Tuesday, May 31, 2011

steamed pumpkin kueh (cake)

when my younger daughter brought a pumpkin to my elder girl's place (in melbourne), i decided to use it to make a steamed pumpkin cake ('kim kuay kueh'). my late mother-in-law used to make this kueh, using a circular aluminium tray. we would usually cut the steamed kueh into rectangular pieces and fried them until they were golden brown and crispy. it is best eaten by dipping it in chilli sauce or the 'chee cheong fun' sauce.

the ingredients for making steamed pumpkin kueh include rice flour, dried shrimps (hae bee), shitake mushrooms, chinese sausages and fried shallots. you may opt to add a couple of spoonfuls of tapioca flour to the rice flour. the hae bee have to be softened by soaking them in warm water; and the chinese sausages and the mushrooms have to be sliced thinly.

instead of steaming the pumpkin before mashing it, i cooked it in boiling water until it became soft. the next step was to fry the dried shrimps, shitake mushooms and chinese sausages. i fried them until the fragrant aroma pervaded the kitchen.

the 400g of rice flour was poured into a pot. 5 cups of hot water was added to it, one cup at a time. after adding each cup of hot water, stirred the mixture ( the 400g of rice flour plus a spoonful of salt and two tablespoons of sugar) thoroughly. after all the water had been added, the mashed pumpkin was then poured into the pot. this was followed by the fried ingredients of shrimps, cut mushrooms and diced sausages.

when everything had been added, a low fire was turned on. i continued to stir the mixture well until it became almost dry.

then i tranferred the content into two shallow trays and steamed them for one hour in a multi-tier steamer.

i left the cake to dry overnight. the next day, i cut the cake into rectangular pieces and fried them until each piece was golden brown. my younger daughter's comment: good enough to be sold.

Friday, May 27, 2011

wine from the peninsular winery

i know a few friends who bring home a lot of wine each time they visit melbourne. no, it's not that the wine is much cheaper here. according to one friend, it is because they enjoy that particular wine but cannot get the same brand in singapore. of course, there are those who take advantage of the comparatively lower cost of wine in australia.

a family of three just left for singapore with about 20 bottles of wine in their bags. now that the allowance for wine has been increased to 2 bottles (litres) per person, they can take home at least 6 bottles duty-free. however, most of the time they exceed the quota for each person. what about the extra 14 bottles? they declare them at the customs and pay the duties on them. i think if you take in more than 10 bottles per person, you may have to apply for an import permit.

in the state of victoria, the bigger vineyards, like chandon and yering, are at the yarra valley, which is about 45 minutes by car from where i am staying. there are smaller vineyards distributed all over victoria. we prefer to visit those on the mornington peninsula, which is actually futher away. it takes about an hour of driving to reach t'gallant, the one we visit more often.

the friends who took home 20 bottles of wine, had 12 bottles of the moscato wine. they were all bought from the t'gallant winery on the mornington peninsula. moscato (sometimes spelt as muscato) wine comes from the muscat grape, which is a sweet white grape.

moscato is a wine which will find favour with social drinkers like myself. ladies should not have a problem taking to this wine because of its low alcohol content (6%) and its sweet flavour.