Advertisement 300 X 250

Girls' Best Friend

Bright and sparkly. Gemstones came to my mind when I was removing this Dragon Fruit and Orange jelly from the mould. Like a combination of gemstones...rubies, amber and diamonds, all in one!

Dragon's Eyes

The literal translation for the name of a small brown, juicy exotic fruit from the lands of Asia, known as Longan in Chinese, packed into these muffins


A taste from the humble beginnings, the Long Bean Rice brings back beautiful memories of the yesteryears

Light and Fluffy

Lemon, Yogurt and Cranberries~a nice blend of flavours in a light and fluffy chiffon cake

Bread Stories

Asian style buns ~ Popular as breakfast food or snack, sweet/savoury fillings wrapped in soft, cottony bread

Friday, 27 May 2011

Thunder Tea

Yet another authentic chinese dish, thunder tea is the direction translation of its chinese name, Lei Cha (雷茶). Signature dish from the Chinese Hakka clan; served like a bowl of soup which one will pour over a bowl of rice topped with a variety of stir-fried vegetables that comes with it. Besides vegetables, there are other condiments like tofu, peanuts, dried shrimps and preserved radish. Next, mix and indulge! As it can be unsightly after the stirring, the above picture was taken after the soup was poured in but before mixing for a more pleasant sight :) The soup is not very visible though because I didn't want it to drown the veggies!

Interesting stories about how Thunder got into the name. Some say it is actually Hakka for ground or pound (i.e. how it is prepared) and not as in the one that comes with bolts and lightnings. Another version of the story says it is literally thunder because the loud pounding noise made when preparing it sounded like thunder!

I was first introduced to this dish many years back by my ex-colleague, a Hakka by the way. We had it at a food stall in a coffee shop near our work place. I have her to thank for introducing me to this healthy, 'green' and delicious dish. I will never forget that she took extra long to finish it because of the amount of chewing that had to be done with every mouthful which was fibre-rich! It didn't help that she was naturally a slow-eater! If you are reading this, yes it's you I am talking about :)

Thunder tea is actually made from a rich mixture of herbs like mint, coriander, basil etc, etc, etc and green tea leaves grounded into a paste. The etc, etc, etc is because I have no idea what other herbs goes in it! All I know is it's very fragrant and greenish! I am so lucky and thankful to have mum's close friend who will kindly prepare extra for our family when she makes them for her family. What I need to do is to mix it into boiling water!

Albeit having access to a cheat way to prepare the most crucial part, preparing this dish is no easy task. The accompanying vegetables have to be finely cut and stir fried/blanched separately. Then, comes the preparation of the condiments. Peanuts to be fried and skinned too, tofu to be cubed and fried. Preserved radish and dried shrimps go to the same process too.

Taste wise, it's a love-hate relationship. I have supporters on both sides of the fence in the family, not the ideal, unfortunately :( The ones that hate it say the smell of the herbs in the tea is overpowering, feels like eating toothpaste because of the strong minty smell, too chewy and looks quite gross after the mix up. Of course, those on the other side of the fence love it for all the opposite reasons! BUT it is indeed something good for the family once in awhile, great way to eat more greens and detox.

Mums, the next time you go to street markets around your place, lookout for the bowl shown in the picture. It's insulated stainless steel and very light, good for dishes that are to be eaten warm. Like a bowl of lui cha, curry noodles and the likes of it, soup stays hot but not to your hands! Cool design, best of all it's so cheap, only RM4 each!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Sugar and Spice, Everything Nice

Cinnamon rolls, once in awhile this desire to have the strong scent from the spice infuse the house crops out from nowhere. Honestly, it's the scent that i crave for more than the desire to indulge in them. Just like the way I would intentionally walk pass the cinnamon bakes at the mall just to take in the smell!

Not that I have made them many times though, this only my second. The first was quite some time back. It was only after this round of rolls were ready that I remembered I should have made broader cuts. As a result, they were a little hard on the outside this round. Good but not good enough :( I will make sure I remember this the next time around.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

All in a Row

Rows of Bread would be 'Pai (Row) Pau (Bun/Bread)' when translated into Cantonese. This is how this particular bread got its name. It is popular in Hong Kong which is also where I got to know it. True to its name, this bread is made longish and bake in neat rows. One would find it most bakeries and coffeeshops(aka 'char chan teng' ) in Hong Kong.

What's special about it? Looks like any other Plain Jane? Yes from the outside :) Essentially this is a typical Asian sweet bread, which means it's pillowy soft. However, it is also creamy and has a nice buttery fragrance. For individual consumption, one just tears them apart row by row. Can be eaten plain or with preferred fillings.

I was reminded of it and captivated when I saw it here. They looked so good. When I read that the locality of the blog owner was Hong Kong, I knew I should follow the recipe to a T although the post was 2 years old (2009).

Variation from recipe :
  1. Use whole egg instead of just yolk (reduce wastage)
  2. Use breadmaker to knead the dough (easier, dough was sticky too)

Verdict :
Marvelous results! Super soft, cottony, creamy with buttery fragrance, all in one! The whole family loved it including our pooch!! It really brought back memories of the original taste of Pai Pau in HK. Yummy! Today is the 2nd day and it's still so soft!

Thank you Florence of Do What I Like! Moral of the Story? It's never too late to learn :)

Friday, 20 May 2011

Muffins for Tots

Well, not all were tots, kids would be the better word but in short I made these for them when we visited them in a home together with a group of caring friends recently. Flavours decided based on previous readings on Little One's yummy-o-meter! I hope they got equally good readings on the kids' yummy-o-meters :)

So here we go, Nigela's Chocolate Chips Muffins and Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins.

Chocolate Chips Muffin
Nigella's Lawson's recipe)
Source : Food Network.Com (But I followed the one in Small Small Baker's who has kindly converted it to metrics which I am more familiar with and the place where I fell for them)

Note : This one tastes heavenly and most importantly it is super easy to make.


250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp best quality cocoa powder (not sure what is best, just use 'in-house')
175g fine sugar
150g chocolate chips (save 1/4 of the chips for sprinkling)
250ml milk
90ml vegetable oil (canola/sunflower/corn)
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 of the chocolate chips into a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a measuring jug and mix well.
  4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together with slow and gentle strokes. Stop stirring once the last traces of flour disappear. Do not overmix. A lumpy batter will ensure the muffins stay moist and fluffy.
  5. Spoon the batter into paper muffin cases.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 chocolate chips on top and bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.

Strawberry Yoghurt Muffin

Inspired by : Nasi Lemak Lover (Instead of mangoes, I used strawberries. Secondly, I used a small portion of the sugar as sprinkles to create a snowy effect)

125g unsalted butter
150g cake flour
110g sugar
200g chopped fresh strawberries
100g yogurt (natural flavour)
2 eggs (medium)
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt

  1. Beat butter, salt and sugar till pale and creamy.
  2. Add egg one at a time, mix well.
  3. Sift in flour, baking powder and baking soda, add in yogurt, combine well
  4. Add in chopped fruits and mix well lightly.
  5. Spoon batter into a muffin cups, sprinkle some chopped fruits and a little sugar (taken from total amount of sugar).
  6. Bake in preheated oven 200c for 20mins or till golden brown.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Porridge or Congee ??

As i was preparing the photo for this post, I pondered for a while, Porridge or Congee? I grew up knowing this as Porridge while Congee came into the picture when Dim Sum restaurants (those that came with bilingual menus) proliferated. Ever since then (thanks to the photos in the menus), the equation Congee = Porridge was cast in me head. For curiosity sake, i googled to see if I had been right or wrong all this while.

I quote Merriam Webster Dictionary
Porridge - A soft food made by boiling meal of grains or legumes in milk or water until thick
Congee - Porridge made from rice

So by definition (according to Merriam Webster), Congee is a subset of Porridge? Should I change the equation??

Congee/Rice Porridge is quite commonly eaten among the Chinese since rice is our staple food. Some say it is poor man's food. Congee is rice cooked with lots of water, hence can stretch one's rice supply befitting the poor man's food label. However, congee was served in the imperial palace too. With costly ingredients like abalone thrown in, the humble dish can be fit for the king!

I remember congee being served during lunch, eaten with side dishes (just like rice) at grandma's. Grandma did go through difficult times but over the years it became more habitual or cultural instead. Congee is lighter and easier on the stomach.

I believe congee is most likely the first solid food that is introduced to a chinese child. Ironically, this will most likely be our main diet when we grow old too, what goes around, comes around...

I grew up loving the congee, for me it's comfort food . It's soft texture, warm, easy on the stomach but sweeten by the stock from the ingredients is like food for the soul. Unfortunately little one doesn't think so :( He hates it because it's all soft and soggy plus it makes him sweat! Give me a bowl of congee and it will make me happy. I love it either way, cooked with lots of ingredients as a all in one meal or plain but eaten with side dishes.

Personally, I think it's a very forgiving dish, one cannot go wrong with this (with the exception of burning it, which I remember I did when I was young!).

There are too many variations to the congee :) Put in chicken it becomes chicken porridge, put in fish and it's fish porridge blah blah blah... The one shown in the photo is Seafood Congee. Inspiration came from the Hong Kong version of Junk Boat Congee which has lots of seafood thrown in. Someone once told me while enjoying this in HK, this dish was staple for the boat people in the HK during the early days. It was simple , convenient to cook on their boat, all in one but nutritious dish which they made with their daily catch now served as an authentic HK dish. As the name suggests, these are the other ingredients added in my version:-
  • Prawns (Clean and shelled with with shell on tail intact)
  • Squid (Score and cut into slices)
  • Fish Fillet (Marinade with dash of salt and pepper)
  • Clams (Shelled)
  • Pork (Slices of lean meat)
Simple steps

  1. Marinade seafood with salt, pepper and ginger juice.
  2. Cook rice with water or chicken stock. The ratio is 1 cup rice to 9 cups water.
  3. Bring to a boil and then lower fire for it to simmer until rice is soft and reach the preferred consistency (some like it thick while some like it thin!)
  4. Put in pork slices.
  5. Lastly put in seafood and a few slices of ginger and cook until seafood is of right texture.
  6. Season with salt, pepper, sesame oil and light soya sauce. Garnish with some chopped spring onions.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Happy Birthday Mummy!

This time around it was Mum's birthday. It was extra special because everyone made it this year and it was the first time a new family addition was around to celebrate it with her. Am sure our presence was the best present for Mum :) We give thanks to be able to gather for this occasion. May God shower his blessings on her and let us have many more of this celebrations with her.

After a few successful attempts at the Japanese Cotton Cheesecake, I was confident that I would be able to put up a good one for Mum. The only thing I had to put some thoughts into was how to make it pretty. A birthday cake shouldn't be all plain. I settled for fruits. Firstly, Mum doesn't like creamy and sweet stuff but more importantly I have never done icing, hahaha! Didn't want to take any risk and spoil the cake.

So here's the cake with fruits as dressing. Arranged some oranges, kiwis, rambutans, grapes and strawberries to get a vibrant colour combination. Made some orange clear glaze to give it a glossy effect.

Am glad that Mum and the family loved it. Mission Accomplished! Yeay!

Orange Fruit Glaze
Source : Food.Com
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour
1 cup fruit juice (I used orange, substitute with any fruit juice prefered)
2 tablespoons corn/sugar syrup

1. Bring sugar and 1/2 cup of juice to boil.
2. Dissolve corn flour in remaining juice.
3. Add no. 2 to boiling juice and cook until thick.
4. Stir in corn/sugar syrup. Bring to a boil.
5. Cool and use! (It's more than enough for a 8 inch cake)

Note : The glaze is orangy and not clear white.


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More