Thursday, 28 July 2011

Sushi Rolls or Californian Rolls

The boys love homemade rolls to take for school lunches, although they often have to be restrained from polishing all the rolls off when I make them the night before. They report that my rolls are way better than the $2.50 version from their school canteen.

I’m not a big fan of raw fish, so I often make Californian rolls, chicken, tuna or pork floss rolls.

For the sushi rice
2 cups of sushi rice (will make 5-6 rolls)
2 cups of water
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp sushi vinegar

1.          Wash the rice until the water runs clear.
2.          Cook in electric rice cooker.
3.          Spread hot rice in a bamboo bowl (sushi-oke) or any non-metallic bowl.
4.          Sprinkle on the sugar and vinegar and mix until evenly spread.
5.          Let the rice cool before you start rolling.
Rice cooling in the bamboo bowl.

Rolling the Californian rolls.
What are your favourite ingredients in your sushi rolls?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Apple Spice Cake

Using my new bundt tin from Aldi, so pretty!

I was reading this recipe book that I borrowed from the library about desserts all over the world, and was inspired by the “Crunchy American Apple Cake”. This is an adaptation using my trusty buttermilk muffin mix recipe. It has a heart warming hint of spice through it, and you still get chunks of soft apples, which is especially nice eaten warm. The cranberries add tartness and colour to my muffin version.

Chunky apples dotted with cranberries.

3 large apples, cut two into 1cm dice, and grate one
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
2 ½ cup self-raising flour (I used 2 cups SRF, ½ cup wholemeal flour and 1 tsp baking powder)
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
Add ½ cup dried cranberries if making the muffins

1.          Preheat oven to 160°C fan force.
2.          Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3.          Add in all the wet ingredients.
4.          Stir until even.
5.          Pour into well greased baking pan.
6.          Bake in 160°C fan force oven for 35 minutes.

Showcasing pink hibiscus from my garden.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Siu Mai /Shao Mai 烧卖

Here in Australia, these are sold as Dim Sims, they come steamed or deep fried. I had my first taste of this shock horror Aussie rendition of this traditional Chinese delicacy from a stall in Victoria Market. It was my second day in Australia, I thought I had eaten some dead rats, it was foul.

Thankfully there are many Chinese restaurants here now serving excellent Yum Cha’s. I still can’t get over people willingly eating the mass produced frozen variety. I had leftover pork mince from the wontons, so I thought I’d illustrate how easy it is to make these little treats.

300g pork mince
150g uncooked fresh prawns, mince
2 tsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp light soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Half a packet of wonton skins

1.          Mix all the ingredients together until the mince sticks well together.
2.          Place a big dollop of mince in the middle of the wonton skin and scrunch the sides up around the mince.
3.          Tap the base lightly on the table a couple of times to flatten it.
4.          You can place a small piece of carrot/green pea/crab roe etc in the middle of the top as a garnish.
5.          Line steamer with non stick paper.
6.          Steam on high heat for 15 minutes.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wonton Mee (Noodle)云吞面

What are everyone’s childhood food memories? Mine would definitely include this wonton noodle. My mum was a schoolteacher, one of the student’s dad owned a wonton mee stall nearby, and it was the best in town. Dad would buy them for us every weekend when he went to the market. It was delish served with lots of pickled green chillies. I haven’t found one locally that even come close comparatively to the one in my memory. I’d just have to make it myself!

Ingredients (serves 4)
Fresh egg noodles (buy from Asian grocery shop) 4 bundles
A bunch of Chinese greens (I used choi sum)
300g of bought BBQ pork, sliced

For the sauce
4 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp kecap manis
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the wontons
A packet of fresh wonton skin
300g pork mince
100g canned water chestnuts (finely diced)
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
3 tbsp finely diced celery
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp light soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1.          Mix all the ingredients for the pork mince together and marinate for at least 30mins.
2.          Wash and prepare the vegetables. Blanch them in boiling water until cooked, drain.
3.          Blanch the noodles in the boiling water until cooked, rinse in cold water, drain.
4.          Wrap the wontons (see step by step pictures below), then plunge them into a pot of clean boiling water, the wontons will be cooked when they float. Fish them out and set aside.
5.          Mix the sauce up and place a big dollop at the bottom of each serving bowl.
6.          Plunge the noodles back in the boiling water you used to cook the wontons in to reheat them, drain and plop them on top of the sauce.
7.          Mix the sauce through the noodles with tongs or chopsticks.
8.          Carefully place the vegetables, sliced BBQ pork and cooked wontons on top of the noodles to serve.

Place 1 heaped tsp of pork mince mix in the centre of the wonton wrapper.

Wet the edges with water, fold in half into a triangle.

Bring the top two corners together, wet with water and stick them together.

This is how it looks on the flip side.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Beef Bourguignon Pie

This is my tricky way of making the kids eat a beef casserole. Somehow the addition of a crispy crunchy layer of pastry increases the “like” factor.

I made the beef bourguignon a day ahead with the pressure cooker.

750mg gravy beef, diced (can substitute with chuck steak)
1 large brown onion, roughly diced
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
Few sprigs of thyme or use dried thyme
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
¾ cup of red wine
2 large carrots cut into large chunks
2 stalks of celery, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 sheet of bought puff pastry
1 egg for egg wash

1.          Heat the oil in the pan and brown the meat.
2.          Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat the meat.
3.          Add the onions, garlic, herbs, tomato paste and red wine.
4.          In the pressure cooker, cook for 25 minutes on high pressure.
5.          Then add the carrots and celery and cook on high pressure for another 10minutes.
6.          To make individual pies, fill ramekins with beef bourguignon, place pastry on top with a small overhang, crimp the sides down, cut a vent hole on the top. Cut patterns with excess pastry to decorate the pies.
7.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
8.          Beat egg with a little bit of milk, apply egg wash on the pastry.
9.          Bake pies in oven for 15-20mins.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Lemon Delicious Pudding

I looked at my lemon tree the other day; it's starting to bear fruits again. Last year it fruited for the first time after 5 years. This was one of the things that I made with our harvest. The recipe is from Australian Women's Weekly cookbook. Tell me what do you think I should make with the lemons this year?

Served with a quenelle of double cream.

125g butter, melted
2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 ½ cup caster sugar
3 eggs separated
½ cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/3 cup milk

1.          Preheat oven to 160°C.
2.          Grease 6 ramekins.
3.          Combine butter, lemon rind, sugar and yolks, stir in flour and lemon juice. Slowly add in milk and mix until smooth.
4.          Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into flour mixture.
5.          Pour into ramekins, place ramekins in an oven tray and add enough boiling water till halfway up sides of ramekins.
6.          Bake for 35 minutes.

Friday, 15 July 2011


I don’t know if any of you are fans of Steve Martin, my husband and the kids are big fans of all his silliness, including Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; one of their favourite scenes from the movie is the hamburger scene at the airport.

My hamburger.
My earliest childhood memories of hamburger was having my first taste of it from a Malay stall at an interstate bus stop overnight. Back then MacDonald’s did not exist. I was introduced to the Aussie version with beetroot when I moved to Australia and I love it.

I was tempted to make the buns myself after the Herston’s challenge on Masterchef, but alas, I couldn’t find the time to do it yesterday. Maybe next time. (*promise*)

Patty mix
Ingredients for the meat patty:
500g premium beef mince
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp dried fennel
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 eggwhite
Salt and pepper to taste

1.          Mix all the ingredients together until you can shape the mince into balls without crumbling. Add a bit more liquid if it does.
2.          Shape them into big balls and flatten into patties.
3.          Place patties in the fridge while getting the other condiments ready.
4.          Pan fry or BBQ the meat patties until cooked.
5.          Cut the buns in half heat on the grill/BBQ.

Build your own burger.

DH's burger.

J's burger. veges to be seen.

T's burger, he couldn't wait.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins

I made these using my trusted buttermilk muffin recipe. See Blueberry Buttermilk Muffin. I added white chocolate bits, which adds a sweet twist to the recipe. They received a warm welcome when I took them to visit a friend who just had a baby. Check out these gorgeous burp cloths that I sewed for baby Adam.

Ingredients (Makes 12 large muffins)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup oil (mild flavoured vegetable oil, I use olive oil I have no problems with it)
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups self raising flour
¾ cup buttermilk
1 cup frozen raspberries
½ cup white chocolate bits


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C fan forced oven.
  2. Beat egg, vanilla, oil and buttermilk together.
  3. Pour into the flour, sugar and frozen raspberries, white chocolate bits and stir them together.
  4. Do not over mix.
  5.  Scoop into muffin pans.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

This is my all time favourite muffin recipe. It is fast and simple. I can get a batch of these out of the oven within 30 minutes of starting. I use this recipe as a base with all kinds of fruits, fresh, canned or frozen, all with good results.

Again, this recipe is taken from Exclusively Food

Ingredients (Makes 12 large muffins)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup oil (mild flavoured vegetable oil, I use olive oil I have no problems with it)
¾ cup caster sugar
2 cups self raising flour
¾ cup buttermilk (I’ve substituted yoghurt and a bit of milk when I don’t have buttermilk on hand without any problems)
1 ½ cup of frozen blueberries

2.          Preheat oven to 170°C fan forced oven.
3.          Beat egg, vanilla, oil and buttermilk together.
4.          Pour into the flour, sugar and frozen blueberries and stir them together.
5.          Do not over mix.
6.          Scoop into muffin pans.
7.          Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Zucchini Slice

This is a “what’s in the pantry and fridge?” type of food. I cooked up a frittata for dinner last night, and with almost the same ingredients, made a tray of this to bring to visit a relative today.

This recipe is an adaptation from Exclusively Food

3 zucchinis, grated
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 capsicum, sliced
4 strips of bacon, diced
6 pieces of sundried tomatoes, sliced
5 eggs
¼ cup of olive oil
¾ cup of self raising flour
¾ cup of shredded tasty cheese

1.          Beat the eggs and oil, add the flour until all the lumps are gone.
2.          Mix it in with all the other ingredients.
3.          Pour into a greased baking tray.
4.          Bake in 180°C oven for 30mins.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Lime and Pistachio Cake

Continuing the lime theme, here’s a light refreshing cake. See Key Lime Tart and Lime Ginger Steamed Pudding . The pistachio adds a bit of texture and nuttiness to this tangy cake. It would be nice served with a little frosting. This recipe is taken from

125g butter, softened
180g caster sugar
220g self raising flour, sifted
1tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
125ml lime juice
zest of 1 lime
100g unsalted pistachio, roasted and finely chopped

1.          Preheat oven to 170°C.
2.          Cream butter and sugar.
3.          Add in vanilla essence and eggs.
4.          Fold in flour, lime juice, zests and lastly the chopped pistachio.
5.          Bake for 30-35 mins in 170°C oven.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Key Lime Tart

I’m continuing the lime theme for this week. I still have quite a few limes left, please drop me a line if you have any good lime recipes to share. This lime tart is fairly easy to make. I used a gingernut biscuit base. I’m on this ginger and lime craze at the moment you see.

250g gingernut biscuits
60g melted butter

400g can of condensed milk (I used the light version)
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
¼ lime juice
grated zest of 1 lime

1.          Crush biscuits in a food processor, when it reaches fine crumbs stage, add in the butter and process for another few pulses.
2.          Grease a springform tart flan.
3.          Pour the crumbs on to pan and flatten the base and the sides with the back of a spoon.
4.          Put it in the fridge to harden up a little.
5.          Preheat oven to 170°C.
6.          Beat eggs, then add condensed milk, lime juice and zest and beat until all combined.
7.          Pour onto the chilled base. (Pour it through a sieve to get rid of the bubbles if you don’t want a pock marked tart like mine)
8.          Place on a oven sheet and bake for 30-35 mins in 170°C oven.

Before baking.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Masterchef Challenge --- Lime Ginger Steamed Pudding

I was given another lot of limes. I went browsing the web for inspiration and came across some gorgeous looking steamed puddings. What a better time to make these than a cold winter night. To my delight Masterchef contestants were given a steamed pudding challenge last night. This is my version adapted from a basic pudding recipe.

125g butter, softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 grated lime zest
2 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
1½ cup of self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp of lime juice
½ cup milk
100g glazed ginger, roughly chopped
1/3 cup of marmalade jam

1.          Cream butter and sugar.
2.          Add eggs and lime zests.
3.          Fold in flour, baking powder, adding milk and lime juice in between batches.
4.          Grease individual ramekins or pudding basin.
5.          Place the glazed ginger and scoops of jam at the bottom of ramekins.
6.          Scoop the pudding mix over it to ¾ full.
7.          Cover with foil.
8.          Place in a steamer and steam for 45 minutes or place in a water bath in 180°C oven for 35 minutes.
9.          Loosen the sides and turn them over to serve. 
10.      Serve warm with custard or ice cream.

I didn't grease the bottom properly hence it came out ragged. 

Monday, 4 July 2011

Banana Chiffon Cake

I haven't tried baking a chiffon cake for ages, more than 20 years to be exact. I remember my first attempt with a big grin on my face; my dad had copied a recipe from my cousin, and told me she had given me a small bottle of cream of tartar. I had no clue what it looked like, and the bottles of spices and powders in my parents' kitchen were all unlabelled. I bet I made the weirdest flavour chiffon ever in human history that day; guess what I used instead of cream of tartar? Kaffir lime powder!!!

Ingredients (For 9 inch angel cake tin)
Egg yolk mixture:
6 egg yolks
100g castor sugar
140g self raising flour
6 tbsp oil
6 tbsp banana puree

Egg white mixture:
6 egg whites
120g castor sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar

1.      Preheat oven to 170°C.
2.      Whisk the egg yolk mixture until pale and smooth.
3.      Using a clean dry bowl, whisk egg white till ribbon stage, add in the sugar and cream of tartar and whisk till stiff peak.
4.      Blend 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.
5.      Carefully fold in the rest of the egg white mixture.
6.      Pour into cake tin, do not grease the cake tin.
7.      Tap the tin on the table once or twice to expel trapped air pockets.
8.      Bake in 170°C oven for 45 mins.
9.      Take it out of the oven and turn the cake tin upside down to cool to prevent the cake collapsing.
10.  When cool, carefully loosen the sides and the circle around the central funnel and pray that it pops out easily.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Curry Puffs

You can buy these at almost every street corner in Malaysia, they're served as snacks or finger food at weddings, birthdays, tea parties, work functions etc. The traditional version uses dough made with shortening and margarine and deep fried. They are super crispy but not that good for your waistline or cholesterol. My shortcut version uses store bought puff pastry, or if you want to keep them, use shortcrust pastry, as puff pastry goes soggy when cold and doesn’t reheat well in the microwave. Mine are baked in the oven instead of deep fried.

Ingredients (makes about 16)

4 large potatoes, peeled, chopped into 1cm cubes and parboiled
1 large onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
500g lamb mince
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground tumeric
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp cooking oil
salt to taste
½ cup frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn)
1 egg beaten lightly for egg wash
Puff pastry (about 4 sheets)

1.          Heat cooking oil in pan.
2.          Saute onion and garlic and mustard seeds until the mustard seeds “pop”.
3.          Add the mince and spices.
4.          Cook the mince and try to break the clumps up.
5.          Add potatoes, and lastly the frozen vegetables.
6.          You can add a bit of water if too dry but you don’t want a sauce.
7.          Add salt to taste.
8.          Cool the filling.
9.          Preheat oven to 200°C.
10.       Prepare the pastry. Cut 4 rounds from each sheet of pastry, of if you don’t want to waste, cut them into squares.
11.       Place the filling on half of the pastry and fold over.
12.       Either pleat the edges (if using a round shape), or simply crimp the edges together with a fork.
13.       Brush the pastry with the egg wash and bake in 200°C for 15 mins or until pastry is cooked and golden.


Round ones with pleated edges.

Triangular ones.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Lemon Syrup Coconut Cake

I baked this cake some time last year when I had an abundance of lemons. I took it to work for morning tea. The fact that I couldn't even get a second slice at 11 am was proof of how good it was. 

125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
½  cup desiccated coconut
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup natural yoghurt
10ml of lemon juice

Lemon syrup
Juice of 2-3 lemons (1/2 cup)
1/3 cup caster sugar

1.          Preheat oven to 180°C.
2.          Cream butter and sugar.
3.          Add eggs one at a time.
4.          Fold in flour, desiccated coconut, lemon zest and yoghurt.
5.          Bake for 30-35 mins in 180°C oven.
6.          To make the lemon syrup, boil the lemon juice with sugar until sugar is melted, and the syrup has thickened.
7.          Pour syrup over hot cake. You can prick vertical holes in the cake before pouring.
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