From Malaysia to Melbourne and now Michigan, sharing my experiences, tales and passions with anyone who will listen (or read)!

Month: August, 2012

Selamat Hari Raya!

The tenants of the house I mentioned in my last post moved out during the week and we were able to get a much better look at the place yesterday. Unfortunately, we decided that it would be too complicated to fix up, so it’s back to hunting.

One thing I enjoy about our Saturdays spent house hunting is the opportunity to try out new cafes in our potential new neighbourhood. Yesterday, we had coffee at Luca Haus (coffee was good, pastries were OK but for some reason were served to us unheated) and lunch at West 48 (below).





Today is Hari Raya Aidilfitri (or Eid as it is more widely known as in Australia) so to commemorate the occasion, I tried to make a Malaysian meal, which I rarely attempt. I usually prefer to eat out if I want something authentic, as I have no doubt that it would be far nicer than anything I make myself.


The photo’s a little dark, but it’s essentially nasi tumpang, beef serunding, ikan bilis sambal, and bok choy (for some greens). Served with fried onion and hard boiled egg on the side, it made a great meal (even though it wasn’t 100% accurate!).

Happy Eid to all Muslims out there!



Another Saturday spent househunting for our first home to own. We’ve been looking on and off since the end of last year, but apart from one of the very first houses that we saw, none have been true prospects thus far.

Today, we found one that we really like as it is (i.e. no work needed), in a greatย  location. However, of all the houses that we’ve looked at, this one attracted the most viewers at the inspection today. There were at least 4 other interested parties, most of them around our age or younger, turning up with their whole families (parents, siblings, etc!). Now that I think of it, it was probably a tactical move – to put off prospective competition like ourselves… Now there’s a thought. Anyway, I digress. We think that the competition may be very stiff for this one, and given that it’s only got 2 bedrooms, we’re not willing to pay more than the quoted range at the auction next week, if we decide to bid, that is.

There were a couple of others that we liked, that were slightly more expensive than the one I just talked about, but surprisingly, the front runner at the moment seems to be a house that no one else would even look at. It is currently being used as a rental property and the tenants are DISGUSTING. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say that 3 or 4 months ago I would probably not have made it through the entire house without wretching. No one was more surprised that I would consider it than my husband, who has seen me rule out houses that have presented much better at inspection than this one. I think even the agent didn’t think that a single person would show interest in the place. But it’s structurally very sound, and would be easy to fix up (after I disinfect the entire place!) so watch this space for news on that.

It’s exciting that we have finally found one that we can see some potential in.

Spicy beans + beef tortillas and Nutella goo!


I can’t remember the last time we had friends over for dinner, but it must have been about 2 months ago. We spent almost a month in that time travelling, so it feels like ages ago now. Easily rectified. I got my husband to invite a couple of our friends and their partners over after the boys spent the day mountain biking.

I love having friends over.

1. It gives them a reason to travel 45 mins or so to visit us (for some people, 45 min is not too far, but our urbanite friends seem to think so) ๐Ÿ˜‰ ;

2. It gives me the opportunity to test out new recipes and cook things I otherwise wouldn’t when it’s just my husband and I (too much work, too big portions etc); and

3. It gives us a chance to catch up without feeling like we are being hurried if we stop ordering drinks/food, and as a result, it’s a much more economical night.

Don’t get us wrong – we love eating out as well, but I think I’m much more a cafe girl than night owl. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, what to cook for 3 men after a day of mountain biking, and 3 women (1 vegetarian)? I decided on tortillas in a convoluted way. Based on a recipe out of a Mexican cookbook, I boiled diced beef and shredded the cooked meat. Separately, I made a spicy bean dish (sort of like a vego version of chilli con carne) and served these with cheese salad leaves and tortilla wraps so everyone could build their own tortilla. I’d never made the meat that way before, but definitely something to keep in mind for future.

Dessert was an experiment. In the May 2012 issue of delicious magazine is a recipe for chocolate, hazelnut and Frangelico tart. For numerous reasons, I didn’t want to make the chocolate pastry so I decided to try making the filling, on its own, in a small tray. I substituted Kahlua for the Frangelico as I didn’t have the latter.

As you can see from the picture, it looked like a brownie but was soft and gooey with some crunchy toffee-like bits. Chunks of hazelnuts, chocolate and alcohol – what’s not to love? ๐Ÿ˜‰ It was very well received by our guests.

P.s. we had leftovers of the beef + beans so I roasted some eggplants and mixed that into the leftovers, topped with cheese and baked 20 mins. Voila! Instant Monday night dinner.