a walk down memory lane

A trip down memory lane

pandan buns

My grandma was one of those ladies particularly talented in the art of cooking. Her kitchen would often be stirring with activity every single time I dropped by, filled with the pitter-patter steps of those with inquisitive noses. Grandma was often considered the queen of consultants when it boiled down to food matters and every family gathering at her place meant nothing less than a galore of mouthwatering dishes featured, set on top the lovely antique marble counters.

Like many women who had lived through the British colonisation period in Southeast Asia; my grandmother worked as a house keeper for a British family residing in Singapore at that time. Her gentle ways and generous hospitality towards the family gathered their respect; and in return they honed her cooking skills, adding many more western recipes to her culinary repetoire. English dessert recipes came as a revelation to her. And till this day, my mother still speaks fondly about my grandmother's rendition of sherry trifle and lemon meringue pie.


I still remember visiting the house one fine summers' day. The prevailing atmosphere in her kitchen was the tang of spice and rich butter carried in a mist of white air filled with flour dust. She and everything else were covered in fine particles, and when she loaded ingredients into a mixing bowl, her swift actions left a hole in the atmosphere where she had just been. Pinching and crimping the sides of the filled curry puffs, i relished in the opportunity to steal a bit of the piping hot fillings every time my grandma turned her back.

Memories aside, recently, I had chanced upon my grandma's vintage recipe book over at my auntie's house. Stashed away in the corner of the kitchen rack, the book had evidently bore the traces of old age, its cloth covered faces spotted with incandescent brown dots and the flowery fabric peeling slowly away from the sandy surface. The contents of the book revealed a surprising discovery.. handwritten recipes copied diligently by my grandma. All in English of course and in the most beautiful cursive writing I've ever seen. Organised sections of puddings, custards, and cakes were found with elusive recipes for christmas cakes, her most famous sherry trifle and many more. I was thrilled and excited at my find, but stumped with disappointment later when an innocent request to take over the vintage inheritance was denied by my aunt. i guess a little waiting would be no harm.

In the meantime, I took the liberty of baking a simple pandan bun bread for the family on a lovely late Friday. These bore a certain resemblence to those rows of soft buns sold in the neighbourhood shops during my mother's childhood days. Everyone, including my grandmother enjoyed it. All day long, a smile that stretched the length of the great walls spanned my heart as I thought of my grandmother happily munching on her buttered buns, recollections of the olden days in tow. That was the least I could do for her.

Pandan Bread

recipe adapted from Baking Cottage

Sweet Pandan Buns
240g bread flour
60g plain flour
50g castor sugar
10g milk powder
2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp pandan paste
1 egg
150g Milk
20g unsalted butter
5 g salt
Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Mix flour, castor sugar, milk powder and yeast till well blended.
Add milk, pandan paste and egg to form a dough.
Add in butter and salt and knead until dough is elastic and smooth.
Gather dough to form a ball and cover dough with cling wrap and let it rest for abt 50-60 mins or double in size.
Divide dough into portions of 60 gm each. Shape into balls and leave it to rest for abt 10 mins. Roll out dough and shape as desired/wrap it with fillings.
Let it proof on lined or greased baking tray for another 50-60 mins or until dough is double in size.Apply egg wash (1 beaten egg) or milk on dough and sprinkle toppings as desired on it.
Bake dough at 180-190ºC for abt 12 mins or till lightly brown


Fen said...

Wow, your entries have been getting very sentimental these days and those buns indeed remind me of days where I go marketing with my grandparents...

Those photos do make me wanna ditch cakes and have some childhood favourites...

SiHaN said...

sentimental? is that so? haha. didn't notice the trend.

anyway yeh.. maybe you should hunt those childhood favourites. Mine were always those steamed huat kuehs and pandan chiffon cakes. Which to this day I still eat on a weekly basis. hehe. Old habits die hard. hehe.

Weili said...

Ginseng, go and open a 面包店 lah ! HAAA

those bans can sell for $1.30 heh heh

SiHaN said...

haha. I would probably sell sandwiches if I open a cafe next time. With home baked foccacia, ciabatta and sourdough bread. hehe.. That would be soo nice.