Monday, 15 December 2008

What's for desserts tonight?

What about matcha ( green tea ) ice-cream I prepared over the weekend? Many Japanese restaurants do serve this little gem, not too sweet but with the lightness of green tea after taste. My first attempt in making ice-cream, you be the judge.

Matcha Ice-cream
  • 2 tablespoons green tea powder (matcha)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup thick double cream
  1. In a small bow, mix the green tea powder with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
  2. n a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks and remaining sugar and whisk.
  3. Pour the milk into a small pan and gently heat taking care not to let it boil. Remove them from the heat and mix a few spoonfuls of the warm milk with the green tea powder and sugar in a small bowl. When you have a smooth paste, add it to the remaining milk in the pan, then gradually combine with the egg yolk mixture
  4. Return mixture to the stove and heat slowly over low heat (taking care to not let the mixture boil), until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine sieve, and allow to cool completely.
  5. Lightly whip the cream and then add it to the cold green tea-milk mixture.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a large container and [chill for an hour or two in the refrigerator] and then put it in the freezer. As ice crystals start to form, remove, and mix well with a spoon (use a wooden spoon and stir very vigorously) to break them up and return the mixture to the freezer. Repeat this a few times as it freezes to ensure that the ice cream is smooth.
  7. Alternatively can use ice-cream maker :-)
Ice cream for cold winter nites ;-)

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Doraemon's Dorayaki

I used to watch this Japanese cartoon on TV, always find it amusing what Doraemon can do with his magical pouch. I also learnt that one of his favorite food is Dorayaki . I decided to make Ann Dorayaki as dessert since she made me pancakes with nutella spread for breakfast.

Dorayaki with homemade green tea ice-cream

  • 2 eggs
  • 60gm caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 100gm flour, sifted
  • 1 can of adzuki bean ( red bean ) drained+ 3 tbsp sugar and steamed then mashed
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  • some oil for greasing the pan
  1. Put eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until fluffy.
  2. Dissolve baking soda in water. Add the water in the egg mixture. Add honey, vanilla essence, cooking oil as well.
  3. Add sifted flour in the egg mixture gradually.
  4. Heat a non stick pan and lightly oil it. Pour a scoop of the batter into the skillet and make a small pancake. (*about 4 inches in diameter).
  5. Turn over when bubbles appear on the surface. Repeat this process to make 8-10 pancakes. Cool the pancakes. Make pairs of pancakes and put a scoop of mashed adzuki bean.
  6. Can serve this dorayaki with a dollop of green tea ice-cream .
What says Ann? She has turned into Doraemon after having 3 pairs of the pancakes at one go. Hmnnn ...

Attached is a photo of Ann's pancake.....lovely isn't it?

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Stewed shitake mushroom

I like mushroom very much. Shitake is still my favorite with it's thick tender flesh and aroma when stewed is delightful. I said blooming marvellous.

Stewed shitake mushroom
  • 15 dried shitake mushrooms (soaked till soft and discard the woody stem)
  • 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce (I used Malaysia Cheong Chan brand)
  • 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • pinch of five spice powder
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely hopped)
  • A dash of white pepper
  • 1 tsp corn starch (add 1 tbsp water)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tsp shaoxing wine
  • pork ribs/pork belly/dried oyster/chicken (optional)
  1. In a pan brown the garlic with cooking oil and sesame oil. Then add in the mushroom and stir fry until fragrant.
  2. Add oyster sauce, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce, pepper, shaoxing wine and sugar. Add water and five spice powder and stir for a minute or so.
  3. Transfer them to a slow cooker and stewed for about 5 hours on low heat or into claypot for 2hours until mushroom really tender.
  4. Stir in corn starch to thicken the sauce when you want to serve and garnish with spring onion.
  5. This dish serves well with egg noodles or rice.

M for Muffins and Macaroons

Find the real muffins

Negative : M for Miserable
Positive : M for Muffins & Macaroons

We decided to be positive.....................
so we had sumptious home-baked blueberry muffins on an otherwise dull morning - wet, windy and cold. Of course having Ann back from Paris, she brought back limited amount of macaroons from La duree, my first thought was how stingy she was to bring back so few of them or rather have little thoughts about me. I was shocked to hear how much it cost because I've never heard of La duree. Well, well, I guessed I prefer the French chocolat over macaroons. After all, today is M day for muffins and macaroons.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Love thy green.....Brussel Sprouts

Eat brussel sprouts
Because my folks
Don't know my where abouts
Brussel sprouts, brussel sprouts
Oh boy, how I hate brussel sprouts

Some of you might have the same experience when asked to take the tiny little cabbage when you're young. Luckily my folks don't have to force me to take my brussel sprouts as I love my green ( Brussel sprouts not very common back then in Malaysia ) . It's considered luxury green as it's mainly imported.

When I noticed sprouts in supermarket it reminds me Christmas just around the corner. Brussel sprouts are the main green during this season. My cousin Ann, had not seen brussel sprouts grown on stem as in the pics.

This tiny little green are loaded with goodness especially anti-cancer properties. Don't boil them as the Chinese do as the goodness will be loss into the water you used to boil them but rather steam them and stir fry them eventually.

Stir Fried Brussel Sprouts with dried shrimp(Hay Bee)


  • 300 gm brussel sprouts
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp (or can use sambal belachan)
  • 2 small chillis
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oil
  1. Steam the brussel sprouts for 10mins.
  2. Wash and soak the dried shrimp. Drained. Use food processor, add in chilli, garlic and shallot and blend the mixture into a paste.
  3. In a pan heat the oil till hot, add the paste and fry till fragant. Then add in brussel sprouts and stir fry for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in salt and sugar to taste.
  5. Served hot.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

To Straford Upon Avon

Me & Ann decided to make a weekend trip to Straford Upon Avon. We're blessed with wonderful clear and sunny winter crisp days. This place is so quaint as I remembered it ten years ago. Row of Tudor style houses dotted the town and not forgetting thatch roof cottages. So quaint indeed. One of the Teddy Bear Shop along Sheep Street with big teddy still there.

Of course a visit to Straford Upon Avon would not be complete without dropping in Shakespeare's home, Anne Hatheway cottage, Nash house, Hall Croft and Mary Arden. Well I still qualified for student concession ticket to get into all these places. Count myself lucky.
Both of us did enjoy ourself very much in Straford Upon Avon.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

My early Christmas gift from Malaysia

I was ecstatic when I saw my cousin Ann on Monday. Of course happy to see her, after all haven't seen her for 2 years. Secondly, she brought with her 2 new Malaysian cooking utensils which her mum gave them to me as a gift. So authentic, how would I not be happy. Thanks to my aunt Madeline and of course Ann having traveled with them in Europe[quoted: she complained that's heavy in her big backpack...well, well]. To repay her for her effort, I cooked her decent meal. After all it's reunion of two cousins and great friends.

The first utensil non other than Roti Jala (net bread) mould. Hmnn....I'm excited to make roti jala soon.

The second utensil is pai tee mould ( top hats) used by the nyonyas. Nyonyas are Chinese who have adopted Malay customs in an effort to assimilate into local communities. Been ages since I last tried them....I miss eating them. I know soon enough I'm going to make them. Stay tune of course.....

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Country Pumpkin

I have had a culinary pumpkin since a month ago. It was seating quietly in a corner of my kitchen. It was intended for my Halloween pie but somehow I realized that I was away during those time. This country pumpkin remains as fresh as it could have been. So I decided to try out Fen's pumpkin pie recipes. Turn out well :-) I must say.

Pumpkin Pie

For the Filling
  • 1.2 kg pumpkin
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3 Tbsp milk powder/ 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp flour to thicken the pumpkin paste
Cut pumpkin into cubes
Steam until softened
Pour out water
Drink the juice
Mash pumpkin
Add sugar, egg, flour& milk
Cook until thicken

For the pastry
  • 400 g flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 200 g butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 full egg and 1 yolk (beaten)
  • 5 Tbsp chilled water (this is my own addition)

Rub the butter and flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle over the water, little by little and mix to a firm soft dough.
Knead lightly for a few seconds until smooth.
Chill for 30 minutes (optional – I do this while the filling is being cooked)
Roll out over half the pastry and use to line a deep dish.
Spoon in the filling.
Roll out the remaining pastry to form the lid.
Lightly brush the edges of the pastry case with a little water, then place the lid over the filling.
Trim the pastry with a sharp knife. Gently press edges together to seal.
Brush the top of the pie with egg white.
Use a fork to poke holes for the pie to ‘breathe’ while baking.
Bake for 30 minutes at 200 C and then 15 minutes at 180 C.
Enjoy a slice of Fen's country bumpkin pie (oops not bumpkin but pumpkin)

On the light side I'm bestowed a pot of homemade Kaya from my Ang Moh friend. I'm bowed over, I couldn't make a decent kaya really but I must say it's really smooth and fragant. It makes me feel I'm having Ya Kung toast. Am saving some for Ann to go with toast over hot coffee. But of course I must warned Ann on the wonder it's in Weight Watchers bottle :-)

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Chicken with ginseng soup

To the Chinese ginseng is used widely in TCM. Many deemed it as wonder herb to prolong longevity. For me, my mom used to brew this soup before the main exams. She said ginseng will boost my energy and least likely to become tired after long hours of revisions. Indeed. Many As' to prove that :-). But I drink this soup to warm up for cold winter nowdays, no more exams to attend to.

Chicken with ginseng soup
Ingredients (2 persons)
  • 4 chicken legs
  • 10 gm ginseng
  • 1 tbsp of goji berry
  • 1½ litres (6 cups) water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  1. In a large heat-proof bowl, place the chicken together with all the other ingredients except the salt. Steam in a steamer or big pot over boiling water for 2 hours, constantly replenishing the water in the steamer or big pot as needed. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt and serve hot. This is known as double boil method.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sweet and Sour Prawn

I remembered vividly the 10 courses Chinese wedding banquet back in my hometown. Belonging to the Foochow clan, guessed a lot of our dishes compromised of sweet and sour cuisines. Even if I didn't get to go for this banquet as a child, my mom diligently brought back some doggy bag of sweet and sour king prawn for me without fail. It's a treat back then.

Sweet and Sour Prawn
Ingredients (2 persons)
  • 300g of fresh king prawn with shell/with head/headless (I can only find headless here)
  • 2 tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp of lime juice/white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of shaoxing/dry sherry
  • 1 big red onion diced into cube
  • half of pepperbell
  • 2 ring of pineapple
  • 1/4 of cucumber peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red chillis
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp of cooking oil
  • oil for deep frying
  1. In a pan/fryer, heat oil for deep frying. Once heated, add in the prawn and deep fry for about 2 minutes. Removed from wok and drained.
  2. In a wok, add a tbsp of cooking oil. Add in red onion, chilli, pepperbell and stir fry for 2 mins.
  3. Then add in the prawn and stir fry for a minute.
  4. Pour in the sauce-tomato sauce, soya sauce, sugar, limejuice, shaoxing wine. Stir well to coat the prawn.
  5. Add in the cherry tomatoes, pineapple and cucumber. Stir to mix well.
  6. Turn off the heat and served on a plate.
Served with rice. What a feast :-)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Khao Pat Sapparot ( Pineapple fried rice)

Having raised up in Malaysia, I'm lucky to have abundance of tropical fruits to choose from. One of my favorite is pineapple. I love it eaten raw dip with chilli and soy sauce, used in cooking especially in sweet and sour dishes, juiced for refreshing drinks, pinacolada cocktail, the lists are endless.
The sweet and a hint of sourness to this fruit make it a nice combination with rice as well especially fried rice. I'm gonna make Thai pineapple fried rice(khao pat sapparot)

Khao Pat Sapparot (Pineapple fried rice)
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 cup of jasmine rice cooked and leaved overnite
  • 8 Thai sausages/frankfurter thinly sliced
  • 10 medium prawns
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream
  • 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3 tsps Thai red curry paste/green curry paste
  • 3 rings of pineapple, cut in cube
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tsps soya sauce/salt to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 green chillis
  • chopped coriander
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass finely chopped
  1. Heat a wok over high heat, browned the garlic, shallot, chilli. Add the curry paste and coconut milk and stir fry till fragant.
  2. Add in prawn & sausages and stir fry for 2-3minutes. Add in pineapple, raisins & rice and stir fry to mix well.
  3. Add the soya sauce/salt and sugar as seasoning. Stir fry for additional 2 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and add in coriander and mixed well. Serve onto the plate or use a hollowed out pineapple to add an exotic touch to this lovely Thai fried rice.
Impress your guess with Thai cuisines.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Let it snow

BBC weather forecast says it will snow 6am today. I don't like cold weather but somehow if it's with snow I love it. My idea of winter will be having lots of snow. Will there be enough snow for great snowball fights? I doubt :-)
To my disapointment it didn't snow at 6am. Perching on my bedroom window like a little kid anticipating, hoping it will snow. Well, well.....
At around 830am the snow came after all. I even phoned my friend "it's snowing". Bracing the almost freezing temperature, I ventured outside to take pics of the first snow this winter. The feelings just like the lyrics in "Sound of Music-these are a few of my favorite things -Snowflakes that stays on my nose and eyelashes". Alright, not too much snow but worth having after all:-).
Having enjoyed the little moment of whitish Sunday morning, I decided to bake blueberry muffins. What an enjoyment to sit in my conservatory and enjoying Sunday morning breakfast of blueberry muffins and English tea. Hmnnnn.................

Blueberry Muffins
Ingredients (make 10-12 standard size muffins)
  • 280g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 240ml milk
  • 90ml vegetable oil or 85g melted butter
  • 170g fresh blueberry
  • Muffin cases and muffin tins
  1. Prepare muffin tins. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder. Add sugar and salt into the bowl.
  3. In another bowl beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk followed by oil/butter.
  4. Pour all wet ingredient into the flour. Mixed well, make sure no dry granules of flour formed.
  5. Gently fold in the blueberry into the mixture.
  6. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 20-25mins.
  7. Bake till the tops are lightly brown or use a fork to poke through the muffins, if it comes out clean, it is ready. Remove from oven.
Served with tea or a cup of hot chocolate as a morning breakfast or as afternoon tea time snack. Enjoy :-)

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Calling chocoholics

For once I can identified with my chocoholics cousin, back then I could hardly understood why she could indulged in a chunky bar of chocolate at one go. She likes everything chocolates. I would easily called her a chocoholics.
Having some 70% cocoa bars at hand, I thought of making one of my favorite French chocolate desserts, none other than Chocolat Fondant. I had this with a French colleague back in one of top notch French restaurant in Singapore. I have no idea what fondant was all about back then. I did order one out of my friend's recommendation, voila I'm melting under the oozing hot chocolat once I digged in. Oo la la.....

I never did discover that chocolat fondant is quite easy to prepare. Having said that I followed one of Gordon Ramsay recipes and it did turn out quite well.....

Chocolat Fondant

Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 50g unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder, to dust
  • 50g good quality bitter chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), in pieces
  • 1 free range egg
  • 1 free range egg yolk
  • 60g caster sugar ( I reduced this to 40g as I don't want it too sweet)
  • 50g plain flour
  • Icing sugar to dust (optional)
  • Vanilla ice cream to serve

1. Preheat oven to 160˚C.

2. Butter two large ramekins, about 7.5cm in diameter, then dust liberally with cocoa, shaking out any excess.

3. Slowly melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl set over a pan of hot water, then take off the heat and stir until smooth. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

4. Using an electric whisk, whisk the whole egg, egg yolk and sugar together until pale and thick, then incorporate the chocolate mixture. Sift the flour over the mixture and gently fold in, using a large metal spoon. Divide between the ramekins and bake for 12 minutes.

5. Turn the chocolate fondants out on to warmed plates. Serve with a spoonful of vanilla ice cream.

Nice desserts but quite heavy :-)

Enjoy the indulgence.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A Fishy Affair

Some of you might have noticed that I have yet to post any fish recipes. Reason being I'm quite a picky person when fish is of concern. It got to be white fish, fresh and reasonably priced. I never really like red fish as I find it too fishy for my liking. Some of my friends even teased me of being "what's the point of eating fish if it's not fishy?"
But my affair with salmon has changed my mindset about this red fish particular for it's high Omega3 benefits and the tenderness of it's meat. And to top that, the Japanese way of preparing this fish in all it's freshness, be it in sashimi, sushi and salmon teriyaki had me hooked. And this teriyaki recipes is for keep, easy to prepare and you can wow your friend with a simple yet elegant Japanese fish dish. I definitely say Oishi-ne.

Salmon Teriyaki
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 4 salmon fillets (can be skinless or with skin)
  • 100ml sake
  • 100ml mirin
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 100ml Kikkoman light soya sauce
  • 100gm caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • some pickled ginger/spring onion/Japanese chilli flakes for garnishing
  1. In a plastic container, add sake, mirin, miso, soya sauce, caster sugar and stir till dissolved
  2. Place the salmon fillet into (1) and let it marinate for at least 6 hours. I left it overnight in the fridge.
  3. In a grill pan, brush with oil, heat. Once heated, place the marinated salmon fillet and brown for 2 minutes each side. Dish out and transfer to baking tray, brush with remaining marinating juice.
  4. In a pre-heated oven at 180C, grill the fish for about 6-8minutes till just cook.
  5. Dish out into a plate and garnish with pickled ginger/spring onion/chilli flakes. Serve with Japanese rice.
Learn the skill of fishy affair and stood up to impress.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai (Thai Green Curry)

I always fancy spicy food especially for cold nites. I'm totally head over heel when it comes to green curry. So here I present to you my favorite Thai green curry in all its freshness (quoted : I do the curry paste like the authentic Thai way), smooth as silk :-).

Kaeng Khiao Wan Kai(Thai Green Curry)


Curry paste
  • 20 green hot chillis (can be reduced if you want it milder)
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp sliced galangal
  • 1 lemon grass stalk finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander root
  • 5 pepper corns
  • 1 tbsp roasted corriander seeds
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
Other ingredients
  • 300 gm chicken breast meat
  • 100gm aubergine diced in cube
  • 50gm button mushroom/ 2 carrots diced/5 baby corn
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves finely chopped
  • 2 stems of Thai basil finely chopped
  • bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (or can substitute with honey)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1.5 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup of water
  1. Sliced chicken into thin slices
  2. Place curry paste ingredient into food processor/mortar and blend into smooth paste.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, fry the curry paste & kaffir lime leaves till fragrant, reduce heat, add coconut cream and stir continuosly so not to curdle.
  4. Add chicken, vegetables and let it simmer on low heat for awhile. Then add in the water, sugar, fish sauce to taste. Cover the pan and let it simmer till cook.
  5. Add the Thai basil & coriander into the curry and served with rice.
Totally ga ga over Thai green curry :-). Warning: Spicy

If you opt not to prepare curry paste, can get Mae Ploy brand Thai green curry paste from supermarket. It is as good :-)

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Pandan Chicken (Screwpine leaves chicken)

Pandan leaves can be found in many Asian store, a bundle of leaves cost around 2 quid. The leaves bring with it aromatic sense and very Oriental feel to it. We used a lot of pandan in Malaysian, Thai, Singaporean and Indonesian cooking. For example when one cooked rice in coconut milk, throw in a pandan leaves tied in a knot, you'll be amazed by what this little green could deliver.

One of my friend has given me loads of pandan leaves for FREE. Well been awhile since I had Pandan Chicken I thought. Pandan chicken is distinctively Thai cuisine. Last week I was in a Thai restaurant for dinner but there is no pandan chicken on the menu. Somehow I felt this dish has been underestimated in many Thai restaurant abroad. Well, well...... if there is none, find way to make some.

This dish somehow has evolved into many varieties across South East Asia, with different spices used to marinate the chicken. However I'm still a die hard fan of Thai cuisines and stick to the authentic Thai version. This dish is simple and easy to make and verdict ..... marvellous .

Pandan Chicken

Ingredients (makes 15)
  • 300 gm skinless and boneless chicken thigh or chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut cream
  • 1 lemon grass stalk finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 green chillis finely chopped
  • 8 pandan leaves
  • toothpick
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
  1. Diced into cube the chicken into 15 portions
  2. Add all the other ingredients into the chicken and marinate for 2 hours
  3. Placed one piece of chicken onto a pandan leaves, roll the leaves over the meat. Use about half a leaves length for each chicken pieces. Secured with toothpick.
  4. Heat oil in a wok/fryer/pot, once heated put in the rolled pandan chicken into the hot oil and fry for about 7-8minutes, until golden brown.
  5. Removed the chicken and drained on oil paper.
  6. Served with rice or eat on it's own.......delicious.
Simple yet lovely..................

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Care for an afternoon tea?

One of my favorite afternoon past times in UK is enjoying a cuppa with nice scones(got to have it with Cornish clotted cream), muffins or cakes.
Even there is a tea council that defines what afternoon tea is all about. More precisely about tea customs. Therefore here's a piece of British culture that I like to share with you all back home.

I decided to bake apricot and almond cake to go with Earl Grey tea. Anyone care for an afternoon tea with a lady? :-)

Apricot and almond cake
Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 100gm dried apricots
  • 30gm of almond flakes
  • 100gm butter
  • 100gm caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100gm self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • baking paper
  1. Place apricot in a sauce pan and covered with water, bring to a simmer slowly heat for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool in the liquid, drained.
  2. Whisk butter and sugar till creamy. Beat eggs lightly, and pour a little by little into the butter mix and whisk until finish. Note: Add a little flour everytime you add in eggs so that the mixture don't curdle.
  3. Use a spatula to fold in the remaining flour and essence vanilla. Mixed well
  4. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the baking paper to line the 4x8inches cake tin.
  5. Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Then top the cake with the dried apricots and almond.
  6. Cover with tin foil over the cake and bake for 20mins, this is to avoid the apricots from getting burnt. Then remove the tin foil and continue to bake for additional 25minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 10minutes or so.
  8. Serve with a pot of earl grey or your favorite tea.
I treasure my tea time :-)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Fried Vermecilli (Fried Bee Hoon)

When I want to eat something quick that requires easy stir fry, fried bee hoon has always been in my shortlist. It's versatile enough to fill my hunger pangs in less than 30minutes. This dish is very common in Malaysia and Singapore, be it for breakfast, lunch as well as dinner. My mum used to pack this dish whenever we've picnic for the day. Her fried bee hoon is so tasty even the local church asked her to fry bee hoon for social gathering function. Her secret in taste is using special brewed anchovy stock and lots of fresh ingredients.

Fried Vermecilli (Fried Bee Hoon)

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 packet bee hoon/vermicelli
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 bowl of bean sprouts
2 shallots sliced
2 cloves of garlic
2 chillis
a bunchful of fresh coriander
1 carrot thinly shreded
100gm char siew pork (optional)
20 medium prawn deshelled
4 squids ring cuts
1 cup anchovy stock (can substitute with oyster sauce)
1 tbsp thick dark soya sauce (Malaysian Cheong Chan brand)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sugar
4 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lime for garnishing or squeeze in when served

  1. Soak the vermecilli(bee hoon) in water until soft. Drained.
  2. In a bowl add in dark soya sauce, sugar, light soya sauce, pepper, sesame oil and anchovy stock and mix.
  3. Beat the egg with a dash of pepper and salt. In a non stick pan, prepare the egg omelette. Cooked and removed from pan, cut into shreds and set aside.
  4. In a wok, heat the oil. Once hot, add in shallot & garlic, chillis and fry till fragant.
  5. Add in prawn, char siew pork and stir fry continuosly for 2minutes until prawn turned pink. Add in shredded carrot and stir fry for a minute.
  6. Add in vermecilli and stir fry on high heat. Pour in the sauce from (2).
  7. Toss and stir gently till sauce is fully absorbed by the bee hoon. Add in bean sprout and off the fire. Serve garnished with egg shreds, fresh corriander , lime and garlic chilli sauce/sambal belachan.
Enjoy the simple and no fuss fried bee hoon

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Curry Puff (Karipap)

Curry puff has been one of my favorite Malaysian snacks. We used to eat them as mid morning tea break snacks. I still remembered my secondary school canteen has variety of fillings for those lovely puff be it spicy sardines or curry potatoes for merely 10 Malaysian cents.
So I thought of bringing a piece of Malaysian snacks to treat my colleagues on my B-day.
Instead of frying(being the health conscious fellow) I opted to bake.

Ingredients (make about 30 puff)

  • 500gm Just Roll pastry puff
  • 1 egg for brushing

  • 2 big potatoes (300gm)
  • 2 big onion-finely chopped
  • bunch of curry leaves-finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 tbsp curry powder+2tbsp coconut cream+1/2cup warm water-make into paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Boil the potatoes just about cook, drain the water. Diced into cube
  2. In a pan, heat the oil, add in onion , curry leaves and stir fry till fragant.
  3. Pour in diced potatoes and stir fry a little while, add in the curry paste, lower the heat.
  4. Add in the salt & sugar and let it simmer for another 5 minutes till slightly dry.
  5. Remove from pan and cool.
  6. On flat working surface roll out the pastry into thickness of 2-3mm. Then use a cookie cutter(3inches diameter) to cut into circular pad.
  7. On each circular pad, scoop in a tbsp of curry potatoes filling. Fold up and nip the edges.
  8. Use thumb and index finger to make the plait on the edges.
  9. Place the completed puffs onto baking tray.
  10. Heat the oven to 190C.
  11. Egg brush each puff on the top side
  12. Bake for 20-25mins till golden brown

Served while it's hot. What's the verdict from my colleagues? Thumbs UP!!!
I said SEDAP

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Traditinal Chinese Medicine(TCM)

I have had incidents when walking around Cambridge, I've been approached by strangers thought that I am Korean, my neighborhood kids thought I am Japanese, people at work thought I'm from mainland China, only people who knows me knew that I'm a true bred Malaysian Chinese.
Having said that, I'm close to what is known as "banana Chinese". Hope not :-)
At least from gastronomy point of view, I'm quite rooted to Chinese origin. I'm introduced to traditional Chinese herbs since young, especially my mom is a stern believer of TCM. She used to brew TCM soup of all kind, i.e soup for strengthening brain power before big exams, soup for strengthening one immune system, soup for strengthening this and that. Some are tasty(esp those with Chinese herbs) and some are awful(especially involving some dry insects....eeks). Even nowdays when I called back home, she reminded me to make TCM soup since winter months just around the corner.
So I decided to make Ching Po Leung Soup(清補凉). In Cantonese, the meaning of ching are pure, clean, and clear; while po can mean repair, patch, mend, and nutritious. Leung means either cool or cold. Taken together, the overall meaning is a cooling, nutritious tonic to clean and repair the body. Ching Po Leung is purported to be good for the stomach, spleen and lungs, it's also said to reduce phlegm.

In this soup(Ching Po Leung) the main ingredients:
  • Chinese Yam(20gm)-nourishes the spleen, stengthen the lungs, reinforces the kidneys and replenishes vital essence
  • Lily Bulb(20gm)-nourishes the yin and the lungs. Soothes coughing
  • Dry longan(30gm)-replenishes the heart and the spleen, enriches vital energy and the blood, tranquilizes the mind
  • White fungus(20gm)-nourishes the yin and the lungs. Strengthens the stomacand quenches thirst.
  • Solomon's seal(20gm)-nourishes vital essence, relieves anxiety and quenches thirst.
  • Lotus seed(20gm)-strengthens the spleen and promotes appetite.
  • Euryale(20gm)-reinforces the kidneys and invigorates vital esence, strengthens the spleen and relieves diarrhea
  • Pearl barley(20gm)-strengthen the spleen and induces diuresis
  • Rock sugar (30gm)
  • Pork rib ( 400gm)
  1. Bring to slow boil all ingredients with pork rib with 7 bowls of water.
  2. Simmer for 2-3 hours.
  3. Add salt to taste and add a bit of rock sugar
  4. Served with rice or drink on its own.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Liveaboard Northern Red Sea

Gee. Been on the MIA(missing in action) list again. But for very, very good reason. I've had just returned from a week of liveaboard in Northern Red Sea. Doing nothing really, apart from dive, eat, sleep (DES) for the whole week. This trip aims to satisfy my dive craving since I left the warm tropical waters. Having about 60 recreational dives under my Advance Open Water belt, I decided to give a try on my first liveaboard trip that cater to dive the reefs and wrecks of Northern Red Sea.
Of course not accustomed to live on a boat, motion sickness sets in(ahem-dizziness, vomiting, nauseous) ..... dramamine to the rescue. Not to mention associated nitrogen narcosis/bend along the way :-) . Well did 37meters in one of my dives in Red Sea, looking back on my log I did 43m in Sipadan before.

Red Sea corals are excellent, wrecks top notch (especially Thistlegorm and Carnatic), Ras Mohamed reef worth mentioning. One setback is that I don't get to see many pelagics, being unlucky I guess , as other group saw oceanic white tip & hammerhead sharks. As our dive guides put it, August is the best time to do Northern Red Sea if one wanted to see big pelagics. Well, well..... another trip planned?

Back to real world ..................

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Say Cheese

Having difficulty to smile? Say Cheese, yes I say cheese please. Maybe my treats of little cheesy tarts could make you smiley for Tuesday and rest of the week.
Introducing Blueberry Cheese Tart. Enjoy this simple recipes, and you'll be smiling away I promise.

Blueberry Cheese Tart

Ingredients ( 10-12 tarts)
Puff Pastry
  • Use the pastry recipes from my apple tartlets
  • or get the ready made Just Roll puff pastry
Cheese fillings
  • 125gm cottage cheese
  • 40gm sugar
  • 40ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp flour+a pinch of baking powder
  • 6 tsp of blueberry jam
  1. For pastry, roll out on a flat working surface to a thickness of around 3mm. Use a pastry cutter ring to cut out in circle. Use appopriate size so that it fits your muffin tins. Fill the tin with cut pastry. Put into fridge until you need it.
  2. For the cheese fillings, mix together the cottage cheese and sugar. This step is crucial as the cheese is in lumpy curd. You have to ensure the cheese and sugar are mixed well and the mix should be smooth. If it's too lumpy the filling will not be able to rise nicely during baking. The trick is to let the cottage cheese at room temperature(25C) and it's more easy to work with later on. Else you can use food processor to blend them well. Add in milk,egg, sour cream and vanilla and stir well. Make sure the mix is smooth.
  3. Fill up the puff pastry with cheese filling to 3/4 full. Fill the rest of puff pastries. Drop in 1/2 tsp of blueberry jam into each filled puff pastries.
  4. Turn oven on 180C, and bake for 20-25mins till cook.
  5. Ready to serve with a cup of English breakfast tea.