Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

2/10/2010 Saturday

Went for exercise with Esther and Sister. After exercise, we went for dim sum at the Jade Village CafĂ© in Taman Connaught. The same place that we went with May & Co. Only 3 of us – the bill came up to RM47.00. The dim sum costs around RM2.60-2.80 per plate nowadays!

Esther had to go to her school for her last minute tips on the competition tomorrow.

Went home to do some gardening. The cactus plant is growing too heavy and is leaning to one side. The plant has been with us for more than 20 years now and whatever the old folks say that cactus plant help to block off evil and bad luck, I think it must have help us through these years. I was a bit sad to have to cut it. But hope that with new growth, it will be a fresh start again for the next generation.

Anyway I have the willow tree beside it and I hope it will grow bigger to give the shade for Sarah’s car.

In the afternoon, as I have tell myself –no more lying around and watching the TV. So decide to make some cakes- Tried out the DARK CHOCOLATE SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE. I have to finish the sour cream in the fridge otherwise it will go bad. In the end instead of a pound cake, I make some into cupcakes and decided to brush up my icing skill and make a PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING. Wow, it not only looks pretty but also taste fabulous. Chocolate and Peanut Butter are really a good match of flavours.

This "cake stand" is a pretty mug given by my sister Vicky.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am amaze by filo pastry. Those layers upon layers of crisp pastry that melts in your mouth.
So I bought a packet and tried them out over the weekend.

The whole packet can make about 2 lots ie 2 short logs - there must be around 20 over sheets. You need to really thaw it out well otherwise they tend to stick together and you really need patience to peel them as they are so thin and filmsy. There will be some broken pieces but its ok as once they are baked, you can only see the layers. I think I like using them- messy yes- to butter each piece properly but the texture is really good- crispy and melt in the mouth.

I noted that I had to work fast so that the rest of the pastry does not get dry. I found that it require my patience to make sure each layer is brushed with melted butter and I am overwhelmed with so much butter being used - definitely not a low cal dessert! But a little indulgence is fine with me.

Brushing each layer with melted butter

For the filling, I used both red and green apples- sweet and tart together. I added some Arrowroot glaze (thank you May for that bottle of Arrowroot- had been wondering how to make full use of it) to the mixture and found that it just sort of thickens the filling so that it is not too wet and it just gooey and smooth.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Continuing the Food from The Heart - this is the replica of the Nine-Layer Kueh from my grandma repertoire. I can remember that my grandma used to make this for her own birthday. I guess it is the meaning- you know -nine-nine= meaning long life in Chinese. We definitely looked forward to this every time. Her kueh is in red and white with red layer on top- again good luck to see red!

She started the procedure by preparing the glutinous rice. Sorting out any of the rice so that she get pure glutinous rice before soaking it overnight. The next morning, she would go to our neighbour's house - they had a stone mill and she would milled the rice herself . The milled rice mixture is then taken back home and divided into 2 parts. She mixed one part red with the red powder. She would sit by the steamer as she slowly steamed each layer (we used wood back then). It is really a food of patience and love. And nothing beats the favour.

I came upon a recipe and here I have reproduce it. The recipe use Rose Syrup for the red colour and Pandan Juice for the green colour. Of course, nowadays, we use the packet glutionous rice powder. Try the ones from Thailand. I made 2- one the traditional red/white that my grandma used to make.

I mix 3 parts, white, pink and red. Easier to divide into 3 jugs for easy pouring and getting the same layer throughtout.

Wait till the last layer is steamed- around 5 minutes each before adding the next layer.

How to eat this kueh- I like peeling off each layer and savouring it layer by layer.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Food from our heart

This is one very popular dish among the Chinese culture. In China, it is being made during the Chinese New Year and family gatherings too, I think. It is simple fare that every Chinese family could make –ingredients are readily available and economical.

But to me this dish brings back memories of my father and grandmother. Yes, Father went to China and brought my Grandma back to Malaysia during the Communist Revolution. She came into our lives and bring with her the cuisine that she knew and which later became our favourites as we grew up. I can still remember she making the Nine-Layer Kueh for her own Birthday every year from scratch – from sorting the rice, and grinding them to a paste and to watching over the fire when steaming them.

However there is this dish that I can make and which was taught by her- Chive Dumpling.

This dish conjured back memories of bonding, togetherness, family fun, laughter and full bellies! Our children used to join in the fun and we always take the opportunity to relate to them about this dish.

When we were small , food has to be simple and easy to make (to fill the hungry mouths) and plentiful (to fill our bellies). So this dish fits the bill alright as I had 10 siblings.

The preparation of this dish would begin with scrubbing clean the square wooden table top. It was laid down on the floor. Glass bottles of all sizes were cleaned and dried. We then gathered around the table top. Grandma would then start to mix the dough. Plain water and flour mix together and kneaded till soft and smooth. Then she rolled them into long stick and then cut into small round. We –my sisters will be readied with glass bottles and we rolled the dough into small disc ready to be filled. Sometime, we played with the flour and whenever my youngest brother wanted to join and we gave him a piece of dough and his milk bottle as a rolling pin!

Meanwhile, my mother will be preparing the fillings. Minced the pork (by hands) chop, chop chop (imagine around 3 kgs- she got pretty strong arms – I mean figuratively to carry us throughout life).

There is always enough to fill us up (yes, we would boast who eat the most) and leftovers were kept for the following morning breakfast before we go to school which we always looked forward to.

The older generation had left us. Yet this is one dish which is a favourite of ours and our spouses and to our children and hopefully to their children.

We would make this whenever the other siblings return from overseas for holidays and we had a good time catching up with each other and talking about everything under the sun while making these dumplings. I would like to think that this dish binds us together no matter what our differences are and we can pass this on to the next generation.


To serve 4

1 kg Plain flour
2 eggs
enough water around 1 rice bowl or more

1. Mix together with form a pliable dough
2. knead till smooth and elastic.
3. Rest dough


500 gms minced pork (a bit of fat is ok and its better to chop by hand- got the texture)
300 prawns (cut into small cubes- no need to mince)
a bunch of chives (more or less depending on own choice) washed and cut into 1 cm lengths
1 egg
salt, pepper and sesame oil
Mix together in one direction till a bit starchy.

Roll dough into small disc
Stuff with fillings and pleat them together
Cook in boiling water till they float up (around 15-20 minutes depending on size of dumpling)
Enjoy with chili sauce – especially the “Kampong Koh” Brand or any garlic type.

Here we are - making the Chive Dumpling when the family gathered together in September for my niece's wedding.

My sister, Yoke and May kneading and rolling out the dough

May cutting the dough -she is very good at this- even size !

rolling out the dough

This stage is usualy done by the "experts" who know how to pleat the dough to encase the fillings

Boil the dumpling in boiling water till they float up

Dish up and serve

Sometimes, we serve this with a vegetable soup (I remember we used to drink the water itself as a soup!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

My post was cut off when someone suddenly switch off the wireless connection.
Everybody- I mean my family members were surprise that I could make such a big cake.
Glad that the cake were finished off!

Here's to the happy couple with their sons, Jason and Kenny. Many Happy Returns.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Peter is my brother-in law. His birthday fell on the 13/11/2010 and my sister, Jennifer had planned to celebrate with a buffet birthday party. She "commissioned" me to make the birthday cake. Her birthday also fell on the 14/11/2010 and her sons asked me to bake her a birthday cake for the same day too. She also requested me to make some cupcakes for her relatives too.

I was nervous about the "big" project but was challenged too. After some planning and testing a week before the actual date, I was confidental enought to go ahead.

I baked the cakes a day before the party. I wanted to assembly them on the actual day itself.

I adapted the recipe for a GOLDEN VANILLA CAKE and made it into a TRAFFIC LIGHT CAKE- red, orange and green colour- favour with rum and decorated with dessicated coconut. I tinted the dessicated light pink - cannot have white colour- must have red colour for such an auspicious occasion after all 60 years is a milestone in one's life. Must have some birthday peach as well. Whipped the cream- I use the Gold Label Whipped Cream this time- it is more white and whip better than the Anchor brand. First, brush with the rum, then the apricot gel and then the whipped cream, next layer and repeat.
The cake was finally decorated and again into the fridge. That’s the problem of using fresh whipped cream- they cannot stand well. Maybe next time should try the Cream Cheese Frosting but I don’t want the cake to feel too heavy with 3 layers etc.

Next, the cheesecake- I was supposed to use fresh strawberries as deco but did not get them yesterday- nobody manage to get them for me. So use same Hershey kisses as the deco. The top of the cheesecake was a bit "wrinkled" so I spread some of the Butterscotch sauce over the top let it drip over the sides.

Next, I tinted the buttercream purple (lilac), orange, pink, green and yellow. No blue colour- no good luck for Chinese- but then there is no blue colour around. I piped the icing and Sarah helped to decorate with the bits and pieces etc. She then asked whether she can take 1 box for her friend’s birthday tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


No where to go today, decided to make the PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE.

This was one of the few cakes that I was taught to make during my secondary school Home Science Cookery Class. It must have been my Cookery class teachers who have ignited in me the interest to cook and bake. I thank God for such dedicated teachers.
Tweaked the recipe and the result was very good if I may say so. Maybe a bit too sweet for my taste but it was a welcome treat for everyone and the cake was finished before the afternoon. So far none of the cakes have received such a "warm" welcome. The texture was moist and soft and the pineapple gave it just a kind of hint of tropical flavour.


I am very happy and very excited because at last, I can have my own blog. Thanks to my son Jeremy in Australia. He doesn't think I am too old, too uneducated in the IT of today to participate in this universal past time of today. His support to me is very much valued.

In fact all my children are very supportive of my cooking and baking and they are my critics. Cooking and baking is my passion and todate, I am still trying to perfect my skills and this is what this blog is about.