Petit fours Melayu

As usual when I’m getting some work done on the car – this time it’s the tyres – I strategize to Military precision and try to find a garage with a good restaurant nearby. Nothing more boring than sitting in the hot garage waiting for what’s promised to be a 30-min job that often turns out taking a lifetime and a half.

And so I’ve ended up here in a cool and spacious Malay restaurant downtown, Aminah Ariff to be precise, where they have old style Kuih Melayu including these babies, my self-designed petit fours:

So you’ll see clockwise from the top the Pulut Pusu (glutinous rice with spicy anchovies), the Bingka Ubi (steamed tapioca pudding coated with coconut), the Kusui (steamed rice pudding coated with coconut) and the Kuih Gatas, a flattened rice cake coated with sugar.

The Bingka Ubi is easily the best I’ve tasted in a very long time. In fact it’s so nyaman I feel like shoving it down the throat of this very loud and noisy Pa’ Aji at the table nearby and let him have a taste. Seriously, listening to a pensioner boast about his sleazy exploits in Pontianak was NOT what I’d bargained for when I got out of bed this morning – I think I’d much rather this pre-historic chunky TV came loose and fell flat on me…

… WITH the added weight of a full-bodied chanteuse Sharifah Aini who’s on screen, and her equally generous twins.

Nigella Lawson Saves the Day

Oh yes, she did! Well, actually, she saved a few days…

you see, come Christmas, I was scratching my head trying to come up with something nice for the table (we normally have Christmas lunch with family in Belait), but simply couldn’t think of anything simple yet novel enough. Until, that is, I came across Nigella’s show in which she was making some Christmas cakes with a very simple-looking sugar frosting that could go on just about anything. So, I thought, cupcakes it is then.

I used the readymix cupcake, sanang saja, jangan tah susah susah.

The frosting I saw Nigella make was simply half a block of cream cheese, half a block of unsalted butter, 500g castor sugar, and a teaspoon of vinegar to hold them all together. Now, if there’s anything I hate, it’s the sticky butter and grease when doing the dishes, can’t stand it. But this recipe seemed simple enough, I thought I’d give it a go.

And Nigella was right, it was easy, and it was tasty. And as it turned out, there was enough frosting to last a few days over the long year-end weekend.

The Christmas Cupcakes

The New Year’s Eve Swirls

The Three-Days-after-New Year’s Day and the Day-before-School-Reopens Chocolate Squares

So, Nigella’s recipe did come in handy, but I have a few confessions to make…

1. Nigella’s recipe said to put the red colouring into the cupcake mix, to get a Crimson cake as befits the Christmassy atmosphere. I accidentally put it into the frosting instead. Ia tah salah buat sebenarnya, inda ikut instructions.

2. I didn’t realise how much frosting I would end up with, so I had to be creative trying to finish it all off over several designs. The family must have thought I was being over-rajin with the baking. I just didn’t want to waste the cream.

3. Nigella simply spooned the frosting over the cupcakes, but when I did it, it looked a right riot. Inda lawa. So the tacky rainbow sugardrops and the chocolate rice were really just to disguise the mess.

So, thanks to the lovely and generously-endowed (in culinary skills, that is) Nigella, the holiday celebrations with the family were a tad bit sweeter and more colourful. One thing I couldn’t understand was why I didn’t quite get the same reaction Nigella normally does when I licked the cream of the spoon whilst leering sideways… my nephew stormed out of the room screaming out loud, “Disgusting!!”

WordPress 2010 review of [August 13th]

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010. That’s about 31 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 43 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 130 posts. There were 117 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 29mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 30th with 173 views. The most popular post that day was [ August 13th ].

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were delisioucity.com, search.conduit.com, gembo-gembo.blogspot.com, maurina.wordpress.com, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lamb karahi, [ august 13th ], happy teachers day, nasi katok, and buah mentega.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

[ August 13th ] August 2008
10 comments

2

My Brick Oven @ Hobo June 2009
42 comments

3

Sungkai Delights September 2008
4 comments

4

Pesta Buah-Buahan Tempatan October 2009
2 comments

5

A bit of Pakistan September 2008
4 comments

P.S. My sincerest thanks to Nikki of Delisioucity, Jimmy Bro of Gembo (I still don’t know what this means), and Maurina of Maurina who have been my top referees. :))) Nikki, apparently, is entertaining guests in her charming little cottage in snowy Oxford as I type this. I must have missed the invitation 🙂