Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mixed Fruit cocktail cake

Mixed Fruit cocktail cake

Combined two recipes and I came up with this cake. Baked it for CK's birthday last month. CK's verdict : taste nice even though it is not so professional looking as in a cake bought from the local bakery.

For the sponge cake, I followed the sponge cake recipe from Alex Goh's ' Creative Making of Cakes'. (one of my favorite recipe books because of the easy to follow instructions and the quantity fits into the cake tins I have without me having to adjust the quantity.

Ingredients for the sponge cake :

5 egg yolks
20 g sugar

5 egg whites
130 g sugar

120 g flour
80 g melted butter

Method :

1) Whip egg yolks and 20 g sugar until light and fluffy. Set aside.
2) Whip egg whites till soft peaks formed. Add in sugar and continue whipping until egg whites become stiff.
3) Mix egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture (Item 1) until well mixed.
4) Fold in flour. Slowly fold in the melted butter until well mixed.
5) Pour mixture into a 9" dia. round cake tin and bake at 180 deg. C for 30 mins. Remove cake immediately when it is baked. Cool.

For the custard filling :
100 g instant custard
150 ml cocktail juice (from the fruit cocktail)
200 ml whipping cream
1 tin fruit cocktail (825 g, drained)

Method :
1) Add instant custard to cocktail juice and whisked until thickened. Add in the whipping cream and the tinned fruits. Divide into 2.

Assembling the cake :
1) Cut sponge cake into 3 layers. Place one slice of sponge cake into a 9" dia. loose based cake tin and spread on a portion of the custard filling.
2) Top with the second slice of sponge cake and spread with the other portion of custard filling.
3) Refrigerate until set. Remove cake from tin.
4) Decorate cake with whipped cream and sliced almonds (toasted). Alternatively arrange a layer of fresh fruits on top of the cake. Brush fruits with instant jelly topping to prevent fruits from drying.

NB : The idea for the custard filling came from "Delicious Cakes" by Amy Heng.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chocolate coffee cake

Chocolate coffee cake

Intended to make a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, but halfway, remembered the pack of sponge fingers and instant coffee in the pantry, and decided to try out a chocolate coffee cake recipe I saw in Kevin Chai's 'My Birthday Cake'. The chocolate sponge cake is 'truffle cake' from Alex Goh's 'Temptation of Chocolate', and is my favourite chocolate sponge cake recipe.

Ingredients for the chocolate sponge cake.

5 egg yolks
20 g sugar
5 egg whites
120 g sugar
120 g flour
10 g cocoa powder
60 g butter
60 g cooking chocolate, chopped

Method :
1) Melt cooking chocolate and butter over a double boiler
2) Sift flour and cocoa together
3) Whisk egg yolks and 20 g sugar together until light and fluffy
4) Whip egg whites until soft peak formed. Add in 120 g sugar, and continue whipping until stiff
5) Fold egg whites into egg yolk mixture (item 3)
6) Fold in flour and cocoa mixture. Then add in melted chocolate mixture.
7) Pour into a 9" dia. baking tin.
8) Bake at 180 deg. C until done (approx. 30 mins)
9) Remove cake and cool. Cut into 2 layers.

Ingredients for the chocolate cream :
200 g cooking chocolate
2 tbsp unsalted butter
200 g fresh cream (whipped).

Method :
Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Cool slightly, then fold in whipping cream.

Assembling the cake :
10 sponge fingers
1 cup of strong coffee

1) Cut cake into 2 layers. Spread a layer of chocolate cream onto cake
2) Dip sponge fingers in the coffee, and arrange on the chocolate cream. Cover the second layer of sponge cake. Refrigerate for a while.
3) Cover the cake with the rest of the chocolate cream. Decorate the sides of the cake with chocolate rice, and dust the top of the cake with cocoa powder.

Note :
I find this a very versatile and fail proof chocolate sponge cake recipe. Remember to use unsalted butter for making chocolate cream or chocolate ganache , or the chocolate may not set.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Onion pancakes

Onion pancake cooking on the griddle
A pancake recipe for you. I served the pancakes with chicken curry, and your brother gave it the thumbs up. So maybe of having fried noodles and chicken curry, as you and your friends are so fond of having, maybe you can have pancakes next time. It is not roti canai, but, I guess, it can be a nice substitute.

Ingredients for onion pancake :

2 cups flour
1 big onion (slice finely)
1 sprig of spring onions (diced)
1 egg
about 2 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt


Method :

1) Mix salt and flour together. Add in egg and enough water to make into a runny pancake batter. Add in onions and spring onions.
2) Let stand for 30 minutes.
3) Heat up a griddle. Oil with margarine. Pour in a scoop of batter. When it is cooked on one side, flip over and cook the other side.

onion pancake batter

FM dear,
Meant to take some pictures of the pancake together with the chicken curry, but, woe and begone, forgot to recharge the camera batteries! Will be take some more pictures the next time I make this, which will be anytime soon, since CK and FJ love it!
Will include the chicken curry recipe for you too, but, maybe that is not necessary since you have manage to cook chicken curry. Thinking of a dhall curry next.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chocolate mousse cake

Finally, got back to baking another cake. This time, it is a double chocolate mousse cake.

Ingredients for the chocolate sponge cake :

5 egg yolks
5 egg white
120 g sugar
120 g flour
10 g cocoa powder
60 g cooking chocolate
60 g butter

Method :
1) Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2) Whip egg yolks until fluffy. Set aside.
3) Whip egg white and sugar until thick and fluffy.
4) Fold in sifted flour and cocoa powder.
5) Fold in melted chocolate mixture.
6) Pour into 9" dia. base lined cake tin.
7) Bake at 180 deg. C for 30 minutes.
8) When cooked, remove immediately and cool.

Ingredients for white chocolate mousse
9 g gelatin powder
45 g water
1 egg yolk
50 g fresh milk
80 g white chocolate
135 g whipping cream

Method :
1) Mix gelatin powder and water and set aside for 5 minutes. Melt over hot simmering water
2) Melt white chocolate over hot simmering water. Set aside.
3) Whisk whipping cream until fluffy and set aside.
4) Whisk egg yolk and fresh milk over hot simmering water. Add in melted gelatin and mix thoroughly. Add in melted chocolate and mix till smooth.
5) Fold in whipped cream.
6) Place sponge cake in 9" dia. spring form cake tin.
7) Pour in the white chocolate mixture on top of the chocolate cake. Chill.

Ingredients for chocolate mousse
10 g gelatin
50 g water
100 g dark cooking chocolate
1 tsp cocoa
50 g sugar
100 g milk
2 egg yolks
150 g whipping cream

Method :
1) Mix gelatin and water and set aside for 5 minutes. Melt over hot simmering water.
2) Melt cocoa and cooking chocolate over hot simmering water. Set aside.
3) Whisk whipping cream until fluffy. Set aside.
4) Whisk egg yolks and sugar until dissolved. Add in milk, and whisk over hot simmering water.
5) Add in melted gelatin mixture and stir thoroughly. Add in melted chocolate mixture and mix till smooth. Fold in whipped cream.
6) Pour dark chocolate mixture over the white chocolate mixture.
7) Chill for at least 3 hours.
8) Blow a hairdryer lightly around the cake tin so that the mousse cake can be removed smoothly. Serve.

Double chocolate mousse cake. Did not use a hairdryer, so the edge is not that nice and smooth. (lazy to go up to my room to get the hairdryer)

Note : Sieve some cocoa powder over the cake before serving. Forgot about the cocoa powder until it was too late, and I had cut up the cake!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Am back. Some time since I posted anything interesting. Getting to know the contents of my first-aid box, and finding it hard to do stuff with the band aids on my fingers. Been rather careless, and hurt my fingers a few times recently. Before one finger could recover, I cut myself on another finger. I am typing this blog with band aids on my 2 index fingers (yup, I got cuts on both my hands), and the trouble with me is that any teeny little cut on my fingers needs to be covered up properly or it will takes a while to heal.
So it has been a while since I cooked or baked any interesting stuff. I bought some sponge fingers 2 weeks ago, and I think I will be making tiramisu or whatever one can do with sponge fingers, and I remember seeing a cake with sponge fingers. Anyway, will be posting the results here, once I get rid of all this band aids, and can get down to baking again.
Meantime, while I am waiting for the fingers to heal, am catching up on my reading. Nothing heavy stuff, just a few light novels that I got from the book rental last weekend. I seldom buy books, preferring to rent them from the book rental shop. At least this way, I am saving money and saving a few trees along the way.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

white almond cookies

Quick and easy cookies that I baked recently, and since it uses shortening and don't have eggs, I guess it will also be suitable for vegetarians.

Ingredients :

130 g shortening
70 g icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
80 g cornflour
120 g flour
60 g almond flakes (roasted)

Method :

1) Beat shortening, icing sugar and salt in bowl until smooth. Add in rest of ingredients and mix into a soft dough.
2) Roll out dough to 1 cm thick. Cut into rounds with cookie cutter.
3) Place onto lined baking tray, and bake in preheated oven at 160 deg C. Cool and store in air tight containers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Clay pot chicken rice

FM dear,
I have been experimenting with cooking clay pot chicken rice. Not that I have not cooked it before, but then all along I have been using a electric rice cooker, it cannot really be called clay pot chicken rice. To quote FJ, "clay pot rice has got to be cooked in a clay pot, otherwise it should be called tasty chicken rice, black rice ( because of the dark soya sauce), or maybe electric rice cooker chicken rice.
So using my recipe for my clay pot rice (, tried cooking the rice in a proper clay pot.
First attempt : Put in the chicken too late, so by the time the chicken was cooked, the bottom rice had burned.
Second attempt : Remembered to add in the chicken earlier, and turn down the flame. Too big a pot of rice, making it rather hard to handle, and the chicken took too long to cook, and there was not much rice crust (which is the tasty part), and some uncooked rice.

My second attempt at clay pot rice. To much rice in one pot, and not enough dark soya sauce

For my third attempt, I decided to purchase another clay pot and divide the recipe into 2. One pot turned out alright, but the other was a bit bland, as the sauce were not poured equally into each pot. However, added a bit too much water, or rather the rice I used could not stand too much water, so the end result was too soft rice.

So far, have not really been successful with cooking the rice in the clay pots, so I guess will have to experiment further, otherwise maybe I will have to think about renaming it electric rice cooker chicken rice as per FJ's suggestion.

Monday, February 9, 2009

wanton in soup

Wanton in soup
Hope you enjoyed the Chinese New Year gathering with your friends, and I hope your North American friends enjoyed the wanton and the other Chinese food that you all served, and I noticed that you managed to conjure up a Yee Sang, too!

Ingredients :

50 pcs wanton skin

Wanton filling :
200 g prawn meat, diced
150 g minced meat
3 Chinese mushroom, soaked and diced finely
salt, sesame oil, pepper, 1 tsp cornflour

Method :
1) Filling : Mix prawn meat, minced meat, mushroom and seasoning and stir in one direction until sticky and well-combined.
2) Wrap 1 tsp of filling in wanton skin.
3) Bring a pot of water to boil. Add in stock cube, pepper and salt. Cook wanton, and some Chinese mustard leaves or cabbage and serve in soup.

wanton all ready to be dunked in the soup

Note : Alternatively, heat 2 cups of oil in a frying pan, and deep fry the wanton for deep fried wanton. Serve with chili sauce.
For a tasty soup, keep the prawn shells to make the soup stock for the wanton. Boil a pot of water with the prawn shells. Strain and discard the prawn shells.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Easy chicken wings

easy chicken wings

Dear FM,
I found this easy recipe for cooking chicken wings, and they turn out so nice and tasty that I think I got to share it with you. It is rather simple to cook, and the ingredients are what you would have in your kitchen. You know how I am always looking for easy recipes for you.
Oh yes, how are your cooking experiments going on. Been 6 months of living on your own and surviving on your student budget. Is it still choy sum, eggs and fried pork slices? Or have you become more adventurous in your cooking. By the way, the noodles you cooked look quite delicious from the pictures. Looking forward to having you cook it for me!
Ahh, the recipe for the chicken wings -

Ingredients :
6 chicken wings
1 tbsp dark soya sauce
2 tbsp light soya sauce (or to taste)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp black pepper

Method :
1) Marinade chicken wings with the soya sauces, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and black pepper for a few hours, or overnight.
2) Place chicken wings and marinade into a non stick pan. Add in a cup of water.
3) Cover pan and bring to the boil for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue simmering over low heat until sauce has thickened. Dish up and serve.

chicken wings cooking in the pan

FM dear,
After returning from the supermart with your weekly food supplies, clean and marinade the chicken wings, and then freeze them. Just defrost a few hours ahead before cooking. The wings is supposed to be served with the sauce, but I found the sauce to be so oily, so I discarded it.

CK mentioned that the chicken wings looked quite familiar when I served them. Don't you think they looked like the wings that we had in the steamboat outlet in Bandar Sunway. Remember how everybody rushed for them when they were served. Could never understand why, and neither could your uncle!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Festive Shortbread Squares

festive shortbread squares

An old recipe that I found in a free booklet from B&P Butterfly cornflour booklet. Easy to make and nice to look.

Ingredients :
250 g butter
170 g castor sugar
150 g cornflour
50 g rice flour
200 g plain flour
60 g red cherries
60 g green cherries

Method :
1) Grease a 32 cm x 26 cm shallow baking tray.
2) Sift together the cornflour, rice flour and plain flour.
3) Cream butter and sugar till creamy. Fold in flour and mix into a dough.
4) Press dough evenly onto greased tray. Cut dough lightly into 5 cm squares.
5) Decorate each square with cherries.
6) Baked in preheated oven at 170 deg. C for 20 minutes.
7) Leave to cool before cutting into squares

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hup tou shou or walnut cookies

Hup thou shou (walnut cookies) for the Lunar new year

More than a week since I posted anything. Been busy preparing for the lunar new year - baking, shopping for stuff for new year visits, etc... stopped bothering about getting new banknotes for red packets two years (so long as it is legal tender, don't see why should it have to be crisp new banknotes).

Baked this hup thou shou or walnut cookies last Friday. Puzzles me why they call it 'hup thou' (walnut) since the original 'hup thou shou' don' have any walnuts in it, and it is not shaped like a walnut either. However, in some recent recipes, somebody decided to add some walnuts in it, and it is what I have done.

Ingredients :
140 g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ammonia powder
1/4 tsp salt
60 g butter
30 g shortening
20 g cooking oil
60 g icing sugar
1 egg yolk
30 g walnuts (chopped and roasted)

for glazing (beaten) - 1 egg yolk and 1 tsp water

Method :
1) Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ammonia and salt.
2) Add in butter, shortening, cooking oil, icing sugar, egg yolk and mix well. Add in the walnuts.
3) Shape into small balls of 4g each. Place on a lined baking sheet. Make a small depression in the centre of the cookie by using a chopstick. Glaze the surface.
4) Bake at 180 deg C for 10 - 15 minutes until cooked.

Note : Lard was used for making 'hup thou shou', but many have stopped using lard for a healthier alternative. Ammonia is used to 'loosen' the texture of the cookies. Found this recipe in Alan Ooi's New Year Cookies.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Chinese chives (kau choy) pancake

Chinese chives (kau choy) pancakes

Another pancake recipe today. Had forgotten about this childhood comfort food, until I saw a friend making it.

Ingredients :
250 g flour
1 egg
350 - 400 ml water
1 tbsp oil
3 tbsp dried shrimps (soaked and chopped coarsely)
6 shallots (slices thinly)
1 bunch of Chinese chives (kau choy), cut into 1 - 2 cm lengths

Method :
1) Heat up 2 tbsp oil and fry the shallots and shrimps until fragrant. Set aside.
2) Sieve flour into mixing bowl. Add in salt, egg and 1 tbsp oil. Pour in water stirring all the time to make a pancake batter. Add in fried shallots, shrimps and shallots. Mix thoroughly.
3) Heat up a tsp oil in non-stick pan. Pour in a ladle of the pancake batter and cook both sides of pancake until golden colour.

The pancake batter

NB : Serve pancake with chili sauce (I think it goes very well with Lingham's chili sauce).
Old housewife's tip : To dislodge fish bone stuck in throat - wrap strip of uncut Chinese chive around a lump of rice and swallow. Not sure whether it worked or not, but I remembered my brother swallowing this as a child when he had a fish bone stuck in this throat!

(Today's blog is dedicated to the memory of my good friend, Fei Jie who taught me how to make this pancake, and who is now spreading her good cheer and cooking in God's little kitchen. "Fei Jie, May God Bless You and Keep You Safe In His Arms" and I dearly missed the hours spent yakking away in your kitchen)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

fragrant spicy rice

fragrant spicy rice for dinner

This fragrant rice tastes rather nice , and I think it goes rather well with coleslaw, salad and fried chicken. Have seen something like it at fast food outlets, but without the raisins.

Ingredients :
300 g rice
1 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic
4 shallots, sliced thinly
1 cm pc ginger, crushed
3 cm pc cinnamon stick
5 cardamoms
5 cloves
1 star anise
2 pandan leaves
1 3/4 cups water
2 tbsp evaporated milk
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chicken stock granules

50 g raisins

Method :
1) Wash rice, drain and put into rice cooker. Add in the pandan leaves.
2) Heat up oil and margarine, saute shallots, ginger and garlic. Add in cinnamon sticks, cardamoms, cloves and star anise and continue to fry until fragrant.
3) Add in water, milk, salt and chicken stock granules. Bring to boil and add to the rice cooker. Switch on rice cooker, and when rice is cooked, switched off and leave rice to stand for 10 - 20 minutes.
4) Remove the spices, and add in the raisins. Mix well and serve.

Note : Instead of margarine, you can also use ghee. If evaporated milk is not available, use fresh milk. I have even used milk powder before. A friend add 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder to the rice, and let it stand for 30 minutes to get a nice yellowy color in the rice. Use basmathi rice if you have it at home.
I am short of ideas as to what to cook, this makes a great dinner. I fry some chicken (instant frozen chicken from the supermart!), prepare coleslaw and another salad, and dinner is done.

Friday, January 9, 2009

kaya and butter on toast

Michael of ( commented that I did not have a picture of the home made kaya for the recipe that I posted the other day.

Well, went out and bought a loaf of bread and slathered it with the kaya, and here is the pix!

My favourite morning breakfast - kaya and butter on toast and milk tea

Thursday, January 8, 2009

excessive use of packaging materials

Bought some new clothes for the children recently, and while unpacking them, it just come to mind the excessive packaging the manufacturers used for the clothing.

Take for example, the packaging for the school uniforms I bought for the new school year.

The materials used to pack the long sleeve shirts - 1 strip of cardboard and 2 strips of plastic to hold up the collar, and 3 plastic clips to keep the shirt in place in the plastic bag and a little plastic string to hold the price tag, the cost of which would be passed to me, the consumer! This is the packaging for just 1 shirt, so imagine the amount of packaging wasted.

Then there is this label for a pair of jeans . The manufacturer has fixed together a piece of plastic to their cardboard label with a small metal eyelet . As far as I can see, the plastic serves no purpose at all, and is just another waste of plastic.

The cardboard for the pyjamas. The pair of pyjamas had 2 pieces of cardboard and 2 plastic clips to keep the clothes in shape, so 4 pairs of pyjamas meant 8 pieces of cardboard and plastic clips in the recycle bin.

Then there are these little plastic strings to hold the price tags! How many among us would be careful enough to separate them for recycling. They are so small, that they probably would end up all over the floor, to be vacuumed up!

So, can I hope for some wake up call for clothing manufacturers out there. When will they do away with all the unnecessary packaging, the cost of which are borne by us. In my view, there is no need for the plastic strips and cardboard to hold up the collar. Just fold up nicely and put in individual plastic bags, and if possible do away with the plastic bags, too!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Home made kaya (coconut egg jam)

One of my earlier childhood memory is of my mum stirring the pot of kaya over the firewood stove. My mum ran a small coffee shop, and she used to make her own kaya for the toasts that her customers ordered. She learnt to make her kaya from the Hainanese sifu that worked for us. Most of the coffee shops in the town were ran by the Hainanese, and we were the only Cantonese coffee shop owners.
In fact, in the little town, most of the businesses were along ethnic lines. The Cantonese ran the sundry shops, the Hakkas the textile business, and the Hokkiens were mostly rubber dealers.

Ingredients for the home made kaya :
600 g sugar
4 eggs
2 egg whites
5 pandan leaves
a slice of young ginger
1 1/2 coconut - squeeze for thick santan.

Method :
Beat eggs and egg whites until foamy. Add in sugar, and place in double boiler. Stir until sugar dissolved. Strain mixture for lumps. Double-boil again. Add in pandan leaves and ginger. Keep stirring and add in the thick santan. Kaya is cooked when the santan has thickened. Remove ginger and pandan leaves.

For a nice caramel colour, caramelize about 50 g of sugar in a small saucepan and add to the kaya mixture, while it it still cooking.

Note : The whole cooking process will take over an hour. The water in the double boiler should not exceed 70 deg. C . If the water is too hot, the eggs will curdle and little lumps will form on the kaya.
It is a long tedious process, but the result is certainly worth it!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fraser's Hill

Braved the long and winding road to travel to Fraser's Hill ( The only way to travel to the hill is by car since the old bus that serviced the route broke down and they have not bothered to replace it. Driving to Fraser's Hill is the furthest that I have ever driven myself, and it is the first time that I have ever driven along such a winding road. The last 8 km, I had to keep my hands firmly on the wheel, as the road was so winding. The weather is not as cool as I remember from when I first went there 26 years ago. Global warming????

The Sungai Selangor Dam Regulating Dam. Diverted from the Kuala Kubu road to visit this place. I don't remember seeing any signboards, but shortly after leaving Kuala Kubu town, you can see the junction on the left.

Probably the most photographed clock tower in Malaysia! Every visitors to the hill seems to want a pix in front of the tower.

This quaint old building is the local post office.

The local police station built in 1919.

Pix from Fraser's Pine Resort.

Early morning at Pine Resort.

Dining room at Pine Resort Apartment. Rented a 3-room apartment at Pine Resort at RM338/- per night. Rates included a set dinner and buffet breakfast for 6. Food is average, but you can ask for extra rice and Chinese tea. If you can't live without the internet, there is wifi at the reception area. The apartment has a kitchen, but don't plan on doing your own cooking unless you are willing to lug your stove up the hill! Night entertainment is non-existent so remember to bring your own entertainment....

Lunch was at Restoran Hill View in Fraser's Hill. Seems to be about the only restaurant around. Of course, there is the Ye Old Smokehouse which serves western food. Actually, had wanted to eat there, but the manager looked so haughty and unwelcoming, we decided to give the place a miss. Well, their loss was Restoran Hill View's gain, and we certainly did not regret it. Nice decent food, and rice is unlimited. Our sumptous lunch for seven cost us RM74/-, and we had sweet sour pork, baby kailan, tofu, egg foo yong and lemon chicken (tasted more like orange chicken, though).

One of the oldest golf course in Malaysia

On the way back, stopped at Ulu Yam for lor mee. Also had steamed lala, stir-fried sweet potato leaves, fried mee sua, and fish cakes. Total bill : Rm66/-. After Rasa, look out for the junction to Hulu Yam (turn left). There are many outlets selling 'lor mee', and we just choose the most crowded outlet!