Monday, September 26, 2011

A dog's life

These are my "other children"

The "Queen" of the house- Phow-Phow - she has put on a lot of weight. It's heavy carrying her - why carry her? She is so quick to get inside the house the moment the door opens and she refuse to budge and put her hand to push you away when you try to move her.

"I have lost the battle and I can't even lick my wound"

After fighting with Chu-Chu- another stray dog which I rescued.

"I cannot face anyone now with my cone of shame"

Shortly after that we finally neutered Toto.

Toto likes to turn on his back whenever he is playing with Phow-Phow.

"kissing each other"

"What? why did you call me when I am busy?"

"let's continue our smooching"

Sunday, September 25, 2011


No, this is not the rose mantou.

This the birthday cake baked by my sister Vicky in Australia for the other sister, May's birthday over the weekend.
When she was telling me about the cake she was going to make, I could not picture how it would turned out.

But when I saw this picture, I was greatly surprised. She did such a creative cake to create something along the medical world. Pair of sethescope, the heart (May is in open heart surgery department), the pair of surgical gloves and the gauze cap and the "blood" (it was jam).

She did baked a Thomas the Train Cake for my nephew's birthday too earlier this year!

My birthday cake for May is this tray of Rose Mantou. Of course, I can only send a photo to her over here.

The recipe here is taken from the blog of Table for 2 -Wendy. I like her recipe, they are precise and detailed instructions are given. I have tried her recipes and I find that most of time they are reliable and successful.

I managed to find some purple sweet potato from the market. Steamed them and pureed them with water to make a fine paste before adding to the dough.

The dought after kneading- the dough is left to proof.
After an hour, the dough has doubled and is punched down before rolling and shaping.

I rolled the dough into a long roll and then weigh and cut into small balls

These balls are left in the fridge while I was shaping a few of them at a time.

Rolling out each piece - I rolled the edge thinner to create the rippled effect instead of hand shaping them.

Layering each piece onto of another before rolling into a log.

These are the first 2 roses.
Then I realised I have to help the rose to "open" their petals.

Here they are - looking pretty and ready for the 2nd proofing

After another 45 minutes of 2nd proofing, they are ready for the wok. Steam them over high heat for 20 minutes.
Remove immediately from plate to cool. The colour is a bit pale as I did not add any colouring.

They are very soft and you can smell the fragrance of the sweet potato too. I am totally satisfied with the work, its challenging and creative to make.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I love Minced Beef Pie. My first love for this pie started while I was in secondary school. My school is nearby the then Cold Storage Weld Supermarket. I remember that after school I would walked over (before the school rules changed and we were forbidden to go there in our uniform) and I would buy a minced beef pie from the supermarket and would then proceed next to the bookstall and sat down on the floor and browse through the magazines while eating this pie!

This pie heavy with minced beef in a gravy and wrapped in a flaky pastry. It does not have the "beefy" smell but at the same time, you can taste the beef.

When I started working, I was still able to buy these lovely pies at a coffeeshop nearby my office. Every morning, these were sold fresh and hot from the coffeeshop. However, they soon disappeared and I really missed them.

Since then whenever I happened to come across any deli selling beef pie, I would without hesitation buy one at least. But sad to say many times, I am disappointed with them. They are either tasteless and bland or they are just meat pie in a floury sauce.

So, when I had some baked pie shells leftover I decided to bake these Minced Beef Pie myself. The recipe was taken from Petitchef and I am very happy that I have found my lost Minced Beef Pie. I used the mashed potato on top instead.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Thank You Malaysia for a good long weekend. Malaysia got the most public holidays and I am not complaining.
I like long weekends- plenty of time to relax and do things which I like. One of them baking/cooking.
Halloween Day must be coming and the markets are stacked with pumpkins everywhere.
I don't know whether it is cheap or not but RM9.00 for a whole pumpkin sounds reasonable to me.
What do you do with a whole pumpkin? One of my favourite soup is- you guess it- Pumpkin Soup. I love the thick pureed pumpkin in the smooth velvety soup -its so filling and comfort food at its best- especially in this rainy season now- yummy.
I reserved some pumpkin for baking too. This recipe is adapted from the blog of Table for Two.
I baked 3 cakes - 2 small round ones which I gave to my customer as a token for their support for my mooncakes and a square one.
I had reduced the sugar -recipe calls for 200 gm but I used only 175 gm as the pumpkin definitely added some sweetness too.
The cake texture is wonderfully soft and moist. For the square cake, I added some cinnamon powder too and the house smells wonderful while baking.

Being not satisfied with a plain cake, I added some cream cheese frosting too! And what more can I say - heavenly! It seems a good pairing too.

I also took the time to cook dinner for my sister- she is the one who initiated this mooncake business, her collegues being the best supporters. Nothing fancy, just homely Roasted Chicken with Oranges and Lemon and the sauce is Orange Marmalade Sauce served with some Angel Hair Spaghetti and brocolli. Of course starter is the Pumpkin Soup!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


My niece and hubby moved into their new house recently. This happy couple got married last September and now they are moving into their very own's love nest.

May God Bless them in all their future undertakings.

This lively plant greets you on entering. Behind is the dining room.

The spacious living room -warm and calming tones faces the dining room.

The dining room and table already laiden with containers of food, waiting for the feasting to begin. As a big family, we always loves the opportunity to come together to catch up the latest happening in the family and of course feasting.

The stairs leading upstairs to the bedrooms. Note the pretty stencil.

For our potluck lunch cum dinner, I baked these Potato Pie.

The creamy Chicken and Mushroom filing in the pie shell and topped with smooth mashed potato.

I baked this cake for them- a "tall" cake signifying "each step upwards" something like bright future in their careers.

I piped these vertical lines on the side and roses on the top- meant to give them a bouquet of roses for the joyous occasion.

Lightly dusted some pink powder to add some colour. Red colour is a must in all sorts of festivites for the Chinese-but in this case, its just pink but the meaning is the same- good luck.

The cake is a White Cake and Chocolate cake with coconut frosting filling - recipe taken from Iam Baker. I like her tutorial on icing and find them innovative and challenging.

I also baked a Coffee Bundt Cake just in case we are hungry by the afternoon. But I don't have to worry there were plenty of food. Her grandmother cooked some wonderful chicken curry, Nasi Kunyit and Fried Chicken too.

My second project- Shanghai Mooncakes.

I was just playing around with the mooncakes and had no intentions to sell them.

However I am glad that those who tasted them, liked them and wanted to purchase them.

Suddenly, I joined the wagon of mooncakes makers for the season.

I liked Shanghai mooncakes and so this is the only type that I made. I will leave the traditional mooncakes to the experts.

I never thought that to get into business is so time consuming and being responsible for the end results- no more "play-play". I also found that there are different tastes and demands out there.

So, I will listen to the advice of my sister and just do what I was taught and give my very best.

The first tested Shanghai mooncakes. The critics said the dought is a bit dry. Ok, will test the dough more.

The second testing, some liked them very much and the orders started to come in.

So during the long holiday, started my first batch of orders.

The dough and the paste being be properly weighed and ready.

I am using pure White Lotus paste. I found that it is less sweet and compliments the salted egg yolk well. One of my friends liken it to "like ice-cream".

Wrap paste with dough. As the dough is rather soft, it really is time consuming to get them into a perfect round. Patiently brush each mooncake with egg wash and top with pumpkin seeds.

Thank God after baking these can hold their shape.

Sarah helping me with the packing.

There are so may varieties of the boxes for sale. But of course these are cheap ones not those expensive types created by the different bakeries and hotels. But who wants to pay for the expensive boxes?

These are Green Tea and Red Bean Paste mooncakes which I made from the leftover dough. Very yummy too.

I wish to say a big Thank you for all your support and wish you all a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival.


I am glad for the long Hari Raya Holidays. My schedules seems packed but I am glad there is something to do instead of being a potato couch!

My first project was the baking of 200 Red Velvet cupcakes and packing them as pre-wedding gifts. The bride-to-be had chosen these cupcakes in lieu of the traditional "Kar Nui Peang" for her pre-wedding gift exchange. I am very happy to be able to do it for her and as I prepared them, I pray that God will bless their wedding and their life together!

Day one saw me busy baking non-stop the cupcakes. I had a new helper- an ice cream scoop. It makes work so, so much easy, just scoop them into the cases seems to be a piece of cake! No messy drips (thus saving much of the cake batter) thus more economical and I also get more or less even size cupcakes.

Bad picture taken by my sister - that's all the help she gave me haha.

Here the red beauties- ready for more beautifying and making up. The individual boxes are also ready.

After being "dressed up" the next day. I have decided to keep the decoration simple- "just 2 hearts entwined as one" as the Chinese saying goes. I lightly dusted them with rose pink chocolate dusting.

Each box holds 4 cupcakes. After the packaging, these goes into the fridge ready for delivery on 30/8/2011.

The finished products. I actually got a scare of my life while I was packing them for delivery in the morning. Suddenly, I found that I am short of at least 12 cupcakes. Oh my God! Luckily, there were some extra and on counting, only 10 extra. Help.... calmed myself and did another count and I found that I have miscalculated- actually short of 1 box only. What a relief!.

This taught me a lesson. No, 2 lessons:-

1. Always bake extra to stand by

2. Always have a final count before finishing.

I am delighted and satisfied with the results. My customer was happy with the results too which is the most important thing.