Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Something Short and Simple

Thanks to my wonderful sis for giving me a big bunch of avocados and after several weeks, it is finally starting to go really soft. But more importantly, I have to thank her for the other present she's given me - The Magic Bullet. She didn't really intend to give it to me, but it was more a I-was-there-at-the-right-time situation that landed myself a present on my lap.

For weeks, I have seen a huge box lying in her house. Everytime I visit her, I have to step past this damn box that lies in the path of getting from her front door to her living room. One day, she asked me to find a recipe for an avocado milkshake her friends talked about during their holiday. The only info she had was that there was avocado and gula melaka in the drink, so after I found a recipe from google, she thought it would be a great idea to open her parcel that she's received from mail order to make this milkshake. Surprise surprise, there were two sets of 'The Magic Bullet' in the box (a-buy-one-get-one-free scam from telemarketers) and so that's how I scored myself a set.

Anyway, this is the amended recipe. The pics below uses half the recipe and golden syrup as I ran out of gula melaka.

Avocado Thickshake (aka Jus Alpokat)

1 medium size avocado
1 cup vanilla ice-cream
3/4 - 1 1/4 cup fresh milk (If you want it like a yoghurt, go less milk. If you want it like thickshake, have it in between, if you want it like a normal milkshake, then go more milk.
1/2 tablespoon of thick gula melaka syrup (Malaysian palm sugar) or you can just substitute it with maple syrup although the taste is not as fragrant as that of gula melaka.

  1. Put the avacado, ice-cream and milk into a blender or 'the magic bullet'.
  2. Pulse the blender, or place it in the magic bullet for 15 seconds.
  3. Swirl the gula melaka syrup on the insides of one tall glass.
  4. Empty the contents of the blender into the glass.
  • You can also put the gula melaka syrup into the blender with the rest of the ingredients for a more thorough mixture, or if you are lazy like me. But for presentation, the above method does a prettier job.
  • Depending on whether you like small pieces of avocado in your thickshake, you can vary the amount of time in the blender. I personally like mine a bit chunky, like a yoghurt-with-fruit consistency so I only blend mine for about 5 seconds.
  • Jus Alpokat originates from Indonesia and it is usually an avocado milkshake with chocolate milk. But I stumbled across a site (can't remember where) and they were using gula melaka.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Dinner Last Night

In an effort to post a new blog each day, I had to contemplate what easy meal I can cook yesterday so I can post it up today. So following my marbled pebble tang yuan, I thought I'll just post my sweet base soup - sweet potato tong shui.

Sweet Potato Tong Shui

4 blades of pandan leaves (aka screwpine leaves)
10 slices of thinly sliced ginger
130ml of water
2 medium sized orange sweet potatoes
90gm sugar (or according to your taste)

  1. Boil water with the pandan leaves and ginger for about 20 mins.
  2. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes.
  3. Add sweet potatoes into the water and let it simmer for about 20 mins.
  4. Extract the leaves out of the water before adding the sugar (optional, but since you'll have to extract it sooner than later, it is better not to have syrupy leaves in the bin that attract ants).
  5. Turn up the fire on the stove and allow the tong shui to come to a boil before turning the stove off.
  6. Serve the tong shui hot, warm or cold.
Note: I used the soup as my base for my tang yuan.

Marble Pebble

I remember when I was a kid and every Winter Solstice, we would have these round little pink and white balls, or "tang yuan". These little chewy balls go well in a sweet based soup. Occasionally one or two balls just freshly taken out of boiling water is also nice, but more than about 5 on its own gets a bit bland and not-so-nice.

When I went to China in 1994, we had a marbled pebble (notice the singular), in what-I-remember to be just plain cold water. But the taste was unlike any "tang yuan" I have tasted. It had filling, mine was red bean and my sister's was peanut. And you can
just taste the slight flavour of cocoa in it.

After years of pondering what it is, I finally decided to rummage through my souvenirs which I was adamant that I have saved the menu from our banquet in China that fateful night. And there it was, right at the bottom of the menu was the name of the dessert that I had so many moons ago, it was called "Yu Hua Shi Tang Yuan" or Marbled Pebble Tang Yuan. So using my mum's tang yuan recipe, I managed to make my tang yuan and my ninja in the kitchen - see below. Ninja didn't turn out good as he is missing a neck and is way too fat for my liking, so i had to modify him using photo-edit for my blog title. Hehehe

Marble Pebble Tang Yuan

50ml Water
Glutinous rice Flour
Cocoa powder
Ready-made red bean paste

  1. Add water and enough glutinous rice flour together to form a pliable dough.
  2. Divide the dough into half.
  3. Add in enough cocoa powder to form a chocolatey coloured dough. Add a few sprinkle of water if required.
  4. Roll both sets of dough into strips and combine together.
  5. Twist the combined dough.
  6. Roll the ready-made red bean paste into balls about 1 inch in diameter.
  7. Pinch enough dough to wrap one ball of red bean paste. Flatten it and wrap the red-bean paste.
  8. Remove excess dough if necessary.
  9. Roll the tang yuan into a ball and slightly press it between the palms of your hand to form a pebble shape.
  10. Drop the tang yuan into boiling hot water and let it boil until the tang yuan floats to the top of the water.
  11. The tang yuan is ready to be served with a sweet based clear soup (such as sweet potato soup or red/mung bean paste soup) or it can be eaten as is.
  • I couldn't taste the cocoa in this recipe, so I recommend a sweeter and stronger tasting powder substitute such as nesquick or milo.
  • Also, I would recommend that the ready made pebbles get placed on paper and aired out overnight preferably. Otherwise, if there is too much moisture remaining in the dough, the tang yuan is more 'furry' when cooked.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My First Post

After contemplating on starting my own blog for months, and after the inspirational blogs of others, I have finally decided to create and start my own. Despite how fast time flies by each day, I will try to maintain this journal as often as possible.

I made Rice Crispies about a week ago but I used butter that had been sitting in my mum's freezer for god-knows-how-long and had absorbed the smells of a Chinese-freezer. Unfortunately, when making the Rice Crispies, the cooking process was easy but the tasting part was uhmm.. let's say it wasn't what I expected! So off it went to Molly, my forever-hungry Labrador. I forgot to take photos that instance so I had to make it again. This is the result of my second attempt.

Chocolate Rice Crispies

1/8 cup butter
150 gm marshmallows
3 cups Rice Bubbles
4 mini Mars Bars

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan.
  2. Add marshmallows and Mars Bars into the saucepan to be melted.
  3. Stir thoroughly, making sure everything is melted.
  4. Add in Rice Bubbles and stir until well coated.
  5. Line a 9" tin with baking paper.
  6. Transfer the Rice Bubble mixture into the cake tin and using a buttered spatula or a piece of waxed paper, press the mixture into the tin.
  7. Cut into slices when cool.
Note: Baking paper is best greased with butter as the marshmallow may still stick.