Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The Duan Wu Festival had just gone by.   This year I did not made any dumplings myself.  It is too labour intensive to do it single handledly. However, my sister together with my sister-in-law made some Nyonya-style dumplings and gave each of us some for the festival. My neighbour also gave me some.

Mini alkaline dumplings 
Typical Cantonese style of dumpling - with mung beans- yes I ate them dipped with sugar.  

These mini dumplings are filled with red beans- yummy eaten with gula melaka syrup or sugar.
As usual all the brothers and sisters came together for dinner at my eldest brother's house.

I cooked  some Potato Croquette with minced meat.

Crispy outside, soft and creamy inside.

To accompany the croquette, I also make a Pickled Cucumber Salad with Wasabi Dressing.
I tasted a Taiwanese appetizer at  DinTai Fung using black fungus and it was so refreshing. Later happened to see a similar salad being made on the TV show. As the weather is so hot nowadays, decided to make this salad as well, though be fore-warned that the wasabi dressing does pack a punch!. 


I used the Japanese cucumber.  

1. Wash them and put them in a plastic bag.

2.  Use the cleaver to smash them to pieces- seem they taste this way

3.  Take the pieces out and wash them to get rid of the seeds (so much easier to get rid of the seeds this way!) at the same time break them into smaller pieces if necessary.

4.  Season them lightly with salt and sugar and set aside to drain out some of the juices. This also makes the cucumber crunchy.

5.  meanwhile, shred the black fungus (pre-soaked) finely and blanch it in boiling water.  Drain and set aside.

6.  slice 1 red chili (more is you like it more spicy)

7.  Drain away the juices from the cucumber and mix all the ingredients together, marinate them with some white rice vinegar (I find this way the cucumbers are more flavourful) and set aside in the fridge till required.

8. Just before serving, prepare dressing- sesame oil, wasabi, rice vinegar and sugar.  (NB. drain the vinegar from the cucumbers and use it here, adding more if necesssary) I don't have the exact measurement as I just it  taste as I go along. So it's up to your own preferences, more wasabi or more vinegar. 

8.  To serve, pour dressing over the vegetables and mix well. Sprinkle some salt flakes.

Easy and deliciously light and refreshing -a nice complement to all the meaty dishes.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Everyone at some time or other has some overripe bananas lying around.
Rather than to let them rot away, why not bake some Banana and Chocolate Rice cupcake which I did over the weekend. 

This is a delicious cupcake using cheap and easily available ingredients-

The 2 star ingredients - bananas and chocolate rice.

The recipe has been adapted/modified  from yummylicious.blogspot.

150 gm butter
100 gm brown sugar
3 eggs
100 ml milk
150 gm ripe banana (mashed)
300 gm plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
50 gm chocolate rice
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.   Line a 12 hole muffin tray. 
2.   Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set  
3.   Cream butter and sugar together will light and fluffy- scraping the bowl now and then.
3.   Add in beaten egg one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
4.   add in vanilla extract.
5.  add half the flour mixture and combine
6.   add half the milk and combine
7.   add remaining flour, mashed bananas and chocolate rice and combine (do not over mix the batter).
8.   add the rest of milk and using a spatula mix everything together well.
9.   spoon into muffin tray 2/3 full each.
10. bake at pre-heated oven 175C for around 20 minutes.

The proof is in the eating- the cake texture is soft and moist.
So do feel free to copy and bake this-good things are meant to be shared.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Soothing breeze,  quiet and peaceful  atmosphere (the humming of the air-conditioner providing the added ommm..)  and sipping fragrant tea puts me into a relaxing mood after a  week of  rushing.  Where am I? I was attending a tea appreciating workshop away from the hustle and bustle within the busy shopping complex in Bangsar at The Tea Republic.

The Tea Republic, a cafe offering only tea -located in a corner on the 2nd level of Bangsar Shopping Village.

Quaint decoration- teapots and teacups were used as lampshades.

Tea cups as flower pots for the plants along the verandah where we were having the shop. 

Standing behind is one of the sisters behind the CultureRun-

This workshop was organised by CultureRun with their catch word - Do Something Different for the weekend. So instead of being a potato couch, decided to become more cultutred in tea history.

There were 13 of us in the group.
I am no tea connoisseur, only indulging in  the occasional cup of Enlgish tea and drinking Chinese tea during and after meals - you know Chinese tea helps to get rid of the fats!

The teacher is Sumita - the owner herself of The Tea Republic- gentle and soft spoken lady. She gave us a brief history on tea - how  a tea leaf that accidently fell into the cup of water which the Chinese Emperor was drinking and hence started tea drinking ceremonies in China and tea cultivation in China.  Later when tea  spread to the West and Asia. The tea plant (camellia sinensis) can grow up to 10 ft- the reason why you normally see the tea plants at chest level is just to facilitate the easy plucking of the tea shoots- as you know the fresh shoot/tip is only being harvested for tea.

She then went on to explain the different types of tea - mainly 4 groups- white, green, oolong and black.   There is also the red tea- (Rooiboos) and tisane (there is actually no tea leaves in this group- the herbals/flowers teas eg Chammomile tea, lavender etc). 

Judging from the colour of the pots of tea above and here you can see the tea -
From bottom left- white tea- this tea is  weak and delicate but with a light fragrance of jasmine flower as the tea leaves are dried over jasmine flower.  This is different from the Jasmine Chinese tea where the flowers are added to the tea.

Bottom Right: green tea- the matcha and sencha would come under this group. These tea are plucked, sorted and dried for a very short time.  The one we tasted is called Jade Sword - as with all green tea, the taste and aroma is grassy.

Top left: Black tea - this is the Lapsang souchong. Dark colour with a smoky aroma.  These teas are fully fermented and hence the darkish tone.  Pu'er tea will come under this group.

Top right: Red tea or commonly known as Rooiboos tea. This comes from the African bush tree. Its aroma to me is herbal, orangey and woody.       
 Here are the tea leaves after seeping.  Here you can see that the Red tea leaves are not actually leaves but look like needles/pines.

Each tea with their own leaves

The red tea

Black Lapsang souchong

 Jadd Sword Green tea
White tea.

After sipping those hot teas, its time to change get creative. We are to create our own brand of Ice Tea.

The ingredients that were often added to make a refreshing glass of Ice tea.

Everybody were getting excite to create their own tea - and how knows maybe it can become popular and we sell our own brand worldwide...!

My creation - Strawberry Mint Iced Tea.  It is green tea  with a dash of ginger ale and apple juice. No sugar is added.  Minty, zappely and refreshing - just ideal in this hot weather  (hard sell here)!

 I enjoyed the class and now have a better understanding of tea.    

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I had baked these mini bundt cakes for Father's Day.

I like to use my time well to browse around so many wonderful food blogs.  If I find anything interesting, I will definitely try it out myself.  Also another reason why I could want to try out the recipe is that I already have most of the ingredients required needed in my fridge.   I had promised myself that I will not waste money buying ingredients/foodstuff  that ended up in the rubbish bins because of their expiry dates. 

So that's the reason you won't find my typing out the recipe (I am too lazy to repeat it when it is not my original recipe)  instead do go to the links provided and get the recipe there.... but sometimes, I actually forgot to provide the link or I would have misplace the recipe somewhere... do forgive me.

So happened I stumble upon this recipe and since I had a packet of ground hazelnut in the fridge.

These are the mini bundt cake moulds that I bought from HongKong.
Love their precise patterns.  I did not used my camera flash as I wanted to get a good swirls of the cake.

As it was Father's Day, got to beautify things a bit.  Had a bar of Cadbury's Hazelnut chocolate, so melted them and pour it over the cooled cakes.

The cakes were a bit dry and crumbly. However it tastes very good especially with the chocolate.
Don't think I will be making this cake again though unless I have another packet of ground hazelnut sitting in my fridge again....  

Thursday, June 21, 2012


In my family of 5, only 2 of us like to eat eggplant.  So this vegetable is normally the last  ingredient I would consider buying. However when they are selling for so cheap - 3 round gorgeous homegrown eggplant for just a ringgit, I just could not overlooked this great offer.

So for a weekend dinner with just my daughter, I baked this simple eggplant dish.

The ingredients needed: eggplant (sliced thinly and season with salt and set aside, this will helps to soften, extract some of the bitter juices); diced carrot, diced tomato, diced onion and garlic, some minced meat and tomato puree (I used tomato passata).

Rinse the eggplant and then grill them.

Heat pan, saute onions till soft, add  minced garlic and diced carrot.   Add minced meat and the tomato passata and let is come to a boil Adjust seasoning and remove from the heat.

To assembly

 grease the ramekins with a bit of oil.  place 1 slice of eggplant at bottom.

 Spoon some of sauce over and top with some grated cheese. Repeat with the eggplant/sauce/cheese to fill up the top of the ramekin.

Baked the eggplant in oven 180C for around 15-20 minutes or till cheese melted/brown.

Be careful when inverting the ramekins to on serving plate.

For a vegetarian version, can omit the meat and replace with mushroom or red peppers.
Try this for the weekend. Enjoy your weekend.


I have seen this recipe last year if I am not mistaken from the post Elinluv's Corner and had wanted to bake this for the Chinese New Year. Somehow it did not materialise and but last weekend I purposely  bought half a pumpkin to make it (finally).
And it was indeed very tasty besides pumpkin is good for you.

I used a small knife to pare away some of the pumpkin. Reserve them to be used as part of the filling. I did not season the pumpkin with any salt as I wanted to retain the natural sweetness of the pumpkin. Wrap the whole pumpkin and bake it.  

The stuffing for the pumpkin can be vary according to your liking.   Since both my daughter and myself are supposed to be on a "diet", I have omitted the croutons.  I pan fry the bacon till crispy and set them aside. Then I saute just a quarter of diced onion till fragrant before adding in some frozen spinach (thaw and squeeze dry), 1 king mushroom (diced), the remaining  pumpkin flesh and some black olives. Season with sale and ground black pepper. Add Remove from heat and mix  in some cheddar cheese.

Remove the whole pumpkin from the oven (careful it is HOT) and spoon the stuffing carefully into the pupmkin. Wrap and return to oven to bake for around 15-20 minutes.   

 You can remove the foil and let it grill to golden brown.  If you prefer the pumpkin soft, bake it for a longer time.

Sprinkle the bacon bits on top and serve hot. Simply delicious.
To get the recipe please see blog http://www.elinluv's/

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


After the visit to the Pet World,  we went to over to  Din Tai Fung at The Gardens for our lunch. 

Din Tai Fung is an award winning restaurant in Taiwan specialising in xiaolongbao (small steamed dumplings).  While I was in Taipei on my previous trip, I missed trying this restaurant as every time we made a decision to go, we were being side tracked somehow and I was as my daughter said "very ng kum yuen" (crestfallen) when I came home without eating there.

So now that they have opened in Kuala Lumpur, I have to try them.

Xiaolongbao are made to order at the restaurant behind  the open kitchen I notice that  the staff are so busy working around 4 stations. Sorry guys, did not noticed what you were doing at the 1st station.
It is the 2nd or center station where the action is.

There are around 4-5 persons working around this table.  You can see clearly the smooth operation - one rolls out thin rounds of the pastry, next one pick it up and stuff with the meat filling and each dumpling is weigh meticulously before it is deftly enclosed with the exact number of pleats and then placed into bamboo containers to be steamed at the next station.

The bamboo steamers are then placed over these holes to steam.

Each seating is given this bag to place your belongings.  This is very good - ensure a safe and comfortable environment and you can peace of mind as you dine.

Brightly decorated interior and seating are not too cramped. You difinitely don't want to hear another person conversation vice versa.  

The service was very good.   The staff were dressed in  the same colour and style of their Taipei counterparts and were all smiling and friendly, quick to respond to our call  and I find myself speaking to them in Mandarin ..haha ... but at least they understand what I am saying.  

As it was lunchtime, Sarah ordered the Spicy Hot and Sour Noodles.  

The soup was not spicy enough (our Malaysian standard) so we had to add in their special chili sauce which is pretty fiery!!

Xiao Cai- house speciality appetizer. Very appetizing indeed, shreds of black fungus, taufoo and I am not sure what you call these cold noodles mixed with sesame oil and chili oil.  I have seen these "cold noodles" being sold at the pasar malam- very QQ.

We ordered 6 pieces  of  the Xiaolongbaos.  It is a challenge to pick up these delicate baos without breaking them. A sip of the fresh tasty soup, a small dab of the vinegared julienned ginger before devouring the soft moist mound of meat- scrumptious!
We also had the Taiwanese  Spring roll.
I was actually expecting a vegetable spring roll.

Was pleasantly surprised that it turned out to be a crispy roll with tender moist meat filling.

Both of us had Chinese tea and the staff were quick to refill our glasses throughout the meal. 

As there are only 2 of us, we were unable to try the numerous dishes but this is going to be our favourite place for a quick lunch.