Archive for January, 2008

Chinese New Year Preparation – 3


Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

Arrgh! Finally, I ran out of battery today, I mean, I ran out of energy after a very hectic and full day of cleaning yesterday from morning until 10pm! 😆

But I did it! I managed to clean everything in my living room, dining room, kitchen cabinets, 2 large refrigerators, laundry room and all the tiled walls. I did 6 loads of laundry, washing curtains, blankets, cushion covers, etc and luckily, there was hot sun and my laundry was able to dry very nicely. Two of my children who were back from school helped me a lot with cleaning the large 15ft long sliding glass doors and grille iron gates to the patio. Then, we scrubbed the floors and mopped them dry.  Now, my ground floor and middle floor areas are spotless and neat! Phew, now all that’s left to be done for today are just the children’s and my bedroom on the top floor but that will be the easiest part!

The strange thing was although I had crept into bed exhausted and with all my joints aching, I woke up 6 hours later feeling refreshed, vibrant and my aches were almost gone. I had thought I would wake up worse today! 🙄   When the house is being decluttered and cleaned, we are really moving the energies around, new ones replace the old energies and therefore, there is a crisp, vibrant feel around the house now. Occupants of a house can feel the chi or energies in their house, and therefore I surely feel very good today! 😆

So, the next step to do is to go shopping! Now that the fridges are clean and waiting to be stocked up with food – I had already gone marketing for seafoodm buying large prawns and white pomfret, because seafood prices will go up as the CNY comes nearer. I bought 4 pineapples and 1/2 kg of peanuts to have them ready for me to bake my Pineapple Tarts and Peanut Puffs/Kok Chai this Saturday. I had gone to the Chinese josstick shops and purchased all the incense and stuff for my altar, and to the Chinese Medicine Shop to stock up on some Chinese herbs and fruits to make an auspicious CNY dessert to welcome the first day of CNY! I will write about this auspicious dessert later.

Tomorrow, I wll go to the plasticware and houseware shop to buy new pails (my old ones broke), new brooms and new mops for the new year as the old ones will be thrown away. There is no cleaning, washing and sweeping or vacuuming of floors on the first day of CNY as that is the day when fresh, new auspicious chi are coming into our homes and we want it to stay in our home and not sweep it away.

In the afternoon, I will be going to the popular Chinatown in Petaling Street to buy my Chinese New Year decorations and I will be sure to take some pictures for you.

My next post here will be my Chinese New Year Family Reunion Dinner Menu, where I will describe what I will be cooking for my family.

I will stop here as now, it is time for some overdue pampering for myself – I am going to the hair salon to style and colour my hair! 😆

Gong Xi Fa Xai! (Wishing you a Prosperous New Year in Mandarin language) 😀


Comments (5) »

Chinese New Year Preparations – 2


Assorted Yummy Chinese New Year Cookies


Mandarin Oranges From China


Homemade Kuih Bakul / Nian Gao

Good evening, dear friends 😀

Usually, I like to finish my decluttering and cleaning so that I will have peace of mind that all is clean in my house and we are ready for the Chinese New Year (CNY). Then, I will go shopping for all the things that I need like new brooms, new mops (old ones are thrown away), new floormats, various foodstuff, drinks, and mandarin oranges.

However, this year things went a bit differently 🙄 when my husband decided to take a half day’s leave to run some CNY errands now instead of waiting to do them at the last minute like we always did.

The first thing was to go to the bank to change new money notes to be used in ang pows (auspicious red packets containing new money to symbolise new chi). Then we went shopping for the CNY cookies and since I have decided to only make the traditional Pineapple Tarts and “Kok Chai” (Peanut Puffs) this weekend, the rest of the cookies had to be bought.

I had also bought some Kuih Bakul or Nian Gao from an elderly lady who makes them in her home every for CNY. Kuih Bakul is made from glutinous rice flour and sugar and steamed for 10 hours, hence the dark rich colour. Nian Gao means “every year higher and higher”, sort of like our luck gets better and better, i.e. great prosperity. Usually, I would trimmed the banana leaves near the top of the Kuih Bakul before offering it to our deities and ancestors during CNY together with many varieties of fruits.

Must haves for the CNY are the traditional cookies like Kuih Bangkit (Tapioca Flour Coconut Milk Cookies), Kuih Kapit (Love Letters), Pineapple Tarts, Peanut Cookies, Peanut Puffs/Kok Chai, Dragon Cookies and Kuih Rose. The rest are the usual cookies that we can buy all year round like chocolate chip almond cookies, chocolate cookies, and other types of Westernised butter cookies. I will show close ups of these cookies when we serve them to our guests during CNY. Meanwhile, they are displayed on my table, waiting for CNY to be opened (see photo above)! 😆

My husband also bought an assortment of drinks –

* 2 cartons (24 cans in each carton) of Anglia Shandy

* 7 cartons of Yeo Hiap Seng’s Sugar Cane Drink, Wintermelon Drink, Chrysanthemum Drink, Lychee Drink and Soya Bean Drink

* 1 Carton of 100 plus

* 1 Carton of 7-Up

Therefore, with the drinks and cookies, we are loaded with lots of sugary stuff during the CNY! 😆 Not to mention the feasting that will be going on for days. There is lots of food and drink to symbolise abundance during the new year.

Lastly, we bought 5 cartons of Mandarin Oranges as every year, we would give a box of them together with some cookies to our neighbours, and they would also give something similar back to us – so there is a lot of generosity going around in the giving and the receiving – good chi flow, I would say! 😉

Today, I am almost done with the kitchen decluttering and cleaning. Tomorrow, it will be my laundry room and prayer room to be cleaned, to be followed by the top floor where our bedrooms are but at least my children will be decluttering their own bedroom themselves this weekend. I only have to check on them to make sure that they are doing a good job of it. Curtains are being taken down to wash and after the curtains, then it will be the bedsheet sets. Then, the ceiling fans , air-conditioners and windows have to be cleaned. With the bathrooms washed, all the floors mopped and the car porch scrubbed, my house would be completely cleaned.

Then, the CNY decorations would be up but I will have to go shopping for them with my daughters on Thursday and on Friday, we will be shopping for clothes, shoes and handbags. Weekend is baking time and planning the menu for the big Reunion Dinner on the eve of CNY. Phew! I hope I meet my deadlines! 🙄 😆

I am see double now as I am typing this because I am so sleepy and tired….I’d better go to bed now….

Good night and sweet dreams! 😀

Comments (9) »

Preparations For Chinese New Year – 1


Good evening, dear friends 😀

Ah, finally my Chinese New Year preparations have started – by doing a decluttering and cleaning of my store room. This is the first step to decluttering my house – decluttering the store room will make space for more stuff to go in there as I declutter the rest of my house. This way, I will keep the the  stuff easier to organise and kept flowing as I go about doing this for the whole house – every storage area like cupboards, wardrobes, store rooms, larders, and even refrigerators will get a good cleaning and tidying.

This is very important for Chinese New Year because we are removing the chi from the past year, to make room for the chi of the new year. Starting this massive decluttering job will be scary we are sure to procratinate or even balk at doing it, but once we get started, we feel so good about ourselves and the space that we have cleared because the energies there are now clean and new. So, it is really worth the great effort it takes to do this.

It will take me another 2 – 3 days to finish the whole decluttering job, with the help of my family, of course. 😉

Today, I did some painting and waterproofing jobs. First thing in the morning, I scraped off a part of the wall that was getting a little damp at the ground floor of my house, apply a layer of waterproof sealer and then repainted it. After that, it was painting my automatic gates at the front of the house, and the grille gate and wooden door at the back of my house – they were subject to the weather elements and there was rust and some wear and tear.

It is good to give a new coat of paint to gates and doors because they will bring in new chi also. It is inauspicious to have rusty gates or gates that are rundown in condition. I simply love the paint of smell and because I was an only child in my family, I had grew up doing the painting for my family every year before Chinese New Year. Therefore, the smell of new paint reminds me that the Chinese New Year is just round the corner. My husband can’t stand the smell of paint but anyway, I love doing the paintwork and would happily go about looking for stuff to paint! 🙄 😆

Yesterday, it was my husband’s jobs to replace all the light bulbs that had fused. There is inauspicious chi in those areas that have things that are broken down and therefore it is advisable to get those things fixed. 😉

Okay, I will stop here as I have taken a breather here from decluttering my living room. I am too tired to cook dinner tonight and so, I am just going to the Indian shop nearby to buy some takeouts of Roti Canai, Chappati, rice and some curries. 😀

Have fun preparing for your Chinese New Year, ladies! 😀

Comments (3) »

Chinese New Year Festive Spirit Is In The Air


Dear friends, 😀

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, which falls on 07 February, 2008, is in the air! Everwhere we go, we see Chinese shops stocked full with red decorations for the house to usher in the new year such as lanterns, couplets (a pair of auspicious Chinese sayings on red paper to be pasted at the main door), clothings, shoes, handbags, etc. Red symbolises luck, prosperity, festivities, joy, vibrant energies and joy.


At this time of the year when China is waiting to greet spring, locally in Malaysia we see a lot of yummy foodstuff that are imported from China only such as Chinese sausages, waxed duck drumsticks, waxed meats, boxes and boxes of mandarin oranges, dried abalone, mushrooms, candies, cookies, etc.


Imported Chinese Sausages

Even plants sold now symbolise the festivities of Chinese New Year – plant nurseries and florists are full of auspicious lime trees (lime in Cantonese is “kat”, which also sounds and means “auspicious or luck”) for us to buy a pot or two to bring home and placed in front of our main door. Many cuttings of pussy willows still in buds are displayed for sale and there will be many buyers bringing them home with the hope that the buds will bloom into flowers or leaves will grow as this symbolises prosperity for the whole year.


Potted Lime Plants

Almost everything that we do from now to welcome the Chinese New Year will be very steeped in meaningful traditions that are meant to bring in auspiciousness and good fortune to the family.

Soon, I will choose a good date to do the springcleaning of my home with my family. Practically, every nook and corner, floor to ceiling, cupboards and drawers will be decluttered, wipe clean and rearranged – so that the stagnant chi or energy will be released, old chi will be replaced by new chi. The altar is the most important aspect of the springcleaning and after the cleaning is done, offerings of fruits and sweets are made to the deities and family ancestors with prayers thanksgiving for the past year and good wishes for the coming new year.

Then comes the shopping – for new clothes, new things for the house like Chinese New Year decorations, some furnishings, crockery (chipped one are thrown away as they represent bad chi, and replaced with new ones), and even a set of new chopsticks. Again, here new things symbolise new chi/energy. Groceries, toiletries and the fridges are all stocked up to make sure nothing is lacking, as this signifies abundance and auspiciousness.


Some examples of festive Chinese dishes

At this time of the year, there will be all sorts of cookies and the traditional Chinese New Year cookies are necessary such as love letters, kueh kapit, pineapple tarts, etc. Of course, there will also be many festive dishes with auspicious sounding names being prepared for the Reunion Dinner on Chinese New Year Eve. So, I need to plan for the special dinner menu which will usually comprise dishes, and therefore, I will need togo shopping at the wet market a few days earlier. I will usually spend the whole day in the kitchen, while the rest of of my family will chip in to give the house one last cleaning. Even our cars are sent to the car wash.

I will post some festive Chinese New Year recipes soon and of course, take a picture of my Reunion Dinner as well as provide you with those recipes.

Good night and sweet dreams from KL!

Gong Xi Fa Cai (Wishes For Prosperity And Luck in Mandarin language),

choesf 😀

Comments (5) »

Amazing Rice Cooker Chocolate Cake


My new “smart” electronic rice cooker that bakes 😆


My chocolate cake that was amazingly cooked in a rice cooker


Good evening, dear friends 😀

Yesterday, I used my new rice cooker for the first time and instead of cooking rice in it, I baked a chocolate cake! Yes! I BAKED a cake in it – not steamed, not boiled 😆

I had followed a recipe that came with the rice cooker and I wasn’t really having any great expectations of a cake baked in a rice cooker, but I was really amazed by the light and fluffy cake texture that was evenly cooked throughout – no burning, no hard bits at the bottom (as the heat in the rice cooker comes from the bottom)…a perfectly normal looking and tasting cake as we would have it if it were baked in an actual oven! 😯

All I did was prepare the cake batter in my mixer, pour it into the non-stick, greased rice pan, set the menu to “Cake” and the timing for the baking to 50 minutes and it was all set to go. When the cake was done, there was a beeping sound to tell me that the cake and the rice pan were ready to be removed from the rice cooker. I let them cool for 5 minutes and it was easy inverting the cake onto a plate. I did the chocolate fudge separately and I admit that I am not very good at spreading frosting, hence the dodgy picture! 😆

Voila! There you have it – a chocolate cake baked in a rice cooker! 😀

Added – 29 March, 2009

My Rice Cooker Chocolate Chip Cake

Ingredients for Cake –

Butter 130 gm

Castor Sugar 120 gm

Eggs 3

Self Raising Flour 150 gm, sifted

Chocolate Chips 30 gm

Vanilla Essence 1/2 tsp


Ingredients for Cocoa Mixture –

Cocoa Powder 30 gm

Sugar 70 gm

Water 110 ml



1) Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy

2) Add in eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat for 2 minutes

3) Add vanilla essence

4) Fold in sifted flour and cocoa mixture alternatively, beginning and ending with flour mixture

5) Add chocolate chips and mix well

6) Pour mixture evenly into greased rice cooker pan/pot

7) Select “Cake” function on the Rice Cooker Menu, and set timer to 50 minutes

8 ) When cake is done, remove the pan/pot from the Rice Cooker

9) Let cake cool for 2 minutes before inverting cake slowly onto a plate to cool

10) Decorate cake before serving


Here are the ingredients to other types of cakes. The preparation method is similar to the one above.

Rice Cooker Prune Cake

Butter  125 gm

Sugar  200 gm

Eggs   2

Vanilla Essence       1/2 tsp

Self Raising Flour   180 gm

Baking Soda (sifted with flour)    1/2 tsp

Water   70 ml

Prunes, steamed and cut    120 gm

*** Sifted flour and water is to be added  alternately into the batter


Rice Cooker Orange Butter Cake

Butter   135 gm

Castor Sugar   135 gm

Orange Rind  12gm

Eggs   3

Vanilla Essence   1/2 tsp

Orange Juice   1 tbsp

Self Raising Flour, sifted   190 gm

Fresh Milk    1/2 cup

*** Note – Orange Juice is to be added with water, and the flour is to be alternated with fresh milk, beginning and ending with flour


Orange Icing/Frosting

Icing Sugar   1 cup

Butter   15 gm

Orange Juice   2 tbsp

– combine sugar and butter. Stir in orange juice. Stir in container over hot water until icing is spreadable.

Comments (49) »

My New Kitchen Toy


Whooo….hoooo! This evening, I finally received my new kitchen toy  – an electronic rice cooker! I am absolutely tickled by its features because I have been using a rather simple, straightforward 20 years’ old National brand electric rice cooker that just has an “On/Off” switch, but it has served me very well as it has never broke down at all. However, due to my growing family’s appetites (my children!), I needed a larger capacity rice cooker. So,  at last yearend, when there were some points in our credit card to be redeemed for gifts, I had chosen this high-tech rice cooker and it took 3 weeks to be delivered to me. 😆

Call me behind times or something, but I had no idea that rice cookers can do so much nowadays. The new one I got now  can even bake cakes and my daughter already made me promised to bake a cake in our brand new rice cooker tomorrow. So, this rice cooker’s first function my home since its manufacturing was not to cook rice, but to bake a cake! 🙄


Cake recipes for the rice cooker 

The other functions are –

1) cook white rice

2) express cooking of white rice (I have to look into this as I am not sure how this would work)

3) cook rice porridge

4) it can cook slowly i.e. as a crockpot, up to 12 hours

5) steam food

I can’t wait til tomorrow to test my new toy out! I will let you know how my cake turns out……Good night! 😀

Comments (6) »

Healthy French Bean Chinese Stirfry


Dear friends, 😀

Here is another simple Chinese stirfry recipe for French Beans. All you need are just –

* 400gm French Beans, cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch lengths

* 3 cloves garlic, chopped

* 2 tbsps oyster sauce

* 1/2 tsp sugar

* 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt

* 1/4 cup water

* 2 tbsps cooking oil

1) Just heat up some oil in a wok over high heat until it smokes a little bit. Put in the garlic and stir continously until golden.

2) Put in the French Beans and hear the wonderful sizzle, while you continue to stir them vigorously in the wok. 😆

3) Add in the water, give beans another good stir and cover the wok to let the vegetables steam for 2 minutes.

4) Remove the wok cover, put in the rest of the ingredients and stir the beans for another minute or two.

5) Remove from heat and serve this dish hot. Enjoy the slightly smoky and garlicky flavour of the beans as well as their sweet crunchiness! 😉

Serve this with other meat dishes in either a Chinese meal with hot steamed rice, or as a side dish for your Western meals. Bon Appetit! 😀

Comments (5) »


Be The Change!

Wish to Dish

Celebrating food and all the joy that comes from creating and eating it.

Give Me Meatloaf

tales of messy, meaty, midwestern food

Back to Spain

Spanish recipes, travel + more

Welcome to Brenda's Blog

Helping others access and implement new creative skills.

Stories of a Highly Sensitive Introvert

On a journey to rediscover herself. :)


Food, Photography and Travels

P e d r o L

storytelling the world

The silverplatinum flame

Divine channelings, Divine Mother Blessings jewelry, Divine Diamond Shield for protection and attunements

Marina's Kitchen

Cooking with Love & Passion


High quality ads for WordPress

food to glow

feel good food that's good for you


Authentic Korean recipes even YOU can cook!

Recipes We Cherish

Recipes we love. Memories we cherish.

Chitra's Healthy Kitchen

Recipes for healthy living

Frugal Hausfrau

Recipes so Good no-one will know you're Cheap!

%d bloggers like this: