Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Panettone


There is something so festive about the puffed dome of the Panettone, the Italian Christmas bread.  The word panettone literally means "big sweet bread".  Originating from Milan, this bread which combines a variation of ingredients such as raisins, candied oranges, lemon zest, etc, is traditionally eaten during Christmas and New Year.  

I decided to make my own Panettone this Christmas using Carol's recipe and it was pretty good for a first try.

I would  like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends and readers a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.  And thank you very much for your support and encouraging words and visits which keep this blog going.  

(A)  Tangzhong dough:
165g cold water
35g bread flour
  • Whisk together the flour and water until there are no lumps.  
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula, until the mixture has evenly thickened and is nice and smooth.  
  • Remove from heat and transfer into a clean bowl.  Cover with cling wrap and gently tap the cling wrap down on top of the tangzhong to keep as much air out as possible; this is to prevent it from drying out.  Let it cool to room temperature before use. (Tangzhong can be stored in the fridge).

100g Tangzhong dough
250g bread flour
50g plain flour
30g sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp instant dried yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
80g milk (I replaced with orange juice)
30g honey
zest of 1 orange

50g butter, cut into cubes

150g dried fruits (mixture of raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots & candied orange peel) 

  • Line the bases and sides of 4 mini springform pans (12cm) with baking paper, bringing the paper about 4 cm above the edge of the pan.
  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients (B) together. 
  • Knead until it forms a slightly sticky soft dough. Then add in (C).  Continue to knead until smooth and elastic.   Finally add in (D).  Knead until well combined.
  • Shape the dough  into a smooth ball and place in a greased  bowl.  Cover with  cling wrap.  Leave it to proof in the fridge overnight.  The next day take the dough out from the fridge and set aside to proof until doubled.
  • Punch down by pressing the dough out evenly with your hands to release the air.
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Roll into balls.  Cover and rest for about 15 mins.
  • Flatten each dough and roll into balls again and place into the prepared pans. 
  • Mist the rolled dough with water and loosely cover with cling wrap. Proof until just about doubled (90%).
  • Bake in a preheated oven (170 deg C) for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Remove from the pans and let them cool on a wire rack.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Tree Scrolls


Recipe taken from my last Christmas Tree Bun post.


220g bread flour
80g plain flour
20g caster sugar
2 tsp active dried yeast
1/4 tsp salt
130g plain yoghurt
80g egg whites
45g  rice bran oil

Coconut Filling:  [Mix everything together except the cranberries]

100g dessicated coconut 
a few drops of pandan paste (or green food colouring if desired)
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
40g plain flour
100g butter, melted

3/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped into small chunks
egg wash

  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flours, salt, sugar and  yeast together.  Add in the yoghurt and egg whites to form into a slightly sticky soft dough.  Continue to knead until smooth and elastic.
  • Add in oil and continue to knead until fully incorporated.   [At this stage, the dough should be able to stretched to form a window-like thin membrane without breaking].
  • Shape the dough  into a smooth ball and place in a greased  bowl.  Cover with clingfilm.  Then place it in a warm place to allow the dough to rise until at least double its original size.  [To determine if the dough has risen long enough, poke a floured finger into the  dough.  When you remove your finger, the dough shouldn't spring back at all.  If the dough springs back immediately, it is under-proved and needs more time to proof further.]
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down by pressing the dough out evenly with your hands to remove air bubbles.
  • Flatten the dough.  Spread coconut filling on the dough and sprinkle cranberries over it.
  • Roll up the dough into a log and cut into 12 pieces.
  • Arrange the scrolls, slightly apart, on a lined baking pan in the shape of a Christmas tree.  Cover with clingfilm.  Leave them to rise in a warm place until they nearly doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
  • Brush the scrolls with egg-wash and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown
  • Dust with icing sugar after it is cooled.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fresh Milk Mantou (鮮奶饅頭 )

Flower Mantou
  Flower Mantou

Recipe adapted from  Carol Easy Life

(A)  Overnight Sponge Dough:

120g plain flour
1/4ts instant dried yeast
80g lukewarm water 

(B)  Main Dough:
100g Overnight Sponge Dough
225g plain flour
75g wheat starch
15g caster sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp instant dried yeast
180g fresh milk 
20g oil
  • (A) Overnight Sponge Dough:  Mix everything together and knead into a smooth dough.  Cover and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the ingredients together, except oil.
  • Knead until it forms a slightly sticky soft dough.  Gradually add in oil.  Continue to knead until smooth and doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
  • Shape the dough  into a smooth ball and place in a greased  bowl.  Cover with  cling wrap.  Then place it in a warm and moist place to allow the dough to rise until doubled.
  • Punch down by pressing the dough out evenly with your hands to release the air.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal portions.  Cover and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Flatten the dough and roll into an oval shape.  Brush with oil and make a few slits (make sure you don't cut right up to the end of the dough); then twist it gently around your thumb and index finger and tuck the end underneath the bun. 
  •  Place the bun onto a square piece of baking paper.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.  Cover and proof until almost doubled.  
  • Steam mantou in medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins


Recipe Source: Joy of Baking

Ingredients:  [Makes 12 regular size muffins]

325g plain flour
150g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
125g fresh blueberries

zest of one orange
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
120ml canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper casings.
  • In mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (A). Gently fold in the berries. 
  • In a measuring cup, whisk together the wet ingredients (B).
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined.  Do not over mix.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup almost full with batter.
  • Place the muffin pan into the oven and bake until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean (about 20 - 25 minutes).
  • Transfer muffin pan onto a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes before removing muffins from the pan.
 Note:  Bake a little longer if using frozen berries.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Braised Beef Brisket

Ngau Lam



850g beef brisket, trim excess fat and cut into chunks, blanched in boiling water
2 daikon (white radish) peeled and cut into chunks
3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
50g (approx) ginger, chopped
cooking oil 
salt & ground black pepper, to taste

Put these aromatics into a tea bag: 
1 tsp coriander seeds 
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
1 sassia bark or cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1/2 tsp white peppercorn
1 piece dried mandarin peel

2 tbsp Chu Hou sauce (柱侯酱)
1 tbsp rock sugar
3 tbsp chinese cooking wine
3 tbsp light soy sauce

  • Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a big saucepan, fry beef brisket until brown on all sides.  Transfer onto a plate and set aside.
  • In the same saucepan, with a little more oil saute ginger, onion and garlic until fragrant.  Then put in the brisket, spices and sauce.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  
  • Bring to the boil.  Then lower the heat and simmer for an hour.  Add in daikon and carrots.  Continue to cook for at least another hour or so until beef brisket is soft and tender.  Add more water if sauce starts to dry out.  Season with salt and ground black pepper.  
  • Serve with steamed rice or noodles.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Eggless Tiramisu

When we talked about Italian food, instantly we think about pasta, pizza, risotto, etc.  And at the mention of Italian dessert, Tiramisu comes to mind immediately.  Tiramisu which means "pick me up" is a popular dessert found on almost all the Italian restaurant menu.  

To celebrate the first day of summer in Melbourne, I am serving Tiramisu as dessert for lunch, yes lunch!  as we can't wait until dinner  ;-)    The authentic Tiramisu recipe usually calls for raw eggs but since I am not a fan of using raw eggs in my cooking or desserts, I decided to go with an eggless recipe.

Recipe loosely adapted from here

Ingredients:   [Pyrex rectangle dish (2.6L)  approx 17 x 22 cm]

250g mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese), softened
250ml fresh cream
110g caster sugar
1 cup strong coffee
50ml Kahlua
cocoa powder

  • Combine the coffee with Kahlua and leave it to chill in the refrigerator.
  • Whip fresh cream until stiff and chill in the refrigerator.
  • Whip cheese with sugar until cheese is smooth. Fold in the whipped cream.
  • Quickly, dip sponge fingers into the coffee mixture and arrange in a single layer in the glass dish.  Spread cheese mixture over.  Lay another layer of sponger fingers and top with cheese mixture. 
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Before serving, sieve a layer of cocoa powder over the tiramisu or garnish with chocolate shavings.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes
Hasselback Potatoes
 Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes are not a type of potato, but a Swedish potato dish which got its name from the restaurant, Hasselbacken in Stockholm where they were first served in the 1940s.  They are also known as Accordian Potato because of the way they are cut which resemble a fan or accordion with the bottom still attached when roasted.  Once roasted, the potato crisp up on the outside but tender and creamy on the inside.


6 medium-sized Desiree potatoes (about 130g each), scrub and leave skin intact
30g butter, melted
2 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig rosemary
2 cloves garlic, halved
4 cloves garlic, sliced
sea salt
1 tbsp melted butter

  • Preheat oven to 220 deg C.  Line a baking tray with foil.
  • Cut a thin slice off one long side of each potato to give a flat surface so that potatoes will not move around.
  • Place a potato, cut-side down, on the chopping board with two chopsticks on either side.  Using a sharp knife, make thin, evenly-spaced cuts of about 5mm apart.  Repeat with the rest of the potatoes.
  • In a small saucepan, combine butter, olive oil and garlic halves.  Cook under low heat for about 2 minutes.  Remove the garlic oil/butter mixture from heat.  
  • Rub garlic oil over potatoes to coat evenly.  Insert sage and garlic alternately into the cuts. Arrange potatoes on the prepared tray and place into the preheated oven.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  • Bake for about 1 hour (or until potatoes are soft), basting every 20 minutes with the oil/butter mixture.
  • When the potatoes are almost done, brush melted butter all over the potatoes.  Sprinkle sea salt, pepper and breadcrumbs over the potatoes.
  • Bake for another 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
  • Serve immediately.

Note:   Choose potatoes with firm flesh that holds its shape well and choose those with oblong shape.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

100% Wholemeal Bread

Wholemeal Bread
Wholemeal Bread

Adapted from Carol's  湯種100%全麥吐司


(A) Tang Zhong Dough (mix together and chill overnight in the fridge)
50ml scalded milk
50g wholemeal bread flour

(B) Main Dough
100g Tang Zhong
255g wholemeal bread flour
1 egg (50g)
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
30g honey
90g cold milk

30g butter

  • In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients (B) together.  Then add in (A), knead until well combined.  Gradually add in butter and continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic. 
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingwrap.  Place it in a warm place to allow the dough to rise until at least doubled in volume.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide into two equal portions.  Shape into balls.  Cover and rest for 20 minutes. 
  • Flatten the dough into rectangular shape and roll them up like swiss rolls.
  • Place the two rolls  into a greased loaf pan; cover and let it proof again until almost doubled or 90%.
  • Bake in a preheated oven (175 deg C) for about 40 minutes or until brown.
  • Remove the bread from the pan immediately and brush the top with melted butter if you wish.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pandan Kuih Bingka Beras

Pandan Kuih Bingka Beras

Pandan Kuih Bingka Beras

Recipe from Annielicious Food with slight changes


153g rice flour
42g mung bean flour
12g tapioca flour
500ml coconut milk
500ml water
140g caster sugar
pinch of salt
2 drops of pandan paste

  • Grease and line a 7" square pan.  Preheat oven to 220 deg C.
  • Mix all ingredients together and stir until sugar dissolves.  Strain mixture into a saucepan.
  • Place the saucepan under low heat.  Stir continuously until mixture begins to thickened.
  • Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until cooked.  Then place the kuih bengka under the grill for 5 minutes or until the top of the kuih turns dark brown.
  • Cool the kuih completely before cutting.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pork & Fennel Rolls

Recipe adapted from  Nasi Lemak Lover

2 kg minced pork
150g celery, finely chopped
180g carrot, finely chopped
240g brown onions, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
12 tbsp oil
5 tsp ground fennel
4 tsp dried thyme
80g fresh bread crumbs
3/4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp ground white pepper

10 sheets frozen "Pampas" puff pastry (semi-thawed)
extra fresh breadcrumbs
egg wash (mix 1 egg with 1 tbsp milk and a pinch of salt)
poppy seeds, for sprinkling

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan, saute minced garlic and onion until aromatic.
  • Add in celery and carrot; continue to cook for a minute.  Set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine everything in (A).  Blend and stir the meat mixture in one direction until mixture becomes gluey.
  • Cut the pastry sheets into halves.  Shape the meat mixture into logs and coat with extra breadcrumbs.  Then place along the long edge of the pastry.  Roll up the pastry to make into rolls.  Cut into 8.  Place rolls, seam-side down onto the baking tray.
  • Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy seeds. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 180 deg C for about 20 minutes or until golden and puffed up.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pandan Sponge Cupcakes

Pandan Sponge Cupcakes
Pandan Sponge Cupcakes
Pandan Sponge Cupcakes

Adapted from Qi Qi in the house


4 eggs (66g each), room temperature
90g caster sugar
50g corn oil (I used rice bran oil)
30g pandan juice
10g coconut milk
a few drops of pandan paste - optional
100g plain flour (sifted twice)

  • Preheat oven to 120 deg C.
  • Put the eggs and sugar in a metal bowl over a saucepan of hot water and whisk with an electric mixer (on medium-high speed) until sugar dissolves.  Remove bowl from the saucepan.  Whisk until mixture triples in volume and is thick enough to hold a trail.  Reduce to low speed and whisk for another minute. Then whisk in pandan juice and coconut milk.
  • Using a balloon whisk, gently fold in the flour in 3 or 4 batches.
  • Gradually pour the oil around the edge of the mixing bowl and mix well.  
  • Spoon the mixture into the patty cases to 90% full.
  • Bake in a preheated oven  for about 20 - 25 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Southern Thai Pork Ribs

Southern Style Pork Bone ( Gar Doog Mu Hung Le )
Southern Style Pork Bone ( Gar Doog Mu Hung Le )

Recipe adapted from Appon's Thai Food

5g dried red chillies, soaked 
65g shallots
30g garlic
1 stalk lemon grass, chopped
30g coriander roots

650g pork spare ribs, blanched
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp grated palm sugar

  • Place everything in (A) into a blender and blitz to form a paste.
  • Put (B) into a saucepan and mix in the paste.  Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Then put the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 hours or until ribs are tender.  Add more water if it dries up.

I am submitting this post to  Asian Food Fest  (Thailand) - November Month 
    hosted by  Lena of  Frozen Wings

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pumpkin Xi Ban

Xi Ban

Xi Ban

The first time I made Pandan Hakka Xi Ban, only one third of my buns turned out nice, the rest were wrinkly and dimpled - due to steam condensation that dripped onto the buns :-(   This time I took extra care in the steaming process -  I wrapped my steamer cover with a towel and I didn't uncover the steamer immediately after turning off the fire and I left the buns sitting in the steamer with a gap opened for about 3 minutes before removing them.  Much to my delight, ALL of my Xi Ban were 'unblemished', phew!

After sampling these Pumpkin Xi Ban, I think I prefer the plain Xi Ban as I find that these pumpkin ones are not as chewy.  What is your verdict?  And how do you protect the buns from any steam that may condense and drip onto the buns during steaming?

Recipe source:  Do What I Like

200g plain flour
2 tsp yeast
170ml warm water


200g glutinous rice flour
100g plain flour
2 tbsp oil
260g mashed pumpkin
110g sugar

vegetable oil for greasing hands
squares of baking paper

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients in (A).  Cover  with clingwrap and let prove for 3 hours (I proved mine in the refrigerator overnight).
  • Steam pumpkin until soft.  While pumpkin is still hot, add in sugar and mashed with a fork.  
  • Mix mashed pumpkin into the rest of the ingredients in (B).  Do not add in all the mashed pumpkin at once,  firstly add in 200g and then a little at a time until you get a pliable dough.  Add in (A) and using a dough hook, knead until you get a smooth dough.  Dough will be sticky at this stage but you should be able to mould it into small round balls  (add in a little flour - about 10g  if it is too sticky to handle).
  • Cover and leave to proof until doubled.
  • Divide the soft dough into 50g portion each and shape into round balls.  Place the balls onto the baking paper and using your palm (which has been greased with some cooking oil), flatten the balls slightly.
  • Cover the dough and proof again until they almost doubled in size. 
  • Steam over medium high heat for 13 minutes or until cooked.  Turn off the fire and leave the xi ban in the steamer, with a little gap opened for about 3 minutes before removing them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vegetables Thai Green Curry

Vegetables Thai Green Curry

Vegetables Thai Green Curry

Recipe Adapted from  Australian Women's Weekly - Easy Thai-style Cookery  

Green Curry Paste:  Blend into fine paste

3 fresh green chillies
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (including roots)
2 stalks lemon grass
1 small knob galangal, peeled
1 piece shrimp paste, roasted until fragrant and dry
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
3 kaffir lime leaves, spine removed
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp water

1 carrots, cut into chunks
1 egg plant, cut into chunks
200g french beans, cut into 2cm length
1/4 cabbage, cut into big pieces
half a pack of tofu puffs
10 button mushroom
1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
palm sugar, to taste
fish sauce, to taste

  • In a wok, heat about 2 tbsp oil and stir fry green curry paste until aromatic.  
  • Add in 3/4 of the coconut milk and bring to the boil.
  • Put in tofu puffs and vegetables (thicker and harder vegetables should go in first since they take longer to cook). Cook until all vegetables are tender.
  • Season with palm sugar and fish sauce.  Then tip in the remaining coconut milk.
  • Serve immediately with steamed rice.

I am submitting this post to  Asian Food Fest  (Thailand) - November Month 
    hosted by  Lena of  Frozen Wings


Friday, November 8, 2013

Tofu Dressing on Salad

This tofu dressing is incredibly creamy and smooth.  It can be served as a salad dressing or a dip for raw vegetables. And it is pretty healthy too!



140g soft tofu
1 tbsp white sesame seeds (toasted)
40g chickpeas
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
dash of pepper
5 tbsp lemon juice  (adjust according to taste)
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • Place all the ingredients except olive oil  into the Spectablend and blend until smooth.
  • While the blender is running, drizzle in olive oil and blend until it reaches the consistency of a salad dressing.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Crunchy Oatmeal-Carrot Cookies

Crunchy Oatmeal-Carrot Cookies
Crunchy Oatmeal-Carrot Cookies

Ingredients:  [Makes 45 cookies]

125g butter, melted
100g grated coconut sugar
60g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
70g grated carrot (mix with 1 tbsp lemon juice)
90g organic rolled oats
30g quinoa flakes
20g walnuts, toasted and chopped
30g dried cranberries, chopped

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  
  • Melt butter.  Allow to cool.
  • Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground cinnamon together into a big mixing bowl. Add in sugars, oats, cranberries, quinoa flakes, chopped walnuts and grated carrot. Stir to combine.
  • Add sugars and egg yolks into the melted butter.  Using a fork, blend everything together and pour mixture into the dry ingredients.  Stir well to combine.
  • Shape dough into walnut-sized balls and then gently flatten. 
  • Place cookies on lined baking tray and bake for about about 13 - 15 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.

This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Vivian of Vivian Pang's Kitchen.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Creme Caramel

Creme Caramel
Creme Caramel
Creme Caramel

I had my very first taste of Creme Caramel  in the early 1980's in one of the coffee shops in Ipoh old town and I fell in love with it.  I only knew it as Egg Custard then.   Anyway, Creme Caramel has become one of my favourite desserts; I loved its smooth, velvety and silky texture.  I would usually  baked it in a water bath but yesterday I decided to steam it in my wok instead.  This morning, much to my delight, when I turned  my creme caramel out, they tasted exactly the same as they would baked.  By steaming, it definitely saves time. 

Makes 6

For caramel:
3/4 cup caster sugar 
3 tbsp water
  • Combine sugar and water in a small heavy-based saucepan.  Stir over medium-high heat until sugar melted and become an amber-coloured caramel.   Remove saucepan from heat. Pour caramel into ramekins and immediately tilt the ramekin to spread the caramel evenly over the base.  Set aside.

For custard:
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups milk
1/2 cup fresh cream
2 whole eggs
3 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean
  • Place the cream and milk in a saucepan.  Using a small sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthways, then scrape the seeds out and add the seeds and bean into the milk mixture.   Slowly bring the cream and milk just to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar.
  • While still whisking, drizzle in about a quarter of the hot milk mixture.  Gradually, while whisking,  pour in the remaining of the hot milk mixture.  
  • Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug and fill the ramekins with custard.
  • Put the ramekins in a wok or steamer and steam them over medium-high heat for about 13 minutes or until custard sets.  (Remember to place a large plate or foil over the ramekins)
  • Remove from the wok and let custard cool to room temperature.  Cover ramekins with clingwrap and refrigerate custard for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Before serving, run a thin knife around the edge of each ramekin.  Turn out onto a plate and serve.

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