Friday, September 28, 2012

Lavender Cookies

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I would love to showcase my garden springing back to life this Spring... unfortunately, this year, I have no lavenders bloom, no roses, no daisies, no Pom-Pom blooms...sad...only Joey Kangaroo Paws ~ which has lost much of its glory (its the winter species), Frangipanis~slowly waking up from its winter slumberland, buds of gardenias has yet to blossoms ...

Don't be disheartened (that's me telling myself...) I'll be sharing photos of  flowers NOT from my garden... but flowers that I came across from my morning walk around the neighbourhood and my recent 'drive' to King's Park ...

I'll shush now... Enjoy my Spring displays...

The beauties of Everlasting Flowers and Kangaroo Paws

Notice the bright orangey 'Pin Cushion' like bloom? That is the exotic Proteas (click here to see the bigger version...).
Even weeds look pretty in Spring... can you spot which is the weed?

.... the only 'lavender' that I could display for Spring 2012...

Lisa H. xox

Recipe (adapted from Love Food Cookbook)

225g butter at room temperature
175g castor sugar 
1 large egg 
250g plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon lavender 

Royal Icing ~ refer to Joy of baking (note* I halved the quantity)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Using hand held beater, beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy. 
  3. Add in egg. Mix well. 
  4. Add in twice sifted plain flour mix (sift with baking powder) and lavender flowers. 
  5. Spoon into a piping bag and use a 8mm nozzle and piped onto baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Alternative ~ spoon straight onto lined baking tray.
  6. Bake for 12-15 mins.
  7. Leave it to cool before decorating with Royal Icing.
*Note ~ These lovely cookies were too sweet for my liking... I must remember to reduce the amount of sugar by a third, in my next batch... will update on the finding here...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mulligatawny Soup

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In 1992... I was heading back to the UK again... 
This time round, I wasn't the nervous, noob student. I was there under the flagship of Confederation of British Industries (CBI)... to be trained in the field that could benefit the company.
Being given a choice of  placement for 6 months to a year ... I chose 6 months (my boss agreed to let me go for 6 months...without any paycut...happywooohooo... I guessed, it was quite difficult to justify to Bigger Boss to agree, sending me away for a year without affecting my salary).

From the day I boarded the plane till the day I finished my contract... everything was paid for by CBI. It was a wonderful experience when you were there at someone's expense and I could hear 'ka-ching...ka-ching...ka-ching' as my salary accumulating in the bank... bliss... money eyes... .
Hampshire County Council (HCC) Winchester ~ where I spent my 'time' working ...

City Center and The Cathedral

I was taken aback by the beauty of this quaint little town... 
The subject History in school, bore me to death... I could never remember who's who, significant dates, events, wars and other finer details... but Boy!!! was I glad to be 'thrown' there, where lots of historical events took place centuries ago, Kings, Queens, Knights and the bloody wars...(listening to history being told is definitely more interesting than reading a History book... agree with me?)

Yes... I managed to be 'Up Close and Personal to Arthurian Round Table placed in the Great Hall within The Castles walls.

Round Table and The Castle

Finding an accommodation was a big problem...Winchester, 20 years ago, was a small town ... chances to find a place to call my own was very... very slim...
However, luck was on my side...I found a room with this nice English family. The father worked with the Council, looking for a lodger, advertised in the HCC bulletin...about the same time as I was looking for a place...for the next 6 months, I was...Lisa the Lodger.

Roy has a hobby... every evening and weekends, he would plonked himself in his favourite spot in the tv room and he would start on his hobby... he would either be polishing, sanding, varnishing or putting pieces together. He made miniature furnitures to the scale of 1:12.
Watching him working enthusiastically, almost everyday, got my interest going ...

With only 12 weeks left before I leave day, I told Roy... I wish to 'build' my own Doll House but to the scale of 1:24...
He was generous with his knowledge and he helped me get started... and I 'guiltily' occupied his workshop, working on fret saw, cutting, sawing, coping etc. I was turning to be like Roy... working, sanding, polishing, glueing every evening and weekends in the tv room...

Finally...My first (and only) Tudor Doll house, completed ahead of schedule. A doll house complete with a hinged front piece to reveal the decor and furnitures, another hinge to the front piece of roof that will revealed the 'Attic'...and all the furnitures, crockery, even toilet bowl were made to scale with my 2 unskilled hands...

And in return for his help and guidance... I built him a typical Malay house... just that I couldn't find any material to complete the house with the attap / roof ...

I was in Winchester early January... and straight to work the following week. It took awhile to adjust to the cold weather again... and getting to know my way round the work place and its cafeteria.
And once settled...  I discovered another good thing ...being in a 'quaylo' or Western country. Yes... I found Mulligatawny, curried vegetable soup... The name was intriguing with fabulous flavours... the curried soup reminded  me of home...

My 6 months stay was amazing...thumbs up
I walked the historical ground as the Kings, Queens and the mighty Knights, I learned how to make miniature furnitures and had my curry in a cup. 

This is my take on Mulligatawny... winking 

Sign off with love…Lisa H.

(serve 4-6)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 brown onion -chopped
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 tablespoon Keen Curry Powder
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corns kernels
1 cup diced baby zuchini
1 cup cooked basmati rice
1 diced carrot
1 cup coconut milk
3 cups of water or vegetable stock
Natural yoghurt
chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
  1. Saute the onion and garlic until the onions are soft. 
  2. Add carrot, curry powder and stir for few minutes until its aromatic. 
  3. Add vegetable stock, peas, corn, rice and zuchini. 
  4. Bring to boil and lower the heat to a simmer until the vegetables are tender. 
  5. Add coconut milk and season with salt to taste. 
  6. Serve immediately with a dollop of natural yoghurt and garnish with chopped coriander.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Guest Post 5: La Kitchen and Butter Chicken

It's my turn to Showcase my kitchen in 'Ribbon and Circus' monthly 'La Kitchen'...

Thank you, Faizah 
Its been a great pleasure to participate ...

the Blurb...
Something about me…  
Hiya… I am Lisa, the Food-blogger ~ “From My Lemony Kitchen…” I was born and bred in the Land of Paddy Fields (Kedah, Malaysia) and happy settling down in .................
continue reading... here ...



Butter Chicken/ Murg Makhani 
(serve 4-6)
For Printable Recipe here

1 kg chicken thigh – cut into 3cm bite size

Juice of I lemon
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
2 teaspoon paprika
6 cloves
10 peppercorns
3 cm cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ cup almond meal
250 ml plain yoghurt 
3 tablespoon canola oil
2 brown onion – thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic - pound
2cm ginger - pound
500g fresh tomatoes - blend

½ litre chicken stock

90-100g melted butter

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves to garnish

  • Roast or pan fry cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, bay leaves, cumin and coriander seeds till slightly darken and aromatic.
  • Once cooled, using the coffee grinder and grind to fine powder.
  • Pan fry the almond meal till aromatic (alternative: roast almond about a handful of almond (10-15 almonds) and grind)
  • Mix all the ingredients: chicken pieces, lemon juice, chilli powder, paprika, the grinded spices, yoghurt, almond meal. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Heat oil in deep pot, on medium heat.
  • Fry the chopped onion until it turn pale brown in colour.
  • Add in pounded garlic and ginger. Fry for another minute or two.
  • Add chicken pieces and cook until it turns slightly opaque.
  • Add in fresh tomatoes, chicken stock and the remaining yoghurt mix.
  • Bring to a quick boil, stir and reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Uncover and cook till the gravy is reduced to half and slightly thicken.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Dish out onto heatproof glassware, pour the melted butter and placed under the broiler for 2 minutes to brown the top.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander
  • Serve immediately with savoury rice or Naan.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Iced Kalamansi Tea


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Officially Spring is here...
The sun is rising earlier and earlier by the day. I could see blooms everywhere I turned my head, along the path as I head out for my  morning walk. Birds chirping merrily and at times I spotted bunnies coming out of their burrows...

life is wonderful.  

I keep telling myself that I must bring my DSLR along every time I put on my walking shoes, to capture the moment, to capture the flying seagulls or even a click or two of the cute rabbits hopping around...
My biggest challenge, I set myself would be ~ to 'freeze' the rolling waves...

Before I could attempt the big waves... I have to get to know my camera experimenting with Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO by making waves in a glass...Splish  Splash ...
I am a novice in photography and has heaps to learn about the 3 modes ~'A', 'M' and 'S', how to co-relate the 3 modes to lights, ISO and exposure.

Taken with iPhone via Instagram
My first love was SLR Canon T50, purchased in the mid-80's... In the beginning (during my 'getting-to-know' my camera period), I burnt many rolls of film, and a big hole in my pocket too... to process the film and only to find out that most of the photos were blurry and out of focus.
Canon T50 had only one mode ~ P mode ... Aperture was done manually by rotating the lens. It was great fun to have. I took numerous photos of my gallivanting days and many happy baby photos of my son... until one day Mr Canon T50 just could not cope with Malaysian humidity. It started to have fungi.. mouldy, its demise was imminent...
Juggling between  a career, a toddler and a baby... Point and Shoot camera was the next best thing... (oh  yeah, I had a Polaroid too...)
And it was late 2010, I was ecstatic as my hands could wrapped around another DSLR... I chose Nikon...and named it aNDy ..

At the start of this year... I made a resolution to move away from 'Aperture' mode and start clicking in 'M' mode... and I am glad I did.
Last week... I was again playing with aNDy (hence delayed in posting any post... oopsie sorry)... I set my Aperture to f 2.8, varies Shutter speed and ISO... hence the result above...
Am I ready to take the big Waves Challenge?

Taken with iPhone via Instagram
errr... Not yet... I drove by the beach side this morning,  to check the place out... the photo above was what greeted me.. and the strong wind nearly pushed me backwards. I dont think my aNDy could take the shock... hehehe... delaying and procrastinating tactic on my part...

Let me build up my courage by making more waves in a glass... and at the same time sipping away my Iced Kalamansi tea...

Recipe ( make 2)
2 bags of black tea (or any fruity tea)
4 Kalamansi
  1. Steep teabags in 1 cup boiling water for 2 minutes. 
  2. Stir in sugar until dissolve. 
  3. Add in 1 cup of cooled boil water. 
  4. Halved Kalamansi and squeeze the juice into the tea. 
  5. Pour into tall glass filled with ice.