Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes


210g butter
180g caster sugar
5 eggs
3/4 teaspoon orange emulco
3 teaspoons orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
45 ml buttermilk
300g plain flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
120g chocolate chips or more ( save some for toppings)

Method :

1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2. Add in orange emulco, orange rind, buttermilk and salt.
3. Beat in the eggs , one at a time.
4. Then add in the flour with the baking powder and chocolate chips. Mix well.
5. Fill up cupcake cases 3/4 full and top with some chocolate chips.
6. Bake in pre-heated oven at 150 or 160 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or when skewer comes out clean.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Corned Beef Fried Rice

Tonight we had corned beef fried rice for dinner. It's again a one-dish meal whipped up in a jiffy with finely grated carrot, chopped vegetables, sliced onions, chopped garlic, eggs, sliced chilli and of course one-third of corned beef from the can. That settled the dinner for three.

Lilies and Roses

Flowers - they are one of God's many beautiful creations. Give me a garden of flowers and I will simply be intoxicated with their beauty and experience euphoria. Man's creation can never outdo God's. Flowers real or artificial, big or small, single or cluster, from trees or shrubs, among the grass or on cakes always make me happeee!

I spent some time to create some lilies and roses for cakes. Making the roses was a breeze but the lilies gave me heartache (first time not happy with flowers haha!). I broke all the petals of every lily when I attempted to remove them from the foil. I was using royal icing. I wanted to give up and then it dawned on silly me that I could make them out of fondant. And so I did, though not so well-done. I shall try again.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Simple Meal For Two

My younger daughter has not been coming home for dinner lately. That leaves only my husband and me. We had been eating out for a few days and I decided that I had enough of eating oily and msg-ladened food. I came up with these two simple dishes - stir-fried meat in oyster sauce and xiao pai cai with shredded carrot.
The stir-fried meat had lots of sliced onions because it is one of my husband's favourite 'veggie'. I also added another of his favourite, potato.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

To Bake or Not To Bake

I just feel so restless. I have been flipping through my recipe books and I simply can't decide what to bake. Maybe I should do something savoury for a change. I think my husband is quite tired of eating my cakes now. But when I mentioned that I would like to do an "Orh Kueh" or "Chai Tow Kueh", he grimaced at the thought. Not to discourage me, he said he wouldn't mind eating a piece. Only A Piece!!!! What am I going to do with the rest. I can't gorge the whole tray all by myself. I'll end up looking like a yam. Not that I don't look it now, but I don't want to look like a really bulbous one! Heehee!
Anyway I am having second thoughts about making them now. One day I shall make them when I have more people around to eat. Any volunteers?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Butter Cake All Dressed-Up

Butter Cake


250g butter (slightly soft)
40g cream cheese
6 tablespoons heavy cream
220g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
5 large eggs
250g self-raising flour (sifted)


1. Cream butter, sugar and cheese at medium speed till light and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla essence and heavy cream and beat to combine.
3. Add one egg at a time and beat till well-mixed.
4. Add in flour and beat for about 3 minutes.
5. Pour into lined and greased 8" round tin.
6. Bake at pre-heated 150 degrees C for 50 minutes or till skewer comes out clean.
7. Turn cake out and cool on rack and wrap in cling wrap.

Cake is best eaten the next day.
Verdict - Cake is slightly densed, moist and buttery flavoured.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lychee Cake

Yup! A fruity cake I did. A lychee cake for my friend whom I'm meeting tonight.
I used one of my very old optima sponge cake recipe (book pages have turned yellow!) and flavoured it with lychee. Fresh cream and canned lychees were used.

Ingredients for Chiffon Sponge cake:

4 egg yolks
60 ml olive oil
40 ml water
110g Optima Flour
60g Hongkong flour, sifted
half teaspoon baking soda

4 egg whites
70g caster sugar
a quarter teaspoon cream of tartar
half teaspoon of lychee essence


1. Preheat oven at 160 degrees C and lined and grease bottom of 9" round tin but not the sides.
2. Mix egg yolks, oil and water together.
3. Add flour and essence and put aside.
4. Whisk egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar at medium speed for about 5 minutes or till stiff.
5. Add egg yolk mixture to the egg whites and mixed carefully. Do not mix too long.
6. Pour mixture into tin and bang tin slightly to remove any air space.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees C and bake for about 50 minutes or when inserted
skewer comes out clean.
8. Leave cake in tin upside down on a wire rack until it cools.
9. Use a knife or spatula and run it round the side of the cake to loosen it and the cake will fall
10. Then ice the cake with any kind of frosting preferred or you can eat it plain.

Chicken Pongteh

Another of my Mother-in-law's "agak, agak" recipe which I prepared today because I was feeling rather energetic after cooking Kuah Lada and I wanted to cook something for my daughter and her family. It's another Peranakan dish but this recipe has been tweaked to suit my husband's palate. He doesn't like the strong smell of certain spices that go into this dish. Hence I used them sparingly so that it not easily detectable.


1 chicken, cut to serving sizes
3 to 4 heaped tablespoons taucheo (preserved mashed soya bean paste)
4 to 5 large onions
3 cloves garlic
1 part of a star anise
1 cm long cinnamon stick
Sugar to taste
2 to 3 carrots, cut into chunks (can add more)
2 to 3 potatoes, cut into chunks (can add more)
1 teaspoon dark soya sauce


1. Grind onions and garlic together.
2. Put onions, garlic and taucheo in a pot and stir fry for a minute with a little oil.
3. Add in carrots and some water, bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add in the potatoes and chicken and add enough water to cover.
5. Bring to boil and then simmer till chicken and potatoes are cooked.
6. Add dark soya sauce and sugar to taste.
7. Serve with sliced fresh green chilli.

The gravy should be thickish. This dish can be eaten with bread/French loaf.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Kuah Lada

Kuah Lada is one of my husband's favourite dishes. The first time I had this dish was at my mother-in-law's place (I called her Auntie then) way back in the early 1970s. I acquired from her recipes of my husband's favourite dishes which I will be sharing by and by. There weren't any specific measurements of the ingredients required to cook the dishes. Everything was "agak, agak". I could jot down only the names of the ingredients. The rest was up to me to "agak, agak." The proof that I could cook just as well as my mother-in-law (ahem!) was a second helping of rice whenever I cooked those dishes for my husband.


600g stingray, cut into serving pieces
2 long bringals, cut to size and soaked in salt water

Spices to be ground:
Galangal, 2" diameter, 1.5" long
Turmeric, 1 thumb length
Lemon grass, 1 stalk sliced
6 medium-sized onions
4 cloves garlic
1 heaped teaspoon belachan
10 candlenuts

Enough tamarind water strained from 4 heaped tablespoons tamarind to cook
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Salt and sugar to taste


1. Pour a little oil and stir fry spices and black pepper for 2 minutes over medium heat.
2. Add in fish and brinjals and gently stir fry for a few minutes.
3. Add in enough tamarind water to cover fish and brinjal and bring it to a boil.
4. Then simmer till both fish and brinjals are cooked.
5. Add salt and sugar to taste. The gravy should not be too watery.

This tangy dish is best eaten with sambal belachan. Yum, yum!

Monday, March 15, 2010

What To Bake

A friend's birthday is around the corner - this Friday. I just can't decide what to bake for her. I have been scouring my recipes and still haven't come across one that I would love to do. I don't want to bake the usual chocolate or butter cake. As the weather has been unforgivingly hot of late, I would want to make something light and refreshing. Maybe I 'll come up with something fruity.
Maybe.....Whatever it's going to be, it's got to be something that I don't have to shop for the ingredients. My baking stuff cupboard is spilling over. Sigh!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mandarin Orange Muffins

I was tidying my fridge after cooking lunch and came across a mysterious Ntuc plastic bag of something which was placed deep inside the shelf. For the life of me, I couldn't recall what was in the package. Hah! Ten mandarin oranges leftover from CNY! I peeled one and it was still good and sweet. Hmmm........ I decided to use them in my baking. I remembered reading Oi Lin's Lychee Muffin recipe and thought to myself, "Why not have fresh orange muffins?"

Mandarin Orange Muffins ( Adapted from Oi Lin's Lychee Muffins)


80g salted butter
4 tablespoon evaporated milk
1 teaspoon orange emulsion
2 teaspoon grated orange rind
120g Cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
75g caster sugar
140g peeled mandarin oranges, seeds removed and cut into 4 (reserve a quarter for topping)


1. Preheat oven at 170
2. Let butter soften at room temperature and mix in the milk, orange emulsion and rind.
3. Sift flour and baking powder.
4. Whisk egg and sugar on high for 4 minutes till thick.
5. Add in butter mixture gently.
6. Fold in flour and cut oranges alternately.
7. Fill up muffins cups or cupcake cases to the brim and top up with cut oranges.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Verdict: The muffin mix is not too sweet but the sweet oranges make up for it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Random Birthday Cake

(Well, I am not a good photographer and I only aim and shoot.)

Steamed Moist Chocolate Cake


185g butter
170g caster sugar
200ml evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs, lightly beaten

125g cake flour
70g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda


1. Melt butter, sugar, vanilla and milk in a saucepan over a low fire until butter is melted. Do not
boil. Leave to cool.
(While waiting for the butter mixture to cool, start boiling the water in the steamer.)
2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
3. Add the beaten eggs to the butter mixture and mix well.
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and add the butter mixture and mix well.
5. Pour into a greased and lined 8-inch round tin and cover with a piece of aluminium to prevent
the cake top from getting wet.
6. Place the tin in the steamer and steam for 45 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.

Verdict: I find the cake soft and moist but not as 'phang' as baked ones.

No Theme Birthday Cake

I just couldn't decide - To bake or not to bake? I had my nephews' birthday lunch to attend on Sunday. Their birthdays were a week apart but it's usually celebrated together.
I had the whole house to clean. My better half had decided to try his luck at fishing.
I had read about this wonderful, steamed, moist chocolate cake sometime ago on a couple of blogs - Blessed Homemaker and Happy Flour. By the time I decided to bake, it was almost 3pm. Nevertheless, all was done by 4pm. Well I certainly couldn't present a 'botak' cake to my birthday nephews, so I did a quick ganache and decorated randomly with MM fondant.
My thanks to the above-mentioned blogs for the cake recipe though I had cut down on the sugar a little.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fish and Veggie

Easy to prepare and just use what you have at home - that's how sometimes I come up with dishes for lunch. Makes me sound pretty laid back. But hey! Cooking has its flexibilities and allows creativity. Long ago, mothers simply 'agak'( estimated)the ingredients when it came to cooking. I believe that there are still many mums doing that. I find it quite cumbersome having to weigh everything just to cook a dish. Of course when it comes to baking, it's totally different. The result of your cakes depends on the exact weight of the ingredients required.

I decided to do a fish, a veggie and of course beef rendang which I froze some when I cooked for CNY(a habit to cook extra and stash some away in the freezer for later use).

Ingredients for the fish dish:

A white pomfret, medium-sized, cut into 3 (can be whole fish)
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1 red and 1 green chilli, sliced
A few slices of lemon (happened to find it in the fridge)
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons Buah keluak paste*
About 100ml coconut milk (packet)
Salt and sugar to taste


1. Marinate fish with some salt and pepper, put aside for half and hour.
2. Pat dry fish and deep fry till crispy. (You can eat the bones of white pomfret when fried to a
3. Heat enough oil in a pan and stir fry onion, garlic and buah keluak paste for a minute or so.
4. Add in lemon juice, coconut milk, salt and sugar. If the gravy is too thick, add a little water.
5. Add in the sliced chilli and lemon slices and bring to boil for a few seconds.
6. Pour gravy over the fish and serve immediately if you want the crispiness of the fish.
Otherwise, you can put in the fish at step 5.

Ingredients for Veggie Omelette:

I small bowl of shredded cabbage
Half a carrot, shredded
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
Some sliced red chilli
2 eggs, beaten with some salt
Salt to taste


1. Stir fry onion and garlic for a while.
2. Add carrot and cabbage and some salt and fry for a minute.
3. Add a little water to fry the veggies.
4. Add the chilli and then the egg.
5. Turn over the omelette once to cook the other side.
6. Serve hot.

You can substitute cabbage with bayam (spinach) or chinese leek.
There you have it, 2 simple dishes for a meal.

As for the buah keluak paste*, I stock up on this whenever I cook Buah keluak for CNY. This dish is a favourite with my daughters and nephew. I only cook it for CNY dinner. That's why I always prepare extra because I can use the paste to cook different types of dishes as in the case of the fish dish. Even though the same paste is used, the taste and flavour can be different.
eg. I can use tamarind water and laksa leaves with some chilli padi to cook a another fish dish or use coconut milk and limau purut leaves (lime leaves) to cook chicken. The options are plenty. Just dare to try and be creative!

This is my version of Buah Keluak paste which I tweaked a little from my Mum-in-law's.

Ingredients: (does not include other ingredients that are not to be ground with)
This amount is good for about one and a half kg of meat.

Spices to be ground:

450g peeled onions
4 cloves garlic
70g sliced galangal (lengkwas)
50g sliced turmeric (kunyit)
2 pieces 6cm long lemon grass (serai), sliced
40g candlenuts (buah keras)
1 piece belachan (4x4x1cm)

I did not grind the chilli together because I can use the paste to cook non-spicy dishes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Save Time Save Hassle

I mentioned in my previous posting that I usually stock up on spices in the freezer.
Here's how it's done. Be sure to label them.
These red plastic containers have been with me for almost 20 years. They cost only 40 cents each. Each container of spice is enough to cook a dish for about 6 to 8 persons.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


My second grandson celebrated his birthday not too long ago. I baked him two cakes - his favourite theme, Sponge Bob and Transformer. The latter was for his kindergarten mates. It was my second attempt at using marshmallow fondant on the cakes. The first was for my third grandson who turned one last November - Mr Men
I came across this recipe and decided to take up the challenge of decorating the cake. I had never done fondant before and I had stopped icing cakes eons ago. So it was like starting all over again, but this time it was something different. Previously my cakes were done with buttercream or fresh cream.
I didn't want to use the ready-to-use fondant as I have read reviews that it tasted terrible. Anyway, the MM fondant is made of marshmallow and icing sugar which makes it more palatable.
I have a few more birthday cakes to think of. Hmmm.......

Green Bean Soup

Ingredients: (Serves 4 persons)

90g green beans, washed and drained
30g barley, washed and drained
about 6 pandan leaves, washed and tied
sugar to taste
a pinch of salt
1.5 litres water


1. Place beans, barley, pandan leaves, salt and water in a pot.
2. Bring it to a boil for 10 minutes. Do not cover the pot or it will boil over.
3. Then simmer till the beans and barley are soft.
4. Remove the pandan leaves and add sugar to taste. ( Do not add sugar before the beans are soft)
5. If the water level in the pot has deceased and if you prefer more soup, than add some hot
water and bring it to a boil.
6. You can serve it hot or cold.

Hot, hot, hot!

The weather these days has been unbearably and excruciatingly hot! We, all around the world, are to be blamed. Global warming did not just happen naturally. We have a beautiful planet which is now converging on the brink of destruction. It's difficult to pinpoint the culprits who are putting us in this dilemma. Whether it's the MNC worldwide or the man in the street , we are all responsible for this predicament. Don't waste paper! Don't waste food! Don't waste energy! Don't waste water! Don't smoke! Don't burn down forest! Don't emit so much smoke! Don't use air-conditional often! Don't..................I could go on. The list is long. It's a little too late for the governments from various countries to meet and try to come up with solutions. Every country wants to prosper. Production of all sorts increases. Hence the planet suffers. We suffer too! Enough said! Guess the heat got to me!

While we have to put up with this unrelenting hot weather, perhaps we still have time to enjoy a cool drink or a 'cooling' dessert like green bean soup.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wholesome Fried Rice


2 bowls of leftover cooked rice
Half a carrot, shredded
2 string beans, sliced thinly
2 pieces of 'bak kwa' cut into strips
1 large white onion or any type of onion, chopped
1 clove garlic chopped or minced
Omelette from 2 eggs, shredded
Salt, pepper to talste
Sliced red and green chilli (optional)
Fried shallots and parsley for garnishing


1. Heat oil and stir-fry onion and garlic for a minute.
2. Add in the carrot and string bean and season with some salt and cook for a few minutes.
3. Next, add in the 'bak kwa' and sliced chilli and the rice.
4. Fry for about 5 minutes and then add in the omelette.
5. Fry until all the ingredients are well-mixed, add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve garnished with fried shallots and parsley.

One-Dish Meal in a Jiffy

Have you ever gotten up one morning and had this feeling of 'Awww, what to cook today?' Well today I felt that way and so I looked into the fridge and ah hah!....... Fried rice! Digging into the storage compartment, I came up with a carrot, a couple of string beans , 'bak kwa' and a packet of leftover rice from Friday.

I have this habit of preparing a little extra of certain food. eg fried ikan bilis, white bait, dried prawn sambal, nasi lemak sambal and even spices for cooking green curry and other dishes. I store them in air-tight containers in the freezer for the wet spices and others in the fridge. They last for 6 months or more and flavour-wise, they still taste good. They come in handy whenever I have to cook certain dishes and I don't have to peel, slice and grind just to cook for three persons.
My freezer is full of plastic containers of assorted ground spices for green curry, rendang, buah keluak, ayam kunyet and kuah lada.

How do I do it? Pick a 'Mum's not cooking day' a week. Go marketing for all the spices required, enough to get at least three portions and process them and store. Do the same for other recipes and before you know it, you would have three to four types of spices. You can cook the same dish every three weeeks. All you have to do is to buy the meat and veggies.