Thursday, 30 June 2011

Petite Treats

I have a little secret to share with you. When I go on my yearly pilgrimage to have a mammogram (thanks mum for the bad genes!), I will stop by to get a little treat from this little bakery on Wickham Terrace. They specialise in artisan bread, little cakes and slices, Danishes and croissants and specialty chocolates. I noticed today they have little quiches, salads and soup on offer for lunch as well. For those of you in Brisbane, the address is Silverton Place, 8/101 Wickham Terrace.

Here are the little treats I bought today.

Chocolate chip caramel slice.

Petite four

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Apple Streusel Muffins

These muffins received rave reviews from my in-house taste testers. On second thoughts, they've decided that the jam donut muffins still get the first rank, the apple streusels get a close second. The recipe is from Women's Weekly Little Pies & Cakes cookbook.

Women's Weekly Little Pies and Cakes Cookbook
40g butter
3 apples, peeled, cut into 1cm pieces
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice (I used ground cinnamon)
2/3 cup caster sugar
80g butter, melted (I used vegetable oil)
¾ cup buttermilk (I used plain yoghurt and a bit of milk)
1 egg

Streusel topping
1/3 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
80g cold butter, cubed


1.          Make streusel topping by scrunching everything together with fingertips or process them all in a food processor.  Freeze for about 15 mins.
2.          Cook apples in a pan with 40g of butter for about 5 mins then add the brown sugar, cook for another 5 mins, then allow to cool.
3.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
4.          Combine all the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients.
5.          Stir in 3/4 of the apples, do no overmix.
6.          Scoop into muffin pan and top each with a spoonful of apples and grate/crumble the streusel over them.
7.          Bake 20 mins in 180°C oven.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Rhubarb and Apple Crumble

It is often nice and stomach warming to end a cold winter’s night with a nice bowl of crumble. I like rhubarb; it cuts through the sweetness of desserts with its tartness. My husband loves apple pies and apple crumble, so a rhubarb and apple combination is a good compromise.

A bunch of rhubarb chopped into 2cm segments
2 apples peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
4 tbsp of Demerara sugar
A dash of lemon juice

1 cup of plain flour
40g butter chilled and cubed
1 cup of rolled oats
½ cup of desiccated coconut
½ cup of chopped nuts
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup of castor sugar

1.     Cook rhubarb and apple and sugar on the stove for about 10 minutes.
2.     Spoon into a baking dish or individual ramekins.
3.     Scrunch all the crumble ingredients together with your fingers.
4.     Sprinkle on the lightly stewed fruits.
5.     Bake in 180°C oven for 15mins or until the topping is golden brown.
6.     Serve with custard or ice cream.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Nigella's Double Chocolate Muffins

Another luscious chocolate number from Nigella, these will send chocolate lovers to heaven. A batch will make about 15 large muffins. They do freeze well for lunchbox supply.


1 ¾ cups plain flour (I used ½ wholemeal flour, and ½ plain)
¾ cup castor sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
1 egg
1/3 cup oil
¾ cup chocolate chips

1.          Preheat oven to 180C.
2.          Mix all dry ingredients together.
3.          Mix in wet ingredients followed by the chocolate chips.
4.          Bake for 25 minutes in 180C oven.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Beef Rendang with Coconut Rice

This is another traditional Malaysian favourite dish, usually you would need to cook it for an hour or two till the beef is soft and tender. I tried it out in my trusty pressure cooker again last night, it needed 35 minutes.


For the paste

5 shallots or 1 large red onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 stalks of lemon grass
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp of belacan (fermented prawn paste)
3 cm knob of fresh tumeric
3 cm knob of fresh galangal (substitute ginger if you can't find galangal)

For the spices
1 tbsp ground tumeric
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground cardamon
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 stick of cinnamon
3-4 cloves

1kg beef, diced into 3cm cubes (use chuck or blade)
300ml of coconut milk
2 tbsp of tamarind paste dissolved in 200ml of hot water
1/3 cup of desiccated coconut, dry toasted in a hot pan
2 tbsp cooking oil
(optional potatoes)

For the coconut rice
2 cups of basmati rice
2 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup of water
pinch of salt
A few stalks of pandan (screw pine) leaves

  1. Heat oil and saute the paste until it splits.
  2. Add the spices, and a couple of tablespoons of water so it's not too dry.
  3. Cook the spices for a few minutes.
  4. Add the beef, and coat the spices evenly.
  5. Then add the liquid and the desiccated coconut.
  6. Cook covered for about 1 hour, stirring to avoid drying up and browning at the bottom if you cook it on the stove.
  7. I used my pressure cooker and dial it up to 25 minutes, then add quartered peeled potatoes and cooked for a further 10 minutes.
  8. I cooked the rice in a rice cooker.
 Here it is in the pressure cooker before I added the potatoes, it thickened up a bit after.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Pear and Raspberry Bread Café Style

I spotted some thick slices of this bread on offer in a café yesterday morning, but didn’t have time to sit down and order it. This is my own recipe adapted from various online sources. The bread itself is dairy free if you omit the granola toppings or substitute the butter with margarine. It provides a change from the usual banana bread, and given the prices of bananas at the moment, there aren’t many over-ripe bananas lying around the house to be used in baking. This is quite a health food, the pear keeps the bread moist and provides a natural sweetness.

1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup whole meal flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup vegetable oil
1 egg lightly beaten
1 pear peeled and diced
1 pear grated
½ cup frozen raspberries

For the granola toppings:
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup plain flour
30g butter chilled
¼ cup demarara sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1.          Preheat oven to 160°C.
2.          Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
3.          Mix in the wet ingredients, the pears (diced and grated) and lastly the frozen raspberry.
4.          Spread into a loaf pan.
5.          To make the granola toppings, scrunch all the ingredients together with your fingertips.
6.          Sprinkle on the bread loaf and bake in 160°C oven for 1 hour.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

These are traditional Vietnamese cold rolls or rice paper rolls, the filling usually consists of prawns or shredded pork, with rice noodles, various herbs and vegetables. I've added my twist with some mangoes.


For the rolls:
A packet of dried rice paper rounds
20 cooked prawns, peeled and sliced in half
150g of rice noodles soaked in boiling hot water for 15mins, drained
Mangoes, cut into thick batons
Cucumber, cut into long thick strips
Carrots, cut into long strips
Sprigs of coriander, garlic chives, basil

For the sauce:
2 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce
1/2 cup lemon/lime juice
1-2 tbsp of fish sauce
a handful of grated carrots
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp of chopped toasted peanuts


  1. Prepare all the ingredients for the rolls.
  2. Have ready a large bowl of hot water and a plate/board to do the wrapping on.
  3. Soak the rice paper in the hot water for 30 seconds and place it on the board.
  4. Start layering the filling. The bottom most layer (closest to the rice paper skin) is the presentation side, so lay down the pretty herbs and prawns first.
  5. Then add the noodles, veges, and mango.
  6. Wrap up and seal the edge with a bit of water.
  7. Place seam down on plate.
  8. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients, stir till the sugar is dissolved.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Potato Bread Rolls

I made the dough in my breadmaker that I bought for $30 off Ebay. Making bread gives one a satisfying feeling. The smell of freshly baked bread brings a warmth to the home. (That's what the real estate people say anyway). I find the kneading and rolling actions quite therapeutic if you have had a stressful week.

This quantity will make about 20 small rolls or a 2 lb loaf.

3/4 cup water
3 tbsp oil
3/4 mashed potatoes (you can substitute pumpkin)
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
4 cups bread flour (or 00 flour)
2 tbsp milk powder
11/2 tsp dried yeast


  1. If you have a breadmaker, simply add the ingredients in the order listed.
  2. Select the dough function.
  3. When the cycle stops remove dough and divide into portions.
  4. Knead and shape into round rolls.
  5. Leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size.
  6. Brush top with a bit of milk, sprinkle on the topping.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Banana Pineapple Cake

This is my all time favourite tried and tested recipe. The pineapple keeps the cake really moist and lightens it up. I often make them into muffin size for lunchboxes, it freezes well too. I love how easy it is to make. The recipe is from AWW Cakes and Slices book, my copy was an 18th birthday gift all those years ago from my uncle.

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup caster sugar (I often substitute with brown sugar)
3/4 cups chopped pecans/walnuts (I usually omit it)
1 cup mashed banana
450g can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients and mix into the flour.
  4. Pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour (in a loaf pan), reduce cooking time if you use a muffin pan.

This is how easy it is to make, even the cat can do it.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Chai Kueh (Chives Dumpling)菜粿

This is another of my mother's favourite snacks, it is after all a Teo Chew dish. The quality of the skin depends on the skill of the cook I think, it can be quite tricky to spread it thin enough so it's not chewy, but not too thin that it'll break when you try to wrap it.  My first attempt wasn't too bad I reckon.

For the skins:
200g "Teng" flour (whole wheat flour) 澄粉
150g Tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
450ml hot water

For the filling:
A big bunch of chives, finely chopped
a handful of dried shrimps, washed, dried and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-2 pieces of fried tofu, finely diced
Soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in wok.
  2. Stir fry the filling, starting with dried shrimps, garlic, chives, tofu and flavourings.
  3. Set aside to cool while you make the skins.
  4. Mix all the flours and salt in a bowl. 
  5. Pour in the hot water. Stir with a wooden spoon and then use your hand to knead when the temperature becomes manageable.
  6. Incorporate the oil when kneading.
  7. Prepare your steamer and start boiling the water for it.
  8. Clean and oil the kitchen bench/a non stick surface.
  9. Divide the dough into small balls. This quantity is enough to make about 15. (Cover with wet kitchen towel to prevent it drying out).
  10. Flatten the dough as much as possible with a rolling pin (traditionally a large cleaver is used).
  11. Spoon the filling onto half of the skin and fold in half, wet the edges to seal.
  12. Carefully lift it off the bench onto a square of non stick paper.
  13. Steam for 10mins until the skin is translucent.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Christmas rumballs

I've made these rumballs as gifts. They look nicer than last year's. The original recipe came from Australian Good Taste magazine.

 Decorated with a dark chocolate coating, white chocolate snow, mint leaves and jaffas. (Tip: Jaffas fade in the fridge)

Simply decorated with dark chocolate coating and white chocolate drizzle.

Here's the recipe:
800g of dark fruit cake (I used Woolworths Homebrand) chopped finely
Rum as much as you like
200g melted chocolate (either dark or milk or a mix)

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and leave it to firm up in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Shape into balls of desired size.
  3. Put it back into the fridge to firm up before dipping them in melted slightly cooled chocolate.
  4. Back to the fridge again before drizzling the cooled melted white chocolate and decorating with the mint leaves and Jaffas. (You can use candied cherries instead of jaffas)

Here's the cat pretending to be one of the gifts.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Jam Donut Muffins

An all time kids favourite, and for those young at heart as well. These are a little healthier than deep fried donuts I suppose. It's full of sugar, so not an everyday food. This recipe was taken from

2 cups self raising flour
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
175ml buttermilk
1tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/2 cup of strawberry or raspberry jam (mine were some leftover Rosella jam from the markets)

For the topping:
100g melted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Lightly beat all the wet ingredients together and pour it into the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix until combined.
  5. Spoon some muffin mix into the muffin pan, put a large dollop of jam in the middle and cover with more muffin mix.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  7. When the muffins are slightly cooled, brush melted butter on top and dust with the premixed cinnamon sugar.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Masterchef Challenge --- Tarte au citron

This was one of last year's Masterchef challenge. The two contestants had to bake up the best lemon tart in a pressure test. I had a lot of lemons from my tree, which co-incidentally bore fruits for the first time last year. I actually like the look of the caramelised spots on the surface. Take it out of the oven earlier if you prefer a completely blonde look.


For the Pastry:
350g plain flour
pinch of salt
150g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
100g icing sugar
2 eggs, beaten

For the Filling:
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
275g caster sugar
3/4 cup thick cream
250ml lemon juice
finely grated zest of 3 lemons


  1. Sift flour and salt.
  2. Process flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles fine crumbs.
  3. Add in the sugar and eggs and pulse a few times until it binds.
  4. Knead lightly only enough to bring everything together into a ball.
  5. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 190C.
  7. Whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
  8. Add in the cream, lemon juice and zest.
  9. Roll the pastry out into a 23cm (9 inch) loose-based tart tin. 
  10. Chill again for 30 mins.
  11. Blind bake in 190C oven for 10 mins, remove the paper and the weights and bake a further 3-5 minutes.
  12. Turn the oven down to 150C. 
  13. Pour in the filling and return to the oven for 35-40 minutes.
  14. It will be slightly wobbly still when you take it out, but will firm up when it is cooled.

Bon appetit!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Singapore Chilli Crabs

This is the ultimate seafood dish. You adjust the the chillies according to how much heat you can handle. I made this for my husband's birthday recently. Have plenty if bread available to mop up the yummy sauce. This is a dish to enjoy with close friends and families as it gets messy.

The recipe below is my adapted easy version for home cooks.

3 blue swimmers or 1-2 mud crabs
1 red onion or 5 shallots
3 cloves of garlic
2 cm knob of ginger
2 cm knob of fresh tumeric
3-6 long red chillies
2 stalks of lemon grass (use only the white bits and chop first)
2 tbsp curry powder
3 stalks of spring onions, cut into 4 cm batons
2 tomatoes cut into quarters
10 curry leaves
1 egg lightly beaten
3 tbsp of corn flour or plain flour
dash of pepper and salt
2 tbsp of sugar
5 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1/2 cup water
3-4 stalks of coriander, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime

  1. Pound or blend onion, garlic, ginger, tumeric, chillies and lemon grass in a food processor.
  2. Clean and chop crabs into portions.
  3. Dust with flour, pepper and salt.
  4. Deep fry until flour coating is crisp but the crabs not entirely cooked through. 
  5. Drain oil from wok. (Steps 3-5 can be skipped if you're time poor or prefer not to do any deep frying)
  6. Put 2 tbsp of clean oil in wok.
  7. Saute the onion paste until it splits. Add  curry powder and saute for another minute.
  8. Add the spring onions, curry leaves and tomatoes and stir fry.
  9. Add 1/2 cup of water, tomato ketchup, sugar and bring it to boil.
  10. Stir in the crabs until all coated in sauce.
  11. Add in the egg at the end to thicken the sauce. Watch that you don't overcook the crabs.
  12. Squeeze in the lime juice.
  13. Sprinkle the coriander over the top.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Arabian Nights Party

Last year my boss held a "Not Quite Fifty" birthday party with an Arabian Nights theme. We were entertained with fire dancers and a Moroccan spread.

Here's the birthday cake.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Glutinous Chicken Rice 糯米鸡

This is my adapted version of the famous Loh Mai Kai. I wanted to try making this in the pressure cooker.

Here's my recipe.

11/2 cups glutinous rice soaked for at least 2 hours, wash and drain well
1 handful of dried shrimp (washed)
300g of chicken thigh cut into cubes
6 dried Shitake mushrooms soaked and cut in halves
2 dried chinese sausages thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic
2 cm knob of ginger, grated
2 tbsp of cooking oil
1/2-1 cup of water

2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp thick dark soy sauce
1 tbsp chinese cooking wine
1 tbsp sesame oil
A pinch of white pepper and salt

  1. Marinate the chicken meat.
  2. Heat wok and oil.
  3. Sear the chicken meat, then add the shrimp, ginger, garlic and rice.
  4. Stir until all the rice is coated with oil.
  5. Add the mushrooms, sausages, the remaining marinate and some water.
  6. Stir till the soy has evenly coated all the rice.
Place in a bowl and steam until the rice is cooked (about 45 minutes) or place bowl in pressure cooker on a trivet with 2 cups of water for about 12 minutes. 

This recipe makes two large bowls, you can use small rice bowls to make individual portions or wrap in lotus leaves for authenticity.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A mouth watering moist carrot cake to end the Queen's Birthday long weekend. This is a fairly low fat version (if you omit the cream cheese frosting). I don't know about you, but I like carrot cakes with walnuts and sultanas.

Here's the recipe. (Makes one loaf pan size or one small round cake)


For the cake
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup grated carrots (about 2 large)

For the frosting
125g cream cheese
3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp softened butter
2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Sieve flour, baking powder and spices into a large bowl. 
  3. Add sugar, walnuts and sultanas.
  4. Add all the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula until even.
  5. Bake in 180C oven for 25-30 minutes. 
  6. Cool on rack.
  7. Beat softened cheese, butter, icing sugar and lemon juice until light and fluffy.
  8. Spread on top of cooled cake.


Monday, 13 June 2011

My Vege and Herb Patch

Alas, my vege patch has been a bit neglected of late. The photos were taken a few months ago when it looked better.

Lebanese Eggplant.

Curry leaves.

Garlic chives.

Parsley and Butter lettuce.


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Nigella's Choc Based Lime Cheesecake

What's a girl going to do with all these limes? Gone are the days when you barter your service for eggs, veges or other farm produce. I still have a few lovely elderly patients who will bring in veges or fruits from the backyard or baked goods from the kitchen. I'd rather these than bottles of wine that I don't drink or boxes of chocolates that go onto expand my husband's waistline.

200g chocolate biscuits
75g unsalted butter

750g cream cheese (I substituted this with 500g cream cheese and 250ml sour cream to make it lighter)
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
Juice of 4 limes
Lime zests

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Crush the biscuits and melted butter in a food processor.
  3. Press onto a springform pan (20cm diameter) and refrigerate while working on the cream cheese batter.
  4. Beat cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar and lime juice and zests until smooth.
  5. Pour onto the biscuit base and bake in 180C oven for 50 mins.
  6. Serve when cooled.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


Enjoying these Dutch windmill cookies is probably as Dutch as my husband gets. I usually buy them from Aldi, they are quite good, I love them with coffee, love the aroma of the spice blend. I decided to make a batch as Christmas gifts.

Pretty Xmas trees in a row. Cute!

I added some flaked almonds as the base like the ones they sell in Aldi. The problem is the nuts won't stick on the back very well.

Aren't these pretty?

3 cups plain flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp mace (or use nutmeg if you can't find mace)
1 tsp ground white pepper
A pinch of salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup flaked almonds

  1. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the egg.
  2. Mix the spices and baking powder into the flour.
  3. Stir in half the flour through the butter mixture.
  4. Slowly add in the other half and add the almonds.
  5. Knead lightly until all even.
  6. Wrap dough in cling wrap and chill in fridge for a few hours.
  7. Preheat oven to 180C.
  8. Flatten the chilled dough on a floured surface to 1/2 cm thick and stamp out dough with a cookie cutter or use a cookie mold if you can get hold of one.
  9. Bake in 180C oven for 20-25minutes.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner

Our christmas spread last year.
 The table setting.

 Lobster Thermidor.

Turkey with roast veges.

BBQ herb crusted prawn skewers.

 Xmas Trifle.

The Pavlova.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

My New Toy --- Pressure Cooker/ Slow Cooker Combo

It's Visa reward time, what should I get? I've been pining for a pressure cooker/slow cooker combo for a while now. After reading multiple reviews which were all good, I decided to bite the bullet and get one. Afterall it's free! My husband made the final decision to get the Breville.

So far I've played with it three times. We've had beef casserole, chicken soup, and a pot roast. I've ordered a couple of books from Amazon so there will be more recipes to try.

Yay! My books arrived today.
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