Archive for April, 2008

Yummy Homemade Hamburger Buns & Beef Patties

Good evening, dear friends 😀

These days, the prices of our staple foods such as rice and bread have gone up considerably among other things and most households have to cook their meals more often. Last week, I decided on a simple dinner of homemade hamburger with french fries, instead of haviing the usual Ramly Burger takeouts.

However, for some reason, I couldn’t find any hamburger buns as they were out of stock at the grocery stores and a supermarket that I went to. In the end, as I have already bought my minced beef, I decided to try making my own hamburger buns for the first time and I’m glad I did – my family said the buns were so soft and delicious and the large hamburgers were so delicious!

Another reason why I wanted to make my own buns was I am always disappointed with those commercial buns on sale – they are only 2 1/2 inches across and I honestly think they are meant for children instead of adults with voracious appetites…..and oh, we were so excited to dig into those hamburgers that they went so fast and I didn’t even have time to take a picture of an “assembled hamburger” ! 😆

But here are some pictures to interest you and the recipes for the hamburger buns and beef patties are after the pictures …

Bun Dough an hour after kneading in Bread Machine

Uneven rounds of dough set aside fo 30 minutes to double in size before baking 😆

Hamburger Buns baking …

Ready to eat golden 5-inches wide Hamburger Buns (they can be made smaller into 30 dinner rolls) They don’t look perfect and I always tell my kids …”it’s okay…..if it looks ugly, it must be homemade..and anything homemade is made from the heart and bound to be yummy!” Anyway, these buns taste absolutely great, just like those that we get from the bakeries.  😉

Beef patties panfried in some olive oil and butter. I used a potato masher to press down the patties to prevent them from shrinking too much 😉

Some garnishings for the hamburgers

Some dill pickles

Homemade Hamburger Buns (bread machine recipe)

(makes 12 large hamburger buns or 30 small dinner rolls)

1 1/4 cups milk, slightly warmed
1 large beaten egg
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1. Place all ingredients in pan of bread machine as per the order above according to manufacturer’s directions.

2. Select “Dough” setting.

3. When cycle is complete, turn out onto floured surface.

4. Cut dough in half and roll each half out to a 1″ thick circle.

5. Cut each half into six 3 1/2″ rounds with inverted glass as a cutter.

6. Place on greased baking sheet far apart and brush with melted butter.

7. Cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

8. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes.

9. Note: Oven temperatures vary so check after 9 minutes to see if done. Some reviewers baked these anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes.

For those of you who would like to knead the dough by hand –

1) mix the yeast granules and sugar into the cup of warm milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.

2) in a large mixing bowl, put in the dry ingredients.

3) make a hole in the centre and pour in the milk mixture together with the beaten egg.

4) knead until the dough is incorporated and lumped into a nice, smooth ball.

5) leave in a covered bowl in for 1 hour until the dough has risen.

6) remove dough from bowl, and continue with Step # 5 in the recipe given above. Remember to put some flour on the work surface.

Hamburger Patties (Beef)

1 1/2 kg minced beef

1 egg

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp pepper

3 tbsps Worcestershire sauce

1 cup breadcrumbs

1) Combine all ingredients above in a large bowl, mix thoroughly, cover and set aside in the refrigerator to let the flavours infuse together.

2) Shape into desired size and thickness and cook according to your preference.

Bon Appetit! 😀


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A Retro 50’s Dinner Menu – The Way To A Man’s Heart

Good evening, dear friends 😀

I simply love my “Asian Food Channel” which airs all types of cooking show and just now, I was enjoying watching an episode of “Cookworks”, which is hosted by Chef Donna Dooher and the theme for that show was “Retro – The Way To A Man’s Heart.” In those days, women were mainly the stay-at-home types, taking care of their household and family. Wow, even Chef Donna and her students had their hair coiffured and hair-sprayed like the 50’s hairstyles, and their dressing reflected that era, too. Remember the housewives in the movie, “The Stepford Wives?” Well, you get the idea of their look… 😆

Anyway, Chef Donna was teaching her students how to prepare a very typical 50’s meal and some basic techniques of cooking, and on the menu were –

Shrimp Cocktail
Caesar’s Salad
Beef Stroganoff
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I am putting together the recipes here because I would like to create this classic dinner for my family one weekend, and we will call it a “Retro 50’s Night!” As I am typing this and describing the menu to my husband, he is already getting impatient and is asking me to cook this ASAP! Well, like the popular saying – “The Way To A Man’s Heart Is Through His Stomach.” So, ladies, do cook up a storm and have your man drooling with delight!! 😆

(Recipes courtesy of The Cookworks)

Shrimp Cocktail


1 lemon, halved
1 onion, quartered
2 tablespoons salt
1 bay leaf
10 black peppercorns
1 pound shrimp, unpeeled

Cocktail Sauce:

1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

For the shrimp:

In a medium pot filled with water squeeze the lemon and drop in along with the onion, salt, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high heat, simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the shrimp. Gently cook until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. Strain, cool, and peel the shrimp. Refrigerate to chill through, about 30 minutes.

For the sauce: In a small pot combine the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Warm over medium low heat to develop the flavors, about 5 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Caesar Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup bread, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
3 hearts romaine lettuce
1/2 cup Caesar Dressing, recipe follows
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and bread cubes, tossing well to coat with oil. Toast in the skillet for 7 minutes until golden.

Or in a large mixing bowl, pour the olive oil and minced garlic first before putting in the pieces of bread, mix thoroughly before toasting them in the oven until they are golden brown.

Tear the romaine hearts into bite size pieces. Toss with the Caesar Dressing making sure to coat all the leaves generously. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and the garlic croutons.

Caesar Dressing:

3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 egg yolk*
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a medium bowl mix together the anchovy fillets, capers, mustard, egg yolk, and garlic. While whisking vigorously add the vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk in the red wine vinegar and lemon juice. Stir in the heavy cream and season, to taste, with the salt.

Will keep for several days stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Yield: 1 cup

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Beef Stroganoff

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 cup sliced fresh button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 cups demi-glace or stock
1 1/4 cups sour cream

Serving suggestion: egg noodles or fettucine, cooked

In a large pot heat the oil over high heat. Season the beef with the salt and pepper and saute until browned. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside, pour off any excess fat in the pot.

Melt the clarified butter in the pot and saute the mushrooms and onions. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced by 1/2. Stir in the tomato paste and mustard and cook for 2 minutes. Add the demi-glace and beef, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and adjust the seasoning. Serve on a bed of warm egg noodles.

Carrot Cake

Cake –

1 cup unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for cake pan
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons for cake pan
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hot water
10 ounces finely chopped fresh pineapple, or tinned (well drained)

Icing –

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Special equipment: an electric mixer and 2 (9-inch) cake pans

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In an electric mixer cream together 1 cup butter, sugar, and cinnamon until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the grated carrot. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix 1/2 of the flour into the butter mixture, then add 1/2 the water, mix well. Mix in the remaining flour and water. Fold in the pineapple.

Grease 2 (9-inch) cake pans with the remaining butter and dust with the remaining flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the 2 cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely.

For the icing: Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.Whip in the icing sugar and lemon juice.

Slice both cooled cakes into 2 layers. Spread the icing in between the layers as you stack them up. Ice the top and sides of the cake to finish.

Frosting tip – Spread a thin layer of icing onto the cake and chill it first. This step will make the cake crumbs stay in place and not mess up the frosting process. Then, spread a thicker layer of icing onto the cake. 😉

Happy Cooking! 😀

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A Lil’ Boogie Oogie Oogie…

Ahhh….it’s sheer joy going down memory lane and remembering those days when I was a teenager! 😆 It’s been a really hot day today and being the weekend, listening to my favourite retro songs is a wonderful way to relax and be happy! This is a really sexy song released in 1978 by the group, A Taste of Honey. It’s amazing how many songs from that era contain the slang, “boogie.” 😆

I also love “That 70’s Show” sitcoms which are simply hilarious ……. and so 70’s-ish! 🙄 😆

Here are some bloopers from “That 70’s Show”. 😆

….and while we are still laughing, here is a really zany Japanese game show … 🙄 🙄 😆

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The Beautiful World Of Colours – Colorstrology

Happy Saturday, dear friends 😀

Do you know the day you were born, you have been “assigned” a special colour on the rainbow spectrum in your life? Like astrology using your birthdate, colorstrology also uses your birthdate to come up with your own personal colour that you can apply to improve the energies in your life, sort of like a colours horoscope, a zodiac based on colours. Our birthdate carries with it a unique nemerological vibration that has a unique meaning and pattern that corresponds to a specific shade of colour on the rainbow, a spectrum of light from the sun.

I first came across this concept of colorstrology when my friend brought me to see a lady who could see a person’s auras and gives advice on how to tap on the energies to improve things in life. She just asked me for my birthdate and then she told me that I am a “Golden Child” and that whenever I feel down or low in energy, all I need to do is just go outside, soak in some gold sunlight or wear yellow coloured items, and I would feel tons better. She said my birth crystal would be the Citrine as it is yellow in colour. No wonder my favourite colour has always been yellow or gold! 😆

Go check out this colorstrology site to find out your birth color.

When you are at the Colorstrology site, go click around the sections and dates there and you would find some information. To check your birth colour, click on the month of your birthday……and when you see all those little dots at the top? Well, they represent the days of that month and you just click on the day you were born and some information on your birth colour and what it says about you will be shown. 😉

I thought I would write about colorstrology today because I was applying it to perk myself up when I was not feeling well last week, and felt very low in energy. The other 2 things that I did to energise were –

1) declutter some parts of my home, just to get rid of the stagnant, old chi there, so that new, fresh chi enters and my body will attune itself to the new energies

2) have a good salt scrub to refresh my energies.

To find out more about what your birth colour says, you would have to buy the book called “Colorstrology – What Your Birthday Color Says About You” by Michele Bernhardt. The lady that I saw has this book. Here is some information on this book –

Synopses & Reviews
Publisher Comments
Colorstrology is a fascinating blend of astrology, numerology, and color theory that offers exciting new insights about our lives and relationships. Written by renowned astrologer Michele Bernhardt with the artists at Pantone, Inc., the global authority on color, the system features 366 “birthday colors” that illustrate who we are and how we behave.

For example, people born on January 29 (like Oprah Winfrey) share the color Keepsake Lilac; they are “ambitious” and “tender” and “born to make a difference . . . it is not uncommon to find [them] in front of an audience.” People born on May 11 (like Salvador Dalí) share the color Green Tea. They “have a vivid imagination and can see new ideas and concepts more readily than others.”
Using Colorstrology, you’ll quickly understand how to enhance your best personality traits with your birthday color. This full-color book features detailed profiles of everyone you know?plus 366 perforated swatches so you can take your birthday color wherever you go.
PANTONE®, COLORSTROLOGY?, and other Pantone, Inc. trademarks are the property of Pantone, Inc.

About the Author
Michele Bernhardt is a respected healer, astrologer, and metaphysician who has worked extensively with the healing aspects of color and sound. She has contributed to many national publications, including Travel + Leisure, Fitness, Seventeen, and The Miami Herald. She lives in New York City.

Have a great weekend! 😀

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A Really Refreshing Lemon Honey Jelly Drink

Jelly & Lemon Honey Syrup in Tubs

A tub of unsweetened and unflavoured jelly on the left; a smaller container of lemon and honey concentrate/syrup

A bowl of refreshing cold lemon honey jelly drink…yummy!

Hello there, dear friends 😀

When the days are really hot, the heat really saps us of our energy and we often experience waning appetites….this cold lemon jelly drink can really perk and refresh us up. I had bought a tub of the jelly and lemon honey concentrate for RM5 or US$1.50 from the Sunday pasar malam (night farmers’ market) in Paramount Garden, the only place I know that sells them. At home, the jelly is cut up and mixed with 3 tablespoons of lemon honey syrup, in a small bowl of ice and half cup of cold water.

The wonderful sour and sweet tangy taste of this cold jelly drink is just fantastic to soothe the cranky mood that is suffering from the heatwave and perfect to wake up the slow senses! 😆

Plus, the combination of honey and lemon and gelatine serves as a beneficial health drink, too. I will try and get the recipe from the guy that owns the stall selling this jelly and hopefully, he will impart his secret recipe to me! Then I will post it here….so do keep your fingers crossed for me! 😉

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Warning – Do Not Eat Starfruit If You Are A Kidney Patient!

Good evening, dear friends 😀

Starfruit, also known as Carambola, is such a common tropical fruit here and a favourite friut for many in this part of the world that I was really shocked to find out from today’s newspapers that eating starfruits can be lethal to people with any kidney dysfunctions. 😯

It seemed that some Malaysians had gone on holiday to China but a few of them landed up comatose in hospital there soon after consuming starfruit. At first, I thought it could be due to some pesticide that was sprayed onto the starfruit in China but doctors said in the newspapers that starfruit can actually cause life threatening effects to some kidney patients.

Typical symptoms occur within one to five hours and include persistent hiccups, nausea, vomiting, agitation, insomnia, mental confusion and convulsions. Death sometimes results. A study conducted at the University of Sao Paulo found that hiccups were experienced in 30 of 32 cases, and vomiting in about two-thirds. Even though mental confusion and convulsions were less common, these symptoms are more likely to be associated with death.

Star fruit intoxication only occurred if some degree of kidney failure already existed. For most of those affected, kidney decline was extensive enough that they were being treated by blood dialysis, although in four cases kidney problems had not reached that severity. There is no evidence of any problem for people with normal kidney function.

The tangy tartness in star fruit comes from high levels of oxalic acid (or oxalate). Weakened kidneys can be damaged if high levels of oxalate accumulate in the organ. But it is likely that another toxin in star fruit is also problematic since common foods such as spinach contain even greater levels of oxalic acid and do not seem to be associated with this severe problem.

The Brazilian researchers think that star fruit contains a substance toxic to nerves (a neurotoxin). People with healthy kidneys probably clear this toxin from the blood quickly and experience no problem. Without efficient kidney function, the combined effect of oxalate and a neurotoxin may deliver a double whammy.

As little as one half of a fruit and less than eight ounces of star fruit juice has caused serious symptoms. One person died from eating just one fruit.

Current medical treatment for star fruit intoxication is prompt kidney dialysis. Anyone who experiences hiccups, vomiting or other unusual symptoms after eating star fruit should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

On the positive side, star fruit lovers with normal kidneys should be able to continue enjoying the delectable treat without concern. I especially love sipping a tall glass of ice-cold starfruit and lemon juice on a hot, sunny day but with this latest knowledge, I better be careful who I serve it to. 😉

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American Idol 2008 – Simon Cowell & David Archuleta


Simon Cowell


David Archuleta in Malaysia

David Archuleta in Malaysia in 2009. He’s wearing a traditional Malay 3-piece costume called a “Baju Melayu”…he looks so cute in it, yes? 😆


Hello there, dear friends 😀

Have you been following the American Idol 2008 contest? Who is your favourite contestant on the show? As you can see from the picture above, mine is David Archuleta. 😆 I was impressed by him right from the beginning because I like his down-to-earth, humble and warm personality. And Simon Cowell……can you imagine the American Idol shows without him? Well……… would be like a hamburger without the meat inside! 😆

What got me talking about them was an interesting article in my Sunday Star newspaper which was on “Face Fortune” by Madam Zorra, a local expert in face reading, palmistry and astrology. She said that we are to look at the eyes if we want to know what is in the heart, and not just the expression within them but how they are positioned.

Many people who have listened to Simon Cowell’s criticisms of the contestants on American Idol dislike him immensely and think he is arrogant and cruel…..but Madam Zorra said that if we look at his eyes, we will see how soft and kind he really is. It is not the shape of the his eyes but how they droop downwards. This indicates a sensitive and caring soul who feels deeply for people and wants to assist them. Perhaps you have noticed how he always apologises after his criticisms, but as he is good at his job, he tells the truth unwaveringly for the sake of improving the contestants and not to humiliate them.

David Archuleta, the young, soulful boy who is likely to be the next American Idol, has such eyes, too. He performs deep, meaningful songs best.

On the other end of the spectrum, people who have eyes that rise towards the temples are tough, selfish, calculating and even vicious. The higher the upward slant of the eyes, the worse is the trait. Such eyes resemble those of cats.

Another thing to note about eyes is how close or how far they are from each other. The ideal distance is an eye’s breadth from each other. When they are close together, it indicates that the person may have a tunnel vision or is a bigot. They find it difficult to see the point of view of others. They are self-centred and are also very nervous, impatient and highly strung but they can also be very focused in their attention. Easily provoked, such people have little thought for others and can be very self-conscious.

People with eyes that are far apart or wide-set, i.e. more than one eye’s breath apart have an open view of things. They are more laid back and relaxed, with a “let it be” attitude, Madam Zorra said. They can be careless about may things, especially about their safety, reputation and belongings. They tend to get into trouble especially when they are young because to them, nothing is urgent or dangerous. They can also be accused of being reckless about their future.

Another characteristic to note is when the eyes are set at different levels. Be careful with these people as they can be explosive and erratic in their behaviour.

The ideal eyes are those that are level with a slight lift at the end. They should be an eye’s breath apart and shaped either like an almond or a leaf, not too pointed at the point close to the nose. When the inner eye ends with a sharp point, then it is a sign that the person is a spendthrift who gives no thought to saving for a rainy day.

Our eyes are the central focal point of our face and are an important feature when analysing a face for signs of sincerity, compassion and depth of emotions, Though the shape and position are important, perhaps the best judge of the integrity of a person is whether the person has a calm, direct gaze. Trust not the shifty-eyed!

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