Monday, June 29, 2009


I bumped into some blueberries yesterday and they were being sold at a pretty good price...RM 7.99 for 2 cups of fresh blueberries. I picked them up, came home and went out again today to get a tub of full fat yoghurt. But I came home with a tub of a locally produced low fat yoghurt instead.

To have to pay RM 23 for a tub of imported full fat yoghurt of which I needed only 1 cup was going to set me back by 23 ringgit and sky rocket the cost of making a small loaf of blueberry cake to a ridiculous high. I would never spend that much for a cake of which only half my family members were going to eat. Some of us do not like fruit cakes or cakes with fruit. Picky picky..

However this recipe from Smitten Kitchen turned out very, very, very moist, so tender and so full of blueberries. It didn't look as good as hers but it tasted pretty good to me. In fact it was so so moist that I omitted pouring the lemon syrup over the baked cake (an ingredient which was part of the recipe). It wasn't too sweet, it had a tinge of a nice lemony flavour, it was very soft and ...well... it was full of blueberries.

The blueberries didn't do much for me but having never made a blueberry anything before (except for blueberry pancakes when I visited my daughter in the US) I thought I should give it a go especially when I could get some fresh blueberries at a reasonable price.

As a conclusion I have to say that I have very Asian tastebuds because the blueberries didn't make me jump up and down, it didn't get my tongue wriggling for more, it didn't make me drool or it didn't get my eyeballs springing every which way the way rambutans, mangosteens, langsats, watermelons, pineapples or mangoes would.

BUT the cake, its texture, its tenderness, its wonderful lemony flavour and its subtle sweetness was excellent!

The per Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups + 1 Tbsp plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup whole milk yoghurt
1 cup + 1 Tbsp castor sugar
3 extra large eggs
2 tsp grated lemon rond (2 lemons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups blue berries
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Set the oven at 350 F
8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 loaf pan

Sift 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk yoghurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon rind, vanilla and oil.

Whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well mixed. Add in the blueberries with remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and fold then gently in.

Bake 50 minutes.

Meanwhile cook lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.

When cake is done, allow to cool 10 minutes in thepan before flipping it out.
Carefully place on a baking rack.While cake is still warm, pour lemon sugar syrup over the cake and allow the cake to soak in it. Cool. Serve.

Below are some blueberries left behind by my bigoted Asian tongue.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Gosh! I actually have nothing to say on this post. So I'll let this really funny song about potatoes by Cheryl Wheeler do the talking.......

They're red, they're white. they're brown
They get way underground

They can't be much to do

So now they have blue ones too

We don't care what they look like we'll eat them
Anyway they can fit our plate
Every way we can conjure to heat them

We're delighted and think they're just great

Po ta to (13 X)

Sometimes we ditch the skin

To eat what it's holding in
Sometimes we'd rather please

Have just the outside with cheese

They have eyes but they do not have faces

I don't know if their feelings get hurt

By just hanging around in dark places

Where they only can stare at the dirt

Po ta to (13X)

I guess the use is scant

For other parts of the plant

But that which grows in view

Is eating potato too

I imagine them under their acres

Out in Idaho and up in Maine
Maybe wondering if they'll be bakers

Or knishes or latkes or plain

Po ta to (13 X)

Words and music by Cheryl Wheeler

What more can I say?..........

Except that this is a very tasty and fast dish that I got from watching the Food Safari show. And if you were to use Russet potatoes it will just absorb the spices so much better than the firmer and less starchy white, red and yellow potatoes. This dish is yummm.

Here's the recipe.

2 Russet potatoes, boiled in skin, peeled and then cubed
1 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp cooking oil

Seasoning for potatoes :

1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp chillie powder
salt to taste

To be sauteed :

1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds

Season the boiled and cubed potatoes with the seasoning ingredients. Mix well. Put aside.

Put about 1 tablespoon of oil into a pan. Heat it. Saute the cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds. It will pop and sputter but stir it around for a minute then add teh seasoned cubed potatoes and mix in. Add the dessicated coconut and sesame seeds and stir.Add salt to taste. Serve.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I have finally resigned myself to the fact that lasagnas are not forms or ideas. I have finally resigned myself to the fact that I'm not a manacled prisoner in a cave. I have finally resigned myself to the fact that the lasagna I make is not a mere shadow of perfection. And I have finally resigned myself to the fact that lasagnas ooze. Seriously ooze.

I have seen it illuminated by the sun, I have seen it in the confusion of twilight, I have seen it in the shimmer of dawn. I have seen it in the blaze of my camera's flash bulb. I have seen it at all times imaginable. And they ooze. Period.

The chase for perfection, even in lasagna world, can be foolish. We ignore the fact that cheese melts and oozes. We ignore the fact that meat sauce is sauce. And oozes. We ignore the fact that if you put these two things together in one dish, one on the top of the other and apply 375 degrees of heat, continuously, for 45 minutes, to the whole, some major oozing will surely occur. We ignore logic, reason and reality. We begin to chase this 'vision of truth'. We become philosophically fatuous. We become me.

And that was what I have been. Foolish. I refused to blog about an oozing lasagna. I refused to share the recipe for a great but oozing lasagna. I refused to take a picture of a great but oozing lasagna. But how could I?

Because, I had asked myself, what are those out there then?. What are those that are perfectly layered and not regurgitating while their picture is being taken? What are those that are cut in perfect squares or rectangles neatly and with un-spluttered edges? What are those?

Those I have found are not real. They are so so not real. They are an illusion, are fancy tricks of the experts, of fanatical food stylists, of flabbergasting photoshop artwork .....whatever..... they're not real.

But mine is. And it's so GOOD. Ok let's be honest's Mary Berry's. And is soo GOOD. It's foolproof, it's utterly scrummy, slurpy and sumptuous and it oozes that wonderful, heavenly ooze.

Yes I've finally come down and hit earth with a big bang. But I've bounced back and Ooze is now my friend. But I will still not be taking a picture of Ooze. The whole is what I'll show here. The bronzed and beautiful Whole.

And here's the recipe ................but before we begin lets talk lasagna sheets...the 'instant' kind, the only kind that is available here.

"Oven ready lasagna sheets" "No pre-cooking required". Unless you have your sauce quite saucy, so that the lasagna sheets could soak up all the moisture as it cooks, you will end up with rather tough, half cooked lasagna sheets.

So comes the next biggest, mind boggling question in the universe. How saucy should the sauce be? A tad? Very? Not too? Well I don't have much time for such complex philosophical questions so what I do is to make make my sauce nice and thick in consistency.

And while the sauce is cooking I soak the lasagna sheets that I will be using in one layer spread out between at least 2 large baking trays, for at least 30 minutes, or more, until they soften and then use them to build up the lasagna. It will cook through in the oven and my lasagna comes out perfect. Not Ideal as in Plato's Utopia, but perfect.

And's the per Mary Berry's.............

4 oz mature cheddar cheese, grated ( I used about 1 1/2 oz more) :D
1 oz parmesan cheese ( Iused a little bit more) :D
6 oz pre-cooked lasagna sheets ( I used about 8 sheets)
chopped parsley to garnish


2 tbsp olive oil
1 kg lean minced beef
45 gm plain flour
300 ml beef stock
1 x 400 gm can chopped tomatoes
6 celery stalks, sliced
2 onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
salt and black pepper


I actually make one and a half of this recipe because I think it adds that little bit more of yummy richness (If you're not on a diet).

60 gm butter
45 gm flour
600 ml milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of grated nutmeg

MAKE THE MEAT SAUCE.............

Heat the oil in a deep pot, add the beef, and cook stirring until browned. Add teh flour and cook, stirring for one minute.

Add the stock, tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic, tomato puree, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

MAKE THE WHITE SAUCE.................

Melt the butter in a asaucepan add the flour and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually blend in the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly untilt eh mixture thickens. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, salt and pepper to taste. this point I deviate from Mary Berry's recipe...........

Divide the meat sauce and white sauce each equally between 3 seperate bowls to ensure each layer will be even.

Grease a shallow reactangular oven proof dish measuring about 10 by 7 inches, using butte or olive oil.

Line the bottom completely with about three of the soaked, and drained lasagna sheets (depending on the size of the sheets).

Top with 1/3 of the meat sauce, 1/3 of the white sauce and 1/3 of the Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses each.

Cover again with enough lasagna sheets making sure to reach the edges of the dish...............TIP : Using the pads of your fingers (and the palm of your hand, if necessary) press down gently to compact the layer so that the layers come out somewhat 'perfect'.

Then top with the next 1/3 of the meat sauce, white sauce and the cheeses. Cover again withe lasagna sheets, press down again and top again with the remaining sauces and cheeses, making the final layer.

Bake for 45 minutes in a 190 C oven.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley as a garnish just before you serve. YUMMMMMMMM


Well I never! Imagine seeing a cucumber salad recipe on the New Scandinavian food show and realize after you make it that it tastes exactly the same as the one that your mother in law used to make in a far flung corner of the island of Borneo, thousand of miles away from snow capped mountains, freezing rivers, romantic and idyllic looking grassy slopes and with no bone freezing wind whipping your face.

The show has an IKEA-ish looking outdoor kitchen put together in a matter of minutes usually on a cold Scandinavian mountain top with a picturesque view of snow capped mountains and a wide, lazy bend of a river in the background.

My late mom in law did it in a hot humid corner of her kitchen with no such view, but where a cool cuke salad fitted perfectly in and was a perfectly logical dish to serve on a hot, humid, blistering and blazing afternoon for lunch.

And so it was. Exactly the same. I guess. Because blond, gap-toothed Andre Viestad, who pronounces every syllable so precisely and a little haltingly and uses deciliters in his recipes, called for white wine vinegar but I used apple cider vinegar instead. I do suspect white wine vinegar might taste a little sweeter but whatever it is this is a recipe for very lazy people and for those on a seriously intensive diet. It has no oil, no egg yolk or no any kind of fat in its dressing. Nothing could be simpler and it is definitely refreshing. I could have eaten the whole dish as a snack except that I am/was/and never will be on a diet.

But for those who's the recipe............

1 cucumber, sliced very thinly
coarse salt

1 medium red onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 -2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar

Sprinkle some coarse salt (to taste) on the sliced cucumber pieces in a bowl, cover the bowl with a plate and shake for a few seconds to get the salt into the cucumber slices, to soften them and to draw the juice out of the cucumber. This allows the cucumber to soak in the dressing afterwards.

Add the sliced red onions, the vinegar and sugar. Mix them all up, chill if desired, and serve. You could add some sliced red chillies too like I did!

Monday, June 22, 2009


I've been lazy. Absolutely so. I've been vacillating between thinking, imagining, planning and wanting.

Sometimes I wish I hadn't started a food blog because it entails not just cooking or baking but also of planning, of setting up the food so that it looks like it's supposed to, so that colours match, that utensils are appropriate, that the light's pretty, that the camera's battery's fully charged or nearly so, that the memory card isn't full, that my boys aren't in some pitiful or extreme state of hunger, when hub isn't needing me, when I am, myself, not licking my lips at the food with soulfully hungry eyes but most crucial of all, when I have managed to rip my butt off from whatever it is that it's attached to. See how hard it is? It is.

But it's fun too. When it's fun. When the sweat isn't dripping off my brow and down the view finder, when the tripod is feeling frisky enough to join me, when I get to play around with bowls and plates and when no one's salivating on the fringes. Yes it can be fun.

And it would be even better if I made something ridiculously easy to the point of being absurd and that it were so full of flavour that the dish was bursting at the seams.

And that was what I thought of this little dish of dhall curry. It was bursting at the seams . With flavour. It was so good it was unbelievable. This may sound like an exaggeration but it's not. I loved it so much. So much better than the mamak man's dhall curry. So much better than the dhall curries that I have tasted or ever made. So good that I'll watch Food Safari again.

For this was where I got the recipe from. It looked ridiculously easy and ridiculously good even as it shone through all those flickering morsels of light from my tv. When I saw how Maeve O'Meara went "YUMMMM" and how her brows pulled together over the bridge of her nose with pleasure, how she closed her eyes for a split second as if in pain I knew she wasn't pretending. I knew it must have been sooo good. So I made it. And I wasn't disappointed. At all. I ate it with some huffy puffy Pita Bread that I had made.

The recipe............from memory..............more or less................serves 2 or 3.........

1/2 cup lentils ( I used red organic lentils)
enough water to cover the lentils with an inch or two over the top of the lentils
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder

2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch fresh ginger, crushed to a paste with the garlic above
1-1 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
3 sprigs of curry leaves
1 dried chillie
1 tomato diced (I had forgotten the tomatoes when I made it)
salt to taste

Wash the lentils until the water runs clear. place it in a small pot, add the water, the powdered spices of coriander and tumeric and bring to a boil then simmer until it is soft and cooked through. Add salt and more of the water if necessary. While it is simmering and cooked through prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil into another small pan. Heat up the oil and throw in the garlic ginger paste, curry leaves, cumin seeds, dried chillie(whole) and mustard seeds and don't be surprised if they seeds start to sputter and pop. Mix it around a little until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then pour the mixture, oil and all, into the pot of simmering dhall, add teh diced tomatoes and let simmer for another minute or two to allow the flavours to assimilate. Cook it down until the consistency is thickish but still pourable. Taste for salt. Serve. YUM...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Hell-looow I'm back. Back from reality. From real life. As opposed to the my virtual one. I apologize for the sudden, unannounced exit but it was a totally on-the-spur-of-the-moment-thing, unplanned and something that I was completely in need of. Like food and water.

I've been lungeing at the treadmill, threatening those weights, revamping my garden (if you can call it one), painting the old rattan chair a fresh, vibrant white, drinking 8 glasses of water a day, gulping down some wheat-grasss-ed smoothies and living. Just plain down to earth, real life, tangible living.

It feels good and I figured I am now deserving of getting back into my virtual world for a moment, talk to you and make a treat for my blog. So I made some kuih koci - glutinous, sticky, sweet coconut filled cones standing pointedly pretty and ready to be bitten into....It's sticky, sweet without being overly so, stretchy and just so pointedly good!

For those of you who know not yet a combination of glutinous rice flour and coconut cream makes an amazingly giving and very obliging dough. Lacking the gluten present in wheat flour, there is no worry about over-mixing, over-kneading, of it cracking when shaping or even of it drying out. I had a blast handling this dough and it reminded me of a very white, fat and absolutely lazy cat who would allow you to twist, turn, bend, cuddle, squeeze, shape or press its soft plump body any which way you want without as much as a whimper or a threat. That was how it felt. Just so indulgent, gracious and agreeable.

The filling for the kuih koci (pronounced ko-weh ko-chi) was some coarsely shredded coconut sweetened with a thick palm sugar syrup and cajoled into a moist, dark, damp and scrummy mound; a very popular filling for Asian cakes and desserts.

And thank god for banana leaves too..... because it allows me to make my cakes in any form I fancy. And since I was in the mood for cones, cones it was. Love those pointed tips.

Here's the recipe...............

Prepare the banana leaves :

Wipe clean on both sides, cut into rectangular pieces about 6 by 4 inches and wilt the banana leaves over a fire on your stove or in the oven at a low temperature. Swipe them with some cooing oil before wrapping the glutinous rice cones.Check here on how to prepare banana leaves for wrapping.

The filling :

1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh shredded coconut
100 gm palm sugar, broken into pieces
1 tbsp regular white sugar or to taste
a pinch of salt

Place the palm sugar, white sugar, salt and 1 or 2 tablespoons of water ina small pot over small heat. When the palm sugar has dissolved pour in the shredded coconut. Mix well until teh coconut is veenly coated witht eh sugar and is a dark rich brown.

The dough :

2 cups glutinous rice flour
2 tbsp castor sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
pinch of salt
1 cup (250 ml) coconut cream

Place the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and mix. Add the liquid ingredients and combine with a spatula first and then as the mixture begins to get lumpy use your hands to form into a smooth and soft dough. It may seem dry at first but rest assured that there is more than enough moisture to bind the dough together into a soft lovely mass.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll 1 piece into a ball and then flatten into a disc. Place the coconut filling in the centre of the disc, cover up and seal. You may at this point shape it inot a rough cone first.

Get a piece of wilted banana leaf and roll it into a cone shape like you would a piece of paper for piping icing. Place the filled dough snugly into the banana leaf cone, fold down the excess at the top firmly and tightly and place the filled cone flat down on its base. Do the same for the rest of the dough and filling.

I understand that one could staple the banana leaf into place to ensure that it doesn't open up during the steaming process but I haven't figured out how that could ever be done. An easier way of wrapping these little dumplings would be to place the filled ball of dough onto the rectangular banana leaf, fold over the top and bottom ends over the dough snugly and then fold the left and rights ends under and place them folded ends down flat on a plate until they are ready to be steamed.

If all this sounds too complicated to you, believe me, it's not. It sounds more complicated than it is. A little experimenting and common sense will work just fine.

Set a steamer ready at a rolling boil and steam those little babies for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve wrapped in the banana leaves. YUMMMMMMMM

Friday, June 5, 2009


If one day I were to become heavy, thick, dense and slow I'll call myself a fruit cake. Because that was what this fruit cake was all about. Thick, heavy, dense and S-L-O-W. It took 3 and a half or more hours (I lost count!) to cook at 140 C and all I could do was to wait and whimper.

It was quite maddening considering how hot the kitchen gets with the oven being on for hours on end and the fact that I couldn't run anywhere else to cool down except towards the kitchen sink whenever I stepped into the kitchen and of course it didn't make things any easier considering that the whole country at this time of year feels like 140 C in itself.

But, that being said, it was a very good fruit cake and it was one of the easiest to mix. This is a boiled fruit cake from a recipe book by Marry Berry called, believe it or not, "FAST CAKES"!?!

I made it easier though by using ready mixed fruit since I wouldn't have been able to differentiate the taste of the fruits once it became cake anyway (and as if I would know the difference between raisins and currants!) and this recipe required no soaking of the fruits at all. It is a very simple recipe and one that I wouldn't exchange for any other where fruit cake was concerned. It cuts extremely well and looks so smart and neat when sliced, in addition to being moist and just nice sweet, that it was perfect for the wedding cake that I made and decorated a few posts back.

Here's the recipe...........

14 oz (397 gm) can condensed milk
5 oz magarine (I used butter)
*8 oz raisins
*8 oz sultanas
*8 oz currants
*4 oz glace cherries
8 oz plain flour
2 level tsp mixed spice
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs

*Instead of all those fruits I used 28 ounces of ready mixed fruit and it turned out fine.

Heat the oven to 140 C and grease and line a 7 inch round cake tin.

Pour the condensed milk into a heavy based pot, add the butter/magarine fruit and glace cherries. Place over a low heat until the milk and magarine have melted, stir well and then simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, together with spices and bicarbonate of soda and make a well into the centre. Add the eggs and cooled mixture (you could also add some nuts at this point) and mix until well blended. (What I actually did was to add the flour mixture and eggs into the pot of boiled fruit and mix. Turned out fine and saved me washing a bowl).

Turn the mixture into the baking tin and bake for hours and hours. If the centre feels firm and doesnt give way it's done. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the tin.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


It's strange where satisfaction is derived from sometimes but chickpeas, boiled or steamed, is certainly where I get it from.

I prefer my chickpeas boiled as opposed to roasted. It is sweeter, juicier and certainly more enjoyable to savour because I could absent-mindedly skin the thin membrane around it while chatting, thinking, watching, reading, moaning, grumbling or just simply revel in the sensation of slipping the thin opaque coating soundlessly off its host before popping the shiny, slippery and bald chickpea into my mouth. It is quite similar to cracking, nibbling and fiddling the shell of sunflower, pumpkin or melon seeds before getting at the minuscule matter inside. It keeps you busy and preoccupied over absolutely nothing.

But it does fill the little void and gaps between the fragile, pompous and more important matters of life just like cotton wool in between jewelry or styro-foam beads between crystal-ware or air bubble sheets between electronic products. Yes. They're absolutely necessary where we come from.

And I knew no other way to prepare chickpeas as a snack except by boiling them and steaming them and then eating them, that is, until I came across A Feast, everyday, a lovely blog that showed me how to turn simple chickpeas into a wonderful, biting, appetizing snack with just a sprinkle(handful) of fragrant curry leaves, some crunchy mustard seeds and rings of piquant snipped dried chillies all thrown in. It makes me say "Now why didn't I think of that?"

It makes me feel warm and ready for a cozy curl up with a good book, with an ice-cold cucumber drink on the side and with some vacant space inside my head so that I could think of nothing else than to eat seasoned tumeric-ed chickpeas from a China bowl with the pungence of the curry leaves curling up, wafting by and tickling my nose and teasing my happy tastebuds. Need I say more?

Thanks to A feast, Everyday, here's the recipe with some very minor adjustments....

500 gm cooked chickpeas, or canned
3-5 dried chillies, snipped into rings
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
a handful of curry leaves
1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1 tsp chillie powder (optional)
2 Tbsp cooking oil

If you have bought raw chickpeas, rinse them in cold water, let the grit run out and soak overnight. The next morning rinse off the water. The chickpeas would have swelled to twice its size. Boil them in pot of water seasoned with some salt and sugar. The water level should be well above the chickpeas. It will probably take about an hour or more. Test for tenderness.When it is tender all the way through it is done and ready to be fried. Drain the chickpeas and keep aside in a colander.

In a pan large enough, heat up the oil. Fry the dried chillies, until fragrant, drain. Then fry the curry leaves until fragrant and crisp, drain. Fry the mustard seeds until fragrant then add the fried chillies, fried curry leaves, a teaspoon of tumeric powder, the chillie powder, if using, and the chickpeas. Add salt and sugar and stir quickly until just well mixed. Do not fry too long otherwise the chickpeas will get a little tough on the outside. Adjust the salt if necessary and the sugar too.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Another son/nephew/cousin/brother, another wedding, another cake, another bride and another post. And this time in lovely Malacca.

I have learnt two things not to do at weddings. One, never to get within a hair's breath of the kompang(drummer) boys unless you want your eardrums vibrating outside of your head and two, never to leave the hotel room without 2 kilos of sunblock smeared on your nose and rest of face in anticipation of the searing, relentless midday sun. Oh, and three sweat and photography are not to be done simultaneously.

Short of good photographs this time around for the lack of photographs taken from my camera I had a hard time filtering some good ones. But I did what I had to do. (Lia dear... I'm still waitingggg....)

It was about time Faisal tied the knot with Lilis because the way I see it he is very very very much loved by his (by now) in laws. He completes them. And with God's will and blessing may the marriage bring more love and laughter into their lives.

Durian Tunggal, the village where Lilis comes from is absolutely charming, quaint and clean and its grass lush and green. In the three houses built several feet away from each other within a large plot of land that slopes gently up towards the back live three families of relatives each within ear shot of the other.

One of the homes built slightly to the back is a lovely old Malaccan house with the typical and unique flight of beautiful steps originally built perhaps about a hundred or more years ago. It is now officially declared a heritage building and is protected by the state government of Malacca just like the 100 year old masjid(mosque) where the official marriage ceremony was held within walking distance from the bride's home.

The cooking for the feast on the first day of the celebrations was done to the left of this beautiful home under the big shade of some large trees. I saw at least 2 large (ultra large) cauldrons and other cooking paraphernalia under those trees in the cool cool shade and how I wish I had taken a picture.

Like all marriages it all begins with the official ceremony under the scrutiny of a religious official at the lovely, bijou and tiny village masjid.

Lovely Lilis looking beautiful and enchanting in white waited, quiet and patient, in a corner....

While strapping, fun and lovable Faisal, the second and youngest son of my husband's younger brother Nasrun and his wife Kartini, younger brother of Fir who got married earlier, had to do what a man had to do. He listened to a long paternal lecture from the official, made his promises, took his vows and signed the marriage contract. That done Lilis joined him, took her vows, signed the contract and kissed her husband's hand. They looked blissfully happy in the union, Faisal and Lilis. May Allah bless them always.

The bride's eldest and loving brother, the head of the family since their father passed on several years ago, and Faisal clasp hands as Faisal promises to be a responsible and faithful husband to his little sister Lilis.

In the cozy crowd, as the midday sun streamed in, its harsh light filtered and subdued by the stained glass that ran along the top edge of the walls, with the room encased in the glow from the midnight blue of the carpet, framed by the dark timber beams that ran across the ceiling and guarded by the stone and wooden pillars that stood like sentinels across the room, sat the cake that I made. Heh. Looking lovely. As lovely as the bride.

The cake.That I made. With blood, love, sweat and tears.

What are weddings without cakes and babies. Before and after.

That evening of the same day fireworks went hissing and shooting off into the hollow of the night sky while we made a lot of noise down below.

Lilis meets and welcomes Faisal at the entrance to her home. Faisal looks fondly and lovingly on. Both of them decked completely and resplendently in a combination of Baba-Nyonya (descendents of the late 18th century Chinese immigrants who have adopted partially or in full Malay customs/food/dress and use the Malay language in their day to day lives) and Malay dress.

The bride and her groom walked to the dais that was ready and waiting in Lilis's home for the customary blessings to begin.

The next day, blessed by a hot and blazing sun, Faisal adjusts his suit before doing the finale of the wedding celebrations, the bersanding (sitting on the dias as a married couple). Making sure he looked spiffy was his best man, my nephew, Fadzli.

The final walk with Dad, Mom ,(in pink at the back) little sis, uncles, brother, aunts and cousins making sure he gets there. No more looking back Faisal! This is it. I have never seen Faisal happier.

The very beautiful bride, Lilis, is as happy as he is. Resplendent in her trailing wedding gown.

The bersanding ceremony against a backdrop of roses. Perhaps life is sometimes a bed of roses after all.......

Yes Dad.... No Dad ....Yes more.....they're on their own. Datuk Datu Nasrun blessing his son and daughter-in-law.

The cake feeding as always.......marking the end of the wedding and the beginning of a new life as husband and wife.

My favourite part, in addition the rest of the wedding.... the wedding favours..The bunga telur (eggs on a stalk) are given to guests. Beautiful crepe paper blossoms in buttercup yellow and moss green leaves.

The main wedding favour that encased more goodies inside. A box in bright tangerine and silver are gifts to their guests from the brides family.

And yet more favours for us!...Beautiful purple butterflies flutter on an opaque box. Inside are little Hershey staple food...YUMMMM!! This gets better and better...

Inside this little black case, extracted from the silver-orange box above ,were 4 pieces of treasure. 4 dainty cones of stretchy, chewy, sweet and heavenly dodol. YUMMMM!!!!!!

I think Faisal and Lilis are going to have lots and lots and lots of babies. At least that was the message Lilis' family seem to be sending. For this pretty, quaint and little yellow case contained yet another egg, in addition to the egg-flower stalk above, symbols of fertility.

Good luck and May Allah bless dear Faisal and Lilis with a long and happy marriage.


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