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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, 9 November 2010

Chinese Rice Wine, Anyone?

Weekend lunches are normally lite meals, i.e. A all in one dish and if yours truly is in an exceptional good mood, there will be a side dish to compliment the main one. It's always a last minute kind of thing after consulting the men in the house. I am thankful that they are not too fussy eaters except that I need to remember a thing or two that they just can't get themselves to eat.

Made Rice Wine with Chicken and Vermicelli, a traditional Chinese dish.

I am sure Chinese mothers out there would know this, a dish commonly served during confinement. So, this post is for all those nice people who prepared this for new mothers who were under their care during confinements! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts~

This is a simple dish to prepare provided you have rice wine in your kitchen. Not sure if it works with other types of rice wine but the one I used is the traditional Chinese rice wine which is made by fermenting glutinous rice at home, not any commercial winery. It's hard to find people who knows how to make this nowadays, it's mostly folks from the older generation. Maybe we have ourselves to blame for not learning from them but as far as I can remember, the making of it comes with many taboos that one needs to follow, failing which the wine will not turn out well. Excuses maybe but this could have prevented the younger generation from persevering and picking up the know-how. I am lucky enough that I still get my supply from my extended family ever since the supply from my side of the family stopped when we loss our matriarch :(

Coming back to the dish, it is prepared by frying some ginger strips with chicken and 1 cup of rice wine. When chicken turns brown, add enough water to use it as soup for the noodles. The noodles has to be prepared separately before pouring the soup over it. It needs to be washed under running water and cooked in some boiling water.

Remember me mentioning about a side dish to go with the all-in-one? This time the fried egg played this role!

Simple dish but it felt good and warm in the tummy and at heart too when pictures of matriarch and the big jars of wine fermenting in her kitchen came flashing back on that wet sunday afternoon...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Pretty Blue Babies

I really like this one. It tasted so good and because it has a healthier element, it felt extra good to serve this to loved ones. Added to that it was an easy recipe making me want to share it so that you can try making it at home for your loved ones too. This recipe is worth a keep (thanks to Happy Home Baking) and will used it as a base for more variations .

What's so special? Instead of butter, the recipe called for vegetable oil. I used organic extra virgin olive oil. This is the first time I am using olive oil for muffins. I was very happy with the results. It was a lot less oilier for sure, making it very light, soft and fluffy too. I was really surprised by the difference between using olive oil and butter. There was a nice hint of freshly cut grass coming from the olive oil which blended well with the fragrance from the bananas and the occasional burst of blueberry juice from the fruits although slightly sourish was just right to balance of the entire sweetness.

The muffins rose up very well too, this is the first time I got such a nice dome for my muffins.

Try it out and let me know if it's worth your thumbs-up too!

(makes 9 muffins)

210g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
100g sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 medium sized bananas, mashed (Pisang emas preferred for its fragrance and sweetness)
1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

  1. Mix and sift flour, baking powder, baking soda in a bowl. (Not sure if sifting it twice was the reason why it rose so nicely)
  2. Toss blueberries with 1 or 2 teaspoon of the flour mixture in a sieve, and set aside. Coating the blueberries with flour helps to keep them from sinking to the bottom.
  3. Beat egg and sugar until well blended and sugar granules looked slightly melted.
  4. Add in oil, vanilla essence and mashed bananas. Mix until well blended.
  5. Add in flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir lightly until blended. DO NOT over stir as it will make the muffins tough (Very important).
  6. Fold in blueberries gently.
  7. Fill muffin cups until almost full.
  8. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degC for 20 to 25 mins.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Happy Halloween!

Relief! Relief! Little one's final exam for this year is now over! Try as much as I could not to be stressed by his exams, I found myself pushing him to the limits. Of course to make it easier for him, I made him nice treats along the way to bribe him :) and tried my best to help him.

Since Halloween is around the corner and now that he has all the time for fun plus he had always felt that it's a pity we don't celebrate Halloween where we are, I thought why not make it up by letting him have some virtual Halloween fun. I got him to put some Halloween effects on the photo of one of the bribe food that was prepared for him during the exam. Hence, creepy crawlies, eyeballs, skeletons and all on my rice. It's nothing compared to his idea of Halloween fun, he would really love to dressed up in some creepy costume, go trick- or-treat, play pranks and frightening others...boys being boys

It was seafood baked rice actually. Rice which was fried with choice of seafood (I used prawns, cuttlefish, mussels and fish paste), some mix vegetables and cream. Topped it with cheese and baked it. Simple one-dish meal that was fast and delicious but fattening. Good for little one but not for me :-(

Anyway, Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sambal Haerbee (Dried Prawn Condiment)

This is the first time I am posting something which did not come from the oven. :)

I believe the term Sambal Haerbee instead of its English translation (thanks to Google:) ) would sound more familiar to those who the share the same motherland with me, especially those from the Hokkien clan.

This dish has been around for awhile. Do not underestimate this humble dish, it can really go a long way. Goes very well with almost anything that one can think of, it's the imagination that is the limit. Among commonly known usage are having it as a condiment for rice or noodles (dry, soup based or even instant noodles) spice for stir-frying vegetables, meat or even as a dish on its own. It's also good on breads, a sprinkle on top of whatever sandwich spread will give the sandwich an extra umpph. This is also something that many of us will sneak along during overseas trip just in case the local food becomes a little difficult to appreciate :) Having said that, I have to admit that the taste is acquired, it's not something that one will like instantly due to the strong scent from the dried prawns.

Back then, I remember it was always prepared by one family member and shared among the rest. This makes sense because it takes quite some effort and sweating due to the amount of time required to stand beside the burning stove to fry it until it is dry.

Nowadays, it is found in stores but it is difficult to get some decent ones. Maybe because of the hike in the price of dried prawns, you get very little of it in them. It's just not sambal haerbee when there's no haerbee :( What one gets is mainly shallots and chilly seeds.

This dish is made by frying blended dried prawns with a spice base. For this version, I added in some small anchovies for extra bites.

Have sambal haerbee will go a long way...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Happy Birthday to the Greatest Man in My Life

It's the birthday of the person who means the world to me.

I decided to bake him a cake instead of getting one from the bakery like in past years. Felt that I should take this opportunity to go an extra mile for him. This will be my first attempt to bake a birthday cake ever since I started this baking journey. Started browsing for something nice, simple and along flavours that will appeal to him. For fear of failure, I did a trial run before the real day. It was too important to take it as another one of my baking adventures. I know I cannot afford any failures for this one. A big thank you to my dear friends who graciously became my testers and provided feedback based on the first run.

I settled for a Coffee Walnut Yoghurt Cake. This cake had a crumbles topping instead of cream which I thought he would prefer. It took some extra effort to prepare the crumbles, a combination of crushed biscuits, walnuts, coffee, butter and sugar. The cake itself was quite simple though.

The cake tasted great although it didn't look as good as I would have wished for it to be. As this is a very rich cake, it was naturally soft and moist with a strong coffee flavour.

Birthday boy was indeed happy. It made my day!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Chocolate! Chocolate!

This is indeed chocolate heaven! Cocoa powder and occasional burst of melted chocolate from the chocolate chips! As a bonus, there was mashed bananas mixed in plus a whole piece of banana wedge right in the centre. It is really delicious, good ratings from family members and friends whom i shared it with. Personally, I love it!

This recipe was courtesy of fellow blogger, Honey Bee Sweets. The way a piece of banana was hidden right in the centre was a very nice and creative breakaway from the entirely monotonous chocolate taste, something that was different, sweet, soft, moist and fragrant . The texture of the muffin itself is very soft and moist too. Best eaten warm for the hot, melting chocolate chip effect.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Treasures in a Bun (Chicken Curry)

Something Asian, if not wrong this is Malaysian (I had better unclaimed this as it can potentially spark another debate on food origin :)) The first time I tried this was from a shop in Kampar, Perak many years back. This is a definite pleasure for chicken curry and bread lovers. They go really well together.

It takes some extra effort to make this. This is not the first time I've made it due to popular demands. The chicken curry will need to be prepared separately. Furthermore, it is really important to ensure that the bread is soft and pillowy to make it a nice dip for the curry. For this, I diligently followed a sweet bread dough with overnight sponge dough recipe (by Alex Goh). Which means, one has to start yearning for it at least 8 hours in advance to make this happen! The sponge dough really made a lot of difference to the texture of the bread and it was well worth it.

The chicken curry is then wrapped with some foil before it is wrapped with the bread dough. I eggwashed the top of the bun and sprinkled some toasted sesame seeds to give it a nice crunch although the original version of the bun does not have them (think hamburger buns :)) I remember that the original version was a lot bigger too but I made mine a lot smaller, individual portions so that everyone has one to dip and eat it in their own way...

Step by step guide on how to eat this bun (or maybe I should I say it is a loaf as it is quite big to be called a bun?)
  1. To be eaten hot.
  2. Cut through the top of the bun to reveal the nice little package of chicken curry.
  3. Open up the foil for the yummy curry. I think the heat makes the curry creamier and increases the ability of the meat to absorb the flavour of the spices and also becoming more tender , in short it became tastier!
  4. Tear the bun and dip into the curry
  5. Indulge!

Truly finger licking good, hats off to the one who first thought of eating curry and bread in this manner...:)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Early Christmas Mood

Made another oreo treat over the weekend. What motivated it? Nothing in particular, I guess one never gets bored of those cookies and of course the other reason was nothing other than little one. This time it was a cream cheese version by Martha Stewart. It was something which was highly recommended.

Apart from the recommendations, the push factor was because it sounded too easy to be true. There was no need to crush cookies for the base (quite a norm for cheese cakes), a whole oreo cookie was used instead, a very innovative idea. Cream cheese and cookies were all that was needed to make this treat. Simple isn't it? I just had to try it out. I halfed the recipe and it yielded 15 of those cute little things. Dropped additional bit of crushed cookies in the centre for extra oreo ummph and make it look prettier, i hope :)

While lining them up for a photo shoot, i felt a rush of the christmas mood cheer. I know it's still early but then it's nice to be in that mood...warm overflowing love, spirit of giving, kindness, family, happiness, laughter, gifts, parties, great food and yes snowy cold weather (hopefully we will have a white one this year), hence hats and all in the photo! I hope I got all of you in a little christmas mood now :)

Lovely bottoms!

Verdict? Sinfully delicious! It is definitely something to put on the year end christmas party table :)
Try it, it's simple enough for everyone!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Peach Moist Cake

I was captivated by the photos of fellow bloggers who are just so incredible, among them Ancoo, whose original version used blueberries. With no blueberries on hand and fear of facing the guilt of wastage just in case my cake didn't turn out well, I used canned peaches instead which I had in stock.

I was initially quite skeptical because of the amount of cream used, not doubting what it can do to the cake but more on the damage that it can create to my weight watch mission. But the photos looked so tempting, I gave in...evil mind found excuses to indulge... after all we all need some sweetness in our lives, at least once in awhile...

I was pleased with the taste and the texture. It was really soft and moist. The peaches gave a nice scent and taste to it. When little one asked for a second helping, I take it as a stamp of success :) I used cake flour and I used a few extra peach slices to decorate the cake.

Good, but should never do this too often...not for the extra effort that it will take to sweat it off !

Sunday, 3 October 2010


I never seem to get strawberries which are sweet. They are either sour or worst still, very sour. How I wish I could get hold of some big, sweet and juicy ones which I always see 'the faraway princess' sure they are sweet because she seems to be really enjoying them, without the slightest twitch on her face :)

As for me, some are bound to end up in the bin when they start turning mouldy after everyone hesitates to eat them. Quite a waste as they don't come cheap but I like buying them because they look so tempting with their bright red colour especially those with little leaves still intact giving a sharp contrasting colour with the fruit, their shape and those small little seeds...aww

As usual, this box that I bought was from Australia and again it was sour. Referenced some berry recipes, made some adaptations and these were the results. It was definitely better than eating those berries raw. I tossed some sugar over the berries to make them less sourish. The muffin was soft and the juice from the berries overflowed giving random red spots and a jammy feeling. Quite nice :)

It only made up 5 muffins. Finished them over tea, at least the berries didnt go to waste. Happy Ending!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Coffee Mania

One of those who need a daily cafeine fix, at least one to start the day :) It was a double dose today!

I was touched and grateful when a close friend (who knows too well about my coffee addiction) presented me with what was known as the most expensive coffee beans in the world! Thank you once again my friend, it was really thoughtful of you.

Not too sure about the claim but it was indeed expensive compared to the ones that I know. Known as Kopi Luwak, it came from Indonesia. The other place where it can be found in its original form is in the Philippines. Was thrilled, have heard, read and watched it on TV but till this afternoon the opportunity to taste it had never arise. To those who have not heard about it, the beans are special in a very odd way. These beans that are highly regarded actually went through a civet-like cat's (known as luwak in Indonesia) digestive system and defecated when they cannot digest them! Indeed we are 2nd hand consumers! But it's said that it is the process that the beans went through and those extra elements added along the way that improve their taste. Due to the tedious process, decrease in the population of the cats and the high price that it can fetch, there are known to be a lot of imitations around. As such, the one that I got came along with a certificate of authenticity. I wonder how do they certify it??

We had it during tea time which was as soon as I got home to prepare it. The coffee has a strong aroma but surprisingly without the bitterness, smooth and creamy too. Quite unique indeed as long as thoughts on how they came about are kept abay!

By co-incidence I made something coffee flavoured. My coffee walnut cake had to be downgraded to be the co-star of the day, not that I mind. The cake tasted quite good but I was not happy with it's appearance, cracked surface :(
Luwak coffee flavoured cake will have to be added to my to-do list.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Purple Mood

It was time for something fresh. Since it has been awhile since I baked a loaf bread and with some purple Japanese potatoes to finish up, I decided to bake something flavoured by them. I was actually more curious about how a purple loaf would turn out to be rather than it's taste as I had tried out the same recipe with the orange species ones. Further more, the colour purple was reflective of my mood at that moment...

It came out looking purplish pink, a soft soothing colour but may not be easily acceptable for a loaf of bread?? But I think it looks better than those charcoal powder ones?? The texture was soft, with a nice hint of sweet potato scent and small purplish bits here and there.

Making this was very easy, dumped the ingredients into my bread maker and the loaf was ready within 3 hours. We finished the loaf over 1 breakfast.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Going Bananas

A friend of mum gave her two huge bunches of bananas from their farm. Gifts of these kind are really hard to come by these days, especially for folks like us who are city dwellers. I was in luck as I happened to be back home for a visit, hence got some free homegrown bananas, couldn't have been better timing :) I was told to wrap them with some newspapers to ripen them as they were still green when given. It was only after the third day (after doing daily inspection every morning) that some started to ripen, and it was a gradual process, you get 2 or 3 ripen ones per day. Come to think of it, wonder how did they get those in the markets to ripen so evenly?? At the rate that mine went, I would have some over-ripen ones while some were still green...

Bananas are something that we love in the family. They are so versatile, have them raw, fry them, put them in pancakes, cakes, bread, ice-creams, cereals and the list goes on...

Since it was a huge bunch, it was quite a challenge to finish them before they got too ripe. The last batch was mashed up and turned into banana cupcakes. I was quite happy with how they turned out, don't they look lovely and cheery in the pink stripe cases??

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Holiday Treat

I have came across many recipes which uses Oreo Cookies and had been tempted to try one of them out. The recent school break was no better time to do it. The thought of how it would add to the joy of little one's holiday mood motivated me to go for it. I chose the Oreo and Raisin Muffin recipe from aunty yochana. It was easy and took less than 1 hour to have it all done. The verdict? Enough to say that little one had 2 at one go!

Little one gobbled down the other half before I could stop him when I was busy trying to take this photo to show how soft and moist it was :)

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Mid Autumn Gift

The experience learnt from making jelly mooncakes was put to good use. Have experimented enough to be confident for them to meet the outside world. Made 4 interesting flavours which I thought went quite well together, packed them into a gift box for closed ones and upon request from some friends. Thank you dear friends for the support and encouragement!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Berry Fishy Story

Weird title? Nothing fishy except for the fact that it was literally fish from a can in a bun! Anti-Climax!

Made some tuna b
uns for breakfast. Again it's all pretty simple. Get hold of a sweet bread dough recipe, put all the ingredients into a breadmaker. A trusty one will do all the job of mixing, kneading and making it rise while you continue doing whatever else. Mould the dough into little ball shapes and let it rise. Once the size is doubled, fill them with some tuna filling and wrap it up. Voila, the buns are ready to be baked.

One might wonder how did Berry come into the picture then?? I split the amount of dough between the tuna and some homemade strawberry jam. Hence, Berry Fishy Story! Instead of tuna, half of the buns had strawberry jam in them. And I piped some strawberry jam into a heart shape and filled it with some walnuts to warm little one's heart and to receive a big smile in return :) Looks like someone else is in the picture too!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Nori Sausage Roll

This was created together with the smallest pair of hands in the house. Undecided about what type of buns to make, we ended up doing something which has some of his favourite stuff. The inspriration came from sushi rolls. We roll some sweet bread dough with a layer of seaweed sheet and sausage in the centre. Glazed it with some egg and top with some meat floss. Simple enough but thumbs up from little one because it had his choice of goodies, maybe because he had a hand in it!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Jelly Mooncakes

It's the mooncake season! The varieties out there are aplenty but as usual the increase in price is an annual event too.

This is my first attempt to make some of my own. I chose to start
with an easy variation which is the jelly version. As usual, getting started is the most difficult part. However, once you are in it, things will flow through. Moral of story?? Keep going, never give up! So came the 2nd, the 3rd and the 4th variation. There maybe more coming, but for now I am glad that I have met the minimum number of varieties to fit them into a typical mooncake gift box. Hmm, I think I should take a braver step and do the real thing now!


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