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Sunday, August 31, 2014


I've never seen a real porcupine or hedgehog before as these critters do not exist in our part of the world. Landak is a Malay word for both hedgehog and porcupine. There are no differentiating names for the two different types of animals. Anyway, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference if one of these critters were to appear before me.
What do you think of my landak cookies? Are these hedgehogs or porcupines?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kanom Jeen Nam Ya Pla

I was at a Thai restaurant when I saw this weird looking dish on the table behind me. I checked the menu and learned that the dish was called Kanom Jeen Nam Ya Pla. The name is quite a mouthful! Basically, it is a southern Thai cuisine of rice noodles served with a broth of rich creamy fish curry. In Malaysia, we have something quite similar called Thai Laksa though it doesn't taste quite as delish or look half as fancy as this.
Kanom Jeen means rice noodles which are made from rice which has first been fermented for three days, boiled, and then made into noodles by pressing the resulting dough through a sieve into boiling water.

Nam ya pla means fish curry sauce. This rich coconut milk based curry is divine!

It was possibly the best Thai Laksa I've ever tasted!  As soon as I got home, I googled the recipe and made the curry the following day. Instead of noodles, I served mine with rice and it was lipsmackin' good!

Here's the recipe to share. Good Luck on finding some of the ingredients!

8 dried chillies
8 fresh red chillies
1/2 cup sliced lemon grass
2 tbsps sliced galangal
2 tbsps sliced turmeric
1/3 cup garlic
1/3 cup shallots
White peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 tsp shrimp paste

1) Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and grind them to a fine paste.

4 cups coconut milk
4 cups cooked fish meat
1/3 cup of the above curry paste or store-bought Thai yellow curry paste.
4-6 cups water
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsps brown sugar
1/4- 1/2 cup of tamarind juice depending on your preference of sourness
2 tbsps fish sauce
2-3 Kaffir lime leaves

1) Heat about half a cup of coconut milk in a pot. Add the curry paste. Simmer the curry paste mixture for 2 -3 minutes to ensure  all the spices are cooked and the aroma and flavours infused into the mixture.
2) Add 3 cups of coconut milk and 3 cups of water together with the tamarind juice to the mixture  until it boils, then add the salt and torn kaffir lime leaves.
3) Add the fish sauce and sugar. Add this point, taste the sauce. If required, add more tamarind juice depending on how sour you want it.
4) Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk to the sauce. Stir  and turn off the heat once it starts to boil.
5) Serve with rice.

recipe adapted from

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"S" is for scarecrows and swallows and strange things that go bump in the night

August is the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a time when the gates of hell are believed by the Taoist Chinese to be opened and spirits from the underworld are free to roam our world to seek food and avenge the living who had wronged them in their previous lives for closure. Although I am a non-believer, there have been many strange, paranormal occurrences reported from time to time during this month of the seventh moon - from mysterious inexplicable accidents, to items that go missing uncannily, to strange mysterious fires. Even animals appear spooked. Dogs are said to be restless and howling the entire month.
Growing up, I was witness to a bizarre phenomenon that happened annually in my hometown during the hungry ghost month. There was this street where thousands of swallows would perch nightly on the power lines above, their roisterous chirping and tweeting made quite a racket. But during this ungodly month, the street was weirdly quiet, with not a single bird in sight. Then, as soon as the month was over and the spirits believed to have returned to the nether world, the birds would reappear! This happened every single year during the month of the hungry ghosts until that part of the town was demolished for redevelopement. How do you explain that?
Ha! Who needs scarecrows when you have hungry ghosts!

 I have a previous post with lots of pics to share about the festival  here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

"C" is for cat....and....Colin

My first pet was a Burmese cat. I named her Pussy. Back in the 60s, pussy innocently meant cat. Pussy had the most beautiful golden eyes and hair the colour of a deep, rich sable.
I was seven years old when my dad brought her home. She was from a litter of 8 kitties that Dad's co-worker was giving away.
Pussy and I were inseparable and I remember waiting impatiently everyday for school to be over  so I could be home with her.
One day, many months later, I woke up in the middle of the night when my hand felt something wet and slimy. In the dark, I thought I saw several frogs on my bed. I let out a scream and my parents rushed into my room. Switching on the light, we realised Pussy had just given birth to a litter of 4 kitties on my bed! Not a pretty sight!
Looking back, I should be honored that Pussy had chosen my bed where she felt safe and comfy but when you're seven years old, blood and placenta on your bed is a major "cat"astrophe! Not fun!

In case you're wondering about the title of this post, these cookies were made for my long time bloggy buddy Lin's son, Colin. I couldn't ship them to him 'cos the shipping fee would have cost me a bomb. Lin suggests that I just make the cookies and take a photo of them. Then I can eat them too!

Those kitties are supposed to be their beloved Hobbes -- 47 lbs of Stripey Goodness!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gilbert Legrand - You Say Toilet Brush, He says Lion

French artist Gilbert Legrand sees faces in ordinary everyday objects and turns them into whimsical, humorous characters. Trouser hangers become fashionable rats, a toilet brush transforms into a lion, a scrubbing brush turns into a native American chief......

Delight in these quirky sculptures we would most likely never envision without his help.

To see more of his work, visit his webpage or facebook page.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Gone But Not Forgotten

It has been five years since Hermie, our beloved hermit crab went to crab heaven. He was the boys' first pet among our menagerie of fish, turtles, hamsters and guinea pigs. We still grief for that little guy from time to time especially at the sight of the empty shells that were once worn by him.

Upon the boys' request, I made these cookies in memory of our wee crabby buddy.

We miss you, little fella!