yolk.
(Mmmmmm .... I love runny yolk!)

Serve with crusty bread.