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March, 2010

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Streusel topped pumpkin pie & a recipe for kumquat & loquat success!

Thursday, March 25th, 2010


How to make food soar!

On the agenda today:

A bedroom remodel & a date with a creamy pumpkin pie

My husband and I are undertaking this messy project. So far the only thing that I was good at was to search for TV stands . Hay, my name is not “giddy” for nothing! Sorry, I  will put my shoulder to the wheel when my sweetie gets mad LOL! Anyway, my  father-in-law has opted to buy the one that I like, the “Riley Holiday bedroom console” in an espresso color. Check it out and let me know whether I made the right choice!

My old blog www.giddygastronome.blogspot.com

At the B & B, I have the propensity to work freely and unwaveringly through this maze of culinary ideas, bottled up within me and it is this “waiting to get out” that is the only antidote to my restless soul. I am constantly making up dishes and preparing them purely from imaginary measures with the intention of bringing tasty and colorful dishes to life. I really want people to experience that same type of  enthusiasm when dining at my kitchen table or when reading my recipes. I want them to fall hopelessly in love with my cuisine and any fears of having  a “bad plate”, allayed. They should  have a pensive longing  for a dish that I made a “while ago” and console themselves with the thought that they will at least try to make it. This inconceivable need to feed others and not myself  is part of my innate and I find it  extremely hard to go against this selfless trait.  Am I freakin insane?

You are most probably thinking, ” Oh! boy, she is going off on us with her personal crap.” To that I answer, ” Can a girl  have a personal moment here please!”

In this recipe, it is the rice flour that gives these tarts that much loved “airiness.” These are pumpkin and cottage cheese tarts with a golden brown streusel & butterscotch whipping cream rosettes.

I had to laugh when one of the guests at the bed & breakfast said, ” My grandmother’ s pumpkin pie is fantastically stuck in time! I am so darn  sick of hearing her  story about a mythical pumpkin patch, which she has to hoe and  harvest in order for her pie to happen”. I hope she can take your queue!”


I used a 7 inch spring form pan for the one below. This dough yields 4 small tarts and this 7 inch. The filling is made of light cottage cheese, fresh whipping cream, pumpkin…etc. I think it was the streusel that had this pie sold!

The scattered crumbs on the plate tells the story of a soft crunch and the melt-in-your-mouth filling will transport you to your “happy” place! As you know by now, I dislike overly sweet desserts, so naturally I manipulated the sugar content of this pie.


Trust me, beneath my contemporary veneer, there is always a hankering for the traditional recipes, but not this time!

Lo and behold! I did  manage to get a small piece of this delectable pumpkin tart that I so lovingly slaved over! All I ever do is get to taste & then the whole thing disappears right from my reach! I  really loved this recipe, this is a keeper & will appear in my cook book. “Pile some more of that streusel on please!” was the overall consensus . I think I positively seduced even myself with this creamy filling and crunchy topping!


Kumquat & Loquat sambal: Normally this sambal is only made with kumquats, but my innovating spirit begged me to add the loquats!  Serve this as an accompaniment to my savory stacked rice stick & shrimp cakes. See the post below for these cakes. Definitely, serve this sambal with grilled or Cajun fish, fish curry or any vegetarian dish.

This exciting concoction was succulent & tangy and a perfect complement to my rice noodle cakes. The rind of the kumquat was  sweet & the juicy centers,  a little sour and salty. This is by far my  most favorite sambal! My mouth is puckering with pure delight as I write this!



Please use organic ingredients when possible

Kumquat & Loquat sambal (pickle). See post below for the savory rice stick cakes

  • 1 x 15 oz can pitted loquats, discard the juice & cut into small segments or use the fresh ones, but add these when you add the kumquats. Hay, anyone out there willing to swap some fresh ones for my beautiful handmade soaps?


  • 6 oz fresh kumquats, washed and cut into segments
  • 1/3 c plus another 1/2 of a third cup organic honey
  • 1/4 c organic brown rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 t pure pickle masala, You are most probably thinking  that she would  brush her teeth with this spice, if there was no tooth paste, but I kid you not this stuff is “all that.”
  • juice of 2 tangerines or small oranges
  • 1 red thai chili chopped and deseeded
  • 4 curry leaves
  • Big pinch of salt
  • 1 T grapeseed oil / or any vegetable oil
  • 1 t yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 t white sesame seeds
  • 1 t black sesame seeds
  • little chopped cilantro


Heat the vinegar on high  in a saucepan, add the kumquats and cook until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer & cook   for about 4 more mins. until the rinds  of the kumquats become  seemingly soft. Now add the honey and stir the until the mixture becomes syrupy ( takes about 10 mins.) Add the masala & the tangerine juice and cook until incorporated ( 1 more minute).

Remove from heat and pour the contents into a bowl. Add the garlic slivers, red chili and the salt and incorporate & cool for a while. Now you can mix in your loquats. Meanwhile, in a separate pan , heat the grapeseed oil until hot, add the mustard seeds and wait until you hear the “popping” sound of the mustard seeds. Then, quickly add all the sesame seeds and the curry leaves. Pour the contents of this pan  over the kumquat mixture in the bowl. You can now spoon into little bottles, garnish with the cilantro  and refrigerate.

Much love and warmth from my kitchen,


click here ! See the inside and the details of this fruit fondant cake at www.giddygastronome.com

Just add water to this fruit fondant powder and it turns any dessert into a delicious, fruity heaven!


Mock moon cake & an unbelievably tasty, savory rice noodle cake!

Thursday, March 11th, 2010


Today on the menu, moon cake ; rice noodle

My old blog www.giddygastronome.blogspot.com

Please, visit Jo, ( Literally in the moment), and read her passionate stories about rescuing animals.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”…Chinese proverb

……. more like,  you will not have to listen to his incessant whining about how hungry he is LOL!

Okay, so I am a month late with the festivities of the Chinese Lunar New Year, but would still like to share with you my humble eats that I prepared at that time. My friend at the lodge wanted me to prepare a dessert and a savory hors d’ oeuvre for this  auspicious  occasion, so I prepared my own interpretation of the “moon cake” and my very own ( rice noodle) rice stick & shrimp savory cake  with a Cape Malay style loquat &  kumquat sambal on the side. I put a lot of thought in this menu!

I researched the ingredients of the “moon cake” and was rather skeptical that I  would like the final result. I have even seen some recipes with the addition of soy sauce for color. Nevertheless, I prepared the original recipe that came with the fish mold, ( received this mold as a Christmas gift),  and also developed my own version. I can just look at ingredients of a recipe and deduce whether it would be good or just plain unpalatable! This was  exactly what transpired, the original recipe was heavy and hard and unappealing! However, my version of the ” Chinese moon cookie” though not the authentic version, was by far the most delectable morsel you have ever put in your mouth. Even our Chinese guests agreed that these were delicious, though  very much to the dismay of  their antiquated notions, that I was not capable of making their recipe, palate proud!

My version of the ” Chinese Moon cookie” NB, the emphasis is on “mock” moon cookie.

So freakin good! You don’t know whether you want to eat it or embalm it! Who am I kidding, there was nothing left for a next day!


Stacked rice stick and shrimp savory cakes with loquat & kumquat sambal ( pickle).  There was an exciting little twang with the addition of fresh lemon pepper ( see previous post) and the curry leaves to this savory & crispy cake!! The lightly spiced, yet sweet plump loquats and juicy kumquats combined, complemented the rice stick & shrimp cakes and played almost a culinary havoc with your taste buds! A naughty little twist on my Mama’s sambal recipe! The recipe for the sambal will appear in the next post.

My dad too, makes the most appetizing sambals!

My personal quest was to create  exciting flavors and  textures to make this gathering memorable. Indeed, this occasion  was  so v e r y  triumphant to say the least. NB, you could also omit the shrimp to make it vegetarian, and the rest of the ingredients of this savory cake are  gluten- free to boot, so very versatile for people with specific allergies.


I decided to present the cookies in a fish bowl. Discerning gastronomes would agree that “novelty food” should be presented in a fun type of setting. These puffy, coco nutty, custardy &   melt-in-your-mouth cookies created quite a stir with both kids and adults! This recipe will be in my cook book!


My version of this cookie had custard powder in the dough and a  Cape Malay type of cooked dessicated coconut ( Grandmother’s recipe) in the middle and then I  defiantly dipped the bottom in  melted intense dark 60% “evening dream” chocolate. This chocolate has a hint of Madagascan vanilla. Normally the authentic version of the moon cake calls for bean paste.


This is the original recipe below  which called  for “wong tong” sugar slabs, water, lemon peel, 1 and a 1/2 cups of oil and 6 cups of flour. It really does not look bad in its unbaked stage but when baked it just felt terribly heavy! The dough was also far too oily. Duh! just look at all the oil, it requires!


This is my version below with the cooked dessicated coconut inside the belly of the fish and  English custard powder in the shortbread dough. It was light ( only 1/3 c of organic sugar) so not sweet at all and unsalted organic butter but most importantly, my dough kept the integrity of the design of the mold !



“How to make food soar!”


As usual, please use organic ingredients when possible!

For the Rice vermicelli ( rice noodle) and shrimp savory cakes:

  • 8 oz “Kong Moon” rice vermicelli rice stick ( soak in boiling H2O for 5 mins.)
  • 8 oz cooked large shrimp, cut each shrimp in half crosswise
  • small onion finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots
  • Large jicama, peeled
  • 1/2 c  chopped green onion
  • a few fresh curry leaves ( for that distinct delicious flavor)
  • 1/2 c  cilantro ( this time leaves only)
  • red chili, seeds removed & diced
  • 5 cloves garlic ( pounded)
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup potato starch ( Bob’s Red Mill, unmodified, all natural). I adore this product!!!!
  • kosher salt ( 2 big pinches)
  • 1 T lemon pepper ( see my previous post)
  • 1 t pure pickle masala
  • 1 T red bell pepper seeds


Make it a vegetarian version by omitting the shrimp. All these ingredients are gluten-free as well!

Rinse the rice stick in cold water and dry on paper towels. It should not be mushy. Meanwhile, julienne the carrots (thin strips), slice the jicama, stack on top of one another and then julienne and toss with the rest of the ingredients, including the rice stick and the shrimp. Even if you stop right here and just have it as a cold type of salad, it would be delicious with all these flavors going on! Add the potato starch and toss lightly. Gingerly mix in the beaten egg with your hands without breaking up the shrimp and the rest of the ingredients so carefully julienned!

Take about a handful of the mixture and shallow fry in olive oil and a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Use a wide spatula to flatten like a pancake in the pan when cooking it . I also  used a thin spatula to aid in the flipping of the cake and cook until GB&D! Place on paper towels to drain. You could keep the cakes warm in the oven  warmer .

The recipe & more pictures  for the loquat and kumquat sambal will be featured in the next post. I promise, I shall try to post very soon, so do come back !

Much love as always,


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