Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Secret Ingredients

There's no doubt that the best things in life (to eat or otherwise) are those offered to you with love, kindness or plain generosity, where the term of barter is merely an unspoken understanding, or at most, a sincere word of thanks. Along with these wonderful gifts come the revelation of their secret ingredients that make the offerings exclusively and unmistakably theirs.

Mama Chow's Curry Chicken, a very special treat, yet predictable in its ability to uplift the soggiest homesick spirits. Her secret ingredient: A dollop of belacan! This was prepared and consumed at the tail end of my extremely short but gratifying weekend home in Penang.


Riz's Vegetarian Chilli. I was presented with this, thoughtfully packed by Riz and Hui when we met up at Sid's after a long day at work gone horribly wrong. I was swooning in gratitude, even more so when after downing 3 pints of cider, I had this to heat up and devour when I got home! His secret ingredient: Peanut butter! This provided the tomato-based stew with a lot more heart and body, coating each morsel of fresh diced vegetables, beans and mushroom. Ambrosia at midnight.

Beatrice brought to work on her last day an Apple Pie she'd baked. Her secret ingredient: Custard! The buttery, crumbly short crust pastry she made from scratch was the perfect accompaniment to the cinnamon explosion of the apple filling. Her baking prowess, along with her presence as part of the team, will be sorely missed.


In observation of Dumpling Festival today, Lee came to work armed with a truckload of his Mom's dumplings for everyone. He'd painstakingly taken pre-orders to make sure everyone got exactly the dumpling they wanted, from a list Mrs. Lee's choice ingredients: Belly pork, Chinese mushroom, Mung beans, Chestnut, Onions, dried shrimps and Preserved egg yolk. I had two, and they packed a mighty homemade punch! My Inner Dumpling is appeased for the year.

A thoughtful (albeit non-edible) gift from Mei Shean - my very own Breadou, looks like a bun, smells like a bun, feels like a bun, but a bun it ain't! It's a computer wrist-rest and stress-reliever made from foam, designed to be ergonomic and to whet the carbo appetites of those committed to spending pretty much every waking hour in front of the laptop. Mei Shean got this from Action City in Singapore; also comes in the shape of other baked confectionaries.

The best gift of all is to be let in on the secrets that lie embalmed at the heart of these offerings. I can only say thanks in so many ways and someday, I hope to be able to return all these wonderful favours.

19 comments:

Sean said...

eek, has this lee unloaded his whole truck yet? i haven't had a really, really, really satisfying dumpling yet this year. :P

Bangsar-bAbE said...

"The buttery, crumbly short crust pastry"...."cinnamon explosion of the apple filling"...I'm salivating! Sounds uber delicious!

kampungboycitygal said...

i got myself some of those 'buns' from hk too..so cute huh

cariso said...

I got a 'bun' like that too from a Yinhoo catalogue!

J2Kfm said...

hey, that last one looked so much like polo bun lah!

aiyo, imagine surfing those food blogs, and biting onto the hand rest!

Big Boys Oven said...

hahahah the bredou looks so awesomely cute! :) lovely curry too!

PureGlutton said...

You r truly blessed with so much good food :-) Yumms!

gourmand extraordinaire said...

Hmmmmm... I'm intrigued with all of the 'secret ingredients' used. Very unusual and unexpected additions if you ask me. Gotta try them out myself someday.

sakaigirl said...

haha, the 'bun' really got my attention!!looks delicious! such a warm office to have so many food around^^

Life for Beginners said...

I'm currently under the weather with a week-long bout of flu, so all these pics of comfort food (and one non-food comforting toy?) is really lifting my spirits.

There really is nothing like food prepared by someone who really loves food and loves what they are doing, right? Pure home-cooked magic. :)

Lingzie said...

lol your turtle breadou looks adorable!! i spotted similar ones at the street market in the curve recently :)

550ml jar of faith said...

Sean, as a matter of fact, there are more lurking around the office. If you're not averse to having post-festival period dumpling, I'll share one with ya!

Bangsar Babe, it was the best! Trying to get my ex colleague to commit to sending pies over regularly!

Kampungboycitygal, damn cute! What type did you get? I hear the sandwich ones are pretty awesome!

Cariso, Yinhoo catalogue?? What's that? OK, googling it right now!

J2Kfm, that's a real plausible risk actually! I'm always hungry after surfing food blogs, and this thing smells so damn good!

BBO, the curry was yummmy... oh I miss my mom :-(

550ml jar of faith said...

Pure Glutton, yes, I really need more of these blessed weeks!

Gourmand Extraordinaire, you're back! For a while there, yr blog comments were disabled... wondering what happened!?

Sakai Girl, yes it's truly a warm office! Wayyyy too attached to eating, I have to say!

LFB, hope you managed to wrangle some sick homecooked favours this week! And that you're feeling better!

Lingzie, ooh the Curve! Been a while since I checked out the street market, must go back and see what other non-edible goodies they've got.

thenomadGourmand said...

so kind of ya to share the secret ingredients! i'm noting it dwn in my little book ;p
Food lovingly prep by well-meaning frens n family r the best. Somehow the food can feel the "chemistry" of the cook? alws taste somehw better one! ;p

Sugar Bean said...

The breadou looks cute!! At first I thought it was real bread. Haha! Aww, I didn't manage to have any dumplings this year. >< Miss it so much!

backStreetGluttons said...

Wonderful secrets are trickling in , hopefully more are on the way ( just when you are not looking )

550ml jar of faith said...

Nomad Gourmand, little things like this really humble the many many meals elsewhere... dreaming of having another zhang now...

Sugar Bean, ooh that's too bad... always next year so cheer up! Won't be long before we hit mooncake season!

BSG, I sure hope they are! I definitely need more of these wunderblessings to keep me sane through this hellish time at work!

terri@adailyobsession said...

thnx for dropping by/me a comment. tt curry looks like a killer-hot n yummy!

beetrice said...

I found you!! :D awww...so sweet - dun worry, wait till Text's next birthday...after all, good things come to those who wait! :)