September 27, 2007

Making most of the beautiful sunshine.

The week's weather has been fabulous! I really do hope that fair weather is here to stay.
It's been mid semester break for us students...and I've been caged up at home working on cakes and assignments. Watching the bright blue skies filled with puffy clouds and breezy winds gently tease lush flowering greenery from my kitchen benchtop has been unbearably painful. I dropped my apron. I caved in.

I took a morning off to pack up delicious goodies and headed off for some fun in the sun with my new picnic basket! It's absolutely marvelous! About a month ago; I received a very sweet gift from the Yen's; they picked up on my love for picnics as I spoke casually about my interests over lunch one day, and decided I would make good use of a complete picnic set they had stowed away.
It was perfect! An absolute dream come true! A rattan weave picnic basket! Ol' ScOOl style!~ *laughs* It came equipped with lightweight plastic plates, mugs and a complete set of metal cutlery. The basket had separate woven compartments and enough space to fit ample food and drinks. I was completely blown away by their thoughtfulness when I noticed how a bottle of wine, wine keeper tops and a tiny electric whisk was included in the wonderful gift. I've been meaning to give it a test drive since!
I gathered a couple of happy campers and we were off to the breathtaking coastal lines of La Perouse!I packed enough food to feed the 3 of us, with egg + cucumber sandwiches...a small tupperware of fried rice.. fresh fruit and vegetable sticks..pan fried firm tofu topped with a crisp anchovy "sambal" and a dessert!

This particular sambal recipe is a unique crispy variation of our regular Malaysian spicy red sauce. I watched my Indonesian housekeeper make this when I was younger..and have been replicating it ever since I learnt to cook for myself. Back then; she would feed me a small bowl of steamy hot rice topped with a big spoonful of her crunchy and spicy sambal. I'd get her to watch mindless afternoon TV with me as we gobbled our simple and delicious lunch down together. It still brings back fond memories of Teenage mutant ninja turtles and the Transformers. *giggle*
Here's the recipe for everyone to have a go. It can be eaten on rice/sprinkled on a dish as a condiment...or even just on its own.

5 tbsps peanut oil
200gms medium dried anchovies (washed and drained)
80-100gms raw peanuts
1-2 tbps thick chilli paste (reduce amount for a mild spicy flavor)
1 onion sliced into thin rings
2 stalks shallots diced
2 red chillies de-seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp dark brown sugar

heat oil in a large wok. Fry anchovies and peanuts on high heat for 7-8 minutes till golden and crisp. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove 1/2 the remainder of oil in the wok and set wok on medium heat. Add chili paste, shallots, onions, fresh chili and stir fry till fragrant. Add in fried anchovies and peanuts. Toss to coat. Spoon in the honey and brown sugar and toss on high heat for another 3-4 minutes. The mixture should turn sticky and crisp. Scoop out and serve hot!
**I'm going to share with everyone another dessert trick I had up my sleeves.
Considering the amount of cakes I frost and'd imagine my kitchen constantly stocked with cake shavings and unwanted ends from cut-offs huh? well.. there is only so much 'cake' one can eat *laughs*... what do I do with them then?
Here's an idea;
Slice a chunk of cake into thin rectangular cubes.
I Sandwiched 2 little pieces together with some extra buttercream I had lying around..dipped this is chocolate with the help of a skewer...
dunked it in desiccated coconut...
WooHoo~ Lamingtons!

oh look... .....a lamington Stonehenge ...!
*laughs* I really can't imagine how lame I sound when I make loser jokes on blogposts! *faints*


Priyanka said...

it was a lovely lovely day..marvelous don't u think my dear su yin(do with british accent for full effect)

Mountaingirl said...

I have just discovered your blog - directed by my friend at and just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your passion for cooking, your generosity of spirit and the sharing of recipes. What a great blog!

Yan said...

yes you very lame

but i still love you plenty! :p

marias23 said...

gosh, that sambal looks delish!

Anonymous said...

loving anything and everything yr cooking!;) keep it up!! You'll go very far in life.

God bless.

Sarah said...

Hey su yin!

i'm all the way in singapore but this is just a note to thank you for inspiring me to cook and bake! thanks for being such a cheery passionate soul!

sLeNz @ Shirley said...

i love your picnic basket!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi. can u pls share with me how u create the photo collage? wat software u use?
thanks :)

Su-Yin -D├ęcorateur said...

mountain girl : :) thanks..

yan: LOVE ME!!!! hehehe.. i miss u dear..been plannign to visit for ages

maria: it was! IT was! :)

anonymous: aww..thats real sweet..thanks :)

sarah: so very nice to hear from you!... its good to know that my work is helping inspire others in their kitchens

slenz: it is the coolest huh? haha..i cant wait to use it again.

anonymous: picasa