Sunday, October 30, 2005

Scrumptious Wedding Dinner

I finally got the pictures to a wedding dinner I attended last month. It was J's good friend's wedding and the lovely couple had hosted a dinner in his hometown, good ol' lil' Muar! It was catered by my dad's friend's restaurant and I have to say, was one of the most elaborate and scrumptious wedding dinners I had ever eaten! Enjoy the pictures!

1st Course - A beautifully plated lobster.

What a grand entrance it was and the lobster on each table created quite a stir! The lobster pieces were steamed then mixed with a fruit and mayo dressing before they were placed back into the shell. The shell was surrounded by lovely siew mai (I think!) filled with chunks of pork and prawn, and some pink prawn dumplings.

2nd course - Sharks Fin Soup

Despite the recent controversy about sharks fin soup, lots of people still serve this costly Chinese delicacy at wedding dinners. And this were real good sharks fins! They call it pao chi (in Hokkien) which basically means that the fins are in pieces as opposed to slivers. This ensures that it doesn't break apart in the soup when stirred and each diner is assured of a generous helping of large pieces of fin in their bowls.

3rd course - Steamed pomfret

The quintessential fish course was a steamed large white pomfret, generously covered with mushrooms, lettuce and tomatoes. This style of steaming is called Teochew steaming and uses preserved plums to give it a tangy, salty and light broth.

4th course - Suckling pig

This restaurant is famous for their suckling pig and has been featured in Singapore foodie programmes before. Singaporeans come in droves on weekends just to eat his well-seasoned and beautifully roasted suckling pig. This was a whole piglet with a lovely crisp skin. I don't really eat suckling pig but I really love the papaya and cucumber pickles surrounding it!

5th course - Stewed Goose Web

This is another expensive Chinese delicacy - Stewed goose webbed feet. This was my first time trying it. It was rather interesting, a little like stewed chicken feet although I found it quite hard to eat politely and delicately with all those bones! Not quite formal dinner fare!

6th course - Ying and Yang Prawns

These were prawns done two ways - 1 side was butter prawns and the other salad prawns. This restaurant does pretty good salad prawns. He fries the prawns before mixing them with a light, tangy mayo and pineapple salad. It's crunchy and creamy - yummy!

7th course - Braised Sea Cucumber

Yet another Chinese delicacy! This was sea cucumber which had been cut into pieces, stuffed with minced pork then braised in a fragrant sauce. It was nice! Sea cucumber doesn't have much taste of its own and absorbs the flavour from the braising sauce. It was a little crunchy which contrasted nicely with the soft pork.

8th course - Or-Nee

Ah, the final course! Chinese generally have 8 courses for wedding dinners as the number 8 signifies prosperity for the happy couple. Or-Nee is a traditional Teochew dessert made out of mashed yams, slices of pumpkin, gingko nuts, red dates and drizzled with a thick, super-sweet syrup. It was really too sweet for me. I think the yam is cooked with lard to give it the smoothness and fragrance. A high caloric dessert!

I asked Dad what the significance of this dish was as the groom's family weren't Teochews and he said it was probably to symbolise a sweet marriage which lasts forever (hence the stickiness of the dessert!). Chinese's all about symbolism!

It was definitely a wedding dinner to remember, thanks to the lovely couple!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Garlic-less Dinner

I finally made it back to cook tonight. I've had a piece of beef sitting in the freezer for a while so stir-fried beef was on the menu tonight. I marinated it with some oyster sauce, worchester sauce and black pepper. While slicing up carrots, ginger and spring onions to stir-fry it with, I suddenly realised that the house was out of garlic! Hunting high and low, there was nary a garlic clove to be found! And to add to that, I had a bunch of sawi (mustard greens) soaking in the sink which we normally fry with garlic! Then again...this is, after all, the same person who came up with Junkie Chicken! So improvise I did!

The beef was fragrant enough with the ginger and spring onions. I made the mistake of frying it for too long so it came out a little tough and over-cooked. While cooking, I added a dash of soy sauce, a little more black pepper and because I'm Hokkien, a dash of black soy sauce! The mixture of sauces gave it a nice, tangy taste and the ginger made it very fragrant. I love using julienned ginger strips in my cooking. It somehow brings back warm memories of Mom's and Grandma's cooking!

A close-up of the stir-fried beef

Next came the vegetables. As I wondered how I was going to fry them without garlic, clever Bro suggested using some fried shallots Mom had left behind in a bottle instead. And I did just that, with a dash of oyster sauce. It didn't taste too bad but the sweetness of the shallots took some use getting to compared to the normal garlicky savoury taste.

I wanted to try plating it but I think my skills in that area still needs much improvement! Foodcrazee, can please volunteer some tips?! :)

Another close-up. Just so you can see there was actually rice underneath the egg!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Balmoral Burgers

tI've been swamped by a tidal wave (or is it tsunami?!) of work lately and haven't had time to cook, take photographs or blog! A big thank you to all who've stopped by. I hope Funky Cookies will be up and running again soon! In the meantime, I'll leave you with the last installment of my Oz trip photos.

Our last morning in Sydney before our flight was a balmy 28 degree day with warm sunshine. So we took a short drive to Balmoral Beach nearby for brunch and a walk along the beach.

There was a beach festival going on and squares were actually sectioned off on the sidewalk for people to do chalk drawings! It was really interesting to see the children chalking their drawings. They were so creative and colourful!

And dotted all over the beach sidewalk were these oldish people with their easels, sketching and painting the lovely colours of the beach. They were really good and very professional-looking with all their brushes and watercolours and I only wish I had more time to stand and watch them paint!

We stopped at the popular Balmoral Lifesaver Cafe for brunch. It was full of beach-goers and Sydneysiders enjoying the warm sunshine and it took some time for us to get a table.

We opted for a Balmoral Burger to share and an icy-cold chocolate milkshake, upon A's recommendation. Our food came quite fast and wow...we were really glad we ordered the Burger!

Behold the lovely tower! A thick, fat and juicy piece of hamburger was sandwiched between fluffy buns, fresh lettuce and tomatoes. And of course, a burger in Australia is never a burger without that special slice of beetroot only Aussies love! It was a huge burger, perfect for sharing; washed down with ice-cold chocolate milkshake and with the warm sun shining on our bare arms, it was a lovely end to a wonderful holiday.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Deepest Condolences

KUALA LUMPUR: Datin Seri Endon Mahmood , 64, the wife of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, passed away at 7.55am(GMT 23.55) Thursday at Sri Perdana, the Prime Minister's official residence in Putrajaya.

Members of the public can pay their last respects to the PM's wife at Seri Perdana between 11am and 4pm.

Endon, who underwent several months of intensive chemotherapy in Los Angeles, returned home 18 days ago and continued her treatment.

Family members, including her son, grandson and four grandchildren were at her side when she breathed her last.

Endon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 following shortly after her elder twin sister was found to be having the disease. Noraini passed away in January 2004.

Her remains will be buried at the Precinct 20 Muslim cemetery at 4pm after Asar prayers at the Putrajaya Mosque.

Taken from The Star

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Meme 23/5

I got tagged by the popular Ramadhan specialist for another Meme! Thanks Boo! :) Let's see...I have to look for the 5th sentence in my 23rd post and ponder it for meaning! *Digs through archives* I started this blog only in July 2005 and it doesn't seem like many months but I was surprised to find quite a bit of archives to dig through! And voila! My 23rd post!

Erm...which was titled Breathe...breathe... when I had to take a temporary break from blogging due to work! It doesn't even have 5 sentences so I think I'll backtrack one and use my 22nd post titled Junkie Chicken! The 5th sentence was:


Hmm...this doesn't bode well for my Meme! Well, that Junkie Chicken dish was definitely the most interesting chicken dish I'd ever tasted! I had marinated it with an ecclectic mix of seasonings - onion slices, balsamic vinegar, ranch herbs, a dash of soy sauce, a sprinkle of basil and pepper and finally rubbed with honey mustard. Luckily for the cook, the flavours amalgamated well enough to create a tangy and well-flavoured chicken dish! The chicken was incredibly tender from the vinegar and had a subtle hint of herbs. Not a dish I'd be able to replicate again though it was fun wondering how the dish would turn out after I had marinated it!
Now to pass the baton on to 5 more people! I'll tag these wonderful food bloggers, enjoy!
  1. Tian & Mark in Sydney
  2. Aromacookery in Singapore
  3. Kuishinbomeow in Japan

Avocados & Carbonara

I haven't been cooking recently. A change in workplace has put me in the city which makes coming home in time to cook dinner near impossible! So in the meantime, another meal we had in Sydney to whet your appetites! How I do miss my cooking experiment days!

Avocados were on offer in Woolies during one of our grocery shopping nights so A turned it into a lovely appetiser with prawns and a dash of lemon. J had his with Victoria Bitter (right) which is a popular Australian beer. I don't like avocados because of the creamy texture and taste but I really liked the way she did the dish. The rest of them loved the avocado which was nicely ripened and I'm sure it made a great combination with the prawns.

For mains, we had creamy carbonara with garlic bread on the side. For a non-carbonara fan, I have to say that it was really good! It wasn't cloyingly creamy like how some places do it and was full of bacon slices that added a lovely smokiness to the dish.

I do miss having nice dinners like that. The rat-race and mad traffic here doesn't quite offer me that luxury anymore so I suspect there are going to be a lot more food review posts than cooking posts to come! But I'll try my best during the weekends to sharpen those dodgy cooking skills to be as good as Boo_licious, BabeKL and all the other great cooks out there! ;)

Monday, October 17, 2005


Introducing one of my favourite snacks! Parker's Pretzels! Ooh, how I love them! They're such an addictive snack I can't just stop at a handful! And they're supposed to be healthy, right?! "Baked not fried, 97% fat-free"....that's enough to convince me! *wink* I've tried the Tomato & Basil one too. It was nice but a little too herby. I started smelling of Basil after too many handfuls! So I think I'll stick to the original for now!

I think the kid in me loves the pretty pretzel shape! I can't eat it normally, ie pop the whole thing into my mouth and chew! Rather, I'll slowly bite off the sides till I'm only left with the centre! Strange huh?! There's something about the taste I like. I think akaline/lye water is used in making it as it has that same distinctive taste and smell the yellow Hokkien market mee here has. And the sprinkling of salt on it gives it that toe-curling saltiness that's somewhat addictive and the best snack for me anytime and anywhere!

See the salt crystals on it? It's yummilicious!

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Can you guess what this is?!

Hehe, this was lunch! More specifically, it was Kong Bak Pau! Kong Bak is a Hokkien term and is belly meat which has been braised in a sweetish sauce. This was ready-cooked! It just needed a quick steam to get it all ready to be eaten!

The Kong Bak. Do you see the fatty layers of the meat?! It was quite scary! :P

Steamed flat pau to go with the Kong Bak

To eat, just put a piece of meat into the split of the steamed pau and savour! :) Delicious but a bit too light! I'm starving now already so off to hunt down some snacks before dinner!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Fresh Pasta

The recent pasta posts by BabeKL and S-Kay had me hankering for pasta too. With the thoughts of pasta on the mind, I tried to leave work earlier only to be caught in a freakingly terrible jam! Crawling at an ant's pace in the 11/2 hour jam it took me to get home only made me hungrier and visions of hot steaming pasta dancing across my mind didn't help matters!

Thank goodness pasta is quick and easy to prepare! I got home, chopped up some garlic, washed up some oyster mushrooms (Bro said this is the first time he had seen people eat pasta with oyster mushrooms!), got out the pasta and Prego sauce and we were all set to go!

I love fresh pasta so the menu tonight was Latina's Chicken and Mushroom ravioli

The ravioli was cooked in boiling water kept at a rolling boil with a pinch of salt before it was "shocked" with cool water to stop the cooking process. While the pasta was cooking, we prepped the easy sauce - A quick task of sauteing the chopped garlic in olive oil, cooking the mushrooms and adding the sauce to the mixture. We normally add black pepper, salt and additional Italian herbs and basil to the sauce as we find the commercial sauces a little bland at times. And in approximately 15 minutes, dinner was ready!

Voila! Chicken and mushroom ravioli with a fragrant and robust tomato and mushroom sauce (Foodcrazee, can pass for a menu description?!)

Finally, my pasta vision brought to life! The ravioli were lovely little parcels of pasta surrounding a tasty mixture of chicken and mushroom and the tomato sauce was robust yet light enough as not to drown the flavours of the ravioli. A very satisfying meal which made up for my cramped leg resulting from driving a manual car in the jam!

Note to self: There's probably a reason why people don't use oyster mushrooms in a pasta sauce! They produce so much water when cooking that we had to boil it down before adding the sauce so it wouldn't be too diluted!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Something to munch on

Been really busy and am running low on pictures for the moment. So just something light for you to munch on while I recharge and reload!

I brought back some Arnotts biscuits from my Australian trip. I think you can find them here too in the local supermarkets but if I'm not mistaken, the Arnotts here are made in Indonesia due to halal reasons.

The family has tried, and finished, two packets already - the Monte Carlo and Custard Creams! But I managed to capture a few shots before they all disappeared!

The mixture of Monte Carlos and Custard Creams in the biscuit tin. Aren't they pretty? They smelt really nice too!

Monte Carlo (left) is a rather unique biscuit and used to be one of my favourites. It's a layer of vanilla cream covered with a thin layer of raspberry jam and sandwiched by two honey and coconut biscuits. Ooh...yummy! :) Custard Creams (right) is a traditional vanilla biscuit with thick luscious custard cream in between. Equally yummy! Although the UK-studied siblings claimed that Marks & Spencers Custard Creams were much nicer! Unfortunately we don't have them both side-by-side to make a comparison with!

Just a post for the biscuit tin and all those Cookie Monsters out there!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Golden Pide

Another Ozzie food post coming up...

As a student in Australia, I used to love eating their souvlakis (what it was called in Melbourne) aka pide (what it's called in NSW) aka kebab (in England!) which is basically slices of grilled chicken or lamb wrapped up in a Turkish flatbread with fresh vegetables. The pides you get in Australia and England are HUGE, nothing like the small thin kebabs we get here and for a small eater like me, one can last me easily 2 meals! While in Sydney, we got the opportunity to sample some pide and it was a delicious reminder of student days!

We took a drive to Golden Pide in Surry Hills, just on the outskirts of Sydney CBD, for dinner. Golden Pide was a small but popular corner cafe with just a tiny area for eat-in customers behind and a small bar with chairs for take-away customers to wait while their order was being prepared.

The store from the door. There are lighted boards behind the counter displaying the varieties and prices of pides. The brown thing on a stick in the bottom centre of the picture is the compacted meat that's slowly grilled.

Choices of add-ons for your custom-made pide. Everything's behind a glass case so it's really hygenic. From left to right: Tabbouleh, Hummus, various Turkish dips, salad, fried zucchini and falafel.

A close-up of the falafel. We had 1 to share at only $0.80. It's a deep-fried mixture of mashed spiced chickpea and was rather spicy! The aroma of the spices just hits you right up the nose!

Close-up of the fried zucchini. We also had one for $2 to try. It was a bit too oily and quite ordinary. Not much zucchini, mainly flour and bits of onions. Reminded me of our local cucur!

The kebab! It's custom-made according to the meat and sauces that you want before it's nicely wrapped up and handed to you.

The beef pide! It was filled with generous portions of grilled thinly-shaved slices of beef and fresh vegetables, topped with Turkish yoghurt and chilli sauce before being wrapped up in a slice of thing Turkish flatbread.

Chicken pide! It had a lighter taste than the more robust beef. And it was strangely $0.50 more expensive than the beef at $7.00! I would have thought it was the other way around!

Pides make a deliciously healthy and filling meal (or two!). We were all so full after the kebabs, and this considering that we shared it out! One good thing about eating kebabs abroad is their generosity of the ingredients. It's always filled to the bursting and every mouthful is a delightful blend of meat, veges and bread. What a perfect combination! The next time anyone's in Sydney, go give it a try! It's called:

Golden Pide Turkish Pizza and Kebab House (100% Halal)
500 Cleveland Street

Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Monday, October 10, 2005

Chicken Curry

My parents both cook fantastic chicken curry, both with their own versions. Mom's a quite a bit more complicated while Dad's the quick-and-easy method! Well, guess who's I decided to learn?!

Dad wrote down the recipe for me and even bought the exact amount of curry powder and tomatoes for me! I don't think he had much faith in my cooking skills! Oh, and there was a small cheat: a packet of mixed curry paste! Dad said he substituted it for his curry and it turned out just as good, plus it's half the work done.

The ready-made curry paste

I first marinated the chopped chicken with heaps of diced onions and quartered tomatoes. Then added the first lot of curry powder, mixed into a paste.

Put in more diced onions to brown, added the marinated chicken and the curry paste and leave it to simmer and cook.

And ta-dah! Curry chicken! We ate it with baguette slices. Delicious!

The secret in making it taste good is to use lots of diced onions. It makes the gravy nice and chunky and the onions give it a lovely sweetness. The paste made the curry rather spicy and there was quite a bit of oil I had to scoop out halfway through cooking. I think I'll try it again without the paste next time!

But I must say, for a first attempt, I don't think I did too badly. Although I'm still waiting, with bated breath, for my Dad's verdict from the few pieces I left him to try!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mom's Magic Touch

Hi all! I've been staying away from computers and the Internet for a while after a small procedure to my eyes. But I'm back in action now!

Mom cooked a heart and tummy-warming bowl of mee suah (a delicate rice flour noodle) for lunch. It was something so simple yet so delicious! She did up a soup stock of dried oysters which made the soup incredibly sweet, then added some seasoned minced meat. An egg went in to be poached before the mee suah was blanched in the soup and quickly taken out. Mee suah has great absorbant qualities and the tendency to "expand" so it has to be quickly blanched and eaten before it starts its absorbing all the soup!

Here it is! A hot, steaming bowl of mee suah

We truly enjoyed every last noodle and last drop of soup! I don't know what it is that makes anything Mom touches taste so good! It must be the magic touch all Moms seem to have! :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Meme: Childhood Memories. It's all about food.

I was tagged for this by Boo_licious of the Masak-masak fame close to a month ago and it's been sitting at the back of my mind since! Think it's about time I start my walk down memory lane before I postpone it any longer!

This is the first time I'm doing any meme so it's a historical moment in Funky Cookies! This meme's all about the top 5 childhood memories of food. It'll be a task to limit it to 5 but I'll give it my best shot!

Interesting foreign food

My siblings and I were raised by foodie parents who believed in letting their little tykes try all kinds of new food. We stayed in Johor and the Malaysian exchange rate was at the unbelivable RM1 for SG$1 so we often made trips to Singapore. And this was where our tastebuds ran riot for Singapore held an Aladdin's treasure trove of all sorts of foreign goodies we had never seen nor tasted in Malaysia! Just some of the things we used to eat:

  1. Escargots from a tin - I didn't dare touch it!
  2. Fresh peaches - probably where our love for stone fruit started. We were amazed at how a fruit can be fuzzy!
  3. Cote d'Or chocolate bars - the fridge used to have bars of it and I loved licking the melted chocolate off my fingers! Thank goodness for the high metabolism of a kid!
  4. Licorice Allsorts - this came from reading Peter & Jane books and wanting to eat the same sweets as they did! For a while, we called them "Peter & Jane" sweets!
  5. Alphabet soup - thrilling for a kid to eat! I think we spent more time arranging the letters than eating them!

Biscuits from yesteryear

One of my fondest memories is going into the darkened storeroom/larder in the house and looking to see what biscuits could be found to snack on. My Grandma kept a steady supply of biscuits available from her daily trips to the nearby sundry shop. The sundry shop had rows of shiny biscuit tins with little plastic windows in the front showing what biscuits resided in each tin. When you've made your choice, the shopkeeper would take it down and offer you one to test the freshness of the biscuit. Once you've given your nod of approval, he would reach in and fill up a bag according to your desired weight.

This was one of our favorites - Marie biscuits or "mani pia" as my Grandma used to call it! As a kid, I used to think she called it "money biscuit" because the shape resembled a coin. It was years later before I realised that it was actually a Chinese-nized version of "Marie"! The other favourite was "Icecream pia" - thin, crispy wafers with chocolate cream in between. What a treat it was whenever we found some!

Another tea-time favourite was Kjeldsen's Butter Cookies. The famous round blue tin would make an appearance and we were told to choose one only. ONE?! Being highly indecisive, I would spend ages trying to choose one cookie from the assortment of cookies while trying to bargain for two cookies! Somehow or another, I always settled for the sugar pretzel! It must have been its unique shape!

Teochew Mee

There used to be a noodle stall selling this near my childhood home. It's basically dry noodles tossed in a combination of dark sauce, light sauce, seasoning and chilli then garnished with vegetables, char siew, fish cake and your choice of wantan or fishballs. It resembles wantan mee with one unique difference - the chilli paste is actually mixed into the noodles to give it a spicy kick! And when eating mee pok (flat thin noodles a little like fettucine), it's excellent with a good dash of black vinegar to bring out the taste!

When the stall first started its business, basic noodles with wantan costed only RM0.80 and fishballs were RM1.00! Cheap huh?! It was probably due to the fact that it was in small town where things are still much cheaper than KL. Nevertheless, it was always a treat to have it for breakfast or lunch.


We used to love a certain fruit jelly called "Square Fruit Jelly". It came in packs of 4 and was fruit-flavoured jelly in a square mould. Just peel the plastic cover off, drink up the little bit of flavoured water that would have formed at the top of the jelly and dig in! Lovely stuff when it was straight from the fridge!

Sometimes, Mom would indulge us by making jelly too. She used dehydrated jelly strips (specifically Swallow brand!) and while they were boiling, she would grate gula melaka to be added for flavouring. I used to love stealing bits of the sweet gula melaka. It melts into a deliciously sweet caramel flavour in the your mouth! Then when it was ready, she would pour it into these little plastic turtle moulds to set. My siblings and I used to love having our own little "turtles" to eat!

The Bad Stuff

And finally, what's a childhood without junk food?! Our parents didn't allow us junk food often but for a treat during outstation trips, each child would get their own Mamee snack food to munch on. It was probably a distraction to keep us quiet on the trips!

We ate lots of local chips too - kerepek pisang, kerepek bawang and of course keropok! Till today, keropok ikan (fish crackers) remain one of my favourite snacks, unhealthy as it is!

We used to eat potato chips too from this green, generic packet called "Chips" (what else?!). It was sold at a really cheap price of 10 sen per packet outside our schools. It was shaped like curved diamonds with a crispy and salty taste. I'll have to see if it can still be found now!

Well, this is just a fraction of my foodie childhood days. I was, and still am, a fussy person when it comes to food, preferring to snack than to eat proper meals! So it isn't surprising that most of childhood memories involve snacks! I had heaps of fun doing this meme, thanks Boo!

And I hope to one day leave my future children with delicious childhood memories too, just like my parents have done!

Now to add myself on to the list of 5. I've put myself up after Babe as Boo tagged her too:

I'll just tag 3 new found blog friends! Hope you guys don't mind! :)

  1. Midnite Lily
  2. Teh Tarik Satu
  3. Eternity