Monday, May 24, 2010

Watercress Sweet Corn Soup

I didn't forget this blog but I've been so pre-occupied with unexpected happenings.

So much happened recently and I'm starting to lose faith in people around me.  I don't have many friends but if I regard a person as a friend, I treat him/her well.  This is my taurus character.

I thought she was a friend, I shared my online bakeware sprees with her (and a few other friends) to help everyone save costs.  We weren't the best pals then but we had so much in common and can chat for hours.  But when she found someone "better", I was forsaken.  Before she started her online business, we conducted overseas sprees together, sharing cost equally.  She got adventurous and started her own online store. One day, I asked if she could help me get an item from the regular merchant.  She agreed but it will be based on her selling price.  To me, it's not about the money.  I consoled myself that I'm just overly sensitive, maybe this is the way to become a successful businesswoman.  And yes, she's doing really well with her online store now.  Maybe that explains why I'm not a businesswoman but a homemaker?

I thought he was a friend, always there for me on any financial advices (not that I made alot of investments).  Then he started to trade without my approval.  I didn't know about this until his colleague called a few weeks ago.  He is currently under investigations.  My presence was needed to verify some documents and I had to make a trip to his HQ office, lugging DD3 along.  I received no phone calls from him but on the day I was to visit his office, he called to apologise, hoping to seek mercy.  I forgive him but reminded him that he will have to face the consequences of his own actions.  Disheartened.

I thought she was a friend, whom I can chat with anytime but she lied.  I have trusted her and there were no doubts at all until DH highlighted a few discrepancies.  And yes, it's money-related matters.

Despite these hiccups in my life, I'm glad to have a few close friends whom I can confide in.  Thank you girls!

I've been lagging in my blog update so I'm just going to share a simple soup recipe I made for dinner some time back.

With 2 bundles of watercress turning yellow and 2 sweet corns hiding at the corner of my fridge, I decided to cook them together.  The combination ended up with a very sweet and yummy soup, no additional seasoning needed.  My kids love this soup :-)

Watercress Sweet Corn Soup
500g watercress
2 sweet corns
250g pork ribs/lean meat
2.5 litres water
10 - 15 red dates (红枣)
salt to taste (optional)

  1. Wash watercress and separate out stalk and leaves.
  2. Blanch pork ribs/lean meat.
  3. Bring water to boil and add all ingredients except watercress leaves in a pot.
  4. Using medium fire, bring water to boil again, reduce to small flame and simmer for 2 hours.
  5. Remove stalks from pot and add in leaves, continue to cook for another 1 hour.
  6. Season with salt before serve.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Angelica Chicken Soup (当归鸡汤)

My confinement lady cooked this for me towards the last 2 weeks of confinement and I like it alot.  Ever since then, I've been cooking this regularly as my children enjoy drinking the soup too.  I don't have the exact recipe but just based on estimation.

Afternote: This soup is mildly tasty as when I started off, I didn't know if my children will accept the herbal taste.  You may add more herbs or use less water for a more flavourful soup.

Angelica Chicken Soup (当归鸡汤)

500g chicken (can use drumsticks/thighs but I used 1/2 chicken this time)
2 -3 pcs of Chinese Angelica, (当归)
15 pieces of dried P. odoratum (玉竹)
10 red dates (红枣)
a handful of wolfberries (枸杞)
a handful of dried longan (桂圆/龙眼干)
1.5 litre water
Salt to taste
  1. Rinse all herbs with water and drain dry, set aside.
  2. Blanch chicken.
  3. In a pot, bring water to boil and add all the ingredients except wolfberries and salt.
  4. Using medium fire, bring water to boil again and cook for 5 - 10 minutes, reduce to small flame and simmer for 2 - 3 hours.
  5. Add in the wolfberries and let it brew in low fire for another 5 - 10 mins.
  6. Add salt to taste (optional) before serving.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Peach Japanese Cheesecake

The last time I made this Japanese Cheesecake, the top cracked very badly and it looked like some railway tracks.  This time round, I paid more attention to the temperature and lowered the heat.  The cake had slight split at the surface and somehow disappeared while cooling in the oven (due to the shrinkage).  I will need to adjust the temperature further to achieve a no-crack cake.

I made this Japanese Cheesecake without my weighing scale and had to trouble Aunty A to weigh the flours for me.

Yields a very soft and light cheesecake.  Pardon the white line on the cake, it is the reflection from my camera's flashlight.

250g Philadephia cream cheese
50g butter
100ml fresh milk

60g cake flour
20g corn flour
*sifted together

5 egg yolks
¼ tsp salt

5 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
120g fine granulated sugar


Melt (A) in a double boiler. Cool the mixture. (I melt it over direct fire on low heat, stirring constantly)

Fold in (B) & (C).
Mix well.

Whisk egg white with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar gradually and whisk until medium stiff peaks form.

Fold in 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture using a rubber spatula till incorporated.

Pour the mixture to the remaining egg whites and fold in gently.

Fold in till incorporated.

Pour into a 8” round cake pan (line the bottom with parchment paper).  I added some peaches from my leftover fruit pastry.

Bake cheese cake in a water bath at preheated oven of 160C for 15 mins, reduce temperature to 150C and bake for another 45 mins.

Turn down the temp to 140C and bake till the cake is golden brown and until skewer inserted to centre of cake comes out clean.  Leave to cool in oven wih door slightly ajar.

Unmould and chill in fridge before slicing.

Steamed Tofu with Enoki and Beech Mushrooms

I'm a great fan of mushrooms so when I saw this in Wendy's blog, I knew I had to try it.

The good thing about cooking is, there are no hard and fast rules, you can add as much or as little as you want.  My dish turned out slightly bland because I didn't drain out the water completely.  Do remember to drain off as much water as you can after steaming.

Steamed Tofu with Enoki and Beech Mushrooms
1 block of silken tofu, largely cubed
2 small packs of enoki, ends trimmed off and separated loosely.
1 pack of brown beech mushrooms, ends trimmed and separated (I used Buna Shimeji)
2 shallots, sliced and fried til crisp in 3 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
Some spring onion and chilli slices

  1. Arrange silken tofu cubes in a deep dish. Top with enoki and beech mushrooms. It'll be a huge mound, but don't worry, the mushrooms shrink a lot.
  2. Steam on high heat for 7-10 minutes, until mushroom wilts.
  3. Pour away liquid from dish. 
  4. Top with shallot and the oil it was fried in, and light soy sauce.
  5. Garnish with some sliced spring onions and chilli.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Malaysian Country Fried Rice

I cooked this after reading Mary's entry but didn't have time to post it as my backlogs are piling up :P

I love fried rice as very basic ingredients are used.  Here we have, 2 cups of cooked rice.

Shredded crabstick and anchovies, both microwaved till crispy.

Long beans with frozen vegetables (peas, carrots and corns).

Adding in all the ingredients after frying the rice with soy sauce and pepper.

Dinner time!

PS: I didn't follow the recipe to a T but merely used it as a guide.

4 pieces of crab sticks, shredded
1/2 cup anchovies
150g green beans (finely cut)
5 - 6 cloves garlic, chopped
some cooking/vegetable oil
1 TBSP light soya sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups cooked rice

  1. Shred the crabsticks, cut into halves and fry until crispy. Set aside. Wash the anchovies, pat dry with kitchen towel and fry until crispy, too and set aside (I used the microwave to cook them till crispy, see here and here).
  2. Heat up some oil and add 1/2 portion garlic, cook till fragrant. Add green beans and stir fry until cooked. Dish out and set aside.
  3. Heat up some oil and add balance garlic.  Add in the rice and fry until fragrant. The best is to fry it with high heat where you will hear the hissing sound. Add light soya sauce and pepper to taste. Stir well and finally add in the fried crabsticks, anchovies and green beans. Mix well and dish up. Serve hot.

Fruit Pastry

Finally found time to bake this.  This cake was a hit in year 2007 and I made this 3 times within a month.  Thanks to HHB, I was reminded I've not made this since.

The first time I made this, I followed the recipe to a T (with reduced sugar though) but found the cake slightly dry. So in my 2nd attempt, I added extra yogurt with some lemon juice and I had a moist cake. In my last try, I added 1 - 2 tbsp milk and the cake turned out well too.

Oh, did I mention my weighing scale died on me?  And this recipe is great as it was originally in cup measurements, just the perfect recipe for me ;-)

The batter is supposed to be thick so the fruits can rest on it without sinking.  Remember not to press the fruits into the batter.  I didn't want to wait over an hour in an 8" pan so I baked them in 2 smaller pans to reduce the baking time.

The cake is cooked when the top is slightly browned but do test it with a skewer/toothpick before removing from the oven.

Gave Aunty A a tray and I'm glad her family enjoys this cake ^-^

Fruit Pastry
(Recipe adapted from Vi, a Romanian lady)

3/4 cup (150g) sugar
3/4 stick (100g) butter
3 tablespoons (75g) sour cream (I used plain yogurt + 1 TBSP lemon juice)

3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon or orange peel
1 1/2 cups (210g) plain flour *
1 teaspoon baking powder *
* sifted together

Some fruits**
2 tablespoon sugar
** strawberry, blueberry, kiwi, apricot, peach, grapes, pear, cherry, plums, orange, pineapple, or even canned fruits like longan, lychee


  1. Wash, cut and strain fruits in a strainer.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar and set aside.  Omit sugar if using canned fruits.
  2. Grease and flour the side of a baking pan (18x27 cm or 7x11 inch or 9 inch round) and line the base with parchment paper.
  3. Beat butter, sour cream and sugar together till creamy (I used a wooden spoon). Add eggs one at a time.
  4. Add lemon/orange zest, mix to combine.
  5. Add sieved flour and baking powder and mix until everything is smooth.
  6. Place batter into prepared pan and smoothen the top with a spatula.
  7. Place fruits on top and decorate as desired, remember not to press down the fruits.
  8. Bake in preheated oven of 180C for 60-70 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.
  9. Leave to cool on wire rack and sprinkle with icing sugar if desired.