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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

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Purple Duo

Love the color more than anything else :) These were made from Purple Sweet Potatoes. According to little one Purple is the new Red, whatever that means! For now, purple is his favourite color since he's still feeling a little Bieberish!!

1. Purple Sweet Potato Swirl Bread
I thought this time i will attempt some swirls instead of making an entire purple loaf. It turned out to be a shade of pink instead of purple! Probably because the potatoes were from a different species, they had a light instead of a dark purple hue. The bread was very soft, potatoes always have that effect on bread. Moreover, this recipe used the tangzhong method. A nice hint of potato fragrance and sweetness in its presence.

2. Purple Sweet Potato Ondeh Ondeh
Had to find something else to make with leftover sweet potatoes from the breadmaking session. It was between this and a chiffon cake.

Ondeh-ondeh, a traditional Malay kuih (meaning cake), normally served during tea time or as dessert. Err, mine is a wee bit of digression from the traditional ones. Those are made from yellow sweet potatoes and infused with pandan juice, giving them a green shade. These little balls are essentially mashed sweet potatoes mixed with glutinous rice flour. They are then filled with some Gula Melaka (palm sugar) in the centre and boiled. Once ready, they are rolled in fresh grated coconuts, giving them a furry look :) Something that i learned to make during the early days of my Home Science subject, a long long time ago... The best part about eating this is when you bite into them, the palm sugar will squirt in your mouth,blending with the rice balls giving them a nice, sweet, fragrant and slightly chewy bite.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Of Green Piggies and Angry Birds

If you can't beat them, eat them! Little one's favourite game on the Iphone. He asked if I could make him one after we came across a few that we saw here. Needless to say, I obliged :) I thought they looked pretty cute. Moreover, it looked like it was going to be fun. More like craft that culinary. The challenge would be the smaller parts namely the eyes and the nostrils, since I don't have any of the cutters.

Onigiri made from normal cooked rice (just add a little extra water to make sure it's sticky enough to be shaped). Red bird got its color from tomato sauce while piggie got its green from some fresh and heated pandan juice. Eyes came from cheese (cut with a straw) and seaweed. Piggie's ears were peas while nose was cucumber. Red bird got its nose and feathers from carrot. Just use your imagination and whatever you have in your kitchen to get the color effect. I made a simple teriyaki chicken to go with the onigiri and vegetables.

Little one was overjoyed to see it. He asked if he could have the entire bird family next!! He raved about how his friends admired his lunch box :) As long as he's happy, I am super happy!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

For the love of Papa and Durians

The love for Durians, something that I share in common with Papa. Little one inherited my love for durians. Now we have a trio of durian lovers in the family, Pa, myself and little one. We would sit on the floor waiting for Pa to open them. Pa always bought them in whole. When Pa is not around, it will always be prepacked ones from the store without the husks.

When I saw this on Wen's blog, I decided to make one for him for Father's Day. I bought fresh durians and mashed them up with a fork. I knew it tasted good as soon as I finished whipping up the mixture because little one help scraped and cleaned the mixing bowl until it was sparkling clean! The steps were quite simple as it was a non baked one.

I topped it with a mixture of nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios) and dried fruits (raisins, cranberries and figs). I loved the colour combination. I was happy how it turned out but little sis thought I went a little overboard :))

All ready and excited to present it to Pa that morning. Had planned to give him a surprise visit as he was back in our hometown. For some reasons, I had to take the public transport on that day.

A most unfortunate thing happened, when I reached home, the cake had started to melt! It was no longer as pretty as in picture above, how disappointing! It broke my heart :( I had to present an ugly cake to Pa. It was so stupid of me to choose this one when I already knew I had to take the public transport on that day! I thought it would withstand the journey since there was air-conditioning, apparently it wasn't good enough! A big mistake made for the love of durians.

However, Pa was so happy to see me and he comforted me by saying it was the thought that counts. It was still edible after putting it back into the fridge albeit being unsightly. It tasted good, the durian flavour was strong, close to eating durian in its original form (according to Pa). The toppings complemented the taste very well too. So glad that the taste of durian was prominent because I found out that actually Pa didn't have much of a fancy for durian flavoured stuff, maybe because it was too far from eating the real thing. But this one has real durians in them and one could still feel the texture :)

All in all this cake is good stuff, it was just a wrong choice in the given circumstances. As Pa put it, melted or not, it was the thought that counts!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Inspirations from Ah Mah

A humble All in One Meal that has been around for ages. One which is most probably common among the Chinese community and one which many Chinese mothers would know how to whip up for their families. But for me, this is comfort food, one which I grew up here's the looking back story.

Ah Mah, meaning grandmother in our dialect introduced this to us, many many years ago. Our family had our own place but dinner was almost always (unless we couldn't make it) at Ah Mah's place every Saturday until Ah Mah left us a few years back. This weekly affair started when we were young and my parents held on to it after we grew up, left our hometown and had families of our own. Even then, whenever we went home, a trip to Ah Mah's place was a tradition we held on to; along the road, we brought in our hubbies and children.

Ah Mah would ask us to 'chiak peng' (meaning to have dinner) the moment we stepped into her house. The walk towards the kitchen came with a little excitement, wondering what Ah Mah had prepared for dinner that night.

Ah Mah had a long list of yummy dishes in her repertoire. No surprise because Ah Mah's place was her coffee shop too. She had paus (steamed buns), lo mai kais (glutinous chicken rice), yau char kwais (fried chinese crullers), changs (dumplings), or kuei (yam cake), chai tau kuei (carrot cake) etc, etc, etc.

This long bean rice is one dish that I personally like. Although it's a simple all in one meal, it's delicious and it remains in my memory till today. A savoury rice with fragrance from the dried shrimps, the crunchy long beans alternating between the sweetness from the chinese sausage with small chunks of lean meat and shitake mushrooms. I remember how we would gather around Ah Mah's big round dining table with a bowl of rice each, aunties, uncles, cousins and all. It was easy eating, allowing us to chat while we eat.

Today, I can make my own long bean rice but with some shortcuts thrown in. I use a rice cooker while Ah Mah made hers in a big black wok. I stir fry all the ingredients together with the uncooked rice, add some seasonings, then transfer everything to be cooked in a rice cooker. Although it may not be as nice as Ah Mah's, I am glad that I can make it and introduce it to my little one who loves it too. I hope with God's grace, I can continue to pass this on and tell them the story of their great great grandmother. If I not granted this opportunity, at least this post will do it on my behalf, assuming nothing happens to this blog :)

Ah Mah, thank you for making beautiful memories for us to cherish, thank you for passing on traditions, thank for feeding us, thank you for making us what we are today...thank you from the bottom of our hearts

Friday, 10 June 2011

World of Chiffons

Finally, I think I can claim that I have made a small step into the world of chiffons! The world of soft, cottony and super light cakes! After a few attempts, they now taste good, look presentable (though not perfect) and I am loving them!

I know when to stop whacking the egg whites, I know how to be gentle with them and not to inflate all my hard work when i fold the egg yolk mixture into the beaten whites and I know how to make sure they are well baked too :)

The best thing is there are so many new flavours that I can try, courtesy of fellow bloggers that one will not find over the counter (at least from where I am). I am amazed by the number of varieties that have been created, inspired, tested and proven. It's a gold mine out there waiting to be discovered, it's not only about the more common ones like pandan, vanilla, coffee and orange... 'sniff' around in the blogsphere you will find mango, banana, strawberries, passion fruit, green tea, chocolate and even tofu! I can't say enough to thank them!

I wanted to make something for loved ones that we were planning to visit during the recent school holidays. After 'sniffing' around, I decided on two special flavours , quite a marathon by my standards to bake both within a day but thank God they turned out well enough to be giveaways. I trusted my fellow bloggers so much that I was brave enough to give them out although they were my first attempts. I didn't even know how they would taste :) I made Mango Yoghurt and Chocolate Banana.

I had a chance to taste the Mango Yoghurt one. It smelled so good (even when it was still in the oven) and the little chunks of mango in it was especially creative in my opinion. I should have kept them in the oven a little longer and been more gentle when I took it out from the pan for a smoother surface. The sweetness was just right (more on the mild side) which was something the family loved and one will not get from over the counter ones.

As for the Chocolate Banana one, I have yet to taste it. But the feedback that I got told me I was not wrong, my loved ones loved them so much, even the little ones! I will definitely attempt it again to have a taste of it! I love the way how it turned out so tall and spongy!

Mango Yoghurt ~ courtesy of Wen's Delight
Chocolate Banana ~ courtesy of Honey Bee Sweets

Thank you fellow bloggers!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Another Coffee Fix

The aroma of coffee in my bread, that was what I craved for last week. Bad, no reason to crave and to crave for something bad added to the guilt! Shouldn't be adding more coffee intakes when a few cups a day is already my regular. I wanted something simple, on the bitterish side, not too sweet or creamy.

I gave in, out comes Coffee Craisin Buns! So, this is the bad side of being able to make your own bread, you make whatever you crave! Instead of making the more popular Mexican Buns, I made this using some simple variations from a recipe by Florence for Coffee Bread with cream. I omitted the cream and added in craisins instead. I baked them in a ring pan. The recipe uses the Tang Zhong method.

Variations from recipe
  • Use 20g bread flour with 100ml water for tang zhong
  • Use breadmaker to knead
  • 1 cup of cranberries plus raisins

Results? Very soft buns with strong coffee aroma and some sweetness from the craisins! It's a YES for coffee lovers.

Soft fluffy buns!


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