Friday, October 31, 2014

Self Serving

I have watched vdo clip recently about working with cats and I can honestly connect with them poor humans. My office is on the east side of the house and it gets plenty of morning sun. If Pipi does not lounge around in the living room she will be on my desk. She does not only occupy the space between me and the keyboard, she often plays with my hands and drinks from my glass. Thank goodness she does not like coffee (no meeeeelk!) so my coffee cup is safe.

Of course, I also have 2 chairs in my office. When Pipi decides to curl up on my soft chair, I have to move myself to the wooden one. I didn't tell her it's a teak chair otherwise she might change her mind.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pan Grilled Pork Satay and Satay Sauce without Nuts – Short Cut Version

Satay Sauce
½ can chickpeas, blitzed with two tablespoons vegetable oil and a bit of water
3/4 cup coconut cream
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
2 tablespoons chopped palm sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
Oil for frying

Fry curry paste, curry powder and turmeric and a bit of oil in a saucepan until fragrant. Add coconut milk a bit at a time and fry further until the oil surfaces. Add chickpea mixture, sweet chilli sauce, sugar and salt. Add water (about ½ - 1 cup) and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.

This is not authentic but better than nothing and easy to make – another good thing about it is people with allergy to peanuts can enjoy it too.

Pork Satay
Pork Fillet, sliced into approx 10 cm strips
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup coconut cream
A bit of oil

Mix curry powder, turmeric, salt and coconut cream together. Reserve 2-3 tablespoons for basting and add the rest to the pork to marinate with a little bit of oil. Refrigerate the pork for 2-3 hours then skew the pieces with bamboo skewers. Trim the skewers to fit the pan.

Wipe non-stick pan with a bit of oil and pan grill the pork on medium high heat until nicely brown on all side. Serve with satay sauce, pickled cucumber (ajad ) and toasts.

I know I posted another satay recipe and said it would be nicer using pork with a bit of fat on it – but this is a short cut version and fillet does not need to be tenderised.

Monday, October 27, 2014

They are Coming

Halloween is approaching and this year we are well stocked up with lollies for the trick or treat brigade. I wonder what kind of outfits they will come up with this year. We will have to give more lollies to the kids who put effort on their costumes (and leave the dental problems to their parents:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stranger in the Park

This cutie has been saying hello to Bob when he takes Bonnie out for a walk in the park for a few weeks now. He is very soft and very friendly especially to those cat treats Bob always carries in his pocket!

And apologies to my dear readers for posting cat overload recently. I couldn't beleived it myself. I was not a cat person but that's history now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Coconut Biscuits

This recipe from Kiwibaking  is easy as and can be done in a jiffy - not many ingredients required. Desiccated coconut is readily available in supermarkets and not expensive but the outcome is loads of fabulous biscuits.

I bake mine on baking paper lined oven tray for 14 minutes for that extra crispiness and golden colour. I also reduce baking powder to half a teaspoon and use half butter- half margarine so the dough is not runny and I can roll and flatten them with my wet hands. I use a teaspoon of vanilla extract and it smells scrumptious in the kitchen. The recipe yields about 48 biscuits.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Poster Girl

Pipi could have been a poster girl for SPCA but she is not a rescued cat. She just defected across the fence from our neighbour's 7 years ago so she could spend her retirement years with us.

At 14 she will need a lot of service from human servants. Hot water bottle for cold nights in winter, poached chickens for dinners and scratches under the chin when she feels like it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Easy Honey Biscuits

I like this kind of biscuits that you can freeze the dough so it can be used later when you feel peckish or have little guests at home.

You will need:
100 grams butter or margarine or dairy blend
50 grams caster sugar
140 gram all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon liquid honey

Place flour in a bowl and add baking powder and salt – stir with spatula just to combine and set aside.

In the mixer beat butter and sugar then add honey and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture gradually. Roll the dough into a log on cling film, wrap and secure both ends. Place in the freezer for about 30 – 45 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Unwrap the dough and cut into ¾ cm thick slices – place the dough on the baking paper lined tray and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Cool the biscuits on the wire rack – and enjoy!

Monday, October 13, 2014


Our friends from Bay of Plenty dropped by our house the other day bearing gifts with them. Among those are these organic avocados. I do not buy avocados often. We used to live in the country where we had 3 producing avocado trees, 2 Hass, 1 Reed. They were ripened at different time of the year so we basically had them almost all year round. Hasses are much yummier than Reeds – the latter seem to be a bit watery for my liking.

Because we used to have them in the backyard, when we sold the house and moved to town, the idea of having spend money to buy them puts me off so I maybe buy them once a year in the last 4 or 5 years.

What we normally see in supermarkets and fruit shops are Hasses. We often think of avocados as good in salad and Guacamole. We have heard that they serve avocado and chocolate smoothie in some exotic holiday destinations and think why not? I will try that and again, if I stay quiet on the subject – it means my experiment is not that successful. In the meantime, you can visit NZ Avocado Website here. They have loads of recipes on the website – they even have avocado ic ecream recipe – another yum yum idea!

Friday, October 10, 2014


Rinse aid comes in many forms and shapes. We have two kinds at home – liquid in a bottle kind and cuddly four legged kind.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Caramel Popcorn

We used to be able to buy microwave caramel popcorn from supermarket but not anymore. We have not seen it in recent years but the normal buttery version is still available with variation. I don’t know why – maybe there is not popular or maybe it deems unfit for consumers!

However, when I went to swim 2 weeks ago – I saw bags of homemade caramel popcorn for sale at the cashier at the pool so I bought a couple. It was so more-ish that I had to look up for recipes. I have tried a couple of recipes and tweaked a bit – and I have learned that baking soda is added to the caramel for a good reason. It’s there to make the texture brittle and save you from going to the dentist too soon. Without it, the caramel will be a hard candy.

1 bag of ACT 2 microwave popcorn (2 m 40 secs in the microwave) or 4-5 cups Popcorn of your choice
100 grams butter or margarine or half/half
½ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon liquid honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon baking soda

Spread popcorn on a baking tray.

In a saucepan put butter, sugar, maple syrup and honey together and place on a medium/low heat on a stove. Stir until sugar dissolved and leave to cook undisturbed for about 4 minutes or until the mixture turns golden brown. Remove from heat and add baking soda and stir quickly. Pour the caramel mixture over popcorn and toss to coat. It’s very hot so take care not to burn yourself.

Leave too cool before storing in an air-tight container. This is perfect for any night in – in front of the TV watching Orange is the New Black

Monday, October 6, 2014

Duck Eggs

Duck eggs are more common in Thailand than here in New Zealand. A lot of sweets (really sweet) are made of duck eggs and sugar. They are richer than chicken eggs and the shell is also a little bit thicker so they stay fresh for longer. Some say they smell a bit stronger than chicken eggs but I cannot smell any difference (might have been my nose!)

I don’t come across duck eggs very often but my friend has acquired a flock of ducks recently and she is kind enough to give me some of the eggs. I made chocolate cake with one of them and the cake was fluffier.

Another thing duck eggs are much better than chicken eggs is when you make salted eggs as they have firmer texture especially egg white so they will hold the shape well when cooked. Salted eggs in Thailand are always made with duck eggs. It’s my first attempt in making salted eggs. I have put the rest of the duck eggs in salted water and we will have to wait at least for 4 weeks before I know if it works. If you do not see any post about them here in November, it means I fail miserably!

Friday, October 3, 2014


This is Moonya. I think she is an Exotic Shorthair – but I could be wrong. Moonya is our customer's cat. Her mum says she loves the high end audio system at home. Not a surprise when the parents are also into that kind of thing themselves!

Moonya also enjoys having her teeth cleaned – this I find unusual. Our moggies will not like it even a bit. However, cats are such a strange creature so they can come up the unexpectables from time to time.

Update: I just have got an email from Moonya's mum. Moonya is a Scottish Fold not Exotic Shorthair - my apologies, Moonya. Would you please forgive meeee? She can also do hi-five with her little paws and loves to sing along to Rossini Cat's Duet!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Easy Chocolate Biscuits

I got this recipe years ago from home magazine I read while waiting for my GP. I’m quite sure it’s Julie Biouso’s.  It’s easy and the kids love the biscuits. My neighbour’s grandkids and their little friends are partial to them. Warning: they are quite addictive so make two lots if you will.

You will need:
120 grams butter
60 grams caster sugar
125 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
30 gram drinking chocolate powder (not cocoa powder)

Pre-heat the oven at 190 degrees C.

Sift flour. Chocolate powder, salt and baking powder together and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together then add dry ingredients – mix with spatula until well combined. Wet your hand and roll about one teaspoon of dough for each biscuit onto the baking paper lined oven tray. Flatten the dough with fork and bake for 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on it towards the end and don’t let them burn as they can get brown quite quickly.

Leave them in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to the rack to cool completely. Store in an air tight jar.