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Monday 22 August 2011

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

Didn't have anything special to post today, just made these simple chocolate cupcakes for my little niece.  All children loves chocolate, don't they?

I have made these Buttermilk Chocolate Cake in my previous post before but this time, I change it to adapt to cupcakes instead.  The ingredients remains the same ....

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Set aside in a warm place.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups sugar, eggs, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, oil and 2 teaspoons vanilla until blended. Stir in the boiling water, then gradually beat in the flour. Stir in the buttermilk mixture.
  3. Pour batter into prepared paper cupcakes. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Thought of making Coffee Buttercream for the topping, but kind of lazy!  Hmm....excuses!  So I topped it with red colour chocolate rice!

       Halo, I'm Chef Mario, cupcakes anyone?

Friday 19 August 2011

Cherry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

If I happened to come across any cakes or cookies that require buttermilk, I would usually bookmarked it because I loves buttermilk in the cakes and cookies.  They always gives a very soft  moist but not too wet in texture which I loves very much.

When I was in Singapore last week, most of the supermarkets were selling cherries, blueberries, nectarines, plums, etc.  I loves all these fruits compare to our local fruits which are more to heating in their properties (likes durian, rambutan, langsat, mangosteen, etc).  I would usually buy if it were comparatively cheap even if I don't have anything in mind what to do with them first.  Fruits can be kept frozen in the freezer for months and be taken out to cook or bake if you stumble any recipes you had in mind later on.  They will be just like fresh ones!

Cherry Buttermilk Bundt cake

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 250g sugar
  • 170g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and cut into quarters or halve
  • Icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Butter and flour 10" Bundt pan.
Combine and sift flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla.
Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions (F M F M F). Fold in cherries.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Cool cake in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.) Transfer cake to plate, sift powdered sugar over, and serve.

Looks delicious, isn't it?  Let's cut the cake.

   Care to join me for a slice and a cup of tea?  It is really delicious, you know.  Sad... I am munching here

    The cake just out from oven....

    Anyone for a slice?

Thursday 18 August 2011

Herbal Fresh Fish Soup In Claypot

Being as a Chinese, I believe most of us all like to drink soups, any type of soups and more so putting herbal in the soups, right?  And more so, soups are very healthy for the elderly. 
The elderly has significantly lower metabolic rate and their bodies do not absorb nutrients as well as before. They should have lighter meals consisting of good proteins and complex carbohydrates.
Does that conjure up cooking of bland boring food?
It does not have to be that way...  Ingredients such as Chinese mushrooms (fresh or dried), Chinese wolfberries, red dates, Chinese angelica root, and astragalus add complexity and interest to Chinese soups and are ideal for the elderly.

And if you do not feel like eating, drinking soup and nibbling some of the ingredients is a good alternative to get your nutrients and calories.
Common Chinese soup ingredients like carrot, potato and Chinese yam provide excellent source of carbohydrates while pork, poultry, eggs, provide proteins.

Herewith an easy pot of Herbal Fresh Fish Soup in Claypot..... this dish is so easy to cook. 


1 fresh fish (700-800g), cut into pieces (or any fish that is good for the soup, I used Garoupa here)
1 tbsp oil
3 shallots, peeled
5 slices ginger
3 slices dang gui (angelica root)
50g dang shen (radix codonopsis), cut into short length
5 red dates, seeded
1 tbsp Chinese wolfberries
500ml water

1/4 tsp salt (or to your taste as the original recipe called for 1/2 tsp which is too salty already)
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine (Chinese cooking wine)
Some chopped coriander leaves

Heat up a claypot, pour in oil and saute shallots, sliced ginger until aromatic.  Add in all ingredients and bring to boil.  Lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Add seasoning, fish and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves on top and serve hot with steamed rice.

                   Angelica Root ("Dang Gui") on the left, and Radix Codonopsis ("Dang Shen") on the right

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Red, White And Blueberry Cheesecake Tart

Whenever I am in Singapore visiting my sister, I would make it a point to go to the library to borrow lots of cookbook to refer to.  And when I have a few books in hands, I will kept myself busy typing out the recipes I wanted to cook one day.

I loves watching Martha Stewart's show.  In her talk show, she would invite guests or professional chef to show how to cook and bake or show how to make an arts & crafts, how to upkeep your plants, how to clean your handbags, etc, etc.

And here I would like to bake one of Martha Stewart's Red, White & Blueberry Cheesecake Tart from one of her cookbooks I borrowed from the library.  You can find the recipe in here at Martha Stewart's site.

from Martha Stewart's Pies & Tarts Cookbook

Take all the layers of classic cheesecake – crumbly graham-cracker crust, rich, creamy filling and fresh fruit topping and combine them in a modern tart. Save some of the cooking syrup for tossing with the blueberries before scattering them over the top.  (makes one 9” tart).

For the crust ((I made this crust using 1 ½ recipe)
6 Graham cracker sheets (abt 3 ½ ounces)
1/3 cup whole raw almonds
¼ cup sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

For the filling
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream (I used plain yoghurt)
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the topping
4 red plums, halved, pitted and cut to ½” pieces
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
10 ounces (2 cups) fresh blueberries (1 cup would do)

Make the crust : Preheat oven to 180C.  In a food processor, pulse graham crackers, almonds and sugar until finely ground; add butter, and process until combined.  Press mixture firmly into the bottom and up sides of a 9” tart pan with a removable bottom.  Refrigerate until firm about 15 minutes.

Make the filling :  Carefully wipe processor blade and bowl clean.  Process cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, egg, vanilla, and salt just until smooth.  Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet; fill with cream cheese mixture.  Bake until filling is just set 30 to 35 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the topping : In a medium saucepan, combine plums, sugar, and lemon juice.  Cook at a low simmer, stirring until mixture has thickened to a jam like consistency, 15 to 25 minutes (time will depend on ripeness of fruit).  Reserve 1 tbsp cooking liquid (no solids); cool remaining plum mixture completely.

Leaving a 1 inch border, spread cooled plum mixture over tart filling (meaning do not spread the plum all over, just leave an inch space away from the graham cracker border).  Reheat reserved plum liquid until loose.  In a medium bowl, combine with blueberries, and scatter on top of plum mixture.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, 2 hours or up to 1 day, unmold before serving.

A tart with cream cheese, plums and blueberries topping, what could go wrong for this delicious dessert! 

Just out from oven, and in the cooling process before putting the plums and blueberries topping.

I can't wait for 2 hours to have the tart to set........can't resist myself from cutting a slice for myself first. 

I have not submitted any of my food post to the Aspiring Bakers before, and since they are hosting Pies & Tarts for this month, I think I just post it in to join in the fun!.

I am submitting this post to the Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011)  hosted by Not the Kitchen Sink!

Monday 15 August 2011

Stir Fried Radish Cake (Loh Pak Koh or Cai-Tau Kue)

How do you prefer your fried radish cake (Loh Pak Koh) like?  Some like it fry white and some like it with dark sweet soya sauce.  I prefer frying it white and so does my family members.

Fried Radish Cake Ingredients
200g white radish cake (cut into cubes)
½ tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp preserved dried radish (rinsed)
2 eggs (beaten)
1 tbsp fish sauce
Spring onion and Chinese parley

1.  Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan.  Stir fry the chopped garlic and preserved
      dried radish till fragrant.     
2.  Add white radish cake and fish sauce.  Stir fry for a while.  Add eggs and fry
      Till both sides crispy.  Sprinkle with spring onion.  Add the Chinese parsley to
       enhance the flavour.

How to make/steamed the Radish Cake
350g White Radish, shredded (I put the whole shredded weighing 400g)
5 tbsps cooking oil
3 tbsp chopped dried scrimps
½ tbsp chopped garlic

Seasoning (Mix all together)
600ml water (I used only 500ml)
1 tbsp sugar
½ tbsp salt
Pinch of pepper

Thickening Glaze  (mix all together)
500ml water
350g rice flour
25g corn starch

1.  Heat oil.  Stir fry garlic and dried scrimps until fragrant. 
2.  Add shredded white radish and stir fry.   

 3.  Add in the seasoning and stir well to boil.  Stir in the thickening sauce.  Cook until the 
      sauce thickens.

3.  Pour the mixture into an 8 inch pan.  Steam for 45 minutes.

Let the radish cake totally cool before cutting to cubes, to stir fry.

Care for a plate now?

Thursday 11 August 2011

Rich Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I never knew we can make cheese at home until one day I happened to stumble upon a recipe and using her homemade ricotta cheese.  I surfed the web and most of the ricotta cheese made with just whole milk but I wanted my cheese to be a little richer in taste and finally I found one that I would like to give it a try.

This rich homemade ricotta cheese adapted from SmittenKitchen

Ingredients needed :
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a non-reactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. Heat the milk to 80°C, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. (If you do not have a thermometer, once you see the edges of your pot bubbling arises, turn off the heat).
Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once or twice, gently and slowly. Let the pot sit undisturbed for 5-10 minutes.

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl (to catch the whey). Pour the curds and whey into the colander and let the curds strain for at least an hour. At an hour, you’ll have a tender, spreadable ricotta. At two hours, it will be spreadable but a bit firmer, almost like cream cheese. (It will firm as it cools, so do not judge its final texture by what you have in your cheesecloth.)
Discard the whey, or, if you’re one of those crafty people who use it for other things, of course, save it. Eat the ricotta right away or transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Verdict:  I spread this ricotta cheese on my toast, is so delicious!  I have to go and get baguette next.

Friday 5 August 2011


Every blogs I visited, they have posted macarons and they all have made beautiful colour of their macarons.  I have read in the blogs as well as cooking books, some have commented that macarons is a challenge to make.  So I thought I shouldn't lose out and to try to bake this unique little things eventhough looking at the sugar contents does freak me out.  How sweet could it be.  My oh my.....

There are two ways/method of making macarons.  One is French meringue macarons whereby whisking the egg whites while gradually adding the sugar in.  This method is more regular of making macarons.  The other method is called Italian meringue macarons, whereby whisking the egg whites until they are firm and adding syrup boiled to soft-ball stage (about 115 Celcius).  Hot syrup sterilizes the meringue which keeps it well preserved.  

My first batch of macarons all cracked up!  I think the temperature call for 150 Celcius could be too hot in my oven.  So my second batch, I lower it to 130 Celcius and..... ahhhhh......all perfect and with those little feet in it.  Was I happy that I successfully made these macarons?  Well, who's going to eat all these sweet little things?  And I have to think what filling should I used to be sandwiched in between the macarons.


125 g ground almond
150 g icing sugar
100 g caster sugar
3 egg whites (100 g)
1-2 tsp red powdered food colouring


1. In a food processor grind the ground almond and icing sugar until very finely ground.
2. Place the egg whites in an electric mixer and whip the whites until soft peaks.
3. Add the sugar, 25 grams at a time while the egg whites are being beaten.
4. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks.
5. Fold the ground ground almond mixture and food colouring into the egg white mixture in two additions 
    until fully amalgamated.
6. Pipe on to baking trays which have been lined with baking paper. (I have used a pencil to draw circle to
    make it easier for me to pipe it out.)
7. Let the macarons dry for around 30 minutes until a "skin" form.
8. Bake in a preheated fan forced oven (150c) for 15 minutes.

I still haven't decide what flavour buttercream to be the filling for these macarons.  Maybe I just used ice cream as filling instead.  Easy peasy...

My first batch of cracked macarons......

Thursday 4 August 2011

Braised Chicken With Chestnuts & Mushrooms

I always had a hard time thinking hard what to cook for dinner.  When we cooked, we have to change the method way of cooking, adding different flavours, so the dish would taste or look more appetizing.  I always go for simple way of cooking and I believe simple would means healthy too.

When I saw this dish using chestnuts, I immediately would like to try to cook this as the ingredients are easy and simple. 

Braised Chicken With Chestnuts & Mushrooms

½ chicken, cut into pieces
10 dried chestnuts, soaked overnight & removed skin
1 tbsp oil
3 pips garlic, peeled and chopped
10 shallots, peeled and chopped
8 slices ginger
8 dried mushrooms, soaked
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
2 stalks spring onions, cut into short lengths

1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
300ml water
1 tbsp shaoxing wine

1.  Heat up oil, sauté garlic, shallot and ginger until aromatic.  
      Add mushrooms, chestnuts and all the seasonings ingredients and bring to
      boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

2.  Add carrot, chickens pieces and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the
      meat is cooked. 

3.  Lastly, stir in spring onions.  Dish up and serve hot with steamed rice.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

Before I started food blogging, I wouldn't know what is Dulce De Leche until one day I came across this after hopping from one blog to another and to another.  It seems like everyone know how to make their own Dulce De Leche.  It is so easy, just boil for 3 hours a can of unopened condensed milk.  And I acquire more information from Wendy of Table for 2....or more on how to make Dulce De Leche at home, and more so, to get the Full Cream Condensed Milk instead of the Sweetened Creamer!  Check out her site if you want to make this DDL at home.

After I make my homemade Dulce De Leche, I was cracking my head what should I make it into.  Aha....since the weather here is scorching hotter day by day,  why not make Dulce De Leche Ice Cream.  And......I can use my new beautiful Cuisinart Ice Cream maker. 

It is not easy to take picture of ice cream in this hot weather.  I heard there's a blogger, some photographer play cheating when taking ice cream photos, they use mashed potato instead.  Well, it does look very much the same if you know how to take good pictures!

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cups milk
4 egg yolks (original recipe called for 6)
160g Dulce de Leche
1 tbsp sugar

1)  In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and milk and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.
2)  In a heatproof large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, 3/4 of the Dulce De Leche, and granulated sugar until
     smooth and pale. When the milk comes to a boil, whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg
     yolk-sugar mixture until smooth.
3)  Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream to the hot cream in the pan, whisking to combine.
     Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a
     spoon, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean
     container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to keep a skin from forming.
     Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours.
4)  Remove from the refrigerator and pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the
     manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is nearly completely churned, spoon in the remaining
     Dulce de leche to create a swirl in the ice cream. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to

     Verdict :  Very, very, very delicious!!

This two types of Full Cream Condensed Milk I've bought in Singapore.  The one selling in Malaysia only available are Sweetened Creamer which is of difference.  If I have not read from Wendy's site, I would have just got any types selling in Malaysia.

I know, I know, the colour texture is a bit lighter compare to the real thing.  I think I boil it in too low heat.  I do better next time.

Check out my new red Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.....all the way from Auckland.

Thank you Kent, for this lovely ice cream maker.
Sitting next to my red Kenwood Patissier Stand Mixer.  I love red colour!