Missing durian already?

Are you missing durian already?  The season is over, sadly. However, you can still get the flavour.

I don’t eat in McDonald’s from one year to the next – but I noticed they have some durian desserts.

So I had a Durian Sundae.  I enjoyed it.  Another week I had the Durian McFlurry. I enjoyed that too.

I have written in the past about durian chocolate. Harriston Chocolates is still there at 68 Kelawei Road, Pulau Tikus.  This is another way of getting a durian fix.

And if you want to see a big durian – not a real one – click here.


Passion fruit jelly – Could this be Android 9? – (Countdown: 9)

Well, they had Ice Cream Sandwich – so it’s always possible. And I think it would make a nice name. Then, after Passion fruit jelly, Quince jam?

In the meantime, this is how we make passion fruit jelly. It goes nicely with mango and / or ice cream.

I grow passion fruit – and one hears one can use most parts of the plant for different purposes.  Sure, you eat the fruit or make jam from it, but the flowers can be used medically, the leaves stir fried and eaten, the stalks for something – possibly tea, and the fruit pulp to make jelly, put in stew to bulk it up etc.

Here I will describe using the pulp in the fruit that is left over in the shell after eating it.

After eating the fruit, save the shells in the freezer in a freezer bag until you have quite a few.

Then put in a big pan and cover with water and cook.

On the left, the cooked pulp already scooped out of the passion fruit shells – on the right are the scooped out shells

the pulp after blending until smooth

Once cooked, blend until smooth in a blender.


we bought it from Tesco

It’s difficult to get gelatin here, probably for religious reasons.

cooking up the agar agar

You’ll probably have to cook for over 10 minutes to dissolve it. You’ll need several sachets.  Experiment with how much water you need, but probably much less than it says on the packet.  Add in sugar once agar-agar dissolved, and dissolve the sugar in the mix.

blended pulp in a pan

Heat up the passion fruit pulp.

mix in cooked up agar agar while heating it

When hot add in the agar-agar / sugar mix and stir until mixed.

add lemon at the end

Add in lemon if you wish, and stir thoroughly.

We put the mix into a jug, and then pour into containers and let them cool. Then refrigerate or freeze

Then you just need to put into containers and let them cool and set.  You can then refrigerate, or freeze if you have made a lot. If you’re going to freeze, the jelly expands, so leave some space in the container.

Rainy days are here again, with passion fruit ripening

Actually, it’s more like rainy late afternoon or evenings, with long sunny periods until then.

Having said which a few hours ago, it rained this morning briefly, and it’s currently overcast. It feels like the season is changing.

After a short hot and dry period around Chinese New Year it has cooled down and got wetter.  Evenings are cooler than before.

And the passion fruit are finally ripening.  I had more than 60 passion fruit on the vines, and now they are finally ripening.  It used to be the season ended in about November, then the vines were quite dormant until February or March.  So I’d prune during that period.  I did some in February. But I have had to wait until now to finish pruning, once the passion fruit have been picked.

And already the young passion fruit plants have started growing, so it’s really late to prune.

Here are about two days pickings:

Once I have picked the passion fruit I can prune the part of the vines they were growing on.  And then dry the leaves in the sun, and the dried leaves and stems go onto the soil as mulch.

But the pruning is a bit of a race against time, as pumpkin vines are rapidly growing and spreading.  The theory is that the pumpkins will grow and then die off before the passion fruit flower and fruit later in the year.  Already the pumpkin vines have flowers on them.  But once the pumpkins vines spread over the passion fruit vines, it’s hard to prune the passion fruit.

pumpkin vines spreading fast

Jammy peanut butter

When you find a brand you like of something in Malaysia, due to poor supermarket stocking and purchasing, you may not find it next time, or ever again.  Thus there is a constant search for crisps, peanut butter etc., where I am always looking for replacements for the brands I like, but which I can no longer buy.

My requirements include glass packaging (as plastics may leak into the food), natural ingredients, and no nasty chemicals.

Now I have found a peanut butter that fulfills these, and is almost half the price of the previous brand that I can no longer purchase.

And it’s called “Jammy”.

What ketchup?

Until now Heinz has been my ketchup of choice. Not that I actually eat much of it. One bottle might last a year. But now, instead of sugar they are using High Fructose Corn Syrup. Heinz do produce a ketchup without HFCS, but it costs over RM30 to avoid this substance.

HFCS is cheaper, but blamed for many health issues. Tesco brand ketchup costs about RM2.65, compared to about RM14 for Heinz, and uses sugar as the sweetener. However, looking at the label, some ingredients look suspicious. But it may be less damaging than Heinz’s. And Heinz is packed in plastic, while Tesco’s is in glass – again a healthier option.

As for taste, Tesco’s is possibly a bit sweeter.

So I decided to vote with my Ringgit and try Tesco’s, at one tenth the price of Heinz.

Free chocolate

Yes, at 68 Kelawei Road – the right side of the road – you’ll find a new chocolate outlet, selling Malaysian made chocolate.  Plenty of parking out front.  And when you enter they give you a sample size chocolate drink, plus at least 10 samples of the other chocolates they sell, as you move around the shop on your guided tour. They are Malaysian size samples – that is, very small.  But you can certainly taste them.

My favourites were white sesame chocolate, and dark durian chocolate.

You can buy in gift tins, packets, and in economy plastic packets – the latter being better if you’re just eating them yourself.

A few photos:

Harriston Chocolates


handmade chocolates

in the shop

in the shop

in the shop

economy packs

sample of curry chocolate

in the shop

the neverending quest – for crisps

I like a nice packet of crisps occasionally.  Judging from the huge amount of shelf space they occupy in Malaysian supermarkets and convenience stores, I am not the only one.

However, whenever I find a nice brand at a reasonable price it soon disappears.  Or the price inflates enormously, then it disappears.  The cheap, local brands all seem to be full of nasty chemicals.  The more expensive imported and / or foreign brands are often way too expensive, and still have chemicals I avoid.  Anything that comes from the US is suspect and they do terrible things to what they call food – and you don’t know what they’ve done.  Have they irradiated it?  Does it have genetically modified ingredients?  For example, I think most canola oil from the US is GM – and many packets say that it may contain this.  And the labelling is often misleading. “Natural flavour” may not mean that the flavour is natural and not chemical, but rather that might be their (registered) name for some chemical concoction.  Artificial MSG may be hidden in another ingredient on the label, so you don’t know whether it is included.  And so on. It’s complicated.  Plain crisps are the least likely to have chemically enhanced flavours, so they are the ones I always check first.

So yesterday I found some crisps from Germany.  Looking at the label they seemed OK.  And Germans tend to reject GM substances.  And they love their potatoes.  And the price in Cold Storage is only RM5.99.  I bought a packet.  There is a strong MSG flavour, but it is quite possibly natural MSG, which is perfectly OK.  I enjoyed the packet.