This month's pictures are from the Penang Peranakan Mansion in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. The home of a fabulously wealthy "Straits Chinese" family built in the 19th Century, but later abandoned, it has been restored into a museum to the classic era of Peranakan culture.
In the 19th Century, people came from China to settle in Malaysia and the Malacca Straits, and they formed relationships with indigenous people; Peranakan culture is the blending of these two cultures. The men were called "Babas", the women "Nyonyas". As a result, the culture is referred to as either "Nyonya" or "Baba and Nyonya".
The Peranakan Museum is full of exquisite exhibits from the mundane to the sublime. It isn't just about the luxury lifestyle items the wealthy Nyonyas were able to own... kitchen items and clothing are among the treasure on display.
The grand marriage beds, inlaid furniture, delicate china all draw from Chinese and Peranakan style. However, European sophistication was also valued, as the "Mod Con" appliances and glassware attests.
I particularly enjoyed the wonderful rooms set aside for jewellery.... The proliferation of glittering diamonds and intricate gold work was utterly arresting.... as I would have been had I attempted to pinch one of the items I had my eye on!
It's a wonderful step back in time to an age filled with romance and grace.... as I hope my pictures capture.
However, Peranakan culture is still alive in Penang. Nyonya people are proud of their heritage, and maintain their traditions. For visitors, the best way of discovering this heritage is through the fabulous Nyonya food, a wonderful combination of flavours, technique and ingredients drawing from Chinese, indigenous Malay, Thai and Burmese culinary traditions. In Penang, seeking out a Nyonya restaurant to sample this unique cuisine is a must.
Winter beetroot salad with soy beans, carrot and purple cabbage: http://maisoncupcake.com/winter-beetroot-salad-edamame-soy-beans/
Him Indoors and I struggled to work out how to make Vietnamese pancakes... The internet gave us the answer! Banh Xeo; a very helpful, well explained recipe: http://www.theravenouscouple.com/2009/12/banh-xeo-vietnamese-sizzling-crepes.html
Chicken, Apricot, Ginger & Rosemary Tagine - some warming flavours for the tail end of Winter... http://www.alanabread.com/chicken-apricot-ginger-rosemary-tagine/
Speedy pressure cooker Dal Makhani (creamy/buttery lentils) by Miss Masala, Mallika Basu: http://www.quickindiancooking.com/2007/03/13/dal-makhani/
A herby, nutty rice salad, great as a side and possibly a packed lunch at work: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/02/salad-recipes-the-groundnut-cook-residency
Kolkata style chicken and egg kathi roll with coriander and mint chutney. http://chilliandmint.com/2015/01/19/chicken-and-egg-kathi-roll-a-kolkata-speciality/
Vegetarian recipes which Nigel Slater says will satisfy even hardened carnivores: Feta with spinach and blood orange, Baked eggs and vegetables, Aubergine chermoula, Freekeh with peppers and Baked dal and sweet potato. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/mar/15/nigel-slater-five-vegetarian-recipes
Spiced rolled leg of lamb by The Curry Guy, Dan Toombs: http://www.greatcurryrecipes.net/2015/01/19/spiced-rolled-leg-lamb/
A vegetarian/vegan diet day soup by Fiona of London Unattached: http://www.london-unattached.com/2014/09/diet-butternut-squash-and-sweet-potato-soup/
Apple and blackberry pudding cooked in the slow cooker - surprise! http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/blackberry-and-apple-roly-poly-pudding
Love moussaka but feel a bit guilty about all those calories and fat? Here's a skinny moussaka by the lovely Emma. https://supperinthesuburbs.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/skinny-moussaka/
Shukto is a classic Bengali veg dish. Here's how to make it: bengalicuisine.net/2009/shukto/ Cook Like A Bong is a great place for Bangla food fans
Coconut oil and rapeseed oil are becoming more popular. Here Annie Bell investigates the health issues and cooking practicalities of a few brands. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/which-is-the-best-cooking-oil-from-extra-virgin-olive-oil-to-coconut-10057838.html
Stewing or braising - a practical and helpful "how to" guide for everyone, regardless of level of experience. http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/cooking-tips/article/how-to-braise
Food and travel; how food can be an international language by Tamasin Day Lewis. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/travel/life-well-travelled/11408261/language-food-helps-us-travel-well.html
What you might have missed at Snig's Kitchen:
The Five Fields, restaurant review: http://snigskitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-five-fields.html
Over at Snig's Classroom:
Efficient revision techniques and how to retain more per hour of revision spent: http://snigsclassroom.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/revising-how-to-get-more-bang-for-your.html
Go With The Flow.... or: Flow charts - Magical Procedural Memory Aid: http://snigsclassroom.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/go-with-flow-flowcharts.html
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Salting The Battlefield
The Casual Vacancy
Chic - C'est Chic
Alt J - This Is All Yours
The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
Please note: as with every monthly Favourites List, all of these items have been selected by me simply because I love them. I do not receive any money, benefits in kind or other incentive for posting these links or recommendations.