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Thursday 22 September 2011

Nothing special.... just a Chocolate Walnut Cake

What is the most dreaded thing to do after you completed your cooking?  What else... cleaning up and washing the dishes!  How lucky to those who have a maid at home to do all the chores!  Unfortunate the household here in Malaysia don't usually own a dishwashing machine.  When I was in NZ, all homes have one.  It just the weather is too cold to get your hands into the water!  Know what, some would put the dirty dishes in the machine and only start to wash it only when it is full.  So, you can imagine dirty dishes in the machine for days before they do washing! ee.....

I was craving for some chocolate lately and thought of baking a chocolate cake.  Hence, this Chocolate Walnut Bundt cake.  I didn't do up the topping glaze but instead just melt up some chocolate and drizzle on top.  Regret!  Looks ugly, isn't it? 

Recipes source from Martha Stewart's site

For the Cake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
226g unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the Glaze
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Cognac or rum (optional)


  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 14-cup Bundt pan. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix milk and sour cream in a small bowl.

  2. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add flour mixture, alternating with milk mixture, ending with flour. Fold in walnuts, if using. Spoon batter into pan. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Invert cake. (Cake will keep for up to 1 day.)

  3. Make the glaze: Place chocolate in a bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Add butter and Cognac or rum, if using, and mix until smooth. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Pour glaze over cooled cake.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Shepherd's Pie

Browsing at cookbooks, searching at blogs and sites, all Shepherd's Pie slight differs in the ingredients; and there's no rules how you should cook it and bake it.  Just go with your taste and liking whichever ingredients you wanted it in.

I grew up eating potatoes all the time so dishes with potatoes I definitely will go crazy about!

2 large Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled & mashed
30g butter
30ml milk
150g mince meat (beef or chicken or pork)
1 medium brown onion chopped finely
1 medium carrot chopped finely
1 small broccoli, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 can of Campbell Mushroom soup
150ml water
1.  Mashed the potatoes together with 30g butter and milk till well blended.  Set aside.

2.  Heat 1 tbsp oil  in frying pan; cook onion, mince meat, carrot and broccoli, stirring until tender.  Add in 
     the Worcestershire sauce, stirring, 2 minutes.  Stir in the Campbell mushroom soup and water.  Cook 
     till everything comes blended together for 5 minutes.  Dish up into a round or oval baking dish.  Spread
     over top with the mashed potato.

3. Bake the pie at a preheated oven 180C for 30 minutes or till the potato is bubbling and slightly browned.

    Both my sister and I enjoying this Shepherd's Pie so much as each scoop goes into our mouth, there
    will be a sound of "hmmm" and "oooh".  Delicious!

          Nothing left............

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Matcha Ice Cream

Nowadays we used Matcha (Green Tea) in our baking, dessert, dishes, mooncakes, etc; anything you can come of with.  This Matcha Ice Cream is absolutely yummy.  Do try it if you get hold of green tea powder as the ingredients are just milk, sugar and cream in it only.  Simple and absolutely delicious!

Matcha Ice Cream
adapted from Nami of Just One Cookbook


1 cup whole milk
1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp Matcha (Green Tea powder)
Pinch of salt

1.  Freeze your ice cream bowl for 24 hours.

2.  In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the milk, cream, green tea powder, sugar, and salt.  Heat the
     mixture till it comes to a full boil. Keep whisking until mixture starts to foam, then remove from heat.

3. Pour the mixture to a large bowl to cool down.  Refrigerate the mixture until completely chilled.

4. Next day, pour the mixture to the ice cream bowl and churn for 20-25 minutes in the ice cream maker,
    according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer into a container and freeze for at least 3 hours before

    I urge you to try it, absolutely delicious!

Monday 19 September 2011


Most of the time when we were asked what is our favourite food at all times, we would usually said "My mother home cooked dishes!" or we would said, "My mom makes the most delicious ........something like this too".  When my parents moved to Auckland, I have always craved for our mom's home cooked food.  So sometimes when I try to cook something similar to what my mom used to cooked, sometimes it doesn't turn out the same taste and I will have to call to her and asked her what is missing in my dishes! This is the life how is when we stay away from our beloved mom.

When I'm in my childhood, my mom used to cook simple western style dishes for us.  Eventhough it is done in a simple way of cooking, I still love my mom's home cooked dishes though time have changed whereby we can alter and create many ways putting different ingredients in them.

Croquette is one of the 'snack' my mom used to make for us.  Hers is more simple than what I am making today.  My mom's croquette has alot of love in it!  I was at my sister's house in Spore last week and I make this croquette for all of us to savour...... I will make this again for my mom when my next visit her in Auckland next year.

This delicious Croquette I have made is adapted from Nami - Just One Cookbook

4 russet potatoes, boiled and roughly mashed
1 large onion, finely diced
1 small carrots, finely diced
2 Shiitake mushrooms (optional)
2 Tbsp. oil
450g ground meat (beef/chicken/pork)
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 eggs, lightly beaten (put into a shallow plate)
2 cup Panko/breadcrumbs  (put into a shallow plate)
½ cup flour  ((put into a shallow plate)
Oil for deep frying

1.  In a large skillet, heat oil on medium high heat.  Put in the onion and sauté until soft.  Add carrots and
     Shiitake mushrooms and cook until they are soft.

2.  Add the meat and break it up with a wooden spoon.  When the meat is cooked, add salt, white pepper,
     and black pepper. Turn off the heat.

3.  Add the meat mixture to the mashed potatoes and mix all up well together with the 1 egg in.  Let it rest
     to cool down a little so you have worked with your hands later on.

4.  As the mixture is still warm, start making your Croquette balls.  You can form it into a balls and flatten it
     or make it in a longer shape.  Any shape to your desire.

5.  Dredge each croquette balls into the flour - egg - breadcrumbs.

6.  Deep fry the croquette till golden brown only.

    Everyone can make croquettes and it is so easy to make.  My dad help me to deep fry it!  Thanks Dad!

    It is best to steam or microwave the potatoes instead of boiling, so the mashed potatoes won't be that wet.


My dear niece is enjoying her piece of croquette made by her Aunt Mel!

Sunday 18 September 2011


It been quite awhile I have not updated or publish any post as I didn't have the mood to bake or cook anything special.  Well, in fact I did, I've baked a fruit cake and some mini buns.  Just doesn't have the mood spending time taking shots from it.

And today, I bake Madeleines.  First time baking madeleines and.........  first time tasted what is a Madeleines!! 

The Madeleines ingredients called for .....

2 eggs
100g icing sugar 
1 grated orange zest (original recipe called for lemon zest)
100g cake flour
20g ground almond
3g baking powder
100g unsalted butter (melted)
1 tsp vanilla essence

1.  Sieve flour and baking powder.
2.  Whisk eggs with icing sugar.  Add orange zest and ground almond, whisk till soft peaks.
3.  Fold in flour and baking powder.
4.  Stir in melted butter, bit by bit.
5.  Mix in vanilla essence.
6.  Pour batter into a bowl and shrink wrap it to refrigerate for 12 hours.

After 12 hours or more.......
7.  Preheat oven to 200C.
8.  Brush the madeleine molds with melted butter and sprinkle flour onto it.  Tap the pans to remove excess
9.  Remove batter from fridge and spoon the batter into the madeleine molds.
10. Bake in oven for 3 minutes thereafter reduce to 180C for 10-12minutes or till skewer comes out clean.
11. Unmold and cool on rack.

See the hump?  That is normal.......  a hump on the back!  Can't stop and resist myself from munching away as I busy taking pictures of it.  Munch, munch, munch and it taste delicious when it is fresh out from the oven....  Want one?

Friday 16 September 2011

Baked Cassava Cake / Tapioca Cake (Bingka Ubi)

Cassava.  Tapioca.  They are the same.  I remember I used to eat this Baked Tapioca Cake way back when I was still staying in my hometown.  It tastes real good.  After I left my hometown, I don't get much opportunity to have this delicious snack.  Well, just today itself while shopping in Singapore, one bakery shop selling this Baked Tapioca Cake at the cost of 90 cents per piece.  

Even if you manage to find this snack at the night market which could be slightly cheaper about 50 cents per piece, they might not be as good.  So I thought why not I make this myself and my family members can enjoy this delicious cake together.  Ah....since Wendy of Table for 2...or more is also from my hometown, I should look for her blog for this recipe though I have many cookbooks consist of this recipe.  I shall try for her recipes first! 

Baked Cassava Cake (Bingka Ubi)
fully adapted from Wendy's Blog

1.2kg Cassava /Tapioca  (after peeled and grated, weigh about 900gm more or less)
200gm sugar
200ml thick coconut milk
200ml water
2 eggs
40gm butter
A few drops of yellow colouring

1. Peel and grate the cassava.  If you are using white cassava, which could be slightly bitter, press out juices
    into a container and let the juice stand until the starch settles to the bottom. Pour the upper juice into a
    measuring cup to separate the water from the starch. Measure the cassava water and discard it. Substitute
    the discarded amount with clean water. Combine the clean water, starch and grated cassava. Add some
    yellow colouring if desired.
    (If you manage to find yellow cassava, you do not need to go for this step of discarding the juice 
     out and replacing it with clean water as indicated by Wendy).

2.  Mix the coconut milk and eggs together.

3.  Boil water and sugar till dissolved and melt in butter. Pour this hot solution into the grated cassava and stir
     to combine. It should thicken slightly.

4.  Pour the coconut milk/eggs mixture  into (3). Stir well to combine.

5.  Pour batter into a lined grease proof paper into a 7 inch square baking pan and bake in a preheated
     oven at 170/180C for 1 hour or  until golden brown.

This is the second time I baked this, I find this time was a little too soft and wet eventhough I've baked it for more than an hour.  I should reduce the water the next time round. (Amended at the ingredients level water to 200ml instead)

Thursday 15 September 2011

Almond Fennel Biscotti

I loves Biscotti as it goes well with a cup coffee.  I have made Almond Biscotti before.  When I started making biscotti previously, I tried hard making it again and again because of the failure of achieving cutting into thin slices. I have also tried out various different recipes.  Some biscotti called for just egg whites which I can't find the aroma taste I wanted in it. 

The biscotti I have made , it is hard work when cutting into thin slices but when I have succeed in it, I felt so much of satisfaction and accomplishment in it.  I didn't give up and the end result of this is really good because of the crunch when biting.

One day, I was watching a series and the actor was trying to please his girlfriend to bake her favourite Almond Fennel Biscotti.  So I thought I would like to give it a try using fennel in my biscotti.  And herewith, this is the recipe though I don't find much good texture in it.  But who knows, you may like it!

Almond Fennel Biscotti 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
Finely grated 2 lemons
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp whole fennel seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
1 egg white, lightly beaten

In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in fennel seed and almonds.

In large mixing bowl, stir together lemon zest, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Slowly stir in oil. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until just blended. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Let stand 15 minutes.

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Divide in two. Roll each portion into 14-inch (35-cm) log.  Carefully transfer to sheet 4 inches (10 cm) apart. Lightly flatten logs with hands so they are 2-1/2" wide. Brush with egg white.

Bake in centre of preheated 165C oven until lightly golden and just firm in centre, 35 to 40
minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce heat to 150C. Let cool 15 minutes. Carefully transfer to
cutting board. With sharp serrated knife, slice logs 3/4-inch thick. Transfer cookies back to
baking sheet 1/4" apart. Bake until dry on cut sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.

Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 month.


   Good dunking into the coffee!

     I will try another different flavours next time!  Stay tune.....

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Honey Lemonade Drink

Sometimes when you trying out baking some cookies or any dishes that just only called for lemon zest, what would you do for the whole lemon?  Instead of just putting to waste sitting in the fridge waiting to be called for....why not we use it to make lemonade which is a refreshing drink.

2 cups fizzy drink (like 7-Up, soda water)
1/2 cup lemon juice
2-3 tbsp honey

Mix all up together and put in the cocktail drink shaker or a blender to whizz it up .  Pour to a glass and some ice cubes.

Lamb Hot Pot

I grew up where my mum used to cook stews and braising meat.  So I can't run away from having these sumptuous and delicious dishes.

If I am not mistaken if we asked our mum how to cook any dishes, they usually do not have any specific or actual ingredients and they will tell us to put some of these, some of that, a little bit of this and more of that and just cook about how long.  And now, we are so lucky that we can always look out for the best recipes through the internet and thereafter we can cook according to our liking in the ingredients in it.

When we have decided to select one of the recipes, there are many ways to cook it too.  So, we usually will go according to our taste.  Today I have cooked Lamb Hot Pot and the ingredients are more like the Lamb Bourguignon.

600g lamb, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500ml beef stock
1/4 cup plain flour
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tomato, cut into small pieces
100g white button mushrooms, slice thin
Heat the oil in a large heavy based casserole dish and brown the lamb in batches.  Remove
from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and carrots to the pan and fry gently until soft and golden, about 5 
minutes.  Put in the plain flour and fry for 20 seconds.  Pour half the beef stock in and give 
it a good stir.  Return the browned lamb into the pot and pour in the remaining stock.     
Put in the bay leaf, dried thyme, tomato puree and tomato. 

Slow cook till the meat tender, about 2 hours or more.

Heat a frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil and saute the slice mushrooms till tender.  Pour 
 mushrooms into the lamb hot pot.  Serve hot with mashed potatoes or steamed rice.

You may substitute with 250ml half the beef stock and 250ml red wine for more taste and dark colour in the gravy.

Monday 12 September 2011

Banana Fritters With Coconut

My sister's mother-in-law gave me a bunch of bananas yesterday and I don't know what I should do with it other than deep fry it..  I don't know the exact name of this type of bananas but I know it sure is good with deep fry (goreng pisang).  I don't want to just fry the normal "goreng pisang" so I searched into Wendy's blog "Table for 2....or more and I decided to make this yummy Banana Fritters with coconut.

Banana Fritters
Recipes source from Wendy's blog here

400gm mashed ripe bananas
120gm all purpose flour
1/3tsp baking soda
80gm sugar
100gm freshly grated coconut flesh (if using unsweetened dessicated coconut, use only 20-30g)
A pinch of salt
Oil for frying

1. In a bowl, sift flour with baking soda. Mix in with the bananas, sugar and salt; thereafter in the 
    dessicated coconut.  Combined all well together.  Put the batter in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in wok and drop teaspoonful of batter into hot oil.
3. Fry the fritters until golden brown.

So easy to make and good for tea break!

         This is the type of bananas I used for this fritters.  What is the name of this bananas, anyone?

             It is so yummy to eat when it is still warm.  Goes well with a cup of tea now!

Thursday 8 September 2011

Blueberry Scones

I am embarrass to say, I have never eaten scones before and today I am making some scones.  I wouldn't know which is the best recipe I should follow to make scones and in the end I searched in Martha Stewart's site and make my choice for this Blueberries Scones.  I know I won't go wrong in Martha Stewart's recipes.  

Right after the scones out from the oven and cooled, I asked my sister to taste one piece whether is it the right texture of the scones that she has tasted before and she said yes!  Ah....that's a relieve.  And after I finished doing my chores, I go ahead for my piece.  One bite right after another, and I can say, it is SOOOO good.  It is soft inside and goes well with a cup of coffee.  Good for breakfast.

Blueberries Scones
adapted from Martha Stewart site

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


1.  Preheat oven to 200C, with rack in center.  Place a baking mat on a baking sheet, and set

2.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a 
     pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas. Stir 
     in blueberries and zest.

3.  Using a fork, whisk together cream and egg in a liquid measuring cup. Make a well in the 
     center of dry ingredients, and pour in cream mixture. Stir lightly with fork just until 
     dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few times to 
     mix well.

4.  Pat dough into a 6-inch square about 1 1/4 inches thick. Using a floured knife, cut into 
     four 3-inch squares. Cut squares in half on the diagonal to form eight triangles. Transfer 
     to prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until 
     golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

 Good to eat while it is still warm.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Butter Chicken (Another version recipe)

I have cooked Butter Chicken previously and I'm still searching for the right recipe to my taste to what I have tasted in NZ.  I have promised myself that I will try to look for one that would suit to my liking and here today I have cooked another version which is quite similar to what I had before.

Well, I could not find any Greek yoghurt here so I just substitute with plain yoghurt instead.  The next time if I am going to cook this Butter Chicken again, I will just use half lemon juice instead of 1 whole lemon juice in it.  It is a little sour.  Probably our local plain yoghurt was a little sour too compare if using the Greek Yoghurt.  Other than a little sour, everything is perfect!

This Butter Chicken is adapted from Almost Bourdain

140g (1/2 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
3 cm piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp garam masala
1 lemon, juiced  (Used only half lemon juice would be enough)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra, to grease
1/4 cup roughly chopped coriander, plus extra leaves, to serve
800g chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3 cm-wide strips
2 tbsp ghee  ( I used butter instead)
2 onions , thinly sliced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
2 long red chillies, seeded, finely chopped  (you can use 1 tsp chilli powder)
260g (1 cup) passata (sieved pureed tomatoes)
300 ml pouring cream
1 bunch mint, leaves picked, finely chopped

1.  Combine yoghurt, ginger, garlic, 1 tbsp garam masala, lemon juice, oil and half the coriander in a large
     bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and
     refrigerate for 3 hours.

2.  Preheat a lightly greased barbecue or chargrill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from
     marinade and cook, in 2 batches, turning for 6 minutes or until almost cooked through.

3.  Heat ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions, turmeric, tomato paste, chillies and
     remaining garam masala, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until onions are soft. Add passata and cook
     for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Reduce heat to low, add cream, mint and remaining coriander, and
     cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until sauce
     thickens. Scatter with extra coriander and serve with rice and pappadams.

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Fried Sweet Gourd With Double Eggs

I know I have been missing in action for few weeks.  I have been busy lately, busy cooking, cooking, and cooking.  And why since I have been doing lots of cooking and still no posts?  My sister and her family came over to stay for a weeks and have kept me busy while they are here for a holiday. 

Even I have been busy cooking and baking, I have not have time to take any photos to post it in here.  I will try to cook the dishes again on my next free time; dishes like Beef Bourguignon, Red Velvet cup cakes and Sara Lee Original Cheesecakes.

Here is a simple dish I have just cooked yesterday.

1 Sweet gourd, peeled and cut into pieces
1 salted egg
2 eggs
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp shredded ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tsp light soya sauce
dash of pepper
100ml water

1.  Boiled salted egg until cooked.  Remove from water and leave aside to cool.  Remove shell, chop the
     salted egg and mix in the beaten egg.
2.  Heat up 2 tbsp oil, pour in egg mixture and stir fry until set.  Dish up.
3.  Heat up 1 tbsp oil, saute, shredded ginger and chopped garlic until aromatic.  Add sweet gourd, seasoning
     and bring to boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for another 2 minutes.
4.  Lastly add fried egg mixture and stir fry over high heat until well mixed.  Dish up and serve.