Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Xmas Spice cake

Merry Christmas to you all dear readers!

This blog has been neglected of late due to general bedlam after the birth of the little princess, in fact, I think she’s The Queen. She certainly has us twisted around her little finger.

In the spirit of Christmas I chose this easy spice cake recipe since I don’t have the luxury of spending hours in the kitchen these days. It is supposed to taste better after three weeks but I wouldn’t know as we have been eating the smaller one. I lace it with rum every few days ;-) DH took the big one to his work Xmas morning tea today, so we’ll hear what the verdict is after three weeks of storage and extra rum.

The recipe is taken from

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Mexican Baked Eggs

I did a cheat’s version this morning using leftovers from last night’s Burrito dinner.  It is so easy to prepare such a hearty breakfast!

Ingredients (serves 1)

3-5 tbsp of leftover cooked mince/bean sauce or make fresh if you want to (I’ll post my mince sauce recipe for Burritos soon)
1-2 eggs
1 tbsp of shredded cheddar/tasty cheese
A few sprigs of fresh parsley or coriander

1.          Preheat oven to 200C.
2.          Spread mince sauce at bottom of ovenproof dish.
3.          Make a little well in the centre and crack the egg in the middle.
4.          Sprinkle shredded cheese over.
5.          Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
6.          Sprinkle chopped parsley on top.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Apple Spice and Nut Cake

It’s spring! Enough of the cold weather. There are apples a plenty here, and somebody had doubled up on purchasing apples during last week’s grocery shopping. I used pink lady apples, but you can granny smiths or anything you have lying around. I didn’t bother peeling the skin. Fibre is good for the digestive tract anyway ;-)

¾ cup chopped pecans
3 cups plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 ½ cups brown sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
¼ cup yoghurt or buttermilk
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup castor sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 large apples, cut into 2cm chunks

1.          Preheat oven to 180C.
2.          Grease a bundt tin or 20cm cake tin.
3.          Toss apples with half of the ground cinnamon, castor sugar, salt and 2 tbsp of flour. Set aside.
4.          Sift flour, baking powder, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Add in brown sugar, pecans, eggs, oil, melted butter, vanilla essence, the yoghurt and lemon juice.
5.          Spread 1/3 of the mixture into the bundt tin, sprinkle half of the apples over, then add another 1/3 of the batter, sprinkle the rest of the apples, and top with the rest of the batter.
6.          Bake in the oven for 45-50mins, until a test skewer comes out clean.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chips Cookies

These are Eddy Halmagyi’s recipe from Better Homes and Gardens’ Better Basics magazine. I needed some cookies to share for playgroup today. They turn out flatter than I expected and way too sweet to be honest. I’d reduce the amount of butter and sugar next time. It gets crispier if you leave it in the oven for a few minutes longer.

250g unsalted butter, softened
110g caster sugar
180g dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
350g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g dark chocolate chips or chocolate broken into chunks
100g white chocolate chips or chocolate broken into chunks
150g roughly chopped nuts

1.          Preheat oven to 180C. Line oven trays with baking paper.
2.          Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
3.          Add vanilla and eggs. Beat until smooth.
4.          Sift flour and bicarb into butter mixture. Do not overmix.
5.          Fold in chocolate and nuts.
6.          Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and put on trays. Press flat.
7.          Bake for 12-14 minutes or until just set. Cool completely on wire racks.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Lactation Cookies

Okay?!!! Don’t be taken aback by the title. Yes these are cookies with special ingredients to boost breast milk production, however, my DH has eaten quite a number of these in the recent week and he hasn’t grown man boobs yet. It’d be nice for him to take over a few of the overnight feeds I tell you. The original recipe I found online came out a bit stodgy, so I decided I’d try a batch using my rock cakes recipe, they taste 100% better.

75g butter
1/2 cup castor sugar (I used brown sugar this time)
1/2 cup Plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp flaxseed meals
3 tbsp brewer’s yeasts
1 egg
1 tbsp treacle
1 cup dark chocolate chips
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts

1.          Preheat oven to 180C.
2.          Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add to it the sugar.
3.          Chopped chilled butter into small cubes and add to the dry mixture.
4.          Used your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
5.          Add the flaxseed meal, sesame seeds, oats and brewer’s yeasts.
6.          Add lightly beaten egg and the treacle to the dry mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.
7.          Add the chocolate chips and nuts and mix till even.
8.          Spoon a heap tablespoonful of mixture onto a flat baking tray, pressing the top to flatten it a little, allowing room for the cookie mixture to spread.
9.          Bake in 180C oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. The cookies will harden once they’re cooled.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Treacle Banana Cake

Banana cake is comfort food for me. I just love the aroma of it baking in the oven perfuming the house. I tweaked a recipe to include the treacle, and it’s come up really nice. It has a caramelised characteristic to it compared to the common garden variety.

Ingredients: (makes one 20cm round cake or 12 large muffins)
125g unsalted butter, softened
¾ brown sugar
1 large tbsp treacle
A pinch of salt
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large bananas, mashed
1/3 cup buttermilk

1.          Preheat oven to 160C.
2.          Cream butter and sugar, add salt, vanilla, bananas and eggs. Mix well.
3.          Sift in the flour and bicarb soda.
4.          Gently fold it in pouring the buttermilk in two lots.
5.          Mix evenly.
6.          Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes for a cake, and 15 minutes for muffins.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Turmeric Rice (Nasi Kunyit)

My baby turned one month old yesterday. In Malaysia we celebrate the occasion as “Full Moon”, where usually a party is held and friends and relatives come to be introduced to the newcomer and visit the new mother (since traditionally the mother and baby are not to leave the house for a whole month!)

Nasi Kunyit or turmeric glutinous rice is usually served at one of these parties, or gets packed in boxes to be distributed to friends and relatives. It symbolises wealth (gold) to finance the child’s upbringing. It accompanies the “Red Eggs” which are just hard boiled eggs with the shells dyed red to symbolise fertility. (Even numbers for girl babies, odd numbers for boy babies). Throw in a nice chicken curry it makes a hearty meal.

3 cups of glutinous rice
2 tbsp turmeric powder
1 piece of dried tamarind (or use 1 tbsp of tamarind paste)
5 cloves
5 cardamom pods
400ml of coconut milk

1.          Wash the starch off the rice.
2.          Soak the rice in 3 cups of water, add in the turmeric powder and tamarind.
3.          Preferably soak the rice overnight or at least 4 hours.
4.          Wash off the residues, the rice should be nice and yellow by now.
5.          Add in the spices and spread the rice in a flat tray.
6.          Add the coconut milk and salt and steam the rice on high for 20-30 minutes.

Here's a baby photo.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Nutty Anzac Biscuits

Not wanting to miss out on the patriotism, and besides I needed something to give my guests this afternoon as DH has just finished the whole packet of the “guests’ biscuits” I have in the pantry. What better day to make Anzac biscuits? I love the sweet oaty crunch, and decided to add some nuts to enhance the flavour and the crunch after reading NQN’s post. I adapted my recipe from Good Taste.

½ cup chopped nuts (I found some almonds and brazil nuts today)
¾ cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup desiccated coconut
¾ cup castor sugar
1 tsp ground ginger (I used ½ ginger ½ all spice)
2 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp golden syrup/honey/treacle
125g melted butter
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1.          Preheat oven to 160C.
2.          Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3.          Stir the golden syrup into the hot water and the bicarb until foamy.
4.          Add in the butter.
5.          Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
6.          Mix well.
7.          Line cookie trays with greaseproof paper.
8.          Shape the biscuits with spoon or use your hands to make little balls.
9.          Flatten it with the back of a spoon and place them well spaced on the baking tray.
10.      Bake for about 15 minutes in the oven.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes

I’m in the process of baking and freezing some snacks and meals for the imminent post baby era. These cupcakes are just so divine and rich and I think will freeze well as they are very moist. The original recipe was for a cake from Australian Women Weekly, but I tweaked it a little.

Ingredients (makes 15 large cupcakes)
200g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
125g unsalted butter
1 cup castor sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder

1.          Preheat oven to 170C.
2.          Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl on top of a water bath, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
3.          Gently stir till all the chocolate is melted. Add the sugar, then let it cool.
4.          Mix the eggs with buttermilk and add into the chocolate mixture alternating with the sifted flour  cocoa and baking powder.
5.          Spoon into muffin pans and bake for 18 minutes in 170C fan forced oven. If you bake it in a cake tin, you might need a longer baking time.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Bacon and Corn Muffins

This is a variation on my T&T savoury muffin recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 large muffins)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup self raising flour
½ cup polenta
½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
½ cup chopped capsicum
½ cup corn kernel
½ cup grated tasty cheese
½ cup bacon pieces
½ cup chopped onion/spring onion
Grated cheese and pumpkin seeds as garnish

1.          Preheat oven to 180C.
2.          Put all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
3.          Stir in beaten egg, oil and milk.
4.          Add bacon and vegetables, and lastly the grated cheese.
5.          Spoon into muffin pans.
6.          Sprinkle top with more grated cheese and pumpkin seeds.
7.          Reduce heat to 160C if using fan forced oven and bake for 15-17 minutes.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Chicken Congee with Turnip Omelette

Congee is a breakfast staple where I grew up. Actually it’s often baby’s first food. So I really did grow up on this LOL! It is made with rice cooked to a gooey state, one can have plain congee with just rice and water, and have it with various condiments, usually pickles or salty dishes. Or you can add meat and vegetables to  it to make it a one pot meal. This is the version I usually make with leftover roast chicken.

Ingredients for the Congee:
Leftover roast chicken (or 1 chicken breast fillet)
5cm knob of fresh young ginger, julienned
150g pumpkin or sweet potato, diced into 2cm cubes
2 cups of rice (you can use brown rice, or a mixture of jasmine, brown rice, or even barley)
5 cups of water or part chicken stock

Ingredients for the omelette:
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp of chopped Chinese preserved turnip
2 tbsp of chopped coriander
1 tbsp of cooking oil

1.          Place everything in a large pot and boil till the rice is softened and the water a bit gooey. I like to be able to see the rice grains still. Pick the meat off the bones, discard the bones and shred and return the meat to the congee.
2.          Add a bit more water if it dries up. If you’re not having it with other condiments, add salt and pepper for seasoning.
3.          To cook the omelette, heat oil in a flat pan.
4.          Add the eggs; sprinkle the turnip and coriander over.
5.          Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
6.          Serve with chopped spring onion and more coriander.

To make this baby friendly, omit the meat and ginger for really young babies, you can boil the congee with pumpkin and other baby friendly vegetables for a bit longer to soften it. When the baby gets a bit older, you can add mince to the congee.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Coming Up In April

I'm sounding like a broken recorder. Again apologies for not being more productive in the kitchen. There hasn't been much "playing" at all recently, cooking became a necessity, even then many shortcuts were taken, and takeaways featured heavily on our family diet recently. 

OK I do have a good excuse. We're having a baby in 4 weeks! Apart from the lack of energy, sore numb hands from carpal tunnel and backaches, I've been busy finishing up work, and setting up the nursery. I've tried to eat healthily enough for the baby though, but our family meals consisted of meat and veges, Woolies chicken and salad or a quick frittata.

This month I'll be doing some meals and snacks for the freezer. Since I have a month off work before the Eviction Day. Yesterday DH said he's been fixing up little DIY jobs in the house (that he's been putting off for ages!!!) because he's "nesting". OMG, ever heard of men nesting?

Here's a pic of the nursery.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Malaysian Chicken Curry

I love a good curry, it mustn’t have too much chilli, but have loads of fragrant spices. We Malaysian grow up on curries. We have it for breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and supper. Roti with a nice curry sauce is almost a national dish. This version of chicken curry is probably the Malaysian Chinese version.

1kg chicken pieces bone in (I used drumsticks)
4 large potatoes cut into 3cm cubes
1 large carrot cut into 2 cm rounds
125ml coconut cream
2 stalks of curry leaves
½ cup water
2 tbsp cooking oil

Spice paste
1 large onion (or use 3-4 shallots)
3 cloves garlic
2cm knob fresh ginger (or turmeric if available)
2 fresh red chillies
2 kaffir lime leaves
3 stalks of lemon grass (use white parts only)

Dry spices
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 cardamon pods
3 cloves
1 star anise

1.          Toast the dry spices in a dry pan for 3-4 minutes.
2.          Blend into powder.
3.          Blend all the ingredients for the spice paste, add dry spices to it.
4.          Heat oil in a heavy based large pot and cook the spice paste on low heat until it separates.
5.          Add in the chicken and water.
6.          Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
7.          Stir and rearrange the chicken so they can be evenly cooked. Add the carrots and potatoes, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.
8.          Add the coconut milk and leave to simmer uncovered to thicken the sauce for about 5-10 minutes.
9.          Serve with rice or roti.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Banana Walnut Bread

What to do with 3 large over-ripe bananas? The DH voted for banana bread. This is a modified recipe from Exclusively Food.

1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups mashed over-ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain yoghurt
85g melted butter

1.          Preheat oven to 160C.
2.          Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3.          Lightly beat the eggs, stir in all the other wet ingredients.
4.          Mix the dry and wet ingredients together.
5.          Bake in a loaf pan for 1 hour at 160C.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Orange Chiffon Cake

This type of cake is more popular in Asia than the heavier buttered version we commonly have here. It is light and airy due to the beaten egg whites. To the unaccustomed, it can be a bit dry, and they’re often served unadorned. I like to have it with a nice cuppa.

Ingredients (for 8” angel cake pan)
5 egg yolks
20g castor sugar
60g vegetable oil
60g orange juice
grated zest of 1 orange
100g self raising flour

5 egg whites
75g castor sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar

1.          Preheat oven to 170C.
2.          Cream egg yolks, 20g sugar and oil until pale and thick.
3.          Add the orange juice and zest and beat well.
4.          Sift in the flour and mix well.
5.          In a clean dry bowl, whisk egg whites with the remaining sugar and cream of tartar until stiff peak.
6.          Add 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.
7.          Then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites in batches.
8.          Pour into cake pan. (Do not grease sides of pan)
9.          Lightly tap the filled pan once or twice on the bench to get rid of big air bubbles.
10.      Bake for 35minutes in 170C oven.
11.      Tilt the pan upside down on a baking rack to cool.
12.      When cool use a knife to loosen the sides, tap the base to drop the cake out.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Japanese Cotton Soft Cake

If you like the Japanese cheesecake, you will like this non cheese version. This is a really fluffy light cake, not heavy in calories too I might add. This recipe is for a small cake, I used a loaf pan and it’s still too big, hence the cake ended up a bit flat. Next time I might try it in a muffin pan for small individual cakes. I used a water bath so the cake doesn’t dry out.  This recipe is again from Jane's Corner.

30g butter
40g self raising flour
40g milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs separated
40g castor sugar

1.          Preheat oven to 170C.
2.          Melt butter, then stir in the flour immediately to make a smooth paste.
3.          Lightly beat the egg yolks with milk and vanilla essence, then pour into the butter/flour paste and mix thoroughly.
4.          Beat egg whites with sugar until stiff peak.
5.          Add 1/3 of it into the egg yolk mixture to lighten the batter.
6.          Then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites in batches.
7.          Pour into greased and lined cake pan. Tap once to get rid of big air bubbles.
8.          Sit the cake pan in a water bath and bake 8 minutes on 170C, then remove water bath and continue baking another 20 minutes.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Black Forrest Swiss Roll

This is my first ever successful attempt at Swiss roll. All my previous attempts ended up in disaster, they either were too dry and broke into three when I rolled it, or too gluggy and heavy. I’m so glad I found this perfect formula now. The recipe is from my old high school friend Jane’s Corner. (PS: she is such a whiz in the kitchen isn’t she?) the black forrest idea was due to the fact that I have half a bottle of sour Morello cherries sitting in the fridge.


For the sponge:
85g of egg yolk (about 5)
25g castor sugar
45g milk
45g vegetable oil
65g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
170g of egg whites (from 5 large eggs)
80g castor sugar

200g thickened cream
20g icing sugar
2 tbsp of Kirsch
½ cup of drained sour Morello cherries


1. Preheat oven to 190C.
2. Grease a Swiss roll pan and line it with non stick baking paper.
3. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites and sugar on high speed till stiff peak. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolk and sugar till thick and creamy. Add in milk and oil, then sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Mix until even.
5. Add in 1/3 of the stiff egg white mix into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it.
6. Then slowly and gently fold in the rest of the beaten egg white in batches.
7. Pour into the baking pan. Tap pan to expel big air bubbles.
8. Turn the oven down to 160C.
9. Bake for 12 minutes.
10. Let it cool just slightly in pan, then turn it over onto a large rectangle of non stick baking paper on top of a cake rack to cool until it’s safe to handle.
11. Peel off the lining paper. While still hot, gently and loosely roll the sponge with the aid of the rectangle of baking paper.
12. Let it cool in the rolled up position.
13. In the meantime, beat the cream with Kirsch and icing sugar till stiff.
14. When cool, unroll the sponge, spread with the beaten cream.
15. Sprinkle on the cherries, and roll it up again.
16. Wrap it in the baking paper and leave in the fridge for an hour before cutting.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mango Coconut Muffins

This is a light summery version of my T&T muffin recipe.  I used fresh mango in this recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 medium size)
1 cup diced mango flesh
½ cup desiccated coconut
1 ½  cup self raising flour
1 egg
¾ cup castor sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup yoghurt
¼ cup milk

1.          Preheat oven to 170C fan force.
2.          Sift flour into a large bowl.
3.          Add sugar and coconut.
4.          Stir in lightly beaten egg, yoghurt and oil.
5.          Add in the diced mango, set aside 12 pieces to decorate the top.
6.          Add milk as required. The mix should reach a drop consistency.
7.          Spoon into muffin tin, top with the reserved piece of mango, and bake for 15 mins in a 170C oven.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Coming Up In February

My sincere apologies to my followers for a long no post hiatus. A combination of factors have prevented the cooking and blogging. My camera died, my mixer went caput, and I developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. DH has bought a new close up lens while the other one is still in hospital. I bought a new mixer. My hands are no better but I'm surviving by improvising in minimizing stirring and mixing.

I don't have any idea what the cooking plans are for the month. It's going to be a "see how I feel" month I'm afraid, please bear with me.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Belly Pork Braised in Soy Sauce (Tau Yu Bak)

This is another of mum’s specialty. Mine can never get close to hers, I wonder what secret ingredients she left out telling me. I love the tofu braised in this sauce more than the meat. Admittedly mum doesn’t use dark soy sauce in hers, she prefers the lighter colour for the sauce. I use both thin soy sauce and the thick dark soy sauce for its caramel characteristic.

2 strips of belly pork (about 800g), I asked the butcher to pick lean cuts for me
2 cm chunk of ginger
5 cloves of garlic
2 star anise
5 cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
¼ cup of light soy sauce
3 tbsp of thick dark soy sauce
2 tsp of five spice powder
2 tsp of cracked pepper
3 cm lump of rock sugar
1 cup of water
1 tbsp cooking oil
6 pieces of hard tofu(I used fried soft tofu in this)
4 shelled hard boiled eggs

1.          Marinate the meat (leave them in full strips) with five spice powder, cracked pepper and dark soy sauce for at least 30minutes.
2.          In a heavy based casserole pan, heat the oil and sear the meat on all sides without colouring them too much.
3.          Add in the garlic (skin on is fine) and the ginger, sauté slightly without colouring them.
4.          Then add all the spices, soy sauce and water.
5.          Bring the water to the boil, skim off any impurities on the top.
6.          Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and simmer the pork for about 45 minutes.
7.          Add in the tofu and the hard boil eggs and simmer a further 5-10 minutes with the lid off.
8.          Cut the meat into 1cm slice and serve with steaming white rice and the sauce over it.
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