Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year + Poppyseed Honey Cookies

A very happy, healthy and prosperous Chinese year of the Rat to you and your family.

With my brother and sisters in Malaysia and Australia, it is a quiet day indeed. Only on Saturday will we throw a party for a few friends who have volunteered to provide some CNY cuisine while I, as usual, make a fav curry of the moment, carrot-celery-head pickles and biryani rice.

There's no holiday here and the other half was out of town for work, so I went to visit a friend up in a village 10km away for lunch. The dog I'm dog-sitting was left at home to mind the floor. (Didn't think she'd appreciate the twisty bus ride up some mountain roads.)

Dog-ward for five weeks Tigi says: 'Call me Sister Tigi. I was self-ordained. Did you say Year of the Rat? Yikes, bats without hats! Now be a dear and pass me one of those fragrant cats.'

I have made two batches of cookies for fun. Here is the recipe which I adapted from a nice square book called 'Big, Soft, Chewy Cookies':

Poppyseed Honey Soft Cookies

4/5 cup honey (that's almost a cup!)
50g butter
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs poppy seeds

Place honey and butter in a medium saucepan and boil for a minute. Remove from heat and stir baking soda into it. Set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees F). Beat eggs in butter mix. Mix baking powder and salt with flour, adding salt and poppy seeds. Stir flour mix into butter mix till dough stiffens.

Line cookie tray with baking paper. Drop a tablespoon of dough for each cookie, leaving 5cm space in between. Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or when they're firm to the touch. Be careful not to overbake. Use spatula to transfer cookies to wire rack for cooling.

This soft, tender cookie has the lovely subtle taste of honey and the light crunch of poppy seeds - perfect for teatime or coffee!


wonda said...

I love poppy seeds but it's another ingredient I cannot get here in my local supermarkets - only in international stores but expensive, I suppose. The university hospital I go to for my eye disease allows seeing-eye guide dog. I am scared of dogs except for my sister's spitz. My scream is louder than their barks!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Wonda -- you're my faithful blog friend who's the first to comment on this post. ^_^
Poppy seeds can't be that expensive as you need only a little. It's only 50 or 60 Rappen (RM1.50) a packet here and it lasts a long time.

Oh, those Guide Dogs are the best labradors 'coz about half of them drop out of Guide-Dog School. They're lovely and the most selfless, helpful creatures.

Big Boys Oven said...

Wish you Gong Xi Fat Cai! May the year of the rat brings you load of fortune and good health! . . . from us the boys!

Argus Lou said...

Thanks for dropping by, Big Boys Oven. A very happy, prosperous and healthy Year of the Rat to you, too.

wonda said...

I make a faithful dog, eh?

wonda said...

Sniff, sniff ---ooohh, cookies!

Argus Lou said...

Haha, Wonda. 'Faithful blog friend' at a glance does look like 'faithful dog', eh?

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

I read it as faithful dog too. Hehe. Poor Wonda!

I love soft chewy cookies. Must try your recipe lah! I love soft chewy cookies so much that I sometimes leave my cookie box open so that it'll "masuk angin", and only then will I eat 'em.

Kenny Mah said...

Selamat Tahun Tikus, Argus! Hmm, wish I could have some of them cookies now... or I could do what LL does and leave my new year cookies out to soften... NOT! Heheh.

Argus Lou said...

Lyrical and Kenny, do you both go visiting together during CNY like the way you visit blogs? ;-)
LL, here there's no 'masuk angin' - the cookies just get hard and crispy if left unboxed.
Kenny, if you visit LL's house, she'll serve you lovely, chewy 'masuk angin' CNY cookies, heh heh. Enjoy!

Tunku Halim said...

Woof! Woof!

I like your photos. Good juxtapositioning. Cheong Fatt Tze is a splendour reborn too.

bigfish_chin said...

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Yeah, Kenny's my dawg. :-P

And no cookies for Kenny. All those masuk angin cookies I keep for meself. It's hard work getting them the way they are, you know!!

WokandSpoon said...

Hey - Happy CNY! Mmmmm - those cookies look good! Btw, did I already say that I liked the new blog look!

Argus Lou said...

Hi, TH. Thanks. I quite intensively travelled around M'sia in the past 5 years or so, often taking foreigner friends around. Yes, I love the reborn indigo-painted Cheong Fatt Tze mansion. It's so funny that the paint runs when it rains.

BigfishChin, thanks! And a very happy and healthy Year of the Rat to you, too.

Argus Lou said...

LLemonG, you'll hafta put some meat on your dawg's bones. And, yes, it's hard work leaving cookies lying around unmolested. ;-)

WokandSpoon, thanks! Hope you give the cookies a try. At first bite, I wasn't impressed but it started to really grow on me - especially when paired with coffee or tea. And then I couldn't stop eating them. ^_^

Kenny Mah said...

"it's hard work leaving cookies lying around unmolested"

Yes, when I'm always around to help with the molesting of baked goodies. It's my kinda thing... ;)

And despite being O so scrawny, there's plenty o' meat on mah bones... just no way LL's getting anywhere near 'em... LOL

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Oh that's so 1999, Kenny. (re American Pie and the molesting of the pie.)

Did the cannibals ever ask for permission before eating their victims? I think not. Argus, this reminds me of Xeus' story...heehee.

Kenny Mah said...

Oh puh-lease. As if I would resort to such an obvious misdemeanour to perpetrate Bakery Crimes. You should see the things just one of my sweet lil fingers could do, LL...

... but on second thoughts, no. Stay away from me you man-eating, fast-blogging hoochie mamma!

(Argus, protect me!)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Argus could probably extend a virtual hand to help ya, but I doubt if she can be of much help, Kenny. It'll be like online sex....half the pleasure and all the tears.

Kenny Mah said...

And what would you know about online sex, my dear?

Correction: It's TWICE the pleasure and HALF the mess. If you do it right, of course. ;)

Maybe in lieu of all these baking classes around a town, I could give a class in this very subject matter that seems to titillate you so, Lady Lemongrass...

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Kenny, you're referring to last night's experience with I was, I suppose. I'm glad you found it twice the pleasure. You already know how I feel. Maybe a session with Argus (and her sandwich techniques) will be more rewarding for both (or three) parties.

Kenny Mah said...

Is the Bald Eagle aware of your ongoing infatuation with me and my bad-ass mojo? Did you end up with wet dreams of me cos ol' BE refused to let you take your new camera lens to bed with you?

Ah well, others have come up with less reasons to fantasize about me. You are to be forgiven.

(However, I was in the throes of Valentine's bliss till 1:30am this early morn, so it couldn't have been me anyway. Ahem.)

Just keep dreamin', dear. You'd never get there, but as they say, it's always nice to dream, no?

*evil snarky laughter*

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Oh Kenny Kenny Kenny (no, it does NOT go an octave higher like how it would have sounded IF I were in the throes of passion) can you equate my gorgeous 6-inch long 3-inch diameter Macro lens with'l ol' you?

Kenny Mah said...

I wouldn't. Mine extends and expands further... both ways. Hahaha.

Argus Lou said...

People, people! I have to close the dog's ears and eyes -- she's only four, ya know? (Not to mention being a part-time nun.) Her keen nose might sniff you both out though.

Bald Eagle has gotta read this. ;-)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Oh Bald Eagle is fully aware of Kenny's boyish infatuation with me. Kenny made no qualms about ANNOUNCING IT IN PUBLIC last Christmas with Bald Eagle in the audience.

Woof to doggy-cum-nun. Interestingly enough, Hamlet's "get thee to a nunnery" comes to mind, and how apt too with its less-than-holy interpretation...perfect to be uttered to our dear Kenny!

Argus Lou said...

All I read was 'doggy-cum'. Oh, no, don't let K loose in a 'nunnery'.

Oh, yeah, Kenny, you're wiry, not skinny. ^_^

Kenny Mah said...

What Was Said: Kenny made no qualms about ANNOUNCING IT IN PUBLIC last Christmas with Bald Eagle in the audience.
But Also ... : That Kenny forgot Bald Eagle was present, and ran and hid the moment BE reared his, uhm, bald head.

What Was Said: Oh, no, don't let K loose in a 'nunnery'.
But Also ... : Too late for that, sister. Ho ho ho.

What Was Said: Kenny, you're wiry, not skinny.
But Also ... : Don't you mean wired? I so need to lay off the java... :P

What Was Said: Woof to doggy-cum-nun.
But Also ... : No comments. That's just plain nasty, ladies!!

Argus Lou said...

And thus ends this CNY post on a, uh, rather crushy, wiry, cummy and woofy note.
(Unless, LL has something else to add... You can do it, woman!)

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Hahaha. It would be so typical to want to have the last word, but...until your next post on something soft and mushy, I rest my case and shall go give my man (not K...sorry dear, no phonesex tonite) some loving. Good night, world.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion...
As you like it.

So da drama wan.

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)