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Oct 29, 2012

Happy Halloween !

Have a happy halloween, everyone! 

Do you like my carved pumpkin? No, seriously, that really is a pumpkin, all decked out in its halloween pepper costume! 

It's hard to get into the halloween mood these days. Parents are terrified of their kids getting kidnapped. Grownups are getting fearful of muggings. I guess if you live in a gated community, there would be a lot more fun going on. That's how it is with the world today ... a new kind of halloween, where the spooks and ghouls are scared of the new world evils. People should now dress up as computer viruses, kidnappers, muggers and politicians.

We cope. 
We can only be safe, be aware and be smart.

Happy Horrorday!

In case you have too much pumpkin leftover than you know what to do with, here's a couple of not-so-usual suggestions that might interest you:

~ Pumpkin Roasted Duck Meat Steamed Kuih
~ Pseudo Chinese Mid-Autumn Pastry
~ Spiced Pumpkin & Tomato Soup Chicken
~ Fried Pumpkin Indian Style

Otherwise, just steam the flesh, mash it up and store it in the freezer. Very useful during non-pumpkin season.

Oct 23, 2012

Chocolate Banana Cake Un-Griped

No more gripes, people!
And another thing before I go on ... if you happen not to like a subject that I'm talking about, just skip right to the recipe. Don't get worked up just because I'm worked up. That's an advice, not a gripe.

I'd seen this recipe and pix at Yee Ling's and Quay Po Cooks and salivated at each. Gotta make it! 

Made it, ate it and loved it! Of course, being true to my can't-leave-a-recipe-well-enough-alone self. I had to change it around (just a little this time, after a major bingka boo-boo phobia) and am happy to show off this cake in all it's moist, bananasome! Awesome! Yummisome! Gimmesome!

Well, that certainly put me in a good mood. 

Chocolate, the all-time feel-good food.

For the original, untweaked recipe, visit Yee Ling.
For the cupcake version, visit Quay Po Cooks.

And if you trust this isn't another boo-boo, read on ...


240 g plain flour
300 g caster sugar
75 g cocoa powder
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
120 ml milk
3 medium sized eggs
120 ml flavorless oil (I used grapeseed)
4 medium sized, very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup warm water
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

sliced bananas to garnish


Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Line a 9" X 9" pan with parchment.

Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, oil, mashed bananas, water and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake 35 - 40 mins.
Cool before slathering with ganache.


220 g bittersweet chocolate, chopped (you can use milk chocolate if you like)
180 ml cream
15 g butter


Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Heat cream and butter in a saucepan. Turn off the heat just as it starts to boil.
Pour into chocolate pieces and stir until smooth.
*(If you have difficulty melting the chocolate, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and continue stirring until you get a smooth, glossy mixture ... water bath)
Cool completely. Mixture will be thick and spreadable. 

(I couldn't wait to eat it and didn't wait for it to cool to a frosting consistency, that's why it looks all gooey and oozy. Just as good!)
Eat by the spoonfuls .... uh, I mean, spread onto cake.


Split cake into two. Spread some ganache onto bottom half of cake, layer sliced bananas onto that, top with upper layer of cake, spread with ganache and devour!
Or put more banana slices over the top if you like. 

Go Bananas!

Oct 18, 2012

Guest Post : Three Cookies

That's the name of my guest, Three Cookies, not a recipe for 3 measly cookies.
This guest post came at the most appropriate time, never mind that it took Mr T (yes, that's right, that's Mister T to you) 20 months to come up with it. The fact that he actually remembered and made the effort .... I'm happy.

Some of you already know what a crappy few months it's been for me and on top of everything crappy, the car crash I was involved in last Saturday, depriving me of my favorite form of exercise, tennis. And when I'm faced with boredom and lack of exercise, I cook or bake. But, whiplash and a sprained shoulder doesn't make that much fun either. So, yeah, thank you Mr T, your timing is spot-on!

I'M PISSED!!!! So angry with the blinking idiot who drove into my face with no braking space and caused me to t-bone him ... and in the middle of a thunderstorm even! I'm grateful to be writing this here, griping and ranting about it (no episodes of my life flashing before my eyes) but the inconvenience of having no car to go anywhere or do anything. And our public transport is crap! Blinking Imbecilic Idiot!! (Sorry, I'm pissed, remember?) How I wish I had been driving a hummer. That would have been a, "Whoops, what's that? Oh, it's just a bump in the road, drive on."

Right, sorry, Mr T, thank you for allowing me rant.
I'm gonna calm down now and enjoy this. 
Now, as I was saying (before I went on a t-bone tangent) ...

Mr T (first name: "Three", Last name: "Cookies") has 2 very interesting blogs. (How one keeps track and have enough posts for 2 blogs, I know not. I'm already struggling with one). He's been AWOL for awhile now. What he's been up to is for him to know and us to find out. But he's back now and raring to get going again. 
"Three Cookies" is one very unusual blog with 3-part posts of updates on what's cooking/baking, what's the favorite pic of the day and what's the latest in the food world, good/bad.
"Easily Good Eats" is all about his tried and tested recipes ... all easy and good.
Go on over and you'll know what I'm talking about.

And here's Mr T himself.

“Whoo! My first time doing a guest post!” (quote from Pings Pickings) 

Opportunity knocks at every mans (and womans?) door. So when this guest post opportunity came knocking on my door I knew I had to grab it with both hands. Doing a guest post is an honor and great fun, though there is a constant worry. High standards need to be maintained, that’s not easy, and doing a post for Ping means the recipe, writing style and photography has to be top notch. I probably fell short in all areas but Ping kindly compromised her standards and accepted my efforts. Thank you! 

This recipe took me 20 months to make, but its not a slow cook recipe. Sometimes when you see an interesting recipe it gets stuck in your head and if you don’t make it soon it gets on your ‘to make’ recipes list. Over time the list gets bigger, recipes get ignored, forgotten or made after a long time. I first saw the recipe on Eats Well with Others site about 20 months ago and I knew I had to make it.  I never realized it would take 20 months though.

20 months later when I got around to attempting the recipe there was no jam at home. Instead there was mango chutney. According to the laws of ingredient substitution, chutney should work instead of jam. Chutney is effectively jam with spices, and spices and peanuts do go well together. 

The spiciness, saltiness and sweetness, combined with the crunchiness and biscuity (cookiey!) texture was like fireworks in the mouth. 

The bar was excellent but I have one small reservation. I love peanut butter and jam (or jelly!) combination. If I was in the mood of eating peanut butter and jam I would prefer it on toast rather than in bar form. The toast version is unadulterated, you get mainly the peanut butter and jam flavor. In the bar it gets mixed up with flour, sugar, butter and egg, the peanut butter and jam play more of a supporting role. Just a personal preference, don’t let this discourage you. The peanut butter mango chutney bar is still very delicious and if it was offered to me I would grab it without second thoughts.

The recipe is adopted from epicurious. The main changes I made was replacing chutney with jelly and halving the amount. Halving was necessary because mango chutney has a stronger flavor compared with jelly, it can be overpowering.



1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder 
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup smooth peanut butter (I used coconut peanut butter)
¾ cup sugar 
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (I used coconut oil)
1 large egg (I used chicken egg)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/8 cup (about 90 ml) mango chutney (original recipe suggests ¾ cup of jelly)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted roasted peanuts


1. Heat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Coat foil with nonstick spray. 
2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt
3. In a separate bowl beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, beat on low speed until smooth. 
4. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed just to blend
5. Transfer half of the dough to the baking pan. Place remaining dough in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
6. Spread the dough evenly on the baking pan. Spread chutney over the dough. 
7. Remove the dough from the freezer. Break into grape-size pieces and scatter over chutney layer. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. 
8. Bake bars until golden brown and delicious, about 30 – 35 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. 

Thank you again Mr T for this wonderful usage of the mango chutney other than my using it as a condiment or an accompaniment for the scallops

Oct 11, 2012

Restaurant Review: Watami

IRASHAIMASE! .... echoed from all corners of Watami as we stepped into the establishment.

A pretty standard greeting at any Japanese type restaurant, but Watami is anything BUT the standard Japanese place with the standard menu of bentos, sashimis and miso soups.
This is an establishment fusioned with influences from Japan (of course, duh), Korea, Taiwan and Hongkong. (You will find out in a moment when I introduce the dishes we'd got to sample).

Based on the Japanese Izakaya ("I" : to stay, "sakaya" : sake shop) concept where one hangs out with friends and colleagues for drinks and to graze on little portions of good quality food, drink some more, graze some more and have a comfortable, cosy and relaxing time, enveloped in a happy, tipsy haze.

Watami is a larger scale of the Izakaya (with less emphasis on the alcohol) while keeping up with the changing times and thus came up with their trademark Ishokuya concept - "I" : scene, "shoku" : meal, "ya" : restaurant. 

Coming here, one has to leave behind the expectations of a typical Japanese restaurant and get absorbed into this younger, hipper and a more nouveau-japanese environment.

Let me take you on a little tour of some of Watami's recommendations ...


L to R: Green Citrus Green Tea, Kiwi Mojito (I was very tempted to order a mojito with the "extra" but I thought I'd better behave myself this time and get my review in first), Green Citrus Yuzu Marmalade Soda and Purple Sweet Potato Vanilla Shake.
My Kiwi Mojito was nice and refreshing. The Green Citrus Green Tea was, um .... green. The Yuzu drink had so many calamansi limes in it, it may as well be limau ais soda ... didn't taste anything of the marmalade. The Purple Sweet Potato Shake ... well, I guess it takes an acquired taste to appreciate that. Personally, I thought it tasted like melted ice cream potong. 

Wafu Touban Gyu Steak : RM 27.90
(Self Grilled Beef Short Ribs)

This is to die for ... well, maybe not that drastic, but it's pretty good beef (provided you don't turn it into carbon but you can always get some help from the staff to cook it for you if you're really that inept).

Bariuma Teba Karaage : RM 14.90
(Crispy Fried Chicken Wings with Special Sauce)

Nice and crispy, but special sauce? ... tasted like terriyaki. 

Kani Tappuri Cream Croquette : RM 15.90 (2 pcs)
(Crabmeat Cream Croquette)

Now this, I would have again. The filling was perfect, not overly creamy to make you "jelak" (cloyingly rich) and not "kedekut" (miserly) either. Very nice!

Teppan Bo Gyoza : RM 15.90
(Gyoza/potstickers on Hot Pan)

Pretty standard stuff. Since this place doesn't serve pork, the filling was made with chicken. But this didn't come out of a frozen package, they make their own gyozas.

Salmon Sashimi Don : RM 22.90
(Salmon Sashimi Rice)

I love sashimi. Give me good salmon and I'm sold! 

Kani Kamameshi : RM 24.90
(Crab Meat Pot Rice)

This came with a bit of a flair .... lit tea candle underneath and not allowed to lift the lid until the flame goes out, we were told, or all the "magic" goes away. Hmm ... that got my expectations way high. And when we finally got to lift the lid, okaaaay, lots of crab meat, kudos for that but .... I thought it was a little fishy. Forgive me if I'm a little fussy about my seafood. I'm from Penang, where there's nothing BUT fresh seafood. I'm thinking this has the potential to be one of their better selling items. 

Tokyo Gyudon : RM 22.90
(Beef Rice Bowl with Hot Spring Egg in Tokyo style)

I'm a red meat person and a runny yolk lover. So this combination ..... I could eat this everyday ... seriously!

Chawan Mushi : RM 6.90
(Steamed Savoury Egg Custard)

This is one item that I must have as a gauge as to how good a Japanese restaurant is. (Bear with me, don't roll your eyeballs). Believe me, I've been to so-called fancier places and had chawan mushis that can literally bounce on floors or swimming in a layer of water or with the egg all curdled and lumpy. And they have the gall to serve those! Cheez! 
I'm pleased to say, I'm happy with my chawan mushi here. Nice and silky with a good flavor you know isn't all chicken stock. Delicious!

Choco Banana in Toast Box : RM 16.90
(do you really need a translation?!)

I have to admit, that after all that food, I really can't give this the credit it's due. All that bread? Perhaps, if one were to drop in between shopping to reenergize and have a cuppa and a breather, rest your aching feet and gossip with friends, this would be a good item to share. Filled with some choice fruits (mango, red currants, strawberries, scoop of vanilla ice cream, dollop of whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate and a dusting of powdered sugar. I don't know about reenergizing, but it's enough to make me hyper!
Folks with a sweet tooth .... it's all yours for the picking!

Arigato gozaimasu, for the invite and to Miss Pei Jin (Group Marketing Executive) and Mr Seal (Outlet Manager @ Paradigm Mall)

For more of their menu and other outlets, check out their website 

Restaurant Review Disclaimer:

This review is of my own opinion. I am under no contract or obligation to write a review or to make it a positive one if I did.
I write my honest opinions and will tell you quickly if a product is not up to my standards. Anything I dislike may not be what you dislike (I can't help it if you have bad taste ... haha). My reviews are for entertainment purposes only. I am not a professional in the field and am not providing professional advice or anything of the sort.
Read at your own risk.

Oct 5, 2012

Pumpkin Bingka Boo Boo

(Don't try this at home)

This is a variation of the traditional Tapioca Bingka, a local kueh (pudding-type cake) made from grated tapioca. 
I'm a sucker for pumpkin and anything that has pumpkin in it. And lately, since it's close to pumpkin season and Halloween, I've been getting pumpkin fever all over again ... which is good, since I haven't been into anything lately besides moping around and leaving my usual inane comments on some blog posts.
So, when I saw this oh-so-simple recipe at Arthur's blog, I just couldn't resist.
Unfortunately, this was a recipe that didn't turn out quite as nice as it's suppose to be. Mine was a little dense and chewy, probably because of the tweaks I did to it (as usual, I can't leave well enough alone, and this time it backfired on me ... sigh). 
I was of two minds as to post this disaster. But it might be useful as a "what not to do" guide.
Honestly, I think adding the dessicated coconut could have dried it out some and also maybe a little less flour might do it or just by adding more liquid or a more diluted coconut cream or, or, ..... gosh, I'm getting all knotted up here!

If you want to see a better version (of course you do!), hop over to Arthur's @ Suituapui. His look moist and soft, just how a bingka should be. 

Here's what not to do:


400 g cooked pumpkin, mashed
30 g / 2 tbs butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup milk
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup dark muscovado sugar
3 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 180˚C.
Line a 9" X 9" tin with parchment 
Mix everything together.
Bake for 45 mins. 
Cool and slice.

Sigh. Now I'm gonna go curl up somewhere and mope some more ...