Wednesday, March 18, 2009


As I've mentioned beforehand, my Tukang Makan is very fond of seafood, specifically huge prawns and squids. I am not very sure of his reason for asking me to stop cooking prawns and squids but personally, I am happy with his decision. All that he said was, "Dah banyak sangat makan udang dengan sotong ni. Takut-takut kena gout la pulak." Hmm....I guess, it's about time for him to take care of his health.

Hence, I have prepared all fish dishes for the past five days! However, he opted for chicken chop yesterday but today, it's back to fish again! Since it is the school holiday, I'm happy to fulfill his wish to start eating healthily (and although I found it to be a bit costly, in the name of wholesome, healthy goodness, a little sacrifice wouldn't hurt, I guess..). Here are the photos of the fish dishes I've prepared for him. Let's 'cuci mata' first. Who knows, the photos might inspire you to join the fish-eating diet too!

(My first attempt to cook salmon just because it is Tukang Makan's favourite)





So, what do you reckon? Want to join the fish-eating group too? Think about it!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Fond Taste of The Yesteryears

Birthdays can carry different meanings to different people. As for kids, birthdays are undoubtedly the much cherished time of the year where special treatment and special present(s) await on that one special day. As for me, birthdays are forever special. Being born into a not-well-to do(but blessed with excessive happiness) family and raised in a kampung, a big birthday bash was very rare. It's good enough if your family members remember your birth date.

However, one might get lucky at times. I did have birthday celebrations during my childhood years. One person whom I hold very dear to heart upon this matter was my late Mak Long. She was the one who was able to remember everybody's birthday and she would try her very best to celebrate. Unfortunately, she was taken way too early from us. May peace be upon her.

Talking about birthday celebrations, there are certain types of food associated with the occassion. It can be a big family lunch or a simple treat at the ice-cream shop. Reflecting my younger years, the Malays commonly serve fried rice vermicelli('bihun'), curry puffs, sardines sandwiches, water-melon (or home-grown bananas), jelly, 'air sirap' and not to forget, a bakery-bought birthday cake with colourful buttercream icing for the celebrated persona. The highlight of the event would be the singing of the birthday song and the birthday person would proudly cut the heavily-guarded cake(a smeared cake wouldn't be nice for the photography purposes) into sections to be served to the guests. Of course, those invited would be the kampung folks within your house perimetre. If the budget permits, you would be able to see Wall's ice-cream (a much praised brand at that time), fried chicken wings, party packs and the whole living hall adorned with balloons and streamers.

The presents were also an interesting fact to be commented. Usually, the parents or close relatives would give the biggest(and could be the one and only) gift. Guests would bring wrapped items but do not expect to get Barbie dolls or Transformers action figures. Gifts came in the form of story books, stationery ('magic pen' was among the top chosen ones) and simple toys. The most common gift in my kampung was a packet of wafer, wrapped tightly and neatly ( I couldn't really remember the brand). One should try his or her very best to 'keep face' .Of course you wouldn't want to be seen arriving empty-handed and assumed as only coming for the food! However, the fun was all in the get together and the gifts did not really matter.

Mentioning the birthday cake, there is one that I hold dear to my heart(and tastebuds as well) for it does bring back those fond memories. My mum was the one usually assigned to bake cakes for birthdays then. Her choice would depend on the availability of ingredients at that time concerned. It would be a banana cake or orange cake. Mind you that we did not have any fancy electric oven. All the baking took place in a heavy pot called 'a multi-purpose pot' and we would wait patiently in the kitchen for the yummy taste of freshly baked cakes. The extra thing that made everything scrumptious was that motherly love. My childhood memories were sprung to life when my youngest uncle(whose birthday fell on the 8th of March) personally requested for the orange cake. I had fulfilled his wish by baking the cake last night and bringing it along as we celebrated my cousin's wedding earlier this morning. It's true what they say about sweet memories. They are keepsakes and always to be treasured.Indeed!

Here's the recipe if you wish to try.

300g butter (at room temperature)
300g caster sugar
300g plain flour
1 tsp soda bicarbonate
6 eggs
grated rind and juice of 1 orange

  • Preheat your oven at 150C.
  • Grease and line a ring cake tin.
  • Sift the flour with the soda bicarbonate and keep aside.
  • In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar till pale and creamy.
  • Put in the eggs, one at a time and stir well.
  • Next, put in the orange rind and juice and mix well.
  • Fold in the flour and pour the mixture into the cake tin.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack and cut into slices.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

An Evening with Atush

Last Saturday, before I went for the PTA meeting in school, Tukang Makan told me that we would be going for our fortnightly grocery shopping at Jaya 33 once I reached home. This time, he had decided upon fish. He told me that he had too much prawns and squids for the week.

My daughter, as usual, loves to tag along whenever we have this ritual. As I went along the frozen food section, looking for my puff pastry, she saw a box of frozen pizza. This young lady has a 'unique' way of telling me what she craves for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Casually, she mentioned that she had not eaten pizza for quite a long time. I pointed at the box and she said,"Nevermindlah mama. Nanti petang mama buat sendiri dengan Atush ya?" Hmmmm....gone was the plan to rest and had some doses of TV viewing that evening.

After lunch, I browsed through my recipe collection to look for the simplest concoction. I felt really blessed to find a simple one in my Resipi Sihat, Pilihan Bijak Vol.1 recipe book. Halimatus was with me in the kitchen from the dough making process till the pizza was baked. I could almost see the glow of excitement in her eyes. Deep down in my heart, I was praying. Please God, make this lame effort of mine produce a great outcome.

Do you want to know the verdict? It was a worthwhile effort because that picky young lady gobbled up two large pieces and her brother munched away the same amount too! The most touching remark came from my maid, "Ibu, memang bener sedap. Bagus lagi dari PizzaHut" and I was smiling from ear to ear! What about my Tukang Makan? He finished four pieces and that was more than enough for me! I was not tired after all!

Let's check the photos out before looking at the recipe ya!

Rolled out the dough as thin as possible.(Pssst..I didn't bother to roll. I just used my hands and 'tepek-tepek' the dough..haha)

Next, smear the tomato sauce onto the dough

Arrange the topping (Halimatus' work of art)

Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese

Bake in a preheated oven for 25 mins. Meanwhile, enjoy the heavenly cheesy smell.

Tadaa!!! The fruit of my labour

(A) For the dough:
300g high protein flour
3 tsp of instant yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil/cooking oil
200ml of warm water
vegetable shortening/butter/margarine for greasing

(B) For the sauce:
1 can peeled tomatoes(finely chopped
100ml water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp tomato puree
1 yellow onion(finely chopped)
1 tsp dried oregano/basil
salt to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

(C) For the topping:
sliced fresh button mushrooms
sliced chicken sausages
diced, cooked chicken breast
(add any possible topping you can think of-the more the merrier!)
mozarella cheese ( I used parmesan to finish my stock and it still tastes good)

  • Put all the ingredients except water and shortening into a mixer fixed with a dough hook. Process till it resembles bread crumbs texture. Put in the water and continue mixing till you geta soft but pliable dough. Leave in a container covered with cling plastic for 1 hour till it doubles in size.
  • For the sauce, heat your pot and put in the olive oil. Stir fry the chopped onion till fragrant and translucent. Next, put in all the other ingredients and stir until the sauce thickens. For your information, I let the sauce to cool off and I blended it to 'cover' the trail of the onion pieces- all in the name of getting some vege goodness! Mind you, mine are all carnivorous!
  • Next, take out the dough and punch it to let the air out.
  • Grease your baking tray/pizza mould with vegetable shortening/butter/margarine and roll your dough as thinly as possible. Let to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Smear your dough with the sauce and arrange the topping of your choice.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of grated cheese.
  • Bake at 170C for 25 minutes of till golden brown.
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!
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