Appreciating wild and exotic type mushrooms is an age-old gastronomical tradition in Europe, where dozens of varieties have been made available to the consumers; people know precisely what they are looking for. In the land of continental cooking, culinary connoisseurs prize mushrooms based on their rarity and chefs love pairing mushrooms to foods according to their characteristic flavour. In Malaysia, over the past ten years or so, we have seen different types of mushroom being cultivated by commercially by different experts. However, the oyster mushroom, with a long standing-history of being part of the Malaysian cuisine, is a widely grown variety in the country.
Standing against the vast greenness of the glowing rice fields knowing that in a couple of months they will magically turn into sun-kissed fields of gold, one cannot help but to marvel at the magnitude of the beauty. Marvel turns into appreciation when one realizes that on these immense fields lay the starting point for the grains that may eventually land on our plates.
Rice is rich in complex carbohydrate. The word carbohydrate itself is blasphemous to most diet enthusiasts. Is this a misconception? Carbohydrate supplies energy to fuel the body’s physical demands. What most people do not understand is the differences in rice and how these differences work for the body. There are many different types of rice that are available in the market such as the ever common white rice, brown rice, red rice, black rice, parboiled rice, aged rice, glutinous rice, basmati etc.
Tucked away behind a school is the last place one would think to find a deer farm. But at Felda Bukit Mendi Triang in the depths of Pahang, such a unique sight can be found. This deer farm at Elias Agro Farm Sdn. Bhd. is where the deer breeding project ‘Projek Ternakan Rusa Timorensis’ is carried out. The primary product of the farm is smoked deer meat (daging salai). The deer which are bred at the farm are of the Timorensis breed which are flown in all the way from Australia where they are commonly found. The farm started out with a small herd of 30 deer and has been constantly increasing their numbers through breeding as well as by bringing in more from Australia. As of June 2015 the herd is numbered at 100 deer but this will likely change soon once the farm and its facilities undergo a long awaited expansion.
When it comes to wild honey, it's easy to underestimate the Tualang honey. It doesn’t have the highly priced value of a monofloric Acacia or the immaculate whiteness of the clover or the stellar golden colour of a Hawaiian Lehua Gold. Unlike the Manuka, it lacks a strong backup of marketing and promotion. Most famous honeys are named after the sources of flowers from which they are collected. As for the Tualang honey? It’s named after the bees’ nesting location.
Imagine a narrow cobblestone alleyway bustling with life. Street vendors selling fresh, vibrantly-hued local produce at every corner. Haggling housewives amongst fishmongers and grocers, having a good laugh, sharing recipes, tossing bright red tomatoes into rattan-woven shopping baskets. In an ideal world, so charming a scene would be commonplace. The need for brightly-lit, air-conditioned hypermarts decimated, such local farmers’ markets would then surely thrive. That is, however, strictly-speaking in an ideal world. Hypermarkets are, in reality, a necessity. Yet there is no disputing the benefits of buying and eating locally.
Chocolate is a mixture of cocoa paste, cocoa butter, sugar and milk, which is optional. It is one of the most popular foods in the world, long enjoyed for its wonderful taste. It was first created over two thousand years ago in beverage form. Then, it was believed to provide nourishment for the body and was used for many medicinal purposes for centuries. Today, a number of scientific studies have shown the values and nutritional health benefits of chocolate. It is a fun and delicious food, and can easily be incorporated into any healthy, active lifestyle.
Virgin Coconut oil (VCO) is known to be the miracle oil for health, beauty and strength. It therefore can be utilised as a functional food and in pharmaceuticals, nutriceuticals, infant foods and cosmoceuticals. The health benefits that can be derived from consuming VCO have been recognised in many parts of the world. One of the emerging applications of VCO is its medical use and functional benefit to human health.
Where fruit is concerned, even more so tropical fruit, we’re spoilt for choice. Malaysians have, and will always be those fortunate enough to wander into the wet market and come out, arms laden with some tropical fruit or another at any time of the year. And sure, our tropical fruit is seasonal – but with a carefully managed system devised to make the best of our climate, combined with the sunny weather and rainfall we’re exposed to all year round, we’ve ensured the treasures of our agricultural practices are of world standard.
Ask anyone, say ten years ago, what the name of the oval fruit with the bright pink-red skin was and it was likely that not many would know. These days, the dragon fruit is a familiar sight at supermarkets and fruit stalls. It is a beautiful fruit that not only tastes delicious when ripe but is rich in vitamin C, minerals and dietary fibre. The smooth, red skin (sometimes yellow depending on the variety) with protruding green-tipped ‘scales’ are what make the fruit striking to look at and unusual at the same time.
The strength of a nation’s export does not rest solely upon the quality of a product, though that is of much importance – it is the irrefutable truth that proper governmental support and a nudge in the right direction by the appropriate bodies is of equal importance.
A Special Interview with Datuk Dr. Sharif Haron, the Director General of MARDI on the Future of Agro-ecology.
Shakespeare once wrote: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. This timeless phrase, we (loosely, with artistic license!) compare to chocolatiers’ iconic chocolate blocks – lovely, a joy to work with, and so beautifully temperate. After all, the art of tempering chocolate is synonymous with a fine finish. Gloss is not over-rated.
Crisp and crunchy or soft and fork-tender; the honeydew is a melon most beloved. In appearance it is humble. Golden yellow or pale green, the melon, when sliced, displays a heartful of tiny seeds. Scrape them away and furnish yourself with a spoon – your melon is ready to be eaten.