Saturday, October 30, 2010

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I baked some cookies for tea.
Very crunchy and full of choc chips!

The Recipe:

125g butter, softened
90g caster sugar
90g light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
150g Self-raising flour
150g plain flour
250g semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini ones)

1. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

2. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat well.

3. Mix in chocolate chips and then flour.

4. Roll cookie dough into balls and place on lightly greased tray. Flatten and bake in preheated oven 160 deg C for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool and store in air-tight container.

And now you can have a cuppa tea!

I doubled the recipe and it yielded 67 cookies.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pasta & King Oyster Mushroom in Whipped Cream

Tonight's dinner was quick and simple.
My hub had curry keema with baguette. (I always cooked extra and freeze for lazy/busy days.)
My daughter and I had pasta.

The Pasta:

200g Fusilli, boiled with a little salt till al dente, drained and set aside
2 king oyster mushroom, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
oil (Used canola, ran out of olive oil, didn't want to use butter)
salt to taste
a little water
whipped cream
dried oregano, basil from bottle
parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a pan and saute garlic for a while. Then add mushroom and stir fry till slightly soft.
Add in pasta and salt. Pour in about 75ml whipped cream and a little water. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil and it's done.
To serve, sprinkle oregano, basil and cheese.

The King Oyster Mushrooms

Fusilli, Basil and Cherry Tomato

With Oregano

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Steamed Fish

I love steamed fish and I only cook them this way if they are fresh.
These were two of the haul brought home by my hub from his fishing trip.
I picked on these two because I like my fish to be of a certain size, no bigger than 14 inches or 36 cm.

First I prepare the sauce which would be poured over the fish after steaming.

Then I use the microwave to 'steam' the fish plain. After which I discard whatever juices that come from the fish. This tip was given to me by my brother-in-law. According to him, it is to lessen the fishy flavour which I discovered it to be true. Since then I've always applied this method when steaming fish.

Pour the heated sauce over the fish and then garnish.

The Sauce: (can be made in bulk and store in air-tight container in freezer)

5-cm ginger
6 or more cloves garlic
8 small onions/shallots
1 tablespoon soya bean paste/taucheo
5 or more fresh red chillies (depends on preference for spiciness)
lemon juice from 2 lemons
1/2 cup thick tamarind/assam water
sugar & salt to taste
corn flour mixed with a little water (to thicken gravy slightly)

Chopped ginger, garlic, onions and chillies finely but not to paste-like.
Heat enough oil, and saute chopped ingredients and soya bean paste till fragrant.
Add tamarind water and lemon juice.
Add salt and sugar to taste.
Add cornflour and stir and let boil for a while. Remove and pour over cooked fish.

Making this sauce is up to personal taste. I like to be able to taste the ginger and garlic, the gravy to be sweet and salty yet tangy.
If you find the sauce too thick, simply add a little water to dilute.

The Grr...grouper!

Snappy Red Snapper!

The three of us practically clean up the fish to the bones! Very fresh indeed! Superb sauce! :P

Monday, October 18, 2010

Peace Connect - Luncheon

I don't have much to write about this occasion as most of it has been posted in details with pictures by Edith, Jane, Doris and Jess.

To find out more, do visit their blogs:

I must say that I am very touched by Edith for organising the activity and the rest of the fellow bloggers and non-bloggers for unconditionally responding so willingly to help out. It was indeed a very meaningful time spent with the senior citizens. Even though it was for that couple of hours, I felt we did make them feel very special.
I am also glad to have been able to meet fellow bloggers. It is a pleasure getting to know them but unfortunately as everyone was busy on that day, we had very little opportunity to 'connect' properly. Hopefully we will be able to meet up soon!

Happy 21st Birthday!

My younger daughter just turned 21 a few days ago. This was her request for her cake! She didn't want anything too 'ku niang' or girlie! She's a soccer fan - not of local soccer but English soccer. Her favourite team is Liverpool! Alas! The team hasn't been performing and is currently 2nd from the bottom.

Initially I wanted to carve out Liverpool's logo but on second thoughts, it would probably take too much of my time and also stress me out!
Then my girl suggested that I make a football field and my hub chipped in with his recommendation of putting in some toy players. (He did not want me to get all 'kan cheong' or panicky trying to make the fondant figurines for good reasons). Well he went around some toy shops including Toys r Us but was unsuccessful in getting a set of players. So now what? No players?

Luckily for me, I dropped by at PH to buy some baking ingredients and chanced upon some sports cake toppers. I searched and found a set but there was no soccer ball!

The cake is my usual basic chiffon cake which I would flavour it accordingly. I decided on a strawberry flavour using freshly pureed strawberries and a little strawberry emulco.
There were four layers of cake and three types of frosting which were strawberry-flavoured swiss meringue cream, fresh strawberry jam (cooked the day before) and creamed cheese frosting.

The cake was a 38-cm square. The outer layer was covered with fondant which took me quite a long time to make and knead. To minimize the 'boyish' cake look, I added some fondant flowers to make it look more cheerful and also a fondant ball to complete the set! Thankfully my girl had no objections!

I realised that I did not take a shot of a sliced cake as I was too busy that night.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Fishing Trip

These pictures were taken in April last year when I went on a five-day fishing trip to Pulau Dayang. It took us about 10 hours from Singapore to reach the island off Mersing. The boat trip alone took us 6 hours! It wasn't a very comfortable ride because it was a boat meant for fishing. It didn't have all the comfort of a ferry nor a cruise boat. There weren't even proper seats at all. Each time when a wave backlash hit the boat, we had to cling to something or we could find ourselves in serious deep waters of the South China Sea!

The Fishing Boat

Fish Assorted

More Fish

Groupers Galore!

An Unfortunate Visitor! - A juvenile black tip reef shark
The shark (about 1 metre long) was caught in the night. The boatman had already gaffed the shark and we could not save it and release it! :(

These groupers were about 30 cm long!

The pictures only showed 2 days' worth of catch. We fished for about three and a half days and you can imagine the amount of fish we caught. We could not load all the fish into our cooler boxes to take home. The rest were left behind for the boatman to sell to the market at Mersing.

My hub's recent fishing trip brought home a much bigger haul in terms of numbers and size. The fishes were bigger and varied.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grilled Fish or Ikan Bakar

My hub came back from a 5-day fishing trip at Pulau Dayang which is off Malaysia. As usual he would bring home so many fish that I would sigh silently.

Two problems I face :
(1) I dislike having to scale and de-gut all those fish. I would get poked by the dorsal fins and the hard gills. You might suggest that I put on gloves but I don't know how to work with gloves on.
(2)There's limited space in the freezer for all that catch.

The amount of fish could easily last us for more than two months if we were to eat them daily! Though having a fish diet is good for health, but can you imagine eating them every day! I'll probably sprout gills and scales!

The solution to this was to give some away to relatives, friends and neighbours which I was quietly elated when my hub suggested.

Now that the supply has dwindled after all the distribution, I am happier and less-stressed.

Now hub can have the fish cooked his favourite way!

Grilled Fish or Ikan Bakar (Malay literal translation for burnt fish) is a simple dish to prepare accompanied by a simple sauce. Usually the fish is grilled over charcoal. But I used a grill pan to 'pan fry' without oil to get the burnt effect.
The fish is eaten with a sauce made of sliced shallots, green chillies, lime juice and dark soya sauce.

Scad or Ikan Selar

All grilled!

Ready for the table

The Sauce

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No-Baked Strawberry Cheesecake

I made this for my dear husband's birthday.
He is not a fan of chocolate, so I chose to make this.

For the Base: (8-inch / 20-cm round tin)

200g digestive biscuits
75g butter, melted

Place biscuits in a plastic bag or ziploc. Use a rolling pin to crush biscuits to fine bits.
Pour in melted butter and swish the contents around till well-mixed.
Line a spring form tin with parchment / greaseproof paper and grease a little.
Pressed biscuit bits firmly to cover the base. Refrigerate to set the base.

For the Jam:(can be prepared earlier)

250g strawberries or more
3 or more tablespoons sugar

Cut strawberries into quarters and place in a saucepan with sugar.
Cook over low fire, stirring occasionally till it thickens.
Cool and refrigerate.

For the Cream Cheese:

250g cream cheese
1/2 cup caster sugar
200ml whipped cream or heavy cream
2 teaspoons gelatin

Sprinkle gelatin in 2 tablespoons water to dissolve.
Beat whipped cream till it thickens and peaks.
Cream cheese and sugar till smooth.
Stir in gelatin and mix quickly and thoroughly.
Fold in whipped cream.

To Assemble:

Pour half of cheese mixture into prepared tin.
Spread a layer of strawberry jam and pour in the rest of the cheese.
Smoothen with spatula and decorate.
Refrigerate for 12 hours or more, preferably 24 hours.

I didn't cook enough jam for the topping. So I used ready-made jam topping. Note the difference in shade between the fresh strawberry jam at the side, centre and the topping.

A delightful dessert!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Mocca Cream and Ganache

Her First Attempt - I am talking about my younger girl's attempt at baking a birthday cake and decorating it for a friend.

It was hands-on for her throughout the whole process with my intermittent prompting - from measuring to mixing, baking to icing and of course washing-up!
The result was not bad! I meant the taste, but her decorating skills need more polishing!

The Chocolate Cake

165g caster sugar
80ml corn oil
2 eggs

145g cake flour
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder

85g sour cream
165g buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Sift all ingredients in B together.

2. Beat ingredients in A together with a mixer at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add ingredients C to A and continue to beat for 1 minute.

4. Add in flour and mix at low speed till incorporated and then beat on high for 3 minutes.

5. Bake in two 7-inch or 18-cm round tins, greased and lined at preheated oven 160 deg C for 20 to 25 minutes.

6. Remove from tin to cool.

Mocca Buttercream

250g butter, softened at room temperature
120g icing sugar, sifted
4 tablespoon iced water (I mixed 2 teaspoons nescafe with a little hot water and cooled it in the fridge. I added 1 tablespoon rum and enough iced water to the coffee to make up 4 tablespoons)

Cream butter and icing sugar till light and fluffy. Add 1 tablespoon iced water at a time and cream till well mixed.
The colour of the buttercream is beigey brown because of the coffee.


230g bittersweet chocolate, break into pieces
250g heavy cream
60g butter

Microwave heavy cream or put cream in a saucepan and heat on low till almost boiling. Do not boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Let it stand for a while. Add butter and use a whisk and mix slowly to blend the cream and chocolate. Do not beat.
Put ganache aside to cool for pouring consistency.

To assemble cake

Trim off uneven surface of cake if any. Slice each cake into two. There are four layers now.
Spread enough cream on bottom layer and place the next layer on top and press slightly to adhere the cake layers. Repeat the cream layer and put the third layer and do the same.
Place the last or top layer and crumb coat.
Then pour the ganache all over the cake and let it flow down the sides.
Decorate with remaining buttercream.