Sunday, June 30, 2013

Langkawi - Pantai Cenang/Rice field

Found this on Pantai Cenang, in front of a hippy breakfast bar
Can you spot "Bonjour?"

Langkawi is an island situated on the North western part of peninsula Malaysia in the state of Kedah-- The rice bowl of Malaysia. We go to Langkawi quite a lot since we came back to Malaysia due to hubby's work. So you will see quite a bit of Langkawi from this blog. 

So in this post I will show you more of the rice field - kampung scene.. 

An atap hut right in the middle of the rice field
Pantai Cenang - Langkawi's main tourist street. This is where you find restaurants of different cuisine from the usual local street food like Ikan bakar (grill fish), Japanese, Italian to Mexico. There are many choices to suit different taste buds as well as budgets. 

Mr. Coconut head - scarecrow

The beach in Pantai Cenang is the most happening beach. Beach itself is not very clean but is still better then those over crowded, over commercialised beaches in Pattaya or Bali. There are jet skies, parasailing, speed boats, ATVs.. well, you get what I mean but still have plainty of space to build sand castles. What I want to say is it is just not like The Maldives, I know I am spoilt.. I long for those clean white sands with crystal clear water and only the sound of waves but not speed boats or jet skies.

The different is you get to see local families coming for an evening walk, some Arabic tourist have a picnic on the beach, some blonds having icy cold beer while getting tan in their bikinis. Is a place to do people watching.

At the start of the Pantai Cenang, there is this Rice Garden Museum. We didn't go in the museum.. It was a very hot day.. just took like a few hundreds  photos.

We will be going to Langkawi again soon.. I will show you more pictures of the beach next..

Madam Coconut Head

This scarecrow has a Sarong.. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Monday, June 24, 2013

Soft Sandwitch bread on a hazzy day

View from my balcony at 5pm on a usual day
View from the same balcony at 10am, 24/06/13 with the haze getting worst 
 Today all schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are closed due to Haze coming from Indonesia. The API (Air pollution index) is at 191 now in KL and the newspaper said in Muar, Johor the southern part of Malaysia has an API of 746.

Here's some of the titles reading in newspapers:

Prime Minister declares Haze emergency in Muar and Ledang districts.
All schools in KL and Selangor to close today
686 schools in Johor and 313 in Malacca (API 415) closed
Cloudless skies and dry weather prevent cloud-seeding

Below is the picture to tell you what is a normal API and those of Unhealthy to Hazardous.

Picture source reading was on the 17th Jun

So those of you away from this region, breath in as much fresh and clean air as you can, run wild in parks, pack a picnic and have lovely "Apero"  sessions till late in the evening.. cause here in Malaysia and Singapore people are wearing mask and confine in indoor with windows shut-tight!!

Just received an email from the French school saying tomorrow school will be closed. I have to think of what to do with my son Art and crafts, baking, TVs and may be tidy up his room..

45% Wholemeal Sandwitch bread  

Sliced Wholemeal Sandwitch bread

Breakfast the next day

This is what I baked two days ago. Very happy with the result. This is my very first sandwitch loaf. Recipe is from Yin's handmade,  do drop by to see many wonderful recipes.  

Here's my take to the recipe.

Ingredients A
200g             Bread flour
165g             wholemeal flour
12g               Milk powder
7g                Salt
30g              sugar
8g                Active dry yeast

Ingredients B
150 ml          Milk
120g             Tang Zhong (50 g flour dissolved in 250g water, cook to a glue like paste, cooled)

Ingredients C
30g               Melted butter ( I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)


1. Make Tang Zhong, set aside to cool.
2 Sieve and mix all ingredient A be careful not to let salt and sugar in direct contact with the yeast.
3. Make a well in the flour mixture then pour in Milk and Tang Zhong. Mix well and then knead, knead and knead. I don't have a mixer hence it was a good muscle workout. It took me about 20mins of kneading to get to pass the windowpane test. 
4. Add in all the melted butter (I used olive oil) and work on it until fully absorbed then continue to knead again until it pass the windowpane test again about 15 to 20 mins.
5. Dough is ready for it's first rise. I waited for 2 hours for the dough to double it's size.
6. Punch down and divided the dough into 3 equal part and rest for 15 mins.
7. Roll out each portion of dough into thin rectangular strips ( not too thin but about the width of your baking tin) then roll it up like a swiss roll. 
8. Placed in a well greased baking pan, cover and let rise for second time until one and half the size of the original rolled up dough.
9. Spray some water on bread dough and bake in a preheated oven of 180 C for 15 - 20 mins then tent it with foil to avoid over burn top and continue to bake for another 15-20mins.  
10. Take out, cool, slice and marvel at the soft cottony texture..

Monday, June 03, 2013

Back in Malaysia

Night view from my balcony with Genting Highland on the right

Hi everyone.. I know, I know.. I have been missing in action for months. It was a very stressful period which was not the first time as we were again moving. Moving for most people is changing streets or may be a bit further meaning communities or towns.. but for us as always due to hubby's job, we move from country to country.

When LM was little it was easier as changing Kindergarten is easy. We can even quit school earlier or have extra "holidays" for him to get used to the new environment but as he gets older, changing school becomes very challenging. We actually waited for almost 5 months to be enrolled into the only French school in Malaysia.

But needless to say, I am very happy to move back to Malaysia. It's something very important for me to let LM understands and experience Malaysia. He knows that he is a mixed of French and Malaysian but  has never lived in Malaysia long enough to understand the mix of culture/food and languages. Not to forget his other family/relatives in Malaysia.

Happy to be back is one thing but I have never lived in KL before, so I actually feel like a foreigner living in my own country.

Fireworks at night during major festivals. This one was taken during Chinese New Year 2013

I have been away too long, living in re mode places most of the time (example a plot of land which takes only 15mins to walk around, lost in the ocean) and now I am in the capital city of Malaysia!! The traffics, people everywhere and shopping malls!! The pace is fast, non-stop and dynamic!! Compare to those days where I have to prolong my walk around the island by stopping to smell the breeze, check out the Hermit crabs and look out to the horizon to see if any dolphin decided to make a few spins and all in all it took only a mare 15 mins.

A trip to the supermarkets in any mall during the weekends is nightmare!! You could be stuck in the jam for hours and when you arrived at the mall's car park.. you might say to yourself Oh! finally I can get out of the car and enjoy my breakfast which might turn into lunch with all the time spent in the jam.. but NO!! You are not done yet cause looking for a car park space is yet another challenge!! A few huge, multi level-joined-together car park building have not a single parking space!! We actually end up circulating around to wait for someone to leave.. Shopping in this situation is not fun at all.

I actually prefer my little town/kampung(village) in France where everything is between walking distance. I'm talking about market, post office, bank and Boulanger (bakery) not department stores. Where I am living now, there is nothing between walking distance which sadly very common in Malaysia.

The first thing my parents and friends tell me when we were back was beware of your kid's where about! I am still in the very high alert mode cause with what I read on the newspaper. Kidnapping, robberies, false taxis.. I think it will take me sometimes to know my environment before I can chill out.

Please don't get me wrong, Malaysia is still a very beautiful and relatively safe compare to other major cities int he world. I think it's just me being away from the "real world" too long where the only sound other then my own breathing, is the rattling of coconut trees when wind blow through , chirping of birds and splashes of waves..

Now that I have my new nest set up, I will be spending more time here to share with you my experiences as a foreigner in my own country.

Have a great week ahead