Be it all prettily arranged on the table of a family feast/wedding, or simply packed in small plastic boxes fronting local Malay foodstalls, I always look forward to homemade Malay kuih (traditional delicacies). Sure, the Malay kuih, or kuih-muih in their plural form, are not exactly the healthiest, being almost always laden with guilt-inducing rich santan (coconut cream), heavily sweetened by the golden-brown blocks of gula Melaka (palm sugar), and alluringly fragranced by the many manifestations of daun pandan (screwpine leaves). But there is something most certainly enticing in colourful, single-serving desserts with a rich and chewy intricate texture, meticulously perfected generation after generation.
When I was growing up, I would often watch as my mother summon her kuih prowess and labour off on her own, doing her proverbial ‘thang’, so to speak. There are, however, the lucky times when she would relent to my incessant hovering over her shoulder, and hand me the easier tasks such as the rolling of bread slices (for roti gulung), arranging kuih nagasari pieces into the steamer, and more often than not, residual flour dough from epok-epok for me to make shapes and play with. Whilst my mom is undeniably one of the most selfless persons I know, she has yet to pass on a smidgen of her kuih skills, not because she refuses to, but simply because she belongs to the campak-campak (throw here and there) camp, so constantly deciphering what “a handful of this”, or “a pinch of that”, or “to taste” would translate to in metric was a confuzzling joykiller, to say the least.
I’m not entirely sure if a ‘dessert person’ is merely a dessert person, thereby grouping all the always-have-room-for-dessert people together, or there are actually sub-categories to identify sweet-toothed people with respective inclinations. You see, I unabashedly admit to having a sweet tooth, which one can easily gather from my posts, of course. And regardless of how appetising and scrumptiously filling a several-course meal may be, I will always have room for dessert. But it only recently crossed my mind that I may not have exactly been the dessert person I reckoned I was, after finding myself somewhat dumbfounded, flipping through the menu of a local restaurant boasting a much-raved array of desserts flown in directly from the States, only to have me thinking ‘Can’t I have just a plain ‘ol slice of brownie with a scoop of ice-cream?’. And you would think that the chocoholic in me would have been easily appeased by the tantalising slices of chocolate cakes sitting by the counter, but no;– urgh cheese, too much cream, there’s coffee in that one, yuck cherries. It was then that I came to the conclusion that perhaps I was not so much a dessert person as I am a brownies-for-dessert person.
Recent tweets about fixing the mister’s lunchbox for work had garnered quite a bit of interest from some of my lovely tweeps, via the network itself, along with e-mails. Aside from the most common question of whether I prepare his lunchbox everyday (the answer is yes, albeit they are mostly sandwiches), I’ve also been asked how much earlier I have to wake up, and how I’ve managed to find the time to fix these lunches. In response to the former, I actually wake up later than the mister (hah!), and as for the latter, the secret lies in cutting your actual-day preparation time, so you won’t have to rush sorting out the ingredients you need, etc. Let’s face it, regardless of how perfect a morning person we can claim to be, it’s forgivable to have your brain on auto-pilot mode at 5:45 am. So here are five simple tips to help you ensure you’ve got that lunchbox filled!