Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Twists and Turns

Girl originally started this blog as a document of her journey towards culinary-literacy. However, she has come to realise that she has not written a post on cooking in ages but has devoted screeds to her other passions in life...gardening and cute animals. Is this for the better or worse? Should Girl strive every muscle to keep all other encroaching subjects out of her ~foodie~ blog or should she abandon herself to complete freedom of expression and go with the flow...?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In The Beginning...

Take one weed-ridden plot of earth...

Banish weeds to that big compost heap in the sky...

Here as you can see, Girl has removed most of the worst weeds and covered the cleared vege plot with weedmat and planks while waiting for the weather to settle down...

Plant seedlings in neat rows...

The plants are nestled into the pea straw mulch that was spread on the vege patch in autumn to discourage weeds. The plot was also generously fertilised with chook droppings and other organic matter throughout autumn and winter.

Plant count: 3 courgettes, 17 lettuces of different varieties, 5 broccolini plants, 6 silverbeets and numerous spinach plants that were sown way back in autumn

Water industriously throughout summer...

Eat enthusiastically when ready...

Pan fried salmon fillet and fresh spinach and garlic shoots from Girl's garden.

The salmon was marinaded in soy sauce, sesame oil and worcestershire sauce and then pan-fried.
The fresh spinach (the first harvest of the year, BTW!!) was blanched in hot water and seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil and finely chopped garlic shoots. Brilliant!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Girl has recently been experiencing cravings for the foods of her childhood...she is currently in the process of hunting down recipes for the cookies her mother used to make for Chinese New Year when she was little-er...baking Quaker Oat Cookies and Cornflake Cookies would send the fragrance of butter and sugar wafting through the whole house...

Things that make girls go awwwww.....

Well, at least makes this Girl go awwww...

This is Sophie the Spoodle who is 7 years old and still charges about like a 7 month old puppy...It took Girl awhile to get Sophie to calm down enough to pose for these photos *grin*

She's really into cuddles and it would only be a stony-hearted grouch who could resist those pathetic eyes...

But don't be fooled by Sophie's seemingly pathetic demeanour...Sophie's owner takes very good care of her pets...and if she was not a very good friend to Girl, she might well have woken up one day and found herself one dog short... *innocent smile*

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Down in my hood

Evidence of warmer weather in and around my neighbourhood...

A puzzling array...

Whole kernel corn plus creamy evaporated milk...

...equals a childhood treat!

When Girl was even younger than she is now, she attended a school opposite the Museum in her hometown. Despite the beautiful historical building the Museum was housed in, interesting artifacts and displays and a fine collection of aquatic life, the real attraction of the Museum was its Summerhouse...a place where three energetic sisters dispensed icy treats and other foodstuffs to the weary, thirsty and hungry and demanded only a modest sum in recompense...

In addition to the foodstuffs, there was also a little store room that one had to pass to get to the tables and it was rumoured that someone had been murdered and robbed in there...which always caused a shiver to run down Girl's spine...

Twenty odd years later and thousands of miles away from home...Girl felt a sudden craving for the iced corn that she invariably ordered at the Summerhouse to combat the warm weather. Most fellow Malaysians would probably scorn Girl's choice as being the blandest item on the menu** but Girl is staunch in her love of this icy treat...plump kernels of corn, shaved ice, evaporated milk and syrup in a bowl is and will be Girl's choice of sweet on a Summer's day...

**in addition to iced corn, the Sisters also served Ais Kacang or Air Batu Campur (Mixed Ice) and Cendol (which has no translation)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oak Tree Cottage Lemon Slice

This lemon slice was strongly recommended by a colleague of Girl's...recipe courtesy of Cuisine Magazine.



125g flour
90g sugar
75g cold butter, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon lemon zest


4 eggs
225g sugar
1/2 - 3/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour



To make the base, place the flour and sugar in a food processor. Add the butter and zest and mix until the mixture forms a ball. Roll out or press into the base of a 23cm buttered springform baking tin. Bake for 20 minutes at 180ºC until just turning golden.


Meanwhile, beat together the eggs and sugar until creamy. Fold in the lemon juice and flour. Pour this mixture over the crust and bake at 180ºC for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 150ºC and bake a further 30 minutes or until the lemon mixture is set. Cool and cut into 6-8 wedges.To serve, dust with icing sugar and spoon whipped cream on the side. Serves 6-8.

Source: Recipe at Cuisine Magazine

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fried Noodles and Yummy Pork Ribs...

Fried Noodles with carrots, mung bean sprouts, garlic shoots and fish balls and Fried Pork Ribs.

Friday, September 4, 2009

You Shameless Hussy!

Girl must admit that she has a fit of the giggles everytime she sees this in the refrigerator of her local Chinese grocer's. Admittedly, the sight of a grown person having an attack of the giggles for no (seemingly) apparent reason in front of an open refrigerator must provide entertainment to the other shoppers around her...however!

The word "Wanton" according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary...

1 a archaic : hard to control : undisciplined, unruly b : playfully mean or cruel : mischievous

2 a : lewd, bawdy b : causing sexual excitement : lustful, sensual

3 a : merciless, inhumane b : having no just foundation or provocation : malicious

4 : being without check or limitation: as a : luxuriantly rank b : unduly lavish : extravagant

So if Girl wanted to overindulge in a substance that would corrupt her decorous self and cause her to abandon her morals and transform into a self-indulgent, dissipated and debauched woman of disrepute, she would have to look no further than her nearest Chinese grocer' which case, this seemingly innocent concatenation of flour and water is surely Asia's best kept secret...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

오래 간만 입니다...

Hello again after an incredibly long hiatus...

Girl's apologies to her lone reader out there for abruptly halting her updates of her blog. Things have been hectic, to say the least!

But to briefly bring things up to date, Girl has sold her chooks as she found she could not cope with some of the other issues she had going and caring for two off they went to another caring home...she does miss the large brown eggs they used to pop out on a regular basis but then again, she does not miss the weekly chook house mucking-out.

However, on the other hand, Girl has found a new hobby...knitting! and recently (with the aid of a friend) produced the following knitted blankie...woot! woot! The plan was to do the cream squares in plain garter stitch and then do the coloured squares in different stitches. Girl used a basket stitch for some of the squares and a couple of other stitches that she cannot remember the names of...

On to the next project then!

Monday, May 4, 2009

은주야, 영주야, 잘가라...

So, Girl having acquired two shaver hens that regularly lay large size seven eggs, Eun Ju and Yeong Ju kinda became superfluous to the whole enterprise. Therefore, they were sold off for a modest sum to an eager buyer and have since gone off to a new home...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

아름다운 풍경

Yo...Jealous, much?

What would you give to be able to grow a giant like this broad beauty...? Someone Girl knows grew it. Not Girl.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Chicken Pics...

Pics of "the girls"...

계란 있네...

Girl totally did not expect to find eggs so soon...Yeong Ju had only been in her new home for a day and was still looking a little freaked out from the whole transition from huge chicken run to smelly cardboard box in jolty car to new chicken house. But lo and behold, there, in her nest of peastraw, lay a smooth small brown egg! She took a rest from laying the day after that and this morning, produced another (slightly bigger) brown egg. Now if only Eun Ju would do the same...

Korean Words (Phrases):

계란 (gye ran) egg

은주와 영주
(Eun Ju wa Yeong Ju)
Eun Ju and Yeong Ju

Monday, April 13, 2009

The latest addition to Girl's suburban backyard

Introducing Yeong Ju and Eun Ju...Girl's two bantam hens...

Eun Ju is the darker coloured one and Yeong Ju is the lighter coloured one with a bit of a comb. Yeong Ju (who also happens to be the prettier one) is a real bitch to Eun Ju, pecking her and generally tyrannising over her. But while Yeong Ju does a runner when the cat comes a-prowling, Eun Ju stands her ground and gives him the eye...quite a profound lesson to be learnt indeed...

Chja popochka...?

Friday, April 10, 2009

한국 음식을 정말 좋아해요.

Girl has been on a mission to learn how to cook some basic Korean dishes as Korean cuisine features a wide range of vegetables. Girl thinks that this will help her lose a couple of pounds and get that cholesterol count down!!

Common condiments used in cooking are sesame seed oil (used in just about every dish), the ubiquitious hot red pepper paste and soy sauce.

If you would like to learn how to make dishes such as sigeumchi namul (spinach) and gaji namul (eggplant) and (Girl's favourite) bibim naeng myeon (cold spicy mixed noodles), head right over to for a wide range of recipes, video demonstrations and more!!

Korean words and phrases:

참기름 (cham gi reum) sesame seed oil
간장 (kan jang) soy sauce
고추장 (go chu jang) hot pepper paste
시금치 나물 (si geum chi na mul) spinach side dish
가지 나물 (ga ji na mul) eggplant side dish
비빔 냉면 (bi bim naeng myeon) cold spicy mixed noodles

한국 음식을 정말 맛있어요!!
(Han guk eum shil eul jeong mal mat-iss-eo yo)
Korean food is really delicious!!

제가 한국 음식을 정말 좋아해요.
(Jey ga han guk eum shil eul jeong mal joh-a-hae yo)
I really like Korean food.

잘 먹겠습니다.
(Jal meok-kess seum ni da)
A polite phrase you say to the person who prepared the meal before you begin eating. Literally translated, it means "I will eat well", implying that the food will be delicious because of the skill and care taken by the person who prepared it.

잘 먹었습니다
(Jal meok-keoss seum ni da)
A polite phrase said at the end of the meal to inform the cook that you have enjoyed the meal he/she prepared and to thank them for the delicious food.

The Return of Girl to the Land of the Living...

Girl is officially on holiday!

This means that Girl can once more join the throngs of people who have lives apart from their work...

And since it is now Autumn where Girl is, it is harvest time!

Proof that Girl's attempt at planting cherry tomatoes was a success and one which will hopefully be repeated next year...

And to remind Girl of the hot summer past...a picture of Girl's collection of succulents in various pots and containers picked up from various garage sales and op shops.

It is now time for Girl to tidy up her garden and to make plans for next year...

Girl will definitely have...

  • cherry tomatoes
  • spinach (and more spinach!)
  • lettuces
  • capsicums
  • zuchini
  • garlic shoots and spring onions

Girl will pass on patty pan squash next year, cute though they may look on the labels, since they were a resounding failure this year...

Now onto the flower garden...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Silence is Golden...

But in Girl's little corner of this world, things have undoubtedly not been silent...which, in an ironic way, is the reason for Girl's failure to post anything on this blog for about 2 weeks. But despite Girl's seeming taciturnity, there were certainly still crumpets and tea...well, not exactly crumpets... but there certainly were crusty loaves of bread for dunking into soup and for mopping up hearty stews and a pillow soft loaf, sweetly studded with sultanas...

Yes! Girl, in her quest for the perfect loaf, finally stumbled on the reasons why her loaves were not turning out as well as they should have....they are listed below in no particular order...

1. Girl was not kneading her loaves enough before the first proving...

2. Girl was not letting her loaves prove for long enough...

3. Girl was kneading her loaves too much after knocking back the dough (after the first prove)...

4. Girl was not letting her loaves prove for long enough before baking...

5. Girl was not using a loaf tin to bake her loaves in...thereby resulting in foccacia-type loaves (the recipe that Girl used produced quite a wet dough) when what she really wanted was an up-right loaf that she could slice and pop in the toaster...

This is a sultana loaf that Girl made by tweaking the basic white loaf recipe that she had. She added 3 handfuls of sultanas, 25 grams of butter and a tablespoon of honey and substituted some of the water for milk. The loaf was baked in a 200c oven for fifteen minutes then was removed and the top covered with tin foil to stop it burning. This loaf took about an hour to be cooked to perfection. But whether the extra time needed was due to the higher fat content in the loaf or the tin-foil cover, Girl does not quite know. Girl's self-control was tested severely as she waited for the loaf to cool sufficiently for it to be cut. When she finally cut the loaf, she had three slices straight away, to make up for lost time...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Basic Chocolate Cake

This recipe was adapted from Sue Lawrence's Chocolate Meringue Cake recipe but it produces a lovely, moist and light chocolate cake. Girl baked this recipe in cupcake-sized silicone baking cups and it also produced lovely little cakelets, all ready to be iced.

115gms butter (softened), ½ cup caster sugar, 3 eggs, 50ml milk, 100gms self-raising flour, cocoa powder

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes usingan electric hand-mixer)
2. Add the eggs one at the time to the mixture and beat well after each addition.
3. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture.
4. Add the milk to the mixture.
5. Stir gently to combine everything.
6. Pour into a greased or lined cake tin or little cupcake papers or a muffin short, whatever you want!
7. Bake at about 160 degrees until a cake tester comes out clean when pushed into the middle of the cake.**

**Girl baked the cakes at about 160 degrees (instead of the usual 180) in a fan-forced oven because the recipe produced quite a wet batter. This way, the insides got a chance to cook while the outsides didn't burn...

1. Add chocolate chips to the batter before baking to make a choc-chip cake.
2. Leave out the cocoa powder and substitute vanilla essence to make a plain butter cake.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Girl Gets All Tarted Up

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Strawberries Fair....

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chocolate Meringue Cake

Girl was flipping idly through Sue Lawrence's Book of Baking when her eye fell on a recipe for Chocolate Meringue cake. Instantly intrigued, Girl read on and upon discovering that she had almost all the ingredients in her store cupboard, she immediately started making this decadent-looking cake...

The basic idea was to make a chocolate cake batter with egg yolks and then a meringue with the egg whites. The chocolate cake batter was poured into two cake tins and the meringue was spread on the chocolate batter. The two cakes were baked for about 30 minutes. The two layers were then assembled, sandwiched with whipped cream (Sue Lawrence suggested a lemon curd filling but Girl took the short cut).

To see a slightly different recipe for this cake...go over to Joy Of Baking...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Food Photography...

Girl was admiring the photographs and food styling on some of the many food blogs out there...and thus a desire was birthed in her to not only be able to make luscious food but also to take a photo of it that conveyed its lusciousness to all viewers!

And so...behold!

Want to know more? Click here: Introduction to Food Photography

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

God's Green Earth...

There is nothing like a bountiful harvest from Girl's miniscule kitchen garden to make her feel all smugly self-sufficient *giggle*

Here we have a cos lettuce and a frilly/loose leaf lettuce which would do in a salad dressed with balsamic vinegar and a veritable mountain of spinach which Girl plans to convert into either a lasagne or possibly try using to stuff cannelloni...oh, ambitions!

How to win friends and influence people...

It is said that everyone has their price. Mine could very well be this lemon meringue pie which consists of a crisp gingernut base, goey lemoney custard filling and a chewey marshmallow topping, all produced in only an hour. This bronzed specimen was made by a friend and scoffed by three people overnight...not that lemon meringue pie keeps very most accounts, it should be eaten on the day it is made.

Girl's friend made this pie in a springform tin, which made it easy to release the pie from its confines. However, the crust was a little fragile and Girl's clumsy knife-work resulted in a layer of biscuit crumbs on the kitchen bench. Completely undeterred by this minor mishap, Girl and friend demolished a quarter of the delectable pie for afternoon tea.

If you would also like to make this pie and be seduced by its intense lemoney goodness and convert others as well, click here to see the recipe...however, Girl's friend uttered a word of caution, not to bring this pie to your workplace as a treat for your colleagues without counting the cost...because forever-after, you will be responsible for bringing this lemon meringue pie to every single work-do until you retire or are fired...but then again, who would fire you if you brought them lemon-meringue pie regularly? It's a vicious circle it is...


Girl tried making the lemon meringue pie in her cupcake-sized silicone baking cups and this was the result...this time, only half a recipe was used.

The little pies were a little difficult to de-mould and the crust came apart at the slightest provocation. The taste was completely unimpaired, however, and Girl ate them with a teaspoon out of the baking cups. Girl had a few left over the next day and these unmoulded much more easily than the ones the previous day just because the crust was better consolidated.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Basic White Loaf

3 cups plain flour; 1⅛ cups tepid water; 1 tsp salt; ½ Tbsp sugar; 1 pkt (8gms) instant yeast

1. Put all the dry ingredients (except the yeast) into a big bowl
2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the water and yeast into the well
3. Mix the ingredients together until a dough forms
4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes (time yourself if you have to...this step is crucial)
5. Put the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with clingform. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours [apparently, the dough can be left to rise in the refrigerator for about 12 hours]
6. After 1-2 hours, the dough should be twice its original size. Knock it back to its original size and shape into either a rectangle or a round shape and lay the dough on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. You can also put the dough into loaf tins...whatever you fancy
7. Leave the dough to double in size again (should take ½-1 hour but don't rush it...)
8. Bake at 230c for about 35-45 minutes. If you take the oaf out of the oven and tap the bottom and it sounds hollow, it should be done
9. Let the loaf cool before cutting into it

Afterword...Eat as it is (the way I do sometimes!) or slather with butter, jam or cream cheese or sandwich strips of crispy bacon and fresh lettuce and juicy tomatoes straight out of your vege garden between two slices of the fresh bread

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Basic Icing

50gms butter; Tons of icing sugar; 2 Tbsp warm water

1. Melt butter in warm water and stir until the butter is all melted
2. Sift in as much icing sugar as needed to make icing to the consistency you want

Basic Cookie Recipe


125gms butter; 125gms sugar; 225gms flour; baking powder; vanilla essence; 1 egg

1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
2. Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix thoroughly
3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the wet ingredients and mix thoroghly
4. Shape dough using cookie cutters and place on oven tray
5. Bake at 180c for about 10-15 minutes (bake longer if necessary)

1. Add a teaspoonful of ground ginger to the mixture along with the egg and vanilla essence
2. Add lemon juice into the mixture
3. Make a batch of simple butter icing and ice the cookies

Using My Loaf...

Girl has finally produced a loaf of white bread worthy of being called a loaf...All others she produced before were imposters, mere lumps of yeasty flour masquerading as loaves of bread...Girl's transformation secret?

It's all in the kneading...ten minutes of firm massaging had Girl's loaf of bread rising in ecstasy...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pretty in Red...

Girl's latest acquisition...a set of weighing scales that looked like the ones her grandpa used to use when Girl was a littler girl...

Girl isn't, as a rule, in favour of commercialised nostalgia but she espied this red, shiny
contraption in a shop-window...and fell in love...

Birthday Cookies