Friday, December 5, 2014

Garlic Butter Buns

Today I returned to the traditional process of bread making - by hands - a great way to work on building arm muscles!  Not by choice, mind you.  I am on holiday and my in-laws don't bake, so naturally there is no mixer or bread machine in the house.  However, there is a newly acquired turbo broiler.  I wasn't sure how my bread will turn out baked in this little oven but fortunately they were all very soft and fluffy, phew! 

I followed this bread recipe and topped with some garlic butter with some chopped spring onions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Siu Mai [ 烧卖]

Siu Mai (烧卖) is a very popular Chinese dumpling served as part of a dim sum brunch during Yum Cha.  It is very easy to make at home and you can make a large batch and freeze them.  

Ingredients: (Makes 21)

500g minced pork
300g prawns, deveined and cut into small pieces
3 mushroom (about 10g), soaked to soften then finely chopped
2 water chestnuts, finely chopped
2 stalks of spring onions, chopped finely

1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour
1 egg

1 tbsp finely chopped carrots

wonton wrappers, trim into round circles

  • In a big mixing bowl, combine minced pork, prawn, mushroom, water chestnuts and spring onions together. Mix in seasoning.  Stir well to combine.  
  • Refrigerate the filling for at least 30 minutes.  
  • To wrap the siu mai, place a tablespoon of filling in the centre of each wonton wrapper. Bring up edges of the wrapper and shape the dumpling by pressing down the filling and smoothing the surface; then flatten the bottom.
  • Press some chopped carrots on the siu mai as garnishing.
  • Place siu mai on a greased steaming bamboo basket and steam over high heat for about 15 minutes.  
  • Serve hot with chilli sauce.

To freeze uncooked siu mai:

  • Arrange siu mai on a tray lined with clingwrap.  Place them into the freezer for at least an hour.  
  • Then transfer the frozen siu mai into a freezer bag or container.  Continue storing in the freezer.
To cook frozen siu mai:
  • Arrange unthawed siu mai in a steamer and steam for about 20 minutes (depends on the size of siu mai) over high heat.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Blueberry Chiffon Cake

Recipe  from  Honey Bee Sweets' Fresh Blueberry Chiffon Cake with slight changes.

5 egg yolks
100g fresh blueberry compote (See below)
60ml fresh orange juice
80ml Rice Bran oil
50g sugar
130g cake flour
3g salt

5 egg whites
70g sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
  • Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale.  Gradually add in oil, water and blueberry compote. Beat until well combined.
  • Sift flour into a mixing bowl.  Gradually whisk in the egg yolk  mixture in a slow and steady stream.
  • In another bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, add in cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add in sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the flour/egg yolk mixture in 3 batches. 
  • Pour batter into an ungreased 20cm tube pan. 
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or until cook.
  • Remove cake from the oven and invert the pan to cool.
  • Unmould the cake when it is completely cool.

Blueberry compote:  
100g fresh blueberry
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp caster sugar
  • Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and cook under low heat.  Stir to combine and cook until blueberries start to break down.
  • Continue to stir gently until it thickens.  Remove from heat and let it cool.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Vanilla Butter Cake

Butter Cake
Butter Cake

I am not one of those people who can memorise recipes, especially cake recipes.  However, this is the only one recipe which I can remember.  Easy, just remember the number 6! 


6 oz butter, softened
6 oz caster sugar
6 oz self-raising flour, sifted
6 eggs (about 55g each), separated
3 tbsp lemon juice or milk (optional)

1 tsp vanilla paste


  • Lightly grease a 20cm cake tin. Line the base with baking paper.
  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
  • Beat egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, beat butter until soft.  Add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy (mixture should looked pale).
  • Beat in egg yolks, one at a time and make sure that each egg is completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the next one. Add vanilla paste and beat until combined.
  • Fold in flour alternately with the lemon juice, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir until just combined and the batter is smooth.
  • With a rubber spatula, gently fold about a third of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten it; then fold in the remaining whites until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Pour batter into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for about 45 - 60  minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
  • Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Homemade Curry Powder

Ingredients:  [Yields about 45g curry powder]

20g coriander seeds
15g cumin seeds
15g fennel seeds
15g or more dried chillies, remove seeds
1 clove
1 star anise

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp tumeric powder

  • Put all the ingredients (A) into a sieve and rinse with water.  Drain thoroughly.  
  • Then place the spices into a frying pan (without oil) and toast the spices on low heat, tossing constantly until fragrant.  Leave to cool in the pan.
  • In a grinder or blender, grind the toasted spices into fine powder.  Add in ingredients (B) and continue to blitz until combined.  
  • Sift the ground spices through a fine mesh-sieve, and return the coarser remains in the sieve to the grinder and grind again.  Discard any residue that cannot pass through the sieve.
  • Store in an airtight glass jar.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Cake


2 eggs
100g oil
100g brown sugar
40g caster sugar
165g (1 cup) grated zucchini
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

190g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
30g pecan, chopped
50g mixed dried cranberries & blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 170 deg C.
  • Beat eggs until frothy.  Gradually add in sugars and beat until thick and pale.
  • Then beat in oil slowly while the mixer is still running. 
  • Add in vanilla extract and beat to just combined.
  • Add in grated zucchini and mix until just incorporated.
  • With a spatula, fold in ingredients (B).
  • Bake in a lined 20 x 10 cm loaf pan for about an hour or until cooked.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Butter-Pandan Marbled Cake


250g butter, softened
180g caster sugar
4 eggs (60g each), room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
190g plain flour
60g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
60g coconut milk
1/2 tsp pandan paste

  • Preheat oven to 170 deg C.  Grease and line an 8 inch round cake pan.
  • Sift plain flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt together.  Set aside.
  • Beat the butter until soft.  Then add in sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time and beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  • With the mixer on slow speed, alternately add in the flour mixture and coconut milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
  • Divide batter into two portions.  Add pandan paste into one portion and mix to just combined.
  • Place a spoon of the plain batter onto the middle of the cake pan and top it with a spoonful of the pandan batter. Continue with alternating batters, making sure to keep placing them into the centre with each addition.
  • Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Crispy Roasted Pork Belly (脆皮燒肉)

Roast Pork
Roast Pork
Chinese Roast Pork
Chinese Roast Pork

The key to a classic Chinese roast with golden brown, blistered and crunchy crackling lies in the dryness of the skin and also a searing hot oven to begin with to get the crackling going.

There are many theories about crackling - brushing the skin with vinegar, scalding the skin, scoring the skin before oiling and rubbing salt, etc etc.  I followed these theories before but the results were not consistent.  Sometimes I would get very crispy crackling but other times I got some hard and unblistered crackling ... until a friend who kindly shared her recipe with me. 
To get the perfect crackling - 
  • I left my marinated pork to dry out uncovered in the refrigerator overnight. 
  • Then I rubbed a generous amount of oil all over the skin before scattering enough salt to cover the entire surface.  The oil will start to heat up in the extremely hot oven (230 deg C) and the salt will begin to draw out the moisture and the skin itself will start to crack, puff and bubble like little blisters.
  • After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 200 deg C.  The rule of thumb is to allow 25 minutes per 500g of pork.  

Roast Pork

2 slabs of pork belly (1.5kg)

2 pieces of red fermented beancurd (nam yue) - mashed
1 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp five-spiced powder
2 tsp sugar
  • Wash the pork and pat dry with kitchen towel.
  • In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and mix well.  
  • Turn the pork skin-side down on a rack and using the tip of a knife, prick all over the pork.
  • Rub the marinade evenly all over, including the sides (but not the skin).  
  • Place the pork, skin-side up in a tray or a container and wipe the skin thoroughly with paper towel.  Leave the pork in the refrigerator, uncovered overnight.  
  • Bring the pork to room temperature before roasting (at least 2 hours).
  • The skin will dry out after refrigerated overnight.  If not, give it a little blow-dry with hair dryer. (The drier the skin, the better the cackling when roasted).
  • Preheat oven to 230 deg C.
  • Place pork, skin-side up on a rack set over a roasting pan.  
  • Drizzle oil all over the skin of the pork, then sprinkle enough salt to fully cover the entire skin.  
  • Put the pork into the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Then reduce the oven to 200 deg C and continue roasting for another 50 - 55 mins.
  • Remove meat from the oven and allow to rest for 10 - 15 mins before cutting.  Brush away excess salt.  

For easier cleaning after roasting, I prefer to use my Turbo Oven which is similar to the fan-forced convection oven.

George Foreman Turbo Oven

Monday, October 13, 2014

Hummingbird Cake


This moist and luscious tropical hummingbird cake is a banana-pineapple-spice cake which is filled with sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting, then topped with crunchy nut brittle. 

Recipe adapted from:  Jamie Oliver's

200g rice bran oil
350g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt
200g caster sugar 
350g mashed bananas
260g pineapple, drained and chopped finely 
30g desiccated coconut
3 large free-range eggs 
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely

  • Preheat oven to 170 deg C.  Grease and line two 21cm round cake pans.
  • Sift flour, ground cinnamon and salt into a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  • Beat eggs together with sugar until thick and pale.  Gradually beat in oil and vanilla extract. Then stir in mashed bananas, pineapple and desiccated coconut.  Mix until combined and pour into the flour mixture.  Fold until smooth.
  • Finally fold in chopped pecans.
  • Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes or until cooked.
  • Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them out to cool completely on the wire racks.


400g icing sugar
150g butter, at room temperature
200g cream cheese, at room temperature
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime

  • Sift icing sugar into a mixing bowl, add in the butter and beat until pale and creamy.
  • Beat in cream cheese, lime zest and lime juice until just smooth (do not over-mix).  Keep refrigerated until needed.

Macadamia brittle:
100g caster sugar
2 tbsp water
50g macadamia
pinch of salt

  • Place caster sugar and water in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Swirl the pan occasionally (do not stir it) until sugar dissolved and lightly golden.
  • Add in nuts and a pinch of salt, spoon around to coat.  When nicely golden, pour onto a sheet of baking paper to set.
  • Once cool, pound the brittle finely using a mortar and pestle.

To assemble the cake:

  • Place one sponge on a cake stand and spread with half of the cheese frosting.  Top with the other sponge.  Spread over the rest of the icing. 
  • Scatter the brittle over the top.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blueberry Cake

Blueberry Butter Cake


180g butter, softened
130g caster sugar

zest of 2 oranges
250g self-raising flour

pinch of salt
4 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
95g sour cream 
50g fresh milk
120g fresh blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.  Grease a 20cm round pan; line base with baking paper.
  • In a bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong.  Set aside.
  • Sift flour together with salt.  Set aside.
  • Combine sour cream and milk together in a cup,  Set aside.
  • Beat butter with an electric mixer for about a minute and gradually add in sugar mixture,  Beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. Then add in vanilla extract.
  • Fold in flour, alternately with the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour.  Genty, stir in blueberries.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for about 55 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
  • Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Stir-fry Beef With Ginger


300g beef (skirt steak or tenderloin), sliced thinly
100g ginger, shredded finely
3 cloves garlic
1/4 red capsicum, cut into strips
1 spring onion, cut into 2 cm lengths
1/2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp Chinese cooking wine
cooking oil
sesame oil

1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
salt & pepper, to taste

  • Marinate sliced beef with cornflour and pepper.  Drizzle a little sesame oil.  Mix well to combine. Set aside.
  • In a hot wok, saute ginger and garlic until aromatic.  Toss in marinated beef slices and stir fry until just cooked.  Add in seasoning and mix well.  Then add in spring onions.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fried Flour Vermicelli (Misua/Meen Seen) [ 炒面线 ]

Fried Mee Sua
Fried Mee Sua
Fried Mee Sua

Misua or mee suah (in Hokkien) or meen seen (面线 in Cantonese) is a very thin type of salted noodles made from wheat flour, salt, tapioca starch and water.  This noodle signifies long life in Chinese culture, therefore it is always served as Longevity Noodles during birthday dinners.   


300g flour vermicelli (面线)
200g chinese chives, cut into 3cm length
300g bean sprouts
40g dried shrimps, soaked to soften then coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 shallots, finely sliced
enough oil to deep fry vermicelli

1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup water

  • Prepare a big bowl of boiling water.  Set aside.
  • Heat enough oil in a wok and deep fry vermicelli, one bundle at a time until light brown (watch the noodles carefully as it gets brown very quickly).
  • Remove the noodles with a slotted spatula and drain on absorbent paper.  Then blanch noodles in hot water until softened, or al dente and drain well in a colander.
  • Heat oil in wok and stir fry garlic and shallots until fragrant.  Dish out and set aside.
  • Stir fry dried shrimps until fragrant, then add in noodles and seasoning.  Then put in chives, bean sprouts and the fried garlic and shallots. Toss well. 
  • Dish out and serve immediately.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Glutinous Rice Wrapped In Lotus Leaf (Lo Mai Gai) 糯米雞

Ingredients:  [Makes 10 medium-size parcels]

4 dried lotus leaves
  • Blanch dried lotus leaves into boiling water for about 2 minutes.
  • Wash and drain the leaves.  Pat dry with paper towel.
  • Cut away the tough part near the base of the stem, then cut the leaves into thirds.

450g glutinous rice, washed and drained
400 ml water
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 shallots, sliced thinly

Seasoning for the rice:
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar

  • Heat about 3 tbsp oil  and stir fry minced garlic and shallots until aromatic, then put in glutinous rice and fry for about half a minute.  Then add in seasoning.  
  • Fry for about 2 minutes, stirring continously.  
  • Add in water and stir well.  Transfer into a steaming tray.
  • Steam glutinous rice for about 20 minutes or until cooked.
  • Fluff up the rice with a pair of chopsticks.

200g chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
5 pieces dried shitake mushrooms, soaked to soften and cut into halves
50g dried shrimps, washed and soaked to soften - finely chopped (or you can leave them whole)
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 shallots, sliced thinly

1 tsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
ginger juice (extracted from 20g ginger, grated or pounded)
dash of pepper
1/2 tsp sugar

  • Marinate chicken pieces with marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat enough oil in a wok and sauté minced garlic and shallots until fragrant.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  • Stir fry dried shrimps until light brown and aromatic, add in a little of the sautéed garlic and shallots and stir to combine.  Dish out into a bowl and set aside.
  • Fry mushrooms with a little oil and some sautéed garlic and shallots, add water and a little seasoning.  Cook until softened.  Transfer into a bowl and set aside.
  • With enough oil, stir fry marinated chicken pieces with sautéed garlic and shallots until half-cooked.  Dish out into a bowl and set aside.

In order for my rice parcels to be consistent in size, I used a rectangle bowl (8 x 10 cm).
  • Place a layer of rice at the base of the bowl, then place chicken, mushroom and dried shrimps; top it with more rice.  
  • Invert the bowl onto the lotus leaf (I placed a small piece of bamboo leaf onto the lotus leaf).  Form a square parcel.
  • Steam the rice parcels on high heat for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spicy Minced Pork with Thai Basil

Pad Grapow Moo

Pad Grapow Moo

This flavoursome Thai-inspired dish is amazingly easy to put together with a few simple ingredients. You can either use minced chicken or pork. The authentic Grapow Moo uses Holy Basil which I replaced with the normal Thai basil.  


250g pork mince
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour
dash of pepper

3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 shallots, sliced finenly
3 bird's eye chillies (chopped)
3 kaffir lime leaves, remove the thick mid-rib and slice the leaves thinly

300g french beans (or snake beans), cut finely
1/2 bunch Thai basil, leaves only
1 tsp sugar (or palm sugar)
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
fish sauce, to taste
dash of pepper
1 1/2 tbsp oil

  • Marinade minced pork with cornflour and light soy sauce with a dash of pepper.  Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok and put in chopped garlic, shallots, chillies and kaffir lime leaves slivers and stir-fry until fragrant.
  • Add in marinated minced pork and break apart clumps with the spatula.  Cook for about 1 - 2 minutes or until the pork changes colour.
  • Toss in french beans and stir to combine.  
  • Stir in dark soy sauce, sugar,  fish sauce  and pepper (adjust seasonings according to your taste).
  • Add in basil leaves and toss until basil is wilted.  
  • Transfer to a serving plate and serve hot with plain rice.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stir fried somen


230g Somen (noodles) 
100g bean sprouts
100g chinese chives (ku chai), cut into 2 cm length
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
2 tbsp dried shrimps, washed and soaked to soften, chopped coarsely
3 tbsp oil
salt & pepper, to taste
2 tbsp light soy sauce

  • Blanched noodles in boiling water until al dente.  Place into a colander and rinse under cold running water.  Drain well.  Set aside.
  • Heat up oil in a wok and stir-fry chopped garlic and shallots until aromatic.  Add in dried shrimps and fry until fragrant.  
  • Add in noodles and toss well.  Season with light soy sauce, salt & pepper.  Add in beansprouts and chives.  Toss for a few minutes to mix well.
  • Dish out and serve with chilli oil.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nutella Brownies



Adapted from Completely Delicious


170g dark chocolate, chopped
8g cocoa powder
2g instant coffee granules
130g butter
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 tsp salt
95g plain flour
85g pecans, chopped
100g Nutella

  • Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  Line a 20.5 cm square pan with baking paper.
  • Melt the chocolate, cocoa powder, coffee granules and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth.  Remove bowl from heat and let cool for a few minutes.  
  • Add in sugar and vanilla extract, stir to combine.  
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add in salt and flour and stir until well combined.  Fold in pecans.  
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to spread evenly.  Drop spoonfuls of Nutella onto the batter, about 4 cm apart, then use a toothpick to swirl the Nutella into the batter.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges appeared crispy but a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs.  
  • Remove pan from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
  • Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or in the fridge for a week.

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