Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dad's birthday

My dad's birthday falls on 31 December but we're celebrating tomorrow.  Here's the cake I baked for him, I hope he will like it.

To be continued....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

My first batch of gingerbread cookies were quite pale after bake so I decided to bake another lot with cocoa powder.  Satisfied :)

My 2nd attempt on decorated cookies and they turned out better than my expectation :) Happy!

Packed and ready to be given away.

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies
63g butter, room temperature
85g light brown sugar
150g sugar syrup
420g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2.5 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
70ml water

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt & spices together.
  3. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add molasses and cream till well mixed.
  4. Add in the flour and water alternately and mix till combined.
  5. Rest mixture for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Roll dough on a very lightly floured surface or waxed paper and cut into your desired design.
  7. Bake for between 10 - 12 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies. Cookie is done when it springs back lightly when pressed.
  8. Leave to cool completely before decorating with icing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Yule Log Cake

To welcome DH home, I made a Chocolate Nutella Yule Log Cake :)

I was hesitant prior to making this as I've failed my swiss roll previously.  Searched online to find out more about rolling the cake as per my understanding, there are 2 ways of rolling:

1. To roll the cake fresh from the oven while it is still hot.
2. To cool the cake completely before rolling.

I may have overbaked my cake last time so this time round, I eye-balled the cake and baked at exactly 12 mins.  And instead of waiting for it to cool, I decided to use the first method and rolled it while it was still hot.  It did crack a little but at least it was rollable.

The skin got stucked to the parchment paper when I unrolled it but since I was planning to have the cake frosted, I could't be bothered to sprinkle some sugar onto the parchment paper before rolling (see notes below).

This was baked in 11" x 14" pan but since it was an impromptu decision to bake this cake, I do not have any cake board nor cake box to contain the cake.  Searched high and low for a suitable box and found this microwaveable container (about 6" x 6").  Lined the base with aluminium foil and proceed to frost the cake.  However, I wasn't able to put any decorations on it as the lid was just touching the tip of the cake.

These were the balance cake that couldn't fit into the container so we had it for our afternoon tea.

Served it with some decorations and the kids were thrilled!

Without any whipping cream on hand, I decided to try out buttercream frosting.  Instead of using melted chocolate, I added Nutella to the buttercream to get a nice brown.  Both DS2 and I prefer fresh cream but DD1 loves it and licked up every single bit of cream on her plate.

The kids helped with the decorations and this was what they came up with.  Abit overwhelming as they were trying to put every single decoration onto the cake.

I used the same sugar roll recipe but modified it into a chocolate cake instead.  Also, I do not have enough cake flour so I substituted the balance with all purpose flour.  Not too bad for my standard (alright, I must admit I'm not a fussy eater) but kids commented they couldn't taste the chocolate at all.

Yes, I've finally made my very first swiss roll successfully!  After this episode, I feel more confident making swiss roll ^-^

4 egg yolk
45g cake flour
40g plain flour
15g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
40ml corn oil
4 egg white
60g caster sugar

Butter cream/whipped cream/jam

  1. Sift cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
  2. Whisk egg white for a while then add in caster sugar gradually. Whisk till medium peak.
  3. Drop in the egg yolk one by one into the beating egg white until finish and beat on low for another 3 mins.
  4. Stop the machine, fold in the sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. Fold in cornoil and pour into a 11" x 14" tray and bake at pre-heated oven of 200C for about 10 - 12 mins.
  6. When the cake is cooked, let it cool in the oven for 5 mins. Turn cake out onto a piece of parchment paper (*see notes below) and immediately roll up the sponge cake together with the paper.  Leave to cool completely.
  7. Unroll the cake carefully and spread a layer of whipped cream/butter cream/jam onto the sponge cake.  Roll it up again and chill in fridge before serving.
Sprinkle some sugar onto a parchment paper before inverting the cake and roll up into a swiss roll. This helps to prevent the skin from sticking onto the parchment paper.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes

Today I baked some cupcakes for my kids.  According to the 2 elder ones, the cupcakes tasted alright (probably because I omit vanilla) but the top is yummy!  The top is crusty and they like it that way.  The cupcakes are soft and fluffy but slightly bland, probably also because I've reduced the sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup.  Then again, sweetness is just right for us.  I definitely need to make an extra effort to source for pure vanilla extract.

I was plain lazy and filled the batter almost to the brim.  While the cuppies were baking in the oven, they overflowed and some corners even dropped off.  This recipe should yield 12 cuppies but I only had 10.  Laziness is definitely not the way to baking.

I thought I've stirred in the nutella well but it's only limited to the surface :-(

Nutella Frosted Cupcakes
Makes 12

140g butter, softened
100g white sugar
3 eggs
200g sifted all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Some nutella

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light.
  3. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter doesn’t look smooth.
  4. Stir in sifted flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin liner with batter. Top each cake with 1 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.
  6. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
  7. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home alone

I hate walking the dog,
I hate walking the dog 2 -  3 times daily,
I hate walking the dog 2 - 3 times daily with 3 young children,
I hate walking the dog 2 - 3 times daily with 3 young children running around the park,
I hate walking the dog 2 - 3 times daily with 2 young children running around the park and 1 toddler in my arms,
I hate walking the dog 2 - 3 times daily with 2 young children and 1 toddler in my arm, and having to pick up the poo after the dog,
I hate walking the dog 2 - 3 times daily with 3 young children when it rains!

But, I still love my dog.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Earl Grey Tea Muffins

I'm still struggling with blogger...  For every recipe posted, I will create a shortcut under individual category so it's easier for viewers to search for recipes but after upgrading to the latest version, I'm unable to do so, kept getting "Error Page".  I'm an IT IDIOT but that does not deter me from blogging.  I hope I can find a solution to it fast.

I was trying to finish up my earl grey tea bags so I made some muffins.  Instead of using raisins, I replaced them with currants.  Also, I reduced the sugar slightly but it was still a bit too sweet.  Nevertheless, it tasted great! 

Earl Grey Tea Muffins
Makes 12
450ml boiling water
2 Earl Grey tea bags
120g currants
2 eggs
110g butter, melted
375g all-purpose flour
2 tbsp double action baking powder
Pinch of salt
170g castor sugar

  1. Pour the boiling water over the tea bags; infuse for 10 minutes. Strain tea onto currants and set aside to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Strain the tea into a measuring jug and make up to 300ml with additional water, if necessary.
  3. Preheat oven at 200 degC. Line muffin tray with paper cups.
  4. Sift flours, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Add sugar into the flour mixture. Use a whisk to lightly blend the mixture.
  5. In another mixing bowl, combine eggs, tea and melted butter.
  6. Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix just until all the flour is moistened. Fold currants into batter. The batter should look lumpy. Do not overmix.
  7. Divide batter into 12 muffin cups. Reduce temperature to 180degC and bake muffins for 25-30 minutes or until well risen.
  8. Transfer to wire racks to let cool.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Just to share what I've bought on Saturday, with compliments from DH :)

Candles - large 144 pcs
Candles - small 288 pcs
Cookie bags - 500g
Dessert cups - 20 pcs
Cupcake liners
Muffin cups - 100pcs

Gingerbread Cookies

I finally found out what happened to blogger!  I was still using the old version and thus could only do text entry :P


I've been lagging as DH was finally home last week after a 2 weeks' stay in Manila and we spent most of our time outdoors.  Brought kids to the Singapore Zoo (twice) and MacRitchie Reservoir Park.  The kids had a great time!

While DH was away, I baked alot as I didn't want to lug 3 kids to the stores to buy just a loaf of bread.  Thank goodness I've stocked up on quite alot of flour at home ;-)  To cut my story short, I'll just let the pictures do the talking.

My first attempt on decorated cookies.

Do you see the little dot on the right eye?  I don't know what happened but I get small dots like this one on some of the icing.

I first saw this recipe in Ginny's  blog 2 years ago but I didn't have time to make it.  I remember I bought a bottle of ground ginger then but kept till it expired but the bottle was still brand new, unopened!  Hahaha!

Finally found some time to make this but I replaced dark molasses with sugar syrup (from my mooncakes making).

I don't like crispy gingerbread cookie and had been in search for a soft cookie recipe.  If you are looking for one like me, look no further, this is it!

Gingerbread Cookies
63g butter, room temperature
85g light brown sugar
150g sugar syrup
438g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
70ml water


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
  2. Sift flour, soda, salt & spices together.
  3. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, add molasses and cream till well mixed.
  4. Add in the flour and water alternately and mix till combined. 
  5. Rest mixture for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Roll dough on a very lightly floured surface or waxed paper and cut into your desired design. Decorate with currants or chocolate chips (or decorate with royal icing after cookies have cooled).
  7. Bake for between 10 - 12 minutes depending on the thickness of your cookies. Cookie is done when it springs back lightly when pressed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Something wrong with blogger?

I've been having problem and cannot upload any pictures nor do anything fanciful (eg bold, italic, change colours, add link etc...). Doing a test entry here to see if my text will get posted.


Yes, I can read my own entry but it is only restricted to text only as all the small icons disappeared! Will have to try again later.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cornflakes Cookies

My kids love cornflakes (plain without milk) and with a balance bag of it, I made cornflakes cookies. I've never eaten any cornflakes cookies before (I've only baked cornflakes coated with honey) until sister C made them for CNY a few years ago. I thought it tasted pretty decent and I've been looking forward to her recipe. Then again, women of "ancient age" do not cook/bake with a recipe so I had to google and look for one, hoping that it will be as good as hers. I found this recipe and decided to give it a go since there's no creaming of butter and sugar. Yes, lazy mode was turned on again :P

I omit pure vanilla extract since I don't have them and I do not wish to use imitation/artificial flavoured ones. Also, I added in some dried currants for flavour and I must say these cookies are pretty good.

Cornflakes Cookies
12oml oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cup self-raising flour
1 1/2 cup cornflakes

  1. Mix (A) in a bowl. Add in (B). Mix well with a spatula. Some cornflakes will crush when mixing.
  2. Use a small cookie scoop and scoop cookie dough and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake at preheated 180C oven for 15-17 minutes.
  4. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring it to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Store in air-tight container.


  • Yield about 40 with my small cookie scoop.
  • You should bake the cookie dough inside the paper case so that the dough will expand to fit the paper cup while baking.

Teriyaki Cod Fish

Not cod fish again? Yes, this will be my last entry on cod fish, at least for this week.

Here's another quick and easy recipe. Instead of steaming, I decided to pan fry my last 2 pcs of cod fish.

Teriyaki Cod Fish
2 pcs Cod fish fillets/steak
4 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
  1. Wash and pat dry cod fillets/steak with kitchen towel.
  2. Marinate cod fish with 4 tablesppon of teriyaki sauce and set aside for 30 mins.
  3. Fry fish in a non-stick pan till lightly burnt on both sides and pour in remaining marinate. Cook for another 1 - 2 mins.
  4. Remove and serve hot.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Steam Cod Fish with Red Dates and Wolfberries

I try to make it a point to serve fish on a daily basis and since I bought 2 packets of frozen cod fish from our local supermarket, I have to think of different ways to cook them.

Steam Cod with Red Dates and Wolfberries
2 pcs Cod Fish Fillet/Steak (approx. 400g)
Some ginger, sliced
A handful of wolfberries, washed
8 - 12 pitted red dates, washed and cut into halves

1.5 tsp soya sauce
2 tbsp water
* mix together


  1. Steam red dates for 10 mins, set aside for further use.
  2. Rinse cod fillet/steak and place on plate.
  3. Mix all seasonings in a small bowl and spoon over cod fillet/steak.
  4. Arrange ginger, pre-steamed red dates and wolfberries on top of fish.
  5. Put into steamer and steam for about 10 - 15 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Steam Cod Fish with Mushroom

The 2 elder ones went over to their cousin's house for 2 nights sleepover. I thought I deserved this good break but somehow, life seem so boring without them. And since it was just DD3 and myself, our dinner tonight was just steam rice and fish. No veggies tonight as I was just plain lazy to bring out the pan :P

We like to eat steam fish with some sauce so I added in 2 tbsp of water. DD3 finished up the last drip of sauce :)

Steam Cod Fish with Mushroom
2 pcs Cod Fish Fillet/Steak (approx. 300g)
3-4 Dried Mushrooms, cut into slices (pre-soaked in water till soft)
Some Ginger, sliced

1.5 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp Martel
2 tbsp water
* mix together

PS: You may add more seasonings for taste but we prefer ours mildly flavoured.
  1. Rinse mushroom and remove stems, soak in water till soft. Cut into slices.
  2. Rinse cod fillet/steak and place on plate.
  3. Mix all seasonings in a small bowl and spoon over cod fillet/steak.
  4. Arrange ginger and mushroom slices on top of fish.
  5. Put into steamer and steam for about 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm.

Steaming rice takes a long time but I took a short-cut and cooked it partially using the microwave on high for 3 mins before transferring to the steamer. The fish was then stacked on a higher rack above the rice and steamed together for 10 mins. This is basically plain lazy way of cooking :P

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pizza II

What are your expectations when you visit a food blog? For me, it will be pictures and recipes (no beautiful language needed for I don't speak good English myself :P). It'll be a bonus if there are step-by-step pictures. Pictures speak a thousand words and many-a-times, I'm inspired by all those wonderful pictures. If you are my regular reader, you will also know that I don't bother much with presentation. I couldn't be bothered with nice utensils or decorations to go along with the food/bakes. I know I don't cook/bake well, I'm also a lousy photographer but I'm trying my best to present my humble food/bakes in their best form.

Kids asked for pizza again and this was what I did. I realised I've been lagging in updating my blog again so I won't go into much details, will just let the pictures do the "talking".

Fresh button mushroom with sausage and cheese.

Nice long gluey cheese :-)

DD1 and DS2's all time favourite, Hawaiian pizza.

Honestly speaking, I just cannot understand what is the attraction about Hawaiian pizza, it is basically just ham and pineapple. Maybe the beauty lies in these 2 ingredients? Oh well.. I'm not a fan but I never fail to make this when we had home-made pizza as my kids love this.

This was originally a basic pizza base but we don't like thick crust, thus I reduced the recipe by half and rolled them really thin. The base was still slightly soft but the sides were crispy, nothing like the thin crust pizza I've made earlier. This recipe is good if you prefer thick crust.

Pizza Base
1 1/2 cup flour, sifted
100 - 120ml warm water
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp yeast

  1. Put all ingredients in breadmachine. Knead using dough cycle. If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tbsp of water at a time to form dough.
  2. After the kneading cycle is completed, let it proof in machine for 30 - 45 mins or till double in size.
  3. Punch down dough and divide into 2 equal portions.
  4. Roll out each portion to a round, about 12" in size. Place dough on baking tray lined with parchment paper or on a well greased pan.
  5. Dock with a fork all around the crust.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 8 - 10 mins. Set aside till further use.
  7. Spread tomato paste over the dough and covering near end of edge (about 1 cm away). Add your favourite toppings and cheese.
  8. Baked pizza in pre-heated oven at 200C for 10 - 12 mins or until the crust has turned golden brown and when the cheese has melted.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Matcha Chiffon Cake with Red Bean Paste

Are you sub-consciously taking your kids for granted? I hate to admit this but I think I am, especially towards DD1. Maybe because she's the eldest in the family, I expect her to be more sensible and independant. Since she started Primary 1 in January this year, I don't remember spending 30 mins of my time with her doing any school work. She was very much left on her own to finish up whatever school work she has, and packed her own bag and stationeries while I took care of the 2 younger ones.

I've been feeling very uptighted with schedules especially when DH is away much longer in this trip. Time factor is very important to me and I realised that whenever I'm home alone with the kids, I yelled and screamed alot as their dawdling really got onto my nerves. I need to be on time and do things fast, but the kids are always daydreaming and immersing in their own world and that usually drove me up the wall. But after reading nienie's blog, I was then brought to my senses, back to reality. I'm so sorry darlings, I'll make an effort to not scream and yell so much, and to spend more quality time with you instead of rushing through my chores and meals preparation, I promise.

Mom's birthday celebration last Friday was great! The siblings had loads of time catching up with each other while the kids were busy playing with the remote control car CL bought for DS2. I forgot to take pics of the other food contributed by my siblings as we were all too hungry then :P

I was trying to finish up my expiring matcha so I made a matcha chiffon cake. I was pleased to see what I've unmoulded, no cracks and tears :)

Layered the cake into 3 portions and sandwiched with red bean paste and whipped cream. I do not know how this will turn out but it's so common to pair off red bean with matcha and since I've got some frozen red bean paste, why not utilise them and clear some space? ;-) Good idea? Great idea? Best idea! (that's what my son will say! hahaha!)

Shaved some white chocolates and using my heart shaped cookie cutter, I sprinkled them carefully within the cutter. But when I removed the cutter, some bits of chocolate fell off and created a slight mess.

Tadar! The final cake with my simple decoration. Nothing fanciful but good enough for home consumption :P

The good thing about home-baked layered cake is we can reduce sweetness and use minimal frosting :-)

Matcha Chiffon Cake
4 egg yolks
30g castor sugar
pinch of salt

4oml corn oil
100ml warm water
4 tsp matcha (green tea powder)

100g cake flour
3/4 tsp baking powder

4 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
30g castor sugar


  1. Cream ingredients (A) with hand whisk till sugar dissolved.
  2. Add in ingredients (B) in the respective order and mix well before adding the next item.
    Sieve in ingredients (C) and mix till no lumps.
  3. Beat egg whites with electric beater till frothy, sprinkle in the cream of tartar. Beat till white in colour and add in sugar by thirds. Egg white should be beaten till stiff peaks are formed.
  4. Fold in 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula till incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold in gently till incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into a 8" round pan. Bang the pan on the table to get rid of bubbles.
  7. Bake at pre-heated oven of 170 deg.C for 15mins.
  8. Turn down the temperature to 160 deg.C and bake for another 30 mins.
  9. Reduce the temperature to 150 deg.C and bake for a further 10 to 15mins to brown the surface.
  10. Remove from the oven and invert the pan. Remove the cake from pan when it's completely cooled.
  11. Layer into 3 layers and set aside for further use.

250ml Dairy Whipping Cream
250g Red Bean Paste

200ml Dairy Whipping Cream
3 tsp Matcha (mixed with 3 tbsp of cream)
1 tbsp Icing Sugar


  1. Using an electric mixer, whip 300ml cream till soft peak forms. Fold in red bean paste. Chill for further use.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whip 200ml cream, matcha/cream mixture and icing sugar till soft peak forms.
To assemble the cake

  1. Place a layer of cake onto the cake board. Pour in 1/2 portion of cream with red bean paste. Spread the cream over the cake and covering near end of edge (about 1 cm away).
  2. Layer with 2nd cake and repeat step 1.
  3. Repeat with 3rd layer of cake and decorate with matcha frosting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Warning (to all sellers and consumers)

It is NOT okay to use pictures of others and "copy and paste" into your website or blog and claim that it is yours.

Leonice of Dreamy Cupcakes extracted a picture from Ovenhaven and posted it in their website. So if you are thinking of ordering from them, be warned that what you see may not be what you'll be getting. Read more here.

Mom's birthday

Since I can't sleep, I decided to do a sneak preview of what I've baked for my mother's birthday. Going to celebrate her birthday today which was long overdue :P

To be continued...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cheese Cookies

Are you socially responsible? I confess I wasn't but I'm trying to be one now. I've been more conscious about social responsibility ever since our first born. We started off with wearing masks at home when we fell sick. As time passed, we wore masks in public places too, so that we don't spread the germs to the world. I'm not saying I'm a saint but at least I'm doing my part to prevent the transmission of germs from one person to another. I believe if each and every one of us makes an effort, we can make a difference.

Enough said, back to baking now. I've got this cheese cookies since 2007 but always procrastinating and finally made it a few days ago.

I started off with my disney cutters but had a hard time removing the dough. After struggling with 3/4 portion of the dough, I got lazy and just rolled them into a big rectangle and cut them into sticks.

Here are the cookies using my disney cutters. The first time I used these, the ears of Mickey kept breaking and I've since stopped using this until I made my mooncakes but I restricted it to Chip and Dale as they were the easiest to unmould :P My earlier attempt of mooncakes didn't turn out too well too. Anyway, though I've successfully unmoulded the dough, this recipe is not suitable to use cute cutters as the cookies turned out "patchy". Oh well, my kids don't really mind the poker-dotted disney characters :P

Cheese Cookies
(recipe adapted from Moms4Moms, by Jam)

200 gm butter
1 egg
325 gm of flour
40 gm of corn flour
150 gm of grated cheddar cheese

  1. Beat butter and egg in a mixer till creamy, then add in the two type of flour that has been sifted first, mix well.
  2. Add in the cheese and continue mixing till all are evenly mixed.
  3. Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter of any shape, or simply cut the rolled out dough into strips. Varnish with beaten yolk and sprinkle some grated cheese on top (optional) and bake in preheated oven of 175C for about 15-20 minutes .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Double Boil Pear with Fritillaria II

Following my cough remedies here and here, I got the last recipe from IC.

Instead of removing the core, I cut them into quarters.

After 1 hour of simmering, my pears were still white. I should have cooked it longer, probably for another hour.

Double Boil Pear with Fritillaria II
(Recipe adapted from U-Weekly magazine, translated by IC)

Ingredients (serves 2-4)
2 Ya Pears 鸭梨
3g Fritillaria, crushed 川贝母 (original recipe: appropriate amount)
40g rock sugar (original recipe: 150g)
400ml water
4pcs dried longan (original recipe: 5g)

  1. Peel & de-core pears.
  2. Put all ingredients into a porcelain pot (I used my AMC pots).
  3. Place pot into larger pot with water and let mixture simmer for abt 1hr.
  4. This dish can be serve either hot or cold. If serving hot, it is good for throat.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Apple soup

This is cough remedy #2.

I used to adapt Sister E "recipe" for apple "soup", basically it's just green apples, chinese almonds and candied dates. But I googled and found out that dried figs are good for cough too so I decided to cook it the savoury way ie to add in some meat.

It is essential for me to cook a big portion and freeze, economies of scale and minimise cooking. But of course, you can always half this recipe easily.

Apple Soup
(serves 6 - 7)

5 - 6 red delicious/gala apples (don't use China Fuji apples)
500g ribs/lean meat (blanched)
30g apricot kernels/chinese almonds (南北杏) *
4 honey dates (蜜枣)
70g - 80g dried figs (无花果) #
2000 ml water
Salt to taste (I did not add this as the soup is naturally sweetened)

* I bought the premix pack, if you are mixing on your own, use 2 南杏 : 1 北杏
# I use a combination of both US and Chinese dried figs


  1. Peel and core apples, cut into wedges.
  2. Rinse chinese almonds, candied dates and dried figs.
  3. Blanch ribs/lean meat.
  4. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients. Using medium fire, bring water to boil again, reduce to small flame and simmer for 2 hours. Serve warm.

Double Boil Pear with Fritillaria

Of late, it seems that I've been cooking/baking more that I could blog. I always wonder, how do other bloggers keep up with their blog or are they facing the same problem as me?

For my next few entries, it will be on some TCM cough remedies which I've prepared for my children last week.

Despite being on antibiotics, the 2 younger ones were still coughing away and they're moving into week 4 now. We have seen the doctor twice and I was resistant to bring them for another visit. IC has many soup recipes so I asked if she had one for cough. The next day, she emailed me a few recipes and I shortlisted the easiest one to try out.

When I went to one of our local chinese medical store, I was advised not to give fritillaria to a young toddler. Instead, he recommended another product which I kindly decline. I visited a 2nd store and was given the green light to go ahead. With 2 different messages, I was in a dilemma if I should go ahead with this recipe. Nevertheless, I bought the fritillaria (better quality ones) thinking I could still give my 2 elder children.

This recipe originally calls for 1 large pear but I cooked 3 small ones instead. With the uncertainty of fritillaria's usage for my 20 months old toddler, I used 1 recipe for 3 pears instead. Of course, the effectiveness will be compromised but I just couldn't think of a reason not to make this.

No water needed for this recipe and despite reducing sugar, it was way too sweet. I cut a small chuck for DD3 and she grimaced at first bite. Sigh... With the pathetic "soup" base, I added some warm water to dilute the sweetness and offered her a drink. Again, she spitted it out and wouldn't go for a 2nd sip. Instead, the 2 older ones enjoyed themselves and kept asking for more.

Double Boil Pear with Fritillaria (川贝蜜梨)
(Original recipe in Chinese, thanks to IC for the translation)

3 Ya Pears (鸭梨)
3g Fritillaria, crushed (川贝母)
10g rock sugar


  1. Wash Ya Pear and measuring 3cm from the top, make a horizontal cut into half.
  2. Dig a small hole in the centre of the bottom half of the pear and decore.
  3. Place rock sugar and crushed fritillaria into the hole.
  4. Cover with the top half of the pear and seal with toothpick around.
  5. Double boil for 2 hrs and serve warm.

* 有清热解毒、润肺润喉、消痰止咳的功效。
Effect of clearing internal heat, detoxify, moist lunch/throat, subside phlegm & suppress cough.

* 适用于声音嘶哑,干咳无痰、或常需说话或唱歌者、或吃过多燥热食物以至咽喉干燥者
Suitable in use for:
1) hoarse voice
2) dry cough without phlegm
3) frequent speaker or singer
4) eating too much heaty food which caused dry throat

Monday, November 16, 2009

Steamed Matcha Sponge Cake

Sister E wanted to finish up her expiring matcha and gave me an idea to add matcha into steamed sponge cake. I made this yesterday since Sister E came by in the afternoon to help me out for a few hours as DH was still in Philippines.

The batter was rather thick after adding the flour. I should have reduced the flour accordingly since I've added in 5 teaspoon of matcha. Instead of sprinkling sugar to make the cross, I used a chopstick dipped into oil and "cut" the batter prior to baking. It didn't work hahaha!

Everytime I make this, I replaced hong kong flour with cake flour. But I got slightly adventurous and decided to use plain flour instead. I sifted the flour 3 times before mixing into the beaten eggs, hoping that it will turn out soft and fluffy.

The cake was soft but not exactly fluffy (then again, I've bought some from stalls with such texture too). I suspect it was due to the addition of matcha or probably my weighing scale has gone bonkers (I'm using a cheap kitchen scale) and I've added more flour then needed. For my family, they ain't fussy eaters so they don't mind this texture ;-)

Steamed Matcha Sponge Cake (抹茶鸡蛋糕)
4 eggs
180g caster sugar

230g plain flour
5 heaped tsp matcha
*sifted 3X

75ml Sarsi (or any fizzy drinks)


  1. Use high speed beat eggs till fluffy.
  2. Add in sugar gradually and continue beating till well- blended, turn off the power.
  3. Fold in the flour in 3 portions.
  4. Add in Ingredients C and mix well.
  5. Pour mixture into 20cm round bamboo basket lined with glass paper till 90% full.
  6. Sprinkle a handful of sugar such that it forms a cross on the surface of mixture.
  7. Steam over high heat for half an hour.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Proud Mother

Scenario 1
Date: Sunday, 8 Nov 2009
Venue: Victoria Theatre

DD1's ballet teacher organised a ballet concert for her students. I wasn't looking forward to it as I was literally home alone then and there were just too much chores to be done. Also, it was my first time to bun up her hair but I haven't got the time to scout around for the hair net and bobby pins. OMG! It was a mad rush. I finally bought the hair net on Friday night and did a trial hair do on Sat. It wasn't that difficult after all.

The hair net and the U bobby pins.

Her hair wasn't too long, barely touching her shoulders and the ends and sides kept falling. I didn't bother to gel her hair since it was just a trial and had no wish to spend too much time washing her hair. Relatively easy as I took less than 10 mins to complete the bun and used only 3 U bobby pins :)

All ready for the concert.

This was taken after her concert and her bun was intact after 12 long hours ^-^

The concert was great and I'm truly very proud of her. I didn't expect her earnest attitude towards ballet as I do understand my girl is always going around disturbing her friends during lessons or dreaming in her own world and the teacher feedback she needs to be very strict with DD1. Also, during the ballet open house, we only get to watch some exercises and not a full dance performance. But when she performed on stage that day, she was full of seriousness in expression and attitude. As far as I'm concern, she did a great job and it was a memorable night for us.

Scenario 2
Date: Wednesday, 11 Nov 2009
Venue: Home

DS2: Mummy, you are a good cooker.
Me: Huh? What is a good "cooker"?
DS2: You cook nice food for us, chicken rice, char siew, nice fish and yummy soup.
DS2: You are also a good homebaker.
Me: Why do you say that?
DS2: Because you bake nice bread, cakes, cookies, brownies and muffins for us.

I smiled and gave him a big kiss and hug. He is such a sweetie :) Now, who says I'm wasting my time in the kitchen and neglecting my young children?
Enough of my raving and now back to baking. Some time back, I saw this Cinnamon Sugar Bread in Irene's blog and it went into my To-Do list. I'm not exactly a fan of cinnamon but since the review was a good soft loaf, I decided to give it a try but reduced the ground cinnamon accordingly.

The dough was very sticky and I had to add in another 2 tablespoons of flour. I shaped them into 5 equal portions and baked in my loaf pan and baking tray.

Verdict: A very soft and light loaf :-)

The girls in the family enjoyed this loaf but unfortunately, my son doesn't like the taste of cinnamon and grimaced at his first bite. I thought the next time I bake this, I might just omit cinnamon altogether.

Cinnamon Sugar Loaf
(original recipe adapted from here)
240m milk
55g butter
1 egg
410g + 2 TBSP bread flour
100g sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons yeast

  1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Let the machine knead for 15mins, stop the cycle and re-start the machine and let the dough knead for another cycle.
  2. Let it proof in machine for 1 hour or till double in size.
  3. When proofing is completed, punch down the bread dough to release the air.
  4. Divide dough into 5 equal portions and shape into balls. Let the dough rest for 15 mins.
  5. Roll out each portion into a long flat oval shape, then roll up lengthwise, swiss roll style. Pinch to seal all sides.
  6. Place dough (seam side down) in lightly greased bread tin/pan. Proof for another 1 hour or until dough is double in size.
  7. Bake at pre-heated oven at 180C for 20 to 25mins.
  8. Remove bread to cool on rack completely.