Monday, February 21, 2011

Boiled Fruit Cake


875g dried fruits (raisins, sultanas, currants)
100g chopped nuts (dates, cherries or apricots)
1/2 cup brandy (or any kind of alcohol)
250g butter, chopped
250ml water (juice or milk)
1 tsp lemon/orange rind
100g dark brown sugar
50g caster sugar
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
1/2 tsp mixed spice
4 eggs, beaten lightly
185g self-raising flour, sifted
185g plain flour, sifted
60ml brandy - extra 

For decorations:
100g blanched almonds


  • In a large bowl, soak the dried fruits with brandy. Cover and set aside for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Combine the fruits, butter, water, sugars, lemon rind, mixed spice and soda bicarbonate in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 140 degrees C.
  • Line the base and sides of a deep 23cm springform pan (or a 19cm square pan) with two layers of brown paper and two layers of baking paper, bringing the paper 5cm above the edge of the pan.
  • Stir beaten eggs into the cooled fruit mixture, then the sifted flours. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a wet spoon.
  • If desired, decorate the top of the batter with pecans and macadamias.
  • Bake for about 3 hours or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. The centre of the cake should feel firm when pressed gently. To prevent over-browning, cover the top of the cake with foil after 2 hours of baking.
  • Remove cake from oven. Brush the hot cake with extra brandy. Cover tightly with foil while cake is still in the pan and then wrap the pan in a tea towel. Allow to cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cool, remove from the pan, leaving the baking paper on the cake. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, then foil and store in the refrigerator.

Note:  Fruit cakes taste better with age, so let it mature for at least 2 - 3 weeks before eating.  During this time, keep brushing the cake with liquor regularly.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Indonesian Layer Cake / Kek Lapis

A Dutch-Indonesian cake which is also known as Lapis Legit (Indonesian) or Spekkoek (Dutch) or A Thousand Layer Cake (English) is a rich, spiced-flavoured  multi-layered cake.  It is one of the most popular cakes for the Indonesians.  

Although it is not hard to make this cake, it is rather time-consuming and requires patience and time as it involves baking the cake layer by layer sitting in front of the hot oven and watching it like a hawk so that it doesn't burnt.   


12 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
150g butter, softened
2 tbsp brandy (I replaced with whiskey)
90g plain flour
3/4 tsp mixed spice
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • Grease and line the base of a 14cm square cake pan with baking paper (do not grease the sides).
  • Whisk egg yolks, vanilla extract and sugar until thick and creamy.
  • In another bowl, beat butter, brandy and condensed milk until smooth.  Then add into the egg yolks mixture.  Beat until combined.  Then, fold in the sifted flour and mixed spice.
  • In a clean, dry bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy.  Add in cream of tartar.  Continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently, fold the beaten egg whites into the egg yolks mixture. 
  •  Heat grill to 180 degrees C.  Place the prepared pan under the grill for 1 minute.  Then remove the pan  from the grill.  
  • Spoon batter onto the base of the hot pan and spread evenly by tilting the pan.   Grill for about 2 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  
  • Remove pan from the grill and spoon the same amount of batter for the second layer.
  • Repeat process until all the batter is used up.
  • After the last layer, bake the cake in the oven (160 degrees C) for about 10 minutes.  If the top of the cake is too brown, cover with foil before baking.
  • Run a knife along the edges of the cake and invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool. Remove the baking paper on the base of the cake before the cake has cooled completely.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Braised Belly Pork With Soy Sauce


    600g belly pork, cut into big pieces (with the skin on)
    5 tbsp light soy sauce
    1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    1/4 tsp pepper
    10g palm sugar
    1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 dried chilli
    2 garlic bulbs
    1 star anise
    1 small piece cinnamon stick
    8 pieces of firm fried tofu
    bean curd sticks (soaked to soften)
    4 hard-boiled eggs
    2 1/2 cups water

    • Put all the ingredients into a pot and bring it to the boil.  Then simmer under low heat for about 2 - 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender.
    • Serve hot with rice.

    Sunday, February 13, 2011

    Mini Pavlova

    My first attempt at  making pavlova from Donna Hay's recipe.....


    4 egg whites
    220g caster sugar (I reduced to 170g)
    2 tbsp cornflour
    2 tsp white vinegar

    •  Preheat oven at 150 degrees C.
    • Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gradually add sugar, whisking until thick and glossy.  
    • Add cornflour and vinegar and whisk until just combined.
    • Shape into 6 individual round shapes onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. 
    • Place in the oven, reduce temperature to 120 degrees C.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Cool pavlova completely in the oven with door ajar (about 1 hour).
    • Whisk cream to soft peaks and spread over pavlova and top with your favourite fruit.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Prawn Noodles (福建虾面)


    2 Litre stock (made from pork or chicken bones)
    Prawn shells & heads
    2 cloves garlic + a small knob of ginger, smashed
    200g spare ribs
    about 50g rock sugar
    salt & pepper
    2 tbsp fish sauce

    450g hokkien noodles (yellow mee), scalded
    150g rice vermicelli (mehoon), soaked and scalded

    Pounded ingredients:
    4 tbsp chilli paste
    10 shallots
    6 cloves garlic 

    400g prawns, cooked
    1 bunch of kangkung, scalded
    150g bean sprouts, scalded
    3 hard-boiled eggs, halved

    •  To make prawn stock, saute chopped garlic and ginger with a little oil and then fry prawn shells and heads until fragrant.  Add in about 1 Lit of water and boil for about 30 minutes.
    • Combine the prawn stock and chicken/pork stock.  Strain the soup.
    • Fry pounded ingredients in about 5 tbsp cooking oil.  Pour into the soup and add spare ribs and  rock sugar.  Let simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until spare ribs are tender.  Add fish sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
    • To serve:  Pour hot soup over noodles and garnish with kangkung, beansprouts, cooked prawns, spare ribs and hard-boiled egg. 

    I have been collecting prawn shells and prawn heads each time I bought prawns.  They kept well in the freezer for months.  As it is now summer, kangkung are in abundance in the Asian grocery shops here.  So, I might as well take this opportunity to cook our favourite Har Meen ....

    Prawns Noodles on Foodista
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