Friday, February 26, 2010

On the 4th day of new year...

On the 4th day of new year, my 4th aunt invited us to her house for curry fish head. This is almost a tradition started way back a decade.

Her hubby cooks a mean curry fish... on CNY that all of us get to savour the fresh piping hot fish head cooked only upon our arrival!

The fortnight leading to the occasion, the couple would scout all the fishmongers in wet market for the best threadfin head.

When the get home, the 3 poor child labour kids are made to pound the spices in the good old mortar & pestle....
The whole event is made more challenging when you are talking about cooking for a clan of 80 pax or over 18 families! =p
It is such hard work that the family will only serve their heirloom fish head once a year.

This year, I brought along some cupcakes for the family... just a small appreciate for all their sweat, blood (pricked by the fish) and tears (from onion, chili and unnamed spices)!

This recipe is from Keiko Ishida’s book "Okashi- sweet treats made with love'".
I was amazed with the texture - soft and fine that it almost melt in my mouth!!! My only complaint is the eggy smell is quite strong. If only an eggless cake can be this good!


ps: The ganache is made with equal qty of dairy whipping cream + 30% milk chocolate. I like intensely bitter chocolate so this is too mild for me.... but surprisingly, everyone tells me they prefer this ganache to those made with higher cocoa content!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

sneak preview...

I should be blogging in chronological order... but I am so excited with what I have just made, I gotta jump the gun.
Will start baking soon!

Just the bread for new year...

Over new year, my brother visited me in the morning. And this is what I made for our breakfast - Cranberry Wholemeal Bread. Cranberry gives me a festive feeling, besides, the pink hue is just right for chinese new year. Don't you think so?

I used the same recipe from Chef Alex Goh. Actually the book has many many variations of bread, but I am too lazy to take out the book each time. So I kept a photocopy of the basic recipe in my kitchen... and make my own modification along with my whims!
Cranberry Wholemeal Bread

100g bread flour
70g boiling water

200g bread flour
100g wholemeal bread flour (I use Waitrose, avail from Cold Storage)
100g plain flour
80g sugar
6g salt
20g milk powder
9g instant yeast

210-220g cold water

60g butter

60g dried cranberry, soaked in warm/hot water.

1) Add boiling water from A into flour, mix until well blended to form a dough. Cover and set aside to cool. Keep it into fridge for at least 12 hrs.

2) Mix B until well blended. Add in C and knead to form rough dough. (add 210g water first... add more if dough is too dry) Add in A and knead till well-blended.

3) Add in D and knead to form elastic dough.

4) Let it proof for 40mins. (mine took over 90min, thanks to the year end rains and cold nights. Just make sure the dough double in size, no matter how long it takes.)

5) Meanwhile drain E, and lightly pat dry on kitchen towels.

6) Once dough is fully proofed, divide the dough into required weight and mould it round. Rest it for 10mins.

7) Flatten the dough, add some cranberry from step 5, and roll it up like swiss roll. Round the dough, and place it on a baking tray, with about 1cm spacing.

8) Leave it to proof again until it doubled in size again. Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20-30min (timing depends on how big the baking tray).


Tempting as it does, try to resist eating the bread when it is still hot from the oven. It is difficult, I know, as my family will all be lured to the kitchen when the bread is almost done.... and grab one as soon as it cool enough not to burn their hand.

I am less concern with the old wives' tale that eating bread right off the oven causes diahorrea. But in terms of texture, I find that somehow the bread tends to stick to the gum when eaten fresh in the first hour. It is a much more pleasant chewiness when eating 2 hours later!

Do you have the same experience?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fancy Nian Gao

I am finally getting down to catch up on the backlogs - hope I post all the new year goodies before the 15th day of new year!

This is the first time I make a nian gao. In the process of searching for a recipe, I realised that the less I know, the better it would. You see, there are recipe that needs coconut milk, some don't. Some needs wheat starch while others need tapioca flour, some uses a combination of both.... and the differences just go on...

In the end, the exasperated me pick up the simplest recipe which uses neither coconut milk, wheat starch nor tapioca flour.

The results?

You see the fish on the left that had cropped tail; I had much hard time trying to unmould the fish. The tail was left in the mould.

I then use the more complicated recipe which I pick up from a local food magazine. Then I got the nicer fish on the right.

I put my nian gao out on the table as part of CNY decor - it turned moldy within days. So if you are making these for consumption, do store in fridge and finish up with 5 days (or less).

Usually, the nian gao can be deepfried with flour batter, or sandwiched with yam & sweet potato slice before dipping into flour batter and fry. My mom sliced & steamed them until it becomes soft and gooey, then coat nian gao with grated coconut. Nice.

For me, I eat them plainly. Just leave at room temp until it lose the chill, and become softer. Slice and eat.


Fancy Nian Gao
Recipe from Gourmet Living Feb/Mar 2008

600g rice flour
600g wheat flour
1.2kg glutinous rice flour
2.4kg castor sugar
1 can coconut cream (370ml)
1 can condense milk (150ml)
200g oil
2.4kg water
few drops of orange and/or red food colouring


  1. boil 1.2kg sugar in water till dissolve. set aside to cool.
  2. sieve all 3 flours together. pour in sugar syrup (from step 1). Mix well.
  3. add remaining sugar. Mix well
  4. add condensed milk, oil and coconut cream. mix well
  5. put small portion of batter each into 2 separate bowl. add colouring.
  6. pour mixture in mould and steam for 2 hours. (My mould is small - I only steam for 45min).

I used 1/6 of the above portion.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Delicious Cream Cheese Cookies

I took Sheen to school last Friday as daddy is away. Sheen is always happy when mum drives cos that means he can take the front seat (with his car seat of course).

We happily set off. Enjoyed a short 15min ride in the car. Reached. Off the engine and walked to the car boot to take his school bag. *SCREAM* agh, I didn't bring his bag!!!

*Tear my hair*

I promised Sheen a baking session for the boo-boo. And since I have some leftover cream cheese from the last cookie ; this is just the one! The original recipe requires an egg yolk but that means I have to store the balance egg white... In the end, I decided to omit the egg yolk altogether. The version is after my mod.

Delicious Cream Cheese Cookies (Eggless Cut out cookie)
Adapted from Aunty Yochana
150 gm. Butter
80 gm. cream cheese, room temperature
100 gm. castor sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
200 gm. plain flour
80 gm. cornflour
½ tsp. baking powder


  1. Cream butter, sugar and cream cheese till soft and creamy. Add in vanilla extract.

  2. Add in plain flour, cornflour and baking powder and mix till a soft pliable dough is formed.

  3. Roll out the dough and chill in the fridge for about 30 mins.

  4. cut into shapes of your choice. Decorate as desire.

  5. Place onto baking tray and bake in a preheated oven @150C for about 20 mins or until lightly browned on edge.

  6. Cool well and store in airtight containers.

Baker’s note:
This makes a very pretty cut out cookie; it has fair & smooth surface. The edge is crisp and sharp.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vegetarian Poon Choy 佛山吉祥盆菜

Poon Choy literally means Basin Dish cos in the older days, this dish is served in a wooden basin (盆). I suppose this is how the name of the dish come about.

Poon Choi is associated to events that affect the entire community. It is a symbol of village cohesion, i.e all who eat from the common pot are equals.

All of the poon choy offered by the restaurants are non-vegetarian. So when Chef Warehouse offered this class, I signed up quickly with the grand plan to make this for my family reunion dinner.

Closer the the dinner, I heard my mum telling all my siblings potluck. Imagine every of my 5 siblings bring 2 dishes to the dinner, we are going to run out of space on the dinner table. Poon choy is a "comprehensive" dish. Most of the time, people only need 1 or 2 other dishes to go with the meal.

So I scrapped the idea.

Anyway this is another vegetarian dish that the instructor demonstrated at the class: Stir fried vegetarian liver.

The liver really looks and taste like the real liver but too salty for me.


Blk 148 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-927
Singapore 310148
Tel : 6252 2260 / 9105 5461 (Mrs Chua)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Lunar New Year!

Wishing you and your family a happy and prosperous Tiger year.

May the roaring brings you luck and health!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Clown Cupcake

I bought these clown figurines moons ago... after i went "wow" over the clown perching on the glossy Wilton Yearbook.

I even thought of taking the Wilton lessons to learn to pipe the clown. Well, it remained a thought.

Today, I wanted to cheer myself up so I thought of the clown. I used the ready-to-use decorating icing.

As you can see, it didn't work. Within 3 seconds, the body collapsed...

Now I am gloomier.

Hope your Monday was better!