Friday, August 26, 2011

When Eid Is Nearing....

Eid is most treasured when you are being surrounded by family My siblings, mum and cousins - grandma's house in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan. Life was simpler then, my sisters and I had our own happy memories of Eid.

My traditional, wooden, "grandeur" grandma's house in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan - I had memorable childhood Eid celebrations when grandma was around.

Eid is nearing. Ramadhan is leaving in a few days. I am still here. Stuck in the city. Eid preparation is nil for this year. That's why at this stage, I have only posted one recipe of Eid biscuit. For the whole month of Ramadhan, I was tired with work. Things did not go smoothly. I totally forgot about celebrating Eid. I bought flours and ingredients for baking cookies, but I was so lethargic during the day, that I ended up not baking anything. Prices of food stuffs have risen so much that I don't have the mood to celebrate Eid. Money for the day is a just a piece of paper, it has no value at all- as prices of every day's provisions have gone up to the ceiling (for me, as far as I am concerned). Sometimes, I feel that we have gone "material" these modern days. Whatever happens to simplistic values, the days when we don't really judge people for their materials and wealth but their own virtues and behaviour. When we can have a simple Eid, without splurging our money. To me, Eid is better spent when you are surrounded with your beloved family members. I remembered when I was small, having two elder sisters was really fun. We would have squabbles whenever we were baking Eid's biscuits, and it was really a team work. One would look after the oven, one would roll the cookie dough and I would do all the garnishings. Now, I would only bake alone in the kitchen, there's no one to share my story of the day, and I ended up being bored at times. Some of the days, I would transport myself back to my childhood Eid's celebrations - when my grandma was around- the days when she cooked beef rendang and lemang to perfection, when she would baked her melt- in- the- mouth marble cake. When she would be all smiles seeing us, the grandchildren spending the first day of Eid with her. My sisters and I would arrange the cookies in the cookies' tray and set up all the cutleries needed. My late maternal grandma stayed in the kampung (village) and she did not have all the fine chinas such as Noritake , Doultons or Albert. There were just simple china made in CHINA. But what I treasured most was the love that she had for her many grandchildren, the intense preparations that she did to celebrate Eid. The idea of her being all zest and active to bake cakes and cooked rendang, so that her grandchildren would have food to eat. That's the best memory of her that I could treasure, it showed from the way she cooked her food. They were definitely dishes of love. As for me, I would never have that kind of Eid anymore. I have learnt to spend Eid in someone's city or someone's kampung (village), but it would definitely not be the same. I am a proud kampung/ village girl, even if some of my students thought that I am from the city of Kuala Lumpur.(chuckles).... My kampung would always be in my heart and my childhood Eid celebrations with my siblings and late maternal grandmother would always be etched in my mind. The best Eid was definitely when I was small and young, having my siblings and beloved grandma around. Remembering you with love, grandma. Alfatihah....

Pignoli Cookies- The Recipe

Pignoli cookies

Close -up view - Pine nut cookies/ Pignoli cookies

When I posted some of the pictures on Pignoli cookies on FB, I have several enquiries on these cookies. My friends kept wondering what these were all about. Some friends even asked for some samples at work and I happily obliged. Eventually, pine nuts are edible seeds derived from the cones of pine trees. These pine nuts are mostly cultivated in Korea, USA and and several European countries. In Malaysia, you can get these pine nuts in several specialty bakery supplying stores. These pine nuts are expensive here, and I don't really think it's a good idea to sell these cookies for Eid. I won't reveal the cost of 500g of pine nuts here in Malaysia, as some people may think that I am being ridiculous with the price. The pine nuts should always be kept in the refrigerator as we have a humid climate in Malaysia. They can go rancid if we leave these nuts in the pantry. I knew, because I have bought these nuts before, and I forgot about them in the kitchen cabinet until they became flour, as a result of being attacked by bugs.These cookies may looked simple, but what an impact they had given my friends. My particular friend was all sunny and happy when she told me how they tasted the day after I had given these cookies to her. "They tasted like macaroons, not so sweet, and I couldn't stop eating them". Frankly speaking, I wanted to adjust the amount of sugar used in the original recipe, as I found the cookies to be quite sweet. But since, my friend told me that, I would just post the original recipe as used by me.


Almond paste - ingredients = 8 ounces of almond - finely ground twice (Please use food processor, instead of blender. However, you can use the dry mill attached to the blender- but be careful with the amount of almond that you can use, as the space of the mill is quite limited). 8 ounces of icing sugar. 1 egg white. How = Firstly, grind almond and sugar in the food processor. Make sure they are well blended. Next, add in egg white. The almond paste should be quite sticky and resembles a paste.


Ingredients = Almond paste that you have just made. 1/2 cup of fine sugar. 1 egg white. A pinch of salt.1 - 2 cups of pignoli nuts/ pine nuts. How= Preheat oven to 120c. ( I have lowered down the temperature, so that the cookies will not burn. They make take more than 30 minutes to be fully baked). Line your baking sheets with baking paper. In the bowl of food processor, place almond paste, sugar, egg white and salt. Process until it is well mixed and comes out as a thick paste. Put the pignoli nuts into a big bowl. Using a teaspoon, drop a small amount of dough into the pignoli nuts. Roll the cookie around so that all the nuts are coating it. Remove the cookie from the pignoli and form it into a small ball. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Make sure you don't put the cookies too near to each other on the baking tray, as these will expand. Rotate the pans at least once during the baking process. The cookies are done when they are slightly golden on the top. Do not overbake these as they'll hardened after you have taken them out from the oven. To store these- sprinkle some fine sugar in your biscuits' tin, before placing a dollie or cut-up baking paper. Arrange these cookies layered by dollies. They will stay crunchy and chewy with the existence of the sugar and the layers of the dollies will make your cookies stay intact.

Happy baking, everyone....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Eid's Biscuits 2011 - Pignoli Cookies

In the oven - piping hot

Cooled on the rack

Pignoli Cookies or Pine Nut Cookies - ready to be consumed on Eid

I started baking Eid's biscuits quite late for this year. I was tired with work commitments and kept procrastinating my baking job. And finally, I took the pledge today and started baking cookies for this year's Eid celebration, even missing a shopping spree in KLCC with Mr Husband and son. These cookies are the ones that I've been dying to bake a few months ago. I was inquisitive with pine nuts. No, pine nuts are not peanuts - they are simply PINE nuts.This recipe calls for almond paste, it does not use butter at all and only uses egg whites. Since I am running out of time, need to prepare food for breaking fast or iftar, I could only post some pictures of the cookies and would find time to type out the recipe.. Happy Sunday every one..


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