Happy Birthday Geminis

A Gemini

Two souls live in you, heavenly twins
Which one are you showing of your two sides?
Is it darkness? Is it light?
There’s so much more than within sight
Heaven’s twins, walking among the stars

Good talker you are, communicator
Your speech always clever
Witty, your interests are hard to bind
Lover of challenges and games of mind
Heaven’s twins, they are walking among the stars

Appreciating the written word
Traveling places of this world
But Gemini, don’t stretch too thin
Not just this and that of ev’rythin’
It’s the heaven’s twins, walking amon the stars

Thus, oh twins, hear me well
And heavens shall be yours to dwell:
Dive not into much, but dive deeply
And of your father you will be worthy
Watch the heaven’s twins, walking among the stars

( a quote i borrowed from the net)

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So many of  you are Geminis.

Cannot keep count and I truly missed out one or maybe two.

Mrs. Chan is losing her memory, age is catching up. Anyway, as an effort to redeem my bad, here’s a tray of beautiful cupcakes to rejoice and feast your eyes.

You wouldn’t want to eat those cupcakes, I assure you. Before baking, I was so full of expectations. Looking forward to a tray of beautifully frosted cupcakes. I cried with disappointments. The frosting was too sweet, the cake too dry and dense.

Anyway, it is the thought that counts, right?

Let that be.

2 types of cupcakes, a vanilla and a chocolate are chosen to signify the Gemini in you.

Happy Birthday, strangers.

Happy Birthday to my friends I have made but yet to meet.

Happy Birthday to my best friends; Karen, Joey, Norli, Nani and Nurul.

Happy Birthday to my brothers, Edward and Mitch and sister Agnes.

Bubur Cha Cha 莫莫喳喳

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Bubur Cha Cha is neither Cantonese nor Hakka.

From it’s name bubur; I gather it must have been a Nyonya dessert. Research on the internet, explains that Cha Cha or Che Che means “abundance”. Aptly. This  dessert is very rich and creamy; with thick coconut milk and starchy tubers. It can be served very fancifully, dressed with many condiments like colorful jellies, gingko nuts etc in a dessert house.

At Hakkachan, we love to have it simple but with a little bite. While many choose the sago pearls, mom prefers to serve our Bubur Cha Cha with Tapioca Chewies.

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INGREDIENTS for BUBUR CHA CHA:-

1 medium size gold/yellow sweet potato (cut into cubes)
1 medium size purple yam (cut into cubes)
1 medium size taro (cut into cubes)
8 cups of water
1/2 cup tapioca pearls or Tapioca Chewies
3 stalks of screwpine leaves (pandan leaves)
400 ml coconut milk
Palm Sugar
Sugar
Salt (Optional)

METHOD :-

1. Boil the yam and taro in water with the pandan leaves.

2. Once the yam and taro are slightly soft, add in the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to medium.

3. The sweet potatoes usually cooks fast, so to prevent it from being too mushy, I usually scoop them out into a bowl and set it aside.

4. Add in palm sugar.

5. Add in coconut milk that has been added with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

6. Remove pandan leaves. place back the sweet potatoes into the pot.

7. Turn off the stove. Toss in the Tapioca Chewies. Serve hot or cold.

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INGREDIENTS for TAPIOCA Chewies

1 cup tapioca flour
Hot boiling Water

METHOD :-

1. Put tapioca into a deep bowl.

2. Pour just enough hot water to cook the flour and form into dough.

3.  Bring to boil a small pot of water to cook chewies. Set another bowl of cold water.

3. Continue to knead dough. Once ready, form into long sausage shape.

4. Either use sharp knife or best a scissors to small diagonal strips and drop them into the boiling pot.

5. Once cooked, the chewies will float to the top. Let it continue to cook a little.

6. Scoop them out of the hot pot and toss them into the cold bath.

7. Drain and toss into the pot of Bubur Cha Cha.

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what’s blooming?

I like coming home to Hakka Chan in Melaka. The peace, the tranquility amidst the fuss that mom and dad accord us, every time we are back home.

The most welcoming part though is Mom’s random garden. Each visit, there will be different plants blooming or new vegetable patches flourishing with new herbs.

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This awfully deformed sunflower is one of our the latest blooms.

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My favorite purple hydrangea, so abundantly elegant.

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Sweet smelling and very shy Jasmine.

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In the kampong, this flowering ginger plant is locally named “tissue paper flowers” because its crinkled corollas resemble crepe papers. Otherwise, it’s known as crepe ginger or  costus speciosus.

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Somehow this yellow hibiscus command more respect than the red ones that are in full bloom on the background.

Spaghetti in Italian Basil Pesto Sauce


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Mitch Gelber cooks the best pasta among us family members.

If we needed a pasta dish, we just needed to appoint him and he gladly cooks them out for us. I remember him labouring a long time in his kitchen, just to cook a tomato and sausage sauce. It was worth the wait but the aroma set us drooling impatiently. It was torturous.

For his party, the Gelbers decided to do Spaghetti in Italian Sauce. A no short cut to food processor, Coco and Mitch insisted on the mortar and pestle. It make sense to spend on this step as the paste was textured with taste. You get bites of the basil and the bouquet is lingering with herbal sweetness in your palate right to your nostril. A great way to enjoy pasta.

Besides the pesto sauce as a basic important ingredient, the pine nuts and cheese really add up to bite and taste.

Do try as the pesto sauce is really easy to dish out and within less than an hour, the Glebers dished out 2 pounds of pasta to serve us hungry guests and family.

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INGREDIENTS:-

  • Italian Basil Pesto Sauce
  • 2 pounds of spaghetti
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • pepper
  • grated Parmesan
  • toasted pine nuts
  • cherry tomatoes
  • basil leaves for garnishing (optional)
METHOD:-
  1. Fill a large pot, with water. Depending on the size of the pot, fill it from 1/2 to 3/4 full with water
  2. Cover the pot with a lid and place over high heat.
  3. Leave the lid on the pot until the water comes to a rolling boil. The lid will allow the water to heat up more quickly.
  4. Remove the lid and add salt to the water when it reaches a boil.
  5. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water.
  6. Allow the spaghetti to cook for approximately 10 minutes, occasionally stirring it to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Occasionally check the spaghetti to see if it’s done. When the pasta reaches al dente, it will be firm in the middle but chewy.
  7. Empty the contents of the pot into the colander to drain the liquid.
  8. Add a small amount of olive oil and pesto sauce to the pasta and toss
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Toss pine nuts and cherry tomatoes, sprinkle grated cheese and it’s ready to be serve.
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Red Bean Paste Buns 豆沙包

Momsie prepared this a day ahead. Will come back and get her recipe. She makes it effortlessly. She didn’t even sieved them, so unfair. It tasted so smooth and yummy.

Scope generous amounts of red beans and let it sit in the middle of the round dough on your palm.

Remember to place those buns in order so that you know which are to be steamed first.

Momsie uses 4 chopsticks tied together as a decorative chop for these buns. Creative.

I love a good red bean paste bun, you rarely get a good one with fresh, clean and yummy fillings anymore.

INGREDIENTS:- makes 24 fairly large buns

1 kg      pau flour
1 tbs     instant yeast
60g      caster sugar
water, vegetable shortening, softener

1 kg      red bean paste

METHOD:
  1. Put some warm water into the tablespoonful of yeast.
  2. Sieve pau flour and add yeast, caster sugar and mix well.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add in water and mix to form a dough.
  4. Knead dough until it becomes smooth (about 5 mins).Knead in the vegetable shortening and continue to knead for another 10-15 mins or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough must be smooth on the overall surface.
  5. Cover with cling wrap or cloth and let it proof for about 1 hr or until it doubles in bulk.
  6. Transfer dough onto a gently floured table. Punch down the dough and give a few light kneading to release the trapped air bubbles.
  7. Take a big piece of dough and roll into a long log. Cut into smaller serving sizes. Momsie is random here and she suggested that we should divide the dough into 24 portions. We decided it was okay to have fun and forgo the weighing.
  8. Roll each portion into a smooth round. Flatten each dough into a small disc with your palm or a small rolling pin, make the edges thinner and the centre portion thicker.
  9. Wrap each dough with some of red bean paste.
  10. Pinch and seal the seams. Place dough seam side down on a square piece of parchment paper. Leave buns to proof for 20-25 mins.
  11. Place buns in a steamer* and space them apart so that they do not touch one another.
  12. Remember to steam those made earlier first.
  13. Steam at medium to high heat for 12mins (make sure the water is already boiling before steaming). When ready, remove the lid carefully to prevent water from dripping over the buns.
  14. Make decorative red chop and always serve them warm.