Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Really Easy Dark Gingernuts/ Ginger Snaps

The holiday season calls for spice and all things nice, so here I present a great basic recipe for a British classic that will have your home smelling like Christmas in no time! :)

Crunchy, buttery and surprisingly easy, these delicious gingernut biscuits (or ginger snaps as they are known Stateside) are just the right snappy texture and flavour, starting warm and robust in your mouth then gradually melting into a pleasant fragrant sweetness as you chew. They will also take you less than an hour from start to finish (great for last-minute plans!), require no machinery at all and are endlessly adaptable to your personal taste.

I stirred in some black treacle for a deeper darker flavour, but feel free to omit this and use all golden syrup if you prefer the normal version. You can also use honey, molasses, dark brown sugar, more or less ginger and other spices if desired.

Happy baking and happy holidays y'all, may you have a joyous food-filled 2014 ahead!:)

Really Easy Dark Gingernuts/ Ginger Snaps
Makes 30 tasty biscuits

Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.

Melt 1 stick (about 100g) butter in a pot on the stove, or in a large bowl in the microwave.

Remove butter from heat and stir in:
1/2 cup (about 100g) soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup (if you don't have it, substitute with honey)
2 tbsp black treacle (substitute with all golden syrup/honey if preferred)

My trusty red can of Tate & Lyle that a friend 
brought from London. Thanks Jasmine!:)

Sift in and stir until well-combined:
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger (more if you like it strong!)
Optional: Dash of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice or even black pepper if you're inclined

Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into a ball with your hands. Place on baking sheet well spaced out, and press down slightly to flatten.

Bake 15-20 mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool til hardened.

Enjoy dunked in a cuppa!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Crunchy Kitchen Sink Cookies

Hello foodies!

After an incredible long summer in Malaysia with my family and a hectic first two months of my final year in acting school, I've FINALLY found the time and resolve to bake, photograph and type a long overdue update! Here I present to you my favourite easy-to-make recipe for "kitchen sink" cookies, so named for being loaded with pretty much everything except the kitchen sink :)

The version below is crunchy, fragrant and full of wholesome additions like seeds and nuts. Feel free to adapt with any fillings you wish, or leave them out altogether from a plain classic oat treat.

Crunchy Kitchen Sink Cookies
Makes about 50 small pieces. No machine necessary

Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter in a large bowl (I do this by zapping in the microwave for about 30 secs-1 min and stirring). Allow to cool slightly.

Stir in with a spoon until well-combined:
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup flour (I had ground almonds lying around so I substituted half of the flour with it)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Add whatever else you want! In the pictured version I used a handful each of:
Chocolate chips
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds

*Suggestions for other options: Zest of 1 lemon, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, other dried fruit, chopped candy bars...

Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F.

Drop by small teaspoonful onto baking trays, or use your hands and roll into little balls. Press cookie dough down to flatten the mounds. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes before removing. If they stick slightly to pan, use a flat spatula to scrape off.


Friday, 21 June 2013

Eat Your Way Through Malaysia (Or Petaling Jaya At Least)- UPDATED

A list compiled from various trips since 2009 through to 2013, of my favourite delicious Malaysian culinary delights (plus a few oddball additions).

Happy eating one and all!:)

New Restaurant Ipoh Chicken Rice (complete with delicious pork balls and tasty broth).  At multiple air-conditioned branches including Damansara Jaya. My favourite food since childhood!

Chicken rice again, but the one-of-a-kind soy sauce variety. Formerly at Restaurant Keen/Kimwah, now down the block at the other corner Restaurant Wan Shoon in Damansara Kim. Luscious!

Proper punchy Penang Prawn Mee- my favourites are the famous RM20 humongous serving dished up by Champs Bistro in Centrepoint Bandar Utama (pictured above), Mee Yoke Lim hawker centre in SS2 and O&S Coffee Shop in Paramount Gardens. (image taken from

Nyonya Curry Laksa at Bakeri Joy (4, SS 24/13, Taman Megah). Rich with tons of toppings and a delicious sambal paste. Good cheese tarts and moist chocolate cake too.

Village Park- 5, Jalan SS 21/37 Damansara Utama. Pretty much the best version in the Klang Valley of nasi lemak, our default national dish! My sides of choice are fried chicken and beef rendang. (image from

Finally tried the famous Fatty Crab restaurant after all these years! Thank you Jason- amazing spicy sweet gravy perfect with fried rice just like you said :)

Crabs again, this time the "Kam Heong" variety at South Pacific restaurant. Yum too!

New Paris Restaurant (62-66 Jalan SS2/72)- my family's regular haunt. We ALWAYS order the same things- House Special Tofu, Butter Prawns, Guinness Pork Ribs (or Sticky Marmite Pork is also great), Steamed Tilapia Fish with Spicy Sauce and Crunchy Squid:)

1 month, 3 huge 8-10 course Chinese wedding banquets to attend. The typical
1st "Four Seasons" course is always one of my favourites :)

Rojak Buah (Savoury Fruit Salad), either from the Chinese old man in Damansara Uptown outside the old Fajar, or his two daughters in TTDI outside the KFC. Yummy chunks of jicama, papaya, pineapple and cucumber with crunchy crackers, crushed peanuts and the best gooey prawn paste sauce EVER!

Lavish all-you-can-eat weekend Japanese buffets that are all the rage in Malaysia-
stuffing our faces with all kinds of sashimi, sushi and hot foods for under £10, oh joy!

The diabetes-on-a-plate that is Kayu Nasi Kandar's Roti Tisu (Tissue Bread)- a tower
of crispy buttery sugary condensed milk drizzled goodness. Mmm. (Check out for a list of branches)

Murni SS2- the embodiment of good mamak grub late at night. Naan, roti special (meat stuffed
murtabak style), roti kaya susu, awesome claypot loh shee fun...

Banana leaf rice, with all the traditional trimmings- make sure to fold the leaf
TOWARDS and not away from you at the end if you liked the meal :) The above is at Sri Paandi's TTDI, though tourists/newbies will like the outdoor atmosphere at Raju's (next to La Salle school off Jalan Gasing)

Ramly Burger- quintessentially Malaysian and unlike ANY Western burger you've ever had! Ask for the Special-a chicken or beef patty wrapped in egg, then sandwiched with chilli sauce, mayo and coleslaw-like shredded veg. Available from streetside stalls even in the middle of the night! :)

Sate Kajang Haji Samuri- delicious moist skewers of chicken, beef, mutton, fish, rabbit, venison or even tripe, on my doorstep in Damansara Uptown without needing to go all the way to Kajang! Served with bowls of thick rich peanut sauce that you can make as spicy as you like. Click here for a full list of branches. (image from

Dave's Pizza Pasta Vino, 1 Utama Shopping Centre- so many years on, their signature honey mayo pizza, olive oil pasta and the most unauthentic but delicious creamy carbonara ever are still top class (but no longer 1/2 price on weekday lunches unfortunately)

Nothing like local Malaysian fruit! Itty bitty sticky pisang emas (golden bananas), syrupy white-fleshed mangosteens, juicy rambutans, sweet duku langsat, golden mangoes...

More fruit- love the crunchy white guava pieces I can get from these stalls for about 20p, sprinkled with asam (tamarind) powder

ADORE mangoes in any form, but one of the best manifestations has to be KTZ SS2's 'mango loh'!

Absolutely flabbergasting that the UK does not have McDonald's hot fudge sundaes. Why?!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sambal Tumis Udang (Malaysian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Gravy)

This classic accompaniment to nasi lemak basically comprises half a batch of my sambal recipe that I blogged about three years ago, stir-fried (or "tumis" in Malay) with some onions and shell-on shrimp. Thank you to my ever-reliable foodie friend Marisa for helping me perfect this!

Some quick tips before you start:

1) I personally recommend making double or triple batches of sambal in advance to store in the fridge for future use, so you don't have to pull out your food processor every time. You'll thank yourself when your next Malaysian craving hits!:)

2) Stick to frozen shrimp, unless you live near the coast or can see them swimming in the aquarium just before you buy it. The "fresh" stuff sold in cities is often just defrosted previously frozen shrimp, which might already have been sitting around for days. 

3) Use shrimp with at least part of the shell on if possible, as it imparts a richer flavour. I like to use frozen, deveined, easy-peel headless medium shrimp that I can get extremely cheap in Chinatown Manhattan for $10.99/2 lb bag. You can of course use whole ones with the head still attached, or larger tiger prawns instead of shrimp, or if you really must then fully shelled ones are okay too. Whatever the case, if they are not deveined make sure to do it yourself by slicing across the top and cleaning out the black stuff.

4) Make sure to stick to raw shrimp, no matter what kind you choose. Under NO circumstances should you substitute with the pink ready-to-eat cooked stuff, as it will absorb none of the beautiful spices and go completely rubbery.

With that, happy tumis-ing!

Sambal Tumis Udang (Malaysian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Gravy)
Serves 4-6

Defrost 1 lb of frozen shrimp (which was about 35 pieces in my bag) by running under cold tap water for a few minutes. Make sure it is fully defrosted before cooking. Set aside.
  • Prepare the sambal paste
Deseed 50g dried chillies by tearing them in half and shaking the seeds out. Do not skip this step, or you'll burn your tastebuds right off!

Boil the chillies for about 30 mins to further reduce the heat. Drain off the liquid and rinse in cold tap water to cool. Drain.

Chuck in a small spice mill, blender or food processor and grind to a thick paste (or pound with a mortar and pestle if you're a purist): 
The boiled chillies above
2 medium cooking onions, cut into chunks
10 cloves of garlic
1/2 cube ikan bilis stock (or grind whole dried anchovies to a powder)
1/2 tsp belacan (dried shrimp paste)

Ikan bilis stock cubes- I get my supply from Malaysia, not sure where to get it in NYC I'm afraid
  • To cook
Heat some oil in a shallow frying pan over medium heat. 

Slice up 1 medium onion to half-rings, and stir-fry for a few mins until softened and a bit charred.

Add the prepared paste and tumis until fragrant. 

Stir in 2 tbsp dark brown sugar or gula melaka (coconut palm sugar), and about 2 tbsp asam jawa (tamarind juice)*. 

*If you've never used tamarind juice, it's simple- just soak a chunk of tamarind pulp in hot water for 5 mins, stir to loosen, then press through a sieve. Discard the seeds.

Throw in the defrosted shrimp and a bit of water. Stir fry for about 5-10 mins until the shrimp turns pink.

Dish up and serve immediately with nasi lemak or plain rice. Enjoy!

With nasi lemak

Friday, 11 January 2013

Chunky Avocado Toast

Hello again foodies!

Firstly, I'm SORRY. I know it's been HALF A YEAR since my last post. I am a useless, inconsiderate, irresponsible food blogger :(

By way of explanation, since my post in June 2012 it's been an incredibly busy summer of long rehearsals to dance in the London Olympics closing ceremony, after which I flew straight back to New York to launch into a busy second year. September to November were two stressful months spent juggling school with apartment hunting, followed by the slog of packing, renting a U-Haul truck, and slogging across town with heavy furniture when we finally found one. This trend of most apartments coming unfurnished in NYC? Really not a fan.

ANYWAY, now that I'm finally settled in a little cosy home in Harlem and am on winter break, hello!

Now on to the dish at hand. My fiance Ari, a self-confessed avocado hater before tasting this at the lovely Leather Lane branch of Prufrock Coffee in London, made the following for me in no time at all earlier today. 

Four ingredients, a few minutes and voila: a delectable combination of creamy avocado, crunchy buttery toast, refreshing lime juice, hints of spice and salt to bring it all together. The easiest, yummiest brunch ever!

Chunky Avocado Toast
Serves 2

4 slices wholegrain bread
1 large ripe avocado (you know it's ripe if it's soft enough to yield to pressure)
Half a lime
Chilli flakes, or red pepper flakes, or torn up dried chillies

Toast and butter the bread.

Slice up the avocado and pile equally on each slice of toast. *If you are an avocado virgin, please see "Easy Twisty Way of Cutting an Avocado" below. 

Top each slice with a generous squeeze of lime juice. Sprinkle with salt and chilli flakes.


Easy Twisty Way of Cutting An Avocado
Cut lengthwise all the way around (working around the seed) and twist the two halves apart.
Tap the blade of your knife so that it's wedged into the seed, and twist to remove.
Score the avocado into strips with your knife.
Spoon the flesh out with a spoon.