Monday, 7 April 2014

My Girl is Leaving Home for National Service Training Program /Pusat Latihan Khidmat Negara (NSTP/PLKN) and Healthy Mixed Congee with Ginkgo Nuts

Finally, my girl has grown up and has been selected for the National Service Training Program. Today (7 April 2014) is her 1st time she is leaving home and away from the family for 3 months. She is posted to Semarak Camp, in Pekan, Pahang. Of course, it’s very emotional for us; sobbing, hugging, encouraging and motivating words, and lots and lots of hugs and kisses.  We are going to miss her and she too.
For my foreign followers' information, the Ministry of Defence Malaysia had implemented National Service Training Program in 2002 and the program was fully operational since 2004. The first targeted group for National Service Program were teenagers born in 1986 or those 18 years of age in 2004. Since then, more and more teenagers who fall in this category are being randomly selected and expected to participate in the National Service Program.
 
The National Service Training Program (NSTP) is implemented to achieve the objectives as stated below:
1) To develop and enhance the spirit of patriotism among youths
2) To encourage national integration and racial unity
3) To build character through imparting core moral values
4) To instil spirit of volunteerism
5) To develop a young generation that is resilient, healthy and confident.
Her friends came to send her off :)
She is fortunate her good friend is under the same batch and camp as her.
For this posting, I have mixed congee with ginkgo nuts. With the current hot weather, it is great to have congee for lunch. Instead of plain rice congee, try adding your favourite ingredients. I love mixed congee and this time, I have ginkgo nuts added to the congee.

Ingredients :
-2 cups of rice (I used brown rice - washed)
-enough water for congee (add more water if you prefer your congee to be watery)
- 1 cup fresh ginkgo nut (membrane peeled, split and remove the pith/embryo)
- 1 tbsp Chinese Wolfberries
- 1 bowl of chopped kai lan/chinese kale
- 1 cup of mixed vegetables
- 2 thumb sized ginger (crushed)
Seasonings : (to taste)
- 1 tbsp miso
- salt
- soy sauce
- pepper

Method :
1) Add enough water to boil rice. Add ginger. If you prefer watery congee or porridge, add more water accordingly.


2) When rice have split but not fully cooked, add ginkgo nuts and mixed vegetables.

3) When congee is cooked, add Chinese kale and Chinese Wolfberries. Stir and mix well.

4) Lastly, add seasonings to taste.
5) Serve hot or warm.
Just for your info, I won't be available from tomorrow till next week. Till then, have a nice day and cheers :)


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Friday, 28 March 2014

Simple 5,6,7,8 Butter Cake

Oh… what is this 5,6,7,8 Butter Cake? Hide and seek game? Counting my dancing steps to the beat of the cake mixer? Hahaha….
It’s actually referring to these few basic ingredients measurement of butter cake ~ eggs, sugar, flour and butter respectively. You can even sing it to the melody of 10 little Indians Boys! 5 eggs, 6 sugar, 7 flour, 8 butter… Easy to remember right? So, with this 5,6,7,8 melody, you will not miss the measurement, but… be careful, it’s 5 eggs, 6 sugar, 7 flour, 8 butter and NOT 5 butter, 6 eggs, 7 sugar, 8 flour!!!!!
Well, after my first attempt in Steamed Chocolate Cake, I am tempted to try another cake. Again, Amelia is my teacher and she generously gives me this 5,6,7,8 butter cake recipe. KAM SIAH, KAM SIAH, Amelia dear.
Surprisingly again, this butter cake is a success even though it cracked at the top, partly due to oven temperature, too hot, I guess.....
However, the texture is very cottony soft. It’s fluffy but neither moist nor dry. It should be slightly moist, right? Well, never mind, I am sure I can get it right in my next attempt, hehehe…..Overall, to me this cake is a success and I am already happy with my newly acquired baking skills, ahem….(blushing).

Ingredients :
5 eggs
6 oz sugar
7 oz self rising flour
8 oz butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk power (mixed with 2 to 3 tbsp water)

Method :
1) Preheat oven at 180 deg c for 10 minutes
2) Grease an 8" cake pan.
3) Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4) Add egg one at a time until well blend.
5) Add flour in batches then add vanilla and milk.
6) Pour in mixture into greased pan. Bake at 180 deg c for 45 minutes or until done.
7) Stand in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
8) Serve.


It's heaven to have this slice of cottony soft butter cake with a cup of coffee or tea
Have a wonderful weekend ahead and cheers :)

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

2nd Blogoversary and My Maiden Attempt in Chocolate Cake

Unbelievable!!! Today, 18 March 2014, without realizing it, Simply Beautiful and Healthy Living is in her 2nd year. Well, time passed by without my knowledge and honestly speaking, when I first started blogging, I had neither goals nor expectations. I was merely blogging for fun and for my eyes only (syiok sendiri, hehehe). I had no idea or knowledge that as a blogger, I need to do some blogwalking and knock at other bloggers’ doors! I just blog whatever that comes into my mind and expect other bloggers to read what I wrote!! So naive!!! As time goes by, I realised that in order to attract comments to my posts, I need to put comments on other blogs. Since then, I get to know some bloggers who are so kind enough to pay me a visit and left their fingerprints and some even their footprints! Most importantly, I have made some great friends along the way. Initially, I only blogged on healthy living and later I had the courage to blog on food. Gradually, I found myself loving blogosphere more and more.
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I am proud to say that I take pride in surviving into my 2nd year of blogging. Over time and along the way, I am lucky to meet and get to know some very good blogger friends who have constantly give me sweet compliments and encouraging words. Without these regular followers and readers, I won’t be here today. A very BIG THANK YOU to all of you who have taken your time to drop by and commented on my postings. You all are my biggest inspiration for better improvement!
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Blogging does take up a lot of my time. Besides being a working mum and wife, I still managed to steal some time for blogging. At times, no doubt I feel very tired, however, I am still motivated to blog when seeing my fellow blogger friends tirelessly giving me encouragement and motivation to move on. I am also glad to say that on my blog’s  1st blogoversary, there were 29,982 page viewers. However, today, exactly 2 years, the page viewers of Simply Beautiful and Healthy Living has soared to 171,030! Without your support, I won’t be this far!

Once again, my BIG THANK YOU and gratitude to each and everyone here who takes a little time out of your busy schedule to read and put comments on my posts. It really means the world to me. At the same time, I always love reading all your comments too. Thank you everyone for your generous and tireless support! 
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Another good news is that, today I'm also glad that I get to share with all of you my very first cake which turned out to be quite successful and delectable too. Honestly speaking, I have been inspired to attempt this cake by Amelia of Amelia's Dessert who urged and ‘nagged’ (like old granny, hahaha) me to try this fail-proof recipe courtesy of  MamaFaMi. She has encouraged me to try this simple and yet irresistible steamed chocolate cake. She challenged me to try this cake and know what she told me? “If this chocolate cake you cannot make, tak jadi (didn’t turn out)... I suggest you stop blogging and go chanting!” Eh… I pun beh tahan (can’t stand) being challenged by her. So, here it is, my dear AMELIA!!! How is my STEAMED CHOCOLATE CAKE??? Passed??? hahahha…
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I am even more thrilled about this post as the photo shooting turned out to be not too bad lah, hehehe. My photography skill has improved too over the years, hahahaha… (*So vain!) Most importantly, hubby and my two girls gave me their two thumbs up.
This is my first maiden cake post and frankly speaking, I am instantly encouraged by the end result of this awesome and delectable maiden chocolate cake! Ahem…. feeling happy and proud of it…. aiyoh, so egoistic, hehehe…..
*Remember to be patient when waiting for the cake to set.  Don't be like Ivy, a bit impatient to cut the cake when it was not completely set yet. Notice the runny chocolate at the bottom of the cake? Hehehe... so, please be patient...:)*

This cake is indeed very simple and easy to make and for those who have countless cakes ended up in the garbage bins (*wink* who else, but yours truly!), this cake will be in no time ended up in your tummy and it’s a sure fail-proof! MamaFaMi, thanks for your recipe!
Ivy’s Maiden Steamed Chocolate Cake, inspired by Amelia of Amelia's Dessert and recipe, courtesy of MamaFaMi:

Ingredients :
(A)
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup corn oil
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
(B)
- 3 eggs
(C)
- 1 cup self raising flour

Method :
1) Mix ingredients (A) and cook in double boiler until sugar melt.
2) Let it cool completely.
3) Beat 3 eggs (B) until light and fluffy and add in to the cocoa mixture.
4) Fold in 1 cup self raising flour (C) and mix well.
5) Grease cake tin, pour in the batter and cover with aluminium foil.
6) Steam for 45 minutes.
7) Cool the cake completely at room temperature.

Topping :
- 1 cup chopped chocolate
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup condensed milk

Method :
1) Mix all together and cook in double boiler.
2) Pour on top of the chocolate cake.
3) Chill the cake in the refrigerator until the topping is set.


I topped it with pieces of chocolate and some mixed dried fruits

The cake is so moist and tempting
If Ivy Sew can do it, so CAN YOU!!!
Have a wonderful week ahead and cheers :)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Refreshing Ampula Juice and Its Health Benefits

Wow, I am so happy when a good friend gave me some home grown hog plums (small type) also known as Tahitian apple. Its scientific name is Spondias dulcis. In Sinhalese it is called Ambarella, and commonly known as Ampula or Ambla in Penang. It is also known as Buah Kedondong among Malays. This home grown Ambla which my friend gave me is 100% organic and is known to have many benefits and medicinal values too. Buah kedondong is a tropical fruit commonly found in South and South East Asia. There are different types of kedondong; big and small. It comes with an oval shape. Kedondong has a single seed and has lots of fiber. The fruit can be eaten raw; the flesh is crunchy and has sweet sourish flavour.
Ambarella is one of the richest known source of vitamin C. It is said to contain 30 times the amount found in oranges. As such, it is extremely common to see the locals use it for treating throat and respiratory tract infections.
Besides, it is regarded as sacred by Indian and Tibetan healers who believe it has special anti-ageing and immune enhancing properties. Traditionally, it’s used to treat indigestion, fever, liver problems and anaemia.
Not only is ambarella revered by Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) practitioners, it is also said that extensive research has revealed that it is beneficial in preventing and treating many conditions including stress, hay fever, arthritis, cataracts, and even cancer! Chinese researchers have discovered that ambla fruit is a rich source of therapeutic chemicals, including quercetin (which is also found in apples), gallic and ellagic acids (found in green tea). It has powerful antioxidants, which help protect you from harmful free radicals that increase the risk of some serious diseases including cancer.

Here are some benefits you can get from this nutritious fruit:

• Ambarella leaves can be dried and ground until powdery and used to treat mouth sores.
• People suffering from diarrhea, dysentery and loose bowel movement can take a decoction of ambarella bark to ease discomfort.
• The root can be used to treat itchy skin.
• The seeds of the amabrella fruit are proven to lower high blood pressure and treat respiratory ailments due to their antibiotic content.
• Boil the leaves of ambarella and apply the liquid substance on the skin as a substitute for lotion and moisturizers
• Ambarella is also an excellent treatment for headaches, constipation and even diabetes.



For someone who's unfamiliar with ambarella, you may be wondering what nutrients it possesses. Indeed, this fruit boasts of healthy goodness all throughout. For a serving of 100g of ambarella, there is 0.6g of protein, 0.2g of fat, and 91.0g moisture. It also has 0.7g fiber, 5.7g of calcium, and iron of 0.4g. It's also loaded with niacin, vitamin A, ascorbic acid, and carotene which boost the immune system and fight against cancer.

Ambarella can be taken as it is or you can make use of its other parts. As mentioned, you can use its bark, leaves, and seeds for medicinal purposes. Having your daily serving of ambarella can surely make you healthy and be protected against harmful ailments.

(source : http://food-drink.blurtit.com/1318125/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-ambarella-spondias-cytherea-also-known-as-the-hog-plum-or)

Buah Kedondong is also one of the favourite ingredients in rojak (Malaysian fruits salad). Some like to eat it fresh with dipping sauce - a mixture of thick soy sauce, sugar and bird’s eye chillies. Some like to have it pickled but I prefer to make it into juice. The juice is commonly known as ampula in Malaysia.

Ingredients for Refreshing Ampula Juice : (to taste)
- 6 young ambarella fruits (washed and halved)
- 1 or 2 suen buehs/preserved sweet sour plums
- 300ml water
Direction :
1) Put cut ambarella and water into a juicer or blender. I used powerful blender as I do not wish to waste even a single fiber of the fruit! Lols.
2) Blend it into juice.
3) Serve it with ice cubes and sour plum/suen bueh.


You can add honey/sugar to make it sweeter
I prefer it without any sweetener
Isn't this a delightful and refreshing juice especially during the current scorching hot and hazy weather?
Here's a glass of healthy and refreshing Ampula juice just for you.
Have a fabulous day ahead :)



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Friday, 21 February 2014

Simple Stir Fried Chinese Leeks with Tau Kua (semi-soft tofu)

My family members love Chinese Leeks.  We love it especially if stir fried it with roast pork belly.  I am sure most Malaysian Chinese  know how sinfully delectable this dish is if served with soy sauce and bird's eye chili!  It's very addictive too. Sometimes hubby and I enjoy having it just with cold beers; without rice. Whereas my children would have extra rice if Chinese Leeks is served!
 Stir Fried Chinese Leeks with Roast Pork and Hard Tofu

For a change, you can also mix and match Chinese Leeks with whatever dishes you have in mind.  
 Chinese Leeks with Swiss Mushrooms

 Fried Rice with Chinese Leeks and Apple Cubes

Simple Stir Fried Chinese Leeks with Tau Kua

Ingredients :
- 5 pcs semi-soft tofu (cubed and deep or pan fried)
- 4 Chinese Leeks (washed and cut)
- 1 pair Chinese Sausage (washed and sliced)
- 1 carrot (julienne)
- 1 thumb sized ginger (crushed)
Seasonings : (to taste)
- salt
- soy sauce
- Chinese cooking wine (Hua Tiao Jiu)

Method :
1)  Heat oil in a wok enough to deep fry or pan fry tofu.  (I prefer to pan fry).
2)  Pan fry tofu until both sides are golden brown.  Dish out and set aside.
3)  Leave about a tablespoon of oil in the wok.  Saute ginger until aromatic.
4)  Add Chinese Leeks, Chinese sausages and carrot.  Keep stir frying until all the ingredients are half done.
5)  Add salt and soy sauce to taste.  Keep stirring and if too dry, add some water.
6)  Transfer the fried tofu back to the wok. Stir and mix well.  
7)  Drizzle some Chinese cooking wine and give it a quick stir.
8)  Dish up and serve with steamed rice or plain rice porridge.
Such a palatable and aromatic dish!
Have a wonderful weekend ahead and cheers :)



Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me comments.. I really appreciate all your visits and comments! Have a nice day :)