May 31, 2007

Lasagna Sheets with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

When making meatballs I use my homemade tamarillo chutney to season it together with salt, pepper and parsley. I don't like putting curry powder in the meat mixture when the meatballs are going to be eaten with pasta, unless I am making koftas or kebabs which are eaten with pilau or nasi goreng (fried rice).

I use tamarillo chutney as to give fruity flavour in meat and I think it suits well with tomato sauce. In Summer time, when we have abundance of fresh tomatoes, I used to make my own tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes a day before cooking the meatballs and I like to simmer the meatballs in the tomato sauce to mingle the flavour of the sauce and the meatballs. This time, I have to use the canned tomatoes in juice.

I like using small lasagna sheets and treating them as penne or spirals. They look elegant with frilled edges on each sheet, piling them in layers with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. However, feel free to use any pasta to your personal taste.

Lasagna Sheets with Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

350g lasagna sheets, cooked in salted water and drained, Parmesan cheese to sprinkle


300g beef mince, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 4 cloves garlic, 2 sprigs parsley, finely chopped, 1 ½ Tbs tamarillo chutney, 2 Tbs breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, oil for frying

Mix all ingredients and roll into balls. The balls should be firm. If your balls feel a bit watery, add more mince and mix well. Heat the oil in the frying pan to shallow-fry the meatballs. Cook the meatballs until brown on all sides. Set aside.

Tomato Sauce

1 can tomato in juice, 1 small onion, finely chopped, 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, ½ cup fresh basil, chopped, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and freshly cracked blackpepper, 1 Tbs oil, extra basil to garnish

Heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add in tomato in juice, breaking all the tomatoes with a fork into chunky size. Season well. Cook in a low heat until the sauce is thick, then add in chopped parsley and basil. Add in the cooked meatballs. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove and serve immediately with pasta and a good handful of mixed salad and crusty bread.

Don't forget to send your entry of any meat you cook at home for Cook and Eat Meat event to cookandeatmeat(at)gmail(dot)com by 16 June 2007 at the latest.

May 30, 2007

Cook and Eat Meat

I am feeling like I've been too much being a carnivore myself, by eating 100 grams of meat each day in order to increase my iron level which was dropped to 8 where mine was supposed to be within the normal range of 20-100 points. That was a lot to lose, really.

I had had iron deficiency twice during my two pregnancies but it wasn't as worst as this time. It was only dropped to 12 which then within weeks I could correct the level to 18, then got it normal again to 22 before the time of labour. I didn't consume chocolate, tea, or coffee during my pregnancies in order to help the iron taken from the iron-rich foods I took was absorbed easily in the blood. I had lots of nuts, dried fruits, orange juice and red meat as well as spinach (I felt like Popeye).

Red meat isn't our favorite menu at home. I used to be a vegetarian and my husband is not fond of meat, either. My daughter is the only one who loves meat. Nowadays, I have to make everyone eat meat although I cook different menu each day with different types of meat. I want us all to keep the iron level on the safe point. This is important to keep us balanced and stay healthy.

Iron deficiency anemia is told to be a common problem in most women, especially those who are pregnant and those who have heavy periods. The loss of blood after-natal sometimes can be a deathly trigger to drop the iron point to the lowest level which makes women feel uncomfortably dizzy and look pale.

I watched the news of Indonesian women who had blood loss after-natal almost any of them were died because of it. The KOWANI or Kongres Wanita Indonesia (Indonesian Women Congress Board) and other women organizations in Jakarta have been giving Indonesian women a shout-out to be aware of iron deficiency anemia by many trainings they do in rural areas. Many of these women didn't include red meat in their diet or eat less meat and other iron-rich food, especially within their pregnancy. It is caused by either the price of the meat itself as most of these women are living in poverty, or solely the disliking of the products. I am sure there are many other women in the world have similar reasons or many other reasons not to like meat, but let us hope they will consider to eat meat soon after they have read our recipes.

Red meat is a very good source of iron as it contains the essential amino acids which we sometimes are lacking of. The intake of 100 grams of lean meat daily will gradually increase your iron point to the normal one if you're suffering from iron deficiency anemia. Of course we have to trim the meat in order to get rid of most fat enveloped in it. It is said that,

a lean, cooked and trimmed sirloin will contain 65% protein and 35% fat compared to untrimmed sirloin which will contain 24% protein and 76% fat” [Diet and Nutrition-A Holistic Approach. Rudolph Ballentine, M.D. The Himalayan International Institute. Honesdale, Pennsylvania. 1978. p.116].

Other meat is as good as red meat although they have different iron source percentage from red meat.

I am asking you to raise the awareness together for all the women in the world to eat meat in order to correct the iron level, to keep the iron level steady, and to keep healthy by sending me your entry on Cook and Eat Meat as a one-off event. I believe the various recipes of meat will help other women to prepare meat for themselves as well as for the family for a little bit of change in the daily menu.

You can cook any meat you usually do at home and share with us. If you have had or had had iron deficiency anemia during your pregnancy(ies) or are still working it out, we'd like to hear your story if you don't mind to tell us. I know this uncomfortable disease can be cured if we watch what we eat and increase iron-rich food in our diets.

Please send me your entry by 16 June 2007 to cookandeatmeat(at)gmail(dot)com, together with your name, your blog URL, and the link of your post for this event . I will be happy if you would like to spread the words to your readers and might as well to announce this event in your own blog. Feel free to use the logo above and please give the credit to the event by the link. The round-up will be announced on 20 June 2007.

I'll be waiting for any creative meat recipes shall there be sent!

May 26, 2007

One of NZ Famous Four: Shortbread

Lois Daish made this shortbread followed Margaret Dick's winning recipe at the Masterton A&P Show in 2002. As she described,

“...Margaret's shortbread stood out from all the others. The thick cricles were well pricked, broke with a clean snap and, though pale in colour, had a full flavour. Since then I've always followed the method she described to me in detail once the judging was over.”


Source: A Good Year [Lois Daish. 2005. A Random House Book. New Zealand] p.64

200g soft butter, 100g icing sugar, 200g standard flour, 100g cornflour

Preheat the oven to 175C (not on fan-bake). Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Sift the flour and cornflour together and add to the bowl, beat until combine with a slow speed. Turn out onto a floured board, knead lightly until smooth. Form into a sausage shape. Cut 12mm slices. Rotate the cut sausages to maintain a round shape. Transfer to a baking tray(s), with some space to spreading. Prick each slice deeply with a fork. Put the tray(s) into the oven and lower the temperature into 150C immediately and bake for 20 minutes until the shortbreads smell thoroughly baked but are still pale. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes 30 slices.

In Bahasa Indonesia

Ini salah satu kue kering khas New Zealand yang pernah ditulis oleh Lois Daish di bukunya A Good Year, terbitan tahun 2005. Kue-kue kering lainnya yang juga sudah pernah saya posting adalah Anzac Biscuits dan Afghans.

Shortbread ini sama saja dengan biskuit mentega Indonesia, hampir sama dengan adonan kulit untuk nastar dan serupa dengan putri salju (minus taburan gula halus). Ada beberapa resep yang menggunakan tepung beras untuk membuat shortbread, ada yang menggunakan tepung maizena, ada yang mencampur keduanya, berikut tepung terigu.

Resep yang ini berasal dari pemenang Masterton A&P Show suatu hari di tahun 2005, bernama Margaret Dick, dimana Lois Daish menjadi salah satu juri saat itu. Beliau sudah mencicipi banyak shortbread di show tersebut dan resep Margaret inilah yang dinilai paling enak di antara semuanya, karena kuenya empuk dan rapuh. Yang istimewa adalah saat dibelah pakai jari kue ini tidak berhamburan ke mana-mana, namun tetap mempertahankan bentuknya. Jika digigit akan segera 'meleleh' di lidah.


Source: A Good Year [Lois Daish. 2005. A Random House Book. New Zealand] p.64

200g mentega (yang lembut-maksudnya dalam suhu ruangan), 100g icing sugar, 200g tepung terigu, 100g maizena

Panaskan oven suhu 175C (bukan fan-bake). Kocok mentega dan gula hinga pucat dan lembut. Ayak tepung terigu dan maizena lalu masukkan ke dalam mangkuk, sambil terus dikocok dengan kecepatan lambat. Tuang ke atas meja yang dilumuri tepung terigu, uleni perlahan sampai lembut. Gulung membentuk sosis. Potong seukuran 12mm. Gulingkan irisan kue supaya lingkarannya tetap bundar. Letakkan ke atas loyang, sisakan beberapa senti karena kue ini akan melar. Tusuk dalam setiap iris dengan garpu. Masukkan loyang ke dalam oven dan langsung turunkan suhu hingga 150C lalu panggang selama 20 menit hingga kue tercium benar-benar matang meskipun masih pucat (seperti itulah sebetulnya shortbread yang bagus, tidak menjadi kecoklatan karena suhu terlalu panas atau terlalu lama berada di oven). Pindahkan ke atas rak kue sampai dingin. Simpan di dalam toples kedap udara. Untuk 30 potong.

Risotto Cakes with Lime Fish and Fresh Wild Rockets

I can't find any fresh fish sold here, and even when I went to the Farmers' Market last time, they were already frozen and were not swimming anymore. In Indonesia's traditional markets, the fish were always put in a drum or barrel of fresh water and were still swimming until we point our fingers at one of them so the fishmonger will kill and gut them for us. My mother would cook them as soon as we arrived home. They would taste sweet and delicious, marinade in garlic, coriander and tamarind paste.

My childhood was spent near the forest where I could go fishing in a little stream with my father. Sometimes, we were taken inside the jungle, where the deep river surrounded by thick rain forest trees was running smoothly, promising sweet river fish and little shrimps behind any river stones in the edge of the river. We had to be careful with snakes though, but we kids were not thinking about it. We would just enjoy the peaceful spot, eat our lunch which were generously packed in tin boxes by our mothers, while we're waiting for the adults to scream 'Hey, I got fish!'.

Fishing could be an expensive sport, but it would not be in a free river of the deep forest in Sumatra, Indonesia, where I grew up. I often used a long thin bamboo and just threw my hooked bait tied in a long string, then in a couple of minutes, I would catch a fish or a little cat fish (well, I think size does matter).

I miss going fishing. It might be great to do it again.

Risotto Cakes with Lime Fish and Fresh Wild Rockets

I like to use lime to give tangy flavour in fish like lemon fish which tends a little bit oily (not as much as salmon). The rockets are growing madly in our garden, even how hard we're trying to trim them by quantity. But, they are great and handy to add in salads.

Lime Fish

1 large lemon fish fillet, trim and cut up to bite size, zest and juice of 1 small lime, 2 cloves garlic, chopped, salt and pepper to season, oil for cooking

Put the garlic and half of the juice in a bowl. Give a good grind of black pepper and sea salt. Rub on to the whole fillet slices. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot. Cook the fillets one at a time until cooked. Set aside.

Lime Sauce: heat the other half of lime juice, zest and 1 Tbs butter, 1 cloves garlic, chopped, salt and pepper in a small saucepan until boiling and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1-2 tsps white sugar to balance the sourness of lime. Check seasoning. Pour on to the cooked fish and serve with risotto cakes.

Risotto Cakes

1 ½ cups arborio, 4 cups fish stock, 1 medium onion, finely chopped, 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 2 tsps salted butter, ½ cup grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to season, oil for cooking

Heat the oil on a large skillet, cook the onion and garlic until tender. Add in arborio, sautee for a minute, pour in the stock, cover and let all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked (Add more stock if the rice is still hard in the middle). Add butter and season with salt and pepper. Add Parmesan, mix well. Remove from the stove.

Prepare a baking dish, about 20 x 25cm, lined with baking paper. Put the cooked rice on to the dish, spread all over, and press (just like when you're making a biscuit base for cheesecake), so they'll be glued together. Refrigerate until firm. Put the firm rice on to the benchtop, then cut with a large cookie cutter to make nice round cakes.

Heat a frying pan, wipe it with oil or butter. Cook the cakes until golden on top on one side, then flip over to brown the other side. Set aside.

May 23, 2007

Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam

This is the jam which goes great with Donna's Rhubarb Scones I previously posted.

Source: Donna Hay Magazine. Issue 28. p.92

250g (8 ¾ oz) rhubarb, trimmed and chopped, 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar, 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste), 2 Tbs water

Place the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla and water in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until thickened. Remove the vanilla bean and discard. Spoon the jam into a sterilised 1-cup (8 fl oz) capacity glass jar and seal. Makes 1 cup (8 fl oz). This jam can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

In Bahasa Indonesia

Selai ini enak banget dipakai untuk mengoles Rhubarb Scones resep Donna Hay yang pernah saya posting sebelumnya.

Penggunaan batang vanili utuh (vanilla pod/bean/stick) memberi keharuman vanili yang segar dan menambah kekayaan rasa dalam selai. Kalau tidak punya vanili batangan maupun paste vanili (biasanya dikemas dalam botol kaca), gunakan saja esens vanili sebagai alternatif.

Sumber: Donna Hay Magazine. Issue 28. p. 92

250g (8 ¾ oz) rhubarb, trimmed (potong tangkainya, cuci bersih) dan cincang kasar, 1 cup gula halus, 1 buah batang vanili utuh, belah dua dan keluarkan bijinya (atau pakai 1 sdt vanilla bean paste), 2 sdM air

Masukkan rhubarb, gula, vanilla dan air ke dalam panci dengan api kecil, aduk hingga gula larut. Besarkan api, sedang saja, dan jerang selama 8-10 menit atau sampai mengental. Angkat batang vanili dan buang. Tuang/Sendokkan selai ke dalam botol yang sebelumnya sudah disteril ukuran 1 cup (8 fl oz) dan tutup rapat. Untuk 1 cup (8 fl oz). Selai ini bisa disimpan di dalam kulkas dan tahan hingga dua minggu.

May 21, 2007

Brownie Babe of the Month#2-A Soulfood Brownie

This is the idea of a group of people who love brownies. And brownies have a close link with chocolate. And probably we're a kind of Les Mangueses de Chocolat, a group of women who looooove chocolate. Well, it's nothing about gender, really, it's just because I am a woman, so I say a group of women. But, really, do men eat chocolate when they gather and talk in a group? I pretty much see a better vision of men and beer rather than men and chocolate.
Anyway, I don't often make brownies but I always put brownies on an after-lunch/dinner menu for an option my guests would like a nib to serve with coffee. Yes, I think chocolate goes well with coffee. Truly legend, honestly sinful!

One of my good friends at one party time had to have a pinch of brownies from my plate as she pleaded beforehand that she would not eat any brownies but then she couldn't resist the temptation yet still felt rather guilty if she ate the whole square. She would not be able to blame herself when the next morning she called me and told me that she gained a few ounces! Ouch! I said, my goodness, blame on the brownies!
What's so wrong with brownies? I don't think it's the matter of wrong or right. Perhaps, a slice of brownies would be great for the whole week until you have enough courageous to slice another square (and perhaps, by that time you want to do it, they have all gone!). Bless the waistline for not being widen because somebody had taken the brownies away from you.
Have you noticed that when someone's making brownies they have to put a lot of sugar? Should a brownie be having cracked surface? Maybe that what makes it different from a cake, doesn't it? Well, honestly, I always reduce the sugar to half of the amount the recipe uses, perhaps that's why my brownies don't have cracked surface. If it's not true than blame on my baking skill.
Anyway, I always like the brownies I often make to indulge my guests which is the mixed of less sugary slices and is made of a cake of dark chocolate, and raspberries. I think it's a clever way to put raspberries in the mixture as they make the brownies taste fruity and scrumptious at the same time which is really great to combine with the flavour of bittersweet of chocolate.
This recipe I once wrote on my previous blog, and since I simply use it again and again, I think it's great to share with you. If you love dark chocolate as much as I do, you would love this brownie!
This is my entry for Brownie Babe of the Month event, hosted by Myriam of Once Upon A Tart.

chocolate raspberry brownie

Soul Food's Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie
I used a cake (bar) of Dark Mocha from Whittaker's which has 62% cocoa solids. The addition of coffee in the chocolate makes a little different taste from dark chocolate only. You can smell coffee in the chocolate mixture when you're melting the chocolate and butter. Very pleasant.
Source: The Foodtown Magazine. October/November Issue 19. 2004. p.94
300g coverture chocolate, chopped, 300g butter, diced, 6 eggs, 2 cups caster sugar, 1 ½ cups flour, ½ cup (Dutch) cocoa, 2 tsps vanilla essence, 1 cup frozen raspberries, ½ cup chopped chocolate, extra
Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a 20cm x 30cm slice pan with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of hot-not boiling-water. Mix, until completely combined. Beat the eggs and sugar, until fluffy (but not too fluffy). Add the chocolate and butter mixture.
Sift the flour and cocoa and fold into the chocolate mix. Add the vanilla. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the raspberries and extra chocolate evenly over the top. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean at the edges and the centre is slightly gooey.
Cool and cut into 16 pieces. A light warming in a microwave before serving is highly recommended. Serve with lashings of cream on the side. Serves 16.

In Bahasa Indonesia
Satu lagi nih koleksi brownies yang sering aku bikin untuk teman minum kopi setelah makan malam. Penambahan raspberry mengimbangi coklat yang kaya rasa, membuat brownies ini spesial banget. Cocok juga untuk dessert dengan menambahkan raspberries segar atau buah-buah berries lainnya.
Brownies ini lebih enak jika menggunakan dark chocolate yang mengandung cocoa solids lebih dari 50% untuk rasa yang lebih tajam dan padat coklat, dengan tingkat kemanisan yang tidak terlalu 'menyengat' gigi. Pemakaian 6 telur menjamin kelembaban brownies ini. Namun perlu diingat, produk akhir brownies ini harus lembab dan tidak kering pada umumnya brownies yang lebih sarat gula dan hanya mengandalkan coklat bubuk.

Soul Food's Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie
Saya menggunakan coklat batangan Dark Mocha produk dari Whittaker's yang memiliki cocoa solid lebih dari 62% (selain harganya lebih terjangkau, rasanya juga tajam). Penambahan kopi di dalam coklat memberi rasa yang berbeda dan berasa 'ngopi' jika dibandingkan dengan produk dark chocolate lainnya. Aroma kopi ini semwriwing keluar dari adonan coklat dan mentega saat dilelehkan. Nyokpi deh (Nyoklat dan Ngopi).
Source: The Foodtown Magazine. October/November Issue 19. 2004. p.94
300g coverture chocolate, cincang kasar, 300g mentega, potong-potong, 6 btr telur, 2 cups gula caster, 1 ½ cups tepung terigu, ½ cup (Dutch) coklat bubuk, 2 tsps vanilla essence, 1 cup frozen raspberries, ½ cup coklat cincang, ekstra
Panaskan oven suhu 170C. Alasi loyang ukuran 20cm x 30cm dengan baking paper.
Lelehkan coklat dan mentega di dalam mangkuk tahan panas yang dijerang di atas panci berisi air panas (bukan mendidih). Aduk-aduk hingga tercampur rata. Kocok telur dan gula sampai kental tapi ga sampai naik betul. Tambahkan campuran coklat dan mentega tadi.
Ayak tepung dan coklat bubuk lalu masukkan ke dalam campuran coklat. Tambahkan vanilla. Tuang ke atas loyang. Taburi raspberries dan coklat ekstra secara merata. Panggang selama 25 menit atau sampai tes tusuk bambu (atau tusuk gigi) di pinggir brownies licin dan tidak ada adonan yang lengket, tengahnya masih tetap kental (tapi tidak encer).
Biarkan dingin lalu potong menjadi 16 kotak. Sebelum dihidangkan sebaiknya dihangatkan di dalam microwave dulu (hal ini untuk membuat taburan coklat tadi melembut dan memberi kesan 'melt' saat disendok pakai garpu). Hidangkan dengan krim. Untuk 16 potong.

May 19, 2007

Bali is Back on the Memory Lane

Chelsea of Tres Bon Vivant invites us to write something which is memorable when we happen to go abroad. And I say to myself great, I'll talk about Bali! If you feel like to share your experience in enjoying food from another country you've ever visited with us, please write to Chelsea and join us on her event Meals Abroad!

I first came to Bali in 1994. We (I said 'we' as I and a group of friends at college) stayed in a four-star hotel in Nusa Dua. I think it was called Bali Resort Palace Hotel. What we saw at that time was pink-faced foreigners (everywhere!), white sand, ocean waves, offerings on the corridors, coconut trees, sarongs, and the luxury breakfasts.

We made a long trip to Denpasar I had to fall asleep (gosh, it took hours!), the capital city of Bali, and then made ourselves a small getaway between projects to Kuta, where young people were enjoying the sun. I wasn't keen really to sunbathing, for I'm already dark myself. Some white boys happened to came to us and asked us to join them, and I said 'Well, I've got enough sun, thanks very much.' The other girls gave me a ready-to-eat-me-alive look with wrists curled up, and said 'You blew up!! They're gorgeous!' I could just run away from them, laughing with terror. Gosh, temptations are everywhere. Surfing boys?? Helloooo we're working on a project here!! When they came back to the hotel room, they were very exhausted and didn't finish the research. Time for me to say 'I told you so.'

There are so many places you can always go to. Everywhere is great place. When I visited Bali in 2001, I went to Ubud, the very place where I met my husband. This little place offers different lifestyle, different surroundings, different aura. You can feel it when you just come, there's the sense of religious state streaming in the air. You can smell the pandanus leaves mixed with incense sticks, bringing about the very purest-state in you whenever you think that you are entering a sacred spot with rich carvings, beautiful paintings and brilliant sculptures.

Yes, Ubud is the place I agree to live and stay whenever we get back to Bali again. We rent a bungalow for 22 years which sometimes is rented out to other people when we are not going to go back. Ubud is where I met my husband, and the place we honeymooned. It is a very special place which locates the truly lovely spot on our memory lane.

It is also still pretty much the same place we brought our children to introduce them with a part of Indonesian cultures. They learn to accept other people's existences around them, the various languages (I speak mainly Bahasa Indonesia and Palembangese, and I know a little bit of Javanese, and SundaneseIndonesia is rich with different cultures and different languages, mind you), the customs, the traditional values and traditions.

We went back to Bali in 2003, where it was completely different from what we experienced before the Bali bombing in 2002. People were begging for a job, begging for a better life. Do you know how hard I was to literally avoiding those women who sold bamboo-woven dishes in the market? They were desperate as no tourists came to Bali let alone bought their souvenirs. They were depending on how much they could sell the dish and each day they might come back home with nothing. It was a very difficult moment for everyone. It was very sad.

When we went back there again in 2005, the situation was more cheerful than in 2003, though we were still quite surprised to find that some of the cafes we usually visit were closed. Gone bankruptcy, most of them. However, some favorite cafes like Casa Luna, Tutmak, Lamak, and used-to-be-our-favorite cafe Batan Waru are still standing tall.

Above all the cafes, we love Tutmak. Not only it is an old friend's cafe, but it is also the friendly service they offer. Their waiter and waitresses are very friendly, even to your kids. You can always feel that you're home, surrounded with people who care and have willing-to-help attitudes.

There was the time I was so thirsty (you always are in a hot climate) and they offered me this Lemongrass and Ginger Ale Fizz. It was really a fizz of great herbal-mixed quencher of a thirsty traveller, I should have to order it again everytime we were exhausted after a very long walk from one shop to another. Our children loved their banana juice, watermelon juice or a tall glass of smooth banana lassie.

There were groups of people and children walking around the streets for Galungan Day (we missed the Galungan D-Day, but still could see the bits and pieces scattered in Ubud) with Barong. A great entertainment you can bump into in every corner of Ubud and other parts of Bali. Temples were still decorated with colorful ornaments and offerings.

Girls in Balinese traditional customs, very exotic-look.

This is the street to go to our bungalow with the tall decorations along the streets on the occasion of the Galungan Day.

At dinner time, we always came back to Tutmak if we feel like to walk a few kilometers from our bungalow, trying out every dish they offered on their special menu blackboard. My hubby once ordered this Middle Eastern plate (a small plate of pita bread accompanied by a bowl of cucumber raita and a large plate of lovely flavoured minced beef burgers, a small mound of buttered couscous, a spoonful of tabouleh, two spoonfuls of hummus, and great salad mixed of lettuce, carrots, beetroots, tomatoes, and crumbled feta. YUM!) ,

and I ordered a plate of Chicken Caesar Salad (a plate of great bunch of mixed lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, which topped with creamy diced chicken, accompanied by bread and butter) (sorry for the poor photographs—I was a new user of a digital camera at that time). We criss-crossed our forks or fingers to try each dish. I fell in ove with the Middle Eastern dish at first sight, and had to order it for myself the next time we came again. Lovely, lovely meals.

Oh, one more: the coffee is EXCELLENT!!!

So, come to Bali, especially to Ubud. Be prepared with your camera, a bag of memory cards, swimsuits, sunscreen (of course!), and be induldged!

May 14, 2007

Sourdough Bread with Yeast

Again, this sourdough bread is very spongy, moist, like a loaf of banana cake! When they are just taken out of the oven, they'll have crusty top, but they'll be soften in 5 minutes and will keep moist until the next day (well, this bread only keeps a day or two as it is loved by the whole family).

Source: The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook p.532

1 ½ cups lukewarm water,
1 Tbs sugar,
1 Tbs or packet active dry yeast,
1 cup sourdough starter,
5 ½ to 6 ½ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I use plain flour),
1 Tbs salt,
1 Tbs vegetable oil,
cornmeal to sprinkle on baking pans

Sponge: In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let this sit for 10 minutes or so until bubbly. Add the starter and stir. Gradually add 3 cups of flour, stirring until well mixed and smooth. Cover the sponge and set it aside in a warm draft-free place for 4 to 5 hours.

Dough: Stir down the sponge. Stir in 1 cup of flour, the salt and oil. Gradually add flour until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for 3-4 minutes. Let the dough rest while you clean out and grease the bowl. Continue kneading another 3-4 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add only enough flour to the board to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough in the greased bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Shaping & Baking: Knock down the dough and shape it into 2 long Frenc- or Italian-style loaves. Place them on a cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet and let them rise for another 1-1 ½ hours. Toward the end of the rising period, place a baking pan on the oven bottom (or on the lowest rack) and preheat the oven to 450F. Just before baking, splash the tops diagonally every couple of inches, about ¼ inch deep and brush with cold water.

Pour 2-3 cups of water into the pan, put the loaves on the rack above the steaming water and bake for about 25 minutes.

HHDH#12-Hay Hay It's Time for Salad Ey?

I was thinking about warm salad as we are heading to Winter when Katie of Other People's Food announced HHDH#12 theme is Caesar Salad. Perhaps roast kumaras or pumpkin with additional herbs and garlic would be great, but I am also thinking about lunch. It should be something light but delicious, very delicious so that we can forget about the miserable weather.

As we are harvesting pumpkins and buttercups, I have to make the most of them while they are still fresh and available. I have come up with these trio: pumpkin cakes, garlic, lime and sweet chilly prawns, and fresh basil mixed with baby lettuce. This dish is great accompanied by crusty bread to scrub off the juice. YUM!

I made Sourdough Bread with Yeast which will be posted soon after.

Pumpkin Cakes, Garlic Lime and Sweet Chili Prawns with Basil and Baby Lettuce Salad

Pumpkin Cakes

I think it's great to combine the creamy Camembert with the nutty and sweetness of pumpkin cakes.

300g cooked pumpkin, mashed with 1 tsp salted butter, 1 Tbs cream, 1 Tbs chopped parsley, ¼ cup roast pinenuts, process into very fine crumbs, freshly cracked black pepper, pinch of salt, breadcrumbs for rolling, 200g Camembert for stuffing, cubes

Put the combined and mashed ingredients in a bowl.

Put the breadcrumbs into a small bowl which is tall, so when you rotate the mashed pumpkin mixture into the breadcrumbs, you will have a good shape of pumpkin cakes with a hole in the middle. Put the mashed pumpkin mixture into the bowl, rotate roughly until they all are nicely moulded. Keep in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170C fan bake. Transfer the pumpkin cakes on to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes. Stuffed with Camembert, bake again for 10 minutes. Serve warm with hot prawns and salad.

Garlic, Lime and Chili Prawns

This dish is zesty, and garlicy at the same time.

250g prawns,
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped,
grated lime zest from 1 lime,
lime juice of 1 lime,
1 tsp fish sauce,
1 tsp brown sugar,
1 Tbs sweet chili sauce,
1 Tbs olive oil

Trim the prawns, wash well. Heat the oil until hot. Add in the chopped garlic, cook until fragrant. Add in the rest of the ingredients, cook until bubbly. Add in the prawns, cook until pink but not become hard. Remove from the pan. Served mixed with salad.

Fresh Basil and Baby Lettuce Salad: 1 cup fresh basil, 2 cups baby lettuce. All washed and trimmed. Combine them with prawns. Serve immediately.

May 12, 2007

Happy Mother's Day to All Mums in NZ

to Mum Nance & Mum Marfuah

You are both beautiful
You are both my inspirations
You are both my love to give and dedicate



Chicken with Smoked Sweet Paprika

I received a parcel from the lovely Emma of Laughing Gastronome as the part of NZBBP-Easter Edition last time, and I found out that smoked sweet paprika she sent with the other goodies was absolutely taken place in my kitchen and is very much used every now and then

The flavour reminds me of a place by the beach that I once visited with my parents. The ocean was wide and the waves were high and huge. I remember when I plunged into the water, I felt sore under my arms as the saltiness of water rubbed against my skin. There was a village of fishermen not far from where we had a picnic that time. My mum bought a nice brown sea fish from that village I can't recall what it is now. The smell of the smoked sweet paprika on the chicken reminds me of the smell of that fish. So earthy, so humble, and so ashy.

I am interested in hangi and yet haven't had a chance to experience it. I can believe that the goodness derived from such a wonderful smoke emerged from the earth will bring out the most flavour of the vegetables and meat above it.

This kind of cooking is similar to our habit long way back when we were all kids and loved to be in the garden at harvest time. My father planted almost any vegetables which may be cooked on daily basis, so my mother would just go to the market to buy red meat. We didn't have cows or buffalos but we had a small house of chooks which were usually festived for Ied el Fitr. My father grew kumaras (different types from Maori's) which has yellowish skin and purple flesh together with another variety which has the same skin but has orange flesh rather than purple or white (Maori's have purple skin and white flesh with sometimes purple dots in the middle). He also grew cassavas with also different varieties: a few patches with white flesh and another few with buttery. So, yes I was grown in the middle of all homegrown greens in my life.

At harvest time, we the kids, used to pull out the smallest cassavas and kumaras which then were stored in our secret place (just under the house, really). Then, in the evening when the grown-ups were making bonfire, especially on weekends, the kids were busy taking out the treasures from the secret place. There would be an exciting moment for us as we would be allowed to dig a hole, put the ambers in it, then pile the cassavas and kumaras on, and covered them with more ambers. The earth would become really hot which would then cook the vegetables. Oh, I don't know if I will be able to experience it again.

Well, at modern age like today, there would be any jars of smoked goodies available. It's not like so much an experience to do it ourselves, but it's more handy this way. Even the hint of the flavour would help us to taste it.

Chicken with Smoked Sweet Paprika

4 chicken legs,
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped,
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped,
2 tsps smoked sweet paprika,
a good grind of black peppercorns,
sea salt,
a dash of olive oil to marinade

Clean, wash and trim the chicken, pat dry. Mix together all the ingredients in a little bowl, then pour over the chicken. Give a gentle rub, cover, and set aside for at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 180C. Arrange the chicken on the roasting pan. Bake and basting occasionally with the juice until cooked through. Serve hot.

May 10, 2007

Sourdough Sticky Buns

When I read the recipe I thought of our Chelsea Buns, which I believe is the same product under different names. The sourdough starter I am keeping is developing very moist, soft and spongy buns and works really well to produce great texture. The thing about using sourdough starter is that you have plenty of time to do something else while the sponge is risen slowly. If I want to make any sourdough bread, English muffins, or this sticky buns for breakfast, I would just make the sponge before going to bed and leave it overnight. An early bird like I am can't be too hard to get up in the morning and start the day with kneading. Hey, this is the cheaper way to improve your arms muscles without going to the gym!

Sourdough Sticky Buns

Source: The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook p. 539

Sponge: 1 cup sourdough starter, ½ cup milk, 2 Tbs vegetable oil (I use rice bran oil), 2 cups plain flour, ¼ cup sugar

Pour the starter in a bowl (don't forget to replenish your starter after you took some out), then add in the milk and vegetable oil. Mix well. Fold in the flour and sugar. The sponge will be fairly stiff. Cover and leave it overnight.

Dough: 1 cup plain flour (I work them in the dough a tablespoon at a time, until I got a pliable dough, neither too sticky, nor too stiff), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda

Fold in ½ cup of the flour mixture into the sponge mixture, and combine well. Put the dough on the well-floured benchtop, knead well. Sprinkle the remaining flour on to the sticky part whenever you feel it on your palm while you're kneading. Continue working until the dough is smooth.

Prepare a baking tin, grease well (I used 20cm round loose-bottom baking tin) with melted butter. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough about 12 x 18 inches, or roll to the size you want. Spread with your filling. I used apricot jam as the spread, sprinkle cinnamon sugar, then raisins, chocolate chips and assorted roasted nuts (unsalted). Roll up the dough (it's a bit sticky, but you can use your finger to scrap the sticky dough off the benchtop). Cut the dough into eighteen ¾ to 1 inch pieces (mine is bigger than those). Arrange them in the tin(s). Cover and let rise for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400F. I brush my buns with milk before going to the oven. Put the risen dough in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven to 350F and continue baking for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Serve warm.

May 07, 2007

It's Magic Sauce!

I often really was unhappy to find my chocolate pudding didn't produce its own sauce like it was meant to. The dish was full of sponge and that was it. It didn't taste as good. I have tried many recipes and they turned out the same way.

I think when the sponge is too thick and too light, then it will absorb all the sauce-to-be on the bottom of the dish. There should be a balance of this sponge and sauce liquid, which will make good sponge and thick sauce. Like magic, the sauce will then emerge underneath the sponge. Not so much like a floating island, but it's more luscious. Imagine the thick chocolate sauce, dark, and saucy.

However, I am quite happy to find the recipe from Foodtown Magazine and very delighted with the result. On the weather like today, who can resist?

Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding

Source: Foodtown Magazine, Issue 30, August/September 2006. p. 86-87.

To my mistake, I put all the cocoa powder for making the sponge. Therefore, I added ¼ cup cocoa powder to make the sauce. Too serious chocophile?

I also added vanilla for more flavour when making the sauce and the sponge.

I use cocoa powder from Green & Blacks.

1 cup self-raising flour,
¾ cup caster sugar,
½ cup cocoa powder,
½ cup milk (I add another tablespoon as I realized I made a mistake with the cocoa),
25g butter, melted,
1 tsp vanilla essence


¼ cup cocoa powder,
¾ cup brown sugar,
1 ½ cup hot water,
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 180C. Sift the flour, sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl (use ¼ cup if you want to follow the original recipe and reserve the other ¼ cup to make the sauce). Combine the milk and melted butter. Gradually stir into the dry ingredients, beating until smooth. Pour the mixture into a baking dish (20cm square ceramic dish or an enamel like mine).

Combine the brown sugar and the remaining sifted cocoa in the pyrex jug. Stir in the hot water. Pour gently over the back of the spoon, covering the pudding. (At this stage, your sponge will be all covered by the mixture of water and cocoa, but don't worry, it will rise while the sauce-to-be mixture is sinking into the bottom and is developing into a delicious sauce).

Bake for 45-50 minutes (only 40 minutes, my oven—I think it's wise to check your oven and see if the pudding's sponge is already springy to the touch. If let it be baked too long then you won't get this sauce on the bottom as much because the liquid is all absorbed by the sponge) until the pudding is risen. Dust with icing sugar. Serve immediately. Super yummy served with ice cream! Serves 6.

In Bahasa Indonesia

Ini hidangan enak buat dibikin rame-rame dan disantap rame-rame seketika itu juga. Cocok banget buat para chocophiles!! Buat lebih mantapnya, pake coklat bubuk 100% pure cocoa. Saya pake sendokan terakhir dari kemasan Green & Blacks, sekalian ini produk organik. Lebih mahal dari buatan Nestle atau yang lainnya, tapi mantap sekali. Khusus saya, saya memakan puding ini dengan es krim coklat yang sangat lembut dengan potongan-potongan chunky dark chocolate asal Swiss yang diproduksi setempat oleh salah satu pabrik es krim di NZ. Ingat, puding ini harus segera dihabisi sesaat setelah keluar dari oven, karena saus yang melapisi bagian bawah sponge akan cepat terserap oleh sponge kalau dibiarkan dingin. Kalau mau lebih nyoklat, bikin saus vla coklat, siram ke atasnya. Lengkap deh coklat-manianya!! Selamat mencoba!

1 cup tepung SR,
¾ cup gula caster,
½ cup coklat bubuk,
½ cup susu,
25g mentega, lelehkan,
1 tsp vanilla essence

Saus: ¼ cup coklat bubuk, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 ½ cup air panas, 1 tsp vanilla essence

Panaskan oven suhu 180C. Ayak tepung, coklat bubuk dan gula dalam mangkuk (gunakan ¼ cup kalau menggunakan resep aslinya dan sisakan ¼ cup lainnya untuk membuat saus). Campur susu dan mentega leleh. Campur dengan bahan kering, aduk sampai lembut. Tuang adonan ke dalam pinggan tahan panas (20cm square ceramic dish or an enamel like mine).

Campur brown sugar dan sisa coklat bubuk tadi dalam mangkuk pyrex. Masukkan air panas. Tuang perlahan ke punggung sendok hingga menutup permukaan puding. (At this stage, your sponge will be all covered by the mixture of water and cocoa, but don't worry, it will rise while the sauce-to-be mixture is sinking into the bottom and is developing into a delicious sauce ).

Panggang selama 45-50 menit (only 40 minutes, my oven—I think it's wise to check your oven and see if the pudding's sponge is already springy to the touch. If let it be baked too long then you won't get this sauce on the bottom as much because the liquid is all absorbed by the sponge) sampai puding naik. Taburin icing sugar. Sajikan seketika. Super yummy served with ice cream! Serves 6.