Dapur Mariae (Mariae's kitchen) - A taste of Malaysia!
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The miracle of motherhood!
Two suitcases and a bag of cuddly toys!
Dapur Mariae's Mini Customers!
My Fantastic Yorkshire Family!
Working with a spouse... terrific or terrible?


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The miracle of motherhood!

As my daughter Sasha turns 23 this month it’s only befitting that this post celebrates the joys of being a mum. I rarely admit this to anyone for fear of being shunned from the ‘mummy club’, but the truth is I never harboured an overwhelming desire to be a mother. Children were definitely a part of our plans when we got married but family planning was never a focal point. 

 As a nurse I was constantly surrounded by women and the conversation often centred around the topic of babies. Not just having babies, but number of babies, month that would be ideal for them to be born, and precise gaps between having said babies! It made someone like me who wasn’t bursting with maternal instincts feel like somewhat of a pariah. I often wondered that perhaps there was really something wrong with me for not identifying with this train of thought. 

 So I silently kept my feelings well hidden but reassured myself that when the time was right, I would know. Lo and behold the day came when I was diagnosed with the proverbial bun in the oven. Gerrard and I were on holiday in Malaysia and I vividly recall the day the news was delivered by our long time family doctor (Dr. Bob). My first reaction was one of total panic and then intense worry that I still wasn’t walking on cloud nine or shouting it from the roof tops. Whilst well wishers were patting Gerrard on the back and family and friends were throwing their arms around me, I felt like I was in a bubble and detached from it all. 

Then it all miraculously changed the day I had my first scan. Looking at the screen whilst this little shadow moved and floated peacefully in its little cocoon, was when I fell totally in love! Suddenly it all made sense. I was bestowed a precious gift and granted the most important job in the world. At that moment I knew that life would never be the same. 

Sasha was born at 5.45 on the 27th of September weighing a whopping 9lbs 12 ounces and from the moment I looked at her face I was totally besotted. With rosy cheeks, button nose and beautiful brown eyes, she was the most beautiful little person I’d ever seen. The years to follow I watched her slowly transform from a delightful funny and cheeky child into the kind, caring, bright, and gorgeous woman she is today. She has been a shoulder to cry on during difficult times and we’ve spent countless moments of laughter together. I now can’t even imagine our lives without her and so very grateful to god above for his blessing. 

Happy birthday my darling girl xxxx

Mariae xxx

If you want to see more pictures of our food and keep updated on all things Dapur Mariae, be sure to like our Facebook page and give us a follow on Instagram! 

Two suitcases and a bag of cuddly toys!

It just dawned on me that although you’re all familiar with my love for cooking and all the shenanigans that happen in my kitchen, you don’t really know who I am or indeed my background. So I’m going to do a series of extracts of my life in order for you to get to know me and how Dapur Mariae came to be. Hope you enjoy it.  

Part 1: Two suitcases and a bag of cuddly toys! 

This is literally how my life in UK began way back in 1989 when I left Malaysia to pursue a career in nursing. In Malaysia after sixth form, I was full of disappointment at not getting into the Law Faculty, and I was at a loss at where my career or indeed my life was heading. So I got a part time job teaching English in the day and sang (yes sang!) in local pub called ‘Strikers Lounge’ in the evening. 

Not exactly the glowing future I had envisaged but at least I was earning some cash and had a few fans who would loyally listen to my crooning. I wasn’t Whitney Houston by any stretch of the imagination and in all honesty, after my ‘fans’ had downed a fair few drinks they were oblivious as to whether I was belting out do re mi or ‘I will always love you’! It was good fun and apart from clutching my microphone for dear life as I dodged the odd drunken brawl on a Saturday night, it was quite enjoyable. 

One year on and my classmate Anastasia asked me to come along with her to study nursing in England and without much thought, I said yes just like that. So I sang for one last time in a pub called ‘San Jose’ to the usual drunk but this time rather sad lot who came to say goodbye. It was quite touching as they actually chipped in to get me a hamper of goodies, but I was under no disillusion that memories of me would quickly disappear once a new vocalist took the stage! On the day I was due to leave for the airport, I vividly recall my big permed hairdo and very 80’s outfit complete with faux fur coat. 

As a 21 year old who never lived away from home, I was filled with extreme excitement at the adventures that lay ahead tinged with some nerves. Leaving my parents, brother, friends and relatives behind was intensely heartbreaking as you can imagine. A small consolation was to bring along cuddly toys which reminded me of those I loved. The first was a pink panther from my brother, and the second a rag doll my folks lovingly gifted one Christmas. And yes even though a bit threadbare, I still have them to this day (if only they could talk!). 

My welcome to Britain was a full strip search at Heathrow Airport, which was humiliating to say the least, but that bleak episode was swiftly replaced by a startling realisation. Here I was, a girl from a small town called Seremban in a strange country, lost in a sea of people with all the familiarity of my old life gone. I would have given my left arm to have even my drunken fans waving at me from the corner of Heathrow. 

A sudden mixture of panic, anxiety, and loneliness descended upon me until I caught sight of my cousins whom I’d only met once before, and instantly breathed a sigh of relief.......

To be continued, Mariae xxx

If you want to see more pictures of our food and keep updated on all things Dapur Mariae, be sure to like our Facebook page and give us a follow on Instagram! 

Dapur Mariae's Mini Customers!

Bidding the summer farewell with Dapur Mariae’s mini customers!

Last Saturday’s BBQ was a fun gathering of mums, dads and their kids. These lovelies have been coming since they were knee high to a grasshopper (some still are), and although I’m always happy to see them, it’s a reminder that as they’re getting taller, I’m getting older. Nevertheless it’s always such a joy to have them in my home and watch them relish my cooking. 

Whilst the majority of our customers are adults, I have had the pleasure of tiny people gracing our table many a time. They’re so brutally honest that it can sometimes be a mixture of joy and trepidation when a plate of food is placed in front of them. So much so I find myself holding my breath and waiting anxiously at the verdict!

That said, their ability to speak the whole truth and nothing but, keeps me on my toes and challenges me to keep evolving. 

Little pallets range from the very adventurous who are game for anything new and unusual to those who tread extremely cautiously. One things for sure, I have a trick up my sleeve for even the fussiest eater and have often had comments from mums like ‘oh I never thought they would like that’ which makes me feel like the Nanny McPhee of kiddies cuisine. 

Some of the firm favourites are satay, sticky ribs, spring rolls, homemade chicken/beef burgers, fishcakes, oodles of noodles, and of course deep fried anything! 

Unsurprisingly pudding is never a headache or a problem. Ice cream, pancakes, banana fritters, chocolate cupcakes, fruit tarts have all been welcomed with open arms. 

Family, food, and love is the ethos of our business and being able to cook for all ages is living testament to all that we stand for.

So the end of summer may be looming and soon the sunshine will be replaced with darker afternoons, but memories created from this fabulous Sunday will muster a smile even on the dullest days. From chocolate covered faces, to reading ‘The Wonkey Donkey’, to slurping of noodles, a fun time was had by all. Until next year kids when you’re older and yet taller, I shall be ready and waiting!

Mariae x x x

If you want to see more pictures of our food and keep updated on all things Dapur Mariae, be sure to like our Facebook page and give us a follow on Instagram! 

My Fantastic Yorkshire Family!

I thought I’d give you all some insight into my Yorkshire family, who have always supported me and Gerrard!

I often thank god that I have an amazing family back home in Malaysia and my lovely in laws in Yorkshire. So I was counting the days till our visit up there, not just for a well deserved break to sniff some fresh Yorkshire air, but to attend the wedding of Gerrard’s nephew Timothy. We checked into a Best Western Hotel in Driffield and it was like stepping back in time. The floral carpet, rich luxurious curtains, ornate mirrors, and antique trinkets reinforced that ‘oldy worldly’ feeling. The minimalist guest might find it all a bit garish, but I for one thoroughly loved it. 

For those of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram, my posts leading up to the event was filled with anxiety at the task of making the wedding cake. Having never had any formal training, this was a mammoth undertaking. 

After baking 9 cakes, hand moulding 30 roses, a tonne of buttercream and fondant, I was pleased with the end result but more so that the 4 hour drive didn’t destroy all my hard work. I don’t know whether the bride or I would have cried more if the cake arrived damaged! The wedding was a joyful event and the bride and groom only had eyes for each other. 

Days following the wedding were spent chilling, shopping and of course endless long chats with the family mostly centred around memory lane. Gerrard comes from a family of 9 brothers and sisters so you can imagine the abundance of interesting tales that were told! Sadly, they don’t all live in Yorkshire any longer, but it was great catching up on those who remained. 

I enjoyed a day out with my sister-in-law Liz who is a total sugar addict! Looking at her slight frame, no one would ever believe that she could devour cakes, cookies and pudding like it was going out of fashion. We shared 2 extremely large sundaes whilst I silently kept convincing myself that any bad behaviour is accepted during a holiday. Perhaps my hips will play for it later but at that one luscious moment in time it really didn’t care! Does anyone else feel the same about eating calories while away from home?

We then headed up to Doncaster and visited Gerrard’s brother John and his wife Jean where the whole eating, chilling and nattering till the small hours of the night continued. I also managed to slip in a day of cooking a Malaysian feast for everyone which was very well received!

As always, all good things must come to an end and as the car leaves Yorkshire behind mile after mile, my heart is filled with sadness. I occasionally glance at the mirror during our journey and as Yorkshire slowly disappears, I cheer myself up with thoughts of future visits and more precious time with my family up North.

Mariae xxx 

If you want to see more pictures of our food and keep updated on all things Dapur Mariae, be sure to like our Facebook page and give us a follow on Instagram! 

Working with a spouse... terrific or terrible?

Dapur Mariae revolves around family ideals and we take pride in the fact that our customers become part of our family. However, I’m fairly certain most people would be of the opinion that working with your spouse or partner is a recipe for total disaster. Probably right up there with the saying ‘don’t work with kids or animals’! The honest truth is that it can be very challenging spending 24 hours a day together, whether it be in or out of the kitchen. Safe to say the latter could even be potentially dangerous when pressure is mounting, opinions are divided and extremely sharp Sabatier knives are close at hand! 

What makes it especially difficult for me is the need to always be right even when I’m wrong (I’m sure I’m not the only one) and adopting the age old ‘my way or the highway’ mantra. It’s been a slow process but I’ve had to learn to let go and accept that Gerrard is a trained chef and as such sometimes he really is right, (dammit!). A classic example is my initial reluctance in accepting that the workload could be shared if I taught him how to prep for certain dishes and observed the cooking process. I really can’t offer any explanation to this mindset other than I harboured a disbelief that someone else could do it as well as I did. As I soon learnt, all he needed was some patience on my part and for me to let go of the control I was so vehemently holding onto. 

The truth is Gerrard has imparted a wealth of knowledge to me and from being just a home cook I’ve learnt valuable skills such as the importance of prep, replacing panic with troubleshooting, costings, menu planning and also that crying over a burst curry puff is totally unnecessary! I have reciprocated by sharing all the secrets from my mother’s kitchen, and the tips and tricks she imparted on me. As in any good relationship it’s all about supporting each other and helping each other to grow, which I think has massively helped us in building our business.

So between us we’ve built a robust and functional little kitchen in our home that has turfed out countless meals and jars of sauce that have slowly become known and loved by our local community, and at this point I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all love between the pots and pans, as there are days when I could still poke a satay stick in his eye, and he could easily put hot coals on my forehead! That said, we have found a happy place in the kitchen where we both have our allocated tasks and we soldier on with our passion and our mission to spread the Malaysian love. 

If you have your own story about working with a spouse/partner, or any questions for us make sure to share them below! 

Xxx Mariae

If you want to see more pictures of our food and keep updated on all things Dapur Mariae, be sure to like our Facebook page and give us a follow on Instagram! 

Marlow Market Madness!

Firstly I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who came to see us at Marlow Market on Saturday! It was a fantastic day and we sold out on our chicken satay, curry puffs, and returned with only a handful of jars. Whilst I look forward to attending every month, the preparation that takes place prior and on the day is immense. My kitchen is a hub of activity on market week as work surfaces are littered with onions, ginger, garlic, chilli, spices, jars, chicken and pots on every hob. Once the sauces are made and bottled, the chicken is marinated and then begins the laborious  process of skewering which is probably one of the most mundane tasks. After about 20 skewers it’s quite easy to lose the will to live but we soldier on encouraged by the fact that the mound of chicken is gradually reducing!

Sauces and satay aside, there are my homemade curry puffs waiting in the wings which means making the pastry, filling, moulding, and crimping. This is where I praise god for Netflix as it’s my constant companion whilst I sit and put these babies together. Feel free to comment with your favourite Netflix series as I’m always looking for new things to watch!

Then market day dawns with an early 6am start and me wishing I could spend another hour in bed. Once the car is packed to bursting point, god forbid we haven’t left anything behind (this time it was the serviettes we forgot), we set off in our 100 year old Renault scenic looking like we’ve just fled our Homeland! There is a flurry of activity when we get there with tents being erected, boxes being unloaded, tables appearing adorned with homemade cakes, bread, sauces, tea, cheese, meat, biltong, and all sorts of goodies worthy of Ali Baba’s cave. I’m sure anyone who has run a stall at a market can vouch for the feeling of excitement that comes when setting up! Then begins the wait for customers as I agonise whether we will be eating satay and curry puffs for the week, and if all my jars will have to be reloaded into said Scenic! Needless to say I’m totally elated when we are swamped and all our hard work is rewarded, the smiles from happy customers is what keeps us going, especially during the difficult days! 

Packing up is easier as we have less to fetch and carry but sore feet and backs makes the task twice as hard. However the promise of a large G&T at the end of it all is a motivator! As hubby and I sip our cold drinks with Nev and Charlene from the Biltong stall, which has come to be known as our ‘debrief’ session, we ponder over the events of the day. We all agree that the blood, sweat and tears might make most run a mile, but for us and all stakeholders, it brings hope. Hope that a day will come where we will be discovered, hope that our products grace the shelves of supermarkets, and hope for a brighter future for our children and family. 

Xxx Mariae

If you want to see more pictures of our food and keep updated on all things Dapur Mariae, be sure to like our Facebook page and give us a follow on Instagram! 

Marlow Artisan Food Market!

We'll be heading down to Marlow Market in Buckinghamshire tomorrow Saturday 3rd August to sell our wonderful award winning homemade peanut and sambal sauces, curry paste, hot satay and vegetable curry puffs.

If you've read any of our amazing reviews on our Facebook page I'm sure you'll see that a trip to see our stall is well worth it, being able to experience the unique flavour combinations of Malaysian cuisine right here in England is an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up. 

Malaysian cuisine isn't the biggest in the UK but it definitely should be, being from Malaysia myself and growing up learning to make authentic food from my mum's traditional family recipes means that it's unlikely you'll find anything that compares nearby!

Even if you don't come for the food, be sure to stop by and watch my hansdsome hubby cooking up a storm!

Malaysian BBQ and street food.

A big thank you to everyone who made this event such a rip roaring success.
It made all the hard work worthwhile. x

Hello world!

Hi there! I must admit that I am what you would refer to as a novice blogger! Although this website has been in existence for a while, I haven't really posted ver much, which is rather a shame. Anyways, I've decided that 2016 is the year to start interacting and getting to know all you Malaysian food lovers out there!
So drop me a line sometime. Ask me anything, well, anything to do with Malaysia and the food of course! Waiting to hear. xx

Malaysian Evening at the Kings Arms 5th of July. Sold out!!!!!!!!

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