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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

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Cake for Self

It's my birthday today...Happy Birthday to me :)  This is the first time i am baking my own birthday cake.   I thought I deserve some self loving :))  We all do, don't we?   So, might as well bake something that i will like and share the love!  

Being a citrus lover, I picked this kumquat orange cheesecake.  I never forgot how lovely it looked ever since i saw quite a few of my blogger friends baking it some time back.  Coincidentally, i saw kumquats at the store over the weekend and was also reminded of a kumquat bake that was made by Mel recently.  She simply loves kumquat, and it triggered my curiosity to try it out.

This is also my first bake with kumquat.  I love how it turned out, looks and taste wise.   Cake was creamy, the orange flavor was unmissable and the candied kumquat literally top it all!   And did i forget to say there wasn't much shrinkage and there were no cracks!  

Hopefully i will find some kumquats during the Lunar New Year to make this cake again.  Kumquats are auspicious for the chinese and this cake will definitely be something that will be very much welcomed. 

Source : First spotted on Cherry on a Cake then Table for Two or More with original recipe from Vera of Baking Obsession

For the candied kumquats 
Source : Table for Two or More
  • 250g kumquats (slice thinly about 3mm and remove seeds)
  • 125g sugar
  • 125ml water
  1. Put kumquat slices in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Add in sugar and water.
  3. Stir then simmer on medium heat until kumquat slices turn translucent.  If it's too dry add a little water, there should be some syrup left.
  4. Store extras in a jar.

The Crust 
  • 1 1/2 cup vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (I used savoiardi lady fingers leftover from a previous tiramisu bake and finely ground in a food processor)
  • 1 tbsp packed golden brown sugar
  • 30g butter (cut into small pieces)
  1. Set the oven at 170C. Line a 6 inch spring form pan (i used a removable base pan) with parchment paper. 
  2. Combine all the above ingredients for crust. Mix well with fingers and pat and press into pan and up the sides about an inch. 
  3. Bake for about 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and set. 
I wrapped the bottom half of the pan with heavy duty aluminium foil to prevent leakage since it was a removable base pan. 

The Cheesecake

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 T finely grated orange peel (from 1 orange)
  • 250g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1T all purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg (60g) plus 1 small egg (40g)
  1. Combine half the amount of the sugar and orange peel in the saucepan. Rub with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic.
  2. Add orange juice and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes until the syrup  is slightly thicken.  Cool completely.
  3. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese, remaining amount of sugar until creamy and smooth. Add in flour, salt and eggs one at a time. Combine well. Finally add cooled orange syrup/juice. Stir well to combine.
  4. Pour the cheesecake batter over  the crumb bottom. 
  5. Bake until softly set about 45 minutes. 
  6. When baked leave the cake in the oven for an hour to cool down and to prevent cracking the top. 
  7. Chill overnight and loosen the edges with a knife the next day and unmould (I manage to remove the cake from the pan after 2 hours without any chilling)
  8. Arrange the candied kumquats in circular rows on the top. 

  1. The recipe below is only 1/4 of the origin recipe and it is also with some slight variations from me.
  2. The original recipe recommended the water bath baking method.  I didn't use a waterbath but i place boiling water in 4 small tart moulds in the four corners of the oven and place cake on a tray above the moulds.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Quirky Oats Treats

I am not particularly an oats lover but i will eat it on a regular basis for my heart's sake.  Unfortunately it's not the case for my boys. I have to resort to sneaking it into their diets. Hence, I am always delighted to discover recipes with oats where i least expected it. Along the way, i have learned to sneak in some oats here and there too, especially in places where they would least suspect its presence :)

Cucur Udang (Prawn fritters) is one savoury snack that is well loved locally.    We eat them on its own with some chilli sauce or it is added as a condiment into a salad (known as rojak locally) drenched with peanut sauce. Sinfully delicious food!  So, to lessen the 'sins', i added oats into the batter :)  In case you are wondering if my boys detected oats in them, the answer is No :)  It tasted as delicious and as crispy if not better!  Mission Accomplished!

Recipe-Cucur Udang

Part A
  • 20 medium size prawns, shelled, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 onion
  • 100g bean sprouts
  • 50g  Chinese chives
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
Part B
  • 1 cup plain flour, remove 2 tsbp and replace with rice flour
  • 1/2 cup instant oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chicken stock granules
Part C
  • Water
  1. Put all ingredients from Part A in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in ingredients from Part B
  3. Mix well and ensure ingredients coated with flour. 
  4. Pour in water a little at a time, stop when mixture becomes a thick batter. 
  5. Heat enough oil for frying in a wok/frying pan.  Place a ladle in the oil to heat it up.  Remove the ladle and allow excess oil to drip off.
  6. Spoon enough batter to fill the ladle.  Gently lower batter into oil.  After 2 or 3 minutes, a crust will form at the bottom of the ladle, gently push the batter out of the ladle with the tip of a small knife.  Continue frying until it turns golden brown.
  7. Drain fritters on paper towels.
  8. Serve hot with some chilli sauce.  

Typically you will see a prawn on top of the fritters but i prefer to cut them into smaller pieces and mix them into the batter.  If you would like to have a whole prawn on top, at Step 6, press a prawn on top of the fritters before lowering it into the oil.   Here, i only did this for 3 fritters for the sake of taking pictures.    It's your choice :)

One more quirky oats treat...

This was originally a decent loaf of bread that i turned quirky by adding a triangular piece of Toblerone chocolate.   I came across the original recipe at Victoria's of Victoria Bakes, do hop over to her place for some awfully cute bakes.  We like the loaf made according to the original recipe.  One day while picking up some butter to make the loaf, the bar of Toblerone call out to me...why not i thought..since my son had quite a few bars lying around in the fridge. And like they say the rest is history! 

I have made this Toblerone loaf a couple of times already. The result was quite good, apart from making it a little chocolaty, its makes the loaf softer and creamier too.  My son was thrilled to know that the bread had Toblerone in it.  This time around, i lessen some flour and added some oats.  Of course the oats bit was kept a secret from the boy!  

It was good enough eaten with a slice of cheddar cheese :)

  1. My variations in blue.
  2. Skip to Step 3 if using breadmaker.
  3. This recipe is a perfect fit for a 450g loaf pan/Pullman tin, just wait until it proofs up to fill the entire tin.
Source: Victoria Bakes

  • 250g bread flour (220g bread flour, 30g instant oats) 
  • 38g sugar (30g if Toblerone is added)
  • 25g piece of Toblerone chocolate (I used Crunchy Almond)
  • 2g salt
  • 4g yeast 
  • 135g buttermilk (1 tbsp lemon juice top then top up to 135ml milk and left aside for 5 minutes)
  • 30g butter
  • 30g egg (lightly beaten) (I used 1 small free range egg)
  1. Mix all dry ingredients and add milk and egg. Knead till you get soft  and pliable dough.
  2. Add in softened butter and knead till dough is soft, elastic but not sticky.
  3. Place all ingredients in the bread pan of the breadmaker (according to the recommended sequence stated in the instruction manual of the breadmaker).  Select Dough function.  
  4. Proof till dough until twice the original size. 
  5. Punch dough down, and divide into 3 equal portions (if using 450g loaf pan) (I used it whole)
  6. Rest dough for 10mins. Roll into a rectangular shape with one side not longer than length of pan/tin that will be used for baking.  Roll up dough like a swiss roll from the shorter side.
  7. Turn dough 90 degrees.  Roll it into a rectangular shape again as in step 6.  Roll up dough like a swiss roll again.  Seal seams and place in pan.
  8. Repeat the process for the other 2 dough if dough was divided into 3 portions.
  9. Proof dough till it is 80-90% filling up the pan
  10. Bake bread on lower rack of oven at 180 degrees C for 40mins
This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen from My little favourite DIY, hosted by Vivian of Vivian Pang's Kitchen.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Let's Cook Thai - Southern Style Pork Ribs

Some of you might have noticed that I love pork ribs and most of the time i will choose to braise them, easy peasy.   I am lazy like that, easy preparation methods are always my way to go. Braising (if done well) results in very tender and succulent ribs, i love how the ribs end up with a taste that commingles with the braising liquid. Besides, it also provides a nice stew that goes very well with rice, our staple.   

With Asian Food Fest (AFF) blogging event, i have been curious if people from the featured country like pork ribs and how they make (preferably braise) them.  I have been looking out for their recipes and have been successful thus far.  I have done the Japanese style for last month's AFF here and moving on to Thailand for this month.  Hopefully my interest won't die out and will continue along with the AFF journey.  Looking forward to a collection of Asian Pork Ribs recipes!

The name of this dish is Gar Doog Mu Hung Le (Southern Thai Pork Ribs) which like in its name a typical Southern Thailand pork ribs dish.   Not much of a background on the dish?  That's about all i manage to find, my apologies if it is not enough to satisfy :)

So, how did this taste?  In one word, delicious! Very flavorful, just a hint of spiciness (which probably  would have been a lot more if not because i had to tone it down to suit my son), very fragrant from the herbs and a lot of sweetness from the onions.   We loved it although i didn't follow the recipe to a T.  I guess we have to play by ear (a little not too much lest the original flavors disappear with the playing) when trying out recipes from a different culture, some tuning maybe in need to make it to more acceptable for our taste buds.

Like i said earlier on, easy peasy, a 5 steps recipe!

Reference: Appon's Thai Food

Ingredients 1 
  • 60 gms Big Dried Red Chillies (1 tbsp prepared dried chili paste)
  • 60 gms Small Red Onion
  • 60 gms Garlic
  • 60 gms Lemon Grass
  • 60 gms Coriander Root (Roots from 2 plants)
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
Ingredients 2 
  • 600-800 gms Pork Ribs
  • 2 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 400 ml Water
  • 4 Tablespoons Oil (omitted)
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar (2 tbsp)
  1. Chop all the ingredients from the first list, pound together to form a paste. (I used a blender)
  2. Mix into the second lot of ingredients and leave for 30 minutes. (100ml water of water and left it for 1 hour) 
  3. Put pork into a medium size pot.  Add in remaining water and stir to mix well. Water should be just enough to cover ribs.
  4. Bring the pork and sauce to boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 1-2 hours. Add a little water if it dries out. (Ribs were tender within 1 hour)
  5. For best results, leave it overnight and recook it the following day. (Was good enough for us after 3 hours or so)
  1. The recipe above is doubled of the original recipe for my easy reference.  I normally make around 600-650g of pork ribs for 1 meal.
  2. My variations are noted in blue.  
  3. The biggest variation would be the amount of chili which i had to reduce to suit my son's accepted level of spiciness.  If  you have readily prepared chili paste on hand, it would be easier to control the spiciness by starting of with a smaller amount and increasing it to preference at a later stage.

I leave you with some sights around the iconic floating markets of Thailand.  This particular one here is in Bangkok at the Taling Chan District and on the Khlong Chak Phra canal.  One that is much smaller, popular with the locals (i.e. less touristy), personally it is one that is good enough for me to sample a flavor of the floating market.

Scenes along the canal taken during a long tail boat ride

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest (Thailand) - November Month hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Let's Cook Thai - Steamed Snapper with Lime Sauce

Konbu, miso, sake and mirin are making ways for chili, lemongrass, lime and fish sauce in my kitchen this month.   After Japan, Thailand, the land of a thousand smiles is the featured country of the month for Asian Food Fest (AFF) blogging event. Love this event, it's inspiring home cooks to expand their repertoires, turning their humble kitchens into one with an international feel.  Pretty sure, it's not only interesting for the one cooking, family members must be enjoying it too!

It's a tantalizing play of flavours whenever Thai food comes to mind.  A clever combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy tastes all into one dish.

This dish Plah Kah Pung Neung Manow (Steamed Snapper with Lime Sauce) is no. 23 on CNN Travel's list of 40 Thai Food We Can't Do Without.  Take this list with a pinch of salt but no doubt it's a very popular steamed fish dish in Thailand and it's normally served over a portable furnace of smoking embers in a fish shaped metal serving platter.  If you love that uniquely Thai flavor and steamed fish, i think you will like this.  

On a fish shaped platter no doubt but without smoking embers below it :))


A simple dish to make with just a few ingredients. Practically no fuss.  So, if you are bored of steamed fish in soy sauce why not give this a try.

Reference: Temple of Thai and Amporn's Thai Kitchen

  • 1 - 1 1/2 lb very fresh whole fish (for example red snapper, trout, perch or bass), cleaned and gutted (red snapper)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (bottom portion only, smashed)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced
  • 8 - 12 cloves (200 grams) garlic, chopped (10 cloves)
  • 10 - 12 Thai chili peppers (prik kee noo), sliced (2 only)
  • 2 - 3 red chili peppers (fresno), sliced (omitted)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro root or 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped cilantro stems (root, stems and leaves from 2 plants)
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce 
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp white sugar (1 tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (or 1/2 cube Knorr Chicken Bouillon mixed with 1/4 cup water) (Water)
  • Banana leaf (optional) or aluminium foil (Aluminium Foil)

  1. Cut 3 - 5 diagonal slashes across the fish, about 1 1/2 inches apart on both sides, using a very sharp knife.
  2. Line dish with banana leaf or foil.
  3. Divide lemongrass, ginger and kaffir lime leaves into 2 portions.  Used 1 portion to line steaming dish and stuff the other portion into cavity of the fish.  Place fish on steaming dish.
  4. Bring water to boil over high heat in the bottom of the steamer. Reduce the heat to medium before removing the lid from the steamer, lifting the lid away from you and allowing the steam to dissipate before placing the plated fish onto the top rack of the steamer. Cover and steam for 10 - 12 minutes. If you plan to use the heated platter, undercook the fish somewhat but if you are serving it directly on a plate, then steam until cooked through.
  5. While the fish is steaming, in a bowl mix chopped garlic, chili peppers, cilantro, chicken broth, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Taste to adjust seasoning - the taste should be a balance of spicy, salty and sour. Set aside.
  6. When the fish is cooked to the desired degree, remove the steamer from the heat and transfer the hot fish to a thai style fish shaped serving platter or any serving plate. The fish-shaped platter can be heated with either hot charcoals or more conveniently with a Sterno that can be placed in the lower chamber of the platter.
Bangkok from my eyes to yours...

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest (Thailand) - November Month hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings


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