When all you need is brunch

The thing about Saturday morning brunch is that you're always in good spirits - chances are you've had a good lie-in and there's the rest of the weekend to look forward to (as opposed to the slight melancholy you feel on Sunday mornings). The kitchen slowly comes to life as everyone emerges from their rooms still clad in pyjamas and soon, the smell of toast and fried eggs fills the air. There's happy, lighthearted chatter, punctuated by toast popping out of the toaster and sizzling from the pans.

Food ranges from the typical cereal and toast to the more offbeat choices of egg fried noodles with sambal and tomato soup. No matter what you've chosen to have on that particular Saturday morning, you always settle down, get much too comfortable and before you know it, it's past noon and you wonder where all the time has gone.

But see, that's the beauty of it - why rush when you've got the rest of the weekend ahead of you?


Having a mum around the house definitely has its perks - the practical advice, the warm, friendly conversations and of course, the good food. It's funny how they make cooking look so easy, so effortless. This was one of the recipes that Sapna's mum made her commit to memory (through periodic recitations at the dining table, no less) before she left for home after her three-week stay with us. It's one of those dishes that are best cooked in the largest wok in the house, perfect for sharing and ideal for a house of 9.

2 cups coarse semolina
1 and a half big onions
Dried chilli
Cashew nuts
Potatoes, cubed
Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds
Whole cloves
Ground turmeric
Ground coriander
Fennel seeds
Salt, to taste

Down to business:
1. Dry fry coarse semolina until a nice golden brown
2. Saute the other ingredients, using ghee instead of the usual butter or oil

5. Add the coarse semolina flour to the sauteed ingredients and mix well
6. Add water until it just about covers everything in the wok
7. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer until the water has reduced and the semolina takes on a fluffy texture

The best part about it is how colourful and versatile it is as the main ingredients are really a matter of personal preference (great for fridge-clear-out days). I personally like this dish with a bit of zing - some tomatoes and perhaps a squeeze of lemon or a dollop of yogurt on the side.

Comfort food, at its best.

Away from the hustle and bustle

A weekend spent in Nottingham, catching up with friends, running into primary schoolmates and playing my favourite sport - yes, it was another one of those good, good weekends. The Malaysian student community descends upon Nottingham once a year for the annual Nottingham Games and for most of us, the sports bit is just a bonus. It's a picturesque place - rolling hills, calm lakes and leaves turning colour. I can't imagine a prettier setting for one of the biggest Malaysian student events.

After a day spent at the tennis courts, to say that we were hungry would be quite the understatement. We headed to the city in search of food and went into the first pub that didn't look like zombie-central (It was Halloween). The thing about pubs is that they're the cheaper option when it comes to food and one is almost always guaranteed a hearty meal.

I was told, when I first arrived in London, that fish pie (along with Sunday roasts and a variety of other pies) was one of those traditional British meals. For some reason, I'd never seen fish pie on a menu until this particular weekend. Smoked haddock, salmon and king prawns cooked in a creamy sauce and baked in a gruyere crust served with minted vegetables - it was a warm, melty, smokey comfort of a meal.

As always, the boys were immediately attracted to the barbecued ribs, and for good reason. The ribs were meaty - soft, succulent and cooked in a delicious marinade. Let's just say that the contented faces were worth more than words.

There's really nothing like capping off a long day with a good meal. No matter where you are.

Photos courtesy of Wei Juin