Upcycling wooden pallete for a herb garden

Living in an apartment with limited space and wanting to have herbs handy for meals made me creative & I looked for a wooden pallete for this herb garden project.

I found what I needed in a residential bin & I carted it home. I scrubbed the wooden pallete with sandpaper, used some soft twist garden wire, which I bought from the hardware shop, to secure each herb pot to the wooden pallete.

The herbs featured in the photo are rosemary, mint, chilli, basil, parsley & indian borage.

This is a simple idea for a small space.

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Ernest Zacharevic’s Exhibition: Art is Rubbish

These neat neon lights greeted me at the entrance highlighting the exhibition theme of using materials that are available to create art, materials which some might discard as rubbish. What a great idea!

As soon as I heard of Ernest Zacharevic’s graffiti art exhibition, I decided to head up to Penang. I am pleased I did. I feasted my eyes and mind on Ernest’s perspective of creating art from rubbish in Malaysia.

Self-Portrait?

Self-Portrait?

I wonder if this piece is a self-portrait of the artist himself? The usage of old wooden cupboards & a carburettor was used to create this piece. The self-portrait has a disjointed, ethereal & uplifting feel to it. On a personal note, I loved it because it gave the impression that his soul is ethereal although his body is a standard machine like every other sentient being. His feet are arched on tip toes as if reaching for a higher platform or purpose. Next to this portrait, on the right, are his framed paint splattered trousers, akin to expressing that gifting his art to people is his life’s centrepiece. *perhaps I’m reading too much into this. Whatever he means, I like these pieces.

Produce of Indonesia

Produce of Indonesia

The tenderness of this piece portrayed on a jute sack in the way this lady lovingly protects the baby’s head. This art piece makes me think of the hired Indonesian helpers in Malaysian homes who leave their own families to earn wages which are repatriated back to their home countries for their families livelihood. Ernest has acute cultural observations of Malaysia because he has fresh eyes of a traveller. This is a trait I can relate to because the local societal norms are an anomaly for a traveller who is accustomed to a different cultural perspective.

After being away from Malaysia, I’ve had to piece my own puzzle and I am sometimes startled by the pieces that I find amongst us. The next piece of art is an example of how I felt. I love how Ernest painted on wooden blinds.

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KL Streets

KL Streets

Similarly, I took this photo, on my way home from work at about midnight and it struck me how difficult earning a living was for this man. He is impoverished and has to use the effort of his legs to cycle, collect and sell recycled rubbish to make ends meet. When I saw Ernest’s art in the gallery, I remembered that particular evening.

Sculpture piece

Sculpture piece

This piece made me giggle because I was trying to capture an appropriate angle to photograph it to interpret what it meant to me. It is a dark sculpture of a desolate, limbless prisoner cowering under the great light of inquisition. Being Malaysian, it reminds me of the limits of freedom of expression thereby restricting individuals rendering us constantly answerable to the authorities.

On to slightly more cheerful & very cute portraits of playful children:

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There was more art outdoors. I thought it was funny how this kid was scratching his head, trying to figure out what this art contraption was.

What's this?*scratches head

What’s this?*scratches head

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All right! I’ll stop here. His artwork was a pleasure and I highly recommend going for it. The exhibition details can be found here and the Facebook page for this event.

The taxi driver was confused and did not seem to know the directions. I think this the best way to describe it: 59, Jalan Gurdwara, Penang opposite to Grand Continental Hotel and next to SRJK Kampung Jawa, behind Times Square, next to Aik Soon & Company.

This is a photo of the entrance.

Entrance to the Hin Company Bus Depot! Tada!

Entrance to the Hin Company Bus Depot! Tada!

The gates are locked in the photo above because I arrived about 45 minutes too early.

I managed to coax a photo and some conversation out of the really friendly artist, Ernest although he was tired and busy manning the gift shop.

with the artist!

with the artist, Ernest Zacharevic!

I am weatherbeaten by the Penang heat. Please excuse my boho-dishevelled look.

Ernest’s art is a delightful, thought provoking perspective.

Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur

9 am            Good Morning Malaysia! What’s for breakfast?

Teh tarik, tea with a touch of condensed milk & Nasi Lemak which is rice cooked in coconut milk served with a spicy sambal, anchovies, peanuts, cucumber & a boiled egg. Add a fried chicken for some protein goodness! Try not to fall into a post-prandial coma after gorging such a heavy meal. We had nasi lemak at Village Park, address is No 5, Jalan SS 21/37, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Phone:+60 3-7710 7860.

Nasi Lemak

We headed to the Petronas Twin towers for an aerial view of KL.

At the time of writing, Malaysians pay a concession price of RM 35 whilst tourists pay RM 80. Its advisable to book tickets in advance to free up your time. Link here.

The sky bridge is situated at the 41st floor of the Petronas Twin Towers. We were fortunate that it was a clear day. I reckon I saw my home from the sky bridge at the Twin Towers. We were then brought to the 86th floor of the Petronas Twin Towers which had a spectacular aerial view of KL city. I loved this perspective!

I loved how the pockets of green interspersed with the sky scrapers . It was a spectacular view of the city I grew up in.

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Hummingbird Bakery Coffee Cake or Stuck Bundt Drama

Cake Ingredients:

2 tablespoons instant coffee granules

450g unsalted butter at room temperature

450g caster sugar

8 eggs

450g plain flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

Makes 12-16 slices or more

8 eggs! I’ve never made a cake that required so many eggs. I decided to bake this cake for a dinner party hosted by Lady K for 16 people. The cake was moist & the coffee taste wasn’t overpowering. It was quite heavy to transport. I walked in the slippery cold to transport this cake. A guest commented that it looked like, “A gigantic doughnut”. It garnered a lot of compliments & some people requested for the recipe. Evidence that a cake is delectable is when people reach for seconds.Now, that is a cake’s encore ♥

Note: I sifted the dry ingredients twice: flour, baking powder,cocoa powder.

25 cm ring mould, grease & dusted with flour*very important step!

START

  1. Coffee Essence: put 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules + 170 ml water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Boil until reduced by half, then remove from the heat & leave to cool completely. Set aside a tablespoon for use in the glaze later.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325ºF) Gas 3.
  3. Put the butter + sugar + cold coffee essence in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) & beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  4. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing well & scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.
  5. Beat in the flour + baking powder + cocoa powder & mix well until everything is combined & the mixture is light & fluffy.
  6. Prepare your ring mould! Grease & dust it. Pour the mixture into the prepared ring mould & smooth over with a palate knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the sponge feels firm to touch.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the mould for before turning it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: I made the error of not preparing the ring mould properly. I almost had a HEART ATTACK because the cake was STUCK to the tin & I had to leave for the party PRONTO

Gently lower mould into hot water. Obviously tin side down & nt too much water! Take a moment to Breathe.

Gently lower mould into hot water. Obviously tin side down & not too much water! Take a moment to Breathe.

What I did: I boiled hot water which I poured into a little bucket, then I gently lowered my lovingly baked cake to the water for a few minutes. Closed my eyes & hoped for the better. Then I deftly lifted the cake out of the bucket & flipped it over onto a wire cooling rack.

Et Voila! It worked!! Did a victory dance in my little kitchen & proceeded to hastily glaze the cake.

Et Voila! Bundt out.

Et Voila! Bundt out.

Hummingbird recipe proposed a vanilla frosting but I wanted a glaze because I felt that would be lighter, fuss free when transporting & quick to make.

Glaze recipe:

Glaze cake in sink

Glaze cake in sink

170g Icing Sugar, 4 teaspoons of peach rum, 1 tablespoon of water + 1 tablespoon of reserve coffee essence.

I used the peach rum because I had it at hand and decided that peach rum & coffee were complementary flavours. haha!

Note: Sift the Icing Sugar once to avoid lumps.

1. Combine the Icing sugar + peach rum + water + coffee essence. Then, use a balloon whisk to whisk until smooth.

2. I put the cake with the wire rack at the bottom in the kitchen sink & poured the glaze over it. I think this method is best because it is easier to clean the kitchen sink than a surface. It is an unsaid rule that your kitchen sink should be clean.

3. I sprinkled a pinch of cinnamon & a generous amount of brown sugar on top of the glaze.

4. I left my glazed cake to cool for 30 minutes.

Brown sugar

I hope these little tips come handy when you bake. Happy Baking!

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Hummingbird Bakery Cheddar, Ham & Mushroom Muffins

Make & bake the muffins on the same day. It is very easy & quick to make: 30 minutes. I found the dough mixture very sticky & tough but the muffins turned out very well. It keeps for 3 days.

If you would like a vegetarian version, I reckon sun-dried tomatoes & olives are wonderful substitutes for ham.

Scrummy Savoury Muffins

Scrummy Savoury Muffins

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Hummingbird Bakery Green Tea Cupcakes

I baked these on the eve of Chinese New Year for a little dinner party hosted by Lady M. Baby M, Lady M’s niece demanded 2, that’s when I knew it was good.  The cupcakes had a nice little crusty top which led to an absolutely fluffy cake.

Note: Put the milk and green tea to infuse in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.

Frosting Note: I only used 200g of icing sugar in the frosting because I ran out of icing sugar. This turned out for the better because it wasn’t too sweet & had the slightly bitter taste of the tannins in the green tea. Lady M & I liked it because the flavours were more balanced. Although the icing did turn out a freakishly Frankenstein green shade because of the lack of Icing sugar compared to the shade of the green tea cupcake in the book that has a lighter shade of green.

Happy Chinese New Year!

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Hummingbird Bakery Nutty Apple Loaf

This Nutty Apple Loaf is crumbly & moreish. Its a quick recipe which takes about 30 minutes or less to assemble. Note: this recipe requires for an overnight refrigeration. Baking the loaf for breakfast is a brilliant start to the first meal of the day! The wonderful sweet scent a fresh loaf permeating from the kitchen is heavenly. Once baked, the chunks of melted chocolate & soft apple pieces form this delectable loaf. What a breakfast treat ♥

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