Sunday, February 20, 2011


Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to me.

When I reached home on the 14/2/2011, I was really surprised with this mini cupcakes done by my daugther, Sarah. No, my birthday is not on 14/2/2011 but the next day.

So, it was definitely a very pleasant and happy surprise. She had taken the initiative to bake them all by herself- I wasn't home to coach her. She had iced them too and they looked like little roses which is totally beyond me when she had not done any icing before!

I say that hers look better than mine!

Thank You my dearest Sarah

These are mini Vanilla Cupcakes with pink buttercream icing. The cakes are light and moist and the buttercream not too sweet.

The beauty is that she did not mess up my kitchen- everything is in place and spick and span.

I also received my birthday present from her and Esther!

Very thoughtful and useful gifts- thank you my dears.


This is an easy and almost fuss-free homemade wine.

The main ingredients are raisins, rock sugar and water and of course the wine yeast. This is a sweet wine and very mellow and delicious. However, its been a long time since I make it as recently the raisins on sale were very oily and thus are not suitable. So this time, I decided to try using the packet of organic sultanas all the way from Australia.

The ratio of yeast biscuit is the same- 2 sweet and 1 bitter. Here I am pounding them into fine powder in my mini mortar and pestle

Now this is an heirloom- I mean the glass Horlicks bottle! They are not available in the market anymore- everything is plastic or refillable bags. Mixed the yeast with the sultanas

The sultanas are evenly coated with the yeast before adding the liquid.
Boil a packet (400 gm) of rock sugar with 2 bottles (use those soya sauce bottles) of water.
The syrup is cooled lukewarm before adding to the sultanas.

Cover the bottle and leave aside in a cool dark place for around 30 days.

This is what happen on the 2nd day. The sultanas will float to the top and then later it will sink to the bottom as the liquid become more clear.

I also had the time to make some OVEN DRIED TOMATOES during the weekend. The sun-dried tomatoes on the market are so expensive. So make your own. These are very useful in pizza or salad or spaghetti. Just cut tomatoes into thin slices. Remove the seeds and pat dry. Season with salt, pepper, dried rosemary/oregano and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake in low over (150C) for around 1 hour.

Place them in a bottle when cooled and keep in fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.
I used some bread to soak up the juices in the pan- delicious.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Pumpkin is such a marvellous ingredient. Can be used in a savoury dish as well as sweet dish.

As I had some steamed pumpkin left over from the previous dish (Fish Balls with Pumpkin sauce), decide to use it in sweet way this time.

So this is the result, GOLDEN PUMPKIN BUTTER CAKE. For the 1st cake, I decided to add Pure Vanilla Extract (Thanks to my sister May from Australia). The recipe calls for pumpkin seeds as topping and as I don't have any I used Sunflower seeds instead- equally good-

Then for the 2nd cake, I decided to use mixed spices- cinnammon and nutmeg as flavouring. Definitely a good choice- the aroma reminds of Thanksgiving and those pumpkin pies.

But then, I made a mistake. Maybe I don't like to waste food and I have some mascarpone cheese filling leftover. So decided to use it as a filling for this cake. The flavour can goes well together but then the cheese filling started to melt in this hot weather, so maybe best to leave the cake plain.

Both cakes are moist and crumbly. Good recipe to keep and its definitely will be my favourite- not too sweet.

Monday, February 7, 2011


For the 1st day of the CNY we all gather at my eldest brother's house since this is the 1st year after the demise of my mother. I am glad that as the eldest male, he had carried on the tradition of gathering the whole Chan clan. He is busy getting the wine for us!

Everyone is all dressed in new clothes to welcome the new year and it was a very happy occasion.

There lots of the goodies of course.

This is planted by my sister-in-law- again carrying on tradition of my mother. She used to plant these arrowroot bulbs (ngo koo) around 2 weeks before the CNY so that it grow tall and green on the CNY day.

Of course, we have our gambling games- dont be mistaken that we are all hardcore gamblers, but rather the thrill and excitement around the square table! Moreover its the bonding and gathering of all ages. It is great fun and laughter!

Hey- you are supposed to play the mahjong - not show off your Blackberry or whatever models-

Talking about mahjong- this is a joke- so many hands and minds - trying to figure out how to set up the new mahjong table! haha-

That's what new year is about- fun, laughter and togetherness!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Toto says "GONG XI FATT CHOY - I want an ang pow too"

Tradition is that married daughters return to the maternal home for the 2nd day of the new year. So again we gather for dinner and of course YEE SANG - tossing together as a family. These few years we had progressed to 2 tables at least with the kids growing up fast.

Salmon Yee Sang brought by eldest sister from Overseas Restoran.

My contribution to the dinner is "KUM YOKE MUN TONG"- plentiful and bountiful harvest.

There is fish (yu) ball (round completeness- yuen) pumpkin (gold) and fatt choy (good luck) that makes up this dish. Very appropriate for this CNY dinner.

It is actually FISH BALLS IN PUMPKIN SAUCE. I brought whole pumpkin before the new year and this is a good way to make use of it. I did not make the fish paste myself but got them from the wet market where the lady makes them fresh. I mixed them with fatt choy, chopped red chilli, spring onion and celery.

The Hakka people used to make the fish/meatballs (yoke yuen) in round shape. I have watched my mother-in-law making them. You got to take a lump of paste and start to squeeze them through your thumb and fist to get that round shape. It is messy and sticky though. Still need a lot of practice here.

Steamed them quickly - just 8 minutes will do and set them aside
Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkin sauce- steamed pumpkin and puree them with chicken stock.
Adjust seasoning and pour over fish balls when ready to serve. - Easy and good.

There is the usual Steamed Chicken, Roasted pork, Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk, Braised Mushroom with Dried Oyester and the small ngo koo with leeks, waxed sausage and duck.

May our tables always be plentiful!