Saturday, December 08, 2007

WHat have I been up to since my last post?

Coffee and Almond cake

Vanilla Cupcake With White Chocolate Ganache

Raspberry Cheese Tartlettes

Chocolate Chocolate Tart


Chocolate Chocolate Cupcake

Chocolate Chocolate Eclair

Lemon Curd Tartelattes

Oh my! I have not realised this until about two hours ago when my Aunt ( another avid baker and cook) asked me about my blog) and I went like, "Err, I think you can only view it next year coz' I have not updated it since..."

Well, yeah, I was busy with my day job and some 'experimentations' here and there but boy, it was fruitful.

Since I am having my writer's/baker's block, here are some pics of my projects, since my last post. Sorry!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Butter, sugar, flour and eggs...Volume 2.

These are the cookies I baked for the Eid, just got some of the pictures taken today

Almond Tuilles

Ghee Biscuits

Frosted Coffee Biscuits

Cheese and Curry Biscuits

Cheese Fingers (Kaastengel)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Simple Foods: Carrot Biryani, Tuna Cutlets and Raita

I actually have a love hate relationship with rice, once I have a meal with rice, I keep on thiking about the rice, about how I feel like having any meal again with rice, be it white rice with side dishes, biryanis, pilaus or what nots. The hate part you might ask, is just that I cannot and am not allowed to have rice other than lunch. Well technically, I hate meal times!

The recipe below, was part of my experiment with long grains. The thing is, if you have ever noticed, biryanis in shops tends to have the beautiful long elongated i-do-yoga look. So, if you were to use basmathi and cook it at home, like myself I still do not get the results of the gorgeous long grained rice , how it is supposed to be. But this time round ( hence my readiness to part with the recipe) I might have nailed it about 60%. Yayy!

The Carrot Biryani has a subtle cardamom aroma, with more subtle hints of cloves and cinnamon and a beautiful amber color. I was tempted to use the saffron my Uncle Prabh gave my mum, but resisted because, I did not think my experiment was worth the saffron strands and two, did not think it would work!

The dishes I choose to go with the biryani are simple, nothing too spicy or overwhelming. I made tuna cutlets, a stew of butter beans and cabbage and raita. The Simple Foods quest continues! So enjoy preparing this, trust me , it is well worth the prep time, this true comfort food, perfect for a cold day.

Carrot Biryani

A 1 1/2cups basmathi rice (rinsed 2 times, then saoked in water for 10 minutes, then drained)

B To be sliced thinly

1 inch of ginger
6 shallots

C 6 cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, bout an inch

D To be processed in a paste

1 large onion
4 garlic cloves

E 6tbs ground cashews (optional, will add a creamy taste to the cooked rice)

4 tbs ghee
1cup water
1cup milk
3tsp salt
F 1C of coarsely grated carrots


1. Prepare the rice.
2. Add the ghee to a pan. Add B. Fry till aromatic.
3. Add C. Fry till aromatic.
4. Add D. Fry till slightly colored.
5. Add E. Fry for a bit, the add rice. Stir around for two minutes before adding the liquids. Add F in now.
6. My techinuque is to transfer all that into a rice cooker and press the button and the rice will cook beautifully, without a crusty bottom. Alternately, you could continue cooking the rice the pot, lots of caution and stirring required.
7. After its cooked, fluff the rice in the pot with a fork. By the time you serve, the rice will look gorgeoues.


Fried raisins
Fried Shallots
Roated almond slivers and
Chopped corriander

Butter Beans and Cabbage Stew

some cooking oil

A 1 big onion, diced
6 garlic cloves
1tbs chilli puree, cili boh

B 1 can condensed tomato soup
1 can butter beans or garbanzo
1 cup water
200g cabbage, finely sliced

corriander, tied in a bunch
1 bay leave
salt to taste


1. Put oil in pan.
2.Put A in, fry till aromatic.
3. Add B and 1 tsp of salt, corriender tie and bay leaf and let simmer until liquid reduces to half. Taste again, may add salt if you think its needed.
4.Pour in dish. Scatter corriander leaves,chopped on top.

Tuna Cutlets

A 500g potataoes, cooked and mashed

B 4 cans tuna chunks

C 5tbs vegetable oil
onions finely chopped
ginger, about an inch, finely chopped

D chives, fresh , chopped

salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste
1 egg for coating
more oil for deep frying


1. Fry B in oil till aromatic. Turn off heat. Leave in pan.
2. Add tuna and chives and seasoning. Then add mashed potatoes.
3. Shape the above in balls. Flatten them slightly. Dip in beaten egg. Fry in oil. Continue process.


This makes about fifty one mouth cutlets, halve the recipe if you must. I shape and flaten the cutlets all together before I start frying, unless you have another set of hands to help!

Onion Raita

1 large yellow onion
6tbs plain yoghurt
a squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in bowl. Mix well. Stand overnight if time permits, will taste better a day after.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

"bubble bubble, toil and trouble..."

My bouquet of fudge rady for trick or treaters!

Top of my wish list during this post is a CANDY THERMOMETER. Try making fuge, without one and you will know. This time round two bubles exploded on tiny hot hot hot bits of it flew onto my fingers. Ouchh!

But definitely, as all experiments and hoo-haas in the kitchen, it was worth the time (and pain)!

Wrapped my fudge which slightly set in glass paper for slight festive look because the stationery shop did not have the orange ones. Bought also red and green ones for Christmas and gorgeous blue one.

After a bite, the fudge I had them cut in pieces which will allow anyone to put the whole thing in the mouth, or as the demonstration down below, 2 bites.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Butter, sugar, flour and eggs...

About two days back, I told my mum, "Mummy, I'm not going to bake for another 2 weeks...", and then her so-so response was not even verbal, but she gave me the 'Yeah right!' look, straight to the eye! Well, as always, mothers knows best, and I baked the next day!

I just celebrated Hari Raya ( the Eid ) four days back, and this will be my first entry since my last post a month back! I was terribbly busy preparing for the Eid. For the first time in my whole existence, my dad gave strict instructions to my mum not to order any cookies from anyone or anywhere! With much enthusiasm, I started flipping through books and blogs for recipes that might interest me. Trust me, massive planning is needed for Raya baking. Unlike commercial bakers, I like my cookies fresh, meaning I like baking when its the closest time possible to Raya. In the name of freshness of course! So, over ambitious me came up with a list of family favorites, some of my grammas recipes, and some of my 'retro' cookies ( the ones I had when when i was 8 or 9 years old). I did my test runs and it was alright. Then I multiplied the recipes for my massive baking session the week before the EId.

Another reason for the massive planning was one of my closest friend ( very sibling like actually) had her wedding reception on the 6th of October and the after party was to be held in her hometown, lucky me, I crammed a vacation during my freaky hours( I freaked out every time I looked at the calender, Eid was on the 13th, I was scheduled to return on the 9th) ! I volunteered to bring some baked goods ( what else!) and it all turned out smoothly and I had a smashing time! I did mention planning was crucial right?! I brought cream cheese crusted red-bean paste pastries, flourless chocolate cake and coffee caramel slice. The good things in life are sweet.

So on the 9th, I started my baking, still too slow for my standards, but I did start. And I ended up with seven types! The day before the Eid, I baked all my slices , tangy lemon squares, chocolate honey almond squares, date and almond squares, and lotus paste and sesame crust squares.

When Eid came, it was nice to see 'them' out on silver trays, (which i forgot to take pictures of) ready for my guests to sample after my Mum;s hearty Raya spread!

So all in all, what was my Raya about? Butter , flour, sugar and eggs..

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Simple Foods: Daging Goreng Kunyit (Stir Fried Beef with Tumeric

Tumeric plays an integral part in Asian cuisine, that its importance is forgotten. With medicinal qualities, tumeric powder, root or pieces is added into stews, stir fries, and marinades. Its beautiful hue, accentuates dishes, lending a subtle hint of smell and flavor to foods. The 'kunyit hidup' or the kunyit root, is often pounded and then added to curries and what not, where the flavor and scent is stronger and more fresh than the tumeric powder.

My quest for rekindling happy food memories from my childhood has brought me to present, Daging Goreng Kunyit. The simplicity of this dish is obvious. Beef slices marinated with tumeric powder, then stir fried. Served with white rice.

500g fillet cut beef, sliced
3 tbs tumeric powder
4 tbs tamarind juice
1/4 cup water
some salt
1 whole red chilli , cut into slices
1 whole onion, cut into rings
4 tbs oil


1. mix the beef and the tumeric powder. Put it in the fridge for 2 hours prior to cooking.
2. Put the oil in the wok, let the wok heat up till slightly smoky.
3. Add in the beef slices. Let the beef sear and coated with the oil.
4. Add water.
5. When the water has reduced to half, add in the onion slices and cut chillies.
6. Add the tamarind juice,
7. Add salt to taste Fry for another 2 minutes, until the water is almost reduced. Off the stove and serve!

P/S : I have added cubed potatoes, that have been boiled and deep fried into this dish.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Simple Foods: Sambal

There are indeed many versions, of this 'sambal' thing. Sambals come in different colors and flavours, the simple one will be the one I will be explaining. The different textures and flavours of sambal varies for what is to be put in it.

Known differences:

1. Different ingredients mixed, pounded or grounded with the chillies.
2.Texture of the grounded or 'pulsed' end product.
3. Color, due to the different ingredients.
4. Consistency, for different purposes.
5. Flavorings used will result to different tastes, such as lime rind, lemon juice, tamarind pulp juice, and etc.

Some sambals, are served as condiments to a meal, think the Indian coconut sambar, sometimes served with vegetables as an appetizer, think of the vegetable tray served before a Thai meal, sometimes as a marinade such as the sambal on the ikan bakar (grilled fish on banana leaf) , sometimes as a dish itself, fried with meat of vegetables.

Textures vary, for the different purposes, It may range from fine to course. Ingredients vary as well, some are plain, some are 'spiked' with prawn powder or belachan ( bad for people like me, allergic to prawns ), some have gallangal, lemongrass, mint,corriander and other leafy herbs added to compliment the meats or vegetables they are to 'accompany', be in in a strir-fry, a steam, or even the grill. Some sambals are pounded with the pestle and mortar for a noticeable grainy, chilli-ish texture, and the grinder or a processor for fine paste like texture.

The main ingredient of a sambal, without a doubt are chillies. Dried chillies, rehydrated by soaking for a few hours, then pureed into a paste. In olden times, think, about three generations before me, there were no food processors ar any kitchen gadgets, so this paste was made using a grinding stone ( a slab of stone witha rolling pin-like gizmo, all done by hand).

Well, nowadays, you could just purchase this chilli paste at any Asian supermarkets or grocery store. How simple life is. But my mother, coming from the old-school of cooks, it definitely against the use of this store available and stove top ready wonders. My mom says, you do not know how 'dirty' the chilies are and how unhygenically they were prepared, and easily I retorted ' I have been consuming this a third of my life, and I never got diarrhoea!' Knock wood!

When my sister was in the States, she used to get the Vietnemese version of the chilli paste, to fry her noodles and etc. The paste, she brought some back for me to 'study' consisted of dried chillies, vinegar, salt and sugar. Yes, it is actually that simple.

Chilli paste

2 kilos of dried chillies, remove the seeds with a kitchen scissors
water, enough to cover all the chillies, soak for a couple of hours

1. Throw away the water.It will have some strange color.
2. Rinse it twice.
3. Have a pot or wok filled with water, cook the chillies for about 10 minutes.
4. Drain the chillies.
5. In a food processor, dump all the chillies with a tablespoon of cooking oil, preferebly vegetable oil and not olive.
6. Pulse till you get a fine paste.

The oil is used as a lubricant for the blade, my mother says so.
It will create a smooth paste.
I think it keeps the chillies in better shape, for a longer period of time (of course, cooking on the stove helps too!)

And there you have a batch of chilli paste. This keeps well frozen, what we do at home is to pack them in small bags, freeze them, and only take the small bags out according to the quantity needed for a dish.

Alright, I hope my mom is happy with the inclusion of the messy process above, below is the store bought paste:

Now, the store bought paste is almost 'pure' chilli. I would suggest the following:

Sambal Goreng

140g of store bought chilli paste
2 large onions
some salt
some sugar
some lemon juice or tamarind pulp juice
vegetable oil

1. Peel, slice and pulse the onions to a somewhat course texture. This will give you nice noticeable onion bits (see opening picture,top)
2. Pour oil in a wok, and let it heat up.
3. Add in the pulsed onions. Add a little salt to discourage burning. Fry till limp and fragrant.
4. Add in the chilli paste. Mix well in the wok, fry for about 7 minutes, constantly stirring to prevent burning.
5. Add a little sugar, salt and lemon juice to taste (these three are usually used to balance the flavors). Cook for another 5 minutes till slightly dry.
6. Put aside to cool. Store. Keeps about 1 week in the fridge. And slightly longer in the freezer.

For what usage you may ask? Some suggestions include:

1.Vegetable stir fries.
2.Meat stir fries.
3. The 'heat' in noodles for some'oomph'
4. As a dip.

I have used the above in my Snake Beans and Sambal stir fry. Clean and cut beans. Put very little oil in a wok. Add beans. Stir fry for about 5 minutes, or to the degree of your own vegetable done-ness, then add the magical 'Sambal Goreng' .The contracting colors, extremely appetising. Taste, excellent I might say. Serve with steamed rice, easily achieveable with the most useful Asian kitchen gadget: the rice cooker!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Spinach fettucine

The best food in life would be the ones that are actually simple to make. Trust me one this one. Of course you might ot have the gratifying pleasure of putting the meal togeter, but the moment your 'simple' meal is ready for you on the table, you feel so immensely satisfied, you just cannot believe yourself! These simple things in my life, are things I used to be ashamed of, to put in my blog. Yeah, people are going to say, "Oh gawd, that simple thing, I could make that!'

Or it could be anything, a porridge made with instant cooking oats, with currants and sliced almonds and a drizzle of honey, or a rice pudding, infused with a pod of vanilla, a family favorite bread and butter pudding, or toast with peanut butter, jelly and banana! Well , you had to peel the banana and slice it right?!

More profoundly, I would think, just like me, simple savory dishes are the ones we are most inclined to be too lazy to make, as it is to easy to prepare, the dishes that means something, has nothing and is actually YOUR everything. Thnik, there must be something that you like, but you just do not think it as a dish because it is too simple. In simpler words, a dish that has no recipe, and you cannot actually put into words to post on your blog!

In many cases of my gastronomy, there is the sambal goreng ( consisting of a sambal based paste, with vegetables, diced and fried potatoes, and 'tempe' fermented bean cake).I will give you the recipe for the sambal, and if you are familliar with Indonesian, Malaysian or Thai food, feel free to experiment with the vegetables and / or meats you decide to put in. Serve it with a bowl of fluffy rice, and you have yourself a meal!

Today, I am actually proud of my fettucine, I had to pick the leaves out of the bunch, one by one, but that is actually nice. Leave by leave, rinse , rinse, rinse and rinse once again. Then blanch it, then add it to the sauce and pasta and wallah! Your fettucine with specs of green spinach!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

crushed pineapple cupcakes

I would endorse this! Seriously, the most delicious pineapple tasting cake ever. Well, as usual, I turned the cake into individuals, lesser guilt, even after gorging two or three at one sitting.The ingredients are simple, just buy a can of pineapple in syrup from the grocery store and you are on your way!

As any foodie would know, it is crucial for all cooks and bakers alike to be organized, especially when you have about a million recipes and a massive collection of books. Here goes, like I mentioned earlier, this cake is exceptional, but unfortunately, I have misplaced the recipe! If you have a recipe with the same name and likeness, please do e-mail me or comment.

Just my luck, I came across this recipe, just to satisfy my butter cake/ pineapple craving. I made it and served with vanilla ice cream, delish!

Adapted from , titled FRUIT PASTRY CAKE.

Pineapple Crush Cake

A sifted together

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder


1 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter
2 tbs yoghurt


3 eggs
1 egg yolk


6 tbs any fruit juice or even the juice from the canned pineapples
2 tsp vanilla essence


400 g canned pineapple, drained and coarsely crushed

F optional

bigger bits of canned pineapple to scatter on top


1. Drain E, crush and drain again.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an grease an 8inch square pan.
3. Beat B till smooth and creamy.
4. Add C, one by one.
5. Add D.
6. Add A.
7. Fold in E.
8. Pour in pan, bake for 1 hour or till tester comes out clean.

Here is the end product, with the ice cream, as a serving suggestion...


Black Grape Muffins

For the first time, I actually bought fresh fruits for the sole purpose of baking somethings. Most of the time, fruits that are in the fridge after two days wil end up in my oven, but today, I felt adventurous and bought KOREAN black campbell grapes.

The were very 'winey'. They were not over ripe, but they were 'winey'. So I halved them, de-seeded them and in the muffin batter they went and the results were beautiful, as the color of the skin slightly tinted certain parts of the batter and where they cracked, the grapes popped out beautifully.

Moist Chocolate Chip and Coconut Muffin

They had a cake like texture as opposed to a true muffin one. They were nice to eat, lighter that an average muffin and had dark chocolate bits popping the tongues once in awhile.

Chocolate Cupcake Experiment No. ( Can't count anymore!)

I recently purchased MARTHA STEWART'S BAKING HANDBOOK and found this recipe, which uses vegetable oil instead of butter. I substituted that with canola oil and the end product was amazing.

It was a chocolatey cake, and healthy too. Nice texture as described in the book. The slightly different recipe is availabe online yielding the ultimate result as well.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake from


Makes 2 eight-inch square or 3 eight-inch round layers ( but I got 24 medium cupcakes instead)

Unsalted butter, for pans, optional for individual baking liners
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans,optional for individual baking liners
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter round or square cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
2. Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, stir in eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating once, until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes for 8-inch layers, depending on amount of batter.
4. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely, right side up on rack.

flavors and smells...

I love to cook.

I love to bake.

I hate chemistry.

How could I be interested in baking, cooking, molecular gastronomy, the kitchen sciences with my last statement? I do not know, but what I know is, where my old chemistry teacher is not present, everything that happens to me in the kitchen, is an experiment, a series of beautiful experiments waiting to be blogged and reported about.

Baking, needs more precision. More attention to details. More commitment.

The norm would be, with natrium bicarbonate ( hehehehe, baking soda) , the effect on the cake would be this, with more baking powder, bah blah blah...Is that not science? I never knew I would actually love chemistry! How could anyone not love it? Different ingredients, different effect, this is only physical part.O yes, cooking and baking is extremely emotional! Why do you think chefs get pissed and upset in the kitchen?

Cooking on the other hand, for me in particular, is loosely based on precision and meticulousness, but relies heavily on experiences and intuitions.


I am a Malay. Foods that are introduced to me as a child are of course predominantly Malay food, but I forgot to mention I am a lucky Malay.

My parents, particularly my Dad is an adventurous eater. I have had ox tongue simmered in butter for as long as I can remember, a dish that my Tok Mak ( my late grandmother, excellent cook) used to prepare for my Dad when he was a child, later prepared by my mum ( excellent cook number 2) when I was a child now prepared by my self as an adult (cook and baker). Tongues, French right? I did say I am a lucky girl. To be able to taste some weird foods Andrew Zimmern ate, but to think its delicious and to know Mr. Bourdain's favorite food is not to my liking?

Experiences are important, because it will give u a bench mark for how a food is supposed to taste like. I mean, if I had not had Moroccan food before, would I be able to make a Moroccan lamb stew or a chic pea dip?

Yes, technically, it is possible with the help of millions of books printed yearly worldwide. Wow, it does look like how it is in the picture, but would I know if its supposed to taste that way?

By experiencing the foods from restaurants, street vendors or shops, I would have the taste , the smell, the color , the texture and the whole dish in my fond memories ( could be in my most tortured memories too, hehehe)

What about the combination of flavors? This is where the best things happen. I mean, how dull the kitchen would be without the marriage of flavors! For instance,different spice mixes, gives different aromas and taste to the end product. You add to much saffron to a biryani the whole smell, the meaty smell ( say lamb biryani) the smell of the basmathi ( long grain rice, used in cooking pilafs and biryanis) will just collapse.

I cannot capture the title of my blog, as both elements are subjective, and only known to oneself. What could be an element of your nightmare as foodie, could trigger me as a fond memory.


If I had to choose the most terrible cake in the world ( I know, no such thing!) I would give my hands down to fruitcake. I just dislike the taste of the dried fruit mix I guess. I mean, its dehydrated fruit, fruits are supposed to be juicy, fleshy,supple, plump and colorful, but dried fruit, aargh, horrible looking things...

A few years back, I dissected a box of dried fruit mix, separated the components, just to check what is in it, yes of course , the standard . Let's see, raisins, currants, sultanas, cherry, orange peel and the likes. I eat all of these listed here, maybe I just dislike them together, I suppose, up till last week where I bought the BHG Pink Plaid Cookbook and found this particular recipe, which is also published on their site.

What attracted me to the recipe was:

1. The long list of ingredients, which 1/4 of a teaspoon of this, a teaspoon of that became a contributing factor to the long list.

2. It consisted of the dried fruit mix, and other dried fruits and nuts!

3. Very little flour.

4. So,so little butter!

My mother, an aficionado of fruitcakes and the likes of any dried for of fruit, was more than happy when I announced that I was going to bake my first baked good consisting the dried fruit mix from the box! So below is the recipe taken from the site, but I think a cook would not mind the addition of the Pink Plaid cookbook in their library!

Fruitcake from


* 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 3/4 cup diced mixed candied fruits and peels
* 1/2 cup raisins or snipped pitted dates
* 1/2 cup candied red or green cherries, quartered
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup orange juice or apple juice
* 1/3 cup butter, melted
* 2 tablespoons mild-flavored molasses
* Brandy or fruit juice


1. Grease and lightly flour an 8x4x2-inch loaf pan (or two 5 3/4x3x2-inch loaf pans). Set pan(s) aside.

2.In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Add fruits and peels, raisins, cherries, and nuts; mix ingredients well.

2. In another mixing bowl beat eggs; stir in brown sugar, juice, butter, and molasses until combined. Stir into fruit mixture. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s). (The smaller pans will be quite full.)

3. Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours for the 8x4x2-inch pan, 55 to 65 minutes for the 5-3/4x3x2-inch pans, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. If necessary, cover pan(s) loosely with foil the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Place cake in pan(s) on a wire rack and cool thoroughly.

4. Remove cake from pan(s). Wrap cake in brandy- or fruit juice-moistened 100-percent-cotton cheesecloth. Overwrap with foil. Store in the refrigerator for 2 to 8 weeks to mellow flavors. Remoisten cheesecloth with brandy or fruit juice weekly or as needed. Makes 16 servings.

( )

...and this was what I got:

I actually ate the thing! Not because I made it, but maybe because I baked the batter in a brownie pan, so the cake has a shallow depth, it became more like a FRUITCAKE slice to me, and it was alright, the goods finished within one and a half days, the shorter the shelf life of any baked goods in my kitchen means, I have a fan for the goods! :-)

Well, I might, I stress on the word might try and baked other fruitcakes, but as far as I am concerned, I have used mixed dried fruit before and it turned out alright! Wohooooooooo!

P/S: If you are like me, dislike fruitcakes and mince pies , even at Christmas try this. Next dried fruit challenge, mince pies!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Carrot Cake from the 'Sweet Spot' by Pichet Ong

In Chef Ong's book 'The Sweet Spot', the recipe is called Carrot Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting. As obvious as it is, I rarely make carrot cakes but this recipe caught my eye as I was going through the book as it calls for butter to be creamed at the start, and the addition of 1/2 cup of canola at the end of the process.

The texture of the cake is almost like a semolina cake, grainy but soft and delicious. I did not ice the cake as suggested as I thought and many think that it is delicious on its own. But after a few days, the oils from the cake started to seep through the cake. All else, if eaten fresh, well up to 3 days unrefrigerated actually, it is extremely sumptuous.

Monday, August 13, 2007

pickled bamboo shoots in 'red curry'

I am not sure about those not in Asian countries, but to all of us in Asia, the rice cooker has got to be the most useful and needed kitchen appliance of all time! I mean of course there is the conventional stove top cooking methods, whereby, you was and drain the rice, add sufficient amount of water, and leave it for awhile, go back to the stove, stir to ensure no crusts form at the bottom of the pot, leave again and it goes on....

The rice cooker on the other hand is basically this, wash and drain rice, add water to a sufficient amount, leave and in 45 minutes, you have your fluffy white rice!

Yesterday, while waiting from my clothes to come out of the machine, I made lunch for myself. I cooked some white rice as I found some bamboo shoots in the fridge ( available from Asian grocers or supermarkets, I should think) and thought up of this dish. The words 'Red Curry' are in inverted commas because, this is NOT the Thai red curry you are used to, there are some influences due to the addition of the kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk and dried 'asam' I had used.

Pickled Bamboo Shoots in 'Red Curry'

8 tbs cooking oil
2 large onions, pulsed till a paste
4 tbs chili paste, store bought
1/2 cup coconut milk ( sold in mini cartons)
1/2 cup water
3 tsp sugar
2tsp salt
4 pieces dried assam ( if unavailable, use 2 tbs of tamarind pulp juice)
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
1 packet baby bamboo shoots, cleaned and sliced thinly


1. Heat up oil in a skillet or pot.
2. Add the pureed onions, fry until aromatic.
3. Add chili paste.
4. Add the coconut cream, let boil.
4. Add the water, salt sugar and baby shoots.
5. Let simmer. Add the assam. TASTE at this point, you might like it saltier, or
6. When your satisfied with the taste, add the finely sliced kaffir lime leaves.
7. Serve with white rice.

P/S : Look for these ingredients at

would too much chocolate cake cause baker's block?

Let's see, I am on the quest of finding the most perfect chocolate cake recipe ever...I made another batch of chocolate cupcakes, but this time, I used the No-Cook Fudge Frosting recipe taken from my bhg pink plaid cookbook...

The results were fantastic! My dad thought it was the moistest (is there such a word) and chocolatiest ( I know, no such word) chocolate cupcakes ever! And he, even ate the frosting!

So far , this is my ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe, until I get a new one that could actually top this!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

chocolate cupcakes with sugared flowers...

Last two weekends, I was busy 'practising' and preparing myself for a commitment, an order actually, I wanted sugarpaste flowers to top my cupcakes , so i tried making gumpaste one weekend, but i forgot to take the pictures though, and it was alright. I called a bakery supply shop, looking for ready made sugarpaste and this was the conversation went:

Me : Hello Aunty, do you know where I can purchase ready made sugarpaste?
Aunty: Here, none laa...
Me : Ohh...(disappointed tone) in that case I have to go and make my own..(sigh)
Aunty: You gone for classes before?
Me : No...Why?
Aunty: You think you can simply go make sugarpaste and flowers without having gone for classes?
Me: err......

YES I CAN! The beauty of books and the internet! How dare you think I can't! My parents did not teach me to be a loser and weep over not being able to purchase ready made sugarpaste! I should have known better! They still provide me witha book allowance of USD$200 a month! So , Aunty dearest, I did do my own sugarpaste, it was lovely, did not crack after two weeks and I don't need ready made sugarpaste no more!!!

Thank you God for giving me the patience and knowledge to do so, thank you Mummy and Daddy for buying me expensive books and thank you Uncle for supply the massive kilos of icing sugar!

P/S: 'AUNTY' and 'UNCLE' are not blood relations to me or my family, just a respectful way of calling elders...

So since that was ok, I decided to try my hand at pipng royal icing flowers, and the results were amazing, and I decided to use them as toppers on my cupcakes for my latest order, look below...

My favorite ones are the white ones...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

muffins all the way....

I had a muffin making spree, consisting of Pandan Coconut Muffins, Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins, Cashew Nut Muffins and Chocolate Chunk Muffins. What fun I had. As per normal, things are not as hard as they seem ;-) well I was anxious to have them all ready, packed in plastic containers with a doily lining each, and bagged into my white paper bag with pink or brown satin ribbon handles. They were fun, making the bags and making the muffins.

As you noticed, I just got myself this camera and am still learning how to use it, to get optimum results that is...I could say that I have progressed.

The muffins got good unbiased reviews and I ultimately found out that people actually have unexpectedly versatile tastebuds...

Pandan Coconut Muffin

I micro processed the PANDAN LEAVES ( go to ) and left them too steep in coconut cream, as opposed to steeping them in water to extract the juices out. This in turn, resulted a dense, moist muffin, very Asian I might say as reviews said '...smells and taste like Malay kueh...'.'Malay kuehs' are usually scented with pandan , or has pandan infused ingredients. Some leaves are even added into the steamer ( tiered gas stove steamer)so that the steam will be pandan scented. Another element which resulted the muffins to be almost like a traditional 'kueh' is the addition of coconut cream, which to me gives out a scent as well. Dessicated coconut also was a contributing element to the traditional kueh taste, smeel and feel.Mission accomplished.

daun pandan ( screwpine leaves)Pandanus amaryllifolius


'Pandanus amaryllifolius is a tropical plant in the screwpine genus which is known commonly as pandan and used widely in South East Asian cooking. It is an erect green plant with fan-shaped sprays of long, narrow, bladelike leaves and woody aerial roots.

The plant is rare in the wild but cultivated widely for use as a flavoring in cooking. The leaves are used fresh or wilted. They have a nutty, botanical fragrance which enhances the flavor of Thai, Malaysian, Filipino, and Indonesian foods, especially rice dishes. The leaves are sometimes steeped in coconut milk, which is then added to the dish. They may be tied in a bunch and cooked with the food. They also may be woven into a basket which is used as a pot for cooking rice. Pandan chicken, or gai ob bai toey, is a Thai dish with chicken wrapped in pandan leaves and fried. The leaves are also used as a flavoring for desserts such as pandan cake and sweet beverages.

The plant is sterile, flowers only very rarely, and is propagated by cuttings.'

Typically, I would suggest for you to use fresh pandan leaves if its available to you...why not right?

1. Chop the leaves coarsely, then put it in a blender and pulse till fine.
2. Steep the chopped leaves in the liquid the recipe calls for.
3. The color of the product you will be making will not be as green and nice as the
pandan juice, so many might suggest for you to add a drop or two of green food coloring, as cakes, muffins and 'kueh' will turn out an unapppetising shade of green if you do not do might have issues about tinting your food, so dont do it if you do not want to..

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffin

A typical Blueberry Buttermilk Muffin, moist and filled with blueberries, which I bought in the freezer section of Cold Storage. The berries were good, plump and fresh. I had them defrosted in the microwave before adding them in the muffin batter.

Cashew Nut Muffin

These were a world on their own. My Daddy's favourite out of all four made. It has ground cashews in it, chopped cashews and topped with halved cashews, plenty of cahews. Very nutty smell and flavour.

Chocolate Chunk Muffin

Packed, bagged and ready to go...