Pearl of the Orient

This blog is inspired by the rich cluture and food found in Penang, an island in Malaysia known as the Pearl of the Orient. The author of this blog is Japanese influenced and she enjoys travelling, cooking and ofcourse, eating.

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Location: Penang, Malaysia

I'm a little plump rabbit who lives in Penang. I hop around with a camera round my neck snapping photos of Penang and foodstuffs. If you meet a rabbit like that in Penang, that should be me ; )

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Round-up: Hay Hay It's Donna Day #2 - Macaroons

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Hay Hay It's Donna Day #2 - Lime Macaroons round-up is finally out. In honour of Donna Hay, I would like to feature her Lime Macaroons (the above photo) as an opening for the round-up. For your info, these lovelies are made by Barbara from winosandfoodies the founder of Hay Hay It's Donna Day event.

How to VOTE for the winner...

For those who hadn't been following, participants are challenged to make Donna's Lime Macaroons but to replace the key ingredient, which is lime zest, with the ingredients of their choice. The winner of this event will walk away with a set of made in Japan cookie cutters and he/she will get to host the next Hay Hay It's Donna Day event.

How is the winner determined? Well, this is your part. Kindly go through the below round-up and vote for only ONE of your favourite macaroons recipe by sending an e-mail to
hayhaydonnaday@yahoo.com. As a reminder, please do the judging based on the criteria of cuteness and best recipe. Voting is open to all bloggers and readers (but please do not vote for yourself ;p). Kindly send in your votes by 7 February 2006 and the winner will be announced after that.

Lastly, I would also like to thank everybody for their macaroon entries. I can see that everyone has really put in a lot of effort to come up with these masterpeices. This is going to be a tough competition and I'm just glad I'm not the judge. Anyway, please drop me a mail if I happen to miss your entry. Without further delay, here goes the round-up in alphabetical order...

Anne from Anne's Food gave us her version of Donna's macaroons by adding lime and orange zest into the recipe. She calls them Coconut Macaroons with Lime and Orange. She added that the macaroons taste best straight from the oven. Mmmm... I could almost smell the freshly baked macaroons by just looking at the photo. They look so delicious and I really envy Anne...


Baking Soda from Bake My Day is offering 2 delicious entries called Almond Expresso Macaroons and Rum Coconut Macaroons. I am especially drawn to his/her Almond Expresso Macaroons as Almond and Expresso sounds like such a great combination! Great effort for someone who's new to the world of food blog events! Also, thanks for sharing the interesting information about macaroons with us baking Soda.


Caroline from Bibliocook made some delicious Chocolate Almond Macaroons. Despite her humble description about how the macaroons look I would simply love to give her recipe a try one day. They look so light, crispy and oh-so nice!


Stephanie, our regular blog party hostess from Dispensing Happiness used raspberry candy flavouring to come up with these great looking Raspberry Macaroons. For the filling she used white chocolate tinted with pink and sandwich the macaroons together. Lovely combination. Thanks for taking the time and effort to participate in this event Stephanie. I really appreciate it!


The Chef-girl, Paige made such decent looking Ginger Macaroons! When I first looked at the pile of macaroons in the photo, I can't help but think in my heart that these are such beautiful and proper looking macaroons. Paige says the ginger is to give the macaroons a nice bite and that it works really well with the sweetness of the coconut. Thanks for sharing Paige!

Haalo from Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once is offering 2 entries for this event. They are Vanilla Bean Paste Macaroons and Dark Chocolate and Orange Macaroons. Both types looking lovely and scrumptious. I was particularly drawn to her chocolate heart shaped macaroons which I think is rather appropriate for the season (since Valentine's day is coming soon)... how romantic!

Cyndi from Cookin' with Cyndi made some lovely pink coloured macaroons that she calls Pretty in Pink Macaroons. Say, there was an 80's movie that go by this title. I guess she must be refering this movie. Such a sweet name for a macaroon. Anyway Pink is my favourite colour. I can't help but wonder if Cyndi purposely made them pink to please Glutton Rabbit ;p?


WCB Clare from Eatstuff made some interesting Ruby Red Grapefruit and Lime macaroons. With her creative flair she shaped and decorated the macaroons into cute looking bunnies. Truly a work of an artist! Clare said the bunnies were actually inspired by Glutton Rabbit. Awww... that makes a bunny feel so proud! Hop-hop-hop! Thanks Clare for the thought and effort! I envy your cat Kiri, I wonder if she gets to eat the macaroons?


Bron of Green Eggs and Spam is offering a unique entry of Wasabi and Black Sesame Macaroons. Well done Bron. The idea has a Japanese touch and it sounds very adventurous and well as original. Do you consider marketing your product in New Zealand one day?


Rob and Rachel of Hungry in Hogtown is offering 3 exquisite macaroons recipe. They are Homemade Banana Rum Ice Cream Sandwiched Between Lime Macaroons, Preserved Ginger Macaroons and Dried Apricots Soaked In Earl Grey Tea Macaroons. Very elaborate and sophisticated reicpes. The idea of sandwiching ice-cream between macaroons sounds fabulous! I find myself craving for one now...


Swee San from Just Heavenly is also offering 3 fantastic macaroon entries. They are Chocolate Macaroons, Cherry Macaroons and Cinnamon and Honey Macaroons. All of them looks so irresistable. I just love the way Swee San presented her macaroons in little cupcake cups. Very pretty indeed!


To suit the Chinese New year mood, the talented Boolicious of Masak-masak came up a delicious concoction of Mandarin Orange Macaroons. These elegant looking macaroons are topped with mandarin orange curd, decorated with mandarin orange segment and sugared mint leaf. What a superb way of presenting macaroons.


Tami from Running with Tweezers don't make macaroons that often but when she does, she just want to do it right. Meet the essence of macaroons - the killer 'Moundaroons'! What an appropriate title and name. I almost fell off my chair when I saw these gorgeous macaroons. Great stuff Tami!


Jennifer from Taste Everything Once made us some mouth watering Lemongrass Macaroons. In this recipe, she substituted lime zest with lemongrass puree. I use a lot of lemongrass in my cooking but I didn't know lemongrass could be used as an ingredient in desserts. Wow. This is an eye opener for me! And these macaroons look exceptional...


Rachel from Thamjiak came up with two wonderful macaroons recipe. One is Lemon Macaroons and the other Pandan Gula Melaka (Screwpine and palm sugar) Macaroons both which sounds truly delicious! Rachel, I would love sample those Pandan and Gula Melaka Macaroons (that is if you have any left)! The concoction sounds really Malaysian. Great idea!


Mia from The Skinny Epicurean made us some cute and roundish Lime Macaroons. The macaroons really reminds me of adorable little hedgehogs marching on the baking tray. Though as cute as they may be, I would love it if these hedgehogs could then march into my mouth and then into my tummy!


Last but certainly not least, I would like to close this round-up with the entry from the originator of Hay hay It's Donna Day event. The lovely Barbara from winosandfoodies also made us some gorgeous looking Lime Macaroons (photo is also featured above). I really admire the round flat shape of the macaroons and the way she composed the photo by stacking the macaroons into an elegant tower. Wonderful work Barbara and thanks again for making this event possible!

Announcement: CNY Gathering for Bloggers & Netizens

Lucia Lai of Mental Jog is organizing a Chinese New Year gathering for Penang bloggers and netizens (and also for those who happen to be in Penang) this coming Sunday, 5 February 2006. Time is at 2:00pm and venue is at Ong's place, 8 Prangin Lane, Penang. Among those who will be attending the gathering includes Penang Podcast and Kew, the founder of Penang Bloggers Portal. Read about the details here...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

About the Donna Day Round Up

Thank you all for participating in the Hay Hay It's Donna Day #2 - Macaroons event. This week, I will be going from site to site (or rather blog to blog) to view everyone's wonderful entries. Looking at my busy schedule, furthermore with Chinese New Year just around the corner - which this weekend actually - I hope to get the round up posted up somewhere mid of next week.

I'll try to get the round up as soon as possible so you don't have to wait too long and can start voting for your favourite entry. Also, to my Chinese readers out there, I would like to wish you an early...

A Very Happy Chinese New Year
&
Happy Holiday to You as Well as your Family

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Jiffy Tom Yam Fried Rice

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Since the beginning of the year, I've been super busy planning and carrying out my projects. To make things worse, I've also been bogged down by system problems. Life hadn't been easy for me this month. Nevertheless, I will faithfully update this blog from time to time...

As a busy person, I am really grateful of advent of instant foods. A couple of weeks ago, I made Tom Yam fried rice for my family. I used leftover rice, some prawns, frozen mix vege, shredded wild ginger flower and kaffir lime leaves to come up with a really appetizing fried fried rice. As for the Tom Yam flavouring, I used Maggi Tom Yam paste (which cost only 80 cents per sachet). You don't have to use Maggi. You can use any other brands like Adabi, Peace brand etc... The whole process was really quick and easy. All you need to do is just heat up the wok, add a little oil and cook the prawn or meat until just cooked, then, add in the Tom Yam paste, followed by the rice and the rest of the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning with a little sugar, salt and Thai fish sauce. The result was really tasty!

I bought some mango kerabu from an ecomony rice stall to go with the fried rice .I also served the rice with some lime wedges. My family really liked the meal a lot and they gave it a thumbs up. By the way, Hay Hay It's Donna Day #2 starts tomorrow and I've recieved some early bird entries already. I can't wait to see all your wonderful entries and thank you for participating!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Childhood Food Memories Meme

Many weeks ago, I've been tagged by Greenapple from My Felicity Corner to do a cute little Meme about one's childhood favourite food. Though as cute and interesting as this Meme sounds, Glutton Rabbit delayed and delayed in doing so. To make things worse, she even let it drag it over the new year and now she feels terribly guilty. My sincere apology to Greenapple for this misbehaviour. Please find below is the Meme that I promised to do...

Oh my! How time flies. Now I’m a grown up and in this is really a nostalgic Meme. I have many childhood memory foods but I manage to list a few of them…

Satay
I simply adore satay when I was a kid. Maybe this was because we don’t get to eat this food very often. Satay was only served during special occasions like birthdays or barbecues. What attracts me most about satay is the fragrant smell of tumeric powder and the sweet taste of the grilled meat. My mom used to prepare satay at home for our own barbecues. I cherish the memories of helping my mom skewer pieces of marinated meats onto bamboo skewers and helping dad to grill the satay on a makeshift barbecue pit.

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As a child, satay are irresistable!

Indomie Goreng
Indomie's Mi Goreng (fried noodles flavour) is one of my favourite instant noodles as a kid and even today. Way back then, I was really impressed on how one can actually get fried noodles just by boiling the noodles in some water, drain and mixing it with seasoning. Although there are many brands of dry style instant noodles today, I still think Indomie Goreng rules supreme in the hearts (and tummies) of many Malaysians… don’t you agree?

Ice-pong or Pop-Ice
Another food I recalled eating as a child are ice-pongs or pop-ice. Ice-pongs are basically fruit juices filled into thin long plastic containers then frozen till hard. It only cost 10 cent each last time. There is a little dent in the middle of the ice-pong where you can break it in two. It’s quite an economical treat. Me and my brother would often buy one and share it between us.

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Ice-pong... almost every kiddy's favourite back then...

Currypuffs
I love the currypuffs sold at a special stall in my hometown, Alor Setar. You can still find the stall today at Jalan Pintu Sepuluh (known as ‘sin lor’ in Hokkien) opposite the Sentosa shopping complex at Jalan Putra but I heard that it doesn’t taste as good as it used to be. My dad used to get these for us as a supper treat. I love the taste of the curried potatoes filling inside the currypuffs. Really soft and nice in contrast to the crunchy currypuff skin or crust...

Chocolates
Chocolate is another one of my childhood favourites. I used to love chocolate covered almonds and hazelnuts a lot. As a kid, I was easily impressed by the packaging of the chocolates, especially the ones that comes in rectangular shaped tin boxes. I would eye the box from time to time like an eagle and when we have finished the chocolate, I would beg mom if I could have the box to play ‘masak-masak’ or keep stickers. But most of the time, mom would keep it for her own use. Maybe she finds the box attractive too ;p…

Anyway, those were the memories I had about some of my favourite childhood foods. *Sigh* I had a really nostalgic time thinking and writing all these. Once again, I would like to thank Greenapple for giving me the chance to look back in time to the food I once loved. By the way, I don’t want to tag anybody this time. Instead, I’ll open this Meme to volunteers. Dear bloggers out there, just let me know if you’d love take on this Meme!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

January 2006 - Food Blog Events

Here are the food blog events for the month of January 2006. Also, the Chinese will be celebrating their Chinese New Year (year of the dog) at the end of this month...

Chinese New Year Food Promotions at Hotel Equatorial, Penang

We were like having a marathon of celebrations since last year. Everything started of with Deepavali, followed by Hari Raya Aidilfitri, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year, and today is Hari Raya Haji (by the way, I would like to wish "Selamat Hari Raya Haji" to all Muslim readers) and up next is Chinese New Year (29th January 2006). How time seem to fly when we're having a good time!

If you're still thinking about where to celebrate your Chinese New Year, especially your re-union dinner (maybe if you're lazy to cook this year ;p), here are some choices of food promotions from my favourite hotel EQ for you to consider...

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Hotel Equatorial, Penang
1, Jalan Bukit Jambul,
Bayan Lepas,
11900 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: 604-643 81111
info@pen.equatorial.com

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hay Hay It's Donna Day #2 - Macaroons

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Hay! Hay! It’s Donna Day again! If you recall, in the first event we made some yummy self-frosting cupcakes with Nuttella topping. And this time, it will all be about making macaroons. Special thanks to Barbara (the originator of this event) from winosandfoodies for giving me the opportunity to host this wonderful event which is dedicated to Donna Hay…

Who is Donna Hay?
I had also asked this question a few months ago. Well, Donna is a famous cook and food stylist from Australia. She has her own magazine and wrote a bunch of cookbooks sold worldwide. Many equate Donna with Martha Steward and such like celebrities. Read Nic of Bakingsheet's eloquent description about Donna or go to Donna’s website to find out more about her…

Honestly, I didn’t think much about Donna at first but I totally changed my perception towards her after I received the first edition of Donna Hay magazine from Barbara. Believe me, if you enjoy cooking great stuffs minus the fuss, Donna’s definitely your kind of gal and I am now her new fan. Yeah!

How to participate in this event?
Flipping through the first edition of Donna Hay Magazine, I came across a recipe called Lime Macaroons on page 126. I was amazed by the simplicity of this recipe and therefore decided to use it for this event as I feel it may appeal to everyone out there – especially those who are busy and yet itching to bake. Here’s the recipe…

Lime Macaroons
2 cups desiccated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1 ½ tablespoon shredded lime zest (** replace this with your own ingredient)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the coconut, sugar, egg whites and lime zest in a bowl and mix to combine. Roll the mixture into balls. Place on a lined baking tray, flatten slightly and cook for 10-12 minutes or until light golden. Serve with coffee. Makes 15.

Rabbit's note: I normally use tracing or parchment paper to line the baking tray. For those who are planning to do so, my advise is to grease it generously and maybe sprinkle on a little flour to avoid the macaroons from sticking to the paper. Also, flatten the macaroons a little more if you want a crunchier result...

Follow the above recipe but replace lime zest with the ingredient/s of your choice. For example, I used lemon zest (above first photo). Use your creativity and cooking skills to come up with a delicious recipe and cute looking macaroons. Then, just put up your recipe along with the photo on your blog (or site) anytime from 22 – 24 January ’06. Once you’re done, don’t forget to drop me an e-mail at
hayhaydonnaday@yahoo.com so that I can do a round up of everyone’s macaroons the on week after that.

What’s the prize?
Judging will be based on the best recipe and cuteness of macaroons (Glutton Rabbit loves cute things). But I won’t be judge. I will let you (dear bloggers and readers) be the judges. Once the round up is out, there will be a week of voting and the winner will be announced after that. A little reminder, please don’t vote for yourself though…

I wish I had something more Donna Hay-ish to give away but I don’t. The winner will walk away with a set of cute made in Japan transportation themed cookie cutters from my private collection : ))). Not only that, he or she will also gain the popularity from all nations and get to host the 3rd Hay! Hay! It’s Donna Day! event. So, what are you waiting for? Start making those macaroons!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Hansl - One Price All (OPA) Retail at Gurney Plaza, Penang

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Happy New Year 2006 dear readers! Today marks the first day of the new year and I’m glad my little blog has survived so far despite my busy working schedule. But let’s see how everything turns out this year.

I will also be hosting the Hay! Hay! It’s Donna Day event this month and will be posting up more info about it later on once Barbara (the originator of this event) from WinosandFoodies agree with the details. So, I hope you guys will stay tuned and support Glutton Rabbit in this event. The recipe is really a piece of cake. Easy-peasy guaranteed and there is a mystery prize to be won too!

Anyway, back to the main topic. Whenever I visit Gurney Plaza, I never fail to visit a little shop called Hansl or OPA. OPA stands for ‘one price all’. This concept is similar to the Japanese’s 100 yen shop which sells various kinds of items at 100 yen each. As for this shop, most of the items are sold at RM 6.

Hansl sells all kinds of household utensils like cutleries, dish wares, moulds, plastic containers and such like goods (including some foodstuffs like instant ramen). The shop also sells decorative items and stationery. The products are also mostly imported from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada and Japan.

I often find little treasures in Hansl. This is the place where one can get all kinds of Japanese rice mould (e.g. onigiri or nigiri mould), bento box, bowls, sushi tray and other serving wares at very affordable prices.

Last week, I bought a few items from Hansl. I bought a little Japanese dish and a dipping bowl with an attractive plum blossom motive (above photo). The dish cost only RM 4 whereas the bowl RM 6. I also bought a Japanese tea cup with a matching cherry blossom shaped saucer. The tea cup cost RM 3 and the saucer RM 2. Although the products where made in China, but I was satisfied with the workmanship and design. I was eager to part with my money to get these items and was really proud of my buy.

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Japanese sakura tea cup set...

If you’re interested to visit the place, Hansl is located at the basement of Gurney Plaza (same floor with the foodcourt) in between the Seoul Garden and Thai Express…

Hansl, OPA Retail (M) Sdn Bhd
170-B1-32B, Plaza Gurney,
10250 Penang,
Telephone & Fax: 04 - 226 8311