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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

Monday, 31 December 2012

Adios 2012, Hola 2013

Year 2012 is drawing its curtains already.  Time to cherish the ups and give ourselves a big pat on the back for overcoming the downs and challenges that came along!

Here's wishing all my family, friends and everyone out there who cared to drop by a very Happy New Year!   Have been lazy in the kitchen what with the holidays and all, so I will sign off for this year by sharing some photos from Spain and Portugal for some light viewing pleasure.   


Alhambra-Islamic Palace built on Assabica hill from the 10th century. 

Striking resemblance with the Taj Mahal if I may say...


UNESCO World Heritage Site, most important University City in Spain

Beautiful cathedrals in every city!

There's a Plaza Mayor in almost every city too!


Largest city in the Andalusia community

Orange trees line the streets of southern cities in Spain starting from Valencia!  Not suitable for eating though, these types are bitter and sour.


Capital of Catalonia, 2nd largest city after Madrid

Renowned for architectural works by Antoni Gaudi


Gaudi's too...

Yet another Gaudi's...amazing, breathtaking!

Not Gaudi's but inspired by him...

Olympics 1992 venue

Ring only, bull fighting banned in Barcelona


This is said to be one of the real castles that inspired Cinderella's castle in Disneyland.  So gals, it's not all fairy tales...

Simply put, this is an architecture to transport water to Segovia from the mountains built by the Romans somewhere between the 1st and 2nd century AD.  A total of more than 200 arches running across 32 km, 28m height. Breathtaking to say the least!


Another UNESCO World Heritage site

Mijas-the white-washed village

Some liken it to the Santorini in Greece.  It was said that it was the women folk that took part in the white washing activities.


The capital-very busy city, crowded everywhere, difficult for photos :(

You have got to see for yourself what's inside the palace, photos not allowed

Real Madrid fans will recognize this, the stadium is right smack in the city 


Fatima-City of Marian Apparition in 1917

Hope you have enjoyed the photos, plus it didnt take too long to load :)  Cheers to a wonderful year ahead!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Santa, I hope you will like this...

I know it still quite early to be all Christmasy, but I can't wait to use these liners!  They are cute aren't they?   And this is the first time I came across hexagon shaped ones.  So, this post is mainly to keep the clicks for these lovely liners :)

Look, they have cute bottoms too!

Here comes the real treat, i filled it with some banana chiffon.  Something for a change instead of a chocolaty treat.

The cake was delightful.  It was soft, moist and flavorful with mashed bananas and banana bits here and there too!   I have a feeling Santa will love them too!

Recipe : Small Small Baker

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sugar and Spice, Everything Nice

Sugar and spice. everything nice..that's what I am made of, hahahaha! So the rhyme goes! Anyway, this is what these pancakes are made of and they are more than nice!

Cold weathers (unfortunately it's just rain not snow that we get over here in the tropics)seems to be great for pancakes, and the addition of apples gives it a nice yuletide appeal (maybe it's just me and my growing christmas and holiday season mood).

This is the other side of the pancake where the apples case you are wondering where they are :) 

These pancakes were inspired by Gghie, The Red Apron.  I used my favorite yogurt pancake recipe though.


Apple Fillings
Source : The Red Apron

  • 1 cup shredded apples
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon mixed spice

1. Mix shredded apples, sugar and spice in a small bowl.
2. Cook the mixture in a small pan for around 5 minutes until apples are soften.
3. Set aside.

Source : Nestle Yogurt Recipes Collection

  • 150g sifted plain flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 150ml water
  • 100g yogurt
  • 1 tsp cooking oil

  1. Mix ingredients A in a bowl.
  2. Stir in ingredients B to form smooth and thick batter.  Do not overmix.
  3. Heat and greased a non-stick frying pan with some butter.
  4. Use around 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
  5. Sprinkle some apple mixture on top of pancake.
  6. Turn pancake over when bubbles rise and burst.    

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Sis, I saved you from piling on the pounds...

Birthdays are meant for indulgence, aren't they? Even when it is not yours :)  Made these for  my sister on her birthday but since she's too far away, I had to do the eating for her as well.     

This is really chocolate overload, five to be exact, starting with it being a chocolate cupcake, followed by Andes chocolate baking chips sandwiched into the cake then topped with chocolate rice, M&M baking chips and a whole piece of Andes chocolate.  I feel the pounds even while writing this down! Guilty, but it was down right heavenly if you are a chocolate lover.  Sis, I did you a big favour by piling on the pounds to myself!!

The chips that she sent (which was meant for making some Christmas treats) came at the right time when I was still craving for the Andes chocolate cupcake that I saw at Amelia's just about a week ago.  There was no excuse not to try baking one for myself...oops for my sister, I meant :))

For the cupcake, I followed Amelia's recipe (almost to a T) except that I omitted the peppermint essence and 3 tbsp of Baileys.  The texture looks a bit heavy (unlike Amelia's) but wasn't really so when eaten.  Hmm, I wonder why, lack of moisture perhaps?   It was soft though.

As for the frosting, it was cream cheese as I wanted a contrasting color to make the little extra treats stand out.

Overall, this cupcake coupled with the frosting is just pure indulgence! The piece of Andes and M&Ms chips really topped it all!

Source : Amelia's De-ssert

Note : The below is half of the original recipe which yields 6 cupcakes 
  • 75g butter
  • 100g sugar (originally 110g)
  • 1 1/2 eggs
  • 113g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 125ml warm milk
  • Andes mint baking chips
  1. Preheat oven to 185C.
  2. Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda twice.
  3. Sift cocoa powder and mix with warm milk until well blended.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until creamy.  
  5. Add in egg and make sure well mix. Do not overbeat.
  6. Add in flour and cocoa mixture alternately.  Mix well for every addition.
  7. Fill cupcake liners half full.   Add mint baking chips and top with more batter until 3/4 full.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Source : Your Cup of Cake
Note : The below is a quarter of the original recipe with some variations

  • 60g cream cheese
  • 22g butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp milk or cream
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
  2. Add sugar and cream, beat well.
  3. Pipe cream onto cooled cake and decorate as preferred.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses?

A reminder to stop and smell the roses? You don't see a rose? I hope not, I hope the bun in the picture can passed off looking like a rose.  One with big fat yummy petals :))  They are sweet smelling though  :)

Trips back from hometowns have always been bountiful, made these from some kampung grown bananas that Pa bought when he took little one for a ride on his old, trusty Hondacup. 

Decided on steamed banana buns or known as mantaus in Chinese found on Wendy's blog to use up some leftover bananas after eating them on its own and making a chiffon cake.  You will find some uniquely shaped mantaus over there, a very pretty pink rose mantau and croissant shaped ones among them.   But I didn't follow her method to make these roses, hers are far prettier which  means a lot more effort required.  I gave it a pass and used a simpler method.

I filled these buns with some peanut butter.  Had some fun shaping them.  Split between roses and the simpler proofing of round ones in tart pans.

Verdict? The banana taste was quite mild.  Buns were soft and light.

Note : Steps below are adaptions that i made to use my breadmaker for the kneading and it is also half the original recipe.

Source : Table for 2 or more

  • 150g bananas
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 250g all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 35ml warm milk
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 25g soften butter
  1. Mash banana with fork and mix with baking soda.  Let it rest for at least 1 hour (Reason: To reduce acidity).
  2. Mix and dissolve yeast in warm milk. Set aside for 5 minutes then mix with bananas.
  3. Put all ingredients into breadmaker pan starting with liquid followed by sugar, butter, flour and yeast.
  4. Set to bread dough cycle.
  5. Let dough rise until doubled.
  6. Punch down and knead dough for awhile.
  7. Separate dough into 10 pieces of around 50g each.
  8. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Shape dough as preferred. 
  10. For rose like shape, after flattening dough into round shape, cut dough to make quarters but do not cut until the intersections.  Put in a small blob of peanut butter in the centre then wrapped with opposite sides of dough to create layers. 
  11. Let dough rise until doubled again before steaming on high heat for 12 minutes.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Soupy Days - Apples

I am a soup lady, I love soups :)  I find soups very comforting, a bowl of soup with some steamed rice would make a meal for me.  I remember as a kid, I love pouring my entire bowl of soup over my rice making it soft and soggy but very flavorful when the soup is absorbed.  Naturally, my family is also a soup family after being fed with soup every so often ;)

Chinese style soups are known to be nourishing and remedial in nature.     Vegetables and herbs are combined  according to their health benefits and boiled/double-boiled with some protein like pork ribs/lean meats to produce a rich and tasty soup.

Of late, I am in the mood to try out new soup recipes, 'new' in my home that is...compared to the ones commonly made like lotus root, old cucumber, arrow root, watercress, winter melon etc.  

Sweet soups are uncommon during meals, they are mostly savoury. So, I was glad that this Apple Soup was acceptable to loved ones.  Phew!

The natural sweetness from this fruit based soup coming from the apples and dates (red and honey) is refreshing.  I love the sweet and delicate scent too.  Snow fungus besides its health benefit provided some bites.   I did not add any salt to maintain the original sweetness of the soup.

  • 300g pork ribs
  • 7 dried red dates
  • 3 dried honey dates
  • 4 apples 
  • 1500 ml water
  • 10g snow fungus
  1. Boil water in a small pot.  Blanch pork ribs by putting it in boiling water for 1-2 minutes to remove scums.  Rinse after removing from boiling water.
  2. Peel and core the apples.  Cut apples into quarters.
  3. Wash red and honey dates.
  4. Wash snow fungus and soak in water until it blooms.
  5. Put apples, red dates, honey dates, snow fungus and water to boil in a pot.  
  6. Add ribs to pot of boiling soup.
  7. Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 1-2 hours.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Terengganu Delights

You might have come across some specialties from the states of Malaysia in the blogsphere the past few months, I think this is the 3rd month if I am not mistaken.   An online event, the Malaysian Food Fest that aims to introduce culinary specialties from the 14 states in the country is ongoing and October is Terengganu month and hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings.   An event worth following, you will get to know many mouth-watering dishes, after all eating is known as one of our favorite pastimes :)

Before this, it was always the beautiful sandy, crystal clear beaches that comes to mind whenever this state is mentioned.   Then comes the Keropok Lekor and Nasi Dagang, now I know there are so many more!  Intrigued by  dishes shared by Phong Hong of Phong Hong Bakes, with recipes coming from  her family's heirloom,  I tried 2 of her recipes Kay Hong and Kay Pachok.   Hints of Nyonya influence from the name of the dishes and the ingredient list was the other thing that caught my attention.

I first tried the Kay Hong which means Braised Chicken in Hokkien.   The original recipe calls for a mixture of chicken and pork belly.  Unfortunately, I only had pork ribs and belly on the night that I chose to try out the recipe, so it was pork ribs instead :)  I am not sure if this twist will deem it unacceptable for submission to the event.  Anyway, it turned out delicious.

This other dish is Kay Pachok, Kay like Kay in 'Kay Hong' means Chicken in Hokkien and as for Pachok, it's the Terengganu Malay dialect for skewer, so it's Chicken on Skewers when put together.  Similar to Satay, another meat on skewers specialty but the spices used are different and this one is lightly steamed before hitting the grill.

Verdict? They were delicious!

Kay Pachok behind a veil?  I love this improvised Malay style food cover :) 

Kay Hong without the Kay?

Recipe source - Credit to Phong Hong of Phong Hong Bakes

I am submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, Terengganu Month hosted by Lena of frozen wings 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

One Stone Kill Many Birds

Steaming, the 1 stone kill many (yes, many, definitely more than 2) birds method of cooking.   Easy, fast, retains the original texture, freshness and flavor of the food thus keeping nutrients intact.  Notice the colors remain vibrant too?  One of the healthiest way of cooking.  Works especially well when ingredients are really fresh (fish for example), the heat from the steam gently diffuses through the food and let it cook in its own juice.  Yummeh! 

Besides steaming, this dish has an added health benefit factor.  Some Chinese herbs, specifically red dates, wolf berries and dried longans were used.    Common ingredients that the Chinese used for making herbal soup known to nourish the body.   

What's unique about this recipe is the herbs were first boiled together for awhile to make a soup base before pouring it onto the fish slices and steamed.  Because of this, the taste of the herbs was more prominent and blended into the fish.  The juice from the fish made the broth even tastier which made it good with rice and could be drank directly like a soup.

It is best to take steamed dishes as soon as it is ready.  We had it on a cold rainy day (the monsoon season has started over here) and with a dash of Shaoxing wine on the dish, it did feel so good to have it warm our stomachs :)

Source : Steamed Cuisine by Hoe Yee (variations in blue)


Part A
  • 500g fish slices (I used threadfin, original recipe was for frog)
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbsp fried shallot oil (obmitted, lazy on the pretext of trying to reduce oil intake)
  • 1/2 tbsp corn flour
Part B
  • 8g Dang qui (obmitted, not in little one's favour)
  • 10g wolfberries
  • 10g dried longan
  • 10g Yuk Chuk (refer note at the bottom)
  • 10g red dates
  • 100ml water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ginger juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  1. Place ingredients Part B in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, let it simmer for 5 minutes and leave to cool.
  2. Season fish with seasoning and corn flour and arrange on a steaming plate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Pour cooked ingredients B (together with soup) on fish and steam on high heat for 7 minutes or until cooked.
  4. Give fish a dash of Shaoxing wine and fried shallot oil if prepared.
  5. Server hot with steamed rice.

Note:- I made a very silly mistake here, the recipe stated yuzu, and since it was a chinese translated one, I had to guess what yuzu was, I thought it was yuzu the citrus.  After many hours, fish long digested, it suddenly struck me it was Yuk Chuk the Chinese herb!  I was more familiar with it known as Yuk Chuk in Cantonese instead of Yuzu!  I asked hubs to reconfirm from the Chinese characters! What a blunder, but i think it didn't do much harm instead it was nice because Korean yuzu is slightly tangy and bitterish compared to the rest of the herbs which are sweet.   How silly of me!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Stewed Pork Ribs in Orange Juice

I came across this interesting twist to the otherwise quite a common homey dish for Chinese families.  Instead of stewing in soy sauce, orange juice was used.  And because it was stewed instead of fried and drizzled with orange sauce, the flavor was much more intense. The meat was tender but with some crisp parts due to some slight browning and bursting with rich orange flavors. 

Dish was well received, we had this over dinner, hence the poor night lighting photo.  I don't like the shiny finishing caused by flash lights.  So most of the time I try making dishes that are blog-worthy during the day :) But I am glad that the orange tint is quite obvious and with some orange fibre bits in sight for this dish to lift up to its name.

One thing to bear in mind, make sure the oranges are sweet, apparently this is the key thing for this dish.  Not sure to what extend but I took it so seriously that I cut another after tasting that the first one wasn't exactly sweet.


  • 700g pork ribs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp white cooking wine
Ingredients for sauce
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, sifted
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest (only the orange part) - I obmitted this, was afraid i would end up with some white parts that will make the sauce bitter and spoil the dish
  1. Rinse pork ribs and wipe dry with kitchen papers. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Use a claypot or a large saucepan. Pour in the sauce and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  3. While heating sauce, brown pork ribs on a frying pan until both sides are lightly golden. Push pork ribs to sides of pan, add a bit more of oil and saute grated ginger and garlic until fragrant. Sprinkle wine. Quickly stir to combine all ingredients.
  4. Transfer to the boiling sauce and cover with a lid. Cook until it boils again.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours, or until sauce reduced to about 1/5, thickened, and the pork is softened and caramelized. Serve hot with steamed rice.


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