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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mid Autumn Festival

Sharing these year's photos of the annual Mid-Autumn/Lantern/Mooncake festival that was held at the condo where we live. It's official - my boys have outgrown the lantern-toting ritual but sadly, I haven't! I love the enchantment of a procession  of excited kids with their colourful glowing lanterns under a full moon against the jetblack sky. I know I should have seen this coming when we lost our last lantern-toter the year before to teenage snobbery but I was wishing  the magic would last forever. I shall miss the pleasure of  my boys following me to Chinatown and helping them pick their lanterns! Sob!

My boys weren't amused when I bought them an elephant lantern. They refused to light it up!
Me with my Colombian neighbours
Food!!! It was a potluck party!
Traditional foods like caltrops, pomeloes, mooncakes and yams are served during the Mid Autumn celebration. A mortar & pestle is available for cracking the hard shells of the caltrops.
These creepy bat-like thingies  are called water caltrops aka bull's horns because of their horn-like structures. They are totally edible! They are actually nuts from an aquatic plant belonging to the same family of water chestnuts. I can still recall my dad turning  them into a spinning top using a bamboo skewer and some string when we were kids. Show that to a kid these days and chances are they are not impressed.
Water caltrops are only brought to our local markets from China once a year in Fall when the Chinese celebrates the Mid Autumn Festival.

Mooncakes

A turtle-shaped mooncake

* For the clueless, read about the festival in my previous post here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

20+ Ways To Use A Pumpkin Cutter

Once again, a bunch of uber creative cookiers have collaberated on yet another cooking challenge as initiated by the amazingly talented Callye of The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle - this time using a pumpkin cookie cutter. Click on the following links and enjoy checking them out! Don't you just love, love, love projects like this?

1. Panda Calaveras(Miss Cuit)
2. Owl S’mores on a Stick (Kitchen Fun with my Three Sons)
3. Pumpkin Cheesecake Pasties (Bakingdom)
4. Halloween Pumpkin Wall (Arty McGoo)
5.  Cocoa Krispies Trick or Treat Bears (Hungry Happenings)
6. Creative Cherry Cookies (Lila Loa)
7. The Ultimate Halloween Candy Bar (Dollhouse Bake Shoppe)
8. Halloween Pumpkin Carriage Cookie (Trilogy Edibles)
9. Easy Cheveron Pumpkin Cookies (Lizy B Bakes)
10. Pumpkin Fudge on a Stick (The Decorated Cookie)
12. Woodland Owl Cookies, (The Bearfoot Baker)
13. Pumpkin Cheesecake Hand Pies (Created by Diane)
14. Wide Eyed Owl Cookies  (Simply Sweets by Honeybee)
15. Zombie Girl and Brains Cookies (Not Your Momma’s Cookies)
20. Slimy Green Ghost Cookies (Pink Little Cake)
21. Silly Pumpkin Face Cookies (Klickitat Street)


22. Pretty Painted Pumpkin Cookies (Glorious Treats)
23. Lalaloopsie Cookies with a Twist (SweetSugarBelle)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dave Engledow - World's Best Father

When his daughter Alice Bee was born in 2010, photographer Dave Engledow knew that he wanted to document her life creatively and put together a collection of photos that she would treasure as an adult.  He wanted to portray the absent-minded new father, dazed, sleep-deprived and clueless - a parody of the father he hopes he'll never become.
Each photo has Engledow humorously holding a “World’s Best Father” coffee mug.
Dave is also raising money on Kickstarter to fund the creation of his World’s Best Father 2013 calendar and offers great backer rewards for those who help out.
His wife, Jen, helps in creating most of the images, ensuring that Alice Bee is always safe and happy.
more photos @ Facebook or Fotoblur 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Witchy Fingers

via Pinterest
When I first saw these witch fingers on Pinterest, I knew I just had to make them though we don't have an occasion for them as Malaysians generally don't celebrate Halloween. However, what we do have is the mooncake/lantern festival which is just a few days away and the folks in my neck of the woods are organising a lantern parade and mooncake party. Participants are requested to bring mooncakes and finger foods

I am thinking surprising the kids with these literal finger foods would be fun so I made a batch of these.
My first two attempts failed miserably - the cookies expanded and flattened out in the oven and looked like swollen thumbs. I used a basic sugar cookie dough.
Frustrated with my failure, I tried again with some left-over store-bought shortcrust pasty dough and surprisingly they retained their shape though they didn't look like what I wanted them to be. Besides, they tasted like pie crust!

Any idea what went wrong?


My helpers

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's For Dinner, Ma? (#4)

Pork and Yam is a traditional Hakka dish which is not easy to prepare. It requires several cooking processes. Chunky pieces of pork belly are first boiled, then deep-fried and steamed for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is sandwiched  between slices of fried yam and then steamed in a sauce made with a long list of ingredients (rose wine, fermented bean curd, star anise, sesame oil......) until the meat is tender enough to melt in your mouth.

When I visited my parents last week, I thought I'd surprise them with the Yam & Pork dish I had made from home. At 88, my mom hasn't been cooking for a long time. She used to make this family favourite whenever she had friends and family over.
Mom eyeballed the gooey mush on her plate suspiciously, protesting that it looked nothing like the recipe she taught me.
I had kinda tweaked the recipe a little to make it healthier, replacing the artery clogging belly pork with lean pork and cutting the meat and yam into bite-size pieces and stewing them in a crock pot instead of steaming for 3-4 hours. Mom was certain that Grandma would roll over in her grave if she knew what I had done to her recipe. Reluctantly, she tasted a small piece of the meat and commented that it didn't taste anything like the original recipe either. Er...did I mention that I had substituted the rose wine with brandy and kinda went a little crazy with it, to give the dish....well.... more spirit?!
Grandma must be spinning in her grave.
My version
What it should look like
image credit -  a feast, eveyday

From last week's menu.......

SPAGHETTI IN A BREAD - You can't go wrong with this one!

Instead of bread dough, I used store-bought puff pastry sheets and it turned out just as great!
Make cuts on the sides of the dough. Next, wrap the filling in a lattice pattern
Looks like I need to work on the braiding technique!

Later, I learned from the following video that cutting slanted strips would've been much easier!

recipe @ http://rhodesbread.com/blog/blog/braided-spaghetti-bread

SWEET AND SOUR PORK CHOPS (MALAYSIAN STYLE) - Undisputedly the most popular Chinese dish of Cantonese origin.
The Malaysian version is a little different than your American Chinese take-out - a little less sweet and flavoured by the addition of worcestershire sauce.
recipe @ http://thenewartofbaking.blogspot.com/2011/02/malaysian-style-sweet-and-sour-ribs-aka.html

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Ever noticed that the nice people in your neighbourhood never stayed long?
The nasty ones?  You are stuck with them FOREVER!

Sharing these pics of a recent get-together with the nice ones who have since moved out.
These kids were all babies when we first moved into the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Celebrity Doodles by Sergei and Vyacheslav Savelyv

Check out these astounding doodles of celebrities by Russian twin brothers Sergei and Vyacheslav Savelyv, drawn using nothing more than coloured pens and pencils.

More pics @ http://artnow.ru/ru/gallery/2/11116/picture/0.html
Julia Roberts
Angelina Jolie
Johnny Depp
Brad Pitt
Robert Pattinson
Antonio Banderas
Robert De Niro
Cameron Diaz

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