Monday, December 16, 2013



This will be my last post for 2013. I will be taking a short break till 2014. 

It is less than 2 week now before my son's wedding dinner and suddenly there seems to be hundred of little details to look into! One of them was to test and bake some cupcakes and a cake for the center-piece of my cupcake tower. 
I did a Red Velvet Cake for my nephew's wedding and this time I decided on a Rainbow Cake.
Tested this recipe from the Flavours Magazine.  It is a basic sponge cake recipe.   

The food colour is to be added separately to the cake batter and to be divided and bake separately.  As I have only  one 6" cake tin, decided to put them together.  I used only 3 colours and this is the way of layering the cake batter.  

A spoonful of the first colour is ladled into the centre of the cake tin.   Add another spoonful of 2nd colour into the centre of the first colour batter and continue till all the cake batter is used up.

 Bake the sponge cake at 180C for around 15 minutes till golden brown.
The colourful hues of the cake really stand out pretty well.  Though  the cake texture is really soft and fluffy and eggy flavour rather strong, I find it to be a bit plain and ordinary for the occasion.
It will still be a rainbow cake and I am looking into several possibilities.  

Meanwhile over the weekend I took  out the cupcake tower and revamp it for the Big Day!. 

Enjoy your holidays. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013



I will be making my presence felt in KLIA this week- no... I am not  travelling to any exotic places for year end holidays.  Went there yesterday to pick up Sarah and following weekend looking forward to see my son and new daughter-in-law!. 

I miss her dearly.  Very very happy that she can make it back for her brother's wedding. 

Welsh cakes and Orange Marmalade - all the way from Cardiff...perfect for tea-time... delighting the tastebuds as well as touching my heart!

She said she tasted the most delicious cuppa of coffee at one small cafe and bought a packet of the coffee beans for me... how thoughtful. More Irish chocolates - Bailey's.  

Have a great weekend.

Monday, December 9, 2013


I have been reading about a group of bloggers baking the Italian Almond Tart.   Reading the recipe, I found myself thinking... "this is my type of tart....must make this". There are at least 3 parts of doing this tart.  First prepare the almond paste -mixing grounded almonds with egg white and icing sugar to form a dough which  is later incorporated into the batter. Then to prepare a sweet tart pastry and blind-baking this beforehand. Finally the filing itself.  The reviews of this tart were very promising ie easy to assembly and from the photos also looked very tempting. Check out the post by Kitchen Flavours.  
And I remember another tart which I have bookmarked- Bakewell Tart- a tart which is very popular in United Kingdom.  This is similar to the Italian Almond Tart except there is no need for any almond paste.  I follow the recipe taken from The BBC Good Food Mazagine June 2013.  It is a lighter and healthy version of the original recipe. 

Ingredients: 50 gm ground almonds, 50 gm cornmeal(yes, can finally make use of  the corn flour), 50gm golden caster sugar (I use brown sugar); 1/2 teasp baking powder, 2 eggs, 100 gm yogurt; 2 tablesp rapeseed oil (I used corn oil) and almond extract (I used vanilla extract). The jam is for spreading on the pastry base of the tart.  

    The recipe use shop bought short crust pastry.   I decided to make the pate brisee- sweet pastry. Pulse together in the food processor 200 gm flour, 90 gm sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 125 gm cold butter.  Slowly add in 1 egg yolk, 2 tbsp iced water and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Gather up the dough and chill for around 30 minutes.

 I used an 8inch pie pan with removable base.  Roll out pastry  and carefully mould into the pan.  Prick base with fork and place to chill for another 15 minutes.

Blind-bake the the tart shell at 180C for around 15 minutes. This is my "weights" whenever  blind-baking is require- unused very old rice.

Remove the parchment paper with the weights and bake for further 15 minutes till golden brown. Cool and spread pastry base with jam  (which I have forgotten to do so, but it still taste good).  

Prepare the filling: Mix almonds, cornmeal, sugar  and baking powder together. Mix the yogurt with eggs and vanilla extract.  Tip egg mixture into the dry ingredients and gently stir together till everything is combined- don't overmix. 
Pour almond filling into pastry and sprinkle some flake almonds on top (next time must toss more- it gives a nice cruchy bite).  

Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes till top is golden brown. 
The recipe states to bruch the top with glaze -icing sugar with water which I omitted.
Cool completely before cutting... it is delicious! Defnitely I will make this again.

I decided to make an apple galette with the remaining pastry. 
I used 1 Granny Smith and 1 Fuji apple for this small galette.  Peel, core and slice thinly.  Squeeze of lemon juice and toss in some cinnamon powder, brown sugar and cornstarch.     

 Roll out the leftover pastry on the foil and arrange the apple slices around the pastry leaving an inch margin.  Fold in the pastry towards to centre to enclose the apples as shown above. Brush with beated egg and bake at 200C for around 25-30 minutes.  

 Rustic, hot,  aromatic and yummy apple galette.  I will keep this for myself .....

 I found 3 small packets of walnuts in the freezer. So it got to be Walnut Coffee Cupcakes.  Nice moist crumbs and intense coffee flavour.  As I have reduced the sugar dramatically and as I did not topped it with any frosting, it tasted a slightly  bitter.  A coffee lover would  not find any fault with these but children  may find it too strong coffee taste, best to frost it with a coffee buttercream for them.
Last but not least, how about this jar of Almonds Cookies?   Just tested this cookie for the coming Chinese New Year.  Recipe again taken from the Bake Along group.   I added 2 tablespoons of almonds nibs as well as a teaspoon of vanilla essence to the dough before shaping.  Next time, I would shape the cookie thinly and maybe add almond extract instead but it certainly has a nice crunch and nutty flavour.  

Have a great week.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Let me see, I have cooked Hokkien-style Fried Mee, "Singapore-style" Fried Meehoon ("sing chow mee"), Fried "Loh shui fun";  the simple Vegetarian Fried Meehoon and even Shanghai-style mee-sua with dried prawns and spring onions and last but not least not forgetting our family favourite- oddles of noodles served with our family minced meat sauce in soup----all except Cantonese-style Fried Noodles.  

I like the robust dark soya sauce and the pieces of lard in Hokkien-style fried mee (my favourite);  the sweetness of the onions, tomatoes and char siew in the Singapore fried meehoon, the smooth and chewniess of loh shui fun; the rich aroma of the rice wine in the dried prawns and spring onion with the Shanghai Mee sua and the assortment of the vegetables in the vegetarian fried meehoon.  

Most of the Cantonese fried mee that I had eaten tend to be bland and the sauce to be a thick slurry of cornstarch. Oh, not that I dislike the dish wholly, I do find the crisp and slightly blacken fried meehoon the best portion of the dish though.  

When I saw the recipe on Kitchen Flavours blog - thai-style fried noodles, I immediately think of the Cantonese Style Fried Noodles aka "wat tan hor" and here's my version. 

Ingredients:  kway teow, choy sum (spinach); thinly sliced pork (marinated with soya sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil and pepper), spring onions - white part diced and green parts cut into length, sliced ginger eggs, minced garlic and mix the seasoning together (so that you can adjust the taste here as it will be a very quick stir fry)- soya sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and pepper and water.

Kitchen Flavours give us a good tip- that is to separate (using your hands) the kway teow with some soya sauce before frying them.  This way the kway teow is seasoned and they won't lump together when cooked.
I pan-fry the kway teow till slightly golden brown and fragrant. Dish up and set aside.
Heat oil, add minced garlic and white of spring onions till fragrant,  add the pork.
Add sliced ginger,spring onions and spinach. Splash some rice wine and add some water.
Bring to boil and add in the beaten eggs and immediately off the heat and spoon sauce over the kway teow.

Serve immediately.   Nothing beats homecooked.  Simply yummilicious!
Saturday morning brunch for Esther before she goes to work and for me before I started my spring cleaning over the weekend.

Yes spring cleaning already began for me over the weekend...... got to get the house bright and clean for Jeremy's wedding as well as the Chinese New Year which falls on 31/1/2014!

On Sunday, it was another one-pot meals... ABC soup served with elbows macaroni- a replicate of the macaroni and ham in chicken soup that we had in HongKong. (sorry forgot to take photos ..again).  


Thursday, November 28, 2013


Just want to share this with everyone....

Taken from: Our Daily Bread..

".....From beginning to end, all of life is a continous gift- giving by God.  We deserve nothing.  He owes us nothing.  Yet He gives us everything. If we remember this, we need not feel selfish or guilty.  Whatever material blessings we have are a gift from our gracious God."   by Dennis J. DeHaan.

Interestingly, I read that Thanksgiving Day coincides with Chanukah, a Jewish festival this year which can only happen again in another 70000 years. (taken from King Arthur Flour Blog.)

So I check out this Jewish festival,  from our dear friend, the wikipedia,  Besides the historical and rituals listed,  I realise that mostly fried foods are eaten during this festival and one of them is Sufganiyot.

What is Sufganiyot (don't ask me to pronounce this as my pronounication is hopeless!).

It is a doughnut - filled with jelly and deep fried and sugar coated.

The doughnut is make by placing jam on a round of the dough and then sealed with another round.  Then it is let to proof  till puffy before deep fry.
Hey... wait a minute.... this sounds familiar.... jam filled doughnut?.

What about my doughnut muffins recipe... they are baked in a muffin tray and a dollop of jam is place on the batter before topping with more batter to cover.

So I share once again my Doughnut Muffins.

Enjoy and have a great weekend and Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


When 5 years old little Mei-Mei from next door saw me, she asked "Aunty, why you never bake me cupcake?"
It made me realise that I have been neglecting my baking and I have been getting lazy already....
Maybe my motivation has gone... yes gone overseas with was always fun and challenging for both of us to bake together. For me, its a joy to teach her and to pass on family favourites recipes. She is my personal food critic :D!

So over the weekend, it was time to dust the flour off the recipes and get the oven hot once again. 
Stick my head into the fridge and discovered 2 canisters of green tea powder ... better make use of them before they expire ! 
So, it is Green Tea Madeleines besides I had only used the madeleine tray which I brought from Melbourne only once so far.     
I have actually documented the process on my camera but then discover that I could not upload them here, so these are the only photos available from my handphone. 

These are truly delicious and can you see those "humps"  too?
Recipe from  Except for 4 of them which I gave little Mei-Mei, I finished all of them myself.... for my tea-time, for my breakfast, for my TV time, for desserts after lunch.... hahahah..  

Orange Poppy Seed Cake... our family favourite. We were first introduced to cake by my sister Vicky when she came back for holidays from Australia the very first time .... maybe in the 90's then... that time we (me and my other sisters) were not keen on baking at all.   She baked this cake for us and we all fell in love with this cake and from then on it has remain our favourite.... she even left behind the bundt tins which she bought for us.  Who knows from that time, my sisters and myself had gone into the "baking business" as well.
Just her simple Orange Pound cake recipe (equal portion of butter, sugar and flour) to which I added 2 tablespoon of blue poppy seeds.  
Just a note: grease and flour the bundt tin well and wait till the cake is cold before unmoulding if you don't want to see the above cake!  Despite its not so beautiful appearance, this cake sure brings back happy memories of that day when you baked it the first time for us, Vicky!

This is Lemon Drizzle Cake -(without the drizzle) that I have seen in a few blogs.  I omitted the drizzle as I did not like the cake too sweet but it is suppose to turn into crisp lemon glaze on top of this delicious cake as it cools.   As you can see the cake texture is fine crumbs and taste tangy/citrusy and moist too.   Recipe from the Guardian- by Dan Lepard. 

My adapted recipe:
100 gm salted butter, melted (recipe:50gm unsalted butter + 50 gm sunflower oil)  
2 lemon zest finely grated
135 gm caster sugar (recipe:150 gm sugar)
2 large eggs
50 gm ground almonds
150 gm plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tsp baking powder (recipe: 2 1/2 tsp)
75 ml lemon juice

Sift flour, cornflour and baking powder together and keep aside.
Mix melted butter with lemon zest, sugar and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until mixture is smooth.
Stir in the ground almonds.
Add half of the flour mixture, follow by the lemon juice. Mix till combine
Add remaining flour mixture and combine.
Bake in preheated oven at 180C for around 45-50 minutes (mine was done around 45 minutes)
Remove and cool in tin for 5 minutes.

For the drizzle:
Beat 15 ml of lemon juice with 75 gm icing sugar till smooth and spoon this over the cake while it is still hot and in the tin.

Sorry, little Mei-mei, no cupcakes this week but hope you like these cakes as well as I do.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


It is so frustrating not to able to share my photos.  Yes I am unable to upload my photos again.... 
Anyway, take a deep breath and share these few with you from handphone. 

As I know it is always busy on the weekends for Esther, as most of owners could bring their doggies for their grooming. I  try to make sure that she eats a full meal before she start work.    

Cook some plain porridge - using the "Shatin" rice which I bought from the rice shop in Kepong.  This rice is easy to cook and takes less than 20 minutes to "bloom" into this velvety "mooi" I think that's how the Teochew call it- porridge.   I like to use the claypot to cook porridge.   Just bring the rice + water  to a boil, lower heat and let is simmer for just 5 minutes and then switch off the heat.  The residual heat from the claypot will cook the rice further.     

I also cooked this Omelette with whitebait.
Rinsed and soak whitebait for a few minutes.
Drain and put into a wok (without oil) to pan fry till dry 
Add oil and minced garlic and fry till fragrant.
Add diced spring onions 
Pour beaten eggs into wok and mix together.
Cook till set and flip over to cook the other side.
I did not add any salt as the whitebait is already salty.

This dish of "lup lup" is a potpourri of fried diced long beans, yellow bean curd, preserved radish, dried prawns and char siew (roasted lean pork).   You can also add diced mushroom and chinese sausage.
I first fry the dried prawns (soaked and drain well) till fragrant. 
Push to one side of wok,   add the yellow bean curd and again fry till fragrant - these have a slight 5-spice flavour. 
Push to side of wok and add the preserved radish or you can actually dish up each items if prefer.
Next the char siew - keeping the heat on medium high all the time.
Finally adding more oil (if necessary) add minced garlic and then the long beans.
Mix everything together and add about 1 tablespoon of taucheong (minced bean paste)
Splash some water around the pan and fry till it has been absorbed, adding more water if ncessary.
Dish up and serve with porridge or rice.. or like me, eat it by spoonfuls!
If you prefer spicy you can add hot beanpaste or some sliced chilies too!


Monday, November 18, 2013



When a cafe/restaurant has been operating for a long time in the same neighbourhood, it surely is a testimony that there must be something good about the place. 

It could be that the food is fresh and tasty and not too much MSG being use maybe! You know,  that thirsty feeling you get after having meals outside at certain places.   There are certain "bestseller" dishes that could be everybody's favourite  as they are still on the menu. 

It could also mean that the service is good and efficient.  The customers instantly feel that they have come "home for meals" when they stepped inside. The staff are welcoming,  whether you just want a light meal or there is a group of you for family meals.  They also give recommendations and suggestions appropriately  and not just pushing the expensive items at you. 

Most important it could be that the prices are reasonable.  In these times of rising costs they are able to offer decent value meals, that a definitely a winner.

The above are my personal criteria for having a meal at any restaurant. I am talking about the GAIA Bistro in my neighbourhood.

The cafe has undergone renovations and the interior is conducive for that weekend casual family dinner.

The bestseller items - Fried Tung Fun - Thai style... mildly  spicy and very appetising.
Homemade beancurd with pumpking puree-

So, it is another item off the list for Jeremy wedding when I made the booking for  lunch.   I have decided not to cater for a buffet lunch on the wedding day but instead to have a proper lunch at this cafe.  At least there would be wastage of food as there is always leftovers from buffet.  It would save the problem of cleaning up thereafter.  Besides it will be more relaxing for everyone to dine in the comfort with air-conditioning and table service as well. 


Thursday, November 14, 2013



Whenever I see spinach ("poh chai") in the market, I could buy a big bunch.

I normally blanch them in boiling water for a 2-3 minutes.   Immediately remove and place them into a bowl of ice water to stop further cooking.  Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible and packed them into the freezer.  I  could use them for quiche and pizza. 

Since I had some leftover cream cheese from baking a Lemon Cheesecake for my sister J birthday, I decided to bake a Cream Cheese and Spinach pizza for easy weekday dinner.  

I had prepared the pizza dough the previous night.  I used my hand to press the dough out to a thin crust.
This can always be substituted with pre-bought pizza base or paratha or wraps.
Defrost the spinach and squeeze out the water and chopped it up.   Mix the cream cheese with the spinach add pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper.
Spread the filling onto the pizza and sprinkle with pine nuts  and bake in pre-heated oven at 200C for around 15 minutes till brown at the edges. 

Enjoy it over the weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013



We have often hear this "life is short,  so love the people around you more"!

This is true, I just visited my cousin brother last week and yesterday was his funeral! I am sad by his sudden demise but also glad that we have the last chance to see him.  In fact we were told that he fell down on the same day after we left his house.  But what a testimony at the wake- the large crowd were  mainly his church members and they gave us a glimpse into his personal life.  I was told that he would hike up the hill around his house and then sing praises/hymns every morning.  He was a Chinese school teacher and after his retirement he had been coaching mental arithmetics and basketball to the students- sometimes for free and out of his own pockets! He was one of the likeable cousin and may he rest in peace.     

"Dim sum"- to touching the heart.  So having dim sum together would be a great way to show our love to people around us.  Took my sister to the New Shanghai Cafe at Pavilion for dim sum.   

Esther toasting Aunty May with good health!

Pan Fried Chive Dumplings 

"thanks for dumplings, but this porridge looks good.." 

From left: steamed piggy bun, Layered cake and chee cheong fun.

From top: vegetables dumpling, Siew mai and 
Steamed Glutinous Rice in Lotus leaf

The servings are large and pretty tasty. There is a wide selection of chinese teas available.  However, the cafe is at the corner lot of the food court and hence were rather noisy, not quite the right environment to relax and have a quiet chitchat.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


My greatest challenge - was to "conquer this mountain"- around 273m above sea level! I was not at all confident that I could made this climb firstly because of my knees and also my stamina.  However  both my sisters are ardent hikers and hence the main purpose of this trip as we have heard so many great reviews and seen the beautiful photos too.  

After a fairly good night rest, we were up and ready  by 5 a.m. and we drove down to the town centre.

It was around 5 .30 am. as we made our ascent and looking at this photo, I notice that those white spots could be what is called the energy balls in the early morning. There is a stairway with handrails leading up, though in certain places you literally heave yourself up rocks.

We had to stop and rest and to catch our breath now and then.     

the twinkling lights of the village below 

The climb could take around 45-60 minutes depending on your stamina.   Both of my sisters were way ahead of us and by the time we reached the plateau, they were nowhere to be seen.   

This is the view which greeted us at the top...

looking celestial ...

enthralling as the clouds drift and shift around

Finally -the tinge of pink peeking from the horizon 

mystical... see the meandering river below

That's all folks, the sun is not coming out further.

I did it!

Sorry this view was blocked by me... some said that rock in the background is the Gua Charas-
where the statue of the reclining Buddha is located.

When we came down and looked up,  I was amazed that I have actually climbed all that way.

Down to earth... that the Bukit Panorama in the background.

There is another attraction in Sungai Lembing ... the Rainbow Waterfall.   We did not book  the vehicle to the waterfall as we were not sure of the timing.    So if you want to do both the hike and the waterfall on the same day, you have to come down quickly and book the 4-wheel drive to standby as the rainbow over the waterfall can only be seen at the certain time when the sun rises. Must also bring along  extra clothings as you have to cross the river on foot!  

Time to replenish ourselves  to the only food court

Lembing Taufoo...hmm..... soft ...

Rice rolls (Chee Cheong fun) with eggs! Delicious... love this . 

the Yong Tau foo-

Lembing mee- we did not get to visit the noddle makers.
Brillant sales tactics - buy a chopping to cut up the jackfruit! 

one of the many hanging bridges - there is a new bridge new on the right. 

Sungai Lembing - a shallow peaceful river

It  can turn monster during the monsoon... flooding the whole village almost every year.   Due to the annual flooding, there is no petrol station in the town, so do fill up before you enter here otherwise you will be like us - leaving the town with only less than half the tank!.
So we have no choice but to forego our intention to drop by the Gua Charas to see the statue of the reclining Buddha and instead went straight to Kuantan to refill.

We managed to do some shopping for the dried seafood especially this "mui heong" salted fish. Cheap buys and good service from the boss... he was not at all hurried and ruffled with the sudden crowd and happily serving everyone.

We dropped again in Karak to this we promised.  We had our tea break here on our way to Sg. Lembing.   We saw the special dish that the next table was having and promised ourselves that we will definitely come back for lunch here. 

You don't really have to go all the way to Karak ... they have a branch in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail too.

Golden crowns of coconut bread.... smelled good and taste good.
The speciality - Kaya Swiss Rolls  

Typical Cantonese zhong (dumplings)  -  soft rice with plenty of fillings..yum

We did not try this but was informed that it was delicious..

the home brand of soya sauce for all their dishes.
Stir fry kailan .... crunchy and aromatic with chinese wine.

the chef's recommendation - Spring rolls- crispy fried pig's caul enclosing moist juicy meat, dried oysters and vegetables .... 

a bit salty but otherwise.... thumbs up!

Stir fry choy sum (spinach)- tender and sweet
This is what we came for.... Sang Har Mee... drooling again!.

Big fresh succulent  prawns and the wanton mee (sang mee) was lightly fried which soaked up all the beautiful creamy sauce. As the owner said... "must be willing to use fresh ingredients and the end result is good food."

What a satisfying ending for the trip!