Javanese Spoon

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As we saw on Nigel Slater’s Eating Together season 1 episode 5 (Sharing plates), how I learned to cook without using standard measurements, pinch with fingers are, Javanese spiritualism in cooking comes from Pawon that means place for ash, as in traditional Javanese kitchen always separated from the main house or in the back of the house, I even still remember my grandmother from paternal side her kitchen was a small stable as my grand father owned a few horses and carriage when Indonesia was still Nederland East Indies. Pawon always uses dry wood or charcoal to cook and women are the main act to do the job.

When I was young, my grand mother always woke up at around 4 am in the morning starting the ritual of “Dadhek Geni” or making a fire and she always said to me go back to sleep, I always sneakily followed her and it was such fun to play with wood and fire. Nothing can stop me and I think I was her favourite grandchild, as long as I remember she never snapped at me.
She usually offered me peanut brittle so I was out of her way so she can do her “ritual of cooking”, from washing the rice I found it so complicated for me only to cook the rice in her method, she used a saucepan to start cooking the rice and after the rice absorbed the waterand she transferred it into a steamer to finish the cooking.
The ritual of cooking passed down from my grand mother through the generation, devoted to feeding the family became my mothers job, the ritual early morning wake up and preparing breakfast for the family. Trust me breakfast was not always easy with five kids, but Nasi Goreng was our favourite breakfast and as school started at 7 am so she had to have cooked the Nasi Goreng before 6 am.
This Nasi Goreng recipe is from my mother
500g cooked and cooled long grain rice
150g prawns, heads and shells removed,
2tbs vegetable oil
1tbs salted butter
4 spring onions
1tbs sweet soy sauce
1tbs tomato ketchup
Salt to taste
For the paste
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
5 shallots, peeled and finely sliced
5 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
2 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
½ tbs dried shrimp
½ tsp shrimp paste
½ tsp white pepper
To serve :
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 baby gem lettuce, washed
4 eggs, deep fried
To make the spice paste, use pestle and mortar to pound garlic, shallots, chillies, shrimp paste, dried shrimp and white pepper to the paste
Heat the oil in the wok add butter, fry spring onions for 30 seconds add the paste fry for about 2 minutes add the prawns and fry another 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir well, add tomato ketchup, sweet soy sauce and cook for about 4 minutes.
To serve, garnish the fried rice with tomatoes, cucumber, baby gem lettuce and individual deep fried egg. Topping the rice with crunchy fried shallots and chopped parsley.
Rice is the most important dish to the Javanese community, if the meal didn’t have rice in it, you can’t count that you have a meal. When political conflict rose in 1965 my grandmother said to me, she didn’t know what to do with the bulgur wheat that the government gave to them as a substitute because at that time rice was to difficult to find as the economy was falling apart.
Living in the UK for the past ten years, something that I have learned is to embrace multiculturalism of food, black pudding, bacon, vindaloo, taleggio, courgette, wild garlic.
Trying never hurt anybody, especially if food is involved and trying to put a Javanese influence into a British dish sometimes works well.
My coconut rice pudding is my favourite for a cool autumn day, replace milk with coconut milk, adding Pandan leaves instead of vanilla extract and put kafir lime leaves instead of nutmeg, but British berries to serve is a must.



Picture : Alex Hannam for Leicester Mercury


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Serves 8

This recipe is inspired by Pisang Molen Kismis (banana and raisin roll) Rum was the only alcoholic liquid that I knew when I was a kid, to be honest my mother spoke to me whilst I was writing this recipe about Rum and Raisins. This Dutch influenced recipe uses raisins, rum and mixed spices, my mothers uncle married a Dutch lady. She also mentioned how difficult it is now to find rum in a cook shop in my home town due to the new alcohol regulations. She never drink it, rum only use for cooking, it reduces the eggy taste when she made “fla” (custard cream) and for soaking raisin when bake Roti Kismis (similar with raisin brioche). Anyway before too much gossiping with my mother here’s the spice rum and raisin banana roll for you.


230g raisins
5 bananas (try to get skinny ones)
79ml golden syrup, plus 4tbs for drizzle
1tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground clove
¼ tsp ground mace
118ml rum
15g semolina
30g ground almond
1 ready roll puff pastry
1 egg yolk
Extra plain flour for rolling.

In a medium bowl mix together the raisins and all the spices and stir well, add the rum and golden syrup, just make sure all raisin are covered with the liquid. Wrap with cling film and leave it at least 4 hours (I leave it to soak overnight). Take the raisins before use for filling and keep 2tbs of the rum liquid to drizzle over the banana.
Roll the puff pastry into two 18x32cm square, cover with ground almond and semolina before placing two and half bananas a long in each puff pastry, cover it with raisins, be generous with raisins just make sure you use all the raisins, drizzle with golden syrup and extra spice rum liquid. Roll the puff pastry around similar like you make a sausage roll.
Cut each long roll into 4, so you will have 8 all together, brush with egg yolk. Bake in the oven 195°C for 20-24 minutes.
This sticky, lovely spiced rum and raisin banana roll is perfect for a rainy autumn day.

Ps : if your bananas are fat, cut the bananas in half lengthways, so you can use all the spice raisin for the filling. Don’t discard the spice rum liquid after you took the raisins out, you still can add raisin into it for another recipes (I did spice carrot and raisin cake).



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Serves 4 as compliment for cheese board or savoury board

When the theme come with cheese cake, first I thought I will bid for cheese cake ice cream as I prefer unbaked cheesecake and then I realise the other half can’t handle sweet dish, #sadface but just think about how many sweet cheese cake recipes (once again #millions).
So savoury cheesecake could be the one that people will think can enjoy it.
The first batch I did salmon avocado cheesecake (lovely) but you can not enjoy with the other meat plater, and you will have enough after two spoons.
The second batch I prefer avocado and basil. So bang bang.. I love it, my thought for this recipe only one, because this cheesecake is the centre for meat plater, I prefer use the best ingredients such as Lampung Black Pepper, Himalayan pink salt and really fresh basil leaves.


200g fromage frais
110g mascarpone
1 ripe avocado, spoon the flesh and finely chop, add a squeeze of lemon juice to stop it from browning
Lime juice from ¼ of lime
Lime zest
8 basil leaves, finely sliced
½ tsp ground Lampung black pepper
Salt to taste

For the base
60g Scottish oat cakes
40g cold unsalted butter
¼ tsp ground Lampung black pepper
Pinch of chilli flakes
Salt to taste

Use food processor, grind Scottish oat cakes, chilled butter, ground black pepper and chilli flakes into fine crumbs, layer the cake tin (11cm mini spring form cake pan) with parchment paper, use spoon press the base mixture down firm (slightly hard) into the bottom of the tin. Leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Use food mixer with paddle attachment, beat the fromage frais, mascarpone and chopped avocado until a smooth consistency, add basil leaves, ground black pepper and salt to taste stir well.
Using a piping bag pipe the cheese mixture on top of the the base and spread nicely, leave it in the fridge to set
Enjoy the cheese cake with, sliced smoked salmon, jamon, salami and British ham.



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Serves 4 comfortably

When I hear crumble, I always think about the Paloma Faith song “Only love can hurt like this” “When you’re not there I just crumble”. Crumble always reminds me of the end of Summer, here we go again Autumn is coming and for some people their hearts are crumbling when they can’t wear shorts, flip flops, and the sun moves down south. Spice your autumn and warm your heart with this nutty crumble and baked spice fruit, it just hits the spot for early autumn. For the lovely crumble I prefer to bake it separately and not with the fruit.


For the crumble :
60g whole hazelnut skin on
85g plain flour
40g dark brown sugar
40g demerara sugar
80g butter
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract

For the spice fruit:
4 pears, peeled, discard the core and dice into 2cm cube
6 plums, stoned and cuts into 4
3tbs of blackberry
2tbs caster sugar
20g unsalted butter, diced
1 clove
¼ star anise
1 vanilla pod
5cm cinnamon stick
2tbs brandy
2 long pepper (optional)
1 mace

Pre heat the oven at 180°C (same temperature for crumble and baked fruit),
To Make the spiced fruit, in a baking tray with tin foil and baking parchment on top place the diced pears, plums and blackberry. Sprinkle and rub gently with sugar and brandy, add all the spices and the diced butter. Wrap using tin foil like a parcel, set a side.
To make the crumble, using a food processor roughly grind the hazelnuts and set aside, with the same food processor blitz the flour, ground cinnamon and butter until mixed like grains of sand, add dark brown sugar, Demerara sugar, vanilla extract and diced hazelnut, and blitz again until mixs together and crumbly
In the baking tray with baking parchment scatter the mixture roughly.
At the same time bake the parcel of fruit and crumble mixture. After about 15- 20 minutes take the the crumble from the oven let it cool down for 15-20 minutes. Keep the parcel in the oven another 15 -20 minutes. If it sticks together, with a fork break the crumble into small pieces. Take the parcel from the oven discard all the spices divide into 4 small bowls or jars, put the crumble on top serve with whipped double cream and extra liquid from the spiced fruit.


Carrot, blackberry, walnut cake

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Serves 12

Ingredients :


180g unsalted butter, softened
180g plain flour
170g light brown sugar
160g grated carrot
80g walnut
3 medium eggs
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground of cinnamon
1tsp ground of allspice
1tsp vanilla extract


150g blackberries
75ml Cointreau
4 tbsp caster sugar


400g mascarpone cheese
40ml Cointreau
300ml double cream
35g icing sugar

Preheat the oven 180°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together into a bowl. Using a hand-held electric mixer or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and eggs until smooth. Stir the carrots and chopped walnuts into this mixture then fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
Divide the batter between the paper cases filling them up to two-thirds. Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin. Then place on a wire rack to cool completely while you make the blackberry compote.

Put the blackberry and Cointreau into a saucepan and stir in the sugar. Place the pan on the hob and bring to the boil, allowing the liquid to slightly reduce and the blackberries break up, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Using an electric whisk beat the mascarpone and Cointreau until smooth add whipped double cream and icing sugar.

When the cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut top of the cupcakes, pour approximately 1 teaspoonful of blackberry compote, let the syrup soaked into the cupcakes

Frost the cupcakes with the mascarpone cream and drizzle with the blackberry compote.




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Serves 2 comfortably

This recipe is dedicated to all the vegans.

For the vinaigrette:
1tbs rapeseed oil
1tbs avocado oil (I am using“La tourangelle”)
1tsp wholegrain mustard
1tsp balsamic vinegar
For the Salad:
2 just ripe avocados, stone removed one fan cut and the other one roughly chopped.
150g firm tofu, match stick cut
100g mixed salad leaves
2 heirloom tomatoes, chunky chopped
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1tbs coriander leaves, roughly chopped
2 jalapeño pepper, finely sliced
Juice of ½ lemon
Pinch of sea salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp hot paprika powder
1clove of garlic, finely chopped
½ tbs rapeseed oil

In a frying pan, fry the tofu with rapeseed oil until slightly golden brown. Place the chilli flakes, finely chopped garlic and pinch of sea salt in a small bowl. Add the fried tofu and toss so the chilly flakes and hot paprika covering the tofu. Set a side.
In a salad’s bowl mix all together, the salad leaves, heirloom tomatoes, spring onion, coriander leaves, jalapeño and roughly chopped avocado.
In a small bowl, whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together, add and toss into salad mix.
To serve, divide the salad into two salad plates add the spicy tofu and place the fan cut avocado on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with more vinaigrette on top.



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Serves 4

The first time my other half tried avocado juice in Indonesia when he visited me in Bogor, West Java. We had lunch in a place that was famous for baked pasta. The comment from him “it’s strange”, Avocado in Indonesia is more often served for a mixed fruit cocktail. Es Teler as an example where avocado is served with young coconut flesh, jack fruit, coconut water, condensed milk and crushed ice.
When I was studying in University in Malang, East Java the type of fruit there were more complex and exotic and avocado was to became part of the ingredients. I prefer Indonesian avocado juice to share, but this recipe would be perfect for desert because if we use the real Indonesian recipe for avocado juice it could be “too much”, I ditched the condensed milk and replaced it with almond milk to make it lighter.


2 large ripe avocados, pit removed
59ml dark rum
118ml vanilla syrup (Monin vanilla syrup)
85ml almond milk
1 ½ crushed ice
4 tbs dark chocolate sauce (Monin dark chocolate sauce)
2 tbs grated dark chocolate
In the blender blitz all together the flesh of the avocado, dark rum, condensed milk, vanilla syrup and crushed ice, until smooth.
Drizzle dark chocolate sauce in the bottom of a brandy glass, add the smooth avocado mix, drizzle more dark chocolate sauce and topp with grated dark chocolate. Serve immediately.