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Thursday, 30 December 2010

'Tis the Season...and plans get changed - again and again!

This Christmas was going to be a bit different - for all of us. For me, personally, it was the first christmas that my grandmother wasn't around. She passed away early in the year. For The Lovely Wife, it was her first Christmas without her father, who passed away in September. With that, traditions and what we normally do on Christmas would be different.

Usually on Christmas Eve, The Lovely Wife, kids and I go to her parents house where we are joined by the other siblings and sometimes TLW's uncle and family for Christmas Eve dinner. That has been the tradition ever since I got married. My parents on the other hand, usually go to my Grandmothers house.

This year, the original plan was to have Christmas Eve dinner at our place with TLW's family and my parents. However, all plans sometimes go awry and TLW got called back to work for something urgent on the 22nd and she reckoned she could possibly be tied up on the 24th as well. So... we decided to call off Christmas Eve dinner and notified the rest of the family to 'go do their own thing.'

Come Christmas Eve however, The Lovely Wife managed to finish off all that she had to do and my parents suggested that we go out for dinner. I suggested to The Lovely Wife that we get her family over after dinner for dessert as I had already made the dessert. We could all then open up our presents as we would normally do on Christmas Eve. That sounded like a good plan.

Late in the afternoon of the 24th, we were out shopping and so on the way home, we decided to stop at a restaurant nearby to make reservations for dinner. Would you believe that at 4pm, they were already fully booked for Christmas Eve dinner? And here we thought that everyone would be at home on Chrissy Eve!

I decided then that rather than go out somewhere I would cook a simple meal. As I said, dessert had already been made the day before so it was just deciding on the main meal. I decided to keep it really simple and just get some bread and toss up a pasta as well as some fried sausages. That would be enough for my parents and the 4 of us.

It was then that The Lovely Wife asked if since I was already cooking, could I make extra and invite her family over as well, rather than just getting them to come for dessert. No Problem!

So...rather than just make one pasta, I made two. TLW's family bought some Pizza too and brought that over so there was plenty. It was really good having everyone over and the meal was enjoyed by all.

So for Christmas Eve Dinner, this was what we had:

Pasta Salmone - Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Portobello Mushrooms in a creamy sauce lightly flavoured with Salmon stock and tomatoes.

Spicy Vegetarian Pasta - Zuchini, Fresh Thai Basil and Red Capsicum tossed in Chilli Flakes

Sausages fried with Basil

Triple layered Chocolate delight - Oreo base layer, baked mousse layer with nuts and topped with a final layer of Chocolate Mousse.

Not forgetting the garlic bread and the bought pizza :)

Dessert didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to, but it was still a mighty delicious dessert nonetheless. I had wanted the baked layer of the dessert to be softer but it turned out more like a brownie thanks to me adding in too much flour, forgetting that the cocoa would act as a binder as well. (I redid the layer a few days later and I'll post about that soon - I hope!)

We didn't put up the Christmas tree either this year either so the kids decided that our reading light was going to be the Imaginary Christmas Tree...

...and all the presents were placed under this light in lieu of the tree. After all, the tree is usually place in this spot anyway!

A week earlier, I had ordered a new TV for the family as prior to this we were still in the Stone Age with an old CRT TV - thats Cathode Ray Tube TV for those that have never seen a fat old TV Set before. I took the opportunity to take a picture on Christmas Eve night since all the other presents were being opened and this was by far the biggest present! Note the small ribbon that we put on the TV...

Now we have the latest but probably not the greatest, but still a marked improvement to what we used to have! The kids love it and so does The Lovely Wife! I have to admit that watching football(soccer) on the big screen is so much more fun - especially so when I have hooked up the sound to my audio system!

The best part about this dinner was getting the whole family together. Christmas Eve dinner is rarely about the food and more about just getting together with lots of love and laughter!

Merry Christmas Everyone and a Blessed New Year ahead!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Crème Brûlée infused with ginger

Crème Brûlée is something I've always wanted to make. So a few weeks ago, when we had Lynn and Tina over for a get together, I decided to make Crème Brûlée. I also wanted to use my kitchen blowtorch that I had bought some time ago. I'd used the torch for briefly searing tomatoes and peppers but nothing really fancy. I'd actually bought the torch for desserts like Crème Brûlée so this was a perfect excuse to make the dessert and use the torch!

The Lovely Wife had mentioned that one of her friends had told her about this fabulous Ginger flavoured Crème Brûlée at some restaurant. A couple of weeks earlier, we had tried the Ginger Creme Brulee over lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant. It was a big disappointment as the custard was lumpy and runny at the same time. The flavours though were really quite good.

I adapted a recipe I found in the Readers Digest Your Cooking Questions Answered - one of The Lovely Wife's favourite cookbooks. This is what I did:

600ml Whipping Cream
2 tsp Vanilla Essence
4 large egg yolks (or 5 medium egg yolks)
125g Caster Sugar
3 tsps ground ginger
Preheat oven to 150C. Heat the cream with the vanilla and ginger until just boiling. Remove from heat and allow the ginger to infuse into the cream.
Beat the egg yolks with half the sugar until thick and creamy. Temper the yolks with a little cream and then whisk in the cream ensuring that the yolks dont curdle. Pour the custard into 6 ramekins.
Put the ramekins in a baking pan and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for at least one hour or until set.
Remove from the pan and allow to cool before refrigerating for several hours, preferably overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar and then caramelise the sugar with a cooking torch. Serve immediately.

[If you dont have a torch, place the sugar covered custard under a very hot grill until the sugae caramelises. Chill again for a few hours or the custard creams will be hot]

To say that this was delicious would be somewhat of an understatement. The ginger flavour of the Creme Brulee was lovely. I was in a bit of a rush and the custards didnt set as well as I had hoped, with the centre a little runny. I think that was partially due to the eggs being slightly smaller than usual. Also, I think it would need to be baked for a while longer to set really well.

Nonetheless, the custard turned out rather well and I was most pleased with the caramel layer. It was crisp and full of flavour and it was a lot of fun cracking the crust and digging into the smooth custard underneath.

A lovely dessert, very professional looking and really yummy! Something I will definitely make again and the best part of this dessert is the fun using the torch!!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

How I celebrated my Birthday Part Two..

In my previous post, I talked about the earlier part of the day of how I celebrated my Birthday. This is what happened later in the evening....

TLW came home a bit late as it started raining and she was caught in a jam. She got home just a short while before my parents left and the kids had a quick shower before we headed out again.

We decided to just go to one of the shops in the nearby shopping centre as it was still raining and it was getting late. Dinner was at The Meat Experts where we had some ribs and sausages. The kids wanted to get back home quickly and I knew that the kids and The Lovely Wife had something up their sleaves as they kept whispering and making remarks about not having dessert all the way home.

Once we got home, I was barred from the kitchen. The Lovely Wife had bought something on the way back from office but I had no idea what it was. I soon found out though...

Before they came out of the kitchen, Sarah sat at the piano to play me Happy Birthday!

The Lovely Wife then came out of the kitchen with some cake.

She had bought two slices of cake from Harrods in KLCC. One slice was a Victoria Sponge that is apparently a hot favourite at Harrods. The other was a Jaffa Cake. She also bougght two slices of a chocolate cake called Chocalate Devil Cake from Chinoz, KLCC.

It was a lovely gesture from The Lovely Wife but I have to say that the cakes were a HUGE disappointment - especially when the Lovely Wife told me how much the cakes from Harrods cost. Exhorbitant. s.i.m.p.l.y.
e.x.h.o.r.b.i.t.a.n.t. I was surprised that the cakes were so highly priced when they really weren't all that tasty.

The chocolate cakes from Chinoz were just as bad and my son remarked to The Lovely Wife that she should have known better than to buy me cakes that werent nice. He remarked that the cakes from Coffee Bean would have been nicer as "At least we all like those cakes!"

In The Lovely Wife's defence though, she was just trying cakes from different shops and as I said earlier it was such a lovely gesture.
That's why she really IS The LOVELY Wife!

Thanks for the cake slices honey, thanks for the lovely dinner and most of all Thanks for being The Lovely Wife!

So ends another birthday story for me....

Monday, 29 November 2010

How I celebrated my Birthday...

It's my Birthday today!

I decided to take the day off and spend it with the family. Alas, The Lovely Wife has something pressing at work but that was a great excuse for me to spend some quality time with the kids.

The kids woke me up early with two lovely handmade cards. I still look a little sleepy in this picture...

I also got my presents - a nice shirt that was wrapped up to look like a cylinder as Sarah wanted me to think it was a Camera Lens. I also got a lovely pair of cufflinks.

If you look closely, the cufflinks are engraved with I Love my Dad. My son asked me, if I wear the cufflinks, does it mean that I love my father or would it mean that my children love me...

The kids and I weren't sure how we wanted to spend the day. So rather than planning everything in detail, we decided to play it by ear and go out for breakfast first. We went to the nearby Old Town White Coffee and stuffed ourselves with Peanut Butter toast, Eggs on Toast as well as Hazelnut Iced Coffee - two cups actually!!

After breakfast, we took a drive to the nearby Science Centre to see if the Dino's Alive exhibition that we had seen advertised was already showing. Unfortunately, it only starts on December 1st. Michael made a note of it though and hopefully we'll go see it soon.

Next plan of action was to take a drive to The Curve and on the way, we thought we'd make a slight detour and go to the Houz Depot (a huge home improvement shop) since it was still really early and most of the shops in The Curve would be closed. Funnily enough, the Houz Depot was closed too so we just doubled back to The Curve and started to walk around an almost empty shopping mall.

It was actually quite fun watching shops open up and being the only people around. After bumming around a little while, shops started to open up and we made a beeline for Borders where we spent some time browsing for books. Both the kids got some books for themselves. After browsing in a few other shops, we decided we wanted an early lunch as we were all feeling a little peckish (read greedy!).

For lunch we went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. Firstly I had to explain that Bubba Gump originated from a movie and all that. The kids had more fun calling it Bubble Gum though! The waitress came by to explain that the two licence plates on the table are to 'stop' the waiters if you need anything. The Blue "Run Forrest, Run" plate means you dont require any service while the Red 'Stop Forrest, Stop' means you need service!

After scanning through the menu, we decided on the
Bubba’s After the Storm “Bucket of Boat Trash” which is basically Deep fried Shrimp, Fish and Lobster Tail that is served with Fries. We didnt take photos though as we were too greedy...

We DID take photos of the dessert though. I got a free Chocolate Sundae for my Birthday while we ordered something called That Chocolate Thing - Warm flourless chocolate cake in a jar topped with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Theres also some raspberry sauce that the cup sits on. The kids polished off the ice cream on top very quickly so it was a good thing that I had enough of my ice cream to go with it!! The dessert was indeed very yummy and I would go back there just to have That Chocolate Thing again.

Both the kids lay back in their seats after eating so much with a smile of satisfaction on their faces. We waddled and plodded our way to the car and just to work off some calories, we went to Houz Depot for a little while before returning home.

The best thing was, it was only three pm by the time we got home!! What a wonderful day with the kids celebrating my birthday.

My parents came over in the evening with another present for me...

Now we just have to wait for The Lovely Wife to come home and maybe we'll go pig out somewhere again!!

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

A first - a birthday without dad's cake!

My son celebrated his 9th Birthday on the 15th of November 2010 and for the first time, Daddy didn't make him a cake! What?

Well, truth be told, we went away for a short holiday and were actually away on the day of his birthday as well so I didnt have the chance to make him a cake. However, I couldn't have him not have a cake to cut so what I did was to arrange a cake for him - complements of the hotel that we stayed at.

He was surprised when the hotel came into our room just before dinner, singing Happy Birthday and brandishing a cake brightly lit with candles. He was surprised indeed and asked me rather sheepishly how the hotel knew it was his birthday. I had to explain that I had arranged for the cake through email correspondence!!

Michael liked the cake but after eating a few pieces, he grinned up at me, said thanks for arranging the cake and then remarked:
"The cake is nice Dads, but not as nice as yours."

Ahh... what a loyal son I have!!

Happy Birthday Mike!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Graham Cracker Crust Chocolate Flourless Cake

What do you do when your children want something delicous to eat, you want to finish off some unused biscuits and you want to try something new? Bake a new dessert of course!

I've seen a lot of recipes that call for Graham Crackers. Never seen them before nor have I tried them. I usually use Marie Biscuits or Digestives in place of Graham Crackers whenever a recipe calls for it. Anyway, our friend Lynn brought over some Graham Crackers to eat with cheese - not knowing that Graham Crackers are sweet. I don't blame her since the word cracker would imply savoury rather than sweet. Anyway, I was thrilled to finally get my hands on some Graham Crackers. They tasted very much like Digestives, although maybe a little sweeter.

The Graham Crackers sat in the cupboard for a little while till the kids asked for a nice dessert one fine day. I decided to whip up something and to use the Graham Crackers as the base. This is what I did.

125g Graham Crackers
90g Butter

200g Chocolate
3 eggs
150g sugar
100g almond meal

300ml cream
Melt butter and allow to cool. Crush the Graham Crackers in a bag till fine (or use a food processor - although the bag method produces a nicer crust). Place crumbs in a bowl and mix with the butter. Pack into a 8" or 9" springform and then bake crust for 15mins at 180C. Remove from oven and let cool

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Allow to cool. Whisk the eggs and sugar together till thick and creamy. Beat in the chocolate and then mix in the almond meal till smooth. Whip the cream and fold into the chocolate mixture. Spread into the springform pan and bake at 180C for 20 mins. Remove from oven, cool and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

The crust turned out really nicely and the cake was mousselike with a nice texture from the almonds. The children really enjoyed it as did The Lovely Wife. I love anything chocolate and this one goes in as another one of my favourites - a mix between a pie and a crusted cake.

Simply Delicious!!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

French Toast for Breakfast and Dinner

My son had a bit of a stomach bug yesterday and couldn't eat very much. He was hungry though and so I suggested making some French Toast. The eyes of my little princess lit up as she asked "Like the ones in hotels?"

Yes, I replied, just like the ones in the buffet breakfasts at hotels. To make the French Toast a little more interesting, I dusted them with cinammon and sugar. Rather yummy indeed!

This morning, being a public holiday for Malaysia's Independance Day, the kids again asked if they could have French Toast - this time for breakfast. I remarked that there was no more cinammon nor was there any more bread. The bread problem was easily fixed by popping over to the local petol station but there was no cinammon there. It was also too early to get any cinammon from the local supermarket. So, this time, I just dusted the toast with icing sugar.

4 eggs
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp milk
8-10 slices white bread

In a shallow bowl, beat eggs, milk and salt lightly with a fork. Over medium-low heat, heat a skillet or shallow pan with a thin layer of oil or butter.
Dip the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl to coat one side then carefully turn to coat the other side.

Transfer bread skillet and cook till the bottom is nicely browned before turning over to cook the other side. Remove to a plate and while hot, sprinkle with cinnnamon sugar or icing sugar. Alternatively, serve with some honey or maple syrup.

It's quite amazing how something so simple is so well liked. My little princess wolfed down 5 pieces - equivalent to 2.5 slices of bread. Her words said it all as she reached for piece number 5 - "I'm already full, but I'm still hungry!"

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Sungai Kelang Mud Cake

This is a really easy recipe that delivers quire a stunning dessert. I've had this recipe for quite a while but haven't made it in the longest time. I used to make this dessert without any baking.

However, I am a little averse nowadays to using uncooked eggyolks and so I now bake this recipe for a short while. However you can opt not to bake it if you so desire. That cuts out the baking and cooling time and makes this dessert even easier to make!

This dessert is one of those that doesn't look terribly attractive and neither does it photograph very well. It is definitely one of those desserts that you shouldn't judge just by looks alone! It is really delicious and its the kind of dessert that you just can't have one slice off...

This dessert is like a Missisipi Mud Pie and it uses crushed biscuits instead of flour to give it body. It tastes really good on its own and is even better with a scoop of ice cream. The cake needs to thaw a little once out of the fridge. Since we are far away from Missisipi, I decided to have a little fun and call this the Sungai Kelang Mud Cake. Sungai Kelang means Klang River - where Klang is a town in Selangor - and is in fact one of two rivers that meet at the confluence that gave Kuala Lumpur its name. I've mentioned this before in my Baked Mackerel recipe.

300g Good Quality Chocolate
200g Butter
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
225g Marie Biscuits or similar
100g chopped almonds
100ml cream
Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. mix till smooth. Allow to cool. Beat eggs with sugar till light. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture. Meanwhile, whip cream till stiff. Add to chocolate mixture and fold in well. Crush the biscuits or process in a food processor till it forms crumbs. Mix biscuits into the chocolate mixture. Add in the nuts and mix well. Pour into a greased pyrex dish and bake for 20mins in a 180C oven. Allow to cool then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

I made this recently and aside from the kids, who always enjoy my desserts, my Father-in-law really enjoyed it. The kids couldnt quite get enough of it and the dessert was had for lunch, tea, dinner, supper and again the next day after breakfast and lunch. Come dinner time, the kids looked at me wistfully and asked why there wasn't anymore of the dessert.

Why Indeed! It was as if everyone else had eaten it all and they hadn't had any!! It's always a pleasure when desserts are enjoyed!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Another Birthday Cake for The Lovely Wife...

TLW celebrated another birthday on the 10th August so that means I'm late with this post. I wasn't late with her cake though so that's what matters! This time around, TLW knew what she wanted. One of her favourite desserts, if not the most favourite, is Tiramisu. I have my own version that she really loves. However, there is a certain restaurant/cafe in Kuala Lumpur that serves a Tiramisu Cake that she loves too. I specifically mention Tiramisu Cake as it is more a cake than a Tiramisu - which to me, needs to be served in a bowl and scooped out. But to each their own.

Everytime she mentions the Tiramisu Cake at Alexis (said Cafe/Restaurant), I feel a little stab at my heart. I have to admit that it is pretty good though. What is nice is that they use pralines/caramelised almonds on top. They also put a layer of chocolate in between the layers of cream. To finish it off, the cake is seated on a bed of strawberry coulis.

So for this birthday, TLW asked if I could replicate the Alexis Tiramisu Cake. I retorted that if I had their recipe, I could do it very easily but just to make her happy, I would see what I could do.
Type your summary here

I had it all planned out. However, a good plan doesn't always work out. I decided to use the Dorie Greenspan Perfect Party Cake for the cake layers. I would then use my Tiramisu recipe for the cheese layers, add in some chocolate shavings, make pralines for the top and use some strawberries for decoration. Sounded like a good plan.
However some things did go wrong. Firstly, the cake didn't whip up as well as it usually does. It was still nice, just not as light and fluffy as it usually is. I put that down to not using new eggs and the fact that I didn't have any cake flour and used plain flour.
Then my pralines didnt turn out as well as they usually do either. This was due to me trying a new method of making pralines. Usually, I make the caramel first and then thrown the roasted nuts in. This time, I threw the nuts together with the sugar and tried to caramelise the whole thing - as suggested in one recipe book I referred to. It kinda worked but was a little grainy. Next time I'll stick to my tried and tested method!

Since there were leftover egg yolks, I decided to make a Sabayon to add into the cheese mix to reduce wastage. I reduced the alcohol for the coffee mixture as the Sabayon had so much alcohol in it. I also doubled my cheese mixture but that left a lot of leftover filling.

All in all though, the cake turned out really good and TLW was very pleased with the cake. She did comment that the praline wasn't properly caramelised and she also didnt quite like the fact that there was so much cream filling around the cake. That was my mistake as I completely misjudged the measurement. Since there was so much cream mixture, I placed the cake in a large springform so there was too much cream around the cake.

Nonetheless, the cake was a real success. The kids loved it as well! TLW took some of the cake to her mother's the next day but made sure to keep enough at home for a second nights eating. And after we shared a piece after dinner, she snuck down later that night to quietly enjoy the final piece of cake on her own...!

For the cake - 1 perfect party cake recipe

For the Cream and Sabayon mixture
*Note - Mixture is enough for 1.5 cakes.
800ml whipping cream
3 Tbsp icing sugar
500g cream cheese
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup creme cacao
5 Tbsp sugar

For the Coffee Mixture
1 cup hot water
2.5 Tbsps Instand Coffee powder
1/2 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup cold water

For the Pralines
250g sugar
150g roasted almonds

200g dark chocolate bar


Make the cake first and set aside. Then make the sabayon. Place the eggs, sugar and choc liqueur in a heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water. Dont let the bottom of pan touch the water. Whisk with an electric beater till mixture is thick and pale, leaving a small trail when beaters are lifted. (about 10 mins)
Remove bowl from heat and continue whisking for another few minutes. Place in fridge.

Cream the cheese until soft. Set aside. Then whip cream with icing sugar until stiff. Mix Sabayon with cream cheese till smooth. Fold in cream and mix well till incorporated.

Using a large kitchen knife, shave or chop the chocolate lengthwise to get long shavings. Keep shaved chocolate in fridge until ready to use.

Dissolve coffee in boiling water. Let cool. Mix Liqueur and cold water. Pour into coffee.

Place the sponge in a springform pan or similar pan of the same size as the cake. Soak the cake with half the coffee mixture. cover with a thin layer of chocolate and then top off with the cream mixture. Place the second sponge layer on top and soak with remaining coffee. Top with remaining chocolate and cover with cream mixture. Smoothen the top and let set in fridge. Before serving, dust with cocoa and Cover with chopped pralines. Decorate with sliced Strawberries.

Perfect Party Cake
Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours (page 250).
For the Cake

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

To Make the Cake
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.
Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
Add the rest of the milk and eggs beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2- minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the touch – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
Invert and cool to room temperature, right side up (the cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months).

Sunday, 18 July 2010

The ABC of the Quintessential Malaysian Dessert - more Cultural Exchange

In this hot climate of ours there is no snow, nor will there ever will be. We do get hailstones some times but that is rare. What we do get though is rain. Lots of it. Torrential rain and thunderstorms. Then Kuala Lumpur floods. Traffic crawls. Trees get uprooted. Damage occurs. You get the idea.

But I digress. I started this post off to say that we don't get snow. Why snow? Because as a young lad, I remember reading books that talked about scooping out snow and covering it with maple syrup or honey - written by western authors no doubt.

Many countries and cultures have evolved to using shaved ice instead of snow and pouring syrup over it. We do that here too and we call it "Ice Balls". Better than that however is our very own dessert known as ABC - Air Batu Campur. Air Batu means Ice (Air is pronounced I-yay and means water while Batu is pronounced Bah-to and means stone) and Campur means to mix or mixture. The language has evolved and Air Batu is now commonly known as Ais (ice!) So the dessert is also commonly known as Ais Kacang (literally Ice with Nuts or Beans).

The dessert is usually made with Red Beans, Peanuts, Cincau (grass jelly), coloured jelly pieces (or shredded) and some cream corn. It is then covered with shaved ice to which coconut milk is poured on top and then covered with Gula Melaka and Red Syrup. Sometimes, instead of Coconut milk, evaporated milk is used. Sometimes too, the syrup used is only Gula Melaka or Red Syrup. Nowadays, the ingredients to Ais Kacang are wide and varied and include fruit cocktail in addition to the other ingredients. The options are really limitless. Some places like to place a scoop of ice cream over the ABC as well.

Both my kids love their Ais Kacang. The Lovely Wifes sister-in-law has an electric ice scraper that TLW borrowed to make home-made Ice Kacang. Although the home version of the ice scraper doesnt produce as fine a shaved ice, it does a pretty good job.

For the homemade version, TLW used Evaporated Milk rather than Coconut Milk - healthier although not quite as tasty. She made the gula melaka syrup by melting the solid gula melaka with a little water while the red syrup is simply coloured sugar syrup flavoured with some pandan leaves. She also made her own jelly by boiling agar-agar with pandan leaves and then adding in sugar and food colouring. The red-beans took a long time to soften and I had suggested that TLW just get canned beans isntead. The rest of the ingredients, like grass-jelly, peanuts and cream of corn, are easily available in the local stores.

Sometimes, the jelly is shredded and sometimes it is just cut into small cubes. For the first serving of the Ais Kacang, TLW shredded the jelly. Subsequent servings were just served with cut up jelly!

At least two types of Agar-agar (Jelly made from seaweed)
Cincau (Grass-Jelly)
Cream of Corn
Evaporated Milk
Gula Melaka
Red Syrup or Rose Syrup
Red Beans - boiled till soft
Lots of shaved Ice
Arrange the ingredients in the bottom of a bowl. Cover with shaved ice and then pour evaporated milk/coconut milk on top. Drizzle over Gula Melaka and Syrup.

Here's a little step by step pictorial for you to truly understand the composition of Ice Kacang.

1. Place all the ingredients in the bottom of a bowl. I usually like to put my cream corn in too but TLW and the kids like it on top. To each their own I guess!

2. Place the bowl under the ice scraper maching and fill up with ice shavings.

3. Pour over the evaporated milk (or coconut milk)

4. Then pour over the Gula Melaka...

5. ... and the Red Syrup

The dessert is then ready for the eating!!
Ice Kacang is a great dessert to end a meal with. More than that however, its a great treat to have at any time of the day. The only problem with Ice Kacang is that eaten too quickly, it can cause 'Brain Freeze' as my little princess found out!


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