Homemade Granola

I started making this at home, because people were guzzling lolly-sweet imported boxed cereal at the rate of a box every three days. It was stupidly expensive: 270 Thai baht for a standard box of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs” or such like, or almost US $10. Every three days, mind you.

So anyway, switching to hippie nutritionally aware Tartar mum just-plain-cheap mode, I started making our own.

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Tribute recipes: Homemade rosemary loaf

Since I started blogging, I’ve learned some new recipes from fellow bloggers and other kind people. In WordPress-land, people have time to share tips and offer encouragement. Hence this series of tributes to the blogs and people I’ve been learning from.

I was very pleased with the result of this baking experiment, as it turned out looking a lot like the picture on the Frugal Feeding post, which is where I got the recipe.

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Tribute recipes: Toffee Chocolate Cupcakes

A bit pressed for time lately, so I’ll be posting some of my failsafe options – the ones I do without having to think too hard. They include some of the recipes I’ve picked up from fellow bloggers.

Today’s recipe comes from my lovely cousin Ann – something she concocted in someone else’s kitchen while on holidays. I’ve ended up making this more often than she has – probably something to do with my children’s preference for chocolate, and not much else. Continue reading

Apple and macadamia crumble

I’ve made this crumble recipe many times before – usually with walnuts, occasionally with almonds, and sometimes throwing in some mango along with the apple.

In Nairobi this week, I picked up a couple bags of organic macadamia nuts. One bite, and I realized I’d never eaten really good, fresh macadamias before. This topping, using some of the Kenyan macadamias, is absolutely the best.

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How to make thosai – or it is dosai?

I always wanted to know how to make thosai. Or, as my Indian friends from India (not from Malaysia) would say, dosai.

Living in Petaling Jaya in the ‘80s, this was one of my favourite dinners, if someone was driving over to Oldtown: wafer-thin “paper thosai” large enough to wrap your head in, crisp and golden with a filling of masala potato.

However, friends would always say, “Nah… too much work.” Indeed – why make it at home when you can go out for a nice fresh one, cooked by a specialist. So we always ate shop thosai, unless friends made us some at their home. But this was rare. Generally they would pop over to their local Indian shop for it too.

Recently, my friend Unaicy kindly provided a recipe. Making it wasn’t so hard – it just came down to a matter of timing.

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Pineapple buttermilk cake

After the dried lemon interlude, I was still in the mood for something light and tangy. We had some buttermilk sitting around in the fridge, so I adapted this recipe from my handy 2009 delicious.Baking book.

Instead of apricots as recommended in the recipe, I used some lovely ripe pineapple.

Here’s a close-up of that topping, with fresh pineapple, lemon juice and chopped almonds. Luscious, no?

And here is my adaptation:  Continue reading

Feeling lemony

I went to Abu Dhabi this month…

And I came back with dried lemons.

That would be those golf ball-sized items atop the chicken.

They looked much the same even before cooking. The blackness makes them a little alarming (even for someone who eats blachan), so I googled round beforehand for instructions and found some excellent commentary here, with further links:


I also hunted round for some Middle Eastern-type chicken recipes, and in the end concocted my own with green olives and the dried lemons. You’re meant to stab each lemon three or four times to puncture it, then drop it into your stew to infuse.

I rubbed the chicken all over with cumin seed, turmeric and two kinds of paprika – sweet and half-sharp. The next day, I cooked it up with onions, garlic, chopped up olives, raisins, and said lemons, also adding some nice bay leaves – another souvenir from the trip.

It turned out quite nice, especially with this fatoush (green salad tossed with parsley and some stale baguette, cubed and brushed with extra-virgin olive oil) and some grilled eggplant.

It wasn’t as lemony as I was expecting, maybe because it didn’t stew for that long – we were in a hurry (story of my life). I’ll give a go again another day, letting it bubble away longer next time.

My husband was a bit late home tonight, and I’d saved him the leftovers. But someone else got in first.

Brandy or whisky in fruitcake?

This may seem a little nutty, so long after Christmas.

But, it was an interesting enough experiment that I want to mention the results here. (And I was too shattered to blog this before Christmas. Or, indeed, New Year. Or to take any pictures of it before it was eaten.)

I think brandy is traditional in fruitcakes, but we rarely have it in the house. However we always seem to have several partly-consumed bottles of whisky around the place. So we went with this walnut and whisky Christmas cake recipe from the small and useful delicious.Baking book, edited by Mitzie Wilson. This is my annotated version here.  Continue reading