Friday, May 18, 2012

Richard Scarry 's World of Busytown

They say that diversity is good. Different types of people have different strengths and ways of seeing things. If we learn from others who are different from us, we see perspectives that weren't apparent if we were to stick with our own kind of people.

Now to something less intense but yet runs along a similar thought. I grew up with the books of Richard Scarry and made it a point to share with my daughters the joys and diversity of his books. A worm who is best friend with a cat, a fox who is a genius in fixing anything "Fixit is my name and Fix it is my game", a dog named Sergeant Murphy who keeps law and order in Busytown, restaurants where hogs, crocodiles, leopards, cats and pigs hog it out as the most unlikely dinner companions. The diversity is endless....beavers, hippos, owls, gorillas, bears, raccons, goats, wolves and more. Millions of Richard Scarry's books have been sold, translated into many languages and even made into a cartoon series. Some kids' books are just timeless classics and thank you Huckle the Cat, Lowly Worm, Sergeant Murphy, Mr Fixit, Hilda Hippo for making my childhood and that of my kids so much fun with the wonderful and diverse world of Busytown !

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ants nest cake (kueh sarang semut)

There are lots of kuehs out there but I only have a few favourites such as ondeh ondeh, kueh ko swee (steamed rice pudding) and kueh sarang semut (ants nest cake). The first time I tried kueh sarang semut was at a Geylang Serai market and it was yummy !  I love its unusual look which looks like a cross section of an ant's nest as well as its moist, spongy texture. It has a sweet yet slightly burnt taste which is  absolutely delicious. Most of all, it is all so simple to make. Always thought it had gula melaka as a main ingredient but turned out that it was caramelised sugar.

Here 's the receipe
250g of sugar
230g of water
150g flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
90g condensed milk
80g butter
5 eggs

1. Cook sugar over low heat till brown. Then add in the water, ensuring that all sugar dissolves.
2. Beat butter and milk rapidly till creamy
3. Beat egg till it foams, add into butter mixture gradually and mix well.
4. Add in flour and beat gently.
5. Pour in sugar syrup and mix well.
6. Pour batter into a baking tin and bake till skewer comes out clean (varies with different ovens)