Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To Upgrade??

As I browse through numerous food blogs, I am awed and attracted to the lovely food pictures posted and they make me want to try out the recipes. When I look at mine, (oh dear!) how dreary they look!
My digital camera is about 7 years old. How obsolete mine has become in terms of all the latest 'what it can do' features! I am still mulling on whether I ought to get a new one cos' I am not much into photography. Having the latest model might not yield a better result. In other words, I am clueless about cameras!! Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Corned Beef-Hot Dog Fried Rice

After reading Mochachocolata-Rita's corned beef fried rice, I remembered I had some corned beef left in the freezer. I always deep-freeze unfinished food, even fresh chillies and ginger. I used to keep them in the fridge compartment and they perished within a couple of weeks. Now that they are frozen, they keep well for a long time. Just make sure they are washed before storing. There's a downside to it. The chillies will not be crunchy if eaten raw but they serve their purpose in dishes that need to be spiced-up. I got this idea from watching one of those food shows conducted by a young guy (can't remember his name).

So I decided to use up the leftovers - corned beef and hot dog.
And this is lunch.

What I used:

1/3 corned beef
3 hot dogs, sliced

1 medium-sized carrot, diced and parboiled
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 red + 1 green chilli, sliced

2 eggs, lightly beaten and seasoned with light soya sauce to make omelette

light soya sauce to taste or salt
pepper, either white or black
fried shallots for garnishing

What I did:

1. Prepare egg omelette and then slice to preferred size.

2. Saute onions and garlic in some oil for a minute and then add corned beef and fry for a couple of minutes.

3. Add in the rice and toss it about till well mixed.

4. Add carrot, chilli, hot dog, pepper and soya sauce to taste. Cover and let it cook for a while.

5. Lastly, add sliced egg and mix and then serve hot, garnished with fried shallots.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Modelling 2

What do you do when you can't sleep at night? For me, instead of tossing about in bed, I would either do sudoku or play with fondant. Last night was one of those nights.

And this was what I came up with.

Monday, June 28, 2010

All-in Curry

Got up late today at 9 plus. Actually I got up earlier at 5.20 to wake my younger girl who has a 3-day camp to attend. After dropping her off at the train station, I resumed my snooze. By the time I was done with breakfast, it was already approaching 11. You must wonder why I took so much time for breakfast. Well besides food, I usually feast on the daily news. ;p

It was too late for me to rush to the market. I have to work this afternoon. I had originally planned on cooking mee goreng and needed some vegetables to go with it. Okay, what should I do now??? Think! Aha! CURRY! This dish never fails to delight my hubby. Since there are only the two of us, again I resorted to a one-dish meal. I managed to raid my fridge and came up with eggs, a carrot, a tomato, a capsicum and meatballs. The veggies were in the fridge for almost 4 days. If they're kept any longer, they would just waste away. So I decided to 'dump' everything in.

This is what I used:

2 medium-size onions
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cm ginger
3 chilli padi
some curry leaves

50g curry powder mixed with some water to a paste
1 packet coconut cream (Kara 200ml)

3 potatoes, cut to size
1 whole carrot, cut to size
4 hard-boiled eggs
8 swedish meatballs (from Ikea)
1 tomato, quartered
1 capsicum, sliced

water, depending on how much gravy you want

How I did it :

1. Grind all ingredients in A.

2. Microwave carrot and potatoes with enough water to cover on high for 6 minutes. This is to soften them partially and they cook faster in the curry. Do not discard the water as it can be added into the curry during cooking.

3. Heat enough oil in a pot and saute the ground ingredients till fragrant. Add in the curry paste and continue to stir fry for a few minutes.

4. Add in the carrot and potatoes together with the water. Add more water to boil till they are almost soft.

5. Then add in the meatballs and boil for a short while before putting in the eggs and the coconut cream. Bring to a boil and add salt to taste.

6. Lastly, add tomato and capsicum and let it boil for a minute and it's done!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Steamed Layer Cake

I used to make this when I was still working (I have since retired 6 years ago). I had a colleague who also loved baking. We used to bake and bring our goodies to our workplace and share with our fellow colleagues during coffee break. She and I would swap recipes and this is one of hers.

Today, I decided to tweaked the recipe slightly. I used rose flavour paste and rose petals instead of vanilla essence. I reduced the amount of sugar.


200g salted butter, softened
120g caster sugar (I used 80g)
5 dessertspoons condensed milk (Spoon used for eating rice)
3 dessertspoons evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I used 2 teaspoons rose flavour paste and some petals)

5 egg whites and 5 egg yolks
100g caster sugar

170g plain flour (I used cake flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pink colouring


1. Line and grease a 20cm-tin. Prepare steamer and bring to a boil at medium heat.

2. Cream butter and sugar till pale and creamy, then add both milk and mix till combined. Add in vanilla essence if not using rose flavour paste.

3. Whisk egg whites and sugar till it peaks but not dry. Add egg yolks one at a time and whisk at medium high.

4. Mix in egg mixture alternately with sifted flour and baking powder in three portions to butter mixture.

5. Divide the cake mixture into 2 portions. Add rose flavour paste and petals and pink colour to one portion and leave the other portion plain. If using vanilla essence, then just add colour to one portion.

6. By now the steamer should be ready. Spoon a layer of plain mixture and steam for 4 minutes.
Alternate the coloured layers. After the last layer, continue to steam for another 10 minutes or when skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.

The cake is soft and moist but unfortunately the rose flavour did not come through and so it tasted more like "kai tan kou"! I think I will stick to vanilla.
I must apologise for the uneven layers which are unsightly and even the little rosette failed to enhance the look. Grrr.....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Off Day

I have had enough of the mess in my kitchen cupboard. The sight of it made me lose my mood to bake today. I wanted to make a steamed cake and had to use some rose petals but to get to to the packet I had to remove so many things. Okay, I know I have to organize my stuffs!

I have this bad and incorrigible habit of hoarding 'bake' stuffs. Every time I stepped into a supermart or a bake shop like Phoon Huat or Gim Hin Lee, I would definitely end up buying some baking peripheral or ingredients which I think I would probably use in the near future. I find myself besotted by such things. Hmmmm......

Well, it clearing time now! Guess the baking will have to wait till everything is sorted out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meat Ball Tempra

This is where East meets West. I mean Swedish Meat Balls (from IKEA) in Peranakan Tempra Gravy. This tempra dish used to be cooked by my M-in-L. She would deep-fry slices of mackeral and cook them in tempra gravy. I like this tangy sweet gravy in my rice.

This is what I used:

12 meatballs, fried till golden brown or oven-baked

1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, quartered
1 chilli, sliced

2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 tablespoons light soya sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
400 ml water
1 tablespoon vinegar
Oil to saute the onion and garlic
Cornflour or food thickener (I used Hormel Instant Food Thickener)

What I did:

1. Saute onion and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes.

2. Add in water, both sauces,chilli, vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil.

3. Add in meatballs and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the thickener and simmer for a minute. Serve hot.

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Crazy Computer

My computer is acting up again. I have problems posting replies in the comment column. I tried three times, after logging out and restarting. I don't know if the replies will appear later three times in my comment column. That would be hilarious cos each time I replied differently.

Imagine what would happen when all the computers do not function one day! *shudders*

Epok Epok

Not giving up after that boo-boo I made in the spiral curry puffs, I decided to make epok epok instead. This is a fool-proof curry puff and took me half the time to do.

What I used:(This recipe makes about 10 to 12 epok epok.)

Dry curry potato or sardines as filling

200g plain flour
70g butter, cubed
1/2 egg white
1/2 teaspoon salt
70 ml water

What I did:

1. Rub in butter in flour till it resembles bread crumbs.

2. Dissolve salt in egg white and water.

3. Make a well in the centre of flour mixture and pour in water and mix into a dough.

4. Pinch out the amount of dough and flatten it with your palm.(You can roll it out)

5. Put in a teaspoon of filling and wrap it up. Press the sides and pinch to seal the puff.

6. Heat enough oil in the pan and deep fry till golden brown.

Now it's time for a break and to read the papers. Ahh.........

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Potato Curry Puffs

"A poor workman blaming his tools!"
It was on the spur of the moment that I decided to make these. I had in the past few days been browsing some pastry books and came across a spiral curry puff recipe. They are the ones that have shell-like spiral patterns which are sold at some curry puff stalls like A1. I have always been fascinated with the pattern. The instructions were simple to follow but lacked certain details as I discovered later while making it. Mine didn't turn out accordingly. After clearing up, I was feeling so disappointed that I decided to read up to check if I had missed out any important tips. There I came across another recipe that called for a similar pastry and this time on its pages were the step by step instructions and pics. The author of the book could have made references to those pages with pics and the result would probably be better. Hmmm....... :(

I halved the recipe and followed the steps exactly word for word from the book in the dough-making.

Potato curry filling (Any dry curry with or without meat will do)

Water Dough:(full recipe)
260g flour (Book says flour and I assumed it's plain flour)
50g margarine (I used butter)
20g sugar (I used caster sugar)
140g water

"Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough and divide it into 2 equal portions and let it rest for 20 minutes."

Oil Dough:

180g flour ( I used plain flour)
100g shortening (I used crisco)

"Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth paste and divide into 2 equal portions.

The dough with the dent is the oil dough and the other is the water dough.


1. Wrap the oil dough with water dough. Roll out the dough into rectangular shape.
Make a book fold.(I assumed that it was just a one layer fold like a book but in another recipe the pics showed a three-fold, overlapping just like when you do flaky puffs pastry to get the layers.)

Oil dough in water dough

2. Roll it into thin sheet to 2-mm thickness. Roll it up like Swiss roll.

3. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Then cut it into 8 pieces. Repeat the steps for the second portion.

4. Flatten the dough then roll it into 3-mm thickness. Wrap the filling inside the pastry and pinch together the edge.
Cut dough piece flattened and rolled out. Notice the slight circular lines on the rolled pastry

No sign of the spirals! Sob! :(

5. Fry it in hot oil until golden brown in colour.

Barely in the hot oil for 1 minute and it changed colour. The pastry inside was not cooked yet. That's why the fried ones became very dark.

* Book says the curry puffs can be baked but with no further instructions regarding temperature or duration.

Verdict: A disastrous -looking lot of curry puffs but the pastry is crispy whether fried or baked.
I fried 2 curry puffs but they ended up looking so dark - almost burnt. So I decided to bake the rest. It took 35 to 40 minutes to bake to get the slightly brown colour. I should have egg-glazed them.

What a disaster! No spiral lines!

Picture from the book. See the difference!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Almond Shortbread Biscuits

GM: Would you guys want to bake cookies today?
N & J: Yay!
J: GM, have you got everything ready?
GM: Not yet.
N: Do you have cookie cutters?
GM: Oh yes, I certainly do. Wait till we get home, then I will get everything ready.

N: GM, what's that yellow and white thing in the bowl?
GM: Oh, that's butter and icing sugar.(pointing)
N: J, come! GM is starting to make cookies!
J: What's that white thing? What are you doing? Why?
GM: It's flour and I am sifting it to remove any lumps.

Well, I could go on with the long conversation I had with my grandsons while preparing the dough for them to make cookies.

Kids are always full of curiosity and ask a lot of questions. When I was a kid, I hardly had the chance to ask.
"Children should be seen and not heard" was the age-old adage. But not anymore with this new generation of kids - they do not hesitate to question. Sometimes the questions they pose can be quite embarrassing. BUT we cannot ignore such questions. It's better that we, as adults or parents, should try to give them an appropriate answer to satisfy their curiosity rather than they obtain their answers from 'unreliable' or 'unsavoury' sources.

Now to get back to the cookies!

I used half of this recipe from "The Hawthorne Series of Biscuits, Cookies & Shortbread".


125g butter
1/3 cup caster sugar (I used icing sugar)
1 teaspoon almond essence (I used vanilla)
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup plain flour, sifted
1/4 cup rice flour, sifted (I didn't have any, so I sub with same amount of plain flour)
1/2 cup self-raising flour
60g blanched almonds (I omitted these)


1. Cream butter and sugar till creamy and fluffy.

2. Add in the essence and egg yolk and cream to combine.

3. Add flour to form a soft dough.

4. Roll dough into a log shape, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. Slice the dough into 3mm rounds. Place on tray and press an almond on top.

6. Bake at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes. (I baked at 150 deg C for 20 minutes.)

I did not follow step 4 and 5. I showed my grandsons how to flatten the dough and cut out with cookie cutters. Then they placed the cookies on the tray and press MM candy on top.
I should have bought the baking MM which will not crack or discolour the cookie.

This is what the almond shortbread biscuits should look like from step 4 & 5.(Taken from the recipe book)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sambal Egg

Having a constant supply of chilli sambal makes my cooking 'chore' convenient. I can easily whip up a dish in a jiffy. And I just did that! The chilli sambal I made is the type to be eaten with nasi lemak and I usually stock up a few containers and freeze.

What I used:

3 to 4 tablespoons chilli sambal
3 to 4 hard-boiled eggs
a little water

Optional:(I didn't use any of these cos' I didn't have them.)
some sliced onions
kaffir lime leaves
sliced tomatoes

What I did:

1. If you have the optional ingredients, then fry the onions for a couple of minutes.

2. Lower the fire, add the sambal slowly or it might spatter.
Throw in the tomatoes, eggs, water and kaffir lime leaves. cover and simmer for a few minutes. Remove and serve.

Since I didn't have the extras, I simply put the sambal, water and eggs and simmer for a while. No additional salt or sugar is required as the sambal would have been seasoned already.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vanilla Cupcakes

I had problems posting yesterday after baking. I kept getting the same message that my URL was wrong for 15 minutes. My posting was done halfway and I gave up and logged out. So I am just posting this on Wednesday 16 June at 11.29am.

This recipe is from one of the blogs I usually read but for the life of me, I can't remember from which blog. If you do happen to pass by and recognise your recipe, I apologise for not crediting you.

What I used:

195g cake flour
140g plain flour
140g caster sugar (I used 130g)
100g light brown sugar (I used 90g)
1 tablespoon baking powder

225g butter, cubed

4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence

What I did:

1. Put all ingredients A into mixing bowl and mix till well-mixed.

2. Add in the soften butter into A and mix.

3. Whisk ingredients C lightly and pour into the mixing bowl gradually. Use a whisk to do the mixing at medium speed until combined, then go on high speed for 2 minutes.

4. Fill up cupcake tin and bake at 165 degrees C for 20 to 25 minutes.

The texture is spongy according to my younger daughter who did the tasting. As I wanted to give some to my grandsons, I decided to put some frosting and sprinkles.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I didn't feel like baking today. I have just finished the last slice of banana cake and I still have a quarter of a chocolate cake left. Seems like I have to stop baking for a while.

On the spur of the moment, I took out some fondant paste and began modelling. At random, I made roses and I got bored with them and went on to make figures. And so I got a bear and a snowman. I must be kidding! A snowman in this sweltering heat! What was I thinking?

The bear is actually brown but I don't know why it had a grey hue instead. It could be my lighting. Anyway my photography is bad. Never could understand how to use a camera correctly.
Simply dislike having to read the instructional manual. Hmmm...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wholemeal Nestum Biscuits

What I used:

100g butter
100 ml olive oil
130g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

200g plain flour
90g wholemeal flour
80g nestum
1 teaspoon baking powder

What I did:

1. Put all the dry ingredients B in a bowl and whisk for a few seconds to mix well.

2. Cream all the ingredients A for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add in the dry ingredients and mix into a dough.

4. Roll out into balls and place them onto baking tray and press lightly with a fork to flatten.

5. Bake in pre-heated oven at 140 degrees C for 30 to 40 minutes or till golden brown.

6. Cool and store in air-tight containers.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Ayam Kunyit

Last Friday, my grandson wanted the 'yellow gravy' over his rice for lunch. He told me that he likes it. I promised him I would cook it next Friday which is today.

Ayam Kunyit is a family favourite. This is one of my mum-in-law's 'agak-agak' recipes. Like her, I also cook the agak-agak(estimated) way. But for the sake of my daughters and friends who read my blog (I hope so), I took the time to measure the amount for each ingredient used. The method of cooking is just to 'dump' everything in and cook! That's how easy it is!! :)


1.5 kg chicken, cut into choice size

400g peeled onions or about 5 medium-sized onions
30g turmeric (kunyit) or 3 1/2 pieces (see pic)
2 stalks lemon grass (serai), sliced thinly (picture shows the length required)

1 stalk lemon grass, bruised (use a pestle to knock the stalk)
4 to 5 kaffir lime leaves

From 1 1/2 fresh coconut, 1 cup thick coconut milk and
3 cups second coconut milk


800 ml coconut cream from packet
1 to 2 cups water

salt to taste


1. Grind onions, lemon grass and turmeric together till fine and put into a pot.

2. Add water and bruised lemon grass and bring to a boil.

3. Once mixture is boiling, add the chicken and half of the coconut milk or cream.

4. Stir to mix and bring to a boil till chicken is about cooked, then add the rest of the coconut milk and boil till chicken is done. Add in the kaffir lime leaves, cover and remove from stove.

5. Serve with sambal belachan and rice.

Picture shows the exact portion of ingredients.

The chicken looks 'naked' because I removed the skin.

The layer of oil came from the coconut milk. If coconut milk is boiled too long, it becomes oily. I overboiled after adding the coconut milk because I was interrupted and that led to my giving the dish a double dose of salt. To salvage it, I had to use a small packet of coconut cream with a little water. Thank goodness it didn't taste so salty! Btw, the gravy should be thickish and not watery.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I've read a lot about making MACARONs. The feedback was that macarons are supposed to have "feet" after baking. It means that every piece of the macarons should rise like a little smooth mound and have a rough-looking edge around the base after baking. Judging by the numerous attempts that many had to get it right sounded intimidating and I hesitated........

Well, I decided to take up the challenge and this was what came out of it.

Ingredients for plain macarons:

80g egg whites, to be left overnight before use
65g caster sugar

80g ground almond
140g icing sugar
colouring (optional)


1. Put almond and icing sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times. This is to make the ground almond extra fine and well-mixed with the icing sugar. Sift the almond mix.

2. Put egg white and sugar in a bowl and warm it in a container of hot water just to dissolve the sugar. Do not overheat.

3. Whisk egg white mix till soft peaks, then add a drop of colouring if required.

4. Continue to whisk till it is stiff but not dry. Do not overbeat.

5. Gently fold in the almond mix in four portions into the egg whites. The batter should be slightly thicker than a cake mix.

6. Fill up a piping bag and pipe out round shapes onto a tray lined with ungreased parchment paper.

7. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Then baked in a pre-heated oven at 150 degrees C for 20 to 25 minutes.

8. To remove the macarons, place the parchment paper on a piece of damp cloth and slowly use a spatula to remove them.

9. Cool and sandwich with any cream of choice.

I am quite pleased with the results, but I won't make them again as I find them toooo sweet!
I stored the macarons plain and only sandwich it with nutella or peanut butter when I want to eat them.

Monday, June 7, 2010

"Keema" Curry My Way

Anything curry or spicy goes down well with my husband. I try to cook such dishes as often as possible. I cook the healthier version as compared to those served at food courts or hawker centres. Less oil, healthier type of oil, less salt and better cuts of meat with minimum fat make a 'healthidelicious' meal.

This dish is easy to prepare. It is usually eaten with french loaf, baguette or roti prata.

What I used:

200g minced meat (I minced the meat myself. Avoid buying ready minced meat as they contain a lot of fat)

1 1/2 packet curry powder for meat, mixed with some water to a paste (I used Earthern Pot brand and they come in packets of 50g)

3 large onions, chopped finely or ground
3 cloves garlic, chopped or ground
1 cm thick ginger, grated or ground
some curry leaves
coriander leaves, chopped

1/2 carrot, grated finely or chopped
3 potatoes, cubed
2 large tomatoes, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoon milk or coconut cream (optional)

salt to taste
some water, depending on how much gravy you want
oil for frying spices

other possible additions : chick peas, green peas

What I did:

1. Heat enough oil and fry onions, garlic and ginger for 1 minute or so.

2. Add in the curry paste and some curry leaves and stir fry continuously till fragrant.

3. Then add in carrot, potatoes, meat and some water and stir to mix.

4. Add sufficient water, cover and simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the base of pot.

5. When potatoes are about done, add in tomatoes, coconut cream and some curry leaves and salt to taste.

6. Bring to boil and turn off heat.

7. Garnish with chopped coriander before serving.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Another Banana Recipe

What you will need:

120g raisins boiled in 50 ml rum and 25 ml water, cool

270g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

100g butter, melted and cool
55 ml olive oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3 just ripe bananas, cubed

80g pine nuts

How it is done:

1. Sift flour and all dry ingredients together.

2. Beat butter, oil, essence and sugar at medium speed and add in the eggs one at a time.

3. Mix in the mashed bananas and then add flour in two parts, mixing well each time.

4. Finally add in the cubed bananas, raisins and nuts. Mix till combined.

5. Pour into three 15-cm greased and lined round tins. Bake at pre-heated oven 160 degrees C for 35 to 40 minutes.

The cake is moist and not as dense as my previous recipe. I bake it in low tins so that it takes a shorter time to bake and the cake will not be dry.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thai Prawn Salad with Coconut Milk Dressing

My daughter had some friends over for potluck. She wanted to go Thai and came across a very easy-to-prepare salad. She sliced the fruits and I helped her with the prawns. The prawns had to be simmer-cooked and timing had to be precise to make them crunchy and not overdone. I didn't want to waste the prawn heads and shells, so I made prawn stock and freezed it for future use.

What you need in this salad:

12 large or 20 medium-sized prawns
3 tablespoons lime juice (big lime used in Thai cooking)
2 teaspoons lime rind, finely grated
3 or 4 teaspoons soft brown sugar

1 or 2 oranges
1 mango
1 capsicum
a few slices of pineapple

1/2 cup coconut cream (I used 1/2 packet Kara coconut cream)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
fresh coriander leaves
kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded

What you have to do:

1. Remove the heads of the prawns and shell the prawn leaving the tail intact. Slit the back of the prawns and devein.

2. Prepare a pot of salted water (make sure it is salty and don't worry about the high salt content) and bring to boil. Lower heat and put the prawns in until they turn red. Remove the prawns immediately the moment they turn red (this is crucial to get it crunchy and not hard) and douse them straightaway into a bowl of iced water (salt all washed away!). Allow the prawns to cool, then drain.

3. Mix lime juice, rind and brown sugar. Add in the cool prawns and mix. Set aside for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile prepare the fruits. Remove the skin and pith of the orange and cut into segments.
Peel the mango and slice in thick strips. Slice capsicum into strips.

5. Arrange the fruits on a serving plate and place the prawns in the centre.

6. Mix the coconut cream and fish sauce together. Heat slightly over low fire. Cool and drizzle over the salad. Garnish with coriander leaves and kaffir lime leaves.
(The fruits and prawns were refrigerated before drizzling the cream and it turned out to be a cold salad.)

The pictures were taken by my daughter. She did the arrangement but forgot the garnishing.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chocolate & Cream Cheese Slice

I came across this recipe while surfing food blogs. This is the result of my attempt.
A few things I should have done to get it right.
(1) I should have allowed the cream cheese mixture to set properly in the freezer as recommended. Before the cheese mixture could set properly, I poured in the cake layer causing the cream cheese to flow to the side of the tin. (See picture and note the uneven layers)

(2) I should have used a 9-inch square tin. Instead I used an 8-inch round tin. This caused the layers to be thicker and it took a longer time to bake. It took 1 hour and 10 minutes to be done instead of 50 minutes.

There are 3 layers to this chocolate cheese slice.

1st Layer: (biscuit)

60g butter, melted and cool
65g plain flour and 2 tablespoons cocoa, sifted together
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1. Grease a 9-inch square tin and line with parchment paper.

1. Mix flour, cocoa and sugar.

2. Pour in butter, milk and vanilla essence and mix with flour to form a dough.

3. Press dough evenly onto the base of the tin and freeze for 30 minutes.

4. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C.

5. Bake the base direct from freezer for 20 minutes. Remove and cool.

2nd Layer: (cream)

250g cream cheese
65g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1. Cream cheese and sugar till light and fluffy.

2. Add egg and vanilla essence and mix till smooth.

3. Pour over the 1st layer and freeze for 30 to 40 minutes to set the cheese mixture.

3rd Layer: (brownie)

125g milk chocolate, chopped
125g butter
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
35g plain flour, sifted

Icing sugar for dusting top

1. Melt butter and chocolate and stir till smooth. Leave to cool.

2. Whisk eggs and sugar till thick.

3. Stir eggs into chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon.

4. Then fold in flour gently.

5. Pour over the cream cheese layer and bake at 106 degrees C for about 50 minutes or till top layer is firm to the touch.

6. Remove from the tin and dust top with icing sugar. Cool before slicing.

Overbaking probably caused the top to crack.

The 3 layers should be evenly spread. Note the uneven cream layer and the thick cake layer.
Though it turned out disastrous-looking, it tasted fine.(Looks aren't everything.)

Short Crust Pastry

Pastry recipes vary. Making pastry is easy. For the occasional bakers, it is almost foolproof.
Sweet pastry and shortcrust pastry are easy to do. Puff pastry and choux pastry require some careful attention to the tips given.

I have a tub of pineapple jam leftover from cny. Pineapple jam can last for more than six months if it is cooked properly and has the right amount of sugar added (sugar is a form of preservative).

I didn't want to make the usual cny pineapple tarts, so I decided to use one of my many shortcrust pastry recipes to make little tartlets. I was too lazy to decorate it and left them 'bald'.

Recipe for Shortcrust Pastry:

250g plain flour
150g butter, from the fridge
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg yolk
About 2 to 3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

This is what I did:

1. Sift flour. Cube the butter and rub into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Add sugar and mix well. Then add egg yolk, water and essence and mix to form a dough.
Do not knead.

3. Wrap dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

4. Roll dough between 2 plastic sheets (prevents sticking to rolling pin) to desired thickness.

5. Cut out the shape or size required and press into pastry moulds.

6. Prick a couple of holes on the base before putting in the filling.

7. Bake at pre-heated oven 160 degrees C for about 20 minutes.